Here it is, my last written part for this, written like a year ago XD haha. Hopefully this will make me actually update and turn this into something good XD But ya never know I guess. Anywho, thanks for reading and I will TRY to actually write the next chapter...but it's a been a year...so no promises XD Reviews will make me though :D
6 - Talk to Me
Bryce stood outside Sora's door, a scowl on his face as he knocked loudly against the wood for the fourth time now. His friend seriously needed to answer or he was going to snatch the spare key and enter himself. "Sora," he growled, "open up! It's me! Sora!" He knocked again, louder this time, thumping his fist against the door with everything he had.
The door opened slowly, causing him to blink and drop his fist as he took in the sight of his friend's disheveled appearance. The dark rings under Sora's glazed eyes suggested he hadn't been sleeping well, but that wasn't all. There was more to it, Bryce could tell. He just wasn't sure what, and it bothered him. A pit formed in his stomach and suddenly he was glad he'd decided to check up on Sora today rather than just call.
"Sora?" he asked quietly, frowning at his friend. "Sora, are you okay? You look like hell."
"I'm fine," Sora murmured. "What do you want?"
Stunned, Bryce shook his head. Sora was never usually this abrupt with him. "Sora - I…what's wrong with you?" he asked, noticing the sheen of sweat on his friend's forehead, the shallow rush of his breath. He narrowed his eyes in a flash. "What did you do? What happened?"
"Nothing," Sora said, shaking his head. "I'm just tired."
"Bullshit," Bryce snapped, bullying his way into the apartment, shoving Sora back. His push wasn't rough but Sora still staggered and winced, wrapping an arm around his side briefly, a flash of something in his otherwise glazed eyes. "Sora?" He slammed the door behind him. His friend had his full attention now.
"I'm fine," Sora insisted, glaring at him.
"Yeah? Then why are you holding your damn side?" Bryce inquired, pointing.
"I'm not," Sora said, letting go.
"Liar. You look like shit. What's wrong with you?"
"Have you been drinking?"
Sora scowled and then sighed regretfully. "I wish," he murmured. "That might help."
"What's going on?" Why wasn't his friend talking to him? They had always, always, talked to each other before. Bryce could remember how irritated he was at how much Sora talked, how much he made Bryce talk, but now this silence was freaking him out. He didn't know what to do with it. Now he just wanted to know what was wrong, and Sora was avoiding it. Why?
Bryce glared and snagged Sora's arm, leading him toward the couch where he forced his friend to sit down. Bryce stood in front of him like an angry wall, blocking any attempt at escape. "You're not going anywhere until you tell me what's wrong," he said, folding his arms across his chest. "This has gone on long enough."
"Nothing's wrong." Sora's voice was hollow.
"Bullshit," Bryce snapped, feeling his frustration rise. "Why won't you just talk to me, damn it?"
"There's nothing to say," Sora whispered softly.
"Yes, there fucking is," Bryce growled, running his fingers through his blonde hair. He tugged briefly at the strands and then sighed, dropping his hands to his sides. "What's wrong? I know you're not just tired, so don't insult my intelligence."
A faint smirk crossed Sora's face. "You're intelligent?" he quipped.
Relieved by at least the attempt at humor, Bryce didn't even bother to scowl at him. "Of course I am. One of us has to be." He took in a breath and sat down next to his friend. "What's going on with you, man?" he asked quietly.
"I told you…nothing. I'm fine."
"Don't lie to me," Bryce snarled, feeling his anger take hold. "I won't sit here and have you lie to me, Sora. I know Jillian hurt you, and I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry she did, and I'm sorry I let it happen again, and I'm sorry if you think you're alone, but you're not. You're not fucking alone, got it?" He glared at his friend until Sora finally glanced at him. "Do you hear me?"
Sora frowned at him in confusion. "You didn't let it happen," he protested.
Bryce sighed. Well, at least Sora was listening. It was a start. "Maybe I did, maybe I didn't," he edged, "but the point of the matter is, you have to stop this, okay? Jillian is the one who is wrong, not you."
Sora glanced away and shifted uncomfortable. A wince crossed his face but quickly disappeared.
"That," Bryce snapped, dragging Sora's gaze back toward him. "What's that? Why are you wincing? What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing." Sora shook his head and took in a slow breath. "Sorry if I'm…" He paused and sighed. "Sorry if I'm bringing you down, man. I just…" He looked away, uncertain.
Bryce nudged his shoulder. "Hey, it's okay. I know you're hurting. No one expects you to be a hundred percent, okay? This will pass, Sora. Just like before."
Sora didn't answer him, just kept looking at the ground.
Bryce felt like punching something. It felt like he was back at square one. "Sora? Look at me, damn it."
"What?" Sora murmured, still not looking at him.
Bryce took in a breath and mentally counted to five before releasing it. "Look, you wanna get out of here? We can go get some CD's or movies, or…something."
Something his friend liked doing. Something he used to like doing. Something other than this apartment Sora seemed to never leave these days.
Sora slowly shook his head. "No…thanks, Bryce. I just…I'd rather…" He seemed to be struggling for the words, but the sentiment was clear.
No. He didn't want to leave.
Bryce sighed and placed his hand gently on Sora's shoulder. "Alright," he murmured. "Okay. Just…you can talk to me, okay? You do know that, don't you? You know I'll listen."
Bryce nodded. He couldn't make Sora talk but he could remind him he was there all the same. "Alright…I'm gonna go, then. You gonna be okay by yourself?" He eyed his friend worriedly, the rings under his eyes and the sweat on his brow.
What's wrong with you? he thought, but didn't want to ask again. Sora would tell him when he was ready. Perhaps he really was just tired. This kind of situation would have anyone out of whack.
Sora nodded. "I'm fine, Bryce," he said quietly, before his gaze finally moved back toward him. He offered a faint smile. "Thanks."
Bryce nodded and returned the smile as he got to his feet. "No problem. Eat something, would you? And for God's sake, get some sleep."
"Noted," Sora said with a nod.
Sora didn't like hiding things from Bryce, but he was sure it was better if his friend didn't know about his ribs. He still hadn't told Bryce about getting hit - if he could use that term since technically it hadn't been as bad as it could have been - by that truck. As far as Bryce knew, when Sora had left Jillian's house, he'd just walked around.
It was harder to hide it from him now, though. Sora was already torn up by the fact his family didn't know him, but now he also had to deal with taking painkillers every day. If he forgot to take them, like today, the pain became intense and it took all he had not to drink sweet numbing alcohol.
Ah, alcohol. How he missed it. It might even make the chill in his chest go away. Somehow, he doubted it, but it was nice to hope. He knew he couldn't mix his painkillers with alcohol, though. That would only alert Bryce of them and would just all-around be bad.
Two hours after Bryce left, the painkillers were kicking in and Sora felt himself relax a little. He prodded his side gently, wincing somewhat. His bruised ribs were healing but they still hurt like a bitch, especially if he moved wrong. There wasn't much anyone could do for the ribs, though, other than give him pills.
"Who are you?"
Lenore's voice was still so startlingly clear in his mind, and he just couldn't forget it. As much as he wanted to put it behind him, he couldn't. It just kept eating away at him. He sighed and sat heavily at his small kitchen table, eating a few pieces of toast. Bryce had said to eat, hadn't he?
Sora didn't really have an appetite these days. He wasn't sure if that was a reaction to his painkillers, his ribs, or to the chill he generally felt.
However, he did know he had to eat.
Once he finished his toast, he swallowed down a glass of water. Then he moved into the living room to watch TV. That seemed to be his routine these days - wake up, shower, food, pills, TV. Repeat the process.
It had only been a little over a week since he'd run from Jillian's, but it felt like years. It felt like it was yesterday. He wasn't sure how long it felt, actually. All he knew was every time he thought about it, his stomach flopped and it put a foul taste in his mouth. He'd rather not think about it.
But how could he not? His family didn't know him.
His family didn't know him.
It was like he didn't exist. They didn't know him. They'd moved on. He wasn't in their lives. He wasn't important enough to be in their lives.
Sora swallowed thickly and took in a slow breath. That was enough of that thinking. What was it Bryce said?
"You know my family loves you, right?"
Sure…right? He knew that. Of course he did. Right?
Did they? He thought they did. Then again, he thought he had a family when in reality, he didn't exist in their eyes. He was no one. He wasn't important. He didn't matter. He was just a nobody who they pitied. That was why he'd been invited to dinner. Jillian wasn't really sorry - she pitied him. She didn't care.
Maybe no one did…
Stop thinking like that, Sora thought to himself with a scowl. He had to stop.
He was startled out of his thoughts, thankfully, by the sound of the phone ringing shrilly through the air. He got to his feet and went to grab the cordless device, plucking it from its cradle. "Hello?"
A dark pit formed in his stomach. He felt queasy.
"Jillian?" he murmured quietly. It didn't sound like his voice but it was his lips moving.
"Sora? Is that you?" she asked quickly.
He considered lying. He considered telling her she had the wrong number. He considered hanging up.
But this was his sister, and as hurt as he felt right now, he couldn't.
So he whispered a faint, "Yeah. It's me."
"Oh thank God!" she breathed. "How are you?"
How was he? How was he?! That was what she wanted to know? He scowled.
"What do you want?" he asked instead of answering.
"How are you?" she asked again. "Bryce wouldn't let me talk to you."
"I'm fine. What do you want?" he asked, ignoring the comment about Bryce.
"Can't I talk to my little brother? Sora, I think we need to talk about Bryce. He doesn't seem to understand you're an adult and can make decisions for yourself." She sounded irritated.
Sora rubbed at his head. Alcohol. He needed a drink. Now. Damn it, right now. He moved toward the fridge. "What do you mean?" he murmured, forcing himself to stay his hand because he could see his painkillers from here.
"He wouldn't let me talk to you! And he hung up on me," she said conversationally, like they were all good. Which, no they weren't. Hell no.
His tongue felt thick in his mouth. "Oh?"
"Did you really run off, Sora?"
He breathed out a faint sigh, not replying.
"Or did Bryce pick you up?"
He growled. "Lay off Bryce," he snapped, twisting away from the fridge. Ow. Ow, he pulled at his side. Pills. Now. He moved toward his bottle, checking the clock. How long had it been? He stopped short of his pills and took in a slow breath, debating.
"Why did you run, then?" she asked.
"You know," he said, because he could remember Bryce talking to her.
"Lenore knows you, Sora."
His head was hurting. He couldn't deal with this. He wanted to just hang up and forget this happened.
"She does, you just didn't give her a chance. It's been a while, she's not going to know exactly what you look like," Jillian said.
Which…yeah, okay, that made sense. Sora cleared his throat.
"Oh? Can I…can I talk to her?" he asked quietly. In his heart he felt like he was grasping at straws but it was all he had.
"After you ran out on her?" Jillian asked sharply. Sora flinched, surprised at her sudden tone.
"I didn't," he protested weakly.
"You did. You ran out on your niece, Sora. How do you think that made her feel?"
Crap, crap, crap. He hadn't thought about that. Shit. He hadn't thought about Lenore, how she would feel, how it would look to her if he took off, how-
"I'm sorry," he breathed.
"I can't believe you thought I didn't tell my own kids about their uncle!" Jillian snapped angrily. That tone.
He knew that tone.
He shrank back, leaning against the wall, catching himself against it despite the pain that echoed through his ribs. "I…I'm sorry," he whispered. He should have thought about it, thought it through, should have-
"Seriously, Sora, what do you take me for? I'm not heartless! Of course they know who their uncle is! You can't just expect them to immediately recognize you after they haven't seen you in years! How could you just take off?"
Oh, God, his head. It hurt. Spinning.
He closed his eyes. He felt sick. Stomach flipping, churning…queasy…
"If that's how little they mean to you, that you could run off so casually and then have Bryce say I can't even talk to you, then maybe you shouldn't know them," Jillian said as though coming to a decision.
"What?" Sora breathed. "What? No…No, I…I love them, Jillian, you know I do, I…"
"Do you? Because you're the one who ran out, Sora."
"I know, I'm sorry, I-"
"Why don't you pull yourself together and think things through? Call us when you decide what you want," Jillian snapped, and then the dial tone rang in his ear.
Sora released a faint breath and dropped the phone, sliding down the wall to sit on the ground next to couch. "I'm sorry," he murmured, but there was no one there to listen. No one there to care. No one there to hear.
Bryce was wrong - it was his fault, not Jillian's. Sora's, not his sister's. He was the one who had taken off before even giving them a chance. He should have known better. Now he had hurt his family and might have ruined his chance at reuniting with them.
He needed a drink. Right now. Actually, about fifty of them sounded nice.
"Sora, open up!" Bryce called as he juggled the pizza while knocking on his friend's door. He figured he'd surprise Sora with supper and actually watch him eat it, to be sure his friend was taking proper care of himself. He rapped his knuckles against the door again, the pizza feeling hot against his other arm. "Sora! I have food!"
The knob twisted and the door opened, but only a crack. Sora peered out of him through dark eyes. "Bryce…thanks, but I'm really not hungry."
Something seemed different. Off. Bryce frowned. "What's up?" he asked,, holding the pizza out. "I have food. Are you going to leave me standing out here all by my lonesome?"
Sora hesitated. "Bryce…I'm really not…in the mood."
"It'll be quick," Bryce promised.
Sora sighed and nodded, opening the door further to allow him entrance. Bryce entered the apartment and frowned at his friend as the door closed behind him. Sora looked…worn out. Tired. Dark rings under his eyes. Pale face. Yet there was something else Bryce couldn't quite place.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine," Sora sighed. "C'mon." He led Bryce into the kitchen. Bryce put the pizza down on the table while Sora grabbed two plates.
"We could sit in the living room and watch something," Bryce suggested, because it was what they usually did. Except this Sora wasn't who he normally saw and hung out with. This was a person he barely knew, and he hated it. Why couldn't Sora just talk to him?
"If you want," Sora murmured, picking up his plate to move into the living room. He grabbed two trays and put them up in front of the couch. Bryce brought the pizza and the two sat down.
A moment later Bryce realized he'd forgotten to grab a drink. "I'll be right back," he said as he got to his feet. He entered the kitchen and snagged a glass from one of the cabinets. As he was turning to reach into the refrigerator, he noticed something orange by the toaster.
He peered at the orange prescription pill bottle and frowned. He couldn't remember Sora having any prescription pills. It was wrong to snoop but his friend had been acting so strangely lately, he couldn't help it. His hand reached out of its own accord and snagged the bottle, bringing it up for him to read. According to this, it had been prescribed, a week ago…on the night Sora had gone to Jillian's for dinner.
The night he'd disappeared for three hours and had come home looking like a wreck.
Now Bryce narrowed his eyes and looked at the type of pill it was. A painkiller? He frowned. Why would Sora need a painkiller? Unless…unless he'd been hurt, but how? Sora's words came back to him from that night.
"Where have you been?"
"Around...on the ground, mostly."
On the ground. What did that mean? He hadn't understood it then but he struggled to now. Angered that Sora hadn't told him anything about this, hadn't even thought to bring it up, he marched back into the living room and flung the bottle at Sora's head. It bounced off and rattled to the ground, leaving Sora staring at him.
"What the…?" Sora murmured, and it was the closest to normal he'd sounded so far today, that Bryce almost laughed. Except he was furious.
"Why do you have painkillers?" he demanded.
"Are you going through my stuff?" Sora asked, bending down to pick up his pills. Bryce noticed the wince when he sat back up.
"What's wrong with you? What happened?" he asked.
"Liar," Bryce hissed, striding toward the couch. "What happened? Why do you have those? They're for pain, smartass! What's wrong with you?"
"Bullshit! They're dated for a week ago. The night you went to Jillian's." Bryce shook his head. "What happened while you were gone, Sora?"
Sora shifted his gaze away. "Nothing."
"Don't lie to me!" Bryce's voice was louder than he'd intended.
Sora never flinched. Not like this. Not…not like he thought Bryce was going to hit him or something. Holy shit, what was wrong with him?
"Sora…what's wrong with you?" Bryce asked, his voice quiet this time. He stepped closer to the couch. "You know I won't hurt you…right? I'm your friend. Are you okay? What's wrong?"
"Stop saying that. Why won't you just tell me?" He sat down on the couch next to his friend. "Sora? What happened?"
Sora sighed and shook his head. "It's nothing bad…"
"What happened? What are those pills for?"
A pause. "My…ribs."
"Your ribs?" Bryce echoed dimly. "What do you mean, your ribs?"
"Show me." He wasn't sure where the statement came from but he meant it the moment he said it.
Sora stared at him. "Dude…no."
It sounded more like his friend than he had all day. Bryce actually laughed. "I just want to see your ribs," he explained. "Nothing perverted, promise."
Sora smirked faintly before he lifted up his shirt on one side, twisting somewhat to show Bryce his side. Bryce sucked in a sharp breath at the dark bruising present there. Definitely bruised ribs. Maybe worse…
"Broken?" he asked sharply.
"No." Sora shook his head and dropped his shirt back down. "Just bruised."
"What happened? How'd you get those?" Bryce asked, determined to find out.
Sora was quiet for a while. "You're not going to stop, are you?" he asked quietly.
"Nope. So tell me."
His friend took in a slow breath. "I…took off from Jillian's after Lenore answered the door. I think it was around a half hour after you dropped me off." He chuckled to himself bitterly. "I just stood there like an idiot for a half hour."
"Sora, you were nervous, it's okay," Bryce told him. "Go on."
Sora tapped his fingers against his knee nervously. "Well…I um…I don't know, I ran. I don't know why anymore. It was stupid. But I…" He swallowed thickly, looking pained. Then he shook his head. "Anyway, I didn't see it coming. Didn't hear it."
"Hear what?" Bryce asked.
"The truck," Sora replied casually. "The brakes weren't working. I guess it honked but…I didn't hear it. I guess I was too…fogged or something, from Lenore, I don't know. I didn't see it. Didn't hear it. Didn't…I don't think I cared enough to…hear it, you know? Then it was just…pain."
Bryce stared at his friend for a long moment, his heart racing. "Are you telling me you got hit by a damn truck?" he hissed, his stomach churning at the thought. How many people died a year from getting hit by vehicles? Hit and runs?
"Not badly," Sora said as though it made a damn difference. "Just…kinda clipped me. When I woke up, the paramedics were-"
"Whoa, wait, what? When you woke up?" Bryce's eyes widened. "You lost consciousness?"
"I guess. I think. So they tell me." He shook his head. "It's kinda fuzzy, to be honest." He swallowed. "Anyway, the paramedics were checking me over, you know, the light to the eyes, all that crap, poking, prodding, 'do you hurt?', all that jazz. They said I didn't have broken ribs and I'd be okay, just, you know…sore. So I said I didn't want to go to the hospital and they gave me some painkillers and called me a cab to take me home."
"Whoa, wait. You were hit by a truck and you didn't stay at the damn hospital?" Bryce glared at his friend.
"I was fine," Sora sighed. "It wasn't bad. I have painkillers. I'm fine."
"So that's when you got here? When I saw you?" Bryce asked, just to clarify.
Sora nodded. "Yeah. I really did spend most of my time on the ground." He smiled somewhat sheepishly.
Bryce wanted to be mad and glare at him, but damn it, the expression was so Sora, how could he do anything but smile? And at least Sora seemed to be talking to him now, at least about something. It was a start. Progress.
"Why didn't you call me?" he asked.
Sora blinked at him, confused. "Call you?" he asked.
"When you were flat on the freaking ground," Bryce said like it should have been obvious. "Why didn't you call me? Or have them call me, whatever. I would have picked you up."
"I don't know…seemed like a good idea at the time." Sora shrugged and then winced slightly. "I guess I…didn't want to worry you?"
Bryce snorted. "Yeah, good job with that," he muttered.
Sora frowned. "Hey, I didn't tell you to go through my medicine."
Bryce sighed and shook his head. "Eat your pizza."
And there's that :) I will try to write more . But no promises. I might write more if people like it, I dunno. Anyway...thanks for reading and please review! (PS if you have ideas for this story...please let me know!)