A Pain That I'm Used To [5/8]
Word Count: 5,400
Characters/Pairings: Tyler/Caroline, Stefan, Jules, Matt, Elena, Carol, Damon
Rating: Mostly R for language but verges on NC-17 for sexual situations.
Spoilers: None unless you haven't watched past S02E14
Summary: After all the lies, secrets, and betrayals are brought to light, both Tyler and Caroline have to deal with the aftermath. In their ongoing struggle to come to terms with and adapt to their new lives as supernatural creatures, will they make amends and renew their friendship, and could it ever turn into something more?
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Tyler gets one of the rooms at the Lockwood beach house properly soundproofed and buys a cage that will withstand his werewolf strength. The sales clerk at the store looks confused when Tyler asks him all sorts of questions, but doesn’t say anything other than answer Tyler’s queries about the specs for the cage. The economy’s still in tatters and a sale is a sale, after all.
He doesn’t miss out on the fact that once a month he’s putting himself in a cage much like the one Caroline was held in against her will. He’s well aware he’s added this to his list of punishments he must endure and the penance he must do for what he put Caroline through. He equips the cage with chains to restrain him and locks that can only be opened by human hands with their opposable thumbs. The cage is just large enough to contain him and doesn’t allow for enough manoeuvrability for him to bodily crash against the bars and bend them apart.
And he’s learned to drink as much wolfsbane as he can throughout the early stages of his transformation. He’s discovered brewing it like a tea then boiling it down helps to concentrate it so a little goes a long way. He’s thinking of a way to distil it to a point where he can inject it. The Council injects vampires effectively with vervain so if he can get the same thing happening with wolfsbane then that might help to knock him out for parts of his transformation. Yes, it’s been getting a little easier with each full moon, but he’d rather not be conscious for it, for the one time a month when he’s more animal—more monster—than man. And he still hates it for that reason even if it’s not quite as painful or as long as the first time.
Tyler’s lying on the couch in the living room half dozing in the summer heat. It’s almost evening and he’s thinking he should start contemplating dinner, when a knock at the front door jars him fully awake. Rubbing at his eyes, he stumbles to his feet to wander over to the door. His wolf senses are suddenly on alert: vampire. He moves as silently as he can even though he knows they can probably still hear him. He peeks through the curtained window built into the door. Caroline. He doesn’t know whether to sag to the floor in relief or go on extreme alert.
“Tyler! I know you’re in there. I can tell, you know. Besides, your mother told me you were here.”
Tyler groans. He can’t believe his mother turned traitor.
“I know you’re right behind the door. I can sense you.”
Tyler butts his forehead against the doorframe.
“Go home, Caroline.”
“No. I’ve come two hundred miles to talk to you so I’m not leaving until I do.”
“You're talking to me now. There. Now go home.”
“Don’t be stupid, Tyler. You know what I mean. I want to tell you everything.”
“I already know everything. Stefan explained it to me finally, properly, while we were burying Brady.”
Caroline is silent for a moment.
“You helped to kill Brady?”
“No, not really. I freed Stefan so he could stop Brady from kidnapping Elena. Then Stefan killed Brady.”
“Sorry. I guess we’re not all made of hero material like Stefan.”
“No, Tyler, that’s not—” Caroline sighs loudly. “Let’s start over again, shall we? I want you to hear what happened, why I lied and kept those secrets, from me, not just Stefan. I don’t want to lie to you anymore. I’m not going to lie to you anymore. Or keep secrets. And for that to happen, I need to tell you everything, what I did, what I was a part of. Everything.”
“I know why. You don’t have to explain anything. I understand.”
“Tyler, please open the door,” Caroline pleads.
So he does, the screen door the only thing between them now. Her hair is all windblown and it’s probably the sexiest thing he’s ever seen. He almost relents, but gathers up what willpower he can.
“I’ve opened the door. So now can you please go back to Mystic Falls and leave me alone? Just stay away. And now I’m going to close the door. Goodbye, Caroline.” Tyler slams the door in her face and winces as he realises how reminiscent it is of when Caroline did the same to him, only she doesn’t deserve it. He hates being cruel but if it’s the only way to make Caroline stay away so she’ll be safe from him then so be it.
He walks towards the kitchen. It looks like he’s staying in for dinner.
The following day, Tyler is about to go outside for a morning swim in the ocean before showering and eating breakfast, only to find Caroline sitting next to the front door. He knows she lingered last night and he’d gone to bed thinking she’d eventually give up and be gone by the next day. He watches her for a moment. She knows he’s there on the other side of the screen door, but she says nothing. She doesn’t even move. He curses silently and closes the door, heading back upstairs to shower.
She’s still there at noon and he’s still trapped in his own house. He’s frustrated and angry but probably falls a little harder for her each time he sneaks a glance out the window and sees her sitting there.
The day passes, then another night. It’s the following morning and Caroline is still there, unmoving, sitting next to the front door. Tyler is at a complete loss but he refuses to stay indoors any longer and he steels himself to ignore Caroline as he goes outside in the late afternoon. His peripheral vision doesn’t let him miss the fact that she watches him as he leaves the house and heads down to the water. She doesn’t follow at first, but eventually walks down the stretch of sand to where he’s standing, staring at the ocean.
He’s not sure if she’s trying to engage him in conversation or simply commenting on how it’s been so long since she’s seen the ocean, how beautiful and untamed it is, and how she’s always been curious about the Lockwood beach house. He says nothing. He’s had lots of practice at this during the time he spent with Jules. He looks down, sees she’s barefoot, her sandals swinging slightly in her hand. The hot pink nail varnish on her toes almost does him in. It’s just so Caroline and, God, he misses her so much—her sweetness, her laughter, her compassion. Even though his memories of being with her span just a few short weeks and are shrouded in pain and fear of what he’s become, of this new terrifying existence, he’s so used to her being a part of his life now, everything in him is screaming to accept her back.
Tyler wants to steal a glance at Caroline, wants to look his fill, but knows he’ll give the game away if she looks into his eyes for even a second. She has to leave, so he keeps his eyes averted and focuses on the ocean.
It’s July now, and the sun is hot and baking the sand. In the distance, children are shrieking but Tyler knows they’re too far away to be of any concern. These beaches are private property and the nearest occupied house is a mile away. The predominant sounds are the waves crashing on the shore and the seagulls squawking as they fly overhead.
And then he hears a sigh. It’s sad and weary and has a ring of defeat to it. He thinks maybe now Caroline will finally leave. But she remains by his side unmoving, her shadow cast across the sand in front of him.
Patience was never Tyler’s strong suit in the past and it isn’t now.
“Caroline, it’s time for you to leave.” He shoves his hands into the pockets of his shorts. “Go back to Mystic Falls.”
“Stefan drove me here.” Her voice is a whisper barely heard above the waves.
“Call him and tell him to come back and get you.”
“I can’t. I didn’t bring my phone.”
“Seriously? You without a cell phone? I didn’t think that was possible.”
“Well, someone stole my smartphone and I hate my old one.”
Great, like he needs that reminder. Tyler sighs. “Fine, Caroline. I’ll call him for you.”
“Go ahead, but I’m not leaving without you.”
“I’m not—” Tyler turns to speak to her directly, but stops in mid-sentence. What he sees shocks him.
Caroline looks tired and drawn and there are dark purple smudges beneath her eyes. She’s always been pale, but now she’s ashen. He grabs her arms and turns her to face him.
“My God, Caroline! What’s wrong?”
She looks down and presses her lips together. It takes Tyler only a moment to figure it out. She’s been camped out on his doorstep for two nights, and factoring in travelling time, it’s possible Caroline hasn’t eaten for at least three days. And he can see this is taking its toll on her.
“Haven’t you been feeding?”
She shakes her head.
“I was afraid if I left your door to hunt, you might take off. I’d have to track you down all over again.”
“This is ridiculous.”
Tyler pulls at her gently and they head back to the beach house. Neither says a word. At the threshold, he continues on in but is held up when Caroline resists.
“Come on, Caroline. I thought you wanted to...oh.”
She smiles sadly at him. “You have to invite me in.”
He looks around the beach. It’s completely deserted, those children long gone, so no one would see what he has in mind to do if even if they were to stay out on the porch, but then he sees Caroline’s hurt look and his resistance crumbles.
“Come in, Caroline.”
She trips as she steps inside and he catches her against him to keep her from falling. He feels her breath coming in short, quick pants against his neck. Her body shudders and he can hear a soft moan passing her lips.
He pulls away slightly and cradles her face in his hands. Her eyes are glassy and unfocused.
“Caroline, hey, look at me.” Tyler tilts her face up a bit. “My blood healed you from the werewolf bite, so we know it won’t hurt you. But I don’t know if it’ll be enough to sustain you like human blood does when you’re hungry, but I’m willing to give it a shot if you are, okay?”
Caroline shakes her head and tries to draw back. The “no” that erupts from her mouth is more of a gasp than a word. She struggles against him, trying to pull free. “I don’t want to hurt you. I almost killed you. I took too much.”
“No, you won’t take too much this time. You’re not infected and delirious. You’re in control. You’re just hungry and need to feed.”
“No, Tyler. I won’t risk it.”
“Everything will be fine.” He holds her gaze.”I trust you.”
Her eyes are wide. “Really? Even after...?”
She starts to smile but quickly looks distressed again. “But I don’t know if I can trust myself.” Her eyes frantically search his.
“Then trust me. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. Please, Caroline. Take my blood.”
Caroline increases her attempts to pull away, but Tyler just holds her closer, tighter in his arms. His original intention to offer her his wrist isn’t going to work so he braces an arm securely around her shoulders, his other hand moves to the back of her head, fingers sliding into her soft hair as he pulls her forward to press her lips against his neck.
“Drink, Caroline. You need to drink,” he whispers against her ear. “You helped me, so many times, in so many ways.” Tyler whispers. “I didn’t help you that time in the woods. Let me help you this time...please...drink.”
When he feels the press of sharp teeth against his skin, it’s a relief. He can also feel her fingers digging into his back, pulling at his cotton shirt.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” she says again.
“Caroline...” he almost growls and then he groans when he feels her teeth break through his skin. Her lips are clamped tightly against his throat and she’s clinging to him like he’s her life line. The pain is acute at first, then spreads like a hot wash of pleasure though him, enhanced by her body pressed tightly against his and he can feel every soft curve. It’s not quite like the first time, when he was preoccupied more with the possibility of both of them dying. This time, he knows she’s not about to die so his mind and body focus on the sensation of her feeding from him.
He’s once again overcome by the closeness, the connection he feels as she drinks his blood. His heart beats in time to her mouth pulling on him, and, God, he wants her so badly, even now as she’s drinking his blood—maybe even more so because of it. It’s turning him on, making him hard, he realises. Everything about her, the way she feels in his arms, her intoxicating scent, and that she stayed by his door, refusing to leave without him makes him want her more than he’s ever wanted anyone in his life. All he can do is hold Caroline even closer, like she’s his life line. He’s overwhelmed, weak and lightheaded from the loss of blood.
He’s barely standing on his own and if it weren’t for Caroline holding him up, he knows he’d be on the floor. He thinks he should be a little embarrassed about this but mentally shrugs it off. He’s okay with it because it’s Caroline and she understands what it’s like to be something other than human and all the messiness and complications and vulnerabilities that come with it.
Caroline disentangles herself from his arms and he immediately misses her embrace. There’s a smudge of blood at the corner of her mouth. What remaining blood he has in his body rushes south and if this keeps up, she’s surely going to notice and this will become more than a little awkward. He gently wipes the blood away, trying to regain his composure and control, but when her warm tongue snakes out and delicately licks at the blood on his thumb, the lust he feels rockets through him and he has to hang on to her or he’ll fall to the floor at her feet. (And probably beg that she continue to drink from him, to do anything to him, as long as she never stops.)
Her cheeks flush pink as she realises what she’s done, but worry over his welfare instantly takes over. “Hey. Are you okay? Did I take too much?”
“I’m fine,” he manages to croak out. But he’s not. He wants to kiss her so badly, but values her friendship far too much and doesn’t want to ruin it, especially since the one and only time he did kiss her, she shut him down. The irony is not lost on him that up until just a moment ago, he was still trying to convince her to leave and that they could never be friends.
“You don’t look fine. Maybe you should have some juice.”
How does he explain to her his reaction wasn’t about how much blood she did or didn’t take? That instead, it was about how much he enjoyed having her arms around him, the erotic pressure of her open mouth against his skin, the scent of her filling his senses, and the acute pain-then-pleasure of her teeth piercing his neck and drinking his blood. How could he say that without sounding like a lovesick, sex-starved deviant?
“Or a cookie?” He arches his eyebrows and shakes his head. “I need alcohol.”
“Alcohol? Tyler, it’s...” She grabs his wrist and looks at his watch. “Ohhh...it’s almost seven o’clock.”
He’s grateful he can make it to the liquor cabinet without stumbling and he pours himself a drink. He knocks back the scotch in one gulp.
“We should go out for dinner. There’s no more food. I couldn’t exactly go grocery shopping while you were holding me and my house under siege.” He refills his glass and pours Caroline a drink.
“You could have left any time, you know,” Caroline replies haughtily and takes small sips of the single malt.
“Are you kidding me? With your vampire hearing, you would’ve heard me try to leave out the back door, and with your vampire speed, you would’ve cornered me!”
Caroline doesn’t deny it, only offers a small smug smile. “We should get something delivered and go shopping in the morning. It’ll take me too long to get changed to go out for dinner.”
“Changed? Into what?”
“Clean clothing, duh.” She looks at Tyler as though he’s lost his mind. “I’ve only been wearing these clothes for days.” She marches out the door and returns moments later, hauling a gigantic suitcase.
Tyler walks over and tries to lift it. He needs to draw on his supernatural strength. Had Caroline not been a vampire, she wouldn’t have been able to budge the suitcase an inch. “So did you bring all the clothes you’ve ever owned?”
“Just a few summer outfits.” She starts ticking off her fingers. “And some shoes. And my hairdryer, curling iron, makeup—”
“Okay, yeah, I get it.” Tyler laughs. “So, I guess you planned on staying a while.”
“Until you finally talked to me, even if that took all summer.” She’s lost the impish look and is serious again. So is he. “Tyler, I’m not saying we need to talk tonight, but we do need to eventually. About everything, including what you did for me.”
“I didn’t do anything except almost get you killed four times and succeeding once.”
“No, you didn’t—wait. What?”
“I’ve put your life in danger five times, and the first time, you ended up dying.” Just thinking about this makes his head throb and his lungs fight to breathe. Sometimes he really hates these heightened emotions that threaten to consume him.
Caroline frowns and shakes her head. “What are you talking about?”
It’s Tyler’s turn to tick off fingers. “One: I bit you during a full moon and you almost died. Two: you were kidnapped by Klaus who had every intention of killing you if I didn’t return to Mystic Falls. Three: you were kidnapped by Brady and Jules because I fucked up and made them believe I was in danger. Jules told me Brady was all set to kill you anyway once Damon and Stefan handed me over. Four: I came close to breaking free and biting you during my first transformation. And five: Founder’s Day—the car accident.”
“Founder’s Day? Oh, Tyler. No.” Caroline reaches for him and pulls him into a hug, holding him tightly. “That wasn’t your fault. You may as well blame Damon because it was his blood in my system, or even Bonnie for insisting Damon feed me his blood so I could heal faster. It was Katherine. She did this to me. Just like she made sure you’d trigger the curse.”
Tyler pulls back enough to look in her eyes. She looks scared, so scared for him. And he doesn’t deserve it.
“I was driving the car, Caroline, I crashed it. And I don’t know which is worse. You dying with vampire blood in your system and becoming one yourself, or that you might have died without the vampire blood and I...you...your death would have triggered my curse,” His arms lock around her waist and he presses his face into Caroline’s neck. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It’s my fault, it’s all my fault.”
Caroline is stunned by this revelation, by Tyler’s admission of guilt for an incident for which he believes himself responsible. He believes it so completely she’s not sure how she can convince him that he’s wrong. When she plays back her memories of the events on Founder’s Day, it all goes back to Bonnie not properly deactivating the Gilbert Device and allowing it to be used not only against the vampires, but also, unwittingly, against the potential werewolves in Mystic Falls.
She doesn’t know what to say or how to make it better so she just holds him, trying to show him she truly doesn’t blame him for her current state. When she convinced Stefan to drive her to the Lockwood beach house, she’d thought she’d only have to contend with Tyler’s feelings of guilt regarding the werewolf bite, and perhaps some residual effects of the night Brady tortured her. (She knows she still has some of those to work through, too.) She never once thought she’d be battling ghosts from as far back as the Founder’s Day celebrations.
“We’ve both made mistakes,” Caroline smoothes her hands up and down Tyler’s back, one hand sliding up to cradle the back of his head, sinking her fingers into his hair. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t forgive each other and move on. I’m not mad at you any more—well, I am for you ditching town a second time without saying goodbye.” Here he utters a laugh that sounds more like a sob. “It’s why I’m here now, Tyler. Because we are friends and I want to be able to hang out with you without either of us stepping on any landmines. Okay? Can we at least try?”
She feels him nod against her neck.
“Yeah,” he replies, muffled.
“I’ve missed you, you know.”
“Me, too.” He pulls back and smiles at her, his dark eyes glittering with unshed tears. She should be used to it by now but she’s still so moved by how he lets her see him like this when he’s obviously feeling so vulnerable and finds it so difficult to share his feelings. “But you really should go back, Caroline. I don’t think it’s safe for you to be around me.”
She places her hands on her hips and glares at Tyler. “We’re really not having this conversation, are we? I’ll decide what’s safe and not safe for me.”
He looks as though he’s about to argue, but then relents. “Right, well, since that’s settled then you and your giant suitcase should go choose one of the spare rooms. Pick any room you want. I’ll order in some food.”
“Okay. Any room?”
“This place was left to me in dad’s will. Technically it’s mine when I turn eighteen, but it’s not like my mom’s going to try to prevent me from doing whatever I want with the place before then. She never really liked coming out here anyway. I think she’s relieved she doesn’t have to deal with it.” His expression darkens for a moment then the look is gone almost as though it never happened. Caroline guesses it probably has something to do with an unpleasant memory about his dad. “It’s all mine, so I call the shots. Please, take any of the spare rooms.”
“Speaking of your mother, I’m surprised she let you go away again so soon after the last time.”
“Yeah, she wasn’t too happy about it. But I promised I’d be here the entire time.” Tyler offers a sheepish grin. “The first week she called at least once a day every day on the land line to make sure.”
“Your mom loves you,” Caroline says as thoughts of her own difficult relationship with her mother surface.
“I know.” Tyler’s expression softens. “I just need time away from all the madness in Mystic Falls before the new school year starts.”
Caroline nods in understanding. “And here I am intruding on your peace and quiet.”
“No, Caroline, it’s okay. You’re right. We need to talk. I’m glad you’re here. Now, go choose a room.” He motions towards the stairs. “Any food preferences?”
“I know a great Thai place.”
“Pad Thai! I haven’t had any decent Pad Thai since visiting my dad.”
“You got it.”
“And that spicy green papaya salad! Get me two orders of that.” Caroline practically skips towards the staircase, dragging her suitcase behind her. Things were a bit touch and go at first but she’s feeling very optimistic now. There are five doors dotting the landing on the second floor. The first door she tries on her left is the bathroom. Good to know, she thinks. She opens the second door on the left and is paralysed with shock at what she sees.
Tyler’s still chuckling and marvelling at Caroline’s appetite as he enters the restaurant’s phone number and places their order. Unfortunately, they don’t deliver but are happy to get the order ready for takeaway.
“Caroline,” Tyler calls up the stairs. “I have to go pick up the food. I’ll be back in about half an hour. That’ll give you time to shower and get settled.”
He’s met with silence. He walks up the steps. “Caroline?” He sees her standing in the open doorway of one of the bedrooms—the room he chose as the one to contain him during his transformations.
“Shit!” He runs to her and pulls her away. “Caroline, that cage is for me. This room, everything in this room is to hold me so I can’t get out and hurt anyone.”
She’s still looking towards the room with the cage and there’s a haunted look in her eyes.
“But I keep hurting you anyway,” he says hollowly.
Caroline finally seems to snap out of it. “No, Tyler. It’s like I said before, we have things we have to work through. That’s why we need to talk.”
Much later, after Caroline has showered and changed into a pair of yoga pants and a tank top, and most of the food has been consumed, she and Tyler are sitting in the darkness on the porch. They’re sharing the rest of the single malt scotch and even though Caroline has no expectations for this night, that they don’t need to start “talking” right away, somehow the words all come tumbling out of Tyler’s mouth anyway.
He’s never been so confused and alone as he was in those months right after his father’s death and discovering the werewolf legacy he’d inherited along with his father’s worldly goods. And learning the truth from Jules pushed him over the edge and his rage took over. The memory of what happened afterwards is tinged with a red haze.
“When I found out, I felt like I couldn’t believe anything you’d told me after that. I thought our friendship was based on lies. You lied to me about Mason and other vampires so why not lie to me and pretend to be my friend? How could I not think you were only spending time with me to keep an eye on me because I was the enemy? And I know you were keeping tabs on me for the Salvatores. Stefan told me.”
“Damon would have killed you if you’d found out about everything,” Caroline says quietly.
“And I know that now because I finally know the whole truth. But back then? I had just been through hell because of my first full moon transformation. All I could see was lie after lie after lie. My wolf’s rage didn’t help matters either.” He half attempts a smile. “I was so angry I could barely think straight. All I knew was at that moment you were just like the rest, only wanting to help me because of an ulterior motive.”
“At first it was to protect us—Stefan, Damon, and me, but then I kept you in the dark to keep you safe. And I wasn’t exaggerating when I said Damon would have killed you.” She pauses. “And I knew that if I told you the truth about everything, Damon would have killed me, too. He’s been promising to kill me ever since I first turned and only Stefan and Elena have kept him from staking me.”
“Remind me to punch Damon the next time I see him.” He looks away towards the water. “I understand not telling me about the other vampires, but you should’ve told me about Mason.”
“I wanted to, but I was so scared you’d freak out once you learned the truth and try to hunt Damon down for what he did to your uncle.”
“Yeah, I probably would have...I almost did.”
Tyler stands up and walks towards the porch steps and leans against a post. He jams his hands into his pockets.
“About that night in the woods. I don’t expect you to ever forgive me. I know it was my fault they took you and I know I should have done something, anything...everything to save you. But I didn’t. And I have to live with that for rest of my life. In the end, that was so much worse than all the lies.” He shakes his head and laughs mirthlessly. “And as suddenly as you had become a part of my life, you were gone, and I felt like I’d lost my best friend.”
Caroline gets up and stands next to him, linking her arm through his. “Tyler, I’m here with you right now.”
He turns his head to look at her. “And I have no idea why. I let Jules hold a gun to you, threaten to kill you. And I did nothing. How can you be here after that?”
“We’ve both messed up, Tyler. I believe we both deserve a second chance.”
Tyler talks about Jules and Caroline talks about Matt. They talk about The Council and their parents. Caroline fills Tyler in on the ritual and its aftermath and the worry that Klaus will one day return to Mystic Falls to exact revenge.
Before long, the sky begins to lighten with the coming dawn. They’re now sitting on the bottom of the porch steps, the bottle of scotch is empty and they’re feeling sleepy.
“What time is it?” Caroline asks, leaning heavily against Tyler’s side.
Tyler opens one eye and squints at his watch. “It’s just before five.”
“Mmm, I love the summer and all the extra hours of daylight.”
“You know how weird that sounds coming from a vampire, right?”
Caroline makes a half-hearted attempt to hit Tyler. “Pffft! You’ll get no emo vampire from me! I love the sun.” She tries but can’t smother a jaw-cracking yawn. “Time for bed before it’s fully light.”
“Ah, that restores a bit of your vampire cred.”
“Oooh, you!” And she repeatedly swats at him.
“Hey! Hey! Hey! I’m just a weak werewolf here who can’t defend himself against your vampire super strength!”
Caroline dissolves into a fit of very un-vampire-like giggles. “Oh, please! C’mon, we should try to get at least a few hours of sleep.”
They both stand and start trudging up the steps. As they’re about to cross the threshold, Caroline stops dead in her tracks. “Oh my God, Tyler! It’s the fourth!”
“July! July!” How could she have forgotten? “We can’t sleep, Tyler. We have to prepare for the Fourth of July!”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Uh, no, not really. I wasn’t planning on doing anything. I was just going to sit around, watch TV, and drink beer.”
“Hmph. That’s not very Spirit of '76 of you.”
“I’d just rather do something low key.”
Caroline pouts, but she knows Tyler is right. Low key suits their speed at the moment as they both try to repair their lives and their friendship from the shattering events of the last few months.
“Well, all right. We’ll grab a few hours of sleep then go shopping for some food, some drink, and some decorations.” At Tyler’s first sign of protest she quickly adds, “Nothing big, just some balloons, maybe a few streamers.”
“Okay, just as long as you don’t treat this like one of the school functions.”
“We’re going to have so much fun! You’ll see. And we deserve to have some fun, damn it!”