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I’ve really felt guilty for all those years that we missed out on being together..’ Andy said, with a sadness in his voice as he shifted his gaze, purposely avoiding Luke’s piercing blue eyes. ‘…I… I just didn’t know what I… I mean, you and I… we just… we weren’t…’

What, Andy? We weren’t… what?’

We weren’t…. *sigh* we weren’t ready. We were too young.’

Luke tilted his head to the side, his eyes widening with frustration, ‘too young? What a load of crap. I was ready. I told you what I wanted. I knew what I wanted. I WAS READY. It wasn’t an ‘us’ problem. It was a ‘you’ problem. YOU weren’t ready. Not me. Not us. YOU! YOU were the one who was scared. You were the one who couldn’t commit. YOU were the one who wasn’t ready!’ He could feel his face and neck getting flushed, and wipe away the tears from his cheeks. He knew it was wrong to be reacting like this, but he couldn’t help it. After all this time, all those feelings had been violently yanked up from the darkness to the surface and it was all Luke could see.

Luke… I’m sorry. I don’t know how else to say it. You’re right. You and I both know that you’re right. I was scared. I was ready…’

‘…bullshit.’

I WAS ready… I was just too scared to act on it. Steven and I…’

This is NOT about you and Steven’, Luke said with disdain in his voice.

I know it’s not, but at the time, Steven and I were in a bad place. Our relationship had run its course. We just hadn’t formally broken up. You know how hard it was for me! I felt trapped. He had me cornered. I had to give him what he wanted…

Yeah, because you were still hiding away in the closet, too fucking scared to actually embrace who you are and accept your sexuality, and face how everybody else was going to take it. And what did I keep saying to you…? That I was prepared to stand with you, behind you, beside you. I would hold your hand, and tell you that everything was going to be okay, because it was going to be you and I against the world. You and I. Just us. Whatever you and I went through, we would have done so TO-GE-THER! Do you not understand that? I was so ready. You could have asked me to leave with you and go start a new life in another city, hell, another country, and I would have gone with you… but you couldn’t step up to the plate. When push came to shove, you pussied out. I was ready. I’d been waiting, and I wasn’t going to wait any longer.’

Luke walked over to Andy who had slumped down on the ottoman, with his head in his hands. He ran his hands through Andy’s thick, greasy hair, and stepped in close enough to guide the crown of Andy’s head onto likes stomach. Luke wrapped his forearms over the sides of Andy’s neck and stroked his back.

I just wish you were ready. Everything would have been completely different. You just needed to say the words, and that would have been enough for me… but you couldn’t even say the words, Andy. You couldn’t even say what I needed to hear… and I told you I wouldn’t wait for you any longer. Why couldn’t you just say the words then?

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