Derian sat staring absently at the television. If he couldnt be playing for the cup - at least his Jamie was. Funny thing was, Jamie wasn't his anymore. He'd made that more than abundantly clear to everyone but his own heart. He made a face when he took a drink from the bottle that he gripped tightly with his left hand - he hated warm beer almost as much as he hated telling Jamie that they were finished.
The long distance didn't bother him at the start. They were in the middle of the season there were other distractions to take his mind off of his broken heart. After that first part of a season in New Jersey, Jamie came home to Dallas for the summer. They spent every waking minute together making up for time lost due to the people who decided that Jamie and Joe needed to be traded. By the end of the first full season, things seemed strained although Derian couldn't quite place his finger on the trouble. Jealousy, distance, or resentment over the trade itself - who the hell knew; all he knew was that a relationship that used to seem as effortless as the way Mike glides across the ice now felt like it was a Cold War Summit - or something similarly stressful.
I thought I felt you touch my cheek this morning...but I must've been dreaming...and in the middle of the night without a warning...I thought I heard you breathing
Sleep was something that Derian was starting to deprive himself of. His rationalization if you don't sleep, you can't dream. He was damn tired of his mind telling him that Jamie was with him when he knew that he wasn't. When he woke this morning it was because he was certain that he felt the gentle way Jamie would brush his lips across his cheek and forehead when he wanted him to wake up. But lying in bed was just torturous it was as if he could feel the sensation of Jamies weight upon the bed; could hear the contented little sighs that would escape his cherub-like lips as he drifted into the throes of a pleasant dream.
Watching Jamie score two of the six goals the Devils had during Game 5 was beautiful. Seeing him wrapped up in the arms of his teammates - a team that he wasn't a part of - was sheer heartbreak. He could be there sitting in a seat right behind the Devils bench - but no, he had to tell Jamie that their perfect world wasn't so perfect anymore. He finished drinking his beer; making faces all the while and then wrestled his hand off of the phone when the urge to call Jamie to congratulate him almost got the better of him.
"You can't do that - you're not supposed to be in love with him anymore." He reprimanded himself.
Me and my so-called independence...I've got this loneliness that's so relentless...I guess you get used to somebody...kinda like having them around...I guess you get used to the way they make you happy...bring you up when you're feeling down
Derian stretched out on the couch again - avoiding the bedroom and all it's memories of Jamie. He should be over the break-up by now; especially since he was the one that decided that they needed to end things. In his mind, he was still caught up in the urge to hold Jamie while he cried when he told him that they were finished. He'd done the one thing he promised that he'd never do - he'd broken his angel's heart.
He'd dozed off on the couch the sounds of the post-game interviews rambling on and on. The one with Jamie shook him back to consciousness. But it didn't clear the guilt from his heart and mind. Jamie was smiling though - he seemed genuinely happy.
I never dreamed when I was letting you go that I'd wake up and miss you so much...I guess you get used to somebody...I guess you get used to being loved
Flashback 1999 Playoffs
"Derian, do you think we'll last forever?" Jamie asked innocently.
"Of course we will, Jamie." Derian said. "We're forever and always, baby. It's just gonna be us and nothing will tear us apart."
"Can I get that in writing?" Jamie teased.
"Sure." Derian said as he grabbed a fudgesicle out of the freezer. "Come here."
With a few strokes, Derian put his initials as well as Jamies in a heart on the middle of Jamie's chest before licking it off. The high-pitched giggle that elicited from Jamie was worth it even if the rest of the frozen treat ended up melting in the trash can.
Derian rubbed his eyes as he watched Jamie's interview conclude. Tears began forming behind his eyes as he thought about how much he'd thrown away. He looked at the phone and remembered what Jamie said when he left.
"Der, I'm not going anywhere." He whispered softly. "I'll wait forever for you to realize that you can't live without me any better than I can live without you."
Finally, he grabbed the phone and after five aborted attempts, he dialed the number of Jamie's cell phone. He didn't expect to get anything other than the voice mail - he was pleasantly surprised.
"Talk to me." Jamie's voice purred across the line.
"Jamie, it's me, Derian." Derian said his throat feeling unreasonably dry and constricted.
"Hey, Der, did you see the game?" Jamie asked, excitement flowing from him like a fountain.
"Yeah, I did." Derian admitted. "Jaime, when the playoffs are over, I want you, um, I need you to come home."
"What are you talking about?" Jamie asked before chewing on his lower lip nervously. "Derian, are you wanting to put 'us' back together?"
"Yeah, Jamie, I believe that's what I'm saying." Derian replied. "Do you think we can fix this?"
"I, um, I'm not sure - it's been a long time." Jamie replied. "You told me that you didn't love me anymore, remember?"
"No, Jamie, I said I couldn't live with the distance anymore. I never stopped loving you." Derian admitted.
"Oh, okay." Jamie whispered. "Well, I think I can sneak out on Joe if you wanna meet me in Anaheim tomorrow."
"I'll be waiting on you." Derian said.
I kinda miss those rambling conversations...where we'd talk about nothing...the way you made me laugh at my frustrations...Baby that was something...I should've been careful what I wished for...Cause I've got my freedom and so much more
Derian found himself sitting in the lobby of the hotel with a small suitcase at his feet. He pretended to read a magazine that was lying on a table near him. He had no clue what it was it could've been "Good Housekeeping" or something along those lines and he wouldn't have cared. Then he saw the charter bus pull up in front of the hotel. Jamie and Joe had apparently taken their usual seats at the back of the bus because it seemed like a small eternity before he emerged from the bus.
Jamie walked straight up to him and could tell that Derian was serious about fixing his mistake. He took the big man's hands in his own and traced tiny circles in his palms while he stared into the blue eyes that still haunted his own dreams.
"I got you a ticket right behind our bench for tomorrow's game." Jamie whispered. "I want you to be as close as possible when we win it all. I mean it won't be the same as when we won it together, but I still want you there."
"C'mon, Jamie, we can talk about this upstairs." Derian said as he led Jamie up to the room he'd gotten when he arrived. "I want to hear all your new philosophies; and don't leave a single one of them out but right now, all I want to do is hold you and pray that you've forgiven me for being such an ass."
"I forgave you a long time ago, Der." Jamie whispered. "I just didn't tell anyone about it."
"You could've called, you know." Derian whispered.
"Nope, I couldn't do that - you were the one that broke this - you had to be the one to fix it." Jamie reasoned as he leaned his head against Derian's chest.
"I'll fix it alright." Derian replied as he opened the door.
"Oooh, promises, promises," Jamie teased as he walked in.
I guess you get used to somebody...kinda like having them around...I guess you get used to the way they make you happy...bring you up when you're feeling down...I never dreamed when I was letting you go...I would wake up and miss you this much...I guess you get used to somebody...I guess you get used to being loved
Jamie's body felt so good curled up against Derian's it was as if they'd never parted. Derian barely moved an inch as he watched his angel sleeping. He was forcing himself to stay awake because he wanted to remember every detail of this moment. He didn't want to forget how Jamie had the covers folded over at his waist; how his lips were curled into a slight smile and how his fingers were intertwined with Derian's - it was all as perfect as it used to be.
"Der, is this how it was supposed to always be?" Jamie whispered in the dark. "I think this is how I always thought it'd be."
"Yeah, baby, this is it - you and me and forever." Derian replied as he kissed the top of Jamie's head. "Never again are we going to be apart well, except for contractual obligations, of course."
"Of course," Jamie whispered. "Oh, Derian, I almost forgot to tell you - I sold the house that I bought."
"Why'd you do that?" Derian asked thoughtfully.
"Because, I had a feeling that we'd be getting back together and that I wouldn't need it anymore." Jamie answered. "An apartment suits me fine during the season - messing with a house is an off-season thing."
I guess you get used to somebody...I guess you get used to being loved.