Chapter 8: Bittersweet

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Kostya stood up, his eyes wide. He tried to utter his way out of the discovery but all he could do was stand in complete silence.
"You did. You wrote it. Oh my God, oh my God." Nikita panted.
"Niki please, I-I can explain-"
"Wait that means you like me! Oh my God, you like me, Kostya?!" Kostya simply shuddered, unable to answer. They remained silent, not even the TV audible as their heartbeats echoed all throughout their bodies- Kostya soon awkwardly breaking that silence:
"I have to go!" He ran out of the room, hurrying down the stairs and rushing out of the door as the sounds of Nikita calling him became muffled and near silenced.
"Kostya, wait! Don't go!"

He hurtled down the street, pulling his hood over his head and trying to ignore the yells from behind.
"Come back! Please..." It was no use, Niki could no longer see him- he was gone. Meanwhile, Kostya slowed himself to a walk, fighting back tears as he drowned out his mind- jeering at his huge mistake.
What have I done? I've just told him everything, everything I've ever needed to hide from him all in one go. All with one stupid mistake. He'll never look at me the same way, he'll never smile at me. Goddamn it, that gorgeous smile! It's all over now, there's no going back.

When his house was finally in view, all he could do was speed up, he just wanted to go home and stay there. He didn't care to look up and admire the day like he did before- the way the wisps of ivory cloud caressed the endless void of early morning aqua-marine took no interest to him; the beauty was gone. As he violently slammed the door shut, the tears let loose- more than he'd ever cried before, rivers of embarrassment and fear and shame. That fear of rejection had taken over, transforming into this new dread, he'd never imagined what comes after rejection. Was it even rejection in the first place? Or just stone-cold shock and disgust that Nikita must have felt during those moments of truth? It was like a nightmare he had to wake up from, but what if he couldn't?

He felt like the walls of the relationship he'd built up with his best friend were crashing down as he locked himself in the bathroom, he just fell into a heap against the bathroom door, sobbing hard as he clutched his knees in unimaginable misery and guilt that filled him to the core. He felt like he just had to face it, Niki knew everything. Niki never wanted to see him again, he just tried to run after him because he felt guilty, he's too nice, too considerate. Kostya didn't deserve him or his affection- his ever loving affection that Kostya had dreamed of in private. It helped him drift into sleep every night just imagining what they could be together despite the constant heckles in the back of his subconscious telling him it would never happen and now that was all he could hear.

The front door slammed, making Kostya jump. He sat up quickly, his head lifting from its original position of being perched on his bony knees- his mother wasn't home until 2pm on Sundays and his father was surely already on the plane  for his business trip. "Who could it be?" He wondered, staying as quiet as he could through rushing tears that slowed into a curious stance of watching and listening. Footsteps ascended the stairs quietly, just about loud enough for Kostya to notice them- dainty footsteps. Surely enough, he wanted to ask who was there, but something was telling him to listen away as the unknown person walked around Kostya's hallway. Then there was the knock. Followed by two more, they were clear but gentle like a soft tapping that eased Kostya despite the alarm bells ringing in his head telling him something was very wrong here; either way he listened in, no words spoken.

He recognised that voice anywhere, his heart beating so hard he felt like he could faint, or maybe even drop dead. "Kostyantyn, please. I want to talk to you." Nikita whispered, sliding down the door on the opposite side. Niki knew he was in there but chose to simply keep talking to the silent boy on the other side. "I think we got off on the wrong foot, you know? I didn't mean to come off as...rude or embarrassed or..." He waited but no response came, just quickened breathing from beyond their thin wall of separation. "Kostya, come on, I..." Kostya heard nothing for a few seconds before a quiet sob immersed from the other side. "I-I-I shouldn't have-have pointed it out, I should've stayed oblivious. I know I'm an idiot and I know you hate me right now but-" Nikita stopped upon hearing the cries of Kostya, he was so shocked to hear him crying so hard and do painfully, it only triggered more of his emotions.

"I know this is only making things worse but-"
"Just go, Nikita! There's no need to apologise!" Kostya choked soulfully as he held a fistful of his hair tightly, trying to stop himself from crying in front of someone who looked up to him do dearly- someone who thought of him to be do tough and confident and outgoing. "I get it, you feel bad about finding out. It sounds insane but that's just the way I've felt about you for as long as I can remember. Just leave, you don't have to feel bad about not feeling the same way. Rejection never even...bothered me..."
Then there was silence, a long silence before Niki got up slowly and spoke:
"If that's what you want." He began to walk down the hall before pausing and turning back around.

"Don't you want to say goodbye at least?" Nikita asked hopefully.
"I guess so."
"Face to face?" Kostya let out a sigh before unlocking the door and opening it standing in the doorway with his redened face barely visable under his hood. He wasnt quite ready for such a bittersweet farewell from the kid who just unveiled his daydreams but he'd do anything for the one he loved to be happy; ignoring how much it hurt to face him. Nikita slowly approached him before putting his arms around him snuggly, a move he wasn't quite expecting.
"Goodbye." He said softly.
Niki stood on the tips of his toes, just barely getting tall enough to reach Kostya's face. He lifted his head close to his and took a deep breath before whispering a final message into his ear.
"I love you."

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