❯ Where Will You Go…? – Chapter Two: Celctic Knot ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter Title: Celtic Knot — You’ll see…

Chapter Song: Celtic Knot By: Me (look down for reason why).

Chapter Word Count With Out the Author Note: 6738

With Author Note: 6983

Disclaimer: Don’t own .Hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet or any of the characters associated with it. I own the Nagoya/Misawa family, Jami, Jackie, Jason, and any other’s not in LOTTB.

Notes: Songs I write will be spaced through out the story — you’ll get an example of what I mean in this chapter. Poems will be posted at the end, if a poem is written for the chapter rather than a song.

Since song lyrics are not allowed, I’ll be writing songs or poems of my own to fill the gap. There will be a different song, or poem, for each chapter.

Events may not fit perfectly with lyrics or lines of a poem in the chapter that they go along with.

5,000 words to around 7,000 words will hopefully end up being the average chapter length.

I changed Balmung and Alyssa’s heights because, well, I made a whammo of a mistake when I made him 6,6 and her 6,0. Balmung is now 6,1 and Alyssa is 5,10.

kthnxbai

Chapter Two: Celtic Knot Æ

I woke up up in the morning, feeling as if I were still in the unaware state of mind. The one where everything seems like a haze of misty smoke clouding around your eyes and giving you the sense of calm and peace right before the storm and speeding bullet that is every day life. Yet, it all happens to be the same, yet never boring, to some, and to others, life might be spontaneous and out right boring. Much like dreams. Which sets it into my mind that everything, feelings, events, cause and effects, might derive from dreams.

Something that I’ve never really had; just recurring memories play in my head at night on few occurrences.

I wasn’t expecting my sister or my parents to be awake, so I dressed, brushed my hair, applied eye-liner, then went down the hall to check on my sister to see if she had managed to sneak out of the house like she was always boasting to me that she would be able to do. One way to tell if someone was out at night is to see whether they wore the same night clothes to bed and they were as wrinkled as they should be, see whether any clothes are worn that shouldn’t be, and whether there is anything under the window.

It’s nearly impossible to clean up all the residue under the window when you’re in a hurry to clean up, change and duck in bed before the parents come in case they heard something ‘suspicious’.

And I know my sister; she’s not exactly graceful.

It was only five-thirty and in the dead of winter and a slightly rainy season. Either my sister found something incredibly entertaining to do, does drugs (of which I will kill her for, if I find that she does do drugs), is having sex (I’ll do worse to her than if she does do drugs), or earns money, which I highly doubt, she’d have to be completely insane to be sneaking out in the middle of the night. It’s about ten, twenty degrees colder at night and the winds are more harsh.

Then again, my sister wouldn’t put that into account or even give a damn.

I was kneeling on the ground for about five seconds and determined that she didn’t leave then went down to the kitchen to get a little early breakfast and make coffee for my mother and my sister.

I don’t know why they drink the vile stuff — caffeine makes you more alert but all it does is send your nerves in a jittery fashion and stress your mind more than it can take.

Does nothing to improve your health or your performance ability. Just makes you seemingly more aware — and more than enough times on Anissa’s part — hyper.

After I put the coffee grounds in the white paper cup, then the cup in the coffee maker and pushed the buttons, I sat down at the small kitchen table, legs crossed and leaning my weight on my hands with my elbows on the hard wooden top.

I was still ‘reeling’, as my father would it, from the evening three days before, when I had the pleasure of Balmung accompanying me as I baby sat Shuyin’s four little terrors that seem to be cuter looking than they are.

I didn’t really want him to follow me, talk me into saying things, though it may not have seemed like it to him, he was persuasive in the sense of getting my mouth to work like a gold-fishes without the lack of sound.

After awhile, I figured to go along for the hell of it; what he could lash out at me with didn’t matter. I don’t take what others say to me into heart because frankly, I don’t care. I can probably tell them all about my life, the things I’ve done, and still be treated the same because hell, they think they’re probably being useful by either distracting me or giving me some outlet of my anger that I feel.

And I don’t blame them. Life’s for poking and ogling at those who can probably wipe you out if they actually put up a resistance and retaliate.

Also, pointing behind people’s back and coming up with little false rumors about how this or that happened to said person to make them so strong or so cold or so quiet or so Goth or quite the opposite.

Drugs for the overly happy people who bounce off the ceilings – you get the figurative point.

My mother came in the room at about six o’ five, wearing a thick white robe over some black pajama bottoms and a gray t-shirt with ‘Duran Duran’ printed in various colors. She was a die-hard fan. She headed straight for the coffee maker after pulling out a ceramic coffee cup that Anissa had made for her in third grade and treated herself to the black liquid.

“Get up; that’s my seat. You have to go wake up your sister.”

I stood up without a word or even a glance up at her. I gathered the bite that was left of the jellied piece of toast I had made, put it into my mouth, and headed back down the short hall to the stairs.

“Newspaper’s on the chair opposite you.”

“I don’t need eye-surgery — I can see that.”

“Excuse my false lead assumption. I meant no insult.”

“Just go wake up your sister and get out of my house for school. Your voice is irritating me.”

“All right.”

It’s better to not fight with my mother; she won’t let you leave the house for a month other than for school or for emergencies or for running errands she doesn’t want to do at the moment.

Better to have a quiet morning than one full of shouting. I’m positive a majority of the world agrees with that statement.

I walked up the stairs silently, turned towards my sister’s room, walked in and stood at the side of her bead, looking at the mass of messy chin length blonde hair that was flippy and silvery.

“Anissa, get up, you’re missing The Used on TV. Special Edition, never to be seen again.”

She grumbled for about two seconds before falling deadly silent then suddenly sitting up. Throwing the covers off the bed, swinging her feet to the ground with her eyes wide as her head whipped side to side looking for something of importance.

“Oh, my fucking god, now?” she mumbled loudly, her hands clutching the side of the bed as if desperately, her nails digging into the mattress.

“Yeah, now, at school, in your imagination.”

She turned to me as if suddenly realizing I existed then snarled. “Damn you! Go to hell, that wasn’t funny!” she whined, rolling back into bed.

“I’m sure I will go and meet Satan, Anissa,” I told her, crossing my arms and leaning on the door frame. “But it’s time to get up. School starts in forty.”

“Ten minutes.”

“Now, or I’ll play dad’s role in the desperate morning attack to wake you up.”

“You dump one cup of water over me, I will scream at you till your ears bleed, damn it,” she snapped, hitting the side of her fist on the bed, then sitting up into an lotus style position. “I’m going, I’m going, miss lie-to-me-about-The-Used-to-wake-me-up.”

“Whatever works.”

“So I’ve noticed.”

She pushed me out of the room, hitting the palm of her fist on my back when I told her to not make the morning last, and I went back downstairs to see my father at the stove cooking and my mother reading the newspaper.

“Don’t resort to violence and saying false things to wake your sister up – it’s dishonorable to do so and she’s your sister,” my mother chided in a falsely cheerful tone with a hint of sarcasm in her voice along with a slightly scrunched up face.

“I wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry.” I crossed my arms and leaned against the wall and watched my father chop at some eggs on a pan.

I’m stuck
In this poor excuse;
A single, life whithering mess
Nothing but cry tears
The only ones created from this nothingness

“I’ll be just fine! Pretending I’m not!”

“Mom and dad, they quite don’t understand it! All the kids, they laugh as if they planned it! Why do girls wanna pierce their nose! And walk around in torn pantie-hose, oh yeah!”

I smiled at the two of them, Anissa and Jami, one of her new friends at the school, as they sang two different songs at the same time, creating the sound of a warbled radio station with the dial not quite where it should be. They were arguing over who was the better band; Blink 182 or The Used.

I prefer Blink 182, but then again, no one asked me and if they did, I’d stay out of it, so I walked away before I was consulted to provide the all out truth and opinionatedly prove one wrong and one right.

There was a sort of a picnic table down at the far end of the courtyard, where students have to report in the morning before being allowed to enter the building without an already planned meeting or detention with a teacher, and that’s where I went to sit and watch everyone else.

If you assume I am some sort of stalker, or someone who strives to know everything about reactions and typical personality, I will say this; kindly grow up and learn the world isn’t half as bad as it could be.

I was still looking around when I happened to glance at Balmung, at the other end as he talked to some of his friends, a couple of girls hanging off his arms like new attachments. He was silent but he was looking around and he saw me.

For what must have been a little less than the short time of ten seconds, we just stared, me feeling like I was in a dream state where I only watched — didn’t have any control over my body whatsoever.

When I looked away, my mind was pushed to thinking about the day of the baby-sitting. I believed him, every word, but that didn’t mean I took his words to heart; came to a sudden realization of ‘Oh, I’m not alone! Someone understands my pain! My soul-mate!’ like the simple cliché of stories, and TV shows, and movies always depicts it as.

Then again, that’s fiction.

Figments of our imagination that will never come true.

Sure, he might understand, or it might have all been on a simple whim, luck of the draw. It’s not too far from the Day of the Green, but I don’t believe in luck. Just coincidence.

I heard someone call my name, interrupting my thoughts, and I turned to see the sound of the slightly strange voice, distorted by the intervening voices of other students and turned to look as Cecilia, one of my more mature but childish and brash friends at this school, and also Balmung’s younger half-sister. I dipped my head just enough for her to see, smiled a bit, then raised my hand slightly in acknowledgment and she waved back at me almost too enthusiastically to be human. She turned away to go with another friend, she had all-year soccer practice in the morning, and Balmung came into my sights.

He was looking at me again. Or still, depending on whether or not he looked away. I almost wanted to walk up to him and ask what he found so fascinating. Maybe I was the subject, or victim, of the science project where we chose our subjects and how we go about them.

(Chorus:)
Yet you still stare
And you never look away
Am I so insignificant
Just another of your filthy pawns
Used for whatever you can

But I don’t want to assume anything. I might just be something he wants to find out about merely because of curiosity.

And I looked away.

Balmung came up to me after about more ten minutes of silence on my part and he remained standing, hands tucked in the pockets of his dark and faded blue jeans with a gray hoodie on under a black jacket. His back pack was hanging behind his back on a strap slung over one shoulder.

I stayed still, sitting on the table top with one foot on the seat below and one foot on the edge of the table that I leaned on with my chin on my arm and shrugged with his free shoulder.

He dropped his bag to the bench and sat himself next to me, leaning forward on his elbows with a look of perceptiveness as he scoured the grounds.

I was ready to believe that we were going to have a wordless confrontation when he spoke suddenly.

“I wasn’t lying, you know.”

“I know. Like I said, though, it’s –”

“My guarantee.” He turned to me. “Look, I don’t know whether this is a natural habit or characteristic trait of yours or somehow drilled into you by something or someone of the past, and I’m in no position to assume either, but don’t shrug me off as someone trying to get a cheap thrill. Or trying to befriend you for favors or that everything I say and do is spur of the moment without no lasting truth and feelings.”

“Nothing is ever guarantee, Balmung. Especially something called friendship.”

I won’t delve deep into this subject but friendship has never lasted for me. The moving every six months, or even less than that frequent, has done nothing to help the fact that I don’t trust until I see fit. And my trust is something that can easily be kept because I forgive where most others wouldn’t. Don’t ask me why, it’s something that not even I can let go of or understand. But needless to say, I don’t believe in friends forever, or ‘we’ll always have each other’s back’, and so on and so forth.

“Yeah, well, I’m not guaranteeing friendship, I’m guaranteeing that I won’t say a negative word to you, your friends, or behind anyone’s back. I know you trust me about as much as you trust one of your sister’s little friends, so I don’t need to hear it.”

I looked at him through the corner of my eye, seeing his face turned the opposite direction of me with his jaw clenched tightly. « Well, I’m sorry, but you know, you can never guarantee that you will suddenly turn a new leaf and suddenly go back on your promise. I’m just clarifying that for the record of memories to be forgotten. »

Balmung turned back to me with a smile. Not a big one, the kind everyone else always seems to wear, but the kind where it’s just one corner of the mouth, it reaches the eyes but not drastically and the kind that’s just something to look at and want to capture in one of those Kodak moments on television commercials.

He watched me as I frowned at him, then raised my eye brow slightly and looked up into the sky in front of me.

Sometimes, his stares were unnerving, something of which I didn’t want to feel the burn when it came down to it.

Even as I scowl
Small thoughts of your murder and death
You still talk, as if oblivious
All the glares of distrust gone unknown
And this, my so-called friend, is what’s you’ve seemingly made of us

“Why don’t you ever fight back to your mom or anyone? If someone said half the things people have said to you, I’d probably lash out right back at them. Screw the fact that they might be eight year olds and rat on me.”

I turned away and let out a long, slow breath, then looked at the ground. “To be honest, Balmung,” I sighed, “I really don’t know.”

And it’s true. I assume, judging with the fact that I know myself best, that it’s because if I fight, I usually end up having to duck a punch, or getting hurled a comment I really don’t want to hear. Or, worse but thankfully less common, I end up hurling the comment and, as conceited as this may sound, I know I don’t say very pretty or nice things.

Not curse words — I try to refrain from those when fighting another person, but stuff that really sinks to the heart.

I feel like shit afterwards each time, however.

“Nothing that you can theorize about?” he prodded.

“Habit,” I partly lied.

“Not just ‘I don’t like fighting?’” he slightly smiled. He was leaning closer to me; I’m not sure if it was intentional or not but I didn’t care.

“That, too.”

“Or,” someone interjected, “Maybe you’re just afraid to fight back. You are a small, petite little girl. Pretty and proud, too. You wouldn’t want to get you’re precious feelings hurt or mar your reputation. Who knows what words might make you cry like a little baby.”

Jason. I guess you could call him the ringleader of the little bully group of the school. And guess who the makes up the top two of the list.

Anissa and myself.

I didn’t move from the position I was sitting in and seemingly ignored them until I heard, and felt, him put his foot up on the bench on the other side of the table.

“What do you want now, Jason?” I asked dully, remaining still as he sat on the other side of me and put his hand around my waist.

I could feel him smile as he took my hair in his other hand and brought it to his face to smell it. “Oh, nothing, I just wanted to talk to you, and ask you if you’ve finally stopped being the resident ‘man-hater’ and decided to take me up on the offer to go out with me.”

He was joking. Jason was repulsed by the idea of going out with a goth. He hates anything with black hair, and that wears one item of clothing that is entirely black with an exception for underwear.

But the resident ‘man-hater’ title was indeed mine.

“Really? Then I guess this is a good time to say yes, because you’re just the right guy for me.” I stood up and jumped off the bench and I heard Jason laughing, saying he’d never seen a more suicidal person on earth.

Then I turned to send them impassive glares when I saw Balmung one-handedly shoving Jason off the table while standing up himself.

“Fuck off, Jace. She wouldn’t want to go out with you if she was even the so-called school slut,” he muttered under his breath, just loud enough for me to hear him myself. “She’s not attracted to everything of the opposite sex for just the reason of sex, unlike you.”

Should I be amused, grateful, or turning into a puddle of mush at him defending me?

I’ve never been one to stand around and let someone take the blame or fight my battles and when a guy does, for the reasons of sex, and relationship reasons as well, I find it highly disrespectful. Thanks for the help, really, but thanks a lot for the assuming I can’t handle something.

I snorted aristocratically, rolling my eyes almost as if on autopilot. Shoving my hand inside my black zip up hoodie as I shifted my weight to rest on my right hip and leg, I cocked my head to the side barely noticeably just before turning and walking away.

“I honestly think that you would be letting me alone to deal with the shit that comes my way on my own, and not trying to protect me from it,” I said a little loudly over my shoulder, not turning all the way.

Looking over the shoulder to see if they are looking or listening is a sign of uncertainty or insecureness and I avoid it. All it does is provoke the said reason for looking into doing something more that they find amusing.

It’s only funny the first time; that’s an unwritten rule right there.

I found another seat not too far away and resumed the same position I had taken when first sitting at the table that Jason and his group of followers now resided. After awhile my gaze shifted towards them and he was watching me once more.

I had the sudden temptation to smile at him, wave, then show him a lovely hand gesture that consists only of the center of all the fingers. Otherwise known as the ‘bird’.

I kept my eyes locked with his as the others jeered comments to me and nudged Balmung with their elbows to draw his attention to them as they acted out sex movements.

Bloody hell, it’s the animism age all over again. I won’t put it past anyone if there was a new religion focused on sex alone. (1)

But he never looked away.

(Chorus:)
Yet you still stare
And you never look away
Am I so insignificant
Just another of your filthy pawns
Used for whatever you can

I barely heard him curse to Jason as well as the other boy acting out a sex act, then grab his bag and stride over to me. His expression never changed; the same casual, sure, and slightly smug look.

It was almost easy to see why Anissa wanted to run her fist into his face. But that would be treating others the way I’m treated.

And hurting the older brother of one of our closer friends, though she’d (my friend) probably wish she’d done it herself.

“I’m sorry for being an ass whole and that they are ass wholes and that I even hang out with them,” he growled, tossing his bag onto the table carelessly and standing in profile right to his friends and I. They were throwing up their arms, jaws slightly dropped and looking from Balmung to some other person within their group and muttering amongst themselves.

“Balmung, man, what’s your problem?”

“I need some time off,” he shouted back at them. “I think I need to hang out with non-violent people and someone who doesn’t bully her way.” Balmung lowered his hand from rubbing the back of his neck as Jason took an angry step forward and took an opposing stance to halt the next step.

“I think you need to leave me be. I don’t need companionship; I get by just fine,” I snapped quietly, crossing my arms and looking the opposite direction of him. I was prepared to ignore him and to hear nothing but a small chuckle then silence from him when he completely threw me off after glancing at Jason then sitting next to me.

“What does your mother mean when she says you were made from hate?”

Don’t think about that question. Don’t think about that topic, and don’t ans– “Rape.” God -fucking – damn it. “When she was sixteen, she was rich and a man she turned down attacked her and raped her for it. She had me when she was seventeen and a half.”

I could hear his breath — or lack there of — and the sound of him fiddling with something in his pocket.

“Sweet Jesus,” he whispered, and I could feel him suddenly staring at me with eyes only slightly wider. “What about –”

“He was eighteen when I was born, and he had custody of me, and my younger twin brother, until we were five. Anissa was already born by then and three years old, too young remember life before me, and my father now, he gained custody of me after proving in a case that I was rightfully my mother’s.”

He nodded his head and looked at the ground then up at the sky. “Did you love your father more than your mother? Your biological father, I mean.”

“Yes and no. I can’t really answer that, so I prefer to not try and split myself. I don’t feel like discussing the matter further so, kindly, drop it.”

It’s hard to talk about my father. Ask me about my parents and I’ll speak twice then rebel. My past is not something I like to talk about past the age of six. So I simply won’t unless the questions are reasonable.

We sat in silence for another five minutes onto the list of wordless interactions, I’m sure we’ve just sat and said not a word more than we have talked, and once more he broke the silence.

“Go out with me tonight.”

God, was he ever blunt.

I turned to him nevertheless. Balmung had one foot up on the bench next to mine and was leaning forward with his elbow on his knee. “And why should I do such a thing as that? Especially when you have unbelievable timing.”

“Because one, you had a better time with me than you did Chris when we talked three days before, two, you just recently were dumped by Chris because he thought you were a prude, and three, I don’t doubt that you don’t consider me as perverted and sex hungry as the others,” he said with that smirk that had begun to get on my nerves after a month of seeing it. “And, whether you want to admit it or not, to yourself or to me, you’re more comfortable around me and able to talk without having to rearrange your words — which is something that you wish more people could do.”

It was all familiar.

“I think we’re echoing our conversation from Sunday.”

“Merely trying to just prove a point that I’m convinced you didn’t quite grasp the first time around.”

A challenge? And what ‘point’ hadn’t I grasped that he wanted me to have?

“And if I don’t respond or accept to that challenge,” I interrogated, raising my eyebrow as I turned away to rest my chin in my hand.

“Well, I’ll keep prodding in public.”

Believe it or not, I was considering the idea of spending an hour or more with him while my sister was at a friend’s and mom was home from the day’s business trip to Cheyenne.

But then again, I’ll most likely be asked more questions by him than I’ll ever want to answer.

Go home and do everything my mother says and be scolded for a mistake I didn’t know I’d made, or go with Balmung and attempt to deter him from questions and turn the tables on him.

“If I agree to go, will you let me ask you a question for every question that you ask of me?”

He looked at me, puzzled, out of the corner of my eye and his brow furrowed, as if suddenly rethinking what he was doing. After a moment he responded, “Depending on what they are.”

I looked over at him, and let out a breath.

So secure, overconfident
You see fit to watch me like a hawk
You ward off all; like I’m only yours to play
Setting confusions and delusions deep inside my head
And I comply; Anything, anyone just to get away

“Then, yes.”

He smiled, and crossed his arms, one elbow still on the raised knee. “Right after school, then. Until you decide to go home.” He slung his bag over his shoulder as the bell rang, slung his other arm over my shoulder and leaned down. “And trust me, I will understand if you don’t want to have any contact with your mom and would rather go unknown.”

Then he walked off to join his friends who were calling him.

The god damned bastard. Screw using information that hits at the heart.

Why did I submit myself to talking to him when I knew it would have backfired on me some how? I said much more than I should have… should have been able to.

“…You can’t say something with your heart on your sleeve, not in my world, so you have to disguise it or reword it so it sounds more like a monotonous, robotic response with no true meaning or heart behind it.”

So now he knows.

The day was normal, despite my utter silence in classes and conversations. Nearly every class was simply based reviews of earlier subjects to prepare us for the testing we were to have in the next two weeks, and half the sophomores and juniors were on a field-trip for their Model United Nations extracurricular and history course, which left the ever boastful students.

Again, nothing new, so I wandered mentally over to the subject of the later ‘date’, as Anissa would call it along with all of her friends, with Balmung.

I gathered my stuff at the end of the day, smiling when Anissa came up to me and gave me a bear hug for the hell of it, then left with whichever friend who’s house she was spending the night at this time, and then threw my back pack over my shoulder.

Balmung was waiting by the door on the outside when I walked out and he fell into step with me as I proceeded to ignore him.

I was entirely beginning to rethink the idea of going with him for fear, yes fear, of getting a large earful from my mother when I arrived home later without notifying her of my whereabouts.

But then again, she’d probably take more notice of the fact that both Anissa and I are gone, rather than my absence alone. Pros and Cons aren’t all that helpful.

“You’re free to call it off anytime, if you wish to,” he told me and I could hear him stuffing his hands into his pockets.

It was a predictable habit that I doubt was of sheer urge to protect his fingers from the bitingly cold winds and airs of March Nebraska.

“I’m going — so just don’t forget about our deal to exchange an even amount of questions.”

He moved up a little in front of me and looked down at me with a smile and sparkling eyes. Balmung was amused by it all, and I didn’t blame him nor understand it.

“I won’t and I didn’t.”

“All right.” I looked around. “So where are we going to be going? I prefer nothing fancy and expensive.”

“I was thinking about going to the local coffee shop and just sitting. I’m not fond of loud, large, and crowded places, plus it’s just simple food and coffee. Nothing too special about it, since we’re only going as friend’s, I assume.”

“It’s a bad characteristic to assume, but you are right, nevertheless. I wasn’t planning on anything more than a friendship between us.”

“Neither was I.”

I believed him.

“So, I’ll start off the questions. Here’s a simple and most likely predictable one.” He nodded his head, his arm brushing against my shoulder as he moved to avoid hitting a shorter freshman girl. “Why do you stare?”

I jumped when he laughed after a seconds silence and he kicked at a rock on the ground. “I like what I see sometimes and others it’s merely habit or observation. Curiosity.” He opened the passenger side door of his black Mercedes then shut it behind me when I sat inside then went around to the other side and got in himself.

He was rich, his father got him an expensive car, he lives in a mansion, and half the time, he acts like it. But the other half he acts as if he’s had a hard life where he has to watch his back every second of his life — and to be honest, I don’t have anything to my knowledge to assume anything except the fact that he is rich. Assumption is a bad trait but not even I can help it.

“My turn to ask a question,” Balmung said, turning the key to ignite the engine and pulling out easily. He twisted around and put his right arm on my head rest to look out the back for other drivers and students, then resumed his forward position. “Since we’re starting simple and most likely predictable, as you said, I’ll start off with a question I’m sure some of the school, if not a majority, is wondering about and an inevitable question I’m sure everyone is asked; Why the clothes? Is it for religion, or the stereotypical ‘hide the bad’ or the ‘rebel’ one?” He turned a small grin my way, as if he was ready for a remark that wouldn’t be nice.

“I like them. I have no religion — I don’t worship anything, or go to any churches or practice anything. Whatever I wear, I’ll still be rebellious or not, and what is there to hide? Why hide something people already know? I’ve nothing to hide to begin with.”

I can understand that question; I’ve asked that same question to myself various times and I keep coming to ‘I like them. That’s all.’ Whether it’s the truth, denial, or something my subconscious forks up to prevent me delving deeper and finding a better meaning, I don’t know nor care.

He just nodded and I went on to my next question and when I looked at the digital clock on his radio, it read ‘3:28’.

The next time I looked at the clock, it was in the coffee shop that Balmung had told me we were going to be spending, or wasting, our time together, and it was twenty till seven pm.

“All right, I think I’ve asked about all I’ve wanted to know,” he announced to me only, sitting across from me on the couch on the other side of the small wooden table. I had a slice of bread and a cup of hot chocolate while he had opted for a cup of soda and a small cut of Asiago cheese bread. “but I have one question left and I wanted to save it for last, in case you didn’t want to answer it.”

Balmung waited a moment for my permission and I titled my head to the side, my eyes never leaving his as my face stayed the same.

Seeing my small gesture of acceptance, he set down his soda, shifted his placement on the leather brown couch and leaned forward on his elbows, expression neat and serious. “It’s more of two questions in one, I guess, but, what happened to you when you lived with your father? And what about your brother; where is he?” He lowered his head, a small chuckle escaping him. “All right, not two questions in one, just two questions.”

I pressed my lips together. “My brother lives with an adopted family in Salinas, California. When we were with my father before we were separated, he took care of us. That’s how it started out. When it was late into our three year old lives, he was getting drunk and whatnot more often, then only about 4, or 5 times in our entire life, he took whatever frustration and anger he held out on the two of us. Then, one day when we were about four, he upped and left us for about two weeks then came back perfectly fine. Then that’s when the year long court case deciding who had custody over who began and the judge split us up. My brother to an adopted home and me to my mother, and new adopted father.

“Now, my brother and I still talk, meet up occasionally, mail letters, but he hates father and loves mother, while I love both, if you can believe that. He loves his family, got a good life and everything. He doesn’t regret the decision the judge made. Anissa doesn’t know.”

Balmung smiled lightly, then leaned back after picking his soda up off the table and putting the tip of the straw in his mouth and taking a drink. “It’s strange and interesting — listening to you talk I mean. It’s like you’re telling me someone else’s story. You have an air of indifference when talking about yourself, or anything for that matter, and I don’t think I’ve seen one person able to do that.”

“I am indifferent. It’s my past. There isn’t anything I can do about it except accept it, move on, and maybe recollect a few lessons I’ve learned and use them to my advantage.”

He was about to respond to me after smiling an amused smirk when an unmistakable snort interrupted him.

“So this is where you’ve been! At some hippie coffee drug shop with some high school boy!”

My mother.

No, not now.

“You didn’t even have the responsibility in that pathetic mind of yours to tell me of where you were, and I find you all chummy with a boy I’ll bet you don’t even know the middle name of,” she spat at me, arms crossed as she stood behind the couch I was sitting in.

Before I could stop myself, more out of reaction and habit to directly face her and dignify my posture as she’s scolded me on for many times, I shot up out of my seat, hit the table with the back of my knee, and spilled my cup of hot chocolate.

Great.

“And you’ve even sported a lack of grace and poise and are spilling things every where. This morning you spill water from the cup your sister was going to use to rinse her mouth out and now you’re spilling hot liquid in a public place.”

Oh, god, it must be that dreaded time of the month I hate having more than anything else.

I reached over to the napkin dispenser and pulled out a hand full then moved to wipe up the mess as Balmung did the same.

“No, young man, let her clean up her own mess!”

He shot a glare up at my mother and continued cleaning it. “It’s disrespectful and unorthodox to not lend a hand when you can,” he murmured, more to himself and me than to my mother. But she still heard.

“And look at this! He’s speaking of disrespect when he’s being disrespectful to his elders. You pick out the rebellious bastards, don’t you? You have to have someone who’s commanding and takes control when he fucks you, don’t you?”

The god damned…

“Excuse me, but I am proud to say that I have not even gone on a date with her as more than just friend’s. This is our first time alone without any one else intruding. I am a friend of hers and I ask that you not make assumptions when you’ve no evidence to back it up.”

She sneered, then straightened her posture. “And I see that you’ve finely picked someone who’s an impeccable likeness to your father. He acts much like your father did when he tried to seduce me. I can safely bet that you will be easily fooled again, unlike myself.” Then she turned and left.

I sat back down, crossed my legs, and ran my hand through my hair very briefly, then sighed. I looked up and saw Balmung staring at me.

Only this time, concern and anger clouded his eyes instead of interest, and his lips were slightly twisted in a half scowl of disgust and a frown sympathy.

(Chorus:)
Yet you still stare
And you never look away
Am I so insignificant
Just another of your filthy pawns
Used for whatever you can

After we just stared at each other wordlessly for an indeterminate amount of time, he stood and walked over to my side of the table and wrapped his arms around me. One hand went to my neck, firmly but gently pressing my face to his chest, and the other went around my waist, assuring me he was there.

Just pretend you love me
And I’ll be okay

For a bare second, I wanted to do something I hadn’t done in the company of another since the day my brother left.

I wanted to cry.

Wasn’t this Balmung…?

“It’s okay. She’s just trying to bring you down… But I’m…here.”

Just pretend you love me
And I’ll be okay…

(1) Primitive, unorthodox religion… if I remember correctly.
Tell me what you think of the chapter and the song I wrote.
Searching for a beta for this story, so give me a shout (somehow) if you’d like to do the honors.
-AS

Where Will You Go…? – Observation or Interrogation?