Here is Chapter 1, 2, and 3 along with pics of the characters just in case:
Title: Death Does Not Become Him
Pairing: Orlibean (I love that moniker)
Warnings: supernatural. minor character death, talk of death, language, VERY DARK HUMOR
Summary: What if there were people who could see how, what of and when a person will die? What if one of those people was Orlando? And how does Sean fit into all this?
Disclaimer: None of this is true. Orlando doesn't see dead people, or more specifically, how people will die. The guys don't live in Los Angeles, as far as I know. I don't think Orlando would EVER eat chili cheese fries.
Pics were taken from the Eye Candy posts done by amygirl
Orlando Bloom of course, our protagonist:
Sean Bean, his love interest:
Orlando's mates (everyone really refers to them as the hobbits):
Elijah Wood (Lij):
And Dominic Monaghan (Dom, Dommie, Sblomie):
Orlando's mentor and resident guru, Viggo Mortenson:
And last, but not least, Eric Bana, Sean's best mate:
If I could, I would put Bloom, Bana and Bean in a threesome. :P
"You want fries with any of that?"
Orlando couldn't form the next words as he took in the appearance of the girl behind the counter.
It wasn't that the vision of her death was exactly what was putting him off. He was completely and utterly used to that aspect of 'his gift' by now.
It was just that she was dripping imaginary blood everywhere on the counter and it was putting him slightly off to his meal. It really shouldn't have, not after all this time.
It was just the principle of the thing.
"I said, did you want fries with any of that?" the girl reiterated, oblivious to the scene her customer was witnessing.
Orlando cleared his throat. "Actually, I wanted all of them as combos...oh! And I want a chili cheese fry instead of a normal fry on one of them. I'll pay the extra for it."
"Okay fine, but you'll have to pay extra," the girl droned.
"Were you just here for the last part of our conversation? Know what? Never mind," Orlando said as he shook his head.
"So that's a double bacon cheeseburger combo, a chicken sandwich combo, one Chicago Dog combo, and a veggie burger combo, a side of chili cheese fries instead of regular fries on one, two chocolate shakes, one mocha shake and a diet coke."
"Gotta watch my weight, yeah?" he laughed. "Throw in about four fry sauces too."
The girl licked her lips and punched another button, her slit wrists spewing more of the figmental red fluid on the register as she did so. "That it?"
"Yo! Orli! You get a chili cheese fry?" Dom yelled from the vicinity of the tables across the lobby.
Orlando sighed. "Better make that two chili cheese fries. Else I'll never get any, ya know?"
"Fine, it's your funeral," the girl sneered.
"Funny you should say that," Orlando condescended back while taking in the girl's slashed wrists. The cuts were deep and went across the wrist while one cut ran up the length of the right forearm.
If Orlando was seeing her the way she would meet her eventual end, and he most assuredly was, then she will have done quite an efficient job.
God how Orlando hated angst-ridden teenagers. Still, he had to say something, no matter how ill received it would be. He had been a teenager once, he should still know how to talk to them. "You know, nothing's ever that bad. Life, I mean...it's not really that bad. You shouldn't take it so seriously, ya know?" Orlando said as he took in the completely blank expression of the girl. "Just so you know," Orlando shrugged.
Somehow Orlando felt if he had been a cop talking a suicide jumper down off a roof, that person would be a splat on the pavement right about now.
"That'll be $37.95."
Okay, so maybe he had forgotten what being a teenager was like, not that his problems had ever been anywhere near the same as his peers.
His problems had been far worse.
"Right...money...here," Orlando said as he handed over two twenties, which the girl plucked out of his hands immediately, (Orlando wincing as he saw his crisp new twenties soiled by her 'blood') shoved the bills haphazardly into the register and handed him back his change.
"Your number's 61. Thank you. Have a nice day," the girl said, meaning anything but.
"Ta luv," Orlando smiled back and proceeded to his table.
"Hey Orli," Elijah smiled as Orlando took his seat. "Did you make sure my chicken sandwich didn't have mayo and oh! My fries! You asked for no salt on my fries, right?" he asked in one breath.
Orlando looked back at the girl behind the counter. "I don't think it would've mattered Lij."
Dom looked back at the counter. "Bit of a strange bird that one. Nice tits though."
"I wasn't exactly looking at her tits Dommie..."
"As if you would," Dom snorted back.
"Can we please not have another conversation revolving around tits?" Orlando moaned.
"Sorry, forgot how traumatic of a subject that is for you."
"Oh knock it off ye twat," Billy chastised Dom. "They are rather spectacular though," Billy smiled lazily while looking at the girl.
"As I was saying," Orlando emphasized as he continued, "poor luv is just gonna be another teenage suicide statistic within the year."
"Oh, now that's a shame," Billy tutted.
"Yeah, what a waste," Dom said. "You got the food to go, right Orli? I have a short lunch break today."
"I hope they don't overdo it on the mayo this time," Lij pouted. "I hate when they smear that shit on."
This was what Orlando loved about the guys.
He could tell them what his vision was and they felt no compunction whatsoever to over react.
In fact, they didn't react at all.
It almost made him feel normal.
Of course, sometimes things like this would leave the conversation open for lots of other embarrassing things.
"So, how did your date go Orli?" Elijah piped up.
Like his sex life.
Or lack thereof.
It was at that moment in time Billy burst into laughter. "Oh please let me tell the story," Billy laughed. "Please?"
"Shut it Billy," Orlando growled.
"Ah, so what's all this then?" Dom said as he smiled the smile of the smug and leaned back in his chair, his arms folded across his chest.
"Please, please, please let me tell it," Billy said, a huge smile splitting his face after having gotten his sudden fit of giggles under control.
"Fine," Orlando said, his head in his hands. They would find out sooner or later.
"So this is too good," Billy started. "Mike comes to pick our Orlando up..."
"Awww, did he bring you a corsage? Flowers?" Dom said while fluttering his eyelashes.
"No, but I made sure my gentleman caller was sitting in the parlor before I attended to him," Orlando retorted in a refined upper-crust voice.
"Shh, you two! I wanna hear the story," Elijah said.
"So, Mike takes him to that place. You know the one," Billy says, "on Sunset."
"Well that narrows it down," Dom muttered.
"Would you shut up and let me tell the story?"
"I would if you would tell it."
"So he takes him to that uptown restaurant...the name of which escapes me now..."
"Spago's?" Dom shrugs.
"That's it! Thank you. See? You knew it. So Mike's wining and dining Orli. And conversation is getting pre-tty personal, the way Orli tells it to me, and they've both been slamming back the White Zinfandel..."
"You don't slam back Zinfandel," Elijah cut in. "You never slam back fine wine."
"Actually, I think I read somewhere you can slam back Zinfandel," Dom interjected.
"Shut it you two! Fuck the Zinfandel. So they're drinking and flirting and the mood's right," Billy says with a pleased smile on his face while bending down over the table so only the four of them could be in on the conversation. "Now mind you, not once on this most sacred of nights does Orli have one single vision of Mike's death."
And it was true. He didn't always see someone's death. Sometimes it would come right away, sometimes it would never come and sometimes it would come at the most inopportune of times.
"Why do I know where this is going?" Elijah said forebodingly.
"So Mike takes our mate here back to his fancy Century City high-rise apartment. You know the kind. The one where you have a view of the whole of Los Angeles out one of those floor to ceiling windows..."
"Like the building they blew up in Die Hard?" Dom asked.
"Yes, Dommie, just like the building they blew up in Die Hard," Orlando said.
"So, this Mike bloke is showing Orli the city lights from his window and saying 'isn't it pretty,'" Billy said while lowering his voice and mimicking an American accent.
"That was quite good," Orli said.
"Thank you, and Orli says 'it's lovely,'" Billy said while pitching his voice higher.
"Oi you wanker. I do not sound like that," Orlando yelled, his voice slightly higher pitched than usual.
Dom and Lij snickered.
"Anyway, he said 'isn't it beautiful?' and I said 'yes, it is' and he said 'not as beautiful as you," Orlando corrected.
"So anyway," Billy smiled and continued, "Orli gets on his knees to give ole Mikey a right good polishing..."
"Shite Billy! You skipped a few steps, didn't ya mate? Make it sound like anyone who gives yours truly a compliment and I'd drop to my knees like a Bangkok whore."
Lij and Dom started laughing before Dom became very serious. "Orli, I think you're beautiful. Now where's me blow job?" Dom broke down laughing while Orli knocked him around the head.
"Okay, so I skipped over all the boring stuff. I wanted to get to the good part," Billy said.
"You're not going to go into detail on the blow job, are ya?" Dom asked with a frown.
Ignoring Dom's comment, Billy continued. "So Orli's on his knees, and he's getting into polishing Mikey's knob and he's moaning like a, what was it you said?"
"A Bangkok whore," Orli droned.
"Yeah, and then Orli looks up, while his lips are still wrapped around Mikey's cock, and then it happens," Billy said and paused for effect.
"What," Dom asked, "erectile dysfunction?"
"Oi! No one's ever had erectile dysfunction when I've gone down on them! I had a vision arsehole!"
"I knew it," Lij piped up gloating. "I knew it! Oh..."
"So? What happened next? You've had visions before?" Dom asked incredulously.
"Yeah, but not when I'm down on a guy I don't and don't let me tell you what a guy who dies of lung cancer looks like. Disgusting sight. Put me off," Orlando finished while slumping back in his chair.
"Well, I don't see how that was so funny Billy," Elijah said. "It sounds horrible. Imagine seeing that while you have a guy's cock in your...mouth," Elijah said and started to sputter. He then bit his lip to hide the laugh.
"Ah, but now we get to the best part," Billy said. "Shall I continue?" Billy asked Orlando.
"You will anyway..."
"So Orli looks up, no doubt his eyelashes all a flutter and says 'I can't do this,'" Billy said, once again affecting a high pitched voice. "Then...then," Billy said while trying very hard not to laugh. He gives up and laughs. He then takes a few breaths and starts again. "So he gets up, leaving the poor bloke at full mast, runs for the front door, Mikey running after Orli with his pants down around his ankles, begging for Orli to come back and at least finish what he started the ungrateful fuck, Mikey's words, not mine, and then Orli...he," Billy stops at this point and can't get out another word, his face completely red.
"Don't stop there fucker! What happens next!" Dom practically shouted.
Billy took a few more breaths again, "he takes a twenty out of his wallet, hands it to Mikey and says 'here, do yourself a favor and buy the patch.'" Billy broke down at this point.
"You didn't!" Dom said, a smile creeping along his face while Elijah started laughing across from him.
"I don't think it was that funny," Orlando said and then started laughing himself. "Well, it's more funny when Bill here tells it. The guy was a tosser anywho. Don't know why I agreed to the date."
As the laughter at Orli's expense died down, Elijah looked over at Orlando. "You know, your love life sucks."
Orlando arched one eyebrow at Elijah before turning to Dom with one finger poised, "not one word about sucking or blow jobs from you either mate."
"He's right though," Billy said, "if you keep letting things like seeing a bloke you might be interested in rotting and dying a gruesome death get to you, you'll never get any. How are you to even find the one you're meant to be with if you keep letting the little things like seeing no future in it for the both of you stand in your way."
If Billy had been a cop talking a suicide jumper down off a roof, not only would the jumper be a splat on the pavement, he would have taken Billy with him.
"Well when you put it that way, I wonder what I could have possibly been fretting about," Orlando said. "Look, can we drop it? And where in the hell is our fucking food?"
"I'm just saying..."
"Please Billy, and the 'meant to be with?' Please enlighten me. How would you know who you're meant to be with? How would any of us? Hell, just tell me how would someone like Dom there know who he was meant to be with? Tell me oh Yoda..."
"Tell you, I will," Billy said, sitting smugly in his seat. "Dommie's a simple lad, really. The next impressive rack comes along and he's in love...until the next morning."
"Oi!" Dom protested. "Well, okay then."
"And we come right back to tits again," Elijah said.
"Don't we always?" Orlando said, trying to divert the conversation.
"You two have a serious mammophobia," Dom cut in.
"Mammo-what?!?" Orlando spluttered. "You made that word up!"
"Say that three times fast," Billy said to Dom.
"Don't," Orlando said, effectively cutting off Dom. "Don't even say it once."
"Sixty-one! Sixty-one!" the girl behind the counter shouted out.
"Finally!" Orlando exclaimed. All four got up from their chairs and went to retrieve their bags of food. Orlando walked back to his table and looked back at his friends when they failed to follow him. "Are any of you staying?"
"Gotta get back," Dom said. "Billy's my ride and Lij rode with us here."
"Oh, alright then," Orlando said sullenly.
Truth be told, he was glad to have a few moments to himself before he went back to work.
Orlando said his good-byes to his mates and went back to his table to eat his lunch in silence. He loved the guys but sometimes they would bring subjects up that he didn't want to confront.
Not even to himself.
He didn't want to think about the fact that every time he met someone, if he was even remotely interested in them, he would have a vision and the moment would be ruined.
He wasn't really upset about the whole Mike incident. The fact of the matter was, he really wasn't that keen on the man. Horny as hell maybe. But that was about it. The man was too full of himself.
As he sat eating his lunch, he heard someone approach his table and a throat clear. "Excuse me," the voice said. Ah, a fellow brit - a northerner to be exact. "Can I sit at this table with you?"
Orlando swallowed the last of his chili cheese fries, wiped his mouth and was about to tell the bloke that he wasn't interested in company when he looked up.
And any words he was about to form, once again, were lost.
Orlando was staring at the most lovely face he had ever seen. It wasn't lovely in the way most people thought - in people's myopic view of perfection. It was lovely in it's stubble-strewn chin, the close-cropped blond hair sticking out in tufts all over the head and the wrinkles that danced across the man's face.
Orlando wanted to trace each line, each and every crevice (not that any were that deep, except the ones that had been formed by smiling frequently). He wanted to know what is was that made the man laugh so that he procured those wonderful lines around his eyes and lips.
"You know," Orlando started, once he regained his composure, "there are other tables around the lobby."
The man smiled and Orlando watched the play of those lines on his face once again, "but then how could I talk to you from all the way over there?"
"I don't usually talk to strangers," Orlando flirted back.
"Name's Sean," the man said as he held out a hand.
"Orlando," Orlando replied as he shook Sean's hand.
"There, we're not strangers anymore."
"Then by all means, sit down," Orlando said as he pointed to the chair across from him.
Orlando looked at the man again. He knew he would be late for work. He would probably get a good chewing out by his boss.
But as he took in the man across from him, the man who started to slip into easy conversation about anything and everything, whose easy demeanor spoke volumes of the kind of man he was, Orlando didn't care.
Orlando sat and listened to the man talk, stealing glances at the way his face lit up when he spoke, the way his hands moved as he expressed a point.
The fact that the man's broad chest was littered with several seeping bullet wounds worried him a bit though.
This was the problem Orlando was always faced with.
This was what he hated about his life.
He would find someone he really, really liked, not that it happened all too frequently mind you, but it did happen and then the vision would come.
Though this vision, the one in front of him, was quite worrisome. And it was for two reasons.
The first reason was that he really, really liked Sean. True, he'd only known him for all of five minutes, but it was enough to let him know that this was a bloke he could very well get used to which would lead to other emotions he didn't care to confront at this precise moment in time.
However, if he had to choose just one word out of the whole English language to describe the man in front of him, it would be warm.
Plain and simple.
The man positively radiated warmth.
If Orlando was the kind of man, such as Viggo, who wrote poetry at the drop of a hat, he would write pages and pages comparing Sean to the sun.
But he could never write shite like that, so it was a moot point.
But for all intents and purposes, Sean was the sun, and Orlando was all too happy at the moment to bask in his warmth.
Which brought him right back to the second reason he was quite worried. He wouldn't get to bask for very long if his vision was correct.
He didn't always get a reading regarding time. He would get a reading from what they died of, as that was most visible on their personage, and sometimes how - quite detailed 'hows' at times.
But an actual ETA was never easily forthcoming.
Oh, to be sure, there would be a general sense of time. Sometimes it would be so far down the line that it could be considered decades.
Sometimes it would be apparent and Orlando could mark the time in years.
Sometimes it would be so blatant that it could be easily read as months.
And sometimes, sometimes, it would scream at him, telling him that this wasn't to be measured in months, but days.
Like it was screaming at him now.
So now that he knew from what, after all, seeping bullet wounds, nine to be precise, were a pretty good tell-tale sign, and he had an almost when, he needed just one more thing.
He needed to know was how.
"Come again?" Orlando asked, shaking himself out of his reverie.
"I said, I've been sitting here babbling for," Sean said as he looked down at his watch, "five minutes and I haven't got a clue as to whether I'm boring you or not." The smile on Sean's face belied his anxiousness.
Just as Orlando was to answer, the girl behind the counter shouted, "sixty-six! Sixty-six!"
"Wait a tick. That's my order," Sean said as he got up and went to retrieve his food. Sean walked back while Orlando avoided looking at the drips of blood left on the floor as Sean came back and sat down. "I love me a good cheeseburger," Sean said as he grabbed his burger and unwrapped it.
Orlando watched as Sean took a hearty bite out of the greasy cheeseburger, chewed the bite with what looked like a very satisfied expression on his face and then swallowed.
And then Sean did it all over again.
Orlando knew without a doubt that he could watch this man eat all day. The way Sean ate with such relish and focus told Orlando this was a man who wasn't afraid to eat in front of anyone and he enjoyed his food.
It was the type of portent that boded well for the way Sean would do certain other things in life as well.
"So tell me about you? What do you do?" Sean asked.
"Me?" Orlando shrugged while picking up a chili-drenched fry, "I work in the glamorous and fast-paced world of overnight delivery."
"Postal service?" Sean asked.
"I said 'overnight,' not 'fortnight.' Do I look like an extra off the set of Dawn of the Dead?" Orlando said affronted. "I work for Fed-Ex."
"Ah," Sean said and smiled. "Driver?"
"Behind the scenes. I stage the parcels so they can be delivered in an efficient and timely manner. Important job really. We all work as a team to get your important package to you on time."
"You believe that shite?" Sean asked with a smile.
"Not really. But they drill it into our heads enough while we drink this funny tasting Kool-aid," Orlando said and winked.
Sean laughed. "Ah, the latent affects of Fed-Ex indoctrination. Okay. What do you do for fun? When you're not being a cog in the wheel at Fed-ex that is?"
Orlando stopped chewing to regard the question. There were several ways for him to answer this:
I go out with my mates, where we drink ourselves stupid, watch Dom try to pick up women, watch Dom fail to pick up women, talk about absolutely everything and nothing at the same time while trying to avoid looking at people too much and we know it's time to go home when Lij starts vomiting.
I live with this fifty year old guru named Viggo who brought me and my mates here from London so he could teach me how to channel my 'gift.' Instead we usually end up watching reruns of Buffy on televisoin.
"You know, the usual thrill seeking type sports...snowboarding...bungee jumping... skydiving," Orlando shrugged.
"Whoa, whoa!" Sean laughed while wiping his mouth with a napkin. "Skydiving? You don't seem to take your own mortality into account, do you?"
Orlando smiled. He knew all about his mortality, thank you very much. "Not much of a thrill if there's no danger involved."
"Now you see, I could never do anything like skydiving. Hell, I can barely go up in a helicopter," Sean shivered as he said the last.
"You would be okay if you went skydiving," Orlando said with conviction.
"I don't think so lad. I'm too afraid of falling to me death," Sean said gravely.
"Well unless someone shot you on the way down, you wouldn't die from falling out of a plane." Orlando swallowed his fry when he realized he might have said too much.
Sean laughed. "You that sure I wouldn 't die up in one of those things, then?"
"I'm quite sure. As sure of that as I'm sure that I'm right-handed," Orlando nodded.
"And you know this for a fact?" Sean asked in amusement.
"Well for fuck's sake, I've been writing with that hand forever," Orlando said indignantly.
Sean chuckled again. "I meant about me being perfectly safe up in a plane. No one's ever died while skydiving?"
"Okay, well maybe they have, but I'm just saying. You shouldn't let the fear of death stop you from living," Orlando said. "We all die. It's inevitable."
"Death and taxes? The two sure things in life, yeah?" Sean said.
"Oh no," Orlando said as he put the burger down. "You can not pay your taxes - oh sure, you might go to jail but then again, you might not. You can avoid working at a high paying job or any job altogether, so you actually never pay any taxes. You can get one of those accountants who knows how to make every little thing a deduction or you can put your money in the Cayman Islands - may not be legal, but you can." Orlando took a sip of his soda. "You can cheat on your taxes. You can't cheat death. Death comes for all of us eventually. Believe me, I know."
"You're a bit dark, aren't ye lad?" Sean smiled. "I mean, for someone who works for Fed-Ex. Didn't think you had a chance to have come into contact with such morbid dealings working there and all."
"You'd be surprised how ugly people can get when they don't get their packages on time." Orlando smiled and picked his burger up to take a bite. "I'm just saying, it's something I know about. Death that is. You're born. You live. You die. For whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee, ya know?"
"John Donne," Sean smirked.
Orlando looked up. "I'm impressed. Most people would have said Hemingway. Are you sure you're a northerner?"
"Yes, well I have read a book or two in me life. We do have books up there," Sean chuckled.
"I knew you had books. Didn't know your lot knew what to do with 'em," Orlando winked.
"Oi!" Sean yelled, pretending to be affronted. "Don't think I didn't detect where you're originally from. I'd put you just about the Kent area."
Orlando nearly sprayed his soda on the table. "Who are you? Henry fucking Higgins!?!?" Orlando smiled as he put his soda back on the table. "Canterbury, to be precise. We are a rather easy lot to read, yeah?" Both men looked at each other and smiled. "And since we're discussing Hemingway..."
"We were?" Sean asked, his brows furrowed.
"Did you know he was a big game hunter?"
"Yes, yes I did," Sean said.
"Do you...um...hunt?" Orlando asked Sean. He was going to get to the bottom of the bullet wounds.
In fact, he was feeling the urgent need to find out more.
Because he would be damned if he were to let anything happen to this man, now that he had found him.
This wonderful, educated, witty man who radiated warmth with just his smile and ate his cheeseburger with such gusto.
"No," Sean said as he shook his head. "I don't hunt. Do you?" Sean laughed.
"No, don't hunt. Mind you, I'm not exactly a spokesman for PETA," and as Orlando said this, he held up his burger and took a huge bite out of it to prove his point, "but I could never find any enjoyment in hunting. So you've never hunted?"
"Nope. Can't says I have," Sean said.
"Do you ever plan on hunting?" Orlando asked.
"No," Sean laughed.
"So, if your best mate were to say to you, 'hey Sean. Come hunting with me this weekend, it'll be fun,' you wouldn't."
"I don't think Eric, that's me best mate, would ever say that, but if he did, the answer would still be 'no.'"
"So you wouldn't go hunting with him just to be polite?"
"Is this leading somewhere?" Sean asked taking a sip of his soda.
"So say," Orlando said as he readjusted himself in the hard plastic chair, "the Vice President were to ask you to go hunting..."
"Yeah, would you say no to him?" Orlando asked.
"Well I don't know the bloke personally, but I could say with utmost certainty, and barring it being a national security risk, I would decline the offer."
"Well that's a relief," Orlando sighed.
"Do you know what I could predict with utmost certainty?" Sean asked, a wicked smile evident on that wonderfully expressive face.
"What?" Orlando smiled back.
"Instead of hunting this weekend," Sean said as he shook his head and laughed, "I would love to cook you dinner. Maybe some cornish game gens."
"That you plan on purchasing from the grocery store..."
"Yes, that I would purchase from a grocery store." Sean stopped, put his napkin down on the table and looked directly at Orlando. "May I be blunt?"
"If you knew my mates, you'd know that was a rhetorical question," Orlando said.
Orlando looked at Sean as the man leaned over the table so only the two of them were privy to what Sean said next. "I would love to cook dinner for you and then do you know what I would love to do after?"
Orlando couldn't mistake the wicked gleam that lit up Sean's eyes as they narrowed intently at him. "What?"
"I would love to fuck you on every available surface in the house."
"Would this be before or after dessert?"
"You would be dessert."
Orlando had to shift in his chair. The short amount of time he had for his lunch break had long since past. He was going to be so late for work at this point.
If he could remember where he worked that is.
It was rather hard to keep his mind on such things while Sean was looking at him in that way.
This wonderful, witty, sexy, forward, honest man wanted to fuck him senseless.
And feed him too.
And what was that terrible smell all of a sudden?
"So," Orlando swallowed, "when would this dinner and a show be? And do you smell something?"
"I was too forward, wasn't I?" Sean asked sheepishly. "I told Eric that that wouldn't work for me. I just wanted...oh Eric! What are you doing here mate?" Sean said while he looked at a point just behind Orlando.
"I can see you're taking my advice," a deep voice behind Orlando said.
"I want you to meet my best mate and co-worker, Eric," Sean said to Orlando. Orlando could hear the man moving from behind him and as Orlando put his napkin down, he looked up to address the newest addition to their table. He had to keep his eyes from popping out of his head as he took in the large figure before him.
"Hi, I'm Eric. Nice to meet you. Orlando is it?"
Orlando looked at the hand that was being offered to him to shake.
At least, it resembled a hand.
The thing standing in front of him thrust his hand out again, as if Orlando had missed it being there to begin with.
Orlando was always taught to be polite by his mum and this was no exception. He extended his hand slowly, albeit reluctantly, and took Eric's hand in his.
The feeling of what used to be flesh crunched beneath his fingers as the man gripped his hand in a strong hold.
After Orlando pulled his hand back, he wiped his hand on his jeans, trying to be discreet while doing so.
For you see, Orlando didn't just see his visions, he felt them. They were as real to him as they would be to the person when they eventually met their end. Every sensory function was included in the vision and that, unfortunately, included smell.
And smell them he did. From the coppery, stale smell of blood to the putrid and acrid smell of rotting flesh and decay.
But nothing, nothing could ever compare to the smell of burned flesh.
"Nice to meet you," Orlando managed to get out, trying to avoid looking at the thing standing in front of him.
"So what did I miss?" Eric said as he sat down at the table. Orlando couldn't stop himself. He glanced up at the man while Eric turned to Sean and smiled. "Do tell," he said as he leaned in and nudged Sean.
He didn't know what this Eric bloke normally looked like but at the moment his smile was churning his stomach. Half of his lips were missing and his teeth were exposed, turning the smile into a ghoulish sneer.
There wasn't a piece of flesh that wasn't black and charred. The only clear body part left on the man before him were the whites of his eyes.
Orlando swallowed again and looked back at Sean.
That was better.
Except, of course, for the seeping bullet wounds which were slowly spreading across his chest.
"Well Eric," Sean continued, "I was just about to find out if Orlando was going to join me for dinner at mine and then you came along. By the way," Sean said irritably, "why are you here anyway?"
"We need you back at the ranch."
"Bollocks! Can't the lot of you tossers even let your mate finish his bloody cheeseburger!?" Sean said in a fit of annoyance.
"I don't make the rules," Eric shrugged.
"You two work together," Orlando said coming out of his daze, just now remembering what Sean had said when he introduced his friend. "What exactly is it you two do?"
"We're firefighters," Sean said.
"Firefighters?" Orlando asked dumbfounded as he picked up a fry and dragged it through some of his chili and popped said fry into his mouth.
"Oh, that looks so gross," Eric shuddered.
Orlando scoffed. This coming from the crispy fried fireman.
"Yeah...you know...we...um...fight fires," Sean said slowly. "Well, we try to put em out anyway, ya know?"
"Oh." Oh Orlando repeated in his head. "Well, that explains it," Orlando said as he looked at Eric.
But it didn't explain Sean.
"Explains what?" Sean asked, wiping his mouth with a napkin.
"Him," Orlando said as he pointed to Eric. "So you're a firefighter too?" Orlando asked Sean.
"If we're co-workers and I'm a firefighter, than ergo, Sean is one too. Bit slow, innit he?" Eric laughed. "Sorry, I'm just having a bit of fun with you," Eric said and winked.
Orlando wished Eric would stop making any more sudden movements with any part of his body. The crunching sound was making him feel more ill at ease.
"Sorry, it's just that it makes sense that you're a firefighter, I mean you being so bur...big. So big." It seemed like every time Orlando opened his mouth, it conspired against him to make sure it said the most moronic thing it could possibly come up with. It was just that he was so distracted with the two things that had been presented to him in the last few minutes.
The first was the most obvious - that being the burnt thing sitting across from him. The smell was really starting to get to him.
Viggo said the only way for him to control his visions was for him to not be distracted by the vision itself. Viggo also said that the vision would subside only when he wasn't paying attention. Viggo said it was like the invisible man who could only become invisible when nobody was looking.
Viggo was always saying shit.
It was after that bit of wisdom that Orlando yelled at Viggo for being a hack guru and then threw his DVD copy of Mystery Men away.
Then there was the second thing that was starting to bother him since Eric had come along and was just now starting to catch up with him. Why would a fireman die from being shot anyway?
"Did you hear that mate?" Eric laughed. "I'm big enough to be a firefighter, but you're not." Eric continued to laugh.
"Is this the part where I should start making jokes about your cock to cover up me inadequacy?" Sean laughed. "I didn't know you needed to be giant size like Eric here to be a fireman."
"Ah, I love it when you use the words 'giant' and 'my cock' in a sentence," Eric smiled.
"No, that's not what I meant," Orlando said trying to back-peddle. Way to go Bloom. Just keep insulting the guy you've shown the most interest in in years. "I meant, you just look more like the type of guy that doesn't work at a job...like that. You looked more like...that is, I didn't think you were a policeman...nothing so plebeian as that," Orlando continued to babble. "But something more glamorous like...I dunno...you look like maybe you could work for some super secret agency. Like the CIA!" Orlando exclaimed excitedly.
Both men laughed. "No, just a firefighter," Sean said with a lazy grin.
"You're not just saying that because if I knew what you really did for a living, you'd have to kill me, right?" Orlando asked hesitantly.
"No, I can say with utmost certainty that I'm just a fireman," Sean laughed. "A fireman who doesn't hunt."
Eric clapped his hands together while laughing. "I'm sorry mate. It's just the thought of you in one of those tuxes trying to act like James Bond..."
"Oi! I could!" Sean said indignantly. Sean turned to look at Orlando intently. "The name's Bean. Sean Bean," Sean said in his best come hither voice while arching one eyebrow.
Orlando forgot for one sweet moment that the wonderful man across from him was going to die in a few days and the other man across from him was the walking poster child for why kids shouldn't play with matches.
And he laughed.
And that's when it happened.
Sometimes Viggo was right.
Orlando looked at the two men as the visions faded away. Sean was now wearing a crisp white linen shirt, blood free. And then there was Eric - tall, well built and with the darkest eyes he had every seen on anyone.
Eric was hot.
Eric was an incredibly hot fireman who personified the saying, 'He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.'
But as hot as Eric was, he wasn't Sean, Orlando thought with a secretive grin.
"So, Sean, has anyone ever, you know, shot a fireman in the line of duty?"
Eric and Sean looked at Orlando as if he had just grown a third arm out the side of his head. "No, Orlando, I mean since, we're...um...usually trying to save people from burning buildings and the such, no one's ever shot at us. You know, it would be considered counter-productive."
"And rude," Eric said as he nodded his head.
"So you're saying, no one's ever shot a fireman because they were trying to save them or something?" Orlando repeated.
Now they looked at him as if the hand on the third arm was giving them the finger.
Eric laughed. "Why would anyone shoot at us for trying to save them?"
"People are funny that way," Orlando shrugged.
"So tell me, has anyone ever shot a Fed-Ex driver for not bringing them their package on time?" Sean asked trying not to laugh.
"No, they haven't but there was an urban legend that made the rounds. It was told to all the drivers when they first started their route. You know, 'did you ever hear the one about the driver who got shot because he showed up at 11:00 instead of by 10:30?'" Orlando said, lowering his voice. "Most of the drivers shrugged it off as the employees taking the piss with the new guy but let me tell you, it scared the shite out of some of the newbies. I remember when we got a memo at all the offices to stop telling the story when they had one poor kid lock himself in a bathroom when he refused to deliver a letter that was gonna be fifteen minutes late."
Eric and Sean laughed. "That's horrible," Sean said.
"So no one at Fed-Ex has ever been killed in the line of duty I take it?" Eric asked. "See? I can play this game too."
"Oh, I didn't say that. I just said no one's ever been shot. There's this story...oh how does it go?" Orlando said while trying to remember.
"Another urban legend?" Eric asked.
"Nope. It's true. So there was this driver, over in South Dakota, and the way I heard it, he was having an affair with this banker's wife. She would send a package to herself...overnight it to make sure it got there by 10:30 the next day...and the minute it came, wham!" Orlando said while slapping his hand on the table. "They were going at it like bunnies."
"Why do people say that?" Eric asked.
"Say what?" Sean asked in bewilderment.
"Bunnies. They were going at it like bunnies. Bunnies are cute. I can't think of them as 'going at it.' Now monkeys! Monkeys I could imagine 'going at it,'" Eric said while pointing his finger at Sean.
"Bugs Bunny was a bunny. I could see him going at it," Orlando said.
"Well thank you for that image Orlando," Eric said in all seriousness. "Now I have a clear picture in my head of Bugs Bunny bending Daffy Duck over a log and giving him a good, solid fucking."
"I think we've gotten off the track here. I want to hear the story," Sean said looking at Eric annoyingly.
"Does this happen often?" Orlando asked Sean.
"All the bloody time," Sean muttered.
"He'd get along great with my mates. So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. So they were going at it like...monkeys," Orlando snickered. "It was said they were doing this for about three months. The driver got his rocks off, the wife got her little romance in the morning and Fed-Ex was getting steady business as she sent these letters," Orlando said in air quotes, "overnight practically everyday. It only took about fifteen minutes out of his day...standard break time really so it was like a win-win-win situation for everyone involved...except the husband of course. So he comes home early one day..."
"Why?" Eric asked.
"Fucked if I know! Maybe he was sick. Maybe he forgot some important papers. Maybe it was to confront his wife with their inordinately large Fed-Ex bill. So he walks in and he hears noises coming from the living room and there they are. The driver is giving it real good to his wife."
"What happens next?" Eric whispered.
"I thought I'd leave the story off there," Orlando said sarcastically. Eric groaned while Sean nudged him again.
"Go on lad," Sean said.
"So he goes completely insane," Orlando said as he leaned over the table to relate the rest of the tale. Sean and Eric leaned in closer. "He takes an axe..."
"Where was the bloody axe? In the entryway?" Sean asked incredulously.
"Why do you keep asking me as if I was there? Maybe he snuck into the garage when they were otherwise occupied and then snuck back in between the 'Oh God you're so tight baby' and 'I'm cumming, I'm cumming!' So he chops them up," Orlando emphasized the point by pumping his hand up and down to simulate a chopping motion. "And do you want to know what that bat-shite crazy fucker did after that?"
"He jacked off using the axe?" Eric shrugged, watching Orlando's hand motion.
Orlando looked down at his hand and stopped, then he leaned in again. "He packaged all the body parts individually and shipped them via UPS to the local sheriff's department. Bit of a 'fuck you' to Fed-Ex. Can you imagine how much that lot cost to send?" Orlando said indignantly as he leaned back in his chair and looked at the dumbfounded expressions on Sean and Eric's faces.
"Yes, because at times such as those, one should remember the truly important things," Eric said, his tongue planted in cheek. "So," Eric said as he turned to Sean, trying to change the subject, "what was this I heard earlier about dinner and fucking, my two very favorite things?"
"Yes, I must admit, I was rather intrigued by your offer. Is it still standing?" Orlando said, the corners of his mouth turning up. Without turning his gaze from Sean, Orlando said, "and please Eric, no cock jokes."
"It's like he's known you all your life mate," Sean said to Eric.
"It's kinda scary," Eric said. "Not as scary as that story, mind you..."
"Yes, the offer's still good. How 'bout tomorrow night? At my home?" Sean asked, that damned smile warming Orlando from within.
And in that one moment, Orlando stood by what he said.
Sean was the sun.
And like the sun, Sean, he knew without a doubt, could be the center of his world.
He could very easily be the one bright spot in Orlando's world - a world that had been plagued full of death and decay since Orlando could remember - a world where visions haunted every hour of his day.
Orlando decided that Sean would most definitely be a part of his life - if he lived long enough, that is. And a long life would be in Sean's future if Orlando had anything to do with it.
"Yes," Orlando said a bit too quickly. "Yes. I can meet you at your home. Where do you live?"
"The Los Feliz area."
"Over by the observatory?" Orlando asked.
"Yeah. Do you like star gazing too?" Sean asked.
"Yeah, but only at night," Orlando said and winked.
"This is all very cute but we gotta get back to the ranch Beanie," Eric said. "Give Orlando your address and let's motor."
Sean wrote his address, phone number and a very detailed map quickly on back of the greasy bag. "Six o'clock okay?" Sean asked as he handed Orlando the map.
"Perfect," Orlando said. "Should I bring anything?"
"No," Sean shook his head. "Just you."
Orlando shivered at the intense look Sean delivered his way.
"Okay, up we go," Eric said as he grabbed Sean by the arm. "Well, Orlando, it's been...entertaining and informative as well. Makes me look at Fed-Ex a little differently now."
And with that, Eric led Sean out of the restaurant, Orlando watching as the two men made their way out the door, Sean looking back once more.
Orlando folded the bag, tucked it safely away into his messenger bag, slung the bag over his shoulder and made his way out of the restaurant.
As Orlando walked outside, the warm California sunshine hitting his face, he realized something quite alarming.
The sun didn't feel quite as warm as before.
I love feedback.
Also, there are no urban legends or ghoulish stories such as the one I described above linked with Fed-Ex.
I made it all up.
I mean no disrespect to Fed-Ex in any way.
They've always delivered my packages on time.