Title: Don't Dream It's Over
Summary: Sequel to When You Call My Name. When Andy comes home from college for winter break, Brian finds that a lot can change in three months. He has doubts about where they really stand, even as his own feelings grow beyond his control.
Overall Rating: R (future chapters may go up to NC-17 on livejournal)
Chapter Rating: PG-13
Chapter warnings: language
Previous chapters: 1
Chapter Two: The Mistake
Brian woke on Saturday morning to the sound and smell of his mother cooking bacon in the kitchen. He turned over to look at his alarm clock. 8:07. He hadn’t gotten back from hanging out with Andy until almost two o’clock in the morning, and he really wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, but he knew that his mother would probably come by soon to wake him up anyway, so he went ahead and got out of bed.
As he changed clothes, he thought back to his time with Andy on the baseball field the night before and how different it felt being with him then than it did when they were eating lunch at Burger King earlier that afternoon. At Burger King, Brian was so nervous that he could hardly remember to eat, but on the baseball field all of that went away. He wasn’t sure exactly why, only that it had a lot to do with the way Andy was acting. At Burger King, he’d acted so differently from the person Brian knew back in high school, the one that cried over beating up Larry Lester and worried about becoming like his father. The person sitting across from him at Burger King was still Andy, but there was so much missing or hidden away that Brian almost didn’t recognize him.
But on the baseball field, the old Andy came back, and Brian was so relieved. He hoped it was for good. He didn’t want Andy to change. In fact, he didn’t want anything to change, even though part of him knew that some things already had.
After he finished getting dressed, Brian opened his bedroom door and stepped out into the hallway, where he could already hear his father and his little sister talking in the kitchen. Suddenly, he remembered what he’d done with Andy in his bedroom the night before. What if his parents hadn’t been asleep and they’d heard the bed creaking or Brian breathing heavily or Andy moaning? What if Morgan, with nothing but a tiny bathroom separating her bedroom from Brian’s, heard the window opening and told their parents about it? Brian felt his stomach curling in on itself like a snail shrinking back into its shell. Oh, god.
Brian took a deep breath and forced himself to keep walking, knowing that he couldn’t avoid his parents forever and that if they did know that hiding wouldn’t help, especially where his mother was concerned. She had a special skill for sniffing out weakness, and she could usually tell when someone was lying to her. It occurred to him then that maybe that was why he found it so hard to lie to people. He knew he couldn’t get away with it anyway, so why bother trying?
When Brian stepped into the dining room, his father looked up, smiling. “Good morning,” he said cheerfully.
Immediately, Brian felt his stomach loosen. They didn’t know. “Good morning,” he replied, returning the smile. He took a seat across the table from his little sister, who was watching him as she ate her pancakes, which were covered in maple syrup.
“Your hair is sticking up,” she offered in greeting.
Brian rolled his eyes. “Thank you.”
Mrs. Johnson walked in then, holding a plate of pancakes. “I was just about to come wake you,” she told her son. “How many do you want?”
“Uh…three, I guess.”
Mrs. Johnson scooped up three pancakes with her spatula and deposited them onto Brian’s plate. Then she put the plate at the center of the table and sat down next to him. Brian reached for the syrup and started fixing his pancakes.
“I still need to pick up a few gifts for Christine’s kids,” Mrs. Johnson said, picking up her napkin. “I was going to go over to Macy’s later.” She looked over at Brian. “Do you want to come with me? I don’t know how many gifts you have left to get.”
Brian swallowed a bite of pancake. “Actually, um…Andy and I were going to go to the mall today. He still has to pick out some gifts for his family.”
Mrs. Johnson frowned. “Is Andy the one you went out with last night?”
Brian’s heart leapt into his throat, but then he realized that she was referring to their trip to Burger King in the late afternoon. “Uh, yeah. Yeah, it is.”
“He’s in college now, isn’t he?” asked Mr. Johnson.
Brian nodded. “Yeah. Ohio State.”
“So, he’s back home for Christmas?”
“Yep, for a whole month.”
Mr. Johnson smiled. “I’ll bet it’s nice to see him again. You two hung out a lot last summer, didn’t you?”
Brian nodded stiffly, wishing they could just change the subject. It felt so strange to talk about Andy with his parents, especially after what happened the night before. He felt his face heat up slightly at the memory of the two of them rolling around on his bed, and he cursed himself for it. Could his parents tell how he felt about Andy just by the way he acted when he was talking about him? Could they tell that Andy was more than just a friend? He looked over at mother, but she was too busy pouring orange juice to notice the tint to his cheeks.
“So, what time is he picking you up?”
Brian looked back over at his father. “Um, ten o’clock.”
The phone rang, and Mrs. Johnson stood from her chair and put her napkin on the table. “I’ll get it.”
“Have you bought me a gift yet?” Morgan asked, looking straight at Brian.
Brian scoffed. “I’m not going to tell you.”
“I really want Winter Princess Barbie,” she said, looking at him seriously. “If Mommy doesn’t have it for me, you should get it.”
Brian glared at her. “With an attitude like that, maybe I won’t get you anything.”
Morgan stuffed another piece of pancake into his mouth, and a drop of syrup fell onto the sleeve of her nightshirt. “I already got you something,” she told him, still chewing.
“So?” Brian asked.
“So, that means you have to get me something, too.”
Brian frowned. “That’s not what Christmas means, Morgan.”
Mr. Johnson cleared his throat. “Well, I know what I want for Christmas,” he informed them. “Those new Titleist Pro golf balls. Mick Schaeffer down at the clubhouse uses those, and he’s lowered his score by an average of ten points since he started using them.”
Brian and Morgan stared back at him blankly.
Mr. Johnson smiled sheepishly. “That is, you know, if either of you needed any suggestions about what to get me.”
“I don’t care what Michael wants, Christine!”
Brian glanced into the kitchen, where he could see his mother standing in the middle of the room with the phone pressed against her ear. Her jaw was clenched in anger, and she was staring at the cabinet above her head as if she couldn’t tear her eyes away.
“We decided this three months ago!” she shouted. “You can’t start changing things around just because you feel like it!”
Brian glanced over at his father, who looked just as uncomfortable as Brian felt.
“So, what else is new?” Mrs. Johnson shouted into the phone. “You change your mind, and you expect everyone else to change their plans to suit you.” She shook her head furiously. “Well, this time, you can forget it. You and Michael and everyone else can have Christmas all by yourself, because we won’t be there!” Without waiting for a response, she slammed the phone down onto the cradle and walked back into the dining room.
Mr. Johnson opened his mouth hesitantly. “Catherine…”
“Is everyone finished with these pancakes?” She didn’t wait for anyone to respond before she picked up the plate from the center of the table and disappeared into the kitchen again.
Mr. Johnson sighed and put down his fork, then followed his wife into the kitchen. He walked up behind her and put his hand on the small of her back. She flinched, but he leaned in and started speaking to her, so softly that Brian couldn’t hear what they were saying. After a few seconds, Mrs. Johnson leaned into the touch and rested her forehead against her husband’s shoulder.
Brian looked back at Morgan, who was watching their parents apprehensively. “It’s going to be okay,” he assured her.
Morgan looked up at him. “Does this mean we aren’t having Christmas?” she asked.
Brian shook his head. “No, we will.”
“But not with Aunt Christine and Uncle Michael?”
Brian shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Morgan didn’t say anything to this, just went back to her pancakes. Brian took another sip of his orange juice. After a few seconds, Morgan looked up at him again. “Did you really not get me a present?” she asked.
Brian sighed. “I’m going to, Morgan.”
“Because I got you something really good, so you have to get me something good, too.” She looked her brother straight in the eye. “Winter Princess Barbie is only fifteen dollars at Toyland. I already checked.”
Brian rolled his eyes and went back to his pancakes.
“So, this is your mother’s sister?”
Brian nodded and stepped around an elderly couple walking right in the middle of the aisle. “Yeah, my Aunt Christine.”
Andy took a long sip from the soda in his hand, then tossed the cup into a nearby garbage can as they passed. The mall was already busy, even though it was only ten thirty. There were only two Saturdays left before Christmas, and it seemed like everyone in Shermer was at the mall buying gifts before everything good disappeared. Andy had already run into one of his old teammates’ mothers, along with a couple of his mother’s friends from the gym.
“So, do they not get along, or what?” Andy asked.
Brian shrugged. “Not really. My grandma died two years ago, and I remember that they fought a lot when they were making funeral arrangements. They still fight over my grandfather a lot.”
“Over your grandfather?” Andy echoed, glancing over at him. “Why?”
“I don’t know,” Brian replied. “After my grandma died, they argued about where he was going to stay. My aunt wanted him to move in with them, but my mom wanted him to move in with us.”
Andy’s eyes widened. “What did he do?”
“He told them to stop arguing and mind their own business, and he stayed in his old house.”
Andy smiled. “Sounds like my grandfather.” He reached up and unbuttoned his letter jacket, letting it fall open to reveal a pale grey, long-sleeved t-shirt. “So, are you guys really not going to have Christmas with them?”
Brian shrugged. “I don’t know. My parents didn’t tell me anything, but from the way my mother sounded, probably not.”
“That sucks,” said Andy.
Andy stopped in front of Toyland, the mall’s toy store. There were about a million people inside, and the cashiers already looked frazzled. A large woman carrying three huge bags pushed passed them, nearly knocking Brian over with a huge stuffed teddy bear.
“Wanna go in?” asked Andy. “I have to get my nephew something cool.”
“Which one?” asked Brian as they pushed through a large group of people that were standing in line to pay for their things.
“Nicolas,” Andy replied. “Todd’s oldest. He’s five.”
“Oh.” Todd was Andy’s oldest brother, and their father’s favorite. He’d gone to college on a full basketball scholarship, and he’d graduated with nearly perfect grades. He and his wife lived in Boston, where Todd taught high school basketball. His team had made it to the state championships in three of the past five seasons, and they were expected to make it there again in the upcoming season.
“What about this?” Brian picked up a large stuffed bear with huge eyes in the shape of eggs.
Andy frowned. “I don’t know if he likes stuffed animals anymore.”
“Oh.” Brian put the bear back down in the display container. “I guess I’m just used to shopping for my sister.”
Andy moved towards the back half of the store, where the toys were divided by aisles. He stepped into the first aisle, where the Barbies were located, then turned around so that he could find a different aisle, presumably with more masculine toys. Brian grabbed him by the sleeve.
“Wait, I have to get something for my sister,” he told him. “Some kind of winter Barbie.”
“Winter Barbie?” Andy asked skeptically. He picked up one of the boxes, with a bikini-clad Barbie wearing sunglasses and carrying a pink and blue beach towel, and gazed at it confusedly, as if he had never seen a Barbie before. It probably wasn’t far from the truth. Andy was the youngest of four kids, and only one of them, his older sister Suzie, was a girl. By the time Andy came along, she probably wasn’t playing with dolls anymore.
Brian scanned the shelves for Winter Whatever Barbie, but couldn’t find it. His sister had specifically told him that the doll would be available at Toyland. Then again, maybe they’d run out. He remembered how worried Morgan had been the year before when she’d asked Santa for a Cabbage Patch doll and then they’d found out that almost every store was sold out. Luckily, their mother was very on top of things, and she’d purchased the doll in October, before the rush.
“Is this it?”
Brian looked over to see that Andy was holding up a pale blue box with the words “Winter Princess Barbie” written across the top in sparkly, cursive letters.
“Yeah, that’s it!” Brian exclaimed, accepting the box gratefully. “I’m glad they had one left.”
“They have three of them on the bottom shelf, right next to--OW!” Andy bent over, clutching his ankle. There was a large toy car sitting on the ground right next to his foot.
“Sorry!” A young boy, probably nine or ten years old, was standing at the end of the aisle, holding a remote control in his hand. He flicked a switch, and the car took off back down the aisle. It disappeared around the corner, and the boy followed it.
“Are you okay?” asked Brian, looking down at Andy, who wasn’t paying attention to his ankle anymore, but was staring down the aisle, where the boy had been standing.
“Do you think Nicolas would like a remote control car?” he asked, walking down the aisle after the boy.
Brian shrugged and followed him. “I don’t know. Do you think he would?” The two of them turned the corner, and Andy glanced down the aisles, looking for the toy cars.
“Maybe,” Andy replied. He found the aisle he was looking for and started pushing past people so that he could see what was available. There was one shelf lined with about six different sample cars with remote controls. Andy grabbed a big red truck with wheels the size of his hand and set it on the floor. He flipped the switch on the remote control, then pushed the joystick forward. The truck started down the aisle and ran into a shelf of Matchbox cars, sending a couple of packages tumbling onto the floor. Andy laughed.
“You get one,” he told Brian. “We’ll race.”
Brian let out a nervous laugh and glanced down the aisle, where a couple of women were frowning in Andy’s direction. “Um, are you sure we’re allowed to do that?”
“Sure, why not?” Andy responded easily. “Why else would they have samples?”
“I don’t know.” Brian watched the truck skitter down the aisle again, this time ramming into a display of G.I. Joes.
“Come on,” said Andy. “Get the black Mustang. I’ll bet that one goes really fast.”
Brian sighed and picked up the black sports car that was sitting next to the empty spot where Andy’s truck had been sitting. The remote control looked similar to the one that he used for his video game console, so it didn’t take long for him to figure out how to use it. He stuffed his sister’s Barbie under one arm and set the car on the floor.
“Okay, let’s start at the same place,” said Andy. He backed his truck up until it was a couple of feet in front of them. “First to get past the display of teddy bears wins, okay?”
“Wins what?” asked Brian. “Is this a bet?”
Andy rolled his eyes. “No, just…” He shook his head. “On three, okay?”
Brian nodded. The women on the other end of the aisle were still eying them suspiciously.
Brian pushed forward on the joystick, and his car shot forward. Andy was right; it was really fast. It sped past the women at the end of the aisle, quickly overtaking Andy’s truck. He heard Andy curse under his breath, but then he was laughing again as Brian’s car hit a bump on the floor and flipped over, landing in someone’s empty shopping basket.
Brian ran over and picked his car up out of the basket. “Sorry,” he muttered. The customer, a middle-aged man, chuckled and turned back to his wife, who was looking at board games.
“I win!” Andy exclaimed as Brian walked back down the aisle to where he was standing.
Brian rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t keep his mouth from curling into a smile. Andy was grinning widely, face flushed with excitement like a little boy, and Brian felt his insides tighten up with emotion. He stood there for a long moment, watching Andy play with his bright red truck.
“I think he’ll like this, don’t you?” he asked, not even looking up from the floor.
Brian nodded. “Yeah, it’s really fun.”
“Which one should I get? Yours was cool.”
Brian walked back over to the display of remote control cars. “There’s also a red Porsche over here…and an Army tank.”
“I think I like the sports cars,” Andy called out over his shoulder, still occupied with his truck.
Brian picked up one of the black Mustangs that was still in its box, then walked back over to where Andy was standing. Brian came up behind Andy just as a couple of kids brushed past him, forcing him over. He pressed himself against Andy’s side and put his hand against the small of Andy’s back to let him know that he was there. “I got the Mustang. It’s--”
He didn’t get to finish the sentence. Andy pulled away as though he’d been burned, and Brian’s hand fell away from his lower back. Andy turned back to look at him, expression angry and panicked. Immediately, Brian felt his face heat up.
“Sorry,” he said quietly. “I didn’t--”
Andy grabbed the box from Brian’s hand. “Yeah, I think he’ll like the Mustang,” he said shortly, his tone clipped and professional, like he was talking to a business partner instead of his friend.
Brian nodded stiffly, confused. “Yeah, I’m sure he will.”
Andy nodded and tucked the car under his arm, then reached into his back pocket for his wallet. “I’m going to go pay for this.” Without waiting for Brian to respond, he walked down the aisle towards the check out line.
Brian stared after him for a moment, then looked down at the box in his hand. Barbie was staring back at him, her plastic smile frozen onto her face, her unblinking eyes watching him closely to see what he was going to do next. Brian sighed and let the box fall to his side, then followed Andy to the register.
The rest of the morning went by rather awkwardly. They went to Dillard’s so that Andy could buy his mom a bracelet, then to the sporting goods store so that Brian could find those golf balls his dad wanted. They didn’t talk much, or at least Brian didn’t. Andy seemed to have recovered from the incident at the toy store, but Brian was having a hard time processing what had happened. Had he done something wrong? He hadn’t meant to touch him like that. Things had just been going so well that morning and the night before, and Brian had felt so comfortable with him, playing with the toy cars and talking about their families. It felt natural to touch Andy the way he had, and even though he probably shouldn’t have done it in public, Brian still wasn’t sure what he’d done wrong.
But maybe Andy had decided that he didn’t want him anymore, at least not in that way. Sure, they’d made out in his bed, but they hadn’t done anything since. Even on the baseball field, all they’d done was talk. Maybe what happened in his bedroom was an accident or a mistake. Maybe Andy had changed his mind and regretted kissing him, both the night before and all those months ago before Andy left for college. Brian felt sick to his stomach thinking of himself as nothing more than one of Andy’s mistakes, but he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
At about twelve thirty that afternoon, Andy pulled up to the curb in front of Brian’s house and put the Bronco in ‘Park’. Brian started to open the door and make a quick exit, but then Andy cleared his throat and said, “So, maybe we can hang out tonight.”
Brian looked over at him, brow furrowed in confusion. “Hang out?”
Andy nodded, and Brian thought that he looked a little bit uncomfortable. “Yeah. Maybe we can go out to the baseball fields.” He paused. “We can stop and get some beers or something.”
Brian frowned, but didn’t ask for further clarification. “Um, yeah, sure. That sounds good.”
Andy nodded, looking slightly relieved. “Okay, cool. I’ll pick you up at ten thirty?”
Brian managed a brief nod. “Ten thirty. Sure.”
Andy smiled awkwardly. “See you then.”
At ten twenty-five that night, Brian was lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, counting down to ten thirty. All day, he’d thought about Andy, trying to figure out what he wanted from him. Were they going to go to the baseball fields and hang out as friends, like they used to last summer, or did Andy want to do other things? His reaction at the toy store suggested that he didn’t want to do any of that stuff anymore, but then there was that nervousness in his eyes and in his voice when he’d dropped him off that afternoon, and Brian had no idea what to expect.
At ten twenty-nine, Brian pushed open his window as carefully as he could and dropped down onto the hard, dry soil of his father’s vegetable garden. When he walked out to the front yard, he saw that Andy was already waiting for him by the curb. Brian opened the door to the Bronco and slipped into the passenger seat.
“Hey,” said Brian.
Andy nodded stiffly. “Hey.” He motioned to the floor beneath Brian’s seat, where he’d stashed an unopened six-pack of Budweisers. “I stopped before I came.”
The ride to the fields was silent, except for the radio, which was tuned to some rock station that seemed completely out of place, given the circumstances. Brian tried to keep his eyes on the road or the dashboard, but he couldn’t keep from sneaking a few furtive glances at Andy’s hands, which were drumming lightly against the steering wheel.
When they arrived at the field, Andy locked the Bronco and Brian took the beers. They walked out to the bleachers, where Brian set the six-pack on the second row from the bottom. He looked up to see Andy watching him from a few feet away.
“You can have one,” he said quietly.
Brian glanced down at the beers, then back up at Andy’s face. “That’s okay, I don’t want any.”
Andy paused, taking it in. “Yeah, me neither,” he said finally.
Neither of them said anything for a few seconds. Then Andy stepped forward, closing the space between them. Brian swallowed the lump of confusion that had been lodged in his throat since that horrible moment in the toy store, but it didn’t go away, even when Andy reached forward to push his fingers through Brian’s hair and bring their mouths together.
There were a million questions that Brian wanted to ask Andy, maybe more. Questions about what was happening between them and what Andy wanted and where Brian was or wasn’t allowed to touch him in public or when they were alone. So many questions, but Andy’s mouth was covering his, and Andy’s hands were pressed against his chest and neck, and Andy’s scent was in his nostrils, and Brian didn’t have the guts to say a single word.