Chapter 12- Story Time

He stayed with me for the rest of the night. We sat on my bed, leaning our backs up against the wall. If this was any other time, he would have been too close for me to be comfortable. We were shoulder to shoulder, and our knees were touching; but because it was now, and I had just woken up from a nightmare, I didn't mind.

Actually, I enjoyed it, in a weird kind of way.

"So," Blake whispered. He had turned his cellphone light off, so the room was dark. It was only his voice that reassured me that he was there, and the faint outline of his body turned to look at me, "Do you wanna talk about it?"

"My dream?" I asked.

"It usually helps. I mean, it helped me."

I was quiet for a few moments, but he waited patiently for me to think up an answer. It was so unlike him to be quiet in a situation like this, but at the same time it was exactly who he was. I counted out breaths from both of us, that synchronized as we waited, and after 37 inhales and exhales I started speaking.

"I was fourteen," I started, "and I was walking down a hallway of my old highschool. Camille and Bianca were at the end of the hall, and they started insulting me."

I stopped and waited for his reaction. For reassurance. He had to have a few questions about them, right?

"...Was this part of the dream a memory?" he finally asked, so quietly that I could barely make it out.

"A memory," I whispered, "After I insulted them back-"

"Which is just like you," I could hear the smile in his voice.

"-I was shoved into a janitor's closet. They splashed black paint on me. They closed the door."

I waited.

"Isn't paint toxic if you inhale the fumes for too long?" he asked, almost right away.

"Yeah. But they didn't realize just how toxic it is if you're in it for a few hours. Usually, I'd wait in the dark and the janitor would open the door a few hours later. But..."

"This time, your dream was different," It wasn't a question. It was an observation; a fact.

"I was in the dark for a while, and usually this would be the part when I started to panic. I heard-"

I stopped. Suddenly, my dream seemed embarrassing. How was I supposed to say with a calm face I heard your voice calling out to me, and I believed everything was fine? Talk about awkward.

"I heard you call my name," Blake said, bringing the awkwardness to me instead.

It was quiet again. I counted thirteen breaths before answering.

"Did I?"

"You did. And I answered, 'Hold on, I'm coming' before you started screaming."

So that part wasn't a dream. I hung my head down, blushing for some weird reason. Blake was always at the rescue, and he was always there. Why did I have to sleep-talk, and why did it have to be so embarrassing?

"Why did you scream?" he finally asked, "Was it..."

He didn't have to finish the sentence. He knew. He most definitely knew why I had screamed.

"Chester," we said together.

Silence. Twenty-two breaths.

"I took care of him," Blake's hand somehow found mine, and he squeezed gently, running his thumb on my palm in small circles, "He won't be coming back for you, I promise."

It suddenly made me curious. What had happened to Chester? Sure, Blake probably beat him up, but to the point of death? If Blakely Cherry was anything, he was not a murderer.

"What happened to him, anyway?"

Blake's face looked at me in concern. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness, so I could see him more clearly. He looked serious. Something flashed in his eyes- something that looked familiar yet distant at the same time. Something like a hint of Dark Blake.

"You don't believe that I killed him?"

Shivers ran down my spine. The way he said it made me think again. Maybe Blake was a murder. Maybe he was something even darker. I mean, Dark Blake came from somewhere, right?

I shook my head. No. I couldn't believe it. I had to trust him. It was Blake, the sometimes perverted, idiotic roommate that would be there. Always.

"No?" he asked, then he looked away, hiding the biggest smirk I think I've seen him put on, "You're right. I didn't kill him. But I think he wished that he was dead when I was done with him.

"I broke his arm, stole his phone, and threw him in a dumpster. And later that night, after you fell asleep, I called every single person on his contacts list and told them what he had been trying to do," he smiled, "His mom started crying. His four girlfriends promised to kill him. So, if you look at it from a certain perspective, he is most definitely dead by now."

And he grinned so evilly, I couldn't help but feel safe.

We sat there for a few minutes more, and I started smiling too. I started to giggle.

Blake nudged his shoulder with mine, "What? Why are you laughing?"

"Because I'm trying to picture what you said to each of them," I started laughing louder, pressing my mouth into his shoulder to muffle the sound, "Especially the girlfriends. You probably mixed their names up just to piss them off."

"You know me so well."

I couldn't stop laughing. Blake chuckled silently along with me, and soon our counted breaths turned into uneven laughs that wove together, uncountable. It took us a while to finally breathe normally.

I sighed, leaning my head against his shoulder, the last of the laughs worming its way out of the room. The window was slightly ajar, so fresh air was sweeping in silently, but the moon was too low to let in any natural light. A small square of silver sat on the floor all of the way across the room, but that was all.

"You tired?" Blake asked.

"Yeah. A bit," I answered.

Blake nudged my side and motioned me to take my head off his shoulder, "I'll be right back. Let me grab something from the guest room."

Blake left the room. Sixteen breaths later, he came back with his guitar. The moonlight reflected off of its glossy surface momentarily before retreating back to its regular square.

"What are you gonna do, sing me to sleep?" I asked sarcastically. Blake slid himself back onto my bed, up until his back thudded against the wall. He slid down a bit awkwardly so that he was curved in a diagonal C.

"Sure," he winked his green eye at me, "You think my voice is dreamy, right?"

"I never said-"

"Hush, kitten, and listen to my sexy vocals."

I didn't argue.

"This song means a lot to me, and it was written back when I was sixteen. I hope you like it."

He said this as if he was on stage, getting ready for the first song. He found his first chords along a set of frets and strummed hard, waiting at different intervals to hum a strange tune. It sounded like classic rock, but I wasn't too sure. Some slow, jazz-like vibe was in it as well. A style only Blake could pull off.

He started to sing.

"When I was a young boy

My father came home

with a

guitar

in his hands.

He said, 'Son, it's a choice

I'm not making you play

the music

the song

the dance.'

I stood there, paralyzed

I could already make out

the strums

the chords

the frets.

I could hear my voice

so loud and strong

as thunder

as lightning

And my Daddy said:

'You were born to strum

you were born to hum

Though this guitar will do you some good,

Some day it will have your

neck

in a noose.

Good as dead.

Go to bed, Son, it's getting late.

The guitar will be there in the morning and

the devil will wait

for your hands and strum.'"

It was mesmerizing. He continued to run his fingers up and down the neck of the guitar. His eyes were closed. His breath was even. His voice was inhumanly raspy, deep, and gorgeous. But somewhere, in his heart, this was more than just a song. It was a story.

It seemed real.

"Next morning, I woke up

My guitar was there

but my Daddy

was no where

to be seen.

When I asked momma,

she was crying to the sky

and the rain

fell down

on her cheeks.

I asked her what's wrong

she screamed about Henrietta.

The gal

that he up'd with

and left.

She said, 'Boy,

If you're a man,

stand up for your love

and not some whore

that you

have

just

met.'"

I stopped. I couldn't breathe. The lyrics to the song were hard, and cold. Blake's face was a mask that showed nothing, but his closed eyes were probably hiding a pained expression. If it wasn't for the intensity of his voice, I would have thought that this was just another song.

But it wasn't.

There is more to an idiot than there idiotness, and this was no exception. He gave a chagrined smile, his eyes still squeezed shut. A sound squeaked from my doorway, and I look up, alarmed, only to see me father leaning in.

He didn't say a word. He didn't ask Blake, the idiot, why he was in my room at this hour. He didn't even wonder why Blake was playing music so loud when we were supposed to be in bed. He just leaned against the doorway, arms crossed, and listened.

His song changed direction. He started into a fast, soft pre-chorus that had his pick plucking on the strings. His fingers danced on the frets.

"And my mo-ther cried.

She said, nothing will be alright.

She didn't even bother to lie.

She didn't even try.

She pushed me the box

that was not the only thing

he had left.

She tipped it over and out came

the devil's guitar picks."

And he stopped, just like that, to catch his breath. His eyes snapped open. I could see sweat sliding down his brow and towards his chin. His black hair hung low over his face, blocking out the rest of the world. Everything was gone for him except the sound of his guitar.

He dropped the pick in his hand.

And he played.

"And finally, she smiled

and said, 'Keep that guitar

safe and sound.

It's the only thing you have left

and I won't have it just

lying around.

A gift to you, you're so fortunate.

If you use it, boy, he might com back.

Play that thing, it's not your choice

c'mon, honey use your voice.'"

Silence. And then, he finished powerfully.

"'You were born to strum

you were born to hum

Though this guitar will do you some good,

Some day it will have your

neck

in a noose.

Good as dead.

Go to bed, Son, it's getting late.

The guitar will be there in the morning and

the devil will wait

for your hands and strum.'"

The song was done.

My father stood there, his mouth in a strict line. Usually, his poker face was pretty excellent, but his eyes gave him away this time. They were wide, and alarming, and they were asking the same question that I was.

Just who is Blakely Cherry?

I never had to ask myself that. I never thought I would have to. I mean, it was Blake, the pervert idiot. Was he really somebody else?

Was there more to an idiot than there idiotness?

I couldn't help it anymore. I had to ask.

"Was that song real?"

His head whipped up to look at me, his glowing green eyes shaded over. He was rubbing his red fingertips into the palms of his hands.

"Hm?"

"That song, the one that you just sang. Was it... real? Did it really happen?" I asked. I bundled the covers over my knees into thick fists.

Blake looked me over for a minute, studying me, before giving me his famous smirk. It looked fake.

"Hazel Blackwood," he said my full name, and it sent another rally of shivers down my spine, "if you think about it from an unbiased perspective, nothing is fake."

I couldn't help it. A tear ran down my cheek. Blake jumped up in alarm and immediately leaned towards me, wrapping me in a hug again.

"Crap, Hazel, I didn't mean to make you cry again. I was trying to mesmerize you with my beautiful vocals. C'mon, don't cry. Not because of me."

I looked over his shoulder, towards the door. If dad saw this, he would throw a fit, even after what he saw Blake doing.

The doorway was empty.

"C'mon, smile, Hazel, I know you can. God, why do you get hurt all of the time? I'm sorry," he started mumbling nonsensical apologies, and I couldn't help but smile. He let go of me and gave me a smirk in response.

"Have you been eating more? When I hugged you, you seemed softer somehow."

Moment ruined.

"Excuse me?" I scoffed, slapping him in the arm. He gave a maniacal laugh.

"What! That was a compliment, Kitty."

"That sounded nothing like a compliment, and you know it. You just called me fat."

"I said soft. There's a huge difference."

"Like what? Explain!"

"Well, soft is like you're getting-" he stopped suddenly and turned his head towards the ceiling.

"What?" I asked.

"Hmm?"

"Like I'm getting what?" I repeated. He gave a huge sigh and couldn't stop himself from grinning.

"You can't find a way to explain it without insulting me, can you," I said.

"Nope."

"You jerk."

"No, I'm an idiot. There's a big difference," he turned towards me and winked, "and softness is good. In a way."

"God," I moaned, "now all my self-confidence is gone. How am I supposed to live with myself?"

"By excercising and eating less?"

"Oh, shut up."

He did, but he still replied by wiping a tear away from my cheek.

A meow whispered from the floor.

I looked over the edge of my bed, alarmed, to find Aww leaning her paws up against my matress, asking for permission to come up. She gave a small yawn of hello, as an afterthought, and then she had to pick her suddenly-extended claws away from my sheets.

"Why hello, little lady," Blake said. He set his guitar down onto the floor and picked her up, landing her on my stomach, "so nice of you to drop by. I hope we didn't wake you?"

Her tail twitched.

"Well, I apologize. But you can cuddle with mommy, okay?"

She replied by laying herself down on top of me, no questions asked.

I leaned back onto my side after shifting her onto the bed next to me, suddenly feeling tired. I felt Blake do the same, but he was on his back, one of his gangly elbows leaning against the wall. It wasn't the one with the tattoo. The other one. The hand with the flamed arm was wrapped in mine.

"I'll be right here, so you can go to sleep, alright?" he assured me. I let out a huge breath and inwardly smiled.

"I know. Thank you so much, Blake."

"No, thank you."

I could hear the serenity in his voice. I clutched his hand tighter.

It was quiet. I laid there, listening to the wind outside of my ajar window and counting his breaths. 308, 309, 310. I thought it woul help me sleep, to count something. Sheep was usually a good thing to count, but I didn't have sheep with me, now did I?

314, 315, 316, 317...

By 682, I was on the brink of sleep. I could feel my eyelids go heavy, and my hand relaxed in his. I felt him suddenly let go of it, but I tried to ignore it. I tried to sleep. I really tried.

His position shifted, and I wondered if he was going to get up and go back to his own bed. It was understandable. He couldn't be a babysitter forever.

But no.

I felt his breathing get louder, and closer to my ear. His hair brushed my forehead. His smile hovered over my face.

His lips brushed my cheek.

And it was over, just like that. I wasn't tired anymore. I was wide awake. I tried to keep my breathing normal, and my eyes closed. I pretending, but in my mind I was racing.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

I tried to concentrate. I focused on his breathing again. Not mine, his. It was hard to hear over the loud thumping of my heart.

Which was a normal reaction, I suppose.

Maybe he thought I was still asleep. Maybe he was doing it as a joke. To spite me. Did he think that he could get away with something like that? It was an accident. It had to be. There was no other explanation.

"Good night," he said, loud and clear, a smile painted in every word.

That was on purpose.

Definitely on purpose.

8,491 breaths later, I was asleep.


Author's Note-

I hope that you liked this chapter. It didn't really go in the direction that I was hoping for, but it was a good direction all the same. Blake was supposed to be somewhat moody eventually.

But more of that later.

Spoiler Alert: Next chapter, they will be going to the beach. (I know, I actually know what I'm going to write about this time.)

Anyways, I really hoped you enjoyed this. Don't forget to review. :)

White-tailed Swift

P.S. For those who want to know what Blake's voice sounds like, here is a list of songs that I think his voice sounds as close as possible to. Also, if you have any songs that you think sounds like him, please put the title and artist in the reviews. Thanks :)

's A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered, Honey, You Just Haven't Thought Of It Yet, Panic! At The Disco.

(Ridiculously long title, I know -_-)

2. Build God, Then We'll Talk, Panic! At the Disco

3. Can't Take It, The All-American Rejects

(His voice is lower than the one in this song, but I can picture him singing this for some reason)

Thanks :D