Title: Red Wine
Series: The Best Moves
Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Characters/Pairings: Riley Mingan, Julian
Summary: Riley is drinking. Julian can't help asking.
Notes: Contains mentions of alcohol and alcoholism.
Home early one night, Julian was surprised to see Riley pouring himself a glass of red wine from an uncorked bottle. Rarely did Riley ever drink, though Julian wondered if that was more a concession to himself and his problematic spurts of drunkeness.
Riley simply watched him as he walked through the kitchen, glancing into the fridge before deciding to just microwave some of the leftovers. Unless Riley had something planned. But there was no food out, simply the wine.
And Julian watched him back in their little dance they did, waiting to see who would speak first.
Their eyes met.
"Wine?" Julian questioned. It was one word and he didn't mean it in an accusing way. Riley was not the one with the problem.
"Wine," Riley replied with the barest hint of an all-knowing smile. "It was a gift from a friend so I thought I'd enjoy."
"By yourself?" Julian wondered if he was always going to say stupid things to Riley, around Riley, and about Riley. The answer was probably 'yes'.
"Well, I thought it'd make dinner more interesting, but I wanted to make sure it was good wine, first," Riley said with a smile. "I do intend to cook. And you are welcome to also cook or drink or both, if you're up to it. I'm not going to tell you what to do as far as alcohol goes."
"I drink too much," Julian said softly. "But... wine isn't really the same, is it?"
"No," Riley replied. He had Julian trapped now, with a hand on Julian's shoulder as he offered Julian his glass.
Julian paused. The wine didn't even smell good. He didn't really like champagne, either, just beer, so...
"I'll pass," Julian said with a smile, glad that he could. It wasn't that he never wanted to drink again, just that he had to be aware of himself and make sure he wasn't be harmful. There'd been times, when he'd first moved in with Riley and Leah, that, well... He didn't want to think about that at all.
"That's fine," Riley commented. "I'm sure Leah will too - she prefers white and even then, is picky."
He hadn't moved his hand.
They stared at one another for a long moment.
And then Riley pulled away and went back to drinking and slowly digging out cookware, leaving Julian to stare and yet again wonder what happened. Again and again, this sort of thing just happened between them.
It wasn't even a challenge or anything - Julian knew this was Riley's house, with Riley's rules. They were friendly, perhaps too much so. Even at Julian's lowest, Riley had never gotten upset with him. Instead he'd simply picked Julian back up and given him a little shove in the right direction.
But there was something, some little thing that just made Julian wonder how Riley saw him and what was going on behind those endless brown eyes of his. Leah had never commented on it, he wasn't even sure if she'd ever seen it happen. It was just their private little moments, like in the kitchen, little passings in the hallway, when they both reached for the same weed while taking care of the flowerbeds...
Julian didn't know what he was supposed to do, if anything. He'd never lived with anyone who wasn't family or Arden, and he'd shared a bed with Arden, and a life and everything else.
In Riley's house, he was an eternal guest who struggled to contribute at all and always felt like a burden. But Riley never said anything that made him feel unwelcome.
So he'd wait and see, for a bit longer. There was no sense in rushing anything, if there was anything at all to begin with.
For now, he'd help with the cooking.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!