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Authors: Juliana Stone

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BOOK: Some Kind of Normal
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Chapter Twenty-five
Trevor

I stared at the acoustic guitar in my room for a good hour before I picked it up. My dad had worked hard to make enough cash to buy it for me on my fifteenth birthday. He'd got it off some old guy out in the swamps, a poor bastard whose talent had been stolen by arthritis. The guitar was battered, beat-up, and used, just like a Gibson should be, and it was worth a small fortune.

I had, like, six guitars, but this one was my favorite. Partly because it was a '56 Gibson, but mostly because my dad gave it to me.

I use to play it all the time, but I hadn't touched it since the accident. Sure, I practiced scale runs on my electric because it was easier. The strings were lighter and the action was low. But that wasn't the only reason I avoided this acoustic. The Gibson reminded me of that night.

The only reason it had survived the accident was because I'd left it behind at the party, too wasted to care about this special thing my dad had given to me. Brent had scooped it up for me. He'd kept it for months, and when I finally came out of the coma, it was the first thing he'd brought to the hospital. I think he thought it would make me feel good, you know, to see it. Touch it even.

But it didn't. Something about the guitar triggered a kind of blackness in me, and truthfully, setting it in the corner of my room was almost like a punishment. Maybe one I deserved. A screw you for the stupid mistake that had landed me right where I was. On a road to nowhere.

I held the guitar in my hands, and it didn't even feel right. Didn't feel like there was anything there. No connection. No passion. There was nothing.

And if that wasn't scary enough, I sat on my bed and played a few chords, but nothing sounded good. Nothing sounded
right
. And that blackness, well, it was still there. Still invading every space inside me, falling into every nook and cranny that made up Trevor Lewis.

I'd just had an epic meltdown, and hiding in my room didn't make me feel any better. Nothing did. I was going to be eighteen, and I knew I was acting like a damn eight-year-old, but I couldn't seem to help it.

We'd been home from Baton Rouge for a few hours, had just finished dinner, and Mom said something about studying and the stupid government test and I just…I lost it. I don't think I've ever seen Taylor speechless. And my dad, man, when he could speak, he told me to disappear because he was this close to hurting me.

He said that, and my mom burst into tears.

I told my mom to go to hell.
My
mom.
What the hell is wrong with me? Kind of a rhetorical question, because I know exactly what the deal is.

Epileptic.

Jesus, the sound of the word made me sick, and now it was something tangible. Something real. It was a label I couldn't hide from. Not only was I the stupid bastard who'd scrambled his brains, now I was an epileptic to boot.

Awesome. Great thing to add to my résumé.

Fuck.

I'd started this summer with pretty low expectations, but even I hadn't seen the freak-on-the-floor thing happening.

Someone knocked at my door. I considered saying nothing. Doing nothing. You know, 'cause that was the easy way out.
The
immature
way
out
. Though I guess immature and Trevor were kinda one and the same these days.

The knock sounded again, and I swore, wincing when I stood, 'cause along with everything else, my knee hurt like hell. I considered pulling on a T-shirt but then thought
what
was
the
point?

It was probably my mom, though I hoped that it was my dad. Hell, I wanted it to be him just as much as I wanted him to kick my ass. Maybe then I'd feel better about things. Maybe then I'd
feel
.

I was nearly there, my hand on the doorknob, when I heard her.

“Trev?”

For a moment I faltered. I wasn't ready to see Everly yet. God, would I ever be? I kept thinking of how stupid I'd sounded in the hospital, messing up my words. And of the shame and embarrassment that wouldn't go away. That's not what a guy wants to feel when he's thinking about his girl. Worse than that even was the thought of that freak on the ground. When I thought of Everly, I pictured myself on the ground, with a bunch of strangers staring at us. How was I ever going to get used to that? Bad enough that it was me on the ground, but even worse for Everly to be there with me. That was pretty hard to take.

“Trevor? I…I really need…to talk.”

Huh. Maybe she wanted to break up with me. Maybe she'd finally figured out that I was a lost cause. That I was never getting back to the way I was before. Fired up at the thought, I was motivated to get this over with.

I whipped open the door and…

She fell into my arms, her body shaking and her fingers cold on my back as she dug in and burrowed against my chest. I was kind of shocked and, if I was honest, a little grateful, but mostly a lot confused.

I wasn't allowed to have girls in my room. Not since my mom had caught me feeling up Brooke Smith. I'd been fourteen, and she'd been a year older. It had totally been worth it because, you know, boobs, real live boobs. Still, my mom hadn't shared the joy that a fourteen-year-old boy feels when that first time happens, and she hadn't been real happy to find a braless Brooke in my bed and me in my boxers. So the no-girls-in-my-room rule had been firmly established, and that was one the parents were pretty much in agreement on. You don't want to know how many times I'd been warned about what would happen to me if I made them grandparents before their time.

After the stunt I'd pulled earlier, this had to be pretty damn important for my parents to let Everly in.

“You never called me,” she whispered.

I wanted to tuck that stupid piece of hair behind her ear. I wanted to hug her back and smell her shampoo. I wanted to hold her head and kiss her mouth, taste the cherry gloss that she used. God, there was so much I wanted to do, but something held me back. Some invisible force field that said
back
the
hell
off
.

So I did nothing. I said nothing. I just stood there like an idiot (which I sorta was) and listened to her sniffle until there was no more sniffling. Until her body stopped shaking and her fingers were warm.

Finally she pulled away, and I couldn't look at her. It wasn't because I didn't want to see her. I mean, that would be stupid crazy. She was the most gorgeous girl I knew. I just didn't want her to see me.

So I turned around, feeling that familiar spike of anger hit when I spied the Gibson lying across my bed. I stomped across the room, grabbed it up, and placed it back in the corner where it belonged. Where it would stare at me in silence, a reminder of everything I'd lost.

“Are you okay?” Everly asked.

“Never been better.” My answer was clipped, but at least I got the words right. Score one for the freak.

God, I was a prick.

I heard her move and knew that she was standing just behind me. When her fingers touched my side, I nearly jumped out of my skin. But I stayed still, hands fisted at my sides, anger churning for no reason. It just churned and burned and made me crazy.

“How did you get this scar?” If I was paying attention, I would have known that her voice was scratchy and used up. It was sore and painful. But I was so focused on me that all I thought about was getting her out of my room so that I could wallow in my own private pity party.

“I got it jumping from the dam. Jumped in the river just behind Nate and got snagged against a tree that was under the water.”

“Must have needed a lot of stitches.”

“Thirteen.”

“Oh.”

Her hand was still there, running up and down the scar, and a sudden urge to rip her hand away from me had me breathing heavy and clenching my teeth together so tightly my jaw ached.

“What do you want, Everly?” I sounded like a cold bastard.

I think she must have been shocked, because she made this sharp sound, like a gasp or something. The weird thing was I kept hearing a voice in my head, a voice that sounded like it was under water. It kept repeating,
do
it, do it, do it,
over and over again.

Do what?

I felt the tic behind my right eye, and the band of pain that circled my head throbbed so hard that I wrenched away from her and took a few steps. I didn't want to hurt her, but I sure as hell wanted to hurt something.

I couldn't explain any of this. The thoughts in my head. The pain in my chest. It was just a big jumbled mess of stuff, and I didn't want to deal with any of it anymore.

“I wanted to make sure you were okay. I wanted to see you and I wanted to…” Her voice broke. “I wanted to talk.”

“That's a joke,” I muttered.

“What?” Her hand was on my arm.

“Let go of me, Everly.”

“What's going on, Trevor?” Her hand fell away, but she didn't back off. She moved a few inches so that I had no place else to look but at her. I thought I looked like hell? She looked like she'd been to hell and back.

Her hair looked like she hadn't brushed it for days, and her eyes looked bruised and overly glassy. If I didn't know her better, I'd think she was high. Her cheeks were pale and her lips even paler.

“Why are you being like this?” she asked.

I shrugged. “I just can't do this. I mean, what's the point?”

“What's the point?” Her voice was loud, and little spots of red appeared in her cheeks. “What's the
point
?” she repeated even louder. She pushed me, both hands to my chest, and I rocked back on my feet, which considering she was so small told me that the girl was pissed.

“The point is that I need to know you're okay. The point is that I care about you. The point is that I've been worried all day because you didn't think to call me.
That's
the point.” Her voice broke and she took a step back, but the back of her knee met the edge of my bed and she fell onto it, barely managing to keep herself up. Her hair fell out of her ponytail and covered half of her face. Angrily, she yanked it back and glared up at me. “The point is that I needed you and I thought that you cared enough to be there for me, but I guess I was wrong.” She bit her bottom lip, and I could tell she was on the verge of tears.

I've done some shit things before, but this here, this stupid roller coaster that I couldn't seem to get off, this had to be the worst. I'd hurt her, and I couldn't figure out how to make it better.

“God, you haven't even asked about my father. About what happened, and you know how much…” She blinked her eyelids fast, as if trying hard not to fall apart. “Trevor, you knew that I was freaking out over that.”

I wanted to say something to make her feel better. I really did. But I couldn't find the words. I had nothing. I was nothing. Couldn't she see that? Why was she pushing so hard?

She jumped to her feet. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

The fact that Everly Jenkins had just cursed me should have told me that she was walking that tightrope. And that maybe she was going to fall. But I didn't pay attention to that because I had other stuff going on.

I don't know what it was. The tone of her voice. The actual words that she used. Or the image of me on the ground twisted up and helpless while all around us, a bunch of strangers watched me. That was an image burned into my brain, and when I closed my eyes, it was all I saw.

Whatever it was, something dark lit up inside me, and finally I found my voice.

“You want to know what's wrong with me? Have you got all night? Because I've got to tell you, Everly, the list is impressive.”

She flinched, like I'd slapped her or something, but I kept on because now that I'd found my voice, there was no stopping me.

“Let's see, I can't drive anymore. You know, because of the whole epileptic thing. I doubt I'll pass the stupid government test, which means I'm stuck here for a lot longer than I want to be, and that sucks more than you know. Um, I have trouble sleeping, my head hurts, and well, as you've seen more than once or twice, my vocabulary isn't always stellar.”

“I don't…just shut up,” she said.

“You started this, Everly. You came here. You need to know that I can't handle my shit and deal with your crap too.”

“I can't believe you just said that.”

“Yeah, well, believe it. I'm a dick. I know it, and now you know it, and I think that whatever this is that we have is done.”

“You're breaking up with me?”

The dark fire, it just got hotter and hotter. I let it spread, and being the bastard that I am, I kind of enjoyed the feel of it.

“Were we an official couple? I guess I missed the memo on that one. Jesus, Everly. We made out a few times and went to a cottage. That's about it.”

The hurt in her eyes was something I'd never forget, and I don't think it was possible for me to feel any more like the stupid bastard that I was. But being a stupid bastard was easier than letting her see the real me. She didn't know it yet, but I was doing her a favor.

“You're an asshole.”

“Been told that before, so now that you know, it makes things easier, doesn't it?”

For a few moments she said nothing. I was already coming down from wherever the hell I'd been and feeling sick to my stomach. My head hurt. My body hurt, and my
heart
hurt.

“I can't believe that after everything,” she whispered, and her voice broke, “after Baton Rouge, you can be like this.” She wiped at her eyes. “What did I do?”

I needed to make her understand.

“You didn't do anything. It's not you, Everly. It's me. It will always be me. Don't you get it?”

BOOK: Some Kind of Normal
13.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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