Hey guys, I thought I'd try this, because I always wondered what happened at the end of the film between them seeing each other again and the thanksgiving dinner.
I hope you like it. Please review if you did!
Christian awoke with a start that first night, sweat trickling down his back. He pulled himself to sitting and leant his head on his hands, trying to calm his breathing and stop his heart from beating so crazily. The clock on the bedside table read 03.04, and he sighed; Another goddamn nightmare.
"Christian?" came Aaron's muffled voice, still heavy with sleep, "you alright?"
Christian looked down at him, curled into himself, wearing a t-shirt of his that said Gay AND a Bitch! in bright red letters, and forced himself to smile a little.
"Sure, I'm good. Just go back to sleep," and he offered a comforting pat on Aaron's back. Aaron rubbed his eyes and leant up on one arm, a confused expression clouding his forehead, "Was it a bad dream?"
Realising he wasn't going to be able to keep anything from him, and that he didn't even want to, he pushed the hair off his damp forehead, took a gulp of water from the bottle he always kept by his bed and lay back down, rolling to face Aaron.
"It's just this stupid nightmare I've been having," he said, half hoping Aaron would just accept this and fall back to sleep again. No such luck. He looked at him with that expectant face, totally ready to hear him out. "It started after I spoke to your Mom that time," he started, falteringly, and Aaron's brow creased, "What? When did you speak to her?" Christian kicked himself; he hadn't wanted to get into all that shit now, he'd just wanted a night where they didn't talk about everything that had gone on, a night where they could just enjoy being together. Stupid freakin' dream.
"Uh, it was a few weeks after you left. She answered, and I asked to speak to you. She, uh, said you were dead, and that she hoped I'd burn, or something like that."
Aaron lay there silently staring at him, numbly feeling the shock of the lie told so willingly told by the one person he thought would always love him. Christian could barely look at him, and Aaron could feel the remorse rolling off him in waves. He reached out a hand to rest it on his shoulder, his thumb moving slowly across the skin there.
"I'm sorry she upset you," Aaron said softly.
Christian sat up again, too rattled to lay still, all his promises of keeping everything quiet until tomorrow shattered.
"I thought you were dead, Aaron, she told me you died because of what I did, what we did!" As soon as he'd said it, Christian wished he could take back the bratty comment, and closed his eyes for a second.
"Hey, look at me." Aaron urged, and caught the other man's arm, forcing him to turn and look, "Let's not do this tonight, please. I'm kinda tired." Immediately Christian saw how pale he was, and how his eyes were rimmed with purple circles, and his hands all cut up, knuckles cracked and scabbed over.
"You're right, I'm just cranky from the dream. Some sleep will do me good. Best thing about it is, tomorrow is a Monday, which means I have the day off. So we can sleep as long as we want." He leant down and brushed his lips against Aaron's cheek softly. "So goodnight, and I'll see you in the morning."
When Christian awoke, he lay still as he tried to put his finger on what had changed. He looked about him – the room was in the same order as it had been last night; his pile of washing was still there waiting for him, and the ripped box of magazines sat crookedly by his bedside table.
The window was open, and he could hear the sounds of the beeping cars and trucks from the freeway were drifting in past the gauzy curtains. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary, so what felt different?
Then with a rush that he could feel as a palpable presence he sat up, looking around. The side of the bed he had not slept on had been made neatly, and the black shoes that had been placed by the rug had gone. Christian flung back the duvet and leapt out, grabbing a sweater as he rushed out into the hall and into the front room.
"Oh c'mon, not again, please…" he murmured to himself as he realised there was nobody in the apartment besides him. Nausea rose in his stomach and he looked about for a note or something that might have been left for him, but the room was perfectly ordered (too ordered in fact; had somebody been cleaning up in here?) and absolutely quiet.
He sat on the edge of the couch and buried his face in his hands, repeating the conversation from last night in his head over and over again. Aaron's hurt, exhausted face pleading with him to wait until morning to have the discussion he knew they had to have, and Christian, bringing up stuff that he just shouldn't have mentioned right then.
"I swear God, if you send him back, I'll keep my stupid mouth shut," he groaned into his hands.
He was so absorbed in his own thoughts that he didn't hear the door click, and a set of footsteps that were soft coming down the hall. Christian nearly jumped out of his skin when a gentle hand was laid on his shoulder.
"Are you ok?" came the hesitant voice, and Christian looked up into anxious eyes.
"You're here," he stated, then laughed a little. Aaron smiled bemusedly, shrugged and held up a bag of groceries. "I hope you don't mind; I borrowed a little money from your wallet. I, uh, don't have any money with me. Or anything much else actually."
Christian stood up and took the bag from him, blushing like an idiot as he kissed Aaron softly on the cheek and turned away, leaving him gazing after his retreating figure.
In the kitchen he took out eggs, milk, orange juice, bread and bacon, putting the kettle on for some coffee. As it began to hiss and boil Christian realised how little he actually knew about Aaron; how did he take his coffee? Did he like his eggs sunny side up? Eventually he decided on two eggs sunny side up and a slice of toast. He rooted around in a drawer to find a frying pan and frowned as he couldn't remember the last time he cooked for himself. He usually ate at the restaurant or got take-out, preferring food that was ready prepared for him; but now he had to be a little more responsible, a little more…domestic. At the back of his mind there was the niggling desire to impress Aaron, to show him that he was capable of not being as shallow as he had once thought, so he found a bowl and picked up an egg, tapping it on the side. It didn't crack at first so he tapped harder; the shell splintered and half the egg fell into the bowl while the other half slid down the side, dribbling onto the floor. "Shit!" he swore, dropping the shell into the bowl and looking round for a cloth to wipe it up.
Aaron heard the expletive from the front room and smiled, getting up to see the cause of the commotion. He looked in to see Christian dabbing at the egg with a tea towel and trying to reach for some kitchen paper.
"Uh, d'you want some help?"
"No, I'm fine, just go sit down."
Aaron tried to suppress a grin and walked in, locating the kitchen roll and wiping the egg off the counter, balling it up and putting it in the bin before reaching over and taking the towel from a frustrated Christian.
"Why don't you get us a drink and I'll get this cleaned up?"
"No, it's ok, I can…" he trailed off as he caught sight of Aaron's amused face. He sighed and stood up, handing the towel over and rinsing his hands under the tap. "Sorry, I'm not great at kitchen stuff."
"I can tell. Look, don't worry," he reassured, ushering Christian out of the room, "just sit down and I'll get us something to eat."
Christian slumped against the sofa and leant his head against the back, closing his eyes and groaning slightly. What the hell was this? Yesterday morning he'd awoken with the same dull ache as he'd had constantly since he'd visited Aaron's mother, and had gone about his usual daily routine just fine; made the visit, jogged a mile or so, showered and travelled to work. It had been another normal, nothing-y sort of day. And now all of this; the wonderful, terrible shock of seeing him walking in, the fear that he was losing his mind and being haunted, the tearful early finishing of his shift and the taxi ride home, holding onto Aaron's hand so hard but being unable to look him in the eye.
Aaron ran a bowl of hot water and shook the washing up liquid bottle until the last few drops dribbled out lazily, swishing it about with his hands gently, watching the bubbles form and pop. When he was a child the colours had captivated him for hours, and he would volunteer to help his mother wash up after meals. When he had turned eleven his father had told him that he couldn't do that anymore, as that was a woman's job in the home, so he copied his father; carrying the dishes into the kitchen and leaving them there before walking to the front room and reading his bible or a paper. The thought of the his parent's faces the last time he saw them pushed itself to the front of his mind, and tears pricked at the back of his eyes.
As he washed a few days worth of plates, bowls and glasses he swallowed hard, gritting his jaw as he scrubbed with the old brush and rinsed with too-hot water. He absolutely would not cry over what couldn't be undone.
As he rinsed the last plate and reached for the towel, the first sob broke through, demanding to be heard. He immediately pressed the fabric to his mouth, not caring what state it was in, and squeezed his eyes shut tight. His stomach heaved and cramped with the effort of keeping up some semblance of sanity, and he half hiccupped-half croaked another sob, the first burning tears clouding his vision and coursing their way down his cheeks.
Ten seconds later he was bent double in pain, gripping on to the side of the sink, heaving and sobbing as though his heart would break, the bubbles in the sink slowly bursting and dissolving.
Christian heard a shuddering intake of breath, opened his eyes and sat up, alert. When another wretched sob tore its way from Aaron's lungs he moved quickly to the kitchen and saw him, face buried in his arms, battered knuckles white with effort. He wound one arm around Aaron's waist and used the other hand to prise his grip apart. Aaron crumpled at the knees and it took all of Christian's effort to stay upright while he moved downwards with him, trying desperately to think of what to say.
He propped Aaron's back up against the cupboards and knelt next to him while he drew his knees up and put his arms around them.
"It's alright, you're ok," he soothed, running his hand over what he could see of his face and head and wincing at the flushed, red skin that seemed to quiver under his touch.
Impossible as it seemed, Christian was struck speechless by the situation. For what seemed like the longest time he held the other man and murmured nonsense comfort words into his ear, like he remembered his mother doing.
"Come on, let's get you somewhere comfortable," he murmured, and helped the by now hiccupping Aaron to his feet and leading him toward the front room, where he sat him on the sofa and placed a box of tissues by his hand. "Stay right there, I'm coming back."
Darting into his room Christian ripped the sheets from his bed and balled them up, digging through the drawer until he found a clean set. From his closet he pulled the blanket he barely ever used and a spare pillow, which he shoved under his arm. A bath towel was thrown over his shoulder and he was ready.
Aaron groaned as he hiccupped again, his eyes feeling as big as tennis balls in his head. Perhaps they were all right; maybe that's what homos did all the time – cry and have sex. He wiped his nose on a tissue and heard the sounds of drawers and cupboards opening and shutting in the bedroom. Christian emerged a second later and threw him a towel, smiling softly at him. "Go and shower, it'll make you feel better. If you need anything I'm just out here."
Once Aaron had disappeared into the bathroom and the sounds of the shower had started, Christian took out his phone and flicked through his phone book. After a while the ringing stopped, replaced by a voice,
"Hey Mom, it's Christian."
The hot water stung as it hit the bruised and cut skin on Aaron's body. The slashes taken out of his wrist were all but healed, leaving behind thin white and pink scars as a testament to his desperation.
Not for the first time he questioned what he had been thinking by coming here; what did he and Christian honestly know about each other? They'd only shared a few conversations in all the time they had known each other, so how could it be love?
Because you thought about him every single day when you were stuck in that place, and that night you spent with each other played over and over again in your head whenever you were alone.
Once he had scrubbed every inch of visible skin until he gleamed, Aaron switched the hot water off and reached for the towel draped across the sink unit, wrapping it around himself carefully. Dropping the dirty clothes into the basket he pulled open the door, peering out to check that the coast was clear. He began furtively walking across to the bedroom when the sound of Christian's voice floated out to him;
"Well, aren't you a sight for sore eyes, handsome?" He turned, blushing and looked straight into a pair of laughing eyes. He murmured something unintelligible and got to the bedroom, shutting the door behind him.
Laid out on the bed was a pair of long shorts, a t-shirt and a hooded jacket. Aaron couldn't help but smile when he saw the clean bed sheets and open window to air the place out. All the dirty laundry was stacked in a corner, and even the pairs of shoes were placed neatly side by side along a wall.
Christian knocked twice and poked his head around the door to see Aaron stood looking about the room, the towel clutched firmly around his waist. He held out a cup of coffee and tried hard not to think about what was underneath the fabric. Now was definitely not the time to get a hard-on.
"Hey, uh, sorry, I just wanted to give you this. I have sweetener, if you want it."
Aaron smiled and took it from him, taking a sip and smiling at Christian.
"You make a good coffee." Christian preened playfully, "Well, now you know another of my talents." After a pause he stepped forward nervously and pressed his lips gently against Aaron's, who blinked in shock, closing his eyes after a second. "I…is that okay?" Christian asked, pulling away, eyes wide.
"Yeah, that's okay. Thanks."
"What are you thanking me for?"
"The kiss, letting me stay here, being great to me."
"I meant what I said you know, before you left. I love you. And," he carried on, cutting across Aaron before he had a chance to respond, "I know we maybe don't know each other as well as we could, but I'd really like it if we could…you know…"
"Work on it. Together, I mean."
Aaron bit his lower lip gently, mouth curving upward, and fell a little harder for the man standing on tenterhooks in front of him. "I'd like that too."