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Brendon’s life had a disappointing number of constants. He was born to James and Grace Blake, both practicing Mormons, as the youngest of five children; his older siblings were all well behaved and generally fit in to the role that was expected of them, whereas it was obvious that his parents were tired by the time they got to their fifth child and maybe didn’t do as well in successfully indoctrinating him into unconditionally believing everything they taught, and his natural restlessness and curiosity, coupled with a very strong case of adhd that was diagnosed when he was very young, meant that he was something of an oddball in a traditionally strict and straightforward family of Mormons. Brendon always felt like the odd one out; not only was he the youngest, but he felt excluded from the faith he had been raised into as soon as he reached double digits; when they all went to church, Brendon didn’t feel any sense of strong connection to God that his family talked so passionately about, the homophobic preaching made him deeply uncomfortable, as did the long, exhausting list of rules and expectations. Brendon knew what was expected of him- go to church every Sunday or more, get a good job, marry a Mormon woman, raise Mormon kids and teach them to do the same thing. It wasn’t that he was unhappy- he just knew he didn’t want that kind of life and religion didn’t have a strong a place in his life than his parents would have wanted.

Of course, it wasn’t like he was going to tell them this- if he turned around and told his god-fearing parents that he didn’t believe, he didn’t want to go to the temple anymore- he knew it’d break them and he felt some kind of pressure, like he owed it to them to follow in their footsteps. They were happy as far as couples went, sure, but Brendon had lived in the same house with four irritating siblings his entire life and he knew he wanted to break away from the uniformity. On the surface, he remained the same; polite, respectful, he pretended to pray, he went to the temple, he even expertly bullshitted prayer at the dinner table whenever he was chosen to lead it. In the background, though, he wondered how they would react if they knew their weird, hyperactive but generally well behaved son had probably already earned himself a ticket to hell in God’s books. He used and sold drugs from his early teens, and even coffee was banned in the church of the LDS- he’d already fucked up the whole chastity thing- he snuck out, broke rules, and didn’t care. It was fun. He didn’t believe in God- he’d decided that when he was twelve or thirteen- but sometimes that indoctrination and his parent’s teachings got into his head, and Brendon freaked out- what if God is real, what if I am going to hell?

It was all a lot for a thirteen year old to handle, but another more comforting constant was always there to make that easier. Brendon had lived at the same house since he was born, and Ryan and his dad moved next door when he as about two- they went to the same school, befriended eachother at a very early age thanks to Brendon’s overenthusastic parents and Ryan’s dad’s passiveness. They’d been best friends ever since, and Ryan was his confidant; when he learned that he didn’t even believe the core ‘truths’ of what he was being taught, he immediately turned to Ryan, confessing that he didn’t have faith anymore. He felt the need to explain exactly why, like he needed a reason to do what he thought was the equivalent of stabbing his parents in the back, but Ryan didn’t ask many questions, just nodded along and generally agreed with him. He had just asked whether he planned to tell his parents- and for Brendon, it was a hard pass. Though it wasn’t too difficult for Brendon to pretend nothing had changed (in fact he became even more faux-impassioned with God and Jesus, getting more involved at the temple of only to make a convincing cover), it took a toll on him mentally because he constantly had to practice something he disagreed with, pretend he agreed with things and rules that made him incredibly uncomfortable.

He wasn’t sure exactly why the Mormon teachings about god’s plan for a family, one man and one woman, made him so infuriatingly and sickeningly uneasy whenever they were mentioned, and he had to force himself to woodenly nod along, act attentive, when all he was thinking about was how that couldn’t be right, why couldn’t people just love eachother and that was enough? Why was same-sex marriage really that bad? Brendon was tormented by it, and though he excused himself as simply believing in the rights of other people, there was something else, and it took him a long time to figure it out. He didn’t feel comfortable with the traditional model of a ‘good’ family because he wanted what he, according to the church, was wrong, and something he virtually couldn’t have, and the person who made him realise that was none other than his lifelong best friend. Brendon had never spoken about his sexuality much- he told Ryan about all of what he did, but nothing beyond that. He didn’t say how it wasn’t actually that great, it didn’t feel right for him; and in turn Ryan was fairly closed off about it, and they never really addressed why. Brendon rather spontaneously realised that he just wanted to try something, and he kissed Ryan, and, thank fuck, apparently Ryan felt the same as he did. They were both stupid. Brendon’s feelings had been suppressed by indoctrination and Ryan was just oblivious to his own emotions or very good at hiding it. It just felt natural for them to progress on to being romantic, even if Brendon still felt a sense of guilt sometimes in his chest and his gut.

He tried not to be too angsty about it- in the beginning, it had been exciting and anxious and complicated, but it was comfortable, and they settled into their new dynamic very quickly (really, it was the same, except they called eachother ‘baby’ and they kissed and Brendon got jealous when his sister started blatantly flirting with Ryan). They became even closer, and Ryan came around more often; even when Brendon was grounded, which was often considering Brendon was more and more defiant as he got older, Ryan literally snuck in through his window via climbing the convenient tree between their houses. They were virtually always together, and they got away with it because they were best friends from childhood. All of their friend’s parents, whenever seeing one of them alone, would ask where their ‘other half’ was. It was apparently very dramatic for them to go less than a whole day without seeing eachother, was obvious today when Brendon spent his free time sending Ryan texts about how he missed him yesterday, church sucks, when are you coming over.

Ryan turned up at his door around eight and Brendon answered, automatically and with a huge grin stepping forwards to greet him with an embrace. As expected, Ryan sidestepped him expertly, looking extremely alarmed, especially since Brendon had just loudly referred to him as ‘baby’ and it was known by both of them that it would be difficult to even pass it off as a joke. What? Hi, hey, what's up. ”Hi.” Brendon pouted, but he got it. His parents were just that strict. He just didn’t really care at this point. Careful. He laughed briefly, leaning against the doorframe as Ryan stepped through and then lightly brushed his hand. Mockingly, he snatched it away, looking affronted. ”That’s too much homoerotic subtext for me. You’re in a Mormon household.” Brendon then straightened up and closed the front door, running a hand thoughtfully through his hair and then turning towards Ryan.

”Relax, they’re all out. Lucky you.” It was lucky. What were the chances that all six family members would be out at the same time? The only problem was, any of his siblings could come back at any time. For now, though... He followed Ryan to the stairwell, and while he was talking, he strained upwards to press a kiss against his check, just to annoy him. It's been, like, fourteen hours apart. That's gotta be a new record for us. Brendon nodded, starting to head up the stairs. ”Another hour and I would’ve died.” He skirted around the railing and then head towards his bedroom, opening the door and leaving it for Ryan to close. Brendon then basically collapsed onto his bed, his knees bent and his feet on the mattress, facing the ceiling for a few seconds before he shifted onto his side to look at Ryan. ”Next time, you’re coming to church with me again.”
”Ryan has a what?” Brendon’s voice rose into a higher pitch, as if he was straining his voice to prevent some emotion showing through. He was never very good at lying, or concealing how he really felt- so straight after his astounded exclamation, his feigned attempt at seeming indifferent to this news was pointless. Nevertheless, he paused for a second, stared at Spencer, tried not to look or sound too bothered. Why should he be? It wasn’t like it would affect him. It wasn’t like he cared what- or who- Ryan did. A girlfriend, Bren. Brendon blinked, and it settled in finally- Spencer wasn’t joking, Ryan had actually gone out and found a girl who liked him (well, that was debatable- Brendon scornfully expected her to only be with him because he was in the band, not that he cared in Ryan’s behalf), and they were... Dating. Ryan was dating a girl. Brendon couldn’t quite wrap his head around it. ”C’mon, Spence, you’re telling me Ryan is straight?” In Brendon’s defence, Spencer did look kind of doubtful in reflection, and Brendon watched, adamant, as he glanced over at Jon, who just shrugged and giggled a little. ”What’s so funny?” Brendon demanded, setting his jaw, his effort to seem nonchalant having failed within seconds. Jon bit his lip to stop a smirk and shrugged one shoulder, while Spencer turned his face away slightly.

He’s bi, actually, Spencer offered, and Brendon just scoffed, sitting back resignedly into the couch and raising his eyebrows. ”You gotta be kidding me. There isn’t a heterosexual bone in that guy’s body.” Okay, apparently he’d given up on looking unaffected, because Brendon was clearly irritated about something, staring off past Spencer and Jon who were exchanging confused, but equally amused glances. ”He’s kidding himself.” Well, they’ve been dating for a couple of weeks already, he just didn’t tell us, Jon piped up, cracking his knuckles absently and looking up at the roof of the bus, squinting. Probably because he knew you’d have something to say about it. Brendon opened his mouth to argue, then shut it decidedly, furrowing his brow. Jon was smiling again, he could see from the corner of his eye, but Spencer seemed a little concerned, even though his eyebrows were raised. ”What?” Brendon snapped, glaring from Jon to Spencer accusingly. Why do you care so much, Brendon? I thought you wanted ‘nothing to do with him beyond playing on stage’. Spencer used air quotes and Brendon almost threw his phone at him, but managed to refrain from doing so.

”I don’t care about him,” Brendon pointed out, clenching his fists so his hands turned white just thinking about that fucking asshole. ”He’s a dickhead, and if he wants to pretend he’s straight or whatever, let him get on with it.” Clearly bitter and resorting to some questionably low blows, Spencer looked ready to jump in and reprimand him, probably on the cusp of saying some shit about ‘assuming people’s sexuality’, but come on. Jon and Spencer weren’t stupid. They’d seen the way Ryan looked at and talked about men, the way Ryan looked at Brendon- generally and primarily with annoyance at best and hatred at worst, sure, but nobody in the band was a complete idiot. Brendon just shot Spencer a pointed look, and Spencer fell short before he spoke, clearly beaten. ”Anyway, yeah, I’m just concerned about the poor girl he managed to drag along for a ride,” He continued, though really he didn’t care at all. ”What’s her name?” Spencer was looking on helplessly, as if he wanted to quell Ryan’s apparent eternally burning loathesome feelings towards Ryan, and didn’t really hear Brendon’s question.

Brendon and Ryan had detested eachother from the moment Brendon joined the band. Spencer had brought him in to be the singer when Spencer and Jon decided that a new, more confident vocalist was probably best- and instead of talking with Ryan about it, they just sort of introduced this new guy and expected Ryan to just step down in his place. Obviously Ryan wasn’t too happy about it, didn’t like Brendon’s attitude, and equally Brendon found his arrogance and pretentiousness infuriating. They were constantly at each other’s throats, and though musically they collaborated, composed and performed extremely well, in complete tune, outside of that they could barely stand being in the same room without starting some kind of argument. Poor Spencer and Jon kept the peace to a certain extent, but sometimes they just considered ending the band- but it was their baby, and management wasn’t going to let them kick Ryan or Brendon out, because they were both so vital to the musical process and the face of the band itself. So they were stuck in a limbo, in an environment that would be endlessly toxic if not for Spencer and Jon making it infinitely more peaceful than it would be if Ryan and Brendon were left alone.

Whenever it couldn’t be helped, though, there was a tension between Brendon and Ryan that wasn’t entirely just anger. They were both obviously immediately attracted to eachother and that never went away- just existed alongside the antagonising and the mockery, always subtextual but incredibly obvious, especially to their bandmates. This was why Spencer and Jon were laughing at Brendon when he said he didn’t care- when he was clearly incredibly jealous. Her name is Keltie, Jon finally cut in, and Brendon clicked his tongue, wondering where he’d heard the name before. Then his expression turned foul and he shook his head. Ew. Ryan and Keltie had been dating for two weeks, if he knew Ryan they’d probably already... God, Brendon was itching all over, and he was close to the tipping point when the tour bus door opened and in came his majesty himself, Ryan, with his new girlfriend on his arm. Brendon felt himself prickle and stared the guitarist down immediately before nodding at his girlfriend and then looking sharply away, down at his lap, while Ryan turned to greet Spencer and Jon. Keltie, this is Spencer, Jon... A pause, and a giggle from Keltie, a smirk from Ryan that Brendon could hear in his voice. ...And this is Brendon. Looking up, Brendon leaned back against the couch, and raised an eyebrow. ”So, Ryan, you’re straight now?”
Brendon was not someone who could be considered easily entertained. He was hyperactive, full of seemingly boundless energy, could only engage in a certain activity for a limited amount of time until it became tiresome and he moved onto the next thing, unable to stretch his attention span beyond a usually brief time period (unless he was impassioned and especially focused; the only activities that usually took and held onto his attention like this were music (playing, writing, singing), and the odd session where he sat down to play certain video games and could be found still playing five hours plus later. When he was drunk, this was elevated- though he could entertain himself with more things due to a heightened sense of intrigue with his surroundings, the length of enjoyment he got out of his immediate surroundings didn’t parallel the amount. For example, Ryan was more than well off- he had plenty of technology around that he never used, and when Brendon commented that he had a console back home, Ryan went and ordered one, if only to keep Brendon off his back and entertained for even minutes longer.

Like previously stated, Brendon could play games for hours and not even think to move in order to eat. Now, though, when he was drunk beyond a sense of boundary or survival instincts, he couldn’t even play for ten minutes before giving up and flicking through TV channels instead. Instantly tired with that, he went venturing around the house- well, the ground floor, mostly because he couldn’t climb the stairs. So he swanned- more like staggered- in and out of the kitchen, largely, lounging around on the sofas, walking into and then right back out of the library, wandering through corridors he didn’t recognise- and in his travels he almost fell down a short set of stairs, and just managed to catch himself on the railing. When he leaned dangerously, he saw a door off the the right, and his interest was piqued- so he teetered down the stairs and tried the handle. Locked, of course. Unlike Ryan’s study, which Brendon had been told about (even if it was off-limits), this mystery room hadn’t even been hinted at. Brendon was fascinated, but as soon as he got back up the stairs, he had mostly forgotten about it in favour of accessing the one room he wasn’t allowed in (aside the basement, apparently).

I didn’t realise I was obligated to offer you any when you could get your own. Brendon shrugged a shoulder, half-assed. ”Hosts are supposed to be fuckin’ polite,” - He wrinkled his nose and looked on scornfully - ”Therefore offer. You’re the worst host ever.” A bold declaration, maybe; Brendon had no survival instinct left in him. Was I supposed to offer you drinks so that you didn’t steal any of that, either? Brendon only processed that once he’d removed his legs from Ryan’s desk and folded him inwards towards his own body so he could roll the desk chair backwards and put a little distance between him and Ryan, because he was a little intimidated. He clicked his tongue, tipping his head back and fixing his eyes on the ceiling as if mulling over a question he already had an answer too. He shifted in the chair, resting his ankle on his opposite knee, and resting his elbow on the armrest to prop his head up. ”That would’ve made it easier, yeah.” Brendon was grinning, somehow still charming- in a fucked-up drunk kind of way.

Brendon then stood up, right after alluding to some totally inappropriate fantasies he had playing through his head in the background all the time whenever he thought about Ryan too much and too hard anyway. Ryan didn’t seem on board, much to Brendon’s disappointment; he met his eyes as they narrowed, and released his grip on the bottle just as Ryan reached out and took hold of it. He instantly regretted- he should’ve just downed the rest, make the most of the last drops he’d probably ever get once Ryan was through with him and realised how long Brendon had been raiding his unused stash (that was, in fairness to Brendon, collecting dust. Clearly Ryan wasn’t much of a drinker). He stared at Ryan for a few more beats and then shook his head a little to bring himself out of his persistent daydreams, turning his attention back to the computer he’d unsuccessfully tried to ‘hack into’. He was staring at the keyboard, considering likely passwords, but when he looked up to ask Ryan, he was startled by Ryan’s sudden closeness, how he was leaning commandingly over the desk, staring at Brendon levelly. Brendon couldn’t look away. I gave you one rule, Brendon. A stupid rule. Not to go in my study. Why? Was Ryan afraid he’d care about all his stupid childhood journals? When I welcome you to the entire house, I expect you to respect my space.

Brendon took a few moments to register what Ryan had actually said, because he was too distracted by his face and his voice and his eyes and his curly-at-the-ends hair to actually care what he was saying. But once he realised how imposing and direct he sounded, Brendon swallowed, blinked, looked away, hid a smile that threatened to show at the worst time. ”I mean-“ - He glanced away and then back at Ryan nervously, but with the hint of a smirk- ”It’s not the entire house if you keep me locked out of two rooms.” Yeah, two. He knew about the basement. Anyway, Brendon was hardly standing up straight, and Ryan seemed to notice. Sit back down. You’ll fall. Again, instantly, without even thinking about it, he did, looking at Ryan from under his eyelashes, almost dazed. ”Check you out. Top fuckin’ energy,” Brendon grinned, amused with himself, but also fascinated by this side of Ryan he’d seen hints of but not to this extent. ”You’re hot when you’re mad.”

You wouldn’t have found anything interesting. It’s all just... whatever I saved from my place back in Colorado. If Brendon had been sober, he would have pressed that pressure point. What was his life like in Colorado? What were Jon and Spencer like? Why did he fucking leave them? Brendon’s two friends didn’t talk about it at all beyond surface level crap he’d heard a thousand times. If Brendon was sober, he’d care and persist, but he wasn’t. So he just brushed it off in his head for sober Brendon to worry about. He watched Ryan scowl at the bottle and looked on, resigned. I don't care what you drink, Brendon. Stop refilling shit with water, though. Just tell me what to replace, Christ. Eyes widening, Brendon opened his mouth as if to speak but did so before he fully processed what Ryan was implying. Oh. He knew. Brendon wasn’t sure whether to be disappointed he’d been caught or relieved that Ryan didn’t care. Maybe a bit of both. ”It’d be my pleasure.”
Maybe presuming that his boyfriend would always come ‘crawling back to him’ no matter what wasn’t the right way to go about his first ever real, committed relationship- and actually saying that to Ryan was even worse; however, he did have some basis for such a presumption. Brendon was used to people being at his beck and call- Ryan included, partially because of Brendon’s superiority complex and his constant need for attention and stimulation, partially because Ryan worked for him and he had to come back anyway. Brendon wasn’t completely stupid, so he wisely chose to attribute his words to the latter reason; work was why he’d unconditionally come back, not because he thought Ryan was pathetic or desperate or was prone to cavin- Which he wasn’t (save maybe the last one). They were both mutually affectionate and respectful of eachother, largely, but showed that affection in different ways; Brendon being physical and apparently always requiring full attention, Ryan was more emotionally intimate and tended to prefer words or softer things, kisses that were chaste but no less indulgent, gentle embraces. This meant that often there was an imbalance- one was more satisfied than the other- and unfortunately, it was usually Brendon, and Ryan was too nervous about his reaction to protest beyond sulking for a little while and only when Brendon wasn’t looking.

Anyway. Brendon was genuinely sorry he’d upset Ryan, but he was drunk and u reasonable and was more prone to being pissed than apologetic. Therefore, his apology could be seen as half-assed, superficial- and Ryan picked up on that immediately. Sure, because you sound very geniune. Brendon clicked his tongue, shut his eyes tight and exhaled a sigh, his emotions conflicted- should he beg forgiveness, or act all exasperated and petty about it? Well, there wasn’t much of a confict- this was Brendon, an Aries, and a drunk one at that. He leaned forwards so he was closer to the receiver. ”What do you want from me? I’ve fuckin’ apologised. You always find some excuse to be mad, I’ve always done something fuckin’ wrong.” That was an exaggeration that Ryan definitely wouldn’t appreciate, but right now Brendon had been reduced to have the attitude and demeanour of a tantruming five year old and he didn’t really care that his boyfriend might be even more irritated at him. Brendon was feeling provocative, trying to wind Ryan up into feeling the same level of annoyance as he did when he got home to an empty apartment, forgetting he’d already felt that dejected when Brendon basically told him to fuck off without a second glance.

Suddenly, though, Brendon felt nauseous, and lost some of the fire in him that allowed him to be so irritating and argumentative. For a moment he spoke normally to Ryan, albeit slightly slurred; told him he felt sick, that he was going, they could finish this argument in person when Brendon was sober and that tension could be released in much more enjoyable ways. Even pissed off at Ryan, he had his priorities straight. Ryan told him to stay on the line, though, and he did, if only to complain more as he moved from the kitchen towards his bedroom, deciding that the only sensible course of action was to pass out in bed. For a moment, he suspected nothing when Ryan sounded all concerned (typical Ryan, frightened by shadows- the shadows being any hint that Brendon felt less than perfect), but then the background noise finally reached his ears and he stopped in the middle of the floor, narrowing his eyes. That fucker thought he was stupid. Brendon swayed, staggered a little before sort of regaining his balance, and then jerked the receiver closer to his mouth and spat accusations at him. No, I’m not.

”Fuck you, man,” He mumbled, again feeling a distracting wave of nausea and continuing towards his bedroom after steadying himself. ”You’re an asshole, and I don’t want you here. Go fuckin’ home.” Brendon inhaled sharply, feeling dangerously sick. Then he hung up and finally walked in through his doorway, hanging onto it desperately for a few beats before attempting to kick it closed behind him and almost falling over in the process as his whole world lurched sideways. Brendon miraculously retained the motor skills to unbutton his suit jacket- a red one, he’d bought it especially for his and Ryan’s rare, proper date night- and he flung it aside, for once not really caring about hanging it up because he now knew it wouldn’t exactly retain any romantic memories. He headed into his en suite, and glanced hesitantly towards the toilet, hoping he wouldn’t have to use it. He wasn’t encouraged when he was shaken up by another spell of intense sickness. Brendon dragged a hand through his hair and over his face- his hair was somehow immaculate- and then he fumbled with his shirt buttons, reaching the fourth as he reached the doorway heading back into his bedroom before giving up and just collapsing onto the bed, too tired and drunk and sick to do anything else.

Probably five minutes later, when he was already close to drifting off, he heard the front door open, and rolled onto his back, glancing at his bedroom door. He considered getting up and locking it- he’d installed one only when he started dating Shane, the exact reason was up for debate- but he couldn’t will himself to get up and he rolled back over. Moments later, his bedroom door opened and he knew Ryan was probably laughing at him, so he scowled into the cushions. Hey, baby, y’know, you’ve never looked better. ”Fuck off,” He replied instantly, though it was muffled by the pillows. Drink some water, dummy. Brendon didn’t move. His eyes were still closed. ”Fuck off.” A pause, and he sighed into the bed again. ”I told you not to come. Go away.” Been sick yet? ”Motherfucker, He swore, finally turning onto his back and drawing himself closer to the headboard away from his boyfriend. ”Go away.”
Brendon had never imagined himself getting married, ever- all the way from his youth, through to- well, still his youth, really; and that was the problem. He was young, and had no experience with committed, serious relationships aside from 8 months of flirting and a year-long relationship with Ryan, his celebrity crush, turned his bandmate, turned his boyfriend. It wasn’t just even marriage- that would be years away from anybody at Brendon’s age, usually, anyway- any serious marker made him nervous, their year anniversary made him anxious beyond explanation. It was strange, considering they’d both confessed to eachother by the lake that they were in love- not that they just liked eachother, they were in love. Brendon was in many ways much more comfortable with the raw emotion and passion he experienced with Ryan than he was with the official couple ‘things’ they had to do- like, move in, meet the parents (not that either of them seemed particularly fond of that idea, for reasons they had actually discussed), meet year markers, get pets, get married, all of that that should have been exciting but Brendon just found it beyond nerve-racking, immobilising. He would have been perfectly fine with continuing as they did, taking it day by day, spending entire days in bed entangled together, just being them, simple, in love. He wanted to absorb every moment of the present and the past but it frightened him to speculate about their future.

Maybe it was what he’d seen from his upbringing- Mormon marriage, often strained, forced, like they stayed together because it would be too much hassle and judgement to break it off. He didn’t want that, but he’d started thinking- he and Ryan had been dating for a year, they were in love. If they did this any longer, say, two, three, four years, if either of them got cold feet (which Brendon usually didn’t even consider- like he said, he detested planning ahead, but anxiety did stuff to a guy), to break it off would mean they’d wasted years of their life in a relationship that ended in tatters. Brendon was a surprisingly black and white thinker, and the paranoia of that happening as well as his fear that he or Ryan had just settled on the first guy/first person they’d ever properly dated meant that his anxiety about it elevated until he felt like the only way to stop it ending on a much worse note was to end it now, save unnecessary longevity when the pain at the end was inevitable. If he stopped to breathe and think and actually talk to Ryan, maybe he’d see he was overreacting- but to Brendon, it was all stressing him out too much to handle.

Until he ended up in Ryan’s arms, and for a moment, he felt at peace. This was the man he’d fallen in love with- his eyes, his arms, his hands, his mouth, his voice, everything- if what he felt was really so strong, why did he have doubts? And that there set him off again. He had doubts- did he really feel legitimately in love? Was the feeling he perceived to be love something else, fabricated, a case of mistaken identity? Brendon’s mind worked too fast for him to even keep track of it, so he just shut his eyes tight to try and block it out, but it made it worse. In an attempt to distract himself, he leaned up, planted a gentle kiss on his jaw. They were fine. But then Ryan unintentionally pushed him over the edge and it was all too much for him. He wanted- needed- to get out of this before it overwhelmed him. Brendon stepped back, stepped out of Ryan’s familiar, comforting embrace, away from the pulse of his heartbeat under his v-neck. Brendon’s stomach twisted. He’d have to give clothes back, he’d have to take his things from Ryan’s apartment, Brendon you’re a fucking idiot, why do you have to overreact to everything. Ryan looked surprised, but he was still smiling. Brendon’s shoulder’s were frozen, and when he stuttered out what was intended to be a breakup speech, he saw the small smile playing on Ryan’s lips fade in an instant.

Don’t say that. Brendon felt a sharp pain in his chest when he heard Ryan’s deflated voice, and though he willed himself to, he didn’t move back when Ryan reached up and cradled his jaw gently. Brendon could barely bring himself to meet his eyes, but he did- his own were starting to sting already. He’d never anticipated that he’d cry; yeah, he was an emotional person in general, but he figured that because this breakup made sense, it wouldn’t be so goddamn difficult. He was wrong. Hey, you don’t have to- you don’t have to do that. We can wait a little while, okay? Didn’t have to do what? Move in him, or break up with him? Brendon distantly supposed that both were relevant, and though Brendon was appreciative that Ryan instantly backtracked upon learning Brendon wasn’t comfortable making that step, this breakup hadn’t been a spontaneous decision. Sure, it was Ryan’s proposal of moving in together that pushed him over the edge, but he’d come to the decision because of multiple different reasons. ”I know, Ry, I just-“

Just think before you... ”I have thought,” He cut in, attempting to sound assured, but only achieving a wavering, shaky tone that made it obvious he was on the verge of tears. Brendon was the one doing the ‘dumping’ here- why was he crying? Why did Ryan seem largely calm, collected? What was probably a carefully controlled defence mechanism only achieved making Brendon doubt even more than Ryan really loved him. And to doubt that was awful. Why? What are you afraid of? Brendon looked down, swallowed, habitually but harshly dragged his hand through his hair and pushed it back so it was out of his eyes. ”I- Ryan, you know- You’re my first boyfriend.” He began, shifting on his feet, arms crossed over his chest, defensive. ”I’m the first guy you’ve ever dated. I fucking- What if you’ve just settled for the first one you liked? Neither of us have ever been in love- what if- what if you don’t love me? How would you even know?” Brendon looked lost, like he couldn’t find the words to make this sound less like a complete overreaction.
Brendon now enjoyed Ryan’s company, something he thought would never happen when he was first greeted rather snappily on a suspected rich asshole’s back porch. They had more in common than he would have initially thought- within an hour Brendon learned they were both musicians, guitarists and pianists chiefly (though respectively, Ryan and Brendon tended to specialise in specific instruments), and suddenly he no longer felt completely lost in a house as huge and luxurious as Ryan’s, because there was opportunity to play music to an extent he hadn’t in years (plus there was a pool). Still, it took a couple of weeks to get used to the sense of soullessness in the entire house. It was well decorated- the furniture and the art was expensive, high-end, comfortable, aesthetically pleasing- but most rooms seemed unoccupied, a shell of a living space, and sort of bare and minimalist in a weird, quirky antique way, like Ryan had half-moved in and never even sat on the huge sofa or turned on the expansive widescreen TV. It was always so quiet, too- Brendon was used to other people being around, Spencer and Jon and Gabe and Vicky, the noise of the city, the business of everything. The isolation and the loneliness at first drove him crazy, because his only company was somebody who was so isolated and closed off that he might as well not even be there.

Well, if Brendon was sober enough to articulate serious thought, he’d understand why the house felt so metaphorically empty. All of Ryan’s true passion and emotion went into the places he worked the most, his literature, his own bedroom, and his largest study, the places and things he either used the most or felt the most personally connected to. But Brendon wasn’t sober- he was drunk to the point where if he stood up he’d probably fall directly into Ryan, who was standing in the doorway, leaning against it and looking completely unimpressed by the scene he found in what was supposed to be an off-limits room. Hey, if Ryan wasn’t going to open up, stuck in a permanent social rut, Brendon had to take matters into his own hands. Not that any of that was on his mind. He was just fascinated by the journals (the covers, not the contents- again, he didn’t have the patience to read, especially Ryan’s spider scrawl), tried to guess Ryan’s computer password (giving up after trying ‘ihatebrendon’ and ‘ihatemyselfandmywork’), and shifting dozens of times to maximise comfort in the leather desk chair.

Ryan looked cute. He always did, but Brendon was intoxicated and he had no problems thinking about his boss that way at that moment in time. Actually, Brendon didn’t haven’t ever have a problem with it- The difference was he had a filter when he was sober that completely disappeared when he was drunk. Brendon leaned back further in the desk chair and regarded his employer with a slight, tipsy smile, looking him obviously up and down, from the boyish way his hair started to curl to his ridiculously long legs. He bit his lip, batted his eyelashes, watched Ryan’s fingers tap at his thigh and remembering how much he loved his hands, his arms, shoulders, collarbone- huh, it really did all spill over once he let himself indulge in thoughts about his totally inappropriate crush. Brendon didn’t mind at all, and his eyes lost focus for a second, lost in thought before Ryan’s voice broke the quiet. Considering I told you that this room was off-limits, it’s not that hard to believe. Brendon grinned, shrugging a shoulder. ”Hey, you sound hot, - He smirked, then threw up a hand - ”And anyway, I told you I smoke, and you still haven’t ever actually fuckin’ offered. You’ve made me resort to fuckin’ stealing.”

He watched from under his eyelashes as Ryan approached, sighing with disappointment inwardly when Ryan hid his hands in his pockets. He noticed how he was standing straight, shoulders back, and Brendon couldn’t get over how tall he looked when he did so. Brendon played with the hem of the jersey he was wearing to occupy his hands, always fidgeting, but instead of it being because of hyperactivity, this time he felt a nervousness building in his gut, from the change in Ryan’s usual voice and posture. Even drunk, he recognised that maybe he’d fucked up. Brendon. They locked eyes and Brendon swallowed, feeling a strange cocktail of fear and excitement. His name sounded so good coming from his mouth, why hadn’t he noticed that before? Get off my desk. Fuck. Brendon’s jaw hung open just a little, entranced and intimidated by whatever new behaviour Ryan was showing, shocked by his apparent newfound authoritative nature. Brendon wondered if the migraine caused brain damage, or he was just really that pissed at Brendon for stealing his shit and breaking into the one place he wasn’t allowed to go. Either way, he became compliant after a second of hesitation, pulling his legs back and folding them inwards towards his body before placing them unsteadily on the floor. He even pushed himself back on the chair, allowing it to roll back a few inches. He didn’t break eye contact the entire time.

”Anything else you’d like me to do?” He piped up, the corner of his mouth pulled shamelessly up in a drunken smirk. Brendon was intimidated, sure- but he had no survival instincts. “Get on my knees? In a heartbeat.” Whatever remnants of common sense he had were probably cringing fully out of existence and saying goodbye to the job he had and the money he needed so desperately. Drunk Brendon fully didn’t care. And give me that. Why are you in here? Automatically, Brendon stood up, slightly unsteady, but pressed the front of his thighs against the table so he could lean over slightly and hand Ryan the almost-empty bottle. ”I’d exhausted all other fuckin’ entertainment,” He announced, gesturing an unsteady hand around what was probably supposed to be the whole house, even if he was only in one room. ”And I was curious why you keep this shit locked all the fuckin’ time. Journals? I’m disappointed. I was looking forward to a sex tape on your computer- hey, what’s your password?” He turned his attention back to it, resting his elbow on the desk to steady himself and leaning in to use the keyboard, legs outstretched behind him, giving the illusion of balance. He looked up, though, careful, because Ryan seemed like he wasn’t done being pissed. But Brendon wanted that, even if it was balanced with a healthy dose of fear.
Brendon was an emotional person- he’d just learned to hide it extremely well or manipulate it to his advantage, or rather, he just really wasn’t that sentimental. Nobody had ever taken the time to sit down and tell him how much he meant to them, so Brendon didn’t believe that he did mean anything to anyone, even when Ryan had told him outright a number of times just how important he was to him. He simply found it too hard to believe, and it was understandable; even his closest friends, Gabe, for example, though in action adamantly and fiercely protective of Brendon, had never taken the time to properly ask how he was doing. To be fair to Gabe, they usually needn’t ask- they had learned by now how to read Brendon like a book- but still, Brendon craved that kind of attention, that kind of validation, he supposed, but he also fiercely rejected it when it came along because he was scared of getting his hopes up, getting hurt, being so vulnerable in that way. It was strange- he was so comfortable with, to be crude, taking his clothes off with practical strangers, but he wasn’t confident enough to let people see under his metaphorical protective layers.

Though he had learned to trust Ryan, he had still been hesitant to even let him in further than surface-level shit, which was so odd juxtaposed to the nature of their physical relationship. Brendon was desensitised to the supposed emotional intimacy of what they were doing, because he’d never experienced it that way. This was confusing, because though Brendon felt the usual, common attraction towards Ryan, there was something underlying- a geniune fondness, a desire to be around him and not just for a particular reason, just an excuse to enjoy his company. He felt that strongly now, having been peacefully awoken by Ryan’s gentle movements, taking a moment to calibrate and remember it was Ryan who was settled against him, relaxing when he realised he wouldn’t have to get up and kick somebody out. A rush of affection started in his chest and flooded warmly through his body, and this was reflected in his slow, sleepy smile. A few moments after that, he registered a dull ache in his muscles, too, and wondered absently whether that was Ryan’s doing, or it was because of their unorthodox sleeping positions on a couch (even if it was the considerable size of Brendon’s).

He was encouraged to turn over, and he did, though with a sigh of protest- he kind of just wanted to go back to sleep and recover. Instead, he blinked up at Ryan, and felt that pesky flush of fondness spread inside his chest again, illustrating it with a faint smile. He reached up to his hair to comb through it with his fingers, against the protest of his muscles, and then dropped his arm back to his side when Ryan’s hand replaced his, carding gently through his hair. Brendon wondered distantly whether he was dreaming- he never woke up like this with someone, the sensation and situation was completely alien. He felt a little faraway, distant- but he was aware enough to notice that smirk, and his bit his lip, suppressing a grin of his own. Is that a compliment? Shut up. Testament to my ability. Brendon closed his eyes briefly when Ryan’s hand ran down his torso, then opened them again when the contact left him. ”Well,“- He tilted his head to the side and trailed his fingers along Ryan’s collarbone- ”Let’s just say I wouldn’t mind a round two.” Brendon grinned, dropped his hand, then shrugged a shoulder. ”Hm, Maybe not. I’m fuckin’ exhausted.” Still, it was the thought that counted.

Brendon started to tease him, and when he trailed off, eyes glinting, he was taken by surprise when Ryan leaned in to kiss him. He wasn’t sure why it caught him off guard, considering the content of the replays flashing through his head from a few hours previous, but it did. Not that he didn’t enjoy it. In fact, he leaned up when Ryan pulled away, chasing. You has your doubts? I must not be doing well enough. Brendon shook his head, adamant. ”Nah. Ten out of ten. Would do again.” Giggling now, apparently drunk from a combination of this attention, the gentleness and the warm glow of the evening sunlight on his skin, he finally reached up and wrapped his arms decidedly around Ryan’s waist, pulling him back in so he could go back to sleep and wake up more well-rested than probably ever before. Only a few beats passed, and Ryan was speaking softly by his ear. Clearly. Brendon nodded, barely, eyes still closed. Told you I could.

Brendon opened one eye, then the other, feeling a smile tug at the corner of his mouth. ”Somebody’s cocky,” He murmured, not at all annoyed, just amused, because this wasn’t usually behaviour Ryan exhibited. He wasn’t complaining. Staying quiet while Ryan shifted to this side to get more comfortable, he closed his eyes yet again, finally ready to go to sleep. These five minutes of conversation were evidently wearing him out. Again, a few short moments passed, but then Ryan was talking again, and Brendon resisted the urge to move his hand and press it over his mouth so he’d shut up for one second. All that stuff you were saying earlier, about... Brendon set his jaw. Apparently it was useless trying to get back to sleep, so he shifted a little, so he propped himself up slightly on one elbow, and turned his head so he was facing Ryan, who had his face resting near the crook of his shoulder. You meant all that? A slight pause, and Brendon’s expression was unreadable. ”No, actually,” - He brought his free hand around to curl into Ryan’s hair- ”You wouldn’t shut up and I thought lying about it might get your clothes off faster.” Silence. Brendon grinned. ”I’m kidding, baby, of course I meant it.”
Brendon still wasn’t entirely sure whether Ryan a) had absolutely no idea that he was halving all of his expensive liquor with water, or knew that he was stealing from the expensive alcohol cupboard and didn’t care- but either way, he hadn’t once been caught even glancing in its direction, and Ryan’s apparent obliviousness meant he was descending down the dangerous road of complacency. When he first decided he was going to steal from his boss and potentially jeopardise the first job he actually enjoyed in years (because it was mostly an extended vacation, but he was paid rather handsomely to do it), he had been careful, to say the least; hastily memorising the rough outline of Ryan’s routine over 24 hours, figuring out when was the time he was least likely to even go downstairs, never mind the kitchen. Now, Brendon was no secret agent, but where alcohol like that was concerned, he became something of a tactical and stealth genius, opening and closing cupboards swiftly and silently and barely making any noise as he pulled out and placed bottles, poured liquor, and left the kitchen without a trace.

As of yesterday, it had been a month since Brendon first turned up, confused as all hell, on Ryan’s back porch. Four weeks gave him plenty of time to perfect his tactic- but also plenty of time to grow too comfortable, and with no failure or mistakes to learn from, he became not only complacent, but careless. Brendon usually made sure he didn’t drink enough to make it obvious the next morning, and he never drank too much out of the same bottles (unfortunately Ryan didn’t restock, because he didn’t know it was being reduced in the first place)- basically had a foolproof way of covering his tracks entirely. One evening, though, when Ryan had said he had a migraine of some kind (Brendon didn’t really listen) and told Brendon he was going to bed early, Brendon got too excited from the prospect of extended freedom. The nights prior, Ryan had stayed up with him, and though that was nice- he was learning more and more about Ryan, things he obviously felt vulnerable sharing- it meant he had no chance to do his usual and raid the cupboards. Funny that he had finally started to properly gain Ryan’s trust and he was risking it all the time for the sake of getting tipsy for a little while.

So maybe what Ryan didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him (it wasn’t like he couldn’t just easily buy another dozen or so bottles of the stuff Brendon had drained), but that particular evening of drinking, he went beyond tipsy, and it extended into the night and then the early hours of the morning. Brendon hadn’t even eaten anything, hadn’t drank any water in hours, and in not long at all he was completely wasted, leaving glasses and bottles out on the counter, dismissing his mess because Ryan wouldn’t see it, he could clean it up later when he sobered up. He left the kitchen an hour ago and had completely forgotten about it, too busy flicking through channels, fucking around with the fancy light system, asking Ryan’s Alexa (obviously he had one, though he clearly never used it- probablt didn’t know how) stupid questions, lying on his back across the cushions and crossing his ankles on the armrests of furniture that cost more than his rent back home. He’d moved from the kitchen, out to the pool, into his bedroom, around the living room, and finally he ended up in Ryan’s study.

This was one place that Ryan told him was off limits. He’d been in Ryan’s bedroom by now, but only briefly, and just to give him coffee or something. His study was usually locked, but Brendon knew where the key was, and in his intoxicated state, invading his employer’s off-limits personal space was going to be hilarious. Anyway, he got inside, and left the key in the door, immediately registering that this room was even weirder and more like Ryan than any other room in the house. It seemed very cared for, which was strange, because Ryan didn’t even use this room as often as he wrote in the living room, or the other office, or at his desk in his bedroom, or outside in the garden. Brendon wondered why he wasn’t allowed in here, but only for a moment- he was then distracted by the unbelievably comfortable-looking leather desk chair, and he wasted no time in all but staggering over and collapsing into the upholstery of the seat, swinging it around on the wheels and extended his legs out across the desk, over torn-out pages and notepads and various stationary, only just avoiding his laptop. He crossed his ankles and let his feet extend off the edge of the table, and leaned back against the chair, lifting the entire bottle he had been dragging around for about half an hour and taking a swig. Lucky that Ryan was asleep.

Maybe he jinxed himself just by thinking that- although he didn’t think it, really, he just kind of remembered that Ryan existed, and although the house was huge, they were still only a few flights of stairs and hallways apart, and Ryan actually knew where he was going. Brendon still got lost in the corridors. Anyway, he was just starting to stare at the ceiling when a figure in the doorway caught his eye. Normally, he would have maybe frozen up and started making plans on how to drown himself efficiently, but when he was this drunk, Brendon didn’t really care that Ryan was standing a few feet away, wide awake. ”Hey, this room is tight,” He slurred, grinning, ”Can’t believe I’ve been here a month and only just seen it now.”
Ryan was right, Brendon was not willing to settle with being called just ‘cute’- he had lived the back end of his entire adult life appearing at the top of ‘hottest celebrity’ lists (stupid, trivial and shallow things, sure, but they did a lot for his already-massive ego) and being fawned over by the entire younger population. The older people tended to think he was a bad influence, which was fair, but not Brendon’s fault. He never wanted to be any kind of influence. He just wanted to enjoy his life for everything it was worth- including right now, shirtless and entangled with his very attractive assistant (now that was a tabloid-worthy story he was sure would get out sometime or other) on his expansive sofa, a few leagues away in headspace than he was, maybe, five minutes ago, when he was telling Ryan how much he cared about him. That was not a typical Brendon thing to do- but this is, He thought, pressing down just to get revenge, to provoke some kind of reaction. Success- Ryan’s smile faded for a moment and there was the faintest exhale as he tried to keep it together. Brendon was drunk on the physical influence he had on him, grinning smugly- but then Ryan was scratching gently at the back of his neck and he visibly relaxed, eyelashes fluttering. My bad, gorgeous.

”That’s better,” He confirmed, studying Ryan absently as he tried to think of more suitable words to fit him. Stunning... Handsome... Striking. Brendon grinned effortlessly, squeezed Ryan’s hip and moved his other hand so he could swipe his thumb across his collarbone; he was preoccupied suddenly by the blank canvas of Ryan’s skin, and realised with some surprise it had been a while since Brendon made his presence known even after they parted. Pressing his lips against the bone, he trailed a few kisses off to his shoulder, each slight touch a small promise. How’s ‘enchanting’? You’re very princely. It’d work. Huh. Those were new ones. Brendon lifted his head, speculative, and repeated the descriptors in his head, distantly wondering how narcissistic this seemed. ”I’m not a Disney Prince,” Came his final answer, as he lifted his head and moved his other hand down to rest comfortably at Ryan’s waist, ”Though I think that’s my next calling. Brendon means ‘prince’ anyway, so it’s perfect. Get that appointment sorted for me.” Was he joking? It was difficult to tell. Usually, Brendon was teasing about anything- unless the other person took him seriously, and in that case he wouldn’t complain.

It was nice to talk like this with a little less urgency, but Brendon could only be patient and still for so long, so in a bid to move things on a little faster and pull Ryan out of dreamland, he cradled Ryan’s jaw and pulled him close and met him in a kiss that lasted until Brendon realised that oxygen was a thing they both needed. It seemed to work, anyway, because Ryan looked completely dumbstruck, taken by surprise. Amused, Brendon pressed a sweeter kiss against his cheek just before he moved back out of his arms and lay back, shoulders against the opposite armrest, legs still tangled with Ryan’s. For a moment he wondered whether Ryan needed any more convincing, and his hands went automatically to his own zipper, but apparently not, because in moments Ryan made up his mind and closed the gap between them, much to Brendon’s obvious delight. The flirting beforehand didn’t usually take so much time, and though it had been sweet, refreshing, Brendon blamed his own bad timing. Profoundness could have easily waited til after.

The two of them were evidently creatures of habit, because almost immediately afterwards they fell asleep together every time- Brendon’s self-assigned rule of leaving right away had been forgotten between them a long time ago, and Brendon told himself it was because it was just so much easier to settle down and sleep rather than drag himself up and dressed when he didn’t really want to. Brendon was fast asleep until Ryan started shifting about inconsiderately, and then he was faintly awake, aware enough to know that somebody was lying on top of him, pressed against his back- but it took a few moments to recalibrate and remember who it was. Ryan. Thank fuck. If it had been anyone else, he’d have to get up immediately and ask- no, tell them to leave, and he didn’t have the willpower or energy to do so. With Ryan, this was okay, he didn’t mind, in fact he liked it- Ryan’s body comfortably against his, his body heat radiating through his skin, and there was a faint hum of calm through his body anyway, a good feeling ringing in the ends of his fingers. Ryan was so good, he registered with a sleepy smile, deciding he wanted to stay like this and not move for as long as he still felt like he couldn’t. Brendon was close to drifting off again- but then Ryan shifted above him, and he reluctantly opened his eyes, complaining through a low, tired groan.

He felt a hand curled around his shoulder and then realised Ryan was trying to turn him over. Obeying, if only to more quickly get Ryan to stop moving, he shifted onto his back, habitually running a hand through his tousled and messy hair. His chest rose and fell rhythmically, but it was still slightly laboured and hitched, as if he was trying to catch his breath. Hey, B, wake up, I think my arm’s done for. Brendon seemed uninterested, just stretched out, arms lifting behind his head and then falling to his sides. ”My entire body is done for. I need to go back to sleep,” He mumbled, voice heavy from weariness. Also, I feel you should know that you look especially Apollonian right now. Brendon reopened his eyes, raised his eyebrows. ”Greek Gods? Really? If I didn’t think you were gay before...” Brendon was grinning, his eyes crinkling, but he was still tired to the point where he couldn’t even find the energy to move his legs, and it took a lot to move his arms. ”You tired me out,” He commented absently, through a smile- then he wrapped his arms around Ryan’s waist and tried to pull him back down, closer, so he could go back to sleep.
It was obvious now more than ever that Brendon was used to always getting what he wanted, how he wanted it, when he wanted it, and with no argument. He had been the one who ditched their plans (and Ryan finding a long enough gap in Brendon’s schedule so they could go on a date was next to impossible) in the blink of an eye, deciding that a self-indulgent and pretentious socialite party (read: alcohol and attention) was more important than some one-on-one time with his boyfriend where they could ignore the fact that Ryan basically ran his whole life for a few hours. Brendon had let down Ryan, not the other way around, and when he was given a chance at redemption, to head back with his boyfriend and spend the rest of the night together, he was so easily encouraged by his posse’s approval that he treated Ryan like he worked for him, nothing more. He had been dismissive and rude, told him to leave and not even offered him a kiss goodbye, a reassuring or apologetic touch, a backwards glance, a ‘text me when you get to my apartment’. That was another thing. Though it was true the plan was universally always ‘go back to the penthouse’, Brendon had given no indication of time, not exactly made his boyfriend feel very appreciated- it was unfair of him to expect Ryan to bow to his every whim, to allow Brendon to walk all over him.

Brendon didn’t mean to be so overly assertive and controlling- it was just difficult for him to try and balance the professionalism required to deal with an employee and the affection and compassion required to interact with a boyfriend. He got it muddled at the wrong times and looked like an asshole, like he took everything Ryan did for him for granted; and okay, sometimes he did, because he’d been brought up to expect everything to be handled for him, to be presented for him on a silver platter. His family might have been emotionally neglectful and disinterested, but Brendon would be lying through his teeth if he ever said he was deprived of material possessions. In fact, that was how Boyd Blake traditionally showed Brendon that he remembered he existed- sent him some lavish gift. This was the only form of affection he ever received, and he was still learning new ways because he didn’t know anything different. Brendon had come a long way since first hiring Ryan- hell, they were dating, Brendon was happier than he had been in a long time- but there was more than enough room for improvement.

’Basically’ saying it, isn’t saying it. ”You’re such a tightass.” Case and point. And, okay, it was more or less a ‘fuck off’- mostly for the amusement of the posse that had followed him around the entire night, practically his shadows. And, um. I didn’t realise I did it that often- I’m sorry. Brendon wasn’t buying that; he couldn’t think of a single time Ryan hadn’t bailed early or convinced Brendon to go home with him. Brendon didn’t stay out this late every single night- he was flesh and blood, he was enamoured with his boyfriend, he equally enjoyed spending entire evenings just lounging around in bed- but Ryan left early every time without fail. And, fair, it wasn’t his scene, Ryan was out of his element, but Brendon wasn’t thinking about that now. He was just mad that he was alone in his penthouse and Ryan hadn’t even told him there was a change of plan- hadn’t even spoken to him about it first. I guess I’m just not used to... all of that, as you are. Brendon rolled his eyes, glancing critically at his phone. ”You know, there were a lot of things I wasn’t used to when it came to us, and I didn’t have a problem at least trying. You just fuckin’ turn up and look miserable. It’s a party, have some fun. It’d do you some good,” He muttered.

It didn’t sound like you cared much about seeing me the last time we talked. Brendon bristled. Okay, maybe he’d dealt with the situation wrong, but it wasn’t like he didn’t want to see Ryan. ”If I didn’t want to see you, why would I even message you? You’d come to me eventually anyway.” A pause. Even drunk, he recognised that sounded dickish. ”’Cause, work.” It seems like you only started giving a shit once I’d actually left, so. Frowning, he tried to detect any maliciousness in Ryan’s tone, but there was nothing. If anything, he sounded tired, worn out, but calm nonetheless. That just made Brendon more irritated, because he was dizzy, upset, and he felt like shit. Maybe he should’ve stayed at the party, where he couldn’t stop to dwell on his own well-being. I mean- you cared more about that party than our date. What was I supposed to think, Bren? Brendon fell into a sullen silence, feeling guilty even when incredibly intoxicated, aware enough to know that he did this a lot. Old habits apparently died hard, it was true. ”I’m sorry, okay? There are plenty other fuckin’ dates we can go on.”

Brendon still felt argumentive, but when he opened his mouth he felt suddenly nauseous, slightly dizzy, and his temples started to hurt. In a last petty attempt, he threw Shane’s name out there, then immediately reached out and pulled it back in, feeling awful even saying that man’s name. Thankfully, Ryan seemed to know he wasn’t serious, would never be about that asshole. So he didn’t have to beg for forgiveness. No problem. That would be embarrassing. After that, he was completely sick of Ryan and now he just felt awful, so he hastily said he didn’t feel good and went to hang up defiantly. No, hey, Brendon, baby, stay on the line. Suspicious, Brendon stopped, leaning against the counter island of the kitchen and falling silent to listen to the background noise on the other end of the line. What are you talking about, you don't feel good? Are you sick? Now you need to stay home, okay? Just - don't hang up, 'til I know you're all right. Brendon was quiet for a second. ”I just feel sick, I- no, fuck you, you’re in the car,” He exclaimed, grip tight on his phone. ”Don’t fucking come over, I don’t want to see you. Suck my dick.” Finishing on a high or low note, depending on how you looked at it, Brendon hung up, then more or less stumbled his way to his bedroom, not bothering to shut the door behind him.
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