7

XVIII. Reconstruction

Nolan hadn’t spoken since we left the police station, unless you counted the curt “we should go” he spat out before rushing past me.
The car ride was painful. Nothing but empty space and unspoken words sat between us. Anxiety rippled through every inch of my body, and my hands shook of their own accord. I fidgeted endlessly with my hair—taking it down, braiding it, combing through it with my fingers, putting it up in bun—anything, in order to avoid ripping it from my scalp.
I glanced at him from the passenger seat, only to quickly look away. His pensive gaze focused on the road in front of him, and his expression was unreadable.
I had no idea what was going on in that head of his…and it terrified me.

I was too caught up in my own head to notice where we were headed, so you could imagine my surprise when we pulled up to his loft.
It didn’t seem like he was running…yet.

He exited the car wordlessly and raced to the entrance, his long legs carrying him at twice the speed mine did. I watched his retreating back with wide eyes and uncertainty. “Nol,” I said softly, but he didn’t even turn.
No. No way. Maybe I’d spoken too soon.
I rushed after him and caught the door just as it was closing.
“Nolan Ryan Winslow.” I said as sternly as I could manage with my shaky voice, folding my arms across my chest in an attempt at fortitude.
Finally, he stopped, his back to me and an ear turned in my direction. “Hmm?”
That’s all I got? After everything we’d been through in the last few days, he couldn’t even form an entire fucking sentence in response???
“Fucking face me, Winslow.” I hissed, my eyes burning with unshed tears.
His shoulders rose and fell as he sucked in a deep breath before slowly turning towards me. Hard eyes met mine and my heart flew into my throat at record speed. The trembling of my hands traveled to the rest of my appendages until I was a quivering mess. “Please, Nol.” I mumbled, slowly willing my legs to carry me forward until I stood directly in front of him. “I need you to talk to me.”
His crystalline eyes watched me warily, his shoulders set like stone. “What do you want me to say, Sabrina?”
I placed a hand gently on his shoulder, and remarkably, he didn’t shy away from my touch. “Something.” I whispered, clutching my other hand to my chest to hide the vibration. “Anything.”
“Like what? About how much I want to fucking destroy everything in my path at the moment, starting with that piece of shit?” He roared, his tortured eyes ablaze as he began to pace the floor in front of me. “Or that, as much as I want to rip him limb from limb, I feel this disgusting sense of gratitude that he was there for you when I wasn’t. Or maybe, that the idea of living in a world where you no longer existed makes my heart leave a fucking bruise on my sternum… ” His voice hitched momentarily, and I saw him swallow back a tearless sob.
My breath left my body the moment he’d begun speaking, and hadn’t returned since. I wouldn’t have been able to form words even if I had any.
“All this time, I constantly had to reassure myself that I’d done the right thing. Every time I had the urge to call, or text, or hop in the car, I reminded myself that you were better off without having to drag around my dead weight…but all I did was abandon you when you needed me most.” He sank down, his knees clattering noisily to the wooden floor. “This is all my fucking fault…”
I instantly dropped down in front of him, my kneecaps screaming in protest as they met the hard surface. “Hey,” I murmured, my hands floating up to cup his face. My thumbs met tears as they grazed his cheeks, and my already aching heart throbbed violently. “You can’t blame yourself for this.”
“The hell I can’t,” He choked, dragging in a ragged breath. “I almost lost you, Sabrina. If I hadn’t decided to be fucking noble, this never would ha—”
I pulled his face to mine, our noses nearly brushing. “We don’t know what the hell would’ve happened.” I insisted, gazing into those familiar eyes. I’d spent most of my life relying on Nolan as my rock, a role he so effortlessly held, but this crumbling, defeated side of him was equal parts foreign and terrifying to me. “I was fucked up, Nol. I still am. No amount of right decisions will change that fact. So yeah, maybe we would’ve stayed together and my mental health would have improved, or maybe it would’ve torn us apart at some point. Or perhaps, I would’ve chosen my ‘best interest’ over my happiness like you did for me. We can talk about hypotheticals until we’re blue in the face, but it won’t change a damn thing.”
A single tear trickled down his cheek as his blue eyes searched mine.
“The fact of the matter is, the past is the past. I’ve wasted enough of my life on regrets, and so have you—”
With my words, he leaned forward, resting his forehead against my chest. A sob ripped from his throat and sank into my skin, bouncing around inside my rib cage like a damn boomerang. My arms immediately encircled him, crushing him to me and holding on for dear life.
We sat like that for a long period of time, until our eyes were swollen and our knees ached. Eventually, we both shifted onto the floor, wrapped around each other—a bittersweet, sad little tangle of limbs and lament. Time dragged, or perhaps didn’t move at all. I wasn’t quite sure, but that mattered very little to me while I held this stupid, crazy, brilliant, beautiful boy.
“No m-matter what,” Nolan whispered into the crook of my neck, his voice thick and husky from his tears. “I’ll never stop regretting letting y-you go.”
The words took a moment to register in my brain. I’d heard a similar phrase from him just days ago, and at the time, it had felt hollow. But now, his admission was raw and weighted with sincerity.
My lips lifted into a frail smile, and new tears—different tears—gathered in my eyes, clouding my vision. I clutched his body to mine, perfectly content to hold him forever if I could.
“Then don’t do it again.” I rasped.
I felt a single drop of moisture land on my shoulder, and his arms tightened around me. “Never.”

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4

I come out of this refrigerator and start walking towards him [Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Eddie], very much in his face. When they shout action, I get really into it – it’s really, really intense. I’m drooling all over him, and Jack is, like, gagging and crying and screaming and it’s horrible, but you know, it’s for the movie. I kind of plough through and then as soon as they say ‘cut’ I go, ‘Hey, yo, are you OK Jack?’ And he turns to me and goes, ‘Yeah man, that’s fucking awesome! I love what you’re doing, you’re awesome!