I combined my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post and Story a Day entry again today. The SOCS prompt was to use brake/break somewhere in it. And for Story a Day, it was to use the opening line: “Huh!” he said. “I never would have thought that would fit in there.” The next line came right to me and apparently I had these two in my head because it just rolled right out from there. I’ll probably end up fitting this in to the Break on Me WiP later on. Warning for mention of suicide.
“Huh!” he said. “I never would have thought that would fit in there.”
“That’s what he said.”
Gabriel looked over at his roommate and shook his head. “You are terrible, Erik.” But, he couldn’t be taken too seriously when he couldn’t wipe the smirk from his own face. “Can you grab a few of those papers over there. I’d like to have this place cleaned up before Lora gets here.”
“Who is this girl anyway?” Erik asked as he moved to help. “I haven’t seen you on a date since you let me move in.”
Gabriel was sure this could be a touchy subject, but as much as he’d like to put the brakes on it, it would be better to iron it all out now. He and Erik hooked up sometimes, late at night when neither of them could sleep. But, there was never more to it. He was afraid he hadn’t made it completely clear there never would be. He might be sexually attracted to me, but he’d only ever been in relationships with women. He didn’t see any of that changing. Even if Lora wasn’t here, he didn’t see him and Erik ever dating. He just hadn’t found the right way to break that to the other man.
Erik waved a hand at him. “Don’t, Gabe, really. I know how things are. It’s fine.”
It wasn’t, though. He could see it in the tight lines of Erik’s shoulders as he turned to pick something else up. He’d never seen what they were doing as something shameful or even really a secret. Just because you didn’t tell everyone a thing didn’t make it a secret. Just private. And he had finally told his dad. And his siblings. They were the only ones who really mattered. It had gone better than he’d expected. He’d never been too worried about his siblings. Chris had been dating Susan when she realized she might love another girl–turned out she did. And he’d taken that well enough. His father had been the real surprise, but he never should have doubted him. He’d been worried about how it would affect them all working together, as much as what it would do to the family.
“It’s really not you, Erik. It’s me. I’ve told you. I might be attracted to men, but I prefer women.”
“I know,” Erik shouted, throwing the remote he’d picked up across the room. “God. Can’t you ever just let anything drop? I said it was fine.”
But, it wasn’t and neither was Erik’s sudden burst of temper. But, Gabriel stood where he was. When Erik got like this, it was better not to approach him. This wasn’t even about the conversation they were having. Gabriel knew that, even though Erik wouldn’t admit it. It had a lot more to do with the fact Gabriel was still pushing about Erik going to talk to someone.
Gabriel drew in a breath and let it out again before going to pick up the remote. “I’m sorry. I just wanted things to be clear.”
“They’re perfectly clear to me. You don’t have to worry about that or me.” Gabriel watched as Erik drew in several breaths, apparently trying to calm himself.
Erik might think he didn’t need to worry about him, but Gabriel did anyway. “I’ve lost one friend because he refused to seek help after he came home. I don’t want to have to bury another.”
“I’m not Aaron,” Erik spit out. “I’m not going to kill myself.”
“I don’t think he thought he would, either. Not until it got to be too much.” He drew in a shuddering breath. It always hurt to talk about Aaron. Every damn time. And speaking of…”Her name’s Lora,” he said, answering Erik’s earlier question. He watched him process and try to catch up to the change in conversation. “And it isn’t a date. She’s only here because of the project the company is working on. And,” he added, glancing away, “she’s Aaron’s sister.” Just as much reason that he couldn’t go there.
Erik shifted away at that. “So, she probably already hates me.”
“What would make you say that? She doesn’t even know you.”
“Her brother did. And he made it perfectly clear what he thought of me. I wouldn’t doubt he told her. Weren’t they really close?”
“Yeah. But, you don’t know she’s like that. She never agreed with everything he thought. She does have a mind of her own, you know.”
“Right. Well, I think I’ll make myself scarce until she’s gone anyway.”
Gabriel watched Erik stalk away then let out a sigh. That hadn’t gone well. Hopefully his meeting with Lora would go better. He just needed to finish getting this place cleaned up.