Original Story: In This Place Called Heavenly, by v_angelique
Pairing: Dominic/Elijah, Elijah/Hannah (implied)
Summary: The progression of emotions from hatred to obsession.
Pre-reveal Notes: A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief -- Proverbs 6:18
Post-reveal Notes: First of all, thank you to v_angelique both for encouraging me to try remix, and for writing this fantastic story and allowing me to play with it. Thank you also to pretty much everyone on my f-list, for their confidence in me.
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, non-commercial work of fiction using the names and likenesses of real individuals. This fictional story is not intended to imply that the events herein actually occurred, or that the attitudes or behaviors described are engaged in or condoned by the real persons whose names are used without permission.
August, 1997; Middle-of-Nowhere, USA.
No, it's not quite the middle of nowhere. It's a place called Heavenly, in Arizona, which is sort of in the middle of nowhere. And let me tell you, August in the fucking desert? Hot as hell, and I do mean that literally. That first day of school, I was rethinking my wardrobe. Even though black is sort of my signature colour.
That first day, before school started, I waited on a bench by the parking lot, smoking a cigarette. I got a few strange looks, but I'd gotten them before, in other cities, in other countries. I didn't mind much; I was used to it. Everyone gave me a wide berth, and I could sense their distrust.
Small towns and their fucking pathological fear of change, it drove me mad.
The sun was in my eyes, so I tilted my head until my cap blocked it. At that moment, a boy and a girl were driving past in a pick-up truck, and they caught my attention only because they looked too pale to live in a desert. They both had dark hair, snow-white skin, and ice-blue eyes. They were looking at me. The boy's brow was furrowed. I ignored them and nonchalantly blew smoke out of the corner of my mouth.
The school was like any other school on the planet, with jocks and geeks and nobodies. I fully expected to be taken out behind the gym and beaten to a bloody pulp, the way they were staring at me, but, to my surprise, it never happened. I was strange, different, something to be avoided. Better than the alternative, I suppose.
People still didn't like getting too close to me, so I spent a lot of time alone, out walking. I liked to explore, especially the desert, because I'd never been to a desert before. It was so different from what I knew; everything had been green and moist and the dirt was rich and dark brown, soft enough to dig your toes into and search for bugs under rocks. Here, the ground was hard red clay, covered in sandy dust, and the bugs were all spindly and sharp, like things out of nightmares.
The desert was beautiful, though. Breathtaking. Especially at sunset, when the colours of the sun and clouds matched the colours of the ground: rich red and deep orange.
I made a habit of following the highway out into the desert and watching the sunset. I considered it a place to be alone with my thoughts, even though my mind was curiously blank more often than not.
I offered English and Literature tutoring to anyone who wanted it. I was clever, and people knew it, and it was a way I could make a few friends. After a while, the pale girl I'd noticed the first day came to me for help in her English class.
Her name was Hannah, Hannah Wood, and she was a year or two younger than me. Her brother was Elijah. I already knew his name; he was in one of my classes. He didn't talk to me.
In fact, he seemed dead-set on hating me. Most of the town had either warmed up to me or ignored me, but Elijah had done neither. He glared when I spoke up in class, and when he saw me talking to people I supposed had been his friends, his lips twisted into a murderous frown. I didn't know, at the time, what sort of problem he had with me, but try as I might to ignore him, he was everywhere.
I invited Hannah over to my house to help her with one of her essays, but when she came in, she didn't get out her notebook and pencil. Instead, she sat down on my bed and sighed heavily. I kicked a dirty t-shirt into my closet and out of view.
"What's up?" I asked after a short silence, because she obviously wanted me to.
"It's just..." She paused, sighed again, and looked up at me with wide, pitiful eyes. "Sit down?"
I sat down beside her on the bed. "What is it?"
Hannah leaned over and kissed me, her eyes shut tight and her entire body stiff with tension. It took me a second to close my eyes, but when I did, I pushed her gently away. When I opened them again, I saw her cheeks flush bright red and she looked down at her knees.
"Hannah, I can't."
"Why not?" she mumbled, still not meeting my gaze. "Is it because I'm younger than you?"
"No, love, it's--"
She whipped her head around and glared at me, looking eerily similar to her brother. "Is it because of Elijah? Because I don't care what he thinks."
"No, Hannah, it's not that." Though I'm sure he would kill me, if I ever did fuck her. "It's just that I'm gay."
Hannah was quiet for a moment. Finally, she let out a breathy "Yeah," and gave me a weak smile. "I just thought that maybe--"
"I'm sorry, Dom. I shouldn't have--"
"It's alright. Just..." I grinned. "Don't tell your brother you did."
Except she must've told Elijah something about our private tutoring sessions, because he confronted me after school the very next week.
"Look, man. I don't know where the hell you come from, and why the hell you get off on jerking around my sister with your goddamned study groups, but this isn't how we do things around here."
Un-fucking-believable. I stared at him, feeling Hannah's nervous presence right beside me, and laughed in his face. "Are you bloody serious, mate? What, you're going to get out your shotgun and aim at me? God, this is fucking first-class entertainment."
"Fuck off, man, if you know what's good for you. We've left you alone, you know. We've left you good and well alone, but you're walking a thin line," Elijah shot back, in what he apparently thought was a threatening tone.
"Oh fuck you," I said, rolling my eyes. "What do you know about lines? What do you know about anything?"
"All right, fucker," he said, leaning in close. He was invading my space, deliberately baiting me. "Maybe I need to spell this out for you. You're living in our town, you're going to our school. I don't care what the fuck you think about us, I don't care if you think we're good-for-nothing small town hicks or if you think we're stupid or think we're not as cultured as you and your goddamned compatriots, but I'll tell you this, Dominic..."
He leaned in further, so our noses were nearly touching. I stared right back at him. For all his intimidation techniques, he didn't scare me a bit.
"A whole army of guardian angels and self-righteous Englishmen won't protect you if you fuck my sister. Are we clear?"
He was close enough that I could smell his anger, feel his breath on my face. I leaned in just a bit more, trying to throw him off. I can fucking handle myself in a fight, especially with someone smaller and skinnier than I am. His eyes widened impossibly more, and neither of us blinked.
"I don't think you're a stupid hick," I said softly, as clearly as I could. It was all about intimidation, now. "I think you're quite intelligent, and quite serious. And that's exactly what makes you interesting."
I didn't wait for his reaction. I swayed towards him, our noses almost brushing, and immediately backed away, shouldering my backpack and waving goodbye to Hannah as I went.
She explained later that she'd only told Elijah about coming over to my house, and then she apologized profusely for Elijah's reaction. I waved off her apologies, because what I'd told Elijah was true: he was intelligent, he was serious, and he was bloody interesting.
I said as much to Hannah and asked her to tell me about him. At first she was self-conscious, speaking candidly about her own brother, but after a while, she warmed up to the subject. But even so, she didn't volunteer much information.
Some things about Elijah, she wouldn't talk about at all. Like Elijah's past girlfriends. When I asked, Hannah shrugged and said she didn't really pay attention.
If her body language was anything to go by, that certainly wasn't the truth.
I sat cross-legged on my bed, three notebooks and several torn sheets of paper spread out around me. My notes of late had been focusing on Elijah, of all people, and against my own will, even. He thought he was special, and I was stubbornly unwilling to make him so. He didn't deserve it.
I read one of my hastily scribbled observations: body language shows he expects to be respected; what purpose? why does he think he's better than everyone?
I hadn't even written Elijah's name. But it was definitely about him. They all were, now, except for the ones about his sister.
Hannah had told me that Elijah was a runner, or something. Some kind of track star. I didn't give a shit, and that wasn't a good enough reason, to me, for him to be anything other than normal. So what if he was good at sports? Everyone was good at something. My eyes travelled again over the jumbled papers.
their eyes match; their hair almost does. what else might? pale skin – shouldn't be, too much goddamned sun.
Then I came across a complete passage I'd written a week or so before, an angry description of their self-absorbed little isolated bubble of a world. Elijah and Hannah--and this whole fucking town, really--had closed their minds to anything outside, up to and including me. Hannah only wanted to use me to make her brother jealous, she'd practically said so herself. Elijah hated me because I disrupted his perfect little world, and he couldn't handle it.
I prided myself on my skill at disrupting things.
Sighing, I pushed everything to the foot of the bed and leaned back against the pillows. A glance at the window told me it was probably too late to catch the sunset, but I didn't feel much like going out anyway.
No matter how much I absolutely hated to admit it, Elijah had wormed his way into my head, and I couldn't get him out. The only thing that made him special was how un-special he was. He was a fucking nobody, in a town in the middle of fucking nowhere, and here I was, fucking obsessed with him and his little nothing of a life.
When I closed my eyes, I could see his self-righteous sneer, the unrestrained rage he'd unleashed toward me. I didn't care what he thought, but even so, I couldn't stop thinking about what he thought. What he thought of me. I turned his actions over in my head, examining them as if with a microscope and test tubes. He clearly believed I was up to no good with his sister, and that blinding him to what was so obvious even to Hannah.
But I wasn't in love with him, like she'd hesitantly asked me a few days ago. Love didn't feel so much like resentment.
What the fuck was wrong with me, I thought, even as I roughly fisted my cock beneath the blanket, that I'd singled out the one person in this whole godforsaken town who probably hated me the most?
I screwed my eyes shut, but it didn't block out his ever-fucking-present glare of hatred, and goddamn him for looking so fucking beautiful like that. He probably didn't even realize his eyes glinted like ice melting in the sun, or that his skin flushed a lovely shade of red, too hot even to be mistaken for sunburn.
I found myself muttering; "Not worth this, doesn't fucking matter," over and over under my breath. But the thing was, it had finally sunk in that he actually did matter. To me, at least. I recognized the flare I felt in my chest whenever I thought about his anger towards me. It was fucking twisted, but... I was possessive. That anger was mine; I was the cause, I was the focus, it was mine to examine and twist and fuck with in a sadistic sort of way.
The least I could do was turn this to my advantage. It could even be fun.
Hannah asked me to go to the Thanksgiving football game, and I agreed. She was a sweet girl, and we'd started hanging out together outside of my tutoring sessions. I wouldn't have gone to the game, normally; American football just seems like such a stupid sport. But Hannah kept talking about being on the cheerleading squad, and she wanted me to be there. Why not, I say. I had nothing better to do.
Once at the stadium, my eyes found Elijah and not Hannah. His baby blues were certainly glued to Hannah, though. He watched the game with bored, perfunctory glances toward the field, but when Hannah came out to do her bouncy cheerleader thing, he was all smiles and applause. I almost laughed out loud at how fucking obvious he was acting towards her.
I stayed behind after the game for two reasons. One, because Hannah invited me, and I thought she might like to see me there. Though she'd definitely only had eyes for her brother when she'd been showing off on the field. And two, because I wanted to spy on Elijah. I'd given up denying myself the pleasure of calling it what it was: spying. Elijah occupied my every waking thought--and more often than not my sleeping thoughts as well, and I wanted to know and see everything.
When Hannah came out of the locker room, she ran into Elijah's arms. He picked her up and they spun around together, Hannah's feet in the air and her arms around Elijah's neck. She squealed and giggled, and Elijah let her down. Then, with an odd, teasing grin, he reached out and grabbed her breast.
My eyes widened and I stepped farther back into the shadows. For all Elijah's carefree obliviousness, I didn't think he'd actually go and touch her in public. The car park was rather empty, but still.
Hannah giggled again and pushed his hand away. Then she kissed him. Right in front of me and the world, she kissed her brother on the lips, and he certainly wasn't complaining. After a few seconds--longer than it should have been, much longer--she pulled away and they were both smiling.
Elijah opened the passenger door of his truck, and while Hannah climbed in, his eyes met mine. I was staring right at him, and he must've known I'd seen the whole thing. His expression at that moment was one of hatred, and I knew there'd be hell to pay for this.
It was the very next Monday when it happened. After school, as I was walking home. Elijah was in his truck, and he pulled over, jumped out, and ran towards me. I didn't bother turning around and looking at him. I knew he was there, and I knew why, and he knew that.
So instead, he grabbed my shoulders and turned me around.
"You didn't fucking see anything," he hissed. He looked so goddamn serious, like he was about to teach me a lesson or something.
I laughed. He hated it when I did that. It only made me laugh harder.
"See what?" I teased, grinning.
"Monaghan, I swear to God..."
"You'll what?" I stopped smiling, then, and leaned into his space. He hated it when I did that, too, which was exactly why I did it. "Honestly," I continued, "are you really so fucking stuck on yourself that you think I give a bloody rat's arse about whether you're fucking your sister?"
I did, but only as it related to Elijah, and I couldn't exactly tell him that.
He looked faintly shocked at me saying it aloud. I wonder if maybe he'd never thought it through to that conclusion. Maybe he was just acting on instinct. I refused to believe that he didn't realize what he and Hannah were doing, though.
"Honestly, Elijah, you're too damned wrapped up in your little town to know anything about the world. I've seen stranger things. I really don't want to know." Again, not strictly true, but Elijah really did need to open his bloody eyes a bit.
He continued staring. It seemed I'd shocked him into silence, for once. He leaned away from me. "You're lying."
Oh really? "What do you care if I am?" His fingers tightened momentarily on my arm, but he didn't remove them. I nearly smiled.
"I... I don't like you thinking things about me and my family that aren't true. I don't like all your goddamned assumptions."
Ah! I latched onto that and held tight, like a drowning man. "And what do you assume, Elijah?" I countered. "That I want to fuck your sister? That I'm some sort of competition for you?"
I pushed away, stepping back out of his space, shouting now. "Goddamn it, Elijah, open your bloody eyes! You know, I've fucking tried... I've tried to ignore you, tried to fucking hate you, because you've given me every bloody reason to..."
Oh fuck; I realized I was about to admit what I felt for him, but I couldn't help myself. He had to know. He had to. Fuck.
"...you know, the thing is, Elijah, I bloody can't. I've tried to write about you, stay detached..." I laughed mirthlessly. "Did you know that I'm a writer? I'm going to be bloody famous one day."
"What the fuck is your point?"
I laughed again and turned away. "I had the perfect novel in mind, the perfect twisted little small-town American story, you and your sister and your town and your precious little lives." As I stopped to take a breath, I whirled around to face him again. He looked positively murderous. "But now you've got me fucking involved, Elijah, and I can't bloody hate you. I can't do it."
He narrowed his eyes at me, and I noticed his hands clenching into fists at his sides. I moved into his space again, crowding him, and continued. He didn't understand.
"You think I'm bloody interested in your sister, and it's so goddamned funny, you know, the only thing about her is that she keeps telling me about you; she keeps giving me these brilliant little tidbits. The next Steinbeck I'm going to be if she keeps up with it, but bloody hell, I'm not interested in her, and it's only through that ignorant bird brain of yours that you can't even see--"
He wasn't getting it, and he wouldn't, not unless I fucking spelled it out for him. I could sense his anger rising, practically feel it radiating off him, then his fist swung out, interrupting my rant. I ducked in time and latched onto his arm, pulling him in against me.
Then he understood.
His thigh was pressed tight against my erection, and I didn't even have time to be embarrassed. Adrenaline and lust were coursing through my veins and I could feel Elijah's quickening heartbeat beneath my hands. We scuffled for a moment, Elijah's arms flailing and mine trying to block his punches. He got in a hit to my cheek and I landed one on his jaw, but he was thrown off balance by the whole situation, and it wasn't hard for me to grab his wrists and hold them behind his back. He twisted and tried to get away, but I didn't want to let go, and my body was flush against his, my cock against his arse, and we were both panting with exertion, and fuck, it was nearly perfect.
He screamed, "Let go of me!" but I didn't.
I laughed, instead; it was so bloody amusing. So almost-perfect. So close to being enough. Rage and sweat were pouring off him. He fucking hated it when I laughed, and that made me laugh harder. I was hysterical. I was fucking manic.
I pushed him against his truck, ignoring his grunt of pain, and reached around to grab his jaw and twist his face around towards mine. He was squirming, struggling against my hold, but I kissed him anyway, crushing our mouths together messily and tasting blood. I wasn't sure if it was his or my own, and I didn't care either way. I wanted him.
"You fucked up piece of shit!" he screamed, finally summoning the strength to jerk away from me.
I licked my lips and shoved him before moving away, not answering. The silence was driving him mad, but I didn't particularly want him sane. He didn't deserve to be sane whilst I was losing my mind over him. I'd just fucking kissed him. He was going to kill me.
"Did you fucking hear me?"
"We're all fucked up, Elijah!" I shouted, right in his face. A look of relief flashed in his eyes, but I didn't care; I was done fucking with him. "We're all fucking fucked up, and your town isn't bloody immune."
"You know what? Go to hell. I don't fucking need this. You can hang out on your high horse all you want, but this place, this fucked up little place called Heavenly is my world, is the world, and if you're going to live here, might as well fucking get used to it."
Fucking bastard. I didn't want to fucking get used to it. I wouldn't. I stared at him for a long moment, enough to unnerve him again, and spat on his shoe. "You first."
I started walking away and didn't look back.
She didn't talk much about her brother without being prompted, but I could surmise a lot about Hannah's feelings by watching her expression when she did. She got a faraway look on her face, like she was imagining things Elijah had done, or what she wanted him to do. I'm sure Elijah didn't notice it. At least, not to the extent I did. He would probably get the same look on his face, actually, if our conversations about Hannah hadn't always pushed him first into anger.
Though after that violent encounter between Elijah and me, I couldn't resist antagonizing him. I started telling Hannah about my novel, and she was really quite interested. I changed the names, of course, and nothing I said ever directly implicated Elijah or Hannah, but she was remarkably enthusiastic about the incestuous plot and the small town setting. That in itself was amusing.
Hannah told me that her mum had decorated her room in lavender and white, and she said she hoped I would come by and see it sometime. I smiled and shook my head. Elijah would freak out if I ever went over to their house.
But that night, I started thinking of her pale lavender room their pale, porcelain skin. I wondered if it would make Elijah seem more otherworldly or if the colour would give him some warmth. I wondered how it would look reflected in his eyes, already so light and blue.
Just like that, I suddenly ached to see him in Hannah's room. I pictured Elijah on his back, spread-eagled on Hannah's bed, dressed only in his jeans, with that purple-flowered bedspread wrinkled beneath him and the lavender walls reflecting colour onto his skin. In my mind, Hannah wasn't even there, though I knew in reality, she would be. I mentally added her to the scene.
She would be lying next to him, I supposed, in her bra and knickers, both dark, navy blue like I'd accidentally seen when her low-cut shirt slipped a bit too low. She'd be sleeping, whilst Elijah stared up to the ceiling, or out the window where the sun would be setting over the red horizon.
My hand drifted slowly down my chest; I savoured the gentle touch of my fingertips atop the thin fabric of my t-shirt and deftly unbuttoned my jeans when I came to them. Before I'd even realized what I was about to do, I was sliding my hand beneath the loosened waistband and rubbing at the skin just to the right of my hipbone. The next motion was inevitable.
In my head, Elijah's oh-so-blue eyes stared up at me and his hand moved to his chest. My hand went to my cock. Hannah disappeared from my little scene, and then it was just Elijah and me, with him on his back and me kneeling over him. His fingers slid up to the hollow of his throat, the spot between his collarbones that I found myself staring at in class sometimes, and then back down to rub over his left nipple.
I remember thinking, "This isn't right," but at the time, I didn't much care that I was sinking into obsession. With my free hand, I pushed my jeans down to my thighs. The Elijah in my fantasy leaned up on his elbows, craning his neck towards me. My breath caught; I wanted to speak but couldn't. He tilted his head and leant up further, curling around me to whisper in my ear. He murmured things about his sister, things about himself, things about the two of us together.
I bit my lip, eyes tightly shut against the reality of my own messy bedroom. Phantom-Elijah bit my earlobe and I groaned, almost feeling the sharp points of his teeth on my skin. The memory of his lips crushed against mine hit me all at once, and suddenly I could feel him kissing my neck, my shoulder, the jut of my collarbone. I imagined his hands on my skin instead of my own; he had jagged, torn fingernails. I scratched my chest to simulate them.
All too soon, it was over. I could still see him when I opened my eyes; he was burned into my retinas like the sunset. I remembered the kiss Elijah had given Hannah at the football game, and then the kiss I'd forced upon him afterward. I imagined Elijah smirking at me, and then Hannah was there--Elijah turned his head, still grinning that stupid, self-righteous grin, and kissed her. It was a mixture of the kisses I'd been witness to: he cradled Hannah's head, his fingers gently tugging the hair at the nape of her neck, with the gentleness of an older brother, but his lips moved with the passion and ferocity he'd given me.
Even my own mind was thumbing its nose at me, sending a burst of jealousy through me in my own bloody fantasy. At least I could acknowledge that the Elijah I'd imagined was relatively in character.
With that thought, I stumbled forward on my knees, scrambling for my notebook and pen. If I added Hannah into the mix, this would make a perfect scene for my book.
My growing friendship with Hannah--and the things I'd confided in her--finally pushed Elijah over the edge. A few weeks after the incident between us, he cornered me after school, before I had the chance to slip away unscathed. I imagined he didn't want to end up in the same situation as last time.
"If you ever fucking write about what happened, Dominic. If you ever fucking think about writing about my sister, or me, or your goddamned fucking fantasies of me, I'll fucking kill you."
He was making up for his rather timid body language with his tone. His voice was low and threatening, and his ice-blue eyes matched in intensity, but, though he was doing his best to corner me against the wall of a shadowy brick building, he maintained a careful distance. He seemed unwilling to touch me as he had in the past. Even to force me back against the wall.
The juxtaposition of his actions made me burst out laughing, and he went into a glowering rage.
"That's what you're afraid of, Elijah? My fantasies?" I rolled my eyes in amusement. I saw his hands twitch with the urge to hit me again, but for some reason, he held back. I ignored him and continued glibly, "Says something about you, don't you think?"
"What do you mean?" he growled, narrowing his eyes at me.
"Well, Elijah," I said haughtily. "Who's the one wondering what I'm fantasizing about, hmm? I only tell the truth. That's all writing is, you know. Versions of the truth." It certainly wouldn't do, at this point, to give him the satisfaction of knowing that I had fantasized about him, and more than once, at that.
"You want to tell the truth?" he shouted, leaning close to me again. He was trying to intimidate me. He really should know by now that that doesn't work. "You don't know what the truth is, you perverted fucker."
Both his hands shot out and pushed me hard on the chest, slamming me against the brick. He didn't linger, though; in fact, he'd pulled away so fast it was like he'd been burnt, or like I'd been the one to hit him.
He was fucking afraid to touch me.
I laughed again; this time I couldn't help myself. But this time, it was more hysterics than actual amusement. "I'm the pervert? Ask yourself, Elijah, what is your relationship with your sister, exactly?" I'd lowered my voice to a growl, and he actually looked somewhat frightened at my next words. "Who do you think about when you tug on your prick at night? Is it her? Is it me?" I smirked, though I was genuinely curious as to the answer. "Which would you be more afraid of?"
"Goddamn it!" he screamed. "Fuck you!"
"I don't need you, Elijah. You're a muse, but muses only last so long. You and your bloody sister... can you even see how fucking selfish the two of you are, through your twisted little worldview? Do you know what happened between us, Elijah?"
He couldn't know; he would've killed me outright if she'd told him. No, he would've sent the entire school after me in defence of his little sister's honour, then come around afterward and stepped in the bloody fucking pieces, laughing his fucking head off.
"Hannah tried to kiss me," I blurted out. "She tried to bloody kiss me, even though she's known from the beginning that I'm gay--the only reason she bothered with me was to make you jealous, Elijah, and she kissed me and said she wanted to forget. Who's the bloody winner in this game? Can you tell me that?"
"You fucking bitch!"
Oh yeah, now he was dead-set on killing me. Well, not if I had anything to say about it. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing again and tasted blood. It reminded me of that night, of the kiss I'd stolen from Elijah. God, I must be insane. Bloody fucking mad.
"What are you going to do, Elijah? Release the hounds? Release the jocks?"
He narrowed his eyes at me again. I had a talent for unnerving him, apparently. At a loss for something more intelligent to say, he simply hissed, "You'll pay for this," in the most unthreatening tone I could have imagined.
"Of course I will, Wood," I replied with a deliberate smirk. "But watch out. I plan to dictate the terms of this war, and you don't want my blood staining your skin." Oh, I'd have to write that down; that sounded fucking good. My smirk widened into a full, mocking grin. "Oh, and what I've written already? I'll send it to England, this afternoon. You won't be able to get your hands on it no matter what you do, and that's just going to fucking eat you alive, isn't it?"
"Fucking psycho," he muttered.
I moved sideways, out of his space, and started walking away, happier now that he was no longer in control of the situation. "Whatever you say, mate," I called over my shoulder. "Just remember that."
True to my word, I stopped by the post office and packaged up the first draft of my manuscript, to send home to my brother. Someone else would have to edit it. Afterward, I went to the house and called Hannah, to say a goodbye of sorts. She'd been a good friend to me, more than just a well of information and ideas. I could tell I was making her nervous by being so vague on the phone, but I couldn't explain to her. I can't even rationalize it to myself, still, but it's something I have to see through to the end. I just know it.
Now, I'm cleaning up my room while I wait for sundown. Mostly I'm just putting all of my school books in stacks and folding the t-shirts that I'd left on the floor.
I wonder if Hannah will tell her brother about my phone call, or if she'll be too shaken up. I wonder what Elijah will think.
When the sun starts streaming through my west-facing window, I grab my jacket and set out along the highway. As hot as it is during the day, it gets fucking cold in the desert at night. Not that I'm not going to go through with my plan; it's just a habit, really, taking my leather jacket off its hook before I leave.
I don't have to walk far to get out of town, and before I know it, I'm in the middle of nowhere.
The sun, now low in the sky behind me, beats down hard on my shoulders, and beneath the black leather, I feel like I'm burning. I want to watch the sun set, but it's still too early. Instead, I lower myself to the ground and stare at the mesas toward the east. As the sun hits them, they turn from reddish brown to bright, fiery red and orange. It's fascinatingly beautiful, like staring at a campfire, and I find myself captivated. I don't know how long I sit perfectly still, watching the colours change before my eyes.
The sun is nearly to the horizon when I hear him approaching. I stand up and take the gun from my pocket.
The bastard fucking found me. It's not fucking fair. He wasn't supposed to see this.
He calls my name. Screams it. Damn him, trying to be some sort of American hero. He's running towards me as fast as he can; I think he must've been running for a while, he's out of breath. He stops as he sees me raise the gun. He's still quite a ways away from me, but close enough for me to hear his next words.
"Fuck you, Dom. Fuck you for doing this to me," he says thickly, choked with tears that I can see him resisting.
My smile widens, I can't help it. He can't stop me; I won't let him save me. I don't think he can, anyway. The problem's all in my own head. "No, Elijah. Fuck you," I reply, quietly enough to be talking to myself, but surely loud enough for him to hear.
Seeing him silhouetted against the flaming sunset, it's easy to pull the trigger.