Model couple Jessica Sikosek (Vision LA) and Brandon Gray (Wilhelmina) by Raul Romo for C-Heads Magazine. Makeup and grooming by Elayna Bachman, featuring select pieces (on Jessica) from Objects Without Meaning.
aaron develops a strange new habit, and robert doesn’t quite understand.
Robert was half asleep when Aaron got in from the scrap run he and Adam had been on all day, the two of them picking up a few new clients up Birmingham direction. He felt the bed dip beside him, and he was about to mumble out a hello when he felt Aaron do something strange.
It wasn’t unusual for Aaron to come in to their bed and wrap himself completely around Robert if he’d gone to bed first, but as Aaron settled himself around Robert, his chin digging into the space between Robert’s neck and shoulder, he pressed a finger to the inside of Robert’s wrist.
Robert kept his eyes closed and his breathing even as he tried to figure out what Aaron was doing, curious now. Aaron’s index finger was pressed to the inside of his wrist, right over the vein there.
Was Aaron checking his pulse?
Robert laid still, and waited, listened to the soft muttering Aaron was doing under his breath, too low for Robert to understand what he was saying.
After a few more seconds, Aaron moved his hand, shifting it to Robert’s stomach, bunching up the material of Robert’s pyjama top so he could press his palm to the warm skin of Robert’s abdomen, the usual way they’d fall asleep like this, with Aaron’s much stronger body tightly wrapped around Robert’s torso.
Taking a mental note to ask Aaron about it later, Robert buried his head further into his pillow, letting sleep take over now his husband was home, and in bed, wrapped up around Robert, exactly where he should be.
Robert had forgotten about it until it happened again, the two of them sitting in the Woolpack, having a quiet, post work pint. They were huddled together in a corner booth, not in the mood to socialise with anyone else.
They were sitting close enough for their knees to be knocking together, Aaron pressed against Robert’s side, comfortable in their relationship in a way Robert sometimes still wasn’t used to.
Marriage had changed them, made them better, made them more comfortable with each other and the love they shared. Robert wasn’t sure how, or why marriage had made such an impact on their relationship, but he was glad of it, glad of how willing Aaron was with things like holding his hand as they’d wander home to the Mill at night, or sitting, pressed close to him like he was now.
Robert was mid-sentence, telling Aaron about a meeting he’d had earlier that day when it happened again, Aaron pressing a finger to the inside of Robert’s wrist, not once taking his eyes off Robert as he mumbled something under his breath.
Maybe the pub hadn’t been the best place to ask, judging by the wide eyed expression on Aaron’s face, but the words were out before Robert could really think about it all that much.
“Why do you do that?” Robert inquired, gesturing to the finger on the inside of his wrist.
Aaron looked flustered, yanking his hand away. “I’ll get us another round in, shall I?” he said, making as though to move out of their booth.
“Aaron,” Robert said quietly, putting a hand on his husbands knee. “Talk to me. Whats wrong?”
Aaron shifted uncomfortably in his seat, a blush rising in his cheeks as he spoke. “I just…… When I was inside, I used to dream about you, you know - just doing normal stuff with you, getting to go to bed with you every night. Sometimes I just need to remind myself you’re actually here, that I’m not dreaming.”
Robert’s heart ached as he listened to Aaron, understood why Aaron had taken up his odd new habit. “I’m sorry,” he blurted automatically, not wanting Aaron to feel as though it had annoyed him. “I was just curious.”
“I woke up a few times thinking I was at home, with you, and I’d be all alone in my bunk,” Aaron admitted softly, lacing his fingers with Robert’s, his grip tight. “I need to remind myself this is all real sometimes, y’know? That you’re here, that I get to be with you every day.”
Robert was torn between wanting to kiss Aaron for all he was worth, or wanting to hug him and never let him go. Aaron, his gorgeous, brilliant Aaron had been through too much in his life, enough to need to do something like check Robert’s pulse to make sure it was all real, that Robert was really there.
Robert settled for squeezing Aaron’s hand tightly, pressing a soft kiss to the corner of his husbands mouth. “If you need to do it, never stop, okay?” he said, wanting, needing Aaron to have every coping mechanism he wanted, any coping mechanism that would help.
Aaron gave him a grateful smile. “Okay.”
It was weeks later when it happened again, Robert sitting at his desk in the portacabin, trying his best to ignore whatever contract Nicola and Jimmy were fighting over, the two of them doing his head in.
Aaron arrived in the door silently, heading straight for Robert’s desk, putting a coffee down in front of him. His nightmares had been worse that week, and Aaron looked exhausted, drained completely by four straight nights of interrupted sleep.
“Thought you might need it,” Aaron said quietly, not wanting to be dragged into Nicola and Jimmy’s argument. He had another cup of coffee in his own hand, and before Robert could reach for his, Aaron pressed his finger to the inside of Robert’s wrist.
Just for a second, just for long enough for Aaron to breath a soft sigh of relief, pulling Adam’s desk chair over so he could sit next to Robert, the two of them pressed together knee to elbow.
“I’m here,” Robert murmured, under the pretence of mumbling a thank you for the coffee into Aaron’s ear. “You’re home, with me. I promise.”
Harry sat on the edge of his bed in Los Angeles, his head in his hands, as he tried to hold back the tears and will his breathing to stay even and calm. His phone lay beside him, the screen still lit up to show him his recent calls - the last of which had just turned his world upside down.
He eventually sits up, letting out a large sigh as his large ringed hands push through his short floppy hair, pushing it back from his forehead. His green eyes look across the room where on top of the chest of drawers sat a picture of the person he cared about most in the world. He stared at your smiling face, his own smiling face next to you and that’s when the tears came. He was going to lose you, he knew that he was.
Just then his phone began to ring beside him. He dreaded it was her, the person who had called a few minutes before him and broke the news but instead he saw your face appear on the screen and that, in that moment, may have been worse. He picks up the phone, staring down at your picture as the phone continues to ring.
He couldn’t do it, he couldn’t hear your voice, happy and still in love with him, when he now knew what he did. He couldn’t tell you over the phone. He had messed up, he knew that, and he had to say it to your face. After the phone finally stopped ringing he gave a sigh and pulled himself up and off the bed.
He had things he needed to do in LA, meetings to attend, interviews to be done but he couldn’t. He needed to get to you and tell you as soon as he could so he called Jeff. He couldn’t say it though, he couldn’t tell him exactly the situation, just that he had to go home - and now.
Once he landed in London the next day, his hands were shaking, his palms were sweaty and his breathing was shallow as he sat in the back of the car headed towards your house. He kept trying to play out and plan his words for this conversation. How would he go about it? Where could he possibly start? He had so many confessions to make and what he was most afraid of was the inevitable - losing you. He also knew he wouldn’t be able to handle that hurt, devastated, and heart-broken face that he was soon going to see before him.
The idea brought tears to his eyes. He rubbed the back of his hand against his eyes, grinding away the tears harshly. He hated himself, his entire body was full of regret, remorse, and dread knowing that he could never take this back.
“Hello?” Harry calls a few moments later as he enters your shared home. He knew you were home, it being your day off work and your car was parked out front but he heard nothing. “Love?” He calls out again.
“Harry?” He finally hears from the kitchen. He couldn’t will himself to move towards your voice. He wanted to run back out the door to never have to face this situation, he wanted to pretend everything was okay. But it just wasn’t. And never would be again. “Harry!” You gasp once you see your tall, tattooed and handsome boyfriend standing in the entryway of the living room.
“Hey.” He mutters, barely able to get his voice above a low gravel. He clears his throat and puts his bag down at his feet, sliding off his jacket. He was trying to delay this, anything to keep the truth from coming out.
“What are you doing home? Why haven’t you answered my calls in two days?” You were full of questions but then in that moment you didn’t care. You had missed Harry so much and if he was home - that was all that mattered. So, you cross the room and burrow yourself into his chest. You wrap your arms tight around his torso, taking in that familiar scent of his cologne while his arms wrap around your shoulders. He buries his face in your hair, his eyes closing as the tears began to slide down his cheeks. This was surely the last moment he would hold you in his arms and he wanted it to last as long as possible. “What’s going on?” You question, looking up at him. You gasp when you take in his tears. “Harry, what is it?” Your mind was racing. What possibly could have happened to cause him to act like this? You reach up, brushing your thumbs under his eyes along the tracks his tears were making.
“I messed up, love.” He finally says, his voice a quiet whisper as he stares down into your eyes. You frown, shaking your head a bit in confusion.
“What do yo-”
“I slept with someone.” The words were out before he could over think it. He watched the gears turn in your head as you processed this. As soon as he saw it click, you backed out of his arms, distancing yourself from him just as he knew that you would. “Please, love, i’ was while we were going through tha’ rough patch a few weeks ago. I was angry, you were angry, I didn’ know where we stood-”
“So you fucked someone else and never told me?!” You interrupt as your blood began to boil. “You came back here acting like it was all okay?! As if nothing ever happened!” You also felt your heart break, a dull ache began in the center of your chest. Harry was the love of your life, the man you were going to spend forever with and yet .. he had hurt you in the way he always vowed he never would.
“I jus’…” He scratches at the back of his neck, shaking his head a little as he gave a sigh. He looks at the floor, anywhere but at the hurt and angry face before him. He also noted the fact that your eyes, those gorgeous eyes of yours that he loved so much, had begun to well up with tears. “I don’ know how to make up for this bu’ tha’ isn’t all.” He knew he had to say it, he had to get everything out so just maybe, maybe, the two of you could start trying to work it out.
“What else is there?” You cross your arms over your chest as the tears slide down your cheeks. What else could there be? Had he slept with her again? Was he leaving you for her? Your mind was racing and you weren’t sure you would be able to handle anymore of this. Harry was your life and even with him standing in front of you still you felt it might not be for too much longer and you already felt lost.
“She called me yesterday mornin’,” He began, his eyes peaking at you through his lashes as he kept his head slightly down.
“Okay?” You urged but felt that sense of dread begin to creep up in your head as you surely knew what was coming next. Why would you contact the man you slept with weeks before? There was really only two reasons - wanting to get together again or being pregnant. Your blood ran cold at the latter possibility. It couldn’t be that, it just couldn’t.
“She’s… she’s pregnan’.” The words pained him to say out loud. He hadn’t spoken it since he heard her mumble it through her sobs on the other end of the phone the morning before. He saw your face crumble then. Your eyebrows furrowed together, your eyes swimming with tears, and he saw your breath hitch in your throat.
“You got another girl pregnant.” It wasn’t a question, it wasn’t accusatory, it was just a statement as you took to trying to process this. Harry was going to be a father, and it wasn’t with you. This just couldn’t possibly be happening.
“I don’ know what I’m goin’ to do, bu’ what I wan’ first is to try and make things work with you. Please, love…” He trailed off when you shook your head vigorously, the tears now falling freely down your cheeks.
“You expect me to just forgive you for this?” You give another shake of your head. “Would you forgive me if I got pregnant by another man? If I cheated on you and got knocked up? Would you be willing to move past that?” Harry bit at his lower lip and stared at the carpet under your feet. He knew you were right, he would probably never be able to move past it if you had someone else’s child.
“You won’ even try? For us? We’ve been together for-”
“I don’t need you to remind me how long we’ve been together, Harry! I don’t need you telling me about the life we’ve started here together because I remember, I know!” You felt your anger begin to flare up. “It was you that seems to have forgotten the life we have together while you were busy fucking someone else!” He cringes at your choice of wording as well as your now raised voice but he knew he deserved it all. You were of course right, after all.
“Please,” He takes a step towards you, holding his large hands out towards you, his cheeks wet with his still falling tears. He felt a sob building in his chest as he felt this was it, knowing you would most likely never forgive him. “I made a mistake, I will pay for tha’ for the rest of my life but I need you.” His voice dropped off to a whisper. “Don’ give up on me.” It was then that the sob finally fell from his lips and he felt his knees give out.
“Harry,” You whisper as you watch the man you loved fall to his knees right there in front of you, his face pressing into his hands as large gasping sobs fell from his mouth. You feel a sob of your own and you take a step closer to Harry. You fall to your knees in front of him and bring a hand up to brush through his brown hair. He lifts his head up, his breath catching in his throat as his eyes meet yours. “I don’t think I can ever forgive you.” You watch his face crumble even more as he takes in your words.
“I’m so sorry.” He whispers and the sobs resume. He then falls into your chest, his cheek burrowing into your t-shirt and his arms wrap tightly around your waist. You support his weight, your arms going around his shoulders, your fingers brushing at the hair on the back of his neck. “I’ll never forgive myself either.” He whispers through his sobs.
You sat and held Harry, both of you crying and clinging to one another, knowing that this was it, for a good while until finally you pried him off of you and both of you stood up.
“I think it’s best if you left.” You whisper as the two of you stood awkwardly facing each other. Harry gives a small nod, closing his eyes for a second. His eyes burned, the tears drying his eyes out but he knew he would probably spend the entire night crying.
“Can I do somethin’, one las’ time?” You frown at him but he then takes a step closer to you and as his hand comes up to rest on your cheek you understood what he wanted. You don’t move as his face dips towards yours. You try not to return the pressure his lips press into yours but you couldn’t help it. As if by reflex you were kissing him back and bowing your body against his as your arms wrap around each other. It was as the kiss intensified and his tongue slid against yours that the reason this was to be your last kiss together reared back into your mind and you pulled away from him, breaking all contact together.
“I can’t. I can’t do this, Harry.” You mutter, seeing that hurt and aching look in his green eyes as his chest heaved. He had hoped there for a second as he held you close again, your lips melded together perfectly like they always had, that just maybe you could forgive him. “I can’t be with you, I’m just going to picture you with her every time and I just can’t.”
“I understand.” He gives a nod, hanging his head a bit. He pushes his fingers through his hair and looks back up at you. “I’m so sorry that I hur’ you.” He stares at you for a few seconds before backing towards the door. “I’ll always be jus’ a phone call away. I love you, with every piece of my soul.” You ignore the fresh tears sliding down your cheeks and simply give a nod. You look away from his heartbroken face and look anywhere but at him as he reaches for his bags and then a minute later was gone from the house.
You fall to your knees right there where you stood and begin to cry into your hands, feeling like a piece of your heart had just walked out that door with Harry.
Harry meanwhile had gone into the garage and got into his Range Rover but as soon as he was behind the wheel he rested his forehead against the steering while and let the sobs return. They were loud, chest heaving, sobs. Not only had he just lost the love of his life but he also now had to decide what he was going to do about his child on the way.
◊ Hannigram AU ◊
The respected vampire Count Hannibal Lecter VIII loves to throw his anual masquerade ball where supernatural creatures of all kind meet and come together for a feast.
The young werewolf Will Graham is there for the first time and Hannibal becomes infatuated with him. The two begin a courtship, even at the disapproval of their peers.