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Neighbourhood Gossip

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Conor did not expect much from his job as a mailman. After all, he was just doing it to help pay for his college tuition fees and for his hockey equipment while he studied at the University of Pittsburgh.

He was fortunate in many ways; his route covered several tidy, quiet neighbourhoods, and all the people that he met were nice to him, frequently willing to share the day’s gossip or to give him snacks when he stopped by to hand them their parcels and letters.

“That’s because you’re a very nice boy Conor,” Matt grinned at him when Conor had told him about it while they were Skyping one evening. “I definitely know how nice you are.”

“Matt..” Conor blushed and scratched the back of his head. Conor might have lost most of his childhood shyness, but he still couldn’t help but feel a tad embarrassed whenever anyone said nice things about him.

“Well, it’s true,” his boyfriend smiled at him fondly through the screen, “Now, why don’t you tell me more about those nice people you meet? I’m kinda bored and don’t want to get back to my readings just yet.”

“Yeah, why not?” This Conor could do. “So there’s…”



“...Mr Lemieux wanted to invite me to a rec-league hockey game next Friday, so I might go after I finish my classes that day.” Conor liked Mr Lemieux. He was the hockey coach of the nearby high school, and always loved talking about it whenever Conor came by, especially after he had found out about Conor’s interest in the sport.

“That’s nice of him,” Matt nodded, and the video feed wobbled around for a moment as he settled into bed. “But enough of that. I want to hear about the Crosby-Malkin love story. How’s that going?”

Conor rolled his eyes, but laughed. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were two neighbours who lived next to each other on a street about halfway along Conor’s route, and they were probably two of the most oblivious people to ever live. It was probably one of the more interesting things that he had noticed on his route early on. Once Matt had heard about it, he had wanted to know about all the gossip about how that relationship was still not developing, despite the continued flirting that was most certainly going on (According to several of the two men’s neighbours and Conor’s own observations, anyway).

“Pretty much the usual, I guess,” Conor shrugged, “I haven’t actually seen Sid the past few days, but Flower told me that he saw him nearly walking into the lamp post when he saw Geno walking his dog without a shirt on two days ago.”

“It’s September, how’s he going around shirtless?”

Conor shrugged again, “It’s been a warm week, so I guess he could. That and the fact that he’s from Russia, maybe?”

Matt snickered, “Or maybe he just wanted someone to walk into a lamp post.”



“The Letangs held a pre-Halloween party yesterday, and Sid wore a costume involving very tight pants, apparently. Geno was ‘practically drooling’ according to Flower,” Conor chuckled as he lay in bed, laptop placed beside him.

“Very tight pants, eh?” Matt responded, the smirk clear from his tone even through the speakers, “Maybe I should wear some tight fitting pants around you sometime.”

“Maybe you should,” Conor grinned, his gaze turning heated as he looked back over at the screen. “We can even talk about what happens after…”



“Geno definitely looked jealous today when he overheard Sid telling me about the packages that he had received from a ‘secret admirer’,” Conor told Matt one morning in February. It was a week till Valentines day, and a series of packages for Sid had started arriving three days ago. “It’s probably Flower or Tanger trying to move things along, because they’ve been asking me about it when I get over to their part of the street.”

Matt laughed, “Your mail route never stops being interesting, eh?”

“Well, it certainly makes the day a lot less boring.” Conor replied.



“It’s definitely a prank,” Conor mentioned to Matt several days later while they Skyped, “Sid told me that yesterday’s package contained fake tentacles and an awfully written love poem about clinging together like octopuses in love. I don’t even know if octopuses do that when they’re in love. Or want to mate. Or whatever...”

Matt giggled,  “And did Geno say anything?”

“Not really; but he definitely looked very relieved when he heard that it was a prank.”



“Geno’s away on a month-long trip to Russia, and Sid kept looking over at Geno’s house when I saw him today,” Conor sighed, lying down on his bed as Matt frowned at him from the screen of his laptop. “If this unresolved pining goes on for much longer, I might decide to join Flower, Tanger, and the others in their efforts to get those two together.”

“Does everyone on the street know then?” Matt asked.

“Yeah,” Conor snorted. “Everyone but the two of them.”



“Sid invited me over for a Christmas party,” Conor told Matt in early December. “He’s hosting several of the neighbours, so it’ll be very festive.”

“That nice,” Matt smiled, looking a little rueful, “Though I wish you could come here for Christmas. I miss you.”

“Sorry babe,” Conor apologised, “But flights are expensive this time of the year, and I have to be back early January anyway.”

Matt nodded in understanding, before giving him an impish smile, “Keep me updated on Sid and Geno, though.”

“I will,” Conor grinned.



“Everyone got drunk, but nothing happened. Or at least I don’t think anything did,” Conor reported several days after the party. “I know Tanger was trying very hard with the mistletoe, but I guess Sid was prepared for that.”

“We’ll have to wait for another time, I suppose.” Matt sighed, and Conor snorted. “‘We’, huh? You’ve really gotten invested in this.”

“Well, duh.” Matt responded with a huff, “You’ve been telling me all about those two for over a year now. Of course I’m invested.”



“Something’s happened. Something’s definitely happened,” Conor called Matt the moment he got home on the fourth of January.

“Between Sid and Geno?”

“Yeah, who else?” Conor nodded, even though Matt could not see him, “Geno was just leaving Sid’s when I was on their street dropping off a package at Flower’s, and I saw Sid kissing him.”

“Took them long enough,” Conor could practically hear his boyfriend’s eye-roll, “But that’s really awesome.”

Conor laughed, “I think the entire street’s going to celebrate.”

“Looks like their obliviousness has its benefits,” Matt added, sounding a little wistful, “No-one threw us a party when we got together.”

“Nah,” Conor smiled, “We had our perfect first kiss, now they’re having theirs. It’s all good.”