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Benji Sommer-Passos ([info]lockupyourgirls) wrote in [info]blueridgeau,
@ 2012-07-10 19:17:00

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Characters: Benji & Izzy [& Michi?]
Setting: 2035 in the Donnelly-Ruiz house.
Content: SFW?
Summary: Benji making amends.

It was late September, and most of Benji's former classmates were busy with starting their second year of university studies at Blue Ridge. For Benji, it was just another year she had made it through somehow, another spring, summer, and fall. It had been a while now since she had been released from the hospital, at least a few months. She didn't feel like it could have been just under a year ago that she could have tried to take her own life, but it really was. She was getting better, a little, if she didn't think too much about everything. Making herself numb, focusing her energy on other people and making amends to them, was the easiest route.

She hadn't really known where to go after she got out. Things were a bit better, but she couldn't go back to Taylor and Eddie, even if Taylor wanted her to. She had already gotten in their way enough, and she had allowed Taylor to put her in front of too many things already. Her new family and job both included. Especially with a the baby there now, it was out of the question. She had gone back to her parents house, the first time in a long time, less begrudgingly than she would have expected. They were her mothers, after all, and she knew deep down that they did care about her. It was her fault they were like this now, that the family was still divided up between those who could stand to look at her and those who couldn't. Hunter and Sera gave her space, that was best, and they were all drinkers, which was helpful.

It was actually easier being there as an adult than it had been growing up, like having a pair of roommates rather than real parents. Hunter was of the impression that Benji was old enough to be capable of taking care of herself, and though Sera seemed skeptical, she never really found the way to express it. Benji did her own things, whiling her time away. When she had been in the hospital, one of the mediwitches there had been with her every day practically. They talked about what she was feeling, and how she was supposed to deal with that. She might never shake the guilt entirely, even if she wasn't entirely responsible, but that she could take actions to alleviate some of it. Apologize to people, reconnect, express herself instead of cutting people out. It seemed like a daunting task, but if she couldn't even kill herself properly, she was at the point of trying anything else.

She had made a list of people that she needed to speak with, people that she needed to settle up with. Benji's interactions with people outside of her sister and a few friends had been very minimal, and it was turning into a long list. People that she needed to apologize for bailing out on, for turning away from, not to mention most of her family, for varying reasons. She had a lot of people to apologize to, or at least explain herself to, and she had to start somewhere. It was an unusual situation, but it was a distraction from the emptiness that still dogged her. She didn't know if all of these tears and apologies were going to do anything for anyone, but if nothing else, maybe she could get her aunt and mother speaking again.

It was how she found herself parked outside in her Jeep, along the curb just a few houses up from the Donnelly-Ruiz house. There was a whole houseful of people there that she owed an explanation, and maybe some free punches, to. But lucky for her, most of them were away at school this time of year. This early in the morning, her aunts could be at work as well, if she were really lucky. She had a hunch that if she was luckier still, and he hadn't entirely changed on her for the worst, then her best friend would be there. Like her, he would be nowhere to be found in that boring university world.

She had drank an iced coffee on the way over, struggled not to pour any liquor into it, and now it was grumbling loudly in her stomach. The blonde felt incredibly anxious, sick with it, feeling like the meager contents of her stomach might come up at any second as she sat forward in the Jeep and gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles. She could do this, once she convinced herself to move. What if Tatum opened the door? It wasn't likely, but it wasn't impossible either. She wasn't sure if she could deal with that, whether her aunt came at her physically or verbally. But she had to start somewhere, and Izzy was somewhere. He was her best friend, and Kia's brother. He deserved some kind of something from her, even if she didn't know what.

There was no denying how much she felt like a creep, hunching nauseously over her dashboard, and scoping out a house that had once been like her second home. She had practically grown up there. If she hadn't been with Kia, she was with Izzy, that used to be a given. Just looking at the house now was making panic grip her heart roughly. There were so many questions, and complications. Was Kia's room the same, or was it gone? Which would be worse? Would Izzy even want to see her, or would he want to strangle her like his mother?

Ben knew that there was only so much longer that she could put things off, she hadn't come all of the way to Georgia just to sit on the side of the road, and she braced herself as she finally stepped out of the driver's side and down onto the pavement. She crossed the street and her aunt's front lawn, her legs feeling like jelly despite the confident swagger she tried to put up. It mostly fell flat. She wasn't back to herself, no matter what kind of list she was working on. She still looked sick, even if it had been a while since her discharge. Even her hair had gotten longer, though she kept it mostly tied away and out of her face.

Once upon a time, she would have bounded through this front door without a second thought or so much as a thought. Now however, she stood shuffling in place on the front mat for a few moments, before finally getting up the gall to reach out and ring the doorbell. "Fuck," she hissed, already wanting to run back to her Jeep, every bone in her body agreeing with her and seeming to will her in that direction. She reached up instead, holding the charm on the necklace that hung around her neck. Kia's, one she had left behind in Benji's room at school. Only luck that she had ever found it, after everything. She lifted it to her lips, kissing it briefly as she waited for the door to be opened. "Look after me, babe. This could be it," she breathed, feeling marginally better.

When the door did open, and she saw Michi standing on the opposite side, Benji felt her heart come up her throat a little and she fought hard not to take off in a dash. "... Is Izzy home?" she asked awkwardly, mentally kicking herself for not saying something else, something better.

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2012-07-10 10:47 pm UTC (link)
Michi had been home for the day, taking the first few weeks of retirement at home with Izzy. She figured he needed the encouragement to get out there and do something; get back on his feet. She had tried to get him to sign up for some classes but he kept telling her classes were for pussies. "Give it time," she had told Tatum and Sam. "He just needs time."

She had busied herself with finding little projects around the house, currently she was working on trying to create a flow chart for the kids and their chores. She was elbow deep in post it notes when the door bell rang. Michi pushed the post it notes aside on the dining room table, missing the one that was stuck in her hair and made her way to the door. She pulled it open to reveal Benji and a hundred emotions hit her all at the same time.

Her lips twitched, her eyes went a little glassy. "Ben," she said quietly, stepping aside to let the blonde in. "Yeah, yeah he's in his room. Don't know if the bum is up yet though. You... uh... you wanna go check on him?" her voice shook a little despite herself.

She pressed her hand to her face, covering half her mouth. "You- you look good kid," she watched as Benji took off toward Isamu's room.

Isamu had plans after high school. They were going to move away; the three of them. Kia would do whatever brilliant thing she was going to do and he and Benji would pull in some money. He had intended to be a motocross racer and a skateboarder, he was sure he'd win the X-Games some day. Then their whole world fell apart in one night. A lot of people blamed his best friend, his own mom wanted to rip the girl's throat out. So he was stuck in the middle of a war that no one would win. He hadn't been able to be there for Benji when she needed someone and he had never been able to forgive himself for that.

He was stuck; unable to really get back on the tracks. He had been on his board a few times, Michi and Sam even went out with him a couple times to try and encourage him. He had been good once but after Kia died he lost his spunk, most of his fight. Everything felt grey and bland. It was the same ticking time bomb every day and he was just wasting away.

He didn't get a lot of sleep, just laid in bed a lot. Most days he rolled out of bed, smoked a blunt, drank a few beers, and headed down to the skate park where he would just sit for hours. It wasn't any different that day. He had already smoked one blunt and was half way through a bottle of red stripe when he heard someone coming up the stairs. He figured it was Mich so he shoved the ash tray and the bottle under his bed, just hoping that would be enough.

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2012-07-10 11:05 pm UTC (link)
Benji didn't really know what to say to Michi as she stepped into the house. It was the same, but it had a foreign feeling to it just the same. She couldn't shake the weird feeling that took her over, reminding her that when she went upstairs, there would be no ducking into Kia's room to bug her for a few minutes before she hit up Izzy's room. She would have to go straight up there.

She was glad that the older woman didn't press her for much though, and she hadn't tried to go for her throat, which was one-up from her wife. But that strange feeling still hung in between them, and Ben was glad for a quick escape up the stairs. "Thanks," she finally managed to get out, hesitating at the bottom step. "You too."

With that, she disappeared upstairs in a hurry of feet thumping, hesitating once more as she reached the landing at the top. She looked down the hall, finding it the same up here as well. Every door was the same, everybody had their room. She imagined they'd all be the same inside if she took a quick look. Using every bit of willpower, she forced herself to keep walking past Kia's door, heading upstairs to the third floor instead where Iz's room was located. If it had been a year before, or even few months before, Ben wasn't sure she would have had the power to just walk by her girlfriend's room like that and not go inside. Even if she knew it would hurt her to see in the end. She still wasn't sure she could make it downstairs later without at least checking.

When she reached Izzy's door finally, Benji waited outside for just a second, before turning the knob and pushing it open with her shoulders, poking her head inside in a sad attempt to mimic old times. "Anybody home?" she asked, her voice just a bit hoarse.

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2012-07-10 11:19 pm UTC (link)
"Ma I'm just..." Izzy turned his head to see Benji sticking her head in the door and he stopped dead in his tracks. Arms hanging at his sides, unreadable expression on his face. How had they gotten to this point? The one where he couldn't think of anything to say at all to his best friend in the world? What the fuck had they been doing with their lives the past two years.

He felt his stomach drop as he stared at her. There was an immediate lump in his throat, he tried to say something but there was no getting around that lump. He swallowed hard and placed his hand in the same place that Michiko had place hers just moments before; on his face, covering half of his mouth.

"Get the fuck in here," he said motioning her forward with his arm and holding the other one out. He sniffed, trying his best to keep it together but any moment he was likely to just loose it and start crying like a bitch.

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2012-07-10 11:30 pm UTC (link)
Benji had been unconsciously holding her breath, waiting for Izzy's reaction to her presence. When it wasn't a negative one, however, it was like a weight lifted off of her shoulders. She had barely spoken to him, or anyone else in the house, since Kia's funeral. Which had been an absolutely shit show after the way Tatum had reacted to her showing up there, like she didn't have a right or something. All of these years, Benji had told herself that it was true, she had no right, she was a disgrace to Kia's memory. But she wanted to change that.

Just the fact that his first reaction wasn't to punch her out was a good sign, in Benji's opinion. She was only a little cautious as she stepped further into the room, taking quick glances around. It hadn't changed much, not even the smoke hanging in the air. "Donnellys gotta have their blunts," she joked weakly. It was no secret that the family habit had been passed down to both Iz and Kia. She was moving closer to him, but not close enough for contact just yet. "Some things don't change."

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2012-07-10 11:41 pm UTC (link)
He waved his arm around, trying to clear the smoke. "Yeah," he said gently, shuffling forward just a bit. "I uh," he smoothed a hand over his hair, it was getting a bit longer, almost nearing the time for another shave but he hadn't been in the mood for personal grooming lately, not even his five o'clock shadow had been touched lately. "Still got a taste for the green," he grinned. "And you still dress like a trucker," he teased.

Izzy stood motionless, just trying to take it all in as he looked across the room at her. It hadn't been that long had it? It felt like forever since they had stood together in his room with any semblance of normalcy. "I missed the hell outta you," he finally cracked, trying to stifle a little cry by covering his mouth.

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2012-07-11 12:09 am UTC (link)
"Yeah, that one runs in my family too," Benji retorted quickly, finally cracking a little smile. It was good to know that their banter still came easily enough, even after all of this time. "My ma gave me this jacket, you don't like it?"

It was easy to joke and make small talk than it was to express herself, but as soon as Izzy let out his little cry, she felt herself tensing up all over, tears springing to her eyes. Despite the tough exterior that she had intended to keep up. It was hard to be her casual bad bitch self right then. "Fuck," she groaned, running a hand through her hair and clutching at a handful of it. "Me too," she admitted weakly.

"I'm so.. I don't even know, man, I really don't. But I'm real sorry. I know your mom-- I just don't blame her, s'all."

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2012-07-11 12:36 am UTC (link)
Together their family's probably spent more money in weed than most other family's spent on toilet paper. "Oh I love it," he said, smiling easily. "It looks sharp kid."

Izzy had lived with three grown women for his entire life; he didn't get off the hook without talking about things when they were bothering him. So as soon as it was out there, he just had to keep pouring it out. "Don't," he said shaking his head. "Don't go apologizin' to me. I can't say nothin' for my mom, she wasn't in her right head but me... I shoulda been there. I shoulda been there that night and every night after that," he bit the inside of his cheek. "Can't change it now but," he shrugged. "I just, I don't want you to be sorry anymore, I never blamed you," he wiped his eyes in one swift motion.

"The only thing that made losin' her worse, was losin' you too. So don't apologize anymore, just..." he couldn't quite bring his eyes to her. "Just don't away again."

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2012-07-11 09:56 am UTC (link)
"Kid, I always look sharp as fuck," Benji assured him with a sniffle, mimicking his motion as she tried to weakly wipe her eyes using her arm and sleeve of her jacket. She shook her own head as Izzy told her not to apologize. "No, I gotta," she told him, inhaling deeply and trying to center herself. "It's 'bout the only way to make it better.. 'cos I sure as hell feels responsible. Think I'm always gonna be," she breathed, her hand still rummaging through her hair in frustration. "Your ma ain't lyin.. I didn't pull no blade on her, but I did this."

She could still remember the night they had gone out, she had been waiting in this very room while Kia got ready. She walked over to an armchair that was set near Izzy's television, flopping down into it and pulling her knees up. "Remember I asked you to go?" she murmured, wishing once she said it that she had never brought it up. Neither of them could have known, or realized, how much of a different his being there could have made. "We could have took them. All three of us, I mean. Keys was a regular scrapper," Benji went on weakly, her eyes filling with tears again. It was what had gotten her girlfriend killed in the end. Benji had brought her there, but if she wasn't trying to clean up Benji's mess, if she had just stayed still and let them beat on Benji instead, she could still be with them, but she had to get right in the middle. That was Kia's style.

Ben was glad that Iz didn't blame her, but she still blamed herself. "I got nowhere left to go," she added hoarsely, clearing her throat a bit and resting her face against her pulled up knees. "I put.. Tay in a real awkward spot, when I'm around. I just gotta stay away. And I'd rather eat a bowl of broken glass than go stay with Maxie and the Flanders in Maine," she sighed, automatically using her mother's favorite nickname for the Donnelly grandparents. "I'm stuck with my folks for a while. Nowhere else to go."

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2012-07-11 04:43 pm UTC (link)
"Always," he grinned weakly. He only nodded as he listened to Benji. "I'm sorry too Ben," he said quietly. He grabbed his bean bag chair from near his bed and dragged it over to the chair near Benji. He incidentally knocked over some empties and hurriedly kicked them under his bed before crossing the room where he sat down in the beanbag chair.

"Woulda made 'em look like damn fools," he agreed with a sniffle. At the very least he and Kia would have been able to get Benji to back down. "I think we're all gonna feel guilty for a long time," he said quietly, resting his head against the chair that she was sitting in.

"Yeah well, might be nice to not be stuck alone anymoe," he said quietly. "It's my own damn fault. I aint even mad, just... fucked."

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2012-07-16 07:10 pm UTC (link)
"I ain't never gonna feel anythin' but guilty," Benji assured him, her voice cracking a little as she pulled her knees up into the chair with herself. "I been doin' a lot of thinking about everything, pretty much all I do is think about her. An' I know she wanted me to be happy, so I gotta be happy, but it's.. tough, real tough."

Kia was always happy, most of the time. When she was getting her way, as her mother always said. She wouldn't have wanted Benji to spend all of her time grieving, and that did help Benji on her way to getting past all of her feelings, but she wasn't entirely there yet. Everytime she thought about how happy Kia was, she thought about how happy she had been with her.

"I can't take bein' alone no longer," the blonde admitted weakly. "I been hiding from everybody for so long, I dunno how to act no more."

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2012-07-16 07:55 pm UTC (link)
He reached up behind him and put his hand on her knee. "I know," he said giving her knee a little squeeze. "It's what she woulda wanted for all of us ya know? Just to be happy."

He sat with that for a while in silence, his hand still on her knee and sighed. "Well I aint goin' anywhere so yer stuck with me," he said. "You don't gotta act no way, just... just be Benji. I missed her," he gave her a small smile. "I've made a fine mess of myself on my own girl."

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2012-08-06 08:22 pm UTC (link)
"You jus' never know how important somethin' can be until it's all gone," Benji sighed shakily, closing her eyes for a moment to gather her thoughts as Izzy squeezed her knee. "Gotta think positive. That's my mantra now, y'know. Just gotta think positive no matter how much it hurts.. it's gonna hurt anyway, so why not smile and suffer at the same time?"

She was relieved to hear that he didn't have any expectations from her, most people expected her to just wake up one day and be fine again, and it made her feel a little better. "Thanks," she murmured. "Not sure I could act with you anyway.. you'd figure me out."

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2012-08-13 12:35 am UTC (link)
"You're right," he said closing his eyes. "Just gotta be positive. Aint no reason to be livin' like this," he said opening his eyes to look around the room. "I aint doin' anyone no good by sulkin' around like an idiot. Aint no use in... in not livin'," there was a lump in his throat when he said it.

"Damn right," he said with a small smile. "You been my best friend since I can remember. I don't want you any other way. I love you Benji."

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2012-08-13 01:42 pm UTC (link)
"Seems like a waste if we don't live, but it's gonna be so different," Benji muttered back, managing a weak smile of her own. It already had been so strange, the last year felt like some unending nightmare in a lot of ways, but there were a lot more years to come and the two of them would be screwed if they didn't man up and face the day eventually. Neither of them were doing any good wasting away. Hadn't they both had big dreams once? She knew those dreams couldn't be dead, but they had been dying.

"You been my best friend since I can remember too," Benji told him softly. "I love you too, man. You dunno how much. I'm so goddamn sorry, man, shit.."

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2012-08-18 04:40 pm UTC (link)
"Right about that," he said managing a weak smile. "We always were better together though man. We can get outta this mess we made for ourselves."

Izzy rested his head against her knee and closed his eyes again. "It's alright Benji-boo. We're gonna be okay."

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