Chapter 25—

An Epiphany

"Why are you so mad at me?" I address Jake, my voice reaching near epic proportions of shrillness.

He lifts his shoulders in a shrug before fixing me with a glare that I'm sure is supposed to be pointed and somewhat telling of what he's feeling. The only problem is that I am not a mind reader.

"So what?" I yell at him. "You're not going to say anything? You're just going to shrug and act like nothing is going on? You're just going to act like the world affects everyone but you?"

He pulls out a cigarette and places it in his mouth. I scowl at the action, because it's just further proof that he's reverted back to the whole nothing can touch me stance. It infuriates me to no end that he's always like this. At least his outburst from a few minutes ago told me that he actually has emotions and isn't eternally indifferent.

But now he's back to his previous attitude.

"What would you have me do?" He blows out a puff of smoke. "Yell at you again? Didn't seem to work before."

In a childish action, I stomp my foot in complete exasperation.

"Damn it, Jake! What the hell are you doing?"

"Kat, I'm sorry that I didn't make everything better with a few simple words," he softly begins, "but not every problem can be solved by some kind words. The reason I didn't say anything was because I didn't know what to say. You act like I'm this source of infinite wisdom and that I can make anything that goes wrong right again. While it's a nice inflation of the ego, it certainly isn't a true characterization of me."

"So, this is how you're going to be from now on?" I place a hand on my hip. "All that stuff? All that listening to me and trying to help was just some kind of… big show to impress me?"

He doesn't answer me.

I glare at him, thinking of about ten different ways to kill him.

Jam that disgusting cigarette into his eye-socket?

Rip his head from his shoulders?

Bludgeon him, maybe?

All viable and very appealing options at this point in time.

"So, is that it, then?" I screech at him. "That's it? You just don't care anymore? You got the girl, so there's no need to try and be Mr. Perfect anymore?"

"You know that isn't what's going on—"

"Oh, he finally speaks," I mutter under my breath.

"You could have killed yourself, Kat! What the fuck was that? You're not so stupid that you actually thought that I wanted you to go run out in front of a car."

"Then why did you say it?"

"I was trying to make a point!" he yells.

"Point made then!" I yell right back.

He takes a deep breath—as though he's trying to calm himself.

I do the same and wait for him to begin. It looks like he's trying to get something out, but can't find the right way of going about it. I don't understand why he has such a problem with telling me what's going on with him. I mean, that's all I do—is spill my heart out to him, but yet he has trouble doing it himself?

I don't know if it's me or if he just has some genetic man-like thing where he never wants to reveal anything about himself. But that can't be right because most men are horrible listeners, but Jake always takes in every single word that I say. He always takes it in and processes it and understands it. He isn't a typical male and I understand that. But so then, why does he oftentimes behave like one?

Men. I swear, they think women are enigmatic.

We don't have anything on them.

"You said that you wanted to do something that would make your mom see that what she's doing is effecting you, right?" Jake begins. "And you wanted it to be something extreme that would get her to sit up and take notice of you. Right?"

I nod my head.

"That isn't always the right answer, though. Extremity gets you attention, sure—but it isn't the kind of attention that you want."

I watch him as he's speaking.

I suddenly get the distinct impression that he's speaking out of personal experience. I don't think he'd ever say as much, but with Jake, sometimes you just have to do a lot of inferring. You have to believe that while he'll never be straightforward about it, he is trying to give you clues about why he is the way he is.

I sometimes lose sight of that fact when I'm worked up or angry.

…I lost sight of it just a few moments ago.

"You don't want to be treated like a child," he continues. "You want her to listen to you and treat you like an adult who has feelings and isn't just going to accept something blindly. You want to be able to have a say in how your family operates. Right?"

Again, I nod.

"Yeah, but don't you see that extreme action—such as acting out and becoming a juvenile delinquent—all it's going to accomplish is showcasing that you can't handle these sort of things. It just shows that you're immature and can only deal with things by acting out."

I sink down onto the grass.

What Jake's just said has totally hit me with a force that is indescribable.

He's right in every aspect. Every single thing that he just uttered is true and it hits me hard—real hard. I've been fooling myself by thinking that I've been the mature one here. All along that's what I've been doing. I've been telling myself that my mother is acting like the adolescent and that I'm the one who's behaving rationally and normally.

In certain aspects, sure—it's been that way.

But instead of believing that my mother has reasons for the way she behaves, all I've done is whine and complain and act like a bitch. I'm not saying that she behaved appropriately—because she went about a lot of things in the wrong way.

But if I had been acting and thinking like an adult, instead of a child, I would have been able to sit down and actually listen to her reasons. I'd be able to see that she wasn't just doing all that stuff to humiliate me or inconvenience me.

"Kat? Are you alright?" Jake leans down next to me.

I look up him with an, I'm sure, dumb expression on my face.

I feel like such a fool.

Like such a little brat.

I've been bitching and complaining and acting like a five-year old for ages now.

And Jake hasn't once complained.

"I'm so sorry!" I fling myself at him, clasping my arms around his neck and holding him as tightly as I possibly can.

He wraps his arms around my back.

"I'm such an idiot," I say into his shoulder. "Why didn't you tell me before?"

"You're not an idiot," he tells me. "You just had a… momentary lapse in judgment."

"That's lasted for like two months now," I mutter.

"Yeah, but I think it's normal that you were kind of caught off guard. Everything happened at the same time. It just came barreling at you and you didn't even stand a chance. Under the circumstances…" he pulls away to look at me, "I think you've handled it pretty well. You only cracked once."

"So what? Am I supposed to feel somewhat special by that?" I wipe at my eyes, trying to get rid of those pesky tears that keep falling.

"Sure," he shrugs. "It takes a special type of person to handle not only your mother, but also Baz." He laughs a little as he says this. "Most other girls would have cracked long before now. So you went crazy—you're over it now. Aren't you?"

"Yeah," I confirm. "Thanks to you."

"You give me way too much credit," he grins. "I'm not the savior you make me out to be. I just try and help and sometimes I get it right."

"Why exactly do you want to help me so much?" I blurt without even thinking. "I mean…" I stutter, "… not that I don't… I mean…"

"I just get you, is all," he interrupts my mess of a sentence.

"That's all I get?" I allow a smile to creep onto my face. "You get me? That's the only explanation?"

"Is it not enough?" He smiles back.

He rises to his feet and holds out a hand to me.

I grasp his offered hand and let him pull me up to my feet.

"Promise me that—one day—you'll help me put all the pieces together?"

"What do you mean?" he looks over at me with a confused expression.

"Promise that one day you'll give me some insight into you."

He regards me with a look that I'm not really able to place.

Then he surprises me.

He takes my hand and says, "I promise."

Such a small gesture, but somehow it means more than anything else he's ever said to me. I don't understand why he is the way he is. I really don't. But who knows? Maybe one day that confusion will slip away and I'll have some real insight into Jake.

He has a tendency to surprise a person… so maybe it'll happen sooner rather than later.

Either way, I gotta admit that Jake has been the salvation in the big mess that my life has become. He's always been the one to listen and try and help. He's always been the one who find some way to make it better.

But like he said, he isn't my savior. He just gets me and that's gotta be the most wonderful feeling in the world.

"So, what do you want to do now?" he asks me.

"Let's just drive somewhere," I suggest.


"Mexico? Canada? Anywhere."

"Eh—if we're gonna flee the country," he smirks at me, "I'd rather go to Europe."

"Where about in Europe?" I lean my body in close to his as we walk back to the car.


My problems aren't just magically cleared up and they probably never will be. I'll always have issues with what's happened, but the thing is—I'm not going to whine about it and pretend that I'm the only one whose feelings matter.

Instead, I'm going to concentrate on my own life. After all, I'll soon be in total control of it. I'll soon be the one making all my important decisions and I won't have to look to my mom to do that for me.

I think that's one step closer in being a person who is actually content with their life.

I'm not there yet.

…But I will be.

The End!

A/N: Okay, that's it! I hope you guys enjoyed it. Like I said, I'm really proud of this final chapter… and the whole story in general. Hopefully you all feel the same. -grin-

A HUGE thank you to everyone who reviewed! I appreciate it beyond belief! Don't forget to leave me one, last, final review. Make it good, people. :)