Xander: We Stared Out Into Everything...

If I had ever wanted to believe anything, I’d never wanted to believe it as much as I did the words that fell from Alessa’s lips that day. Time went by much too fast for my liking. Winter transitioned into Spring, which brought a wave of new birth to the earth. It brought a rush of life and hope into me. hope that somehow Alessa and I could work this out and make it last. Maybe she wasnt Reina. But whether I wanted to accept it or not, Reina was gone. And one simply couldnt hang onto something that wasnt there.

Alessa’s room did a terrible job portraying the haunted girl I knew resided within the beautiful shell of her body. The windows let in too much light to shine upon her abattoir of a life. I knew her well enough to know that if she could have turned off the sun, she would have, just so that she’d never have to see her own reflection again.

She was quiet that day. It had been happening more and more as of late. She would be plagued with bouts of depression, leaving her distant and remorseful, blaming herself for every little thing. And all I could do was sit on her bed and hold her, and hope that somehow she would draw strength from me like I had done from her.

I moved my hand up to play with her dark brown hair. She glanced at me over her shoulder, smiling in that way of hers, the one that made me wonder if I really even knew her at all, or if she was merely humoring me. It was still so impossible to fathom that me, Xander Ocher, was sitting with an angel, my heart on the line. I was trusting her, despite everything I’d ever known, or thought I’d known.

She came a little closer, close enough to kiss me softly on the lips. My hand fell to the back of her neck, holding her in place, like maybe I was still waiting for the moment she would come to her senses and leave me forever. Escape the Fate was playing softly in the background. I wanted nothing more than to know what she was thinking, right then, right there.

I knew that I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. The trip had been hell, but we were together now, and that was enough for me.

Alessa nuzzled up against my chest, her gray-green eyes falling shut and her smile fading away. There was a melancholy about her that made my physically hurt. I knew that together we could heal. But I also knew that it was damn near impossible to fix something that wanted to stay broken. Alessa was a mystery, one I so desperately wanted to figure out. But I couldn’t solve her if she wasn’t willing to give me a clue. If I was all she wanted, why did she still look so damn sad? Why couldn’t she just let herself be happy for once?

I leaned over to kiss her softly on the forehead. Alessa started a little, straightening up and pulling away. My eyes went wide, pleading and questioning all at once. I still had her hand in my own, so I gave it a tight squeeze."Come on, Alessa. Why are you running?"

Her own eyes filled to the brim with pain. Whatever demons disturbed her, they were blatantly visible now. I longed to chase them away. I longed to know why she held to them still.

"Because," she said at last, in a voice so far gone it nearly broke me. "If I don’t, you will."


I left her house a few hours later, and it was so damn hard. The drive back to my own house was filled with silent screams and cigarette smoke. Alessa was all I had wanted for a long time. and I’d thought she’d wanted me in the same way. But I had a few scars of my own that I’d had to get over, and if this was ever going to work out, she needed to do the same. I wanted her for everything she was, but I couldn’t be expected to hold her up every second of every day. That was hardly fair to me.

I knew that she knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. I knew she could be happy with me, if she would just let herself. But I couldn’t be expected to heal her scars when my own had never fully faded. She had to be here with me, not lost in her own world of mourning and regret.

I needed to stop thinking so much. I ashed my cigarette out the window and turned up the music a little bit louder. Ivan Moody screamed out the words to The Bleeding, capturing my mood perfectly. At least there was always something.


I didn’t talk to Alessa the next day. She didn’t text or call me, so I figured the least I could do was give her the space she needed to duel it out with her past. Cole could tell something was up with me, but said nothing as we drove away from the school. He passed me the cigarette burning between his fingers, but I wasn’t in the mood.

"Let’s go to my place," I said. "I need a drink."

Nobody was home, thank God. The last thing I needed was my father’s demanding ways, or my mother’s overabundance of caring, or Wyatt’s preteen bullshit. Cole and I went up to my room, shut the door, and turned up the stereo. I crossed the disaster to my desk, pulling out the bottle of Jack Daniel’s. I was running dangerously low.

I took a swig and passed the bottle. I missed this. I missed just sitting around with my friends, not a care in the world and not a thing to care about. With the alcohol in my veins and the music in my ears, I knew that whatever happened, I would be okay. I may go down, but I would take the world with me.

Alessa: We Stared Out Into Nothing...

Tears welled up in my eyes as I clutched to the phone with shaking fingers. It’s funny how easily everything you cling onto slips away when you’re holding too tight.

"So what are you saying?" I demanded, agony streaking through my voice.

"I’m not saying anything, Alessa," Xander replied, struggling to keep his own tone steady. "I’m saying that I cant fix you, and it shouldn’t be my goddamn job. If you want me, I’m here, but whatever you’re running from, you have to leave it behind. You cant keep all this pain locked up inside of you. Sooner or later you’re going to break. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to pick you up next time you fall."

I felt my world crumbling around me, skies crashing into oceans of tears and mountains of misery. And I just sat there and let it tumble, because it was hardly worth fighting for anymore.

"Don’t do this, Xander," I tried one last time. One last desperate attempt. I couldn’t believe this was happening, when only a few weeks earlier, we’d been so sure this was all we needed. I guess that’s the problem with infatuation. Everything looks so pretty and sparkly from a distance. Once you pull it into your arms, you can see right down to every hairline fracture.

I was met with silence. Fine. He had made his choice, it seemed, and that was fine. He was so quick to tell me I was broken, and he didn’t even pause to look in the mirror. I’d always known he was a wreck. Maybe it wasn’t up to him to fix me, but I didn’t have the time to heal him either. I’d thought that maybe we could make each other whole, but I was quickly coming to realize that two broken people only made twice as much glass to walk around.

"You know, Xander. Maybe you should have done us all a favor and tried a little harder to kill yourself," I spat into the phone before slamming it shut. Then I let it fall from my hand and crash onto the floor with a deafening bang, like a bullet to my heart.

The End

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