And nothing would put out the burning determination in that guardian angel’s eyes. Nothing.
“So you dumped him?” Ryan took a final swig of his coffee as soon as Brendon finished telling his story.
Brendon flinched internally at how lightly Ryan used that term. He himself prefered the term “let him go”. He could still remember the look on Derek’s face. Those teary puppy-dog eyes almost broke his heart. Almost. But Brendon’s was scarred with too many horrid memories to truly comprehend Derek’s heartache. He was still unable to understand how a monster like Derek could have his heart broken by someone like Brendon.
“Yo, Earth to Brendon. Brendon, do you copy?”
The younger man squeezed his eyes shut and opened them quickly to regain his focus.
“Sorry,” he replied as he shook his head as if to shake out a bad thought.
“Don’t be. Should we talk about something else?”
Brendon contemplated the question for a moment before replying, “Um, yeah.”
“Okay then.” Ryan offered a small, apologetic smile and placed his hand over Brendon’s jittery ones. The fireworks they had felt only hours before had dimmed slightly, but the strong feeling of belonging with each other was still mutual. “You know, I was invited to a party tonight... You wanna come?... As my... my, uh-”
Ryan’s whole exterior settled into a smile.
“So do you?”
Brendon grinned right back and replied, “I would be honored.”
Ryan glanced at himself in the bathroom mirror one last time. He wasn’t wearing anything special, not even a thin line of barely noticable eyeliner. This time he was going to be all natural and laid-back and true to himself. He didn’t want Brendon to think that he was some kind of poser that hid behind makeup and shit, he just wanted Brendon to feel like he could rely on him no matter what. Ryan knew that the younger man had been horrifically abused by a past love and needed someone to protect him. Yes, slightly introverted and stick-thin Ryan was prepared to be Brendon’s everything; his bodyguard, his shoulder to cry on, his best friend, his lover - anything and everything, even though he barely knew the guy. And nothing would put out the burning determination in that guardian angel’s eyes. Nothing.
“Hey, Ryan! Are you ready yet?” called Brendon from downstairs.
“Shit,” Ryan muttered to himself as grabbed his cellphone from the counter and raced out to meet the younger man.
Brendon flashed a megawatt grin as he saw Ryan practically flying down the stairs. Before either of them knew it, the older man was unable to slow down and slammed into him. Ryan held Brendon tightly as they hurled into the front door with a loud thump.
“Sorry!” he exclaimed breathlessly. So much for protecting Brendon, all he was doing was hurting him!
“'Sorry?' That was the most fun I’ve had in over a year!” Brendon giggled, souding similar to a young child.
“Well, let’s at least try to get to the party in one piece,” Ryan suggested. Meanwhile his mind screamed, “Holy fuckin’ shit that was too damn cute!”
At that point they didn’t even have to speak to communicate their emotions anymore.
Brendon simply smiled.
And Ryan smiled back.