The bathroom door was locked.
Bernie Taupin frowned.
To be precise, the locked door wasn’t the reason for this reaction. That alone wasn’t a thing out of the ordinary and it wouldn’t have made Bernie hesitate by itself. He was used to waiting after all. And especially used to waiting for Elton.
How could he forget that one time Elton himself suggested to go see a film when the local cinema had the nice idea of offering its customers the possibility to buy one ticket, get one free? (particularly nice for two struggling musicians, or rather one musician and a guy who wrote some words on a piece of paper)
In the end, they hadn’t seen a film that night. Bernie had seen a lot of Elton sitting in front of a piano, had listened to a lot of singing instead of dramatical shouting and fake crying. (to be honest, he didn’t remember which film had been on that night but he didn’t tire of complaining to Elton just how much of a masterpiece it would have been, this film they hadn’t watched because one certain Music-Man had forgotten the time)
(What he hadn’t said was that he’d listened to the true masterpieces right here in the living room)
Bernie also liked to remind himself of the time they’d encountered a cat on their way back to the house of Elton’s mother. He had been dying of hunger and absolutely not willing to stop for an ugly animal. And it hadn’t even been only ugly!
That thing had been a creature out of a nightmare, all dirty and sticky hair which might have been white once but ended up resembling more of an ash grey. Small and tiny, it had looked like a newspaper that had been dunked into a drain channel, dried, and dunked in again. (it had been smelling like that too)
Elton’s glasses must have been broken. There simply was no other explanation for that squeal of glee (quickly fought back but memorable all the same). When he had gone to his knees to reach out a hand (to pet that monster?), Bernie had wondered for a second if there were a record for the most violent shiver of disgust ever endured by a human in the Guinness Book of Records. He might have broken it at that moment.
Luckily (or unluckily?) the cat had let out a high-pitched roar as if suffering from an identity disorder backing off as if someone had threatened to set its tail on fire. It had vanished within seconds behind a near hedge putting Batman to shame.
(the look of disappointment on Elton’s face had been almost adorable)
And that wasn’t even taking the hours used for dressing and redressing and reredressing into account!
All in all, Bernie wasn’t lying when he said he waited a lot.
Nevertheless, he shouldn’t have waited that long today.
When he had encountered the unmoving white paint of the door three hours ago, he’d decided to eat breakfast first. After that he’d decided to read a chapter or two out of the book he’d got from the library. Then he’d decided to drink a cup of tea (and he hadn’t circled the small path between the bathroom door and his room while sipping heated, flavoured water, no).
In the last quarter of an hour he’d worked on his latest song texts.
When he found himself standing in front of that damned door the next time, he needed to go in there. For real. (after rereading the written lines he’d realised that he’d forgotten page two in the bathroom, it should be lying comfortably next to the glass with the toothbrushes, a white one (his own) and a blue one imprinted with feathers of a peacock (Elton’s))
(Elton’s was prettier)
An unfortunate coincidence.
His decision to knock against the door was further supported by the shout vibrating through the walls as if someone were dying in there.
“You’re… alright, mate?” The bizarre urge to laugh danced through his mind but he didn’t want to be mean.
“I’m alright! Never been more alright, Bernie!” Elton didn’t sound alright. He sounded like an angry person would sound unsuccessfully trying to suppress its anger while speaking.
He sounded like someone that would rip your head right off your shoulders if you even dared to breathe in their direction.
Bernie waited a few seconds with his hand hovering in the air listening to Elton murmur something like what a dumb invention and don’t even know why I’m doing this. A growl, a sigh, another growl. (who knew that he could make such frightening noises?)
Bernie hadn’t frowned this long since the time he’d learned that 29th May was officially Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day.
He decided that it would be safer to let page two stay in the bathroom a while longer.
When the bathroom door wasn’t locked anymore, he was sitting on top of the stairs with a new piece of paper trying to come up with a good title (and failing).
“You can go in there now,” a muffled voice said behind his back. “I’m done.”
When Bernie flinched out of surprise he felt the pencil wavering between his fingers, felt it falling through the gaps and felt a pang of relief as he managed to catch it at the tiny piece of eraser at the end.
He turned to look at Elton and froze.
The pencil won its treacherous game and clacked to the ground, then clacked to the next step of the stairs, then to the next, then to the next, then to the next, then to the next, then to the next, then to the next, then to the next. And then to the floor next to the kitchen.
“You… look different.”
Elton lifted his brows (had they always been that big, or, well, had they been there at all?), brows that weren’t hidden by red, pink, golden, blue or silver rims of glasses, his lips slightly pursed. His arms moved upwards as if he wanted to cross them only to change his mind as he let them fall back against his sides.
“Good different or bad different?”
“Hm. I don’t know.” Bernie shrugged, then smiled. “Do you want it to be good or bad?”
“Hm.” Elton tilted his head. “I don’t know.” He snorted, quietly, before chuckling, then almost laughing as if liking the sound of it and wanting to cling to its warmth a bit longer. (Bernie wanted it at least)
His face twisted to an expression between a grimace and a smile. “It had been a pain in the arse to put them in but it might get better over time, don’t you think?”
“It might.” Bernie grinned making a vague gesture towards his own face. “I wouldn’t be the one to know.” He paused before folding the empty piece of paper neatly in two, stuffing it in the back pocket of his jeans and standing up. “Wait a second.”
When he rushed to his room he didn’t need to look back at Elton to know that he was rolling his eyes.
“Here you go.” Bernie gave him a smile and a thumbs-up, almost giving in the urge to ruffle through the honey blond hair. “As good as new.”
This time, he did see Elton rolling his eyes beneath the neon-green rimmed glasses (who said that Bernie couldn’t engage in some atrocious shopping himself?).
“Isn’t the whole point of contact lenses that you don’t need to wear glasses?”
“You like them, don’t you?”