My Name On His Lips

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The only sound that broke through was the lowered garble of some inaudible ad on the trucks radio. Dae leaned back against the headrest, closing his eyes and letting out a soft sigh. He was completely content to escape the awkward car ride with his father; completely content to disappear into his own head.

But soon, his reprieve was interrupted by the chime of his outdated ringtone. He smirked to himself and shook his head, pulling his newly returned phone from his pocket. Daes smirk softened into a genuine smile when he saw a text from his best friend, Leilani.

Lei <3: AMADEUS! Ive got a super important question! And you NEED to answer now! Considering, of course, you have your phone. If not then, Im just screaming into the void! Which is normally the case, but anyway....

And not even a second later;

Lei <3: Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?!

Dae shook his head bemused and decided against texting back. Instead, he hit the call button, and after only one ring, Leilanis rich voice answered, immediately full of excitement. ”Admit it. You loved that, didn you? ”

”Oh god. Not at all…Im tolerating it because I love you. ” Dae responded, chuckling to himself as Leilani faked swooning over his emphasis on the word you.

”The things you say, boy! My god; keep em coming! Ive missed you spoiling me with praise. ” Leilanis voice contained a smile, her teasing tone warming Daes heart. He realized in that moment how much he had truly missed his best friend while he was recovering. Her voice broke him from his thoughts as she badgered him again, ”You never answered, though. Did it hurt when you fell from heaven? ”

e absolutely insufferable. You know that, right? And I think its even worse the second time around. For the record, its called Hearth Haven Rehabilitation Center; and there was nothing heavenly about it. ” Dae shook his head, wondering how he couldve made it through his stay at Hearth Haven without her in his corner.

”Same shit! ” Dae could practically see her exaggerated shrug through the phone as she said it. Dae smiled to himself; until the mood shifted on a dime, ”But all jokes aside…Dae, are you sure you
e doing….okay? ”

He took a minute to exhale, steeling himself for one of the many awkward conversations he was sure to endure. Conversations about him, his well-being, and his drug use. Past or otherwise. ”Im…Yeah. Im okay at the moment. Things are still hard…but I know that I–I don know–I don have to use right now. ”

”Well, Im proud of you, Dae. You did what you had to, to begin getting your shit together. Remember that in case, anyone wants to start any problems; you did good, kid. ”

Dae smiled sadly out the window, feeling the heat rise to his cheeks. But before he could say much more, his dad cleared his throat and motioned to the line of cars in front of them. It took a moment for Dae to realize that his dad had pulled into a fast food line, and clearing his throat was his way of asking if Dae was hungry.

Dae nodded but turned to look back out the window. ”Well discuss how Im possibly a kid when you
e younger than me later. But right now, Pops and I are grabbing some grub. And before you ask, I love you, but Im taking tonight to myself–to get resettled into things. Well make plans to hang out before school starts. ”

”We better; I know where you live. ” Leilani joked on the other line, dropping her voice to try to come across more menacingly. ”Take care of yourself, Dae. And if you need me, Im a call away. ”

After hanging up with Leilani, Dae is met with more familiar silence, as the cars painfully inch through the drive-thru. But to his surprise, his dad clears his throat again and cast him a quick look, before speaking to Dae for the first time since picking him up, ”You, uh, you look good kid…Healthy. ”

”Thanks, Pops, ” Dae answered, unsure if he should risk any more attempts at a conversation.

”Yeah, no problem… ” His dad spoke again, before drumming his fingers on the steering wheel.

The relationship between Dae and his dad wasn always this tense; they hadn always been strangers living under the same roof. Once upon a time, they wouldve actually been considered close. However, when his dad started drinking a lot more freely, it seemed like his entire family spiraled.

Daes once loving mother went from referring to him as her beautiful baby boy to looking at him with nothing but contempt; claiming that all she saw was her husband in him and if the two were anything alike, she wanted nothing to do with either.

She left them both shortly after that…

It wasn long after she left before Daes father decided he loved his mistress–alcohol–much more than his heartbroken son. And because his father had a knack for making things worse, he couldn accept his part in any of it and started to blame Dae for her leaving them. Things hadn changed much since then…

To make matter worse, Dae couldn dare imagine hed be lucky enough to make it out of this situation unscathed. That paralyzing hatred from both of his parents, plus his own self-loathing left him brimming with so much anger. So much pain…

And at first, the weed was only to mellow him out–to make him less volatile–but he still tried his best to sever his connection to all of the pain in his life. But it wasn until Daes first time trying a hallucinogen that he landed himself in rehab, changing his life instantly and definitely not helping matters with his father.

Three months later and hes still trying to cope with the fissure left in his home life ever since…

”Amadeus? ” His dads voice broke him out of his dark headspace, and Dae turned to face him. Concern flashed across his dads face for the briefest moment, but it soon melted away, and he continued to speak, flatly. ”You didn tell me what you wanted. ”

Dae glanced behind his dad, finally taking in that they were pulling up to the speaker, about to place their orders. He tried to shake off the fear that he had disappeared into his head for so long, and forced a smile at his dad, ”Oh, yeah…Uh, just the usual? ”

His dad stared back at him before he exhaled and shook his head, doing everything in his power not to have to meet Daes eyes. He spoke in barely a whisper, ”Dae…Its been a while…Im not sure what you want from me… ”

Dae knew it couldve been his fathers excessive alcohol intake, but that didn stop the anger from brewing–hed gotten the same thing at fast food joints since he was eight and his father couldn be bothered to hold onto one single memory involving his own damn son. The anger mixed with a pain that filled Daes entire chest, and as his dad ordered his own food, he sat in silence forcing his father to end the order there.

The rest of the ride back home continued how it had started…In an uncomfortable silence. And as soon as they pull into the driveway, Dae was out of the car and trying his hardest to put distance between him and his father.

Which was starting to work until his father stepped around the other side of the car to grab some of Daes belonging from the trunk. ”Goddammit, Amadeus! Are we fighting already? We haven even been home for five minutes yet. ”

”Everything is fine, Pops! ” Dae felt the pressure in his chest building, anger threatening to pour out of him. He balled his fists until he was white in the knuckles, before trying to exhale slowly. ”I don have too much stuff, and youve been driving for hours. Go inside, take a load off, and eat…Ill be fine. ”

His words didn come out as calmly as he intended them to, but it seemed convincing enough for his dad to do what he usually did, and give up on trying to talk to Dae at all. Instead, his father made a point of muttering under his breath and turned to head towards the house, leaving Dae to try and regain his composure. Dae leaned against the side of the family car, and slammed his fist into it once, before burying his face in his arms on its roof. He closed his eyes and tried to remember the breathing exercises he was taught at Hearth Haven.

”Are you guys always that intense? ” A silvery voice asked from behind Dae, causing his eyes to open and he tensed up. ”Look, I didn mean to eavesdrop but you guys were all but yelling in the street. It wouldve been impossible to ignore. ”

When Dae turned around to face this accusation, he was surprised to see a young man about his age stepping closer to him. The vibrant orange curls and his inviting eyes were the first two things Dae took in, and after a moment of looking this stranger over, he couldn help but think that this guy was quite attractive.

As a smirk plays across the redheads lips, Dae realized he mustve been zoning out again. He shook his head, and when he focused on this boy once more any tension from his fight with his father had slowly started slipping away. ”Sorry about that. The yelling… And the zoning out. Just sorry about everything. No one should have to see us like that… ”

The redhead stepped forward again, closing the distance between himself and Dae but also remaining respectful of their personal space. His smirk grew slightly, and Dae felt his heart stutter.

”Well, I expect thats just the beginning of what Ill see. ” The redhead nods towards the house next to Daes and heat flushed to Daes cheeks. He tried his hardest to shake off whatever was going on with him, but this guy–who apparently now lived next door–was making that nearly impossible. ”Im Evan, by the way, and it seems Im your new neighbor. ”

Dae fought the urge to feel Evans name dance across his lips and clumsily held out a hand. A pleasant shiver spread through his body as Evans cold hand made contact with his own, which always seemed to run too warm. ”Im Dae. Its nice to meet you. And I hope well see more of each other soon–preferably with less yelling involved beforehand. But, unfortunately, I have to head inside now. ”

And in the most uncool series of actions, Dae slid his hand out of Evans grip and gathered his belongings clumsily before rushing inside. As he approached the door he heard the soft, sweet, and warming chuckle that accompanied Evans final words.

”I sure hope so. See ya later, Dae. ”

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