The rain bounces aimlessly off the corrugated roof outside, the sounds leaking into the dark room through the small window. The room is bare, only littered with a few boxes and a smart dresser with an old landline on top. The walls are an inky blue, with the carpet being even darker. It would never be the first choice for a new apartment, but in a hurry, the bare minimum is the only thing that's necessary.
As Jack shuts the door behind him, he tries to put the key in the lock but finds himself unable to. His hands are shaking, his fingers twitching constantly. Still, he tries to jam the key into the hole, moving it towards the gap until his patience wears thin. He decides to leave it after practically stabbing the lock several times to no avail. In frustration, he slams his palm into the wall and rests his head against the doorframe.
What was he doing here?
Shutting his eyes, he remembers. He reminds himself of the shouting, insults and the pain. As if blocking any more memories from resurfacing, he opens his eyes and looks around, desperate to choke them away with the real world. But he still isn't happy with what he meets.
A cold, empty flat. Here there were no loving arms, no comforting hold, no friendly appreciation. This place was definitely not home.
Especially without Mark.
The pain hits him fast, his chest tightening and his eyes stinging from the pungent truth. He has left Mark, the one person who ever showed him any kind of care, any kind of respect and any kind of love. His security is gone, no one standing by to catch him anymore.
He's on his own.
He covers his mouth in disgust of his own actions. He leans against the wall in defeat. He feels himself slide down the wall towards the floor, determined to feel grounded in some way even though he knows it will take a long time to get used to this new feeling. This new sensation which he can already feel haunting him for the upcoming weeks.
As the realisation sets in, his head sinks between his knees and he senses his throat constricting. He doesn't register that he can't breathe properly until it's too late.
"Hey babe, what's up?" Jack asked, glad to be using the call to get a break from his work for a while.
"Nothing much, just cookin'. What time are you getting home?" Mark asked.
"The same time I always get home love, about half five. Why are you asking?" Jack said, curious of what his mischievous boyfriend could be up to.
"No reason. Just you know... baking a surprise..."
"YOU'RE MAKING CAKE???"
"What? No, n-no I'm not..." Mark sighed, knowing his boyfriend had guessed far too well. "Ugh, fine. Yes, I'm making a cake."
"Is it cookie cake?"
"I love you," Jack muttered, before thinking back to remember if he had ever said that before.
"Really? Cake is all it takes for you to say that you love me?" Mark asked, pretending to be upset.
"Yes because secretly cake and I have been engaged for many years."
"Oh shut up you. Get back to work. I love you,"
"Love you too," Jack said, hanging up.
As his body shakes more and more, he can't help but imagine what would be happening if he hadn't moved out. He probably wouldn't be in this mess to begin with, but he still thinks of Mark.
He thinks of how Mark would comfort him in this situation. He imagines the touch of palms against his wet cheeks, thumbs brushing his tears away. He thinks of how he would be leaning onto him, rather than an empty wall with no words of encouragement. He becomes so lost in visualising Mark's touch, that he becomes lost to the world. He looks up for the first time since he started shaking, and he sees Mark in front of him on his knees, beckoning forwards. He knows it isn't real, that Mark isn't really in his new apartment but he thinks it would be nice to believe.
As he detaches from this world, he hears a phone ringing. Unable to dissociate between real and fake, he decides to ignore the unfamiliar tone of the telephone. Looking for his own phone however, only leads to the floor and walls merging into one. Feeling sick, his head lowers back between his knees.
He doesn't sense the next flashback coming on.
Feeling Mark lean towards him, Jack shuts his eyes. The unfamiliar lips of his new boyfriend presses against his own and he feels himself almost melting into the park bench. He curls his arm around Mark's back without a second thought and his mind quickly becomes consumed by the pure passion in his veins.
The next few seconds were lost to Jack as his mind short-circuited to the feeling of pure bliss. He hadn't been sure before but now it was definite.
He was in love with Mark.
He pulls away from Mark even though his brain screams at him not to and their foreheads meet.
"That, was amazing," Jack said, still breathless from the kiss.
"Why thank you, that'll be 3 bucks," Mark said with a small bow. Jack replied with hitting his shoulder with a laugh.
"Let's go home, you doof,"
Home. Jack isn't sure if he's familiar with the feeling of home anymore. Maybe, that's what Mark was to him. Home.
But unfortunately, Mark isn't home anymore. Can't be.
The phone still ringing, Jack manages to cease his shaking slightly. His head lifts from his knees again and he rests it against the wall behind him. His hands go to the sides of his face and he thinks.
Why am I having all these flashbacks?
He doesn't know the answer, and before long gives up searching for one. He's lost in his own mind and thoughts. He's clueless.
He decides to retire for the night. Having finally stopped shaking, and his breathing nearly coming back to a normal pace, he sighs. Slowly and by using the wall to help, he stands up but his legs feel weaker than when he entered the flat. Feeling regretful and full of self-hate, he drags himself over to his room where he collapses onto his bed. He is grateful that he made it as soon as it arrived a few days earlier than expected.
Rushing in his movements, Jack's fingers brushed and fumbled clumsily over the clothes, not even bothering to fold them. His hands had started shaking a while back and at this point was almost used to it as he tried desperately to zip the bag shut. Finally achieving this, he threw the bag to the floor before staring at the case. He took a short minute just to sit. To think about what he was doing, to catch his breath.
He felt breathless, although his chest was pumping in and out faster than he ever remembered. His breaths were shallow and quick. His chest was in pieces, ripped apart by words and resentment. He couldn't believe what was happening to them. Hadn't Mark promised forever?
Yet here he was, packing up his things after being told to leave like the ignorant fuck he was. The fact that he was actually doing it was much more hard hitting than hearing it a few minutes ago. Feeling his eyes tear up, he pulled his right sleeve down and wiped his eyes like a child. It wasn't long before the tears were running down his face, staining his pale cheeks. Breaking down on the bed, his breaths became more ragged and uneven, the sobs punched through his lungs and constricted his throat, almost making him hyperventilate. This was it. He was leaving.
Jack only heard Mark leaning on the doorframe when he cleared his throat. His head shot up in an instant, like a flame caused by a spark. Once again, he looked down to the bed and tried to wipe his tears away so that Mark wouldn't see them, wouldn't see him as the weak person that he was. However, it was too late and as Mark watched on he couldn't but feel guilty. He took a step forward only for Mark to shout.
"Fuck off. You've done enough. I'm leaving, aren't you happy?" he spat, his voice shattered from the tears.
"Jack, please listen-" Mark started.
"No! I've had enough listening to your foul-mouthed insults. I'm leaving like you fucking asked." he said, getting himself up and grabbing his packed bag.
"Be careful what you fucking wish for," he said before walking up to the doorframe, expecting Mark to move.
"I'm not letting you leave Sean,"
Yet here he was, in a foreign bed, in a foreign world. Nothing was familiar anymore.
But now, this was all he had.
As Jack, fell asleep to the thoughts of Mark and sound of the rain, he didn't hear the phone finally stop ringing.