Summary: Fred finds that spending his first Christmas alone without Lex is unbearable and plans to do all he can to win her back – with questionable results. Even during the most blessed holidays there are lessons to learn and prizes to pay in the name of love.
Dedication: Written entirely for Kristine as her yearly Christmas fic of 2004.
Disclaimer: Lex, Sammie, Jeff, Matt, Anna, Anthony and Chris along with Suspended Motion itself belong to NYgoldfish54. Fred and his brothers are mine.
It feels like most of my soul has been gnawed at. Yes, I’m quite certain huge chunks of my brain are missing. It could just be the hangover talking, but I have serious doubts about that.
As predicted, Mac had no problem tagging along with me when I went on my pathetic Lex search. He noted that I’m a sad, sad person that should be put out of my misery, but hell, I knew that already. Plus, who in their right mind listens to their brother’s advice?
The bouncer recognized me so Mac was allowed to sneak by the line without any problem. I think he loves me the most when I get him into clubs he’s too young to visit. I had to physically force him to get one of those ‘Under 21’ stamps on his hand so he wouldn’t get drunk instantly.
At first he was intrigued by getting to spy on people to see if any of them was Lex or her friends. Unfortunately, it wore off quickly. Around 10:30, Mac had left me to find someone else to hang out with instead. Apparently, staring at an empty stage, looking for my ex-girlfriend, isn’t something today’s youth find interesting at all.
It was good seeing her again. I was probably imagining it but she looked even more beautiful than before, something I never would have thought possible. I remember how I used to lie and watch her sleep for hours; there wasn’t a single moment she wouldn’t look beautiful. It didn’t matter what she was doing or what time of the day it was; even when she had a cold and sounded a bit like a frog when she spoke – she was still the prettiest of every girl I’d ever met. She still is.
Hearing her voice is soothing. Back when we were together, listening to her talking could be the only thing that calmed me down when I was upset or sad over something. She knew exactly what to say that would comfort me. She would wrap her arms around me; whispering to me that it’d work out alright, whatever it was that was bothering me. I was never that good at comforting her. Saying the right things isn’t my strongest point. I basically only held her in my arms, trying to keep her safe. She liked that.
Lex found me after she went off stage. I was hoping I could leave without her noticing, but no such luck. I expected her to be disappointed with me. I was supposed to let her move on with her life. I was not supposed to make cameos in her life anytime I felt like it. “Hey,” she said hesitantly, standing right next to me, nervously fiddling with a bottle she had in her hands.
“Hey, Lex. How are you?”
“I’m okay. Jeff told me you were here. He saw you earlier. Were you tryin’ to avoid me?” she asked, immediately catching on to my actions, knowing me so well.
I’ve never been able to lie to her. I’ve never wanted to lie to her. “Yeah, kinda. Sammie invited me, but I can leave if you want.”
“No, ‘course you can stay. I-I’ve actually thought about you.”
She nodded, fumbling with the bottle in an attempt to take a sip. She spilled some of it on her top so I went over to the bar to get her some napkins. She followed me across the room. “Yeah, you know, there were a few times when I called you, just to ask you how you were doing–” I handed her one of the napkins so she could wipe off her top. “-thank you – and just talk. I decided against it because… Can I do that?”
“I just… I miss talking to you, Fred. You and I used to be so close and it feels like… I don’t know, like I lost one of my best friends in the process of breaking up with you.”
“You can call me, you know that. Anytime you want to talk to me, I’m available. It doesn’t matter when it is. I’m always here for you, it doesn’t matter if you’re my girlfriend or not.”
“You don’t think it would be awkward?” she wondered, finally making eye-contact with me after flicking her gaze around for quite a while. “Like you thought it would be tonight. That’s why you didn’t wanna see me, right? That’s why you offered to leave.”
“I’m not sure,” I said. “I hadn’t thought it through. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, if me being here does that to you.”
“No. It’s probably easier to get through this if I didn’t see you at all but I don’t want it to be easy. I miss having you around.”
“I miss you, too,” I admitted, starting to feel choked up. “Every day since you left has been difficult. I still can’t picture tomorrow without you. I know it was mostly my fault that things fell apart for us and I regret how badly I treated you, whatever it was that made you leave.”
“Fred, you didn’t treat me bad. That’s not why we broke up, you should know that by now,” she said, sounding surprised and taken aback. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“How did you mean it?”
Lex opened her mouth to explain when someone grabbed her arm, receiving her attention. “There you are.” I felt like such a big idiot when the guy beside her leaned in to kiss her on the cheek. Of course she didn’t mean it like that.
“Hey. I was just talking to… my friend, Fred. Fred, this is Brad. He’s…”
When she couldn’t find any words to finish the sentence with, I pointedly filled in: “Your friend?”
Lex shot me a worried look, as if she was expecting me to kill myself on the spot. I didn’t mean to make her feel bad… Actually, maybe I did. After all, I felt humiliated enough to able to combust on the spot, while she practically gloated all over the place for being the one that moved on after the break-up.
Sadly, Brad seemed to be a nice guy. He greeted, shook my hand and dragged the love of my life with him to get some more drinks. Lex sent me pitiful looks for as long as humanly possible.
When Sammie came around a few minutes later to scrape what was left of me off the floor, I had to show some real restraint not to strangle her. She was remorseful, promising me she had no idea Brad would show up at the gig like he had. It didn’t help my suicidal tendencies at all but at least I got some attention from someone. Apparently, this was Sammie’s idea of getting me and Lex back together – perfect, she called it, since Brad would be nowhere in sight and Lex would realize that I was the one she was meant to be with.
Somewhere around that comment and when she started picking mine and Lex’s relationship apart was when I decided to get very drunk.