Chapter two is up! :D Yeah, sorry for the wait... LAPTOPS SUCK. but now I'm back at my house and my uber fast PC. Hurrah.
So, yeah, anyway, POV changes in this. It is now from the imaginary friend's point of view. You get a glimpse of what school is like and briefly see a potential romantic interest for Sam! Yay for potential romantic interests! (And by the way, I am sorry for the over-sappy-ness of this chapter. Believe me, I don't enjoy it much either, but sometimes the story controls itself, you know?)
Title: The Splintered Reality (Chapter Two)
Chapter Summary: Wherein the two survive the adventures school has to offer, and Brendon asks Sam something he shouldn't have.
Brendon’s Point of View
Once we got to the crosswalk across from our school, I was pretty much silent, just keeping my hands in my pockets and staring at the sky. At this point, there were several other kids around who also walked to school, waiting for the traffic light to turn red. I knew that the rest of the kids couldn’t see me, and if I suddenly decided to strike up a conversation with Sam, it just might seem a little weird to the others that he was talking to air.
It kind of sucked a little—there was only one actual human in the entire world that could see you, and half the time he couldn’t even acknowledge you, you know? It just wasn’t fair.
I wasn’t his imaginary friend; no matter how many times his mother called me that. And I wasn’t some ghost haunting him from the past or anything, either. Actually, I don’t ever recall a time where I wasn’t in the state I was in now—invisible, that is.
But, I had given myself a job, and I was determined to accomplish it.
Sometimes Sam jokingly referred to me as his “G.A”—AKA, his guardian angel. Which wasn’t exactly true, either—I was far from angelic. I was a slightly bipolar, loud, rebellious teenager who died their hair on a weekly basis and was obsessed with The Beatles and a good amount of punk rock bands from the nineties. I don’t know about anyone else, but personally, I had never heard of an angel that was nearly as screwed up as that. And I wasn’t too much of a guardian, either—to be honest, most of the time I just stepped aside and let shit happen to him. But out of all the possible things out there, it was probably the closest thing to me. I had two things to make sure of, and those were that Sam was (relatively) healthy and happy. And there was also the fact that no one could see me, so, I might very well being an angel.
…I mentally snorted. Me, angel. Yeah, right.
“You got number four wrong,” I said absent-mindedly, observing his algebra sheet. “When there’s an X over an X, they just cancel each other out, remember?”
He said nothing, simply furrowed his eyebrows and erased the aforementioned X’s.
“Yeah, like that.”
He didn’t reply and simply continued filling out his worksheet.
I sighed and glanced around the room. I was kneeling down besides Sam with my arms on his desk and my head nestled between them, simply watching Sam work and correcting him when he made a mistake. Despite me technically not being a student, I was pretty bright when it came to mathematics.
The room was pretty loud, many students conversing with each other over their abandoned schoolwork, with the exception of Sam, sitting stereotypically in the back corner of the room, working quietly on his math. At this volume of noise in the classroom, he could probably get away with talking to me and not get noticed, but I understood his worry that someone just might catch him talking to what appeared to be nothing.
I frowned a little, watching him as he promptly ignored my presence. I knew he thought I was just a figment of his imagination, and hell, he might be right. But it still kinda hurt a little. I mean, I’m no drama queen, but it’s a little emotionally jarring when you yourself don’t know if you actually exist, or if you’re just a figment of somebody’ imagination strong enough to give you the ability to be aware and have your own thoughts.
I had a theory, in my head, other than Sam’s “G.A.” theory, but I had always figured it might’ve been a little difficult for Sam to understand at his age—I was many decades older than him, after all, although I may not have looked it.
If my theory was right, this was exactly how I worked—I was, strictly speaking, a physical projection of an imaginary companion. Sam’s mind was either strong enough or mutated enough to actually create a physical presence of anything he strongly believes exists. But since I was a projection of his mind, I could only be associated with him, which would explain why only he could see me.
But then again, back when his father had been around his age and younger, he could also see me, which screwed up my theory a little.
So I just might very well be a “GA” of some sort, after all. But I wasn’t a ghost, that’s for sure—no one had been able to see me for as long as I could remember, and as far as I was aware, there wasn’t a grave anywhere with my named etched into it.
Yeah, I think that’s what’s going on. But to be perfectly honest, I didn’t know, and frankly didn’t care after a certain point. I was what I was, and there was nothing I could do about it.
“You need to move four to the negative second down so that the exponents can become positive, and then deal with it from there,” I piped up suddenly. Sam looked at his paper in confusion before nodding and re-writing the equation how I had said it.
“Yeah… and then you would get rid of the four on top and make the four to the second on the bottom a four, because it’s value-wise a four over four. So they would cancel out, just leaving one four on the bottom, without an exponent.”
Sam shot me a quick look that practically spoke for him. Okay, already! I get it, sheesh.
I rolled my eyes and stood, stretching a little and rubbing my sore knees from kneeling on the hard floor. I glared at the floor. It was not a very nice floor.
“Sorry,” I apologized, glancing around at the motivational posters around the room instead of at him. “Just trying to help. Also, I’m just really bored. It’s not like I have homework of my own to keep myself busy with.”
He shrugged loosely, still focused on his schoolwork. Sorry, man. Nothing I can do about that.
“I know,” I sighed, running a hand through my tangled, shock-red hair. I needed to brush it. “Just saying, is all…” When a single lock fell directly in front of my face, I glared at it and promptly tried to get it away by blowing on it. After several unsuccessful tries, I sighed and simply tucked it behind my ear.
I turned back to Sam to find him staring at me blankly, blinking once, twice with those dark brown eyes. “What?” I asked, slightly irritated.
He simply shook his head and turned back to his paper. I frowned, knowing he was laughing at me mentally. “What was so funny? It’s not nice to stare at people like that you know. No wonder you don’t have any friends, you’re so mean!”
…Yeah, so, okay. Maybe I was a little bit of a drama queen.
“Don’t ignore me!” I spoke after I got no response. Sam merrily snorted, shaking his head slightly and smiling down at his paper in a way that simply said, You’re crazy, you know that?
I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms dramatically. “Yeah, I know I gotta couple screws loose up here—” I gestured loosely at my head, “—but you’re stuck with me anyway, so you know what? Deal with it.”
He glanced up at me before finally breaking a full-on grin at my antics.
I grinned back.
It was lunch time, and Sam and I were sitting at the far end of one of our many school lunch benches, farthest away from the stage. No one came back around here much, and he could pretty much talk freely with me considering the volume inside the lunchroom. Every once in a while I would sneak in a fry or a carrot from his lunch tray, receiving a glare in return every time.
Upon my sixth fry, I finally cracked a, “What?” in response to his glare. “I gotta eat too, you know,” I argued, pointing my half-eaten fry at him threateningly like I could stab him with it. “I can’t exactly just walk up there and swipe a tray; I think people would notice, you know.”
He gave me a look. “Can’t you just wait until we get home? We only have two more periods.”
“No! I didn’t eat breakfast this morning, remember? I need my nutrients. Just because I’m you’re supposed ‘imaginary’—” I raised my hands and used quotations marks, French fry still in hand, “—friend doesn’t mean I don’t need food too. I gotta eat.”
And with that, I popped the thin strip of junk food in my mouth smugly.
“You don’t need to lecture me, Bee,” he said, obviously annoyed and poking experimentally at his burger, eyes trained on his lunch instead of me. “A yes or no would do.”
“Yeah, well, you know what? That’s just too bad, because I did lecture you. So deal.”
He sighed. “Whatever, Bee…”
I sighed and rested my head in my hands glumly, watching Sam as he ate quietly. I was hungry, too be perfectly honest. But I couldn’t exactly just eat with so many people around…
Sam and I simultaneously glanced up at the bright, girly voiced the interrupted our moment of silence. I was greeted by the sight of a girl about Sam’s age with wavy light brown hair and navy blue highlights. She was dressed in bleached skinnies, striped flip-flops, and an orange Hollister shirt. She had always vaguely reminded me of Zoey Deschanel…
Her name was Alicia. She had been the only girl in the whole school that really talked with Sam since sixth grade. I caught them flirting more than often enough, and I told Sam multiple times that I was pretty sure she had the hots for him, but the only reply I got in return was a skeptical look and silence.
“Oh, hey, Ali.” Sam raised a hand in brief greeting as she settled herself down beside him.
She glanced around the apparently empty table briefly, eyes completely passing over me, before asking, “How come you always sit alone?”
I raised my eyebrows at Sam as he struggled for a reply. “Oh, um… I dunno, I just don’t really feel comfortable when I’m sitting at another person’s table ‘cause it’s like I’m invading their space and then it’s just awkward.” He said quickly in one breath. She blinked, and then he cracked a nervous smile.
She simply shrugged. “Okay, whatever you say, weirdo.” She ruffled his hair and Sam ducked out from under her hand.
Sam didn’t even look at me once for the rest of the hour.
I glanced up from where my eyes were focused on the sidewalk as we walked back home from school, hands shoved in the pockets of my hoodie. Sam was looking at me, looking slightly concerned and slightly weirded out. His head was cocked to the side like a dog, but both his arms were crossed over his chest.
“Yeah?” I answered, a little too late, blinking.
“What’s up with you? You haven’t said a word the entire way home.”
“Oh, nothing,” I said, tilting my head up at the cloudy sky. “It’s just… I dunno, but I was wondering…”
I felt a light tug on my arm and stopped walking, returning my gaze to Sam. His eyebrows were furrowed and he looked the slightest bit frustrated. “You were wondering what? It ain’t nothing small, if you’ve suddenly gone mute, you know.”
I yanked my arm out of his grip, glaring at him, although I didn’t really mean it. “I was just wondering if you should tell Alicia about me. You’ve known her for two years, and I know you’re gonna hang out with her up until college, so I figured she’s probably catch you talking to me anyway. You might as well just tell her now. It’s not good to keep secrets.”
He scoffed and I frowned. “Ha, are you kidding me? No way! She’ll think I’m crazy!”
“No she won’t!” I argued. “I mean, she gets you, she’ll understand—”
“Understand? Understand? You think that she’ll understand?” Sam was practically yelling now, and I felt myself beginning to shut down at his aggressiveness. He was glowering at me venomously, and I resisted the urge to shrink back. “She won’t understand, Brendon! She’ll think I’m an effing crack-case! She’ll just think I’m crazy, and then I’ll lose the only friend I’ve got!”
He was leaning over me only slightly, but because of his height advantage, I still felt swarmed. My heart sped up just the slightest bit. “Look, Sammy—” I tried to start, raising my hands defensively, but Sam cut me off.
“Just because I’m the only friend you can have doesn’t mean it has to be the other way around. I deserve to be friends with whoever I want!”
“I know!” I blurted, “I’m not saying you can’t! I’m sorry; I just… I thought it’d be easier if you told her.”
“Well, it’s not—”
“I know! I know, you don’t have to, I’m sorry,” I rushed out. It was kind of an instinctive thing for me—whenever someone started to get mad at me, I just completely took back whatever I had said before and apologized. I didn’t like it when people yelled at me. I felt trapped, cornered, and I started to panic because I felt like there was no way out except to just close your eyes and hope they would go away. I was a happy guy—anything that got too dark for me, scared me.
And what I hated most about it is that it made me seem like a wimp.
Sam glared at me before pulling away suddenly and storming down to the house, leaving me standing alone in the middle of the street, heart-pumping and wishing that maybe I was the one who had an imaginary friend.
Because real ones had too many flaws.