He’d seen Brendon chasing them. He’d seen his Brendon fighting his own body in the struggle to gain enough speed to catch their car. And Ryan had sobbed in anguish. He’d tried to jump out of the car twice. But it was to no avail.
He’d seen Brendon fall, his legs giving out underneath him from sheer exhaustion. And he’d watched as Spencer had helped him up and led him away. And Ryan had still tried to escape the prison-like confines of the car. But Jon had had the good sense to put Ryan in the back of the car and had turned the child-locks on, anticipating something of the sort.
Ryan curled up in the back seat, knees tucked into his chest as he sobbed. He felt his heart being ripped apart into bloody shreds and his chest literally hurt him. He’d found one of Brendon’s shirts before he’d left, unwashed and discarded on the floor already, so he’d taken it. He put it to his face and inhaled deeply, taking in the scent that was the love of his life. And then he removed it before it could absorb his tears and clutched it to his chest like a security blanket,
He felt Jon’s concerned gaze on him through the rear view mirror and he tried his best to avoid it, but their eyes eventually met. It was just for a split second that their eyes had locked, but Ryan sat bolt upright. “Jon?” he asked, voice thick from crying. Jon continued to stare straight ahead at the road. “J-Jon?” Ryan asked again.
Jon’s eyes flitted back up to the rearview mirror and then he cringed and looked away from Ryan’s gaze. “Jon, you’re crying,” Ryan mumbled, shocked. He’d never seen Jon cry before. Jon hurriedly wiped at his eyes with the heel of his hand.
“I dunno what you’re talking about, Ryan. You’re seeing things.”
Ryan leaned forward and put a hand on Jon’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry, Jon. You shouldn’t have come with me. You should’ve stayed.”
Jon bit his lip. “No. I’m glad I came with you. I just….” He sighed, wiping at his eyes again. “Spencer,” he whispered, his voice full of pain.
Ryan felt his heart break a little more. He’d not only destroyed his and Brendon’s relationship, but he’d destroyed Jon and Spencer’s, too. What kind of sick creep was he? He was so sick of hurting the people he loved. He stifled another sob as he let go of Jon as sat back. He took his Zen out of his pocket and pushed one against his tongue, savoring the moment before he swallowed it. He saw Jon glance back at him in the rearview mirror. He saw the pain and the hurt in his eyes, more so than there was before. And then he heard a hushed whisper floating gently into his head. “Oh, Ryan,” it sighed. “I’m so sorry. We’ll get you better, Ry. I promise.”
Ryan sat back and closed his eyes, resting his eyes as Jon continued to drive on. Unfortunately for him, the car took that moment to find a large pothole and plow into it, causing the entire car to shake. Ryan sighed and opened his eyes. Then he saw something out of his peripheral vision and turned towards it. Brendon was sitting next to him. Ryan gasped.
“Brendon!” he exclaimed, throwing himself at the smaller man. Brendon caught him and pulled him close, his arms locked around Ryan’s slight frame.
“Hi, baby,” Brendon sighed, inhaling deeply as he held his Ryan. Ryan felt tears well up in his eyes and a smile played at his lips.
“Brendon,” he said again, this time as a sigh. He heard Brendon smile. “I missed you, Ryan. I just had to come find you. I was following you in the other car and when Jon stopped at a rest area, I got in. You were taking a nap and I didn’t want to wake you, so I’ve just been waiting.” Brendon giggled. “You look gorgeous when you’re sleeping.”
Ryan smiled and pulled back a little from Brendon, taking in his face. There were large cuts on the side of it, some of the deep ones still bleeding. Ryan drew a sharp breath, one of his hands coming up to gently touch Brendon’s cheek.
“What happened, Brenny?”
Brendon leaned into Ryan’s touch, closing his eyes and sighing softly. “I was chasing your car when you left. I fell down and cut my face on some rocks. I sprained my ankle, too.” He grimaced. Ryan looked down at his swollen ankle. “B, I’m so sorry. Forgive me?”
Brendon opened his mouth to speak when Jon cut him off.
“Ryan? Are you okay?” he asked, sounding concerned. Ryan figured he was just upset that only Brendon had come, and not Spencer. Brendon put his arm around Ryan’s shoulders and Ryan leaned against him, resting his head on Brendon’s chest.
“Of course I am, Jon. Brendon’s with me now. How could I not be okay?” He giggled as Brendon kissed his temple. He watched as Jon deflated.
“Oh. Of course. Sorry, my bad,” he whispered before returning his eyes to the road.
Ryan returned his attention to Brendon, who was absent-mindedly playing with a strand of his hair. He kissed Brendon’s lips softly, pleased when Brendon immediately responded by running his tongue along his bottom lip. Ryan opened his mouth and they kissed for a long time, complete love with just a touch of despair.
A long time later, when they finally broke apart, Brendon pulled Ryan into his lap and they talked for a long time, about anything they could think of. Their hands never left each other, their touches comforting each other in ways even words could not. It signified that the other was real and tangible. That they were there.
After a few hours, Jon pulled into a rest stop, mumbling that he had to go to the bathroom. Brendon gave Ryan a quick kiss and said that he needed to do the same. Ryan watched him walk away, smiling. A few minutes later, Jon returned and started the car. Ryan stared at him in horror.
“JON! WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR BRENDON!” Ryan screamed, jaw hanging in disbelief. Jon turned and looked at him. “Ryan. He’s not coming back. Brendon’s not here. He’s not coming back. I’m sorry, Ry, I’m sorry.“
Suddenly, Ryan felt the world starting to fade around him. The colors grew duller. The lights grew dimmer. The world just wasn’t as sharp as hid been a moment ago. Ryan’s head snapped to the side, looking to where Brendon had walked off. And then he started to sob. Because he knew Jon was right. Brendon wasn’t coming back. Because Brendon hadn’t been there in there in the first place.