Fan Fiction - Hanson, Krasobruslení - This Glassy Surface



What I'm Missing (11/11)
~by Estriel~


Are you ready to quit?
Are you ready to learn?
Are you ready to find the spark inside
and let it burn?

~Hanson: Breaktown~


~*~


It’s the paradox of huge cities in general, or maybe New York in particular – the more people you cram into one place, the busier the streets and cafes and clubs and shops, the more likely you are to run into someone you know. It’s downright uncanny.

Taylor has been hoping to run into Johnny for quite a while now; it’s been three weeks since Johnny sent him that e-mail and Taylor hasn’t been able to reach him, no matter how hard he’s been trying.

He has called his cell phone countless times, as well as his home-number, but he’s never gotten an answer, or if he has, it was at the most a curt he’s not at home from Johnny’s house-mate. He’s sent e-mails but never got a reply; he wonders if Johnny ever opened them or if they got caught in the spam filter.
He’s gone to the Ice Vault, but was unceremoniously chucked out by Johnny’s scary Russian coach and after that, his pride didn’t allow him to try again. He would have waited on Johnny in front of his house, but he’s always stopped himself before he could actually proceed with that plan, thinking of the stalkers who hung around his family’s old home in Tulsa and how much he’d always hated that.

Eventually, Taylor gives up, conceding that Johnny really meant it when he asked Taylor not to contact him anymore.

However, that doesn’t stop him from turning his head whenever he sees a familiar-looking figure in the streets; his silly heart still does a summersault whenever he notices a boy in something that Johnny might wear hailing a cab. He always feels disappointed afterwards, when he sees the face of the stranger he thought for a second might be the one he craves.

This time, however, he’s sure he’s not wrong – it might not be quite what he’s been hoping for, but still it’s better than nothing. He hastens to the red-head standing by the window of the Louis Vuitton boutique, intent on not letting him slip away. Johnny’s best friend. What’s his name again? Paris, he remembers, and lightly taps him on the shoulder.

“Paris?” There’s a hitch in his voice, excited, hopeful and entirely pathetic. Taylor doesn’t even care.

Paris turns around and the surprise on his face quickly turns into a hostile frown when he recognizes Taylor. “It’s Justin for you,” he says, blue eyes hard, mouth pursed into a thin line.

“Oh,” Taylor says and nods. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. Johnny always – ” he realizes that he’s babbling and stops himself. There are more important matters to discuss than nicknames.
“How’s Johnny doing?”

Paris musters him with a suspicious gaze, then grudgingly answers: “He’s fine. Training his ass off.”

Taylor nods. “Listen, I need to see him.”

“I don’t think so.”

“I need to talk to him, P- Justin. He won’t answer my calls and my e-mails, but I need to –”

Paris interrupts him mid-sentence, drawing himself to full-height and glaring Taylor down with blazing eyes. It’s not very impressive, because he still barely reaches up to Taylor’s shoulders. “Have you ever stopped to think that what you need might not be what Johnny needs or wants?”

“No, I – ”

“I didn’t think so,” Paris interrupts again. “If you had, if you actually cared about him, you’d respect his wishes and leave him alone.”

Taylor wants to defend himself; Paris is certainly starting to piss him off; he doesn’t get how Johnny can stand such a rude, bitchy –

But then Paris goes on, cutting him off.
“Nationals are coming up and some... distraction,” he sniffs the word, smirking in distaste, “is the last thing Johnny needs now. He already fucked up one competition because of you, isn’t that enough? Don’t you dare mess with him now.”

“He fucked up a competition? Because of me?” Taylor gasps, taken aback. He half suspects that Paris is bluffing, because didn’t Johnny win his two competitions? And he never mentioned anything else.

“The Grand Prix Final?” Paris bugs his eyes at him as if it was obvious. “He wouldn’t admit it, of course, but it wasn’t that hard to notice, believe me. He was a pain to be around, all gloomy for days. Lost weight, lost focus, lost the competition. And it was your fault.”

“When was this?” Taylor asks, no longer so sure that Paris is making it up.

“Mid-December,” Paris replies after a short pause and Taylor tries to remember... Ah. The three or so weeks he spent feeling guilty and mulling over his relationships with Natalie and with Johnny.
Paris smirks when he sees the realization on Taylor’s face. “He’s fine now. He’s ready to go to Nationals and win his title. And,” Paris takes a breath to continue his rant, “he’s got a few more years ahead of him and he needs to focus and work hard if he wants to win the Olympics. That’s 2010,” he finishes and gives Taylor a firm look.

When he speaks again, the edge in his voice is softer, not as accusing anymore. It’s almost like he’s trying to make Taylor understand when he says, “Look, don’t ruin this for him. Skating is Johnny’s life.” The little smile that tugs at Paris’ lips seems gentle, adoring; Taylor is sure it’s not meant for him. Then Paris looks up and his face hardens once again. “So you just stay away,” he warns.

“But I love him,” Taylor blurts and blushes; he wasn’t planning to confess to Johnny’s fucking best friend who’s clearly a bit smitten with Johnny himself. “I’m going to get divorced and then – ”

“Oh yeah?” Paris mocks. “Have you done anything in that particular direction yet?”

Taylor bites his lip, runs a hand through his hair, but stays silent. The truth is he hasn’t. He was going to do as he’d promised, but then Johnny stopped talking to him and... As much as he hates to admit it, he simply chickened out for a moment. It’s not a conversation he’s looking forward to having with Natalie. And with Johnny gone, his courage and resolve dwindled. As long as Johnny was there to back him up, a light at the end of the tunnel, he could see so clearly where he was headed. Without that, he feels like he’s wandering around blindly. He knows for sure that he needs to get out of his marriage; it would be so much easier with Johnny by his side.

“See?” Paris narrows his eyes. “Johnny deserves better than that, Taylor.”

“Like what?” Taylor asks feebly.

“Like someone who’s going to love him and give him everything instead of making him their dirty little secret.”

“Someone like you?” Taylor almost laughs; the words taste bitter on his tongue. He suddenly feels weary, beaten. He knows that Paris is right, of course – he never really treated Johnny fairly, didn’t give him back in full what he received.

“That’s beside the point,” Paris mutters, but Taylor notices the blush on his face. Well, of course. He’s not even surprised; Johnny is so easy to fall for. “Leave him alone,” Paris adds and tosses one last look over his shoulder before walking away.

Taylor watches his back until he disappears behind a corner, feeling jealous, because Paris at least gets to see Johnny, gets to bask in the glow of his presence. At the same time, though, he knows that it’s his own fault, his own making. He should have been bolder, more honest with himself, right from the very beginning, so that Johnny wouldn’t have to feel responsible for the mess.

He pulls the hood of his jacket over his head to shield himself from the drizzle that’s starting to fall and heads to the nearby Starbucks to calm his nerves with a shot of good old caffeine. Maybe, he muses, he’ll run into Johnny in the streets of the city one day. And maybe, by then, he’ll be stronger, freer and able to offer Johnny something – everything – in return.

~fin~


Thanks Reet and Cel for beta-read.


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