Dayton couldn't exactly put his finger on it, but something had changed with Chris. In spite of the even lip, he could tell something was happier about Chris. Possibly, even softer. He hadn't noticed that before. It surprised him.
"What happened to you?" Dayton wanted to know as he studied him as much as he could, yet not wanting to, just the same.
"What do you mean?" Chris squinted. "Nothing has changed. I still work at the same place. Still live where I always did."
"Uh huh." Dayton envied him. Honestly, this was true. It shot straight to heart with a sharp pain. How could he just do this to him?
"So how are things with you?" It was like Chris to turn this around. He was like that. Didn't want to share anything about himself. He always made Dayton feel he was there for him, but Dayton never really had to do the same for him.
"Just great, how do you think they'd be?" Dayton lied. Perhaps they were pulling the same old tricks on each other.
"Good, glad to hear to that." Chris nodded. Dayton thought he might have noticed a smile. Not much of one. He was keeping aloof as usual. "So I guess you'll be getting married soon." Chris kept his cool.
"Married? Are you fucking crazy?" Dayton grinned. "I hate her so much," he had to be honest about that to Chris. He could lie about anything else but not about that.
"Don't tell me shit like that, cause, didn't you say the same about Bex?" Chris reminded him.
"I hate her now. My God, look what Bex did to me?" Dayton wanted to hold it in. "But this is all her damn fault. All of her."
Chris shook his head, no.
Dayton felt the hot tears on his cold face then.
"Just blame me, will you," Chris told him. "Maybe I wasn't good enough. A good enough friend. I really tried to be. I did. But I thought you moved on. I really did. This has nothing to do with Bex, anymore. You never really loved her. Maybe its because you never really loved yourself. Sure you might have loved what people thought you were, but you, that's where all this hate starts. Just let her go, man." Chris shook his head.
"Just, come and have a drink with me," Dayton squinted more tears. His nose was running. "It would be just like old times."
"I don't think it would be like old times, though," Chris was edging him out. Closing up. Shutting the door to the past. Locking it up for good. He got Dayton out on the steps in to the snow. "Just go home to Nancy. That's where you belong. Not here. I don't need you, anymore."
"But I need you," Dayton felt himself begging there in the cold. "I do. I don't know what to do without you." He missed Chris' smile. His warmth. The closeness they used to feel. He was more than what a brother would ever be. There was something natural with him that he'd never attempt that with anyone else.
"You got Nancy now." Chris nodded as if he hadn't listened to a word he said. He got in his truck then, started up on the first try and drove away.
Dayton just stood there in the night air. Looking up, staring at the silent snow falling out of the black sky down on him in big fat flakes. The air, so icy, it tasted of poison. Something Dayton was used too.