can't hold it back
Walking into the thoughts · 11/23

Just in earshot, being more than a few yards away, their bickering rung through the canal of his ears. Driving him to think. To ponder frantically as his tour of the neighborhood was disguised no more than a walk to clear the space between his ears. He fought to stumble back through the doors of Isla's aunt and uncle's home. To jiggle the knob so hard that it pulled out from the socket, exposing the destroyed mechanism. Arms slipped through his leather coat instead. Worn. Broken in with the times and wear felt second to skin of his very own. The teenager's voice marked with resentment settled with. Dropping against as the chill had done. Unspoken in a curse towards her mother, the woman that was strong enough to handle anything but possibly not fortified to handle the verbiage of a kid who knew too little, put his motors at pause. He could've stepped in, mark his place as the other adult in the equation to lean on, except the evening itself rushed onward with enough memories of a Thanksgiving that didn't end in bloodshed.

It didn't end in cutlery being thrown or dishes cracked over heads in pursuit of dysfunction. For the first time in a long time, dinner at his dad's and then at Ted's place was normal. It was running machine, never sputtering to give out. He didn't feel himself wanting to chop off his own ears or cut out the other eye to avoid judging gazes or questionable looks of suspicion. He received the nod. The welcome around in favor of being shunned. If only they knew of the shit he unwillingly, put their niece through, a different story would be told. He somewhat brimmed at the idea of better family dinners at a house he had not been sleeping in for a while. Where he thought he best to be away from when he was being pulled there closer and closer so much he could feel the room filled with the dogs, the cats, and the ambiance less dire than his temporary apartment.

With a turn of the corner, hands filled his coat pockets to relieve it of a pack of cigarettes and it's lighter. The Bic fairly new, flicked to light the stick he popped from its pack. It singed the tip, igniting the carcinogens and other chemicals that would give the average man spots to the lungs or other ailments if smoked long enough. For him, it did nothing. For him it was habit. Striking away at something to occupy his mind. To occupy his hands from fumbling with the fidget toy lodged in his pocket. He swam with the thoughts that some day it didn't matter what his intentions, they would never be enough for both Isla and Cyn. He backed out early to settle the disruption that extended all around him. The opposition for his distance was made known. He knew it. He thought it was best, to save from destroying yet another family. He laughed at the irony of it all.

No matter how much he tried, being decent than being the scum he truly was, it would never go quite right. Perhaps that was the difference between the old Nate and this hybrid of a person taking on the world of an assassin who's morals blurred more than they were supposed to be black and white. Little did he know Slade had a way. He always found one. An answer. The solution. A problem ending while the life of a rightful conclusion would take shape. In a blink, smoke exited from nostrils, mixed with the cool air he slightly shivered from. The bouncing noises of homes he passed, stayed with. Following his trail. He listened to conversations that ranged from tell alls, to political showdowns, to adoration being sharing amongst relatives. They were the sources of his gut ready to lurch from the inside out but he too was guilty of it. Playing a role of a boyfriend who's been questioned about his intentions. Teased of where he would take things with the woman that was the dumb air he breathed but he didn't know. To them at least.

No one needed to outside of his mind. Outside of his actions that curved the suggestions of a life to be. He was onward and upward, lingering on the world of consequences of being for a long-term situation or not. Slade's toxicity withstanding and the neurotic remembrance of watching his own family burn away so quickly, gave enough pause to say no. To do the complete opposite. Leave what was started in the ruins he helped create. At his core the one that was both corrupted and morally skewed, was still a family man. He could make enough peace with it. Push it into a drawer with other factoring choices that led him down this all too winding road. They say second, third, and fourth chances were for the lucky. He admits to it. When no one such as himself should have any.

He thought of his pops. More of Nate's dad than Slade's old man. The reckoning of the latter wasn't enough to teach him wrong but what not else to do. Pops on one hand, taught him much when he didn't see it that way growing up. He didn't spot it a mile out in his twenties. Missed it completely in his thirties, and now that he was five years shy of fifty, it was beginning to click. Where he stood was going to finally make sense in a world that would not to the average person. He sauntered down a path, not looking back but would redirect once he walked the perimeter within the block. He kept his lurking to a minimum. Passing by the now quietness of a street he need to circle back around. Walking back up the steps to a home where he would see more holiday dinners if he played his cards right. They were snug in his hand, unseen. Soon playing them to the best of his abilities relied on any great probability that what was overheard acted as his chance of change.