Living at Dusk

'What's wrong, here? I don't understand this any better than you do. I know that it's wrong, but I can't see any way to fix it.'

He watched his young lover walking down the sidewalk, talking and laughing. Honestly, they were no longer lovers but somehow Roscoe couldn't -- had never been able to -- make himself stop thinking of him that way. Not from the time he had first opened his eyes to find himself lying on the grass, completely naked, seeing that bright happy smile just inches from his own had he been able to stop the thought. 'Lover.' The young man had so easily wriggled his way into Roscoe's heart that even when they'd had to stop, he'd never been able to get him out of his heart.

Nothing had, not even seeing him walk away, heart breaking. Roscoe hated that day. Hated with a passion that summer day he'd finally called it ended, finally bowed to the inevitable. They could never be as happy as they had been that year, they would never be able to sustain their love so why let it die a slow, agonising death? Why risking losing everything along with each other? He'd done the right thing, he knew that, even though it cost him what he loved most.

He hadn't seen that smile for years, afterwards. Every time he saw Bo, the other man would turn away, sometimes before Roscoe saw the frown, the worry -- saw the love still there, still waiting for him. Gradually they had learned to live without it. Gradually Roscoe had been able to greet his lover with a careful, casual hello and see a hint of that smile in return. Years went by and they found a kind of balance. The things they said were like moths, thin and nearly colourless, and if they flew too close they disappeared in flames. Reality was in things left unsaid. In things undone.

Roscoe thought he would spend the rest of his life in that tight balance, waiting for the next smile and hoping he would not kill it in the lies he had to live. Then one day his lover had broken the rules, and asked him how he was. Asked if they could be together again, for a minute at a time in solitude.

Terrified, he had only been able to say yes. Not immediately, not until he'd dragged out all his fears and given them to his lover who accepted those fears willingly, just as he'd known he would. Then Roscoe had said yes and before he could say another word he had his lover again, not just in his heart but in his arms. The kiss was too long, too short for anything and when he let go he'd had to turn and walk away.

He drove away, not looking back because he knew Bo was driving away as well. His mouth burned. Roscoe wished he'd said no. Wished he'd never said no.

How in the world was he going to survive, now? The next time someone said Bo's name he was going to remember, and then every time after that he would think about the next time and wonder if when they spoke there would be a chance for another kiss, maybe a quick touch--

Roscoe turned away and watched the pedestrians around the square. He should be out there, among them, doing what he was paid to do. Would the next one he spoke to be a friend of Bo's? He glanced over his shoulder and saw Bo disappearing into his car. They hadn't spoken this time. Bo hadn't even seen him, at least he hadn't shown any sign. Talking with his cousin, he had simply gone the other way leaving Roscoe staring after.

He'd thought briefly of walking after them, giving them one of Boss' false warnings just as an excuse to talk, get a bit closer so he could wait for that smile. He hadn't done it, then Bo and Luke were too far away before he felt that maybe he ought to, anyway. Now the car was gone from sight and all he was left with was the memory of that kiss.

Two weeks ago. Two weeks he hadn't slept, hadn't been able to laugh the way he needed to if he wanted people to think there was nothing more beneath him than the bumbling fool he needed them to see. Two weeks of thinking how much he'd missed his lover, and dreaming of ways to make it real again.

When the sun rose he would pack the dreams away and wait. Not today, but maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow he would pull the General Lee over and Bo would get out and they would talk. He could ask how Jupiter's was doing, and Bo could tell him... anything. Nothing. They wouldn't have to talk. He just wanted to be with him again. It had been too long. Seven years. Much too long.

He'd been right. It wasn't going to be enough.


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