Time’s an illusion. Wednesday doubly so, right?
I was tagged by the utterly brilliant @thatharringrovehoe and the wonderful @booksfoxesandcoffee
I am so late for tagging BUT I’ll give y’all a tardy pass or whatever if you send some sweet WIPs my ways @passivenovember @prettyboyporter @aspartaeme @mouseskeleton and @okaybutlikeimagine
(no pressure, you know that 💕💕💕)
So here’s a (longish but mostly dialogue!) snippet from Chapter 4 of Don’t Leave Me Hanging (On the Telephone) under the cut
"We don't know him," Steve repeats Will's words. Because they're true.
"I know him," El pipes up, and Will nods.
"She does. That's right. El's been in his head."
"And so has the MindFlayer!" Dustin stops his pacing to slap his hands against Steve's desk, exasperated, "He’ll know everything that El does. Maybe more. We don't know what he knows and we don't know anything so we're stuck."
“I can hear you little shits, you know,” Billy's voice cuts through Dustin's rant, "What the fuck are you talking about?"
"Can we put him on hold? I'm putting you on hold," Dustin announces, and Steve slaps his hands away as they reach out to press a button.
"Dude, no. I dunno how this connection thing works, we can't risk messing with it."
Dustin tuts, "It's just a phoneline Steve, it's not exactly high tech. You literally just press the button and-" he reaches out again, and Steve pushes him away with even more force,
"Yeah and it might cut him off for good so I'm not gonna risk it."
"I know what I'm doing,” Dustin argues, “I won't-"
“What did you take from Max’s room?” El interrupts. The room goes silent. The only sound is the click of Billy swallowing down the line, and then his shocked voice through the speaker,
“Max’s room.” El repeats, “Right at the start of summer, when I was sleeping over. You came and yelled and turned the music down and then you took something. I saw you. What did you take?”
Billy doesn’t answer, and Dustin jabs an accusatory finger at the phone, “He doesn’t know. Shit. Shit! It’s the Mind Flayer! He’s back. Code Red, people, we have a Code Red. We need-”
But Billy’s saying something else, something that’s lost amidst Dustin’s yelling and flapping, and Steve clamps a hand over Dustin’s mouth to try and hear it.
“Billy? Sorry, what was-what did you say?”
“Lip gloss,” Billy’s quiet, but Steve hears the words this time, “I took her...her fucking raspberry gloss, OK?”
The boys all turn to look at El, who nods, almost solemnly, “He did.”
It's one thing too many for Steve's brain and he breaks, laughing out loud. “Seriously, Hargrove?”
"Yeah, alright Harrington, laugh it up. Tommy told me all about the Lip Smackers in your locker."
"That was Carol's!” Steve squeaks in indignation, “I was gonna give it back to her."
Billy's laughing now, not unkindly, "Yeah, yeah, sure, Stevie. And you never tried it at all, right?
"Course I tried it, Goldie" Steve can’t help the nickname slipping out, "The girls go wild for that kind of thing."
"Hot Lips Harrington. Betchya had ‘em all lining up for a taste." Billy chuckles. It's that dark one again, almost sultry, and Steve licks his lips involuntarily, like he's trying to mimic the action he just knows Billy is doing on the other end of the line.
He feels his cheeks heating up with a blush, and it only deepens when Billy's voice drops low and smooth as he says, "Lemme guess. Cinnamon? Spice it up?"
"Uh, Dr. Pepper, actually," it slips out before Steve realises, more of a confession than a retort, but Billy laughs anyway. A proper laugh, a bark that sounds almost as though it's caught him by surprise and which catches Steve too. And it's so easy, so relaxed, that Steve's forgotten the whole reason he's talking to Billy in the first place, it's only when Will starts to talk that Steve's brought right back down to earth.