Needless to say, Ryan was accepted into the coven. He’d put on a remarkable display of loyalty and dedication and the decision had been unanimous to induct him. They gave him back the few belongings he’d had on his person the night they’d taken him and told him to go home and to be expecting a call or visit in the very near future. Ryan went outside, blinking against the harsh sunlight as he walked from the building the coven used. Once he was a safe distance, he called Jon.
“Where the hell are you?” Jon raged as soon he picked up. Ryan started, nearly dropping his phone.
“I’ve been… busy,” Ryan replied loftily. Jon let out a noise that resembled a snarl.
“Where are you right now?”
Ryan described his location to Jon, who told him not to move from the spot. Ryan sighed, hung up and sat down on a nearby bench. He stared at his phone for a few long moments before flipping it open and hitting speed dial number two. It rang for a while before the voicemail picked up. Ryan waited for the tone and then started speaking.
“Hey. Are you there, Bren? It’s me, Ryan. I uh, I was just calling to say, uh…” Ryan suddenly realized he had no idea why he’d called Brendon. The only thing he could come up with was that he wanted to hear Brendon’s voice again. And that was hardly something he could say over voicemail.
“I was just calling to say that I’m sorry for any grief I may have caused you. Over everything. I never meant to hurt or confuse you. You deserved so much better than me, Brendon. And sometimes I wish we’d never had met. Because every time I think about you, I see you with that look on your face. The last one I ever saw you make before I left. Full of pain and fear and sorrow. I never wanted any of that for you. I’m so sorry. Please, Brendon. All I ask from you is your forgiveness. And after that, I’ll leave you alone for the rest of your life if you want. I lov- uh… I’ll talk to you later.”
Spencer opened the door to the cabin, almost afraid to go inside. He opened his eyes and forced himself to look around. He sighed as he found the room exactly as he’d expected: completely trashed, empty bottles littering the floor and table, and a passed out Brendon on the sofa. Spencer closed his eyes again for a long moment before opening them and going to put the groceries away. When he was done, he wet a washcloth and went back into the living room. He lifted Brendon’s head up, sitting down on the sofa and putting Brendon’s head on his lap. He folded the wet cloth and put it on Brendon’s forehead, stroking his damp, sweaty hair with his free hand.
“Jon called me today, Bren. He found Ryan. He was fine, just like I said. He had some bruises on his arms and face, his hair looked a little greasy and he had some rope burns on his wrists, but other than that, he was fine. He’s refusing to tell Jon where he was, though. He just keeps assuring him that it wasn’t a kidnapping.
“I don’t understand why you let him do this to you, Bren. He left and you both should’ve moved on. But you’re clinging to each other harder than ever. You’re drinking to forget him and it’s not working. He’s off doing God knows what to forget you and it’s clearly not working either.”
Brendon stirred in his sleep, his eyes opening a little. “Spence?” he asked, barely a whisper. Spencer leaned down and kissed Brendon’s temple. “I’m right here, Brendon. I’ve got you. Go back to sleep. We’ll talk in the morning. Shhhhh. Hush, Brenny. You’re fine. I’ve got you. I’m here. You’re safe.” Brendon made a sad mewling sound as he snuggled into Spencer’s lap and blacked out again. It was then that Brendon’s phone chirped from inside his pocket. Spencer pulled it out, opening it to listen to the new voicemail.
He listened as Ryan apologized profusely, sounding as if he was on the verge of tears. Spencer felt his heart grow cold and hard as he listened. When the message was done, he heard the automated voice telling him to hit 9 if he wanted to save the message, 7 to delete and 1 to skip. Spencer watched as Brendon squirmed in his lap, mewling pitifully against the coming hangover he was getting. Spencer hit 7. Then he deleted the Ryan’s call from the history and erased the text Ryan had just sent. Then he slid the phone back into Brendon’s pocket.
Brendon frowned at his phone, confused. “Spencer?” he called. Spencer came out from the kitchen, carrying his and Brendon’s lunches. He put Brendon’s down in front of him. “Yea?” he asked, sitting down. Brendon continued to frown at his phone. “Spencer, I thought I heard my voicemail tone go off last night, but there’s no new messages in my inbox. Did you hear it too or am I just crazy?” he asked, checking his call log. Nothing in there either. Spencer chuckled. “I didn’t hear anything, Brendon. You must be crazy,” he said. Brendon smiled and put the phone back in his pocket. “Yea. Must be.” And then he pushed the events from his mind.
Ryan saw Brendon enter the club, but he never approached him. If Brendon wanted to talk, he would’ve called him back. Or texted him. Not that Ryan blamed Brendon for ignoring him. Ryan would ignore himself if he could. After everything he’d done to him, Ryan hated himself for doing what he had to Brendon. He didn’t think he’d ever stop hating himself. But it still ripped his heart apart to watch Brendon drowning himself in drink. Ogling other men and women. Drinking more. Killing himself with cocktails. Brendon had nearly destroyed himself before doing this but Ryan had helped him get through it. Now, Ryan wasn’t there to stop him. To comfort him. To tell him he was worth something when he hated himself. Now, they were both suffering.
As the days passed, Brendon started forgetting about Ryan. It wasn’t so much forgetting as blocking him out, but it equated to the same thing in Brendon’s mind. He went to the same bar every night, quickly establishing “regular” status. It was nearly two months after Ryan had left that he saw her. He was in the bar, same as every night when she walked inside, stopping in the doorway. She had beautiful black hair that was shorter in the back than the front so the long strands caressed her cheeks and touched the tops of her shoulders. Their eyes met and Brendon had the impression that her electric blue eyes were staring straight into the sinful cavern he called his soul. Her cheekbones were angular, but it accentuated her beauty rather than detracted from it.
She blushed when she noticed that he was staring at her. She ducked her head and went to the opposite side of the bar, ordering some kind of light, fruity drink. Brendon watched as she smiled and thanked the bartender, her white teeth shining in the dim lighting of the bar. When the bartender walked back down, Brendon stopped him. “That girl down there. What’s her name?” he slurred. The bartender laughed. “That’s Sarah. She comes in here every weekend. I’m surprised you haven’t noticed her before.” He walked away, chuckling. Brendon looked down towards the beautiful girl. “Sarah,” he whispered.
There was no way she could’ve heard him, but she looked up towards him as he said her name. She blushed again and cast her eyes down to her drink, but Brendon could see the tiny smile on her lips as she peeked at him from behind the one long piece of her hair. Brendon smiled back, raising his drink towards her in a friendly toast. He was toasting her great beauty and seemingly kind demeanor. She grinned as she lifted her drink towards him in return and took a small sip. And then she looked away, only glancing back towards him when she thought he wasn’t looking. But Brendon saw every glance, and with every shift of her hypnotizing blue eyes, Brendon’s mind shut out Ryan a little more.
The next morning, Brendon couldn’t remember the pretty girl with the sharp face and black hair that she hid behind when she didn’t want to see her looking at him. All he could remember was a pair of electric blue eyes.