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April 9, 2015 6:45 pm  #1

I Just Feel So Guilty

For those of you who watch Chasing Life on ABC Familiy (I'm a teenage girl at heart, I guess), there was a scene in a recent episode where Leo finally opens up to April.  While adorable, I wanted more, and I wanted her to be a better comforter, so I took matters into my own hands.  Enjoy!

Her relief at seeing him was quickly replaced by concern as she could see that his usual carefree demeanor was tenous at best.  Underneath, he looked lost and tormented.  She could tell her mother saw it too, as she used the calming voice and practiced manorisms she employed in therapy.  Astute as always, her mother seemed to know that who he needed was her, and giving his hand a quick comforting squeeze, left them alone. 
It took all her self control to stay where she was and not throw her arms around him and hold him tight.  She knew that would be selfish of her, as that was what she needed.  He would switch back to caring for her and she could see he needed to work through something.  She held her ground and watched him carefully. 

He paced, telling her how seeing Meg had left him so unsettled that the only way he could keep from being physically ill had been to walk.  His phone had been out of power and he had just ended up here, needing to see her.  She could see in his eyes a pleading apology for causing her to worry.  Accepted and forgotten, she tried to wordlessly communicate with him.  Encouraging him to keep talking, she stayed silent.  The subtle change in tone and inflection to his voice wasn't lost on her.  She had never seen him like this, struggling so hard to keep a hold on his emotions.  He needed this, he needed her.  For a moment she saw his front slip away as he said,
"I should be dead."  Immediatly after he said it, he seemed to regret it, though she could tell not because it wasn't true, but he felt guilty for putting his deepest thoughts to words.  As if on cue, he backtracked, both to protect her but also to protect himself from where this could lead. 
"Nevermind," he murmured, turning away from her.
"Leo..." she pushed, unwilling to let a statement like that go so easily. 
"No" he began, his voice laced with a combination of hopelessness and anger.  "They all had dreams, purposes, knew how they wanted to leave their mark on the world, and I have to watch them slowly fade away so they don't get to do it!  Me, someone who has no direction or purpose.  I'm still here."  As the words poured from him, she watched his anger fizzle into despair.  He lost more and more control over keeping his voice steady, and she watched him blink rapidly, realizing how close he was to tears in front of her.  She expected him to turn away and fight for composure, but what he did next broke her heart.  Instead, she watched him make the mental decision that it hurt too bad to fight, and he sat down dejectedly.  Shoulder slumped he looked at her pleadingly, as tears pooled in the corner of his eyes.  She had never seem him so completely.
"I knew what my purpose was before the surgery.  Now, I don't know anything any more."  He bowed his head and gravity did its work, pulling the tears down his cheeks to the corner of his lips, removing his last semblance of control.  He made no attempt to wipe them.  "I just feel so guilty." he whispered. She wanted to launch into a speech about how wonderful of person he was, and they would find his purpose together, and how he was destined for great things, and that she was so desperately happy he had survived that that was purpose enough, but she somehow knew that wasn't what he needed.  He hadn't allowed himself to express all the turmoil since leaving the hospital. He knew all those things without her saying them.  Right now, he just needed to feel this, and to know she cared for him despite showing this side of himself.  He had taken care of her at her darkest hour in the chapel, and she would do the same. 
Carefully she approached him, though he didn't look up.  She listened to his breathing hitch slightly as tears continued to roll down his cheeks and off his chin, some settling on the borders of his lips, betraying his inner anguish.  Gingerly, she stepped in between his legs and placed her hand on his temple, carressing it gently.  She made no attempts to wipe his tears, feeling that somehow this meant she accepted them.  He sighed in releif at her closeness, snaking his arms around her waist and gently pulling her closer.  She could feel his hesitancy, as if asking her permission, like he half expected her to push him away.  Her heart broke for him, wondering how many time in his life that had actually happened to him.  She stepped closer toward him, so they were almost touching, his eyes still glued to the ground.  Wrapping one arm around his shoulder, she gently guided his head to rest against her chest.  He tightened his grip around her waist and leaned into her.  She could feel his shoulders begin to shake, and she steadied herself to support him, continuing to run her fingers through his hair.  With her other had, she traced soothing circles on his back as she let him cry.  She didn't murmur platitudes that it would all be okay because neither of them knew that.  She didn't tell him not to cry.  They both knew he needed this.  Instead she settled on placing soft kisses on the top of his head and whispered "I'm here."  They stayed like that for quite awhile. He was controlled even in tears, never devolving into sobs, just quiet tears with shaking shoulders and the occasional heartbreaking harsh intake of breath.  She continued her ministrations, hoping they conveyed comfort and acceptance .  Eventually, she could tell the tears had stopped, but he still held on to her tightly.  She had no intention of letting go either.  He broke contact, just long enough to look her in the eyes.  She met his red rimmed wet gaze completely.
"Thank you," he whispered.  She softly kissed his forehead, and he returned to their embrace.  She would hold him as long as he needed her to.

" do not cry. They will do anything BUT cry. They stop themselves crying. And eventually they do cry if it is bad enough. So that's how you know with a man how bad it is for him. Because he would've stopped himself...Men always cry like that. They don't cry and in the end they do and if they do then it's overwhelming." ~Michael Caine

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