I heard the door slam behind me, and I watched the halls of the dorm fly by me as if in a dream or a movie. I found myself back in my room, found myself slumped on the floor with my back to the door... sobbing????!!!! WHAT????!!!!! No. I was not sobbing. This was not me. I was fine. I was walking away, like I should. It was over. That was it. It was over. Over.
"So tear me open, pour me out
There's things inside that scream and shout..."
- "Until It Sleeps", Metallica
Then the worst thing that could have possibly happened to me at that point in time happened. There was a knock at the door. Yeah, like I was going to answer it?! I was too busy sobbing - or not sobbing; how could I be sobbing???!!!! - to bother with caring about who was at the Georging door. It could be Emma, or Jono, or even Jen, and I wouldn't care. It didn't matter. I couldn't talk to them - they wouldn't understand. No one did. No one. Not even me. I just wanted to be left alone, and that was that.
"Al? Alison?" There was a soft voice on the other side of the door, and through all the haze of my mind I somehow managed to realize that it was Everett. Oh great. Just what I needed right now. At least it wasn't Jubilee. I really didn't think I could handle her. "Alison?" The voice on the other side of the door was insistent, despite my attempts to ignore it.
"GO AWAY!!!" I shouted - or screamed, I couldn't tell. I must have scared him, though, because there was a silence. Good. I scared me, and I hated me - why shouldn't everyone else? Huh?! The silence, however, was not nearly as permanent as I'd hoped.
"Alison." His voice was gentler now, with genuine concern that I couldn't even notice in this state. After all, I was unwanted, wasn't I? No one cared, and I would be fine. Sure I would. That was the way it was supposed to be. "Alison, c'mon, let me in."
"NO!!! GO AWAY!!!!" Why couldn't he get the picture? Why couldn't he just go away? I hugged my knees tighter, not caring that the bruise on my knee was screaming at me. Suddenly the door handle jiggled, startling me to the point of threatening to stop my heart. I jumped - how stupid!!! - and somehow scrambled across the room to hide under the blankets of my bed, huddling in a small ball under the heavy blankets. I heard the door open - oh George!! Stupid, stupid, stupid.... why hadn't I locked the door??!! Stupid, stupid...
"Alison? Oh... what's wrong?!" What did he mean, "what's wrong"?!! Everything was wrong, and the fact that everything was wrong and that I didn't want it to be wrong was what was wrong. Couldn't he see that?! I did not care about anything, I was not going to let this bother me. I was going to step back because it was what I did, and I had no feelings for anyone because I was me and that was the way it was. And I was most definitely not sobbing uncontrollably.
"Alison! Are you all right?! What happened?! Talk to me!" I felt my mattress dip as he sat on the edge of my bed. I stayed under the blankets, hoping he would go away. Why did he care? He wasn't supposed to care. I wasn't supposed to want him to care, and I most certainly did not want him to see me like this. And I was not sobbing. I was fine.
"Just... go away." My voice sounded pitifully small, and I just wanted to stop the world and get off. Things were too complicated, and this was so not me. Why was I acting this way? I was hot and miserable, and I wanted to be alone. Why was I like this? Why was I sobbing? Oh, wait - I wasn't sobbing. Nope, no sobbing here. Only people whose lives have been devastated sob, and my life hadn't been devastated. There was no way it had - it was just going the way it should. What was so Georging devastating about that?! I was not sobbing, I was not hysterical, there was no way in George...
I felt the blanket being lifted, but somehow couldn't fight it. The cool air rushed in, almost thankfully, making me aware of just how wet and drippy and sticky I was. Why was I sobbing??!!!
"Alison... oh God, what's wrong?" He seemed... scared? Why? What was wrong? Nothing was registering. Why was he in here in the first place...? I felt strange... odd... wrong. Something was wrong. Something was...
Why was I... I looked around, blinking through tears. Why was I crying? The world was fuzzy, but it looked like I was in a... treehouse? What?!!
"Alison! What - oh my God!" Who was that? Oh, Everett. Why was he here? Why was I here? What was going on? I was huddled with my knees to my chest, suddenly freezing and sick and shaking and headachy and wet all at the same time. Why was Everett climbing up the ladder? What...?
"Alison!! What..." Was he going to ask me something? If he was, he never got to finish the question. He was in the treehouse now, but all I could see was a fuzzy outline because I was... crying? Why was I crying? I was shaking too... why was that? I was getting that stupid feeling again, too - that horrible one where I wanted someone to hold me, which was the stupidest and most hopeless feeling in the world. Why... What...?
Suddenly, he was holding me. Oh my God, he was holding me, and I liked it. I felt safe, I felt better, I was cold and somehow I hurt in more ways than one but he was holding me and... I was... why...?
"Shhh... Calm down. Shhh..." I think I stopped shaking, I think I stopped crying - why had I been crying? - I think I felt better. He held me for what seemed like forever, with all these thoughts racing around in my mind. Why did I like this?! I wasn't supposed to like this! Or want this, or allow this, or... I was not mushy!!! I did not want this!!! I did not - then why the George did I feel better?! Why...? Because... this wasn't "romance". How did I know that? But I knew, and he knew, and it wasn't romance... thank God. Becuase I still didn't like it. It was confusing and annoying and it just made people miserable. But this wasn't romance. This was... friendship. Somehow... and it was okay.
He let go after forever, and I managed to peek up at him.
"You're all wet." I told him. Well, it was true - for some reason or another, the whole front of his shirt was wet, like... but... was it because... why was I crying again...? He looked down and laughed a bit.
"Not as wet as you. What happened?" I... I couldn't tell him. Could I? Could I tell myself?
"I... everything. Nothing. Nothing." I looked at a spot on the floorboards just in front of where he was kneeling. Why was he here? I should be disgusted with myself, feeling like that. I was fine. I would be fine. It was over. There had been nothing, but just in case there had been, it was over. What was over...?
"No, that was not nothing. Something is wrong. Tell me." His voice was gentle, but still commanding.
"I... I don't know what's wrong. That's the problem! Nothing should be wrong!!" What was I supposed to tell him? What was wrong? "It's... I don't know. I don't know..." He sat there regarding me silently. I must have looked terrible. Worse than terrible. Horrible. All wet and soggy and drippy and freezing and awful and...
"I don't know how to explain it." I began. Why was I telling him this? What exactly was I telling him, anyway? I didn't even think - I wasn't thinking, my mind was numb - but somehow I managed to form words. "It's just that... Jono." There. I had said it. Jono. Was he happy now?
"Jono?" he asked gently.
"Yes, I think it was Jono." I thought? What was I thinking? I tried a different approach. "I'm... I'm me. I don't like romance, or... or think guys are "cute", or want a boyfriend, or... But I like Jono. But... I don't like him. I don't think. At least, not like her. Not like that." Those warm brown eyes just stayed on me, taking this in and exerting a feeling of comfort and understanding, even though I didn't understand what I was saying myself. "I like boyfic. Stuff like that is cool. I hate dresses, and pink, and girl colors like lime green and sky blue and cyan and fuschia. I don't even know what color fuschia is!!" Ev smiled. "But... sometimes... something gets by. And... I like Jono. But I can't like Jono, because Jennifer likes Jono. And he likes her. And he doesn't like me. And that means that I'm not worth a George, and that I should step back out of whatever it was that I wasn't in in the first place because it's not worth it. I'm not worth it. Because I don't want to be mushy or romantic or like that, so I should let Jen do that because it's what she likes. I don't like it. I don't like romance, because it's just stupid and it hurts people. I think I just wanted - want - to be friends, but he... I... He hates me and..." I stopped.
Was that all? Just because I had wanted to be Jono's friend, and had successfully failed? Because that was the truth. All I had ever wanted, really, was to be his friend. Nothing more, because that wasn't like me, and I knew deep down that I hadn't liked him like that, not really. Not like Jen did. I was different, and what I hadn't wanted was romance, or anything like that, but friendship. Just to be his friend… but I had somehow gotten confused. How stupid was that?! Very stupid, if Ev somehow actaully asked me. Which he wouldn't. Because I was a dork.
"Because -" Why was I still talking?! Why was he still listening?! "Because, you see, I'm stupid. I am. I act like a dork and I can't help it and I feel like a third grader and no one takes me seriously because that's the way it is. That's how it's supposed to be. Because I'm never the best, and I never will be the best. I'm just okay, and everyone knows that. It won't change. Because I'm..." I trailed off. What was I? I couldn't find a word. "See?!" I asked Ev. "I can't even tell you what I am!" Suddenly exhausted, my head dropped down onto my knees.
"I... understand." What? What was that? Had he said something? Something nice? Something...? "I do. And it's okay. You're okay, and you're important." Yeah, right. Nice try, Ev.
"No... I'm unwanted." Wasn't that the truth. Who needed me around? What good was I, except for the occasional amusement of others? "I'm just sick... of being amusement. All the time. I mean, I like it. Mostly. But sometimes..." He put a hand on my shoulder, and I looked up. "Sometimes it's not enough. Is that too much to ask? Do I deserve that?" I didn't think I did. "Isn't that... selfish?"
"You are wanted. You are. You're human. You're supposed to feel. And you deserve as much as any human being deserves. You're just as important as anyone. That's not selfish - that's human." Was that true? I didn't think so, but maybe... What did I want him to say? What could possibly make this better? Why did I care? He had been sitting across from me, but now he moved over and sat next to me. Why? Why, why, why...? I was so full of conflicting emotions. I wasn't like this, but sometimes it was okay to be like this...? Maybe just sometimes, maybe that would be okay... Maybe because it was friendship. Friendship… I was tired... exhausted. I found myself leaning on him, falling asleep. Or just drifting...happily? Was I really wanted? I didn't know, but maybe since Ev had said so... he didn't lie, did he? He was usually nice, and truthful, and...
"EVERETT THOMAS, I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!!! AND YOU!!!!! ALISON...!!!!!!OOOHH!!!" Was that... Jubilee? Was I dreaming? No, Ev was moving, so it must really be Jubilee. Why was she going to kill him? Or me? There was a bright flash of light, and a tingling sensation in the back of my head as I slipped into unconsciousness...
I woke up in the Med Lab, confused. What had happened? I sat up, and immediately the back of my head started throbbing. What was going on?
"Ah, you're up." Oh. What was Emma doing here? I looked around and saw Ev sitting on the bed next to mine, looking a bit pained as well. "It seems as though Jubilee has somehow managed to... 'un-synch' you, shall we say. You may experience a short-term headache, but I believe that is to be expected after having been synched for such an extended period of time." Her voice was both cool and collected, and exerted the usual "Emma-ness" that she was known for. Jubilee was nowhere to be found.
"Both of you," she continued," will have to undergo extra training sessions, however, to further explore these new manifestations. As will Jubilee, to further explore the reasons she was able to un-synch you. In your cases, however, the very incidence of your over-synching..." she looked at Ev before turning to eye me icily, "and your apparent teleportation from your room to the Biosphere."
What?! Since when... "Teleportation?! When...?"
"When I went to talk to you." Ev explained. "We were in your room, and then everything... apparently, you teleported into the treehouse, and since I was synched with you, I went along too."
I had teleported?! Well, that was... interesting. And cool... Then the events surrounding... that... suddenly came back, though, and I felt myself immediately blushing. Oh God, had I really...?
"I have business to attend to right now, but I will speak with both of you after dinner." Emma was then up and gone in one smooth motion, leaving the air in the Med Lab crisp with the residue of her presence. I merely looked to Ev, who looked at me.
"I'm... sorry about Jubes. I think she thought we were..." He smiled sheepishly, and I laughed a bit.
"Yeah, well... We weren't." We had not been... nor had we been planning on it. Because we were friends, and I knew that now more than ever.
"No. 'Cause you're not like that." Ev and I shared a smile, and I knew. He understood. Not just because of the synch, either. He just... understood. I felt better. Much better. Maybe even better enough to talk to...
No. Not yet. I couldn't talk to Jono - or even Jen, really - not about this. I could still talk to her, and maybe even to him, if he would talk to me. But not about this. Not just yet. Maybe someday, though. Maybe someday.