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 Home Sweet Hell - 11 Soho Square [Jonah, Harry]

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Cecil Sharpe

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PostSubject: Home Sweet Hell - 11 Soho Square [Jonah, Harry]   Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:05 am




...Are we nearly there yet?

Fuck.
Where's that stewardess with my gin?

For most of the number of flights it had taken to get back to England from the-middle-of-fucking-nowhere, Pacific Ocean, Cecil had fidgeted impatiently. He just wanted it to be over. He wanted to be home, eating a sausage roll while standing in the rain and inhaling the fumes of passing buses and diesel motor taxis. The planes could not possibly go fast enough, and it seemed like an eternity before they would get there, right up until he was scuttling out of the Heathrow arrivals terminal in haste, to light a cigarette before he took to strangling someone. Someone named Harold Masterson, mostly. It was an ungodly hour, and Cecil wasn't certain what day it was any more. The time zones always messed with his head, but the coast of Oregon made it even worse. But what he did know was that this air was familiar. Even the sounds and sites of the traffic, the accents around them, the smells, the cool dampness of the air. This was different from the US in ways only a native might be able to describe. And he didn't realise quite how home sick he was until he was standing outside, head leaned back against a pillar, sighing with relief at just being home and his first cigarette in too many hours.

Cecil's reasons for remaining with the Hadley staff during their relocation had been many, and complex. But his reasons for coming home were far weightier. He stole those precious few seconds ahead of Harry and Jonah to just quietly soak the familiarity back into his skin. It was far from quiet, but this was a brief oasis of calm in what would surely prove to be a turbulent week, month, or possibly year. Maybe decade. Would there ever be quiet again? he couldn't say, but God knew his past had never much had the quality. He wasn't expecting much in the way of a reprieve, especially not with three people in the flat once again. And hadn't that been a fucking headache to discuss with Harry. He earnestly hoped that it would be worth the struggle, and in a way that he wouldn't voice aloud for anyone's sake, he hoped that that feeling of 'something missing' would disappear now too. It was stupid to think that it would, but then Cecil hoped for a lot of things that never materialised. Where was Milton? Would he find him, back here, in the labyrinthine sprawl of his home city? His gut instinct said no, while the rest of him joined the happy, oblivious hippie trail of hope. Because he had to hope, otherwise he really would fall into the bottle of gin and never climb back out again.

Taxis, at Heathrow of an early morning, were very easy to come by, and Cecil didn't say much to Harry on the bleary-eyed trip through the city, towards Soho. He demanded a brief and abrupt stop at the first Cornish Pasty stand that he saw, and purchased a round of hot sausage rolls for the other occupants of the cab, and then they were on their way again. He pointed out the pertinent waypoints to their American companion from time to time, though his gestures were not really towards any of the usual tourist traps. Clubs and pubs, cafes, favourite Kebab joints and Curry houses that stayed open past club closing. And now, finally, there was a sort of lively vitality in Cecil that hadn't been present on the island. Though he was exhausted, and his movements sluggish, there was an enthusiastic shine about him. A Man returned to his natural, familiar surroundings. Cecil Sharpe, of Soho. Not Dr. Sharpe, of Tulane, or Hadley, or anywhere that had come after. This was his hunting ground. This was the hunting ground he'd shared with Harry for ten years. This was their domain, and he could almost feel strength returning to his weary fibres, as if he might absorb it from the very air around them.

When the taxi finally pulled into the cramped little square to the northern end of Soho, Cecil paid the driver hastily, and bounded from the rear cabin with impatience. His steamer trunk would be brought to the house later, by Heathrow porters, since he hadn't wanted to deal with hauling it into the taxi and across the city. He only had his overnight bag with him, and slung across a skinny shoulder. But that was all he needed, if that. He was home finally. Home. No more hotel-like existence, and houses filled with personal affects that never felt personal enough. He might almost have kissed the pavement had it not been predictably filthy and if the action wouldn't have just made Harry smug with self satisfaction. He'd been doing his best to ignore the blond for much of the trip, on the off chance that he'd catch a glimpse of that annoying facial expression and wind up pissed off again. But now, here they were, and Cecil was fishing his keys from his pocket to let them in the door of the little flat. Access was gained through a narrow front door on the ground level, and down a rickety hallway to the back of the house, where the stairwell resided. Otherwise, it was easier to just come in from the street to the north and take the alley to the back and go up. Either way, it wasn't much of a trip, and it took Cecil little time to slip the key in the lock, on the second floor, and shove the door in. Will not cheer. Won't make a sound... Oh godddd, Home!

A flick of a bony hand sent Cecil's keys clattering onto the perfectly placed sideboard with ease. Just where it was supposed to be. Just where they were supposed to go. His overnight bag was dropped nearby, and the lanky, dark-haired doctor finally emerged upon a living room that was not much changed from over six years ago. He hadn't stepped foot in here for that long. Only The Chair seemed to be missing, for now, but everything else looked almost untouched. And a flood of memory and nostalgia washed up over him and made him pause in the threshold. Cecil... Don't go. Please... Take me with you... Bespectacled and weary beyond even his own realising, his shoulder slumped against the corner of the wall, and he raked a spidery hand back through his mop of unkempt hair. Over six years... How much blood had been spilled on that Persian rug? How many ugly words had bounced from the neutral tones of the walls? How many cries? How many screams? How many days had passed, and how many dark, and treacherous nights had fallen within that place? It was at once settling, because he felt for the first time in over six years like he truly belonged somewhere. But it was disheartening too, and worrying. What if we just wind up doing it over again? Where did Milton go?-

...Is that nail polish on the coffee table..?

"Oh, you SO did not let Angela use our flat!" Snapped out of bitter-sweet revelry, Cecil's face whipped around to peer at Harry before he turned back and paced to the coffee table. A splash of garish, hot pink nail lacquer stood out against the dark, sturdy wood surface, and Cecil's brow knit into a scowl. he bent at the waist to try and chip it off with a fingernail, but it didn't budge. "Ugh, that harpie! This table cost a fucking fortune!" Not to mention, that particular table had history. And a lot of it. Most memories were bad, or violent, but some were good. The lines between them tended to blur some, in Cecil and Harry's universe. Would the same be true for Jonahs memories of this place, of them. Only time would tell. Theirs was a dangerous dance to join in on. Cecil only hoped that Jonah had some fancy footwork to fall back on when the pace got too hectic.




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Jonah Ritter

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PostSubject: Re: Home Sweet Hell - 11 Soho Square [Jonah, Harry]   Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:27 pm

Jonah didn't know if he'd made the right decision by agreeing to go to London with Cecil and Harry. How foolish was he, to move halfway across the world with two men he barely knew? It was either madness or brilliance, he couldn't tell which. Sometimes it struck him as both. In the end, he supposed he hadn't been able to say no to the temptation of a big city with a sprawling club district. It was more than that that influenced his decision, but that was the nail that sealed the coffin shut, in a manner of speaking. Green Ridge didn't have clubs. Sure, it was as quaint and picturesque as any coastal tourist town, but Jonah knew he'd regret it if he stayed, if he didn't go with his puzzling new companions. They really were unlike anyone he'd known before, and it wasn't their sexual preferences that made him think that way. Jonah had known sadists, masochists. That wasn't what set Cecil and Harry apart. There was some sort of raw, seething hatred between them, but there was an intense, undeniable need there as well. He'd never seen the likes of it. Jonah got the impression that Cecil couldn't leave Harry, no matter how much he appeared to hate him, and that the reasons for that were complicated. It was a long story and he wasn't sure he wanted to hear it yet, but he had a feeling he would need to sooner or later.

The nurse did feel some slight guilt at leaving Green Ridge so soon and without preamble, and he worried that he hadn't made the right choice, wondered if going to London wasn't simply a way of running away from his problems. It wasn't as if he had many of them, but he felt as if he were trying to flee from his father's ghost, from the memory of his death and how he hadn't been there to say goodbye. Unexpected life changes made people do drastic things, and the decision to pack up and move for the third time in less than a year was pretty drastic, all things considered. Then again, didn't he owe it to himself to see where this opportunity took him? Jonah wasn't one to sit idle for too long, and he feared Green Ridge would have made him stagnant sooner or later. Even with the ferry going back and forth between the mainland, it wasn't as if Oregon was a hotbed of activity. Phoenicia hadn't been either, but at least New York City had only been a few hours away for a weekend getaway. In London, he could be himself again. He could live without boundaries, without borders. He could wear what he liked when he wanted to wear it, he could stay out all hours of the night if he wished, and he wouldn't have to do it alone.

That was another major variable that factored into his decision to go with them. He didn't have to be alone, didn't have to live alone. Living with Cecil and Harry was bound to have its challenges, but sometimes chaos was more welcome than silence. There really was nothing Jonah despised more than being left to his own devices. He wasn't a dependent person, not really. He wasn't the sort of person to find someone to cling to and never leave their side, but he was the sort to seek out social stimulation over solitude. It was better to be with other people, even if their relationship was volatile and confusing and a little frightening. Jonah was still struggling to relax in the presence of both men together, but he wouldn't let them see just how conflicted he was, how unsure. He felt a bit like the third wheel, all told, but he was obviously wanted there, so he couldn't feel too sorry for himself. Maybe he was the stabilizing influence they needed. Maybe he could bring something to their dynamic that they'd previously been missing. He was the unlikely point between two extremes. He was needed somehow, and he liked that idea far more than he let on.

Jonah had never been overseas before. Vacations with his parents had always been modest, and never too far from home: Maine, Boston, Vermont, Canada. Once they'd gone to Florida, but Jonah had been young, and he barely remembered Disney World. He was going to be a London man now, and something about it felt right, even if his nerves were still on edge as they landed at Heathrow and got into a cab headed for the center of Soho. Exhausted and excited, Jonah leaned over Cecil in the cab, placing his fingertips against the window as if he could reach out and touch the buildings he was pointing out, like a child seeing the big city for the first time. Delighted laughter, his lips so close to the glass, made the window fog up in front of his mouth, watering for the sights and smells of his new home. He was going to like it here, of that much he was absolutely certain. At length, he leaned back against the seat to finish the rest of his sausage roll, murmuring appreciatively around the flaky pastry. His jangling nerves were beginning to settle a little, but the nervous lump in the pit of his stomach hadn't receded entirely. He was a stranger in this place, and as excited as he was for his new life, he didn't want to do anything to screw it up.

When the cab finally stopped, Jonah was glad to get out and stretch his legs, breathing deep of the hazy, early morning air. The bulk of his luggage would also be arriving later; he only had a carry-on to grab from the trunk, and he hooked it over his shoulder before raising both arms above his head and arching backwards until his back cracked. "Fuck, that feels good," he murmured, mostly to himself. The plane ride had been long, and sleepless, and Jonah didn't know exactly where he'd be sleeping yet but it didn't really matter, just so long as he had a place to lay his head. Stifling a yawn behind his hand, Jonah shuffled along behind Cecil and checked to make sure Harry was still with them as they crowded into the narrow hallway that led to a back stairwell. He fumbled his way up to the landing, ricocheting between the walls as his bag shoulder-checked him, carelessly throwing him from side to side. His bones and muscles felt like jelly, but his brain was pinging around the inside of his skull like a pinball loosed from its spring. The feeling wasn't unfamiliar to Jonah, who was a nocturnal city boy at heart, but it gave the moment a detached, surreal sort of quality that made him question whether he wasn't already dreaming. Perhaps he'd been dreaming all along and would wake up in his Green Ridge townhouse soon. Anything but that. He'd made his decision; he didn't want to go back.

Luckily, his surroundings didn't shimmer and dissolve; they only became more solid as Cecil threw his keys at the expected sideboard. He didn't miss this time, hitting the mark instead. Dorothy, we aren't in the beach house anymore. "Now I see where that habit comes from," he murmured, laughing lowly. He had just dropped his bag and was pacing into the living room to scope it out when Cecil's outraged voice made him pause and look over his shoulder, gaze flicking between the dark-haired doctor and Harry. Who was Angela? And why did she wear hot pink nail polish? "Ugh! That color is ghastly!" He heard himself say, looking to the offending stain. "I'm sure we can find something to get rid of it. Today's cleaning products are amazing." Jonah kept his voice casual, but he was really hoping a fight wasn't about to break out, hoped that Harry was too weary to rise to Cecil's provocation. "So where am I sleeping?" He went on, hoping to distract them both from Cecil's obvious displeasure. "I don't think I can manage to stay on my feet for much longer." Right on cue, another lazy yawn crawled up his throat, and Jonah smiled blearily as he dropped into the nearest seat.
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