Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm still poor. Please don't sue.

Third part in a four part trilogy (with apologies to Douglas Adams)

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Dazed and Confused

The water's cold.

Damn boiler's screwed up again. I hate that.

I hate this.

Yesterday, I hated it because it was all I could afford. Today, I hate it because he didn't instantly offer to fix it for me.

And yet, if he had offered to fix it for me last night, I'd have hated him for that instead.

Yeah. It doesn't make sense. I wish it would. If it made sense, maybe I'd understand it.

Maybe, if it made sense, I'd stop thinking yesterday was just some really whacked out dream.

I shouldn't stay in a freezing shower. Got work to go to. But staying here, feeling the cold water striking my back and shoulders...at least I know I'm awake and not dreaming.

Why am I finding this so damn hard to figure out? I always knew there was this guy out there who was some distant part of my life. I guess I just never expected to know him. I figured the truth got lost when Mom died. Now I find out I've known the guy for nine months, and he's known the whole damn time.

Maybe that's the bit that's confusing the hell out of me. I ought to be angry that he's known me nine months and hasn't said a word, and I'm just not. I'm supposed to be the guy who blows his top at the least thing and I'm not angry.

I know why he hadn't said anything. Same reason I'm so damn scared to get out of this shower and actually face the day. He didn't want to change anything. Just like I don't want things to change now.

And I know Wes said it didn't change anything last night, but that was then. This is now. This is the cold light of day. Everything has changed.

I wish Mom was still here. Maybe she could explain this shit.

Then again, she never did tell me who he was. Maybe she couldn't have explained it any better than I'm dealing with it now.

Damn. It's such a mess inside my head. The only thing that makes sense right now is the feel of the water turning my spine into ice. And I can't keep hiding in here all day. Got to face the world sooner or later.

I'd have never picked myself as a coward.

If I turn to face into the freezing spray, will it numb my brain and let me stop thinking? I doubt it, but I try anyway. I'm willing to try anything to make this mess go away.

It doesn't work. I'm still thinking. Still scared and confused and not angry.

Why can't I figure this out? Why do I feel like I've had my whole universe ripped away from me? Damn it, people do this every day. People learn who they are, where they're from...why can't I just accept it?

Why do I have to believe it's gonna just get taken from me again?

Why am I scared that this life I've built for myself here is just gonna get shattered into tiny pieces by this?

It's already started. I know Wes is pissed at his Dad. My... Shit.

There's someone beating the hell out of my front door. It's probably a salesman. I can hear them over the sound of the shower. They keep this up, I'm gonna need a new front door.

Oh to hell with it -- just go answer the door.

I turn the shower off. I'm shivering. It'll pass. I've been worse. I climb out of the shower and snag a towel from the rack. It's cold too. I wrap it round my waist and head out of the bathroom. Whoever it is on my doorstep kicks up a real storm. I yell,

"All right, already -- give me a second, will ya?"

They seem like they're in a hurry about something. I could stop and snag some sweats, but I don't think my door'll survive that. So I go to the door just dressed in a towel and intending to give whoever it is on my doorstep a blast of attitude and hardass for dragging me out of the shower, but when I tear the door open, standing on my doorstep is Wes and his father. My... Shit.

And they're here.

And staring at me. At where I live.

Suddenly, I'm embarrassed and defensive. So what if this place is a dump; it's my dump. It's the place I've worked my ass off to get. And maybe it's not everything it could be; maybe the boiler is a pile of crap; but it's mine.

And then I realise that I'm staring at them. And I'm just in a towel. And I'm freezing.

I'd give just about anything to start this whole day over again.

It's finally Wes who breaks the silence. "Can we come in?" he asks.

I shrug a little bit and step back, letting them both in.

"You left, last night. In a hurry." Wes' dad sounds nervous. Shit. Not just Wes' dad any more. Gotta get that straight.

I close the front door behind them. "Yeah. Well..." I shrug again.

"Didn't have a chance to talk."

That would be because I didn't have anything to say last night. I shrug some more. "Take a seat," I say and gesture towards the couple of armchairs that came with the place. "Give me a minute to find some clothes." I didn't want to talk last night.

I think maybe I need to talk now.

I just don't know what I'm gonna say.