Morning.

BANKYOkay. So I'm sleeping, right? WRONG. Some dumbass motherfucker is beating the shit out of the door to my apartment, so I'm not sleeping; on the contrary, I'm lying on the floor and rubbing the spot on my forehead that just made contact with my night table.

"Banky. BANKY. OPEN UP."

Well, gee, Holden. Maybe I will, once both sides of my fucking brain start to work again.

Ow.

Jesus, my head hurts. I stagger toward my bedroom door, almost slipping on my (Holden's) too long sweatpants, reach out to open it… and fall.

"FUCK!" I wail.

You left your door open, shithead, if it's open, you don't need to open it again.

"Banky? BANKY? Are you okay in there?" Holden's voice is unsure, sleepy, confused.

Yes, Holden. Yes. I am wonderful. Peachy fucking keen. I love lying on the floor, I love tripping on your pants, and I love hitting my head twice in less than three minutes.

I lie there, close my eyes for a minute; before I move again, I'd sort of like to be able to feel my body. Holden can wait. Hell, Holden deserves to wait. I've never made him wait before. Let him wait now.

Him.

Him and that dyke. That stupid, pretentious dyke with her breathy Marilyn Monroe voice and her stupid comic and her born-again-as-a-lesbian-after-I-fucked-all-of-New-Jersey-and-their-mothers-except-I-like-guys-too mentality. He was stupid enough to fall for it. I hated her from the beginning, and I hate her now, at what looks to be the end.

Summary: Holden and Banky. Holden and Banky have comic book. Dyke comes. Holden loves dyke. Dyke loves Holden. Holden and dyke fuck up Banky and Holden's friendship. Dyke then decides to break Holden's heart. Holden chases dyke. Dyke allows self to be caught. Holden decides to move in with dyke.

And that pretty much brings us up to date. Holden has lived with her about a month now; he still has some shit here at our place that he needs to bring over. I guess that's why he's here now.

More assault on my door. "BANKY. JESUS. OPEN THE FUCK UP."

"SHUT THE FUCK UP, " I bellow. "I'LL BE THERE IN A FUCKING SECOND. CHRIST."

Silence.

I lift myself onto my feet. I'm still groggy as shit. Finger comb my hair back and open the door.

Oh, Holden.

The sight of him wakes me up. He's shaved his beard. His face is stubbly. Tan. Sweet. Eyes like chocolate, he grins at me, awkwardly. "Hey, Bank."

My lungs drop into my stomach, my stomach leaps into my chest, and my heart is frantic, tearing viciously at my insides, trying to find a way out. Trying to find an escape, a window. It doesn't want to be hurt again. Neither do I.

HOLDENFuck. Alyssa kicked me out. Said I was too hung up on Banky. Calling the house, hanging up. Worrying. Looking at pictures. Says Alyssa, "You love him. You always loved him. It was never me, it was him. And I can't live like that." So she kicked me out.

Fuck.

I love Alyssa. She's perfect. She's beautiful. I love Alyssa. She's perfect. She's beautiful. It's a mantra, I'm chanting inside my head as I walk up the steps to the old apartment. What am I going to find? A heartsick lovesick Banky, eyes rimmed with tears, snuffling, waiting for me, welcoming me home? I brush it off, but my subconscious remains on the image, the idea, and tastes it, savors it, lets the flavor linger, then kicks me in the balls for not facing what I want.

Fuck.

That isn't supposed to be what I want. I know what I want. I want Alyssa. I want Alyssa.

I bang hard on the door. Yell Banky's name. I hear a lot of crashing around -- Banky was always uncoordinated in the morning.

I wait for about five minutes, then start banging on the door again. What the hell is he doing in there? Fuck this, I'm impatient.

"BANKY. JESUS. OPEN THE FUCK UP," I yell, which is met with a "SHUT THE FUCK UP, I'LL BE THERE IN A FUCKING SECOND. CHRIST." Already I feel a little stupid.

The door swings open and the blood rushes into my face.

His hair is disheveled, his eyes sleepy at first, then wide. Fuck, his eyes. Big, hazel, shrewd, hurt. His lips. Shit. What am I doing? I think I'm grinning. Fuck, I must look so stupid. Did I just say "Hi, Bank"?

BANKY We stand there a minute. He stares at me. Apprehensive, slightly flushed. I stare back. I don't want to know what kind of a look I'm giving him. I turn around, wave him inside, sit on the arm of the couch.

"So. Um." I scratch the back of my neck. He shuts the door, then turns, and faces me. "Are you here, to, like, pick up some stuff or something?"

He clasps his hands together and looks at the ground, then back up at me, with that odd little smartass smile that he always gets when he's about to offer up some new that might be good or might be bad, depending on how it's received. Shit. Now what? Does Alyssa want to bond with me? Does she want us to shave our beards together or something?

"Well," he begins. "Alyssa and I…" he falters. Usually he's damn calm about these things. This time… nope. Good. Let the fucker stew in it. "Okay. Alyssa… and I. Are. Not together. Anymore."

I swallow a lung. Jesus, Banky. Calm the fuck down. He didn't propose or anything.

"Oh. Well." Could it possibly be that you feel bad for him? Oh, shit. "I'm.. sorry."

HOLDEN Shit. Shit. Shit. He's looking up at me with those eyes, that face, and all I want to do is grab it and kiss it, run my fingers through his hair, hold him, touch him. SHIT.

He asks me something about moving. I come clean about Alyssa.

He… apologizes.

What? He feels… bad?

It's so fucking weird. His face is like that time in fourth grade when I gave a valentine to Sarah Kreeger and didn't get one back. He put an arm around me, apologized and gave me a box of M&Ms. And that memory. That memory. With the memories that come rushing back at me from being in this apartment again. The smell. Banky's smell. Like cigarettes and coffee and pine.

It's like coming back to your house after being gone for a long time and opening the door. And when you step inside it's cool and undisturbed and for the first time, you can smell it, really smell it. And you recognize it, and the smell hugs you, holds you, says, "I miss you," and you start crying because you missed it, too.

Oh, it's just like that. My face crumples.

BANKY FUCK! I made him cry. I panic. He's crying. I apologize, he looks shocked, then his face falls and he cries. What did I do! Oh man. I didn't mean to make him cry… oh, fuck.

I sit there a minute, frozen, rigid, as he stands there, red nosed and snuffling and weeping into the hand that he propped on his elbow. Mentally slap myself and get up, close the space between us and wrap my arms around his shaking shoulders. Rest a hand on his hair, stroke it, feel it running between my fingers. I'm still a lot shorter than him, so his face is in my shoulder.

I don't talk. What is there to say, after all? I mean, fuck.

Especially since he kisses me.

HOLDEN I am crying. And I feel stupid. But I can't help it. I'm crying. I missed this place, this smell, so much. And I guess Banky thinks I'm hung up on Alyssa or something, because he gets this look of absolute panic on his face -- I can see what he's thinking -- "Fuck! What did I do!" and he comes over and hugs me.

My skin blossoms into flame. I hope he still loves me.

I lift my head off his shoulder. Kiss him, pull back.

He stares up at me. Eyes wide, lips parted. Confused. Jesus, Banky. Great time for you to be coy. I am suddenly very afraid, because it feels like I have just made a huge mistake. Inner turmoil ensues, because, oh fuck, he probably has someone else now. Oh, shit. I'm stupid.

Until he kisses me.

BANKY He pulls back, his eyes searching, afraid. Jesus mother fuck. If this isn't what he wants, I'm going to kill him. He has yanked me around one too many fucking times. What am I doing? I hate him. FUCK, I hate him so much, yanking me around like that, KNOWING how much I fucking LOVE him. ASSHOLE. I HATE him. He should be afraid! FUCKER! I might not take you back, how about that?

I lift my face to his, kiss his mouth.

Fuck. I always do this.

It feels okay this time.

HOLDENNighttime. Sex with Banky is a hell of a lot more comfortable than it ever was with Alyssa. This is fucked up. I'm fucked up. Banky is beautiful when he sleeps.

BANKYNighttime. I listen to Holden's heartbeat, pretend to be asleep. This can't be real.

HOLDENHis head rests against my heart, his arm across my chest. I have an arm around him, absently stroking the small of his back.

I love this.

I love him.

BANKYHis heartbeat is steady. Goes with my own, which, if I listen hard enough, I can hear. With each heartbeat, a voice in me chants. Holden. Holden. Holden.