Changing Suits - Diamond
by G Richmond
Story: Changing Suits
Chapter: 03. Diamond
Status: Final Draft
Author: G. Richmond
Warnings: Mild slash, angst
Feedback levels: UP TO LEVEL 1
Feedback requests: None
Author's notes: Have I had Frankie in a story before? I don't remember, I don't think so. At least, not with such a big part. He's easy and fun to write.
"So how you been, buddy? Keeping your chin up I hope?" Frankie's voice was positive and bubbly as always, but tamed now from responsibility.
"Of course, you know me." Murdock easily deflected his worry, keeping his eye on the soup that was simmering pleasantly in the pan on the hob. He had the phone against his ear with his shoulder, stirring the soup with one hand whilst he got out the silverware.
"I know, I know." He could hear Frankie's grin down the line, but his tone was still tinged with caution, "But you know, if you ever need the company, door's always open down here." Murdock smiled to himself at the offer, turning off the hob so he could pay more attention to the call.
"Thanks, Frankie, I'll keep that in mind."
It had been 3 months since that disastrous day when Murdock had crawled in his front door after seeing Face with his new girl. Frankie and BA had found him on the couch three days later, although Murdock couldn't tell them when he had crawled there. All they knew was that he had drunk all the liquor in the house (fortunately they had never kept much, only a few very expensive bourbons for special occasions, which at least hadn't been enough to poison him), thrown up in some inventive places, and then passed out face-down and remained there until they found him.
Fortunately Frankie was a worrier, so after not being able to get hold of anyone for 2 days, he had called BA and suitably panicked him until they agreed to go see what was wrong. They had got no answer at the door, despite ringing the bell and knocking loudly, and Frankie had unhappily suggested they come back later. But BA was having none of that, and before Frankie could finish his suggestion he had already kicked down the door. He had said later when Murdock asked what he would have done if they had just been out that he would have fixed the door before anyone got home.
After Murdock had been discharged from the hospital a couple days later, Frankie had insisted he come stay with him and his girl until he was better, and the pilot had no energy to argue. Over the month he was with them, Frankie slowly got the story of what had happened out of him, and helped Murdock sort his head out. Murdock knew that Frankie had gotten hold of Face once on the phone, but hadn't been very tactful in his anger, and Face screened his calls after that.
Murdock wasn't back to his usual self when he finally left them, but he was much better, and had endeavoured to try and move on. And in the two months that followed he almost managed to forget that there was a gaping hole in his chest that ached fiercely whenever he allowed his mind to wander too far, or whenever he caught a glimpse of an edge of a photo album.
He was still living in the same suburban house they had bought together (and that Face had scammed such a reduction on it would have been foolish not to buy), because, whilst now the subject of Templeton Peck only bought him pain, Murdock couldn't bare to leave the good memories that house had seen. At first it hadn't been easy to live there, but he couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
"So, have you heard?" Murdock didn't like apprehension in Frankie's voice, and his appetite immediately left him as his stomach wrapped itself in knots.
"Heard what?" Murdock tried to sound nonchalant, but it came out flat.
"...Face is getting married." The worry was there in Frankie's voice, concerned about how that was going to effect the pilot.
For a long time there was silence on Murdock's end as he stared down at the ground, trying to digest that information. In the end all he could say, in a detached voice, was, "That was quick."
"Are you okay?" Frankie asked urgently, "I thought you should know, just in case, y'know." He added anxiously.
"I...yeah, I'm okay, Frankie. Don't worry." He sounded distracted, but was trying not to worry Frankie.
"I meant it Murdock, if you wanna come stay with us for a few days, that's totally okay."
"It's fine, thanks. Look, my food's getting cold, I gotta go." Murdock couldn't continue the call, he needed some time to think.
"I'll call you tomorrow, alright?" Murdock knew Frankie would worry incessantly if he didn't offer to keep in contact, "Bye Frankie. Thanks for the call." He ended the call before Frankie could even say bye.
The hot soup went right down the sink, and the bowl and spoon went back into their places unused. He didn't know where his head was at, but he knew he didn't feel right.
Face was getting married? Face had proposed? Was that all it took? Just 4 months and suddenly he was the marrying type. How could that be?
Maybe he had gone and got the girl pregnant. That made the most sense, but that didn't make Murdock feel any better. The idea that Face would be having a family with someone else...it made that hole in his chest feel as fresh as day Face had walked out.
They had never talked about settling down like that. It never occurred to either of them that kids would ever be an option, but now that Face could potentially be having them with someone else, a woman, it brought all of Murdock's insecurities back out. All the things that had driven him to drown them out with alcohol 3 months before. He had never worried about anything when they had been dating. Never thought that there was anything wrong with their relationship, even if others disagreed. But when Face had left, when Murdock had seen him with that new woman it became apparent what was wrong, to Murdock at least.
He wasn't a woman. He couldn't do for Face all the things a woman could do, and all the things any self-respecting man was supposed to want. He couldn't marry him, and he couldn't give him children. And the very idea that their relationship was doomed from the start because of this had only quickened Murdock's descent into depression.
He found his way into the lounge and onto the couch, and curled up around the cushion he liked to pretend still smelled like Face, burying his face in the patterned fabric and hiding the tears that leaked out.
He felt so helpless now, but he knew it would pass, and by the time he had to call Frankie tomorrow he would feel better. Perhaps not a lot, but he would move on. It was two steps forward and one step back most of the time, but he was getting there. Ever so slowly he was getting over Templeton Peck, and life didn't look so bleak any more.
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