They had just finished a concert in Finland, Helsinki and as the stadium was slowly emptying of contented concert-goers, Paul started to pack up the equipment. He was rather proud of their performance on this cold night, even though the cold wind seemed to chill him right to his bones, he felt somewhat warmed up from playing for a total of 2 hours or so, but he still felt freezing nonetheless, and his muscles ached. He wanted nothing more than to have a hot shower, eat and sleep for a solid 14 hours. As soon as he finished up, the more he could get to do just those things. He sighed wearily and moved on to pick up one of the amps nearest to him and lifted it up with somewhat difficulty with one of his aching arms.
Paul squawked in alarm, almost dropping the amp and crushing his feet in the process. It was times like these he was blessed to have such quick reflexes. He turned around and saw Richard smiling at him brightly. Curse his cat-like stealthiness!
“Heilige Scheiße Reesh! Don’t sneak up on me like that, you’ll give me a heart attack one day, I swear.” He rubbed his chest, looking half irritated half annoyed, but he chuckled anyway.
Richard laughed, showing his perfect teeth and mock slapped his knee. “Darn, one of these days I’ll succeed.” Richard joked. “Sorry though, Paulchen. I saw you packing up all by yourself and thought I might lend you a hand.”
“Would you? Oh that’s so thoughtful of you. You really are a godsend sometimes.” he smiled appreciatively as he handed the amp to Richard. As frustrating as Richard could be at times, he was also thoughtful and considerate. It was one of the many things he loved about the other man.
Richard raised an eyebrow and smirked. “a godsend huh? Wow I should help you more often if I get this much praise all the time.”
Paul gave a short laugh. “Don’t count on it Kruspe. I’m just grateful for the help right now since I’m sore.” he said as he playfully nudged Richard’s arm with his.
“Sore? Am I going to have to call you an old man?” teased Richard.
“If you do that I’ll be sure kick your shins in extra hard.” Paul said with a glare in the other mans’ direction.
“You know what else is “extra hard” right now?” asked Richard with a snicker. “My-”
“ Please. Don’t finish that sentence” said Paul with a grimace.
“You know you love it.” said Richard with a smirk and a wink.
“Why must you make everything sexual, Reesh?” said Paul said, who now had a slight pink shade to his cheeks.
Richard shrugged, still having the same shit-eating grin on his face. “It’s in my nature.”
“Well then stop it.”
They continued their half bickering, half banter all throughout their jobs of putting everything away when out of the corner of his eye, Paul saw their other four bandmates approach them. Paul felt dread. Whenever they saw him and Richard like this, they wasted no time
“We could hear you bickering from a mile away.” said Till with a grin and hooking one giant, muscly arm around Paul. “I swear you two act like such a married couple.”
“We are not!” yelled Paul and Richard in unison.
“I see what you mean, Till” said Christoph who looked like he was quite enjoying all this banter that was going on. “ With the way they act around each other, they might as well hurry up and actually get married” he laughed.
“I wonder who takes the others last name; Richard Landers or Paul Kruspe?” piped up Oli putting his finger to his lips and stared in mock concentration. The others laughed, Even Flake cracked a smile.
“Come on guys, please, you’re torturing me.” Whined Paul, who buried his face in his hands and felt like he could die at any moment from the sheer embarrassment of it all. “What is this, high school?”
“Or maybe you could hyphenate! Paulie can be Paul Landers-Kruspe or Reesh could be Richard Kruspe-Landers!” continued Oli ruthlessly.
“Hmm I don’t know, I like the sound of Landers-Kruspe better.” Grinned Richard.
“Of course you wou- wait no, don’t encourage them!” hissed Paul, who smacked the other man on the shoulder, but Richard just giggled in response. The others laughed even harder. “How come you all don’t make fun of Flake and Till’s relationship? They act like a married couple too!”
“We do. But not to his face” said Oli quietly enough so only Paul could hear him.
Till held up a hand to silence them with his eyes crinkling in amusement. “Alright, alright that’s enough I think we’ve bothered them quite enough tonight.” he turned back to Richard and Paul. “Why don’t you boys head off? We’ll pack up the rest of the equipment.” Paul opened his mouth to object but Till silenced him with a raised hand and laid it on his shoulder giving him a gentle squeeze. “Please, I insist. It’s no trouble really.”
“We could have used your help earlier” is what Paul wanted to say but decided against it but instead he smiled brightly. He really didn’t deserve such a kind soul such as Till as his friend. He gave Till a quick hug.
“Thanks heaps Till. You’re too good to me.” said Paul.
Till waved a hand airily. “I told you, it’s fine. Go eat, sleep, and…whatever else it is you do at night.”
Paul’s eyes narrowed slightly at the implication, staring into Till’s eyes who was trying to keep his face impassive, but Paul could see that he was trying very hard not to laugh. “What?” he said, raising both hands in defence. “I meant nothing sexual by that. Honest.”
Paul dropped his gaze and sighed with a smile on his own face and a small chuckle. “I know, I know. Anyways, We’re gonna go find somewhere to eat, We’re starving aren’t we Reesh?” he asked, without waiting for an answer he grabbed Richard’s arm and started leading him away from the rest of the group and waved his goodbye to the others. The boys waited till the other men were out of earshot and then went into immediate discussion.
Flake came up behind Till and leaned his head on Till’s left shoulder. “How much do you want to bet that they’ll fuck tonight?” he said quietly in Till’s ear, his eyes still on the retreating figures. Till turned his head slightly with a devious grin. “Please, if we did that wager every time you see them together, I’d drive you bankrupt.” he stated, giving the other man a quick kiss on the cheek causing him to go red and give out a bashful smile. “not that I’d ever do that to you though.”
“Will you take our money?” asked Christoph who was getting his wallet out. “I’ll bet…let’s see…€30?
Till raised his eyebrows at that. “Wait, you’re all serious about this?”
Oli shrugged, crossing his arms. “Why not? It’ll be fun. I’ll bet 50.”
“I’ll do 100” interjected Flake. Till’s eyebrows rose even higher. Christoph and Oli looked at Flake as though he had grown an extra limb. “You sure? Isn’t that a bit too much?” asked Christoph. Flake shrugged. “That’s part of the excitement isn’t it? You must take risks sometimes.”
“...Right well, I suppose that’s sorted then. The victor has to take us out to dinner tomorrow night, and is free to spend their remaining money on whatever they please.” stated Till.
“Seems fair.” said Oli. “But wait, how do we know if they did it or not?” he said with a slight frown on his face.
“Oh trust me.” chuckled Till. “You’ll know.”