HI AGAIN. So. This was going to be my Novel Big Bang at LJ, but I changed my mind (for the third... or fourth... time) and so the beginning goes here. I'm a bit stuck and uncertain where I'll be taking it next. That's rather irrelevant. Updates will be slow, if at all. It's possible I'll let this one stay without updating if I see no interest, but then again, I'll probably update as it is, because that's generally how I do.

It isn't enough to say that Taylor left a tear in Josh's heart when he disappeared without a word. Hole, in itself, wasn't much of anything. Josh had dealt with holes before. He had bounced back as though nothing had happened, memories still intact, but hidden far from his conscious. He pretended. If he could pretend, he could make it.

Taylor didn't allow him to pretend. Taylor took his bullshit way of facing reality and used it against him. "How much of life are you wasting by pretending nothing good in your life that you've lost exists?" he'd said, shortly after they'd met, when Josh was nursing some other tear at a bar in downtown Chesterfield one night. Taylor's words reminded him of that song, something he'd listen to while laying on the living room floor in his apartment, staring up at the painted ceiling as the words floated through his head. He couldn't remember the words, but he remembered the feeling, the way it made him tear up, and the way Taylor took one look at him and didn't say anything about it, ever.

The disappearance didn't leave a tear in Josh's heart, which meant that Josh's coping ways, getting drunk in a bar he'd never known existed or trying to drown out the memories and the sounds, large bonfires on lonely camping trips, didn't work. He had to work out something new, something that would give him the peace of mind he needed to get over this.

No, it wasn't a tear, as much as Josh wished it would be. It wasn't even a break, which he could have mended fine. Taylor was far too special to leave behind a broken heart, or a tear. Maybe it was because Taylor refused to be forgotten, and had said it in not so many words to Josh many times. Maybe it was because Taylor wound his way around Josh's spine, around his insides and the memories inside Josh's head, and there was nothing left that didn't have his imprint.

Taylor hadn't left a tear on Josh's heart. He'd left a hole, a straight shot through the middle. It'd crippled him.

Josh hardly had a chance. Taylor had fucked him from the start, winding his way into Josh's life and settling there. It was a delicate way of going about things, Taylor's disappearance; Josh couldn't even remember it happening. He remembers waking up on the floor of Taylor's apartment and looking around an empty room, none of the pictures left on the wall, the table with three legs and a pile of books missing, the rug in front of his balcony that read wipe your feet disappearing from existence.

He'd spent the better part of the morning in a desperate search, only to return to Taylor's—now only an empty apartment—kitchen to find the CD pieced with a note.

I don't want to tell you why.

Even today, Josh keeps the note tucked away in his wallet, hoping one day, Taylor will return to him, which is the entire problem. There were no last words, no lingering explanation or email, phone call, nothing. Instead, Josh found himself left with nothing except a pointless note and a CD he never planned on listening to.

He'd always thought it was Taylor's way of trying to fix things, of trying to make the emptiness where Josh's heart used to be heal faster, but nothing could—you can't heal what isn't there.

I don't want to tell you why, it read, and it's the first thing in Josh's mind when he wakes up and the last thing before he goes to sleep and every moment in between.