I, still you linger on

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ONE, still you linger on

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ONE, still you linger on

italics — rues narration

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i was once happy, content. sloshing around in my own private, primordial pool. then one day for reasons beyond my control, i was repeatedly crushed over and over by the cruel cervix of my mother, leslie. i put up a good fight but i lost, for the first time, but not the last.

i was born three days after 9/11.

my mother and father spent two days in the hospital, holding me under the soft glow of the television, watching those towers fall over and over again, until the feelings of grief gave way to numbness.

and then without warning, a middle-class childhood in an american suburb. being raised by my mother and father and surrounded by my two sisters athena and gia. gia is the youngest, she's thirteen. just entering the beautiful stages of life that were prominently the most painful for me but since she doesnt have the same problems that i do, i know she'll flourish.

athena is the oldest, having three years on me. before my dad met my mom, he had another family. and another wife. she wasn't stable, my dad knew that. he took custody of athena, who moved in with us after a few years. i disliked her for a lot a reasons, but one being that i feared she would take my dad away.

they were a lot closer than i was to him and that bothered me. but after cancer beat her to it, we got closer. she became my best friend. in truth, shes probably the only thing keeping me sane during this whole fucked up debacle.

"there's some new girl in town that i think you gonna be friends with." fez said. rue furrowed her brows as she looked down at him, "who?" he shrugged. "shit, i don't know. she came in yesterday lookin' all sailor moon and shit. i'm thinking to myself, like, look like somebody rue would get along with."

which was sort of like a dead-on observation for fezco, who's not normally revolving in the same direction as planet earth.

"so, how long you been back?" he asked. "five days." he nodded, "and like, how are you feeling?" he asked. rue shrugged, "i mean, ever since i gave my life over to my lord and savior jesus christ, things have been, like, really good." she joked. fez, being as high as he was, thought she was serious. "word? that's what's up."

rues laughter turned into confusion as she realized fez didnt get the joke. "yeah. i'm fucking with you. it was a joke." fez chuckled, "shit. hey, i don't judge." in the midst of their laughter, fezs eyes traveled to the car parked near the gas station. he pointed, "that athenas car?"

rue smiled as she looked down at him. "why?" he shrugged, not daring to look up at rue. "just asking bruh. why you gotta make everything so deep?" he smiled as he finally looked up at rue, who wiggled her brows at him. "how am i making it deep? you always ask about my sister," fez shrugged. "i ain't seen her in a while. how is she doing?" he asked.

fez hadn't seen me or athena at all during the summer. i was sent to rehab a few weeks before summer started, and athena spent the summer doing a modeling job in new york city. it was pretty cool, they paid for her housing and stuff while she stayed there. but i missed her, and so did fez.

fez told me a few weeks before i went to rehab how he felt about athena and practically begged me not to tell her. and like the good friend i am, i didn't. he did have to bribe me with a few pills but i did keep my mouth shut. and even though i didn't tell her, i still teased him about it.

"she out back with ash?" he asked. rue nodded, "yeah, you want me to go get her?" rue started to walk off, but fez quickly spoke up. "get yo' ass back here! i ain't ready!"

despite him disapproving of rue getting athena, she kept walking. she made her way to the back of the gas station to the freezers, pulling the doors open to see athena sitting in front of ash with a baggie of pills between the two.

athena looked up with an annoyed face, "rue, i have no idea what he's talking about. can you talk to him?" she jerked rue over to them, "yeah, but fez wants you," ash smirked after rue spoke, but luckily athena didn't notice.

she nodded as she stood up, rue taking her spot in front of ash. athena walked out of the backroom, pulling her hoodie up over her shoulders after it fell down. she kicked a few pebbles on the ground as she made her way around back to the front of the store, already seeing fez as she turned the corner.

he was completely oblivious to the fact that she was coming his way, which athena thought was funny. "fezco!" she used his government name, which she knew he hated.

he looked up quickly, and then shook his head as he brought it back down. "not you, man." he acted like he didn't want to see her, but deep down he was definitely getting butterflies at the sight of her. he stood up from his seat, walking towards her.

she smiled as she jogged towards him, and once they met up he wrapped his arms around her. "i missed you." she admitted, her head resting against his chest. "i missed you too, how'd your little modeling thing go?" he grinned, pulling away from the hug as he walked back to his seat. athena followed behind him, "uh, it was good." she smiled, and so did fez.

"for real? shit, you're doing good." he nodded proudly. "what about you? are you okay?" she stood with her back against the wall next to him, looking over at him. he nodded, "i'm cool."

"mm, and ash?" she asked. "hes okay." he said. "swear he got a little taller. almost as tall as me," athena lied through her teeth. fez looked up in disbelief, "you lying." he made a face as he spoke. "im not!" she defended. fez shook his head as he chuckled, "you ain't gotta boost his ego bruh, he be driving me crazy sometimes." he admitted.

athena looked over at fez with an amused face, "on some, 'athena told me i look older' type shit. i was like 'aye bruh, she's lying to you.' because he really be getting on my nerves sometimes, y'know?" the girl bursted into laughter quickly after fez stopped talking. "you're just mad cause i don't compliment you like that,"

he scoffed, "shut up," athena rolled her eyes, "fez, you got so handsome." she teased as she grabbed his cheek, him trying to push her hand away. "you're annoying." he chuckled, his hand rubbing his beard once she pulled her hand away.

"got any plans tonight?" athena asked, her hands now resting on her knees. fez looked up at her, her hair moving with the wind as she looked down at him with a smile.

fez became nervous, stumbling over his words when he tried to speak. "uh, i don't know if you wanted to go but nate came through a few hours ago for kegs and shit. throwing a party tonight. ima be there, and probably rue too. if you wanted to go," he tapped his foot against the ground as he looked up at athena who smiled down at him. "duh i wanna go."

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