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Posted 27 June 2016 - 02:51 AM
Twelve o'clock was a little easier. The headache was still there, still raging a onesided war against her skull, but moving wasn't quite the battle it had been. She managed to roll out of bed, flip her comforter and sheets up neatly (though not as neat as usual), and drag her feet into the main room. The contrast between her room, which had been pitch black and quiet, to the bright and noisy kitchen and living area made her groan. Audibly. She blinked, begging her eyes to adjust, begging her head to stop sending shockwaves of nausea all the way through her body.
The urge to puke was there. She had never found that feeling the night before, this much she could remember off hand and even without coffee, but it was here now and she was doing her best to fight it. As she stumbled towards the kitchen and passed the couch, still all but absolutely dead to the world and to the apartment specifically, she eventually made her way to the coffee maker, grabbing one of the flavor cups and all but slamming it in the maker, closing the top with a ridiculously forceful slap.
Sure, a lot of this was hangover based. The pain and the nausea were more than a little upsetting. She was severely coffee deprived and was known for being notoriously grumpy without it. But it didn't stop there entirely, either. Already she had little fragments of memories from the night before, already she could remember pieces of the end of the night where sobering up became a quicker process than it had been. Scott and the kiss and the feelings and how into him she realized she was and then his expression, his body coiled tight around the chair, his subtle but not so subtle rejection and the sugarcoated goodbye that followed.
So maybe she was a little mad. Bitter, even. Hurt more than anything else, so hurt that she couldn't find a way other than anger to channel it any way that didn't involve crying. It was obvious, too; she was folded into herself, every movement sharp, every breath deep and shaky. She hadn't even noticed poor Melanie who had been in the kitchen quite literally the entire time.
She was trying not to think, too, trying to shut down in a way that made this all sting less. It was how she handled things when there was nothing for her to react to, when the subject of blame was nowhere to be found. She was highly emotional, yes, but she needed somewhere to direct it, something physical to fight. And really, was Scott even to blame for this? For any of this? He had only been trying to help, to keep her safe. She had made all the moves that she could remember, she had taken the situation and escalated it. She couldn't be mad at him for not wanting anything to do with her, not really. She could only lay blame at her own feet for having ever allowed herself to try.
Posted 27 June 2016 - 04:10 AM
The night previous had been little more than blind rage and pure concern over her younger, much drunker brother. Here he was, in his first week on campus, and already he'd gotten himself drunk to the point of near poisoning, puking his guts up not only on the lawn but on the sidewalk, the road, her car... She had half a mind to call up this Kappa guy who got him drunk and ask him to clean it up, but she managed to take at least some form of revenge by kicking the guy's car rims on the way out. As the alarms rang out behind her she felt the slightest bit satisfied, but not enough to rest until Max was in the clear.
He'd stayed at her place that night. In fact he was still sleeping in the next room, curled up with some of her stuffed animals, drooling all over her favorite pillow. It was hard not to be totally and completely exhausted with her younger brother but she put up with it regardless. However, she'd gotten in before Teagan and was under the assumption that her cousin was already asleep. It never occurred to her, not once, that Teagan hadn't come home shortly after with some drama of her own. Had she known she would've helped immediately, would've gone to her side the moment Scott walked out the door. As it was, however, she was perfectly oblivious as she went to cleaning the kitchen as she usually did on Saturdays.
It did strike her as odd that Teagan didn't come out in the early morning, late morning, or even at noon. All she could assume was that the girl was studying, though had it been much longer, she would've gone over to investigate herself. Just as she was resolving to do so, in fact, her cousin came out of her room, seemingly angry and tired and-- was she upset? Wait-- was she crying?
"Teagan?" She asked at first, setting down her own cup of coffee and striding over to her. "Are you--" She didn't even complete the question, as it didn't even need answering. Already Melanie's arms were wrapped around her best friend, holding her tight, encouraging her to let it all out.
"What is it, Teagan? What happened?"
Posted 27 June 2016 - 04:30 AM
It occurred to her a little bit after her small and beginning rant that Melanie had no idea what was going on. Hell, she had very little idea herself, only what she could remember, though that was enough to draw a ocean's worth of conclusions. That was enough to shift her into the worst gear she could possibly be in, her shoulders already shaking as she tried to compose herself. Yes, she was crying, and yes, it was more than just tears, but a lot of it was just straight emotion, distilled and spilling, anger and bitterness and upset and hurt all spiraling out of her faster than she could even think it through. Somewhere in the distance the coffee maker finally decided to finish and she couldn't even bring herself to give a damn about it, too distracted now by this and by the pounding of her head simultaneously.
"You know, after you left? He came and got me. I mean, I drank your drink too, all of it, and that other guy, he was being really creepy, that Nich guy. He was being really creepy, like, almost predatory, and like, he came over and grabbed me and made sure I was okay?" She couldn't even bring herself to say his name. She couldn't even bring herself to realize that she remembered, now, more than she had when she woke up. Being sober and awake and in pain made those memories flood in that much faster. She was getting hit with flickers from the night before faster than she could even really process them and that overwhelming rush of bullshit certainly wasn't helping how she felt physically. She needed to sit down, she realized, so she slipped out of Melanie's grip and sat in a chair nearby.
She took a deep, shuddering breath, shook her head, and wrapped her arms around her stomach. "He told me he was going to bring me home, here, and he made sure I was okay -- I mean, he picked me up and carried me to his car, and then we left and. I just... it was really nice, Melanie, I really liked it... I really liked him, and I thought it was okay, I thought we were getting along." There were still details that were fuzzy; she could remember important instances, big moments, but the little here and theres were blurry. Her story was likely blurry, too; she was rushing it so much, so emotionally charged from it that she couldn't stop herself or slow down at all.
"And then we got back here and I kissed him, I just... I couldn't even help myself? And it was really nice! And I thought he thought so too, I thought it was okay, I thought this would be different and then he left and I can tell he was saying goodbye, I can tell he was just trying... trying to be nice about it, but he didn't want me either. What's wrong with me? Why does this keep happening?" The anger from earlier had faded considerably, making way for an outright sob that she did all she could to choke back. It was clear that while this situation bothered her, while it was a branch of the problem, it wasn't exactly the root of it and Melanie likely knew that.
Posted 27 June 2016 - 05:07 AM
Melanie knew to be strapped in for the ride before she ever even hugged the girl. Having not only been well practiced in comforting Teagan but also deeply similar to her in every way, it was second nature by now. That was part of why they were so close, why they were so bonded from such an early age. Melanie comforted Teagan in the way she wished to be comforted and vice versa, so they managed to hold each other up in the best way they knew how.
Her best friend came from a different background, however. Melanie was intimately familiar with this, having always comforted her when her parents said something stupid or her siblings treated her like a stranger. Teagan was the best one in that damn family, always willing to go the extra mile to keep everyone happy, to impress her parents or to love her siblings. Yet she was the one always left alone. She knew what kind of complex it gave the girl. It kept her from making friends, from pursuing relationships. She went after goals and goals alone as if that would fill the void.
So Melanie felt her heart shattering as she listened to her cousin, and while she tried to cling onto her, Teagan slipped out of her grip and into a chair halfway through her words. The story was rushed, slightly confusing, but she still got the essential message nonetheless-- Teagan got drunk, Scott took care of her, and in her drunkenness she kissed him. Just like that, she kissed him. Fuck.
Melanie could see what was wrong with this scenario. But what broke her heart most of all was Teagan dissolving straight into insecurity, believing there was something fundamentally wrong with her rather than something wrong with Scott. "Oh, sweetie," she said, already damn near tears herself as she came to her knees in front of her best friend, holding her shoulders with either of her hands.
"There's nothing wrong with you. You are the most amazing person I've ever met, did you know that?" She pushed her friend's hair back, squeezing her shoulder with her other hand. "How do you know he was saying goodbye? What else happened? Did he kiss you back? Are you sure he wasn't just going home to bed?"
Posted 27 June 2016 - 05:29 AM
She couldn't find a way to string this story together easily. She almost didn't want to. What she wanted was to forget it, or for it to have never happened at all, but that wasn't the case. No matter how hard she wished or hoped that this was all some sort of super realistic dream, she kept finding little reminders that it wasn't.
Melanie's comfort only made her cry harder, too, which added further complications to talking through this normally. "He did, I mean... He did but he also pushed me away? Which was fine, I guess, I mean... Like, I thought it was fine at the time, but then he went to his car and came back and everything was different. It was like leaving had made him realize he had made a mistake or something."
Of all the things she could have remembered clearly, of course it had to be that. It just had to be his expression, his position. He had looked so defensive, so uptight and upset, even. How was she supposed to take that any other way? How could she see him coil into himself like that knowing what it had meant and lead to before and take it any other way.
"He was so... So tense? So uptight? Like he didn't want to be here anymore and he just... He left. I mean, he tried to be nice about it, he hugged me or whatever but he still left and he still looked like he hadn't wanted to be here at all..."
Posted 27 June 2016 - 05:53 AM
Melanie, too, was having trouble piecing what the fuck was going on in Scott's mind. It was a relief to hear that he hadn't made any advances on Teagan, which would have been exceedingly easy given the fact that she was drunk the night before. Drunk enough to let go of her inhibitions and kiss him, in fact. Most guys would have seized the opportunity, but Melanie had no interest in praising him for it. You don't praise a guy for simply doing the decent thing, after all; he deserved no rewards for keeping himself reined in. And he certainly didn't deserve any rewards for leaving Teagan stranded and upset, wallowing in her own self-doubt.
"Sounds like he completely flipped a switch," she said, frowning, rubbing one of Teagan's arms with her hand. "So he went to his car and when he got back he seemed upset?" She tried to imagine it, tried to imagine the two of them in the apartment the night before, but she had trouble picturing it. Had trouble reasoning why in the world Scott would shift gears that way, go from being so into her at the party and then nervous--
Or scared. Was he scared? Melanie didn't immediately suggest that possibility if only because she didn't know whether or not it was true. And whether or not he was scared didn't erase the fact that he just left her there, drunk on her couch after a kiss. And finally the gears in her head started turning-- particularly in the events that lead up to her being alone with Scott in the first place-- and she was suddenly crying even if it wasn't her place to.
"I shouldn't have left you alone!" She said, gripping her cousin's arm. "This is my fault. I thought you were going-- I left you with that creep--" Creep meaning Nich, but it could have easily been construed otherwise. "I'm so sorry, Teagan. I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have left."
Posted 27 June 2016 - 06:10 AM
She nodded at both of her questions, sniffling a bit as she absently wiped at her face. "It was almost instant. I mean, when he left things seemed fine? He was smiling? That means things are fine, right? But when he came back he just... He looked upset. Or hurt? I don't even know how that makes any sense." Nothing about this goddamn mess made any sense.
And with that in mind, she was left to draw her own conclusions. Things had been left so confusing, so blurry. It was only natural for her to assume that she had been the fault of it all, that her mind had been so scrambled by alcohol that she had misread him all along.
Suddenly Melanie was crying too, though, and soon after Teagan was sliding out of her chair and hugging her cousin, crying just as hard as she was. "No, it's my fault for even going in the first place. That was so stupid, I don't even know why I thought it was a good idea to start with."
Posted 27 June 2016 - 06:37 AM
Melanie wasn't being fair and she was only now realizing it. Making any of this about herself was completely and totally narcissistic, absolutely silly. But it was hard not to blame herself when none of this would have happened had she glanced back once, had she bothered to make sure her cousin got out of there with her rather than flip out at that asshole who got Max drunk in the first place.
Really, when you dissected it, everything was his fault. That Kappa douchebag--
She'd raged enough about him to last years by now, and it didn't matter in context. It was just easy to be pissed at all of the douchebags in the world when Teagan was hurting like this. All she wanted was to take it away, to make her smile again, to help her get over all of this. Yet she knew it ran deeper than Scott-- it ran into a fear of being abandoned altogether, a fear of getting attached to someone in case they so deeply disappointed her like her immediate family had.
"I'm sorry," she apologized again, holding her tightly as they both sat on the ground, crying over stupid shit. "I'm so sorry that you-- that you're hurting and that you regret it--" Fuck. Sometimes she and her best friend were bad for one another simply because they were so emotional, simply because seeing Teagan like this made her feel like she was gutted, too. So she took a deep breath, did her best to compose herself, before continuing.
"You know what, though? Fuck that guy! If he doesn't even have the balls to tell you why he was acting like that, he can just--" She made some motion with her hands that implied both punching and choking him.
Posted 27 June 2016 - 06:51 AM
At least now she was getting it out, not that it mattered much. This wasn't going away just with one talk. She couldn't just rant about it and continue on with her life, completely healed from the new and old wounds that accompanied it. This doubt was everlasting having already been ingrained into her from the start. It wasn't like he had implanted some new doubt that she could eventually work through and come out on the other side of. He had found something that was a lifelong and genuine fear of hers and had aggravated it, infected it.
No, this wasn't going anywhere because it had already settled quite nicely in with the preexisting mess.
Still, she did at least feel solidarity with Melanie. She was crying, too, and apologizing, and it was enough for the time being to chill the waterworks out a bit.
She even laughed a little at the pantomiming, though she couldn't really say that the outcome of it was anywhere near what she wanted. "I... Completely forgot. Is Max okay?" She suddenly felt incredibly selfish. Max had had a tough time of it too, hadn't he? She didn't know the details of it exactly but she did at least know that Melanie had left to take care of him, and that apparently it had been urgent.
Posted 28 June 2016 - 01:14 AM
Max. The moment she mentioned his name Melanie groaned, hanging her head forward as she thought of the night before. "He's fine now, but he puked all over my car. No worries, I managed to get him to a trash can before he could puke in the living room." She glanced in the direction of her room, letting out another dramatic sigh. He was still sleeping in there, drooling on her favorite pillow, snoring loudly enough that you could hear it from where they stood. At least it was consistent confirmation he was alright, even if she couldn't sleep thanks to the snores.
"It was that-- that asshole. You know the one? The one who's Toby's friend or whatever? That one. He--" Just like that, emotional whiplash. Concern to guilt to sadness to pure rage and there she was, brewing, thinking about that Kappa idiot who thought it'd be funny to get her brother drunk. It didn't occur to her that they were actually just drinking together, that Max wasn't being peer pressured. That he'd just been stupid.
"He got him drunk! Max is eighteen and he was drunk and I was honestly scared he was going to have alcohol poisoning. You should've seen him, Teagan-- he was so sick and embarrassed because he knocked over a table. And he keeps mentioning rushing Kappa but I am not letting that happen, lemme tell you what. No siree. Not on my watch." She waved her finger around like a mother scolding her child, expression set in her irritation.
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