He stood in the doorway, hands in pockets… Awkward. She stared at him. Question hanging in the air: “Have you replaced all the shit I broke?”
“It’s a work in progress,” She said distantly, “Had to pawn what you didn’t break. Well… I didn’t have to…” I just wanted to.
“I’m sorry I broke everything,” King murmured, haunting her doorframe, still. She spat back at him quickly and bluntly, “I sort of doubt that.”
King blinked slowly, murmuring a dull, “oh, ok.”
It had been a rough 24 hours since he had deleted her number from his phone. He was so tired, and hungover, and… now he was here, doing this. On the advice of a woman who despised him. He should have known it wouldn’t work out.
“Well I came to give you some money,” He said, mustering up all the energy he could just to sound like a gruff asshole, “Since I broke all your shit and all… but if you don’t believe me…” It was a bluff, the kind that used to be playful. All it earned him was a look of exasperation.
“Is that why you’re here?” She implored, “I told you it was fine. You’ve broken everything you could; now you’re just dragging it out.”
What? “What am I dragging out, Ode?” He asked, “I just wanted to give you something to compensate.”
“If you wanted to comp me, you should have left your money in your bank account,” She countered, “What’s the point in giving it to me now?”
“That I chose to?” King offered quickly. He felt like it was important that he would choose to… that he had the morality in him… But Odette didn’t seem to understand.
“Of course.” Her words flitted from her mouth, “Fine. Do what you want—never stopped you before.” King screwed his eyes shut to stop himself from interrupting her. He breathed.
“Y’know,” He said shakily, “If you had even once told me you expected me to change… we wouldn’t be here.”
“I don't expect you to change.” She corrected him, “Doesn't make it any less exhausting.”
King felt a pain in his chest, “Then what was all this?” He asked, “Just… you waiting to get bored?” He couldn’t breathe, was that really all…?
“Nah,” She answered with a indifference that was almost painful to the man, “You're still fun to be around. Everything else just got too... Annoying.”
He blinked, being reduced to his entertainment value… he wasn’t shocked, but it did hurt. “Everything else…?” He asked, confused.
She smiled coldly, “You're a ticking time bomb.” She stated, shifting her stance to be a little more closed off, “I'm not qualified to handle you. Sorry.”
He swallowed hard, her words impacting him with terrible force. He stared through her, trying not to feel... trying to find something to say that wasn’t 'why are you doing this'. It would be a pointless question. She just explained herself, after all.
“I th—“ He stopped to breathe, finding it increasingly difficult to do so past the pain in his throat, “I guess I thought you were different.”
Odette looked away from him awkwardly, grimacing slightly… that look… “Different? I'm one of a kind—and so are you. That doesn't make it any easier.” She said it all with a shrug, a noncommittal gesture for all the pain he was feeling—that she was trying to ignore, “So... Don't look at me like that. Like I just betrayed you.”
“Betrayed me…” He started, realizing what it was he was feeling all at once, “That’s exactly what you did!” He can feel tears forming, he stops everything to try to get ahold of himself. He shakes his head and squeezes his eyes shut; opening them wide and inhaling after a moment. He was doing his best to be calm. No one listens when you're angry, King. No one cares when you're angry.
“You made me feel like there was someone for me…” He started, tempering his anger into a steady flow of words, “You let me believe in you; and then you got bored, or annoyed, or whatever the FUCK it is that you got… and you fucking dropped my ass.” He stares hard at her, brows furrowed and eyes glassy—well one of them was real glass, so, bad metaphor; tearful, “And now I’m sitting here realizing how fucking stupid it was to think anyone could put up with me—could...” He stopped to swallow the lump in his throat, his throat ached, his eyes burned… he hated these feelings so much…
“…could stand beside me.”
She glanced towards him slowly, sighing through her nose. “Look, I don’t want to babysit you, King. And, I don’t want to enable you either, I…” She let out another sigh, “I’m just a hacker working in a coffee shop, man.”
“You were fucking GREAT; don’t get me wrong, and hey! If this was different I’d be down for another night or two. But… it isn’t different. It’s kinda… more than I can handle as it is, and… And I can’t…” She struggled, shoving her hands into her pockets and hunching over, “I mean, well…”
“I wish it had worked out too, King. I really do. I don’t think I could like anyone as much as you.”
King had lost track of reality sometime after “babysit”; his thoughts were racing. All he'd ever been to anyone was something to look out for, look after, to control. It was always assumed that he'd be the way he was, and no one had ever fucking stopped him. It was unfair but, who was he to complain when he get most of the "benefit" anyway…? He got what he wanted, sure… but he didn’t get what he needed. A tear escaped his eye and he blinked it away, staring at his feet as he did. You wished it had worked out... you just didnt want to have to try...
“I don’t think I'll ever like anyone again.” He murmured, “Thanks for the reminder.”
A silence overtook them. Odette pressed her lips into a flat line before she moved them to speak, “Don’t be so melodramatic,” She eked out, “I just wasn’t as good for you as you thought.”
His mouth twisted into a smile. Melodramatic, have you fucking met me? He laughed. Melodramatic… He was still crying, shoulders shaking with pain and desperate laughter that only reinforced her observation. Melodramatic. He was always playing into peoples expectations, wasn’t he?
“No no, Ode,” He choked, “I’ll be as melodramatic as I want.” He said the word almost viciously. He pinched the bridge of his nose and dug his finger into the tearduct of his working eye (he didn’t even have a working lacrimal gland on the other side, how fucking grotesque.) to stem the flow of tears, wretched smile still splayed over his lips.
“You weren’t good for me, you’re right.” He conceded, removing his hand to look at her, “You were just a breath of air in a life of drowning. I was just relieved, and I was hoping it’d last forev—for longer…”
He was crying.
Oh no, he was legitimately crying! The realization dawned on Odette maybe a little later than it should have. If she could be honest, she'd just drag his face to her shoulder and hide this from the rest of the world—because she was the only one privy to this. Her wings fluttered uncomfortably, “Oh, King…” She exhaled; she wanted to tell him not to say things like that. He looked so... sad, “Forever?”
Why was that what she decided to say!? Goddamnit—“I'm sorry.”
Shit, shitshithshit… He shut his eyes tightly and his shoulders tensed painfully. Why did she have to say it? Why was she apologizing now!? Why PITY, FUCK—“ITS FINE,” He asserted loudly through gritted teeth; he tried to relax himself, he tried pulling his shoulders down, lowering his voice... he couldn’t stop the shaking, or the crying. God this was fucking awful. “I'm ... I'm fine,” He managed before tumbling into a nervous tirade, “I'll be fine I'm sorry I showed up, it was fucking selfish, this whole thing is stupid j-just take my fucking money and you'll never see me again,” He stammers as he tosses a roll of money at her feet, hoping that while she’s picking it up he can just disappear and never come back.
Despite not flinching when he raised his voice and merely staring as he spoke; It sort of stung, considering that was precisely what she avoided so much of the time. King was so... selfish, yes.
“You will be fine,” she assured him firmly, kneeling to pick up the money, “and I didn't want you to give me anything, King. Kind of makes it hard to forget.”
She tossed the roll between her hands thoughtfully. “... Okay. Thank you.”
He backed away from her with careful steps, not knowing where to go. He was crying and he didn’t want anyone to see. He didn’t know how to recover, he didn’t know what he wanted, or what to do...
“Forget…” He repeated, “Forget... okay. You're... welcome…”
He turned quickly and made for the exit, shoulders tense again, forget forget forget…
She stared down at the wad of cash in her hand; weighing the words King said more than the money if she was honest (she was never honest).
“... Hm... Bye, King.”
It felt heavy.
It was a week later that he saw her again.
It hadn't been intentional, it was probably around 9pm and he was in the drive through of sawsbucks when he turned to get his coffee and she was just… staring at him. He stared back.
They held eachothers gaze silently for, shit, who knows how long it actually was. Felt like a fucking hour to King. An hour of him wondering why the fuck she was working these hours and whether or not she thought he was stalking her. He wasnt. He really wasnt… just his fucking luck though wasnt it?
He was the first to speak, “I…” Her gaze turned, somehow.
And suddenly he was nervous, “I’M NOT HERE FOR YOU, OKAY?” He practically yelled and he floored it like a madman, over the curb and into traffic. Wow what an idiot.
Something about seeing him again desensitized her to the vehicular carnage she’d witnessed. She simply leaned out the window, waving the drink she’d had prepared for him, “YOU FORGOT YOUR FUCKING COFFEE, YOU STUPID DINOSAUR.” She announced.
He pried himself from his truck, blood running down his face, his expression entirely fed up. He looked in her direction, “WHAT’S THAT?” He asked sarcastically, “I CAN’T FUCKING HEAR YOU WITH BLOOD IN MY EARS, AIRPLANE LOOKIN BITCH.”
She scoffed, “Bleeding from the ears smfh--YOUR COFFEE, DUMBASS.” She reiterated, her eyes narrowed, “WAIT WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU CALL ME…? We talkin jet plane or cargo--Y’KNOW WHAT NEVER MIND THAT COME GET YOUR COFFEE.”
King finally had himself fully removed from his truck by the time she’d finished her demand, he swaggered over to her and snatched the coffee from her hand, drinking it furiously. Ode gives him a look and he shoots one right back. “You can still get burned, you fucking moron.” She scolded.
“I care so little, Ode,” He said, drinking the hot beverage indifferently, “I’m probably dying right now. Like… this very fucking moment.”
As the reality of the situation finally dawned on Odette and she realised she should be calling an ambulance, King’s eyes narrowed, he took the lid off his coffee and stared at it.
“You forgot the fucking creamer.” He said derisively.
“Wow, yelp is gonna love this. “Barista caused a fatal traffic accident and forgot the creamer. 0/10.” Hows that sound?”
Odette scowled as she held the phone to her ear, “Motherfucker if you don’t die I’m going to kill yo--HELLO? HELLO HI, MY HU--EX BOYFRIEND just crashed his truck like a DUMBASS… and uh, needs some medical attention or some shit…” She was not adept at making emergency calls. Decidedly. As in, decided by King, who tagged a derisive “~or some shit~” to the end of her call. He really hoped they heard it. He sipped his creamer-less coffee as cynically as possible for someone suffering internal bleeding.
“Yeah. BECAUSE YOU SEEM TO BE MADE OF IT!” He yelled, holding her arms out as one does when administering a sick burn. She dropped her phone. “Shit, my phone.”
King practically barked in laughter, “Ahahaha, dumbass!” He said as she practically climbed out the window to get her phone, issuing him an embarrassed “shut the fuck up”. King leaned his head back and gargled a mixture of blood and coffee in his throat before swallowing it and giving her a look, “Yeah good one, Ode. Tell the dying guy to shut up.”
“If I lose momentum here I might really die. We just don't know, Ode.”
He stopped for a second, remembering his truck, and the accident he just stumbled away from, “Wonder how everyone else is doing, actually…” He turned to look, just in time for an explosion to burst to life, “Wow.”
Ode, previously threatening to punch King in his pretty, bloody face, stopped mid sentence to stare, “Oh, cool…”
Not one to miss a compliment King tilted his head and mocked the shit out of her, “My face, pretty. Right.” He said, blowing a raspberry at her. He was sure he looked fucking stellar at the moment.
“Don't brush off my opinions you ‘barney lookin motherfucker’,” She spat back, “wait… this… IS LITERALLY ALL YOUR FAULT.” She bleated, motioning to the explosion.
“You’re right, it totally is. Wow.” King blinked, “Arceus did not take the wheel, wooow…”
“What a bitch… Arceus…” He continued in the silence.
“I dont know why you’d realistically expect that to happen, have you read his twitter? I don't think he can even drive.” Ode gossiped.
King laughed weakly and let his body fall backwards onto the pavement, he was getting tired. Odette shook him, “Bitch you don't even know Rest, get up,” She urged.
“Nope, sittin’ this one out. Telle Odette I love her.” He grumbled, screwing his eyes shut and swatting at her. She groaned, “I AM ODETTE YOU SPACEY FUCK,” She yelled, shaking him again, “Now get up before I eat that glass eye of yours like a fucking crow.”
“Do it though,” He murmured, smile on his face, “That’d be fuckin gnarly.”
“You--maybe it would, yeah…” She blinked and mulled it over, “WAIT C’mon I thought i was supposed to die first!” She urged, still trying to get him to at least open his eyes.
“Nah,” King groaned, “I’ve had one foot in the grave since I was like… 15. S’fine.”
“Its not fine!” Ode yelled, “This is so stupid… I don't want you to die.” She pouted, and not one of those kitschy stupid pouts, she was just… pouting. IT SOUNDS CLICHE, but whever.
King didn't seem to know or care how serious she was, because his only response was to offer a nonchalant, “sucks…”
“For once in your life can you just listen to me? I fucking love you you literal PIECE OF SHIT…” She yelled, frustrated with his unresponsiveness.
He snorted, unable to turn down an opportunity for grammar fuckery, “Shit lover.” He declared, tagging on a much softer, “I love you, too.”
Ode shook her head, “Yeah I’m awful.” She conceded, misty eyed and really fucking annoyed, “Is this your way of getting back at me, King? You trying to make me cry?”
“Just trying to figure out why it feels like I’m drowning, I don’t really want you crying…” He offered, somehow as comfort. At least he seemed lucid.
“Good, good…” She breathed, desperate, “I’m so sorry, please dont die. Please just wait with me, help will be here soon.” King rolled his head to one side, “Try to. All I can promise.”
She all but ripped her mask off, crushing her face into his chest, “Okay,” She cried into his chest, the sound muffled and faraway to King’s ears. He tangled his hands into her hair and focused on breathing. Focused on the heartbeat he knew she was listening to.
The EMTs arrived on the scene and, at first, refused to help him.
Odette was furious, her wings jittering and her entire being sharp edges defying you to touch her. She had to threaten to kill someone before they would touch King.
“This is such a waste of resources,” One of them said, administering an antidote to herself before returning to the task of stabilising the unconscious man.
“You’re a waste of fucking resources,” Odette snarled.
He had a concussion and internal bleeding, which apparently meant they needed to call a special surgeon to fix whatever the hell went wrong in his guts, awesome. He could be there in 4 hours, they needed to keep him alive for 4 hours before any real help was even a slight possibility.
“You said he was your ex on the phone,” One of the EMT’s mentioned to her, her gaze turned on him almost violently, “D-do you want to ride with him?”