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- XVI -


Now


When I woke up it was still raining outside. I could hear the raindrops attacking my window. Dylan was still asleep so I got up as quietly as I could and went to the bathroom. Today is November thirtieth, I thought after I was done with my shower. The day Wes died eight years ago. The thought didn’t make me feel anything. It used to though. Every time I would think of him or Billy, it would send guilt waves all over me. But now I felt absolutely nothing.

I didn’t hear Dylan walk into the bathroom but I felt his presence. I turned around, towel on my wet hair. Sure enough, there he was. Just standing by the door, leaning on the wall, his eyes almost dreamy.

“Let’s move somewhere”, he said and I blinked.

“Where?” I threw the towel on the floor.

He shrugged.

“Somewhere nobody knows us.”

“You mean, somewhere you didn’t kill or disfigured anyone yet?” I hemmed.

“Yeah”, he smiled. “Places like that exist, you know.”

“I would hope so”, I nodded and reached for my toothpaste. “Mexico?”

“No”, he said seriously. “I like States. Somewhere warm. I hate rain.”

“I do too”, I agreed and spat the toothpaste out of my mouth. “Arizona is warm.”

“Too warm”, he grimaced. “I am thinking Florida.”

“Too many old people”, I sighed.

“Nevada?”

I rolled my eyes and wiped my mouth with the hand towel.

“In the desert? I don’t think so.”

He laughed and folded his arms in his chest.

“On the other hand”, he said. “I don’t care where we live.”

“Me neither”, I sighed and looked at him. “So what, it’s gonna be our happily ever after?”

“Yeah”, he smiled again. “Don’t see why not…”

“Uh huh”, I nodded. “It will stay that way until you kill someone else. And then what?”

“I won’t”, he said softly. “That’s a promise. Unless you’ll want me to…”

“Very unlikely”, I muttered.

He sighed and gave me a small shrug.

“I do have self-control”, he said very seriously. “I know it’s hard to believe but it’s the truth.”

I narrowed my eyes at him thoughtfully.

“How many… Incidents… Did you have after I left?”

“A couple”, he said carefully. “No fatalities though. That was the reason you left, the whole “crazy side” of me… So I figured that if I can’t get rid of it, I might at least try controlling it, you know?”

“Right”, I nodded. “Let’s make coffee.”

“Connor…” he grabbed my arm when I was brushing past him. “I was serious when I said I will never let you leave me again. I know that it makes me sound like a complete nut and I don’t care. But if you will ever try leaving me…” he shrugged. “I’ll probably go on a murderous rampage.”

“And you said you are not a psycho”, I muttered and ran my fingers through his hair.

“I suppose I am a psycho when it comes to you”, he said softly.

“Yeah, you are”, I sighed and pressed my forehead against his. “You are an obsessed, possessive, psychotic character… And I guess I am a sick one too because instead of freaking me out, this whole thing is turning me on… That’s not normal, you know…”

“There was never anything normal about us”, he smiled and stroked my face with his fingers. “I’d like to keep it that way…”

“Me too”, I muttered and kissed him without worrying too much about his ribs. He’ll heal.

…“There is something that’s been bugging me for a while now”, I said an hour or so later, my breath somewhere in-between normal and shaky.

“Mmmm?” Dylan asked without opening his eyes.

“When I left… On that day… I was looking for you in the airport. But I didn’t see you… Were you there?”

He opened his eyes and looked at me.

“My whole world was collapsing”, he said quietly. “Of course I was there. I didn’t want you to see me. I didn’t think I could handle that…”

“Damn…” I muttered. “Dylan, I was looking for you… I made a deal with myself that morning… If I see you in the airport, I’m not going anywhere…”

He stared at me silently.

“I was hoping to see you”, I said and looked at him.

“I didn’t know that”, he muttered finally.

“Of course you didn’t”, I whispered.

“Damn…” he said and closed his eyes again. “If only…”

“Shhh!” I interrupted him. “Doesn’t matter now. Let’s go make coffee… For real this time.”

“Yeah”, he opened his eyes. “Let’s…”

He wouldn’t let go of my hand though. And, to be honest, I didn’t want him to. We didn’t get to the coffeemaker for probably the next two or three hours.


****


Then


Ever since the thought of leaving him popped in my head that one time, it’s been haunting me. At first I just tried to push it away because the very idea of leaving him for real would make me nauseous. He became different after that Saturday night. He stopped getting into random fights and he would actually try his best to avoid any confrontation with anyone. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

His mood swings got a hell of lot worse though. They would happen much more often now and they lasted for much longer than just an hour. Sometimes instead of getting into depths of depression, he would just sit and stare into space with empty eyes for five hours straight. It scared the hell out of me. It was like he would become catatonic for a period of time. He wouldn’t move, he wouldn’t talk, and he wouldn’t react to anything. Then he’d blink really rapidly as if he was trying to wake up or something and he’d be fine until the next time it hit him.

We would still spend every waken minute together and he would always make sure that he is close enough to me to be able to touch my skin or my hair. I was never a fan of clinginess but with him it was different. I was addicted to him as much as he was addicted to me. He would clutch onto my hand even in public now so if anyone had any doubts about us being together before, they sure as hell didn’t have those doubts now. But nobody said anything to us. I guess even though Dylan was on his best behavior around other people lately, it didn’t let anybody forget how much damage he could deal if he wanted to. So by the middle of May we were completely isolated from anyone else. People would go to great length to avoid either one of us and it was just fine with me.

I knew why he changed so much. Or at least I thought I knew. He was scared shitless to do something that would push me away from him. I guess those words that I said to him that night imprinted themselves permanently into his memory. “I can’t even look at you right now”. Those words.

By the end of May, right before the graduation, all those changes in him started to turn him into someone who looked like he was about to snap any second. He became more and more withdrawn, moody, and restless. He also started having something that look like panic attacks every time I had to go somewhere without him as if he was afraid that I will never come back. Two nights before the graduation, after he fell asleep next to me with his fingers interlocked with mine, I just laid there for the rest of the night, thinking. I knew that it was only a question of time before something else happens. Something much worse than what happened that Saturday night in the middle of April. I felt scared and helpless. Partially because I was afraid to lose him but also because I realized that if I stay with him, I’ll lose whatever was left of me for good. By the time he woke up the next morning, my mind was made up.


****


The graduation came and went, nothing spectacular happened. I could care less about the whole ordeal, to be honest. The upcoming talk with Dylan was hanging over me like the Sword of Damocles. After the graduation I went home for a couple of hours to change clothes and grab my toothbrush. Three or so weeks prior to this day I found out that I got accepted into one of the colleges I applied to several months ago. The college was in Pennsylvania. I never said anything to Dylan.

I was staring at my reflection in the bathroom mirror when my mother called my name.

“Coming”, I said loudly and grabbed my toothbrush.

I went downstairs where she was waiting for me.

“What?” I asked with a frown when she just stood there, her face unexpectedly sad.

“I’ve got the ticket for you”, she said and I blinked.

That’s right… I asked her to get me a plain ticket a week ago.

“What’s the date?” I muttered, my throat suddenly dry.

“Next Sunday”, she said quietly.

I closed my eyes. I felt like I was going to someone’s funeral.

“Connor”, my mother said as quietly as before. “I don’t know what happened between you two and I am not going to pry… But…” She took a deep breath. “Are you sure about this? Your father and I will support you no matter what decision you’ll make, okay? If you decide to leave, we’ll do anything we can to make it easier on you. But if you decide to stay…”

“I am leaving, Mom”, I managed a smile. “It’s fine, really… I don’t know why you think that something happened between me and Dylan, really. To be honest, it was never anything serious… Just you know… Experiment”, I grinned at her.

“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?” she asked with slight annoyance. “You look like hell, Connor. And you’ve been losing weight ever since the end of April. So don’t feed me all that crap about experimenting! As I said, I am not going to pry. If you don’t want to tell me, that’s fine. But Connor…”

“I am fine, Mom”, I interrupted her. “Look, it has nothing to do with Dylan, okay? I guess I am just anxious about new start, that’s all.”

She rolled her eyes and let out a small annoyed sigh.

“Fine”, she said shortly. “Are you coming home tonight?”

“No”, I muttered and she just nodded as if she didn’t expect anything else.


****


I had no idea how to tell him. I mean, what would I say? “We need to talk?” Please! We were sitting on the front porch for the last forty minutes and I was smoking nonstop. Dylan was just sitting next to me, his hands clasped in his lap. He was staring at the tree in the front yard as if it was the most fascinating thing in the world. I knew that he was expecting something bad to come out of my mouth.

“I am leaving”, I said finally and his shoulders got tense.

“When?” he asked quietly without looking away from that tree.

“Next Sunday”, I stabbed my cigarette in the ashtray.

“Huh”, he said.

Then we sat there in complete silence. Once again, I had no idea what to say. “I will always love you”? “This is the hardest decision I’ve ever made”? “It’ll be the best for both of us”? I mean, all those statements were true but I could not say any of them. So we just sat there.

“Dylan…” I said finally. “I…”

“I won’t do anything”, he muttered still without looking at me. “Don’t worry.”

Right. Don’t worry.

“Dylan… I will never do or say anything to make you change, you understand? But that’s what you are trying to do and…” I squeezed my eyes shut for a second. “It’s killing you…”

“Am I the only reason then?” he asked without moving.

“No”, I stared at the same damn tree. “If I stay with you… There will be nothing left of me… Because I will lose myself… In you… And then it’ll just get worse… And I can’t… It’s just… I can’t just…”

He turned towards me finally.

“I get it”, he said calmly. “Come on.”

“Where?” I frowned when he got up.

He looked at me, his transparent eyes unreadable, small smile playing on his lips.

“Inside”, he said. “I still have eight days left with you. I don’t wanna waste them. Unless you wanna try something out here…”

I didn’t wanna try anything outside so I followed him. I can’t even remember if I came home at all the following week. I had to get there on Saturday, the night before I had to leave so I could pack and all… But honest to God, I can not remember if I showed up there prior to that.

On Saturday morning I couldn’t get out of bed. I almost said to myself “You know what? Screw it! I am staying, I don’t care!” And then Dylan sat up in bed and looked at me calmly.

“Go”, he said indifferently. “You need to pack.”

I reached for him but he just shook me off.

“Go”, he repeated with steel in his voice.

“Dylan…” I muttered and he gave me one of his small smiles. Except this one didn’t turn me on. It made me feel cold.

“Go”, he said lightly and got out of bed.

I guess I was waiting for him to say something else, to ask me to stay, to… I don’t know… Hell, to tell me that he loves me? Anything. If he would’ve said something, I wouldn’t go anywhere. I would’ve called my mother and told her to return the bloody ticket. But he just got dressed, opened the window, and lit a cigarette. I looked at him for several very long minutes. Finally I got my ass out of bed and got dressed. It took me maybe ten minutes at the most.

I came closer to him and put my hand on his shoulder. He threw a very quick glance at me and for a second I thought that he is going to punch me in the face. He didn’t. He just shook my hand off, gave me a brilliant smile, and flicked his cigarette out of the window.

“Have a safe flight”, he said as lightly as before.

If he wanted to make me feel like shit, he succeeded.

“Goddammit, Dylan…” I muttered and pulled him towards myself.

I kissed his mouth, waiting for his attacking tongue but it never happened. He just stood there, waiting patiently for me to finally get the hell out of his room. He never responded to the kiss and he didn’t even touch me. His arms were just hanging by his sides. I stopped kissing him and just stood there for several seconds, my mouth on his, my fingers in his hair. I had hot, pissed off tears burning the back of my eyes. I wanted to shake him, to yell at him, to rip his goddamn clothes off. I didn’t do any of that. I finally let him go, turned around, and left.

“Bye”, I muttered before closing the door.

He didn’t say anything. He stared at me without blinking, small cruel smile playing in the corners of his mouth, his eyes completely unreadable. I couldn’t help it. I slammed the damn door as hard as I could.

Tears were running down my face all the way home and I didn’t care. I didn’t even bother wiping them off before I walked into my house. My mother was smart enough not to say anything. I spent the rest of the day packing and when I went to bed that night, it felt bizarre and almost atrocious to sleep alone. I realized that this was my first night without Dylan since the beginning of November. Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep at all that night.

Next morning I was ready to go. I felt like shit, I looked like shit, but I was ready to go. My parents drove me to the airport, my mother chattering all the way there as if trying to distract me or something. I just nodded and said occasional “Uh huh” and she finally stopped talking. Then when my Dad pulled into the parking spot, I made a silent promise to myself. If I see Dylan at the airport this morning, if he comes to say good bye, if I get another chance to at least touch his hair, I am not going anywhere. The thought made me almost giddy. I was sure that he’ll be there.

Well, he wasn’t there. I was the last person to board the damn plane and I couldn’t do it. I kept glancing around, trying to see him. I knew that I told him what time my plane leaves. He wasn’t there.

“Connor”, my mother said finally. “If you don’t want to go…”

I looked at my watch. If I am leaving, then I better get on the plane right now before they close the gate. I looked around again, frantically. He wasn’t there.

“I am going”, I smiled at my Mom.

She looked like she was about to say something, to tell me that I am an idiot perhaps. She didn’t. She just hugged me tight and kissed me on both cheeks. After I said my final good byes to her and Dad, I threw another glance around. Dylan wasn’t there. I boarded the plane, found my seat, and closed my eyes. Somebody tried talking to me. It was either the flight attendant, or maybe the person next to me, I have no idea. I pretended to be in a state of deep sleep, ignoring whoever the hell that was. I knew that if I try saying anything right now, I’ll lose it and break down in front of total strangers. So I ignored them and they finally left me alone.

By the time I got to Pennsylvania I was in complete control over my emotions. It didn’t take me too long to find the apartment that my parents rented for me and when I was unpacking all my stuff, I found the picture of Dylan and me. I forgot that I had it. I looked at it for God knows how long. I looked at it until my hand started to shake. Then I tore it into shreds, threw them into the ashtray and burned the damn thing.

I was done with Dylan Mort. Done for good. Sure, it’ll hurt for a while but it’ll pass. New place, new friends, new life, new love. That’s it. And now I am sticking to opposite gender only. After all, I have never had a thing for guys. Ever.
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