Um, yeah. I better see a doctor (Alex)
“What the hell?” Kelly asked when Dylan pushed away from us and almost ran for the door.
“I don’t know!” I said, my voice rising into a near wail. What was wrong? What had I done?
“Go after him, Alex. Don’t let him go without an explanation. Not again!”
I was shaking, and breathing fast, shallow breaths. Freaking out. A vision of all those weeks I’d spent in February and March, mostly curled up in my bed crying.
That son of a bitch was not doing that to me again.
I turned and ran for the door, not caring if they followed.
He was halfway down the block. I ran after him, shouting, “Dylan! Wait!”
I saw his shoulders tense up when he heard me. He stopped walking, his back straight, still turned away from me.
“Dylan! What the hell?” I screamed. “Why did you do that? Why did you walk out like that?”
He turned toward me, and it felt like I’d been punched. His eyes were red. He was crying.
He pointed his finger back at the bar, and shouted, “You know how I feel about you. How the fuck can you bring me here, knowing he was going to be here?”
I flinched at the shout. Never in all the time we’d known at each other had he done that. And the question. What? It didn’t make any sense at all. He didn’t even know Joel.
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, Dylan!”
He shook his head, his face etched in grief. “I thought you were … something else, Alex. I … oh, fucking Christ, I never even imagined this.”
“Imagined what? I don’t understand you at all!”
“Him! He was in your room that night. Don’t bother to deny it, I saw him! You’re on fucking skype, breaking up with me on what was already the worst day of my life, and then that fucker comes over, his fat ass shirtless, and puts his hand on you as he walks by. Did you guys laugh it up when you planned the breakup? Were you fucking before you called me?”
It felt like he’d punched me. I backed away two or three steps, then said, “Dylan… that’s Joel. He’s Kelly’s boyfriend.”
“Then why the hell was he there?”
Now I screamed back. “Because he’s her boyfriend, you asshole. He was over all the time, those two are attached at the hip! Are you telling me you broke it off me because of that? You broke my heart because of a stupid misunderstanding? Because you thought you saw a guy in my room?”
He shook his head. “He was with Kelly?” he said in a ragged whisper. His face was twisting in grief and anger. Anger with himself? I didn’t understand.
Suddenly he screamed, “Fuck!” and slammed his fist into the metal grating of the store we stood next too. He let out a howl, a real literal howl, and slammed his fist into the metal grate again. Then he did it again, and again, shouting, “Fuck!” every time he slammed his fist into the wall.
The rage just left me, because the last time he hit the wall, blood splattered against the wall. I started crying, crying really hard, because he was hurting himself, he was really hurting himself.
“Dylan,” I whispered. “Stop.”
He didn’t even hear me. So I did the only thing I could think of. I put my arms around him, right around his chest, and buried my face against his back, and I cried out, as loud as I could, “Dylan, please stop! Please don’t hurt yourself! I love you!”
He stopped, and stiffened in my arms. I sobbed against his back. Abruptly he turned in my arms, and wrapped me in his arms, the muscles holding me so tight I almost couldn’t breath. Both of us were crying, and I started to say, “I’m sorry,” and he said cried out, “I didn’t know. Oh, my God, I’m so sorry, Alex.”
He started to sob, real howls of pain, and he somehow punched out the words, “That was the day Kowalski threw himself on the grenade, Alex. I was crazy out of my mind when I called you.” His voice dropped to a whisper, and he said, “I needed you so bad.”
I cried even harder, and tried to curl against him even tighter, and said, “I’m so sorry, Dylan. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.”
“I never stopped loving you,” he whispered. “Not even for a second. Even when I hated you.”
I whispered, “I love you, too, Dylan.”
It had been more than two years since the last time we held each other like this, the morning he left San Francisco to go back home. Both of us had changed, but for the first time in two years, I felt whole with his arms wrapped around me.
The moment would have been perfect, but I heard Kelly’s voice behind us. “Um… I hate to interrupt this incredibly touching scene, but um… he needs to go the hospital. Like, right now.”
Dylan and I both jerked. We pulled slightly apart, and I took his arm in my hand.
His hand was… mangled. Knuckles split, blood dropping on the ground in great big splatters. I felt my breath speed up suddenly, and realized that I could see the bone of one of his fingers.
“Jesus Christ, Dylan, look what you did to your hand!”
He looked down at his hand, a lost expression on his face. He shook his head, and said, “Um, yeah. I better see a doctor.” He closed his eyes and swayed a little.
“We’re coming with you,” Joel said.
So I took my wrap off, and wound it around his injured hand, and we waved down a cab.