Status: one shot


all about him

She grinned at me with her all-too-perfect smile.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”

I didn’t respond because our session was over and all I wanted to do was to get out of her office. I knew Coop was waiting for me outside, anyway.

I remained silent, on my way down the stairs of the building and into Coop’s car. He didn’t say anything either. He knows not to talk to me after I come back from her office. Unlike you, he doesn’t waste time attempting to make small talk.

I don’t know what that means. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. I don’t know why she told me that.

“What does ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ mean?”

I thought Coop might know the answer.

“I don’t know, keep your ass clean everyday and you’ll make it to heaven,”


It’s normally at this time that my recollections of you decide to pay me a visit. When Cooper is asleep, when he gives less of a damn about me and more about whatever wet dream he’s having. Only this time, I thought about cleanliness, and whatever that might mean. I didn’t interpret it the way Coop did. I didn’t think I was clean in the way she meant it.

With you, I was anything but clean. With you, I disappointed my mother in ways I hoped I never would. With you, I did things I can’t forgive myself for.

I get anxiety from the things I did years ago with you, to the things I did the last time I saw you. I don’t know which could be worse.


You’re smiling at me with that smile you never give out to anyone.
Not when you’re sober, not when you’re drugged.
Only with me.
And I like it. I like the stupid grin on your face. I like that way you lie and tell me that you love me. I believe you anyway, in that moment. I regret it when you beg me to go with random guys for your advantage. But in that moment, when the room is foggy and your hands waste no time in groping any part of my body that they can find, I am in love with you.


Cooper noticed I was still fixated on that phrase.

“Kyle, it’s just a stupid saying. I doubt she meant it.”

I knew that if I said anything, he’d know I only thought about it so hard because of you, but he did it anyway.

“Not everything has to do with Ben, you know,” he muttered before kissing my forehead and walking away.


I found myself in her office the next week, biting my lip while ignoring the awkward silence between us.

“What exactly does ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ mean,” I honestly couldn’t help myself.

“Well,” she started, “other than worshiping God, being clean should be top priority.”

“Clean, as in what?” I pushed on. She wasn’t going to stop this conversation with a smile this time.

“To be honest, you could think of that in different ways,” she answered. “What do you think it means?”

I think I knew, just not how to say it.

“Being morally clean? Ethically? I don’t know,”


I never went into full detail about what had happened between you and I when I vaguely told Cooper about you.

The first year, Cooper tried to talk to me about you. Maybe he thought I’d tell him, but I didn’t, because even though you were gone and it was supposed to be all about him, it wasn’t. The year after that, he didn’t ask. Last year, he had sex with me particularly on that day.

This year, he brings you up again, with a hostile undertone in his words. He says things about you he said he wouldn’t, and he’s almost like you. That’s what makes me cry. That’s how we ended up in that stupid sofa where I’d been with you and countless other people.

“I’m not clean, am I?” My tears have stopped and my breath is finally regulated. He looks down at me, and I knew he wouldn’t understand.

“What do you mean?”

“Like,” I honestly don’t know. “The things Ben and I did, how I met you and all the drugs. I’m not clean.”

Coop holds me tighter at the mention of how we met.

“Not if you look pass it. He’s gone, Kyle. Dead. It doesn’t fucking matter,” he’s mad and I don’t push it any farther.


“Mhm. And what made Cooper particularly different from the rest of the guys Ben had you with?” She asks, staring at me intently while my eyes are darting off at various places in the room, looking at anything but her and her eyes.

“He was nice. He stayed with me after Ben overdosed, too. He liked me, I guess. And I liked him too, so.”

She nodded and wrote something down. That always bothered me, but I never brought it up. “Sorry Kyle, but do you still miss Ben?”

I then hated her and her purple bulletin board with several drawings on them from little kids and I wanted to call her a freak for having a large amount of digital clocks in the damned office.

“No,” I lied. “I’m glad he’s gone. I’m better off with Coop.” I felt really guilty when she had this underlying look of disbelief on her expression after I answered. I wanted nothing more than to prove to myself and Coop that I really did like him. A lot, and eventually, more than you.


I didn’t give Cooper a chance to say anything when we got home, practically jumping on him and kissing anything my lips wanted (or rather, needed).

“Kyle, stop.” I didn’t and I didn’t plan on doing so until he pushed me away from him, holding my wrists in his hands. “I know what you’re trying to do. It’s not going to work, you’re only making things worse,” he spoke to me gently at first until I persisted, telling him my intentions were different this time, even though we both knew that they weren’t.

That’s when he tightened his grip on my wrists, when the look on his face contorted into mixed emotion of anger and sadness. He reminded my so much of you like that, and the fact that his grip would surely leave bruises didn’t help.

“He’s not going away. You were fucking right, you’re not clean,” I hated him almost as much as I hated you and that therapist. But I knew you would be happy. And you probably were.


We didn’t speak for a while after that, I tried to avoid him as much as I could. I actually liked my sessions with her, even if the silent car rides and the guilt on his face that got more noticeable with every passing day wasn’t really worth it. After our most recent session, Cooper tried to apologise.

“I’m sorry for what I said that day. It was just... I got mad and I stooped low to get you mad.” I didn’t know what to say.

“It’s fine.” And that’s all I could say.

He stared blankly at the road while we both tried to ignore the tension between us. I could imagine you laughing and calling Cooper stupid for apologising to me, of all people.

He stopped at a red light and asked to check my wrists. I let him take a look at my left wrist, which had purple marks on the inside that were turning into an ugly shade of yellow. He but his lip and held my wrist for the rest of the ride, occasionally squeezing it in comfort. We both knew he was forgiven by then.


We were eventually tired, tangled and sweaty but we didn’t care. It was silent and dark and perfect for the two of us. We were supposedly happy by then, but something was missing. And I knew what it was, I just didn’t know how to get it out.

“Ben and I started dating when I was seventeen. We met a few weeks before that, but he really liked me and I felt like I had to date him. Do you remember Andrew?” I felt Coop nod. “Ben became friends with him a month after we started dating. If it wasn’t for him, Ben would probably still be here. He got Ben into drugs, and Ben got me into drugs because I was stupid. They got into a fight a while after and that’s when I told him I would stop the drugs. He told me he’d stop too, but he got back on them. And it was worse because he started begging me to pay other guys in a more convenient way for the drugs they gave him.”

Cooper knew what I was talking about because he was one of them.

“The day that he overdosed was the day after he promised he’d stop. I hated him. I hated him so fucking much, Coop. He told me he loved me. He took my virginity, he got me into all this shit only to die and leave me feeling stupid for ever believing in him.” By then, I couldn’t hold my tears in anymore and Coop’s hold on me grew stronger while repeating ‘I’m so sorry,’. I didn’t care though, because despite what he did, he did more good than bad. Unlike you. He was better than you and we both knew that.

“I love you,”


“I told Cooper that I love him,”

She looked at me as if she knew better than me, as if she knew that I didn’t. “Do you?”

“Yeah, and I’m sure of it.” I dead-panned. I didn’t continue with that conversation and neither did she. Even though she thinks she knows that I don’t, I know that I do. Even though she thinks that I’m still not clean, I know I am because Ben’s gone.

I know that Ben’s gone now, and it’s all about Cooper.

It sure as hell is all about you now, Cooper.
♠ ♠ ♠
If you love me, let me gooooooo

Quite fitting. Kind of, not really. Sorry to Dr. Colleen for using some stuff from her office in this story. You are one awkward lady, Dr. Ma’am.