My Master Down the Hall Ch. 05

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Amateur

Wow, so this is it. The end. The big one. The last hurrah. The final act. The…umm…grand finale.

This semester has been killing me, and I haven’t had much time to write, but that’s not why I haven’t posted this chapter. To be totally honest, this is the part of the story I hate: the “break-up.” I used the quotes there because, not-so-spoiler alert: when you date your brother, you can’t really ever “break up.” There’s no going your separate ways forever, which is good and bad all at the same time.

I kinda teased this last time, but it’s time to let it all come out. I might end up looking like a selfish bitch here, but screw it—I’d rather be true to the story than sugarcoat it just to make myself look good.

Since the first time that I went down on Gabe, I had been living in a dream. The longer we were together, the more stuff we did together, the harder I fell. I wasn’t just in love; I was under his spell. It seemed to me like the only thing that mattered in life, the only thing that made me happy, was being with him.

Only life keeps going while you’re dreaming. Mine caught up with me that day I got a thick envelope from Armstrong College.

In a lot of ways, I’m smart. I can count really high. I know how fucking magnets work. I use words good.

In other ways, I was—maybe still am—hella stupid. Like, I-didn’t-think-about-Gabe-and-me-going-to-different-colleges-because-I-was-too-busy-blowing-him stupid. I mean, I thought about other stuff, too: I went to class, I watched Breaking Bad, I learned to cross-stitch. For the most part, though, my mind was totally fixated on Gabe (and his dick), if not 24/7, then like 22/7. I wanted it in me at all times. I hated days when we had to do stupid stuff that kept us apart. I wished I could wake him up every morning by deep throating him. You know, in lerv.

At first I didn’t open the envelope. I thought about how expensive private tuition was. By my calculation, four years at Armstrong would run us approximately eleventy billion dollars. (Told you I could count really high.) And it was going to be cold there—Vermont cold. Besides, their Comparative Literature Department was only, like, seventh-ranked. Losers.

Basically, I didn’t need to think about how I felt. Gabe was going to Ohio State. That’s where I belonged, too. I just hoped he’d get his own room, because I definitely didn’t want some roommate cramping our style. I even had fantasies about the off-campus apartment we’d convince Mom and Dad to rent us: I’d have floor pillows strategically placed all over the place, a smart move for a dick-sucking addict like me. It would have been awesome.

I just needed the excuse not to go, to explain why I’d turn down collegiate filet mignon for state school meatloaf. The only excuse that made sense was money. I even prepared a little speech of noble self-sacrifice, explaining why I’d give up the dream of Armstrong to help the family budget.

All that went out the window when Emmett read the letter. His eyes glazed over.

“Rose, honey,” he said, on the verge of tears for the first time in my memory, “you’re everything I could ever want in a daughter. Your mother and I are so proud of you. A full ride!”

Both Mom and Gabe looked shocked. I guess I did, too; at least, I hope they interpreted it as shock, and not what it really was. I was crushed.

“I don’t know anymore,” I stammered, “maybe Armstrong isn’t right—”

“Baby, don’t be scared,” Mom said. “I know it will be a big change, but this is such a tremendous opportunity.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant by “change”: was she just talking about was just about college, or was she talking about being apart from Gabe. I mean, she knew about us. Did she want us apart?

I looked into Gabe’s eyes. I needed him.

“Check out the big brain on Brad!” he said.

Mom and Dad missed the Pulp Fiction reference, because they are so very old and lame, but I got it and even smiled a little.

“I’m telling you, it’s Brett, not Brad,” I said, momentarily getting lost in just talking to Gabe, as if this huge fucking thing hadn’t happened.

But it had happened, just now, and all my dreams were up in the air.

“I want to go to State with you,” I whimpered.

I couldn’t let on why in front of Emmett, of course, but I wanted Gabe to know that I wasn’t happy about this. Maybe he could help me come up with a plan to get out of this. Gabe took a second to respond, which felt like an eternity.

“That…that would have been cool…But this is cool, too. We can visit each other—it’ll be fun,” he said, forcing himself to sound upbeat.

We all went out to eat in celebration that night, but I just kept feeling sadder and sadder. Long-distance? I mean, I could never cheat on Gabe, of course. That meant a ton of celibacy. It sucked. It also meant a parade of sluts trying to steal him away from me. I know, I’m the jealous type. It sucked, and no amount of stupid Olive Garden was going to make me feel better, breadsticks be etiler eve gelen escort damned.

I wasn’t going to get the privacy I needed at home, so that night I told Mom that I wanted to take a walk around the neighborhood with Gabe. We walked towards Alum Park, neither one of us wanting to start this conversation.

“So, you don’t seem thrilled with the news,” he said, in the understatement of the century.

“I hope you’re not either,” I replied. “It’s going to break their hearts when I don’t go.”

Gabe squeezed my hand, holding me back from walking.

“What are you talking about?”

“I mean, I’m not really going. We just have to find the right way to explain I’m going to State. We could—”

“No,” he said firmly.

I stood there, dumbstruck for a moment.

“What do you mean ‘no?’ Like, do you want to tell the truth or something? About us?”

He shook his head.

“No, I mean you’re going to Armstrong. It would be stupid to pass up that chance.”

“I don’t want to go,” I said, a little upset by now. “I want to be with you.”

Gabe looked conflicted.

“You don’t want to go because of me. So it’ll be my fault when pass up the chance of a lifetime to go to fucking State. Rose, you realize you’re a hundred times smarter than—”

“Stop it,” I said, probably sounding melodramatic. “I don’t give a shit about that stuff. I don’t want to be smart. I don’t want the ‘chance of a lifetime.’ If you’re at State, I’m at State.”

Gabe’s face was hard to read.

“Let’s walk,” he said, taking my hand again.

We walked in silence to the park. Things were tense. I could tell he was thinking things over, and I had a rush of optimism, like he understood how serious I was now.

“Sit down,” he commanded, and I obeyed like always. “I can’t tell you what to do.”

He didn’t seem to grasp the irony of that statement. Maybe he was too upset.

“You’re gonna do what you’re gonna do,” he continued. “But it’s not going to be my fault you throw this opportunity away. I mean, Christ, Rosie, we’re eighteen years old. You only get one chance at this—”

“That’s what I’ talking about,” I interrupted. “I get one chance with you! College is college.”

It was an unfamiliar experience, not only interrupting Gabe but arguing with him. It felt wrong. To be honest, my whole “fuck college” attitude was new and completely a product of our relationship. I had always been one of those nerds, dreaming about her college major in grade school. This was supposed to be the culmination of my whole life, my dream come true. Only my dream had already come true, and this was only there to take it away.

“Rosie,” he said, resuming where he was going before, “you can do what you want. We can do the long distance thing with you at Armstrong. We can make it work. But…I can’t be the one that made you throw your future away. It can’t be me. So…there won’t be an us if you don’t go to Armstrong.”

It felt like being punched in the gut. Normally, I would cry, but it actually hurt too much to even tear up. I felt nauseous.

“Long distance? That’s hopeless…”

“It’s that or nothing,” he said, shaking his head. “I love you too much to—”

I just remember turning and running at that point. Gabe must have followed behind me, but I can’t really remember. I do remember locking myself in my room and crying until I almost made myself sick.

Later that night, my mom came to me. I assumed that she was going to tell me that things would be OK, but she didn’t. What happened next was different.

Once she calmed me down a little, she asked me what had happened, and I told her. Then she asked if I knew why my dad left. When I told her ‘no,’ she told me the story.

“Honey, you’re a grown-up now,” she said, “and you can understand a lot of things now that you never could have before. I met your father when I was young—too young. You know all that. But I fell so in love with him. I would do anything for that man. And he—he didn’t always think about how I felt when I was doing those things for him. Look at me, honey. What you’ve got, with Gabe? It can’t be about you just giving things up for him, doing things for him. Because I gave and gave to your father, and he…he made me feel a certain way about myself…a bad way.

“And in the end, do you know why he left me? Because I’d given away so much that I didn’t have anything left to give. I made him my world, and once he had all of me, he found someone else. I know for a fact that Karen isn’t half as good to him as I was, but it didn’t matter. He used me up, and it took a long time before I was whole again, and I found a man who appreciates who I am and isn’t just out for himself.

“I’m not saying that Gabe is like your father, baby. He is a good man. I’m trying to tell you that giving up your dreams—making yourself a smaller person, a worse person, somebody too scared to follow her own star? That’s not going to work etiler grup yapan escort either. That’s what I did, and that’s not what I want for you. So you’re going to go Armstrong, and be whoever you want to be, and if this thing is meant to happen, honey, then nothing is going to stop you. And if it’s not? Then better now than later.”

Mom didn’t wait for me to respond; as soon as she was done, she left me alone again. And maybe, just maybe, that’s when I started to go crazy. Two weeks later, I almost ruined everything.

I told you guys a long time ago about my…impulsive streak. I’m meek and mild 99% of the time, and then I just snap. I think what set me off was something I started to do, all the time.

Things never really went back to normal. We didn’t totally stop seeing each other, but it felt…strained. And when I was alone, I’d start playing a little movie in my mind. I thought of all the trips we’d take, visiting each other. Thought of how we’d try to have sex constantly, but have stupid roommates, or work, or other people’s bullshit getting in the way.

I knew it would be like a black cloud hanging over every day at college, missing him. That wasn’t what bothered me, though. What bothered me was when I let the movie keep playing after he left me and went back to his own college. I watched him go back, and I watched him be sad. I watched his dumb friends, that I barely got to meet, tell him to cheer up and go out and get lucky. And I watched him pick up some college slut and fuck her. In my mind, I saw her—whoever she turned out to be—fucking my guy. And I saw him smile.

And he was right. He should fuck her. He’d be happier that way. Because she would be there, and I wouldn’t.

Love sometimes isn’t enough. Love without sex will very quickly be trumped by sex without love, unless you’re willing to be horny, unhappy, and alone. And I didn’t want that for him, even if I was willing to put with it for myself.

But what was I going to do? Break up with him? Wait for him to break up with me? Enroll at State and dare him to turn me down?

It wasn’t for another two weeks that Gabe and I really started to talk about it again. I told him I was going to do what he said, to go to Armstrong, but that I knew that it wasn’t going to work out between us. I was ready for him to comfort me, to tell me I belonged to him, and that he’d never let me go. I could have lived off that reassurance, at least for a little while. It could be my comforting lie, to help me through it all.

And then he said the thing that killed me.

“Whatever happens, happens,” he said in resignation. “Who knows the future?”

It’s hard to describe how shitty I felt hearing that. I had to get away from him, and made up a stupid excuse to cut our conversation short. Then I got in the car and drove. And cried. Then stopped crying and washed my face in the restroom of a McDonald’s, so I wouldn’t look like a crazy person.

It wasn’t my conscious mind that brought me to Andrew’s house, but there must have been a part of me that was so angry at Gabe that I would do anything to make him see how much he would regret this.

The next part hurts too much still to write about in the kind of detail I normally give. The kiss—the one between Andrew and me—was passionate, fierce, but reckless. It wasn’t about sex—I wasn’t going to fuck Andrew at his parents’ house just because I was pissed at Gabe. It was more a kind of emotional release. I guess you could say I wanted validation that someone else liked me, because it sure as hell felt like Gabe was ready to give up on me.

It’s even hard to totally remember, since it was such an emotional blur. It happened outside; he came outside to talk, and I told him I was sorry for leading him on, and then I kissed him. And he kissed me back. And for a second it was nice, and I didn’t feel so alone.

You might think I was overreacting to what Gabe said earlier, that he was just being realistic. You might say that kissing Andrew, who I knew liked me, just to prove I could, was something a cheating bitch would do. You might think it was shitty to Gabe and to Andrew, and shows just how selfish and immature I was. Hell, I’d probably agree with you.

But I did it because I was scared and desperate and sad. And I regretted it instantly. For the second time, I ended up fleeing back home from a guy and crying, only this time Andrew followed me. I mean, he liked me, and I kissed him. I guess he saw this as our chance or something. Only what he got for all the sweet things he had done for me, and all the time we spent together, was a black eye from Gabe when he showed up calling for me from the front lawn, bellowing about “what our kiss meant.” And there was no way for him to know the real reason why that happened.

Andrew and Gabe argued on the front lawn while I watched out the window. I felt like human garbage. I felt so sorry for Andrew when he slinked back into his car. I listened etiler masöz escort with dread to Gabe’s footsteps ascending the stairs, before his tall frame darkened the doorway.

“So that was you? You put that on him?”

I didn’t say anything. Gabe glowered at me, and I found it hard to look him in the eyes.

“Don’t try that shit,” he spat. “That ‘look how little and helpless I am’ bullshit. That might work with somebody else, but I fucking know you.”

Gabe was getting angrier and angrier. Then he started to get mean, letting out stuff that had obviously been inside for a long time.

“This whole thing was you—you always get what you want. I could be dating someone I can actually take out in public—but then my fucking sister sucks my cock. And this thing between us—it’s out of my control. And then, it’s like—shit—you fucking own me. You’re all I think about, and I’m not myself anymore.”

“How do you think I feel?” I shouted, at least as loud as I could get. “Like, is this all just fun for you? Oh, here’s Rose to suck my dick some more? Well, she’s gone, let’s find the next person—”

“That’s funny,” he interjected, “since I’m not the one coming home from somebody else’s house. You suck his dick, too?”

“Yeah,” I lied, “wanna kiss me? His cum might still be on my lips.”

Suddenly, Gabe powered down. For a moment, it was like he wasn’t angry anymore. Then his words belied that idea.

“I guess you are a slut after all,” he said mournfully. “You’re gonna love college.”

He slammed the door, and a minute later I heard him speed off into the night. I realized that I had fucked everything up and had no idea what to do.

Gabe didn’t come home that night, and all I could think about was what he was doing. It’s weird, the thing I most wanted him to do was the thing I had most wanted him to never do before: find some slut and sleep with her. I wanted him to do something so bad that he couldn’t hold it against me for kissing his friend, and I wanted him to come home and punish me for being bad, then hold me in his arms and tell me that he forgives me and that he understands that I can’t help being a worthless whore. I know how fucked that sounds, but the alternative was that he’s pissed and doesn’t talk to me anymore and I die of sadness.

Mom and Dad weren’t happy about him just vanishing, but I wouldn’t spill why he’d left and couldn’t have told them where he’d gone if I’d wanted to. Obviously he didn’t answer their calls; I was too ashamed of myself to text him.

The next day, Gabe came back, but he wouldn’t tell me where he went. In fact, we didn’t talk at all for three days, except in the fakest possible way in front of Dad. We went to school, did chores, the usual shit—except “we” were done, done with sex, done with hanging out, done with being a couple, or even friends.

That’s when I realized that I missed my brother. I wanted to have everything, and now I had nothing. I was afraid it would always be like this, until something happened that showed me how I could make things right.

Natalie was over; she was the only person I could talk to about this stuff, as usual. I was telling her about how Gabe was just going to find some other girl immediately, when she stopped me.

“Are you kidding?” she asked, with genuine surprise. “Gabe is…destroyed right now.”

“How do you know?” I asked, probably sounding bitchy. “Sorry. I mean, do you guys talk or something.”

Natalie got this weird guilty look on her face.

“Sometimes. I mean we went on a lot of fake dates. We got to know each other a little.”

It was all too obvious. Part of me knew those dates weren’t fake for Natalie. But after what I did, running to Andrew so quickly to try to make sense of what was happening with Gabe, I realized something. Maybe those dates weren’t totally fake for him either.

“What did he say?”

It was obvious Natalie didn’t want to betray his confidence, even though she was my best friend.

“He says…he says it hurt him a lot. He says you first got together after Sadie cheated on him, and now it’s happening again. He…thinks maybe it’s him.”

Of course that made me feel terrible.

“Does he hate me now?”

Natalie put her hands over her mouth nervously, as if she were subconsciously trying to stop herself from speaking. When she started talking again, it was a second before she realized what she was doing and took them back down.

“He loves you, but…look, this is just what I think, not what he said: he thinks you did it to get back at him, and he’s…he’s worried about being apart from you. Rose—you kinda made it clear he can’t trust you.”

That was hard to hear. In a way, I was surprised Natalie even had the, I don’t know, balls to say it. I knew it was true, of course. But to hear it from her? Brutal.

“What do I do?” I asked her, hoping she’d have some untapped wisdom about this kind of thing. “I mean, I don’t want to lose him forever.”

“Go to him. It’s been long enough. Tell him you’re sorry. Tell him that you can’t leave things like this. Then let him decide what happens next.”

A super-mature, emotionally stable person with their shit together would have done that. For me, though, I knew I had to make it up to him somehow. Then it hit me: a big, stupid plan to make everybody happy.

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