040; real life

118 13 25

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Awsten makes it to his car before the tears come.  He doesn't even know what part of the interaction has him in tears.  Maybe it's just seeing her that made him need to cry, just being near her and talking to her.  Maybe it was seeing what she took from him, starting at his old apartment and seeing it as hers now.  Whatever it was, he never wants it again.

He stays in his car in the parking lot for a little while, just long enough that he's sure he can drive safely without his vision blurred by tears.  He still has some tears but he manages to hold them back while he drives.  He can let it out when he gets home, he tells himself.  When he's there, he can cry and Thea can hug him and let him talk if he's ready to it they can just stay quiet.

The drive feels like it takes an eternity and he wants nothing more than to be home.  He lets out a little sigh of relief when he finally pulls into his spot in the driveway.  He hurries to the door, his hands shaking as he tries to get the key in the lock to open it.  He wants to do it on his own but he's upset and shaking and his vision is all blurry with tears again so he settles on just knocking, feeling comfortable in knowing Thea won't judge him for it.

She opens the door and hugs him as soon as she sees how distraught he appears to be.  They stay there for a moment before she gently leads him inside to go sit down.  They don't make it far enough to sit down.  He stops her, hugging her again.

"I fucking hate her," he mumbles, his voice a little shaky from crying.  "I hate her so much.  I hated seeing her, I hated all of it."

"I know, honey," Thea tells him quietly, "but you did it.  You did so good, you made it through and you're here and you never gotta go see her again.  You're out, okay?  You made it, you did good, so good, Awsie."

"Doesn't feel like I did good," he admits quietly, shaking his head as he pulls away from the hug and wipes his tears away, though they're replaced by more.  "I left.  I walked out.  I didn't hear her out...she has...she rented out my old apartment.  It's hers now.  I saw it and I just...I couldn't be there.  I felt like I couldn't breathe, Thea.  It felt like dying being near her and...walking away like that felt like letting her win."

"Walking away was strong," she corrects, "she wanted you to stay.  You didn't give her that.  You left.  You didn't give her what she wanted.  You're strong.  It took so much to walk away.  I'm so proud of you, honey."

"I...it's just...I thought I could get through it, just hold up and let her say whatever she needed to get out and then just leave and process it all once I got home but, being there, talking to her....it was so hard.  I thought I'd do better with it but...it was too much.  I wanted to yell at her and make her understand but I don't think she can.  She thinks...she acted like all the shit she did was for me, like she was just helping me. She really seemed like she believed it too.  How could she think she was helping me?  She put me in the hospital!  More than once!  And now she's trying to say she did it 'cause she loved me?  What does that even mean?"

"It means she needs some serious help figuring out what love is," Thea chooses her words carefully, pausing briefly.  "None of what she did you was love."

"I know," he agrees with a nod, "I just wanna understand how she could think it was...it fucking sucks, having been there for years and not understand how or why.  I know there's no good answer, it's gonna boil down to the fact that she could so she did but, I don't know, I feel like it'd be easier to deal with it all if there was just a concrete reason.  Like, if there was something that I could look at and know for sure that that was why she did what she did...I wanna understand it, but I don't think I'll ever get that."

"It's okay not to get why she did it.  All you gotta worry about understanding is where you are after it all.  She did what she did and we can't get in her head figure out why so...get in your own head, I guess," Thea suggests hesitantly, "figure out yourself, y'know?  How you're gonna work through things and where you wanna be."

"Still not exactly easy," Awsten comments quietly, frowning a bit.

"I know," she agrees, "but you can do it.  You're strong."

"I don't know," he mumbles, shrugging.  "Don't wanna worry about that right now, just wanna sit and not talk.  Maybe hug, definitely hold your hand."

"That can definitely be arranged."

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