Hope & Wade
The quiet ratcheting click of tumblers being jostled by the movement of the key quietly echoed in the empty space of the basement suite. The lock turned with no audible noise until the dead bolt slid back into the door with a solid clack. As the door handle twisted, the door swung open, letting trapped heat billow out into the frigid night air, as a figure laden with bags of supplies nudged the door open to its widest point with a toe, and slipped sideways into the building. Wade was greeted with a shocking and potentially offensive sight as his reward for doing chores. His apartment was filthy and disorganized, a radical change from the spartan cleanliness he had left it in. The closet where Hope had been sleeping was wide open, with clothing spilling out of it onto the floor into an ugly mass of cloth. All semblance of order disappeared from the room upon his entrance like a tornado had ceased just before he walked through the door. The bathroom was caked in streaks of filth and dirty handprints, water of an unhealthy brown hue had collected in the drain of the shower as it was clogged with blonde-white hair. The medicine cabinet was left open with its contents littering the sink, some of them open and spilling into the sink itself. Disgusting, smelly clothes lay in a heap in the corner of it, giving off the worst kind of aroma not unlike an unholy hybrid between armpit stench and dog urine. Dirty, wet footprints led a trail out to the kitchen, which didn't fare much better. The hardwood floor displayed several wet footprints in multiple directions, each brown and unclean. The counters had wetness on them and a few mystery stains that had magically appeared since he left and nearly every cabinet was open and some of the contents had made their way onto the counters themselves in a disorderly fashion, dishes sloping up against each other as lazily as the new "resident" had placed them there without any particular care.
The fridge was even left open, containers open to the air and placed haphazardly back on the shelves. All clues pointed to one culprit: Hope Thomas, who was at the end of the trail of footprints and eating the pulled pork she was promised earlier with her bare hands. Cold, messy, but still satisfying. Her hair was wet and grouped in strips that clung to themselves and anything else, just a shade darker from bleach blonde and running straight down her back. Her skin was no longer slightly discolored from the amount of grime on her body and revealed an extremely pale, clean skin tone that wouldn't have been out of place on a ginger if not for the complete lack of freckles, however she did have a slight acne problem on her face that was visible without the dirt to obscure it. Her eyes were dark and weary, however, marred by dark lines underneath from lack of sleep and stress. Her eyes were wide, almost bulging out of her skull.
Because Hope was completely naked.
Her figure was thin and sickly, mimicking that of an anorexic runway model. Her bones jutted out of her fragile frame in points and her ribs could have been discernable from halfway across the room. The thickness of her arms and legs was pathetic and pitiful, and she had no "figure" to speak of. The wilted rose tattoed across her shoulders and over her collarbone looked equally pathetic on such a sickly thin creature. Her right arm stuck out the most, being the most unappealing. While most of her was naked, it still held the makeshift cast on it, but with a trashbag jerry-rigged around her forearm to protect it from wetness. It looked... unnatural, to say the least. Overall, she held a twisted yet somewhat pretty appearance, like a fallen pixie or a starved puppy. Definitely not attractive, but somewhat pitiful and possibly a source of former beauty of which could be seen twinkling through its current wretched prison.
Hope gasped and jumped. The room jumped with her. Everything that wasn't nailed down made a small leap and came immediately crashing down to the floor. Dishes shattered and the contents of the fridge clattered and everything else banged around, but it was of no strangeness to her. Her pale skin began to wash over with a rosy shade as the blood pumped to her face. Her wide eyes narrowed and her teeth gnashed into themselves. You could have practically heard her heart attempt to escape from her rib cage for the split second when it happened or see the blood vessel about to burst in her forehead. Her arms shot down to cover her very modest personal areas, dropping the pan with her meal in it, and with her food crashing down so did the pressure in the room rise, like the air suddenly weighed as much as water did.
"What the fuck, dude?!?!" she cried out in shock and irritation and a tiny amount of embarrassment. Her voice went much higher than it normally was and even cracked when she opened her mouth to announce her surprise.
Reddish-brown eyes scanned the disarray, the aftermath of Hurricane Hope, as the door opened and revealed the mess. If she could see his shaded eyes clearly from under the hood, the emotions flickering through his mind were plain to see; annoyance, frustration, anger...and dissapointment. When he finally looked to her, and she began her mildly delayed reaction, he looked her over once, and in the tense standoff after her words....he sighed. closing his eyes and shaking his head. He had hoped for better, but hadn't exactly expected much from her display before he left. As he stepped through the threshold, he balanced on his right foot and kicked the door closed, sealing off the cold air from rushing in too far. As the air pressure changed, he looked back to her, focusing on her face while shifting the bags from his right to left hand, stacking loops of bags thick enough that the bundle beneath his left hand looked like an upside down cluster of white balloons. The final two bags in his right hand, he jostled towards her, and then lobbed them in her direction, the first would potentially land before her feet with a slightly heavier thawp, the second likely to bounce harmlessly from her legs if she didn't catch it. Neither did. As Wade threw both bags towards the young woman they drifted over to her, more notably to cover her upper and lower halves that people generally hid from other people, and she gripped them to her body tightly.
"Get dressed," the tone of his voice would convery the slight annoyance of his own.
"Ugh!" Hope scoffed, offended at his tone of voice and actions. It wasn't very gentlemanly to do avert your eyes from a naked woman in plain sight. Wade then shifted his gaze down as he stooped, and single handedly began untying and removing the boot on his right foot, still holding well over sixty pounds of groceries in his left hand without visible strain, or even obvious conscious effort other than a slight lean to his right to counter-balance the mass.
"Four pairs of pants; one's a pair of sweats, the others are jeans, two size zero, one size one." The laces loosened, he slipped off the boot, and switched his stance to kneel on his right knee, "Pack of six plain ass underwear, smallest size I could find. Six pairs of socks. Grabbed two plain belts. Couple of extra small t-shirts," he hesistated as he removed the left boot and placed it with the other, before continuing as he rose and walked to the kitchen, "a plain grey hooded sweater and a winter coat." His voice droned, even if she tried to talk over him, he ignored her and just kept talking until he finished. Before the fridge, he stepped down on a already shattered plate that had gone unseen beneath the bulk of the bags of groceries. The thick plate snapped and crackled under the mass bearing down upon it. With an exhalation of breath, he shook his head clearing the frustation, while beginning to put some of the vegetables away in the fridge.
Hope had been not-so-patiently fuming, waiting on him to turn around and go about his business. More specifically she expected him to turn around out of courtesy or back out of the door so she could cover herself, but that never happened. The pressure within the room lifted and she looked down at the bags, a slight crinkle coming from them as the plastic shifted against her body. She was less shocked now, but still very embarrassed and feeling more than sheepish. While his back was turned, she quietly dug through the bags, trying not to make a sound at the risk of inciting any reaction from him. What he had said was the truth; there were pants with some sweats, a pack of white panties, some socks, some shirts, a couple of tacky belts, a hooded sweatshirt and a down coat. The clothing was simple, but the gesture was more than she could have asked for. New clothes from a store. Not hand-me-downs that no one wanted, but clothes that people would buy. Clothes that would actually fit and be comfortable and wouldn't smell like other people. She pulled out the sweatpants and slowly lowered the bag with the jeans in it to the ground, attempting to aviod all the noise the plastic bag would make. She sniffed them, savoring the scent of the store. Her eyes kept on Wade, though. She didn't want him turning around with her now naked and uncovered, smelling her clothes. Hope slipped into them. They were just a bit loose, but she tightened the drawstring until they wouldn't even threaten to slide down over her hips. She didn't bother with the underwear, opening the package would just make more noise and bring her unwanted attention.
In the other bag contained the upper bodywear, and she chose a royal purple shirt out of the three available, the others being a white one and a spring green one, all of them plain. Purple was her favorite color. It was uplifting that she even had a choice at all. She twisted her arms through the sleeves and slid it down her torso. The cotton felt smooth and comfortable over her skin, and the shirt fit her shoulders well even if it hung off her lithe body with a little room to spare, making it look a little baggy and not as 'fit' as a shirt that small should be. It hung just above where her stomach ended, obviously intended for shorter women than her. She drew the hooded sweatshirt out of the bag. It was thicker than the material of the sweatpants, but matched the color exactly. It felt as if it would be warm as she held it in her hands, and she brought it to her chest to feel the comfort of it. It was soft even if it was a little thick and slightly itchy, and she wrapped her arms around it and closed her eyes. For half a moment she pretended that she was hugging someone, and it felt so good against her that she wished she could lie on the floor and go to sleep with it in her arms. She pulled it away and looked at it once fully before bringing it over her head. Fully covered in her grey lounging apparel, she didn't look nearly as unhealthy as she did without it. The hoody was a little baggy and combined with the sweatpants it gave her body the illusion of depth and girth, as if she wasn't the stickly girl she was without it.
She brought her head up from looking at her body to turn to Wade again, his head still buried in the fridge. Her eyebrows furrowed as she gazed at him with sorrowful eyes, and she bit her lower lip. She felt like a puppy that did something to deserve being yelled at, even if Wade didn't raise his voice. He might not have been loud, but he got his point across. She let her feet drift off of the hardwood floor as she floated silently across the room to the cot Wade had made for himself. It was the darkest corner of the room and she let herself shrink down into it. Here this generous man had been nice enough to give her shelter and food and clothes. A home. And she repaid him by destroying it. She hadn't meant to, but forces beyond her control had made her. She was a prisoner in her own body while her other self acted inconsiderately towards his home and now he was upset with her. She didn't deserve this, any of it. Either of it. She didn't deserve to have a house and someone who actually showed a little empathy and she didn't deserve to be singled out and fight a war within herself. It made her anxious and sad, as she always was, and she curled her legs up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. It didn't feel as good as pretending to hug the sweatshirt, but it made her feel safe. Not exactly safe, but closed off, and she pulled the hood high over her head to make her feel further so. She didn't know who she was anymore, didn't know how she was feeling outside of good and bad and maybe not even then, and that dragged her into a despair. But she definitely didn't feel good about wrecking the scab man's house, even if the current mind in charge of her body didn't do it and didn't want to. The only sound she made was the flick of a lighter and the rustle of sheets as she pushed herself further into the corner with her legs and lit a cigarette to try to put a cap on what she was feeling. Her mind was pacing, bouncing back and forth like a raquetball with negative thoughts.
You should feel bad. You did something bad. Being crazy isn't an excuse. You're just a bad person.
Just go ahead and smoke. Self-medicate until you feel better. God you're so pathetic.
Same old Hope. Someone acts nice to you and you trash their house. Nobody likes you, they just don't know better.
You're a horrible person. You're not even a person, you're just a freak. Everyone would be better off if you just killed yourself.
I wish I could just go to sleep and never wake up again.
The thoughts that plagued her in short little bursts, the ones that haunted the back of her mind and brought themselves to light every so often, were now rearing their ugly heads in full force. It was enough to make her shake like a frightened rabbit.
Milk, butter, celery, carrots and a list of other soon to be ingredients made their way into the fridge, as he shifted bag to bag to find what needed to be refrigerated while reorganizing the fridge from the mess Hope had left it in.. As she was hugging the sweatshirt, he closed the fridge door smoothly before prying open the freezer door, and standing a bit more upright, if she looked up, she would find he didn't even look in her direction during this change of stance. Into the freezer filed a couple of bags; fries, hashbrowns, peas. Fairly generic food items, he shifted to stack, cycling the half used bags under the new ones, and a couple of the vacuum packed bags of frozen meat (one pound of ground beef, and two bags of three chicken thighs). He heard the rasp of steel on flint, the change in her breathing as she inhaled the cigarette as he closed the freezer door. He stooped, picking up the box of oats, he moved to the overhead cupboard next to the fridge, and looked at the disorientated mess within. Resting the oats on the counter, he closed his eyes; bracing himself with both arms on the bottom edge of the cupboard, he hung his head, closing his eyes as the decades old plywood creaked softly from the strain.
He hissed out a held breath before looking in the next cupboard, and with a shift, saved the next few places from the same fate as the one on the floor, shattered into pieces. Grabbing a bowl, Wade stooped to the bags, and pulled out a clear plastic sack of brown lumps. He undid the twist-tie, and poured the hard, little, oblong balls into the dish with a rapid fire clinking. With a rustle, he scrunched the bag, and dropped it, after looking at the floor once more. He picked up the bowl, and grabbed another before turning around and starting walking across the basement suite. As he approached the bed-less mattress, he spoke, "Hope," He paused, thinking of the words he needed to say as he held out the empty bowl first, and muttered, "ashtray," though that was obviously not what he was approaching her to talk about. She shrunk farther away from him as he approached, inching farther into the corner of the bed and turning her body from his. She gave him a jerky shake of her head when he handed her the bowl. At that moment, a hunk of ash fell off of the end of her cigarette and floated downwards, before drifting back upwards. Over a foot above her own head a milky white-grey ball was forming, comprised of the cigarette smoke twirling from her mouth and the ashes that dropped from the cigarette itself. It was almost hypnotic, with swirling lines of smoke. It looked like a miniature planet or a crystal ball.
His eyes flicked to the ball and he gave a slight nod as he crouched at the edge of the bed, putting both of the bowls down on the quilted surface, the empty bowl tiliting one way, the other tilting towards Hope herself, "I need to know two things. The first, is the answer to a hypothetical question: If the land lords had come down and surprised you, instead of me; would you...no....what would you have done?" He then took a couple of the brown nuggets from the second bowl, popping one into his mouth and chewing with a muted crunch.She hesitated, not answering his question at first. She knew what he was implying, she wasn't that oblivious. Everyone asked her at some point, and they were right to ask, but it made her sullen everytime. She didn't want to answer him, but she couldn't not answer him either. She nervously brought her cigarette to her mouth in an attempt to delay the inevitable. The puff she let out soared towards her smoke globe, and it grew a little. Such an ephemeral curiousity.
"...I would've told them a lie..." she responded quietly. Her voice shuddered as she was doing, and it sounded like she would cry. Lord knew she wanted to. Overall she sounded like she felt: like a little kid in trouble. But she felt so much worse at the same time.
He pursed what remained of his lips, the dark scales making an odd expression as he thought of how to word things, "That...Rather, I am concerned Hope. I am concerned because you seem rather unpredictable, and if you happened to hurt the landlords, even unintentionally? That would be my responsibility." His voice was deep, firm, and perhaps...fatherly though he never tried for it. "Just the same, if they hurt you, I would be responsible." He took a breath, and resumed, "I need to know if you would hurt them if you were surprised by them. I don't give a damn if you hurt me, but if there is that chance, then I will have to move to ensure their safety, and yours. Find some where that you won't have people surprising you. I made you a promise Hope, I am a man of my word." Unpredictable. That was a word that Hope had always hated. Unpredictable. It's the word that people used when they were trying to call her crazy but wanted to be nice. Regardless of what word they used, she knew what they wanted to say. She sniffled loudly, tears now falling freely from her face as she cried. He wanted her to leave. She fucked it up in the first couple of hours, and now she'd have to go back to the streets. The streets weren't a nice place to be, for anyone. She would be afraid of what her otherself would do on the street. What had happened at the gas station was the least of what could happen, and she was well aware of that everyday. It's like she was always on the verge of snapping. She had vivid imaginations of her just walking down the street with the most joyous of smiles on her face, laughing blissfully as her troubles melted away, throwing people through windows and crumbling buildings and crushing cars and doing everything that peope were afraid that she would do. What scared her the most is she always imagined that it would be with a smile, completely happy with crushing people to death and cutting their windpipes with glass. She shook even harder. The ball above her head tightened and took on a more white color as the smoke condensed into itself.
"...No..." she sobbed like a forlorn child. It sounded as if she didn't believe herself, mostly because she didn't. She didn't want to hurt anyone. Hope was a little clumsy with her ability and easily surprised, but she rarely managed to hurt anyone with her ability. But sometimes accidents happened. Her other side, however, was very angry. She would hurt people. She flew off the handle very quickly and liked to throw things, liked to dominate others, make them feel how she felt: powerless and weak. She would hurt them, maybe not out of malice, but a lost argument or a stray insult could end in a homocide. Hope simply didn't want to be thrown out again.
Another deep breath that seemed to strike some chord of bass as it filled his lungs, and quietly escaped. He knew she was hiding the truth, it wasn't exactly hard to see it due to her body language and distant voice. Yet pushing the issue would be pointless, he already had the answer he needed. "By the way, these are chocolate almonds." He motioned to the bowl of the brown lumps, and then carried on while mentally thinking of where he would move to. "The second thing I need to know is, if you have any questions for me?" He popped another chocolate covered almond in his mouth, while he twisted with the sound of scraping wood from his feet, and sad down on the hardwood, crossing his left leg under his right which extended straight. Giving her the space of the mattress.
Hope tilted her head to look in his direction, but not directly at him. Her eyes were drawn to the chocolates, and she decided to focus on those to avoid looking at him. She crawled on her hands an knees toward him and laid down, reaching out to grab one. With her right hand. The hand that was still covered with its awkward cast and trashbag merely smacked the bowl and tipped it over. The sudden movement from her mistake made her gasp, and the chocolates rolled onto the bed and off of it, bouncing along the hardwood floor. Her ball of smoke slowly lifted into the cieling as it dispersed and lost its shape, and the chocolates began recalling themselves towards her hand. She began to feverishly toss them back into the bowl, looking shyly and almost panicked at him, as if she had just done something she really shouldn't have done. She awkwardly took a single chocolate and put it gingerly in her mouth, making the most extreme attempt not to make any sound as if she were eating it. The smoke ball started to slowly reform as the smoke that had drifted towards the ceiling morphed into a ball again as slowly as it had fallen apart. Hope sat in silence, no longer trying to hide in the corner but still distancing herself from Wade, trying to eat her chocolate without
any noise.She sniffled a little, but other than that she was fairly silent. Her sobbing had stopped, but her face was still wet from tears. An uncomfortable amount of time passed before she piped up to speak.
"...Didn't... mean to..." she said in a hushed whisper, afraid of how he'd respond. "Wreck your... things... I didn't want to..." Her voice was almost trailing off, but she felt like she owed him an apology, even if she wasn't in control when it happened. She slowly reached down onto the bed to light another cigarette, allowing the one between her lips to float upwards and join the growing mass of smoke that spun and swirled. As slowly and unprovokingly as she could, of course.He chuckled softly and dismissed it with a smile and a shake of his head, "Kid, what? A couple plates that were about twenty cents at the salvation army? Scattering my clothes? I ain't worried about that, though thank you for the apology. But I do mean it, ask me anything. I am going to be up front and honest with you. Nor is this just for right now, or just tonight. If you ever have a question, ask me...except when I'm sleeping."
She had honestly been expecting to be chastised or given a 'disappointment' speech, and his reaction caught her off guard. She looked over at him, and her eyes were soft, as if both of them were starving and he had offered her the last slice of bread. It didn't last long, because after a moment or two she returned her gaze to the floor in front of her. He wasn't nearly as angry with her as she'd thought he'd be, and she didn't know how to feel about it. Happy that he wasn't angry? Guilty over doing it anyway? Confused as to why he was showing her such kindness? She didn't know, so it was easier not to look at him. A question did pop into her head and she looked at him once more. She opened her mouth to ask it, but closed it and returned her head to the ground. She was pessimistic about the answer she would get, and it wasn't a good time anyway. It made her a little sad, especially because the next thing that popped into her head wasn't something she wanted to talk about but would have to anyway. She took a few deep breaths along with a puff of her cigarette to steady herself before she brought it to his attention.
"I-I'm sorry..." she squeaked, "...I've been lying to you. I'm sorry..." She could only hope that he would continue to be as understanding and kind as he had been the whole time. It made her tremble some more, far more afraid of this answer than all the others. Slowly he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees as he bent his right leg to fold infront of his left. His voice softened to an encouraging note, "Yes?" He wondered if she was going to tell him the truth of her earlier lie that was easy to read through, or if it was something different altogether. He resisted the urge to grab another almond, feeling that would seem a bit insincere at this moment.She could only show more hesitation at this point. He was expectant and she didn't want to speak in the first place. It made her feel almost pressured, and she was very aware of her own awkwardness and timidness. She looked at him and opened her mouth to say something, just as she did before, but also just like before she said nothing and stopped looking at him. She repeated this a few times. The words were particularly hard to grasp and she didn't want to mention it anyway. But now she had to. It scared her. She was scared to tell him, because he'd probably hate her. Nobody wants a psychopath living in their house. Taking a large gulp and attempting to supress the lump in her throat, the urge that told her to cry again, she spoke in louder tone than she had been the entire time.
"You have to promise," she said resolutely, but still shakily and sullen. "You have to promise that you won't hate me or make me leave." Her demands were strangely... demanding. She still sounded sad, but no longer shy. Her hands moved quickly to interlace behind her head, the trash bag on her right hand crinkling in defiance. She absolutely refused to look at him.
"Hope," he looked at her straight on, his voice returning to the somewhat normal tone of bass, heavy solidity, "I reserve my hate for people who betray me, stab me in the back, or who try to kill me unjustly. You have done none of those, and I am sure I would recognize you if you had. Unless you try to get me killed or imprisoned, I will never hate you. Secondly, I have no intention of making you leave. When I told you that I would properly cast your arm when the swelling goes down, I gave you my word. I told you that it is your choice to stay or leave, unless you steal from me." He drew back the hood of his jacket, "One thing to learn, is that I speak my mind at face value. I do not lie unless it is necessary. I do not go back on my word. Clear?"His words, while comforting, didn't make it any easier to speak what was on her mind. If anything it made her even more nervous. He didn't persecute her now, but people always changed their minds when she told them the truth. They didn't look at her like she was crazy and treat her with scorn, they spoke to her like she was crazy and treated her like an invalid. Hope didn't want to be thought of like that. She wasn't even certain what was worse. Her breathing became more rapid and she hugged her face even farther into the mattress as she layed down, turning her head to keep herself from smothering herself with the sheets, away from Wade, of course. A lump formed in her throat and she almost choked on it as all of the feelings that were erupting inside of her clawed to escape all at once. She hiccupped a sob, but didn't wipe her eyes.
"...I'm crazy..." she spoke in a whisper barely above the sound of her quick breaths. The tears began to flow as she broke down, admitting it being the last straw she could take. She was afraid and hurt and broken and confused and she hated herself, but she could never articulate it. It didn't feel good to say it out loud. It felt awful. Like admitting to a crime that you were shocked you committed.
He raised a segmented brow while the other furrowed, his lips parted to speak, but he hesistated, seeing there was more to come, he kept his mouth shut and listend.
"There's this girl," she bawled, sniffling and hiccupping as she vented her pain, "that lives inside my brain. An' she's mean an' she takes my body an' she does things I don't wanna do but she does'em anyway an' she broke your stuff an'," Hope trailed on in a whiny and sorrowful cry, eventually becoming unintelligible. The smoke ball twisted and knotted itself above her head violently, like a writhing immaterial snake. She grew nearly silent for a moment.
"An' I HATE HER!!" she shrieked like a banshee, pounding her fist on the ruddy mattress. The room suddenly became weighed down and the ball above her head tightened itself up from the size of a basketball to a cue ball,
"I HATE HER I HATE HER!!" she yowled some more, thrashing her body on the bed. When she was done screaming, the ball disappated into a puff of smoke and the weight in the room returned to a more natural state. Hope laid on the bed with her hands covering her head again, muffled sobs ringing from the mattress as her body shook.
Wade sat, listening in silence as the young woman he had taken in explained and then railed against her mental state. He could feel a weight begin to push down on him...except it was more than that, was he the weight? He could hear the creaking of the floor as it was subjected to masses unexpected. As Hope's wail died to a pitiful sobbing, and the excess gravity was lifted, he closed his eyes and though, letting the hushed sobs be the only noise in the room. Thoughts ran through his mind, scenarios and plausibilities of what might happen. Something strolled through his mind though, with the recent events; people were trusting him. People he hardly knew were turning to him and trusting him with information, their secrets, and believing in his advice as thought it had some form of worth. Long years with being thought of as untrustworthy, a monster, and a creature that should be ignored, or hunted made the sensation feel alien and unusual; but welcome. "Thank you for trusting me with the truth, Hope." He paused, hesistating as he retrained his voice, forcing strength into it where he didn't really know if he had the strength to offer her, Joseph, or anyone else, "I do not know, or understand your situation, and I will not lie and say otherwise. Yet I have not had an easy life, and can perhaps relate to your life better than most. I have been betrayed by a man who was as close to me as a brother, and I was forced to take his life to protect others. I have retreated from the core of personality to become as much like an animal as a human can get. I have been hunted. I have been tortured. I have seen the worst aspects of humanity, beyond that which most can fathom." A crack in his voice as the memories surfaced after long remission; the blood, the pain, the smell of dust and acrid burnt flesh. He struggled to restrain the pain and hatred, succeeding except for the undercurrent that might be sensed in his words.
"And I have embodied some of those aspects myself." His tongue licked his lips as he took another heavy breath, Forcing the memories back into their hole, and hardening his voice to leave no uncertainty in his voice "So, believe me when I say that dishes and material things can be replaced, and that I do not care if you have more than one person in that noggin of yours. You are still welcome to stay with me. However, because of the unpredictable shifts between the two of you, we are going to start looking for a new place to live tomorrow, as I do not care if either of you tries to hurt me, but if someone else is hurt? I would hold myself responsible, to both them, and you. Thus I would prefer to avoid that possibility as much as possible." He shrugged off the tension, and relax a smidge, leaning back a few degrees, "Besides, a shorter commute to work would be nice."
The crying girl stared back at him with pitiful, wet green eyes. She had largely unheard what he had said, although she was listening. Hope was too absorbed into her own misery at the moment. She had so much hurt built up inside of her over the years that it was difficult to stop the tears when they started flowing. It was like a freight train, and the more her emotions let themselves out the more powerful they continued to get. It felt like someone had sent her heart through a paper shredder and someone tried to half-assed patch it together with scotch tape until all that was left was a bleeding mess. Everything about her entire being hurt. Her feelings hurt. Her brain hurt. Her body ached and she felt sick and exhausted. It hurt her eyes to try to cry more tears than she could give and it hurt her stomach when she hiccupped. Her mouth hurt because she was chewing on her tongue and biting her cheek. It even felt as if her arm hurt, which it probably did if she could feel it.
"I don't wanna do this anymore..." she whispered morosely. "I'm sick of it," she sniffled, "I'm sick of being poor, and I'm sick of being called a freak, and I'm sick of people hating me, and I'm sick of sharing my body..." Her tone rose in volume and anger as she went, and her body could be seen to shudder as she continued.
"And I'm sick of this... fucking... AARGH!!" As she screamed in frustration she had brought her crippled arm up, an allusion to what she was talking about. She began to growl and thrash about on the bed as she attempted to fight the trash bag on her arm. She literally ripped it off as she arched her back and pressed her feet into the wall as she kicked at it. Hope ended up biting a chunk out of the cardboard as she struggled to get it off in futility. But after a moment she realised just how useless it was and laid herself down to resume bawling her eyes out. She covered her face with her hands and continued to sob unintelligibly, something heavily involving the words 'freak' and about 'people'. Becoming self-conscious, Hope scooted closer onto the bed and turned her body away from Wade. She even took the effort to throw the sleeping bag over herself so that he couldn't look at anything but her frizzy white hair sticking out from where it wasn't covered.
Shadowed eyes watched the girl trying to fight the hand that life had delt her, fighting it on her own after the world and everyone she had known rejected her. As the tone rose, he stayed solemnly silent, a monolith beside the bed as she vented her frustrations and hatred. Watching as she ripped off the bag and tried to tear at the cardboard. He let her cry, for words failed to come to him. Then, the sleeping bag flung itself over her as she turned to the wall, and the silently watching eyes slid closed. Seconds stretched to minutes as he struggled to understand, comprehend why he felt like he should do something, or what that something was. His mass slowly shifting, a muffled grating scrape on the hardwood before he stopped, right hand held slightly up wanting to offer her a warm hand of solidity on her shoulder. Hesistation. Was it the right thing to do? What warmth would be there, the plates of his skin would be cold...alien. Did she want to be comforted...would she let herself becomforted....could she? Memories of a kind woman who found him in the woods back in 1970, a half feral man with hatred and vile rage filling his veins. Joe Carter, when they swore they would be brothers to each other. The the first time Joe brought up being Mayor of Redding, and the argument that followed. Feelings of resentment, embarrasment, jealousy. The blood on his own hands of the man he swore was his brother, and the whispered words of his dieing friend, I wish...we grew up together, brother. Maybe then...this... His right hand reached and lighted on Hope's shoulder through the sleeping bag, a stifled gasp of air, before gently squeeze while he spoke softly, "Hope, I wish I had met you before." He released, pulling back his hand while sitting immobile, his eyes open and blurred. Eventually he moved, shuffling clothes, scutes on wood, and then the sounds of him picking up the fallen pot of food, scraping the spilled contents back into the pot.
Quietly, methodically, he cleaned the worst of the mess, leaving strewn clothes where they lay for now.