five

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the week that kai leaves for his family home is the week that lyle has just about reached his emotional breaking point. 

lyle closes his eyes, trying to forget the resentful look which kai flashed him before he walked out the door, leaving lyle home all alone. although, is this place even a home anymore? lyle wonders as he walks through the flat. sure, each square centimetre of this place is laced with memories, but suddenly each is as painful as the next. homes are meant to be comforting, safe, not a trap designed to mentally obliterate it's occupier.

lyle wanders to the bathroom, staring at his reflection. ghostly pale skin is stretched over skeleton, empty, bloodshot eyes with charcoal smudges beneath them and glasses even seeming to appear slightly lopsided and misshapen. if he wasn't so emotionally gone, he'd be worried about his own health. but right now, he couldn't give less of a fuck. he's so tired of this, of everything. this little sick game they have going.

friends, that's a fucking sick joke.

part of lyle actually believed it to work, he wanted it to so bad. he didn't want to lose a love and best friend in the same night, but the raw truth is that he did. there's just too much history between them, too much miscommunication and careful treading, shattered trust and unspoken words. they're damaging each other more than healing. it's breaking, whatever it is that's left of his heart. his hands feel like ice and he yearns for comfort, like he still so readily gives to kai. but kai just left, effortlessly and with a departing look which would crush anyone.

there's a knock on his door, which startles lyle. his heart picks up for a second, as he wonders if kai did come back for him after all, that he changed his mind - but kai has a key, he'd let himself in. lyle tiptoes to the door and looks through the peephole to see nathan standing there. lyle feels like crying as he flings the door open to his long-time friend who, straight away, engulfs him in a hug.

"i'm so sorry lyle," nathan says gently, and lyle begins to sob.

nathan holds them both up as lyle goes numb, reduced to a shaking, relentlessly crying and pathetic lump of human. nathan rubs lyle's back and whispers words of comfort while lyle just pours out everything. nathan has all the right words and makes tea for them both. nathan is what a friend should be, what friendship should be like.

"he told me we should be just friends," lyle whispers quietly, bitterly, "but he's no friend to me. friends are meant to care."

"he might just be in pain-" nathan tries to gently reason.

"he's the one who ended it. he just walked around like nothing was fucking wrong, when he broke down i was there for him, i pushed aside my pain for him, because i thought that's what friends do. when i obviously need him, he looks at me like i'm nothing and leaves."

"he does still care for you lyle, more than you think. he just... doesn't know how to push his pain aside for you."

"you'd think he'd try. one minute we were in love, now there's nothing. he calls it friendship, well i call it bullshit. i love him so much, and he doesnt even act as if it's something worthy of hurting over. do you know how much that fucking hurts?"

"no, but i can imagine. i'm here for you lyle, i can stay for a while if you want... or you can stay at mine if- y'know, here's too painful."

"thanks, but i-i want to be alone right now," lyle whispers, even though he wants to leave, breathe somewhere that memories of kai don't haunt him every second, he also wants time alone here to let everything go.

"okay, i'll come tomorrow morning though, okay?" nathan says, standing up and giving lyle another hug, "he cares more than he lets on, trust me on that."

"thanks," lyle says quietly, walking to the door with nathan.

"take care of yourself."

and then it's just him again, alone in this little flat which houses and destroys his heart. lyle walks straight past all the rooms, trying to not look in kai's room as he shuts himself in his own one. lyle sits cross legged on his bed, trying not to think of all the lazy mornings they spent here, all the movies they watched, of the times they just laid there, talking of the future and times when they-

stop, he tells himself, don't.

lyle opens his laptop instead, delving deep into his photos and watches painful memory after painful memory flicker by in each captured moment. when he sees the way kai used to look at him, he feels himself start to cry as he compares it to the look he received this morning. how could his love disintegrate so quickly?

finally, at approximately two a.m., lyle shuts his laptop and lies back, staring at the ceiling. one song in particular is still echoing through his mind and tearing at his heart, words resonating within him.

I'll find a way to be without you.

***

hey hey hey I'm not dead what

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