This is insanely short. I apologize. I'm just having a fit of not being interested in this story for the time being, so hopefully this all changes soon. Throwing them both off to rehab is like when Maura West's character Carly in As The World Turns went off to rehab while Maura was on maternity leave haha.
The nightmares don't stop.
Caleb takes more and more pills, trying to grasp that elusive euphoria of sleep. At first, he follows the dosage. Eventually he works his way up, taking one, then two more pills than necessary. He doesn't sleep as much as he passes out anymore. He tells himself that it's okay. He's had a traumatic experience and everyone has their coping mechanisms, like Kyle and his aversion for food.
But like every coping mechanism, it should pass. That's what Caleb says. Everyone has phases, it's perfectly normal, and Caleb knows that he himself had had periods where food didn't appeal to him. Kyle has those too, but they almost always pass after a few days.
Except… Kyle's still not eating, and it's been almost a week.
Worry is predominant in Caleb's mind as Kyle pushes his chair back at the table and dumps away yet another unfinished dinner. Caleb slumps in his chair, taking a deep breath as he hears the familiar click of the bathroom door, then the telltale gush of water from the faucet.
Caleb restrains himself enough not to break a dish as he chucks it into the sink before sitting back at the table, cradling his head in his hands. He couldn't believe that he didn't have the balls to stop this, or at least confront Kyle about it.
Caleb's heroin addiction was a thing of the past, buried deep in the rubble of his former life where it belonged. Had Kyle taken him in because of their similarities with addictions and disorders, or did he feel a genuine urge to perform a charitable deed with someone he found attractive?
He stands up, swaying slightly as he pushes the chair back with the backs of his knees, and rolls back his shoulders. The only way to stop this was to bring it out into the open. Caleb was done playing with both his heart and Kyle's health. The proclamation of love he'd parroted back to Kyle meant something.
Tomorrow things were going to change.
"How long have you had an eating disorder?"
So it may not be the best way to start a morning conversation, but Caleb had spent a night on the couch, tossing and turning in worry, sleeping pills forgotten momentarily. He couldn't bring himself to step foot into their bedroom and his nerves were frayed and his temper short. There was no beating around the bush this time.
Looking up, Kyle's eyes widen in shock before it passes, just a flicker, and he betrays no emotion. He wraps his hands around his mug, eyes downcast, chewing on his lip as he avoids Caleb's question. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he says quietly after a tense silence.
"Don't play dumb with me," Caleb snaps. "I'm not fucking stupid."
"I have this under control—"
"Bullshit!" Caleb shouts, shocking both himself and Kyle when he raises his voice. He sets his jaw and anger flashes behind his eyes. Kyle looks so small, drawing in on himself as he grips his mug tightly, eyes Bambi-large and hair still skewed from an uneasy night of sleep. "You haven't touched food in days, Kyle. You're always making yourself throw up. I'm not an idiot, and if that's the kind of stupid, oblivious guy you had in mind when you picked me up off the street you thought wrong."
Kyle opens his mouth in silent shock. "Caleb, baby, I don't think that about you—"
"Shut up," Caleb growls, cutting Kyle off for a second time. "Don't call me baby. Don't call me anything if you're going to continue to lie to me like you have been. Just because I used to stick myself with needles doesn't give you a free pass to parade your fucking bulimia around in front of me every day."
In the back of his mind Caleb is shocked that this is coming up out his mouth, but he can't stop the flow of words. He's been bottling it up for so long that getting it all off his chest is strangely relieving. What he doesn't expect, though, is for Kyle to get up and step around the table to stand in front of him. Even though Kyle and Caleb are the same height, and Caleb is built more heavily, the redhead is immediately intimidated and has to stop himself from shrinking back in a sudden display of fear.
"You think I'm parading it?" Kyle hisses, eyes narrowed. "You think I want to be like this, so concerned with my physical appearance that I have to resort to destroying myself to seem beautiful? Just because you bounced back from your unfortunate turn of events doesn't give you a higher pedestal and the rights to act like you're better than me."
Caleb keeps his mouth shut, momentarily thinking how ironic it is that he and Kyle have switched positions completely. Kyle's lip draws back in a sneer, and Caleb has never seen him this furious. He trembles slightly when Kyle speaks again. "How about we talk about your pill addiction."
It's not a statement, not a question, only a dark threat, full to the brim and anything but empty. "I—I don't have one," Caleb says, tries to defend himself, but Kyle's having none of it.
"Like hell you don't," the blonde replies and Caleb takes an involuntary step back when Kyle advances on him. "Ever since you were raped you've been popping those pills like they were candy." He grips Caleb's bicep tightly. The redhead closes his eyes and sucks in a deep breath. He'd never wanted to be in a relationship like this. Rationally he knows that he's pushed Kyle to his limits, that normally he'd never let himself get like this.
"That prescription is supposed to be up a month or so from now. I checked the bottle this morning when your sorry self was sleeping on the couch. You're almost empty. We got that filled a week and a half ago, Caleb."
Fuck. He hadn't realized he'd been consuming so many pills; he'd been so worried and stressed lately that it had become just second nature to reach for the orange-tinted bottle. The weight of the pills in his palm had become almost like a part of his skin. Defeat makes his frame sag and Kyle releases his grip. The anger leaves his face and he steps back.
"I didn't realize," Caleb says in a small voice.
"That's a hard one to believe," Kyle says, raising an eyebrow.
Caleb looks at Kyle, eyes red from crying. "I guess we're both pretty fucked up," he says. He doesn't try to mention that Kyle hasn't owned up to anything just yet.
"I guess we are."
Caleb swallows and doesn't say anything as he mulls thoughts over in his head. "If we—if we both get help, then this could work out. I really love you. I do."
Kyle starts to say something but cuts himself off before he gets past the first syllable. Caleb knows he's trying to deny that he has a problem, but one look at his ever-shrinking body mass and it's not hard to notice that there's something wrong.
"It could," Kyle acquiesces. He looks unsure, frightened even, as he says this.
"Then make it happen," Caleb says, voice cracking. "I don't want anything to happen to us, to this."
Kyle starts to shake his head before pausing. Caleb mentally recalls his promise not to let this screw them up and wonders if he's maybe a little too late on that now. "Please," Caleb begs. "Do this for yourself, if no one else."
Briefly Kyle's eyes glint. "How about both of us?"
How Caleb ends up in their bed, knees down on the slightly rough comforter and Kyle's cock buried deep in him, he'll probably never know. One minute they were fighting and the next Kyle was pushing and shoving, lips pressed to Caleb's as he led them to the bedroom.
"I'm making this one count," he'd said when they'd pulled apart for air. "I said I love you and I meant it." That was fifteen minutes ago. Now Caleb's short of breath, lost in pleasure as he bounces on Kyle's lap. "Fuck," he gasps, brushing back his hair.
Caleb can't help but notice Kyle's ribs, the too-thin thighs. For their first time it's almost too bittersweet to enjoy, but Caleb overlooks it as he leans down, Kyle thrusting into him, to share a heated kiss with the blonde.
"I love you," Kyle whispers, hands cradling Caleb's face. His blue eyes are serious, sky-blue color darkened to navy, and Caleb believes him. He believes Kyle really is willing to get clean, that no matter what they'd end up together.
"I love you, too," Caleb moans, fisting is cock as his back arches. It only takes two, three pulls before he's coming with a shudder. Kyle thrusts twice more before his body goes taut and he moans as he releases into the condom.
They curl up together, heated skin against heated skin, and Caleb nuzzles into the crook of Kyle's neck while the older man cards his fingers through his hair. "I'll call tomorrow morning," Kyle says in a tight voice. The vibrations rumble up through his throat.
Caleb worries his bottom lip. "Okay."
The kiss they share is melancholic. Neither knows what's going to happen after tomorrow. "Don't make this goodbye," Caleb whispers as he clings to Kyle. "Please."
"I won't," Kyle whispers back. "I promise."