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Title: The Ephemeral Heartache of Bryce Davison
Author: [livejournal.com profile] plazmah
Rating: G
Fandom: RPF (FS)
Pairing: Scott/Jessica (fuck all y'all bitchezzzzz) and Bryce/Jessica.
Summary: His partner and best friend is getting married; no time like the present to mourn for what he has lost. Thankfully, he has a friend who understands.
Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wasabi_girl1 for the beta. I started this fic with the intent of making it super angsty, but halfway through writing it I actually met Scott and Tessa (and saw Jessica) in Ilderton and I just could not continue on the same vein of tragic unrequited romance. So this is what I created instead. And now I have no idea if it's appropriate for The Comm. Therefore, in a major departure from my regular fic posts, I give my fair readers a poll.

[Poll #1594054]
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On her wedding day, there's a sudden cold snap. (They're barely out of September, but what do you expect? This is Canada, God keep our land glorious and free and full of arctic air masses.) The air has a sharp chill in it and Bryce thinks she must be freezing, her arms and shoulders exposed like that. But she stands there calmly on the church lawn, a sublime smile on her face as the photographer artfully arranges her bridesmaids around her. First comes a series of serious shots, then one with the girls in silly poses and pulling faces. The groom, sandwiched between his older brothers, is laughing and egging them on. Family and friends are laughing. Despite the temperature, the sky is a gloriously clear blue. Birds chirp, flowers bloom, the grass is green.

Bryce figures he's probably the only one here who's not in full spirits.

The photographer lets the bridesmaids know she's done with them and calls for Jessica's parents. Bryce is simply digesting the scene, not really allowing his brain to think (about anything, about her), when he realizes that Tessa is standing next to him in her red wine-coloured bridesmaid outfit.

"Hey, why so far away from all the fun?" She asks with a cheery smile and Bryce wishes for the zillionth time that he was like Tessa, that he hadn't fallen head over heels for his skating partner and lost her to someone else. He's been holding it together throughout the entire event, ever since Jessica had told him with beaming eyes that Scott had proposed and that she had accepted. But today is the day, the moment when it all became real, and he thinks it's perfectly reasonable to allow himself a bittersweet moment of indulgence.

Jessica looks beautiful dressed in white lace. She's glowing and her eyes reflect such depth of emotion when she takes her photos with Scott. Seeing her happy warms his heart, because if there's one girl in the world who deserves happiness, it's her.

It's just... he could have been the one holding her hand on that church lawn. But he's not. He wonders where things went wrong, but realizes despondently that there are too many potential answers to that question.

His reticence causes Tessa to look at him with concern. "Bryce? You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." He replies, pushing the heavy thoughts from his mind, struggling to keep his heart light, free from regrets. He doesn't want to ruin Jessica's special day by reminding her that he's the suitor she rejected.

"Good." Tessa said, pulling her matching wine-coloured wrap closer around her body, and it shimmers slightly in the light of the autumn sunset. "All you men are lucky."

"What? Why?"

She gestures to his outfit. "The tuxedos; I bet all those layers are keeping you pretty warm in this weather. Plus the groomsmen went first for photos with the bride and groom, back when the sun was giving actual warmth."

"If it's any consolation, I don't feel very lucky today." Bryce regrets the words the moment they leave his mouth. His voice sounds so beaten, so deflated, when this is neither the time, place, nor the proper audience for such forlorn confessions.

Tessa looks down at the bouquet of cream roses in her hand awkwardly. "Today must be hard for you."

"A little."

"I'd totally understand if it was more than just a little, you know." She gives him a secretive little smile and without warning he can see something foreign in her eyes, a flash of admission that disappears so quickly that he wonders if he imagined it.

"And what's that supposed to mean?" He stutters, trying to refocus on their conversation.

"Well, I know you care about her, we all know that." She continues lightly, fiddling with the rose petals in the bouquet. "But you... you two were together at one time. You had her, went through a part of life with her when she was more than your best friend and partner. So... it must make it worse for you, because you know exactly what you lost." She shrugs, watching as Scott tenderly holds Jessica's hands for the photographer. "For me, it's just the road not taken, a giant question mark that I'll never get an answer to."

"Tessa, if you're trying to make me feel better, it's not exactly working." Bryce says with a quiet laugh, even as his heart clenches at her painfully accurate words. Bryce looks at her, really looks at her, and he can't find a trace of the wistfulness that he knows she must be feeling, watching her dearest and closest friend give his heart away to another. All he sees is love etched across her shining face, a selfless kind of love that he can't quite comprehend.

"Oh crap, I'm so sorry." She replies with a pained expression, embarrassed that she made him feel worse. "I'll just stop talking now."

"No, it's okay. You're good company." Bryce reassures her, feeling a little better to be in the presence of someone who understands. Maybe not exactly what he's feeling, but pretty damn close. "Thanks."

"You're welcome."

Bryce smiles to himself. "I'm looking forward to seeing you break down completely when you give your toast to the bride and groom."

Tessa laughs. "God, don't remind me. Just thinking about my speech makes me all..." She lets out a long sigh and fans her face with her hands, like she's trying to stave off tears already.

Bryce grins and pats the pocket on the front of his tuxedo. "Don't worry, I'll be standing by with lots of tissues."

"Jessica told me the exact same thing." Tessa says with a knowing look, a look that says she might be marrying someone else, but there's a connection between you two that can't be broken. "Scott on the other hand threatened to put me in a headlock." She lowers her voice to imitate him, and Bryce has to admit that it's scarily accurate. "'T, if you start crying, I'll start crying, and I can't get emotional like that when I've been giving my brothers such a hard time for years. I'll never live it down.'" Tessa giggles and shakes her head, and there's just so much fondness in her eyes that Bryce feels a weight lift off his shoulders. This is a day meant for happiness and he is happy, really and truly. He laughs along with Tessa as the photographer wraps up the wedding photos, and he mentally picks out what song he'll choose when he gets to dance with his best friend.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - end - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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