Adrian is positive he’s going to die. The glass and the blood don’t seem like much at the moment, but he’s confident he’s not going to make it until the police arrive. That’s not a problem anyway. He’s here because he wants to be here. The shining glass is almost like diamonds and the blood is like bitter candy. The sweetness comes from his imagination, resting on the tip of his tongue and whispering to him to close his eyes and welcome the growing shadows.
There’s a fleeting thought about moving, but he pushes it aside. The pain is growing strong and though he wants it to stop, he doesn’t want to take the risk of unintentionally saving himself. It’s like he’s afraid that if he makes even the subtlest sounds, he’ll grab the attention of someone close. It’s impossible where he’s at.
He can’t remember what had caused him to swerve off the road. Was it a deer? Another car? Or had he committed suicide?
It feels like he’s missing something. There is a feeling at the pit of his gut, something sinister that he can feel. He doesn’t want to think about it. He knows somehow that it will change him. And even though he might die, he doesn’t want to change, not at this moment, not ever.
He’d done this, hadn’t he?
Yes. He did.
He can feel tiny pieces of glass embedded into his cheek. They sting like hell and pull him closer to earth than he wants. It might have been a bad idea doing it this way, but maybe it had been his only chance. All the other ways seemed to take too long or hurt too much. Going out in a huge mess probably wasn’t much better, but it had done the trick, hadn’t it?
He hummed a tune and tried to smile, but the glass shifted inside his skin. The pain is a slight distraction from the larger picture. It gives him something to focus on. His thoughts are fading away when he’s jolted awake by a noise. He opened his eyes and looked ahead. It’s dark and his headlights are on full-blast except the right one. It’d been busted when he struck the tree. He can’t understand how he’s still conscious, not when he’s sure that his guts are hanging out. If he was brave he would look down, prove to himself that he’d done the job, but he can’t. There’s already enough blood on the dash. The car is bent so out of place, he can’t even guess what killed him. Impact? A sharp piece of metal sliced him open?
The noise is closer now. Out in the abyss of darkness, a shadow drew closer. Its limbs touched each tree it passed until it was standing in front of the car. The person’s features are blurry. Not that Adrian could see much without his glasses either way. They’re just staring at him, watching him. His chest barely raises. He’s close to not being able to breathe at all.
He should feel afraid or at least worried. They should be calling for help, not standing there and watching him die. Is he glad that they aren’t calling for help? Didn’t he want to die?
He’s confused and his heart is pounding in his ears. Lights are flashing and he hears someone scream, but he can’t tell if it’s him or someone else. The shadow is right upon him, gazing down at him. He can’t see or move. Frozen still, he can only watch as they reach out and touch his face.
Then everything turns cold. Nothing feels right when the warmth is sucked up. The tips of his fingers and toes feel like they’ve fallen off. His mind draws blank, but before it all disappears, he hears one soft voice.
Adrian pressed his finger through the top of the cupcake and placed the icing covered finger in his mouth. He stared down at the disarray of newspapers and thought over his next steps. If he got a second job, he’d be able to afford an apartment on his own. But if he moved out, he’d have to buy his own things. He’d have to buy food, find furniture, buy a car...
He sighed as he bit into the cupcake. There weren’t many options open for him. The only job he’d found so far required a college degree, which he didn’t have. His job at the laundry-mat also took up all his night hours and wasn’t flexible. The words on the page began to run together as his eyes crossed. All this reading had made him sleepy.
He finished the rest of the cupcake and folded up the newspaper. Nick was sure to be here any minute. It was best to have supper lied out before he came home and not have him griping about it before Adrian left for the night.
It wasn’t that he didn’t expect to have the perfect relationship with Nick. He knew all couples had their share of disagreements. But with Nick, they never really got over things. They’d bicker and before they could solve anything, Nick would storm off and lock himself in their room. He’d say stuff and though Adrian knew that he didn’t mean them, they still hurt. He tried to stop himself from making mistakes, but even then it didn’t help much.
That was going to change though. Adrian smiled and opened the fridge. Tonight was going to be perfect. He would make rice with chicken and mash potatoes. For dessert, he’d prepared a cheesecake earlier this morning after Nick left for work. It wasn’t much—they didn’t have much—but it was the best he could do with what they had.
He cooks the rice in a quiet haze. The steam rises up and clouds his visions, but he’s too enthralled with the chipped wallpaper to do anything about it. A face made of cracks in the wall stares back at him. Its eyes glow a dull blue and its grin turns sinister, calling him forward.
He jumped when he feel Nick’s arms wrap around his waist. Their skin brushed together, sending shocks down Adrian’s spine. Goosebumps appeared along his arms when Nick kissed him behind his ear and held him closer. This was what he liked about being with Nick. He wasn’t afraid to get close, not like the guys he’d dated before. They’d been scared about their roles. Adrian did sometimes give off dominant vibes, but for the most part, he was passive.
Nick wasn’t questioning his sexuality and wasn’t one of those guys that feared that they were too gay. He didn’t like labels all that much, quite like Adrian himself. When they met when they were young, Adrian never thought that their friendship would turn to something more. It was unexpected but nice none-the-less.
He looked over his shoulder, a smile on his face. “Sorry it isn’t done. It shouldn’t take too long.”
Inside, he silently prayed this was one of Nick’s good days. The arms around his waist tightened and he feared that the next second he’d be shoved against the stove.
Nick kissed him behind the ear again. “Sounds good. I’ll go wash up.”
When Nick disappeared down the hall and Adrian heard the bathroom door shut, he let out a shaky breath. The hairs on his arms and the back of his neck stood up on end. He bit his lip and tried to concentrate on the rice. The worst thing he could do was mess up dinner and act like a complete fool. Things were going to be okay. Tonight was their night, their special night and nothing was going to ruin it.
He prayed he wouldn’t say or do anything stupid.
It went well for the most part. By that, he means Nick ate without a word or a glance, more focused on the news than Adrian. He shouldn’t be upset as much as he is. Nick’s been working hard for them everyday, paying bills and making sure they have food to eat. Like Nick tells him, Adrian’s kind of spoiled. Most of what he makes at the mat—it isn’t much—he gets to keep for himself.
That’s what is creating a big hole between them. Adrian doesn’t feel like he’s taking up a lot of space, but then again, he does. Nick takes care of him and that wasn’t what he wanted at all. They were suppose to work together as a team, bring home money together to keep a roof over their heads. He didn’t want to be taken care of, but Nick kept pushing him further into the house wife role.
Yeah, he liked that, but he didn’t want to be house bound every day for the rest of his life. He wanted—
“Take this to the kitchen.” Adrian took the offered plate without a word and walked into the kitchen. He looked back and watched Nick splayed out on the couch for a few seconds.
His hands are shaking as he ran the plate under hot water and sat it into the sink. He braced himself against the counter, hands clutching the side of the sink with all their might. Nick looked calm, not at all on edge like most of the time. This might as well be the best time to ask than any other time.
He’s about to turn back and walk into the living room when he feels a light touch on his back. He freezes in place, eyes wide. The touch gets bolder and moves up until it brushes over his hair. And it stops.
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