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[ 3 8 4 . d a y s ]
What time is it, Banky muttered across the pen cap he had wedged in his mouth.
Holden took his eyes off the pogo stick he was drawing and looked at his watch. Holy shit.
Banky laughed, looking at him. What?
It´s one o´clock, Holden said, smiling ruefully. I´ve missed drawing with you, Banky... the time goes by so fast when you´re here.
Yeah, well, what can I say, Banky answered, shoving the pen cap back in his mouth and contemplating his inkings. I´m a fuckin´ bundle of joy.
Holden laughed, shaking his head. Joy, not so much... but I have missed your bitching.
I don´t bitch, Banky countered, glaring at Holden. I wasn´t bitching, I was just talking...
Sure, Holden said, rolling his eyes. Just talking, with a fuck here, and a shit there, and a cocksmoker everywhere.
Banky´s mouth lifted in a smirk. What can I say, I got a penchant for the expletives.
If you want to doll it up and call it that, you go right ahead, Holden said, giggling again and going back to sketching the troublesome pogo stick.
Finally satisfied with the page he was working on Banky reached out for the next without looking up, already planning in his head to go from outer to inner this time. Come on already, he said, snapping his fingers and looking over at Holden. Give me the other one while your slow ass works on that one.
There is no other one, Holden said, looking up at him quickly before going back to the page. My slow ass is still doing this one.
Banky propped his feet on the ledge of his chair and leaned over the two person desk that Holden had never bothered to get rid of after their rift. You´ve got to be kidding me, he said upon seeing the decidedly lacking page. You´re stuck on a fuckin´ pogo stick? That´s literally like... ten fuckin´ lines, he said, laughing. What are you doing, making it the Mona Lisa of comic book pogo sticks?
I want it to be right, Holden said, punctuating the last word with a pointed raise of his voice. Just cause you´re satisfied with adequate work doesn´t mean...
Adequate, Banky huffed, sitting back down in his chair. I´ll have you know that my stylings have been called new age...
Secret code for adequate, my young friend, Holden said, smiling as he finally hit the halfway point in the pogo stick drawing. Kinda like some people call it manure, but... still means it´s shit.
The pissed off look passed over Banky´s face for about five seconds before he was laughing right along with Holden, his inking pen and papers forgotten by the side. Me too, by the way, he said finally, smiling at Holden.
I´ve missed it too, Holden, he said softly, the upper left edge of his mouth quirking up. This... us... Us like this.
(this is where the new stuff begins)
Holden smiled at him, looking back down at his drawing and biting his lip. Why´d you leave, he asked softly.
Banky sighed, picking up his pack of cigarettes. Let´s not do this, Holden, he said quietly. We´re having a good time
We were friends for twenty years, Bank, Holden said sternly, looking up at him. Twenty years. And I fucked up. I fucked up hugely, I admit that
Oh, good, he admits it, Banky said, laughing and shaking his head. Look, I´m gonna take off
Banky, wait, Holden said, reaching out and catching his arm. Hold the fuck on a minute.
Now we´re mad at me, Banky asked incredulously. Now *you´re* mad at *me*?
Banky, Holden yelled, letting his arm go and gesturing around the apartment. I fucked up! People fucking do that!
You fucking humiliated me, Banky yelled, pointing at him with his cigarette. In front of that fucking dyke!
I know, Holden said, sighing. And could you please not call her that?
Dyke, bitch, what the fuck ever, Banky said exasperatedly. I´m leaving, Holden
Yeah, you´re good at that, Holden said softly, looking down at his lap and twisting his fingers together. Fuck me, right? I´m just a fucking asshole.
Banky sighed, reaching up to run his hand through his hair. Holden, it´s late, and I don´t fuckin´ feel like getting into this right now
We were best friends, Holden said, looking at him and taking a deep breath. For twenty years how could you just fucking walk out of my life like that?
Cause I´m a pussy, Banky said, laughing and shaking his head. Is that what you want to hear?
I´ve always known that, Holden said with a wry smile.
Banky nodded, smiling for a minute before nodding again. Alright, he said finally, walking over to Holden´s couch and sitting. I´ll talk.
Holden stood up, smoothing down his shirt nervously and grabbing his own pack of cigarettes before walking over to sit by him. Talk, he said softly, lighting up and facing him.
I don´t Banky sighed, running his fingers through his hair. I don´t know where to you hurt me, he said softly, glancing at him before going on. And you humiliated me, and I don´t know, Holden, I just fucking took off.
Holden sighed, blowing a puff of smoke out slowly. That still doesn´t explain why you were gone for so long, he said quietly. Why you never called me to let me know you were okay why you why it took you a year to even smile at me.
Banky rolled his eyes. It explains exactly that, Holden.
Holden shook his head. You were my best friend you still are, for whatever that matters.
Banky sighed, digging the dirt out of his fingernails slowly. It matters, he says softly. And I feel the same, but I couldn´t.
Why, Holden said painfully, his throat threatening to close up as tears formed. You had to know I was fucked up, Banky you had to know I didn´t mean it if you knew me at all you had to know that.
I did, Banky said, nodding and refusing to look at him. But so was I.
It hurt to lose her, Holden said, his hand reaching out to touch Banky, his eyes resting on where his fingers curled around Banky´s long sleeve white shirt. But it killed me, Banky it killed me to lose you.
Banky shook his head, his voice catching in his throat as he tried to formulate a sentence. I can´t do this, he choked out. Holden, I have to go
Please, Holden said, tightening his grip on Banky´s sleeve. Please don´t go
I´m sorry, Banky, Holden said, blinking past the tears threatening to spill. I´m sorry Of all the fucked up shit I´ve done in my piece of shit life, the way I treated you that night has been by far the worst. If I could take back one thing, one thing, in my life that I´ve done to hurt someone of which there are myriad choices it would be that night.
Yeah, Banky said, a bitter edge to his tone. Cause you lost *her* that night, Holden
No, Holden said, scooting closer to him and grasping his chin in his hand, turning him to look at him. No, Banky because I lost you. The only thing in my life that fucking mattered, with any consistency, has been you.
Don´t, Banky said, shaking his head, his voice wavering slightly. Don´t do this
I´m telling you the fucking truth, Holden yelled, his hands falling to his legs. Banky, I´m many things, most of them bad, but I´m not a fucking liar.
That´s not true, Banky said softly, shaking his head. Most of them aren´t bad.
Holden laughed, his hand coming up to touch Banky´s face. You were always so good to me, Bank, he said softly. I´ve fucking missed you.
Banky´s eyes closed slightly, his head tilting minutely into Holden´s hand. I´ve missed you too.
Come back to me, Holden said softly, his hand lifting to run through Banky´s hair. Come back, Banky My life is shit without you.
I love you, Banky said, looking at Holden, not bothering to reach up to wipe the tears away. You were right, Holden I love you. And that´s why I took off, and that that´s why I can´t come back.
I love you too, Holden said, leaning forward and lightly brushing Banky´s lips with his. That´s why I need you back, Banky I love you too.
No, Banky whispered, shaking his head and leaning his forehead against Holden´s. Not the same way I love you
Yes it is, Holden said, nodding and laughing slightly. It is, it´s turned into that or it´s always been that, but I´ve just realized it
Banky laughed, pulling back and standing up. Right, because one night you woke up and realized you were all alone and if you just loved me back you could have someone in your life again, he said, stepping back as Holden stood up. Fuck you, Holden.
You´re wrong, Holden said, shaking his head. Because it wasn´t one night it´s been over a year, Banky it´s been 384 days of it. One night, yes, one night I woke up and realized I needed you back badly. And slowly I realized my love for you was more than just 20 years of friendship it was more than staying up late and playing fucking Hockey. It was more than just fucking drawing with you More than just being able to sit in total silence with you and feeling like I´d had the best conversation of my life, he said, stepping forward until he stood toe to toe with Banky. It was love.
Your flowery speeches don´t work on me, Banky whispered, shaking his head. Cause I know you, and you´ve always been good at speeches. You´ve always been better at putting things into words than I am
Only if I mean it, Holden said, reaching out to hold Banky in place by the shoulders. I can only say it well if I mean it.
But you´re not gay, Banky whispered, his heart aching to believe him.
Maybe that doesn´t matter, Holden said, pulling Banky forward and wrapping his arms around his back, holding him close. Maybe it doesn´t matter if I´m gay or not, because it doesn´t affect the way I feel about you. You´re not just some guy to me, Banky you´re well, you´re Banky.
Don´t fuck with me, Banky whispered, looking up at him. Don´t fuck with me about this Holden
I´m not, Holden said, bending down and kissing Banky softly, lazily winding his tongue into his mouth. He smiled to himself as he tasted stale cigarette smoke and coffee with just a hint of bitter. You taste just like I thought you would.
Banky groaned slightly, laughing. You know I´ll kick your ass, right, he said softly, his hands gliding across Holden´s back as he glared up at him. If I find out you´re fucking with me, I´ll kick your ass.
Rightly so, Holden said, bending down to kiss him again. I might even let you, he said, laughing as Banky hit him squarely in the chest.
I´ll do it, Banky said sternly, glaring at him. I swear to God I will
I know, Holden said, gripping his face in his hands. Now shut up so I can make up for lost time