"It was my birthday." I whispered.
I watched as my nervous, awkward, 17-year-old self was pushed backwards across Ryan’s room, by Ryan himself. His messy, wavy hair hung into the face of his gorgeous 18-year-old self. Watching his experienced hand’s on my then-innocent body was making my heart race.
I watched Ryan pushed me onto his bed, kissing me desperately as my shaking hands clung to his shoulders.
“Pete Wentz, Brendon.” Ryan breathed. He was straddling my hips, but took a break from kissing me to gush over the situation.
“Pete fucking Wentz!” Ryan cheered, punching the air, then leaned back down over the panting wreck on his bed, kissing my old self hard. Ryan’s hands moved to the buckle of my jeans, and my eyes shot open.
“Ryan, stop.” I watched myself whisper hoarsely.
“Bren?” Ryan questioned, pulling back to look at me, confused.
“I don’t want to go to Hell.”
“I’m so fucking pathetic.” I whispered as I watched the young Mormon boy that was myself, 6 years ago, cry over the thought that God hated men who loved men.
“Shh.” Aaron whispered. “Talk later. Watch.”
I fell silent.
“Brendon, you won’t go to Hell.” Ryan tried to comfort me, but I pushed him off, sitting up and curling in on myself.
“It’s a sin.” The brain-washed clone that I used to be spoke softly. “God hates fags.”
“You think that God hates you?” Ryan asked quietly, sitting with his knees pulled to his chest at the foot of the bed.
I watched myself nod without looking at Ryan.
“Do you think that God hates me?” Ryan asked, biting his lip.
“No, Ryan, of course not.” I lifted my head out of my knees to look at him.
“I’m a fag.” Ryan said, staring at me emotionlessly. “Do you think I’m going to Hell?”
“No.” I whispered, blinking at him. I remembered feeling embarrassed to be crying in front of him.
“Why would you go to Hell, if I wouldn’t?”
It wasn’t a question I could answer, so I’d stayed silent, picking at his comforter. He tried to capture my lips with his again, but I turned away.
“I can’t.” I felt my heart break as I saw the look on Ryan’s face. 6 years ago, when I’d sat on that bed, I’d forced myself to not look at Ryan. But now, I could see the pain of the rejection painted clearly across his face.
Aaron’s fingers laced through mine, and the room faded around us again. We were back in the hotel, and I sat on the edge of the bed.
“Well?” Aaron asked.
“I feel like shit.” I admitted.
“He was so sad!” I exclaimed, running my hands through my hair. “With those two words, I broke his fucking heart, and I was too damn selfish to even look at him while I did it!”
“Do you know what you did with that one day?” Aaron asked, sitting down next to me on the bed.
I turned and looked at Aaron, who was searching my face, obviously trying to figure out if I already knew what he was going to tell me or not.
“You laid the ground work for every time throughout the relationship, for when he felt misunderstood and abandoned. Every time he thought that he just wasn’t good enough for you to take a chance on, that thought was supported by his memory of this conversation.”
“He was always good enough.” I whispered. “He’s the only one I ever took a chance on.”
“I know that.” Aaron said, nodding. “He doesn’t.”
We fell silent for a few moments.
“What am I supposed to do, Aaron?” I asked. “Why are you showing me this? Am I supposed to call Ryan and apologize?”
“In three days,” Aaron started slowly, “you’ll know exactly what you need to do. Whether you do it or not, I can’t say.”
“What am I supposed to do?” I repeated desperately. “Please just tell me.”
“That’s not how this works, Brendon.” Aaron said. “I can’t just tell you what you did wrong, you have to see it happen for yourself, or you won’t understand.”
“This is bullshit!” I exclaimed. “It hurts! It fucking hurts to watch him in pain like that!”
“Jesus, all this from the first thing I show you? If you think that watching that hurts, wait until you see the rest of this. You’ve got another fucking thing coming if you think that this is going to be a painless jaunt down Memory Lane.”
We glared at each other in silence for a few moments, then he sighed, and held out his hand again.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked, eyeing his hand suspiciously.
“I’m not telling you until we get there.” Aaron said smoothly.
I sighed, defeated, and took his hand. The room disappeared, and then we were in another hotel room.
“No.” I said immediately. “No, I can’t watch this, Aaron. Take me back.”
“No.” He said.
“Please.” I begged, my eyes filling with tears.
“April 12th.” Aaron said. “2006. 1:57am.”
We just stared at each other for a long moment.
“It was my birthday.” I whispered.
“And?” Aaron pressed.
“It was the first time we fucked.” I said, glancing around the room.
“Fucked. Right.” Aaron scoffed, shoving his hands into his pockets. “You guys fucked?”
I nodded, and he rolled his eyes.
“Fucked.” He murmured. “That’s quite possibly the single most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard.”
The door opened before I had time to ask what he meant, and we both turned to watch as Ryan led me into the room. We were still in our stage clothes.
“Happy Birthday.” Ryan whispered, pressing his lips lightly to mine. I watched myself grin at him.
Ryan pulled me to the bed, and gently pulled me onto it. We kissed, hands exploring each other’s bodies, slowly undressing each other.
My eyes filled with tears as I watched, fighting the urge to curl up into a ball on the floor, and not watch as Ryan sucked his fingers, then pushed one into me. I watched myself moan and whimper, begging him for more.
I began chewing on my thumbnail as Ryan finished prepping, and slowly pushed himself into me. He rocked his hips at a slow, steady pace, leaning down to kiss me and whisper in my ear that he loved me.
“Fucked.” Aaron said. “Fucking. You know, that’s definitely just fucking.” Aaron said sarcastically, gesturing to the bed.
I stayed quiet.
“What is that, Brendon? I’ve seen ‘fucking’, and that,” He pointed at the bed, “sure as Hell ain’t it. So what is that?”
“He made love to me.” I murmured, so quietly that I barely heard myself. Aaron was satisfied though.
“So you understand the difference? Between being fucked and being loved?” Aaron asked angrily.
“Why are you so mad?” I asked softly, peeking up at him.
“Do you understand the difference?” He enunciated.
“Yes, I fucking understand!” I snapped.
“I don’t think you do.” Aaron said, gnawing on his bottom lip. “I think you need to see ‘fucking’, or you won’t understand how beautiful this moment is.” Again, he pointed to the bed.
“But… but me and Ryan never just ‘fucked’.” I said, confused.
“You’re not gonna be there this time.”Aaron said, holding his hand out. After one final glance at the scene on the bed, I accepted Aaron’s hand.
We were in another bedroom, but this one didn’t look like a hotel.
“I’ve never been here before.” I said slowly, looking around.
“This is the night that Ryan cheated on you.” Aaron said.
“What?!” I cried, looking around frantically. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Nope.” Aaron said. “Here they are.”
We both looked to the door as it opened.
“No…” Ryan was mumbling as the much larger man pulled him into the room. The other man threw Ryan’s small frame onto the bed. Ryan looked up at him, scared, but didn’t fight when the other man kissed him.
Ryan’s fingers wrapped tightly in the other man’s hair, tugging harshly. Ryan’s eyes opened, shining in the moonlight from the open window. Scared, and alone. Brendon knew how that felt, to have someone right there, in what should be one of the most intimate moments of your life, and feel alone.
The man that was roughly kissing and grinding against Ryan was relentless, obviously caring more for his own pleasure than Ryan’s comfort.
“Please stop.” Ryan whispered when the man broke away, panting into Ryan’s neck. Ryan cried out in pain, and Brendon assumed that the man had bitten Ryan. “Please… I have a boyfriend, please stop.”
The man didn’t listen. He wrapped his hands around Ryan’s wrists, and pulled them up over Ryan’s head when Ryan tried to push him off.
Ryan threw his head back, and a small moan escaped his lips.
“See? You’re enjoying this, baby.” The man murmured.
“No!” Ryan sobbed, and tears started pouring down his face. “Please, no, stop…” He was cut off as he moaned again.
“Don’t tell me that you’re not enjoying this.” The man murmured threateningly.
“I’m fucking not!” Ryan sobbed, squirming to try to get his wrists out of the man’s grasp. The man frowned, and pulled at Ryan’s hands, capturing both Ryan’s wrists in one hand, and slapped Ryan hard across the face.
“No…” I whispered, covering my mouth with both hands.
Aaron averted his eyes as the man started pulling and tugging at Ryan’s clothes, ripping them away from his fragile body, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
“We can go now.” Aaron murmured, setting his hand on my shoulder. “You don’t have to watch all of this.”
I nodded, and Aaron’s hand gripped mine gently. The room dissolved.
“I didn’t believe him.” I sobbed. “He told me that-that he didn’t mean to… that he tried to stop it, but-but I d-didn’t believe him!”
“We need to watch that too, Brendon.” Aaron said softly.
“What? No!” I said, looking up at Aaron, completely horrified. “I remember, okay? I don’t need to see it again!”
“Yes you do.” Aaron said, smiling sympathetically.
I sobbed into my hands, hating myself more than I’d ever hated anyone before.
“Let’s go.” Aaron murmured. “Let’s get this over with.”
I nodded, not bothering trying to stem the flow of my tears as I gripped Aaron’s hand. The room dissolved yet again, and the first thing I saw was Ryan, sitting on the edge of the bed in a hotel room. His arms were wrapped around himself, and he was crying silently, rocking back and forth as he stared at the door, waiting for me.
Barely a year ago, and yet it seemed like an eternity since that day.
A/N: What do you think?? I'm really excited about this story, and it'll probably be another couple chapters before The Ghost Of Panic's Present is introduced, and I still haven't decided who that'll be.
The lyric for this chapter's title is from The Ghost Of You by My Chemical Romance.
Please rate and review!