Title: Be Careful What You Wish For...
Summary: Patrick Sykes was having a bad day until an accident shoved artist Cylean Bartlett into his life making all his dreams come true overnight, but is everything really that simple?
Bloodshot green eyes from yet another night of tossing and turning stared back at Patrick Sykes from the mirror not impressed with the fact that he was as far away from his bed as he actually was. White blonde hair fell in a soft swipe over is forehead, the tips tickling his cheek bone as it settle again and again from his constant flicking out of his eyes.
His skin was a shade of pale away from death, almost translucent, which made him look either waif-like or ill depending on the lighting. Standing in his bathroom at seven thirty am, under the harsh florescent light he looked like he was about to keel over.
He felt empty. He could feel the blankness rising up through his chest and like all the other times that the feeling came over him he didn’t know what to do about it. He would just ride it out like all those other times, but he dreaded it when they did come. Every time it felt like a piece of his soul was being ripped away and he came out of it a little less whole than when he went in.
Many eons ago he was sure that he’d had a plan. He distinctly remembered sitting in a university student hall with a friend that he had lost touch with years ago, talking about his plan. Finish Uni, get a job for a year, save up some cash and travel. Go and see Canada, Transylvania, Finland, New Zeland.
Obviously it had never happened.
He was stuck in England, working a job as a shipping coordinator that he could only just stand because he needed to pay his half of the rent on the flat. He slipped in and out of daydreams more often than not; thoughts of his abandoned screenplay that had been festering in his notebooks in the corner of his room tormenting him as he tapped keys and argued with obnoxious suppliers about due dates.
Every day, day after day.
He switched on the shower, looking at the cool water with as much distain as he could muster before grabbing his toothbrush and tried to take his mind off the icy spray by brushing his teeth to a gleaming white shine at the same time. He tried the trick every morning, and it never worked, but at least he didn’t have to stare at himself in the mirror while he did it.
Shivering and cursing he soaped up and rinsed at lightening speed, jumping out from the water and wrapping himself up as fast as humanly possible. He figured that he would get out of the flat quicker if he wasn’t comfortable in the mornings, but the inhospitable atmosphere just made him want to crawl back into bed and stay there. Some mornings it was all he could do to drag clothes onto his slim frame, stick his hair in a ponytail and get out of the door.
He wrapped the towel around his waist and traversed the dark hallway, mumbling some sort of greeting to his zombie flatmate Brian on the way. Brian just grunted since he was about as adept at mornings at Patrick was and liked them even less. At some point their paths would collide when they were wide awake, but it was rare.
His mobile phone was bleating at him when he got back, and he flipped the thing open without looking at the caller ID. Only one person ever called him that early in the morning and that was his boyfriend Marcus. Probably calling to rearrange their night of cheap takeaway after work, although why he couldn’t do it when Patrick wasn’t cold and cursing the world he didn’t know.
“Pat, we need to talk.” He swallowed a sigh and stuck the phone on speaker, balancing it on a bookcase as he grabbed a pair of washed out black jeans. A day that starts out with those words was a day that he could do without and he purposefully kept his back to the bed just in case he got too tempted.
“Marc, what’s up?” He asked, smothering a yawn, “And can it wait for another hour, I’m only running on half a cylinder here.” There was a pause and then Marc’s voice came over the line sounding slightly strained.
“It can’t wait.” He said, and Patrick could just see the smaller man wringing his slender hands before shoving his black rimmed glasses further up his nose. “I’m sorry I’ve been up all night thinking about it.”
When Marc got something in his head, there wasn’t much that could be done to shift it out but talk about it. They had been together for so long that Patrick often knew what the paranoia was going to be about just by the tone of his boyfriend’s voice. This one was new though.
“Thinking about what?”
“I…” Marc was never hesitant; in fact one of his biggest flaws was the verbal cascade of babble that seemed to leak out of his mouth at the worst possible times. It was often stated that he had the people skills of a cockatoo.
“Marc, what’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry Pat. I just can’t do this anymore.” Patrick’s heart felt like it had stopped in his chest. The t shirt that he had been just about to put on slipped from numb fingers and he had to sit down on the edge of the bed.
“This?” His voice sounded small to his own ears, and he took the phone from its place on the bookshelf and turned off the speaker. He was about to get dumped, that much was obvious and he wanted this to be as privately painful as possible.
“Us.” Marcus confirmed. “You’re a great guy, but I just don’t see us going anywhere.”
“What bought this on?”
“Look, I’m turning twenty five soon.” He continued, “I’m just not where I wanted to be at twenty five.”
As if any of them were. He knew that neither of them was particularly happy with the situation that they found themselves in but he figured that since Marcus hadn’t said anything that he was at least content. It might have been a rut, but damn it, it was their rut.
“And I’m not who you want to be with?”
“I need some excitement, Pat!” He almost squeaked in his enthusiasm. He was probably pacing by now, slim hands running through the mess of dirt brown hair on his head. “I need some passion! We used to have that.”
Passion. Excitement. Words that Patrick had forgotten, and he knew it. Everything lately had seemed like an effort; even the sex that they’d had so frequently when they’d first started to date had dwindled into non existence, and he knew that it was his fault.
The blank feeling was replaced with a deep sadness along with the realisation that it was time for this to come to an end. They were just going through the motions now.
“It’s just a rough patch.” He said, trying to not let the hitch in his breath be heard. “I’ll try harder.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll stop by later to get my stuff.” It had been a one last ditch attempt at keeping something he wasn’t sure he wanted, or even had the capacity for anymore. Maybe he was just supposed to be alone; he certainly hadn’t been any good for Marcus lately if the conversation he was currently embroiled in was anything to go by.
“Just tell me one thing.” Patrick asked, gripping the small plastic flip phone until it creaked. “Is there someone else?”
“There is. I’m sorry.” He sighed and swallowed against the lump in his throat. He let himself have a few seconds as he lay down on the bed, feet hanging off the side. He was suddenly so very tired.
“Fine.” He snapped, just wanting to get his now ex boyfriend off the phone so that he could go about being late for work in peace. “I hope you’re happy.”
He closed the phone and pressed the silver plastic to his lips, letting a couple of tears slide from under his blonde lashes. Five years of someone there for him, and now he was on his own. At leas there was nothing but some shirts, socks and DVD’s to sort out; they never had gotten round to having that cohabitation conversation. Good job really.
Despite the tone that suggested he didn’t Patrick really hoped that Marcus would be happy. He couldn’t exactly be angry with the guy for wanting more than the life he had, and if he had the balls to go and revisit the lost possibilities, then good on him.
He lay there brooding until he heard his flatmate go out to work himself and forced himself to get up from his prone position on the bed. He could just crawl back into it and start the day over; claim that he thought it had been one of his rare days off and started fresh the next morning. He didn’t particularly want to sit around the house all day with only his thoughts for company, and at least when he was at work there would be people.
Not that he was going to mention his disaster of a morning; that really would be the last straw, coming out at work.
He looked at the t-shirt that he’d dropped in disgust and whipped a rarely worn black shirt off the rail and shoved his socked feet into a worn pair of doc martins. He used to give a shit about what he looked like; playing with his image to tweak it to just how he liked it. For the past year or so he’d been living in jeans and band shirts, bland and boring.
His blonde hair used to be wildly coloured; the pale blonde strands sucking up the vibrant pinks and blues that he’d streak through it like a sponge, but they had long since faded and grown.
What had happened to him? When had his life taken the turn into the painfully ordinary and stuck there? And why couldn’t he see the way back to the person he used to be? Twenty five and he may as well have one foot in the grave already. Something had to change.
He grabbed up the keys to his car; brand new a month ago. He and Marcus had picked it out together. Well he had, Marcus had grumbled about getting something to eat whilst Patrick signed the paperwork and enjoyed the feeling of the keys in his hand. He took the long way round to their favourite pub and they’d argued sitting in his new Ford. Again.
System of a down blasted out as soon as he turned on the ignition and he didn’t bother to turn it down. It felt good, even with the headache that he still hadn’t quite been able to shift; a reminder that not everything from his old life was missing. It was out there somewhere, just…lost.
Maybe he should start saving. Start small; maybe Germany or Amsterdam and then when he’d gotten the travelling buzz back, move onto bigger things. His parents wouldn’t approve of course, but then they didn’t really approve of anything much about him. Yet another faction of his life that had no idea about his sexual orientation. It was easier to let them think that he was just lazy about getting a girlfriend rather than in a long term relationship with a man.
Well, was anyway.
His chest started to ache as he pulled up to the first junction and he concentrated on the fact that he couldn’t see a foot in front of his face for the fog. It was a hell of a time to have a personal crisis, but at least he was staying admirably calm.
He knew that once the tears started they wouldn’t stop, and he still had a whole days worth of work before he would be able to have a good, satisfying cry. He sniffed them back and leant his forehead on the steering wheel, giving the mirror a quick check to make sure he was still on an empty road.
He needed to do something; some days he thought he was going to go mad with it all. No wonder Marcus had run; Patrick was very close to doing it himself. The fact that he hadn’t seemed to be the main problem.
He would check the prices of tickets at work. He had a lunch break after all, even if he hardly ever took it. They owed him some internet time.
A few deep breaths and the tears were under control again, his knuckles turning from bone white to blue to parchment as he loosened his grip on the steering wheel. He peered out into the fog, taking off the hand brake and slipping the car into gear before checking his rear view mirror just in time for the fast moving sports car behind him to impact.
The last thing he thought was that at least the day couldn’t actually get any worse, before pain shot in star bursts through his temple and the world went black.