94: “Maybe he’ll die before he gets here”

At the end of January, Ramsay celebrated his thirtieth birthday, but he wasn’t happy about it. If it had been up to him, he wouldn’t have even recognized the date and gladly moved on with his life. Instead, Miles and Oscar threw him a party. It was terrible for a lot of reasons, least of all because Oscar and Miles lacked the basic organizational skills required to do it. Nothing was a more evident indication of this than the ice cream cake they ordered for his birthday. It was supposed to have a photo of Oscar, Ramsay, and Miles on. Miles had taken it earlier in the week, demanding abruptly that the three of them take a selfie for no reason. Ramsay had seen the photo because Miles showed it to them both afterward and it wasn’t a good one of him. He looked both startled and angry in the photo. It didn’t really matter, though, because Ramsay’s face didn’t make it on the actual cake. Oscar failed to give specific enough directions so Ramsay’s birthday cake ended up just having a picture of Oscar’s face on it.

“Christ, that’s a cake,” Robin said to Ramsay, looking down at the cake, which was sitting on top of the kitchen island next to some Batman-themed plates that had definitely been intended for a child’s birthday party. Ramsay, who hadn’t wanted a party in the first place, had at least demanded that no one sing to him. Miles had asked for clarification, wondering if Ramsay meant no one could sing him “Happy Birthday” or if he genuinely meant no one could sing any song to him at all. He genuinely meant no one could sing any song to him at all.

“Yup,” Ramsay returned flatly, also staring down at the cake. Robin thumped him on the back.

“It’s going to be alright, buddy,” he said mockingly. Ramsay raised an eyebrow at him.

“You say that now, but your best friend Kyle hasn’t arrived yet,” he said mostly to see Robin’s bitter reaction. He did not disappoint.

“What?” Robin demanded in outrage. “You invited that fucker to your birthday party?”

Ramsay rolled his eyes.

“Of course I fucking didn’t,” he answered. “I didn’t even invite you to my birthday party. Miles did.”

“I hate that guy,” Robin grumbled. Ramsay snorted.

“Everyone but Miles hates that guy,” he returned.

“Maybe he’ll die before he gets here,” Robin said hopefully.

“Only if we’re lucky,” Ramsay replied darkly.

Kyle did not die before he got there.

When Kyle did turn up, it was with his new girlfriend, Robin’s ex-girlfriend, Emma in tow. Ramsay eyed them both with displeasure. So far, he’d only spent time with Kyle on three separate occasions, but each had been worse than the last. There were a lot of reasons that Ramsay didn’t like him, but one of the major reasons was that he talked about himself a lot. Ramsay generally didn’t like people who talked about themselves a lot, largely because Ramsay hated talking to people, but in this case, he hated it because Kyle wasn’t nearly as interesting as he seemed to think he was. The last time Ramsay had seen him, he’d spent at least forty minutes explaining his gym routine. Ramsay cared very little about a vast many things, but he especially didn’t care about Kyle’s gym routine.

“So this is pretty much the shittiest birthday you’ve ever had, yes?” Frank asked, coming to sit down next to Ramsay on the living room couch. Kyle was regaling the rest of the room with tales of his great success as a little league soccer coach. He did it in his own time just because he was a charitable guy. He had literally said those exact words, which Ramsay was fairly certain made him less charitable by default.

“I want to strangle that man,” Ramsay said in answer, looking directly at Kyle. “But I want to somehow do it with his own hands.”

Frank laughed.

“What does thirty feel like then? Angry mostly?” He checked.

“Mostly,” Ramsay confirmed. “But this is also just how I feel a lot of the time so it might end up feeling different for you.”

“Mine will probably feel drunken,” Frank agreed.

“God, I hope so,” Ramsay returned sincerely. “It’ll be better than this shit.”

“Let me help you with that then,” Frank offered. He got up, walked past Kyle and his mostly bored-looking crowd, returning with four beers.

“We’re both double-fisting?” Ramsay asked, one eyebrow raised.

“No, man, it’s your birthday,” Frank corrected. He opened one of the beers and walked away to talk to Oscar, leaving the other three with Ramsay. Ramsay looked at them for a long moment where they sat in his lap. Then he opened two of them at once.

By the time Ramsay saw Frank again, he had drunk the three beers Frank had brought him plus another two and he was feeling better about things. He was feeling better about Kyle’s presence, though still not great, he was feeling better about turning thirty, and he was feeling better about being hopelessly alone. Around the tail end of his fourth beer, Ramsay had come to the conclusion that he and Frank were probably going to die alone together and he’d decided that wouldn’t be so bad. Frank didn’t ever pressure him to chat and they liked to watch the same sports teams lose.

“You’re going to die alone!” Ramsay told Frank with a surprising amount of enthusiasm. From the startled look on Frank’s face, Ramsay gathered it hadn’t come across as he’d intended. Plus, he was mid-conversation with Priscilla when Ramsay had interrupted him to tell him this.

“Jesus,” Frank breathed in stunned reply.

“That isn’t terribly kind, is it?” Priscilla said to Frank before turning to Ramsay and offering him a high-five, which he accepted out of habit. “I like your style, man. Harsh, but succinct.”

Ramsay shook his head.

“No, I meant you’re going to die alone,” he repeated. “But so am I. We can die alone together.”

“Aw, that’s actually nice,” Priscilla said, patting both of them on the back. Frank’s look of surprise softened into something else.

“Alright, bud, let’s die alone together,” he said, pulling Ramsay into a hug that Ramsay didn’t really want, but accepted anyway. He figured he owed Frank at least that much.

“Well, I’ll leave you two to it,” Priscilla cut in as they pulled apart. “Going to go get a piece of Oscar’s face.”

She pointed in the direction of the cake.

“Jesus, what a dud,” she added, shaking her head as she left.

“It’s possible Oscar might also die alone,” Frank said as he watched her walk away.

“That’s pretty much a guarantee,” Ramsay agreed, nodding.

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