"Hey, Ro!" Patton greeted with a bright smile. "How'd tryouts go?"
Roman stalked past without so much as a word. Patton flinched just slightly when the door slammed upstairs.
"Maybe I should go check on him," he muttered and stared at the ceiling.
"I'll do it," Logan answered.
Logan tapped lightly on the door before stepping into the room, then closed the door behind him. Roman didn't even pick his head up when Logan slid onto the desk next to him.
For a long moment, they sat in silence.
"I didn't even get the understudy part," Roman finally mumbled. "I know there's other parts, other plays, but I wanted this one. I know I'm overreacting, but it really hurts."
"You're not overreacting," Logan corrected and stroked back his auburny hair. "And you're not being overdramatic. You're experiencing some very common traits of your ADHD. Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is a natural part of the way that your brain functions. As is emotional dysregulation. And while, yes, it does hurt- sometimes physically so- it is not wrong or bad, Roman. Yes, there will be more opportunities for you in the future, but in the meantime, it's ok for you to grieve missing this one. And it's okay to feel overwhelmed by your emotions, so long as you have a healthy outlet. Crying is a completely healthy and valid way to release those emotions."
"I don't want to. I don't want to feel this badly over something that doesn't even matter."
"It does matter, Roman. This was something important to you, the fact that you'll get another chance to perform later does not diminish the fact that this one mattered too. The same as all the other ones will. Right now, your brain is pouring more neurochemicals into your body than it can handle; that's what's making you feel so bad. You need to let them go."
"I tried so hard, Lo," Roman croaked.
"I know you did," Logan answered softly. "And I'm very proud of you for putting yourself out there. You always give so much of yourself to your goals."
"It wasn't enough."
"That's not true. You have all the talent and dedication to act. One role not being an ideal fit to the person in charge of casting does not diminish your abilities. Pick your head up a second."
Roman did as he was told and Logan scooted in front of him then gently pulled Roman's head into his lap. He rested his feet on either side of the chair where Roman sat and ran a hand up and down the teen's back.
"There is no possible way that crying could ever make you weak," Logan spoke quietly. "It does not make you overdramatic, it does not make you weird, and it does not make you stupid. It doesn't matter if it's something 'other people' would cry over or not. I understand that this part of you can be difficult to deal with, RSD and emotional dysregulation can make you feel isolated and strange because of how overwhelming they can be. But it is a part of you. And you are a beautiful person. It's easy to just say 'accept it'-" Logan sighed. "I know from my own experience, it's not that easy, but allowing yourself to feel things as deeply and as strongly as you do is a good step forward in that endeavor. It's much healthier than trying to bottle it up or ignore it, or even worse getting angry at yourself for it. It is okay to feel things and to feel them strongly. These feelings will pass, Roman, and when they do, you’ll have a clearer perspective on things and you’ll see that you are enough." A warm silence wrapped around them and Logan continued thumbing Roman's head.
Finally, Roman picked his head up, face puffy and damp with tears. "Thanks, Lo."
Logan smiled faintly. "You're welcome, Roman."
Roman took a deep breath and cleared his throat. "Guess I should go apologize to Patton..."
"After you wash your face and cool down. Crying may be a good way to release excess neurochemicals, but it's also dehydrating so drink some water too, alright?"
"I will,” he nodded and rubbed his eyes.
Logan ruffled his little brother’s hair. “A nap might not be a bad idea either. Or at least, resting for a little while.”
“Yeah, hate to mess up my pristine sleep schedule,” Roman snorted.
“C’mon,” Logan pushed Roman’s chair back then stood from the desk. “I’ll go with you to talk to, Patton.”
Roman grimaced. “That obvious, huh?”
Logan shrugged. “I think apologizing to anyone about anything is a reasonable thing to feel anxious about, more so when you’re already experiencing RSD symptoms.”
“I still don’t get how you can say stuff like that and make it sound endearing,” Roman commented as they moved down the stairs.
“Clearly, it is because of my soft tone and careful inflection,” Logan answered flatly.
“Yeah, that must be it.”
“Hey, I was just coming to check on you guys,” Patton gave a worried sort of smile and held out the steaming mug he carried to Roman. “Guess things didn’t go so great, huh?”
“Thanks,” Roman took the proffered mug and held it to his chest with both hands. “And, no, they didn’t. Aaand I’m sorry for ignoring you before.”
Patton waved him off. “It’s okay. I know you were just upset. But thank you for apologizing."
Roman shrugged self-consciously. “Well, I was kind of a jerk so.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say that, maybe a little rude, but not a jerk. And you did apologize, so don’t worry about it, okay?”
“I’ll try not to.”
Patton nodded understandingly. “I know it’s hard not to get fixated on those things sometimes. But just to make it clear, I do accept your apology and I do forgive you."
"Thanks, Patt," Roman answered quietly.
"You're welcome, kiddo."