Sometimes, Eric didn't talk. Instead, he let music talk for him. He'd find a song to convey what he was thinking and blare it from his computer while he tried not to think about what he was feeling.
A year into their relationship was the first time it happened. Sam had returned home from work to find Eric on the couch, legs crossed underneath him and a laptop perched on his knees. The small speakers had evidently been playing the same song for quite some time, straining their capacity. Eric didn't look up from the computer when he heard Sam come in, focusing all of his attention on whatever it was he was working on. Maybe interview questions for his next guest.
When Sam sat in the chair across from Eric, the song restarted its seemingly endless loop.
“My heart has a history of hurting those who mean the most to me. Before you get to close to me, I think you oughta know: while other hearts are holding on, while other loves are going strong, my heart has a history of letting go.” Okay, so he was playing Paul Brandt. Sam could tell that much. He recognized the voice, but not the lyrics. But then, he rarely payed attention to lyrics. Now though, he was paying close attention to them to figure out why exactly Eric was listening to it.
“The first time that I looked into your eyes, I knew this moment would arise. I got a feeling you're the one, but my heart keeps trying to turn and run. The problem is this happens every time.” Sam's confused posture melted away to understanding. Eric was scared. He'd never had a relationship as serious as the one they had. Hell, Sam wasn't even sure he'd ever been with a guy before. He wanted to go over and hug Eric, but he'd wait to see if Eric realized he was there first.
The chorus, or at least what Sam assumed was the chorus, repeated after that. Eric was still fixed on his laptop, his brows furrowed in concentration. Or was it worry? Sam couldn't tell from so far away.
“If we can take this one kiss at a time, maybe we can tame this heart of mine. I'm telling you the cold, hard truth: I ain't ever been loved by the likes of you, and I ain't ever had this much on the line, but my heart has a history of hurting those who mean the most to me. Before you get to close to me, I think you oughta know: while other hearts are holding on, while other loves are going strong, my heart has a history of letting go. My heart has a history of letting go.” That was the end of the song, Sam decided. It faded out after that, but it didn't loop again. It seemed Eric had realized he was there, and shut it off.
Sam got up off the chair, moving to sit next to Eric on the couch. He wrapped an arm around his partner's shoulders, pulling his attention away from the laptop. Out of habit, Eric nestled himself in the crook of Sam's neck to comfort himself.
“It's okay,” Sam muttered into Eric's hair. “It's okay to be scared about the future. It's natural.”
“I've never been scared of the future,” Eric said softly. “I'd always known where my future was going, and that was hockey. After the accident, nothing made sense anymore and I didn't know what the future held. Then, I met you and things started making sense. I was scared of that too. I was scared I'd mess this up and lose one of the best things to happen to me since the accident.” His voice was barely above a whisper. Eric rarely got like this, and when he did, Sam let him talk. “It's been a year, and I'm still scared I'll lose you, Sammy.”
“Hey, I'm not going anywhere,” Sam told him, squeezing his shoulders. “You're stuck with me,” he joked, trying to lighten the mood, “because I love you, Eric. And I don't make a habit of leaving behind the people I love.”
Eric felt himself smile, nestling himself further into Sam's neck. “I love you too,” he muttered. Sam had a knack for making him feel better in just about any situation, without fail.
Eventually, they drifted off to sleep like that, leaning against each other on the couch with Eric's laptop perched haphazardly on his knees as if it would fall at any moment.