Chapter 1: Evan the Neat Freak
"Jonathan, why is there mud in the kitchen?"
Evan was a neat freak. He couldn't stand stains or filth. It stressed him out in the worst possible way; whenever he saw anything not squeaky-clean, he had to clean it and everything around it dozens of times.
There was really only a tiny bit of dirt on the counter, but Evan couldn't stand it. Already he was getting the urge to clean. How much bacteria must be in my kitchen right now?
This wasn't the first time, either; Jonathan practically lived in the garden, and Evan couldn't stand it. Jonathan seemed to constantly track muddy footprints around the house and leave dirty fingerprints on the wall. He knew about Evan and his phobia of germs, and he tried not to get anything dirty, but Evan noticed every speck of dirt and dust. Evan loved the beauty of the flowers Jonathan cultivated, but the filth he got into the house when he didn't wash himself would make him panic and put him into a terrible cleaning frenzy.
Evan sighed upon receiving no answer and picked up a sponge, wiping down the counter and drying it thoroughly. What's wrong with you, Evan? It's just a bit of mud. It's not going to hurt anyone. His thoughts still could not stop his hands from washing and drying the counter four more times.
His eyes darted over the counter and his fingers reached towards the sponge again, but Evan closed his eyes tightly and reminded himself that the mess was gone. He took deep breaths and sank into a chair with his head in his hands. I have to stop doing this.
He hadn't even had breakfast yet and he was already cleaning. Evan stared into his hands and wished Jonathan was here. He was the only thing who calmed Evan down after one of his episodes, but he was nowhere to be found. Evan took more deep breaths and decided to make some food for himself in the hopes that it would help calm him down. As his hands reached towards the fridge, he spotted another speck of grime on the refrigerator handle.
Evan didn't even need to think before his hands were reaching for the sponge again. He wiped it off and scrubbed at the stainless steel countless times until he convinced his fingers yet again that it was clean. He willed his heart to slow down and it seemed to be working... until he glanced out of the window over the sink and saw dust all over the windowpane.
Evan lost all control. He brought out the heavy-duty cleaning supplies from under the sink and started to spray and wash and disinfect the entire kitchen, the scent of the harsh chemicals clogging his nose.
And that's where Jonathan found him an hour later.
He dropped his grocery bags and rushed over to Evan, enveloping him in a hug.
"Evan, why?" he asked, tears filling his eyes. "I thought... I thought you said you were going to stop this. You told me two days ago it was the last time..."
"I'm sorry," Evan choked out. "I saw mud and then dust and then everything happened so fast..." He trailed off, tightening his grip around Jonathan. "I tried to stop, I really did. I just thought about how you could have gotten sick from all the bacteria in the kitchen... I'm sorry, Jonathan. I should have waited for you to clean it, I was trying so hard not to do it and now it's all down the drain..."
Jonathan shook his head. "No. I'm the one who should be sorry. I should have double-checked I didn't get dirt anywhere. I just wanted to go to the store , but I messed it all up." He broke away from the hug and started to put away the cleansing materials.
"I'm just going to go," Evan told him. "I'm sorry. I... I'll be back in a while."
Jonathan looked up at Evan as he turned and left the house.
When he finished putting them away and organizing them, he unpacked the contents of his shopping bag. He had bought a bouquet of flowers for Evan and supplies for a romantic dinner with his boyfriend, complete with a set of tiny candles. But it was all ruined now, now that he didn't clean up after himself and Evan couldn't stop himself.
He was angry. Angry at Evan for his lack of self-control, angry at himself for not being there for his own boyfriend when he needed it.
He sat down hard on the cold floor and started to cry. This isn't going to work. I just mess everything up. He probably hates me now for being so messy and forcing him to clean everything. It can never work between us.
Jonathan practiced the lines in the mirror. "Look, Evan, this isn't going to work. I'm sorry, but I've already packed my bags and-" He heard the sound of a heavy door opening and closing and realized Evan was back already.
"Jonathan?" Evan called. Jonathan wiped at his eyes and came out of the bathroom and over to Evan. He looked surprised when he saw his boyfriend's messy hair and red eyes.
"Are- are you all right, Jon?" Evan reached out to touch his hand.
Jonathan shook his head and looked up at him. "Look... this... what we have isn't gonna work." Evan froze. "I can't keep doing this anymore. I tried, Ev, I tried. I keep making everything messy and fucking everything up. I- I love you but we just aren't gonna work together."
Evan looked away. "But what about all that time we spent together? Didn't we have something? Didn't we work?"
Jonathan shook his head. "I can't do this to us anymore. I'm sorry. I've already packed a suitcase and booked a flight. I'm sorry... I'm sorry. Goodbye."
And Jonathan pushed past Evan and ran out the door, wiping away his tears.
It was a warm spring night. The crickets were chirping softly to one another and if you listened closely, you could barely hear owls faintly hooting in the distance. A breeze was slowly wafting through the trees, gently rustling the leaves. It was nights like this where Evan was usually happy; just him, nature... and Jonathan.
They had finished recording an hour ago, but they stayed on the call together and talked, even after all their friends had left.
It wasn't just a normal night, either. Today was Evan and Jonathan's sixth month anniversary. They had face-called each other almost every day after one amazing night, just like this, when Evan had confessed to Jonathan.
Evan glanced up from his cell phone, surprised at Jonathan calling him by his first name. His voice was low and melancholy with a hint of something else that Evan couldn't quite make out. He had never heard Jonathan say anything quite like that. "Yes?"
"Do you ever feel... like, uh, you're just missing something out of your life?"
Evan considered the question for a moment. Something... missing? "Actually... Yeah, sometimes."
"Do you ever think that, um, it could be a person?"
Evan wasn't sure where Jonathan was going with this; but he understood what he meant. "Now that you say it, I guess."
"And you just feel like your heart hurts without it? And you can't live without it?"
Evan stared at his screen, unsure but hopeful. He wondered if they could they be thinking the same thing. "Delirious..."
"Well, I think I figured out who it is."
Evan's breath caught in his throat. "And?"
"Evan... It's you. You're the one who always makes me happy. You're the one who completes me."
Evan's eyes widened. "Jonathan... I...
"I feel the same."
And ever since, they would call each other every night and talk, both of them mesmerized by the other's face as it lit up in a smile or fell in a frown. If Evan had trouble sleeping, Jonathan could lull him to sleep with a small story. They told each other everything, and they never ran out of things to talk about.
But tonight, Jonathan noticed that Evan was being unusually quiet. He didn't hear any of his bad puns or his small laughs.
"Evan, are you tired?" Jonathan asked. "Don't worry about staying up for me. I know you've had a long day."
"No, I'm just..." Evan sighed. "I just wish you were closer."
Jonathan frowned. "We both know that isn't possible."
"I know, I was just thinking." Evan looked away.
After a few moments of silence between them, Evan spoke again. "I wish you weren't a whole country away."
"Look out your window and look at the stars," Jonathan told him, a small smile on his face.
Evan raised his eyebrows in question, but he moved his laptop closer to his window and gazed outside.
"Now, do you know the constellation Orion's Belt?"
Evan nodded and looked back at his monitor.
Evan found it, but looked away from the night sky and looked back at his screen, waiting for Jonathan to tell him more.
"I can see it from my window, too," Jonathan continued. "I might not be close enough to hug you, but we do share the same sky. Orion is one of my favorite constellations, too. Want me to tell you a story?"
Evan smiled slightly and wrapped a blanket around himself. "Tell me all about it."
"Well... It all started when he fell in love with a girl. Not just an ordinary maiden, but a princess.
"Her father told him to eradicate all the wild beasts from his island to prove his love for the princess."
Evan leaned back against his chair and closed his eyes, smiling softly. Jonathan smiled briefly at how cute Evan was before resuming the story.
"The king was still not satisfied. As a final test to prove his love for the girl, he put out Orion's eyes and told him to find the sun god.
"He traveled east for many months, all the while thinking of his true love, until he finally encountered Apollo, the god of the sun. He restored Orion's eyesight and brought him back to the island where the princess and her father were waiting for his return. The king welcomed him into his family with open arms, and the prince and his bride ruled the island in peace together for many years."
Evan was still smiling as he drifted off to sleep at the end of the tale. It never ceased to amaze Jonathan how easily his boyfriend would fall asleep to a pretty story.
That wasn't how the story ended at all, but Jonathan always ended his stories on a happy note, and it always made Evan happy. And if it made Evan happy, Jonathan would do anything.
Feedback and criticism is greatly appreciated!
Chapter 3: Name or No Name
Small little drabble I made just to get back in the flow of writing.
The first time it was Adrian. I noticed the way your eyes sparkled as you smiled at me when I handed over your coffee.
The second time it was David. I remembered your eyes from the day before and said Hello, Adrian. But you acted confused and told me your name was David. I wrote it on, bewildered.
The third time it was Rafi. The way your eyes lit up when I repeated your name made me smile. You smiled back.
The fourth time it was Niko. I spelled it wrong but you laughed it off and told me it was fine. I decided that I liked you, name or no name.
The fifth time it was Oliver. You spilled your coffee on your way out but I gave you another one for free. You thanked me and told me I was the best person you had met today. I wished you spilled coffee more often.
The sixth time it was Kile. You asked me if I get tips often. I said no. You dropped a twenty-dollar bill into the empty tip jar. No one had ever given me a tip that big.
The seventh time it was William. You asked me if I ran that shop all by myself. I sad yes, and you seemed sad. You asked if I needed any help and I did, but I didn't tell you that.
The eighth time it was Griffin. I dropped your coffee on the counter on accident, and you helped me clean it up with lots of napkins. I made you another coffee for free, but you insisted on paying. I wished I had told you I did need help.
The ninth time it was Damian. This time I held onto the coffee a little too long, and you touched my fingers. You were almost as warm as the coffee cup, and I could swear your smile got bigger when I touched you.
The tenth time it was Felix. You were very happy that day, and it made my whole day better. Your smile was infectious.
The eleventh time it was Preston. You asked what my favorite coffee was, and you ordered two. You gave one to me and explained I could have it. I told you I shouldn't but you insisted. I thought it was the best coffee I ever had.
When I asked what your name was the last day, you laughed and said It's really Jonathan. I wondered if you were joking and wrote Really Jonathan on your cup. You laughed again and told me I was hilarious. You handed me some money. Smiled, winked, then left.
Hidden between the bills was a note with a number attached.