Joshua sighed softly and paced outside of the movie theatre. Marshall had promised to meet him there at seven, and it was four after. They'd become fast friends, and even though Marshall was ten years older than he was, they really got along well.. Despite himself, Joshua found himself falling in love, which drove him nuts.
"Can never pick the gay guys, can I?" He muttered to himself.
He did have to admit that falling in love with Marshall seemed like an easier task than falling for Charlie was. Marshall was kind, funny, and warm, and had really been there for Joshua over the past few months. He'd started acting more like himself around Marshall, and though the pain was there, it wasn't as blatant as before.
The nightmares had slowed, as well. What used to be every other night was now turning into an 'every other week' occurrence.
"Sorry I'm late, Josh." Marshall jogged up and paid for the tickets. "Come on, we'll miss the movie."
Josh followed him inside, and sat down with him in the theatre. He felt guilty letting Marshall pay for everything, but Marshall had insisted. They watched the movie silently, and whenever their hands brushed against each other reaching for popcorn, Josh felt his cheeks pinken.
'God, you're acting like a teenage girl. Stop this.' He thought angrily. As much as he liked having a friend like Marshall, he knew he had to get over this crush. He did not need another bout of heartbreak.
On the screen, one of the characters in the movie put a gun to their head and pulled the trigger. Josh went very pale, and gasped sharply. Marshall frowned and looked over at him.
Josh felt his whole body shaking, and he looked down, tears rolling down his cheeks. "Oh, god." He whispered.
".. Do you need to go?" Marshall whispered to him. Tearily, Josh nodded, feeling pathetic. He couldn't even look at the screen. "It's all right. It seems like a shitty movie anyway." He squeezed Josh's hand and walked with him out of the theatre. "Come on. I'll drive you home."
"I'm sorry.." Josh murmured, putting his head in his hands. "I j..just can't… I.."
"Josh, it's fine. Don't worry about it." Marshall said, driving away from the theatre, groaning at the sight of a detour. "More construction.. Took me twenty minutes extra to get home today. It shouldn't take too long to get you back to your place. Don't worry."
He made a right turn and winced at the sight of the cemetery coming up. That was where his wife was buried. Josh looked up and his eyes went wide. "… Stop the car."
"S.. Stop the car. This is where he is. I.. remember them saying this is where he is."
Still worried about him, Marshall stopped the car and watched as Joshua ran out, his eyes searching through the darkness for a name on a carved piece of marble. He was starting to get frustrated when he finally found it.
' Charles Steven McKinnon IV
Beloved Son and Friend
June 9th, 1987 - May 3rd, 2005'
There was some bible quote underneath it, but Joshua didn't bother reading it. He kneeled on the grass, and cried softly. Marshall followed him silently, but gave Joshua enough space to say what he had to.
"Y.. you stupid, selfish bastard." Joshua whispered, tears streaming down his cheeks. "How could you do this to me? H.. How could you do something so stupid!? I.. I hate you! I hate you for leaving me like this.. " He broke down into sobs, picking up the bouquet of flowers that was left there, and flinging it at the headstone. "You fucking bastard!" He sobbed, sinking onto all fours.
Marshall knelt next to him and gently pulled Joshua into an embrace. Joshua clung to him tightly, sobbing brokenly into Marshall's chest. "Shh.."
"I.. I hate him.." Joshua choked out.
Marshall just stroked his hair, letting him deal with his demons. He was almost thankful that there was a detour there, because Joshua probably wouldn't have gone to the grave for a long time, if he was anything like Marshall was.
For a while, they stayed there like that, with Joshua's fingers curled in the fabric of Marshall's coat, his quiet sobs the only sound in the dark cemetery.
".. Come on. You can come back to my place and have some coffee.. You shouldn't be alone right now." Marshall helped him up, and Joshua cast one look back at Charlie's grave, nodding weakly.
Marshall drove them both back to his house, although it took a little longer than usual thanks to a few more detours around the city. 'Effing road construction.' Marshall thought to himself, looking over at Joshua, who still seemed shaken, even if he had stopped crying for the time being.
He pulled up in front of a large house, and parked his car in the garage.
".. This is your house?" Joshua asked, looking at it in awe. Marshall's bathroom was probably the size of Joshua's bedroom.
"Yeah. I got lucky on some stocks a few years back.. " He let Joshua inside, and Josh couldn't help but stare in awe. The house was almost spotlessly clean, and impeccably decorated.
'.. Maybe he –is- gay.' Josh thought, looking around. He took his shoes off at the doorway, setting them to the side.
"Just go ahead and sit on the couch, I'll bring you in some coffee." Marshall called as he headed to the kitchen. Joshua felt awkward sitting on the white sofa, as if his presence would somehow dirty it.
His mind wandered away on him, thinking back to Charlie. He still had an image of Charlie in his head, whether he wanted it or not.. and he couldn't help but think if he hadn't started the fight that day… if Charlie would be alive.
Marshall's voice snapped him back to reality, and he took the offered cup of coffee gladly. ".. Thanks." He sipped it, but it was still too hot, and set it down on one of the coasters, nervous as hell about messing up Marshall's house.
".. Do you feel any better?"
"A.. a little." He admitted. "I'm sorry for breaking down like that in front of you. I—"
"Don't apologize. I'm your friend. I'm here for any breakdowns you have." He smiled, and propped his arm on the back of the sofa, running his fingers along Josh's jawline. Josh swallowed, watching him. His heart beat a little faster.
"Wh.. what are –"
Marshall leaned in and kissed him softly, gently leaning him back. Josh was too shocked to do anything at first, and it felt so nice to be kissed again. He could feel Marshall's strong arms around him, pulling him up closer, and Josh started to give in for a second.
".. I.. I'm sorry." Marshall murmured, pulling back and standing from the couch. "I know that it's absolutely the worst time to do it, but I've been trying to get over that last hurdle for a few weeks now. There's a spare room upstairs, I'll make sure you have blankets and everything. "
He disappeared up the stairs, leaving Joshua stunned and wide-eyed on the couch. After gaping for a moment, Joshua chased after him, pushing any thoughts of Charlie from his mind.
"What the hell was that!?" He snapped. Marshall sighed and looked away from him.
"I'm sorry, Joshua. I.. didn't mean to lose control like that. I just.. wanted to kiss you."
"You.. you're straight!"
Marshall shook his head. "Bisexual. Always have been."
"… Did your wife know?"
He flinched, but nodded. "We… had a few threesomes in our day. You aren't the first boy I've kissed, Joshua. If that's what you're implying.. but it's been a long time. And I .. really do care about you. Fuck it. I love you."
It was a double-edged sword. Charlie had loved him.. but Charlie was dead.. and who was to say Marshall wouldn't abandon him as well? Tears filled his eyes, and before he could stop Marshall, they were kissing again. He didn't pull away this time, but slipped his arms around Marshall's shoulder, feeling him brush away the tears.
"I don't want you to cry anymore." He whispered against Joshua's lips. "I want to make you happy."
"Don't think I've ever been." He whispered back.
"What do you want me to do?" Marshall pulled back and brushed the hair from Josh's face.
Joshua looked away with a sigh, worrying his lower lip and thinking. Silently, he cursed Charlie again for making him this wary. If it had been the old him, he would've had sex with Marshall weeks ago. Hell, months, maybe.
".. Tell me you love me again." He murmured finally. Marshall relaxed and smiled, pressing his lips to Joshua's cheek.
"I love you."
Joshua breathed the words in and nodded, smiling softly. ".. All right."
".. All right?"
"I think so. I.. I'd like to spend the night with you. If.. that's all right.."
It was Marshall's turn to blush. ".. Are you sure? Joshua, it's a big step.. I.. If you're not sure…"
"Mn. It's like a band-aid, right? I .. want to feel good again. It's been a long time coming.. and.. I think I deserve it. Right?"
Marshall couldn't help but feel a little manipulated. ".. Right.. I just don't want you to regret it."
"Then don't let me regret it." Joshua responded, heading for the bedroom. Marshall stood there, stunned.
".. Are you feeling okay? You aren't acting like yourself."
"I'm nervous as hell and about to have a complete breakdown. Get over here."
"Joshua, I … don't feel right. It'd be like taking advantage of you." Marshall sighed. "I'm all for sharing a bed, but.. I.. are you sure you want to … make love with me tonight?" Calling it 'sex' just seemed crude at this point.
"It's been a long time since I've been with anyone, Marshall. A.. and I've kind of had a crush on you since I met you. I have.. feelings for you. And I want to do this with you."
".. You're sure."
Joshua took off his shirt and again pushed any doubts from his mind, knowing that he did want to do this, and he wanted to do it with Marshall. He was ready to move on. He wanted this.
It was time for the next chapter of his life.