Everyone is talking about the “you’re really handsome” thing but I would like to point out something about the “haha…”. Just look at the whole second panel. Teru is like “oh, so I’m gonna say it loud” or “wow, how can he not see”
All I saw was a white line on a black background like in that Arctic Monkeys music video but all I heard was my chemistry teacher explaining a new experiment to my class. I didn’t understand what to do and woke up crying.
It was dark outside but it felt darker in my mind. I sat outside looking up into the sky, I became jealous of the twinkling light from the stars amongst the black background. I wished that’s what it was like, I wished that’s what it felt like in my mind, that even through all the darkness there were specs of light.
I pressed the home button on my phone checking the time, 2am. I let out a heavy sigh and made my way back inside the apartment and back into bed.
Bringing the blankets up to my chin and my knees curled to my chest, I close my eyes and try my best to fall asleep knowing I have to be up in four hours to start the day.
I groan as my alarm blares from the bedside, I grab my phone and snooze it. I roll on my back, rub my burning eyes and lay there until your alarm sounds five minutes later. I bring my feet to the cold tile and proceed to the bathroom in order to start getting ready for the day. I throw my hair in a bun and apply a little amount of makeup before heading out the door in black jeans and a black t-shirt.
I pulled up to the coffee shop I worked at and headed inside, I get behind the counter and throw on an apron.
The store doesn’t open for another thirty minutes but I let a few special customers in early to beat the crowd, paparazzi and fans.
The knock on the front door is my cue and I go unlock the front door and let the two men in, wearing sweatshirts and sunglasses like always.
“Good morning Shannon, Jared.” I lock the door once they are in.
“Morning.” Shannon’s tired voice is deep and he yawns right after he speaks.
“Good morning.” Jared is a little more awake as he pulls the sweatshirt off and tucks his sunglasses in his pocket.
I get back behind the counter and start their usual order, the old manager used to do this for them and she let me in on the secret once she moved and left me in charge.
Jared comes and leans on the ‘pick up’ counter while Shannon takes a seat at one of the tables close by.
“You didn’t sleep again, huh?” Jared keeps his voice low.
I roll your eyes at him, “You look nice today too, Jared.“
He pats his hand against the counter softly to get my attention, “You know I didn’t mean it like that, you always look nice but I can see it in your eyes.“
“Here you go Shannon.” I place the drink next to Jared’s arm ignoring his comments but I can feel his eyes on my every move.
Jared picks up the coffee and takes it to Shannon who gives me a nod with a smile.
Jared makes his way back to the counter and leans forward on it again.
“Why didn’t you call? I told you it doesn’t matter what time of the morning or night.” He lets out a sigh as I give him the look to drop it.
“Here.” I set his cup down a little harder than usual.
“Look, I didn’t mean…” I cut him off.
I move so I can lean against the counter as well lean close enough so he can hear me whisper, “I know, but you have to stop this. I can’t run to you when things are bad, you won’t be here forever.“
I come back around the counter and Shannon gets up and follows me to the front door, he pulls me into a quick hug and says thanks for the coffee, he starts walking up the street.
Jared stops at the door and pushes it closed, I can feel his stare as he is waiting for me to look up at him. I break my stubbornness and meet his icy eyes.
“Everything will be fine, whatever is going on up there.” He uses his pointer finger to gently tap my temple, “Will be just fine."
He goes and catches up with Shannon and I leave the door unlocked for the day.
I had just met with my manager and she had told me she was promoting me because she was moving, I was excited about the position and the new income but she mentioned a few special customers that come in a few times a week before hours and she wanted to introduce us before she left.
"OK, so they are big time and they love the our coffee big time. It’s usually two of them, they are brothers but occasionally the older one comes in alone and vice versa.” Kerri, my manager, tells me to sit at the table with her using her hands to motion the open seat.
“Oh, ok. So what, what do I do?” I can feel the anxiety start to spike inside me.
“Just treat them like regulars, they are regular people and we have created a really good relationship and I don’t want to lose that. You know 30 Seconds To Mars, yeah?” A grin appears on her face probably in response to my own facial expression.
“You’re kidding?” My mouth is hung open and I can’t configure another sentence.
“No, I’m not sweetie. For the next month I’ll have you come here early and I’ll let you make their drinks and meet them. They come, they get coffee and sometimes talk and then they go before we open to avoid the crowds.” She hands me a set of keys for the coffee shop, “It’s yours now. You’ll do great, ok? Everything will be just fine."
We both stand and she pulls me in for a hug. I’ve been working for Kerri for almost two years and we have grown to become close friends. This move wasn’t just hard on the business, it was hand on me personally.
The next week the Leto brothers come in everyday, the first day I was a nervous mess and thankfully they were extremely kind about it. They stayed longer than usual to talk and get to know me a little bit and to make me feel at ease. They both were pretty quiet about themselves which is understandable. The next few days go by and it definitely got easier to be around them but not necessarily easier to look at them. Jared with the long ombré hair and bright blue eyes, even first thing in the morning they were brighter than the sky. Shannon with his darker demeanor and hazel eyes that are much more piercing in person than in pictures.
The month passes and things are going just fine between me and my new customers. They come in pretty constantly but they both gave me their number just in case they decide not to come in so I could sleep in if I wanted, little do they know sleep is an enemy of mine. My personal spiral started after the first month, once Kerri left, I noticed it but I pushed it aside because really there wasn’t much I could do. I slept a lot less or didn’t sleep at all, went to work came home and sat in my bed till the sun was visible again. I added more and more makeup to hide the bags under my eyes, I hated taking sleeping pills but I needed it. Three times a week I would take one as soon as I got home and the other four nights were restless. This night was far worse, nothing would calm the voices and a pill didn’t even dull me. I got up and threw on a sweatshirt, my body ached with every movement.
I barely remember driving to the coffee shop, I don’t even remember unlocking the door or going inside.
When my mind finally let me remember it was me tucked behind the counter.
I sat there with my knees to my chest, my forehead pressed against them and my fingers linked together on the back side of my head. I was sniffling, my eyes were shut tight and I could feel the ache in my chest start to become unbearable. I take a deep breath in and it’s shaky, I hear the front door open and I freeze hoping whoever it is will leave.
“Hello?” Jared’s voice rang out.
I curl my arms around myself hoping he won’t see me, I hear his steps getting closer and he leans over the counter. I hear him gasp and he quickly jumps over the counter, he crouches down next to me and his arm drapes over my shoulder pulling me close to him.
“What happened? Are you ok?” He pulls me into him tighter.
He smells good, like a warm day and he feels warm against my cold skin. As his arms wrap around me a sharp inhale leaves me, I press my face into his chest as I sink down into him. His hands are griping my arms and he hums a soft melody above my head. He doesn’t ask another question and he doesn’t let go. He just stays there with me behind the counter until I shift in his grip minutes later. He releases my arms and I sit back with my head against the counter, I can feel his eyes on me but I keep mine closed. I wipe under my eyes with my hands and leave them covering my face until my breathing calms.
“I’m fine.” I finally whisper.
He shifts closer to me and pulls my hands away from my face, “Do you expect me to believe that?” His eyes meet mine.
I feel like the tears are going to roll down my cheeks again as he stares at me, I pull my arm away from him gently and he lets go.
“Look, or, or don’t look at me but listen. I’m here, right here. I haven’t known you long but it feels like I have, and I can’t just leave you like this. Let me get someone to cover your shift and I’ll take you out for the day, clear your head. Is that ok?” His hand moves to rest it on mine but he stops himself and puts it back on the floor.
I nod, that’s all I can do and let out a deep breath. He stands up next to me and he reaches his hand down to help me up, I take it and he pulls me to my feet.
“Who should I call?” He looks around for any kind of employees names or information.
“I-I can text someone.” My voice is barley above a whisper.
He nods and walks around the counter and waits for me, I follow behind him and we both leave through the front door and I lock it behind us. We begin a silent walk to his place, he puts his hood up and sunglasses on and gives me a faint smile. I return with a half smile myself, he seems so inviting all the time and his smile draws me in more. We don’t say a word during the walk but it doesn’t feel awkward, it feels nice. We get to his place and I try not to be blown away by the size as he holds the front door open for me.
“I’m going to get a few things, I’ll be down in a minute. You can have a seat wherever or help yourself to anything, Shannon isn’t here so don’t be scared.” He lets out a bit of a laugh as he runs up the stairs.
I walk through the house a little bit but I still get the nervous feeling so I just sit on the couch until Jared comes back down the stairs.
“Ready?” He pops up around the corner.
I nod, “Your house is gorgeous.”
“So are the things in it.” He smiles and opens the front door for us to walk out.
“I’d love a tour someday.” I walk past him and wait to follow his next move.
“So would I.” He says in a low whisper.
He nods his head for me to follow him, we walk around the front of his house and he presses a button to unlock the black vehicle parked in the driveway. He open the car door for me and then closes it once I’m seated, he walks to the driver side and gets in.
“So, talk to me. Tell me things about you. Where did you grow up? What are your dreams? Favorite desserts?” He laughs and smiles at me and I join him with a soft laugh.
The car ride is full of questions that we pass back and forth to each other, nothing too personal but it was nice getting to know some of the small details of him. He was even more interesting than he looks. We pull up to a beach and it’s completely empty, he gets out of the car quickly and opens my door for me before getting into the trunk of his car and pulling out a bright red blanket.
“You like the beach?” He stops in front of me waiting for my response.
I nod, again, and he grabs my hand and starts running towards the water, I stumble with the first few steps and laugh, Jared looks back at me with a grin on his face, before we hit the water he drops the blanket. He continues to run and the waves hit us, I let out a small scream from the water being colder than expected. Jared never lets go of my hand as we run into the waves till the ocean water hits my waist. We stop an stand there, my black shirt and pants soaked and my hair falling out of the bun I had this morning. Jared’s t-shirt clinging to him and his jeans falling lower from being so heavy. A smile spreading across my face as the waves hit us lightly and the sun hits my skin. I look over at Jared and his eyes were already on me, he gives me a nod to head back and with our hands still locked we turn around and fight the water to get back to the beach. I slip and fall and we laugh as he hold me up, his hand wraps around my waist and I try to ignore the sensation it sent through my body.
Once we reach the beach I take my shoes and socks off and he does the same, he throws open the red blanket and we sit in the center of it, he grabs one side of it and I grab the other to wrap it over our shoulders.
“Wanna talk about anything in particular?” He doesn’t look my way, we both stay watching the waves.
I take a deep breath, “Thank you.”
He chuckles, “You’re welcome.” He puts his arm around my shoulder and I rest my head against him.
A few moments go by and I can’t keep my mouth sealed, “It doesn’t happen all the time, it just builds up and well, eventually I break and then start over again. Sometimes it can take months, other times it takes days. I’m a messy person.” I can feel the lump in my throat grow as I realize how much I just let out.
"You’re allowed to be messy. People find beauty in the mess and that’s everything you are. Beautiful.” He turns his head to look at me.
I try to keep my focus on the ocean in front of us but I can’t, I look at him and as soon as our eyes meet his lips are on mine. I don’t push in and I don’t pull away, instead I close my eyes. It’s a moment of bliss, my heart beating fast and my body feels like it’s somewhere else.
He pulls away and I open my eyes to meet his again.
”I’m sorry.” He stutters out but doesn’t look away.
“It’s, uh, it’s fine. Really.” I try to find the right words.
He lets out a sigh and turns back to the waves. I’m thankful he left his shoulder around me because it was starting to get cold, he pulled the blankets closer around us once he noticed.
We stayed there in silence for a few moments until he finally broke it.
“Are you hungry?” He whispers.
“A little bit.” I whisper back.
He stands up and reaches down for my hand, I grab onto it and he pulls me up. He picks up the blanket and holds it under his arm as we walk back to his car, he tosses it in the trunk and opens the door for me again, I get in and he follows to the driver side. The car ride starts out quiet, nothing awkward, just peaceful.
“I think everyone has their own mess. I’m a mess too, I hide it as well. I’m not trying to say that my problems are yours but I just want you to know that you’re not alone.” He pulls up to his house just as he finishes his sentence.
“I. thank you Jared.” I whisper back.
And that was the start of it all. That was the start of me falling in love with someone so completely out of my league but also someone I still had to see almost every single day, someone who I would constantly have to push away.
He always seems flirty, more caring but he’s like that with just about everyone, so again, I push him away.
I finish the day at the coffee shop and get in my car to head home, I have four missed calls from Jared once I check my phone and my heart sinks and I roll my eyes. I never know how to feel about him.
I quickly call him back.
"Jared? Everything ok?” I ask as soon as I hear him answer.
“I’m great actually! I wanted to ask you if you were busy Saturday night? Not like a date or anything, we have a small concert just doing a few songs and then I was thinking we’d all go get some dinner. If you’re free.” He clears his throats as he realizes how fast he was talking.
"Actually that sounds perfect! It’s been a while since I’ve seen you guys play and I could use a night out. Don’t get weird though.” I laugh.
“I’ll have a car pick you up!” He ends the call with a click so I can’t argue with him.
Saturday comes around and I dress is torn up black jeans and a blue faded t-shirt with black boots, I wear my hair down for the first time in a while and apply a thin winged liner and a nude lipstick.
I hear a knock on the door and I peep through window, it’s the driver. I open the door and he’s professional and walks me down to the limo out front. I laugh to myself and get in the back of the limo as the driver holds the door open for me. Once I’m seated I pull my phone out and text Jared.
“I said don’t be weird. And here I am sitting in a limo.” I put my phone in my pocket as I’m sure he is in rehearsal.
The limo comes to a stop and it’s the back of a building, a studio. I begin thinking just how small this gif is. The driver comes around and opens the door for me, he tells me to walk through the door he’s parked in front of and then take the second left. I thank him and walk inside and make the second left.
I walk in the small studio and there are about thirty chairs set out in front of the small recording area that has its set spots for Jared, Shannon and Tomo.
There are a few open seats and I take one of the ones left in the front. I smile at a few people around and then the lights get a little brighter, the three guys come and take their place and the crowd of thirty sounds like hundreds.
Jared makes a few announcements about the recording and the songs they are going to do, he asks people to stay quiet until the very end because they are doing a live recording, he makes some jokes and then they start to play.
About five songs in Jared stops and pulls his phone out, people laugh and he smiles and looks up at me, I know he just read my text.
“I always knew there was something about you. I just need you to listen to these words of this last song and then tell me what you feel.” He slides his phone in his pocket and stared at me.
I can feel his eye on me and I also feel my cheeks go red from his text, I nod towards him so he knows I got it and the show continues.
The music starts and I instantly know it’s one of their cover songs. My heart sinks once the first few words leave his mouth, my entire being feels like I’m having an out of body experience and I can feel my throats going dry from trying to hold back the tears.
“Stay” by Rihanna, that’s the song that he wants me to pay attention to and I do. I listen to every word that comes out of his mouth and with each moment it becomes harder and harder to hold myself together.
The words flow out of his mouth, his voice is soothing yet the words are breaking down all my walls. His eyes are closed as he sings and when it finally ends his eyes open up to me.
I can’t help it, I get up and walk toward him the guards try to push me back but Jared tells them to let me through. I run up to him, tears falling down my cheek, and kiss him.
My arms fall around his shoulders and his hands pull my waist into him. He kisses back harder, our lips pulling apart and meeting back together again. A smile comes over him during the kiss and he pulls away slightly.
“There is definitely something about you and I need you. I think about you everyday and I hope you’re ok every second I’m not with you. I don’t want to fix you, I just want to be there to hold the pieces of you till you’re ready to be put back together.” He whispers against my lips.
I kiss him again, “I’ve always felt this way about you. I just never knew, I didn’t know how..” I whisper back but he cuts me off.
“Lets get out of here baby.” He pecks me once more.
The small crowd is clapping and cheering, Jared walks by them and signs things for the fans but his one hand never leaves my waist.
We walk out of the small studio, his hand still on my waist.
My thoughts seem like a mess but beautiful things are found in messes.