Rhapsody on a Theme

Rhapsody on a Theme by Matthew J. Metzger Read Free Book Online

Book: Rhapsody on a Theme by Matthew J. Metzger Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matthew J. Metzger
    “Oh. Hi Paul.”
    “Well, don’t sound too enthusiastic, mate. Where’s Daz?”
    “Bathroom,” Jayden said. “Oh, wait, no, he’s just coming up.” There were heavy steps on the landing, far too heavy for Rachel, and then the creak of the bottom step up to the attic. “Darren!” he called. “It’s Paul.”
    Darren appeared in his pyjama bottoms, towelling his hair dry. He dropped onto the end of the bed and Jayden put Paul on speakerphone and paused the DVD.
    “C’mere,” he said and took over drying Darren’s soaked hair. It took ages if Darren did it, as he could only use one hand. His left shoulder didn’t let his hand get as high as his head without shaking so hard he dropped the towel.
    “Are you two being disgusting?” Paul asked suspiciously.
    “If you don’t want to hear it, why are you calling at twenty past ten?” Darren asked.
    “ Are you?”
    “What do you want?”
    “What do you think I want?” Paul scoffed.
    “So who’s he even marrying ?” Darren demanded. “I didn’t know he had a girlfriend!”
    “Or a boyfriend,” Jayden opined primly, smoothing out a few curls and reaching for a comb.
    “Nah, it’s a girlfriend. Met her once or twice—Lillian,” Paul supplied. “They only met in April.”
    “ Jesus ,” Darren grumbled.
    “You wouldn’t have wanted to marry me by Christmas?” Jayden asked, pulling on a damp curl.
    “One, no. Two, the equivalent would be, like, March for us. And still no.”
    “If I wanted to marry you, I’d have asked,” Darren sniped, pinching his thigh.
    “Do you two ever stop flirting?” Paul complained.
    “Sometimes, but not when you’re around,” Darren said. “It’s even better because then we get to watch your complaining too. So Lillian—what’s she like?”
    “Not his usual type,” Paul said carefully.
    “This I have to see,” Darren said, grinning. Jayden rolled his eyes and continued trying to tame that hair.
    “Yeah, well, you will. Ethan wants you in on this wedding do, like with a role. Said he’d have to ask for your input on something. Dunno what yet, but he’ll be in touch when she’s stopped shagging him in thanks for the ring.”
    “And you call us disgusting?” Darren demanded.
    “You are,” Paul parried. “Basically he met this girl, went completely gaga for her over the summer, and then came for our usual beer-and-bangers Christmas lunch together in Soho and out and said he was engaged. Apparently popped the question at her mother’s house on Christmas Eve.”
    “Well, I suppose he’s met her parents…”
    “I know, I know, I don’t know what to say either,” Paul said. “But, I don’t know. She’s not like Ethan’s usual air-headed bird. Seems all right, this one. Smart enough, runs her own business. Ugly as the back end of a bus.”
    “What?” Jayden said. Ethan’s ‘type’ was pretty, according to his sniping at school—not that Jayden had ever met any of Ethan’s girlfriends, but he talked about girls a lot, and—well. He didn’t even like girls with a bit of extra leg hair. Apparently.
    “Yep,” Paul said. “Makes your face look fucking gorgeous, Daz.”
    “It is gorgeous,” Jayden countered snottily.
    “Yeah, right, with that gob on it?” Paul snorted. “Anyway, Lillian’s nice enough, ugly as sin. I dunno, makes me think maybe there’s something in this.”
    “Well, it would be like Ethan to fall hard, fast, and permanent,” Darren said. “Whatever. Good luck to him, I suppose.”
    “Mm. There’ll be meet-and-greet with her soon, I imagine,” Paul said, and paused. “How’re you two?”
    “Disgusting as ever.”
    “Darren,” Jayden scolded, putting the comb again and crawling back under the duvet. “He’s got the doctor in the morning, he’s moody,” he called at the phone, and Darren rolled his eyes.
    “He’s always moody. Permanent PMS.”
    “Yeah, it’s my ovaries playing

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