A/n: I feel like a bad mother. A mother who forgot about her child's first birthday! Yes, 'Worth It' is now a year old. I'd love to have a great excuse why I haven't updated in awhile, but I don't really have one. I'm not going to lie to you all and say its because I'm in college now or some other BS. Yes, I am in college, but I'm not that swamped with homework and papers and the like. This chapter, like most, gave me a kicking halfway through. I wrote the first part, stopped, wrote the second part, stopped for a LONG time and finally got my rear in gear.
Yes, I love this story. I want to thank each and every one of you who reviews, because it means a lot to me. Without you guys there'd be no 'Worth It'. Seriously, the reviews I got randomly would spur me to action. You guys are wonderful, and I can't stress that enough. So here it is finally, chapter 11. Enjoy and review!
Disclaimer: Only in my dreams.
Everyone has one or two memories where they remember exactly all the fine details. You hear a lot of "where were you when you heard about September 11th"s. In our small elite fold, you hear a lot of "where were you when you heard about the Flynns". Me, I was sitting in the middle of class when my cell phone went off. I had to excuse myself as my mom started screaming at me. And through the yelling and the sobbing she finally choked out that the Flynns were dead.
After eighth grade I had only seen Axel twice, at stupid social events our parents had dragged us to. I know my mom had met Mrs. Flynn in college and that they were close friends, often going to charity events together. My father and Mr. Flynn got along fairly well, but…Axel and me. I'd know him since we were kids, didn't really get to know him until seventh grade. He was my first crush, and was quickly replaced by my first (and only) boyfriend.
Things had been awkward between us since I confessed my desire to make out with him in the seventh grade. It was even more awkward once Zexion and I started going out. I don't know what was going through the both of their heads, but I'm pretty sure Zex was jealous or over protective or something, and I think Axel was a bit freaked I moved on so fast or maybe he saw it as something else. I don't know, I don't read minds, but things were weird.
We had been forced to socialize, during one particular event. The three of us were now juniors in high school and hadn't seen each other in ages. My relationship with Zexion was now over publicized and played up in almost every tabloid after the yacht incident that had only happened a month or two ago. So not only were we out in public as a couple, we were out in public as a couple who enjoyed boinking each other on million dollar yachts.
So standing there seeing Axel Flynn all grown up, hair slicked back into a ponytail and looking well, highly attractive, was a bit of a surprise. Sure, I thought he would be there, and sure, I knew he wouldn't be a gangly twelve-year-old anymore but still. He had changed for the better and I guess I hadn't realized that maybe I hadn't let go of those feelings I had for him way back when.
Yes, I was happy with Zexion, outstandingly happy. It shook me to my core however. Knowing there was somebody else out there that I was so… attracted to. Yes, I love Zexion, but there was something so different and new about Axel that was hard to ignore. So I didn't go home that night and Zexion rented out a room at some swanky hotel and we fucked our little hearts out, though I couldn't help but worry the whole time that he knew.
A week or so after the crash people started talking. Nobody had seen Axel since the funeral, Mrs. McCurdey (Larxene's mother) was gossiping about how even her daughter couldn't pull Axel out of the house. The Whites reported seeing a peapod truck about once every five days, but besides that no activity what so ever. So the gossip flared to such a point that soon everybody was talking about how Axel Flynn had finally gone crazy, was malnourished, and hoarding neighborhood cats. There were more racy comments, like he had become a drug addict and things like that.
So when I came home from university one weekend my mother insisted I bring over a casserole. That's what people do, bring food to comfort. I know that's a total suburb thing, and there's nothing suburban about my family, but Axel was way out there and casseroles for grief is what's done. It's not like it was actually my mother's idea; it was our maid's. It was also our maid who made it.
The next thing I knew I was shoved into some expensive car, casserole in hand, and off to the tiny town of nowhere that Axel called home. I passed by a lot of industrial fields, some cows, and one too many malls along the way. The suburbs were as close to hell as I have ever experienced. I've lived in a city all my life and I've visited countless ones, I've even been out to the country. The suburbs seem fake in a way that the country and all the cities I've visited to could never accomplish if they tried. So why had the Flynns banished their only child out to the borderlines of city and country? I don't understand it, maybe Axel does, but I really don't.
I had faulty directions written in Spanish (yet again from the maid) and when I had finally found my way to the little gated community that Axel had locked himself up in, I was a bit surprised. There were giant houses everywhere and even larger gates. Seemed a bit too secretive to me, and I still can't wrap my head around the concept. Axel's home was by far the grandest, with the biggest house and the biggest gate. I had to press the button on the speaker box, praying Axel would let me in.
"Axel? Its me, Demyx Peterson." No answer. I must've waited there for ten minutes before the gates finally parted and I was able to drive up to the turn-around. The lawn seemed more than unkempt on closer inspection. Leaning over the passenger seat so I could grab the container I noticed a pair of bottle-green eyes staring out at me through the darkened windows.
The house was impressive, made out of brown bricks with black shutters for accents. There was a double door, black as well, with a shiny gold knocker under the equally shiny street numbers. I knocked on the front door, but when nobody answered for a minute I tested the handle out for myself, and to my surprise it was already unlocked. I found my way to the kitchen purely on memory. The house seemed to be the same as I remembered it, a hallway that lead to the kitchen and living room still was perpendicular to the front door, only now it was painted a beige color, instead of the maroon I remembered. Of course the last time I had been here was in high school, so my memory could've been wrong. I don't have the greatest memory, so I was a bit relived when I realized I was where I wanted to be.
The kitchen was painted a happy yellow color and decorated with black and white paints of bowels of fruit and an ugly handmade needlepoint of 'home sweet home'. I placed the casserole in the refrigerator and took a hesitant look around. Axel was nowhere to be seen, and I let out a sigh I didn't even know I had been holding in. Yes, I was a bit weary of meeting Axel again. I wasn't dreading it or anything. It wasn't just that high on the list of things I wanted to do.
I made a beeline for the door, hand in my pocket, ready to dial up Zexion and tell him about my bizarre trip to the Flynn Mansion. When out of the corner of my eye I caught a flash of red. At first it thought it might've just been a picture I passed by, or the spine of a book. To my horror I couldn't find anything that even closely resembled the shade of red I had seen. Convinced it was just a track of the light I continued on my path. Just as I was about to open the door, I threw one last look over my shoulder.
"Axel!" He was standing at the top of the staircase. I was reminded instantly of Sunset Boulevard, ready for him to spout out one famous quote or another, and I was suddenly very appreciative of the fact that Axel didn't own a chimpanzee or a pool.
Slowly he descended down, step by step, until we were few inches away. He smelt like soap. I could feel his hot breath on my neck and I tensed up, hand still gripping the doorknob. I slowly turned around to face him properly, readying myself for the worse. Ready for tears and snot and a heartfelt hug or two.
Of course Axel had ideas of his own, each arm shot out, fists landing parallel, effectively pinning me to the door. Not quite sure what the hell was going on, I reached, starting to turn the knob as he leaned even closer. Our noses almost touched and if I crossed my eyes I could've seen all the freckles splattered across his cheeks. Fresh ink, still raw and red, sat coal-black under his eyes, two perfect identical diamonds.
I reached out to touch them, memorized, as my hand went up, his crept down. When my fingertips landed on his tattooed face, his landed on my hips. I was surprised and looked down at the offending appendages in question when his face loomed ever closer and my hands fell to my sides.
When his lips finally locked onto mine, I couldn't say I was too surprised. It was short and sweet, a perfect first kiss by anybody's measure. I wasn't use to anybody taller than me kissing me, it felt awkward, after being so conditioned to Zexion. My eyes were wide in their sockets and I was still frozen to the door.
"Axel, I can't, you know I can't." I attempted to regain some personal space. It wasn't just that I couldn't, I didn't want to. Too afraid of what would happen. I use to have the biggest crush on Axel, but it wasn't middle school anymore. I was happy. Sure, I hadn't seen Zexion since Christmas break, but I was happy. That's when a black and white situation suddenly threw itself into a blender and made some gray areas. Axel didn't say anything, didn't change his expression, just continued to look at me with hallow eyes. Any and all moral superiority I was feeling flew out the window on gilded rainbow wings.
He kissed me again, still perfectly chaste and innocent. Had it been Zexion, it would've been a question. "Is this okay? Can we keep going? Should I stop?" With Axel it felt more like testing the waters, seeing how far he could take it before I would raise my pathetic protests again. He continued to kiss my frozen form, hands resolutely on my hips and eyes at half-mast, caught between opening and closing. A finger slipped under the waist of my jeans and I couldn't help but jump in surprise, banging my head up against the door. I cursed as I lurched away from the door, clutching onto my head and hopping around. Axel simply smirked at me, and I was torn between being relived that he could actually emote and being pissed that my obvious pain amused him.
I snapped, and punched him right in the jaw. He stumbled backward, holding his face in his hands. Glaring, he lunged at me again. This time pushing me so hard my head hit the door again. Axel kissed me once more, trying to pin me to the door, and I kneed him in the crotch.
One of these days I should really thank my mom for making take those self-defense classes. I couldn't really pity him, as he lay on the floor. Possessed by some unknown evil, I kicked him in the stomach. Satisfied, I finally opened up the front door.
"Keep the casserole dish." I spat out, half a mind to continue beating him up.
Less then a minute later I was tearing down the road, escaping the suburbs and heading right to my Dad's private hanger. I called the maid on the way, telling her to tell my mom that I was taking a little vacation. The highway greeted me with open arms as I fled to a more urban environment. At the hanger I talked one of the pilots to take me Providence, threatening him with the whole "you know my dad is your boss's boss" thing.
Almost three hours later a sleek black Mercedes took me into the city. It was only my second time going to Providence; I'd gone before with Zexion when we first started going college hunting. It was still pretty early in the evening, and I got out at the main campus and was easily directed to East Andrews Hall with only a few complications. Most of them being getting turned around, and not knowing which way 'north' was. Finally a group of girls I suspected to be drunk escorted me the whole way, and even sneaked me inside.
Giggling all the way, they deposited me outside one room after taking a few pictures once I assured them that, yes, I was indeed Demyx Peterson. I knocked hesitantly on the door, suddenly wondering why I had even come here in the first place. I heard the lock click, and the door swung open.
Hair pushed up in various clips, glasses on, and dressed in an over-sized Loyola sweater and pajama pants. Obviously studying. I laughed suddenly as he gawked up at me, not quite believing I was standing on his door(dorm?)step.
"What are you doing here?" He finally asked, quickly removing his glasses and cleaning them. "I mean, how the hell did you get in?" Zexion looked down the hallway, on the look out for one authority figure or another.
"Stairwell door, some drunk girls let me in."
"Why are you here again? Do you have a long weekend…or what?" Clearly baffled, Zexion was a lot less articulate than he normally was. If I hadn't been ready to shit myself I would've thought it was kinda cute. And Zexion doesn't normally do 'cute'.
"I kissed Axel. Or he kissed me… or. There was kissing with me and Axel! I might've kissed back! He had his hands in my pants! Not like, in in, but they were in!" I suddenly exploded, almost shrieking. "And I punched him, and kicked him! I kicked him in the balls! And I came here, and I almost got Tim fired! And here I am…and…I freakin' kissed Axel Flynn!" Zexion was glued in the doorway, looking horrified as I continued on. "I might've liked it! Oh my god! He blew up a school and I liked it!"
"SHUT UP! SOME OF US HAVE MIDTERMS!" Shouted a girl from three doors down. "NOBODY CARES IF YOU MADE OUT WITH AXEL FLYNN!"
"Oh god." I buried my head in my hands. "I…I had to tell you Zex. I couldn't tell you over the phone and I couldn't have waited. I…I don't know what to say." I could've cried, watching his now blank face. Finally it contorted into something that might've been anger, or rage or furry. "Zex…" The door was slammed in my face and that's when I felt the first tears slide down my face.
I stared at the door for a good long while. Of course I deserved what I got. Zexion hadn't been anything but perfect. Meanwhile there I was, kissing Axel. I hated myself, and I wiped the tears off my face. If anybody should be crying it should've been Zexion, not me. It was stupid for me to cry. I left the building and let myself wander the campus, feet taking me wherever they pleased.
Stupid casseroles. Whoever said they made everybody feel better wasn't obviously thinking of any and all situations in which a casserole might be involved in. Why had my mom made me go? Why hadn't Rosa stopped me? Why did Axel kiss me? Why had I let him? Had I just screwed everything up?
Okay…so I still had school. School's good. I still had a future at my dad's company. Tim still had his job… I could have kids now, which'd make my mom happy. Wait…was I gay? Yeah…pretty sure I am. So scratch the kids. Would I ever love again? Okay, that's too cheesy even for me. Will Zexion ever forgive me?
That's the big question. As much as I would've loved to blame this all on casseroles, at the end of the day… This all came back to him and me. One little discretion couldn't ruin my whole life! It wasn't fair! None of this was fair! I didn't ask for this, I didn't want him to kiss me! I didn't want Axel's parents to die. I didn't want Zexion to leave me behind. I didn't want to go to Loyola! I hated it. It wasn't my fault! I was pushed here. I never asked for any of this. It was their entire fault. Stupid Axel. Stupid Zexion. Stupid casseroles…
I pouted, as I listened to angry voice mail after angry voice mail from my parents. Each one telling me to get my butt back to Chicago as soon as possible, and if I didn't get home soon they'd cut off my spending money for the next two years. From the bench I had found, I watched the river flow by. A part of me wanted to throw my phone into the river, but I figured that'd be a problem because soon I wouldn't have any money to buy another cell with.
I watched as a happy couple walked across the bridge and I could've died. I'd never wanted to be normal, never thought 'oh, if only I were normal'. Now I wanted to be normal. I didn't want to know the people I knew, who were rich and felt a sense of entitlement about everything. I wanted to be able to make up my own choices about what I'd do with the rest of my life. I wanted to be able to walk through the city I loved with my whole being holding the person's hand I loved even more and not have my picture taken. I wanted that. What these two strangers had and I'd never be able to get.
They were going the opposite direction, and I watched them hungrily as they continued on their way. I'm a selfish person, really I am. My cell phone was vibrating in my hand, the number flashing. It was Larxene.
"Demyx! What the fuck have you done!"
"I went to visit Axel, and he was like totally comatose. He's not eating, he's not sleeping, and he won't even watch TV. He just sits and stares at his own hands. He won't talk to me, to me. When I asked him who the food was from he just shrugged. So I like, called everybody and you're mom was all huffy. She said you brought it to him and then you ran away. What the hell did you do to him! He's got bruises on him, on his stomach on his arms. I don't know what the hell you think you're doing, but stay the fuck away from him. God damn it, he just lost his freakin' parents. He's enough of a wreck as it is and then you go and beat him up?"
"He tri-," I tired to get in. It wasn't my fault. He attacked me first.
"I don't care what he did. You don't pull that kind of shit on people. You're a first rate asshole, but I guess you already knew that. Fag." I was stunned, I couldn't move. Couldn't even hang up the phone.
A shadow loomed over me, a giant standing in front of me. I balked. Providence was known for its ties to the mafia right? Oh god I was being kidnapped! My parents were so pissed they might not pay the ransom. I'd never been kidnapped before… Was it like the movies? Oh god, am I'm going to become the Don's sex slave or something when my parents refuse to pay? They couldn't just let me ago; they'd have to find something for me to do. Maybe I could convince them that I could…I dunno balance their checkbooks? I'm kinda okay at math.
"You Demyx Peterson?"
"N-no." Oh god, he's huge. I'm so dead.
"You sure? I was told to find a Demyx Peterson, about your height. Pale, with brown hair and a mullet."
"I don't have a mullet! It's a faux-hawk!"
"Okay, you must be him then." One giant hand suddenly snagged me around my biceps and forced me to stand up.
"Hey, get offa me!" I had half a mind to shout 'rape' as loudly as I could. Does that work for guys? What had Miss Congeniality said again? Um…S.I.N.G. right? Um…sinus? Instep…no, that's not right. Nasal? That's the same as sinus wasn't it? G! G for groin! That one I know is right! I flailed in his grasp trying to kick him, but he managed to out maneuver me. He simply stared down as me, eyebrows raised in disbelief before he started to drag me off. "Rape! Sweet Jesus, rape!" A few onlookers only rolled their eyes and ignored us completely. "No seriously, I'm being kidnapped!"
I found myself being pulled through downtown Providence. Which is one of the best things about Providence is that you could conceivably walk (be dragged) anywhere you wanted. Chicago was huge in comparison, needed to take a taxi everywhere you went. Downside for me is that it took little to no time until I was stuffed inside an elevator and being 'escorted' into a hotel room. My captor knocked on a door, which opened soon afterwards, and I was left gaping at Zexion.
"What the fuck!" I shouted. Watching his face the whole time. "I mean, come on! Who's he, your body guard?" I said gesturing wildly at the giant behind me, who in turn just chuckled under his breath.
"My roommate. He plays on the football team." I could feel my jaw drop as he grinned down at me. This was too crazy. My day had been WAY to crazy. Like seriously, what the hell? With a little wave he turned to leave. "Thank you Lexaeus." The door snapped shut behind him and we were alone.
We stared at from across the room. It hit me then just how intimidating my boyfriend (ex boyfriend?) was. Like, I knew he came from a family which pretty much had its fingers in every major business, who had once essentially controlled the US's economy, but holly cow. It was scary being on the other side. Normally I was over there with him, and now. I wanted to run. Wouldn't solve any of my problems, but it'd make me a whole lot more comfortable.
"Demyx." He stated simply, sitting himself down on the queen sized bed, all politeness. "I am severely pissed off."
"Y-you hide it well." I choked out, now suddenly wishing I had been kidnapped. This was worse.
"I try." His lips tipped into a smile I'd never seen before. I filed it away in my brain under 'G' for 'game face'. Why did he want to become a writer? He'd make an excellent CEO. Way better than I could ever hope to be. "I think you know why I'm feeling this way, correct?"
"Casseroles…" I mumbled out, and he laughed. Which was filed in the 'Creepy as all Hell' folder.
"You did a very, very stupid thing today." I nodded enthusiastically, anything to placate this beast I unleashed. "Everything I thought I knew about you, totally ruined. You are ruined Demyx, you understand this, don't you?"
"Please, I didn't do anything. I can explain everything, and you'll see I didn't do anything." I was begging.
"Larxene called me." He supplied offhandedly. "Said you left Axel with bruises, up and down his whole body."
"Yeah, I beat the shit outta him." He raised an eyebrow. "I did. Okay, I knew it was wrong. Yes, I did something bad but I stopped it before it got out of hand. You know I love you Zex. I love you and only you." More begging, I sounded pitiful even to myself.
"There are so many ways a body can get bruises you know…" He was looking at the door now, face hard. Before he had been as cool as a cucumber, now he looked angry. I didn't know what he was trying to get at. What did he…
"No." I stated, my voice not wavering for the first time that night. "I didn't have sex with him."
"Didn't you?" He looked me in the eyes, and finally I could see the hurt there. I knew it was tearing him up inside and in that one second I could've laughed.
"No." Firm. "I didn't, even though I wanted to. You know why, because I'm fucking in love with you and only you Zexion. Yeah, I liked him. Yes, I think he's attractive, and at the time I probably would've done him some good. He needed some comfort, okay? Maybe a good roll in the hay could've snapped him out of his funk, but I didn't. At the end of the day I knew I couldn't so I didn't. I've known you for too long to blow it on Axel."
"You wanted to though."
"I didn't though."
"Did I even cross your mind once?"
"Are you listening to me!" I yelled, way past being threatened or intimidated. "Listen. I love you. You, Zexion Scott. He kissed me and I thought 'Oh, this is weird. I've never been kissed by somebody taller than me.' He kissed me again and I thought 'Zexion would never kiss me like this'. One second I gave in, just one. And that second was followed by a punch in his face. So you don't get to do this insecure thing anymore. Enough, its done!" He tired to say something but I cut him off. "Done! I give you permission to make out with your middle school crush. Oh! Too late!"
He was glaring at me; the distance I'd been feeling before didn't seem so big anymore. The anger was still there, but it wasn't scary anymore. It seemed kinda pathetic now. Maybe he wouldn't forgive me, but at the end of the day I was in the right, because there was nothing to forgive.
"Where did he touch you?" He bit out, slowly raising from the bed. Once again I was pinned up against a hardwood door.
"Here." I pointed to my lips. "Here." My arms. "Here, and here." Zexion tentatively kissed me each place I pointed out, a smile growing as he did so.
"You do know," He said casually, calmer now, almost back to his old self, "you can never see him again." Deft hands undid the buttons on my jeans. "Or talk to him." He kissed my hipbone, and I had to fight back a moan. "Or talk about him."
"Never, ever, ever." I promised, working my fingers through his hair as he played with the elastic of my boxers.
"Good." Okay. So I'm going to be having major money issues in the near future, but in the here and now, it's worth it.
A/n: I'm going to try to get back on a once a month schedule. I'm currently working on another fic, which should be up in the middle of November. So the goal is for there to be a new chapter up for you guys every two weeks. How's that sound? Also, I feel like I should mention that there are only roughly 10 chapters left, we're halfway through!
I feel like I should say that I make a cameo in this chapter. Bet you all can find me pretty quick. Also, I'm currently hoping to find somebody willing to be my beta. My e-mail is in my profile, which is also my MSN s/n - so drop a line/comment/get in contact with me if you're intrested. Here's to a great year, and please do remember to review.