Brendon suffers a great loss and needs all of his friends.
Ryan took a long drag on his cigarette and held the smoke for a moment before releasing it. “No, Jon.”
“Why not? Don’t you remember what they did? How they betrayed us? You?”
Ryan turned his head slowly to look at his friend, his former band mate. “Brendon supported me when my dad died. I’m returning the favor.”
So, that was it. Spencer waited for Jon’s answer, which actually took a while and surprised him. “Yeah, I know,” Jon said with a sigh.
They stood in silence, finishing their cigarettes. Ryan finally spoke. “They want us back.”
Jon’s head shot up. “They?”
Ryan half shrugged. “Bren asked out loud, almost begging. Spence said it in his own way.”
“They haven’t said anything to me.”
“They probably assumed…” Ryan trailed off with a sigh.
Jon shook his head as he stubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray shaped like the big neon Welcome to Las Vegas sign. “Well, if they want me on their next album, they have to ask. I’m still gone after the service.” He put a hand on Ryan’s shoulder and squeezed gently before going back into the apartment.
Spencer jumped and darted back into the kitchen. That was actually a lot to take in. But first, he had a mission. He let Jon move back into the living room where Brendon was still entrenched on the couch before heading onto the balcony.
Ryan had already lit another cigarette and was leaning against the rail, looking out at the view. Spencer moved over to stand beside him, mimicking his posture. You could see the ocean from here, the moon shimmering off the water creating a dreamy atmosphere. “I see why you picked this place,” Ryan said after a few moments of silence.
Spencer nodded. Ryan knew him well. “Why did you come?”
“Because you asked.” Ryan took a long drag on his cigarette, turning to look at him.
He looked back. “Then why have you stayed?”
He turned his body towards him, resting his elbow on the rail, his other hand flicking ashes casually off his cigarette. “Do you remember that interview after my dad died and they took my phone from me and that asshole interviewer had to bring it up and everything?”
Spencer had to nod. He remembered that day vividly. Ryan was so on edge, trying to keep up with his family, finding out the funeral arrangements and everything. If he remembered correctly, Jon had actually flipped the guy off before they broke for commercial. That had been pretty epic.
“Brendon took my hand and held it. You rubbed my back. You three were the only ones I had. I just… I can’t leave Bren without him knowing that yeah, I still do care.”
Spencer’s mouth fell open. Did he hear Ryan correctly? “Dude, seriously?”
Ryan rolled his eyes. “Yes, seriously. I just can’t not care. You’ve been my friend for, like, forever. And Bren… he’s Brendon. He makes you care without you really realizing it.”
“Yeah, he does.” Spencer stood up straight. “He really appreciates you being here.”
“What about you?”
He took a step forward and hugged Ryan. “That answer your question?”
Ryan, awkwardly at first, put an arm around him and hugged back. “Miss you, Spence.”
Spencer left Ryan to finish his cigarette and went back inside. Well, at least Ryan was on board. He walked into the kitchen and nearly jumped to the ceiling when he saw Jon standing there staring at him. “Sheesh, Jon, I forgot how quiet you are.”
The corner of Jon’s mouth quirked up into a half smile. “Thought I’d make some coffee.”
“That sounds like a great idea.” He moved over to get the coffee out of the pantry. His coffee maker wasn’t one of those new Keurig things. When Spencer drank coffee, it was usually four or five cups. He needed a real coffee maker. Pulling open the drawer, he grabbed a filter.
Jon took the coffee and filter from him, putting it in the coffee maker. “So, where’s Haley?”
Spencer froze. That was a topic he didn’t want to talk about, especially with Jon. But he’d asked and Spencer wasn’t the type to ignore a question that important. “Don’t know,” he said sullenly. “We split a while back.”
Jon paused and turned to look at him. “I’m sorry. You two seemed so happy.”
A bitter laugh escaped his lips before he could stop it and he sighed in defeat. “Yeah, things got kinda weird after Bren and Sarah’s wedding. She kept hinting at us getting married and I just…” He rubbed his eyes, letting out a loud breath. “I couldn’t commit, so she left.”
Jon was suddenly very close and Spencer felt a bit claustrophobic. He put a gentle hand on his arm and squeezed lightly. “I’m sorry,” he repeated.
Spencer just shrugged. “Thanks. It’s… it’s better now. The twins have finally forgiven me. Not sure mom will ever, but…” He trailed off, the pain still fresh in his memory and betraying him by showing on his face.
“Hey, if you want, you can ask me what happened with Cassie. I owe you that much at least.”
“I already know what happened,” he replied softly, turning back to the counter. “Ryan told me. I’m really sorry about that. I really liked her.”
“So did I,” he replied. “Too bad she didn’t feel the same.”
Spencer nodded, looking down at the counter. He just couldn’t look in Jon’s eyes. He felt Jon squeeze his arm again and walk off. After a few heartbeats, when he was certain Jon was no longer in the room, he swore. “Fuck.”
“That would have been a great time to tell him, you know.”
He was so used to Ryan’s voice that he didn’t even flinch. He just raised a hand and flipped him off. “Leave me the fuck alone.”
Ryan leaned against the door jam, arms crossed over his chest, left leg crossed over his right. “I’m serious, it was the perfect time, and you passed it up. Again.”
He slammed his hand down on the counter. “He doesn’t want me. Fuck, nobody wants me.”
“Haley did,” he replied, his voice low. “But you didn’t want her. You wanted Jon.”
Spencer stood up straight, squaring his shoulders as he turned to look at his friend. “I told you to fuck off, Ross!” He stormed from the kitchen and down the hall to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
Ryan waited a moment before pushing off the wall and walking into the living room. He shrugged when Jon and Brendon looked up at him curiously. “He can’t handle the truth, like always.”
Brendon pouted and looked down the hallway. He was about to get up and go back there, but Jon put a hand on his leg. “I’ll go,” Jon said. “The coffee should be ready anyway.” He stood and went into the kitchen, Ryan quickly taking his place beside Brendon.
Spencer wanted to put his fist through the wall. No, he wanted to put Ryan through the wall. Damn him for making things real. Yes, he’d had a crush on Jon Walker ever since he first came on their tour bus way back when he was working with The Academy Is… as basically a roadie. Fuck. He never tried to talk to Jon about it because someone was always in the picture. Most of the time that person was Cassie.
Cassie. Ryan said that Jon had asked her to marry him and she had done the same thing he’d done to Haley. Cassie couldn’t commit either. He sighed, really wishing Ryan hadn’t brought it up at all. He was doing good avoiding Jon, keeping the touching to a minimum, even though it’d only been two hours since he’d gotten there. He tapped out cadences on the bed beside him repeatedly.
There was a knock on the door and he tensed. “Leave me the fuck alone, Ryan.”
“It’s Jon. I brought coffee.”
Spencer swallowed. This wouldn’t go well no matter what he did. “It’s open,” he finally said and stuffed his drumsticks back under his pillow. Jon walked over and handed him a cup of coffee fixed exactly how he liked it. Of course Jon would remember. Jon remembered everything. Jon was perfect. “Thanks,” he said, taking the cup and blowing across the top before taking a sip. The steam curled around the edge of the mug and back toward his nose.
Jon nodded and sipped his. He remained quiet for a few minutes before speaking. “You keep your sticks under your pillow?”
Spencer grinned. “In case I have an idea in the middle of the night. Plus it helps relieve stress.”
Jon smirked back at him. “Yeah, I remember.” He took another swallow of coffee. “What did Ryan say to get you so pissed off?”
Spencer froze yet again. He wasn’t ready for this conversation. He was never going to be ready for it. Fuck Ryan and his fucking big mouth.
“Sorry…” Jon looked at him sheepishly over his coffee. He sat down on the bed beside him. “I just hate when he upsets you like that. You two have been friends forever. I know you’ll get over whatever the hell it was he said. Still doesn’t make me any less worried.”
Spencer sighed, his shoulders slumping, letting out the tension. “You don’t have to be worried about me. I’m fine.”
“Right. You’re taking care of one of your best friends after his wife died in a car accident. I know you, Spence. You’re stressing over all of this. It’s why you contacted Ryan and me. You know you’re going to need help with Brendon.” He reached over to rub Spencer’s back gently. “You probably did the right thing.”
He closed his eyes, feeling his warm hand sliding up and down his spine. He shuddered even though he wasn’t cold. The hand stopped and he felt Jon rise off the bed. He lifted his head to look up at Jon, who he had loved for so very long that it hurt, but didn’t say a word.
“Come out when you’re ready. I’ll go make sure the children haven’t broken anything yet.” He grinned, reverting back to when the band was together. He and Spencer had always called Ryan and Brendon the children, mainly because they acted like children all of the time.
Spencer just nodded in response, looking down at the floor. He didn’t see the deep frown on Jon’s face as he turned around and walked out of the bedroom. Spencer sat his coffee on the bedside table and grabbed his drumsticks, throwing them across the room at the wall.