He'd asked her to meet up with him the next night to see a movie together.
Casey hadn't been on a date with a guy before- if it even was a date to him. It felt like a date to her. At first, she had felt hesitant to agree- not due to anything he had just told her, about his condition of DID- but the fact that it would mean stepping out of her comfort zone. She was used to keeping her distance from other people. But there was something about him that she couldn't resist saying yes to.
She was uncertain on what to wear that evening, but she settled for comfort instead. She wore her hair out and straightened, with a long-sleeved black dress with two pairs of tank tops beneath it to keep her warm and tights to hide her legs and arms from showing.
If anything, what was beneath her clothes- her skin and scars, something she hadn't bared to anyone- was what terrified her the most. The thought of his reaction to it. If they did eventually get close enough- which Casey sort of surprisingly found herself wishing they would- she hoped he wouldn't be put off, that he wouldn't be disgusted.
She couldn't even bear to look at herself in the mirror some mornings, so she could only just imagine what his reaction might be.
But she hoped, with being so curious and understanding to his condition of DID, it would mean that he would be understanding to what she had went through as well, once the time came. If she were so understanding and sympathetic, she could only hope he would extend the courtesy towards her when the time eventually- and hopefully- came.
After she hugged her much younger foster sisters goodbye, she grabbed her bag to head off towards their meeting place for the evening.
She had really only been interested in a guy once before, and that was in high school. They'd flirted a little, and she could tell he was sort of interested in her in the way that she was interested in him. She was fine with the hand-holding and the hugging, it was just the... other stuff that daunted her. She had dated the guy for over four months, and soon, he'd naturally wanted to go further than just hugs and hand-holdings.
When the time came, they had ended up making out in the back seat of his car. He'd tried to sneak his hand under the third layer of her shirt, to feel some skin. But... she just couldn't. She'd ended up cringing away from his touch, and he'd taken it badly, assuming she were a tease and that she wasn't as interested as Casey had said she was. They'd broken up after that night in his car, and she'd had to endure the unpleasant rumors he had spread around his group of friends that she were frigid, a prude bitch that wouldn't put out even after four months of dating.
That was the last time she had ever gotten close enough with a guy, and considering how traumatic the experience had been on her, she had given up ever since that one time. Casey had decided that she were not ready, that maybe she would never be fully ready to let someone closely in. It was too difficult, the vulnerability, the thought of emotional and sexual intimacy after what she had endured as a child.
Things were different now, though, and it frightened her a little.
She'd actually found a guy she had liked enough, even if he was a little... complicated. And seemingly as damaged- if not more- than she was.
She just hoped he would understand in the end and be patient with her. She hoped she weren't being naive in assuming, because he was also a lot older than her, that he would be so much more different and respectful than the normal guys her age.
That evening, it was a little frosty out but thankfully, due to the layers of clothes she wore, Casey didn't feel it as much as she could have. Her breaths still came out foggy as she walked towards their agreed meeting place; there were little jittery butterflies fluttering around in the pit of her stomach at the idea of spending time with him again, whether he was Kevin himself or Barry.
She got her answer on who it was waiting for her once she crossed the street towards their meeting place. Already, he was there, waiting for her early, dressed in his long swishing overcoat, his finger-less gloves and the grey beanie. Barry. In a short amount of time, she had learned that Barry liked wearing his beanie and the finger-less gloves. That was her quickly learned method of differentiating who he was so far, while Dennis was the one who wore the glasses.
"Look at me!" He called with a laugh when Casey came into view, her hands clutched in front of her stomach nervously. His breaths were coming out foggy as well from the chill in the air. "I'm here early, I've been waiting over half an hour for you while freezing my ass off." He rubbed his finger-less gloves together, to get some warmth into his fingers as he eyed her with that too-big infectious smile he always seemed to have for her. He chuckled a self-depreciating laugh as she finally reached him and stood in front of him. "I don't know, honey. Desperate much?"
The fact that he were waiting for her so long to arrive and that it showed his eagerness to spend time with her, it made Casey's face glow with a relieved heat as she smiled shyly up at him.
"Hey Barry," she murmured quietly, and she got a pleasant surprise when he bent down to press a kiss to both sides of her cheeks. His lips felt cold from the low temperature in the Philadelphia air, and she gasped. "God, you weren't lying about waiting for so long for me out here then. Your lips are freezing!"
"I know, right?" He shoved his hands deeply into his overcoat pockets with another chuckle that sounded endearingly nervous to Casey's ears. "And well done," he added, sounding very pleased with her. "Already, you are a fast learner." She wasn't sure what he was speaking about, until he added hastily by way of explanation, "Kevin got real nervous about the whole thing and felt like he was gonna throw up so, as usual... you are stuck with me tonight. That OK?"
She didn't know why he felt it necessary to ask her.
"That's perfectly fine by me," she assured him, rubbing her own hands and fingers together to create some warmth from the cold. She couldn't deny that she liked Barry a lot.
His laughter and smile was infectious, and he had a way about him that made it fun for her to be around him. The previous times, she still was not sure whether it was actually Kevin she had been interacting with or Barry. Sometimes they felt the same in some ways, so she was still learning how to tell. The whole entire DID thing was still a confusing mystery to her.
"So," he started meaningfully, bringing a hand out of his pocket, stepping closer towards her uncertainly, "You ready to get out of this dreadful cold and head into the warmth of the movies?"
"Definitely," she muttered without a beat. It was too cold to be standing around outside talking.
Barry Not Kevin seemed to hesitate for a moment, as if unsure whether she wanted to do it or not, before he decided to take the chance and do it anyway.
He moved closer to slip his arm around her shoulders, holding her into his side while leading the way as they walked together. Casey felt herself basking at the contact of his arm around her and she leaned into his touch, still shivering a little although his body temperature helped heat her up nicely quite a bit. She also thought she smelled cologne on him, something she hadn't noticed before. Barry wore cologne and it was a pleasant, musky scent.
Barry clearing his throat somewhat awkwardly tore her out of her thoughts and Casey chanced a quick glance up at his face, finding him staring right down at her as they walked, that smile still there frozen in place. "I don't mean to be rude or nothin', but... you are looking real good tonight. Love the cute black dress." His blue eyes roamed down what she was wearing appreciatively while she felt the hand that was attached to the arm draped around her shoulders pluck at the top of her dress a few times, feeling the texture of the fabric curiously. "What is that? Cotton?" he guessed, and Casey felt those butterflies erupt in her chest again.
"I have no idea," she admitted breathlessly, feeling a little inadequate that she really didn't have any idea. "I hardly ever really take any notice."
He definitely had effeminate ways about him, she noticed. He was obviously interested in fashion and fabrics, as well as drawing.
"Hmm-mm." She felt him pluck and pick at the sleeve of her dress again, then his fingers were touching the end strands of her long hair, weaving it around his fingers gently. "You know what I was tellin' Kevin and the others last night?" It was going to take a while, getting used to hearing about the other personalities inside of him and him speaking in third-person, but Casey was confident she could do it.
"Um, no." How could she? "What?"
"I was thinkin' that we are incredibly lucky bastards, all of us." The way he looked directly into her eyes as he said it, with such warmth, it took her breath away.
"I'm pretty sure it's the other way around, and that I'm the lucky one," she muttered beneath her breath, not used to getting compliments.
"Pfft." He batted her compliment away with a playful half-serious roll of his eyes."You say that now, but you just wait..." She felt him shrug a little around her shoulders, then he said, more seriously, "You know, we've never done nothing like this before. We've never had the chance to. It's been... great."
It felt great for her too.
"We're all so used to being alone, keeping to ourselves. This is great for us."
Casey felt she could understand, even if his side of things were a little bit more different compared to hers were. "Well, me too." She decided to be honest, even if it felt terribly uncomfortable for her to have to admit it, but it was only fair she share as well. "I'm not really used to spending time with people, or... having friends. So this is different for me as well."
"Yeah, right." He made another dismissive noise and when Casey shyly glanced up at him again, she saw he was staring at her as if in disbelief. "What? For real?"
"For real," she confessed, a little hoarsely. "I'm used to keeping to myself." She wasn't sure why he found that so difficult to believe.
"Then maybe we aren't so different after all? Hard as it is to believe..."
"Yeah, maybe not."
A moment of silence passed them, while they walked together. Then Barry twisted slightly to face her more, "So you live with your family? Your, uh, your parents?" It felt as though he was keen to take advantage of all the time they had together in order to get to know her better. Casey was happy to get to know him better too.
"I live with my foster family, but... I'm moving out pretty soon. Well, I have plans to eventually."
"So, what? What happened to your real family?" Casey wasn't used to someone being so blunt, asking personal questions about her life. But she figured that was just him as a person.
"My, um, my father died of a heart attack when I was young." It felt funny, speaking to him about something she'd held in for so long. But in a sense, it felt good to speak about it. It felt cathartic. And Barry, he was so warm, so non-judgmental.
"That sucks, sorry to hear that." He sounded genuinely sorry for her. "We're really in the same boat." He made a face, as if embarrassed for the 'we' statement slipping out. "I mean, uh, Kevin is. Dad died in a train crash when young, too."
"And so what about your mom?" She wasn't sure how to ask, or if she was meant to say 'Kevin's mom'. Barry didn't seem too fussed about her getting it right anyway.
She felt him tense a little as he brought up his hand, which he used his fingers to stroke around his chin thoughtfully. She could see he was having difficulty trying to figure out the right words to explain. "Kevin's mother, she was, uh... not a very good person, I guess you could say." She could see he was not particularly comfortable about speaking of the mother, so Casey deliberately turned it back onto herself.
"Well, I never knew my mother. She died when I was young."
"Hmm. So what happened after dad died?" It was the question she had been dreading him asking. She didn't really want to get too far into it with him, especially not just yet. "You went straight into foster care... or?" He trailed off curiously.
"Actually, my...my uncle gained guardianship of me." Her voice went hollow. She wondered if he could feel her discomfort in the subject now. Surely he had to have.
She could see that Barry noticed barely a few seconds later, because he abruptly snatched one of her hands without warning. "I'm giving you a hard time talkin' about this, I get it, I'm sorry," he muttered hastily, and Casey felt her stomach burst with an odd feeling when he actually dragged her hand up to his mouth. He kissed it once, the back of her hand and knuckles in apology, his lips still icy from the chilly air. "We don't have to talk about it, I can see it brings up some things for you." She had never felt more grateful than she had then when he shrugged and pushed the subject away. "It's the same with Kevin's mother. We, uh, we don't like talking about that either, it brings up a few things for us. But all I'll just say on the matter is-" He held up his hand after letting the one of hers that he had kissed go quickly- "she was a major bitch with a capital B, done and dusted. Now that's all I'm sayin'."
The way he was speaking about her, Casey couldn't help but gain the impression that perhaps Kevin hadn't had a very good childhood either. It sounded as if his mother had hurt him and, by extension, perhaps Barry and the others as well.
"Sorry to hear that," Casey muttered, unsure of what else to say.
"It's fine, it's done now." He chuckled suddenly, and Casey glanced up at him as he playfully nudged her shoulder. "Sheesh, what's with all this depressing talk? I mean, really?"
"I know what you mean," she mumbled.
"What about I change subject to somethin' else?"
"Yes, please," she whispered gratefully. She didn't exactly want to continue talking about morbid things as well. Luckily Barry didn't either, because everything became more lighthearted after that. Well, somewhat lighthearted.
"You're at it again with all those layers," he observed, eyeing her outfit again in a way that made Casey flush.
"Yeah, I... I like my layers."
"Haven't you heard the saying? If you've got it, flaunt it? I mean, I don't mean to be rude or perverted or anything like that, honey, but... I bet you have some amazing legs and arms beneath all those clothes and tights?"
If only he knew what was truly beneath. Casey was certain he wouldn't know what to think about it once he finally saw what was there.
She knew he'd take one look at her without clothes on and then that would probably be it. She felt nauseous even simply imagining it.
To her ultimate relief, they finally reached the movies and the conversation was dropped once they entered the warm building. Even as they both acknowledged awkwardly to each other how much warmer it was inside compared to outside, Barry still didn't feel the need to remove his arm from around Casey's shoulders and she admittedly loved the fact that he hadn't.
She actually loved it, the feeling of him holding her close. Even as they waited in line, he was playing with her hair again while he held her to his side.
Usually she would feel disturbed, being so close to a man. Their faces were inches away from each other, only because of how taller he was compared to her, but it was actually enjoyable, she found, having his arm wrapped around her shoulders; something she never dreamed she would feel before. It was so different with him; She didn't mind so much if he touched her hair or her hand, or even if he kissed her like they had that first night after meeting.
She didn't think it were possible for her to even feel comfortable being in close proximity to someone, but he just felt so safe and warm. Even after having confessed to her that he had DID, it never changed her outlook on him. He still felt wonderfully safe and warm, weirdly enough. His confession only just served to spur on Casey's curiosity and it only just wanted her to dig deeper to get to know the real him, whichever part of him that was.
They purchased their tickets, settling on some movie Casey hadn't heard of before. She wasn't all that up to keeping date with the current trends and movies. But Barry was the same, apparently having other interests that kept him preoccupied.
They got into the dark cinema room and his arm never left her shoulder, even as they found a place to sit in the middle row. He even pushed up the armrest so that they could sit close together, so that they could hear each other while whispering as the lights went down and the screen turned on with advertisements.
She loved the little thrill that shot through her every time Barry leaned over to whisper something in her ear, his mouth close. She could even smell his cologne every time he did so.
As the movie started, she couldn't deny that she wasn't particularly interested in the events that were happening on screen.
All Casey could seem to be aware of, was him sitting right next to her, his arm still draped around her shoulder heavily and comfortably. Their shoulders were resting together, they were literally squished up into each other's sides in their seats; his legs crossed as he tapped his combat boots against the leg of the seat directly in front of them repetitively, Casey's legs crossed as well.
She'd never felt so attuned to a man's physical presence before. It was scary; She was no doubt acting like a silly school girl with an immature crush.
As the movie started heating up, where the two main characters acknowledged their feelings for one another, Casey quickly chanced a glance over at Kevin- well, no Barry- from his place beside her. His eyes were glued to the screen, shining with the images reflected in them. She looked down and noticed his finger-less-glove clad hand resting on his knee, his fingers tapping along in some sort of agitated dance.
Casey wondered what would happen if she were brave enough to actually reach over and hold his hand. Not that she probably would ever do it. Would he hold her hand back? Push hers away?
She'd never wanted to hold a man's hand so badly before, even despite the fact that he already had his arm around her.
He'd said that he had liked her, Barry had. And well, Kevin too. And the others, aside from Dennis- the one she'd met at the zoo- and someone named Patricia. Would he like her enough to not mind if she reached over and held his hand?
"Oh, good god, here we go, honey." His voice broke her out of her desperately torn feelings, and she lifted her gaze to find he was now looking in her direction, his blue eyes shining back at her as he shook his head disdainfully at whatever was happening on the screen. When he leaned over towards her and put his mouth directly near her earlobe, Casey prayed desperately that she looked- and was acting- normal and not like some silly girl desperate for him. "Here we go," he whispered in her ear, the sound of his voice, slightly higher-pitched and the warmth of his breath causing her to shudder a little, "It's happening right now, honey. It's all going on."
She turned her eyes to the screen to notice the two characters were finally kissing each other steamily, while their hands were frantic, searching for buttons and zippers in order to remove their clothes. Her cheeks burned.
"Did you see the way he just went straight for it and shoved his tongue in her mouth?"
Maybe it was the fact that his mouth was near her ear while he whispered to her a humorous and scandalous commentary on the scene, but she didn't chicken out a second later. Blindly, she reached over and down with her hand, laying it on top of his that was still resting on his knee.
"That shirt he is wearing is so last season and clearly three sizes too small and yet, she..." His commentary halted a little, as if it took Barry a moment to believe what she'd just done. She felt a gradual fleeting sense of embarrassment, before she felt him turn his hand around. The act of his fingers intertwining through hers, it made her feel lighter and relieved beyond belief that he hadn't just shoved her away. And then he started again, sounding a little more noticeably confident and happier,"...she doesn't even care? I mean, come on, really?"
Casey pressed her lips together and tried not to look so pleased when their hands remained interlocked throughout the rest of the movie.
"Talk about unrealistic!"
Barry was still talking passionately to her about what he believed were the unrealistic points of the movie they had just watched when they walked outside together.
They were still holding hands and, now that they were back outside on the street and the Philadelphia evening air brushed over her, Casey realized again just how freezing she was.
She didn't really think much of what she was doing when she brought her arm around his back and huddled close into his side so that she could steal some of his body heat and warmth. Barry didn't seem as cold as she was, possibly because he had his beanie on and gloves to keep warm, but he didn't seem to mind it when Casey shoved the side of her face up against his neck. She knew he felt how cold her face was when he shuddered the instance her cheek touched the warm base of his throat, and he brought up both hands, somehow grasping her hair and head in them as he practically hugged her back into him.
"Jesus, girl, your face is absolutely freezing," he murmured in shock, letting go of her head. He tightened his arms around her until he was practically Casey's human-furnace, and it took her a second to actually come to terms with what she was doing.
She definitely did feel as though she were overcoming some of her intimacy-emotional issues.
She didn't feel that nauseous or panicked feeling simply by Barry hugging her tightly with his arms around her, while one of her arms was outstretched around to his back. She didn't feel uncomfortable that the side of her face were pressed up against the column of his throat, that his skin felt so warm, that she could literally feel the sensation of his pulse flickering against her cheek.
She didn't even seem to care that people were exiting the movies around them, walking past them, seeing them in an embrace as they hugged each other and he allowed his skin to heat her face up. She didn't care about anyone else at all and about how they may have looked, doing it in the street where everyone could see them.
There was just him and her, and how wonderfully warm he felt, and how great his skin smelled from the cologne he was wearing.
"How long was that walk back home to your place, did you say?" Barry spoke after a while, his voice low, a little drugged out as if he were enjoying her closeness just as Casey surprisingly felt that she was. His voice seemed to make her vibrate around her cheek with the way she was holding her face to his throat.
"Um, about twenty minutes."
"Oh, god. Twenty?" He sounded outraged, his voice going higher. "It takes, uh, literally only just five minutes to get to my place from here. It's just across the street and down a couple of blocks."
Casey's mind was immediately alert as she realized just what it was that he was hinting at between the lines. His place was closer. Was he inviting her back to see it with him?
He must have somehow sensed the little freak out she was having, even although her face was concealed, because Barry said hurriedly under his breath, "No pressure. I just, uh, don't want you freezing into a chunk of ice out here, you know?"
She hesitated for a moment, her face still pressed against his throat. That anxiety suddenly came to her, the one she often felt at the idea of getting out of her comfort zone, at taking chances. Could she really agree to go home with him? Was she really ready, even if... nothing at all happened?
"There's no pressure for you to stay over. None of us are expecting that," Barry continued when she hadn't responded, "We completely get it, honey. These things take some time." She wasn't expecting it when he brought his hands up, and suddenly, he was clasping her head gently in them, stroking her hair, "Hell, whenever you wish to go, I'll call a cab immediately so that you can get a lift home safely, I swear."
"OK," Casey found herself muttering before she could second-guess herself. She truly did want to see where he lived- well, where they all lived, and how they lived- and, plus... she didn't exactly feel ready for their night to end just yet.
Casey forcefully brought her face out from the warmth of his neck and throat to meet his gaze with her dark eyes determinedly. Barry's hands were still gently on either side of her head, caressing her hair carefully.
"I'm... I'm sure, Barry." When he seemed a little uncertain to believe her, Casey added while trying to sound playful, "After all, I don't exactly want to turn into a chunk of ice either. And it is really freezing out here." She forced out a laugh, relieved when it seemed to appease and convince him. "Take me to your house, I want to see it. Really."
She could tell Barry was overly anxious about showing her where and how they lived. He kept muttering about it every single second they walked together, hands still intertwined.
"It's not much, OK?" He said for what had to be the third time as she saw the sign that said 'Philadelphia Zoo' in the distance. "What happened was, because of the early hours we work, there was an arrangement where it might be easier if we lived down in the maintenance quarters. It's not even really like a home, like your... normal one anyhow, but we try our best to make it feel like home."
"Barry, it's fine. I really don't care whether it's normal or not. I'm just happy to see where you live." No matter how many times she tried to reassure him, it didn't seem to help.
"Well, it's totally clean, at least. I mean, Dennis makes sure of that." He rolled his eyes at her and made a humorous face. "You ever seen an Energizer bunny? Like one of those bunnies that operate at full speed?"
Casey had and she nodded silently.
"Well, picture that, but instead of a bunny, it's Dennis. That's Dennis at 3 AM in the morning with not even a single drop of caffeine in his system. The guys not normal, I swear to you...I mean, who the hell can get up at 3 AM in this crazy world without caffeine? Totally not normal..."
Casey couldn't help smiling faintly at his amusing description of Dennis at 3 AM, even if when she had met him, he was cold and aloof, possibly the most daunting person she'd met so far of Kevin's identities.
"The man is a pain in the ass, I swear to God..." Barry rambled on in frustration. "Him and Trisha, I swear they're mentally unstable, you know."
She didn't think she had met Patricia yet, but Barry wasn't really helping in easing her nerves about this one.
"And they keep going on, about this thing that's comin'. Like all the time."
"T-thing that's coming?" she repeated, an apprehensive edge to her voice. He sounded suddenly so foreboding, so concerned. She couldn't help but feel nervous.
"Like I said, honey, they're totally unstable. They've found this new thing, this... belief." Barry shook his head solemnly. "They think this other guys coming, this guy called The Beast."
The Beast? Yeah, that didn't sound very good at all...
"But don't you worry, honey. You don't have to worry about a thing. It's just them two. The rest of us, we're completely normal, I swear." Despite how concerning what he was telling her of Dennis and Patricia and this thing coming was, Casey couldn't help but put her faith completely into Barry when he looked at her, so sincerely, so earnest. "Anything goes wrong, we're there for you. Which it won't. All I'm doin' is warning you at this point in time."
Once they finally reached where he lived, Casey couldn't really believe her eyes. He had his own keys to access beneath the zoo compound, and Barry was somewhat right; It wasn't like a home, but it had different pieces in it which made it obvious that they had tried to make it a home, no matter how cold and uninviting it felt.
"Wow," she gushed, after Barry had given her the tour. There was no carpet; It was all painted white, stone cold floors. There was a small kitchen area, with the basics, a kitchen table, chairs, refrigerator. And several rooms with different items in them that obviously belonged to each individual personality within Kevin. "When you told me that you lived near the zoo, I never thought you meant that you lived literally underneath it."
"I know, right?"
Barry paused from showing her down the narrow hallway that was lit with fluorescent lighting that connected to the ceiling, his hand still tightly clinging to hers as if afraid to let go in case she decided to run away and flee outside of where he lived. Which, admittedly, was rather tempting to her.
Only when she turned and met his gaze, she saw how anxious he looked, how he was staring at her carefully, worried over her reaction. Her not responding badly, it clearly meant a lot to him, and she could see that.
"Like I said, I know it's not much, but... we do our best." She saw the burning anxiety in his blue eyes as he gauged her reaction very carefully. "And we don't really have visitors either, you're probably the first one in years."
He didn't get many visitors to his home? It was so unbearably sad, Casey couldn't help feeling.
"Anyway, uh, this is sort of my room," he explained, carrying on awkwardly while leading her down into the first door they went to. "I share with a few of the others, Kevin and I do. We share with Dennis too, hence... the, uh, lingering smell of bleach and how clean and orderly everything is." Barry gave her a funny look with both eyebrows raised, as if illustrating himself how unbearably toxic and overpowering the smell of the bleach was.
Barry was right; The instance she stepped into the room, the harsh smell of cleaning product hit her nostrils. The room was very bare, consisting of only a neatly made single bed, a few carefully folded articles of clothing. A wardrobe and a small TV and DVD player that looked ancient in Casey's view. At least they could have a good time watching DVD's though.
As she inched closer to inspect the TV and the DVD player curiously, Barry made a deep humming noise behind her.
"Uh, yeah, we've been tryin' to convince Dennis to let us upgrade with the technology a little. We badly need a bigger TV, but does he care? No. Dennis likes to keep control of where the money goes, the stingy bastard." Casey glanced back at Barry curiously while licking her lips. He still looked anxious, like he were still waiting for the moment she flipped out and ran away. He reached up to rub the back of his neck while avoiding her eyes to inspect the small items in the room himself, "He only just finally agreed to allow Hedwig to buy a pet hamster under the condition that he ensure he's kept safe in his cage at all hours."
"The more I hear of Dennis, he sounds so... horrible," Casey couldn't help confessing, shuddering at the memory of that morning she had met him at the zoo. His eyes had been so cold, so dead.
"Yeah, I guess you can say that, for sure. I know he probably has good intentions for all of us, but letting the TV get so outdated it doesn't even work properly with the remote? Like, come on!"
"Hmm." Casey's eyes found the small single bed that was pushed up against the wall. Her eyes flew to his again uncertainly, "Do you, um, mind if I... sit?"
Barry seemed slightly confused for a moment, as if he didn't understand what she meant. But then his eyes followed hers to the small bed, and she saw the muscles of his throat twitch as he swallowed audibly. "You, uh, mean... sitting on the bed?" He sounded uncertain, but once she nodded, she saw his eyes widen marginally.
He looked so anxious at the thought of having her on the bed, she realized. But why be anxious? She was only intending to sit on it, unless he actually thought she-
Her cheeks grew warm at the thought as she turned away, slowly trudging towards the bed. Barry had no choice but to follow, she knew, as their hands were still locked together and she was towing him along with her towards it by their connected fingers.
When she turned and slowly sat down, she noticed Barry stand there for a moment, peering down at her, as if he almost couldn't believe that she were actually real, that she were actually beckoning him to sit next to her on the small single bed. She intertwined her fingers out from his finally, and moved, patting on the empty space beside her nervously while making herself comfortable in lying half on her side propped up on one elbow, her legs half off the bed, shoes dangling in the air.
When he finally did eventually sit down next to her, Casey saw him swallow again audibly.
"Um, everything OK?" she asked shyly when he simply stared at her. "You can lie down on your side too near me, if you want?" Abruptly it occurred to her how she was being and how it might have been interpreted by him.
She'd just wanted to sit down and rest her legs. She hadn't meant anything else by it, like that she wanted them to-
Casey's heart started beating savagely in her chest when she stared up at him from where he sat, next to her, staring down at her with serious yet somewhat apprehensive blue eyes. But then Barry twisted around a little on the bed, slid a hand up just inches from her shoulder to support himself so maybe he wouldn't lose his balance and fall on top of her, and then he bent down towards her. The springs on the mattress made a squeaking noise and Casey heard the pair of them breathing deeply as he brought his face down closer towards hers.
It wasn't exactly what Casey had in mind when she'd sat on the bed. Or was it?
It wasn't like they hadn't kissed before, like that time, although... she couldn't really remember if it actually was Kevin that did it or Barry himself. Then again, maybe who it was didn't exactly matter?
All she was aware of was a warm feeling developing all over her body as she stared up at his face, blinking slowly. Then her eyes dropped to his lips while she licked hers, and then... Barry's lips were pressing into hers tightly. She hadn't kissed anyone much obviously. And she wasn't entirely sure whether he had either, but their lips remained still, soft and warm against each others- as if they were tentatively testing each other out- before Casey thought she heard a light deep groan emerge from deep in his throat.
At the sound, her mouth opened and then Barry's top lip was sucking on her bottom lip, pulling on it gently, making her tingle inside. She lost her balance a little and let her elbow flop down while she laid back, straight on the bed with her head while Barry moved over her, their mouths still connected.
He was holding himself up with both arms beside her so he wasn't completely squishing her on the mattress, and then she felt him use one finger-less gloved hand, reaching down between her, caressing her leg and knee through her tights, and then... higher, the bottom of her dress riding up with his hands slow, dragging movement.
Everything was fine, and she found herself enjoying it. She enjoyed the way Barry kept sucking on her bottom lip, the way he tilted his head to the side, deepening their lips dances against each others. Casey almost felt dizzy, giddy. But then-
She felt the coarse wool of his glove against her bare navel beneath the dress and shirts she was wearing, then his fingers. He only just wanted to touch her breast through her bra obviously, or just caress a little skin while he kissed her, but no.
She made the panicked noise against his mouth before she could stop herself, tensing up.
No, she couldn't have him do that. He couldn't.
Casey tensed as she pushed her head back into the bed, separating their mouths while she reached down frantically between them, gritting her teeth.
"N-no, stop it," she moaned out through her teeth desperately, her eyes blurring with sudden tears.
She caught his wrist with shaky fingers and yanked and shoved his hand away before his exploring got to more, before he began to feel it.
"J-Just don't, B-Barry!"
She wasn't ready for someone to see or feel them, especially not him. While she liked Barry- or, well, Kevin- she didn't feel comfortable with that.
She didn't need to even properly look, she saw it out of the corner of her wet eyes as Barry quickly sat up away from her, breathing in a low, heavy way that probably matched hers as she tried to control her tears.
She could see him there, even when she didn't properly look, just sitting there on the bed a good distance away from her, watching her in confusion while he held both hands up to his beanie, wondering what had just happened. If he was freaked out or had decided it was not worth it, that they may as well never see each other ever again, she couldn't have blamed him.
It was so embarrassing. She merely laid there, trying not to hyperventilate on the bed, her eyes obscured with tears as she panted shallowly while she gripped the end of her dress and pulled it down safely away past her skin. Why couldn't she be normal? Why have to do this now, with him?
"H-hey, b-baby girl, h-honey." Barry's gentle coaxing voice, the pet names for her, it almost pushed her well and truly over the edge. He was so sweet, so kind. And he sounded so horrified and scared, as if petrified he'd truly done something. "What... did I do something? Just... just tell me, and I'll, uh, I'll never do it again to upset you, OK?"
He sounded so guilty, as if he had any true reason to be. It wasn't him, yet he was so quick to believe it was. And that was so damn tragic to her, that he be so quick to blame himself for something that was all her fault. It was all her.
"Talk to me," he whispered desperately, and his voice sounded so hollow, so empty. "Talk to Barry, h-honey." She noticed his arm come into her vision tentatively, like he wanted to reach down and touch her, comfort her. But then he flinched back. "Tell me what's wrong, what I can do to make you better, hm?"
What could he do to make her better? Like it was even him!
She would never be normal, she realized. She was a freak- just like everyone used to call her. She could never be normal, have a normal life or relationship with someone. Why had she ever thought she could? No matter how much she liked him, she could never...
"C-Casey, h-honey? Talk to me."
It wasn't that she felt disgusted at the idea of doing it with him, because she didn't. She liked the man, felt attracted to him, despite his condition. It was the fear that held her back, the idea of his own reaction and disgust to her body. That he'd find out she was broken, that he'd find out what her Uncle did to her and how ruined she was.
If he somehow felt then saw the hideous scars, it might make him think she was ugly, it might turn him off her completely.
Letting out a shaky breath, Casey pulled up her hands, covering them over her face in humiliation as the tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Ssh, baby girl." He started cooing to her as the bed dipped beside her while he sat next to, comforting her though still not touching her again and wary to, and it made her cry even more. "I know it's overwhelming, all of us and then you, but...but we'll get through this. You mean so much to us, to me, and Kevin."
This man, he was so lovely and damaged himself, with his condition. His life must have sucked, he must have gone through so much, and yet, he was there having to comfort her? What was worse was that he took the blame, he thought she was crying over how 'overwhelming' it was, these two lovely men Kevin and Barry and their alters.
She hated herself so much. Most of all, she hated how much she wanted him, wanted to be normal for him and yet... she couldn't get past it. Her past, her issues.
She couldn't stand it anymore.
Huffing deeply through her fingers, she forced herself to sit upright, wiping her tears hastily. "I'm sorry, Barry, but I... I've got to go."
"W-what? B-but-" He trailed off weakly as she stood, ignoring him. She wiped her face again as she stood, too embarrassed to even look his way. "But we can work through this, honey. Why don't you just sit down, you know, and we'll talk this through? We'll see if we can solve this?"
She heard plain as day the hurt in Barry's tone, the confusion. He so thought it was all about them.
"Please, Barry, I... I'm sorry. I'm so s-stupid!" Before Barry- or Kevin or perhaps even one of the others- could say another word to her, Casey shot off, running down the hallway, managing to retrace her steps to the front door.
It was so mortifying, and she hated herself. Hated herself for running out, for leaving Barry there wondering what he had done, making him take all the unwarranted blame but she couldn't help it.
Hope this one was OK? Poor Barry, poor Kevin, poor Casey. :( Well, I think it was obvious it wouldn't be easy lol. Thank you all so much for your reviews and alerts, it means so much. Hoping you are enjoying this still? :)