Chapter Thirty

A day passes, and things aren't normal. It's more like a mockery of our previously 'normal' life together, the usually comfortable silences have turned awkward. The words that are exchanged between us are merely meant to cover up the silence, and that's so obvious.

And it's all my fault.

All. My. Own. Fucking. Fault.

I'm staring in the mirror in the bathroom right now.

I look into those eyes. Those fucking green eyes that aren't mine. They aren't mine and they never were, not since I was born, not since the day I killed her and God, I hate my eyes. No –not mine, how can I forget? They're his.

Just like my hair and nose and the curve of my jaw –it's all his, none of it belongs to me. It's all so fucking hideous. It's like… our life now. My face is an awkward, ugly imitation of his.

And I hate it. All of it.

Except for Seaton. I…He…

Well. I just don't hate him, okay?

"Jayden!" Linda calls as she practically tackles me during my job. It's always a surprise when they come to visit me. It shouldn't be by now, I guess.

"Uh…hi, Linda…."

"Look at you in your uniform, looking all edible!" She says that every time. "I could just eat you, you know, if I weren't a big fat lesbo."

I blink at her as she pries herself from my body, "Linda…you know you're not fat, right?"

Because I do not think I can handle anorexia in my life right now. No fucking way.

"Yes, sweetie, it was a figure of speech." She kisses my cheek and grabs a menu of her own, taking my arm in hers, "So, where am I sitting today, Jay? Or you making me stand?"

"Er –no…sorry. This way."

I guess work wasn't so bad today. Mark's a sweet guy, I guess. He's a good…person. Another friend? I'm not sure my conscience could handle it. It's too…I don't know, it's like most of the other 'friends' I've made, I guess. Are they fake too? Will they pass?

I don't like to think about it.

The hallway is dark when I get home. The light in the kitchen is on, but Seaton is nowhere to be seen. My heart beats a little faster at that, and my mind sifts through all the possibilities. I step into the living room with caution, as though the floor will fall out beneath me and I drop my bag on the couch wearily, looking around for some sign of life.

That's it.

I've finally done it.

I've finally driven Seaton away. No more Chinese food, no more paintings, no more maybe-kisses, no more Master Hypnotist or stupid, smoldering black eyes or warm hands or –nothing. It's all gone, I've freaked him out, it's all my fault, I'm such a fucking loser -


And it's his voice. My body tenses slightly, and I look around, hoping it's not a vision of my wishful thinking, and he's there. Standing there in all of his Seaton-ic glory and damn it, I hate myself sometimes, when I look at him like this. I'm so damn selfish because I almost expect him to want me, I don't know why, but I want it so much that it feels like he should want it too.

Does that make sense?

Nothing does anymore. Not the way he looks at me with those dark eyes of his, the way his pale skin glows from the dull light of his room, that I've still never been in. And Iwant to—No, that's not fair either. Why do I expect him to want me? I'm nothing special. He should be with someone like…like Corin, someone smart, handsome, perfect, with shiny white teeth and good taste in clothes and a confident personality…someone perfect, someone…


He'd told me I was beautiful. That has to mean something, right? More than the way Linda calls me cute and Corin calls me pretty? Just more, right? Or is that just wishful thinking again? …Has to be.

And damn it, I wish I could go back in time. Wish I'd never fallen for him, because maybe I would have preferred Charlie fucking me to this. At least I didn't love Charlie, notreally, not like I love Seaton, at least it wouldn't have hurt so much because Charlie wanted me and I knew it. Seaton called me beautiful, but in the long run, does that meananything?

Seaton looks so perfect standing there, in the dim light of the apartment (our apartment) and I can't stand loving him this much. It makes me want to die. It makes me want tolive.

He waves shortly from his bedroom and squints his eyes away from the light.

"Yeah, sorry, I've got a huge migraine…did you eat?" He asks a bit groggily, and I know he was sleeping and woke up upon my entrance. Damn light sleeper ex-cop bastard.

"I'm fine," I reply easily, frowning. I'm so relieved that he's here. But…I feel bad that I doubted him. Do I even have the right to doubt him, after everything he's done for me? I'm such an idiot.

"That's not an answer, brat," He snorted and shakes his head, and then winces from the movement. I want to help, to hold his head gently in my lap and stroke it and kiss it, and just be there…But I have to stop. Shut the fuck up, Jayden, you fool.

I ask carefully, "Do you need anything…for your headache?"

"You still didn't answer, brat. Don't evade."

"I did, at work," I lie. It's okay though, because I'm not hungry anyway. And if I do get hungry…well, I can find the refrigerator for a snack or something, There's no need to bother Seaton for anything else. "Do you need anything?"

"I'm fine, Brat. Shut up and worry about yourself."

"Sorry for waking you…um, you should go to bed…"

He nods in agreement and rubs the back of his neck, "Yeah…" He turned around, back toward his room, but then looked back at me with those searing, narrow eyes of his, "… but hey, wake me up if you need something."


He snorts, because he knows it's a lie too.

And then he disappears into the darkness of his room, and I sigh, running a hand through my hair and decide to take a bath. I get in, wash myself, try to relax, and get out. I avoid the mirror at all costs and then go to my room and collapse in my bed. My shoulder twinges slightly, since I landed on it so hard, but I ignore it and merely shift onto my stomach and bury myself in the covers until I almost disappear.

And thus ends my second day without kisses.

"Ah –Jayden, wait, before you leave, one question!"

I sigh softly, reading his mind. Mr. Spencer is a great guy, but a little too—

Overbearing. Fathering. Protective. Worrisome. They all fit, and he likes me, treats me like a son, but he's not my dad. My dad is in prison, he's in prison, and no matter how nice Mr. Spencer is, that's not going to fucking change. And stupid fucking college won't either.

"Yes, Mr. Spencer?"

"Have you thought any more about -?"


"And have you come to a -?"


And I walk out, running my hand through my hair yet again and taking a deep breath, ducking into the bathroom for a moment before going outside. To face Seaton. And…wait.

Aw, fuck.

Today I have…a session. Hello, Ms. Jameson. I lean my head against the stall for a few moments longer, allowing the coolness of it to wake me up. When it goes warm, my traitorous skin, I sigh and stand, making my way outside through the now blissfully empty hallways.

His truck comes into view.

I remember when that used to be a source of delight, not apprehension.

"Hello, Jayden."

"Hello," I answer, sitting on the couch. A couch I don't need in an office I don't need, which belongs to a therapist I don't need…I don't need her, and yet it's her I have, when Seaton is the one I need –and he so fucking far away.

Why do things always work like that?

"Now, Jayden, is there anything you'd like to talk about today?"

Is there anything I'd like to talk about? No, Ms. Jameson, there isn't, because it doesn't matter. These meetings aren't about me, their about those judges and those police officers and those stupid social workers, and how they feel. They're trying to compensate, trying to feel better about themselves for letting that kind of shit happen under their noses, so they send people like me to therapists like you, to tell themselves their helping.

Nothing helps.

Prevention helps and your just a fucking pill, like a Tylenol that people take for headaches. You only take it after it's happen, when the ache is already there, and the only difference is, you leave a worse taste in my mouth.

I look at her, and I hope I'm not glaring, my eyes wide and blank as I look at her, politely declining.

"No thank you, ma'am."

"Jayden, I'm not going to force you, but you know I can't help if you don't talk to me, right?" I nod. Because that's sort of the fucking point. "Alright. How about…your friends, Linda, Suki and Corin, how are they?"


"What kind of things do you do together?"

"Eat…movies…" I shrug and look out the widow, and the sky's so damn blue, and it's not as pretty in real life as it is in Seaton's paintings, I note. But maybe I'm just bias.

She laughs a bit, and it's a musical sort of thing that many men would find attractive. I look at her left hand. Not married. I wonder why. "You eat movies?"

"…No," I reply easily, and I know she's trying to be funny, and I guess it kind of is but…I don't know. I'm not much for laughing, am I?

I bet she's the workaholic type. The kind that has detailed files of all her patients that she goes through over and over again in hopes to help, to find a cure, to find a knew technique. Probably has one of me, that she looks at as she sits at her desk, eating sushi and stressing over it.

Jayden Norse. 17-years-old. Abused over the course of his entire life. Depressed, Scarred, Anti-Social…Hopeless.

Maybe she looses sleep over it. You think? She seems the type, to want to change people, to rescue them for their illness, their past…staying up all night. Fretting about how to save me.

I don't think I was ever that idealistic.

She's more of a child then I ever was, and that's why I can't talk to her. She's something I never was, something I could never relate to. Happy. Maybe she's not married, but she probably has a boyfriend. Probably loves him, and he probably loves him. He's probably going to propose soon, and he's not worried about her previous nonconsensual sexual episodes, too scared to touch her.

It's not fair.

It's not fucking fair and I HATE IT. Make it all fucking stop, if there is a God, he'll make it stop. Make Seaton love me, or make me not love Seaton, or make the world makesense again.

There was always just me and Alfred and Charlie. Alfred hurt me, Charlie 'loved' me, and I just did whatever they said. That was…so much easier, somehow. I just did what they wanted, and if they were still in charge of me I could just walk away. They would tell me to forget about Seaton, to get the fuck up off this couch and clean, or to duck my head and open my mouth wide, or…and I would, and that would be easier than dealing with this.


I look up, "Yes ma'am."

"You're time is up…if you'd like to leave, that is."

"Oh. Right. Thanks, ma'am."

I stand up and walk out, hands shoved deep in my pockets, lost in thought. That's over. Finally.

When I get home, Seaton's not there. There's a note scribbled on the back of a receipt that say he went out to get cigarettes and I sigh, running a hand through my hair and plopping down on the couch. Almost immediately I get back up, stretch, and go to the painting room. Colors wash over my eyes, and it's a sea of beauty around me, and it's only tainted by the occupant of the room, me, and I hope they'll forgive me for ruining the atmosphere.

I still haven't found that damn painting. Seaton assures me that it's there, in the room, and their of me and he merely says 'You're not really looking' when I ask. I rub at my eyes, as though maybe I've gone blind, and I've fallen asleep in here before, looking at these. And God, Seaton's good. I wish he'd paint me again. And I wonder if he's working on anything, but he always paints in his room…and I haven't been in there.

But I want to—

I'm only there for ten minutes when there's a knock on the door.

Looking up, I blink, gently setting down the paining that I'd been holding up to the light, and walking out of the room. I walk through the halls and around the corner, my feet thudding against the floor, only in my socks, and look through the peep hole, as Seaton told me to do, just in case.

And it's Eugene. Seaton's father. I know it would be rude to not open the door for him, and Carley's with him and I sigh to myself, unlocking the door. It creaks when I open it, and Carley rushes in, her mound of curly brunette hair bouncing as she jumps on me, hugging my waist.

"Jay Jay!" She squeals happily, and she's cute as fuck, and I hate her for it sometimes. Cute little… "It's been foreva! Sea Sea said he was gonna watch me tonight, so I can spen' the night!"

Eugene smiles politely at me, nodding his head, "Evening, Jayden."

I step back and allow him in, saying, "Good evening, sir," in my robotic, polite fashion and close the door behind us. "Seaton isn't here yet…he went to buy cigarettes."

"Nasty habit, that," Eugene comments, lip curling, and I frown at him. I…really don't like Seaton's dad. He clears his throat and says, "Carley, why don't you go look at your brother's …ah, art things?"

Art things? Does he mean the works of artistic masterpieces that are Seaton's paintings? Carley giggles and nods, pulling me down to her level and kisses me on the cheek, "I wanna play dress up with you later! I'll be the princess, you can be the queen and Sea Sea can be the King!"

He blush at this, because 'Kids say the darndest things' just popped into my head and she skips away into the painting room, leaving me alone…with Seaton's dad. That's…not even funny. Tension curls into my shoulders and I shift, looking down at the floor and tracing the lines in the hardwood with my eyes, wringing my hands together behind my back…until I hear him chuckle.

"You're so timid, Jayden," Eugene says, and I look up…timidly. Fuck you, too. "You're so different than him."

Who? Seaton? I blink, and I suppose the question appears in my eyes, because he shakes his head, with that condescending smile on his features. I want to punch him. Or something. I just want him to get out, because Seaton hates him and any enemy of Seaton's is an enemy of mine, and he doesn't hate people without a reason, does he? I peer at him silently and he sighed.

"What is your relationship with my son, Jayden?" Heat flares in my cheeks against my will and he nods a bit stiffly, "I imagined so."

"N-no, sir, it's not—"

"It's none of my business what you do behind closed doors. I'm the Sheriff, but I have found no proof of sexual intercourse, and there is not enough reason for me to get a search warrant," He waved it off and continued, his voice firm and haughty. The way he speaks is almost unreal, no pauses, no hesitations or stutters, no 'um' or 'er'…he knows his words, and he's confident in it. "All I needed to know is that there is more to this…companionship…than a mere abused child and my son's abounding hospitality."

My ears burn and I look at the floor again, "S-sir…"

"Hush, Jayden, let me continue," He says without thought, curtly, and goes on immediately, "You deserve to know a few things. I'm fairly sure that this relationship is one sided, or at least, Seaton is making sure it is. My son is smart. He wouldn't get involved with someone with so much baggage…he's too good of a person for that. He would think he was hurting you."

His large hands clasp together in front of his lips, his dress shoes shifting against the floor.

"As you may have noticed…Seaton and I do not have the best relationship, and there is a story behind that, which I believe you deserve to know, " My ears perk and my eyes widen, lifting once more to greet the other man. He smirked, and for a moment, he was Seaton, and my heart thudded against my chest sickeningly at the similarity, "When Seaton was fifteen, he came out at Christmas dinner."

This time it was his turn to avert his eyes, "I was…I kicked him out the next day. That was…when I was still married to his mother. We divorced a month afterwards, and I hadn't seen Seaton for…since the night I let him go."

He cleared his throat, lifting his fist to his mouth as I stared, listening intently, almost in shock.

"Your mother worked herself ill, literally, trying to find him. Six months passed and…over that time…I did some thinking…I met a woman, I was getting remarried and I wanted to start over with my son," He sighs and murmured, "With my resources, I found him."

His eyes met mine and there was a deep seriousness there that was almost sad behind the arrogance, "He was addicted to heroine."

My heart freezes in me and all I can do was stare. Gawk at him, my gaze cold and hard, like a statue, almost dead, and I can't breathe.

"I hate drug dealers."

Oh God.

"Naturally I got him help, but it took almost a year for him to get clean because of junkie 'partner' that kept hooking him on it, because he wanted control of him," He scowls briefly, and then set his features flat again, "He promised to go back to school and become a police officer, if I promised to pay for his mother's, my ex-wife's living. I remarried, we had Carley, and everything was alright until his mother needed a surgery and I…"

He clears his throat and straightens his back, "I didn't pay for it, and she passed on. He refused to speak to me, became violent at work and I continued trying to contact him until he quit his job and ran away completely. I didn't see him for months, until…" He peers at me, and I can't breathe, and I just want to die, for him to get away from me, to get out because I hate him, "Until that day in the hospital, with you."

My heart pounds in my hear, my blood roaring through my ears and drums beating against my ribs painfully, because I didn't want to know this. I did, but I didn't, not fromhim, and this isn't fair, I want Seaton. I want Seaton now, and I want his dad gone.

"Why…no…" I choke, covering my mouth with my hand, "P-Please get out."

Eugene stares at me for a moment more, before nodding and clapping me on my shoulder (don't touch me, you bastard) and walking out. I hate him. I hate me. I hate Seaton's old boyfriend and heroine and those painting, no I love them, I can't tell the difference anymore and I don't even know how long I stood there, staring at nothing. At the air. I hear giggling and squealing from Carley somewhere in the background, bit it's muffled, as though someone as covered her with a blanket.

Then, I feel arms. Warm and firm, muscles and bones, and life and just…God, I love him. I knew it was him before I even knew it was him, and I just fucking love him more than life itself. More than anything, more than ever.

"Jayden. Fuck, Jayden, what the hell…I'm calling 911 if you don't fucking answer me…!"

I snap out of it, blinking and looking around, and I find his dark eyes. His. Not his dad's, his, and fuck, my cheeks are wet, is it raining? No, I'm inside, I'm fucking cryingaren't I? I hate this, I hate his dad, I hate everything, I hate me, I hate him…

"Shhh….shh, brat, it's okay, it's me, Shhhh, what happened?" His voice is warm and firm and he's holding me and I love him so damn much I hate him for doing this to me. Oh, God, I want him to touch me. I want him to kiss him and hug me and touch me, and everything else there is to do, make me love it like I never did with Charlie, because I love him too. I love him, even with….especially now, because Seaton's not perfect, and that makes him even more perfect and I want him to see that in me too, somehow…

Love me.

That's what I want. He asked me what I wanted, what I really, really wanted and that's it.

I want you to love me too, Seaton. I want you to want this as much as I do, I want you to go insane with it too, to go mad at the though of never kissing me again.

Is that so much to ask?

He's so damn perfect, the bastard, I can't stand it.

My face his pressed against his chest, the warm, solid plane of his torso and I love every inch of him, and it hurts sometimes, but the pain is good. It's good because I feel it, and I feel him, and everything is so warm, and he's holding me and shooing Carley away and I'm still crying and he's asking me questions, and he knows Eugene said something. Wrong. Eugene said everything and that has made everything different because I understand you now, I think. At least, more than I did before and it's something. It's wonderful and heated and god, I love his arms around me…

"Fuck, Brat, Jayden, tell me what's wrong, you're worrying the hell out of me, tell me…"

And so I do.

"I love you, Seaton, I…I love you so much."