Wed Feb 8, 2017
Something gets broken beyond repair.
Around them the rain picked up. Thick raindrops plummeted the asphalt, causing wandering people to run from the streets and into local shops for cover. Even with his back against the brick wall, the drops soaked the bottom of his pant leg, the wetness absorbing up his jeans and turning them a deep blue.
Unbothered, he took another swig from his beer bottle, sliding down the wall until he was sitting in a puddle beside Charlie. He placed his bottle on the ground, pulling his knees to his chest and resting his head back against the wall. Charlie, on the other hand, kept his legs in the rain, his jeans becoming one with the current from the freshly fallen raindrops.
Charlie chuckled. It was a sound that normally irked his nerves but instead urged him to take a deep breath, bracing himself for Charlie’s words.
“You seriously said she was desperate?” Charlie shook his wet bangs from his forehead, placing his own beer bottle to his lips again, sipping the dark liquid and stifling another chuckle from coming out. “What did you expect her to do, Will? Give you a handshake? You embarrassed her.”
William flinched. His fingertips brushed against the spot where he was slugged in the face by a girl who was supposed to have been his one night stand. “I didn’t expect her to secretly be a boxer.” He muttered, his hand returning to his legs.
Charlie nearly spat his drink across the alleyway but instead he almost choked on his beer before forcing it down his burning throat. When his airways were clear again, laughter erupted in the small space, echoing against the brick walls and causing stray cats to scurry away. Tears formed in Charlie’s brown eyes, and he used a single finger to wipe them away from each eye. “Man,” his laughter died down as he continued, “I wish I could’ve been there.”
“Maybe next time you can take my place.” William suggested.
“Nah, I’ll pass.” Charlie turned to him for the first time since he arrived. William immediately looked away, fumbling for his beer bottle, accidentally knocking the remainder of his beer on the ground. It was swept away by the rain’s current long before the slew of curse words slipped off his tongue. “You’re batting a thousand today.”
William sighed. “Tell me about it.”
Another chuckle slipped between Charlie’s wide grin. “You could always go back inside-”
“Don’t even suggest it.” William cut him off, already knowing how his sentence would end. He’d thought of it himself, going back into the bar and grabbing himself another beer but the idea of running into that girl again and dealing with round two of her rampage was enough to make him forget about it.
Charlie sipped the last of his beer and sat the bottle in between them. “So why,” he paused, lying the bottle on its side and spinning it around with his finger, “why did you insult her like that? I thought your plan was to hit it and move on.”
William’s eyes fell to the spinning bottle. He watched it spin until it stopped, pointing at him. He swallowed hard. “Just wasn’t into it.” He cleared his throat, redirecting his attention to the falling rain. Already the rain was letting up, a few people walking back onto the street and carrying on with the rest of their evening. “Like I said, she was desperate.”
“According to you, that’s how you like them.” Charlie jabbed his elbow playfully into William’s side but even that didn’t get him to meet his eyes.
William inhaled deeply, his heart racing against his ribcage to the point it ached as if he’d taken the hit to his side and not his face.
The smell of freshly fallen rain was known to comfort most, but for William, it was a constant reminder of the day his perspective on life changed forever. When his hard demeanor was shattered, leaving him an emotional mess in a constant state of confusion.
Back then the rain smelled just like it did now, a mix between relief from the summer heat and dirty shoes from the homeless guy huddled up in the corner of an alleyway. His memory of that day refused to fade, no matter how many days passed by.
Charlie and William had just climbed the steps from the subway to discover that the good weather they left across town was no more. It was pouring outside and they were forced to sprint two blocks from the subway to reach the diner on the corner of 24th street. When they finally arrived, they were both soaking wet but smiles plastered across their faces. They reached for the door at the same time, hands brushing against one another, instantly changing the way he saw his best friend.
His feelings transcended beyond being just mere friends. He wanted to be more but he was no idiot. Just because he wanted it badly, didn’t mean it would ever happen. Charlie could never return his feelings, these feelings William had only just begun to comprehend himself.
Even now, his skin yearned to make contact with him, to pull him close and plant his lips on his. He imagined it as a better kiss than the one he was forced to endure with the girl from earlier. A passionate kiss between two lovers sick of hiding their true feelings. A happily ever after of some sorts. Instead, his body became tense as he strained to keep his attention away from Charlie. “Things change.” He stated quietly.
To his surprise, Charlie rested his head in the space between his neck and shoulder. William’s hands immediately clenched into a fist, his body becoming stiff, his mind racing, reminding him that since the day he fell in love with Charlie, Charlie had had two girlfriends and hadn’t displayed a single sign of being anything other than straight.
They were silent for a long while. “I guess that’s true.” Charlie finally agreed. William could feel a sigh escape his lips, his warm breath gracing a spot on his neck, but William forced his eyes forward, concentrating on the few remaining raindrops dripping into the puddles in front of them. “But for the better, right?” He added, lifting his head just enough to stare up at him.
William flexed his fingers in an attempt to relax his body but then only clenched them back into a tight ball. When he finally turned to Charlie, their faces were mere inches away. For a brief moment, he leaned closer, thinking of just letting go, giving them an honest shot. Then his mind caught up with him and his hands scraped against the concrete as he pushed back away from Charlie, creating a wider gap between them.
Charlie looked disgruntled. His head hovered at an awkward angle until his mind processed William’s sudden movement and returned to a more comfortable position. “What are you-”
“It’s late.” William interrupted. For emphasis, he hopped to his feet, rubbing his palms against his wet jeans before shoving them into his pockets. “Jane will be worried.”
The mention of Charlie’s girlfriend felt like spilling salt into a self inflicted wound. He knew the pain would appear, slowly consuming him, lingering probably for the remainder of the night, but he said her name regardless.
His wandering eyes focused on Charlie’s brown ones, a flicker of hurt quickly vanishing from them right before Charlie ran his fingers through his hair and lifted his hand in William’s direction. “Help me up?”
William hesitated. He looked down at his hands as if it were impossible to remove them now that he shoved them into his pockets. A beat later, he removed them slowly, reaching down until their hands met, pulling Charlie up to his feet.
Charlie smiled but it barely reached his eyes. “Thanks.” They stood in silence for a moment, William standing completely still while Charlie swung his arms back and forward at his sides. “I’ll see you then.” Charlie said, breaking the silence.
William only nodded once, watching Charlie take his time leaving the alleyway. Before he walked too far, he turned back to wave then continued on his trek. William waited until he was completely out of view to release the breath he’d been holding. His mind replayed the events differently, with more favorable results, the night ending with a passionate kiss instead of the mention of Charlie’s lover.
Finished this one around the time I finished my other entry for the prompt from Wordbound but of course, for some reason, never posted it until now.
I initially planned to withhold this a little longer and post a more recent entry but I haven’t finished the recent one yet u.u I was feeling a little under the weather today, so I didn’t get it done in time.
I’m still iffy on whether anything was “broken beyond repair” in this one. My argument is that William’s emotional defenses were but is that a valid argument? Who knows? But regardless, I didn’t end up adding more because I liked how it came out. Hopefully it somewhat fits the prompt. ^_^