"It's a funny thing, guilt. There's nothing so bad you can't add a little guilt to it to make it worse, and nothing so good that you can't add a little guilt to make it better."
Ryan sat curled underneath his thick blanket on the couch. His hoodie and jeans did little to warm his body. He had been watching the movie 'Latter Days' for the first time, and getting quite sucked into the plot when Jacqueline Bisset's line caught him off-guard. God how right she was. A wave of shame washed over his body as he clamped his eyes shut, trying to forget everything that happened.
"What the hell is going on?"
Ryan slammed the palms of his hands against his ears, trying to drown out the sound of Brandon's voice. Brandon's happy-go-lucky tone mixed with hurt and betrayal.
"I'm going for a walk."
Ryan crushed his eyelids shut, trying to ensnare his tears. He was suddenly burning, no longer chilled as he kicked off the blanket and wrapped his arms around his legs, hugging himself.
"Brandon, it's not what it looks like, I swear-"
"It's fine, seriously, whatever. I'm going for a walk."
"I SAID IT'S FINE!"
The yelling. The choked up sob that echoed from Brandon's throat. It was loud; too loud for Ryan's ears. He grabbed the remote control and turned the TV up to almost full volume, causing the windows to rattle slightly. Finally DiCo's voice disappeared, and he turned the volume down, only to realize that his cell phone was ringing.
"Can I come over? I kinda wanna talk to you." DiCo's soft voice floated through the phone.
"Sure. The door's open."
With that, Brandon hung up and Ryan shut the TV off. A few beads of sweat glimmered on his forehead, but despite the sudden hot flash, he was freezing again. Ryan buried himself amongst the fabric and waited.
"Get OFF of me, Raab!"
"Just let me EXPLAIN!"
"FUCK OFF! NOW!"
The yelling. The screaming. The hurt. Why?
"You here?" The front door creaked as Brandon entered the house.
Brandon walked into the living room, not knowing what to do. He walked to the other side of the room and sat in an armchair, staring at the floor. Brandon's watch beeped twice, signaling the top of the hour and breaking the heavy silence.
"Listen, Brandon. I…I can't really say anything, you know? I didn't MEAN to, it just…happened."
"It's not about that." DiCo's voice was monotone and cold.
"Then what's this about?" Ryan asked, confused.
"Well, it IS about you making out with Raab, but it's mainly about you lying to me and stabbing me in the back."
Ryan's chest cinched tightly, his own heart felt like it was being ripped from his body as DiCo continued.
"This is about you not giving a shit about a friendship that's lasted more years than I can count. We've been through EVERYTHING together." Brandon stood up, tears threatening to fall.
"Fuck you! You aren't sorry!"
"I AM though, Bran! You've got to believe me." Ryan stood up and started walking over to Brandon.
As the men stood face to face, Ryan looked past the deep brown eyes, the receding hairline and the bulky sweater and saw the same lost, pain-stricken boy that he had met all those years ago.
"I seriously can't believe you did this."
"I'm sorry." Ryan whispered.
Brandon brought his arm back and swung, hitting Ryan square in the jaw. Ryan staggered backwards, tripped and landed on the couch.
"Fuck you, Dunn."
Brandon stomped past him to the front door, opened it and then slammed it shut behind him. Ryan held his jaw as he heard DiCo's Bronco start up and peel out of the driveway. He calmly picked up the TV remote and flipped the TV on. He pressed a few buttons and a different movie came on.
"The juice was worth the squeeze."
"No it wasn't." Ryan whispered to himself before he started to cry.