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Pen Your Pride

Chapter Twenty Two - Opening Up

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Chilled's P.O.V
Four hours earlier, 2:45am.

I cautiously make my way down the stairs, it's pitch black and I hold the bannister like its a lifeline. I have my phone in my pyjama pockets and I carefully slip on my shoes. I don't want to wake anyone, but I know I need to leave before Ze comes after me.
I pull on a coat, one without blood, and open the door. The cold wind bites at me almost immediately and I stand there for a moment, wondering if I should just go straight back inside.
But the incessant pounding of my heart urges me forward and I walk.
I don't just circle around the block this time, I head out onto the streets, getting some looks from people as I walk in my pyjamas.
I pull my coat hood up tightly around myself and make my way to a 24/7 old American diner.
It's not that busy, but it's warm and I go sit at a booth so that I can lean my head back against something soft.
Soon, a waitress approaches me, she looks tired and distasteful, I wonder if she thinks I'm homeless.

"What can I get you sugar?" She asks,

Of course, I haven't brought my wallet with me, but I always carry a spare fiver dollar bill in the back of my phone case.
I pull it out and lay it on the table so she knows I can pay.

"Just a filter coffee is fine with me." I say.

She nods and turns to the kitchen, leaving me to lean against the table.
I feel lonely, but I don't know who to call, Ze will kill me if he knows I left, and GaLm and Smarty will be no help at all.
I consider calling Tom, he's wise and Smarty mentioned that he might come visit us anyway if he can get the funds together, but then, I don't want to divide the rift between us all anymore than I have to.
I open up my contacts and scroll through them, stopping when I get to the name 'Mark'.
I put his number in a few days ago, just in case.
I hesitantly send him a text.

'Hi, this is Anthony, I was wondering if you could text me when you get off work? I know it's really early and you'll probably be really tired, but I wanted to ask you some questions. Thank you x'

I send it with a shaky breath and he replies almost instantly.

'Hey Anthony, on a coffee break now, I finish work within the hour, I can meet for a bit then.'

I bite my lip, then send him details of where I am, and then I spy the contact name just below his, it's Minx.
I click to dial and wait as it rings.

"Mm, hello?" A sleepy voice picks up and I sigh.

"Hey Minx, it's me, sorry, is it early?"

"Only like, 8." She mumbles, "What's up butt-head? What time is it for you?"

I roll my eyes and laugh. "8 isn't that early, it's like, 3 am here."

The waitress comes over with my coffee and I pay her, accepting the change as Minx replies.

"Why the hell are you up at 3 in the morning?"

"I've had a bit of a crazy night, I had to take Ze to hospital and-"

"Oh my god, is he okay?" She cries and I wince as her shrill voice echoes in my ear.

"He's fine Minx, shut up, stop screaming. He just cut his hand, needed stitches. That's not why I'm phoning."

There's a pause and I hear rustling.

"Well, why are you calling?"

I swallow, "You can't tell anyone?"

"Chilled, have I ever?"

"Ze and I kissed."

"You and Ze?!" She exclaims. "You kissed? Oh my god, wow, okay, this is amazing."

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