Hello, all. I'm not dead! Yay! I just had a bit of writer's block, is all, and now I'm back with some... stuff! XD
I've been meaning to write this for a while, but it kept slipping away. Here is the finished product.
Be aware that when the style is written in the present tense, the events are occurring in the present. After every 'present' section under a stylized 'Then', the sections written in the past actually occurred in the past. I hope the switching of tenses doesn't throw you guys off. Just know that it's intentional.
This short, bitter oneshot was based off of P!nk's song, 'Who Knew'. It's an amazing song that has been inspiring me for a while. You guys should take a listen. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon, or 'Who Knew'. The song belongs to P!nk, who is amazing, and Harvest Moon belongs to Natsume.
Hope you like!
It's raining outside, so hard that it sounds like its hail and not rain that's beating against the windows, so hard and fast that sometimes I think it'll all just shatter. My breath fogs up the glass as I watch him.
He's running. That's what he does. He runs, and when he can't run anymore, he kicks and he screams until you let go, until he can start running away from you again, leaving you all alone in the dust he kicks up behind him.
I stare until he notices me, until his gray eyes meet mine and widen a little. Until he looks away and starts running again as the sky falls all around him.
I sigh, the glass fogging up so much that everything is clouded... until I can't see anything clearly, until I can't see anything anymore.
"I hate them, you know?"
It was a sunny day, and we were laying back in the tall grass. The trees that towered over us shattered the sunlight into a million little prisms of bright stars that changed color when you tilted your head a certain way, or developed a halo of rainbow around them when you squinted.
I looked over at him, beside me, and found that he was looking at the trees, eyelids fluttering lazily a little.
"Who?" I asked, feigning ignorance. The truth is that I damn well knew who he was talking about. I just liked pretending, sometimes... because when you don't think about the truth, doesn't it turn into a lie?
"My parents," he spat, hand curling into a fist around blades of grass. "Dad wants me to train a certain way, mom fights with him every freaking day because she wants me to go to college first," he pulled his fist up, and the grass broke away from the ground, "Anything can happen to me between then and when I finish... I can lose it..."
The last part left his mouth so that he sounded scared like a little boy, uncertain, searching for his mom's hand. I rolled over to him and buried my face in his chest, my senses tingling when his hand stroked my hair.
I closed my eyes, pretending that things wouldn't change. That if I closed them hard enough, things could stay like that forever...
He has a temper, these days.
It's easy to get on his nerves. If the pizza guy delivers the wrong pizza, if his favorite football team makes a stupid play, if I'm not around when expects me to be, he'll pick up things and throw them across the room.
When things started to get this way, my temper had flared up, and I'd argued with him all through his rages until he would storm out of the apartment, shaking the only room we had to live in when he slammed the door.
I've stopped, though. When he flies into a rage, I pretend that I don't see the signs, that he's changing. I pretend that I don't know why... I pretend that I'm the girl I used to be, even though I'm not...
I haven't been for a long time.
Small taps on my window woke me up, and I dragged myself out of bed and over to the windowsill, which I dragged up until the cool country air hit me full blast in the face refreshingly.
I looked down and there he was-- arm cocked as he prepared to throw another pebble. When he saw that I'd heard, he dropped it, smiling sheepishly. "Hey," he said simply.
"Hey," I replied, as if him waking me up in the middle of the night was a normal thing.
"Can I...?" he began, but I nodded before he could finish, already retreating to my bed as he swung his lithe form up the tree at the side of my house, as he climbed up through my window.
I heard his footfalls when he came into my room. I could hear his breathing, deep and even, aware of him when he laid down behind me, spooned me. I was aware of his breathing on the back of my neck, hot and almost wet.
"I can't take it," he mumbled, and I didn't say anything.
I pretended, as he kissed me. I pretended, as he undressed me. I pretended as we came together. I pretended, after we finished, when he pulled me close into his bare, sweat-beaded chest.
I pretended, that, we are kids again. I pretended, that, we weren't lovers. I pretended, that nothing ever changed. That I was still the sassy girl he was best friends with... That he was still the happy-go-lucky boy I thought of as a brother.
I pretend, until, in my dreams, I believed it was real.
I write. It's what I do, I guess.
I'm good at it, because when I write I'm pretending, and that's what I do best.
The thing about being next door neighbors was that I could hear everything that went on in his house, especially when he had a fight.
They always had fights.
Afterward, I would wait be my window until he'd run out, until he'd find me, until he'd beg for me to come down with wide, pleading gray eyes and I'd comply.
That day, it was different. It was different because he was crying. He never cried, not since he'd been seven and he'd broken his arm after tripping over a stone during his morning conditioning.
It was different, because the skin around his eye had been red and angry, and slowly, I could make out a sickening shade of blueish black beginning to shine there.
I pretended that it wouldn't change anything, because I knew it would.
He gets mad when I'm late, no matter how good the excuse is.
I pound up the steps to our apartment, hoping that he isn't home yet, out... somewhere. Training, yeah, he trains a lot.
I can't explain it, but, for some reason, I'm so excited. I know that I'll probably get a rejection letter back, telling me that my work isn't good enough... but still.
I'm smiling when I open the door. I'm smiling when I walk into the apartment and find the whole place trashed.
I'm smiling when I find him, laying there, so pale I think he's dead.
I blink a few times to make sure this isn't all just pretend.
Then, I open my mouth, and I scream.
The wind whipped my hair in a frenzy all around me as I looked out at the ocean, trying very hard not to cry. Arms criss-cross themselves over my chest, and I bite back my tears. I never cried, not since he'd been seven and he'd broken his arm after tripping over a stone during his morning conditioning.
I cried, back then, because I could feel his pain as if it were my own. I always could... and for a moment, the mixture of his pain and my own was all-consuming. I closed my eyes hard and tried to pretend... but I couldn't.
"It'll be okay," he promised.
I nodded, knowing even then that it was a lie.
I'd pretended enough to know when someone else was pretending themselves, deluding themselves into believing that something was true, even when it wasn't...
I'm by his side, my fingers on his cool neck, frantically searching for a pulse...
It's faint, but it's there.
I sigh in relief and reach for the phone, tossed just a little distance from his hand... and then I think about it.
The fact is, I've known about the drugs for a while, now. I've known that he's been using them because his coach told him that alone, he wouldn't get far. I've known that he's been using them more and more. I've known that he's been addicted for a while now.
I close my eyes, hard, and try to pretend.
The apartment was small, and smelled like someone else, not the homely, rich smell the Valley reeked of. Nothing like that.
I set my bags on the floor, watching cockroaches run away from the bag in disgust. I heard him set his bags next to me, and I reached for his hand.
Because I loved him. I always did, and I always will.
"Thanks," he mumbled, words so choked up with emotion I almost began to tear up myself, "Thanks so much... for coming with me..."
I nodded, and he tore his hand away from my back and into his pocket and pulled out a ring. It was cheap, and the diamond that adorned it could not have been real... but it sparkled beautifully.
"I promise," he said, gray eyes meeting mind, "That one day, all this will be perfect. What you deserve..."
"It is," I replied, and he slipped it onto my finger, promising me that when he somehow got a coach, made it to competitions, got endorsements, made the Olympics... that he would make it all better.
I nodded, not really hearing him. I pretended that somehow, everything was the same as it had always been.
He loved me... even though not in the same way that I loved him. But I did, though. I did love him...
Did anything else matter...?
I ran away with Hugh because I couldn't imagine a life without him there beside me.
I think about that as I hang up with the operator, who has just finished telling me that help is on the way. I stare at Hugh, knowing that I might never see him again, knowing that I may not be whole if I don't.
Crouching down amongst the ruins of our lives, I brush some of his hair off his forehead, and, painstakingly slow, I take off the ring he gave me, the fake diamond cutting into my palm.
It won't fit, but I make it fit. I cram it onto his beefy pinky, all too aware of the cool temperature of his skin.
I hear sirens, and quickly, unfairly, I bend down and press my lips to his fleetingly. I pull away and stand up, look down at the floor, where a picture frame is shattered. Beneath the broken glass, there's a picture of us. Seven years old, the day after Hugh got his cast taken off...
I don't let myself wish that things hadn't changed. I don't let myself remember Hugh at all.
"K-Kate..." he mumbles, from whatever dream his mind is lost in...
I grit my teeth, and walk away.
That last kiss
Until we meet again
And time makes
I wish I could remember
But I keep
You visit me in my sleep
--P!nk, Who Knew
At the end there I was considering putting a 'five years later' where Hugh sees Kate again at a book signing of hers, but scrapped it, since I developed Kate in such a way where she wasn't in love with Hugh. She loved him, just not more than a best friend... It was my intention though, so it's open to whatever ending beyond that you're willing to give it. :)
If you guys review, I'd like to hear your opinion on why I placed that part of the lyrics of 'Who Knew' there. In other words, do you think that the words belong to Kate or Hugh?
Hope you liked it. Please review, I appreciate them. :D