three.

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I was seeing stars. And not the pretty kind either. The kind that flashed and burned like they were dying. My backside throbbed, and beer soaked through the back of my jeans. Noise filled my head in waves, but I caught snippets of people's words.

"Hey, are-"

"...down..."

"just stop-"

One voice cut through all the sound, like a blade of ice that sent chills dancing across my skin. In the dark of the bar I couldn't make out his face, just his figure hovering over me and the stench of motor oil coming off his jacket.

"Come on, let's go."

His hand gently closed around my wrist, still wet and cold from holding his drink. When he pulled me up I felt like I had been placed on a cloud, floating above and away from all the noise and all the smoke and all the darkness that filled my head.

A blast of cold hit me, and finally I tasted fresh air. I blinked and looked up, the sun still hanging low and burning bright behind reams of clouds. I used to hate midnight sun in the summer, although recently I was thankful it kept me awake, and away from the nightmares that coming back home brought me.

"So...you good?"

The biting of the wind that blew down from the mountains brought me back to my senses. I whipped around and came face to face with Grey, his arms crossed in his dirty jean jacket and a typical, disdained look on his face. He chewed on a toothpick while he waited for my response.

"Just peachy, thanks," I muttered as I pulled my jacket tighter over my torso.

An awkward silence ballooned in the air around us. Grey frowned and furrowed his brows the way he always did when he was thinking, but for once it was directed at me. My nerves bundled into a knot in my stomach.

"What are you looking at?" I hissed through my teeth.

"You're bleeding." Grey pointed at my forehead. He chomped down on the toothpick again, and hearing his teeth grind made me shudder. He took a step towards me, and as soon as he did I stepped back.

"Don't," I said sharply. "I'm fine."

He stepped forward again, but slower and more docile, like the way he had guided me out of the bar. I felt warm liquid trickle down my head and stop at my temple.

"Seriously Grey." I couldn't hide the cracking in my voice. "Don't you dare."

I didn't know what would happen if his skin touched mine again while I was fully cognizant, but I really didn't want to know.

He rolled his eyes at me. "Or what?"

"Or..." I swallowed hard and tried to slow my breathing. "Or I'll kick your teeth in."

"Really?" He sounded bored. "And risk getting blood on your boots? You wouldn't."

My blood boiled, and I was sure my face was as red as the sun-stained clouds overhead. Without another word I huffed and turned on my heel, making my way down the street and back towards the coffee shop. I had the keys - if I had to hide out there until Delilah or my mother picked me up, I would. Anything to avoid seeing him, hearing him, smelling him in the air around me.

"I'm not gonna chase you Kenny," I heard him call after me, his voice carrying on the wind through the empty street. "I spent the better part of my teenage life chasing after you. I'm not doing it anymore. I'm fucking tired of it."

My breath caught in my throat, and tears stung the corners of my eyes. Those dying stars flashed in my head again, and with it came echoes of his voice and every pained word he spoke.

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