|Jimmy Returned to Town in May
Author: magalina PM
One Shot. Slash. Two ex-lovers meet after years of being appart, only it's already too late.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Words: 3,169 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 9 - Published: 01-03-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2759995
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Short one-shot, not the happiest thing to start the year off with, though. Hope all of you had a good time during the Holidays! I know I lazed around enough these last four days to last me the whole year.
Lots of thanks to Sara (learntosayhello) for editing :)
Jimmy Returned to Town in May
Jimmy returned to town in May on a windy Saturday evening. When Bill opened his front door he thought for a second that his legs were going to give. Standing in front of him was Jimmy, dressed in a black suit and looking the same he did six years ago. His light hair was cut short as always, and he had the same expression he'd had that last night they'd seen each other, a look of awkward helplessness.
Jimmy smiled a small wavering smile and ran a hand through his hair, just like he used to, like he was flattening it down, as if it were long enough to stick up.
"Billy," he said, and Bill blinked at him, unable to move.
"Jimmy, what-" He broke off, his throat suddenly tightening.
"I was in town," Jimmy said looking down at his feet for a second with his hand still on his head, "And I thought I'd come by and say hi."
Memories rushed back too Bill in a quick, dizzying moment and he scrambled to throw the screen door open and wrap his arms around Jimmy's neck. He pressed his face against the other man's shoulder and Jimmy hesitated before putting his arms around Bill's back and squeezing only a bit.
Jimmy felt tense against him, and Bill was hit with the reminder of how things had ended between them and how sad and furious he had been for such a long time. He let go and stepped back, crossing his arms over his chest as Jimmy's fell to his sides.
Bill didn't trust himself to speak. He had the feeling that if he opened his mouth he would either start crying or laughing, and both felt inappropriate. Although his suit looked ironed and spotless, Jimmy himself looked pale and worn. He looked like he had spent the night sleeping on a park bench; he had dark circles under his eyes, and was looking at Bill as if he was debating whether or not to speak.
Again Bill was filled with contradictive feelings. A sudden need to touch he had forgotten about was making him feel light and about to burst at the same time. But at the same time there was this prickly feeling behind his eyes, and what felt like a fire in the pit of his stomach. He reminded himself of how they had parted, the letters and the telephone call. Both made him sick.
Jimmy stood there, outlined in pink as the sun slowly set behind him. His hand was back on his hair, going back and forth through the soft strands. Bill watched him nervously.
"Come inside," he said suddenly and stepped aside. "We can talk."
Once again Jimmy hesitated. His hand stilled and he glanced quickly behind him.
"I'll mess up your floor," He said with a miserable smile that made Bill want to hug him again and ask him what was wrong. Instead, Bill looked down at Jimmy's feet. His shinny black shoes were covered in mud from Bill's front yard that, after the rain, resembled a pond.
"Take them off, I'll get you something else,"
Jimmy reluctantly walked into Bill's house in his socks. He looked around while Bill studied him and tried to control his mind, now reeling, wondering about reasons and old, unanswered questions.
"Are you alone?" Jimmy asked as he turned, catching Bill looking at him. His hands were now in his pockets in an attempt to keep them out of his hair. Bill's stomach churned and he avoided Jimmy's eyes.
"No," he said, "my wife's upstairs."
Jimmy seemed to turn paler and he closed his eyes and sighed, turning around again.
"We got married in March," Bill went on. A part of him enjoyed the reaction and wanted Jimmy to look as sick as Bill felt.
"I heard, I just didn't- I don't know…I just wanted to hear it from you."
"Is that why you came back?" Bill had Jimmy's shoes in his hands. He was clutching them, his knuckles white, and smearing his shirt with mud. Jimmy met his eyes with resolve, this time neither of them wanted to look away. Behind the exhaustion and the sadness in Jimmy's eyes, Bill saw something he thought he had forgotten about fickler. Something he had always associated with Jimmy, but didn't know how to name.
"No," Jimmy said, "I-"
"Who is it, Bill?" A voice called from upstairs and whatever had been in Jimmy's eyes died as his expression hardened and he looked back to the ground. They heard her footsteps coming down the stairs lightly and Bill saw her come around the corner and stop short when she spotted Jimmy. Her hand went straight to her stomach, as if she wanted Jimmy to know even though it wasn't visible yet.
"Jim Anderson," Kim said with a tight-lipped smile in his direction, "I remember."
"Jimmy, this is Kim," Bill was watching Jimmy's hands clench in his pockets; he was still repressing the need to touch his hair.
"His wife," Kim added and sent Bill a reprimanding look.
"Yes, I gathered." Jimmy mumbled. He was slouching, looking like he might fall down any second. Kim hadn't offered something to drink, and it didn't seem like she would.
"Jimmy, let's have a drink. Come on." Bill offered instead and walked around his wife towards the kitchen. He squeezed her arm lightly on the way, hoping the gesture would appease her, as if it was something he did everyday. But she grabbed his wrist before he could move on.
"Bill, can we have a word?" She whispered, loud enough so Jimmy would hear. Bill looked at her and saw her pursed lips and scared eyes and he nodded numbly.
"Jimmy, wait for me in the kitchen? It will only be a second." He pointed down the hall and Jimmy walked past them like a ghost, pale and quiet. Kim stared after him like a hawk.
"I don't want him here," she said and Bill was irritated at her possessive tone. He grabbed her by the shoulders and, softly, made her take a step back.
"We are just going to talk. He came all this way," Bill's throat tightened again and he cursed himself, "He came all this way and we are just going to talk."
"He's here for his father's funeral, not for you," Kim hissed. Bill felt his knees bend slightly before he caught himself.
"His father?" He chocked out.
"I heard Joanna talking about it a few days ago."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Bill asked. Kim's cheeks turned pink and she avoided his eyes.
"I didn't think you'd care, after all this time," she said loftily and Bill was irritated again. "I don't want him here," She repeated.
"His father just died."
"We are just going to talk," Bill saw her cheeks redden even more before she stormed up the stairs and locked herself in the bedroom. He stood still for a moment, feeling horrible because he needed to comfort Jimmy more than he wanted to comfort his wife.
Jimmy was sitting in the kitchen, grabbing his head with both hands, his elbows on the table. He looked up when he heard Bill close the door behind him.
"I shouldn't stay," he said. Bill ignored him and opened the cabinet under the sink.
"Is wine okay? Red." Even before Jimmy nodded he was opening a bottle. They sat in silence with their glasses in front of them, searching into each other's faces.
"She's pregnant?" Jimmy finally asked. Bill nodded.
"Four months." He paused. "Your dad died." Again Bill needed to stab back. Jimmy flinched and nodded. He took a sip from his glass.
"Thursday," He said. "I got here yesterday, to clean up the house. The funeral was today."
"I didn't know, Jimmy."
"Your wife knew."
So Jimmy had heard them talking. He knew Kim wanted him out of there, that she didn't trust him.
He knew she didn't trust either of them.
It was midnight and Bill couldn't sleep. Downstairs Jimmy was probably tossing and turning on their couch and that thought alone was enough to make Bill's fingers itch. After all this time Jimmy was still keeping him up. All the wine they'd had was making his head buzz and making him forget why was it so wrong if he joined him downstairs.
Kim was laying with her back to him, breathing deeply, asleep after the argument they'd had about letting Jimmy stay over.
"He has nowhere to go," Bill had said.
"He's got a whole house all to himself."
"He doesn't want to go there, his father just died," He felt like he had said that sentence a hundred times that night alone and somehow Kim still didn't understand.
Jimmy had waited in the sitting room, leaning against the couch and nearly falling asleep standing up. After a couple of glasses of wine he had told Bill that he hadn't slept since he'd heard about his father. Now, if Bill closed his eyes, he thought he could hear the rustling of the sheets as Jimmy turned, his sighs and breathing much closer than he could Kim's.
Bill hadn't thought he would ever see Jimmy again, much less having him sleep in his house. A house that he shared with the only person he thought knew about Jimmy and him, and what they had been to each other all those years ago. Bill stared at Kim's tense back and shoulder and wished he felt something for her, anything to use as a reason not to go downstairs.
But he was already standing up.
His head swam a bit for a moment, and he stood while he waited for the room to stay still. He rummaged through a pile of clothes on top of the dresser and threw on an old sweatshirt. As if giving it one last try, he looked behind him before exiting the room. Kim was still lying there, barely breathing. She was awake but she didn't try to stop him. She just waited.
Bill closed the door behind him with a soft click and walked down the stairs, telling himself he was only going to get a glass of water.
His face buried in his hands, Jimmy didn't see Bill as he walked quietly behind him to get to the kitchen. Bill poured himself a glass of water, downed it in two gulps and waited.
"Billy," Jimmy called in a low voice and a shiver ran up Bill's spine. He turned around and saw Jimmy looking at him from the dark sitting room. Before he knew it he was standing in front of him, and Bill didn't even remember walking there. Jimmy looked up at him with the same pained smile that had always driven Bill insane.
He reached out and put a hand on Jimmy's cheek and Jimmy, just as he used to, leaned into the touch and closed his eyes with a sigh. Why had they let something like this go? Bill didn't remember exactly, just loose fragments were coming to mind. The letters and Jimmy's voice when they last talked, cold and miserable, exactly like Bill had felt.
He touched his other hand to Jimmy's short hair, letting his fingers roam through the strands, just like Jimmy did to himself when he was upset. Minutes dragged by and Bill fell into a drowsy stupor, his hand's movements on Jimmy's hair becoming mechanic as he studied his face uninterrupted for the first time since he'd arrived.
With his eyes closed and his features relaxed Jimmy looked exactly like back then, almost like time hadn't passed, like they were still engulfed in the warm glow from before, that had turned so cold so suddenly and left Bill feeling sour for so long.
Jimmy's nose and eyebrows brought back memories Bill had long forgotten, his mouth a longing he hadn't felt in years. Bill stopped stroking and Jimmy's eyes fluttered open a second later. They stared at each other for a moment before Jimmy spoke in a low, husky voice.
"I went to see you the day before we last spoke," he said. Bill frowned, no matter how little he trusted his head right now, he was sure he hadn't seen Jimmy since long before that phone call. "You had stopped writing and I thought it was because…that it was about what we'd talked about. Remember? We fought about it, too."
Bill nodded warily. "You wouldn't tell your father about us, I remember."
"I thought you didn't write to me because you were mad about that, so I came back and went to see him."
"But-" But Bill hadn't been the one that had stopped writing. Bill had written letters long after Jimmy had stopped replying to them. And Bill had thought Jimmy had been too ashamed of them being together to tell his father so he had started seeing Kim, a girl that had graduated high school with them.
Jimmy covered Bill's hand on his cheek with his.
"I went to see him and told him everything," Jimmy went on, "And then we fought and didn't speak again for years."
Bill didn't know that. Bill had no idea Jimmy had ever stepped a foot in town since he'd left to live in the city in a tall, run-down building. He'd said it was infected with bugs and the traffic outside made the windows rattle, but that he didn't ever wanted to come back to town. And that Bill should come with him, to please come live with him.
"After I left his house I went to look for you and- and well, you were with this girl and I thought that's why you had stopped writing and I left."
"I didn't-" Bill wanted to argue, because that's not how things had been. It couldn't be.
"You were walking out of the ice-cream parlor with your arms around each other. So I left and I called you the day after, because I couldn't stand it to end like that. And…and you know the rest."
Yes, Bill knew the rest. The things they'd said to each other, how confused and angry he'd been when he didn't understand why, and what and how. He remembered he hung up on Jimmy, expecting him to call again when they were calmer and waited and waited for days, and he never did.
"I didn't stop writing," was all that came out of his mouth as Jimmy looked at him with those eyes of his.
"I know," Jimmy said. "I went to clean up dad's place and I found them, all the letters hidden in his room, in his closet. Unopened and a few ripped in half, but he didn't throw them away. I don't know why. He knew about us even before I told him, and I guess he asked Mr. Johnston to bring the letters to him from your house."
Bill's head was a jumble of thoughts and memories and God, Mr. Johnston still delivered his mail now. Bill slipped his hand away from Jimmy's grasp and fell heavily on the couch next to him.
"So-" He began but cut himself off because he had no idea what to say. All those things he'd put in the letters, things he thought Jimmy had read and ignored were actually yellowing in a crumpled pile inside a closet for years. Not five blocks from his house.
Inside a goddamned closet.
And they had never even left town.
Bill realized with a start that he was staring at the letters, neatly laid down on the coffee table in front of him. He recognized his writing and the light blue envelopes he used, especially reserved for Jimmy. And then he was surprised to realize that he remembered every thing written in them. He remembered every letter from the hopeful and cheery ones to the last, hurt and accusing, one.
Bill jumped when Jimmy started speaking again.
"He called me two weeks ago, to apologize and to ask me come visit," he said. He was slouching with his elbows on his knees and a hand on his hair, "I think he wanted to tell me about them, that's why they weren't in a box in the basement or something. He always kept everything he wanted to hide down there, remember?"
Bill couldn't even nod.
"I said I couldn't come and then he died," Jimmy had his eyes fixed on the letters, almost in trance. "But I could, I just didn't want to…to run into you."
He looked at Bill then and, just like that afternoon at the door, Bill couldn't help but to throw his arms around Jimmy's neck, almost climbing onto his lap. Only this time Jimmy hugged him back without hesitation. Maybe because of the wine, or maybe because now they both knew no one was going to interrupt them.
It was familiar and dear and for the first time in a long time, Bill didn't find himself comparing the body he was holding with anyone else's.
They held on, grasping too tightly and not saying a word. And Bill thought of all the years they'd lost and couldn't get back, of all the things they could have done and never would. Bill held on until he was hurting Jimmy and Jimmy was hurting him back, because he knew the couch was going to be empty the next morning, and Jimmy would be gone forever.
He kissed Jimmy's forehead and cheeks and nose and mouth. Jimmy returned the kisses with a bitter sob caught in his throat and his eyes scrunched shut tight. He choked out his name against Bill's neck – Billy, Billy, Billy – and Bill kissed him again. And he wanted to scream and laugh and cry all at the same time, because this is what he had been missing all these years, exactly this, and it would be gone in the morning.