"Theo, wake up. I'm squished," I mumbled, trying to squirm out of his hold. If I learned anything from last night, it was that Theo was a snuggle sleeper. The guy was holding onto me like his life depended on it. Not that I was complaining, though. He did keep me warm all night I guess.
"Mm?" Theo grunted. I sighed, worming my way out of his arms. He whined in protest, but I eventually found myself free. I stood up, immediately regretting it when I collapsed to the ground a second later due to the throbbing ache in my side. I forgot about that.
"Carson!" Theo exclaimed, crawling over. I groaned, clutching at my side. Ow.
"Are you okay? What happened? Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just forgot about my... uh, injuries, I guess," I explained, pulling myself up into a sitting position next to Theo.
"... can you tell me what happened now?" he asked, looking me in the eyes. I quickly looked away, but he grabbed my face and forced me to look into his eyes. He searched them. For what? Lies? Pain? Happiness? He wouldn't find anything. I was empty inside. I knew I was. After I few seconds, he sighed and let go. I turned away again.
"Look, I'll tell you when I wanna tell you, alright? That time isn't now. You know what time it is, though? It's time to go home. I have... a meeting today so I need to be home before they arrive. I don't actually know when that is, so better safe than sorry. Let's go, I'll lead you back to your house and walk back to mine," I said. Theo stood up and helped me up. He shook his head.
"I'll walk you to your house and then walk back to mine. You're going to fall if you walk by yourself," he objected, grabbing my shoulders to steady me. I sighed, knowing he was probably right, and nodded. He smiled at me before crouching to my height.
"Wanna hop on, or do you wanna do it the hard way again?" he asked with a small smirk. I glared at him, remembering last time, and climbed onto his back. When we were at the bottom of the hill, he set me down and I began to limp along the path with his help. I checked my phone, seeing my playlist had finished playing sometime when we were sleeping. I also had a text from Scott.
Hey, wanna hang out today at the park? I would suggest my house, but you'd probably say your busy -_-
I chuckled, looking at the text again. I guess he caught on. I hated being at other people's houses besides my own. It surprised me when I kept agreeing to go back to Theo's. I thought of a reply and texted Scott back.
Sure Scotty. You know me so well :)
I just don't like to be at other people's houses besides my own, sorry! I think I'm free around 3 or 4 PM. I'll text when I'm walking towards the park.
I slipped my phone back into my pocket and focused on walking without tripping. Wouldn't want to cause any more trouble for Theo. He already has to basically carry me.
"What are you thinking about?" Theo asked. I glanced at him for a split second before looking away. How does he do that? He asks that when I'm thinking about him! How is that- is he psychic? I narrowed my eyes at the ground. If you can hear this, cat, cat, cat, cat, cat, cat, cat.
I looked up, my concentration broken. "Hm?"
"I asked what you were thinking about and you just started glaring at the ground. You okay?" he asked, chuckling a little. Oh whoops.
"Sorry... I wasn't thinking of anybody," I replied quietly. He frowned, then smirked.
"So you were thinking of a person, huh?" he teased. How did he know? What did I say again?
"Yeah I guess they count as a person," I answered. Hah. That'll teach him. Don't go snooping in my head. He laughed and looked at me.
"What do you mean "you guess" they count as a person? Are they half camel or something?" he chuckled. I let out a small laugh at the thought of a half camel, half human. We made it out past the cluster of trees and started walking to my house across the street.
"Thanks, Theo. For coming out there with me. Sorry if I was being a bother. I'll see you tomorrow at school!" I said, waving and limping up to my front door.
"Bye Carson, I'll see tomorrow. You weren't being a bother, don't worry, I liked it. Think we could do it again sometime?" he asked. He wanted to do it again?
"What? You wanna sit on the hill again? Or walk me home again?" I asked in confusion. He laughed at that.
"Well both I guess," he answered. I nodded. He wanted to do both? Why? Was it that nice? Did he like it that much?
"Okay. Well I gotta g-"
The door opened behind me and I spun around to see my dad standing there. He grabbed my arm roughly and pulled me inside, slamming the door.
"Dad?" I asked. He glared at me and I shrunk away, looking at my feet as I backed up.
"Where the fuck do you think you were this morning? I told you to sleep outside, not fuck around with your friend!" he yelled. I winced.
"We weren’t! I promise! I just slept over at his house! I'm sorry, dad!" I explained hurriedly. He picked up a mug from the counter, launching it at me. I covered my face with my arms, but he missed. He was drunk. I shrunk even more when he stomped closer. The front door handle rattled. Was Theo still here? Did he see what was happening? Was he gonna tell anybody? I hope not. My dad's head snapped to the door and he stomped over, swinging the door open.
"What?" he snarled at Theo. Theo just glared at him and looked him dead in the eye. My dad faltered a little, but didn't back down.
"I just came to check on Carson. I heard glass shattering. Is everything okay?" he asked, looking at me, worry hinting in his eyes. I was scared, but I didn't show it. He couldn't know. He'd get my dad in trouble. He wouldn't understand. I deserved this. I deserved everything he did. I deserved it because of her. I couldn't save her. I couldn't help her in time, and now I was paying the consequence. Theo wouldn't get it. He wouldn't understand. Nobody would.
"Who the fuck is Carson?" he dad barked. Theo's eyes widened and he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.
"Christian?" my dad asked in confusion, looking back at me.
"Well he's fine. Get out of here, idiot," my dad growled, slamming the door in his face again. He walked back over to me.
"Clean up all this damn glass, you useless brat," he yelled and I bent down to pick up the glass. Please don't punish me with the glass again. Please no. Please. I carefully gathered a handful of glass and threw it away, breathing a sigh of relief. After I cleaned up the glass, my dad told me to stay in my room until the two men came. I grabbed three slices of bread and quietly nibbled on them in my room.
"Hi, Moody! Want some bread?" I asked him. He meowed again. I took that as a yes, and tore off a small piece of bread and fed it to him. Noticing his water bowl was empty, I went to the bathroom to fill it up and shower. When I put down his full bowl of fresh water, I turned the warm water on and hopped in when it was ready. Did Theo mean it when he asked to lie on the hill again? Was he just joking? What about Scott? What if the men didn't let me go by four PM? I'd be ditching Scott! Poor Scott. I turned the water off and dried myself, changing into my clothes when I was done.
I flopped onto my bed and Moody climbed onto my chest so I could pet him. I turned on some music and unwrapped the bandages on my legs, arms, and hands. Cuts and bruises lines my arms and legs, but the cuts from the glass were scarring. I wrapped clean bandage around the cuts on my legs and arms, then lifted my shirt to examine my side. It was a deep blueish-purplish color, but it had stopped swelling. I wonder if the two men would care if I looked beat up. Moody nuzzled into my hands and I started to run my fingers through his fur again.
But I'm just a boy with his heart pouring out of his head
I wish that you could see the pain that I've seen
And all of the times I spent being not me
The song blared out of my phone speakers and my phone dinged.
Hey are you okay? I heard glass...
Yeah I'm perfectly fine. Don't worry, I just dropped a cup.
Your dad is a bit... rude I guess.
Haha yeah he's not normally like that. You just caught him at a bad time is all.
Call I call you?
I stared at the text for about a minute before my phone rang. Theo's name popped up on the screen. I pressed answer and held the phone up to my ear.
"Hey. Where'd you go?" he chuckled.
"I- nowhere, I just... I don't know," I answered. "Did you go home?"
"Not really.., I'm kinda still outside your house..." he admitted guiltily. My eyes widened and I scrambled to my bathroom window, climbing out onto the roof and looking around. My eyes landed on Theo leaning against the side of my house, phone in hand. He was looking around.
"Do you see me?" he asked. I nodded, even though he couldn't see me.
"Yeah...” I breathed into the phone, “look up."
His head tilted upwards and he broke out in a big smile when he saw me.
"Hold on," he said, hanging up. I watched him scale the side of my house, oddly good at it, and climb up onto my roof next to me. How did he do that? I would've fallen and broken my head open.
"Hey," he panted. I nodded.
"Why are you still here?" I asked. He smiled at me and shrugged.
"Was worried your dad was going off at you. I saw him pull you in the house and I heard yelling, then glass shattering. I kinda put it together but I guess I was wrong since you don't seem to have any new cuts or injuries."
He glanced at my hands which were not bandaged anymore and raised an eyebrow.
"What happened to your hands? They were bandaged last night... are those scars? Carson, what happened?" he asked, grabbing my hands and inspecting them. I stared at the forest in front of us, ignoring his questions.
"If you were given the choice to go to the moon, would you? Even if they said it was likely you'd die in the process?" I asked suddenly. I saw his smiling at me softly out of the corner of my eyes. Theo...
"I mean, it would depend," he sighed.
"On what?" I asked, not looking away from the trees.
"On who I'm going with, how long I'm going, what I can bring; things like that. Would you?"
"Without hesitation," I answered and he looked at me curiously.
"I just... I feel so big compared to the moon right now. I want to put myself in perspective. Funny, because I feel so small when I look at the stars. Maybe because there are so many of them, but only one of me. But with the moon, we only have one and there's only one of me. We're so far away, but it still finds a way to interact with us. Pulling the oceans, lighting up the night. I just- I just think that's so cool."
"Yeah..." Theo replied quietly. "You shouldn’t feel small."
"Why not?" I asked curiously. Why shouldn't the stars make me feel small? I knew I was small.
"You tell me that looking up at the stars makes you feel small. Take a look into my eyes, I'll show you how great you are. Look at me and I'll show you. I'll help you."
I could feel his stare. I could feel him gazing into my eyes. He looked at me like her. He reminded me of her. And I finally figured out why.
"You really shouldn't, Theo," I said, glancing into his eyes for a couple seconds. I sighed. "I could really hurt you."
He smiled sadly at me and nodded his head, not looking away from me or breaking eye contact. We were silent for a few seconds, the music from my phone still playing softly. He finally responded.
"I know I shouldn't."
I nodded. At least he knew. I didn't want to hurt him. I didn't want him to hurt himself, so at least he knew he shouldn't.
"You should go," I said, looking back into his eyes. Brown met green and suddenly, I look away. We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity before I broke eye contact and looked away. I saw him nod and watched as he climbed down the side of my house and began to walk away. I knew he shouldn't. He knew he shouldn't. But we both knew he would.
[December 2, 2020]