Nathan let himself into Alan’s house. It was big and spacious, and still had that not-quite-lived-in feel to it. There weren’t unpacked boxes all around, but Alan had lived in apartments for most of his adult life, and all his belongings didn’t yet begin to fill up his new Los Angeles home. “Al?” he called, slipping his shoes off in the foyer.
“Nate? Is that you?”
Nathan grinned at the reply, starting toward it. Alan’s house was very neatly decorated. His furniture was very streamlined black wrought iron, and contrasting colorful deco art adorned the freshly painted beige walls. Nathan padded across recently laid oak wood floors until he came to the stairwell.
He started up, one hand on the banister, the other holding a large paper sack. “Where are you?” he called again.
There was a lengthy pause. “In my room, dumbass. Where else would I be?”
Nathan laughed, finishing his ascent. He moved down the hall, pushing open Alan’s bedroom door. Alan was laid up in bed with his right leg propped up on a pillow. He looked extremely good for a man who had twisted his ankle on set that morning, but that probably owed to the fact that he’d been in complete movie-style hair and make-up when the accident occurred, and hadn’t yet washed clean of it. “Special delivery,” Nathan cheerfully called, jiggling the bag at Alan.
Sitting up, Alan let his mouth curve into a grin. His hand muted the television, and he directed his attention on Nathan. “I’m hoping there’s a bottle of Jack Daniels in there.”
Nathan bent to give Alan a quick kiss, before sitting on the bed beside him. He followed up with a disappointed look. “You know you’re not supposed to drink when you’re on pain meds.” He smiled charmingly at Alan’s dour expression, and then put a hand on Alan’s thigh. “How’s the foot?”
Alan wriggled it, just a bit. “Doesn’t hurt so much now that I’m doped up half way to hell.” He shook his head. “I’m an idiot, though. I should have waited until it stopped moving before jumping off.”
Nathan patted his thigh lovingly. “We all make idiot mistakes, sometimes,” he reassured him. His grin turned devious. “You just more so than most.”
Alan smacked at him, although not hard. “So, what’s in the bag if not booze? Smells like Enrique.”
Nathan arched an eyebrow. “Enrique?”
It was Alan’s turn to smile. “Yeah. He’s my new gardener. He comes every Thursday to cut the grass and water the plants.”
“Wow, you’re sure living high on the hog now,” Nathan observed. Then his brow furrowed. “And Enrique smells like tacos?” He pulled the foil-wrapped food items out of his bag as he spoke, laying them in a neat little pile beside Alan.
“Well, Mexican food, anyway,” Alan agreed. “He reeks of it, in fact. It’s not exactly like I was hiring gardeners based on their smell.”
“Well, that’s real PC,” he commented. Nathan then scrutinized Alan for a period of time, looking for deception in his eyes. Before he could find any though, Alan punched him. “Ow! What was that for?”
Alan shook his head. “You’re getting jealous of my gardener. Stop it.” He shifted on the bed, picking up a taco and unwrapped it.
“I was not,” Nathan protested. “But you go and tell me what some strange guy smells like, what am I supposed to think.”
“What does Ron smell like?” Alan asked, pointblank.
Nathan blinked. “Ron? Ron Glass?”
Alan rolled his eyes. “Yes. Ron Glass.”
Nathan shook his head, confused. “. . . cigarettes?”
“Right. He tends to reek of them, in fact. When he’s not careful. You think: Ron Glass, smoker! Well, that’s Enrique. He smells like tacos. Or beans. You know, Mexican food. It’s not pleasant. And when he’s done working here, he smells like Mexican food, sweat, and grass clippings.” He took a bite out of his taco, but kept his eyes fixed on Nathan.
Nathan mulled over this for a few moments. Then his eyes narrowed slightly, and he hesitatingly asked. “Well, what do I smell like?”
Alan paused halfway through taking the second bite of his taco. The expression he gave Nathan was halfway amused, halfway disbelieving. He lowered his food, and broke into a grin. “Nathan, we all know you smell like turnips.”
Alan didn’t get a chance to take the comment back, as Nathan grabbed a spare pillow and, laughing, started beating Alan with it.