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Collaboration: Bigger Than Me
Author's note: This is a collabortaion, if you would like to join in you can find us in the writers workshop section of the fourm under "A Line Game,"
It was one of those days, when sleep seems to escape on and Zack found himself counting the number of times he thought he heard the rain hit the roof top. His eyes were restless, his mind was active; the thought of her clouded his mind. She was dead now and he could have stopped it. But he was too weak. and now she was gone. If only he had taken the risk- just a little discomfort and he could have saved her life.
But he couldn't and now he was living with the regret of letting her die. What made it worse was that she was his sister, his baby sister. His parent's acted like they didn't blame him, but he knew they did. He had so much envy for her; there were so many times he wished she could just die. So many times hatred burned in his soul and took over the love that should be there. He felt regret tugging at his heart, oh how he wish to get that horrible image out of his head. He could still hear her screams, her pleading for help ringing in his ears like a song stuck in your head for weeks. It mocked him the way the monster in the closet mocked little kids. And it was that scream that was driving him crazy. no one knew how close he was to the edge, that his breaking point was near.
Every night, I would hear cries from Zack's room. There is so much pain, hurt, and regret in the sobs; it hurt me to listen to it. They were howls of pain that would shake the souls. Every now and then he would call out her name and beg her to come back to life. So his parents wouldn't glare. So his friends would stop blaming. So thing could go back to normal.
And thing did, kind of. He started going back to school talking with friends, all failed attempts of moving forward. But hope was coming. The helping hand to get him out of his pit of despair was on her way. He didn't see her at first, the new girl at school. He didn't know that this girl would be his savor, his angel of hope. But he'll just have to wait until fate makes them cross each other's paths. The first time he saw her, his heart ached. She looked like an older version of his sister. Well, how he imagined she'd look if she had had the chance to grow older.
He wondered who she was so one day he asks his best friend, well trying to be best friends again. "Atom! Hey slow down will ya?!" He calls out as he chases him down the sidewalk. It was a Friday afternoon and school was over.
"What do you want?" Atom snapped at him as he finally walks next to him. He takes in deep breathes and try's to adores the need to use his inhaler.
"Did you join track? Because you were walking pretty fast."
"Will you cut to the chase Zack, what do you want?" Zack thinks, he hadn't put much thought into how he would ask about the new girl. He didn't want Atom to start rumors about him and her. He wasn't ready to start dating again yet. "Well what do you want, Zack? I don't have all day as you can see."
"Look, I know I've blown you off and I'm sorry I was just having a hard time with my sister’s death and..." "I get that part," Atom snapped, "Now What. Do. You. Want."
"The girl who came here, I know it sound crazy but, do you think she looks like Karman?" he asked referring to his dead sister. "Every time I look at her that's who I see, and she's pretty right."
"I wouldn't know," Atom shrugged not looking at Zack now, "Wait you said she looks like you're sister and that's she's pretty. You're not trying to date her are you because that would be kind of weird?”
"What?! No way! I was just asking that’s all. Man, you take everything so seriously." Zack can hide his true feeling a way really good sometimes and other times he just can't.
"Well alright, what ever you say..."
Zack quickly adds. "Don't tell the others okay, do you promise?"
"What, do you really think I'm going to go running around the school yelling "Zack likes a girl" over and over again?" Atom asked, and Zack just gave him a look, "It was only that one time," Zack defended, "Besides that was last year. Forgive and forget right." Zack just glared causing Atom to laugh "Fine I wont tell any one." he promised.
"Thank you." Zack sigh and Atom just gave a tight nod looking at him sideways.
"Are you planning on hanging out with us again, or are you just going to take the information and go?"
"What no, why would I do that?"
"It was just a question. You don't need to get defensive unless you're guilty of something."
Zack swallows hard at the sudden dryness in his throat. "So where are you guys hanging out? At the same place or..." He lost his train of thought. He starts to have flashbacks of when his sister was still alive and hung out with him and his friends.
"Yes, we still hang out at the diner. So are you coming or not?"
"I cant!” Zach runs as fast as he could faster until he falls his legs collapsed tears run down his eyes. BEEP! BEEP!” Get out of the rode you idiot!” the car speeds around him. Zach’s head spins.
"You idiot!" Atom all but yelled as he grabbed Zack’s arm and pulled him to safety. "What's wrong with you are you trying to get you're self killed?!"
"Maybe," Zach replied. While he had never really considered suicide, it seemed almost appropriate to go so quickly, to join his sister in another form. But quickly, Zach decided that it was not enough torture to go quickly - no, he would have to live out his life without Karman knowing every day that it was his fault and his fault alone that she was no longer breathing, smiling, laughing. The knowledge was torturous and Zach believed he could have been dead a hundred times over and not been in such pain, but it was almost comforting to at least know he deserved it.
"Dude, you are seriously messed up," Atom said, seeing Zach's pensive look. "Come on." Atom dragged him along, "Me and the guy's are hanging out at The Cafe. They're waiting for me there, and you're coming with me."
Zack was out of it, his head was spinning like a record that was playing to fast but he still heard what Atom had said. "N-No! I-I just can't Atom. I-" Atom gave him a harsh glare that made Zack bite the inside of his cheek, tasting salt and metal of his own blood.
"You're not getting out of this one, Zachary. You either come hang with us or I'll throw you in the dumpster just like when we were in seventh grade."
”You can't do that!” Zack protested. ”can and am” atom smiled at him, ”it's good for you to start talking with other people” By the time they got to the cafe everyone else was already there just as atom said they would. ”Wow, you actually got Zack to come out” one of the guy jeered.
”By atom none the less” one snickered a knowing look was passed around the table before atom gave them a look that told them to be quiet.
Oh man!! Zack's mind screams. As he stares around the table at all of those eyes that once showed respect and loyalty towards him. Some showed anger while some show pity and some even showed both towards him now. He wasn't the leader of this pack anymore but Atom was now. Atom who had showed kindness to him, Atom who was his best friend since pre-k, Atom who fell in love Karman Zack's dead sister! His throat felt dry again and he felt suddenly sick.
”I know that look” one of the guys, Brian said, ”Zack you don't still think that Atom had a thing for you're sister do you?”
”He probably does.” Said Eric another one of the guys spoke.
”You don't know,” Brian voice dropped of mock sarcasm.
”How could he when he's been gone for so long.” Eric reminds glaring in Zack's directing.
”So you don't know that Atom's...”
”Guys cut it out.” Atom interrupted, “You're making Zack feel awkward.” Zack watched with mild shock at how easily Atom controlled the group. Something big must of happened while he was gone.
Lunch passed smoothly after that and Zack found himself walking back home. Atom was at his side playing keeper. ”You know you can't get better until you talk about it.” Atom said out of the blue.
”There's nothing to talk about.” Zack snapped.
”I get that you're upset but holding everything inside won't make you feel any better.”
”It's my burden to bare not others.”
”How about this, I tell you something about me that you don't know and you tell me what happened that night”
”What do I not know about you?” Zack snorted, Atom and him have been friends since they were little.
”You'd be surprised” was all Atom could mutter out.
”It was my idea my,” Zack started, “We snuck out at night to swim in the back of my yard. She him her head when she jumped in and I couldn't pull her out. By the time my parents got there it was too late.” Zack looked at Atom to see his reaction. Atom just nodded.
”You know it's not your fault right.”
”Sure whatever, now what is it that I don't know about you.”
”I'm gay” Atom shrugged, ”I came out last month.”
"What! How could you not tell me that?" Zach said staring at Atom with wide eyes. Atom shifted nervously, avoiding his best friend's gaze.
"I was scared, I mean, you're my best friend and I didn't want to loose you," Atom said shrugging but still not looking him in the eye. Zach sighed and looked at him with a 'really you think I would reject you' kind of look. "You idiot you know you can't get rid of me that easily. Anyways you have a boyfriend?" Atom shrugs and his eyes narrowed to the ground. "Well who is he?" Zack watches as Atom takes in a deep breathe and release a big sigh.
"No...I don't have one yet." It got suddenly very awkward.
"Oh...Any one you're interested in?" Zack saw Atom stiffen a bit making Zack tilt his head to the side a little.
"Well...There IS one guy that I sort of like..."
”Who is it?” Zack asked. Now Zack finally realized that Atom was an inch sorter than himself and just a bit smaller in general.
”This talk isn't supposed to be about me.” Atom said.
”Atom, you trust me right?” He got a stiff nod in return, “Then tell me.”
Atom looked up him eyes glistening, “I can't, it would make things weird between us”
”It's not like it's me.” Zack laughed but stopped when he saw the look on Atom's face. "Oh...So it is-"
"Yes...It's you..." Zack stiffen, even the air felt very awkward. He stares in Atom's bright blue eyes that stared at him completely differently from a few moments ago.
"Atom...I'm flattered that you think that I am...Attractive but I'm not..." Zack lost his train of thought.
"You're not what, Zack?" Atom snapped suddenly bringing him back to earth. "Atom I didn't mean-" "JUST SAY IT ZACK!!!!" Atom screams in his face. "Fine!!! I'm not gay!!!!!!!"
”You don't think I don't know that!” Atom yelled, “I'm sorry.” He said afterwards taking a few deep breaths, “I shouldn't of yelled at you.” Atom ran his fingers though his red hair.
“It's alright.” Zack said.
Atom just smirked, “I told you it would make thing awkward.”
You have no idea. Zack thought but he just said. "No nothing is awkward, Atom. You'll always be my best buddy." Zack lightly punched Atom on his arm with a grin. Atom rolls his eyes but then suddenly turned very serious.
"Zack, you can not tell anyone about this, only Brain, Eric, Kimmy and you know." Atom says in a hash, steel whisper.
"You didn't tell your parents? Atom, your dad has to know about this!" Atom glares at Zack, making him bite hard on the inside of his cheek again.
"No, not even my father could know...Not until I go to collage."
"But wouldn't he know if you bring home a guy instead of a girl!?" Atom chuckled.
"Kimmy agreed to pretend to be my "Girl Friend" so problem solved."
Zack stares at his friend in amazement and respect. "Wow, that is really smart... whose Kimmy?" Atom eyes widen a bit.
"Oh...Remember earlier when you asked about the new girl?" Zack nods slowly. I know where this is going. He warned himself. "Yeah, she and I became friends and I really trust her with my secret so..."
”That's why you didn't want to talk about her.” Zack said finally putting the conversation from earlier together.
Atom nodded, “It's getting late. If you want I could call my dad to give us a ride home.”
Zack sighs, rubbing his temple then let his hand drop back to his side. He looks at Atom and nods once. "Alright... But I want to meet her, you got that Atom. I want to make sure I could trust her keeping YOUR secret. Okay?"
Atom raised a brow, “You just want to meet her, don't you?” Atom said as he reached for his phone.
”What,” Zack squeaked, “No, I just said I want to make sure that she can keep your secret.”
”That is by far, the worst excess I've ever heard.”
"No it's not! I'm just looking out for you. That's all!"
Atom shrugs. "Alright, what ever you say, man." Zack starts mumbling under his breathe as Atom talks to his dad. "Dad can you pick us up?...Yes dad, I have a girlfriend but I'm not with her now...I'm with Zack...You know him, my best friend since pre-k...So you'll pick us up?...okay we're near a few blocks from the diner...okay see ya later." Zack stares at Atom who smiled winningly. "See easy as that."
"Wow, Atom...You're so...sly?" Atom rolls his eyes at him.
”It's not my fault my dad's an idiot.” Atom shrugged. “Besides, you're not so sly yourself.”
”I'm really just trying to look out for you,” Zack defended, ”Is it that hard to believe that I'm trying to look out for you.”
”No offence but I'm used to looking out for you, remember back in second grade when that fifth grader...”
”I get the point.” Zack snapped not wanting to talk about his past bullying problems. Atom looked like he was going to say something more when he saw his dads car pull up.
”Hey dad can you give Zack a ride home?” He asked as they both slide into the back seat.
Well seeing that he's already into the car...”
”Thanks dad.” Atom smiled.
"Thanks for driving me home." Zack said trying to act as if every thing was normal and didn't know Atom's secret.
"Ummm you're welcome Zack." Atom's dad mumbles. "So when am I going to met this girl, Atom?" His dad just asked out of the blue. He seemed very happy to think that his oldest son had finally gotten a girlfriend. Zack shift in his seat a little.
"Don't worry dad, you'll meet her soon. Remember, me and her are taking things slow" More like VERY slow. Zack's mind throws at him.
”I'm proud of you Atom.” His dad looked at him though the rearview mirror, “You're the oldest and you have to set a good example for your younger brothers. And by having a girlfr...”
“Can we not talk about this right now?” Atom snapped shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
“Fine we'll continue this conversation later.” The rest of the drive was silent.
Slowly the car stops in front of Zack's house, a small white house with a bright red front door. "Thanks again for driving me home and Atom-" Zack said as he opened the door after he unbuckled his seat belt. Zack looks him straight in the eyes. "I'll see you tomorrow at school and good night."
Atom nods and replies. "See ya there, Zack. Good night." Zack looks at Atom's father with an half emotionless half tiring look.
"Good night Sir." Atom's dad nods and utters under his breathe "You too." Zack could tell that Atom's dad didn't like him that much and he could clearly see it when ever he looks at Zack and could hear it in his deep, strong voice. Zack walks away from the blue car and quickly heads to his house. As soon as he opens the door, his parents rush towards him with worry/angry looks staining their faces.
”Where were you?” His mom demanded, “We've been trying to call you for hours and were this close to calling the cops.”
”I'm sorry, I bumped into Atom and hung out with him the rest of the day. His dad even gave me a ride home.” His parents looked relived yet still angry. Relived that he was starting to socialize again, but angry that he didn't call.
“We'll let it go this time but next time tell us were you're going, okay.” His dad said.
“Yes.” Zack agreed.
“How's Atom doing?” His mom asked, “You've haven't mentioned him in awhile.”
"Oh he is doing great." Zack says throwing a weak grin.
"I heard from his mother that he got a new girlfriend isn't that sweet?" Zack was a little shock; he had no idea that his mom was still friends with Atom's mom.
"Yeah I guess so..." His father starts to but in by saying. "It is more then great, Atom's starting to be a man. He's a good kid."
Zack nods awkwardly. "Ummm yeah what ever you say dad." His father grins a little.
"Let’s eat dinner before it turns cold." Zack looks at his father, who made a grossed out face. "It’s meatloaf." His father mouthed to him. Zack flinched and his mother turns to them. They both threw weak smiles at her. "Can't wait to dig into that yummy meatloaf, my darling." Said Zack's dad.
"Me too mom, I can't wait!" She smiles.
"Then I should make it all the time since you both love it so much." She wasn't kidding.
"Oh that would be just great, dear."
Zack smiled as they say down to eat. It was nice to know that his parents cared enough to work at making sure he healing though his sister's death. His parents loved him and he knew it. And now he couldn't help but wonder if Atom felt the same kind of love when he was at home. Or worse what it felt like to have to hide who you really are from your own family.
Dinner passed and Zack gladly helps his parents clean up. Zack's dad was putting a dish away, his mother was putting the left overs into the fridge and Zack was cleaning the table in a daze. He stares at that empty chair next to his and he felt the flashbacks threaten him once more. He breathes in deep and slow trying to calm down himself. "Zack, are you finished yet?" He shook his head to clear it but the images still threaten to attack his mind. He would not let his parents freak out over this again, the last time it happened he had to go to the hospital to check if he was having a stroke or something. "Zackie, you okay?"
”I'm fine.” Zack said taking a deep breath.
”I know you miss her.” His mom said hugging him close, “But she's in a better place now, watching over you. She wouldn't want you to be sad.” Zack nodded wiping his eyes as tears started to leak out. A small don escaped his lips. Now that he things back to it this was the first time he'd actually cried over his sisters death. "It's okay to cry, my little Zackie." As his mother hugs him tighter, more tears escapes from his eyes and small sobs left his shaking lips.
"Mom?" He sobbed
Zack took in a deep breathe to try to regain some sort of control of himself again. "Is it a good thing to dream about the dead?" At first his mother didn't answer and Zack thought he had scared her.
"Wha-what do you mean by that?" She asked trying not to flip out.
"I...keep having dreams of "her" for a while now...and I was wondering if you had dreamt about her too." He didn't know why on earth he was telling her this, maybe it's because he just felt like he could finally trust her now.
"I-No, Zackie...I haven't." It got awkward again. I hate it when things get so awkward! Zack yells in his head.
"Hey Zack, you're missing the game!!!" Zack's dad complained.
”I'll be right there.” Zack yelled back.
”Zack,” his mom stopped him, “It's alright to dream about her. It's your way of keeping her real in your mind.” She treasured him, “It's just your way of coping.”
”Thanks mom.” He smiled as he went to watch the game with his dad.
He didn't believe her; deep down inside him he knew that there was something more to the dreams. He sat down next to his dad and watched the game and finally it was time for bed. He knew his mom would probably either tell his dad or keep it to herself but he didn't care, he was too tired to think anymore. He walks up to his bed and fell flat on his face. Slowly he starts to drift and soon he had passed out. The dreams would soon attack him and maybe even give him a secret message or sign or more things to fear of what is to come.
”Dude, you should try sleeping with cucumbers on your eyes to get rid of those wrinkles.” Atom said as he slouched against Zack's locker the next morning, “Seriously.”
”Very funny Atom,”
”Cheer up, you wanted to meet Kimmy today didn't you.”
”You’re going to let me meet her.”
Atom rolled his eye, ”Come on she should still be by her locker.” Zack followed Atom through the hallway excitedly. He couldn't wait meet her.
”Hey Atom,” a girl with short brown hair and green eyes smiled at them,
”You must be Zack.” Zack could only nod dumbly, she looked hat like Karman.
"Ummm Atom, is there something wrong with your friend?" Kimmy asked.
"No why would you say that?" Atom replies confused.
"Well first off, he's staring at me really weird like." Atom looks at Zack who was staring at Kimmy like she was a ghost.
"Yeah he hasn't been around girls for awhile so." Atom shrugs.
"Oh...OH! Is he you're..."
Zack snapped out of it quickly almost screaming out. "NO!" Kimmy stares at Zack with an awkward look while Atom stares at him with hurt bright blue eyes. Zack suddenly felt really guilty and stupid. "No, we're not...Sorry." He mutters under his breathe. Kimmy nods slowly while Atom made a sort of quick recovery.
"He's my best friend and nothing more Kimmy." Atom says in a strong voice.
"Oh okay." The bell rang like angry monster just awaking. "Well I better get to class Atom." She slams her locker and glares at Zack burning green eyes that sent shivers through Zack. It reminded him a little about how Karman used to glare at him like that. "See ya, Zack." She walks over to Atom and gave him a tight hug. "I'll see you later, Atom."
With that Zack watch Kimmy walk away. "What the heck was that?!" Atom slaps Zack's arm with the back of his right hand.
"OWCH! What did I do?!"
”Staring at her like that freaked her out.”
”I didn't mean to.” Zack tried to block the next blow, “She looked a lot like Karman.” Atom's hand stopped in mid air, his looked soften a bit as he processed the new information.
”Sorry I...” Atom's voice broke off, “I over reacted. We should head to class, besides, we're late.”
”I didn't mean to react so badly when she thought that we...”
”Save it,” Atom cut him off, ”You're not into guys, I get it.” Atom's hands flexed at his side as of he wanted to reach out. ”I'll see you at lunch, Kimmy's going to be sitting with us.” And with that Atom turned towards class.
Oh great, that should be VERY interesting! Zack hissed in his head as he follows Atom to their class.
"Atom, Zack, why are you both late to my class!?" Mrs. Brown nearly screams.
"Sorry Mrs. Brown, we-" She gives them her death stare making them both frozen with fear. "Fine, I'll let this one slide, since you, Atom, are one of my greatest students." Zack heard her mumble "More like my smartest student." Under her breathe. "As for you Zack-" He looks at her when she said his name. "I'll be seeing you after school with another bad student today. NOW GET IN YOUR SEATS, BOTH OF YOU!!!!!" Zack and Atom ran down the rows of desk filled with teenagers until they made it to last row. Zack and Atom have always sat in the back together, so they could goof off when the teacher wasn't looking.
”Hey man, I'm sorry about that detention, if you want I could talk to Ms. Brown and get you out of it.” Atom said. Atom had always been a ladies man. Girls loved him and teachers adored him. So it was kind of ironic that Atom was gay.
“You would do that for me?”
”Of course I would. You're my best friend.” Atom punched him in the shoulder. Zack nodded trying not to read to deeply into the look Atom was giving him. It was the same look that Atom had always given him but knowing what he knows now he could only wonder how long Atom had liked him and how long he hadn't noticed.
"Now everyone turn to the page that we had left off from yesterday. And do please try to put more effort because you'll all be taking a test about this on Friday." Zack try’s to adnore the look of amusement on Mrs. Brown's face. She wasn't old but in fact looked very young. Big brown yet blue hazel eyes, bright red wavy hair, full lips and had an hourglass figure. She wore a brown button down shirt, black skirt that fell under her knees with brown cowboy boots. She must've moved here from Texas. Zack thought to himself. He looks out the window not caring about the story his teacher was reading. He did notice Atom listening to it though and it seemed like he was really enjoying it. Zack kept on looking out the window. He didn't care; he knew that he was going to fail that stupid test any way. Might as well do it in style. He taps the tip of his easer on his desk, day dreaming until-.
"Would you cut it out already?!" Atom's hand was on top of his, stilling him from making any further noise. Zack smiled apologetically taking note that Atom's hand lingered on his a bit longer than need be. Zack went back to looking out the window trying to lose himself in his own thoughts when a note hit him in the back, of the neck. He glared at Atom, who was doing his best to look innocent. Zack sighed opening the note, it read, “ Dude if you keep spacing out like that Ms. Brown will notice and then I'll never be able to get you out of detention. At least pretend to pay attention.”
Zack wrote back, “I'm trying but this story is so boring.”
”It wouldn't if you kept an open mind.”
”Do you mind if I ask you something?”
” Shoot.” He glanced over and watched as Atom started writing blushing lightly till he passed it to Zack, not looking at him.
”Am I really so, I don't whatever I am, to make it so that the thought of dating me made you react the way you did at the lockers?” Zack was at a loss for a response.
”What's this?” Ms. Brown plucked the note from Zack's hand. Both of the boys hearts stopped for Ms. Brown had a rule that if you get caught passing notes, she'll read them out loud.
Zack and Atom couldn't breathe, their hearts pounding hard inside their chest. "There are no passing notes in my class, Zack. You know what happens don't you?" Zack felt like he was going to pass out any moment. Mrs. Brown was about to read aloud the note when a sudden bang echoes in the class room. Everyone including Mrs. Brown whirls her head to look. Standing over Greg who was lying on the floor holding his nose was Brian. Zack and Atom stare in disbelief.
“BRIAN OFFICE NOW!!!!!!" Brian looks at her with dazzling dark brown eyes, his hair was short, messy and dark blond. He threw her a sly grin that said
Mrs. Brown nearly snarled as she screams. "GO TO THE OFFICES OR ELSE!!!!"
"Or what, you'll hit me? Oh I would LOVE to see you try babe." Brian was one of those outsider kids, the ones who have no friends and are very tough. But he was friends with Atom, Zack and the rest of their group. Brian wore a black t-shirt, black leather jacket, dark blue jeans with combat boots. He had on black gloves that you could only see his fingers and thumb. Zack looks at Atom from the corner of his eye in fear.
Atom had his hand to his chest and looked as if he was struggling to breath. Zack wanted to say something but he saw Ms. Brown move to the other side of the room to deal with Brian and the note fell from her hand. Zack groaned knowing what he would have to do. He swooped up the note and ate it. Almost instantly he saw Atom relax.
"Brian if you don't leave right now I'll call security." Ms. Brown bellowed.
"Fine, no one likes this stupid class anyways." he turned to leave smirking at Zack and Atom.
"Now," Ms. Brown smoothed out her skirt, "what was I doing before that."
"You were explaining the different metaphors in this chapter." Atom replied putting on his best good student act. "Thank
Brian met them in the hallways after class. "Thank you so much." Atom said, "I would hug you but..."
"Don't mention it," Brian said, "seriously don't mention it. I should thank you. I should thank you for giving me a reason to punch Greg in the face. He still owes me five dollars." Zack laughs making Brian and Atom stare at him in shock. "Dude...You're laughing...Why?" Brian said is shock. Zack hadn't laughed in so long that it felt weird to hear this sound coming out of him mouth.
"Don't know, maybe because of what you said about Greg owing you five bucks!" Zack starts to laugh again. Yup, I've gone crazy! Zack tells himself in his head.
"Um could you stop before I punch YOU?"
”You can't punch him” Atom sighed exasperated by his friend’s antics.
”Sorry, I forgot no one touches your little Zacky with out having to go though you.” Brian smirked; he was referring to when they were little and how Atom always had Zack's back in a fight. But Zack stiffened not catching that actual meaning.
"Would you shut up Brian, I just don't want to take you both to the nurse's office. That’s all." Atom says pleading bright blue eyes.
"What ever Atom but one day you're not going to be there when Zack is getting his butt kicked." Brian snapped. Atom glares at Brian.
"You think you're so tough well you're not! You only turned this way was because of Karman's death, if she was still alive you would've still and are that glasses wearing, smarty pants, hopeless romantic nerd who always seemed to drool every time she was near you!!!!"
The fist wasn't unexpected but it was unnecessary. Atom flew backwards slamming into the lockers, “Shut up you fag!!! At least I don't cling to something I know will never happen!!”
Atom wiped the blood from his mouth, “At least I can admit who I am.”
”That's a load of shit” Brian had Atom off the ground by the front of his shirt, “If you’re not ashamed then how about you admit to everyone what you are!!” A crowd had formed around them. Yet somehow, Atom stayed calm.
”I get the point, you're upset but this isn't the way to solve this” Zack wanted to do something but he found himself to scared to move, again. Slowly Brian put Atom down face scrunching as if angry, but when he finally set Atom down he was holding into him crying on Atom's shoulder.
Zack stood in shock; he hadn't seen Brian cry in years! Zack wanted to say something but no words would come out his mouth. Atom had a guilty yet sad look on his handsome face. He went too far to say Karman's name let alone scream it in Brian's face. He held Brian as he sobs and chokes on words.
"I-I -lo-loved h-her s-s-s-so MUCH! M-my hea-hea-heart wont st-st-stop hurting!!" Atom patted Brian's back gently. "Wh-why di-di-did she ha-ha-have to le-le-leave m-me!?" Zack felt even worst as he watch Brian spoke of how much he had loved his sister and he truly meant it. Brian had fallen in love with the dead girl. "Sh-sh-she was th-th-the only o-on-one who und-under-sto-stood me!!!!!" Brian screams out in deep lost and pain. Atom looked uneasy until Brian was done, “I'm sorry; I shouldn't have called you that.” Brian said moving away. By now the people in the hallway had dispersers.
”It's alright,” Atom said though his face said other wise. Did everyone just pretend to tolerate him; the most truthful words are spoken when you are too incoherent to censure yourself.
”We should get to class,” Zack said trying to cut the tension.
”Right,” Brian agreed, “I'll see you guys later.”
Zack started to class when he realized that Atom wasn't following, “You coming?”
”I'll be right there; I just have to go to the bathroom.” Atom disappeared down the hall. Zack sighed feeling like he should followed him. When he entered the bathroom his ears were greeted by the sound of repressed whimpers. ”Atom are you okay?”
”Please, Zack just go away.” Atom managed to sob out, staying in the stall.
Zack leans against the stall's door that was next to Atom's. He folds his arms across his chest, quietly listening to Atom's soft sobs. "I know...I know that you miss her, Atom...But she's...in a better place now..." Zack spoke soft and slow.
"I do miss her, Zack...But that’s not why I'm crying..."
Zack stiffen a bit. "Then why are you crying?"
"I can't tell you." Atom whimpered back.
Zack sighs annoyed. "You could tell me...I'm here for you, Atom" Zack heard a little painful sob come from Atom's stall.
"Love is so cruel Zack. Once you fall in you could never return. And it's way worse when the person you love doesn't feel the same way as you do!"
Zack stiffened knowing what Atom was referring to him. ”Sorry,” was all he could say.
”It's alright.” Atom sniffed again, “Zack do you think that it's disgusting that I'm ... You know.”
”What? No why would you even think that?”
”He was just mad and saying what ever he could to upset you.” A silence passed between the two except for a few whimpers from Atom as he tried to pull himself together.
”Zack can I ask you something?”
Atom came out of the stall, though he still wasn't looking at Zack, “Could you kiss me?”
Zack stood frozen in place; it was like he had turned into a statue. He try's to remain calm but his mind kept on yelling at him. "I'm sorry but could you repeat that?" Zack blurted out.
Atom kept his eyes on the floor. "Could you....kiss me?"
Zack felt like running but his legs wouldn't move. "Atom...I ummm..." Zack was speechless. Atom glanced at him from the sides of his eyes; burning bright blue staring right into his own hazel green ones with desire that Zack had never notice before. "Zack...please...I need to see if in fact that I am... gay"
"You told me that you were, what do you mean you have to figure out?" Zack said trying to keep the fear from his voice.
Atom took a step back, "I'm sorry you're right it's just... I wish you look at me the same way you look at her." he said referring to Kimmy. The bell rang signaling that third period had started. "We should get to class." Atom said head for the door giving Zack one last longing look before he left.
WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING!? Zack waits until Atom left. Once he did Zack went crazy. "WHAT THE HEL.L!?" Zack tears the thing that held the towel paper off the wall and smashed it against the floor. Atom was making him go crazy and confused. He kicks one of the stalls with such power that it made a huge dent in it. "What’s his problem!? He tried to trick me into-" He grabs fistful of his dark brown hair as he paces angrily. He saw himself in the mirror from the corner of his eye and looks at it. He releases his hair and lets his hands fall to the side. He looked awful, dark purple bags lingered under his hazel green eyes they looked wild and crazy from all of these feeling from both deep within and new ones, his hair looked even more messy and oily then always, pieces of dark brown fell over his eyes looking like he just came inside from the rain. I...look like a monster! He felt the anger rising up with still confusion lingering. He raised his fist and SLAM! Glass fell to the floor with dark red staining both glass and floor. He breathes in and out deep and slow. He stares at himself in the small piece of glass that still clings to wall. His eyes grow wide with shock as the sudden rage disappears.
”What happened to your hand?” Atom asked at lunch, seeing the small cuts.
”It's nothing,” he pulled his hand back.
”That's not nothing,” Atom rummaged though his bag and pulled out his first aid kit, ”give me your hand.”
”I don't need your help.” Zack protested. Atom just sits back down looking at him sad blue eyes.
Kimmy rolls her eyes, “Stop being stupid.” She said taking the first aid kit and Zack's injured hand, ”If you don't clean the cuts then they'll get infected,” she set to work on his hand, a serious look on her face. Zack couldn't help but relax a bit. It felt so nice to feel her warm hands on his. "This might hurt." She warned him. Zack nods with a serious look. She pressed the cotton ball onto the cut making Zack bite the inside of his cheek from screaming. Kimmy seemed to notice to it. "Sorry." She utters as she moved on to the next.
Atom sat in his chair, arms folded across his chest. His face hardened into a mask but neither Zack nor Kimmy noticed it at all. "No, it’s okay....I'm used to pain." Kimmy grins slightly.
"Really? I doubt that." She pressed more pressure onto a cut that she didn't notice that was very deep, making Zack yip out in pain and slammed his other hand on the table. "Whoa, easy there tiger. You don't want to knock the First aid kit onto floor now do ya?" Kimmy says, frowning. "Oh boy...the cut is bleeding again...must be very deep." She utters. She looks up at him with dazzling dark green eyes that made him lose his train of thought. "How and where did you even get these cuts from?" She asked, snapping him back to the real world.
”I got into a fight with a piece of glass and loss.” Zack jokes causing Kimmy to shake her head.
”You'll be fine, just make sure to change the bandages twice a day.” She smiled softly glancing back at Atom who still hadn't let his glared down. ”So,” Kimmy sat back down between the two, ”this is awards.”
"No, everything is fine Kimmy." Atom says a little bitterly. Zack wanted to glare at Atom. More like punch him. Zack snapped in his head. Kimmy pressed her back more against the cold metal, staring down her hands. Zack's hands turned into tight fists not even wincing at the stinging pain from the cuts that graced his right hand. Atom was still sort of glaring at her making Zack's blood boil a bit. "Zack, you're bleeding more!"
”You should go to the nurse.” Atom notes.
”He's right,” Kimmy interrupted before Zack could protest, “I'll even walk you down.”
”Fine,” Zack sighs. They both left leaving Atom alone at the lunch table.
”What happened between you two?” She asked, “This morning you were all buddy buddy and now you seem mad and Atom seems hurt.”
"Oh trust me; you don't even want to know." Zack says bitterly as they exited out of the lunch room.
"But what if I do want to know. Maybe I could help fix the problem."
Zack couldn't help but laugh cruelly at that. "Yeah, help fix it. That’s a good joke, Kimmy." He looks at his right hand amazed by how much blood had gotten through the banages.
"I could at lest try."
Zack, raised a dark eye brow at her. "You just won’t quit this." It was a statement.
”Look Zack you seem like a nice guy so I'll tell you this. Atom is madly in love with you and if you don't tell him no and mean it he's going to think you're just playing hard to get. So if you don't say it like a mean you're just torturing him.” Kimmy said. ”Anyways I think you might need to have a heart to heart with him.”
They arrived at the nurse office Zack in deep thought about what Kimmy said and how it sounded so similar to what his sister probably would have told him to do.
The nurse almost had a heart attack when she saw the bloody bandages. She quickly took the bandages off, washing out the cuts and putting on new ones. "When you get home tell your parents that you need to go to the hospital because you need some stitches on those cuts. Their just TOO deep." The nurse kept saying to Zack even after wrapping his hand.
"I'll tell them, Nurse Missy." Zack said smiling weakly. His parents were going to freak out for sure! Zack kept on thinking about how Kimmy and Karman were sort of a like.
The nurse not trusting him called his parents to pick him up and take him to the hospital. At first he thought that they weren't going to ask questions but when they got home, ”Are you going to tell us what happened?” His mom asked. ”
I punch a mirror.” He told her knowing that she would understand.
She nodded, “Zack, I know that you don't like talking to me
about your feelings, but I think you should start see a therapist. Not that there's anything wrong with you, but you need to start talking with someone.”
"NO! You never understand or listen to me!"
"ZACH!" He heard her scream even after he took off out the door. He quickly wiped away the suspicious moisture around his eyes and made sure not to look back.
”Are you alright?” Atom just happens to be walking past Zack's house, causing Zack to give Atom a weird look.
Atom sighed, “School got out a little while ago, and I live six houses down from you remember?” Zack nodded not really wanting anything to do with Atom at the moment. ”Fine I get the point I'll leave you alone.” Atom turned to leave.
”Wait, Atom, we need to talk.” Zack said. Atom turned around to face him.
”You already know.”
”Look, if this is about what happened in the bathroom, I'm sorry. I shouldn't of asked that of you..”
”It's more than that Atom.” Zack started, trying to find away to do what Kimmy suggested.
"Atom look your my friend and honestly I don't want to be anything more." Zack held his breath as he waited for him to respond.
"Look Zack, I get it. I shouldn't have put you on the spot like that."
Zack exhaled and his heart rate slowed down. " Atom, you'll find someone and I am sorry that I can't be what you want me to be." Zack meant what he was saying, he was sorry that he had let him down Zack didn't want to loose him as a friend.
"Thanks Zack." Zack could tell he was being sincere.
"We cool man?" Zack was scared of his response, terrified that his response was the answer to our friendship.
"Yeah Zack, we're cool." On impulse Zack hugged him quickly pulling back. "Sorry."
"Haha its okay, I can handle it. Besides I can see what going on between you and..."
"Kimmy...." Zach sighed.
”Yes Kimmy,” Atom rolled his eyes, “Just try not to flirt with her in front of me.” Zack nodded. Atom smiled one hand squeezing the opposite arm, lip quivering a bit, “I'll...um...I'll see you later.” His voice broke a bit as he turned to leave too quickly for Zack to stop him. Zack sighed, knowing that Atom was crying because he broke his heart.
Zack was actually glad to get home, until his parents started to talk to him. "Atom's mom just called and said that Atom came home crying, do you have any idea as to what is wrong?"
He froze not knowing how to respond, part of him wanted to break down and tell his mother everything and another part knew that he had to keep Atom's secret. "No," he said.
"Oh, I just, I saw you talking with him outside and was hoping you knew."
"Sorry," he shrugged.
"It's alright," she shook her head, "Some things wrong with that boy, he's been having fits like these for some time now." Zack was silent trying to take in the information presented to him, he hadn't heard about Atom having problems until now. "First that suicide attempt, now he's just falling apart. I told his mom that she should have admitted him into some sort of mental hospital but she wouldn't listen." Zack was shocked, one that Atom had attempted suicide and two, and he felt as if his mom was trying to make sure he didn't end up an emotional wreck like Atom.
"Mom why would you even say that!? We're teenagers, we go through a lot!" Zack snapped. His mother sighs.
"I'm sorry Zack...I should have known but he's been trying to kill himself!!!!" Zack swallows hard.
"He's just having a hard time just like me after all Karman had-" He stops both faking and really feeling upset. Zack didn't notice he was crying until his mother held him in her arms. He sobs as he shook hard.
"That’s why he's been trying to kill himself?...Because of Kerman?"
Zack weeps harder and cries out "YES!!!" He knew he had half lied half told the truth. Yes Atom missed his sister but that wasn't the reason why he was probably trying to kill himself.
”Dinner will be ready soon we're having pasta tonight.” She kissed him on the head, ”And were still going to talk about the therapy sections, not just for you but the whole family.” Zack nodded not wanting to argue with her. He then made up his mind that he had to have a
more serious talk with Atom.
Zack slipped out the back door making sure no one saw him. "Atom," Zach whispered hoping he could hear me.
"Zack?" His voice was watery and Zach immediately felt bad about what had happened earlier today.
"Atom, why did you try and commit suicide?" The fact that he would ever try and purposely die was beyond Zack! He heard someone suck in a sharp breath and turned around to see his mom standing behind him. "MOM!" Zack cried out startled she had followed him.
”Nice to see you.” Atom smiled up at Zack's mom trying to wipe his eyes.
”Zack why did you sneak out? You could of just asked if you wanted to go see Atom.” She said.
”Sorry I just, I needed to make sure he was okay.”
His mom nodded, when Atom's dad came out, well, they heard him before they saw him, “Atom you better not still be out here crying like a damn pussy!!!
Atom tries but straightened out, “I'm out here talking with Zack.” He yelled back.
”I swear some times I think you and that boy...” He paused seeing Zack's mom.
"Hello Jim." Zack's mother says a little annoyed by what he was about to say.
"Oh umm Betty. I didn't know you were here." Atom's father says shocked that she was here.
"Yes. Me and Zack just wanted to make sure that Atom was okay."
"Yes...my wife told you didn't she?" He says a little bit angered.
"Me and Gigi are close friends and she tells me every thing." Zack knew what his mom really meant by that. She meant you-better-be-careful-of what-you-say-for-now-on-or-else. Zack, for once, was glad that his mother had fallowed him.
”It was nice seeing you Betty.” Him said curtly, “We were just about to sit down to dinner, would you like to come in?” He asked just because it was polite but anyone could tell he didn't really mean it.
”No thanks, we need to get home. Goodnight.” The walk home was mostly silent, Zack could tell his mom was in deep thought about something. Even, when they got home it was quiet until he went to bed. He was able to hear parts of their conversation. “Did you know that poor boy has a girl friend now?” His mothers voice.
”You mean Atom?” He could here his fathers laughter.
”I wish you were there, you can tell his dad knows but won't let him be.”
”Maybe I should talk with him, the boy needs a real man role module in his life.”
”You should take him and Zack out to do something.”
”I will, once we get back on track. What did he say about the therapy section?” ”He doesn't want to.”
”He'll come around.”
Zach wished they wouldn't talk like they thought he wasn't listening. Zach leaned back down onto my pillow, scared at what might come next. Adams dad, my parents, Kimmy.....Even though he knew it would never happen Zach wished it would all just go away
At school it seemed like Atom was avoiding him. He pasted by his locker with out even looking at Zack, sat on the opposite side of the room from him in class and was no were to be found at lunch. Kimmy said that he'd been doing the same thing to her and that she was worried this random withdrawal.
Zach was confused on why Atom was avoiding him; he thought they had straightened it all out yesterday. "Atom?" Zach called as he walked into the bathroom he had just seen Atom run in moments before.
"Go away Zach!"
"Why?" Zach was flustered, Atom was his best friend!
"Dang it Zach! Does there always have to be a reason?!?!"
"If it means avoiding me then yeah!" Zach felt his breath catch as he watched Atom walk out of the stall. The bruise took up most of his face making Atom have to squint partially. "ATOM! What happened?"
Atom sighed a sarcastic grin on his face, “You know what's funny? All of this started because I wanted to help you. That was the one thing I was always good at, taking care of you. But some how I even managed to screw that up.” He was laughing in a bit of a giggle fit leaving Zack to wonder if Atom had more issues than he lead on. ”I almost told him everything last night, I went to open my mouth and it was like he knew what I was about to say and he punched me in the face. Normally it's always the torso so no one will see the bruises. But he was so mad that once he started he just wouldn't stop.” Tears were streaming down Atom's face as he braced himself on one of the sinks. ”And I was crying, Dad stop, please!” he was actually yelling now, ”but he wouldn't. So I looked at my mom and asked her to make him stop but she just shook her head and left.” He collapsed to the floor holding himself as he sobbed.
Zack was outraged; anger was starting to flow through his veins. "That's not okay!!! That's just- just-" He couldn't get the words out of his mouth since he was so angry.
"I-I kept on screaming for him to stop...he just wouldn't stop, Zack. He just wouldn't!! He left me laying on the floor.. He made my little brothers watched, Zack!!! He yelled at them. "You see this!? This is what will happen if I ever find out that any of you are gay!!!!!" Atom sobs louder, his body shook even harder.
”What’s going on in here?!” Ms. Brown asked as she stepped into the BOYS bathroom. Everyone must have heard the screaming. Ms. Brown looked at the scene in front of her, a crying Atom and an angry Zack and made a conclusion. ”Zackary what did you do?!”
”It wasn't me!” Zack defended.
”It wasn't him.” Atom confirmed, trying his best to pull himself together.
”What happened to your face Atom?” She asked gently, like when his mom asks a question she already knows the answer to.
”I walked into a door.”
”What about the bruise l on your neck, it looks a lot like two hands.”
”Atom, if you want this to stop you have to us.”
”I'm fine!” He yelled. Ms. Brown didn't even look fazed. ”I'll give you a minute to compose yourself and then you're going to the nurse.”
”Ms. Brown, can I talk to you?” Zack asked.
”Sure, I'll be right back Atom.” They stepped it of the bathroom.
”His dad did this to him.” Zack blurred out, hoping she wouldn't ask why.
”I know.” Was all she said, “You should get to class.”
”But... What about Atom?”
”I'll take care of him.” She promised, “Now get to class.” Zack nodded leaving to class and he wasn't surprised to see Kimmy waiting for him.
”Did you talk to him.” she asked impatiently.
”It's a long story,” Zack sighed, ”I don't want to talk about it.”
”You didn't do anything to him, did you?” Her eyes narrowed.
”Why does everyone keep asking me that.”
”I know I've only known him for a little while, but everyone there's something wrong with him it's either you or his dad. So talk.”
Zack notices Brian sneaking out of an exit door behind Kimmy. He groans. Now what's he up to?! "Looks like class will have to wait a little bit longer." He starts to run towards the exit door where is another friend had went through.
"Where are you going?!" He heard Kimmy yells.
"I'll tell ya later, cover for me until I come back." He slips out of the door, not waiting to hear her reply. He sees Brian running up the block and quickly starts after him. Where is he going!? His mind asks as he ran up the block. He stops, hiding behind a tree as Brian walks into a flower shop. He peeks over just in time to see Brian come out holding a bunch of blood red roses. Flowers? What's he going to do with them? He has no girlfriend.... He watch as Brian gets on him black and silver motorcycle, putting on a dark red helmet that looks just like a speed car racer's with that black thing that covers your face. Zack watch as Brian starts to drive off and quickly starts to run. He knew where he was going to...the cemetery.
Zack sighed when he recognized which cemetery it was. He watch as
Brian put the flowers down on Karman's plot and started to talk to her. He couldn't really make out what he was saying so he went to move closer only to be stopped by a hand on his arm. He turned around and to his surprise saw Kimmy. ”What are you doing here.”
”You rushed off really quickly so I came to make sure you we're okay, that and I wanted to make sure I got my answers.” Zack just looked at her trying to figure out how he hadn't noticed her following him.
”She never did know he liked her did she. I mean it was pretty obvious that he was always flirting wasn't it. It's a same how sometimes you can miss the most important thing in life.” Zack decided that he was defiantly taking up his moms offer for therapy, because there was no way Kimmy could of said what she just said because she wasn't around during the time of his sisters death, and no one told her so how does she know.
"H-how did you know that?" Zack stutters a bit. He watches her as she gazed at Brian, thoughtfully.
"Such a big mistake." She looks up at him with sadden eyes. "It really was, Zack. You should have never had taken her to that lake." Zack stares at her bewilder, he was freaking out in his head.
"How the hell did you that?!" He half yells half whispers so that Brian wouldn't know that they were here.
"She told me."
"Who told you!? No one else knows about it, so how would you know!?" He felt really angry and sad at the time. She sighs. Zack notices that she had dark purple circles under her dark green eyes.
"It is hard to explain...I'll tell him when the time is right okay." Zack heard her mumble the last sentence under her breath.
She sighed, “You want to make it up to her don't you, about what happened that night.” Zack stayed quite not knowing what to say. ”A lot of stuff is about to happen. Brian will hate himself for it and Atom will die in one of there ways. Brian hands, his fathers hands or his own hands. You can stop this if you want to.”
”How?” Zack asked.
”That's up to you; just remember that every favor needs to be returned eventually.” And with that she walked away.
”What are you doing here.” Brains voice suddenly demanded from behind.”
”B-brian” Zack stuttered out.
”We're you spying on me!”
”It's not what it looks like.”
Brian picked him up by the front of his shirt. ”Don't give me that garage!” Zack knew what was coming next, ever since Karman's death Brian had been increasingly violent.
”Brian please don't...”
”What's wrong your boy friend not around to save you this time.” Before he could answer he felt a fist in his stomach. ”That was a warning next time it will be worse.” Brian dropped him, got on his motorcycle and drove off. Zack got to his feet deciding to head back to school. He had to talk to Kimmy.
Zack slips through the same exit door from before. He looks both ways, trying to see if Kimmy hadn't gotten to her class yet. He sees her as she turns around the corner. He dash after her, trying not to pay attaining to the pain where Brian had punched him. He turns around the corner, watching as Kimmy walks down the hallway in a very slow way like she was trying daydream and walk at the same time. "Kimmy?" Zack went over to her, walking by her side. "Kimmy, we need to talk about this more." She doesn't answer. "Kimmy!" He looks at her eyes, noticing that they looked sort of vacant. "Kimmy, are you okay?" No answer. "Kimmy, say something!" He steps in front of her, grabbing both of her shoulders roughly. "Kimmy, answer me!!!"
Her sparkless, empty like dark green eyes look at his face, "I won't do it." She whispers.
"What? What do you mean by that?"
"No, I can't. It might kill him!" Zack was getting confused and scared.
"Kill who? What are you talking about!?"
She starts to shake. "I WON'T DO IT!!!!!" Before she could hit the ground from fainting, Zack pulls her to his chest tightly. What the hell is going on!? His mind yells at him.
Kimmy snapped herself out of it before anyone could notice, "Zack I need to talk to you.”
”Hey guys,” Atom came up behind them, “What are you talking about.”
”Nothing.” They both said at the same time.
Atom raised an eyebrow before he made an ”o” shape with his mouth, "I get it I'll leave.”
”Atom that's not what I meant.” But he was already walking away. "Atom.”
Atom turned to face him noticing Zack trying to not move his abdomen. ”What's wrong with your stomach.”
”It was Brian wasn't it?” Zack froze, how did he know? Atom took the look on his face as a yes and stormed off to find Brian in the cafeteria. ”You went too far this time!” Brian just smirked,
”So little Zacky ran and told you.”
”What's wrong with you.”
”First let's get this straight there's nothing wrong with me. AND I'M SORRY IF I OFFEND YOU BY HITTING YOUR BOY FRIEND” He yelled loud enough for everyone to hear.
”He's not my boy friend.”
”I KNOW YOU'RE GA.Y ATOM. YOU TOLD ME SO!! What it not like you’re ashamed of it or something. ” Brian sneered,
”No,” Atom whispered blue eyes went wide, everyone was staring and whispering. Brian just kept smirking.
”Now it begins.” Kimmy said standing next to Zack as Atom ran past them.
”What begins?” Zack asked.
”Come with me.” Kimmy drag him out use so they could talk.
”Are you going to tell me what's going on?”
”Yes, I'm Karman.”
Zack stares at her like she had gone nuts. "Ha-ha good one, Kimmy but really what's going on?"
She frowns. "I'm sort of like her. She's in my head and tells me what I need to do to help. I’ll prove it, look." She pulls up the sleeve of her right wrist, a bright pink bracelet with the name "Zackery" was engraved in silver. His hand reaches for his own right wrist where a bright blue bracelet with the name "Karman" was engraved also in silver. After Kerman's death he had never once taken it off and he had always hid his under his long sleeves. She seemed to notice and her eyes were filled with shock.
"You wore that over all these years? Wow! You must've really loved her. She made me wear this as in proof that she's really here." Zack shook a little. "I know it's hard to believe but she won't leave me alone until I help you guys." Zack sways a little. "Zack?" Kimmy sighs as he fell to on the floor, passed out.
When Zack awoke with Kimmy was standing over him, “Are you alright.”
”Good because I'm not done yet. First of all stop blaming yourself; it was my idea to go to the lake. Second I've saw the future in my last few seconds of life and Atom could die within the next few hours if you don't act soon. Find him and take him to your house, you're parents will know what to do. But do not let him talk to Brian or his dad. Hurry and when you’re done we can talk more.”
"Zack just do it, your running out of time!" Zack jumped up and ran in the direction Atom had taken off in. He banged into the bathroom door and immediately spotted him. Zack grabbed his shirt and didn't give him time to argue as he dragged him out the doors ignoring Atoms pleas to be left alone. Zack turned to face him once they were in the car and speeding off towards Zacks house. "Atom?"
Zack slowed the car down to stop and the light and grabbed Atoms wrist to keep him from escaping. Warm blood oozed over his fingers and made his head feel dizzy. "What the.....Atom why?" Zack pulled back his sleeve to reveal a dozen more small marks carefully hidden.
"Zack, I can explain!"
"No, this has already gotten way out of hand." Zack paused when he saw Atoms dad walking quickly towards the passenger door. Zack grabbed Atom as they ran towards his front door screaming for his parents.
"Zack you do realize that you have a house key, yes?" his mom asked as she opened the door, "And hello to you Atom," she then noticed Atom's dad coming up the driveway looking furious. "You guys go inside I'll take care of this."
"I need to talk to Atom," his dad roared. "I got a very disturbing call from school today."
"You mean about the bruise," Zack's mom asked.
"Move out of my way." "No, you’re not going to lay a hand on that boy,"
"You know what...keep him, I don't even want the little fag to begin with." he stormed off.
Zack let out a breath that he didn't even realize he was holding, "You alright." he asked Atom who had his head in his hands.
Atom nodded, "I'm fine."
Zack's mom came back in looking flustered noticing the blood on Zack's hand and Atom's wrist, "I'll go get the first aid kit,"
Atom sighed once his mom was gone, "Thank you Zack."
"I mean it, not that many people would do this kind of thing for me." He leaned forward and lightly kissed Zack on the lips, and was blushing when he looked away not looking him in the eye.
Zack stood there frozen in place; his right eye seemed to twitch a bit.
"Sorry." Atom, mumbles feeling hurt and ashamed. Zack was about to say something but his mother came back holding the First Aid Kit in her hands, tightly.
The nerve of that man!!" She yells as she slammed the kit onto the coffee table. She roughly took out the things that were needed. She was clearly mad at Jim for what he has doing to Atom. She looks at Atom, the fire burning in her eyes cools down at the sight of him. "Don't worry, Atom...I'm sure he didn't-" She was cut off by the door bell. She stood up, walking to the door opening it for Zack’ father.
"What happened?! Why did Gigi give me this?" Betty snatched the paper from her husband's hand. Zack and Atom watch as she read it. She straightens up a bit and looks Zack's dad in the eyes.
"We're adopting him...I want Atom as our son because he deserves a family who will truly love him!!!" Zack's mom screams as big fat tears stream down her burning cheeks. Danny nods, understanding his wife's choice. Zack and Atom watch as Zack's dad held his mom as she cries. They had heard every thing.
Zack didn't know weather to be happy or upset. Happy that Atom was going to be a part of the family and upset his mom as crying. ”You want to adopt me?” Atom asked in shock.
”Of course sweetheart.” Betty took Atom into her arms kissing him on the top of the head. Atom pushed her away, at first everyone was surprised and then we're even more surprised by the fact that Atom shoves his fingers down the back of his throat forcing himself to throw up. He then commenced to drinking the last of the milk.
I took a whole bottle of pills.” He explained.
”We need to take him to a hospital just in case.” Betty said. Zack was in shock; Atom had actually tried to kill himself, but changed his mind.
When they entered the hospital and Zack's parents explained that Atom "by mistake" had taken too many pills. The lady didn't ask why he took them but called the doctors right away. They took Atom; only letting Zack's parents go with him. So Zack sat in a chair in the waiting room. It became quiet and felt like forever since they had left him here to wait.
"Well done, now you must face the other problems." Zack jumps at the sound of her voice. "Kimmy! Gosh, you scared the living hell out of me!!!" He placed his hand on his fast beating heart.
She laughs. "Nope still a demon in there." Zack's eyes widen. "Ah I'm just joking...But enough of silliness, lets get down to the real business of these messed up lives you guys have." She sat next to him, grinning a bit.
"Are you possed Kimmy?...Is Karman here now?" She laughs, making Zack shudder.
"Kimmy's still here but I borrow her body once and a while."
"So you're Karman now...not Kimmy?"
She punched his arm. "Did that answered it?"
Zack grew paler. "KARMAN!?"
She punched him harder. "Shut up stupid! No one really needs to know that a ghost is possessing a human girl just so she could help make her brother and friend’s life’s better!" She whispers harshly.
Zack smiled sheepishly. ”So what else do you want to talk about.”
”Mom wants you to go to the family therapist. Do it, you can't help anyone unless you help yourself.” Zack just nodded.
”So did Atom kiss you yet?” She smiled gleefully.
Zack paled. ”Yeah he did,”
Kimmy giggled, “How'd did that go over for you.”
Before he could answered the doctor came out with his parents, “He'll be fine,” he started, ”his forced vomit and the milk got everything out of his system” Zack's family sighed in relief, ”however we while you came up with an excuse for the pills we can't over look the cuts on his arm. We want to admit him, he needs mental help.”
”A-what if we brought him in for therapy but he can come home.”
”You promise to bring him back.”
Zach dragged Kimmy around the corner while his parents rushed to go check on Atom. "What do you mean how did it go?" Zach was confused.
"Zzzzzaaaaacccchhhhh we all know you like him back!" Kimmy said softly as if not wanting to admit it.
"WHAT?! No, I am in love with you!!!" Zach screamed.
"Zack I'm Karman remember. Kimmy is just the body I'm using and even with that. Once I leave so does she."
She was created to be my vessel and nothing more." Zack just stared not knowing how to respond.
"Hey Zack your mom wants to know if you’re ready to g...oh..." Atom came around the corner realizing he was interrupting something, "I'll just tell her you'll catch up in a little while...sorry."
Zack was ready to pull his hair out, how do those two always pop up at the worst time possible. "I think he might be getting over you." Kimmy/Karman said. "Anyways good luck, I just have a few more things to fix before I leave, and don't rush Atom. You'll know what I mean soon enough. Did I already tell you to go to therapy, trust me you should?"
Karman what is this all about?"
"Atom came out to me a year before I died, something about girls being more understanding than boys. He told me a lot of thing Zack, he's broken and I wasn't able to help him put himself back together but I think you can."
The ride home was mostly silent, Zack flustered that Karman/Kimmy had disappeared some where again and that she might be leaving soon. His parents were talking to Atom, they were going to fill out the adoption papers today and hopefully everything would go through. The one problem they had was that all of Atom's stuff was at his dad's house so they would most likely have to go shopping. And until they fixed up the guest room Atom and Zack would be sharing a room. His thoughts went back to Karman and the conversation they had in the hallway about Atom being broken and more damaged than either of them knew. How in the world was he going to help him? Maybe he should tell his family about Kimmy...then again he probably end up at the funny farm if he even began to explain.
When they got home, Zack's mom had ordered a large pizza pie since it was very late and couldn't cook dinner because it would take up more time. Zack's father happily chattered about what had happened at his job, making Atom laugh at the funny parts. Zack was shocked; he hadn't heard Atom laugh in a while. He tries to focus on his dad's story but his mind kept on wondering back to Kimmy/Karman. What was she doing now? Maybe there could be away to keep Karman's host alive when she leaves Kimmy's body...I'll have to look it up on the computer when everyone was sleep.
Zack put his plan into action researching how to save Kimmy. He forgot that Atom was a light sleeper and the lights from his laptop woke Atom up. ”What are you doing?” Atom asked sliding up in the bed next to Zack.
”Don't scare me like that.” Zack jumped.
Atom just nodded looking at the screen, “So you finally figured out the whole Karman/Kimmy thing.”
”Long story.” Atom yawned, “You can't save her, you know.”
Atom took the laptop from Zack and started to put his computer skills to work. He types in Kimmy's full name and the search came up empty. ”She's not real; the girl she has for a host didn't even exist before now.”
Zack sat there dumb founded.
Atom looped an arm around Zack's shoulder trying to comfort him. ”This is what she wanted,” he mumbled into Zack's cheek kissing him gently there before kissing his lips.
”You can't make a habit if this.”
”Of what, this.” He kissed Zack again trembling a bit as Zack allowed it to last a little longer. Atom hands rested on his chest as if to keep him self from falling over.
Zack lets the kiss last a little bit longer then need. Atom moaned breaking for air and came back for another kiss, but the noise he made snapped Zack out of it. He opens his eyes realizing what he was doing and shoves Atom away breaking the kiss. Zack leaps out of the bed into the bathroom that was right next to his room and away from his parents’. He locks the door so no one could come in. He yanks his blue toothbrush from the cabinet with mouth wash. He brushes his teeth and tongue roughly, then use mouth wash. "Zack you are you okay?!" He doesn't answer; he kept on repeating using mouth wash and brushing his teeth, over and over. He stops looking himself in the mirror. He couldn't stop thinking about the kiss; it was like it had poisoned his mind. He felt disgusted with himself, one: for letting Atom kiss him and two: For sort of liking it. He gags and began to throw up in the toilet.
When he came back to the room he found a note that said ”sorry” he later found out that Atom slept on the couch in the living room for the rest of the night. Zack sighed not knowing what to do
Breakfast was awkward at best, it seemed as if Atom had a permanent blush on his face. ”Do I have to go into school today?” Atom asked not really mentally prepared to go back.
”We we're going to let you stay home today. We need to get some. stuff from the store for Atom. You guys get dress and we can make it a kind of outing.”
Zack raised a brow, ”shopping?” He gave his mom a look.
”It's that or school.” With that the boys went up stairs to change into good clothes.
”I'm sorry about yesterday, I shouldn't of kissed you.” Atom said quickly taking his spare clothes that he always kept at Zack's place before escaping into the bathroom.
They got to the mall and basically let Betty do all the work, letting her pick out clothes she thought would look, ”cute” on Atom. They stopped for lunch when Zack spotted the arcade. It took a while before they finally convinced his mom to give them money. Lucky for them it was a school day so no one else was there.
”We need to talk,” Zack said.
”If it's about the kiss, I already said I was sorry. I won't do it again.” Atom promised. Zack looked at him and what happened next surprised even Zack, he kissed Atom his hands tangling in red hair. Atom kissed back trembling and knees weak, he actually would of fallen if Zack's arm hadn't wrapped around his waist. ”Zack don't do this to me.” Atom managed to whisper.
”I don't know what's going on anymore.” Zack kissed him again.
Atom shoves Zack off, looking down at the floor. Zack stares at him confused and a little hurt. He takes a step towards him but Atom stepped a way. "Don't....you're just confused Zack. That’s all....It's my fault. I've confused and quilted you...I'm sorry." Atom says, still looking at the floor.
Zack stares at him, in shock and disbelief. "What?...I thought you wanted this?...Us?..." Zack whispers, still confused.
"I do....but I want you to know for sure that you want to be with me. And that you....really love me." Atom says, staring up at him.
"But I -"
"No, Figure it out first, Zack." Atom left the arcade room, leaving Zack very confused. He leans his back against the wall, shoving his hands into his pockets. Maybe Atom is right...Maybe I'm just confused... Zack looks up notices a couple of girls walking by. One of them looks at him, with wondering dark brown eyes. He couldn't help but look into them.
Zack jumps at the sound of her voice. "WHAT THE HECK, KIMMY!?...Where have you been anyway?"
She laughs at him. "I've been around....so ya kissed him? How did that work out?"
Zack frowns at her, gazing at the floor. "Not to well....I'm so confused, Kimmy...I don't know what to think or do anymore!" She sighs.
"Do you love Atom?"
"But do you REALLY love him?"
Zack thinks. "I-I don't know!"
Kimmy sighs. "Zack, theres no time....do you love him, yes or....no?"
Zack stares to panic. "I-I..." He looks down ashamed at himself. "No....I don't feel that way towards him....He was right, I was confused."
Kimmy shakes her head also ashamed at him. "You're playing with boy's feelings, Zack....it might kill him...for real."
Zack groans. "What have I gotten myself into!? I should have stayed in the dark like before. Then this wouldn't have happened!"
Zack wondered through the mall for a bit talking to Kimmy/Carman about anything that came to there mind. ”Remember back in the at the hospital when you asked me if I liked it when Atom kissed me?” Karman nodded, ”You said that when you died you saw the future how far did you see to keep asking me about Atom.”
”Far enough.” Was all she said, ”Why?”
”Did you see us together?” Zack blushed.
”Trust me you want this to be a surprise. I got to go.” Kimmy/Karman said before taking off around the corner. Zack went to call out to he when he saw Atom talking with a kid about there age with brown hair and matching eyes. The guy must have been funny because Atom blushed and laugh. Zack felt his blood boil. Zack felt the rage building up, he never felt like this before. He even growled a little out of anger.
"You okay?" A soft, small voice asked from behind him. He glanced at the girl, from the corner of his eye. It was the girl from before, the one who stared at him with wondering eyes.
"Yeah....just-" He looks at Atom laughing at the boy's joke or comment. It made Zack feel dead inside. "Just fine..." He looks at her again. "What's your name?"
She hesitates before answering. "Call me Bree....everyone does."
Zack glanced at Atom but he and the boy were out of sight. Zack groans in pain and anger in his head. "So....Bree, is it?" She nods, giving him wondering eyes. Zack could tell she was into him. "Bree." He says soft and confused. He sees her shiver which made him smile a bit. He never had seen a girl act this way to him. Maybe she's different from the rest? He took her hand in his, Bree blushes at this. He could tell she was a very shy and sweet girl. Probably one of the quiet ones who don't get notices. Bree was a very pretty girl. Long dark brown wavy hair up to the middle of her back, dark blue eyes that sparkle with kindness and yet with mystery. She was thin with small curves but was prefect for her. She was small ,five foot probably, and fragile. Zack could picture him holding her in his arms and kiss the top of her head. It made him feel...good and yet sad. He pushed the feelings away. Atom doesn't need me anymore he has that other guy anyway, he's over me and I don't love him!....Right? He starts to think not noticing Bree was leading him by the hand towards a lonely bench hidden under the shade of a large plant. The chair had a black and purple book bag laying on it with a notebook and pen next to it. Do I love him? What I told Kimmy....was I lying? He felt confused again. He realizes he was sitting next to Bree as she wrote. A small yet shy smile was on her lips as a light blush colored her cheeks. She is cute.... Zack thought to himself as he studies her. He felt a little strange, like a new feeling was starting to come but he couldn't put his finger on it. He lightly wrapped his arm around her waist, making her blush more.
"You-you didn't say your name." She says embarrassly.
Zack grins at her cuteness. "Zack."
She looks at him shocked, still blushing. "Zack?....I think we go to the same school....where do you go to?"
Zack was also shocked. I have seen her before.... He remembers now. "You are that girl who sits in the same row as me in English?"
She looks away. "Yeah....Your friend Atom....he's very kind to me. Come to think of it he's the only one who ever shows kindness towards me."
Zack felt suddenly guilty and a little bit jealous. Why does everyone like him?! "Yeah....he's a nice guy....I'm sorry that I've never showed kindness to you, Bree. It was just..."
She nods. "I understand....my little sister died that same year as her. Now it's just me and my brother." She understands?
"Hey, there's Atom now..." Zack looks up only to Atom and that boy again. He felt the anger build up again. "I wonder why my brother is with him, are they friends?" Bree asks with wondering as she was lost in thought. Zack didn't hear her for he could only feel rage and the need to get Atom jealous burst into him.
Atom and the boy approached them, “Zack this is Trevor.” He said, “And I see you already met his sister.” Zack wanted to punch the smug look off of Trevor's face as he gave him the once over as if sizing up competing. ”Hey Bree,” Atom smiled at the girl, “What are you guys doing in the mall anyway?”
”Skipping class.” Trevor said simply, “We could ask you the same.”
”Unlike you two we got called out.”
Trevor nodded turning his attention to Zack, ”You know, I feel as if I already know you. When ever Atom talks it's always, Zack this, or Zack that. You guys are boy friends know, right?”
”Trevor,” Bree protested in a quiet yet firm voice.
”What? You're acting as if you didn't see them kissing a little while ago.” Zack almost fell out of his chair and Atom looked like he was about to faint.
”We're not together!” Zack all but yelled, causing an akwards silence.
Trevor smirked, ”You don't just kiss some one for no reason. There's something that's telling you you're in love and that you need to act on that feeling.”
”Stop harassing him.” Atom said.
”Sorry, we have to head home soon anyways, say good bye to your friend Bree.” Trevor then embraced Atom kissing his cheek all the while smirking at Zack. Atom pushed Trevor away on reflex wiping his cheek with the back of his hand. Two can play this game. Zack thought, doing his best not to look up set as he asked Bree for her number and casually mentioned that they should hang out more often. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the different emotions play across Atom's face.
"What?" Atom asks annoyed by the look Zack was giving him.
Zack relaxed, leaning his back against the bench. "Nothing....you like him?"
Atom raised a dark red eyebrow. "What?"
"Do. You. Like. Him?"
Atom glares at him. "Maybe....you like her?"
Zack paused before answering. "What do YOU think?." He replies, keeping cool.
Atom snorts. "I'll take that as a yes."
"Then I'll take it you like him. Asked for his number?" Zack teased.
Atom gives him a dirty look. "At lest I didn't look like I was being tortured when I asked for it, unlike YOU." Atom mocked back.
"At lest I had the guts to touch her." Zack grins at the look on Atom's face.
"At lest I got a kiss on the cheek."
Zack laughs cruel. "Then why did you shove him away?"
Atom was getting mad which made Zack feel sort of better. He lounges on the bench, folding his arms behind his head to use as a pillow. "What ever, Zack." He glares at Atom. "So is Bree your girlfriend now? Is she your soul mate!?"
Zack chuckles, amused a little at how Atom was starting to get jealous. "Maybe. Who knows? My soul mate could be ANY WHERE, maybe just MAYBE, my soul mate could be standing right infront of me!!!" Zack snapped as he stood up and storms away. "Stupid heart!" He utters. "Stupid brain and stupid feelings'" He hissed quietly at himself. I'll call Bree really soon and I mean REALLY soon. Zack says in his head as walks faster. It was a good thing he had already put her number in his cellphone. Maybe I'll even put her on speed dial! He snarled in his head. He was very angry.
Betty was confided n the time they got back Atom ended up sulking in the back of the car the whole way home and Zack seemed angry.
Atom was now laying on the couch with Zack sitting by his feet. “I don't like Trevor.” Atom said after a while, “Yes he's gay yes he's a friend but I don't like him.”
”You sure did seem to be enjoying his company.” Zack notes.
”People say the same about us.”
”You said you wanted me to be sure.”
”Yes I did. I didn't say to pick up the first girl who shows mild interest to get me jealous.”
“Dude, are you jealous?”
"No!!!" Atom snapped which made Zack laugh.
"Yes you were, admit it."
Atom snorts. "Sure Zack, what ever flouts your boat." Zack grins sheepish. All of a sudden Zack's cellphone starts to ring. He sighs. "Is it Bree?" Atom asks, trying to keep his cool. Zack shrugs as pulls out his phone.
He looks at the caller ID a little shocked. "Hello?"
”Hey” Kimmy's voice came through the phone.
”How did you get this number.”
”I,knew before u died remember.”
”Right I guess you wanted to give me some words of wisdom.”
”Stop messing with Atom, he just wants to make sure you don't look back and regret this.”
Zack left the room so Atom couldn't hear the conversation, ‘Then maybe he shouldn't of kept kissing me so I wouldn't be so confused.”
”It was only once or twice and that might be my fault.”
”What did you do?”
”I told him what I saw in the future, but that's besides the point. You we're the one that started that last one.”
”Wait told him what you saw, how come you won't tell me?”
”What did you see?”
”Just stop messing with Atom ” the line went dead.
"Kimmy!?....Kimmy?" He looks down at his phone confused and angry. "What the hel.l!? Great! Now I'm even more confused then before!" His utters under his breath. What should I do now?....
"Zack! Is everything okay!?" He heard Atom ask.
"Yeah everythings fine!..." Zack thought hard, his brain began to hurt. Maybe it'll be a good idea if I stop spending so much time with Atom....I'll call Bree later to see if she wants to hang out with me....It'll be better that way, wouldn't it? He felt confused and upset but kept it hidden as he went back into the living room.
Zack spent the next few days hanging out with Bree, he even went back to school. Atom didn't, he said he was too scared to go to school. Zack didn't mind it gave him time to think at school and when he got home Atom was at therapy. So the only time he saw him was at dinner because Atom had gotten his room put together. Zack was however missing Atom.
Zack was walking down the block, school was over for today. He should be feeling happy but lately he was feeling more sad every day. But when he is around Bree, he felt better because it would keep his mind off of Atom and he would always feel something else. He really likes Bree, more then he thought really but he still miss Atom. He thinks harder, making his head throb with pain. Zack felt even MORE confused then ever before. What should I do? I'm still confused about this!!! He ponders as he starts to walk in front of a cemetery. Zack stops and looks at it. He shudders a bit. Might as well go see it, hopefully Brian won't be there. He walks through the black steel gates into the cemetery, a strange, thick fog rolls in. Engulfing the area in thick, dark grey smoke. It sent shivers of fear through Zack. Very weird. He thought as he walks through the dark smoke.
Kimmy was waiting for him. ”Still confused,” she asked.
”Yes,” Zack sat down next to her.
”Well, why did you start seeing Bree?”
”To make Atom jealous.”
”And why did you want to make him jealous?” Zack sat there and thought about it. Kimmy shook her head.
”Zack, I think you like him more than you let on. What would you do if Atom dated Trevor?”
"I don't know!!!" Zack crys out.
"You have to know Zack, we're still running out of time."
Zack stares at her. "What do you even mean by that!? You know what Kimmy, you're not trying to help. You're trying to get-get revenge on me!!!" He yells at her as he stood. Zack shook hard from rage. "What if I don't "love" Atom, what if I love Bree!?!?!?!" He yells mostly asking himself.
Kimmy sighs annoyed. "You didn't even kiss her, how do you know if you love her if you never even kissed her?"
Zack glares at her. "I don't want to rush things, we're taking it slow. Okay!"
”Doesn't that sound familiar.” She smirked referring to what Atom had said before. ”You're running out of time.” Kimmy said again.
”I don't know what to anymore.”
”Think Zack, if you don't figure it out in time. YOU LOVE HIM!!!, you just don't want to admit it to yourself.”
"SHUT UP!!!!! IT'S JUST LIES!!!!!!!!" Zack shouts at her. "I LOVE BREE AND I'LL PROVE IT TO EVERYONE, YOU'LL SEE!!!!!!!!" Zack runs away from her.
"You're only hurting yourself Zack, you can't run away from love!" He heard her yell. "And by the way, your time is running out. So if I were you, I would figure it out now." Her voice was right in his head and he shook it to rid her out of his mind.
He ran out the cemetery, pulling out his phone. He clicked her name, holding it up to his ear. "Bree, meet me at the pond, you know the one with the apple blossom tree infront of it. Okay?" He wasn't asking.
"Umm okay?....Is there something wrong?"
"NO!! I-I just want to see you again." He answers, stuttering a bit.
"Okay, I'll see you there then...Bye." He hung up the phone and shoves it into his pocket.
He could tell by the sound of her voice was both nervous and happy. "I'll show them....They'll all see."
The meeting was akwards at best. Bree was always akwards around him and Zack was nervous because he knew what he was going to do. “You like me right?” He asked, and Bree nodded. ”Good because I like you too.”
Bree smiled at this, “That's a relief, Trevor said you we're gay for Atom.”
“I'm not he smiled at he taking her hands in his as he kissed her. She kissed hi back, but it wasn't the same as when he kissed Atom. There was no spark.
He felt her fingers tangle in his hair, he tries to feel the spark. Forcing it to come more like it. He pressed her closer to him as her back was against the tree. Apple blossom petal fell softly, making the scene look like it was in a movie. He shut his eyes, trying to focus on her. He liked the feeling of her lips on his but his mind would wonder back to Atom. Stop thinking about that!!! He yells in his head. He was trying to feel the spark with Bree, he was desperate. He was willing to go down that path. Bree notice that Zack was being a little to rough.
She pulls away, studing his face. "Whats wrong?" She asked, worrying.
"Nothing." He starts to kiss her again but she pulls away again.
"Theres some thing wrong." She pressed.
" No theres not." Zack starts to kiss her neck.
"If there is nothing wrong then why are you...being rough?"
He froze, looking up at her. "What?"
Her cheeks were colored in a blush. "You're...trying to hard." He stares at her in disbelief. Her eyes were gazing at the pond watching the sun's rays of light dance on it's surface.
"I'm not!" He smashed his lips against hers. Hot tears spills down his face. She lets him kiss her for a while, he knew she was letting him. Zack stops, leaning his forehead against her's. "I-I can't do this!" He whispers, more hot tears streaming.
"It's okay, Zack....I understand why." He wraps his arms around her tightly. She hugs him back, letting him cry.
When he got back home Atom was asleep on the couch. “You're home,” his mom smiled, ”I need to talk to you.”
”Atom's going back to school. He told me about what happened between him and Brian, if things get too bad call me so I can pick him up.”
”Alright.” He said going back to the living room we're Atom was asleep. He wanted to tell him how he felt n he wasn't sure how. He smiled softly when he took note of how the bruise on Atom's face we're starting to fade.
He still hadn't told Atom by the next day. He didn't think that it would be best to tell him since it was obvious that Atom was nervous about going back to school. It was like he was looking over his shoulder the whole time. All and all things went over smoothly. ”I don't think people care as much as you thought they would” Zack smile and Atom just nodded.
They were waking home when they heard someone calling out to them, ”Guys wait up!!” They turned around to see Justin one of Atom's little brothers.
Atom smiled at him, ”Hey Justin.” The boy hugged him and he hugged back.
”I got this for you.” Justin handed him a bag.
”It some of your stuff, your clothes, games and Mr. bobo.”
”What's a Mr.bobo.” Zack asked.
”His teddy near.” Justin pips in.
Zack fought back a laugh, ”Your teddy bear?” Atom just glared at him.
”Are you going to come home soon?” Justin asked.
Atom's features softened at this, “No, I probably wont be back at all. Dad kicked me out.”
“Oh” Justin sighed looking at the floor, ”We miss you, especially mom. But she said it would be best if you stay with Zack's family.”
”It is for the best” Atom said, ”I miss you guys too.”
”Mom wanted me to give you this.” Justin handed him a folded piece of paper, “I have to go so dad doesn't ask were I was.” They hugged on last time before Justin took off down the street.
Zack smiled at this, maybe things were finally starting to look up. When they got home things were mostly quiet until, "Would you be willing to go to True Colors with me?" Atom asked.
"True Colors it's the biggest L.G.B.T conference on the east coast.
"Why me?" "Because you're my best friend and I don't want to go alone."
"What, Do you have plans with someone?" Atom asked and Zack could here the bitterness in his voice.
"What Zach?" Zach could tell he was trying to hold back.
"Why do you hate Bree?" After all she was the one to help him figure out he loved Atom....Wait!What? Zachs head was spinning as he tried to sort out the mess that had taken place.
"Zach, I don't hate her...." Atom explain "I can't hate Bree," Atom said trying to calm Zack down, "She's to nice for that. I hate that you spend all your time with her and then the one time I do ask you to go some where with me in months the first thing you ask me about is Bree." Atom walked away calmly leaving a dumb founded Zack. Maybe he should have tried to spend sometime with Atom on and off while he was trying to figure things out.
Zach sighed getting up at go say sorry to Atom who was in his room with the door close. "Atom I'm sorry..." he got no answer. Yup Atom was giving him the silent treatment. "Atom," he opened the door and nearly fell backwards at what he saw. Atom laying on his bed with his arms bleeding.
Atom looked at him before he could say anything, "Don't scream, they're just cuts, they're not deep enough to kill me." he put his hand up as if to calm an animal, but it didn't help because of the blood on his hand. Zack stood there for a while not knowing what to say, Atom looked to pale to be healthy and from looking at his wrist he could tell that blood was still poring out.
"WHAT THE HEL.L ATOM!?!?!?! WE'VE BEEN THROUGH THIS BEFORE, STOP CUTTING YOURSELF MAN!!!!!!" Zack screams at the top of his lungs.
Atom looks away ashamed. "I'm sorry...it's just so hard to..."
"To quit? IT'S EASY TO QUIT, JUST STOP!!!!!"
Atom glares at him with burning blue eyes. "Get out of here, Zack."
He felt dumb founded again by his words. "What?"
"GET OUT, JUST GET OUT OF MY ROOM!!!!!!"
Zack froze at his words. "What did you-"
"NOW!!!!!!!!" Zack backs away from him, mix feeling swell up inside of him. Atom watch him, with fiery blue eyes that showed a lot of feeling but soon turns dull and hopeless. "You can't help me anymore Zack." Atom says as he stood at the door. Zack stares at him confuse from the other side. Zack could tell Atom was fighting back tears. "I-I'm broken and no one can put me back together....not even you." He slams the door in Zack's stunned face.
All he could was stand there in both shock and disbelief. Why was Atom still doing this, after everything that’s happen, things were now starting to look better and for some reason Atom seemed to be cutting more than usual.
Zack did the only thing he could of, ‘Mom, I think Atom maybe about to do something drastic.” ”What?” ”He was cutting himself and he said he was to broken to fix...”
His mom was already down the hall to Atom's room. ”Atom, sweetheart, I'm coming in.” She pushed open the door to find Atom sitting on the edge of his bed head heavy in his hands. He looked at her with watering blue eyes a long knife sitting next to him,
”I can't do it,” he said his wrist and hands stained with dry blood also now on his face. He was crying causing any of the dry blood to slide down his face. He was shaking and moved his arms to be in more of a self protecting hug and he couldn’t bring himself to look at them.
"Well sitting here with a knife isn't going to fix anything either." Zach was amazed that his mom was able to joke at a time like this. But Atom slowly picked up the knife and handed it to Zach who was the closest to him. His mom rushed over and hugged him, quickly rushing him to the bathroom before giving him his privacy to wipe off the blood. Despite his moms efforts to look calm her face was deadly pale and her eyes bloodshot and watery.
"Mom? Are you okay?"
She hesitated before responding "I just can't imagine what loosing him would be like!"
Zach was upset that this was having such an emotional effect on his mom. "Here come sit down" He cleared a spot next to him and patted the bed, she looked wary as she sat down. "Is something bothering you?"
Zach asked quietly. "IS SOMETHING BOTHERING ME? MY SON JUST TRIED TO KILL HIMSELF AND YOU ASKED ME IF SOMETHING'S BOTHERING ME?!?!? OF COURSE SOMETHING BOTHERING ME!!"
Zach felt his head start to spin..."Son?" His mom gasped as she realized her mistake. "Mom what's going on here?...I need the truth!"
He watched as tears trickled down her cheeks and he sat on his hands to keep from reaching out to her. "You were never supposed to find out like this....Your dad had an affair, it was only one time."
Zach was outraged that his dad could do something like this. He had always assumed his parents loved each other! What could have happened that he had an affair? Zach hoped his mom would tell him the truth but Zach secretly also hoped it wasn't true. "WHAT?!"
"Zach calm down!" His mom pulled him back down before continuing. "Unfortunately it happened to be with Atoms mom, your father didn't realize she was dating someone at the time."
Zach paled instantly at his moms explanation, he felt like throwing up! He couldn't get him mind of the similarities....the temper, the eyes and the dimples. It all was becoming clear to Zach as he became more and more enraged at the situation. "Atom and I are brothers?"
"Half-Brothers" His mom corrected, giving him time to soak all this in. Zack couldn't believe it. And that's all he spent his time thinking about on the way to the hospital to make sure that Atom hadn't lost too much blood. Betty and the doctor started to talk about changing Atom therapy and adding an anti-depression to the list of meds he was already taking.
"We're brothers." Zack said, "My mom just told me, my dad had an affair with your mom and. Maybe that's why we feel like we have this connection.”
Atom actually chuckled a bit, "I'm not your half brother, Justin is."
“I was five when my dad found out my mom was cheating on him, so they had me do some test. I'm my mom's and dad's child, Justin is your half brother. You can check the hospital records if you want." Zack did just that asking his mom and the doctor to see and because Betty was Atom's legal guardian they were able to look at the records and low and behold, they weren't brothers. "Told you Atom smiled at him as the sat back on the bench waiting for Zack's mom, "So that special connection you said we have," he smiled taking Zack's hand in his, "It's just whatever is going on between us." Atom kissed him lightly but as he went to pull away Zack grabbed his face and pulled him closer. And there was that spark he was looking for.
Zach pulled away and was aware of the smile that sat over Atoms mouth.
"All right are you guys ready?" Betty asked coming around the corner, she paused when she saw that both Zach and Atom had huge grins on their face.
"Mom?" Zach asked,
“Can Justin live with us too?"
Sweetheart Atom's with us because of certain circumstances, Justin is fine were he is.” Zack nodded, “Let's go home.”
Atom fell asleep once they got home Zack sat down on the couch next to him. Thing finally seemed to be looking up. Then he heard a faint vibrating sound. It was Atom's phone that just happened to be on the table. He didn't want to be nosey but when he was what the text was from Atom's dad. It read, ”I hope you rot in h*** f**” he looked through the phone to find more messages like it, but not just from his dad but from people at school.
Zack felt rage burning within him but stronger this time. He was so mad that he almost threw Atom's phone against the wall but he placed it back onto the table where it was resting before. This is getting bad. Zack thought as he ponders for then idea. It hit him and a huge smile found it's way onto Zack's lips. "Kimmy." He whispers to himself. She can help, I know she can! Another thought can to him. I wonder what she has been doing. I haven't seen or heard from her since that phone call.
”I'm actually right next to you,” Kimmy said causing Zack to look over and see her sitting next to him, ”And just so you know only you can see me so sit still and listen.” Zack nodded, “You're close to done as long as he knows he can lean on you. And don't worry about Justin he's fine were he is. As for Atom, spend more time with him. I know that you've been working hard to make sure that Atom's alright but, he may die anyway. Things haven gotten so off course from my original vision...I don't know what's going to happen, but I keep seeing flashes of blood, and Atom...” Karman smiled at him, “My time is almost done here so... I'll probably only see you a few more times.” Then she faded away.
Tears sprung to his eyes at the realization he may never see his sister again, and that Atomn may die. Some how Atom since this and woke up shifting to hug Zack around the waist, “It's going be okay" he mumbled not aware of why Zack was crying. Zack couldn't help but smiled as looked down at Atom's half sleep face. He wanted to ask about the messages on his phone but thought that it might be best to leave well enough alone. He kissed Atom softly smiling into the kiss when he felt Atom kiss him back. He had to find away to keep him safe.
Betty made steak and potatoes, Atom's favorite. All through out dinner Atom's phone kept going off, signaling that someone was messaging him. It got to the point were Atom didn't even look at his phone, he just turned it off. The family watched TV after dinner, by now even Zack's parents realized that Atom was quiet than usual.
Zack could tell something was wrong, the way Atom kept his eyes on the floor made him worry. He is thinking of something...I can tell. Zack says in his head. Zack shook a little from nervousness. I'll ask him what is bothering him when it's time for bed. He thought as he returns his gaze at the TV screen.
Talking to Atom was easier than he thought. Before he was about to talk Atom came up to him and hugged him. Tears were streaming down his face an he kept mumbling, “Thank you, thank you.”
Zack was surprised at this and hugged him back, “It's okay.”
”I love you, I love you so much, please, please don't leave me.” He was close to hysteria.
”Atom,” he didn't get to Finnish what he was going to say because Atom was kissing him desperately, still crying and shaking.
Zach pushed Atom back, wanting to know what was wrong. "Atom?" Zach asked but he held on tighter and Zach could feel his tears seeping through his clothes. "Atom!" Zach screamed this time demanding to know what was wrong and how he could help. Zach waited for Atom to calm down and when he heard the sniffling stop he asked again, "Atom?"
Zach heard him hesitate before responding. "Yes?" Atoms voice was thick with tears.
"You have to tell me how I can help."
”I can't tell you,” Atom said pulling back into the hug. ”Promise me even if this doesn't work out that you'll always be my friend.”
Atom kissed him again. Zack finally caved pressing his tongue to Atom lips who let him in. Atom was withering in Zack's arm, whimpering when there tongues touched. They broke for air Zack's arms keeping him up. Atom slept next to him that night shaking and clinging to him. Atom calmed down after a bit of Zack holding him and fell into a calm sleep. Zack held him closely, he knew that Atom was on his last leg of sanity and had to find away to make it right before it was too late.
Zach was aware of everyone treating him and Atom like glass, as if any moment they must shatter. Betty let them skip school afraid they would be subject to "teasing" and she didn't want her two babies exposed to that. Zach saw Atom sometimes shiver if he thought no one was looking, he wondered what his secret could be and why he couldn't tell him. Zach also wondered what he and Atom where, their relationship was complicated even at the best of times.
Atom came out of his sleep to find Zack already awake, ”Morning,” he smiled.
“Morning” Zack answered kissing atom gently.
”What's wrong,” Atom asked feeling that something was wrong.
“It's just... What are we? Are we boyfriends or...”
“Do you want to be?” Atom perked up looking excited.
Zack could only stare in awe at the way Atom's eye sparkled, “I don't know, if your ready for a relationship yet, you're still healing.” Atom's face fell a bit, “I do want to be with you, but when your better.”
”You make me feel better, when I'm with you I don't feel depressed. You make me feel happy.” Atom leaned up and kissed him, “I want to be with you.”
”We can try,” Zack said realizing that there was no way to argue with Atom when he was giving him that look, besides the smile Atom gave him also gave him hope for the whole situation. When they went down to breakfast even Betty and Danny could tell that they were in good moods
Zach was wondering even more about Justin now and seeing Betty and Danny exchange glances started to ruin his mood. His smile faded as he felt a speech coming on and he finally could no longer stand the tension. “What" Zach asked startling his parents and Atom. Zach watched as Betty and David stared holes through it head driving him insane, they finally nodded after what seemed like hours. "We wanted to talk to you about our family"
“We know that there has been a lot going on lately but, we wanted to let you know that things will work out.” Betty said.
“What about Justin,” Zack asked.
“He's fine,” Atom said, “He's the favorite of the family don't ask me why but he is.” Atom said bitterly.
Betty nodded,” And as for me and your dad we'll do what we can to make it work for you guys.” Atom just started to get up from the table not really worried about things. ” You guys get ready for school.” Betty said.
Zack nodded going upstairs to change. He ended up in just a pair of jeans and a
t-shirt. He look at the mirror and smiled at himself, the bags under his eyes were fading and he was looking healthier.
” Hey,” Atom smiled at Zack who was shocked by what Atom was wearing, or more so how good he looked in it.
“Wow...” Was all he could say.
”I know, when your mom first picked it out I didn't like it but I think I wear it a well.”
Zack smiled, “You do,” they kissed quickly, “come on, if we don't hurry we'll be late.” Atom suddenly looked...he wasn’t sure what it was but it as if he was happy.
Zach was looking forward to seeing Atom at lunch but was surprised when he wasn't in the cafeteria. Zach was concerned but knew it probably wasn't a big deal and would see him later. When Zach walked into his house a few hours later he immediately called out for Atom. Atom hadn't been on the bus and Zach had thought maybe he skipped out. "Atom!" Zach called again louder. "Atom!!!!" Zach screamed walking into his bedroom. He saw the folded up piece of paper on his night stand and his heart dropped to the floor. He catiously picked it up and wondered if he had to read it. Zach opened the paper slowly and exhaled a large breath he hadn't known he'd been holding when nothing looked suspicious.
I truly am sorry I had to leave this way, but Karman told me I couldn't stay any longer.
Zach wondered what Karman had to do with this.
I know how much you wanted to save her and I am sorry to say she's gone......I wish I could have done something to help but that wasn't my job.
Job? Thought Zach, who was Atom?
I suppose I should explain, you see our parents did have an affair but your the child...not Justin. I was created to watch over you and at first I took on the form of Kimmy
KIMMY!?! Atom was Kimmy?
Karman didn't realize until it was too late and I had to take on a new body. So I took over Atoms and became your best friend and somewhere along the way fell in love with you...
Zach slammed the letter shut without finishing and watched as it dropped to the floor. He held his head as he sat down and tried to comprehend what he had just learned.
Zack was pretty sure that Atom wasn't coming back and sooner or later he would have to explain everything to his parents. So he went to the one place he could think, the lake. To his surprise he saw Atom sitting there, “Atom?”
Atom turned and looked at him his face to pale and his blue eyes in a panic, “ZACK RUN!!!”
Zack was to shocked to do anything and by the time he turned around Kimmy was standing behind him.. ”Kimmy you scared me”
”RUN!!!” Atom yelled, “SHE'S GOING TOO KILL YOU!!” Zack turned around and saw Kimmy holding a knife. Before he could comprehend it he felt something collide with his face causing everything to spin. But through all of this he was able to see Kimmy grin as she pulled the knife back and lunged forwards. Then he was on the ground with Atom on top of him, arm bleeding, he must of taken the hit for him.
“Why are you doing this Kimmy!?” Zack yelled.
”IT'S KARMAN!!” the girl yelled, “ why am I doing this you ask? because you killed me! It was your idea to go to the stuoid lake to begin with and because of you I hit my head and drowned. They were never even able to get my body out of the water, and because of that I couldn’t be put the rest. I’m still drowning under there.” She laughed cruelly “You really think I came back to help you? I bet you thought the note was real too. There was never an affair between our family. I possessed mom and Atom to get you here. And you believed it. ”
“I'm sorry Kimmy”
“No you’re not, you’re just sorry because you don’t want to die, I thought you said you wanted ‘if you could redo it that you would take my place,” She mocked “Well here’s your chance, you die and I’ll take you body and live,” She smirked at the look on their terrified faces, “Or do you not want to die anymore because you have Atom. I was in love with him and then he told me that he was in with you. And then the moment I’m out of the picture you guys get all buddy buddy with each other. If you just reject him we wouldn’t be going through this. Atom’s dad would of just beat him to death and being the sneaky person he is, taken him out with the rest of the trash. Then Atom wouldn’t have a proper resting place and he would wonder the world with me for eternity.”
“Karmen, you don’t have to do this.”
“Of course I don’t, I want to, and I can’t even go to jail for this, everyone is just going to think that poor Atom and Zack couldn’t take it anymore and decided to kill themselves in the woods.”
“Did you know that I’ve been drowning this whole time,” she snickered, “My soul isn’t gone therefore my body is forced to suffer. Do you know how much water your lungs can take in before they burst, I do.”
“You’re body’s still alive,”
“Kind of, if I go back I’ll just be stuck in it until it decays, but I’m not going back there. And don’t get any smart ideas, I’m going to kill you.” she smiled gleefully, Atom lunged at her there was a bit of a struggled before he managed to get her back into the lake. “Help,” she cried out struggling to come up which was weird because Karman was a strong swimmer.
A hand broke the surface pale and swollen with water, another followed grabbing her by her neck and dragging her under, “Help me,” she pleaded. Zack did go to reach for her, compelled to help his baby sister but Atom holds him back. She was now screaming and cursing as her body dragged her back down. Her head went under the water that was still moving violently showing some kind of stuggle, then everything went still a few bubbles coming up to break the surface but eventually those stopped too.
Atom glanced at Zack, “Are you okay?” ” Yes, Atom your arm is bleeding.”
Yet again they found themselves at the hospital, Atom made up a lie about cutting himself in order to not have to explain what happened to Zack's mom. ”I can't believe that she was trying to kill us.” Zack said once they were alone. Atom nodded leading on Zack's shoulder.
“Do you think we can start over?” Atom asked, “so much has ha happened for the wrong reason and...”
”I get what you're saying,” Zack ran his hands through Atom's hair lovingly, “But I'm not sure if start over is the right term. Move on from what happened but there between us isn't something we should forget.”
Atom smiled kissing Zack on the cheek, “Alright. Oh yeah... I finally read that note that Justin gave me from my mom.”
“Really, what did it say?”
“She apologized for not being the mom I needed and not being brave enough to leave my dad when things got bad... Then she said she loved me even though I was gay and that she hoped that I found happiness.” Atom was tearing up at this point. Zack held him close kissing his hair and rubbing his back. Atom kissed him. Zack kissed him back pushing him down so they were lying side by side facing each other.
”I love you.” Zack managed too say between kisses.
”I love you too.” Atom smiled into the kiss. And it gave them both hope that things will get better.