Eddie drove up and parked outside his house. It was late, he didn’t expect Rory to be waiting for him. He hadn’t called to let him know when he’d arrive. He hadn’t wanted to appear more needy than he already was. His heart was pounding in his ears as he contemplated going into the house that had been broken into a little less than a week ago. “Just get out of the car,” Eddie muttered to himself. He had an eerie feeling coming home this late at night. He turned to retrieve his bag from the trunk when the street light went out. All pretenses of bravado fled as he all but ran for the door. Hands shaking he wasted precious seconds getting the key inserted into the lock.
Leaning against the closed door Eddie breathed a huge sigh of relief. He felt ridiculous panicking the way he did. He flicked on the light just as someone knocked softly on his door. His heart started to race again and he wondered if he’d die from a heart attack.
His cell phone chimed as he received a text. He looked at the text a smile tugged at the corners of his lips as he read “its me, Rory. Let me in.” He should have known Rory would have waited up for him. Shaking from relief he hurried to open the door. He practically threw himself into the larger man’s arms. Laughing softly Rory said “I guess this means you’re happy to see me.” He gave the blond a firm squeeze before letting him go.
Stepping back Eddie turned away his fair skin showing a deep red along his cheeks. “Yeah” he mumbled shoving his hands into his pockets “I’m surprised you’re up so late.”
“I was just getting home from a gig. I saw you drive up.” Looking at Eddie with concern he asked “why didn’t you call or text when you were getting in?”
“I didn’t…” he shrugged “I didn’t want to be a bother.”
Shaking his head Rory reached out and stroked Eddie’s smooth face “haven’t you figured out when it comes to you it’s no bother at all?” He closed the gap between them tilting Eddie’s face up to his. “If you haven’t noticed you’ve become very important to me.”
“I … you…” his thoughts were scrambled and scattered like fallen leaves in a stiff breeze when Rory’s lips found his. Every never in his body buzzed with electricity. He felt so alive, so safe within the warmth of this man’s embrace and kiss. Rory’s hands found the waist of his jeans pulling up his shirt slightly. Eddie stiffened as Rory’s fingers touched his skin beneath is shirt as an inarticulate cry came from his throat. Pulling away shaking “no please I…”
At Eddie’s distress Rory stepped back raising his hands, confusion in his eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean …” his voice faded away. Turning he moved towards the door.
“Please” Eddie pleaded “don’t go.”
Rory stopped hand on the door knob. He turned to see Eddie cowering against the wall. “I wasn’t going to hurt you.”
“I knnow. It’s jjjust…” he sank to the floor crumpling in upon himself “I’m nnnot ready.”
Rory took a small hesitant step towards the blond huddled on the floor. Sitting beside Eddie he said “we won’t do anything you don’t want to do. I promise. All you’d ever have to say is no and I’ll stop. I promise.”
“I…I…don’t know if I’ll ever be ready,” Eddie mumbled through his hands he held in front of his face.
“Aw baby,” Rory pulled Eddie close in slow deliberate moves so as to not startle the high-strung young man “tell me please what happened.” The only response was a shuddering tearful sob that pierced his heart.
Several hours later Rory opened his eyes to bright sunlight streaming through the windows. His arms and legs numb from having spent an awkward night of sleeping on the hard kitchen floor propped against the wall. He tried to ease his aching muscles without disturbing Eddie who was asleep in his lap.
He smiled down at the blond. He rested his head back on the wall behind in favor of letting Eddie sleep, Rory the anger he suppressed the night before bubbling up inside him as he reviewed the events of the night before. Eddie had finally opened up and told him about Amber and what she did to him. His hands curled into fists as he was overwhelmed with a desire to strangle her, a girl he had never met before but hated none the less. It made his problems so much less important in comparison. Some of Eddie’s odd behavior now made sense like his refusal to eat or drink out. Rory doubted he’d be able to eat anything made by someone else after being drugged and raped.
A soft moan caught his mention. He looked down to find Eddie moving in his sleep. While he watched Eddie’s eyes open and the incoherent moaning turned into audible words “I’m sorry…”
“For what?” Rory asked laughing softly “for putting my legs to sleep?”
“Sorry. It’s going to hurt when you get circulation back” he said sitting up stretching “I suppose you’ll be wanting to go soon.” He looked down at the floor refusing to look at Rory.
“Where do you think I’m going?” he asked shifting his weight to ease his aching joints and stiff muscles.
“I thought…” Eddie began resting his chin on his knees “well after what I said last night….you’d never want to see me again.”
“Why would you think that?” he asked.
“I’m such a mess,” Eddie tried to keep his voice calm but the ever-present panic crept into in his quivering voice as he thought about never seeing Rory again.”I’m damaged. Why would you want..”
“Eddie look at me,” Rory requested keeping his voice gentle and undemanding “please Eddie I need you to look at me.”
Shaking his head Eddie seemed to fold in upon himself “why?” he mumbled sounding forlorn.
Grunting Rory forced his feet to support his weight as they tingled with renewed circulation. He moved around in front of Eddie and gently took the younger man’s face in his hands. “I need you to look at me when I say this. When I look at you I don’t see someone who is damaged but someone who is stronger than he thinks he is. You’re beautiful.”
“I don’t…” a knock at the door interrupted what he was going to say. Sighing Eddie scrambled to his feet. Opening the door he came face to face with his childhood friend Bruce Van Winkle. “What are you doing here?”
“At the moment I’m here to see you,”the taller blond said “but I came to town to try out for a position as drummer in a band and found out Rory was looking for sub in case someone in the group ever became ill and couldn’t perform. You know I can play just about any instrument there is.”
Eddie stiffened as a familiar red-headed man came up behind Bruce and put his arm around him. “Hi Eddie” he said with a slight smirk upon his lips.
Craning his neck to look at the other man Bruce asked “do you know Eddie?” Receiving a slight nod in response he looked uneasily from one to the other sensing the tension building between them.
“I thought we did,” Eddie mumbled feeling Rory put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“Bruce did we have an appointment?”Rory asked.
“No I um …. came to see Eddie since his dad said he moved here. I was hoping he’d let me stay with him until I found a place of my own.”
Sensing his unease Rory said “why don’t you come inside?” he hoped by inviting him inside it would get Eddie’s attention but the blond continued to stare at Ramsey. Bruce stepped around Eddie who was still standing in the doorway.
“Did I do something?” he asked Rory frowning “I could come back later.”
“It’s not you,” Rory assured him “it’s something they need to confront. Let’s give them some space to talk.”
Moving as if in a daze Eddie walked onto the porch closing the door behind him. “I thought you said you’d wait…”
“After the break-in I didn’t see the point,” she shrugged turning his back on Eddie to gaze out at the green fields behind the trailer park.
“I suppose I wasn’t worth the effort” Eddie said unable to disguise the bitterness he felt from coloring his voice.
“Come on Eddie, it’s not like that,” Ramsey protested resting his elbows on the porch railing “I knew you didn’t like me, at least not enough to choose me over him,” his chin jerked towards the house.
“I didn’t expect you to move on so soon. I was only at my Dad’s for a few days and you’re already seeing someone else. The least you could have done was tell me.” Eddie moved to stand beside the red-head.
“You’re right I’m sorry,” Ramsey sighed turning around “I guess I was hoping it would make you jealous to know how quick I was able to move on.”
Nodding Eddie sighed “how did you meet him anyway?”
Ramsey eyed him warily for a moment before saying “don’t get mad but I came here to have it out with Rory.”
“You were going to fight over me?” despite the circumstances Eddie felt somewhat flattered that the red-head had thought enough about him to want to fight for him. He never believed he was worth anyone wanting to fight over him.
“I guess so,” Ramsey mumbled “I wanted to know what he had that I didn’t.” Shaking his head he turned to Eddie “He’s more patient then I’ll ever be. I see something I want, I go for it. I could see a lot of my actions made you nervous and I never really understood why. It wasn’t a good combination, was it?”
“It’s not that I didn’t like you,” Eddie said not wanting to Ramsey to feel bad about how things worked out “but it was never the same after you let me walk out of that theater after my freak out and you didn’t call. I just never felt truly comfortable after that. I’m sorry I should have just told you no that night you came to apologize.”
“It wasn’t all your fault. I wasn’t exactly listening. I’m the one who begged for a second chance.” Ramsey took a step away from the porch railing turning to Eddie he asked “do you think we can be friends?”
“I’d like to try” Eddie said “just one thing though, you better not break Bruce’s heart.”
“Were you and he …”
“Eew no” Eddie screwed his face up in disgust “we’re practically cousins.”
“But you’re not actually related.”
Shaking his head Eddie said “his Uncle is married to my Aunt. So no we’re not related but we’ve known each other all our lives. So you better treat him right.”
“Don’t worry I will,” Ramsey assured him.
Once Ramsey and Bruce left. Eddie snuggled into Rory’s lap on the couch. “Were you going to tell me about Ramsey?”
“I was planning on it if he didn’t tell you first. Bruce seems like a nice guy,” he put an arm around Eddie kissing his neck making his way to his earlobe and nibbling on it.
“Mmm that feels good but that’s not what I was referring to,” Eddie said refusing to be distracted “Ramsey told me he went to your place to start a fight with you.”
“Oh that,” he chuckled a little “he didn’t know what to do when he found out I wasn’t alone. The entire band was at my place celebrating our success at finding a talented substitute. Bruce is really good if I haven’t told you already.”
“You have. So Ramsey and Bruce met at your place, started dating….”
Giving Eddie a curious look he asked “why are you so interested? Jealous?”
Punching him lightly on the shoulder Eddie shook his head “no I’m not jealous. I’m glad Ramsey found someone else. I was worried about hurting him when I made my decision.”
“So while you were away you did a lot of thinking about us” Rory said grinning at him.
“I did. My dad made me realize that I already knew but I was over thinking things as usual.” He leaned his head on Rory’s shoulder sighing contentedly.
“So when you stopped thinking so much, was that when you realized I was the one for you,” Rory asked smirking ” I’m not sure if I should feel flattered or insulted by that.”
Ignoring the poor attempt at a joke Eddie frowned sitting up “how do you feel about children?” It was a question that had been rolling around his head all evening.
“They’re fine I guess.”
“Have you ever thought about having kids?” Eddie persisted.
“Yeah maybe someday in the future,” Rory pushed Eddie from his lap so he could stand up. “Why the sudden interest in kids?” he asked leaning against the wall.”
“I told you about Amber…”
“Yeah” he said slowly replaying their conversation from the night before “I thought you said your parents were adopting her kids.”
“They’re my kids too,” Eddie pointed out standing up facing the other man “they’re just as much mine as hers.” He crossed his arms turning to stare out the window. This wasn’t going the way he had imagined.
“Eddie,” Rory said coming up behind him “I know they’re your kids too. But stop and think about this a moment. Are you ready to take on the responsibility of being their dad?”
“Does it matter?” Eddie sighed “it’d be a mote point if I were a girl. It would be a given I’d raise them regardless of the circumstances.” Turning he found himself engulfed in Rory’s firm embrace “I just want to be a part of their lives…”
“You will be,” Rory told him.
“You don’t understand,” Eddie cried fighting to regain control of his emotions “what if I scar them for life by refusing to be their dad? What if they feel abandoned later on? I don’t want them growing up wondering why I didn’t want them. I don’t want them feeling the way I did about my mother.”
Not sure what to say or do to help Rory simply held him until his what if’s ran out and he simply cried on his shoulder.