The journey with you

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"Do you want something to drink? Eat?"

Charlie was uncomfortable with the way Patrick was looking at him. After their confessions they had drifted into silence, each with their own thoughts. Charlie still couldn't believe that Patrick had loved and still loved him. Patrick couldn't believe how stupid he'd been. He'd left without talking to Charlie, overwhelmed by the idea that he didn't mean as much to Charlie as Charlie did to him. He was mulling over how Fabiola had pulled wool over both their eyes.

But foremost on his mind was really the guy standing next to him, and the future he hoped to have with him. It was why he couldn't help but stare at him, wondering if this moment was happening for real. Things had gone so wrong it was amazing the stars had found a way to align again.

Patrick shook his head in reply to Charlie's question.

"Good. There isn't much I can offer you anyway", Charlie said and chuckled, trying to make the poverty he knew was looming humorous.

Patrick didn't think it was funny.

"Can we talk? I mean, really talk", he suggested.

Charlie didn't feel like talking, knowing without needing to learn that Patrick was going to bring up his disease and financial situation. Though Charlie had admitted to Patrick at one point that he wasn't coping, he didn't want to admit it sober.

His walls had fallen apart by the knowledge that Patrick loved him, but only some had fallen. He'd sworn to never be a burden to anyone and the thought of weighing Patrick down with his disease didn't sit well with him.

Why hadn't Patrick returned when Charlie wasn't sick?

No! That would have been worse. If Patrick had been with Charlie when Charlie got his diagnosis, his love/guilt would have obliged him to be there for him. He wouldn't leave. But now he had a choice. They weren't together. He could easily choose not to enter.

Charlie painfully wanted him to stay outside.

Patrick grabbed Charlie's hand and walked him towards a couch; taking a seat and indicating for Charlie to sit next to him. Charlie slid into the seat.

"I wan..." Patrick started, but Charlie jumped in.

"A few minutes ago I may have given you the impression that I...that I'm okay with you wanting to be a part of my life; but I...I'm not. I believe you love me. I love you. It's why I cannot put you through everything that will happen". Charlie was repeatedly stabbing his own heart and he knew it, but he couldn't stop. "I am Charlie now, but soon I won't be. I'll be someone else, someone you don't even know. I won't be able to dress myself or eat by myself, that's if I'm able to eat at all. I'll be moody and aggressive and one day I just won't be able to do anything at all. I...Patrick, you'd have to give up your life just to be with me. I'm sorry, but I won't let you. It's my decision and I'm sticking to it".

The words were now out there. Charlie had finally said them. Along with telling Patrick there was no future for them, he'd said aloud the course of his disease. He'd said aloud the dreaded things he couldn't before. He'd spent a year denying to himself that he had a disease at all.

"Charlie..."

"Patrick I'm sorry. I want to believe that we'll be okay and that you won't hate me. I hated my mom. She was my mom. I was programmed to love her. I resented every moment she shouted at me. I couldn't leave. You can leave", Charlie said.

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