Holy fucking shit, Ringo was fucked.
Majorly, seriously, totally fucked.
What had he done. He was so close. So goddamn close to so much money . He could be rolling in cash, sleeping on satin sheets, flashing his new rolex at that little bitch Lotta from the kiosk, new suits for every day of the week, the fancy hair gel he loved-- holy shit he could have everything .
He had to go and fall in love.
He’s such a fucking idiot.
Ringo jumped up. He couldn’t keep still anymore, couldn’t sit on the couch and let his thoughts keep their vice grip on his pounding head any longer; he had to move, he had to run. Yeah. He should run. His jog earlier had been cut short anyway, he had time to make up. He flitted around the dark flat, hopping from place to place, changing into his running clothes, finding and untying his earbuds (if he pulled a little harder than necessary, it meant nothing, and no one was around to see it) grabbing his reflectors, tying his shoes. Kept himself moving as if keeping his body in motion meant his thoughts would have to stay still for just a moment. If his feet hit the pavement at steady beat his heart would have to match it. Boy wasn’t that a stupid idea.
Ringo sprinted down the street, shoving the headphones into his ears without faltering for even a step, pressing the volume up as high as his phone would let it go and only stumbling a little bit when the music hit him full blast. He ran until his heart beat like a hummingbird’s wings- or- more like a woodpecker’s beak, hammering quick and relentless against his ribs, and his breath came out in exhausted puffs every second. But it’s not like all this could actually help, right? It’s not like he could get any goddamn relief from all this guilt, and the second guessing, and the constant, constant thoughts of Easy’s goddamn smile from these past couple days. No, the universe showing him some fucking sympathy was too much to ask, too much to possibly expect from the fucking week he’d had.
His stupid , juvenile little crush was ruining everything. He can’t even do his damn job anymore. He takes one step forward and runs into a wall of “but Easy”s and “what would Easy do”s and “do you really think Easy would approve of this”s and the worst of all: “what if Easy gets hurt”s. Why did he CARE? He was an arms width away from so much fucking money . This was everything he’d ever wanted, everything he’d ever worked for was so goddamn close, he could see it, he could taste it.
He had to go and fall in fucking love.
Ringo stumbled to an abrupt stop, tripping over his own feet and collapsing onto the asphalt, breathing harder than he had any right to be, and even he heard the roughness in his throat, the wet sound of a sob held in for far too long. He wiped angrily at his eyes, replacing (unshed) tears with sweat that stung but not as much as the blade he was pressing to his own goddamn back.
He had to go and fall in love.
Ringo dropped backward, his damp back landing on the gravel littering the roadside, his eyes staring unblinkingly upward, tracing the faint stars peeking out from behind the silver clouds. They looked like the light when it shines out of Easy’s eyes whenever he’s partying with his friends, or when he’s playing with Stinker, or when he’s chatting with customers at the kiosk. The goddamn kiosk. The kiosk he’d worn himself to the bone trying to convince Easy to sell, and what did he get? What did he get as compensation for all his troubles? A bunch of bratty kids, entitled neighbors, and a coffee maker that shocked him every time he turned it on.
All this fucking trouble
For an absurd amount of money.
Ringo closed his eyes. Why couldn't he just focus on the money?
He’d never had a problem like this before. He could always get the job done. No matter how unpleasant, not matter how insidious. No matter how illegal. He’d never failed to complete a job, for Mr. Huber or anybody. He always found a way, and he always got paid. But things had to go and be different this time.
This time he had to go and fall (head over heels) for one of his best (only) friends. He had to question every move he made and if it would hurt him, had to feel that stupid obnoxious horrible tug in his heart whenever he did it anyway. He couldn’t sleep anymore! He was up tossing and turning every night, tormented by an infinite reel of the new summer blockbuster: which of Easy’s “hurt” faces (which he knew way to well- and if that thought didn’t make the weight holed up in his stomach ten times heavier) he’d have to see when he finally realized they only became friends for Ringo to betray him. Would his eyebrows scrunch down on his face so far he couldn't see his (lovely) hazel eyes anymore? Or would they climb up his forehead so high Ringo could actually watch the hurt bloom in Easy’s mind. Would he try to say something? Or would he just worry his (wonderful, pink, soft, beautiful) lip, pacing the room, sitting on the couch, leaning his full weight on the kitchen table because he didn’t have the strength to stand anymore. Would he punch him? Lord knows he’d deserve it. Maybe he’d strangle him right there on his kitchen floor. Their friends would probably cheer him on. Not that Ringo cared about them, they could think whatever they wanted about him-- they already did anyway. Ringo only cared how Easy would see him.
And wasn’t that just the bitch of it all.
Ringo only cared about Easy. He only cared about how his hair fell over his eyes when he was stressed (wasn’t it funny how Ringo was usually the one making him stressed), how he smiled so shy and cute whenever Ringo complimented him, how he always looked to Ringo first when someone told a joke to see if he was laughing too, how their knees would knock together whenever they sat beside each other, talking, drinking a beer, laughing about nothing and trying not to stare too long at each other’s eyes. How neither of them would move when they got too close.
But none of that mattered, because Easy wasn’t the point of all this. The point was the obscene amount of money Ringo was just days, weeks maybe, away from getting. The money should be the only thing on his mind. He didn't care about anything else. He didn't care about anything.
And Easy had a boyfriend anyway. A perfect boyfriend. A rich, handsome, famous, loving, doting, perfect boyfriend. And Ringo was just….
He snorted to himself, pushing down harder against the rocks under his back.
Ringo was just an asshole using him for the money. How could he ever compete.
(because Easy doesn’t love him) a traitorous voice whispered temptingly in his ear. (he wants you )
(he wants you the same way you want him)
(he wants you grumpy in the morning throwing shit blindly across the room at him when he tries to wake you up) (he wants you sitting and drinking coffee together in his living room in your pajamas while you talk bout nothing, laying his head down on your shoulder) (he wants you teasing him about his hair when he does something new and experimental (it was KayC’s idea), and yeah he’ll punch you (hard) in the shoulder for the insult, but he’ll also laugh so loud and so bright and so happy at every new creative dig you come up with, and he’ll only put up the bare minimum of a fight when you run your fingers through it, messing everything up but somehow he still looks just as beautiful as he always does, always has)
(he wants you)
Ringo blinks out of his reverie, his momentary lapse in control over his own mind, jumping up and breaking into a sprint further down the road. He couldn’t let that happen again. He couldn’t feel like this right now. He couldn’t get distracted. He had a job to do. He had a plan.
No more thinking allowed tonight. He let himself get lulled by the harsh slap of the pavement against his sneakers, the pump of his arms, the beat of the music, the rhythmic huff of his breaths disappearing into smoke lost behind him in the cool night air.
Who says you can’t outrun your problems?
He got back to the flat at “who the fuck knows” o’clock AM, only to be met with the hustle and bustle of his flatmates getting ready for work, or uni, or whatever the fuck KayC did besides take selfies. He took one step in and was greeted by a flurry of “where have you been”s from various directions as everyone ran about their morning, grabbing coffee, looking for a hairbrush, still trying (and failing) to get out of bed. He ignored them all, shuffling through the chaos and up the stairs to blessed sanctuary. To rest. He caught his flatmates having full telepathic conversations about him behind his back, full of confused glances and pointed looks, but he didn’t care. He didn’t care about anything right now besides his bed, just a few short meters away (and falling) as he climbed the stairs. Someone tried to call after him, but he barely heard them, much less came up with a response.
Ringo shouldered open his bedroom door and fell face first onto his bed, not even managing to getting the blankets around him before he fell into the deepest sleep he’s had in far, far too long.
He was woken by the feeling of a light and soft hand on his shoulder, shaking him away from the deep sleep he’d been craving for weeks. He wanted to be mad. He wanted to start a fight with this mysterious hand and its horrible, disrespectful, terrible, rude owner. But he wanted to sleep more.
He rolled over in bed, groaning loudly and angrily, and buried his face deeper into his pillow. Maybe if he smothered himself he would pass out and brute force his brain back into unconsciousness. However. The hand on his shoulder had other plans. Fucking bitch.
He had no warning when the hand pulled him bolt upright, dragging his body from his mattress and forcing him into a sitting position. It was only then that Ringo started to register the sound of his name. it sounded like they’d been saying it for a while. It sounded like they were worried. It sounded like Easy.
Ringo opened his eyes, if only to confirm his worst fears.
The first thing he noticed: his room was too bright. Someone (Easy) must’ve opened his blinds when they (Easy) were trying to wake him up. Ringo made a mental note to glue them closed.
Sitting in front of him, eyebrows pinched together, concern written across his face, hand resting heavily on his shoulder, was Easy. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. If he weren’t so tired, Ringo was pretty sure he’d be mid panic attack by now.
“Ringo, hey, are you with me in the land of the living?” Easy smiled that beautiful smile at him, and Ringo couldn’t take this much good being thrown in his face at buttfuck o’clock in the morning. He snarled, brushing the hand harshly off his shoulder (no matter how nice it felt sitting there) and biting back,
“What the fuck do you want Easy?”
Easy’s hand pulled haltingly back into his lap, the concern in his eyes quickly morphing into hurt, but that didn’t stop him from soldiering forward just like he always did when things didn’t go his way. This fucking insufferable little puppy dog of a man. Why did he have to be so damn wonderful .
“Paco said Elli said you were out all night and didn’t come back until 8:00, and that you looked exhausted and that you ignored everyone when they tried to ask you what was wrong.”
“So they sent you to come pry it out of me” he laughed bitterly, pulling his feet in towards his body and wrapping his arms around his knees to keep them there. He was already too close to him. Their legs had only been separated by a piece of cloth when Easy sat down practically on top of him, and he couldn’t take it. He thought if he touched him, he’d lose everything. He’d go mad. “Just because I tolerate you more than the others doesn’t mean we’re actually friends.” Just go away.
Easy pulled back, his feet falling from the comfortable criss cross position they’d been in (way to close to Ringo for comfort) to the floor like he was getting ready to go (please go) (please just leave me alone) (you’re already haunting my mind every waking moment can’t you let me have anything to myself anymore?) when he seemed to steal his nerve. (God damn stupid, loyal, wonderful puppy, why do you have to be so stubborn)
“Something’s obviously wrong.” He said, his jaw set in the way Ringo knew meant he wasn’t ever gonna back down. “It would help you to talk about it.”
He must’ve seen the incredulous look that crossed his face when he pictured just how well that conversation would go, because he hurried to add “it doesn’t have to be with me! If there’s someone else you’d feel more comfortable with…” Ringo could hear the jealousy in his voice, though he tried to hide it. How did this man make it this far in life with his heart so plainly on his sleeve? Ringo shook his head at the thought.
“Hey!” Easy snapped, and that got Ringo’s attention. “Just because you seem to have made it this long in your life without suffering a damn mental break from all the shit you keep repressing doesn’t mean it’s good for you. I- we care about you Ringo, even though you’re an asshole. Even though you barely seem to put up with any of us. We love you, and you’re scaring us. Please, just tell m-“ he took a deep breath. “Tell us what’s wrong. So we can help.”
Ringo stared at him. Stared into his beautiful, bright, hazel eyes, and said nothing. He gave himself just this moment to soak everything in; the warmth bleeding through the blanket where his thigh was centimeters away from Ringo’s toe, the light flush high on his cheeks-- from his speech or from his slip ups, Ringo wasn’t sure-- the way his fingers danced nervously on the bed, his soft lip caught between his teeth.
“I’m just tired Easy. Not everything always has to be so damn dramatic in this house” he answered, and fell backwards into the bed, pulling a pillow over his face. “Now go away and let me sleep.”
He heard Easy sigh above him, and felt a grim sense of satisfaction bloom in his aching chest when the weight shifted on the mattress as Easy shuffled around. He’d already begun the process of turning his mind back off-- it wasn’t working too well, he might have to go for another fucking run, joy of joys-- when a sudden, warm weight fell onto his shoulder.
“What are you doing?” His whole body was stiff as a board and wired to the heavens, he couldn’t sleep now with all the NyQuil in the world. He felt Easy’s chin catch on his collarbone when he responded.
“Well you’re not gonna talk about it, but you still need someone around. Think of me as your teddy bear.” Ringo thought he was gonna be sick. He told him so.
“I think I’m gonna be sick.”
“For once in your life,” Easy sat up for a moment, and the cool fresh air gave Ringo just a second of relief from the oppressive heat clouding his mind. He sighed, revelling in it, when the moment of peace was ripped away with the pillow covering his face as Easy grabbed it, looking him in the eye. “let someone help you.”
Ringo scrunched up his face in response, feeling grumpy and petulant and very very much like one of the bratty children he had to put up with every day. But Easy laid back down against his shoulder, and he brought his arm up to wrap around his waist, and this was too much.
“I can’t do this.” He tried to sit up, but his friend pressed his weight against him, weighing him down and forcing him to relax back into the bed.
“When was the last time you had any actual, meaningful human contact?” He asked, and the question drew Ringo up short.
“Last week, does it matter?” He lied, but he went back in his head, flipping through his last couple months- couple years , trying to find something to prove Easy wrong, to prove he was fine , and that he should leave him alone for God’s sake. Did his friendship with Valentin count, before it went down in flames? They’d had a foursome, that had to count for something. They’d done that weird bro shoulder pat a lot (mainly because it was the only form of touch Ringo could get away with without making himself too obvious), and they’d kissed that one time (probably shouldn’t use that the crowning example of why he was doing “ok”).
Easy rolled his eyes anyway, hearing the lie and seeming to settle in for the long haul. Ringo took a deep breath, trying to ignore the heavy scent of Easy’s shampoo (everything about Easy was heavy. Everything about Easy was also distracting, and intoxicating, and another reason why he shouldn’t be doing this ) that came with it.
He didn’t know how long they stayed there, Ringo trying so very hard to pretend he was anywhere else, and Easy fucking… who knows, plotting more ways to make Ringo’s life harder. Except he didn’t think he was causing problems, he thought he was helping , and that’s just the bitch of it all. He always had to help, and Ringo always had to ruin everything he touched. It’s what they did. It’s why they would never, ever work and why Ringo really needed to stomp his feelings into the trash like he always did and move on .
Why couldn’t he just move on.
To his horror, a genuine tear seemed to leak from his eye down his cheek, and he hurried to wipe it off against the pillow before Easy saw. Easy could not see him cry, now or ever, because if he did Ringo would never get a moment’s peace again.
Unfortunately, his squirming seems to have jostled Easy from the nap he’d been taking (he comes in, ruining the best sleep Ringo’s had in awhile and has the gall to nap on top of him. Fucking adorable little bastard), and he looked up to see his face. Ringo didn’t know what he saw, it was only one tear after all, it’s not like he’d been bawling like a fucking toddler, but his face (somehow) softened even more, and he reached up, his hand falling so so lightly against his cheek.
For once today, he didn’t say anything. He just swiped his thumb carefully under his eye, across the purple bruises he tried to cover up with tinted moisturizer so his friends wouldn’t worry (didn’t that go well), before pulling him closer, pushing himself further into Ringo’s side, and why was that of all things the trigger?
Suddenly the floodgates were open, and Ringo buried his face in Easy’s thick hair as every tear he’d left unshed since this whole shit show of emotions had started finally wormed its way free. Ringo wrapped his arm tight around his back, the other working its way into his hair as he held him close, closer than he’d been to another person in far too long.
Somehow, Easy knew to keep his mouth shut, and just let him cry into his hair, let him bawl like a child over reasons he didn’t even fully comprehend- he just knew he hurt , so much and all over, and especially when Easy was around. He sobbed until he had nothing left to cry about, until he’d cried himself empty and he was just a shell, with no idea what to do with the empty space inside him where all his repressed emotions usually lived. He’d had so much of his body crammed full with feelings , to the point where the bones and tissues seemed to be forced aside to make room, making him stiff, making him tense and hard and unlovable. Now they were all gone. He felt loose. He felt empty. Like he didn’t know what to do with himself now that he’d cried out half his body mass.
Easy started rubbing his back gently, his fingers leaving a trail of fire as he drew random designs and rubbed them away, and Ringo drifted off into a dreamless sleep.