"Come on, you damned piece of shit…" Jean turned the key hard in the ignition for a third time but his car only gave a sputter, failing to start. He let out a heavy huff and removed the key, giving the steering wheel a light hit as he opened the door and stepped out into the parking lot, cold winter air immediately stinging the bare skin of his face. It had been warm that morning and he hadn't dressed too heavily, but by now the sun had set and a cold front had drifted in, the snow that had melted that morning now slick ice that caused him to almost slip a couple times just in the process of shuffling back into the office building he worked in.
As soon as he entered the warm confines of the lobby he was tugging his phone out of his pocket and called the first name in his call history. He blew lightly on his free hand as he listened to the dial tone. He couldn't help a small smile from creeping onto his lips the moment he heard Marco's familiar voice on the other end. "Hey Jean, you coming home soon?" The voice was passive and it sounded like Marco was occupying himself with something else.
"Yeah, about that… My car has apparently decided to crap out on me. Mind picking me up if you're not busy?"
"No problem. I'll be there as soon as I can."
Jean thought he could hear a door creaking to a close behind Marco's voice and wondered idly what the boy had been doing but decided to say nothing of it. "Thanks, babe. I'll see you in a bit." A quick goodbye later and he pressed the End Call button, sliding the phone back into his pocket and leaning against the wall behind him. It usually took about twenty minutes to drive from home to the office, but taking the ice into account it would probably be a little while longer. He'd have to call a tow truck later and see about getting whatever was wrong with his car fixed. Damn, what a pain.
He had Marco had met in college a few years earlier when they'd wound up rooming together and it hadn't been much longer before they had started dating, drunkenly confessing to each other at a frat party. They now lived together in a small apartment just on the outskirts of downtown and things had never been better. Recently Jean had even been playing a bit with the idea of asking Marco to marry him. Maybe he would see about looking at a ring once his car was fixed.
Half an hour later, Jean was still standing the lobby. Jean huffed and glanced over at the secretary sitting behind the front desk who gave him a weak smile in return, aware of his predicament.
Forty-five minutes. He pulled out his phone and tried dialing Marco again but got no answer. That made sense, he supposed. If Marco was driving he wouldn't be able to pick up. Were the roads really that bad though? He had heard sirens pass the building about twenty minutes earlier and they seemed to be going at a pretty decent speed. Worry blossomed in Jean's chest, twinned by annoyance. He would wait another fifteen minutes. If Marco still wasn't there by then he would find a different way to get home. Call a cab or something.
And fifteen minutes later there was still no sign of Marco. Once again Jean called only to receive no answer. As it turned out, he didn't have enough for a taxi on him and all his coworkers he knew personally had already left for the day. It would seem he had to walk. He sighed deeply. From here, it would take about an hour to get home, and that was if he walked fast. He slipped back on the thin knit gloves he had taken off before and zipped his jacket as far as it would go, then stepped out into the cold.
Stupid Marco, where was he? He had said he would pick him up, so why had he never shown?
About ten blocks down from his office building, Jean noticed that there had been an accident, a few police cars still parked near it with their lights blinking annoyingly. That must have been what the sirens were about earlier. Poor sap, the car was practically wrapped around a pole. The driver must have hit a nasty patch of black ice or something.
As he neared it though, Jean felt as though his heart had stopped. The car model and colour were the same as Marco's. It couldn't be… right?
No, it couldn't be. It had to be a coincidence. It had to. Even as he repeated this in his mind, Jean was running, practically sprinting, towards the nearest of the cop cars. Reaching it and noticing an officer sitting in the driver's seat, he rapped on the window quickly. The window rolled down as the cop eyed him warily. "The driver," Jean huffed, finding himself somewhat out of breath both from the running and the nerves, "Who was driving that car?" He raised a shaking finger to point weakly at the wrecked car.
The cop just looked at him for an agonizingly long moment, seeing to be judging whether he should tell Jean, before he finally spoke. "It was a young man, around his mid-twenties."
"Did he… He didn't have black hair and freckles did he…?"
"He someone you know?" was all the cop responded with, but it was enough to confirm Jean's fears.
"Where is he?" he spat out quickly, amazed his mouth was still working. "What hospital?"
"Is he someone you know?" the cop repeated.
"God- He's my boyfriend, now would you please tell me what hospital he's at?!" Jean's voice was shaking as he half-yelled the words. Marco had gotten into an accident. Marco had gotten hurt. Marco might be dead. Oh god oh god oh god why was this happening?
Not even twenty minutes later Jean was bursting through the door to the emergency room at St. Maria's Hospital. He had managed to find a cab and convinced the driver to drive him despite having only half the required fare, begging and pleading more than he would have in any other situation, too proud to do such a thing. It didn't matter if he looked desperate; he was desperate.
He practically ran up to the front desk, slamming his hands on the counter to stop himself and making the nurse behind it flinch in the process. "There- There was an accident. A car accident. The driver, Marco Bodt, he's supposed to be here."
"Let me take a look, sir," the nurse said, already typing away at her keyboard. "What's your relation?"
"I'm his boyfriend. Please just tell me he's okay, please."
"Found him." The clicking of keys stopped and the nurse's eyes flicked from side to side as she read. "He's in surgery right now."
Surgery. Oh god, that was bad. That was really bad. Jean swallowed. "How bad is he…?"
"He's in critical condition. If you'd come with me, I can take you to the waiting area." She stood, flashing a look to the other nurse beside her who nodded. Feeling like he'd just been hit in the stomach with a battering ram, Jean hollowly followed the nurse down a labyrinth of hallways until she showed him the seats he could wait in outside a door headed by a glowing sign indicating that an operation was in progress. Jean just mumbled a weak "thank you" and slumped into one of the chairs, his head falling into his hands.
He sat like that for what must have been at least a half hour before the red light blinked off and the door opened. Jean was immediately on his feet looking at the doctor, but he couldn't even get any words out before the doctor was shaking his head. Jean felt his legs give out beneath him and the doctor quickly shot his hands out to catch him, lowering him slowly to the floor so that both of them were kneeling. Marco's heart had been ruptured in the accident, the doctor explained. They hadn't managed to save him.
Jean weakly asked if he could see him. The doctor assented.
Marco's body was covered in white cloth when Jean entered the operating room. He could barely bring himself to walk forward towards him, but he felt like he had to. He had to confirm that it was really Marco. Had to be sure that it hadn't all just been one big misunderstanding. Part of him was still hoping it had all been one big misunderstanding.
He removed the cloth from Marco's face with trembling fingers and a sob tore from his throat. He lowered himself so that he was kneeling again and brushed the back of his fingers against Marco's cheek, it already starting to go cold. He looked like he was sleeping, a peaceful expression on his face. There was only one injury visible there, a long cut that stretched diagonally across the right side of Marco's forehead. Jean ran a fingertip over it, more sobs escaping him, before he found himself burying his face in Marco's shoulder. The room smelled heavily of sanitization, yet Marco still smelled the same. A girly lavender-like scent that Jean had teased him for numerous times despite secretly loving it.
He was gone.
Marco was gone.
Two years had passed since Marco's death. A stack of filled boxes now sat just inside the front door of the apartment they had shared together. Jean was moving out. He had been a mess following Marco's death and was only now finally starting to heal, so he'd decided he had to get out of the apartment. It reminded him too much of Marco. It was only making things worse staying here.
He had already packed up most of what could be packed, drawers and cupboards empty and shelves bare. The only thing he had left was the closet Marco had used to keep painting supplies he would sometimes use. Jean hadn't even opened it in the last two years. He had purposely left it for last.
Pulling out a large box he hadn't put anything in yet, he took a deep breath and opened the creaking door, the smell of paper and acrylic paint wafting out heavily. He stared at it for a moment then reached out and started grabbing things, placing them delicately into the box. About to close the door once he'd finished, his eye caught on a piece of paper he had missed on the top shelf and he stretched up to grab it. The thick paper crinkled and his breath caught as his own face, happier and younger looking, stared back at him. It was a portrait of him. He chuckled darkly to himself as he fought back a couple tears that threatened to breach, then pulled a bit more.
Something tumbled from the shelf where it had been lying on top of the portrait and Jean quickly shot out a hand to catch it.
It was a small, velveteen black box.
A ring box.
Now the tears really came. His hands trembled more than they had since that night at the hospital and he found himself just staring at it. He didn't want to look at it. He didn't want to open it. He was scared. He didn't want it to be what he thought it was. He didn't know if he could handle it if it was. He was scared. He was scared.
But he had to.
He had to know.
He took a deep breath and brought his other hand to the lid. He screwed his eyes shut and opened it.
It took him a full minute to open his eyes again.
A sparkling silver band gloated at him.
He almost dropped the box.
Not even thinking anymore, his shaking fingers plucked it out and brought it closer to his face, turning it so that the small diamonds caught the light with sickening beauty. There a date engraved into the inside of it. A date from two years ago. The date Jean's world had ended.
Marco was going to propose to him that night.
Marco had died on the night he was going to propose to Jean.
Jean's legs crumbled beneath him.
All he could do was cry.
A/N: This was based off this post: post/74771326186