Staying calm is the key.
Invent The Truth
June 5, 2006
Pounding headaches were Lindsey's natural alarm clock. At one point in her life, she drank herself sick every night just to blacken out patches she would rather not remember. At this same point she was between foster homes again getting her kicks at an all girls' group home that provided more insight into narcotics and violence then any actual guidance.
Her stomach churned with acid, reminding her that hangovers and headaches were part of her punishment. You see, when you're thirteen years old and strung up on whatever pills your bunkmate had to share, you find quickly that the only form of punishment must come from yourself. And punishment is the only way to learn. What exactly had Lindsey learned? Exactly what she had known all along. Chicago was no place for her, yet some odd pulling pushing feeling the shot between her head and her toes made it so she couldn't leave.
Alone in Andy's bed she cursed at the sun's intensity. It wasn't quite summer yet; that should be excuse enough to get lost in whatever dreary days were left over from winter. That and blur together with overcast skies. She was distracted by the sound of feet shuffling around the rest of the apartment. Sure it was Patrick, she peaked her head out ready to make a dash to the bathroom unnoticed.
"You're awake," Andy snapped from where he kneelt on the floor with a dustpan. Lindsey hung her head and exited the room already feeling defeated. He had never spoken to her in such a harsh tone before.
"Morning," She mumbled just watching him collect the larger pieces of shattered glass that looked as though it might have been the bowl that usually sat on the counter. A trail of destruction led from the front door to the kitchen. She couldn't help but feel responsible for the overturned chairs and cigarette butts that littered the floor.
"Your car is outside." He spoke over the crashing of glass he poured into the garbage can. He was trying not too look at her, it was so much easier to stay angry when she wasn't in front of him looking more weak and defenseless then he had ever seen her before.
"What? Why?" Lindsey rushed to the window. Sure enough, the old gray car she seemed so attached to sat embarrassed across the street. It stood out as much as she did; neither of them belonged in such a nice neighborhood anyway. Good people tend to stare when you stick out in their nice neighborhood. Lindsey could almost feel the neighbors gazing down from their windows scoffing at her old gray beat up car. It was her most prized possession, even if it would be better off as scrap metal.
"I picked it up while you were at work yesterday," Andy explained calmly. It was supposed to be a surprise, not that she had been expecting it this morning, but a surprise that could have been followed by an evening checking out some underground bands and the grand opening of an arcade that Joe had been talking non-stop about. They were going to celebrate Pete's birthday. He thought Lindsey would have liked that, but in the end no one made it anywhere.
"How did you know?" She snapped turning defensively on her heel. Andy regretted standing this close to her now; he could see every freckle on her pale cheeks and the dark circles beneath her eyes.
"Sarah told me," He said simply hoping he came off less intimidated then he was actually feeling.
Lindsey's demeanor changed, he knew what was coming; she would try to charm the anger out of him. More likely then not it would work. "She's got a thing for you." She smirked referring to the plain cashier girl he briefly spoke to every morning.
"I know." Holding his ground against Lindsey was difficult, but he had promised he'd actually work this out with her today, "But you know better then I do that this isn't about Sarah."
Lindsey brought her hands up to massage her temples gently. She couldn't deal with this right now. With a deep sigh she pushed past Andy muttering, "Oh don't tell me you never have a few drinks when you're stressed out."
Andy followed her to the kitchen, "I don't drink." He told her simply. He bent down and picked up one of the cigarette butts she had discarded the night before and flicked it towards the trash can. "I don't smoke."
"Oh please." Her reply was personified by more of an overdramatic eye roll then her words, "You expect me to believe that you're vegan and straightedge? What are you going to tell me next? Are you a rock star too?"
He chuckled a bit, "I've dabbled with the drums, been in a few bands here and there."
Lindsey snickered pushing past him again. She couldn't help but feel cornered when he spoke to her. She couldn't help but feel she had every piece of herself to defend. "You spend your days playing video games, watching movies, and sitting around with those immature friends of yours. There's nothing special about that."
"You're guitar's in the living room," Andy countered trying to avoid getting angry, "It's near the table with your pay. Sarah apologized for not having it for you by the weekend."
"Perfect." She shot back, "I've been here long enough already. How much do I owe you?"
Andy shook his head, her furrowed brow knotted even more. "Nothing." He told her, "You've been my guest. I invited you."
"That is not acceptable." She insisted raising her voice enough to wake Patrick, saying he wasn't already awake. "I'm not a charity case!" She screamed, "I don't need you to be a hero."
Andy took a deep breath letting out his frustration in a sigh. She was upset, obviously about something deeper then she was willing to admit to him. There was a lot he was sure that she wasn't ready to admit to him. "If you say so." He nodded slowly walking back to the kitchen to clean and straighten the other things she had knocked over in her drunken state.
"Why do you put up with me?" Lindsey asked suddenly. It was the first honest question she had ever posed. She had never met a person who tolerated her for more then a few hours, let alone eleven days. He must have some sort of prerogative she had become either to blinded or naÃ¯ve to see.
Andy stopped to catch her gaze long enough to steady her. "Honestly." She nodded; although she never trusted someone who told her beforehand they were honest. "Because the way I see it," He told her, "This, it's better then both of us being alone."
Opening her mouth, Lindsey froze. She quickly closed it again when she couldn't string two coherent words together. That hadn't been the response she was expecting.
"Why are you so reluctant to let me past those defenses of yours?" Andy continued.
She opened her mouth to speak again but promptly pursed her lips together when a reply still didn't come naturally. Andy watched her whole face soften. She searched around the kitchen looking for the answer everywhere but where her hands were fidgeting.
"I'm not sure you want to know. You wouldn't understand," She whispered.
" You could give it a shot," Andy said with little hesitation. He knew that there was no way he could lose her now. He needed her to fill in the holes the last girl left as much as she apparently needed him to put the pieces of her life back together, "You can give me a shot."
Her eyes welled with tears at the very idea, "I...I...can't. I can't. I...I just can't."
Andy sighed knowing that was the end of the battle. Neither had won.