Striking the Match Pt. 02
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The day after Charlie had decided to stay with Lydia he sent a text to Noah. It took him hours to write and finally send it, but eventually he drew the courage to press send. The moment he did he felt a heavy sickening weight press into his stomach.
Lydia is pregnant. I need to be there for her and the baby, I’m staying with her. I’m sorry. C x
It was an hour later that he got a response.
Noah: I understand. You will be an incredible father Charlie. x
The word father had made him breathless. He was going to be a father. He thought of his own father, how little he had been there for him as a child. And the promise he had made to himself at seventeen, that when he eventually had a child he would be there for them and their mother. Well that time had come, but the cost had been higher than he had anticipated.
A second buzz of his phone made him look down.
Noah: Can we talk? Call me?x
He hated himself for typing it, but fueled by the memories, or lack of, of his father, he responded.
I don’t think that is a good idea.
Then with a deep breath he blocked his number.
And that was the last he heard from Noah for a long time. Months past, and each one Charlie hoped that the weight in his stomach would finally lift, but instead it seemed to push deeper, affecting his mood as he became grumpy and surly with everyone. His appetite was haywire, he would easily go a day or two without eating and the next have 3 takeaways in one day. His focus was the worst affected, he couldn’t concentrate on anything for very long without his mind drifting, his boss having given him a final warning only last week. Even his dreams were affected.
His dreams started fairly innocently, Noah appearing often, whether it be his eyes, his smile, his laugh, the glimpse of golden hair. But then he started to dream about touching him, the feel of his hand in his own, the feel of their kiss, the feel of Noah’s mouth around his penis, Noah’s cock in his hand. That was when his imagination took over.
His memory dreams turned into sex dreams, he imagined what it would feel like to suck on Noah’s cock, enjoying the satisfied noises he would make. He imagined his mouth stretched around it, the feel of it against his tongue, and in his dreams he desired the feeling. He imagined Noah pushing him up against a wall, and his cock touching playfully at his asshole. He imagined it pushing in, in his dream there was no pain, only pleasure as Noah took his body. He felt electricity radiate across his entire being. He wanted it, he wanted him.
The first time he had this dream he started awake panting. He knew he had been moaning Noah’s name aloud, and could feel his cock stood to attention in his boxers. The dream had felt so real, and he felt the involuntary rush of crushing disappointment as he remembered that not only was it a dream, but Noah was no longer in his life. He put his fingers to his lips, parted, mid moaning his name as he awoke, and turned to look at Lydia laying beside him.
Her eyes glittered in the dark, watching him silently. They looked at each other for a long moment, neither saying a word, before Lydia quietly rolled over to face away from him. She never spoke of what she heard, even when he continued to have the dreams several nights a week.
He was grateful that her pregnancy hormones seemed to have affected her sex drive because he noticed that he was struggling to get aroused for her in the bedroom. Even pregnant Lydia was still gorgeous from head to toe, and yet it was like his cock too was too sad and wistful for what could have been to be interested. Once upon a time, the sight of her emerging naked from the bathroom would have excited him and made him drop everything to have sex with her. Now he found himself hoping she had remembered to put the towel down so he didnt have to mop up.
It was on one of these particularly mopey March days, where everything seemed to be grey and disappointing that he saw him. He had been taking the long route home from work, avoiding any opportunity to be tempted near the Hannigan Solicitors building so at first he didn’t believe it could be him.
Charlie had been walking, hood up against the spitting rain that was too pathetic of an English drizzle to barely even call rain, when he caught sight of a golden glint. Shoulders hunched and head down against the rain, Noah was striding down the street right towards him. He looked taller and broader shouldered than he remembered. But even just by looking at him he felt the weight that he had been dragging around for months lift slightly, a fizzing excitement in his chest.
He should really move, hide, do something. But instead he stood frozen, staring, unable to move, unable to breathe. He waited for him to lift his head, knowing with rising anticipation that it would be at once a relief and painful to see his face again. Were his eyes as silver as in his dreams? His smile as wide and dazzling? Or had some part of him embellished these features just to taunt his subconscious self?
They hadn’t. When he finally lifted his head Charlie istanbul travesti felt the air leave his body, breathlessly he watched Noah’s eyes scan across the street, before they fell on him. Just as Charlie had, he halted. He saw all the same emotions he felt move across Noah’s face, surprise, excitement, relief… sadness, pain, before he managed to hide them in a neutral stony expression, clenching his jaw. They stared at one another, and Charlie drunk him in, feeling just how much he had missed looking at him. His hair was damp and bits of it were stuck to his forehead, his eyes looked tired and his face a little pale, but it was still him, still Noah.
Noah broke his gaze, looking back down at the street and squaring his large broad shoulders. He walked straight towards him and Charlie’s mind sped trying to think of something to say. But as he came within a few short steps of him, rather than stopping he kept walking past him.
“Hey, wait!” He blurted out at Noah’s back. But he ignored him. Hurt and angry at being treated like he wasn’t even there, he was finally able to rip his feet from the pavement, and ran after him putting a hand on his shoulder to turn him around. “Noah.”
“What?” He spat as he turned, and Charlie saw anger and pain in his face, so strong and violent that he faltered, momentarily taken aback. For one fleeting moment, he looked scary and Charlie stepped back in shock. Seeing this, Noah seemed to collect himself, breathing slowly and shutting his eyes for a moment and then beginning again. “What do you want Charlie?”
“I-” Charlie was still taken aback by the fury that had been in his eyes. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
“What is there to say?” Noah asked, and his voice was full of a deep exhaustion.
“I don’t know, but you could at least acknowledge I exist.”
Noah smiled, but it wasn’t the smile Charlie was used to, it was scornful. “Bit rich isn’t it?”
“Cut the crap Charlie. You blocked my number, you’re the one who walked away. You have no right to accuse me of anything.”
Charlie stood momentarily silenced, Noah’s anger and pain was so great he felt physically burned by it.
“I’m sorry, you’re right. I’ve been a dick,” he said, his shoulders slumping.
“Yeah, you really have,” Noah replied shortly. “Good damn it Charlie, it’s been the hardest fucking months of my life. It’s like you opened up something in me that felt incredible, everything felt brighter, lighter, exciting. Then you left, and rather than it going back to normal it was suddenly too bright, every step in the day felt heavy and exhausting, I lost all enthusiasm for everything I used to care about!” he stopped, perhaps noticing at last in his ranting that Charlie was blinking back tears, not looking at him for fear that they would tumble down his cheeks.
“Shit,” he sighed, running his hand down his face, “I promised myself I wouldn’t get angry at you. I’m not this guy, I’ve never been this guy. I understand why you did what you did. I know you’re trying to do the right thing, and you’re loyal to a fault. It’s one of the things I like about you.”
Charlie chanced a glance at him and saw the anger in his face was fading, and relief rushed through him.
“Frustratingly yes,” he glanced at his watch and then at the street around them sighing. “Are you going anywhere right now?”
“No,” he said, and Noah nodded.
“Then can we finally have the talk I wanted to have with you months ago? Before you decided to block me. No point standing in the rain.”
His cheeks reddened.
“Ok,” he relented, and followed Noah across the road to a small restaurant. They ordered drinks and were seated at a table, Charlie feeling awkward and unsettled in Noah’s presence after so long. It was just how he had remembered, every glancing look was making his body feel jumpy, and he longed to reach over the table and touch him.
His mind reminded him of the previous nights dream where he had been clutching Noah’s golden hair, entwined in bed with him naked, feeling Noah kissing his neck as he gasped his name.
“Charlie?” Noah repeated, and Charlie snapped back to the present, feeling his already pink cheeks redden still further as he realised he had been staring at him.
“Huh?” He said and Noah’s lip curved into a smirk. “I asked if you wanted to get a starter or just go for mains? What were you so distracted by?”
“Nothing,” he said lamely, his cheeks on fire now. Noah’s smirk turned to a grin, which didn’t help his desperate desire. The grin was just as good as he remembered it, bewitching and dazzling.
“You know I love it when you blush like that,” he murmured softly and Charlie ignored him, lifting the menu before his entire face turned to a radish. Through the menu he could hear Noah chuckle lightly.
He lowered the menu when he felt the burn in his cheeks subside and was grateful that Noah was gracious enough to feign interest in his own menu whilst Charlie drank his beer quickly, almost downing the entire bottle in his nerves.
They ordered their food istanbul travestileri from the waitress and the menus were taken away. Noah’s eyes were now fixed on him, and Charlie felt their silvery intensity with expectant anxiety, he noticed again the tiredness in his face, and wondered if that was his fault.
“How was your Christmas?” He asked casually and Noah frowned.
“Ok. I’ve had better,” he said darkly and Charlie felt uneasy. Noah glanced at him and sighed, “you kinda ruined my ‘only good things happen at Christmas’ mantra you know.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, and he tried to put more emphasis on the apology than just for Christmas. “And work?”
Noah laughed grimly, “Well, honestly not great either. I lost a few clients recently.”
“How come?” Charlie asked.
“Apparently,” he said in an annoyed tone, “I have been distant, off my game. Can’t think why,” he said and Charlie felt even more
guilt slide into his stomach. But Noah’s scowl lifted as he asked lightly, “How are Lydia and the baby? Healthy?”
Charlie jumped onto the topic in relief for something to talk about.
“Both well. She’s about 20 weeks now… apparently the baby is the size of a bell pepper.”
“Do you know the sex?”
“No, we decided to keep it a surprise.”
“Good decision,” Noah said, and his smile didn’t seem forced. “I was serious when I said you will be a very good father. I can just tell.”
“I’m trying. I don’t want to be the dad that’s never there.”
Noah paused, as if choosing his words carefully. “You do know that you do not have to be with the child’s mother to be a good father?”
“Noah- you don’t understand.”
“Maybe not. But my father and mother were divorced by the time I was five, he left. But he was never gone. He was always there, for the little moments and the big. He came over for dinner with mother once sometimes twice a week, and we stayed with him at the weekends. And he and my mothers relationship was stronger after they split up than it ever was when they were together. They still work together now, and we’re a family. Closer than most I would dare say. Families don’t have to be these nuclear units all the time.”
“But Lydia,” he said helplessly.
“She would be fine Charlie. And I know it sounds like I’m just saying all this so that you choose me and of course, I want that. But I also don’t want you to live a life that you regret. Lydia would be hurt, of course. But she would be fine, with time. You need to choose what you want for your life, and if that is Lydia then I am happy for you, but if it isn’t…”
He remembered Alice’s words back in the hospital, “whatever decision you make people will get hurt.”
He had thought he could avoid hurting people, but in his desperation to help Lydia he had left Noah alone. His match. And he had clearly been hurting, that much was clear. Guilt writhed in him. It’s not like Noah could just pick someone else, once you find your match, they say that you’ll never love anyone else the same way. He had a feeling they might be right.
“I can’t be the guy that dumps his pregnant girlfriend and runs off with someone else,” he said, and he felt the strangled knot in his throat that told him he was close to tears.
“What about the guy that resents his child for making him live a life he didn’t want?”
“I would never-“
“What about a girl” Noah continued, speaking over him firmly, his icy eyes calm and assertive “who is stuck in a relationship with a guy who doesn’t really love her out of fear of being alone?”
“I do love her!” He protested.
“Yes,” he said but it sounded more like he was trying to persuade himself than Noah. He cursed Noah’s ability to speak so calmly, while he was being strangled by his emotions at every breath. He couldn’t help thinking how good he must be at his job.
Their food arrived and for a time they ate in silence, Charlie’s mind running through what Noah had said and Noah watching him, as if reading the thoughts as they came and went.
He thought about his life eighteen years or so down the line, his child would hopefully be a confident young man or woman, about to start their own journey into adulthood. He imagined the weight he had carried ever since he had decided to end things with Noah, and wondered just how heavy it would feel then. He would never resent his child, but would he resent himself? And would he be setting the example he wanted to show his child? To stay with someone out of loyalty rather than real love? To throw away the thing that makes you feel truly happy? For he did feel happy, despite the fact that their conversation was heavy and full of pain and uncertainty, he felt like the air around him was cleaner, the colours brighter and the sounds more pleasant, just for being in Noah’s company, just as Noah had described in reverse only moments ago out on the street. He liked who he was when he was with Noah. Did he not want to show his child what true happiness was?
He allowed himself the briefest moment to imagine what it would be like if he let Noah travesti istanbul back into his life. And suddenly out of nowhere a scene appeared in his mind, as vivid as a memory. Noah holding the hand of a small child on a beach, the back of his golden head shining in the sun as the tide washed over their feet. He could hear the squeal of laughter and Noah’s laughter joining it in beautiful harmony, the smell of the salty breeze, and the happiness of the thought rushed over him so fiercely he gasped. He wanted it more than anything. The image faded and he saw Noah’s face across from him, his brow slighly furrowed, gloriously handsome even there with his damp hair and shadowed tired eyes. Charlie felt his own eyes burn and he blinked away tears rapidly.
“Do you see now?” Noah asked gently.
“I do,” he whispered, Noah allowed himself a small smile.
“For the record, I love kids. And any kid of yours I know it would be hard for me not to love. Since,” he paused, his hand stretching across the table to brush at Charlie’s wrist, he allowed Noah to slip his hand into his and felt the final pounds of weight inside him slip away, the touch and warmth of his firm hand grounding him to this reality, to Noah.
“Since I’m already so in love with you.”
Charlie felt speechless, Noah had said the words so calmly it took him some time for them to truly process in his mind. He loved him? Noah. Noah had said he loved him. He loved him.
“I-” he began, unsure of what he was going to say but Noah interrupted.
“Don’t say it unless you mean it,” he said firmly, and he pulled his hand away suddenly. Charlie felt the loss of it and frowned. Noah put his cutlery together on his clean plate and left a couple of £20 notes on the table.
“Now. I’m giving you a choice. An ultimatum if you will. You know how I feel, and I have made it quite clear the options you have, albeit from my perspective. I am not, and I want to make that clear, asking you to choose between me and your unborn child. I only ask that I be there with you. If you don’t want that, and you want to go back to Lydia and never see me again, I understand. I have been offered a job in New York, and I am happy to take it. I would be gone within the month,” his voice was cool and clear. Charlie made to interrupt but he continued, “if you decide you do want me in your life, which I hope you do, I will be at home tonight. You know the address. Come find me, but only if you are serious about us, I want you Charlie but I don’t want more of this will they won’t they rubbish,” he paused and when he spoke again his voice was soft, his eyes seemed to sparkle. “If you come. I promise I will spend the rest of my life making you happy.”
Charlie stared at him, he couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak. Noah breathed out a long breath and gave one last smile.
“So, I hope to see you later. But in case I don’t…” he stood, and pulled unsteadily Charlie to his feet. “I hope you will forgive me giving you one last goodbye.”
And without hesitation, his lips were on Charlie’s. There was no soft tenderness today, no cautious gentle touching. This kiss was a passionate one, firm and insistent, and when they finally broke apart Charlie felt dizzy as he watched Noah turn and walk confidently from the restaurant before he could even open his mouth to say goodbye.
Charlie set out at a brisk walk into the now nighttime air, the rain still lightly falling. But when he reached the end of the street he halted, unsure which direction to go. One would take him back to Lydia, the mother of his unborn child and girlfriend of many years. The other would take him to Noah, his soulmate and his obsession. Now he had had a brief reminder of what life with Noah was like, he couldn’t bear to lose him again. And if he didn’t go to him, he would be gone forever. But Lydia, alone and pregnant, probably waiting for him to come home.
He got out his phone, his hand shaking slightly as he sent the text. Once it sent he felt his decision had been made, and then ran down the street before he could change his mind.
When he arrived he was breathing heavily, sweat and rain having mingled together so that he was damp from head to toe. He knocked on the door, and wondered if this really was the right decision.
When Noah opened the door, all doubts were cleared from his mind.
“I… love you,” he wheezed between breaths. He leaned against the doorframe and clutched the stitch at his side, “and I really… need to exercise more.”
Noah stared at him drinking him in, as if not quite believing he was here.
“Well, are you going to let me in?” Charlie asked his breaths beginning to return to normal.
“I was waiting for you to breathe properly again,” he said quietly.
“Why?” He asked.
“So I could do this,” he said and wrapping his arms around his waist he pulled him close so fast Charlie would have lost his balance if he hadn’t been holding him so tightly. His arms around him felt strong and warm, and as Noah brought his lips to his, he melted into the kiss, into his body, enjoying the feeling as Noah pulled him in even closer, so tightly he could barely breathe but he didn’t care, he just wanted to feel every inch of his body press into his, the smell of him, the taste of him, everything that set his body and mind ablaze with passionate desire.
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