Kyle knew of Dan from their shared mates. Most of their friend group were into music or some sort of creative endeavours. Someone being a songwriter and looking for others to join their band was common among them. Kyle had joined other mates before for small gigs or uni projects.
Meeting Dan was altogether different.
He was shy and reserved. His eyes rarely left the floor, but he was passionate about his music.
He waffled on for a solid forty minutes about how when he created the music he never thought it would be played live. He needed more hands to play the keyboards, the drums, and add in vocals. He had a loop pedal, but it was awkward to keep everything straight on the stage.
Not to mention he was terrified of playing live.
As he spoke, his hands moved about and he almost hit Kyle three times with his descriptions.
Kyle was instantly intrigued by him.
Most of the music types, especially the songwriters, were a cocky bunch. Dan spoke as though Kyle would be doing him a grand favour just by agreeing to listen to them play.
Kyle agreed to come to their rehearsal, but Dan never gave him the rest of the information. Dan became distracted by something else and Kyle lost track of him at the party.
At another house party they ran into each other again and Dan started in on the same sales pitch. Dan’s thoughts came quick and his body swayed, giving away that Dan had a few drinks before Kyle had found him.
Kyle listened for the second time as Dan told him about the music he had created and how difficult it was to play on stage. He took out his mobile and played him a rough recording of the band practising together. Dan had been asking around, but everyone was either busy or not interested.
Dan’s voice changed and his words slowed down as he said the last bit of information. Like a child that realised that no one was coming to his birthday party. Dan had raised his head briefly and Kyle learned that Dan’s eyes were blue.
Kyle agreed to come to the rehearsal and Dan thanked him as he tried to walk away.
“Hey, wait.” Kyle stepped in front of Dan and blocked his escape back into the crowd. They were in the kitchen area and away from everyone else. Kyle had filled his glass twice while he allowed Dan to ramble on. “Give me your number. An address. Something before you go.”
“Yes. That might be helpful.” Dan’s skin went pink and Kyle smiled as Dan checked his pockets for his mobile. It was the last of the four pockets that he checked. “I’ll message you.”
Kyle put his number into the device for Dan and added a ;D next to his name. “So you remember it is the bloke with the big smile.”
Dan snorted at the joke and went to walk away. Pausing in the doorway, he turned fully. Dan’s eyes met Kyle’s again and Kyle raised his eyebrows letting him know he was paying attention to him. After a long pause, Dan asked, “Do you really want me to message you? Or were you just agreeing so I would shut it and leave you alone?”
“I was serious.” Kyle wrapped his arm around Dan’s shoulders and pulled him in closer. “This is going to be brilliant. I can feel it in my toes.”
It took Dan three days to message him with an address. And when he did, it was for a rehearsal for that night after 2300.
Kyle went and started his obsession with one Dan Smith.
Kyle grew up in a tactile family. He freely gave touch without thinking about it.
Dan appeared to love the contact. He would sit next to Kyle when there were other spots available. At times, he would stand a bit too close to Kyle without realising it.
Kyle went as far as holding Dan’s hand as they sat near each other after a practice. It was just them; the others having left only moments ago.
“I think we have a go of it.” Kyle’s thumb moved a pattern against the back of Dan’s hand. Kyle’s eyes stayed on the back of Dan’s head as Dan watched their joined hands.
They were alone and Kyle figured it was the best time to let Dan know that he was interested. So far, Dan had been giving him mixed signals. There were times that Kyle thought for sure that Dan was into him. Other times, it was like Kyle was not even a thought for him.
“I dunno.” Dan shook his head and leaned back against the back of the sofa. It was an old sofa that had seen better days, but fit well into Dan’s bedroom. “I got another letter for that masters program. They said I could start in the fall or defer again. Maybe I should do that. Nothing is going to come of this. But, nothing is going to come of that neither.”
“Rubbish.” Kyle’s left hand moved up Dan’s arm and lifted his chin so he could look into his eyes. The lighting in the room showed every sparkle in Dan’s eyes. “You are brilliant. If this doesn’t work out, then you will make a fine film journalist. You are the most obsessed person I know when it comes to the cinema. To be inside that head.”
“I hardly know anything.” Dan’s eyes went back to their joined hands as he shook his head. “You don’t have to lie.”
“Have I ever lied to you?” Kyle’s voice went lower and he used his hand to put pressure on Dan’s chin. Dan looked up at him, but his eyes were looking past him. Kyle smiled to himself as he noticed that Dan started breathing faster as Kyle leaned in closer to him.
Just as Kyle was closing his eyes to lean in further, he felt Dan leave the sofa in one quick movement.
Dan started around the room pushing things back against the wall and Kyle took the message loud and clear. Dan was not interested in him.
As they gathered more attention and gigs, Kyle learned to live on the road. Close quarters meant that they were all on top of one another. It was not uncommon to fall asleep on someone’s shoulder and wake up on another person’s arm.
They played to audiences and gathered more attention. Dan was losing his mind on a regular basis and they all would talk him through it.
Kyle panicked on stage and forgot to breathe, but Dan started panicking hours before the gig started.
He paced with him.
He cuddled with him.
And Kyle grew more and more infatuated with him.
Only Dan did not appear to have the same feelings back.
Maybe Dan was not ready for a relationship with him. They had a lot going on and Dan held the brunt of the stress.
Kyle put out feelers here and there. Hints that he was into Dan and would be open to more. Dan ignored all of them.
As they toured for their second album, Will finally broke his silence on the matter.
“He doesn’t know.” Will was sitting back stage with his bass case on his lap and waiting for the go ahead to start setting up on stage. “Man is brilliant, but clueless about this. You are going to have to be more direct with him.”
“He doesn’t know what?” Kyle narrowed his eyes as he looked around the room making sure that Will was even talking to him. There was no one else with them so he turned back to Will and saw a sly smile on his face. “What are you on about?”
“Dan. He doesn’t know that you are interested in him. He doesn’t pick up on any of that. I saw the other night where you literally took his hand and asked him to watch a film with you later. He doesn’t know you are flirting with him.” Will raised his eyebrow as he leaned forward. “You are going to have to tell him outright and see how he responds. Personally, I don’t think he is into all that. Relationships and whatnot.”
“Am I that obvious?” Kyle pulled a folded chair up close to Will. Kyle chose to ignore the second half of what Will said as he panicked about how much of an idiot he must look to everyone around them. “Everyone knows?”
“I don’t know about that.” Will turned to face Kyle. His face had relaxed to its natural state and Kyle reminded himself that Will didn’t mean to look at him like he was wondering how his soul would taste. “He might just break your heart, so be careful of that. He doesn’t have an obsession with sex and all that like everyone else.”
“We slept together last week. Like, slept. We were messing around with a song and fell asleep on the same bed.” Kyle smiled as he looked toward his feet. “I woke up to him cuddled up to my chest. It felt right. Like, it was supposed to be that way. He didn’t say anything about it when he woke up. Nothing.”
“I don’t think he is wired that way.” Will looked up as Woody entered the room. “Morning sunshine. You look like shite.”
“Thanks, honey.” Woody riffed back as he raised his middle finger toward him. “I did myself up just for you.”
Woody found his own chair and looked them over, not saying anything. He looked exhausted and done with life, but Kyle had to ask him.
“Do you know that I’m in love with Dan?” Kyle broke the silence of the room.
“Obviously.” Woody laughed and pushed back some of his untamed hair. “You decide to do something about it? Because he is not going to figure it out on his own. He doesn’t think like that. Might need to make a grand gesture and write it out for him on a billboard or something. Tattoo it on your skin. Better yet, put it on his lockscreen. He is always looking at that thing.”
“So I’m just the slag that hasn’t picked up on this?” Kyle looked between them and then away when he saw both of their eyes on him. On some level, Kyle knew. As much as he acted one, he was not an idiot. Dan had made no advances toward him over the years and seemed content on continuing their relationship as it had always been. “Is it hopeless?”
“Nothing is ever hopeless. But it is not probable.” Will looked toward the door and saw their stage manager wave to them that it was time to set up the stage. “But, who the fuck knows? He might be thinking the same thing and forgot to tell you. Or his negative brain just assumes you are not into him. Talk to him. See what he says.”
Kyle attempted to approach the subject a few times, but Dan did not seem to grasp what he was saying. Or if he did, he did not indicate that he was interested in the slightest.
The last attempt was the most obvious of them all and Kyle walked away feeling like a right idiot.
Kyle took Dan on a “date.” Time alone in whatever random city they were in.
Kyle picked the restaurant and paid for their meal.
He suggested they walk through a park afterward.
Kyle laid it on thick that he appreciated Dan and thought what they were doing was amazing. How he would not want to do this with anyone else but Dan. How Dan’s brain fascinated him and only made him want to know him more.
Dan blushed and laughed it off until Kyle took Dan’s head in his hands. The air was warm between them but Kyle took another step closer.
Dan’s eyes were wide and he was looking at Kyle’s lips. Kyle smiled in response. Maybe this was it. All these years and it finally came to his moment.
“You are fucking brilliant.” Kyle’s toes touched Dan’s feet and Dan’s face felt warm underneath this hands. “I think about it all the time. Tell me you feel it too.”
Dan’s eyes shot up to Kyle’s and he moved back a few steps. Kyle’s hands fell from underneath Dan’s jaw and all the air left his lungs.
“Are you drunk? I’m nothing special.” Dan shook his head and turned away from him. Walking back in the direction they had already come.
Kyle took a deep breath and followed him.
There was his answer.
Heather was a distraction from it all.
Kyle had been pining after Dan for so long, he forgot that there were other people out there in the world.
Wonderful people with warm hearts that were eager to love.
He hit it off with Heather right away.
She was brilliant and kind. A natural beauty that seemed effortless.
She was the furthest thing from complicated and Kyle found himself basking in the normalness of being with her.
In the back of his mind, Kyle wondered if this was going to be the breaking point for Dan. Seeing Kyle with someone else and realising that Kyle would not always be around to cuddle him.
In a way, it was a breaking point.
Dan stopped seeking him out.
No longer sitting too close to him.
No longer falling asleep in his bed or on his shoulder.
Which was fine. Kyle was okay with it. You couldn’t force someone to love you.
Kyle was never Dan’s, but Dan would always be Kyle’s one true love.