Walking into the apartment, Mitch bid Cameron and Andrew good night and turned into his room, closing the door behind him with a gentle click. Cameron looked at Andrew.
"You didn't have to bring me here, I could have gone to my own home." He said quietly.
"Would you have felt comfortable there?" Andrew asked.
"No less comfortable than I feel here." Cameron replied quietly. Andrew sighed and looked towards the heavens, wishing that they would come and swallow him. As he looked back down and met Cameron's eyes.
"I'm sorry, I don't know how to do this. This doesn't all come with an instruction manual, I'm doing this blind. I'm making all this up as I go along." Andrew replied. Cameron nodded in reply and said nothing. Andrew sighed again and looked at the man standing before him.
"Cam, I'm sorry for not being able to get this right first go." Andrew said quietly.
"I'm sorry I didn't get us right first go either." Replied Cameron.
"No you didn't. Fucked it up second go as well." Andrew growled. Bitterness laced his voice with acid tainting his words. Cameron sat down heavily on the sofa, then lifted his eyes to meet Andrew's.
"Are you going to forgive me?" He asked. Andrew looked out the window then back at Cameron.
"I guess I already have forgiven you Cam..." Andrew said softly. Cameron started the smile.
"... Though forgiving and trusting are two seperate things. I don't trust you Cam." Andrew finally admitted. Cameron nodded slowly and looked down. Andrew looked at his watch.
"It's late... early... not right time of day to be awake. I'm going to bed." Andrew finally told him. Cameron nodded and looked around somewhat lost. Andrew guessed his confusion.
"You can sleep in with me cam, the sofa isn't that comfortable." Andrew said quietly before walking down to his room. Cameron followed behind him quietly. Andrew undressed and slid into bed, only to have Cameron slide in after him. They lay there quietly, the darkness surrounded them like a gentle velvet, both listening to the other breathe.
"Can I hold you?" Cameron asked quietly in the night. Andrew lay there quietly before rolling on his side, back against Cameron. Cameron instantly rolled over and wrapped his arm protectively around Andrew. Andrew smiled faintly at the touch and drifted off gently to sleep.
Andrew felt the gentle touch of lips against the back of his neck and a hand slipping down over his arm. It drew him back briefly against the firm body behind him, warming him briefly, before it released him. Andrew felt the weight on the bed shift as the body pulled away and got out of bed.
"Morning Cam." Andrew mumbled sleepily into his pillow.
"Hey." Came the soft and simple reply. The voice was low and hushed, with a feeling that Andrew couldn't place. He sat up and looked at Cameron.
"What's up?" Andrew asked reaching out for Cameron's shoulder, only to have Cameron jerk his body away.
"This is." Cameron said again, his voice a little firmer, but just as low. Andrew shook his head and tilted his head on the side to try and look Cameron in the eye. Cameron shifted slightly to hide his face from the prying eyes. Andrew sighed and looked at Cameron.
"Alright, you want to vague that up a little?" He asked. Cameron growled softly and shook his head.
"I don't expect you to understand Andy." Cameron snapped.
"You don't even expect I'll try. Cameron we were best friends for the past seven years. I'm not going to leave you completely alone at this time." Andrew reasoned. Cameron turned to look at him, the unasked question in his eyes.
"I'm not leaving you alone because you're my friend Cameron. That's it. You were my best friend, co-conspirator, and confidant. Whatever life gives or takes from us we'll always have each other and I know that doesn't ease the pain at the moment, but it's all I have." Andrew told, his voice dropping away with a burning shame of knowledge that it wouldn't help with losing his unborn child. Slowly, Andrew lifted his eyes to meet Cameron's whose hung sorrowfully before him. Andrew reached out by instinct to touch and comfort his friend's anguish.
As the tips of his fingers grazed Cameron's cheek, Andrew sat up and leaned forwards, kissing him lightly on the cheek and pulled the other man tightly to his chest. A moment of suspended silence hung in the air between them, before dissolving into the first rattling sob of the man Andrew had clutched to him. Andrew sat there speaking softly and rocking gently to the broken man who was before him and wished that there was more he could do.
'Yeah sure, like I ever fucking know what to help with. I'm treating these people like text books. Mitch was my test subject and now Cameron. I'm turning into their disease rather than cure.' He thought to himself, before kissing Cameron's temple and try to soothe the hiccuping sobs that broke from the other man.
Gradually, the sobs died and Cameron pulled himself together. He pulled away from Andrew and sat up on his own strength then glanced at Andrew, his eyes wet and red. Andrew reached out and touched Cameron's shoulder, who pulled back slightly from him.
"I'm sorry Andy..." Cameron started.
"You don't have to do this alone." Andrew broke in.
"What? So I can have you shatter my life again when you order me away from you? That isn't how this heart works Andy." Cameron snarled. Andrew shook his head then climbed from bed.
"Excuse me while I call your next mother in waiting." Andrew threw back and walked out the door.
Andrew stood over the kettle waiting for it to boil so he could make his morning coffee.
"Fuck you too." Said Cameron as he came to a halt behind Andrew.
"Nah, I've got a headache." Said Andrew without turning around.
"Always the first with a quick comment aren't you Andrew. How about some fucking truth rather than just hiding behind your smart arse lines and ..."
"You want truth? You want the truth?" Asked Andrew turning to face Cameron.
"You can't handle the truth." Came a tired sarcastic voice from behind them. Cameron and Andrew both blinked and turned to look at Mitch leaning sleepily in the doorway.
"Yes and thank you, now that I've got your attention. Shut the fuck up or at least keep it the hell down." Mitch said starting to turn.
"Uh... I... wha?" Said Cameron stumbling over his words.
"Thank you, no autographs, I'm here until Thursday and try the veal." Mitch called out over his shoulder. Cameron's mouth moved up and down as Mitch's door closed solidly behind him. Cameron turned around open mouthed to look at Andrew, his eyes wide.
"Yes, you just got smart arsed by Mitchell Downey." Andrew said half smiling. Cameron stopped and looked at Andrew.
"You've come a long way with him from where he was. It's good to see."
"I've done nothing Cam. He did it all himself. He was the one who pulled me back from the brink and gave me the shoulder when I needed it." Andrew admitted.
"Did you two ever... y'know. Take up where you left off?" Asked Cameron. Andrew turned and glared heatedly at Cameron.
"How fucking cheap do you take me for?" He spat at Cameron. Cameron, looked down at the floor sheepishly.
"For your information, Mitch has been seeing a guy called Tyler for nearly two months now." Andrew told him calmly. Cameron nodded and looked at Andrew.
"What about you?"
"I don't have the inclination." Andrew said softly.
"So how'd Mitch and Tony meet?" Cameron asked. Andrew turned and looked deep into his coffee mug.
"At a club we were at." Andrew answered.
"What aren't you saying Andy?" Asked Cameron walking up behind Andrew resting his hands on Andrew's shoulder, who shrugged them off.
"When I say Mitch pulled me back from the brink he wasn't kidding. I live with my own personal little Betty Ford, what can I say?" Andrew said softly.
"You got back on the gear? Why'd you do that? You promised you wouldn't anymore?" Cameron asked gently.
"You weren't here. You were gone and I had nothing anymore." Andrew hissed.
"You promised..." cameron said slowly.
"So did you." Andrew replied as he gave up waiting for the kettle and pushed away from the sink and stepped around Cameron before walking back down the hall into his room and shutting the door. Cameron leaned heavily against the kitchen counter and tried to get his head around it all.
"He nearly died this time. Correction, he did die. They brought him back." Said Mitch softly from behind. Cameron turned and looked at Mitch who looked down towards the closed door. Mitch looked back at Cameron.
"You know the worst part, he screamed for you the entire time. You didn't bother to let anyone know you'd changed your number. When he was able to think clearly he asked if we could reach you, or if you came. All he did was nod when I said I hadn't been able to get hold of you. He tried your phone later that day and asked if I had your new number. That's when he realized why I wasn't able to get hold of you." Mitch told Cameron, who couldn't meet Mitch's eyes.
"He still loves you and he won't stop. He's even forgiven you I would imagine. He just doesn't know how to trust you any more. You're both as guilty as each other. I'm on the outside and I'm looking in,. I can see through you both, I can see your true colours and inside you're both lonely. You're both bringing each othe to your knees and neither of you knows how to pick up the other. You both need to fix this or just walk away. This is on you Cam. You need to walk away or stay - because he won't, and you know it." Mitch said, fixing his gaze firmly on Cameron, who shifted from one foot to another.
"Is this how Jay and I were? Jay knew I wouldn't walk away and you know Andy won't?" Asked Mitch who turned to leave.
"Work it out before you fuck him right up." With that, Mitch walked away, leaving Cameron standing there.
Andrew pulled on his shirt as there was a soft knock at the door. Sighing to himself, he walked over and opened the door to be faced with Cameron standing there, holding a steaming mug of coffee.
"You forgot this." Cameron said simply holding out the mug for Andrew to take. Andrew's face mixed with confusion as to whether to take it or to knock it over Cameron. Eventually the desire for his morning coffee hit won out and he gratefully accepted the steaming brew with a quiet 'thank you'. Cameron sat down on the bed, his gaze on the floor.
"Cam, don't come in here feeling guilty over what you think you may or may not owe me. You owe me nothing, it's water under a bridge." Andrew said quietly taking a sip of his coffee before placing it back on the chest of draws and reaching for a pair of socks. Cameron said nothing as Andrew sat beside him to pull them on his feet. As Andrew went to stand again Cameron put his hand on Andrew's leg.
"I miss you Andy." He said gently. Andrew pulled Cameron to him in a gentle embrace and kissed his temple softly before standing.
"I miss you too... my friend." Andrew said softly before collecting his drink and walking out the door. Cameron swung his legs up on the bed and curled into a ball clutching at Andrew's pillow wondering how to step forwards.
As Andrew was walking to the door, Mitch wandered out of his room.
"Fuck off cupid it's not happening." Andrew said to Mitch as he walked by and closed the door behind him. Mitch sighed and went down to Andrew's room to find Cameron. Finding Cameron curled up, Mitch sat down and gently rubbed Cameron's shoulder as the man started to sob quietly into the pillow.
Walking out of the classroom, Andrew felt an arm sling around his shoulder. He glanced over and grinned.
"Hey Nessa, what's doin?" He said.
"Oh nothin', just thought I'd see how you're doin'?" She asked.
"I'm fine." Andrew replied.
"So having the heartbroken man who broke your heart staying at your place last night did nothing to you?" She asked.
"I miss him Nessa, you know that. I was stupid to take him back to my place last night I know. Hang on, how'd you find out?" Asked Andrew. He then felt another pair of hands land on his shoulder and pull him back slightly.
"You think I'm going to let one of my best mates stalk off in a huff and not call our resident fallen angel for assistance?" Asked Mitch pulling Andrew back against his chest. Andrew pushed his elbow backwards sharply forcing Mitch to let go and hold his side.
"No lovin' for carin', absoloutely no lovin'." He grumbled.
"I wish you would all realise, Cam and I are done. We'll only be friends now." Andrew said.
"What happens to everyone needs a second chance?" Asked Vanessa.
"Do we forget this is his third?" Asked Andrew in reply.
"You shouldn't answer a question with a question." Mitch said absently, still rubbing his side.
"And you should go harass your boyfriend over there on the grass." Said Andrew nodding his head towards Tony who was sitting out on the field books strewn about him in some mishap form of study. Mitch grinned at Vanessa and Andrew before bidding them goodbye and taking on across the lawns to his handsome boyfriend. Andrew watched him for a moment before starting to walk off again.
"You were like that once." Vanessa said softly.
"Don't make me poke you in the eye with cupid's arrows." Said Andrew looking out across the field. Vanessa fell silent as she walked beside him. Eventually Andrew came to a stop as he came to the entrance of a building. He looked at the doorway and sagged against a wall and looked up. Vanessa looked at the doorway then back at her friend.
"What's going on?" She asked, confusion hinted at her voice.
"Seeing Cam, it's reminded me of all the good things he's done for me." Andrew explained.
"A door reminds you of Cameron? Shit, I thought I was sentimental." She said.
"No, through there is where I had my freshman psych lectures. Cam never told me that he was coming here. I thought I'd come here on my own. When I finished my first lecture, he was waiting here for me. I walked out and straight by him. I didn't even realise he was here until he hoisted me over his shoulder." Andrew said. Vanessa shook her head.
"Go back to him Andy. Everything you're doing says you want to."
"I can't Nessa. I'm not brave nor strong enough." Andrew said. Vanessa sighed and shook her head.
"Sucks when all you want is love and the one who loves you isn't enough don't it Andy."
"That's not fair! How can I love someone I can't even trust?"
"Because that's the way the fucking heart works Andy! How many times do you want me to point out to you how much he means to you? How much do you want Mitch to bash his head against a wall so you guys see it? How much do you want to rip his heart out before it's enough of an apology?" She snapped.
"If it's such a fucking hassle, fuck off the lot of you. I'm not going back to him. Neither is he coming back to me. It's done. It's dusted. It's. Fucking. Over." Andrew snarled and then reached for his face as Vanessa slapped it hard.
"Don't take that tone with me Andrew. I've put up with your shit and moping long enough. For four months I've watched you stare at his photo, drown your sorrows in the bottle of a bottle of Jimmy and then die with all the fucking chemicals because you're aching so fucking much for him. Don't tell me it's a fucking hassle." She snarled angrily. Andrew snorted and pushed himself away from the wall and started walking. Vanessa looked after him.
"Where are you going? I'm not finished yet!" She exploded.
"So tell the wall." Andrew said, rounding the corner and out of sight.
Andrew climbed into the car and twisted the key in the ignition and turned the music up to drown the world out. He jumped as there was a bang on his window. He looked over and saw Mitch standing there.
"What's goin' on Andy?" Mitch asked as Andrew wound the window down.
"I'm going for a drive, I'll see you at home."
"You got a rough time? Tony and I wanted to know if you'd like to join us for dinner and then going to a club?" Mitch asked.
"Nah thanks, you go ahead. I'll see you at home at some point." Andrew told him and wound the window up, driving off.
Some hours later Andrew decided he was getting rather drunk and the jukebox was playing rather tasteless music. He looked at the barman and ordered another drink who put it on the bar infront of him wordlessly and took his money. Andrew sat there staring at the glass before lifting it to his lips and swallowing, feeling his throat constrict at the burn as the alcohol slid down his throat. He became vaguely aware of a person take a seat beside him. He could feel their eyes take him in.
"Hard day?" A voice asked. Andrew turned his head slowly and looked at the voice. To his ears it sounded familiar, but he couldn't make out why. The face was familiar but he didn't know where from.
"One could say that I guess." Said Andrew tiredly.
"Girl problems?" Asked the guy.
"Hardly." Said Andrew dryly.
"Guy troubles?" Asked the stranger again.
"One could say that. Why do you ask?" Andrew asked defensively.
"It happened to me a few months ago." The stranger said.
"I fell for the wrong one. Best mate growing up. He was straight then. Everything I wanted in a boyfriend. Strong, dependable, honest, caring and affectionate. Just struggled with the monogamy thing. Got a girl knocked up before we were together. Then he fucked her again while we were together. Went to shit after that. I went and drove and was in a car accident. Told him to fuck off while I was still in hospital. When I finally got out, he was gone. Him and all his shit was gone out of our unit and my life. I lived it up. Parties, drinks and drugs. Kept going until it killed me. They managed to bring me back in the ambulance. I was going well. Well, going well until yesterday. He came bursting back into my life. Bitch miscarried and there was something appendix popped or something. Killed her too. He stayed with me last night. Fucked my head right up. Haven't been able to work out what to do with him." Andrew said, feeling somewhat ashamed for spilling his life story out to some random in a bar. He brought the glass to his lips, hesitating a moment before throwing it back down his throat. He put the empty down and looked for the barman when the stranger spoke up.
"Yeah, that is fucked up. I can't compare my story to yours. No one died in mine." Said the stranger. Andrew looked at the stranger and grimaced.
"Come on, this bar is depressing. Let's go somewhere else where it's a better atmosphere. Have a drink, chat, dance and get really slaughtered." The guy offered. Andrew looked at him skeptically.
"You pick random depressed fags up in bars often?" The stranger laughed.
"Only every second Tuesday."
"Name's Andy." Andrew said offering his hand.
"Jason." The stranger smiled shaking his hand.
Andrew looked at his watch again and squinted trying to read the time. Jason sat down beside him with a drink in his hand.
"How you cruising Andy?" Asked Jason.
"Not too bad, feeling very super fucked up." Andrew slurred sligthly. Jason grinned at Andrew who grinned, or so he thought, back at Jason.
"Well we can move this party onto another location." Offered Jason, leering slightly. Andrew arched an eyebrow.
"Where you suggesting?" He asked.
"I'm not far from here..." Said Jason, his voice trailing off. Andrew grinned and nodded his head. The pair stood and Jason looped his arm around Andrew's waist and headed towards the exit.
Walking in the front door of the apartment, Andrew glanced around taking it all in. He felt Jason press up behind him and start kissing at his neck, reaching around to unbutton Andrew's shirt. As it slid to the floor Jason's kisses went down over his shoulders. Andrew turned to face Jason and found himself kissing Jason back. Jason eventually broke the kiss and led Andrew gently to the bedroom, pushing the door closed behind them.
Andrew slowly awoke the next morning feeling dazed and disorientated. There was something not right with his room. An arm pulled him back gently against a firm and warm body. Naked skin pressed against his own. An extra firmness pressed against his lower back. Memories, trickled back in and Andrew blushed that he'd been such an easy piece of arse for a random to pull in. Twisting slightly in the embrace he turned to look at the random.
"Morning Andy." Came a sleepy voice out of his bed partner. Andrew's reply was a little more strangled.