I'm extremely confused as to where I am at first, but then I remember last night.
I've woken on the couch, my stomach towards the cushions. Nawaf is asleep on top of me, well, not anymore. He's getting up off the couch. I turn over on my side and rub my eyes. He's in the same red shirt I gave to him last night to wear to sleep. I watch him walk around to the back of the couch to get his clothes from yesterday. They were folded up and left on the dining table. I sneak a peek of Nawaf lifting the red shirt off his body and changing into his own. He's pale, skinny, and toned, but definitely not anywhere near Zero's build. Whereas Zero is skinny and medium set in the muscles, Nawaf is just skinny. I blush watching Nawaf dress himself. He looks at me and blushes as well. "Stop staring..!" He whines playfully. I giggle and look away. He comes around the couch again and sits in front of me, crossing his legs and smiling right at me. I very shyly look into his brown eyes and smile back. He reaches to my face and brushes my hair away from it. Nawaf struggles to not stutter, but he does anyway when he tells me in a sweet voice, "You're so beautiful, Elizabeth."
Elizabeth? I don't hear that very much from anyone anymore... "Whatever." I chuckle.
"You are." Nawaf says, so straight forward and lovingly. Just by the way he says it, I know he means it. I swear, I don't think I've felt so much love for one person. Silence goes by as we simply sit there in the dim living room, staring into each other's eyes. Soon, Nawaf breaks the quietness and says to me, "You know, Liz..? You don't seem very happy..."
I don't? Well, yeah... I guess I don't seem very happy. I'm not very happy. "...Guess not." I respond.
"Why is that?" Nawaf asks. "Someone as beautiful and as wonderful as you should always be happy."
I simply don't reply. I ponder on my sadness. I try not to. I don't want to. It only reminds me of how Zero despises me and all my flaws and mistakes. It makes me believe that I am a mistake... Especially when I think of my parents. If it weren't for me, my parents probably wouldn't have ended up the way they did. If it weren't for me, Zero wouldn't be so burdened... But is he actually so burdened if he wanted to make me things like the flower ring and buy me things like that cape? Do I just piss him off? Am I a good thing or a bad thing to Zero? Am I a good person or a bad person? I wish I had someone to tell me the answers to questions like these...
"Liz?" Nawaf tries to recapture my attention.
I just shrug.
More empty noise fills the room. I look at the front door once I notice Nawaf is looking at it. I wonder what he is thinking, but I don't have to for very long. He looks at me and asks, "Don't you ever think about leaving?"
Leaving?! How could I leave? Zero would just hunt me down and bring me home! CPS would find me for sure! Running away only means trouble... And God knows I don't need more of that. Not like I have the anti-Christ living with me or whatever. "I'd really rather not." I answer. "Yeah I think about it, but I'm better off living here."
Nawaf takes hold of my hand. "Liz, you and I both know that is complete bull-crap. I've only ever really seen you smile when you're away from Zero. I don't know what he's doing to you to make you so depressed, and you don't have to explain it to me, but you need to get away from him if he's causing you this much sadness!"
"Shh..." I beg him to quiet his voice. I begin to think that Zero is listening... Zero could be using mind control on Nawaf to see how I'm gonna react! Zero could be reading my thoughts right now! Zero might just burn down the house if he sees that I left!
"Liz," Nawaf persists. "Please. We'll go to Hope's. You say she doesn't live far. I am here under the Young Individuals' Program. You can live with Hope until I can get them to accept you as well! I can try to see if I can stay here in the United States! I promise, I will do whatever it takes to make you happy again."
Nawaf is from Saudi Arabia. He got to come visit the United States under permission from his parents and the government. They allow him to stay in his own apartment room as long as he doesn't cause any trouble or breaks the law. It's suppose to be an "educational experience," but Nawaf and I both know this whole visit is simply meant for him to spend all his time with me. They usually don't allow anyone younger than sixteen to live on their own, but since Nawaf has such great grades and such good behavior, they allowed him, as a fourteen year old, to have sixteen year old privileges. His intelligence was always one of many things that I always loved about Nawaf.
Nawaf is convincing, but I still tell him, "Nawaf, you know that's all sounding crazy, right?"
"I don't care." He tells me. "If you want that, I will be sure to make it happen. I want to see all your dreams come true, and we both know you have a lot of them!" He laughs.
I think deeply. I wonder about the outcome. I try to separate reality from fiction. Even with all these doubts, something compels me to reach out and take up Nawaf's hand when he approaches the front door and lays out an open palm to me. Walking out the door, my hand in Nawaf's, I don't look back, but I exhaust my fears. Will Zero care? Will he even notice? What kind of person does it make me that I want to be so far away from someone who tells me he cares about me but then shows me he hates me? Do I hate him? Do I really care about him? Maybe life away from someone so mean and controlling will be a healthy move for me...
Maybe this chance at romance will save me from my sad days...
Maybe I'm doing the right thing.
Maybe I'm not.
"Thank you so much for letting us stay here, Hope." Nawaf says in his adorable Arabian accent. He's always had issues with his T's and R's. "We needed a place to 'escape' to."
I admit to treating Hope like the last resort. I don't really have any current friends that like being around me so much, let alone allowing me to stay at their house on such short notice. I personally cannot stand Hope's house. Her mom never even moves from her bedroom or shows any concern for Hope until Hope is "about to kill herself" or something. The house is trashed. It smells like old beer and dead rats.
We're all sitting together on Hope's stained, dirty, smelly, puke green, fold up couch when Hope looks to Nawaf and smiles saying, "Oh it's no problem! But, like, seriously, I have no idea why you wouldn't wanna spend, like, every minute of your life with Zero. He is seriously so kick-ass." She's wearing fishnet tights, short, faded, blue jean shorts and a tummy showing, low-cut, medium sleeved, see-through, black, shirt.
"If you say so, Hope." I sigh, my chin propped up by my palms. My elbows and knees are supported by each other as I lean over the edge of the nasty couch.
Nawaf scoots towards me and puts a hand on my shoulder. "Liz, please. Tell me what it is about Zero that is making you this sad?"
I get a little frustrated. "Nawaf-- It's just..." I have to exhaust some of my pent up emotion. "...It's just the way he bosses me around. You know..?" Okay that may be a bit revealing.
"Then... Exactly how does he boss you around, Liz?" Nawaf keeps at searching for an answer.
I just remain silent... I want to cry. I don't think I've ever revealed that side of Zero to anyone. I don't know if it's just in his nature or whatever, but ever since I turned about twelve years old, Zero has just gained this creepy atmosphere around him. He's been more touchy-feel-y. He doesn't mind violating my privacy. Sometimes, he acts like it's the most insignificant thing in the world when he walks in on me while I'm completely naked. Other times, he takes advantage of the situation... Of course he's never went so far as to take away my purity or anything of the sort, but he's reached pretty extreme activities... The time he had his teeth digging into my neck while he pulled my hair was a good example of that. When I was twelve and he was eighteen, my parents never cared if he came or went throughout their house. I was usually in my room, either watching MTV or playing on the computer. One night in particular, he simply walked into our house, shut the door, came upstairs, walked into my room, closed the door behind him, and plopped down next to me on his side while I sat on my bed. My bed was just a small mattress on top of another small mattress considering how my parents could never afford actual beds. Zero and I shared some conversation about the reality show I was watching. He used to make smart remarks about it being a Doritos commercial for all the orange skinned people in it. Suddenly, he says, very seductively, "Never tan. Please? For me? Your beautiful, pale skin is priceless." I got weird-ed out at first, but sort of just took it as a joke. Then he sat up, scooting himself as close to me as possible, wrapping his arms around me and smelling my hair. He made a bunch of cliche moaning noises and kept trying to kiss my neck. At this point, I decided to try to move away and refrain from his "affections." This was the scariest part of all parts of all times I think Zero has ever really violated my personal space. Zero turned my shoulder so my stomach met the mattress. He pressed me into the bed with his own body. I struggled to stand again all the while Zero is simply reaching between my legs, petting my inner thighs. Once I managed to elbow him in the face, he backed off and started to bleed from the nose. His nose was extremely sensitive to the touch. I sat up and stared at him, more disgusted than "traumatized." I guess some people handle sexual violation better than others. Zero seemed to snap back to reality and he apologized. I don't know if you wanna call it naivety, but I forgave him almost instantly. I loved him. What made it even more awkward in retrospect was that I claimed and still do claim to love him like my brother. I don't know what to make of Zero. He treats me like a little sister sometimes, and sometimes he treats me like his little punching bag. I may never know exactly why...
I just now realize that Nawaf has yet to receive any kind of respond. How long was I dazing out right then? Nawaf hugs me. "Oh my god..." He says dramatically and in a very grim voice. "I am so sorry, Liz! You don't deserve to be treated like that! No one does!" Wait, what? Deserve what? Does he have mind reading powers?
There is a loud, triplet knock at the door. It's Zero. I can tell. I've been gone for hours. He'll be ready to punch someone's lights out. Probably mine. I fear for my life.
"No! Hope!" I shout impulsively! "Don't open the door! Please!" I get up off the couch, about to make a run for it! Terror has possessed my entire being! Nawaf grabs my arm, trying to keep me under control. At this point, I'm about to flip my shit!
Hope turns the doorknob, and there Zero is, trying to bust his way in through the door. "Hope!" Oh is he panicked and pissed. "Is Liz here?! She left me! She disappeared!" He sounds just as scared as I am, but I'm scared of him!
It's too late to run now. Zero sees me through the crack in the door! Nawaf tries to hold me in place. He is shaking, seeming to be more scared of Zero than I am of him! "Z-Zero..!" Time to formulate a reasoning!
Zero, like a bull with bat wings, slams Hope to the side, storms in through the doorway, thunder included, and reaches out to me! His eyes are wild with rage! His pupils are shrunk to the smallest dilation. He is a monster, and I am about to face the monster's wrath. Will this ruin everything I have with Nawaf? Will I even live pass this?! "Liz!" He screams aloud!
I close my eyes, tuck my face in my arms, and prepare to embrace ultimate pain. Nawaf holds on to my arm, squeezing tight.
A loud cracking noise goes off next to my right ear. Nawaf is no longer holding on to me.
My watering eyes burst open and the whole world seems to go in slow motion as I watch Zero's fist fly to the left. Nawaf's face is bruised up, black and blue. Blood spurts from his nose and mouth. When Nawaf's body and face finally hit the dirty tiled floor, all of my fear is immediately replaced with unconditional rage. Zero is sweating and is still blazing with the need to damage someone's face... And suddenly, so am I.
Like a magnet, my hands find the empty flower vase on the kitchen counter. I raise the object in my hands over Zero's head and let my arms swing it against his face. The glass shatters and tears tiny wounds in Zero's lips, nose and cheeks. Glass pieces fall to the floor and blood spills from Zero's face. Words beyond emotion blaze from my mouth like a dragon's breath in the form of fire.
"YOU BASTARD!" I scream as loud as I possibly can. "YOU SOUL-SUCKING IMBECILE! GO DIE IN HELL! YOU FUCKING DESERVE TO!" It feels so wrong and so good to say these words...
Hope's voice causes a ripple in the madness. "Everyone just shut the hell up and stop what you're doing!" She shouts as loud as she can. "This level of violence is completely stupid!" She's trying really hard to seem like the "responsible adult" she believes she is. "Zero, get up! And Liz, help Nawaf up!"
For some reason, I choose to listen to Hope. She seems to be the only one here with their head on all the way. I go to Nawaf's unconscious body and try to gently smack his face in attempt to wake him up. Blood trickles down his white face from his nose and mouth. Zero is half awake, drunk with pain. His face is flowing with the red liquid, spitting and panting as he reaches for me. "Liz..." He is crying for help. Seeing this, it helps me realize that I too am crying my eyes out.
"That is it!" Hope shouts, snatching up Zero's limp body and placing him against the wall. "Because I seem to be the only person in this whole fucking house with an IQ point, I am not allowing anyone to leave this house until we're all friends again! This is ridiculous!" No shit.
"Hope that's fucking insane!" I scream. "You can't do that! That is illegal!"
She wags her finger in my face. "I don't give a shit, Liz! This is my house! Listen me!"
I whack her finger away from my nose and snarl at her, still defusing from all the rage I just exhausted. In some insane part of my brain, I agree with Hope. Maybe we just need some friendly therapy time to figure out all of our emotions. Obviously, I don't understand Zero as well as I thought I did. I completely thought he was gonna set the whole house on fire. Instead, he only punches Nawaf's lights out. Could this be some evidence of self-control? Hope appeared to have some kind of consideration for someone other than herself. I even learned something new about myself... I have rage... A lot of pent up, fueled, ugly, rage. At this time, Nawaf is who I want to be around... He seems to be the only person making any sense here. Please, God. I can't handle any more surprises.
Night time comes around. I've been napping on the couch all day, trying to get my head clear. Nawaf is awake. Instantly, I want to talk to him. He is extremely groggy. I sit up and try to pull him up to sit up as well. I have to hold him up as support. "Nawaf? Nawaf?" I persist. "Are you okay? Nawaf? Hello?" I try to calm myself down.
His eyes open, one at a time. Orange, dried blood smears stain his face. "L...Liz..?" Oh good. He doesn't have amnesia.
I hug him. I can't hold back from it. "Oh my Jesus Christ, you're okay. You're gonna live."
"My head is pounding..." He moans, holding his head in his palms.
"You don't remember, huh?"
Nawaf groans, "You can try telling me where the heck we are."
"Hope's. We're at Hope's." I tell him. "Remember?"
It takes him a moment. "Oh shit..." There we go. "Oh my god, I remember."
I'm not sure what to say. Sorry? How can I say that? I'm the cause of all this. I can't take it back. Two of the most important people in my life are bleeding from the face. How do I fuck up that badly? I've been in this situation before. A long time ago, I had to call the police on my own parents at age ten. They were brawling on the dining room floor, about to kill each other. My mom was shouting over and over, "Call the police! Call the police!" I did. My dad was bleeding from the neck. My mom has choke marks around her's. CPS started paging us daily... Age thirteen, they interviewed me and my younger sister at the Apartment Complex playground without my parents knowing. Right then, I knew what was about to happen. I ran home with my sister. We told our parents what happened with the case manager at the playground. They looked at each other, and almost instantaneously, they sobered up. My sister went to go live with her friend's family. Me? I had no where to go. I didn't have any real friends... Except for Zero. He offered me a home with him, and I had no choice. In some twisted way, I was excited to go live with Zero. I really loved him and I thought I could be happier with him. The situation now just looks like one big cluster fuck... I'm so confused.
"I'm so sorry..." I tell Nawaf anyway.
No response from Nawaf.
"I always knew Zero was kind of like a control freak but... I never thought he'd go after you. I always thought he'd attack me."
Nawaf shook his head and looked at me. I noticed a red and pink mark just below his chin, where Zero punched him. "It's not your fault I'm such an unlikable person, Liz." Where the hell did that come from?
"Don't even try saying that, Nawaf!" I get angry and grip his hand. "You're an extremely lovable person! Don't try to pull that self pity stuff with me! I won't stand for it!" Ugh, what is all of this emotional stuff coming from my mouth? "You know how much I like you, Nawaf... I'm sure you know..."
Nawaf seems wide awake now. He stares into my eyes, and its suddenly like the world paused. I feel safe again. I feel at home... Blushing like an idiot, he says to me, "L-Liz..? Could I sh-show you something?"
No more surprises please.
Nawaf grasps my hands, looks me straight in the eyes, smiles warmly, and places my hand to his bruised up chin and cheek. I think I'm dreaming as I witness something extraordinary going on with my hand and Nawaf's. Both of our hands begin to glow a bright, icy blue. My jaw hangs open. It looks like something out of the sci-fi movies. I am taken back. I almost feel nauseous. Is this for real? Did someone inject me with something when I was asleep?!
The glow intensifies. Little glowing lines trail Nawaf's face, like the roots beneath a tree. It's a lovely illusion. I'm waiting for Nawaf to tell me this is a prank or a joke. His head tilts all the way back, his back straightens, his eyes roll back... His face and eyes glow bright, bright blue. My hand feels cold and numb, but in a moment, the feeling returns and all is normal again. Nawaf lets loose of my hand and I check my hand, front and back, for any changes or "enchantments." I can't find words to use. "What the-- Wa--When-waaa??"
Nawaf smiles calmly, and I notice that his facial bruises and injuries are completely gone. "Freaky, huh?" Nawaf says.
"Uh, yeah!" I exclaim. "Real fuckin' freaky! Not everyday something like that happens! What was that?!"
"Calm down, first." Nawaf instructs me. "I know. It's scary. But I have a lot of explaining to do..."
And so he begins to explain...
"Okay, so, the thing I just did was just a healing thing... Like a spell or something like that. I can heal people, including myself. I can freeze water, but only very small amounts. I can cause small flurries. But I can't really do anything like freeze the world over or cure cancer. I can only really do things like this if I feel calm, at peace, and relaxed. It just doesn't work like in the video games when I can shoot ice out of my fingertips. Ever since I was a kid, my dad told me things like I was a disgrace and a monster for having these abilities. I don't really know what caused them. I just kind of always knew I had these powers. My sister and brothers really enjoyed these abilities. It was strange enough that I was born in Saudi Arabia: One of the hottest, driest places in the world. But my mother used to explain to me stories of a superhero with the power to freeze his enemies. I used to pretend I was him. One day, I went to show my mom a new 'trick' I learned. I froze a glass of water, solid. She considered my powers a gift. She praised me for them, and with praise, my powers seemed to increase. When I turned about five, that's when my dad started to punish not just me, but my mom as well for encouraging my behavior. My brothers went to the US on the same program I'm on. My sister is still in Saudi Arabia. My mom and dad tried to keep my abilities a complete secret. They tried to pretend it wasn't even there... I remember sneaking my superhero comics to bed sometimes and reading up on them there. They encouraged me to try out new abilities, but they never came... About the same time I assumed that my gift was a curse, my skin began to turn from a chocolate brown to a pasty white. My hair would shed it's black and the hair that grew later on came in baby blue."
I stop him there. "Nawaf, I'm sorry, but everything you're telling me sounds like complete bullshit."
"It does!" Nawaf agrees. "I'm not gonna lie! That's why I never said anything. I knew it would sound dumb. But Liz, I haven't lied to you yet. You're just gonna have to trust me."
I sigh and allow him to continue.
"My dad began to completely ignore me, accusing me of things like I bleached my skin and whatnot, but I don't even know if that's possible! My mom too had to ignore me. I prioritized with school work. By the time I was ten, my skin was completely pinkish, white, as if I was born Irish or Scottish. My hair was cotton candy blue, like I had bleached and dyed it. However, my eyes remained the same chocolate brown. I was, of course, made fun of at school. I was 'white-boy' from then on... I wanted to become an engineer, so I tried to focus on that, but the bullying got worse and worse until I met you. You just showed up in my life one random day as I was surfing the internet. You looked so pretty and you're artwork was so beautiful. You made me feel protected... You allowed me to feel okay with who I was. I didn't wanna bring up my history... I was afraid it would scare you off. But as I showed up in the US, day one, I tried, for the first time in years, to freeze a glass of water. At first I couldn't. Then I remembered your voice from all the times we Skyped and called each other... I felt like I could do anything. I look down at the glass, and the water is completely frozen over."
"And so..." I begin. "You just suddenly got these powers back?"
He nodded and stared at the ruined carpet. "I guess so. I'm just really scared and confused..."
"Well, you're not gonna lose me for having a gift." I say, understandingly. "But seriously, you gotta explain to me why all of this happened. Did your mom take something when she was pregnant with you or something..?"
Nawaf laughed. "No. I don't think so. But I don't think I haven't thought about this before." He begins to explain a little bit more. "If there was something all those comics and cartoon episodes taught me, it was that we are special. We all have a gift. Some more so than others. I truly believe in destiny now that I've met you. I don't know if we'll grow up together and get married, have kids, etcetera... But I do believe that you've given me purpose again. What if I can develop these powers to controlled elements? What if my energy can be transferred into other humans so they can do these things too? The possibilities are endless! But obviously, with any amazing gift comes responsibility... Anyhow, Liz. I believe that there is a higher greatness. It is beyond all religions and all powers. It has no power and all the power in the world. It is universal and fluctuates through all living things... Of course, this is just one of many theories out there, but something tells me I'm right about this."
I summarize his words. "So you're saying there's like, an energy? Like, in humans, animals, plants..."
"Kind of." Says Nawaf. "The sun gives us an energy that helps plants live, and it also causes us to survive the cold. When animals eat the plants, the animals have it. When we eat the animals, we have that energy. But sometimes, there are pot holes in the energy where something is concentrated so sharply, it remains there, like a draining river, and in a hidden hole, somewhere along the river bed, the water stays because it cannot lift from its space. In regular terms, you could think about how sex works: When a man and a woman concentrate the idea, the mental imagery, and the energy, physical imagery, into one, continuous motion... A hole is created in the river bed and water is caught. A pot hole is formed and energy is trapped. Soon, that energy becomes a fetus, then an infant, then a child, then an adult, and now that human being is able to construct more energy. It's one more river bed in a serious of rivers, running water, allowing it to evaporate, and rain again so the energy is recycled."
I am compelled to ask him, "But what about the sperm and egg thing? Isn't it just a chemical reaction?"
"But where does the energy we are supposedly filled with come from?" Nawaf hinted.
I chuckle, thinking deeply and philosophically. "So, where does the freezing and healing power come from?"
Nawaf shrugs. "Could be anything. Maybe all the complaints about how hot Arabia is finally settled into the universe's thoughts and they sent me to cool down the place." He laughs. "Maybe because of all the terrorist stereotyping we get, I was sent to show the world that not all of us 'Arabs' are 'evil.' Maybe my mom was just really thirsty during the time she was pregnant with me and couldn't have any iced water or something..!" We laugh together. "I'm just one man with a thousand theories... I could be wrong. I could be right. Either way, I am the way I am, and there's nothing I can do about it. I can only embrace it, and I choose to use my powers for good."
I smile, feeling entirely enlightened. I have always believed in destiny, and now I believe in it even more. I can make sense of so much now. But it remains to confuse me about Zero's history... If Zero's powers come from his father, Satan, that must mean God is real too. I've seen more works of the devil than I have from angels and/or God. Maybe God gave Nawaf these powers. Maybe God and Satan are just two of a zillion powers in control of this world... My mind is overrun with possibilities at this point. I should be feeling like my entire world is falling apart, but instead, I have never felt more appreciative of life and more at ease in my entire life. I feel like a new chapter has begun. I feel like taking that leap of faith, leaving Zero's house, it was the right thing to do.
"So..." Nawaf begins, scratching the back of his neck. "I guess you don't wanna be with an ice elemental, huh?"
I look at Nawaf, catch his gaze with mine, and embrace him amorously. "What makes you think that?" I whisper into his ear. I feel his arms wrap around me. I feel like I'm drifting away from all reality. I feel higher than a kite. It's not a secure feeling at all. It's exciting. Ominous. Empty. Busy. I feel like something beautiful is going to come from the choices I have made. I can finally say I am really in love for the first time...
"Yo, Liz!" A loud, shrewd voice that belongs to Hope breaks out from no where. I swing my head around to look at Hope from behind the couch and recoil from hugging Nawaf. "Zero is in the backyard. I think you should go talk to him considering you just smashed a glass vase against his face." She tells me.
I nod, kind of feeling fearful. I stand and give a wordless goodbye to Nawaf. Hope points to the sliding glass door that leads to the backyard. The backyard is worse than inside the house. There are hundred of torn open trash bags laying about. Flies are mobbing dead creatures laying out in the dried up grass. The immediate porch is the only thing decently swept up. Under the shade of the porch is a small, round, metal, decorative table. Two matching chairs accompany it. Filling one of the two chairs is a wounded, broken, depressed Zero. He sits with his head in his arms, like he normally does while he stands on the edge of his balcony at home.
I trudge through the trash on the carpet and slide the glass door to the left. Zero's head immediately lifts from his arms. He looks like he'd just seen a ghost. He stands and approaches me frantically. I recoil. He stops. He looks like he's about to cry. I feel like crying too... For a minute or two, we just stand there, not even a foot from each other, trying to figure out what to say. My tears begin to pour when I observe all the bandages on Zero's face. One on his nose. Three along his cheeks and jaw. One on his lip. All of the guilt finally hits... Zero opens his arms reluctantly, gesturing for a hug. I don't hold back from hugging him. I embrace him and try to stop my weeping. Zero's huge, muscly arms nearly crush me. In some weird way, this is us forgiving each other... But I have more to apologize for. I ran away and smashed his face in. Then again, he pushed me away and then punched my crush. Ugh... It's all so fucked up.
"Don't leave me..." Zero's shattered voice whispers in my ear.
What do I say to that? I want to leave. I don't want to live with Zero anymore. I need to move on. I simply say nothing to the broken boy...
"I was so afraid I would never see you again." He continues. "Why did you leave me?"
"I was afraid..." I admit.
"I think I really love Nawaf..." Shouldn't have said that. "I know you don't like him very much... But I was beginning to think if I left you, you would feel less burdened."
Zero squeezes tighter and exhausts a voice of despair. "You idiot, I can't stand life without you! You're my only friend..."
Bullshit. "Zero, you can survive without me. You say you love me, then you beat me up." I remove myself from the hug.
Looking into his blood-shot eyes, I feel like my world is beginning to crumble again. He tries to shout but only ruptures his own voice. "I don't mean to Liz! I don't know what to do with myself! I just get so frustrated with life that I need to take it out on something or someone..!"
"That doesn't make it okay to take it out on me!" I shout back.
Zero breaks down, crying. He sits in the chair, sobbing like a child, hiccuping. "Jesus Christ, Liz, I'm so fucking sorry..."
He's sorry? Like hell he is. "If you were really sorry, you wouldn't do the shit you do."
"I said I was fucking sorry, okay!?" His voice booms suddenly. "I can't take any of it back... I really care about you. Trust me, I do... It's just..." He goes quiet.
I sit down in the other chair and grasp his hand from across the table. "Zero..." I try to begin to explain myself. "I can't remain the way I am... I need to progress in life. I don't even go to school anymore. I'm thirteen and don't even go to school. Don't you think that's a bad thing?"
He nods, his face in his arms again. "I know... I just... I want to... I can't..." Oh just spit it out already. "You're the only thing in life I really care about. I know it sounds like some game to get you to come home with me, but I won't make you. I just need you to know I'm fucked up, and I can't help it... And I'm sorry."
Zero's words pull at my heart strings. I can't help but feel I'm suppose to forgive him... I'm weak. "I forgive you, Zero... But you know I'm not coming back with you."
He sniffles and nods his head. For once in my life, I understand him. I understand Zero. Maybe I won't be able to understand what emotion he is feeling exactly, but I know that he is trying to overcome a personal flaw of his. We all come with flaws. No one is perfect. Some of us just have fewer flaws than others. I'm fortunate enough to be so young and grasp the concept of making mistakes and recovering from them. Not even an adult yet and I've had to call the police three times, make huge life altering decisions, run from the cops, mend a broken heart that's not mine, fallen in love... I wonder what else is in store for me as my life goes on. I take a good look at Zero, dwelling in silence. We both lay our heads down on our arms and stare into each other's eyes. I swim in his green iris... I start thinking about all the shit Zero has been through and done. Once upon a time, he was such a care-free child. What happened? Time happened... Something has been eating Zero alive since his childhood. Maybe it was watching his mother be raped and whipped to death. Maybe it was running away from his father, the devil. It makes me wonder where Zero's destiny stands today. Could his fate as slave to Satan and destroyer of the world still stand? Could the world's existence still be resting on Zero's shoulders? Am I joining hands with the entity of evil? Or am I simply holding the hand of a seriously unfortunate soul..? I have thrown away all of my fortune as a regular human being with all the potential in the world for someone with no chance of happiness or a normal life.
"I'm sorry, Zero." I say without thinking.
Zero cracks a smile. His tears begin to dry. "You are forgiven." My eyes begin to close. I'm tired. The moon is like a lullaby... Zero's voice comes to me again. "What could life had been like?"
"You know..." Zero says. "Don't you ever imagine what life could have been if we never met? You would probably be so happy... Going to school... Falling in love with someone who deserves you and who you deserve. I would probably be dead... The world would be a better place." His words are so quiet and calm... As if he had been thinking about this kind of thing for a long time.
I wonder to myself what life would have been like without Zero. I imagine myself in CPS. I imagine myself taking care of my sister because no one else will. I don't see a happy life at all... I don't see any better for Zero. I decide to myself that I am happy with my life right now. I am happy all of this horrible stuff has happened. If destiny is a real thing like Nawaf and I believe, then I believe that destiny has given me Zero. I'm not sure why, but a force beyond God and Satan is making sure something happens, and is is dependent on the bond between Zero and I. Whatever it is, I am prepared for it. Where ever my destiny wants me to be, I will go, and it is beginning to look like Zero will never leave my side. Zero is not just a person. He's another part of me. His existence is meant to stay with me... As long as I have him and he has me, everything will be okay.
To Zero, I say in my most genuine voice, "You know what, Zero? It would have to had been a completely different world that one of us was without the other, or one of us was a different person."
Zero looks at me with bewildered eyes. "What makes you say that?"
I lock our gazes. "Because in this world, as far as I know, you were made to protect me and I was made to protect you. How do I know that? Because I care about you. A lot."
Zero grins, letting tears of relief flow down his bandaged face. I've never seen him smile like that... I close my eyes, dead tired. I contemplate my own words. That last part about me caring about him... That came out of no where. I wasn't even thinking about it. I ponder just how much I care about Zero. Far into my dreamland, I suddenly confirm all of my emotions. Something deep and instinctual whispers something to me... It feels like some kind of father figure or old friend. Zero's green eyes appear in my mind. They see into my soul and I am exposed like a naked child. I'm embarrassed and frustrated with myself, but I grow weak fighting against the gaze of the man I both fear and love. I give him, allowing everything to reveal it's self... In a sense, you could say I am mentally fighting against something far greater than myself. I am afraid. But ultimately, I am screwed by the truth.
Am I falling in love with Zero?
No... Of course not.
I remain inside a cloud of confusion... Feeling the eternal pain of having what is real force it's self inside my mind. It has to give up sometime.