Reflection of the Soul (pt7)
Vyn decided to stop by the antique shop since he was going to be out and about on such a wonderful Saturday. Well, as wonderful as rain could get. He peeked inside, not seeing Luke at his usual spot at the counter. Was he out for lunch? The door was unlocked so that couldn't be it. He entered the shop, the familiar must smell filling his nose.
Silence. He approached the counter, seeing everything was left on. Perhaps there was more to this than he thought.
“I'm here to discuss the price for the bracelet again. I thought it over and I think a million is a bit too low.”
Luke emerged from the back, giving him a friendly wave.
“My only other offer would be two million. It is valuable but not as much as that vase behind you.” Luke said, keeping eye contact with Vyn, only diverting it once he knew he had his attention.
Luke was hinting at something. Judging from the fact he was going along with his lie meant something was definitely going on.
“I told you this was made out of pure metals! Can't you see this genuine diamond?” Vyn argued. “The guy warned me you'd scam me! It's worth four million!”
“He's feeding you false lies. That vase most definitely out prices it.”
He mentioned the vase twice. Vyn started to inspect it under the pretense of trying to find its value. Listening device. Was Luke in some kind of danger?
“Fine. Three million, no more, no less.” huffed Vyn, crossing his arms.
“I'm sorry, it's just not worth tanking my finances for. It would be like highway robbery. I hope I won't catch a crook like you loitering around here again otherwise I’ll get authorities involved.” sighed Luke.
“Not unless I sue you first.”
Someone was trying to rob him of an antique. If he had to guess, it was probably the vase. Vyn made sure he was out of sight before sneaking back. Sure enough, someone emerged from the back. All he could do was wait for the police to arrive. Would Luke last that long? It was then he remembered. He may not be able to help as a human anymore but there was still his cat form. Vyn entered, immediately hiding once the door made noise. He looked around before noticing the man was in a perfect spot to drop something heavy on his head.
“Body don't fail me now.” he thought, using objects to get up high.
Vyn jumped from high point to high point, seeing an object above he could use. Luke noticed him, seemingly backing him up to a better spot. Vyn got to work, loosening the cables that held it up. The object fell, knocking the man on the head. Luke then knocked him out fully, the police arriving not too long after.
“How did you even find me, Danny?” Luke whispered, giving him a grateful smile. “My little hero!”
Vyn meowed, rubbing against him. He couldn't wait for the police. Who knew what could've happened if he hadn't interfered? Luke reached out, pausing near his face. Vyn bumped his hand with his head. Luke saw this as confirmation, giving him a pet. Danny didn't run but it seemed he was still trying to get used to being touched.
“Thank you, Danny. Though I could've handled it myself.”
Even still, he couldn't sit and do nothing when he had the ability to do something.
“Oh! I almost forgot about Vyn! Stay here while I go get Vyn so we can head to the station.”
Shit. He nearly forgot. He scurried off to a hidden spot, transforming back. He hurried out, just in time for Luke to turn and see him.
“You won't believe what just happened!” Luke exclaimed, rushing over to him.
“Do you two mind?”
They got into the car, Luke telling him all about how he and Danny worked together.
“I do feel bad for just leaving him there in the store… It can't be helped.” sighed Luke. “Though, I should thank you too. You were a great help too.”
“Oh, uh… no problem. I'm surprised I was able to understand your hints.” he chuckled.
“I knew you were smarter than you let on.”
The car stopped, signaling they arrived. Luke got out, the authorities needing to question him first.
“Ha… One would think he's obsessed with that cat.” muttered Vyn, getting out as well.
The two were let go after giving their statements. Luke glanced at Vyn then back at the road before them.
“What was the real reason for your visit to my shop today?”
“To learn more about you and your business and possibly invite you to lunch, but no thanks to the incident, nothing had come to pass. So, back home it is.”
“Eh? You can stay, you know? Lunch can still happen at least. It's only 3pm.” argued Luke.
“You're only interested in eating something different for lunch and splitting the cost for it. Despicable.” Vyn responded, giving him a wary look.
“You really think I'm that shallow?”
“I don't know you so I have a right to think of you how I wish. Unless you plan on allowing me to know you, Mr Pearce.”
Luke puffed his cheeks, not liking the direction it was going in.
“Then at least make it fair and tell me things too. Only then will I say more.”
“Sounds good to me.”
Vyn was really becoming a thorn in his side. Danny was much better company than Vyn could ever be. Was Danny still waiting for him? No, probably not. Danny did his own thing so he was probably living it up somewhere else now.
“What's on your mind?”
“Huh? Uh, well, you know… work. Maybe Danny.”
“Are you obsessed with this cat? All I ever hear is Danny this, Danny that. You never talk about friends or things they've done that you found funny or annoying.” Vyn replied coldly.
“So you're insinuating I don't have friends and instead am a man obsessed with cats. Nothing else matters to me.”
Luke shook his head before straightening up.
“I'm going back to work. Enjoy lunch.”
Maybe he did come on a bit strong but he wasn't wrong. How else was he to react to him always talking about a cat and never actual people? It never seemed like a sensitive topic.
Luke entered his shop, not surprised to see Danny left. He quietly sat at his desk, going back to work. He could really use Danny’s presence now.
Vyn lied down, feeling under the weather since he woke up. He thought he had simply caught a cold but it was different than the normal symptoms. He closed his eyes, pressing the wrapped ice pack to his forehead.
“You look well, human.”
“I'm not in the mood. Can't you see I'm at death’s door?” groaned Vyn, seeing he was back in the space.
“We simply came to deliver some news you'd like to hear. It's about this illness of yours.” the voice spoke with such cheer and amusement.
“You have yourself to blame for it. Do you not remember what you promised us? Snow? You cannot ignore your cat life as if it does not exist or vice versa. Humans do such extreme things.” the voice sneered, most likely looking down on him.
“And you couldn't tell me this from the start?!” Vyn grumbled, finding it hard to resist shouting.
“You never asked either so who is really to blame here? Humans are such frail things, succumbing to sickness so easily through our power. We shouldn’t have been so merciful.”
It was conversing with itself?
“No matter. We told you what caused it.”
And with that, the voice disappeared. He couldn't ignore either life for too long or else he'd end up bedridden. Vyn was slow to transform, the feeling of sickness steadily going away. So he didn't have to do anything but transform. He sat down, looking at his paw. Luke hadn't seen either form in weeks. Though it probably didn't matter. He made him upset and probably didn't want anything to do with him anymore. Maybe it was time to give up on being a cat. He's definitely thought about it while he kept the form hidden away. He's content now with everything that he's done.
“Hey, you there?”
“I know you all are lingering around. I'm sure you heard my thoughts. I'm done with the cat life.”
‘Are you certain? There's no going back once it happens. You will also lose the ability to talk to such a generous and amazing being as ourselves.’
“So you will miss me after all.” Vyn snickered.
‘ABSOLUTELY NOT!’ they roared.
“Ah, calm down. I had fun being a cat, but I think Snow would be satisfied with this, right?”
Silence. Did they know something?
‘Do you really not know what your so-called “precious partner” wanted? Ugh, must we be so kind and tell him? Humans, what awful creatures.’
“Then tell me. What did Snow want?” Vyn spoke.
Vyn silently watched as the being showed him Snow’s pov and memories. A lot of the latter part contained him. The replay ended, leaving Vyn conflicted. Snow wanted something he could've provided but didn't have the boldness to ask his parents for. A place to call home.
‘And yet you want to throw this away because it's no longer fun. Humans…’
The voice had gone completely silent after the last remark. Were domestic animals really this simple? Wanting a place to call home and a loving family? And he was going to leave the wish unfulfilled because he just felt like it.
“For once… you're right.” Vyn whispered, feeling ashamed of himself.
Luke groaned, hearing a sound coming from somewhere outside his room. He wasn't going to get any sleep like this. He followed the sound before hearing it was coming from behind his front door. Meowing and scratching.
“Danny…? What's wrong? Ah…!”
Vyn stretched out, wanting to be held. Luke was hesitant, remembering the last time he held him. Vyn meowed again, his paws pressing against his knees. Luke picked him up, cradling him in his arms. He was behaving much to his surprise. Though, it was hard not to notice that he was visibly uncomfortable.
Vyn closed his eyes, relishing in Luke’s affection. He understood how Snow must have felt whenever he held him and gave him affection.
“Danny… Did something happen? Are you hurt?” Luke asked, setting Vyn on his lap.
Vyn curled up on his lap, wanting to just be a cat for a bit. He could talk later. Luke gently stroked his fur, listening to him purr.
“Hey, Danny… Did you miss me?”
Vyn opened his eyes, unsure if he should be honest or tell him what he wanted to hear. Vyn sat up, looking Luke in the eyes. Luke placed the sheets down, waiting for him to respond.
“‘No’... Well, I shouldn't have expected much. I'm just a place to crash at when you're tired or need some food.”
That wasn't the whole truth. He liked being here with him but that didn't necessarily mean he had to miss him.
“Remember that Vyn guy I talk about sometimes? I actually haven't seen him in quite a while. It was fun talking to someone who was on the same kind of wavelength. But then he had to go and cross the line. And I don't even get an apology!” huffed Luke, looking really miffed. “He acts like it's strange not to want to gush about your pet.”
Well it's one thing to gush and another to constantly talk about it almost every time. Yet he was in the wrong. Though, he would admit bringing up friendships was a low blow.
“It's not like I told him to disappear…” mumbled Luke, picking at his shirt. “Now who's going to entertain me?”
So he only saw him as a means of entertainment and not a possible friend. Though, it didn't seem to matter now.
“Well, it was a little cool how he could tell I had someone special from the limited interactions we had. Oh, I haven't told you about her.”
Vyn silently listened as Luke talked about his childhood friend. He thought he might've met her somewhere but it was up in the air considering he's met a lot of people in his life.
“She's really just amazing. But it's becoming clearer that I’m nothing more than just a best friend. It's hard but… you think I should give up as well right?”
Well if there really was no hope then probably. Did he try seeing if she was interested?
“Hm? Did I try? Of course! I'd have to be an absolute dense as hell fucker not to try and make moves. So that's why…”
Well then there was nothing else to do but move on. Agonizing over it would hurt more than just accepting and moving on. He didn't expect to be right on the nose, he was mostly joking around to get a reaction.
“Well, I at least still have you. You won't leave me for someone else, right?”
Leave? Was there more to it than what he told him?
“‘More’? What do you mean? ‘More about her’? Well… I don't really know if it's true but I think she might be dating some guy. Real good looking too. I can't compete, ahaha. It's only a matter of time before us time gets shortened even more.”
So that's what it was. He decided not to push it any farther, not wanting to make the guy burst into tears.
“Right. No more sad talk. Let's watch some terrible comedy!”
It was obvious he was trying to keep things light but it was already past that point. He sat before the sheets before spelling out words.
“‘Don’t cry’... I'm not gonna cry you silly kitty. As if I’d let something like that make me cry.” laughed Luke.
He knew well enough that Luke wasn't okay. The person he had been so fond of for years was with someone else. How could that not be crushing? Luke exhaled, giving him a bitter smile. He covered his face, Vyn noticing the tears rolling down his cheeks. She really meant a lot to him didn’t she? Vyn licked his hand, a cat’s way of showing affection. Maybe it was best if he came to see him more often as Danny.
“I look bad don’t I, Danny? Imagine if anyone saw me like this… I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Luke laughed dryly, showing his face again.
“So, comedy TV?”
Vyn meowed, getting settled on the couch. Luke left for the kitchen, coming back with food for both of them.
‘Pitying him, are we? Such soft creatures.’
Vyn ignored them, enjoying his time with Luke.
Luke woke up, seeing Danny asleep beside him. So he decided to stay the night. He gently rubbed his head, accidentally waking him.
“I looked pretty uncool last night didn’t I?”
Vyn stretched, promptly leaving the room. He briefly turned, meowing at him to hurry up and get ready for the day. Luke chuckled, throwing off the sheets and getting out of bed. So what if he looked extremely pitiable knowing he was rejected without having to be told? He was still him and it wasn’t the end of the world. There was more to look forward to than dwelling on the past. Vyn patiently waited in the kitchen for food while Luke showered and got dressed for the day.
“Let me guess… eggs and bacon?”
Vyn let him know he didn't want that. An omelet sounded pretty good though.
“To think cats could have such refined tastes…”
Well he wasn't like most cats to begin with. Vyn left the kitchen, hopping up on a windowsill to look out. It seemed like a pretty nice day out. Maybe he should go to the mixer tonight after all.
Vyn turned, seeing Luke place his breakfast down. What did Luke have planned for the night?
“Hm? ‘Plans’? Work then come home. My friends are busy this week.” replied Luke, wondering why he was even interested.
If he recalled correctly, his friend still needed two guys and a girl to come.
“Danny, I'm not bothering with him until he apologies. ‘He can't’? How not! He… he knows where I work!” fumed Luke. “I thought you were on my side.”
Well he got him there but he'd have to somehow convince him to come before the mixer started. And his chances were looking rather low.
Luke looked up, seeing Vyn approaching him. Disappears for weeks then suddenly appears after he and Danny talked about him. Surely it's coincidental.
“I'm sorry for unnecessarily assuming and prying into your life. Everyone has their reasons for things and I'm sure you have yours.” apologized Vyn sincerely.
Luke was slightly taken aback, getting a glimpse of his stunning maturity. Was Vyn always that cool?
“Uh, thanks for the apology. Really. I might have overreacted a bit but… yeah.” Luke responded, rubbing his neck. “Why not stay a bit? Business is a little slow today.”
Vyn sat, Luke sitting across from him. Was there something he wanted to say? Usually he was the one to initiate things like this.
“How have you been?”
“Fine and you?”
So Luke was holding back, considering he continued to make small talk.
“Okay, look. Remember when you mentioned me having someone special? How did you know? To this day it boggles my mind.” Luke confessed.
Vyn listed off some hints before ultimately saying he took a joking stab at nothing, not expecting to hit something.
“Are you really just a person with a curious interest in psychology?”
“Yes. I'm just an office worker, nothing special.”
Nothing special his ass. Vyn was hiding something and he was going to learn what it was.
“Do you own a pet, Vyn?”
“No. I live alone.”
“Uh… are you thinking of getting one?”
What was he trying to get at?
“I see. So are you doing anything tonight? We could use the time to get to know each other better.” Luke offered.
And there was his entry point.
“Actually, I told a friend I'd come to her mixer tonight. There's a spot for you if you wanna come. It's fine if it's not your kind of thing.”
“It's fine. I'll go.”
Got’em. Vyn suggested they leave soon, not wanting to arrive too late. He assured him it was fine not knowing anyone considering he didn't either beside his friend.
They arrived at the mixer, Vyn heading over to greet his friend and leaving Luke all alone.
“Thanks so much for coming. So who's the guy?” she asked, seeing a few people hovering around Luke.
“A friend I made. The story isn't interesting so I’ll spare you from boredom.” Vyn replied, taking a sip of his drink.
“Well I didn't think you had such a good looking friend. Might've hit on him if I wasn't already in a relationship.” she giggled. “Oh, looks like someone’s going in.”
Vyn watched with his friend as Luke tried to stop the woman’s advances. Luke met his gaze, immediately rushing over.
“Vyn, how could you just leave me like that?” he pouted, sounding softer than usual.
Luke proceeded to stand by his side, intertwining their fingers. Oh. OH.
“Umm… Luke?” the woman called out, finally catching up to him.
“I'm not really interested. Vyn and I are kinda a thing.” he laughed, nudging closer.
She gave Vyn’s friend a look to which she shrugged. She did tell Vyn they needed two guys but no one asked for anyone single. The woman walked off in a huff. Luke let go, grimacing at what he had to do to get away.
“So you two?”
“No. I would never date someone with a personality like his.” Luke said, cutting her thoughts short.
“I think it's more of you just don't like my sense of humor.” Vyn said smugly.
“Wha- How did you even get that in your head?!”
Vyn’s friend listened to them bicker, judging for herself what to make of them.
“Actually. You may make pretty good friends if you ask me.” she chimed in. “You're different but compliment each other well.”
“She has a screw loose.” Luke snorted before walking off.
“See what I have to deal with? Just when I think he's warming up to me, he goes and says things like that.” sighed Vyn, pushing his hair back. “And it hurts more knowing that he isn't masking his feelings.”
“Yes, yes. We know you can read people, Mr. Ritcher the psychologist.” she mocked, waving him off. “Take him out on the balcony to cool off at least. Heard there's a full moon tonight.”
Vyn located Luke, saving him from another uncomfortable situation. They stood out on the balcony, Luke draping himself over the railing.
“Not what you expected huh? You thought it'd be something classy, right?”
“A bit. They're like vultures…”
Vyn patted his back, taking another sip of wine. Luke glanced his way before straightening up.
“It's not what I hoped for but it beats sitting alone at home.” Luke responded, drumming his fingers against the railing. “Thanks.”
“You can thank me by getting me some more wine.”
Luke gave him a faint smirk, heading back inside. He didn't think the women would be all over him. Though wasn't it a good thing? It could help him forget his childhood friend. Well, at least some. Luke came back out carrying two glasses. He handed over Vyn’s before drinking his own.
“Do you ever feel like you've hit a snag in life?” Luke asked out of the blue.
“There have been times. Everyone experiences them. It's up to the person how they deal with it.” Vyn responded, keeping his gaze on Luke. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
“No, just asking. Sometimes I wish I could run from life and become an animal. But then I think of all the things I wouldn't be able to do and discard the thought. Plus, I have Danny when I need someone. He always seems to know when I need him most.”
Danny again. He didn't speak up this time, getting a sense this was something serious. After a long pause, he voiced his thoughts.
“Pets are always there for us in our darkest moments when our so-called friends aren't. They love us unconditionally. They trust and believe in us to be good owners to them.” Vyn replied, finishing his wine. “No matter how much we hurt them… they still believe in us…”
Luke finally looked at Vyn who stared into his empty glass. Was he loosening up because of the alcohol?
“Did you used to have a pet?”
“Mm. When I was a kid. This pure white stray I named Snow. He disappeared before I could ask my parents to adopt him.” he said solemnly. He leaned back, letting out a sigh as he stared into the night sky. “I regret it.”
He naturally didn't know the full story but hearing his tone of voice was enough to tell him it was something dreadful to remember.
“I can't imagine what it's like to lose a pet you were close to. Maybe it'll happen between Danny and I when he finally decides he's had enough.”
Considering he was Danny, he hasn't had enough yet. Luke finished his own wine, taking in the night.
“What have you been up to since, you know?” Luke said lowly, trying not to sound too interested in his life.
“Working. Nothing special. I assume your business is booming with how many people are into antiques.” replied Vyn, his eyes monitoring his every move.
Luke gave him a flat look as a response. Vyn smiled, taking his glasses off to clean them.
“You sound as if you missed my company.”
Luke snorted, nearly dropping his glass.
“Whatever helps you sleep at night. I'm guessing you don't do small talk.”
Vyn didn't respond, Luke taking it as confirmation. Maybe the silence wasn't so bad. He looked over, seeing Vyn had finally made his way over to his side. Neither spoke, simply looking out into the streets of Stellis.