Since they’d just arrived at the cabin and hadn’t had a chance to unpack anything, Ryan and Jon were ready to depart within minutes.
Spencer went and flung his arms around Jon, tears silently streaming down his face. Brendon took the opportunity to approach Ryan. They looked at each other, tears shining bright in both men’s’ eyes.
“Ryan,” Brendon whispered, putting his hand to Ryan’s cheek, his thumb running gently along the bone.
“I know, Brendon. But I want you to remember something: I will always love you. No matter what. You’ve always had my heart. And you always will.”
Brendon let out a choked sob and wrapped his arms tightly around Ryan, thinking that maybe if he clung to him hard enough, he wouldn’t leave. Ryan ran his hand over the back of Brendon’s head soothingly. Lovingly.
“There are a million ways that this could go. But Brendon, I think you’re right. I think I’m ready for it. I’m ready to go,” he whispered. Brendon pulled back and looked at Ryan for a long moment before kissing him.
It wasn’t the usual mix of love and lust in their kiss. It was full of tenderness, love, passion and a touch of desperation. Less than five feet away, Jon and Spencer were doing the same. And then their lips parted. Brendon kept his eyes closed for another moment, his hands still tangled in Ryan’s hair. And then he let go, took a step back and opened his eyes.
Ryan picked up his suitcases and a few moments later, so did Jon. Ryan looked up hesitantly at Brendon.
“Well. I guess that this is goodbye,” he said quietly. Brendon nodded, his gaze never leaving Ryan’s. He opened the door, turning to go out of it.
“Ryan, wait!” Brendon cried. Ryan turned, looking at Brendon, a glimmer of hope in his eyes. Brendon paused, realizing now that he shouldn’t have done that. He was only making it harder for both him and Ryan. He sighed.
“I love you, Ryan. You’ll always be my Mona Lisa.” He smiled. “Best of luck to both of you,” he said, giving Jon a quick hug. And then the door shut and they were gone. Brendon stared stupidly at the door for a minute or two before his face crumpled.
“RYAN! NO!” he screamed, flinging open the door and running down the long driveway that led to the cabin. He made it around a bend just in time to see red taillights turning on to the highway. He raced faster, determined to catch the car, pushing himself to a new high. And then a rock leapt into his path, causing him to trip and fall, his momentum carrying him forward so he skidded across the gravel drive.
He knew there were going to be some nasty cuts on his face, but at this point, he didn’t care. He scrabbled back up, continuing down the drive, turning at the corner, racing down the highway. He could see their car. It was so close. He pushed himself even faster, his feet barely touching the ground as he ran. But to no avail. The car turned into traffic and became lost in plain sight. Brendon stopped at the corner, his legs suddenly turning to jelly as he collapsed in the middle of the road.
He supposed he should move, lest a car come by and hit him, but he couldn’t even breathe, let alone move. So Brendon lay in the middle of the black asphalt, not caring whether he lived or died. A car came speeding towards him and Brendon squeezed his eyes shut, not really wanting to watch his impending doom bearing down on him.
He heard the squeal of the brakes locking and Brendon tried to scream, but not being able to breathe inhibited him from doing so. However, the impact never came. He heard a car door opening, footsteps running towards him.
“Brendon! Oh God, Brendon! Are you okay?” he heard Spencer next to him and he turned towards the sound. Spencer was bent down next to him, one hand on Brendon’s shoulder, the other fluttering next to his bloodied face.
Brendon continued to suck in shallow gasps, staring at Spencer with panicked eyes while Spencer quietly urged him to breathe. He rubbed his back soothingly, trying desperately to help his friend.
After a long time, Brendon’s breathing finally returned to normal and he took huge breaths, filling his lungs with as much oxygen as he could. Spencer looked at him sympathetically. Brendon glared.
“Stop it, Spencer. Stop looking at me like that,” he rasped.
Spencer nodded slowly, trying to force the empathy from his face. He helped Brendon up and started to walk. Brendon began to fall, the ground rushing up to meet him. He felt strong arms wrap around his waist and yank him back up.
Brendon let out another sob, throwing his arms around Spencer’s shoulders and burying his head into his shirt. Spencer carefully picked him up, not caring that Brendon’s bleeding face was ruining his shirt. Not caring that Brendon probably only weighed slightly less than he did. Not caring that his own heart was broken too. He just wanted to get them back home.