Xander: What I Was Saying...
The week dragged, as most weeks did. School was pointless as ever, filled with whispered words better left unsaid. Pain permeated through those halls, seeping into the souls of better people than me. I watched them watching me, knowing it was only a matter of time until they broke down the same way as me.
At lunch, I took my seat next to Cole. He gave me a small nod of acknowledgement before turning back to his girlfriend. We all knew it wouldn’t work out, but of course Kurt was determined to prove us all wrong. I shook my head ever so slightly, reaching over to steal his milk off of his tray. Not that I was particularly thirsty. But sitting here, doing nothing, was enough to drive anyone insane. Across the table sat a boy named Loren. I'd known him since he'd been a freshman, all black curls and wide brown eyes. Looking at him now, that hopeful child was gone. Over time, our relationship had mostly deteriorated to that of selling and purchasing drugs. The thought almost saddened me.
Of course, the entire atmosphere felt completely empty anyway, without the delicate presence of her. Without her pale blue eyes looking up at me expectantly, in that fragile voice of hers whispering that she loved me. Maybe reaching for my hand under the table, pretending no one else could see. No, she was gone. Reina. The mere thought of her name was enough to start my heart racing, enough to make me want to break down.
I had the late lunch, which meant that my day was more than halfway through. I couldn’t believe it was Friday already, not that I was complaining. My mind dared to stray to thoughts of Alessa, and I hated myself for it. I wondered what she was doing, if she was in class with her eyes scanning the room in that paranoid way of theirs, or if she was at lunch, faking smiles for the sake of people she didn’t especially care for. I wondered if just maybe, she was thinking about me.
“We’re chilling at my place tonight,” Cole said. “My parents will be out.”
I nodded, dragging myself back into reality. Partying may have been just the think I needed. Since my breakdown, I’d been less than enthusiastic about much of anything. But getting shitfaced and too high to think had pretty much defined my past year. Sometimes I hated that. Sometimes I loved it. Today, I was looking for an escape, and I would take whatever was thrown at me.
“Great,” I told him. “Just the usuals?” Cole nodded in reply. “Wonderful.”
I tipped the bottle of whiskey back and took a long sip. The house around me had started to swim a long time ago. I thought that maybe if I drank enough it would slip back into focus. If that made any sense whatsoever. Cole was in the room somewhere, but somewhere out of my view. I could hear him shouting, being ridiculous as ever. I tried my best to tone him out.
Just as I was about to take another drink someone reached out and snatched the bottle out of my hand. My eyes went wide in fury as I turned my gaze to search for the culprit.
Gavin Kings cracked a smile before taking a swig of his own. “Thanks,” he muttered, passing it back. I only scowled, snatching it from him. Gavin was an annoying motherfucker above all else, walking in like he owned the place. He was probably the only person here that could out-drink me, and he’d touched more drugs than even I had. I would have bet my life on traces of white lining his nostrils.
He didn’t seem particularly high now, but of course my judgment of everything was more than a little impaired. “Oh, yeah, no problem,” I spat sarcastically. “Having a nice night?”
“Of course,” Gavin replied, unfazed by my biting tone. Dumb fuck was lucky he didn’t go to my school, because he and I were long since due to beat the shit out of each other. We didn’t necessarily have a reason, aside from the fact that he was him, and I was me, and that was that. I wasnt even particularly sure how COle had com to meet him. I left him alone at these parties somewhat out of courtesy and mostly because my reflexes were way too slowed.
“But how are you, man?” He went on. “I heard about… everything.”
No. Nononononono. How dare he. I took a quick sip of the whiskey in hopes that it would calm me. It didn’t.
“I’m fine,” I managed to choke out. “I don’t really wanna talk about it.” Understatement. She should have been there, sitting in my lap, sucking on a cigarette like it was her fuckig life support. I should have been her fuckig life support. I should have saved her. I could have saved her. But i let her go. I killed her.
Gavin nodded like he understood. I watched him as he sauntered away into the crowd, leaving me alone. I was always alone, and like everything else, there were times I embraced it and times I dreaded it. Times I loved it and times I hated it. But never once had there been a time when I had chosen it.
Alessa: What I Was Doing...
That Friday, I slept for what may have been the first time in ages. And it was a peaceful sleep, one not tainted by dreams of him, or of a time when I’d been happy for real. I awoke feeling refreshed, relaxed, and like I’d quite possibly rejoined the land of the living.
My dad dropped me off at Paul’s a little to early, though by the time Ellie got there we would still be late to start. I dropped my bag to the floor with a dull thud, taking up my usual post. The league before us was well in session, very nearly done with their series. I hated those kids, considering most of them were better bowlers than me. Though of course they were actually trying, and I was just not.
My phone buzzed in my pocket. I flipped it open, allowed a slight smirk to overtake my face as I read it. ‘Come outside,’ it said. It was from none other than Xander Ocher. Glancing about, I headed towards the door and slipped out into the late November chill. The morning breeze tickled my arms and sent my hair dancing around my face.
I turned around. He was there, leaning oh-so casually against the side of the building. Exhaustion was etched deep in his face, and still he looked positively beautiful. I flashed a bright smile at him, closing the distance between us. Before I could reply, Xander reached out and pulled me to his chest in a tight hug. I gasped a little in surprise, but then allowed my eyes to close and my body to relax against him.
When at last he loosened his grip, I straightened up and took a small step back. “Hi,” I said breathlessly through my grin. Xander’s own expression was composed, but his lips were curled up just so around the corners. I had to wonder why he was trying so hard to contain it. What thoughts were rushig through his head.
We didn’t say much; we just stood there staring at each other. All around us the world kept turning but here we were trapped in our own little world, where pain couldn’t follow, where just possibly two people were enough to heal the wounds.
At last Xander broke the silence. “We should go in. I don’t need to get shit from my dad.”
I nodded a little, turning away to head back towards the door. I’d barely gone a half a step before I felt his warm hand around my wrist. I winced a little as his thumb brushed the lengthy scar there. Then he spun me around in a quick movement, and before I could even think his mouth had found my own.
The kiss was soft and gentle, just a slight brush of the lips. I wrapped an arm around his waist to steady myself, my eyes closing again. And at that moment, nothing else mattered. Maybe there was no such thing as ‘love at first sight’. But I did believe in the initial sparks. I did believe that, when something was real, you could feel it eating you alive from the inside out, knawing at you until there was no way to deny it. And as Xander’s arm was around me and his mouth was working gently against my own, I felt it so deep inside of me it was incredible.
Xander pulled away, but this time he had allowed the smile to creep over his mouth. I returned it, and together we headed back inside.
When I stepped through the door into Paul’s Alley, three pairs of eyes fell onto me immediately. Xander had departed to go by Cole, and so I was left alone to approach Ellie, Nick, and Sean.
Ellie’s eyes were wide. “Tell me everything,” She commanded. “Don’t leave anything out. Oh my God, Alessa. Xander?”
My grin was that of pure deviousness. Inside, I was floating. I knew that there would be no words to words to explain myself. There would be nothing to say that would change the fact that I was undeniably falling all over again.