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 Chapter 33: Cold White Flames

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Kell
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Join date : 2008-10-05

PostSubject: Chapter 33: Cold White Flames   Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:05 pm

I couldn't sleep. For the past three weeks, that wasn't unusual. Every other night I found myself staring up at my ceiling unable to go to the one place where I was both the safest & most scared. Dreams are funny like that. They're the gateway into what separates the pains of reality from everything you want & hope for. The puffiest of those white cotton clouds, keeping down the cruelties of life from ever invading your own personal Eden where you can eat the fruit & be rewarded. Certainly nothing on Earth had ever seen perfection like that of a dream.

And yet, dreams could do just the opposite. Clouds are clouds. They're fluff, & unable to forever keep harsh awakenings of the real world from getting to you, & once they wisp away in the air, BAM; you might as well be a deer in headlights to the unfortunate threads of life that drag you down to your personal Hell. Some people say nightmares & bad dreams are the same thing. They're not. A dream is what your heart tells your mind to wonder about, desire & chase after in a world that you control all by yourself, while a bad dream is simply where your dream didn't turn out the way you hoped for. A nightmare was never a dream to begin with. It's reality's way of letting the door hit your ass on the way out, making sure that you don't reach those clouds for as long as your personal reality exists. And with what I had been through, exist it did.

But I wasn't in my bed tonight. I was downstairs watching late night tv under a blanket with a glass of pink lemonade from the fridge & eating my Cheez Its. I was watching Queer as Folk. I realized I had never fully appreciated Brian's character.

"What are you doing up?"

I turned my head to see my dad standing in the hallway in his robe. His hair was messed up & he was squinting his eyes as if he were looking at a rectangular version of the sun.

"I couldn't sleep."

"Noah..."

He walked over to the fridge & got a drink.

"Noah you have to get some sleep, you have school in the morning."

"I know," I said softly, turning back towards the tv. He walked over to the couch & sat down next to me. I changed the channel. The History Channel was talking about the history of the gun.

"I know it's been tough the last few weeks-"

"I don't wanna talk about this."

"Noah, you didn't wanna talk to me last week, three days ago, this morning & now. We HAVE to talk."

"Dad..."

"Listen to me. I'm not a therapist. But I do know someone. She was a friend of your mom & I think she-"

"I DON'T want to talk about it," I said rashly, starting to get upset.

"You need to talk to somebody & if it's not going to be me, then it should be someone who knows how to handle things like these. What happened to you is what has happened to a lot of her patients Noah."

"She can't take back what happened dad..."

Dad put his hand on my back & started rubbing his hand in circles. It was very comforting & I found myself calming down.

"I know that. And that's why it's important we help you from here on & figure out what's going on with you."

"There's nothing 'going on with me'."

"Noah, you've isolated yourself from your friends, including Jade. Most of the time you just sit here & watch tv & never bother to socialize with anyone."

"I didn't know that was post-traumatic protocol," I said.

"Whether you're like this, or happy & as optimistic as ever, there's no 'good' reaction. Bottling things up like this isn't good-"

"You know what dad?" I snapped as I stood up, "you're not my shrink! You're not a shrink at ALL! So don't tell me there's 'something' wrong with me when you don't have a clue what you're talking about. I'm fine!" I emphasized the last word.

He just stared at me."You think THIS is fine?"

"It WAS fine when I was sitting here trying to watch some damn tv!" I barked at him. "But then you had to get out of bed & start talking to me! That's why I'm mad right now dad, because I'm trying to watch some fucking tv!"

Dad stood up & walked back to his room. I watched him walk away from me with gritted teeth & clenched fists. I felt one, single tear fall down my cheek alone.

"Gah!" I yelled as I kicked the couch. I flopped down onto it & leaned over, face in hands.

**********

"God you look like shit dude," Jeff smiled as I was stacking the shelves at work. I glared at him.

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"I thought you would haha. So hey, you wanna catch a movie at my house tonight? I was thinkin' maybe some Mission Impossible, Bucket List & The Day After Tomorrow? I'm havin' Jade, Randy & Collin over. Dane & Alex can't make it."

"Pass," I said, trying to ignore him.

"C'mon Noah, you need to start getting out a bit more. Maybe it'll help you move on from what happened," Jade said.

"Don't...tell me what I need, ok?" I said, dropping three smoothie bottles on the floor by mistake. By the grace of god, they all exploded all over the place, leaving a giant pool of pick & orange goo everywhere. I stared at the mess & cursed everything in life, my arms & hands quivering with anger.

"Noah, Noah, look here," Jade said, trying to distract me from the mess before I flipped out.

"We're just worried about you, k? I mean-"

"Stop worrying about me," I mumbled angrily.

"What?"

"I said stop worrying about me. I didn't ask you to be concerned about me," I snapped at them.

"We're your friends Noah. We never stop worrying," Jade said with a nervous smile.

"Well cut it out. I'm fine. I'm just irritated."

"You're always irritated," Jeff said. "Anytime we ask you to do something with us, you don't want to."

"I wasn't aware I HAD to say yes."

Jade was giving me a sad look.

"Stop it J."

"What?"

"Looking at me like that."

He looked almost hurt when the words left my mouth. The truth was, I knew they were right. I knew my dad was right. But every time they rushed to me the second I put on a frowny face only made everything worse & I pushed them farther away, refusing to be their poor little baby. I couldn't have any peace of mind with everybody telling me how I felt & telling me what to do or HOW I felt & what I SHOULD do. My pride, or what tatters of it were left, outweighed my thoughts.

The two of them stayed with me until my shift ended & I went home. Jeff went his way while Jade & I walked home together. I wasn't in the mood to talk, which he allowed.

*****

"Dad, phone!" I called as Jade & I watched tv in the living room. Dad came & took the phone to his room. It was the lawyer.

"So your dad really wants you to go to therapy?" Jade asked.

"Yep."

"Are you going to?"

"I hope not. I'm a bit moody, I get that. But I don't think it's a reason for me to see a therapist."

"Sometimes with traumatic events, we think differently than we normally would. And to be honest...you're not the Noah anybody knows, 'cause you're not thinking clearly. But you're not always moody. When you're not moody Noah, you're very upset."

"So what do you think is gonna happen with Shannon?" I said, trying to change the subject. Jade noticed, but he went along with it.

"Not sure. I mean I'm positive at her trial, they'll find her guilty. How could they not?"

I looked down at my feet & shook my head.

"Just when I thought I was starting to accept my dad dating Julie & getting to know her kids, this happens. Unbelievable."

Jaden put his arm around me & held me close, my head in the nape of his neck. I flinched at his touch but I softened into it. He was right when he said how I was always either mad, or upset & emotional. Sometimes I couldn't stand people touching me, other times I almost cried out for someone to embrace me. I sighed softly as his warm arms kept the world at bay.

"Things just can't get any worse," I said. He rubbed my back slowly.

"Noah."

My dad was standing there in the hallway, his face as white as a ghost.

"What's wrong dad?"

He walked cautiously over to where we were & sat down in a chair.

"Noah...Shannon might not be going to jail. At least not anytime soon."

"What?!" I exclaimed, but Jade held me close, calming me down.

"Why not?"

"I just spoke to the lawyer & he said that he just received her medical reports from the hospital she's staying at while the case goes on."

"Yeah?"

He took a shaky breath, preparing himself for whatever he had to say.

"Well, she..."

I looked hard at him.

"She missed her period & she's been having cramps..."

To be honest I had no idea what he was talking about at first. I thought what's the big deal if the girl's got some cramps & having woman's issues. But as the words infested my head, I put them together, & a sickening feeling swept over me like a cold wave. My throat started closing up as I started to feel my blood run cold.

"So...what does that...mean?" I asked nervously, praying that I had failed health class after all.

Jade clasped my hand in his tightly.

"It means..."

Oh god no...please, please don't say it.

"...Shannon's pregnant, Noah."

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Chapter 33: Cold White Flames
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