One More Time For Me Pt. 10
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
Wednesday 6th April:
The numbers on Brian’s phone glowed brightly in the semi-darkness. 6:14 am, the time read, just before the phone started to ring. Brian jumped, realising he had fallen asleep on the swing, and pressed the green call button.
“Hello?” he asked cautiously and sleepily.
“Brian?” Came Clémantine’s worried voice, “Where the fuck are you?”
“I, uh.. I went for a walk to clear my head.” He replied truthfully.
“All night?!” she exclaimed, “Ben phoned me just now saying you went out last night to buy some alcohol and never came back. He’s tried ringing you at least 50 times and he’s worried out of his mind!”
Brian pulled the phone away from his ear and glanced at the screen. Sure enough there were a fair few missed calls listed from Ben.
“I only just found my phone.. sorry.” He replied blankly.
“What did you need all this time to sort out anyway?” Clémantine queried.
“Just uhm.. can I come over and talk about it?” Brian asked, a hint of desperation tingeing his voice.
“Sure. But I think you should call Ben first to let him know you are allr-” she tried to reason, but her words fell on deaf ears as Brian had already hung up the phone.
Brian stood up, stamping his feet quickly on the ground in an effort to warm them up. After a few moments the feeling started to tingle slowly back into his legs, so he set off in the vague direction of Clémantine’s house. It was quite a difficult task seeing as in his disconnected wanderings he wasn’t entirely sure where he had ended up. After about ten minutes or so he began to recognise his surroundings. The place he had been calling home for the last three weeks. It was as if he had been there his entire life, his home back in London seeming like a distant dream. His past life had faded into insignificance since he met Ben. Not that it mattered anymore, it was all ruined now.
Brian stopped in his tracks as he reached the end of Clémantine’s road. He shook his head, trying to instil positive thoughts in himself. He could still hope that Ben might forgive him. He clung to that hope for the last few steps, fighting off the looming depression that was threatening to break him.
The next thing he knew something collided with his body and small, warm arms wrapped themselves around his chest. For a fleeting moment he thought it was Ben, but the person was far too petite.
“Brian you’re freezing. Come on, come inside.” A familiar thick french accent half-whispered in his ear. He numbly obliged as he allowed himself to be led into a warm house. He collapsed on a sofa in the living room, the yellow walls taunting his sore eyes.
“Where were you?” Clémantine asked softly as she thrust a hot mug into his hands.
“Out. Clearing my head.” Brian replied distantly.
“You said that before. Where were you?” She asked more insistently.
“I’m not sure. On a swing somewhere..” Brian mumbled into his coffee as he took a sip. The liquid burnt his throat, but it took his mind off the present situation.
“Oh god Brian, what happened? Tell me.” Clémantine pleaded with him as she stared into his empty eyes.
“I ruined everything. Destroyed every hope of happiness I ever had.” Brian replied in a surprising moment of clarity. Clémantine continued to stare at him, silently willing him to continue.
“I.. I don’t know how it happened. I was yelling at him, I was drunk. I know I just wanted to kill him for everything he had done. And then..” Brian explained, trailing off as he shifted his gaze to the floor.
“And then what?!” Clémantine asked anxiously.
“And then.. we were kissing. All over each other. I was so drunk. We.. we fucked on his sofa.” He finished lamely. Clémantine continued to stare at him, a blank look across her face. The silence was unbearable.
“Nicolas?” She eventually managed to splutter. Brian caught her eye for a split second and nodded, before turned away ashamedly.
“He’s a psychopath. Turns out it wasn’t the first time I’d fucked him.. He thinks he’s in love with me..” He explained quietly.
“When are you going to tell Ben?” Clémantine replied, surprising herself with how calm her voice sounded.
“I can’t tell Ben. It would break his heart.” Brian said quietly.
“And what, are you just going to leave and never tell him?” Clémantine demanded angrily. The look Brian gave her said it all.
“You can’t do that!” She yelled.
“Why not? It’s none of your business.” Brian replied loudly, as his own temper started to flare.
“It’s every bit of my business. He’s my best friend. I’m the one who will have to console him after I’ve told him the truth. He might not even believe me. He could hate me.” She continued to yell at the small figure hunched on the sofa, still clutching the coffee mug.
“Surely you’re not that selfish you would burden your problems onto me and then piss off home?”
“No.” Brian replied with a sigh as he realised Clémantine was right. He had to face up to the consequences of his own actions. Clémantine sat back on the sofa beside him.
“He might even forgive you.” she said. Brian gave a hollow laugh of disbelief.
“You never know. He forgave you before. If he loved you enough he might do it again.” Clémantine tried to convince him, but it obviously wasn't working. They sat in silence for a while longer as Brian finished his coffee nervously.
"I suppose you had better go now." Clémantine pointed out, "You have to leave for the airport in 6 hours."
Brian nodded mutely and got to his feet, leading the way to the front door.
"Brian, I'm not going to pretend that I want Ben to forgive you. I don't think he should have forgiven you before and I especially don't think he should forgive you now. But in the time I've known you, I've really liked you, and I hope you end up happy whatever you do." Clémantine said as she gave Brian one last parting hug.
"Thank you." Brian replied as he returned the gesture, before walking off into the distance.
Brian's mind was blank as he walked the now familiar route. He gazed at the scenery, not taking anything in and not really thinking as he allowed his legs to move. It seemed like forever until he reached the street, the house, the front door. He had barely raised his fist to the glass when it burst open and a tall, slim body wrapped itself around him. Ben's chest was so warm that Brian would have been happy to stay there for the rest of his life, comforting words floating around his ears and soft kisses being pressed to his hair. But he pulled away, staring at the door so he didn't have to look Ben in the eye. He walked into the house quickly, with Ben following him confusedly.
"Brian? Where were you? I've been trying to call you all night, I was so worried." Ben asked in a flurry of words as they reached the living room.
"Clémantine phoned as soon as she heard from you, she said you sounded odd. Whats going on?"
Brian looked up at his lover. He looked into his deep, trusting eyes and knew he was about to break his heart.
He stared at Ben for a moment, trying to swallow nervously despite a dry throat. Ben couldn’t decipher the look in his eyes. It was a confusing mix of emotions, something he had never seen before, and it worried the hell out of him.
“Ben I..” Brian tried to speak, but the words got caught in his throat, the echoes dying pathetically in the stagnant air. He dropped his gaze to the floor for a second, and when his eyelids fluttered back upwards there were tears pooling at the corners. Ben’s heart leapt into his throat viciously. He quickly grasped for Brian’s hand, trying to find some comfort in the tense situation. Brian pulled his hand back, shifting awkwardly as he looked away, the guilt surging through his body.
“Brian what’s wrong? Don’t do this to me.” Ben asked quietly, his own hands shaking as he returned them to his sides. Brian took a deep breath, stood upright and looked Ben right in the eyes.
“I slept with Nicolas.”
The words hit Ben like a truck, knocking the breath out of his lungs and rendering him speechless. The tears had now started to roll freely down Brian’s face. He didn’t even make an effort to stop them, he just watched as his whole life crumpled before his eyes.
Ben took a step backwards, just standing in shock with his face blank and emotionless.
“Why?” He eventually managed to ask in barely a whisper.
“I don’t know.” Brian was quick to reply, “I don’t know why it happened. I was drunk, I wasn’t thinking clearly. It didn’t mean anything.”
Ben just continued to stare at him in disbelief. The silence was deafening.
“I love you Ben-” Brian tried to reason, but was cut short.
“I’ve heard it before Brian. If you really loved me you wouldn’t have done this..”
“But I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you.” Brian replied, his voice rising to a slightly more hysteric level. He had been mentally preparing himself for this, reminding himself that it was all over. But it was incomparable to the raw hurt he was feeling now. He stepped forward, desperate to prove his feelings, and reached out a hand to touch Ben’s cheek. It had barely grazed the damp skin when Ben jerked out of his reach.
“Don’t touch me.” He said coldly. Brian stifled a sob as he moved closer, his desperation driving him on.
“I said don’t touch me!” Ben yelled as he smacked Brian’s hand away from him. He sprang back towards the corner of the room, his hands covering his face as the anger swiftly melted away, only to be replaced by grief. His whole body seemed so frail as it shivered in rhythm with the loud sobs escaping his chest. Brian felt helpless as he watched, his own eyes stinging with silent tears.
Ben sank slowly to the floor as the reality of the situation sunk in, his hands still hiding his face from a callous world. Brian was torn between two thoughts: whether to run and hinder the pain, or try to explain and possibly face another violent outburst. He decided the latter was the best option and cautiously stepped forward. The room was bitterly silent as he carefully knelt down to Ben’s level and moved his hands away from his face. He placed a warm palm on Ben’s cheek to coax him into making eye contact. Ben’s eyes were startlingly deep, the bright blues enhanced even more by the film of saltwater. But the expression in them was shattering; pure pain emanating from the ethereal orbs. It took all of Brian’s self-control to keep his gaze. Neither of them spoke for a while. They just looked at each other as they silently acknowledged what neither wanted to say out loud.
Finally Ben moved. He swallowed with difficulty and opened his mouth as he tried to form words.
“I can’t trust you anymore Brian. Not after you lied to me and slept with someone else.” He said quietly with a bitter tone. Brian just nodded slightly, brushing his thumb over Ben’s smooth, soft skin for one last time.
“So is this it?” he whispered as he let his hand fall down by his side.
“This is it.. it’s over.” Ben confirmed, looking down as he pulled his knees to his chest.
Brian got to his feet and walked into the hallway. His mind was totally blank as he dug out his mobile phone and called a cab. He walked upstairs slowly; making his way into the bedroom that had become so familiar to him over the past few weeks. His and Ben’s cases were still standing neatly together by the side of the bed, waiting for a new life in London. It seemed wrong to pull them apart. Brian made sure all his own things were in his case and then stepped back to take one last look at the room. He was staring at the bed when an idea caught in his mind, and he reached up to unclasp the cord around his neck. He carefully laid the smooth, silver pendant on the bedside table and then picked up his bags. A beep outside alerted him to the cab drivers presence. Brian silently carried his luggage back downstairs and opened the front door. He glanced back into the living room and saw Ben was still in the same position, staring at the floor. He didn’t say anything, just simply picked up his bags and left.
The whole of the cab journey was a blur to Brian. The waiting time at the check in desk and the departure lounge sped by so quick, that he was confused when he looked up to see his flight was boarding already. The only moment when time slowed to an appropriate pace was when he jealously watched re-united lovers embracing whilst he waited in line at the boarding gate. It was enough to make him want to drown himself in the flimsy cup of coffee he was holding. The plane had barely taken off before it landed again, causing the knot in Brian’s stomach to tighten uneasily as it brought him closer to facing real life. Before he knew it he was holding his suitcase close to him and walking out of the arrivals gate.
Brian's eyes flicked quickly across the crowd as he searched for a familiar face, eventually spotting Stefan's tall figure at the back. He slowly started making his way towards him, glad to see a friend after his recent ordeal. Stefan's face split into a broad grin as he noticed him and he ran forward, sweeping the singer into a tight hug. Brian just let himself be held, for fear of falling apart if he tried to talk. Stefan stepped back after a few moments and looked around confusedly for Ben.
"Ben?-" he started to ask, but was cut short by Brian.
"He's not coming.."
Stefan could tell by the look on Brian's face that he didn't want to discuss it, so he took the smaller mans suitcase and wrapped a comforting arm around his shoulders. They walked quietly outside to where the car was parked, with Stefan idly chatting about his life over the past few weeks to take Brian's mind off things. They climbed inside the car after depositing the suitcases in the back and began the short drive home. Stefan turned the radio on to try and distract their thoughts, but it seemed like every song reminded Brian of Ben. Each one a sad tale of lost love and betrayal. He stared out of the window idly and watched the countryside speed past. The trees and fields that looked so similar to France, but with a miserable undertone.
It wasn't long before they were back at Stefan's flat, and once sat on a comfortable sofa with a glass of wine in his hands, Brian felt ready to open up about France. He poured his heart out about the wonderful time he spent with Ben, all the interesting people he met and the unfortunate incident that led to the demise of their ideal relationship.
Stefan listened patiently, nodding and sighing in all the right places and generally trying to be a comforting friend. By the end he had his arm tucked around Brian’s shoulders and was attempting to drown his band mate’s sorrows with more wine.
“And then..” Brian choked through a small sob, “And then he said it was over.”
By that point it was too much for Brian. The whole situation had seemed too surreal before then, as if it wasn’t really happening and he was just a spectator in some other persons fucked up life. But telling the events to one of his best friends brought the truth back home with a crash. He had screwed up one of the most perfect relationships he had ever known, and he would never see Ben again. He dissolved into silent tears, burying his face into Stefan’s arm and wishing he had never left. They stayed like that for a while, locked in a comforting embrace while Brian’s sobbing slowly subsided. He eventually mumbled something about having to go home and sleep, but Stefan was having none of it. He insisted that Brian stay the night and led him to the large double bed. The smaller man fell asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow, and Stefan stayed for a while to watch him before retreating to the sofa for the night.