I would love to say that everything that happened last night was a dream. And that I woke up that morning and Brayden was next to me. But it wasn’t a dream. And he wasn’t next to me. To be honest, I didn’t even sleep last night. Every time I closed my eyes, his face was there to keep me awake. My tears were there. The pain. I was cold. Alone. I hope Brayden did get some sleep. Where ever he was. I’d caused enough pain.
My heart was pounding in my chest as I heard keys jingle and the lock tumble. Click. Light flooded into the room from the hallway and a figure cast a shadow in the light. Could it be...
No. It was Jason making sure I was okay. “Fuck’s sake, Matt. You look like shit,” he said as he turned my lights on.
“What did you expect to see?” I grumbled as I tried to shield my eyes from the light.
“Did you get any sleep?” he asked concerned, ignoring my question. That was probably wise of him.
“Not a wink,” I said staring off into space. “Who’s Brayden staying with? Do I know who he’s staying with?” I asked thinking Jason knew something.
“Why do you ask? You’re not going to try and get him to talk today, are you?”
I shook my head side to side as I sat up in bed. “I just wanna be sure he’s in good hands.”
“Matt, I don’t know who he’s with. But, I’m sure he’s in good hands,” he said trying to cheer me up. “ He’s got friends, just like you do. And you know what? He could be with someone you and I both know.”
“Thanks.” I said gloomily.
“I’m gonna keep checkin’ on ya today. Try to take care of yourself, and get some sleep if you can!” Jason said as he left the room. I think he kept my keys. At least, I didn’t see him put them anywhere. It was probably a good thing he kept them.
It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re lost in thought. Every time the door opened, I hoped it was Brayden. I hoped he would walk in, sit down, and listen. But, that was a false hope. I knew better.
At one point, it must have been after lunch, Jason came by. He lectured me for not eating lunch, but I wasn’t hungry. He made me promise to go out with him and Kelsey later, so I said yes. I’m glad he was still my friend. He’s a good friend.
I called Evan at one point. I was as nervous as the first time I called Brayden. I don’t know exactly why, but I suspected it had to do with my inner hope that Brayden was with either Evan or Lukas. Or, at the very least, that they knew what had happened to him.
“What the fuck do you want, asshole?” Evan said as he answered. I was so shocked I didn’t say anything right away. Tears welled up again. I had cried countless times lately; I was surprised I hadn’t run dry.
I still hadn’t composed myself so Evan broke the silence.
“Hello?” Evan questioned harshly.
“Is he ... is he okay?” I said softly before I sniffled. What a stupid fucking question.
I had hoped to get a response, but that didn’t happen. Click. Evan hung up on me. It hurt. It felt like my nerves were ripped out, wiggled at me like they were a toy, and thrown back in my face. I had been sitting on Brayden’s futon, so I just fell over onto my side and cried. I tried to call Evan back just to talk, but he didn’t answer. It rang twice and then went straight to voicemail. “Hey, you’ve reached Evan Schmidt. I seem to be busy...” I hung up. Why wouldn’t he listen? Is this how Brayden would react, too?
Much to my surprise, a few minutes later, Evan came down and walked into my room. He walked straight over to the futon, sat down, and said, “I need to hear from you what the fuck happened before I pass my judgement.” he said, expecting me to answer, “So just tell me. What the fuck happened last night?” Tears fell from my face as I stared ahead, still silent.
“I...” I started, but sputtered as I tried to find the right words. “I let Dean kiss me last night.” I finally said.
“Okay ...” Evan paused. Now, he looked like he was trying to remember something. “Wait,” he started like he had found the key to it all, “he kissed you? Did you kiss him back?”
The thought of that kiss still hurt; I decided just to explain to Evan everything I could remember. I took a deep breath, exhaled, and let the story flow out. “Somehow, Dean and I ended up in the kitchen alone. He said something, but I wasn’t really listening to him. I smiled because I felt it would be the polite thing to do, and then he grabbed me by the back of the head and kissed me. I was so shocked I couldn’t even close my eyes. It felt so wrong.”
“Okay.” he said. “Well, you still have to make this right.”
“I know.” I said solemnly. “I just hope he’ll listen when the time comes. I don’t think I’ll sleep until my body forces me to. Every time I close my eyes, I see his face. His tear-filled eyes.” My eyes watered as the image came to mind again.
I looked over at Evan and could see his eyes were tearing up, too. “Sorry.” I said flatly as I looked down in shame. “Can you keep him busy? Can you help him have fun? Can you do that for me? I don’t want him to be as miserable as I am. He didn’t do anything wrong. This suffering is mine to bear. It’s my penance,” I said as looked him back in the eyes.
He got up and said, “I’ll try my best.”
As he made his way towards the door, I said, “Evan? If he ever wants to use the room for anything, let me know. I can be gone for however long it takes. If he wants to sleep here, I can sleep in my car. I don’t want to be hinderance to him anymore.” He nodded, opened the door and walked out. I noticed him go into Jason’s room and close the door behind him, but I didn’t really want to know what they were going to talk about.
The rest of Sunday was quiet. Of course I was still upset about everything that had happened, but I was also glad that nothing else happened. I had to look on the bright side of something. Dean had texted me a couple of times throughout the day, but I didn’t even look at those messages. I didn’t want anything to do with him.
Jason and Kelsey took me out to dinner like they promised. I didn’t eat much, but at least I’d have leftovers for a couple of days. I half expected Kelsey to lecture me at some point for being a dumbass. But she didn’t. I wouldn’t say she or Jason were supportive of what I’d done, but they still did their best to cheer me up. I just wish it could all work out that easily.
Later that evening, I heard Jason’s door open and close. Rather noisily at that. Curious as I am, I got up and peered through the eye-hole in the door. I wanted to see something. Something that would make this all better. And hear something I did! A laugh from Jason’s room. Brayden’s laugh! I felt that warm, fuzzy feeling inside when I heard it. I wondered what Jason must have said to get Brayden to laugh... Whatever it was, thank you Jase! You’re the best!
Then, my heart started to pound and that warm feeling ... the feeling I’d wanted to feel for the past day ended. Jason’s door was opening. And my Brayden was right there. He walked up to my door -- our door -- and reached up, as if to knock. I thought my heart was going to leap right out of my chest. Brayden was here, less than two feet away.
Suddenly, something caused Brayden to stop. His arm froze in place. He looked to his side. He looked back one last time. I wanted so badly for that door to disappear. I wanted to reach out and touch his face. Wanted to talk to him. For whatever reason. Brayden’s arm fell to his side. He wasn’t going to knock. Why? Why wouldn’t he knock? The nerves I felt, the warmth inside, all gone. Gone with that single motion. He sighed to himself, frowned, and walked away.
I started to cry all over again. I couldn’t catch my breath. I leaned my forehead against the door and sobbed. Brayden’s afraid. Afraid to talk to me now! Why couldn’t I just open that fucking door and hug him? I was so close to him ... yet so far away.
Suddenly, there was a knock at my door. Whoever it was pushed the door open. I fell backwards. I didn’t even want to know who was there. I landed on my ass and slid a foot or so. But all I wanted to do was hide my face. I laid down on my back on the cold floor and covered my eyes in shame with my hands.
“Oh shit, Matt!” I heard Jason say as he towered over me. “I’m so sorry! What were you doing there?”
“Oh, uh...” I mumbled. Jason reached down and helped me up as I tried to collect my thoughts. “As stupid as this sounds, I heard your door open and close. So I went to my door and looked out the eye-hole. I was about to sit back down, but then I heard a laugh. His laugh. I knew it had to be Brayden.”
I looked into Jason’s eyes to see how stupid I must sound. I couldn’t read him. I didn’t know what to say to him. “I just want to say thank you, Jase. Thanks for whatever you did to make him laugh!” I hugged him.
I had said ‘thanks’ to Jason without smiling. I think that was a first for me. It felt weird. I had hugged him with so much uncertainty. I’d never done that before. Nothing felt right.
“Okay,” Jason said, breaking my awkward tension, “then why were you crying just now?”
“I saw him, Jase. He was right at the door. He was gonna knock. And then he didn’t. He just walked away.”
“It will all work out, Matt.” Jason assured.
Later that night, I watched a movie with Jason, Evan, and Kelsey. Even though Brayden and I had only been with each other about three weeks, it felt weird to not be cuddling during a movie. Or in a dark room.
After I returned to my room for the night, I decided to ask the Internet what I should do. I had been on a forum before and I looked through the advice area on occasion. Sometimes, you never know when you might be able to offer some advice to someone else.
I quickly scanned some of the topics that had been made recently. I stumbled upon one titled, “Trouble in paradise” by MidwestSwimfan2009. I started to read it, because, well, my paradise was in trouble, too.
ok. so, me and my boyfriend have been dating for just over three weeks. we’ve had sex and we have great chemistry. i thought i loved him, and i thought he loved me. we’ve both said it and neither of us were opposed to that. we even live together now.
Interesting. Maybe I could help this guy out.
this is kind of a long story, so i’m just gonna throw that out there. on thursday night, we were fucking and got walked in on. i knew we were being watched from the very first, but it turned me on so much i didn’t want them to leave. the two guys that walked in happened to be friends, so when we were done fucking, they tried to tease us about it, but neither me or my bf would have any of it. at that time, i didn’t think it was a big deal, but it really freaked my bf out.
Oh my God, Brayden!
that night, i slept like shit. my mind was really bothered by the fact that he was freaked out about the walk in and that it turned me on so much. i confessed to it being a turn on the next morning, and after a couple moments he said that he didn’t really care as long as we didn’t let it happen again. but, i think it really did bother him more than he was willing to admit.
I think it did, too.
friday night, my bf and i didn’t fuck, but we 69ed. everything seemed just fine. he made sure to lock the door and we both laughed about that. i thought everything was good. then, saturday morning came around, and he woke up in a weird mood. it wasn’t around long, but he was really gloomy at first. it’s not that he’s not a morning person. he’s always positive and always smiling, no matter the time of day...
... so, after a few minutes, i asked him why he had never drank before. of course we were still underage, but everyone i had known drank at some point. and he told me that he was afraid of his secrets (like coming out)...
That’s not exactly how I put it, but I guess he got the point.
... and then he told me he probably would, now that the cat was out of the bag (he’s out), as long as he was in control it couldn’t hurt. by the time we got to the party, it was pretty packed. we were both pretty excited, and it turned out we had a friend there who we weren’t expecting to be there. that friend and my bf teamed up for some beer pong, and my bf warned me things could get interesting (remember, he never drank before). while they were playing, a girl noticed the way i was looking at my bf and we started talking. it turned out she was a lesbian and we both just chatted the night away...
As I read about the girl, I remembered getting a little jealous about him talking to her. I’m so stupid! I had nothing to fear with Brayden. I never did.
... every time i’d look over at my bf, he was having a blast. and he was getting really drunk, and the other friend was getting really touchy-feely with him. after they were done playing, they both went to the kitchen. i’d enough of the party, so i went to get him and bring him home. when i went in the kitchen, my bf was kissing the guy. i called my bf’s name to make sure it was him, and it was. i started crying right there and just left. i didn’t look back. i went to our room and packed some clothes and i stayed the night on a friends futon.
so, i need some advice. my bf has said that he gives people a chance, whether that’s to get to know them or anything else. should i follow his advice?
Amazingly, that was just the main post. I started to get curious at what other people said, so I continued. I shouldn’t have. One person wrote, “He’s already out of the honeymoon phase. You should be too. Move on from him for your own good.”
“He’s been playing you since the start. He’s a cheater, and cheater’s cheat. It’ll just happen again if you let him back in.” I started to tear up as I read on. These people were so mean!
Not all posts were like that, though. One said, “Let him back in, call your two friends, and have a hot and steamy four-way!” Of course someone was just thinking about the sex...
Another post made me feel more at ease. It read:
“This is early relationship stuff. A lot of times early stage relationships exhibit scenes out of bad romance novels. At least two things are going on here. The two of you need to learn how to be in a relationship, something, by the way, that needs to be discussed, not assumed. The other thing is that every person who drinks has to take responsibility for their actions while high or drunk. Perhaps your bf learned a lesson. Talk to him.”
Yes, he has! A very awful lesson. Please, Brayden. Please ignore some of the others. Listen to this one!
I kept reading because I saw another post from Brayden.
ok, so today has been interesting. he called my friends bf and they talked for less than a minute before my friends bf hung up. the friend that i’m staying with said i should let him talk to me. everyone close to me says he still cares. so, i went and talked with his best friend. after we talked (he happens to be our RA), i almost knocked on the door to our room. but i couldn’t. i need more time. was that the right thing to do? should i have chickened out?
The next person to post was the same guy from earlier. The one who I hoped Brayden would listen to. That post read, “Don’t talk to friends. Talk to him directly.”
Please, Brayden. Please, please, please listen to this guy.
I decided that right before bed, I’d make a topic of my own and just go to sleep. It would give me a chance to hear the neutrality, and maybe even Brayden would see it. I clicked on “New Topic”, found the subject line and typed “I messed up”, and started to tell my story.
My goal with the post was simple: to get advice. I wanted to hear what other people had to say, and to do that, I had to explain what had happened. If they noticed the similarity between my story and Brayden’s, then good for them. I would also hope that they would notice that I’m willing to admit that I was wrong and that I still care.
I decided that in order to reach my goal, I had to explain my side of the story from the beginning. I tried to show how quickly our love had blossomed. I tried to explain where I thought the trouble started: the night Lukas and Evan walked in on us. My mind was quite foggy for a couple days because of that.
I think the wild card of the whole sequence was alcohol. I told the forum this, and I said that I lost control once I was at the party. At the time, I didn’t know if I lost control because I was drunk, or because I got jealous after seeing Brayden with that girl. But, I saw his side of the story, so I didn’t write anything about the jealousy.
I had to be really clear in the post that I was extraordinarily torn up by the whole thing, because I really was. I just didn’t know what to do. Heck, I still don’t know what to do! The one thing I had to be clear about was that I didn’t kiss Dean back. It wasn’t even a mutual kiss.
The last thing I wrote about was the incident at the door. I didn’t want to ask if I should have opened the door, because that’s already in the past. I can’t change something I’ve done. If I could go back and change things now, I would have hung out with Brayden the whole night.
I ended the post by asking two related questions. Should I approach Brayden? Or, should I give him some time and space and let him approach me?
I quickly did a once-over of my topic, decided it was good enough, and clicked “Submit”. I went to bed shortly after, with Brayden’s shirt clutched firmly in my grasp.