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he had believed things would be different this year but as the day drew closer to its end, nate realised he was wrong, and the uneasiness that was getting the better of him weren't easily going away. It had happened at new year's and the fourth of july before – the fireworks were too much for his fragile nerves. The desire to stay inside, lights off and music playing in a bid to drown out the coming fireworks from the park, it eventually got the better of him and he picked up his phone with a shaking hand and sent off the quick text that he wasn't going to make it. That the plans he'd made with lola were simply not going to be able to happen. He'd been looking forward to them too, being around lola always made him feel less weighed down by his own dramas, lighter.
But the world had other plans for him tonight it seemed.
He was probably due a low day anyway. He'd had a lot of good ones of late.
He only glanced briefly at his phone when lola replied, a quick message that she understood and she hoped he was doing okay, a gesture he appreciated even if he felt like he wasn't. Instead of responding he switched the television on to something mindless, turned the sound up until he couldn't hear himself think, and tried to remember what he had practiced in regards to this.
It couldn't have been more than hour before the room was completely dark save for the light from the television and he knew the fireworks would start soon. It didn't matter how often he told himself what they were, his nerves wouldn't listen, and the anxiety was its own master. He sat up and picked up his phone again. It was a random idea, he wasn't sure where it came from, but he responded to lola's text.
got any lame fourth of july jokes?
A smile even broke across his lips, albeit briefly, at her response of 'knock knock'.
Twenty minutes and four straight awful jokes later nate's doorbell rang and his eyes lifted to it, pushing himself to his feet and flicking on the hall light, figuring it was a neighbor ready to complain about the television still blaring in the living room. He had the apology ready on his lips when he pulled it open and saw lola standing there, holding a plastic bag that smelled like indian (his favorite type of food, though he couldn't recall when he'd mentioned that to her, or even if he ever had), with a look on her face that he would call concerned.
you basically dared me to do this so i did
sometimes you just had to listen to your gut. if lola had to pick the most helpful advice she had ever been given it surely would be this one. a hint of a smile danced over her lips as she remembered the day that her mother had first shared this bit of wisdom with her. lola was only twelve years old and had come home from school one day, her little heart heavy with worry because there was something different about her best friend rosemary. the tiny brunette had not been able to get it out of her friend what had put her in this sad mood but for some reason lola had this underlying feeling that it had something to do with rosy’s mom and dad. being close to her mom, lola had asked if she could borrow her for a while, sharing every single little detail of what had been going through her head in typical twelve year old fashion – deeply troubled as if that problem was the worst one in the world. listen to your gut. those four words had been all the encouragement lola had needed to figure out how to help her friend. by sharing her own story about how her dad had walked out on them and how it felt to be raised by only her mom. for some reason that memory had stuck with lola through so many years and those four words still managed to provide comfort.
so, when lola had received that text from nate about having to cancel their plans for the fourth of july she could not help but feel like there was more to it, that his mind was somewhere else and that maybe he was even trying to protect lola from seeing him like it. there was a nagging feeling that the brunette female could not shake that told her not to leave nate to his thoughts just like that. instead of letting it go, lola decided to listen to her gut and picked up her phone again to send another text regardless of the fact that he had yet to answer the last one. in between all the texts lola had thrown on her jacket and slipped into her shoes and made her way to her brother’s place first and then went to pick up some food before eventually heading over to nate’s apartment. truth to be told? lola was nervous. was this overstepping the border? she had no idea. up until now the young female had always accepted his decision to withdraw himself but this time was different. this time the gut feeling had won. whatever it was that troubled nate’s mind, lola would be right there with him to help shoulder a little bit of the burden if he let her. the female had not even noticed that the concern she had felt had been etched onto her face but she could feel it ease up when the male appeared on the other side of the door.
“hey you.“ lola said, the smallest of smiles dancing over her lips as her eyes locked with his while the rest of her body worked on lifting the plastic bag up to allow the aroma of the indian food to travel all the way up to nate’s nose. “i figured you might be hungry and you said you never saw inside out so…“ the female shared, the smile growing just a little wider as she motioned towards her bag where she kept the dvd…and the two pairs of bluetooth headphones. “and i payed the other scott nerd a visit because he wouldn’t shut up about these headphones he got and how amazing they are when you want to watch tv on full blast while the kids sleep and all that. well, big brother scott is out of town and i figured it would be funny to actually watch inside out with them and feel like the tiny emotions are actual voices in our heads. i don’t know…it sounded less crazy and more funny when i thought of it?“ if there was one term to describe lola’s act right now it would be rambling. she was still a little bit nervous about showing up at his place without a warning and she was a little scared that nate might take it the wrong way. she might be totally on the wrong track here but the last minute cancellation had made lola wonder it had something to do with the noise level of this holiday and how it might trigger painful memories and for whatever reason lola had thought the noise-cancelling headphones she had swiped from her brother’s place might actually help when the fireworks got really bad. “plus you won’t be able to hear a peep of my blabbing about how you are so similiar to the tiny red emotion thingy. win-win.“ lola offered with a genuine smile now as she looked at him. despite all the nervousness and feeling silly and all that, there was one emotion that spread faster than all the other ones – happiness. the young brunette was happy to just be around nate no matter the circumstance…yes, it was odd but truth to be told so was nate’s and lola’s connection to begin with and the brunette was okay with that.
murdered you right back with insecure but cute rambly lola. take that, nate.
Usually when the bad days came they came completely out of the blue and got the better of him for a few hours before he was able to work through it. The good thing about his job – if he simply couldn't get up one day he could call in, reschedule his shift, and just stay in bed until the desire to fall through the cracks of the earth finally went away. Usually though the idea of going to work, or going to see noah and gia, or to spend time with lola kept his mind from getting the better of him. The mere reminder that he had a normal life now with normal demands did the job his medication sometimes missed.
But things were different. Anniversaries, anything with fireworks, anything that was just too much for the senses. The plans for the night had done nothing to help him this time like they usually did. Try his best, he knew he couldn't go out there tonight, at least not without something getting to him. He didn't want to be set off in public or where he could hurt the people around him. Days like this he felt like a grenade and no one liked carrying a live grenade around with them.
He was better off in here where he couldn't hurt anyone but himself.
But that didn’t mean it was where he wanted to be. Hence the texts. They helped, keeping his mind off everything, keeping him from feeling too much like he was on his own.
He hadn't expected her to follow up on his texts with a visit though. His first mistake really because that was the one thing he should have expected with lola – expect the unexpected. She had a way of figuring him out far too easily, as if he were anything but the closed and locked book he believed he was, as if she had no problem reading his every move. Despite his protests previously he was never unhappy to be so easy to figure out. Especially now.
As soon as lola mentioned the headphones he understood exactly where she was going and he smiled lightly, despite the heavy ache in his chest and the anxiety telling him she didn't get it, because it was wrong. She did. He had spent so long telling himself that no one could, that it wasn't simple enough to explain, that he neglected to understand that some people did. They could empathise enough to want to understand. To offer the best they could – in this case a disney film and noise cancelling headphones – without needing a full explanation. Without needing reason. Without needing justification for his actions, fears, and self-doubt.
Lola wasn't the last person he expected to just get it without question, after all they had proven over and over again already that their odd little whatever-this-was just worked somehow, but she was not the first either.
He was glad she did though.
Or at the very least he knew lola's continued presence for at least the next two hours would.
LET'S DANCE, BIATCH!
as she stood there in front of his door, unsure of her own action and wondering whether showing up out of the blue would actually help lola felt all of that doubt and worry dissolve the moment he appeared in the doorway because when she saw him, lola knew she had made the right choice. it would have been ignorant to stay away and go about her day as if nothing was wrong when clearly all she wanted to do was be here. with him. and maybe, just maybe offer a little comfort with the help of indian food and a lighthearted disney movie. when the brunette female finally managed to stop herself and the rambling for a moment, she looked at nate and smiled at him when he told her that her plans sounded good and that she should go ahead and set up the dvd player because he didn’t know how to. “you got it. you know, i would be more than happy to set up your tv so you can actually use things like netflix and stuff.“ the female offered in a nonchalant fashion while she shrugged it off, keeping herself from teasing nate that he really needed to go with the time when it came to home entertainment. but oh well, the afternoon was still young and there would be plenty of time for teasing later. she didn’t have to get ahead of herself five minutes in. after she made her way across the doorstep lola handed the male the food before she kicked off her shoes and took off her jacket so she could follow up with his suggestion to set up the movie and the headphones. “so what you are saying is i should be super proud of you that you actually know how to text then?“ the female responded to nate’s comment about his technological knowledge being limited. there it was – the lighthearted teasing made its comeback despite the fact that lola had just thought about keeping her tongue in check for now. “see, i would give you a reward but unfortunately i left my last pineapple juice bottle at home. next time then.“ lola added with a small wink before she pushed past him and moved into the living room, smiling to herself when she thought about just how easy it was to slip into this friendly/flirty banter theme they had going for themselves. “i didn’t know how spicy you wanted your food so i asked them to put the sauces in seperate containers so be careful when you taste them. one is super super spicy, i don’t want your head to be on fire like your pixar counterpart we’re about to watch. i’ll be there in a minute to help you carry the plates and chocolate milk.“ the female called out so nate would hear her in the kitchen while she plopped in the dvd and plugged in the little adapter for the bluetooth headphones. once that was taken care of and ready to go lola eventually made her way into the kitchen, coming to stand next to him, her hand gently touching his as she took one of the empty containers her fingers lingering on his just a tad bit longer they should under normal circumstances. not because oft he mild shaking – she had noticed that but decided not to comment it to avoid making him feel uncomfortable – but simply because she enjoyed the small gestures, the brief moments of physical contact here and there. “i hope you’re hungry. i couldn’t really decide what to get so i ended up getting enough food for at least five people.“
THEY KILL ME. THEY REALLY DO.
Nate had never learned how to ask for help. Being self-sufficient was something he was proud of, he was constantly the one that fixed things when he was younger, that made things better for others. That made amelia's bullies go away and that did and said what needed to be done after his father died. He'd never learned how to ask for help with things because he'd always believed it was his job to fix things himself. It had taken a lot to go to therapy, a lot to talk to a psychologist, but asking people that didn't specialise in this stuff? Asking them to understand and do what they could just because he would like them to? That was a bit harder to figure out how to do.
Especially when you weren't sure who was willing to help.
He was only slightly exaggerating the lack of technological achievements he had but not so much. He absolutely had no idea what he would do with bluetooth anything, even if he could work a dvd player, only in its most basic 'insert disc, press play' way. He hadn't set his eyes on a so-called smart phone until two years earlier when his sister had placed an Iphone 6 in his hand and welcomed him to the 21st century. "
unable to help himself, he chuckled and lifted a hand to point at the door. "
His mind on the task at hand, plating the extremely large amount of food in the bags, was able to keep it off other things for the moment. Maybe only briefly but it was like walking past an air-conditioned store on a 100 degree day – even the briefest of reprieves was enough to keep you on your feet if only for a few seconds longer.
He didn't notice lola enter until her hand brushed his and he glanced away from his work to look her way. It wasn't uncomfortable, just strange, a side effect of years alienating himself from normal human interactions and having only abnormal ones for years before that. As close as he had been to his sisters once, they were gone now, off living their own lives. They had been the only ones that had forced him into hugs and gestures of comfort, things that had never come naturally to him, a side effect of being placed as head of the household at a young age by his father and deciding that role meant he had to look after himself.
This life made it easy to feel lonely and starved for affection, even if he would never voice that aloud. He'd all but forgotten how these things worked. They weren't required skills in the armed forces.
When lola removed her hand and began to talk about the food he remembered why – you had to be hard-edged and unbreakable in the forces. All gestures of affection did was crack you a little bit more when they had to end.
He cleared his throat before he spoke lest he avoid sounding anything but his normal self. "
you think you can beat me? i will break you!
“well, then maybe we should reschedule the introduction to netflix. i can’t be responsible for you not getting your vitamin d fix and i most certainly can’t be responsible for you not saving lives.“ lola explained, semi-joking but also kind of serious because the young female was actually proud of the progress that nathaniel has made as a lifeguard in the last few months. “now that summer is finally here i am not going to ruin my chances of seeing you as the new mitch buchannon. i have waited months for this.“ a small chuckle escaped lola’s lips after making the baywatch reference to further lighten the mood. it wouldn’t be long until the fireworks started and the female wanted to keep nate’s mind off of that for as long as she could. once the technological part was taken care of, lola finally made her way into the kitchen to help with the preparation of the food. when she reached out to take the empty container, lola’s and nate’s hands touched and the female allowed to let her fingers linger a little longer than what was normal in this kind of situation. there was just something inside lola that told her not to let go, there was a part of her that wanted this. while the brunette was not the kind of person to push anyone to do something they didn’t feel comfortable with – and she had this feeling that nate might not exactly be the cuddly type - that didn’t mean that she hasn’t had the urge to hug him or be close to him at some point before. but she had stopped herself every single time, reminding herself that she would have to let him make that first move so she could be 110% sure that this gesture of comfort and affection was something he actually wanted. the female had wanted to stay in this moment a little longer, had wanted to let her hand rest on top of his even longer but instead of doing that, the brunette had chickened out and changed the subject to food. a small laugh escaped her lips when nate teased her about how he didn’t want to say anything in case that was the amount of food she usually ate. “you just wait. give me one and a half plates of this food and then you will get to see my food baby bump. i might let you name it, we’ll see.“ lola joked while she gently rubbed her belly in an affectionate manner before she finally took the plate from the male, resisting the urge to ‚accidentally‘ brush her hand against his again and instead balanced the very full plate in her hand as she took out the chocolate milk as instructed. with both her hands full, lola made her way back to the living room where a very comfortable-looking couch and the prepared entertainment system waited for them. once the plate and bottle were on the table, the brunette female took a deep breath, noticing that nate had gotten adventurous and had piled the lemongrass chicken onto their plates. “nathaniel vaugh, did you turn into a total food thrillseeker after pineapple and pepper and blueberry and chocolate pancakes? if i had to guess what you’d pick lemongrass chicken would have been last on the list.“ lola teased as she watched him entert he living room as well. once he was close enough the female took the glasses from him so she could pour them each some chocolate milk. when that was taken care of, lola finally plopped down onto the couch, allowing herself to practically be swallowed by the pillows for a moment before adjusting her position to pick up the glasses, holding one out to nate. “happy america day?“ she offered with a small genuine smile as she silently wondered what kind of hell nate must have gone through to defend the ideas and values the entire country was celebrating today before finally snapping out of it and patting the space on the couch next to her. “come on, grandpa. sit down so i can explain the bluetooth headphones to you.“ there is was again – whenever lola felt like her own emotions got the better of her, she used the lighthearted approach to maneuver herself out of it.
pfffffft. i'll stand my ground. try me.
Growing up on a naval base, his life entirely closed in to include mostly other navy brats and people most likely going the same way he had and following in family lines, he had missed a lot of pop culture reference. This had only been made worse by his years in recruit school and then overseas. Not that he heavily indulged in such things by choice anyway. As a kid he'd had comics and a fair share of toys, most of them replica military vehicles, with which he could stage his own versions of the battles his father fought. It had been no secret nate idolised his father – though the lack of any pictures of the man in his apartment now might suggest otherwise. Then again there were no pictures of any of nate's family, or anyone really, because sparse and unfamiliar was how he liked it. Even after all the time he'd been back.
But in the end idolising a dead man who had been more myth than man in the end had turned out as bad as it sounded. It left unreachable heights and unachievable goals in front of nate and the constant idea that failing was only insulting his father's legacy. Donald vaughn had been the ultimate navy man, the one who gave everything, including his life.
Anything short of the same was always going to be a failure for nate.
It was not that he wished he had gone the same way, especially since getting therapy and hitting the refresh button on his life this year nate was glad to still be around, to have walked out of kabul instead of being taken out in a body bag. But living with himself and realities of life post army bases and the inward-looking miniscule family of the armed forces... it wasn't easy. He didn't know if it ever would be. If he'd ever feel like a normal human.
Eyebrows raised her way, nate shook his head at her comments on the chicken. "
Taking the glass, he lowered it to meet her cheers, but didn't really respond. It was not that Independence Day wasn't important to him, it just wasn't as simple when you had seen war, and knew it wasn't quite as heroic as the history books liked to make out. For the most part it was complicated, messy, and there were few good guys whatever side you deemed yourself on. But none of that mattered now. He placed the drink down on the table without taking a sip and moved to sit down next to lola, pulling his plate towards him, only shaking his head. "
ich werde dich umbringen.
“it’s kinda cute when you talk cuisine, i am not going to lie.“ the brunette commented, softly biting her bottom lip to fight back the amused smile that was threatening to break through when she set down the bottle and her plate before plopping down onto the couch and making herself comfortable while she looked at nate with a curious look in her eyes, her mind wandering off for a moment before she was suddenly brought back to reality and to the present moment. it was meant to be a joke, a lighthearted comment in a playful banter. nate did not mean no harm, lola knew that but still, when the male mentioned her mother it still felt like a slap in the face, knocking the air out of her for a fraction of a second. despite it being a little over five years since her mother’s death it still hit lola hard. there wasn’t a day where she didn’t think of her and miss her terribly. the ghost a smile danced over the female’s lips to mask what was really going on and she did her best to put on a brave fascade, like that comment didn’t faze her at all but it took a deep breath before lola snapped out of that…well, whatever it was. it always left her in this weird, vulnerable place, making her want to hide from the world. but maybe not completely. not tonight. there was a small part of her that was actually glad to be around nathaniel right now and despite the one who brought it about, he also was the one right now who made it less miserable in a way just by being there. so, instead of withdrawing herself like she usually would, lola fell back into their pattern with him, calling him grandpa when she asked him to sit down so she could explain the headphones to him. or maybe it was just her subconscious that wanted him closer to relish in the odd sense of comfort he provided without even having to exress it with physical gestures. “you are not that bad. here, hold still.“ the brunette female instructed as she picked up one pair of headphones before inching just a little closer to him to place them on his head, adjusting then a little bit before she let the fingers of her right hand trail down his jawline, his more-than-three-day stubble tickling her sensitive skin when she did before her hand eventually fell into her lap. “see, you’re fine. they should already work pretty good even without the movie playing.“ lola called out, the volume raised to something about the usual indoor voice level. pointing to the tv, lola could not help but let that amused smile stretch across her lips. nate probably could not really tell what she was saying right now – or maybe he could because he was trying to read her lips – so he would probably interpret her next comment as the question whether she should start the movie thanks to her almost-frantic pointing to the tv and nodding as she tried to animate him to do the same. “nod yes if you think i am always right.“ lola said but before he nate even had a chance to move his head, the brunette was already sinking back against the pillows of the couch as a laugh rippled through her petite body and despite that small moment she has had just a few moments ago, it still felt good. finally, lola calmed down just a little bit and suddenly became very still, her head resting against the big, soft cushion as she looked at nate with a small but genuine smile as she mouthed two words. thank you.
everything sounds so much more aggressive in german
but it also eggs me on so drown in the late feeeeeeeeels.
he ignored her teasing. Not to be rude but because as far as he was concerned there wasn't much about him that could be considered anything but broken and hard-edged. He was fine with that in a way – he never sought to be anything but forgettable. He'd had his go at something more from life than his career and that had blown up (literally and figuratively) in his face so he wasn't keen for trying any longer. It was not giving up, it was accepting, and he was nothing if not accepting of his being how it was.
Despite his sensitivity though he didn't even catch that he'd fazed lola with his perfunctory comment about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from mom. Of course, he meant no harm by it, it didn't even occur to him in that moment but likely would later on when things were quiet and he took to playing conversations over in his head as he always did. Then he'd remember that lola had lost her mother and that it was probably best the woman not be used in any joke, no matter how harmless it may seem to less sensitive ears.
Nate was the last person that would judge what triggered people. After all he was, like an oversensitive dog, jumping at crackers.
She said nothing, and nate was obtuse with subtleties, and so it went unaddressed, even if it probably should have been. She was doing more for him than he was worthy of, as far as nate was concerned, he would give anything for it to work both ways.
But within seconds it was gone behind playful taunts and easy laughter, that nate could only half mirror, despite his best efforts. To make up for it he focused on his food, waiting to take the headphones, instead finding her inching closer to place them on for him. His eyes rose from his food at that, especially when her fingertips lingered on his jaw, causing him to glance her way. Unfortunately, that made her hands fall back into her lap, and with absolute silence now getting the better of his senses, he decided against saying anything. What would he say anyway? This was clearly how lola tried to comfort people and in its own foreign way to nate's life, it was working, and he appreciated that.
Plus if he tried talking now he'd only yell.
Luckily he could read lips. It was an art form needed on the battlefield when the cacophany of noise that enveloped your life meant having conversations with someone just on the other side of a doorway was impossible. In those moments lip reading and hand gestures made up most of the conversation.
Two things lola adopted in that moment, wildly gesticulating at the television, and talking as if he had no idea what she was saying. Shaking his head lightly with a smile, understanding every word she was directing at him, he just pointed at the tv and gestured to play the movie already. She wasn't going to buy into her little games. So, when she fell into the lounge laughing at herself, he just plucked the remote from her hand and hit play, looking her way to hand it back when he noticed the more serene look that had crossed her features.
Her mouthed words left him frowning a little, after all he was the one owing her thanks not the other way around, after all she was the one going out of her way to help him. He shifted his fork to his left hand and, surprising even himself, reached out and gave one of her hands a quick squeeze as his own thanks. But he didn't remove it after, merely turning his eyes back to the television, trying to figure out what this movie was all about.
I DON'T KNOW HOW 'I WILL MURDER YOU' CAN EVER SOUND LESS AGGRESSIVE!
jokes on you - i welcome death.
It had been quite a number of years since her mother’s passing but still even the littlest moments, even lighthearted jokes, could still really throw lola off her game. the only thing the brunette has managed by now was not to be affected too long or even get lost in those moments anymore. with nate around it seemed like it was easier to pull herself back together and not be consumed by the pain. the male had his own cross to bear and lola did not want to add to what was already a full freaking plate. her fingetip was running down the side of his jaw, retracing the masculine curve while his stubble prickled her skin, making tickle ever so slightly. it was only when nate turned his head to look at her that she quickly dropped her hand in her lap, feeling almost as if she had been caught doing something forbidden. a hint of rosé colored her cheeks as the brunette began to motion towards the tv, trying to distract her mind from what has happened only moments before. of course nate had been able to figure out what she had said – lola should have known that the male would be able to figure out what she had been saying to him. a laugh escaped her lips while she sunk back into the soft cushion of the couch but once she finally calmed down a little bit, a sense of calm washed over the young female and she felt at ease all thanks to nate and his being there. she had barely finished mouthing the words when the male seemed to frown a little, making lola wonder what she had said wrong when suddenly she felt his hand on hers, gently squeezing it and…remaining exactly where it is. surprise was probably one way to put what she was feeling but it wasn’t just that. it felt…good. having his hand on top of hers made her feel safe. feeling it now had made lola realize that the physical aspect of their…well, whatever it was they shared – was something that had never really been a part of it all but now that he was giving that to her, even with only a small gesture had made lola realize that she relished it just as much as she relished his lighthearted jokes and the teasing. without really thinking about it too much, lola adjusted the position of her hand until she could lace her fingers with his, her thumb brushing over the back of his hand before she reached out to grab the headphones first, clumsily putting them on with just one free hand before reaching out again to grab her fork, stealing little bites from nate’s plate. it was either going to be the option of cheekily making him share his food with her or letting go of his hand to grab her own plate. well, the fact that she was chewing on a piece of lemongrass chicken from his plate made it kinda obvious that letting go of his hand was not an option for her. lola was still keeping herself in check though – after all she had resisted the urge to not eat at all and instead lean into his side and put her head on his shoulder. but oh well, the evening was still young, right?
it still sounds even scarier in german though!
and that's it, i am dead. they killed me. <3
physicality was a rarity in nate's life of late. in some ways it had always been. his family had never been touchy-feely with him. his mother was the 'grabbing people by the arm' type but she'd never been like that with nate, only his sisters. nate had been too much like his father, hard-shelled and distant, even when just a boy. so rarely did he respond to physical comfort. almost never did he initiate it. admittedly his hand holding was more a belief that this was what lola would understand than what he wanted to do, but as her hand turned in his to intertwine her fingers with his, he felt glad for the physicality for the first time in a long time. for someone that avoided crowds because he didn't even like bumping into strangers, and who spent months after his return not even letting his mother touch him, it was a big move. but he needed it. when he feared getting dragged out of avalon and back into his terrors, lola was holding him here forcefully, not letting that happen without her approval.
the movie was distracting - more than a little silly but it wouldn't be a kid's movie if it wasn't. more importantly though he didn't have to think too much which meant he could instead playfully beat lola's fork away every time she tried to steal the single panipuri on his plate. she could empty his plate of chicken and rogan josh all she liked but she was not taking that.
the game didn't last very long enough and nate found it easy to suspect why. the fireworks had clearly begun and as distracting as the playful games and the silly movie had been, there was something about them that transcended just noise, as if he could feel them. it wasn't as bad as if he could hear them, he didn't feel on edge he just felt like he needed to stop for a second, to remind himself that things were fine. that he could hide from his problems here because he was away from all that now. he was home and safe and working through the crap he'd been through and he had people that believed the best in him. people that weren't scared of him when he admitted to being on edge but who sat here and tried to distract him with what little they could offer as untrained people.
he gave lola's hand another small squeeze before he looked her way with a smile, knowing her eyes had been on him from the moment he stopped eating, trying to make it clear he was okay. he wasn't suddenly just fine, of course not, but everything was less scary with her here. she was his anchor back to the real world when his nightmares got the better of him. he owed her more than he was sure he could ever pay back.
no longer hungry, not great considering how much food they had but it would reheat, he moved his plate back to the table and gingerly took off the headphones. the fireworks had stopped, he knew they had the minute they had, because he couldn't feel the distant thud of them sliding up his spine anymore. he placed the headphones down on the table next to his plate before shifting back into his seat and glancing over at lola. "
ja, das ist richtig.
i hope you're prepared to die again LOL (*points at profile*)