The door bell rang and Adam hurried to open the door. Charlie had called about an hour ago to say he’d come by and bring a bottle of champagne – apparently, he had some big news and wanted to celebrate. All Adam wanted to do was have Charlie in his arms and not let go until morning.
Of course he knew Charlie wouldn’t stay the night. They’d been dating for almost a year and he’d never stayed. He’d never invited Adam to his own flat either. It was like Charlie was unable to lower his defences, even a little bit.
Hell, Adam wasn’t even sure if Charlie was fucking someone else or not. They’d never promised each other anything.
“Hey,” Adam said as he swung the door open and let Charlie in.
“Hey, yourself,” Charlie beamed at him, kissed him, and then headed towards the kitchen. He was carrying two shopping bags which he put on the counter and started taking things out.
“So what’s this great news of yours?” Adam asked as he followed Charlie into the kitchen.
“Remember I told you we had a meeting with our manager the other day?” Charlie asked. Adam nodded and leaned back against the counter, folding his arms over his chest. “He’d managed to get a record company scout interested in the band and he came to see us play last night,” Charlie continued happily. “After the show he offered us a contract on the spot. He said we were exactly what (label name) was looking for!” Charlie finished triumphantly. His gorgeous gray eyes were alight with enthusiasm, hope and dreams. Adam wanted nothing more than to pull him in his arms and kiss him until he became the reason Charlie was so happy. It was selfish and it was desperate, but Adam could just feel Charlie slipping through his fingers.
“That’s great,” Adam said, and even managed a smile. “Congratulations, sweets! Let’s pop this baby open and celebrate.” Adam knew he sounded too cheerful, but there was nothing he could do about it. He wanted to be happy for Charlie, but something inside of him, something big and black and horrible, was raising its head. It was whispering to him, telling him that this was the last time he’d ever see Charlie, that Adam was not worth staying.
Charlie took out the champagne glasses while Adam busied himself with opening the bottle. He poured the bubbly liquid into the glasses and toasted Charlie’s success with a loud ‘cheers’ before he gulped the whole glass down.
“So when are you leaving?” Adam asked, placing his glass back on the counter with a thump, and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
“How did you...” Charlie began, but Adam interrupted him sharply.
“When are you leaving?” he asked again, growling the words out. Charlie squared his shoulders and narrowed his eyes in that typical way of his when he was preparing for a fight.
“In three days. They want us in L.A. to sign all the contracts and start working on the album immediately,” he said calmly, but Adam knew that voice. It was Charlie's you’re-not-allowed-in voice.
“Great. That’s fucking great.”
Adam stalked off to the living room, sat on the sofa and ran his hands over his face. He needed to get a grip. He didn't want to be that guy. He hated that guy. He didn't want to care that Charlie was leaving – it hurt too fucking much.
“Adam...” Charlie said from behind him, startling him. His voice was soft, and yet there was the undeniable determined undertone. The same fucking voice Charlie always used when Adam tried to get him to stay the night or go somewhere for the weekend. Or allow him to say how he really felt.
Fuck this shit. Adam was done with tiptoeing around Charlie. He was not that guy.
“How dare you?” Adam said, standing up and turning to face Charlie. “How dare you come to my home, and expect me to celebrate that you’re leaving?”
“You knew how much I wanted this, how much my career, my band means to me...” Charlie started, but Adam's humourless laughter made him pause.
“I fucking love you, you selfish bastard! We’ve been dating for a year and I could never say that because you’re such a fucking coward that you’d rather freeze your ass off waiting for a cab at 2:00 am than sleep with me all night!” Adam shouted, leaning forward across the sofa and putting his hands on the back. Charlie didn't move. He didn't say anything, but his eyes grew cold.
Adam laughed again, shaking his head. He knew that look, too.
“I don’t know what you want me to say,” Charlie said bitterly. He was gearing up for a fight, but Adam had no desire for that. It was pointless.
“I know you’d never stay for me,” Adam said quietly, folding his arms. He hated how he couldn't control the storm building up inside him, making his hands shake and his eyes fill with tears. “But I at least expected you to be a little sad. A little bit disappointed that you probably won’t see me ever again. I expected you to make an effort to say goodbye properly, to tell me that this past year has meant something to you.” His voice broke and he bit his lip to stop it from trembling.
“It did mean something to me, Adam,” Charlie said and took the small distance separating them until he was an arm’s length from Adam.
“Don’t,” Adam said sharply, cutting off anything else Charlie wanted to say or do. He didn't want to deal with this shit anymore. “Just go.”
“Go.” Adam tried to sound firm, angry, commanding. But the word came out as a desperate plea. He was about to break down and he didn’t want Charlie to witness it.
Charlie took the last step separating them and wrapped his hands around Adam's neck. Rising up on his toes, Charlie's lips ghosted over Adam's ear and he whispered, “It did mean something to me.”
His warm breath made Adam shiver. The kiss he placed on his neck made Adam's last resolve melt away. Unfolding his arms, Adam pulled Charlie closer, clutching at his t-shirt like a lifeline.
“Take me to bed,” Charlie whispered.
Adam did. He’d asked for a proper goodbye and he got it.