Omega - Part 2
It was a good two hours later that Jak and Giavonne left the gym to the showers. Both walked slightly bowlegged, dreading the morning to come from their vigorous competition. Giavonne glistened with sweat, matching the now-shirtless Jak who, even slouched, towered over the Frenchman.
“You’re a tough competitor,” Jak acknowledged, bumping shoulders.
“Who say size matters?” Both missed a step before erupting into low, bass laughter.
The shower room was empty and echoed loudly as the steel door shut behind the men. Jak tossed a towel to Giavonne and wrapped his own around his shoulders. He turned and dropped his basketball shorts, compulsively flattening his boxers. He flipped on the hot water and ruffled his hair once more, glancing over his shoulder at the now suddenly naked Frenchman who was just stepping into his own shower. Warmth flared suddenly in his face as he stepped out of his own boxers and into the crystalline water, cringing away from the hot spray at first. Gradually the heat began to melt and loosen the lactic acid that was slicing at his arm and leg muscles.
He stepped out of the shower, wrapped the fluffy, white towel around his waist, and looked up – only to be nearly floored. Giavonne had his towel wrapped around his head like a turban, but other than that, he was stark naked. He couldn’t have looked more at ease. Once more, Jak flushed.
“I’m a guy, not a piece of meat, Jak.”
THUMP! Jak’s vision was suddenly obscured by a sodden mass of towel. Giavonne had thrown it at him. Had he been staring? Shit.
Apologetically, he shrugged the towel off and jogged back to his bag to pull out his extra jeans and a simple blue t-shirt. He dressed quickly, pulling his bag back over his shoulders and letting the strap settle between his collar bones. Giavonne strolled over, wearing a well-fitting black button-up, black pants, and a small sack slung over his right shoulder.
“Where you off to?” The Frenchman dropped onto a bench in front of a mirror, feathering his hand through his hair, artistically flaring his blonde and black together.
“Probably just home. I’ve got a lecture to download and th–“
Giavonne’s eyebrow arched harshly above the other, giving him an odd, perpetually angry look, “Well, that’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever heard. I’m going back to my place to unpack and settle in,” he paused, “You’re welcome to swing by and... Study there if you want. I’m only a few minutes’ walk away; across from the theatre.”
Jak’s eyes grew wide and he tore his attention from carefully styling his fauxhawk, and directed on Giavonne’s serene face. “What? I live across from the theater. Twenty-seventh floor.”
“No... I just moved in to the last condo on that same floor!”
“So you’re the asshole that blasts the music, huh?”
Red flooded his cheeks like an oriental painting, “Err, sorry about that...”
“Thin walls. You’d be shocked at the things I hear around here.”
“Oh yeah? Come on then, start talkin’. If I’m going to live there, I need to know everything I’m up against.”
As Jak happily began on a long-winded recollection of the events that often unfolded throughout the complex, including his earlier elevator escapade, the two gathered their things and waved goodbye to Marty, who grinned like an idiot, before walking out into the now bustling city streets. The pair drew many sideways glances and double-takes – due to Giavonne’s interesting style, and Jak’s sheer size. With each new animated story, Giavonne listened quietly, erupting in musical laughter at a few stories.
It had been far too long since there’d be any sort of cavorting with anybody other than a robotic, monotone lecture hall professor. His life was school and work. Giavonne lightened his mood and returned him back to his casually Carolinian drawl – his most comfortable state.
The pair pushed into the revolving door of the complex, Pauli enthusiastically greeting them with rapid Spanish, glad to be out of the crowded streets and condescending stares. They reclined against the receptionist’s desk and idly chatted with her while the elevator lowered itself down to the first floor to retrieve them.
As they stepped into the elevator, both moved to press the twenty-seventh button and their hands brushed. The touch lingered for only a second longer, and then both jerked away, retreating to a corner of the elevator. Giavonne’s brow had furrowed only slightly before his face returned to its normal contemplating visage.
The luchador reclined lazily against the elevator railing, tracing idly along the circular buttons on the panel. Somewhere in Jak’s chest was a type of tension that hadn’t previously been there. It wasn’t claustrophobia; he’d never had a problem with enclosed spaces. The elevator unexpectedly became tight and cramped – too hot. He shifted from foot to foot uncomfortably as the elevator climbed, tapping his foot. When the doors opened onto the twenty-seventh landing, he motioned for Giavonne to step out first. The green eyes were gazing at him quizzically now – not pompously in the least, though. Just... Concerned?
When he spoke, his voice was soft, the French warming it, “You ok, Jak? Are you claustrophobic?” He was close now, extending a hand.
Jak’s eyes never left the movement. Giavonne’s fingers first skimmed his shoulder, followed by his warm palm. Giavonne smiled, small lines wrinkling the skin around his mouth.
“Er… No,” he coughed quickly, “Just not used to having another big guy in the elevator with me.”
As Giavonne had opened his mouth to reply, the elevator doors clanged open. Seizing the opportunity, Jak waved his hand over the door sensor and motioned for the latter to proceed. The offer was accepted in silence.
Though Jak’s legs were exponentially longer than the others, he had to lengthen his stride to remain equally paced. It was rather humorous.
Giavonne rounded the corner and stopped in front of a solid door, exactly opposite his own room. For a moment Jak shifted from leg to leg until Giavonne had found the correct key. They stepped inside, Jak ducking under the ornate wall décor and stopping dead; which of course resulted in a collision and muttered curse from behind.
Light poured in from the bay windows across the virtually empty condo. The place strongly resembled a childhood fort he’d once made, however- boxes labeled and stacked along various locations; some still sealed and some torn open with their items strewn onto the hardwood flooring.
“Been how long?”
“About a week. Maybe two?”
“I see. It’s funny. I live literally across the hall.”
Giavonne chuckled and pulled a box of cigarettes off of a nightstand placed oddly in the center of the room. “You mind?” When Jak shook his head, he lit the cigarette and took a drag, dropping onto the floor and leaning back. “Good to know we’re close.” Jak had followed suit and sat down, stretching his legs and twisting to crack his back. “You want one?” He held the box in invitation.
“Oh, no thanks. I’m more of a drinker as it may be.”
“Perfect!” Giavonne stood and walked through the archway connecting to the kitchen. Jak arched an eyebrow scrupulously. When he returned, he held two glasses in one hand and a large bottle of Amaretto in the other. “Care for a drink?”
Rumble of tremulous laughter shook from the Phantom’s chest as he nodded and accepted the drink. “Cheers mate.” The tumbler was empty in two swigs, the head igniting deep in his veins and warming his stomach.
As night fell on the city, cloaking it in a tranquil blanket, all grew still. The grave shift of the Omni-busy city swung into gear, while those who called Dawn a friend collapsed into their beds. Of course, this blanket fell over all but the depths of Manhattan – specifically the Oil Spill.
The southern Gent and the leisurely Frenchman had managed, in drunken stupors, to breech the doors, ending up twined together on the sweaty dance floor. A bar by day; but a raging socialite hotspot at night. Neon lights flared and flashed, dub stepped popular songs combined with techno loud enough to shatter eardrums and replace heartbeats. Both men were shirtless, as were a majority of the other men. Giavonne, an apparent leader, led Jak with fluid dips and swirls of his hips – though Jak’s hand never left his waist. The two beamed, only slightly flushed from the heat. Just as the two, the night was young. The night swirled around them, a blur of neon lights, glistening amber drinks, unsullied shot glasses, and flashing street lamps viewed from a friendly yellow cab.