Disclaimer: I do not own Oscar and Felix, and I did not create them. I'm only a fan.
Acknowledgments: I would like to thank a few people out there for looking over my story: Empress T'Pau, opacre, and especially TheRimmerConnection. Thanks guys!
This story has a Mature rating for mild language and sexual situations.
It was the proverbial nail in coffin, that letter from today's mail. Blanche had made her threats, and now there was an ultimatum. The consequences wouldn't be the personal, vengeful wrath of a harassing ex-wife but something far more legal. It all boiled down to paying the alimony now, or it was off to court, signed Blanche's lawyer.
Oscar vaguely wondered how easily he might be able to drop everything and take a long, long vacation to some secluded Caribbean island or Wyoming.
He heard the front door open but didn't bother to turn and check. He knew perfectly well who it was, although he had not been expecting them back until late evening. Rather, he had hoped that this certain irritating roommate of his wouldn't return until the early hours of the morning, giving him a peaceful evening alone. Then again, the letter had ruined any possibility of that.
Felix sat down heavily on the other side of the couch. There was a moment when both roommates were seated together in complete silence. Oscar looked over at him, wondering whether this was going to be a silently-brooding Felix or an angrily-ignoring Felix.
And there it was, that whining way he spoke his name. It was too much to suppose Felix would have taken note that his lack of conversation meant he was bothered, and didn't want to be bothered.
"Not now, Felix."
Felix turned away, look of utter dejection on his face. While it was probably just Felix being moody, he decided he perhaps might have spoken a little brusquely.
"I'm in hot water, between a rock and a hard place. My editor doesn't like a word I've written, my bookie is in legal trouble, and Blanche's lawyer is threatening jail if I don't get her the money by next Friday. My life is on a losing streak."
"That sounds awful," Felix moaned. All the while, he kept his eyes fixated on some unseen program on the screen of the powered-down television.
"What's botherin' you?"
"Bother. One of the first words that comes to your mind. That's what I am, isn't it? A bother. I bother people."
"Is it those kids?"
"No, no. The school portraits are finished, thank goodness."
Oscar was expecting something more, but Felix only looked ever more depressed.
"Felix, what happened?"
Felix shook his head. "You have your own problems. I don't want to be a burden."
"Alright," he agreed, and started to stand up.
"Miriam broke up with me."
Of course, it had to be the worst news possible.
"You mean officially? Or you two had a fight?"
"It's all over. Miriam called it off."
Oscar adjusted himself to face Felix directly. Those uncomfortable feelings began to surface, those feelings that Oscar felt when another man looked to be on the border of crying.
"I can't believe Miriam would do that to you. Just like that? She said, 'It's all over between us?'"
Felix started to sob. He was quick to reach for his handkerchief from his jacket pocket and bury his face in it.
"Oh, boy," Oscar sighed to himself, then turned back to his roommate. "Look, Felix, I'm sorry. I really am. I thought you two were hitting it off. But ya know how I feel about your crying. I don't know what I can say when you're like this."
Felix shook his head. He looked over at Oscar, no longer openly sobbing, but sunk into a pathetic slumping posture.
"I was a fool. Miriam and I..." Felix fingered the handkerchief. "Our relationship isn't...wasn't what it once was." He leaned back into the sofa, giving a heavy sigh. He rolled his head and eyes to look at Oscar. "Do you know how long it's been since Miriam and I were intimate?" Oscar didn't really feel like answering, so he didn't. "I mean physically intimate," Felix pressured, giving a quick nod and making circular motions with his hands, as if the gestures were actually conducive to understanding.
"Felix, I get it."
"Well, I'll tell you."
Felix shook his head and waved his hand dismissively.
"You're my friend, Oscar. I feel like I can confide in you. Truly, I feel comfortable telling you anything."
"Ya don't hafta!"
"Even if I don't want to hear it, you're..." Oscar blinked. "Months?!"
"You see, Oscar, the nature of our relationship had changed, and I refused to see it. Oh, I knew but I wanted it to continue as it was. I wanted to keep seeing her as my girlfriend, despite how she distanced herself. She never said anything, but it's what she didn't say. And what I didn't say. I didn't confront her when I had the chance, and now she's gone from my life."
"You're tellin' me you guys went for two whole months without making whoopee?"
Felix gave Oscar his look of disapproval. "It wasn't by choice. There were other things that got in the way, like her mother visiting or a hair appointment. Or she wasn't in the mood. It was the same with the opera. Miriam stopped coming all together...It was just like the months leading up to my divorce."
"Gloria, too? Hate to tell ya this, but maybe you weren't..." Oscar gave a pathetic half-shrug, "satisfying her."
"Miriam had practically a child-like understanding of art until I came along. I knew all the right theaters and museums to take her to. Those nights out were more than satisfactory, I made sure of that."
Oscar remained silent for a moment longer, just to see if Felix would catch on. He didn't.
"I'm talkin' 'bout your nights in. Maybe you weren't satisfying her back when you two were still physically intimate?"
Felix's mouth dropped in surprise. "Boy, you have a dirty mind!"
"You're the one who said it's been a while, so I'm thinking maybe it's the sex?"
"I'll have you know, Oscar Madison, that I'm a very good lover. I'm tender, considerate, patient, attentive, and I have high endurance." Felix brought his shoulders in line with Oscar's, leaning his side against the back of the sofa. He draped his arm over for posturing. "Which is probably more than you could say. I don't know how you manage with all that beer in your belly, and your complete lack of exercise-"
"Hey!" Oscar stood up. "You've moved into my apartment and invaded every part of my life, but I don't need ya in my sex life!"
He headed for the front door. Felix watched as he started up the steps.
"Oscar," Felix moaned, as if in pain or great emotional distress.
It was enough to make Oscar stop, against his better judgment.
"Where are you going?" Felix asked, his voice croaking.
Oscar turned to his friend, still sprawled on the couch. "Out."
"Don't leave me here," Felix whined. He pouted and threw himself down on the sofa's cushions, extending an outstretched arm towards Oscar. "I don't want to be alone! I'm miserable! I haven't felt this bad since my divorce."
"Since your divorce, I've seen you miserable lotsa times."
"So instead of kicking me out, you're kicking yourself out. This is how you're getting rid of me, isn't it?"
"Ya know, that's not a bad idea. Always felt an eight-room apartment was a little large for a couple of guys."
Felix winced and buried his face in the cushion. His whimpers were muffled.
"It's difficult being around when you're like this, but when I'm having a bad day...I need to get outta here and do somethin' that makes me feel good, or I'll end up like you, trying to suffocate myself!"
Felix looked up. He dragged his body along the length of the sofa and arched his back, resting his chin on its arm.
"Would you really leave me in my fragile condition?"
The first words that came to Oscar's mind did not seem like one of his better suggestions. Then he remembered that fateful night when Felix had come to the apartment in the depths of a borderline-suicidal despair.
"You could come with me."
"I don't feel like going anywhere," Felix whined. "I just want to lie here and die."
"I'm not letting you mope and cry around the apartment for the next two weeks." Oscar walked back towards the sofa. He crouched down, bringing his face eye-level with Felix's. "We're goin' out. We're gonna get drunk and meet girls."
"I don't get drunk."
"You can snort a glass of fancy merlot in the corner."
"But I can't go out."
"Go out to put yourself in a good mood. How 'bout skipping the next few weeks of being miserable and jump right into being happy?"
"I can't just...just do that. I'm hurting."
"I'm goin' out. You can come with me, or you can stay here."
Felix laboriously turned onto his side and curled his legs up. He slowly sat up.
"You're not giving me much of a choice," he said, a pompous air returning to his voice.