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Tracey met me for lunch a few days after the finding of Dead Me. We went and ate burgers at some shitty burger joint. Mine was barely eaten by the time he finished is. He looked at me, eyes narrowed before he spoke. "Okay, what's wrong? You didn't finish before me this time, and you usually do."
I silently cursed my lack of appetite and shrugged. "I'm fine, I've just been feeling sick I guess." I didn't meet his eyes, knowing that if I did my voice would waver and he could easily tell I was lying. He possibly already could, but I wasn't waiting for his words to crack down on me.
"Sick my ass," Tracey mumbled. "What's actually wrong?"
"Nothing," I responded. "I'm fine."
"Jude you're clearly not fine. What's bugging?"
"Tracey drop it I'm okay."
Tracey let out a deep sigh, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms. "Honestly Julia you're so fu.." Tracey's eyes widened, and he quickly clamped his mouth shut. My stomach began to turn itself inside out. The bile in the back of my throat nearly bathed my tongue but I swallowed it. Gross.
"Someone sent me something the other night," I mumbled. I poked the ice in my soda with a straw. "Julia Harding. I'm assuming you know who this is." I looked up at him, narrowing my eyes clamping my jaw shut.
Tracey let out a deep sigh and we both sat in silence for a brief moment. The air became stale. "I do know who she is, but it's not my place to tell you about her. I haven't even said her name since she died."
"Why?" I asked. "Why isn't it your place?" Irritation began filling its way through my blood stream. He's treating me like a child now, shaking his head and pursing his lips like my mom did when she was about to give me a stern talking to.
"A while ago, Gus held me close and called me by her name. So obviously, Gus has something to do with her." I spat these words at him as if they were covered in slime. That's how they felt coming up from my throat.
Tracey scoffed before he pushed his plate away from him, crossing his arms. "I'm not going to tell you shit if you keep acting like a bitch, Jude."
"Maybe I'll stop acting like a bitch if you actually fess up to what you're hiding."
"Are you always this stubborn?"
"Most of the time, yes."
We both sat in silence after that, both daring each other to speak again. I was eventually the one to speak first.
"I saw the page for her. With the thank you's, and her mom and stuff. She was beautiful." I whispered this to him, staring straight at him with a waved in my throat. "She looked just like me. But better."
Tracey took a moment to think before he spoke. "She always smelt like vanilla and lilacs. Her hands were always cold, unless she tucked them into her sleeves. I don't think I ever saw her arms bare." His eyes were downcast, and I thought I heard a crack of his voice when he continued.
"She made me watch her favorite movies over and over before she died. The night she died. I knew something was wrong. I just didn't ask. All she did was curl up against my arm and watch movies. We didn't talk. We didn't eat. We just stayed there together until I fell asleep. I woke up to her gone. I never got to say goodbye."
The sounds of the restaurant began to drown out. "You were in love with her," I whispered. "Weren't you?"
  "I was. She was the best thing that ever happened to me." Tracey's voice broke and he finally let a tear fall, and I reached over to wipe it away. He pulled himself away from me. 
  Tracey looked up at me. "Stay away from anything involving her, Jude. If you don't want to get hurt." With that, Tracey stood up and walked out of the building. I sat there with my half-eaten burger feeling dumbstruck. What else was there to do?

-

A few days later, I began to notice a change in Gus. He refused to speak to me when he decided it was time for bed and even before then his words became curt and stand offish. A familiar feeling settled into my gut. It was like when we first began to hook up, and he constantly found himself hooking up with other girls and coming back to me.
   This reaction from him was sudden and for a while I didn't realize what was happening. That was, until I heard him crying in his sleep. I was on my laptop, taking an online class for my basic credits before I went to university. I hadn't told Gus about that part yet, but I didn't think I'd have to.
   "I'm sorry," Gus whimpered in his sleep. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." One of his hands gripped the pillow tightly, and I watched his eyebrows furrow as his facial features clenched. His breathing became heavy and his desperate words became louder. I shut my laptop and moved it off my lap before I began to shake his shoulder.
   "Gus," I whispered. "Gus it's okay." I kept shaking him, and gradually his whimpers grew louder and louder until he shot up with wide eyes and panting breaths. His eyes seemed to go straight through me, until suddenly he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me to him.
   "I love you." He whispered. "I love you so much. Don't leave. Please?"
    I didn't answer, just curled my head into his neck and listened to him fall asleep slowly before I followed directly behind him.

rest easy hellboy ❤️

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rest easy hellboy ❤️

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