A/N: I know hardly anybody comes in this section, but I needed to write this fic and I figured I may as well post it too. I can't see the final season of My Boys til the dvds come out so I am stuck at the end of Season 3, and that is where this story takes place, between the last scenes at Spring Training and coming home to Chicago...
Disclaimer: My Boys and all its characters belong to Betsy Thomas, TBSs, and probably some other people, none of which are me. Any characters you don't recognise from My Boys do belong to me!
Chapter 1 - Epiphany
PJ was bleary-eyed and not amused as she staggered from her bed at the hotel to the door upon which someone was knocking too much. It wasn't very loud, in fact it was quiet enough that Bobby was sleeping through the noise, but it was constant and annoying, and not exactly what PJ wanted to be dealing with right now.
"What's going on...?" she began to ask as she opened the door and her apparently very drunk friend almost fell in on top of her, "Brando?" she said with a frown as he caught himself with one hand on the door frame, attempting to right himself, "What are you doing?" she asked, but all Brendan did was shush her as he grabbed her hand and pulled her out into the empty hall way.
"I figured it out" he told her, bouncing around like an excited kid in spite of the fact he was clearly out of his head on booze, "I did, PJ, I figured it out" he repeated pointlessly, as his friend looked around ensuring they weren't disturbing anyone and pulling the door to her room almost closed so they wouldn't wake Bobby with their talking.
"What did you figure out at 2am?" she asked pointedly, though Brendan didn't seem to notice the look or the tone as he sat them both down in the window seat across the hall, "Other than the fact that beer plus scotch equals crazy drunk dude" she went on, though he was still more fixed on what he had to say it seemed.
"All the crazy chicks, man" said Brendan, waving his hand in some random gesture, "Shopping at the crazy mall, hooking up with girls and... it goes wrong, every time"
"I know this, Brando, I was the one that told you" PJ pointed out with an amused grin that she could not help - he was just such a funny drunk.
"Yeah! Yeah, you did!" he said, a little too loud and excitable about it, causing his friend to urge him to quieten down, "but see, I thought about it and, I had like this... thing. This... epiphany" he settled on with a snap of his fingers as the word came to him.
"Wow, that's a big word" said PJ with a little sarcasm in her tone.
She couldn't help it. Whilst she was happy to be there for her best bud if he needed her and she didn't mind at all that he wanted to talk to her about his relationship issues, right now so wasn't the time for it. It was two in the morning, she should be in bed with her boyfriend, all curled up and snuggly, getting plenty of sleep. Instead she was sat out in the hall of the hotel, wrapping her arms around her body that was clad only in shorts, a vest top, and nothing else.
"See, I only date crazy girls because I don't want it to work out!" said Brendan, jabbing his finger into his knee with every word as if that made his point all the more valid, "I don't want a relationship with any of them!"
"Okay..." said PJ slowly, wondering what the grin on her friends face was all about when he was talking about his disastrous love life and why it was in such a state, "Well, I'm really glad you figured it out, Brando" she assured him, patting his leg as she got to her feet, "but it's late and..."
"No, wait a sec, I'm not done" he told her, catching her hand in his and turning her back around, "There's a reason why I'm screwing up with all these women" he said as he pulled himself up onto shaky drunken legs.
Honestly, PJ just wished he'd get on with it and say whatever he wanted to say so she could go back to bed and sleep off her own share of booze that she'd gotten through today. She had work to do tomorrow, and they'd be headed home before long. The travel would be kind of a bitch and...
"It's you, Peej" those three simple words cut through the mess of thoughts in her head, and PJ's eyes shifted to meet Brendan's own.
"Hey, wait a second, what's me?" she checked, a frown forming on her face as she looked up at her best friend and he stared back at her with an expression that was way too intense to be good.
"You're the reason, PJ" Brando told her softly, his hand going to her cheek, fingers moving back through her hear as he leaned in closer, "It's always been you" he said, seconds before his lips touched her own for the briefest of moments.
"Oh my God" she said, backing up a step and almost causing Brendan to pitch forward onto the floor at her feet, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no" she repeated too many times, putting her hands to her face and shaking her head in the hopes that all this would maybe go away.
This was maybe the last thing she had been expecting tonight. Sure, Brando had been acting a little weird since they talked about him needing to date normal girls instead of those who needed strait-jackets and padded walls to save them from themselves, but PJ had chalked that up to the beer and all. She hadn't for a moment thought that her best friend was going to come knocking on her door at two in the morning to tell her he loved her or something, and that she was the reason he had no serious relationships.
"PJ..." he said, reaching for her arm to turn her around to face him again, but she pulled free of his grasp immediately.
"No, no, no" she continued to repeat, "You can't do this to me, Brendan, you just can't" she said in an angry but low voice, ever mindful of being heard if she spoke too loudly, "Okay, you are having a bad time with women right now and you're drunk and... and you don't know what you're saying" she told him definitely, poking him in the chest with her index finger to hammer her point home.
"It's not like that, Peej" he tried to tell her, "Okay, it is kind of like that" he admitted off her unimpressed look, "but I know what I'm feeling, I know that you are the one I..." he was cut off from saying another word as PJ's hand came up to cover his mouth just at the moment she realised the door to her room was opening.
"Hey" said Bobby with a confused expression that wasn't so very surprising as he yawned and looked between his gifrlriend and her best friend, "What's going on?" he asked.
PJ shook her head, letting her hand drop away from Brando's face as she painted on a smile and started talking fast before he had a chance to. She could really use Bobby not hearing the things her best friend had been saying right before he opened the door!
"Hey, Bobby" she grinned, "Brando is... he's kinda drunk" she rolled her eyes as she got hold of her friend by the shoulder and started pushing him down the hallway, "Obviously, he's got a little lost so I'm just gonna walk him back to his room" she told her boyfriend cheerfully, "I'll be right back"
Bobby watched the two disappear around the corner, still finding the whole situation a little odd. Brendan had been drunk before and PJ had gone to deal with that on a couple of occasion. They were such good friends, and it didn't bother Bobby in the slightest that his girlfriend's BFF was another guy. It wasn't as if he couldn't trust them, or so he thought. If he didn't he wouldn't have gone back to bed the way he had, leaving the pair to their own devices. Around the corner, Brendan tripped up and fell back against the wall, almost pulling PJ over in the process. He found it funny, she did not.
"Smooth moves, Peej" he giggled like a kid, immediately looking entirely adult when he spoke again, "So you gonna come in and 'tuck me in'?" he asked her, waggling his eyebrows.
"Brendan!" PJ smacked him across the shoulder perhaps a little too hard as they reached the door to the room he was sharing with Mike and Kenny, "Get in there and sleep it off" she ordered like an angry mom or something.
The second Brendan leaned on said door, it opened, almost sending him sprawling.
"Kenny, what the hell are you...? Brando?" said Mike as his buddy fell against him, "What happened to him?" he asked PJ who was by now beyond frustrated by this whole situation.
"He's drunk, and being dumb" she said crossly, "You take care of him, I'm going back to my room" she sighed, storming away and leaving a very confused Mike still holding onto Brendan in order to keep him upright.
Of course, no-one was as confused as PJ as she headed back to bed. Her mind was racing with all that had happened in the last five minutes. First, she was in bed sleeping with her boyfriend, Bobby, the guy it had taken forever to figure out a relationship with. Next thing you know, Brendon is at her door, worse the wear for drink and falling all over himself to tell PJ that she's the reason he can't get a steady thing going with a decent non-crazy girl.
PJ honestly wasn't sure how to take what her best friend had told her. Whether he meant to imply he was in love with her or not, she honestly wasn't sure, but the fact they were even having a conversation about that kind of thing again made her head hurt. It had only seriously come up twice; the first time in Senior Year of college when they made out at a party and the next day Brando had totally 'what's upped' PJ in the library; the second, a moments reminiscing on the fateful day of their college experiment which had led to further admittance of feelings, a couple of very hot kisses, and one very big mess. After both these times, PJ and Brendan had agreed they were better off preserving their friendship and not pursuing a romantic relationship. Now it seemed he was having doubts on whether or not that was really the best thing for them.
Sure, there were times when PJ had wondered herself if they might be closer one day, at least each others safety nets if they hit forty and still hadn't found Mr and Miss Right to spend their lives with. Of course, these thoughts and feelings had all but gone away when PJ got serious with Bobby. She had always liked the guy, hell, she put the moves on him the first day they met, and the bumpy road they'd travelled as both friends and more had led them here, to a really happy place that PJ was loathed to leave. Unfortunately, as she slipped into her hotel room and faced the sight of her boyfriend lying in bed waiting for her return, she wondered if she was going to have much of a choice.
"Hey" he smiled, gesturing for her to come on over, "I was thinking, since we're both awake..." he gave her a look that told PJ what exactly he'd thought, but honestly, after what had happened with Brendan, she just couldn't.
"Actually, Bobby, I'm pretty tired" she said, forcing out a yawn as she moved to get into bed, turning her back on her boyfriend and not even offering him the chance of snuggling as she turned out the lamp beside her head, "Goodnight"
Behind her, PJ felt Bobby flop down onto the bed, and heard a disappointed sigh escape his lips. He wouldn't be mad at her, he was just such a nice and understanding guy, he would totally believe that she was tired and let it go. Of course, she had to live with the guilt of knowing the real reason she couldn't make love with her boyfriend right now was because another man was on her mind. Whichever way she looked at it, PJ knew that was wrong, but she just couldn't help it.
To Be Continued...