Chapter Sixteen | It's Better to Love, Rather than Hate
Through the lens of the rest
The sun was setting over the horizon, and we all stared in awe through the shades of the diner. The sky was kissed with shades of deep purple and pale pink: the color of a true love’s kiss. The memories from earlier in the day stung, and it took everything I had in me not to burst out crying and concern those around me.
Jordeyn put a quarter in the jukebox, and immediately, “Cigarette Daydreams” was playing. I saw her pull Viktor’s arm as he spun her around into an embrace, slowly moving in circles to the beat of the music. I stole a glance at Azyriah, and saw him reading War and Peace.
“You’re kidding, right?”
His eyes shot up from the page he was reading, “I’m sorry?”
"War and Peace? Of all books, you chose that?”
“At least there’s a meaning behind it, unlike the books you read.”
“My books on poetry and fiction are perfectly okay, thank you very much. I’ve just never seen you read before, that’s all.” He stared me down, appearing as if he were trying to contemplate my words. He placed a napkin between the pages, and offered me his hand. I stared in utter confusion, not sure why he was doing this, until he tilted his head towards the source of the music. A crooked smile spread across my lips, and I took his extended hand.
He walked by Viktor, spun me around in a circle, and embraced me in a loose hug, leaving a respectful space between us. “I’m always here if you need me, okay?” I looked up at him, silent tears spilling down my face and my lips flushing with heat and embarrassment. It was all wrong. The way he cared for me, the way I received the care, the way I lay my head on his chest as if it was something we did everyday, or the way he kissed the top of my head as an action of giving comfort. I wasn’t sure if it was all supposed to happen like this, but it had.
It felt as if time stopped. The rain drummed against the panes in time with our steps and the look in his eyes - nervous, confused, loving, caring - but none of that prepared me for what happened next. His hand - around my waist - pulled me in tighter, our chests flush against each other’s, and his warm breath caressing my face. The scent of vanilla radiated off his body and engulfed me in a warm, winter-scented hug. His hands: powerful and soft, cupped my cheek; the pad of his thumb gently wiping the tears that had fallen, and his demeanor changed. Instead of reserved and quiet, he was now vulnerable and desperate. He hesitantly moved his head close, his lips millimeters away mine, and his forehead pressed against the bridge of my nose.
My heart was pounding and I cursed myself to believe he could feel it against his own. My breathing hitched and my chest rose and fell rapidly. “W-we... we can’t, Az.”
“I know, love. I know.”
His lips covered mine, absorbing the words that were about to be said and the sound of the drumming rain was washed away by the beating of our hearts. It felt like an eternity; an eternity of passion, love, and care. The type of eternity that you knew would never end, no matter how hard you tried.
The kisses became desperate as his tongue ran over the bottom of my lip. His tears mixed with mine, and the taste of salt and love filled my heart. The feeling of wrong-doing filled my lungs threatening to suffocate me, and immediately fresh tears course down my cheeks. Intrusive thoughts course through my head and I pushed away against his chest. I stare at him in shock, contemplating what had just happened, and quickly run out of the diner, immediately drenched from the rain.
“Azyriah, please. I can’t do this... not now. I can’t think about-”
“Then don’t.” His eyes were desperate and hurt. He wanted this. Little did he know, that I wanted and needed it more than he could even imagine. My mind told me not to; to stay away from him and prevent any bad from happening, but my heart was telling me yes. To run into his arms and shield myself from all the evil in the world. To throw myself in his arms and never let go. Run through a field and forget about everyone around us when running through the rain laughing as if it were our last moments on earth.
But I couldn’t.
It was wrong, but it was so, so, desperately right at the same time. All thoughts of Cayden left my mind. I ran to him, clinging to the front of his shirt as if it would keep me from collapsing and breaking for the final time. His arms wrapped around me, not letting go. I felt his chest heave under my head, and the sound of his sobs echoed through my ears. My knees buckled, and he fell with me, cushioning my fall. We lay there in the parking lot crying in each others arms, everyone else gone, and only us as our last resorts.
Her breath fanned across my chest. My head rested on hers, and I could hear the shallow hum of her breath match the music. A million thoughts raced through my brain. Although our thoughts got the better of us earlier, I prayed it wouldn’t be something she came to later regret, because nothing could make me forget the way her lips danced with mine.
She shifted in my arms, tilting her head back staring into my eyes. It was like a trance: her eyes devouring mine, drawing me closer until the tips of our noses were touching, our breath mixing together. A smile spread across my face as a tint of blush kissed her cheeks. I knew it was wrong to find it extremely wrong to find her embarrassment entertaining on many levels, but I couldn’t help myself. The color of roses kissing her features reminded me of the roses I’d give her every time I saw something that reminded me of a reason why I loved her.
“Why don’t we take this outside?” My lips right by her ear. My breath caressing the shell of it, as her breath hitched in the back of her throat and chest. A devilish smirk spread across my face as she dragged me by the wrist out the door. I screeched as I was soaked to the bone, the rain still pounding down around us. I saw her face fall as she twisted out of my grip. I snap my head back to look after her, tears pooling in the corners of my eyes wondering why she ran from me, until I saw her race towards two people laying down.
Azyriah and Blayne.
But why? That is, until I saw Jordeyn embrace the two, and Azyriah letting out an ear-splitting scream: his voice cracked, the sound of his breaking heart leaking through every tremble of his vocal cords, and the tears taking over the droplets of rain racing upon his face. She cupped both their faces in each of her hands and brought their heads to hers, all of them sharing each others pain, loss, and comfort. I stalked closer, careful not to disturb anything, and embraced them all. We all stayed there, sitting in the lot, the rain washing away our pain.
Nothing could make this stop. The feeling of loosing someone who you’ve always wanted but couldn’t have. I wasn’t even sure if I lost her; I just knew that she wouldn’t take me, and the thought of Cayden keeping her after everything he said to her made me want to punch him and scream until my throat and chest burst.
The feeling of Jordeyn’s hands against my face, still warm from the heat of the diner, was calefaction to my cold blood. The feeling of Blayne’s breath on my shoulder only made me want her even more, and it burned like hell fire on earth. I didn’t completely understand what I was feeling - considering I can’t comprehend my emotions at all - and resorted to the fact that she’d never be mine. She’d always be his. The one person who would never be there for her when she needed him the most, the person who’d protect her no matter what, and he definitely wasn’t the type of person to give her comfort on her darkest days. But I swore to myself, that no matter what, I would. If he wouldn’t be there for her, then I would.
Suddenly, I felt a pair of arms wrap around me, and soften a little. I steal a glance towards the person and see Viktor. At once, the tears subside, but my head is pounding, my heart is hurting, and mentally, I believe I am unable to do anything that contradicts what I swear to do for Blayne. She meant too much to me, and the feeling of breaking an unsaid promise brought me to my knees in guilt.
The sun is fully set, and it’s just all of us on a pitch black slab of concrete, until I see a car pull up into the driveway. Cayden. Out of pure instinct, I glance at Blayne, and can see the pure fear in them. She jumps to her feet and runs in the opposite direction, not wasting another second, I quickly follow. I see her hiding behind the dumpster in the back of the diner, and can hear a quiet scream. Turning the corner, I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to set eyes on.
Blayne leaned against the side of the dumpster, blade in hand, and her arm out of her sleeve.
“Blayne.” I could tell my voice startled her from the way she jumped at the sound my voice, already close to breaking for the second time today. “Please, don’t do this. Put it down.”
“Az, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for you to see... I- I just... I just can’t”
“I know, I know.” I console her, slowly prying the blade from her fingers and taking her arm in my hand, kissing the individual scars on them. I let her arm drop back to her side, and embrace her. I knew she needed someone to comfort her, and just be there for her. I push myself out of the hug, and pull the sleeve up my left arm, showing her mine. She didn’t know it yet, but we were the same.
The way we carried ourselves as if we were okay, always wearing a mask to hide our pain. Taking a blade to our arm in hopes to drain away the hurt caused by ourselves and those around us. Being there for everyone no matter what, even though it meant not getting the same attention or love in return. Reassuring our friends that we’d always be there for them, even though we knew they could walk out on us at any minute.
Knowing that she also had to deal with this hurt me emotionally and physically, but it gave me all the reason more to be there and comfort her.