“I don’t…” David collapsed onto the deep oversized sofa. “I don’t understand. That’s not what I mean. I just thought —”
“We’d give it more time?” Peter cut in, slipping his hands into his pockets. “We’ve given it three months. Nothing’s really changed.”
“You haven’t changed is what you mean.” David levelled his gaze at Peter, instantly remembering how those gorgeous eyes, like perfect emeralds, had hooked him. Back then, he could stare for hours at Peter’s muscular bubble ass and his kissable lips. It was sick how into Peter he was, and how his look said, “Let me devour you.” Now he felt nothing, and maybe that was a sign. “I can’t believe —”
“I don’t want to do this, David,” Peter said with an edge. “We said we’d try. We tried. Now —”
“Now we pretend like the last seven years didn’t happen,” David interrupted. He hid his face briefly in his hands. “I’d understand it if there was someone else, but all you’ve said is that you’re ‘unhappy’ and I don’t know what that means. Did I do something? Did I not do something?”
“It means I’m not happy,” Peter said, almost shouting. He shrugged. “Look, I’ve … I’ve packed a few things.”
“You’re leaving now? Tonight?” David’s voice carried his disbelief.
“We shouldn’t put it off any longer.” Peter pulled his hands out of his pockets. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t!” David bounced off the sofa and stood in front of the fireplace. He could feel himself trembling. “Don’t say you’re sorry. Christ, don’t treat me like…” He censored himself and spun around, his eyes on fire. Nothing he said now would matter and he knew it. He’d already let too many questions go unanswered, too many things left unsaid. “If you’re leaving…”
“Right,” Peter drawled and slinked out of the living room.
David rubbed his eye, drew in a deep breath, then followed Peter into the foyer. When he saw the suitcases by the staircase, his body went rigid and he had to push down the acidic fluid edging up his throat. He’s really leaving. This isn’t just a bad dream.
Peter pulled on his jacket, then grabbed his keys off the occasional table and looked at David. “I’m crashing with my brother for now, until we figure out what to do next.”
David bristled. “Do next?”
“Do we sell the house —”
David’s eyes went wide, and he found himself involuntarily holding out his hand. “Your keys.”
“I’ll keep the house.”
“I still have a few things I’ll have to come back for,” Peter said weakly.
“Make an appointment,” David spat. “When you walk out that door, this isn’t your home anymore. You don’t get to come and go as you please.” He saw the panic in Peter’s eyes and smirked. He knew Peter wanted some type of backup plan if things didn’t work out, but it wouldn’t be him. This was all on Peter, and David wasn’t going to be his doormat any longer. “Your keys.”
Peter fumbled to remove the two square-topped keys off his key ring, but eventually succeeded and handed them over. “David, look —”
“Peter … just … go.” David, pressing the keys tightly into the palm of his hand, crossed to the door and opened it.
Their eyes were locked, each of them searching for some semblance of truth, of who they used to be. But in that moment, they realized the two men who’d fallen in love no longer existed. Peter picked up his suitcases and dropped his head as he walked out of the house.
David closed the door with a bang and locked the deadbolt. He tossed the keys onto the occasional table and then made his way into the kitchen. He opened a bottle of Wolf Blass Merlot and poured himself a generous glassful. He retreated back to the living room, taking up his earlier position on the sofa.
He listened, and the stony silence set his heart racing. He couldn’t say how, or when, they’d fallen out of love, but it happened. And maybe none of that mattered now. Maybe love just ended.
Maybe … what he called love never existed at all.