Ted DiBiase Jr. remembers it so very vividly as he wraps his arms around this man for the millionth time.
Those beaming blue eyes that sparkle under any emotional condition, so beautiful and perfect - the rare thing that his money could not buy. That bright white smile that lights up a room, the sultry smile that makes the world fall to their knees, the grin that could have had a variety of seductions, or even danger, behind it. The laugh, oh, that gorgeous laugh…
Those thoughts alone make him smile into the kiss from a pair of soft lips on his, a small laugh escaping his own mouth that is merely nothing compared to the uncommon vocals of the man on his mind. His arms fix around the lithe waist of another, while his own unparalleled blue optics are focused across the room on someone else.
His smile is quick to fade as his half lidded eyes close in disappointment… where was that person that captivated every expanse of his memory? Those childhood feelings that he couldn't place until more recently, and those feelings that he still had.
DiBiase is pushed down onto the nearby couch, it's hard and worn out from years - decades, likely, of use. The familiar feel of his lover on top of him fails to consume his thoughts still. Their lips meet again, teeth nibbling gently against his own, as if testing their plushness. He's lost in those thoughts again, and it seems just as the raven haired boy on top of him is just getting comfortable, he's jumping off, beckoning to him with that same sneaky, crooked little grin to follow him to the bedroom.
Soon, his lover takes to smoking a cigarette, wrapped so elegantly in the sky blue sheets on the bed. He isn't sunk into the blue pillows as Ted is so unpleasantly aware of as he pulls on his jeans, making suggestions for dinner in a while. He's too knowing of the fact that he has not done a good a job as Randy Orton can, and always does at pleasing the gorgeous harlot. He settles confidently into the second place position, as usual, while he pulls on his white button up shirt and heads back out of the room for a drink that he desperately needs.
Dull, tired blue eyes stare ahead absently at the television, taking no real notice of the young DiBiase crossing into the kitchen, who wanders through the fridge for a beer and ending up just back in the doorway to the kitchen, leaning against the frame with his own blue, bright optics focused in the living room.
Ted hates that this man has always belonged to someone else, as easily purchased property, and now, here he was… alone, discarded and no longer the confident beauty that he remembers so lovingly. He adverts his eyes to the best of his ability, finding nothing to concentrate on until he stares down at the condensation from his beer dripping onto his hand, it doesn't help his mind focused on only one thing.
His memory still holds clear, to that very uncommon smile, and the way he had seen it so disastrously destroyed. He never had spent too much time in the same place as his father, and truthfully, had only gone up to the Florida mansion now to see his younger brother that was just so attached to the man that he himself wasn't fond of. Ted remembers when he was just on his way to carrying their brand new tackle boxes down to the car - an eye roll at the Hello Kitty bedazzled sticker on his brother's - a relaxing day of fishing with Brett was exactly what he needed - with or without the sparkling cat decal. That day he did not plan on freezing up on the staircase at the fight breaking down just below… he rarely heard his father scream, and never at this man; at least not while they weren't in the ring, of course.
The sound of his father's hand striking across his lover's face was the sound that would ring in his ears every night while he tried to slept. He did nothing about it, and carried on as if it had never happened, ushering Brett past the scene and ignoring it… Even now, at the present day, at every moment he looks at him, and every night he tries to sleep with his arms around his own lover, it is still so clear and loud in his mind. His eyes open wide at the sound each night, for reasons he had not told anyone, and resorts to just wrapping his arms around his lover and cuddling up into the other one; his beloved Viper, with those amazing thighs draped just over his own legs. However, he just wants more, and is left to blame his lifestyle growing up for that.
He stands staring at him now as he looks back up from his drink, wishing he did not feel so much pity for himself. This man sitting before him is nothing compared to the one he had fallen in love with. He had seen him so many times, admired, loved and lusted; day dreamed and wished… and he had not helped the moment that he truly needed it.. He hates and blames himself.
Fortunately, he knows that the gorgeous seducer is somewhere in there, hidden away. He was always someone else's prize - but not now, and he had been left long enough to feel insignificant, repulsive, old and useless, completely incomparable to his former self who charged for his worth. Now was his own chance, he abandons his beer on a coffee table, nearly knocking a lamp over while he took the moment to regain his confidence and courage. The man doesn't turn to even look, perhaps figuring the tell tale spiraling noise of the lamp that had almost fallen was nothing in comparison to the already run down home. Or, on the other hand, as Ted figured from losing a bit of confidence, that the object of his true affection was sitting there, his face plastered with a smirk that the young man could not hold his liquor… after a few sips.
DiBiase summons up his courage and takes a few barefoot steps toward the man, gathering some courage to start conversation and offering the drink he had in his hand; it's passed up politely and Ted takes a seat close by the chair, avoiding where he had previously been making out with the man's son. He apologizes for that scene, and that too is waved off. Ted sets his drink down on the rickety coffee table after taking a long sip to keep his better judgment at bay. He shifts uncomfortably, moving toward the edge of the seat. He can't take that look about the older man anymore and brushes his insecurities and self control away as he gets up, and the world moves so quickly from the minute he's standing over the lounge chair the elder Rhodes is relaxing on and corners him there, and the second that he has his lips pressed against the ones he has been day dreaming of.
It's no surprise that a few seconds after the stunned shock Dusty pushes Ted off, looking rather bewildered and speechless. Having not thought this through, Ted is just as speechless, but just wants to be honest with the blonde; this wasn't a game and it wasn't about to be hidden anymore. His breath is hitched in his throat as the larger man gets up from his chair, briskly walking off before the young DiBiase can grab his arm, jerking him back.
Their eyes study each other in uncertainty and finally Ted is the first to speak right as Dusty's perfectly shaped, perfectly plush, perfect pink lips part to say something. His voice is as honest as his intentions; confessing everything in a manner that could not be perceived as mocking, rude; or anything in between.
He quietly and confidently lets the other man know everything that has ever been on his mind, that Dusty is every thought that is ever crossing his brain; whenever Dusty is thinking about his supposed flaws, left here in this place he didn't deserve mentally and physically, that whenever he comes over to see Cody it's really just to see Dusty; he had an entire mansion he could be bringing Cody to - and the boy was his excuse to come here. He confesses that whenever he looks at him, at the real Rhodes that he wanted, that he is always seeing everything that makes Dusty who he is; more than just a former high paid prostitute, more than a fan favourite and more than his own father's personal playboy Playmate to throw around: someone whose beautiful - handsome, perfect, everything anyone could dream of because he really was the American Dream. Ted recalls the moment of his cowardice to stand up to his father hitting him, the moment when he should have been brave, courageous and prove himself to the blonde that he didn't; and now he was standing here trying to convince him that he would always be there now. Their blue eyes meet and Dusty doesn't look away; he smiles simply and Ted releases him, fully expecting some movie-like scene of them frolicking off happily ever after, but Dusty slips from his grasp and disappears up the stairs. Ted wants to hold him and never let him go; cuddle into his plush body and feel themselves complete - to feel Dusty be the person he was supposed to be again.
The brunette releases a breath he didn't realize he was holding; everything inside him collapsing, his hands rake through his short hair. He's not sure what to think or expect anymore; trying to find and secure himself a place in Dusty's heart was hard enough, but picking up after rejection was much different; but there was a smile. There could be hope that he could fix everything; make everything how he thought it was supposed to be. Pick up everything that had been broken.
Dusty had to be tired of waking up alone; feeling tired, old and worthless. He had to trust that Ted was truthfully; that for some reason, any reason in the world, that he was in love with him. His thin, muscular, young, perfect and gorgeous son was the option that he had settled for all these years. It's farfetched and silly, and Ted knows that this is every thought the other man is having while he sits on his bed, struggling with the confusion of the events. This wasn't how this night was supposed to go, Dusty is certain.
Ted's knuckles rap gently on the wood, pushing the door open slowly when there's no response. He looks at Dusty staring down at the floor and quietly walks toward him. He invites himself to sit down beside him on the bed, guiding Dusty's chin with the soft touch of his fingers to look up at him, Ted quietly asks him to allow him to stay in not so many words, trying to fix the broken smile with a soft kiss that wasn't abrupt and sudden. He doesn't presume that he would be shown to the door so quickly after, and it breaks his heart even if he knows he shouldn't just expect Dusty to settle into the idea of them together too quickly. It was easy for Ted, pining for so many years; but this was now and new and happening, and for twenty-six, Ted was still admittedly far too young for the sixty-seven year old.
Ted is out the door and back in the living room, dropped pathetically onto the couch with his face buried into his hands; letting the stress and dramatic actions of the night wash over him completely with a heavy hearted sigh. Dusty hadn't been some heartless prostitute, if Cody was any clue to be led down the same family path, that Cody actually loved; and Dusty may have loved The Million Dollar Man at some point, too; that he'd loved before and maybe didn't feel like giving it a last chance - not that Ted thought of himself as a "last chance" or "last resort" kind of guy, but he knows he's a better option than emptiness, but he does know he wants to be the last one Dusty loves; the final missing piece, the part of someone that gave someone a happy reason of waking up in the morning for a purpose beyond just going to work and going through the motions.
The aged floorboards creak under Dusty's weight; and Ted looks up at him. Something just clicks between them, an understanding maybe, and possibly that last resort hope in the elder Rhodes that someone in this world still cared. Ted stands, legs backed up against the worn out padding of the furniture piece as the blonde approaches him. He allows his hands to rest around the waist much larger than Cody's and is more than glad when they aren't embarrassedly shooed away; Dusty had never been ashamed of being a big guy: and for a lean, muscular guy like Cody, Ted just couldn't figure out why his hands never got to rest there - and he realizes now that he's over analyzing everything while avoiding looking directly at the man he has his rich mitts on. It's a little obvious that Dusty isn't sure where to proceed other than him wordlessly begging Ted to come back and just love him; being alone just did that to a person, and the young DiBiase is all too aware of that feeling. Ted cups Dusty's cheek, and soon allows his fingers to run through the platinum blonde curls; for once he wasn't wishing he could tell the man how he feels, he's actually saying it; making his love feel beautiful and worth everything again.
It was too common an occurrence, as his mentor in Randy had always minded him that jumping in and acting first, thoughtlessly, carelessly was stupid - it was a set up for failure both in and out of the ring and this was the wrong time to grasp the real meaning of what that meant outside of wrestling.
Dusty pushes Ted away from him abruptly, and before Ted can react he observes the expression in those blue eyes to have the intelligence to simply turn around.
Cody's crushed. Destroyed. Hurt and every word Ted couldn't imagine to describe; he flees out the front door just as fast as his gorgeous long legs can carry him and Ted instinctively bolts after him, managing to catch him just down the drive way and out into the street. He's crying and Ted doesn't know any words to say to make this better, to fix everything he had just done right in front of him, betrayal was nowhere on his list of things. Cody's screaming and Ted isn't acknowledging much of the words, but he pulls his boyfriend - or ex, now, - into his arms.
Cody's screams stop, and his sobbing quietly calms down; and Ted realizes that he had never truly held much regard for Cody's feelings, or felt that he had any about him; and it hurts to hear that his feelings for Dusty hadn't been oblivious to Cody who knew, and tried to distract him away from them; that Cody was supposed to be that better option, and for someone who was self proclaimed as "nobodies second choice" he was dealing with the reality that he had been Ted's second. Cody wasn't as strong and vain as everyone had thought he was. DiBiase is second guessing where he should be, and where he really, truly wanted to be until Cody pulls apart from him, and maybe understood and listened to Randy better than anyone of them ever had.
Cody looks so beautiful. So perfect, and it's obvious why The Viper had fallen so hard for him; even his voice, with that subtle lisp and the small gap in his front teeth.
"I don't want to let you go, but I think I have to…"
Ted smiles and kisses his forehead, "You mean more to me than I'll ever let you know."