Chapter 25

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Reed glances over at Beck who keeps his eyes trained on the road, a perfect excuse to avoid eye contact.

"Beck," Reed says. "What exactly do you mean by that?"

Beck flicks the blinker and it clicks a few times. "I don't know."

"You're being unfair," Reed says. "After all this time, you really did love me?"

"I don't know," Beck says again, unsure of what to say.

"You're cruel," Reed says, biting his lip. "You told me time and time again that it meant nothing every time we hooked up. And I know you knew it meant something to me even when I denied it did."

"I know," Beck says, turning down a dirt road as rocks crunch beneath the tires of his car. "I couldn't let it mean anything. I was getting married."

"Bullshit," Reed says through gritted teeth. "You didn't have to get married. And the fact that you did, shows me you love money more than you ever loved me. So, cut the shit."

Beck breathes out and curses. He hits the blinker again and pulls over to the side of the road, keeping his eyes down in his lap.

"Do you know how much I regret it?" Beck asks softly.

"No," Reed says. "You can't regret it. Because then you're not only playing with my heart, you're playing with Monica's too."

"She probably feels the same way," Beck says. "We both had other partners when we were engaged."

"Have you ever thought that maybe if you didn't go behind her back, that she wouldn't go behind yours?" Reed asks. "I see the way she looks at you now. If you gave her even the slightest hint of affection and attention back then, she wouldn't need to meet up with anyone else. You couldn't validate your feelings for her and you knew you never could."

Beck slams his steering wheel with his hands. "I know. But I can't go back and change that. And I can't help how I feel now."

Reed looks up. "I learned to help it. You made me. So, I'm sure you can too."

Beck remains quiet.

"You're in too deep now," Reed says. "You're married. So unless you plan on divorcing her, do not confess your feelings to me."

"Jesus," Beck says. "I screwed up."

He finally brings his eyes to look at Reed and Reed stares back at him.

"Yeah," Reed says. "You did. Remember that time I asked why you even bothered with me?"

Beck shakes his head.

"Of course you don't," Reed says. "You told me the sex was good and I had a pretty face."

Beck lowers his eyes once more. "Sorry."

"And somehow, I still couldn't keep my mind off of you," Reed says. "But despite that, you pushed me away and now you have the nerve to crawl back to me. Did you really think I was going to accept you?"

"No," Beck says. "I just needed to tell you."

"Tell me what?" Reed asks, biting his lip hard again.

Beck's eyes raise again and they begin to water. "I like you."

"You like me?" Reed asks, shaking his head.

"No," Beck says. "I... I love you."

"Bring me home, Beck," Reed says. "I can't return your feelings. You're lucky I'm willing to still be your friend."

A tear trails down Beck's face now and he quickly swipes it before Reed can see it.

"Okay," Beck says and continues to drive on the dirt road.

The two continue to ride in silence until they reach Reed's home. He unbuckles his seatbelt and stays sitting in the seat.

"Thanks," Reed says and turns to Beck. "I hope you can figure yourself out soon. And I sincerely hope you can find happiness one day. You made a mistake, yes. A very bad one. But, I hope you can find someone you love who loves you back the same."

"Yeah," Beck says quietly. "Thank you. And I'm sorry for everything."

"It's okay," Reed says as he begins to climb out of the car.

"I hope you find someone who treats you way better than I ever did," Beck says. "Someone who loves you just as hard as you love them."

Reed brings the corners of his lips up in a smile. "I'm workin' on it."

Reed slides out and holds his hand on the door. "See you, Beck."

Beck nods his head. "See you."

Reed closes the door and heads inside without waiting for Beck to drive away.

He rushes to his bedroom and throws himself on his bed, his face in his pillow.

"Shit," he says into it. "Shit."

He lays like that for a few moments until he pushes himself up, blankly staring at his wall.

I want to see him.

He jumps off of his bed and quickly searches for a change of clothes. He throws on a black tank top with a pair of shorts and finally fixes his bed head before brushing his teeth in the bathroom.

From there, he runs out of his house and continues to jog along the narrow road, taking a few turns here and there until he reaches his destination.

His forehead is wet with sweat as his hair sticks to it and he's breathing heavily. With effort, he knocks on the metal door and waits for a boy to open it.

It swings open after a few seconds and a nineteen-year-old sports an immediate frown.

"What're you doing here?" Trip asks.

Reed lifts his head and doesn't answer Trip's question. He walks up the steps to Trip's apartment and reaches out his arms.

Trip stands still as Reed envelopes him in a hug and rests his head in the space between Trip's shoulder and neck.

Trip slowly brings his arms around Reed's back and laughs.

"You're sweaty."

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