Things are about to get a little complicated...
A few days had passed and Pete's episodes were dwindling down to mere bouts of isolation. His friends and family would call to see how he was doing and he'd feed them some store bought admissions of being 'just fine.' He'd turn on the charm, turn on the bullshit.
But late at night, I could hear him. I could hear his strangled sobs.
He sat on his bed, knees to his chest, surrounded by crumpled up pieces of notebook paper. Clearly, he was frustrated.
"You OK?" I asked quietly. Upon hearing my voice, he frantically wiped at his face with a sleeved arm.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I shuffled across the room and sat next to him.
"Ya know, you don't have to blow smoke up my ass. You can tell me you're not OK." (A/N: This is NOT a MCR reference, I swear. Carry on.)
He scoffed and closed his notebook.
"Alright. I'm not fine. I fucked up royally and I can't make amends. I can't get my head straight. I can't write a decent fucking line. I can't sleep. I can't be in England with my friends. Is that what you want to hear? That my life is shit?" I instantly regretted caring.
"You're an asshole." I said simply, trying desperately to hide the hurt in my voice. "I'm sorry for giving a fuck." I spat as I stood to leave. He sighed deeply and pulled on my arm.
"Don't go. I'm sorry." He mumbled just above a whisper. "I don't know why I do the things I do...especially when you're involved."
"You need to get out of here." I stated matter of factly. He cocked his head to the side.
"It's 1:47 in the morning." Did that ever stop us before?
"C'mon." He grabbed a hoodie and followed me downstairs. We threw on shoes and coats and headed for his car. The bitter winter night consumed us immediately.
"You mind driving?" He asked as he tossed his keys to me. I arched an eyebrow at him. "I'm taking new meds, so I shouldn't drive until I'm used to them. Besides, I don't know where we're going." /TouchÃ© /. We rode in excruciating silence. I had millions of questions, comments, and concerns, but I couldn't for the life of me spit them out. I used to know this man. I used to know every thought and action, even before he had a chance to think it or do it. But here we were, strangers with emotional baggage neither of us could ignore yet we lacked the courage to acknowledge it completely.
"Is the diner OK?" I tossed the question out, hoping to alleviate the sullenness. He nodded, but kept his eyes toward the window. After probably the most awkward car ride of my life, save for the time Joe drove me to a clinic to purchase birth control so I could have consequence-free relations with his best friend, we arrived at the local 24 hour diner and teenage social Mecca. Being that is was Friday morning, the throngs of rowdy adolescents were still in bed, fueling up for a day of school.
"Just two?" A plump older woman, who I assumed was the host, asked as she grabbed some menus. We both nodded at her. "Smoking or non?" Pete looked over at me and raised an eyebrow as if to say "Well?"
"Non, please." We followed her to a nearby booth where she placed our menus on its still damp surface.
"Beatriz will be right with you." And with that, she turned and left us alone.
"Since when did you quit smoking?" He asked as he peeked over the brim of his menu.
"Since I got a look into my future." He hummed to himself.
"Cancer?" I shook my head.
"Smoker's voice." I explained how I went to a boardwalk casino and ended up playing the slots next to a decrepit, winkled old woman with a Virginia Slim glued to her gnarled hand. Her gravelly voice was enough inspiration to throw my pack into the Pacific. It took all my courage not to jump in after them.
"You've always been one to look at the big picture." An elderly woman appeared and smiled down at us.
"Hello, my name is Bea and I'm you're waitress for the night. Can I get you anything to drink?"
"Water." Pete answered quickly. Her light eyes drifted over to me.
"Coke, please." She nodded before heading off to get our beverages. "So what were you writing?" He shrugged as he continued to leaf through the menu.
"Why?" I'm sorry, that is not an acceptable response. Please try again.
"Because I thought all the writing for the album was finished."
"Can't a guy write some stuff down?"
"Can't a girl ask a simple question without receiving an attitude?" I countered as I folded up my menu and placed it on the table.
"If you must know, it's an add on of sorts. I think it's important for the fans to hear it. Once the guys get back, we're heading to California to record a few more songs and tweak the other ones." I nodded.
"Now was that so hard?" He grinned sheepishly. Bea returned, drinks in hand.
"There you go. Are you guys ready to order?"
"I'll have the chicken noodle soup, please." I said, looking up at her. She scribbled on her grease-stained tablet.
"Me too." Pete answered with a crooked smile.
"OK. It'll be right up, kids."
"Does your mother know that you're planning on going back to California?" He nodded and began fidgeting with the salt shaker.
"She's not happy about it, but she knows."
"Where are you going to stay?" I asked, intently watching him play with the seasoning.
"I think Island is renting a house for us. They said to give them a call when I'm ready." I looked down at the beige, worn table.
"So, are you ready?" His dark eyes met with mine.
"I don't know." He said quietly.
"Don't rush. You take all the time you need." Bea waddled over with a tray balanced on her thick arm. She placed two steaming bowls of soup in front of us.
"Did you two need anything else?" I shook my head and she ripped our bill from her tablet and placed it on the table.
"Thanks guys, have a good night."
We sat and ate our soup in silence. The hot liquid felt good as it slid down my throat, warming everything in its path to my stomach. There was nothing quite like a searing bowl of soup on a frosty, winter night. I watched my ex gingerly bring spoonful after spoonful to his mouth as if it physically hurt to eat. Despite his reluctance to consume, he looked like he desperately needed some nourishment. Sure, he had always been naturally slender-which I will forever hate him for-but this was getting a bit obscene.
Once we finished our late night snack, I, the poor hairdresser-not the almost famous, epically tragic Emo God-paid the bill and we left.
The lights were out at the Wentz house as I parked the car as close to the curb as I could. We hurried into the dark house to escape the artic temperature.
"You wanna um...uh, you wanna read what I was writing?" He fumbled with his coat almost as badly as the question.
"Sure." I followed him up to his room and sat on the bed. He picked up the worn, fraying Five Star and flipped through it.
"It's not really done yet. It still needs a chorus and maybe a bridge if Patrick sees fit." He smiled sheepishly before handing over the notebook.
"If it's not done, I don't have to read it. Ya know, if you're uncomfortable." He had always been quite the perfectionist.
"No, no. I want you to read it." His penmanship was reminiscent of a child's, complete with its fair share of scribbled out mistakes and last minute add ins.
Joke me something awful just like kisses on the necks of "just friends"
I looked up at him and briefly made eye contact before he waved his hand at me, gesturing to continue.
We're the kids who feel like dead ends
And I want to be known for my hits, not just my misses
I took a shot and didn't even come close
At trust and love and hope
And the poets are just kids who didn't make it
And never had it at all
Please put the doctor on the phone 'cause I'm not making any sense
Blame everyone but me for this mess
And my back has been breaking from this heavy heart
We never seemed so far
I'm hopelessly hopeful, you're just hopeless enough
But we never had it at all
I sighed deeply, feeling unusually guilty. I had no idea he was hurting this badly. He stood, hands in his sweatshirt pockets and an unsure expression on his face. He appeared as though my words would make or break him.
"Well?" He asked as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other and back again. I wasn't sure how to approach it.
"It's great." I immediately felt dumb. Wow, you just referred to his inner torment and personal suffering as great. Nice work, as usual.
But he didn't seem to mind or even notice.
"It's a work in progress," He said softly as he sat next to me on the bed, his thigh skimming against mine. "What was great about it?" I turned my head only to find his face a few inches away.
"Are you fishing for compliments, Wentz?" He smirked and leaned in closer.
"So what if I am?" He whispered, his warm breath tickling my face.
"Then I'd have to say you haven't changed a bit." My eyes instinctively fluttered closed as his lips met with mine for a tender embrace. I felt his hand rest on my cheek and the other one soon followed suit. His kiss grew fervent as his hands moved from my face to my shoulders, then rested on the curve of my hips. My heart raced, my breathing became hurried. His touch felt so familiar, it felt like I was home again.
I emitted a soft moan as his experienced lips sucked and nipped at the sensitive skin of my neck. My brain seemed to shut down. All the anger I harbored toward this man began to dissipate as he helped in the removal of my shirt. I lay back on the bed with his lips still attached to my flesh, allowing his lithe body to slide between my legs.
Are you really going to let this happen?
He traveled down the length of my torso, leaving a trail of moist kisses in his wake.
Yes, yes I am.