A/N: Please read this, because this is the final chapter.
This story has been a lot of fun to write, and I couldn't have been happier with such a positive response from my very first fanfic EVER. Yes, EVER. I usually don't follow things through to the end, but the reviews kept me motivated to continue!
Special thanks to those that consistently left me reviews:
Coffeey, Indiana Beach Bum, LilChicky004, Fermata, Will Sing for Monies, RoxyRoller, SomeRandomKyleBroflovskiFan, Soon to be World Dominator, Fainted.Tears
Also thank you to everyone who ever left me a review I think I got everyone:
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WOOO long list! Also, thank you to everyone who contributed to my 8000+ hits, and my 30+ faves and alerts! You guys are so awesome!
AND! If you never left me a review, please, please, PLEASE leave me one at the end of this final chapter! Because I really want to know what people thought of the story, and if you have any suggestions to make it better, that would be great too! And even if you did leave me a review before, please leave another of what you thought overall!
OHHH! AND READ THIS. Apparently no one reads these author notes, because I keep getting asked one question over and over again, being:
WILL THERE BE A SEQUEL?
People, I've written at least four or five notes saying YES, there WILL be one. It will be called OVERCOMING OBSTACLES and will be coming out shortly after the end of this one. There may even be a trequel, if you will, depending. It's going to be a lot angstier, but I'm going to try hard to keep the humour element in. It's basically going to deal with the issues of coming out and being in a long distance relationship. It takes place about two months after this story.
But I'll bet you anything I'll get a bunch of reviews asking if there will be one. And I will be here, twitching away.
SO! If you want other material to read, why don't you check out Indiana Beach Bum's fanfic, Fighting the Truth? It is by far, the best stan/kyle fanfic I have EVER read, and it's not even done yet. Seriously. Check it out. It will blow your socks off.
Or if you're even bored-er (shhh it's a word), you can check me out on deviantart! I'm under the same name, broflovskifan.
So this is a long ass note. On with the story! And thank you for reading AFTER EVERYTHING'S SAID AND DONE (AESAD).
Chapter 16 – Come what May – KPOV
I woke up the next day, half expecting Stan to still be asleep beside me. No such luck. I couldn't help but be a little disappointed, but oh well. It was probably for the best; there's no telling what my mom would have done if she had found us sprawled all over each other in nothing but our boxers.
I sighed. That was what scared me the most about my mother; how she had the tendency to be completely unpredictable. You could tell her one thing and expect her to totally flip out, and then she'd be all cool with it. And yet you could tell her something else and think nothing of it, and instead she'd go nuts on your ass. This was why I was so reluctant to mention my current relationship with my best friend. There's no telling what she could do if you rubbed her the wrong way. After all, had she not started an entire war years back because of some bad language in some bad movie?
Speaking of which.
"Are you planning on sleeping the whole day away?" She declared, opening the door rapidly and marching into my room. She walked over to me and put her hands on her hips. From the looks of her, she had only just gotten up herself. "It's nearly one o clock! Get out of bed right this minute mister! Oi! How did you ever get to your classes on time, I wonder?"
I raised my hands in defeat. "All right, I'm up, I'm up!" I said in a defeated tone while slowly prying myself off my bed. Saying anything else would have started an argument which I really didn't want to happen. It would just end up with us both pissed off at each other. I was like my mother in that sense. The younger teenage years were hell, but I learned from them at any rate.
The moment I sat up, I felt the makings of a hangover headache. Ah, curse it to hell.
My mother eyed me, frowning. "Don't you take that tone with me Kyle. Your brother needs to be picked up from his friends' house soon. And I know you miss your little friends, but would it kill you to spend some time with Ike? He misses you too."
That much was true. Past the few soccer games and the mandatory family get togethers, I hadn't seen much of my little brother. It wasn't that I didn't miss him or didn't want to spend time with him, it was just with the whole Stan thing, I had kind of forgotten everything else.
"Okay, so I'll just do something with him today then!" I responded, trying to shake some of the guilt off of my shoulders. It cut into the very minimal time I had left with Stan, but what could I do? He was my brother, and he deserved it.
My mother eyed me in that way of hers. "I'm going to hold you to that." What, did she think I'd try to get out of spending time with my little brother? That was low.
"No need to, I'll hold myself to it," I grumbled under my breath.
"What was that young man?"
"I said I'm going to go pick up Ike now!" I retorted in an exasperated tone.
"Good," was her final response before marching out of my room. I sighed. I was leaving the day after tomorrow, by lunch at the latest probably. That meant I'd be back at university by the early next day, leaving me with less than a day to get all my stuff together for the next semester. I groaned. Winter break was never long enough. I really wasn't looking forward to get back to the intense workload yet. I didn't think I'd ever be.
I groaned again as I pulled myself off my bed and towards the medicine cabinet, where I immediately popped two sweet hangover relief painkillers. Closing the door, I stripped down to take a shower, wrapping my white university bathrobe around me. Just as I was about to leave my room, my cell went off.
"Heyyyy sexy," I heard Stan's voice in the receiver. "Did you sleep well last night?"
I smiled. "Sure as hell did; you totally ran me down. When did you leave anyways?"
I imagined him shrugging on the other end of the line. "Eh. Before your parents got home at any rate."
"And you didn't even say goodbye?" I pouted.
"Dude, you were asleep. I didn't want to wake you up."
"I wouldn't have minded," I protested. "I was kind of hoping you'd still be there in the morning."
Stan chuckled. "I'm sure that would have sat well with your parents. So, anyways, whaddaya wanna do today?"
I grimaced. "Stan, I'm sorry, but I can't do anything today. I'm supposed to spend time with Ike."
"What? So you'll be gone the whole day?" Stan said, sounding disappointed.
"Most likely. I totally owe it to him, Stan."
"Bu-but I want to spend time with you too," he said sadly, and I felt a pang of guilt. "You're leaving me the day after tomorrow."
"Hey! I'm not LEAVING you," I said, defending myself. "I'm going back to university, and you're leaving the next day anyways."
"Look," I said, trying to find a compromise. "Today is all Ike. Tomorrow – I fully dedicate the entire day to you. From morning to night."
Stan seemed a little happier with this. "Yeah?"
"Promise," I confirmed with him. "In the meanwhile, why don't you hang out with Shelly or something?"
"Hah. That's a good one," he replied, snorting. "See you tomorrow, I guess."
"'Kay. I-" my voice hitched slightly for some reason. "- love you."
"Aw, see? Now that's sweet." Stan's voice was dripping with sugar.
"Jesus you are such a little gaywad." I snorted.
Stan didn't miss a beat. "Fag."
I laughed. "Fuck you. I'm going to take a shower now. Bye."
"Later. Oh, and Kyle?"
"Love you too. Buttercup." I groaned at the nickname, and hung up on Stan. I heard him laughing at me on the other end. Where the hell did buttercup come from? It's so damn retarded.
HE'S so damn retarded. But he's my retard, and for some reason that filled me with an unexplainable fuzziness.
"Bah," I muttered to my room, before leaving for the shower.
Ten minutes later, I was flying down the stairs while throwing on a plaid shirt over my black tee, wet curls dangling in my face. Annoyed, I shoved them out of the way as I grabbed an apple from the kitchen. Gotta keep the blood sugar up somehow.
"Kyle, Ike was supposed to be picked up ten minutes ago!" She exclaimed at me. I bristled at that; how fast am I supposed to be?
"Well, maybe if you'd woken me up earlier, or even taken the trouble to go pick him up yourself!" I muttered loudly. Shit. She probably heard that. I rushed to the door, anxious to get out of the house. As I closed the door behind me, I heard an annoyed 'whatwhatwhat?' emaciate from the kitchen. I hightailed it to my car, hoping that my mother would be calmer when I returned later.
The nice thing about South Park was that you knew where everyone lived, even if you'd never actually met them before. I was at Filmore's house within minutes. I knocked at the door, and some kid I'd never seen before opened it. He took one look at me, and then something seemingly registered in his head.
"Hey Ike, your brother's here!" The kid hollered into the house. A few moments later, Ike appeared in the doorway, along with his packed belongings.
"Seeya Filmore! Thanks for the kickass party," he told his friend as he made his way past him, wasting no time in dumping his crap into my arms. Nice.
Filmore closed the door, and I dumped Ike's stuff into the trunk of Blitzkrieg. Ike knocked on the hood of the car, making me cringe, as he eyed me.
"You're all wet."
"No, really?" I mocked him. "I just got out of the shower."
Ike grinned at me mischeviously. "You look sweaty." I laughed as I was reminded of Stan's comment a week ago about being naturally sweaty.
"Thanks a lot," I said. "Oh, and by the way, kick the baby-" I drew my foot back, pretending to be preparing a kick.
"Jesus Christ don't kick me!" Ike exclaimed, panicked. He jumped into my car, locking all the doors. Unfortunately for me, the keys were also inside.
I went around to the driver's side and tried the door. Nothing.
"Come on Ike, let me in!" I shouted at him, laughing, through the glass. I saw Ike shake his head. "Goddamnit, I'm not going to kick you! I promise!" Ike hesitated, then shook his head again.
I tried a different approach. "Well, how the hell am I supposed to take you to the movies if you don't let me drive?"
That seemed to work. Ike's eyes lit up, and he cautiously came forward and unlocked the door on my side.
"You mean it?" he asked me, eyes still untrusting.
"Yeah," I said as I climbed into the car.
"Can we get ice cream afterwards?"
This amused me. "What the hell do you want ice cream for? It's freezing outside."
"So? Can we?"
I shrugged at him, locking the car doors. "Why not?"
Ike grinned at me. "Sweet."
"Oh! And one more thing," I said, and before Ike had time to react, I had him in a headlock and began to give him a massive noogie. Only that I had forgotten that my left hand was still all fucked up, so in reality I was probably causing more pain to myself than to my brother.
"Ah, Kyle, quit it!" Ike complained, struggling to break free. I finally released him, and he jerked away from me, smoothing his hair. I shook my damaged hand, trying to lessen the pain I stupidly caused myself. Ike noticed this, and his eyes widened.
"What did you do to your hand?"
"Fell down the stairs," I responded.
Ike raised an eyebrow at me.
"Well, more like lunged down the stairs," I explained. "I hit my hand on the wall."
Ike still didn't seem convinced, but he dropped it. "Ouch."
"Hurt like hell," I informed him, finally pulling out of the driveway.
Ike looked at me, mildly confused. "How the hell do you drive with your hand like that?"
"Doesn't really matter; I only use one hand usually anyways."
Ike looked at me suspicious. "You know, statistics show that people who hold the wheel improperly have a 67 percent chance-"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," I interrupted him. "Save your statistics for the school room. You don't need any numbers to see Blood Death Mansion, do you?
Ike's eyes widened in excitement. "You're taking me to see Blood Death Mansion? I heard it's the scariest movie since the Excorcist! I'll be the coolest guy in school!"
"Something like that," I responded, amused. "But if mom asks, we went to see some lame cartoon, alright?"
Ike nodded eagerly. "This. Is going to be so awesome! You are the best brother ever!"
I snorted. "About time somebody noticed."
"When are you going back to Harvard?" He inquired.
"Day after tomorrow."
"Oh." Ike's face fell. "But you haven't even been home very long!"
"Tell me about it." My thoughts went immediately to Stan. "But hey, not to worry – another four months and then I'm home for the summer. And then we can go see lots more movies, and we can eat ice cream during the appropriate season, and Stan and I can –" I trailed off there.
Ike looked at me curiously. "Stan and you can what?"
"Uh… you know, like hang out and stuff."
Ike was silent for a moment. "Can we see one hundred movies?"
I smiled at him. "We can see two hundred."
So Ike and I watched Blood Death Mansion, which was not all it was cracked up to be. As I was finding more and more recently, I found myself analyzing the probabilities and scientific technicalities of every situation until I had reached a verdict of some sort, usually being that the situation was improbable at best. I was ruining movies for myself. Ike, on the other hand, loved it. Afterwards, we got ice cream as promised, and then we headed home for dinner, where my mother chewed me out for my earlier 'tone' with her. I was hoping to sneak out to Stan after dinner, but my mother decided this would be a good time for a family get-together board game of sorts. More like bored-game. We played Scrabble until we were blue in the face, and Ike even beat me. Once. I was proud to say that I won three times. If Stan was here he probably would have made a smart ass 'Mr. Harvard' comment, but since he wasn't, I had all the glory to myself.
I kind of wish he was.
I set my alarm early the next morning; and by early, I mean nine o clock. Shut up, it was early for me. I got dressed and headed over to Stan's house before anyone else was up, knowing that he wouldn't be awake yet. That was intentional.
Not wanting to wake anyone in the house, I retrieved the emergency key from a crack in the bricks near the garage, and let myself in. Luckily, everyone was supposedly still in bed. I could still see traces of streamers hanging from the ceiling from New Years'. I tiptoed quietly up the stairs and into Stan's room, closing the door behind me. The door squeaked slightly, but it didn't really seem to make much of a difference.
Just as I had expected, Stan was fast asleep in his bed. The guy slept like a rock. I stealthily made my way over to his bed, and managed to slip under the covers beside him with minimal noise. I was glad he wasn't thrashing around like the last time. Gently, I wrapped an arm around his warm body and rested my head on his back. He didn't stir. I closed my eyes, and allowed myself to slip into sweet unconsciousness.
I was awakened sometime later when I felt the warmth of Stan's lips against my forehead. While Stan was a deep sleeper, I was a rather light one and was reawakened easily. I slowly opened my eyes and yawned.
"Hey you," I mumbled to the person in question. Stan smiled back at me, and brushed a lock of hair from my face.
"Hey," he responded, only half awake himself. "When did you get here?"
I sleepily checked my watch. "Uh – two hours ago I guess?"
"Mmmm," he said, wrapping his arms around me. "This was a rather nice surprise."
I smirked mischeviously. "I thought you'd think so. I promised you the whole day, so that's what you're going to get."
We stayed like that for a long time, simply holding each other. Just as I was about to get up, Stan rolled over on top of me and attempted to kiss me, which I resisted.
"Ugh, dude – morning breath!" I complained, squirming to get away from him.
But Stan was not one to simply let go. "You know you love it," he declared before blowing into my face triumphantly.
"Sick!" I exclaimed, trying to avoid Stan's face. But the second I opened my mouth to speak, Stan jerked my face back towards his own and kissed me, darting his tongue into my surprised open mouth. Acting upon instinct, I kissed him back before acknowledging that he tasted bad. I mean, REALLY bad.
Somehow I managed to shove Stan away from me. "Dude, do me a favour and go brush your teeth," I told him, making a face.
Stan rolled his eyes. "Pussy. You don't taste so great either."
"Well at least I brushed my teeth before I came over!" I retorted.
"Whatever, fine. I'll be back in a moment. Don't go anywhere," he told me, making the gun signal before exiting his room.
"Where the hell am I going to go?" I called after him. No response. Hah.
I walked over to Stan's mirror and tried to smooth out my clothes and fix my hair. I swear to God, you sleep on it for two hours and it takes a shape of its own. Frustrated, I tried to force it back to its original shape.
I was pried from my thoughts when Stan snuck up behind me and whirled me around, pressing me against the wall.
"Need a little hair spray? Some mousse?" He teased me, but before I could respond he pressed his lips up against my own again. With the awful morning taste gone, I eagerly kissed him back. After a moment, Stan broke away.
"Much," and with that I kissed him again. God, kissing Stan felt so good.
That was when Mrs. Marsh decided to open the door and walk in.
"Oh Stanley, you're up-" she started to say just as Stan grabbed me by the waist. We immediately sprung away, of course, but not before the damage had been done. I felt myself blushing furiously, embarrassed that Mrs. Marsh caught us like that when she had only mentioned knowing two days before. Stan looked rather red in the face himself.
Mrs. Marsh's expression was something of shock, but she seemingly recovered quickly. "Oh, Kyle dear, you're here."
I felt myself go even redder. "Yeah, um I kind of let myself in. You know… the key in the wall… I hope you don't mind…" I trailed off, tripping on my words.
"Not at all," she replied distractedly. "You boys go… yeah…. Do-don't forget to pack today, Stanley. I-I'll let you…be now," she muttered before hastily leaving the room. I guess the total reality of our relationship hadn't completely sunk in for her yet.
I turned to Stan, who seemed frozen to the spot. "We REALLY suck at this keeping us on the down-low," I said, smiling weakly.
"Dude," Stan said, eyes shifting to me. "Just… dude. Is she going to be weird around me now?"
"Nah," I said, attempting to console my boyfriend. "Your mom's pretty cool. She'll get over it fast."
I smiled at him. "Yeah."
We spent most of the day packing Stan's things up and watching TV. We later ordered a pizza, and after that decided we should probably start packing my stuff up too. Packing, mind you, consisted about 50 of putting things in suitcases and 50 of attempting to make out when no one was looking. This proved harder than it looked, as my family kept barging in at random times. Ike wanted to help, so we had to let HIM do his thing for a while, and then my mother came in, giving me a huge list of things to 'make sure I don't forget'.
Shortly after this, Stan and I gave up and decided to go to the drive in, because after all, who the hell goes to the drive in theatre during the winter? It would be totally secluded. I told my parents I'd be sleeping over at Stan's so we could stay out as late as we wanted. My excuse to my mother was 'because I don't know when I'll be home and the last thing I would want would be to wake my dear family up.' She praised me for being so considerate, yet somewhere in the back of my mind I was chuckling at the whole situation.
"I'll get up early tomorrow to finish packing – I'm nearly done anyways," I assured her as I left the house. "Stan's been helping me out a lot."
My mother smiled at this. "Stanley was always such a good friend. You two go and have fun now." Hah, she had no idea just how 'good of a friend' Stan really was.
On the way over, we stopped off at Kenny's so I could say goodbye. He was on his way to the bar 'to pick up a hot piece of ass' according to himself, and ended up badgering me into giving him a ride there. On the way there, he thanked us for letting him have Bebe for New Years, informing us that she was just as loose as she acted. Stan and I both groaned, not needing to have known us. For the rest of the ride, Kenny kept trying to get us to make out, so needless to say we practically tossed him to the curb by the bar.
"Thanks for the ride!" He told us as he closed the car door. "And have fun at Harvard!"
"Haha, fun at Harvard," I snickered as I pulled away. "That's priceless."
Stan sighed. "Kyle, if you hate it there so much, you really should leave and go somewhere else. Or at least transfer into a different program."
"Actually, I have been looking at that," I informed Stan.
Stan looked over at me. "And?"
"And they have a computer science program there that sounds a little lighter than the law studies one," I said, smiling. "I'm thinking about transferring into it – I've always liked data encryption and programming more than all this lawyer business anyways. And how mad can my parents be? After all, I'll still be going to Harvard, and it's not like I've suddenly decided to be a subway musician or something. I think my dad will be a little disappointed that I won't be taking after him, but he'll get over it."
Stan looked at me, impressed. "So you're going to run Microsoft or something like that then?"
"Or at least get all of the goddamn programming bugs out of their crappy programs," I joked back, laughing.
"Destined for greatness. That's Kyle Broflovski," Stan declared, beaming at me. "That's m'boy."
I looked at him strangely. "What am I, your son or something?"
A look of horror passed along Stan's face. "Oh dude, that's SO wrong for so many reasons!"
"Hey, you said it," I said, laughing at Stan's horrified expression.
Stan shook his head. "But still. Ew man, that is sick!"
Stan was shuddering all the way to the drive in, until a large bag of popcorn managed to snap him out of it. I swear to God, Stan inhales that crap so fast I'm surprised he's never drowned in it.
And that was how we spent our last night together. I brought some blankets from my place, and we curled up together underneath them on the hood of my car in the freezing weather.
I could honestly say that this was one of the happiest moments I'd ever spent with Stan in all our years of friendship. There wasn't any feeling quite like having your arms wrapped around the person you love and your legs entangled in theirs. I didn't really watch much of the movie; rather I just listened to the quiet sounds of Stan's breath and enjoyed the feeling of our closeness. I paid attention to every little thing that he said, and every irrelevant little thing that happened and stored it away in the back of my mind. I wanted to remember this moment for a long time, because I really had no idea when I'd see him next, or when we'd ever get another moment like this. I had been repressing the fact that I had to leave tomorrow for a few days now, and I was determined to keep right on doing that until tomorrow actually arrived. I would deal with it then. For the moment, I didn't want to think about anything but the amazing person lying next to me, holding my hand.
The warmth of our two bodies kept us through the first movie, but by the time the second movie started, we were both so cold that we went into the back seat to … ahem … warm up. I made mental notes of exactly what Stan's lips felt like, because I didn't know the next time I'd feel them again. I remembered what he smelt like; light cologne and that pure, utter smell of boy that seemed so right. I remembered his exact touch; where he placed his hands, where he kissed me, how we just seemed to perfectly 'fit' together, because I was afraid to admit I wouldn't be feeling like this for a long time. I remembered where I touched him, everything he said, the way he moaned slightly when our tongues were pressed together. I was terrified to face tomorrow, and I wasn't afraid to admit that to myself. The thought of being away from Stan for so long after having been so close to him hurt so much that I almost felt like crying. But I refused to let myself; if I did, knowing Stan, I'd probably set him off, and that wasn't how I wanted to spend our last night together. I wanted tonight to be nothing but pure happiness, because this was the memory I'd be basing my next four months on. It was how I intended to survive being away from Stan.
We stayed there, kissing and holding each other long after the movie ended. I could tell that Stan was cherishing the moment, relinquishing every detail the same as me. The windows in the car were fogged up; if anyone was outside, which I doubted, they probably thought two people were having sex.
"Kyle?" Stan said after a while. He was lying on my chest, legs cramped up on the other side of the car.
"Yeah?" I said, continuing to run my fingers through his hair.
Stan hesitated, chewing on his bottom lip. "I – don't know when I'll get to say this next, but I want to make sure I do before you go." Stan hoisted himself up to my lips, kissing me gently.
"These last two weeks have been – amazing. I mean, I never imagined this happening. Us happening. You're my best friend, after all, and a dude. Not that I care, because I don't. Well, I mean I care that you're my best friend, I just don't care that – well, you know…" he trailed off, fumbling for words. I smiled; Stan was never really one for speeches, but the mere effort was touching. I gently kissed him back before continuing where he left off.
"I know what you mean. We've been best friends for basically our entire lives, and this was the last thing I saw happening when I returned to South Park for Christmas. But I'm happy it did. I've – never felt this way about anyone before, Stan."
Stan smiled at me. "Even though we've only been together for a small period of time, this is by far the best and happiest relationship I've ever been in. No one knows me like you do, Kyle. And even though I can't voice myself as well as you, I want you to know that after all we've been through together, after everything's said and done, I love you. I always have, and I always will."
Goddamnit, he was going to make me cry. Leave it to Stan to trigger me. I waited for a few moments, urging myself to calm down, before I said anything. I didn't want a wavering voice to give myself away.
"I-love you too, Stan. Despite the fact that we have to leave each other now, I know we can make this work. I have faith in us." I really didn't care how gay I sounded, I wanted Stan to know that I felt the same.
"I have faith in us too. And I don't know when you're planning on telling your family about us, but when you're ready, know that I will be right there with you, holding your hand the entire time. And even if down the road, this doesn't work out, I will always be your best friend."
"Forever," I whispered, and kissed him again. Stan's weak smile wavered, and I saw his eyes fill up with tears. Around the same time, I felt myself begin to tear up. No surprise there.
"I'm going to miss you Ky," he said, voice cracking, engulfing me in a tight hug. I hugged him just as forcefully back, feeling wet tears on my chest. I willed my own tears to fade away, and failed. They spilled down the sides of my face, running into my hair and onto the car seats.
"I love you so much, Stan," I blurted out, trying with all my strength not to sob. I kissed him, feeling our tears mix into a single entity, and he kissed me back. We clung onto each other, not wanting to be the first to let the other go.
Eventually, after all our tears were dried up, we let each other go simultaneously. We said little to each other on the drive back to Stan's house, and even less as we crept quietly through his house and crawled into the same bed. It wasn't an awkward silence; it was more peaceful. We had nothing left to say because we had already said it all, and as I held Stan in my arms for the last time, and as I heard him whisper one final 'I love you' before falling asleep, I wished with all the force I could muster that tomorrow would never come.
It did, of course. Right on time as always. Time was a cruel, heartless entity with no soul, I decided. We woke up early to go back to my place to finish packing, which we made quick work of. We hardly said a single word to each other all morning, and a heavy weight seemed to be pressed upon us, making it difficult to breathe. It seemed the more I begged time to slow down, the faster it went.
I looked around my room, desperately searching for something left to pack. Nothing. I swallowed the bitter lump in my throat, and turned towards Stan.
"I guess we can start moving my stuff out to my car then." Stan nodded, saying nothing. He looked like he hadn't slept last night; he had bags under his eyes, and his hair was a mess. Silently, we picked up some boxes and bags and headed downstairs.
My father saw us coming down the stairs.
"Here, let me help you," he volunteered, taking a box from me and heading outside.
"I wanna help too!" Ike exclaimed, bounding out from the middle of nowhere. He seemed really eager to be of help to me.
"Okay, here's what you can do," I told Ike as Stan walked past me. "I'm going to give you my car keys, and I want you to pop open the trunk. Then you can help take some of the smaller boxes down."
"I can take the big ones!" Ike said in a defiant tone, decidedly taking the other box I was carrying from me. It proceeded to nearly crush him flat.
I took the box back from my grateful brother. "Okay, maybe just the smaller ones," he said, defeated, running back up to my room.
Loading the car took a good fifteen minutes, during which little was said. Stan and I returned to my room for the last time, making sure I didn't forget anything. I would probably end up leaving a few things behind anyways. Stan closed the door, leaving us alone in my empty room.
"I want to give you a proper goodbye," Stan said quietly, walking back towards me. It was basically the first thing he'd said all morning.
Meeting him halfway, he grabbed me by the shoulders while I grabbed him by the waist. We wrapped our arms around each other and engaged in a brief kiss.
"I kind of wish I had taken my mother's advice and taken a plane home instead of Blitzkrieg," I told Stan bitterly. "Then I would have been able to leave a little later."
Stan frowned at me. "Dude, don't say that. You love that car. And you still would have had to leave earlier than me anyways. We still would have had to leave each other." He wrapped his arms around my waist.
"Yeah, but still-"
"We'll be okay," Stan interrupted me.
I nodded slowly. "Yeah. We will," I repeated. "And who knows? Reading week is in two months."
"Yeah." Stan looked down at my broken fingers and knuckles. "Are you really going to drive all the way back like THAT?"
"Yeah. It's not that big of a deal; I can still use my palm. Plus I generally use only one hand anyways. I can tell you what IS going to be a bitch though – typing up papers," I told him, trying to joke.
Stan smiled slightly. "I believe you."
We were broken up by my mother who took the opportunity to barge through the door.
Stan immediately took action. "I love you man," he said as casually as he could while patting me on the back in a very manly heterosexual way.
"I love you too, dude," I responded, taking the cue and giving Stan a similar pat on the back before we let each other go.
"Oh, aren't you two just the sweetest things?" My mother gushed at us. "Best friends forever, right?"
I smiled at the lame term. Whoever invented BFF must not be happy at how the term is thrown around in such a meaningless fashion in today's society. "Something like that," I told her, attempting to smile.
"Oi! My buhbie is leaving me so soon!" My mom said, waving her hands in front of her face. She rushed up towards me, giving me a bone-shattering hug. "I'm going to miss you Kyle. You go and do well this term!" She said, wiping a tear from her eye. Stan seemed less than pleased with her last remark, but I shot him a warning look, and he said nothing.
We walked down the stairs and outside, where everything was packed and ready to go.
Ike grabbed me by the legs, refusing to let go.
"Don't leave me yet, Kyle!" He begged me, eyes watering. My heart broke a little.
"Hey, not to worry, I'll be back soon!" I tried to console him. "Remember my promise? Two hundred movies? It will be like no time has passed." I looked at Stan. "No time at all," I repeated. Stan discreetly nodded at me. I wanted to kiss him one last time, but I couldn't, not with my whole family here. I instead pried Ike off my legs and gave him a hug. After a moment, I let go, and turned to dad.
"Do me proud, son," he told me, giving me a hug.
"And don't tell your mother this, but you've done way better than I did in my first year at Harvard," he whispered quietly into my ear. I smiled at this, and when I broke away he was smiling too. We had our own little secret. I hugged my mother one last time, then turned to Stan, looking at him for what would be the last time in quite a while.
"Dude, once again, goodbye," I said nonchalantly, hugging him briefly. "I'll see you later."
Stan nodded for the thousandth time, in a daze. "Later."
There was nothing left to do, so I got into my car.
"Call me when you get there!" My mother cried after me.
"Will do!" I called back, closing the car door and putting the key in the ignition. I pulled out of the driveway, taking it all in: Ike, latching onto mom, mom latching onto dad, and Stan standing just slightly off from them. I waved one final goodbye, and drove away. I felt sick, leaving Stan behind me. My eyes started to water again, and I hastily swiped at my face, forcing myself to focus on the road and the map laid out on the seat beside me.
I was barely out of South Park when my cell phone rang. I somehow managed to grab onto it with my bad hand and flip it open.
"Hey Kyle." Stan. Just hearing his voice made my heart break all over again. "I just called because I forgot to wish you a safe trip."
"Thanks dude," I managed to force out. "Have a safe flight."
Stan hesitated on the other end. "Call me before classes start, 'kay?"
"I'll do better than that," I replied, smiling a little. "I'm going to be calling you fifty times a day. You realize you're never going to be able to get rid of me now."
"Good," was Stan's reply. "That's how I want it."
"Excellent. I'll talk to you later Stan."
"Definetely. Bye Kyle."
"You still there?"
"Dude, hang up."
"You hang up."
"Oh goddamnit. We're not going to turn into one of those pathetic you-hang-up-first couples are we?"
"Depends. Are you going to hang up?"
"Fine! BYE STAN!"
I was laughing again as I closed my phone. This was no time to be sad. In the past two weeks, I had fallen in love with the most amazing guy I'd ever known and started a romantic relationship with him. I had more than ever to be thankful for. We'd still be talking to each other plenty, and I was confident that we could make it through this. I remembered last night, and smiled. I had someone who loved me, and I loved him back. The future was promising with visions of more late nights and laughter to come.
And somehow, that was enough.
Ah, it's over. I think I'm going to cry.
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