I let the phone pick up a voice mail, and immediately my ears perked up when I heard the first few words.

"Hello, Miss Antonescu. I am calling to inform you that your appointment with our psychologist, Dr. Harper, is still going on for tomorrow at five o'clock PM. Please try your best to arrive on time, and we hope to have another good session with you."

...What?

Annie was... seeing a psychologist?

...Why?

Now I wished that I had picked up, and my fingers itched to grab the handle but it was way too late and useless. I froze on the spot and tried to think of her current situation. Peter's death was about five months ago, but she never even bothered to schedule an appointment after his passing. There was the factor that she couldn't afford it, even though I could recall a smidgen about how she had a job as a cashier somewhere. However, the thought was nebulous in my mind, and I wasn't quite sure if my memory was correct.

But... what could have possibly gone wrong in the last few months? Was it because of Celia and I? Had she finally found someone to talk to about her relationship with her mother?

It was seriously a few years too late.

There was obviously something she was hiding from me... I just couldn't figure out what.

Annie came out of her room a few moments later holding a parcel wrapped up in colorful paper, her humming as cheery as its smiley-faced pattern. I would have thought it endearing, but there was something else more important. The atmosphere transitioned from its light and airy state to a more tense enviroment when she saw how my lips had formed a straight line. I felt my eye twitching slightly, and I stared down at the black-haired girl long and hard.

"Um... I-I'm sorry, but is there anything wrong?" she stuttered as if she was treading dangerous ground, "Did anything happen in the time I was gone?"

She attempted to smile at me after asking her question, but when she saw how serious my expression was she gave up on her action. Her slender fingers stroked the present thoughtfully, each circle and stripe, and I took a deep breath.

"...Your psychologist's office called," I muttered, crossing my arms in order to projecting a sense of authority and care. Her skin seemed to turn a shade paler and her eyes widened, and she bit her lip so hard that I swore I could see blood trickling down to her chin, "And she said your appointment is still on for tomorrow."

Her whole body began to shake, and with dropping the package her hands clenched into fists. I knew that I had somehow struck a nerve; I just didn't have a clue why.

"...You weren't supposed to hear that," she replied, and her eyes began filling with water, and I sucked in my breath because I knew that the waterworks were coming.

I was really hoping she would cease her crying and be happy for a day, especially my birthday. Her face shifted to look on the floor, the present contrasting our newly obtained crestfallen feelings, and her bangs hung in front of her, her eyes straying from mine so we wouldn't lock gazes.

And then she broke down.

All I could make out of her sobs were exclamations and sorry words. "I-I-I'm... so... s-s-stupid!" and a million apologies poured out like waterfalls, paralleling to the tears streaming down her face.

I didn't know why, I didn't know what in the hell was happening; I was so confused and it could barely process in my head.

Finally, I opened up my arms to her to offer her a hug and comfort, but she just shook her head and took a step back and cried some more, and goddamn it, I wanted to hold her. I still didn't know what was wrong, and was dying to find out why she was making trips to the shrink and what the fuck was going on, but that could wait for later. That would have to, wouldn't it?

Right now, I just wanted her to stop crying.

"...A-A-Annie," I tried to say in a soothing voice, but it just came out strained and tired, "Annabeth Christine Antonescu."

I fit in her middle name in attempt to joke, but she didn't have a proper response. "P-P-Please... Don't cry, I'm sorry for making you cry..."

I managed a fake smile at her and the corners of my mouth soon felt worn out. She was crying, and she wouldn't stop, and this was all just too heartbreaking to bear.

"P-P-Please... Open up to me, tell me what's wrong..." I tried to get her to say something proper, but she continued to weep and her choking sobs pierced me even more.

However, when I asked her one question, I finally elicited something other than a sob from her. "...Did anything happen with the baby?"

In thinking about the recourse of the past few months, I realized that we hadn't talked about it in a while although I did think about it, and maybe it was something that needed discussing. She never really said anything about it, and that factor made me shut my mouth about it as well. I actually felt pretty horrible for not mentioning it earlier, but then she looked at me with this look that terrified the shit out of me and I knew that it definitely was the issue at hand.

A look of anger, yet a look of pure, unadultured depression.

She took a deep breath, and her wet cheeks glistened with her eyes. "...There is no baby..." she finally whispered, "N-N-Not anymore."

...And everything fell apart from there.


"...W-W-What?" I couldn't help that now I was shaking too, and at first I thought that maybe it was a joke. Haha, very funny Annie... What a prankster. After all, it was my birthday and maybe this was all just an elaborate hoax. It was a stupid thought and very unlikely to be true, but maybe Annie just had a dark sense of humor under her sweet and gentle exterior. "...Are you serious?"

Of course, I was thinking this all in vain. The look still haunted me and penetrated my very being.

Her look changed from being more depressed to one of wrath in a split second, leaving me actually scared and clenching my jeans.

"Don't make yourself such a fucking saint, Dimitri," she snapped, and her use of expletives and tone of voice surprised the shit out of me. I couldn't help but glare back, because now I was actually starting to feel kind of mad, "You've been hiding shit from me too."

"What am I possibly fucking hiding from you?"

...I'm a stupid fuck.

No fucking way.

...Of course she'd find out. Of course.

She stared at me gravely in the eyes with a gaze containing the same meanness that I never knew she could possess.

"Gina Blake."

...Oh just fuck me in the asshole and send me to hell.

"...Right, her," I responded meekly, and I felt myself tremble as well, "Annie, it was a mistake. I swear to fucking god, it was. It was the biggest mistake of my life, and I'm so fucking sorry."

I was being very veracious, because goddamn it, it was fucking true. I regretted every single aspect of letting that bitch entice me into our petty little fifteen minute affair and knew it would just spark up a fire. Gina Blake was another Celia Antonescu, except I think I actually could sympathize with Celia more.

Because she was Annie's mom; in some ways she was like her daughter, and Celia was just as broken.

The girl in front of me however just laughed and my eyebrows furrowed in astonishment. Was I really hearing this?

It wasn't a lighthearted laughter, of course not. It was a sarcastic sense of laughter and I swore to god it sounded like she was going to cry again and I wanted so badly to hug her but I knew she wouldn't let me. "You really... Think I care about her? Fuck her. She's a bitch who gets off on ruining people's lives and spreading rumors. I can't believe that she fucked you, but well there you go, heard it from the Dimitri Sainovic himself."

...Shit, so basically I was just manipulated into confirmingher suspicions of some truthful gossip. Well, fuck my life.

"What I care about," she continued, the tears being held in. I wasn't so sure if she would actually shed anymore, but angry Annie wasn't any better, "Is that you hid it from me. I thought that we were best friends now."

Another goddamned chuckle. I wanted to grab her and shake her hard and ask her to please stop, but I just stood there and took in her discourse. "But I see we're not."

She sighed this time, and I almost mimic her action in relief. "Dimitri, I don't care that you slept with her. You're a whore. I was surprised that you didn't already. I just... I really hate it when people hide it from me."

She rubbed the corners of her eyes with her right hand, and I watched her, feeling extremely guilty and just plain horrible. "Especially considering that Gina Blake and Peter used to have a thing."

...Shit.

Right.

I almost totally forgot about that. Cue in the 'I'm such an asshole' comment.

"...Fuck, right," I muttered and shook my head, "I really pretty much forgot about that. I'm such an asshole, and I know, but let me tell you, I regret every moment of it, Annie. I really, really, really fucking do."

I stepped towards her and she didn't move, which I took as a good sign. I took both of her narrow shoulders and my god she was so skinny and I was a fucking idiot before for not even suspecting a thing.

Such. A. Fucking. Idiot.

To think that I thought maybe I was getting more observant.

"I'm sorry for not noticing Annie. I'm sorry for doing that. I'm sorry for all the hurt and all the hate I pelted towards you in the past. I'm so sorry, so fucking sorry and it hurts and my fucking god this is so out of character for me." It was then that I noticed that my eyes had gathered tears and god fucking damn it I hated crying.

Weakness.

My vulnerability was showing, with the girl that made me weak. Fucking marvelous.

She looked above at me and her eyes were glimmering with saddness and so brown and beautiful and I just wanted to indulge myself in them like a cup of hot chocolate, so sweet and a wintry day's comfort. "D-D-Dimitri..."

Deep breaths again. "I..."

"...But, you know. You haven't been truthful with me either. You hid something way more important from me," I interrupt her, putting a finger to her lips as well. The intimacy was making my heart thump and it was a new, exhilirating experience to me. We were having a heart to heart right now, and the only ones I've had were with Peter, and we weren't this close because we were guys and barely talked about our feelings, "And of course I'm not mad, but... I'm just... I..."

How long ago? How did this happen? I wanted to ask, but it wasn't the right time for her to tell me.

She pursed her lips and shook her head to get rid of my digit. "It's okay," she whispered, and we both knew that it wasn't, "I just... I just couldn't bear to see how you'd react."

Her hand grasped her dress and I'm afraid she's going to cry again, but this time I wouldn't take her shying away as a no. I wanted to comfort her and to not ruin her life even more. "...It's... It's so complicated Dimitri and I just don't want to talk about it at all," she bit her lip, "I want to cancel my appointment so bad. I don't even know why I'm doing this anymore. My doctor... reccommended me for one, and the first session was okay but I can't afford it and I.. I..."

I had to stop her again. "...Annie, I'm going to be honest here," I gulped and put both of my arms around her, entangling her into an awkward hug, "I think that your doctor was right. I think it'd be good for you."

So much trauma for a small and meek little girl. She was still stronger than she looked, but there was no way it hadn't affected her for the worse. She might have tried to seem okay on the outside but she was a wreck.

...Then again, so was I. So was everyone, really. Everyone had an inner conflict to deal with but Annie...

I just cared for her so much and didn't want her to take a turn for the worse.

"You've suffered so much. Please, sweetie."

Sweetie. Baby. Love.

I was beginning to falter. This wasn't good at all.

I waited for her response and we both tensed up considerably. I was fearful of what she'd say, what she'd do, and she exhaled and waited for my demise.

"...Dimitri, I really can't afford to," she replied and I almost went on my knees to plead with her, "I just... I can't... I shouldn't."

"...I'll pay for them," I proposed, and her eyes widened even more than they were before, "Please. Just.. please."

Annie was a person who hated to accept things; she couldn't repay them with money but she could repay with love. However, psychologist rates were pretty expensive and I doubted that even if she had a job she'd had enough, considering that her mom was in debt and that she'd probably have to help out with the bills.

"...D-D-Dimitri..."

She suddenly pushed me away and it pained me so much that she did so.

"I... I honestly need some time to think. This. T-T-This is... so much. So very much to handle." I could sense the tears that were about to fall, but she just held them in and gave me the fakest grin that we both knew I could see through. It just broke my heart even more, goddamn it.

She picked up my present again and shoved it at me, and her bangs fell in front of her eyes once more. I just wanted one last look at them before I prepared for some words that I knew would shatter me.

"...I'm so sorry that this happened on your birthday."

Oh, right.

I was apathetic to being seventeen at first, but it all changed when Annie brought me into my manic high. Suddenly, it all came crashing down again and it was just like a train wreck.

What was my life anymore?

I was dumbstruck as to this event and too speechless to even say good bye when she ushered me out the door. She finally brushed her bangs away, let me stare into those eyes again, and I swore that I could feel myself smiling.

How ironic.

Her eyes were enough to make me smile, I guess.

Before I knew it, the door was shut and I was standing outside of the Antonescu apartment with a present still adorned in smiley wrapping paper and a heart that had experienced the most emotion that it had ever felt in my whole entire life.

Dimitri Sainovic, player extraordinate.

Dimitri Sainovic, pathetic and stupid.

Happy Seventeeth to me.


hm. tumbling down straight into a depression. trainwreck.

this is crap, and it all gets worse from here.

how tragic.