Day Eighteen: Escape
“Dude, what’s with the cranky face?” Paul said as he tossed a pen across the shared desk space.
Fitz picked up the item from where it landed in his lap and twiddled it between his thumb and pointer, staring at the movement for a few seconds before responding. “This is not my cranky face, this is my ‘going-on-two-hours-of-sleep’ exhausted face.”
The office around them had hit the early morning lull, where all the immediate tasks waiting for them in the morning had been taken care of and not enough time had passed in the day for new nightmares to form. Paul’s second cup of coffee was still wafting steam up into the air but he had noticed that Fitz was on his third already, and it was halfway gone.
Leaning back in his own chair Paul shook his head. “It’s been weeks since you have looked even remotely alive, what’up?”
Fitz put the pen down and then ran his large hands through his hair and down his face, giving his cheeks a few pats to wake himself up. “Work. It has been deadline after deadline on this project for Ned, and you know he likes everything double, if not triple,checked before going for final approval.” he pauses to reach out and pick up his coffee mug and throws back what is left of the luke-warm beverage. “Not to mention I’ve been trying to help my sisters plan this surprise anniversary for my parents and when you live in a different time zone it always eats into sleep time.”
Just the idea of having to work on a project for Ned made Paul wince in sympathy for his best friend, but all the other added stress was taking it’s toll. Fitz had dark circles building under his eyes and his usually tidy hair was growing and often rocking the bed head look. Looking at him in this disheveled state made Paul’s protective older brother side come out.
“You need an escape my friend.” Paul said as he snapped forward and pointed a finger at Fitz. Without hesitation he was met with an eye roll and a “you’ve got to be kidding me” face which only made him more determined. “I’m serious man. This weekend, tell Ned to piss off. Say you have family stuff you need to tend to, then tell your sisters you have a major work deadline and have to focus. Then we will hop on a train out of the city and just get away for a couple days.”
Paul could tell that Fitz liked the idea by how the stress wrinkles in his forehead dissipated a bit and a small light came into his eyes. But then it all fell again and he started to open his mouth to protest but Paul cut him off, “No way, not taking no for an answer. You really need a breather, I’ll even call Graham and we can make it a reunion weekend.”
A slightly tense silence lingered between them but he knew if the just held out, stared Fitz down, he could win him over. For added humor he even wiggled his eyebrows, which did in fact break Fitz into a loud laugh.
“Fine” he replied while shaking his head, “I have a meeting this afternoon with Ned so I’ll break the news to him then and my sisters will get a call tonight.” Paul pumped his fist in the air and gave a little shout, if his friend was anything it was almost annoyingly selfless. He always put others needs before his own, so to score a win like this meant that the weekend was going to be a good time for sure.