Chapter Ten

August sighed deeply. She was tired, and everybody could see it. They'd been shooting the same scene over...and over...and over...and over again for the last two hours. She yawned so deeply that Zac put his drumsticks down and remarked,
"Hey, and wider and we could charge money for people to see Tay stick his head in there for a circus act..."
Ike elbowed him in the ribs, and he shut up quickly. Ike looked at his watch.
"August, I don't blame's late. Are we almost through here?"
Somewhere in the back, behind a camera, came a voice - the director.
"Yeah...just one more. I know...I don't want to put poor August into a coma."
August shrugged, yawned, and went back to what she was doing. If this was the price she had to pay for getting Tay, she was willing to give it up. So be it, she thought weakly. So be it.

In the car, rubbing the back of her neck, she realized that had been a really stupid thing to put her foot down upon.. She ached all over, and all the strain she was taking on was not good for those bruises. She winced to herself when she pressed too hard on the huge bruise [still hidden under concealer] on her neck, and pulled her hand away. If she kept doing that, she'd end up making the damn thing worse. That was just what she needed...Tay rested his hand on top of hers, and she looked at him through sleepy eyes.
"As soon as we get back, I promise you can go straight to bed. We won't keep you up," he said softly. The only response he got was a deep yawn, but the fact that his thought was taken in appreciation was clear. August smiled slightly, then rested her head against the window like she was going to collapse at any given minute. When she did that, Tay noticed the now somewhat evident purplish-blue band on her neck, but didn't say anything. He didn't want to draw attention, and figured she was too tired to want to answer any questions.

"Please just tell me the whole story," Tay begged. August looked up from her notebook with soft, almost pained eyes.
"I told you everything worth knowing, and I figured you wouldn't ask anymore. What caused this sudden wave of interrogation?"
Tay looked at the floor, mad at himself for asking in the first place. "I wanted to know," he started. He wasn't sure how to say this. He thought if he said it wrong, she might start crying, then he'd REALLY be mad at himself. "I was worried. Why won't you trust me?"
August looked up at him, straight into those clear blue eyes that she found tended to cut through her every time she looked. They weren't cutting through her this time. This time they were searching, looking for answers.
"Because the last time I let someone under my skin, into my heart, I lost them. They didn't understand, and I thought they were the only person who would and could listen without judging. I don't want that to happen again. I really blew it, and if I blow it again, I'll probably try to kill myself...again."
(No, I haven't tried it. I've contemplated it, but I haven't tried it. I don't plan on it any time in the near future, either. It gives me the creeps just thinking about it.) She realized how much she'd hurt him when she said that the second after it left her lips. She kicked herself. With deep hurt in his eyes, Tay asked softly,
"Don't you think you can trust me?"
August was ready to take a .45 and blast a hole through her head. She hadn't meant to hurt him. But it had been true...still, she hadn't meant to hurt him like that.
"I'm sorry, Tay...I didn't mean it like that. I know I can trust you...I just...I was just too afraid to try again. I never meant to hurt you...I just didn't know whether I had it in me to try again."
He looked away and bit his lip, afraid to look at her. He wasn't sure what the consequences would be if they made eye contact, but he was sure one of them would crack and start crying.
"I only wanted to know because...because..." he trailed off and mumbled something, something she couldn't hear.
"I'm sorry...what was that?" August asked quietly, afraid of what she was about to hear. Tay looked up at her with quickly filling eyes, and said again, only slightly louder,
"I said, because I care about you. I care about you a lot. More than I thought I did at first, and...and..." He paused, thinking quickly about how to say it. "You mean the world to me, August. I was worried about you."
August sat down on the couch, rubbing at her temples. This was too much for her to handle at once. She collapsed into the cushions, and tried to fight back oncoming tears.
"No way...I can't be hearing this again. Not this again..."
Tay sat down beside her, and wanted to wrap his arms around her in the worst way, but restrained himself. From the way she was talking, he'd probably give her a nervous breakdown if he touched her right now.
"What? You can't be hearing what?" Tay asked gently, now both intrigued, and concerned. August couldn't look at him. She knew if she did, she'd bawl her eyes out.
"Those are the exact same words the last person said. And then he ditched me, and all he'd said, so he could go date a slut and get her pregnant." She finally looked at him, and found that her notions were true. As soon as she set eyes on him, and the look on his face, her eyes welled up to the edge of her eyelids, hanging dangerously close to spilling. She was going to have to let it go this time, because no matter whether she blinked or left it, they'd overfill and the dam would break. Tay closed his eyes for a minute, then opened them again and gazed at her. She wasn't finished.
"You realize, I dreamed for so long that I'd actually meet you and you'd be this understanding with me, and I can't handle it. Wonderful irony."
He thought very carefully about what he was going to say. He WANTED like mad to say he wasn't going to do that, that he loved her, but he had no clue. He didn't want to say something that would totally ruin the relationship between them, and that line from Madeline kept running thourgh his head...'you were my ten thousand roses, and I let you go...' Tay winced to himself.
"August, I won't do that to you. I couldn't do that to you. I...I..." in a tiny voice, finished off with, "I love you."
August jumped when she heard it. Did he say - ? No, he couldn't have, she thought. He can't...I'm ugly, everyone I know hates me...he didn't say it...she glanced at Tay's bright red face, which was getting darker and darker by the minute. That's what cracked her. She sat there one minute, trembling so badly that he could see it from his end of the couch, and biting her lip, then the next thing he knew, she'd buried her face in her hands and started crying. She really couldn't take it. What was worse was the fact that she hadn't cried since she was in the fifth grade, and she thought she'd forgotten how...funny this should be the first thing that started her up again. Tay didn't even bother to think about his actions at this point. Normally, he would have wondered about her reaction, but right now he personally didn't care. He slid over as close as the couch cushions would allow beside her and carefully put his arms around her, letting her cry...August, however, wasn't too proud of herself. She was extremely pissed at herself, to tell the absolute truth. She was quite ready to crawl into a hole and die.
"I'm sure this just made your day," came her soft voice from his shoulder. He smiled slightly, and said quietly, the tears still edging towards spilling from his eyes,
"You couldn't possibly imagine."
The inevitable had to happen, and he was quick to brush the tears away from his eyes, but they kept coming, so he waited for them to cease before wiping the rest of them away. August laid her head on his shoulder, and looked up, not being able to cry anymore. "Oh, I wouldn't say that," he replied. "I'd say we're going to be stuck together for awhile, though. A long while." As he said it, he pulled her into his lap and hugged her, much to her relief. He wasn't mad at her...thank God.

Zac wondered when Tay didn't come back after an hour, but didn't say anything. For all he knew, the two of them were making out on the couch. He wandered out into the hall, and just happened to pass August's room...there was a Do Not Disturb sign on the door, and things started running through Zac's head. All sorts of things. He looked at the door thoughtfully.
"Let's see...heads, they're in the middle of something that's really none of my business, tails, they're getting high from sniffing too much CK..." Zac said to a quarter, more or less. (This would make sense, since Tay wears CKbe, and I wear CKone...too much of it, I'm sure.) He flipped it, and shuddered when it landed on heads. He shuddered, yes, but nevertheless, he went to the door and knocked. (Zac, forgive me! I couldn't bear the thought of Ike doing it! FORGIVE ME, HOLY ONE!!!!) There was a scuffle inside, a thump, a few curses, and Tay opened the door. Zac cleared his throat and looked at Tay's shirt. Tay looked, and cursed under his breath when he noticed his shirt on backwards.
"Shit...what do you want?"
Zac cleared his throat again.
"My innocence," he said quietly, and went to go. Tay grabbed his arm. "You saw, heard, and/or remember nothing. Is that clear, Zac?"
Zac nodded.
"I don't want to remember."

"I can get a job, I can pay the phone bills, I can cut the lawn, cut my hair, cut out my cholesterol, I can work over time, I can work in a mine, I can do it all for you...but I don't want to."

-Bare Naked Ladies, Enid

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Chapter Nine
Chapter Eleven