Fandom: South Park RPS
Pairing: Matt Stone/Trey Parker
Word Count: 57,139
Disclaimer: Matt and Trey own themselves. I just worship them. And I'm certainly not saying this happened or ever would in real life
Summary: It's been six years since Trey Parker finished making "Cannibal! the Musical" and moved to New York City to work at Troma. Six years since he's spoken to his best friend. In his absence, Matt Stone gave up on the dream and resorted to becoming an accountant. Then, one day, they run into each other in Times Square, and as it turns out, that old saying is true: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Warning: This fic takes place during 2001 in New York. Matt's accounting firm is in the south tower. This is not a character death fic, but please be forewarned before you begin that what happens to him on 9/11 is part of this story.
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Fridays are paycheck days. Trey likes paycheck days. Everyone does. They have to come into work, anyway, to see if there's anything going on they can mine for comedy come Monday's episode, but on Fridays when they leave, they get to take a paycheck with them. It's nice.
He's been covering Bush's campaign this year, his first as a correspondent, and his paychecks have reflected that in a very amazing way.
When Jon has dismissed everyone, Trey grins. He knows exactly where this paycheck is going, or at least a good chunk of it. He's been dying to see The Music Man and he did a bit on-air this week, so he should have enough to splurge on it without worrying about rent.
He stops by Steve's office to see if maybe he wants to get together over the weekend to work on an Even Stephven sketch, then heads to the main office to pick up his paycheck. It feels heavy in his hands, like the bigger numbers in the amount box some how affect the check itself.
He glances at the amount as soon as he gets out into the hallway, and grins. "Yes," he hisses under his breath, and only looks up when he hears a slightly stifled giggle that can only be Jon's.
"Something good in that envelope?" he asks.
"Yeah," Trey answers. "I'm going to see The Music Man," he explains, tapping the check.
Jon smiles back at him. "If, God forbid, Bush actually wins this election, you're going to be making a lot more than that. No offence, but I'm really hoping you stay poor."
Trey grins. "Yeah, yeah."
"So, special date?" Jon asks.
"Huh? Oh. No. Just me."
"Anyone ever tell you that you get entirely too excited about going to musicals alone?"
Trey laughs. "Probably. But not all of us have a hot wife to go home to." He shrugs. "I need to get to the kiosk to buy my ticket before the line gets too long. I'll see you Monday."
Jon nods and waves him off. He passes Colbert in the hallway and tells him to have a good weekend, and then he's out of the building and heading for the subway.
It's crowded, of course, but nearly as bad as it will be in a few hours when people with "real jobs" get out and start flooding it. He even manages to get a seat, though it's between a woman with a crying baby and a teenager with his Discman turned up so loud Trey can hear the whiny excuse for rock playing on it.
The ride is mercifully short though, and then he's climbing the steps and heading out into Times Square.
He doesn't really like coming here if he doesn't have to; it's crowded and full of tourists. But he shouldn't have to be here for long, though. The line at the kiosk is reasonably short, considering it's a Friday afternoon in New York, and he steps to the back of it and tugs his knit cap down around his ears. Fall in New York isn't as cold as fall in Colorado had been growing up, but he still wishes he'd brought his gloves with him when he left his apartment that morning.
He digs his hands into his pockets and sighs, staring at the man in front of him. His hair is short, brown, and curly, and Trey traces a few of the curls with his eyes before darting them away when the man starts to turn idly, twisting his torso as he stares at the busy street. Trey can see his profile now, and he can't help but think he looks familiar.
It's possible he's run into him at a play before. He tends to go alone, so he usually ends up striking up conversations with the other people around him before the show begins. But he has a feeling of deeper familiarity than that, though he can't quite place it.
"Hi," he says. The man seems momentarily startled, then turns to him and smiles. Good. So they know each other. New Yorkers usually don't smile when you interrupt them randomly in line at the kiosk.
"Hey," the man says. "What are you doing here, man?"
"Getting tickets," Trey answers. "Do we know each other?"
The man laughs. "Yeah. I guess I look different with out the big hair and glasses."
Trey pauses, then feels the corners of his mouth turn up into a smile. "Matt?"
Trey hesitates, unsure if he should hug him, shake his hand, pat him on the shoulder, or do nothing. They went through hell together six years ago—technically they even still co-own a LLC with Jason and Ian. But they haven't spoken since Trey came to New York to work with Lloyd Kaufman at Troma.
"What are you doing here?" he asks instead.
"Here in this line or here in New York?" Matt asks.
"Accounting," Matt says. He makes a face. "After you left, I kind of gave up on the filmmaking stuff and concentrated on my math degree. I work in the World Trade Center now." He shrugs. "It pays the bills, I guess. And I'm in line because my parents are visiting from Colorado and they want to do all the touristy stuff like see a show."
"Take them to see Jesus Christ Superstar," Trey says with a grin.
"Yeah," Matt laughs. "Mom'll love that." He rolls his eyes. "What are you seeing?"
"The Music Man. I've heard this cast is amazing."
Matt nods. "You're still into the whole musical thing, then?"
"A little," Trey says, and they both laugh.
"So what do you do now, anyway?" Matt asks.
Trey pauses, and waits for him to laugh again, but he doesn't. "Uh. You really don't know?"
Matt shakes his head.
"I'm on The Daily Show," Trey says. "I write and I just got bumped up to correspondent this year."
"Nothing, just...not the kind of show I'd expect you to be on."
Trey shrugs. "It's not that bad. And it's not like they stop me from writing what I want. I've been covering Bush's campaign. I still have to crack jokes, but as long as they're funny, Jon doesn't care which side I'm making fun of."
"Oh. Well...cool, I guess."
Trey shrugs. "It's fun. Anyway. I can't believe I didn't know you lived here, man."
Matt nods, and for a moment, Trey feels awkward, like he can't think of anything to say. It's weird and it disorients him. He's never felt that around Matt. Then the moment passes and he asks, "So what are you taking your parents to see?"
"I was thinking Riverdance. Figured my dad would like it."
"Ugh. Don't. Unless you're going to sneak in a book or something to do to keep from stabbing your own eyes out."
"What should I see, then? Since I take it you've seen everything?"
"Not everything," Trey says. "Just most things. And I don't really know your parents' tastes. Cabaret was great when I saw it."
Matt laughs. "Yeah. I can see taking my dad to that."
Trey shrugs. "Dunno. It's Broadway, man. Everyone in those shows is either gay, questionable, or a fag hag."
"And yet here you are, lining up to see yet another one."
"Dunno," Matt says. "Never mind. How's Kiss Me Kate?"
"Pretty good," Trey answers. "That what you're going to go with?"
"If it'll keep my parents occupied and quiet for two and half hours, I really don't care what it is."
"Well...then how about what I'm seeing? We could go together. Hang out."
"I don't know."
"Could be fun."
"My parents...really don't like you," Matt admits. "They were kind of glad when you left and I got back to studying like a good son."
Trey rolls his eyes. "Well, you're out of college now. No more studying for me to corrupt you from."
Matt rubs awkwardly at the back of his neck. "Never mind. It's nothing."
"Clearly it's something, dude."
"It's nothing. Promise. That sounds fine. We can do that."
"Yeah," Matt says. "Here." He pulls a card out of his wallet and hands it to Trey. "My number."
"Thanks." Trey tucks the card into his pocket and points to the kiosk. The line has moved forward and Matt is the next customer.
"Oh," Matt says, and turns his attention to buying three tickets to The Music Man for Sunday.
Trey pays for his, as well, and asks, "I guess you have to get back to work, huh?"
Matt nods. "I took a long lunch. I'll see you Sunday, Trey."
"Yeah," he agrees. "I'll call you."
Matt nods, waves, and disappears into the crowd.
Trey sighs as he heads back out into the street. One of the things he loves most about New York is that no one is ever truly alone—the crowd sees to that. But sometimes, especially in the fall and winter, it can work the opposite way and make him feel lonely anyway.
He takes the subway to the stop closest to his apartment and swings by the rental place on his street. A few new releases and a bag of popcorn later, he's back at his apartment. So. There's his evening planned. Now to kill time until he can reasonably turn the movies on and fall asleep on his couch.
He feels slightly ridiculous and over-dramatic. He has friends. Plenty. But of the ones who aren't still at work, Jon, Steve, and Stephen are married and probably off with their wives or kids or whatever they have. And Lewis is a great guy, but he's so much older than Trey that they don't really have much in common, and Vance is...well, he's Vance, and they get along all right at work, but they've never hung out outside of the office.
Fridays suck sometimes, he thinks.
He orders in Chinese and flips on the TV, switching the channel to CNN. Part of his job is to keep up with the news, even when it leaves him wanting to spork his own eyes out, and he watches the latest election coverage as he drums his fingers on his knees and tries to think of jokes. Six years ago, he didn't know jack shit about the news. It's funny how working at a "fake news" show is actually what made him become informed.
He jots down a few jokes about the DNC's latest attack ad on a napkin before his food arrives, and a few more while he tries not to let noodles fall down his chin. It's more productive than he was last Friday afternoon, but he still feels kind of pathetic.
Why do all his friends have to have normal jobs? Fuck, even Matt turned nine-to-five on him. Matt never seemed like that kind of guy. Smart, yeah, but not boring about it. Not...accountant. They'd even talked about going to L.A. together and trying to make movies. They would've, too, if Lloyd hadn't offered to buy Cannibal and take Trey under his wing in New York. He never expected Matt to turn so...legit. Accounting wasn't very punk rock.
He tucks his leftovers away in the fridge before pulling on his jacket, cap, and gloves and heading back out onto the street. He's bored in a city that's supposed to never sleep and that can't be a good sign.
He's been wandering around for almost an hour when he checks his watch and sees that it's still only two. He groans and heads back towards the coffee shop on the corner just down the street from his house.
"Gina," he sighs when he gets to the counter, "tell me you get off soon."
"An hour," she answers. "You going through the Friday Blues again?"
"You have no idea," he mutters. "Why do all my friends have real jobs?"'
"Because not all of us have the writing chops to pal around with Jon Stewart," she answers. "Now order. You're holding up my line."
"Latte," he answers. "Don't care what's in it. Surprise me."
He gets back a latte that tastes like pumpkin spice and hands her the cash to pay for it. "Thanks," he says. "You mind if I hang out here until you get off work?"
She rolls her eyes. "Trey, go home. I'll come up when I get off. Promise. But I can't have you loitering around. My boss will kill me."
He nods, but doesn't head home. He heads back out into the street and walks around until he finishes his latte. He can't take his empty apartment. It's been too fucking empty for the past few months, and it's driving him crazy.
His friends keep telling him to get over it and move on already, and he has. He doesn't even miss Jimmy anymore. They weren't even that serious, anyway. Seven months hardly adds up to true love or anything. It's more the idea of having someone that he misses, really.
He checks his watch again and heads up stairs, then sticks his Chinese leftovers in the microwave. Gina always finishes his lunch off on Fridays after she gets off work, and he knows she'll appreciate it being hot and waiting for her when she gets there.
He leans against the fridge as he watches the food heat up and wonders exactly how un-punk rock he's become, if this is his life. Maybe this is just what happens when you grow up. Some of your friends become accountants or lawyers and you become a loser who wanders around the city alone on Friday afternoons.
Ugh. He has got to stop thinking about this and just have fun already.
There's a knock at the door and he lets Gina in, waiting on the couch while she grabs the food and a fork from his kitchen.
"You're an angel," she tells him as she sinks down on the couch beside him. She takes a bite of the food and settles back against the armrest, studying his face. "Something happened," she pronounces. "That's not just Friday Blues face. That's Friday Blues plus Something Happened face."
"Nuh-uh," he answers.
"Yeah-huh," she answers right back. "Spill. What? Did you run into Jimmy or something?"
"Stone? From your movie?"
"Weird," she says. "So explain the Something Happened face."
Trey shrugs. "Nothing."
"What? Don't tell me he broke your heart, too."
"I didn't even know I was into guys until I met Jimmy," Trey reminds her. "Just...I don't know. He's...Matt."
"Yeah, that was helpful, Trey. Thanks. I really feel like you've painted the picture for me with your words. How did you get a job writing professionally, again?"
"Shut up," he says. "I can't really explain it. Just...he's Matt. I never thought I'd see him again."
"Well, are you happy that you did?"
He smiles. "Yeah. And we're going to The Music Man on Sunday."
She gasps. "You have a date and we're sitting here doing nothing?"
"It's not a date. His parents will be there."
She frowns. "That kills the mood, then."
"I'm just...really happy to see him," he says finally. "He...we were supposed to spend our lives together making movies and shit. And then I came here instead. And I don't know. I don't regret it at all, but there was always a part of me that wished I could've brought Matt, too. You know? Had the Matt and me making movies part, but with everything that happened here, too. And then...there he was. I didn't even recognize him at first."
"Got hot," Trey corrects. "And...I don't know. It's...good. It's really, really good. But it's weird. Because he's...Matt."
"I know what it sounds like," Trey tells her. "But it's not. He's just...Matt."
"So you keep saying."
"He's an accountant now. He's probably married. I should've asked."
"I was too shocked," Trey says. "There he was, looking amazing. I could barely hold my shit together."
She sighs. "This isn't going to end well."
Trey shakes his head. "It's not like that. He's straight. Fuck, so was I last time we saw each other."
"Clearly, you weren't."
"Well, you didn't just up and turn bi when you met Jimmy," she says sensibly. "You always were. You just didn't know it. And you can deny it all you want, but the stuff you're saying about him...yeah. You weren't straight. I mean, do you hear yourself? 'We were supposed to spend our lives together.' The only way you can get away with saying something like that is if you're Jay and Silent Bob, and everyone knows Jay wants to suck that fat man's cock, anyway."
Trey rolls his eyes. "I thought we agreed never to talk about those movies again."
"Jealous much?" she teases, but moves on. "You're still avoiding my point."
"I wasn't aware that you had one."
"Fine. Deny it. When you come crying to me over this, we're using the off-brand low-fat ice cream, though. All that Ben & Jerry's you went through when Jimmy left was expensive. And fattening."
"Are you calling me fat?"
She shrugs, then laughs. "Trey, you're on TV. You're not allowed to be on TV if you're fat."
"True," he agrees. "Unless you're Oprah."
"Right. Unless you're Oprah."
"I'm not going to need ice cream, though," he adds belatedly. "Because this isn't what you're thinking."
"If you don't kiss him by Sunday night, I'll...I don't know what, because you're going to."
"What part of 'he's straight' isn't getting through to you?"
She pauses to consider this. "All right," she says slowly. "Then I give it two weeks before you're moping because you can't kiss him."
Trey shakes his head. "You never stop, do you?"
"You're just still bumming too hard from what happened to admit you like someone."
"Does making up stories about my non-existent love life make you feel better somehow? Keep you entertained when you're working the counter, maybe?"
"Yes, actually. There's going to be a series of novels eventually." She shrugs. "That's not the point."
"Seriously, he's just a friend."
"I don't remember you reacting this strongly when Jason came to town to pitch his next film to that group of producers."
She nods. "Yeah. I'll stock up on the ice cream. Are you going to need cookies this time, too? Beer? Just make me a shopping list."
"Gina..." He sighs. "Really. It's not like that."
"Trey. Your denial is just getting pathetic at this point. Stop embarrassing yourself and make me some tea."
He obeys mostly because he feels bad for her. He spends his days sitting on his ass writing while Gina's working at the coffee shop and writing in the evenings. She's just as talented as he is, and he hates that she still hasn't gotten her shot.
She's wrong about the thing with Matt, though. They're just friends. Really.
By the time Sunday rolls around, Gina has drove Trey crazy pressing him for details about him and Matt. She remains completely convinced that they hooked up in college and no matter how many times Trey denies it, she refuses to believe him. He doesn't tell her about the time they watched each other jack off in the hot tub, but that doesn't really count, anyway. Everyone does that.
She makes him wear one of his nicest outfits and sprays him with cologne before letting him leave the apartment, and it's not until he's halfway to the theatre that he realizes she tucked a condom into his pocket.
Matt is waiting with his parents in front of the theatre when Trey gets there, and he shakes both of their hands before turning to Matt and nudging him with his elbow.
"What?" Matt asks.
Trey stares at him, taken aback. Matt's voice is tense and not at all relaxed and happy like Trey feels.
"Uh," he says. "Nothing."
Matt shrugs and looks away from him and Trey wonders if maybe Gina sprayed him with too much cologne or if he's got something in his teeth. There has to be something wrong.
He follows Matt into the theatre and to their seats, but as soon as Mr. and Mrs. Stone are seated, he says, "I'm going to go to the bathroom before the show starts. Matt, you want to come?"
Okay, it's a girl move, but he can't think of a decent reason to get Matt alone, so it'll have to do.
Both of Matt's parents frown at them, but Matt reluctantly follows him back into the lobby.
"What?" he asks tersely.
"I was going to ask you the same thing," Trey counters. "I mean, does my breath smell bad or something?"
"No. Minty fresh."
Matt sighs. "Look, just...it's not you, all right? It's...I mean...my parents have a really bad opinion of you. I was their good little math prodigy until you came along and got me working at movies. When you left, they were so relieved, Trey. I was back to being who they wanted me to be. And the entire reason they planned this trip was because...this is so fucking stupid. Look, I...I was with this girl, and we were pretty serious, and my parents were going to come out here to meet her. And then a few weeks ago, we split. But it was too late to cancel their trip, so we switched it to sightseeing. And they get here and the girl is gone, but there's...you. I mean, they already thought something was weird with us in college, and then they get here and my girlfriend's gone and you're, like...I mean, what do you think this looks like? You know?"
"Oh," Trey says softly. "I...I'm sorry, man. I didn't...wasn't thinking."
Matt shrugs. "Just...don't be...overly friendly. I really don't need them thinking that their fucked up delusions of us being like that are well-founded."
"Okay," Trey says. "Yeah. Sure."
"Come on. Let's just get back in there and watch the show."
Trey nods numbly and follows him. How is it possible that people keep thinking he and Matt are like that? They're not. Not at all. Never. Really. People should know that.
It feels weird to be around Matt and not be able to touch him. In college, they had been physical in their friendship. Arms bumping or shoulders touching had all been part of the way they interacted. Only now it's like there's a wall set up between their seats and with Matt's parents' eyes on him, he can't really bring himself to tear it down.
Gina's going to love this, he thinks. She's going to turn this into a story about forbidden love across time and cities and he'll secretly love the writing even if he hates the plotline.
At least the show is good. The show is amazing and maybe he relates to Marian a little too much, but still, the show is amazing.
When the show is over, Matt's parents seem eager to stuff him into a cab and get him away from Trey as fast as possible, so Trey waves them goodbye and vows not to contact Matt again until after his parents have gone back to Colorado.
Which sucks. It sucks so fucking hard that he can't stand it. It's not right to let him see Matt again after all these years and then yank him away for a little longer because everyone seems to think they're a couple or something. It's such a stupid bullshit reason, anyway. They've never even kissed and Matt just broke up with his girlfriend.
Gina is waiting for him when he gets home, but her eager smile fades the second she lays her eyes on him.
"You don't have a cute man attached to your arm," she says.
"Your hair isn't even messed up."
"You're so observant tonight," he sighs. "Way to finally figure out how to use those eyeballs."
"You really didn't hook up with him," she says. "I'm disappointed in you."
"I told you he was straight," he retorts. "And I thought I gave you that key to my place for emergencies only?"
"This is," she sighs. "You haven't had sex since Jimmy left and you went on that week-long gay bar binge."
"I have, too. Remember? Jon set me up with his wife's cousin or something?"
She rolls her eyes. "I'm sorry. Excuse me. You've had sex once since the gay bar binge. And you never saw her again after that, did you?"
"That wasn't my fault. She wouldn't return my calls."
"Yeah," Gina agrees. "You must really be bad in bed. Point is, you finally had a not-a-date with someone you liked. Of course that qualifies as an emergency."
"Yeah, well, nothing happened. Nothing could've. Apparently his parents were under the impression he and I were on a date."
She grins. "Gee. I wonder how anyone got that impression? Could it be your big gay crush on him?"
"I'm not arguing about it anymore," Trey sighs. "Everyone else can think what they want."
She pats the spot beside her on the couch and puts her arm around his shoulders when he sits.
"Trey...look. It's okay to like him."
"He just broke up with his girlfriend."
"And your last date was with a woman. It's called the Kinsey scale, okay? Don't let outward appearances of straightness keep you from trying."
"I've never seen him interested in guys," Trey says. "And I used to be his best friend."
"We're not arguing about this," she says. "When his parents go home, you are going to ask him out. On a real date, this time."
"I just want to be his friend."
"And you will be. His friend he has sex with on a regular basis."
"Fine," she says. "But just so you know, Tony and Matilda are totally having wild sex in my brain right now."
"Uh. Okay. Who are Tony and Matilda?"
"Tony is you and Matilda is Matt in a blonde wig and with tits."
"Ah. Good to know."
"You act like I'm crazy, Trey, but I'm not. I know what you look like when you're into someone."
"Gina, I'm tired. I don't want to argue about it anymore. I'm still not even sure we can reconnect as friends, much less for wild sex."
"Don't make me write a scene with you fucking on his desk," she says warningly. "Suit jacket thrown aside, pants around your knees..." She bites her lip. "Tony should totally surprise Matilda like that in the next chapter."
"Tony and Matilda can do whatever they want. Trey's not having sex anywhere but the privacy of his own apartment, and never with Matt."
Gina shrugs. "I need to get back to my place. I've got coffee to make in the morning and you've got jokes to write. But we're not done here."
"We're so done there's a fork in us."
"We'll see," she says, and gives him a kiss on the cheek before heading downstairs to her own apartment.
He locks the door behind her, then heads into his bedroom. He feels stressed and he could use a good jerk to relieve the tension. And he absolutely doesn't think about Matt. Not even a little.
Monday mornings are always a scramble, but Trey doesn't mind. He's sure there are people out there working in far more rushed conditions than they are as they struggle to get a script cranked out in time for the taping.
A few of Trey's jokes even end up in the final draft, so he's happy.
He's not going on-air today, so he hangs out with Steve and Stephen while Jon tapes act one. They're doing an Even Stephven bit today—one he helped write.
Steve mouths the words of his script as he reads over them, then closes his eyes and mouths them again from memory. He's always nervous before he goes on camera, so Trey gives him an encouraging pat on the shoulder before turning his attention to Stephen.
"You ready?" he asks.
"Of course I'm ready, Trey," Stephen says in a slightly deeper voice than usual. His voice does that when he gets in character, and Trey nods.
"I'm going to head back to my office," he says. "But good luck."
Stephen nods and waves him off. Normally, Trey would stay and watch the rest of the taping, but while Stephen is his friend, "Stephen," is annoying and Trey would rather not be around when he starts insulting everyone around him.
When he gets there, he shuts the door behind him and relaxes into his chair. It's lunchtime and he's hungry, but he doesn't want to go out for lunch on his own. His fingers are shaking as he extracts Matt's card from his wallet and dials his number, but he clears his throat and tries not to let his voice waver when he speaks.
"Matt Stone speaking," Matt says.
"Hey," Trey says. "It's Trey."
"Oh. Hi. What's up?"
"Nothing. Just...wanted to see if you wanted to meet up for lunch."
"Oh. Yeah. Can't."
Matt sighs. "My parents are still here. They're meeting me for lunch today."
"I know you think it's stupid," Matt says. "I just don't feel like fighting with them after everything else that's happened lately."
"Yeah. I get it."
"You don't, but it's fine," Matt answers. "But uh, they're leaving on Wednesday evening. So how about Thursday?"
"Yeah. That sounds good."
"I'm sorry," Matt says. "Really. If they weren't here, I'd love to."
Trey feels his stomach twist at that, but pushes the thought away. "It's cool," he says instead. "Really. I get it."
"They keep asking about you," Matt sighs. "So when I told them we definitely weren't a couple, they started asking me if you were seeing anyone." He laughs. "Told them I didn't know and they gave each other, 'God help us—our son is a fag,' looks."
"Nope," Trey says. "Just their son's friend."
Matt's silent for a moment, then asks, "Yeah?"
"Mhm. You're not gay. Your boyfriend is. Or bisexual, anyway, but I doubt your parents care about the distinction."
"Yeah," Matt says again, but it's softer now, like he's trying to think and Trey's distracting him.
Trey suddenly feels compelled to add, "And I'm not seeing anyone."
"I'll pass it along," Matt murmurs.
"Uh. Listen. I'll let you go. How's Thursday at one?"
"We said we'd meet for lunch on Thursday."
"Oh. Yeah. Fine. One's good."
"Okay. See you then," Trey says, and hangs up the phone before running his fingers through his hair and glancing at the clock. Maybe he can get a P.A. to bring him a burger or something before they have to head into the writer's meeting to start getting ready for tomorrow.
Okay. So it's not a huge surprise that Trey has showtuned his way out of the closet in the six years since Matt last saw him. Really, he expected it. No one loves Broadway as much as Trey does without at least being one of those straight guys who sometimes likes to suck cock.
But damn. It's still hard to wrap his head around.
He knows it shouldn't, but it makes him want to replay their friendship and re-evaluate it. Especially that night in the hot tub. Fuck, that night in the hot tub. Was Trey actually—no. Just because Trey's swinging in all directions now, it doesn't mean that he ever looked at Matt like that.
Which is good. Really. He wouldn't want Trey thinking of him like that. His girlfriend just dumped him and he doesn't need his former best friend trying to get into his pants while he gets over it. And he really doesn't need his parents being all self-righteous over being right. Which they're not.
So he can deal with it. Really.
What he can't deal with is the fact that his parents are breathing down his neck. They've been here for two days and already they're driving him crazy. Wednesday evening seems light years away and all he can think about is how great it will be to put them on a plane back to Colorado and get back to his life.
At least he can escape to the office. It's sad that work is his only haven from them, but whatever. He's too exhausted from dealing with them already to care.
He's shown them the touristy stuff, the resident stuff, and all the stuff in between that he thinks they'll be interested in, and they're still complaining about being bored.
It's New freaking York, for God's sake. How can they be bored? Maybe if they'd go exploring on their own, they'd have more fun.
He sighs and pulls up a game of solitaire on his computer and starts playing while he waits, already dreading the knock on his office door that will signal their arrival. Why does he have to go to lunch with them? Can't they go on their own? He'd much rather go with Trey. Or starve. Or have someone eat him alive. Any of the three would be better than lunch with his parents.
He's busy watching the cards bounce around his screen in victory when they arrive, already surveying his office critically.
"When was the last time someone dusted in here?" his mother asks.
"I don't know," he answers. "You'd have to talk to the cleaning staff."
"Why don't you have your diploma on the wall?" his father asks. "You should have it hanging there where clients can see."
"Dad, I work in the World Trade Center. Anyone who comes in here already knows I've had a good education or I wouldn't be working here."
"Will Trey be joining us today?" his mother asks.
"No. Of course not."
His father makes a doubtful noise in the back of his throat and mutters, "I'm sure he'll accidentally run into us, though."
Matt sighs. "So are you ready to go to lunch?"
"Aren't you going to give us a tour?"
"Mom, what do you want a tour of? This is my office. Clients come in, I talk to them, and then I sit around doing math all day. There's nothing to see."
He lets them look around his office for a few more minutes before dragging them to the elevator and reminding himself that he can't throw them out of his apartment, no matter how much he wants to.
He misses spending time with his friends. Okay, so it's only been two days, but his parents are like newborn babies, requiring all of his attention and effort.
He takes them to a sandwich shop that just opened up a few blocks from the office and settles them into their lunch before asking, "So, how do you like New York so far?" It's a conversation, if nothing else, and one that he hopes will be a safe topic.
"Too crowded," his dad grumbles.
"I don't like the smell," his mom adds.
"And I don't like your friends," his dad continues.
"You haven't met any of my friends."
"I've met Trey."
Matt resists the urge to remind them yet again that he hadn't seen Trey for six years until the day before they got here and instead says, "Yeah, but Trey's got nothing to do with New York. I knew him in Colorado, too."
His dad grunts instead of acknowledging Matt's point.
"There's an accounting firm close to home," his mom says. "Your father is friends with one of the partners. I'm sure he could talk to him and—"
"Mom, I've got a great job here."
She sighs. "Just come back to Colorado, Matt. It's better for you than this place. Half the time, I can't sleep at night, worrying that you might be mugged or murdered or something."
"It's not like Littleton's much safer," Matt mutters. "Or did you forget what happened last year?"
"Don't talk about that," his father says angrily. "And even still, it's better for you than New York."
Matt sighs. "Can't you just be glad that I'm happy and leave it at that?"
They don't answer, but they give him a look that clearly says no, actually, they can't, because they missed the chapter in the parenting book about how once someone becomes an adult, their parents are no longer entitled to try and run their lives.
"Anyway," he says, "I like living here."
He can read the "with Trey" on his father's face and he rubs at his temples in exasperation. Can't they just go home? They don't even need to be here now that Sharon isn't in the picture anymore.
He stays quiet while his parents bitch about New York some more, biting his lip to keep from telling them they can go ahead and leave if they don't like it. Finally, he stands and asks, "You know how to get back to the apartment, right? I need to get back to work."
They grumble, but reluctantly let him go, and when he gets back to the office, he spends a few minutes squeezing the stress ball that came in the gift bags at last year's "Non-Denominational Holiday Party."
It doesn't help, but then, he never believed in those stupid things anyway.
Trey refuses to let Gina gussy him up for his lunch with Matt—an argument made easier to win by the fact that they both have to be at work all Thursday morning. She reminds him to be safe and use less tongue when he kisses Matt, though, and when he asks her how she knows he uses too much tongue to begin with, she just sighs and says, "Most men do."
He doesn't think that's true—none of the men he's been with have, but it doesn't matter because whatever she thinks is going to happen isn't going to. Matt just got out of that serious relationship, so...even if he would be interested some day, he wouldn't be interested now.
Still. What if Matt's so upset about it that he needs comforting? And what if that comforting leads to Trey taking him home and making him a cup of tea? What if, in the course of giving Matt a friendly, soothing back rub, his hand slips and Matt takes it the wrong way? What if Matt kisses him and looks at Trey with those big, hazel eyes and asks Trey to touch him? What if—
Okay. He needs to stop. His mind is running away from him and that's never a good thing.
But what would he do? If Matt asked him for that, what would he do it? Could he?
Yeah, of course he could. Matt's gorgeous and even though they haven't seen each other in awhile, he still feels like Trey's best friend.
He probably shouldn't, though. Comfort sex rarely leads to anything good. Except orgasms. But after that, not much.
So he won't. That's decided. If Matt invites him to his place and it looks like sex is imminent, he'll leave. It's the right thing to do, really.
He refuses to check himself over in the mirror on the way out, but by the time he gets to the restaurant they agreed to meet at, he's frantically searching for a clean window front to try and catch his reflection in. Fuck. This is so not good. It's so very, very not good.
"Trey?" Matt says, tapping him on the shoulder as he brushes a strand of hair behind his ear. "What are you doing?"
Trey freezes. "Uh. Feels like there's something in my eye. I was looking."
"Well, you're not going to be able to see it in that," Matt says with a laugh. He spins Trey around to face him and says, "Here. Let me. Which eye was it?"
"R—right," Trey answers.
Matt looks him over, his breath warm against Trey's cheek as he looks. Finally he takes a step back and says, "I don't see anything. Come on, let's get a table."
Trey follows him into the restaurant and sighs when he sees how crowded it is. Lucky for him, the hostess is a fan of the show and she recognizes him instantly. Five minutes later, they're at table and Matt is shaking his head.
"What?" Trey asks. "I didn't ask her to do it, she just did."
"Guess if I was sort-of famous, I'd use it to my advantage, too."
Trey smiles. "So, uh, how's it feel to be free again?"
"You have no idea," Matt answers. "My apartment is so quiet. It's amazing."
Trey nods. "I'm glad."
"I should never have invited them. If I'd known Sharon and I weren't going to be together anymore by the time they got here—"
"Yeah, that's my ex's name."
"Dude, that's my mom's name."
"So, it's just weird."
Matt shrugs. "I guess. But if I'd known she was going to leave me, I wouldn't have invited them."
"What happened with her, anyway?" Trey asks. He stares down at the table and tries to look disinterested, but he gets the feeling that he just looks obvious.
"Oh," Matt says. "She, uh...she decided she'd rather fuck her secretary than me." He shrugs. "You know how it is."
Trey nods. "At least you haven't locked yourself up in your bedroom and refused to come out."
"Thought about it," Matt says. "Just...couldn't bring myself to do it after everything that I saw with you."
"Just...all that crying you did didn't do anything. And we spent how long reminding you that you were better off without her if she'd do that? So...I mean...I'm still bummed, but I'm not going to do what you did about it."
Trey nods. "Sucks, though."
"Yeah." Matt shrugs. "What about you? You seeing anyone?"
Trey shakes his head. "Not for awhile. I was with this guy, Jimmy, but he got offered a part in L.A. so he left."
"You were dating an actor?"
Trey laughs. "Yeah. He had like, a really tiny part in a show I saw and I bumped into him outside afterwards when we were both waiting for a taxi." He shrugs. "Anyway, after he left...I don't know. Had a few one-night stands and I let Jon set me up on a date with one of his wife's cousins, but she never called me back afterwards."
"Dating sucks," Matt murmurs.
"Sucks doubly hard for me," Trey murmurs. "I've got twice as many people around waiting to break my heart."
"Don't be over-dramatic," Matt tells him. "Could be a lot worse. You could be broke. Or an accountant."
"Yeah. I guess I do have you beat on the job department, huh?"
"Sorry. I never wanted to just...up and abandon you guys."
Matt shrugs. "Don't drag that back up."
"I just...never wanted you guys to feel like I was leaving you and—"
"Trey, just...drop it. It all worked out. We all turned out all right."
"Really. No one blames you, man. It was your film. You had every right to take Lloyd up on the offer."
"It wasn't just mine. We all worked on it."
"Trey, you got kicked out of school over it. No one worked harder than you. What were you going to do anyway? Wait tables at Pizza Hut for a year and then head out to L.A. and hope for the best?"
"Maybe. I don't know."
"Well...I'm glad you didn't. It all worked out. So...it's fine. Don't feel guilty about it, all right?"
"Okay," Trey mumbles. "I missed you, though."
"Yeah. I mean...all you guys."
Trey sighs. "Anyway. I'm just...really glad you're here."
"Yeah. I've missed hanging out with you."
Matt smiles. "Yeah. Me, too. Hey, you know what we should do tonight?"
Trey swallows around the lump in his throat. "You...you'd be into that?"
"What, just because I'm an accountant now, I don't know how to party? Yeah. We should go to a club and find some cute girls or something. Or you can find a cute boy. Whatever. But we should."
"Oh. Uh. I guess. I'm kinda busy tonight, though."
He's not, but...he really doesn't want to do that with Matt.
Matt shrugs. "Yeah, okay. Maybe another night. Work tomorrow, anyway, right?"
Trey nods. "Um...you know...sometimes on Friday nights, my friends come over to my place and we watch movies. You could come, if you wanted."
The second the words leave his mouth, his brain screams at him to take them back. If he invites Matt over, his friends are going to talk, especially Gina. And then what if everyone else leaves and they get left alone? Bad idea. Very bad idea and he should just take the offer off the table right now.
"Sure," Matt says. "Sounds cool."
Trey gives him a weak smile. "Great. Yeah. Okay."
He's so fucked.
The next night, he's passing out bowls of popcorn to his friends while Gina follows him around and whispers at him excitedly.
"I can't believe you invited him," she says happily. "I picked up something romantic, okay? So if you feel like going for it, don't mind us. We'll all look the other way. Well, I won't, because I need to know how Matilda responds to Tony's advances, but everyone else will."
"I'm not going to kiss him," Trey sighs. "We have been over this so many times, Gina. I'm sick of it. Nothing's going to happen."
"So you invited him over because...?"
"Because he's my friend and this is something I do with my friends."
"Right," she says disbelievingly, but takes the empty chair, leaving the couch for Trey and Matt.
It's another ten minutes before Matt gets there and they can start the movie, and only ten minutes after that before Trey decides he's not going to be able to get through this. They're sitting side-by-side even though there's room on the couch for the two of them to spread out, and Matt keeps reaching over into Trey's lap to grab handfuls of popcorn.
Every time he glances at Gina, she's smirking.
Shut up, he mouths at her. He hates it when she's right.
He passes Matt the bowl of popcorn and excuses himself to the kitchen, splashing watcher on his face and wiping it off with a dishtowel. This is so beyond bad.
"Oh, don't be such a drama queen."
He turns to find Gina standing a few feet away with her arms folded across her chest.
"I could do the gloating thing," she says, "but...you really look too fucked up for me to even bother."
"I can't believe this," he sighs.
"You really didn't know?"
He shakes his head. "I mean...I didn't even know I was into guys back then. It was always...'He's my best friend and I feel differently about him than my other friends,' but I just thought that was because we were close. I had no idea...and I mean..." He sighs. "I'm so fucked. And not in the fun way."
"Trey, nothing's happened yet. You don't know that. For all you know, you could give him a good night kiss tonight and he could carry off to your bedroom and make with the sweatiness."
"Gina...that's not going to happen. It's just not."
"You never know until you try."
"Yeah, and if I try now, then he'll freak out and think we can't even be friends."
"I told you not to be a drama queen."
"You really, really are. Just...go back out there. Be nice to him. Let him know that you're interested and see if he makes a move."
"You know I suck at that shit."
"Yes, but you also suck cock and you really want to suck his, so do it."
He sighs and grabs a bottle of Sprite out of the fridge before heading back out into the living room. Matt smiles at him when he sits back down on the couch and hands him the bowl of popcorn again, almost immediately reaching over to grab a handful.
He couldn't have done that when the bowl wasn't on Trey's crotch?
Maybe Trey just needs to get laid. Maybe it's just misplaced horniness from being mostly celibate for the last few months. Then again, it's probably not. What the fuck were they thinking? Talking about spending their lives together making movies. That's not hetero talk. It's just not. And why the hell is Gina always right?
He can do this, though. He can sit here and smile and not touch Matt any more than he has to, and at the end of the night, there won't be any attempt at a good night kiss. Really.
"I kind of want to Mystery Science Theater this thing," Matt whispers. It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't press his lips right against Trey's ear when he said it.
Trey swallows. "Yeah. It sucks."
Matt smiles. "If this is supposed to be romantic, they're doing a shit job of it. More like an unintentional comedy."
Trey nods. He can't think of anything to say. Since when doesn't he know what to say to Matt?
He glances at Gina, then very carefully moves his hand closer to Matt's leg. He doesn't touch right away; just leaves it there between them and waits. Nothing happens, so he shifts it closer, until the tips of his fingers are brushing against Matt's jeans.
He takes a deep breath, locks his eyes forward on the screen, and shifts until his hand is resting on Matt's knee, then refuses to let himself look to see how Matt reacts. He figures he'll know if Matt freaks, because he'll either be punched, or at the very least, Matt will shove his hand away.
But there's nothing.
He takes another steadying breath, then lets himself glance at Matt to gauge his reaction. But there's still fucking nothing. Matt's just sitting there watching the movie with bemusement on his face, and if he doesn't react soon, Trey might die.
He squeezes Matt's knee to make sure he knows Trey is touching him, and finally, Matt's eyes leave the screen to focus on him.
He doesn't look angry, which is good, but he doesn't look exactly happy, either. He just looks...confused.
"What's up?" he asks quietly.
"Uh. I...was, um." He moves his hand back into his own lap and shrugs. "Never mind," he mumbles.
Trey shakes his head. Fine. They can just be friends. He can do that. He and Matt work good as friends.
Matt touches his shoulder softly. "Hey," he says. "What's wrong?"
Trey refuses to let himself look at Matt. "Nothing."
Matt's hand slips off his shoulder and trails down to his elbow, and Trey can't help but stare at it as Matt sets his hand on top of Trey's forearm and gives it a quick squeeze.
"Doesn't look like nothing," Matt tells him.
If it were any other guy in the world, Trey would take it as a flashing neon sign that it was okay to kiss him. But Matt? The day he'd caught Liane cheating, he'd gotten so drunk he could barely stand, and broken down crying. Most of his friends tried to comfort him, but it was Matt who actually fucking held him for more than an hour and let Trey cry it out until he got sick and threw up. And Matt was the one who had put him to bed and stayed with him the entire night to make sure he was okay.
So this? Nothing. Not when it comes from Matt.
"I'm fine," he lies.
"Trey..." Matt says, but stops.
Trey looks away from Matt's eyes and realizes that most of his friends are watching them. Fuck.
"I'm fine," he says again, and pries Matt's hand off his arm.
If it bothers Matt, he doesn't say it, but Trey gets a sinking feeling in his stomach that he's screwed this up. He shouldn't have listened to Gina. His instincts told him not to make a move, but what did he do? He listened to her. She probably only wanted him to do it so she'd get more material for her story about Tony and Matilda.
When the movie finishes, he busies himself cleaning up the dirty dishes to distract himself from the fact that Matt's eyes are following him wherever he goes. Why won't he look away? What's he want to look at Trey for, anyway? Clearly he's not interested.
When he heads into the kitchen, Gina follows him and smacks him on the forehead.
"What is wrong with you?" she asks. "What stupid bug bit you on the ass?"
"He was hitting on you," she says slowly, like she's talking to a child. "Or am I the only one who missed the big gay arm grab?"
"It wasn't like that. He was worried about me."
"Worried about how to get into your pants," she retorts. "Honestly, Trey. That was a come on, okay? So...when the rest of us leave, try to give him a hug goodbye. See if he moves into it like a kiss. I guarantee you he will."
"He will," she insists. "So once you're sure, kiss him. Let things happen from there."
"Trey, I am tired of arguing about this with you. You want him. He wants you. Go back out there and get him. You deserve this."
"He just got out of a relationship."
"Then you can kiss his boo-boos and make him feel better. Now go."
"Gina—" he starts again, but she's not having any of it and pulls him back out into the living room.
"Okay," she says loudly. "Trey's not feeling well, so I think we should all go. Come on."
She loops her arm through her roommate, Katie's, and leads her to the door.
"Come on, Mark. Brandon, take your empty bottle to the trash and then come on. Carl, get a move on. And Paul, I know the movie was boring, but wake up and move out."
It's kind of insane to watch her work, moving everyone out of the apartment except for him and Matt, and he feels numb as she gives him a wink and shuts the door behind her.
"Uh," Matt says. "What just happened?"
Trey grimaces. "Nothing. She's just...Gina."
Matt smiles. "If I didn't know any better, I'd think she wanted us to be left alone."
"But you do, so...let me get your jacket."
"Oh. Uh, I was thinking maybe I could stay."
Trey stares at him in disbelief. "Why?"
"To...talk," Matt says. "About what happened earlier. With your hand."
Trey can feel his heart speed up as he stammers out an, "Oh. Wh—what about it?"
"Well," Matt says thoughtfully, "I got the feeling that you weren't just...it felt like you were trying to tell me something."
"Trey, were you...um. Were you hitting on me?"
"What?" Trey asks as nervous laughter bubbles up out of his throat. "No. Of course—"
Matt steps closer to him and Trey instinctively takes a step back.
"We're friends," Trey says. "So...um. Good night. Have a safe trip home. And um—"
Matt moves into his personal space and somehow his hands end up on Trey's hips. He's not sure how, though, because pretty much the moment his eyes met Matt's, he stopped being able to think about anything else.
"It's okay if you were," Matt says softly. "I don't mind."
"Mind. Right. You're touching me." Trey has no idea what the fuck he's saying anymore, but Matt smiles.
Okay. This one he can't write off.
"Matt...do you even know what you're doing? No one slipped you anything?"
Matt laughs. "No. I'm straight."
Trey tries to pull away, but Matt holds him still.
"I mean straight like not high."
"But you are, though. Straight."
"Does this feel like straight to you?" Matt asks.
He moves so Trey's thigh is pressed against his groin, letting Trey feel how hard he is.
"Fuck," Trey breathes. "Matt...we should talk about this first."
Matt shakes his head. "We should talk later. Right now we should keep doing this."
"What are we doing?"
"I keep hoping you'll kiss me," Matt says. "Don't you want to?"
"Yeah," Trey answers. "Of course I do."
"Then do it, Trey. I'm asking you to."
Trey watches Matt for any sign that he's joking, but he's just not. He's dead fucking serious about this and Trey feels sick at his stomach.
"Matt...I don't understand. You..."
"Later," Matt says again. "Can't we talk about it later?"
"I don't think we should do this without talking about it," Trey says. "Not...not me and you."
"Does there have to be a why?" Matt asks. "I just...sitting there with you tonight...when you touched me...I wanted you. I want you now."
"That doesn't make any sense," he says, and slips out of Matt's arms.
"Look, if I get what you told me, you didn't even know you were into guys until Jimmy, right?"
"I didn't know," Trey says slowly. "But like, looking back now...I can see it."
"Well...maybe you're my Jimmy. Maybe what happened to you then is happening to me now."
"Or, you're still upset about your girlfriend leaving you and—"
Matt shakes his head. "Trey...until you just said that, I hadn't even thought about her once all night. I'm too busy thinking of you."
"Trey, if you really don't want to do this, then I'll go. But if you're holding back because you think I don't really want it...then I'm calling bullshit."
Trey's so tired of arguing over whether or not he wants or can have Matt that he doesn't even bother fighting it this time. He just closes his eyes and presses his lips to Matt's, waiting to see how Matt responds.
Part of him is still expecting Matt to throw him off, but he's definitely not ready for Matt's fingers running through his hair and pulling him closer. He's not ready for it to be a good kiss, either, but it is.
"Trey, please. Don't...don't stop. Show me."
"Show you what?"
"Show me how to...do this. With you."
Trey tries not to gulp. "W—what is this? What are we doing?"
"I believe the word for it is 'kissing.'"
"Yeah. But you know how to do that already. What am I supposed to be showing you?"
Matt grins at him. "What do you think?"
"Not tonight. Not...I'm not doing a one-night stand with you."
"Who said anything about a one-night stand?"
"Let's just...take it slow. If it's real, then...it'll still be real in a week or two."
"Trey, it is real. What, do you think I'm just trying to use you for sex?"
"I don't know," Trey says. "But jumping headfirst into sex never leads to anything good."
"So what do you want to do?"
"Wait," Trey says. "Maybe...I don't know. Kissing is good. But...Matt, come on. You know me. I can't just...hook up with you."
"Yeah," Matt answers. "I know."
"So...I don't know. Let's wait a week or two. Get to know each other again."
"Are you asking me out on a date?"
"Lots of them," Trey says seriously. "You saying yes?"
"Of course I am."
Trey kisses him again. He could do this for hours, he thinks, though that probably wouldn't end well.
"You should go home," he says instead. "I'm not kicking you out if you want to stay, but if you do..."
"You'll jump me?"
Matt grins. "I'll leave, then. Wouldn't want that, obviously."
Trey nods and walks him to the door, and gives him another kiss goodbye. He can't help but think that it might be the last time he gets to. There's a sinking feeling in his gut that tomorrow morning, Matt will realize this was a mistake, and he knows it will be hard to deal if he does. But if they'd slept together, it would be worse.
"Good night," he says, and locks the door behind Matt, leaning on it heavily. Fuck. He can't believe he just did that.