I sit at the edge of my hospital bed, my clothes and jacket already on me as I've been ready to leave since I woke up to the news. Xavier told me there was a chill in the air that he explained as "slowly nibbling away at his ass in a bearable way". I wouldn't exactly know what that feeling is, so I'm just gonna take his weird ass word for it and bundle up so I don't feel what he just described to me.
"Is she coming?" I ask as I crane my neck to take a look around every aspect of my room. I pray to all God I catch a glimpse of my heart throb and the son we share.
"I don't think so, honey," Mom whispers out with sadness spread across her usually bright face. I can tell she feels it for me.
Last night we had this talk where I came clean about my heartbreak that came with barely seeing Amaya. I want to see her all the time, and I know Mom has insider information about how Amaya's feelings towards our situation, but I know she'd never breach the bond they share.
Amaya is the daughter Mom never had.
"What about Jonah?" a sliver of hope fills from deep within me to only leave when Mom shakes her head.
"He's going to meet us at the house in a few hours, right now he's in physical therapy." At least he has an excuse for not being here, I texted Amaya last night saying it'd mean a lot if she'd make an appearance and she still stood me up. I can't lie and say it didn't hurt.
"How's he doing since… everything?" I try finding the right words but none of them matter as long as I get an answer to the question I'm asking.
"Jonah has pushed himself out of that wheelchair more times than I can count. Now he barely uses it, he walks using a cane." Xavier's answer makes a smile spread across my face. I'm glad things are working out with him and that he's on his two feet again. "He's getting better and that's for damn sure."
"That's great to hear."
I recall hearing about Jonah's situation but I don't remember from whom or even when, but it did happen. Sometimes I'll see flashes of his motionless body on what appears to be a gym floor with Amaya holding onto him, but it doesn't sound right.
The place in my nightmares doesn't look anything close to the high school's gym, the big grey and black Panther isn't in the center. I also think I'd remember something big like seeing Jonah get shot, but then again, I don't remember something as big as assisting in welcoming a child into this world either.
"You ready to go back home?" Xavier's voice is light as a weather.
"Yeah, let's go home," I murmur out before moving to stand from my bed. Eli, the man who I still can't believe is my brother, steps forward with an unreadable face. Something about his face is enough for me to stay still and stare up at him, waiting for whatever words he's about to say to fill the air.
"Before you leave, Aaron wanted me to give this to you." I take the folded piece of paper in my hand but don't make a move to open it.
"When did you run into them?" I wanted to ask the same thing.
"This morning I was in Familia y Fio and I ran into them as they were eating their breakfast. Amaya saw that I was going to be eating on my own and invited me to the table," Eli explains while looking me in the eye, and part of me wonders if he's trying to gouge my reaction to pry it out into the light.
Personally, I don't think it's hard to see that I am jealous to all hell, not to mention a bit pissed off. Why does he get to see her and Aaron, but I don't? How the hell is that fair?
"Anyway-" Eli looks away from me "-he signed for me to give this to you. Go ahead and read it." I fight the urge to glare at him and honestly, I don't know why, but I don't like being around him.
I don't like that Eli makes me feel jealous over the smallest of things, but I shouldn't be jealous of him. Not when he was abandoned. Slapped around. Left to raise himself in the streets for years. His life is actually really sad and I hate myself for wanting to be him in some situations.
"Well go on," Xavier sounds eager enough to get me to unfold the paper and be met with semi-neat handwriting that I believe to be Aaron's.
I love you Daddy. Hope you feel better soon. Sorry couldn't see you. It hurt too much.
My eyes scan over the words three times before my eyes fall on a drawing of a football along with two people who I can only assume to be me and him.
"Well?" Xavier queries gently.
"He wrote that he loves me and hopes that I feel better soon," I fight the words out of me as my stomach churns over and over with the last sentence I didn't speak of.
It hurt too much.
God, why is this such a giant circle of pain, I want to erase it all.
"C-Can we go home now?" I stumble over each word.
"Of course," Mom's voice is nothing but light and kind but it's not helping me right now. I'm actually becoming angry, but it's not like I'd tell people that much. "Are you okay?"
I wrinkle my nose at the question. What does it even mean to be okay?
"I- I just need to be in my room." A place that I can cry in the solitary company of me, myself, and I.
"Let's get going."
I nod before quickly getting up from my bed to move over to the door that I never walked out of even when the thought continuously ate away at me. Similar to how the thought of Amaya keeps eating away at my soul and she leaves me imprisoned in my own head, not that I mind all too much.
I leave everyone in the room before running down each flight of stairs just because I can. The feeling of the air pulling my hair back behind me, my cheeks getting slapped repeatedly with each thundering step.
This is the type of freedom that I've missed more than anyone could possibly imagine.
It feels like one of those dreams where you've got almost everything you could ever want but you know it's all going to be torn away from you. I want everything I just said excluding the part where everything gets ripped away from me. My eyes don't have to be closed to feel that great sense of happiness anymore, it's here. Running.
"If only Amaya was here so I could be running to her."
The words fill the atmosphere around me, but it's not like a wish that will come true if I click my shoes together three times. Or close my eyes and blow out the candles on a birthday cake.
The real world doesn't work like that, and even if it did, my birthday was apparently four months ago.
My eyes land on Xavier's car before I force myself to move over to it as I pant out, my hand falling on the Wrangler's passenger door. I hunch over while breaking out into a fit of coughs for a solid minute but then I'm smiling. It's not a small smile either, it's this big goofy one because now I'm outside instead of being crammed into a room with barely any lighting.
The sun glaring down at me is a fresh welcome back to the world and I appreciate it even if I wish I had some shades. If only my sunshine and star were here.
"You ran out here all excited just to stand out here, waiting for me?" Xavier's voice is full of bewilderment as he unlocks the car door.
"I wouldn't say I'm excited." I hop into his front seat before turning on his 'normal car playlist' before Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys starts blaring through the speakers. "Damn, you've got your music loud enough for people to hear all the way across town."
"You are not about to get into my car and tell me my music is too loud, mijo." I crack a small smile before he lightly shoves me into the door and I appreciate it, a lot actually. He's not acting totally different around me like I'm some wounded animal.
"Mijo means son, you dumbass."
"I know," he chuckles out before slapping his palm to the back of my neck. "I've missed you so much, Shawny. The days feel long and empty without having you around, even when half of the time we're around each other we piss each other off. A lot. You're my brother, and I love you."
"I love you too."
A fresh track of tears start to stream down my cheeks before I'm shaking. He holds me as I fall apart. He doesn't say a word before his own tears start to dampen the exposed skin of my neck.
We latch onto each other as we fall apart.
"I'm sorry," I mutter out as I continue holding onto him with an unbreakable grip.
"Why are you apologizing?" Xavier tries to pull away from me but I don't allow him to. "You didn't do anything wrong." He stops fighting the hold.
"I've been pretty shitty company and- and now I'm clinging to you like a little kid." I finally convince myself to free him from my bear-like grip; I lean my head against the window instead.
"Trust me, if I were Amaya you'd be more clingy than you are, it's no biggie." I wish I could be clinging to her, or better yet, she'd be clinging to me.
"If Amaya was here I wouldn't be crying so much."
"So this has to do with Amaya and Aaron not showing up? Forget about that and-" I throw my hand over Xavier's mouth, the small bit of stubble on his chin scraping away at the palm of my hand.
"If your next words are along the lines of you telling me that I should try to move on I'm going to hurt you. Like seriously injure you." I retract my hand before he licks his lips and scratches his chin.
"Shawn, Amaya is one of my best friends, and I love her, but seeing you hurt in the ways that only she is capable… well the sight kills me slowly." I nod, taking in his words and his selfless concern for me. It's also clear that he wants to protect me from heartbreak, but it's not helping.
Not when I'm okay with being shattered to pieces as long as she's the one putting me back together.
I know some people see us as toxic, but I just can't stop myself when I'm with her. I'm addicted and she's not something I'm willing to stop cold turkey with.
"I'm in love with her. I- I can't give up on her. When Charlie continued to reject you-" Xavier looks down, knowing where this is going "-did you give up? Did you let go of the girl you saw a future with each time she hurt you?"
"No, Shawn, I didn't."
"Exactly, because you love her too much. Just like I love Amaya too much. You see what I mean?" Xavier blows out yet another breath but doesn't speak another word.
We sit there for five long minutes of silence instead of him driving us home.
"The biggest reason I started crying is Aaron." I guess if I'm coming clean to someone it might as well be Xavier. "I think he's the one that told Amaya he didn't want to go. She-"
"Shawn, I could've told you that from the get-go. If Aaron wanted to come, Amaya would've sucked it up and brought him no matter how uncomfortable it might've made her." I glance over to him and wonder if he can see how empty I feel on the inside, but I guess shit just hits hard.
I never know how I'm going to feel, one minute I can be happy but then the next I'm falling apart whether I'm hiding it or not.
Xavier makes the executive decision to turn off his music once Three Days Grace's Home starts to play. I, being the annoying shit that I am, turn the music back on to hear the intro.
I'll be coming home
Just to be alone
'Cause I know you're not there
And I know you don't care
I can hardly wait to leave this place
"I don't want you to isolate yourself or to listen to… this every time you fall in your feelings. I'm here. I'm always going to be here." Does it make me an asshole if I say he's not who I want to be here? Most likely.
"I'm here too."
"Okay. Now that we've established that we're each here for each other, is there something you want to tell me?" He points to the side of my neck before my hand flies to where he motioned to. I feel a tingle in the sensitive flesh. "I'm surprised Mom didn't say anything. She noticed it too. She always does."
"Uh, Amaya came two days ago to visit me… and we kissed, but then she stopped us. She just convinced herself that she couldn't." That's something I really hate, but obviously wouldn't change. I want her perfections along with her flaws. Her dimmed out eyes that I somehow can place light in and the ones that already have that gorgeous twinkle.
"Why do you think she did that?"
"She thinks it's something that will keep me safe. That would be my guess, but get this, I don't want to be safe. Not really. There's nothing fun about being safe when it comes to loving someone. In my eyes, you're either all in, or nothing, there's no in between." I've got a half-smile on my face even though I'm not happy because it's better than frowning and being thrown another five million questions.
"You ever think you put a lot on her when you say things like that? Even now with you not remembering." I should my hands into my jacket pockets. I never thought of the way my love could affect her, all I know is that I want her and else you know that I love her and only her.
"I like to think she loves the feeling but doesn't know how to react to it. Amaya knows how to say what she's feeling, if she didn't like it, she'd tell me. At least I'd like to think she would." I pull my hood over my head before flashes of her tugging on my hair as my hands fall on her hips replay in my head.
"Can we just get home so I can sleep somewhere that I can actually be comfortable?" I snap out even though it's the last thing I want, but I'm tired of this interrogation. It's only making me more irritated than before.
"Sure, we can go."
Goddammit, I'm an asshole for that.
"Xavier, I'm sorry for-"
"You don't have to apologize, alright? I'm sorry for pushing you," his voice is small as he finally pulls out of the parking space. "Let's just get home."
For the rest of the day he doesn't speak another word to me.