21: “I feel like I’ve seen more of your thighs than I ever have before”

Ramsay, Oscar, and Frank hosted the world’s warmest Halloween party. Since Frank had turned the valve off on the radiators, the heat had improved significantly, but, as Miles said, it couldn’t stop science. Their apartment was on the top floor of an old house and it tended to trap the heat. The heat from the lower stories rose to their apartment and then stayed there in all the irregularly shaped corners and ceilings. Add to that the body heat of thirty people in costume and it became tropical all over again. Everybody was sweating for the whole evening, Ramsay included, who was relieved to be wearing a rather skimpy costume. He’d been uncertain at first, but the lack of clothing was really helping with his body temperature and he was counting it a win.

He, Oscar, and Frank had decided to go as the Three Blind Mice, but the sexy version. It was meant to be a funny commentary on how all Halloween costumes were made needlessly sexy, no matter how ridiculous. What it ended up being was essentially drag. Ramsay was wearing a small grey dress and matching ears on a headband. They had drawn whiskers on their faces, bought white canes, and they were wearing sunglasses. Erin, who turned up with her two roommates dressed as sexy Russian nesting dolls, professed that it was hilarious. Then she started drinking copiously.

Ramsay had gathered that Oscar and Erin’s relationship was not going especially well. He hadn’t asked directly because he didn’t actually care to know the full details, but Oscar had shared some of them anyway, as did Frank, who had fortunately missed the great Katy break-up and found Oscar’s constant horizontal lifestyle concerning. In time, he would learn that that was simply how Oscar was and ignore it completely as Ramsay did. In any case, Frank had told him that he’d found Oscar lying on the kitchen floor after dinner with Erin and that they’d had a brief, yet poignant conversation about what Oscar really wanted.

“I don’t think it’s her,” Frank said.

“Definitely not,” Ramsay replied. He’d seen that coming from miles away when Oscar and Erin had first gotten together. She was a lovely woman, but when it had started, she hadn’t been Katy. And now she wasn’t Priscilla.

Oscar himself had told Ramsay earlier in the week that Erin had sprung her parents on him over dinner one night and that he hadn’t been prepared to meet them. He said there’d been an awkward moment with the cheque and now he would forever be a tool in her father’s eyes. What Ramsay didn’t say in response was that it probably didn’t matter much because Erin’s father likely wasn’t going to know Oscar for much longer. Their relationship had been doomed from the start and it was rapidly approaching its end, hurtling toward destruction with an alarming amount of awkwardness.

But Oscar and Erin weren’t the only couple at the party having issues. Bear had been tentatively dating Erin’s roommate for months and she seemed to be doing the same thing to him that Oscar was doing to Erin. There was little commitment, there wasn’t even any talk of commitment, and nothing made sense. Bear had no idea where he stood, a quandary he had shared many times. Halloween was no different.

“Honestly, I’m so confused,” he confessed to Ramsay and Robin. The whole thing sounded ridiculous coming from a man dressed as an enormous asparagus, even more so because he was speaking to one-third of the Three Blind Mice in drag and Eleven from Stranger Things, also in drag. Robin had stapled toaster waffles to his navy blue jacket.

“That’s because she speaks in half-riddles like a mythical creature trying to prevent you from crossing a bridge,” Robin snorted in response. Altogether, it wasn’t an inaccurate response. Sasha made very little sense when she spoke. Half of it was incredibly random, some of it was made up, and the rest was just ridiculously blunt.

“Do you think I’m her boyfriend?” Bear asked mildly. He was such a kind man. Ramsay felt a little bad for him. He had definitely chosen the wrong woman. He needed to be with someone equally as gentle and kind as him. He would know where he stood with someone like that.

“I have no fucking idea,” was Ramsay’s answer. “I’ll tell you what I do know, though. I know that this is a conversation you should have with her because she may or may not want the D, but I do not.”

Bear nodded, like that was sage advice, and then walked off, hopefully to do as Ramsay had suggested so that Ramsay would stop having to hear about it.

About an hour later, Miles basically sprinted over to where Ramsay was still standing with Robin in the kitchen. They had been joined by Finch, who was dressed as a unicorn, Joey, his bottle of tequila, and Gord, who was dressed as Freddie Mercury in the tightest white pants Ramsay had ever seen, and ever hoped to see, on a human being.

“These pants are really tight,” Finch was saying to Gord. “Too tight. I feel like I’m seeing more of your thighs than I ever have before. And I’ve seen you without pants on.”

Ramsay wasn’t really paying attention. Instead, he was watching Miles hurtle toward them, looking not unlike he’d just seen a beheading. His face was ashen, his eyes were wide, and he looked very sweaty, though that very well could’ve just been the extreme heat inside the apartment.

“Something terrible has happened!” Miles hissed when he reached them. He was looking directly at Ramsay, who didn’t like that he had been singled out. He had no idea how he’d somehow become everybody else’s emotional support. He questioned what it was about him that at all suggested he was interested or cared about anyone else’s problems. In fact, he had worked hard to cultivate an attitude that suggested the exact opposite and yet here he was.

“I don’t care,” he said immediately, mostly just to see what would happen. As it turned out, it did nothing because Miles still told him anyway.

“Erin just drunkenly told me that she’s going to marry Oscar,” Miles continued.

“Uh, no she isn’t,” Robin interjected.

“Even I know that,” Finch cut in, tearing his eyes away from Gord’s thighs, repulsion still plastered on his face.

“What do we do?” Miles demanded, turning specifically to Ramsay, who once again couldn’t help but wonder how he had been saddled with being the rational, mature one. He supposed having more rational, mature friends would be a good place to change that.

“We’re not going to do anything,” he told Miles empathetically.

“Yeah,” Joey agreed, nodding wisely, which wasn’t a very believable expression on his face. “She’ll figure it out eventually.”

Ramsay considered it a very good point, if not slightly cruel.


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