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Chapter VII

  • Letter 6
  • 888888
  • Life is pretty hard. It's filled with obstacles that I'm going to have to hurdle from. It's also filled with nasty scars that will stick with me forever. You accepted me no matter how damaged I am, and no matter how bitter my perspective is, you still continue to stand by me.
  • They say love is a cure for everything, but I never agreed with that because love is just the anesthetic for everything. And you, Ky, are my anesthesia to the pain that I will go through and the past I have to burden.
  • Why would I ever let you go when if I did, I would just be stuck in the same excruciating process all over again-the difference is, you wouldn't be there to block me from the agony?
  • 888888
  • September 7, 2014. Seventeen-Years-Old.
  • Sam had appeared in the library for their I.T. project, smelling like alcohol and doused with sweat. He trudged straight to the corner and sat down. Eyes pudgy and cheeks stained with dried tears, Kylie turned to him and shut her phone. That was when she noticed the bruises that outlined his elbows and his left cheek. "What happened?" She asked when he stumbled onto his seat. There was a smell of cigarettes around him, but she ignored it. He didn't smoke, so he was probably just hanging around with his other friends. His eyes were wild and glazed over when his hand slammed on the desk, causing her to jump. People craned their neck to see what drama they could whisper about to their friends, and Kylie glared at them. They looked away.
  • "Carlos."
  • Of course it had to be Sam's alcoholic brother. If there was something that could upset him enough to make him drink, it had to be Carlos. Kylie patted his shoulder, "What did he do?"
  • "He was sober. He called the girl he knocked up," he said bitterly. "He wanted her to abort the baby, Ky. Fucker wanted to kill the child just because he won't be man enough to support it. I barged in, of course, punched him in the face. He can't... He can't just fucking-"
  • Sam threw a book the ground, earning a dirty look from the librarian. "He's turning into Dad." His voice trembled as if just one hit would send him into a break-down once more. "I don't-my family's just fucked up."
  • She was silent at first before standing up from her seat and pulling him with her. "Come on, let's go for a walk."
  • His eyes were shut as he struggled to control his breathing. She shot anyone who glanced at them a dirty look before putting an arm around him, "Just keep talking to me," she reasoned, giving him a small smile. "Breathe and talk."
  • Sam's hand shook from her grip and he ran it through his hair, "The only sane one in this family's my mom," he said bitterly once they stepped out of the library. The night air made Kylie shiver and Sam removed his scarf and wrapped it around her neck by instinct. Sam stumbled down the steps and a laugh escaped him. "Fuck, my dad wanted to abort me, you know? Didn't want another fucker running around a house he couldn't afford. Before he left...before he left, I heard him yell at Mom that I should've been rid off before I was even born. No good, crazy son of a bitch."
  • What all of their friends didn't know was that Kylie knew who Sam really was-a broken boy who only dreamed of having his family back; she saw-a little boy who matured too quickly at the age of six and his brother decided to just slack off. Sam had too many burdens to bear. "Well, dad!" Sam yelled, arms held up in the air. "I'm alive, and I hope you go die in a hole!"
  • "You don't mean that," Kylie warned, but he ignored her. Sam jumped on the concrete, flipping off the sky. Rainwater splashed him all over, but he didn't care. He kicked the soiled paper bottle to the street, glaring up at the sky.
  • "I need to stop him." Kylie held his arm and he removed it. "I need to stop Carlos, Ky. You don't understand! I'll pay for the expenses. I'll save up, give them my college savings..."
  • He started to ramble, eyes glistening as another minute pass.
  • She led him to the bench right outside of the library, holding him. No sound escaped her lips. Kylie just didn't know what to say.
  • "She didn't want it. She didn't want to do it. Heard her crying on the phone. He couldn't just be an adult and take responsibility," Sam scowled. "They were together for a year then he dumped her just because he couldn't handle it. The funny thing was, I honestly thought he'd change."
  • They sat there, just staring at the sky. Rain started to fall once again, dampening their hair and clothes, but the pair didn't seem to care. They were quiet, not a word exchanged nor even a glance. And somehow, it was comfortable. The silence was the only comfort they needed. Strangers passed by, looking at them strangely, because who would be sitting there with lightning breaking out of the clouds? Still, they didn't move.
  • "I don't want to be like him. I'll take responsibility. I won't be like dad or Carlos," Sam spat.
  • "You won't."
  • "How can you be sure?"
  • "Because Sam," Kylie tilted her head towards her best friend. "We've known each other since first grade. You're Sam, a guy who doesn't want to see a girl cry and a guy who would accept any punches a girl could give because you didn't want to hit her back. You're also Sam, a guy who listened to too much Taylor Swift songs and the guy who would slam a pie on his face if it meant to make people happy. You'll never be like them."
  • "Carlos was also like that," he pointed out.
  • "Carlos's different. He's perfect. Perfect looks, perfect grades...never let the façade crack. You're not perfect." Kylie grinned. "You've got anger management issues, contemplated suicide when you were eleven-years-old, think that you're a failure every single day even if you're not. The fact is, you're not perfect and you've accepted it and tried all in your power to make a better you. Carlos didn't. He couldn't accept that his life was totally screwed up. And look where he is now."
  • Finally, Sam smiled, nudging her a bit. "You could actually say something inspirational once in a while."
  • She slapped him. "You're pushing it."
  • "But, thank you."
  • "No, thank you," Kylie hugged him, gripping him as if it was worth her life. When he moved uncomfortably, she pulled away. She smiled.
  • They stood up, drenched from the rain.
  • "Mom's going to be pissed at me," she laughed.
  • "I'm in trouble too."
  • Sam winced, a hand rubbing his head. "I'll head back, talk to Carlos and shit."
  • "You won't hit him?" Kylie raised an eyebrow to which he waved his hand dismissively at.
  • "It's as if you don't know me, Ky. I'll be fine."
  • "Don't drink!"
  • He nodded, but there was this indifference to it that made Kylie know that he wasn't listening to any of her words.
  • Whenever Sam broke down, he was fine in the end, as if all his troubles were suddenly solved. But Kylie could tell that Sam wouldn't give up searching for that once happy family.
  • As time went on, Sam still hadd his breakdowns, but he never stopped trying to put the pieces back together.
  • When would it be, Kylie Darthrow wondered as she stared at his retreating figure, the day when Sam couldn't piece himself back together anymore?
  • Because he could only do so much till all the pieces break once and for all.
  • September 15, 2014. Seventeen-Years-Old.
  • Sam wasn't himself the entire week. He was somber, didn't tell the jokes as he usually did. He didn't eat much even when Kylie brought out the cupcakes he had always loved. His face wasn't a memoir filled with expressions anymore but a lonely vague piece of art that every painter would place at the corner of the room because it was never meant to be look at.
  • Sam Kallis wasn't okay.
  • And Kylie was afraid that he might've already cracked.
  • So a few hours of contemplating later, Kylie walked into Sam's house and closed the door, hearing a familiar creaking sound. His house was always more on the classic side. There was a fireplace at the center of everything, a little chandelier that glittered around the room, cream carpet. It was comfy and homey-and as much as Kylie wouldn't admit it, it was better than her place.
  • "Hello?" She called, dark hair swinging from her back. A guy poked out from the counter. His grey eyes were like Sam's, but they were more sunken and bloodshot. He had dark brown hair that swept to his shoulders and a bruise on his right cheek. Kylie hid a smile and walked over to him, putting her hands over the counter. "Carlos. It's good to see you."
  • "Kylie, huh," Even a stranger could tell the brothers were related. They had similar face structures, the same high cheekbones, but there was something about Carlos that made him look gaunter. He looked like a drug addict going through withdrawal. "Haven't seen you in years. You've gotten prettier though-but Sam isn't here. He's gone with Mom to see...I honestly don't know."
  • Kylie shrugged, "I know. I'm not looking for him. I'm looking for you."
  • He smiled and leaned on the wall. "If you're asking for relationship advice, I suck at it. As you can see, I'm in a bit of a predicament. My brother hates me. My girlfriend got pregnant. And you know what? I'm saying all these shit to a teenager who doesn't even know crap about this."
  • "Well, you're going to get a little bit of advice from me," Kylie sat down on the chair and pointed at the seat in front of him. "Go on. Sit."
  • "You know what? I honestly thought you'd be his girlfriend by now. The guy obviously has no skills," Carlos snorted. His hair was greasy, and that was putting it nicely.
  • "He's my friend. Now, shut up."
  • "Oh, demanding. So I'm guessing you're the dominant one in the relationship, eh?"
  • "Why are you asking her for an abortion?" She blurted it out, and then it was quiet.
  • The smirk on his face fell and he looked like he'd been hit with a brick. The tension deepened when Carlos scowled at her. "Now that was low, Kylie," he snapped. "Mind your own business." He stood up, slamming the table.
  • "Are you really going to do it?"
  • Carlos stepped closer till Kylie was a few inches closer from his chest before he leaned down, eyes glazed over like a maniac animal. "You're Sam's best friend, okay? Not my mother. Now, if you're here to try and give me a lecture on human rights you might as well get the hell out of the house."
  • "Why can't you hear me out?" She said, looking defiantly at him. "You're going to do something you'd regret."
  • "Yeah? Well you're asking for something that you'll regret."
  • Carlos was about to turn around and head up the stairs when Kylie yelled, "Sam's wrecked because of you!" He stopped and she took it as a good sign that he wouldn't raise a knife and stab her on the stomach. "Do you know how many times he told me that maybe he should've just been aborted? Do you know how many times he got into a fight in school because of that? Do you even know how fucking broken he is?"
  • He didn't say anything, and she continued.
  • "He is broken. He's just a boy who wants to prove to his father that he shouldn't have said that-that he's a man who will be successful and will make everyone regret it. And then there's you," Kylie spat. "He still believed that you could change, but when he heard you wanting to abort the baby, he broke. Damn it, Carlos! It's like a raped victim hearing that his father raped someone! And that's just shit even for you."
  • There was a pause, and Carlos turned to her, face red as a tomato. "So it's my fault. It's always my damn fault! Sam's depressed? My fault! Mom hasn't been eating? Obviously it's my fault. Kylie being a bitch because she's overstepping her boundaries? Oh I'm just a fucking asshole now!" His nostrils flared as he stomped over to her. "You think you got me all figured out? Well you don't. You really, really don't, Kylie. So please get the hell out of the house."
  • "He doesn't hate you."
  • "What?" Carlos's head snapped up, eyebrows furrowed.
  • "Sam. He doesn't hate you; he just doesn't want you to turn to your dad."
  • That was it. She grasped the door handle and pulled. "But you know what?" She asked, looking at him one last time. "It would've been a whole lot easier if he did. Have a nice life, Carlos."
  • And she slammed the door shut.
  • February 16, 2016. Eighteen-Years-Old.
  • "There's something I haven't told you yet," Kylie said, staring at his clouded oxygen mask. It was bad enough that he didn't, well, couldn't answer, but to have him be there, knowing that there was a chance that he wouldn't be able to see...she wasn't going to think that way. He would live. "I talked to Carlos before he left-it was weird because I don't know why I haven't told you anything. You'd probably be angry that I did it but it was for a good cause...for you to be, you know, you."
  • He laid there, hair tousled and face as pale as a sheet. Even a ghost was no match to the loss of color in his cheeks and ears. The heart monitor still continued to beat normally and she took a deep breath. "I guess after we... you know... started not being friends anymore, I didn't have the time to say it nor did I even have the courage to say it," she let out a dry laugh. "Yeah, you're probably laughing in that sleeping state of yours but it's true. And I haven't said sorry."
  • "You probably won't forgive me immediately...well, you're sleeping so you probably won't, but I'll say them anyway. I'm sorry for leaving when you needed me the most, Sam. I'm sorry that I freaked out and started not seeing you...it's just..."
  • Kylie let out a breathy sigh. "It's just... Sam. You came, lied the crap out of me, started hanging out with the people who you know will probably turn on you if they were given a chance...and finding that out, it was crap. And I'm sorry that I reacted so violently. It's just I hate that I feel like I don't know you anymore, Sammy. I hate it." Her voice cracked in the end.
  • "You fucked things up. I screwed them up even more, and I'm sorry that I can't forgive you yet...not now. And you know what? I understand that we probably won't go back to the way it once was but when you wake up, I'll try my best to get over it and so will you as always. You got that?"
  • She looked around before staring at the clock. Visiting hours were almost over for the day and Kylie blinked. I was actually here this long? She dropped the letters in her bag and stood up, looking at the broken teen lying on the hospital bed.
  • The seventeen-year-old willed back the tears and smiled.
  • And how horrible it felt.
  • Every step she took farther away from him, Kylie could feel her legs wobbling. But somehow, after this visit, the burden was lightened. The fear of seeing him vanished and that doubt in her mind wallowed in the corner of her brain.
  • He's fine.
  • "And I said 'when' seriously. It's not an 'if', Sam so you better wake up. I don't care if you're dreaming about the sexiest model in your house or having tons of cash in your back pocket, you're going to wake up and kick coma to the curve."
  • He didn't answer.