Watching from afar
By Purple Penguin
“Come on Squall, open mine first!”
The brunette sighed. He sat at the dinning room table in his apartment. He had only been there for a few months but already he had befriended his two strange neighbours Zell and Selphie Dincht. They were an unlikely pair; they always fought like a couple of kids.
Today, August 23rd was his birthday, he’d gone to so many lengths to hide it but of course his goofy father had announced it to the world over the radio. Squall had left home five months ago, he had to escape the insanity of his father, beside there was nothing worse than being single living with a parent and having to listen to your dad and his lover going at it very night.
Zell stuffed a wrapped present over his nose. “Come on man!”
The brunette took the present reluctantly, unwrapping the shiny silver paper. He frowned at the packets of seeds he found inside.
“You have a balcony, Selphie says you can’t have a balcony without flowers.”
“Right, thanks.” His voice held no emotion.
“Open mine now!”
Squall took the little pink package, his mood decreased at what he found inside. Two CDs of ultimate love songs.
“Thanks guys that’s great.” He didn’t smile or sound sincere he just wanted them to leave.
The doorbell rang saving him from Selphie lecture on how he must have a party with cake and balloons.
Deliverymen thrust a clipboard at him to sign, and a large ominous looked package into his living room. Selphie and Zell leapt around it in delight.
“Open it Squall!”
“Yeah hurry, I bet it’s from ya dad.”
Squall groaned. His father never gave him anything he wanted or that was any use, it was always something stupid. Last year someone found out that he liked lions so he father had given him a giant stuffed lion. All past presents now filled up a closet in his bedroom.
Selphie handed him the scissors and he grudgingly sliced through the brown parcel tape enough to pull it apart. His friends pulled out the contents.
“Wow it’s a....”
“Oh my god! A telescope!”
Squall didn’t look impressed.
“Let’s set it up!”
“By the window!”
He followed along. Great another stupid useless present.
“This is so cool Squall, think of the possibilities.” Zell winked. “You could be a bird watcher.” From the smile Squall could tell he didn’t mean the type with feathers.
“I’m not into birds Zell.”
The short blonde chuckled. “You don’t know what you just said.”
Squall rolled his eyes. He hadn’t told them he preferred men.
“I think I’ve done it!” Selphie cheered. Zell looked through the lens. “Wow it’s really powerful, you can see into loads of apartments.”
“Zell! That’s illegal, stop it I’m not a peaking tom.”
“Seriously Squall you could.. um watch-er pigeons from here.” Selphie was obviously struggling to find uses for it.
“Pigeons? Geez they’re exotic. Look can you two just go, I want to be alone.”
“On your birthday?”
The girl shrugged. “Fine, come on Zell.”
Selphie dragged her husband out of the door; she paused to smile at Squall.
“Thank god, peace at last.” The brunette sank back into an armchair, leaning back and closing his eyes. It was tiring having to deal with those two, worse than having kids. He glanced at his telescope wondering how long he’d have to keep it out there before it disappeared back into his cupboard with the rest of his presents from his dad.
Seifer sat flicking through his pad of paper, he loved to draw he would sit in the park for hours drawing anyone who came near him. His latest drawing was of an old lady feeding pigeons, he had lots of pictures of old people they kept still for a long time making it easier for him. His friend at work said he should become a professional but he didn’t have the skill for that. He was happy at work even if it was just a fast food take away. Three of his closest friends worked with him. He spoke to the customers and made the salads, he couldn’t cook to save his life. Fujin did all the cooking; she was a genius in the kitchen, she was terrible at talking to people though, she was so blunt and she shouted things at people. Quistis was the daughter of the manager; she was the one that kept them from getting fired if she had the chance she could run the place on her own. Raijin was the best and the only security guard they had, he stood outside watching the cars come in and out. When we weren’t busy he would stand by the door chatting along with the rest of them. It was a take away but there were two tables inside for people to eat in, no one ever did unless they had nowhere else to go. It was mystery how they managed to not get shut down, Raijin would help out would they were busy and his cooking was worse than Seifer’s.
He had lived in his building for a few years now, since he had left the orphanage at 18, he never had any parents he had been in the orphanage until he was old enough to leave school. Quistis was from the same place but she had been adopted, her parents were the owners of their fast food business.
The blonde ran a hand through his short, blonde hair; he removed his reading glasses that he used when drawing. He rubbed his eyes tiredly he really needed a shower, he trudged to the bathroom after placing his pad and pencils on the bed.
Squall opened his eyes he had managed to doze for a few minutes but the sofa was too uncomfortable after too long. He stood arching his back, he wincing as his back cracked. He didn’t have a job yet he had applied but no one wanted him. He wasn’t poor his father would never let him go hungry, but that’s what he hated he was very independent and hated being coddled.
Squall walked over to his new telescope, running his fingers over the barrel. He bent to look through the lens; it was quite powerful he could see the opposite apartment really close up. He pulled up a chair so he could look through it more easily. He moved it left and right scanning the windows in the other building. A woman stood on her balcony, she was pretty she wore a long blue dress, she had black hair with blonde highlights in the fringe. If Squall was straight he would have been drooling by now, but instead he moved the telescope to the left. He spotted a tall blonde guy standing out on his balcony. Squall nearly forgotten to breathe, he was gorgeous. He was only wearing a towel Squall could see his well-built chest and arms, the sunlight shone on his blonde hair. Squall wished he was close enough to see the guy’s eyes, he wanted to know what colour they were, he knew they would be beautiful to match their owner. The man ran a hand through his damp hair disappearing from sight into his apartment.
Squall pouted in disappointment. He had been single for ages he had never been with a guy. He couldn’t when he lived with his dad not because Squall thought he would disapprove but because his father would constantly interfere in his love life. He had had a girlfriend when he was 14 before he realized he was gay. He may not be the most emotional guy in the world but he did get lonely especially when his only friends were happily married. He lived alone in his apartment, he knocked back anyone who tied to get near him, and he couldn’t see himself with a boyfriend any time soon. He stood from his chair and walked out to the balcony. Great, he’d ruined his happy mood; Squall looked up at the blonde’s apartment. Without the telescope it wasn’t clearly visible. He sighed, walking to the front door. He really needed a good walk to take his mind of his loneliness.
Seifer stepped out of the bathroom, tying a towel around his waist. He walked out onto his balcony looking down on the traffic. The rows of cars stretched back as far as the eye could see, with a sigh he decided to walk to work today. He still had a few hours before he had to be there but he liked to stop in the park on the way. On a nice day like today people would be out enjoying themselves giving him lots of models to draw. He run a hand through his hair and turned back to get dressed. He wore black jeans, a black dress shirt and a leather jacket. He liked to look fairly smart for work. He grabbed his watch from the bedside table and his pad and pencils from the bed before exiting his apartment.
The park was full of people, kids played football and rode their bikes, an old lady sat watching them and a lady walked past the water fountain pushing a pram.
Seifer sat in his usual place on the high wall that over looked most of the park, he had a good view from up there and no one noticed they were getting spied on. The blonde scanned the area looking for a most interesting person to draw, he noticed a figure he hadn’t seen earlier. He moved along the wall as far as he could with out getting spotted. A young man sat hunched over, he had chocolate brown hair and beautiful blue/grey eyes, those eyes had a sad look in them now and he sighed sadly. Seifer turned to a new page in his pad of paper and began to draw the beautiful boy. The blonde paid special attention to those eyes, when he had finished the main picture he went back to change the eyes. It wasn’t the same; the life in those shining eyes didn’t come out right on paper. Seifer looked back at his model to get a better look, panic flooded through him when he stared at the empty bench. He had wanted to find out what had caused the boy to be upset, he wanted to comfortable him. The blonde climbed down from his wall and franticly glanced in every direction, searching for his mystery boy but there was no sign of him.
He sighed and looked at his watch.
“Shit! I’m late!” He shut his pad, tucking it under his arm and jogged out of the park towards work.
“LATE!” The silver haired girl blocked his path.
“I know Fu, I’m sorry.”
She shrugged and let him pass her.
“Have you been busy?”
He spun round to face Quisty his sort-of boss. “I lose track of time, sorry.”
She eyed the pad under his arm. “What have you drawn this time?” She gestured for him to give her the pad.
“We were lucky no one wanted any salad.” Fujin smirked.
Seifer rolled his eyes, he knew they thought he did bugger all around there and they were right. He disappeared into the back to hang up his jacket and to put on the apron they all had to wear.
“Ooh he’s cute.” Quistis raised an eyebrow at the drawing of the brunette. “Who is he?”
Seifer walked back over to her, looking at the drawing from over her shoulder. “I don’t know, I saw him in the park. He looked really sad but he left before he could ask him what was wrong.”
“I thought so too.”
“Well you are always in that park so no doubt you’ll see him again.”
“Fingers crossed.” H held up his hand to prove it. The blonde girl placed the pad of paper at the back and moved close to Seifer to whisper to him.
“If he’s not gay, can I have him?”
He frowned at her.
She smiled. “I just kidding.”
“Wow She’s hot!”
Squall sighed; his palm was pressed into his forehead in frustration. Zell had been at the telescope in his apartment for half an hour now, checking out the ‘babes’ as he put it.
“I doubt Selphie would agree.”
“Oh man, you won’t tell her will you? She’d kill me for sure!”
Squall shook his head and moved to the window to see whom it was that Zell was drooling under. He nodded in understanding; it was the same pretty girl he had seen before. He thought Zell would like after all she seemed to like standing on her balcony half-naked.
“She’s not my type.”
“What?! How the hell can she not be your type? Then what is your type?”
Squall shrugged and moved the telescope left. He smiled to see the blonde he liked on the balcony. He sat on a dining room chair holding a Guitar. Squall raised an eyebrow. He plays the Guitar? The brunette watched as the blonde tried to play a few cords, wincing to indicate it was not going well. He shouted something at the instrument and bashed it on the balcony railing. Squall chuckled. Maybe he couldn’t after all.
Zell looked up in shock. Did Squall just laugh? Was he on drugs? The short blonde stood and pushed Squall out of the way, looking through the telescope to see what was so funny.
“Do you know that guy?”
“Who?” The brunette asked innocently.
“The guy you were staring at.”
“No.” He walked off before Zell could ask he anything else. He wasn’t ready to admit he was gay, especially to Zell. When he eventually did tell anyone it would be another gay person like his father.
The more he watched the blonde, the lonelier he got. He knew he’d never be able to meet him. What would he say? ‘Hi, you don’t know me but I’ve been watching you through my telescope, but don’t worry I’m not crazy.’ Somehow he didn’t think that would work.
He needed to get out of here, he was hungry too he grabbed his jacket telling Zell he was going out to get some food.
Heifer walked to work the next day through the park as usual, he was later today so he couldn’t stop. He scanned the place with his eyes as he walked noticing each figure, every detail. He knew who he was looking for but there was still no sighting of the brunette. Since he had drawn that picture he had been obsessed, he drove Quistis and Fujin mad with his constant talking about his mystery guy. It was really silly, the guy had never been in the park before and was probably just passing through and Seifer would never see him again. Quistis called it his unhealthy obsession maybe she was right.
The blonde made it to work on time. He threw his backpack into the back as he pasted Quistis. He spun round when it felt like someone touching him from behind. Quistis held up the folded piece of paper that she had taken from his back pocket. She looked at him with concerned eyes. There was only so much you can say about someone you don’t know. Yesterday Seifer had repeated everything dozens of times to her and Fujin, as first she thought it was sweet and she even teased him about love at first sight but now maybe he was being a bit over the top.
“Maybe you should get out more and meet people.”
“I’m not crazy!”
Fujin looked round the door. “SEIFER CUSTOMER!” She leaned close to Quistis to whisper something to her; she smirked at Seifer secretively. The blonde ignored her and went to serve the customer.
Squall had driven around for ages not knowing where to go; eventually he pulled off the road into the car park of a small fast food place. The place was empty inside. A silver haired girl was wiping down tables. She gasped when she saw him.
Squall frowned. He didn’t know her. What did she mean by that?
She ran behind the counter. “SEIFER CUSTOMER!”
Squall leant on the counter; he looked up when he heard someone speak. “Oh... my god.”
The brunette looked straight up into two piecing aqua eyes. His own eyes widened at the tall blonde he had seen through his telescope. He suddenly felt uncomfortable what should he say to this guy, he couldn’t tell him how he knew him.
The blonde smiled and walked up to Squall.
“Hi,” he held out his hand. “I’m Seifer.”
Squall shook the offered hand. “Squall.”
“Listen I know you don’t know me but I’ve seen you around like in the park the other day...” He trailed off. “Oh god, way to sound like a mad stalker.”
Squall smiled slightly, it seemed they were in the same boat.
“I-I-er didn’t mean it like that. I’m er um... sort of an artist; I was drawing people in the park that day.
Squall raised his eyebrows. He’s cute and talented. “Did you draw me?”
At that point Quistis suddenly appeared beside the blonde. “Seifer aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”
“Quistis this is Squall, Quistis here is my boss and my friend.”
The brunette held his hand out to her, but she instead placed a piece of paper in it. Squall frowned as she ran off again, he unfolded the piece of paper and gasped in shock at the pencil drawing of himself. It was amazing; there was so much detail. “You drew this, really? It’s amazing.”
“I-I’ve seen you before, as well, and this will sound worse then you’re stalker thing. I was given a telescope for my birthday recently and your apartment is right opposite mine...”
Seifer smiled. “Been spying on me have ya?” His light tone made Squall aware that he was kidding.
“It’s hard to miss a guy wearing only a towel.”
Seifer chuckled. “Did you want to order something?”
“I’ll have a milkshake, but really I’m just here to avoid the neighbours.”
“Why? Don’t you get on with them?”
Squall shrugged. “They mean well but sometimes they’re really annoying.”
Seifer handed the brunette his milkshake, they sat at one of the tables and talked until lunch when the place suddenly got busy and Seifer was needed to help the others. Squall grabbed a nap kip and scribbled down his number.
“Seifer, I’ve got to go.” He threw the nap kip at him with a smile and left hoping Zell would be gone by now.
Four days later.
The short blonde knocked on his neighbour’s door. Squall had been acting very strangely lately and he was worried about his friend. Selphie had suggested that he should talk to Squall, him being a guy and all. Squall was a quiet man, who stayed in almost every night; he was anti-social to everyone including his friends and never smiled. In the last few days Squall had been the opposite, he had come home late every night and once Zell was sure he had someone else was him. They hadn’t seen anyone but they were muffled voices through the door. Every night Zell and Selphie had been pressed to the door with a glass listening to their conversions, they assured themselves it was not spying they was only looking out for a friend. Selphie had suggested that maybe he had a girlfriend at last, but the voice was definitely male. Zell had nearly had a heart attack when he saw Squall laugh once, he talking on the phone to someone. Selphie had called round to check on him and instead of him greeting her with the usual bored glare, he had smiled and thanked her for caring. It must be bad.
Was he dying?
The door opened and Squall stood there a deep glare on his face. Thank god, he’s back. Zell then noticed that Squall was half-naked.
“Is this important?”
Did he have someone with him? “Did I interrupt something?” Zell heard someone in the background. Oh shit, he did interrupt something! The blonde grinned and dove back down the corridor to tell Selphie.
“Selphie! Guess what! Squall’s getting laid!”
“Really?! That’s great!”
“Yeah, I went round and he was half-naked, and there was someone in the background.”
“That’s good right? He’s not as insane as we thought.”
“Unless...he’s a male prostitute.”
“Ewww, Squall wouldn’t do that. I want to go around tomorrow and meet her; she must be pretty to get him to change so much.”
Squall groaned as he heard what Zell told his wife. “Why does Zell always jump to weird conclusions?”
The brunette relaxed when he felt a pair of hands on his shoulders and Seifer led him back to the sofa to continue his massage. “So he thinks you’re getting laid so what?”
“So he and Selphie will be round here tomorrow asking questions and looking around.”
Seifer gently took Squall’s chin in his hand and turned his boyfriend’s head as that they were facing each other. “Why not tell them about us?”
Squall’s eyes grew wide. “B-but they don’t even know I’m gay!”
“You have to tell someone sometime. They care about you, I’m sure they won’t mind.”
“And if they hate me?”
Seifer leant back pulled Squall against him. “Then they’re not true friends and it doesn’t matter what they think.” He kissed the top of the brunette’s head.
Selphie dragged her husband down the hall. “Come on if we hurry she might still be there!”
The door was ajar when they arrived. Selphie peered in; Squall was talking to some guy. Damn, they must have just missed her.
“Is she there?”
“No, it’s your fault for taking too long to get dressed. He’s with some guy now.”
“Who is he?”
“How should I know? Shall we go in, now that we know we’re not going to disturb them?”
Zell nodded and they pushed open the door. They stopped dead at the sight before them.
Squall had his arms wrapped round the guy and they were involved in a passionate kiss. Zell gasped, the two men pulled away from each other quickly. Squall looked panicked while Seifer wrapped his arms protectively around his boyfriend.
Zell stood there in shock, while Selphie grinned and bounded up to them. “Hi Squall introduce me to ya.... I’m guessing boyfriend right?”
Squall just blinked at her in shock. Seifer smiled and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Seifer.” They shook hands.
Selphie leaned close to Squall whispering but so that Seifer could still hear. “He’s hot; you have good taste in men.”
The brunette blushed but Seifer grinned.
Zell still stood in the doorway looking uncomfortable.
“Zell come here.” His wife called.
He slunk to her side like a loyal puppy.
“They make a cute couple don’t they?” She elbowed him in the ribs.
“....Um.... yeah.... but of a shock though.” He managed a small smile.
Squall was very relieved with their reaction. The hardest people to tell were over and done with, now he just had to tell his father and his dad’s lover and he wasn’t worried about that.
On the way out Selphie pulled him to the side. “I’m glad you’re happy, If you need anything I’m right across the hall.”
Maybe she wasn’t as childish as he first thought.
It was late evening; Squall looked through his telescope and smiled. Last week Seifer had brought one too, at first Squall had laughed but now it was great, they traded messages every morning. Okay, so a phone was easier but this way they could see each other as well.
Squall patted the telescope barrel. “Not so useless after all.” He told it.
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