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sharing my heart (it’s tearing me apart)

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In hindsight, their meeting was inevitable. They knew a lot of the same people, and they both shared a deep love for Rue Bennett despite her constant bullshit. However, Lexi never thought it would be this enjoyable to talk to Fezco. They led vastly different lives. He was a drug dealer and a high school dropout. She was an extreme introvert and a straight A student. It shouldn't have worked, yet it did. Maybe it was their mutual experience with addicts throughout their adolescence, their abandonment issues when it came to the people who were supposed to love them, or their penchant to care just a little too much for other people. Whatever, it was—it granted them an instant connection.

That was until Fez left to go beat Nate Jacobs to a pulp at the stroke of midnight. As Lexi watched on, the divide she believed they had closed throughout the night seemed larger than ever. Just hours earlier, she had briefly let her mind wander to the thought that maybe he’d kiss her at midnight. It made sense. They’d spent the whole night together, and he was beyond complimentary of her for the entirety of it. She never thought the night would end the way it did, but it figures. Lexi Howard never got exactly what she wanted, no matter how hard she tried. But being the nice girl that she was, she still retrieved the sweater Fez had dropped in a heap on the floor.

Cable knit sweaters were not all that cheap, she knew. And there was a reason he took it off before starting the fight. She was just being nice, as always, by returning it to him. And that was the only reason she was coming by, of course. Not because she was still strangely infatuated with him even after the violent display. Not that at all.

Once she parted ways with Cassie who was riding along with Maddy to the hospital, Lexi set off towards Fez’s shop. The younger Howard sister didn’t make a habit of walking alone at night, especially in such a sketchy neighborhood, but she was too intrigued by Fez and the whole situation to stop herself. So she trekked on. Nearly halfway there, the chill of the night air began to settle under Lexi’s thin top. It was Winter after all, and the only thing she had to keep herself warm was Fez’s green cable knit sweater.

‘He wouldn’t mind, would he?’ She wondered, ‘He seems like a gentleman,” she decided.

So Lexi slipped the sweater over her head and continued on her trip. When she was about to round the corner to the shop, she also decided to let her hair down. Not because she wanted to look good for him. No. Not at all. But because it would help keep her warm of course.

When she arrived at the shop, it seemed like no one was around.

“Shit,” she murmured, “did I really walk all the way here for nothing?”

“Lexi,” She heard the distinct deep drawl calling from behind her.

Lexi couldn’t help but jump out of surprise—turning around and scrambling to take the sweater off as he approached.

“Sorry, I got cold. I-“

Fez gave her his lazy, toothy grin, “You’re good, Lex. You mind if I call you that?”

She shook her head. She didn’t mind.

“It looks good on you. You should keep it.”

Lexi giggled in a way entirely unlike herself. Her cheeks flushed when she realized how it sounded, but Fez just smiled wider.

“Are you sure?” She asked, hesitant, “I know this couldn’t have been cheap.”

“Nah, it’s fine. I got it at a thrift shop.”

Fez had not gotten it at a thrift shop. He had in fact gotten it for full price, but Lexi looked too damn good in it for him to take it back. He quite liked the idea of her in his clothes. Thinking back to his grandmother’s words of warning, he attempted to slow his racing heart and clear his mind. But as much as he tried, he couldn’t help but think about how nice her hair looked framing her face.

“Are you okay?” Lexi asked after the silence stretched on for a bit too long. He seemed far away.

“Yeah, sorry. It’s been a long day.” Fez replied, his crooked smile firmly planted on his face once again.

“Yeah, I bet,” Lexi smiled back, “Are your hands okay?”

“Oh this?” Fez looked down at his bleeding knuckles, “this is nothing.”

“Are you sure?” She cocked her head to the side, “They look pretty bloody.”

“Yeah, it’s fine. It’s more his than mine.”

Lexi winced at the thought of Nate’s battered face. She hated the guy, and believed without a doubt that he deserved the beating, but the way he looked afterwards did make her a bit queasy.

“Well, I’d feel better if we at least got them cleaned up,” she decided.

Fez gave her a questioning look.

“Do you have a first aid kit?” Lexi asked, batting her big brown eyes.

Fez nodded, slightly dazed. And made to walk inside, holding the door for her. He led Lexi to the small bathroom and directed her to the cabinet above the sink. She found the first aid kit and gently pushed him down by the shoulders to sit on the lid of the toilet.

He tried to ignore the electricity of her touch. Being around her amplified the effects of the weed on his system, and Fez didn’t know what to make of it. Luckily, she started on his hands immediately. The hydrogen peroxide making contact with his cuts caused Fez to wince.

“Sorry,” Lexi grimaced.

“Ain’t nothing I’ve never felt before,” he murmured.

“Well, I’m still sorry.”

She worked in silence for a moment. Before her interest was piqued again.

“You’re a quiet guy, Fez.”

“Yeah,” he said after a moment, “Well, I just think other people have better things to say—people like you.”

“Now, I don’t agree with that.”

He shook his head,“Why do you-“ he started.

“Shhh” she stopped him, “I’m not doubting myself. Sure, I have interesting things to say sometimes, but you seem like you do too.”

He hummed noncommittally. Lexi worked in silence once more, glancing up to meet his gaze every now and again. Fez realized that she wasn’t going to speak again until he said something first.

“How’d you get so good at this?” He asked.

“Huh?” She responded, halting her efforts and looking up again.

“The first aid stuff.”

“Ohhh! Uhhh, my dad,” she answered, going back to work, “He was a rough-and-tumble kind of guy. Always getting into fist fights and coming home too strung out to take care of his injuries himself.”

“Was?” Fez questioned.

“Yeah, I guess he still could be. Haven’t seen him in a long time now.” She answered, gaze now firmly set on his hands.

“And your mom?”

“What about her?” she asked, scrubbing probably a little too roughly at his cuts. He could handle it.

“Why didn’t she help him instead of you?”

“She’s got addiction issues too,” Lexi admitted, finally switching over to clean his other knuckle.

“Shit. How’d you turn out the way you did? All pure and nice and shit.”

“Pure?” Lexi guffawed, “No one’s ever described me like that before.”

“What, you got some secret life or something?”

“Well, no. I guess no one’s really taken enough notice to comment on me at all.” She mumbled.

“That’s some bullshit. You’re a very noticeable girl, Lex.”

“Thanks?” She laughed, “But it’s true.”

“Then they’re all fools.”

She wrapped some gauze around his left fist. “So you’re not a fool then?” She teased.

Fez laughed, “I am usually. But I know I’m not right now.“

Lexi began wrapping his right fist with gauze.

“Hey, Lex? Do you think-“

“All done!” She interrupted, looking up with a smile.

“Thanks,” he smiled back, “You make a damn good nurse. Might have to keep you on call.”

“Well, you do have my phone number.”

“Don’t be surprised if I use that shit,” he said, not entirely joking.

Somehow they had managed to get even further into each other’s orbit in this short period of time. She stood over him, her shins hitting the edge of the toilet seat. He reached up to tuck a curl behind her ear.

“You’ve got a nice head of hair, Lexi.”

“Thanks,” she breathed.

His hand brushed lightly against her cheek, “Pretty face too.”

“Thanks,” she repeated, somehow more breathless than before. She was so close he could feel the puff of air on his cheek.

Slowly, tentatively, they both leaned in. Fez’s grandmother’s words rang in his head, but he couldn’t bring himself to care about them in the slightest. A stunningly beautiful girl was about to kiss him. To hell with her paranoid bullshit!

Initially, their lips ghosted over each other’s—just the faintest touch. But slowly the pressure got harder, more sure, more passionate. Lexi held Fez’s shoulder’s lightly as she kissed him, but the angle was a bit weird, so she decided to get bold. She was ‘fucking fearless’ after all.

Before she could doubt her instinct, Lexi pushed forward to straddle him. Fez took her movements in stride, his bandaged hands landing heavily on her hips. The kiss was heady, more so than the drinks they had at the party.

As his tongue dipped into her mouth, Lexi noted that he tasted like smoke and liquor. Something that would usually turn her off, just made her pull him closer. It seemed like that was the theme of the whole night.

Much to her dismay, Lexi had only ever kissed Rue before—and only once. She thought Fez might find her inexperienced kissing to be clumsy or embarrassing, but he took such a natural lead, that she just melted into him and let it happen. Fez moved a hand up from her hip to cradle the back of her head, fingers tangling in her hair. Lexi moaned into the kiss and pushed her hips forward, rocking them into his.

Who would’ve thought, making out on top of a toilet with some guy she just met could be so hot? Lexi never would’ve. But here she was, enjoying herself much more than she’d like to admit.

She rolled her hips again and Fez moaned into her mouth, gripping her hair a bit tighter. Lexi felt powerful—wanted. It was exhilarating! She pushed against him again, pressing into his now very prominent erection. She was embarrassingly turned on at this point, and if she was reading things right, it seemed like he was too.

Fez broke away from her lips to plant kisses along her jaw. Lexi’s breathing was coming out in puffs at this point. His wasn’t faring any better. He sucked a small bruise into the underside of her jaw and she moaned, spurring him on in his efforts. Fez gently brushed the locks of hair off of her shoulder to give himself more access to her neck. Soon the cable knit sweater hung off of Lexi’s shoulder too, so he could reach her collarbone. He sucked a bruise there as well.

They had just as many clothes on now as they did when they started, but Lexi’s nerves were still on fire. Every touch sent a delicious tingle down her spine. She couldn’t help but push forward until their chests were flush. Any friction was good friction. And her breasts ached to be touched by him. Yet he moved slowly, respectfully. Lexi had never felt so irritated and turned on at the same time. She groaned, running her nails up his back and over his closely shaved scalp, and felt him shudder, smiling at the small victory.

Eventually he leaned back from the divet in her collarbone to claim her lips again. She signed into the kiss—finally! Lexi was moving to pull off her newly gifted sweater when her phone rang. For a moment she snapped out of her Fez-induced trance, but she quickly forgot the ringing phone when he gave her a look so dark with desire that her legs shook. So Lexi pulled the sweater off and, for the second time that night, it hit the floor with a resounding thud.

Fez kissed her roughly and blindly slipped his hands beneath her blouse. He stuck to stroking her back and stomach until she forcefully moved his hands up to her breasts. ‘Yes!’ she thought, ‘we’re getting somewhere.’

Then her phone rang again, and Lexi pulled back with a mumbled curse, “fuck.”

Climbing off of Fez’s lap, she reached for the device perched on the counter.

“Cassie’s calling,” Lexi groaned as she glanced back at him.

Fez shrugged, nonchalant, but his face still held a hint of that signature smile.

“Cassie?” Lexi answered, “What do you want?”

“We’re back from the hospital already! Where are you?”

“Oh, uh. I stopped by a friends?”

“What friend? Most of us are here.”

“Rue?” Lexi guessed, a shot in the dark.

“Figures,” Cassie mumbled, “Look, I know you have your antisocial nature, but something awful happened tonight and it would be nice if we could all be together.”

“Awful? Cassie, Nate Jacobs is an ass.”

“Yeah, well even asses don’t deserve to get beaten within an inch of their life.”

“So he’s okay?”

“For now. So are you coming or not?”

“Yeah, just give me like 30.”

“I’m timing you, whore.”

“Thanks Cass. That’s so kind of you,” Lexi grumbled.

“Only the best for my favorite sister!”

And with that, Cassie hung up. Lexi stood staring at her phone for a moment before her gaze settled back on Fez.

“I guess I have to go.”

“To join the Nate Jacobs support group?” He looked only mildly hurt.

Lexi sighed, “It’s not like that. My sister and I have been on such thin ice recently. It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t think. If I don’t show up, she’ll kill me.”

“Nah, I get it, Lexi,” he smiled, picking the sweater up and handing it to her, “You need a ride?”

“Yeah, that would be nice.”

His hand laid softly on the small of her back, as he led her to his car. Lexi bit her bottom lip to hide her growing smile.

Once she was home and everyone had said their goodbyes, Lexi finally let herself really think about the events of that night. She felt giddy from it all. When she was sure Cassie had fallen asleep, she pulled Fez’s sweater out from under her bed. Lifting it to her nostrils, she inhaled the faint smell of weed, cigarettes, and cologne. It was intoxicating. Lexi pulled the sweater down over torso. She trailed her fingers across the small hickeys that Fez had sucked into her neck as she drifted off to sleep, thinking of the romantic possibilities in the days to come.

Two days later, her fantasies came to a screeching halt and reality came crashing in to take their place. After school, Fez texted her to meet him at his shop, no explanation, just ‘come when you can.’ Lexi made sure to touch up her lipstick and hair before riding over on her bike. She greeted him with a smile, but did not receive one in return.

Fez took a deep breath. Might as well rip the bandaid off quickly, “Look Lexi, the other day was a bad idea,” he explained, stopping to look to his left. Lexi followed his gaze. Fez thought he saw Cal Jacobs driving by in his peripheral. He’d been stalking him as of late. Worried about Lexi getting caught in a potential crossfire, he pulled her inside with him and locked the door.

“Wha?” Lexi asked, confused.

Rubbing awkwardly at the back of his neck, Fez continued, “A lot’s been going on, Lex. And even if it wasn’t, I think us being involved is a mistake. I’m not this good guy, okay?”

Lexi let the information sink in, frowning a bit. How could he compliment her and look at her like that and kiss her so passionately and then reject her not even two days later? It didn’t make any sense to her at all.

“I get it if you don’t want to see me again,” he continued, “but selfishly I’d still like to get to know you,” he smiled in that shy way that, despite herself, continued to make Lexi’s stomach do somersaults.

She was still extremely confused, but easily replied with, “It’s okay. I understand,” trying not to sound too disappointed. And she wasn’t—in a way.

On some level, the rejection was a relief. It did burn, and she did go home and cry about it, but at the end of the day, rejection was a safe and comfortable space for Lexi to settle in. If she could avoid getting close to anyone, she could avoid getting hurt. So she readily accepted his request for friendship—no questions asked.

And even with the aforementioned kiss in their past, things between them progressed really smoothly. They became fast friends—the kind of friend that has you laughing until you clutch your stomach in pain and then laugh some more despite yourself.

He talked her through her ideas for a performance piece, spurred her on, and helped her come out of her shell. And in turn, she listened to him when he felt like talking, becoming a safety line in his ever-turbulent life.

Fezco never had a bad word to say about her, and Lexi appreciated it. She couldn’t even say the same about the people who supposedly loved her—her mom and Cassie, or Rue for that matter.

After a few months of friendship, Lexi had mostly dropped the idea of the two of them ever getting together. But when his eyes lingered on her lips a moment too long or his hand gently brushed her back as he went to move around her—she couldn’t help but feel those familiar butterflies in her belly. Sometimes, she thought he might feel them too.

It was effortless to be together—moving about each other’s space in a way so synchronous that it almost scared her. They were different in a lot of ways, of course, but the same in the ways that mattered.

And while Fez didn’t divulge much to her about his business, much less allow her to participate, they did smoke an occasional joint together, gazing through the smoky haze at the cartoons on tv and eating dry cereal that only served to make their cotton mouth worse. And once, just once, he kissed her cheek before dropping her off at home. For the remaining hours of the night, Lexi went back and forth in her mind about what he could’ve possibly meant by it until she eventually succumbed to a restless sleep.

Sleep was the time she let herself long for him. Only under the cover of darkness, were her true feelings revealed. Dreams of smoke filled kisses and lazy embraces, lounging around in his sweater while he watched her, his hands peeling it off of her torso as his head slowly moved lower—these images filled her head a large portion of nights. In the morning, she’d shake herself out of the fog and take a long hot shower until Cassie was banging on the door for her to ‘get the fuck out.’

The cheek kiss was never mentioned by either of them. They just went on like nothing happened, just like with that first kiss on the night they met.

Lexi appreciated when Fez showed her a vulnerable side of himself. He sometimes talked about his childhood, his grandma, Ashtray, his bastard of a father, what he remembered of his mother, even about the “crowbar incident,” as he titled it, that left him with a long scar across the left side of his head—but he never spoke about love or romance. He seemed the romantic type from the way he went about things, yet he never once mentioned it. Lexi assumed he didn’t have a girlfriend or at least anything serious with anyone though. If how much time he spent with her and Rue and Ashtray and taking care of his grandma and his business was any indication. To her, he didn’t seem to have much time for romance, but that also didn’t seem to bother him—at least outwardly.

‘Maybe he’s asexual?’ She wondered at one point, but then she thought back to the groan he let out when she pressed into him on the night they met and realized, no. No, he wasn’t. The thought of that night sometimes got her so hot and bothered that she had to get up and do something else entirely. Not a lot of opportunity to stick your hands down your panties and release pent up tension when you share a room with your sister—no matter how wet and wanting your desires leave you. It was ridiculous to her how even just the thought of him had her soaking through her panties. And when she was with him, it only got worse. She often found herself idly rubbing her legs together—trying to fight off her body’s basic instincts.

It was several months after their first meeting that Lexi finally saw a crack in Fez’s resolve.

“Do you think I’ll get into Heaven?” He wondered aloud as they passed a joint around in the backseat of his Cadillac. They were parked in a random parking lot on the outskirts of town.

“Why do you think you wouldn’t?”

“Something you said,” he murmured, “a long time ago.”

“Well, don’t listen to me. I hardly know God’s criteria.” She chuckled, taking a hit and passing it back to him.

“I wanna believe in that repenting shit, but then I think about all of these awful people in the world. Like can a pedo be on his deathbed and then just be like ‘sorry God,’ die, and then go to Heaven?”

“If God is real. I don’t think it’s as simple as that. At least it shouldn’t be. I think it’s about the kindness of your heart—your morality. Do you do things for the right reason?” Lexi gesticulated.

“Then what about me? What about my morality and shit?”

She gave him a half smile, “I swear, you never give yourself enough credit, Fezco. Your heart is so big. I mean, at least from my point of view. You’ve never wanted anything from me. You’ve always just wanted things for me.”

“That’s not true. I do want things from you, just not the things you’d think I’d want.”

“Like what?”

He pondered the question for a moment before speaking, “I wanna see your beautiful smile,” he paused when she smiled brightly at his comment, “See! There it is!”

Fez laughed and Lexi did too, a girlish giggle. She nodded at him to continue as he took a drag and passed the joint back to her.

“And, you know? I wanna hear whatever’s on your mind. I want your company and attention. You make me think Lex, and you listen like no other. That’s what I want from you.”

Lexi sat back, contemplating something. She took a long drag and then stubbed out on the ashtray between them, blowing the smoke out in a way that had Fez’s heart leaping into his throat, with direct, blazing eye contact.

“And there’s nothing else you want?” She asked after a moment, leaning forward boldly—suggestively. From this angle, Fez could see straight down her blouse to her willowy figure. Her white lace bra taunted him—so pure yet so hungry, downright wanting. It seemed sheer from this angle, entirely see through. He tried not to think about her taut, rosy nipples as he quickly snapped his gaze back up to meet her own. The only way he could describe the look on her face was heated with an underlying air of smugness. She knew she had him in the palm of her hand.

“Shit, Lexi,” he shook his head, entirely powerless to her. Her simple presence was an aphrodisiac, “You know I do. I’ve wanted you in that way since the moment I met you. You’re a beautiful girl and I’m human. But I also want you to be comfortable and safe. That’s what’s most important to me.”

She ruminated on his words, lip held gently between her teeth. But then she gave him a fond look and reached forward to lightly brush her finger tips against the side of his face at an agonizing pace. It was downright sensual—at the least—if not entirely sexual.

“And what if I do feel comfortable and safe?”

“Well, then we’re both in for a world of trouble,” he laughed humorlessly, a solemn expression working itself into the grooves of his face.

“Don’t act so gloomy about this, Fez,” she smoothed a finger down the line between his eyebrows, “I’m willing to take this on if you are. You mean too much for me to just let you slip through my fingers,” she admitted, her finger tips moving to graze the underside of his jaw, “It doesn’t have to have the grim outcome that you think it does.”

“Fuck,” he cursed before moving forward to press their lips together in a heated embrace.

He took her for the first time that night in the backseat of his grandma’s old Cadillac. He’d apologized profusely later for the lack of romanticism, but Lexi just smiled her shy smile and said ‘it was perfect.’ Because it was. The way they moved against each other, the slick slide of their bodies, the heady stretch and fullness of him as he pushed inside of her (‘just right,’ she thought as he reached the hilt), the breathless gasps and moans that traveled straight from the shell of his ear down to his groin, the burst of pleasure behind her eyes when he brought her to an earth shattering climax, the weight of their bodies against each other as they settled into a pile of messy, satiated limbs afterwards—neither of them could have asked for a better first time.

Well, it was Lexi’s first time. Fez explained to her later, over a cup of coffee, that he had been with a few women when he was younger. ‘Women?’ She asked. ‘Women.’ He confirmed.

He was a teen drug dealer who thought he was hot shit. Junkies threw themselves at him in return for a fix and he let them. Until the feeling of disgust and shame curled and settled as a sick feeling in his belly. He had long since changed his ways, and nothing he had ever done with those grown women—who should’ve known better even when strung out—even remotely compared to what he experienced with Lexi that night. And then again when they woke up the next morning. And then again after breakfast.

Fez swore up and down there wasn’t one thing about Lexi’s body or mind that he didn’t like. She was so perfect, even her “flaws” were attractive to him. The way she’d get so high strung sometimes to the point of ordering him around (no one else in their right mind could get away with that), the way she’d pout until he stopped what he was doing to help her with her math homework, the way she hummed when she chewed her food and sometimes even into their kisses.

Fez relished in the fact that his tongue on hers elicited the same contented response as when she ate a piece of rich red velvet cake—always leaving a few crumbs and icing on her lips that he just longed to lick off. Sometimes, he did. He’d take her by the chin and languidly lick into her mouth, savoring the goodness of the red velvet, but most importantly her lips, her teeth, and her tongue. It was better than eating the damn cake himself. And less calories too, Lexi would lament.

A few weeks after she discovered the life changing bakery down the block, Lexi complained to him that she was putting on weight. Fez said ‘bullshit’ to it all. He did notice a bit of weight gain, but it wasn’t anything that bothered him, and he didn’t think it should bother her either. No matter how much weight she gained, it wouldn’t matter to him. ‘I mean, that ass just don’t quit,’ he’d shrug, giving it a light smack as she squealed, playfully pulling away from his embrace.

That day, he said to her, ‘what is a little weight when you’re doing something you love?’ And he meant it. He loved to see Lexi enjoy herself, and that extended beyond food.

Fez’s chest just about caved in every time he saw her truly lose herself in an intimate moment with him. He especially loved when she was on top, downright using him to get herself off—only one goal in mind. Lexi could just take, and take, and take from him for the rest of his life and he’d say thank you.

She’d slump against him after she finished, and he’d bring a hand down to rub at her clit and thrust his hips back up into hers just so he could see her eyes and nose scrunch up and her mouth form a blissful ‘o’ just one more time.

Things between them were verbally really good, but they couldn’t always be great. One day, nearing the end of Lexi’s senior year, they got into an explosive fight. They had been together on the low for a while now, at ease in their domesticity at this point. She’d show up to his place, throw her legs over his lap, and he’d massage her feet without a word. Nowadays, she’d spend more time at his place than her own. He didn’t mind. Sometimes he’d return home to her watching tv on his couch, often with the complaint of a killer headache. He’d gotten those pretty frequently in the years following the “crowbar incident.” So Lexi would fish some Advil out of her purse because of course she has that and bring him a glass of cold water. Then they’d sit in silence with the lights off as she stroked his head, laying soft kisses along his face every so often. It was the seemingly inconsequential stuff like that that made their relationship so strong.

They got into fights sometimes, more like small scuffles than anything. Like Fez had a long day, and Lexi didn’t agree with the tone he was using. Or Lexi wanted to go bowling and Fez wanted to go to a movie. They’d bicker for about ten minutes at the most, and then go back to how they were—snuggling on the couch in a way that had Ashtray faux gagging when he came home.

But this fight? This fight was different. It was nasty and loud and cutting. It was brutal, to stay the least.

It started when Fez came home late. He told Lexi he’d be back three hours earlier, but here he was stumbling in, high out of his mind and completely ignorant to the time.

“Where the fuck were you?” She snapped, jumping up from where she sat anxiously at the kitchen table.

“Jesus, Lex. I’m sorry, okay? I got caught up in some business,” he said, moving past her to grab some water from the fridge.

“Now, I know that’s not true because business NEVER involves you using the product. And I know you’ve smoked recently. You reek of it!” She shot accusingly, arms crossed.

“Fine,” he admitted, setting the bottle down on the counter, “I had a hard day. Hung out with Rue and blew off some steam. Sorry I didn’t text. Now will you hop off my dick?”

Lexi was taken aback. He’s never spoken to her like this, not even in their most volatile moments.

“Yeah? You know what? I can. How about I never touch your dick again?” She shot back at him.

Fez was really upset now, but he schooled his features, “Now, that would be very unfortunate.”

Lexi scoffed, throwing her hands up, “Unfortunate? God, what am I doing here? Have I been deluding myself for this past year? Thinking that you actually care about me when all you say is ‘that’s very unfortunate,’ to the thought of never sleeping with me again.”

“Lexi—“ he went to reach for her, but she slapped his hands away.

“Do you really not care? God, do you care about anything?”

“That’s not fair,” he snapped.

“That’s not fair? That’s not fair?!” She was hysterical at this point, the volume of her voice rising by the minute, “You know what’s not fair? The fact that I’m always on edge. The fact that I thought you had DIED when you didn’t show up today, and I couldn’t even call the police to report you missing because I knew that if I was wrong about it, I’d be getting you into some deep shit,” she was crying now, ugly, pained tears.

“You know what’s not fucking fair?” She asked again, meeting his stony glare, “Is that I love you so fucking much it physically pains me.” She said, clutching at her chest, tears rolling down her cheeks in earnest now, leaving mascara trails in their wake, “You’ve got this crazy chokehold on my heart. And it scares me, because the way I feel now, I know that no matter what happens, no matter where I go, I’ll keep feeling it—keep loving you,” she pressed the palms of her hands to her eyes, willing herself to be tougher, cry less, “Your presence is invaluable in my life, and I know it shouldn’t scare me. There's security in that. There’s a security in you and me that I never expected, and it’s not unwelcome. It’s just entirely out of my comfort zone. With you, I just do what I feel and I know you’ll accept it—you’ll accept me,” against her better judgment, she reached for him, gently stroking his cheek—a stark contrast to the harshness of their earlier words. Though she pulled away quickly, furrowing her brow, “It’s fucking addicting being with you, loving you. I just want more and more and more of it. But I’m also scared for you, for us. I worry every time you go off to make some shady transaction, or I just don’t know where you are. I don’t want to monopolize your time or control you, but I just fucking worry. And I know that’s so shitty for you to hear because it’s already a hard enough job to handle as is. But I don’t really know what I’d do without you, not really sure what I was doing before you. I’m always just waiting for the shoe to drop, and I’m afraid I’ll crash and burn when it does. What comes up must always come down, and I desperately don’t want it to. This thing, with us, feels like it’s on borrowed time. And I’m always finding some way to squeeze more life out of it. And now I’m wondering if you even care as much as I do,” she finished, sniffling and looking down at her feet, adorned with French fry patterned ankle socks. ‘Childish,’ she thought bitterly, ‘maybe this whole thing is just a childish, sad girl trying to turn a drug dealer, the first guy to really notice her, into Prince Charming.’

Fez stepped forward to take her face in his hands, tilting her chin up so she’d meet his gaze again, see the vulnerability in his eyes.

“Fuck, Lex. The way you speak—I could never—I—but yes, I feel the same way. Fuck!” He dragged a hand tiredly over his own face, “‘Don’t ever fall in love. It’s the one instinct you can’t trust.’ That’s what my grandmother always said to me, and I didn’t understand it and I went and did it anyway and now I’ve screwed us both over because of it,” he moved his hands down to rest on her shoulders, desperate to keep the contact.

“You love me too?” Lexi asked, pleading and doe-eyed. She wanted to hear him say it.

“Fucking, yes, Lexi, yes. I love you too. I’m goddamn powerless to you. I’d do anything for you. You’re like a drug to me too, alright? It’s a great thing we’ve got, more than I ever deserved to experience, but I don’t want it to end up hurting you. I don’t give two shits about myself. I only care about you. I don’t want you knowing me—loving me—to fuck you up. But, god damn it I’m too selfish to let you go right now,” he sounded near tears himself, something Lexi had never experienced with him. He was vulnerable in many ways with her, gave so many parts of himself to her, but he never let himself cry.

“How can something that feels so good also hurt so badly?” Lexi asked, aggressively wiping at her face.

“If I knew, Lex, I’d find a way to fix it. I don’t want loving me to be miserable for you,” he sighed, finally dropping his hands from her shoulders.

“But I’m not,” he gave her a look laced with doubt. She pushed past it and continued, “No, most of the time, I’m really not. It’s just that there are so many elements that are out of my control, and I hate that feeling. But I also don’t want you to become some martyr and do that “if you love, let her go” bullshit. I don’t want that, Fez. You’ve gotta start caring about yourself and your feelings too. You always care about what’s important to me, and you’re so fucking important to me—more than I could voice out loud.”

“I think you did a pretty damn good job of it.” He joked with little humor on his face. He felt utterly defeated, “I’m sorry I didn’t text, Lex. And I’m sorry I lied to you. I’m sorry that I made you feel like I didn’t care too. I don’t have so much experience with honesty or love. But I’m trying—for you. It’s not ‘very unfortunate.’ I’m sorry I said that shit. Losing you would tear my fucking heart out,” it was his turn to clutch his chest. He looked absolutely wrecked.

She smiled sadly at him, “We’re quite the pair,” she murmured, her voice still wet with tears.

“We are,” he agreed.

They were silent for a moment, letting everything sink in, letting the angry energy transform into something new, something better.

Lexi smiled slightly, “So guess all I really have to say now is that if you don’t take me to bed right now, I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you,” she smiled slyly.

“Now that is something I can do,” he said, moving forward to connect their lips. She hummed into the kiss until his hands on her body turned it into a gasp.

Their clothes were long gone before they even made it to his bedroom. And when he finally sank into her, and the familiar and delicious feeling of fullness washed over her, she felt fullness in her heart too. And when he started to move, and she gasped out an ‘I love you,’ he returned the sentiment.

Later, when Ashtray returned to the sight of clothes haphazardly strewn across the apartment, and the distinct sound of Lexi’s high pitched gasps and moans coming from his brother’s room, he crept back out of the door with a disbelieving chuckle and a small shake of his head, “I don’t know how that fucker does it.”