As I had mentioned before, April had a service dog. An untrained, purebred, Shiba Inu dog.
Amaterasu, as I’ll call her, was quite the cutie. But her certification was merely the excuse April made to have no humanoid roommates, and to have her dog with her at the university dorms. April did have a sleeping condition. She described it to me as having narcolepsy without cataplexy, so when she fell asleep, she slipped almost immediately into REM and was nearly impossible to wake. I knew at least that to be true, as I had suffered through her falling asleep at my flat before. But I digress.
That was Amaterasu’s job. Or, it was supposed to be. Ideally, she would hear April’s alarm and lick her face. Amaterasu was initially trained to do this, but April never kept up o nthe training. So, naturally, the service dog’s job fell to me.
At this stage, I was working at a historical inn as a breakfast server. Generally, I stayed up during the night so that I could sort out my inworld, worked the morning shift, and fell asleep at home. And a good half hour of my morning shift, on days where April had morning classes, were spent calling her. Again, and again, and again, and again.
Just to make sure that she got to class on time.
Her absurdly expensive university had a very strict absentee policy. If she missed four days per quarter, it was an automatic fail. Too many of those, she would lose scholarships. Most times, she would forget that she had requested me to call, be getting ready all the while, and finally pick up on the 35th round and say, “What? I’m getting ready for class.”
Despite my best efforts, she would generally take three out of those four days off and then be at risk of sleeping through another class by the end of it.
We hadn’t been dating for perhaps more than four months at this point when she made a confession, over text.
“Yeah, you’d better hope I don’t lose my scholarships. I hate long-distance romances.” I believe she was back at home for the holidays when she did this. Her mum or dad may have been pissing her off enough to make a declaration. I was used to letting her rant. But this time, she went a bit too far. “If I flunk out of [university], you can kiss our relationship goodbye.”
I remember staring at the phone. Within the inworld, Vex was in the same room as I. She’d never liked April. Being as Vex used to be the abuser in her past relationship, and was now still paying the price, I should’ve probably taken the hint when she told me, “[April] reminds me too much of myself.” She believed that myself and people like me were destined, via a curse, to always be in abusive relationships. It was to always mirror what had happened in her abusive relationship, thousands of years ago, when she broke her girlfriend’s soul into pieces. Literally.
April kept on. “We probably just wouldn’t talk anymore. Even if we did reconnect afterwards, you’d have to start over on the base level of my trust. It’s not hard to find someone quirky and bookish like you, anyway. I’ll probably find someone like you in my next city.”
I actually do not remember what I responded to it. Probably something along the lines of, ‘So you’re saying you’ll abandon me if you flunk out of [university]?’ But I was definitely somewhere else.
Vex was pacing around the room– we were still in my room, just a version of which that had a couch that she was pacing in front of. “I knew it. I knew it. You have all these ideas in your head, Xanthe, that she would be the one to break the cycle. But no! She’s just like I was,”
“Vex, I don’t want to talk about it.” I interrupted her, but she kept going.
“Except she never learned from it! She’s just–“
“Selfish, spoiled, sadistic, and disappointing as the others!”
“VEX.” In a rare moment of physical aggression, I threw a Yankee candle in her direction to snap her out of it. I knew it wouldn’t hit her. She disappeared, then the veil was drawn back, to reveal the empty space wherein both she and the couch were.
April and I had certainly had disagreements, but this may have been the first real problem within the relationship. I have terrible abandonment issues, and I’m willing to put up with just about anything as long as that person still wants to be around me. (Ex: The Crosmen Crew.) And granted, she had never been cruel enough to promise we would be together forever and then back out of it. But she had gone out of her way to show that she viewed me as disposable and unimportant. She put the pressure on me that I was to make sure she was awake and working, lest she decides to say ‘Fuck it’ to anything Savannah-related.
My alters were not pleased. I vaguely remember Aberle, Koji, and Vex at the forefront of bad-mouthing April’s threat of abandonment. Snide remarks to their friends and to April herself.
Eventually, April apologized and relented her view. She made it clear that it was so people would ‘stop being all up in arms over [me]’
But Hell. I’m a Scorpio. Years of trust can be undone in a single moment.
And things definitely changed between us. I did begin to resent April. Seeing how she would be annoyed at having to take her dog out, yelling at the pitiful whining beast to just ‘pee on the floor’ until the poor thing apologetically did. And there was also Mr. Fedora, whom she hated but evidently kept him around to feel superior.
There was one interesting moment, wherein my mum and grandmother visited me, that Mum invited April out for dinner. Mum’s treat. When April did show up, she surprisingly had Mr. Fedora in tow. She didn’t apologise for her lateness. She actually interacted with Fedora more than I, laughing at all of his jokes and even leaning into him. I knew she hated him. We essentially just kept him around as a point of ridicule, because things were tense if we had no common topic to feel better than.
It’s no longer a hobby I subscribe to. In fact, I think it was entirely April’s prerogative. Fedora wasn’t a terrible person, just vaguely sexist and quite dim. Yet I have, for the purpose of this blog, personified him by the hat he always wore and the cliché that went with it.
Mum, never one to raise a fuss in public, paid the bill for all of us. Fedora didn’t even offer to pay his own. She certainly raised a fuss on the way to dropping me off, though. “I thought [April] was the one you had a crush on? You moved here to be with her, didn’t you? Aren’t you dating or something?”
“Yeah. We are.”
“Then why was she all over that guy? Is she even gay?”
I closed my eyes and recited the explanation I knew April would give me. “She’s bisexual. And she’s a sociopath, Mum. It’s basically a whole ‘keep your friends close and enemies closer.’ She can’t help it. She has to do this charisma-masking thing. The fact that she hardly paid me any attention is proof that I’m more important to her.” Mates, I was brainwashed, brainwashed.
My mum gave an aggravated pause. “Well, no matter what she has, that was rude. I was half-tempted to tell that boy to pay for the whole meal!”
But hell, if there’s anything you can do to assure the longevity of a relationship within your child, it’s to disapprove of it. I didn’t listen. I wouldn’t have. I wasn’t ready to, yet.