|MJ's a little (flirty) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2013-11-22 15:56:00
|Entry tags:||abigail hobbs, cheshire cat|
Lin skipped out on work after lunch. He touched his stomach and made sad eyes, and gave the usual line about not feeling well and not wanting to vomit in the beakers, because it'd be weird to know, to the exact milliliter, just how much he'd retched up, so he was going to go. He'd check in tomorrow.—His lab coat, all stiff white, was abandoned on its hook, solitary in the sterility of the lab with textured, jewel stickers on the collar, as he peeled out of the DRI parking lot with his foot flattening the gas. To say he was angry would be at once accurate and an understatement. Really, he was just tired, but it was easier to be angry and to let it take a hold of him in his blood and spur him into action that he was probably going to feel bad about tomorrow.
In no time at all, his sneakers were squeaking on high-gloss tiles and he was jabbing the button for Neil's floor like someone who had never been in an elevator before, and thought, for some bizarre reason, you had to hit it every second or the entire structure would collapse on itself in a relentless pull of gravity, and voilà, black hole.
When the thing dinged upon arrival, the boy elbowed out of the carriage and all but ran down the wide hallway. There were so few thoughts in his head, he had to circle back around to find the right door twice. All he knew, all that mattered, was that somehow Iris had gotten the shit beat out of her by Sam, who had invited her over, probably for that express purpose, and that Chloe, who had moved in across the hall because, oh, man, she just had to, had been the one to make the call. Iris' only response to the attack aside (it's not her fault. She should have killed me, etc.), Sam's stupid-ass reasons for physically assaulting someone aside, there was no reason to call the cops, he didn't think. He'd seen the pictures. If Chloe really wanted to break up the fight, she should have called security. She could have gone out and screamed at them. Anything.
Now Sam was locked the fuck up, which probably was terrible for someone who'd been, you know, kidnapped and held against her will so recently, surrounded by strange men, and Iris was probably strapped to a bed with IVs up the proverbial ass, and it was Chloe who put them there.
Lin knocked on the door across the hall from Neil's. And he made himself do it calmly. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his cords and rocked back on heels to appear as casual as he could, because she was going to look through the peephole and he needed her to open the door.
Despite all of Chloe's posturing on the journals about what had happened, honestly, she felt like shit. It wasn't guilt that was eating her up, no, because she never really felt guilt or remorse for anything that she did. She just felt bad, tired and sore, the bruises from the accident just beginning to blossom on her arms and knees where she had hit the back of the seat, on her face where she had slammed face-first into the headrest. It wasn't a pretty look on her, and she didn't wear it well, but looking good was really the last thing on her mind lately.
The journals had gone quiet not long after her post, and Chloe took that as a cue to lay down and get some rest. A couple of muscle relaxers were popped and she had settled down on the couch to let the television lull her to sleep. She was uncertain as to how much time had passed when the knock to the door came, interrupting a dream that was forgotten as soon as her eyes opened. A hand scrubbed at her eyes, working the sleep and the fuzz out of them, and she got up, tugging the robe around her a little more securely. "Just a moment," she called out, sleep in her voice, and then she padded towards the door, a little unsteady, her eyes a little glassy from the meds she was on.
Normally, she would have looked through the peephole to see who was at the door, but her thoughts weren't where they normally were. Instead, she simply threw the deadbolt and tugged the door open a few inches to peer out. The sight of Lin standing there took several moments for her to register, having not really seen him in many months. Confusion flooded her expression, her brow furrowing down. "Lin? What- what are you doing here?"
As soon as the door opened Lin pushed his foot into the crack and jammed it wide, out of the woman's reach. It was a little hostile, yes. But he didn't want her closing it on him. He wrapped a hand around the thickness of the door and dragged dark ringed eyes up from the teal of his sneaker. He saw Chloe, in her robe, with yellow purpling on her face (car accident, his brain told him), her hair fucked and her eyes the kind of glassy he associated with Daniel. She was a mess and she looked like shit.
He'd expected the haughty, white-skinned princess, all prim and dickish, not this, and it gave him pause. Two confused people stared at one another. Lin himself wasn't at 100%. He was paler and tired, a little drawn, with his pupils blown with anger, but he didn't look like that..
His hesitation faded.
"What is your PROBLEM?" What started off as a normal-volumed question exploded at the end, and suddenly, his hand was flat on the rich wood of the door and he was forcing it open, more muscle on his thin frame than was often assumed. His shoulder butted the door farther, helping it along. "You can't just—"
He gestured wildly at nothing.
"Chloe, seriously, what the fuck?"
His forceful entry took her by surprise enough that she didn't even think to push back at him. Instead, she stepped back, the door swinging open further as he pressed into her home, angry words that didn't quite make sense at the moment. For a long while, she didn't know what to say. It seemed that no one had anything to say to her as of late unless it was to yell at her about this or that, half of which wasn't even her fault or her doing.
Chloe backed up further, white-knuckled grip pulling at the front of her robe, tugging it around her almost protectively, keeping a fair distance from the angry man in her doorway. "My problem isn't anything!" she said sharply, her voice a bit harsher than she meant. "I called the police because someone was beating the hell out of someone else in the hallway. How in the world did I do wrong?" Yes, she might have called security, but judging by the way Sam was hitting on that girl, she thought it was best to get the police involved. "Or is this somehow all my doing, yet again? If that's all you've come here to say, then you can leave, Lin. I'm too tired to deal with it." She gave a shake of her head, arms folded over her chest, closed off to him.
Lin remembered the hallway, with Chloe keeping Sam up against the wall, choking the air from her, with a wicked knife at the soft skin of Lin's throat and Beast!Daniel drawing blood, where blood had been drawn before. He tried to push it from his mind, or to use it to conquer the daily onslaught of anxieties and fears, to tell himself that he'd gotten through that, so what more could there be? But then there had been the fire, there had been Ian, Sam in the hospital, Chloe preying on the girl like an especially proper, but very diseased vulture, and it was just getting to be too much. Lin should have felt bad. He should have remembered that Chloe had had her share of trauma, what with the recent car accident, and he should have acknowledged that, for some, it was triggering, or at least difficult, to confront and break up a violent altercation.
But he didn't.—Her retreat was not hounded by him coming any closer. Lin remained in the doorway, lingering there like a ghost, but the anger that came off of his was palpable, and probably just as dangerous as stalking toward her might have been.
"YOU'RE A BULLY, CHLOE," he yelled. "YOU KNOW IT AND I KNOW IT."
Lin had encountered more than his fair share of those who thought it okay to hurt others for their own amusement or to prop up the falling parapets of their own self-esteem. And he had little patience for them. He understood, in a rational way, that they had their own issues and they took them out on others, and while he usually espoused understanding and nonviolence, it hadn't ever gotten him anywhere, not really. The only remedy he'd used that had actually worked was fucking bringing a fucking bat along with him in school. This was the same. You had to meet these people where they came from, or they never left you alone.
"You psychologically abuse the girl you called the fucking police on. You get that, right? You fuck her the fuck up because you're a sad fucking case and she's on a dick you want. That, Chloe, is what you "did wrong." There are HUNDREDS of other things you could have done, but you had to go and do the ONE, the ONE thing that would get the fucking both of them in trouble, send them both to some fucking cell. The one thing that would be easiest and most fucking convenient for you, and then you had to go on the journals and say something about it, because you can't keep your fucking mouth SHUT about ANYTHING. You have to gloat. Then you wonder, why, oh fucking why, do people dislike me? IT MUST BE BECAUSE I'M BETTER THAN THEY ARE. Oh, yeah. Fuck, that's it! You are. You are!" Lin wasn't hysterical. He didn't ever lose control of his words that much, but they were flying fast and his face was red and he slammed the palm of his hand on the door. "I don't fucking get you. Get the fuck over yourself."
Chloe didn't say anything for a long while, letting the words hit her, one after another, everything that everyone thought about her all at once. She was more than aware that she was likely the most hated person among this group, and most of the time, she didn't give a damn about what people thought about her. But this wasn't most of the time. This was now, when she was hurting, when not a single thing had gone right in the past weeks. She couldn't talk about what she had gone through, not even in an academic sense, because the parties involved didn't want her saying anything. From a car accident that she was supposed to know how to deal with, to hostility every time she turned around, to a life that had come to revolve around Sam fucking Alexander no matter what she did, Chloe was just tired.
Oh, she was well aware that she had brought most of it upon herself, and she would make no claims to be an innocent angel in this situation, but this time, Sam had brought it upon herself. She was quiet for a long while, flinching visibly when Lin brought his hand down hard on the door, her eyes going wide for a moment before she gave the man her back. "Next time I see Sam beating the hell out of someone who isn't fighting back," Chloe started, her voice pitched quiet, "I'll just let it happen. I'll close my door and block it out because heaven forbid should I do what any other person in this town would have done and call the police." She looked out towards the window across from her, her jaw tight with tension. "You can leave, Lin. If that's all you've come to do, then just go. I'm quite aware of how you and everyone else feel, so you can save your words."
The tension between the sharp blades of Lin's shoulders ratcheted up again as Chloe turned in a flat whirl of robes, her words the epitome of passive-aggressiveness that he just couldn't deal with, now or ever. Such had always felt to him like something too subtle, a thorn in a shoe, but with socks between, so it only stabbed you every once in a while, even when it wanted to be doing it all the time. Black-brown eyes narrowed on the back of the woman's head and he bared his teeth in disgust.
"You aren't any other person, you dumbass. You're you. Isn't that like, you're whole fucking thing? You're not like anyone else. You saw who it was and you made your fucking decision. You can't act like "any other person," when you're not one. You're her fucking bully, of course your fucking standards are different. And you know what, even if they weren't, your bullshit doesn't stand, because I sure as fuck wouldn't have called the police, not unless I saw a weapon. So shut the fuck up." Lin threw a hand toward Chloe, cutting at the air between them. He had yet to budge from the doorway, but he knew from her body language that she was more than wary. He didn't care and he didn't try to change it.
He stabbed himself in the chest with earnest fingers as he continued. He never saved his words.
"I tried to be your friend, Chloe, but I've been Sam too many fucking times in my life to sit back. You might think coming out and fucking sucker punching someone is what qualifies as assault, as abuse, but you harangue her, harass her, and make her feel fucking INSANE. Emotional abuse is abuse. Psychological and verbal abuse are fucking abuse. You want people to like you? Stop being a piece of shit. Try thinking of someone else for a change, who, by the way, SHOULDN'T be someone else's significant other. Act like a fucking adult, take responsibility, stop trying to make everyone feel sorry for you, and shut the fuck up. Do the right fucking thing once in a while, and when someone is your friend, or tries, don't fuck up their other fucking friend to suit you."
As Lin continued on, the tension in Chloe's jaw grew, the tendons in her neck standing out as she continued to stare straight ahead towards the window. Every word was a tiny knife in her back, digging in and taking root, reminding her time and time again how horrible of a person everyone here thought she was. "The right thing, Lin? There is absolutely nothing I do anymore that is 'right' in anyone's eyes. It all comes right back around to how horrible I am every single time, so I often wonder why I bother even attempting to talk to anyone any longer." She gave another shake of her head, fingers digging into her arms where they clenched tight, swallowing past the lump that had risen in her throat. Her head was pounding fiercely, enough that she had to close her eyes against it, brows furrowing down with the intensity of the sudden headache.
"No one's going to like me, Lin," Chloe finally said. "I could be the most sincere person with everyone from now forward, but everyone would just roll their eyes and turn away from me. I'm used to it, by now. Or at least, I ought to be." These were the times when she wanted to be back with Dr. Anderson. Even with all the bad that had gone on there, she had at least been wanted, for the skills she had, the person she was. It didn't matter that some people there had disliked her, everything else made up for it. And that's what was lacking here. In everyone's eyes, she was an enemy, and all because of Sam. Dear, sweet, precious, fucking Sam, whom everyone seemed to love and want to protect, who could do no wrong even when she was beating a girl unconscious in the hallway.
Her lips pursed as she gave a shake of her head, moving towards the kitchen with steps that were, perhaps, a bit unsteady. Her head continued to pound a furious beat behind her eyes, but she pushed forward to the amber bottle on the counter, opening it with shaking hands. "Just go away, Lin. I get it, alright? I get that I'm horrible and that I ought to not even breathe in her direction. I get it." Chloe poured two pills into her hand and took them dry, leaning against the counter with the palms of her hands, looking back in his direction. "So just go."
Lin didn't listen, because Lin never listened. Had he known her thoughts, he would have informed her, quite vigorously, that no one thought Sam wasn't to blame for fucking beating the shit out of Iris. That was, obviously, not the best course of action against someone who wanted to erase herself from the planet, who couldn't stand up to a single word anyone said. But one person's wrong didn't negate another's. Sam fucking up Iris didn't make Iris' shit with Ian okay, just like it didn't make it okay for Chloe to continue to be a complete bitch. And the only reason it may have looked to Chloe like everyone wanted to protect Sam, was because from her, Chloe, they did. That was like a shark thinking it was pretty offensive that everyone kept trying to sock it in the nose when it swam up to take a bite out of them and their struggling child.
"You don't get it. That's the fucking problem!" The boy in the doorway finally came forward, with his heart pounding in his throat. For a moment, he slipped into German. His profanities taking on a sudden guttural swerve, courtesy of habit and Daniel, before veering back into English with no grace and no pause. "It's not that you're horrible, you ass. It's that you act horrible and that you don't feel bad about it. If you think people are inherently good or evil, you're stupid. It's not that. It's that people CHOOSE their actions in most cases. And in those cases, you choose to hurt people. That's the fucking problem!"
She popped some pills and Lin advanced farther. He didn't give a shit if her hands were shaking. Her eyes may have had a gloss to them, but his were shining with what could only be tears. Lin's emotions tended to attack in tandem and his true anger rarely ever came without crying.
"You're supposed to apologize," said the boy viciously. The rich fabric of the sofa sprung up beneath his fingers before he realized he'd walked into it. The TV blared something unintelligible. Lin looked down, blinking, before he snatched a throw pillow from the overstuffed cushions and came close enough to smack Chloe upside the head with it. Which he did. "When you hurt someone, you're supposed to feel bad and say sorry!"
The pills were bitter against her tongue, barely going down when she swallowed, but she fought through it, a hand to her mouth to keep them from coming right back up in rebellion. It wasn't that she chose to hurt people, but if they were that weak that they opened themselves up to it, then so be it. Her family had always been a little cutthroat, difficult to get by in unless you were willing to be ruthless. It was just the way she had been raised. And now she was supposed to change her very nature just to keep from upsetting the deliciate, precious Samantha Alexander?
She was about to say something in retort when the pillow came and smacked her upside the head. Any other time, any other day, and it was something she would have been able to brush off, but right then, with her head pounding, her own pulse heavy in her ears, Chloe just couldn't deal. The tears that had been burning behind her eyes came in silence, and she bowed her head, shoulders hunched up to protect herself from another blow of the pillow. "No one would believe me even if I said it," she said quietly, the words barely audible. "So why bother?" Chloe looked down at the countertop, the surface swimming in front of her, and she blinked fiercely.
"THEY - WILL - IF - YOU - MEAN - IT!" Each word was a smack on cranium. Lin didn't use as much force as he wanted or as much as he could have to thwack Chloe with the throw pillow, but he still hit her, even when her thin shoulders lifted in protection. Where she was quiet, he was not. Lin's lungs could produce a lot of air and he could amplify sound, if he wanted to. He was yelling, but as of yet, he wasn't screaming, which he figured was considerate enough. Months with Daniel had made him accustomed to throwing things and yelling. He'd broken more glasses and had thrown more books since moving in with the man than he ever had before. And shoes. He'd lost a few shoes, too, after chucking them at the walls between rooms just to make the drunk jump.
That didn't mean, though, that right now he wasn't 100% serious, because he fucking was. If he had it in him to beat the shit out of someone, to slam their face into a doorknob as Sam might've, that's what he would have been doing. But he didn't. He'd kick and swing if someone came at him, he'd lift a bat at them, but he wouldn't cave their head in unless it was in defense. A pillow was the most dangerous weapon in his offensive arsenal. It was a compact enough thing, with stupid decorative shit sewn to it that probably didn't feel good on raw skin, and that was good enough for him.
He kicked the counter behind Chloe in an expression of anger that he couldn't take out on another person. From where he was, he couldn't tell she was near crying.
"You have to bother! Bothering is a part of life. What the actual fuck?" He hit her one last time for good measure.
It wasn't the shout that made her jump, but the kick to her counter did have her flinching, lifting her head to look at Lin, red-cheeked with bloodshot eyes. She didn't look like herself, and Chloe was well aware of that. She hadn't felt like herself in so long that she had almost forgotten what it was like. "All people will say if I even attempt to apologise is that I'm doing it to get something. Because that's all I do, you realise. I'm a selfish thing who's never done something without wanting something in return." Her voice was breaking up as she spoke, and she stopped suddenly, looking up towards the overhead light, trying to will the tears to stop flowing. She was breathing hard, the heel of her palm hitting the top of the counter a moment later. "I've fucked it all up, Lin. I don't even want him, but I can't take back anything that I've said now. I don't- I don't know." It was a confession of sorts as she let out a long, shuddering breath. "I just don't know anymore." Her tongue flicked out to wet lips that had suddenly gone dry, and she turned away from him again, wiping at her eyes with a shaking hand.
He watched her turn wet eyes to the lights above and it was then that something in him was supposed to stir, and then that his over-empathic tendencies were supposed to kick in and force a retreat, make him run away and hide. Strangely, however, and it was strange, weird and cold, he felt nothing of the sort. Dark eyes remained steely on Chloe as she turned to wipe her tears away.
There was a lull of semi-silence as the TV continued its benign, oblivious chattering, the woman breathed heavily, and Lin did too. He stared at her. Hard.
The boy was hardly an intimidating presence. He was small, narrow-shouldered, and didn't enjoy making threats. He knew that as well as anyone. If his shadow fell across a doorway, people behind would fucking tell him to get off their motherfucking porch.
But sometimes he wished it was different, in a vague, naive way. He wished he could scare Chloe, but he couldn't.
The quiet lasted until that second, when he screamed: "SAY YOU'RE SORRY!" and threw the stupid pillow on the ground and kicked it away.
It hit a lamp. The lamp fell to the floor and broke, and he didn't give a fuck.
Minutes upon minutes of inaction were broken by the sound of Lin screaming and the lamp breaking only seconds after that. She jerked, turning back towards him with widened eyes, looking between him and the lamp, his words still ringing in her ears. "I'm not apologising to YOU!" she finally shouted back at him, something kicking to life behind that drugged gaze of hers. She was unsteady as she pushed away from the counter and reeled towards him, something decidedly unstable in her eyes. "I don't have anything to apologise to YOU about!!" There were bright spots of colour upon her cheeks, dark hair a mess about her face, and there was very little of the normally collected Chloe Murphy, almost unrecognizable as she was right then. "I've got my own bloody problems to deal with that don't circle around that stupid woman and whomever she chooses to beat senseless feet away from my door! She deserves to have the cops called on her if she's that daft. At least I've the sense not to get myself arrested time and time again!" Chloe was screeching by the end of it, her throat aching with the volume she threw at Lin, her head spinning with how hard she was yelling, the lack of oxygen starting to affect her. "So get OUT!" she screamed again, stooping to grab up that pillow he had kicked, throwing it at him.
The broken doll on the floor snapped to life, its strings pulled taut by an invisible puppeteer. It was a life Lin could've done without, but it came anyway, loud and shrieking. The lingering bruises on Chloe's skin darkened as her face reddened with anger, blood rushing there, vasodilation and sympathetic nervous system both kicking into action. She had come at him with a knife once, and the boy, there by the counter, in the t-shirt and cords, wasn't afraid of her. There was only anger, and her self-entitled screams only fueled the fire.
Lin swatted the pillow away as it flew at his head. Hard fabric bounced off of the bone of his forearm and he came forward, toward Chloe. The pillow pattered away on the floor, forgotten at last.
"NOT TO ME, YOU STUPID FUCK," he screamed back at her, drawing ever closer, the gulf between them narrowing with each second. He didn't rush. He advanced, which was perhaps more menacing, but who knows? His hands found Chloe's shoulders and he pushed her hard. "How are you so fucking stupid? No one exists up in there but you! Can you think past the present? Tell me, CAN YOU THINK PAST THE PRESENT?"
She stumbled back at the hard push, the small distance that had narrowed between them with his advance widening sharply in a handful of heartbeats. Chloe didn't push back towards him, catching herself with a hand upon the counter, regaining her balance as she glared at him. "She can fight her own bloody fights, Lin," Chloe snapped at him, knives in the words. "And if I thought she deserved an apology, I might give it to her. But you know what? I'm not sorry. She's got trouble written all over her and she's going to drag the lot of you down with her." Her fingers curled into a tight fist against the counter, but still, Chloe kept her ground. If he wanted more, he'd have to come to her. "But maybe that's what the lot of you deserve. Dragged into disaster by that mistake for a woman." Her eyes might have been glassy with the medications that ran through her veins, but her mind was sharp behind them, words meant to cut.
The words did their job, though their edges were more dulled than they might have been at another time. Lin's adrenaline was high and pumping fast, spurring his heart and the quick mechanics of his brain, and the shit just cut at the surface. She drew no blood and she didn't bite to the bone. Lin's observational skills when angry were slower, less acute, than they would otherwise be, and he didn't notice Chloe curl her hand into a fist. But he did come at her again, this time with the palm of a hand sharp on the outside of her shoulder, hitting the ball of her joint with relentless force.
"If she's a fucking mistake, what the hell does that make you?" He asked, words butting up against each other aggressively, clipped by hard teeth in exaggerated diction. "You sit there and you cry, and you say you've fucked up, no one will like you, and you know what? You're fucking right. Because you're a shit person, Chloe, and it's your fucking fault."
There was something calculating in her gaze when he approached again to hit her shoulder, and she rocked back a step but eventually came back to where she had been standing, her hand still steady upon the counter. "What does that make me? Someone who might actually do something other than be a leech on everyone around her!" Chloe snapped back, lifting her chin a little bit. "You know, the sort of person who doesn't attract the attention of sociopaths, who actually contribute to society instead of just taking everything that they get their dirty little fingers on." There was a lift of her brows, challenge in her gaze, pushing with her words instead of her person. "I might be a 'shit person' in your worthless opinion, Lin, but I've at least done more with my life other than beat up on people and get kidnapped. I'd like to be liked, doesn't everyone? But when it comes down to it, being liked gets you nothing. Being strong? That'll get you places, and that's one thing that little girl will never be. Strong. She'll leech onto Neil until he's got nothing left, and in the end, he won't even marry her because of his family. I might not have him again, but she'll certainly never have him." Her lips pursed for a moment and she gestured with her free hand to the door. "Go."
Lin did not go. He let Chloe have her moment. He let her go off on her tangent. The boy sank back onto his heels and glared at her, all of the tension in his body paused and frozen in muscles as the woman lifted her eyebrows, like she was saying something really fucking incisive, like she was slicing into raw nerve with a heavenly blade, like she was challenging him. Darkness gathered on Lin's face.
Then he laughed.
It was derisive and not at all happy, a mocking sound. If she wanted to fucking get nasty, then they could do that.
"She already has him. But if you want to talk about contributing to society, let's do that." Lin stayed where he was, allowing his rage to simmer. "Let's talk about taking. You contribute nothing. You believe yourself to be intelligent and work in academia, when in reality, you're narrow-minded and so fucking full of bullshit, you can't even tell which fucking end it's coming out of. You say you don't want Neil, and yet you send him fucking lingerie, you are desperate and pathetic, you're hardly fucking strong. You're weak, because who else but the weak do what you do? You're one of the most broken people I know and you have nothing and no one to help put you back together because you're such a thankless dick that no one can stand to be around you. The only reason you've "gotten places" is because you milk sympathy from people with your fucking sob story—which is sad, yeah. That shouldn't have happened to you—but you use it to no fucking end and think that's you getting ahead, when in fact, it's just people taking fucking pity on you, because, let's face it, if you had to get somewhere based solely on your intellectual and social skills, you'd be fucking cleaning the bathrooms of a gas station. And you'd be terrible at that, so don't tell me Sam's this or that. Don't tell me that she's a leech or a mistake. Because that's called fucking projecting. And if you need a definition of that, you just let me know."
Chloe tilted her head to the side as Lin rambled on, words he probably felt had meaning and truth behind them, but Chloe knew better. "Are we still going on about the lingerie?" she asked, amusement touching her voice. "Because that was nearly a year ago, when I thought he was still worth something. I've since changed my opinion of him, and told him as such. So that negates half of what you're rambling on about like a lunatic. And I didn't need someone to put me back together. I got out of my situation on my own, something very few people can say they've done. I came out of that with very little other than a healthy distrust of most people, which is well-founded. I've helped other people in similar situations to my own. And it's Sam, love, who ought to be scrubbing toilets with her toothbrush. It's her station, in life, after all, though I'm starting to wonder if she's simply meant to be behind bars. Violent little lunatic out on the street. Looks like that Ian fellow broke something good inside her. I wonder if they'll ever let her out now." The corner of her mouth lifted up in a half-smile before she turned away from Lin, giving him her back and thoroughly dismissing him with her body language. But there was something in his words, how no one wanted her or wanted to be around her that rang true, but hell if she would show that sort of weakness to someone like him.
"It doesn't take strength to do things on your own, dumbass," replied Lin, disregarding her dismissal. His tone was flat, unimpressed, and his expression mirrored that. "Anyone can do that. What takes strength is fucking forfeiting some pride, is opening up to other people even when you can and will be hurt, and helping them and letting them help you. You wonder why I'm here? I'm here because I care about Sam. Can you say anyone feels the same for you? Can you say that someone would be here for you? No, you can't. Because they wouldn't. Maybe your creepy brother, but that's family. Would anyone voluntarily care for you? I don't think so."
The boy came closer, though his arms remained at his sides, the plane of Chloe's back facing him.
"And if you believe people's traits are so inherent, if it's "Sam's station," if she's better off behind bars because of the way she is, that leaves little hope for you, because that means you're going to be alone forever."
Chloe didn't say anything for a long while, Lin's words echoing her own fears that that was the way life was going to be for her. She knew quite well that she had put herself in this situation, but that didn't mean she was going to admit to it. "Well, that's fortunate then, Lin, because I would certainly rather be alone than ever be Sam. Maybe we'll all be lucky enough that she does a few too many drugs next time, or cuts a little deeper. Friends don't help much then, do they?" Her hand relaxed against the counter, some of the tension draining out of her.
Lin could have raged at her. The beat of his heart picked up again and his muscles twitched where they waited for the impulses to tell them to smack that bitch. But he held himself a moment, forcing calm breathing.
"At least she'll have people who miss her," was all he said.
The words sunk in, a knife in her back, and for a moment, Chloe was absolutely still. But then she turned and took a step towards him, the tension back in her body, razor sharp, as she stepped close enough to them that they nearly touched. "Say that again," she said quietly, absolutely no emotion in her voice. "Tell me again how no one will miss me. Go on, Lin." She edged forward again, bumping him slightly with the line of her body.
"No. One. Will. Miss. You." For once, Lin obliged. He cut each word from the one before, clean and clear, like the incision of a scalpel, meat falling from bone with no friction and no resistance. He didn't move, holding where he was, as Chloe turned again to face him. He'd seen the way she stilled and he knew he'd struck a nerve, whether or not she was willing to show it on her face (again with the weakness bullshit). She brushed up against him, but he still held his ground, the ticking of his heart quickening.
Each word cut as it was intended to, and each one toughened her up just a little bit more. "Get. Out," she said sharply, her eyes wide, something unstable there. Her lips were pressed into a thin line, the pounding beat of her heart nearly audible in the room over the sound of the television nearby. A moment of silence, a moment of stillness, and then it came again.
"GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HOME!" It was screamed, the sound echoing in the large suite, ringing in the air long after she had said it. Those bright spots of colour were back in her cheeks again, giving her a look that was almost feverish.
The sudden upshot in volume scared Lin. It startled him and everything took on a shade of danger. His eyes went wide and whatever predator menace had been cutting before was replaced only by his amygdala shouting at him to either fight or run, fight or run, fight or run, oh god, DO SOMETHING. He tried to move backward, but hit the counter.
With little recourse left and with hardly a thought, he socked Chloe solidly in the nose/cheek area. It was a little wonky because it hadn't been aimed and Lin didn't exactly go around punching people. His knuckles all but exploded in pain, because, hello, bone on bone did not feel good, and the impact reddened dark skin. He stumbled away then, pushing off of the counter and trying to find somewhere to go. Fuck.
Maybe she had been inciting him to violence, maybe that had been her endgame, but that didn't prepare her for the punch to her face and the pain that exploded around her cheekbone and nose. There was a sound of surprise/pain that escaped her, and had she been in better shape, without the haze of muscle relaxants and painkillers winding their way through her system, she might have fared better. But as it were, the punch felled her, a couple of stumbled steps backwards before bare feet encountered the broken glass from the lamp, and down the woman went with one hand clutched to her face.
It was at that moment that security came through the still-open front door to her suite, taking into account Lin's retreating figure that hadn't quite left the room and the crumpled woman on the floor with a broken lamp. It didn't take much for them to assume the obvious, and coupled with Chloe's screams for him to get out, they advanced quickly upon Lin.
Any other moment, she might have been ready to crow in success at driving him to that sort of behaviour, but as it were, the pain was blinding and her face was already swelling into an ugly mess on top of the bruises from the car accident only days prior.
Strong hands gripped Lin around the shoulders like an iron vise. He hadn't gotten far at all, having been far too panicked to make any progress in unfamiliar territory. As it was, when the security guards burst through the door to see what the noise complaints were about, and when they attempted to subdue the boy, he was still near enough to Chloe, that he was able to furiously lash out at her with his foot. Because there was no fucking need to be screaming "GET HIM! GET HIM!", was there? They were all adults here.
So he kicked her.
"Let go of me!" He struggled in the unbreakable grip of men ten times as strong as he was, digging bruises into his own arms by forcing himself forward with two feet pushing off of abs of steel and thighs of, shit, chromium or titanium diboride. He couldn't break free. And his disorderly conduct wasn't appreciated by the men whose body parts were being used as diving boards. They tackled him to the ground and handcuffed his hands behind his back in short order, the sound of zip ties final. "What the fuck! Stop!"
Lin didn't stop his escape attempt, because it wasn't in him to let someone drag him away when he saw it as an injustice. The handcuffs pinched narrow wrists and his chest and shoulder hurt where he'd hit the floor and been basically kneeled upon. But for all his thrashing, he was pulled from the room and shoved onto his feet. He didn't even get a chance to have the last word and that bothered him more than anything else.
She hadn't been expecting the kick that came before they were able to pull him away, and it landed solidly on her hip, a surprised yelp escaping her as she pushed herself away with the help of her palms, scooting back on the hardwood floors out of his reach. And then she watched, a frighten young woman who had been hurt and attacked by an obviously crazed man, as Lin was summarily handcuffed and hauled to his feet. Only then did Chloe rise with the assistance of one of the guards, and maybe someone else might have seen the glint in her eyes, but the guards, they didn't.
"I told him to leave and he wouldn't," she explained, her voice appropriately wavery with tears and pain. "And when I yelled at him to leave, he punched me! I don't - I didn't do anything to him." Chloe paused to draw in a breath that trembled, fingers coming up to touch the swollen skin of her cheek. "I want to press charges. I don't want to be a bother but. I want to press charges." She swallowed hard and looked over towards where Lin stood with his arms bound behind his back, and she felt a little thrill of victory at the sight. She might be alone, but at least she wasn't the one wearing handcuffs, was she?
Lin was digging his heels into the carpet of the hallway, swearing at the guard attempting to propel him forward, when he heard Chloe's shaking voice from inside the room. He whipped his head toward her, watching as she trembled dramatically. He all but growled at her, straining against his restraints to try to face her bodily.
"Go ahead!" He yelled, wrenching himself away from the security guard, enough to stumble a foot forward before he was grabbed again. "Go a-fucking-head! Because you know what? It was fucking worth it! You think you're superior and that you've won? Well, you HA-"
Someone put a hand over his mouth, severing syllables abruptly, and he was forced to swallow his insult. Lin tried to pull away, but found himself against one of the guards. He glared at Chloe, before he was forcibly marched away, being warned (severely and loudly) against yelling again.
No one could ever say that Chloe wasn't a good actress when it counted. As Lin struggled away from the guards only to be stopped a moment later, Chloe shrank back, eyes wide with supposed fear, the guard going so far as to put an arm in front of her to ward off any oncoming attack. She didn't say a word until Lin was dragged away further, and then she slumped slightly, reminded once again of all the bruises and aches and pains she had suffered recently. She gave her nod at the mention of calling paramedics to look at her face, and then they let her be for a moment, doing as they needed and leaving her in the large suite that held no warmth, only a broken woman and broken glass.