Justin couldn't handle that amount of anxiety and nervousness in his body. It was too fucking much for him. His arms and legs were shaking, his breathing wasn't stable. He was sweating like crazy and he couldn't resist it.
"I can't count on anyone else anymore. I have to do this myself."
The image of Clay holding a gun wasn't appealing, to be honest. That is what was making Justin so anxious and scared. He didn't know what the hell was gonna happen next. He was in Bryce's residence and he simply didn't know what he should do now. He didn't want the other boy to go inside that house and kill Bryce, as much as he deserved it, it wasn't an option. "You don't have to do this yourself." His tone was desperate, he was too scared about Clay doing something stupid.
Instead of doing something, anything, Justin stood there, paralyzed. He was trying to find the right words to say, to calm Clay down. He didn't know what was the best he could do in that situation. Ask Clay why did he decide to do what he was about to do? Quickly go over to where Clay was standing and take the gun away from him? Comfort Clay without even knowing what was exactly wrong? He just didn't know.
"I need to do it now."
"For Hannah." Everything made sense now. He now understood why Clay was there. But after all, Justin knew that it didn't justify Clay's behavior. He had to make sure Clay understood that it wouldn't change anything. Maybe Bryce would no longer hurt anyone, but it wouldn't change his actions in the past, the damage was already done.
"Listen, Clay, I know you loved her, but she's gone. And going in there and hurting Bryce now is not gonna bring her back. She's gone." And then Justin noticed that Clay was zoning out slowly, that his gaze wasn't on Justin, it was on something by his side. "How do I make her stop? She won't stop." Clay desperately said, hoping Justin had the solution.
"Make who stop? Who, Clay? Who are you talking about?" Something didn't click, there was obviously something off. Who the heck was Clay talking about?
Clay couldn't anymore, her voice was torturing him. It was too much for him to handle. He wanted her to shut up, he needed her to shut up; but she wouldn't. She kept saying all those things, all those things that pulled her over the edge. What made her no longer want to live. So he moved the gun to his own head.
And there's when Justin panicked.
"Clay, what the fuck do you think you are doing?" Justin quickly tried to reach out to Clay, but he also stepped back.
"I can't do this anymore, he won't stop! He won't stop messing with us! He won't fucking stop hurting and harming people, this has to end!" Clay screamed, trying to push Justin away.
Clay himself wasn't sure about what he was doing, he just needed it to stop. He needed the pain to stop. He wanted a break, but he didn't realize that this wouldn't be 'a break', that this isn't temporary; he didn't realize that this was a long-term solution for a short-term problem.
Justin stopped trying to reach out to Clay and stood there. Clay was amazed that Justin stopped trying. "Are you really considering to do this? Shot yourself? Right here, right now? And then what? Huh. Clay? Then what!? Then you are fucking dead! There wouldn't be an "after" on your life! This wouldn't change anything on this whole Bryce problem. Do you think that it's worth it? Is it worth it to leave all your life behind because that bastard won't stop with his shit?" Justin angrily screamed at Clay, trying to make him realize that what he was doing was stupidly idiotic.
"Yes, it is! I'm done watching the people I love and care about getting hurt. How they are the targets of pain and bullying and all that shit that won't stop happening! I'm fucking done feeling useless and depressed. There's nothing left for me to do after all that has been happening. Now what? What do we do? I'm done waiting for nothing to happen!" Clay also screamed, noticeably shaking. His voice was sharp, cold; you could hear the pain in it.
Justin was losing hope, he wasn't able to figure out which words would change Clay's mind. He couldn't find the stability between not losing his shit and passing out from the stress. He was broken inside, after hearing the other boy's words, but right now he needed to stay strong, Clay needed him and that was all that mattered at that moment. So he kept up with that straight face, without showing any pain in it. The anger that was growing inside him was helpful. Maybe he was scared that Clay was going to kill himself right there, but that didn't mean that he wasn't mad at the fact that Clay even considered suicide as an option.
"Yes Clay, there's something for you to do! You are not useless, you can still change everything! You know how? Putting that gun down. If you really wanna do something to make things better, how can you do so if you're dead? Can't you see that not everything is ruined, everything is never ruined! You may lose your hope, but that doesn't mean that the world is falling apart. You don't need hope to believe. Thinking something doesn't make it real." He still tried, he was putting all his effort into his own words. He knew that only he could change Clay Jensen's life right now. He was Clay's only faith at the moment.
"But I'm tired of trying to change everything! I'm tired of being all the fucking day worrying about my friends. I can't do this anymore! They never stop, they will never stop messing around with the people I care about! All the people around me are constantly getting hurt, and often it's because of me. It'll be better if I'm not here anymore."
"Listen to me, I ran away because I thought things were too complicated. I did it because I was too scared of facing the truth, of facing my shit. And look where that made me end up. Yeah, right now I'm not on a bad place of my life, but the path that I took was the one that messed me up the most. I took the "easy" route, the one of drugs. And that made me miserable for months. It made my life a nightmare. What at first seemed to be the easiest, was the worst decision that I ever made. Well, actually, the worst decision that I have ever made was running away from the life that was awaiting me. Fuck Clay, I tried to disappear because I thought no one needed or wanted me. But this is different for you, you have people who would do anything to make you happy. You have caring friends, the ones that are there no matter what, the ones that would do anything in their power to comfort you. And you having parents who are home right now worried about where the fuck you are! My mother didn't give a shit about me leaving! You have someone, not only someone, a bunch of people who would be destroyed if you weren't around anymore!"
The only thing that you could actually hear, was their shaken breathing. Both of them were panting, for different reasons. Justin was because of his whole speech, the whole nonstop talking thing. And Clay was because of his anxiety and his struggle to deal with it.
"And Clay, about the whole not-being-able-to-change-everything thing; you're wrong. Something will happen that will make a difference. Things are getting bette-" Justin tried to finish his sentence but Clay didn't let him do that. He knew that what Justin was gonna say next, was going to be a lie.
"No, Justin! Nothing is fucking changing! We are still stuck in this case because no one in this town gives a shit about what happe-" Now it was Justin's moment to stop Clay from continuing with his speech.
"You are also wrong on that! Some people care about this. And yet, after saying all those words, you are willing to kill the one who cares the most about it! You, Clay! You! Do you think that this is what Hannah would have wanted?" Right there, when Justin mentioned Hannah, that was the moment Clay remembered that he could still hear her talking in the background, saying all those things, repeating the tapes. And at that moment, he also felt that it was even harder to keep up with his life. "Do you think that this is what she wanted you to do? That she wanted the tapes to end up with you dead? Do you think that this is what your parents want you to do? That after you do this, they wouldn't be broken? What about your friends? All the people who love you? Fuck Clay, WHAT ABOUT ME?" Justin yelled, hoping this would help.
He knew that he was being too harsh on Clay, but he couldn't be patient and careful with his words right now. On the other hand, Clay was speechless, he didn't realize that this wouldn't just affect him, it would also affect all the people around him. And he also realized that Justin also cared. All this time they recently have been spending together, he thought that Justin was being so nice only because he gave him a bed. But now he saw that it wasn't just that. And that made him feel something, but he couldn't figure out what it was.
None of them said anything, so Justin decided that he should continue talking.
"You die and then you leave all of us, you leave me! You didn't think this through Clay, you haven't thought about all the people that you might hurt after doing this! If you are not willing to be alive for your-fucking-self, then do it for all the people around you! Maybe things are being hard right now, but that doesn't mean that they can't change. That doesn't mean that things won't turn out quite as we want them to. That doesn't mean that we won't make that son of a bitch pay!" Justin said pointing at Bryce's house.
Then, silence overtook them again. Now Justin took a glance at Clay's face, and he became conscious of how hard he was being on Clay. So he changed that straight face to a soft one, trying to calm Clay down.
"Just tell me one single thing that would turn out good after you do this"
Clay thought and thought about it. That was the moment that he actually thought this through. He saw that what he was planning on doing wasn't worth it, that it was just an impulsive action. Yeah, at the moment it may have looked the best way to end this, but right now, he saw that it wasn't.
"Yeah, see. Nothing." Justin softly said while he was again stepping forward. And Clay wasn't stepping back. It was slow, with all the tension that was in the air, Justin felt like this moment wasn't going to end. And that scared him. He was scared that at any moment Clay would pull the trigger. That's why he was so slow. He didn't want to scare Clay off.
When Justin was close enough that Clay could feel his breathing on his neck, he put one hand on Clay's hip, and the other boy decided to rest his head on Justin's shoulder. Whilst, Justin slowly was reaching out Clay's hand, where he had the gun. He let one tear slip out his eyes, it was too much; hearing Clay sobbing in his shoulder was heartbreaking. Then he took the gun. Clay decided to put his hand (the one which was holding the gun) on Justin's neck and started to cry harder. And Justin couldn't hold the tears anymore, so he started crying too, softy and quietly sobbing into the other boy's shoulder. "Shh, it's okay, you're okay Clay. I'm here." Justin said trying to comfort the younger boy.
Minutes passed, and neither of them noticed how close they were, how Justin's head was so tight into Clay's shoulder. How Clay's lips were so close to Justin's neck. How Clay's hand moved to Justin's hair. They were too distracted crying into each other's shoulders that they didn't notice the tension that started to grow between them.
Then, suddenly, Justin noticed. He noticed their position, and that didn't just make him realize the closeness between them. He also realized that there was something more. He felt some kind of nervousness in his stomach. He felt the urge to pull Clay closer. But he wouldn't do that, of course he wouldn't do that. He didn't want to make things awkward.
Clay noticed the way Justin suddenly tightened his hold for a second. Only for a second. He didn't know why, but he wanted Justin to do that again, without stopping. But he couldn't answer the question 'why'. And that made him nervous. He wondered what was happening on Justin's head, if he was regretting coming here, to stop Clay. If he was regretting taking the gun off his hands. If he regretted being in this situation right now. If he just... regretted.
Justin also noticed how Clay started shaking all over again, but this time, he was slightly shaking. It wasn't that noticeable, but Justin knew. So he slowly pushed back, only his head. He moved his head from Clay's shoulder and now it was just in front of the other boy's one. Their foreheads were nearly touching, but none of them dared to do anything.
They looked into each other's eyes, both of them confused. Both of them had the impulsive desire to close the gap between them; thing that made them more confused. Because neither of them was gay. They liked girls. Right?
Justin couldn't stop thinking about leaning in or not. He knew he wanted to, but he didn't know why. And he also was scared of Clay's reaction. He didn't want to mess everything up between them.
Whilst, Clay was only wondering. Wondering what would happen if one of them did lean in. Wondering what would happen if one of them stepped back. Wondering how Justin's lips would taste like. Wondering why he was asking himself all those questions. Why not try to figure out?
"What the fuck?"