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The Cruelest Way

Chapter Text

Prologue

"Don't go! Please..."

That's what he should've said.

Steven stops dead in his tracks and turns around. A look of relief on his face. He lets go of the handle of his suitcase. It clatters loud against the marble tiles of the airport, almost as loud as Steven's footsteps sprinting across the departure hall.

That's how it should've happened.

The warmth envelopes him as Steven squeezes even tighter, threatening to cave his rib cage in. He puts a hand on the back of his best friend's head. It lingers for far too long but they continue to hold that position. Steven's sweet scent fills his nose, and he squeezes back just as tight. The encounter was beginning to cross the boundaries of platonic.

That's where it should've headed.

"I was waiting, hoping, praying that you would stop me."

That's when he should've confessed.

Andrew lies on the floor of his bedroom, his right hand clutching his phone and resting against the bed frame. His left hand on his chest, painfully tracking the rhythm of his own heartbeat.

He feels too tired to cry, but not tired enough to stop torturing himself. He thought of his best friend leaving for New York, leaving the company, leaving him behind... it sent his head spinning.

His phone remains as still and silent as the room. Dread crawls over Andrew as he wonders why Steven isn't questioning why his best friend didn't go to the airport to send him off. He damningly attempts to wipe the thoughts out of his mind but two words remain. The two words that fill him with guilt.

Best. Friend.

That's who he should've been.

"I love you, Steven."

That's why he should've gone.