Notes: this story has been tagged #triggerwarnings, so be careful!
(Domestic violence, major character death, mention of suicide, suicide attempt)

Rowan did not remember how he fell in love with Katie. It just happened, he guessed. She was beautiful. Since the first day of high school she was the best. Everyone was in love with her and she had thousands of friends. It was crazy. She was so popular.
During second year, she became a cheerleader, and soon she got to be captain. She really was awesome.
Rowan, who had a crush on her, thought he had no chance. He was pretty nice to look at, and his body was very fitted and attractive – or so they said – but his aesthetic was what everyone defined alternative. He wore baggy jeans, extra large t-shirts, he had – at the time – dreadlocks.  She would have never watched someone like him.
But she did.

They started dating very soon, when they were sixteen. Their relationship was confused, kind of a mess: Rowan fell and fell fast.
She looked so graceful and delicate, but he soon discovered she was not. She was despotic and touchy. It was almost impossible to please her. Rowan felt fucking lucky to be the only one to know this part of her. He thought he was special.
Things went south awfully quick.

{ ✮ ✮ ✮ }

“Rowan, darling… you made me do this! You were so busy with school you totally forgot about me, and that’s what happened” she said. Her eyes were bright with fury and something that he didn’t notice: malice.
The boy he had found kissing her was getting quickly out of the door, and Rowan was astonished.
He looked up, shocked, and begun to speak, when she stopped him with a finger on his lips.
“If you give me more attention it will never happen again, Rowie! I love you so much, you are way more beautiful that that guy. I love you, honey” she said, hiding her face in the crook of his neck.
“Maybe she’s right…” he thought “I didn’t give her attentions, that’s all. It will get better”.

“I can’t come to you cousin’s party, tomorrow… I’ve got a presentation for a painting and I could even get a-” the slap caught him by surprise. His face turned abruptly, and he felt fire on his cheek. It had not been a playful smack. It had been powerful, and angry.
“Are you putting that before me??” she asked, almost screaming.
“N-no! I thought it was… it was less important because it’s you cousin’s party baby…” the second slap was unexpected, too. He did not think that she would have hit him again. But she did.
“It is important! It’s more important than your shitty art!” Rowan felt hurt. He loved art. He spent days on his art. He cared for it. He looked up, a hand on his own face. He wanted to tell her off, but as soon as his eyes met hers, he noticed she was crying.
“Katie, baby! I- I’ll come to the party! The presentation is not that important, I swear!”

“You are worth nothing. You can’t even make something simple like that.” Everything he heard was her voice, nasty and twisted. He saw nothing because of the tears. It was true. He was worth nothing. He could not even satisfy his girlfriend. He was useless.
“Than leave me!” he cried, leaning on the doorframe.
“Oh, darling, how could I do that? I love you, and I know that without me you are nothing. How would you live without me, Rowie?”
“I-I don’t know…”
“Exactly. Because you are useless. I’m the only thing that gives a sense to you stupid, worthless life.” He caught him by his hair. “Am I right?”
His head hurt, he could not stand that.
“You are right!” he said, with a shaky breath. She let him go and stepped outside the bedroom, locking him inside.
She was right. He was useless.

He did not know how to cover his bruises anymore. His parents did not notice them, but it was just sheer luck. What would he say? He could not accuse Katie! They would have made him leave her, and he did not want that. He was nothing without her. She was everything he had.
“You are staring at that girl.” Rowan blinked twice, coming back from his own thoughts. His face was, indeed, turned to a girl.
“No, I-”
“Don’t fucking lie to me, Rowie. You were staring at her. Is she prettier than me?”
“No, she’s not, baby! You are the most beautiful woman I know..” his voice was shaky. He feared her reaction.
She did not say anything. She kept walking until they got home.
Once they reached her bedroom, she grabbed him by the wrist and started to bend it. Rowan held his breath, in pain.
“Stop, please” he cried, falling on his knees.
“You thought that girl was prettier than me!”
“She was not, Katie, I swear I wasn’t looking at her I swear!”
His wrist broke with a horrible sound. Rowan fell on the ground, crying and screaming, holding his arm to his chest.
Katie bowed next to his head and whispered.
“Try to tell someone, fucker, and I will kill you.”

She was drunk, they said. She did not look, they said. The driver did not see her, they said.
She said nothing. She was looking at him, coldly, and her eyes never left his. He could not even blink.
Her stare was disappointed. Judging. Hating him for doing nothing.
They closed the coffin.
Rowan freed himself from his mother’s arms and run away. The streets were too hot, and the day was sunny. How could the world not feel his grief and his pain? How could it be that it was not raining? It was not fair it was sunny. Not without her.
He stepped on the street while a truck was approaching. He smiled and thought about joining her. He closed his eyes.
Too many noises filled his ears. He held his breath. After few seconds, he opened his eyes, slowly.
There were pneumatic tracks on the road. But the truck was getting away. And he was alive.
“you are right, Katie. I’m totally useless. I can’t even kill myself properly.”


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