By Maia's Pen
Disclaimer: Don't I WISH that I owned Gary Oak. Alas, I don't.
Dedication: LeikaLai. Your spellbinding story sparked my interest in a pairing that I never glanced at before. I'm not sure if you'll like this story (since it is very dark) but just know that you planted the seed for my creativity. Thank you.
Cover Art: I commissioned the amazing Wooserr to create art for this story. Please find it on my website: egoshipper dot com (link on my profile page).
Info: This story was originally posted in March of 2006. In July of 2019 I combed it over, corrected some typos and gave it a facelift without altering any original content.
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The vodka rushes down my throat with that satisfying burn. I imagine the alcohol is like molten lava, reducing my existence to ashes. I hope the ashes are so small that no one will ever find my remains.
I can't stand the thought of seeing him again, but the thought of never seeing him is even worse.
Now I'm pretending the vodka is composed of my sinful desires. If I can fit enough in my mouth at once, then I'll be able to swallow them down and away from my brain.
Oh yeah, I feel them in my stomach churning, boiling, and mixing with my bile . . .
. . . damn . . .
. . . I feel kinda sick.
I don't wanna throw them up so I gulp hard, forcing my vomit to remain inside of me.
It's like there are a dozen slippery Ekans coiling around my intestines. These snakes are born of my misery and they want out. They're tired of writhing inside of me, feeding off of my greed and lust. But I hope they stay trapped, squirming within my body. If I can't escape, then why the hell should they? Oh, but, I hope they are not drinking any of the vodka. I want that all to myself. I want the alcohol to seep inside my organs, my bloodstream . . .
If those Ekans want to go then they sure as hell better take me with them.
What the hell am I even thinking about? Ekans living inside of my body? Shit, I'm drunk off my ass. But not drunk enough. I press the vodka bottle to my lips and the last few droplets trickle into my mouth.
Damn, I finished the whole thing already. All twenty ounces. Well, that didn't take long. I need more to drink though. I want to numb the world out. I want to feel anesthetized, like a person going under for surgery. Right now I can still feel and I don't want to feel anymore.
I wonder what it would be like to be alive but feel nothing? I guess I wouldn't really be alive then. Corpses don't feel. But I'm not suicidal. I just want to find some fleeting consolation from the alcohol. I just need to find a way to get through tomorrow, and then the rest of my life without him.
I stand up. My legs feel like wilting plants. I know that I'm in my apartment, in the living room, but I hardly recognize my surroundings . . . everything is sort of slushing together . . . like all my furniture is spinning around wildly in a huge Snorlax-sized blender. I'm hella dizzy.
I manage to fall against the wall and – somehow — pull myself into the kitchen. I don't turn on the light for two reasons: 1. I can't find it. 2. The brightness would probably scald my eyes from my head right now. I don't need the light to find my refrigerator. I know where it is. I've been living here, in this apartment in Viridian City, for almost six months now. And in those six months I have taken many drunken ventures to the fridge. It's funny how — while inebriated — even moving from one room to another is like navigating the caves around Mount Moon.
What the hell? What is this? Beer or soda pop? I'm holding a can, but I can't read the damn label. Whatever, I'm too messed up to know the difference anyway.
The can opens with a rewarding crack and the familiar yeasty aroma of beer wafts into my nostrils. Yum. I guess I'm not that drunk yet, but I will be.
I don't wanna feel like this anymore. I hate the way I feel. It's not right. I hate myself. I hate him.
That damn bastard.
The beer tastes like ash in my mouth, but I drink it anyway. My eyes are hot and I realize that I'm . . . crying. My already screwed up vision is now entirely blurred by my tears.
"Gary." His name is poison on my tongue. "Gary." I say it again, trying to spit it out — spit him out if my life.
"Damn him!" No matter how hard I try, I can't banish him from my thoughts. I can't banish him from me. I need him. I want him as close to me as the alcohol inside me is. I want to keep him there, force him to stay with me, trap him like the Ekans.
My body slumps within the cushions of my easy chair. I don't remember stumbling back into the living room, but whatever, I'm here. I'm in my chair and I have my beer. Everything is freakin' spectacular now.
The tears are gliding down my face like droplets of melting wax. They actually burn as they descend. Eventually the tears catch on the rim of my beer can. They are making my beer sting with bitterness. But as long as I can still feel that sting and taste that bitterness, then I'm still not drunk enough. This sucks. Why is it taking so long to just pass out?
"Tonight was supposed to be great." I'm mumbling out loud now. I'm crying harder. I sound like a pathetic child. A pathetic lonely child . . . I'm so alone. I'm always going to be alone. I hate him.
"I hate him!" I'm screaming at my wall as though I desperately want it to sympathize with me. The electric-blue wallpaper begins to ripple like an ocean before me. "I hate him, do you hear me?" The wallpaper only crashes around like a dangerous wave in reply. The color of the wall reminds me of Gary's eyes.
"He's getting married tomorrow," I sniffle, wiping at my eyes with my shirt sleeve. "And tonight was supposed to be great."
My beer is now empty and I chuck it to the floor. I hear it roll across the room. I can't follow it with my eyes because the wallpaper ocean is twisting around like a whirlpool now. My stomach lurches with nausea. I squeeze my eyes shut. I feel like I'm spinning around on a giant frisbee. I clutch the arms of the chair, just trying to hold on! Maybe I should let go and let my body fall off? Maybe my body will hurtle off and into the ocean around me? Maybe I will finally be allowed to drown within Gary's beautiful eyes? I wish he would just let me drown and stop holding me hostage within the waves. I would rather sink than be a helpless pawn thrashing within the tide — struggling and desperate to breathe beneath his stare.
My world begins to still and I open my eyes. The wallpaper is just wallpaper again and –- to my utter disappointment — I haven't been thrown anywhere. I'm still on my chair.
Tonight was supposed to great. I was supposed to be getting drunk alright, just not in my apartment and certainly not alone.
Tonight is . . . Gary's bachelor party.
Tomorrow is his wedding.
I don't know why I keep reminding myself of this fact. The thought turns rancid in my mind. I wish my skull was feeble like an eggshell so that I could crack it, and let all the rotten filth that was once my brain leak out.
"Maybe I shouldn't have left the bachelor party?"
Dammit! I keep talking out loud to myself like a crazy person. I wish I had more beer. I wish I'd stayed at the party. I wish I'd just pretended everything was hunky-doorey, then I would at least be getting drunk with all the guys. With Brock, Richie, Koga, Tracey, Will, Morty . . . all the guys, all of Gary's friends were there, dozens of them. They were all having a blast! Why couldn't I?
I should have tried harder.
As I sit here right now, wishing that my head turned into an egg, the guys are enjoying a gorgeous exotic dancer and Brock's finest party snacks. Good old Brock, he took it upon himself to organize the whole bachelor party. He and Gary are friends now, we all are. Getting to know Gary again, after so many years of fighting, has been amazing! He's probably my closest friend next to Brock. I'm going to be the Best Man at his wedding tomorrow.
Holy shit, it's tomorrow. I'm the Best Man. I still can't believe he asked me! Me! It's an honor right? I mean, Gary could've asked anyone. But he didn't, he asked me. And what was I supposed to say: 'Hell no, Gary. I'd rather sit on a Cacnea than be at your side while you pledge yourself to that stupid bitch. I don't want you to be with her. I don't want you to be with anyone because I want you all for myself.'
Oh yeah, Ketchum, that would have been dandy. Gone over really well. But what you did say was far worse:'Yes.' I told Gary that I would. What the hell is wrong with me?
I don't know when my feelings of friendship for him started to go wrong. I hated him when we were kids, teenagers, and even — as of six months ago — if anyone asked me what I thought about Gary Oak I would have said: 'he's a rich, snobby know-it-all.'
Well, those feelings changed. Obviously. They have turned wrong . . . lustful . . . sinful . . . dammit!
Maybe it's not too late to go back to the party? "Maybe it w-would be bet-ter if I got sloshed along with the o-oth-er guys?" Heh, I said 'sloshed', that's a funny word.
If I go back then I can hang out with the others guys. I can cheer along with the other guys as that fake-breasted stripper gives Gary the lap dance of his life. Screw that idea. I'm NOT going back. Watching that skanky dancer shake her tits in his face is what drove me to leave in the first place . . . Gary was loving it. That stripper twirled her long black braids around her finger all innocently . . . she jumped on his lap and bounced around, smothering him in her ridiculous cleavage. Bleh. I couldn't watch it. The other guys were all hooting and hollering. Brock looked like he'd died and gone to heaven. He was flapping a fifty dollar bill as he waited in line for the next dance. And as the stripper skillfully lost her costume, Gary sat there grinning from ear-to-ear, laughing and flirting with her. His last night as a single man and he wants to be entertained by a stranger. In a stranger's arms. He should be in my arms.
He never even noticed that I left the party. None of them did. I just left. I walked home and none of them noticed! Gary didn't even notice me – his Best Man — leaving the party.
"Damn him!" My face burns like I just stuck my head in Charizard's mouth. "Damn that bastard Oak!" I want to grab him and punch his teasingly handsome face.
I don't know where the energy comes from, but I'm now compelled to move! With the vigor of a Cinnibar Island volcano I burst from my chair and strike the wall! I cry out, but the anguish is pleasurable. My knuckles bleed against the drywall. It feels so good to bleed and punch. I keep doing it. I pretend that I am punching Gary, that I've backed him into a corner as dark as my mind. He looks right and left, he's panicking, he wants to get away from me. Let him try. I know that I'm stronger than him.
At twenty-three I might be a year his junior, but I'm his senior in strength. Since I failed at becoming the Pokemon Master, I have settled for a position as the new Viridian City Gym Leader. I have lots of spare time. I lift weights daily. I train martial arts with Koga at the Fuchsia City Gym. I've put on considerable muscle since my youth. I'm no Bruno, but I'm certainly strong. I love to sweat, I love to bleed. I always imagine that my loneliness will eventually drain away with those two mortal liquids.
Gary has an athletic build. He's not as muscled as me, but he's fit. His body is . . . so hot, he's perfect. I know this because we jog together daily. But, with his teaching job sticking him in front of a classroom all day, he doesn't have time to workout like I do.
Just yesterday Gary and I were enjoying our routine morning jog together; we were laughing and talking about our futures. He's a professor at Viridian University, which is only two blocks from my apartment here, above the gym. When I moved here six months ago Gary and I were hardly friends. I hadn't actually spoken to him in years. But, when he heard that I was the new gym leader he went out of his way to befriend me – to show me around the city and to introduce me to his colleagues and friends. He really made me feel like Viridian was my home. Gary was only dating his fiancée then, and I was happy for them at first. I was also in a serious relationship with a girl, but like all of my other relationships, that one went to shit.
I was devastated and Gary was really there for me. I doubt he knows what heartbreak feels like, I can't image anyone every breaking up with him. But he empathized with me and was there. He was never too busy to talk to me. At first I just thought that Gary was a cool guy and a terrific friend. I am not gay, okay. I take girls back to my place all the time. The problem started about three months ago when I had a girl here, and when I kissed her I wished she was him. It freaked me out. I was like: 'whoaaaa, I am one drunken crazy-ass!' That was until it happened again with the next girl, and the next, and every girl thereafter. I started dreaming about him. And I'm not talking about dreams where we go fishing, hiking, Pokemon battling and other such manly things, if you catch my drift.
I was seeing Gary differently . . . feeling toward him differently. When we jogged I began paying a lot of attention to the way he moved. How he was so light on his feet, so fast that he nearly flew. How his auburn spikes of hair bounced up and down as he laughed that perfect mocking laugh. How his spine curved and glistened with sweat when he stretched . . . I admired the tight muscles in his forearms . . . calves . . . abs . . .
Gary's smile should be on billboards. He is insanely attractive. Sometimes, when we get up early to jog, he hasn't shaved yet and his jaw is rough with stubble . . . it's hot . . .
. . . I sound like some stupid crushing teenage girl. Uggh! But . . . this is the truth . . . and . . .
. . . imagining Gary's eyes is what keeps me up at night, tossing and turning like I have a fever in my bed sheets. When I look at him, his eyes suck in all of my attention like a black hole. Only not black, but Gyarados-blue. I feel myself being pulled under currents of toxic azure. For a brief moment, every time he looks at me, I don't know if I have the energy to fight my way out. And in that moment I consider surrendering. But surrendering to what? He's engaged and I can't seize a hold of him and force him to satisfy my fantasies. He's straight. I'm straight. There is nothing to surrender to . . . and right now, as I'm thinking this, I know that it's Tauros shit. When Gary looks at me I can feel those same unspoken desires.
I ache for him.
I hate him for making me feel this way.
I HATE HIM!
My fist cracks against the wall again and I collapse. My chest is heaving and I realize that I'm choking on air. I glare up at the wall and fist-shaped blood stains are splattered all over. It looks like Mr. Mime was wildly dancing with a red paint bucket.
I'm on my knees. I'm angry. I'm so angry. My temper has taken fluid form and it bubbles within my veins. It is scorching and burning me until I wish that I could pluck and rip my veins from my skin. I continue to glower at the wall. I visualize Gary laying like crumpled paper in the corner. He's bloodier than a butchered Miltank. I beat him good. I feel a twisted sense of pride welling inside me.
"Ha, ha . . ." I try to laugh mockingly, but I'm too short of breath. "What do ya think 'bout that, Gary? Looks like there won't be a wedding tomorrow. You can't k-kiss the bride if you're i-n-n the hospital, eheh . . ." Okay, yeah my voice is slurring. I don't care. I'm so pissed at this imaginary Gary!
He's going to marry that bitch tomorrow. I claw at my own head! I don't want to think about her! I need a drink! I need to numb this out! I can't stand it! The walls are closing in around me and I'm going to be crushed!
I wish I was crushing Gary beneath my fist. I wish I could make him feel the pain that I do . . . but I still see his confident smirk as that stripper gropes him . . . as his fiancée holds his hand — flaunting her enormous engagement ring. I'd like to snatch that ring off her finger, stick it on my own like a brass knuckle and then sock her one in her perfect tan face. . . . That rich actress twit . . . Brenda LaVargo. . . tomorrow her name will be Brenda Oak.
By the Legendaries, no.
How did Gary fall in love with her? Could he really have fallen in love with that fake bitch?
No, I can't believe that he really loves her. Gary and I have gotten so close, he's my friend and . . . and he is so much more than that! I want to scream, but I'm afraid that if I open my mouth I'll vomit all over the place and spill my alcohol and my venomous Ekans. And I don't want to lose them. I want to keep them inside me and hope that they destroy my brain so that I can no longer feel.
I can't possibly stand next to him tomorrow while he marries her. He can't love her! I know Gary and I know that he didn't want to get married so young. He's only twenty-four years old! His effin' parents are making him do this! He denies it, but I know it's true. He's damned himself to a life with that selfish actress . . . her parents and Gary's parents are all chummy-chummy . . . rubbing elbows at fancy galas . . . one big, happy, disgustingly wealthy family.
Brenda LaVargo has perfect blond hair, perfect blue eyes, perfect tan skin, perfect long legs, and perfect huge breasts, complete with a perfect fake smile. Blah, she makes me sick. Every time I see her at a luncheon she clings to Gary like saran wrap. We rarely have a 'boy's night out' anymore because she's always calling him to come home because she's lonely. I get to see him in the morning to jog and that's it. Stupid bitch. I wish I could take Gary away from her so that she would never have him again. I wish I could tell him how I feel . . . I'm not even sure how I feel . . . I just want him all to myself. I just need him in my life. I don't know. I DON'T KNOW!
"I DON'T KNOW!" There I go screaming out loud again. "DAMN!" It feels good when my lungs burn.
Now I'm hearing things . . .
. . . wait . . . did someone just say my name? My head is dizzy . . . it feels heavy like my hair is composed of lead wires. Who the hell . . . ?
"Gary?" I struggle to my feet. The object of my anguish is standing in the doorway. Shit, he has a spare key to my apartment.
What the hell? He's just standing there gaping at me. He's still dressed in his party clothes. The top button is missing from his white dress shirt – probably from the stripper's greedy fingers. My sight falls downward to the skin of his throat: his Adam's apple is quivering. I blatantly look over the rest of his body: he's sexy. He's perfect. But unlike Brenda he's real perfect, not fake perfect. Gary is wearing khakis that just happen to showcase his fit legs and ass. The expensive-looking brown shoes don't go unnoticed. Brenda bought those for him.
Gary frisks anxious fingers through his spikes of hair and my fingers itch to do the same. Those taunting eyes still focus on me, they belong to a face that appears confused.
Those cobalt crucifiers now scan my trashed living room. There goes my blood pressure . . . I feel anger boiling inside me again. How dare he so easily take his eyes off of me when I can't seem to pry mine from him! Even now, as he stands gaping like a dummy, he is the most desirable thing I have ever seen.
Ever the oblivious executioner of my emotions, does his sight bounce back upon me yet again. The envy of Ice-type Pokemon everywhere. Gary's retinas effectively freeze me in place.
"Ash?" Gary takes a tentative step forward, his tone is uneasy. "Are you okay? By Moltres, your place is a wreck and . . ." I watch as his gaze settles upon the bloody wall — the wall I pounded pretending it was him. "Ash! Your hands!" Professor Clueless rushes forward and lifts my hands to assess the damage.
My fingers are encrusted with my own gore. The flesh on my knuckles is torn and already scabbing. I feel them throbbing, but the pain is distant . . . perhaps the alcohol is finally kicking in?
Gary's hands are soft and tender as he deftly examines my cuts. It's strange, I can't feel my own torn flesh, but I can feel every timid line his fingers trace along my skin. I can feel the callous on his left thumb as he turns my hands to inspect my palms. The envy of Electric-type Pokemon everywhere. How does he cause such a pleasurably potent jolt of electricity to zap from his fingers straight to my groin. There is static reverberating down my spine, between my vertebra, between my legs. Gary's electricity provides a natural high. By Zapdos, what power his touch has over me. I wish I had control over his powerful hands. Brenda does not deserve to be touched by them. I hate her. I hate her for taking him. I hate him for being so easily taken by such a bitch. I hate myself for feeling the way I do. I hate Gary for being so intoxicating.
As he eases me back into my chair does his spicy cologne blend with his raw pheromones and tantalize the fuck out my senses. In this mere moment he has intoxicated me far beyond where the vodka, wine, beer and whatever-the-hell-else I downed ever could.
Gary's hand leaves mine and the electricity fizzles away like a blown sparkplug. He frowns down at me.
Why did he take his hand away? I WANT to feel him.
"Ash, why did you leave the party? I thought you'd just made a beer run, but when you didn't come back I was concerned. Why didn't you answer your cell? I've been trying to call you," his voice is tainted with the same tone he uses while lecturing his students. His lips purse fretfully as he awaits my reply.
I want to tell him to shut up and kiss me because he's incredibly sexy when he's lecturing. No wonder the entire female school-body has created a fan website for him. I'm about ready to enroll in one of his classes right now. Ugh, by Mew, that was lame.
For a moment I almost reach up and grab him, but I smother my instincts and scowl instead. "The party wasn't for me. I wanted to go home, so I did and I turned my phone off."
Gary huffs loudly, clearly annoyed. Apparently, now that he knows I'm not seriously injured, he's pissed. The envy of Fire-type Pokemon everywhere. His eyes flare hotter than blue flames, igniting my temper all the more.
"What the hell, Ash! You get wasted here and pound the crap outta the wall? What's wrong with you? What's going on?" Strong arms are thrown dramatically into the air, he's almost yelling now.
I scoff bitterly, leering up at him. Gary is unflinching despite the fact that I'm assaulting him with my most Ekans-level stare— derived direct from the source inside my guts. He's strong and I want to break him. "Get outta here, Oak. You don't wanna know. This is my problem. LEAVE!"
Blue eyes narrow into slits. I like pissing him off. Ever since we were kids we've thrived on enraging one other. I've always liked watching him tick . . . the way his lower lip trembles and his brow furrows . . . I want to freeze him in this instant, as his face is struggling against his rage.
"Ash, my wedding is tomorrow! You're my Best Man. Dammit! Are you even going to be able to be in the wedding party now? You're a mess. Tell me what's going on!"
Gary is actually making demands of ME! NOW?
He's really pushing it. I told him to leave. Not that I expected that he would. In Gary's blissful little world nobody is ever right but him. I would love to make him submit.
My thoughts are plunging into a dark abyss as the alcoholic Ekans poison my mind. They beckon me to release my fury. He better not push me anymore. He better not, unless he wants to feel the walls beating that was meant for him.
"OAK, I SAID: LEAVE!" I'm in his face now. Gary is a few centimeters taller than me, and with his hair he seems much bigger — but I've still got more muscle. He glares down with defiance. I can actually see his tempter fraying . . . his cheeks are tightening, his jaw clenching . . . I want to make him hurt like I do. Like I hurt every moment knowing that I can never have him.
"Ash, get a grip, you're drunk. Go sit down and I'll make you a cup of coffee, okay? When you sober up we can talk and—"
I cut him off, stepping in so close that I feel his breath on my face. "I don't want to talk about your damn wedding or your bimbo bride-to-be. I want nothing to do with your wedding tomorrow or with you! LEAVE!"
He flinches at last. Watching him falter sends tremors of gratification throughout me. He has so casually been tormenting me for months, blissfully ignorant to how I yearn for him . . . now it's my turn to do the tormenting.
"Okay," Gary forces a steady breath, shaking his unruly hair. "You're drunk and you don't know what you're saying. But, you've convinced me, Ash, I'm leaving. Goodnight." With that he whirls around towards the door.
Ha, like I'm going to let him walk away into his fairytale life just like that, without giving me a second thought? Oh no! Not after his eyes have ravaged my dreams, my thoughts, and my existence for so long.
I'm not thinking anymore. Oh no and oh well.
I feel myself gripping his forearm and yanking – hard! I pull him backward and slam him against the wall. That pretty head smashes against it with a sickening crack. I'm utterly fascinated as his eyelashes flutter, as his consciousness wavers, threatening to abandon him. He gasps.
I'm watching him. I'm captivated. I plant my other hand firmly on his shoulder and bang his head against the wall a second time. I watch the paint crack behind him. I lean in and I glower. I wait to see if he's strong enough to battle his way back to the land of light. I slammed him hard — very, very hard . . . I'm surprised I didn't fracture his skull, then again, maybe I did.
Gary's frame is going limp in my hands and his head droops like a sagging flower in the hot sun. I'm holding him up by only his shoulders. I want to hold him like this forever. I have control over him and no one else can have him now. Not Brenda, not his cursed parents! Just me.
How classically stubborn of him . . . Gary seems to steady his consciousness. His eyes are not as bright as usual, but they blink open and focus on me . . . they are damp, confused . . . he's clearly disoriented. I wait.
"Ash," his voice is a frail rasp – it's sexy. A storm brews within the iris of his eyes. "Take. Your. Hands. Off. Me." Gary takes care to pronounce every syllable, just to make sure that my drunken ears understand – how thoughtful. Asshole.
"Make. Me." I reply, mocking his tone.
I'm on the ground. I'm doubled-over. I'm gagging. Has a Machamp just punched me in the stomach?! No, it wasn't a Machamp. It was Gary. I never saw it coming. He's fast. I never knew the pretty boy could hit.
I peer upward. I feel like I'm breathing through a thin straw.
"Bas-t-ard," I wheeze, clutching my sore stomach.
Gary stumbles forward, he's lightheaded. There's a bloody imprint on my wall where his head made a permanent dent. His eyes are unfocused now and bloodshot, his pupils are dilated and the right one seems bigger than the left . . . he's probably got a concussion. Koga once accidentally gave me one when we were sparring, and that's how I looked.
Somehow Gary still manages to scowl at me.
. . . he's moving . . . toward the door. . . he's walking away . . .
. . . he's trying to leave! To escape me!
"Gary!" I scramble over to him. I'm so angry! How can he leave? How dare he! "Don't go! I don't want you to go!"
Tears wet my eyes. What the hell is going on? I'm acting like an emotional old woman!
I reach for Gary and he recoils at my grasping hands. I consider the bloody wall. "Damn, Gary, I-I'm sorry!" I'm scared shitless. I shouldn't have done that, I hurt him, I'm so messed up. . . it wasn't my fault. What if he's really hurt? "Gary, I'm sorry. I'm drunk, man . . . please." I reach out to him again, but I stumble on the beer can I threw earlier and tumble to the ground.
Blood drips down his forehead. Precious like liquified rubies. It nearly glistens under the light. His blood is now dripping onto my carpet in tempo with the tears from my eyes.
Gary makes a motion towards the door again, but instead he loses his footing and falls — barely catching himself by clinging to the arm of my chair. Gasping, Gary pulls himself into the chair and falls backward into the fabric. I want him to fall back inside my arms. I am envious of that chair. I hate that chair. I imagine that the chair is Brenda and I pick up the beer can and throw it at her. Gary ducks with the reflexes of a drunkard, very narrowly avoiding being hit with the can. Oops. Crap.
"Ash!" Gary tries to yell, but his voice is exhausted. He's weak, his eyes are lulling shut. I really, really hurt him. I'm still crying a little bit. But . . . I'm also feeling something else . . . satisfaction because now he knows what pain feels like. Am I really sorry for hurting him? I'm not sure anymore.
I crawl on the ground until I'm at his side. Using all of my efforts, I pull myself up to the chair. Now I am leaning over him, facing him again.
Gary's face is directed downward, he won't look at me. Here we go again and it's not fair: why can he so easily look away from me when I can't stand to take my eyes off of him?
"Gary," my voice is feeble. I hardly recognize it as my own.
He turns to me now. The envy of Poison-type Pokemon everywhere. Even the ones in my guts. My heart feels harpooned with an infectious toxin. One that is lethal. Without antidote.
Tears dare to play in his sapphire pools, ready to burst forth and slide down his cheeks like a joyride. He's not only looking at me — he's looking through me, and he's not even angry at me . . . he's sad.
He's sad like I am.
"Gary," I gently cup his face in my hands. He blinks, freeing his tears.
"Please, Ash, take your hands off me," his voice is like a dying breath, and if he were to die now I would want to claim that breath as my own.
"Make me," I whisper back. My face leans into him. Gravity has possessed my body, and I have no choice but to comply.
My lips fall upon his own. I kiss him gently . . . his lips are soft . . . he tastes like expensive wine, the kind that I will never be able to afford. I continue to kiss him, but he is as stiff as a corpse beneath me. I feel his ragged breaths beating against my mouth. I feel his heart thundering wildly under his ribs. Why does he not kiss me back? He's just frozen. Struck by his own insufferable Ice-type attacks perhaps? I'm deciding that he's shocked, but honestly — right now — I really don't care. I don't want Brenda to have him. He's mine. I run my fingers through his hair, greedily grabbing handfuls in order to press him more firmly against me. I bite his lower lip, lightly but insistently. I'm trying to get him to relax. I want him to enjoy this moment as much as I am. I'm so excited! This is what I have been dreaming about – tasting him! My heart is going to explode in my chest!
With a muffled cry Gary's hands are on my chest, pushing me off of him. He's gasping. Apparently his shock has worn off. I don't want to stop, I crush my lips against his again, hoping to encourage him, but now I hear him cry out in pain. I feel something like hot syrup on my hands. My head snaps up and I realize that my fingers are digging into his bleeding scalp. I retract my hands from him and they are dripping with his hot, sticky blood.
"Shit. . . shit. . . Gary. . . are you . . ." I don't know what to say now. I'm embarrassed. I'm confused. I'm desperate. I'm aroused. I'm upset. I'm angry. "Gary, you need to go to the hospital, I—"
He shakes his head. His eyes are bewildered beyond words. "Ash," he touches his bruised lips . . . they are bruised . . . I didn't mean to kiss him so forcefully.
Gary continues: ". . . what?"
My brow furrows with irritation. I kiss him and all he has to say is 'what'? I've been dreaming of kissing him for months and that's all he says!? Calm down, Ash, Gary didn't know that you felt this way about him.
"Gary, you can't marry Brenda!" The demand bursts from my mouth before I have any control over it. I wish that I could reach out, retrieve the words and stuff them into my cheeks like gum balls. But I can not take them back and more words follow: "You don't look at her the way you look at me! Don't go through with the wedding!" My words are too daring, too drunken, but they come from the core of my heart, not from the pit of my Ekans-infested gut.
Blue meets brown with undeniable sincerity. "Ash, I'm getting married tomorrow. What do you expect me to say to that?"
"Say that you want to be with me! That you're not going to marry the person your parents picked for you. Don't throw your life away." I'm standing now. I'm pacing. I want so desperately to get through to him. I wish I could drill an invisible hole into his head and stuff it full with all of the emotions that I want him to feel.
Gary shakes his head sadly. "Ash, I love Brenda. I'm marrying her because I love her." That face . . . he's always been the better poker player. It's nearly impossible to tell when he's feeding me lies, therefore I can not believe him. I won't.
"No!" I lean over him again. I seize him by his shirt collar and force him to look at me. "I can't believe that!"
Gary sighs, wincing, as I hurt him yet again. I'm so good at hurting him now . . . and he's so good at hurting me. "I'm sorry, Ash," he whispers. "I'm getting married tomorrow. I-I need to go now. I need to get back the hotel. The wedding is in less than ten hours. I have to get my head looked at-and-and—" His words are scattered, unthoughtful. He's not looking at me. I don't fight him as he pushes me away and stumbles toward the door. I don't snatch his cellphone away as he calls for a taxi to the hospital. I just stand and gape at him. I memorize how pale his skin looks in contrast to the crimson liquid still streaming freely down his face. He's bleeding so much . . . a red pool grows on the carpet at his feet.
I . . . I don't know what to do. I NEED him. He is getting married tomorrow . . . I can't stop it. By the legendaries, I can't stop it.
Several uncomfortable moments creep by as Gary now talks to the hospital clerk – warning her that he is coming into the emergency department. He assures the clerk that he does not need an ambulance, that he has already called a taxi. Then he tells the clerk that he got into a brawl outside of a bar. He's covering for me. I don't deserve it.
"Ash," Gary turns to me as he lowers his cellphone. "I'm sorry. I . . . I . . ." his words evaporate like steam. He doesn't say anything else. He just stands there in all his perfection looking at me.
He's looking at me with eyes that Brenda will never know.
I feel myself sobering as heartbreak sets in. "I don't know if I can be in your wedding party, Gary." I state a fairly obvious fact.
Gary eyes me dully, clearly unsurprised by my statement. "Listen, Ash, you're drunk, okay? You're n-not responsible for your ac-c-tions here. You didn't mean any of it, you don't mean what you said about me . . . I know you . . . let's say w-we just forget about it? Okay? You're my best friend. Let's let this go and just pretend like nothing happened here?" His voice is frail, hopeful, and it almost pains me to shred his hope . . . but I can't continue living this lie . . .
Only, as I look at him, I know that admitting the truth means living without him in my life.
The truth is like swallowing glass. But I can do it. C'mon Ketchum. You would rather live with the lie than without him.
"Okay," I sigh, suddenly exhausted. "You're right, Gary. I-I don't know what came over me."
Gary exhales, clearly relieved by my words. He nods to himself.
I jump as I hear the taxi driver honk in my driveway.
Gary steps toward the door and I notice him fumble clumsily with the knob. His coordination is totally off.
He manages to get the door open and staggers through it like he can't quite see where to step. I turn my back as he leaves and listen as the door shuts behind him. His footsteps are audibly wobbly on the walkway outside.
Gary's footsteps abruptly stop and, for a moment, I dare to hope that he's having second thoughts.
I hear his body collapse on the sidewalk outside. I hear the taxi driver shout and scurry up the walkway. The driver is screaming for help.
Tears sting my eyes. Dry heaves begin cramping my stomach.
The taxi driver is banging on my door, his shouts are drenched in panic.
"If I can't have him then why should she?" I plug my ears to the driver's frantic cries and kneel down beside my chair where retch upon the carpet. I convulse, helpless as the toxic contents of my stomach heave up my esophagus, burning as they catch in my throat. I vomit, spilling the rancid fluid from my body. I'm imagining that I'm releasing those miserable Ekans from my gut. Coughing back up the glass I'd just swallowed. I continue to gag and heave until only a thin sour liquid dribbles down my chin.
Trembling, I reach for my phone and call an ambulance for Gary. Brenda doesn't deserve him . . . but neither do I.
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