Not What I Wanted

“I need to talk to you.” Simon’s voice, unamused, cuts through the peace and stillness.

Even at a party full of public nudity and sex, Leon is viscerally unwilling to have what sounds likely to be a hostile conversation while lying fully naked on the ground. He grabs for his pants, and is grateful to see that Simon has at least turned away while he and Rain dress themselves.

“Um.” Leon looks uncertainly at Rain while he buttons his shirt. “Should… should I leave?”

“You can if you want,” Rain says. “But I think whatever Simon has to say to me, he can say it to you too.”

It’s what Leon wanted to hear, but somehow it doesn’t make him feel any better.

Simon glances over one shoulder and turns around when he sees they’re both at least wearing pants. “Jesus Christ,” he growls. “I come to find you and you’re… you’re…” He sweeps his arm to indicate the ground where Leon and Rain have just been curled together.

“Hey man,” Leon says, his eyebrows knitting together quizically. “You knew. What the hell else did you think he was talking about back there?”

Simon’s face twists. “I didn’t think you’d still be going at it. I mean, what the fuck?”

“Simon.” Rain’s voice is soothing. “This, this – this doesn’t have to, to, to – to come between us. You’re, you’re – you’re my best friend, and, and – and I don’t want to, to – to lose that.”

“I come here to tell you… to tell you… fuck!” He clutches his head with both hands then turns his glare full-force on Leon. “And what the fuck does that look on your face mean?”

Leon realizes he’s been staring in open-mouthed confusion. “I don’t – I don’t – ” He looks helplessly at Rain. “I don’t understand at all what’s going on here.”

Disgust curls Simon’s mouth into a snarl. “No, you wouldn’t, would you? What the fuck would you know about – about – ” He stomps in a circle and tears at his hair again. “I know you thought you could just solve everything,” he says, turning back to Rain. “But it wasn’t what I wanted.”

Realization dawns for Leon, and with it the need to defend both himself and Rain. “It wasn’t what I wanted either.” His eyes narrow, and his voice carries a hint of challenge.

For long seconds the two men stare each other down. Rain makes another attempt to break the tension. “Simon, this doesn’t, doesn’t – doesn’t change anything. We, we – we still have the band, we – we still have each other, we…” He trails off, for once seeming to run completely out of words.

Simon’s hands drop slowly to his sides and he sighs, an exhalation full of defeat. “Yeah,” he says. “It does.” For a moment he seems to waver on the edge of saying something more.

Rain takes Leon’s hand.

Simon clenches his jaw and nods. “So that’s it. You’ve had your ‘perfect frozen fucking moment.'” He spits the words, bitter poison-tipped darts aimed straight at Rain, who flinches when they hit. The two look at each other, one pleading, one furious, while Leon waits helplessly to see which will break first.

Finally, just as he’d done earlier at the fire pit, Simon clenches his fists and takes a menacing step toward Leon. “Don’t. You. Fucking. Hurt him.”

This time Leon stands up straighter and returns the look defiantly. “I don’t plan to.” Charged silence mounts between them.

“Fucking hell,” Simon says at last. He turns and walks away.

“Okay,” Leon says when the other man is out of earshot. “What the hell was that all about?”

Rain waves a dismissive hand, shaking his head. “That’s just, just – just Simon,” he says. “He, he – he gets angry, he just has to, to – to get it – get it out of his system.”

Leon looks in the direction Simon that walked off. “Is he in love with you?”

“Yes.” Rain doesn’t shy away from it. “But we’re, we’re – we’re just too, too – too different, we’re always just in, in – in the same place at, at – at different times. I zig, and he zags. We just can’t seem to, to – to ever meet in the middle.” He squeezes Leon’s hand. “He’ll be fine. We, we – we fight all the time, but, but, but – but we’re still a band, we’re – we’re practically brothers.”

Leon takes a deep breath. “So… what are we now? I’ve… god. I’ve never been someone who wanted a… you know. A relationship.” He glances nervously at Rain. “But I… I don’t know. Is that something you… want?” He feels like a moron, fumbling for simple words.

“A relationship? I don’t want a relationship.”

For a moment Leon’s entire body goes cold.

“I just want to be with you,” Rain finishes.

“How exactly is that different?”

“Well, we don’t need to, to, to – to put some, some – some word, some thing that, you know, what, what – what does it even, even mean, when – ”

Leon feels a stupid, relieved grin stretch over his face, and puts his thumb on Rain’s lips, cutting him off mid-sentence. “You think too much,” he says, and kisses him again. “Okay,” he says when it ends. “So we’re together. That works for me.”

“Good.” They wrap their arms around each other’s waists and start walking back to the main cabin.

“So now what?”

“Now,” Rain says, “I see you at breakfast tomorrow. Unfortunately I can’t be around for very long, I have to catch an early bus to get the sound equipment back to New York. But we’ll see each other back in the city.” He turns toward Leon as they reach the back door. “And we’ll be here, together, next year.”

“Okay,” Leon says. They embrace, kiss once more. “Next year.”

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