43: “He’s just…really naked”

Dick spent a lot of time on his own. Working from home made it difficult for him to spend time with vast numbers of people. For the most part, he was fine with it. He wasn’t overly fond of people anyway. He was perfectly content to work from home every weekday of every week and only experience strangers the times he attempted to go to the grocery or liquor store. Of course, sometimes it reached points where he hadn’t been out in far too long a time and reality began to feel weird to him, but that probably had something to do with the fact that he spent his days video editing gay pornos. It just sometimes felt like delivery guys should’ve been offering him sexual favours.

Of course, he also saw his friends. Sometimes it was planned and sometimes his friends sprung it on him. Miles showed up at Dick’s apartment one Thursday morning looking fresh-faced and carrying half a dozen muffins.

“What are you doing here?” Dick asked upon answering the door. Miles frowned at him and lowered the muffins.

“It’s nice to see you too,” he returned dryly.

“Alright, that feels like a lot,” Dick said, holding up a hand.

“I said one thing!” Miles protested.

“Yeah, but it’s so early.”

“It’s 10am!”

“Okay,” Dick surrendered, holding up both hands.

“On a Thursday!” Miles continued.

“I said okay,” Dick retorted.

“I just thought I would work from home today so that we could work from home together since the only person you ever see is your sketchy internet roommate,” Miles explained, straightening up and gaining composure.

“He’s not that sketchy,” Dick rolled his eyes.

“No? Who is that on your couch then?” Miles asked, gesturing to the man dozing on the living room couch. To be fair, Dick had no idea who he was or how long he’d been there. He hadn’t even really noticed him or thought about it until that moment.

“I don’t know,” Dick shrugged.

“You don’t know?” Miles repeated. “So he’s a stranger. There’s a stranger sleeping on your couch and it’s a different stranger than the last one that was randomly inside your apartment without your knowledge.”

“Okay, so clearly my roommate has more than one friend,” Dick shrugged again. Miles shook his head at him, which Dick ignored. He stepped aside to let Miles into his apartment and let the door swing shut behind them. The sound of it slamming into the doorframe failed to rouse the stranger from slumber on his couch and, for one brief moment, Dick wondered if he had died in his sleep. But then he let out a particularly aggressive snore and Dick continued on his way into his bedroom where he was working. Miles followed him and gave the room a disdainful look, as if Dick’s bedroom furniture had offended him deeply. To be fair, it had been a good few days since Dick had ventured outside of his apartment, spending most of that time in his bedroom alone. Occasionally he exited to use the washroom or kitchen, but rarely. As such, his bedroom was full of dirty dishes, heaps of dirty clothes, and a stale smell that had a tendency to linger.

“Sit wherever you like,” Dick instructed Miles before crossing the room to open his blinds and bedroom window alike, flooding the room in daylight. He tended to work with the blinds drawn so that he could see his computer screen the best. Glares weren’t good for video editing.

“Where?” Miles asked after a moment. Dick looked around as well and then unceremoniously shoved some laundry off the end of his bed and onto the floor. He gestured grandly to his now clear mattress and waited for Miles to sit down. Miles grimaced and gingerly took a seat. Dick rolled his eyes.

Miles got settled on the bed, setting the muffins down beside him and unpacking his leather shoulder bag. Dick left him to it and sat down in the desk chair in front of his computer. He took a moment to recall where he’d left off and then restarted, unpausing the video he’d been editing to check on the composition. Miles made a tiny sound behind him and Dick turned his head to find that he was watching Dick’s computer screen with a look of abject horror on his face. Dick turned back to his computer as well and tried to imagine what it would be like if he hadn’t spent the past four days editing the same ninety minutes of gay porn.

“It’s about a stable boy and a prince,” Dick explained, gesturing to his computer screen. He paused the video again, this time on a very unfortunate close up of the prince’s Prince Albert.

“So this is what you do all day,” Miles said weakly.

“Lots of people enjoy this,” Dick returned, raising an eyebrow.

“That’s true,” Miles agreed, nodding just as weakly.

“This guy’s actually pretty good-looking,” Dick continued, rewinding the video to a shot of the prince’s full body. Of course, he was still nude in the frame, but at least more than just his crotch was visible. Setting aside his impeccable abs and pecs, the prince also had an enviably square jaw and a mustache that he was amazingly pulling off. Dick had tried to grow a mustache once. He’d looked like Groucho Marx. Now he had a beard and that was much better.

“I guess so,” Miles replied, still looking scarred. Dick raised his other eyebrow as well.

“Can you really not admit that another dude is handsome?” He asked.

“I can,” Miles protested. “He’s just…really naked.”

Dick looked back at the computer screen. He was very naked.

“Yes, true,” Dick nodded. “But still handsome.”

Miles regarded the computer screen again.

“Yes,” he eventually agreed.

They worked together for most of the day, only really pausing for lunch, at which point they emerged into the rest of Dick’s apartment to find that the stranger who had previously been sleeping on his couch was no longer there. Dick’s roommate Willie also wasn’t anywhere in sight.

When Dick said good-bye to Miles around four o’clock in the afternoon, it was with the sneaking suspicion that he wouldn’t see Miles back at his place for another work date the following day or the day after that. Miles had found the porn editing unsettling. Dick could understand that. He’d spent a great deal of time focussed on one specific point and there had been a particularly high amount of grunting and moaning. It was possible Dick had taken more time on it than was strictly necessary if only to watch Miles squirm out of the corner of his eye.

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