Crutchie hated parties. He always had. They just weren’t the place for him. There was always a mass of too many people, rushing, pushing and bustling around one another in a heated room full of drunken mistakes just waiting to happen. Of course, he hadn’t had much choice. The second a certain Jack Kelly had turned to him with those wide, green, sparkling eyes that looked as though they could hold a forest of possibilities. Choice hadn’t even been in the room. It was his one downfall. His kryptonite. Charlie Morris could not say no to his boyfriend.
So here he was, stumbling through a drunken Halloween party, in the only sober mind in the room, looking for Jack. He’d last seen him about twenty minutes ago, drink in hand and laughing stupidly at whatever sloppy joke he’d just told. It was as if he had blinked and Jack had vanished. To be completely honest, he wouldn’t doubt his boyfriends extensive range of miscellaneous skills. That was probably how it happened.
After what felt like a torturous battle against his leg and every other being in the room, he finally made It through. He reached a door, to what. He had no idea. At this point, though, it could have been the gates to hell and he would have graciously opened it. Deciding it couldn’t hurt, he pushed it open.
He instantly regret it.
Before him was a couple, stumbling against one another in an intense make-out session.
“Sorry!” He stumbled back, rushing to shut the door and cut off the view.
Something made him stop, though. A mess of black hair. A mess of black hair similar to the hair he hid his face in on a Monday morning when his retched alarm broke through his peacefulness. A mess of black hair similar to Jacks.
Of course, it couldn’t be, Jack wouldn’t do this.
Not to Crutchie… would he?
The taller of the pair pulled away, pushing the other back with such force, Crutchie was surprised they didn’t fall. His eyes narrowed in on the drunken victim, making out the face of long-time friend, Katherine Plumber. She stood, gasping for breath as she raised a hand to wipe at her kiss swollen lips.
Crutchies eyes darted across to the other figure in the room, eyes locking on his worst nightmare.
Everything froze, time and reality blurring into one so that the sounds of the party collided, the same way Jack and Katherine’s lips had. The room itself blurred, a mess of colours tilting and rolling into one another. Crutchie wasn’t sure if it was that or the sudden impact of tension filled heartbreak that made him feel ready to lose his last drink.
Everything came back to him at once. The sound of Jack screaming at Katherine to get out and her drunken response, the violent shake of his shoulders as the barrier keeping a rush of tears back broke and the instantaneous heartbreak the second he had laid eyes on the man before him.
It was Jack.
“Crutch it’s not what it looks like...”
“Then what is it?!” Crutchie’s voice erupted from his small shaking form, surprising even himself. His voice was strong, the opposite of everything Crutchie was feeling.
Jack froze, mouth falling open as he struggled on what to say. “I- Crutch I didn’t want it…”
Crutchie just shook his head. Tears falling down what he assumed was a blotchy, tearstained face.
Jack continued, “She came at me Crutch! She just... She came at me!”He stepped towards his boyfriend, desperate to make his point clear and his apology strong.
Crutchie didn’t say anything, just staring at the apologetic man. Eventually, he broke out of his trance, stepping forward, his crutch hitting the floor with a sharp slap against the wood flooring. His eyes locked on Jack, narrowing in determination. In one fluid strike, he raised his hand and shoved Jack hard in the chest. On an average day Crutchie would have made little to no impact, but with Jacks drunken state and his horrific amount of anger, Jack lost his footing and stumbled back, tripping over his feet until he caught himself against the wall.
With one last look at Jacks wide eyed, guilt filled expression, he turned himself round and stormed out. It was much easier to free himself of the party this time, storming through with a purpose he’d never quite had before. He just needed out. Out of this stupid party, full of stupid people and stupid drinks that he never wanted to see again.
Just as he was leaving a hand caught his forearm, stopping him. They turned him round and looked him dead in the eye. It was Katherine.
“Crutchie It’s not Jacks fault!”
Crutchie could smell the alcohol on her, fogging his brain.
“Blame me! Just – Just don’t blame Jack!”
Crutchie looked up, seeing Jack racing towards them over Katherines shoulder. He briefly hesitated to watch how he danced, and side stepped his way through the crowds to reach them. Jack had never been a dancer, lacking the skill to even skip without nearly falling over. So this was impressive.
Pulling his arm free of Katherines hold, he locked his gaze on Jacks. It wasn’t the usual loving one he usually greeted the man with, but it wasn’t as venomous as it had been just a few moments before.
“Just… let me walk you to the car?” Jacks request was the first thing Crutchie heard as the man closed the distance between them.
And Crutchie agreed.
He wasn’t sure if it was his acceptance that Jack wasn’t going to drop this, or the fact that he really, genuinely wanted to believe that this wasn’t Jacks fault…
It didn’t take long for them to reach the car, considering they had parked close to the house for Crutchies sake.
The short walk was silent apart from Jacks attempt to try explain it all again. Crutchie cut him off though. He didn’t want to hear it… not yet. He wanted to hear it from a sober Jack, who knew what he was saying, and a Jack who wouldn’t lie to him so easily.
Crutchie got into the car and looked up at Jack, who stood twitching with desperation to explain himself.
“Charlie...” he started only for Crutchie to cut him off.
“I’ll call you.” With that Crutchie shut the door and started the car. It was only when he was half way down the road he realised that Jack had spoken, the words reaching his ears just seconds before he had slammed the door shut.