“I’m gonna kill him. I’m gonna kill him and I never want to see him again” Caleb spa angrily once I’d calmed him down enough to vaguely make sense.
“Who?” I asked, making sure the kids were distracted. I didn’t trust Caleb not to swear, nor did I trust him not to go into vividly graphic details.
“Guess who just got a call from the hospital telling me he’s broken various bones in a fight”
I arched an eyebrow, not really understanding why Alex being in hospital would be grounds for murder.
“Y’know how he started fighting professionally and legally so he wouldn’t get killed or anything?” he asked and I nodded. “Well guess who’s gone back to illegal fucking matches”
“How do you know that was from an illegal one?”
“He wasn’t scheduled for any fights today”
“Shouldn’t you be talking to him about this instead of me?”
“No. Because like I said, I’m gonna kill him and I don’t want to see him again”
“I think you’re overreacting a bit there, Gayleb”
“No, Hadley, I’m not overreacting. I’m gonna sound like a bitch for saying this, but you’ve never had to worry about Maxxie or the kids like I end up worrying about him, and that’s when he’s fighting legally. You’ve already lost your husband, but I haven’t”
I’ll admit that stung, but I didn’t let it show. “So killing him won’t be losing him? Or never seeing him again?”
Caleb pouted. Yeah, didn’t think so, ginger.
“Go and speak to him”
“No” he said sulkily.
“Because he’s an asshole and I don’t want to speak to him”
“Then let me speak to him”
“Because knowing my luck, he’ll try and charm his way into your pants” he pouted, earning a confused look from me. “Him and Maxxie were together seven years, right?” he questioned, and I nodded. “Well I’ve got an extra two years on that, who’s to say he’s not bored of me now”
“Which is why you need to go and talk to him”
“No” he sulked.
I let out a sigh. Caleb, I swear to God I’m going to strangle you one of these days. Just as I was about to try and reason with him, his phone rang. He looked at the caller ID before promptly turning his phone off. Three guesses who called him. The house phone rang a few minutes later and I answered it, ignoring Caleb spewing death threats and obscenities at me.
“Is Caleb there with you?” Alex asked once I’d answered the phone.
“Yeah, he is”
“How mad is he?” he asked, just in time to hear Caleb growl “Hang up on him or I’m killing you too”
Charming. Kill your best friend. Thanks, Caleb.
“Text me?” Alex asked.
“Sure” I said, hanging up before the ginger had a chance to attack me.
"Tell him I'm really sorry" he texted me not long after.
"He says he's still killing you" I replied once I’d passed on the message and received an answer a lot more vulgar than I’d relayed.
"Why is he over reacting so much?"
"I didn't mean to worry him, I just got so fed up of all the rules in legal fights"
"It's not just that"
"I don't know if you told him why you and Maxxie split, but he's worried the same's going to happen between you two"
“Well he’s scared it will”
"Then tell the stupid asshole to talk to me so we can sort it out because he's getting himself worked up over nothing"
"He's locked himself in the bathroom now"
"I'm coming over"
I waited for Alex to arrive, doing my best to keep the kids occupied so they wouldn’t pay attention to what was inevitably going to be World War Three. Alex’s arm was in a cast when he turned up and I let him in, not really offering him any sympathy. Bros before hoes, after all, and since Caleb was my best friend, that kind of made Alex the hoe. Whether or not he’d agree with that was a different story, but I didn’t plan on telling him.
"Is he still in the bathroom?" he asked and I nodded.
Alex went off to find him and I followed, more to try and keep the peace than anything. Alex banged on the door once he found the bathroom.
"Go away" came from inside.
"C'mon, Caleb, please come out of the bathroom and talk to me"
"Because I'm gonna kill you"
"Look, I'm sorry. I fucked up. It won't happen again"
Alex sat down in front of the door and I watched the two of them start to play the waiting game. Yeah, they’re both too stubborn to win that game. Eventually Alex resorted to threatening to break down the door.
"Can we try not to break my house, please" I said, getting the general impression that I was being ignored. “Alex” I said warningly.
"Then help me get him out of there"
"Caleb, just talk to him"
"No" Caleb yelled from the bathroom.
The look of anger that flickered across Alex’s face had me mourning the door already.
"Caleb, just fucking talk to me"
Alex got up, and I all but read the door its last rites in my head.
"I'm not kidding Caleb, if you don't come out I'm breaking the door down" Alex said, getting ready to kick the door in.
Alex kicked the door open, and we saw Caleb sat sulking in the bath tub. He hadn’t run himself a bath or anything, he was just sat in the tub.
"Go away" he said grumpily.
"I liked that door" I said quietly to myself.
"I'll pay you back" Alex said before going in after Caleb.
"What part of 'go away' didn't you understand?"
"All of it, clearly. I asked you to talk to me like a rational human being, and instead you're sulking in the bath" Alex said and Caleb nodded. Alex sat in the other end of the bath. "Please, Caleb. I just want to talk to you"
The ginger was silent and Alex rested his chin on Caleb’s knee, planting a kiss there.
"Look, what happened between me and Maxxie was exactly that, between me and Maxxie. Just because I ended up feeling bored and trapped with him doesn't mean I will with you. I haven't yet. It was my career making me feel trapped” he said but Caleb kept quiet. "I love you" he said, cuddling the ginger’s leg. "I'd never leave you"
I’d like to point out at this point that Caleb is quite well known for his stubbornness.
"Please, gorgeous. I don't wanna lose you over this"
Alex leant his head on Caleb’s belly, still cuddling his leg when the gingerstilldidn’t say anything.
"Just because you're hurt doesn't mean I won't hit you" Caleb eventually mumbled.
"Go for it, if it'll make you feel better” Alex said, smiling a little.
"Asshole" Caleb said, sort of hitting him.
Alex kissed his leg and the ginger hit him again, though Alex didn’t seem to mind. Just as well, really, since Caleb hit him a few more times and called him an asshole again.
"M'sorry" he said, nuzzling Caleb’s leg.
"I should divorce you"
Alex looked up at him, this horrified look on his face. C’mon, Caleb, don’t do anything stupid. The ginger just sort of hit him again and Alex cuddled his leg tighter.
"You're not s'posed to make me worry like that"
"I know. I didn't think"
"Asshole" Caleb muttered and Alex nodded.
"Will you come out now?"
"How can I make it up to you?" Alex asked and Caleb shrugged. "What if I'm your slave for a week?"
"Two weeks. And no more illegal fights"
"Sorry about the door, Bunny" Caleb said once the two of them were out of the bath.
Alex got out his wallet, handing me $100. "Will that be enough?"
"Should be" I nodded.
Alex shuffled back over to Caleb, cuddling him from behind. Caleb hugged Alex’s arms and Alex buried his nose in Caleb’s shoulder.
"Are you two done with the drama now?" I asked.
"I hope so" Alex mumbled into Caleb’s shoulder.
"As long as you don't get into any more illegal fights and don't go sleeping with anyone else" Caleb said.
"Then yes, we're done"
"Sorry about the door again"
"It's okay" I said.
I invited the two of them to stay for dinner since they were here anyway, and since Alex seemed to have already gone into slave mode, he left the decision up to Caleb. The ginger, of course, said yes, so I set to work making dinner for everyone. I offered around some wine at some point, though I think I drank most of it myself. I don’t remember much other than complaining a lot about being single and missing Maxxie. Caleb put the kids to bed on my behalf and Alex cuddled me, vaguely hearing him explain what was going on to Caleb before I passed out.