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: R
Warnings: sexual content, language
Betas for this chapter (the rest of the fic remains unbetaed, for the most part): Thanks to Lori, who obsessed over the boys with me, and to Pam, the grammar queen. I really appreciate it.
Original Post Date: Oct. 2006
A/N: Feedback and concrit is always welcome and appreciated.
Chapter One: The Distance
December 14, 1984
Brian sighed and reached for the remote so that he could turn the volume down on the television. “What?” he called out.
Morgan, Brian’s seven-year-old sister, ran into the living room holding a juice box. “I spilled juice on the carpet in my room,” she told him.
Brian let out another sigh. “What kind of juice?”
Morgan stepped forward and held up the juice box for his inspection. Grape juice, 100 natural. No sugar added. Made with real California grapes.
“How do you spill something out of a straw?” he asked her, standing up from the couch to get paper towels from the kitchen. “It’s almost impossible.”
“I don’t know,” Morgan responded. She had followed him into the kitchen. “It just came out.”
Brian grabbed a handful of paper towels and a bottle of carpet cleaning fluid and started walking back to Morgan’s room, which was right next to his, separated by a small bathroom right in the middle. “Is there a lot?” he asked.
Morgan shrugged. She was chewing on the straw, which was still poking out of the juice box. Her light brown hair had come out of the messy ponytail their mother had put it in just before she left for work that morning, and the loose, curly strands were sticking out from her head like a halo, or antennas. She had grape juice on her t-shirt, too.
When they got to Morgan’s room, Brian saw that she’d not only spilled grape juice on the carpet, but also on the rug and the bed. It was like she’d walked around her room, squeezing the juice box like a perfume atomizer. Brian turned to look at her. “How did you do that?”
Morgan shrugged again. “It just spilled.”
Brian sighed and dropped to his knees to clean the rug first. “Mom is going to be mad when she gets home. You know you have to be careful when you eat in your room.”
Morgan let out a deep sigh, but didn’t say anything.
Brian worked on the spot for a few minutes, doing his best to make sure the stain didn’t set. His mother would hate to see the carpet stained. Morgan’s bedspread was replaceable, but new carpet was expensive, and the Johnsons didn’t have lots of extra money to throw around, especially with Brian graduating in five months and planning to go off to college. Fortunately, Brian’s grades were good enough that he was almost guaranteed a scholarship to whatever university he decided on, but they still had to be careful.
“You missed a spot.”
Brian looked up. “What?”
Morgan pointed to the carpet next to his right knee. “You missed a spot.”
Brian shot her a glare and kept scrubbing at the floor.
On most days, Brian didn’t really mind looking after his sister. She was messy and forgetful, and she left her stuff lying around everywhere, which Brian hated, but she was pretty agreeable most of the time, and she didn’t cause him much trouble. Not that he had much of a choice anyway since both of their parents worked during the day. His mother got off early enough to pick Morgan up in the afternoons while school was in session, but during summer and winter breaks, Brian had to be home looking after her. He wondered vaguely what they were going to do next fall when he was away at college.
Which made him think of Andy, of course. Everything reminded him of Andy, if he was honest. Video games, food, homework, sports. He hadn’t seen him in more than three months, not since Andy left for Ohio to start his freshman year. They’d talked on the phone a couple of times during the semester, but not nearly as often as Brian had hoped they would. In fact, it was the middle of December, the first real day of winter break, and the two of them hadn’t spoken in over a month. Andy had told him at the beginning of November that he wouldn’t be home for Thanksgiving since the entire family was going to his grandmother’s house in New York, but that he would be home for Christmas. But that was a month ago, and Brian didn’t know what day he’d be coming back anyway, so he was trying not to think too much about when and if Andy was going to call.
Suddenly, the phone rang.
“Go get the phone, Morgan,” Brian told his sister, not even looking up from the floor. Then he realized that it was probably his mother, calling to make sure that they hadn’t burned the house down. He could only imagine Morgan telling her that she’d spilled grape juice all over the carpet in her bedroom. He looked up, hoping to catch her before she left so that he could tell her not to say anything yet, but she was already gone.
Brian sighed and went back to cleaning the floor. His thoughts turned once again to Andy, which meant that he was doing a really bad job of not obsessing over him. But how could he not, really? Andy was his best friend, or at least he had been before he left for college. Brian knew that Andy had friends in Ohio, mostly guys from the wrestling team, and he knew that it was probably ridiculous to expect that he and Andy were just going to pick up where they’d left off the summer before, even if he really hoped that they could.
Especially after the kiss.
Brian stopped scrubbing for a moment and settled back on his heels. The night before Andy left for Ohio, the two of them had made out on the baseball field behind the school. Brian had known for a long time that he felt that way about Andy, even though he’d tried, unsuccessfully, not to admit it to himself. But after the kiss, it was kind of impossible to keep pretending. It felt like he’d been sprinkling lighter fluid around, one drop at a time, for five months, and then Andy came along and dropped a lit match on the ground. The whole place had gone up in flames, and there wasn’t a damn thing that Brian could do about it.
Andy wasn’t making things any easier for him, either. In their handful of phone conversations, neither of them had said one word about what had happened between them on the field that night. Brian had wanted to so badly, but he also didn’t want to be the one to bring it up first. Instinctively, he knew that Andy wouldn’t respond very well, so he kept quiet about it, even though he had so many thoughts and questions. Like, did Andy like the kiss as much as Brian did? Did he want to do it again? Were they still just friends, or were they something more? Was Andy dating other people in college? Brian’s stomach tightened jealously imagining Andy with someone else, and he pushed the thought away before he could go down that road…again.
“It’s for you.”
Brian looked up to see that Morgan had returned to the bedroom. “Who is it?”
Morgan shrugged. “I don’t know. A boy.”
Brian’s heart skipped a beat. “What was his name?”
Morgan shrugged again and continued chewing on her juice box straw.
Brian walked out into the living room, where the wall phone was dangling off of the hook, swaying back and forth. Tentatively, he grabbed the cord and pulled the phone up to his ear. “Hello?”
Brian’s stomach fluttered nervously at the sound of his voice. “Hey.” He swallowed. “What’s, uh…what’s up?”
“Not much,” said Andy. “I just got back in town yesterday, and I was wondering if you wanted to hang out. You know, go back to Burger King or whatever, like old times.”
Old times. Brian nodded, even though Andy obviously couldn’t see him. “Yeah, that sounds great. I mean, I can’t go right now or anything, because I have to watch my sister until my mom gets home, but maybe after…” Brian paused, trying to slow himself down. “Um, when were you thinking?”
“I don’t know. When does your mom get home?”
“At about three thirty.”
“Okay, so I’ll just pick you up at four.”
Brian hesitated. “Okay. That sounds, uh…that sounds good.”
“So, I’ll see you later then.”
Brian nodded. “Yeah, yeah. Later.”
Brian heard a click, signaling that Andy had hung up. Brian kept the phone pressed against his ear for a second or two longer than necessary before he reached up and replaced it on the cradle. His heart was racing, but he didn’t know whether it was from nervousness or excitement.
“Who was that?”
Brian looked up to see Morgan standing a few feet away, still holding that damn juice box in her hand. At this rate, the entire house was going to be covered in 100 percent natural, no sugar added California grape juice.
“It was a friend,” he told her.
Morgan studied him closely. “Are you feeling sick?” she asked finally.
Brian frowned. “No, why?”
“Because your face is all red,” she told him.
Brian sighed and went back to Morgan’s room to finish cleaning the carpet.
Mrs. Johnson arrived home at exactly 3:30 in the afternoon, just as Brian had predicted. Thankfully, Morgan didn’t tell her about the grape juice stain the moment she walked through the door, which gave Brian the chance to break it to her gently. He’d managed to work out most of the stain, and what was left could easily be covered by a rug. Surprisingly enough, his mother wasn’t that angry about it, though she did tell Morgan that she was never allowed to take juice into her room again.
At about four o’clock, Brian was in his bedroom changing into a navy blue sweater when the doorbell rang. Brian stopped fiddling with his collar and walked out into the living room, which was thankfully empty. He opened the front door to find Andy standing on his front porch, hands jammed into the pockets of his red and black letter jacket. His cheeks and nose were pink from the cold. God, he’d missed him so much.
“Hey, man,” Andy said, smiling widely. “What’s up?”
Brian couldn’t help but smile back. “Not much.”
Andy nodded. “You hungry?” Brian nodded. “Let’s go.”
On the way to Burger King, Andy told him about Thanksgiving with his family in New York, about how his dad and his aunt Maggie had gotten into it over something, just like they always did when the Clark family got together to celebrate the holidays. Brian watched him as he talked, trying to figure out how much he’d changed. He looked about the same as the last time he’d seen him, except for his hair, which was shorter. But there was something else, too. Something that Brian couldn’t really put his finger on.
“What about you? How was your Thanksgiving?”
Brian blinked. “Oh, uh…it was fine. We went to my aunt and uncle’s house in Evanston.”
Andy nodded. “Did you have fun?”
Brian shrugged. “I guess. I mean, it was okay. It was…”
“Family?” Andy offered.
Brian paused thoughtfully, then smiled. “Yeah.”
Andy pulled his Bronco into the Burger King parking lot and cut the engine. The two of them walked inside, ordered, and grabbed their regular booth in the corner by the window.
“So, tell me about your semester,” said Andy, unwrapping his cheeseburger.
“Oh.” Brian pulled open a package of ketchup and squirted it out into his container of chicken nuggets. “It was okay.”
Andy took a bite of his burger. “How’d your classes go?”
“Good,” Brian answered. “I got all A’s.”
Andy nodded and swallowed his food. “What were you taking?”
For the first time since Andy picked him up, Brian’s heart sank a little bit. He remembered telling Andy about all of his classes at the beginning of the semester, about which ones he loved and which ones he hated. His favorite was an elective European Literature class, which he’d told Andy about in some detail the last time they’d spoken on the phone. Brian, who knew Andy’s schedule by heart and knew all the classes that were giving him trouble and all the classes he didn’t mind, tried to remind himself that Andy had a lot going on with college and that he really couldn’t expect him to keep track of little things like that.
“I was taking, um, Physics II, Chemistry II, Calculus, and this other class, an elective, about European Literature from--”
“Man, I hate Calculus,” Andy interrupted, swallowing a mouthful of food. “I had to take it this semester, too.”
Yeah, I know. Brian cleared his throat. “How did you do?”
Andy shrugged. “C. I’m just glad it’s over with.”
Brian nodded. “What about your other classes? Didn’t you say you liked that history class you were taking?”
Andy nodded. If he was surprised that Brian had remembered which classes he was taking, he didn’t show it. “Yeah, it was alright. I ended up with an A-, which was really good.”
Brian picked up another chicken nugget and dipped it into the puddle of ketchup. “That’s great.”
Andy nodded and chuckled. “My friend Greg was in the class with me, and he didn’t do as well. He kept asking the other guys to write his papers for him, but no one would do it.” Andy laughed again, obviously deep into the memory. “It was really funny.”
Brian nodded stiffly. “Yeah, that’s…that’s funny,” he said, forcing himself to sound cheerful.
Andy nodded and took another bite of his cheeseburger. “Yeah, it was.”
Brian nodded again, not sure what Andy expected him to say about someone he’d never even met. Apparently, Andy just wanted to tell the story and didn’t expect anything, because he dove into his cheeseburger again.
Brian watched Andy eat, trying to imagine what Andy was really thinking about being back home and seeing him again. He didn’t seem particularly uncomfortable being there with him, but Brian couldn’t tell if that was a good thing or not, especially since he was so nervous that he could hardly even taste his own food. He wanted some sign that Andy had thought about this as much as he had, but there weren’t any.
“So, uh, how does it feel to be home again?” Brian asked.
Andy shrugged and swallowed the last of his cheeseburger. “Fine.”
Brian nodded slowly. “What about your dad?”
“Still an asshole,” said Andy, “But he hasn’t been one to me yet, so everything’s okay so far.”
Brian nodded and took another bite of his chicken nuggets. When he swallowed, he wiped his mouth with a napkin and looked up at Andy again. “How long are you going to be in town for?”
“Until the thirteenth of January. The semester starts on the fifteenth.” Andy shook his head. “I hope my dad doesn’t start shit with me while I’m home. It’s been so nice to not have him breathing down my neck all semester.”
Brian offered him a hesitant smile, but Andy was too distracted by his milkshake to notice. “I guess it would be nice to get away from all of the pressure.”
Andy scoffed. “Yeah, definitely. At school, I can just do whatever I want, and I don’t have to worry about what he’d do if he found out. It’s none of his business anymore.”
Brian nodded. He remembered something Andy had told him the previous summer, about how earning a full scholarship was the best thing that ever could have happened to him because it meant that he wasn’t financially dependent on his parents anymore, and therefore his father couldn’t tell him what to do. In theory. Brian wondered how it worked in practice. “That must be nice,” he said.
Andy shook his head and let out a mirthless chuckle. “Man, he would shit bricks if he knew what kind of stuff went on this past semester.”
Brian’s stomach went cold. “What do you mean?” he asked. “What kind of stuff?”
Andy shrugged. “Parties, drinking, whatever. All the stuff he never let me do back in high school.”
Brian nodded, but it was forced. “Oh.”
Andy let out a little laugh, and then said the worst thing imaginable. “Yeah, we had some fun at the sorority houses.” He grinned and shook his head. “Those girls were hot.”
Brian felt like he’d been sucker-punched. “What?”
“The girls,” said Andy, a little bit louder than before. “They were really hot.”
Brian had never felt so stupid and small in his entire life. He swallowed deeply and forced himself to nod. “Oh…right.”
Andy didn’t seem to notice his discomfort. He nodded at Brian’s tray. “You going to eat those?” he asked, referring to Brian’s half-eaten carton of chicken nuggets.
Brian shook his head and pushed the tray away from himself. “No,” he said quietly. “I’m not hungry.”
After they finished eating, Andy dropped Brian off at his house again, offering vague plans to hang out again sometime soon. Brian was still reeling from Andy’s stories at lunch and could only manage a brief nod before he stumbled out of the Bronco and went into the house.
That night, as he lay in bed, he tried to imagine what Andy was doing at his house. He imagined him changing clothes, brushing his teeth, talking to his mother. He’d done it before, while Andy was at college, but this time it was different. Andy was different. He hung out with wrestlers, college guys. He talked more, laughed a little bit louder. His letter jacket was red and black, not blue, and his hair was shorter. All in all, Brian was finding the changes hard to process.
And the hardest part to process was definitely Andy’s new social life. Brian’s life hadn’t changed much over the months, if he was honest. He ate lunch with the Physics Club like he always did, but he didn’t confide in them the way he used to before he met Andy. Andy was still his best friend, despite the distance and the infrequent conversations. The problem was, Brian was pretty sure that he wasn’t Andy’s best friend anymore, and that realization hurt more than he could have anticipated, if he had anticipated it, which he hadn’t. That said, it was hard to know which part hurt more, the new friends or the sorority girls. Brian kept imagining Andy at frat parties, getting drunk with his wrestling buddies and making out with really beautiful girls. Maybe they even had sex. The idea made him nauseous, but he couldn’t force it out of his mind. He lay there for a long time, unable to sleep.
Sometime after midnight, there was a knock on his window. Brian’s eyes flew open, and his heart started hammering loudly. He sat up in bed and reached over to pull back the curtains.
Andy was standing outside, his face just inches away from the glass, eyes narrowed in Brian’s direction like he was concentrating really hard on something. Brian unlocked the window and slid it open, and Andy put his hand on the ledge and hauled himself up onto the window sill. Brian tried to scoot out of the way, but Andy fell onto the bed, half on top of him.
Brian didn’t know who made the first move--maybe it was both at the same time, like magnets--but it didn’t take long for their mouths to find one another. Andy was still on top of him, straddling Brian’s legs, his hands tangled up in Brian’s comforter. Brian wrapped his arms around Andy’s back, and they tumbled down onto the mattress together, Andy on top. Their mouths came together again, so hard that Brian was worried they were going to hurt one another. Andy’s lips and cheeks were cold from being outside, but the rest of his body was warm against his, and Brian’s head was swimming with heady pleasure. He tightened his arms around Andy’s torso and brought their bodies closer together.
At some point during all of this, Andy might have said something like, “I’m sorry,” and Brian might have said something like, “It’s okay,” but everything was such a blur that all he could really remember was how good it felt to be able to touch him after being apart for so long. How relieved he was that it wasn’t over.
Andy shifted his hips forward slightly, and Brian felt Andy’s groin press firmly against his abdomen. The movement flooded his stomach with a warm wave of desire, and without even thinking about it he reached down and put his hands on Andy’s hips, pulling him tighter against him. Andy let out a little moan against Brian’s mouth, as if after four months he just couldn’t keep it in any longer. Brian’s heart skipped a beat, and he wondered if Andy had dreamed about this, too. If he’d stayed up late at night, unable to sleep because he couldn’t keep Brian’s face out of his head. Brian hoped it was the truth. He wanted to believe that Andy had missed him as much as he’d missed Andy.
After a few minutes of frantic kissing, both boys were breathing heavily, drawing deep breaths of air from their nostrils so that they wouldn’t have to break the kiss. Brian suddenly realized that they were making out in his bed, right down the hall from where his parents were (hopefully) sleeping. He pulled his mouth away from Andy’s.
“My parents,” he whispered.
Andy glanced over at the door, then back at Brian. “Are they asleep?” he asked breathlessly.
Brian shook his head. “I don’t know.”
Andy took a deep breath and released it against Brian’s cheek. “We could go to the baseball field.”
Brian nodded, and their noses brushed together. “Yeah.”
“Everything’s so different now.”
The two of them were lying on the bleachers behind the baseball field next to the school, Andy on the step above Brian’s, facing opposite directions so that they could see one another.
“How?” Brian asked.
Andy shrugged. “My place on the team. Back in high school, I was always the best guy, you know?” He shook his head. “Not anymore.”
Brian released a warm breath, momentarily turning the air in front of him a hazy white. “But you’re still a good wrestler. One of the best.”
Andy sighed, but didn’t say anything. His hands were resting on his stomach, and he was staring up at the night sky. It was so dark outside that Brian could barely make out the outlines of his face.
“Part of me kind of wishes I was back in high school,” Andy said finally. “Everything was easier back then.”
Brian nodded. He wished Andy was back in high school, too. Because then they would be together, and Brian wouldn’t feel so alone all the time. “Yeah,” he said quietly.
Andy shifted around on the bench and glanced down at Brian. “What about you? Where do you want to go?”
Immediately, Brian could feel himself blushing, and he was grateful for the cloak of darkness. Pretty much all he’d been thinking about all semester was college and applications and essays, probably because his mother brought it up just about every night at dinner. She wanted him to go to one of the state schools, because they’d figured out that pretty much every one of them would give him a decent-sized scholarship, and then they wouldn’t have to take out another mortgage on the house to pay for tuition. Secretly, Brian was hoping that Ohio State would offer him something big so that he would have a good excuse to go there. Because there wasn’t anywhere else that he wanted to go. The past semester had been hard for Brian without Andy there to lean on, and he knew that if they went to the same school that it would be just like it was before, back in high school when they hung out all the time and relied on one another for everything.
“Mostly the state schools,” Brian told him.
“Really?” Andy seemed surprised. “I figured you’d be going to Harvard or something.”
“Too expensive,” Brian replied. “We’re hoping I’ll get a scholarship if I go to a public school.”
Andy nodded. “That makes sense.”
Brian started to say something about Ohio State, but then thought better of it. He’d mention it later, when Andy was more comfortable being back home. He didn’t want to overwhelm him on his second day back. “Besides,” he said instead, tilting his head back to look at the stars. “I don’t think Harvard would want someone who couldn’t even make an elephant.”
Andy laughed, but it wasn’t the same laugh from earlier when they were at Burger King. It was quieter, less boisterous. More like his old laugh from before he left for college. Brian’s chest swelled with joy, and he smiled.
“I’m glad you’re back,” he said impulsively.
Andy was quiet for a minute. Even in the darkness, Brian could see that he wasn’t smiling anymore. Brian worried that maybe he’d said the wrong thing, or at least that he’d said it too soon, but then Andy spoke.
“Yeah, me, too,” he said quietly.