043; real life/flashback/real life

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It's been a while since Geoff has seen Awsten in person. He's seen everything going on online, the anonymous account dropping all those photos. Awsten seems to be dealing with it well but Geoff doesn't know for sure and he's worried.

He can't help but wonder if things would be different now of he'd voiced his suspicions about Emily all that time ago. Would Awsten have told the truth about what was going on if Geoff had pushed for answers instead of taking the lies so easily? Could he have made a difference?

He goes over it all in his head, wondering what could be different. The guilt eats away at him, logic melting away.

"Geoff? Hello?" Jawn pulls him out of his head. "Finally. Only took like three times."

"What's up?" Geoff asks, looking towards Jawn.

"Was gonna ask you that," Jawn tells him, "Travis and I were trying to talk to you and you were gone to the world."

"Everything okay?" Travis adds on, giving a look of concern.

"Yeah," Geoff lies before pausing and shaking his head, "I'm worried."

"About Awsten?" Travis assumes, earning a nod from Geoff. "Why? He's happy. Happier than he's been in a long time. Things are good for him right now."

"We thought things were good when he was with Emily," Geoff is quick to bring up, "look how that turned out...none of us knew what was going on."

"You feel guilty," Jawn realizes, giving him an odd look. "Geoff, there was no way for you, or any of us, to know what was going on behind closed doors."

"You weren't suspicious?" Geoff challenges, clearly having thought about this at length. "There was never a moment where you wondered?"

"Of fucking course there was," Jawn comes off a little harsher than he meant to. He forces himself to stop for a second and think through what to say. "Trust me, there were a lot of moments, probably for everyone. But it was...no one knows how to deal with that shit. We had our thoughts but, when we saw them together, they looked happy. It was hard to fully...we wondered but it wasn't something anyone thought would actually be, y'know, real. It was easier to believe that we were just being paranoid."

"Easier?" Geoff echoes quietly, frowning. "Easier for us. Remember that year on Warped Tour? When we all saw him limping around and trying to just hide how much pain he was in and...he said he fell down the stairs. Literally the most obvious lie. And we just fucking took it. Didn't you even argue the point."

"Yeah, I remember that," Jawn confirms, "I remember that Andy dude who was there too coming and asking me to keep an eye on him 'cause he saw how bad off Aws was when he walked onto the bus and saw him. Said Awsten said he fell. Which is exactly what Awsten told us. And we never actually saw any of the bruises or anything. He said he fell and all we could do was believe him 'cause there was nothing there to tell us he was lying."

"He was different after he got with Emily," Geoff brings up, obviously drowning in misplaced guilt. "I saw it...saw that he changed. And I just ignored it."

"Yeah, Geoff, we all did," Travis reminds him, "didn't see him on tour like you guys did but I did see him home and, yeah, he was different. But how were we supposed to know the reason? He probably wouldn't have been honest if we asked. It's not on you or us or him. Only one to blame is Emily. I think we all get feeling guilty for not seeing what was happening but it wasn't something he wanted us to see or know."

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