049; real life

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"Where should I start?" Awsten asks after an awkward moment of quiet.

"Wherever you want to," Tom answers, trying to sound casual.  "It's up to you."

"Okay...guess I'll...from when I met her?  Is that okay?" Awsten questions, shifting anxiously in his seat.

"Yeah, of course," Tom assures him with a nod.

"Right...so, it was...I was getting my morning coffee and she was there," he starts off, his voice shaking a little.  "I was looking at something and I laughed and she noticed and...she came over to me and I made her laugh and...I wanted to make her laugh again.  We ended up spending that whole day together...and she gave me her number.  I remember being so fuckin' stoked I didn't even have to ask her for her number, she just gave it to me.  Thought I impressed her enough for her to just wanna see me again, I guess.  Wait, am I allowed to say fuck on here?  I said it...sorry."

"No, no, don't be sorry, it's fine," Tom tells him with an encouraging smile.  "You can curse, just talk like you normally would."

"Thanks," Awsten mumbles, clearing his throat before continuing.  "So, things were...good, I think, for a while.  We jumped in pretty fast, which wasn't out of the ordinary for me, I guess.  I...I have...had a tendency to let myself be in when I was in, y'know not hold back.  And I thought she was the same way, I thought that was why we were going so fast...not too sure on that anymore.  But...it was just under three months in that she started talking about moving in together.  I wasn't really...I didn't wanna do it.  Moving in before even three months was fast, even for what I was used to.  I said no at first, she pushed the issue.  On our three month anniversary, that day she brought it up again, she'd brought it up every day before that anyway but she really pushed it that day.  I told her I didn't wanna be that far from my family and friends and...she told me that she loved me, and I was all she needed and...she just seemed so hurt by the idea that I didn't feel the same.  I hated thinking I hurt her, and...I can't explain it.  The way she looked at me, I guess.  I just wanted to fix things.  Feels fucking stupid looking back."

"It wasn't stupid," Tom speaks up, "things like this aren't easy to navigate."

Awsten gives a little shrug, trying to swallow back the lump in his throat as he gets a little choked up.

"I don't...right, anyway...so, I agreed to move in with her.  We were okay for the first month or so.  Then, right around the time before I had to leave for tour, we got in our first fight.  It was barely even a fight, honestly.  She was mad that I was gonna invite some friends over to the house.  I hadn't really been able to see them since before I moved in with her 'cause she kept me so busy all the time.  But she wasn't cool with them coming over.  I don't remember everything from that but I remember her saying that it was her house.  Y'know, just hers, not ours, and she didn't want my friends over.  I don't remember how this one got twisted up to be my fault but she turned it that way.  Was always my fault somehow with her."

Tom wants to cut in, tell Awsten it wasn't his fault at all, but he knows it'll be easier for Awsten to keep talking without the interruptions.

"But, however it was, she made it my fault and I wanted to fix it so I told her I wouldn't invite my friends.  She was happy.  I remember how fuckin' happy she was over that.  She kissed me for the first time all day for it.  Left for tour pretty soon after that.  She was pissed at me for leaving, made sure I knew it too.  Then I came back and my bandmates had to wait it out a couple hours or so at...guess I'm just gonna call it her place 'cause it never really seemed like ours.  But they hung out there for a bit waiting for their rides home.  She was nice while they were there.  It was like she was the person she was the day we met.  Then they left and...she was mad.  She said one of my bandmates was rude and, to this day, I know that was just a bullshit excuse she was using.  She accused one of the nicest people on the fucking planet of being rude and I didn't get it.  Told her I'd talk to him about it, see what happened.  She told me to man up and actually deal with it.  Wanted me to go off on him or some shit, I don't know.  I don't remember what it was that escalated things but she ended up pushing me.  Then she did it again and I fell, got some nasty scrapes on my elbows, one of them scarred, actually.  I forgave her so easily.  She was crying and apologizing so many times I somehow ended up feeling guilty."

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