Part 2, PG-13, Ryan/Brendon + Additional Pairings
< Part 1
Brendon is fully prepared to admit he’s made a mistake. A big one.
Jon had managed to successfully avoid him all weekend by seeking asylum at Spencer’s place, much to his delight. This, however, had left Brendon to fend for himself and that included making the morning coffee and he was terrible at that. Jon, as the Starbucks employee, was always on coffee duty so it wasn’t really Brendon’s fault that he was lacking practice and so managed to momentarily break the spluttering machine before it magically fixed itself again, to Brendon’s relief. It’s safe to say that Brendon didn’t touch Jon’s little baby coffee maker (which he had coincidently named ‘Steve’, after his original college crush, no matter how often Jon tried to deny it) again.
To be fair, he hadn’t tried particularly hard to pursue his roommate. He knew where Jon would be if not in class or at Spencer’s, of course, but that was the coffee shop and Brendon didn’t really want to show his face at the coffee shop. Especially not after his recent activity, which may have affected more than one employee and he knew that Jon’s shifts often coincided with Alex’s. Brendon always thought this was purposeful: an attempt to get the two together. But clearly Jon was now regretting his decision.
So basically, when Brendon turns up at the SAS on Monday morning, he is a mess. And it’s not just withdrawal from his caffeine free weekend (he wouldn’t get withdrawal anyway as Jon only allowed him one cup of coffee a day and the rest was hot chocolate but he was missing that too) but also how he hasn’t been sleeping too well without Jon’s daily hugs and not truly knowing where Jon is at any one moment like he usually does. He feels lost.
And just to make it worse, he knows that the people he will soon be greeted by are the exact reason that his life kind of sucks right now, even if they aren’t exactly aware of that. Brendon’s also quite sure that Jon will have blabbed all about the situation to Spencer over their loving couple weekend and so he’s expecting to be working alone for the first time since the stupid project began.
Brendon strolls through the high iron gates he had seen Joe and Sisky working on throughout the week, and straight across the dead grass, carefully keeping his eyes trailed on the ground. Not that anyone could see them through his ridiculously sized sunglasses.
When he reaches the familiar shed, he wrenches the door open and drops his bag onto the floor next to him. Shrugging off his jacket, he uses his finger to scan down the schedule before picking up a pair of hedge-trimmers and readjusting his dungarees (yes dungarees, it was Jon’s turn to do the washing and Brendon wasn’t giving in that easily so it’s all he had left. Plus he’s a gardener so that should be excuse enough), he steps back out into the garden.
The little sunlight there is reflects from Brendon’s sunglasses as he snip at awry branches protruding from the high hedge bordering one corner of the garden. He knows he should have bought a stepladder out with him, because he really isn’t that tall, or he should at least have left this job for Gabe, the fucking giant. But this way he was hidden from Spencer’s scrutiny, not that Brendon had seen him around yet. He was sure to turn up soon. As he had said, that Ryan dude didn’t trust them alone with his garden.
Almost as if on cue, Spencer chooses that moment to appear through some overgrown shrubbery and stop just short of Brendon’s wary form. He instantly cocks his hip and crosses his arms defiantly over his chest. Brendon simply clears his throat and returns to taking chunks from the hedge hesitantly.
‘I’m waiting.’ Spencer says with a voice as serious as death. Brendon instantly knows it’s bad. Really bad.
He pauses his movements and bends down to place the tool on the ground before turning back and facing a very closed off Spencer. If it weren’t for the posture or the burning anger in his sharp, blue eyes, he would appear almost indifferent. That scares Brendon.
‘I’m sorry.’ He replies, barely audible over the rustle of leaves dancing in the slight breeze. Spencer simply arches an eyebrow.
‘You fucked up.’ He says, voice almost as cold as his eyes.
‘I know.’ Brendon replies, dropping his head. ‘I’m sorry.’
Spencer’s eyes often only slightly. ‘Jon’s going back to your place tomorrow. You should apologise.’ He pauses. ‘And to Alex as well.’
Spencer nods and turns around. Pausing slightly, he calls back, ‘Gabe’s looking for you,’ before disappearing into the bushes again.
- - -
When Brendon finally emerges from his over extended hedge trimming expedition, he is instantly faced with Gabe’s chest and strong arms wrapped around him. ‘Brenny boy! I’ve been waiting!’ He says before releasing his friend, keeping one arm wrapped tightly around his shoulders. ‘What’s up?’
‘Same old shit.’ Brendon says with a small smile. It’s not Gabe’s fault he has a nice looking guy to lust after. He’s only trying to be happy. And nice. ‘And yourself Gabey baby?’
‘Oh I’m fantastical, like with glitter and everything!’ Gabe sings and Brendon can’t help but allow a chuckle to escape.
‘So, William ey?’ Brendon asks, resting his head on Gabe’s shoulder, which is quite an effort considering his height. He still catches the way Gabe’s grin widens and finds his own widening in response. ‘Do tell.’
‘Oh no. It was just a bit of touchy feely. And then he asked for my number and said he would call. Which he did.’
‘So when are your sex plans so I can avoid you as much as possible that day?’
‘Eh,’ Gabe hesitates slightly, ‘Well we didn’t arrange a date or anything.’ Brendon raises a questioning eyebrow. ‘We just talked. About music and stuff. But I’m pretty sure he’s into me.’ Gabe adds with a smile.
‘Of course he is. You are Gabe, master of the bedroom.’ Brendon replies and Gabe cuffs him round the head while laughing.
‘So have you seen Pete yet?’ Gabe asks cautiously.
‘Uh, no. Have you?’ Brendon replies, careful to keep his face neutral. He doesn’t mind that Pete is dating his professor; he’d just like to have been told. Fuck that. Of course he fucking minds. It’s weird.
‘No. He’s not coming in today. No guesses why.’ Gabe says with an eye roll. Suddenly his attention is shifted to just behind Brendon. ‘Oh, hey Spence. Coffee time already?’
‘Of course. It’s the only reason I get up in the morning and drag my ass to the hell hole.’ Spencer’s voice says from just behind Brendon, who turns and throws him a sheepish smile.
Spencer and Gabe start towards the gate where Mikey, Joe and Sisky have already congregated but pause when they realise Brendon isn’t following after but is instead, glancing around awkwardly. ‘Coming Bren?’ Gabe asks.
Brendon wavers for a moment. He doesn’t want to be left in the garden alone but neither does he want to be faced with coffee shop employees. Especially when he hasn’t quite worked out how to apologise yet. And he’s sure that seeing Alex’s face fall would break his heart.
‘Uh, well, I, um…’ Brendon stutters.
‘Of course he is.’ Spencer sends a pointed look towards Brendon and then continues on his way over to the others. Gabe gives Brendon a smile as he walks to catch them up, Brendon trailing behind.
Brendon glances back towards the house and only just catches the flash of soft, brown hair and honeycomb eyes before they’re gone again.
- - -
When Brendon treks through the door to Starbucks last, his eyes instantly fly over to the smooth wooden counter, half expecting Jon to be waiting, armed with a machine gun and screaming battle cries, or maybe for Alex to be bawling his eyes out, tears dripping tears onto the already slightly soggy muffins.
What he does in fact find is neither of the above, but rather one heavily tattooed coffee worker with ginger curls that Brendon loves to run his fingers through when he’s high and he always does it when he’s high because he’s always with Andy when he’s high. Andy, his ginger hair and a spliff just go together flawlessly.
So of course on seeing his second favourite Starbucks employee ever (or maybe his second favourite person full stop) his face splits into a shit-eating grin. Brendon skips over and drops his elbows onto the counter in front of Andy, cradling his chin in his hands and waits for Andy to glance up from his poetry book. That’s another thing Andy is never without: a book of poetry that goes above and beyond Brendon’s understanding. Or, well, anyone’s understanding.
When Andy does look up his eyes glance at Brendon before focusing over his shoulder on a frustrated looking Spencer. ‘So I’m not Alex.’ He says, and Brendon sighs.
- - -
Brendon is sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor, staring longingly at Steve and pondering whether he should give this coffee shit another try when he hears the front door slam shut and keys drop onto the coffee table.
He freezes momentarily before cautiously calling out ‘Jon?’ in an unusually high voice. A grunt responds.
He proceeds to jump up from the cold laminate and rush through the doorway and out into the lounge where he hesitates, taking in the long missed view of his best friend. Jon looks tired and he’s wearing the same jeans as last Friday although it’s paired with an unfamiliar t-shirt, which Brendon guesses he must have borrowed from Spencer.
He stands by the sofa in his familiar flip flops with crossed arms and an exasperated and annoyed but slightly exhausted expression paints his rugged features.
Brendon’s lip instantly juts out into his trademark ‘I fucked up big time but you love me anyway’ pout and he drops his gaze down to the floor, shuffling his bare feet uncomfortably.
‘I’m sorry.’ He says in a surprising strong voice before raising his head and looking Jon in the eye.
The room is silent for a moment before Jon jerks his head in what looks like a nod. ‘I know.’ He says calmly.
And then all of a sudden he is knocked back onto the couch, limbs splaying everywhere as a pair of lightly toned arms wrap around his waist and squeeze the life from him. Jon laughs and rubs the familiar mop of dark hair smiling.
‘You should…’ Jon starts and Brendon looks up at him, wide-eyed, waiting for Jon Walker’s wisdom to be poured upon him. ‘Alex.’
Brendon blushes and averts his eyes but nods in understanding at the unspoken word.
Jon bites his lip and allows the silence to sit for a while. ‘So, how’s Steve?’
- - -
Wednesday is a good day. Brendon only has to work for another 2 ½ weeks and they are ahead of schedule on the work anyway. The night previous Jon had revised his work schedule with Brendon to find a good time to catch Alex when he would most likely be in a good mood and without one of the scary friends he has who often come in for coffee.
They agreed that Saturday evening was probably a good time because Alex’s friends had to work down at the new bar (another place Brendon would have to avoid in the near future then) and Alex didn’t start his shift until late afternoon.
Spencer is once again sharing his glorious smiles with Brendon and there was lemonade waiting for them on the steps when they had arrived at the SAS that morning. As well as a young woman he had managed to tumble into.
(‘Greta,’ she said and stuck a soft hand out, ‘The maid.’
‘Brendon,’ he replied taking the hand in his and unleashing a bright grin on the poor, blonde hair, soft curls girl. ‘The gardener.’)
In fact, he was feeling so good that he could almost forget the fact that right now he was listening to Gabe blab on about bloody William Beckett. Apparently, last night they had gone on a ‘date’, which wasn’t technically a date but it was just the two of them so it counts as a date.
‘Totally.’ Brendon agreed breezily, not really listening while he concentrated on stripping unnecessary branches from the bushes that had arrived this morning so they were ready to be planted.
‘I mean, we’ve kissed and everything so he can’t exactly misinterpret the situation can he? And he asked me, not anybody else, just me. And he bought me a drink and he was smiling like all night and he kept cocking his hips and, fuck, he has good hips like seriously Bren. Hips.’
Brendon simply nodded along and chewed the inside of his cheek thoughtfully. Over the top of his sunglasses he could see Spencer choking back laughter as he raked leaves off the grass.
Pete hadn’t shown up and that worries Brendon. He hasn’t seen Pete since that night at the club. It is almost like he’s avoiding them. Which is weird and paranoid for Brendon to think but it just doesn’t seem right.
It had been slightly awkward in the Stump’s lecture yesterday, not that he would have noticed. He was oblivious to the fact that both Brendon and Gabe knew about him and Pete. And they sort of want to keep it that way.
Joe suddenly appearing in front of him, clothed in a tight black t-shirt and muddy jogging bottoms, broke Brendon from his thoughts. ‘Hey Bren, you done with that yet?’ He asks, eyes flickering to the bush.
‘Uh yeah. Yeah.’ Brendon says with a quick smile while handing the foliage off to Joe. He watches the boys retreating back before turning to Gabe. ‘Sorry you were saying?’
Gabe is strangely silent, staring off past Brendon and over at the grand house. Brendon raises an eyebrow and clears his throat but still fails to gain his friends attention and so instead he turns towards the distraction and freezes.
A familiar looking tall, skinny man with shoulder length curls is striding up the pathway leading to the large double doors and the front of the house. He pauses and tucks a lock of hair behind his ear before gingerly knocking on the door.
Brendon glances back over to Gabe and finds his usually cocky smirk is absent and in its place is a pair of tightly pressed lips and a sheet pale face.
Fucking William Beckett Brendon thinks.
The door opens and William smiles shyly and accepts a hug from slim arms before stepping inside. The door closes without Brendon or Gabe catching a glimpse of who greeted him, but there are bigger matters on hand.
‘I think Jon says his shift was ending early today so we should go get coffee now in case we miss him.’ Brendon says quickly.
Gabe sends him an appreciative nod. Brendon knows Gabe doesn’t like to dwell on things, but he even less likes people to try and comfort him.
He’ll leave Gabe to sort it out on his own.
- - -
Brendon thought he was stronger than this but apparently by Thursday morning he has fucking had it. It is bad enough that he has to sit through one of Stump’s endless rambling lectures with only the ability to send the occasional glare in his stupid professor’s direction as a comfort, but now he also has a moping lecture buddy who sighs every couple of seconds and thinks he can cover up his disaster zone hair with a bright purple hoody. Well, the hoody is a regular occurrence, but surely Gabe knows better than to fuck his hair up like that.
So when the lecture finishes Brendon grabs his friend by the arm and barely spares a glance towards his white, drawn face before tugging him down the steps, past Stump with one final glare and out the door.
Eventually Gabe seems to wake up enough to realise that he is no longer in class and is being dragged out of the building and in the direction of his apartment which is weird because normally they would be heading over to the SAS right now or maybe going out for coffee with Pete but he also notices that Pete is absent from the situation which is even more confusing and now his mind is thinking overtime because it finally got off the thought track of WilliamWilliamWilliam it had been stuck on for the past day.
‘What?’ Is the only word Gabe can force from his chapped lips but it’s enough to force Brendon to pause and glance back at Gabe before halting and turning to face the boy completely.
‘You’re moping. And it’s fucking depressing Gabe. You deserve better than some two-timing shit so we are going to party it up and you are going to fucking love it because you are Gabe fucking Master of the Bedroom Saporta!’ Brendon finishes, gasping for breath after his small rant.
Gabe’s eyes widen momentarily before he nods and allows himself to be dragged off once again.
- - -
Great. Brendon thinks, mentally slapping himself in his stupid face. Fucking great.
When he decided to drag Gabe out for a night on the town after spending almost 4 hours locked in Gabe’s tiny, cluttered bathroom getting dolled up, he didn’t even stop to consider the fact that the new club Brendon had selected to visit once again (because this is the only place neither Spencer or Jon would think to look for him after the disastrous events last time he came, and he has also since learnt that the place is called ‘Nightscape’ which he supposes is fitting and also totally awesome) is home to one William Beckett.
And said William Beckett is already at said club when they arrive, instantly sending Gabe back into a downwards spiral. Luckily he had shoved some oversized and obnoxiously coloured sunglasses on, just before they dashed out the door of his apartment, so they cover most of his sullen face. In fact, if Brendon didn’t know Gabe quite so well he wouldn’t even have noticed the sudden wave of depression.
Nonetheless, Brendon refuses to end his efforts there and convinces himself that the night can only get better from here on and, in turn, manages to convince Gabe the same.
‘Just ignore him dude,’ Brendon reminds Gabe, ‘he’s not fucking worth it.’ And then they both drift over to the bar because Brendon knows that alcohol always calms Gabe down and allows him to flow free and wild and maybe find some poor stranger to educate on the ways of the cobra because god knows Brendon has heard that speech enough.
Brendon asks for 2 beers and the bartender gives him a sharp nod, eyes narrowing slightly when he takes a proper look at Brendon almost as though he just realised who he is actually serving. And then oh, Brendon thinks, because he’s pretty sure that Alex introduced them on That Night and so by deduction, Nate and Alex must be friends and therefor he probably knows the whole shitty story which is kind of crappy because enough people are pissed at Brendon as it is thanks.
Now that he thinks about it the bouncer (Ryland Brendon thinks, another of Alex’s acquaintances) had almost grudgingly let them in, not that Brendon was paying an awful lot of attention to anything but his friend at the particular time.
Gabe obviously notices as he pushes his glasses down, bringing his dull eyes into sight just long enough to give Brendon a pointed look and a sharp, raised eyebrow before Nate returns with the beers and disappears back down the bar giving Brendon one last quick glare.
However Gabe’s expression is carefully hidden once again as familiar music starts up in the background, causing his back to tense almost unnoticeably. Brendon sneaks a look over his shoulder, inconspicuously sipping from his beer (after checking it hasn’t been poisoned) and yes, Beckett has now taken to the stage.
Gabe notices his distraction and turns also, following his line of sight over to the stage and finding himself looking straight into one smiling William Beckett’s eyes. And Gabe knows that smile is all for him because William (Bill, Gabe unconsciously thinks) is looking straight at him and it makes him shift uncomfortably in his seat. He in instantly grateful that he pulled the sunglasses on as it makes dropping the eye contact much easier when one side doesn’t even realise it’s happening.
Gabe’s eye twitches and his lip lifts in a snarl almost and Brendon watches, swallowing in worry. But then Gabe turns his back to the stage and starts sipping his beer again and everything seems fine so Brendon lets it be.
They make idle small talk and ignore the distinct voice twisting perfectly with the melody behind them for a while and get through about 6 beers together until a dark guy with tall, frizzy hair and a very sexy piercing approaches them from the side with a sly smirk.
At first, Brendon thinks oh yay but then he realises that mystery guy isn’t paying him any attention but is more focused on an ignorant Gabe, who is staring too intently at his drink to notice anything but a bomb raid probably.
The guy seems to realise he isn’t going to gain Gabe’s attention anytime soon and so leans over the bar and signals to the waiter for 2 drinks. Brendon raises an eyebrow and tries his best to supress a smirk.
The drinks arrive and Mr Sexy (as Brendon has now dubbed him with his lack of creativity) pushes one towards Gabe, eyes fixed on his lowered head. Gabe sees the movement from the corner of his eye and expects to see Brendon there with a comforting but hesitant smile and instead finds an unfamiliar face which, to be honest, isn’t a particularly bad sight.
‘Bad day?’ Mr Sexy asks, with a small understanding quirk to his mouth.
Gabe takes the drink, fingers briefly brushing the strangers, and replies, ‘Yeah, you could say so.’ And the music is already fading into the background.
- - -
It’s a couple hours later of Brendon eaves-dropping on his friend’s hushed conversation and swirling on his seat to watch William with a judging eye. To his surprise, when William notices Gabe has company, Brendon sees sadness and even a flash of anger. What’s even more shocking is that William’s gaze stays fixed on the pair as though he is trying to send warning signals telepathically to stay the fuck away from Gabe but neither of them turns towards the stage once.
Brendon has also learnt that the guys name is Travie and he is a musician (or at least studying music, right) and he is actually a pretty decent guy seen as he hasn’t dropped any innuendoes yet and seems actually interested in the crap spewing from Gabe’s mouth (okay, it’s not total crap but Gabe is kind of drunk so he isn’t processing his words but luckily he has only mentioned the cobra once or twice during the whole conversation).
He notices the small touches, the way sometimes when Travie laughs his hand falls on Gabe’s shoulder or forearm for a minute, and sometimes his fingers clench like he is squeezing slightly, reassuringly, as though he knows something is wrong and he wants to help.
He also noticed the way that Gabe doesn’t avoid the touches. He more like leans into them. Sometimes returning them.
It’s no surprise when Gabe turns to Brendon and tells him that he’s going back to Travie’s place because he has the new album for that band Gabe has been obsessing over for a month so Brendon just waves them off and gives Gabe the typical be careful look before watching them stride out the door, oblivious to the way William’s face falls.
Brendon hangs around for a couple more minutes but eventually the glares coming from the bartender get too much so he follows his friend’s example and heads home.
- - -
Either he becomes more observant or things become more obvious, Brendon isn’t sure which.
For the next couple of days he notices several things. For example, the way that the stranger in the house never actually leaves the house but Brendon always catches sight of him through the many windows. Sometimes it’s almost like the guy (Ryan, Brendon remembers) is watching them.
Or not them so much, but him because when he questions the others they simple say, ‘Dude, are you seeing things?’ or ‘What are you taking?’ and then ‘You should stop taking it.’ And finally ‘Maybe you should give it to me for, you know, safe keeping.’
He also notices that Ryan likes bandanas and wears a different one everyday but they’re always wrapped around his forehead, carelessly holding his deep brown hair out of his young face.
Brendon also sees Spencer far less at the SAS and increasingly more around the apartment, sometimes in only a pair of boxers (and Brendon could swear they were the ones he bought Jon for Christmas last year).
Frank shows him a small corner of the garden already filled with blooming rose bushes and Brendon realises that this is the first time he’s seen Frank all week and that this must be what he and Gerard were working on all that time.
Pete turns up for work again, trying to fill the required hours obviously and Brendon tries to avoid talking to him until Gabe returns.
He knows Travie didn’t kill Gabe because Gabe keeps sending him crazy little text messages that don’t make an awful lot of sense to Brendon but that doesn’t matter because it’s Gabe and he loves Gabe. Brendon would reply and maybe ask about Travie but he has no credit and no money so yeah, kind of sucks.
He starts spending his time working with Mikey who is kind of quiet but in a comfortable way that is different for Brendon but he finds it calming and gets a lot more work done than he does on the odd occasion he’s with Joe and Sisky instead.
Greta greets him every morning when she comes out with lemonade (‘Homemade,’ she tells Brendon with a smile and he kisses her on the cheek when he says thanks because he’s nice like that).
- - -
Before Brendon knows it, it’s Saturday morning and he has to prepare his apology speech for Alex. Jon says he’ll see him about 6pm and escapes out the door before Brendon makes him practice with him.
Brendon drags himself down to the SAS, ignores Pete’s curious gaze and checks around for a still absent Gabe before heading over to the rose garden to calm himself down.
He crouches down by one of the larger bushes and sighs, slowly stroking over a flowering bud.
‘Beautiful, aren’t they?’ A sweet, feminine voice says from behind him and Brendon jumps up.
Greta sends him an apologetic smile. ‘I watched Gerard and Frank put them in. Even helped out a bit. They’re my favourite flowers, roses.’ She smiles once again, almost absently and strokes over a petal like Brendon was previously.
‘They were my mom’s favourite too.’ Brendon replies and bites his lip. ‘I always kind of liked daisies.’
‘Daisies are meant to represent loyalty. Like loyal love.’
‘Loyal love. Yeah. I like the sound of that. What about roses then?’
Greta gives him a wry smile. ‘Well…’ she starts but is cut off by a voice emerging from behind Brendon.
‘Greta?’ The voice calls and it’s deep and masculine and like honey.
‘Yeah?’ Greta replies, peering over Brendon’s shoulder.
‘I need-‘ Brendon turns and finds none other than the honeycomb-eyed stranger stood behind him, peering at him almost anxiously. Brendon gives an insecure smile and scratches the back of his head, stepping to the side to give Ryan a full view of Greta. ‘I need, uh, milk.’ Ryan finishes, tearing his gaze from Brendon and onto a concerned looking Greta.
‘Is Spencer still truant?’ She asks and he gives a quick nod. Greta sighs. ‘I’ll just run down to the shops, I’ll be back in 30, okay? Think you can survive that long without me?’
Greta skips past Ryan and gives his cheek an affectionate pat, causing them to flush. He watches her figure walk away for a minute before turning back to an awkward Brendon.
Tension drips through the air as the silence stretches.
‘So, I’m Brendon.’ He holds out a cautious hand, watching Ryan’s reaction carefully however the taller boy’s face remains impassive with only a slight quirk to his lips.
‘Ryan.’ He says and grabs the hand, giving it a quick shake before releasing it again, letting his fingers stroke over the pale skin of the other as he does.
Brendon peers up at Ryan and realises that hey, this is the first time I’ve seen Ryan like, not through a window and then damn, he looks pretty good right now…
He feels his face begin to flush at the thought because yeah, Ryan totally does look really hot and Brendon has always had trouble being comprehendible around attractive people so he’s freaking out a little bit. And Ryan’s just looking at him.
‘I should, uh, get back to work.’ Brendon says, and gestures over his shoulder to exaggerate the point that he really needs to get the fuck out of here right now.
‘Yeah.’ Ryan says with a quick nod of the head, clearly thinking the same thing. ‘Yeah, so. Uh. Yeah.’ And then he gives Brendon one more smile and turns sharply back towards the house.
Brendon waits until he’s sure Ryan is out of view before collapsing on the ground and letting out a puff of air.
- - -
‘The time has come.’ Jon says as Brendon strides over to meet him outside the usual coffee place. Brendon grunts in recognition and runs through his speech once more in his head. Jon pats his back reassuringly before jerking his head towards the door. ‘Let’s get this over with, yeah?’
Brendon knows Jon’s only trying to be kind to him, Jon doesn’t want to ‘just get it over with’, he wants it to be a long, drawn out and possibly even painful experience to ensure that Brendon never pulls any shit like this again but he’s Jon so he’d never actually do that to Brendon or even admit to thinking it.
He holds the smudged glass door open and motions for Brendon to enter ahead of him. Cautiously, he does though and instantly his eyes fly towards the counter. He freezes slightly when he sees Alex hunched over on the counter, focused on a magazine. Brendon hears the door shut behind him after Jon and Alex looks up towards the sound, narrowed eyes focusing on Brendon.
Brendon whimpers slightly attempting to step back and make a quick escape but Jon strong, determined hands are behind him instantly, giving him a small push in the right direction.
He cracks a smile and slowly approaches the counter with a wary expression. Alex straightens up and watches him carefully, face blank and devoid of any clues of how Brendon should go about this.
Brendon takes a deep breathe and looks Alex in the eye. ‘Hi.’ He squeaks out and clears his throat.
‘Can I help you?’ Alex replies simply.
Brendon smiles nervously and drops his eyes to the counter before glancing behind him to shoot Jon a pleading look. All he receives is a thumbs up. He turns back to Alex and says, ‘Can we, uh, talk?’
Alex eyes narrow further but he nods. ‘Like, in private?’ Brendon adds.
Alex seems to consider for a minute before saying, ‘Whatever you want to say you can say it out here.’
Brendon swallows and glances around the coffee shop. Few people are in there are most are sat further towards the back, mostly out of earshot. He turns back to Alex once again and gives him the most charming smile he can. ‘Okay.’
He takes a minute to arrange his thoughts and Alex simply watches him.
‘I’m sorry.’ He says and Alex raises an eyebrow, willing him to continue.
‘I’m sorry I fucked up like that. I shouldn’t have used you. I was wrong and I regret it. It was a mistake. And I’m sorry.’
‘You regret it?’ Alex asks and Brendon’s eyes widen, that wasn’t what he was expecting.
‘Yes. I regret it so much. You didn’t deserve…’
‘You mean I didn’t deserve you? I still don’t deserve you?’ Alex spits with a disbelieving laugh.
‘What? No! No! I meant you didn’t deserve one night, you deserve so much more…’
‘Yeah? Well fuck you, Brendon. Fuck you.’ Alex cuts him off and then picks up the iced latte next to him, tossing it over Brendon who just stands there wet and dripping and shocked, staring at Alex.
Alex gives him one more cruel smile before disappearing into the back. The coffee shop has gone quiet except for Brendon’s laboured breathing. Suddenly, there is a firm hold on his shoulder and he turns towards it, curling himself into Jon’s warm embrace.
Jon holds his shaking friend for a few minutes. ‘Bren?’
‘Yeah?’ Brendon croaks into his chest.
‘Your covering me in coffee too.’ Jon laughs.
‘Oh.’ Brendon replies and moves to release Jon however he maintains a firm hold. ‘It’s fine.’ He says and shoots Brendon a comforting and sympathetic smile. ‘How about we go home and get you into some dry clothes yeah?’
Brendon nods and allows Jon to escort him from the shop, strong arms never leaving his waist.
- - -
‘Brendon, you have to come out some time!’
Knock knock knock
‘Come on, it’s not like anybody saw Bren!’
16 unread messages
i have heard that if your wife/husband makes bad coffee, that is grounds for divorce
dude I heard u got frapped
wat do u call a cow whos jst givn birth? de-calf-inated!
‘They didn’t have to see to know Jon.’
- - -
Stump’s voice is strangely soothing to Brendon. It helps to lull him further into the familiar blanket of sleep he has been devoid of for the last few days because hello, he had coffee thrown at him and that wasn’t fun so basically he’s been freaking out. Or maybe the coffee seeped into his skin and so he has actually been kept awake by caffeine rush.
But anyway, he’s half asleep in his lecture and Gabe keeps sneaking looks at him with a small smile playing on his lips. He wonders if he should wake his friend or not because he looks kind of adorable and dopey when he’s tired but Stump is going to realise sooner or later and Brendon hates being yelled at.
Having made his decision, Gabe leans over with a sigh and plants a kiss on Brendon’s neck, including a small flick of the tongue.
Brendon jolts up and Gabe backs away, suppressing a smirk as Brendon glares freely at him.
‘So I heart you got frappachinoed.’ Gabe whispers with a devious eyebrow wiggle.
‘It was an iced latte.’ Brendon snaps back and huffs out a breath, resting his forehead against his hand, which massages his temples soothingly.
‘Fuckever brov. The point is, Alex didn’t take it too good.’ Gabe replies and Brendon shoots him a ‘shut up’ look, which is promptly ignored. ‘Come on, he’s probably just sour because he had a taster of that delicious little ass of yours and now he wants more but your denying him. Am I right.’
Brendon snarls in his throat.
‘So when I was pissed at Bill-‘
‘Bill?’ Brendon cuts in.
‘William.’ Gabe replies and Brendon makes an o shape with his mouth. ‘Anyway, when I was pissed you found Travie for me and that helped, so maybe you just need to find somebody for Alex, y’know?’
Brendon sighs and nods his head slightly. He knows. If Alex found somebody else to pull his puppy dog eyes on then maybe he’d leave Brendon the fuck alone. Maybe Gabe should have told him this BEFORE he got coffee thrown on him.
‘So what’s up with you and… Travie anyway man?’ Brendon asks, blinking sleepily. ‘Are you just like fucking or are you totally in love.’ He smiles because he knows what Gabe is like when he finds a guy he swears to be ‘the one’.
‘What?’ Gabe says, eyes widened, but then comprehension dawns. ‘Oh no. No. No. No. It’s not like that. We didn’t even fuck. We’re just friends.’ Brendon gives him a disbelieving look. ‘No seriously! That night after the club we just went back to his place and played video games and crap and then, get this Bren, we got talking and it turns out he knows Bill!
‘Apparently they dated a while back. But he told me that as far as he knows Bill isn’t with anybody but he is doing collaboration with a local musician called Ryan so I googled it and it turns out that Ryan is the guy that owns the SAS!’
Gabe smiles in a ridiculously pleased way and waits for Brendon’s congratulations but he’s too busy thinking over the new information on Ryan he was just provided with.
Ryan is a dark, curly haired, doe eyed, bandana-wearing musician with a giant house, which he never leaves, and a giant garden that he hired a bunch of college kids to sort out. Brendon honestly doesn’t even know what to think.
Suddenly a bony elbow is stabbing him in the side while Gabe whispers frantically in his ear, ‘Dude! There’s Pete!’
Brendon whips his attention down to the front of the lecture halls where, sure enough, Pete Wentz is scuttling in through the door and over to Stump’s desk. He leans down and quietly says something to the professor before dropping something into his hand.
Seeing his friend causes a sharp stabbing sensation in his stomach because Brendon has missed Pete. So much. He has missed the quirky comments and the loud laughter and the crazy grins and everything that makes Pete, Pete.
He heads back over to the door with a quick pace but pauses just before he exits and glances over to Brendon and Gabe’s regular seats looking vaguely guilty.
When he is gone and Stump has picked up where he left off on his speech about compost, Gabe leans over one final time. ‘We should talk to him.’
And then Gabe focuses on the front of the room, leaving Brendon to ponder if they really should.
- - -
Brendon figures that if he’s going to get the low down on Ryan, the best way to do it is to ask some questions. At first he thinks of Spencer but then he remembers that Spencer is under the best friend contract and will therefor not disclose any information to Brendon.
Then he thinks of William because Gabe said they were collaborating together so they must know each other vaguely but then he remembers he hasn’t ever actually spoken to the guy.
There is Greta but she works for Ryan so that could be like conflict of interest.
And then he gets kind of stuck because he hasn’t ever seen anybody else associate with Ryan.
But then he remembers Jon. Because boyfriend rights go above and beyond best friend confidentiality. He just has to find a way to pry Spencer away from him.
- - -
Amazingly when Brendon gets back to the apartment that night, Jon is already there. But the best part is that Spencer is nowhere to be seen. Brendon scours the apartment and then does a small victory dance in his room before creeping into the lounge and dropping onto the sofa next to Jon who instantly moves over to give him room and slings the arm not currently occupied by beer around Brendon’s shoulders.
Brendon makes a content noise and settles down; pretending to watch the episode of CSI Jon is engrossed with. But secretly he is planning how to bring up the topic of Ryan inconspicuously. The lack of Spencer seems to be a good place to start.
‘So where’s Spencey-pie?’ Brendon asks casually.
‘Spencey-pie?’ Jon asks with a raised eyebrow.
‘Oh don’t play clueless, I’ve heard you exchanging creepy pet names Jonny!’
Jon simply grunts. ‘So, where is he?’ Brendon repeats.
‘Apparently Ryan’s having some kind of creative crisis so Spencer’s presence was required to stop him snapping all his guitars in half and setting fire to everything.’ Jon answers still focused intently on the television.
Jon was making this so easy. He was basically doing Brendon’s job for him.
‘So, have you ever met Ryan?’ Brendon asks, sneaking a sip of Jon’s bear.
‘Uh. One time, yeah. When Spencer left his keys at Ryan’s place. He was pretty shy though. He just came out to ask what was going on and to tell Spencer that he was out of pop tarts.’
‘Why would Spencer want to know which food he was low on?’ Brendon asks, vaguely confused.
‘Ryan’s kind of like a kid. Apparently sometimes he gets so wrapped up in his music he forgets to eat so Spencer has to go and force food onto him. He’s always had other people to look out for him so I guess he never really needed to do anything for himself.’
‘Oh.’ Brendon says, slowly processing the information. ‘So if he’s like a musician and obviously a successful one because look at his fucking massive house, how come I didn’t recognise him?’
‘Uh. Well. I don’t think he’s a very public person. Like. I don’t think he really does any tours. ‘Ryan Ross’ is only written real small on the inside of his album too, so probably most people just assumed ‘Relapse’ was his real name. Obviously they have some kind of brain tumour.’ Jon says with an amused chuckle.
‘Wait so. Let me get this straight. His name is Ryan Ross but he uses the name Relapse for his album? So nobody has any fucking idea who Ryan Ross actually is? Like at all?’
Jon shrugs in response. ‘I guess.’
‘But what’s the point in being famous if nobody even knows who you are?’
Jon just shrugs again and turns back to the television.
Brendon stares at nothing at wonders what the fuck is going on.
- - -
Tuesday morning and Brendon is slaving away, preparing a newly built flower bed for the daisies arriving that afternoon. His arms are kind of achy and he has soil clogging up his nose and he’s heard every coffee joke on the earth at least 5 times by now but he can’t help the soft smile on his face.
Since Brendon refuses to set foot in another coffee establishment ever again, Spencer is out on a coffee run leaving Brendon on his own. Sisky and Mikey are planting trees down by the south gates, Joe is nowhere to be seen, Gabe is out with Bill (who had texted him yesterday asking if they could meet up for lunch and talk), Frank and Gerard are, well, Brendon doesn’t know where they are but he’s pretty sure he doesn’t want to by the way they were undressing each other with their eyes earlier and Pete is around somewhere. Not that Brendon cares because he is still boycotting his friend.
Brendon stabs the fork into the grass and wipes the back of his hand over his sweaty forehead, flicking the wet bangs out of his face. He looks around, surveying the area and yeah. They’ve done a pretty fucking amazing job is he says so himself.
And then out of the corner of his eye he spots something hazel and his gaze flickers towards it. In the window just to the right of the flower bed Brendon is stood next to is Ryan Ross.
His eyes seem to widen when they catch Brendon’s and his cheeks colour slightly when he realises he has been caught watching but Brendon just grins and drags his face out into that expression that always makes Gabe piss himself laughing.
And it seems to work because next thing he knows Ryan Ross’ adorable little cheeks are bright red and he is biting down on his bottom lip in a totally cute way. But it draws Brendon’s attention to his pink, perfect lips and Brendon thinks oh, because they are really nice lips. His heart seems to flutter a little bit and his own face reddens a little in response.
But then Ryan’s eyes flicker over Brendon’s shoulder and then he scuttles from view.
Brendon frowns for a moment before he feels a soft tap on his shoulder and when he turns around Pete is stood there with a slightly nervous expression, chewing on his bottom lip, and Brendon can’t help but think how much more seductive it was when Ryan did it.
‘Uh, hey.’ Pete says cautiously.
‘Hi.’ Brendon replies coldly, feeling the grin slip off his face as he remembers Gabe’s words- we should talk to him.
‘So, uh, do you wanna go get coffee?’ Pete asks.
‘Well, uh, Spencer already went so-‘
‘Actually I told him to skip our orders.’ Pete cuts in with a sheepish grin.
‘Oh.’ Brendon replies dumbly. ‘I’ve got a lot of work to do anyway…’
‘I actually found this little café just down the road. It’s vegan but it’s pretty good.’ Pete says, reading Brendon’s mind. Because seriously, fuck him if he was going back to Starbucks.
With a sigh Brendon nods dejectedly and thinks might as well get this over with. Then he remembers the last time he thought that and how well that really didn’t turn out.
- - -
The place Pete brings him to is actually pretty nice. It’s a small place, huddled into the corner of 2 fairly unpopular streets but it has a nice, classy feel to it. The outside is painted a classic barber shop stripe pattern in brown with one large window allowing potential customers to look in. The interior consists mainly of mismatching but totally comfy sofas and the walls alternate between coffee brown and a pale green. The counter is wooden with only a small glass case at the side and to Brendon it looks like it would fit better in the old book store he walks past sometimes on the way to class but that just makes It even more special.
Brendon really likes it. In fact, it might be his new favourite place.
He follows Pete up to the counter and peers around the small room in slight awe.
‘Hey Pete, what can I get for you?’ Says a cheery voice and Brendon swivels his head towards the skinny guy manning the till. He’s only slightly taller than Brendon and his black hair swoops down to his shoulders. His bangs partly obscure his face but the slight fluff on his chin and his friendly smile are still in plain view. Brendon can’t help but smile in response.
‘Hey Shane. Can we get 2 medium lattes?’ Pete replies with a charming smile of his own and then when Shane’s eyes flicker to Brendon he adds, ‘Oh, and this is Brendon.’
‘Hey.’ Shane says while he starts preparing the drinks and Brendon lifts a hand in a sort of wave while still absorbed in taking in the new atmosphere.
Pete pays for both of them (‘I insist Urie’) and when Shane slides the drinks over his sleeves, which were already rolled up to his elbows (another thing that just made Brendon love this random stranger even more), lift up a little further revealing a trail of tattoos leading up his arms.
No wonder Pete likes him, they’re like tattoo buddies.
They go over to the back and occupy a pair of sofas and Pete glances around anxiously, obviously thinking of a way to start the conversation they were bound to have.
Meanwhile, Brendon takes in the other customers. Most of them look like the everyday kind of strangers that you pass on the street but a few stick out. One girl has bright pink hair and even pinker lipstick along with a tight, ruffled skirt that barely covers anything and bright red boots, the clunky kind that you can always hear coming.
Another guy has his black hood pulled tight over his white, blond hair and his eyes shoot around the shop, glaring at everyone in a way that has Brendon shivering slightly. He has a small silver ring wrapped around his lip and his tongue keeps sneaking out to poke it in a way that is almost entrancing.
‘So,’ Pete says, swinging Brendon’s attention back around to him. ‘I’m not sure what I did but. Um. So. Yeah. You’ve been, uh, avoiding me? I guess? And I just wanted to.’ Pete sighs in annoyance. ‘Look I just fucking miss you okay so could you tell me what I’ve done so I can apologise and we can stop fucking around like this.’ He finally rushes out.
Brendon’s eyes widen slightly at the outburst before he coughs awkwardly and glances around again. ‘Uh,’ he starts and falters. He hadn’t planned how to confront Pete about it.
Brendon makes a frustrated noise in the back of his throat and then sighs. ‘Why didn’t you tell me about Stump?’
Pete’s eye widen this time as shock at Brendon’s knowledge flood him. ‘Uh, what do you mean?’ He asks, playing dumb.
Brendon simply raises an eyebrow and let’s out a single disbelieving laugh. ‘I mean you’re fucking my professor, Pete.’ Well that wasn’t how he meant to say it. Too late now.
Pete almost squeals as his mouth turns downwards in horror. So he does know. ‘I. I just. You know. We. I didn’t. I didn’t know.’
‘What, you never connected the two all the times me and Gabe would talk about Stump? How many people do you think have a name like that? Seriously.’
‘His name’s Patrick.’ Pete snarls, instantly regretting it. He sighs. ‘Look. I’m sorry okay. I didn’t realise, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I didn’t know if it was serious, that’s why I didn’t tell you.’
‘And now…’ Brendon probes carefully, fingers running around the rim of his drink.
‘Yeah. It’s. It’s pretty serious.’ Pete replies with a small smile.
Brendon scrutinises his friend for a minute. It’s hard to not see the pure happiness hidden in Pete’s eyes, the obvious contentment with everything, with life and suddenly Brendon feels bad. This guy, Patrick, obviously makes him happy. What kind of friend would he be to deny Pete of that. Afterall, isn’t that what Brendon has been craving for years now.
‘Alright.’ He finally sighs out and Pete glances up.
‘Alright?’ Pete echoes cautiously.
‘Alright.’ Brendon nods and smiles, causing Pete to do the same.
They both sit and bask in the quiet for a small while, gently sipping their drinks before Pete speaks up again. ‘So, how did you. I mean, when did you…’
‘How did I find out?’ Brendon finishes for him and Pete nods. ‘Nightscape. I saw you together. The Saturday before last.’
‘Oh. Yeah.’ Pete says nodding again and then he seems to realise something. ‘I heard about Alex man. I’m sorry-‘
‘What are you apologising for?’ Brendon asks with a small laugh. ‘I’m the one who fucked him over.’
Pete flinches slightly. ‘Yeah but. If I was around it wouldn’t have happened. And even if I hadn’t been able to stop that preceding, I could have at least taken the coffee shot for you. You know. Taking one for the team and everything.’ Pete grins and Brendon thumps him in the arm.
‘Thanks man.’ He adds and leans back in his ultra comfy sofa.
‘So we good?’ Pete asks and Brendon nods.
‘Yeah. Of course.’
‘Awesome. So. Um. I was wondering. Like. Me and Pat-‘
‘Pat?’ Brendon cuts in with a knowing smile.
‘Yeah. Pat. We were gonna go to Nightscape tonight. So. Uh. You could come too. If you wanted. I mean. He’s a really great guy and everything-‘
‘Yeah. Sure.’ Brendon cuts in again and can’t help but feel slightly warmer inside when he sees Pete’s face light up in response.
- - -
Patrick buys Brendon 3 beers and volunteers to be his karaoke partner, even after Brendon previously dragged him onto the dance floor just in time for Electric Six’s ‘Gay Bar’ (and really, Brendon gets wild on that one).
Yeah. Patrick is a really great guy.
- - -
When Brendon wakes up it feels like somebody is bashing him in the head with about 40 hammers while simultaneously sawing at his throat and punching him in the gut. Yeah. It kind of really fucking sucks.
He climbs out of bed and vaguely notes that he is in fact naked (he’ll think about the implications of that later) before pulling on some discarded boxers and wobbling over to the door.
When he makes it into the kitchen, he instantly stumbles over to the coffee machine and jabs the ‘on button’. He waits a minute for the tell-tale grinding sound to tell him that coffee time is soon but it doesn’t come. So he waits a little longer then he presses the button again and waits and pushes it and pushes it and pushes it then he checks that it is indeed plugged in then pushes it again.
But still no coffee.
He is effectively shaking it to death when he hears soft foot fall behind him and a warm, tired voice says from behind him, ‘You’re out of coffee.’ And then he hears the fridge open and the clank of glass bottles and a quite glug. Normally Brendon would twirl around and tell them not to drink straight from the carton because that’s Brendon’s thing and he doesn’t want other people germing his juice up but he’s half dead and he has just realised that the person is Spencer who would just tell him to fuck off or shrug or do something equally infuriating.
Brendon places Steve carefully back onto the counter and listens to Spencer pad out of the kitchen and back down the hallway, into Jon’s room. He musters up the energy to find the sofa and drop onto it, closing his eyes and allowing his mouth to loll open.
Some imperceptible amount of time later, Jon and Spencer tumble into the lounge. Brendon feels a weight on his shoulder and then he’s being shaken awake.
‘What?’ He drawls, blinking his eyes open wearily and flinching at the sudden flood of light.
‘We’re heading out for my shift.’ Jon says quietly, stroking a hand through Brendon’s hair.
‘The Starbucks one?’ Brendon asks.
Jon chuckles. ‘No, the NASA Spaceport one you moron.’
‘Shhh. Too early.’ Brendon whispers but then his brain connects the word ‘Starbucks’ to the word ‘coffee’ and then everything is fine again. ‘Give me a minute. I’ll come with.’ He says before rolling off the sofa and crawling back to his room, Spencer and Jon holding back laughter as they watch his ass wiggle away.
- - -
Brendon is slowly sinking into his nice, squishy comfy chair. Starbucks isn’t technically open yet so he’s free to occupy the big sofa on his own and Jon set the music on low so he can slowly drift off to sleep again, maybe. He has a giant vanilla latte in one hand and he’s using the other to shield his eyes from the light pouring in through the window next to him.
He hears Jon humming along to some Radiohead song that Brendon is too tired to identify when something really heavy drops onto his legs making him yelp and recoil, shaking his mug causing it to slosh over the rim and spill onto the floor.
Brendon frowns at Spencer because he knows he will be the one Jon yells at for getting coffee on the carpet and maybe make him clean it up even though he does it terribly every time and Jon has to redo it (‘it’s the principal,’ Jon says, ‘also you missed a spot.’).
Spencer simply smirks back and makes himself comfy in the now unoccupied side of the sofa just as Jon plops down into the armchair opposite them.
‘All ready?’ Spencer asks.
‘Yeah. Just gotta wait for the ants to come crawling in.’ Jon replies with a sigh, resting his head on his hand.
‘Maybe it would help if you changed the sign to ‘open’.’ Spencer comments.
‘No. I still have 3 minutes of peace before 9am and no way am I giving those up just so some caffeine junkie can get his fix before he goes into the first stage of withdrawal.’
Spencer giggles while Brendon groans. He feels for the addicts. He barely ever has coffee but he still feels shitty without it. He can’t even imagine how they must feel.
Jon is cruel for denying them what they need most. What Brendon needs most is a cookie. Surely Jon wouldn’t deny HIM a cookie.
‘I want a cookie.’ Brendon mumbles and shoots Jon his best pleading look.
Jon just keeps his hand over his eyes and shoots back, ‘good to know.’
‘Jooooon,’ Brendon whines, ‘Could I please have a delicious cookie? Maybe one with smarties in?’
Jon picks up the cushion beside him and throws it at Brendon’s head. He misses.
Just then the bell above the door rings, signalling the entrance of a customer and Jon’s head shoots up, planning to tell whoever it is that they don’t open for another 2 minutes so could you please wait outside but he pauses and his mouth snaps shut, eyebrow furrowing.
Brendon can’t muster up the energy to turn around and see who it is but the effort is saved anyway by Spencer saying, ‘Ryan?’ in a clearly confused tone.
‘You didn’t come by to pick up the first demo.’ A silky voice says, completely devoid of any emotion except echoing Spencer’s confusion.
‘That’s because it’s Wednesday.’ Spencer says with a small smile and a chuckle. Brendon rolls his head to the side and indeed, Ryan Ross is stood there, equipped with trademark bandana and a tight leather jacket paired with a frown.
‘Oh.’ Ryan says. Then his eyes flicker over to Brendon whose own gaze was fixed on the taller’s mouth. Brendon flushes slightly and looks away.
Spencer notices Ryan’s gaze and says quickly, ‘Oh yeah. Ryan this is Brendon, Brendon this is Ryan.’
‘I know.’ Ryan answers in a blank voice and Brendon finds it strangely annoying.
‘Oh.’ Spencer replies in surprise this time. ‘So, um, did you already talk to him about…’
‘No.’ Ryan cuts in with a frantic shake of the head. ‘No.’
Brendon shoots Spencer a confused look. ‘Talk to me about what?’ He asks, redirecting his gaze to a sheepish looking Ryan.
‘Nothing.’ Ryan says firmly and looks away.
‘Well I better get to work.’ Jon says standing up and striding over to the door, turning the sign over and then heading over to the counter where he slips on the tacky green apron.
‘I thought Alex was on shift with you?’ Spencer says, following him over with Ryan in tow. Brendon tenses slightly. He doesn’t need any more clothes smelling of coffee, it took 3 tries to get the scent out the previous time.
‘No. Keltie is supposed to be coming in at about half past.’
Jon begins prepping the supplies while Brendon sits quietly, listening to the faint hum of music as he discretely watches Ryan and Spencer converse. Ryan’s mouth is permanently set in a small frown and Spencer looks slightly exasperated. There eyes dodge over to Brendon and they both pause when they find him watching.
Ryan says one last thing and then disappears out the door and down the road in a rush. Brendon watched him go with a sigh.