Right Where I Belong Ch. 04byanon_temptations©
Authors note: This is the last chapter of the series, so I hope you enjoyed reading Matt and Tom's story. Thanks once again for all the comments and feedback, it's lovely to hear from you all and I really appreciate your support!
This chapter is shorter than the rest (my apologies for that) but it's probably because I found it the hardest one to write. I wanted Matt and Tom to have the perfect ending, so this was actually my 'take two' because I didn't like my first draft.
Thanks for reading! I adore you all ;)
Matt thought he might go crazy. He tried not to panic so that he could think clearly and plan out his next moves, but nothing could purge Matt from the feelings of despair and desperation that he was currently suffering with. His heart felt as if it were in a steel vice, on the verge of being crushed beyond all repair. His whole body ached with fear and he felt sick with anxiety and hopelessness.
Matt wasn't sure how long he sat in Tom's driveway, but his backside had gone numb and he was practically shivering when he realised that his phone was ringing. It was Tessa.
"Matt?! Where the hell are you? I got home and found boxes of your stuff in the driveway, and your wallet is on the side in the kitchen, and the front door wasn't even locked properly!" She sounded frantic with worry. "I've been calling you for the last hour!"
She had? He hadn't heard his phone ring. How odd. Matt realised that he couldn't really remember much from the past few hours. He'd been lost in his own mind, leaving him practically oblivious to the outside world.
Matt wasn't bothered about the boxes he'd left behind or the fact that he'd left the house without his wallet. None of that stuff was important.
"Have to seen Tom?" He asked. "I'm waiting for him to get home. He's not here yet. I don't know where he is. He's – where would he go, Tessa? I have absolutely no idea where to start looking, so I'm just sitting here, freezing my arse off, and he's not here. I – I..." Matt stopped talking. He knew he wasn't making any sense.
"What's going on, Mattie?"
Matt's eyes began to sting. He felt like curling up into a ball and sobbing his heart out right there in Tom's driveway. No. Matt knew that this was not the time for a breakdown, not if he wanted to find Tom and put things right.
"Mattie please, you're scaring me. What's wrong? Say something."
He took a deep breath and explained to Tessa what had happened. Matt told her about the promises he'd made to never betray Tom's trust and to never hurt him, and how Mitchell had turned up and ruined everything. Tessa sounded more and more outraged by the second, and by the time Matt had told her about Tom seeing Mitchell forcing himself on him, she was practically hysterical.
"I can't believe that bastard had the nerve to show up at MY house! If I had been there, I swear to God I would have punched him so hard..."
"Tessa!" Matt shouted. He shook his head, as if to clear it. "I honestly don't care, alright? Mitchell is not worth thinking about. All I care about is Tom. I'm head over heels in love with him, Tessa, and I need to find him so that I can make things right. Do you have any idea where he could be?"
Tessa was silent for a moment. "Have you tried calling Ashley?"
Ashley! Of course! Matt scolded himself for not thinking to call her sooner. He guessed he just wasn't thinking clearly at all right now. "That's probably where he is, with Ashley! You're a genius!" Matt couldn't wait any longer; he needed to call her right away. "I have to go, but thanks Tessa."
"No problem, Mattie. And don't worry, alright? Tom will understand once you explain the situation, just go easy on him. He's bound to be a little fragile right now. He told you about his past with Jason, so surely you must understand that this is going to be difficult for him."
"Yeah I know, and thanks again Tessie." He hung up then checked his phone. The screen showed that he had four missed calls from Tessa. None from Tom, though. He dialled Ashley, praying that she could help him.
"Ashley Owins speaking."
"Hi Ashley, it's Matt."
"Matt! I can't believe that you have the cheek to call me! What the hell did you do to my brother, huh?!" Ashley started. She didn't give him a chance to respond before continuing. "It makes absolutely no sense at all! I expected more from you, I really did."
"You've heard from Tom? Where is he? Is he with you? What did he say?" Matt couldn't hold back all the questions, but there was only one that really mattered. "Is he okay?"
"I'm telling you nothing until you explain yourself." Ashley sounded furious and it completely frightened him; Ashley had never been anything other than bubbly and friendly until today. It made Matt wonder what kind of a state Tom was in. His stomach dropped and he felt unbelievably sick. His whole body felt weak and shaky, and it was a good job he was already sitting down or he probably would have collapsed.
"It's all just a terrible misunderstanding. My ex turned up and he forced himself on me. I tried to push him away, but it's not like I'm a big guy and he wouldn't budge. I didn't want him to kiss me, I swear. Tom saw and he– he– Oh God."
Matt could barely speak and he had to pause and take a deep breath before he could say anything more. "I'd never cheat on Tom, never. I wouldn't hurt him like that. I love your brother so much, Ashley. I need to find him so I can tell him that, and so I can explain that what he saw isn't what he thinks it was. I'd never do anything to cause him pain. You have to believe me. Please, Ashley, please help me find him."
Once again, Matt found that he was practically in tears. He lowered his head to rest it against his knees and wiped at his eyes to try and rid them of the moisture that was only moments away from escaping.
Ashley was silent for a moment before she sighed. "I believe you, Matt." She paused. "He left the office here about five minutes ago, and as far as I know he's heading straight home."
"Thank God." A spark of hope ignited in Matt's heart; Tom was on his way back here and Matt would be able to explain everything. Matt would get his chance to tell Tom how he felt, to wrap Tom in his arms and never let him go.
"He's really hurting, Matt."
"I know, and I can't put into words how sorry I am that I made him feel that way. I'd give anything to turn back the clock and change what happened. I just hope I can make it right."
"Yeah, so do I. I'll catch you later."
Matt hung up then pulled himself up from the floor. There was dirt on his jeans, and he tried to brush it away. He couldn't really see what he was doing; his vision was blurred by the tears in his eyes.
Matt couldn't keep still as he waited for Tom. He paced across the driveway, heart pounding and hands shaking, until he saw Tom's car round the corner at the end of the street. It felt as if he'd been waiting for hours, when really it could only have been ten or so minutes since he'd spoken to Ashley.
When Tom noticed Matt in his driveway, he slowed. Matt suddenly panicked, thinking Tom would turn around and drive away again, but then he pulled the car into the drive and just sat there for a moment.
Matt did nothing. He didn't want to anger Tom or upset him further. He stood by the house and waited until Tom stepped out of the car. Tom wouldn't meet Matt's eyes; he just stood there with his keys in his hand, staring down at the ground. It broke Matt's heart.
"Hi," Matt's voice was shaky and thick with unshed tears. Matt cleared his throat. "Can we talk? Please?"
Tom didn't answer. After a few moments of silence he nodded, then moved past Matt towards his front door. He opened it and signalled for Matt to go in first but still wouldn't meet his eyes. Matt jammed his hands in his pockets and made his way inside.
Tom closed the door behind him and slowly turned to face Matt. There was an awkward silence while Matt tried to gather his thoughts. He didn't know exactly what he was going to say to make Tom listen, but he supposed the truth would be the best place to start.
"Tom, I am so sorry but –"
Tom cut him off mid-apology. "How could you do this to me, Matt? I trusted you. I don't understand; did I do something wrong?"
"No! Of course you didn't!"
"Then what is it? Why were you kissing that guy? He was your ex, wasn't he? I mean, he sure looked like the guy from the pictures at your flat. And fine, perhaps you don't want me, and perhaps you don't feel the same way for me as I do for you. But you'd go back to him? Really? After the way he treated you?"
"Tom, slow down a second and let me explain. You've got this all wrong –"
"You promised you wouldn't hurt me, Matt." Tom's voice broke at the end, and it was all Matt could do to stop himself from breaking down in tears and begging for forgiveness at Tom's feet.
"Please, you have to let me explain."
"Why should I?"
"Because I love you!" Matt hadn't meant to say it like this, but he'd felt as if Tom was slipping away. He sighed before rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand. "I'm in love with you, Tom. I know I broke my promise but I didn't hurt you intentionally and it's not what you think. Please, Tom, look at me."
Tom finally met his eyes. It pained Matt to see that they were full of tears.
"I'm not going back to Mitchell. He just turned up and forced himself on me. I was trying to push him away. I don't want Mitchell, or anyone else for that matter. I only want you."
"But I saw you... you had your arms around him. I – I mean, that's what it looked like."
Tom looked so confused and vulnerable. It hurt Matt to see this side of Tom, the side of him that was damaged and afraid. When they'd first met, it had been Tom taking care of him. The tables had turned now, and Matt prayed that he could find the right words to show Tom exactly how he felt and to reassure him that he had nothing to be scared of, just like Tom had done for him.
"I didn't, I promise. I told him that I had met someone else and that he needed to leave. I feel nothing for him, Tom. My heart belongs to you. It has done since the day I first met you, and it will remain yours for as long as I live."
A tear fell down Tom's cheek, then another and another. Matt took a couple of steps forward. He was itching to pull Tom into his arms and hold him close.
"Please don't cry, baby. Seeing you like this is killing me."
Tom wiped his eyes before he spoke. "You... you really love me?"
Matt nodded. "More than anything. I wish I had told you sooner, so that we could have avoided this."
Tom rubbed at his eyes again as a fresh batch of tears made their way down his cheeks. This time, however, he let out a shaky laugh. "I love you too, Matt. So much."
Matt was elated to hear those words. He rushed forward to wrap his arms around Tom, who leaned down and pulled Matt to him. They both held on tight and Tom rested his face in the crook of Matt's neck.
"I'm so sorry," Matt whispered, running his hands down Tom's back in soothing motions. "I spent the last few hours going crazy with worry. I thought I was going to lose you."
"I'm sorry I overreacted," Tom mumbled into his shoulder.
"Hey, it's alright. You don't need to apologise, I understand why you acted the way you did. I'd probably have been the exact same. It's sorted now and that's all that matters."
There were a few moments of silence where they just held onto each other. Both seemed reluctant to let go or pull away. Tom chuckled and lifted his head to meet Matt's eyes. His eyes were shiny and his eyelashes were damp from his tears. "I can't believe you love me."
"Well you better start believing it," Matt winked.
"I think I fell in love with you straight away," Tom started, his voice barely above a whisper and rough with emotion. "That second time I saw you, do you remember? When you were sleeping on Tessa's sofa with Joseph in your lap? You looked so beautiful and peaceful. I think that was when I realised I needed to be with you. I had to get to know you; I needed to make you mine."
Matt gave Tom a quick peck on the lips. "Well I'm yours, babe. Please don't ever forget that."
"I'm yours too," Tom responded, nuzzling his nose against Matt's and claiming his lips in another kiss.
Matt pulled Tom towards the lounge and then signalled for him to sit down on the sofa. Matt sat next to him and rested his head on Tom's shoulder. He closed his eyes, listening to Tom's steady heartbeat and savouring the moment.
Matt suddenly remembered what had been going on before Mitchell had made his unwelcome appearance. He was supposed to be moving into his new home this evening.
"Crap. I need to head back to Tessa's and collect the rest of my things. I was in such a rush to find you that I think I left half of my stuff in her driveway," Matt said, thinking back to his frantic call from Tessa.
"We can go there now if you want. I did promise to help you, after all."
"Not yet, I want to stay like this for a little longer."
Matt pulled himself even closer to Tom's side. He was so comfortable here, so at peace now that everything was sorted and he knew that Tom loved him back. He'd been working up the courage to ask Tom something for a while now, and he decided that this was perhaps an ideal moment.
"I want you to stay with me at the house."
Tom chuckled. "I promised I would, didn't I?"
"I don't just mean for tonight, I'm talking about forever."
"What do you mean?" Tom sounded confused.
"Move in with me." Matt bit his lip as he waited for Tom's response. His heart was beating fast and he was too nervous to look up at Tom to try and gauge his reaction. Tom gently cupped Matt's chin and lifted his face so that their eyes met.
"Do you really mean that?"
"Of course I do. I've been trying to work up the nerve to ask you for a while now. I love you, and I swear there's nothing I want more than to wake up next to you every day." Matt paused. He wondering briefly whether he'd end up scaring Tom away, being this open about his feelings. "You don't have to give me an answer now or anything. You can take some time to think about it."
Tom smiled but he looked like he was about to cry again. In fact, Matt felt pretty close to tears himself. Neither man had ever been much of a crier before, but the last few hours had been one hell of an emotional rollercoaster for them both.
"I don't need time to think, I already know what I want," Tom whispered. He pecked Matt on the lips. "Of course I'll move in with you. I love you so much, babe."
It finally got to be too much for Matt. After the awful fear of thinking he'd lost Tom, and then to the proclamations of love and now this, Matt couldn't hold back the tears any more. Tom cradled Matt's face and wiped the tears away with his thumbs before claiming Matt's lips with his own. The kiss was filled with passion and lust, but mostly with love. Matt wrapped his arms around Tom's neck and pulled him close. He broke the kiss but kept the embrace, gently resting his forehead against his lover's. He took a few deep breaths to calm himself.
"As much as I'd like to stay in this moment forever, we ought to get a move on. We've got boxes to pack and a house to make a home."
Matt and Tom held hands as they walked into their new house. It was pitch black, so Matt flicked on the lights and looked around at the front room that they were standing in. Matt was quite literally seeing the place in a whole new light, for this wasn't just going to be his home now, but their home. Matt loved the sound of that. The house was pretty bare at the moment, but once they moved in all of their belongings Matt knew that the place would look absolutely perfect.
"Shouldn't we make a start on unloading the cars?" Tom asked.
"Nah, we can leave it until the morning. Unpacking is the last thing I want to do right now," Matt said with a wink.
"Oh, you had something else in mind?" Tom laughed.
"I did, actually." Matt wrapped his arms around Tom's waist and pulled him in close, rubbing himself against his partner to demonstrate exactly the kind of thing he had in mind.
"I can't believe that I'm here with you, that you really want to share your home with me."
"This is our home, baby. What do I need to do to make you start believing it? We can start moving your things in tomorrow. We can decorate the rooms together and argue about what goes where, and you can call your landlord, and I can put your name on the deeds, and you can start posting out those little change of address postcard things that overly-organised people send."
Tom laughed. "I think I get the picture."
"Good. Now come with me, we have a new bed to christen and I want to show you just how much I love you."
With that, Matt took Tom's hand and pulled him upstairs towards his bedroom – their bedroom – and did just that. If Tom had ever doubted his love and devotion before, Matt hoped that he wouldn't any longer.
One year later....
Matt was sitting on the sofa watching TV when Tom arrived home. He was late, but he'd called Matt to say that he needed to stay behind and help a few of his students with their dissertation proposals.
Tom had been working at the local University for nearly two months now and he clearly loved every second of it, even with all the papers and essays he had to bring home and mark. Matt was extremely proud of him, telling anyone who'd listen about his genius boyfriend.
"Hey babe," Tom came over and planted a kiss on Matt's forehead.
"There's dinner in the microwave," Matt said without looking away from the TV. "It not been out for long so it'll still be warm, a minute or so should do it."
"Ah, I knew I kept you around for something other than sex," Tom joked.
"Oi! Watch it, mister," Matt laughed.
Matt listened to Tom moving around in the kitchen, heating up his dinner and helping himself to some juice from the fridge. He smiled to himself. Matt was insanely happy. His life with Tom was perfect. They had their share of fights and disagreements like every couple, and they argued about stupid little things like whose turn it was to pop to the shops and who used the last of the toothpaste and forgot to replace it, but they loved each other. In the end, that was all that mattered.
After Tom had eaten his dinner and washed his plate, he joined Matt in the lounge. Matt noticed that Tom seemed a little preoccupied, but he put it down to a long day at work.
"Get over here, gorgeous," Matt said, lying across the sofa and patting the space next to him. Tom made his way over with a smile. Even after being together for more than a year, that smile still managed to take Matt's breath away.
Tom loosened his tie and undid the top button of his shirt before lowering himself on top of Matt and claiming his lips in a warm, passionate kiss. Matt pulled away to gently stroke Tom's cheek, and then turned onto his side so that Tom could wrap his arms around him and pull him close. Tom let out a happy sigh as he tightened his hold and placed kisses on the back of Matt's neck every now and then.
"We need to talk," Tom whispered into Matt's ear as he nibbled playfully at the earlobe.
"We do? I was about to suggest something a little different," Matt joked, pushing back to lightly grind his butt against the bulge in Tom's trousers.
"I'm being serious."
Tom pulled himself up into a seated position and Matt followed suit, suddenly feeling a little worried. He tried to rack his brain for what this could be about, but came up short. He reached for the remote and turned the TV off, giving Tom his full attention.
"What is it? Nothing's wrong, right?"
"No, everything's great." Tom paused to kiss Matt's cheek. "It's nothing bad, I promise. I just want to ask you something." Matt crossed his legs on the sofa and turned to face Tom.