Welcome to the last chapter of Mutism. As I am writing this, the first chapters of Advantages and Disadvantages and Out in the Open have been written and are ready for release. If you are reading this, I have uploaded this chapter along with those stories.
I will be keeping Mutism as an "in progress" work for a while because I do have some errors I have to fix. I also have to get my Chinese teacher to read over the chapters and make sure my Chinese is correct in all instances.
Sorry for not uploading anything at all for nearly three weeks. My family was getting things done to the house such as new (faster) internet and a patio. I also had writers block for this chapter and didn't want to release the other two stories without completing this one. I did, however, get the cover art done (as you can probably see). For a better quality look at the cover, you can check it out on my Instagram (purplechanphoenix). You can also check out the character profiles and send me questions. Anyway, onto the story.
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Zan was staring deep into Jay's eyes. It was obvious she was very interested in Jay's backstory. Jay, however, wasn't sure if they could share that with her, even with how close the two had gotten over the past few weeks. Zan eventually took a bit of a hint. She released Jay's hand from her grasp and placed both her hands on her lap.
"You don't want to talk about it. I underst-" Zan sighed but was cut off by Jay putting their hand on hers. Jay hesitantly bit their lip and began to explain.
"To be honest, I don't remember much. Most things happened when I was little. Jay isn't even my birth name. J was just a letter assigned to me." Jay explained, trying their best to talk and not cry.
"Assigned?" Zan said with a surprised look on her face. Jay looked down in embarrassment. Zan probably thought they were some robot or something. Nevertheless, Jay persisted with their story.
"My dad had a weed farm in our basement. Apparently he was a big drug lord or something. When my mom found out, she called the police. Since we were linked to someone that big, we were advised to go on witness protection when I was six. We were moved from Minnesota in America to Wales and told to get new names. I don't remember my birth name but it began with J so they just identified me by that initial." Jay continued. They were really trying to stop themself from crying but they couldn't help but be on the verge of tears. Jay looked up to see Zan still visibly shocked then looked down in shame.
"You don't have to continue if you don't want to." Zan pointed out, reaching out to Jay to hold their hand. Jay moved away from her in fear of judgement.
"I chose the name Jay after I came out as non binary at thirteen. My little sister, May, was only a two year old and her father was living with us at the time. After I came out, however, he suddenly got up and left. Ever since, I've felt like everything is my fault...because it...it probably is my fault." Jay broke down into tears after that last sentence. They turned their body fully away from Zan and covered their face as they cried.
Zan hated seeing anyone in a state like this so she scooched herself over to where Jay was sitting and wrapped her arms around her enbyfriend. She did everything she could to try to get Jay to calm down. She tried getting a blanket and pulling it over Jay's head, getting Jay a cup of tea and a granola bar and even showing them funny videos on her phone. When she finally realized that nothing was calming Jay down, Zan tried her last line of defense.
"It was never your fault. Your sister's father was a bad guy and so was your dad. They had their own problems that weren't you. You shouldn't blame yourself for anything." Zan told Jay, putting her hand over theirs as she faced away from her lover. Jay looked over at her. She was obviously thinking about something herself. Jay turned their hand over to hold Zan's hand. They moved closer to her and put their head on her shoulder.
"You should get help. Please, promise me that you'll seek help when you get back to Britain. So when we meet again, you'll be better." Zan encouraged, tightening her grasp of Jay's hand. Jay smiled and held out their pinky. Zan suddenly looked at them in horror. It took a few minutes for Jay to realized that the pinky finger wasn't exactly a good gesture in China.
"It-it's a pinky swear. In Britain, it means the promise won't be broken." Jay explained with a flustered look on their face. They really didn't mean to accidentally tell their girlfriend she was weak or demeaning. They just wanted to promise that they'll seek help.
"Ooh...so how do we do this?" Zan asked, awkwardly waving her pinky around. Jay chuckled at their girlfriend's awkwardness and wrapped their pinky around Zan's. Zan chuckled and put her head against their hands. Jay copied, forcing their foreheads to touch.
"I'm going to miss you. You know that, right, Jay?" Zan asked, changing the pinky swear gesture into a side hug.
"Yeah, I know but I promise we'll see each other again someday." Jay nodded, nuzzling their forehead into Zan's neck. Zan put her head on top of Jay's and the two sat like that, in silence, until Jay was kicked out of Zan's room because visiting hours were over.
The next morning, Jay was doing the last of their packing up when they received a text from Zan. They opened it to see a picture of Bai and Zan together in the classroom with the caption "We're both going to miss you so much. Good luck in Britain." with a pink heart beside it. Jay smiled and replied "I'll miss you guys too." with a yellow heart before stuffing their phone into their pocket and closing up their suitcase.
"Jay, you ready to go? The taxi's here." Aeron explained, peering into Jay's room to see if his friend was ready. Jay looked over at him and nodded, lifting their suitcase off the bed and wheeling it outside. Aeron helped them put it in the taxi and Jay took one last look at their apartment building before getting into the taxi and finally leaving.
After an over ten hour journey, Jay, Haydn and Aeron all finally arrived in Britain. They collected their luggage from the conveyor and said their goodbyes near the exit of the baggage claim.
"I'd best go on my own. I don't know what my parents would think if they saw me with you guys. Besides, it's best if I do this here and not in front of them." Haydn said, pulling Aeron into a kiss. Unfortunately for him, Jay accidentally took a selfie at the time they kissed. Haydn panicked and asked Jay who they were sending it to but was relieved when he found out it was only going to Zan. Haydn then turned away from his friends and waved goodbye before going his separate way.
"Our moms are outside. My family are in Conwy for a farmer's market this week. You ready to head out?" Aeron asked, gesturing towards the exit. Jay took one last look at the picture Zan sent them that morning before nodding and walking to the exit with Aeron where their moms were. Aeron immediately rushed over to give his mom, stepdad and sisters hugs while Jay got basically suffocated by their mother.
"My baby's home! How was China? Did you meet a Chinese boy...or-or girl? How was the flight? Oh, you must be so jetlagged." Jay's mom frantically splattered every question and comment she could think of while Jay stood there numbly. They glanced over at Aeron, who was watching Haydn get into a limo from a distance. Haydn made eye contact with the two and secretly waved goodbye before fully getting into the vehicle.
"You two must be so tired. Don't worry, I have the pies that'll make you both feel alive." Aeron's mom chuckled, ruffling her son's hair.
"I'd love that...but first, I have something to take care of." Jay said, looking at something they had on their phone. It was a list of therapists for them to try and get in contact with in hopes that when they did meet Zan and/or Bai again, they would feel much better about themself. So they could fulfill their promise and no longer struggle with their horrible mutism.
Well, here we are. 39 views, 2 reviews and 7 chapters later and we're here. The end of Mutism. No need to cry, however. You can still read Advantages and Disadvantages and/or Out in the Open to keep tabs on the lives of the characters after Mutism.
While I plan for Advantages and Disadvantages to end after a while, Out in the Open will be an ongoing series-like story that won't end.
Thank you for reading Mutism. Thank you to everyone who has supported this story. Thank you to everyone who helped developed Mutism. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed Mutism. Thank you for everything. Without people like you reading this, I wouldn't have had the motivation to keep going with this story. No matter how you supported Mutism, thank you.
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