When Theo was 9, he wandered off from his mother at the supermarket. He had tried going back to the veggies aisle, where he’d first insisted he didn’t want broccoli but Froot Loops and went to get them himself, but he couldn’t find her. Suddenly, hee couldn’t even remember what color she was dressing. All Theo knew was how he wanted the ground to open and swallow him whole as that pitch black, cold feeling froze his insides. He couldn’t help but thinking back at that moment as Theo stood, alone and utterly lost, at that dance floor, waiting Dan to come back for the past half hour, holding the white cane so close to his chest he could barely feel the tip of his fingers. Except he wasn’t a nine year old kid anymore, but a twenty-fucking-eight year old adult, pathetically lost, and yet the feeling was the exact same one.
Back at the store, a nice old lady had helped him find his mom again. Here, no deus ex machina would show up randomly and save him from his own helplessness.
Everything about that party murdered his remaining senses; the music so loud he couldn’t hear his own thoughts, the flashes of color shining through his eyelashes, bright and painful and disorientating, as it all turned into an annoying pressure building up right above his eyes, ready to become The Worst Headache Ever. Every single time he had tried to stretch out his cane, it’d get stuck in drunk, dancing people’s legs, threatening to break it in half. And he couldn’t have that.
Theo was stuck. He’d be stuck there till the end of times, the Apocalypse would break loose outside and there he would be, standing in the dancefloor, that sinking feeling in his stomach, waiting for Dan to come back, but of course he never would, he’d be dead after all.
God, he ought to have known better than to agree to that party. He hated parties for that very reason — people had the bad tendency of abandoning him around, like a backpack you had to carry around but longed to get off your shoulders and drop somewhere. The best they could’ve done was dropping him somewhere the music wouldn’t make him deaf in addition to blind, preferably with a chair. And maybe a drink — he wouldn’t complain about that.
He could feel people dancing around him, with a good amount of hair being thrown in his direction, people’s backs brushing against his. Theo kept reminding himself not to turn around every single time thinking it might be Dan, miraculously teleported back with a plausible excuse to have gone missing for the past — he checked his wristwatch — forty five minutes, like being kidnapped by some mob and having to escape, ran over by a truck or found Harrison Ford on his way to get the drinks.
Theo was dwelling on thoughts of his brother going away in an adventure with Indiana Jones alone when someone bumped into him — and not just the kind of light bump someone got for standing in a same place, but a hair-flying, drink-spilling kind of bump. As the person over his chest recovered, female judging by hair and frame, alcohol all over his shirt, Theo reached for her arm to get her standing straight.
“I’m so sorry!” she shouted close to his ear, trying to get herself heard above the music, which was damn near impossible. She touched his moist. “I got it all over your shirt!”
“No shit, Sherlock.” It wasn’t like she heard, because he had to clarify. “I mean it’s fine. No harm done.”
Except he would never get rid of that awful smell. She didn’t say anything else, but she was so close he knew she was still there. Then she leaned forward, bringing his stiff neck down and bringing her lips close to his ear.
“Do you want to maybe go outside?” she asked,
And there was his Deus ex Machina. For a fraction of second he actually considered not going because hey, how would Dan find him? But he was a twenty-fucking-eight year old lawyer, not a nine year old boy lost in the veggies aisle. Dan was God-Knows-Where doing God-Knows-What with Harrison Ford. He didn’t own his brother any more explanation than Dan owned him—actually, Dan did owe him a good amount of explanation.
Theo nodded, finding her shoulder. She guided him through the sea of people, realizing he wasn’t even that far from the shore. They left the dancefloor behind, Theo noticing his ears so used to the loud music he was sure he was deaf a little too, but he could still hear her giggles when they stepped outside He felt around with his cane and much to his surprise, it didn’t find anyone’s feet. He hadn’t noticed how crowded and hot it was inside until he felt the cold night air breeze against his skin.
“Hey,” she laughed as they stumbled outside. “I’m so sorry about your shirt.”
She sounded like she was pretty. Theo couldn’t see anything, not even the shadows he was able to make out back inside, but he was used to it, -- he honestly couldn’t remember a time in his life he had been able to see anything at night.
“Nah, It’s okay. I hated it, anyway.” He shrugged and twitched his nose. “The smell, though.”
He felt her leaning forward and sniffing his chest. “Yeah, it’s pretty bad. Sorry for that. I hope you didn’t have a hot date or anything.”
A smile played in his lips.
“I might.” Theo shrugged. “But now it’s ruined. This smell hinders my alluring natural scent.”
“Well, you did manage to attract me.” She joked. “With your alluring natural scent. Before, y’know, I ruined it.”
“You were just taking care of the competition. Completely understandable.”