"Aren't you even going to cry?" Xx
The Mill is dark.
Robert came home, poured himself a drink and sat down. He can’t remember what number drink he is on, but the sun has gone down and the only light in the room is from the streetlamps outside.
It hurts; somewhere in his chest a hole has appeared, a hole left from something recently lost. Maybe he shouldn’t be feeling it at all. Maybe the alcohol will drown it out.
He winces as he takes another sip, winces when the lights suddenly come on and his eyes need a moment to adjust. He can’t help but wince at the expression on Aaron’s face. Anger is the best word to describe it.
“Want one?” Robert asks, raising his glass towards his husband. At least they are still husbands.
“No,” Aaron replies curtly, lips thin and eyes shrewd, “thanks.”
“Suit yourself,” Robert mutters. The whiskey burns on its way down, less than it did when he started at least. His nerves are starting to feel less. Good.
Aaron sits down opposite him, places a hand over Robert’s, squeezes.
“Robert, I’m sorry -”
“Don’t,” Robert interrupts. It is unkind but he can’t hear it right now. It is all coming crashing down and he can’t hear it.
Aaron looks at him, waits, eyes pleading but voice silent. He let’s Robert sit, maybe he knows that this is how Robert needs to handle it. Robert hopes so as he knocks back his glass and sets it down on the table harder than necessary.
“Talk to me,” Aaron whispers. Robert’s head jerks sideways, a quick shake that reminds him of what he heard, what he knows. He bites his lip to stifle a sob. He can’t cry. Not because of this.
“Don’t know what to say.”
Aaron moves his chair closer, places his other hand on Robert’s thigh.
“Tell me what you’re thinking.” Aaron’s voice is soft, gentle, kind. It cuts through Robert’s barriers more efficiently than he would like to admit. He remains silent nevertheless. “Aren’t you even going to cry?”
Robert shakes his head, refuses to think about it. Refuses to remember Ross loudly proclaim that the child is his; refuses to remember Rebecca admit that they didn’t - that he didn’t.
“I shouldn’t cry, Aaron… not over this.” Robert manages to say the words without his chin quivering. “I don’t want to cry because I won’t be a father, I don’t want you to think it makes me sad.”
Aaron shakes his head, eyes sad as he looks at his husband.
“You’re allowed to feel, Robert… You have hated yourself for months, and now you know it was all a lie. I’ve seen how it has eaten at you, but it’s over now,” Aaron whispers softly. “You don’t have to hate yourself anymore.”
Robert’s shoulders shake at Aaron’s words, breaking the dam. He sobs, presses his cheek to Aaron’s shoulder as he wraps his arms around him. Aaron can help him. Aaron always does. By the time he is done Aaron’s shoulder is soggy and Robert feels wrung out, exhausted, broken.
Aaron makes him some toast and pulls him upstairs. He curls in on himself and can almost feel the hole left behind by his self-loathing and guilt in his chest. The alcohol wasn’t entirely efficient enough then.
He has been hating himself for so long he doesn’t know how to stop.
Maybe Aaron can help with that too.