Nick walked to the door, brushing back his hair before he knocked on the wood. He didn't want to be here, he wanted to leave, but he couldn't, some part of him wanted to be here as much as he didn't. The apartment complex was nice, simple and bland but it was nice. Mostly collage kids since it was cheap but the other occupants didn't bother him. Only the one on the other side of the door.
"Go away." A male voice came from the other side of the door. Nick looked at the small piece of glass on the door he knew he was being watched from.
"Open up Mike I want to talk." He said. "Cmon." Knocking again.
The door clicked and opened. A man about his age, just past twenty sandy blond hair with the heavy stubble bordering on a goatee. His eyes were dull and his scowl apparent on his wrinkled face. The stained t-shirt and old jeans told a story he didn't want to. "We don't have anything to talk about. Now leave before I call the cops." Mike threatened moving to close the door.
Nick jammed his foot in the door, the edge biting painfully into his shoe. "Five minutes." He pleaded to the angry man. "Give me five minutes and hear me out and if I can't change your mind you'll never hear from me again."
"And if I don't?" Mike snapped back letting the door come open and crossing his arms. The threat was apparent but Nick wasn't worried about the other man. Nick had a few inches on the man and a bit more muscle.
"Don't make this about threats Mike. Please, if you care at all, hear me out." Nick pleaded in a weak tone Mike nor anyone else had ever heard from him.
Mike gave a hissed sigh. "Fine come on in, you got five minutes." Mike turned and walked in letting Mike walk in himself. The apartment was rather well kept, for a slob. The trash wasn't overflowing but was awfully close, the sink had dishes that looked clean but still had stains that might have been weeks old. The living room was littered in clothes of all different colors and shades tossed about in a mess of disarray.
The whole sight made Nick cringe, Mike didn't seem the cleanest or best kept man but he seemed to care about how he looked and how he kept things in his house. For things to have gotten this bad was a sad sight. Mike walked to one of the couches and sat down jerking his hand at the opposite couch and Nick took his seat facing Mike.
"Talk." He snapped impatiently.
"You already know why I'm here." Nick said holding out his hands. "Shay misses you."
"I don't care, she lied to me." Mike snapped back.
"You can bullshit yourself but you're talking to professional liar." Nick looked around the room. "You've gained weight, and where did that cut on your face come from?"
Mike brushed the red scar across his cheek. "That's not any of our business. None of it, get to your point."
"That's my point. You miss her too."
"Fuck off Nick. You don't get to come in here and tell me what I feel." Mike snapped glaring at the other man.
Nick shrugged his hands up. "Your right, I have no right to tell you how you feel, so let me tell you something else." His eyes narrowed on Mike, blue eyes focused and angry. "Let me tell you about Shay."
"Shut the hell up." Mike scoffed.
"She's spent the last three months crying, almost every damn night. Half the day too. I work with her every time she works because she can't do it without me. She drags herself around in a daze and can barely do any work without me to help her. She's been eating just enough to survive, stopped working out now she's getting real thin and sick."
"I said to stop."
"She's been sick three times in the last month, so sick she had to stay with Sam and be taken care of. At this rate I can't keep covering for her and she's going to lose her job. I don't trust her to drive anymore, I have her car sitting in my driveway because I'm afraid if I let her drive she won't come back. She's been like that for three months." Nick never raised his voice but his tone carried all the venom of a snake.
"Shut the hell up Nick!" Mike yelled standing up. "You don't get it, she lied to me, to you, to everybody about everything!"
Nick didn't stand up but his eyes followed Mike. "She lied, so?"
Mike's mouth fell open. "So? She lied to all of you about me! She didn't even tell you all we were dating the whole time! She kept hiding me like she was ashamed of me, lied about why I couldn't meet you all, and lied to you all about me! Why aren't you mad?"
"I told you to stop lying to me Mike. Tell me the real reason you're so mad, she already did." Nick shook his head as he spoke. "You're mad because she called you a spiteful orphan." His tone was harsh and cold.
Mike leaned down and grabbed Nick's collar. "Don't you fucking say that! Ever again!" His teeth ground together with air hissing through them. "So I didn't have a good life before, Fuck it! I love her and she's ashamed of me, hiding me like some dirty secret!"
Nick was silent for a minute not making any move to remove himself from Mike's grasp. "love." He whispered. Mike let him go and looked down on him with a cocked eyebrow. "You said you love her, not loved." Nick adjusted his shirt to normal. "You still love her."
Mike hissed but fell back to his chair. "That doesn't matter."
"Why not? Seems to me that that's all that matters."
"Why don't you get it? She lied, she lied about everything. How the hell am I supposed to believe anything she said? She said she loved me but how can I believe that?" Mike hung his head in her hands.
"You can't honestly think that. She loves you you fucking idiot." Nick sighed. "She's a wreak now because you two have split and she blames herself."
Mike glared up at the man across from him. "Stop talking like you know me and her you asshole." His voice was quieter but now just as venomous as Nick's. "She called me a spiteful orphan that my parents didn't even want to bear. She hates me now, maybe she always did. Because I came into town to see her and you all found out about me . . ." He paused and bit his lips as tears swelled in his eyes.
"She denied she even knew me! Wouldn't even say she knew who I was let alone who I was to her. I tried to talk to her but she was yelling and angry about me coming to see you all. She was ashamed of me. She wanted to hide me from her friends and family and just see me when she wanted to."
Nick listened penitently. "I can't believe you." He sighed. Mike glared at him again but his words were stopped by Nick. "She was scared you fucking idiot. Her brother, you met him right? Before she grabbed you and ran away?" Mike nodded, remembering the large man who had towered over him. "Her brother has always been real protective and careful. She's always been afraid he would overreact, that's why she wouldn't bring you around. Him and me actually, I feel the same way."
"What are –"
"She was scared. I made her tell me everything, she told me when you all met it was magical but she was worried how her brother and I would react, you are a few years older than her and he is really protective. She was afraid me and him would chase you off or would judge her for being with you." Nick explained shaking his head. "She was scared and when you showed up she panicked. You should know she can't handle pressure very well. "
Mike was looking at the ground now. He knew her well, the young girl did have a lot of trouble with pressure and panicked easily. When a women had mistaken her for someone else Shay had freaked out stuttering and blathering on trying not to disappoint the lady. It was so cute. He didn't know what to say, it still seemed like too much to be real.
"She's sad Mike." Nick continued when the other man didn't respond. "I've known her for years and I've never seen her so down. She's barely eating, not sleeping, its killing her." He sighed and looked away. "And the worst part is she wants it."
Mike's head snapped up, his mouth agape.
"Yeah, she hates herself. Blames herself for the whole thing thinks she needs to be punished. She won't say it but I can tell, with how she acts." Nick sighed "I hate seeing her like this, nothing we've done has helped." He looked at Mike. "That's why I'm here. I don't beg, I don't plead, I just want you to know, that no matter how bad you feel, she's worse."
Mike shook his head. It was hard to imagine his Shay so weak and hurt. "I don't know what you want me to do." Mike said with more tears leaking across his face.
"What you feel like you need to do. Whatever you have done, I don't know what you all did but those days she came back from seeing you, she was happy as can be. I don't know what you did but please just do that again for her." Nick pleaded.
Mike sighed and wiped away his tears. "She really did love me." He said, something like a question but more talking to himself.
"She still does, that's what's killing her." Nick whispered. "Please, I can't stand seeing her like this."
Mike heard what was being said. There was something wrong with how this man was acting. He looked up at Nick and eyed him for a moment. "Why do you care so much? How do you know all of this?"
"Because I love her." Nick sighed never taking his eyes from Mike. For a minute Mike thought he heard wrong but Nick's eyes never wavered. "And not in the sister kind of way." He added after a moment.
"W-what? If you love her . . . why are you trying to get me and her together?" Mike stammered out the question.
"I love her, have for years, but she doesn't want me, she wants you. I want her to be happy, if it's not with me then at least I can help her be happy again. I just want to see her smile again." He whispered, "What do you say?"
"I don't know what you want me to say."
"Simple. You say what you really want to say. Admit you're a fucking wreak that you love my best friend and you want nothing more than to go see her right now and be happy again." Nick blathered out.
The blond haired man looked blankly at the other man in his home. It wasn't until now that he took a real long look at him. Nick's brown hair was tussled and unkempt more so than the last time he had seen him, his eyes were dark and sunken and his skin pale and taunt. He looked almost as bad as Mike felt, maybe worse. Whatever he had been through, Mike felt a hint of pity for the other man.
"I think I have a pretty girl to see." Mike said smiling for the first time in months and standing up.
Nick smiled as well and stood. "Good, just one thing first." Before Mike could move Nick swung his fist fast across his jaw knocking him across the couch with a small howl.
"What the fuck was that for?" Mike yelled clutching his sore jaw.
"That's for sleeping with my best friend. Yeah, she told me that too. Nothing personal, just part of the job of being her friend." Nick offered his hand to Mike and helped him up.
"Okay, but if you hit me again, it's on."
. . .
The pair was in Nick's car, insisting that he drive them down after an hour of Mike being forced to clean up. They sat in absolute silence, but Mike didn't mind it. He liked the silence as it gave him to think. He had wanted to go back and see Shay for a long time but never had the courage to even attempt it. He had always thought she hated him and would never want anything to do with him, being angry at her was just some stupid justification he gave himself.
His mind and eyes wandered to the man in the driver seat, eyes firmly set on the road before them never glancing away. He couldn't help but feel a sense of guilt and sadness for this man. Nick seemed so cold, and if Shay's stories could be believed her was just as cold as he seemed. It seemed so obvious now that he knew that this man loved shay. Who couldn't love that girl? Especially when you spend all those years next to her. Guilt was tugging at his heart, he knew he didn't deserve Shay.
A thought came to him, he could make things right, it might kill him but he knew it was right. He would tell Shay the truth, how Nick felt about her and maybe the two of them could be happy. Maybe then he could live with himself knowing this man would be there to care for her. Just knowing she didn't really hate him already made him feel better. With a final nod he affirmed the plan. He would tell Shay about Nick and let her do what she would with the information.
"You tell her and I'll kill you." Nick said suddenly.
"What?" Mike tried to ask innocently.
"I told you before you can't lie to a liar. Your thinking about telling Shay about how I feel right?" Nick never took his eyes off the road.
Mike thought about denying it but this guy had some superhuman sense for it. "Yeah. So why the threat?"
"She doesn't need to know. Don't tell her."
"Why the hell not? Look at what happened with us, why shouldn't you and her be together. Give it a shot. I'm fine with it I really am."
"She's not." He whispered. Mike didn't say anything but kept looking at Nick's face. "I know she doesn't feel the same way. If you tell her all you're going to do is put a burden on her. She'll feel like she needs to choose. She'll be caught between hurting her oldest friend and losing the love of her life. I'm not going to do that to her."
"How the hell can you do that?" Mike asked. "Just sit there and let her go without a fight? I thought you loved her."
The moment he said it he regretted it. The car lurched to a sudden stop as it jumped to the curb on the edge of the road. After the screech of tires was done Mike stared wide eyed at Nick. The man's eyes were bearing into his soul with fire behind them.
"Listen." His voice short and taunt. "I love her. I've loved her since before she knew you existed. I know she won't be happy with me, these past few weeks have shown that more than ever. I tried to be there for her but she didn't want me, she wanted you. If I told her how I felt she would feel torn. She wouldn't want to hurt me but she couldn't love me back. She loves you, that's the best honor I've even seen given. If you love her as much as I know you do, you won't cause her that much grief and tell her."
"So that's it? I'm just supposed to ignore the fact you love her? And you're just going to go on without ever telling her how you feel?"
"Happens all the time." Nick said checking the road as he prepared to return to lane. "That's how it has to be."
Without another word he pulled the car back on the road and started on again. Mike hung his head in shame. Some part of him was happy where he was going, but part of him hated himself for enjoying it. He didn't feel like he was going back to see his love, he felt like he was driving to an execution, though not his own.
. . .
Nick rapped on the door, this one white wood and far more familiar. "It's me." He called after he knocked and waited for the door to open. A minute later the door moved and reveled a sight that made him have to control his face so he didn't cry.
Shay's dark brown hair was strewn around her head, messily shoved behind her ears in the last few seconds. Her eyes were red and dull, her skin paler than normal. It killed him see her like this, broken and lifeless. He knew her for so long and never had seen her without a smile or some kind of grin. The person he was looking at wasn't Shay, she was dim and weak, her eyes red and burning from crying, her face red from strain and her hair was clumped and frayed.
Nick didn't say anything when she opened the door, he pulled her close and wrapped her in a hug. She hugged back around him and he could hear her starting to sob already. "Not doing any better?" He asked. She didn't speak but he felt her head shake against his chest. He pat her head, something she only let him do. "I know, I know." He cooed patting her hair.
He took a breath, preparing himself for what was to come. "Shay, I'm not here alone." He whispered.
Shay pulled back and wiped her eyes. "Sorry." She said to the other visitor. She wearily glanced around Nick and froze. Just outside the door standing in the cold dark of the night was the man who had plagued her mind for months. Mike raised a hand to wave but stopped halfway through casting his eyes down.
Shay looked wide eyed her eyes leaking tears. Her face burned red, no longer from crying but anger. Her eyes fell to Nick locking his eyes in a look of betrayal. "What is wrong with you?" She cried her voice had already cracked, though her voice was still sharp and honed by anger. "Leave, both of you." She yelled the second part to the man outside while she gave Nick a weak shove.
Nick raised a hand to Mike to hold him in place while Shay stormed back into the house. With a silent gesture he motioned him in. Mike was slow to move but heeded his order and stepped in. Nick followed Shay inside as she started to retreat to her room. Before she left the main living room Nick grabbed her arm, just enough to hold her still.
"Let me go." She hissed back but she couldn't pull away from the larger man.
"listen Shay . . ."
"No you listen!" Her voice raised for the first time in too long. "You have no right to bring him here. I thought I could trust you Nick." Her voice was wavering again the beginning signs of tears to come. He had come to predict them quite well.
Nick didn't let her go and continued to look down on the girl with an indifferent look. "Shay." His voice was softer. "Please, you know you miss him. Just give him a chance. I don't want to see you like this." He pulled her back into a one sided hug.
Shay thrashed against him and hit him in the gut and chest trying to get away. There had been a time the small girl could give Nick a run for his money in a fight, now her strength was faded. "Stop it Nick! Let me go! Let me go!" She thrashed and hit him again but he held her firm. Her blows slowly subsided and her arms hung limply to her side.
"I'm scared Nick." She whispered into his shoulder.
Nick pulled her head away and looked down to her. "You can't be happy without taking a risk. Please, if not for yourself than for me." He encouraged his hand on her head again. "He leaned down and whispered to her ear. "If you want me to when this is over I'll kick his ass."
Shay gave some odd noise between a gasp and giggle. She still didn't smile but she did nod into his arm. Nick stepped away and motioned Mike into the house. He still seemed a little nervous but when Shay sat down in a chair and he was motioned to sit opposite he seemed a little better. The blond man smiled at the girl but she kept her eyes darting everywhere but to him.
Nick having brought them together seemed to believe his work was done and walked to the kitchen getting himself a drink. "Start talking!" He called from the next room when both parties were absolutely silent.
"Guess it would be stupid to ask how you've been." Mike said quietly.
Her voice was quiet and subdued as she stared at the floor. She shook as drops of water dripped past her hair. "Shay. . ."
The girl flew across the distance between them and grabbed Mike in her arms. She cried and sobbed into his shoulder. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean any of it! I love you Mike. I-I was just scared." She sobbed.
"Oh baby." He held her to him tightly and felt tears in his own eyes. "I'm sorry too. God I was so stupid to get so mad. I know you didn't mean it." he kissed her head as they laid there holding each other tightly. "Nick told me. He told me everything, why you lied to protect me. I'm so sorry I shouldn't have been so mean."
Mike brushed back her hair to see her face, pulling her chin to face her. "I always loved you." He whispered. "I still do, do you think we could . . . try again?"
Shay pushed herself up and closed the distance between their lips. A quiet whimper came from the couple as they held their passionate kiss for what seemed like ages. Shay finally ended the kiss and nuzzled her head under Mike's chin. "Just stay with me." She whispered. "Please?"
Mike wrapped his arms around her and held the brown haired girl close. "Always."
Nick leaned on the wall from the next room a drink in his hand. He smiled at the lovers curled on the couch. After several minutes Mike gave him a happy smile. Nick walked over and noticed why. For the first time in three months Nick saw Shay sleeping peacefully, a smile on her face.
"Let's get her to bed, she needs to rest." Nick whispered. Mike nodded and carried the girl while Nick led the way to the bed room. Mike gently lay the girl down and kissed her forehead before the men retired from the world.
"I can't thank you enough for all of this." Mike said as they walked to the main room.
"Your right you can't." Nick said rather blankly. He stopped to chuckle and looked at Mike. "But you can start paying me back by treating her good and keeping her happy."
"I think I can do that." Mike smiled and held out his hand. It seemed like the only thing he could do. Nick laughed but didn't take his hand.
"Just remember one thing," Nick said as he walked to the door. "Hurt her again, and they'll never find your body."
Mike's eyes widened, something in the man's tone had the distinct impression he wasn't kidding. As Nick gave a final wave Mike couldn't help but call out to stop him. Nick gave an annoyed look but stopped to listen. "Why? How? I mean . . . how can you do this? Love her but not be with her?" Mike just couldn't understand the man's logic. The idea of willingly pushing Shay towards someone else just didn't seem possible.
Nick sighed and shook his head. "Some people are just here to make things right. That's what I do. I watch out for my friends, as long as their safe and happy, I'm happy." Nick smiled and gave a quick wave before he left. Mike couldn't think of what to say, he only waved to the door and the man he owed so much.
. . .
Nick walked to his car with a smile, got in and drove to the park he liked. In the night it was completely deserted. He found a dark little parking lot and turned off his car.
He smiled, ignoring the wet lines on his face. He looked around one last time, making sure no one was around. When he was satisfied he was alone he dropped his head to the steering wheel sobbing loudly to himself. Alone in his car with his tears. The way it had to be.
I feel this could be much better so I hope you will leave a review and help me out.