Through the Haze

What is it that Noel and Julian feel for each other? They can’t quite figure that out, or what they should do about it. These two have a long way to go together.


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Chapter One

Chapter One

It was a late afternoon and the open flat was filled with a hazy, pink-orange light. The kitchen counter they sat at, as always, was cluttered. It was dead silent; their chatter had died out what seemed like hours ago. Noel sat sketching random drawings in one of his notebooks while Julian was reading over some notes he’d made, his feet propped up on a spare stool. He brought his mug up to his lips to take a sip, only to find that it was empty. He sighed and stood up, carrying it around the counter to pour himself more tea.

When he returned, picking his notes back up to continue, Noel looked up for the first time in an hour, his face scrunched up in concentration. “Julian?”

“Mm?” Julian sat his mug back down, keeping his eyes focused on the paper in front of him.

“I should move in, yeah?” Noel’s tone was innocent. It had obviously been a question, but had sounded so matter-of-fact that Julian was a bit thrown. He jerked his head up, his face now contorted. “Move in??”

“Yeah! Why not?” Noel’s face flashed from concentration to excitement in the blink of an eye, as if he’d just now realized how brilliant he thought his own idea was.

“But I’ve only got the one bed.” Julian gestured, confused, towards the area that was meant to be the bedroom, hidden behind a large divider.

“Ah, it’s no problem! The couch ain’t too bad, I’ve slept on it loads of times this month as it is. What would be the difference really?” Noel had that keyed up expression spread across his face. That one with the wide grin that made him seem like a child who had just discovered a load of sweets.

After a few moments of thought, Julian asked, “do you really want to move in here? It would be really boring compared to your place.” He couldn’t think of much else to say. He didn’t have much objection to the idea of Noel moving in. The flat was large, with high ceilings and a completely open style floor plan. It intimidated Julian a bit, how quiet it could get with its plain white walls and dark wood floors. It was better when Noel was there. He made the place feel different; alive. It made this time of day, with the sunset casting shadows in, seem peaceful. The quiet was soothing just now, rather than a bout of pressure against his eardrums.

“Nah,” Noel smiled sweetly, “it’d be great. I like it here.” He smiled up at the tall windows on the opposite wall, his big round eyes reflecting back the mix of colors the fading sun was sending through.

Julian will always remember the first night quite vividly.

He and Noel had spent the day lugging things between flats, preferring to get it all over with. It had been just passed dusk when they’d finally dropped the last box beneath the windows. They slumped against Noel’s trunk that now sat in the middle of the living area, serving as a coffee table. Julian reached behind him, breaking into a case of beers and handing one to Noel. They sat facing the windows, watching as the last light disappeared.

The flat slowly became pitched black, save for a few street lights glowing through the dark night. The two sat in utter silence as they worked their way through the case, drinking and staring into nothingness. Perfectly content with the world and each other’s company.

Once Julian felt his mind begin to blur, he decided to head to bed. He set a near empty bottle on the floor beside him and stood, pushing off the trunk for support. He looked down at Noel, realizing he’d fallen asleep. He wondered how long they’d been sitting there for. He reached down and gently shook his shoulder. “Hmm?” Noel’s eyes fluttered open and Julian could tell that he was much closer to drunk, with sleepiness to boot. He helped him to his feet and led him to the couch a few feet away, lying him down against the small pile of pillows he’d left there earlier. Julian reached over Noel to grab a folded blanket off the back of the couch.

“Ju,” Noel mumbled, his eyes unwilling to open again. Julian unfolded the blanket and began to lay it over him, not answering. “Ju?” A moment passed and Julian stood there waiting for more words to follow. Noel finally managed to open his eyes again, “I’m glad I met you, Ju.”

“You mean stalked me?” Julian smirked, not bothering to keep his face straight in the dark. But Noel’s eyes were already sliding shut again. Julian gave a smile and walked around the couch, slipping behind the divider.

There was nothing that stood out about it really. But Julian could always recall a faint click that night. He was sure it had been his life falling into place.