Bus Rides- Chapter 12
Warnings: More angst and a horrible horrible event that may actually make you cry and it’s so fucking ironic I’m really really sorry I swear it’ll get better
Word Count: 1246
Dan lived in his own little bubble. He only talked to a select few friends, and nobody else. He wasn’t willing to get hurt again. His friends were starting to worry about him, but Dan didn’t care. All that mattered to Dan was keeping his sanity intact. He stopped answering questions in class, he stopped talking to people, and he walked through each day with his head down. Dan was a shell of his former self, the life sucked out of him by Phil’s betrayal.
It was like Dan was a totally different person. Thoughts of suicide and existentialism ran through his head every day, and nearly every day he cried at least once. The twinkle that once resided in his deep chestnut eyes was now unknown to Dan. He walked to town most afternoons after school, finding a quiet corner behind some bushes to sit in at the park. This was where he spent most of his tearful afternoons, and where he completed most of his homework. Even some of his teachers were starting to get worried about him, upon grading his tear-stained homework. But nobody was more concerned than Phil.
Phil was almost as much of a wreck as Dan. Knowing that he brought all of this upon Dan, whom he still loved more than he thought possible, was eating away at Phil. He wouldn’t be able to live with himself unless he did something.
One day, as Dan sat behind the bushes littering his algebra homework with tears, his phone buzzed. Dan glanced at the illuminated screen. Messenger: Phil Lester- I’m really worried about you. I’m so sorry. Please, just let me explain.
As much as he hated to admit it, Dan missed Phil. He really missed him. And he still loved him… So much. But he knew he couldn’t handle getting hurt again. However, he was miserable without Phil. Dan decided he would at least hear him out. This was Dan’s chance to really find out what kind of a person Phil is. Fine. Dan texted back.
After a few minutes, Dan got a response. It was obvious to him that every second of those minutes were spent crafting this paragraph-long apology.. Dan, I love you. I’ll always love you. I’ll never love anyone else as much as I love you. And because I love you, I’ll tell you the truth. I was cheating on you that day on the bus. Dan stopped reading, and his heart broke just a little bit. Somewhere inside him there was still a tiny hope that it was all a huge misunderstanding and that Phil really didn’t cheat on him. Dan’s only hope for their relationship was gone. He shed a tear and continued to read the text. I don’t know why I did it. The bus was full, and this boy asked if he could sit with me. He seemed so cute and innocent, but flirtatious and dangerous. Like you. You said you wouldn’t be riding the bus, so I thought it would just be a one time thing and you’d never know. Of course, that definitely doesn’t justify it. Nothing does. But I’m sorry. So sorry. Please, please forgive me, Dan. We’re both miserable without each other. If it ever happens again, you can leave me in a split second and I won’t complain. Please, Dan. I love you.
It was apparent to Dan that Phil had put his heart into this message. However, he couldn’t give in. He sent back the strongest thing he could muster. I’ll forgive you Phil, but I’ll never forget. I love you too, I really do. But I’m sorry. I can’t date someone I can’t trust.
I’m sorry, Phil.
The next few days, Dan noticed Phil following him to town. They took separate paths once they reached the main road, which Dan found way too metaphorical, but Phil walked right behind Dan with his head down nearly every afternoon now. The two looked almost like mirror images. They walked the same path to the main road, both of them focused on the ground with their hands in their pockets. You couldn’t tell who was who.
Something inside Dan was telling him that this was all his fault. If he would just forgive Phil, they could go back to the way things were before any of this happened. They could be together and happy. But instead, they’re both miserable. But he reminded himself that he didn’t cheat. It wasn’t his fault. It was Phil’s. However, something still made him feel bad that Phil was so miserable.
Dan watched his own feet move as he walked down the pavement. He didn’t bother to look as he crossed the street. What was the point anyway? He was too fascinated with his own feet. The way people walk is actually pretty cool. His black Converse rolled on the blacktop with each step. Suddenly, Dan was shoved to the ground. He heard a scream and the screech of brakes on the blacktop. Brushing pebbles off his bleeding hands, Dan stood up and let a scream out himself.
On the ground he saw a bleeding and mangled Phil, crumpled up on the ground in front of a school bus. Not even just a school bus. No, Phil had been hit by the very school bus on which they met. A realization hit Dan. Phil had pushed him out of the way. That would have been him on the ground if Phil hadn’t have been there.
Dan rushed over to Phil, and fell to his knees, sobbing. He winced as he pulled out his phone with his bleeding hand and dialed 9-1-1. He was in horrible pain trying to grasp his phone with his cut hand, but the adrenaline rush was numbing the pain slightly. Dan told the operator what happened, and she said there was an ambulance on the way. Dan hung up, wiping the blood on his phone off on his black sweatshirt before tucking his phone away in his pocket.
Dan leaned over Phil, and attempted to examine his injuries. The boy was unconscious and his left leg was visibly broken. There were tire marks on the broken leg, and on his right hand. He must have fallen on his head, as the back of his head was covered in blood. Dan tried to shake him awake, but he couldn’t. He placed his bleeding fingers on Phil’s unbroken wrist, and was relieved to feel a pulse. He sobbed into his own hands, his salty tears stinging the cuts on his hands.
The ambulance arrived and the paramedics went to talk to Dan. He eked out the story in between sobs, and one paramedic raced over to Phil while the other continued to attempt to calm Dan down. He looked at Dan’s hands, and suggested Dan ride along in the back of the ambulance with Phil because he may need stitches to patch up the cuts in his hands. Dan nodded, not wanting to leave Phil’s side. His adrenaline was still too high for him to think straight, but he’d take time to analyze his thoughts and feelings on the ride to the hospital.
The paramedics hoisted Phil onto a stretcher and loaded it onto the ambulance, allowing Dan to follow. He sat beside Phil’s stretcher and the paramedics closed the ambulance doors, heading to the front seat. Finally calming his adrenaline, Dan put his head in his hands and sobbed.