Just another little oneshot I guess. I realize I'm doing a lot of song-inspired oneshots, but they jump up on me when I least expect it. I REALLY want you guys to listen to the lyrics of this song though, because it really goes hand in hand with what you're about to read. If you need any more of a soundtrack, the whole soundtrack of (500) Days of Summer will probably work. Amazing stuff, all of it. You'll also notice some unexplained character development, not to be rude, but just deal. Anyway, hope you enjoy.
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
"…to die by your side
is such a heavenly way to die…"
It was odd. One second, I was happily drinking a red plastic cup filled with stale Mountain Dew, the next I was sitting on the floor for no good reason at all. A few people looked down with concern until they realized who I was and went back to their merrymaking. I backed up to a wall and crossed me legs, staring across the party as if I actually knew anyone.
I took my phone and texted the only person I knew would come pick me up. He was the only one who was too scared to ignore me. I only typed three letters besides the address, SOS, but I knew he would come. He really had no choice in the matter.
Before I realized what was happening, my heavy eyelids fell, and even the pumping hip-hop put me asleep. The next thing I knew, I was being lifted in someone's strong arms, and carried, bridal style, through the crowd.
Before I opened my eyes, I knew to diagnose my situation. If this was a potential rapist, I was about to go bat-shit crazy on him. If it was Jesus, you know, I may have to be a little nicer.
I leaned a little closer to the guy's chest without him noticing. I smelled honey and mustard, not to be mistaken for honey mustard, and I knew exactly who was carrying me. And if I could keep it up, I was going to let him carry me for a few more moments before letting him know I was conscious.
I felt him step off the curb, and I knew he would never be able to get his car open with me in his arms. I was almost sure he knew that, so I had no idea why he had carried me this far.
I opened my eyes slowly and tugged at his shirt, not wanting to scare him for once. He looked down at me and held my eyes for a moment before slowly letting me down.
Now that I was awake, he was in no rush to open his car. He just stared at me, waiting for me to say something. I knew he wouldn't ask any questions. That was one of the reasons I had called him rather than Carly. But I knew that he still wanted some answers.
But there would have to be something to break the silence. Something to make him remember that he would never be my knight in shining armor, even though he was most of the time.
I smirked and looked down at my shoes before merely glancing at him, "Well look who's wearing his tough-guy jacket…"
I knew I had smelled leather while he held me. He had this amazing leather jacket that really looked out of place on him most of the time, but every once in a while he brought it out when he was especially brooding. Tonight it made him look like one of the characters from The Outsiders.
"You really weren't explicit in your text. I could have been showing up to a satanic ritual for all I knew," he was trying to be brooding, but now that he knew I was safe, the corners of his mouth were turned up.
"You didn't have to show up at all," I reminded him, and his eyebrows rose, reminding me that he didn't have a choice.
"Carly was worried," he offered, as if he'd actually told our friend I was out on the town. But I could tell by the way that he looked at me before surveying our surroundings that he had been worried about me.
But I appeased him, "Then I'm sorry for making her worry."
He nodded, and I knew he was accepting my apology. He finally got around to unlocking his car, and I went around to my side. I tried to open the door, but this particular door had been dented to the point that the latch wouldn't open from the outside. After a few stubborn moments, I knocked on the window and he opened the door for me from the inside.
I climbed in and was instantly hit by the heavy smell of new car, an air freshener he used to cover the cocktail of smells this car had seen, if you could see smells of course. I looked around the car and thought that I almost could.
He started driving, and, never one to love silence, I tried to strike up a conversation.
"Did you really think I could be a satanic priestess? Come on now, at worst I'm a little drunk."
He shook his head, "You're not drunk. You vowed never drink after seeing those diseased livers in our health class. You were in there drinking stale Mountain Dew, brought from home of course so it couldn't be spiked, and you fooled yourself into thinking you were drunk."
I looked over at him, realizing he had never taken his eyes off the road to judge my reaction. Damn it.
"There was a bottle in a crate behind a party store, totally unopened, but yeah, pretty much," I said. He cautioned a glance at me, voicing a silent question, before looking back at the road.
"So, I'm taking you home?" he offered.
"Uh no," I cautioned. "I'm staying somewhere else. Just…take a left here."
He stared at me, before effortlessly changing course. I don't know how he knew, but as I stared out the passenger window to block him from seeing my face, he reached down and laid his hand on mine.
I looked over at him, and I could see the concern etched on his face. He was staring at me, and it was disconcerting. I looked out the window and realized I was only a few blocks for my destination.
"Pull over here," I ordered and he pulled over. I proceeded to get out of the car, throwing a "Thanks," back in his face.
There were a few moments where I thought he would let me go, but I should have known better. I didn't even make it to the corner before he was on me, pulling me back by the arm.
"Where are you going? We're nowhere near your house. Do you know what kind of neighborhood we're in? Get back in the car!"
It was an order I couldn't follow. Even acknowledging his existence may cause me to break down at this point in the game. My eyes were aimed at the ground, and I just hoped he would go away. But that wasn't about to happen.
"Look Sam, usually I don't like to pry, but I think I deserve some answers in this particular situation!" his voice echoed off the walls in the quiet of the night.
"Look, it's none of your business," I said quietly. "Just go home."
He laughed sickly, "And leave you here? Ha! Not a chance. I'm taking you home."
"Fine Freddie, you know what? You want the truth?" I yelled. "I'm living at a shelter for runaways around the corner. I've been living there for almost two months now."
"You ran away from home? Why didn't you tell us?!" he said, angry now. I knew when he said 'us' he meant himself.
"I didn't run away! My mother kicked me out, alright? Are you happy?" I said, my voice crumbling. His features softened, "Are you happy?"
He took a step toward me, "Of course I'm not happy."
"Fuck, turn around," I told him as tears lapped at the inside of my eyelids. "You're not allowed to see me cry."
But he ignored me and pulled me into his arms anyway. I didn't even have the strength to struggle. Once again, the bastard knew just what I needed, and I sobbed into the soft leather jacket.
"Don't worry Sam, this can be our little secret," he whispered, rubbing my back.
But I couldn't make that connection with him, not after recent events, "I thought we told Carly we wouldn't keep secrets from her?"
But he just kissed the top of my head gently, once again ignoring my word-vomit, "Look, get back in the car. I'll figure something out. Let's just…drive for a while."
In that voice he could have said, "Let's go sprint through a minefield," and I would have done it, barefoot. But instead, I just nodded, and slid into the car through his door.
I pressed my body against the passenger door, not wanting to be anywhere close enough to him to want to lower my defenses. Even with this precaution, I could feel the tension suffocating me. It didn't help that he was being quiet. Too quiet. He was thinking.
I didn't want to interrupt him. I pressed my face to the window and watched as the streetlights passed by. Through the glaze of the window, the streaks illuminated his face, torn in thought, which I saw out of the corner of my eyes.
I wanted to pull him into my arms and make it better. This is why I hadn't wanted to tell him. He would feel responsible for me. And feeling responsible for me was a hard burden to bear.
I wished I could iron the crease between his eyebrows. He really did have a good face. Quite chiseled actually. But I'd never gotten a chance to tell him that through all the mocking. It had been flirting at first, and then it was their own secret joke. To notice something, anything, meant that they were paying attention; that they cared.
Like the fact he knows I don't drink. I'm sure that at this point, most people thought I do, with the headaches and too little sleep I'd been getting lately. Even Carly must have thought something was wrong, but only cared enough to notice, not do anything about that. No, that would break the clustered life she lived.
But Freddie knows some of the hardships I've been through, even if he had carried them better. Though we've never admitted it, the fact that neither of us knew our fathers, and that our mothers were crazy to see the least, was common ground. It'd brought us together.
Without notice, he broke the silence, "Why did she kick you out?"
I hesitated. Would it be a good enough reason in his eyes or would he think I was irrational? But it mattered to me. That was enough.
"We were fighting about something stupid, and she told me she'd never loved my father anyway. I got pissed and called her a slut. She gave me five minutes to grab my stuff and get out."
He paused, thinking again, before saying, "You should have called her a slut."
I glared at him, "So you think that she's right? That she should have had children with a man she didn't love?"
"No, I don't," he said quietly. "But you shouldn't have called her that. If I'd called my mother everything she rightfully deserved, well…it wouldn't be pretty."
I smiled a little, before frowning again, "It just makes you think. I mean, if she didn't love my father, what's to say she ever loved me?"
He was silent. He didn't have an answer to this. Neither did I, and that scared me.
He looked at me and saw the tears that threatened to fall, and he knew I didn't want them to, "You look tired. Get some sleep."
I moved to lean against the door, but his arm shot out and pulled my closer to him. I was suddenly thankful for the one-piece front seat in the beater. I could have grumbled, but I really was tired, and he was so…warm…and…soft……
I woke up to the rhythm of his breathing. We were still in the car, but it was parked. I wasn't fully awake, and I still couldn't see well, so I asked him the time. It was almost three in the morning.
"Thank you," I whispered. "Thank you for everything. I know I don't say it often, but, you're really kind of amazing."
He chuckled, and I felt it in his chest. He must have thought I was delusional. That's always a good sign.
I still hadn't asked where we were stopped, and I didn't plan on it. Slowly, I drifted back to midway between consciousness and oblivion. He must have thought I was asleep, because his hand took mine, and I squeezed it, knowing it still wouldn't give me away.
His breathing got heavy, and I heard him whisper, "I love you Sam."
I tried not to jump away from him. In an instant, I went through every known connotation of the word, every possible meaning of the phrase, while still pretending to be asleep. But the way he said it. The vulnerable way he choked it back…
He loved me.
But did I love him? Now that I had heard the words, I could feel butterflies fluttering through my stomach nervously. Suddenly my senses came alive at the fact my face was nestled into his shoulder, and I could smell the leather, the honey…and even the mustard, which, for once, wasn't the only thing I wanted to taste right now.
I summoned all my courage and grumbled, "Did you say something?"
"Uh, no, radio," he said nervously, and I could tell his eyes darted to the dashboard, and the radio that was, well, off. The whole car was off. He turned it on quickly, pretending it had been like that all along. The song was some obnoxious hip hop staple, and he quickly grabbed a mixtape out of the glove compartment.
Things to add to my list of things I didn't know about Freddie: he makes mixtapes. Oh, and he loves me, but is too afraid to admit it. Figures.
The first song came quietly over the worn speakers, but I could immediately tell what it was.
"Since when do you listen to The Smiths?" I asked, about to make a mental note of this on my list.
"Oh, uh, you said you loved this song, so…" the end of his statement was mumbled, but I didn't think he really had anything to say anyway.
Once the cassette was in the deck, he pulled away slowly, and drove towards who knows where. I closed my eyes again, and immersed myself in the sounds around me. My focus was torn between the deep sound of his breathing, and the lilting sounds of Morrissey.
So please, please, please, let me, let me, let me, let me, get what I want, this time…
I opened my eyes and reached for his hand, folding it into my own, each valley filled with a hill, perfectly matched. He looked down before looking back up at the road.
"I love you too," I admitted, before carefully examining his hand again.
I looked up at him silently, and he stared back at me for a moment, and whispered, "Okay."
"Okay," I confirmed, and it felt like a big gesture, just this one word. This one word could sum up every feeling I was having.
He pulled me even closer to him, and put our joined hands on his knee, driving one-handed, but it was late and there was no one around. I nestled against his shoulder.
I could die happy right now. Most of the time, people say that with no expectation of dying, but I could literally die right now and have no regrets. If we were to get T-boned by a bus, he would carry me into heaven, and I was okay with that. But it wouldn't hurt to have a few more earthly years in these bodies. Especially when he seemed to be working out.
I finally noticed our surroundings. We were swiftly approaching Bushwell Apartments, and I was having second thoughts.
"Look Freddie, I don't want to stay at Carly's. I'd feel like I was invading…"
"You're not, staying there, that is," he said simply.
"Well, I mean, I don't mind sleeping in the stairwell, but I got tripped over a lot the last time…"
"I mean, you had a lovely place in the elevator bay, but it was loud, and I'm sorry, but I need plumbing…"
As he pulled into the parking garage, he leaned down and kissed me softly, "You're staying with me."
"Freddie, your mom…"
"Will get over it. She's not heartless, I promise," he said, helping me out of the car, and waiting for my approval.
I hesitated, even though I knew this was exactly what I wanted. Most of my relationships had burned up from being rushed. I didn't want that to happen to us. He was worth too much.
But I looked up at him and he was staring into my eyes, "Please, let me get what I want. Lord knows, it would be the first time."
And I submitted. I went up on my toes as I nodded, and kissed him, only softly, but meaning more that almost all the kisses I'd ever had before, and I repeated, "Okay."
I pulled away and looked up into his eyes, and I saw the light behind them. The light that has always guided me home, and, I suspected, would always guide me home. The light that never goes out.
I'm starting to realize that I may have lost sight of certain characteristics along the way to make it more…eclectic? I hope I didn't run too far off the beaten path. And, of course, I hope you liked it. Please review.