Nineteen

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When the young woman opened her eyes, she immediately wished that she hadn't. The lighting, while not bright at all, still managed to burn her sensitive blue orbs. She squeezed her eyes shut and realized that everything felt like lead. How much had she and Jerome drank last night? A whole liquor store? She made a noise and dragged a pale hand across her face. Eventually, the sound of a bad soap opera penetrated her ears, forcing her to grab a pillow from the other side of the bed and smash it over her face in an effort to drown out the noise. When a particularly scandalized screech onscreen made it clear that wasn't going to happen, the pillow was discarded as she struggled to sit upright. 

"Turn that shit off, Jerome," she groaned, throat scratchy from disuse," it's too early for that brand of garbage."

She heard the sound of a body shifting on a sofa but no response. Her eyes cracked open and then blinked in confusion when they met a pair of icy blue ones staring from a worn green couch.

"Oh," she whispered to herself," right."

Kylie fell silent then, remembering the glint of metal and the unnatural red that had resulted from blood mixing with her friend's fiery hair. The pink that had stained the skin of her fingertips for all of those days spent in hiding, no matter how much she scrubbed them in restaurant bathrooms. A hand went to her left arm and fingers brushed over nylon sutures and ridged skin. He was dead. She was hoping she had dreamt that. 

The sound of a throat being cleared made her look up, "It's good to see that you're awake," Oswald said into the silence," Ed was beginning to worry. It was getting rather annoying hearing him fuss over you all the time."

She remembered the odd looking man visiting her once, warning her about the gala, helping her arrange the escape that was supposed to get both she and Jerome out. The man was much kinder then, though she reasoned it was just a ruse to get her on his side so he could take down Galavan.

 Ed, her sweet, sweet Eddie, she had thought of him often while she was away, wondering if he hated her for the things she did. Killing Dougherty was one thing, a service to everyone cursed with knowing him, but slaughtering a bunch of teenagers? Taking a charity gala hostage? That was a whole other level. One that she thought he would hate her for reaching.

"How long was I out?" she asked suddenly.

Oswald thought for a moment, remembering the knock that had interrupted a new episode of General Hospital  and made he and Ed both look up from the television," Almost five days."

He watched the young woman, intent on gauging her reaction but all she did was stare at the frayed quilt covering her legs.

"Do you really not like Days of Our Lives?" he asked with a judgemental edge to his voice. 

He had meant it as a joke of sorts to try to get a reaction from the bedridden girl. The way she sat silently made his skin crawl.

"No," was the curt response.

  The word flew from her mouth before she realized what she was saying. It wasn't entirely a lie, as she had hated shows like that since middle school but it wasn't exactly the truth either. She had grown fond of the program because of Jerome. She remembered the very first time he had stolen control of her television back at the penthouse. Fighting with her over the remote and eventually switching it to Days of Our Lives. She had stared incredulously at the screen before bursting out in laughter. She had even snorted a few times. Of all the things a homicidal psychopath could've watched... She remembered when Jerome would lean in every now and again and whisper a quip about whatever had just been said onscreen and she'd giggle. That was his special power, twisting moments into something laughable. She'd never hear that laugh again. She'd never mess up his hair and grin at the annoyed look he'd give her. She'd never be able to have another pillow fight with him, never be able to gloat over a victory against him again. He was gone because of Galavan, because she couldn't save him.   

Oswald blinked, taken aback by the forcefulness of the word and had started to respond, having half a mind to make her never speak to him like that again but something stopped him. Fingers, fingers still stained pink with the remnants of blood, curled into the blanket, bunching the fabric until knuckles turned white. He stopped before he started, leaving scathing words unsaid. While it made his chest burn with anger, refraining from upsetting Kylie was for the better. He had seen those hands up close. Saw how dry and cracked they were. He knew what that type of damage was from. It was from washing and washing your hands, hoping the crimson would disappear along with the memory of what caused it to be there. So he let her be, choosing instead to change the channel to some cartoon and hunt down his phone to make a call. He had to do something to take his mind off the sullen and angry girl he was burdened with.

It rang a few times on the other end before it was answered but Kylie listened hard, hoping that the birdlike man was calling who she thought he was. Moments later, a distorted and rather clipped voice escaped from the speaker and the blonde smiled for the first time in over two weeks. She hadn't realized just how much she missed the sound of Ed's voice. Oswald only spoke a couple words before Ed replied, sounding much more cheerful than before. She was so intent on listening for E's voice that she hadn't noticed Oswald hobble across the room towards her. The cell phone was shoved into the hand of her good arm rather quickly and she held it, wide-eyed for a moment before bringing it to her ear. 

"Eddie?" she breathed into the speaker, voice still scratchy.

There was a brief silence followed by an exhale on the other end, "I'm here," he replied giddily," How- how are you? Are your stitches still in? Does your arm hurt? What about-"

His voice cut out suddenly, no doubt realizing that he was firing off questions too quickly for her to answer. She laughed, relief washing over her in a wave after hearing his worries. 

"I'm fine, Eddie, the stitches are still in and I can't really feel my arm, which is probably a good thing," she added, her voice lilting in the way in always did when she made a joke.

He almost sighed at the familiar sound of it, something he took for granted before she was taken," Good, that's great. Is anything else bothering you? How is Oswald? Not annoying  you too much, I hope."

"No," Kylie said shortly," and Oswald's fine,  he just has a bad taste in television."

A glare was thrown unnoticed from the couch.

The two laughed, voices getting higher and trailing off.

"I missed you, Kylie," he said suddenly, voice cracking over the speaker.

"I- I missed you, too, Eddie," she said softly. 

There was silence.

"Will you stay on the line until I get there?"

Her lips curved into a smile despite being chapped to hell, "Will you?"

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HOLY HECK GUESS IS BACK YOU CAN ALL SLEEP PEACEFULLY

1. i'm super sorry about the hiatus there is really no excuse

2. Guess has its own Tumblr! i figured the fanart thing would be easiest to do there with the whole submission and inbox thing. I can also post story related edits there so there's that. hit up @ guessofficial with questions or art or random crap and I'll respond. The image way up at the top is the first post on the new page!




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