Chris liked being behind the scenes, so to speak. When it came to church. Like the lightening just right or the heater working properly. These were things he could tend to. He could come in early on a Sunday morning to do his part. Check the kitchen sink even while Max made coffee. And out of obligation he kept quiet. Even Max hardly saw him. This was the way it was supposed to be. How it would go. Being together yet not. It felt like a solo effort, but he was all right with it.
"So everything is all right," Oliver looked at him out of concern there before the service even started.
"Yeah," Chris felt a little starched with a suit on. Not quite sure how to behave in one even if Max had somehow tied it on him just by tightening his tie before they left.
"You look nervous," Oliver shrugged slightly.
"Slightly under the weather, you know," Oliver almost grinned but then he didn't. "We could sit together if you like."
"So Max has told you everything, has he?" Oliver kept staring at him as if he had to know. Had to. Something important.
"Everything?" Chris swallowed back the notion to ask more at first. "Like what?"
"Oh, I don't know, you know what you should know when-" Just then someone walked through the entrance toward the open chapel.
"Sure. Of course." Chris licked his chapped lips like he knew exactly what Oliver meant, but he didn't. Was there something he should ask? It left Chris a bit dizzy. He felt a bit of an idiot now that he didn't know Max's history. He didn't. He told Max so much about his past that it never occurred to him that Max should share that bit information about himself to Chris.
He would have to wait. He'd have to sit through a sermon. Then after that, he was sure he'd have to go home to have lunch alone. It would just give him more time to think. More time to wonder what Oliver was going on about.
"Wait?" Chris caught Oliver by the arm before they could even find a seat together. "Tell me what you know?"
"I don't know anything." Oliver gave him an innocent look. "Well, shall we?"
Chris really felt uncomfortable now. Really unsettling as they sat down together and Chris started to fidget.
"I'm sorry I said anything, really." Oliver kept his voice barely a whisper, and Chris stared away even lipped. He crossed his arms and kept staring at the pullpit. He looked over at Oliver who kept pulling his fingers back through his hair.
"What is wrong?" Chris whispered back with a squint.
"I think my sister is dead." Oliver finally managed to say. "I hate this feeling. I really do. I don't want to have it. I can't make it go away. It just stays, kind of like a panic attack."
Chris was hoping this was about Max. It was just his sister.
"Did you tell Bex about this?" Chris wasn't sure how to handle this. It was as if Oliver was falling to pieces in front of him.
Oliver shook his head, no.
"We should pray about it, " Chris found himself whispering, putting him arm around Oliver as the music began to play and they lowered their heads. Chris closed his eyes shut tight as he did his best to think of something half way like a prayer in his head, finally he looked over at a stern older woman staring at him. "Sweet Jesus.... shit." He breathed the words above his breath.
"Was that part the prayer?" Oliver wondered.
"Of course it was," Chris went back to crossing his arms then. Oliver finally looked up when he heard Max's voice. There he was at the pulpit.
"I have an announcement everyone," Max smiled. "I've moved. So my sister could move in with her new husband. Well, he's not her new husband yet. But he will be. Oliver here has decided they need a bigger place to start a family. So I've moved in with Chris. You all know him. He's got the space. It'll work out rather well." Max was motioning him to stand up. Chris was sure if he did he might faint with all those faces staring at him.