It wasn’t often that William and Henry got to see each other outside of work. They were both busy raising their children on top of running the business. But William’s kids lived with their mother on weekends, and Charlie was having a sleepover at her friend Marla’s house. So the two took it as an opportunity to just be with each other for a day at the Afton home.
Today, however, Henry was lost in thought. This week at work was pretty hectic, leaving him somewhat exhausted. He felt guilty every time he wasn’t doing something productive or with his daughter, so he wasn’t one to relax often. It was only after William insisted he stay the night that Henry agreed to it.
”William?” Henry asked, breaking a silence that had been there for around ten minutes.
The other looked up from his book. “Yes, dear?”
He sighed. “This is gonna sound bad, I know, but... do you ever get the feeling we’re doing something wrong by being together?”
”Why? Do you feel that way?” William asked.
”To be honest, I do. I think maybe it’s because of my Catholic upbringing, but it feels like something else as well. I don’t know how to explain it.”
He put down his book. “You’re worried about Charlie and her mother, aren’t you? Henry, they care about you and would want you to be happy.”
”It’s always just been me and Charlie. What if we tell our kids about us and they don’t take it well? I don’t know how we could suddenly fit more people into our family.” Henry said, slumping into his seat.
“You know how much Charlie and Lizzie adore each other, though. They’re inseparable! I know Lizzie would be happy to have you both as part of the family. The boys are a bit harder to read, but I know she’d have no problem with it.”
The other sighed. “I know, I know. I just don’t imagine Michael taking it that well. He seems to be in pretty rough shape ever since you and Clara divorced. If I were him, I don’t think I would like such a sudden change. And Evan’s pretty young, I feel like he would just have too many questions.”
William nodded. “Yeah, I get that. Michael and Evan aren’t as open as their sister. Every time I ask Michael how his day at school was, he says it’s none of my business. And I think Evan’s just scared for some reason. Poor boy, so afraid of the world.”
”If I understand correctly, they’re both closer to their mom. I wouldn’t want them to think I was replacing her. I could never replace someone like her,” Henry said. “And then there’s Charlie. I think that because she’s so used to it being just us two, she likes it that way. She was too young to have any lasting memories of her mother before she passed. I also wouldn’t want her to worry that I’m too busy with you to spend time with her.”
”Charlie’s strong. I feel like she adapts to change very quickly.”
He shrugged. “She is, I’m just worried that this change would be much too big. I want what’s best for her. It does comfort me to know she likes you, though. She loves your whole family. Oh, if I had a dollar for every time she imagined what it’d be like to have Elizabeth as a sister.”
”Then this would work out in her favor, right?” William asked.
”It’s not just Charlie, though. What if word gets out about us and ruins our business? The both of us have poured our hearts and souls into it. Besides, I don’t want another aspect of my life ruined by my sexuality.”
The Brit raised an eyebrow. “Another?”
Henry sighed. “You know I don’t have a close relationship with my parents. They were always very strict, I went behind their backs a lot in high school. Eventually I started seeing a boy, and they found out about it. I told them I like boys and girls, and they told me I wasn’t living in their house anymore.”
”Oh. I had no idea, I’m sorry.” William put a hand on his shoulder to show sympathy.
”I’m just lucky Jen already had her own house by then. I lived with her until I was ready to be on my own. But yeah, we don’t talk to them anymore. I haven’t even dared to think of letting them meet Charlie. I don’t want them ruining her life and telling her what a disappointment her father is to them.”
He wrapped an arm around the other man. “My parents were pretty shitty, too. They never did anything like your parents did, I was just their least favorite kid for whatever reason. I think the kids are the only reason I still hear from them.”
Henry chuckled sadly. “Welcome to the terrible parents club, I guess.”
”The day Michael was born, I swore to myself that I would never be like them. I always wanted my kids to feel like they were good enough for me, the way I never was for my parents.” William said.
”I feel the exact same way with Charlie. I hope she doesn’t realize any time soon what a bad place the world can really be.”
William grabbed the other’s hands. “The point I was trying to make, Henry, is that everything will be fine. The kids are going to be just fine, and we don’t have to worry about our parents would think, because they’re pieces of shit. And if somehow it turns out something’s not fine, I’ve got you. You can trust me.”
Henry smiled, looking into William’s beautiful blue eyes. “Yeah, I guess I always have you. You’re my rock, William.”
The Brit kissed his partner gently. “And you are mine as well.”
Henry hadn’t slept in days. He spent so long trying to find out who murdered his daughter, and they were right under his nose this whole time.
William Afton. That bastard. How many times had he looked Henry in the eyes and told him everything was alright? How much of his ‘love’ was fake? Was it all part of a plan to mercilessly take Charlie’s life?
His eyes were puffed up and entire face red, tears spilling out uncontrollably. Henry was surprised he even had any tears left. His belongings were scattered around him and many things were lying broken on the floor.
Henry hated William. He hated the way the other had charmed him, made him think he was worth loving. William’s every feature now made Henry’s blood boil, even though he had loved those same features before. Henry wanted to squeeze the life out of him and watch him suffer the way he made Charlie suffer during her last moments. Henry would make his former partner pay if it was the last thing he ever did.
Now I know why I felt so wrong dating him...