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it leads you here, despite your destination

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Sam only drives towards the setting sun.  Eventually he’s going to hit the ocean, if they don’t run out of money first, and once they do he’s going to have to figure out what comes next.  He knows that. He’s going to have to stop driving and he might look back. Might remember what he’s left behind.

Candy’s just fucking okay. She’s okay to talk to and she doesn’t get in his way and she lets him climb on top of her occasionally and find a hole to put his dick in.  Sam has never been in love but he sure as hell hopes this isn’t what it feels like. Sometimes he looks at her and thinks about a big sneaker crushing her head while she sleeps. It’s not her fault, and he’s not a fucking bigot, but she’s not warm or soft, she’s got no nails to paint pink to match her cheeks and full lips, no pillowy thighs to wrap around his waist or put his face between, and she doesn’t laugh at his jokes while saying they aren’t funny. He should have left Candy where he found her.

The ring he gave her doesn’t fit - she doesn’t really have any way to wear it - so Sam took it back and keeps it in the pocket of his windbreaker. He’s not saving it for her, or anybody else, but there’s no reason for Candy to hold on to it. Sam doesn’t want her to have it.

In the mornings, in dingy motels or lying with Candy in the cramped backseat of the Delorean, is when he thinks about Hannah. She was always a morning person, and Sam likes to remember her best half hidden inside a console on the ship. He would be thinking about love - how it would feel to be loved and to love someone else and what it would look like, what it would feel like - and Hannah would be talking to herself, smearing engine grease across her sweaty forehead with the back of her hand. Sometimes she’d be listening. Sometimes, when she thought he wasn’t paying attention, she’d be looking at him sadly.

Sam tries not to think about Mike, as he’s pretty sure that dude is dead. But that doesn’t stop him from doing it anyway.  Remembers him the best with a backdrop of dense trees and, the same as with Hannah, awash in something Sam knows he’ll never possess himself. He’d call them stupid for it, suckers, fucking guillibe babies, but he was always the one lingering outside of caves or cowering or, at his best, maybe, throwing his boombox. He can’t think about Mike, not when he’s still in the middle of running with his tail tucked between his legs.

They keep pushing west until the trees break and the earth gets red, and there’s nothing for miles except an endless, colorless sky.  Candy chirps and clicks, turns towards the open window, and he’s always, always thinking about Amanda.

Lying along the edge of her pool at night, staring at him across the lit-up blue water, the stars in her eyes and her white-blonde hair as it frames her face, falling everywhere.  And then later, the last time he saw her, her short hair uneven, damp with sweat and blood, eyes empty, chest heaving, more blood on her face and hands and soaked into her shirt from where Sam had stabbed her.

He’d thrown her down the stairs and hoped she would die from it. Hoped she’d die and take everything she’d turned into with her; the drugs and violence and delirium. Wanted her to die and take her pain with her under the ground, bury it so he’d never have to see it again.

Sam wanted to fuck her even when she pointed that gun at his face and unloaded it. Wanted her writhing underneath him, wet and open and eager.  Wanted Amanda to fucking take it, shove him to the ground and ride until she’d shake and clench and moan his name and he’d come inside her because that’s where she’d want it.  Rough and tender and with his name in her mouth and no one else’s.

He’d wanted to kill Steve until Amanda killed him.  He wanted to leave her until he woke up next to Candy, the Pacific Ocean so close he could taste it in the air, and she wasn’t with him.  He wanted her to kiss him, to want him, to hate him so much there wouldn’t be room for anyone else. And now she did. The money in his pocket he’s burning through he took from the dead fucking bodies of her parents, and even he can’t lie to himself enough to say there’s no responsibility he bears to that. If it weren’t for him, they’d still be alive, maybe, and Amanda is a fucking nutcase but every shot she took at him he probably deserved.

Candy looks at the ocean, flutters, clicks at him again, and then she’s gone on a strong fucking breeze.  And that’s when Sam knows he never really loved her. She leaves and he watches and doesn’t feel anything except the absence of Hannah and Mike and Amanda, and wonders if they’re okay, together, or even alive.

He turns around and he’s thousands of miles away but he can still see the fire and smoke coming from Amanda’s house in the rearview.  There’s not enough money left to do anything but go back, to his father, to the store, to the barrel of Amanda’s gun. If she still wants to kill him, they’ll have another round.  He’d rather be fighting to the death with Amanda than on this sweltering coast alone.

Sam half expects Amanda to be right where he left her, lying by her pool in the smoldering ashes of her home, bloody and beaten and stoned.  But the first glimpse he catches of her, she’s bounding up the walkway to Hannah’s house, hair shorter than ever but cut to style, bouncing around her head as she lets out a loud braying laugh.  Hannah is back to pocket-sized, her own hair pulled into a ponytail. They’re not okay but they’re alive, they’re not happy but they’re both smiling, and Sam wants to run again but can’t.

Can’t move.  Can’t do anything until Hannah sees him and smiles like she’s glad he’s back.  Like it’s possible she missed him.

Amanda is not so forgiving.

When she finally talks to him again there’s no weapons but she doesn’t need any.  Her punch hits him like a fucking tractor trailer, knocks the wind out of him and a few molars.  Big eyes wide, red and wet, she tells him to go fuck himself, that she hates him, that he ruined her life, killed her parents, that he’s the reason Steve didn’t want her anymore, Amanda says he’s responsible for everything and maybe she’s right.

There’s no fresh tracks on her arms, and it’s the only thing that matters.  

He hates Amanda, is sure he does, but he knows he fucking loves her. Knows what it feels like now when he sees her. There’s nothing else.

“Steve never loved me,” she says, and it’s weird that’s the biggest thing she cares about but Sam understands.  His parents let him down too.

“I’m sorry, Amanda. I’m real fucking sorry.”

She says she knows he is.  He’s a sorry, lowlife piece of shit.  But when the sun goes down she follows him to his father’s car and climbs up on the roof of it to lie next to him. Amanda doesn’t hold his hand, or kiss him, or tell him she missed him and doesn’t want him to go away again. But she doesn’t try to stab him, doesn’t shoot him, and it might as well be love.

The stars are in her eyes, bright and focused on him, and she lets him touch her hair.  Sam hopes she’ll grow it out again.