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[personal profile] bronzechimera
A short piece of fiction, revised from August 2009, that summarizes the end of my novel Dark Side of the Moon. Travis Casey found his ex-girlfriend, Amy Walsh. Her and Blake Hughes, her fiance, give Travis a place to stay. Travis and Amy rekindle their love, and tensions mount between Blake and Travis until a breaking point is reached.

Profanity, sexual references, death, and domestic abuse.

Amy was crying. I didn't know what to do, or say to her, since she spent a lot of time crying those days: crying over Blake, crying over me, and crying over Rowan.

"Don't cry," I grunted, and took a sip of coffee, "It's okay. Everything is okay."

"No it isn't," Amy wailed, "Our baby is dead, my fiance hits me, and you fuck me like I'm a hole, not a woman with feelings -"

"Amelia," I sighed, and set my coffee cup down, "Amy, please hear me out. Please listen. I love you, and I have to be honest with you. I think it's time you moved on."

She wiped the tears from her face.

"Oh yeah?" she asked.

"You need to move on, Amy. Rowan isn't hurting anymore. He would want you to be happy. He would want both of us to be happy. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want his beautiful mother to get smacked around by a guy who obviously doesn't care about her."

"He was sweet to me until you came around," Amy snarled, "Then he started hitting me!"

I slammed my coffee mug onto the table and rose to my full height - a good six feet - and squeezed my hands into fists. I wasn't going to hit her. I wanted to yell at her, but I knew better than that. My fists uncurled.

"I can't be held accountable for Blake's feelings," I said calmly, "I also can't be held accountable that you've given me a place to stay. We both understand that without your generosity, I'd be on the streets."

I collapsed back into my seat. I was done arguing with her.

"Travis -"

"Amy," I sighed, "I got kicked out of college. My mom sent me to live with Daniel because she didn't want to deal with me anymore. I got kicked out of England, for Christ's sake. I've been through enough. I just want as much of a happily ever after as I can get, and it's not turning out to be much."

Amy bit her lip.

"You know there is no such thing as happily ever after, Travis."


For several days, Amy and I ignored each other. She only spoke to me at dinner. I knew that Amy wouldn't be angry with me for more than a week, and shortly after summer ended and Amy returned to her teaching job, I found myself in front of a class of wide-eyed first graders.

"Good morning, class," Amy announced, "This is my friend, Travis. He was kind enough to visit school today, and he'll be spending the next few minutes playing his guitar for you."

As it was only possible to do with a class of first graders, I caught their complete attention. Every pair of round eyes studied my look, the piercings in my face, the tattoos peeking out beneath my sleeves, how I strummed my guitar. I was exactly the kind of person that parents warned their kids about. But I knew this group of shocked first graders wouldn't remain innocent forever, despite what their parents wanted to believe.

Most of it, though, was the music. It was the way that a little blonde girl in the back row closed her eyes and smiled sweetly while she heard me play.

About halfway through my performance I decided that, once I was finished, I was going to drive to the nearest supermarket and buy some vodka. Then I was going to drive back to my hotel room, hide my keys, and drink myself stupid.

Amy recognized my tune, and began to sing. It was an old song that we'd written back in high school. My heart filled with joy that she'd been able to recognize it after eleven years.

Once my performance was over, several of Amy's students approached me and asked where I learned to play guitar.

"My mom bought me books," I told them, "She signed me up for lessons and bought me a guitar."

"How old were you?" one student asked.

"I was eleven," I said.

"How long have you known Miss Walsh?" another asked.

"Since I was about three months old," I smiled.

As more kids approached me, they asked more questions. This was much to Amy's amusement, since most of them concerned her:

"What was Miss Walsh like as a kid?"

"Was Miss Walsh even prettier when she was younger?"

"Has she always been this nice?"

Then finally, the little blonde girl asked:

"Are you and Miss Walsh going to get married?"

My stomach knotted itself. Amy, thankfully, stepped in. She pulled the kids off of me and announced that it was time for me to leave. While they were gathering their homework, she touched my shoulder gently and cast me some kind of tragic expression. I didn't know how to respond, so I packed up my guitar in silence and left.


Vodka, here I come.


I had been passed out on the couch when I heard the front door open. At first I thought it was Blake, and panicked; I'd passed out holding a large bottle of vodka and sometime during my "nap", I'd dropped it on the carpet. The carpet was covered in alcohol and glass.

It turned out to be Amy. She had bags under her eyes and a scarf wrapped around her neck. Oh man, she was pretty. I closed my eyes and pretended that I knew nothing about the broken vodka bottle. I was so hungover, I probably couldn't move anyways.

"Travis," Amy sighed, "Get up and help me vacuum up this mess."

I blinked twice.

"I can't straight think," I mumbled. She sighed again and disappeared into the hall closet, then returned with the vacuum cleaner and plugged it into the wall.

She pulled the coffee table away from the couch and reprimanded me for dropping the bottle. I needed to keep my hands and feet and drinks and large dick inside the vehicle at all times.

I hate the smell that vacuum cleaners make.

When she was finished, she pressed a button on the vacuum and it sucked up the cord like the shards of my vodka bottle.

"You've gotta get up now," Amy said, "I've been at school all day grading papers, and Blake's going to be home from work any minute now. He's not going to want to see you hungover on the couch."

"Okay. Help me."

My head pounded, but I tried to ignore it. Amy pulled me up and brushed my sweater off for me.

"There," she smiled, "Handsome as ever." I couldn't tell if she was being sarcastic, so I kissed her.

She pushed me away.

"Brush your teeth, asshole," she said. "You reek." I winced and moseyed into the bathroom.

I picked up my toothbrush and said hello to it, then applied toothpaste and wet it. Brush, brush, brush. Amy joined me in the bathroom. She wore a pair of pajama shorts and a t-shirt. Her hair was pulled back. I never understood how she got ready so quickly; weren't girls supposed to take forever?

"Scooch," she said, and prepared her toothbrush. We stood together and brushed our teeth in front of the mirror. Then I heard the front door slam shut. The bastard was home.

"I'm home!" Blake announced pretentiously.

Amy spat her toothpaste out and rinsed her brush. She slipped it into the toothbrush holder and left the bathroom. I didn't want to see Blake, so I continued to brush my teeth. I could hear his ugliness from the bathroom, anyways.

"Hey honey," Amy said.

Blake kissed her. It was loud and sounded wet. She hated sloppy kisses.

I spat my toothpaste out, rinsed by toothbrush and tapped it against the edge of the sink. I placed it in the holder, and made sure it didn't touch Amy's. It wasn't like I cared either way (there aren't a lot of places on each others' bodies our mouths haven't touched), but Blake might.

He was really difficult to understand, almost like a woman.

"Hard day at work?" Amy asked. I walked into the living room. The pair of them were curled up on the couch, and it sickened me. I sat in the armchair, and had half a mind to start jerking off. I just wanted to make Blake angry.

"It was horrible," Blake said, "People have no respect."

He glared at me. I stopped caring what Blake thought, and unzipped my pants.

"Travis!" Amy cried, "I know you're hungover and angry, but compose yourself!"

"I want to fuck Blake," I batted my eyelashes, "Right up the ass. He's so dreamy."

Amy burst into tears. Blake leaped off the couch, lunged at me. I flinched and covered my balls. With the look on Blake's face I probably should've been more worried than I was. But there was still alcohol in my system. I didn't give a fuck; I was angry.

"What?" he laughed, "You think I'm gonna kick you where it hurts? Isn't that a childish thing to do?"

"I don't want kids," I yawned, "So if that's your prerogative, Blake, you're welcome to. I'm pretty irresponsible anyways."

Amy sobbed mindlessly into the arm of the couch. She finally decided she'd been through enough and left, red-faced and in tears. I was glad she'd left. I didn't want her to witness what I planned to do.

"What's your fucking problem?" Blake swore, "Why do you treat my fiancée like shit?"

"I'm not the one who hits her," I retaliated. "Neither am I a misogynistic asshole who's more concerned with getting her pregnant than anything else."


"I've got news for you, Blake! She got her tubes tied years ago! You'll never become parents - there's a reason she won't do artificial insemination. She doesn't want kids."

Blake went pale.

I was out of my mind. My head still hurt. I wanted to go back to sleep... I wanted more alcohol.

"You're lying!" Blake screamed.

"No, Blake," I said, "You're lying to yourself."

Blake rubbed his eyes and pulled his fingers through his hair.

"What the fuck? What's so special about you?"

I smirked at him.

"Because, Mr. Hughes," I said matter-of-factually, "I've known Amy my entire life. She's always loved me. I was her first kiss. I have her virginity. You know what else? I'm the first, and last guy who got your precious fiancée pregnant."

"I don't believe you," Blake cried, panic-stricken.

"Why don't you ask her yourself, huh? Ask her about Rowan. About her pregnancy, the stillborn baby she gave birth to? Why don't you ask her," I said slowly, "What it was like to bury her son at sixteen years old."

"She was a virgin when I met her!" Blake insisted.

I laughed and headed toward the stairs. No more nonsense.

"You and a thousand other guys only wish she was."


I expected to wake up and find half my dick missing. It would still be bigger than Blake's. Everything was fine, and my headache gone. Sleeping was great.

When I trotted downstairs, I found Amy and Blake engaged in an extreme vocal match. Blake called her a hussy and a whore. She went straight back at him, and called him a misogynistic asshole.

I was proud.

A moment later, she stormed out of the kitchen with tears in her eyes. She pushed past me and I grunted.

"Bastard," she swore.

The previous night was fuzzy to me, and I was regretful and angry. I was so drunk. Damn, I forgot how much I loved vodka shots. Blake shoved past me.

"Bastard," he swore.

I shrugged, and figured there was no point to fume about it. I sauntered into the kitchen and rummaged for a fork, finished Amy's pancakes, and poured myself a glass of orange juice.

"Bastard," I swore.

I had a mind to shoot myself right there. I wondered if Blake kept a gun. I made a point to ask him.

As the day progressed, my guilt began to worsen. Around eight, I heard Amy having make-up sex with Blake. My stomach tightened, my heart pounded, and...

I broke down crying right there.

Five minutes later, I wiped the tears from my face. I didn't have anything to do, so I sat on the couch and picked up the remote.

T.V. solves all problems, yes it does. <3

After a while, I felt sick, lethargic, and fat. I figured that a nice run around the block would boost my mood, and I'd get some fresh air. I headed for the front door, pulled off my shirt, and laced up my sneakers. In no time, I felt sexy as hell. I ran a few laps around the block, guided through the dark by glowing streetlamps.

When I arrived home, Amy and Blake sat on the couch in their pajamas.

Amy had bruises on her face.

I felt sick again.

"What the fuck, you bastard" I swore, my fist out for Blake's face, "You fucking bastard! What makes you think that you have the right to hit her?"

"She's my fiancée," Blake said quietly.

I growled.


Nothing made sense to me anymore. I didn't understand how, in the span of ten years, my life could go from being perfect to miserable. I had nothing left for me.

"Why don't you leave, Travis?" Blake suggested casually, "Shoot up some drugs. It'll make everyone happier."

I was speechless.

"Travis," Amy said, "Get your things. You're not welcome here anymore."

Her voice was monotone. I wondered if Blake drugged her. The way he treated her, the idea didn't seem unreasonable.


It was midnight. I lay on a dingy hotel bed. My ex-girlfriend and her abusive fiance hated me. My son was dead. My guitar was out of tune. I had no money, no job, no future. I was homeless, broke, and unemployed.

I groaned and rolled over. What the hell was I supposed to do? Where was I supposed to go? I didn't want to leave; the guilt of abandoning Amy to Blake would consume me.

When I was sixteen, everything was perfect. I was in love, had great sex, a wonderful family, and a promising future as a musician or biologist (my secret fantasy). Then Amy became pregnant... shit happened.

I dealt drugs in college to pay tuition, but got caught and kicked out. My beautiful ex-girlfriend ran off, and became engaged to a man who liked to beat her. My mother abandoned me. Everyone turned against me, even fucking England. Well, it was my fault for being there illegally anyways.

I was alone and scared.

I smothered myself with a pillow.

"Room service!" I screamed, "Can you get me a fucking gun? How about some fucking pills? Or rope? How about... scented bath oils?"

I almost laughed at myself.

I climbed out of bed and went into the bathroom. I turned the faucet on and watched the tub as it filled. After ten minutes of that shit, I turned the faucet off and looked at the nearly-full bathtub (displacement is key), stripped down and climbed in.

"Goodbye, cruel world," I sighed, "Now all I've gotta do is wait for death to take me."

I couldn't, though. Every thirty seconds that I managed to stay underwater, I gasped and choked another minute, whimpered and cried over how much I loved Amy. I ended up soaking in the bathtub for hours, watching my skin wrinkle. I couldn't do it. I couldn't leave the world behind when Amy was still part of it, and still in danger.

About four-thirty in the morning, I crawled out of the bath, toweled off, and put my boxers on. I tugged my jewelry out and crawled into bed. Then I stared at the ceiling for twenty minutes, closed my eyes, and fell asleep.


I had enough money for a week at the motel, and $25 for food. I needed an even cheaper place to stay, or I'd be on the street. In desperation, I picked up a payphone and inserted some change. I dialed Amy's number.

"Amy," I begged, "Please, pick up."

She picked up.

"Amy, please let me come back."

She hung up.


Back to the hotel.

I was terrified of everything.


As I lay in bed that night, unable to sleep, I decided to call the Sheriff's department.

Amy would hate me, but I had to rescue her. I loved her. She hid the bruises for too long, and I should've called the cops when I first discovered them.

Well, everyone makes mistakes.


A week passed. I was almost broke, but I went to the same café for lunch every single day... Amy's favorite. My best friend Milo was supposed to pick me up later that afternoon. Amy or not.

Right before I finished eating, Amy walked in. She wore a green coat, plaid scarf, and large sunglasses. She slipped into a table beside the window. When she spotted me, Amy lowered her sunglasses.

My stomach did backflips. I placed the last of my cash on the table, and approached her.

"Hey," I said, and slipped into the seat across from her.

"You called the cops."

"Yeah," I said. "I love you and don't understand how you ever pretended to care about him."

"I didn't pretend," Amy whispered, "Until you came along, and made me re-examine everything. You turned my life upside down."

"You're welcome," I said.

"You don't look good," Amy murmured, worried.

"I tried to kill myself," I said casually, "In the bathtub. There are more painless and easier ways to die, I guess. I just didn't have anything else to kill myself with."

"But you didn't do it," Amy interjected.

"I couldn't," I said, and stared into her eyes.

Silence. The corner of Amy's lips twitched and she leaned towards me. I leaned towards her.

"I love you," she said.

"I love you too," I whispered. I was close to tears.

A pause.

"There was a whole period of time," she began, "Where I couldn't stand to be around you, because of Rowan. I felt sick whenever I saw you, stood next to you, or held and kissed you. I was so broken up, and full of grief. I couldn't function at all. I just wanted to hold him and... he was ours."

"Finis vitae sed non amoris," I whispered, and leaned even closer towards her, "The end of life is not the end of love."

November 2012


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