To celebrate the release of Equilibrium
on the 24th, only a few days away now, I've got a little freebie story for you all. This one starts about a week before Equilibrium does, and continues on through the first meeting of our heroes, Michael and Ryan. This time, though, we get to see things through Ryan's eyes. We also get to meet Murphy the Labrador. :)
Thanks to misslj_author
for the read through.These Days, an Equilibrium short
Eleven o'clock was too early for lunch, but Ryan had been up since five and he was starving. There were no parks in front of the pub when he drove past, and the supermarket was his final destination anyway, so he parked there instead and walked down Burreela's main street to get back to the pub. It was a stupid decision, because it was stinking hot, like it always was in January, with the new year barely a week old. There wasn't a cool breath of air to be had, and he was only saved from the beating sun by his battered old Akubra hat and the shop awnings shading the footpath. Even with the shade, by the time he reached the door of the pub his face was damp and he could feel his t-shirt sticking to his back. He closed his eyes when he opened the pub door, stepped inside, and was hit by a blast of cold air from the air conditioners. He took his hat off and swiped the back of his arm over his forehead before walking toward the bar. At that time of day there was only a handful of patrons scattered around the bar, and there wasn't a single stranger among them.
"Well, well, Ryan bloody Mitchell."
"Jonesy," Ryan said as he took a seat at the bar. Peter Jones had played on the footie team with Ryan at school, almost ten years previously; when Ryan became a policeman and moved to Sydney, Jonesy had stayed to help his dad run the family pub. He was built like a brick shithouse, a volunteer fireman when he wasn't at the pub; he was also one of the most heterosexual men Ryan had ever known. Sadly. "How's it hanging?"
Jonesy grinned. "Down to my knees, matey, down to my knees."
At the other end of the bar, Alison, Jonesy's wife, made a disbelieving noise as she wiped down the bar.
Jonesy laughed. "Take no notice of my missus, she just doesn't want you to be jealous. What can I get you?"
Ryan laughed. "Just a Coke and a menu. The kitchen's open, right?"
"Yep," Jonesy said, and handed him a laminated menu. "Coke coming right up."
Ryan studied the menu until Jonesy brought him his drink. "Thanks." He picked it up and took a large mouthful.
Jonesy watched him. "You met the new vet yet?"
Ryan put his glass down and shook his head. "No. The only thing I've heard is that there is one." Ryan tried not to involve himself in gossip. "Girl or guy?"
Jonesy leaned on the bar. "Guy. I heard he came up from Sydney."
Ryan's stomach flipped, but he ruthlessly shoved down any spark of hope he felt. The likelihood of the guy being gay was slim. Not everyone from Sydney was gay, or even open-minded about gays. He took another mouthful of his drink. "What's he like?"
Jonesy shrugged. "Dunno. Okay, I suppose."
Alison, who'd moved closer with her cleaning cloth, rolled her eyes. "Honestly, babe, God help us all if you ever have to give evidence in a court case." She looked at Ryan. "His name's Michael, and he seems nice enough. A bit shy, maybe, and nervous, like he's just about to bolt for the door all the time, but I suppose it's hard moving somewhere like here when you're used to Sydney." Her gaze sharpened, turned calculating as she sized Ryan up. "He's a little shorter than you, I reckon, about six foot, and he's got dark brown hair and eyes that are that blue-grey colour. He's a little on the thin side, and kind of nerdy-looking, like he's done nothing but study chemistry all his life. Even if he hasn't, I don't think he's spent much time outside, because he's as pale as pale can be." She smiled. "He's pretty though. Really pretty. So he's just the sort of fresh meat we want around here." Her smile turned into a grin. "Anything else you want to know?"
Ryan felt a little wide-eyed, and when he looked at Jonesy, he looked that way too. "Ah... No. I don't think so. That's... Wow. He's only been here a few days, hasn't he? That's a lot to notice in such a short time."
Alison shook her head at him. "No, it's not, it's just that you men don't notice anything at all about anyone. If it were up to you lot, we'd have to get around in total ignorance." She gestured at the menu he held. "Decided what you want yet?"
"Oh. Ah..." Ryan looked down at the menu again, and chose the first thing that he saw. "I'll have the steak sandwich, thanks. Medium rare."
"Medium rare steak sandwich," she repeated, taking his menu and walking through the door to the kitchen.
Ryan and Jonesy stared at each other for a minute. "Wow," Ryan said again. "Fresh meat, huh?"
Jonesy nodded. "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
Ryan took another mouthful of Coke, suddenly wishing it was beer. "Mate. You can say that again."( Read more... )
---Copyright © 2011 by Meredith Shayne – All Rights Reserved