Fan Fiction - Hanson, Krasobruslení - This Glassy Surface

When You're Gone (07/11)
~by Estriel~

When the voices fall like timber
And the fear, it pours like rain
And my heart is crushed to cinders
Underneath this kind of pain

Where do you go
When you’re gone
Oh how the road feels so long
Where do you go
When you’re gone

~Hanson: When You’re Gone~


Natalie is neither stupid nor naive. She knows Taylor has cheated on her in the past, several times. Not that he was that obvious, or that he didn’t care enough to camouflage his occasional escapades. No. He was just... Taylor. A little scatterbrained every once in a while, a little too emotional and preoccupied to notice the details. Natalie noticed them, though, and she didn’t even have to scoop.

It was little things that gave him away. A faint trace of lipstick on his neck – lipstick was really hard to wash off, Natalie knew, and Taylor never managed completely, not the last bits, which she assumed Taylor could barely see; he was a little weak-sighted without his glasses. A ghost of perfume when he returned home and didn’t make it to the bathroom before she came to kiss him hello. A scratch on his back, one Natalie was sure didn’t come from her

She refused to believe it the first time she noticed, because Taylor wasn’t the type to cheat, not really. In the end, she came up with a plausible explanation, a tale she told herself to put her mind at ease and push the pain away, a defense of Taylor’s innocence and sense of responsibility.
Natalie nearly persuaded herself that she’d been panicking about nothing, because for months afterwards there came no further signs of any breech of trust.

The second time, she cried, because she had just begun to believe that nothing had happened that one time when she found that hair on Taylor’s shirt – long and red – and, later, a slip of paper with a phone number in the back pocket of his jeans that she pulled out when she wanted to put the pants into laundry. Natalie was quite sure Taylor hadn’t known about the little note, otherwise he would never have kept it.

But Taylor always came back home and things never changed, so Natalie learned to accept the one-time-lovers – it hurt to realize they were there, but they didn’t matter. They came and went, only once a year or so, while she stayed. It was a sacrifice she decided to make. She tolerated them, whoever they were, these girls who left nothing behind but a hair, a tinge of a scent.

It was, she mused, understandable. They’d gotten married so young and so quickly... Taylor had never had his “wild time”. It was bound to happen a few times, Natalie appeased herself, a few flings and then he’d settle down.

Therefore, when Taylor has cheated on her in the past, she always gritted her teeth and never said a word – for the sake of their marriage and their children. She’s worked too hard to get Taylor and keep him to break it over someone who wasn’t more than a few sweaty minutes of physical pleasure. She wouldn’t bother for one of them.

But this is different, Natalie knows, deep inside, and it scares her. Taylor’s never done this before, has never acted this way. Now there are calls, regular, daily calls, of which she never catches more than a few perfectly harmless words – Taylor’s made sure of that, talking when she has to take care of the kids, taking the phone with him to the bathroom, speaking in hushed tones.

She goes through his phone and it makes her feel guilty as hell, but at the same time, it seems as if it was justified, as if she was entitled to do this – this is her marriage!

Her fingers dance over the buttons, trembling, as she scans the lists of numbers Taylor dialed recently and those of incoming calls, but there’s nothing. Their tour manager, Zac, Matt, Shandi, his mom, Johnny... Numbers of people the band works with, friends, family, the pizza place they order from when they’re in New York, a few people whose names don’t ring a bell but who don’t look suspicious – some of his more recent musician friends she hasn’t met yet, probably. Nothing.

She drops the phone back into Taylor’s bag, frustrated. Her heart is heavy inside her chest, like a piece of lead pressing against her ribcage.

She sits down and listens to the sounds from the outside, the faint tones of music that trickle out of the club – the concert will be over soon, but not quite yet – the traffic whizzing by on the nearby street.

She leans her head against her knees, thinking... She’s already looked everywhere and hasn’t found any of the usual signs – no lipstick, no hairs, no scratches from sharp nails on Taylor’s skin, not even a whiff of some other woman’s fragrance.

But she’s not wrong, Natalie is sure of that. Taylor has been acting different, and – to her horror – it doesn’t seem to be just the traditional day-after guilt. Something – someone – has been on Taylor’s mind these past few weeks, she can tell from the way he’s been staring into the distance on the tour-bus, from the frowns and smiles that she’s seen spill across his face when he was lost in thought. And, when they were back in the city just recently, he disappeared three evenings in ten days, took the car and simply left, twice even changing the plans he’d made earlier.

Natalie wonders whether they fuck in the car, Taylor and whoever she is, because normally he’d simply take a taxi or go by the subway. She’s looked in the car already, though, and found no evidence there, either.

Taylor came back late on those nights he drove away and she could tell that he’d had sex, good sex – she’s been married to him long enough to know what he looks like afterwards.

It drives Natalie crazy, makes her shiver with rage and humiliation and fear, because there’s nothing she can do, not yet, when she doesn’t even know anything. She doesn’t dare confront Taylor about it, not without proof, because she’s sure he’d just shrug it off and give her that smile, the one she still – even after all these years! – can’t resist. She sometimes wishes she could adore him less, his smile and his voice and his innocent blue eyes, because that would make situations like this so much easier. She could, Natalie muses, maybe even deal with this, somehow.

But the way things are, she feels as helpless as a lost puppy. She curls up on the bed, wishing the kids were still awake so she could cuddle them for comfort, her three beautiful rays of happiness. She suddenly feels cold and pulls a blanket around herself, crying into the soft fleece.


Paris is neither blind nor stupid. He’s noticed, of course, that Johnny gets calls every night now, calls which coax secretive little smiles onto his face, ones that Paris has seen in the past, when he and Vitali had just gotten together.

Therefore, Paris isn’t even that surprised when he comes back home one evening to find the door to Johnny’s bedroom hanging open a little and, peeking inside, sees exactly what he feared he would, but strongly hoped he would not see.

There he is again, Taylor. The man really is gorgeous, even more so without clothes, Paris has to give him that – seen from this point, he can’t really blame Johnny for wanting him, he’d be stupid not to. He watches for a moment, watches Taylor’s steady but gentle thrusts while Johnny clings to him tightly, thighs wrapped around his waist, fingers in the long blond hair. If he didn’t know better, Paris might even think they’re making love – it looks that caring, that intimate.

Then, when Johnny’s moan makes him realize just what he’s doing, what he’s witnessing, he shakes his head and leaves again, a faint blush on his face – he’ll grab a coffee somewhere, come back later, after Taylor has left their place.

He feels a little hurt. He knows Johnny and it’s easy to guess why he didn’t mention that he and Taylor were not over after all. Johnny’s always been an escapist, a little bit unreasonable, especially when it comes to relationships. He probably just wants to ignore the harsh reality for a while again, Paris assumes, just like he did during the Olympics and the few weeks after, when he desperately clung to the hope that he and Vitali might still work out in the end.

But, despite knowing all this, Paris can’t help but feel slightly betrayed. Doesn’t Johnny trust him anymore? Paris would try to persuade him to stop, of course, but they’ve been in similar situations in the past, where Johnny didn’t really want to hear advice but still shared with him. Besides, it’s not like Johnny would ever listen to him (or any kind of reason), anyway, not if he’s falling for this guy, which Paris thinks is the case. He sort of hopes he’s wrong.

He bites his lip, running down the stairs, pondering.

He could, of course, ask Johnny about it, about him, but he suspects it would only cause trouble. Johnny is a proud creature and can be pretty stubborn, Paris knows that. If he made the first step, no matter how good his intentions, Johnny would feel like he’s patronizing, like he’s stepping into his private space uninvited... Paris does that every once in a while, of course, stick his nose into things that are none of his business. Usually Johnny doesn’t mind, because that’s how Paris is and Johnny even appreciates the poking and prodding, in the end... But this is different, Paris fears, this is serious, at least for Johnny.

It makes his mind cloud with worry; Paris still remembers how many months it took Johnny to put himself back together the last time. And thinking about Johnny loving someone triggers something more inside him, that feeling again, the one he never dares to name, because it wouldn’t be smart to be thinking about that, not when he’s Johnny’s best friend.

Paris heaves a sigh, unlocks his car and heads to the nearest Starbucks. Why does Johnny always have to fall for the wrong person? Why, he wonders, when there are people who’d be interested... and infinitely less complicated?


Thanks Reet and Cel for beta-read.

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