DRAFT SCENE TWELVE
Sean was in the middle of a panic attack by the time he got to his car. His hands shook so much, he scratched the paint on the door trying to get the key in the lock. He crawled into the stale, stuffy air of his 5 year old Honda Civic and collapsed in the driver side seat.
What the fuck did he do? Was Blake dead? Oh fuck… oh, fuck.
Sean panted for air and tried with all his might to care if Blake ended up dead. Blake wasn’t the fucking devil, not really. He just made him want to kill himself far too many times for Sean to be able to count now.
Sean cupped his face in his hands and groaned into the dark of his palms. Fuck him. Fuck him for being right outside his door again. Fuck him for making every step outside his building a fucking nightmare. Fuck him for ever being alive.
The passenger side door clicked opened and Sean jumped and scrambled blindly for the handle to his left. He had the door half way open when he finally looked to the side. He sucked in a nervous breath when he found glowing, predatory eyes framed by wicked curving horns staring at him from the level of the seat.
“Hey, Soot.” Sean closed his door and sank back against the seat. He relaxed despite his rational mind which still wasn’t sold on just how safe Soot was. He just didn’t have it in him to be afraid of the creature, not after he just saved him from Blake. Sean’s strained breathing was a loud wheeze in the enclosed space as the car tilted and Soot crawled up onto the passenger seat. Sean watched him from the corner of his eye, not sure what to say to him. He jolted when Soot’s giant head ended up propped on his lap. Sean stared down, taking in the dangerous curves of his dark horns which were really quick pretty up close. After a moment of hesitation, he let his trembling hand slide down and curl into Soot’s silky fur at his nape. Soot purred and nuzzled against his stomach like an overgrown cat.
“Thank you,” Sean whispered and meant it. “Blake is, well…” Blake was his tormentor and lover. The man Sean wanted to please and never could. The one he gave everything to until there was nothing left for himself. “Blake worked for my father. I fell for him before I even hit high school. I had the worst crush on him for the longest time. I would make such an ass of myself every time the group held a party or Blake was invited to the house. I really thought he was, well, the one. My one.”
Sean sighed dejectedly. “I was stupid. Naive and so fucking lost. Blake was older than me and just looked like he had his life together, you know? When my parents found out I was gay and kicked me out, I, well… I was really fucking dumb.” He thought Blake would take care of him. He wanted him to and Blake didn’t seem to mind. If anything, Blake was very good at making sure Sean never grew the skills needed to stand on his own. “He offered me everything. I never had to ask. He seemed so generous, so caring. And he… well, he liked me. I could tell. He was handsome, brilliant, was a junior at a lawfirm and he loved me. It all just made sense.”
Sean hadn’t realized jumping from his parents house to living with a man who acted like he was his father was so detrimental. Living on TJ’s couch made Sean wish for the easy days of having things handed to him. It wasn’t until months into the relationship with Blake that he saw how it was crippling him, making him soft and reliant. Even then, he hadn’t really cared until Blake wouldn’t let him even talk to his friends. Sean hadn’t seen Blake’s insecurities until the bitter end. He hadn’t wanted to see them.
“He only hit me once. It wasn’t an accident; that’s just the bullshit he tells himself so he can sleep at night. It was quite a hit, though. Knocked me into his antique dinning room set. Bruised me up good and sprained my wrist. Had a concussion, or so the healer said. I don’t really remember it. Funny, I was able to ignore all the other shit, all the weird calls to make sure I was alone, the texts asking me if I was out when he was at work. It got worse when TJ came back into my life. You’d have sworn I was throwing orgies every night or something. Blake was so jealous. He thought because I was younger I was going to sleep around or some shit.” Sean smiled bitterly to himself. Blake was his first and a part of him assumed his last. He just wasn’t that type of guy. He needed to trust someone to let them close physically. At least, so he thought.
He glanced down, taking in the way Soot’s eyes were closed contently as he stroked fingers through his fur from the center of his forehead down to his neck.
“I kicked him out the next day. I got the door locks changed and TJ helped me move all his stuff out of the apartment because I knew I’d never be able to get my name on a lease otherwise without any credit history. I got a new phone number, I deleted him from my life, and I put an add out for a roommate to help me cover the costs. I thought I was finally getting my shit together.” Teases fingers through Soot’s fur and sighs. “Blake was waiting for me one night three months ago. He saw the new add I put out for a roommate and he was out here waiting for me, swearing up and down he was different.” Sean shook his head, his lips twisted in a frown. “Then he told me it never even happened. That I was the crazy one—he got himself a therapist and he agrees that I’m the crazy, stupid child who can’t figure out how to live. He tried to force his way into the building. He was acting crazy, like the night he hit me. It… well, it scared me. I got inside but Blake was out there slamming on the door for hours. Literal hours. Someone called the cops, it turned into this huge thing and I got a restraining order because I was afraid if I didn’t, he’d come back and cause such an uproar that I’d be kicked out.”
“I couldn’t leave the apartment after that. I thought it would go away. I thought if I just gave it some time I’d stop feeling so petrified. I could go down to the gym but I just can’t bring myself to leave the apartment. Every time I think to step outside I know Blake is going to be there. And it’s true, isn’t it? I stepped outside today and there he was, waiting.”
“In some ways, I’m glad he hit me. It woke me the fuck up. I don’t know if anything else would have. I had this fucking ideal in my head of how we were and it didn’t matter how much of a lie it was, I just couldn’t break free of it. He isolated me, paid for everything, and belittled all my attempts to work for myself. He wanted me weak and dependent on him so I’d never leave. Everything I did was wrong in his eyes, unless it was what Blake really wanted. Even then, I still wasn’t allowed to have owned the decision. Blake would always point out how he was the reason I was there. How he taught me what I did know. How I’d be nothing if I left.”
Sean grimaced. “Looks like he was right. My place is trashed, my business is ruined, and I can’t keep my life together for more than a few months at a time. Fuck, I can’t even step out the door without being terrified he’s going to be there waiting. I feel so fucking helpless.” It was more than a feeling, it was who he was. Helpless. “It’s crazy, but I just know if he gets me alone long enough, he’s going to convince me to get back together with him. It would be so easy right now. I have no money, no business, no defenses. I’m worse off now than when I kicked him out and stole that shitty computer of his. If I don’t pay rent, where will I go? How will I survive? I have no degree, no credit history, and the only living soul who can even talk to me for five minutes is TJ. Fuck, I don’t even know when I turned into such a bastard. Was that Blake or was that always me? Am I always going to be alone just because I suck at being a person?”
Sean glanced up through the windshield but there was only the view of brick to see. He hated the part of him scared to leave the car. It didn’t fit with logic; it never did. Just once, just once Blake was outside but ever since Sean felt his presence everywhere. Blake hadn’t hurt him them, but Sean had felt the potential of it. It was bigger than reality, bigger than anything he could overcome. Blake was a man but Sean’s fears of him were of something far more dangerous and destructive. Their time together, Blake broke him down into a weak, reliant child and although Sean was free, had thought he had built himself back into something far stronger, he was still stalked by a nightmare he couldn’t escape. When Sean faced the world outside, it wasn’t as an adult but as that frightened child with no defenses, no strengths or ability to fight back. All he had were doors to keep him safe from his nightmares.
Something hot and wet curled around his hand and Sean jolted. He bit his lip when Soot sat up and went to lick his cheek. “Quit it,” Sean mumbled while his face flushed. He pushed at Soot’s over sized head, and paused when he caught a knowing smirk on the cat’s features. Sean ducked his head to hide his blush. “Weirdo.”
Sean’s breathing was finally back to order, and with it, he began to question just what the hell he was doing. Seriously, what the hell was he doing? “This is crazy. Why the hell would I help Magnolia? She’s the reason this all happened.”
He wouldn’t have lost his business if Magnolia just followed the rules. He wouldn’t have even had to worry about running into Blake. Sean spent the last three months never needing to leave his apartment but Magnolia fucked that all up.
Sean stared moodily at the inside of his car and his eyes lit up. “Fuck, why didn’t I think of it earlier? I can sell the car. I never use the damn thing. Hell, I bet I could get at least 5 grand for it. I barely put any millage on it.” This was the answer. Not running around like some hero wannabe slaying some dragon after facing off against a building full of witches. Hell, he didn’t have to leave the apartment. He just needed to sell his damn car. He could cover rent and get a new computer set up and everything. He might even be able to expand!
“Hey, Soot, I think I know how I’m…” Sean’s words stumbled and halted when there was a sudden tearing sound. The car shifted and tilted as Soot stood and dug razor sharp claws into the seat. Sean was not confused by the terribly wicked gleam in Soot’s eye this time. “Don’t you fucking dare.”
It was no use. Soot clenched his paws and pulled. The passenger seat sliced and was pulled from the car when Soot tore backward. Sean jumped out the driver’s side door, wobbling as the car rocked dangerously. By the time he turned, Soot was reaching for the roof with claws outstretched, that same gleeful smile on his features as he used his powerful form and weight to smash in the side of his Honda.
“What the fuck? Stop it!” Sean reached over the top to grab Soot’s paw and nearly smacked him on the maw when Soot vaulted up. The car crunched in protest and Sean squawked as the roof caved in.
“Damn it… Fuck!” Scowling, Sean scrambled back and glared as Soot jumped to the top of his car, his wings flapping for balance as the car crumpled beneath him. Why? Why was he like this?
As Sean fumed, Soot gave a shook. Moments later he melted down and the hulking, lumbering panther returned to his small, petite house cat form. Soot meowed beckoningly and Sean sighed. Damn it. God damn it.
He was going to have to save Magnolia. He needed the money, and by fuck, he was going to get rid of this hellion.