Chapter 23

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- Joe's POV -

When the voices started, I couldn't exactly pinpoint. Some point after Caspar asked to just be friends. They came in subtly, and took over. They scared me. It was as if they were in plain sight to me, but invisible to the rest of the world. Their whispers were quiet and barely audible, but each word they spoke caused a burning sensation in my head.

//flashback//

"Words are just words, Joe. Until you can find something that perfectly fits the word, the word is meaningless. Like the word 'sweet'. That word is truly appreciated when someone eats a spoonful of sugar and calls it sweet. But if someone were to eat a plain piece of bread, and call it sweet, well, then the word sweet is meaningless. Just a false description. And all those words that those bullies call you, well, they're meaningless. Because none of them are true. None of them are being used to fit their description. Don't let those false words get to you. Because when you let them get to you, then you become them. So don't let them in Joe. Stay pure, and push them out. Remind yourself they are meaningless. Don't let them in. Don't let yourself become them." My father told me, as I ran over and sat on his comforting lap, after a day of bullying in primary school.

//flashback end//

I was in a daze after such a powerful memory. I was nearly at peace for a moment.

"You're so worthless," the voices sang into my ears.

I tried to push them out. They are meaningless. They are meaningless.

"It's too late. We've already become part of you," they sang in unison.

"Leave me alone." I said out loud.

"Joe?" I heard Tyler's voice say, worriedly as he steppe out of the bathroom. Oh yeah. I forgot Tyler was here too.

"Sorry," I mumbled. Tyler went back into the bathroom.

When the voices talked, my mind felt clouded. Almost as if I was sleeping. But I wasn't and I knew it. I hated the voices but loved the feeling.

"Don't take it out on us. It's not our fault you're a broken piece of shit. Caspar did this to you. Caspar doesn't even love you. You're a game to him. A big game. Your feelings are meaningless to him. He doesn't care about you. Nobody does." The voices whispered in my ears.

I closed my eyes, darkness taking over my vision, "please stop," I whispered, loud enough so they could hear, but quiet enough so Tyler couldn't.

"Go tell him. Go tell Caspar. Tell him what a useless body you've become. Show him. Show him the scum you are. Make him feel guilty. Make him see what he's done," as the voices screamed into my ears, I felt my body moving up. I jogged at first, to the room, but then I slowed down to a walking pace. My heart was beating rapidly.

I knocked on the door I knew Caspar was in. I heard footsteps. And then the door opened.

"Hello, Joe." Caspar said, in an odd broken one."

"Look at me," I said, when Caspar moved his gaze to the floor.

He lifted his head, "I'm looking." He muttered.

I was not satisfied with his answer. I knew he wasn't looking at me as well as he did. I also knew why he wasn't looking at me. I had finally broken, and it showed, "LOOK AT ME!" I screeched, my own ears ringing from the scream, "LOOK AT ME AND SEE WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME."

"Joe, don't do this. Joe I'm sorry-" Caspar tried to reason with me. I didn't know if he was trying to comfort me and calm me down, or if he was just embarrassed of me because people were coming out of their rooms to see what the commotion was.

I stepped further into Caspar's room, and he took a wide step back. I closed the door behind me, "I am inconsolable Caspar. I am broken and shattered. I am almost inhuman."

"Joe..." Caspar continued to take slow steps back, "What happened to you?"

"YOU HAPPENED TO ME!" I screamed, feeling so frustrated that I almost laughed in disgust, "You ne'er cared about me. It was all a joke. I'm meaningless to you, aren't I? You... You set up a romantic dinner, you did everything to try and get me back. And when I forgave you. When I truly forgave you, you said you wanted to be friends!" I scoffed, "FRIENDS! But no, you wouldn't even give me that luxury. You claimed we were friends just because you had won your little game of getting Joe to forgive you. And then you said we were friends but pushed me further away." I wasn't the one speaking. I had let the voices take over for me. I didn't know if I even agreed with what they were saying, but it was much easier to just let them take over than to try and process everything and try and understand it all. Letting the voices say what they wanted allowed me to be numb. And being numb was much better than being broken.

"It was never a game, Joe! It was never a game to me! Please just let me explain! I wanted to be more than friends, but I was too scared. I'm a scared coward Joe. I am. But if you'd just let me explain, you'd see it was never EVER a game. You'd see how much I care about you. You'd see-"

I could feel myself softening. I could feel the love I felt for Caspar pushing the voices aside. I could at least listen-

"I hate you, Caspar Lee." I heard the words exit my mouth. I considered pushing the voices aside and saying that I'd let Caspar speak, but the voices reminded me how I needed to be numb. That's right, I needed to just trust them. They were protecting me.

"Joe-"

I felt my feet walking backwards, before I opened the door. I bumped shoulders with Troye, but I said nothing. I just needed to keep walking.

"Caspar has made you worthless Joe. You're lucky we're here to help. Without us you're nothing, Joe. Don't ever think about pushing us away again. Without us you're meaningless." And for the first time, I was letting myself believe the voices. I was slowly but surely... becoming them.

--A/N - To be honest the voices kind of scare me. I almost feel like this story is becoming some mild horror or something. Should I have the voices continue for a while or should I push them out as soon as possible?

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