038; real life

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"You don't want me to go," Awsten mumbles after seeing Thea's reaction to the new set of messages between himself and Emily.

"I don't like the idea," Thea admits, trying to make sure she gets the words out the right way.  "But it's up to you.  I'm...it's not my place to just tell you no or that I don't want you going.  You're an adult, you can make your own choices.  If this is something you want to do and you think you can do it and make it through, then do what you want."

"I don't want to," he tells her simply, shaking his head a little.  "Trust me, seeing her is one of the last things I'd wanna do but she's got that threat hanging over my head and...I threatened her.  I did that and that can have serious consequences if reports it.  I don't risk that blowing back on us, our family.  If going and talking to her in person is what it takes to avoid that then I'll do it but, please, don't believe for a second that I want to see her.  I don't want to see her at all, ever again.  But I'll do it."

"Will you be okay?" Thea asks worriedly.  "If you're not gonna be okay—"

"I won't," he doesn't bother to lie about it.  "I won't be okay.  I'm scared and nervous and I don't want to see her at all but I need to.  So, when I come home after seeing her, I'm not gonna be okay.  And I'm really gonna need you to be okay with that 'cause I need you to help me.  Can you do that for me?  Can you...can you help me, please?"

"Of course," she assures him quietly, stepping forward a bit and holding both his hands with hers.  "Always, honey."

He frowns, trying to push Emily calling him that out of his head.

"Why honey?" he inquires hesitantly, resisting the urge to pull his hands away from her.  "Why do you call me that, I mean?"

"It's silly," she mumbles, blushing a bit.  "It's 'cause you're so sweet all the time, and you stick."

"I stick?" he echoes, confused but also a bit amused as he cracks a little smile, shifting closer to her.  "You gotta explain that one, darlin'."

"You stick, like even back when things weren't good and I didn't wanna be in love with you, you stuck.  Couldn't get you out of my head or anything.  You're sweet and sticky like honey, so you're honey.  What about yours?"

"Oh, mine?  Mine's not as cute," he mutters with a grin.  "Mine is 'cause it makes you blush and smile.  You don't even notice it, I think, but your cheeks get all pink and you get this little, like, barely-there smile like you're trying to hide it without even realizing it.  Happens every time, every single one, and it always makes me smile seeing you smile."

"Oh, yours is plenty cute, honey," she tells him with a grin before leaning forward and kissing him.

"Darlin'," he teases, pulling back just a little so that his lips still brush up against hers when he speaks.  The moment is cut short by Skye waking up crying.  "I got her," he's quick to volunteer.

Thea smiles at him as he rushes off to care for their daughter.  After a moment, she follows because Skye's crying woke up Jade and made her cry as well.  She calms Jade down as Awsten changes Skye's diaper.  Jade stops crying as soon as she's resting in Thea's arms but Skye takes a bit longer to calm down.

After the twins are both calm and relaxed, Thea finishes getting the groceries put away as Awsten gets ready to go meet up with Emily, trying to ignore all his worries and fears.

He stops to give Thea a hug and a kiss on his way out before leaving.  He barely makes it on time but Emily isn't there yet when he arrives anyway.

She doesn't arrive until almost twenty minutes after the time she demanded he be there at.  His anxiety grows as he waits and waits, wishing he had his phone to distract himself with.

When she finally arrives, he tries his best to cover up all his feelings, putting up the best mask of indifference that he can manage as she sits down across from him in the booth.

"For all that shit you put on being here on time, you still got here a whole twenty goddamn minutes late," he comments, rolling his eyes.

"What?  Did you have somewhere better to be? I can't imagine you would," Emily taunts before smiling.  "Or maybe you were just eager to see me, yeah?  Miss me, babe?"

"Miss you?  You really are out of your fucking mind, aren't you?  I don't miss you.  I'll never miss you and you need to start understanding that," he forces himself to speak calmly, holding back the urge to just scream at her.

"C'mon, babe, be realistic here," she starts trying to reason, "she isn't it for you.  Look at how you already are now.  You need someone who'll keep you in line—"

"Keep me in line?  Are you fucking kidding me with this bullshit?" he snaps before quickly reigning himself in.  He takes a deep breath, trying to ignore the attention his short outburst earned him from the tables nearby.  "Is that what you thought you were doing?  When you pushed me down the damn stairs?  Or what about when you grabbed that curtain rod and fucking beat me with it?  Or any of the times you hit me or pushed me around or kicked me?  You were just keeping me in line, huh?  Is that how you justified it to yourself?  Sat there and acted like you were doing me a fucking favor?  You weren't.  The only person you ever did anything for is yourself."

"If you were so unhappy and miserable, why did you stay?" Emily challenges, getting defensive.

"I didn't have anywhere else to fucking go," he reminds her harshly, "you made damn sure of that.  That's why you asked me to move in with you, right?  To isolate me from everyone else in my life so I wouldn't have anywhere to go?"

"I asked you to move in with me because I love you," she feigns hurt at the accusation.  "I know you love me too.  You're just lashing out."

"Jesus Christ, Emily, I do not love you!  Are you really so blind that you can't see how much I hate you?  I don't love you and, after everything you did to me, don't try to say you ever loved me," he rants, glaring at her, "and don't you dare use that tone.  You're not gonna get sympathy from me.  Act hurt and try to get sympathy all you want but you're not getting it from me.  I know who you are, I won't fall for it again.  You're out of your fucking mind if you think you're gonna rope me back"

"You're attracting attention," Emily points out, knowing that will bother him.  "We should go."

"We really shouldn't," he argues, not wanting to leave with her.  "This is a real' public place.  You can't do shit here so if you wanna talk we're gonna sit right here and you can say what you need to say and then I'm going home."

"So on edge," Emily comments, shaking her head.  "C'mon, just a little walk.  Not sure what you're imagining but I'm just thinking some fresh air, and there are plenty of people outside too.  Let's go."

"Let's stay here instead," he shoots back, staying seated.

"Unless you want me to tell everyone about that little threat you made, you should really stop fighting me on this.  Let's go."

He hesitates, not wanting to leave with her, but the side of him that worries about her actually posting the conversation wins out and he nods, getting up slowly and leaving some cash behind despite not having ordered anything.  He figures he might as well pay for taking up a booth for what felt like forever.

"So, where are we walking?"


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