Okay, so I'm back with the final instalment. Apologies for it being long over due. As my fabulous beta puts it 'RL can be a bitch.'
WARNING: The usual.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing is mine. Apart from Rhian. Although I think she owns me lol.
I hope you likey. And I hope it was worth the wait. Enough from me. x
I curl my legs up under me, wrap my arms around myself and stare into nothingness. I scrape my nails down my arms, digging deep into my flesh. Hard. Harder. Till I want to scream. But even then, it wouldn't be a sufficient punishment for what I've done.
Rhian's face keeps flashing up. Her mascara running down her cheeks. Her screams make me flinch. Her fists pummelling Randy's arms make me shiver. The look on her face as she glanced between me and him was just unbearable. The final dismissal makes me squirm in uncomfortable anticipation of what's to come.
Randy didn't say a word on the way back to my place. He walked straight in, headed up the stairs. The door to the bathroom slammed. And then I heard the boiler whirr into life as he started the shower. I swear he was in there for an hour, whilst I paced the lounge, chewing my lip to shreds, wondering what to do.
He emerged without a word. Came down the stairs, grabbed a sandwich, sat at the kitchen and ate in silence. All as I just stood by, wondering what to say, let alone do. Nothing I could say would make it any better. Or worse, for that matter. The worst had been done six months ago.
I close my eyes. What would have happened if we hadn't done anything? Would Randy have gone off with someone else? A girl? Another guy? Or would he have just accepted his lot and carried on with Rhian. Never knowing what would have happened past the kiss. Never knowing that six months later he would be on the receiving end of her wrath, chucked out of his own home and only able to find solace at his gay lover's.
And what about me? Would I have buried my feelings even deeper than before? Accepted the situation and perhaps, at some point, moved onto someone else? Found happiness elsewhere?
Did I even find happiness here? I'm nowhere close to fucking happy right now. Was there even a moment of happiness between the two of us? Or was it just sexual tension that overflowed, neither of us able to control it? We let is spiral out of control. We let it get this far. Neither of us could pull back once we'd started.
Or did we have a chance to stop? When we started fucking in the basement whilst Rhian slept upstairs – that was when we had the chance to stop. Or when we sneaking off to fuck each other senseless on tour – maybe that was a sign it had gone too far.
But we were too wrapped up in our own self-indulgence to realise what was happening. Until it was too late. Until Rhian was screaming at Randy to fuck off.
I suddenly realise I'm shaking. My eyes ache. My hands feel clammy. I feel sick. I uncurl my legs from beneath me, practically fall off the chair and stumble up the stairs to the bathroom. My stomach unleashes itself moments later. Not that I have anything to bring up. I just wretch over and over again into the toilet bowl, dry heaves tearing at my guts, finally bringing some twisted satisfaction as my body begins to hurt almost as much as my conscience.
The light flickers on.
"Codes? You okay?"
I splutter in reply.
A warm hand touches my back and I flinch.
"I'm fine," I mutter, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. I just want him to stop touching me. To stop making this any fucking worse. If we're to stop, then friendship goes along with that. Nothing. No more.
I can't tell him to stop. So I let him rub slow, soothing circles on my back. I let him run his fingers up the back of my neck, through my hair. I let him ease me back, so I lean against the wall. I let him wet a cloth, wipe my face clean of sweat.
And then I let myself be helped into bed.
I don't let it go any further. One small step...
I feel the bed creak next to me. The smell of coffee hits my nostrils. I open one eye. I can see the vapours from the steaming mug swirl up into the light from the window.
I roll onto my back and see Randy sitting on the edge of the bed next to me. His eyes are blood-shot, his skin blotchy too. If I didn't know him, I would have sworn he might have been crying.
"Are you feeling better?"
"Yeah," I rub my eyes. My mouth feels dry. I glance over to the empty side of the bed. The pillows look untouched.
"I slept downstairs."
"I had to."
"Right." I prop myself up and reach for the mug. Randy's hand shoots out to help me, but he stops himself an inch from my hand. I watch his fist clench and then re-tract slowly back. Even he seems to realise how wrong this is all becoming.
"I... I don't know what to do Codes."
I can't bring myself to speak. Why is he asking me? Doesn't he know that I'm thinking the exact same thing?
He carries on, rambling at the floor. He can't even look at me. And I realise, that I can't bring myself to look at him either; I stare at my coffee.
"I tried to call her... But she won't answer. But I don't know what I would say to her if she does pick up. She honestly believes it. She believes I fucked around behind her back."
I note how careful he is not mention with who.
"And... I know it's true what she's saying. And I guess last night confirmed it in her eyes that what she believes is true. But she doesn't know the real truth right? So... So I could... I could convince..." he trails off.
I can't listen to him anymore. My tongue whirrs into action before I can stop myself. "I don't care. Convince away. Tell her how much you love her. How much you worship the fucking ground she walks on. But don't tell me about it. Don't make me feel anymore guilty than I already do. You've palmed enough guilt off on me."
I put the mug down on the table with such force, half of it leaps out onto the carpet. I push the sheets away and get up. I go to skirt around Randy, but he grabs my wrist before I can make a full escape.
I look at him. His eyes pleading with me. Begging for forgiveness.
But I won't let myself give into him. Not now. "Try making a decision on your own for once. Go with her, or with me. Whatever. Just pick."
Do you not see what you're doing to me, I scream inside, Or do you not care?
"Maybe that's your answer then."
I leave him sitting on the bed and head to the bathroom.
When I emerge, he's gone.
I sit in the same place as last night. Randy still isn't back. My cell hasn't rung or beeped once all day. It's almost eight.
My anger didn't wear off until mid-afternoon. And only then was it replaced by something even more terrifying – worry. Worry that crept up from the pit of my stomach, curled itself around my insides and started to squeeze. That's when I started calling him. No answer after no answer. But I couldn't leave a message. I hung up immediately each time. What would I even say? I can't even admit to myself what might have happened in the last six hours. The possibility scares the shit out of me. The possibility that he might not even have the decency to tell me who or what he's chosen.
Or worse. That something else has happened. The unthinkable. I shudder. No, don't think that. Surely someone would tell me if that had happened. Or would they? To the world, Randy is a friend. A good friend, but a friend nonetheless. Only he knows what I truly am. Or at least I hope he does. And Rhian... Well, Rhian thinks I was in on it. And I was. Not in the way she believes... But...
Headlights flicker at the bottom of the road. I lean forward, eager to see where they go. Do they carry on towards me? Or turn off further down. Or just go straight past. They slow. And then turn. And I'm caught like a fucking rabbit.
I scramble away from the window. Fuck, fuck, FUCK.
A door slams. And then a few seconds later there's a sharp rap at the front door. Followed by another. And then a series of loud, thrashing bangs.
I can't stop my feet. They march to the door and pull it open.
Rhian's eyes meet mine.
"Hi," I manage to choke out.
"Er... Come in?"
"Thanks." She brushes past me. The smell of her perfume almost makes me sick again.
"Coffee?" I ask weakly.
"Sure," she flashes her teeth. Somehow the smile doesn't make it to her eyes. They look bloodshot like Randy's did this morning.
I make a hasty exit to the kitchen, wondering how much time I can waste making coffee before the inevitable happens. As the kettle boils, I pray to fucking God that Randy doesn't decide to make an entrance about now.
I manage to stretch coffee-making to just under ten minutes. When I go back into the lounge, Rhian eyes me suspiciously.
"Took your time," she murmurs.
"Sorry..." First of many...
I sit down next to her. And then re-adjust, moving away, as close as possible to the armrest of the couch.
"So," I breathe. "How are you feeling? After... well last night?"
"How do you think?"
"I... I needed to talk to someone. About it. My friends... they don't know. Yet. And you... you know him. And you know me... So..."
"I just... I just don't understand Codes. Why would he?"
"I don't know..." My heart is thumping so loud I swear she can hear me. I don't dare lift my mug from the table. My hands are shaking too much.
"I thought we were happy."
"I mean... I was happy. But maybe... maybe that was just me..."
"I'm sure he was happy too."
"Then why would he fuck someone else?" She spits the words out.
I shrug helplessly.
"I mean... I was there to fuck him whenever he fucking wanted. Or maybe that was it. I was too fucking boring for him. Maybe he wanted something, or someone else. Something more fucking exciting than me."
"I doubt it..."
"Really? You doubt it?"
My head flicks round to face her. She's staring at me. Straight in the eye.
"He... he wouldn't do that to you. He loves you," I hear myself say mechanically.
Her eyes narrow. "Are you sure about that?"
"I know, Cody."
"What do you mean?" I whisper.
Her face goes in and out of focus for a second.
"I know," she says for the third time.
I go cold.
"How long Cody?"
I can't speak.
My mouth opens and closes.
"How fucking long?" she shouts. I jump.
I close my eyes. "Six months..."
She inhales sharply, with a small scream. I open my eyes. Her eyes are red, tears building, ready to spill. She sniffs, swallows, stares at me once again.
"You... You were in New York..."
She closes her eyes. Tears escape.
"Why..." she gasps.
"I don't know."
She puts her coffee mug down, her hands shaking. They ball up into fists. She thumps the couch, making me jump.
"There must be a reason. There has... there has to be..."
"It... it just happened." I can't even begin to explain. I don't know what there is to say. I fucked up – I fucked your boyfriend, made him my boyfriend, my lover, my soulmate.
"It didn't though..."
"What?" I stare at her amazed.
"The... the way you looked at him." She stares into space. "I... I thought at first that you had a crush on me. Idiot that I am. And then... then I walked in on you. With that guy. And then I just, well I don't know what I thought. But I just brushed it off. And I went off and forgot about it all. I came back and you two... you were all weird. I just figured Randy just didn't know how to act around you now that he knew. That in that week something had happened, but you were too embarrassed or whatever to tell me..."
She pauses, turns her head to face me once again. "And then, little things just didn't add up... The way you were starting to flinch around me. That you were shrinking away from me... But not from him. And then everything just... slotted into place. It all made fucking sense. You looked at me like you did because you were jealous. Of me. Because I had what you wanted."
"But what?" she snaps.
"You said... a girl..."
She blinks. "I... I wasn't sure... But then I saw your face when I said it. You looked... insulted."
"I'm so sorry..." I whisper.
"I bet you are. But sorry you did it, or sorry you got caught?" Venom dripping from every syllable.
"I don't what to say."
"Say nothing. Because that's all you can do. Nothing. You did nothing, you could have stopped it. But did you? HELL NO. You were quite happy to just carry on, fuck your friendship, you got fucking laid,' she screams.
"It... it wasn't like that. It was killing me."
"Killing you?" she laughs coldly. "What? And I'm supposed to feel sorry for you?"
She gets up. "Enough Cody. You have to choose. Friendship... Or whatever you and Randy supposedly have."
Her coffee mug crashes down on the table. I shudder.
"You can't have both Cody. Life isn't that good.' She heads to the door. 'Your mess. Your choice. Me or him."
The door slams behind her.
I'm still sitting on the couch, in the same position when headlights light up the lounge for the second time tonight. Half of me wonders if Rhian's come back for round two. Not that I blame her.
A key slides in the lock.
Randy closes the door behind him. Flicks on the lights. I blink at the brightness.
I glance up at him. He narrows his eyes so I can't read them. I shake my head.
"Where were you?" I counter
"I had to think..."
"I went over to the house..."
My heart sinks.
"But she wasn't there."
"No. She was here."
"Here?" His eyes widen.
"She knew. She knew last night. But she said she didn't know for sure until she saw my reaction."
"And?" he urges.
"She gave me a choice. You or her."
"Right." Randy walks over to the stairs. They creak under his step.
"I choose you," I murmur.
The creaks stop.
I don't dare look around. Not yet anyway. So I talk to the floor. "I was... I was going to choose her. Maybe out of guilt more than anything. Guilt that you made me feel. I've never felt this horrible in my whole life. No-one ever made me feel like that before. Made me feel that what I am is wrong. And she didn't make me feel like that. You did. You made me feel that small. You made me feel like it was all my fault that you were cheating on her. So I was going to choose her. To prove that I am a friend."
I pause for breath.
"But... You also made me feel incredible. Incredibly guilty at times, but you had your moments when you made me feel something else. You used to look at me in a way that made me melt. You used to look at me with..." Even now I can't bring myself to say the word. "And I want that again. I don't want you to look at me with disgust. Or look at me like you own me."
I close my eyes, remembering that look in his eye the last few times we fucked. "I want you to look at me like we're equal."
Only now, do I get up, turn and face him. He's staring at me, his mouth half open.
"If you can promise me that... Then I choose you."
I close my eyes. My heart sinks. I started with nothing and I finish with nothing. What else did I expect?
I open my eyes. Randy is in front of me. And his mouth forms the words I've wanted to hear for a while.
Thank you's etc etc.
- Firstly, to my lovely and truly awesome beta, Blazing Glory: A MASSIVE thank you. Without her, none of this would have happened. I owe her a lot for this. Thank you so much.
- Doorist & LegacyChick: Your reviews blew me away every time. I cannot thank you enough for the confidence and courage you gave me to write this. Both of you are truly amazing writers and for you guys to even consider reading this little silly story of mine - well I am honoured and humbled all at the same time. Thank you.
- EnigmaticDiva: Thank you for your 'kick up the butt' messages! LOL. I needed them and hope you are satisfied with the end result!
- msgemgem: Sorry it didn't work out how you wanted it to. I have an epilogue in the pipeline that will hopefully satisfy your Rhian/Randy cravings. Think flashbacks lol.
- Everyone else who reviewed/read/stumbled across this by accident: Sorry I can't name you all individually, but you have all contributed to the making of this story. Without you, there would be no story. I love reading your reviews and they mean so much. If you write on here, I'm sure you know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when an email appears in your inbox telling you someone's reviewed. Thank you so much for giving me that feeling.
Love you all :-) Thanks, rkolove xx