He stood in a trance unsure of what to do next. He could leave the room and come back in a few hours to try to talk things over with the younger man. He could wake him up now and they could have this out, but they were both exhausted and Kevin had a feeling that option would only make the whole situation worse. The option that made the most sense, at least in his exhausted and physically charged mind, was to climb in next to him and try to at least get a couple of hours of sleep. Then when they were both a little more refreshed, they could talk.
Making the decision quickly Kevin quickly shed his coat and unbuttoned his jeans. Slipping them off until he was clad only in his boxers he slipped in under the blankets beside the other man. He watched the gentle rise and fall of Nick’s back as he breathed. Now that he was this close he had the urge to reach out and draw the other man up against him. He forced his hands to stay at his sides and closed his eyes. He could smell Nick's aftershave and the smell of syrup from their breakfast. Nick smelled heavenly, like a warm gentle hug he'd wanted for so many years and had always been denied. He finally drifted off, thoughts dancing in his mind of what could have been if they had met at different points in their lives.
Nick was having the most amazing dream. He was warm and safe, cocooned in the arms of the man he'd been obsessed with for so long he honestly couldn't remember when it had started any longer. The dream was so vivid, he could feel the weight of the other man's arm around his waist, the other hand buried in his hair. It was the most amazing feeling. It made him feel wanted, desired in a way he'd never felt before. He was afraid to open his eyes and lose this sense of purpose the dream provided. In his dream he could roll over and kiss the other man and feel deep inside that the other man wanted him just as much. Needed him just as much. He couldn't keep the smile off his face. Now since they had shared that mind bending kiss that morning he could vividly imagine what waking up with the other man would feel like. He knew if it ever happened for real, there would be no way he would be strong enough to sleep alone ever again. The need for the other man was strong, always had been. He supposed that's why he always lashed out so violently so much more aggressively than with any of the other guys. It was the only way he could get out the passion he felt for the older man. It was healthy by any means, but it was all he had.
As much as he loved this dream and the feelings of comfort it gave him, it was time to wake up and face the afternoon. He needed to check in with Brian and maybe do some sketching to relieve some of the stress he could feel sitting on his shoulders like a leaded weight. He opened his eyes slowly, blinking back the bright sunlight that streamed into the room. This was strange. With his eyes open he still felt the warmth and the weight of the other man. Glancing down, he could see the pale smooth skin of another arm, Kevin's arm wrapped securely around his middle. He desperately wanted to roll over, to face the other man, but was afraid any movement would alert him that he was awake and then what? This moment of bliss would be forgotten and they would go back to yelling and biting insults. Nick didn’t want that, at all. He closed his eyes and tried to convince his body to go to sleep, to drift off and just enjoy the time he got to spend just like this, even if Kevin didn’t realize what he was doing.
His breath caught as he felt Kevin’s arm around his waist tighten and felt his fingers move through his hair. He kept his eyes closed, afraid of what he would see if he opened them. Would Kevin be completely disgusted when he woke up and realized it was him he was wrapped up in? He wouldn’t be able to take that. Kevin had hurt him a lot over the years, but Nick was pretty sure that one would do him in. Kevin’s grip was like the jaws of life now. Nick didn’t think he’d ever been held so tightly to another person before. He tried to keep the butterflies that were taking flight in his tummy settled but it wasn’t working. The smell, the touch, the feel of the other man was starting to have a real effect on his body. That’s all he needed, Kevin to wake up and see Nick pitching a tent, curled up next to him. That one would for sure land Nick back in the emergency room. He started counting backwards from 100 to try to occupy his mind on anything else. Kevin started mumbling, not coherent enough for Nick to understand anything he was saying, but little bits and pieces he tried desperately to put together. Coming up with nothing, he kept his eyes closed and hoped Kevin would wake up soon. The urge to pee was becoming an issue, but he would still prefer to lay here as long as possible.
After a few moments he felt the grip on his waist lessen and the fingers leave his hair. The immediate feeling of cold and loneliness was almost enough to make Nick cry out. This was silly, he was supposed to be asleep and there was no way Kevin even realized what he had done. But why did the feeling of Kevin moving away from him reduce him to tears? He had to get himself together, but how. How was he supposed to do that now that they were married. Nick wondered for the hundredth time how he could have been so stupid. He froze as he felt a finger trace down the outline of his cheek. There was no way Kevin was asleep now. Biting his tongue to keep from moaning, Nick rolled over to face the other man.
Kevin blinked as the blue eye he’d been thinking about appeared in front of him. Startled, he pulled back away from the blonde. He has assumed Nick was asleep and allowed himself a moment or two to watch him from a much closer vantage point than normal. When watching hadn’t been enough for him he had gingerly reached a finger out to touch, just to see if Nick’s skin was as soft as it looked. It had been. Kevin longed to touch more, to explore the body of the younger man who had haunted his dreams for so many years. What he hadn't expected was to get caught in his actions and as the younger man stared at him for an explanation, Kevin realized he had none. At least none Nick would be interested in hearing.
“Sorry if I woke you.” Kevin said softly as he tucked his hand underneath his head where it was lying on the bed pillow.
“I was already awake.” Nick said, unable to look away even though he knew he should. Something about the shade of green Kevin’s eyes were at that very moment made him feel like he was in some kind of trance.
“Oh,” Kevin mumbled. “I’m sorry if this is uncomfortable, I was just really tired and I thought I could sleep and get up before you woke up and it wouldn’t be as awkward as it is right now.”
“It’s okay. I don’t mind, really.”
The silence that enveloped them was deafening. Nick could hear the second hand ticking by from the clock on the wall. He felt like he was going to jump out of his skin. There was no way he was going to be able to sit and endure this silence, this awkward tension everyday for the next year. This feeling would tear him apart before Kevin ever got the chance. It was so uncomfortable to be stuck with another person and have no idea who they think or feel or where you stand with them. The entire situation made Nick very uneasy.
They both started at the same time, causing Nick to blush and smile softly.
Kevin started again, “We should talk.”
Nick nodded but said nothing. Kevin sighed. He wasn’t sure they should have this conversation lying in a bed together, but he was desperate to keep the close contact with the other man. The decision was made for him as the other man began to speak and hit him so hard with his words Kevin wasn’t sure he could breath.
“Why do you hate me so much? What did I ever do that was so bad?” Nick said, barely above a whisper. His voice was full of tears and Kevin felt his own heart constrict.
Kevin closed his eyes and willed the tears to cease. How was he ever going to explain this one? “I never hated you, I don’t hate you.” Kevin responded almost inaudible.
Nick shook his head, the heat already rising in his cheeks. “You’re lying. There’s no way you could have treated me like this for so long unless you hated me. I just don’t understand what I ever did to deserve it. Sure, I played some practical jokes and I was immature at times, but fuck Kevin. I’ve racked my brain for years trying to figure out what I ever did to make you despise me and I’ve never been able to figure it out. So yeah, if there’s any way we’re going to get past this, if there’s any chance of this ludicrous plan working, then your going to have to once and for all tell me what the fuck I did.”
The tears were winning and began spilling down the porcelain cheeks of the man in front of him. Nick wasn’t sure what to do. The display of emotion was more than Nick had gotten from the other man before and he wasn’t sure what to do with it. He wanted, more than anything to draw the older man close to him and never let him go, but Nick suspected that wouldn’t get them anywhere and regardless of how painful this was going to be, the thought of finally putting the bullshit to rest and actually being friends with the other man was to important to him. So he would sit here and listen to whatever Kevin had to say. No matter how long it took to get through it.
Kevin continued to lay next to him, but had shifted to where he could bury his face into the plush cushion of the pillow. He allowed the tears to flow, knowing if he continued to try to withhold them, he would never get through this. Finally getting to a point where he felt like he could face the other man, Kevin lifted his face to stare into the most brilliant blue eyes he’d ever seen. The other man took his breath away and Kevin found it difficult to remember where he was in the conversation, what he was supposed to say next. With those blue eyes trained on him all he could think about was pulling the other man close, inhaling his scent and burying his face in Nick’s neck. None of these things were possible. He needed to own up to his mistakes, take it on the chin and try to create some kind of friendship with the other man. Even though friendship was the last thing on his mind at the moment.
“I never hated you. I know it doesn’t make any sense and I know I hurt you and for that I am so very sorry. I hope you can forgive me and we can move on.” Kevin offered as he wiped the stray tears off his face.
Nick glared at him, unable to stop the anger that flooded through him. Kevin was trying to brush everything under the rug, instead of talking, working through whatever had happened to cause their rift. This tension and anger from so many years ago, Nick couldn’t let it go. There was no way he could move on without knowing why. Sure he was stubborn, but how in the world could he prevent this fucking situation from happening again if he didn’t even understand what happened the first time?
“No.” Nick said angrily.
Kevin scrunched up his face confused. “No you can’t forgive me?”
Nick sat up on the bed and glared down at the other man. “No, I can’t. What the fuck am I forgiving you for Kevin, huh? Don’t you get it. I have no fucking clue how this happened or how we got here. So until I can understand, no I can’t forgive you. Try again. This time, how about the truth.”
Kevin sat up as well and tucked his long legs underneath him and ran his fingers through his long hair. He closed his eyes and rubbed his face as he debated on what to say. Nick said he wanted the truth. Kevin wasn’t so sure he did. Kevin wasn’t even sure he could verbalize it for the younger man.
“Okay.” Kevin started. “This is probably going to get a lot worse.”
Nick nodded. “I figured, but it’s the only way for both of us to move on.”
Kevin shook his head noncommittally. He still wasn’t sure, but what other choice did he have at this point. “I never hated you,” he started again.
“You have a funny way of showing it.” Nick quipped, unable to stop the anger from pouring out of him. “Fuck Kevin, you went from being my friend, someone I trusted and counted on to being the one person who could hurt me more than anyone else with just a look. How in the world am I supposed to think you feel anything but hate for me. You treated the other guys great, but me? You treated me like you wished I wasn’t even part of any of this.”
“I loved you. I could never hate you.”
Nick stopped and started at him. Had he heard him correctly? “What do you mean you loved me? I’m pretty sure you don’t treat people you love like you wish they were dead.”
Kevin blanched and looked away. “Yes, I loved you. Too much.”
Nick sat quietly, heart beating a million miles a moment, waiting for the other man to continue. When it was clear Kevin wasn’t going to say anything Nick prodded him again. “How can you sit here and say that to me after the way you’ve treated me for years Kevin. YEARS. Years of my life I spent tiptoeing around you so I didn’t piss you off and now you're going to sit here in front of me and try to tell me it’s because you loved me? Bullshit.”
Kevin jumped from the bed and began pacing the room. Nick watched him but didn’t say anything else. Finally Kevin turned and fixed his wild eyes on the other man. “You were 13 fucking years old. 13 YEARS OLD.” Kevin yelled, startling Nick from his seat in the bed. Nick stared at him, still not understanding, but growing concerned by Kevin’s agitation. The older man continued to pace in front of the bed.
“13 Nick, 13. I wasn’t supposed to feel like that, not for another guy, not for a friend and especially not for a 13 year old boy that was entrusted in my care to make sure he grew up safe and unfucked by this industry we’re in. I couldn’t be anywhere near you without wanting to kiss you or throw you against the nearest hard surface and fuck your brains out. Don’t you understand? It had to be this way baby, it was the only way I could protect you, from everything, including myself.” Kevin dropped to his knees, burying his face in his hand as the tears turned to full blown wails.
Nick sat stunned, trying desperately to catch up. His mind was racing. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever expect that to come out of the other man’s mouth. He wasn’t sure what to do. He needed time to process all of this, but he couldn’t leave Kevin in this state either. Sliding from the bed to the floor, Nick crawled on his knees until he reached the other man. He reached out gently, gripping Kevin by the forearms until he could break his hold. Nick pulled the crying man into his arms, noting how well he fit against him as he crumpled into his lap. Nick shifted until he was sitting on his butt, cradling the bulk of the other man against him. Kevin rested his head against Nick’s chest as he allowed the tears to overcome him. Nick smoothed the hair out of Kevin’s face and then laid his head against the other mans.
They stayed like that, curled together on the floor. Nick's bladder was becoming a bigger issue and as much as he wanted to sit here and hold Kevin all day, he also needed to get away from him. He needed time to think. He needed to try to understand what Kevin had meant, how he had felt all those years ago and how they had gotten to this place.
Nick pulled away gently. Kevin's tears had lessened and he was lying against Nick's chest with his eyes closed. Nick had never seen him so vulnerable. It was a complete shift in how he'd always viewed the other man. It was enduring but also scary. He didn't like having this feeling of power over the older man. He'd always been the submissive one, the one needing cared for, this was all new to him.
"Kev," Nick started.
Kevin pulled away from him and sat up. He wiped his eyes and tried to smile. "I'm sorry Nicky. I'm so sorry for everything."
Nick nodded and took Kevin's hand in his. "I know you are. I just need some time. It's a lot all at once and I need time to process everything. Let me have the rest of the day and we'll talk again after the show. Is that okay?"
Kevin nodded, a small smile forming. "Just tell me that you don't hate me." he asked quietly.
Nick's heart lurched. Hate him? That would never be possible. Even with all the hurt and abuse he'd put up with from the other man over the years, there's no way he could ever hate him. "No, I don't hate you." he shifted his legs out from under Kevin until he could stand on his own. Taking one last glance at the other man he turned. "We'll come back and talk here after the show okay?"
With the nod of confirmation from Kevin, Nick grabbed his duffel bag and entered the bathroom. He didn't let out a breath until he was locked securely inside the bathroom. Only then did he allow the tears to fall.