The hot chocolate was just the right temperature. Holden touched the mug to his lips, allowing just a bit to touch his tongue. He swallowed and sighed with content, walking over to take a seat on his favorite chair, overstuffed cushions fitting around his body and causing him to loosen his muscles. A single lamp tinted the room in a soft glow on the calm winter evening. It had been snowing all day, stopping just moments ago. It was all the excuse Holden needed to not go out on a Friday night, instead choosing to spend a few hours with his DVR.
As he reached for the remote, he lurched at the banging on his apartment door. Cursing the burn of hot chocolate on his white t-shirt, he stood and hurried over, hearing the pounding again. He set it mug down on the counter before opening the door. A large man leaned against the doorframe, eyes half-lidded as his lips turned into a smile. He was dressed in a flannel and jeans, and the stench of alcohol on his clothes alluded to his busy night.
"Sean, what are you doing here?" Holden questioned in a hushed tone, walking out and closing the door behind him. Sean's hands planted on either side of his head.
"I just wanted to see you." Sean said, voice carrying down the hall.
"You need to go." Holden replied, looking up and down the corridor to see if anyone had stirred. It remained silent.
"But Holden, I miss you!" Sean whined, sounding odd with his deep voice. It boomed, and Holden could practically feel it ricochet off the walls.
"Sean, just…" He looked up and down the hallway again before turning and pushing his door open, grabbing Sean's arm and pulling him inside.
He closed the door and turned to Sean, standing with a bit of a slouch, that dumb grin still on his face. It turned Holden's stomach, seeing him here in his apartment after two months of not speaking, of not seeing him.
"What do you want, Sean?" Holden asked, walking over to the counter and putting his mug in the sink. It was doubtful he'd be getting any time to drink it. He found arms against his hips then, and he turned on his heel to see Sean there, nearly close enough to have their bodies pressing together, Holden's back against the edge of the counter.
"You're so sexy." Sean mumbled, leaning forward. Holden turned his face so the other man's lips met his cheek, the smell of beer and maybe whiskey permeating from his mouth. Sean trailed kisses along his jaw, and Holden fought the gasp that formed in his throat when the other man found his neck, hands fisting in Sean's flannel and pushing him away.
The lust in Sean's eyes made Holden's mind hazy, but he gathered his thoughts, clearing his throat. "No. We're not doing this."
Sean looked like a kicked puppy then. "But…why not?"
"Because we aren't together anymore."
"But…why not?" Sean asked.
"Because…things are complicated. Too complicated to explain right now."
"But I wouldn't ever break up with you. You're…" Sean couldn't seem to finish his sentence, and Holden dipped out of his grasp and grabbed Sean's arm again, guiding him over to the couch.
"Sit down." Holden ordered, giving Sean a nudge. The football player, normally a wall of strength, collapsed with the aide of his intoxication. Holden walked over to the kitchen and got a glass of water.
"Come sit with me!" Sean demanded, still in that slightly slurred way.
Holden walked back over to him, handing him the glass. "Drink."
"Only if you sit with me." Sean said, crossing his arms.
Holden sighed, taking a seat beside him. Sean immediately leaned into him, heat radiating off his large frame. Holden handed him the glass and Sean took it, gulping it down. He set it at his feet with surprising skill before turning to Holden. The other man was a bit caught off guard by the more serious expression Sean was wearing now.
"I wanna…I want to be with you, Holden."
Holden smiled just a little, unable to help himself or stop the feelings that hadn't yet been buried from rising up again. He put a hand on Sean's arm. "I know, Sean. It's not enough."
"But, we should be together! It's just…I don't know, it's just how it's supposed to be. I just have this feeling that you're made for me."
Holden nodded. There was the pain, sharp in his chest. "I know. I feel the same way."
"Then what's stopping us from being together?"
"People. A lot of people."
"Well fuck them! I want you. That's really simple."
Sean was practically on top of Holden as he spoke, and Holden offered a soft smile as the lines of Sean's face creased. He placed a hand on the side of his face, thumb rubbing his cheek. The frustration in Sean's eyes resigned to a bit of peace, distorted by the alcohol. It was so hard not to kiss him then, to pretend like it was just them on his couch, no reality trapping them behind these walls.
"You're a good man, Sean. Maybe sometime, someday, we can be together again."
"But you should be with me." Sean whispered, and Holden bit his lip at the desperation in the other man's voice, so fragile and breakable.
"I know. Now come on; you need to lay down and sleep this off."
Holden stood and Sean rolled down onto the bed, mostly due to a complete lack of motor skills. Holden grabbed the empty glass on the floor and placed it on the counter. Moments ago he had been so full of energy and now here he was, emotionally extinguished. He eyed the clock and found it was already one in the morning.
He walked back over to Sean, who was lying in what looked to be the most uncomfortable position on the couch.
"I'm going to go to bed, okay Sean?"
Sean's face lit up at the words. "Can I come with you?"
"I think it'd be best if you stayed here." Holden replied, hating the way Sean's expression crumbled.
Holden grabbed a blanket and laid it over Sean, who wrapped it around his body. Holden knelt beside him and smoothed out his hair.
"You should be with me." Sean repeated.
"Maybe in another life." Holden answered, nearly choking on the words. He stood and clicked off the lamp, heading into his bedroom.
He stripped himself of his stained shirt and sweat pants and got into bed. It was a bit too cold and far too spacious for one person, but he steeled himself and closed his eyes, trying to allow the emotional upheaval to grant him sleep. But just as he was feeling himself slipping, there was a light knock on his door. He sat up and found the silhouette of Sean, looking so big and yet so vulnerable.
"I couldn't sleep. Can I…Holden, just once?"
His slurring was mostly gone. Against all of the voices screaming in his head, Holden nodded. "Yeah, Sean."
Sean walked over and climbed into bed beside Holden, who scooted over. At first they both just laid there, but then Sean's hand found its way to Holden's arm, and Holden leaned into it. Then Sean's arm was around Holden's stomach, pulling his back against his chest. Holden let out a breath as he felt Sean's heartbeat there against him. It was comforting and familiar, and he found himself drifting to sleep, fingers grazing Sean's arm around him.
Tomorrow he knew he'd regret this. He knew Sean would leave and they wouldn't speak and all the problems would be there, separating them the same way they had for two months. Sean couldn't commit the way Holden needed him to and Holden couldn't let go of things that Sean considered insignificant. So they'd take this moment and they'd cling to it, because it was all they had left.