050; real life

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Thea and Awsten stand there for a little while longer, quiet aside from Awsten's crying.  They end up sitting down on the floor, holding hands instead of hugging.

Awsten stops crying after a bit, his eyes bloodshot and his face a little flushed.

"I lost it in there," he mumbles, shaking his head and staring down at where his hands are holding onto hers.  "I tried so hard to keep it together but...middle of a sentence I fucking broke."

Thea can feel his hands trembling, his loose grip on her hands shaking so much her own hands shake with him.  She wishes she could make this hurt less for him.

"No one expects you to be okay through all of that," she tells him quietly, "it's okay to cry, honey.  And you don't have to go back in if you don't wanna.  We can leave."

"I wanna finish," he insists, though he finds himself doubting that statement.  "I want to do this."

"Okay...just promise me you actually feel ready for this and aren't just pushing yourself into it 'cause you feel like you're obligated to," Thea requests, obviously worried about him.

"I want to do this, I'm ready.  I wanna get this all out there," he answers shakily, his voice unsteady as a few more tears slip out.  "I want to but I think...I need to do this.  For me, and for whoever the hell out there needs to hear it to know that their world isn't ending and that there's a way out.  I remember how it felt to be fucking trapped and feel like there was no escape and I woulda given anything for someone to show me there was a way out.  If I can help someone else see that there's a way out, I gotta do that, Thea.  I gotta do it...I just need a minute to catch my breath.  Just wanna be here with you and not in there right now.  Feel safer with you."

Thea gives a weak smile, blinking back tears of her own.  She's not sure why, exactly, she wants to cry.  Maybe it's because seeing him hurt breaks her heart.  Or maybe it's because she's so proud of him for being here right now.  Whatever the case, she won't let herself cry right now.  Right now she just wants to give him what he needs to be able to go back in.

So, she sits on the floor with him and they stay quiet until Awsten is ready.  He leaves without much warning, a simple rushed out "gonna get through this now" before heading off.

He goes back into the recording room, giving an apologetic smile.

"You alright?" Tom asks, waiting to go back on the air with Awsten until he's confirmed he's ready.

"Yeah, just needed a minute," Awsten answers with a nod.  "Ready to get back in whenever you are."

Tom gives a nod, letting Awsten take the lead here.

"So...yeah, she told me not to move but I needed to go pee so, y'know, I moved...she let me go to the bathroom, at least, but she...I think she tied something around the doorknob on it and tied the other end to something else to keep it closed.  Just fuckin' left me in there for the rest of the day...and the next day and the one after.  I thought about breaking the glass on the window and just leaving through it.  Thought about shit like that a lot at the beginning and when things got real' bad, not to say it wasn't real' bad all the time 'cause it usually was if I'm being entirely honest here.  Felt like there was no way out...like, if I left, where would I even go?  I had it in my head that no one would wanna help me and now I know that I coulda gone to my family, any of my friends...I think it was just not easy to see that in the moment.  Felt alone but it's important to know that I wasn't.  And, honestly, I really fucking wish I woulda realized then how many people I had that wanted to help me.  There's always gonna be at least one person willing to help pull you out of nasty shit like that so...if you're in it, I know it doesn't feel like it, trust me, I fucking know but there's an out...it's hard to see it but it's there."

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