he's not sure exactly when it happened, probably too early on, that he looked over at bastian and thought to himself i don't know how this happened, how you happened, but i think that i could really fall in love with someone like you.
it doesn't happen overnight. through shared conversation, adventures, and trust that's been built there's no hiding or denying it.
"is it just me, or."
he's not sure how to put it into words.
"or... you too?"
he repeats, lower now, really just letting those words rest in his mouth before he swallows. it's new territory within the new territory, but he notes that bastian doesn't look away. neither does he.
nowhere else he'd rather look.
he knows bastian isn't that into having his photo taken, he knows, but he also can't help himself. he thinks there's a different kind of thrill of being behind the lens and can see why bastian likes it so much. you get that control of maneuvering the lens to the way you want it and in a way you see through the lens with complete focus. tunnel vision. he realizes he likes looking at bastian, watching him just be. live in the moment completely.
there's an intrigue that doesn't quit. just watching him doing every day things becomes art and he catches himself thinking, you're in so fucking deeply, but he is and he's alright if he drowns because now he has someone to hold onto. sink or swim you and i. sure, bastian is a self-proclaimed man with no real basis to call home and yet andrew swears that he looks right at home on a sandy california beach holding his knee and looking off as someone tells a story. so wrapped up in what's being said, likely ready to shoot out questions from listening intently. he's a vision. his vision. photo snapped.
andrew fiske has been in love before. he's been in the kind of love that turns out toxic and has two people breaking away from each other forever. he's been in the kind of love that is filled with one-upping each other and playing games. he's been in the kind of love that holds each other tightly but never dares treat each other equally with the words that follow. he's been in the kind of love that hides in the shadows. he's been in the kind of love that's so sweet he doesn't know what to do with it. he's in the kind of love that feels like mutual respect and understanding.
andrew fiske has been in love before but he's never been in love with someone like bastian bentz.
whether it’s the days you burn more brilliant than the sun or the nights you collapse into my lap, your body broken into a thousand questions, you are the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen. i will love you when you are a still day. i will love you when you are a hurricane. the acceptance has started to settle in it, the comfort in it. l-o-v-e, another four letter word that can rattle bones and shake one to the core. he realizes that he's really slowed down the movements as this thought knocks up on him again and so he picks up speed once more, shaking along to the beat.
• exchanging poetry ("poemxts? sextoems? neither work. fuck.")
• not getting tired of each other ("literally fucking how is it possible that i keep wanting you around continuously?")
• giving each other shit. banter. ("he can keep up with me like no one else. pays attention, really listens, always curious. i do like those eye rolls, he's right. when he's being smart. when he ribs me back. all of it.")
• sayings things he has never even said out loud. saying things he didn't realize he had in him. telling stories and truths that no one else gets.
• feeling a unique kind of comfort to completely be himself ("you get all of it, bentz. the good and the ugly.")
• late night drives
• early morning conversations
• to be seen. to see. to have. to be had.
andrew is getting used to turning over in bed and seeing bastian.
it's a comfort, a part of the way he starts his day. how his day ends. insomnia or not the fact remains that bastian is here and he will continue to be here and suddenly it's a concrete fact that doesn't scare him. if anything it draws him closer.
on this particular morning he turns over and bastian is facing him, still asleep, light cutting through the window to paint his face. it's a beautiful sight, he thinks. pulling up the covers up against him he thinks of all the times he's woken up in this bed alone but how he prefers waking up like this. how he prefers him, completely. they can stay in bed all day just like this and he'll be content. life keeps getting back to normal, he's had a film release. bazzi's ep is released.
there's bound to be a lot more coming their way but right now they're in a haze of each other this california morning and andrew thinks of one thing and one thing only: i am so fucking in love with you. he shuts his eyes, letting out a sigh as he mouths those words out loud - i. love. you.
andrew is getting used to turning over in bed and being in love with bastian.
so? i love you.
we took the town to town last night
tonight's the night. he hasn't been holding on to his i love you for control, for leverage, for power. he's been holding it on because he wants the moment to be perfect that even his usual blunt, spontaneous self, agrees with such. a better version of his disastrous attempt at being slow when they first met. this is the kind of slow that he takes on his tongue and it dissipates sweetly. he knows that tonight is the night because in a room filled with people who he doesn't know too well, some he does, it's still only him and bastian. always just the two of them in any room in the world when they're looking at each other, when they're near each other.
with him, he feels invincible. truly, completely invincible. can tackle anything. doesn't matter if they're dressed up a little bit more, a look that always leaves andrew tugging at some part of his outfit to loosen it up. he doesn't even realize if people might they looking, if they even care, because he can't see them when he's looking over at bastian. the man who has come to mean so much to him. the man who's become a fixture in his life. they make the rounds, andrew makes another formal meeting between him and victoria while his manager is off chatting away, they hang out with their friends, meet some new people. just a few years ago something like this could make andrew crumble. not today, not beside bastian.
they stand near each other looking off at the crowd and andrew turns to look at bastian. "you know. i...." when he looks at him he swears he can see stars, the same kind they spent gazing up at when they were together in joshua tree. he's about to continue that sentence when he can't help but notice a familiar blurry face in the haze of his tunnel vision. the face starts clearing to provide a distinct visual and andrew's face goes white, like he's seeing a ghost.
he is - one from his past. one he never wanted to see again and now his throat feels dry. he's speechless, forgot what he was even going to just say. without even realizing a hand by his side nervously tugs at the side of his belt, swallowing hard. "i, uh." fuck. no, please god no. he hasn't seen him in years, it couldn't be. he needs a closer look even if everything in his system is telling him to just run off just to protect himself. bastian doesn't need to witness this, no one does.
"i. i'll be right back, okay?" he turns to give bastian a distracted sliver of a smile and then wanders off. at one point he turns back to look at bastian, his bastian, giving a small wave so that he knows all is well even though all is not well right before he turns around and keeps on walking, not knowing the darkness waiting in the shadows that will soon turn the evening.