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February 23, 2014: Rodger & Terry

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

Rodger Ellis and Terry Grey have a long and, well, storied history together. Or not together, as would be more fitting. In fact, though they are a package deal in any Flowers' storyline, one of their main shticks is that they have never and will never truly be together. That's just a fact of the world at this point. The sun rises, the wind blows, Rodger and Terry will never manage to fix themselves enough to make it work with each other.

These early versions of Rodger and Terry find themselves on more even footing, however, than their later counterparts. They have hurt and continue to hurt each other but also find themselves drawn together despite it all. This is a short, experimental piece that came before the rest of the characters in Flowers - likely before Flowers even had a name itself - when Rodger and Terry were all there was, when they really were the stars of their little universe. Though I've never found a home for them within a plot, they both still hold a special place in my heart. I've never forgotten them and there's likely a reason I return to them time and time again, hoping that I'll manage to make it work for them this time. For now, while they wait for a story that satisfies them, I hope that others can enjoy them as they are. Though you'll have to forgive my younger self for being a not-so-subtly angsty teen.


Sketches of him.

Words on a piece of paper.

They stared at him.

They dared him to wish.

Asking if he could've really had such a life.

Wish for a love he would never have.

A life with the warm embrace of someone he loved.

A love that his partner would return just as wholeheartedly.

Sometimes, he did dream, with all those pictures staring at him, smirking knowingly.

Sometimes, he let himself fall asleep, imagining the person who had written the letter, the person who sounded like he would return his feelings completely.

He always dreamed of a dark, dank room that smelled of whiskey and vodka, the man who would never love him always stood across the room, staring at Rodger, confusion clear in his features.

He thought that maybe the writer would be a woman who he had disappointed in the past, but, no, it was a man, strong, covered with ink, beautiful tattoos, though they all spoke of sadness and heartache.

Features that looked to have traded their happiness away for a cold cynicism, the bright, bubbly teen he had once known, now a man that knew the tortures of life.

Sadness and heartache seemed to reflect on all of the man's body though, he was curled into himself, stared at the ground, light brown eyes looking pained. There was such a look of fear and worthlessness that Terry could never stop himself from reaching for the man, ignoring the flinch of the other's body, and pulling him tight against his body.

No matter how many times they went through this same song and dance, it always surprised Rodger when the blonde man pulled him into a hug, and he had yet to be able to return it. He was afraid that if he even dared to hope that the warmth surrounding him was real, it would all be ripped from beneath him again. So he avoided reacting too much to anything within his dreamworld.

Terry inhaled, his cheek pressed against the other man's, their height almost even, the other having just the slightest of an inch on him. Every time he breathed he could smell the faint scent of what could be paint and what was almost certainly coffee. If the dark circles present under the man's eyes spoke of anything, then it was definitely coffee that made up the part of the man's smell. It wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't something he would think of as pleasant. It was just... interesting.

The dark haired man could feel the locks of blonde hair that gently brushed against the very top of his forehead, the smooth skin, a scar at the temple, rubbing against his own. It felt so right, like every part of them was meant to fit together perfectly, but at the same time, it rubbed raw, scratched and stifled, caused rashes. Nothing fit, yet everything did.

They always were separated suddenly, Terry found himself sitting at a bar stool, head hanging low above a shot of whiskey, glasses littering the counter around him, speaking of the many drinks his dreamself had already had. "Do you think that I'll ever be loved?" He always asked, knowing the answer, but always hoping that something different would come to light. That maybe someone would step forward, speak those three little words that he was so desperate to hear.

"I loved you," Rodger says, not the least bit mad at Terry, but sounding more irritated with himself, glaring at the clear white substance in the glass in front of him. "More like I still love you, I'm so stupid, falling for a straight man, what did I expect? Some sappy love story? A happy ending?" He downed the last of the vodka in his glass, these were the same words he spoke in every one of his dreams. He couldn't blame Terry for his cruelty, he had been in high school, they were young and stupid, to think that his confession would have ended any differently was his biggest fault at that moment in time.

The blonde shifted in the stool, uncomfortable. This man had loved, no, still loved him? Terry couldn't help but wonder why his conscious created the letter writer into this man, each and every time, and wondered where in his mind he had come from anyway. "Well, neither of us'll have a happy ending then, cheers!" He said sardonically, tapping his glass against the empty one in the darker haired man's hand. He took a swig of his whiskey, his mint green eyes meeting light brown, both glaring at each other with different emotions. "Don't look at me like that," Terry muttered, dropping his eyes back to the countertop first, "You'll make me feel guilty, I don't even know you!" He exclaimed, annoyed, slamming his glass onto the counter and effectively shattering it.

Rodger brushed away the shards of broken glass the same way that he always did, not bothered by the man's carelessness, "Don't know me? You 'don't know me'?" He snarled, standing up, the other matching his movements, his half an inch giving him the advantage of height, even though it wasn't much at all. "You ripped my heart in two and then kept it as a souvenir! How dare you just forget about me like some stupid lovesick preteen!" He shouted, nostrils flaring and eyes narrowed dangerously. His usual docile and complacent nature always seemed to vanish when it came to these dream, it was his sort of release from the anger pent up within him.

He gripped the other man's arms, scowling, daring him to say one more thing, "No." He growled, "I don't have a clue who you are. Wanna know why?" He felt vicious, cruel, he wanted to say every horrible thing that he could think of to the man that had claimed to love him. But that wasn't true, there was no one in the world that could love him. He was just a worthless good-for-nothing, not even worthy of a second glance.

"Yes, please," Rodger's words were laced with sarcasm, light brown eyes flickered over the other warily, wondering what could possibly be said next, though he already knew what would happen.

"Because-" And suddenly, their lips met, like two hands had shoved them together at the same time, just to shut up the nonsense they both were spouting. Terry had a feeling of things being alright, like everything was going to be okay.

Rodger felt like a sense of security was beginning to overwhelm him, he reached a hand to brush the hair he had so longed to feel. And just as he made contact.

And just as he began to feel a smidge of love, he woke up.

He woke up to the sunlight streaming bright through his apartment's windows.

To the realization that he was, once again, alone in his life.

To the mocking sketches on the walls, laughing at his frustrated tears and the way he curled in on himself.

To the searing pain of reality, the letter that lay open on his dresser fluttering from the slight morning breeze his open window provided the room.

To his own sobs, knowing that he would never love another person, that Terry would never love him back.

That they would forever be alone in their life.

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