New things were put into place.
I was never to be left alone again. While Bekah was asleep, I was with Job and Anton. When I was at school that was fine, but after school, I would go to the Art Department and wait in Bekah’s labs.
She was an art student so she had to do twice the work load. She had her classes during the day and after her school day was over, she had to do that many hours a day of lab work, working on her art projects. During these, I would wait in the art room with her and read, or do homework, or sulk.
When she went to work, I came with her. She worked after the place had shut down, so I came in and hung out in her office. Took naps in the chair she had in there, or went to the conference room to watch TV. I had someone with me all the time because I could not trust myself to keep living.
Assassin was suicidal now. That thought should send a shiver up your spine. The alter who had been born to kill was now searching for a reason not to kill himself. He knew every place to cut. He knew how to bleed himself quickly and as he watched his world slowly decay, he had to admit to himself one horrible truth.
Assassin was not a killer. He was a failure. He had his opportunity and he had flinched. He had hesitated. His entire identity was up for grabs now. There was nothing left for him to hold onto.
It would be so many years before he was okay again. Almost a decade before he had forgiven himself for that. But that story is next. We will get there. We will get to the one who pulled Assassin out of his hole. Be patient.
Well, the hospital had found a number of things alarming. Top most of them was my thyroid. They said the caffeine in the No Doz had metabolized way too fast. That the heart rate I was left with was higher than it should be, and there were a few other signs that I was suffering from hyperthyroidism. They set up an appointment to see a specialist and when I got there, I got alarming news.
The doctor told me that he would treat with Radioactive Iodine. It was a drink that was the size of a shot. I would take it, and it was radioactive and would attack the thyroid and shut it down. He said that a second drink would be needed to kick the thyroid back on and if it wasn’t taken in time that my thyroid would never recover. He then told me, even if it was taken at the right time there was still a 50% chance that the thyroid would never recover.
I asked him if there was any other way, and he said that with a case as severe as mine, he had no other options.
This is how severe my case was.
He sent me to get tested and they brought me before a machine. It was about the size of an industrial printer with a large mechanical arm that came off of it. At the end of the arm was a thing that looked like a can of soup. It was a little bigger than a can of soup, but not much and they lined it up with my throat. The woman working the machine told me that she would push this button she was in front of and they would time the response. As soon as it was done, it would let off a beep. The time that it took to measure was the mark of the problem.
She said that if it took less than a minute to ding at us that my thyroid would be in trouble. Any more than that and she would not be worried.
She pushed the button and it dinged. Instantly. She shook her head and worked a few other buttons before she looked up at me. “My machine is on the fritz,” she said. “Let me try that again.” She pushed the button and it beeped again. Instantly.
She told me that she needed to recalibrate the machine and I would have to wait. I sat in the waiting room for an hour while she worked on her machine then she called me back in. She apologized profusely and told me she had fixed the problem. She pointed the can at my throat again and she pushed the button.
She asked me to sit down.
They gave me the drink and I looked at the doctor. “Radioactive, huh?” I said. “Am I gonna get cancer?”
“No, you will be fine. You will not glow green or anything like that. Just don’t let yourself be around any kids. The radioactive levels are low enough that you won’t be effected, but smaller things might be.”
“What about puppies?” Bekah asked.
“Not a good idea to be around puppies.”
A few hours later, we are both over at Job’s. At this point all he knows about Bekah is that I left Sapphire for Bekah, and Job and Sapphire were friends. Now, Bekah is in his house giving him rules.
“If he is going to stay with you, you need to promise me that you will not leave him alone. Don’t let him sit by himself,” she said. “He is still dealing with suicidal thoughts and he is working on it in therapy, but we are not around it yet. Don’t leave him alone. Not for a minute.”
“He can sleep while I’m at work. Go to school while I am asleep and we will be fine,” Job said.
“I want to talk to him every day at ten o’clock at night. Have him here in front of the phone.”
“Isn’t he an adult? Can he be having this conversation with me himself?” Job said.
“He is not himself lately. He has been through an event and he is distracted. He needs help. You are his friend. Can I count on you?” Bekah said.
“Yeah, I’m down. Friends ’til death. I’ll take a bullet for this muthafucker.” He pounded his chest with his fist. “We are cool.”
I kissed her. I said goodbye. I talked to her every day at ten. When I saw her next, I was breaking up with her. To this day, I am not exactly sure what happened during that time. It was two weeks before I could go back home because of the iodine. By then I was gone. By then it was all over.
I’m pretty sure I can retrace my steps here, and now and find out what happened. But first we have to talk about the Mob.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, I had Creative Writing 2 and after class Siren and I would go to the Student Union and get lunch. We talked about everything and she did a lot of listening. Soon, she wanted to meet up at George’s cafe and hang out, do homework, and introduce me to her friends. So, one day after my ten o’clock call, I called Siren and off we went.
When I walked into George’s, I fell back into the place.
There is a vibe there. A kind of fun disregard. It is the kind of place you can’t take seriously. The food is good, but you know it’s too greasy. Everything is questionable. The soda has a slight film on it from the glass still being dirty. The ashtrays never seem clean. The bathroom is a disaster and the general atmosphere is a kind of “Happy Fuck You Day.” It brings out the slob in you. It brings out the fuck you in a person. George’s is a restaurant for giving up in. And the moment I walked in, I felt like breaking.
I wanted to cuss. I wanted to smoke. I wanted to tell filthy jokes and I wanted to be wrong.
Shadow came out fast and when he met her friends, he was funny and dangerous. He was accepted as much as anyone ever is by that crew.
There was Mash, she was a sexy blonde with a lot of attitude. The kind of girl that would smack you for looking at her. She had this theory that men could only look at her when she wanted them to. Anything else was assault. She was loud and bitchy but beautiful and when D met her, she clomped on to him immediately.
See, D was the kind of guy that was good enough for her. Handsome, funny, smart, wealthy. He was dressed well and he was on top. He was what she deserved and she would be with him for a while.
D wanted to be with her a lot in the beginning, and he would spend a lot of time at Job’s house flirting and cuddling with Mash. They would not last. Mash was all drama. When he walked up on her from behind one day at George’s, and heard her talking about how she had gone to see her ex the night before and was going to see him again that night, D just walked away.
When he walked away from her, he walked away from me. He didn’t want to hang out with me anymore. He was the first. Soon all of my friends, except Bekah, would be pushed away either by Siren or by one of her friends.
There was Elana. She had black hair, wide eyes, very pretty, very pissed about almost everything. She would disagree with you just to piss you off. She had an opinion about everything and it was always different from yours. She dated a guy named Dallas that was a bassist for a local punk band. Dallas was such a cool guy. I really hope he got away from Elana.
These three girls ran everything they came in contact with. If they were not better than a thing, then they ridiculed it until they felt like they were. I will call them The Mob.
They used to get dressed up as fancy and as sexy as they could, and go to the club. They would go just to yell at guys for hitting on them, complimenting the way they looked and for offering to buy them drinks. Mash’s favorite thing to say was that she was not dressing up to get gawked at; she was dressing up for herself. Fuck you if you called her beautiful. She was not yours to look at, anyway.
Well, these three girls came over to Job’s house all of the two weeks that I was there. Job developed a crush on Mash right away.
Anton had never been a draw for girls and Job had not had a girlfriend in a long time, so with the sudden influx of women into the house Job began to try to figure out how to make this a permanent thing.
Soon, the conversation would turn to Bekah. She would call and everyone would go quiet. I would go back to talk to her and everyone would whisper about her.
Siren was good at getting people talking about Bekah. She was good at blaming her for things. There were a few of them:
Why had Bekah even called my parents when I got out of the hospital?
Why was Bekah trapping me in her art labs and her office at work, when I should be out with friends enjoying my life?
Why was Bekah not there? This one messed with Shadow because he missed Bekah so much. Why did she not come to visit? Siren would ask where she was and I would tell her that Bekah was at work. A few hours later she wanted to know where she was and I would say she was with the dogs. Siren would tell me that she obviously loved those dogs more than me. I needed someone that made me a priority.
None of these things made any sense. None of these arguments were fact, or even logical but they were mentioned. And everyone in the room agreed. The Mob would amen it. Job would amen it. D was quiet, but he would not fight it. Anton would amen it.
I was then sitting in a room with half a dozen people that were all telling me that Bekah was unhealthy for me.
Guardian was gone. He was broken. He was off burning somewhere. For the entire two weeks Guardian was dazed. And when the topic of Bekah came up, he would hurt.
He had failed her. When he had the opportunity to stand with her against Rose for the last year, he had just let Bekah be silenced. He had not stood up for Bekah’s right to talk. Her right to defend him. He had hobbled her. He had turned on her. And he could not defend it. He could not live with it, and he could do nothing but hurt because of it. The idea of Bekah brought him pain. The thought of going back to the house and being with her was a torture.
Assassin loved Bekah, too. But he was in a corner somewhere alone. His self-loathing was so enormous by this time that it was impossible for him to do anything about it.
Servant had lost his mother in this war. He had been created to serve, love, and protect Rose. Now he knew he could never go back. He had lost the one thing that made him sane, and he knew there was no returning to it. Servant was gone.
The only one holding onto Bekah was Artist, but he was about to be destroyed. He was about to curl up for months. Maybe longer. The dark times were coming. The darkest times of my life. A time when Artist could not save me from the reality of my life.
The Mob showed me a life where I would have people around me. Siren taught me that Bekah was the wrong move. And every alter strong enough to push back against that was destroyed. We had no hope. The end was coming.