Chapter 33 | The Toaster Strikes Again
“Dallas! What the fuck?” Liam yells as soon as Ethan and I approach him.
“Bro, chill. It’s not something to get worked up over.” Ethan says, immediately defending me.
“Are you kidding me? Nothing to get worked up over? You left prom to come here and see Jeremy? After what happened last time? Are you insane?” Liam shouts, causing a few other people in the waiting area to look at us.
“Will you stop yelling?” I look around, shooting everyone an apologetic smile. “Let’s go outside to talk.”
Liam follows Ethan and me outside, while Lexi and Carter wait inside.
“Are you going to answer any of my questions?”
I glare at my brother. I hate how he’s acting right now.
“Ethan got a call while we were dancing. The prison called because Jeremy was jumped. It’s really bad and he may not make it through the night. Ethan was the only one available to come, because at the time Ethan’s parents were away and unreachable. I didn’t want Ethan to have to come here alone, so I came with him. On my own. This was in no way his idea, in fact he fought me on it. Regardless of what happened in the past, Ethan is still Jeremy’s brother and he needed to come and make sure that he was at least still alive.” I explain. I am so giving myself props right now for how calm I am being.
Perhaps I have a new pep to my step after fully giving myself to Ethan and knowing that I am finally starting to feel better and overcome my demons.
“You can be mad all you want, but I’d do it again tomorrow.” I shrug, leaning into Ethan’s side.
Liam looks unreadable. I can’t tell what’s going on in his head, and that’s something I’ve always been pretty good at. It makes me sad how distant I feel with my brother lately. I need to fix that.
“Did Jeremy try anything?” Liam finally asks.
“He’s got casts and bandages and he’s confined to his bed with handcuffs. There is no way he would be able to do anything even if he wanted to.” I roll my eyes. “Besides, I already told Jeremy that I forgive him.”
“YOU WHAT? HOW COULD YOU EVER SAY THAT?” Liam shouts again. I jump at his loud voice and Ethan’s hold on me tightens.
“You better check yourself and lower your voice Liam. Now.”
My eyes snap up to Ethan, as I wasn’t expecting that to come out of him at all. He’s never been one to start fights with Liam, and he’s never been one to challenge him either.
“Excuse me?” Liam takes a step forward.
“You heard me. Lower your voice. What’s done is done and you’re only making the situation ten times worse than it actually is.” Ethan explains.
I swoon at his low, sexy, protective voice.
Now’s not the time Dallas.
“She’s my sister, Ethan. I don’t need you telling me what I can and can’t do in regards to my own sister.” Liam replies immediately.
“Yeah? Well she’s my girlfriend, and I’m not going to let anyone make her feel bad or scared, not even her own brother. She’s been through enough, and your attitude hasn’t been helping!” Ethan says, his voice growing in volume.
“My attitude? What about hers? She hasn’t said hardly two words to me for a while now, and the only reason we shared our birthday together was because you told her to. Besides, brother trumps boyfriend every time, Ethan. Don’t fucking tell me what I can and can’t say ever again, got it?”
“I’m sorry, I forgot the part where you were the boss of me.” Ethan glares, taking another step forward.
By this time both of them are only a couple feet away, and I can tell that if I don’t do something fast, this could escalate very quickly.
“Guys, will you both just stop? This isn’t worth it!” I shout, moving to step in between them.
“Liam, I am my own person, so you are most certainly not the boss of me.” I say. “Also, if you have a problem with me, then come to me directly. Don’t run to Ethan and force him to be the middle-man. That’s not how this works.”
“I don’t care! He shouldn’t have brought you here again. Anything could have happened!” Liam shouts, his voice still too high for my liking.
“Nothing happened! I wouldn’t of let Jeremy do anything to Dallas! If you honestly don’t believe that, then I don’t even know why you’re my friend!” Ethan yells, and that makes my heart fall.
I don’t want to come between their friendship. They’ve been best friends for practically their entire lives.
I wouldn’t know what to do if I ever lost Lexi.
“I don’t know why either!” Liam then turns to me, “But I do know that you’re coming home with me, right now.”
“No I’m not.” I shake my head. “I’m staying with Ethan until his parents get here.”
“No, you’re coming home with me Dallas! Now!”
I take a step back at my brother’s tone of voice, his screaming not helping my anxiety. I discreetly snap my rubber-band against my wrist, but I think Ethan notices.
“Liam, shut the hell up! All you do is yell and make Dallas feel bad for doing what she does. She’s her own person and you’re not helping her recovery at all! Why do you think she’s been having issues with her anxiety and not to mention the cut-“, but Ethan immediately cuts himself off, casting me an immediate frown that doubles as an apology.
I shake my head once at him, tears building in my eyes.
“What did you just say?” Liam’s voice is low, and very intimidating.
“Nothing, it isn’t important right now. If Dallas wants to stay with me, then-“ but Liam immediately cuts him off.
“No, Ethan, what the fuck did you just say? Cut? As in cutting?”
Liam turns to face me, his face expressionless. “Are you hurting yourself, Dallas?”
I snap the rubber-band against my wrist again, this time catching his attention. What happens next, happens in a flash.
Liam is storming over to me, grabbing my wrist and pulling it out into view. He looks at the rubber-bands and then at the redness underneath them. I can tell he’s wondering where the scars are, but he doesn’t know that I only cut myself on my thigh, keeping them out of view from the world.
“Where Dallas? Where do you cut yourself?”
I shake my head again, unable to form words. There’s a lump in my throat, threatening to constrict my breathing completely.
“Fuck, baby, I’m so sorry…” Ethan says in a low voice, stepping beside me.
All of a sudden, Lexi comes rushing out of the emergency room entrance.
“What the hell is going on out here? Why do I keep hearing a bunch of yelling?” Lexi sighs once she reaches us.
Her eyes fall onto my wrist that’s resting in Liam’s hand. Liam’s face is red, but other than that I can’t tell how he’s feeling or what he’s thinking.
My anxiety is through the roof.
A car pulls up into the parking lot, and I barely catch a glimpse of Ethan’s parents walking up to greet us.
Without thinking, I yank my hand from Liam’s grasp and reach into his suit pocket. I pull out the keys to the jeep and run.
“Babe, what are you doing?”
I don’t turn around or acknowledge anyone. I just continue to run until I spot the jeep. I get inside and start the engine. I reverse and pull out of the parking lot, only one destination in mind.
I keep driving for what seems like hours, until I finally pull into my neighborhood. I keep driving down road after road, until I find myself parking at the cemetery.
I get out of the jeep and rush to the only grave I have memorized.
I slow down once I reach it and sink to my knees, tears pouring out of my eyes.
“Mommy… what do I do?” I barely manage to get out. “Everything seems to be getting better, and then all of a sudden, it’s all crashing down again. I can’t deal with this.”
I wipe at my eyes, but it’s no use, tear after tear continuing to fall. The dam is broken, and I don’t know how to stop it.
I’m absentmindedly snapping my rubber-bands against my wrist, knowing full well that I’m probably creating a wilt against my skin.
But not even rubber-bands can take away what I’m feeling. My wrists are on fire, and I know what I need to release the pain and anxiety built up.
However, I make no move to leave and go home. I stay right where I am, sitting in front of my mother’s grave, crying uncontrollably.
Eventually, as the minutes pass by, I end up lying down. My head is right in front of my mother’s grave, my arms wrapped around my body. It’s not cold, so I don’t have to worry that I’m only in a simple dress.
The crying has stopped, dried up tears against my cheeks. I know my makeup has run, and I probably look ridiculous right now. I go to reach for my phone, when I realize I didn’t bring it with me. It’s still inside my clutch, that’s inside the limo.
I don’t know what time it is, or how long I’ve been lying here, but I find my eyes closing on themselves.
I snap my rubber-band against my wrist one last time, before I finally fall asleep in the darkness of the cemetery.
Moments later, I feel my body being lifted up off the ground. I barely open my eyes, catching a glimpse of brown hair. The pair of arms around me feel familiar, and safe, so I snuggle up into the chest of the boy carrying me and fall back asleep.
I don’t remember being changed into pajamas. I don’t remember being placed into my bed, and I don’t remember the boy crawling in beside me.
My mind is completely blank, as I sleep soundly.
I wake up to a loud noise downstairs. My heart begins to beat fast as I leap out of bed and follow the noise. I hear a “fuck” before I walk into the kitchen.
I glance around until I spot Liam, fighting with the toaster.
“This again?” I ask in a soft voice, causing him to slightly jump, before he turns around to face me.
His eyes are red and puffy. Has he been crying?
“Sorry, Dal, didn’t mean to wake you. I can’t get this damn thing to work.” Liam sighs, sounding completely defeated.
I snort as I glance at the wall behind him.
“What could possibly be funny?” He shoots me a quick glare.
I nod my head towards the wall behind the toaster, waiting for him to realize.
“Son of a bitch…” He mumbles, before finally reaching over to plug the toaster in.
I snort again, before I finally start chuckling. The chuckling quickly turns into full on laughter, and before I know it, Liam is laughing with me.
“How could you not notice?” I manage to get out in between laughs. “We’ve been over this before!”
“Shut up, alright? I’m not a morning person!” Liam laughs loudly, both of us leaning against the counter to keep from falling over.
“The toaster strikes again.” I smirk once I finally sober up.
Liam is still laughing, until something shifts and I see a tear roll down his cheek.
He looks at me, his laughter slowly turning into sobs, as he hangs his head down in shame.
“Liam, don’t.” I shake my head.
“I am so sorry Dallas. This entire time you were dealing with this, doing this, and I just… I wasn’t there for you. Instead I was mad at you for how you were acting and treating everyone. I didn’t look deeper into it. I didn’t give you the benefit of the doubt, and I hate myself for not noticing. You’re my goddamn twin, Dallas. I should have noticed!”
Before Liam has time to finish his rant, I step forward and pull him into a strong embrace. He wraps his arms around my neck, tightening the hug.
We stay that way for a few minutes, letting each other cry onto the other’s shoulder.
After we finally pull apart, he asks the question I’ve been dreading.
“Where do you cut? Why do you cut?”
“My thigh, and I’m not really sure.” I admit. “It’s just a pain I can control, I guess. Or at least that’s what Lori says.”
“She is my therapist. She’s the first person I told.”
“What about Lexi?”
I frown as I nod.
“So everyone knew, and I didn’t?”
“It’s not that I didn’t want to tell you. In fact, you were the only person I wanted to tell. I just couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing you or dad. I couldn’t look at your face and see the hurt once I admitted it. You’re not just my twin, Liam, you’re also one of my best friends. It was hard to tell Ethan and Lexi, but it would’ve been excruciating to tell you.”
Tears are in my eyes once more, and Liam looks as though he’s holding in some tears as well.
“I don’t know how I’m going to tell dad.”
“We will tell him together.”
My eyes snap up to Liam, who’s giving me an encouraging smile before he adds, “I promise.”
My heart swells and a sense of relief washes over me as I reach forward and pull Liam into another bone-crushing hug.
“One more thing.”
Liam and I pull apart. “What?”
“I want to come to your next session with Lori.” He says slowly, probably regretting his decision.
“You what?” I raise an eyebrow, “Really?”
Liam nods, giving me another smile. “I want to meet the woman who’s been helping my sister.”
“I love you Liam.” I smile wide.
“Right back ’atcha, sis.”
Suddenly, a very tired Ethan comes stumbling into the kitchen.
“Dude, is something burning?”
The toaster strikes again.