Rachel laughed a little bit about his comment on the "privilege of dating Mark." She did consider him a tad stalker-ish but so far he had not done anything dangerous to her and she did not think he would.
"No point in not being nice to people, life is too short to be rude or mean to people." When he mentioned the picture her smile totally vanished and color left her face. "No I am an only child. The girl in the picture was me and the boy... lets just say he is more of a ghost then anything." She made sure not to look at him while she spoke so he would not see the pain in her eyes but there was still a hint of it in her voice.
Reaching the class room she grabbed the handle for the door and pulled it open. "Here we are." She still sounded upset, after he had gone in she set her stuff down on her desk and pulled out the chair to sit down. It felt like her legs would not hold her much longer.
Dante couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. Was she going around telling everybody he was dead? Or did she just wish it? Now thinking this whole thing was a bad idea, he silently followed her in and took the closest vacant seat to her.
He'd always been somebody who rocked on his chair, so when he tilted back a little, he didn't even realise he was doing it and soon fell backwards, which was just like an incident when he was five years old. Dante managed to stop his head from hitting the floor by folding his hands behind it, and ended up lying on his back and looking at the ceiling.
"Huh. There's a pencil stuck in the roof," he said, then pulled himself back up, not minding the laughing of the class. At least this time he wasn't the "doofy fat kid", he was just the "doofy new kid".
This time he sat in his chair properly - for about five seconds, then started to rock in his seat again. Dante then remembered that this exact same situation had happened when he was five, right down to the pencil. He hoped Rachel wouldn't spot the similarities too - maybe she was too focused on her work for that?
Rachel heard a thud and looked up from her page of math. Seeing Tay on his back on the floor she jumped out of her seat and went over to see if he was alright. He was back in his chair before she could help him up.
Placing a hand gently on his shoulder she looked down at him. The class had stopped laughing for the most part and they were not paying attention to them. "That was a loud boom, are you alright?" She did not see any blood on his head or anything so that was a good sign.
She just could not shake the Déjà vu feeling she was having. "I can take you to nurse's office if you need it?" She was still looking a little pale herself from the conversation earlier about Dante.
Dante looked up at her, and wanted to speak to her alone anyway, so he nodded.
"Yeah, my head and neck kinda hurt a bit. It was a pretty rough landing, I think I should just get checked to make sure I haven't damaged anything." He stood up and rubbed the back of his neck. "Besides, math isn't my strong point, anything to get out of it, haha."
He picked up his notebook and pencilcase, then let her lead the way to the office.
Rachel went with him out of the classroom and headed towards the nurses office. She made sure to walk slow so he would not feel rushed. "You are right, best to have the nurse check everything for you. My parents have told me some pretty sad stories about people who hit their head and thought they were fine until it was too late." Math was as about from the office as one could get and she continued to lead him through the maze of hallways towards the office. She kept looking at him out of the corner of her eyes worrying he might not be alright.
Dante waited until there was nobody near and there was a small walkway between two blocks of classes.
"Hey Rachel, just a sec, I wanna show you something," he said, and walked to the walkway. He pulled out his iPod touch and went to the pictures section, scrolling through dozens of images until he found the same picture Rachel had in her locker. In fact, he had more than just that one. He had birthday photos, Christmas photos, and day to day photos from when they were younger.
He bit his lip. "Tay is short for Dante. Since you couldn't come see me, I thought I'd come here to see you. I've really, really missed you, and I really am sorry... I should have known that I needed you after my parents died, rather than starting to push you away. I've got a lot now but I still miss them, and I miss you too. I don't need what I have to be happy, but I do need you. You're the only person I've been completely close to, nowadays I can't even tell who is a real friend and who isn't." Dante looked away for a second, feeling close to tears. He had learned not to show extreme emotions in public thanks to being raised by a high class family. "I know I don't deserve it, because I butchered your hair and pushed you around and hurt you, but I need your help, and you're the only person in the world that I trust to help me."
Rachel stopped when Tay asked her to and then followed him to where he stopped and looked down at his iPod. Seeing the same picture from her locker she froze and a moment later her books, pencil case, and cell phone hit the floor with a thud that echoed through the small area.
"How could you..." The pain and anger in her eyes was apparent and a second later she slapped him across the face as hard as she could before she turned and took off running want to put as much distance between them as possible.
Tears blinded her as she raced through the hallways and outside into the cool morning. It had started to sprinkle but she did not care. Once again Dante had lied to her, she was tired of him treating her like a joke.
Dante waited for her to tire herself out, or stop running, before he followed. He sensed she'd probably run for the exit, so he rubbed his face, that now stung from the slap, gathered Rachel's things, and followed her. Once he found her, and saw her crying, he had to try even harder to hold his own tears back.
"Rachel... I'm sorry for springing this on you. I just couldn't stand to go another day without apologising in person." He moved around in front of her to face her.
"I know I did some awful things to you in the past, and it's not really an excuse, but... I was nine years old, and my parents, the only family I had ever known, had just died. I was a child, a stupid kid who was scared and angry at the world for stealing my parents away. Do you really think I'd have all these photos of us together if you were nothing to me? Though I'm obviously nothing to you, seeing as you seem to tell people I'm a "ghost". Does that mean I'm dead to you, or does that mean you wish I was in the car that night?" He raised his voice a little on his last sentence as the floodgates opened and he couldn't hold his tears back anymore. A mix of sadness, rage, and shame washed over him, from thinking of his parents, rage at himself and Rachel, and shame at crying in front of her and for the things he'd done in the past.
Rachel had taken off with no intention of stopping however with her crying soon she became out of breath and skidded to a stop on the wet grass. She could not longer see the school and figured she was safe. Gasping for air from the run she had just taken she let her tears continue to flow.
So adsorbed was she in her own pain and tears that she did not hear Dante approach. Seeing the bright red mark on his face when he came around to look at her made her feel guiltily as hell. She attempted to force herself to stop crying and had almost succeeded when he mentioned him being in the car. The tears came anew again.
"You assume a lot Dante. The last day I saw you, right after you broke my arm the man you were became dead to me. My dear sweet friend whom I could confide in anything about and share my adventures with died at that moment. The Dante I knew would of never been able to beat on me the way you did that day and then when I thought the pain would not get any worse you proved me wrong by just disappearing out of my life." His tears were breaking her heart but she was not about to tell him that. "So that is why I told Tay that the boy in the picture was more of a ghost."
She turned away from him and crossed her arms as the tears flowed fresh again. The last time she had cried had been the day she knew Dante had left her life for good.
Dante tried to stop himself from crying, and wiped his face along the back of his sleeve. It was so humiliating to be crying in front of someone for the first time in years. He'd learned to cry in private because if he did it in front of his family, he only got yelled at.
"I broke your arm? Oh God, I didn't even know it was broken!" He couldn't help it, and he started to cry even harder. "I wish I had been killed in the crash, at least then I'd be your dead best friend and I wouldn't have lived to become someone you hate."
Dante had to keep wiping his sleeve over his eyes to get rid of the tears, but more only replaced them. "Oh my God why can't I stop crying?! If I did this in front of my family, they'd smack the s**t out of me! This is so humiliating..."
Rachel shoved the memory of him breaking her arm out of her head. That was a long time ago and not important anymore. She did not like to see Dante so upset, at this moment he appeared the chubby little kid she had been inseparable from. Turning around to face him once again she stepped close to him and wiped his non red check lightly with her sleeve. "I must say your eyes are far more alluring when tears are not pouring out of them. Yet I do not believe me slapping you again would make them stop. "
She had managed to stop crying and without thinking she just acted. Slipping her arms around him she stepped close to him and hugged him tightly. "I know I am shorter then you but if you bend some I can be a shoulder for you to cry on." In this moment she would ignore her pain, anger, and loss.
Dante finally managed to get a little control over his tears now that Rachel seemed a little more receptive to him being there. He flinched a little when she touched his cheek, in fear of being hit again, but relaxed when he realised she was just wiping his tears away.
"Bend a little? Either you're short, or I'm tall, so I'd need to be like, bent at 90 degrees to put my head on your shoulder," he teased with a small smile. "I can't believe we used to be the same height." He rested his chin on top of her head and hugged her tightly.
"I'm really, really sorry. You've got no idea how much guilt I carry for it, and how little sleep I get. I've been suffering almost constantly since I was nine; my family is always ordering me around, I can't trust anybody and I've only dated one person, which ended very badly. Even if you don't help me, I want to make up. You're the only person in the entire world that I can trust, and I'm gonna end up jumping off a roof if I have to go another day without someone I can rely on. Ugh... My parents would be so ashamed of me. They would have disowned me and denied my existence to everybody if they'd lived to see me like this."
Rachel let him hug her for now, she was not comfortable with it all. The Dante she knew was long gone and this guy in front of her was a stranger. Yet despite that she tried to comfort him and finally realized what it was she felt for him, pity. No great sense of friendship, no love, no nothing just full out pity like what she felt for animals she found hurt and abandoned.
Hearing the hurt in his voice as he spoke she just squeezed him a little harder. It continued to sprinkle slowly soaking them both. "You are who you are Dante and you have to live with that." Hearing his crying begin to slow down some she loosened her grip on him and tried to step back not sure if he was going to let he go.
Dante sensed her discomfort and let her go. There was no way she'd want to make up with him, so he decided he'd just go home. He reached into his pocket and pulled her phone out.
"Here, you dropped this." He held it out to her and put his hands into his pockets once she took it off him.
"I'm just gonna go back to the hotel. Not the one here, I mean, the one I live in." He didn't say "home" because he never really considered it to be. "Obviously you think we're strangers now... Though that doesn't explain why you still have that photo. Ugh, I just want to go kill myself and get it over with. I want my parents."
Rage filled Rachel and without thinking at all she shoved him hard getting him to the ground then she sat on his chest looking down into his eyes. "What the hell is wrong with you Dante!" She glared at him. "You are still acting the spoiled little brat who beat on me the last day we saw each other. Bad stuff happens to people, no one wants it to happen but at this moment you are still alive and that is what your parents would of wanted."
She pressed down on his shoulders with her hands squishing him farther into the wet grass. "Are you going to go back on your offer, have you become so little a man that you no longer hold to a bargain?" She looked him his eyes, her brown ones hard and demanding an answer.