M A B E L
“This is your idea of hanging out?” Hayes says from beside me, head shaking beneath the hood of his sweatshirt. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
At first I think Hayes is angry, but then he laughs, actually laughs, beside me in the passenger seat. Not the quiet kind of laugh that’s stifled, and forced, but the kind of laugh that has him gasping for air, snorting into his hand.
I smile widely as I stare ahead at the house, fingers gripping the steering wheel tightly. I hadn’t even given the green eyed man enough time to change out of his pajamas, though the man doesn’t seem bothered by it in the slightest as he sits in my parked truck with laughter spilling out of his pierced mouth. I don’t tell him to stop laughing either, it’s the first time I’ve actually heard him laugh, and I honestly couldn’t care if he snorts when he does it. I’m just glad he’s laughing.
“You want to– oh my god–” Hayes struggles to catch his breath, wipes at his watering eyes with the sleeve of his torn sweatshirt. “You want to egg her house. Why am I so surprised? I knew you’d want some kind of revenge sooner or later.”
I laugh at that, but don’t break my gaze away from Riley Juvers’ house where she still lives with her mother. There’s exactly six cartons of eggs that sit between Hayes and I, just begging to be opened, and thrown at the sides of her home. I have to give the eggs what they want.
“You’re fucking insane, Mabel Baker, I hope you know that,” the man blows out a breath once he’s through with his laughter, shakes his head once again before pushing the passenger side door open. “You’re so fucking insane, but damn is it hot.”
Rolling my eyes, I grab the egg cartons, and hop out of my truck before kicking the door shut behind me. Hayes just stands in her front yard drowning in the baggy fabric of his pajama pants, and sweatshirt, hands stuffed in the front pocket of the oversized sweater, hair ruffled by the cold wind. He doesn’t say anything as I stand beside him, eggs in hand, and I stare up at him– at his cheeks that are tinged pink from the cold.
“Should you throw the first one, or should I?” I question aloud.
He smiles, but this one doesn’t reach his eyes like the smiles earlier did, like his loud, snorty laugh did. He just shrugs nonchalantly, lolls his head to one side.
Hayes says, “If the cops show up, I’m telling them you kidnapped me, and forced me into doing this.”
And it’s the humor in his tone– the way he smiles jokingly– that makes me laugh before pulling out a fragile egg. I don’t wait for him because I’m already pulling my arm back, and hurling the egg at Riley Juvers’ house. I think Hayes is laughing again beside me, but I’m too distracted as I take out another egg, throw it.
It hits her living room window, yellow yolk running down the once clean glass. The green eyed man grabs an egg this time, smiling wickedly as he throws it as hard as he can, and it hits the grey siding with a loud splat.
And we just continue to do this, pull out a white egg and hurl them at the traitor’s house and the smile on Hayes’ face is what makes this moment so much better because I never thought the man would smile without it emotionally draining him.
Not only does throwing eggs at Riley Juvers’ house with the Winchester man help me get my revenge, but it also helps me realize how much I care for the green eyed man– how it would tear me apart from the inside if he were to one day succeed in killing himself.
Because moments like these make me realize that he’s the only friend I’ve got, and losing him would destroy me.
Soon enough all the cartons are empty, and there’s only one left– one carton filled with a dozen fragile eggs. I consider giving Hayes the rest, to let him take out all his feelings and sadness and rage on the small grey house, but I think better of it. I take out a small egg, hold it in the palm of my cold hand, and just as I’m about to hurl it at Riley’s house I catch a glimpse of Hayes out of the corner of my eye– smiling wolfishly, pink tinged cheeks dimpled on either side. I don’t realize he has an egg in his hand until he slaps it on top of my head.
I blanch at the man, my head and ears and nose suddenly more cold once the yellow substance drips down my face. Hayes only laughs at my horrified expression, arming himself with another egg that he’ll more than likely throw at me.
And the wicked man does just that, pulls his arm back before hurling the fragile egg in my direction and I don’t even have enough time to dodge the flying, white orb before it hits me square in the chest with a soft crack. Hayes laughs loudly, loud enough for the neighbors to hear, loud enough to make me smile despite the fact that I’m nearly freezing my ass off. I don’t think, just quickly grab for an egg, and throw it.
His laughter is cut short as he blanches at me, yellow liquid running down the bridge of his nose, and he shivers– the first time he’s actually showed any sort of reaction to the cold weather. But he smiles at me, big and beautiful and crooked and he charges at me. I scream a string of curses in shock when he tackles me to the dewy grass, a wolfish smile on his face along with dead baby chickens.
“You fucking prick!” I shriek, and he laughs again, another small snort.
Hayes is quick to climb on top of me, taking a seat on my legs with this look in his green eyes– this look that isn’t so dead. He has another egg in his hand and he’s cracking it onto my shirt, still smiling wildly and I’m slapping at his shoulders with laughter spilling out of my lips and I think tears are falling down my cold cheeks from all the laughing and I know Hayes is still smiling when he leans down and I can feel the warmth of him against my face.
“I just couldn’t help myself,” he says, and he laughs. “I saw an opportunity, and I took it.”
He’s smiling against my cold skin and it makes my heart jump up into my throat, its home for the day, even as I continue to laugh uncontrollably and he’s laughing too– a sound I could never get tired of hearing.
“Now I’m covered in dead chicken babies,” I feign horror, which only causes him to laugh more. “How cruel of you, Hayes Winchester, you should be ashamed.”
And he leans down to press a kiss to my neck and I stop breathing, my heart stops beating, my cold-bitten fingers grasping at the sleeves of his sweatshirt and I’ve begun to lose my fucking mind when the yolk slides off his face and onto my own skin and he says,
“I could lick you clean if you’d like,” he says, and he says it against my cheek– his breath warming my skin.
My toes curl in my boots.
I hum against his shoulder, plunge my fingers beneath his sweater, and he gasps against me at the feel of my cold skin on his. But then he laughs breathlessly, stiffens above me, and I begin to think that he might push me away, but he shocks me by pressing a kiss to my lips. I wrap my arms around his frame, reeling him in, and I feel him press the tips of his cold fingers against my shoulders. I gasp into his mouth, and he kisses me harder, almost like he could consume the sound.
“Fuck,” Hayes hisses, and kisses me again, more tongue this time. “Fuck, Mabel.”
And it’s the way he says my name, like it tastes so deliciously on his tongue, that makes me smile against his mouth, makes me kiss him a bit harder. I free my hands from his baggy sweatshirt only to get my fingers caught in the wild, black strands of his hair, which is wet with egg yolk.
“Maybe I should lick you clean.” I smile charmingly when he pulls away, and he grits his teeth– reaches up to remove my hand from his hair.
This time he smiles, and I use that same hand, the one he had just freed from his ebony hair, to touch my fingers to his curled lip– to touch the silver piercing there. He bites at my finger, and I yank my hand back, lazily letting my arm fall to the patch of grass above my head.
“I’m willing to take you up on that offer.” Hayes chuckles softly against the base of my throat.
And it then dawns on me that we’re outside, laying out in the grass of my traitorous ex-best friend’s front yard, kissing. Hayes seems to register the horror on my face because he laughs quietly, that usual quiet and stifled laugh, and slides off my legs. I shoot up abruptly, almost slamming my forehead into Hayes’ nose, but he dodges me at just the right moment, dark eyebrows furrowed.
“I’m sorry,” he says quickly. “I’m sorry if I–”
“No, no, you didn’t– I just– I’m sorry–”
He kisses me again, presses his fingers under my chin to tip my head up, to kiss me harder. I shiver against him, from the December weather, or the feel of his skin, I don’t know, but he grins against my mouth nonetheless.
He’s happy, right now, Hayes Winchester is actually happy and it nearly causes me to forget how to breathe and I no longer have any words in my mouth when he pulls away and he says,
“Mabel, you make me not want to die today.”
He’s stuffed seeds down my throat and flowers have bloomed in my chest and my heart, my fucking heart, has begun to slam against my ribcage where I can feel those flowers growing and curling around like vines and I feel like spring despite the fact that I’m sitting here in the dead of winter.
He’s planted wildflowers in the ugliest parts of me.
I’m smiling so wide my cheeks feel as if they might split open and I can’t seem to stop myself from launching at him, wrapping my arms around his neck and he laughs, laughs with that small snort and I love it so much that I want to tell him to laugh again but I don’t because his phone rings just as he wraps his arms around me too.
“Hi, mom,” he’s saying into the phone when he answers the call and he’s smiling and he’s so so happy and I think I might become a fire in his arms.
But then his smile vanishes, completely vanishes, swiped clean from his pale face in a matter of seconds. Hayes has gone pale, ghostly pale with absolute horror in his green eyes.
Where are you, he’s saying and I’m asking him what’s wrong and he’s ignoring me to ask his mother what’s happened. She’s crying on the other end, I can hear it from where I sit partially in his lap, her cries sounding absolutely horrible, like she’s gasping for air she can’t grasp. And she says something to her eldest son, something I can’t make out and I’m quick to slip out of his lap.
“Okay,” Hayes says to her, fingers gripping his broken phone so tightly that his knuckles are bone-white. “Okay, I’m coming right now, alright? I promise, I’m going to be there soon. Don’t let him see you like this mom, okay? You’ll scare the shit out of him if you do. Calm down, I’m coming.”
And the man doesn’t bother to say goodbye or I love you or see you soon because he’s hanging up the phone and scrambling to his feet and pulling me with him without any explanation.
“Hayes!” I call out when he’s already at the passenger side of my truck, yanking on the locked door in panic. “Calm down, goddammit, you’ll break my fucking door.”
I jam my key in the lock, unlocking the truck, and watching as Hayes clambers inside frantically. His fingers tremble with anxiety as he pulls the door shut, and fails at attempting to buckle his seatbelt when I climb in after him.
“Tell me what’s going on.” I start the ignition, putting the truck in drive. “Where am I supposed to take you?”
His breathing has become labored and I think he may have a panic attack here in the passenger seat of my shitty truck, covered in raw egg, so I reach over and grab for one of his trembling hands.
“My brother, it’s my brother,” his leg is bouncing and the fingers on his free hand are tapping against the door and he’s looking everywhere but me. “Please, just take me to Lincoln Memorial, please, I need to go now.”
And the desperation and panic in his features is what causes me to press the gas pedal to the floor.