A/N: This is not really a chapter update. More of a chapter repost since I lost the old one. If I EVER finish this story, I'm going to take it down for a bit and do some MAJOR editing. I read what I posted before… it's too simplistic and I have screwed up on tenses way too much. I plan in the future to possibly just making it all past tense. And for making characters consistent. Avery changes a bit in this chapter, of how I really REALLY want him to be. Please forgive me for this horrible rough draft of a potentially (in my opinion) good story.

--

Maybe asking my mom who Jason was while she was driving wasn't the best idea of revenge. Within a second of me asking the question - which I assume she used that second to comprehend on what I had just said - she swerved the car onto the side of the highway and pulled the car to a complete stop. We went from 70 miles per hour to 0 in the course of thirty seconds. It felt longer, much longer, but when I look at the clock, it is still 8:03 AM.

Now we sit in silence. I am trying to keep my stomach where it belonged; while I think my mom is trying to understand the question I just asked.

When I know my stomach isn't going anywhere, I look up at her. Her face is white, hands gripping the steering wheel as tight as they could go, and her top row of teeth where sucking at her lower lip. I notice that both our breathing is the same -- rapid. I'm still scared shitless.

"Where did you hear that name?" Her voice is quiet, sounding as if she is trying to hold back tears. I can see her arms begin to shake. I look up at her eyes, to see if my suspicions are correct. She is staring straight forward, and there is a wall of liquid forming at the base of her eyelid to confirm my fears.

To get this kind of reaction out of her, I am surprised.

I admit I don't think highly of my mother. She goes from man to man, ever since I was little. I guess it made me feel ignored and lonely. She wasn't known as the friendliest mom on the block, so I never had the opportunity to meet other kids. I sometimes contemplate on whether this is the reason I'm a loner or not. I don't have any social skills because I was never socialized when I was a kid.

But just because I don't think highly of my mom, it doesn't mean that I find this reaction of hers amusing. It's something new to me. When she cries, she's drunk. When she's drunk, it's when she's found yet another flaw in a man or when she loses a job. All my life I've only seen her cry about dumb shit.

Yet here we are now. I'm silent. She's sober and trembling, pale as a bleached white sheet.

I am trying to figure out what to make of this situation.

"Avery, tell me where you heard that fucking name!" I jump at the sudden outburst. My mom is yelling at me. I can't decide if she's just having a childish temper tantrum or if I should be concerned for my safety.

All my life, I have never been able to take my mom seriously. And I still don't.

She's overreacting.

Feeling a heavy burn at the pit of my stomach, I can feel the anger bubbling towards the surface.

"You said that name. I'll quote exactly what you said, 'I can't protect you. I couldn't protect Jason. I can't protect anyone."

I watch as her hands slide down the steering wheel and into her lap. She rests her head back in the seat, closing her eyes. This defeated look of hers gets my hopes up. Did I win?

"I'm sorry," she laughs softly, awkwardly, opening her eyes as the tears began to slide down her cheeks. "I was watching a movie earlier that day. What's it called? Friday the 13th? Yeah. And I felt like the mom in there, unable to protect her son from the bullying."

"That's fucking bullshit Mom, and you know it! You wouldn't be having this temper tantrum if that's all it's about. What are you trying to hide from me? Is it just a guy you fucked and dumped and then went and killed himself because you're such a heartbreak --"

I flinch as my mom slaps me across the face. It's a strange sensation, as the stinging slowly grows stronger after the initial contact.

I'm trying to figure out what to make of this. First, I know I was out of line by using one of her issues, one she was well aware of, as a way to insult her. I know what it's like to be brought down by your weaknesses; I had to go through it with Elliot when we were together. It really breaks you down. But when you are angry, all you want to do is find a way to make that person feel the way you do. Second, I'm in shock. She hit me. She hit me. I can feel the tears stinging at my eyes, a lump growing in my throat as I resist the sob that threatens to escape my lips.

I place my hand on top of the cheek that was hit, comprehending the heat burning my fingertips.

"God Avery. I'm so sorry," my mom whispers, the very hand that slapped me covering her mouth. "Please. Please forgive me." She reaches her hand out towards me.

"Don't fucking touch me," I hiss, hitting her hand away with the hand that was once holding my cheek.

"Avery," she says, her voice wavering.

"Don't. Don't talk to me either. Just drive. Drive me home so I don't have to see you right now."

To hear the venom in my voice I don't quite understand. I know she didn't mean to. I know it. So I continue to try to convince myself that I'm angry because she keeps lying to me, because she's a child that needs to grow up.

I'm no longer looking at her, my eyes averted to the side of the road. I didn't want her to see me tear up. I didn't want to see her crying, because I know that in some part it is my fault she had to hit me. I hear her start the engine through her sobs and she pulls over back onto the highway and we're on our way home.

--

When you're mad, and have no one to vent to, the next best thing to do is lie on your bed and think about the events of the day. It's not very therapeutic, because the matter of the fact is it just makes you more frustrated, but if you're as pissed as I am, there is nothing else you'd rather be doing.

When we got home, my mom was continuing to cry. She just went straight up to her room without saying a word. I have mixed feelings about this decision of her. I know if she tried to talk to me, I would tell her to fuck off. But on the other hand, it would have been nice if she tried to atone for hitting me.

I want to scream. I want to yell at something. But there's nothing there to scream at. I turn over on my bed and stare at the wall. So white and bear. White. White is the color of purity. White is so pretty. It needs some marks – no, bruising. So I force my fist into it. I punch it.

"Fuck!"

That really fucking hurt. I sit up from my position, looking down at the knuckles of my fisted hand. For the pain I am feeling, the knuckles feeling broken and scratched from the uneven edges of that white wall, they are still white. Am I going crazy? Shouldn't my hand be red by now?

I try to get rid of the stiff feeling by outstretching my fingers and bringing them back together into a clutch. Ah – there it is. The pink I was looking for. I can see the knuckles swelling, and somehow this makes me feel slightly more at ease. I'm not invincible.

I look up at the wall, to see if I have conquered my need to blacken the unbearably white wall. It is left unscathed, while I'm sitting here with a sore hand.

What was I expecting when I did this?

I crawl over to the side of the bed and get myself up, still trying to work with the stiff hand. I need to leave. This 'contemplate the day' thing wasn't working. I need to talk to somebody. But who? The friend who is in the hospital with way worse problems than me? Or the asshole who is mad at me for being a faggot, something completely beyond my control?

My mom is out of the question.

Fuck it.

I'm going to go to call Reeves'. I suspect he won't answer. I'm going to leave him a message. I'm going to tell him about my day, about how angry I am. I just need to vent. I am going to tell him I don't give a shit if he hates me because of who I am but he gets to have my message anyway. It's the only thing that's going to stop me from blowing up.

I walk outside my door with the cordless phone in my grasp. I'm too cheap for a cell phone, especially since I usually give my money to my mother. But I was going to need to go outside to talk to him. I didn't want my mom to hear me yelling into a phone, about her hitting me. I didn't want her to think I was reporting her to the police, or telling the whole world that she was an abusive bitch.

I shut the door behind me when I'm outside. It's dark and cold now, small flakes of snow scattering around in the sky. It's been twelve hours since my mom hit me. My cheek no longer hurts, that pain disappeared as soon as I fell asleep for five hours.

I look through the caller ID, finally finding that unknown number I remember staring at not too long ago when it called. I dial it and put the phone against my ear.

One ring. My heart is racing. I keep trying to remind myself of the reasons I'm calling him.

Second ring. Is he really not going to answer? Is he really that upset with me?

Third ring. I should hang up. He's not going to answer me. He doesn't want to talk to me.

Fourth ring. My heart is beginning to actually calm down. If he doesn't answer, this means I can just leave that message I want to leave. I don't have to talk to him. It's what I wanted from the beginning, wasn't it?

'Hey you've reached Reeves' phone, leave a message after the beep and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.'

I inhale, ready to say something, and then find myself pressing my thumb down on the talk button. I hang up. I can't do it.

What is wrong with me? Why am I unable to just leave a long message, like my original intent was? Or was that my original intent, to just leave a message and be done with it?

I know that part of me wants to make up with him. There's something about Reeves that makes me forget the person who I really am. And as much as I want to deny this, I know it's true.

I opened my mouth and said something smart-ass to Amanda and I know if I continue to hang out with Reeves, if he somehow finds it in his heart that me being gay isn't such a big deal, I actually start enjoying my life a bit.

Maybe.

I look down at my hand and the phone that's in it. I see my knuckles are still pink, and suddenly I remember the pain. I open the door and toss the phone inside, the soft carpet preventing it from making too loud of a noise. I go back outside, shutting the door behind me, and plopping down on the front step. The cold feels good.

I hear a car enter the driveway of my house. I look up, and stand up. I know whose car that is and my heart starts pounding against my chest.

Reeves steps out of his car, greeting me with a somber look. He walks towards me, giving me a small wave.

"Reeves. What are you doing here?"

"I saw you call. I can't wait anymore. You need to know why I ran away," he whispers and does something unexpected. He takes my head and pulls me into a kiss.