I see those tears in your eyes
But I feel so helpless inside
Oh love, there's no need to hide
Just let me love you in your hardest times
The same song from earlier played, drifting to my ears. My phone dinged. It's almost four in the morning. Why is Scotty awake? I unlocked my phone and checked the text. It wasn't Scott.
Hey, I know you're awake. Please, just come over tomorrow.
Who is this?
Oh. How'd you get my number? Did Scott give it to you?
No. When you left it at my house, I put your number in my phone just in case I'd need it. Looks like it came in handy.
Kinda creepy, but okay. I'm busy tomorrow. Try next year?
Haha very funny. I'm serious. Please come over tomorrow. I know you're not busy.
Fine. Goodnight Theo.
What a creep. I climbed back through the window after I shut my music off and put my cigarettes away. Starting up a shower, I stripped and examined the bruises in the mirror. They didn't look as bad. Maybe they would fade away soon. After I completed my shower and dried off, I changed and jumped into bed with Moody. I wonder if he ever slept. He certainly never did when I was around.
I laughed softly, stroking his fur and staring at my ceiling. My thoughts came back and I found my self tied in a web of dark memories, unable to escape. Pictures and phrases from my childhood haunted me that night, forcing me to stay awake and whisper to myself over and over again to not cry.
Scott picked me up for school early the next morning and we sang music loudly the whole way there. I covered the marks with a yellow scarf this time. I saw Theo earlier this morning. He was wearing a yellow beanie. We matched!
It was the period before lunch, and Scott had gone to a doctor's appointment, so he wasn't here. The twins were sitting with the popular group today, so I was alone. I didn't see a point in sitting in the cafeteria, so I stood up and walked towards the art room. I opened the door and let myself in. Nobody was in here. Perfect. I searched the room, looking for something specific. The carving knives. I finally found one. They weren't very sharp, but they broke skin if you tried hard enough. I picked the blade up and washed it. Placing the sharper end on the skin of my arm, I began to create.
"Carson? You in here?"
I threw the blade in the sink. I didn't have time to cut deep, so there was no blood. I turned around.
"What?" I asked, not even bothering to be polite. He slid down the wall and sat of the ground, motioning for me to join him, and I did. Is he following me? How did he know I was in here? Was he looking for me?
"What do you want?" I asked. He glanced at me and I looked down. He sighed and reached out, grabbing my face and forcing me to look at him. Brown eyes met green eyes. What's happening? Why aren't I pulling away? Why isn't he pulling away? What am I doing? I snapped out of my trance and pushed his hands away.
"Wha-" I almost yelled. He looked shocked that I was able to control my emotions like that. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and composed myself. So many questions ran through my head. Why did he do that? Why didn't I pull away? Why couldn't I breathe? How did he make me feel like that?
"Are- are you okay?" he asked, cautiously. I smiled and nodded. His face fell in disappointment. He was really trying to get me to crack. He nodded in response.
"I know you're faking your smiles, your happiness, and basically everything about you is an illusion," Theo said. I shot him a dark smile.
"And you're any better?" I challenged. He looked surprise that I had mentioned him.
"What do you mean by that?" he asked. I let out a short, pained laugh.
"You're Mr. Popular. Known and loved by everybody because of your confidence. Pish posh. I bet your dad would love to find out that his son is a stalker. Do you attach cameras on me or something? Or are you just psychic and know where I am all the time?"
His facial expression showed so many emotions. Regret. Guilt. Anger. Embarrassment.
"I had one of my friends do a little research. He's good at that shit. And what about you, huh? How do you know about my dad?" he accused. I shook my head at him and smiled.
"Isn't it obvious? You live alone. Your halls are lined with pictures of a happy family. An old family. I noticed how there were no pictures of the family when you were grown up. They stop when you're still young. You have all this money, but no place of income. Don't think I'm stupid. I feel sorry for you. You're a spoiled brat," I spat the words out, smiling. He winced as if he was burned.
"At least I have emotions. You need serious help. A therapist. A doctor. A mom-"
"Oh, go to hell," I interrupted, laughing bitterly. Low blow. Everybody knew my parents were divorced. It wasn't a secret and it wasn't meant to be one. The bell rang and I stood up, about to walk out.
"See you after school, Theo!" I said happily, faking an easy smile. With that, I turned and walked to my next period, leaving him alone. Guess he saw a glimpse of what I was hiding under my mask. I was still going to his house. Sure, I was dark and bitter and messed up, but I wasn't a promise breaker. I hated breaking promises. I already broke too many. She needed me to make a promise to her, and I couldn't.
"Let's go," Theo said, leading me to his car when I walked out of last period. He had waited outside my classroom for me. We got in his car and he started driving to his house. I pushed the radio button and music streamed out of the speakers, filling the silence.
I would've crossed the stars
to keep you in my life
but now I'm falling hard
without you here tonight
Anson Seabra. Her and I used to listen to him all night long. We'd lay in the cave and watch the water lap at the rocks, falling asleep next to each other.
"Come on! I wanna show you a special place that I found!" she shouted, grabbing my hand and pulling me through the park's bushes into a clearing. She gave me instructions on how to get up the rocky hill and we jumped into the opening. She laid on her back and pulled my down with her. I watched her take her phone out and play a song. I liked the voice of the singer. It was soothing.
'cus when you said jump I said how high
but when I jumped you said goodbye
We watched the pretty blue pool's water lap at the rocky shore. It was relaxing. The water. The music. Her presence.
The song switched, and began playing, but we had already reached his house. Theo shut the engine off and we got out of the car and walked inside. I sat on the couch and he sat next to me, but not too close. He knew better than that.
"Explain," was all Theo said when we sat down, but I knew exactly what he meant. I decided to go for the cliche obviously-I'm-lying answer.
"I fell down the stairs."
"Haha. So funny. What happened. For real, this time. I- you could be in danger. Just tell me," he asked, calmly. I looked him in the eyes for a split second, and in that second I saw worry, panic, and sorrow. Why did he fell all this toward me? He shouldn't. Nobody should. Nobody does.
"I'm not worth it. Stop trying," I said, giving him one last warning to back out, but he just shook his head and stared at me. I focused on my feet as a told him a very vague story.
"I was walking home and got... jumped," I choked out the word. Don't cry. Don't let him see your tears. He furrowed his eyebrows in worry and opened his mouth to say something else, but I waved it off.
"I'm fine now. That's all that matters," I assured, leaning back on his couch. There was a moment of silence before I broke it again.
"You know we can't be friends, right?" I asked. I saw him nod out the of the corner of my eye. At least he was smart. I hate that I didn't want him to be smart. I wanted him to keep pushing for me. It felt nice to be so important, that even though I insulted him and ignored him, he kept coming back.
"I might know that, but it doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying to help you."
My heart leapt. I didn't realize it was actually going to happen. Am I dreaming? Is this a joke?
"Don't joke like that," I said, hoping to confirm, if it was a joke or not. I got my answer when he stared at me blankly instead of laughing.
"It's not. I won't give up on you," he said firmly. I nodded. I looked outside and saw that it was getting dark. I looked at his car. I didn't want to go home, but my dad might be worried. As if Theo could read my mind, he said,
"You're fine. I'm sure he'll understand."
Maybe he will. Maybe he won't. I could never tell. I nodded, looking back down at my shoes. I want to stay here. I like it here. It's peaceful. She liked peaceful places. I kicked my shoes off and laid on the couch.
"What are you doing?" Theo asked me when I shoved myself into the small space between him and the couch armrest. My feet were draped over the armrest and my head was awkward rested against his thigh. I peered up at him. Yellow beanie. Yellow beanie. Yellow scarf. Yellow scarf. I reached my hand up towards his face without even realizing, and grabbed his beanie. I pulled it off his head and put it on my own head. Yellow beanie. Yellow beanie. He chuckled softly, patting me on the head.
"I'll get you a blanket and pillow. You can sleep in my room if you'd like as well," he offered, getting up. I hated sleeping alone. I couldn't sleep alone. Moody helped, but not a lot. I couldn't snuggle Moody because he would scratch my face and meow. I can't snuggle Theo though. He wouldn't like it. He would kick me out. I got up and followed him to his room. When he opened the door and let me in, I laid down on the floor and curled up in a ball. His beanie smelled nice. It didn't smell like sweat. It smelled like shampoo and cologne. I reached up, taking it off my head and put it on my face, breathing in the smell. Is this weird? I like the smell.
"What are you doing?" Theo asked, laughing. I felt the beanie being pulled off my face and I glanced into his brown eyes, before quickly looking away.
"Come on. You can't sleep one the floor. You'll get sick," he said. I didn't move, where did he want me to go? Back on the couch?
"Get up, Carson!"
"Christian," I corrected. I stood up and he pushed me towards his bed. I looked up at him in confusion. He doesn't want me to sleep in his bed, does he? That ridiculous. We are not friends.
"No, I can't sleep in your bed. We are not friends, Theo. Trust me. You don't even wanna know me."
"We could be friends. I do want to get to know you. You're interesting. Now go and sleep," he commanded, pushing me onto his bed lightly. I sighed, but agreed. I didn't want to make him upset. He might yell at me. I hated loud noises. I slowly laid down and snuggled under his blankets. The lights flickered off and I felt somebody else join me under the covers. We were laying back to back, awkwardly. I stiffened, but didn't dare to move. I heard a quiet laugh.
"Carson. You don't need to be a statue. I'm not going the kill you!" he whispered and I loosened up a tiny bit. There was silence for a good minute or two.
"I have a question," Theo whispered.
"Ask away," I whispered back. What was he going to ask?
"Were you ever genuinely happy?"
I didn't expect that question. I stiffened up again, trying to remember the last time I was happy. Eventually, I shook my head, even though I don't think he saw.
"No, I don't think so. I am never truly happy. Some days, I'm just a little less sad than others," I replied. Silence followed after that. I was just about to close my eyes and fall asleep, when I felt shuffling behind me.
"Carson? Are you still awake?"
I was too tired to answer so I just didn't. I heard a small sigh of relief, then arms found their way around me. He was shirtless. Was this a hug? I liked hugs, right? I liked her hugs. I liked Scott's hugs. Why couldn't I like Theo's hugs? I like his hugs too. I cuddled into the warmth of the hug and closed my eyes. I heard steady breathing behind me and knew Theo had fallen asleep. I wonder if he had sleeping problems too. Is that why he is hugging me?
I craned my neck to see out of the window. The night sky was illuminated with stars, but the moon was out of sight. Maybe those stars were just people. Maybe stars were the people who shone the brightest on each planet. I wanted to be a star, but I couldn't shine. Somebody help me shine.
[November 24, 2020]