LadyOfThieves – Your world of cookies sounds great…not sure about the Commonwealth games, but the cookies sound fantastic ;) I heard about that, but they couldn't close it for long at a time because of the congestion it caused. Hey, when are you away? Because I really, really need to go shopping for some clothes, and wanted to know if you wanted to come with. By the way, are you interested in purchasing my copy of Kingdom of Heaven? Because there's a director's cut coming out, and so I'm selling my original on eBay, but if you want it, you're welcome. Drop me an email sometime, yeah? Love you, see you soon :)
scarstar – Thanks! I love getting your reviews, they make me feel so positive about my writing ;)
Lilsara723 – Yeah, there's an edition with a book, isn't there? I'm watching eBay for one – you can't get that one over here (angry rant) My mum knows that I love it, but she doesn't know what it's about, and I'm not telling her ;) I'm glad I didn't have to break the law either, it could have gotten messy…thanks for reviewing!
Beena-Pani – Yay! I love meeting other Librans, I think I come off as saner ;) It's cool that your mum knew about it, I still haven't really told mine about it…though she does know a bit about it, since she bought me my MOPI poster (it's just next to my computer, so I get Keanu and River looking down on me as I write. Which is very inspirational.) I'm so glad you liked Rain, I was worried about that one because it was so surreal and bizarre, but it was so cool to write. Anyway, this is far too long as it is, so I'll just add thanks for reviewing!
I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to update, but I've had exams recently, and it's all been really stressful. On a brighter note, it's the holidays, and I'm starting to write the sequel to Understanding. So it's all good.
As an apology for not updating sooner, here's what I think is the longest chapter to date, and also one of my favourite scenes from the movie. I hope you all like it, as I really enjoyed writing this bit.
Dedicated to Lilsara723, as it was her suggestion for a prompt that inspired this whole scene.
Chapter VI: Heat
Just because somebody doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.
– Author Unknown
The air is rapidly cooling, but the sky is red and angry, fading to black the further up you look. It's completely empty, apart from a few miles of scrubby farm land and the echoing howl of distant wolves or coyotes. All that's between them is a glowing fire, blazing brightly, illuminating their faces, creating darker highlights in Mike's hair and lighter ones in Scott's. It's still and silent, apart from the coyote calls, and whilst Scott is sprawled out and relaxed, Mike is taut and tense, perched on his heels as though he doesn't want to sit down. It's quietly nervous, and at that moment it feels like they are the only two people in the world.
"Getting away from everything feels good," Scott says, the first person to break the silence.
"Yeah, it does." Mike's voice is hoarse and quiet, as though he's afraid of being overheard.
"When I left home, the maid asked me where I was off to. I said, 'wherever, whatever. Have a nice day.'" Scott's not even that sure why he brought that up. Maybe he just needed to let the memory out into the open.
"You had a maid?" Mike knows that Scott's family are wealthy, but he can't picture a maid somehow.
"If I had a normal family and a good upbringing...then I would have been a well-adjusted person." There's almost a trace of bitterness in Mike's voice, but it's nothing compared to what he actually wishes for from his family. Bitterness doesn't cover it, the gamut of human emotion would just about sum it up.
"Depends on what you call normal."
"Yeah, it does." Mike tries to think about it – he didn't have too much experience with normal. "Well, you know, normal, like - like a mom and a dad...and a dog and shit like that. Normal. Normal."
"So you didn't have a normal dog?" Scott manages to make it sound like a serious question, even though he can't resist trying to make Mike laugh.
Mike doesn't laugh though. He's staring at the fire intently, as though he sees something in it that Scott doesn't. "No, I didn't have a dog."
"You didn't have a normal dad?"
Mike thinks about what to say. He's never told Scott anything about his family before, and doesn't want to. Scott's perfect. He doesn't need to know about all the shit of Mike's family. "Didn't have a dog or- or- or a normal dad anyway." He sniffs, a permanent vestige of street life, brought about by a mixture of cold and coke. "That's all right. I don't feel sorry for myself. I mean, I feel like I'm - I feel like I'm, you know, well-adjusted."
Scott smiles silently, knowing that Mike's just contradicted himself, but he can't be bothered to bring it up. He doesn't believe his claim anyway that's he's not sorry about his family, and Mike doesn't expect him to, but he doesn't say anything. Now, Scott is looking into the fire as well, before twisting his head around to look at Mike, searching his face for an answer. "What's a normal dad?" Mike's never talked about his dad, so Scott kinda assumed that he was normal. Scott can't judge, as his dad's anything but normal. But he doesn't want to think about him now.
Scott always has the habit of asking a question you'd rather not answer, that you'd rather not think about. "I don't know…" There's more silence now, and Mike won't look at Scott at all. He just stares into the fire, like it's holding all the answers. "I'd like to talk with you. I mean, I'd like to really talk with you. We're talking right now, but, you know - I don't know. I – I don't feel like I can be…" He's so close to it, so close to saying what has been tormenting him for so long. "I don't feel like I can be close to you." Is it his imagination, or has everyone gone totally silent? "I mean, we're close. Right now we're close, but, I mean – you know – uh –"
Mike's never talked this much before. Scott knows that he and Mike are close friends, but on the streets, that can mean anything. "How close? I mean –" He knows his words are awkward, but he has to say something to fill the void between them.
"I don't know. Whatever." Mike wishes he hadn't spoken, but he can't take those words back, can't mend this moment.
"What?" Scott watches Mike closely now.
The words are burning in Mike's throat. He has to say them. Now or never. "What do I mean to you?" he asks quietly, so quietly that he almost hopes Scott doesn't hear.
"What do you mean to me?" Scott's incredulous, almost mocking voice dashes all of his hopes. Though, the thought of mocking Mike right now is completely gone from Scott's mind. Right then, he says it just for something to say. There's something in Mike's voice that worries him. "Mike, you're my best friend." So simple. And that's the whole of it. No more than friends.
"I know, man." God, he knows. And he wishes he doesn't. "And I - I know - I know I'm your friend. We're good friends. And it's good to be, you know, good friends. That's a good thing." His words are coming out confused and stilted, and he knows this, but now that the dam's been opened, he can't close it.
"So, I just –"
Scott turns away, understanding, looking away as though this is fast becoming trivial. Inside though, he doesn't know what to do. He can't give Mike an answer, because he knows it's the wrong one.
"That's okay." Mike says, the only sound in the silence, knowing how hollow the words sound. "We can be friends." There's an eerie finality to his statement, and he looks away from the fire, away from Scott, so that he can't see his expression.
Scott's not sure what to say. He sits up so that he's properly facing Mike. He has to make this clear, but he wishes like fuck that he didn't have to say it. "I only have sex with a guy for money."
"Yeah, I know." God, he knows this. And it's tormented him for so long.
"And two guys can't love each other." As Scott says this, his dad's voice suddenly echoes in his head. Something his dad said years ago. Holding to his values that two guys shouldn't ever be together. Never. And now it echoes in his head, a reminder of his past, making Scott want to take it back, but he can't now. The words are out there, and even though they are softly spoken, they hang like a knife, dividing him and Mike.
"Yeah." Mike agrees out of habit, from four years of knowing Scott, and believing that whatever he says is right. Something compels him to contradict it, to speak the truth. All the stuff that he never thought he'd say is flowing from his lips involuntarily. "Well, I - I don't know. I mean - I mean, for me...I could love someone even if I...you know, wasn't paid for it. I love you and you don't pay me." The last few words come out like a whisper, barely audible above the crackling of the fire.
"I really want to kiss you, man." He can barely believe he's saying this. He needs to sleep, go to sleep and hope that when he wakes up this was all a dream. "Good night, man." Mike sinks into himself, defensively, as though he needs to protect what's left of himself. Scott's not sure what to do at all. Nothing in his life has ever prepared him for a moment like this. Suddenly, Mike raises his head, with a sudden urge to say the words, turn them from a thought in his head into spoken truth. "I love you though. You know that. I do love you."
It's silent again, and Mike once again sinks into himself. He looks broken, and Scott makes his mind up. "All right. Come here, Mike," he says, shifting over to make room between him and the fire. Just because he can't love Mike the way he wants to be loved, doesn't mean he's going to let Mike sit there alone. Mike looks at him like he hasn't heard him right, and Scott suddenly finds himself trying to explain. "It's just like–" His throat dries up. There are no words right now. He gives up, and the next words he says come out like tiny, insignificant whispers, not covering a thousandth of what he was trying to say. "Come on. Just go to sleep. Come on."
Mike moves now, rising fluidly, but his eyes never leave Scott's. The dying light and the increasing darkness are casting strange shadows on their faces, hiding them. Mike buries his face into Scott's shoulder, smelling the cigarette smoke of his jacket, a mundane smell, but it suddenly seems more exotic than before. Scott holds Mike's body as he's done a million times before, but it feels different this time. He's suddenly acutely aware of all the places their bodies are touching, and the warmth of Mike's body against his. He places one hand on Mike's head, feeling his hair over his fingers, protecting him. Like always.
It's dark now, and all that Mike can feel is the heat in Scott's body and the steady, rhythmical beating of his heart.
Please review! Remember, if you have any ideas for prompts, feel free to suggest them!