One More Time For Me Pt. 2
Notes: A massive massive fic that took me over a year to write. I've divided it into parts to make it easier to read.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12
Friday 11th March:
Brian awoke to a splitting headache, vague memories of spilling wine, and the blinding sunlight penetrating his eyelids. He rolled over with a groan and pulled the duvet over his head, trying to block out the harsh light. He dozed contently for a further few minutes until a loud knocking awakened him to reality.
“Monsieur Molko? If you want me to clean your room you had better not still be in bed when I come back in half an hour.” A vaguely familiar voice sounded from somewhere to his left.
Brian sat up straight in bed, rubbing his eyes and trying to remember where he was. Slowly the hazy memories of yesterday, the storming out of band practice and apparently into another country, came back to him. He turned his head quickly to look at the clock, and immediately regretted it, holding his aching head in his hands. He tried again, this time slower, and saw it was half eleven.
“Shit” he said out loud to no one in particular. Clémantine was meeting Ben for lunch in half an hour, and he really wanted to talk to them both.
Brian gingerly got to his feet and shuffled over to the chest of drawers, where after a bit of rummaging he managed to find a handy pack of aspirin. He swallowed two, and looked around the room. How he had managed to get it into such a mess, he would never know. There were quite a few items of clothing strewn across the floor accompanied by numerous empty glasses, a bottle of wine and curiously a half eaten piece of toast. He gathered up the clothes and shoved them into the bottom of his wardrobe, then tried to remember where the shower was. It took him quite a while to find it, considering there were only two doors leading off his bedroom, and one of them led outside.
Once he was clean and refreshed, with some decent clothes and a hint of eyeliner and foundation, Brian was beginning to feel slightly better. He even felt up to braving the natural light outside, so he grabbed a jacket and wandered out of the door. For once he saw some other guests pottering around downstairs near the kitchen, possibly looking as hung over as he felt. It satisfied him to know others felt as rough this morning, and he wondered to himself how Clémantine must feel after the amazing amount of wine she consumed.
Brian meandered along the road towards the café, gradually becoming accustomed to the morning sunlight. He eventually caught sight of the familiar shop front and unconsciously quickened his pace. He smiled slightly as he saw Clémantine and Ben sitting at the same table at the front of the café. He shuffled inside the door and slumped down on one the chairs. Clémantine started laughing at him.
“God you look like shit!” she smiled.
“Why thank you. I feel it too. Why are you so happy? I’m sure you drank more than me?” Brian groaned in reply. Everyone’s voices were slightly too loud for his liking. Maybe he needed to lie down in a quiet dark room to recover.
“Well you see Clémantine is blessed in the fact that she doesn’t suffer from the morning after effects of alcohol.” Ben replied, and couldn’t help but smile at the tired grumpy Brian sat in front of him. Brian simply rolled his eyes in reply.
“Can I get you a coffee then? You look like you need one!” Ben asked, getting to his feet. Brian nodded at him, putting on a rather pathetic face. He watched, captivated, as Ben walked towards the kitchen, interested in something other than the nice apron he was wearing..
Clémantine waved her hand in front of his face.
“Oy! I can see you perving!” she said and grinning cheekily at him. Brian smiled slightly.
“I’m allowed to perve. I’m ill you see” he replied.
“Oh and I suppose you need a hot boy to look after you and make you coffee?” She asked, starting to grin manically.
“Oh yes.. and I think I have someone in mind!” Brian replied and winked, as Ben came back over with two coffees and some kind of sandwich thing.
“Two coffees and one bacon sandwich” he announced as he set the cups and plates on the table, and settled himself back down. Brian screwed up his nose in disgust.
“I can’t believe you are eating disgusting fried crap in front of me when I’m poorly” he moaned, as Clémantine bit into her sandwich.
“Awww youwl geft offer iyt” she replied with a full mouth. Ben simply smiled at the antics of the two with him. Brian lit up a fag and leaned comfortably back on his chair.
“Sooo, why weren’t we graced by your presence last night Ben?” he asked. Ben blushed slightly.
“Well to tell you the truth, Marguerite doesn’t like me very much..” he replied and grinned sheepishly.
“Aww how could anyone not like you?” Brian said, deciding to play up the flirting a bit.
“Well..er.. lets just say there was an incident.. and we haven’t really been on the best of terms since” Ben replied, still blushing slightly.
“Shame, we could have had some fun” Brian said, and winked.
“I’m sure we could have” Ben said, and Brian could have swore his eyes flashed slightly.
/Is he flirting with me?/ He wondered to himself.
“Well at least I have you to make me coffee and save me from my evil hangover!” Brian joked aloud, and Clémantine laughed through her sandwich. Ben faked annoyance, and crossed his arms over his chest, exhaling loudly.
“Is that all I’m good for? Making coffee?” He demanded, his eyes twinkling. Brian leant forward and smiled.
“I’m sure you have your uses” He said in a slightly lower voice and looked up at Ben. To Brian’s satisfaction he didn’t look shocked or upset, in fact he was smiling in a way that indicated he DID have his uses.
/OK he’s definitely flirting. Or maybe he’s being nice? Oh I don’t know/ Brian thought to himself, having a mental conflict whilst still looking intently at Ben.
Clémantine cut the silence with her clear French accent.
“Weeell I had better be getting back to work. It’s nice to see you two getting along so well” she smiled as she got to her feet. She wandered over to Ben and planted a kiss on each cheek, before walking out of the door and waving at them both.
Ben sighed and got up.
“I had better be doing some work as well. I don’t get paid to do nothing” he said.
“Yeh I’m off for a while too, I need to get some writing done” Brian said, as he stood up and got his jacket.
“What time do you close tonight?” he asked as an afterthought.
“Six, why?” Ben replied curiously as Brian headed for the door.
“I’ll be back” he laughed, and waved at him. But instead of walking back towards the guesthouse to get his notebook, he walked in the direction of the bakery. He wanted to have a little girly chat with Clémantine first.
Brian walked down the street until he came to what he supposed to be the bakery. Well seeing as it had a big “Boulangerie” sign over the door and there was bread in the window, it was safe to say this was the place.
The door tinkled as he walked in, and Clémantine looked over from her position behind the counter.
“Ahh I wonder what you have come here for” she said, smiling to herself. Brian leant on the counter and looked at her apprehensively.
“So..” he started, apparently waiting for her to start talking.
“So what?” she replied, feigning ignorance. Brian huffed impatiently.
“Ben! What did he say about me?” he blurted out eagerly. Clémantine grinned at him.
“That’s rather vain of you to presume he said anything” she replied, playing up to his frustration at his lack of information.
“Well did he?” Brian replied quickly.
“Of course he did!” she said, turning around to extract some bread from the oven, delighting in making him wait longer. Once she had set down the tray carefully, and made sure the hot edges were no-where near anything flammable she turned back to face Brian. He looked as though he was about to burst with anticipation.
“And?” he said, his facial muscles twisted in concentration as he tried to appear calm. It didn’t work.
“He thinks you’re cute” Clémantine replied simply. Brian’s face broke into a huge smile.
“And he said he wants to get to know you better” she continued.
“That’s great! I was planning on asking him out somewhere tonight,” Brian replied, “but I don’t know any good places to go. I was hoping you could help with that?” Clémantine nodded and thought for a while.
“There’s a good club in the town, about 20 minutes away from here. Its called Le Trou. I’ve been there a few times, its good.” She said.
“That sounds great. Thanks!” Brian replied, still smiling.
“That’s alright, just be sure to fill me in on the details!” Clémantine said, winking as Brian left the shop.
Brian was in such a good mood that he decided he surely must be able to attempt some lyrics. So he quickly went back to the guesthouse to retrieve his notebook and a pen, and as an afterthought he picked up his mobile.
He walked for a while along a path that led right through the village and into the surrounding fields. After a bit he came to a stop and settled himself under a tree to shade his still hung over head from the harsh sunlight. It felt like something out of an old story as he looked around him. The rural views were stunning, and the scenery was breathtaking. He started to write, just playing around with words at first, and then developing sentences and phrases. After a good hour he felt he had the beginnings of a promising song starting to take shape.
Brian stopped writing and leant back against the tree trunk. He could stay here forever, just resting in the peaceful tranquillity. And his writing had all of a sudden gained a spurt of inspiration. The rest was definitely doing his mind some good.
He glanced down at his mobile, which was sitting beside him on the grass. The background picture of his two band mates made him long to hear their voices, so he picked it up and dialled Stef’s number. He waited hesitantly as the phone connected and rang, and then he heard a familiar voice.
“Hello?” Stef said, sounding sleepy.
“Hey Stef its me” Brian replied.
“Oh Bri, hey, how are you?” Stef said, as he recognised his voice.
“Yeh I’m doing good. I’ve been doing some writing, its going well” Brian said, clearly sounding happier than when he had spoken to Stef previously.
“That’s great. So do you think you will be coming back soon?” Stef asked tentatively. Brian paused for a moment. He hadn’t given a thought to going back yet.
“Uhm.. well I figure I’ll be here for at least a week. I need to stay here for a while, you know, its doing me good” Brian replied finally. He heard Stef sigh slightly on the other end.
“Ok, as long as you come back! We still need our singer!” Stef joked half-heartedly.
“Don’t worry I shall. The way these lyrics are going I’ll be itching to come back and record them in no time” Brian re-assured him.
They spoke for about half an hour, just talking about general things that had happened. Steve and Stef had tried doing something in the studio that day, but decided they couldn’t really progress without their singer. So they had made the decision to wait until Brian got back to go into the studio. Stef had apparently been so bored he had considered either getting a goldfish or becoming a chat show host. Steve had gone out and got pissed, in true Steve-style. Brian for some reason found himself hesitant to mention Clémantine or Ben though. He wasn’t sure why but it just didn’t feel right telling Stef about his new found friends.
Brian looked at his watch just as Stef was describing the finer points of daytime television, and he discovered it was nearly half past five.
“Sorry Stef, but I have to go. Err dinner is served soon, and I need to get back” he lied quickly, cutting Stef’s story short.
“Ok, have fun. And be sure to call sometime soon. Bye” Stef replied.
“Bye” Brian said, then hung up the phone. He put it in his pocket and grabbed his notebook and pen, then stood up. On the way back down into the village he read over what he had written.
I can’t be alone, so don’t you dare leave me
It’s like coming home to skin that has died.
Satisfied with his progress, he put his notebook into his pocket and continued down the path towards the town, and most importantly towards the café.
When Brian finally reached the now familiar door, he pushed it open with shaking hands. He couldn’t believe he was actually nervous, in fact he couldn’t even remember the last time he had been nervous about asking someone out. There was no-one to be seen inside so Brian walked towards the counter and tried to look out the back. He heard some muffled sounds coming from the kitchen, and thought he recognised Ben’s voice.
After a few minutes Ben appeared from the kitchen looking quite worried, as he placed his mobile phone into the pocket of his jeans. He saw Brian standing there and tried to replace his concerned expression with a smile.
“Ahh so the writer returns” he said. Brian smiled back at him.
“It seems so. Are you ok? You looked quite worried” he asked. Ben frowned slightly as he took off his apron.
“Yeh I’m fine. I was just talking to my mother.” He quickly answered. Brian didn’t seem too convinced.
“Did you get much writing done anyway?” Ben asked, seemingly keen to change the subject.
“Yeh I did in fact. I have something quite good coming along. I think maybe you are doing my writing skills some good!” Brian replied, smiling at the last part. Ben seemed pleased and blushed slightly.
“Me? Are you sure its not the beautiful location and peaceful settings?” he laughed.
“Well that too, but really you are helping! Like my own private muse!”, Brian replied, “Actually I was wondering if you would like to come out with me sometime?” He glanced at Ben’s face quickly, waiting for a reaction. He didn’t have to wait long, as Ben pretty much started smiling instantly.
“Sure I’d love that, I’m free tomorrow?” he hinted casually.
“Tomorrow it is then. If you drop by the guest house at about 9, all will be revealed!” Brian said, starting to go towards the door. He was stopped by Ben’s hand.
“Are you going back now? Because my house is just past there, I’ll walk with you.” He asked nervously, staring into Brian’s eyes.
“Yeh that would be nice” Brian replied.
“Ok, give me a minute, I just need to get my stuff”
Brian stood looking around the café. He still felt nervous at the prospect of a whole evening in Ben’s company. What if he said something stupid? Or got drunk and made a twat of himself? He tortured himself with these thoughts for a few more minutes until Ben reappeared by his side. They both walked out of the café in silent contentment, trying to think of something to say. Brian decided that the moment was too perfect for him to interrupt it with pointless banter, so he continued to walk with the warm evening air and the sun setting behind some distant buildings.
“So where are you taking me tomorrow?” Ben asked, finally breaking the silence.
“Ahh it’s a secret” Brian replied, tapping his nose mysteriously and grinning cheekily. Ben pouted slightly. His lips curved perfectly and his eyes twinkled, and it was all Brian could do to stop himself ravaging him right there.
“Hmm, I bet you told Clémantine..” Ben said, thinking.
“You dare ask her!” Brian threatened jokingly.
“Or else what?!” Ben challenged, turning to face him. Brian stopped and looked up at him. He was probably nearly 6 foot, and built a lot better than himself, so he had no chance trying to beat him. Instead Brian went for his ribs, tickling mercilessly. Ben almost doubled over, trying to squirm away from the smaller mans’ prying hands.
“Or else this!” Brian giggled, continuing his attack.
“Noooooooooo get off! Aaahhhhh” Ben attempted to pant in between laughing. He eventually managed to grab Brian’s hands and stop him. They both paused and looked at each other, whilst trying to catch their breath. Brian was standing in front of Ben, impossibly close and with his hands being grasped tightly. He absentmindedly ran his thumb over Ben’s hand, and thought he saw something flicker across his face. Doubt, or maybe apprehension, he wasn’t sure. Then Ben’s eyes flicked up and glanced behind Brian. He dropped his hands and put his own into the pockets of his jeans.
“We’re at the guest house” he said, gesturing towards the building.
“Oh I didn’t even notice” Brian said, stepping backwards towards the front door.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then?”
“Yep, 9pm. I won’t be in work, it’s a Saturday and that’s my day off. I can finally get some sleep!” Ben replied brightly. He waved as he turned and walked up the street.
“Bye” Brian said, and watched him walk into the distance.
That evening Brian lay on his bed thinking. It wasn’t even 9, but he was absolutely knackered. He supposed it was the combination of fresh air and the previous nights entertainment that had tired him. As he rested, listening to the gentle night sounds, his thoughts were occupied by Ben. It seemed there must be something special about him, as he couldn’t take his mind off him. Brian also wondered what had driven him to lie about his profession. Usually he didn’t really care what other people thought, but for some reason he found he didn’t want Ben to find out about his rock persona. The image that he created while he was on stage and in front of the media. The person that was totally different from his actual self. It was the person that Brian had always dreamed of becoming when he was young, someone who was cocky, confident, ambiguous and didn’t give a fuck. But that had ironically become the person he had grown to hate. And as he lay there thinking he realised he wanted Ben to like him the way he was. As Brian, the writer who had creative block and needed some peace and quiet. Not the selfish rock star brat that many people assumed he was.
It also occurred to Brian while he was thinking, that maybe he escaped to France to try and find himself. He had been a bit down recently where everyone else seemed to be settling down. Steve had a girlfriend of 2 years and his daughter, and even Stef had managed to hold onto his latest boy for a good year. It had made Brian feel very lonely, and he suspected that it was his subconscious longing for contact that had drawn him to Ben.
A cold draught of wind interrupted his trail of thought, so he quickly got up and closed the window. He climbed back onto the bed and drew the covers up close around his body.
“Damn fresh air must have gone to my head. I’m thinking way too much for my own good” Brian mused quietly to the empty room. And with that he soon fell comfortably asleep.