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28 June 2009 @ 11:45 pm
the places you have come to fear the most - 1/?  

Reluctance is his strong point, and he’s finding it difficult to remember why he didn’t go after her, why he stayed. He’s afraid of getting hurt again, that much is true. He’s never opened up to anyone like he has with Casey, and he can’t have that taken from him again. He’s afraid he won’t survive another wreckage like their last one. greek. post-end of the world. casey/cappie. four different points of view [cappie-casey-rusty-ashleigh] experiment in p.o.v.

 

title based on the dashboard confessional song the places you have come to fear the most, because I think it's fitting to not just Casey, but Cappie. They're always hiding something, always keeping what they really want buried within theirselves.

---

 

That damn question resounds cruelly over and over again in his head, a broken record on repeat, tormenting him, haunting him.

“It’s the end of the world Cappie. What are you going to do?”

Flash forward to an eager dash off the roof, a clumsy tumble down the stairs, a breathless run to ZBZ, and a confrontation with a confused yet thrilled Casey Cartwright, whose heart was big enough to let him back in.

Cue the violins.

He shakes his head, staring hopelessly through the green glass of another empty bottle. He slams it down violently, causing the table full of red plastic cups and empty cans to shake.

He looks out around the chaotic mess that is Kappa Tau, a frown on his face and eyes red and glassy from lack of sleep.

The leftovers from the End of the World party lay before him in clusters; bodies here and there and garbage and clothes everywhere.

Had it really been the end of the world, he suspects the wake would have looked quite similar.

No one’s stirred yet, and rightfully so. It’s only eight am, and the party, of course, didn’t die down until about six. He vaguely catches a glimpse of Rebecca, sprawled across the couch. He doesn’t recall seeing her here during the party...not that he’d been extremely alert as to what was actually going on. He’d been very distracted.

The silly love sequence he’s invented keeps running through his head, always ending at the same spot: Casey’s face.

He can picture her shy, reluctant smile while she thinks about yelling at him, and telling him to go to hell, because hasn’t he put her through too much by now? Haven’t they had enough of each other?

No, they haven’t, and that’s exactly what makes his daydream so disturbing. It’s so realistic, so plausible. It could have happened.

Only, it didn’t, because he’d never left that roof. He never went to the ZBZ house in search of Casey, and he never got to see that hesitant smile develop across her face.

It could have been that easy. But he never went.

Reluctance is his strong point, and he’s finding it difficult to remember why he didn’t go after her, why he stayed. He’s afraid of getting hurt again, that much is true. He’s never opened up to anyone like he has with Casey, and he can’t have that taken from him again. He’s afraid he won’t survive another wreckage like their last one.

She probably hates him by now, and he’s telling himself that it’s probably just as well. If she despises him, she’ll stay away from him. If she stays away from him, no one will get hurt. They can both move on and let go of the memories that seem to taunt him nightly. He can get some damn sleep.

He steps over a zoned out, half-naked blonde curled up in a ball beneath the steps and climbs the narrow stairs to his room. Two girls and Beaver are passed out in an ocean of blankets and clothes, another skinny brunette sprawled out across the carpet. He sighs, pausing slowly in the hallway at the body laying half in and out of the bathroom.

It’s Max. He looks mangled and battered, like a soldier who’s given up on the cause. He knows that look. He’s worn it so well. Sympathy for the tortured soul beneath him creeps over him, surprising him almost, because he’s invested so much in hating him. Now, looking cold and frail and vulnerable, he feels bad for the guy. He wants to help him, to wake him up before the Kappa Tau’s rise, before the whole school hears about Casey dumping him, but he knows that his face is probably the last one Max wants to see. Right after Casey’s.

So he trudges downstairs, at a loss as to where to go. Eight a.m. is a terrible time for being awake. All of his friends are unconscious and it’s too early for Dobler’s. He’s sick of drinking and even more tired of thinking.

He reaches for his cell phone, punching Rusty’s number in quickly. He hasn’t seen the kid all night. He assumes he left with Jordan, heading back to his own apartment.

“Hey, Cappie, what’s up?” he answers, his usual greeting, but this time there’s a harshness there.

Cappie blinks, pushing his way outside into the backyard. “Spitter,” he replies happily, although his cheer is strained. He’s forcing himself to be normal. Old habits and such. “I got a favor to ask you.”

He can almost hear Rusty thinking, can almost feel his little brother’s reluctance, and he wonders where this brashness is coming from. “What is it, Cap?” he says at last, agitation lining his voice.

“It’s Max,” he says, surveying the landscape around him. Surprisingly, there’s no one in sight outside. They must have all migrated into the house when the sun came up. He clears his throat softly. “He’s in bad shape. He’s upstairs. Figured you might want to come get him before everyone wakes up.”

He pauses. Rusty agrees to come get him, the edginess in his voice fading away. Cappie hangs up the phone, wondering briefly why people are so astonished when he does something nice. He’s never understood people’s surprise at his actions. He’s a nice guy. He might party and joke a little too much, but he’s not cruel. He’s never been Evan. And yet, at the first sign of true humanity, people gasp, staring at him in wonder. Like he’s broken a stereotype or something.

He’ll never understand it.

Yawning widely, he kicks open a beach chair, parking it right outside the back door. He grabs an abandoned blanket that lays draped over the railing and lies down on the chair, sun beating down on him.

For a moment, Casey has no idea where she is. Her eyelashes are clinging together, fighting fiercely to keep her eyelids shut, and her hair is matted and sticky. She stares around the room numbly, trying to force herself to remember what had happened the night before.

The second it all floods back to her, she wishes she didn’t remember. Her head’s throbbing and the cuts on her arms sting, the incident with the manhole taking a backseat to the confrontations with Cappie and then Max. She winces at Max’s name. Grief and guilt don’t sit well together. And then there’s Cappie. She’s not very familiar with the feeling of rejection. She’s been ignored, neglected, cheated on, toyed with, and disappointed, but not once has she ever not been wanted.

Being alone isn’t the problem, well not exactly. She doesn’t handle being alone very well, but she can do it. She’s done it before, even if not for very long. But now, now that she’s so certain that Cappie’s the guy, the only one she’ll ever want to be with, she finally understands the phrase depths of despair. She can almost hear the advice Ashleigh will give her: she’ll find someone else, she’s too good for him, he doesn’t deserve her, blah blah blah. None of it matters, because regardless of the facts, the truth is, he’s the only one she wants.

How does someone get over that?

She sits up as she hears Ashleigh mumble in her sleep, quickly sliding out of the sheets and disappearing into their bathroom. Normally, she’d be anticipating Ashleigh waking up so that she could spill her heart out to someone, so that she could ramble and talk and possibly even cry without being judged.

But today feels different. She doesn’t want to talk, to anyone. She’s filled with an overwhelming sense of nothingness. Even the sadness is absent. She’s not really feeling a thing.

She washes her face slowly, a conscientious attempt at normalcy, water washing over her wildly. This is symbolic of something, she’s certain, but she’s not sure what to make of it.

There will be a Panhellenic impromptu meeting due to Franny’s impulsive departure. She’s almost sure of it. She’s also sure that she doesn’t want to be around for the fallout. She finds no desire to share what Franny told her with the rest of the world. She’s learning that there are just some things she’d prefer to keep to herself.

Rusty’s on his feet the second he hangs up with Cappie, though sleep’s threatening to knock him over if he doesn’t fall back into bed.

He rubs his eyes lazily, yawning widely as he turns back to Jordan. She’s still asleep. No need to wake her. He’ll be back shortly.

The quiet kitchen is eerie and unsettling. Dale’s usually awake by now, and it’s bizarre not to see him standing at the stove, checkered apron around his waist and spatula in hand. He’s really come to enjoy those chocolate chip pancakes, even if Dale does use cookie cutters to spell out, W.W.J.D.?

He slips into sneakers and heads outside, the usual Sunday calm washing over him. No one who’s anyone is outside, because it’s eight thirty on a weekend morning. Everyone’s recovering, most people from Cappie’s party, the others from another all nighter at Dobbler’s or wild dorm party. Only a handful of students litter the Cyprus-Rhodes’ lawn, and even they seem infuriated with themselves for being awake. Sundays are sacred.

He blinks back a laugh. Dale would be so proud.

He’s trying not to think about Max as he rounds the corner to the Kappa Tau house. He’s still not entirely clear about what happened between Casey and Max. Or Max and Cappie. Or Casey and Cappie. The whole situation’s too complicated already, and he doesn’t even know the specifics. He’s not sure he wants to.

It’s hard to be mad at his sister when he’s not even sure she’s to blame. But anger’s always come easy to him as far as Casey’s concerned. She’s frustrating and hard to follow. His money’s on the breakup being her fault.

As he pushes through the empty beer cans and piles of people strewn across the floor of Kappa Tau, he realizes his real issue isn’t with Casey, but with Cappie. Max has been a mentor and more to him. He’s been a friend, a confidante, someone who fully understands him. If Casey hurt Max because of Cappie, well, he’s finding it hard to remain loyal to his big brother.

Max looks pitiful and small in the dim light of the frat house. His skin looks raw and there’s a tear in the sleeve of his shirt. Rusty’s head hangs briefly, empathizing with his friend.

“Hey,” he says softly, knowing all too well the familiar lingering of girl-related hangovers. He squeezes Max’s shoulder and tries to shake him awake. Reality seeps into Max’s eyes, which blink incessantly in an effort to adjust to the daylight. He sits upright awkwardly, staring at Rusty.

“Ca...” he begins, attempting to explain why he’s here. He adjust his words quickly. “I heard you were here. Figured you might want to leave before everyone else wakes up.”

Max nods gratefully, but doesn’t say a word. He looks like hell. Rusty doesn’t ask any questions.

“There’s a shortcut to the dorms if we cut through the back,” he explains, leading Max through the rows of bodies and booze.

Max follows him outside and they both freeze at the sight of Cappie, lost in sleep. They exchange a look and Rusty hesitates while Max pushes ahead of him, most likely eager to rid Cappie from his thoughts.

Rusty sighs, feeling sorry for the brilliant scientist as he slumps through the sunlight and the grass, and glances over his shoulder to his big brother, snoozing carelessly in the backyard. It’s unfair, he thinks, that sometimes the guy asleep in the lawn chair with the crazy hair gets the girl, and the guy who may really deserve her walks away empty handed and broken.

His thoughts turn to Jordan, sleeping gracefully in his bed, and he shakes the memory away. He won’t think of outcomes now, because if he starts doubting and worrying, he'd bound to lose his mind, or Jordan. No need for becoming a pessimist. He'll have to make do with what little hope he has left.

Ashleigh sits up slowly, taking in the stillness of the room. Casey’s bed is made. There’s not a shirt dusting the floor, and her purse is vacant.

She eyes the clock. It’s only nine.

She stumbles to the bathroom, wondering if she’s still a bit drunk from the party. She brushes her teeth, washing the taste of stale beer from her mouth, and throws her hair into a half-hearted ponytail. Beauty will have to wait.

She dashes downstairs, still wearing her tank top and plaid pajama shorts. She searches the living room, but her efforts are for naught. No Casey.

She slips into the kitchen, making a beeline for the full coffee pot, a sure sign that Casey’s here somewhere. She spins around for a spoon when she spots the coffee brewing culprit.

“Morning,” Rebecca says, smiling a bit too sweetly.

Ashleigh frowns, not because it's Rebecca, but because she expected Casey.

“Hey,” Ashleigh manages, pouring herself a cup of coffee. She looks at Rebecca over her shoulder. “Tell me this isn’t decaf.”

Rebecca shakes her head. “Like I’d be that big of a bitch.”

Ashleigh smiles, brining the cup of warm liquid to her lips. “Have you seen Casey?”

Rebecca shrugs. “Her car’s here.”

“Yeah, but she’s not,” Ashleigh sighs, sitting down across from Rebecca, relishing in the comfort of caffeine.

“Something the matter?”

Ashleigh hesitates, she really does, because as much as Rebecca has changed, she’s still uncertain about what to tell her and what not to. But she needs to tell somebody.

“She broke up with Max.”

Rebecca’s eyes widen. “Science boy?”

Ashleigh nods, the burden of the secret lifting off of her shoulders. “And when I came in last night, she wouldn’t talk to me. It’s just...not like Casey. At all.”

Rebecca nods. “Maybe she’s keeping something from you.”

Typical Rebecca, expecting deceit and buried secrets. Ashleigh sighs. “No, I know it’s because of what Cappie said, but she’s never been so...” She pauses, her slip up apparent. Her eyes flash to Rebecca’s, but she’s surprised to find no hint of jealousy or even pain.

“What’s Cappie have to do with any of this?” she asks, confused.

Ashleigh looks down worriedly. “He’s the reason she broke up with Max.”

Rebecca’s eyebrows arch. “Seriously?”

Ashleigh nods.

Rebecca laughs. “Well, it’s about time,” she insists. “I mean, the two of them have been running in circles trying to get away from each other for years now. It’s exhausting to watch.”

Ashleigh smiles, running her finger along the brim of the cup. “Well, that’s the thing,” she starts. “She told Cappie she was in love with him and he basically told her he didn’t care. He doesn’t want to be with her. But she broke up with Max anyway.”

“Wow,” Rebecca remarks head tilting slightly. “Crappy night.”

“No, it’s a typical Cappie night,” Ashleigh remarks bitterly. “She didn’t want to stay with Max knowing she wanted to be with Cappie. So, when she left, I found Cappie and tried to figure out what was going on. He didn’t budge.”

Rebecca frowns, looking away slightly. “He’s scared,” she insists. “He’s the most terrified person I know. He probably thinks that Casey just wanted him because she couldn’t have him. He’s probably just afraid of getting hurt again.”

Ashleigh exchanges a knowing look with Rebecca, finding herself oddly complacent with their new pseudo-friendship.

----

next part up soon.

 
 
Current Location: underground
Current Mood: thirstythirsty
Current Music: don't confess - tegan and sara
 
 
 
Jennyberry_hearts on June 29th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC)
This is great. I love how the story progresses with the different POV's and the writing is spot-on. I totally saw Rebecca in the kitchen delivering that line. :D
Courtneyhelen_halliwell on June 29th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
thanks so much! I love added Rebecca into stories...she makes them fun.
annegables on June 29th, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
Really good - and likely how the next season will start.
Courtneyhelen_halliwell on June 29th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
thanks for reading!
Sara: Cassie // Skinsbrite_city on June 30th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
I really liked the different point of views, they were in-character and moved the story along nicely.
Courtneyhelen_halliwell on June 30th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
beaked: ◘ i touched your boobbeaked on August 17th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
This was really great. You really have the characters down. Especially Ashleigh and Rebecca. Their little exchange was spot on.

Hope to read more soon!