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could be worse.

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adam sighs as he takes one last drag of his cigarette before stubbing it out on the rusty ash tray against the balcony of lawrence’s - their - apartment. he bounces his leg as he sits back against the old plastic chair placed next to a squeaky metal table which itself is placed just next to the sliding door into the apartment. adam stares at the sliding door, losing track of time, hopefully lawrence will be home from work soon.

 

he pulls himself out of the chair, might as well make himself useful and have a decent - shitty - meal ready for lawrence when he eventually walks into the apartment, hours late as always. he slides the door open, trying not to wince as he attempts to close it, eventually giving up and leaving it half open. if lawrence asks he’ll just say the breeze was nice this evening. as is the breeze every evening, apparently.

 

he walks into the small kitchen and just stands. he forgets what he’s supposed to be doing and it’s another few moments before his brain flicks back on and he moves on autopilot around the kitchen, collecting pans and ingredients for a subpar vegetarian stir-fry. he burns his hand twice on the stove and once while draining the water for the rice, cursing under his breath but steadily emptying the pot. he retrieves two plates from the cupboard, setting them on the table and dishing them both up a few spoons of rice and the stir-fry mix next to it.

 

adam ends up shoving both plates into the fridge, not being able to bring himself to eat it. he’ll eat when lawrence is home. when lawrence is safe and home and alive. he moves out of the kitchen, eyeing the half-open sliding door once more before making his way to the bathroom to begin his nightly routine. wash face, brush teeth, shower, pajamas and then bed. simple and easy. so he’s confused and dazed when he ends up staring at his reflection in the mirror above the sink. just staring. he’s staring like he’s never seen himself before, noticing the heavy bags around his tired eyes with ease.

 

he pulls himself out of his fog a few minutes later. shaking his head a little, he leans down and splashes his face with water, scrubbing under his eyes and holding them there for a few moments until it aches. he runs his hands along the edge of the sink after drying them, thumbing the small chip in the marble from his first night here. he closes his eyes again and carries on with his routine. brushing his teeth, showering, followed by changing into a shirt that’s at least three sizes too big and baggy but soft pajama pants. he tries to be quick, he doesn’t like spending a lot of time in the bathroom, sometimes doing anything to avoid it. he made lawrence buy yellow tinted bulbs and coat the bathroom in dark coloured tile, anything to make him stop comparing it to the bright blue and white grit stained hell he was in. was still in sometimes.

 

adam doesn’t remember tucking himself into bed but it doesn’t matter. it’s been happening a lot recently, well, as recent as almost a year can be. he’ll suddenly become aware of where he is again and not remember what he was doing just before that moment. it scared him at first, but since then he’s just accepted that this is how he is now, he supposes, it could be worse.

 

adam doesn’t know what time lawrence gets home during the night, but he makes him slightly burnt toast and a too-sweet coffee as a silent apology for waking him up again during the night because of a nightmare. he knows that the small looks lawrence keeps throwing his way mean lawrence wants him to talk about it, but adam pretends he doesn’t notice and just wishes him a good day on his way off to work. lawrence leaves the house, gets better - helps other people get better- while adam rots in the apartment day by day, slowly but surely digging himself into a deeper hole. it’ll be fine. he tells himself, it could be worse.