Instantly, Galekh's nose rankled at the smell of stale smoke and snack detritus. He felt guilty for responding that way. While the scent bothered his body, his mind relaxed at the familiar scent. It meant comfort, companionship, and a troll willing to listen. It was a smell he associated with his moirail.
To their credit, if Cirava noticed his reaction, they didn't show it. The perpetually relaxed troll just smiled and shrugged into their sagging couch. “digging on my aesthetic xigisi?”
“Something like that,” Galekh replied. This wasn't his first time here, but he was racked with anxiety nevertheless. Such an unfamiliar space, and unfamiliar customs, were something with which he was struggling to become comfortable.
Cirava patted the mildly stained couch seat behind them. “come sit down and help me finish this lmao”, they waggled the wriggling vape pen suggestively.
Galekh swallowed and moved to comply. Nervous as he was, the promise of conversation with his goldblood friend was more than enough to overpower his fears.
The couch sucked him in until, despite his height, Galekh's feet were slightly off the ground. He wrenched his butt from it's maw and Cirava laughed, a warm mixture of low chuckle and high giggle, while they sent another cloud of smoke ceiling-ward.
“Thank you for inviting me into your home. Again,” Galekh said, fidgeting with his thumbs.
“hah relaaaax galekh its all good in here” the insectoid pen sagged down on either side of their fingers. Cirava grinned toothily, light glinting against the strange angles of the deep golden scars on their face.
“Yes, you're right. Sorry,” Galekh released his hands, deliberately focusing on relaxing his shoulders and slowing his breath. With each slow deliberate exhalation, he felt his heartbeat slow and his body calm. Cirava was right, as usual, this was a safe place.
In the silence, Cirava took another hit and rocked their head back and forth, exhaling the rough impression of a sine wave with the smoke. As they blew harder, the wave crashed itself, peaks and valleys turning from rough coherence to chaotic jumble. It was mesmerizing.
“heh you like it want some” They turned once more and offered the bug to Galekh.
“Umm… no, maybe later.” Galekh waved them off.
“cool cool as long as youre comfortable” Cirava smiled again. There was concern in their one visible eye, masked by the grin but easily discerned. That concern finally let Galekh relax. A slow, lazy vaporwave beat wafted its way from another block in the hive, further mollifying him.
“so whats up man why are you so wound tight today lmao” Cirava leaned back into the couch, surrendering to its languorous wiles.
“I cannot easily put it into words,” Galekh began, “I was hoping you would help me out with that.”
“yeah man sure i can vibe with that just like lay on it me” they took another long pull, winking as they turned away.
Galekh placed his palms flat on his legs, once more wrenching his back and rear from the insidious pull of the couch. “Most of my peers, most of the trolls around my age, have had many relationships at this point.”
“uh huh” Cirava replied with a cough.
“It may come as a surprise to you, but you are my first moirail, and this is the first quadrant I have ever filled even temporarily. I am beginning to fear that I am stunted, or behind trolls my age because all of my peers have had multiple quadrants filled, some many times. In summary, I think something might be wrong with me.”
Cirava wheezed, holding one hand in the air while fighting to say something that was blocked by rollicking smoke and distant bass beats. They placed one hand on Galekh’s broad shoulders, “hold up hold up indigo you think theres something wrong with you cuz youre not getting laid haha”
Galekh frowned, “When you put it like that, it sounds very silly.”
Cirava tipped their hand forward, letting the pen slip down until it dangled precipitously. Galekh almost moved to catch it, but refrained. He’d learned that Cirava was far more coordinated than they appeared, and that insect would only fall if Cirava wanted it too.
Cirava squeezed his shoulder. “relaaax galekh its been a while for me too man theres nothing wrong with having a quadrant unfilled trust me its all good”
“just keep being you and good things will come” they winked again and a weak spark shot from their closed eyelid into the ambient air.
“Thank you,” Galekh replied, grinning genuinely for the first time since he’d left home. “You are very kind to me, Cirava.”
“fuck im just being me” Cirava replied. “glad it does something for you”
They turned towards Galekh again, once more offering the well-used wriggling vape. “now like i dont want to push but i can guarantee a hit of this will help smooth your vibe”
Galekh swallowed, “Umm.”
“again only if youre comfortable just like let your hair down here however you do lmao”
“Ok. I’ll try it.” Galekh plucked the insectoid device from Cirava’s soft fingers and closed his eyes, abruptly taking a long pull from what was essentially its ass.
“woah woah chill do it like i told you before relaaax”
With his eyes closed, Galekh felt one of Cirava’s hands wrap around his, the other pulling gently tugging at the vape.
“now just inhale”
Galekh pulled the acrid smoke into his lungs, resisting the urge to immediately cough it out like he’d done the first time.
“hold it good good youre doin fine heh”
Galekh felt his eyes begin to water. He knew he was a lightweight, but Galekh didn’t want to exhale. He didn’t want to do this wrong. He didn’t want to reveal how nervous, naive, and uncomfortable he was with every little new thing, and how scared he was that that fear would stunt him and prevent him from making new friends forever.
His eyes shot open and he slapped one hand over his mouth as he coughed powerfully. Cirava had already removed the pen, without his noticing.
“heheh that was a looong one give it a minute and youll start feeling real chill”
Galekh lowered his other hand, still gripping two of Cirava’s gentle fingers. Their hands lay between them, awkwardly crossing the gap between two mushy cushions.
“Hah, yeah, I hope so,” Galekh said, coughing slightly. He reached for his glasses, suddenly feeling self-conscious that there was a speck of dirt on one of the lenses. He looked at their joined hands again and his anxiety gave way to a sort of bubbling sensation, like a cooling sopor was flooding his chest. It felt good.
Instead of picking at one of a thousand things about his appearance, himself, or the world around him that made him nervous, Galekh replied, “You make me feel ok with myself. I have not felt this way in a long time. Thank you.”
Cirava blushed, beautiful golden patterns blossoming on their cheeks, and their fingers brushed across Galekh’s hand, sending metaphorical, and maybe a little actual, electricity across Galekh’s palm, “you dont need me for that heh”
They sat in silence for a moment, Cirava’s hand idly brushing against Galekh’s open palm, the two of them staring into each other’s eyes. Galekh felt himself relax further, his head began to swim as his body relaxed in a way it perhaps never had before. He sank into the couch a third time, giving in to its plush comfort.
“Hehe,” Galekh chuckled.
“you feelin it already lmao”
“I think,” he replied, “I think that no one should need to be dependent on another person to feel comfortable with themselves.”
“yeah man true heh” Cirava’s good eye turned downward.
Galekh gripped their hand slightly, “But I want to keep you close.”
“you are feeling it lmao”
“I’m serious,” Galekh replied, he reached forward, his hand shaking slightly, a brushed an errant strand of hair out from in front of Cirava’s eye.
“hehehe” Cirava giggled, pulling that hand onto their gold-tipped cheek. “now youre feelin me”
“Literally, or…,” Galekh replied before trailing off. He realized, suddenly, that now was not the time.
Cirava leaned forward, ther breath hot on Galekh’s face. A strong smell of herbal-infused smoke and a pastelle fragrance of some airy flower filled Galekh’s nostrils. Galekh sighed. This felt right.
Cirava softly caught Galekh’s lips in theirs and, once again, Galekh was unsure if metaphorical or literal electricity filled his head as they kissed.