‹ Prequel: Green-Eyed Lover
Sequel: One Missed Call

Picture Perfect


"Hey, Lex. How've you been, baby? I know it's.. I know it's been a while, but I'm sure you already know why. Isn't that right? Everyone tells me that you'll always be around, always watching over me, always making sure I'm not fucking things up, and I can only hope they're right," Jack says quietly as he lowers himself onto Alex's grave, facing the headstone and talking as if his beau was still there, was still with him and could reply just as animatedly as he had while in life.

Well, before the cancer got too bad, that is.

"Y'know, I've been thinking a lot," the young man continues, reaching out to gently brush his fingers along the engraving of Alex's full name on the cool marble, "about those last few months. It feels like every day that we spent together is on a constant loop in my mind, in high definition. I just.. I don't know how to feel about it. I want the memories to stop, because they seem like nothing more than painful reminders as to what we once had, the life we'd mapped out on our own, but that's also a reason that I need them. I never want to forget you, to forget us, and I feel like that's the only way I'll always remember."

Jack paused there, waiting for a sign of some sort. He wasn't sure exactly what that sign would be, but when nothing in the world around him seemed to change, he sighed and continued on.

"Everyone has been trying to convince me that it's time to move on; that four months is enough time to grieve and get back up on my feet. I can't, though. They don't understand, and I don't think they ever will. It's not that I don't want to, because I know it's what you'd want for me more than anything, but it's just that.. The love we had, we have," Jack corrected himself, taking a shaky breath before continuing on.

He couldn't, however, not right away, and his gaze moved down to the grass before him. He plucked a few of the bright, freshly-grown blades, twirling them between his fingers before releasing his hold on the strand and watching as it drifted away on the breeze. It almost reminded him of Alex, how life had swooped in and took the elder away from Jack without so much as even a hint of remorseful regret, just as the wind had done with the bits of lawn only moments before.

"The love we have," Jack eventually begins again, looking back up from the ground below him to the headstone. Even if Alex is technically below him, it only feels right if he speaks to the grave marker; it makes him feel like he's talking to his lover face-to-face once again. "Our love, there's really nothing else like it. No one else on this entire fucking planet could even begin to imagine what I feel for you, and that's why I'm kind of at a standstill with my life: there isn't anyone else who could make me feel the way you do. Not about myself and not about them. That'd be kinda unfair to them, wouldn't it? Always being second-best to you?"

Once again, Jack stopped. He had all of these words, an endless list of things he wanted to tell the elder, but he just.. couldn't. No matter how he positioned the words in his head, it just didn't sound right. The order with which he composed a sentence didn't seem to convey his thoughts and feelings in the way that Alex deserved them. He'd tried practicing his speech on his way to the cemetery in the car, and it had all clicked then, all sounded perfect.

Even in death, though, Alex still leaves Jack a speechless, stuttering mess.

"You remember that night you came home and wouldn't tell me about your doctor's visit? The night I did everything to get you to see how absolutely perfect-in-every-way you are?" Jack found himself asking, his mind immediately filling with images from that night: kissing and praising every part of Alex's flesh, watching as Alex moaned and whimpered in his ecstasy, the feel of Alex's heart beating so wonderfully, so beautifully in his chest as Jack made him feel like he was the only person who ever mattered, as though the world had melted down to nothing around them, leaving both men to be totally and wholeheartedly consumed in each other's eyes, bodies, words.

"That's one of my favorite memories of us," Jack explained softly. His gaze had wandered down yet again, and it was as if Jack didn't even have it in himself to look up. Not now, at least, when he felt slightly embarrassed and as if Alex were sat in front of him, brown eyes bubbling with curiosity as he nodded encouragingly, silently instructing the taller man to continue.

"I know that if you were here right now, you'd probably be making fun of the fact that I'm blushing, huh?" Jack muttered before getting back on target. "You looked so.. so breathtaking. You always did, of course. Your face is so vivid in my mind that I know I could paint you picture perfect, even if I were blinded. Well, I'm sure I'd somehow manage to find a way to not make you look as stunning as you truly are. I'm still trying to figure out how someone so impeccable, so flawless, fell in love with me. You know, you never did tell me why you agreed to that first date," he mused playfully, his face twisting into an expression of faux contemplation.

"Some of my other favorite memories.. you'd probably think were creepy or just plain stupid. Like, if I were to tell you about those mornings I'd just watch you sleep; you looked so peaceful, content. Your eyelashes would fan along your cheekbones and your teeth would press ever so lightly into your bottom lip. The way you would always roll onto your back at some point in the middle of the night, your sweats and the blanket falling to rest so low on your hips. Watching your chest rise and fall with each shallow breath you took, just knowing that you were mine, is what made every morning so special, even if it was always the same. I considered taking pictures nearly every day, sure, but I knew that if you found them, you'd tease me about acting like some creepy stalker and not like an average boyfriend. I wish I had now, though. It's still hard not waking up with you in my arms. They say it'll get easier, but I highly doubt that."

The wind picked up just then, but only softly and momentarily, as though Alex were saying that he agreed. Or, rather, that he knew everything would get better for his still-earthbound lover, but the lanky man would just have to be patient; all things take time, love and grief alike.

"Everyone seems to think I've fallen into a depression, but I haven't. Whenever I start to get even remotely disturbing thoughts, about anything, really, I think about you. Sometimes I think about you and get upset, but it's.. It's kind of bittersweet, really; thoughts of you are the only thing that make me feel better when I think of you. If that even makes sense," Jack said with a chuckle. The leaves of a large oak tree stood no more than fifty feet away shook with a sudden, much-sharper-than-before gust of wind, and Jack took that to mean that Alex had laughed along as well.

It really doesn't make any sense at all, Jay, Alex would say, his eyes sparkling, his mouth stretched into the cutest smile around, dimples and crooked teeth on brilliant display, but that's fine because I still love you anyway.

"I miss you, y'know. More than you could ever imagine," Jack sighed glumly before deciding that though he felt upset, he wanted to be happy for Alex. During his visit, at least. It would just be difficult; he was steadily running out of cheerful things to discuss.

"I've considered moving," he decides, though it isn't the most pleasant of topics. "Well, it's your mom's idea, and she isn't letting me get away with not hearing her out. My mom thinks that if I want to stay in our apartment, then that's perfectly fine since I'm an adult and can make my own decisions. Your mom, on the other hand, is a completely different story. I know that she's just worried about me, so I don't mind or anything. 'You need a fresh start, sweetie,' she says. 'There are so many memories in those four walls, and sooner or later, you'll end up in a rut that you don't want to be in.' She's probably right – go ahead and say it, when is she wrong? – but I can't leave. That's been our home since we first decided to move in together, and I can't just leave now."

It's silent, as it has been for a better part of Jack's visit, and he takes that to mean he should go on. "I haven't changed anything; it's all the same as you left it. Well, I did your laundry, but all of your clothes are still in the closet. Your razor is still next to the sink, and your guitar is still on it's stand. I can't get rid of things either, as you can see. Your clothes still surprisingly smell like you, and if I ever need to cuddle, that's what I hold. Soon your scent will go away completely, and I don't think I'm ready for that last little bit of you to leave. Granted, I wasn't all too ready the first time you left, so maybe I won't be as bad off as I think I'll be."

Jack stopped, officially at a loss for words. If Alex were here, he certainly wouldn't have that problem. The young man sighed again, deciding to just let his emotions take the one-sided conversation wherever it damn well pleased.

"Remember when we were younger? Not too young, maybe only about two years ago, before we found out. Remember how you always lived life like you were on fire? I'd give up my eyes to see you like that just one last time. I'd give up all of my fingertips just to touch you, Lex."

The raven-haired boy honestly wasn't sure what was going on with his emotions, but he had started out being happy just to be near the elder. It had changed into slight sadness when he started talking about how life is now, without the one person he needs more than oxygen, and it has slowly managed to morph into anger; tears, which he hadn't noticed before, slide down his cheeks, his hands clutching at the grass below him as his body shakes in silent sobs.

"Why'd you have to go, Lexy?" he asks quietly, voice low and dripping in misery. "I know it's not your fault, but.. I can't breathe; I need you here with me."

Jack was slowly able to calm his hysterics, his hands unclenching and turning over on the ground. Allowing his eyes to slip closed, he stopped his train of thought and focused on everything around him. He would swear on his very life that he felt the elder slip a hand into his own, the brunette's lips pressing against Jack's forehead and then lips as his free hand cupped his right cheek gently.

I love you.

Jack knows he heard Alex's voice that day, knows he felt the elder's touch. When he opened his eyes, though, it was still just him, alone. Alex's presence, however, didn't seem to waver, and it comforted Jack more than anything to know that Alex was still around, was still in love with Jack, was still waiting on just the other side for the day when his lover's time finally comes. Both know it won't be anytime soon, but that doesn't bother either too much. They still have each other, though it's not in the way they'd like, and it's still enough for them.

Wiping his face dry and standing from his spot on the ground, Jack presses a kiss to the tips of his fingers and touches them down gently on the headstone, whispering back in response, "I love you, Alex. Always."
♠ ♠ ♠
so as i was writing this, idk why, but i thought of So Beautiful (prompt 12) and so i decided that this would be like a part two to that.
sighs i think it started out gr12 but then s i g h s
i'm sorry, i know sighs don't hate me for bringing that back up
it was painful the first time around, amirite
and this is sort of based off of Escape the Fate's Picture Perfect, which is a perf song and it still makes me emotional, u kno.
i've had this one planned since the first time i heard the song, right when the album came out.
thanks for the comments on Green-Eyed Lover: olibarakat, Hellocoldworld14, pshnina, m0riarty JackBaraBoner and jalex_barakarth3012!
love you all!