The weather fit my mood perfectly. It was bright and sunny, shedding the illusion of happiness over the grey pavement surrounding the run-down buildings. I was sitting at a bench in front of the house, out on the fresh air. Still, I felt like I couldn’t breath. Numbness invaded my mind like a long lost friend as I took a gulp from my cigarette.
I was trying to set up my sister’s funeral when my phone rang, making me realize the cigarette I believed only lighted a few seconds ago, had already burnt down, and left a mark on my index finger. I stared at the red point on my skin for a moment, welcoming the slight pain pulling me out of the emptiness.
“Hallo?” I answered the phone with a deep sigh, still staring at my finger, wondering how much pain would be needed to make me realize I was hurt. Over the years my pain threshold turned into something almost inhuman. Neither my body, or my mind was able to process pain anymore. I became an empty vessel, a piece of meat that used to be the home of a soul.
“Hey, it’s me. We’ve got some business near you so you can count on a visit,” said the familiar deep voice. The voice of the man who pulled me back from the edge both literally and metaphorically before. It was something I could never wrap my mind around, why anyone would waste their time to put effort into trying to save me when I was a lost cause?
“I’m not in New York. Jenna died. I came home for the funeral and to take care of the house,” I replied, lighting another cigarette, pushing my sunglasses to my eyes. My eyes could barely stand the light, almost like they knew as well that I belonged to the darkness.
“I’m sorry…” He sighed after a moment of silence. He was struggling to find the words. Death in both of our lives became something so average that it was difficult to find the appropriate reaction anymore. “Are you alright?”
“Sure. We can meet some other time,” I said like it meant nothing, and in the end, did it? Did it have any higher meaning that people died around us? Weren’t we all just pathetic creatures trying desperately to avoid the unavoidable? Should I feel sorry for them? Should I cry tears for those who loved, hated, or cursed me even for my existence?
“Okay,” came the short, blunt answer. One would think a friend should be there when a relative dies but we were different from the sheep of God. We were the black ones, not fitting anywhere with sorrow following us through our lives like an enormous cloud that shadowed every minute of our sad existence.
A month later I was still in Lawrence because I couldn’t get rid of the house. It felt like a sick joke of life that I got stuck in this cursed place in a time bubble, reminding me of the mistake I was again and again. I was sitting on the couch with a bottle of whiskey in my hands. The curtains were pulled back so there was half dimness in the house. Empty bottles laid on the floor around me. I wore an old shabby Led Zeppelin T-shirt. I stared bored at the TV, not aware of what was aired. I heard the door opening, heavy steps echoing through the house.
“Hey, look at that! The famous Winchester brothers. What a pleasure. Who can I give thanks for the honour of your visiting?” I screamed with fake happiness when I saw Dean and Sam. They stopped in the door of the living room. A look of disapproval on both their faces.
“Wait, wait, wait. Don’t tell me. I know,” I said as I stood up, losing my balance for a second when I stumbled on an empty bottle. “There’s a demon in me and you’re going to exorcise it. No, not that,” I shook my head, biting my bottom lip as I tried to think of another reason for their sudden appearance.
“Got it! I died and you’re playing Ghostbusters. Ding ding, Miss Heart you won!” I grinned, throwing my arms into the air in victory like I hit the jackpot. “There’s no other way you would be here, right?” I laughed bitterly, tilting my head to the side.
“Guys, really, just don’t get hard on me. No guns, ‘kay? Maybe some roses,” My attention drifted for a second, hearing ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ in the corner of my mind.
“But seriously… Just tell me and I’ll start to look for the huge white light. Oh, too bad, there’s no light except maybe the fire of hell,” I sighed depressed, shaking my head in disappointment.
“You aren’t dead, Taylor,” Sam said quietly, dropping his eyes to the floor like he couldn’t stand the sight of me.
“Do you really have to bring bad news all the time, Sammy boy? You’re such a party crasher,” I rolled my eyes. “Dean, honey, did you miss me?” I stepped close to him so I could kiss those delicious lips of his. My arms wrapped around his neck as I leant close to him, feeling his body being so tense I could have cut wood on it.
“You smell,” he turned his head away, making a face.
“I missed you, too,” I snorted as I glared at him, taking a step back, not liking the feeling of being turned down.
“Give me the bottle,” Dean commanded with a frustrated voice, reaching for the whiskey in my hand.
“No, that’s mine. Buy yourself one if you want,” I narrowed my eyes, holding the bottle further from him.
“Taylor…” Sam gave me one of those lost puppy looks, rage rushing through my veins as the result of it.
“Don’t look at me like that, Sam! I don’t need your pity,” I glared at him, one of my hands tightening to a fist, the other one clutching the bottle so hard, I thought it would shatter into pieces in any moment.
“And you,” I pointed angrily at Dean. “Don’t pretend you care about me, ‘cause you don’t and you know it. I’m not dead, I’m not a demon so you’ve got nothing to do with me,” I stated the truth, taking a huge sip of the bottle.
“That’s enough. Give me that,” Dean reached for the whiskey again but I danced away before he could take it from me.
“No,” I glared, taking another sip but Dean knocked the bottle out of my hand with such force that it flew across the room, landing with a loud thump on the carpet.
“Are you insane?” I screamed at him, punching his chest repeatedly. “You could have knocked my teeth out, you bastard.”
Suddenly the room started to spin around me. I didn’t know what was happening. The last thing I remembered was that two strong arms caught me before I fell into the well known darkness.
I woke up in the bed of my old room, feeling awful. My head hurt so badly I couldn’t be certain if I hit it somewhere. I still felt dizzy, almost like I was ready to throw up in any second. I managed to go to the bathroom, leaning against the wall, using the dresser to steady myself. After brushing my teeth and washing my face I went downstairs. It seemed to be midday because the sun brightened the whole house, making me groan in annoyance. The strong light hurt my eyes so when I saw my sunglasses on the shelf next to the stairs, I put them on and started to the kitchen.
Dean stood leaning against the cabinet, a mug in his hands. Probably he heard I was awake as he seemed to be waiting for me with an unreadable expression on his face.
“Coffee,” he held out the mug for me, letting his gaze wonder over me, stopping at my arms for a second. I knew that look, he was looking for fresh cuts on my skin. This time though, he had to be disappointed as I found better ways to destroy the remains of myself.
“Thank you,” I smiled at him sweetly, giving him a light kiss as I took the mug from his hand. Only the smell of coffee making me feel slightly more awake.
“Are you always so thankful for caffeine?” He raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Only when the man who gives it is handsome enough and if it’s well made,” I grinned at Dean, giving him another kiss before hopping down to a chair at the table. Thankfully the sun didn’t brighten the kitchen so I took my sunglasses off. Dean just stood there, watching every move I made.
“How long was I out?” I asked casually as I sipped my coffee, pulling my knees up to my chest. I decided to ignore the look he gave me, feeling way too exhausted to start a fight.
“Two days,” he informed me with a growl.
“That’s a record,” I nodded, yawning. “You didn’t say you’d visit,” I said after a few moments of tense silence.
“Because we didn’t plan to. Lisa called me frantic. She was scared to death,” Dean growled, narrowing his eyes.
“Lisa over dramatizes everything,” I rolled my eyes. I loved my best friend but she could be a drama queen. She tends to make a big deal about things that didn’t matter at all.
“You totally lost it when we arrived. Do you wanna tell me why you decided to drink yourself to death?” I could tell he wasn’t about to let the subject go.
“Nope,” I looked up from my mug to the living room. Sam sat there as much as I could tell trying his best to become invisible.
“Hi, Sammy,” I waved, sending a smile to him as a proof that I could be a nice person if I tried hard.
“Hey, Taylor,” he shifted uncomfortably on the couch, glancing at me like a coy school girl. I barely knew him as he was just a baby when we lived in the same neighbourhood, and afterwards he’d never been invited to our heated encounters with his brother. However, I could tell he felt incredibly awkward.
“What? I’m okay. If you want to you can take all the booze or pour it out or do whatever you want. Yes, I went a little too far and then what? It won’t happen again. I have to deal with my hangover, story over, I’ve been punished. That’s it,” I explained frustrated, not being in the state of mind to have a care and share moment.
Neither of them answered. Sam kept glancing at me worriedly and Dean watched me like he was some kind of freakin’ inquisitor from the Middle Ages.
“Fine. It was great to see you. Call me when you’ll be in New York,” I jumped up from the table and started towards my room. As I went upstairs I didn’t only hear the door being shut, I also felt it, thinking my head would explode because of the loud noise.
I laid on my bed, staring at the used to be white ceiling above me that turned yellowish over the years. I wasn’t certain if I was hoping to anger Dean so much that he wouldn’t even come back, or if I wanted to pretend nothing happened, and have one of those insanely hot times with him. Angry sex was surely our speciality. In the end I decided it would be for the best if they left. Everything was too complicated, and the last thing I needed was someone like Dean lecturing me, or even worse feeling sorry for me. After a few moments I heard a light knock on the door.
“I told ya, I don’t wanna talk about it, Dean,” I groaned, closing my eyes. Men could be damn hard headed. Was it so difficult to understand a woman saying no? It was only two letters.
When I didn’t get an answer I opened my eyes and saw Sam standing in the door.
“Dean went to have a walk,” he cleared his throat as he rubbed the back of his neck.
“You mean I pissed him off enough to go as far from me as possible? I’ve got great talent for that. Come in, I don’t bite… usually,” I smiled at him encouragingly, sitting up, so he could sit next to me.
“So what is it that bugs your little soul?” I asked, pulling my legs under me, getting comfortable. “If it’s our argument, don’t worry, happens all the time.”
“Taylor… What’s going on between you and Dean?” He asked, getting me out of the blue with the question. I’d have never thought, he’d be the right for the throat type. I might have been wrong.
“What do you mean?” I looked at him dumbly. I thought he was old enough to know what was going on between two adults. There was a chance I might have to explain to him how mature people often end up in relationships that were only about sex.
“You know what I mean… What the two of you are doing, this isn’t Dean’s usual crap. You have to know that you’re different…” I could see he was embarrassed talking about his brother’s women business with me, almost making me laugh. There was some type of adorable innocence in him, almost making me wish I knew him better. However, it would have only ended badly, knowing my record of friends.
“Sam, it’s okay. I know Dean’s got other women. I’m not that naive enough to think we meet once or twice in a year and he’s got no one else. And come on, it isn’t like I’m a nun,” I patted him on the shoulder cheerfully.
“I don’t know about you, Taylor but for him those women mean nothing. I saw it happening enough times to recognize the difference when it comes to you,” Sam explained, making me unsure of what his point was.
“Stop being ridiculous, Sam. The only reason I could possibly be different is that I’m not your usual one night stand,” I said, trying to convince him we were only friends with benefits. That was the truth, and it would have been foolish to think anything more into it.
“You’re blind if you seriously think that. You didn’t see him, Taylor. When he wasn’t checking if you were still breathing, he did the rooms. Do you know when he does that? When he’s so angry or worried that he has to do something to keep him preoccupied. You scared the living hell out of him,” he said heatedly, motioning around with his hands, completely getting into the crazy romantic idea of his. I thought Sam wanted to believe that Dean could actually still have emotional attachments, that he wasn’t entirely cold. But he was looking at the wrong place for that.
“Well, he probably didn’t want me to die when he’s here,” I shrugged, starting to feel uncomfortable about the subject.
“God… You can’t possibly think that, can you? I mean, of course he didn’t want you to die but… I never saw him like this before,” he growled, frustrated that I refused to play along with whatever he was trying to make me think.
“There’s a first for everything,” I rolled my eyes, not seeing the hidden meaning behind what happened. Just because Sam didn’t know about that his brother saved me before. This wasn’t the first time he had to pull me back from the edge but I didn’t think it was something to think too much about. No one liked people dying around them, and despite of the life Dean lived, he wasn’t an exception either.
“Listen, I don’t know you, Taylor but I do know my brother, and I see the way he looks at you,” he started to explain, making me let out an annoyed sigh. This man just couldn’t be shot down. “I also see that every time we’re around New York Dean looks for excuses so we can go to you and you let us in without complaining. No questions about where we were, what we’ve done or where we will go. If there’s no attachment whatsoever between the two of you why you don’t ever ask anything and why you are willing to put up with his lifestyle…”
“You don’t get it because you aren’t like us,” I interrupted him. “Look, Dean and I… we are very similar to each other. We aren’t saints. We don’t want restrictions. He says nothing, I ask nothing. That’s the way we are. He’s got his life and I’ve got mine. We don’t interrupt each other’s business and it’s perfect this way,” I tried to explain to him. This was the easiest way for both of us. We both belonged to a small group of society who couldn’t afford emotional attachments, and we both accepted that.
“It isn’t that easy… You’re lying to yourself if that’s what you truly think,” he shook his head. “He keeps your photo in his pocket. And he buys you gifts every time we visit you.”
“Gifts?” I asked, bursting into laughing, my long blonde hair flying into my face. “A bar of chocolate or an ice cream doesn’t really count as a gift, Sammy.”
“It counts if it’s coming from my brother and he knows what your favourite is. He doesn’t even know what my fave is but he went to seven shops just to find you a chewing gum flavoured ice cream. He read your books, all of your poems and not only once. He can even quote it.”
That information was new to me as well. Dean had never told me that he read my books. But then I was an acceptable writer, and he might have wanted to show off to some women. I didn’t see any other reason why he’d have done such thing.
“I hate to break it to you but I think you read too much Jane Austen,” I smiled at him. Even though, Jane Austen was classic, I preferred the Bronte sisters, always found their novels closer to reality.
“No. I’ve seen my brother with tons of women but you’re not like any of them,” he stated.
“I don’t know what you want me to say, Sammy. We are who we are. Dean obviously doesn’t want anything serious, and honestly, I don’t need another crazy relationship,” I sighed. “I like Dean. We’ve got along pretty well since we were kids. There’s no need for complications.”
Even the thought of getting serious with Dean was ridiculous. We were both beyond messed up. The two of us together in a relationship could only end one way, disaster. We were doomed from the day we were born into this world, and if the two of us collided we’d be able to destroy every little remaining piece of each other.
“Complications as him being in love with you?” He raised an eyebrow, giving me a hopeful look that his little fairy tale might play out if he pushed it hard enough. Except that he’d have to realize sooner rather than later that this wasn’t a fairy tale but a tragedy.
“God help him if he is,” I said, feeling my stomach clench by only the thought of Dean having deeper feelings towards me. “It wouldn’t do any good for him.”
“Why?” He stared at me puzzled. It was clear that the innocent soul of his couldn’t understand what it would mean for both his brother and me if we let things spin out of control. He lived in a world where there was still purity, and love and happy endings.
“Because I don’t. I can’t. We can’t. It can’t happen,” I raised my voice, starting to feel the walls were closing in around me. I jumped off the bed and rushed out of the house. I ran without aim. I just wanted to run away somewhere, anywhere. The possibility of what he said being true terrifying me to no end.
It was dark when I went back to the house. There wasn’t any light inside and I couldn’t see their car, which meant they probably took off. I let out a sigh of relief. Next time we’d meet this would all be behind us, and never brought up again. I opened the door and entered the hall. I didn’t switch the lights up. I loved the dark and the moon gave enough light to see.
As I hung my keys in the cupboard next to the door I heard the floor creaking behind me. I breathed in the smell I would recognize anywhere: leather, cheap soap, gunpowder and something else I couldn’t name, something pure Dean. He stood behind me so close that even though he didn’t touch me I could feel him.
I didn’t want to look at him. I knew if I did, I couldn’t say no to him. Every time I looked into those broken green eyes I felt my heart break, too. Dean Winchester had a strong hold on me, which I couldn’t fight no matter how hard I tried. He was dangerous. In the bottom of my heart I’d always known he meant more than I admitted. If he hadn’t, I’d have already sent him off.
After a few moments of tense silence I couldn’t take it anymore and I turned to face him. I wanted to tell him so much but instead of that I glanced away and went to the kitchen. I turned the lights on and leaned against the sink. Dean followed me, leaning against the door frame. He didn’t say a word, just looked at me like he could see my soul.
“When do you leave?” I broke the silence, letting my hair cover my face, not wanting to give him a chance to see the pain on my face, or that he had any kind of affect on me. I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea.
“Today,” he said bluntly, running his hand over his hair. I nodded, somehow I suspected. But it was for the best, for both of us.
“Taylor…” Dean started but I interrupted him before he could say something we’d both regret later.
“No,” – I said firmly, raising my hand. “Whatever you want to say, just leave it, okay?”
He pushed himself away from the door frame and stepped closer to me, close enough so I could feel the warm of his body when I closed my eyes. My hands rested on his chest, a weak try to keep him further from myself.
“What do you do with yourself?” he asked softly almost as a whisper. His eyes were almost burning through me as desperation echoed in his voice.
“You should go,” I said as hard as possible with my slightly shaking voice as I turned my head away so I didn’t have to look at him.
“No,” he stated, firmly.
“Dean, I said go” I groaned, frustrated. Why couldn’t he just let it go and leave me alone? Why did he have to be so damn stubborn?
“No. I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell is going on with you?! Why the hell did I save you twice if you kill yourself now?” He raised his voice, trying to catch my eyes.
“Fuck you!” I screamed at him, trying to push him away but he grabbed my arms before I could get away. I hit him again and again, trying to escape from his hold but he was too strong. His fingers gripped my arms so deeply it hurt.
“No,” he said in a low husky voice as he buried his face into my hair. I could feel his hot breath on my neck, I could hear the anger, the frustration, the confusion in his voice, perfectly mirroring my own feelings.
“Let me go, you’re hurting me,” I whispered, knowing he’d understand the double meaning behind my words.
“I’m sorry,” Dean loosened his grip a little but didn’t let go of me. I could see how much it hurt him that he caused me pain. I knew he’d never done something like this on purpose. That was my speciality after all, I made people suffer. That’s the thing I had a talent for. “Taylor, I…”
“Don’t,” I cut him off as I finally pushed him away. “Don’t you dare tell me you care about me. Sam thinks you do. He thinks you love me,” he didn’t answer, and his silence terrified me even more. I started toward the living room. My instinct for escape resurrected again.
“I can't… You can't… You can’t love me,” I rambled, stumbling between the furnitures. I felt my eyes start burning from tears. Just not now, I couldn’t lose it now. “Just don't… Don’t love me, please,” no matter how much I tried to keep myself together, my voice was shaky and ridiculously small.
I heard his heavy footsteps on the floor. His arms came around my waist, and he turned me to face him. I kept my eyes on the floor, not daring to look him in the eyes.
“Taylor,” he whispered my name almost begging, hearing him like this making me hate myself even more. I should have never let this get so far.
“Don't… Please, just go, leave before this becomes serious,” I pleaded him.
“I think we’re a little late with that,” he said with a cocky smile on his face that I loved so much as he tilted his head to the side, trying to catch my gaze.
“Don’t say that,” I raised my voice again, narrowing my eyes as I pushed him away again. “Don’t love me. I don’t love you. Go! Now!”
My entire body was shaking so badly I wasn’t sure if I could stand on my feet for too long. Terror I felt a long time ago invaded my mind and body. The only thing I could think of was hurting him so he’d leave and never look back before I could end his life.
“You’re one of a kind, do you know that?” Dean sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “Taylor…”
“What?” I interrupted him. “We talk, we fight, we fuck. This isn’t love. This isn’t even a relationship,” I said in my best cold hearted bitch tone, hoping he would just stop. I was doing this for him. “You live your life, I live mine. I didn’t want this. You don’t have to save me or whatever it is you’re trying to do.”
“Then what did you want? Just have some fun and that’s it?” He yelled at me, throwing his arms into the air, his eyes burning with anger. That was better, no pity, no concern, just rage.
“Yes. Actually, yes,” I shrugged, seeing his face close. It killed me that I had to see him hurt because of me but I didn’t want him to know. One of us had to stay reasonable, and I’d rather have him being hurt now than see him dead because I wasn’t strong enough to put an end to this.
“Dean,” I started, sitting to the couch. “You’re a great man, and you deserve someone better. You’ve known me ever since we were kids. I’m poison. I’m dangerous,” I sighed, seeing him raising an eyebrow, looking at me like I lost my mind. God, how could he be so blind after all that we’d been through together?
“Don’t look at me like that. You know it, too. Everybody who gets close to me regrets it sooner or later. Just think about it. Mom, Dad, Jenna, my first boyfriend, the second, all of my friends. I’m a magnet for disaster and I’m not only a danger to myself, I’m also dangerous for the people I love,” I could see him going through the motions as I explained to him but he had to know that I was right.
“My Mom died when I was born. My dad hated me because of it so he decided to drink himself to death. My sister as you may know threw me out when I was 16 and blamed me for her fucked up life,” and these were only my relatives, I couldn’t even list all the people I hurt by my simple existence.
“Do you really wanna know why I drank in the last few weeks? Jenna eliminated everything that was me. I had to face the fact that my only family hated me so much she pretended I’d never even existed. If Lisa hadn’t called me, I wouldn’t have even known that Jenna died,” I said bitterly, shaking my head.
“So don’t tell me you will be the exception. Don’t tell me you are going to change everything. Who do you think you are to try and love me when my own family couldn’t?” I glared at him.
“I don’t want to save you, Taylor… You don’t need that… I just… I don’t know…” He sighed, stepping to me, pulling me up by my arms. “What are we doing?” He asked, leaning his forehead against mine.
He was waiting for answers, waiting for me to tell the truth but I couldn’t. I felt I could explode with all the things that I held back but I had to be the smarter. So instead of pouring my heart out I kissed him knowing that would be our last kiss, feeling the salty taste on my lips as a single tear rolled down my cheek.
“We have to stop this,” I whispered against his lips, my hands clutching his shoulders tightly, scared that I’d actually collapse if I didn’t have something to hold onto.
“I know… I know,” he nodded, closing his eyes.
“You should go. Sam is waiting for you,” I took a step back from him, knowing the more we stalled the harder goodbye was going to be.
I bit my bottom lip, literally having to force myself to stop from telling the truth as I watched Dean leave. I had so much to say but I just stood there, watching him walk out of my life after he placed one last kiss on my forehead.
I sat on the bed in the motel room where I found Sammy after I got back from Hell somehow. As he packed his bag a book fell out of it. I wouldn’t have cared at all if he didn’t start acting weird.
“What’s that?” I asked, raising an eyebrow, moving my eyes between the book and him.
“Nothing,” came the uncharacteristically quick and short answer. He was a horrible liar in his whole life and that hadn’t changed during the few months I spent in the ground.
“Is that your secret porn collection? You don’t have to hide it from me, little bro,” I grinned at him, suspecting that wasn’t the case, not that it wouldn’t have made me proud if it had turned out to be a book of busty Asians.
“I didn’t want to tell you. Not now at least… You just came back,” he rambled, avoiding my gaze as he rocked on his heels nervously.
“Come on, dude. What’s going on? Like you said I just got back from Hell. What can you possibly say that’s worse than that?”
“Dean, I’m sorry…” he sighed, holding out the book for me.
“What are you sorry for?” I asked confused, taking the book from his hand, not getting what could possibly be that terrible about a simple book. Was it the Book of Dead, or what?
It was thick, at least 600 pages, the cover was entirely black. I opened it. The first page said: “It hurts to be loved-In memory of Taylor Heart”. I felt my heart beating faster, my stomach clenched, not wanting to believe that it was true.
I turned the page. There was a dedication on the next page: “For D.W., my true love, the only man who could ever understand me. If I have to, I will follow you to Hell to tell you, I lied. I always loved you and always will, in my life and death, forever.”
“Her biography,” Sam cleared his throat. “One week after you… I talked to her. Then a few days later I saw it in the newspapers that she… Lisa said they found her in her apartment in New York. Her heart stopped. When they found her she was already…”
“Dead,” I closed the book, throwing it on the bed.
“Dean, if you wanna talk about it…”
“There’s nothing to talk about. She’s dead. That’s it. The end.”
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