[livejournal.com profile] 6_cocktails: Escape Route

Oct. 7th, 2009 04:31 pm
[personal profile] notaballad
May 19, 2006
Desmond swallowed heavily as he watched – via the full length mirror he stood in front of -- his brother adjust his bowtie. He’d never really mastered that art, but Jude made it look so easy. Desmond supposed that it came from so many award shows and CD release parties his jazz musician twin had to attend.

They were dressed identically in black tuxedos with crimson cummerbunds and the only distinguishing feature was the long bangs that flopped into Jude’s face. Desmond’s hair, while long in the front, was elegantly swept back and gelled to stay in place. The special occasion for which they were dressed was neither an award show nor a CD release party; it was Desmond’s wedding.

The bride, Laura Harden, had been Desmond’s girlfriend for nearly a year and a half, and he’d proposed six months ago. Jude had argued with him that it was too soon, but Des – ever the stubborn twin – had gone ahead and proposed anyway. Now, unfortunately, fifty nine minutes before he was supposed to walk down the aisle, Desmond Jones Molloy was wishing that he’d actually listened to his older brother.

Jude could tell that his twin was nervous and gave him an encouraging smile. There was bad blood between Laura and him, but he loved his little brother and was determined to support him. “There,” he said as he finished adjusting the bowtie. “You’re ready for your lady.”

“Jude,” Desmond said slowly, mostly because he felt like he might hurl at any moment, “I don’t think that I can do this.”

Jude’s eyebrows shot up in surprise and he lifted his gaze from the bowtie, giving his twin an incredulous look. “What? Des, it’s a little bit late to getting cold feet.”

Desmond chewed on the inside of his lip for a long moment before nodding. “I know, I just…I should’ve listened to you, I’m sorry,” he mumbled.

“Hey…don’t start talking like that,” Jude said, frowning. “Look, I was out of line, okay? You’re obviously very in love with Laura, and you should want to marry the girl that you’re in love with, right? I’m just…your brother. What do I know?” He gave Desmond a soft smile and clapped his hand on his twin’s shoulder. “I’m gonna go make sure that everything’s ready, okay? Don’t go sneaking out the back while I’m gone.”

Desmond managed a shaky smile as he watched his brother leave the groom’s suite of the church. He licked his lips and cast a glance around the room, which was little more than a place for someone to get dressed. There was an attached half bathroom, with just a sink and a toilet, and in the main room, there was just the full-length mirror and a couple of chairs, plus a large window with two large panes that opened outward.

He started to pace, rubbing the back of his neck as the clock on the wall ticked away. Each tick seemed to echo through the quiet of the room, and Desmond started to twitch, growing more and more nervous. Each tick was bringing him one second closer to having to march down that aisle and say ‘I do.’

What the hell had he been thinking, proposing to this girl? They’d only known each other a year and a half, and could he honestly say that he’d felt that spark, experienced that one epiphany that everybody was supposed to have, that lightning strike “ah ha!” moment when they realized that the person they were with was the one they were meant to be with for the rest of their lives? Well…if he was being honest with himself…the answer was no. Somehow, he didn’t think that a fleeting thought of “Yeah, I could get used to this” in the midst of post-coital bliss could count as a reason to marry somebody.

He looked around frantically; he had to get out of there and quick. There was no way that he could confess to Laura’s face that he didn’t want to marry her. He just wasn’t man enough for that, so he did the only thing he could think of – he unlatched the window and pushed the panes outward and then hiked one leg over the ledge. He was making a run for it.

He didn’t get very far though, because at that precise moment, as he was straddling the window ledge, the door opened. He froze, eyes widening in surprise, and then he breathed a sigh of relief as he saw that it was just Jude. Of course, Jude had a very surprised look on his face, his eyebrows lifted, and for a few long moments, the twins did nothing but stare blankly at each other.

Jude was the one who broke the silence first with a quiet “You do know the back stairwell is faster, right?” After a beat, he added, “Plus you’re less likely to break your neck.”

Desmond’s face immediately turned a scarlet red, and he cleared his throat, carefully pulling his leg back into the room. “Oh,” he said sheepishly, “um, I actually didn’t think about that.” He gave a nervous little laugh and then pulled the window closed, latching it. Then he smoothed his hands over the front of his tuxedo, letting out another nervous laugh. “I was just, uh, you know, checking possible exits in case there was a fire.” He winced slightly; god, that hadn’t sounded so lame in his head.

Jude gave him a look that screamed ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’ and then snorted. “You do remember that you’re the slow twin, right?” he said with a hint of amusement in his voice.

Desmond winced and pouted a little. “What? What do you want me to say, Jude?” He threw his hands, exhaling in exasperation. “Yes, I am getting cold feet, and yes, I am being cowardly and ditching my bride-to-be mere minutes before we’re supposed to be locked in matrimony! Happy now?”

Jude was quiet for a long moment and then nodded, a smile slowly spreading across his face. “Yes, actually. It’s about time you came to your senses,” he said. “Like I said, the back stairwell’s faster and safer.” He nudged Desmond toward the door. “Go on. I’ll give you a head start.”

Desmond blinked in surprise. “What? You’ll what? How?”

Jude smirked a little and nudged his brother again. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll hear about it later. Just go before Dad or the priest or somebody comes looking for you.”

Desmond smiled softly and gave his brother a tight hug. “Thank you so much, Jude. Seriously, you have no idea how much this-”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Jude interrupted, opening the door and practically shoving Des out into the hallway. “You can thank me later. Go.”

Desmond didn’t need to be told again, and he quickly hurried down the back stairwell. His car was waiting out front, and luckily, he had the keys in his pockets. It had already been decorated, “Just Married” written across the back windshield in white window marker and cans and things tied to the tailpipe. He paused just long enough to rip off the strings of cans and things and then jumped into the driver’s seat, gunning the engine and roaring out of the parking lot.

He’d later find out, while stretched out on an uncomfortable mattress in a cheap motel on the edge of town, that Jude’s grand idea of a distraction had consisted of him chomping a few cashews. Now, that wouldn’t normally be much of a distraction, but Jude was allergic to cashews, and even chomping just a few had led to a mild reaction that had landed him in the ER. It had been a good half hour before anybody had noticed that Desmond was missing.

After yelling at his brother for putting himself in jeopardy like that, Desmond had settled down for a sleepless night, wracked with guilt. It would be seven days before he left the motel, and he ignored all calls to his cell phone except ones from Jude. He was too afraid that Laura’s father would hunt him down.

It certainly wasn’t one of Desmond’s proudest moments, but he was sure that he’d be able to look back on it one day and laugh.


[Jude is [livejournal.com profile] thatsamesadsong and is used with permission and love. Laura is a product of my imagination. No brides were harmed in the making of this fic.]
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