Brian paced his loft restlessly. The was an anger bubbling in his stomach and he swore if there was one more knock on the door he was going to tear someone to pieces.
He paced his way to the kitchen and unscrewed a bottle of Beam, not even bothering with a tumbler, simply knocking it back from the bottle. He held the bottle loosely in a fist and continued pacing. He didn't want to sit down, couldn't. He couldn't go to the bed, or the couch, or the table, or the computer. He couldn't go anywhere. He felt trapped in the middle of the floor of his loft.
His phone rang. He threw himself onto the rug next to the couch and covered his eyes with an arm. The message machine picked up. He wasn't sure who it was calling him. A female voice that sounded vaguely familiar. Maybe an employee from Kinnetik.
"Brian, I heard about what happened. I'm so sorry. I-I didn't know him all that well, except when he came down to the office to show you those comic books or ask you to dinner. But he seemed really nice and-and, I'm so sorry."
Brian was going rip the phone out of the wall, too. He got up and tossed the empty bottle of Beam in the sink. The neck shattered and stuck halfway down the disposal. He caught sight of white tulips on the edge of the counter. The angered him more than the phone call ever could, and he grabbed them up in both hands, shredding and ripping them in his fists, ignoring the juices and the fermented flower smell as it ran down his arms.
He wouldn't have wanted flowers. Why would he have wanted flowers? Didn't anyone ever learn? Justin was allergic to flowers. There was a whole row in the medicine cabinet in the loft dedicated to shit he had to take in order to keep from exploding from sinus pressure or whatever.
Brian dropped the flowers and stood there, staring at their ruins on the hardwood. He felt tears pricking his eyes and fought to hold them at bay. His loft felt empty, his arms felt empty, his heart felt empty, everything felt empty.
It had been a week ago. A week ago since that stupid Cody kid had found Justin walking home from the bookstore and shot him, all because of the dumbass Pink Posse gang nearly three years ago. Brian had rushed to the hospital, visions of that night years ago when blood had stained another ambulance gurney flashing through his head. The staff almost hadn't let him in until Jennifer had turned reddened, steely eyes on them and demanded it.
He'd been there for Justin's last. It wasn't what he imagined. He'd always thought the cancer would come back and get him first, but not this. Never this. They'd held each others' eyes until the very end, and Brian watched the sunshine fade from his world one bright sunny day in July in a cramped white room in Allegheny General Hospital.
And they kept sending flowers.
Didn't anyone ever learn?