052; real life

106 12 25

brooke helped me so much on a *certain* aspect of this chapter go stan brooke

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"It wasn't supposed to go this way," Awsten mumbles, shaking his head and setting his phone aside.  "I knew there'd be some bad reaction and I figured she'd have something to say, that's why I asked everyone to stay out of it.  Talking to her or any of the people on her side is pointless!  That's all Elijah is doing right now.  How does he not see that he's just making her angrier?  She's gonna snap!"

"Aws, honey, I think Elijah knows exactly what he's doing," Thea tells him, giving a sympathetic smile.  "He's shifting people's attention.  Instead of at-ing you on every tweet, they're just trying to argue with him now.  It's still about you, yeah, but barely anyone is going directly for you anymore, they all just wanna fight with him.  It sucks but, either way people are gonna be talking.  He's just trying to make sure the bad ones talk to him instead of you."

"If that's what it is, I don't want him throwing himself in front of me like that," he shakes his head at the idea.  "She'll go after him worse if he doesn't back down."

"This is Elijah we're talking about here.  If she pulls anything he'll flip it around on her," she reminds him, "Elijah is just trying to help you. Please, let him."

"I don't want him getting caught in the fucking middle," Awsten snaps, trying to hide the fact that he's tearing up a little, "even if he can flip it on her...she doesn't back down.  If he doesn't let her win she's gonna—she'll fucking destroy him.  She'll find a way, I'm telling you she always, always has a way to come out on top.  She's gonna fucking hurt him, Thea!  What am I supposed to do just sit back and let him fucking take this for me?  I can't!  I know how fucked up she gets.  I can't let him take that for me!  I won't put that fucking shit on him."

"You're not putting anything on him.  He's trying to help you.  He's choosing to do this," Thea reminds him gently, wanting to diffuse the situation but also unable to let Awsten just blame himself.

"He doesn't know what he's getting into!  Neither of you knows how fucking...you don't know how far she'll go.  You don't know and Elijah doesn't know and he's gonna get hurt 'cause he won't just fucking listen to me!  And the only reason he's even in this position is 'cause I went out and did that fucking podcast and now he's gonna get hurt and it's gonna be all my fucking fault and I can't—I can't have her hurting the people I love, I can't have it be my fault.  I need him to stop before she hurts him.  You don't get it.  You don't know what she'll do.  She won't give up and she doesn't...she doesn't listen when people tell her no.  Even if he says sorry and backs down once she's fucking started she won't stop and she'll hurt him so bad and she won't stop, she doesn't fucking stop even if you fucking beg her and it just gets worse if you try to tell her no or to stop she d-doesn't quit.  She'll just keep going and going and going and...I can't let that happen to him.  Not him.  He's family.  I gotta keep him safe from her.  But he doesn't understand," Awsten pauses, roughly wiping away his tears.  "Why doesn't he believe me when I tell him she's dangerous?  I need him to believe me."

"I'll call him, okay?  I'll get him to lay off," Thea offers, holding Awsten's hands in her own to stop him from continuing to wipe overly hard at the tears he can't seem to stop.  "I'll make sure he listens.  Just stay here, relax with the twins, yeah?"

"What about Geoff and Otto and Travis?  They're all...we were gonna go out to dinner," Awsten reminds her, trying to hide how much he hopes she'll be the one to suggest rescheduling or canceling going out.

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