more photographer!au - part one
“So…how’s your Mom?”
At Oliver’s innocent question, Connor looked up from his phone.
They had already made it through the kitchen, living room, and closet shoots and Oliver was just putting the finishing touches on their last set-up – the bedroom.
They’d run out of polite, meaningless conversation a while ago and had settled into a comfortable silence. The low music kept the loft from getting too quiet but the only words spoken between them in a few hours had been Oliver’s soft directions. “Just a tad to your left.” “Chin down a little, please.” “Look at me, Connor. Don’t look at the camera, look at me.”
“She’s doing okay,” Connor said. Closing out of his email, he tossed the phone down on Oliver’s work table. “Their anniversary was in May. That was tough.”
Oliver nodded and plugged in one last light before standing up. He stepped back from the bed to look at the space, take in how it would appear through the lens, before walking back to his work table. He lifted his camera and checked the settings before waking up his computer.
“Listen,” Oliver slowly began, his eyes firmly affixed to his computer screen. “I know this isn’t the time but if I don’t say it now I just won’t say it and I have to say it and…” Oliver pinched his lips together to stop the stream of nonsense. He took a breath and began again. “I’m sorry about that day.” After a slight pause, he clarified, “About the funeral. I–I shouldn’t have come.”
Connor sat up straight. “Oll–”
“It was inappropriate,” Oliver pressed on. “It was too soon after…” After us. “It was just too soon and–and I shouldn’t have been there. I’m sorry.” Calling himself a coward for avoiding Connor’s gaze, Oliver looked over to meet his ex-boyfriend’s eyes. “I’m sorry, Connor.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Connor whispered automatically.
Oliver shook his head. “No. It was a day for family. And I shouldn’t have–”
“You are family.” The words exploded from Connor’s mouth with such force he shocked himself. Since when was Oliver not family? Connor got that they’d broken up. He understood that he’d fucked up the best part of his entire life. He knew with painful intimacy that they weren’t a family anymore, they weren’t a unit unto themselves anymore but…but they were still family, right? Oliver knew Connor would be there in a heartbeat whenever Ollie called out. Oliver knew Connor would still do his best to move mountains if that was what Oliver needed. Oliver knew Connor still cared, right?
“Ollie,” Connor said, quieter this time, calmer. “You’re always family.”