(adj) to make something worse when trying to improve it
I was woken up by the sound of shouting, and as I opened my eyes, I could see that Calum had left the bed, the trace of his frame still visible on the sheets where he'd been laying. Then I heard shouting once again and I sat up in the bed, confusion filling my head. What was going on?
Carefully I got out of bed. I was still wearing Calum's sweatshirt on top of my own clothes, but I took out my bun as it had become quite the mess during the night. Then I slowly made my way out of the room, trying to follow the voices to their source. One of them was Calum, of course, but I didn't recognize the other one. It was croaky and sounded more worn out. I stopped at the door to the kitchen and took a quick peek inside and there they were. Calum was standing with his back to me, and in front of him stood an older man. Some of his features reminded me of Calum's, and then I remembered that he'd mentioned his dad living here as well. I'd never met Calum's parents, so this was a first. I stayed hidden, though, not knowing if I should intervene.
"You're fucking embarrasing, you know that?" It was Calum and he sounded frustrated. The words he spoke were hards, and I had yet to find out why.
"I'm sorry, Calum, you know I am", his dad answered. He spoke very slowly almost like he had a hard time getting the words to come out.
"Sure you are, but I need you to understand that I am sick and tired of this habit of yours. And I'm scared, alright?" Calum's voice began to shake as he spoke the last few words and I frowned a bit. What was this about?
"There's no need to be afraid" said his dad whose name I couldn't even remember, asked.
"I'm afraid that it is going to kill you, dad. You know that it is."
David. That was his name. David Hood. Now I remembered. I'd never met him, but I'd heard the name getting mentioned every once in a while when we were kids.
My curiosity was almost leaking out of me, but I also felt quite worried. It sounded serious, but Calum had never mentioned anything regarding his dad. Or his mom, for that sake. I finally decided to just say something since just standing here without them knowing felt weird.
"Uhm, hey, I-I was just..." I stuttered as I stepped through the door. I realized that I didn't have a clue of what to say, and I suddenly felt terribly stupid.
Calum quickly spun around to face me and his dad just seemed confused.
"Oh, Calum, you didn't tell me that-.." Calum cut his dad off.
"Ella, you need to leave."
I just stood there for a second, my gaze shifting between Calum and David, not knowing how to respond to it. I'd just entered and was immediately getting kicked out.
"No, no, no," David said, stepping closer to me, "don't kick her out like that, she can stay. I-I could make breakfast."
Calum once again turned towards his dad as he ran his fingers through his hair. It was clear that he was upset, but I still hadn't gotten why, but there was something odd about David. The way he talked, the way he moved. Almost like he was under the influence, but why would he be that at this time?
"No you can't, dad. You've done enough," Calum answered, then he looked at me again. The angry look in his eyes made me take a step back, "and you, can I just talk to you for a sec?"
"Yeah, I guess", I mumbled and nodded. Calum then grabbed me by the hand and pulled me through the apartment and back into his bedroom, closing the door behind us.
"Ella, once again, you need to leave", he said as he let go of my wrist.
"But you just said that you wanted to talk", I answered and frowned. He was acting strange. For a moment he just looked at me, and I could tell that there was a lot going on in his head in that moment. "Would you please just tell me what is going on?" I added after a moment, not sure if it was appropriate to even ask.
"My dad has a problem, alright?" he admitted and shrugged before he walked to the bed and sat down on the edge.
"What kind of problem?" I asked as I sat down beside him. He didn't answer at first, he just sat there and looked at the floor for a while.
"A drinking problem. He's had that for a while", he mumbled. I could barely make out what he was saying, but the message came through and it hit me quite hard. I had absolutely no idea, and it also surprised me that he just told me. He'd been very reluctant about opening up to me before.
"I-I'm so sorry", I whispered. Carefully I placed a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him, but it felt weird, so I removed it again.
"No, don't say that," he sighed as he quickly got up and turned towards me. "Everybody always fucking say that which is why it's easier to just not mention it. I don't want your pity and my dad surely doesn't deserve it."
"You can't just shut people out whenever something is hurting you, Calum", I said and stood up as well even though I'd just sat down. I got the whole part about being tough and not needing anybody, but it wasn't healthy. The way I saw it, he was just bottling up all these emotions and let them burst out in the form of anger. Especially towards David.
"You don't know shit, Ella, you get that? You don't know what I've gone through, so don't you try and tell me how to live my life", he growled and stepped closer to me, once again making me take a step back. I know what he was doing. Building walls around himself. I'd seen too much of that from people lately, and I was, to put it lightly, tired of it.
"Well, what did you expect?" I answered and shook my head at him. He was being ridiculous. "You've never let me in on this, so tell me, what did you expect?"
"Maybe I didn't let you in on it because it wasn't any of your damn business, Ella, what about that?" He answered. He'd began to restlessly wander around the room, and he honestly acted like such a mess. I'd never seen him like that before.
"If it isn't any of my damn business, Calum, why are we even having this conversation? Why are you telling me all this?" I asked, also feeling quite frustrated at this point. It sure was contagious. "You can't just keep running from it. You owe me answers."
Then he stopped walking and just looked at me.
Calum slowly made his way towards me once again, his face impossible to read. He then stopped right in front of me, the silence making the tension grow thicker.
"I owe you?" he asked and raised his eyebrows as he crossed his arms across his chest.
"You kind of screwed me over, remember?" I explained and tilted my head to the left a bit. I know his side of the story probably looked a lot different than mine, but it didn't change the fact that he made me feel like shit. He broke me and never even cared to explain.
"Do I have to remind you once again?" he asked and sighed.
"Remind me of what?"
"That everything doesn't revolve around you, Ella", he snapped and let his arms fall down along the side of his body once again. He'd said that before, and I'd realized that I might've had a habit of making the whole thing about me, but what was I supposed to do? I only knew how the story sounded from my perspective.
I didn't have an answer to that. When I opened my mouth to speak, no words rolled over my lips, so I just closed it once again and looked down at the floor, not wanting to make eye contact. Maybe I was being overly sensitive, but his harsh words hit me quite hard.
"You're unbelievable", he mumbled and shook his head.
"So this is what it has gotten to? Talking shit?" I asked and cleared my throat to try and hide the sound of the tears that were on their way. I was most definitely being overly sensitive, but the frustration was bubbling over. "All I want to do is help, Calum, or at least try to understand, but you won't let me."
"I don't need your help", he growled. Any attempt to try and be nice seemed to come out wrong in Calum's eyes, and I'd run out of ideas to cheer him up. He seemed so blinded by whatever emotions he had been bottling up, he couldn't see that I just wanted what was best for him.
"Fine, Calum. Good luck with your dad then", I whispered and shook my head a bit, before turning around and walking towards the door. I stopped in the doorway and shot him a quick look over my shoulder. He'd sat down on the bed once again, and had hidden his face in his hands. I didn't know wether or not he way crying, but it didn't matter. I had to leave.
And with that, I walked out of the room and through the hallway, just to be stopped by David on my way to the front door.
"Are you leaving?" he asked as he leaned against the wall, probably having trouble with his balance. Now that I was closer to him, the scent of alcohol was impossible to ignore. He'd definitely been drinking.
"Yeah, I am", I answered and tried with a smile.
"I'm really sorry, Ellen-.."
"Ella", I corrected him before I could stop myself.
"Ella, I'm sorry. What I was trying to say was that... That I know I'm not a good father, and I know it's affecting Calum a lot... But I just don't know what to do." Drunk or not, I could tell he was sincere and I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. "It's just... Ever since Calum's mother died it's just been hard, you know... Making it work, and uh... No, uh, yeah, I won't keep you here any longer if you were about to leave..." Then his words just kind of blurred out until he stopped talking.
What he was saying was a mess, but I quickly caught on to the part of Calum's mother having passed away. It made my heart drop instantly, and I was completely frozen to the spot for just a moment. In the meantime David had turned around and walked back into the kitchen like it was no big deal.
I felt my entire picture of the guy who I'd once again grown fond of crumble. Calum had basically kept his entire life a secret, and I didn't know what to think any longer.