I awoke later that afternoon in Zane's bed, where he was completely awake and staring at the ceiling, one arm around me and the other behind his head.
He saw I was awake and smiled at me. "Good afternoon."
"You too." I murmured, kissing his cheek.
"You know, we missed group." He said with a wry grin.
I laughed. "Figures. It's all your fault." I winked.
"I guess so." He laughed, kissing me and standing up. He picked up his jeans and started pulling them on. I lay in the bed and watched him, his muscles gently working under his skin.
He saw me watching him and grinned. Picking up my clothes, he tossed them on the bed beside me.
I giggled and pulled on my jeans.
"So, was it worth it?" He asked, pulling his shirt over his head.
"You mean, other than the fact we just formally met?" I laughed, fastening my bra behind me. "Well, yes. It was."
He smiled. "I thought so too."
When we were both respectably fit to be seen, we trudged out the door and down the hall.
"I fancy a smoke." Zane smiled at me, stealthily grabbing my hand. I smiled as he entwined his fingers in mine.
I grinned back, my insides churning nervously, and we walked in the direction of the Courtyard. We emerged into the cool early-sunset air and sat down against the wall.
Zane pulled his iPod out of his pocket and handed me an earphone as he turned it on. He searched for a moment and clicked on a song. I recognised it instantly.
"I love Glasseater!" I gasped as "Everything is Beautiful When You Don't Look Down" started playing.
Grinning at me, he pulled out a cigarette. As he lit it up, he put his arm around me and pulled me closer to him. I smiled and laid my head against his shoulder. I felt his heart beating in his chest, a steady metronome conflicting gracelessly with Glasseater's drumbeat, a steady song all in its own, but an eloquent cadence professing his fragile life beat.
Should I pretend that I'm blind, oblivious, to the hardships going on in this life? Should I pretend that I'm blind, not anymore. Everything's beautiful when you don't look down.
I snaked my arm around his thin body, and he held me tighter.
"This is kind of nice, you know?" He said tonelessly.
"What do you mean?" I asked jadedly.
"This. Me and you. Us like this." He replied in that same lethargic tone. "We're just...together. I don't know. It's like we have something more. Only we don't. We just met."
It took me a moment to realise just what the impact of his words were. One-sided.
"Yeah." I reacted with a masquerade. "It's rather nice."
He winded his other arm around me and laid his head against mine, and I couldn't be mad at him.
The sun brought a dreary twilight around us as it fell leisurely behind the hills, a red-gold light piercing the air radically in a silent but measured and unhurried dance with the clouds, the humidity setting the stage for this lengthy waltz. The jealous moon rose, faded against the picturesque dusk, preparing to steal the theatre straight out from under the meek resplendence of the fixed steps the wavering sunlight so effortlessly placed. A dramatic piece set below the stars, a drama, comedy, and a tragedy all at the same time with no clear plot, but still possessed a splendour reflected in the eyes of all who saw it.
I turned away from this thespian's celebration, back to the real world, the seamy side of life that was Haven Psychiatric just in time for the shuffle on Zane's iPod to turn to "Memory" by Sugarcult.
I smiled and closed my eyes, his balanced breathing lulling me into an innocuous sense of security. I found an easy cosiness in Zane's arms, the air filled by the sounds of Sugarcult and the summer's last crickets. No one else was around; it was just us, alone in sombre tranquillity.
"So..." He said coyly. "Do you regret it at all?"
I looked up at him, surprised to see pain in his eyes. "Why? Do you?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. I just started thinking about... her."
I was puzzled for just a moment until I remembered him telling me about how his girlfriend died around the same time as his mother and grandfather. "Oh..." I murmured, somewhat speechless.
"Yeah..." He replied dazedly. "I'm sorry."
I sat up, suddenly thunderstruck. "Oh, no, Zane, don't be sorry. I should be the one apologising to you. I didn't mean to make you feel like this."
The instant that Zane's stormy grey eyes locked with mine, a sharp pain flashed through my heart. I felt ghastly for making him feel this way; like I was an intruder on his life. I wasn't a part of Zane Wryler the way that his girl was. She was his love, that was easy enough to tell.
And me, I was a random girl he met at a mental hospital, the loony bin, as they say. I had no right to take the tender place that she held so dearly in his heart. So why was I trying? I didn't know what to tell myself; there was no justification for this moment.
"It's not your fault." He muttered.
I fidgeted. "Well, don't blame yourself."
He sighed and looked up at the sky. "Yeah..." He responded offhandedly.
My face fell, reflecting the sinking feeling I had inside. "I'm sorry, Zane."
He looked at my, his eyes wide and curious. He placed his hand on my chin, pulling my face up to be level with his.
"Jasper, don't you dare apologise. It's not your fault, in any way." His voice was flat, toneless, and I couldn't tell if he meant those words or not.
I was about to respond when we were interrupted by the Courtyard door flying open to allow laughter to cascade over the threshold with exuberant grace, conflicting with our mood in a strange way. The model smile of Razor greeted me cordially and Edge and Bullet tumbled in after him.
"Xanax!" Bullet squealed. "Why weren't you at group?"
"I was with Za- Tragedy." I quickly corrected myself, gesturing to Zane, who smiled falsely at the group.
They apparently didn't pick up on it, since they continued laughing and joking around for a good while.
As my spirits began to rise at the influence of my friends, my awareness began to drop, for within a short while I realised Zane was no longer in the Courtyard.
"Hey, guys. Where's-" I began, but I was interrupted my Edge singing "Rock and Roll All Night" by Kiss.
I sighed, but shortly their joie de vivre took over my mood again, and I was tackling Razor without fully knowing what the thoughts going through my head were all about.
If only, if only. I should have known. I could have stopped the seemingly inevitable. The inevitability that changed my life forever.