048; real life

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Shout out to the amazing lovelies betterdemons glittertimess and infinitygrimes for helping me decide what I wanted to do with this chapter!

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Awsten feels like a lot has been packed into this week.  Lucas's visit was short before he was off again with the band he's touring with.  Jawn stays a few more days before heading home as well and Awsten, Geoff, and Otto are in the studio for recording.  Hopeless isn't pushing them to be in too often but Awsten has a lot he wants to get done and Geoff and Otto are willing to do the work now too so it doesn't have to be done later on.  In the tome between that, Awsten works on the podcast with Travis.

With all that, Awsten is surprised he's even got time to go in and go through with his decision to share his story.  He wanted to do it as soon as possible so he wouldn't have time to overthink it and scare himself out of it.  Getting to this was complicated enough, he second-guessed himself a lot.  He even went and made sure to ask the representatives at Hopeless they work with because he knows their last label would've had a fit if he'd gone out and done this.  The people at Hopeless seemed shocked that he asked and assured him that having a say in his personal life was in no way part of their contract.  Part of him had almost hoped they'd tell him he couldn't do it but that hope went unfounded.

Now, he's here with Thea to talk on a live podcast about things he never imagined willingly sharing with the world.  The twins are back home being taken care of by Travis, Geoff, and Otto so it's just Awsten and Thea and he's glad for that because he doesn't like the idea of risking breaking down in front of his babies, or his friends.

"You okay?" Thea asks, with a worried frown as she turns her head to look at him while he stares into the recording room.

"Just nervous," he mumbles with a shrug, "kinda scared."

"You don't have to do this if you're not ready," she reminds him, giving his hand a little reassuring squeeze.  "It can wait if you need to."

"No, no," he dismisses, shaking his head.  "I wanna do it.  I can do it."

"Okay," she doesn't try to change his mind, simply nodding and holding his hand as they wait.

The person running the program ends the talk he'd been doing and heads into a commercial break before coming out into the hallway to greet Awsten and Thea.

"Hi," he greets, "I'm Tom!  We talked on the phone?"

"Yeah, hi, nice to meet you," Awsten rushes the words out a bit, his nervousness clear.  "I'm Awsten.  This is Thea." Thea gives a little wave but stays quiet, allowing Awsten to take the lead here and go at whatever pace he's comfortable with.  "Are we...how long before we get started?"

"Whenever you're ready," Tom answers, "wanted to leave that open for you so you don't feel rushed or anything.  You're running the show here on this.  Not trying to push you on anything, okay?  I just wanted to make that clear.  If there's any part of what happened that you're not comfortable talking about, we can avoid that entirely."

"Thanks," Awsten says quietly, giving Thea's hand a small queen before letting go.  "Think I'm ready to get started soon as this commercial break is up."

"Great!  Thea, you can wait here if you'd like or out in the lounge," Tom offers politely, "wherever you're comfortable."

"Aws, are you okay with me staying for this?" Thea chooses to let him decide, wanting to make sure he's as comfortable as possible.

Awsten thinks over it for a moment.  Part of him wants her here just so he can know she's right there for him but he also doesn't want her hearing all this.  She knows some of it but he's made sure a lot of it was kept private between him and his therapist and, despite knowing that her knowing wouldn't change things, he still doesn't really want her to know.

"Can you wait in the lounge?" he requests hesitantly, knowing she won't be angry about it but still feeling bad for asking.  She wants to be here for him and he feels like he's pushing her away.  "Sorry, I just...y'know, rather you not hear all this right now."

"Don't be sorry," Thea dismisses, shaking her head.  "You know where to find me if you need me.  I love you."

"I love you too," he tells her, not thinking about it before turning and quickly wrapping his arms around her tightly.  She returns the gesture, trying not to worry too much about how this might go.

"Right out in the lounge.  Don't gotta tell me anything if you don't want to but if it gets too much and you need anything, I'm right out there for you, okay?" The speaks quietly so only he hears.

"I love you," he repeats one last time before letting go, not giving her the chance to say it back before he's hurrying off into the recording room.  Thea frowns, wishing he would've stayed a moment longer so she could've said it back.  She waits a moment before heading to the lounge, not noticing Awsten staring at her from the window as she does.

He knows the fear is irrational but he can't help the fact that he's terrified she'd leave him if she knew everything.  He doesn't even plan on saying everything, some things will never be spoken aloud, not even to his therapist because he just doesn't want to say it, but even as much as he will talk about seems like too much.  He doesn't want Thea hearing all this.

He's pulled out of his head by Tom doing a quick introduction for him.  It's odd to him not being introduced as Awsten Knight, from Waterparks.  It's odd being in a setting like this not related to the band at all, even his podcast with Travis is band related.  Anything he does in the public eye feels like it can be traced back to him just being Awsten Knight, from Waterparks.  This is separate from that, and he hopes it will stay separate.

"So, Awsten, you can start whenever you're comfortable," Tom pulls him out of his thoughts, giving a worried look that lets Awsten know he'd tried getting his attention at least once already.

"Right, yeah, thanks," Awsten tries to sound like he's not off balance with all this.  "I guess we'll get started."

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