Yeah I’m reblogging myself. But for good reason, I swear!
Vanessa said, “Fuck you, Sam. You fucking freak.”
“Yeah, fuck you too.”
Footsteps, the door opening and then banging shut.
And this is why we shouldn’t date sleepers.
I pushed off the wall, finally trying to drag myself back to my room. Praying to God that she wouldn’t tell anyone what she’d seen. Odds were she wouldn’t, and unless she told the right person, they’d never believe—
But there was a loud bang, a crash, and a heart-wrenching electrical pop from the living room.
I backtracked. When I stumbled in, there was Sam, head hanging, standing in front of our ancient CRT TV. Or what was left of it. The screen had shattered at his feet, and a tiny flame flickered inside it, the smell of burning plastic and hot metal heavy all the way across the room.
If it had been me, I would’ve cracked some awkward joke about how we should’ve put a Faraday cage around the TV too. But it was him. And all I could think to say was, “Jesus, Sam.”
He looked up, but his eyes were a little misty, so I shut my mouth. I put out the fire as fast as I could, and he never moved except to turn his head to watch me, looking pretty wretched in general. It made me even sicker than I thought it would to see him like that. “Shit. I’m—I’m so sorry, man,” was all I could say when I got back to my feet.
He sniffled and looked away, trying to hide behind his hair. “Sorry about the TV.”
“Wanted to melt the thing for years.” I shook out my hand while it cooled down.
He looked up. His shoulders were all curved inward, caving in his broad chest. His eyes had dark rings under them. He looked like someone had kicked his ass and left him for dead.
I swallowed hard. “You want a hug or something?”
He barked out a laugh and bear-hugged me so fast I hardly had time to react. At first I didn’t really think about it, just sort of patted his back and let him put his head on my shoulder, which was weird since he had an inch or two on me. Then I realized that sticky feeling wasn’t just sweat—he was crying on me. Not sobbing, but his eyes were definitely leaking.
I’d seen him break his wrist on the field junior year. He hadn’t even cried then.
But we’d been standing there long enough that it was hard not to notice that this wasn’t a man-hug—there was no careful separation of crotch areas, no holding your ass out or keeping a certain distance so you didn’t have to feel each other breathing. His breath was hot on my neck, and his stomach was tight against mine. His arms—Jesus, he was strong—held me close.
Shit. Possibly my best friend in the world, crying because his girlfriend—ex-girlfriend—had just called him a freak, the one thing she could’ve said to destroy him completely, and here I was getting excited.
I was officially the scum of the earth.
I patted his back again. “I heard. Sorry. I was in the hall.”
“She didn’t mean it. She didn’t know what she was saying.” I hated her for it, but fair was fair. It wasn’t their fault—sleepers all reacted like that. That was why we kept them from finding out.
He picked his head up, untangling one arm from around me to swipe at his eyes with the back of his hand. Not much damage, but his face was bright pink.
I wondered if I should back away. I wanted to, because god knew when my traitorous prick would make itself too obvious for him not to feel it. Any second now.
But he still held on to me, his other hand clutching at my shirt. “I fucking suck.”
“Yeah, look who you’re talking to. I use game theory to excuse my lack of a love life.”
He laughed, halfhearted but genuine, and put his arm around me again. I thought that’d be the end of it, another quick hug and out, but instead he put his forehead against mine and took a deep breath. We were just barely touching, hanging on to each other. Him breathing on my lips.
I closed my eyes. My heart thudded, deafening in my own ears. I was sure he’d hear it, feel it. I tried to think of anything, everything except the moment I was in, but there was no room for anything else in my world.
“I’d be dead without you,” he said.
“Don’t say that shit.” I pulled back out of pure shock, opening my eyes again.
He put a hand on either side of my face and held me there. He looked at me, really looked hard at me, just held me like that for a second that wouldn’t end.
I had a couple of wild, warring impulses right about then. Shove him away. Kiss him.
Either would’ve fucked me, so I just stood there, staring, aching.
Thanks for the angstycute moments, guys.