Disclaimer: Please, please sue me. I really don't have a life and it will give me something to do. Er, actually don't, because I have to pay for college. Don't screw up my life, please. But you could pretend to sue me in order to make it more interesting. No? Okay, well that's alright: I don't own anything. I didn't make up these characters because I have a writing handicap that doesn't allow me to make up my own characters. ::Sigh::
Author notes: I don't know what has possessed me. I don't like Tarker. I like Travis and Parker, just not together. But this just sorta wrote itself. Ug, I hate plot bunnies. Kill the bunnies!!! Okay, don't really, because that's very sad. I heart bunnies. But, yeah, don't kill me for this. It had to come out, so here it is.
You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.
She liked to wear different things. One time she found bright pink hoop earrings at a costume store and she bought them just because they sparkled in fluorescent lighting.
She liked to do different things. When it was dark and the sun had either set or gone behind big, HUGE clouds, she would put on a sweatshirt or a sweater, or sometimes nothing at all, and just wonder around Roscoe, looking at how strange things were at night. Things shrink at night, which she always thought was weird; it was as if they were as scared of the dark as she was. But, then again, maybe she wasn't scared of the dark, because she went out in it so often. But we like what frightens us, so maybe that's what she was all about.
He liked to hear different things. He liked to press his headphones close to his ears and listen to Lily Randall's voice all day long. Don't tell her what to do. Don't tell her who to love. He wished he could, because he would have told her to love him, love him only, screw Ray, he didn't deserve her. But he couldn't, so he didn't. Instead, he put his headphones on and pretended that she was closer than she really was, because she was never really that close.
He liked to touch different things. He can remember the first time he touched her skin, not Lily's, but he can remember that too. But he remember most vividly touching her skin, because it felt smooth and strong and galvanizing. Galvanizing-- what a great word. It was such a great word, because it described her so well. Other words were good too-- electrifying, capricious, facetious. But galvanizing was the best. Lily had her words too-- titillating, provoking, arresting. But Lily's words were all blurring together and he had to remind himself of them.
"Oh. Hello. You're Parker, right?"
"The one and only!"
"Uh, right." A pause. "Can I do something for you?"
"Oh! No; I just saw you sitting all by yourself and thought you looked a little lonely."
"Well I'm not."
"I never said you were."
"Yes you did."
"Just now. . . look, I'm not really in the mood to argue. Could you just leave me alone?"
"Oh, yeah, sure. Sorry 'bout that."
A long pause. He turns a page in his book. Finally, an impatient outburst: "I don't know if you know this, but generally, in order for the self to be alone, he needs to have a void of company."
"Don't be dumb. You always have company."
"Listen-- Parker-- I don't know what you're deal is, but I'm having a bad day. Do you understand this?"
"I'm not stupid."
"As I'm sure. But, anyway, I really just don't feel like having company. So, could you go away? Please?"
"No. Sorry." A pause while he sighs in agitation. Then: "Why such the long face?"
"You wouldn't understand."
"Why not? I know you're having problems with Lily, again. We get into fights and such too. I'm her best friend you know. Well, other than you."
"Wait. How'd you know that this was about Lily?"
"Oh, just intuition, I suppose. I'm a Pisces, you know-- we're very intuitive. And I watch you all the time too."
"Oh, don't act so surprised. I know you know. I see you watching me from the corner of your eye."
"Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not. Maybe I'm nothing. Who knows what's what, anyways."
"Like I said--"
"-- But, anyways, it is about Lily. It's always about Lily with you boys, isn't it? What's so great about her anyway? I mean, she's awesome, but why do you guys just practically fall heels over head for her?"
"You wouldn't understand."
"Why not? What is it about me that wouldn't understand?"
"It's not you."
"Au contraire. I think it is, because that's, what? the third time that you've told me I don't understand."
"Actually, it's the second."
"Oh, that's right. You said that Robbie wouldn't understand earlier this morning."
"Uh, right. No offense, but you're starting to scare me."
She ignores him. "So, whatcha readin'?"
He stares at her, his eyes squinted in suspicion. Then, seeing her friendly smile, he says, "Trollop."
"Oooohhh! I love him."
"Right. . ."
"But, you know what I was thinking the other day? How great would it to be Trollop's trollop?"
"Beyond the greatest stretches of the imagination, I'm sure."
"Ha Ha. You're being sarcastic."
"You're starting to get the hang of this obvious thing. Now, do you think you could grasp leaving me alone?"
"Oh, I get it. I just don't think you do."
Blinking: "Come again?"
"We'll it's all very subconscious, for sure. But it's true, you know. You're never alone. . . Lily's always there, either in your ears, or in your heart-- always in your heart--, or in your mind, or sometimes in your touch. You always have company, Travis."
Silence reigns for a long time. Their eyes are locked, and he squints at her skeptically, as if he isn't quite sure what she's all about. "Why do you care, Parker?"
"Care about what?" She looks a little alarmed.
"About how I feel. About how I desire and want and crave and all those things."
"Sure you do."
"Okay, maybe I do. But not about Lily. I don't care what you think about Lily. That stuff is so silly."
He scrunches his eyebrows up, looking slightly rebuffed. "My feelings for Lily are extremely real, I'll have you know."
"Oh, I know. Real but silly. Really silly. Sillily real. Whatever. But, anywho, I don't care how you feel about Lily. That's not my problem. I care about how you feel about yourself."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I'm not quite sure. But, whatever it means, it means I care. And that's good enough. Right?"
He stares at her for a long time, wide-eyed this time. Licking his lips in confusion, he cocks his head at her before saying, slowly and quietly, "You're rather odd, you know that?"
She smiles, brightly and surprised and happily, "What's odd, anyway?"
His smile is not quite as bright and as surprised, but there are hinges of cheeriness there. "Indeed."
They were strange. Everyone knew that, even Lily, and Lily was strange too. But he thought Lily was charming and haunting and distinctive. So Lily was different from her.
He had a birthday party one time. Well, he had a birthday party many times, but he remember his seventeenth the most, because it was very quiet and strange. There were no streamers and banners, and Lily was strangely affectionate that day.
Lily was --is-- fabulous. He would always love her, because he couldn't ever forget her, no matter what he did. It was the way it was, even though he hated, hated, hated, hated it.
But his seventeenth birthday party wasn't about Lily, as much as he wished it was. She was busy with a gig, and he went to it, but he returned home empty-handed, because Lily was busy talking to a record executive, and he had no business that he could claim to stay.
Happy birthday, Travis, she had said, a wide and sorry smile on her face. This is sad, she had said, this is sad that we can't go anywhere. Here, I bought you something.
It was a box, but just not any box. It was a little wooden box with photographs of the both of them decoupaged onto it. Inside the box were notes and notes and notes that she had written to him and songs she had written about him. However, she wasn't there to confront him about it, because she told he had to open it when he was alone. It had brought something great and fluffy and grand in the pit of his stomach.
Lily cared. Lily wanted him. But these feelings were no good, because they weren't meant to be, which was sad and tragic and unfortunate at the same time. Because some things are just meant to be, even though they should, by everything that is just and holy. That's why there are Romeos and Juliets. That's why there are Francescas and Paolos. That's why there are Travises and Lillyies.
They-- him and her-- weren't so meant to be. Maybe a little bit, but not much, because they weren't first loves, they weren't Travises and Lillyies. They were Travises and Parkers, which is far less romantic of a situation.
But there must have been something to it all, or it could just be written as totally ludicrous. Which it was a little bit; ludicrous that is. But it was also quirky and cheesy and fun. And it was different.
"'He thought the sky looked justifiable that night, as he closed the window cases, enclosing himself in brooding darkness.' "
"Mmm. That's pretty, Travis."
"Do you think so?"
"Yes. Very inspiring."
"What's so funny?"
"Just the irony. He kills himself after that line."
She pauses before: "The world's so ironic like that."
"I know. A paradox really: The thing's in life that are supposed to be so very tragic end up being the most beautiful."
There would be a silence, but the crickets are chirping loudly, and the swings that they are sitting on are creaking every time they swing to and fro.
She says, after a while, "Kinda like you."
"Mm? I didn't hear you over that mouthful of slushy."
She giggles before thickly swallowing. "Ow, brainfreeze." She swings in the air, before coming back down. "I said that the man reminded me of you."
"You think I'm going to kill myself."
"Oh no. Not that. I meant the whole paradox thing. You are very tragic, Dean."
"Don't call me that."
"What? Tragic or Dean?"
"Well, both, I suppose."
"Why not? It's the truth."
"I'm not tragic and my name is not Dean or James or anything like that."
"Tragic is almost like Travis."
"Or not at all. Parker, you're getting weird on me again."
"Oh, be quiet. What do you want me to do? Quote stuff or be all cute and charming and lovely like Lily or something?"
He can see she is a little upset, so he simply ducks his head down and stares into his slushy. He sips a few cold drinks before saying, "I"m sorry Parker. I like you. . ."
". . . just the way I am. I know. You're redundant redundant, Dean."
"Don't call me Dean!"
"You like it, admit it. It makes you feel sexy."
"You tell me that alot."
"And this means nothing to you. . ."
"Oh no. Just because I don't care what people think about me. Not like you."
"What are you saying?"
"That you care very much what people say about you."
"No I don't."
"Yes you do."
"No. . . I don't."
"Well, okay, then--" she pauses, takes a sip of her drink before saying, "--Dean."
His head snaps up and he glares at her. "I told you to stop calli--"
"See?! You care what I call you. You care, Travis."
He goes to say something but realizes that it is hopeless, because she very much has a point. So, instead, he pouts silently, staring at the sky as if all of this is its fault.
They are very quiet for a long time, his lips turned downward and her eyes shifting anxiously over his face, because she is afraid she hurt his feelings.
"You want to hear something funny, Parker?"
She blinks, as if out of her reverie, before scrunching up her eyebrows. "What's that, Travis?"
"I like your eyes."
She stares at him wide-eyed. "Excuse me?"
He laughs, at what he isn't quite sure, before saying, "How stupid is that? I like your eyes."
Her mouth moves soundlessly before: "I don't think it's very stupid."
"Not very, huh? Well, whatever, it's true: I like your eyes. They're glittering and quirky and kind and vivacious."
A pause before she asks, tentatively, "Like Lily's?"
His eyes shift over to hers. "Actually, no. Lily's are clear and questioning and large and beautiful and ethereal and habitual and--"
"Okay! Okay, I get it. You're freakin' in love with Lily. Cool beans, Dean. I don't give a shit how you feel about Lily, remember?"
He starts to laugh again, and he can tell it is pissing her off. But he does it anyway before saying, cruelly, "You care too, Parker."
"Care about what?" It is said grumpily and pouting.
"Care about what I think."
"So what if I do?"
"Than you lied. You do care about what people think."
"I guess you're right. You're always right. There, you happy?"
He frowns, because he can see tears shimmering in her eyes and her voice is wavering. "No. I'm never happy, Parker. . . you know that."
"I don't know shit."
"Don't say that. Of course you do; you're the smartest person I know."
"Except for Lily, right?"
"No, not even Lily. Well, maybe Lily, but she's not the same kind of smart. She's just. . . aw hell, this isn't about her. This is about you."
"Sucks to me."
"Stop that, now! You're an extraordinary human being, Parker Edmunds, and don't let me or Lily or yourself tell you otherwise."
She looks up at him with big watery eyes before throwing her arms around him in an melodramatic silly performance, sobbing emphatically into his shoulder.
He pats her awkwardly on the back, while she keeps sobbing. Then, as time progresses, and she is still crying, he notices the odd brush of her hair on his face, and the way her tears are gliding up his neck and the way her body feels warm and right next to his. His arms float up her back, sliding up and down and up and down her sweater. It's a mohair sweater, one he bought her for Christmas. It's nice, and she's nice, and suddenly he has the ingrained urge to kiss her.
Drawing back thoroughly, he stares into her face before shaking his head.
"We need to get back home."
Her tears are dry now, and she is looking at him with wide eyes. "Why?"
"Why?" He asks her before realizing that she asked it first. "Why? Uh, well, I promised Lil' I'd call her. It's what? Past ten? Christ, I was supposed to call her an hour ago. Better get home."
She frowns, because she knows he is lying. He lies alot, which is ironic, because he is so very fond of the truth.
Cuddling close to him, she wipes her tear stained cheek affectionately up and down his soft suede coat. "Okay, Dean. . . whatever you want."
"It's not about what I want, you know."
"Oh, of course it is; don't be dumb."
"I'd like it to be different, Parker."
Her eyes shift slowly up to his and they lock, glittering and meaningful. She shakes her head. "You can't be what you aren't, Travis."
He is quiet for a long time, thinking this over. Then, as they are walking across the park grounds, he says, "I could only wish that. But the reality is that I've been everything I'm not for a long time."
She grips him tighter, because he is warm and he smells like chamomile and fall and wet ground. Sighing, she says, "We're all so lost, aren't we?"
She gives a thin smirk before: "With you I am."
Things age so fast. It's amazing. It's astounding.
They grew up so fast. First they were in high school, then they were in college, and they were holding down jobs, nine to five, staring blankly at computer screens and editing papers and e-mailing nameless people like: URCRZY
He grew up a long time before everyone else. Maturity was a middle name and pseudonym that he carried around like a fake passport. He always had the answers. He had the answers to all of life's hardest questions, to the human condition, to the mind of women; everything really.
Except his own life.
Lily moved away. She moved to sunny California and then to cold New York and then back to colder Toronto. She sang songs and become famous, in a sorta, kinda, cult-following sort of way. She came to Toronto and wrote songs and Travis went to go see her.
They went out to dinner. They talked a long time and maybe had too much to drink. They had great sex and then decided that they had been missing so much. They decided to get married.
And then Lily went away.
Well, maybe she didn't. Travis went away too. They just sorta went away at the same time. They fell apart, they broke up, they took a break. Whatever. They were meant to be, but fate hated them. Not fate like that kind that we think of, as some sort of transcendental energy that surrounds us and binds us, but the fate that strips at bars and sees all the shit of this world and is so jaded by it all, it just laughs at people who try to tempt it.
But she was always there, haunting him like a ghost or a phantom limb. He had grown so used to her she had became like a bad habit. Or maybe a good one. He couldn't tell then.
But when Lily went away, she stayed, sitting in his apartment while he brooded and resented and regretted silently and dangerously. She sat with teary eyes as he cried, which he did do every once in awhile. But she didn't just cry for him, even though that hurt an awful lot, seeing him in so much pain. But, she cried out of self-pity also, because he would never cry for her like he did for Lily.
Or so she thought.
"Why'd you just kiss me, Travis?"
He has wide eyes, and he stares at her as if he has never seen her before, which he hasn't really; or at least not like this.
She licks her lips.
The clock ticks on the wall.
"Would you do it again?"
He does, dipping his head down and consuming her lips in a fiery passion. His hands clutch her closer, and he pushes her against the piano that is sitting in his living room. Loud, strange, and ancient noises strum eerily throughout the room.
And then he stops and stares at her again, this time with squinted eyes.
She just blinks before: "So, why'd you do it?"
He opens his mouth to say something, but then shuts it. Cocking his head back, he says, " I don't know."
She snorts. "Well, that's reassuring. Now, if you're going to just look at me, could you please ease up? I think middle C is jabbing into my backbone."
He does, feeling very awkward and strange about it all. He watches as she brushes herself off and frowns in agitation at the predicament. Then, breathing in a large breath of air, he says, "I do know."
"Don't be like that, Parker. Not now."
"Jesus, Strong, what the heck do you want me to be like?" She stares up at him with strong eyes, nice eyes that are fiery and frustrated. "You want to know something?"
He doesn't say anything.
"I've loved you for the past ten years, Travis Strong. I've loved you ever since you spilled that dumb juice container all over my brand new shirt in the ninth grade. I loved you when you and Ray Brennan fought over Lily like she was some sort of consolation prize. I loved you when we accidentally brushed lips in the eleventh grade, because we got smooched together in that mosh pit. I loved you when you went to Harvard for a semester and then came back home, for reason unknown. Probably for Lily, even though she wasn't there. But her presence was, and she came home every Christmas, so that was good enough for you. I loved you when you got that job at the paper, and when you got that promotion at the paper, and then when you quit your job at the paper. I loved you when we were flat mates. I loved you when you came home piss drunk that one night, because I knew that you were so lost, and that wasn't you. I loved you when Lily and you got engaged and then also when you broke up, or whatever the heck you did. I loved you just then, when you kissed me and told me you have no idea why you did it. I'll love you when you tell me that everything meant nothing, and that you don't love me like that, and I'll love you when I'm rotting in my grave. I'll love you through every lifetime, Travis Strong, Dean, James, whatever you want to be called. I can't help but love you. It's a part of me and I won't apologize for it. So there. You don't have to say anything, but that's how it is, whether you like it or not."
He stares a long time at her and she stares back, panting loud because it takes a lot of breath to rip your soul out and bare it naked in front of the world. Then, slowly, a wide, goofy grin graces his face, showing an expression of someone who has seen the sunrise for the first time in years.
He laughs, so loud she is sure that everyone in the apartment complex can hear him. She just stares at him wide-eyed, because it isn't the sort of reaction she expected in the least.
"I don't know if it was supposed to be funny, Dean," She says, half-jokingly and half-seriously.
His laughter is rich and honest. Shaking his head, he grabs her face, his thumbs rubbing across her cheeks, in a sort of wandering and calming way. Then, with a wide grin, he says, "But it isn't funny, or not really. It's all just so humorous."
She stares at him in horror before something writhes it's way up her body. Eyes suddenly smarting with tears, she snaps, "I hate you, Travis Strong."
"No you don't. And listen to me, Parker. That's your problem: You hear me but you don't listen. I say so much more than you think I do, because you just wait for key phrases that I won't ever say except for now. So, you listening?"
She shakes her head, her face still in his hands. Tears glide down from her eyelashes and catch on his thumb.
"Do you want to know why I kissed you, Parker?"
She stares at him, a blank expression on her face.
"It was like this: For years, I had looked into these eyes-- Lily's eyes-- and just found something crazy and alluring and fascinating there. But they brought some sort of weird hollowness. Well, not really, because I won't lie to you, Parker: I will probably always have some sort of heart for Lily Randall, because once you give your heart away like that, it's hard to get all the pieces back. But, for the first time in my life, when I looked into your eyes, there was something there I have never felt before. Albeit it was boring and complacent and maybe a domestic. But it wasn't a typical boring and everything. It was confidence and stability and happiness. It was life, Parker. It was the way it all supposed to be, finding fulfillment in silly little things, like the way your lip turns down when you're on the verge of crying, or how alive your face looks when we make cookies, or the way you call me Dean. When I looked into your eyes, Parker, I found my life, and it's just so hard to find your life and not want to bring it as close to you as possible. And that's why I kissed you, because I finally found something that had been staring me in the nose forever. And I realized, in that second, that I loved it and cherished it and was totally and hopelessly in love with it. In love with you, Parker Edmunds, as weird and quirky and cheerful as you are."
He is crying now, even though she has stopped. Swallowing thickly, she reaches up and brushes away a tear from his eyelash, a gray and refreshed and amazed smile on her face.
"Don't cry, Dean. Don't cry for Lily."
He smiles at her. "I'm not. I'm crying for you."
"Because you deserve it, Parker. Because you brought such a beautiful breakdown."
She laughs, but it catches in her throat, and suddenly she is crying again. Then, shaking her head, she says, "It's all very tragic, isn't it, Travis?"
"I don't know. Yes, I suppose: Everything tragic is very beautiful. But then, for once it isn't. Maybe it was tragic. Now it isn't."
Licking her lips, she asks, "Wanna keep it that way?"
He kisses her, in a very un-tragic sort of way.
Well, that was weird. For me at least. I don't know what to think about it all, so I won't comment on the story too much. But you may. . . I lurv reviews like I love my own mama. Hehe, just kidding. Mama is such a fun word though. Almost as fun as facetious. FACETIOUS!!111
Alright, I'm in a weird mood. But yeah. I really would appreciate a review, so clicky that little button. If you do, you might see more Trily fics, as that is actually my favorite ship. Don't worry. . . I haven't jumped ship. Yet, that is. Haha, just kidding. Or am I? MWHAHA. . . :: chokes before coughing emphatically::
Darn those writers at RFR for writing Marysue!Grace and WTF!Bridget. Parker's okay; me likey Parker. Just not with Trav'. Which raises the question: Why did I write this? I don't know. Really I don't. But Travis and Parker are alright together. It's better than Travis and Bridget. ::shivers:: I just already know I won't like Bridget.
But I am rambling. See you bunch around later. Leave a review for posterity, if nothing else. Thanks you'all!