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Jared Kleinman was an asshole. This wasn't an opinion or anything, it was a hard cold fact that anyone who had spent even a few minutes in his presence could attest to. He was a bad person. He took jokes too far, didn't consider others feelings, acted too nonchalant about everything, was too sarcastic, too annoying, too clingy, too /everything/. If you could think of a bad trait, chances were it would fit Jared.

He was aware of what people thought of him. It wasn't that he didn't care, he'd just come to accept it. He'd learned over time that once people form an opinion of you, you might as well just give up on ever trying to become something different. There was no point in trying to change other people's opinions of him, it was way too late to do anything about it. So he accepted his role of the sarcastic asshole and wore it with something that wasn't quite pride but wasn't quite contempt either.

Jared had a list. A list that was hidden away ten folders deep on his laptop that grew everyday, a list of things that made him a bad person-that he only added to and read half to remind himself how awful he is and half because he apparently liked feeling miserable. A list that basically laid him out completely, showed off everything his personality had to offer. It wasn't something he was proud of, in fact, looking at it made him feel nauseous. It made his throat tighten and made him feel an uncomfortable weight in his chest, which he'd always ignore and try to get rid of by losing himself in talking to friends* (*pestering people who he liked but who likely hated him) or filling up his blog with ridiculous memes* (*that may or may not have been a little too heavy in the 'I hate myself and want to die' category but it had gotten him followers which gave him some tiny shred of validation that made him feel less terrible).

Jared Kleinman was an asshole. He was a jerk. A dick, a piece of shit, rude, ungrateful, greedy, etc. He was a bad person. He knew this. His parents knew this. His family* (*best and only real) friend knew this. Everyone knew it. He was expected to act a certain way and he did. At first that's all it was. An act. He was expected to be a certain way and he did so to not disappoint people. But over time, he had genuinely become a bad person. The act that he'd put on became his personality and there was no going back.

Jared was a bad person. But he had reasons. Reasons why he was bad. Not that anyone would give a damn enough about him to ever sit down and hear those reasons. Not like anyone really cares about him in the first place, not that he even deserves their attention or concern (he could probably end up exactly like Connor but there'd be no superficial mass school mourning, no Jared Project, nothing but a short service that no one would show up to).

Sometimes Jared would think about trying to be better. About trying to put in some effort into becoming a good person, the kind of person who had friends who genuinely liked him, who had a personality that people would enjoy, to become someone who would actual do something with his (pathetic) life. He always felt sort of sick when he'd think about that, a sharp pain would travel through his chest and down his arm and into his hand, leaving a faint ache and pins and needles. He knew he would never do any of that. He was too lost in his own pathetic self-wallowing/pity party to actually give enough of a fuck.

Jared kept his reasons under a lock and key that was completely unnecessary. No one would ever give enough of a damn about him to try to pry into his life, see what went wrong and where. He kept up walls and guarded himself with sarcasm and distance only for himself. To try and trick himself into thinking he was worthy of friends who would want him to open up and talk, that he was worthy of anyone (outside of a therapist) who'd want to talk to him and want to genuinely help him.

No one would ever care. And that was fine. Jared didn't really care, honest. It was just how things were. It was how things were meant to be. He had accepted his lot in life a long time ago. Was he still bitter? Fuck yes, of course he was. But there wasn't a whole lot he could even do about it so there was no use in fighting.

Jared Kleinman was an asshole. And that's all anyone needed to know.