In the end, I just follow my feet and sure enough, I recognise where I am - just down the road from the tree house. Cayden was right. Walking is easier, sometimes.
I walk over to the tree, unreasonably anxious, wondering if this is a good idea or if I should leave him to it. After hesitating at the bottom of the tree for a moment, a voice in the back of my mind goes hey, fuck it, seeing him angry is like seeing Cayden angry - fucking unbearable.
"Hadley?" no response. "Hadley!" still nothing. Cue muttered cursing. After another moment's hesitation, I climb up and wonder vaguely if I'll still be ignored even now I'm in the same tree as him... can't say I ever thought I'd say that.
"What, you storm off like that and think no one's going to follow you?"
"No. I'd just prefer it if no one did." You're not getting off that lightly, Hads. Believe me, this week is fucked up enough without you and Caleb falling out too.
"You've had plenty of alone time; now tell me, what else was on your mind?"
"Nothing." And I'm Pocahontas. I lean back on the wall, hoping I won't break it and fall back. Shifting slightly, til it's obvious I'm comfy, and not about to move, I arch my eyebrow at him.
"Caleb said the only other time you've been that mad was when Cayden left. No one get's that pissed about a couple of annoying jokes." Not even you, Mr. Moody-Pants. So you might as well save your breath and tell me, because I can tell you now, I ain't moving.
"Try hearing them non-stop for four years, then come tell me how pissed I'm supposed to be."
"Try hearing every homophobic joke under the sun for seven years and tell me I don't know." He clenches his jaw and says nothing. "Look, whatever it is, I'll take it to the grave, but you can't keep it bottled up like that - especially if it's going to make you so fucking angry that Caleb thinks you'll hate him forever over a couple of jokes." I know, I know. Guilt trips are mean. But maybe I'm just a mean old man at heart. That and I'm suddenly beyond caring if it's pushing him too far. Sometimes, you just gotta keep going.
Still Hadley says nothing.
And I wait.
"What do you want me to say?!"
"I want you to say whatever's on your mind. I don't give a shit if it's embarrassing, or if you think it's stupid. Like I said, I'll take it to my grave, but please, Hadley. This week is screwed up enough as it is."
"Whatever's on my mind, huh?" I resist the urge to roll my eyes.
"Whatever's on your mind," I nod. Honestly, I'm not expecting him to cooperate.
"I wonder what Mom's doing for dinner. I wonder if Dad'll buy me a beer ‘cause I fucking need one. Cayden and John better have stopped face-fucking by the time I get back. Any of this working for you?" I knew I should have stopped off at the shop on the way and bought him some booze.
"I'll buy you a beer. Anything else?"
"I already told you."
"You told me some of it, yeah. I'm more interested in what made you snap the way Cayden leaving made you snap, though. I don't think not knowing what your mum's making for dinner is what did it."
"How many times do I have to say it? It's nothing." I smile warmly and lift a hand, pretending I'm done questioning him.
"Okay, okay. Just making sure." I'll just get it out of you later on.
"I could use that beer right about now."
"Well, I have money and ID. You know where the off-licence is. You show me where it is, and I'll buy the beer. Sound fair?" he nods and I stand up, offering my hand to help him up.