No, Ryan never really liked parties. The ones at Eugene's house were usually not awful, as they had most of the office there and so, most of Ryan's friends. But it was the ones that he was invited to elsewhere, where he knew nobody but the host, and followed them around like a lost puppy until he went home, feeling like he was annoying them too much.
This one didn't seem to be terrible. The music was pounding, it was almost dark, but Shane was there. Shane, his best friend, co-host of Unsolved, the one guy Ryan could trust over nobody else. The sight of him walking through that door was such a wave of relief to Ryan, a euphoria, which was shattered after a split-second after seeing his hand behind him, leading Sara in by her hand. Ryan hoped, Ryan prayed that despite his girlfriend’s presence taking up about ninety percent of his attention, that Shane would notice Ryan’s lonely chair in the corner of the room, his shaking hands only just clutching at his drink, but he was sure he would have no such luck. Shane knew nobody else but Ryan, Sara and the host, and he had no idea that Ryan was even attending the same party in the first place.
I’m in the corner.
Sara was one of the nicest people in the office, bubbly and friendly to everyone and Jesus, Ryan couldn't hate her if he tried. And that's what made it so annoying. Shane and Sara. Sara and Shane. The office power couple, and everyone knew it. Usually, at one of Eugene’s parties, Eugene himself would convince Ryan to come and the two would sit, maybe joined by another Try Guy, maybe Ariel, maybe Becky, and they would all say things about Sara that they all knew weren’t true, but it made Ryan feel better, so who cared?
But this time, this time Ryan didn’t have the comfort of his friends keeping him distracted and instead the only thing he could now focus on was the steady beat of the slow romantic song playing; the way Sara’s head rested on Shane’s chest as they swayed to the rhythm; their fingers interlinked; how their bodies pressed were pressed together like they were each other’s only source of comfort and happiness. It pained Ryan to watch but he couldn’t tear his eyes away. He couldn’t stop himself thinking about what it would be like to have his body pressed up against Shane’s, his head pressed against the other man’s chest like Sara’s was, the sound of Shan’s heartbeat against Ryan’s ear, the taller man’s lips in his hair. It was like a storm raging inside Ryan, one that would never cease until he got such contact that he craved.
The song was over; the two separated, but only slightly. They were gazing into each other’s eyes, love and pride in swelling in both their chests. It was sickening, but Ryan still couldn’t help but wish he was in Sara’s place, especially as Shane leaned down and connected his probably extremely soft lips to Sara’s; the two were kissing, and it seemed to Ryan that the entire room stopped to admire them. Tears welled in his eyes before he could stop himself. Ryan, pull yourself together! His first thought was followed by more, all expressing different versions of the same phrase.
Watching you kiss her.
Ryan sunk further into his chair, gloom and misery taking over every inch of his body as he watched the two in their embrace, wishing that Shane would break the kiss and acknowledge Ryan’s presence, at least for a second. He wasn’t too sure that he’d be able to act civil with Sara next time he saw her, and he certainly wasn’t sure that he’d be able to control his bitterness next time he saw Shane. Christ, he was a mess. His eyes drifted around the room, attempting to distract himself, but the couple in the middle of the room seemed to overwhelm all his senses.
I’m right over here, why can’t you see me?
Ryan suddenly stood up, shrugging off the pain and the shame, and the thoughts telling him that he was weak and pathetic, and he began to dance in place. He got looks – people from all around the room raising their eyebrows and muttering in confusion at the small man in the corner with his eyes squeezed shut and his hands over his ears, his feet moving around to the beat of the new song that had started. He was long past the point of caring, though, he danced and he danced, anything to distract him from the kissing couple barely six metres from him, anything to drown out the wolf-whistles that could be heard even over the pounding music.
Shane and Sara left about two hours later, but Ryan was long gone. He had long accepted that not even a glance from Shane was coming toward him that night and he took a few mouthfuls of vodka, barely even wincing before he was walking home, over a mile in the rain, but did it matter? Absolutely not. His attention was elsewhere, on fantasies that it certainly wasn’t the first time he was imagining, to the harsh thoughts that Shane didn’t like him anymore, that Shane was probably going to quit Unsolved, that Brent was going to come back (against Ryan’s will, to be honest, he wasn’t, was never, fond of Brent), and that Ryan was never, never going to see Shane again.
What is it with his drunk mind and thinking of literal Hell?
He had gotten home that night, soaked to the skin and not even changed; his coat and shoes remained on as he flopped onto the couch, rolling onto the floor with the impact and ending up on his back, feet planted on the floor and his hands across his stomach.
“Does she love you better than I can, Shane?”