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Kip is the emo kid with an alcoholic, abusive father and a depressed mother. He just moved to Oregon...with his dad. Will he find love with his new best friend? Or maybe a character of the past? Or will his memories get in the way as the past blends into the present and darkness fades into the light...
WARNING: If you are not comfortable reading about bisexual relationships, than this story may not be for you. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1

Submitted:Jan 30, 2011    Reads: 111    Comments: 0    Likes: 1   


Falter

Before Life Ceases

I was walking home from another crappy day at my crappyschool with a heavy backpack full of crappy books. I hated my school with a burning passion, mostly because it was the place where I was tormented by the students and the teachers. I had few real friends and even those would back out if I needed help or was in trouble. So I trusted no one, including myself. Except to screw everything up, which I was very good at. The only reason I even bothered to go was because I needed a high school diploma. And I still had a whoping 2 years left to get it. I would be the first in my family to graduate.

I was the emo kid - with the long black hair, the skinny jeans, and the bad outlook on life. And today was no different. My parents were divorced and my mom lived here in Colorado, while my dad lived out in Oregon. I lived with my mom full time, mostly because my dad was in jail and was an abusive jackass. I was used to being bullied and harassed by almost everyone and I took the insults as they came because they were almost always true. I was stupid, ugly, and worthless and I knew it.

And as I walked up the crappy decrepit deck to my crappy decrepit house, I wondered to myself why the crappy decrepit door was locked.

The police arrived within 20 minutes and I was still standing in the doorway breathless. The key had dropped out of my hand long ago and lay cold on the cement stairs next to me. They gently pushed me aside and walked briskly into the house with notepads and guns drawn; because my mother lay dead on the floor with a large pool of blood surrounding her once beautiful face, now contorted and pale. The whole afternoon they were investigating while interrogating neighbors and family. I just sat on the steps feeling stunned and cold inside. I couldn't process anything that was happening. You never know exactly what it's like to lose a parent until you really have...who had said that? Well they were right on the bloody red dot.

Chapter 1

Last Breath Till Apocalypse

Part 1: Kip

I pulled my black hoodie closer around myself as I hurried up the path to the entrance of Rose Valley High School. It was friday, my first day of school at the new high. And it was halfway through the school year, which meant that tight friendships had already been knit and there was again no chance of me fitting in. After I had been left to live with my dad when my mom had died after shooting herself, I began to have those thoughts again. I had to live by myself since my dad was still locked up. I had to work to make money to buy myself food and clothes. I had been living alone for 4 months in my dad's empty house in Oregon since my mother's death and I was starting to get used to it. I had finally signed myself up for the local public high school and...here I was. The school was a huge brick structure. The wind was tearing at my face and pushing me back, reminding me that I didn't belong here and should just give up. But I made it to the door and pushed it open, almost tripping on the rug. My black and white checkerboard converses were tearing at the toe I noticed. The door slammed itself behind me and I almost toppled over when it crashed into my backpack. I hustled down the hall and around the corner. It was 7:22 and if I didn't hurry I was going to be late for first hour biology. I passed a group of juniors huddled together in the middle of the hall (jocks, my brain moaned.)

"Hey, look at this kid!" One of them whispered.

"Fag."

"What a worthless piece of shit!"

I kept my head low and tried my best to manuver around the older guys. I hated fights and couldn't punch worth a damn. I was nearly clear of the babbling cavemen when my heart jumped and I realized I was falling. I hit the ground with a thud that left me breathless for a second. I pulled myself up from the floor and grabbed my iPod which had skittered across the carpet and looked up to glare at whoever had tripped me. But they had already resumed snickering together and were walking away.

"Need a hand?" A light voice asked. I looked up and saw a girl standing over me with black hair and a pink hello kitty barrett. She reached out a netted arm and I gladly took it and rose to my feet.

"Thanks..." I said brushing the leaf litter off from my shirt that had blown in from the wind.

"My name's Sissy!" She said enthusiastically.

"Uhh, Kip."

"Hi! Are you, umm, new here? You seem kinda lost."

I was lost, and being lost in my stewing thoughts wasn't going to help me get to biology. It was already 7:24. "Yeah."

"Where do you need to go?"

"Biology in wing D. But I need to go to my locker first." I stuck my iPod back in my pocket and adjusted my backpack to a more comfortable position.

"You're a sophomore? Me too!" She exclaimed.

I looked at the clock, 7:25.

"Huh? Oh sorry, this way!" She said and pulled me along.

She wasn't a bad guide either, on the way she showed me the lunch room, the gymnasium (eww! She had said, wrinkling her nose at the heavy stench of sweat) and the bus stop. She did tend to talk a lot about random things, but I enjoyed the company and the help. People never helped me. And she had a cute smile...what was I thinking...I had never even KNOWN a girl that liked me...excpect Ivy...but I didn't know where she was.

"And the sophomore lockers are over he-what?" She asked me, turning around and catching my chocolate eyes looking at her.

"Sorry, nothing." I said, immediately felling embarassed.

"You don't talk very much you know." She said putting her hands on her hips and staring at me as if trying to figure me out. People did that a lot, but no one could ever could.

I shrugged. 7:29. I was going to be late no matter what now.

She rolled her eyes with a smile. "The sophomore lockers are over here. What's your number?"

I pulled his wrinkled schedule out of my back pocket and read the small text. "754."

She pulled me down the row of lockers to the near end. "You're lucky, you're almost right next to the bus exit!" 7:30.

"Yeah..." I was probably the exact opposite of lucky.

She pointed out my locker and waited while I spun in the combination and put away my pack, pulling out my binder and my Biology 3 book. I was suprised when she stopped me when I was turning to bustle to class. She started at me certainly and let go of my arm."Listen, don't mind those jerks. They think messing up the new kid makes then look cool or something." She rolled her eyes again. "Juniors are stupid! Just stick with your click and you'll be fine." She said with a wink and strolled away. 7:31. I was late already and I still had to walk to class. Oh well, I thought, I might have just made a friend. And friends got you places in high school, and a reason to stick around.

I knocked on the locked door of the bio room. What an awful way to start my first day of school, late for first hour already. I stood there for a whole minute before the door was opened and I squeezed in. A man in a blue polo with short cropped brown hair was standing on the other side with a frown. He was probably the professor, Mr. Ruskkle.

"Not impressive Mr. Shelly. Late on the first day?" He tisked and took his place in front of the class.

An awful first impression too. I scanned the room looking for an open seat. Seeing one I frowned when I saw that the surrounding desks were all occupied by jerseys. And around them were a gaggling group of preps.

I set my binder on the table and took a seat. The desk creaked and I noted it's rickity left leg. Just my luck...oh yeah, what luck?

And so the torment began, the jocks sat around whispering foul jokes to each other and flexing their muscles at the preps - who were probably worse, with the screechy giggling and the notes being passed in some kind of spider web network between them.

First hour lagged on even more since the subject of today's lesson was on the food chain. I doubted anyone besides me was even half-heartedly trying to pay attention. Besides the jocks and populars, there were the other groups that inevitaly form themselves in high schools. The two goths in the back of the room reading under their desks, the nerds sitting and snorting laughter at each other's stupid jokes, the rich kids sitting straight and sneering at everyone they saw, and the guy sitting with his head on his crossed arms on his desk. I only noticed him once Mr. Ruskkle asked him a question. He started and sat up trying to read the board and see what they were talking about.

"Uhhh...I don't know." He said flicking his hair out of his eye. It was black with a cinnamon streak which I thought was pretty cool. And his snake-bites flashed in the dull lighting from overhead. Awesome...

"Nice face, snake-boy!" One of the jerseys next to me yelled. I sighed and shuffled in the hard seat.

The boy just ignored the jock and looked nervously at Mr. Ruskkle.

Mr. Ruskkle folded his arms over his chest and stared expectantly at him. "Were you sleeping in class AGAIN, Mark? You remember our last talk, don't you?" He asked.

Mark rubbed the back of his neck and said, "Yeah, sorry Mr. Rusk..."

Mr. Ruskkle went over to his long wooden desk and produced a pink slip of paper and a pencil. He grimaced at Mark.

Mark made a resigned sigh and went up to the desk and bent over to fill out the form. Probably a detention pass, or a pass for an office referal. Then he picked it up and left if not a little sulkily. And then first hour lagged on once again. At 8:30 the bell finally rang and everyone started to stampede towards the doorway. I was the last one out as always. I fetched a paper ball off the floor and stuck it in the garbage can before leaving. Common courtesy never hurt anyone. I even thought I saw Mr.Ruskkle smile a little as i turned to wave a slight goodbye.

As I made my way out the door I tried not to smile myself once I saw Sissy in the hallway. She was surrounded by a bunch of other scenes and emos too...maybe I could find a way to fit in at this school after all....

"Hey! Hey, Kip!" She shrilled. She waved me over.

I followed and stood next to her and noticed that everyone was staring at me. Usual though, people always stared at me. I had just learned to stare at the floor and ignore them.

"This is Kip, he's new here. First day as a sophomore at good ol' Rose Valley." She smiled at him. "He's pretty shy, so you know, don't be a jerk to him." She informed a little bossily, but the others seemed used to it so they just giggled. She started pointing to the crowd of 5 around her.

"That's Cecilene." She said pointing at a girl closest to her. She had long brown hair and was wearing a black bow, a tight pink and black shirt, and skinny jeans with holes in the knees. Bottomed by white and pink converses with little rainbow hearts drawn on the toes. "Corey..." was the boy with the longish blonde-brown hair. He was wearing a plain black T and a studded choker. Skinny jeans and a pair of skate shoes. "Sid..." the kid with the long brown hair and the Tokio Hotel t-shirt, a pair of baggy skinny jeans, and skate shoes as well. "Natallie..." she was the other girl with the long black hair and the black hair bow. Black shirt with pink hearts, black eyeliner, skinny jeans again and black and white converses, the same ones Kip was wearing he realized. "Darren..." the guy with long blonde hair, a blue and black Disturbed T, bell-bottoms, and some black worn-out sneakers. He gave a wave. "And Kip!" She pointed at me and I suddenly felt very small. I was absolutely awful at talking to new people or talking about myself in general. I looked rather plain with just a black T, dark blue skinny jeans, and my converses.

"Hi." I whimpered. I attempted to offer a small wave but thought better of it at the last moment and just went up to scratch my neck awkwardly. They all mumbled a salutation and a few 'How Are You's. I just shrugged and stared around at them. I realized I didn't know where my 2nd hour was. It was English 10 and it was located somewhere in this hallway but I only had 2 minutes to find it according to that damned digital clock every three feet in the school. "Uhh, I need to get to English..." I said to Sissy.Darren pointed to a class a few doors down from the biology room. I said thanks and then went to my locker to put my stuff away. I got out my English 10 book and hustled to class. I made it in time too and Mrs. Stelly looked at me and said a distant 'Hello.' I waved and made to sit down in a seat in the front row of desks but found myself on the ground a second later. I looked up and saw the ugly face of Robert Anglin sneering down at me, I reconized him from first hour as one of the jocks that sat around my seat. I took a deep breath and tried to burn away the embarassment on my face, becuase I knew everybody was staring at me to see what I would do. I stood up and walked away to find another place to sit.

"Thats right you fag! Find somewhere else to go cut yourself!" Robert called.

"Thats quite enough of that, Mr. Anglin!" Mrs. Stelly hissed. She looked like a pleasant enough woman, she had a soft face and shoulder length brown silky hair. Probably only in her early 20's. But I knew already that she was not a lady to be messed with. She could quickly shed her innocent disposition and become sharp as a tack.

He snickered with the other two jocks sitting next to him. The two preps behind him just rolled their eyes and continued chewing their overpriced gum.

I had no friends in this class either. Well, I only had one friend anyways...at least I thought Sissy was a friend. She was the only one who was kind to me. And I guessed I had been given access her group of friends, since she had introduced me to them. I wasn't sure I could call them friends though. Hell, I knew NOTHING about Sissy either. I sat down next to a girl with blonde hair who was noisely blowing bubbles with her gum. This was going to be a long day...

The hour droned on and I counted the wadded up balls of paper that had been thrown at my head from the other side of the room - 17. We were learning grammar, one of my least favorite subjects. I sighed and started doodling on my paper. It was a tree then a sun then a heart and then-

"Kip!" Mrs. Stelly exclaimed probably for the third time.

I sat up forcing myself out of my daze. "Huh? Sorry Mrs. Stelly..."

She frowned but asked the question to someone else, and I silently thanked her. After 2nd hour was 10 minute passing time, also known as "Heavenly Grace Period." I joined Sissyand the others at the same place I had found them after bio. And they stood around joking about whatever they found particuarly funny lately and I even laughed a little myself. But then someone, I couldn't remember exactly who, probably Sid, asked me where I had lived before I had moved. And the memories came flooding back and I found myself crying in the boy's restroom for most of third hour. I didn't show up for class.

I went straight to lunch once I heard the bell ring. I was starving seeing as I hadn't eaten in three days. I trudged along with the other students feeling distant and grey. And slightly invisible to everyone else, but I sort of prefered it that way. No one would ask me why it looked like I was crying if no one could see me. Not that i believed anyone would care enough to ask anyway...

I walked through the lunch room full of crowded circular tables up to the long lunch line that had already formed. I was thinking again, thinking of the bad times, and tears were still there, boiling beneath the surface like lava. The line was agonizingly long and seemed to stretch on forever and it took probably more than 8 minutes until I was at the trays. I scooped a mound of mashed potatoes and poured on a generous amount of gravy. Then I took a piece of pepperoni pizza and a chocolate milk carton. I took it all up to the cash register line and stabbed in my number on the key pad.

"Wrong number." The stout lady said.

I frowned and looked at my schedule and typed in the number that I saw.

"It's the wrong number kid." She repeated.

"It says so right on my schedule." I said showing her the tiny text reading '7203.'

"Nah. It's wrong, it won't go through. You'll just have to pay cash." She said shaking her bushy-white-haired head.

"But...I don't have any money..." I said. I was signed up for the free lunch program for this reason, which was why my pin number HAD to be right.

She just stared at me.

"I don-"

"Yeah, I heard ya!" She grumbled.

"I can write it down on a notepad and bring you money Monday." I lied. I knew I would never be able to get any money to pay for the lunch, I would have to sell more of the very few items I had left, or work my ass off, which I was already doing without getting many results.

She furrowed her wrinkly brow. "Yeah, but it's extra on Monday then."

I just stood there while the tears welled up again. "Thank you..." I said hollowly. But I wasn't thankful, I would never come up with three dollars by Monday. All of the money I had I was using to save for college and to substain myself as long as I lived alone. I walked out into the lunch room with two wet streaks making their way down my cheeks. I just hung my head down so no one would see. I peered around through my bangs looking for an open table. Finding one I started to make my way over to it when...my lunch was knocked out of my fucking hands.

"No!" I yelped as it splated all over the tiled floor beneath me.

I looked up and saw that every eye in the cafeteria was on me and Robert Anglin.Whats the matter you little shit? No use crying over a little spilled milk." At this he turned to his cronnies who all started laughing loudly. Soon the whole lunch room erupted into booming laughter. And I could only stand there as the tears spilled from my tired eyes and i felt as weak and useless as a newborn kitten.

I just sat down at the empty table and sobbed silently to myself.

"Eww! Looks like someone spilled their lunch all over the floor!" A familiar voice exclaimed."Hey! Isn't that-"

"Yeah, hey, Kip!"

I didn't even turn around because I didn't want to show them how weak I was. I knew they would take advantage of me just like everybody else.Suddenly three trays found their way onto the table. And three chairs were pulled out around me. It was Cecilene, Darren, and a girl I hadn't seen before. And boy did she put the scene in seen. She had pouffy brown and white streaked black hair with two pink little bows and a whole lot of black eyeliner. "Someone spill-Whats wrong!" Cecilene asked quickly becoming serious. She looked genuinly concerned.

"Nothing." I said weakly, rubbing my face, trying to make it look like I was scratching my nose but knowing I was doing a bad job.

She wiped the hair out of my face and saw my puffy red eyes. "You were crying." She said. "Something must be wrong."

I flipped my hair back and just sat there.

"Okay, if you don't want to tell us it's fine." She said. "Just know that we're here to listen."

I gave a sort of nod. My stomach rumbled loudly.

She giggled. "Hungry much? If you want something to eat you could just go up there and get a tray."

I looked away. My life fucking sucks.

She gasped. "Ohmigosh! I'm sorry!" Then her sympathy turned to anger. "If those dicks are giving you trouble, you just tell me and I'll make sure it gets taken care of." She glared at them. "God, I hate them so much. They think they're sooo cool just because they can pick on a sophomore." I kept starring at the ground.

Darren pushed his tray towards me. "I'm not hungry anyways." He said with a friendly little smile. "Take it." I didn't try to stop the next set of tears that came as i took the tray making sure to say thank you about a hundred times with my hoarse, barely audible voice.

Therestofthedaywasprettyuneventful.FourthhourIhadhistory,fifthwascooking,andthencamesixthhour,whichwasmyelective-art.Imadeittotheclassroom3minutesearly,andtheteacher, Mr. VanderBillow, had just turned on the lights.

"Ahh! You must be the new boy!" He exclaimed. He dusted his hands off on his painting apron and shook my hand. "Sturdy hands make for great artists." He said with a wink. I just blushed. Art was the only thing I had ever been good at. In my old school I had gotten at least one piece in every art show the community had hosted. I knew I was talented, and I used it to my advantage when I could. I deserved at least one skill didn't I? Something to set me apart?

I pulled one of the stools off of the table closest to the teachers small desk room. I watched as a slow stream of students slowly began to make their ways into the room. I was glad to see that none of them bore the annoying face of Robert Anglin. I smiled a little to myself when I saw the brown haired girl from lunch waltz in with a girl with short spiky black hair and the boy I recognized from first hour bio as Mark. I frowned once I realized they went to a different, empty table. I hadn't meet any of them, so they obviously wouldn't want to sit by me...

Mr. VanderBillow walked to the front of the class and shut the door. Everyone stopped talking and turned to face him. He wrote something on the chalkboard beside him and then stood while everyone pulled an agenda out of their binders. It was the assignment for tonight.

He made his way around the class making sure everyone was copying it down. When he got to my nearly unoccupied table he raised an eyebrow at the sheet of lined paper that I had written it down on.

"No agenda, Mr.Shelly?" He questioned lightly.

"No..." I said quietly

"Did you leave it at home or in your locker?"

"I don't have one..."

"You didn't recieve one from the office?" He asked.

I stared at the table while the tears welled up again. Why was I so teary today? Probably just stress...

"I understand, it's okay. Paper works just as well." He said quickly with a sympathetic smile.

The hour was actually pretty enjoyable. Art was by far my favorite class. We were working on self-portraits, and I was pretty satisfied with my drawing. When Mr. VanderBillow made his way around again, he looked shocked when he saw my portrait.

"Kip! This is incredible!" He exclaimed with awe.

I blushed again. "Its nothing..."

"Between you and me, you belong in a much higher class than the rest of these kids." He said.I kept on shading with the edge of my charcoal stick.He got the message and walked to the next desk over.

The class seemed to end as soon as it had began, and I was nearly halfway finished with my portrait. I quick scribbled my name on the back and stopped to admire it for a second. I could never seem to draw lips or nosesright and it discontented me. I frowned but went to leave anyways. I stopped to pick up a pencil I had dropped when I heard a familiar voice from somewhere ahead in the band room. I stopped and listened, straining my ears once I heard my own name whispered. I hate it when people talk about me behind my back.

"...just crying all day."

"He seems a little weird, where'd he move from anyway?"

"I dunnow, somewhere out east..."

"I heard his mom died."

The voices got quieter and I had to strain even harder just to make out the words. A cold sweat had beaded up on my forhead and that familiar chilling numbness was filling my mind again.

"I heard she shot herself in the head." The voice was as sharp and breathful as a cloud of steam from a boiling kettle.

"Sounds like a real fuck-case if you ask me."

"Yeah...oh! Don't forget to get your case! Mrs.Burton will kill you if you leave it here again overnight."

"Thanks."

The door opened and an awful rage billowed up inside of me when I saw Sid and another brown-haired boy walk out. They looked at me and kept walking as if they hadn't even noticed my being there.

Iopened my locker and pulled out my backpack and began to stick in my binder and books. Today had been long and tiresome. I thought I had made friends...but who could I trust now that I had overheard those two talking about me? I swung my pack over my shoulder and shook it on. I was about to leave towards the door when I ran into Mark from bio...again.

"Sorry." I mumbled.

"Its fine." He said. He had a strange voice, not in a bad way, but in a way that made you want to listen to what he had to say. It was sweet as honey and just as thick. But there was an undertone of sadness to it, a sadness I found intriguing and made me feel more comfortable talking to Mark. "Kip, right?"

"Yeah..."

"Where are you from?" He asked.

"Well we have fir-"

He laughed. A sad distant laugh. "No, I mean before you moved out here."

"Colorado." I said sadly. I began fidgetting and pulling at the strings of my backpack. I tried not to breakdown again like earlier

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hold you captive." He said, noticing my obvious anxiety.

"Its fine. I get picked up today anyways b-" I almost said my dad, but decided to close my mouth.

"Cool, me too."

We both started walking towards the door together. We remained silent most of the way, but I liked silence. It gave me time to think about the good things instead of the bad things.

"So, Colorado, how was that?"

"Good..." I said distantly. I didn't want to get sucked back into those memories again. There had been enough of that already today.

More quiet.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" He asked without looking at me.

I looked at him strangely. Why would he want to know? "Not anymore." I admitted. Ivy...

"What happened?"

"I moved. She lived back in Colorado with me."

"Well, that sucks." He frowned.

"Yeah..." I was blessed with a longer silence, which unfortunately was also slightly awkward. I wished he'd say something to break the quiet.

"Seen any good concerts lately?"

"I haven't been to any in awhile...I saw My Chemical Romance a few months back."

"I love MCR!" He exclaimed.

"Their pretty cool."

More damn silence. God, this was awkward.

"So, uh...what's your or?" He finally asked. He had a slight blush on his face.

"My what?" I asked, feeling stupid. Ore? Isn't that a rock?

"Sorry, your orientation."

I just stared at him.

"Are you straight...?"

"I dunno...I don't really care for labels." I said. I knew I sounded unsure but I was thrown off by Mark's question. Why would he ask? Did he...no way.

"Hmm." He said in a humming tone.

We kept walking for a few seconds.

"Why? Aren't you?" Kip asked. He was masculine, even with long hair. He just had a powerful presense.

Mark stared at me. "You're kidding right? I'm bi. It's the best way to go." He stared at the sun's reflection in a puddle of water shifting around. It was kind of like life, everything seemed clear and focused one second, an then the next everything was blurry and unclear. "Have you ever heard the quote 'Bisexuality is for recreation, Heterosexuality is for procreation'?"

I thought it sounded vaguely familiar but shook my head anyways.

Mark sat down on the grass suddenly and crossed his legs in front of him. When I stood there, he patted the ground next to him. I sat. Mark had pretty eyes. Not in the sense of dazzling eyes like a movie star, but deep, compassionate, honey-brown eyes. They were full of hope and misunderstanding. I had always been good at reading people, and I knew that Mark had a bit of a crush on me. But that didn't bother me much, I could use it as a cushion for a long friendship.

"I know this is a tender situation to talk about..." He said.

I already knew what was coming, Mark was no different from Sid and Corey or probably even the rest of who I thought were friends.

"But word is that your dad's in jail for murder." He grimaced slightly.

I unglazed for a second then built up my defensive walls ten fold. "I don't know what you're talking about." I said a little too quietly so that it sounded unconvincing to my own ears.

"I didn't mean it that way. I know how it is..." Mark began.

"How? How could you even begin to know?!" I burst out. I had gone and lost my cool again, and I stood there waiting for the punishment that I deserved.

Instead of answering, Mark took my hand and pulled me down so that I was sitting again. It wasn't a forceful gesture, he barely even pulled. But the friendly touch made me want to sit down. And I did. And the tears rolled once more.

"I know exactly how it is because my family was the one that was killed by your dad while I had to sit and watch." Mark let his gentle gaze drop.

I was stunned. I couldn't speak. That couldn't be right...it just couldn't...

"Its not your fault. It's DEFINETLY not YOUR fault." He exclaimed sternly although he was little more than cheery either. "So I don't even want to hear that." Lies. Lies lies lies.

"Im sorry...I'm so sorry...so sorry...sorry...sorry..." I repeated hoarsley. It was most certainly all my fault, just like always.

It came flooding back now. Five years ago, when I was only 10 living back in Colorado when my mom and dad were still together but fought daily. I had been sitting at home watching Courage the Cowardly Dog on TV when there had come a knock at the door. I had gotten up and went to peer through the peephole. There was a blue-uniformed man on the otherside. A police officer.

I opened the door and the officer had pulled me out and brought me to the police car. When I saw my dad in the backseat I had felt neither suprised nor sad. The officer told me that my dad was being arrested for pre-meditated murders on one of his co-workers, Mr. Zucker, and his family in Oregon. Father of two and married to the beautiful Mrs. Zucker. It had been over something as trivial as wether or not my dad got the front row parking spot. After Mr. Zucker had won the spot, my dad had silently taken it upon himself to get revenge. He had been cracking for sometime under the weight of his enourmous ego and his bottled up hatred for compassion and love. He had finally snapped.

That night, at 6:53 pm, 40 minutes after work, Mr.Shelly had broken down the door to the home of the Zucker's and demanded that Mr. Zucker give him the parking spot. He just shook his head in disbelief but Mr. Shelly was already engulfed in his rage. He shot Mr. Zucker in the head 6 times and then he led the rest of the family at gunpoint into the living room while he went to throw the body out back into the river. When he left, Mark had broken the window with a lamp and was attempting to herd the other two out through the artifical exit. My dad had rushed back inside once he heard the noise and began letting open fire. Mrs. Zucker and Mark's sister, Kelly, were both killed. The neighbors had contacted the local police after they had witnessed Mr.Shelly break down the door and they arrived just as Mark escaped and ran to the neighbors house, bruised and bloody, but miraculously alive. Mr. Shelly was arrested on scene. He was found to have a mental defect and was sentenced to a month of mental therapy as well as a very long jail time. They had driven him all the way out here for me to say goodbye, but all I could manage to do was wonder 'what now?'

How fateful that our paths would meet. I found myself sobbing. I felt bad for lying to Mark about having a ride home. My dad was in jail and hopefully would be for some time. I already really liked Mark. He was trustworthy and forgiving from what i had seen so far. And maybe it stemed deeper than just that...

I would have no one to pick me up today and nothing to go home to. What a life...but it was already 3 and Mark was still here.

"Hey Mark..." I began.

"Yeah?"

"I thought you said you had a ride home?"

He shifted uncomfortably and scratched the back of his neck. "I was hoping you had a ride..."

I looked down at the ground which had suddenly appeared very interesting.

"Its fine, really!" He said. "I can call my friend Ben and have him come pick us up. I live with him now...since...since the...thing."

My ears perked up when I heard "us."

Mark chuckled. It was a sweet laughter, rich. "You know, you remind me a lot of a puppy! But, you didn't think I would just leave you here all alone! We're buddies, we stick together."

"But why are we buddies? You should hate me for what I did..." I groaned.

"YOU DIDN'T DO A GODDAMN THING!" Mark barked.

I was startled by his ferociousness and backed away a little.

Mark raised a fist aggressively and I cowered beneath him. But the blow didn't come. And I stared with stunned silence as I saw Mark repeatedly beat himself in the side of the head. Hard.

I wanted to stop him but I could only sit and stare. I saw the tears in Mark's face in a different form than earlier. Not tears of remorse, but tears of regret and anger. And pain. Oh god, the pain.

"Mark, stop..." I whispered. But he didn't stop and he probably couldn't even hear me.

So I did the next best thing and tackeled him. I tackled him and pinned his arms at his side. Mark lay there gasping for air for the next few minutes. And my mind was racing. He was way stronger than me, he could have easily thrown me off if he had wanted to.

We just stared at each other for the longest time. Then Mark's pain-stricken face contorted back into it's original form of suffering.

"I'm sorry." He said.

A light rushed overhead. Two of them actually. The two of us stood up and gathered our belongings.

"Is that Ben?" I asked.

Mark nodded.

We waited in painful silence until he drove up and we climbed into the rusty black Cadillac. Ben looked a lot like Mark too. Except that his hair had white streaks and he had much sharper features. And only one lip piercing. "So who's the kid?" Ben asked. He had a pointed voice that reminded me of the tossing of the sea. No one answered.

"Okay." He said and kept driving.

Within the hour we arrived at a big white house. It was old, but still retained the old beauty it must have once held. The lawn was wide and green and the shrubs maintained.

We walked through the door and Ben threw his keys on the table next to the entry and kicked off his shoes.

"You own this place?" I asked.

"Feel like talkin' now?" He asked with a smirk.

"Uhh...Kip." I said. I shook Ben's outstretched hand.

"Ooh! Marky-Poo's brought another of his boyfriends home?" Ben grinned.

"No." Mark and I said in unison.

"Sure..."

I stood awkwardly in the doorway holding my backpack.

"Just put it wherever." Ben said with a wave of his hand.

I set it neatly in the corner near my shoes and waited for further instruction. When none came, I simply slank downstairs with the excuse of needing to use the restroom. I found what I was looking for, a guest room with a bed. I had grown used to sleeping on a rotten, decrepit mattress for so long, an actual bed would feel like sleeping on a cloud. I smiled to myself.

I found the small bathroom next door and brushed my teeth and combed my hair. I didn't know why I combed my hair before going to bed, but if looking neat was all I had, I might as well upkeep my look.

After, I just crawled into the bed and lay there enjoying the feeling of the foam and cool blankets. I had hurt so much today, more than most other days. It was only 4:21 but I was tired from today.

Part 2: Mark

The door opened slightly and I walked in looking a little embarassed. I saw that Kip was asleep and began to walk out when I saw Kip's backpack was still up the stairs sitting in the corner by his shoes. I went up quietly and grabbed it and brought it back down. There was a big hole in the top where a pin must have once concealed it. I couldn't help but peer inside. A bio book...an English book...a history book...a binder...a spiral notebook...I shook my head and set the pack on the ground by the bed.

Then as I turned to leave I saw a little black, slick book on the table next to the bed. I felt disgusted with myself, but I just had to know. What exactly it was that I required to know so badly, I had no idea. Sometimes my mind worked in weird ways and made me act by impulse. I snuck over to the table and clicked off the lamp. As I brought my hand down I swiped the book and hurried out the door with it. I sided open my door and jumped into bed. I opened the diary to today's entry and began reading.

At 8:50 pm, I snuck back into the room and lay the book back in it's orignial position. I had never seen someone who had gone through so much pain throughout his life. I was crying, not because it was sad, but because I felt awful for reading something so personal. But I felt even worse because my question had been answered.

Part 3: Kip

Saturday morning, I got up at 8 a.m.. I was feeling a bit off and I sat for a minute a little wobbly. I jolted to the bathroom and puked in the toilet.

"Guugh!" I groaned.

I sat there feeling weak. I spit into the bowl and flushed it all down. I knew this kind of sickness, nervousness. I experienced this all to often.

There was a knock on the door. "You okay?" A tired voice asked.

"Yeah..."

I got up and pulled the door open and came face-to-face with a tired Mark. And he looked guilty.

"Whats the matter?" He asked.

I shrugged. "I should ask you the same thing." I gave Mark a suggestive look.

Mark looked uneasy and he was bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Come on." He said. He grabbed me lightly by the arm and led me to my temporary bedroom. I looked in apprahensively. What was he going to do? R-ra...I still couldn't even THINK the word without breaking down. But Mark just looked weary.

"I don't thin-"

"No. I need to talk first, it's important." Mark said. He looked tired but I could tell that he hadn't been sleeping all night. He flicked his hair out of his eyes and I saw that he had been crying instead. I realized that I could trust Mark without a doubt. And I could tell that we were going to be very good friends for a long time. We were both suffering through this together, we needed to be able to talk to each other about things. So I sat silently as he began to speak.

"I'm sorry." He said hoarsely. He hung his head down and wept.

I sat on the bed, hugging the pillow for comfort. I was still feeling a bit unsteady from earlier. I wanted to comfort him but Mark started again before I got the chance.

"I didn't mean to yell at you yesterday, I just...I don't know, get that way sometimes. I didn't mean to hurt you..." He began. Then he just started spewing. He told me about things he had done and had to do since his parents were dead. He told me about everything. He didn't leave anything out...at least, I thought so.

I just sat there with my wet, chocolate eyes staring at Mark. They weren't cold and punishing like the eyes of my father, they were warm and inviting as I had been told. They were kind.

"I'm sorry." I said afterwards. "I just tend to blame stuff on myself so no one else has to I guess..."

"Its fine." Mark said. He stood up to leave. "I just wanted to clear things up...I'll be outside." He floated out the door and I was left to my thoughts. Mark hadn't seemed better after talking, in fact he seemed a lot worse. I would go talk to him in a little while. But first...I grabbed my journal off the table next to the bed and opened to today's entry.

"You guys want to do anything today?" Ben asked walking in the door. He saw that I was alone and looked confused. "I thought Mark was in here with you, sorry."

"He was..." I said looking up from my writing. Did I catch a look of discomfort on Ben's face?

"I must have just missed him..."

"He left a while ago."

"Where?"

"Outside."

"I think you should go out there with him." Ben said stuffing his hands into his pockets.

"I think he wants to be alone..."

Ben sat down on the spinning computer chair that Mark had been in just 20 minutes ago. "So how about you?"

"What do you mean?"

"Whats your story?" He asked. He flicked his hair out of his face and I saw his eyes for the first time. They were a stunning seafoam, sharp and contrasting with his black hair.

"I don't have much of a story." I said. No one wanted to hear a story like mine...

"Come on, you've got-"

The slider door opened in the living room outside the door. Mark walked in, he looked wiped but better than before. "Alesena's coming over in 5." He said. He walked up the stairs and Ben and I watched him go.

"Who's Alesena?" I finally asked.

"His girlfriend." Ben answered. I saw a trace of something lurking in his expression. Time to play detective.

I pondered this for a second. "What about you?"

"What about me?" He asked.

"Whats your story?" He waved me off, "If you mean the house, I got it from my parents."

"Where are they?"

"My mom's dead. Brain cancer. My dads in the war."

"But you're only..."

"18." He grimaced.

"And you have to take care of yourself?"

"Whats with the twenty questions?" He asked getting a bit defensive. "I take care of Mark. He's like my only friend."

"You like Mark don't you?" I asked. I was pretty sure I was right.

"Of course I like Mark, didn't I just say?"

"Yeah, you just said it." I said. I got up and went to the stairs when I heard a car pull up the driveway. I saw Mark rushing down the stairs and throwing the door open and running out. I peered out and watched as Mark flew at the black haired girl who climbed out the driver's side and tackle-hugged her. They both fell on the grass laughing and yelling. I felt happy for him, I never know he had a girlfriend before...why wouldn't he have told me? When they started to kiss I shut the door. I went upstairs to find something for lunch. It was already 12. Scavenging the cupboards I found nothing that looked good then. So I sighed and poured a glass of water. It was a cool October day, the sky looked an indifferent grey. It would probably rain at some point tonight. Oh well. I actually liked the rain. It was free and beautiful and made me feel a little bit better whenever the first drops hit my face.

The door opened again and a giggling Mark walked in with a blushing Alesena at his heels. He waved at me as he let Alesena lead the way down the stairs. I sipped the water and lifted my hand a little. Mark faltered but continued down. There was an uproar of voices from below and a lot of muffled laughter. I put away the cup in the sink and skittered down the steps.

"Aly! This is Kip!" Mark said upon my entrance.

She gave me a warm smile. "I've heard a lot about you in the 5 minutes I I've been here!"

Kip wasn't sure what to make of this so I just nodded and smiled.

"Ooh! He's so cute!" She squealed. Mark smirked.

I didn't know if they were mocking me or not so I just stood there looking uncomfortable. Ben may have raised an eyebrow at me but it was impossible to tell. He held the facial expression that goes along with it though. "Come sit down!" Mark exclaimed.

"Actually I had some homework I had to do." I said. I hated being the center of attention or even just being talked about in general. I just knew that people were always making fun of me behind my back. I had already proved that yesterday hadn't I? But Mark was suppossed to be different...or was he just the same? Had he told me those things and was just going to forget about me too? What were his motives?

"Oh, okay." He said, looking a bit disappointed. But only a bit. Who was I to scrutinze? His girlfriend came first, period.

I flopped down on the bed and lay there. After a couple of minutes I picked up my backpack which had made it's way into the room somewhere between last night and this morning. I needed a new pin to cover the gaping hole in the top. I pulled out my binder and started to work on my geometry homework book problems. At 3, my cellphone rang somewhere in my pack. I pulled out the black motorola and flipped it open after staring at it suspicously for a second.

"Hello?"

"Is this Kip Shelly?" A woman asked.

"Yeah..."

"Hold on I'll put him on the line."

"Who?"

The phone rattled and a new voice came on. A gruff voice that made my ears ache from the fist vowel. I knew that awful voice all too well.

"You better listen when I tell you this-" No, I thought. I quickly snapped my phone closed. I didn't want to hear anything HE had to say. I knew I would probably regret it later, but right now was suppossed to be my time off. I wanted to try to enjoy it. I abruptly went to therecent calls and clicked 'block number.'

I finished my math and then finished my English writing. So I just drew for a couple hours, and when that lost my intrest, I decidided to go see how things were going out in the living room. I opened the door and walked out as if I were going to use the bathroom. The three of them sat on the living room couches watching TV and laughing.

I went in and did use the bathroom. I thought I should at least try to get to know Alesena if she was going to be here as frequently as it seemed she would be. To tell the truth I couldn't say I really knew Mark or Ben either. They had never really talked that much. Oh, why was I being so desperate!? It had been one day. But they had let me into the house. Yeah, but so do pedophiles, my brain reasoned. And they had showed no intentions of turning me away yet. But neither did r-ra-my mind froze up for a second as I banished that type of predator from my thoughts. Although Mark had his girlfriend over and it seemed like a good opertunity to get to know the real Mark, I was also aware that I would probably mess everything up between them if I went out there. I was good at that, remember? Yet despite my better judgement, I went and slowly walked over to one of the couches and took a seat. Mark and Alesena were asleep, her head lying on his shoulder. I saw that Alice In Wonderland was on, I loved that movie. Soon enough, I fell asleep too though. It's hard to stay awake when everyone around you is snoozing already.

I awoke when I heard thunder clap loudlyoutside. So did Mark which made Alesena wake up as well.

"Oh, hey Kip." He said tiredly. Then he fell back asleep again. I couldn't help but smile. Alesena got up and stretched and started heading upstairs.

"Mind him for me." She whispered with a tiny wink.

My eyes darted between the two as she headed up the stairs ever so quietly. That was pretty suspicous, I thought. Maybe she was just getting a snack though and I was over-reacting like always. I sighed and made it my goal to stay up and watch the last 5 minutes of the movie. I hadn't ever actually seen the end of it.

Half a minute later I was asleep.

Mark shook me awake. "Hey, Kip!" He hissed.

"Wah?" I blinked.

"Where's Alesena?"

I strained to stay awake. "Uhh...she went upstairs earlier or something..."

He shook his head. "I already looked up there."

I shrugged. I was fading quickly, I was just so tired...

"Kip! I need you to help me find her. It's dark out, if she went outside she could be lost or something." He looked thoroughly worried and anxious. His eyes were all glossy and big and I couldn't help comparing him to a lost puppy. Wasn't that me though? I vaguely remembered him telling me I reminded him of a puppy yesterday. No matter, they were too cute to resist. "Yeah, I guess." I said getting up and scratching my head.

"Come on." He said.

"Hold on, I need my shoes." It took me a minute to get them on in my near-sleep state.

Mark was bouncing on his heels impatiently. I stood up and I was handed a flashlight. Mark opened the slider door and walked out.

Mark led the way. And as we walked we talked about things.

"So how long have you been going out with her?" I asked.

"Seven months."

"Oh. She seems nice."

"She is." He replied.

We walked a little more. The flashlight beams cut through the darkness like knives. There was still no sign of anyone out here.

"So...what's up with Ben?" I questioned.

"How do you mean?"

"Why is he...so...I don't know...unwilling to talk to me?" The question sounded dumb to me since most people were unwilling to talk to me, but emos were suppossed to stick together, right? \

"He's just that way sometimes."

"Oh..."

We walked in silence for awhile. The night was my favorite time of the day because I loved the moon's pretty glow and the crickets making their orchestra, but at the same time it wasn't, because I was terrified of the dark. "What did Ben mean when he asked if I was another one of your boyfriends?" I asked blushing a little. It sounded strange to me for some reason, that someone who obviously loved his girlfriend more than life itself it seemed, could also love another guy. Even at the same time. "Nothing...just one of my old boyfriends that I made the mistake of bringing over once..."

"Oh." I said. "...Ben gets jealous easily doesn't he?"

"What?" Mark asked heatidly. "Me and Ben are just good friends. There's nothing between us."

We kept walking. "Sorry." I harped.

"Its fine...I don't see anyone out here..."

"Should we just wait till the morning to loo-" I stopped when my flashlight raced over the empty driveway. No car...no car from earlier that Alesena drove up in. Did that mean...

Mark must have had noticed too becuase I could feel the air around him stiffen. Mark hurridly turned around and raced back towards the house. I was left alone in the dark, and the familiar fear overtook my brain. It sounded childish, but if I couldn't see what was around me I got really freaked out unless I had someone with me so I could focus on them instead.

"Mark!" I called. Nothing. He couldn't have gotten to the house already. "Mark!" I yelped. I was getting antcey. I decided to run back to the house and get inside before my fears got the best of me.

The wind was cold on my face and there was a wailing gale somewhere in the sky. The storm was over but it's effects were still present.

I stopped to catch my breath. It was 9:41 according to my cellphone's clock.

I raised the flashlight ahead of me and jumped when I saw someone in front of me. It was Mark and he was sitting on a white-washed rock up the hill to the house, which was still about half a mile away. I hiked up the hill with the flashlight off. When I got to the rock I sat on the rock next to Mark and felt him tense up.

"Mark..." I tried to say something to comfort him.

"I'm sorry..." He sobbed.

"For what?"

"Putting you through all this shit." He wiped at his eyes with his no-doubt freezing hands. "This isn't the fist time she's just drove off without saying anything."

"Its okay. I'm sure she'll come back." I said although I was unsure of that.

"Thanks, but I don't think she is." He said hallowly. He was shaking, wether it was from the overwelhming cold or becuase he was crying, I nudged up against him to try to warm him up. He just sat there numbly. I felt really bad.

"Come inside before you freeze to death." I suggested.

When Mark didn't move, I gently pulled him up by the arm and led him up the hill and inside the house. Compared to outside, the house felt incredible. Mark walked past the couch and started to go towards the room across from my current quarters. It must have been his bedroom. Funny I had never noticed before...

"You don't want to come sit down?" I asked.

"I'm really tired." He said, I knew he was lying.

"Okay...do you need anything?"

"A hug?" He suggested.

I smiled as I embraced the strange boy. They were nearly the same height, Mark was just an inch or two taller. And he wept still as he hugged me. We stood there for a minute or more.

"Whats all the racket?" A sharp voice asked from the stairs. It was Ben. I broke off the hug and stood next to Mark.

Ben came down and peered around thr room. "Did I miss something?" He asked.

"Alesena's gone..." Mark said.

Ben put his arms out and Mark went to him.

I took off my shoes and set them next to the door. What a dramatic two days it had been already. I went to the bathroom and brushed my hair and teeth. Then I slipped into the cool bed and tried my best to catch some sleep. I hoped tomorrow would turn out better.

At 12:04, I awoke to the sound of poorly supressed sobbing. I jumped out of bed and went into the hallway outside the door. It was coming from Mark's room. I thought it would be better if he dealt with it alone like he wanted. But then I heard Mark gasp, "Kip?"

I debated wether or not I should answer. "Yeah?"

Mark opened the door and startled me. He was wearing pikachu pajama bottoms and a white t-shirt. He waved me in. His room was much different than the one I was staying in. It was smaller but higher, there were band posters all over the walls. Besides that, there was a bed with a little table next to it like the one by mine. There were plushies littering the room, like ones you got at the carnival. There was a pikachu, a bunch of skellanimals, and big stuffed animals. I thought it was cute, it showed his sensitive side.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

Instead of answering he took a cellphone out of his pocket and handed it to me. It was opened to a message. From Alesena. I began to read it.

'I'm breaking up with you. I've been seeing someone else anyways and he's like a million times better than you could ever be. You're just a big pussy and I'm tired of you crying all over me all the time. It's really annoying. Have fun with your boyfriend.'

I put the phone down gently on the table by the bed. Then I sat next to Mark and twiddled my thumbs.

Mark scooped up the phone and stood up and went to open the door.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"I need to be alone for awhile." He sniffled.

"Okay..."

Mark left and I heard the slidder door open and shut. I sat there for awhile and felt more guilty then I had ever felt in my life. I had messed everything up just like I knew I would. Mark would hate me now and with good reason. I cried for me, I cried for Mark, and I cried for that backstabbing, sadistic bitch, Alesena. After awhile I must have cried myself to sleep.

The next morning was a misty Sunday. I woke up finding myself in Mark's room. Last nights events were still branded in my mind. I got up and attempted to maintain my appearance in the bathroom mirror. It wasn't working, so I decided to take a shower instead. Showers always seemed to wash some of the anxiety away anyways.

I toweled myself off and pulled on my only other set of clothes. A My Chemical Romance T that my mom had gotten me for my birthday last year before everything had turned into a churrning pit of shit, and a pair of black skinny jeans. I took the extra time to blow dry and straighten my hair. I even drew on a little eyeliner before looking in the mirror. I was unconvinced by how neat I looked. I could look nice when I wanted to, but today, going through a few extra steps, I found that I could look...really good. I couldn't even find the happiness to smile though.

I walked out to see Mark sitting on the couch with his head hung low and I could see his shoulders shaking. And again I felt so bad for ruining his life. I went to the room and I pulled on my converses and a old black hoodie and opened the window. It was chilly out and a light mist hung around the wide yard. I made up my mind.





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