The first time that you meet him is in Starbucks on your way to school. Generally you weren’t a coffee person, but after an entire summer of doing literally nothing you figured you could use a coffee kick to start you on your next one hundred and eighty days.
He was in the line behind you in the crowded coffee shop. You ordered, shifted to the side and waited for your coffee. And, you’ll admit, he was really cute. His blonde hair, dark brown in the middle, was gelled up on each side. And, you’ll admit, when he came to stand next to you your heart had fluttered just a little bit.
Your eyes shifted to watch him out of the corner of your eyes—god, he was cute. He was tall and lanky, dressed in tight jeans and spotless white converse…and he was obviously gay, just judging by the jean jacket and tight gray tank and the fucking scarf.
Your gaze snaps back to the counter, where you collect your coffee. As your walking out of the shop a hand touches your arm lightly. You turn around to see the cute guy resting his hand on your shoulder and flashing you a grin. He asks you for your number—you’re probably really red faced—and you, flustered, give it to him. He promises to text you.
He does text you, the next day right after you get out of school.
And that’s pretty much how you two start talking all the time. It becomes tradition, texting him whenever you can.
And then it becomes tradition to hang out with him whenever you can.
He’s a nice guy. He’s got sparkling purple eyes that gleam and literally the hottest body—and you aren’t complaining when he rests his arms on your again one day.
You’re at the park, sitting on a brick wall bordering the premises. You’re kicking your feet back and forth and you were both talking about something totally irrelevant, sitting and staring at the millions of stars above you. That was when he leaned over to you and pressed a soft kiss to your lips.
And then you weren’t ‘hanging out’ every day, but going on dates to new places and new restaurants. His family was loaded, meaning money was never an issue when it came to dates. You were head-over-heels for the guy.
It’s not complicated or rare, the story of how Eridan Ampora became your boyfriend and how you met at Starbucks before your first day of school.
What’s complicated is the mess of utter bullshit that came afterwards, when he transferred to your school. You were elated, when he first told you. His old school, a boarding school, was shutting down. So he’d decided to move to yours for the rest of the school year before he found a new boarding school to go to.
It was all sunshine and daisies for a while, getting to see him every single day. He met your friends, they met him, everything was great.
Your friends weren’t fond of your boyfriend, and your boyfriend was less fond of your friends. You just told yourself that it was normal for Eridan to be a little jealous and moved on from the issue at hand. They all warned you about him, told you that something wasn’t right with him, told you it was a bad idea to date a guy like him.
And you ignored them, snapping at them and stomping away and throwing little hissy fits about every bad thing that they said about him.
It took a matter of three months for Eridan to go from sweet to jealous to protective to…controlling.
You spent each weekend, weekday and free moment with him. They weren’t sweet, innocent moments anymore, though. The change happened so slowly that you barely even saw it. The kisses went from gentle to rough, the weekend dates went from innocent to rough and full of yelling, everything turned harsh ever so slowly.
You stopped agreeing to go out with him, spending the days at his house, instead. You just didn’t enjoy it, anymore. You were beginning to tell yourself, maybe they were right? Maybe he’s not the best guy?
You agreed to watch a movie with him. He chose one, popped it in and settled back onto the couch, draping his arm around you. You shifted so that it fell to the cushion in-between you two.
“Eridan…” you start, hesitantly. “I don’t think…this is working out anymore.”
He stares at you blankly, raising an eyebrow.
“You don’t think what’s working out, Dave?” He asks, kicking his feet up onto the coffee table as if you weren’t attempting to break up with him.
“This,” you continue, just as hesitantly. “This, uh, relationship.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” He asks with a frown that makes him look menacing.
“I think we should break up.” You reply softly. “We can still be friends and all that shit, I just don’t think…”
He stands up, eyebrows dipping down into his glare.
“Alright,” he says flatly. “Dave, stand up.” You do as he says, somewhat confused. He’s looking you in the eye, arms folded over his chest. “That’s not how this works, got it? It’s not a ‘break up and stay friends,’ gig, kay? It’s break up and never speak, or stay together.” He pauses, arching one eyebrow. “Either’s fine, of course…but do you really think there’s anyone else out there for you?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” You snap, scowling.
“What I mean is, who else is out there for you? C’mon, babe, we’re good together. Who the hell are you to break up with me? You do know, don’t you? That I’m a generous person, to be with you? Look at yourself, babe. Who else is gonna love red eyes like those? And, c’mon, without my money you’d have nothing, right? I’m doing you a favor, and you have no right to tell me no. It’s your choice, of course…but do you really think there’s anyone else out there for you? Do you really think anyone else is going to take pity on you like I do?”
Your mouth slowly opens, you’re still scowling, ready to tell him he’s being a dick.
But you pause, of course.
He’s right, of course, isn’t he?
Your eyes—your bright, red, hellish eyes. You live in the goddamn ghetto, for Christ’s sake. You…he…he’s right, isn’t he? That he’s…doing you a favor no one else would do.
Your face draws back into a blank expression. You just nod silently, sitting back on the couch.
He sits with you, putting his arm back around you.
Nothing changes after that, except for the fact that he continually reminds you of the fact that he’s doing you a goddamn favor. He reminds you of your eyes, of your personality, of how little you have, how you haven’t even got parents to look after you, he reminds you that the brother you do have couldn’t care less about you, he reminds you that he’s all you have, he reminds you that he’s the only person out there willing to love you.
And you listen.
You listen to every word he speaks like it’s the motherfucking gospel. His words rein in your mind, never leaving. The world isn’t soft and sweet and beautiful, anymore, because everything’s turned dull and bitter. The sweet is now bittersweet and the love is now caution and harsh self-hatred. Because he’s right—he’s so right.
And he reminds you again later that week when you try and tell him that he’s wrong for the first time. He pins your arms up above you on the wall and stares you down, scowling.
“Say that again,” he demands.
“You’re a dick!” You snap, glaring back. He grips your wrist tighter and drags you to the bathroom, snatching your shades away and shoving your head in the direction of the mirror.
“Say it again,” he snarls. “Look at yourself—look at your eyes and tell me again I’m not doing you the biggest favor of your life. You owe me, Dave.”
You stare back at your reflection stubbornly before sinking back in defeat. He pins you back up against the wall and snarls at you. “What was that you were saying earlier, again? I must be getting hard of hearing.”
“Nothing,” you whisper. “Let’s just watch a movie.”
“I don’t think I feel like watching a movie,” he snaps. “I think I feel like doing something else, to make sure you know what I’m saying. Are you deaf? Are you blind? God, think, Dave! You should be thanking me!”
He presses a harsh kiss to your lips. You kiss him back halfheartedly. He draws back, eyebrows knitting together in a scowl that makes your blood go cold.
“Don’t be a little bitch, Dave.” He breathes. “Think for once, who else is willing to touch you? Who?”
“No one,” you whisper.
“That’s right,” he says, putting his lips back on yours and snaking a hand up your shirt. He pulls back to add, “no one else is ever going to be willing to touch you. You’re disgusting, you’re a demon, and I’m the only person who’s ever going to love you. Can’t you see that?”
You just nod, letting him slip your shirt off, slip your pants off, trail his kisses lower and lower and lead you to his room where he peels off his own layers. He hovers over you, moving his kisses between your legs. You squirm, shaking your head hesitantly. “No…” You tell him, shifting. His arms grip your own.
“Tell me. Who else. Is ever going to be willing. To touch someone like you?” He growls. You fall silent, allowing him to continue.
Everything you’ve heard about sex is about how it’s gentle, a dance between two people, it feels better than anything, there’s a reason people thrive on it.
You think everybody’s wrong, demented, stupid for thinking that. There’s nothing enjoyable at it at all.
You slink home at the end of the day, accepting the hits that come your way for being late. You slink to your room, go to bed, wake up and go to school before your brother can catch you on your way out.
You don’t say a word to anyone until lunch, when you sit with Eridan and just Eridan under a tree. He kisses you roughly and you want to push him off you, but his words creep back into your mind and you don’t do a thing.
You slink back into the school and away from him as soon as the lunch bell rings, agreeing to go to his house after school. You catch Terezi’s eye as you slide into your seat in English. She’s frowning at you, looking like she has something to say. You scowl at her, putting in your earbuds and tilting your gaze down to your desk.
She doesn’t say anything to you.
You go to Eridan’s, have a repeat of yesterday, go home and slink back to your room with fresh bruises and a sore everything.
You’re tired, you think. There’s no way to stop being tired, though.
The next day at school Rose asks you how things are with Eridan. You tell her that everything’s great. She raises an eyebrow slightly and you tell her to fuck off.
She leaves you to go slink to Eridan.
Everything’s black and white, everything’s pain, everything’s soreness and tiredness and aching bones. Everything is a circle of Eridan-Bro-Sleep and everything and everyone else fades into a background that you shove away and ignore. Everyone else stops trying to talk to you and you stop caring about everything.
It doesn’t take them long to replace you with some new kid who shows up at school one day with messy black hair that falls into his eyes. He knows Kanaya—they’re cousins or something, so he slips into the group and there’s just as many of them as there was before you slipped away to be on your own in an empty world that you really couldn’t care less about.
You’re clawing at everything you can catch.
Your life is a messy haze of sex and hitting and blank stares and monochrome feeling and colors. There’s no escape and there’s no end.
They’re right, of course.
Eridan is right—he’s the only one who’s ever going to give a shit about you. He’s the only one you’ll ever have. You’re probably…holding him back from someone better…
Your brother is right, of course. Can you really blame him for all the hitting and the scowling and the silence? How much better off would he be if he wasn’t stuck having to raise someone like you?
How…much better off…would everyone be…without someone like you?
Was it really worth it, anyway? To keep living when you didn’t want to? When there was no reason to?
When…no one even cared except for someone that you dreaded seeing? When did the cute boy from Starbucks turn from sweet kisses and cuddles to hitting-pinning-shouting-sex-scowling? When did everything get so dull?
When did you get on the roof? When did you get on the edge?
When did you start holding your breath?
It’s so far down. It’s really quiet, on a night like this one. The city is lit up, the sidewalk and street on the outskirts of the city are empty, there’s no one here to watch you fall.
There’s no one here to watch the tears start streaming down your face as you collapse to the ground, crying and asking for the help of someone who isn’t there.
Because there’s nobody—who are you crying for? What are you crying for?
Are you crying because you didn’t listen to them? Are you crying because you shoved everyone away? Are you crying because everything constantly hurts and you don’t want to keep going? Are you crying because everything hurts too much to stand up and actually step off the goddamn ledge and stop being a crybaby?
Or is there just nothing left that you know how to do. Have you simply lost the capability to feel anything but despair and loss?
There’s a clang of a door opening behind you and someone puffs out a breath of smoke, leaning against the wall and pausing—probably because they’ve spotted a ragged mess crying on the ground. Probably because they’re staring at the ragged mess, probably because they’re dropping the cigarette and walking over.
You wonder how you look to him—crumpled on the ground with a tear-streaked face and bruises everywhere.
“Do you live here?” He asks calmly. You take in a shuddering breath and stare at him. “It’s fucking cold out, do you want to come to my apartment and get some hot chocolate or shit? You look like you could use it.”
He offers you his hand and you take it, allowing him to pull you up. You’re not sure why you do it—maybe it’s because you haven’t got nothing to lose, there’s literally nothing you have to be afraid of. What if he kills you? Well, that’s what you were going for. There’s rape and violence, but what’s new there, either?
No, you really haven’t got anything to lose. At least if he murders you it’ll be a little less pathetic than jumping off a building.
Even if you aren’t sure why you do it, you follow him into his apartment and sink down into his couch without saying a word. He emerges from the kitchen—at least, it must be the kitchen because his apartment has the exact same layout as yours, and places a warm cup on the coffee table.
“You’re Rose’s cousin, right? I’ve seen you talk a few times, she said you used to hang out with everyone a lot more,” he continues in the same calm voice as before. “Anyway, you two look a lot alike. You and Rose, I mean. Haven’t seen you around much at school, but the fuckwads I do see never shut up about you. Not that that’s a bad thing, obviously. All good things and all that shit.”
You watch him as his face turns slightly more serious but he doesn’t say anything else for another few minutes.
“When I do see you, it’s usually with that guy who always wears scarves. Under that tree at lunch, right?” You nod.
“Eridan,” you say, the first thing you’ve said to this guy since he even came to your schools two or three months ago. “My boyfriend.” The kids snorts slightly and your head snaps up, glaring at him halfheartedly.
“Sorry,” he apologizes. “You just don’t ever seem to enjoy his company all too much. None of my goddamn business, though, I get that. My name’s Karkat, in case you gave a shit.”
You introduce yourself, picking up the warm cup and letting it chase away the cold from your fingertips as Karkat continues to talk about pointless things. You don’t supply much commentary, but he doesn’t seem to care. You’re glad.
Eventually you do get up and thank him (you’re not sure what for, but you let him take the thanks however he chooses to interpret it) before going back to your own apartment several floors above his.
You manage to sneak to your bedroom without getting caught and go to bed.
Eridan has the flu or something, and though he’s probably expecting you to skip school or something to go see him you don’t. When lunch comes and you sit with your old table for the first time in months nobody mentions the fact that you haven’t said a word to any of them in forever, nobody mentions the goddamn bruise on your cheek and best of all, Karkat doesn’t say a word about the fact that you tried to kill yourself last night. Nobody mentions Eridan at all, either, and you can’t help but feel grateful for that.
You’re being stupid, thinking like that. Why do you feel relief when he doesn’t come to school? Why do you spend every minute with him counting down the minutes until you’re going to be away from him? He’s your boyfriend, isn’t he?
But—do you want him to be?
What are you thinking? He’s…he’s doing you a favor. You should be thanking him, not avoiding him. Because he loves you, because he’s the only person who’s ever going to, because he’s the only one who’s ever going to give a damn about you and because he’s all you’re ever going to have—
A hand rests gently on your leg and it’s Rose, sitting on your left, whose hand is resting there. She’s not looking your way, instead making idle chatter with Kanaya, but it’s enough to draw you out of the panicked reverie. Your eyes settle on her somewhat dully. She’s your cousin, she’s got to care, right? And, hey, her mom’s always fun to be around. You haven’t seen either of them outside of school like you used to for big family get-togethers, but…that’s probably your fault…that’s…probably why nobody wants to be around you.
You want to brush her hand away and leave, but you don’t. It would probably be better for all of them if you did, of course. They wouldn’t have to deal with you taking up space, wouldn’t have to deal with you not saying a single thing, wouldn’t have to deal with you.
But—you’re selfish, aren’t you? You don’t leave. You stay and force them to keep dealing with you.
At some point Karkat turns to you and you find yourself in a conversation about a movie that came out a couple of months ago. You relax into the conversation, into the first real conversation you’ve had in months, and you dread the minute that the bell will signal the end of class and you’ll have to leave this moment.
It does ring, eventually. Of course it rings. Everyone else goes darting off to their fifth period classes, you gather your bag and leave school early to go to Eridan’s.
You find yourself back up on the roof that night, but you also find yourself unsurpried when someone’s resting against the brick wall on the roof and smoking.
“Smoking’s pretty bad for you,” you inform Karkat flatly.
“So’s jumping off a roof,” he tells you in the same calm voice from last night. You glare at him.
“What do you mean ‘what’? Well, that’s why you’re up here, isn’t it?” He’s silent as if he’s waiting for you to deny it. You don’t deny it. “That’s what I thought. But you know, everything’s dangerous if you think about it. There’s better things to do, I guess.”
“Like what?” You ask, leaning against the wall next to him. His eyes flicker up to you—you’re a good two inches taller than him—and he grins a little bit.
“Ever been out this late at night?” He asks. When you shake your head he laughs and flicks the cigarette off the edge of the roof and drags you to the elevator. You let him bring you outside and down several winding roads until you stop at a building. It’s bright, loud and filled with people. It’s the perfect place to blend in and disappear.
So you follow Karkat in, unstopped by a bouncer of any kind, and let him lead you through the crowd until you’re just another nobody in a sea of drunk nobodies.
“I dunno Kitkat” you tell him, coming up with the nickname on the spot. “This seems a little illegal.” He turns around and catches the playful gleam in your eyes, grinning at you with his unnaturally sharp teeth and continuing to drag you through the crowd.
“Probably,” he agrees, sounding amused. “But I’ve got a friend whose parents’ run the place. We’re covered as long as we don’t drink anything,” he assures you, coming to a stop at the back wall of the club. Lights in every color flash all around you and pounding music blares in your ears.
You figure you’re covered, then, because you don’t touch anything alcoholic and you stick with Karkat the entire time that you’re there. You meet his friend—a tall, lanky thing with the shittiest glasses you’ve ever seen whose name is Sollux—and you drop any hesitance that was sticking to you when you walked in. What have you got to fear, anyway?
You get home later than you’ve gotten home in years due to a curfew that you don’t give a shit about, willing to take whatever Bro deals you, but he doesn’t make an appearance and you go to bed.
In the morning you drag yourself to school to meet up with Eridan outside the building under the tree. The day doesn’t drag on like it usually does, and when it’s lunch and you’re back with your boyfriend under the tree rather than at the way-too-crowded table with all of your…friends…you allow your mind to pull up last night.
You distract yourself with thoughts of the semi-illegal trip to the club for the entire day until you slink back to your apartment and to the roof.
And just the same way as it happened with Eridan, it becomes an unspoken tradition to meet there with Karkat.
The same way that you’d met up with Eridan for coffee each morning, you met with Karkat each night on the roof. Sometimes you stayed, sometimes you left, sometimes you were joined by a lisping asshole whose parents owned the club you snuck off to, but you never once dared to mention the trips to Eridan. You’d return home and make sure to shower off any smell of smoke or alcohol before slipping into bed.
It didn’t solve jack-shit, but it made having a hovering protection squad all the more bearable. If Karkat would always be there to make sure you didn’t fling yourself off a roof, at least he was providing other things to do to pass the time until he wouldn’t be able to be there to stop you from it.
Karkat and Sollux became a part of the everyday routine that you had, which now consisted of waking up, going to school, going to Eridan’s until night, when you would slink home and (sometimes) would manage to avoid your brother until you would make your escape to the roof to see if Karkat would be there. He always was, somehow.
Until he wasn’t.
He hadn’t been at school that day, either, and seeing how you never talked to anyone but Karkat, Eridan and Sollux you hadn’t a clue where he was. Probably sick.
The point, however, was that you were alone on the roof.
There was no one there to stop you. All you had to do was…step…step…lift your foot…
And step back because you didn’t really want to anymore, not when you had something to look forward to. It would drizzle out eventually, fade into something that you would dread. Didn’t everything? Didn’t going home at the end of the day to your brother, who used to be okay until he broke up with his boyfriend and started drinking? Didn’t seeing Eridan, who never used to hit or yell or want sex until that’s all he ever did and all he ever wanted?
Surely this, too, would come to an end eventually and would fade into something just as dreadful. When that happened, when the coast was clear to jump and he was back in a black void of harsh words and looks, then you would jump.
You turn around and go inside.
Karkat’s back the next day, and he seems relieved to see you at school when you make eye contact with him from where you’re eating lunch. John’s harassing him with some kind of prank he probably bought from his dad’s business and you watch in amusement for a little while until Eridan draws your attention back with fingers creeping up your thigh.
You want to make his fingers go away and never come back, you want him to leave you alone and never see you again, but you’re being selfish by thinking like that. You should be glad he’s willing to touch someone like you, right?
He could be wrong.
And, besides, do you really want him to touch you?
Wouldn’t you rather have someone else touch you, when you wanted it and where you wanted it, rather than every day where you hated it and when you wanted to do anything else?
He was right. He was always right.
You tore your gaze away from your old lunch-table and placed it on Eridan, listening to him talk about something that you didn’t care about.
Only eight more hours until you’d see Karkat on the roof. You were going out to see Sollux, right? Right, eight hours, eight hours, eight hours.
They wouldn’t go by fast enough.
It’s been six months since Eridan turned harsh, five months since Karkat came to your school, five months since you shut down and four months since seeing Karkat on the roof every night and Sollux at the club every other night became the only bearable things in your life.
You’re walking to the Captor’s club, dragging your feet heavily behind an unusually quiet Karkat, who hasn’t said more than ten words since you met him on the roof.
He’s probably sick of you.
He’s probably trying to think of how to word an excuse to never see you again.
This is going to be it. This is going to be the last bearable day. Does that mean you’ll be jumping tomorrow?
Not if he chicken’s out and can’t think of how to word what it is that he’s trying to say. He’s probably trying to say, wow, I’m really sick of you! Maybe he’s trying to say, I didn’t think anyone could be so unbearable, but then I met you! He’s probably trying to say—
“Are you happy? With him—with Eridan? Are you happy with Eridan?”
“What?” You ask, stopping abruptly.
“You don’t seem like you’re happy with him. You never even talk about him.” Karkat’s stopped too, looking ahead at the busy streets filled with traffic rather than at you.
“Because I don’t have to talk about him!” You snap. “What, I have to talk about someone all the time to be in a relationship with someone? Just because I don’t talk about him, I must not be happy with him!”
“No, but it sure seems that way when you always change the subject from him. It looks that fucking way when I look over and he’s talking, but you’re never listening. It fucking looks that way when he’s so blatantly rough that everyone can tell you’re unhappy but you.”
“Because I’m not unhappy!”
“Then what are you, Dave?” Karkat snaps, spinning around. “If you aren’t unhappy, then what are you? Are you in love? Are you smitten? Are you ecstatic to see him every day? Are you constantly thinking about him, every moment of every day?” His voice is dripping with sarcasm and you fight back the urge to flinch away from the harsh words.
“No!” You snap back, balling your fists up at your sides. “No, I’m not smitten, I’m not in love, I’m not unhappy. I’m lucky. I’m lucky, because I’m unlovable, but somehow against every force of nature I’ve found someone who’s willing to love me of all people.”
“That’s not love!” Karkat snaps, looking bewildered. “That’s not what love looks like!”
“Then what does it look like? Indulge me, because apparently I don’t know.” Karkat’s own fists are balled up, but they loosen as he lifts one up hesitantly.
“It’s not supposed to be harsh,” he tells you in a small voice. “And it’s not supposed to be forced. It’s supposed to be gentle…and agreed with…and it’s supposed to be the most delicate thing imaginable. Like…like this,” he pauses to place his hand on your own. “And then you’re supposed to agree. There’s a question…and it goes like this,” he pauses, clears his throat and shifts his eyes to meet yours. “Can I kiss you?” He asks you, softly.
“Yes,” you breathe without thinking, and then Karkat’s on his tiptoes and his lips are connected to yours. They’re so soft that you can barely believe they’re there at all. You have to remind yourself that they’re real, because they’re feather-light and soft. They move slowly, not harshly, and the hand that’s holding your own is just as soft. It’s not a death-grip, it’s just warm and inviting. There’s not a single finger crawling up your back-stomach-leg-neck-cheek and you want to melt into the entire thing and never leave.
Karkat pulls back just as gently, flushing a bright firetruck red and clearing his throat again.
“Like that,” he says awkwardly. “It’s supposed to look like that.”
You’re silent for a moment before you say, “no.” You pause, then specify. “It’s not like that, I mean…right now.”
“Then leave.” He tells you quietly. You shake your head and glance away from his pained expression.
“It’s complicated.” You tell him, shrugging halfheartedly. “There’s nowhere to leave to.”
You can’t shove Karkat out of your mind after that, though. You leave home earlier and earlier each day, sometimes daring to leave Eridan’s early to sneak right to Karkat’s.
And, on lucky days, Sollux is there, too. Then you’re a big group of three, smushing yourselves onto the couch and trying to fit with all three of you. It’s a conversation that never dies down, it’s a joke that never stops making you smile, it’s Sollux’s stupid glasses never stopping being funny and it’s your own stupid shades that never stop being nearly as funny. It’s Karkat’s messy hair and soft lips that never stop drawing you in.
And you think back.
Are you in love? Probably. Are you smitten? Definitely. Are you ecstatic to see him every day? Are you thinking about him every moment of every day? Yes, yes, yes, yes. Are you in love? Yes, yes, yes, you’re in love, but you’re in love with the wrong person.
And you’re in love with the person who would never be willing to…
Who would never be willing to do the thing that he’d already done?
But that couldn’t be right, of course.
And Eridan had to be wrong, of course.
Because ever since that day you haven’t been able to stop thinking about the way that Eridan’s doing everything wrong and how you keep hating everything that he does.
Maybe he is the only person who’s ever going to dare to lay a finger on you and look you in the eyes.
But maybe it would be better to die alone than continuing the way that you are now.
Why not let him go donate to a new cause? Why not let him go find a new charity?
Maybe it’s because you’re too frightened of his loud voice and angry words and his menacing scowl. Maybe it’s because you’re small next to him and maybe it’s because you couldn’t stand up to him if you tried.
Maybe it’s because you’re too scared to deal with him, so you suck it up and tune out all the moments that you’re with him until you’re with the two boys who shake you out of the reverie at the end of the day.
Every day he hits and yells and fucks until you’re left in shattered pieces and until your mind is so far away that everything sounds quiet and miles away.
And every night they supply warm cups of hot chocolate and reassuring words until they’ve stuck the pieces back together and their voices and laughter are prominent, and then your own voice and laughter joins in.
Until that ends, until they stop putting the pieces back together, you’ll stay.
Until they’re unwilling to keep gluing you together every night, until they stop supplying warm mugs of hot chocolate, until they stop coaxing your mind back out and until they stop making you laugh all the time…
Until they stop being something that you can rely on, you’ll stay.
Until they disappear into the void with everything else and stop supplying the things that make you smitten with their presence, you’ll stay here. You’ll manage. You’ll keep hiding from the things that you want to go away, but you’ll stay all the same. And, perhaps you’re too terrified to admit that you don’t want it to end. Perhaps you’re too scared of them leaving to actually think about what happens next…
To think about the roof that’s going to be beckoning when that happens.
But—until then, you’ll keep crawling back to them at the end of the day, you’ll keep letting them put you back together and you’ll keep letting them drag you places that you would never go without them.
And you’ll keep watching them fall in love with each other.
And you’ll keep watching them grow inseparable.
And you’ll watch them show up one day holding hands.
And you’ll watch them come bounding back from their first date.
And you’ll come back at the end of your own dates every day.
But you won’t look the same.
And they’ll keep pulling you together. They’ll keep working together to pull you out of the mess of a relationship that you don’t want to be in but that you’re too scared to leave.
And they’ll keep being happy in their own relationship. And you’ll keep thinking to yourself, why doesn’t my relationship look like that? Why can’t I be happy like them?
But until the day that they stop being there to catch you from your fall and hoist you right back up…
You’ll stay away from the roof.