"So, it's fully furnished, two bedrooms, the kitchen is kinda small but I'm sure it will be fine, and remember –"
"The bathroom door locks are questionable so be cautious, I know, don't worry Maggie." The building owner huffs and shakes her head, smiling.
"You also have a roommate. Remember that too?" Kirsten nods her head, assuring Maggie that she is cool with everything. She doesn't know who the roommate is, but she assumes that it's just going to be Camille, the girl who she shares her shift at the restaurant with who was complaining about needing to move.
"Everything is great, Maggie. Thank you for letting me stay here." Her boss who owns the two apartments above the restaurant was gracious enough to let her rent out one of the spaces.
"Well, if that's all, call if you need anything and I'll see you when your shift starts." Maggie hands the young blond the key to her new home, and then heads back downstairs.
With some struggle, Kirsten manages to lug all of her bags inside, and exhaling a deep breath she plops the last of her things in the middle of the living room and takes a look around. There are windows along the left wall of the living room and a kitchen tucked in the back. There is a hallway off to the other side of the room, three doors in its path, one of which Kirsten is hoping leads to a bathroom.
She is regretting the amount of water she drank that morning.
Her feet lead her to the first door, and she sees an empty bedroom. She automatically shuts it, and moves to the second door. Her eyes, faced down, see white tile floors and her success clicks in her head... But it only registers for a second.
"Who the hell are you?"
When her eyes roam up, they are greeted with the sight of a shirtless man with a towel wrapped around his waist. He's dripping wet, fresh out of a shower, and looking at her like she's absolutely lost her mind.
It takes a lot of will power to keep her eyes on his face, especially when there's an intriguing scar down the length of his chest.
"I live here, and I should be asking you that!" She fires back. He reels back, like something has hit him, and his hand raises to run through his dripping hair.
"You're the roommate." He says. She shifts, eyeing him questioningly.
"Are you one of Camille's latest? In that case, where is she so I can go calmly tell her to never bring her fuck buddies over again?" Kirsten asks, remembering how often Camille liked to mention her latest sensual ventures to their coworkers while on their shifts. She didn't think it would be this bad, though.
"What? No, I'm not– I live here, I work downstairs. Maggie mentioned there'd be a roommate." He's this close to attempting a flirtatious comment – Maggie mentioned there'd be a roommate, but she didn't mention that the roommate was so beautiful – but he doesn't. He knows better.
"You work downstairs too?" Maggie owns the restaurant downstairs, and though it's always packed it's a smaller venue, so the wait staff isn't very prodigious. Even so, in that second Kirsten comes to the conclusion that she isn't constantly working so there are people who she'll not know, not having the same shift as herself.
"Yeah, I'm on mornings and early afternoon. I've never seen you, though..."
"I'm on late afternoons and dinner. I've never seen you, either." They stare at each other for a brief moment, trying to take in their new situation, before Kirsten awkwardly excuses herself and starts unpacking.
What the hell was Maggie thinking?
"So... Any reason you chose to put me in an apartment with a male roommate? Where'd Camille go, I thought she was moving?" Kirsten interrogates her boss during her shift the next day, wiping up the mess that a big family left behind.
"Camille is staying where she is for now, she says she started flirting with one of her neighbors so she isn't ready to pack up just yet. I didn't think it would matter that you had a roommate of the opposite sex – I mean, neither of you could have independently paid the rent if I gave one of you the other apartment."
"Yeah, but– I don't know. It's just weird, I mean, we don't even know each other." She finishes her last few swipes on the table with the wet rag and looks up at Maggie, who's smiling.
"Well, maybe you should."
The blond employee gives her mysterious boss a questioning glare, and Maggie walks away without another word.
A few days later, Kirsten jolts awake to the sound of whistling, and groans. He's awake already? She thinks. He's in the bathroom, doing God knows what, and she can hear him because the bathroom is a connector to each of their bedrooms.
Already awake, she throws herself out of bed, and busts into the bathroom. He's playing with his hair, running his hands through it and whatnot, and she frowns.
"Can you save the showtoons till your out the door? I'm not a morning person, as I think you can clearly tell."
"Well good morning to you too, Sunshine. Sorry I woke you up, Maggie just needs me to run some errands so I'm up and at 'em a little earlier than usual. Since you're awake, you can eat the rest of the scrambled eggs I made, and I'll get you some coffee before heading out." Kirsten's green eyed roommate grins at her with a painful amount of joy on his face as he slides past her – getting a little too close than she'd normally be comfortable with – and gets set up in the kitchen.
"... You can cook?" Is all she can say, hurriedly following him.
"Yeah, my grandma taught me. I'm the chef downstairs during my shift. By how shocked you sound, I'm guessing that either you thought I was some lousy frozen pizza frat boy or you can't cook yourself, so it shocks you when the people around you can."
She stands and stares, slightly in shock that he guessed both reasons that she was surprised he could cook.
What? He plays with his hair a lot for not being some kind of douche-y Californian surfer dude.
"Um, yeah, something like that."
He's practically dancing around in the small space as he gets everything together, adding a little cheese to her scrambled eggs after they warm up, as per request from herself. She fights the sudden urge to grin for no reason while watching him place the plate in front of her. The mug of coffee – black, no cream or sugar – is barely in her grasp before her roommate throws a hoodie on top of his flannel and is racing towards the door.
"Gotta go, have a decent day, see ya tonight!" Is what he yells before the door slams shut. She's almost at a loss for words, realizing that she lives with an appearingly decent person, and looks down at her coffee. The steam rises and hits her face spot on.
"Have a decent day, see you tonight!"
She turns around and takes a large bite of the warm plate of eggs, making an unidentifiable sound at how delicious they taste.
"You too, Cameron. Thank you for the breakfast."
"Okay... 14. Favorite movie."
"Oh God, Stretch, you're really hitting me hard here. I don't have one."
The roommates laugh, drinking wine after a late evening meal of Chinese takeout. They had been eating together most nights for the past month, and if her shift ends by the time he's asleep, he always makes sure there's a little of his dinner leftover for her when she gets back. Tonight, her shift ended a little early do to a quick closing when Maggie was called about her husband, an LAPD detective, who was shot while on a case. Luckily, business was dying down and there wasn't a large crowd to usher out.
"You're kidding. Of all of those movies you've seen, and I know you've seen a lot, there isn't one that just grabs you?"
"Nope." Kirsten giggles profusely at how adamant he is with his answer, and the light in his eyes dances when she laughs, something she's done more than usual since moving in with him. She doesn't see him looking at her. "Okay, okay, moving on. 15, what do you want to do with your life?"
"Come on, you and I both know we aren't keen on the idea of being waiters our whole life when we have other passions. What's your plan?"
The young woman sighs, and takes a large gulp from her glass of wine. She twirls her fingers around the rim when she answers.
"I don't know, honestly. I love computers and coding, and I'll probably end up doing that at some major tech company, but... It feels like there's so much more I could be doing, you know?"
"I completely know the feeling. I'm a neuroscientist, and while the job options I have in that field are great, I feel like there's something that's not clicking."
The pair smiles to themselves, the moment of relation touching each other more than they had anticipated.
Kirsten clears her throat, "Here's to not knowing what we're going to do with our lives."
"I'll cheers to that."
"Wait, he's Jewish?"
"Are you guys celebrating Hanukkah?"
"Does that mean you have to get him eight gifts?"
"If you guys get married, are you going to convert?"
"Stop, please." Kirsten groans, and everyone shamefully shuts their mouths. "He's partially Jewish, his grandma raised his mom Jewish but his mom didn't raise him like that. He mainly participates in selective Jewish holidays and traditions to appease his grandmother, otherwise he's celebrating Christmas. Hanukkah is over, anyway. We aren't getting married, I'm not converting. Does that answer everything?"
Kirsten's co-workers frowned at the last part of her rant, specifically the part about not marrying her roommate.
"Well, if I'm not going to be a bridesmaid anytime soon, at least tell us what you got him."
Her face told them everything, and gasps were heard throughout the group.
"Kirsten I-don't-know-your-middle-name Clark. You're telling me it's December 17th and you haven't gotten your adorable, sweet, hunk-of-a-roommate anything?" Camille practically screeches, before burying her head in her hands. "Good God, and I thought I was bad at relationships..."
"We aren't in a relationship!" The blond yells, consequently getting glared at by nearby customers. Camille just rubs her lips together, trying to fight a sly smile, and just when Kirsten thinks she's never been as embarrassed as right now, her green eyed housemate comes strolling into the restaurant. Camille gives Kirsten a 'this is your karma, go talk to him' glance, and walks back to the kitchen to grab some orders for one of her tables.
Kirsten walks up to Cameron, and chooses to ignore the way his face lights up when he sees her, like she's just made his day better.
She sits him and the friends he's with (Linus, Tim, and Alex as they introduced themselves as) at a table in her section, as per request from Cameron.
And by the way his friends keep looking at him funny and nudging him with their elbows, she feels like there's something going on that she's unaware of, but she doesn't say anything about it.
"Merry Christmas, Gumdrop!" Is the very first thing that Kirstem hears when she exits her bedroom on the morning of December 25th. She easily identifies it as Cameron's voice, coming from the kitchen, so she follows it and sees him bent over the stove. A warm smile grows on her face.
"Merry Christmas... Santa?" She internally cringes at the completely lame nickname that came out of her mouth. It was so bad that he turns around, and she sees the spectacles that cover his eyes. Her heart beats a little harder against her ribcage at the sudden discovery, and it sends an ache through her chest, trying to tell her something that she won't acknowledge.
"Santa? That's the best you got?"
"Well forgive me, Mr. Nickname Generator. Would you rather be Scrooge? Elf? Or, I could go a different direction and call you Latke. Whatever works for you." His lips form a smirk and a laugh escapes him before he turns back to whatever's cooking on the stovetop.
"If you call me Latke, I'll be forced to move out," he says with amusement. She smiles and giggles, and hops up on the counter next to the stove. Getting a better glimpse at what he's cooking, she sees it's crepes, and she involuntarily drools.
"I didn't know you wore glasses," she says, a gentler tone in her voice, eyes roaming his (very attractive) face. He looks up at her, and she's met with the piercing emerald color that his eyes just have.
"You haven't really had the opportunity to see me wear them. I only wear them early in the morning right when I wake up, or after I've gotten ready for bed and have taken my contacts out." His head angles itself back down to the pan, eyes leaving her.
"That's a shame." He tenses when she says it. "Because you look really, really good in them."
His eyes find her face again, and they're glowing. She feels happy that she made him feel good about it.
"Thanks, Sugarplum." A moment of silence passes before he clears his throat. "So, do we have whipped cream or do we have to go take some from downstairs?"
"Well, Maggie would get arrested by her own husband for a double homicide if we even tried to take anything from downstairs. I'm pretty sure we have it." Cameron pauses, a look on his face like he genuinely took note of her comment. He peers into the refrigerator, and to his relief, pulls out a tub of Cool Whip. "It's our lucky day," Kirsten muses, with a smile on her face.
They spend the morning together, eating a few too many crepes and opening their gifts from each other. Cameron got Kirsten a pair of earrings that he said he remembered her mentioning; and she got him every movie she's heard him quote on DVD. And while she fights the disappointment of him going to his mom's for dinner, he returns with ambrosial leftovers that pair perfectly with another late night meal.
The next morning, Kirsten jolts awake to the sound of somebody coughing up an organ.
It doesn't take long for her stomach to sink, and realize that it's Cameron.
She hears his groan of discomfort in between coughs, before he goes at it again. She flings her comforter back and hoists herself out of her bed, walking straight to the kitchen to get started some tea that Cameron loves.
While the water warms up on the stove, she tip toes into his room, finding messy bedsheets and a sea of tissues on the floor. She creeps around the crumpled Kleenex and when she sits on the edge of his bed, she finally gets his attention.
"Stretch–" cough, "go back to–" cough cough, "bed. You're gonna get–" cough cough cough cough, "sick."
"No." Immediately, he glares at her. "You sound like you're coughing up a lung. I'm getting you some tea, and I'll dig up some medicine in the bathroom cabinet, and I'll–"
"Matzo," he croaks. Her face twists into one of confusion.
"Matzo ball... Soup," he concludes. She nods her head, finally understanding. "Fridge," he strains, and she runs his fingers along his forehead brushing back his messy hair, looking at him gently. The coughing stops for that brief moment that neither of them can explain.
She runs back to the kitchen and arranges the tea, getting the matzo ball soup into the pot and heating while going back to Cameron's room, but not before sifting through their bathroom cabinets and finding their cough medicine and a thermometer. She enters his room again while he's in the middle of a coughing fit, so she rushes to give him the tea. He accepts it like it's water after years in the desert.
"Thank you, Princess," he sighs with relief. She sits back down closer to him, filling a spoon with the blood red cough syrup and he chokes it down in between gulps of tea. She runs her fingers through his hair again, and slides the thermometer in his mouth.
"101.8... Oh God." She instantly starts ripping the comforter and sheets off of him, despite him insisting that he's freezing. After that, she hurries herself back into the kitchen to dish up some soup, returning to his room in time for another coughing attack. He gratefully accepts the bowl she places in his hands, and sighs when the heat floods his hands. "You good?" Kirsten asks.
"For now, yeah," he responds, releasing a small cough after, but nothing big. Her heart squeezes in her chest, and before she knows it she walks around to the other side of his bed and crawls on, grabbing the remote to his television.
"So. What do you wanna watch?"
"Kirsten, you're going to get—"
"I'll be fine, Cam. But right now, I want to distract you. So what do you want to watch?"
When an excited grin grows on Cameron's face, Kirsten knows she's in for something.
"Well, Stretch, I'm about to introduce you to the Doctor."
By New Years Eve, Cameron is already starting to feel better, and he feels it when he wakes up that morning.
Or maybe it's the blonde who is curled up next to him, with her hand clutching his wrist. Every night that he'd been sick, she would make him soup and tea, crawl into bed with him, and they'd watch Doctor Who until they fell asleep, meaning she slept in his bed every night.
And he can't deny how much he enjoys it. He almost enjoys it too much.
He loves it.
"Hey, Sleeping Beauty," he whispers, rubbing her arm. She lets out a little whimper, and his heart kicks so hard in his chest it hurts. Her eyelids flutter open and her gaze falls on him.
"How do you feel?" She mumbles.
"A lot better. Thank you."
"For getting me better. You've helped me out a ton, I think I'll be able to go to work today." Kirsten snaps up, shaking her head.
"No, you need to rest, Cam—"
"I'm good, Stretch, thanks to you." He smiles softly at her, and she smiles back, flopping back down on the bed. When he's about to get out, covers thrown back, he feels a tug on his arm.
"If you feel anything, come back up, promise?" He brings his hand up to hold hers.
"So, are you guys gonna kiss at midnight?" Camille muses when Kirsten is working later that day.
"I'm not even going to comment on how delusional you are," Kirsten responds while collecting empty plates and bowls.
"But Honey, you two have been living together for what feels like forever. And you guys would be so cute, if you would just give it a chance—"
"Camille," a different voice joins the conversation and the girls see that it's Maggie. "Give the girl a break."
"Thank you," Kirsten says, but Maggie jumps in again.
"The denial will wear off," she smirks, and Camille does a small fist into the air to represent her victory. Kirsten ignores them best she can, gathering the last of the dishes and walking away.
"What's for dinner tonight, Doc?" Kirsten grins as she enters the apartment, seeing her fluffy haired roommate bouncing around in their small kitchen.
"Spaghetti," he yells back, just in time for her to hop onto the kitchen counter, like always.
"God, I love living with you. A full meal every night, a clean apartment..." She's smiling wider than usual, and neither he nor she knows why. Her mind wanders to what Camille said, about them being cute, about them kissing at midnight—Kirsten watches him while he cooks, with the glasses perched on his nose, and tries to calm her heart down as it beats faster and faster the longer she stares at him.
Kissing at midnight doesn't sound bad. Kissing this extremely handsome, green eyed, glasses-wearing, amazing guy at midnight doesn't sound bad at all.
He looks up from the pot of noodles he's stirring and locks eyes with her, and she feels her cheeks turn red like sauce he has heating on the burner next to the noodles. The corners of his mouth turn up.
"When you put it like that, Sunshine, what do you do around here?" He smirks. She rolls her eyes.
"I do the dishes and vacuum," she says proudly. A laugh escapes his mouth and she hits him on the shoulder. "Fine. I'll leave you to do the dishes tonight," she hums while hopping off of the counter.
She heads into her room and gets changed into some leggings and a t-shirt, and when she comes back the noodles are drying in the sink and Cameron is getting some wine glasses out. They sit at their small table with huge plates of food, toasting to the new year.
"This is the best last meal of the year I've ever had," Kirsten groans after she's a few bites into her spaghetti.
Through small talk and wine, the roomies spend two hours at their dining table with plates cleaned of their spaghetti. When Kirsten jumps up to do the dishes, Cameron gets up too, saying that he thinks they should celebrate the new year with some dessert.
When he pulls out a tub of mint chocolate chip and a tub of vanilla ice cream, she squeals and practically jumps on him, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Those are my favorite flavors," she whispers in his ear, as he slowly brings his arms to enclose her waist. She can't see the dopey grin on his face, but it's there. "Thank you."
"Anything for you, Stretch," he whispers back, and just as he's about to shut his eyes to catalogue exactly how it feels to have her this close, she pulls away and gets out bowls for the both of them.
With scoops of ice cream and filled wine glasses, they decide to go to Cameron's room to watch (but really make fun of) whatever New Years special they have on television. They make themselves comfortable in his bed, and shovel ice cream into their mouths. Kirsten drops her head on his shoulder.
"This is nice," she says, smiling to herself. Cameron blushes.
"Yeah— Yeah it is." He lightly brushes his hand against hers, not wanting to be too bold but also wanting to subtly send some kind of message. He was following her lead on this one, and they seem to be on the same page when he feels her hand slip into his, and he only tightens his hand around hers. "I'm really glad that Maggie set this up."
"Yeah, she's quite the matchmaker, isn't she?" Kirsten asks, lifting her head and making eye contact with Cameron. The people in New York on the TV scream:
Five! Four! Three! Two!
Before they get to one, Cameron reaches forward and presses his lips against hers.
He's kissing her.
It doesn't take long for her to process his actions before she brings her hand to his neck, pulling him closer, responding. He grabs her hip, and before he knows it, she's straddling him, tangling her fingers in his hair, and he's running his hands up and down her back, the thought of how she tastes like mint and chocolate on replay in his head. She's thinking of how he tastes like vanilla, to match his seemingly permanent scent, and how she loves how soft and smooth his hair is, and how she could do this for the rest of her life and not get tired of it.
"Maggie's good," Cameron whispers in between heated kisses.
"Really good," she says back. They don't have sex, but the night ahead of them involves more kissing than average roommates or friends share.
This night becomes the first night she spends in his bed with him not being sick. And it's certainly not her last.