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Our Green Palace

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“Hey, Raj,” I greet him first as he walks into the dome. I’ve already been sitting there first, waiting for him this time.

 

“Hi, Leonard. Sorry I’m a little late this time. My chauffeur got us stuck in traffic. Hope that’s okay…”

 

“Oh, uh, yeah, no,of course,” I stumble and get up to talk to him. I’m playing with my hands. I’m red. Probably sweaty.

 

“Anyways, I was wondering if you’d like to come with me. I haven’t brought gin this time-- maybe that was not the right idea--but I thought maybe you and I could get out of here and I could take you around my side of the town. I could show you around, or we could go anywhere really. My chauffeur is in on it, he’s happy to take me anywhere. Him and I have special arrangements.”

 

“Oh, wow.” That’s a lot to take in, but that sounds good! No sitting around, no awkwardness. I can just look ahead in the car and we will have things to do, things around us to talk about. “Absolutely,” I say.

 

He smiles, “cool. Might want to grab your jacket,” he says, nodding at the flimsy cardigan I have lying on the floor where I was sat waiting.

 

“Oh, that? That’s my cardigan. But, yeah, I should probably pick that up,” I say, turning around to pick up one of my absolute gems from the floor. As I pick up, I turn back to Rajesh and we head out.

 

On our way to the car, I ask him, “How come you and your chauffeur are so tight then?”

 

“Oh, I don’t know if I can tell you that…” he mysteriously tells me with a playful smirk.

 

I raise an eyebrow at him inquisitively, but don’t ask.

 

We get in the car and Rajesh tells him, “Hey buddy, to my father’s place first please. And then the planetarium.” And we start driving.





*



“Okay, okay. Now please tell me your little secret with your chauffeur,” I ask him with cold fog coming out from my mouth as I speak wrapped up in the cold winter’s night, lit up by the stars and planets Raj just told me all about, and just made a ridiculous joke about to kill all the beauty of what he just told me.

 

“I would tell you,” he begins with the most ridiculous smirk, and I know what’s coming and I cut him off before he can even say it….

 

“But then I’d have to kill you,” I say in unison with him and he bursts out laughing.

 

“Hey!” He hits me, but it doesn’t hurt.

 

“Look Raj. I mean, look at me. Do I not look like the kind of guy who spends all his time reading all the books there and knows all the cultural references and could also deduce exactly what a guy like you with a ridiculous smirk like that was about to say…”

 

He just stares at me. He keeps staring.

 

And then he just erupts with laughter, practically crying. And I shake my head and try to hide the grin. Although, for once I can actually laugh at myself. I mean what did I even just say. Raj doesn’t know Sheldon, but now that I think about it I sounded like him and that just makes it even funnier for me.

 

“Hey, hey, anyways…” he says, recovering. “I will tell you how I am tight with my chauffeur.”

 

“Never use the term ‘tight’ again, Raj,” I say, squinting in disgust.

 

“Hey! Someone’s taken some brave pills tonight,” Raj whines defensively.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Go on,” I say. And he’s right. I don’t know what it is about being outside tonight, being free in the dark and in the cold air, it’s made me feel different. Able to cut loose a bit.

 

“As I was saying… I actually sell a little bit of weed to him. I mean, I’m not a drug dealer. I just smoke marajuana myself sometimes and I have good connections, so I sell some to him at a really low price and he never rats me out and allows me to go on a little detour now and again…”

 

“Wow! Damn,” I say. It’s all I can say really.

 

“I know,” he sighs in agreement.

 

I’m just processing it, wow different of a life that is, really. I mean, I would never do something like that. Raj has got balls. He gets to do things he wants to do and he’s not afraid to talk to people. He’s confident, charming, and he knows his way around the world. Independent. Kinda grown up, really.

 

“Have you ever smoked weed?” he asks.

 

“Raj, come on.” I mean seriously, do I seem like I have?

 

“I know, I know. It was more of a conversational tool leading up to what I’m about to propose, which is… have you ever thought about trying it or what it could maybe do to help you? I mean, anxiety wise of course.”

 

“Well, actually, I have heard that it can affect cognitive processes really negatively and hamper those who are already predisposed to anxiety disorders.”

 

“Ah, yes, I forgot your mother did her research in neuroscience before inheriting the throne.”

 

“Yes, I haven’t heard the end of it on drugs. So many lectures. In fact I think that’s the only time she’s ever spoken to me about anything to do with feelings since she finally berated it in me at six that nobody wants to hear about them.” She thought she was toughening me up, but all she did was turn me into a soft and way too caring submissive little fuck who gets tossed around and can’t stop feeling things and wanting to talk about feeling things.

 

“Dude, that’s really rough. I’m sorry.”

 

“It’s okay,” I brush it off, but honestly I don’t even know if it is. I look off into the sky and just stare without thinking for a little bit, both of us sharing a comfortable silence.

 

“Well, I still think you could benefit from it,” he speaks again now, softly. “And that’s not me trying to sell it to you either; I wouldn’t expect you to pay. It’d be my treat.”

 

“Would it not send me loopy, though?” I ask, genuinely wanting to know.

 

“I don’t think it would, if we found you the right strain. I would say one with low amounts of THC and higher CBD,” he says sounding quite informed really.

 

“Oh yeah, those are the chemical compounds in marajuana aren’t they?”

 

“Yes. THC is the psycho-active substance that targets increased dopamine production, whereas CBD is much more medicinal and can treat pain, epilepsy, anxiety, et cetera.”

 

“Oh, so hold on,” I say, “if high levels of THC means even higher targeted dopamine levels, then that could cause hallucinations and paranoia, and that’s why those predisposed to mental illness and ordinary functioning of neuroreceptors are more likely to experience these side effects!”

 

“Wow, you understand the biochemistry of the mind very well. How come you don’t study psychology or biology, might I ask?”

 

“Oh… I don’t know. I guess I just wanted to escape from thinking about it all really.”

 

“Oh,” he says, “well, I think your mother would at least be very proud.”

 

“Ha, yeah don’t push it,” I say and roll my eyes and let out a good natured scoff.

 

Raj just laughs it off and after sitting and talking about other things we’re interested in, we decide to call it a night and Raj’s chauffeur takes me home.

 

I would say I’m worried that my mother might question why I am back home so late, but then I remember how inattentive she is and unaware and as it so happens, when I return back to the house at 22:44, nobody’s there to bat an eyelid and I just walk straight up to my room and get ready for bed. At eleven ‘o’ clock, I am tucked up in bed and ready to fall asleep immediately after a long and exciting evening.