They stood there staring at each other wondering who would be the first to speak.
Dante took the chance to look around pleasantly surprised that his pictures still hung where they always had. The only difference now was that it was clear Melanie lived here too. Little things that showed she was here to stay. Her staple in Atticus’s life.
His once beautiful all black silk couch was now riddled with violet and lavender colored pillows and a white throw thrown over the back.
His white walls now hung paintings that she’d painted and photos of them and their vacations. He’d almost forgotten about how much fun they used to have together before it all went to shit. He couldn’t believe he’d forgotten how talented she was. It was one of his favorite things to do with her. He loved to watch her get lost in the moment as she created her next masterpiece.
His once forgotten windows that sat there bare, leaving him no privacy at all now held black blinds that could be covered by the red and purple silk curtains hanging there.
His black recliners now sat a single blood red pillow on each one.
To complete the look she’d place a stained mahogany coffee table with custom made tiles brimming the outer edges. Each one was a different picture of us.
“What are you doing here Dante?” Atticus asked. He, himself, stood there skeptically watching Dante wondering what was going through his mind. Their bachelor pad had changed and it was something he was aware of, it was easier to make it a home for him and Mel than to continue sitting in it night after night festering or what was. “You didn’t seem too happy when you left.”
“That’s because I wasn’t.” he spat, finding it hard to control his emotions at that point. He was feeling conflicted, but not nearly enough to call off his plans. He just needed to put them back on a smoother path instead of the bumpy road they were currently driving. “I was pissed when you called me out and I got defensive. After thinking about it I realized that I really was the one in the wrong. Sweet-Tart I swear my asking you to plan the wedding had no malicious intent behind it. I promise you that much. I simply thought that surprising you, letting you meet her and letting you two form your own opinions of each other was the way to go. I came back because the two of you are my best-friends and I wouldn’t dare take such a monumental next step like this without you by my side. I understand that I was the one that walked away, and that it wasn’t on the best of terms, but I promise you I just want to make amends. I want the possibility of fixing what I was the one to break. You two have no idea how much I love you. It killed me being away, but I needed that time. I had to learn and I had to deal. So, can you forgive me? Can you give me another chance? At this point I’m begging you to let me back in. I’ve missed you both, but I understand if you want nothing to do with me. Just say the word and I’m gone. I promise you that.” he watched them closely as they kept glancing between each other and him. For the first time in a long time he actually couldn’t predict what they would do next. He didn’t know how much had changed. He didn’t know if he could still manipulate them into getting/doing what he wanted. There was only one other time where he didn’t know, and after that he left, changing them forever.
Dante stood there wondering as memories of the nights spent with Atticus on that very couch resurfaced his mind. The nights pressed against the windows as Atticus made love to him from behind hoping that just once Mel would walk up and see. He could remember laying in front of the fireplace, both of them trying to tear each other’s throat in two. They’d spent so much time just kissing that when they were ready to be raunchy it was almost impossible to stop them. Just remembering hurt and before he knew it a tear was sliding down his cheek.
“I swear to god if this is just another game D.” spoke Atticus for the first time in what felt like forever. Dante hurriedly wiped away the few tears that had managed to escape his eyes.
“I swear it’s no game. I missed both of you.” he whimpered out.
“Why did you leave?” asked Melanie, making both of them look at her. She was still sitting there, stoic, a picture of perfection. “What happened that was so bad that you had to leave?” she whispered, her voice cracking slightly. It was clear her emotions were starting to get the best of her, but this time it was a question he was willing to answer.
“I realized I had some kind of feelings for you, and although I knew it would never happen, I still felt guilty for having them. So I came over here pushing at Atticus buttons trying to incite a fight and succeeded. It killed me to hurt him like that, but I needed him to hate me enough for me to be able to leave. I knew you wouldn’t choose between us, but I told him I would make you. Of course he kicked my ass and told me to stay away from you. I wasn’t a good friend and I needed to go away.” again he had tears in his eyes and when Atticus took a step towards him he stepped away. This moment was starting to get real and he didn’t like it.
That last moment with Atticus had been everything to him. They’d been sitting on the couch with his head in his lap watching a movie. It was one of their ‘guy’s nights’, the perfect excuse to get rid of Mel for the day. It had been perfect up until that moment where he opened his big mouth. He should have known that Atticus would never go for a threesome. He’d be too tempted to take him right then and there, but he believed that if she knew she would freak out and leave him. Dante had become expendable, but losing Melanie was never a possibility.
They stood there staring at each other, Atticus wondering just how much Dante would reveal, Dante just wanting to kiss him one last time before they would hate him forever. Neither one paid attention to the only female in the room as she stood and walked over to him. Grabbing his hand, the simple action forced him to look at her.
“I have feelings for you too Dante, I didn’t realize it until you were sitting in my office with her.” and then she kissed him. Atticus stood there, mouth opened as Dante smiled on the inside. He had no idea this would end up like this, but now he had the opportunity to go for the one thing he always wanted. He beckoned Atticus over, but he wouldn’t move still too shocked from what he was seeing. Pulling away he looked her in the eyes and tried to look as shy as possible.
“Don’t hate me Mel, but I also left because I had feelings for Atticus and I never thought it would happen.” he chuckled softly trying to play it off. He watched as she walked over to Atticus pulling him towards him before giving him the okay. Slowly he leaned towards him, testing if it was okay.
“Just kiss him this once for me Azaire, if you don’t like it-” before she could finish their lips were on each other’s for the first time in years and it still felt like the first time.
Hands were everywhere, rubbing and feeling whatever they could. Neither one could believe what was happening, but no one was willing to stop it. This was all that he wanted and now that it was happening he was even more pissed.
Pissed at Atticus for not listening in the first place.
Pissed at Melanie for prolonging this longer than it should have been.
Pissed at himself for everything.
“Wait, wait.” he breathed, separating from them the guilt starting to fill him. “I can’t do this.”
“I thought this was what you wanted.” asked Atticus, making Melanie look at him confused and wondering if there was something she was missing.
“I just I-I can’t...I just can’t do this.” he whispered before running out of the house and to his car. He wasted no time starting it up and speeding off. He had been driving for at least fifteen minutes way above the thirty-five miles per hour speeding limit before he finally pulled over and broke into tears.
His sobs filled the car as they quickly turned into anger. He was so close to getting what he always wanted. So close to proving everything and so easily at that, but maybe that was the problem. That moment had been entirely too easy for any amount of satisfaction to come from it. His phone was vibrating and although every inch of him was telling him to ignore it, he couldn’t. He knew it was Atticus calling and after a quick look at the caller id he was proven right.
“Hello?” he breathed slightly, shaking after everything.
“Open the door.” was all he said before the dial tone filled Dante’s ear. He panicked wondering what this meant. Atticus had followed after him? He was here. Or was this just a prank? Had all his plans somehow back fired? Just as he was beginning to overthink it, a knock came at his passenger’s window. All he could see was Atticus looking back at him. There was no Melanie and for that he was grateful. For the first time in forever, he felt like a horrible friend. Still, he unlocked the door and waited as Atticus made himself comfortable. He had two yellow roses in his hand and Dante found himself laughing. They were so young when they thought of that as an apology and it made him feel good to see them still using it. “I brought two because one is from Mel.”
“It’s still weird for guys to give each other roses. It’s a stupid rule we need to change.” he giggled bring the flowers to his nose and inhaling deeply. He still loved the smell of a fresh yellow rose and he didn’t know why.
“After everything we’ve done and been through, I guarantee you, giving you roses is the least weird thing about this all.” he teased and he was right. Nothing about them seemed normal, but it was something they’d always enjoyed about themselves. “Why didn’t you rat me out?” he blurted. Dante stared at him confused, but Atticus had a point. It was the perfect time to do it. It would have ruined a lot for him, but in the moment the thought never crossed his mind. He was thrown off his guard and got spooked because of it. Being thrown off wasn’t something he was used to.
“It honestly didn’t cross my mind. All I knew was that I didn’t want to hurt her.” he confessed.
“And me? Do you want to hurt me?” asked Atticus, bringing tears to Dante’s eyes as he nodded his head yes. “Why?” he whispered.
“It’s a hell of a lot easier to think I hate you rather than knowing that I’m unequivocally in love with you still.” he cried. “I can’t love you. Loving you will only hurt her.” he cried confused as to why he was now feeling this. It was easier when he believed he stood no chance in winning them back, but now it was possible. It was right there waiting for him to take and all he wanted to do was run again.
“I still love you too.” spoke Atticus before grabbing him by the back of his neck and pulling him to him until their lips met in a fiery passion. Dante knew he should pull away and tell him that this couldn’t happen, instead he kissed him harder. He never wanted to let him go again and that was the problem.
He no longer wanted to hurt them, but he didn’t want to be a secret anymore either.