I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 6

SILVIA

I laughed at his umpteenth lame joke. “Come on ...”

“What? It’s true!”

“Oh, please, you wanna tell me you actually climbed down a gutter pipe butt-naked?”

Jake laughed. “Seriously, I did. I was like ... 17.”

“And her father didn’t catch you?”

He snorted. “Please ... I’m fast as hell.”

I snorted in return. “My God, don’t you need a whole other room for your ego?”

He laughed, and I heard the shuffling that meant he was rolling over on bed. Funny how we’ve spent the past nights talking on the phone. I mean, the first time I called him I was just frustrated, I didn’t even know what I was blurting out, but then we talked through the night, and I realized ... well, he’s not that bad after all. I mean, yeah, gosh, yeah, he’s a jerk, but ... a funny jerk sometimes.

So the following nights I found myself dialing his number when I couldn’t fall asleep, and for some reason Jake always picked up. Always. He hasn’t missed a single call, which is really odd, to be honest. I mean, to be true to his player role, he should be out screwing whatever girl every night, yet ... he’s spent the past five just ... talking on the phone with me. Weird.

“Well, yeah, but you know, the major problem is when I travel ... hard to find enough space on a plane.” Jake joked, and I inevitably laughed. I don’t think I’ve laughed this much altogether since ... um, since a long time ago I’d rather not think about. The point is, he’s the first person that makes me laugh this much. I almost thought I’d forgotten how to laugh as it is.

As silence settled in, I focused on his breathing. It was calm yet somewhat hitched, as if he were doing something. “Jake?” I called. “What are you doing?”

“You sure you wanna know?”

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, unless it’s something gross ...”

“Like?”

“I don’t know, you’re unpredictable. For all I know you might be with a girl right now.”

He laughed. “I wouldn’t be talking to you if I was with a girl.”

“Well, the first time you did.” I don’t even know why did I dig that up. We didn’t speak of it after that night. It’s like ... we deleted it. Yet it still remained that she gave up sex for me, and I’m not sure how do I feel about this, I mean ... doesn’t that even mean anything? Or is it like he says, that she wasn’t really good so it wasn’t a sacrifice for him? And how should I take this thing that he spends his nights talking on the phone with me now?

Maybe he has sex before, then is free to talk to me. It’s awfully gross, but it’s a chance. Or maybe he just ... frees his nights to talk to me, and I don’t understand why. Then again, as of today I don’t even understand why does my own best friend care about me, so, you know.

I know, it’s stupid, but to be honest, I know I can be quite the bitch most of the time. I know I come off as cold and impassive and blunt and ... not the kind of person you’d love. I’m simply not used to thinking people might care about me, that’s why it always takes me off guard when I find people like Matt, who claim they’ve grown fond of me in so little time, people like Jake, who despite his reputation clears his schedule just to ... spend the night talking to me.

We go on from midnight to 4 am, people. Just ... talking. And laughing. And bantering. Just that.

He willingly gives up not just sex, but hours of sleep, only to talk to me, and I have no idea why nor will I ever understand it.

To my statement, I heard a sound that I’ve learned to recognize as his smug chuckle. Yeah, he has one. “You feel flattered, don’t you?”

“Oh, please ...”

“No, come on, be honest. I gave up sex for you. I actually ignored a girl that was right there and then blow-”

“Ugh, I hate you when you do this. Why you gotta be always so gross?”

He laughed. “Because it’s fun, baby. And you like it, admit it.”

“I don’t like that you call me baby, and I don’t like that you’re such a pervert with me.” Meh, I kinda lied there. The pervert part, that is. I mean, yeah, he can be real heavy with the sexual innuendos, but I’m used to Tess, so it’s not like I have a pure, innocent mind. I do not like his nicknames, though. I’m not the kind of girl that likes being called baby and honey and sweetie and all that stuff. Also, if I really must endure such pet names, they should come from my boyfriend, don’t you think? Not from my boss slash friend.

“Ok, so what should I call you? Angel with horns?”

I actually laughed at that one. He’s been throwing there that nickname now and then, and it always makes me laugh. I’m not an angel, God knows I’m as far from angel as it could be, but the fact that Jake adds those horns is funny, as if I were some sort of female Lucifer that’s been an angel yet isn’t anymore. He says he calls me that because I’m feisty yet still a good girl. I’m not sure about that ‘good girl’ either. What makes me a good girl? The fact that I’m 23 and still virgin? Well, I’m not pure, eh.

“Just ... call me Silvia.”

“Awww but that’s no fun.” I could picture him pouting, and it actually looked quite cute in my head. In the end, I suppose I’ve changed my mind about him. I mean, again, he is a jerk for crying out loud, yes, but a cute and funny one at that sometimes. When he really wants to. Well, mostly when we have these late night talks, as if the ... intimacy of such a private phone call made him somewhat sweeter.

I let silence slip in for a few moments, although it wasn’t full silence, because I could hear him shuffling and I think ... crunching? Right, he has these late night snacks, which are totally unhealthy, but hey, he’s fit nevertheless, so good for him.

Lying on my bed, in the darkness of my room, I stared at the ceiling, and in a feeble voice, I found myself asking, this time serious: “Jake, why do you do this?”

“I get hungry in the middle of the night, I-”

“No, not that ... why ... why do you waste away your nights talking to me? Why don’t you just ignore my phone calls at midnight? You could spend your time way more pleasantly, I know you usually would.”

He smiled, I think. I mean, I know you can’t hear someone smiling, but I heard that muffled noise he makes when he’s smiling, so ... I guess he did. “Same reason why you call me at midnight, baby.” He claimed, and for once his ‘baby’ didn’t sound teasing, it sounded ... endearing. “I care, Silvia. Period.”

“But –”

“I care enough about you to like spending my nights talking on the phone with you, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Are you?”

“You don’t even know me.” I argued weakly. Why, why does it have to be so hard for me to accept that someone cares about me? Why does it always have to be so hard?

Jake snorted. “You kidding? I spent these past three weeks having the deepest, most intimate conversations with you until dawn.”

“Yeah, but-”

“But even so, I don’t need a reason to care about you. I just do.”

I took a deep breath. “Thank you ...”

“No need.” He cut me off. “Just promise me one thing.”

I frowned. “What?”

Once more I heard shuffling. I think he either sat up or just rolled over on a more comfortable position, which he does often. When you spend so many nights listening to nothing more than someone’s voice, your ears automatically get used to all the sounds they make.

So for instance I know Jake rolls over a lot, I know his breathing gets somewhat louder when he’s falling asleep, I know he often stands and goes to the window, I know that by 3 am he eats chips. I know he has three different laughs: when he’s laughing at his own jokes, when he’s chuckling smugly, and when the ... you’re cute when you ramble kind of chuckle, which I think I’ve started causing him.

I just ... know all these things about him, and I’m not sure if I dislike this state of our friendship. I mean ... I’m not the kind of person that easily cares, yet I do, you know. About Jake, I mean. I ... care about him more than I’d like to admit, and I like that we’re friends now.

Sure, he’s still often flirty at work, but when we have these late night conversation he’s ... just cute and funny and lovely and ... yeah, a jerk too sometimes, but still. He drives me insane most of the time, but I like that we’ve come to a place in our friendship where we can be open with each other. Or ... as much open as I am with Tess. I suppose that 15 nights in a row of late conversations do that, huh?

Inhaling deeply, Jake took me off guard. “Promise me you’ll never let this Silvia see the light of day.”

“W-What ... what do you mean?” I know exactly what he means, I just don’t want to.

“This ... insecure, paranoid, troubled girl that replaces the feisty angel with horns I see during the day. Don’t let her win. This ... fragile girl that comes in once you’ve shut down the world and you’re alone with yourself and your thoughts. Don’t let her win. Because she’s wrong. She’s wrong, wrong, wrong. You’re much stronger than she wants you to think, much better than she claims, and much, much more important than she’ll ever let you realize.”

I swallowed inaudibly to control the faster beat of my heart. He can’t have figured all that out only with these conversations. “Jake ...”

“I know what it’s like to be engaged in an ongoing battle with your demons. I know what it’s like to drop to your knees, worn out, because maybe giving up could be easier. I know what it’s like to put layers and layers of bricks between the outside and the inside, between the you people see, and the you that’s in your head. And I know, Silvia ... I know, because, I can recognize a broken soul when I see one.” He took a deep breath. “Maybe you’re broken, but I’m here to fix you. And you should know by now, I’m not one to give up easily.”

JAKE

The line went so dead that I was pretty sure she’d hung up. I don’t even know why did I blurt all that out. I just ... needed to say it. We’ve spent these past weeks having these late night conversations, separating so vividly the day from the night, that I feel like I’ve come to know two of her.

You see, there’s daylight Silvia. She’s tough and feisty and strong. She often tells me off for my flirting or my inappropriate jokes. She works hard and never backs down. She’s a badass for crying out loud.

Then there’s ... nighttime Silvia. She’s a fragile girl in need of a purpose. A broken soul that’s been torn once and even though she keeps trying to patch herself up and keep going, she just can’t. She’s a whole mix of paranoia, anxiety and fears that would break the sappiest hearts.

Basically, she’s a ravenous wolf during the day, a fragile cub in need of cuddles at night. Like a superhero with a double identity. She’s like ... X-Men’s Jean Gray, calm and reserved, versus the Phoenix, this badass villain that nothing scathes. The difference is, Silvia is Phoenix during the day, without the whole evil drama, but Jean at night. She’s actually much more fragile than Jean.

What I mean to say is that, there are different shades of Silvia. And I ... I’m starting to worry. Because I like both. I care about both. A lot more than it would be sane and safe. And because I don’t want her to fall into the same trap I have.

It’s not easy to resurface from depression, believe me, I would know. It’s not easy living with a mind that might potentially destroy you at any given moment.

“How ... how did you ... w-what gave me away?” Silvia asked in a feeble voice, as if afraid to know the answer.

I inhaled deeply, staring at the ceiling as I pictured her gorgeous face. Funny how someone gets more and more beautiful, more and more enticing to your eyes, as they little by little chew away a bit of your heart, taking over your whole being one step at a time.

Now I realize how Darcy felt when to him Elizabeth became the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen even though at first he’d deemed her merely passable, not enough to entice him.

Somehow I find now that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen not only a face more beautiful than hers, but a soul more enticing. She’s broken, I know she is, and I could only worsen her wounds, yet I can’t help but need to hold together the cracks of her heart and try my best to piece them all in one again. I just ... get this feeling of do it or die trying.

Does it feel like this to care so deeply for someone? Is it normal that I feel like tossing my whole corrupted existence away in order to make hers better? Is it sane that I feel willing to destroy myself in order to fix her?

“Jake?” Silvia murmured, fragile, when I didn’t answer.

“You know what they say, birds of a feather flock together.”

“But ...”

“There’s so much to uncover beneath your armor, Silvia, but you have no idea what’s beneath my own Pandora’s box. I can tell you’re a damaged soul because so am I.” Well, that’s the first time I admit it out loud. Wow.

I heard a sound, something that made me think she’d covered up her gasp with her hand, or maybe she took a deep breath, I’m not sure. Yet when she spoke, her voice was firm and cold as it usually is when the Phoenix comes in: “Goodnight, Jake.” Then she hung up.

You know those dissociative personality disorders? Where there’s one personality that comes in when the other feels overwhelmed? I feel that’s what just happened. I feel like the Phoenix just took over Jean Gray because the latter one felt too exposed. I think I came one mere inch away from opening her own Pandora’s box, and consequently I got caught up in her security measures.

I think she’s much more enticing and enthralling now that I know all this. Remember when I said I felt like Silvia and I were somehow similar? I think that’s it. We’re two fucked up souls that react however they can to battle with their demons. I’ve got my three VAS, Violence, Alcohol, Sex, she’s got this blocking out the whole world.

I think she just realized she’d lowered her defenses a little too much with me these nights, and now ... now I’m gonna need to work my hardest to get back into her tiny circle of trust.

I think I’m in huge trouble, because day by day I see my feelings growing. I think I must be in control of myself for once, because if I’m not, then I might finish an already damaged soul. I think this is it. I’ve reached my undoing, because whatever it takes, I’ll fix her.

Because I know what it’s like to be rotting away day by day, I know what it’s like to have these ravenous demons destroying you from the inside. And I’m not gonna allow that to someone else. For me it’s late, but it isn’t for her. Nobody can save me, but I can save her. I have to. I won’t fail again. Not this time.

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