Seth looked down at the dark rushing river below the bridge he stood on and wondered how quickly he would drown. He didn’t want to have to hold himself down too long. That would give him a chance to change his mind.
Would I float back up if I became unconscious? Oh yeah, it’s only corpses that float. Heh. It’s like nature wants us all to die.
Suddenly, warm memories rose shimmering in his mind, childhood memories in which he felt like sunshine, when the light within his heart seemed to warm the world in a soft glow, making colors more vibrant, made laughter sweet and sincere, and life worth living. He couldn’t remember when he stopped feeling that way. But he hated himself for having lost that precious magic.
Hope pulled at Seth’s heartstrings again, but he only dug his heels into his resolve. He hated how life wanted to perpetuate its own existence without caring about those who had to endure its suffering.
If reincarnation is real, Seth called out in his mind to the darkening sky, and if any god is listening… please don’t bring me back. That’s the least you could do for me.
The river’s rippling melody sounded so sweet in the evening air. Traffic on the outskirts of the small city had nearly emptied from the streets, and the few cars that occasionally passed by would only think the average-sized and average-looking young man was just drinking in the scenery. The sun had set halfway, enough to shock the sky with tangerine, scarlet, and violet.
It’s a beautiful night, Seth thought to himself. Couldn’t ask for a better one.
It was late enough that the daytime creatures were relinquishing dominion to their nocturnal brethren. Bats chittered overhead, owls hooted from the trees, and a plethora of bird calls diminished into the quiescence of twilight. Seth couldn’t decide if this harmonious, seamless interim was a reason to keep living in and of itself, or if it was the perfect time to let go of the burden he knew he could no longer carry.
No one will miss me. But..., he thought to himself, allowing his burdened heart to open for a moment. ...I suppose I will miss this.
At that moment, a kind of peace and terror gripped him, as he knew that this choice was his to make, and his alone. There was no right or wrong answer. And that made it all the more painful.
Seth stepped up onto the parapet, his eyes filling with tears. Although the concrete wall was wider than his feet were long, his footing felt unstable as vertigo pulled his balance out from under him. He swayed and cried as a light breeze swept over the river, caressing his face with serene detachment. Seconds stretched into aeons as Seth stared into the abyss of the river, simultaneously the gaping maw of a ravenous beast and the embrace of a siren unashamedly promising tranquility.
Suddenly, someone pushed Seth off the bridge, and he was too terrified to cry out.
I-I don’t want to die, some part of him pleaded to whatever could hear him as he fell into the inky blackness. The sun had finally set, and no gleams of sunlight streaked the waters. There was only darkness.
I don’t want to die.
Seth woke up with the morning sun blinding his left eye. When he raised his hand to block the light, he saw his own face staring at him beneath a vibrant peach-colored sky. Or rather, it would have been him if he had dark wavy hair, gray eyes, was nearly a foot taller than he actually was, was leanly muscled, and had the bone structure of a Greek god. Still, there was something poignantly familiar about the stranger.
“Man, you take for fucking ever to do anything, even to wake up,” the man’s cool, sly voice drawled lazily. “I was about to give up on your sorry ass.”
“...Who the hell are you?” Seth demanded. He felt a grimy film all over his skin and guessed that this smarmy stranger, whoever he was, had dragged him out of the river. “Why did you save me?”
“Why did you jump, asshole? For all intents and purposes, you only live once.”
“So?” Seth sighed. “Doesn’t matter if your life isn’t worth living.”
“Then why did you not want to die at the last moment?”
Seth froze. He was sure he hadn’t said that last thought out loud. He was completely positive.
I guess the mind does crazy things when it’s about to kill itself. “None of your business.”
“Actually, that’s the entire reason I’m here,” the stranger drawled. “Honestly, I would much rather have stayed in what’s left of your fantasy world than have to have this idiotic conversation with such a self-centered little prick like you.”
Seth pulled himself to his feet, his fists balled and blood boiling. “Who the fuck are you? I didn’t ask you to save me, asshole. I would be drifting into peaceful oblivion if you hadn’t wanted to be a self-righteous hero. Like you could ever understand why someone would want to end everything. You’re probably one of those vainglorious fucks who has everything they want and wonders why everyone else isn’t fucking ecstatic all the time. Guess what. Life isn’t perfect for everyone. Some people are fucking miserable, and suicide is the only thing I can give myself anymore. Or it was until some smug fuck pulled me out.”
The stranger rolled his eyes and sighed impatiently. “Yeah, you’re right, not everyone is as blessed as I am, and, guess what, there are plenty of people who would slit someone’s throat to be in your position.”
“So? I’m not them. The grass is always greener, you arrogant asshole. Only I wouldn’t kill someone just to look like you.”
Seth laughed. “Fuck no, you arrogant prick. You’re just some scumbag who wants to feel high and mighty and judge everyone for not being as perfect as you.”
“Yet, you are the one who is judging yourself for being imperfect.”
Seth suddenly snapped. He roared and launched himself at the stranger. The unknown benefactor pivoted to the side and swept his leg under Seth’s, sending the furious youth tumbling into the stony shore. His fall was only lightly cushioned by the patches of grass creeping onto the riverbank. Seth once again raised himself to his feet and screamed in frustration.
“Leave me alone!”
The stranger rubbed his forehead in frustration. “Believe me, I wish I could.”
“It’s a free country, fucker. Piss off.”
“Sadly, I am not a free spirit. I am bound to you. In a sense, I am you.”
Seth snorted and chuckled, waiting for the punchline, but the stranger simply stared back at him. Although there was sarcasm and callousness, there was no malice or duplicity in his eyes. “What do you mean?” Seth asked.
“I am who you wish you could be. I am one of your daemon, the spirits that guides your life. Or at least I would be if you weren’t such a stubborn ass.”
A moment passed before Seth bent over as hysterical laughter seized him for almost a minute, and only his loss of breath gave him enough repose to regain his voice.
“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” Seth asked as he leaned in and cupped his hand to his ear. “I couldn’t hear you through all the bullshit you shoved in my ears.”
The stranger smirked. “Classy. I am one of your daemon. You could also think of me as your subconscious, the part of yourself that is your potential, fully realized self as you would want to be. Any bullshit you hear coming out of my mouth is what you have fed yourself over the years. The rest is as real as it gets.”
A chill ran through Seth’s body. Slowly, he backed away from the dark-haired man, trying to create enough distance from the man to safely run away. Given the man’s fitness, a mile would have been preferable.. “Ok… I don’t know what fantasy you’re trying to live out, but I would rather you left me out of it. I may want to die, but I don’t want to be maimed and tortured by a psychopath, thanks very much.”
The man tilted his head with feline grace and snapped his fingers. Immediately, an apparition of April, the only woman Seth had had a real relationship with, appeared before him. She looked as she did the last time he saw her, her long, strawberry blonde hair hanging freely about her feminine, graceful, lithe shoulders and arms, an Iron Maiden shirt suggestively stretched by her curvaceous figure, and jeans that covered enough to be tasteful, leaving only a small part of her midriff exposed. She looked at Seth with condescending disdain before turning to the dark-haired man and caressing his face. She pulled herself towards him, pressing her body into his, and was about to kiss him before the man snapped his fingers again and she dissipated.
Black spots appeared in Seth’s vision and he suddenly realized he had stopped breathing. Before he could breathe again, his stomach lurched violently and he dry heaved convulsively. As he managed to stand back up, Seth could not push back the dread overwhelming him as he stared at the stranger.
The stranger snorted in amusement. “My patience has been wearing thin since you started pitying yourself over that girl years ago. But I am feeling compassionate, so I will answer three questions. Choose them carefully.”
“....What is… a… demon?”
The man rolled his eyes again in exasperation. “Demons are spirits that thrive on the mindless compulsions of mankind: rape, murder, anger, fear, etc. But I am a daemon. Big difference. You have… two. However, you have unraveled your sense of aspiration so much that you have nearly killed one and he is too weak to manifest. Fortunately for you, he’s the more boring of the two. I am all the hopes and dreams that you had for yourself since you were a child. I was what was coaxing you to imagine, painted the tapestries of your hopes, and inspired you to grasp life with everything you had. At least, at one time I did. Until you buried me in your self-loathing. Second question.”
Seth decided to suspend his disbelief until he could fully understand what was happening. Perhaps he was hallucinating, or maybe he had in fact drowned in the river and this was some kind of limbo, to be eternally tormented by what he had wished he had been all his life: confident, handsome, intelligent, something admirable. Something worthy of being loved. But until he could be certain he hadn’t been drugged and this person was manipulating him to lure him into a cult or something, he felt better not upsetting whoever or whatever he was.
“What do you mean there are two of you?” Seth asked as he simultaneously tried to search the shrubbery around him and keep his eye on the madman in front of him.
This time, the man slapped his forehead with one hand. “I’ll be nice and count this as a clarifying point. No one is going to come out of the bush and mug you. If I wanted something off your sorry ass, I would have already taken it. Everyone has two daemons, one light and one dark. The light guides your rationality, the dark, like me, guide your more interesting bits, like instincts, humor, etc. You gave up on a higher calling long ago, so your other daemon is practically a withered husk.”
“... Why are you here?”
“Thanks for not beating around the bush,” the man snorted. “I am here because the deepest part of you called out for help. That part of you that wants to live life again and embrace what the world has to offer, but your conscious mind is too weak and scared to seize it. I am here to help you find what you think has been missing but has been right in your face your entire life, waiting for you to recognize it. Third question.”
“....What’s your name?”
“And here I thought we were making headway… I told you, I am you. But for the sake of simplicity, you can call me… Damon.”
“Wow, you’re really hamming up the whole daemon thing,” Seth chuckled.
“I’ll only be here for as long as you need me. Then I’m gone.”
“I said three questions.”
Seth scoffed. “You claim to be a spirit that resides inside of me and you think I’m just going to ask three questions? I thought you were supposed to be smart.”
Damon smirked. “Fair enough. Back to your subconscious. Believe me, I wouldn’t even have come out if it hadn’t deteriorated into such a cesspool. You really need to get your shit together.”
“And you’re going to help me do that?”
“That is what we are going to find out,” Damon groaned as he stretched upward, his muscles stretching his black shirt as his joints popped. Then, he slumped and sighed with satisfaction. “Sadly, since you are such a stubborn sonofabitch, I don’t rightly know what it’s going to take to get it through to you. Seems rather Sisyphean, but, hell, it’s either this or rot away in the back of your head.”
“Or you could have let me die,” Seth muttered to himself.
Damon suddenly appeared directly in front of Seth, and his eyes blazed with red fury.
“You summoned me,” Damon snarled. “You are the one who is so pathetic he can’t make up his mind about whether he wants to live or not. If you want to end your miserable existence, be my guest. I would prefer sweet nothingness over listening to you bitch and moan about your own life since you aren’t man enough to make something of it. So which is it going to be? Are you going to let life crush you beneath your own self-pity or are you going to grow the fuck up?”
“.... doesn’t seem like much of a choice.”
“No, it doesn’t. But it’s the only choice that matters.”
“.... Fine,” Seth agreed, hoping that playing this sick fuck’s game would get the psycho to leave him alone. “What do we do?”
Damon stepped back, the rage in his eyes softening back into swaggering satisfaction. “First things first. Let’s get some food.”
Seth reached out and tapped Damon and was almost surprised when he felt flesh and bone beneath his touch. “I thought you were a spirit.”
“I am, though I am made manifest by your suppressed hope to love life again. Sadly, this is going to take some time, and I need to nourish this temporary body.”
“Whatever. That doesn’t answer my question. How do we... do this?"
Damon smirked and waved his hand placatingly. “Don’t worry, it won’t be too painful. Long and short of it is, We’re going to expose your fears and anxieties, one at a time, by comparing you side by side with the ideal you’re not. That way, you can learn to accept yourself as you are.”
“How is making me feel inferior going to help me in any way?”
“You already feel inferior. You have since you were a kid. We’re just going to dredge it out of you to make way for acceptance. The hard way if necessary.”
“What’s the hard way?”
“Jesus, you never know when to shut up. Come on. I want some pizza.”
With that, Damon turned and walked into the forest. Seth only then realized that the bridge he had fallen off of was nowhere in sight and that he had no idea where he was, as the river must have carried him downstream. He hesitated as Damon became increasingly obscured by the dense foliage.
Well… even if I am hallucinating, maybe my subconscious can lead me back home.
“Hurry the fuck up!” Damon called out, now completely hidden behind the vegetation.
“Fucking hell...,” Seth muttered to himself as he gazed back at the river one last time. He realized he could jump back in and, at that moment, the siren of suicide’s lullaby haunted his heart again. But this time it felt cold and terrifying, and his feet backed away from the river of their own accord.
Seth grit his teeth in humiliation. I can’t even do this right, he berated himself as he began walking where Damon had trailed ahead of him, back to a life Seth still didn’t know if he wanted to live.
The two of them walked in silence for a long time. Seth refused to say anything because he still didn’t know if he had just gone crazy or if Damon was the insane one. He still couldn’t explain why he had seen April, or how Damon had somehow known exactly what he had seen and thought, but he figured it was best to observe and try to find any inconsistencies with Damon’s story. But the tall, dark man just kept walking with an infuriatingly neutral expression on his face.
Eventually, they reached the highway that led back to town. Seth continued walking until he realized Damon was walking slowly backward by the side of the road and raised his thumb to hitchhike. There were a few cars coming down their side of the road, and most passed by with the drivers looking at the peculiar duo with skepticism. Not that Seth blamed them. He imagined they looked rather sketchy, especially having just come out of the woods.
But now that they were out from under the trees, the summer sun beat down on them mercilessly. Sweat soon dripped down both their faces, though Damon’s sweat only somehow just made him seem more majestic as he unwaveringly strutted backward with his thumb in the air. Just as Seth was about to insist on the futility of Damon’s efforts, a pickup honked and pulled over just ahead of them, gravel crunching under the tires.
“A little patience goes a long way,” Damon said, slapping his hand on Seth’s shoulder as he walked by him.
“So does shoving my foot up your ass,” Seth muttered as he followed.
Damon swung the car door open and hopped inside and Seth climbed in beside him.
“Hello, boys,” and a forty-something-year-old woman with streaks of gray in her black hair greeted them. She had green eyes and tanned skin that crinkled slightly with laugh lines. She wore blue overalls and a white t-shirt underneath and smelled of hay and dirt. “Couldn’t walk the last few miles yourselves?”
“Just wanted the pleasure of a beautiful woman’s company, is all,” Damon replied as Seth closed the door behind him. “Luckily, you were in a gracious mood. Name’s Damon.”
“Charming,” the woman smirked. “Cindy. A pleasure to meet you.”
“What do you do for a living, Cindy?”
“I’m a farmer by trade. I mainly grow wheat, but I also have a horse ranch, and people come from all over to ride the trails by the river.”
Seth began to introduce himself but decided the woman was too engrossed in conversation with the better-looking Damon to bother. Instead, he fixated on the scenery as Cindy revved the truck back onto the pavement. Cindy and Damon continued talking, but Seth lost himself in his apathy, focusing on the sensation of the wind cutting through the opening of the barely rolled-down windows.
Why the hell didn’t I just throw myself back in the river? I’m just a pathetic loser and that’s all I-
“And what’s your name, sweety?” Cindy asked.
“Oh,” Seth said, nearly jumping out of the seat. “Uh... it’s Seth.”
“And what do you do?”
“....Nothing really,” Seth muttered. “Went to college. Got a degree in philosophy. Hasn’t amounted to anything. I was working at the gas station for a while, but they fired me for being late too many times.”
“Not really a job I would want to show up to, either,” Cindy conceded. “Any idea what you’ll do next?”
“No. I had plans, but they fell through.”
“What were they?”
“I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Seth just tried to kill himself,” Damon said. “I had to pull his sorry ass out of the river.”
Seth wanted to open the door and throw himself out to save himself from embarrassment and hopefully finish what he had started, but Cindy tutted and asked: “Now, why would you want to do that?”
Seth sighed and tried fruitlessly to hide in the chasm he felt in his chest. “... Because I don’t feel like life is worth living anymore.”
Cindy snorted. “Well, you get the answers you want in life, no matter what question you ask.”
“You’re sad, so all you can see are reasons the world is terrible and full of suffering,” Cindy explained as she pinned a few loose strands of hair the wind had pulled in front of her face. “Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of misery in the world, but how you choose to see life determines what you see around you.”
“Wise words,” Damon said. “Beautiful and intelligent.”
Cindy laughed. “Shut up, you. You’re nothing but a sweet talker.”
“I’m sweet at several things if you catch my drift.”
Seth rolled his eyes and watched the scenery pass by him as Cindy and Damon continued to flirt. Tension rose within Seth as he continued to sit in silence and tried to avoid thinking about anything while also unable to stave off his worries of how Cindy was judging him, though Cindy didn’t seem to mind his moodiness. He knew the polite thing to do would be to try to join in the conversation, but he loathed trying to pretend he felt happy when he was actually miserable.
Within a few minutes, they arrived back in the city, and Cindy was happy to oblige Damon’s request to be dropped off at the nearest pizza parlor.
“Well, this was fun,” Cindy said as she pulled into the parking lot. “I hope you both have a blessed day, and Seth?”
“Chin up, sweetheart.”
Easy for you to say, Seth thought to himself as he opened the car door and got out. “Thanks.”
“It was a pleasure, Cindy,” Damon said with a deep bow as he exited the truck. “I hope you have a man in your life who appreciates you as much as you deserve.”
“If you want, you can certainly fill the vacancy,” Cindy replied.
Damon clutched his chest with all the passion of an anguished troubadour. “Alas, I have duties to attend to. Otherwise, I would happily elope to your idyllic home.”
“Gotta take care of your friend?” Cindy whispered, though Seth could still hear. The concern underlying the secrecy just made his humiliation cut deeper into his gut.
“Indeed,” Damon said gravely. “But trust me, you’ll find someone. You’re the stuff dreams are made of.”
“As are you, baby. If you change your mind…” Seth heard Cindy rummaging around her glove compartment for a few moments before she said, “here’s my number.”
“It’s been an honor and a privilege, my lady,” Damon said, graciously accepting the paper with her telephone number scribbled on it.
“Bye boys!” Cindy yelled as she drove off back onto the highway.
“Finally,” Damon said. “I’m starving.”
Seth vaguely acknowledged that he was hungrier than he remembered ever being, but couldn’t find much reason to care. Still, he followed Damon’s eager gait into the restaurant.
As Seth and Damon sat down at a booth to eat, multiple plates of pizza in hand, Seth couldn’t help but notice that every woman in the restaurant had their eyes glued to Damon. There were snickers and whispers that Seth knew only happened when women were excited. Seth had never experienced such attention, but he recognized it from high school and college when the good-looking popular or artistic kids would enter the room. It always made Seth feel that every other male in the room was invisible, especially him.
Damon either didn’t notice or didn’t care that he was the sole focus of the room, both from appreciative glances from women and jealous glares from men.
“So,” Damon said with a mouthful of pizza. “Why did April leave you?”
Seth stared at his first slice of pizza. The scents of the sharp cheese and the fresh-roasted crust made his stomach gurgle. But Seth had realized long ago that caring about anything led to caring about everything, which always led to disappointment. He decided it was better to just ignore the humiliating scenario surrounding him and let his insecurity swaddle him like a blanket.
Damon snapped his finger once loudly in front of Seth’s face and it broke his reverie. “Look, the sooner you are honest with me and yourself, the sooner I get out of here, which is what we both want, believe me.”
“... She said I wasn’t good enough. She left me for someone who was.”
“That’s what she told you?”
Seth and April argued only once, when they last spoke to one another. The day it ended, a friend of April’s said she saw her with another guy, and asked if she and Seth were in an open relationship. Waiting for April to return home that day had felt like a vat of acid had begun to overflow inside of him. He held onto his rage and held back his tears until she showed up, determined to show her how much she had hurt him. Only she didn’t care.
You’re not a man, down there or in your head. You have the emotional stability of a twelve-year-old. You’re lucky I even pitied you enough to let you fuck me.
Her words still scorched his heart, even though it had been years since they were first etched there.
“Basically,” Seth finally replied.
“And you and I both know you haven’t had anyone else… sheesh, ever. Honestly, you don’t even like porn anymore. Not that I blame you. Who wants to just rub themselves while looking at a screen when you could have the real thing. On the other hand, pun intended, those wome-”
“Shut the fuck up,” Seth hissed. “I don’t know how long you want to keep this charade up, but stop pretending you’re anything other than some asshole who gets off on making others feel like shit.”
“You’re the one who is making yourself feel like shit,” Damon said as he took another huge bite of pizza. “You can’t let go of her. You broke yourself over her and now you believe you’ll never be whole again, that you’re less than nothing. You’ve put all your energy into your inferiority complex so that you don’t know any other way to operate.”
Seth folded his arms and scoffed. “Says the guy who could have his pick of any woman he wants. You didn’t even have to ask for Cindy’s number. So who the fuck are you to judge me for hating myself? I haven’t gotten a girl’s number once. No one has said yes when I have asked them out ever.”
“What about April?”
“I thought you knew everything about me?” Seth mocked.
Damon raised an eyebrow. “Think of this as therapy. You have to say it for it to mean anything.”
The vein of caustic humor Seth had let escape suddenly withered. “... She… she was the only girl who ever pursued me. Maybe it wasn’t for me. Maybe she was just bored and wanted something to play with. But it was the first time…”
“That you felt wanted,” Damon finished.
Damon nodded sagely and then stuffed the rest of the pizza slice in his mouth. “So what’s stopping you from asking someone out who you want?”
Seth scoffed. “Why subject myself to that humiliation?”
“Potential humiliation. And if she says no, so what? There’s always more fish in the sea.”
Rolling his eyes in exasperation, Seth explained as if he were speaking to a child. An exceptionally mature child. “Except I have nothing to bait them with. I have nothing that women want. I’m boring, I’m nothing to look at, I don’t have a job or money, and I… can’t even satisfy….”
“Stop judging all women by one bitch who broke your heart,” Damon said as he started on another slice of pizza. “Everyone is looking for happiness, and usually they hurt each other along the way. It happens. Move on.”
“Alright, smartass, if you are a fucking daemon, whatever the fuck that is, have you ever experienced any pain in your life? Have you ever felt the pain of rejection?”
Damon set down his slice and looked around to see if anyone was within earshot. “I have felt what you have put us both through,” he said quietly as he finished chewing and swallowed. “You have shut down your sexuality and your desire to connect with anyone, not just lovers but friends too, and your inner world, my world, is becoming worse than a wasteland. It’s turning into a prison filled with corrosion and decay. Even your demons think it’s pathetic.”
“So?” Seth sighed as he began slowly spinning the metal plate his untouched slice of pizza lay on. “Good riddance. I would rather spend the rest of my life alone than be betrayed again because I don’t meet some whore’s standards.”
Damon then leaned over slapped Seth across the face so hard stars popped in Seth’s vision for several moments. When Seth looked back at Damon, his gray eyes were cold and emotionless. “Everyone has the right to choose who they want to be with and why, even April. It was not her right, however, to toy with you the way she did, but all she did was show you her true colors. Don’t paint all women with that palette. There are women who are strong and beautiful, regardless of what they look like, and have more grace in their little toe than you do in your entire body. Just because you are wallowing in the pain which you refuse to face doesn’t mean you have the right to-”
Both of them suddenly realized that one of the cashier girls had been standing next to their table with two more slices of pizza and, to Seth’s horror, the entire restaurant was staring at them.
“O-one of the other patrons wanted you guys to have these,” the girl stuttered. Her round face looked stunned and wide-eyed, framed by her black franchise hat and her light brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. “She said you looked hungry.”
Damon cleared his throat and accepted the free slices. “Well, how very nice. My brother never told me this town was filled with such generous people. Thank you very much, Mia,” he added with a glance at the girl’s name tag.
The girl blushed. “Of course, sir. You two are brothers?”
“Yeah, I’m visiting from the east coast. This is Seth, and my name is Damon.”
“Nice to meet you both,” Mia said without taking her eyes off of Damon.
“Fuck this,” Seth said to himself as he pushed himself from the booth and stormed out of the restaurant.
Only a few seconds out into the summer heat and Seth could already feel sweat beading on his forehead and in his armpits, mixing with the grime and dirt that already made his skin itch. He almost made it to the edge of the parking lot when Damon caught up with him, holding multiple slices of pizza.
“Hold up!” Damon yelled as he slowed down from a run, not short of breath despite the sprint. “I’m sorry, I can’t help it if a girl wants to chat. It would be rude not to.”
“Rude?” Seth demanded as he turned on Damon, squinting as the afternoon sun nearly blinded him. “You have been nothing but a complete asshole to me the entire time you have been here. Get the fuck out of my life,” he snapped and walked away.
“Don’t be so melodramatic,” Damon said as he kept up behind Seth, his longer legs outpacing Seth’s hurried stride. “It’s not like you were going to ask her out.”
“That’s just it,” Seth exclaimed. “I don’t have that luxury. You have women almost literally falling into your lap and they don’t even see me. She didn’t even look at me once.”
“Maybe because you didn’t want to be noticed,” Damon suggested. “Pizza?” he asked, holding out one slice.
Seth tsked and slapped the slice away. With untraceable speed, Damon caught the pizza in mid-air several feet away.
“Never mess with a man’s pizza,” Damon said. “You could have just said no.”
“Can I say no to you? Can I tell you to just fuck off?!” Seth yelled at the top of his lungs. He continued to walk out of the parking lot but stopped when he didn’t hear a response. When he turned around, Damon was nowhere to be found. Seth shook his head and rubbed his eyes, but Damon had disappeared.
“Good riddance,” Seth muttered to himself as he began walking home, though he couldn’t shake the feeling that he had pushed away a precious opportunity.