Chapter Nineteen: Disconnected-

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    Tony ran into me on my way back to the flat. He said he was searching for Tyler because he'd lost him at some point while he was busy with a client.

    “He'll probably be passed out down some alley somewhere,” I shrugged.

    “Probably. Will you still help me look for him anyway?” he begged, eyes wide and pleading.

    “Sure, Tony,” I agreed, words tired and barely a murmur. We split up, Tony wanted to go through all the nearby clubs and I set off to investigate the streets.

    I found him quite quickly, must have only been fifteen minutes since separating from Tony. He was sat against a wall on the floor, pavement glistening in the moonlight from when it had last rained. He held in one hand a bottle of vodka and in the other a lit cigarette.

    I slid down the wall beside him. I thought about what to say, maybe starting with a how you doing? but one glance at him brought a whole other question to my lips.

    “Do you know how it feels to look at someone, and want nothing more than to see the way you feel about them reflected in their eyes?” it was spoken with an insecure voice from a boy who was practically the definition of nervous. My confidence seemed to drain away from me in that moment.

    Tyler's eyes fell to his feet, he had his knees up, though more relaxed than usual. His forearms were resting on top of them, cigarette dangling limply between his fingers. I could see he was chewing on his bottom lip, tearing at the skin with his teeth.

    “But instead you see it while they're staring at someone else,” I continued, scrutinizing Tyler's expression for signs of understanding. He was so hard to read, still. I went with my instincts as I said, “you know what I'm talking about, don't you?”

    Tyler said nothing, lips now pressed tightly together, like he was trying to hold his emotions inside. Keep himself from confessing his secrets. I wished he'd trust me enough to tell them.

    I breathed in deeply before saying, “it wasn't fair what you did to me,” with a voice that trembled with a sadness that couldn't be explained. “But I think that even if you hadn't fucked me that night, I'd still have fallen for you and that's the worst part about it,”

    Tyler seemed to flinch at my words, it was subtle but definitely there at the corners of his eyes and the tightness of his lips. They slacked, only just, eyes twitching as the words were spoken. I wasn't going to cry in front of him. I wasn't going to cry at all.

    I raised my chin and said, “I'm gonna get over you,” though they didn't sound very sincere. “You gotta let me, yeah?”

    “Wha' if I don' wan' you to?” he whispered then, but he still wouldn't meet my eyes. He licked his lips and continued a moment later, “it feels good t' be wanted, doesn' it?” our gazes joined each other in a strange moment of honesty. I didn't know how to react.

    I thought about Finn for a moment. How it felt like that was who he was referring to.

    Tyler scoffed, breaking eye contact as he muttered, “feels good t' make someone feel how you felt. Lead someone on the same way you wer' lead on. Right?” eyes back on mine as his head angled to the side.

    “You're a bastard,” I whispered. Tyler broke into an awful grin but his eyes seemed to defy the forced expression, bleeding pain into the atmosphere around us. I felt it heavily around me, closing in on the two of us. He couldn't keep lying forever.

    “An' you're easy,” he commented heartlessly, gripping the cigarette between his teeth. He spoke around it, “you wer' too fuckin' easy tha' night, an' if I wanted ye t'night again, you'd be jus' as fuckin' easy,”

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