I knelt down in front of him. He was still staring at his hands, his shoulders drooped.
"Howard?" I asked tentatively. I got no reply.
"Howard? Please look at me." Whatever was on his hands was absorbing his full attention.
I put my hand out and gently touched the back of his hand. At first I felt him tense but then he seemed to relax a little. I was half holding his hand by now but he still wouldn't look at me. I leaned forward off my heels, and I gently brushed away some of his hair, so I could look into his eyes.
"I'm so sorry" I said, with more feeling than I would have thought possible. Then I leaned in and kissed him, my hand reaching down to cup his cheek. He slowly began to respond and I could feel him giving in.
Slowly I slid my hands around his waist and pushed him back onto the sofa…
Then suddenly, he pushed me away, just stood up and walked over to the door and opened it.
I stared at him, from the spot on the floor, the place where I'd fallen when he'd pushed me away.
"Vince… what are you doing here?" he asked me.
I stared at him some more until realization dawned. He didn't want me here. He didn't want me in his life. He didn't want me. He didn't want me.
I felt numb, like someone had smacked me over the head with something blunt and heavy and it would be a couple of seconds before the searing pain would kick in.
"You want me to leave?" I asked because he seemed incapable of speaking because he was so… angry? Didn't seem quite right.
"OK, … I wont bother you anymore…" I picked up my jacket and my bag. I headed to the door, which he was still holding open. I wondered if I was the only one in the quiet room who could hear my heart breaking.
He was leant against the door as I walked past him; his face was stony and resilient. And I couldn't take it. I started to cry. Hot tears began to track slowly down my face. I dropped my stuff on the floor and I bent down to pick it up. I gasped for air and Howard noticed my tears. I tried to grab my stuff off the floor and then make a run for it but my world had turned into one of blurry blobs. Suddenly a large blob was filling my view.
Howard was sat down on the floor with me. He was trying to look me in the face but I was looking down at the floor, he didn't need me crying everywhere. We sat that way for quite a while.
"You're really sorry, aren't you?" he asked. His voice was level and I couldn't detect any emotion there.
"Y-yes" I managed to hiccup through my tears.
"Well you better not hurt me like that again, little man." he said.
It took me a few seconds for that to sink in.
"What?" I asked. I needed to make sure that he'd said what I'd thought he said. That he wasn't messing me around, like I'd done to him.
He smiled at me, a sweet sincere smile. I began to do that happy laugh/cry thing and nearly choked on my own phlegm. He laughed, and patted me on the back. I saw tears in his own eyes.
"I love you, Vince, but the red rimmed eye, snotty nose look doesn't suit you"
There was that word again. He saw me start at it. He reached out and touched my face gently. "It's ok… you don't have to say… not yet."
I smiled at his understanding, then threw my arms around his neck, practically knocking him over, from his kneeling position on the floor.
"Never let me go again." I asked quietly.
I had no intention of letting him go again. Later as we lay together he told me of how he came to his decision.
"I went home and she was there. She was angry with me for staying out for so long, accusing me of being with some girl. I said I hadn't been with a girl. But she didn't believe me. She asked me if there was anyone else. And I- I couldn't deny it anymore. So I told her. I told her that there was someone else. She looked so shocked, so hurt, but there was nothing I could do… she dumped me, saying that she didn't date two timers. It was horrible, there was so much yelling…"
"Oh, so you only came back cos she dumped you?" I asked, ruffling his hair teasingly.
"Nothing could've stopped me from coming back." he said, smiling at me.
"I realise that it wasn't her I needed, it was you. I realised that you are the only person who really knows me, who has never let me down…. and I'm sorry you can't say that about me."
"Well you came through in the end." I shrugged.
I'm not going to pretend Vince didn't hurt me. But would I trade everything I had now after all that heartache for the chance to have never loved him? No, nothing in the world could entice me to make that switch.
"Well... I feel happy here, you know? With you I mean… Howard?"
"Will you move back to the flat, with me? We could knock our rooms through, make a one big space, or, or something." he trailed off, obviously not wanting to give the impression that he'd thought too much about it.
"Hmm, I'll have to think about it…." I said.
"OK" he nodded and leant put his head back down on my chest.
Half a second later he lifted his head up again. "Thought about it yet?" he asked, an eager look on his face.
I laughed. "Oh alright then!" I said, acting like it wasn't something I'd been dreaming of ever since I'd moved out.
"Yay!" Vince exclaimed. Then he stopped. "God, I actually just said 'Yay!' didn't I?"
"Yes, yes you did, Vincent." I nodded, mock seriously.
"Jeez.. I'll be saying 'golly' next."
"Well seeing as I shall be moving back into the flat, I think this call for a celebration…" I said, giving him a grin.
"What would that entail?" asked Vince, his eyes wide and innocent.
I whispered something in his ear.
"Golly!" he said. I laughed and kissed him.
'Oh, you're making me live, whatever this world can give to me… it's you, you're all I see'
It didn't take long for Howard to move back in. I was so happy. Everything I wanted I had in my life. I'd been so, so stupid in those confusing weeks and my own behavior made me cringe. But Howard had forgiven me, had accepted my apology. His gentle care had allowed me to find myself, to discover who I really was, and who I really needed.
A few weeks later Howard and I were sat in a bar, enjoying a drink or two and a quiet chat. Bollo and Naboo were off on some trip. Naboo hadn't been surprised when I'd announced Howard was moving back in, and even less surprised when I told him that Howard and I were 'an item'. He had smiled broadly and wished us luck. Shaman… I guess that was why they were so mystic, they knew how to give the impression they knew everything. And Bollo just went with the flow as usually. 'Howard and Vince are lovers? Cool. Can I have a Jaffa Cake?"
In fact there was only one person who wasn't happy for Howard and me. And I could perfectly understand why.
"So this is the gay corner is it?" she asked, her voice slurred. It was my ex, the one who had dumped me for thinking I'd two timed her with a girl. I guess it had been a shock for her to find out that I had been sleeping with my, then, ex flat mate. She said 'gay' as if it was a dirty word.
"Don't you think you've had enough?" asked Howard gently.
"Shuddup, don't you think you shouldn't go around stealing people's boyfriends, hmm?" she asked him, as she took another swig from the glass of… whatever she was holding.
"Please, just-" I began but she cut me off.
"Now what I don't understand is, why you are suddenly gay." she said, pointing at me. "Because when we were together you most certainly were not gsy. But oh, now, you're running around town holding hands with some mustache-y sugar daddy, please explain Vince."
I sighed. I was fed up if this. It wasn't the first time it'd happened. I understood that I had hurt her and that she had a right to be upset. But that didn't give her the right to attack Howard.
"Go on Vince; explain to me, why, why, why are you hanging around and going gooey eyed all over this, this loser?"
Something inside me gave way. I couldn't take this and I wasn't about to let it go.
"Why? Because, I love him." I answered simply.
She rocked back, shocked. I felt Howard's eyes on me but I didn't look at him.
"Now, I'm very sorry that I hurt you and that you were a casualty of my own denial but yes, I love someone else and I would be very happy if you could find it in your heart to leave us in peace, please." I said in a very level voice.
She stared at me, and then turned and slunk away. I think I heard her mutter 'poof' under her breath. I wasn't bothered though, all that I was bothered about was the fact Howard had been staring at me silently for a good few minutes and that I was going to have to look at him soon.
I looked at him. His brown eyes were soft. "Did you mean that?" he asked.
"Of course I did." I reached across the table and took his hand. "I love you, Howard."
He smiled, a more sincere expression of happiness I have never seen.
"Now… I was thinking about acid purple for the walls in our room…" I began, hoping to catch him out in a distracted moment.
"We are not having acid purple!"
"Because it'll give me a migraine!"
"Oh go on, I love you."
"And I love you too but I'd rather be single than have acid purple walls."
We bickered like that for a couple of hours, not meaning any of it. And now I sit here, in the indigo ceiling-ed, sky blue walled haven of our room (we compromised) and I think, this is where we belong. He'll be listening to his records, with headphones on (another compromise) and I'll be drawing or reading or trying on stupid outfits.
It doesn't matter what we do, just as long as we're together. Forever.
The song lyrics in Howard's bit at the start are taken from' Samson', by Regina Spektor. The lyrics in Vince's bit at the end are taken from 'You're my Best Friend' by Queen . Both are awesome songs and I suggest you download them if you don't already have them in your library. I don't own the Boosh, as much as I'd like to. Please review.