Significant Other [BL]

Two - the vegetables of our labor

I hate having roommates.

With an audible groan, I covered my ears with my pillow as Toby giggled into his phone, voice low and flirty and full of innuendoes that I certainly didn care to tune in on. It always took me hours to fall asleep on the thin mattress on the cold hardwood floor, courtesy of my constantly sore back and the sound of my best friend flirting with his girlfriend into the wee hours of the night. To give him credit, he really did try to keep it down with his head covered under his blanket, but it didn help that I was a really light sleeper and that apparently Tatiana was a comedian since he guffawed literally every 5 seconds.

But I guess thats just part of being a poor college student that can afford to pay rent anywhere else. I know I should be thankful and everything but honestly, its only been two months of staying with Toby and Im already on my last ten functioning brain cells. His parents are fussy about a 10pm curfew, have a strict no-guest policy right next to the gluten-free, no fast food, no soda and preserved foods policy, and I was on toilet cleaning duty every Friday and dish duty every Sunday, Monday and Thursday.

And I hate doing dishes.

So you can probably see why Im literally contemplating my entire life as I lay there on the mattress, trying to think of how I can turn things around for myself. And really, you
e thinking about it, I thought about it, everybody thunk it. Oh boohoo, why don you just get off your whiny lazy ass and get a job like the rest of us unhappy drones?

Getting a job to compensate for my criminally puny allowance? Yeah, no. Literally nobody wants to hire some nobody sophmore that has no experience in anything work-related. The only job I was ever really offered was a dishwasher at a local diner and you already know how I feel about that.

”Mmm, good night… No babe, you hang up. Okay well do it at the same time. One, two, three… Ahhh, you didn do it! ”

I groaned.

Did I mention I was also really gay and really single?


”Mmm… Are those your famous specialty crepes I smell? ” Toby blissfully sucked in a deep inhale as he walked into the kitchen.

”Yeah your parents wouldn shut up about it for the past week, ” I rolled my eyes as I flipped the crepe over on the non-stick pan.

”Can blame them, they
e freaking delicious. What do we got? Chicken fajita? ”

”And smoked beef. ”

”Hope youve made some extra. My uncle just called and hes coming over. ”

I shrugged, ”Im sure therell be plenty for everyone. I also made some lasagna. ”

”This is why I love having you as a roommate, ” he grinned, throwing an arm around me. I grimaced.

”Oh yeah, so you can use and abuse my cooking prowess and spatula weilding skills. Really appreciate that, Tobias. ”

”Come on, you know I love you Jules. But I love your food even more. ”

”Do me a favour and disappear, forever. ”

”A ray of sunshine, ” he uttered sarcastically before heading out the kitchen as I rolled my eyes. When I was done flipping crepes, I got to assembling them and sprinkling a generous amount of mozzarella into each one before neatly folding them into triangles. Cooking was always sort of therapeutic to me, and I honestly didn mind occasionally cooking for the whole family. Knowing that people love what I make makes all the effort so worth it.

With my music on and my hands busy, I stood there wrapping crepes while humming familiar tunes. I didn even hear the quiet footsteps walk into the kitchen and stop right behind me. Not until I turned around and yelped louder than I was proud to admit when I found a little girl standing right in front of me. She had on a little white dress and pink sandals, holding a tattered bunny in her left hand, looking like a demon girl straight out of a creepypasta with her freakishly large doe eyes staring up at me blankly.

”What do you want, brat? ” I grimaced. I don like kids. Seriously. I just don do kids. I don think they
e cute, or funny, or precious. In fact, Im conviced they are demon children sent down from Hell to punish us for our sins.

”Im hungry. Give me food, ” she deadpanned in a strong British accent, gray eyes piercing into mine. Her golden brown hair reached her shoulders, half covered under a pink beret.

God, that is one ugly hat.

”And who are you again? ”

”Anya, ” she answered like it was supposed to be obvious or something.

”Anya? ” I tested, ”Your name sounds like no in Korean. ”

She tilted her head to the side, frowning, ”Whats a Korean? Is that like coriander? ”

I sighed, ”Kid, where are your parents? And whatd you do to that poor bunny, run it through an incinerator? Jesus Christ it looks suicidal. ”

She frowned again, ”Whats an incintapator? ”

”Incenerator, honey. And its where Santa takes annoying little kids like you who are rude and demanding and stare too much. Now beat it, brat. ”

She blinked at me curiously for a hot minute before chortling, and then bursting out in laughter. ”Santa isn real, you dumb dumb. ”

I gaped at her as she skipped out of the kitchen, giggling to herself.

That little-

Shaking my head at that whole encounter, I got back to work with a scowl. When I was finally done wrapping up the crepes, I popped them in the oven. I could hear commotion in the living room which meant the so called uncle must have arrived, and that was probably his demon child just now.

Great. Now I have to be in a family gathering with a family that isn even my family. And I thought I would be done with those when I left home and started going to college. Did I mention I hate it here?

I stuck around the kitchen for a while longer but eventually got bored and I needed to use the toilet.

Unfortunately the arduous journey to said bladder relief included going out and greeting our guests first. The things I do to avoid kidney failure…

Sighing, I walked out of the kitchen and into the living room where Tobys folks were chatting up a…woah, Surprisingly handsome stranger? I frowned. I definitely didn expect someone who looked like that when I heard the word uncle. He seemed young- around his late twenties, with his shoulder-length golden brown hair tied back into a manbun. How did I know it was shoulder-length if it was tied up into a bun? Because I spent an embarrassingly abundant chunk of my life ogling guys with long hair. Hair was important. Hair was good.

And apparently I was staring for way too long because soon enough, piercing gray eyes were locked on me, lucious pink lips surrounded by a light stubble pulled into a slight smile.

”Oh, there you are! Don just stand there, ” Mrs. Callaway chirped, ”Come, meet my little brother Vincent. Vince, this is Julias, Tobys best friend, roommate and resident chef. Hes making dinner today. ”

Vincent grinned, pearly whites flashing in my face. Um, rude. ”Its a pleasure to finally meet you. Larissa wouldn stop gushing about your cooking whenever we talked on the phone. I must say Im very curious. ”

He spoke in a thick British accent that sounded much like the Satan incarnate I just met in the kitchen. I cleared my throat, scratching the back of my head.

”Nice to meet you too, Mister… ”

”Oh no, please. Don mister me, just call me Vince. I don even let Toby call me uncle. ”

”Okay… Uh, Vince. ”

His eyes twinkled as he smiled at me brightly, a little too bright for comfort. ”Pleasures all mine. Can wait to see what you have prepared for us. ”

”Oh trust me, I don let just anyone into my kitchen. Hes the real deal, ” Mrs. Callaway nodded approvingly.

”Coming through! ” Toby yelled, chasing after Anya around the dinner table as she giggled excitedly.

”Youll never catch me! ”

”Maybe… But I could always catch Mr. Potato! ”

She gasped, eyes widening as Toby grabbed her rabbit, smirking evilly. ”Give him back! ”

”Youll have to give me something in return! ”

”Ill give you my dad. ”

”Hey! ” Vincent retorted, pretending to be offended. Oh, dad. I should have guessed. I watched as he bent down and started chasing her around as well and rolled my eyes. Funny how children can make someone so chic and well put together one moment look absolutely ridiculous the next. I could never.

Remembering the task at hand, I used the diversion to slip out of the living room, making my way over to the bathroom.

When I was done with my business, I stepped out only to find hot uncle Vincent right up in my face. And that was when I could really get a good look at his face.

He was such a textbook gay guy fantasy that it was almost annoying. Chiseled jaw, high cheekbones, full lips and earnest eyes. Not to mention his broad shoudlers, and he was just that little bit taller than me that made kissing prospects very promising. I tried my best not to become too starry-eyed, so I ended up giving him my signature scowl instead.

”Oh, hello again. Fancy seeing you here. ”

”Whats fancy about meeting a guy outside a toilet? ”

He chuckled, ”Good point. I didn even realize you left earlier. ”

”I guess Im just a ninja like that. Especially when Im trying to escape an unwanted social interaction to use the pooper. ”

He laughed again, ”I guess I know what you mean. I may or may not have done the same just now. ”

”Think you
e gonna need another diversion to get out of this unwanted social interaction? ” I quirked a brow.

He smirked, ”I think I can spare a few minutes. And who said this was unwanted? ”

I blinked at him. Wait, is he flirting with me? Or am I just imagining things now?

”After all, its not everyday I get to meet the great Julias Caesar Salad, ” he continued.

I groaned, ”Of course, I should have known Toby would embarrass me like that. ”

”Hardly, it has a nice ring to it don you think? ”

I rolled my eyes, ”I think it sounds dumb. ”

He laughed, ”Im just saying its nice to finally put a face to a name. ”

I found myself fidgeting a little, heat gathering at my cheeks. ”Thanks, I guess. Its also nice to finally meet a friends uncle who isn old, bald and creepy. ”

He laughed again, ”Well, Im definitely not old or bald, but how do you know Im not creepy? We literally just met. ”

I scoffed, ”Because Im a great judge of character. And because you don have those classic rapey eyes. ”


”Im still working on those, ” he narrowed his eyes in a way that I assumed was meant to look creepy but just ended making him look even more attractive? Like what the hell?

”You should probably just go to the toilet. ”

He laughed sheepishly as if just realising what he came for in the first place.

”Right, Ill catch you at dinner then. ”

”Sure, ” I said, turning on my heel and walking away, flustered.

”Hey Julie. Food. Now. ”

The little demon appeared at the end of the hall, nearly giving me a heart attack yet again. Her eyes were dead and boring into mine, as if trying to mind control me into submission. Unfortunately for her that wasn gonna work with me.

”The names Julias. ”

She shrugged, ”You believe in Santa so I don care what you think. ”

I scowled, ”Its not an opinion! Its my name! ”

”Whatever. ” She giggled creepily and ran off her with her stupid bunny.

”Lets cool it, shes just a kid. ” Toby rolled his eyes at me as he followed me to the kitchen, ”I see you two are getting along just great. ”

e already making friendship bracelets, ” I said sarcastically as I pulled the perfectly golden brown and crispy crepes out of the oven. The delicious swell wafted throughout the kitchen and Toby visibly had an eyegasm as he stared them down.

”Anyways… I just had this great idea while we were talking to my uncle in the living room earlier. ”

”I already don like where this is going. ” I grimaced.

”Trust me, you
e gonna like this. He was complaining about needing help around the house. He said he needs to pick up more shifts at the office to make ends meet. But he hardly has the time, what with being a single dad, bringing in the dollars, cooking the meals and cleaning the house. He also has serious trust issues and hasn been able to find a proper nanny for Anya- ”

”Im gonna stop you right there- ”

”Think about it! ” He groaned, ”You could have your own room, and privacy, and a job! Lets face it, you hate it here. And I love you man, you
e my ultimate OG, but there is such a thing as too close for comfort. ”

I sighed, ”I get it man, I really do, I hate being your roommate just as much as you do, if not more. But you know I can stand kids. Nor am I good with them. How the hell am I supposed to babysit?! ”

”Youll learn, and Anya is **ing awesome. I swear sometimes, she seems way more grown up than I am. ”

”Well technically not a ton of competition there so- ”

”The point is! She obviously already likes you! Anya isn exactly friendly with strangers but shes taken to you surprisingly quickly. ”

”She literally just bullied me! ” I scowled.

”Because she likes you! I know that kid, and I rarely see her like that with strangers. All Im saying is, try to be civil with her during dinner. Ill subtely pitch the idea to Vince and well just see how it goes. ”

I sighed. Honestly… I really could use a job. And my own space. And Toby deserved to have his room back as well. But I still hated the idea of babysitting, much less living with a kid. Then again, how many people actually like their jobs anyway? Its not like I had much of a choice.

Lets just say realising you
e too underqualified to flip burgers at a McDonalds… Is not the kind of blow you easily bounce back from.

”Look, its just an idea. Let me do my thing, and you can play it by ear… And see how it goes, okay? Come on, lets serve dinner before my family starves to death. ”

He quickly ushered me out of the kitchen before I could object or even think about it too much.


”Im gonna have to send my compliments to the chef. Youve got some serious talent, Julias. ” Vincent commented as he took a hearty bite out of his crepe. Anya bounced up and down excitedly next to him. I grinned a little, feeling flattered. I always was when people complimented my cooking, its a feeling that never gets old. ”Whered you learn to cook like this? Definitely not in business school. ”

I chuckled, ”Not really. My dad owns a restaurant back home. He taught me the tricks of the trade from a young age. ”

”Oh yeah, Uncle Greg is no joke when it comes to cooking. Hes always learning all sorts of new recipes from different countries and adding them to his menu, ” Toby piped in excitedly.

”Is that so? ” Vincent quirked his eyebrows up in interest.

I nodded, ”Yeah. These crepes are actually an Egyptian Street food recipe he taught me back in high school. ”

Vincent seemed more than a little impressed, ”I must say, thats quite intriguing. Your dad used to travel a lot? ”

”Back in the day. He dropped out of college, worked some odd jobs here and there and backpacked around the world. Until he met my mum in Lebanon and they eventually settled down in dads hometown in Chicago. ”

”The young traveler gives up his life of adventure for the woman of his dreams, and the conservative young lady leaves her home and everything she ever knew to be with the man she loves, ” Mr. Callaway said, a little too dramatically. I rolled my eyes.

”I see. So you
e half Arab, then? ”

”Yeah, my mums Syrian. ”

”Why is you mum really serious? ” Anya asked, her fork between her lips as she blinked up at me. Of course everyone else at the table laughed because everything kids say is oh so amusing even if its dumb as hell.

I bit back a remark about a six-year-old needing to brush up on her geography and watched her father calmly explain the difference for a whole two minutes. It was honestly kind of endearing.

”I must say, you just keep getting more and more interesting. Your dads business sounds like it was a huge success, too. ”

My smile faded a little, ”I mean… Yeah, I guess hes popular with the locals. But we live in a small town. Theres not much to be said about it. ”

Vincent frowned a little, as if sensing he stumbled on a touchy topic. ”I see… Has he ever considered branching out? A business like that in a big city this would earn him so much more success. ”

”Yeah, its a little more complicated than that. ”

The table went silent for an awkward minute. He eyed me curiously but thankfully had the sense to drop the topic and not ask about it anymore.

”Daddy, can I get some more crap? Anya asked and again, everyone laughed.

”Darling, its called a crepe. And of course you can. ”

”You really like it huh? ” Mrs. Callaway said with a big smile. Anya nodded enthusiastically as her father cut up some more bite sized pieces for her to eat. I watched silently as he fed her, picking at my own food.

”I must say, its not often Anya eats like this. She usually has a poor appetite, ” Vincent said, sending a grateful smile my way. I stifled a grin. That always feels good. Always.

”Thats good to hear. You can take some leftovers with you. ”

”I most certainly will. Anya, say thanks to uncle Julias for the food. ”

”Thanks Julie, ” she said with a mouthful of crepe. ”Daddy can we keep him? ”

Toby elbowed my arm and I turned to glare at him. He wiggled his eyebrows at me. I shook my head.

”So, Vince. Been a while since you came over. You must have been busy, ” Toby spoke, a like too excitedly.

”Oh, yeah. Theres just been a lot going on. Its been especially hard to hit our targets these past few months. ”

”I heard you telling mum earlier you wanted to take up some overtime shifts. Thats gotta be rough, ” he frowned as he shook his head.

I rolled my eyes. As you all can see, subtlely was not Tobys strong suit.

”Yeah, but I can do that. My shift already ends right when I need to pick Anya up from kindergarten. ”

”Why don you hire a nanny then? ”

”You know what the past nanny did. I don really trust anyone anymore. Besides, hiring one nowadays is pretty expensive. All the money Id be making from my overtime would just go straight to nanny services. ”

”I guess that makes sense, ” Toby pressed his lips together, pretending to be deep in thought for a second. ”Oh wait, didn you have a spare bedroom in your apartment? Have you ever considered renting it out? Your place is near our university, Im sure theres lots of students looking for a place. ”

”Thats not a bad idea actually, ” Mr. Callaway nodded approvingly, ”Why haven you considered it? ”

”Actually, you could get someone to stay in the room and babysit Anya! Two birds and all that, ” Toby suggested, a little too enthusiastically.

Vincent frowned a little, ”I did consider it, but… Can I really trust college students I barely know with my home and my kid? And you know Anya gets sick often. I can just have anyone taking care of her. ”

”Hmm… You do have a point there. College students do tend to be reckless… ”

A thoughtful silence hung over the dinner table. Ah shit. Here goes nothing.

”Come on, Toby. Im sure we know someone at college thats responsible. How about Jasmine? ”

He grinned at me slyly. ”I don know man. Shes cool and all but I heard she sleeps around a lot. What if she brings a companion into the house? No way… ”

Vincent grimaced.

We both pretended to be deep in thought before Toby snapped his fingers and I swore I could see the light bulb flash right next to him.

”Wait a minute. What about you? Julias, you
e perfect for the job! You can cook, you
e clean, organized, responsible, you
e great with kids… Youve been looking for a job and you said you wanted to move out for a while now! ”

He gritted his teeth through his smile, nodding at me slightly. Oh geez.

”What, me? Nah man, I don know… ”

”You know… thats actually not the worst idea thats ever come out of your mouth! My sons not dumb! ” Pat said with a proud smile. ”What do you think, Larissa? ”

”Absolutely not! If Julias moves out, who gonna make us dinner on Fridays? ” She pouted.

All the while, Vincent stared at me thoughtfully, like he was really considering the idea. I pursed my lips awkwardly.

”What do you think, Vince? ” Pat asked, ”I can vouch for Julias. Hes a little rough around the edges, but hes good kid. You should consider it. ”

He stayed silent for a moment, before resting his chin on his palm. ”I mean, if you and Larissa trust him, then I trust him. Though I have to ask, do you have any babysitting experience? ”

Toby narrowed his eyes at me, giving me a subtle nod with his head. Don screw this up. I sighed.

”To be honest… No, ” I said. Tobys expression immediately fell but Vincent just kept watching me. ”However… I am a good listener and I have taken care of my cousins before. You just have to tell me exactly what to do and Ill do it. ” There. At least I didn lie. Omitting information, however, is totally acceptable.

He nodded at me slightly before smiling. ”Well, I appreciate the honesty. Tell you what. Join me later for a little chat and we can discuss a little more, yeah? ”

I couldn help the smile that tugged at my lips. ”Yeah, of course. ”

I guess it wouldn really hurt to have the chance to live with a super attractive British single dad.


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