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A Flutter of Wings.

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"I'm only happy when it rains

I'm only happy when it's complicated

And though I know you can't appreciate it

I'm only happy when it rains

 

You know I love it when the news is bad

Why it feels so good to feel so sad?

I'm only happy when it rains."

(Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage)  

***

I've had the week from hell. 

It's also been a week since I've seen Jamie, and that's been on my mind more than it should.

I've felt more lonely than usual, which I didn't realize was possible.

In a way, I guess I was almost grateful for the distractions this week; even if they pushed the brink of my already thin as a thread sanity.

Jamie had messaged me through the week, trying to see each other and it just wasn't possible on my end, I could barely reply to him with everything going on. So he'd opt for late night texting conversations instead, keeping me awake talking about nothing.

It was always random, nothing personal or just shitty jokes, and the lightness of the conversations honestly felt like a relief.

I couldn't tell him why I couldn't see him, I don't even know how I'd begin to explain it. I'm just thankful he didn't turn up unannounced.

John came by on Thursday to pick up Gizmo, after I had spent the night with Jamie on Saturday, and he could tell immediately that I was having one of my bad weeks.

The part I needed a distraction from though, was when John let it slip in casual conversation that Jamie was out on a date the night before.

I'd asked how John's night had been and he had said it was good until he was woken up by Jamie tripping over his own feet and falling into his door with a loud bang at 3am.

He was drunk as a skunk, and John got up to help him to bed.

He was also missing a shoe, apparently. Which they later located in the driveway.

"Must've been a wild night," John had said. "I'm surprised he even made it home though."

I didn't know what reaction to give John, I didn't know what reaction I should even have.

I can't say I was surprised, I mean - to think Jamie would only be focused on me would imply I were something special.

I'm the furthest thing from special.

As soon as he mentioned the date I felt my stomach do the pitfall that happens when you drop suddenly on an amusement ride.

I couldn't really decipher the feeling, I just knew it didn't feel good. After the night I spent with him, my resolve crumbled and I've just given into the fact that I care, a lot. I like him, I like his company and I like how I feel when I'm around him.

So caring about him, I guess, means I care far more about this shit than I should.

I couldn't explain that to John though, I still don't know how to explain what has been going on between Jamie and I. I have to tell him though.

I don't think I'm really in a position to be upset about it. I knew what Jamie was like, and we aren't together; I don't even know if what he does when we aren't together is even any of my business.

I doubt if I went on a date he'd care, seeing as he's so into his ‘no commitment, fuck buddies’ routine.

I guess the only difference is I don't want to go on dates with other people.

Not that I want to go on dates with Jamie.

We're just... I don't know, passing the time with each other.

I'm sure he'll get bored soon enough.

Can I really expect much else?

I know it'll end badly - I warned him that this story ends the same way every time. May as well practice how that's going to feel now, with this whole him going on a date thing.

I no longer think Jamie is intentionally out to hurt me or deceive me, but that's the problem. Sometimes the best intentions can hurt.

Guess I'll just enjoy the small moments of quiet and contentment when I can.

It's not like I'll get to have many more of them.

"How have things been?" Hilda asks, looking at me over the brim of her glasses with a warm smile, where I'm sat flopped against the couch.

It's time for my monthly therapy appointment, and to be honest, I've needed it more than usual after this week.

"Bout' as fun as bungy jumping with a noose, so fantastic," I give an over enthusiastic smile at the end, which makes her warm expression soften into an understanding look.

"How are things with mum?"

I chew on the inside of my cheek, which is beginning to feel like minced meat from the way my teeth have hacked at it running thoughts of Jamie through my head this week.

"She's in the hospital again," I answer, keeping my face and tone blank, stating facts like a reporter on the news.

Same shit, different day really.

Hilda's lips press together in sympathy, and her soothing voice breaks the silence again. "What happened this time?"

I shrug my shoulders, threading my fingers together in my lap and try to recount the last few days of hell that I'm far too numb and exhausted over now to feel much about.

"She got a hold of some of her medication while I was at work. She took far too much, and I didn't know. So it was two days of trying to figure out if she was sick, overdosed on meds or just pretending again. I ended up having to call an ambulance. She really keeps you on your toes."

My mother has a habit of that, you can never tell what's what with her. There's plenty of times she fakes being sick, and she'll tell me to make sure I keep checking on her.

It's hard to decipher from when she is actually sick, because she refuses to let me call a doctor either way. She just keeps saying she needs me to help her.

And then there's the moments where she's abused her medication, which is why I had to take it off her.

It's hard to figure out what's going on with her each time and it has a habit of making you feel crazy, like you can't trust your own judgement.

There's a lot of the boy who cried wolf instances with her, and she lies so frequently you can never really know what's real.

That's the kicker, really. Because whilst I could just ignore her, what happens if it's that one time something is actually wrong? It'll be my fault.

So, I spent those few days trapped in the cycle of panic and helplessness. Nights of no sleep, filled with dread and getting up throughout the night to go check on her.

The days were spent with finding her disoriented and acting like a dementia patient, muttering nonsense and having no clue where she was or what she was doing.

I'm now even more stressed because I had to miss some days at work because of it, and while Charlie was incredibly understanding over my bullshit excuse of being unwell; I now have to worry about how I'm paying bills this month with even less money.

Thankfully she was so out of it, because it meant when I called the ambulance finally they were able to take her; whether she wanted to go or not.

There's been too many times where they've asked her those frustrating competency questions which she can answer perfectly, so they can't force her to go and she tells them to leave.

It's so embarrassing when that happens. I feel like I've wasted their time.

Hilda keeps her empathetic expression, it doesn't look like pity though. Which I appreciate.

"That sounds like it would've been very stressful, and scary to deal with on your own,"  she says, glancing towards her clock and trying to be unnoticeable.

I shrug again, trying not to let the memories sink in of how panicked and helpless I felt; and how I wish someone could have helped me.

No one really understands though. Well, except for Hilda. John tries, but honestly it's so fucking hard for someone not in this situation, that hasn't had my upbringing, to fully grasp.

From an outside perspective they think the answers are so simple.

'Leave your mother'. 'Put her in a home'. 'Ignore her'.

If it were that simple, do you not think I'd have done that already?

"I'm used to it." I say instead, but clear my throat and decide I've had my last week already consumed with this shit; I'd rather not focus on it today.

We're going to have a lot more appointments discussing my mother in the future anyway.

"I wanted to talk about something else today though," I say, leaning forward to rest my elbows on my knees, and my brows twitch in confusion to express how muddled my head feels over it.

Hilda nods in agreement, not pushing it and crosses one leg over the other; folding her hands in her lap with an attentive warm look. "What did you want to talk about?"

I pull my lips to the side in thought, trying to think of how to word it, but decide on asking, "Do you remember me saying I started writing something new in my journal entries? I wrote something other than Gizmo."

"I do."

I lace my fingers tighter together, clearing my throat and shifting in my seat. "Well, they've been about some one , not some thing ."

Hilda's brows lift in surprise, a ghost of a smile playing on her lips that she tries to hide. "And who are they about? Have you met someone new?"

I nod, letting out a heavy breath. "Yeah... He's an old friend of John’s. His name is Jamie. I've pretty much wanted to strangle him since I met him. He was just so fucking frustrating, and persistent, and cocky. He'd always have this dumb fucking smirk on his face and I swear he was like herpes, just couldn't get rid of him. He wouldn't fucking leave me alone."

Hilda coughs into her fist to mask a laugh, but grins at me with her eyes lighting up. "He sounds charming."

I throw my hands out in front of myself, widening my eyes and raising my brows. "He is! That's what was so fucking annoying."

"You used past tense a lot just then, describing what he was like. What is your relationship like with him now?" She asks, catching on immediately.

"I..." I pause trying to think of the right answer, but that's where that confusion comes in. "I don't know. I don't want to strangle him now."

Hilda tilts her head with a thoughtful look, but I catch a glint of excitement in her eyes.

"Are you friends?"

I frown in concentration, twisting my fingers together. "Uh, I don't think so?" 

She nods. "Okay, is it romantic then?"

I concentrate harder and stare at my feet as I try to describe it, feeling that same uncomfortable sensation in my chest as I try and figure it out.

Eventually deciding that romantic isn't the right word either. We aren't romantically involved because that would involve feelings and Jamie has openly said he's just about sex, not romantic relationship.

I think I could be friends with Jamie, that is, before we kissed. That threw that option out the window for me. I don't kiss my friends and I don't fool around with them.

Casual isn't the right word either, because nothing about him feels casual, it's all consuming and intense.

"It's... intimate."

"Uh-huh," Hilda says with her voice kicking up a notch in surprise and understanding. "So you're sleeping together?"

My eyes snap to hers and I shake my head quickly. "No, no we haven't done that. We've done other things... but..." I pause, falling back against the couch and scratching at my forehead with my brows pulled tight together. "I'm pretty sure that's what's going to end up happening"

Hilda is very well aware I haven't been close to anything male since Frank, and also my prior history with men in general.

So, that's why her expression becomes more focused and her tone stays gentle but serious. "That takes an enormous amount of trust for you, considering your past. How are you feeling about that? Do you feel safe with him?"

I think for a moment before I answer, but then just nod, and answer honestly. "I do, feel safe with him in regards to sex. He's actually really wonderful about making sure whatever happens is something I want. I'm used to it but it's nice... it's just really confusing."

"What's confusing about it?" She encourages, keeping her attention fully focused on me.

I fiddle with my fingers, staring at my lap and decide whether I should just say it out loud; if there's one person I trust to talk to about it and give me a logical, rational explanation without their emotions or personal interests clouding it, it's Hilda.

"I like him - I mean, as a person. I like him. I like who he is," I blurt out, trying to figure out my thoughts. "I enjoy his company."

Hilda thinks for a moment, then gives me an understanding nod "Well, that makes perfect sense. We've spoken about how difficult it is for you to form relationships or bonds with people, because for you people have never been safe. You were never shown how to form loving relationships or trust them, so it's understandable that when you meet someone and start to form a connection with them - it can be confusing and unnerving, and it makes sense for your brain to try and figure out a reason for it to be wrong. To protect itself."

I nod in understanding, appreciating how factual that is. I understand facts, not feelings.

"Is he good to you?" She asks, looking curious. "How does he treat you?"

I run my fingers through the front of my hair, sighing and let all the memories flash through my head of moments with him. How those moments made me feel.

"He's really nice to me..." I say in a slow voice, again sounding perplexed by it. "He's kind, and funny. He has this way of making you feel like you're the only person in the room when he talks to you, and it feels the same when he looks at you. He's sweet, when he's not being irritating."

Hilda hums in understanding, and when I look at her I see her suppressing a giddy smile that lights up her eyes.

She composes herself, pushing her glasses up her nose where they've slipped down.

"Well, for most people that would feel really good. However, because for you, your brain developed around situations that were neglectful, unsafe and hurtful, that's what it registers as normal. When you finally encounter a person that isn't like that, it's normal for your brain to set off alarms that that behavior is what is actually unsafe. Because it isn't familiar."

That makes sense.

It's logical.

My brain is just a defective asshole.

"What's concerning you the most at the moment?" Hilda prods further, watching my reactions as I start to fidget more and struggle with the tightening in my chest and stomach, the discomfort.

"... Getting attached to him," I answer, looking to her with an uncertain expression.

The closer you get to someone, the more they can hurt you.

"Does the prospect of that scare you?"

I suck my lower lip under my teeth and chew on it, knotting my fingers together and squeezing to alleviate the pressure in my chest somehow.

I swallow, looking to Hilda and feeling totally helpless, and hate how insecure I sound.

"It fucking terrifies me."

***

The Office literally has a reaction gif for everything lol