Brendon gets fired (retrenched, let go, put out to pasture, taken behind the barn and put out of his misery, whatever; pick your euphemism of choice) a month or two after the fall of the Lehman Brothers on a fine February afternoon. He doesn’t really remember the exact date, but it isn’t a Friday. For some reason he remembers this. Also, that Spencer is still in Vienna and won’t be home for a grand total of twenty seven more days. He thinks about that while standing in what used to be his office, looking at the view that used to be his. In retrospect Brandon really wished he’d said yes and cashed in his stored up holiday time when Spencer had initially asked him to come along with him.
Behind him, Vera, his (now ex) secretary politely knocks on the door.
She doesn’t look him in the eye. He’s not sure why. Maybe she just can’t. In her hands are cardboard boxes. Her cheeks are flushed red and if Brendon didn’t know better he might have thought she had been crying.
Brendon only really needs one box, but he takes them all and used the extras to liberate stationary. He doesn't really have any use eight boxes of stolen red pens or the three printer refills, but apart from the two pictures of Spencer, one of his university degree, and his spare tie (kept in case of taco day down at the cafe in the lobby) he doesn't really have much to show for the four years he had spent on Wall Street. So he won’t look like a fool, he a places a few packs of printer paper in each of the boxes. A draw of unread memos follows. And so on and so on. The boxes are heavy when he left his office. Spencer’s face is looking right up at him. On the elevator ride to the lobby, Brendon looks down at him.
It is almost like opposite day.
He bits his lip to stop himself from laughing.
When he gets to home, he has two red indentations there from his teeth. If Spencer were there, Brendon thinks perhaps he might laugh. But Spencer isn’t there, and the urge to laugh has left Brendon. He dumps the boxes by the door, unbuttons his suit jacket, loosens his tie and makes himself a drink. When he finishes the last drop, he makes himself another, and eventually a third. Once he finishes with that, he goes to bed.
It isn’t even six yet.
For the next eighteen days, he sleeps and that’s about it. Oh, and he lies to Spencer when he calls, telling him that he caught a cold. It’s not the best lie considering the last time he was sick it turned out not to be a trifling cold but pneumonia. Spencer offers to fly home early. Brendon turns the offer down. Over the international phone line Spencer sighs; small and almost not at all. Brendon rolls over in bed and looks at the empty space beside him. At the end of the call, Spencer says, he loves Brendon. Brendon replies ‘ditto.’ He says it with his eyes closed. He may or may not pretend he breathes it upon Spencer’s skin.
In his head, he silently counts the days down until there are almost none left.
Except on day number nineteen, Spencer calls to tell him the orchestra got booked for an extended season.
“We wouldn’t normally accept, but it’s Gerard’s final year with us before he leaves to go work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.”
And for a second, Brendon just – he aches.
He had been counting down the days. Spencer was meant to be back within almost a week. For a full and far too long second, all Brendon wants is to tell Spencer to come home. To leave Gerard and lead percussionist Bob and crazy concert pianist Amanda and everyone else and just come home to him. But he doesn’t. He wouldn’t. Not ever. Instead, he takes a deep breath and tells Spencer it is okay.
“It’s only an extra five weeks of performances.” Brendon adds, very rationally. “We’ve been apart for longer than that.”
He wants Spencer to ask him to come and visit again.
Spencer makes a sound of agreement (they had been apart for longer). It’s hollow and kind of sad.
He tells Brendon that he misses him. And that he loves him. He does not ask Brendon to fly out, not even for a long weekend.
Brendon replies with one ‘ditto’ and one ‘you too.’ He would have added a ‘yes,’ but there wasn’t anything to say yes too.
Spencer makes that sound again.
Brendon just – he just aches.
In the background, a voice that Brendon is almost 100% certain is Bob calls for Spencer to hurry up or they will be late to the embassy dinner they had to make guest appearances at. Another one – maybe Ian – joined in. Spencer sighs and yells at them to give him a minute, ‘just a minute, for fucksake.’ Brendon knew it was coming, but he wants hours more. He can hardly remember the last time he had fallen asleep with Spencer’s voice guiding him there. Can’t remember at all how the steady rise and fall of Spencer’s chest under his own cheek felt.
It’s not fair at all, not really. Not really when it was Brendon who had been working all hours of the day and night when Spencer was last home; always another deal to be done, stocks to watch and a market to predict. Spencer was the one who went without more than Brendon.
The stupid thing is, in the beginning he’d only taken all those statistics and commerce classes to have an excuse to talk to Spencer. It had been a fluke that he’d turned out to be actually good at them, and then, when he’d gotten headhunted in their final year, a laugh. Him? Really? Out of everyone? He figured someone would have caught on to him. But no one did. Not really, not even now.
The next day Pete, this guy he knew though another guy through another guy, calls Brendon.
Brendon is half awake when he answers. Still dressed in Spencer’s old too big pyjamas, Brendon fakes his side of the conversation for about half an hour. In the second half hour, it occurs to him Pete had called to check him out; to see if he’s worth expending time on, worth bringing in out of the cold. Brendon thinks mainly it was half creative B.S., and half an excessive consumption of energy drinks that allowed him to last as long at Goldman Sachs as he did. He never really quite figured out what he was meant to do exactly as a junior executive. It must show, because at the end of the call, Pete invites him out for drinks, instead of to the office.
“We should totally catch up man.”
“Yeah. Totally. It’s been eons.” Brendon replies.
It’s a lie.
They had never really been formally introduced.
That night when he goes to bed, he sleeps a traitorously solidly night’s sleep and wakes up late to the late morning sun streaming through the windows and across the pale cream carpet. When he checks his blackberry, he sees two texts from Spencer. One is a photo of him rocking out his tux pre-performance. Pressing a few buttons, Brendon saves it and makes it his screensaver. After that he doesn’t know what to do. He could start the count down all over again, but he doesn’t.
The sun is high and it warms the concrete of the balcony.
For a while Brendon goes out and stands on it, and looks out across the cityscape.
The size overwhelms him; was it always that big?
He can’t remember.
He’s making lunch (or late breakfast, whatever) when he reaches to break a few leaves of the tub of basil Spencer must have bought before he left, and realizes instead of going rotten like it probably should have, it, though some luck chance of fate, had actually managed to grow. Its roots spilled out of the water holes at the bottom of its flimsy plastic container, and it’s steams had twisted to meet the occasional glimpses of sun it receives when Brendon actually remember to open the curtains in the mornings before he left for work.
The fresh shoots at the top are weak and a little undersized. The whole plant looks scrawny from the lack of water it had been receiving. But it is, growing. Instead of pulling the tops off, with one finger Brendon reaches and touches a leaf. Taking his finger away, he reaches for a dirty glass on the sink. Filling it with water, he pours it over the plant.
The next day the basil looks a little greener, and the next day greener still.
It still reaches for the light though; its stems curving pathetically to catch every drop it could. Brendon is horrid with remembering to open the curtains, and its leaves are still a little more yellow than the healthy green they should have been. Taking it out onto the balcony, he sets it safely on the deck.
Now it won’t have to struggle for sunshine.
Quietly pleased, he sits with it in the sunshine for a little while.
The following week is unseasonable hot, and the basil plant is left wilted and burnt by the end of it. This is even despite Brendon’s effort to water it each morning and evening. The little plastic pot just wasn’t built for sustaining life; just cheap and easy transportation. Bringing the plant inside, safely into the shade, Brendon looks at it and then back out the window to the city that surrounds him. Biting his lip, Brendon considers their options. Around him, his apartment is silent.
Carefully, he reaches into the box of office relics he hadn’t touched for over a month, and he pulls out his laptop. Booting it up, he buries his toes in the soft pale cream carpet and braces his heels against the legs of the pine wood dinning room chair he is seated in. The screen flickered to life. It lights the darkened room, and for the first fifteen minutes he reads through Spencer’s various emails and opened attachments he had included. Picture of Spencer and the places he visited fills the screen. Carefully, Brendon saves them all in a new folder. Taking his time, he tries to write a reply to all of them. Words failed him though.
Rather than persevering, he opens a new window and googles ‘garden supplies.’
Then he modifies the search and modifies it again until he finds a local greenery which has online shopping and a free delivery service. It has been a while, but Brendon still remembers a little. However he’d never had potted plants before. Back when Spencer was wearing those ill fitted Ivy League blazers and Brendon was trying so very hard to deserve them, he had done things very differently. So had his mother. Now he takes his time and orders a glazed Tuscan blue terracotta pot and leather gardening gloves and a set of gardening implements as if he is being graded. They arrived three working days later encased in bubble wrap and in huge cardboard box. He’s still dressed in pyjamas when they are delivered. He hasn't worn anything but them for weeks. It’s impractically for gardening though. What greets him when he opens his wardrobe door is more impractically though. He’d only been out of college for a few years. When had he found the time to buy so many suits? Not just two or three, but at least a dozen or so. Pushing them aside he searches and searches, but the best he can do are a pair of expensive designer jeans still with the tags on them. Nothing else is even the slightest bit suitable.
His gaze drifts though, and so does his hands, to Spencer’s side of the closet.
As a rule he tries not to look at Spencer’s things while he is away. Whole sections of the apartment became off limit. His side of the wardrobe, bathroom counter, even the old study Spencer had converted into a music room, in Brendon’s mind don’t exist when Spencer is no longer there to use the space they consumed. They just dropped off the map. It is just better that way. Easier.
Brendon is certain Spencer understands.
But it isn't like Brendon can go out and pick up something to use just for planting one plant. It would be wasteful, and now they only had one income between them it doen’t pay to act like that. Cautiously, Brendon reaches for a t-shirt. Faded and old, it swamps Brendon. It smells like Spencer though, and if Brendon doesn't move or make a sound, for a second, just a second it almost feel as if it is Spencer surrounding him instead of a piece of cotton.
He knows it is childish to think that way.
So he stops.
It is only after he has unwrapped them all and placed them outside on the balcony he becomes conscious of the fact he forgot to order potting mix. It’s a fucking amateur mistake and he feels so, so stupid for making it, especially after spending half an hour choosing between two shades of blue for the pot he ordered.
Tearing the invoice off the side of the box, he grabs his wallet, keys and mobile. Getting to the Garden Centre an hour before it closed, he initially heads towards the landscaping section. But between heading in that direction and getting there, he walks past three displays and one friendly sales assistant dressed in a kilt. His name badge announces that he is called ‘Adam’ but without any prompting he admits he is actually a William.
“I couldn’t find my badge this morning. I think Gabe might have stolen it again.” William explains as he hands Brendon a tray of tomato seedlings to hold. “And our Darling Manageress Greta sends anyone who doesn’t wear a badge home so I borrowed my dear, best friend Sisky’s instead.”
Brendon blinks. “You don’t really look like an Adam.”
William beams. “Thank you. I always thought so too, but none of the other customers today have agreed.”
Brendon doesn't really know what to say to that, to he smiles and tries to look agreeable. It seems to work as William throws his free arm around Brendon’s shoulder and leads him towards a display of tea roses. Each of which he had named ‘Victoria’ in honor of the one girl that had successfully escape his and the aforementioned Gabe’s clutches.
“Just as prickly, not nearly as beautiful.” William winks.
He looks a little creepy. He also handed Brendon something else to carry, this time a climbing rose.
“I really only came for potting mix.” Brendon tries to explain.
William looks pleased. “Oh, that is a good idea. You’ll need it for when you re-plant those tomatoes.”
Grabbing Brendon a trolley, he gathers a few bags, and then an extra few. (‘Just in case,' William reasons). Taking him to the counter, he rings everything up. But when Brendon hands over his credit card, William squints at it rather than charging his purchases to it.
“Did you order something online?”
Brendon hadn’t meant for his answer to come out sounding more like a question, but it does and in result before he escapes William not only looks up his order, but adds Brendon to their mailing list and, finally, adds an extra hundred to the bill by convincing Brendon very logically that he really need some extra matching pots if he is going to grow so many things.
Brendon feels queasy on the ride home.
He hadn’t meant to spend nearly as much. But after he drags all of his purchases up to his apartment and onto the balcony the feeling is replaced by something else. It had been so long since he had grown anything. The sun is low by the time he had managed to fill the pots with earth and his hair is sticking to his sweaty neck.
The next morning he wakes earlier that he had in weeks and starts his planting before the heat gets to harsh.
He abandons the gardening gloves quickly, and reverts back to bare hands. Though the sun is yet to reach its full strength for the day, the earth is warm in his hands and when he places the basil, tomatoes and rose into it, he feels a little like he’s done something. Something good. Without being fully conscious of it, he settles and time slips out from under his finger tips. When he finishes it is about lunch time and he takes it sitting out on the balcony eating a sandwich with scrubbed clean hands.
It’s a good way to have it.
Not everything goes as smoothly as the preliminary planting did though.
He makes mistakes of course. A great deal of them too.
After all, it had been a more than a little while since he had last attempted anything like what he was currently doing. Half the tomatoes die within a fortnight, and the faults for this lies squarely on his part for over watering them. But the basil keeps growing and though the rose doesn’t flower it does start to climb the balconies steel balustrades. With three pots devoid of flora, Brendon thinks and thinks, and while making his dinner he comes to the conclusion he’d really prefer not to have to buy take away salads. They always arrived slightly soggy and gross no matter where he ordered them from or how much he paid. And it’s one thing to buy plant pots on line, but it’s another to buy plants, so Brendon ends up going down to the Garden Centre again. William doesn’t seem to be working when Brendon walks into the nursery, but a very, very tall individual wearing his nametag was.
“Gabe?” Brendon tries on a whim.
The very, very tall guy broke into a crocked grin.
In retrospect, maybe Brendon shouldn’t have been so bold, but eventually he did manage to escape from Gabe’s tentacle reach and the only battle wounds he suffered were more accuracy classed as an annual variety of vivid red petunia that Gabe recommended to help lure bees and consequently encourage the cross pollination of Brendon’s tomato plants. Though adding a bright splash of colour, and contrasting rather strikingly against the blue glaze on the terracotta pots, they did not in any way make for good salad material. This forced Brendon to venture out yet again the next day.
He’d forgotten though, that the next day was a Saturday.
The greenery was bustling with people when he arrived. Brendon couldn’t spot anyone to help him at all, and for about an hour he stared at the vegetable section trying to remember if he had bought lettuce seedlings or had grown them from seeds. He’d been pretty dirt poor as a university student so he was leaning towards the latter. However he have the vague recollections of battling hordes of slugs and snails eating the tiny green shoots, which maybe meant he should choose the seedlings or maybe didn’t matter at all since he’s apartment was on the fifty seventh floor and he didn’t really think snails would be a huge problem but he could be wrong and he often –
“Go for the rhubarb.” a tattooed dark haired man suggested, as if appearing from no where. “It’s seriously under rated.”
Brendon found himself nodding; he had sent bunches of it to Ryan, back when Spencer first agreed to date him.
“Apple and rhubarb crumble.” Brendon commented, his mouth suddenly watering as he recalled what Ryan had made from steams.
“Yeah,” the guy – ‘Frank,’ his badge noted – breathed, eyes distant, “With homemade vanilla ice cream.”
When Frank put it like that, Brendon couldn’t refuse. Letting Frank pick out the best punnet, Brendon followed him back into the centre to the register. At the last minute, having learnt his lesson from his other trips, he changed course and darted down an isle to the seed display. Grabbing a few packets with pictures that looked vaguely familiar, he added that to his purchase.
At home he planted the rhubarb first, and then cautiously read the seed instructions.
He’d done this before – he must have – but the first time he tried nothing happened. He waited six days exactly like the packet said, but nothing happened. Not even one tiny little green shoot. Like a teenage he no longer was, he threw the packet away and spent the next few days ignoring his little make shift garden.
Maybe he would have gone longer; maybe he never would have looked at it again if wasn’t for the water timer malfunctioning. At four o’clock in the morning it turned itself on, splashing enormous jets of water across the huge glass windows, Brendon up with a start. To his sleep stupid ears it sounds like a robber breaking in, a bomb going off and glass shattering all at once. Jumping out of bed he tripped over Spencer’s too long (on him) pyjama pant legs, and tumbled out of his bedroom to find it was just a faulty sprinkler setting. As he’s turning it off however, he looked down and instead of dirt there are little lettuces, poking up triumphantly out of the ground to the sky.
And he’s soaking wet and it’s four in the morning and he’s cold and unemployed and –
He calls Spencer.
“I was fired,” he tells him.
“Fuck, Bren,” Spencer breathes. “Fuck, Baby, that fucking sucks.”
It’s such a Spencer response and, Brendon has no idea why he waited for so long to tell him. Scrunching his eyes closed he laughed until he wasn’t laughing anymore, but crying, and Spencer, Spencer was still there, on the other end of the line. Breathing and speaking; telling Brendon that it was okay, they were okay, that they would survive and that Brendon didn’t have to worry.
“I’m coming home,” Spencer tells him finally, firm and decided.
“No, fuck, no.” Brendon tells him. “You’ve got a week left.”
“It’s just a week.”
And it just is.
Brendon tells Spencer this, he tells it that it’s okay and that he’s okay and basically repeats everything Spencer had said, just with different tenses. It isn’t a lie though. At least he doesn’t think it is. He gets Spencer to relent, and like Brendon knew it would, the week passes and eventually ends. For the first time in too many years he gets a cab and goes out to the airport to meet Spencer. When he gets there he waits at the arrival gate and he waits until he doesn’t wait any longer.
Spencer’s face breaks into a dazzling smile when he exists out of the arrival terminal and spots Brendon. He’s tired and worn, with purple circles under his eyes and knots in his too long hair and at the sight of him Brendon aches and aches more than ever. Somehow, though it defies all sense and logic to the contrary he aches even more when he finally gets swept up in Spencer’s arms, and it doesn’t leave him, not even with Spencer’s arms do.
Spencer’s fellow orchestral members hoot and holler behind them. But only a little. Hours of flight and hours more of preparation and whatever the hell paper work they had to do to move harps, Spencer’s precious percussion section, and a shit load of other instruments across oceans had taken its toll on all of them. Even Spencer, who leant a little bit more than he normally would against Brendon’s side as the waited outside for a taxi.
“I missed you,” he tells Brendon, his lips brushing the shell of Brendon’s ear.
Spencer smiles, Brendon can feel it.
Their apartment feels different with Spencer back in it. Brendon knows that it takes Spencer a while to get used to it again, to get used to sharing his space with Brendon. The pattern is familiar; they’ve trod it many, many times before. Brendon knows he shouldn’t push it. Spencer is tried and worn and burnt out. He should let Spencer come back to him in Spencer’s own time. But it’s been so long and he wants and he aches and he pins Spencer against the door of their bedroom and presses his body up against him shamelessly. Stealing a quick slick and ill aimed kiss, Brendon grinds up against him and fumbles with Spencer’s belt.
He used to be good at this.
“Fuck, Bren…” Spencer whispers tiredly, body stiff and all his international renown percussionist timing gone to crap.
All Brendon can think about was all those stupid shitty business meetings and the market crashing around them and stock prices that are taking a steep nose dive and he doesn’t understand how he could have let them become so important. He had worked overtime. Overtime and weekends while Spencer was there, padding around the apartment alone while Brendon was fucking around with numbers.
He stands on his tip toes and he kisses Spencer, kisses his cheeks and he jaw line and his closed eyelids and the corner of his mouth. Kisses him until Spencer kisses him back. Stilted, threadbare and unpracticed. But there. There with Brendon. It’s enough to have Brendon peeling away his clothes, and getting his fingers tangled in Spencer’s.
He wants Spencer to fuck him. To spread him across the stupidly expensive sheets Brendon had gotten Vera to buy and fuck him hard and fast and raw and stupid. But Spencer had just gotten off a fuck if Brendon knew how long flight and Brendon’s pretty certain Spencer can’t remember the last time he slept or ate – at least two days, maybe more – and Brendon should wait. He should wait and let Spencer come back to him in his own time, just like he normally did. But he can’t. He doesn’t.
He’s not subtle in any way.
He fumbles with Spencer’s belt, and pulls at his traveling clothes and tugs at his tangled hair and pushes him down onto the bed. Crawling on top of him, Brendon does all the work. Quick and efficient he spreads himself open with one, two, three slick fingers and hushes Spencer’s mumbled concerns with his mouth.
“Please,” he whispers more than once, for no real reason at all. “Please.”
“Okay,” Spencer tells him, breathless. “It’s okay, just breath,”
Brendon should be telling Spencer that. He should. But he isn’t.
And he gasps and groans and rolls his head back as he sinks down. He’s a fucking needy mess of a fuck, he always has been, and Brendon knows this. But he can’t stop arching into Spencer’s hands, pushing his hips to meet Spencer’s. Against Spencer’s callused touch, Brendon feels raw, and his gasp and groans turn into whimpers. Vulnerable, he ducks his head into Spencer’s shoulder. His elbow somehow wings Spencer’s ribcage. Spencer swears, more of surprise than pain.
Brendon could have sworn he was better at this. He must have been.
Against his mouth, he feels Spencer’s pulse beat spike, rabbit quick.
Spencer takes the advantage and pulls him closer, sinking his teeth into the delicate crock of Brendon’s neck. The sharp well of pain against everything else, makes his body tense and shake all at once. Without being prompted but long overdue, Spencer touches him, and just like that Brendon arches and comes. It only takes Spencer a few more thrusts to finish, and Brendon lets Spencer take them, his fingers digging into Brendon’s hips and thighs. When he comes, he buries his face into Brendon’s neck. Teeth bared now harmlessly upon the fragile purple and red bruised skin he had abused moments ago.
Brendon doesn’t want to move. In short, shallow breaths he pants and he listens to Spencer do the same. Fingers clenched around Spencer’s wrist and shoulder, he holds on and he clings and he tries vainly to catch his breath. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but it somehow is when Spencer gently slips away, and takes care of him the way he always had.
“Shhh,” Spencer whispers, when Brendon attempts to move and help.
Pushing him back against the bed, into the rumpled sheets, Spencer smiles faintly, and Brendon, well, he closes his eyes. The next morning he wakes slowly to find himself alone. The sheets beside him cool to the touch. Instead of lying beside him (where he should be), Brendon finds Spencer standing dressed in boxers and barefoot outside. Beautiful and strikingly youthful in the morning light, the sight makes Brendon’s mouth dry and his fingers twitch uselessly by his side.
Catching sight of him, Spencer smiled; bright and disarming. “I didn’t know you were gardening again.”
Unable to understand or pinpoint why, Brendon feels his cheeks flush. He shrugs.
“I just started.” he tries on for size, bashfully.
Spencer takes a step towards him. “Are you singing again?”
Spencer’s smile dims a little. “You used to sing. You said it helped everything grow.”
Snapping off a spotted rose leaf, Brendon shrugs. “They seem to be growing okay as it is.”
Spencer glances away. “Yeah.”
And Spencer leaves it at that.
For a while things go back to an almost normal. Spencer is home. The other side of the bed is occupied. At night Spencer lets Brendon curl up close and warm and during the day Brendon can let himself see the Spencer related things and rooms in their apartment again. Sometimes though, in the mornings after Spencer leaves for work, Brendon’s footsteps echo throughout the apartment even though the carpet is thick and he tries very hard to be quiet.
As a remedy (or maybe just a band aid) Brendon spends most of his day on the balcony weeding and staking and tending to his small but bright little garden. Though the collections of potted plants is small, he is often left more time than work to fill it with. Every second week, he receives the Garden Centre newsletter. He makes himself read and reread it slowly over a week, to make it last as long as it possibly can. When he’s finally finished he puts it in a binder for safe keeping. It’s one of Spencer’s old ones, from one of his old ensembles, and Brendon likes that more than he would have in the past.
Once in a while an article or advertised special catches his eyes and he will venture out of his building and down to the greenery. Occasionally he ends up buying whatever spurred him into action. More often than not he comes home with pumpkin seeds or rosemary bushes instead. One time he goes out in search of seaweed fertilizer – the tomatoes had been looking a little yellow – but the nursery is closed.
He doesn’t know what to do with himself.
Shoving the newsletter into his pocket, he squinted in the sun and tried to think of something to do. Spencer is at practice all day. At a loss, Brendon tries Spencer’s mobile just in case it was actually a half day instead. It is turned off. Obviously it isn’t a half day. Staring his blackberry, Brendon thought and he thought. In the end he decides to walk back to their appartment. It's only a short walk, just a block or two. The weather is mild and Brendon doesn’t have anywhere to be. It isn’t a bad idea considering everything.
On the way back he buys lunch from a street vendor and spills ketchup and mustard down the front of his shirt. In the process of pausing to try and clean it up, he almost trips over a stand of books outside a second hand book shop. Endeavoring to cover up his almost disastrous mishap he picked one up and pretends it is the most fascinating thing on Earth. It isn’t. But the section of faded and dog eared Gertrude Jekyll books on the next stand looked much more promising.
He buys one, the cheapest, on a whim.
The next day he returns and buys the rest. One by one he devours them. He was never the quickest reader, and the prose is dense compared to his past diet of glossy gossip rags and stock reports. Nevertheless, slowly but surely, he works his way through one, and then another, and then another. All around him, his city garden grows and grows and grows.
He stops buying vegetables.
But the garden keeps growing and growing, and Brendon, he’s an okay cook. Passable at best, if he was truly honest; he doesn’t know what to do with some things and other, well others he had way too much of. He just doesn’t know what to do. Spencer can only eat so much. He had taken tomato sandwiches to work every day for the last week too.
In the end he ends up spending an exorbitant amount to have a large bunch of rhubarb, a few zucchini’s and a bunch of lavender, roses and flowering rosemary, shipped to Ryan.
Three days later, Ryan ships back one of his rhubarb and apple crumbles.
Brendon eats illicit bites of it cold, and when Spencer gets home, they share what’s left.
The next day Brendon calls to say thank you.
“You’re welcome.” Ryan replies easily. “It was my pleasure.”
Two more days pass.
Ryan calls back. “You know you could have just come and visited, right? Ray and I are only in New Jersey.”
Brendon shrugs. “I thought you might be busy.”
He hadn’t thought that. Unwillingly, his face heats.
But being in New Jersey and not in Brendon’s living room in New York City, Ryan doesn’t see.
“I wasn’t.” Ryan replies.
“Still, I didn’t want to drop in unannounced.”
“Bren,” Ryan sighs. “Don’t be an idiot.”
Chastised, Brendon feels very small and very stupid. Ryan carries what remains of the conversation; asking after Spencer, the duet he was given in Ray’s latest composition that the New York Philharmonic had commissioned to celebrate Gerard’s final season, and finally, after Brendon’s garden.
“Spencer told me,” he explains without prompting.
Brendon sometimes forgets that Spencer and Ryan are best friends. In his mind Spencer is just Spencer, not one half of a blood bond brotherhood/friends for ever and ever friendship that had been formed in childhood and had not waned even the slightest over the years that followed. In short, he forgets Spencer tells Ryan everything.
“I think it’s a good idea.” Ryan adds, his voice perfectly even and impossible to read.
Brendon isn’t sure what he thinks. He knows the tomatoes had grown what seemed like an extra foot over night. The weight of the ripening fruit on their branches made them bend and droop to the ground. After finishing his conversation and saying goodbye to Ryan, Brendon spent over and hour looking for some string he could use to tie them back up to the stakes. It appeared, after the hour mark to be a futile search.
Annoyed that his apartment contained a TV with access to hundred of cable channels but no string, Brendon moved to grab his wallet to dart down to the nearest convenience store. He was pretty sure he left it on his bedside table.
Walking into his bedroom, Brendon finds himself in front of his wardrobe again. That morning, Spencer had dressed in a rush. The door had been left ajar. Brendon reaches to close it. But in between the thought and the action, the shine of shoes Brendon no longer wore and never truly liked cautches his eye. Pausing, he looks at them. Eight pairs. Eight pairs of shoes he didn’t like; not even with ‘made in Italy’ printed in gold letters on their soles.
(Brendon had even ordered a few of those eight specially).
Kneeling down, he looks at them and at the suits hanging above them. In university he had lived in jeans and colourful thrift shop sweaters. Tracing a finger along the leather lines, Brendon bites his lip. He can’t even remember which shoes he wore last. They're all the same, give or take a few different high end brand labels printed on the inners.
Releasing his lip, Brendon carefully unlaces every last pair.
The waxy, ink black laces made a pretty big pile for skinny short laces. Brendon tied them in bows when he takes them outside and uses them on the tomatoes. Personally, he thinks they look better like that than they ever did tying up Brendon’s shoes.
And like that, Brendon continues.
Spencer is Spencer. As simple and as complex as that. Brendon might have seen it all before, but as the weeks past, he comes back to him. Or maybe Brendon who comes back to Spencer – Brendon isn’t sure. But Spencer is there; he presses the snooze button and ends up rushing to practice and because Brendon’s doesn’t (can’t) let him get up on time, he leaves the door of his practice room open so his drumming bounces off the walls and out onto the balcony and nothing’s really changed between them, except somehow everything has. Brendon can feel it in his bones.
It’s late when Brendon finally brings the topic up and Brendon knows Spencer is pretty much asleep but –
“I want to move.”
And now that Brendon has started, he can’t stop. “I want to have a proper house with a garden. I want you to be able to drum all night long without having to worry about pissing off the co-op board and to put up lame Christmas decorations without getting passive aggressive letters about acceptable aesthetics. And I want us to maybe get a dog or two.”
Spencer looks at him, mussed hair and bleary eyed, and Brendon feels small. “If that’s okay?”
“Bren,” Spencer exhales. “I’d follow you anywhere.”
Anywhere turns out to be New Jersey, to a rundown house about three blocks away from Ryan and Ray’s. It isn’t nearly as big as theirs, but block is pretty large and the neighbors don’t live that close to the boundaries and instead of a room, Spencer has an entire basement to fill his drums and various percussion instruments with.
Ryan finds it for them.
Spencer hums quietly; content in a way Brendon hadn’t seen before.
They sell the apartment astonishingly quickly and not at an especially painful price considering the state of the market. Spencer isn’t surprised. It’s in the same building as Anderson Cooper lives and a year previously while Spencer was performing in Asia, Brendon had gotten Vera to spearhead an extensive renovation scheme.
Around the same time Spencer and Brendon lay and receive a deposit, Brian, the orchestra's president receives an invitation for the Philharmonic to play in North Korea. Gerard being Gerard is overjoyed at the mere concept. Music could totally help sooth international tension! Plus, it gave him a chance to broaden his personal musical opus and try some traditional Korean folk music! What could be bad about that?
“It’s just one performance.” Spencer tells Brendon after all the details had been ironed out.
The trip is right around the date they were meant to be moving.
But Spencer’s eyes are bright with excitement. The cool aid definitely had made its way to the back of the room to the percussion section. Brendon feels himself relent, and giving in. It is North Korea and Gerard’s last year and Spencer has a duet with Bob. If that doesn’t mean anything, then the Band-Aids that covered Spencer’s fingers certainly does. After Brendon mentions his disappointment that he couldn’t take it with them, Spencer (unknown to Brendon) unwinds the thorny climbing rose from the balcony balustrades so that Brendon wouldn’t have to leave it behind.
In his stead, Spencer sent Ryan.
In theory, this was as a form of assistance to help with the move. But in practice Ryan points where things should go, and insults Brendon’s (or rather Vera’s) taste in soft furnishings. Sweaty and exhausted, Brendon gives up by midmorning and leaves the professionals who he and Spencer had hired take care of the rest. Embracing being a hindrance rather than help, the two of them sit on a couch that had yet to be moved out on the half dead dried up front law and drank glasses of homemade strawberry lemonade and eat cucumber sandwiches that Brendon was certain Ryan only made because he could (after their first few year together, Ryan had started making things he and Ray both liked rather than things purely created to impress).
After they finish (or were carried inside by Zack and Dirty, the burly movers), Ryan invites Brendon over for dinner. Brendon knows what Ryan is doing. He tells Ryan as much. Ryan gets a pinched look on his face.
“Don’t be an idiot,” he exclaims (or at least, as much as his monotone allows). “I made lemon gnocchi and zucchini bread for dinner, and green tea tiramisu for desert.”
And that is that.
Ray is just like Brendon remembered him; cheerful, patient and kind. He comes home exactly as the alarm goes off on Ryan’s expensive steel and chrome restaurant quality oven, humming as he cups Ryan’s face in his hands and kisses him hello, before dragging Brendon into a warm, welcoming hug.
Brendon isn’t used too company; from weekly international conference calls and meetings, his world had shrunk to something much smaller. But there is a reason Ray fits so well with Ryan, and with ease the two alternatively lead and fill conversations; bouncing off each other like the always did. Brendon speaks now and then; when he has something to add. But even then nothing is forced and at the end of the night Brendon is content, full and tipsy on the good red wine Ryan had plied him with.
He waves away an offer to crash overnight, and walks home instead.
It’s a short walk. Pink cheeked and maybe a little handy (Brendon pretends not to see) Ryan and Ray accompanies him, giggle when Brendon clumsily drops his new house keys two times before managing to open the front door.
They are good friends.
Spencer’s only gone for a fortnight or so, in that time Brendon fall into a pattern of sorts. He wakes late, lazily without the aid of an alarm clock and spends the morning pottering around the house or in the garden. Though only a few blocks away from Ryan and Ray’s, the house is in ill repair and Brendon knows this is the main reason they were able to afford it. Filled with painfully ugly 70s wall paper and peeling paint, it needs more than a little love and attention. Surrounding it, the garden is more like a jungle of weeds than any of the coloured plates in Brendon’s growing collection of horticultural books.
He spends the morning in the garden weeding and pruning gnarled old David Austin roses. Sometimes Ryan will drop by unannounced to collected Brendon, other times Brendon will walk down the quiet streets to mooch a free lunch off him. Lunch frequently takes up the whole of an afternoon and more often than not, Brendon ends up staying for dinner.
By the time he and Ryan are planning to make a trip out to greet Spencer at the airport, Brendon finds himself struggle to find enough time to join the local library.
Though in Brendon’s defense, the librarian who was meant help Brendon fill out paperwork is much more keen to talk about his cats. He also has a lot of pictures saved on his computer and Brendon has never really cared for red tape. Jon agrees, even though he worries it might be against the librarian code.
“I mean, just because I work here doesn’t mean I like to read everything,” he tells Brendon quietly, just in case Lindsey the head librarian is close by.
Brendon nods understandingly.
Jon looks relieved. He opena up another file; this time of Clover and Dylan doing tricks, and wow, Brendon didn’t know cat’s could do cool shit like that.
“Maybe Spencer and I should get a cat instead,” he muses.
“Why not both?” Jon suggests helpfully.
Between him, Tom, and Mikey (the two guys Brendon had originally pegged respectively as the library hobo and hipster who had gotten lost and accidentally wondered in off the street), they get Brendon signed up and when he leaves the library, he leaves with a new library card in his wallet and six gardening books of various vintage in his arms.
He prefers Gertrude Jekyll’s books over the ones he borrowed, but hers were written primarily for the European garden, and he figures he shouldn’t rely on them completely. The newer books are easier to read; more like instruction manuals than anything else, but he prefers the older books. Putting aside the Eliot Coleman and Michael Pollan, he reads Ralph Hancook and William Robinson (and occasional Peter Cundall too, when he feels daring); filling his mind with images of old manner estates and organic vegetable patches made up entirely of plants grown from heirloom seeds, rambling garden beds filled with herbaceous plants and bulbs. He hasn’t done much apart from weeding and cleaning the tangled mess of weeds and overgrown foliage yet. But he has some plans and the night before Spencer comes home, Brendon falls asleep thinking of garden beds and flowered boarders.
The next day the drive to the airport ages Brendon at least a decade or more from Ryan’s style of driving, but it’s worth it to see the look on Spencer’s face when he sees them both waiting for him. And maybe it’s a cliché, but Brendon doesn’t care. Neither does Ryan, if the expression on his face when Spencer dropped his bags and hugs him hello meant anything.
On the way back, he falls asleep in the backseat. Gentling combing his fingers through Spencer’s golden hair, Brendon thinks of many things. North Korea had really taken its toll on all the musicians; the profile of the event and the hype surrounding it had affected everyone involved. Even Cash, the harpist, who normally was one of the more robust members, had looked dead on his feet as he waited for his bags to appear on the baggage carousel. Brendon was pretty sure Ian had been half holding him up when they had left.
Again, Brendon wonders.
Spencer’s role in the Orchestra had always involved a great deal of travel.
He does not know why, but he starts to sees that fact differently than he did before.
The first night they spend together in the new house starts late; Ryan prepared a welcome home dinner and since Ray knew everybody in the Philharmonic, it isn’t just for Spencer but for Gerard, Bob, and Brian too. Gerard’s brother is also invited and when he arrives, Brendon is pleasantly surprised to recognize him as Mikey, the children’s librarian who spent every Friday reading the new comics, graphic novels and magazines before they are covered in clear plastic, barcoded and placed out on the shelves for the public to borrow.
Over rich beef strew, crunchy homemade bread and earth red wine, Mikey tells Brendon about the new subscription to various British, American, and Scandinavian garden magazines he had just ordered.
“I wasn’t sure which you’d like so I signed up for like, six different ones.”
“Oh,” Brendon replies, spilling a little bit of his strew on his dress pants. “Thank you.”
Mikey shrugs as if it were nothing. “The first batch should arrive in a fortnight. If you want I can put them aside for you.”
Brendon blinks; his mouth feels like it’s full of cotton and when he speaks his voice to his ears sounds very small. “I’d like that.”
The corners of Mikey’s mouth twitched into an also smile for almost a second. Then Gerard tried to steal what was left of Mikey’s buttered dinner roll and lightening quick as only younger siblings are, Mikey slaps Gerard’s not at all stealthy fingers away and tells him ‘No’ before almost immediately relenting and breaking the roll in half to share. By his side, Spencer and Ryan are talking in hushed voices, with their heads bowed together. On the other side of the table Bob is blinking sleepily as Brian and Ray discuss Ray’s latest composition.
Brendon releases the breath he had not known he had been holding.
In the end, he and Spencer end up staying the night, taking the fold out couch in the living room, while Gerard and Mikey, Bob and Brian scattered into the guest rooms. Technically, it hasn’t been a long trip. Not in comparison to all the others. Yet Brendon finds himself crawling into Spencer’s arms and letting Spencer move and rearrange his body until he is lying back to Spencer’s chest. Exhausted and clumsy, Spencer laces their fingers together and Brendon, Brendon falls asleep like that.
Just like that.
In the morning he wakes to Spencer and Ryan’s muffled voices and finds the two of them out on the patio with matching coffee cups in hand, gossiping and doing their SpencerRyan best friend thing. When they hear him, in unison they turn, the exact same expressions set upon their faces. For a moment it is like Brendon is seeing them together for the first time all over again.
Later, as Ray dropped Spencer and Brendon off home on his way to work, Brendon can’t help noting a lightness in Spencer that had not been there before.
Whose idea had it been to live in Manhattan when Spencer’s best friend lived in New Jersey? Brendon hates that he couldn’t remember.
Just as quickly as Brendon had fallen into his routines, it is as if Spencer and Ryan had never been apart, not even for a day. Almost overnight Brendon gets used to Ryan living on his porch, and the knowledge that if Spencer is not drumming in the basement he is more likely than not to be found in Ryan’s kitchen; the two of them thick as thieves in the way only life long friends can be.
Obviously there is a price to pay for everything and for Spencer it is the commute to work. Obviously, given the move, it is much longer than it was before. So much so, Spencer starts talking about buying a car, just to make it easier. As far as Brendon knows, Spencer hadn’t driven anywhere for years. Personally, Brendon knows he hasn’t, and he laughs when Spencer suggests they buy two cars; since after all New Jersey wasn’t New York City.
In the old shed at the back of the garden Brendon digs out a rusted old push bike.
Taking a morning off from digging up the garden beds, he oils the wheels and pumps up the tires. It isn’t much, but he doesn’t really have anywhere to go. Brendon hesitates; he doesn’t know what he should think about that. Or about the fact he cares less about that fact that he probably should.
That evening when Spencer gets home, Brendon watches him put his coat away and make himself a cool drink, before coming outside to sit beside Brendon on the rickety old porch. Brendon had yet to figure out where to put everything, so all the pot plants where in a state of limbo, lined up and down the patio. The rose had started to climb once more, and Brendon was almost sure he might leave it there. He liked the idea of it growing right outside their bedroom window.
Twisting his hands together, Brendon feels his heart rate spike for no good reason at all. “Maybe I should get a job.”
Spencer looks at him, concerned. “You don’t have to.”
“I’m not Ryan.”
It’s the wrong thing to say (Ryan was happy; Ryan loved his life and he deserved it after everything), but Brendon says it anyway.
The tilt of Spencer’s mouth softens his words even though it shouldn’t. Brendon had insulted Ryan. When they where younger that had been enough to have him treated with cold, seemingly indifferent contempt for weeks.
But now Spencer’s eyes are kind and when he reaches for Brendon’s hand, Brendon lets him take it. Looking down at their clasped fingers, Spencer voice was soft when he spoke again. “I never asked you to take that job. I never wanted you to.”
Brendon knows that. He always did. But Spencer had skipped a grade at school and been accepted in an Ivy League college early; he was that smart and had a full ride and his parents had supported him every step of the way. Brendon had been kicked out at seventeen. He had scrimped and saved and still gone hungry and cold and only gotten into Harvard by the skin of his teeth (and a sob story application essay). He had never ever wanted Spencer to suffer even a fraction of what he had to get what he wanted.
Spencer understands – he doesn’t necessarily like it – but he understands. He always did.
And when he gets up, Brendon lets him pull his body up too. The house is quiet and dark and when Spencer pins Brendon against their bedroom door, Brendon yields to his touch, gives and gives because there has never been anyone else. Never. And this time it feels as though Spencer is the desperate one; using his teeth to bite and lips to sooth and claim Brendon (which is stupid, Brendon’s only ever belonged to Spencer). For all his desperation, that pace Spencer sets is slower than perhaps it might have been a few months ago. Despite this, Brendon doesn’t last nearly as long as he wants; keening and breaking apart at the slightest touch, but it is good, so good, and afterwards Spencer breaths Brendon’s name into his collarbones and Brendon tangles his fingers in Spencer’s hair and holds him there.
He doesn’t ever want to let go.
Time as tends to do, marches forward though, and with it winter arrives. Though he had never had a timetable in mind, it had taken Brendon longer than he thought to plan out and prepare the garden beds. Crisp days and frigid nights make Brendon retreat temporarily from the garden into the house. During the days he finds himself peeling wall paper off the walls or sanding floorboards, while snow falls, thick and white. A week later it is black sludge because Brendon and Spencer moved to New Jersey, not Kent or Canterbury. Online, Brendon bids on sets of botany guides, buys bulbs and into the winter ground he plants them according to decade old (or older) instructions. Bravely, with thick woolen gloves on his hands, he prunes roses and transfers his few perennials from pots into the frozen winter soil. At lunch time he takes a break when Ryan comes over with warm soups and together they despairs over Jon and Tom; the two Chicago boys who cheerfully march through the winter months in t-shirts and thongs.
“I don’t know how they do it!” Brendon finds himself exclaiming on any and every given occasion.
Ryan takes a sip of his earl grey tea and nods, wide eyed, in agreement.
Lately he attempts to teach Brendon how to cook. It isn’t really been much of a success. Spencer however proves to be something of a prodigy. Over the weeks leading up to Christmas he and Ryan work feverously together to make all kinds of wonderful things (that neither Ray or Brendon were allowed anywhere near until Christmas day).
Though having only moved to New Jersey a few months previously Brendon had gotten well into his newly formed habits; easily filling his day with things like gardening, annoying Ryan and eating Spencer’s increasingly elaborate dinners. Other unexpected things, like riding his bike down to the library two or three times and week (even Ryan is starting to come too, when he could be torn away from his Women’s Cookery Association duties, and his various other commitments within the community) to read Horticultural journals with Mikey or watch the latest videos of Jon’s amazing cats or hiding in the stacks with Tom when Lindsey got especially excited about some new community outreach project the new guys (all named Alex) had come up with had started to become part of his everyday way of life too.
Between all of that and working on the house and mending the backyard fence for if (or maybe, when) he and Spencer finally got that dog they had been talking about, Brendon really, truly had lost track of the date. All in all it takes Brendon longer than he thought it would to make it into New York City than he ever would have though.
“Bumble B!” William cries out, when he caught sight of Brendon entering the Garden Centre. “Where have you been? Gabe and I were frightened we lost you to Rachel Ray’s thirty minute meals.”
Sisky (of the borrowed ‘Adam’ badge fame) nodded earnestly from his position nestled up against William’s bony side. “She’s become much more popular than Jamie Durie.”
“Jamie Durie’s better looking though,” Frank counters, appearing from the country garden plant section with a confused (or possibly stoned) guy and two punnets of colourful pansies seedlings.
“You just like your guys oiled up and slutty” William retorts, ringing up stone jewfro dude’s purchases and ignoring his half hearted explanations that he’s actually just come in looking for directions to DecayDance’s Midtown Manhattan offices.
Frank snorts. “No one likes it when you project, William.”
Catching Sisky’s glaze, Brendon rolls his eyes and Sisky mirrors him. Slipping away from William, he helps Brendon pick out two sturdy elm saplings – Spencer’s favourite -and together they talk a little about Brendon’s grand landscaping plans and a little about the latest nursery gossip (apparently William and Gabe had finally stopped sniffing after Victoria and befouled the greenhouse after getting drunk off Greta’s homemade moonshine at the annual Christmas party, also, Butcher had altered work shorts to make them into short shorts. No one was pleased (apart from Sisky, but that was a whole other can of worms). Also! Weird Bert the orchid expert had astonished everyone including himself when he managed to sell one of his prize winning Cymbidiums!). Somewhere in the visit the topic of Ralph Hancock comes up, and before Brendon’s leaves he, and Sisky and a couple of the other others form tentative plans to go visit the remaining gardens scattered around New York.
“I’ve lived in this city for years,” Sisky confids with a blush. “But I still haven’t made it to the Rockefeller Center roof garden Hancock designed,”
“Me either,” Brendon admits. “But I did manage to make it to the Lydia Duff Gray Hubbard Garden he helped originally design in New Jersey.”
“Ohh,” Frank cooes at the mere mention of the garden, eyes wide and his story youthful rebellion and redemption though a fortuitous brush with the Garden Club of America Collection, ready to tell.
William rolled his eyes. “Not again.”
Frank gives him the finger. “I’ll have you know without the Lydia Duff Gray Hubbard garden I don’t know where I would have ended up. All I will tell you is I was on a downward spiral…”
Pulling Brendon away before Frank gets too far into his miraculous transformation from juvenile delinquent to productive member of society, Sisky helps Brendon ring up his purchases and together they work out a suitable time for the Garden Centre truck to deliver the plants.
They arrive a day late, but that’s okay, because Brendon had gotten distracted rereading one of books (it was all about how to plant according to the phases of the moon, and Brendon found himself inexplicably fascinated by), and the Philharmonic was stating to prepare for its next sent of commitments; this time performances in New York and not on the other side of the world.
Spencer, being a perfectionist at heart, is out of his mind busy trying to master his new solo. It had originally been a duet but then Bob had gone and fucked his wrist. Thus Spencer now had to play both (abet slightly modified) parts. Understandable Spencer doesn’t have much spare time – Gerard wants every performance to be the best yet and Bob and Spencer had always done everything in their power to make sure it was – but what he does have, he uses to help Brendon break and turn soil, and to drum extra loud. Brendon really does think it helps everything grow.In his head he imagines they can feel the vibrations from Spencer’s music all around them; in the air and in the ground.
On the opening night, Brendon opens his wardrobe and for the first time pulls out a suit. He only has three left; the rest he’d given away. He doesn’t regret the action. Yet when he goes for the shoes he stops; laughter burbles up and out of this throat at the sight of them.
He almost forgot.
Rather than borrowing a pair of shoelaces from one of Spencer’s many, many pairs of shoes, like a child, Brendon sneaks outside and unties two that he been reused on the trellis he set up to support the climbing rose. It's from there he spots the lights of Ryan and Ray’s car – arriving a little late because Ryan has never cared for time and Ray has never managed to be on time for anything, not even his own due date – coming to pick him up so they could all go out to the Avery Fisher Hall together.
Before, Brendon used to get Vera to send flowers – sometimes a bottle of something or another. There were always a lot of charges on his credit card. Spencer had a great deal of premiere performances. Vera used to highlight them in his daily schedule so he would remember. Brendon doesn’t have her anymore and hasn’t organized anything to give. He only remembers as the velvet curtains part and – well, he can’t do anything but watch in awe and then, afterwards when he, Ryan and Ray slip backstage, beam at his boyfriend who is so crazy talented and brilliant and amazing.
He tries to tell Spencer this, but the words get tangled and others spill out; unorganized and a mess of congratulations and badly articulated adoration. Ryan is much more adequate with his praise. Ray even more so; and after praising Spencer’s performance in a very specific section, he and Ryan move on to speak to Brian and Gerard before they disappear off to charm the various sponsors, patrons and people of influence in the attendance.
Slipping an arm around Brendon’s waist, Spencer leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to his temple. “Home?”
“So early?” Brendon questions.
Spencer shrugs, “We could go for dinner or something if you wanted. I think Ian and Dallon mentioned something about an after party.”
Brendon doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to say as much to Spencer, but he’s not quite sure how. He thinks in the past, even when they were together, they had been alone. He doesn’t know how to articulate this; he just knows deep in his bones that they are not like that anymore.
On the way home, Ray drives and Ryan switches on the radio.
Softly, Brendon sings.
And Spencer, Spencer takes his hand and doesn’t let go.