Because Of A Game
Part 6: The Shit Hits The Fan
"L-3 Communications. How can I help you?"
"Yeah, my name's Dermail, and the payphone I'm on ate my money. I need you to patch me through."
Trowa went through the screens for information on that particular payphone. Nothing came up. He couldn't do it. "I'm sorry sir, courtesy calls are not available for that payphone. The only way to connect you would be by calling collect or by using a credit card–"
"Bullshit! This payphone ate my damn money! Patch me through or I will kill you!"
Trowa sighed. It was Friday. He was tired, had a semi--crappy day, which would be worse by evening, and now he had to deal with death threats. Not only that, he hated his job. Very much. Phone operators should be put up for sainthood, in his opinion. "Sir, I can't patch you through. There's no courtesy call on the phone. Besides, you're not even in the same country as I'm in, let alone know who I am to kill me."
A girl in the next cubicle, Noin, popped her head around. "Trowa, you can't say that. They're monitoring calls today. You'll get fired!"
"Young man, how dare you insult me. You don't know what I'm capable of doing!"
Trowa smiled. "Yeah, well, I'm not the one standing in front of a payphone unable to make a phone call. You're so capable, make it yourself. Operator disconnect." Hitting the F–12 key, Trowa disconnected the call. He removed his headphones and got up slowly, unplugged his headset, thereby preventing incoming calls, and walked to the entrance of the floor to clock out. Nearly skipping his way to the supervisor's booth, Trowa knocked on the glass to gain his supervisor's attention. "Miss Une?"
She opened the sliding glass door. "Yes, what is it?"
He handed her his ID badge. "I won't be back." Turning around, he walked back to the entrance of the doorway, faced his co--workers, and whistled loudly. He immediately gained the attention of everyone in the room, his former supervisor included. With a small smile, he raised both arms in the air, high enough for everyone to see, and extended his middle fingers.
"This job blows!"
Trowa walked up the stairs with the groceries in his arms, silently cursing himself for living on the second floor. The bag handles were tearing and the sheer weight of them dug into the palms of his hands and in his arms. The only good thing that happened today was that he saw his sister, quit his job, and since it was daylight, Tsuberov wouldn't be out.
The bags rested between his feet as he dug around for his key to unlock the door. Just as he got it into the keyhole, the door jerked open to reveal Quatre.
"Hey Quatre, what's–"
"You and I need to talk," he whispered heatedly.
"Uh, okay." He walked in past Quatre into the kitchen. With the other boy's help, he had the groceries unpacked and put away in a matter of minutes. After he snatched one of the colder root beers out of the kitchen, Trowa went into the living room and sat down on the couch. Quatre was about a step behind him and seated himself in the recliner, but his hands gripped the arms to the point where his fingertips were white. Both boys were locked in each other's eyes.
After a moment of silence, Trowa spoke softly. "What's wrong?"
Quatre sniffed. "Hilde knows."
He shrugged his shoulders and shook his head in slight bewilderment. "Hilde knows what?"
The blonde leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "Don't give me that shit. This is me you're talking to."
Trowa was taken back by the venom in his friend's voice. In all of their years of friendship, he had never seen Quatre angry. Truly angry. "Quatre, I don't know what you're talking about."
He rose to his feet and stood irritably in front of Trowa. "Fine, if I have to spell it out for you, so be it. Hilde knows you and Duo slept together."
Trowa's eyes opened impossibly wide as his secret--his former secret--was told to him. "You know?"
"Yes!" he shouted. "I came downstairs to see what the hell all the noise was about and I see you two banging on the couch!"
Trowa stood up then. "Quatre, I'm sorry you saw that, but what happened is between me and Duo."
"That's not my concern," he raised a hand, gesturing for silence, "I know it's none of my business, and I could care less about Hilde's feelings on the matter, but this poses a problem. I came home this afternoon to find her tearing up the damn house. There are stains in the carpet and holes in the wall. She has already notified management that I've been living there, and since my name is not on the lease," Trowa cringed at what he was about to say, "they came to me personally and told me to leave, or else they'll call the police to personally escort me out. I have two days."
"Well, stay here–"
"I can't," he interrupted, "she's also notified them that I might try to come here to stay instead. Wufei is down at the office now to explain what is going on and to tell them that the only reason they're getting rent money is because of me."
"Well, how does Wufei know? You told him?"
"Yes. As soon as management told me to leave, I came right over to tell him what was going on. While I was here, the manager of this place, his name is Odin Lowe, came by and tried to kick me out, but Wufei told him I was a guest here, so right now he's fighting with Lowe and the police for trespassing."
Trowa sat heavily on the couch. "Great."
"Wait, there's more."
Trowa sighed remorsefully. "What do you mean ‘there's more'?"
Quatre frowned deeply. "Do you remember when Duo was trying to get the approval for the townhouse, and they had to find out how much money he made, so he gave them the number here and you pretended to be his boss and lied to them about how much money he made?"
He placed the root beer can on the coffee table. "No, she didn't."
Quatre shrugged helplessly. "They might charge you with," he looked on a pink sheet of paper that he had in his pocket, "attempt at impersonating....oh the hell with it. They're charging you with fraud basically, me trespassing, and I don't know what she's going after Wufei for. But if found guilty, we all face fines and some jail time."
Trowa didn't say anything. He stood up and moved in front of the window, staring across the street at the mentioned townhouse. "How did she find out?" he asked without turning around.
At this, Quatre threw the sheet of paper he was holding against the wall, but it only fluttered lightly in the air before landing on the other couch. "The real question is how could she NOT find out. She came in there this morning, and found Duo laying on the couch, naked, with a tube of lube on the table, and your sock in the cushion! I don't know if Duo told her the details of last night, I had to go to class, but when I came back he was gone and she was destroying everything. Then she called management, and the rest you know."
Trowa turned back around and ran his fingers through his hair, only for his bangs to flop back in his face. "I don't have a clue on what to do. We're screwed."
The door opened quickly and both boys jumped back. Sally instantly closed it behind her, simultaneously talking to someone on the cell phone. "Okay, yeah, no problem. See you in a minute." She hung up the phone and put it in her purse. "Wufei is on his way. He'll be here in just a second."
Quatre sat back down in the recliner, and Trowa sat down on the couch. He sensed rather than saw Sally walk up to his side as she placed a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to her and gave her a weak smile, but a reassuring one. She then gently squeezed his shoulder and winked at him before settling down on the opposite couch. As if on cue, the door opened and Wufei walked in, where he seated himself next to Sally. Trowa saw that the door was still open and started to get up to close it when Duo walked in, followed by Heero. Duo took an awkward seat next to Trowa, since that was the only seat left, while Heero locked the door.
As soon as that was done, Heero then walked over to the coffee table and sat down, straddling it and facing everybody. He ran his hands up and down his thighs absently as Wufei whispered something into his ear, nodding every few seconds. Trowa felt his fingertips begin to tingle at his anxiety. A night that was so fun and carefree turned out to cause an absolute nightmare. He might go to jail because of a damn game–
"Okay, this is what we're gonna do." Trowa was shaken out of his thoughts as Heero began to speak. "We'll deal with the easiest problems first, then work on the harder ones, but we don't have much time, okay?" Various nods and murmurs were his answers. "I don't want to argue, but I'm taking charge since I'm neutral in all of this. Does anyone have a problem with that?"
Nobody said a word. "Good. We'll start with you Quatre."
He exhaled. "Okay."
"What do they have on you? Hilde or the police or Stable Bridge?"
Quatre eyes rolled up to the ceiling as he thought about it. "Nothing really. Hilde told them my first name, I don't think she knows my full name. Lowe was outraged that I was there and kept fussing at the police to do something. I...I didn't know what to do, so I came here." He shrugged.
Heero nodded. "Good. Okay, this is what we're going to do. Quatre, I want you to hide out here for a while. Don't let anybody know you're here, okay? You're...gone, that's all anyone needs to know. They don't even have your full name, so nothing can really happen to you if they can't find you. Later on tonight, around midnight or so, all of us will come back and pack up Quatre's stuff. I want all of his stuff out of there by morning. Sally was able to get us a U–Haul, and if we get it back by morning, it won't cost us."
Quatre turned to Sally. "Thank you."
She shrugged. "Anything to help blondie."
All of them chuckled slightly, and some of the pressure lifted from the room.
"Uh, Heero," Duo began, "where is Quatre going? He won't be able to stay here."
"He's moving into my apartment on campus, since it's a two bedroom and I live alone." He smiled softly at Quatre. "It'll be nice to have my favorite smoking buddy as my roommate."
"Oh lord." Duo sank further into the couch. "They'll never touch the ground again."
"Oh shut up!" Quatre squeaked, playfully throwing a chair cushion at Duo. "We are not that bad."
"Like hell," Wufei added in, "you two are the only people on this planet that can probably smoke a god damn forest and still be able to walk on a high wire."
"Anyway," Heero interrupted, "we're getting off task. We pack Quatre's stuff and get the hell out. That's it. Any questions? Good. Okay, Wu, she doesn't have anything on you, but be careful all the same. By defending Quatre and Duo, they could use that against you."
"I'm aware and ready for them."
"Okay. Trowa," he sighed, rubbing his forehead, "this is what we're going to do. Now, he is going to need all of our help." Heero looked into everyone's face. "All of our help. They have all of his information, and he could be looking at a felony, so we need to get a story and stick to it. Any fuck ups and he could be in jail. Understand?"
Everybody was quiet, and Trowa could feel the bile rise in his throat. How could this happen? All of a sudden, his future hung precariously on the edge of a cliff. A wrong move would destroy it. "So what do we do?" He turned his head to Duo, who asked the question. He sounded as scared as Trowa felt.
Heero smiled softly at Duo. "We lie."
"What?!" Quatre jumped out of the recliner. "We lie? No Heero, how? I mean, Hilde told them what he did to help Duo get that apartment, and Trowa lives here, making it even more feasible because we all associate with each other–"
"Where's the evidence?"
Heero's question caught Quatre off guard. "What?"
"Where's the evidence that Trowa lied about Duo's income?"
Quatre crossed his arms. "There isn't any."
"Right. Without evidence, she can't prove anything."
"But what if they kept a record of the phone number?"
"We've had our number changed twice because of Treize," Wufei supplied. "They could call it, but get no one to that number. Even if they do, Duo's boss could always say he changed the number too."
"But what if Duo's boss doesn't go along with it?"
"You don't know that Duo."
"Yeah, I do. He owes me a favor. Working at a barber shop, it is possible to make over $1500 with wages and tips in a month. Inflation is our best friend." He smiled cheekily, but it didn't reach his eyes. "He'll do it, because technically, he won't be lying. I didn't want them to call the first time because I wasn't working there yet, but I knew that he would hire me." He shrugged. "If I had known this would get Trowa in so much trouble–"
"I don't want to hear it," Heero interrupted again. "We are not fortune tellers. If it wasn't for Hilde snitching, which I find strange since Trowa did that for both you AND her, you would've gotten away with it. We could say that she had it done too, but it would only add to Trowa's guilt. So, we say that she's lying. There's no evidence, Duo does work at the barber shop, where he earns around $1500 a month, and Quatre has mysteriously disappeared. That's all."
Wufei nodded. "That sounds good."
"Okay, now for the hardest thing." Heero turned slightly to face Duo. "I don't know what to do about Hilde. We can help you clean up the mess she made. Both of you are stuck, since your name and her name is on the lease, but I don't understand why she would do something that stupid. She can also leave again and ditch you with the townhouse, which I think is for the best, but who knows."
Duo shook his head. "I want Quatre and Trowa taken care of first. Once I know that they're on high ground, then I'll deal with Hilde personally. She's my problem, not yours."
Heero shrugged. "Alright, but we're here to help you. Now, there is something I want to say." He stood up, still straddling the coffee table, and delved his hands in his jean pockets. "I want you all to think about this tonight. Duo, Trowa, Quatre and Wufei. We've been friends for over six years. We've had problems before, and we stuck it out–"
"Yeah, we stuck it out, but we didn't face jail time and all that stuff."
"I know this is huge Quatre, but we have to cover each other's asses here. If Wufei, Trowa and I don't cover for you, they'll get you with trespassing, or they'll go straight after Duo, because he allowed you to stay there, or both. The same goes with Trowa if you and the rest of us don't cover for him. We have to help each other out. Are you hearing me?"
Quatre nodded. "Yeah, I know, I'm just...upset that things fell apart so quickly."
He smiled slightly. "I know, but we can do it. It's us against her. No contest. But after this is all done, I don't want any fall-outs, okay? We've been best friends for a long time, and half of us have even been lovers." He looked pointedly at Duo, then at Trowa. Both boys on the couch blushed. "I would hate that our friendships were broken because of a girl."
After his speech, Heero walked to the door, followed by Sally, Wufei, and Duo. "Trowa, we'll be back later on tonight. We're on our way to get the U-Haul, then set my place up for Quatre to move in. You two stay put. I'll call your cell phone if anything changes."
"Thanks Heero." He nodded once, with a tiny smile on his face before turning to the others. At his unspoken command, they waved their goodbyes and left, leaving Quatre and Trowa alone in the apartment.
"I'm sorry Tro. I shouldn't have acted the way I did. None of this is your fault."
The phone started to ring during Quatre's apology, so Trowa left the safety of the couch to answer it. "Don't worry about it Quatre. It might not be my fault, but he and I shouldn't have, you know. I'm the trigger regardless."
Trowa answered the phone as he finished his sentence, smiling at Quatre, who blushed faintly at what indeed started this whole mess. "Hello?"
"You slut. I can't believe I ever trusted you."
He stared at the receiver in shock before placing the phone back to his ear. "Hilde?"
"Don't talk to me tramp! I can not believe you're trying to take my Duo away!"
He stared at Quatre at a loss of words before staring back at the phone and resting it against his ear. "Hilde?!"
"Don't ‘Hilde' me! I can't believe you! Just wait until my friends get off from work, you'll be sorry–"
Trowa, uninterested in the rest of the sentence, hung up on Hilde and unplugged the phone base from the wall. Settling back down on the couch, he blew his breath through his bangs and glanced at Quatre, who was drinking a Dr. Pepper and watching him curiously.
"Some days Quatre, I hate my life. Other days, I really hate my life."