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Winking Face, Aubergine

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It had been a long drive back down to London. Ben, Jim and Mat had made a trip to see a house they’d been suggested for the new project, and it was okay but, well that was precisely it. It was just okay - and none of them were really sold on it, nor were the other three when they’d sent them pictures. They had a few more possibilities to check out, but for now they were all headed home. Ben had driven, and was dropping Jim and Mat off on his way back.

The journey was made initially slightly amusing, and then ultimately incredibly annoying by the fact that Ben had a new car, which meant a new piece of technology that he didn’t know how to work properly, fuelling Jim and Mat’s standard Old Man jokes. The car was synced up with Ben’s phone and he hadn’t bothered to read into changing the settings or how to turn anything off so it kept offering to read aloud every text message and email notification he received, interspersed with the traffic updates from the sat nav. Mat had amused himself for the first fifteen or so minutes of the outward journey by texting Ben and having the car read it aloud.

“New text message from Mathew Baynton. Read?” 

“I can’t believe you have my number saved in your phone as Mathew Baynton, Ben. I thought we were friends. Is Jim in there as James Howick? I bet he’s not.”

“New text message from Mathew Baynton. Read?” the car persisted. 

“Oh, YES, sorry,” said Mat, and delighted at the car reading out his jokes and how it verbalised emoji, especially LAUGHING WITH TEARS CAT FACE, MONKEY COVERING EYES and SMILING PILE OF POO. 

Ben tired of the joke after about five minutes, but he knew scolding Mat would open him to further ridicule about his age and decrepitude. Thankfully it only took another ten minutes and about twenty more messages before Jim told Mat to stop it and put some music on. 

About twenty minutes away from Jim’s house on the journey back though, the car reading out messages became suddenly hilarious again, for an entirely different reason.  

“New text message from Superman. Read?” 

“No!” said Ben, far too fast and loud to avoid raising suspicion.

“What was that?” said Mat from the back seat, looking up from his own phone. Jim had stopped gazing out the window and was studying Ben with a slight smirk on his face. 

“Oh, nothing!” said Ben, overly cheerful. Mat caught his eye in the rear view mirror; he looked positively manic. 

“2 new text messages from Superman. Read?” 

“Fuck,” Ben muttered quietly. And then speaking up and trying to sound as casual as possible, “no.” 

Jim’s grin was spreading across his face and Mat had half extricated himself from his seatbelt so he could lean as far forward as possible in between the front seats. 

“Right, sorry, but that definitely said you have messages from Superman,” he said. 

“Mmmm,” was all Ben could manage.

“3 new text messages from Superman. Read?”

“No! Turn off!” shouted Ben helplessly, unable to take his eyes off the road or hands from the steering wheel as they entered a roundabout. 

Jim started laughing.

“Who’s saved in your phone as Superman?! Who gets a fucking nickname when I don’t?!”

“4 new text messages from Superman. Read?” 

“Oh for fuck’s-“ Ben started.

“YES,” Jim shouted. 

“4 new text messages from Superman. 

Message 1: Hotel is booked.

Message 2: I’ve forwarded you the email so you’ve got the address. 

Message 3: Are you still driving?

Message 4: Let me know when you’ve dropped those two off.

Compose reply?”

“NO, thank you,” said Ben, with a considerable air of relief. 

“Why are you going to a hotel with Superman, Ben?” quizzed Mat, desperate to know what was going on.

“Yes Ben, please tell us, why are you going to a hotel with Superman?” said Jim, unable to keep a straight face.

“You know who it is!” shouted Mat, punching Jim on the shoulder.

“New text message from Superman. Read?” 

“NO,” Ben quickly shouted. He was getting very flustered and glanced at Jim pleadingly for some kind of help but he had dissolved into giggles he was trying to stifle. 

“2 new text messages from Superman. Read?”

“N-”

“YES, yes, yes!” shouted Mat. 

“2 new text messages from Superman.

Message 1: I can’t wait to see you.”

“Aww!” said Mat approvingly.

“‘Message 2: And suck your cock WINKING FACE AUBERGINE” 

“WHAT. THE. FUCK!” exploded Mat, smacking the passenger seat headrest with his palm three times to punctuate his outburst. Jim started howling with laughter. Ben punched the steering wheel in frustration and accidentally blared the horn, so he had to wave a hand out of the window and apologise to the driver in front, whilst quietly chanting “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK!” which just made Jim laugh harder. All three of them fell silent when the music in the car cut out and was replaced by a phone ring, and the automated voice announced over the top:

“Incoming call from Superman. Answer?”

Ben caught Mat’s eye in the rearview mirror again, then gave a sideways glance at Jim, who had calmed himself down. None of them spoke.

“Incoming call from Superman. Answer?” the car repeated. The ringing continued.

“Incoming call from Superman. Answer?”

Ben fumbled about blindly with his left hand to grab his phone, so Jim shouted out “YES” before he could get to it.

The call connected.

“Hi, Larry!” Jim sang out with a very smug smile on his face.

“Oh hi, hi Jim,” came Larry’s low rumble over the car speakers. “Why are you answering Ben’s phone?”

“We’re still in the car, mate.” Jim was doing very well to keep his voice level but he was still grinning maniacally.

“Ah, okay. Am I on speaker phone?”

“YES,” Ben shouted back immediately. "Yes, they can both hear you!" 

“Hi, Ben!” Larry laughed nervously. “Is Mat still with you as well then?”

Jim turned around to look at Mat who was staring wide-eyed, his mouth agape. He just about managed to cough out a “yes.”

“Okay, cool, alright. Uhh, Ben, I’ve sent you some messages-” a quick bark of laughter escaped Jim’s lips “-will you just let me know when you’re on your, uhh I mean, when you’re back?”

“YES ABSOLUTELY,” Ben practically screamed.

“Lov-BYE, bye!” Larry cried out. They heard him whisper “fucking hell” to himself as he ended the call.