Guys, this is it, this is the end:'( No worries, there will be an epilogue, though:)
I watch as Hayley takes the bottle out of her cupboard. I sigh. 'Hayley, I thought that you were going to give up...'
She turns to me with a twisted expression. 'I can't Josh. It's just impossible without you. In fact, since you left, I've been drinking more.'
My eyes go wide. 'But what about Shelly?'
'She doesn't have any,' Hayley shrugs. 'She doesn't seem to mind really.'
I sigh. 'But, Hayley-'
'Josh,' her voice is quiet, yet commanding. 'I can't, okay? It's really really hard, and you should at least try to understand that.'
'And you should try to understand how much pain you're giving me by doing this,' I tell her quietly.
She sighs and runs a hand through her eye-popping orange hair. 'I know, Josh. But please. You can't force me to give this up. It's become part of me, and I can't do without it!'
A feeling of helplessness washes over me as she opens the bottle and takes a sip. 'Oh, Hayley.'
'What?' she asks defensively, shooting me a glare.
I can't feel anything. I'm completely numb. It's like there's a huge chasm between us right now and I can't find a way to bridge it. I hate this. Part of me wishes I'd never come back. Maybe I should just stay in Knoxville and not come here.
'I.. I have to pee,' I mutter and walk out of the room. I run downstairs, and find Nate outside, looking at the stars. 'Can we talk?'
'Yeah,' he nods, not looking at me.
I sigh. 'Nate, what's happening with Hayley? She's resorted back to drinking again, and says she can't manage without it.'
He turns to me with a worried expression on his face. 'I know,' he says gravely. 'We're all quite worried about it. It's definetely because of you.'
'Is it?' I sigh, biting my lip. 'I mean, she always had it before we came along.'
He nods understandingly. 'I know what you're hoping for, Josh. You're hoping that it's not your fault. But... she had kinda stopped until you moved away.'
'But she went to that party,' I remind him.
He nods. 'I know, but htat was because she was stressing out over whether we were leaving. It's an escape for her, you see. She uses it when she wants to forget, or when she's stressing, or when she's upset, although it's a depressant.'
I frown, suddenly realising he knows an awful lot about it all. 'Hold up, how do you know all of this, anyways? I didn't realise you guys were close.'
'We're not really,' he shrugs. 'I know most of that mainly from Shelly. But she has been asking me how you are and stuff since you left.'
I bite my lip. 'She seems like such a mess right now, and I feel like I can't reach her, cause there's this massive chasm in the way of us.'
'Josh, she's just struggling,' Nate sighs, looking back at the stars. 'She's always struggled with addictions, really. Since what happened with her Mom, she's kinda always had these kinds of problems. They're just more severe at the moment.'
'But what am I supposed to do about it?' I ask desperately. 'I mean, when I'm not here, she's just gunna keep on drinking!'
'That's the point, Josh,' Nate tries to break it to me as gently as he can. 'You can't do anything about it. It's her decision, and only she can change it. You can express your opinions over it, but only she can decide to give up.'
I feel winded. He's right, and we both know it. She's beyond my help. I feel sick, and my throat is dry. I can't help Hayley anymore. All my efforts are useless. I nod mutely. 'Yeah,' I mutter and turn away. 'You're right. But I'll see you later.'
'Bye,' he nods distractedly.
I frown and turn around. 'Nate, what's wrong?' I ask, my voice low.
He shakes his head. 'I'm just trying to figure something out, I'm fine.'
I frown. 'You sure?'
'Yeah, I'm fine,' he turns to smile at me. 'I'm just thinking about stuff. I'll be in in a minute, okay?'
I nod and turn around again. 'Okay. But I'm here if you need to talk to me, all right?' I say, before heading back inside.
I wander into the kitchen, where Izzy's sitting, working on an essay for school. I pull up a chair and sit next to her. 'How's the homework going, huh?'
'Fine,' she smiles, turning to face me. 'I've almost finished now, I just need to do the conclusion.'
'That's great,' I smile. 'I can never finish essays, I just never know what to say! Anyways, I'm just going out for a walk,' I tell her, standing up.
She shoots me a worried look. 'Okay,' she says cautiously. 'But don't be too long, okay? I don't want something happening to you.'
I laugh. 'You sound like Mom.'
'Maybe I'll be a mom one day,' she smiles.
I smile. 'You'd make a great one,' I compliment her.
A bright beacon of a smile appears on her face. 'Aww, Josh, thanks so much! That actually meant so much!'
I shrug. 'It's just the truth.' I do genuinely believe that she will turn out to be an amazing mom. 'Anyways, I gotta go, or it'll be dark!'
Izzy smiles. 'See you later, Josh.'
'Later,' I call over my shoulder as I leave the room. I walk outside, and pass Nate as I walk down the path. 'I'm just going for a walk,' I explain. 'I'll be back soon.'
He nods. 'Okay, I'll see you in a bit.'
I walk down the road in silence, letting thoughts fill my head. I'm so confused, so lost and I hate it. I wonder how I'm going to manage this.
I find my feet taking me to the place we did our graffiti. I sigh and look at it. There's more been added to it. 'ALL WE KNOW IF FALLING' is scrawled underneath Paramore.
I sigh and run a hand through my hair. I hate this. I feel so apart from Hayley, and it's only been one week. Now she just wants to drink, drink, drink.
I bite my lip and shake my head. 'Hayley, you know that it's not right.'
Suddenly Hayley just stops trying to prove her point. Her shoulders go limp. 'I know,' she whispers. 'You're right and we're just kidding ourselves. I love you Josh, but... we just can't do this...'
Tears are threatening to overflow as I take her hand. I pull her close and give her one last kiss. 'I'm so sorry,' my voice is cracking.
She shakes her head. 'No, I'm sorry, Josh. It's... It's my fault.'
'No,' I sigh. 'Let's just... I don't want to ruin our friendship. Please can we stay friends?' I beg her.
She nods, tears filling her eyes. 'Yes, ofcourse. Bye,' she whispers, giving me a swift hug, before wiping her face.
I sigh. 'Bye, Hayles,' I turn and board the train. I ignore Izzy's horrified face and sit down in my seat, trying not to cry.
I hate this. I hate myself for this, but it's best for both of us. I give Nate, Shelly and Hayley a weak wave as we pull out of the station.
I bite my lip. That's it. Hayley and I are over.