And before George even knows it, he’s smoked the last half the pack. Smoke - clouding, surrounding. Nicotine - failing to take the edge off. Phone - clenched in his fist, her name. Each letter, a separate stab. Bloodshot eyes, unshaved scruff. shoulders hunched - thumb hovering, the call button. As it has been - the last half hour.
Rage - shouts, screams. Your and Matty’s bedroom. You.
“No - fuck you. You don’t get to do this to me again, Matty. You don’t get to do this to any of us, to me, to George, Ross, Adam, John, Jamie, your Mum - Fucking Hell, do you ever even stop just for a fucking second to think what this will do to her? To your Dad, to Louis? I’m not going to be there to lie for you this time, Matty - I’m not gonna tell her that you’re fine, clean - when I fucking well know you aren’t, when you could be fucking dead in a hotel room, a gutter or God knows where, fuck if I do… No, Matty, shut up!”
Vehement - shrill shouts, your pitch wavering. George - eyes flickering from his phone to the bedroom door, waiting. Matty - from what George can hear, attempting to put up a fight, pitch an argument, but you’re not allowing him get a word in edgewise.
Chewing - the drawstring of his hoodie, tense. Her name - his thumb nearing the screen, pulling away, last second. A mumbled curse.
“And George - what the fuck is wrong with you, Matty! How could you do that to him, after everything - how… He’s not here to constantly clean up your fucking sorry messes, you selfish fucking - What?”
A screech, strident outburst - “You weren’t the one who found him in the fucking bathroom this morning covered in his own fucking blood, were you? No - because you were probably sitting right fucking here railing more blow, right - darling?”
A breath, catching in George’s throat - glancing down, knuckles raw, split. Hurling - his phone, the wall, a crack. Hands - rubbing over his face, through his hair. He needed to get away. He needed, craved her.
“What do you expect me to do, Matty? What, hold your hand and tell you everything’s going to be alright? No, we tried that - and all you did was lie to me… Matty, I… I can’t… You swore you wouldn’t, not anymore. You promised.”
A crack, a break - your voice, shouts diminishing.
George - biting his nails, listening, predicting the outcome. He could practically count down the minutes until the flat would be filled with you and Matty, soft sounds. Because - Matty had a way of talking you down, wearing you down, any situation. A familiar tactic - George didn’t have to be present in the room to know what he was doing. Letting you rant, scream all you please at him, waiting. Waiting for the break, one George had just heard - cracking, a hint of vulnerability, that’s when Matty would pounce.
And, judging by the hushed whispers emitting from the room - George was right. Manipulating - emotionally, convincing you that he was what you needed. Backing you into a corner - until he was the only way out.
And - George doesn’t have the energy, the fight to care anymore. A dull numbness. The countdown.
“Matty, I… You need help… And I can’t, I can’t help you, not this time, not anymore,” a thickness layering your voice, crying. But, George knows it’s too late, he already has you.
Low murmurs, reassurances. Silence. Counting - down to his fingers now.
A yell - unexpected.
“Stop - Matty, stop it. No - Don’t… Don’t fucking touch me.”
George - ears perking, because this was a new turn in the plot. A shriek of frustration.
“Don’t - this isn’t us, Matty.”
A snap - Matty, mingled shouts, the air ringing with spiteful words, vitriolic insults, screaming to outdo each other. George - sinking further into the sofa, catching fragmented sentences. You - a blend of pathetic, and junkie. Matty - combating, defying - declaring you as fully fledged psychopath, no wonder he needed drugs, to cope with you.
Bedroom door - opening, screams growing louder.
“Where the bloody Hell are you going?” - you, Matty - front door. Your air of rancour following, lingering; egocentric, killing himself, inconsiderate arsehole.
A slam - echoing, silence. Vexed sounds - fists, harsh against the bedroom door frame, feet kicking. George watches for a few minutes, you don’t let up. Eyes - flickering back to his knuckles, back to you, worried yours will suffer the same fate. A sigh - calling your name. No avail - either choosing to ignore him, or simply not hearing him.
Rising from his seat, insentient - “Babe!”
Spinning around - startled, eyes wild, landing on him, tears. Trembling - a choked, “Shit - G.” Mumbling something about forgetting he was here.
The day progress in anomalous silence, tension. You - sat on one end of the couch, knees tucked to your chest, pink pajama shorts, Matty’s hoodie, unwashed hair. Blinds obscuring the windows. Phone - screen illuminating your features, a permanent crease in your brow. Checking - keeping tabs, Matty. Pictures, fans - and George reckons it’s relieving at least small part of stress, anxiety for you. If he was in a fit enough state to meet, talk with the fans, his mentality.
George - the opposite end of the couch, long limbs sprawled, one leg bracketing you in. Phone - cigarette handing from his lips, one he keeps momentarily forgetting about. He’s less concerned with Matty, more focused on her. Checking out, observing all her social media platforms; something he realises is borderline stalking, especially when he begins looking into every male she tags, posts photos with. A vacant feeling - numb. Cursing himself when his thumb presses too hard - liking an Instagram post from nine weeks prior.
By nine o’clock, it’s Chinese takeout, no Matty. Phone still in hand, fingers twitching, pushing more of the food around than eating it. A fresh wave of apprehension radiating from you, because Matty’s fallen off the radar.
Meeting - George’s air of disquiet, somewhere mid-couch. A brutal mix of trepidation, curling, the air. Because - George had steadily strolled down her feed, until - old pictures of him, her. Last year - videos, you and her at concerts, festivals. Then one he lands on - today’s date, last year. Iceland, a festival. A thickness, his throat - a lump surfacing, because he recalls how excited she had been, Northern Lights. Further - there’s a gap, no photos of him, the band. They had broken up. Then - 2013, a plethora, memories, George’s chest tightening. The early days, before things complicated - concerts, him, you, you and Matty, Ross, Adam. A prickling - his eyes, overwhelming, grief. And - he somewhat wishes she had deleted everything, because this was an unforgiving form of torture. The could have been’s, should have been’s. He had loved her, so much. Realisation - he still does.
Silent tears - his cheeks, something he fails to realise until there’s a sting, salt, the cut on his cheek. A soft tone, timid - you, nudging his leg. “Alright, George?”
Snapping, dragging him from his thoughts, from her. A groan - dropping his phone, drying his eyes with the sleeve of his hoodie, head falling back. A conflicted expression, concern - you. Breaking the silence, that had settled over the flat, blurting out - “I tried to call Lia this morning.”
Met with a silence, George rubbing his hands over his face, a quiet drawl - you. “Amelia, I liked her.”
A scoff mixing with a stray sob stuck in his throat - emitting a strangled type of sound, eyes snapping back open. “You hated her,” he amends. You and Matty had never haboured strong feelings for his estranged girlfriend, both of you purposely calling her Amelia, which she hated, winding her up. An eye roll. “I didn’t hate her, George. I don’t know what Matty’s deal was - but me and her got along quite well,” a pause, musing, “especially after… y’know, everything she did for me.”
George - a nod, she had been through a lot with them, even after they broke up for the first time. And - it was hardly a year since what you were talking about had happened. A year - so much had changed, disbelief. Last April - you walking out, saying you were done, leaving Matty for the last time, and despite the fact her and George, no longer together - you had ended up at her place.
And - somehow that had transpired to bring her and George back together. Ten months - she left, again.
A sigh - you, setting down your phone, shifting, moving closer to him. Sitting back on your knees - a soft, fragile smile, and then you say something George never, ever would have expected to surpass your lips. “It wasn’t her George, I liked her, I did - it was you and her, I… I was jealous.”
Jealous - it didn’t make an ounce of sense to George, what could you possibly be jealous of? You never were, that was an emotion which George didn’t associate with you, it didn’t register with you. Because - you had Matty. You and Matty had been defying the odds for years, All or Nothing. That, that was the kind of relationship people envied, the kind that would sprout jealous inclinations. A bond that strong, that powerful - unbreakable, untouchable. The ability to overlook, accept each others flaws, mistakes. To struggle, fight through the hardships. Amidst all the heartbreak, lies, fights - your faith in each other never appeared to falter. Isn’t that what people craved?
A frown, perplexed, a mumbled, “What?” - George pulling himself upright. Gaze flickering over you. A smile - failing to reach your eyes but striving to formulate some kind of explanation. “You and Lia,” you begin, slowly. Eyes drifting over him, gauging. The room darkening, a glow spilling from the kitchen, only vaguely illuminating your features. “it was… you had a stable relationship, yeah? There wasn’t any fucking about, y’know? You knew what to expect when you got up in the mornings, you didn’t have to worry about going to sleep at night wondering what she was doing in another country, or - shit, I meant that the other way around, she didn’t have to worry about you.”
A pause, lifting the cigarette from his lips, closer. George - a deeper crease, his brow. Not exactly knowing where you were going with this. Him and Lia had by no means a “stable relationship” but he supposes, if you compared it to yours and Matty’s. then yeah, it was pretty fucking stable.
“She didn’t have to watch you slowly killing yourself, she didn’t have to spend sleepless nights feeling utterly fucking useless because you were on the other side of world and there was nothing she could do to help, she didn’t have to cope with the fear, the anxiety every time her phone went off wondering if today was the day you finally pushed it too far, answering phone calls at four in the morning where you were too high to even fucking speak properly. She didn’t have to read rumours about him, you being found dead every other day. Didn’t have to keep tabs on your eating habits, didn’t have to have a reason to look into your eyes - fuck, didn’t have to be afraid to look at you, your eyes. Didn’t have to question every fucking promise you made to stop.”
Astounded - the rant unexpected, but there’s a threatening sob in your voice, memories flickering behind your eyes, your hand trembling against his knee. But - he doesn’t try to quieten you, a long overdue venting session. Fingers - lacing through yours, a faint squeeze, acknowledging the he was listening.
“I was so scared, G. And it’s happening again. Relationships aren’t supposed to be like that, are they? Lia was never scared to be with you, she didn’t have to be. It was, seemed simple, you both just loved each other - cared for each other, and that’s all relationships are, right?”
George hesitates - eyes holding yours, you - gaze burning into him, intensity. Before he can answer, you’re asking, “Did you love her, George? I mean, truly love her?”
An overpowering sense of Deja-Vu - because, it was only a little more than a year ago, that George was having the same conversation, the same couch, with Matty, after you had walked out. Leaving Matty to question the details of his own relationship.
But, now - he nods, Lia had been part of his life now for nearly four years, of course he loved her. A part of him always would. As cliché as that sounds.
“Did you see a future with her? Y’know, marriage, kids and that?” - your tone breathless now, hovering over frantic. Deja-vu - because Matty.
System - still filled with apprehension for his ex, due to his social media stalking earlier, and it’s a topic he would rather no discuss right now. Attempting to shut you down - “You know that would never work, love. She couldn’t hack it, not with my schedule, the band.”
But that had only been partly why she left - you and Matty played a bigger part.
A sigh; impatience, persisting - “I know, I know that - but if the band didn’t exist, right - if you had no other obligations, just her, a normal job… then would you?”
George ponders for a second; more trying to comprehend, figure out your motive behind the question - than actually consider it, because he already knows the answer. Your stare unwavering, he nods. “Yeah, I think so.”
A breath - your eyes closing, a tremour, your jaw. “I don’t see that with Matty.”
It’s a quiet sound, your voice shaky. An almost guilty undertone - and George feels shock flash through him, because last year, on this couch, Matty had been telling him he wanted that. Marriage, kids, you.
A broken sound, a sob, your grip tightening on George’s hand. “I don’t… I don’t see any future with him, G. And, I love him, I love him too fucking much - but, all I see is myself at his funeral before he’s fucking thirty.”
The end of your sentence - a choked off sob, the lump resurfacing in George’s throat, biting it back. Because - there’s so much pain, your voice, your eyes. And - he can’t help you, the only person who can stop it, Matty. But, Matty’s only intensifying it, so much until you reach breaking point. Heavy sobs - raking through your frame, George’s arms wrapping around you, pulling you to his chest. Pain. He can feel it. And he feels useless, hopeless.
Struggling to catch your breath. “I love him.” - repeating, over and over, choked out through sobs, as if to justify what you’ve just said. Tears, pants.
And George fiercely wishes that she were here. Because she was - last time. You had helped Matty, George helping you, her helping George. But now - he felt alone, a hole. Numb.
Pulling away - “I don’t want to love him anymore, George. Too much, it hurts, it hurts so fucking much.”
His eyes - meeting yours again, torment, reflecting. Echoing between pupils. His heart - thrumming against his ribs. A gasp - your lips parting, tears streaking. George’s hands - cupping your face, thumbs wiping across your cheeks, catching the tears. Gaze - fixed on his, a desolate look. Numb. Eyes - flickering down to your lips, his thumb, tracing over your lower lip. Faces - mere inches apart, shallow breaths.
And it’s sudden - his lips, your lips. A desperate kiss - fueled by unspoken words, disjointed emotions, numbness, hopelessness. But you’re kissing him back, fingers gripping his hoodie, lips harsh against his. But - you’re not her, and he’s not Matty. A gasp, a desperate sound - your tongue meeting his. Soy sauce, Dr. Pepper, overlapping. Numb. Heart thrumming.
A faint noise, something George thinks sounds like a door closing. Silence, sparing breathless sounds, shallow breaths. Closer. Until - your hands, George’s chest, a soft whimper; his name. George, realisation - pulling away, a look of incredulity. A mumbled apology - but you’re pulling him back, soft kisses, quick succession. Fingers - grasping the back of his neck, a sigh, pressing your forehead to his. His eyes opening - watching, yours stay shut. Neither of you attempting to make a move. Still.
Quiet, soft - “It’s my fault. I’m sorry.”
And George is shaking his head, because it was him - he had been the one who kissed you. “No, babe - that was my-”
A snap - “Not the kiss, G. I mean Matty.”
Confusion - eyes flickering, but yours remain closed. Grip tightening on his neck, fingers twitching. “I made him into this - it was me. I’m killing him.”
A tremble - your voice, each breath hitting George’s lips and he frowns, not understanding, because of course it wasn’t you, how could it be your fault.
“I started this - I… I used to tell him he was no fun if we only had a bottle of wine… Fucking Hell - he put that in a fucking song, how fucked is that?”
A chuckle - humourless, “I started something he can’t stop, I signed his death wish, this - all of this is my fault.” - tears, falling rapidly, hitting George’s lips. Protesting, how could you have known it would transpire to this? “It’s not your fault - we were kids, babe. You can’t blame yourself. You know Matty - he would have gotten around to it eventually, with or without you. It’s not you, not your fault.”
Shaking your head - pulling away from him, eyes opening, flickering. “I was so fucked, George. When we were kids - I was a mess, I hurt him - I hurt him so much, just because I could. He should have left me - he wouldn’t. I made him into this, I did.”
Blatant, protesting - shaking his head, because he knew, not to the same extent as Matty did, but he knew things were rough for you growing up. Something to do with your father’s death. But now - you don’t want to hear it, reassurances.
“When we fight - he tells me, begs me to hit him. Doesn’t that remind you of anything?” - questioning, an impassive smile, tears. Eyes - distant, memories.
George swallows - thickly, recalling more than one occasion where he had overhead an argument between you and Matty, and sure enough, you had been screaming, beseeching for him to hit you. As far as George knew - he never had, would.
“It’s me, everyone thinks it’s him, Matty that’s completely insane, fucked in the head - Lia even thought that. But, it’s me, I’ve made him like that. And, how do I fix something like that? Fuck - I practically told him to kill himself this morning, what is wrong with me, George? Who the fuck does that to someone they claim to love?”
A sob - broken sounds. And he can’t, numb.
A sniffle - “Just tell me, G. Is he doing it again?”
George freezes - a second. Because he knows you know the answer. But - you haven’t caught Matty in the act, or seen any of the baggies. And he thinks it’s a coping mechanism, holding onto to any shred of defiance you can, even if all the signs are there. Your eyes - watching, expectantly. Flashes of the night before - Matty asking him to get rid of it, the breakdown, managing to flush the evidence down the toilet before passing out. You had found George, not the baggie.
Silence - heavy, confirming your thoughts. A nod - a shaky shrug, you. Hopeless.
George isn’t sure what time it is when you rise from the couch, saying you were going to bed. Still - nothing from Matty, no texts, no calls. Knowing, sleep was the last thing you were planning to do, but he nodded. Although, it was strange - because on nights like these, you would typically sleep with George. The comfort of having someone close by.
Reassurance, but it’s halfhearted - “Babe, Matty’ll be okay, you know he will.”
Met with a smile, but it’s halfhearted, “He promised me once, swore to me that he was never going to die. I’m holding him to that.”
.Pressing a kiss to his head - his fingers curling around your wrists, asking if you’re sure you don’t want to stay with him tonight. Shaking your head, saying you’d rather be alone, needed to think for a bit. If George is being completely honest - he wishes you would take up his offer, because he doesn’t want to be alone tonight, not with his thoughts, consuming, plaguing.
Heading for your and Matty’s room, George’s eyes following calling after you. Turning at the door - glancing back. “You are - I mean, you’re alright?”
A bout of disquietude pooling in his stomach. Saddened eyes - lips curving, “I’m peng, babe.” and with that the door shuts behind you.
Downing the drink in your hand, you signaled the bartender, asking for another. You were way past drunk; however, the bar was far too crowded and hectic for him to notice your intoxicated state, so he continued to bring you drinks. Numbing your pain was your goal, and while the drinks did help, you still couldn’t get Axl off your mind. You had tried the rational way of handling your emotions, but your feelings weren’t exactly the most stable; the only solution you thought would help you cope was drinking.
You held your head in your hands as your elbows supported your arms on the bar. Your eyes were bloodshot and you could feel them begin to water for what seemed like the hundredth time tonight. Once again, your thoughts got the best of you, and your mind began to wander. How could he do such a thing? What in his mind told him it was ok?
The bartender handed you your drink. Throwing your head back, you finished it in an instant and slammed the glass down on the table. You took a deep breath and wiped the sweat off your forehead as you sensed a body sit down on the stool next to you.
“Hey! What are you doing here? Is Axl with you?” He asked cheerily, as he scoured the bar looking for your most likely soon-to-be ex-boyfriend.
You turned to face him and watched as his smile fell, his mood altering immediately after witnessing the hurt expression on your face.
“He’s not here,” you mumbled, as you stood up from the stool you lost your balance, and reached out to grab his arm.
“Jesus Y/N, you’re fucking hammered. Let me take you back home. Where’s Axl?” He asked, guiding you back to your seat.
“I told you, he’s not here!” You cried out, “he’s at home,” you slurred, laughing at your use of the word that now felt so foreign.
You swatted his arm away and walked in the opposite direction towards the bathrooms, pushing through the massive crowd of people. He came after you, and held onto your wrist as he spun you around to face him.
“Y/N, I’m taking you home. You shouldn’t be out here by yourself.” He demanded.
The more he spoke the more he pissed you off. Who the fuck was he to tell you what to do?
“Izzy, I’m fine! Leave me the fuck alone!” You shouted, trying to yank your wrist from his hand.
“No, we’re leaving!” He yelled, now becoming annoyed at your lack of cooperation. “Give me your car keys.”
“Fuck off!” You spat out, violently pulling your arm in an attempt to jerk out of his grip.
Unable to control your sudden fit of anger, Izzy picked you up and started towards the exit. You hung over his right shoulder, desperately punching at his back to get him to put you down.
“Izzy, what the fuck! Put me down!” You screamed, proceeding to hit his back.
You were surprised by the fact that no one seemed to care that you were being taken against your will. What if you really were in an unsafe situation? Would no one help you? Although you failed to come to the realization, leaving with Izzy was probably your best option; he would keep you safe from the mess of people you had surrounded yourself with.
Izzy made it to the door and searched for your car. It wasn’t that dark out yet, and the sun was in it’s final stages of setting. You were of no help, and when Izzy asked where you had parked the car your mind was far too cloudy to recollect any insignificant action of the past. Izzy walked up and down the street until he finally found your car parked beside a tree. He opened the passenger’s seat and sat you down.
“Give me the keys, Y/N.” He commanded.
Reaching in your back pocket, you held out the keys, dangling them in front of him you asked disinterestedly, “Where are we going?”
Izzy sighed, fed up with the way his night was going, “I’m taking you back to your place,” he replied, as he nodded his head in the direction towards the keys and continued, “hand ‘em over.”
You didn’t want to go back to your place. You didn’t even want to be around Izzy. The house was trashed and all you wanted was to be by yourself. You handed him the keys and waited for him to run back around to the driver’s seat. As soon as he put the keys in the ignition you immediately opened the door and bolted out of the car. You didn’t care that you were putting yourself in danger. At this point, nothing could be worse than what Axl had put you through.
Izzy’s eyes widened in shock as he got out of the car and chased after you. You turned a corner and ran into the first place you saw, which just so happened to be another bar.
“Fuck!” He shouted into the street, “Y/N, stop fucking around! Where are you?” He continued to call out, earning himself a fair share of rude comments by the people walking by.
Izzy searched everywhere but couldn’t find you. He was at a complete loss for words as he proceeded to check every single location in the area. Giving up, Izzy took your car and headed to where he knew he’d be able to find help—yours and Axl’s house. He drove as fast as he could, haphazardly parking the car in the driveway and forgetting to take out the keys. Running towards the front, Izzy aggressively banged on the door.
“Axl, open the fucking door!”
After what felt like a lifetime, the door opened, revealing a pissed off Axl.
“What?” He said rudely, squinting his eyes.
“I lost Y/N. She was fucking drunk out of her mind and she disappeared. You need to help me look for her,” Izzy confessed, his face filling with worry.
"I’m sure she can take care of herself. She’s not-”
“You don’t think I know that?” He exclaimed, “Axl, she can barely stand up straight! We have to go find her!”
Finally processing how out of hand this had all gotten, Axl’s face turned pale. He knew he was in the wrong, and he had finally admitted to himself that he was the reason this was all happening. It was his fault that you were now in harm’s way. He was the cause of all your pain; the thought that you were potentially in danger made him feel absolutely sick to his stomach. All he could feel was how disgusted with himself he was.
“Fuck, where the hell did she go?” Axl screamed, as he slammed the door of the house and ran towards the car.
“I don’t know, but it’s almost dark out. If she’s out on the streets I can only imagine what’ll happen to her.”
I probably should have warned you. You see, I am very fucked up and I destroy anything and everything I meet. You should leave before I corrupt you in one way or another. Believe me you’re better off not even knowing my name.