The Untold Story

by - 2/18/2019 09:00:00 AM


That's right! I'm spending the day in front of my computer with my closest family members: text.

I am ripping apart my novel "Stand By Me". It was already published and a bunch of copies were sold. But the story was all wrong. By that, I mean, the story that was in my head was not the version of the book I published. Therefore, the insanity that is my obsessive compulsive disorder is forcing me to dissect the novel and fix it. The voice in my head just will not let go until the "right" version of the story is printed.

The good side of this is that I'm able to correct many of the mistakes I made, such as over-describing scenes and diving into many unimportant details. This time around, it'll focus on only what matters. And who matters. I may have left the dedication to him in the book, but it rings hollow when I took his character out.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I'm looking for feedback/opinions/love/hate on the new version. I've posted it over on Wattpad for complete strangers to dissect. But I figured I should share it here too. So after the jump break, you'll be able to read it if you want to.

I also put together this totally awesome questionnaire to go along with the preview. If you're a fellow writer, make sure you save a copy of the questionnaire to send out to your own mailing list!

Read: Stand By Me: The Untold Story - Chapter 1

Chapter One

She squinted her eyes, trying to adjust to the fluorescent hallway lights. A flicking at one end of the hallway drew her eyes to the red arrow painted on the wall. She quickly raced towards the arrow, pulling her jean jacket on. She shook her head, trying to loosen the locks of hair that stuck in the arms of the jacket. She had to put her hand on the wall to keep herself from falling over. The cold white brick startled her and she pulled away. She continued following the arrows until she reached a staircase. She could see through the window in the stairwell that the sun was on the horizon. She clomped down the stairs, each step echoing through the silence. She pushed the door open, relieved to see the exit outside. She was quick to the wide glass doors. The April wind was a welcomed breath of fresh air. Although it was chilly, she was just happy to be outside. She ran her hand through her matted hair, pulling the pieces she missed from her jacket. She slowly shook her head, letting her hair fall. Strands of the brown mess caught in the light wind, blowing in front of her eyes. She looked around the parking lot she was now standing in. It seemed familiar in the way that a distant memory might. But that didn't help her to piece it together in the fog of her night. She shook her head and started walking. She had no idea where she was and no idea where she was going. She didn't have a purse, so there was no way to call a friend or even a taxi. She figured if she walked long enough, she'd recognize a street sign or something. If she was far from the cul de sac she called home, she could stop at a gas station and call for help. As she started towards the street, she was startled by a car door closing behind her. She instinctively spun around, her eyes finding the source of the sound. She was pleased to see a familiar face standing beside the black Honda Civic.

“Jesse?” She called, starting to walk towards him. He seemed confused by her sudden appearance in the parking lot.

“Hey.” He absentmindedly greeted. She stepped up on her toes and threw her arms around him. It was quite the distance, since he was almost a foot taller than her. Everyone was taller than her. It didn't take much since she was only 5'2”.

“I am so happy to see you!” She groaned. This didn't ease his confusion as he looked down at her with a puzzled expression.

“What's going on?” He asked, looking around. She shook her head, looking around the parking lot.

“I don't know. I just woke up in someone's apartment and I don't know how I got there. I don't remember anything about last night.” She rambled. He nodded, motioning towards the car.

“Come on, I'll drive you home.” He offered. She nodded, pouring herself into the passengers' side. She sank down into the seat.

“You don't remember anything?” He repeated. She sighed.

“I remember the party, or, part of it. The beginning.” She paused.

“What's the last thing you remember?” He questioned. She stared out the window as the car drove down unfamiliar streets.

“You know, I don't remember what the last thing I remember is. How's that for an answer?” She admitted. He shook his head.

“I guess it was a rough night for everyone.” He agreed. She raised her eyebrow, now looking over at him. He had rings around his eyes, stealing attention from the melted chocolate color his eyes could be described as. Usually, his face was expressive, but there was something lifeless about him. He smiled as he looked over at her, but she could tell it was forced. The creases gave him away.

“For everyone?” She asked, more to herself. He nodded. She mirrored his nod for no real reason. As they drove, she looked over at the clock on his dashboard. It was already 6 in the morning. It seemed odd the sun was still sleeping when it would normally by shining bright by now. Maybe the sun had a rough night too. She laughed to herself, trying to remember something. All she could see were bits and pieces that made no sense. She couldn't even remember the last time she looked at a clock. The rest of the drive to her neighborhood was silent. Her and Jesse were both in their own worlds. She came back to reality as they turned the corner, heading into the cul de sac. There were only 8 houses on the street. Hers was the second on the right. She only found it interesting because of the second star to the right in Peter Pan.

“Hey, Jesse.” Lex mumbled, drawing his attention over.

“Yeah?” He questioned her soft tone.

“Thanks.” She finished, smiling. He smiled.

“It's nothing.” He dismissed. As his car pulled into the unpaved driveway, he hit a bump. The two of them jerked forward. She shook her head, throwing her hands in the air.

“Learn how to fucking drive.” She barked. He laughed.

“It's not my driving, it's your driveway.” He argued, motioning towards the house. She got out of the car the same way she got in, stumbling into the grass that made up the front yard. He laughed.

“Still tipsy, I'm guessing?” He asked. She shook her head, pointing to her feet. He followed her direction.

“I lost my shoes.” She corrected. He held his hand out to her. She took it, stepping forward. He put his arm around her shoulder, guiding her to the entrance of the house. She waited as attempted to unlock the door. It was already open. He let her walk in ahead of him. He put his key down on the table in the entrance. Above the table were a few empty shelves. They were supposed to hold ornaments or photos, but, the people living in the house were too reckless. Lex pulled off her jacket and threw it towards the coat rack. As it hit the floor, she remembered that the house no longer had a coat rack. Shawn, her housemate, had used it sword-fighting with his brother and broke it. No one bothered to replace it, knowing the same thing would happen again. Lex shook her head, looking down the hallway. There was a light on in the kitchen that caught her attention. She looked over her shoulder at Jesse.

“When did the party end?” She asked. He shrugged.

“Around 3 or 4. A few of us stayed to clean up the club.” He offered. She nodded, crossing her arms. He motioned to the light.

“Go. I need to grab a shower and I'm using yours.” He announced. She nodded and with that, he disappeared upstairs. She started down the hallway towards the light. Shawn was the only person living on the main floor. She could tell he was home and sleeping by the sound of Nirvana leaking under his bedroom door. She paused outside the basement door. It was locked from the outside, which meant Kevin never came home. He lived in the basement, which he had renovated to be his own apartment. It had an entrance outside too, but he rarely used it. Kevin was her older brother and only sibling. It was his house, but he only recently moved in. He had been living with Jesse across town. After their break-up, he turned the basement into his own fortress of solitude. She shrugged and continued down the hallway, coming to a crossroad between the kitchen and dining room. The light was on in the kitchen, with a fresh pot of coffee sitting on the counter. To the right, Brent was sitting in the dark dining room with a cup in front of him. He had both his hands wrapped around the mug and he seemed to be having a staring contest with it. Lex laughed internally as she made herself a coffee. She didn't join Brent in the dining room. Instead, she took one of the stools out of the island standing in the center of the kitchen. She didn't bother looking at Brent, who was now walking towards her. He sighed as he made himself another coffee. Since he was standing with his back to her, she looked over at him. He was still wearing the same Harley Davidson shirt he had been wearing the day before, but he had changed into pajama pants. They were hanging off his thin frame, exposing his hips. She looked away before he turned around.

“Where were you last night?” He asked, mostly under his breath.

“Is that any of your business?” She quipped. He leaned against the island beside her, turning to face her. She didn't bother looking up.

“I'm your friend, I worry about you.” He offered. She laughed.

“Is that why you were waiting up for me? Concern?” She asked.

“I wanted to know if you'd even come home.” He muttered.

“That's not concern, Brent. That's control.” She argued, standing up. She grabbed her coffee from the island and pushed past him.

“Do you know what you're doing to yourself? How many times are you going to wake up in a strangers bed, not knowing what happened before you start to see it's a problem?” He called. She gave him the finger and kept walking. She didn't feel any obligation to answer to him. He made it clear he was done with her and their on-again off-again relationship when he started dating her rival, Miranda Stone. It didn't matter that she told him Miranda was cheating on him. He didn't trust her judgment. He made it clear he didn't see her as a friend when he told her she was just trying to sabotage his happiness. She didn't owe him anything. She stomped up the spiral staircase. Her bedroom was the first on the right, despite her desire to have the second room. The second room was the bathroom. Kevin joked that she would have to be a mermaid to turn it into a bedroom. Lex expected to see the light on in the bathroom, since Jesse was going to shower. Instead, the hallway was dark and eerily silent. She opened her bedroom door and headed inside. Once inside, she could light coming from her private bathroom. She only had a standing shower, but it was obviously enough for Jesse. She hit her laundry basket with her hip as she walked up the steps to her bed. The bed was nothing more than a mattress perched on top of a platform. The platform was built for the room, running the length from side to side. It was also hollow, doubling as a massive dresser. On top of the platform was a night table on both sides of the bed and a small shelf at the far end. She put her coffee cup on the night-table beside the clock, throwing herself down on the bed. She could hear Jesse singing to himself in the shower. It was quiet, but enough to lull her to sleep.

Rob looked over at the clock on his night-table. It was almost 7 and he hadn't slept at all. He was just waiting for a socially acceptable time to get out of bed and start his day. Although he wasn't looking forward to facing the world after everything that happened the night before. He knew he had an obligation to Lex and Lindsey to help with the fundraiser. If he could back out, he would. All he wanted to do was stay in his room and ignore the outside world. That was hard to do when there was so much noise echoing through the house already. He heard the front door open and wondered who it was. He figured it may have been Kevin coming in late, since he never came home. He rolled over, dropping his feet to the floor. The soft carpet of his room greeted his tired muscles. He made his way to the end of his bed, where his outfit for the day was already laid out. It was nothing special, just a plain black t-shirt and tan colored cargo shorts. The lameness of the outfit matched how he felt about the day ahead of him. After getting dressed, he ran his hand over his shoulder-length locks, matting down any stray strands that may have risen due to static. His pillowcase was prone to static, no matter how often he used fabric softener. He slid his feet into his slippers as he headed into the hallway. There were no lights on upstairs and only the hum of a fan coming from Megan's room. She must have forgotten to turn it off. He shook his head and headed downstairs, pleased to see a light on in the kitchen. The joy was short lived when he saw Brent sitting at the island. He was staring at his coffee cup like it held the answers to the Universe. He looked up when he heard the footsteps. Rob mirrored his fake smile.

“What are you doing up this early? You really need sleep.” Brent commented. Rob shrugged, heading for the coffee pot.

“I couldn't sleep.” He replied groggily. Brent nodded.

“No doubt.” He mumbled. After making himself a coffee, Rob sat down at the island across from Brent.

“Something on your mind?” He motioned to the coffee cup.

“Did you see Lex leave?” Brent started. Rob shook his head.

“I was preoccupied.” He reminded. Brent nodded.

“I know, I'm sorry.” He shook his head. Rob raised his eyebrow.

“Why do you ask?” He pried. Brent let out a deep sigh.

“It's just, she left early and she wasn't alone. She just got home.” He mumbled. Rob nodded, remaining quiet.

“And?” He asked, realizing Brent wasn't continuing.

“And, what? It doesn't concern you that she's doing this to herself? I mean, it's like she's hellbent on self-destruction or something.” He paused. Rob laughed, shaking his head.

“I get it. You don't want to see her doing this to herself. None of us do, but, you have to give her space. She's going through a lot.” He tried reasoning. The reality was, he didn't understand it either. Lex had only moved back to Edmonton after Christmas. Since her return, she had been on a dark path of drinking and promiscuity. It wasn't like her, at least, not the her that they all knew and loved. She had changed while she was away and it was an adjustment.

“I know, but, I just,” Brent paused again, watching his words carefully. The two were quiet before Rob broke the silence.

“Brent, sooner or later you're going to have to tell her you're still in love with her.” Brent looked up abruptly.

“I don't know what you're talking about.” He dismissed, looking back at his coffee cup. He had been careful to keep his feelings quiet. He didn't want anyone to know that he was questioning his decisions about Miranda. Rob nodded.

“You're my twin brother, man. I know what's on your mind.” Brent sighed, but didn't say anything.

“I know what you're going through. But, it's one thing to deny your feelings to everyone else, how long are you going to deny them to yourself?” He asked, trying to sound sympathetic.

“I'm not. I know how I feel.” He mumbled. Rob nodded.

“I know it's hard to admit when you're wrong.”

“Sounds like you're talking from experience.” Brent noted.

“We all have problems, Brent.” Rob dismissed.

“Yeah, well, I don't think I'm ready to deal with mine.” Brent confessed, shaking his head. Rob nodded.

“I wish I had that luxury, honestly.” He attempted to joke. It made Brent smile, so it wasn't a complete failure.

“I'm sorry, really.” Brent offered. Rob nodded.

“It was going to come out eventually. I mean, I would have preferred a more subtle approach, but, the damage is done now. Everyone knows. People are going to talk.” Rob shrugged.

“How long?” Brent asked after another period of silence.

“Longer than I'm ready to admit.” Brent nodded again.

“Look, if you want my advice, you have to talk to her. Tell her how you feel.” He offered. Brent sighed.

“I wouldn't know where to start.” He argued. Rob half-laughed.

“None of us ever do.”

“Good morning.” Jesse greeted, loudly tapping the bed. Lex sat up, startled. She looked around at her room, her eyes falling on the clock beside the bed that read 8 am.

“I'm going to be late.” She groaned. Jesse nodded.

“I already called Jake to let him know.” She smiled.

“Thank you. I can't believe I even fell asleep.” She laughed, reaching for the coffee that sat abandoned on the night-table. It didn't matter to her. Room temperature coffee was still coffee.

“What did you dream about?” Jesse instigated, sounding unusually interested. Lex raised her eyebrow.

“Who said I had any dreams?” She asked. Jesse laughed.

“You were talking in your sleep.” He clarified. Her eyes widened, which caused him to laugh even harder.

“Yeah, so you know what you were dreaming about. Why try and deny it?” He playfully scolded. She was quiet.

“I guess it's natural that you'd dream of him, after everything that happened yesterday.” He offered. She shrugged.

“If I could remember anything about yesterday, I might agree with you.” She argued, mumbling under her breath. He shrugged.

“Your subconscious remembers everything.” He replied, smirking.

“What happened anyway?” She asked, shaking her head.

“I think you'll have to talk to Rob about that.” He dismissed.

“What? Why?” Her voice cracked.

“Interesting reaction. I thought he was your best friend, and you could talk to him about anything. Why are you suddenly so nervous?” He questioned. She didn't answer.

“So, it was that kind of dream?” He hinted. She nodded.

“Are you going to tell him?” H asked. Her eyes went wide.

“No! Absolutely not.” She barked, violently shaking her head.

“Can I tell him? Oh, please let me tell him!” He begged.

“No. He doesn't need to know. Don't you have a class to teach in an hour?” She asked, pushing him off her bed. He stood up.

“I do, but I figured with your car in the shop, you'd need a ride.” He offered. She rolled her eyes, faking a smile.

“How thoughtful of you.” She mocked. He shrugged.

“I'll meet you downstairs?” He suggested. She nodded, jumping off the platform. He headed out of the room as she dug through the drawers in her dresser. Part of her wanted to show up in pajamas, but she thought that would look unprofessional. Finally, she found a black halter top and her bell-bottom jeans.

“Good enough.” She mumbled to herself. She climbed out of the dress she had worn to the party last night and tossed it towards her laundry hamper. She missed and the dress landed on the floor. She pulled off her leggings and tossed them in the same direction. She haphazardly pulled on her chosen outfit and headed out of the room. Half-way down the stairs, the smell of bacon began wafting towards her. She knew that meant Megan was up, since she was the only other person who cooked. On occasion, Rob would cook dinner, but he wasn't a breakfast person. He was always up early, but didn't eat in the morning. It had something to do with his obsessive compulsive disorder. Lex sauntered into the kitchen, only briefly scouting the room. Brent was sitting with Shawn in the dining room. Lex ignored them, and walked over to Megan, who was standing in front of the double sink. Megan jumped as Lex tapped her on the shoulder.

“Fuck, I didn't hear you.” She exclaimed, turning around. She was dressed in a floor-length housecoat that was pink and fluffy. There were little pigs and flowers scattered around. It was an interesting contrast from her usual all-black attire. Her blood-red hair was pulled into a messy bun in the middle of her head. Since it went past her waist, half of it was falling over her shoulders.

“Are you feeding a small country?” Lex laughed, looking at the pans of food on the counter. Megan had set out pancakes, sausages, eggs, bacon, hash browns, and even potato wedges.

“It smells good in here.” Jesse announced, walking over to the girls. He grabbed a handful of potatoes as Megan tried to swat him away from the food. He laughed and made himself a coffee.

“Shawn eats like a horse.” Megan answered, briefly looking over.

“That was a delayed response.” Lex noted. Megan shrugged.

“It's too early to think.” Lex smiled, making herself a coffee.

“So, what's the occasion?” She asked, motioning to the food. Megan shrugged, looking behind her at the dining room.

“Well, since the boys were generous enough to clean up last night, I thought I'd surprise them with food this morning. There's no better way to start the day than good food filled with energy.” She answered, sticking out her tongue ring. Lex laughed.

“Sure. That's why this is all grease-filled, right?” She hinted.

“It helps the hangovers.” Megan confessed. Lex laughed.

“Where's Rob?” She asked, motioning to the dining room.

“He's been in the backyard since you got home.” Brent announced, walking up behind them. He ran his hand through his hair as he put his coffee cup on the counter. Lex briefly made eye contact with him, before he looked away. She couldn't help looking him over. He wasn't wearing a shirt anymore and his body was more defined than she remembered. It was a shame that she still found him attractive, despite his rotten personality. After he made himself a coffee, he headed onto the patio. The sun was shining bright and the wind swept in as he slid the doors open. Lex watched him motion to Rob, now turning the lawn mower off. He ran the back of his arm across his forehead, nodding.

“So, I have to ask, where did you get off to last night?” Megan asked, whispering so only Lex could hear her. She shrugged.

“Not a clue. I woke up somewhere I didn't recognize, ran, and ran into Jesse.” Lex answered, motioning towards him. He faked a smile and joined the others in the dining room.

“That's too bad. You missed one hell of a party. Though, it sounds like you might have had your own.” She teased, nudging Lex with her shoulder. Lex shook her head.

“Don't go there.” She dismissed. Megan nodded, moving back to the stove. She turned off the element she was using and tipped the frying pan onto a plate. She took one last look at her display.

“Breakfast.” She yelled over her shoulder.

“What happened anyway?” Lex asked, reverting the subject. As she asked, Rob came into the house. Megan shook her head.

“I'll tell you later.” She offered. Lex shrugged.

“Oh, hey, since you're home, do you think you could give me a ride to school? Sherry was going to pick me up, but she's running late.” Megan asked. Lex didn't really hear the question.

“Yes. Wait, no. Maybe. I don't know.” She rambled. Megan laughed, shaking her head. Lex sighed, looking over.

“My car is out of commission.” She reminded her housemate. Megan nodded, tapping her palm to her forehead.

“Damn.” She muttered.

“I'll drive you in if you can get ready in 10.” Jesse offered, coming into the kitchen. Megan nodded, dropping a spatula on the counter.

“Okay, I'll get dressed.” She agreed, darting out of the room. Lex exchanged a smile with Jesse, who then made himself a plate of food. He headed out onto the patio with a paper plate in hand. Lex laughed to herself, grabbing her coffee and heading for the dining room. Shawn was sprawled across the booth-styled seats they had in place of a traditional dining set. There were too many people to try and figure out any other seating arrangement. Between the 2 booths, holding 5 people each, and 6 seat island, there would always be enough room for guests. If not, there was always the patio, where Jesse was now sitting with his food.

“Good morning, gorgeous.” Shawn greeted, immediately sitting up from his previous position. Lex faked a smile.

“Good morning, Shawn.”

“I notice you're not eating, are you hungry for something else?” He hinted. Lex laughed, shaking her head.

“Even if I was, I wouldn't take it from you.” She answered, casually sipping her coffee. He smirked.

“You know you want me.” He coaxed, sliding off the seat. She rolled her eyes as she watched him in the kitchen. She wouldn't deny he was an attractive man. He had the “rock star” look going for him. His bright blue eyes were always hidden behind aviator shades, even indoors. His short, yet shaggy, blonde locks were as wild as his personality. He always chose ripped clothing, showing off pieces of whatever he could. The most attractive thing about him had to be his plump and kissable lips. Lex always thought it was a shame such nonsense would spill out of them. No matter how attractive he was, she would always see him as an arrogant jerk. If she ever forgot, he would always be there to remind her. Shawn didn't return to the dining room, instead taking his plate of food into his bedroom. He often ate in his room. Lex made it a habit to go in and clean once or twice a month. Otherwise, Rob would be in a constant state of worrying what kind of bacterial colony he had invented. Lex always thought his obsessive compulsive disorder was kind of cute. Brent took his food and headed upstairs. She waited until she heard his footsteps stop before heading into the kitchen. As she made herself a coffee, Rob dropped his back against the island.

“Is everything alright?” Lex asked, looking over her shoulder.

“No.” His response was a mix of confusion and bitterness. Lex raised her eyebrow, walking towards him. She put her coffee on the island and hopped up between the cup and Rob.

“What's the matter?” She asked, trying to sound sympathetic.

“How can you ask that? You were there last night! Hell, you're half the reason.” He barked, only briefly looking up from the floor.

“I don't remember anything about last night.” She argued.

“Lucky you.” He mumbled. Lex sighed.

“What happened?” She asked softly. He didn't get the chance to answer when her phone started ringing from the bottom of her pocket. She jumped off the counter and saw Kevin was calling.

“Have you seen Jesse?” He asked, before she had the chance to even greet him. She looked at the phone and laughed.

“Oh, hello Kevin. I'm great, thanks for asking. How are you?” She mocked. There was nothing but silence on the other end.

“Have you seen him?” He repeated.

“Where are you?” She didn't know where he'd be if not with Jesse.

“Mike's. Can you answer the question?” He answered sharply.

“Yeah, he's here.” She answered, still confused.

“Thanks.” With that, he hung up.

“That was rude.” She commented, staring at the call log. She put the phone down on the island and hopped back up on the counter.

“Who was it?” Rob asked.

“Kevin wanted to know where Jesse was.” She answered. Rob laughed, nodding to himself.

“No doubt.” He added. Lex raised her eyebrow.

“Seriously, what is going on?” She asked. He shook his head, returning his blank stare at the floor tiles. Lex tilted her head, only now noticing the bags underneath his eyes.

“Are you, hung over?” She asked, unable to hide the shock in her voice. Rob wasn't a heavy drinker. He wasn't the same person when he drank too much, so he never let himself get out of hand.

“I didn't sleep, so, no.” He quipped in return. She raised her eyebrow and he turned away from her. She reached forward and put her hand on his shoulder. As she did, his t-shirt pulled down slightly, showing off his tattoos. He only had two, one on his neck and the other across his back. She often forgot about the spirals on his neck because they were usually covered by his hair. She absentmindedly traced the ink with her index finger, ignoring the sweat. As she neared the end of the design, he turned to face her. Despite being close to him many times before, she felt strange about this time. There was something different about him. This wasn't her best friend, he was someone else.

“Am I interrupting something?” Jesse asked, coming into the kitchen. Rob quickly resumed his staring contest with the kitchen floor. Lex tried to laugh, but the sound caught in her throat. Jesse raised his eyebrow, looking at the two of them.

“You should, um, probably finish getting ready. I don't think Jake wants to be kept waiting too long.” Jesse announced. Lex nodded, slowly sliding off the counter. She looked at Rob again before heading out of the room.

Rob grabbed the last pan from off the counter. He scrapped the burnt layer of eggs into the garbage under the sink and tossed the pan into the water. He had already finished the dishes when Megan wandered into the kitchen.

“Look, I want to talk to you about what happened last night.” She started, leaning on the counter beside him.

“I really don't want to hear it.” He argued. She sighed.

“I know that you're upset, but, I thought you might give me the chance to explain.” She bargained. He shook his head.

“What are you even doing here? Shouldn't you be off with, whatshisname?” He barked. Megan sighed.

“I didn't go home with him. I went home with Sherry. You know this has nothing to do with him.” She corrected. He was quiet.

“So, what was that whole display then? Were you just rubbing it in my face that you could leave with anyone else?” He asked.

“Of course not.” She argued. He shook his head, looking back at the sink filled with soap bubbles.

“I can't believe you would do that to me.” He muttered.

“I know you're upset, but, I didn't mean to hurt you Rob.” She insisted. He looked back over at her.

“Upset? I'm beyond upset, Megan. I'm furious. You humiliated me in front of everyone. You made a mockery out of our entire relationship and you didn't even have the decency to give me a heads up. I know we had some issues, but that, that crossed the line. Upset doesn't even come close to how I feel right now.” He barked. He took a deep breath, and bit down on his tongue.

“You're being irrational!” She insisted. He chuckled.

“After everything you've done to me, speaking to you is the only irrational thing I'm doing.” He was trying very hard to stay calm, but he was so angry. He was having trouble controlling the rage that was boiling inside of him. He felt like the sink of bubbles, popping and ready to burst. He pulled the plug out of the drain and watched as the water disappeared.

“Rob, I,” She started again. He put his hand up in the air.

“I don't want to hear it. Seriously.” He interrupted.

“Look, I'm finally doing what makes me happy, and I'm sorry if you can't accept that. But it's time to stop pretending that everything is okay. I don't love you anymore, Rob.” She barked. She quickly put her hand over her mouth.

“I'm sorry, I didn't mean for it to come out like that.” She apologized. He nodded, dropping his hands on the counter.

“You should have told me sooner.” He mumbled. She nodded.

“I didn't know how. I just, felt so trapped. I guess, I started to resent everything this has become and I, I just needed out, Rob.” She rambled, rapidly moving her hands as she spoke. He nodded.

“Megan, I know we've been here before, but I want you to understand, I'm not going to be here when you change your mind. If you are leaving, we're done. For good.” He explained.

“I won't change my mind this time, Rob. I can't.”

Lex tossed her messenger bag beside the front door, floating down the hallway. As she passed Shawn's room, stepped into the hallway. He grabbed her wrist and swiftly pinned her against the wall with his own body. She raised her eyebrow.

“Can I help you?” She asked, sounding as confused as she felt.

“Natalie is coming to town for the fundraiser, right?” He questioned with a devious smile across his face. She shook her head. Natalie was a friend from her time in California. She came to Edmonton when Lex moved back, so everyone had the chance to meet her. Shawn, on the other hand, got to know her better than anyone else. She only stayed for the weekend before returning to her normal life and her loving boyfriend.

“Yes, Shawn.” She answered in a detached tone of voice.

“Is she still as, friendly?” He smiled. She rolled her eyes and pushed him backwards. She pointed her finger at him.

“Listen to me, I want you to stay away from Natalie. She is a sweet and sensitive girl and you're only going to break her heart.” She instructed. Shawn put one of his hands over his chest.

“I would never!” He argued, pretending to be offended.

“Just, find someone else to get friendly with.” She dismissed, beginning to walk towards the kitchen. He grabbed her wrist again, forcing her to face him. He leaned in closer.

“How about you?” He asked in a husky tone. She felt a shiver run down her spine, quickly pushing him off again.

“No.” She barked. He unwrinkled his shirt, nodding slowly.

“Then, no, Lex.” With that, he was back in his room with the door closed. She took a deep breath and headed back into the kitchen, looking for Jesse. The whole room was empty, aside from Rob. He was sitting in the dining room with his coffee cup and a stir stick, twirling it around for no reason.

“He's outside, having a smoke.” He commented. Lex nodded, walking into the dining room. She dropped down in the booth across from him. She stared at him for a minute.

“What?” He asked casually.

“What do you mean 'what'? What the hell is going on with you you fucking freak?” She slammed her hands on the table. He shrugged.

“Nothing. I'm fine.” He dismissed. She rolled her eyes.

“Come on, kid. I've known you our whole lives and I've never seen you look this rough.” She groaned. He smirked, but kept quiet.

“You know you can tell me anything, right?” She coaxed.

“I'm just not ready to get into it.” He dismissed. She nodded.

“I'm here when you need me, Rob.” She offered, reaching for his hand. As her hand wrapped around his, he looked up at her. He found it easy to smile when he was looking at her. Her smile was contagious. Megan cleared her throat from the doorway. Lex looked over to see her standing with one of her hands on her hip and the other pointing to a watch she wasn't wearing. Her foot was tapping the tile impatiently. Lex laughed, rolling her eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, I'm coming. Hold your stampede.” She commented. Megan sighed and headed towards the front door. Lex stood up, almost knocking Rob's coffee over. She looked back at her hand, which was still wrapped in his. He let go of the coffee cup and stood up with her. It took her a minute to let go of his hand.

“Um, if you're not doing anything, you're welcome to tag along.” She invited, faking a smile. He looked down the hall at Megan.

“I'll be along soon enough. I'm the muscle, remember? I've just got a couple things to finish up here.” He answered. She nodded.

“Right. The muscle.” She teased, heading towards the front door. Jesse was waiting at the entrance.

“I was wondering if you were coming.” He joked. She smiled.

“I know you're not used to women, but you have to give them time to get there. It doesn't work if you rush.” She joked. At first, Jesse didn't get the joke. When he did, his expression went blank.

“I'll be in the car.” He announced, quickly turning away from her. Rob laughed from the hallway behind her.

“I thought it was funny.” He offered. She smiled again.

“Thanks. Not everyone enjoys my sense of humor.” She bowed.

“There's nothing about you that I don't enjoy.” He complimented. She didn't have a chance to reply before Megan was yelling from the car. Lex laughed nervously, waving as she headed to the car.

“I'll see you later.”

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