²⁰ { take }

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the truth was, finn was starting to slip into what he felt just about a year ago. and he was scared.

he wasn't the type to be uncomfortable with himself, or scared of anything really. but he was starting to fall. he was terrified.

he sits in the drivers seat, always insistent on driving the group. it took his mind away to relaxation despite the heavy traffic through the vancouver area.

today, they were headed down to texas, where they'd take two days of straight through driving and perform their newest album on stage in front of their biggest crowd yet.

nobody expected finn to make it over forty eight hours of staring at traffic lights and street signs. but as the night falls after the first long day, finn still remains in silence as he grips to the wheel.

"i can take over?" ayla rests her hand to his shoulder from the back, gently squeezing it to reassure that he was still conscious. nobody had heard him speak in a long while. not since they left.

his head shakes; voice raspy,
"im fine."

"finn, thats a bit dangerous dont you think?"

"i said im fine." he looks back at her, back to the road.

typically, violet would have interfered. told finn that he should take a break otherwise he'd be risking all out their lives that night.

but violet was just so tired of arguing that she sat quiet. getting up from the seat next to him and climbing to the back. she was hoping to get comfortable and finally manage to get some rest.

she takes her shoes off before laying down; a van policy to keep the floor from getting so dirty.

their equipment is pushed to the very back, giving them as much space as they could manage. malcolm and jack lay on the benches opposing each other. jack already fast asleep as malcolm stares at his phone in the dark.

violet lays on the floor next to ayla, plenty of space between them for all five of them had squeezed to the ground before to sleep.

however, ayla gets closer. close enough to be able to whisper to her without the others hearing.
"hows finn treating you lately?"

"same old thing." she shrugs.

aylas eyes meet violets wrist that lay between them. bruises in the shapes of finger prints around the peaks of her bone.

she sighs,
"i told him that you'd leave if he didnt stop."

"you did what?" violet whispers, eyebrows furrowed.

"you have to do it, violet. you have to stand up for yourself."

"its not that easy-"

"of course it is. i told you that i'd help you out."

"its not that i dont know where to go."

"then what is it?"

"i love him." she blurts, regretting saying it out loud.
"and, i cant just leave him."

aylas heart sinks to empty. it took her off guard quite a bit.
"i'm sorry violet... i didn't know."

"you didn't know because its all one sided. its not your fault."

"you don't think he loves you?"

violet stares to her wrist, pulling it to her chest to rest under the blanket.
"this isn't love, what he does to me."

"im sorry"

"don't be." violet smiles, closing her eyes.
"goodnight ayla."

she feels jacks arm drop to dangle on her body. but she didn't mind, falling asleep with the weight on her back.

the two girls had conversed quietly in the thoughts of the conversation being between them. but finn had heard it.

every single word.

and his heart sunk in despair. how could he break the only thing that was keeping him happy? how could he stoop so low?

finn stays up alone, tired in thought but not daring to take his eyes off the road. he just wished it'd stop raining, the road was barely visible. his sleepiness to top it off.

by the morning, his eyes stung dry. the rain continued to drizzle as the van glides down a windy highway through the wyoming mountains. it was a breath taking view that violet was the first to wake up to.

it was five in the morning. still, violet hadn't developed the mindset to sleep in the car for very long, it'd usually wake her up sick.

carefully she stands, stepping over aylas head to duck her way back to the passenger side.

"good morning." she speaks, sitting herself to the leather material of the seat. she takes in the view, a hoodie pulled over her head to escape the humid cold.

"not sleeping very well again?" his voice channels so sleepy.

"it comes and goes." violet shrugs it off, gazing at the dampness of everything surrounding them.
"has it been raining all night?"

finn nods,
"its finally starting to calm down a bit."

"thats good."

the conversation trails off in silence. the tension between the two felt so awkward. so distant.

all it really was, was that finn had much on his mind to speak, and violet was misreading it.

its quiet for a long time, the two much too uncomfortable to really enjoy what was going on around them.

"we need to talk." he speaks up suddenly.

violets eyebrows raise, looking back to the others to make sure everyone was still sleeping.
"if this is going to be another argument, can it wait until we get back home from the tour? i know thats a while from now but i just dont think i cant take that right now."

finns heart sinks, the sorrow that came from her voice made her seem so frail, so scared and empty. and it was because of him.
"no, its not an argument, violet. god damnit." he whispers, frustrated with himself.

"oh, okay then. go ahead."

his fingers tap nervously on the wheel.
"i wasn't eavesdropping, its just a small van and it was so quiet with everyone going to bed."

"what are you talking about?"

"i heard you and ayla talking last night."

"god." her hands rub across her tired eyes, dropping to her lap as she stares there.

"you really think i don't love you?"

she shrugs, gaze still locked to her lap.
"you haven't really said it."

"i didn't want to complicate things."

"you, don't really show it either." she whispers, almost scared to have said what she did.

finn stares to the road. violet could swear the from the distance his eyes glossed over tears in sheer guilt. but he'd never admit it, nevertheless show it.

"i know." he swallows, voice coming off so quietly.
"i hate myself for that."

"you should, finn."

"i'm working on it, i promise you."

"you've said that before."

"im just, so sorry. to have put you through that. to keep putting you through that."

"regardless, i meant what i said to ayla. i love you, and whether that complicates things or not, you've already heard it. do with it what you will."

finn opens his mouth to say something.

anything.

but it doesn't come out.

and soon they hear shuffling from the back by the band.

finn shut his mouth and focused back to the road. leaving violet to hang there dry.

without saying it back.

1203 wc
happy 2019!

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