Ruby hated how pointless everything was starting to feel as they were talking. It was just.. if they couldn’t be together because of all their issues then.. why did they always try. Why did they bother? They just kept putting themselves through this and it was stupid because every time they broke up it hurt. If it wasn’t going to work out, if it was just going to be a mess then.. what was the point? She just.. didn’t get why they did this to themselves but at the same time.. she loved him. So it made sense to try but.. ugh. It was probably all pointless and he was probably right. It probably wouldn’t work out.. she probably shouldn’t expect it to when he was so many of her firsts. Most people didn’t stay with their first.. everything’s right? But how was she meant to just.. give up. Stop wanting it to when she couldn’t imagine feeling the way she did about him about anyone else. Ruby wondered if it was stupid to feel that way because people fell in and out love all the time.. didn’t they? It was sad to think about but plenty of people didn’t feel the same about a person after.. however much time. So.. it was probably naive to think she’d never feel this way about anyone else but she thought it should matter that she didn’t want to. She didn’t want to be with anyone else.. even when she wasn’t always sure she wanted to be with Charlie either which sounded bad. It was just.. she didn’t always feel good enough to be with anyone.. especially not him when she felt like he deserved to be happy. Ruby felt like she did the opposite for him.. made him miserable half the time and she didn’t want to. Didn’t mean to but she still thought she did.
She nodded at his words. She didn’t want it to be pointless either but how did they change that? Sometimes it felt like there was no point to anything. That they’d all end up dead and so why bother. -A made out like Annie’s killer was going to pick them off one by one and.. ugh. She didn’t want to think about that because it just reminded her of Annie and Sophie which wasn’t going to improve things any. Ruby didn’t know how to make it work either.. they had so many issues all on their own and then being together.. why couldn’t they talk about those things? She knew a lot of it was her fault, she wasn’t good at opening up and most of the time felt afraid to. What if he saw the real her.. saw how broken things were and just.. couldn’t handle it? But she still didn’t think he was always that open either, even if she understood why he held back.. it didn’t make her feel better about it. He had a point.. maybe they should look at the reasons behind their break ups but it didn’t always feel like it was the same reason. Still.. lots of times it could be traced back to a lack of communication or them trying to do what they thought was better for the other person. At least.. she thought so. Ruby bit her lip, thinking over his question. “I don’t think it is..” There were a lot of times she felt better with him.. just by being around him and a lot of the time he made her happy but did that matter? “Do you think all the bad stuff outweighs the good?” She couldn’t help wondering what he thought. If he thought with everything it was even worth it to try to fix things.
Relationships weren’t exactly easy in general. Not all of the time anyway, they just couldn’t be. It wasn’t going to be smooth sailing but why did they have to just keep complicating things further? It felt like they made things ten times worse than they needed to be and he was fed up. It was frustrating, to say the least, and Charlie wished they could just… talk. That was it, right? Their big problem. Communication. Or lack of it. Thing was, they had talked, he could count a few times where they’d actually been honest about things. So why did they clam up most of the time and just refuse? It wasn’t easy to open yourself up to people but surely it should be easier to open up to each other than to a stranger? You’d think, anyway. Charlie shook his head as he looked at her, not needing a lot of time to think over the question as he reached over to tuck a stray piece of hair behind her ear with a small sigh. “No, I.. I don’t think it does.” He took his hand back, frowning as he looked away, down at his hands. He was annoyed at the conversation and he was annoyed at himself. Part of him wondered if he should be talking about this at all or if he should be pushing everything else to the back of his head and wrapping himself up completely in his misery about Sophie. He felt guilty when he found himself not thinking about her, like he was forgetting or something. Maybe that would sound weird…
He took a few seconds to gather himself and then he tried to finish what he’d been saying, not that he thought he’d be any good at explaining. As much as it might sound like he felt the opposite, Charlie thought that the good bits had been worth all that other stuff. “I mean, when I look back over the past… I don’t know how long it’s been, year or so.. a lot of the times I’ve really been happy have you in them.” Maybe all. He wasn’t sure. He could probably count the times he’d been really happy the past year on one hand but that was beside the point. “And.. last time I saw you, you managed to make me feel better when all I wanted to do was…” Chuck himself in front of a bus. Charlie flexed his hand and looked up at her again, shrugging because he felt like he’d gotten off the point there. “We’re good together, I do think that.. we work.” He paused, watching her face. “Up to a point and then… I don’t know, something goes wrong. How come we can open up to each other when we’re not together but when we are together… we hide everything? I don’t think that makes sense.” He turned away again, resting his elbow against the arm of the sofa and propping his head up with his hand. He still felt miserable, maybe even a little more so now. “I just want to fix it..”
Ruby couldn’t help thinking things about the way he saw her. It was hard not to when she felt like there were things that pointed to him seeing her as being weak. Maybe he didn’t see her like that.. maybe it was all up in her head but she couldn’t stop thinking it wasn’t. That there was some part of him that thought she was broken and in need of fixing and.. she couldn’t blame him. How could she after what he knew.. after what he’d seen. It wasn’t like she wasn’t falling apart in front of him half the time and ugh, she really hated it. Hated that he’d seen her more vulnerable than anyone else had which was stupid. It was.. it wasn’t like Charlie was going around making her feel bad about it. She could trust him, she knew that.. he was one of the few people she felt more comfortable being herself with. It was just.. she couldn’t seem to feel okay with it herself. Having someone know.. having them see her the way he’d seen her.. it made her feel exposed. That wasn’t a feeling she handled well and it seemed like maybe he knew that about her. He knew a lot of things about her but.. ugh. Sometimes she doubted he’d ever really be able to understand her when she couldn’t ever seem to understand herself.
"Right.." She echoed him, feeling off balance. She didn’t know what to think about that because she knew he was right. The first time didn’t always last.. nor did the second or third and so on but.. how could he say that? She felt like he was it for her.. even if she didn’t always feel ready for any of it. Ruby often felt like she wasn’t anywhere near a place where she could be with him and not just physically either. But.. that didn’t change the fact that she had a hard time imagining herself with anyone else. She’d tried to move on, tried to feel what she felt for him with other guys and.. so far it hadn’t worked. Or maybe she’d never tried hard enough. It seemed possible he might say something like that if she said so but.. ugh. She didn’t really want to try. She loved him. She really loved him and maybe she wasn’t always great at showing it.. or letting him in but that didn’t change the fact that she did. Ruby felt like she might cry again and she kind of hated how emotional she seemed to be. Stupid feelings. It’d be easier to just shut them off but it made her sad to think he might have really wanted to be but.. didn’t think he could be her someone. Not that she could blame him for thinking that way but still. "So.. I guess all of this is pointless." She’d had thoughts like that.. especially recently but there was something completely upsetting when Charlie said it. "And it doesn’t matter that I want you to be.."
Was it pointless? He didn’t know… everything felt that way. Was that just because of Sophie or was he finally seeing everything for the way it really was? It was stupid to cling to hope for anything because everything was going to disappear or be taken away or… something. What was he supposed to do? Say? He felt bad as he listened to her, turning his head so he could look at her. She wanted him to be. Charlie didn’t know if that made him feel better or worse and he half wanted to go and knock himself out so he didn’t have to deal with this. With anything. Everything was a mess. They were a mess.. but there had been a part of him that had never really minded that, maybe even liked it a little. It was their mess. It was just frustrating that they never seemed capable of cleaning it up. Charlie felt like he was swinging between pulling her into a hug and leaning forward to kiss her. He didn’t say anything for a bit, not sure how to fill the silence because he wasn’t sure if there was a lot left to say. Did she want him to say anything at all? Maybe she wanted to leave now after all this but would feel rude just up and making for the door because of the fact he’d clearly been in a weird head space earlier on. He was fine now… sort of.
"I don’t want it to be pointless." He eventually managed, a minute later. He wished it could be easier, or at least feel that way, but he wasn’t sure whether anything with them would ever feel easy. It’s not like it was supposed to be a walk in the park all the time but was it meant to be such a struggle? Was staying together supposed to be so hard? He didn’t know why they made it so damn difficult, or how to stop. It didn’t seem like any of the issues they both had would be solved very soon. They repressed things, Ruby especially when it came to what had happened to her, and Charlie often wondered how she could expect to move on if she never faced it. He wanted to be there but it never felt like he really could. He could be present, he could be physically there, but he didn’t feel like someone she could come to or confide in.. find comfort with. Maybe he should say these things out loud but did it matter? "I want to be with you… but it’s… I don’t know how to make it work." He shrugged, not really worrying about admitting it. It was obvious. "I can’t keep us together, I don’t know how…" Not that he thought it was all up to him but still. He paused, looking down again before he glanced back up at her. "Maybe we just.. need to look at why we keep.. breaking up instead of rushing into anything." Like they always did. They never really talked about anything properly, they faked their way through half a conversation and just jumped back into it because they missed each other and sort of ignored all the stuff from before, hoping it would go away. Maybe that was the real issue. "I mean… it’s not always bad, is it?”
It was difficult to know what to do when everything still felt so confusing. She wanted to be with him, that hadn’t changed, but she still wasn’t sure she should be. That they wouldn’t just end up hurting each other. That he wouldn’t get tired of her issues. Ruby believed that he believed he wouldn’t see her differently if she really opened up but she thought he would. She thought he already did with everything he already knew. Maybe he didn’t think of her as some project but she couldn’t shake the feeling that he did. That seeing her at such lows he’d never really be able to see her as anything but damaged. Ruby wanted to let go of those worries, wanted to just believe him when he said that wasn’t how he saw her. She just didn’t know how and.. could he blame her? She wasn’t good at any of this, opening up was something she tried to avoid but if they were to be in a relationship again they’d need to. Right? That was one of their big problems that they both seemed to avoid talking about stuff they needed to. Ruby thought their reasoning for doing so were very different but that didn’t matter. She wasn’t good at talking, she could never find the words and couldn’t stop worrying he’d see her as this weak and pathetic person. But Charlie.. he’d always seemed good with words. Maybe he didn’t always manage to say exactly what he wanted but who did? She thought his issue with it was not wanting to put stuff on her and… that in itself felt like a problem. It made her feel like he didn’t think she could handle it and maybe that’s not why he thought he kept stuff to himself but on some level she thought it was. Even if he didn’t quite realize it.
Ruby didn’t even know what she wanted him to say. That he was capable of being with her? Even if he did she wasn’t sure she’d believe it. She doubted his head was in a good place anymore than hers was so maybe all of this was pointless. But she didn’t know how to stop wanting to be with him. She couldn’t figure out how to let go. He said it wasn’t true that he’d be happier if they were nothing but she thought he might. He’d definitely be better off without the complication of her in his life. He had enough things to deal with without her making him worry all the time. He might feel like he wasn’t good for anyone right now but.. she’d thought that about herself for a long time now and.. it hadn’t seemed to stop him. Or her and look how well it’d worked out. Ugh. Ruby felt like she was trying to convince herself why she shouldn’t want to be with him and it was frustrating. She loved him and that didn’t just go away but maybe it was selfish to keep trying. She wanted to ask what he was going to say, what he wanted, but then he was talking again. Right. She’d said those things and they were still true but.. she also didn’t think those things were as big of a deal to her right now. She’d kind of decided it was pointless to try and be someone else when underneath nothing would’ve really changed. “Yeah.. I..” She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m just.. it’s probably stupid to think..” Ruby shook her head. She didn’t know how to say what she wanted and the fact that he’d brought those things up made her think he didn’t want to get back together anyway.
It was a big problem and it was irritating him now just thinking about it. The fact that Ruby assumed things about the way he felt or thought in regards to her. He looked away when she spoke, staring at a spot on the wall across the room and trying not to think very much about any of this. Which was difficult. His head felt numb and chaotic all at once and he didn’t know if it was the alcohol, his own sadness, this conversation, or a mixture of all three. The latter was very possible, right? This wasn’t what he’d text Ruby for tonight. He hadn’t wanted to have this conversation, well, ever. Did that mean he’d never wanted to get back together with her? No. He had wanted to many times, he’d thought about it, but it hadn’t been possible with the way she had been acting. Going out drinking and… whatever else. He didn’t need to think about it. It wasn’t his thing and maybe he’d been right before and he could have waited it out but… probably only if he’d known the reasons for her behaviour.. and he hadn’t been told those until after they’d already fell apart. The picture of him and Brooke was part of it but the time of year… he still wished that he’d realised. He should have, shouldn’t he? True, he’d been distracted from everything by Sophie disappearing but he still should have figured it out or something. Maybe he was just being too hard on himself. She held it all in and tried to cope with it alone, anyway. How could he have done anything when she wouldn’t let him?
"Right." He said, once she’d finished, though he didn’t really know what she’d been about to say. He didn’t feel like asking for her to continue. "Well… the first time doesn’t always last, you know. So.. maybe I’m not it for you." But she was clearly ‘it’ for him. Charlie couldn’t imagine himself with anybody else, it was too difficult. His voice cracked a little bit but he didn’t look at her. What was the point? This was just making him feel worse. He didn’t need to be reminded that they wouldn’t work out, weren’t meant to be or whatever. She’d move on eventually, maybe sooner if she moved away, and she’d find someone she could actually be open with. More honest. For some reason she couldn’t be that way with him and he didn’t know why but he couldn’t figure out whether it was all to do with her or if it was maybe a little bit to do with him as well. Was he not easy to talk to or something? Maybe that was it… but Charlie tried to be approachable so he was confused and ugh he wished he was asleep right now. "It’s just not fair." He said suddenly, still staring at the wall, thinking about what it was like to kiss her just now. "Because I really, really wanted to be.” And he felt like he’d tried to be… just not hard enough because he hadn’t been able to keep them together. Didn’t really feel like anything had. “I don’t even know if it matters.. we’re just going to end up dead one day anyway.” Did anything matter anymore, because it sure as hell didn’t feel like it.
Ruby really wasn’t bothered as what she’d been about to say completely slipped from her mind. She always found herself unable to think properly when they were kissing. It’d never been quite like that with anyone else. Not that she had a ton of experience but she’d kissed a few guys in bars (which she regretted) and then.. a couple friends. It was probably weird to kiss friends but she was weird. Not to mention the fact that she’d been in fairly weird mindsets both times. But she didn’t feel the way she did kissing Charlie, maybe it was just because she loved him.. or some other underlying reason. She didn’t know but finding herself wanting to get closer to him was an extremely familiar feeling. She didn’t know what or if this meant anything but it had to be a good sign. Right? His saying she didn’t have to be sorry (although she still wasn’t convinced about that) and kissing her again. It didn’t necessarily mean anything more than he liked to kiss her but still. It was something and.. ugh. Why was she doing this to herself? Ruby wasn’t even sure what she wanted. Or maybe that wasn’t true.. she wanted to be with Charlie, she just wasn’t sure how that’d work when they both had… things to work through. To work on. Ruby knew a relationship wouldn’t work if she couldn’t open up. If she couldn’t start talking about things instead of avoiding them but.. all of that was hard. Ruby wasn’t good at expressing herself and Charlie knew more of what was in her head than just about anyone. But that wasn’t enough, was it? It didn’t seem like it in the past.. or at least it didn’t seem like he thought so. Not that she could blame him.
It was easy to focus on the feel of his lips, on leaning into him. Her thoughts started to feel far away which was nice as she started to care more about what they were doing. Kissing had always been something that worked between them but.. somewhere in the back of her head was always a voice telling her she was leading him on. Whenever they kissed she couldn’t help feeling like that. When he pulled back it felt too soon and she nearly followed him which made her cheeks warm up. Ugh. She really needed to get a hold of herself. Ruby couldn’t help laughing slightly. “Yeah cause I’m sure it’d be so believable.” He definitely didn’t look sorry and she was glad. She didn’t want him to be because she wasn’t. Maybe kissing wouldn’t solve anything but it helped her to stop feeling so distant from him. Her expression turned serious as he spoke again. Ruby was sick of breaking up but.. how did they change that? How did she when she was so screwed up? She hadn’t even begun to figure that out but it had to count that she wanted to. Ruby looked down, trying to sort out her thoughts. Starting over sounded good but.. was that really possible? Would it make anything better or would they just fall into familiar patterns? “Yeah..” Everything was a mess. Starting with her and ugh, it was incredibly frustrating not knowing what to do about it. “Are you.. I mean.. do you think you’d even want to be in a relationship?” She couldn’t forget what he’d said earlier which made her think be didn’t. It seemed strange to think they’d spent a lot of time as.. something that wasn’t really named. Would it be better to go back to that? To just.. be nothing? The thought kind of made her sad as she recalled how she’d felt finally being able to actually be with him. To know he was hers for lack of a better way to put it. “Maybe you’d be happier if we were nothing.” That didn’t come out like she meant it to. It wasn’t like she’d been trying to say they should stay like they were.. but ugh.
Charlie didn’t really know how, or if, starting over would work out because falling back into that horrible pattern seemed like something that would be likely to happen. They always seemed to go back there in the end, no matter how hard they tried and Charlie didn’t know how many times he could keep going through it. Part of him felt like he would put up with it just because getting to be with her at all was worth it… but it was exhausting and frustrating. Losing her all the time didn’t feel right. He didn’t like when they couldn’t just talk about what was going on with each other. It was one of the easiest things in the world, you just opened your mouth and words came out, so why did they always find it so hard? What was she so afraid of? He knew that he often didn’t want to put his problems on her when it felt like hers were so much bigger than his… but she seemed to take that as him thinking she was too fragile to handle it or something. Which wasn’t true and Charlie didn’t know how to sort that out. Was she still worried he would see her differently if she told him any of the things inside her head? He’d told her that wasn’t very likely and he still maintained that. He’d seen so much of her already and his opinion of her hadn’t ever changed. He’d never thought any less of her. Ruby didn’t seem to think he held a very high opinion of her sometimes and that didn’t feel nice. She wasn’t a project but… it didn’t seem like he’d be able to convince her of that.
He shrugged slightly at her question, which probably wasn’t the response she was hoping for but at the moment he wasn’t sure if a relationship was something he could put the necessary focus on. He felt messed up in the head most days, he didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything, he mostly wanted to be by himself so he didn’t have to subject anyone to his company. It was hard to just let himself exist so he had no idea how a relationship would work but now it was an option part of him didn’t want to let it go. He frowned when she said he’d probably be happier if they were nothing, unsure exactly what she meant but not liking the sound of it anyway. “That’s not true.” He said, watching her and trying to figure out what she was thinking, where her head was. “I’m not really.. good for someone right now. Not like this.” Not that he thought he’d been good before but that wasn’t the point. He shrugged again, a bigger gesture this time, and tried to figure it all out in his head. “But I’ve wanted…” He cleared his throat and looked away. “I thought you didn’t want this anyway.” He glanced over at her again. “I make you feel like you’re a project or something… and you don’t want to be you anymore, right?” He couldn’t just pretend she hadn’t said any of those things or worried about them just because she seemed interested.. or because she still loved him. He didn’t imagine all those issues had just disappeared.
It didn’t feel like she knew what she was doing at this point. She’d wanted to kiss him, that was pretty much a given any time she was around him and.. ugh. That made her feel like some kind of slut or something but.. it wasn’t like that. It was about more than the actual kissing, it was.. feeling close to him. Feeling connected. Not that she hadn’t felt those things without actually kissing him or touching him or.. whatever. But that wasn’t the point. Not that she knew what the point was.. her head was too jumbled to know much of anything and it was tiring. She felt like she could close her eyes and just.. sleep for a year. Especially if she knew Charlie was still there because there was always something so comforting about his presence. Even when like now she felt on edge because she didn’t know how to feel around him. Or what to say. That didn’t matter.. somehow he always managed to make her feel better just by being there. She didn’t know how he did that and he probably didn’t either. Ruby wondered if she’d ever meet anyone who made her feel the way she did when she was with him. She hadn’t thus far and it really wasn’t fair because.. they were over. He didn’t want to be what they were.. even if he said he wanted to be with her. He’d also said a lot of other things that contradicted it and made her think he probably just said that to make her feel better since clearly she was still into him. Not that she didn’t think he had feelings for her.. he hadn’t lied when he said he still loved her, right? But that didn’t necessarily mean he loved her in the same way as she loved him or as he’d loved her before. She couldn’t blame him if that was the case considering the fact that she’d missed things up so many times. She wasn’t saying it was all her fault every time but.. she’d had her fair share. Probably more than and so she understood if he just.. wanted a break from it. If he was happy not to have to deal with her and her issues anymore.
Ruby didn’t believe him about it being nothing. It was definitely something but she couldn’t force him to tell her anything. Maybe it was better not to know with the way things seemed to be going but it didn’t stop her from wondering what he’d been about to say. Not that she was able to stay focused on that when she felt like she might die from embarrassment. Ugh. Why was she always doing things she shouldn’t? Confusing things further. Making them harder. She probably should’ve apologized more than once but she couldn’t bring herself to uncover her face to do so. Her face felt warm and it only heated up as he asked what she was hiding for. Wasn’t that obvious? Ruby didn’t fight him.. much when he moved her hands away from her face but she knew he was wrong. She did need to be sorry. She’d kissed him.. again and he probably felt bad because of it. Guilty or.. something like that. Right? She was always messing things up. “I..” She didn’t even get to finish that sentence and it’s not like she even knew what she’d really wanted to say but his lips were on hers and suddenly whatever it was didn’t seem so important.
This wasn’t exactly the way Charlie had seen the conversation going but he wasn’t going to complain about it. He’d wanted to do that pretty much since she’d picked him up. He always found himself wanting to kiss Ruby. He had no idea what she’d been about to say and he didn’t really want to stop kissing her just yet to find out. Maybe it wasn’t important or maybe she’d been about to say she was sorry again or something like that. He didn’t think that she had to be. In fact, he didn’t want her to be. Kissing Ruby was familiar and made him feel less irritated about not being able to put everything he was thinking into the right words. He didn’t like that he’d upset her but he wasn’t sure how to explain himself properly without being contradictory. Did she even believe that he wanted to be with her? Maybe since he’d told her but maybe not considering all the other things he’d said. He must sound so negative and maybe he was but he wasn’t saying everything they’d had was horrible. He didn’t mean he wouldn’t like to still be with her like that because he loved her so much and there had always been something about them that felt right to him. She always made him feel better, more like himself, less stupid.. but Charlie didn’t think anything would really be able to make him feel better right now. Not that this made him feel unhappy exactly but there was an ever present sadness under everything else. Maybe he was just being too negative.
He deepened the kiss, letting go of her wrists. One hand moved slowly round to the back of her neck and the other rested against the back of the couch. Charlie didn’t know whether or not this was a good idea but it didn’t exactly feel like a bad thing. When he finally broke the kiss, a little too soon for his liking, he was quiet for a moment as he looked at her. What was she thinking? “Should I say sorry?” He asked, voice a little bit teasing as he leaned back against the couch. He had no real intention of apologising, obviously. Then Charlie went quiet, wondering what to say next. He wanted to say something that would make her feel better and he also wanted to kiss her again. There was also a part of him that just wanted to leave and continue drinking or something equally silly. “Aren’t you tired of breaking up all the time?” He asked suddenly, with a sigh, looking down at his hands. Maybe it wasn’t a huge deal but Charlie would have liked it if they felt more stable. Was that his age or was it him making something a bigger deal than it was? He looked up at her, trying for a smile. “I said we could go forward, I meant.. try and start over or something.” Maybe that was confusing because he’d said they couldn’t go back and that implied not having a relationship. He didn’t mean to be so confusing. “I don’t know.. if you haven’t noticed, everything’s a mess.” He was a mess. Whatever he’d been able to offer her before.. surely he couldn’t give that to, or be that for, her now.
She already felt bad enough.. stupid enough and clearly he had no problem making her feel worse as he called her out on being a liar. What did he want her to say? That she wasn’t okay with what he said? If that was the case then he definitely must want her to die or something because that was humiliating to be the one saying you weren’t okay with not going back when it’s your fault things became this way in the first place. Didn’t he get that? Ugh. She wanted to bang her head against the wall but that’d just make everything worse and she was already worried she might cry or something even more embarrassing. She’d really have to move if that happened because it was bad enough she’d cried in front of him before.. this would be worse. She wanted to hide her face until she could get a handle of all the emotions whirling inside of her but it wasn’t that easy. How could she act like she was fine with her coat over her head or something. It didn’t exactly speak to being fine.. not that he’d believed her about it anyway but.. still. Ruby didn’t know what to say back to that so she didn’t even bother to say anything. Maybe she should just leave.. it’d probably be better than sitting there feeling like she might cry or die of embarrassment.. right? But wouldn’t that just make it seem worse? Like she was confirming what she’d try to deny or something. She bit her lip, still working to get a hold of herself before she blurted anything else out but she felt fidgety. Like she no longer fit in her own skin and it wasn’t a good feeling. None of this was.
Ruby couldn’t look at him, she felt too stupid as he seemed to be trying to find words to let her down or something. Make this less.. whatever it was and she didn’t want that. Well.. she wanted things to be okay but she didn’t want him to feel like he had to make things that way. Like she couldn’t handle his rejection. Not that he’d exactly rejected her or anything but.. still. That wasn’t the same thing as that but..it felt close enough that she wasn’t sure how to feel or what to do. Except go back to hiding in her room and pretending none of this conversation had happened. Ruby felt like she was being dramatic (even if it was just in her head) but she couldn’t help that. She nodded as he spoke, it wasn’t like she could see the future or knew what would happen so she got that. “What?” The word was out before she could think but what was he going to say? If he was even going to.. what? She tried to shake off all her nerves as she finally looked at him. He wasn’t strong enough to do what they’d been doing.. right. It’d been a mess.. she knew there’d been a lot of ups and down and she couldn’t blame him for not wanting to go back to that. She was damaged and.. that didn’t exactly make for an easy relationship even without all the other things added on top so.. ugh. She felt hopeless, even as he said he wanted to be with her. Ruby wanted to believe that but.. she really wasn’t sure it was true. Especially with everything he’d just said because being with her was hard. Right? Who wanted to be with someone that made them miserable.. or made it hard for them because they couldn’t do certain things. She ran a hand through her hair, wishing she was better at saying what was in her head. “It’s.. You’re just being honest.” It was about time they were honest with each other.. right? Ruby didn’t even feel like she was honest with herself half the time. “I’m not.. I don’t know. I miss you.. and when I’m around you I want to..” There were a lot of things she could have said.. like wanting to be close to him, wanting to ask him if they could try again but the one thing she could tell him without actually having to tell him had her leaning over and pressing her lips against his. It was barely a kiss but it got the point across.. or she hoped it did. “Sorry.. I just..” She shook her head, covering her face with her hands as she tried to stop feeling like a total idiot. She wanted to be with him but he’d made it clear they couldn’t go back and now.. she wasn’t really sure he wanted to try to go forward either after what he’d just said. Ruby wasn’t even a hundred percent sure what she wanted.. or maybe she knew what she wanted.. she just didn’t know how to have it and not make a mess of it when she was still such a mess.
Charlie felt like he was messing this up over and over again. This was a whole new level of stupid. Why couldn’t he just string the words together the way he meant them? He felt like he was just upsetting her and that really wasn’t his intention. He didn’t mean any of this the way it sounded, it was more that he meant they could maybe try and move forward as… not just friends but… ugh. Even in his own head, it sounded so stupid. Maybe she wouldn’t go for it anyway. He couldn’t tell if she was more upset or frustrated and he wondered if he should start treading more carefully. He hadn’t expected her to ask what he’d been about to say so looked at her like he was a deer caught in headlights for a few seconds before quickly shaking his head and giving a shrug. “Nothing.” He said, aware that he didn’t really sound very convincing but he didn’t care. He didn’t think it would be a good idea to talk about it. It was a conversation he felt should probably just be left for, well, never. Preferably. It was just him being stupid anyway. As always. Something she’d never seemed to really mind… though she usually told him he wasn’t stupid. Not that he’d complain about that.. it usually made him feel less idiotic when he knew she didn’t see him that way. “It’s nothing.” There were other things he wanted to focus on right now anyway. Like this mess he was making and figuring out how to clean it up. Make it better. For a moment, that thought frustrated him… he couldn’t make everything better but was that what he really did? Tried to make everything better? Fix everything? Jenna was always telling him he couldn’t fix everything for everyone but Charlie didn’t always realise that he was trying to. No wonder he was so annoying.
He sort of smiled when Ruby said she missed him again. She could probably say it a hundred times and he wouldn’t get tired of hearing it. She sort of trailed off and he frowned slightly, about to try and get her to finish the sentence when she was suddenly leaning towards him and then their lips were touching. It didn’t last very long and that disappointed him more than anything, realising he actually wanted more. But she was too busy apologising and hiding behind her hands which… was a little bit adorable. He wondered if her face was burning. For a brief moment, he felt fixed in place as he stared at her, a funny look on his face. He couldn’t stop himself from chuckling just a little but then he instantly pressed his mouth into a line to suppress it, not wanting to embarrass her further. “What are you hiding for?” He asked, reaching out towards her and gently attempting to wrestle her hands away from her face. “You don’t need to be sorry.” Was she sorry because of everything he’d said or because of the last time they’d kissed and he’d mentioned feeling guilty? It wasn’t such a strong feeling at the moment and he wondered if he should feel bad about that but he was quick to push it away and focus. He kept a light hold on her wrists in case she got any ideas about covering her face again but he only hesitated for a few seconds before he was leaning back in to kiss her again. Properly this time.
It was stupid but Ruby felt exposed. She didn’t even know why, she just couldn’t help the part of her that wanted to bolt. Wanted to distance herself because even though she hadn’t exactly put herself out there, she felt like he could tell what she was thinking. Tell that she was disappointed by his answer. That he could somehow see that it’d made her sad to think she’d completely screwed everything up and they’d never be able to go back. With all the endings they’d had she’d never thought they’d just be completley done.. at least not really. Somewhere deep down despite thinking maybe they weren’t meant to be she’d thought.. they were. It was ridiculous and probably just meant she was insane but.. she couldn’t help it. She loved him and that made it hard to think not going back was a good thing but maybe it was. But.. what they’d had hadn’t been all bad, right? She knew there’d been good parts, things that she couldn’t imagine never having again but.. it was her own fault so she felt dumb to feel like this. To let him see that she did. Ruby tried to keep her expression neutral as he started to speak. Right. Didn’t mean.. what? It sounded like he said exactly what he meant and she couldn’t blame him. While she didn’t think they were all bad.. there were parts of their relationship that made her think he was beter off. That Charlie would find himself happier without her in his life because she was always dragging him down. Always causing problems and.. he had enough sadness without her adding to it. But as she told herself all of this it still hurt.. still made her sad to think they’d never be together again. Ugh. Clearly she was stupid and needed to like fling herself out the window or something. Well.. maybe she should do something less dramatic but getting out of there before she did or said anything to further embarrass herself seemed like a good idea. But then what?
She sighed softly, staring down at her hands without knowing what to say. What was there to say? He didn’t want to go back and.. she couldn’t blame him. It was a good thing he didn’t want to because what they’d had wasn’t good for him. There’d been so many ups and downs.. she was such a mess. She wasn’t good for him or anyone else so.. good. It was good. Why couldn’t she seem to convince herself of that? Maybe because she wanted to be better.. wanted to be good for him but it was pointless. Ruby didn’t think she was a horrible person but with all her issues.. it made it hard to believe that she could be good for someone. She bit her lip, glancing up at him before she could stop herself when he said it didn’t mean they couldn’t go forward. Right. What did that mean? Go forward as friends? She hoped they could at least be friends and.. that must be what he meant. Or she thought so as he said he didn’t think he was ready for a relationship. Okay.. so he hadn’t actually said relationship but it wasn’t hard to fill in the blank. She looked down again when he asked if he’d upset her. “No.. it’s um.. fine.” She took a deep breath, trying to ignore the way her stomach still fluttered when he touched her hair. “Don’t worry about it. I mean.. I shouldn’t even..” She shook her head. It shouldn’t matter. It’s not like she should be trying to be in a relationship either. It was obvious she was a mess and would ruin anything she got into but.. still. It didn’t make it any easier let go of the idea that they might work out.. despite everything.
Wow, he was terrible at saying what he meant. Give him a book to talk about in front of a class and he was fine but get him to talk about feelings and he turned into an absolute idiot. How did he explain what he was thinking? Everything in his head was a mess, all jumbled up and confusing. “Oh, okay then.” He said airily, almost sarcastically, as she said he hadn’t upset her and told him not to worry about it. He nodded, making a face that said he felt the exact opposite of whatever it was he was outwardly portraying. “Liar.” It was obvious that he’d done something. If not upset her then disappointed her. It didn’t make sense for her to want to go back with the way everything always was but did she? Did she want to be with him? Loving someone didn’t necessarily mean you should be together, did it? He couldn’t figure out what she’d been about to say and wasn’t sure whether or not he should ask. Did she mean she shouldn’t even want them to be like they’d been before? Why did parts of his head feel so fuzzy? He sighed and looked away, pulling his hand back and pretending to be overly interested in his fingernail for a moment. He felt awkward and embarrassed and stupid… and really unhappy.
"Ruby, I…" Charlie raised his head, turning his gaze on her, ready to say something but the words sort of fizzled away when he looked at her and he forgot what he’d been about to say. He was half worried she was going to start crying or something. "Look, I can’t see the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if you’re going to move away and… I’m never going to see you again. I don’t know if I’m even going to—" He cut himself off there before he said something stupid and looked down again. "I can’t do what we did before.. I’m not strong enough." Going back and forth all the time was exhausting. Charlie was tired of it, he couldn’t deny that. Wouldn’t anyone be? He didn’t expect everything to be easy but it always seemed much more difficult than it had to be. It wasn’t their age difference.. or he didn’t think so. People made it work all the time. Why couldn’t they? It felt like they’d never get it right and Charlie hated that feeling. Every time they came back together… they fell apart eventually and he hated the cycle so much. "I want to be with you." This, he said much quieter, almost like he was scared for her to hear it as he shook his head. "But what we were doing can’t have been healthy… we made such a mess. I can’t keep losing you all the time because it just.. it hurts." Charlie looked up again, frowning because he was still making a mess of it. "I’m sorry. I don’t know what you want."
He sounded more sure than she did but she hoped she would figure something out. At this point it felt like she didn’t know anything. If her parents left she didn’t know what she’d do.. if she didn’t go it’d mean a lot of changes just like moving would. She’d have to figure out where she’d live and get another job.. all those kinds of things that felt overwhelming and she didn’t really want to think about at the moment. She’d figure it out.. or something. She was already thinking about those things anyway. It was just hard when most of the time she still didn’t want to leave her house and didn’t really know why. “I hope so..” She murmured, looking down. She didn’t know how she’d be able to actually leave but maybe it was stupid to stay. There were so many things wrong with Baberton.. -A being at the top of the list, obviously, so getting out from under that seemed like the best option. It just.. sucked. Leaving people behind, leaving the memories, even if a lot of them weren’t very good ones anymore. Bittersweet seemed like a fairly good description of how she felt about it. Ruby still wondered whether Charlie actually didn’t want her to go or if he’d just said that to make her feel better. He had to know it’d hurt to hear him say he wished she’d leave, right? Not that she could blame him if that was really how he felt considering.. everything. She was a mess and that wouldn’t change with a change of scenery but.. maybe it’d be easier. To not be around the people who knew her too well.
Charlie knew her better than most and that still scared her. It had made it easier to push him away, to distance herself from him because how could she be someone else with him? When he made her feel more like herself than anyone else.. not that she really knew how to describe that but still. She missed him and even though she didn’t know what to do about it.. she wished he did. Wished he knew what he wanted.. but it was frustrating to feel the slightest bit of hope that he’d say what she wanted him to. The problem was.. she shouldn’t want him to say he wanted to be with her.. or anything close to that because she shouldn’t want that. He was better off now that they were over and.. all this back and forth couldn’t be good for anyone. She blamed herself for all of that because she thought it was her issues that made it happen. Right. She didn’t know what she’d been expecting exactly so it was stupid to feel disappointed when he said he didn’t know. Still.. she’d take that because as he continued on she felt her heart sink and looked down to keep him from seeing her expression. Ugh. Ruby felt like an idiot the way she felt like she could cry. It was true.. they probably couldn’t go back but actually hearing him say it.. it was more than she could handle at the moment. “Oh.. right..” She said finally, not knowing how else to respond. Ruby pulled her hand back to tug at her sleeve, feeling tense as she tried to think of something to say.
Charlie watched her hand being pulled away and realised that had been a little insensitive. More than a little. She seemed disappointed or upset but.. did that mean she wished he’d said the opposite? They couldn’t go back to the way they’d been before. He loved when they were together but the way it had been… the world had changed around them. Ruby had been hurt. Sophie was dead. It had started to feel that they’d begun clinging to something that no longer worked properly. They didn’t work out their issues together, they avoided everything. Stuffed emotions down and acted out.. picked up unhealthy habits. Charlie loved her so much but he didn’t think he could keep doing that. At least, not right now. As much as he really wished he could be with her, it wouldn’t be fair. Would it? Maybe she’d been right and they really weren’t meant to be. Maybe they’d always been trying to revive something long since dead. “Wait, I didn’t mean..” He hesitated, sighing as he looked at her. How was he supposed to explain anything when he didn’t even understand any of it himself? Everything in his head was completely confusing right now, there were so many different thoughts. Too many. He wished he had some alcohol so he could shut himself off. Then again, that never seemed to work for him. It often just made him angry, right? Made him say things he didn’t mean.
Charlie pressed his lips together as he tried to figure out what she was thinking. He failed, as always, but he wished he could peek into her head just for a moment. She kept too much in. So did he. That had been one of their problems. They were most honest with each other after a break up, he’d noticed once. “I didn’t mean we couldn’t go forward.” Maybe that wouldn’t make any sense. Was there much difference? Being together at all would imply going back, right? He really didn’t know how to make her understand what he was thinking because he was all over the place, or he felt that way. Could he be blamed? “I mean, I don’t know if I’m ready for..” A relationship. That’s all he wanted but he didn’t feel like he was in the right place and it wasn’t fair of him to ask her to wait until he was, right? Even if she did love him? He didn’t know and maybe he should just ask but… it was embarrassing. Charlie went quiet and blinked hard to ward off some dizziness before reaching out to brush his fingers through her hair. “Did I upset you?”
She looked down at their hands when his touched hers. Just that contact was enough to make her stomach flutter which made her feel embarrassed. Why did he have to have such an impact on her? It just didn’t seem fair because she couldn’t possibly imagine that she had the same on him. Ruby tried to force all thoughts of his touch out of her head and focus on his words. Easier said than done but still. He missed her but she might be moving. Right, Ruby wasn’t sure he actually missed her.. not really. Maybe she was being dumb or it was just something about him tacking that on that made it difficult to believe. She didn’t know but either way she got the sense he wasn’t feeling the same way she was. Not that she expected him to.. not when it’d been her that messed it all up but that didn’t stop the sinking feeling in her stomach as she nodded. Maybe she would move and they’d finally be forced to stop this. Whatever this was. It’d worked when he was gone in France but that seemed different. Things between them hadn’t been as… deep. Not that feelings hadn’t been there but it’d been different. She’d been hurt by his abrupt ending of things and she supposed in a way that’d helped. Not to mention she’d been completely consumed by Annie’s disappearing act.. well what she’d thought was one.
Something told her it wouldn’t matter how far apart they were this time.. she’d still miss him. Still find herself thinking about him, worrying whether he was okay. Especially considering that was something she already did so she doubted distance would change it. But it wasn’t just him that she’d miss or feel bad about leaving behind. How could she leave? The memories of her friends were there. Imogen and Kelly were still there and.. it seemed wrong to leave when they were still being tormented. When their friends killer was still out there. Ruby didn’t know how to explain all of that to her parents though but it made the thought of actually going harder. “I don’t know if I can..” She said it more to herself than him but it was the truth. She didn’t know if she could handle just going. Her and her friends might not be as close as they’d once been but that didn’t mean she didn’t still need them. Didn’t still fear something bad would happen and how could she stop? Her friends had been killed and -A was always reminding them that one of them could be next. It took her a few seconds to process his question. “I.. I don’t know.” Ruby supposed she wasn’t being completely honest. She knew she wanted him to kiss her. She knew she wanted him to want to be with her still.. she just didn’t know if she should want those things. Or if it’d be better to just pretend she didn’t. Besides it wasn’t important what she wanted. She tilted her head, trying not to look like she was studying him even as she was. “What do you want to do?”
She didn’t know if she could move? He understood that it was a difficult choice but if he was her and he had the chance to get out of here, he’d probably jump at it right away. Still, he didn’t know want to look like he was telling her what to do. “You’ll figure it out..” He didn’t know what else he couldsay about it. He didn’t want her to go for mostly selfish reasons but he did want her to be safer and.. maybe somewhere else she would end up being happier. Not right away but… maybe. Still. A stupid part of him, especially now, was hoping she wouldn’t leave. He didn’t want her to go anywhere… but if her parents still decided to leave she’d be torn, right? He pushed all that away, not wanting to think about it because it wasn’t really any of his business. It didn’t sound like something she had to decide upon right away so he figured she had some time to think about it. Anyway, the possibility of him moving away himself at some point was pretty high right now.. unless -A remembered to keep blackmailing him into staying. They seemed more intent on making him feel like shit about Sophie right now so maybe they’d forget they had photos of him and that he’d stolen from the police station. Maybe they’d just let him go. It’s not like Charlie thought he’d really care enough to respond to blackmail right now anyway. He just wished he’d figured out who they were (or just.. figured out anything) before any of this had happened. He didn’t have the energy to focus on that now.
He wasn’t sure why he’d asked her that question. It was just that.. whatever she wanted of him, he wasn’t sure whether or not he would be able to give that to her. Not right now. She said she didn’t know and it wouldn’t be a lie to say that he’d expected her answer. He just wasn’t prepared for her to ask what he wanted so it took him longer than he’d have liked to respond. What did he want to do? Get back together and try and make it work? Every time they tried, they got messy and broke up. They hid things from each other and hurt each other. They both thought they were no good and even when they agreed not to make decisions like break up for the other’s benefit… they did it anyway. She thought she was broken, damaged goods, and she didn’t seem to be able to understand that not being able to have sex with him wasn’t a deal breaker. That he didn’t look at her and think of all the ways he could piece her back together and make her whole or something. Going back and forth all the time was exhausting and he didn’t know if he could do it on top of everything he was feeling with Sophie. “I don’t know.” He lamely echoed her response with a sigh. “There’s so much I wish hadn’t happened…” Charlie paused, looking thoughtfully down at their hands. “I don’t think we can go back.”
She’d really thought his feelings would’ve changed. She was such a mess and he had to see that now. Right? After her going out all the time and acting like an idiot it seemed like he’d have come to that conclusion. And okay.. he had kissed her and didn’t seem upset when she wanted to keep kissing him but still. Kissing her didn’t necessarily mean he was in love with her. It could’ve just meant he was still attracted to her and.. that didn’t seem so hard to believe. Ruby didn’t feel good about herself a lot of the time and while she didn’t exactly think she had the looks of someone like Kelly she knew she wasn’t ugly. That it wasn’t completely crazy to think someone would want to kiss her just to kiss her. It was harder to believe Charlie could love her still but what did it even mean? Did it mean anything? Did she want it to? Ugh. Ruby hated how many thoughts were crowding her head. She wanted it to mean something but at the same time she didn’t know because she wasn’t any good for him. Not with the way she still couldn’t seem to move past what’d happened to her.
It was frustrating feeling like she’d always be stuck. Would that change if she moved? She didn’t think so because the scenery wouldn’t change what was in her head. Ruby bit her lip, feeling flustered as she looked down. He’d always love her. Was he trying to kill her?! Or just make her want to jump him. She didn’t know what to say to that.. didn’t know if he really would but it made her think how deep his feelings really were. She couldn’t imagine not feeling the way she did about him. It seemed like she could hardly remember a time when being near him didn’t make her heart rate pick up. When she struggle with wanting to be closer to him. She nodded, looking down before turning her gaze back to him.”I.. um.. I don’t know either but.. I miss you.” Ruby felt shy to admit it but it wasn’t like it was hard to figure out. She was sure she missed him.. she just didn’t know what it meant she should do. What did he even want? Was he glad they weren’t together anymore? Ruby thought he probably had other things on his mind but.. still. She just wondered if he’d figured out doing anything more than making out with her wasn’t worth it. That being in a relationship with her was more effort than it should be.
Charlie had a lot going on up in his head. At first, after Sophie, he’d been a lot angrier at himself for being with Ruby in the first place. For making Sophie feel like he’d put her first. He was just a lot angrier in general. At everything and everyone. He probably still was somewhere underneath and he still had outbursts of it.. but for the most part he just felt completely defeated and numbed. Sometimes, when he lay down, he wasn’t sure he’d ever get back up. Charlie had never felt like this before, not so deeply anyway. Strangely, though, being around Ruby made him feel something else. He wasn’t just distant around her, not really. Not right now. He couldn’t put a name to it but it was something. He looked at her, wondering if she was embarrassed or something too. She sounded a little coy when she admitted she missed him but it made him smile. “I miss you too.” He just had no idea how to put that into action or if he was even supposed to.
Everything was such a mess right now and he didn’t know what he was supposed to do. Or say. Charlie hesitated for a moment before he reached out to take hold of her hand, feeling a tiny bit awkward. “But…” He paused, sighing gently. “I don’t know. You might be moving.” It wasn’t exactly what he wanted to say. There was a lot of stuff he probably needed to get out.. her too most likely. Part of him wondered if there was any point at all. None of this meant anything, right? She didn’t want to be herself and being around him had made her feel like herself or something and… ugh. Charlie was so frustrated. Sure, thinking about this was something of a distraction from Sophie but maybe it would better to leave all of this where it was. In the past. Not that it felt very in the past right now. He couldn’t figure out what she wanted or why she was saying any of this. Was it the possibility of moving away? Was it just bringing up some stuff? Charlie sighed and squeezed her hand slightly, closing his eyes for a few seconds. Part of him was still glad he hadn’t drank too much and another part felt like he wasn’t quite drunk enough. They always did this. Came crawling back to each other and it was tiring. He opened his eyes and gazed at her quietly for a moment. “What do you want me to do?”