This month’s song is “Family” by Noah Gundersen. You can have a listen here:
I actually really liked this song, though I don’t know how closely this bit of flash fiction fits the song exactly. The song did inspire the peice, mostly because I was thinking about family and how that has played such a big part in Michael and Aric’s current situation. So, I went with it.
I never stopped looking back, sweetheart. You just weren’t paying attention.
Michael closed his eyes as Aric’s words washed over him and just took a fucking minute to feel the warmth of Aric’s hand against his face. He’d missed him so much, his voice, his touch, just him.
“I’m—” He cleared his throat, swallowed around the lump lodged there. “I’m fine. Really.”
Aric let out a short, quiet laugh. “I think we’ve established you’re not.” Before Michael could protest, he continued, “Go, take a shower, and I’ll make you something to eat. No arguing, okay? Should’ve done this a long time ago. I’m your family, remember? You’re mine. I think we both forgot that for a while, didn’t we?”
He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Michael’s. A firm, closed mouth kiss that was over too quickly. Aric released him and walked out of the room, leaving Michael staring after him. After a moment, he shook his head and headed into the bathroom. As he stripped and got under the hot-as-he-could-stand-it spray of water, he couldn’t help but think of the first time Aric has said those words to him.
They’d been at a party at Trina’s, and Michael’s father had cornered him. Being his usual dickish self. Starting the same argument they’d had since Michael had come out when he was eighteen. He’d had been handling it just fine until the older man had brought Aric into the argument. Accusing him of corrupting Michael, turning him away from his family and saying he deserved to hurt for what he’d done to their family. Michael had snapped back that Aric was more of a man, more supportive and loving then his father could ever be. And if Michael had to make a choice, he would choose Aric every time.
Leaning heavily against the tiled wall of the shower, Michael squeezed his eyes closed. He remembered the shock that had coursed though him sickly when his father had backhanded him. The way blood had filled his mouth, and tears had blinded him. After spitting the disgusting mess to the side, he’d told his father he had made his choice easier than ever. And Michael had walked away. Hurting, but confident he was on the right path. After all, he had Aric.
He’d had to drag Aric from the party—the other man ready to knock down anyone who dared touch his partner. When they arrived home, he’d cleaned Michael up—in this very bathroom—eyes sad and hands shaking.
“The kitchen’s a disgrace.” Aric’s voice echoed over the sound of the shower. “When’s the last time you actually bought something to eat that wasn’t frozen?”
Michael scrubbed a hand over his face and tried to find his own voice.
“Well, at least you had eggs; that’s something. Get a move on,” he ordered, words coming quieter—he must have been walking back toward the kitchen. “No one wants cold eggs, M.”
How long was this going to last? Aric pushing in and taking care of him, like Michael hadn’t ruined everything between them. Getting his hopes up, thinking they had a chance to fix things wasn’t a smart move. He didn’t know if he could deal with losing Aric again. He snorted as he turned off the water. It wasn’t as if he was dealing with the first time all that well.
He grabbed a towel then looked at his distorted reflection in the mirror, his mind back to that night, when he’d stood in this tiny room, in Aric’s arms, after making his choice.
Aric had held him tightly and whispered, “You’re not his anymore. He has no claim on you. You’re mine. I’m your family, now. Always.”
What would Aric would think if he knew what was really going on in Michael’s head? Would he be so eager to stay if he knew how much Michael had changed? Would he be so quick to call Michael his? Would his words, his claiming Michael, hold up if the truth came out?