Endings Ch. 03byingarlm©
Hi, thanks for all the votes and comments. This story is kind of a rollercoaster, but I promise to get it up pretty quick so you can all find out how it gets to the end. I will update my biog page with when new chapters are likely to be up, but I'm working on 2-3 days.
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That night I went home alone after an awkward goodbye hug. I wanted to keep him in my arms and never let him go, but I knew that there was no way I could make him love me like I loved him. It was all set in stone as far as he was concerned, and he was only ever going to see me as a brief intermission in his life while he looked for his future wife and mother of his children. I should be grateful I got that much, that I got to hold him and kiss him and make love to him, even if it was never enough for me.
I felt a strange kind of relief as I stripped off my clothes and slipped into my bed naked. I had always been waiting for this moment and at least I didn't have to spend any longer expecting the worst. The tears started anyway, my body aching to be with him and my mind berating me for not taking that last opportunity to feel his naked body against mine. I could never have done it though, I would have let him see my desperation or my tears and that would have left both of us broken. It was better that I walked away with my head held high and didn't let him see the pain I was in.
Sleep didn't come easily, even after I had cried myself out. I thought about him, his eyes sparkling at me as we teased and touched each other, his dark hair that I loved to mess out of it's waxed perfection every time I could, his beautiful body that I had spent hours worshipping whenever he would let me, his face glowing and sweaty after we had made love, and I whispered into the night the words I could never say to him.
"I love you Cam."
* * * * * *
Everyone makes mistakes, so popular wisdom has it. Sometimes you never know it was a mistake and the other course of action was the right one. Sometimes you don't find out for months or years that it was the wrong one. I knew all along, and yet if I could go back and make my choice again, I'd probably still choose him.
I reckon that most people would do the same. If you had the chance of the person of your dreams, even if it was only for a short time, wouldn't you take it? Even knowing they were going to leave you sooner or later, and that they didn't feel the same way about you?
In the end, it didn't really matter. I couldn't change my mind and undo the last year, I just had to live with the consequences. How long had it been now? In one way it all seemed to meld into one, each day as bad as the last, but in another I could probably time it to the minute. I tried to hate him for what he had done, but I couldn't. It wasn't his fault, it was mine for letting myself fall for him.
Even now, several weeks after that fateful night, I felt little better. The tears had stopped, although when I thought about it for too long I could feel them pricking at my eyes and the tingle as I held them back. I woke most mornings after dreaming about him, to a tiny moment of peace before I remembered it was all over. He'd called a few times, but I deliberately kept our chats very brief, making out I had plans and needed to get ready. I hadn't left the house beyond going to work, but he didn't need to know that. I avoided asking anything about her, knowing just from his voice that he was happy and not needing to torture myself further.
It was over a week since his last call, and I hoped I was managing to portray a man with an active social life who wasn't cut up about our 'friends with benefits' arrangement ending. I also hoped he would stop calling, not because I didn't love hearing his voice, but because every time it made the loss more acute. I knew to get over it I needed to cut all ties no matter how much I craved seeing him.
A long weekend pity party stretched ahead, and I wondered if I should go out, try and reconnect with some of my friends who I had been avoiding as far as possible for the last few weeks so I didn't let on. A couple of them knew I had been seeing someone, but no-one knew who. Seeing the state of me now they would know that it was over, and I didn't want to have to explain.
* * * * * *
Somehow I did find the will to get myself out of the house and to see my friends again, and I was welcomed back into the fold with very little comment. I was acting happy just as much as I had acted calm and understanding when I found out about Cam, but at least it meant I was largely left to deal with things on my own. No-one realised how upset I had been, or was, and aside from the occasional mention of me having been out of circulation and dirty grins at the reason why, only Alison looked at me with compassion.
She knew, but she didn't mention it, waiting for me to start a conversation that I knew I wasn't going to. I made sure I told her I was fine and it was okay, but I could tell she didn't believe me. Nor did she like the fact I wouldn't open up to her, even when she tried to corner me about it, but even she gave up in the end.
By then, I wasn't so bad, and it was easier to see friends and not have to act so much. I was kind of happy, still lonely, but I had friends and family who loved me and that meant a lot. I couldn't face the idea of a relationship and I wondered in my saddest moments whether I would ever find someone who could give me what I truly wanted and be mine, but there was nothing I could do to make that happen. Time was all I needed.
It was months before I was really over Cam. Well, perhaps not entirely, as the sound of his voice still did things to me, but it was more due to the memories they evoked than the immediate moment. Any time he spoke brought me back to him whispering in my ear as we writhed naked together and that always caused a physical reaction. But I could cope, and I enjoyed seeing him, even just about okay with the fact it was usually now with his fiancee in tow. I assumed she had no idea of my history with him, and I was content to leave it that way, even if now and again I did wish it could happen again.
I wasn't surprised to get a call from him as we spoke fairly regularly now, and got on well despite everything. No mention was ever made though, and sometimes I wondered if I had imagined those months when any time we were alone together we were naked and fucking within minutes, even once or twice when we weren't entirely alone and had to have the quietest sex ever.
"Hi Max. How's things? I was just wondering what you are up to this weekend."
"Nothing. It's gonna be a quiet one I think."
"Maybe not. I'm calling to ask a favour."
"What do you need? You know I can't do diy, but if it's a bit of painting I might be up for that," I replied.
He'd just moved into a new house with Emily and I assumed he needed help decorating.
"Nothing like that. I'm taking Emily away for a few days, we've had it booked for a couple of months, but my cousin just moved here yesterday. I don't want to leave him to fend entirely for himself in a new place and I was hoping you could meet up with him, show him round or something."
"Tour guide? I guess I can do that. Any particular time, or will he call me?"
"I booked that little Italian restaurant we like for tomorrow at 12. You can meet him then."
I went cold. That was one place I hadn't managed to go since Cam left me, it brought back too many memories and the ones of the night I found out it was all over were too raw.
"Um, can we go somewhere else? I'm not into heavy food in the middle of the day," I lied.
"Then eat a salad. He loves Italian food and it's easy for him to find. Plus you'll be in town so you can show him round after."
"Okay," I reluctantly agreed.
"Thanks Max, you're the best. I'm sure you'll get on fine with him."
* * * * * *
Next day, as I got ready for lunch I was still wondering what I had let myself in for. I wondered if I was going to get there and find a total geek who was socially inadequate, or a complete tosser who would make me want to thump him. On the other hand, I figured that Cam wouldn't do that to me unless after everything he actually didn't like me that much. He obviously trusted me too, which was nice to know. I had after all, kept a big secret for him for quite a while now and I had no intention of letting that one out of the bag.
I was a little early, and as I was shown to the table he certainly hadn't arrived. Stupidly, I hadn't even asked the guy's name, and I had no real idea of how old he was or what he looked like. My eyes flicked up every time the door opened, but no men on their own walked in so I didn't wonder if the middle-aged man with a beer gut and his wife was him, or any of the group of teenage boys.
Ten minutes after we should have met I was wondering if he was coming. After all, he'd also been faced with the prospect of lunch with a complete stranger and I doubted Cam had told him that much about me, if he even knew that much except what I liked in the bedroom. I was sipping on the drink I'd ordered and almost didn't bother to look up the next time I heard the door.
When I did, I knew instantly this was the man I was waiting for. I knew because he looked more like Cam than should have been possible. His hair was fairer, his eyes brighter, green maybe rather than Cam's hazel, but similar build and height and almost the same face. Then he saw me and grinned, and it was so much like Cam's grin I forgot to breathe. Sweet jesus, there was another guy who could turn me to mush with just a smile, that was not good.
He wandered over as I remembered that I needed to keep breathing and not start drooling. I was right about the eyes, they were a clear and dark green, absolutely gorgeous, and looking at me with amusement.
"Hi Max, I'm Paul. Pleased to meet you."
"Uh, how did you know it was me?"
Okay, not the best start, but at least it was english words in the right order, which right then seemed quite impressive when I was struggling to think straight. His voice was at least a little different too, perhaps not in tone, but he had a slight accent that marked him out as not a local. He let out a little laugh.
"I probably would have guessed by the stunned look on your face, but Cam showed me your picture."
"Sorry. I should have started with it's nice to meet you too, it's just you look..."
"Really like him? Yeah, I know. Our dads are identical twins, Cam looks just like a younger version of them, and aside from the hair and eyes so do I. At least my mum managed to sneak something in the gene pool so I look a little bit different!"
I was imagining the family parties with a room full of men that looked that good, until I realised that train of thought was not going to be good for me.
"He could have warned me!"
"That would have been no fun! Anyway, the only thing you need to remember is I'm the better looking one!"
"And the modest one?!"
We were both laughing now, and at least it had taken the edge off my surprise, and my lust. He looked thoughtful at my question.
"Probably neither of us. No-one in my family is shy and retiring, we like to be up front with people. Have you ever known Cam to be shy of telling people what he thinks or what he wants?"
Yes, I thought, but just that once. Something of that memory must have shown on my face.
"Really?" he said, sounding surprised. "I'm going to have to ask you for details some time."
Not keen to give any, and glad he hadn't asked right then, I swiftly changed the subject.
"So, Cam said you've just moved here. You settling in okay, new job and stuff?"
"Yeah. I've got work on Tuesday, but aside from induction I won't be doing much the first week. After that I'm going to be doing pretty much the same as I did before so I'm not too bothered. It's just that awkward bit of trying to remember everyone's names and where the coffee machine is. The new flat looks like a bomb has hit it right now, boxes everywhere. I'm glad to get out of the unpacking for a bit."
"If you need a hand..."
"I appreciate the offer, but if I don't do it myself I'll never find anything. Plus I probably haven't got half the things I need, but I've never lived on my own before."
"Really? How old are you?"
He laughed. "Twenty-seven. I've not just moved out from my mum though, I was in shared housing as a student and just after, and then I was living with my now ex. Now I'm doing the change of scene and young, free and single thing. Well, I might try single for a couple of days!"
"That confident you'll find someone?!"
"Like I said, I'm a big believer in telling people what I think and what I want. You'd be surprised how often that works, if you like the look of someone they appreciate knowing that for starters."
"And if they say no?" I queried, wishing I was that confident.
"Then you look for the next opportunity. Not worth worrying over the odd knockback."
He sounded so sure of himself and together I wondered how I was so insecure when I had two years on him. Still, it was a personality thing, and what I knew of his family (well, I guess only of Cam but I was getting the impression they really were very similar) they weren't shy. I had to be pretty glad of that fact too, else I might not have got laid for well over a year now.
All my fears about this meeting evaporated over our meal. He was both like and unlike Cam, but the personality was so similar I immediately gelled with him and found him easy to talk to. It didn't hurt that he was good-looking as well, and the more I looked at him the more I thought he was right about being better looking than Cam. I felt a little unfair thinking it, but it was those bright green eyes that swung it. I was so relaxed with him and our chatting I didn't even find my imagination running wild with ideas of him in my bed.
We laughed a lot over lunch and I told him about the town, although it turned out he had been down a fair few times to stay with Cam. I told him a lot about me as well, but not that I was gay and definitely not about me and Cam. I'd promised that would never get mentioned and I had no intention of doing so. I also found out about his interests and his life, although he was pretty sketchy about the break-up. It wasn't that long ago so it might still be a bit raw. I could hardly judge, I was still troubled by a break-up only I had, and that had been months ago.
When we got to coffee I was so at ease I was only marginally confused when he seemed to change the subject from our debate over the best bands quite abruptly.
"Cam was right about you."
He grinned the family grin. "He knew we'd get on. He's told me everything about you."
I raised an eyebrow. I doubted that very much, but he was still grinning back at me.
"You're thinking there's a lot I don't know, probably things I don't know about Cam as well. You're wrong. Even as far in the closet as Cam is about his occasional liking for cock, he had to tell someone."
I spluttered out a bit of my coffee at hearing that, but I didn't dare say anything. Maybe he did know that, but it didn't mean he knew I'd been some of that cock.
"He told me about truth or dare night and how he was going back for more. I have to say I was surprised, he's never been involved with a guy so long, even if his idea of involvement is sneaking around so no-one knows. He never told me a name until last week."
Okay, I was officially freaking out now, staring at the table rather than catch his eyes. I wasn't sure what to think about this, but obviously Cam had told him something or there was no way he'd know about that fateful game of truth or dare. Did he know that was me?
"You think it was me?" I kind of squeaked out, sneaking a look at his face. Of course, he was still grinning.
"I know it was you Max," he replied firmly. "He was showing me pictures of his friends, people I would get to meet now I was living here. I started asking about you and he told me."
"Why ask about me?"
He shrugged, his grin sliding a little so he looked slightly embarrassed. "Another one of our similarities. We seem to share taste in men."
I just stared at him, unable to think of anything to say, questions whirling round my head but none of them quite making sense enough to ask. Thankfully he started to answer some of them straight away.
"I'm gay Max. No closets, no secrets or sneaking around. I'm looking for a relationship not a fuck buddy. All those things I bet you wished Cam could offer you, I can."
I made some strange noise I'd never heard before, kind of a high pitched squeak. Even I didn't know what it meant exactly. I was probably in mild shock. He wanted a relationship? With me? One other thought intruded.
"What about Cam? Does he know about this?"
"He set this up so I could meet you, see whether we'd get on, if I'd think you were as cute as you are in those photos. To be honest, the way he talks about you, I know he wishes he could have offered you more, but it isn't who he is. He cares about you a lot and he wants you to be happy like he is."
"Hopefully, if you're prepared to give us a try. I know this is a bit weird and I probably shouldn't be springing it on you like this, but I really did want to meet you, even before I knew you were his big secret."
"But you don't know anything about me, or me about you. How can you think we would work out?"
"I can't know for sure, but when can you? I know I'm attracted to you, even more now I've spent some time with you, and I do know lots about you. Everything you've told me today, plus all Cam said about how great you are, and on top of that I know you kiss like a dream and are great in bed."
I blushed hard. "You shouldn't know that stuff."
"If it helps, that's all he said, I didn't get details. But it's more than enough to make me want to find out for myself!"
"Don't you think that's going to be weird?"
"No. Do you?"
That was a good question.
"Honestly, I don't know. You're so much like him, even though I see the differences. There are a lot of other ways you could be similar that might well be weird."
"You'll never know unless you try!"
I was thinking he had a point, up until I realised exactly what I was thinking about. I seemed to have missed a few steps and I went red.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I'm wondering how in just over an hour we've gone from meeting for the first time, to discussing whether we could have sex and it not be weird."
He flashed me that grin again. "It's been a good hour!"
Could I do this, really? When he looked at me that way I thought I could, but I was still scared he was going to kiss me and it be horribly familiar. Getting over a guy I had been in love with by getting involved with his cousin who could almost be his twin, bad idea and wrong on so many levels, surely? But those eyes, they were the reminder that this wasn't Cam, and this was a man who I wouldn't have to pretend with.
Those eyes were staring right at me, expecting some kind of answer and I didn't know if I had one. I did want this, if only I could be sure it would not be odd. Cam only better, more gorgeous, totally available, I wanted that but it might not be fair to him either to start something I couldn't cope with.
"I need to kiss you," I blurted out, blushing hard when I realised I'd said it out loud, and even more when I noticed that the waitress had heard me.
Paul calmly handed over enough cash to pay for our meal and her service and stood up, leaving me sitting there confused. He was walking out on me after what I said?
"Come on then. I'm guessing you don't want to do it here?"
No, I didn't, he had a good point. I scurried after him, catching up to his side once we got out the door. He turned to smile at me, but he looked nervous, not the usual confident expression I expected. It made him look even more desirable, that he wasn't totally sure of himself.