Choice

by Steven Davenport

[B]Prologue    

[I]

[/B]The water hammered down on the window. The garden was blurred by the water than had already coated the window, and by the veritable wall of water still falling from the sky. The garden always looked best like this. Soaking wet, and viewed from the inside out.

There was that nostalgia again. It was a dirty fighter, it crept up on him silently, as he least expected it. He remembered this house so well, when he opened the door for the first time the nostalgia flooded him, as if the house was filled to the brim with it, and it couldn't escape, until he opened the door, and it all rushed out at once, flooding him, almost drowning him. And as he walked around the house, it would occasionally sneak up and bite him.

He'd only been gone for a few years, how could he be so nostalgic all of a sudden? He'd hoped he would be ok, but it appeared not.

Doubt started to flicker slowly across his mind. Slowly at first, but once it had found the chinks in the armour of denial it began to force its way through much faster. What if he had a girlfriend? Or boyfriend? What if he never wanted to see him again? What if he'd only allowed him to come here to get his revenge?

He should stop, it was no use playing what if? it would get him nowhere. But as much as he told himself that, his brain continued to play, violating its own direct order. He continued to visualise different scenarios, each one horrifying in its own right.

John was a great bloke, but would he want to speak after the way he'd been treated? Or would he throw him out on his arse, with nowhere to live? Or would it be worse than that. Maybe he'd rough him up, or cut him. He guessed John wouldn't know where to get a gun, but that might be too simple for him. Maybe he'd tie him down to a chair, like the hostages in all the films. Then he'd put tape around his mouth to stop him from screaming. Then he'd just go a step further, and use the tape to block up his nose as well. Simple. Could John do that? It was doubtful, but if he'd wanted to just get rid of him, would he have invited him here? No he'd have said fuck off down the phone, and that would have been the end of it.

Stop it he told himself aloud. Just stop it, you're getting nowhere. Good advice.

So why could he not take it?

He looked out of the window, as he had done on so many occasions before, and saw the water beginning to slow down in its consistent hammering. The garden remained blurred. The blurriness of the garden was a strong point in John's consistent moaning about the weather. He rarely stopped moaning about the weather.

The chair beckoned him. The chair which had been so faithful in his years here. He'd kept it. John had actually kept the chair. Well there was a spot of good news, in among all the pessimism.

[/I]Unless he was planning to kill me in my favourite chair [I]he thought to himself. Oh stop it. I suppose he kept it for all these years assuming you'd phone him out of the blue as well.

The thought had no logic to it, he could see that. So why could he not simply discount it as a possibility? Why did it have some kind of weird intangible believability about it? He didn't know. He simply didn't know. He sat down in his old favourite chair, turned off the small bedside lamp, which resided in the living rooms for reasons that always remained unknown to him. And he waited. He awaited the return of John to his life

[/I][B]Part 1: The Meet.

[/B][I]Sean moved in with John in early 1995, and lived there until late 2000. They had been friends since Primary School, and both of them were about 6 feet tall, with short black hair. From a distance they looked like identical twins. Close up their facial features proved to be very different of course, but at a distance they did look very similar.

In the first week of February 1995 John was two weeks away from his twenty eighth birthday, while Sean had celebrated his own on the second of January. They came to live in the same house as they had both come to the end of their respective long term relationships, and Sean had nowhere to live, while John had a newly created space for someone to live in. Due to the break up of the relationships they had simply assumed would last forever, both of them were in fear of any kind of long term romantic commitment.

The arrangement suited both of them. They would regularly bring girls back to the place, and they would enjoy themselves. This usually happened while they were drunk (both John or Sean, and whatever girl they were with.) On one occasion they'd managed to get two girls very drunk, and they were very much up for a little bit of fun together. And when the girls did not come, John and Sean had each other.

John and Sean were both bisexual, and proud of it. This was, in the end the reasons for the break up of their relationships. For John that was an indirect reason (The main reason was apparently the fact he was a filthy scumbag. And that is the best he will get, as that came from the horses mouth. He was fond of that saying, because it made him look like he was describing Phillipa as a horse.) For Sean the reason was all too direct. Just as it seemed wedding bells may well be in the air, and Sean was planning a proposal, he told her. She was fine with it, until he admitted that, in the past, he had slept with other men. She threw him out immediately, saying that it was nothing personal, but that he made her feel dirty. She hoped he would take no offence.

So he could no longer live in her house, and Phillipa could no longer live in John's. Phillipa went back to her parents until she could get sorted out, and Sean went to live with John, his parents having no value to him where they were. (His mother in a coffin, and his father in an old person's home.) And they lived like that for five full years. Then, a month or so after the turn of the millennium, a few things started to change

[/I]Hey watch yourself there big boy. The voice was seductive, and seemed to be coming from the attractive blonde in the shop doorway. A quick look around confirmed that as fact, as she was the only female close enough to have spoken it. As his eyes flicked over her she offered an enticing smile. It was strange, he was the only person in the immediate vicinity, so the immediate assumption had to be that she was talking to him. But that was not possible surely? (It is possible Sean, a voice in his head chirped and don't call me Shirley. A throwback, no doubt, to some comedy thing or another he'd watched.) And that left only one other option. The woman was talking to herself.

Happy that the unusual phenomenon of being spoken to by a sober female had been cleared up in a satisfactory manner, he went on his way, not giving the woman a second glance. His progress away from the unusual distraction to his day was quickly halted when pain suddenly hit him in the face, and he fell backwards, dropping the plastic supermarket bags he was carrying, and allowing his purchases to spill on the pavement.

He put his hand to his nose, and saw that blood was flowing from it. Shit he exclaimed with good natured humour, and he looked upwards to see what caused the sudden rush. The good natured humour rapidly changed to embarrassment as he noticed that he had, apparently, walked into a piece of scaffolding.

I told you to watch yourself came the seductive voice. It was less seductive this time though, filled instead with concern, and something else, which was just out of the reach of his comprehension. It danced tantalisingly, just out of his reach, like the water mirages that lay at the end of a long road on a hot day. He could chase for hours and not quite get what that extra thing was. But

It seemed like a barb. Among the seductive and concerning elements, was that a hint of a barb. I told you it rasped angrily at him. Could it be that there was any hint of nastiness in such a fantastic voice? Or that such a beautiful thing could be cruel towards him, when he was clearly in pain? It didn't seem likely, but then it didn't seem that likely that such a beautiful woman was speaking to him, but it appears she was.

Either way it was unimportant right now, it was something he could deal with later. For now he had to deal with stopping the pain and the blood. He put his hand up to his nose, and was disappointed to note no significant let up in the blood loss. What was it you should do to stop a nose bleed? Damn, if only he'd paid attention in those first aid lessons he took at school. And in almost all his jobs. You pinched the tip of the nose first, but then what? Tilt you head? Maybe, it was his only suggestion at any rate.

He pinched the tip of his nose and tilted his head backwards. For a few seconds nothing happened, until his head was suddenly thrust forwards by an unseen force.

Don't do that! A voice screeched at him. He assumed it was her again, but he couldn't be sure of that. The voice had changed. It was still female, and the high pitch of the screech confirmed that if nothing else, but it was still different. The seductive tone was gone, and so was the concern, and the other thing, that might have been a barb, but might not have been. All that was in the voice now was panic. Sean coughed hard, and expelled some blood from his nose to the concrete in front of him. The mysterious woman, who, it appeared, had been the one to push his head forward took three great whooping breaths. Youshouldn'tdo She began to splutter out between breaths. Suddenly she couldn't go on, and she flicked away from his vision. He heard a click, and a sound of gas escaping. It was not exactly like gas escaping, but that was the closest comparison that could be made. Sean immediately identified it as the sound of an inhaler being triggered, because it was a sound he heard quite a lot during his childhood. Like his sister, this woman clearly suffered from asthma.

Having triggered the inhaler, she continued as if she'd been having no problem, something which he assumed she was used to having to do. You shouldn't tilt your head backwards, you can choke on the blood. You should always tilt your head forward.

For reasons he would never be able to describe this struck Sean as absurdly funny. He began to splutter laughter, dousing the pavement with blood as he did. Th... th... ththanks a loh loh... lot. He struggled to force out, laughter having a complete grip. He stopped trying to talk and howled laughter for a few seconds. Then he felt like he was out of the grip of laughter he decided to try and talk again.

He was more than a little miffed when he discovered he couldn't. He tried but the breath got stuck in his throat as laughter tried to catch him again. And suddenly he was no longer the idiot who walked into the scaffolding, but the idiot who was about to die laughing. He was going to die here, because he couldn't breath, he was simply going to expire because something was so funny. Absurdly he began to wonder just what his epitaph may be if he did expire here because of that. Fuck knowledge, a little laughter is a dangerous thing was one option, but It wasn't THAT funny! was his personal favourite.

Panicked, the girl did the only thing she could think of. She pushed her inhaler into his mouth and triggered off a long hard blast. Sean coughed furiously, and pushed it away from his face. He took two whoops of breath, and calmed down. He wiped his nose and noticed the bleeding has begun to subside. As soon as he felt ready to continue without breaking into another laughing fit, he began his speech again. He was delighted to discover that he could now manage it.

That tastes like fucking horse shit. He announced, before breaking down in laughter again. Tears began to slip down his cheeks. He thought about how absurd he must look, on the pavement, his shopping spread behind him, his nose gushing blood, which stained his new jeans, in fits of laughter. The image caused him to laugh more.

I know, the voice replied I don't know how the fuck I live with it. The word fuck was emphasised, somewhat sarcastically, as if to say, yeah potty mouth, I can swear as well. Don't I feel like such a big motherfucker? Then she also began laughing. They laughed for a period of time that could have ranged between a few seconds, and an hour. A minute or two was probably the most likely, and logical, answer, but it felt like much longer.

A few minutes later they were in a local caf, Sean with a cup of coffee, and the girl, who was called Andrea, had a mug of hot chocolate (with cream and marshmallows.) They were sharing a chocolate clair.

I shouldn't be eating this Andrea mock-whined, A moment on the lips

A lifetime on the fuckin' hips. Sean finished angrily. Andrea shot him a shocked, and hurt look. Immediately Sean filled up with guilt. Sorry, my ex said that so much, pissed me off a bit.

Andrea flashed him a quick smile. Apology accepted it said. Of course, she didn't look as good as you do.

Andrea gave a false giggle. Stop it. She instructed friendlily, and Sean instantly obeyed. His heart raced. He could almost feel his brain groaning at his mindless idiocy. She clearly likes you, it insisted, why are you so fucking nervous? And no matter how much the logical part of his brain knew that was true, there was a mad illogical part that argued madly against the idea. It was the same part of the brain that was apparently still in shock that she'd suggested coming to get a drink, to calm his nerves. And the same part that insisted he should leave her well alone, after all the ice cream would melt. What if she doesn't? this part of his brain screamed, What if she is desperate to get away from me? How stupid will I look then? And no amount of explaining that if she was that desperate she wouldn't have suggested a drink would help.

Look there's this film onI was gonna see it, would Sean began, and he stopped when he realised he sounded like a stereotypical idiot asking a woman out. He looked down, and tried to avoid meeting her gaze.

I'd love to go to the cinema with you Sean. She said in a voice so awash with kindness Sean honestly believed it was unhealthy. I assume that was what you were trying to ask?

Yeah He laughed in reply, so delighted with her help that he would have happily agreed if she suggested that Sean Connery should star in a musical comedy-horror film about teenagers in the Vietnam War. They exchanged phone numbers, and each went on their way.

[B]Part 2: Back Home

[/B]Honey, I'm home. Sean yelled in his best shrill American actor voice. He hung his coat in the cupboard under the stairs, thinking that what they really needed to make his daily ritual more authentic was a hat stand by the door. And a hat to go on it perhaps? That's what they did, the came in, yelled honey I'm home and put their hat on the stand. Whereupon their loving family, Wife, kids, dog, etc, would come to welcome their wonderful man home after a hard day out earning bread for the family. It was corny, or sure, but it was a good type of corny. It was a type of corny that Sean thought he could probably live with.

Why don't you give that a fucking rest? John asked, partly in jest, but partly very pissed off. You've said it every time you've come in for five fucking years, do you not think it may be wearing just a tiny bit thin?

Lay off you potty mouth cunt. Sean replied with a grin, and they both laughed. They'd laughed a lot in the five years they'd been living together, and Sean was happy about that. He was also very happy that there had been few or no tears shed in that time. There had been a number of other fluids pumping, but they were not tears.

How has your day been then dear? John asked, in a fantastic whining housewife voice. While I've been here looking after your house for you.

You wanna go out and get a job then dearest. Sean quipped immediately. John's unemployed status was the subject of much discussion in the shared house, and any chance to make a joke about it, funny or otherwise, Sean jumped straight on it. This was aided by his lightning wit, and his perfect delivery.

Actually since you ask, my day was fantastic. I met the most incredible girl.

Oh The voice had something unusual in it. Like the possible barb from Andrea, it was something Sean could not immediately diagnose. He could sense the apathy in there, but it was almost as if the apathy was covering something else up. But unlike the barb, it was something he could not even hazard a guess at. If he was covering something up he had done so almost perfectly, the only mistake was allowing Sean to know there was something to cover up.

Don't be too happy for me mate, you'll only build my hopes up! He exclaimed sarcastically, and he began to walk away towards his room.

I'm sorry mate. John called out quickly, and Sean stopped in his tracks. He pivoted on the spot, as if he had a metal pole jammed up his backside like those rubbish models you saw sometimes at amusement parks and such, and looked right at John. It's just I He paused, attempting to think up a believable lie. I was thinking about how long it's been since I had a real girlfriend.

Sean looked at him for a moment, considering confronting him. He was a terrible liar, Sean could always read him like a book. Then he decided he didn't really care why John was so apathetic. He just wanted to be alone for awhile. We've had a few girls over the years though haven't we mate?

John gave a little laugh. Yeah, I guess we have. And not always at separate times.

Or in separate beds. Sean reminded him with a grin. They each laughed, and Sean span back around and went into his room, reflecting that it wasn't always even separate girls. Or indeed girls at all.

He lay on his bed and thought about some things, Andrea, John, the things they had hidden in their voices, anything else. Then he fell asleep.

As he slept he dreamed. He had always been a vivid dreamer, and this was another vivid dream. Andrea was running away from him, and he was giving chase. And he chased on and on, through numerous landscapes. On minute he was in the street where he first met her, then he was in a cornfield, and then he was in New York. And it was in New York that he finally caught up with her. And as he reached out to her, she span, and her face

Her face wasn't there. Her face was John's face. And then she (or was it he?) brought up her arm, and it had a straight razor in it. And she pushed it towards his face and

And he woke up. And within two minutes he was asleep again. He awoke again two hours later, with no recollection of his waking, or the dream that preceded it. But he did have an unusual feeling. A feeling that, like the elements in both John and Andrea's voices, he couldn't comprehend.

He thought about it for a few moments, before discarding the thought into the rubbish bin of his mind, where discarded thoughts would wait for a few days before being removed for good. That was, of course, unless the raccoon or fox of the subconscious mind was to remove the thought in the raiding of the bin. Then it would often run off with the thought, and leave a horrible mess to clean up. Still raccoons were rare in this country (so rare the estimated number of wild raccoons was zero,) and Sean had never seen a wild fox in his life, so he hoped he was pretty safe. Most days the bin-men came and emptied the rubbish with no problem.

Sean suddenly realised that his exquisitely stupid metaphor was making his head hurt even more than what he was thinking about prior to it, and he put it in the rubbish bin as well. He went out planning to go out and get pissed, as he knew it was the only way to get to sleep after he'd had an afternoon nap. He expected John would be up for it, he was always up for Saturdays, though never Fridays. This was always something that confused Sean, as surely every day felt the same to him, being unemployed and all. Especially in the football close season, when there was nothing distinguishing to do on a Saturday. (Sean was a huge West Brom fan, while John was a lover of Wolverhampton wanderers. These were the big West midlands rivals, along with Birmingham and the Villa.) They rarely went to matches, except when they were playing each other, but they would each stay home and listen to their respective team on local radio, and would often bet on the outcome of each others matches. It gave them something to do on a Saturday, and was great fun.

So he and John would go out tonight, and get pissed. And then he would forget any unpleasantness he was currently feeling, and everything would be ok. And in a few weeks, it would all be much better. He could feel it.

[B]Part 3: Choice

[/B]He looked back on that thought, and was delighted to discover he was right. Everything was better. It was about two months since he first met Andrea, and things had consistently improved. And from such a disastrous meeting it may not seem unusual for things to improve, but this improvement was meteoric. It was as if his life had been the little metal thing in those test your strength fairground games. As a kid he'd always wanted a go on one of those, and he never got the metal thing anywhere near the target. He'd always be delighted when it went higher than last time, thinking he was getting there. Then Dad would have a go, and he would always make the bell ring. And then the prize would be handed over. Sean admired the way Dad did it, but he always felt a bit empty of what he'd been trying for so long.

Sean was starting to realise that that was how his life had been. He'd been bouncing up and down near the bottom, thinking he was happy when he never really was. And it was only now that Dad was here to have a go that he saw so far away from happy he really was in all that time. Andrea had hit the hammer down hard, and the bell was ringing, and now he was getting his prize. But he still felt emptiness for just how little his former life was seeming to mean to him. An emptiness, because now he knew, that pre-Andrea, his life was essentially pointless. He'd enjoyed his time with John, but it was over now, and soon Andrea would be everything.

So why could he not enjoy it? Why was it that now he had found true happiness, he could do nothing but think about how essentially unhappy the rest of his life was? Maybe it was living here, in the pointlessness that had surrounded him for so long.

So was he going to accept?

He thought he was. He'd miss John, sure, but this was the way to enjoy this happiness, without constant reminders about the pointlessness of the rest of his life. He'd been shocked when the offer came, but it seemed like a good idea now. He'd have to go and speak to John before accepting of course, and that was what he was going to do now.

He placed his key in the lock and began to turn. To his surprise the door seemed to be open already. He removed the key and pulled the handle. With a slight push the door swung inwards.

We've been robbed his mind screamed at him and whoever did it is in here waiting for you. And as you walk through the door they're going to kill you. The thought was so terribly paranoid it almost made him burst out laughing. But beneath that urge it wasn't the slightest bit amusing. Because it was a possibility. John never left the house unlocked.

He pushed open the door to the living room slowly, and was relieved to see John sat on the sofa. He offered a small wave of welcome, and smiled at Sean. But there was something not right about it all. John's mouth may have been smiling, but his eyes were not.

He's in here. The guy who broke in is here, and he's pointing a weapon of some kind at John. And he is near the door so that I can't see him. And when I walk in he's going to kill me. Sean tried to force the thought away, but he could not silence it. It was there, deep inside his brain, worrying him. He tried to tell himself that it was not affecting him, but it wasn't true. After all, he hadn't walked into the room yet had he?

He stepped through the door, into the living room. Except it was no longer the living room, it was the realm of the unknown. What would he find stood behind the door? And what would it do to him once it appeared?

The answer to both the questions was, of course, nothing. Nobody was stood behind the door, and when he saw that he felt a sensation of dumb relief flood him. Pretty soon that was replaced with a feeling of embarrassment. He sat down on his chair, which was on the left hand side of the room from the point of view of the sofa. The sofa was in the middle, with a chair on either side. John used the sofa, and Sean sat on the chair to the left. The chair on the right was rarely used. The suite was a deep red, with a leafy floral pattern on, in almost the same colour as the rest of the suite. In the centre of the room was a table, and on the far wall was a TV. A top of the range 22 plasma screen TV. In each corner there was a speaker for the surround sound. All of the furniture pointed towards this TV.

Mate I need to speak to you. Sean began, but he was cut off by John.

I need to speak to you as well.

You go first then. Sean said quickly, happy for the chance to delay what he was going to say, even for a few seconds. As he said it he began to realise something. While he was thinking the mad paranoid thoughts earlier, it was the first time in the entire week he'd stopped thinking about the Andrea situation.

We've lived together for quite some time haven't we?

Yeah, about five years I think.

And we've been mates for most of our lives haven't we?

Yeah

It's not enough anymore Sean.

I'm not sure I follow.

Being mates isn't enough for me Sean. It hasn't been for a while. I need something more. And I need that something more with you. I I think I'm in love with you Sean.

Sean had heard the phrase his mind reeled before, but up until now, he'd never realised what it meant. It had just been one of those phrases that got used, but never really meant anything as far as he was concerned. But suddenly he knew exactly what it felt like for a mind to reel. And his was reeling faster than anyone could imagine.

He felt insane. This wasn't right, it couldn't be true. People don't just go from being unable to get a sober girl, to having two people declaring their love to them within a matter of months. That was the kind of thing that happened in movies, not in real life.

Of course in movies people wouldn't be lost for words. If this was a movie he'd be in the middle of a big teary speech now, saying that he loved John too, or that he was sorry, but he was in love with Andrea. Instead he just sat, his mind spinning madly, trying to figure out exactly what was going on.

Eventually he decided on what to say. He knew he had to stay calm. He felt like an airline pilot, having to stay calm and reassure the passengers, no matter how much he wanted to scream and cry. [I]Ladies and gentlemen, I regret I must inform you that our engines have become somewhat detached from the rest of the aeroplane, so I'm going to have to ask you to fasten your seatbelts, and brace yourself for some turbulence.

[/I]

I'm gonna have to sleep on this mate. But I think you should know something. His voice was shaking, he was unable to keep it under control. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid that we are going to have to make an emergency landing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, so I'm going to ask you to retrieve your lifejackets from underneath the seats, and pray for your souls right about now. Andrea's got a new job in New York. He could tell from the look on John's face that he wasn't assuming that she was planning on going off without him. And she's asked me to go to America with her.

John just sat in stunned shocked silence. Not another word was spoken as Sean went to his bedroom and stared blankly at the ceiling. John sat on the Sofa and stared blankly at the black screen of the TV. They both stayed like that for a long time.

[B]Sean's head banged heavily as he got up. His brain seemed to be pulsing, which was unusual, as he'd not had any alcohol yesterday. He smiled a humourless smile as he realised that he was having his first ever sober hangover. He'd literally over-thought his brain. But it was the end of that. He'd made a decision.

He climbed out of bed, got dressed, and left the room. He went to the bathroom, brushed his teeth and sorted out the mess of his hair. He walked out and saw John sat in the same place as he was the night before. Could he have sat there all night? It was possible. Sean didn't really want to rule anything out. But thinking that the guy was sat there all night wasn't really going to help him with what he had to do now was it?

He tried to push it away, but failed. It was there, eating at his mind, making what he had to do even more difficult.[I]

I can't believe you're feeling sorry for yourself,[/I] a violent voice rasped inside his head, imagine what that poor sod is going through. Now get the fuck in there, and talk to him.

Sean stood in the doorway of the bathroom, hoping John would not look over. John maintained his straight stare on the wall. Fucking chickenshit gobshite! Get the fuck over there and talk to him!

Sean didn't. As he found often happened, the angry voice in his head had decided against beating around the proverbial foliage, and gave him some good straight advice. And, as ever, he didn't take it. Instead he went back into the bathroom, and looked for some kind of excuse to avoid speaking to John. He put in his contact lenses, combed his hair again, brushed his teeth again, shaved, and washed his face. Slowly, and unwillingly, he realised that there was nothing more to do. He had run out of reasons to put it off. He hung his head, and walked out, into Christ knows what kind of mess he was going to create. Lamb to the fuckin' slaughter he thought unhappily, and opened the door.

Hey mate, you up?

What's it fuckin' look like? he snapped curtly. The voice was deliberately angry, but that covered up something different. And this time Sean could tell what it was. Fear. John was terrified of what Sean was going to say. And Sean was willing to bet that part of him didn't want to know what Sean had to say. Sean knew, because Sean had felt the same thing. He had felt it when he first propositioned Andrea to come in for 'coffee.' ('Coffee' Sean suspected, would soon exist only as a byword for sex. And why not? It tasted filthy anyway.)

Sorry, sorry. Sean replied, doing his best to sound taken aback. You alright this morning?

Enough fucking about Sean. He replied. That was all.

I'm sorry. Sean said simply. I'm going to go with Andrea. He was trying his best to sound compassionate, and was failing miserably. John didn't reply. He sat, focusing on the wall. There was a small quaver in the eyes of his previously stone-face.

Without saying another work, Sean went into his bedroom, and packed away his stuff into two suitcases, which he had left over from when he moved in. He bought them with his inheritance from his mother, who died just a month before he was thrown out his house (and relationship.) He got little more from her, the rest went to his father. He loved his dad, but he was waiting on his death to get hold of the little goldmine that he was whittling away on being alive in an old people's home. Not that he would have wished his dad dead of course.

He took one look around his old bedroom, and grabbed the suitcases. He'd be able to live with Andrea until they went to America. Then he'd be free of the reminders of his past life, and away from the embarrassment that would result in him ever speaking to John again. He left the room, and walked across the living room, to where the hall, and within that the front door, lay. As he walked across he flashed a quick look over to John, and immediately wished he hadn't. Tears rolled slowly down his cheeks, and more were welling in his eyes. His gaze remained unmoved from the wall in front of him.

I'd say we should stay in touch but I don't think it Sean began, before losing what he wanted to say. He began to babble, before John cut in to help him out.

I don't think so either. The words seemed to echo finality. What a great mate, Sean thought, even now he's helping me out when I start to sound like a twat.

Goodbye mate Sean said, now forcing back sobs of his own. John didn't reply. It was over, and they both understood. Sean walked out, tears beginning to well in his eyes. The bang as he slammed the door behind him echoed in his heart, as he realised just what he was leaving behind. His entire life was gone, except Andrea. The rest has just slipped away, in a slam of the door, two packed suitcases, and a few tears. In one stilted and forced conversation, Sean had just thrown away what he had enjoyed for the bulk of his twenty eight years on earth.

And as the tears began to roll down his face he walked away. The first tear landed on the driveway, and he stopped for a second to look at it. He looked back at the house, and Saw John through the window. He was still in the same spot, his focus unchanged. He down to the drive, and stared at the teardrop on the drive. There had been very few tears shed here, and this was to be the last one. Sean paused for a moment before taking the final, decisive, step away from the drive. He looked back at the house with longing eyes one more time, before wiping his eyes, and beginning the three mile walk to Andrea's house, across the town

[B]Epilogue[I]

[/B]He'd gone to America with Andrea and given up the rest of his life. And when he got there, and he'd been living for a few months, he realised something terrible. Something which if it hadn't happened to him, he would find terribly amusing.

He didn't love her.

Wasn't that funny? Wasn't that just a fuckin' hoot? He'd given up his entire life, and his best friend, for this girl, and he didn't love her.

In the end he realised that she didn't love him either, which made the whole mess easier to deal with, but he still managed not to deal with it adequately. He did what his brain urged him not to, and tried to make it work anyway, knowing it was doomed to failure. And she did the same, probably knowing the same. And the inevitable outcome was failure. And of course, failure is what occurred, and they wound up living together in very painful lives. Sean couldn't get a job, and they were left financially weak. They were living on money that wouldn't be fit for one to live on, yet they struggled by with that much for both of them. Then came the answer that both of them were looking for.

Sean's dad died. He'd been fighting the lung cancer for a long time, an unfortunate side effect of being a chain smoker for life. Eventually it beat him, which at his age, and with his strength, was inevitable. Sean was devastated, though not surprised. And, though he still hated to view it as such, it gave him an escape route.

He could have used the inheritance money to live on, and continued to try and make it work with Andrea. And even though he knew it was doomed to failure, he was very tempted to do just that. He thought about it for hours, and still failed to see the alternative. But he knew what the alternative was, deep down, and he eventually allowed himself to see it.

He told her he was going over for the funeral, and that he was going to try and find a place to live. She tried her best to look distraught, although they both knew that she was eager for him to go. She knew as well as he did that he was doing the right thing.

So he'd come over, booked into a hotel for the week, and depending on how things went tonight, he'd be house hunting tomorrow.

He sat in his favourite chair, and stared at the same point on the wall as John had done so long ago. He opened his hand, and threw the key that it enclosed onto the table in front of him. It surprised him that he took his key with him, and when he noticed in America he kept it. He never fully understood why, though he wondered if he had subconsciously known that he may need it.

He'd been wrong about one thing when he left. That drop was not the last tear to be shed here for him. Tears were beginning to fall down his face, and onto the material of the chair. The rain was beginning to lash against the window now, and the blurred light from the streetlights outside was the only light around.

He checked his watch. [/I]23:02[I] it informed him. John would be back any minute now. Sean tried not to think of what might happen when he did. He turned his gaze back to the spot on the wall, just below the TV, that John had stared at on the day Sean left. He stayed staring there until John opened the door.

The door to the room swung open, and John stepped in slowly, dripping wet. Sean moved his head around slowly, and stared into his eyes for a few seconds. John stood there, eyes unblinking, staring right back at him. Sean was the one who broke the silence, just before a clap of thunder roared overhead.

Hello mate[/I]

Rate this submission

Plot:
Dialogue:
Characters:
Wording:

You must be logged in to rate submissions