Author: to be revealed
Summary: Their relationship has officially ended, but a more than a year on and they're still trying to sort of their feelings. 1,586 words.
Pre-reveal Notes: The timeline has a blatant disregard for any of the true parts of the boy's lives that are used in the story.
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, non-commercial work of fiction using the names and likenesses of real individuals. This fictional story is not intended to imply that the events herein actually occurred, or that the attitudes or behaviors described are engaged in or condoned by the real persons whose names are used without permission.
"Bill?" Dom asked, reaching over to pluck the half-smoked cigarette from the other man's outstretched hand.
"Hmmm?" he responded.
"Does your girlfriend know we had sex?"
They're lying on their backs on the floor of Dom's L.A. apartment. It's early in the morning, and the sky is just starting to lighten. Neither of them has been to sleep yet, and the sounds of the party they had attended in the neighbouring apartment are still going strong. Billy slowly exhales.
"I don't know," he answers. Dom tilts his head sideways, squinting slightly against the smoke in his eyes. Billy looks back at him and continues, "I've never told her, and she's never asked. But, it feels like she knows."
"So, even though we broke up to avoid being the worst kept secret in the whole wide world, we still are the worst kept secret in the whole wide world?" Dom asks. There's something strained in his voice, which Billy recognises as being the potential for an argument.
"My girlfriend is not the whole wide world Dom, nor is that the only reason we broke up."
Dom sighs, passing the cigarette back and bringing his arm up to his face throwing it over his eyes to block out cold light of the room.
It's an argument they've had before, many times.
It was a Saturday morning when the relationship officially ended. Dom was visiting Billy in Scotland, for a rainy week in April. Friday night had been like many others when they were visiting each other, with a trip out, in this case an evening in the pub with Billy's friends, followed by a screaming row about nothing when they got back. Dom didn't know how the fights started, just that he would be drunk and the feelings of resentment and tension that now clouded their whole relationship would become overwhelming. He didn't intend to shout, he really didn't.
Billy knew that when Dom was upset he liked to shout about it until he had it all out of his system, and that ignoring the first snapped comments and negative body language would only serve to wind the other man up. Yet, he was sick and tired of playing peacemaker, and of putting a reasonable spin on things, and having to pull Dom out of his perpetual bad moods and periods of self-loathing.
And so, yet again, a pleasant evening turned into a screaming match, which turned into sleeping apart. Though, by the time the sun peered its watery face through the clouds on Saturday morning, Dom was back on his side of the bed, lying on his front, face pointed sideways at Billy, but staring intently at his chest rather than meeting his eye.
"I'm sorry." Dom had started, but Billy cut him off.
"I don't think I can do this anymore." And Dom felt like he'd been kicked in the stomach, hard.
"It'll get better, I swear. I don't know why I get so angry, I really don't. But I promise I'm trying to get better."
Billy rolled onto his side, and reached towards Dom, touching his face lightly. "You've been saying that for months, Dom, and it never does."
"That's a lie, it's not as bad as before. And you can hardly blame me for all the stuff when I was depressed."
"I know, I'm sorry. I just- This is hard work, Dom. It shouldn't be. Things are supposed to be easy and you just," he sighed, closing his eyes, "You don't make me happy anymore."
Six months later, and they're Christmas shopping together in a large, faceless, overheated mall,
'Christmas shopping in October, Dom?'
'Yeah, get it all sorted now, then I don't have to worry about it.'
'You utter woman.'
'Oh shut up, you know you love me.'
"So, that's just my mam and Matt left to sort and then I'm done. Want to get coffee and cake before we brave Marks and Sparks?"
"You make it sound like a battlefield." Billy laughed, steering them towards Costa Coffee.
"Have you ever been in there during a sale? It's a scarring experience; it's sort of like being in a really slow-motion stampede. You go in for some socks, and there's all these women peering through their reading glasses at the cotton content of y-fronts." he paused at the door, holding it open for a woman with a pushchair to get through before walking to the counter, and shuffling all his carrier bags to one hand to reach for his wallet.
They order drinks, green tea for Dom, and a cappuccino for Billy, and sit in squashy armchairs in a secluded corner. They chat for a while, and then sit quietly for a while, and finally Dom gazes intently at a poster on the wall above Billy's head and says,
"I still miss you sometimes."
"Ach, don't start this again Dommie."
"But we were good together, I mean, apart from the fighting, and we don't fight anymore, do we?"
"I think there's a direct correlation between the lack of fighting and the lack of relationship." Billy lowers his voice on the last word, even though there's no one within earshot.
"I just think I was trying too hard. I still wasn't completely better, even though I thought I was. I had no self-esteem, and so I couldn't manage. We'd do fine if we got back together." Dom reasoned, his voice equally hushed.
"I know you weren't happy, but even if it hadn't all gone to shit because of that, we'd still have had to sneak around and hide our relationship, and you always knew I wasn't comfortable with that, so it's best that we ended it when we did. At least we managed to stay friends, Dom. I'd've hated it if you'd stayed angry at me."
"You didn't want the world knowing about us anymore than I did!"
"No, but I wanted to be able to tell my family."
"You tell one person, and then suddenly everyone knows. That's how gossip works."
"I'd only have told people I trust, you know that."
"Yes but some of the people you trusted enough to want to tell have turned out to be your girlfriend now, mere months later. You honestly think she'd've kept it a secret when she wanted you for herself?"
"Don't bring Ali into this, Dom."
"Or maybe you just wanted to be with her all along, and the rest of it was just an excuse to end things with me so you could be with her."
"Oh for the-" Billy took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose between forefinger and thumb, exhaling slowly. "Things weren't like that with her 'til after it was over with you, Dominic. Neither of us really saw it coming."
There was a long pause then.
"So much for us not fighting anymore." Dom said, wryly. Billy chuckled. With the tension diffused, they finished their drinks in amicable silence.
"Come on then, short arse, we have scarves and bubble bath to look at."
Another six months later and they're at a house party. At some point between the drinking game at midnight, and throwing up at 4am, Dom finds himself cornered by Billy, and somehow, without anyone seeming to move, he's pinned against the wall and they're kissing frantically.
"Hold on, hold on." Dom is pushing Billy back slightly and trying to catch his breath. He's drunk and confused. "What the hell, Bill."
And then Billy's hiding his face in Dom's neck, sucking in deep breaths in an effort not to cry.
"'m sorry, 'm so sorry. I shouldn't have done that, I'm such an idjit."
"Hey. Hey, Billy?"
"Ali's pregnant, Dom. 'm going to be a daddy." his collarbone muffles Billy's voice, but the words are clear enough. Dom tips his head back to rest on the wall, and brings one hand up to cradle the back of Billy's neck, the other arm is wrapped tightly round his shoulders, holding the other man to him.
"Congratulations." he sighs. But he can't bring himself to sound happy. Babies mean commitment, and Dom wasn't ready to give up hope.
It's another year after that when they're sharing the cigarette on the floor of Dom's L.A. apartment in the early hours of the morning.
Billy pulls himself into a sitting position and chucks the cigarette end into an empty beer bottle.
"Let's not fight about it this time, Dom."
"Who's fighting?" he still has his arm over his face, and the question sounds like defeat, rather than the challenge Billy was expecting.
"I love my girlfriend, and I love my son." a pause, in which Billy draws his knees up to his chest, and rests his chin on them. "I also love you, but I don't think we could have worked things out. It had to happen like this."
"If she left you, would you want to get back with me?"
"Don't ask that, I can't answer it."
"I don't know what I'd do. She's not actually left me, but if she did it would depend on why she left, and if you were with someone and if it's what we both wanted. Lots of things."
"But hypothetically, would you at least want it to be a possibility."
"In a hypothetical world, we'd never had broken up in the first place, Dom."
"So is that a yes?"
The sound of the bass from the party next door continues, as they lie in relative silence watching the sunrise.