“My friend…” said a sweet voice.
A welcoming smile on soft lips.
A cerulean gaze, sharp and intelligent.
This tree simple things always lulled him to sleep, no matter what he had faced during the day, recalling his face is all it takes to soothe his heart, to put to rest his fears, to defeat his demons, if only for one night. He never understood how he got to this point in his life, he knew that some of the choices he made were truly stupid, but nothing, nothing in him mind ever truly foresaw this level of disaster. He knew his life was fucked up already when he was a kid, too much pain, too much violence to ever hope for anything else, he had long foregone any sense of normality… friendship… love.
Of course, there were flings during his youth, he was not an eunuch, but for some reason, he always thought that love was not in the cards for him, and why should it? He was a weapon, a murderer, why should he be allowed such things? Or so he thought, until that day, when that idiot quite literally jumped in his life.
From that day on, his life took quite an unexpected turn.
He found friendship, where he thought there could ever be none.
He found a home, where before there were only motel’s rooms.
He found love, where he least expected it.
But in the end, it was all for nothing, his lust for revenge was stronger, simpler, impossible to ignore, a burning flame deep in his soul, and in a blink of an eye, he lost it all.
A moment, less than that.
That’s how long it felt, anyway.
A word, a command, a plea, the deafening sound of shots fired in rapid sequence, a soul piercing cry of pain…
He saw him struck and falling, his friend, his conscience, and he felt his heart stopping too.
That is what keeps him up at night, when is quiet outside, that crystal clear moment, when he finally understood that nothing was worth that type of pain, nothing was worth to hurt his friend and see him broken, on the ground. Nothing… too bad that he figured that out so late.
And to make things worse, he ran, like a coward, ran and left him there, on that damn beach.
This is what keeps him restless, this feeling of emptiness inside that he is not quite so sure how to fill up.
This is what pushes him at night, to go there and check on him, even when he is so tired that he simply wants to rest, he can’t, not before he made sure that his friend is ok, that he is sleeping in his bed, safe from the outside world.
This is what he does every night, from that damn moment, he hides during the daylight, and watches over him at night. A silent guard, he hoovers until he finds the perfect spot to check on him through the open curtains in his room.
Some nights his friend is already inside, fast asleep when he gets there, some nights he tosses and turns, unable to suppress his nightmares. It does not matter, he always keeps his distance, never allowing himself to get closer, for fear of discovery, for he cannot stand even the thought of meeting him, to see the disappointment, the disgust, the hate in those cerulean eyes.
It would crush him.
It would kill him.
He deserves it.
He keeps his simple routine day after day, night after night, the warm weather gives way to colder winds, he takes with him heavier clothes and never complains, not even to himself.
Some nights, when is not light yet, but darkness is already giving way, he likes to think back to the past, to how he took for granted that shared time, those friendly talks, he does not talk with anyone now. Why should he? He only cared for it with his friend, and now that he lost that, he couldn’t care less.
So he does not complain, the fight has somehow gone out of him, his sweet revenge turned bitter ash in his mouth, and this is what he has left, a night vigil, loneliness and cold all around him, his sweet flame safe from him behind double glasses windows.
Night after night.
For the rest of his life.
Darkness falls, and he reaches the mansion from the deep of the woods, safely hidden from undesired views, he climbs up the closest tree and peaks inside. It is quite late today, almost midnight, and inside the room is dark, quiet, so for once he gets closer, peering inside, face to the glass, trying to get a better look at his friend, but with no luck.
The bed is made, no one has slept there today, and even though everything seems quite in order, he cannot shake the feeling that tonight something is different. He touches the glass pane and closes his eyes, trying to feel the latch of the window with his mind. He opens it and climbs inside before he is even aware of his actions. He stands in the room and closes his eyes, trying to gauge in the darkness what is around him.
He had never wanted to return, never wanted to set foot in this place, in this room, and yet, now that he is here, he feels a rush of familiarity wash over him.
The smell of the books that his friend keeps on his night table, the aroma of the tea he drinks every night before going to sleep. The intoxicating fragrance of his aftershave, spicy and sweet at the same time.
He knows he is doomed, deep down he has always known, from the moment his friend’s hands had wrapped around him underwater, pulling him to safety, he was literally reborn.
He knew he will be forever tied to this man, whether he wanted it or not.
Because no matter how many times he says he is only his friend, he can at least admit the truth to himself.
He loves him.
From the first moment he saw him till his last breath on this earth, he will love him.
Utterly, completely, even if it will kill him.
So he takes a deep breath and turns, ready to face his biggest fear and his deepest love, ready to face the anger, the disgust, the hate, the hurt, for now he knows this was a trap, the room was never empty to begin with, someone was waiting for him in the shadows, biding his time, patiently sitting on his desk, in the dark, sipping tea and listening to the night.
He opens his eyes and the figure in front of him flips on a small lamp, the warm glow softens his features, making him look even more unreal.
They lock eyes, a focused scrutiny on both sides, before the sitting man opens his mouth, a small smile tugging his lips.
“Welcome home, my friend.”