I was listening to 'If I Don't Make It Back' by Tracy Lawrence. Originally, this was going to be an America-centered fix, but I decided last minute it fit this awesome guy better. It made me sad to write, honestly… I recommend listening to the song before/while reading it.
Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to the song or Hetalia.
We sat in a booth at the far end of the bar, sipping drinks and talking about old times. We;d been coming to this place for God knows how long. It's not that the drinks were particularly amazing, or the music nice. But the prices were cheap, and it was close enough Antonio's place to walk. Over time, it'd just become our number one meeting spot. And so, there we were.
The Spaniard himself was recounting a story of our younger days, fresh out of college, of one of our many escapades to this bar. The first night we'd discovered this little out-of-the-way joint had been one of celebration, a present to ourselves on graduating. It'd ended with the three of us stumbling back to Toni's home, intoxicated by alcohol and each other. There'd been similar nights like that, full of youthful curiosity, but that was all in the past.
Now years later, even with one of us a soldier and the other two leading their own successful lives, the Bad Touch Trio had stayed close. So we sat in the same place, downing the same drinks, making the same crude jokes. We'd gone out for beers and a couple laughs, knowing full well every bad joke Gilbert told might be his last. So we laughed like the world wasn't at war, and said things to him we'd never said before.
We pretended not to notice the tear he wiped away, attempting to pass it off as the 'fucking dust getting in his eye', as he held up his glass. He said, "Guys, if I don't make it back… have a beer for me, don't waste no tears on me. On Fridays nights, sit on the visitor's side and cheer for the home team."
"Gil- " I began, but he cut me off with a shake of his head.
"Drive my camero 90 miles an hour down that old dirt road, with Born To Run blasting on the radio. And find someone good enough for Elizaveta, who would love her like I would have. Ya know, just in case I don't make it back."
"Hey man, that isn't gonna happen." Antonio said, patting him on the back.
"Yeah, if we know you, you'll pull through without a scratch." I agreed.
"If the good Lord calls me home, I like to think you guys will think about me when I'm gone."
This was followed by comforting words, which he brushed off and responded to with a smirk and lighthearted jabs at what we were doing with our own lives.
But, I think we all still saw the worry in his eyes.
Not much later, we were out in the parking lot, making our way to Toni's car, Gilbert and I trailing behind. He pulled me aside, just out of earshot. He appeared proud, if a little nervous. "Hey, ah…Elizaveta and I, we're tying the knot. I want you to be my best man."
"Moi?" I asked in surprise. Then I smiled, "Congratulations. It's an honor."
"Yeah, just wanted you to know that. Just in case…"
"Nonsense, you'll be fine" I answered, clapping a hand on his shoulder. "But, wow… getting married."
He smirked, "Yeah, yeah. Just remember what I said. Have a beer for me, ya got that?"
I chuckled as we began walking again, Toni waiting with the car ready.
Well, beer isn't my sort of thing. I've always preferred a good red wine. But I drink one every now and then, for old time's sake.
We haven't missed a home game yet, out there every weekend and cheering from the wrong side. We've had that camero at 110 mph on an old dirt road, the one out back of my place, with the speakers blasting and our own voices singing until we were hoarse.
I introduced Elizaveta to a friend of mine, from Austria. His name is Roderich, a pal I'd met in college. He's a good guy, hard working and kind hearted. Just what she needs.
But, you know…
She just ain't ready.
I'm not sure if I'm completely happy with how it turned out, but I'll post it anyway. Let me know what you think~