Brendon gets a note from Ryan that has him worried. Will Brendon be able to save him in time?
No, no, no.
All I could think about was you as my feet hit the pavement and my hair whipped backward and away from my face. The silver band around my ring finger fell to the ground, but I didn't notice. I wouldn't have cared even if I did.
Because this is about you, me running until I could feel the burn in my throat creeping into my lungs, this is all for you.
You know I'm not much of a runner.
But I keep pushing on, huffing, pulling in sharp, cold air into my exhausted lungs.
You're gonna pay for this, you bastard, I say to myself. You're gonna be my fucking bitch after I save you.
My feet start to get tired and my heart's thumping wildly in my chest, but I keep thinking about after I rescue you, when I have you do my laundry and bring me Starbucks coffee in the morning. And how fucking nice that'd be.
I finally reach the stairs of your apartment building after several minutes. It's not easy running four miles, which you'll find out soon enough. Pay back's a bitch, isn't it?
I knock on your door, but I get no answer. What a surprise. Good thing I stole that key from under your welcome mat (such a cliché place to put it, don't you think?).
Opening up the door, I'm greeted by the smell of smoke and alcohol. I didn't know that you started smoking. Such a bad habit, though I shouldn't be the one to talk. I just had a cigarette before I left.
I looked around the apartment and finally found you in the bathroom, standing in front of the sink with your head down, one hand grasping a glass of white wine (which explains the alcohol smell), the other carefully wrapped around the handle of a Para Ordnance PX745S. I only knew the title of the gun because you told me in the note you wrote me (with poor penmanship, I must say).
A cigarette laid on the vanity, the end dropping off ashes into the sink, and I had to keep myself from picking it up and finishing it off. Quitting cold turkey is hard shit.
You didn't look up, even when I cleared my throat loudly. I decided to start off the conversation with an obvious, almost rhetorical question.
“What are you doing?”
Finally, you look up at me. You hadn't shaved in god knows how long, your hair looked unkempt, and your eyes were red, dark circles lining them as a reminder that you hadn't slept. But they were still the most beautiful things I had ever seen, a mixture of chocolate and golden honey.
Even if looking into them was just as sad as starving children and dead puppies.
“You read the note, didn't you?” You finally answer, your voice raw, probably from crying.
I nodded slowly, darlingly taking a step closer to your trembling form. “Yeah...”
There was a silence between us. But not one of those silences where it's awkward and you're trying to come up with something, anything to say. But the kind that makes you sigh contently, the kind that you don't feel the need to fill it with words.
And if my best friend wasn't try to kill himself, I would've done just that.
“You don't wanna do this.”
You slam down your glass, almost hard enough to shatter it, and your other hand clutches the gun tighter. “I don't? Since when did you know everything about me?” you snapped.
“We can work this out,” I say. You shake your head firmly, biting your lip in a way that I've always secretly liked.
“No, no we can't.” You press a warm hand to my mouth when I try to speak again. “You see, Brendon, there's nothing on this planet that I want.” You shake your head again. “No, let me change that. There's one thing on this planet I want, but I can't have it.”
I try to speak, but your hand is muffling my words. I grab it gently, lowering it as I intertwine our fingers together. I try again. “I-I'm sorry... it's just- it's just better this way. Less complicated, you know?”
A smile graced your lips, the first smile I'd seen since I got there. “That's what I thought. If that's less complicated for you, then fine. What I'm about to do is going to make it less complicated for me.”
“But there's a better way than this,” I beg, removing my hand from yours so I can wrap my arms around you. You don't react, still standing there with your arms to your sides, but I just squeeze tighter, my chin resting on your shoulder.
I told myself that I wasn't going to do this before I left the house. That I was going to stay strong for you. But I couldn't stop the fresh, salty tears from running down my face and onto your cotton t-shirt. At first I felt ashamed of myself, that I couldn't keep myself together, but I didn't feel as bad when you finally returned the hug, putting your arms around me and splaying your fingers across my back. Well, at least one set of fingers. The others were still gripping onto that damn gun.
“Please don't leave me,” I whisper in a trembling voice.
“You know what will make me stay.”
I pull back a few inches, just enough so I can look into your eyes, your chocolate-honey eyes that are oozing hopefulness and want. Or are those just tears?
I don't think, I just do. Which isn't new, really. You know how I always act without giving it a second thought. I lean in, just enough to close the space between our lips.
Yours taste of cigarettes and cheap wine, and mine fit perfectly against them, as if our lips were made to fit together like a jig-saw puzzle. I wasn't one for puzzles, them always being a little difficult for me, and it still hasn't changed. It took me a long time to find out that we fit together, just like every other puzzle I've done in my life, figurative or not. Two pieces, you and I, fitting together to make the perfect picture.
But you were always smart, definitely smarter than me. You had this all figured out, didn't you? Just like that 500 piece jig-saw puzzle I got you for Christmas. You know, the one with the guitars on it? Estimated time you put it together: Thirty minutes. When I tried to put it together: Three almost solid days before you sat down in a chair next to me and helped me finish it within the next half hour.
Or the crosswords in the newspaper. You were always so good at those. Sometimes, I'd get up earlier so I could try it before you got up. Of course, an hour after I've started, you wake up and find me curled up on the couch, gnawing on the end of the pen between my teeth and fisting my hair in frustration.
You were so sweet, you didn't even laugh. You sat down next to me, put your arm around around my waist and resting your head on my shoulder as you pointed out all the answers on the page. You even let me write them down in my own handwriting and tell the guys that I completed it by myself.
And once again, you had to show me how to complete the puzzle, how the pieces fit together just like that, Brendon.
So, this is where I say, And they lived happily ever after, right?
You must've forgotten that the gun was still in your hand and pressed the trigger a little too hard. Oops. Now I'm leaning into you, blood gushing out of a hole in my head. Guess you should have dropped the gun before you moved your hand from my back.
You're whispering, Oh fuck, oh fuck, I'm so fucking sorry, Brendon, oh my god, over and over into my ear but I can barely hear you anymore. I guess being shot effects your hearing just a tad.
“It's okay, Ryan,” I slur into your ear, barely able to hold myself up anymore. I'm getting weaker, my head feeling heavier. But it's okay, your hand is supporting the back of my head, no doubt having warm wetness oozing between your fingers.
Still, you're rambling, I'm so fucking sorry, into my ear and I have to break through my haziness to tell you to shut up.
You immediately stopped talking because, hey, you don't argue with a dying man.
It was my turn to talk, now that I've silenced you. There were so many things that I wanted to tell you before I died.
Like, make sure you take care of my dog when I'm goneand don't you dare go near my CD collection, I want them buried with me and wax my surfboard twice a week and take it out sometimes, it doesn't like being kept inside for too long. Oh yeah, and you are the most amazing person I've ever met in my entire life.
But I settled for three words instead. Not only was it easier for me, considering the condition I was in, but it was all I really needed to say.
“I love you.”
You were already crying before I said anything, but now you're sobbing, your shoulders shaking as tears hit the floor like rain hitting the sidewalk.
“I love you too, Bren,” you said, and the next moment, you're gone and I'm on the floor, blood now making a large puddle around my head. My vision was getting blurry and it was hard to keep my eyes open. But oddly enough, I could feel no pain. It was almost peaceful, me lying on the cool tile, looking up at the white ceiling as I started slipping farther and farther into darkness.
Before I closed my eyes completely and, well, probably for the last time, I heard a loud bang. Then suddenly, there was a body next to me. Your body, Ryan. You had wrapped your arms around me, your head that was leaking blood resting on my chest.
I couldn't have thought of a better way to die.