It would be weird if I showed up now.

It's already eight. What would her mom and dad think? I can't show up at her door, a complete stranger. Now, my parents wouldn't care about something like that – they'd probably just be annoyed. But Daisy's? She seems entirely too sweet to have a family that would find something like that normal.

And me, of all people. It's not like I'm the picture of safety, or health, or benefit. My clothes are wrinkled and dirty, and the clothes themselves are… different, to say the least. And if she's mentioned me… I don't even want to think of that.

I can't go to her window, either. Not after what happened last time we were together. Showing up at her window uninvited might end up with me leaving in a police car, and I doubt that would look very good to anyone.

"Ugh!" Augustus rested his head in his hand and frowned. "I'm not normally such a bitch. Why can't I just go there and knock, or, or, do something. Anything!"

His toes curled and his eyes squinted. He was pitiful! He forced himself to his feet, wiping off any leaves that might have stuck to his butt. "I'm just gonna do it." He said to himself. "I'm just gonna walk up to the door, and introduce myself to her mom, and hope for the best."

A plethora of thoughts circled his mind as he left the park. The cops, her mom, his own pitifulness… He felt a gripping sensation in his chest. Something pulling him back. A shallowness in his breath.

"Heh," he smiled. He really was pitiful. Daisy was the only person he had ever loved.

And when he thought loved, he truly meant it. Not some temporary infatuation or fleeting adoration. No, nothing like that. This was something new, and different. Something entirely more confusing and disturbing.

Though, despite the sincerity of his feelings and the honest intent of his actions, he couldn't quite figure out why. Why did he love this person? Sure, he knew… why he adored her. He knew why he was infatuated. He had a long list of things that he thought were fantastic about Daisy, but what brought about the sun shower in the barren desert that was his life? What was this refreshing feeling that both filled him with immeasurable pleasure, and inconceivable doubt?

Again, he smiled. Pitiful. He was as big a tool as Lucy. Maybe Daisy was his Mike.

He couldn't help but laugh out loud, drowning out the voice in his head that he pretended didn't exist. No, the difference here was selfish need versus selfless need. He was no leech. He simply wanted what was best for Daisy.

In fact, he had said to himself many times: "Augustus, if she were better off with Abbey, or even Mike, you would not fight it; and you would not fight for her." He had said it so many times he had grown to believe and accept it. It had become a commitment. Though, he knew in his heart she was not better off with them, with people who would always take her for granted.

He frowned and remembered his childhood, and he thought about the person he had become. Maybe if he hadn't come from where he did, he could… They could…

No. No, it wasn't worth thinking about.

The terror of standing there, in front of her door. He swallowed, struggling to catch his breath. He couldn't find the courage to knock; so he remained perched, hoping nobody was watching him afar, judging. The doubts had come flooding back, stronger than before. Now, he couldn't even insult himself, he couldn't even care about whether or not he was… pitiful. He could only think about that door, and the beauty on the other end.

Maybe that is my problem: thinking. Maybe what people say is true, and that you sometimes just have to act. Like, ripping off a band-aid.

5

4

3

2

2

2

1

1

0

He swallowed and lifted his fist in the air. He held it to the door and paused. He exhaled harshly as his heart retracted deep into his chest, pushing the air out of his lungs.

Tap tap tap, tap.

I can't help but feel like… I did something wrong.

Should I run?

Should I…

What should I do?

I could just…

I can…

Each second passed by with an irony: a feeling of urgency, the pace of a slug. He stared at the door; and then he stared at his toes; and then he stared at the grass; and then he stared again at the door.

It had been what? Three? Four seconds?

His hands were balled into scrawny fists and he was biting his lower lip. Daisy… she was the only person who made him like that. The only person who had such a strong grip on him. The saddest part was that she didn't even realize it… Or maybe she just didn't care?

And then it hit him. He is Augustus.

His heart slowed down into forceful blasts of a drum. His fists became scrawny palms, and his lip was freed from between his teeth. Everything seemed so much clearer all of the sudden. The grass on the ground and the stars in the sky and the trees that loomed over him.

He remembered who he was. He was Augustus. He remembered what he had come from, what he had dealt with in his life. He remembered why he was there, standing in front of that door. And he remembered how much of a bad ass he really was.

"Hi, I'm Augustus, I'm-"

No, that's idiotic. What if they know my name, but don't know what I look like?

"Hi, I'm Daisy's friend, Augustus, I'm-"

Fuck, no, that is the same thing.

"Hi, I'm Daisy's friend, I-"

There was a rustling behind the door. A moment passed, and then there was the click of a lock.

Augustus inhaled and held. It could be anyone behind that door. Daisy. Her mom. Her dad. Even… Abbey. A frown formed on his lips, but he quickly wiped it away.

And then the door opened.

There was a gold feline standing before him, a warm smile on her face and unassuming curiosity in her eyes. She was a heavy set woman, though she wore it well and would sooner be considered jolly than fat. She was the striking resemblance of someone he knew, and for that reason he felt an almost immediate connection with her. There was no mistaking it; it was Daisy's mom.

"Hello there! Can I help you at all?"

There was something strangely insulting about her being so casual to his appearance there at night. Was he really that unthreatening?

"Hi! I was wondering if uh… Well, I'm a friend of Daisy's and um, I was just seeing if she was like uh, in, or something."

Ugh.

"Oh?" Daisy's mom looked at him with an innocent interest he had only before seen in her daughter. "You're a friend of Daisy's?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Oh, come inside then! I didn't know she was expecting someone!"

"Uh, well, she wasn't. At least I don't think she was. I figured I'd just… drop by and say hi. We go… back."

"Oh, I'm sure she'll be happy to see you. Let me go get her for you." As she started to walk up the stairs, a man's voice rang out over the sound of gunshots on a television.

"Who is it?"

"It's just a friend of Daisy's, hon."

There was a momentary pause where Augustus' heart stopped and nothing was said.

"… Oh, alright."

He exhaled silently, relieved. He had made it through the worst of it… Or had he? There was still no telling how Daisy was going to react to his sudden presence in her house. In fact, the more he thought about it, the worse of an idea it was all seeming. Though, it was a little late for regrets, especially since her mom was already coming back down the stairs.

"She's in the shower right now, but if you'd like to wait in her room, you're more than welcome to. She should be out shortly." She smiled at him.

"Oh, thank you very much."

"My pleasure, sweetie!" She smiled at him again, but soon her smile became an all-too familiar expression of genuine epiphany – and modest regret. "Where are my manners? Would like something to drink, or maybe eat?"

It was an expression he had seen from Daisy many times; though, sadly, most of them were from afar. It seemed that when your intentions are to cheer a person up, you must come to them when they're depressed, but when that becomes the only time you see them, that also becomes the only side you see – that dark, sullen side, that doesn't reflect the true gems of humanity and all its vice.

Seeing it up close, even if it was from her mother, was a nice and rare treat for him.

"No, I'm quite alright, actually." He smiled back at her. Or at least, there was a slight curve to his lips, one that was not normally there. "I think I'll just head upstarts and wait for her."

"Hmm," her mother frowned. "Well, if you change your mind, don't be shy!"

"Thank you very much!'

Augustus looked at the portraits on the wall as he walked up the steps. Yes, he had seen it all before: the typical middle class family. Though, it is worth mentioning he had only seen it on television and had merely assumed it was a real thing. Offering food to guests, making them feel welcome, trusting them to be alone…

The smile from before was gone. For a moment, even the fact he was there, in Daisy's house had faded too.

But all returned when he stood in front of the open door to her room. The feminine colors, the feminine decorations, the dainty, girlish smell of her room. It all made him smile, and it made of him think of her. He walked in and simply looked around. Knowing it was where she lived, studied, and slept, knowing it was the place she kept all of her secrets and passions, that alone was enough to make his heart beat with terror; but to consider she was a wall away…

He swallowed.

Soon, she was going to have to come out. And there he would be.

"Surprise…" He whispered under his breath, sitting tightly and uncomfortably upon a bed that was adorably soft.

He sighed.

All he could do was wait; and of course, his only company would be the very thoughts that made him wish he wasn't there. He could see her in his head. She would see him and reject him. She would scream and tell him to leave in anger. And later, she would laugh about it with Abbey.

Again, he sighed.

It was why he didn't want to be left alone with his thoughts. They were nothing but trouble. Irrational, dangerous, trouble.

And then the water in the shower died, along with Augustus, for his heart stopped along with it. He took a deep breath; he could feel his knees shaking. Why was he there? Why had he done the things that he had done? He never wanted to hurt her! He had never intended to… rape her.

He could never even think of doing such a thing to her. Doing such a crime to someone so sweet.

He heard the shower curtains.

For so long he had been looking for a Daisy; for a person to… drag him from his hole. To give him the inspiration to do it himself. -At least to give him the inspiration! - Yet, there he was, ruining any chance they would be together, one step at a time. All the subterfuge, all the competing, all the 'help.'" In retrospect, he could see where he went wrong, but only in retrospect.

When in the passion of the moment, those things manifested in his own mind, and then he acted upon them, without a second thought, or often with a second thought- one from the same vein as the action in question.

The door knob.

She was about to come out…

Wait.

Already?

As the knob turned, Augustus' eyes seemed to fixate on a small pile of clothes sitting on the dresser in front of him. They looked like… pajamas.

He inhaled sharply as his entire body locked up.

The door opened, and Daisy was standing before, in just the state he had feared. Her towel was wrapped around her scalp to keep it from dripping down, leaving the rest of her exposed. The shower had thoroughly soaked her fur, making it heavy to a point that was beyond the frizz she so hated, though not so heavy that it managed to keep more than a few of curls under control.

And of course, so heavy that it laid down flat, in thick, compressed strands, leaving many areas of her flesh… quite exposed.