There will now be a Part 4
And then that all came crashing down with this crippling realization that I would never get over him. Brendon. The kid I fell in love with at age 17 and kept loving all the way through 25. And here I am, staring at the back of his head like a school girl staring at her attractive student teacher. Stomach in knots, heart pounding harder and harder with each passing second, and my tongue goes dry as I try to speak. What do I even say?
He breaks the silence for me.
“So,” he says, voice a little rougher than I remember, “I’m going to assume you had something you wanted to talk about,” he turns to face me, eyebrows raised just a tad, “Because people don’t normally call after three years of not speaking without having something on their mind.”
I swallow hard, overwhelmed by the idea of just diving in like this, but I know Brendon was never one for bullshit. So, I nod, lifting one thin arm to scratch at the back of my neck for a few seconds before deciding on the right words to use.
“Yeah,” I begin, voice quiet. I clear my throat, starting over with more confidence, “Yeah, you’d be right about that. But we’ll get into all that after I have some alcohol in me,” I laugh nervously, crossing past him to enter the kitchen, “Can I get you anything?”
Brendon follows, biting at his plump bottom lip, before shrugging, “A beer is good with me.”
I exhale, thankful for the fact that he doesn’t want to go through this sober any more than I do. I prop open the fridge door, shifting bottles of condiments with no food to put them on from side to side until I find a can of Coors Light at the back. I grab it, handing it over to Brendon before grabbing a glass and a bottle of Red Stag from the liquor cabinet.
Brendon makes a face.
“You drink Red Stag now?”
I glance at the bottle, then back at him, cocking my eyebrow in question, “Yeah,” I scoff, pouring some, “What, you’ve never indulged in a little black cherry appertif?”
Brendon chuckles lightly, a sound that hits me right in the chest and feels like a weight’s been taken out of my rib cage. I look at him, smiling small before taking the first sip of my drink.
“I stick with the classic Jim Beam, thanks,” he says, popping open his beer and taking a swig. We stand in comfortable silence for a few minutes, before it turns uncomfortable and Brendon’s eyes find mine again. I try my best not to latch onto them too intensely, try to find a way to look somewhere else, but I physically can’t get myself to do it. It’s as if there are a million things to be said and Brendon’s saying them all just with that look.
My chest feels heavy again.
Brendon takes a few steps forward, the space between us growing smaller and the tension climbing higher. I keep my eyes on his, unable to pry them away, and swallow the Red Stag down, feeling the liquid sear my insides even more than Brendon’s gaze.
“Brendon...” I say lightly, as he comes to a stop, only a few feet away from me. I’m not sure what comes after that word and his name just hangs in the air between us. My fingers ache to touch him, but I keep them glued to the glass in my hands, untrusting of my own will and motivation. I can’t fuck this up. I can’t get him into bed with me if he’s only going to walk away and never come back.
Though I wouldn’t blame him. That would be something I would do.
“Don’t talk bullshit,” Brendon says, the look in his eyes suddenly turning bitter, like his mind finally caught up with actions. Like he suddenly remembers who I am and what I’ve done, “I didn’t come here for small talk and petty apologies. And I know you better than to think you’d try that, so don’t. Just don’t. Tell me what’s going on.”
My eyes are wide, listening to the words that spill from his mouth, before I look down to the ground. Was I going to try that? To talk my way in circles until we fell into some kind of familiar pattern? Maybe. Maybe not. But it doesn’t matter anymore, because my mouth makes the decision for me.
“I miss the fuck out of you,” I say, my eyes still studying the grain of my hardwood floors, “I miss you in my gut, in my bones... in my heart.”
I hear Brendon exhale, and cut him off before he can speak.
“And I’m not an idiot. I know that I’m the one that left, I mean... I know what I did,” I finally look up at him, his eyes losing all signs of confrontation, “But fuck me if I don’t regret it,” I stand up straighter, setting the glass aside, “Leaving you was the worst choice I’ve ever made in my life. Ever. Not leaving the band. No, that was...” I shake my head, “that was inevitable and probably for the best, but leaving you... I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Brendon swallows, crossing his arms. I look at the gesture and sigh; it’s his defense mechanism. As if he’s putting up a shield against me.
“Damn,” he says, voice shaken, “‘Cause I was really hoping you could enlighten me...” he shakes his head quickly, taking a few steps back, “I don’t know what to say to that, Ryan. You can’t take back what you did-”
“I know that,”
“And I don’t want you to.”
I freeze, the wind knocked out of me, “You mean...”
“I’m glad you left,” he says with no inflection or emotion, staring at me with cold distant eyes, arms still across his chest. We stare at each other silently for the longest minutes of my life.
I grit my teeth, suddenly take over with unwarranted anger. I did leave him so he could have a better life. I left because I knew he deserved better. But some sick sadistic part of me always hoped he’d never want better. That he’d only want me.
“You’re lying,” I say, voice laced with hurt and anger.
Brendon laughs. He physically laughs. My chest feels like it’s on fire.
“You’re unbelievable,” he turns on his heels, making his way toward the door, “You leave me, say you’re not in love with me anymore, and then get upset when I finally come to terms with it. How predictable of you. Fuck, you haven’t changed at all.”
I walk behind him, reaching out to grab his elbow and swing him back around. I look at his face, only inches from mine. I search through his eyes, looking for anything to show me that I shouldn’t believe him.
“Maybe I haven’t,” I say, “But I refuse to believe that you’ve changed so much that you don’t still have feelings for me.”
“I didn’t say that,” he says automatically, his face flashing with hurt before restoring it’s look of defensive anger, “But I am glad you left.” He pushes me away, his voice raising as he stands a few feet away, “Look at you! You don’t have friends, you don’t have a career, and you still wallow in self pity to the point of sickness! You think I want to be around to wallow in it with you?”
The words slice against my skin, and I am literally knocked back a few steps.
“I don’t want you to wallow in it! I want you to help me out of it!” I yell it, finally letting the truth out completely, “I need you to help me...”
Brendon’s eyes sadden, as if he’s looking at a sick puppy and not his former lover, “I’m not your savior, Ryan.”
I’m at a loss, hating that the truth has little affect on him. Hating that the only emotion I’ll ever receive from him again is pity, “Brendon, please...” I beg.
He shakes his head in finality, grabbing his jacket and walking towards the door. He glances over his shoulder at me, “I’ll call you after we get back from tour.”
And he walks out, closing the door behind him.