title: light a match to those childhood fears
summary: no matter how hard you try to be anything but – you'll be a star.
author's note: uuugh the ending was weak but I haaad to write them somehow and yeah. there we go
omg i'm so cruel with the thirty year old thing ewewewewew.
you begin smoking the day your mother leaves.
the first drag is horrible and you cough to no end – you are twelve years old. you live in california and you're with a bunch of kids trying to look cool.
you think you're the coolest. ever.
you start to hang out with these kids, smoking more consistently. by the time you are thirteen, you've been through eleven girlfriends (not to mention the other twenty or so girls you've just made out with), and you smoke a pack a day. your dad goes to work and comes home for an hour before going back out into the early, dark morning.
life is great, you think. really.
(except for when you're alone, without the girls and the excitement, because then everything seems to die down and the rush in your ears fades and –
you're alone in a quiet room.
that's how the days always end – anyway.)
when you're fourteen, you and your friends skip school for the second time this month, and you go to the city. really, you think, you're just so small next to the buildings.
you see a sign, one that screams, AUDITIONS.
you ask your friends if you should do it. they laugh and dare you to. you pop your leather collar and go in.
it's actually quite a scary moment, when you open the doors to go in. you think about your mom – her dreams of being an actress. she whispered in your ear, "you're going to be a star, baby. no matter how hard you try to be anything but – you'll be a star."
when you're asked to act out a piece, you think about that scene that was assigned – the one your friends didn't do – the one you didn't hand in but worked on.
it's from macbeth.
the judges look quite impressed and they take your number and they say, "you've got talent, son."
you leave, your smirk plastered on, and your friends kind of fawn over you in a way they haven't done before.
and this is when you realize.
you're james fucking conroy. you are invincible.
of course – you get chosen for a role.
your dad doesn't really realize you had to skip school for it, and when you tell him, he gets this sad look in his eye and then says, "okay."
and you try not to be disappointed – but you always are – really.
you move to an apartment by yourself because your dad can't leave his job because of your new hobby.
you don't really miss your friends – they were getting pretty lame.
but now, as you settle down in hollywood – you wonder where the fuck you are. you're fifteen years old – aren't you supposed to be starting this kind of behavior now?
your mom's voice echos in your head, "you'll be a star."
so you proceed to go to the nearest bar and they think you're twenty-one (or maybe they don't, you don't really know that this point due to all the drinks in your system) and you end up having sex with a thirty year old who looks like she's seventeen.
(and shhh, it's your first time, but no one will ever know.)
and when she leaves, you cry.
but not really, because you don't do tears -
(but obviously, you do.)
you fuck a few girls after that – you can remember five. you never have girlfriends now.
you make an exception for tawni hart.
you don't really know why exactly – maybe it's the way she smiles at you, or maybe it's the way she kisses you, maybe it's the way she does care about you – really cares about you.
she is the only girl who you can say you will love. she is confident and beautiful and broken in her own way where she can hold her head up high and say she's beautiful. people say you two are so alike, and that you'll burn out – but really, she is so good and you are so bad – and that's why she gives up her virginity to you. she mewls when you touch her, and cries when it hurts.
you dump tawni on valentine's day – because when she looks at you – your heart beats and you can't handle her smile.
(your mother was like tawni, all about the passion and the love – you always used to worry, how long will it be until this relationship burns out like your parents' relationship did?)
she cries and you try to kiss her neck but she pushes away - "you have no right to touch me," she whispers.
and you love her – really, you do.
you love her so much that the sun rising isn't as mesmerizing as the way she wakes up in the morning. you love her charm and her stupid jokes that you have to kiss her to make her stop because you can't even handle how silly and cute she is.
you love her too much, so much that it could fill an ocean and yet – you have to break her for this love to stop.
and then that's when you let love slip away – you don't ever let yourself get attached after that.
you are sixteen years old – and you are a heartless man.
(but really, you're just a boy.)
you grow up, get more jobs, break tawni hart's heart once more and then have yours broken by her. a silent breaking that tampers with your soul.
if you have a soul anymore – you're not particularly sure.
you stay drunk usually – stop smoking and then start up again – three packs a day and life's never felt so good.
"if you keep this up," people say, "you're going to die."
you laugh at their stupidity, "don't you know? i'm james conroy and i'm invincible."
you are eighteen years old when you are finally legal to buy cigarettes you've been smoking for six years.
five packs a day.
you're just destroying yourself now. you lose jobs because you cough during critical scenes – your teeth are never quite white anymore – always yellow in some respect.
you stop smoking for a while and try smoking weed – but it's not enough.
so you try cocaine one night at the club, and you're laughing and giggling and the people you arrive with have left you alone – they always leave in the end though, so.
you go to the roof of the club and you look at the stars above.
"tawni," you giggle. "she'd think this was pretty. the stars blurring together... maybe i can get all the pretty stars and give them to her."
you step forward and reach up.
you die while trying to catch the stars.
(but you always knew that it would happen – one day.)