Trying to focus on what's outside the window instead of the boy sitting beside me, whose silence speaks louder than anything he could have said. Serving to make me feel crappier than had he been mad or said anything because in that silence there is hurt, there are so many things he wants to say to me but he can't.
And it's not like he's trying to make me feel guilty, he's not, that's why it's so horrible.
You can't feel righteous indignation over someone who is being incredibly considerate and it's harder feeling sad or confused and sitting in limbo – it's equally horrible to say something and have it be the wrong thing or to sit here, silent, because you're trying not to say the wrong thing; it comes across like you don't care.
"So do you know the way to my house?"
"Haha, jokes," I clear my throat and go back to watching the scenery blur before my eyes. Clasping my hands together I find myself in stress clenching and un-clenching them. "Are you mad at me? It's okay to be mad at me you know?"
"No, not mad, just disappointed," Brock does serious parent face, glancing at me for a second and shaking his head.
"Oh no, whatever will I do?"
He glances at me again.
"Tell me what happened?"
He looks away and I don't have to ask to know what he's talking about; a big nervous lump forms in my stomach just thinking about it. Is it possible for me to talk about it without getting completely screwed up? I don't want to show that face to Brock. Leave him with something that heavy.
All I thought about this morning was having a nice break before going home and tackling the big issues.
Only this is a big issue.
"Or is it too hard?"
"It – it isn't," I say slowly, as if it will make it so. "I-It's just…it's big, is what it is. I mean it was for me. I mean I don't know. T-The others they didn't get it and I know you're not them and you wouldn't…you would never, not even close, but it's still…"
"Big," He whispers, biting his lip.
Brock's really worried it's obvious, you can nearly see the scenarios flashing through his eyes, growing faster for every moment it takes me to work up the courage to speak.
"Did you know about…?"
"About Mr…Michelson…? Him dying?"
Brock glances over at me, eyes widening.
"So you didn't know?"
"No I just…"
He looks away for a while, biting his lip, fingers tapping on the wheel as he nervously collects his thoughts. What is he thinking? He knew but? What is going through his mind, how is he taking this and why such an extensive pause? Does he know? Does he know?
I feel my heart beginning to race a little and clench my hands around the sides of my seat. Oh no this is making me feel ill. I hate going through this all over again it's not as bad as the first time but…it makes me want to vomit.
What happened is just so sick and wrong and gross and Brock never knew that side of me; the one that felt that and he wasn't there to make it better or to talk to and it just feels wrong.
It feels wrong talking about this with him.
Bringing my fingertip to my lips I run over them, wanting yet again to suck the words back. It's like the less people know about that the thing that makes me feel so vulnerable the better and now someone else knows.
"I didn't think. I mean I found out when I got home and looked in the newspaper and knew you'd be sad but I can't believe I forgot the other implications. Like that he…he what he did he…and he could have…"
His fingers start tapping faster.
"Okay, got to pull over this isn't something I can talk about while driving."
Nervous tingles and anxiety start to swirl around in my stomach as he pulls over by the side of someone's house and I can see them in their garden, looking at us curiously. I wish we could go somewhere with less people, even though the people have no idea what's going on or what we're talking about it feels like they're judging me. Like why are you here? Why are you looking so serious?
Looking at Brock my breath catches when he's staring right at me, brown eyes serious and jaw set with repulsion and disgust.
"Did he do anything to you?"
I shake my head.
"No, he didn't, not like really did did anything but there were times when he…"
My shoulders shake and my skin crawls, lips twisting and eyes scrunching up the whole memory just making me squirm all over again.
"Oh my god what did he DO?"
Looking over, I jump at the fury in his eyes and a light bulb pops up…this isn't the same as with Logan; Logan didn't know him, he didn't grow up being his friend and his student, trusting him only to have him commit these terrible things.
He could be objective.
"Ah, it's okay, you know?" I say awkwardly, reaching to pat his hand but bringing it back because it doesn't seem appropriate.
"It is not okay," Brock looks at my hand. "To think that he was there all those times with us just thinking stuff about you, thinking about doing stuff with you it just skeeves me off. I mean that is not right. I read the articles but it never occurred to me that anyone would ever do anything to you…"
He fumbles trying to find the words.
"It makes me crazy."
His brown eyes crinkle at the edges and he grits his teeth, slamming his fists down on the top of the wheel in his frustration.
"I am so sorry. If I were there, if you didn't have to deal with this alone if I hadn't have…"
Broken up with you.
"I'm just really, really sorry," Brock shifts in his seat and pats a hand awkwardly on my arm, his skin barely brushing mine before he abruptly sits back, shrinking in his seat. "And saying that feels completely dumb because it's not going to make anything better, it's not going to change what I did and I keep replaying that scene in my mind over and over again and thoroughly hating myself because you looked so upset and how shit am I for not noticing?"
I want to be nice and object, but he was shit for not noticing.
"Do you even play piano anymore?"
My lips twitch downwards and the garage comes to mind, my keyboards and big cherry wooden piano shoved into the back of it behind mum's old ironing board, the old weed whacker, our old bikes, broken chairs from inside; behind everything I could possibly put in front of it so I couldn't see it anymore, a blue tarp carefully draped over as to cover every inch – but it never quite cut it, a bit of my stool peaks out where we used to sit.
"Jesus, that dick," He slams his hands on the wheel and hits the horn; the lady in her garden stumbles into the fence around her porch, accidentally snipping off a rose.
"Alright, calm down," I hold my arm out, barring him from hitting the wheel again and sending the lady furtive glances which she more than adequately returns.
"You loved playing piano, you loved it so much and he took it away from you." Hands twitch at his sides and he glares at my arms, a second later seeing my hands and sighing longingly. "I loved hearing you too, everyone did, you were so good; you were going to go to university you would have gotten somewhere great. I can't effing believe it."
His voice is full of so much loathing it makes me uncomfortable and I clasp my hands together tightly in my lap thinking about my piano, squirming.
"Maybe one day I'll…" I start and trail off; one day you'll what Maxy?
Be able to play piano without the ghost feeling of his leg pressing against yours?
How are we going to get over that?
I don't know.
"Hey, you're shivering," Brock touches my arm again, apologetic. "I'm so sorry for bringing it up that can't be easy for you to think about. Don't think about the 'p' word anymore and don't you dare consider torturing yourself by playing if you're not ready, you may never be ready, just whatever, don't okay? It just made me angry to see something precious taken away from you by that asshole."
He squeezes my arm and offers a mild smile.
"Can you drive me home?"
"Yeah, yeah sure," He grins and I bring my arms down allowing him to start the car. "Thank you for telling me and thank you for coming out with me today. It means a lot."
Brock is feigning happiness again as he flicks on his blinkers, pulling out onto the road but the anger and confusion is clear in his eyes as he distractedly double checks to make sure cars aren't coming. He looks like he's so worried for me and has so much more to say but he's holding back, sighing resignedly as the blinkers click off and we're on our way home.
Slumping in my chair and closing my eyes, anxiety clouding my brain, I feel guilty knowing after this we're probably not going to talk anymore and he's going to sit around wondering. Wondering, wondering, wondering and not being able to come out with me again like this or talk to me like this.
I run my hand over my pocket and remind myself it's a good thing.
"So," Brock looks conflicted, his hands in pockets as he walks me to my front door.
I stare at the grass uneasily, blurry images of the garden hose and my dog's chew toys flying past as he desperately tries to come up with something to say to me that doesn't feel completely inadequate. Or at least that's what is happening with me because what are you supposed to say, saying goodbye to your ex-boyfriend when your…Logan…is seconds away, sitting inside, waiting for you?
It doesn't seem right just going 'kay bye and leaving him standing awkwardly outside.
"So," I echo nervously, stepping onto my doorstep and turning.
When he gathers me up in his arms my heart jumps in shock but he does it so innocently, it's a goodbye hug. One that means we're not going to see each other for a very long time. I wrap my arms around his neck and he rests his head on my shoulder, sighing defeatedly.
We stand like this for a while and I cement the memory, the smell of his tropical shampoo – his sister's or mother's, he's never bothered buying his own – the buttons of his favourite shirt pressing gently into my stomach, fingertips drawing little heart shapes on my back out of habit and his breath smelling of strawberry milkshake.
Probably the last time we'll have 'shakes together.
Probably the last time we'll hug?
My eyes glaze over sadly and my grip tightens, not wanting to let that go.
My head bumps into the door and I look over my shoulder to see Logan peeking through the crack.
"Going to come in and do that?"
"Um, no," I shake my head as Brock sets me down and steps back, nodding by way of greeting to Logan who raises his eyebrows. "We were just saying goodbye."
"For the past five minutes, nine if you count the incredibly slow dance you did by the car deciding whether or not to walk her to the door," Logan snorts. "Should I leave you two alone or are we done here?"
"Logan, don't be rude," I go to flick him playfully in the forehead and he grabs my hand, opening the door and pulling me in behind him.
I turn to the window and watch Brock lean into view, giving me a meek wave before walking off back to his car. I stare incredulously, lips twitching, until he's driving off into the distance without even a 'honk'.
Incensed I turn to Logan who's got his arms over his chest, glaring at me, and give him a big poke in the belly button.
"What the hell Logan?"
He smacks my hand away.
"What the hell Logan? How long were you going to stand out there hugging him Maxy if I didn't open the door? Why did you stop texting me in the movie theatre? Why haven't you texted me since all day? And what the fuck hugging?"
"It's rude to be paying attention to my phone when I should be –"
"Paying attention to your date? Oh I bet you were paying attention to him and you were probably going to pay even more if I left you out there any freaking longer."
Logan starts to pace and my jaw drops – he can't be insinuating what I think he is?
Does he think I MADE OUT with Brock or something?
"Logan no way would I ever EVER do that to you," I protest, horrified. Oh no. Oh no. I'm stupid.
"Then where was that even going? Like honestly Maxy that wasn't a very friendly hug he was drawing freaking hearts on your back with his stupid hands I saw them out the window," Logan waves his hands around. "And stop being all flirty with me when I'm mad at you, with the flicking me on the forehead and poking my belly button. Get your hands away from my belly button until you can explain to me what the hell is going on with you and lover boy?"
"Nothing, there isn't," I start pacing along with him, trying to catch his eye. "I'm sorry for not texting you. I'm sorry for upsetting you. I'm sorry for this whole stupid day okay?"
"Sorry? You just had another guy's hands all over you and you dismiss it with 'sorry'?"
"All over me?"
"Yeah all over you; picking you up, stroking your back and hugging you against the front door if anyone was watching, not just me, they'd think you were a couple."
"Are we a couple?"
Logan stops, his lips drooping in surprise.
I stare awkwardly at him while he blinks, his eyebrows furrowing in incredulity. Oh god what kind of disbelief is he harboring? He looks kind of mad, one of his pretty eyes is twitching.
"You come back here and I'm pissed because you spent the day with someone else and you still…?" He tilts his head at me, eyes narrowed in bemusement. "Oh screw it you oblivious miss I'm not telling you shit, you can wait; you can't spend all day with someone else making me wait and look at them the way that you do and hug them the way that you do and expect me to be answering to you?"
Flinching as he points a finger accusingly at me, I shift my weight – not knowing what to say.
"That's what I thought, huh? Screw that," Logan shakes his head smiling irritably. "Like what the hell do you want anyway? Care to explain today rather than dismiss me like, no don't be silly, don't even think such a thing? I am thinking such things Maxy please for the love of god make it stop."
He presses his hands against his temples and squeezes his eyes shut in frustration.
Logan looks so confused and upset it makes me want to hug him. I want to squeeze the crap out of him or more appropriately all of the worry my stupid expedition poured into his cute little head. All of his hair is sticking up because of all the hand running through action it's been getting because he's been stressed out, sitting at home and worrying about me all day.
"You aren't making it stop," He hisses, eyes flickering open in a glare.
"Of course, sorry," I hold my hands up in surrender and withhold the urge to kiss him on the nose for acting like a petulant child – he has every right to, not saying he doesn't and it's probably wrong of me to find it cute but gosh darn it everything about him is cute. "Look see the reason I went out this morning wasn't even remotely to do with Brock, it was because of you."
"What the hell did I do?" He demands, indignant.
"Not get up on time to eat the pancakes you didn't know I was planning?" I say meekly and he blinks before his eyes take on a murderous look. I hold my hands up higher. "No, no I know that's completely stupid it's just I was…crazy, I hadn't gotten much sleep because I'd been up all night worrying about us and so I was like he doesn't want my pancakes? FINE! And then I was all let's spend time with someone else to spite him and then you came in and I felt really dumb only I'd said yes already and I spent the entire day hating on myself wishing you were around."
"The whole day? You mean there wasn't a moment when you genuinely enjoyed his company or got all weird with him because he's your ex-boyfriend and you're dumb?"
"Of course there was, but Logan…"
"I hate you."
"I didn't want to lie but those moments also made me feel like crap but he told me he wanted to be my forever and you know what I said?"
Logan raises his eyebrows curiously, his shoulders tense with apprehension.
"I said 'too bad' and I meant it because I want you and only you and instead of hanging out with him I should have been here; telling you how much I like every single bit of who you are and our playfulness. I want to nuzzle your face and your neck and kiss your cute little nose and sit in your lap while we watch movies. I want to eat all the yummy food you make and go on all of the adventures you can come up with. I want to make you other stupid pottery things to go in your room. I want to keep a mini you in my pocket to take around with me always to be all cute and sweet and clever and cut off all of your hair and make it into a jumper and wear it and…"
His features soften at my words but at the last bit he quirks an affectionately amused eyebrow.
"Okay that was a bad example but basically, I want to surround myself with you."
Logan straightens and bumps me back into the door, planting his hands either side of me.
"No, never enough; do you want me to surround you too?"
He moves in closer and his breath plumes into my face.
"If you haven't noticed by how fucking crazy you've made me Maxy I kinda don't want to share so yeah; I want us to mutually be moons to each other's planets."
"You want me to moon you?"
"I wouldn't mind," Logan raises his eyebrows suggestively with laughter in his voice before wrapping his arms around me and kissing the side of my jaw, then trailing butterfly kisses down my neck. "Are you up for it though, right at the front door? What would your mother say if she saw?"
"Nothing she hasn't seen before Logan, 'fraid she got there first," I giggle teasingly.
"You're being wicked this evening, tease," He rolls his eyes at me before turning around and ushering me over his shoulder to follow him. "Come on, girlfriend; let's take this celebratory make out session where I can quasi ravage you without interruption."
Sorry for the break in the updating I just got really stuck D: like I rewrote this a few times over.
Finished reading this book, We Need To Talk About Kevin it's SOOOO good. I love it. You should all read it. Aaalll of youu