Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue, don't flame.
Love Or Let Love Go
Autumn was always a great season. The air always smelled so crisp and clean. Leaves would crack and crumble gently beneath your footsteps. A barrage of red, golden brown, sun kissed yellow, and soft orange covering the ground like some artists rendition of November the mountains. Smoke would curl slowly from people's chimney tops and the smooth wisps would disappear into the air. Anthony lived here, Anthony loved the mountains. And Shawn, he loved being in a car. It was like their great escape from the evils of the harsh world of reality. A solitary pair, the two of them. Always together whenever possible.
The two of them use to live together in the city, but the loud sounds always bugged them. Anthony more so. The neighbors screwing so loud you could hear them down the block. It was all too ridiculous. One winter the two of them decided to rent a cabin in the mountains; it had been the most wonderful idea the two of them had ever had. They'd spent most of time curled up near the fireplace wrapped in each others arms. Whispering delectable promises and tantalizing secret sweet nothings. The whole trip reminded Shawn of a warm liquor, slowly making its way down your throat into your chest, leading a spreading warmth throughout your whole body that seemed to linger long after the glass was empty. That was Anthony, Shawn's sweet warm liquor, but that glass never went empty.
Shawn made his way up the path that lead to Anthony's quaint cabin home. It was at least a two and a half to three hour drive to get there, but to Shawn, any distance was never too great when it came to seeing the person that made you heart ache so bad it felt good. He often kept two different types of cigarettes in his glove box, and various places in his own apartment, not because he smoked, but because they reminded him of Anthony. Back when they lived together, and depending on Anthony's mood, he use to smoke. A clove cigarette when they were mad at each other, but not mad enough to want to leave each other, things never went that far. And a vanilla flavored cigarette the rest of the time. Anthony and him had made a New Years resolution together last year and both of them quit. According to Anthony, the only reason people really smoked was because of stress, and since the two of them weren't going to be living together for a while, they didn't need cigarettes anymore. But when things got to stressful for Shawn, Anthony would drive all the way down into the city, regardless of what time it was, and just sit with him until he felt better.
A lot of their time was spent on the phone, if Shawn didn't have classes and a job he'd be up in the mountains with Anthony. Not that Anthony didn't have a job, no, he worked at one of the local shops up in the mountains. Anthony was never one for school, it wasn't that he couldn't do it; it was that he didn't want to do or deal with it. He said all college did was prepare you for a comfy cozy desk job. When all he wanted to do was honest hard earned money work. Something with people. People who cared, people who knew you by your first name, people who worried when you looked a little flushed, genuine good people. He'd always say you couldn't find real genuine good people in the city, not now a days. Usually after such a speech, Anthony would curl his arms around Shawn and tell him how absolutely lucky he was that they'd found each other.
Shawn reached to knock on the door, but the door swung open and out ran Anthony, grabbing him by the wrist as he closed the door behind him. His keys were in hand and Anthony quickly led him to the convertible parked just behind the cabin. Anthony pulled the car cover off of it and hopped into the front seat. He looked over at Shawn and a smile curved across his features. The engine started and Shawn jumped in the passenger side. This was almost like ritual for them. Anthony leaned across the seat and the two of them kissed like they always kissed after having not seen each other for an entire week. Shawn's hands would be firmly locked around Anthony's shoulder and back and Anthony would have his hand buried in Shawn's hair. Shawn pulled back and smiled luridly at Anthony.
"Hit it and don't slow down."
"You know it," and Anthony stepped on the gas pedal.
The wind whizzed by and tugged Shawn's hair back like a dozen wispy fingers across his face and scalp. Anthony turned the radio on and played that song that Shawn always loved to hear when flying down the mountain side roads. That melodic sad but cheerful symphony pouring into him like a good toast to whiskey and all the worlds sorrows. It whirled in him and would try to spring out through him, but all it did was flow up his arms and into the air where his hands always seemed to miss and just graze Heaven. Whenever he opened his eyes he'd catch Anthony watching him like someone might stare at the worlds greatest gift. They'd spend an hour out on the road just reveling in the cold mountain air and each others company. Not even an earthquake could match the shivers they sent down each others spines. After their hour of nonverbal admissions of love and need the car found itself parked once again at the back of the cabin.
Inside the fire softly crackled as wisps of heat gently kissed and licked the wood aflame. Sending out the heat and warmth that the cabin so dearly loved and longed to feel, much like its occupants. A mound of thin blankets and comforters sat atop the rug center of room. The plants in the house seemed to shake with joy and quenched happiness as Anthony put down the watering canister and back into the kitchen where Shawn was pouring two small cups of Cognac that'd he'd obtained the day he first turned twenty-one. Together they curled up on the floor and into each other. And for a while they lay peacefully quiet against one another.
Finally Anthony spoke, "Sometimes, I wonder, or rather, worry about us." He sat up and put his cup down on the cherry wood table, "I mean, where do you see us in five years? Or even a year for that matter?"
"What brought this about?" Shawn sat up.
"It's just, we've been together for like, God, six years now? I just want to know, all this isn't or hasn't been a huge waste."
"Does it feel like it's been a waste up till now?" Shawn wrapped his arms around Anthony's torso and rested his chin on his lovers shoulder.
Anthony smiled sadly down at Shawn's hands, "Sometimes it does."
Shawn blinked and bit the bottom of his lip, something he'd picked up from Anthony ages ago, back when they'd still been considered too young to know what real love was, and yet, every bit as able to understand the pain of having others tell you what you were and who you loved was wrong. There was no way he'd let those people and their words of hate and incomprehension ever get to him, even now, ever later. And if it wasn't people who didn't understand, it was everyone else telling him the two of them just weren't right for each other. So alike, yet so unalike in many ways. Anthony always use to say "Not two souls meant to love, and never be one." the phrase always struck the wrong chords in Shawn. The resonance of those words and the possibility of them not ending up together always use to scare Shawn. He wanted a life of happiness and ecstasy of faith. Anthony wanted realistic slow drumming beats of life. Sometimes their separate realities crashed and out came the smoke of anger and wistful longing for an easier path to their future.
Shawn closed his eyes, envisioned his life in passing cars and strong winds, gasoline and street car lights. Whizzing, whooshing, slick streets and roadways. If life could only feel like a constant car ride through an empty road at eighty miles an hour, with no stops and less pedestrians along the way, then things would go a lot smoother. But what he had was a suburban road at thirty.
"Don't get me wrong, I want us to be together, but you're still living in the city. It's been like this for almost two years now." Anthony placed his hand over Shawn's and then brought one up to his lips and kissed his palm.
"I know, but you act like becoming a teacher doesn't take much work. Can't you just once let me revel in this feeling? This moment? I want to be with you too, but when you want something so bad you have to work for it. And I want to be a teacher Anthony," Shawn lifted his glass in the air like someone would after a toast and then downed the rest of the contents.
"And I want this relationship, but it's just so hard when we're so close but so far away all the time. And I don't want to go back and live in the city again, I'll go crazy Shawn," Anthony sighed and drank what was left in his own glass and put it back on the table, "Sometimes, I think I'm willing to go crazy for you. How bad is that?"
Shawn watched the sardonic look cross Anthony's face. When Anthony got like that, he'd desperately long for a cigarette. Anthony's morbid outtake on life just always dragged on him like Free Jazz, so unneeded and painful, so chaotic and mind boggling. Anthony's outlook on a lot of things Shawn liked to compare to Free Jazz, which he wasn't much a fan of, like Anthony's warped thinking at times.
"I need some fresh air," Shawn got up and walked out into the chilled night mountain air.
Somewhere he could hear the sound of water trickling along some unseen stream and the scent of pine was so strong out here you could barely tell it was autumn. But that Autumn scent lingered still delicately in the air. That's why he liked the mountains, it was always so refreshing, so mind clearingly pristine. He felt arms wrap around him, Anthony's arms. He smiled to himself. Watched as a warm cloud of breath escaped his mouth into the night air. It just seemed as if tonight would be one of those night that they'd end up worrying about their love for each other, Shawn hated those nights. They'd spend half of it mad at one another then the rest trying to frisk.
"I'm sorry, Shawn," Anthony kissed the side of his neck.
Shawn's eyes widened and chocked on a gasp, "What?"
Anthony never apologized for anything half the time, "I realized lately, I've been really fucky."
"That's one way to put it," Shawn titled his head a bit and kissed Anthony.
"I've been reading a lot of books recently and well they were saying things like love can become stagnant and that it's better to be in love than to stay in a relationship because it's comfortable."
"And you thought out love was becoming stagnant?" Shawn raised an eyebrow and turned to look at Anthony in the eyes.
Anthony gave a sheepish grin and wrapped his arms around Shawn, "I love you so much I figured I'd let you decide if you wanted to just move on."
"Anthony," Shawn leaned his forehead against Anthony's "you can be an idiot sometimes."
"Yeah well, you know that when we first got together," Anthony tugged him inside.
"I seriously did, Lord knows why we lasted this long. I'm banking a good couple decades before anything really goes sour between us," Shawn made sure the door shut behind them.
Anthony dragged him down to the pile of blankets and on top of him. Shawn thought it was cute how Anthony never really wanted to be on top. Sometimes, Anthony just wanted to feel Shawn's weight on him. Like he got some kind of comfort out of knowing the feel of Shawn's body and that semi crushing weight. Anthony ran his hands up and down his back and gently pulled up Shawn's shirt. Anthony's warm palms and fingertips dexterously traveled up his back and wispily down again sending gentle shivers down his spine and making his breath catch in his throat. Anthony smirked underneath him and whispered in his ear.
"I kill for moments like these."
"Yeah but I'm the one who dies every time."
Thing had always been weird between the two of them. There wasn't a moment that went by that they didn't stop thinking about what everyone back home had said. It always echoed in them. Like some lost ship at see blinding hoping to reach docks. Yes they loved each other, but also, they did care what others thought. No matter how much they said they didn't, they both knew it wasn't true. Back home most of their friends had been semi supportive. Not coming from a completely accepting town to begin with and all, the two of them did pretty good with their choice of opened minded companions. The two of them had met at a mutual friends birthday party. Sobriety did wonders for boredom. But the day everyone found out the two of them were seeing each other everyone about died. Mostly from the shock than anything else. Apparently the two of them had come off as exceedingly straight. A sentiment the two of them had found to be exquisitely funny.
The humor pretty much only struck tenor with friends. When their parents had inadvertently found out Shawn thought he was going to get the hell kicked out of him. Anthony on the other hand did have the hell kicked out of him. That was pretty much it though. Anthony learned to avoid his dad and mother whenever possible. Which was why Anthony hated the city so much. Violence was almost common place where Anthony lived. So neighbors watching as their neighbor dragged his son out of some boys car and into the house by the back of his shirt had absolutely no shock value what so ever. Nor the screams and stifled cries. Shawn had sat wide-eyed in his car in complete shock at the time, still not quite sure what had just happened. That always made Shawn wish he could have gone through the same thing as Anthony, but his parents, while still extremely close to hurting him as they were, only yelled for a few hours and told him they'd ignore him as long as he kept a good grade point average and they never had to truly bother. A fair trade for the most part. They'd come close to kicking him out his senior year though when he'd got into that car accident and his grades slipped for a while.
Sometimes when Anthony made way into the city for a few days they stroll down the bad streets close to where Anthony use to live. His parents had long left the city once Anthony had moved in with Shawn. Anthony had been their great disappointment and Shawn was his tempter into the "evils" of a "love that should not exist". Anthony's parents always rubbed him the wrong way. Most of the time when they'd pass Anthony's old house Anthony would throw rocks into the decomposing house of memories and morbid decay of hated love. When a kid became a parents biggest disappointment, a part of the kids dies inside. Anthony was never the same after his parents beat him. That's where the smoking had first started, for the both of them, then the drinking. Things had become really bad for a while, but after a few months of self-inflicted seclusion and abuse Anthony lightened up. For that Shawn was so grateful.
For a while, Shawn had begun to think they might not make it. Nothing had made Anthony happy. Nothing. When Anthony wasn't happy, neither was Shawn. Shawn could never be happy when Anthony wasn't. And though happy or rather neutral was Shawn's natural state, he did have a wee bit of break a down himself once or twice, but Anthony had not been around for those times. While Anthony was off drinking at some friend or others house, Shawn was alone in their apartment crying profusely. His parents made no attempt to talk to him, he'd send cards and letters, but he always got an empty mailbox with not an envelope baring his name. He'd always been so close to his parents, and their curt disownment of him hurt more then anything. They may have avoided him as much as possible when he'd still been in high school, but when he graduated top of his class and was valedictorian they'd been all bragging and caring. He was their bragging right and their ornament child who had to lie continuously back then to make his parents even look at him. Those had been some really rough times back then. He wondered how they even made it out alive.
Shawn woke up and stumbled his way to the bathroom. After finishing and washing his hands he stared at his reflection in the mirror. He looked much older then he should have, but not in the way Anthony did. Anthony had a worn sense about him, while he, he had the eyes of person who'd dealt with more then could have at the time and was trying to make up for all which he'd lost. The calendar pages always did seem to turn faster and faster each year. The last thing Shawn wanted was to lose the one constant thing in his life. Anthony was perfection to him. Equally balanced in sanity and complex insanity in such a way that you could seem about your wits and still project a crooked smile. No one could be completely sane. It was simple human logic. No one in the world was perfect, and if they seemed as if they were, it simply was a lie. Shawn always figured his imperfection was his need to constantly make other happy before himself. Not that he ever did it in a way that they'd notice. He wasn't a glory seeker. Simply a secret people pleaser. The only greedy thing he wanted for himself was Anthony and a teaching career.
Apparently according to Anthony, he wasn't allowed to have both. School was too much work and Anthony was lonely. As much as Anthony loved the mountains, Shawn realized that he also desperately hated being alone for too long. This was why every weekend Shawn would make the trek up there after work every Friday. He'd once contemplated moving up there, but the drive up and back everyday would be too expensive. And he was merely a low paid college student getting his teaching degree. Hence why they made due with four hour conversations on the phone almost every night.
Making his way back into the living room he found Anthony curled up in the mound of blankets, barely covering his hips and upper legs. Shawn bit his bottom lip gently and went to lay down next to him. In his head he repeated that song. Over and over it played. He was so in love with that song. Every time the singer rasped the fourth or so line in the song he'd want to raise his hands in the air and fling his head back as if asking the sky to take him. Anthony shifted next to him and edged more into Shawn. Anthony loved to be enfolded as much as he loved enfolding. So Shawn wrapped his arms around his peacefully sleeping lover and nuzzled his neck. He heard Anthony make an appeasing sound in the back of his throat.
The world could crumble around and the two of them could go on blissfully living here together for the rest of their lives without complaint. People spent a good some of their lives never knowing how to love or let love go, spending all their lives reliving, hating, relishing, scratching at old scabs making sure they'd never heal just so that they'd retain some horrid memory of a love that never worked. It always made him wonder, why was it so hard to let go of the first person you ever loved? On the other hand, others spent their entire lives screwing up every relationship they'd ever been in, never learning from the last one. Not knowing what it was what they'd done wrong or could have done better. Hating everyone. What a painful one on either side. One could search the ethers and never find the right person meant solely for them.
Back when he'd been young, and his mother still talked to him, he'd heard his mother talking to an aunt about how there was always three people in your life you'd never forget. They were special and each one brought more heartbreak then the last, there was the one you loved, the one who loved you, and the one you'd marry. It hurt just to hear those words. Like no one in the world ever married the one they truly loved. It always lead him to believe that there was always more then one person you were meant to be with, depending on where you sat on the cosmic scale of goodness and purity. You could end up with the easiest one to love or the one you'd have to work hardest to keep. He developed a philosophy of his own. With hell, came love…..and all its well earned glories.
He heard Anthony yawn and looked down and noticed he was staring at him. A serine look of pure peace and tranquility. These were the moments he lived for. Outside, the nighttime creatures came alive and the sound of leaves moving about in the finicky wind was like a hazy static in the background. Moonlight poured in through the only open window and Shawn knew one of these days he'd get to stay here with Anthony. It might be a while, but the two of them would eventually spend the rest of their lives together. Of that, Shawn was sure.
Anthony reached his hands up and delicately brushed some of Shawn's hair behind his ear, "God you're beautiful."
Shawn smiled softly down at him, "Through a lovers eyes."
"You don't think so?" Anthony gently tugged Shawn's face down towards his.
"You know that's not what I mean," Shawn let Anthony continue to pull him down.
"I just wanted an excuse to do this," pulled down the rest of the way the two of them kissed.
"Anthony," Shawn slid his lips down his jaw line and to his neck, licking at the smooth skin, "If I could, I'd marry you."
"…………" for a moment all that escaped Anthony's lips were small gasps and exulted sighs, then finally, "No devil or angel could keep me from sticking a ring on that finger."
Yeah, these were the moments they lived for; happily imprinting themselves on each other with invisible tattoos of ecstasy and blissful harmony. No one could ever tear them apart or make them hate each other. Only themselves, and neither of them were about to do that. There was a balance between the both of them. That finely pulled wire that separated them just barely, where one lacked the other filled. But that same line could thinly slice, easily slid right through, and before either of them would know it, anger boiled up like a pot of water left on the stove. The good thing about that was that the boiling only ended up in merely steam and evaporated, leaving nothing in the pot to be worried over.
This was how Anthony and Shawn wanted to spend their lives. Constantly proving themselves to each other and proving to others that they could care less who said what. Yeah, it may hurt at the time and neither would share what they truly felt about all the words and hate from their teenage years, but together they thrived. They filled in those gaps and potholes. Together, they toasted, and would continue to toast, to all those who went through hell and made it out relatively unscathed and happy.
May, the taste of it be sweet, warm, and lasting.
A/N: With mad props credited to Rob Thomas and Low Millions for the inspiration their songs gave me. Streetcorner Symphony and Hey Jane, respectively. Hope this was greatly enjoyed.
eep, almost forgot to mention this is the one shot I promised. Hope you liked this especially MyKa Holly. I did my best. -smiles-