Prompt: I would love to see the first instance of the Waking Dead. Was it when they were younger and Cael and Maddock having to drag Dex awake to school? Or the first time Lou slept over and found his boyfriend non-functional? So curious!
Lou woke up five minutes before his alarm went off just like he did every morning, except this morning wasn’t like every morning. He couldn’t help his big smile as he stretched. He turned off his alarm then rolled over, chuckling at the adorable mess of a man that was Dexter J. Daley. It would seem the guy slept the same way he lived. Eccentrically. Last night, for the first time, Dex asked him to stay, and Lou happily accepted. This morning Lou woke up to Dex’s blond hair sticking up in all directions, blankets wrapped around Dex’s torso, arm, and leg as if he’d waged a lengthy battle with the thing. He was sound asleep, looking sweet and peaceful.
Lou leaned in and kissed Dex’s cheek. “Good morning, sleepyhead.”
There was no response.
“Dex? Honey, wake up.” Lou sat up and leaned over. Seemed his boyfriend was a deep sleeper. “Dex,” Lou purred softly. Nothing. Perhaps a little louder? “Dex, wake up.”
Okay, a very deep sleeper.
Letting Dex sleep in, Lou got up to take a shower and get dressed. Maybe by the time he got out of the shower Dex would be awake. If he was lucky, maybe Dex would wake up and join him.
A sexy morning shower was not in the cards. Lou showered, dried, and dressed. He shaved, brushed his teeth, and styled his hair. Surely Dex would be up by now, except it was still so quiet. When he got out of the bathroom, he was stunned to find Dex still asleep. He had a moment of panic.
Oh my God, what if something’s happened? It was a ridiculous thought, but no more ridiculous than any of the bizarre scenarios Dex found himself in at work at the HPF. The man seemed to be a magnet for crazy.
Lou ran over to Dex’s side of the bed and shook him. “Dex, wake up!”
A groan was followed by a grumble of unintelligible sounds.
“Dios mio.” Lou said a silent little prayer of thanks before crouching down next to Dex. “Dexter, you scared the life out of me.”
More sounds, and then something that sounded strangely like… “Did you say coffee?” A huff of breath was Dex’s response. “I’m going to take that as a yes. Okay. I’ll make coffee, you get that cute butt of yours out of bed and come downstairs.”
Grunting followed, but no movement. With a chuckle, Lou went downstairs. Usually he was already out of the house by this time. His shifts started a little after dawn, and ended well into the evening, but it was a sacrifice he was willing to make. If he wanted Clove Catering to really take off, he had to put in the hard work, just like he would have to do if he wanted his relationship with Dex to work. Between their schedules, it wasn’t going to be easy, but Lou was determined. Dex was a good guy. He was sweet, funny, and genuinely interested in Lou’s dreams of turning his little catering company into one of New York City’s best.
Lou got to work making breakfast. He started with the coffee, since Dex had somewhat communicated it’s what he wanted. As soon as the coffee started percolating, he heard a loud “thump” come from upstairs. It startled the hell out of him.
“Dex, are you okay?” Lou called up. He turned when he heard thumping on the stairs. “What the heck?” He stood behind the counter, frowning at the stairs when socked feet appeared. Arching an eyebrow, Lou watched Dex come down the stairs. His eyes were half open, maybe? Lou couldn’t tell until he was closer. Yep, they were open. Kind of.
As Dex approached, Lou pressed his lips together to keep himself from laughing. Dex’s T-shirt was on backwards and inside out, the tag hanging from the collar. There was a good chance his loose pajama bottoms were on backwards too. The Star Wars robe was hanging off one shoulder, and his hair was plastered down on one side of his face, the other side sticking up.
“Good morning,” Lou said cheerfully.
Dex plopped down into a chair at the counter, his hooded eyes, and dopey smile making him look like he was drunk. Lou laughed softly.
Dex lifted an arm up above his head and waved it. “Frogs eat their own skin.”
Lou blinked at him. “What?”
“Frogs,” Dex said then yawned. “Eat their own skin.”
“That’s… disgusting. Are you okay?”
Dex scratched his head. “An army.”
Lou was completely lost. “An army of what?”
“Frogs. Called an army.”
“I don’t know what’s happening right now,” Lou muttered. He was more than a little worried. Was Dex okay? Should Lou call him a doctor? What if he’d fallen off the bed and hit his head? “Did you watch a documentary on frogs or something?”
Dex yawned again. He looked down at his fingers and frowned. “Yes.”
“Oh, okay. Coffee?”
“Yes.” Dex sat there staring down at the counter.
Lou turned then realized something. “Dex, say something.”
“Anything that’s not “yes”.”
“Yes.” Dex yawned and sniffed the air, a pout coming onto his face. “Coffee.”
“So you can talk about frogs, say “yes” and “coffee”. Wonderful.” Lou shook his head in amusement. He made Dex a cappuccino just like he liked it, and placed it in front of his boyfriend. “It’s like you’re awake, but not. Like a zombie.” Lou snapped his fingers. “Like the Waking Dead!”
Dex pulled the mug close, grumbling and muttering a host of sounds before taking a sip, making Lou laugh.
“Hm, I wonder….” Lou leaned on the counter. “Can I pick the restaurant this weekend. Even if it’s fancy froo-froo?” Dex hated fancy froo-froo. He wouldn’t subject the poor man to it, but Lou had to know.
Lou stared at him. “Um, okay. Can I drive your car?”
“Oh my God!” Lou gasped. He clamped a hand over his mouth, his voice coming out a hoarse whisper when he spoke. “You said I can drive your car.”
Dex took another sip of his coffee. “Yes.”
Dex was not going to let Lou drive his precious car, and Lou had no intention of driving the orange muscle monstrosity, but his little experiment was yielding amazing results. Lou checked his watch. Ten minutes had passed since the first sip.
“If I take you to a petting zoo, would you pet a goat?”
Lou was stunned speechless. What the heck had he just uncovered? Lou came around the counter and sat next to Dex. “Did I just find the chink in Dexter J. Daley’s armor?”
Lou was so giddy he was bursting at the seams. He came up with a host of questions and requests, each one more outlandish than the last and Dex said yes to all of them.
“I’d like you eat a salad for lunch today.”
Dex blinked up at him. “What did you say?”
“I said I’d like you to eat a salad for lunch today.”
Dex looked at him like he’d lost his mind. “Why would I do that? Is it a burger salad?” His eyes went wide. “Oh my God, tell me you invented a new burger salad, that’s like mostly burger. No pickles. Is that what we’re talking about? Because that would amazeballs!”
Lou looked at his watch. Exactly twenty-three minutes. “Interesting.”
“What is?” Dex peered at him. “What’s with the mad scientist look you’ve got going on.”
Lou smiled sweetly. “Nothing.” He kissed Dex’s lips then hopped off his chair. “You’re amazing.”
“Um, thanks.” Dex finished his coffee, got up, and took his mug to the sink to wash. Lou came up behind him and wrapped his arms around Dex.
“So, Detective Daley, you have a little trouble waking up in the mornings?”
Dex turned in Lou’s arms, and wrapped his arms around him. He cringed. “You noticed that, huh?”
“Just a little,” Lou said, chuckling when Dex’s face went red. “Aw, you’re so cute.”
Dex let out a sigh, and shrugged. “I try.”
“You sure I can’t get you to change your mind on that salad? Eating healthy is good for you, you know.”
“Nice try, but there’s no way anyone is ever going to get me to eat any of that rabbit food. Not gonna happen.”
“Not even for me?”
Dex kissed his cheek, before heading for the stairs. “Sorry, babe. Not going to happen. Nothing personal. Many have tried, and failed. That day is never coming.”
“And if that day does come?” Lou teased.
Dex stopped on the stairs and turned to wink at Lou. “Then that’s the day Dexter J. Daley has met his match.”
Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.