Seven: Endgame

Surprisingly enough, there wasn't much more noise following the initial huge crash. A few more thumps, and then everything got quiet.

Which put Evelyn on fucking edge.

She was sitting on the floor with her back to the door, leaning back against her bed. She wanted a cigarette, but she didn't want to leave her bedroom to go get them out of the kitchen. She'd had some time to calm down and realize that what she'd just done was bad.

She couldn't believe she'd kissed him again. She wanted to blame it on him, to tell herself that it was his fault for forcing her to admit her attraction to him, that once she'd acknowledged it then she could no longer ignore it—wanted to, but she knew it wasn't entirely true. She'd kissed him, and she'd done it because having the evidence of his attraction right there between her legs pushed her over the edge. That little encounter on the couch ripped a big fucking hole in the lie she'd told herself the night before: that she could control herself, that she could maintain the uneasy tension without letting it spiral out of control, that Trevor would be out of her life for good soon.

The couch made it very clear that at the bottom of all the bullshit, they were just itching for each other, and that terrified Evelyn. She had always thought she was a person who knew herself very well, knew what she wanted, and books and rules and solitude and rationality and order were the things she wanted.

She'd thought. Then Trevor fucking Philips had come striding into her life with that cocksure bowlegged walk of his, the manifested opposite of all of those things that Evelyn loved, and for some reason, unlike anyone she'd ever known, he'd awoken a heat in her she'd never felt before.

She'd known that he was dangerous from the second he'd crashed into the bank that day, barking out orders in threats in that gravelly loud voice of his. She'd known he was dangerous, and she'd practically made an art form out of talking her way out of bodily harm ever since he'd showed up, but what she didn't expect was for her own body to prove dangerous as well. She felt betrayed by herself, shaken-up. She didn't trust herself around him anymore, not after she'd fucked up so spectacularly after specifically resolving not to.

She pushed down the uneasy feeling that came with acknowledging that she could no longer trust herself and turned her attention to the more immediate problem: Trevor was fucking pissed at her, and she had absolutely no idea how she was going to handle this latest tantrum. Really, the only solution for calming him down that readily presented itself was going back out there and finishing what they'd started the way he'd obviously wanted to, and that was not an option she was willing to consider now that she was away from him and her head had cleared. Despite what her instincts and body were screaming for, fucking the homicidal crank dealer who probably was carrying any number of STDs was a terrible idea.

Besides, with as angry as he'd sounded, he'd probably—correctly—accuse her of trying to manipulate him again, and she got the feeling he was only going to let her off with a warning once. If she tried using sex against him again, he'd probably wring her neck.

So that left her… where?

She sighed as she realized that she had absolutely no idea how to proceed. Not knowing things pissed Evelyn off, and when she got pissed off, she got reckless, and she hated the way she acted when she was reckless, which pissed her off even more. She wasn't used to the feeling of irritation balled up in the center of her chest.

"Damn it, Trevor," she muttered, knocking her head backward ineffectively against the mattress. "Everything was perfect before you showed up. Fucking up my environment, throwing me off-balance. Fuck you."

She got up abruptly. If she didn't have a plan, she was just going to have to play it by ear. She needed to know what she was up against, and she didn't think waiting around would do her much good. She'd noticed that Trevor was more determined to hash out conflict with total honesty the second it surfaced than anyone she'd ever met, which normally would be good, because that was the approach she favored as well, but in this case it just meant that things had gotten intense way too quickly and that they now knew way more about each other than they should. What that meant for her now was that he was probably going to let this fight fester in his chest and hover over their heads until she showed her face again, regardless of how long she hid from him.

"Might as well get it over with," she said to herself, trying to summon her resolution, and before she could give herself an out, she left her room to search for him.

The crash had been her television, which he'd pulled off the wall and was now lying facedown on the floor. Glass shards were everywhere and the couch was askew, but her books were untouched. She felt strange noting this—she'd have thought that if he wanted to hurt her, he'd go after the things he knew she liked the most.

Carefully avoiding the glass, she moved through the house—only Trevor wasn't there anymore. She searched the rooms several times, thinking no fucking way is he actually gone, and only when she noted that his truck was no longer parked in her driveway did she realize that he'd actually left her.

Once the shock settled in, she was surprised to find that she was feeling distinctly irritated, though it didn't take her long to figure out why. The asshole had just thrown her headfirst into another dilemma—call the cops to report the shot man in her spare bedroom like a sane person, or sit tight and wait to see what Trevor was doing?

Of course she wasn't going to call the cops. At best, this was a test. She sure as hell wasn't going to alert the police to what had been going on for the past couple of days while the perpetrator was gone; that would ensure that he wouldn't get caught and she did not doubt that he would come back once the smoke cleared and make good on the promise he'd made her when he first showed up. She was just mad that he'd clearly left the option wide-open for her. It felt like a taunt.


Of fucking course. She turned her head towards the bedroom where Ron's voice had just sounded and sighed. Guess I get to find out if Ron's as dangerous as his boss. Somehow, she doubted it.

Ron was sitting halfway up on the bed, and when she appeared in the doorway, he jumped. "Uh. Where's Trevor?" he asked nervously.

Evelyn rolled her eyes as she entered the room. "Trevor got mad at me for something and stormed off."

Ron's eyes grew huge. "He left?"

"Looks that way." Evelyn glanced at her guest and, reading the sudden fear on his face, told him, "Don't worry, I'm not calling the cops. Trevor has made it very clear that that's not a smart move, whether he's here or not, and I believe him. You're fine. How's the morphine treating you?"

"Um," Ron said, actually flinching back as she bent over him to check his bandages. "The pain's not terrible, and—well, to be honest, I'd rather not have any more. I don't like being unconscious, and, uh, I—I don't like needles."

"Yeah, you and a lot of other people," Evelyn muttered, straightening up. "Bandages are dirty. Time to change them. Did Trevor leave the first aid case?" The question was mostly rhetorical; she turned around to find it sitting open on the dresser. "Oh, good."

Ron seemed a little nervous and a little perplexed to find her going through the motions of removing his old bandages, judging from the way he'd crawled halfway up the headboard, with only his injured leg stretched out near her—she thought if she hadn't just assumed the authority in the situation, he might not even let her touch that. She muttered a curse at Trevor as she saw that he'd duct taped the bandages to Ron's skin (fortunately around the gunshot wound instead of over it). "How fucking hard would it be to just use some damn medical adhesive?" she complained out loud before glancing up at Ron. "This isn't going to feel good."

"Just… do it," he said, steeling his shoulders, and she carefully went about peeling the tape off, removing a good portion of his leg hair at the same time (and pulling some interesting noises out of Ron). After a moment's patient work, the bloodied bandage was free from his leg.

"Hmm," she said, peering at the wound. "It doesn't look infected, so that's a plus. Might want to tell your boss to get you some antibiotics anyway, though."

"You mean poison from Big Pharma?" Evelyn blinked and stared at Ron, who scoffed. "I don't think so."

"Hate the effects of capitalism and government control over the health care industry all you want, but you're not going to get very far in life if you think penicillin was invented by witches, buddy," she said, reaching for the fresh bandages.

He was silent at that. He didn't strike her as the silent type—at all—so she glanced at him as she rummaged around looking for medical tape to find that he was staring at her, looking utterly mystified. "What?" she asked, frowning.

"Trevor said you were a hostage."

"I was." She snorted. "Am, I think. I don't know, the lines are getting blurred." And I don't fucking like it, she thought, but didn't think Ron needed to hear about any of her internal conflict bullshit.

"You're not really… acting like a hostage," he said, sounding baffled, and Evelyn bit out a short laugh.

"I don't exactly hang out with a lot of other hostages, but still, that doesn't surprise me to hear," she said, wrapping the bandages around his leg. "If I gotta work with the bad guys to get through it, I'll work with the bad guys to get through it. That's what's freaking you out, right? The fact that I'm helping you out right now even though Trevor's not here to make me?"

"More than a little bit," he admitted.

"Yeah. Well, this is more not wanting to see a fellow human being turn gangrenous and suffer, especially not in my spare bedroom. Trevor would probably do the fucking amputation himself."

"Amputation?" Ron said weakly.

Evelyn looked him directly in the eye and said, "I don't want blood all over my sheets. Get some fucking antibiotics."

Trevor was feeling a bit more like himself.

Being stuck in that damn house with that damn woman had turned his head around. If he stayed, odds were very good that he'd do something he'd regret—which wasn't normally enough to budge him, but for some reason, he found himself out the door and in his truck, taking off and leaving her neighborhood behind before his rage could really work itself into a frenzy.

Fuck her. Fuck her; he was absolutely sick of that holier-than-thou save-the-world bullshit. She was so full of shit, pretending like she gave a single damn about that wuss of a neighbor—or anyone but herself, really. Trevor had spent the last twenty-something hours trying to get to the root of her bullshit, and it was a waste of his fucking time, because every time he thought he had her pinned, she'd wriggle out from under him somehow and run away. It was infuriating, and he was done playing that fucking game.

He tightened his hands on his steering wheel as he drove at speeds that were probably unwise and thought about his immediate wants.

Well, what he really wanted was to get sucked off, but all the hookers would be asleep this time of day, especially in North Chumash, which was a little more cleaned up than Sandy Shores or the trashier parts of Los Santos. He took care of himself instead, more to get rid of the annoyance that was his erection than because he was really in the mood for it anymore, and then, thinking a bit more clearly, he turned the car towards Sandy Shores.

After all, the reason—ostensibly—that he was at Evelyn's in the first place was that the bikers were trying to crawl up his ass, were the parties responsible for that ambush on him and Ron, and he wanted to lay low while Ron recovered. Wanted to (admittedly in part because he was curious about the pretty bank teller who hadn't screamed even once when she'd been robbed and taken hostage), but didn't have to. Best way to get his ass out of that house for good was to go ahead and take care of the problem.

I'm fucking sick and tired of these fucking cockroaches, he reflected as he hit desert country. No matter how many times he had to wipe the Lost the fuck out, there were always survivors, stragglers that managed to reform and come back at him. He was always up for a good scuffle, but right now, he was just fucking pissed off and needed to kill somebody. Even through his cold-burning rage, he knew that he was taking his anger at Evelyn out on the bikers, but fuck it, they deserved it.

He stopped at Ammunation to pick up explosives and ammo. Then he went to his trailer.

They were waiting for him.

Unfortunately for them, Sandy Shores was his home. He knew every street, knew every bit of stray rubbish or stranded truck hood he could use for cover. He approached in near-silence, took cover behind his neighbor's fence, and started throwing grenades. As the first one went off and bullets started flying, he found himself screaming, "You jumped-up little shits! You want a firefight? Well, you've FUCKING GOT ONE!"

It wasn't long before the edges of his vision blurred orange, and he succumbed into a rage, turning responsibility for his actions over to the near-invincible monster that emerged when he was at his worst (or best, depending on who you were asking).

When he returned to himself, bodies were littering his yard.

He tasked their removal to Wade, turned around, got back in his truck, and headed back to North Chumash. He wasn't worried about anyone fucking around and calling the cops on him—this was Sandy Shores, and even if the cops weren't a bunch of corrupt fuckers, everyone who lived there knew that gang violence and gunfights were all part of the atmosphere. Anyone not actively involved just kept their heads down and stayed indoors these days, which suited Trevor just fine.

The violence, brief and bloody as it was, had allowed him to exorcise some of the more impulsive violent feelings he'd been harboring for most of the day, and, like the aftermath of a good fuck, it came with a couple of level-headed realizations.

The primary one was that he was getting Ron and he was fucking leaving Evelyn's house before he turned into even more of a pussy. She had him acting like—well, not like Trevor Philips. Trevor Philips didn't get led on by girls; he didn't argue with them for hours on end without getting fatally violent with the source of his agitation, and he sure as hell didn't just accept blue balls. Sure, she was pretty, sure she was smarter than a lot of the people he held company with, sure he still wanted to fuck her brains out—but she was so damn stubborn and too damn scared to look at her entire self, warts and all, and he was fucking sick and tired of weak people lying to themselves about who they were. The entire state was full of them; he didn't need to spend time around yet another one.

So it was with determination that he stomped back into her house shortly after nightfall, the drive to Sandy Shores and back having eaten up the majority of the day. He stopped inside, and rather than shout out to announce his presence, since he'd spent the whole day being pissed at her and wasn't planning on stopping now, he cocked his head and listened.

Voices coming from the back room. He frowned, suddenly remembering that he hadn't given Ron another shot since that morning. He strode into the back of the house, found the spare bedroom door open, and pushed it slowly open, standing in the doorway to take in the sight that met him.

Ron was sitting upright on the bed, leg stretched out in front of him, the bandages looking clean and fresh. Evelyn was crouched in a chair at the foot of the bed, her knees hugged to her chest, and she was pointed at Ron, had clearly been talking to him, but her attention was on Trevor as soon as the door opened. He saw a flash of fear cross her face, and he felt a fierce stir of satisfaction in his chest. Good. She'd do well to remember that she ought to be terrified of him.

The fear disappeared fast; she masked it like she tried to do with anything she felt that might mean jack shit. Instead, half-smiling, she glanced at Ron and said to Trevor, "He won't tell me his theories about the wars in the Middle East."

Ron had gone mute in Trevor's presence, clearly nervous at having been caught talking to the hostage, and Trevor took his time answering, rolling his neck to the side until he heard a series of satisfying cracks before relaxing it. "As far as I've been able to tell, Ron refusing to yap about that shit is a compliment," he said, giving her a little grin that might have had been just a little too threateningly toothy. He saw the look of doubt surface on her face before she could control it, ignored her, and glanced at Ron instead. "How're you feeling, Ronnie?"

"Just—just fine, Trevor," Ron stammered instantly. "You know, I can hardly tell I got shot."

Evelyn gave him a sharp look when she heard that, but Trevor didn't care. If Ron was lying—well, he should know better and would have to pay the consequences: in this case, having to stick to his word. "Great!" Trevor said with rather hollow enthusiasm as he clapped his employee on the shoulder hard. "In that case, we're going."

"B-but the Lost?" demanded Ron as Trevor turned to leave the room.

Trevor paused in the doorway, glanced at him, and said, "Not a problem. Get your shit together, we're outta here in five."

He then left the room to go pluck a beer from the fridge and survey the place to see if he was forgetting anything. And, of fucking course, he heard soft footfalls behind him, too light and even to be Ron's.

"What do you want?" he asked, not even bothering to look behind him as he surveyed the wrecked living room.

"Nothing," was the immediate, defensive response, and he glanced over his shoulder with a skeptically lifted eyebrow.

"Oh, yeah? Well, you know, if that's the case, then go back to your room and wait it out. That's what you're good at, right?"

He saw something in her expression—irritation at least, anger at worst. She wasn't mad enough to express it yet, though. Instead, she told him, "You're covered in blood."

He laughed harshly. "Yeah, no shit," he said, though he hadn't actually noticed until she pointed it out. Good thing the jeans were dark. Before he could say anything else, though, he whirled around and confronted her. "What the fuck do you want, Evelyn?"

Asking her for the second time seemed to drive it home for her that she simply didn't have an excuse to be following him around. If she was still playing the put-upon little hostage (as if anyone could really make that little spitfuck do anything she didn't want to do), then she'd be forced to go to her room like he'd ordered her and wait for them to leave. If she didn't go... well, then through action she'd be admitting to the fact that this was something else, and then maybe he could get somewhere.

He waited.

She took a step forward, and he felt that same surge of triumph in his chest. He didn't let on, though, just turning his head casually back forward again and sipping from his beer, waiting for the right time to attack. Trevor wasn't typically a strategic, waiting around kind of guy, but he had all the power in the situation, and he was enjoying it for a change. He was gonna drag her over the coals, then hang her dry like she'd been doing to him—see how she liked it.

Softly, she said, "I'm sorry."

He tightened his hand on his bottle so hard it nearly broke and turned slowly around. "Sorry?" he asked lightly, still in that innocuous, pleasant tone. "Sorry for what?"

She didn't answer. Instead, clearly reading danger in his too-calm tone, she took a step backwards. He matched it with a step forward, then another. Prowling towards her, he cocked his head like a hunting animal with prey in its sights and said, "Sorry for… what, gettin' me all roused up and then shutting me down cold not once, but twice? For standing up for some whining pussy of a neighbor you don't even like and getting fucking pissed at me when I tell you the truth about him?"

She'd started moving backwards as he moved forwards, and by this point, she'd run into the kitchen counters. He closed the majority of the remaining space between them quickly, standing directly in front of her with his feet nearly touching hers, and as she inched backwards onto the counter to grab up every spare bit of personal space, he reached up, hooking a finger covered in rusty-colored dried blood under her chin and none-too-gently pulling her face up so she had to look at him. Once he had her looking in his eyes (and she didn't flinch away, meeting his stare as soon as he made her, which was a good sign that she was about to start fighting again—good, he wanted her to), he said, "I don't like girls who pull shit like that, Evy, and I sure as hell don't accept apologies from them."

"Don't accept it, then," she replied, her lips barely moving, and her tone was so quiet he thought for a second he'd imagined it.

He blinked and tilted his head down closer to hers. "Excuse me?"

"I said, 'don't accept it,'" she repeated, louder this time but still in a controlled, not-shouting tone of voice. "It's mostly bullshit, anyway."

Well, those words certainly had the effect of tearing off the mask of uncharacteristic calm he'd been wearing. He felt his face contorting with the sudden fury, but Evelyn was already snarling, her eyes fixed on his, like she could hold him back if she just kept him in her sights and spun him around some more: "Goddamnit, Trevor! Why are you doing this to me?"

Oh, the fuck with this. Fighting past the impulse to just backhand her right off that goddamn countertop, managing to remind himself that his mother would skin him alive if she found out he hit girls, he instead put one hand down hard on either side of her, leaned into her face, and snarled, "What the fuck am I doing to you?"

Her instinctive response was to plant a hand in his chest and try to push him back, but he didn't give an inch. Sitting there, one hand braced against him as if she still thought she might be able to keep him at bay, she caught her breath, then she spat out the words, low and furious: "We are not dating, Trevor! I'm your fucking hostage!"

"Bullshit," he spat, baring his teeth.

"No bullshit."

"Absolute bullshit," he countered. "It may have started out that way, but you and I both fucking know that's not what this is anymore. Otherwise I'd've tied you back to the chair after that first time you tried to fucking shut me up by planting one on me—which was a fucked move, by the way."

She turned her head away from him; he reached up immediately and wrenched it back forward, because when she was looking him in the eye, she couldn't lie to him, and she couldn't hide from him. The eyes were burning green again, the way they did when she was too mad to think straight, and he welcomed the sight of it. At least this way he could get some fucking honesty out of her.

God, he was glad she was one of those girls who just didn't seem to fucking cry, no matter what happened. Her voice was strong and her eyes were bone-dry as she said, "What do you want me to say, Trev? That I'm attracted to you? Cause I am; I've already admitted that. That I'm fucking petrified of you? Cause I'm that, too. And it can be a little hard to fucking reconcile those feelings—not that I imagine you'd know, because I doubt you've been afraid a day in your life."

Maybe it was her inclusion of that last bit, the reminder that she really didn't fucking know him at all, that cooled his temper for a second. The anger was still buzzing in his chest, but no longer did he want to beat something to a pulp. He shifted back slightly, glanced down, let go of her chin, and squared his shoulders. Newly freed, she bowed her head slightly forward, forehead just inches away from his torso, and he felt the urge—maybe aggressive, maybe affectionate, maybe a little bit of both—to grab that head and pull it to him, just hold it crushed against his chest. After a second, she spoke again, quietly, practically addressing the floor.

"You scare me because I don't know who I am with you. I haven't decided that I don't care about that yet, so I can't decide… you know, how to act—or not act—on the attraction. I haven't figured everything out yet. I'm in limbo. So I can't give you anything solid, and for that, I really am sorry," she added, glancing up and meeting his eyes.

Trevor folded his arms over his chest, processing what she had to say. "Okay," he said at length, then gave a decisive nod. "Well, Evy, sorry to say that makes you a fucking coward. I don't hold with cowards." He narrowed his eyes at her, channeling all the aggression he was feeling into the look, not faltering even when she gave him a wounded look, like he'd just stuck a short blade in her spine. "So, congratulations. You get what you want, I'm out of your hair. I get what I want, I don't have to be around all your useless fuckin' fear. Everybody wins." He turned away.

She lashed out and grabbed his elbow. "Trevor, wait—"

He rocked right back around to her, got straight in her face, lifted a threatening finger, and said, "Evelyn, if you ask me to fucking stay, I swear to God—"

He started it as a threat, but he cut himself off as he realized that really, he had no fucking idea where he was going with it or what he would actually do. He swore to God—what? He'd gut her? He'd throw the keys in Ron's face, turn him out, and spend the next week—month, year—fucking her till she'd forgotten her fear, her precious solitude, everything but his goddamn name?

He'd thought he'd figured out his stance on Evelyn on the way home, but as he stood there looking at her kicked-puppy face, he realized that he was far from figured out when it came to her. It irritated the shit out of him, but it was true.

Which only meant it was imperative that he actually leave. Maybe then he could clear his head some, figure out what he was gonna do with this shit in the future. If anything.

Growling low in his chest, he reached out the arm she was still holding, grabbed the back of her head, and jerked her forward, smashing a rather rough kiss to her forehead, probably more painful than anything and entirely reflective of his frustration, but she didn't make a sound. After a second, he let her go, said, "All right," and turned to go get Ron.

Evelyn had disappeared, presumably back to her room, by the time he lugged Ron's carcass out from the bedroom. She didn't show her face as he loaded Ron into the truck, and he didn't look back once before driving off.

Evelyn didn't call the police after Trevor left. She didn't see the fucking point. They weren't going to catch him, especially now that he was gone, and the only real effect that getting the police involved would have was that she would have her second lengthy interaction with Trevor Philips (a lengthy interaction that she also survived, which made it worse) on public record.

Besides. As much as she hadn't wanted to blatantly admit it to him, Trevor was right. It hadn't just been a hostage situation, and she did not want to take the chance that the detectives might be shrewder this time around and pick up on the fact that she was entirely conflicted about the whole situation. The only thing that would do would land her in serious trouble.

It astonished her how quickly life went back to normal. She drank way too much wine Saturday night to try and get some distance from the situation, spent Sunday hungover and freaking out thinking he might come back and that she wasn't ready for that, then on Monday… she went back to work and her life resumed as if those twenty-four hours had never happened.

And she tried her best to pretend they hadn't. She thought about Trevor more than she wanted to, always with that weird uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach, but given their last conversation, she didn't think she should think about him. All the signs pointed to him being eager to wash his hands of her, and she didn't want to waste her time and energy sorting out exactly how she felt about him if it was just going to end in disappointment and heartbreak. Somehow, she thought, she wouldn't be surprised if she never laid eyes on him again in her life.

Then, about a month later, she'd come home to find a big-ass dog in her house. The creature came trotting up to her quite calmly once she'd opened the door, sitting at her feet as she froze. When the dog did nothing but pant and stare at her with big brown eyes, she slowly closed the door behind her, then noticed the dirty piece of paper pinned to the thing's collar.

Very cautiously, she stooped down. The dog was massive, at least half pit-bull judging by the triangular head and big jaws, and it was so big and muscular that she felt she was justified in worrying that it would suddenly lunge forward and bite her face off.

It just watched, though, breathing gusts of hot dog breath into her face, totally placid as she cautiously unpinned the note from its collar and stood up again.

Written on the note in the ugliest black scrawl she had ever seen in her life:

This is Buch. He is a good junk yard dog.
He luvs wimmen but if he seez any1 with a dick he will bite it of.
yr home securitee is still shit.


She read the note over three times, the smile on her face only growing with each time. Of course he would give her the tremendously impractical, tremendously Trevor gift of a fucking pit bull. Finally, she slipped the note into her back pocket, put her hands on her hips, and looked down at the dog. "Are you going to bite my face off if I kiss you?" she asked him directly.

He looked back up at her and cocked his head.

"I'll take that as a maybe," she said, opting instead to scratch him on the top of his head, since any dog Trevor gave her was not one she was going to trust with her life right away. Still, with those intelligent eyes and that stubby tail thumping away in response to her attention, this one might end up being a keeper.

"I'll tell you one thing, though," she said. "Trevor can whine about it all he likes, but I am not calling you Butch." Feeling lighter than she had in days, her mood boosted just enough that even she didn't feel the need to question or worry about where this left them, she went whistling to go figure out where to find the nearest pet store.

AN – Next installment is available on my profile. Thanks so much for reading!