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Where We Should Be

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As much as he enjoyed the way Tin had looked at him, he made great efforts to avoid him the rest of his shift. The way his heart ached in his chest whenever he was nearby didn’t feel worth it.  Seeing him brought a flash of anger with it, but the anger was always quickly replaced by despair, the pain that never quite left his chest increasing ten-fold. Tul didn’t make it easy, he seemed keen on working anywhere Tin seemed to frequent in the house, and once or twice he’d actually pulled him along beside him as he passed Tin’s room, conveniently just as Tin was going somewhere. Tul hadn’t ever touched him before, a professional arm length between them whenever they worked together.  Suddenly his hand was on his back when Tin was looking, he stood closer, leaned closer yet when he spoke , and it all left Can feeling uneasy. It felt like he was on display, as though Tul was using him as some kind of show. He didn’t like it, but what he didn’t like more was the look of hurt that pulled at Tin’s face whenever their eyes met, the look that seemed like he’d been slapped whenever he caught sight of Tul with his hand anywhere near him.  It didn’t make any sense.  What cause did he have to hurt?  Unless it was just because Tul had done something else to him, in which case he felt like throwing a fist, but it wasn’t his place.  It never was, he shouldn’t have ever been the person Tin confided in.  It should have been Orn.

As he was leaving, Ae called, and for the first time since his world had fallen apart he picked it up.  He and Pond were going out to the bar they sometimes frequented, just for a few drinks.  Half of him wanted to say no, but he also knew he couldn’t continue to avoid his friends in his heart break.  At home, he showered, ate so he had at least a little something in his stomach, though it wasn’t much because his appetite was completely shot, any food that was eaten was forced. Before he had a chance to leave he was once again attacked by Ley in the very same way he had been when he’d left for work.

“Oy Ley!  I’m going with Ae and Pond!  They don’t care how I look, Tin didn’t care either-” a blatant lie, but she didn’t need to know about the toast incident.  He’d mentally thanked her, but that didn’t mean she needed to know, “why does it matter anyway, huh, there’s no point to any of this, I’m just trying to forget it all ever happened.  Why are you being like this?”  He spoke quickly, his voice hushed so that their mom didn’t hear from where she was downstairs.  

This, this was why he needed to move out.  

“Maybe you’ll meet someone, you don’t know!  Maybe I want you to make an effort, don’t question me P’Can, just let me do this!” It was with a pout that he let her do this same thing she’d done that morning, but he made it very known how unhappy he was about it.  Meeting someone else?  Out of the question.  Moving on from Tin?  Impossible.  He talked quietly in anger the entire time she worked.  Hair done, the stupid lip balm, and a nicer pair of jeans with a tank top.  He fought the jeans, literally kicking them away from him when she presented them, because he’d already been wearing a pair he liked. They were more holes than jeans but he liked them that way.  She'd practically beat him with his own jeans until he put them on.

Ley was just impossible.  

For most of the day he’d done well, he’d tried really hard to set his pain aside, but it crept up the moment he was meant to be having fun.  It attacked him in waves now, it swallowed him whole and pushed him down until he felt like he had a whole ocean pressing down on him.  He downed a drink the moment he got there, and while Ae and Pond talked loudly, arguing over something perverted Pond had said, he sat silent, his eyes focused hard on the table without actually seeing it.  It felt like his chest was trying to cave in on itself. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see them trying to discreetly watch him, and he found that in his pain, he didn’t care much.  Let them see it.  As long as they were silent about it, he didn't care. The only one who wasn’t was silent Pete.  He’d started to sit beside Ae when he’d arrived but as he noticed him sitting there, silent, tears threatening to form in his eyes, he’d opted to sit beside Can.  He hadn’t even known that Pete was coming. 

“It’ll get better, Ai’Can, I know it will,” how he knew he didn’t understand, and Can finished his drink in one giant gulp - drink number two - before he slowly lifted his gaze to look at Pete.  The question of how he knew died on his tongue as he followed his gaze.  Tin stared at him from near the doorway, and now Can knew why he thought it would get better.  Now he knew why Ley had insisted he look nice, now he knew why Ae and Pond hadn’t pushed him to talk.  Why they hadn’t even seemed confused about his appearance.

It was set up.  What were they thinking?  How was this at all helpful?  How was it that he was the only one that seemed able to remember that Tin was engaged?

Can clenched his jaw for a moment, his eyes blinking quickly as he pushed his chair back and stood.  He couldn’t do this, he actually couldn’t do this, he couldn’t be there when Tin was.  The last time they’d been in a setting that was casual, he’d ended up with a broken heart.  Through the pain, he felt that surge of anger return.  His jaw clenched tighter, his hands balling into fists.  The exit to the bar was now closed to him, Tin was in the way and he wasn’t willing to walk up to him. He shot an accusatory look in his direction.  Instead of going anywhere near him, he turned, his eyes scanning the bar.  If he couldn’t leave, if he couldn’t stand to be close to Tin, maybe someone else was an option.  There were plenty of girls, but just as Tin closed the door to the bar, he had closed that door long ago.  

He didn’t even look at what the guy he’d chosen looked like, he instead marched straight up to him and tugged on his arm.  He was sitting alone, so if he had a date there wasn’t any harm, he could just turn him down. Rejection hurt a lot less than what he was already going through anyway. He caught Tin’s eye before he turned his attention back on the guy.  “Do you want to make out with me?” The words flew from his mouth, and off to the side he could hear Pete choking on whatever he’d been eating, and Pond groaning that someone needed to put a filter on him.  As if he was one to talk.  The guy, whoever he was, didn’t look uninterested, what he did look was surprised, maybe scared.  It took about two seconds for Can to realize why he might be scared, as he felt his arm pulled, he tripped as he was pulled out of the bar and down the street.  His eyes finally landed on Tin’s face, he looked angrier than he’d ever seen him, his face actually turning various shades of red.

“Are you crazy?”  The simple answer was yes, but he still glared up at him as he pulled his arm away.

“What does it matter to you!  Huh?! Where’s your fiance? You should be with her and not fucking with my head,”  He shot back, the anger, the pain spilling over, one single tear rolling its way down his cheek as he brushed it impatiently away, his other hand pushing angrily at Tin’s chest with an accusatory finger. “Why do you keep fucking with my head?!”

“Are you serious right now?  Were you really about to go make out with some random guy?  If you’d read your messag-” Can pushed him back again, the pain over taking the anger as more and more tears fell, unchecked, without his permission.  He hated every single one of them, but was past the point of being able to stop their flow.

“You don’t get to care about what I do, Tin!  I can’t… you have to stop, I can’t,” the words were broken, his voice cracking as pain clenched around his heart like an iron fist.  It wasn’t like him to break so easily, what was Tin doing to him?   He knew the answer before he had even finished the question… he was breaking his heart.  Over and over again. The arms around him were unexpected, just as they’d been the day he’d told him about Tul.  Can struggled against it,  his body tensing as he tried to push away.  For the briefest moment, he pressed his face into his chest, his teeth pressed hard together before he gasped for air and pushed hard against his chest.

“Can, stop… wait a minute let me explain, we need to talk about this,” he needed to get away, he needed Tin to stop touching him, and he needed his friends, his sister to stay out of this part of his life, to stop trying to play matchmaker.  It hurt, how could they not see how badly it hurt?  

“You don’t get to hug me either!”  He cried out, deciding he didn’t give a single fuck that he was creating a scene.  “I already liked you, don’t you get it, I was trying to push down my feelings but you won’t let me!  You’re always there, Orn figured out how I felt, why couldn’t you?!  What do you think you’re doing?  If this is some kind of game to you, just fuck off, you can fuck right off because I can’t do this anymore!  It fucking hurts!”  His hands had balled into fists, hitting against Tin’s chest as he struggled against it, crying out in his anguish

“I broke it off with Orn, I ended it, it wasn’t even real, not in the way you thought it was.  It was about business, it was all written in a contract.”  Can let his eyes shut as the words washed over him, his fists slowing until they fell limp at his sides, his face back pressed into the other man's chest as he tried to breathe.  Everything seemed to click into place in his head at such a rapid pace that it overwhelmed him.  That was why she always looked so angry when he interrupted them right before they kissed… it was all new.  She hadn’t ever gotten to kiss him.  How dumb could he be?  “I don’t know what idea’s you’ve built up in your head about why I kissed you, or what was happening with Orn, but I can promise you they’re not only all wrong but they’re damn stupid.  Seriously, were you really going to just go kiss some random guy?”

It fit the damn mood that he felt a few drops of rain fall on his cheeks as Tin spoke.  He took in a breath, all the anger slowly melting from his face as confusion took over.  “Why did you kiss me?” He questioned, his voice soft as the rain started to pour harder.  He didn’t care, he was going to stand right there and talk this out, Tin said he wanted to talk about it, so he was going to stubbornly stand there with his face pressed into his chest until they were done...  at least the rain masked some of the tears.

“The same reason I wanted you at the party, the same reason you're the first person I text every day.  You realize I don’t need to be at home when you work, I have places I can go… but I hang around hoping my brother will send you, because I want to see you.  I want to be with you.  I want you, but if you’d rather go kiss whoever that was…” He hated more than anything that Tin didn’t sound angry, he sounded disappointed, sad… and Can hated that he’d misunderstood everything.  But what else was he supposed to think when no one had ever given him the truth about Tin and Orn’s relationship?  He scowled as he saw Tin gesture back towards the bar out of the corner of his eye, he didn’t need to say the words, he knew exactly what he was saying.  You want to go make out with some random guy, be my guest.

This was why he didn’t like relationships.  This was why he ran from them before anything could happen, for fear of this sort of pain, of jealousy, of not understanding one another to the point that one of them acted out.   “I wasn’t going to kiss him, Tin,” he pushed his hair, now soaked from the rain back out of his face, sniffing slightly before he rubbed at his eyes, his face finally leaving his chest “I wanted to make you mad.  I only want to kiss you, I thought it was serious with Orn, you were engaged, I thought you loved her.”  He had no reason to believe otherwise, an engagement ring usually only meant one thing, that it was given out of love.  Can let his eyes run over Tin’s face as stared up at him, desperately trying to find truth in his eyes, in everything that he’d said.  

Can buried his face in his shoulder now instead, his hands resting on his back as he let his eyes fall shut.  This was where he was meant to be, not hiding from him, not pretending he cared so little that he wanted to kiss someone else, but in his arms.  “Come on, you crazy idiot,” He heard the words murmured into his hair, just audible above the sound of the rain hitting the pavement.  “Let’s get out of here, let me take you to my place for a bit?  Before we both catch a cold.”