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Freak Like Me

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Summer 1993

Erin flicked boredly through the book she was supposed to be studying for English, the words on the page nothing more than a jumble of writing. No matter how hard she tried to concertrate and retain the information Erin couldn't get her brain to play ball but it was hardly her fault, her Mom and Chad had been up all night screaming at each other and smashing the already dilapidated house to pieces. It was a common occurance but Erin still struggled to survive through a full school day on only a few hours sleep. The unbearably stuffy californian heat wasn't helping either, even dressed in the thin sundress Erin felt uncomfortably hot and irritable. It was just not a good day.

"Erin!" Stephanie yelled, earning an angry shush from the librarian Mr Carmichael. "Quick, it's Tate!"

Inwardly Erin groaned, this was the last thing she needed. "What is it? Has he left school again? He's only going to get him self expel-"

"He and Jason Anderson are fucking killing each other in the gymnasium! Move!" In a whirl of blonde and black hair Stephanie ran back out of the library, ignoring the chastizing Mr Carmichael was yelling after her.

Collecting her books up into her bag, Erin darted after her friend heart pounding furiousy in her chest. It had been weeks since the run in between Tate and Jason at the liquor store and he had promised he was going to let things lie, mentally Erin kicked herself she should have known better than to believe that Tat would be able to ignore Jason's batings. His fuse was short and when he blew, really blew, it was more than a little terrifying. As Erin reached the double doors which led into the gymnasium it wasn't Tate she was afraid for.

"Tate!" She screamed, throwing the doors open and taking in the scene before her with a hushed fuck. It was clear the boys had been brawling for some time, both had bloodied faces and their clothes were tussled but at that moment Tate had the upper hand and was on top of the larger boy strangling him with shaking arms. "Stop it! Tate!" Running over to the pair and shoving past the small crowd that had circled around them, Erin grabbed at Tate's arm in a desperate attempt to dislodge him from Jason. "Tate! Let him go!" Her shouts fell on deaf ears as Tate continued strangling Jason, who's face was beginning to turn an ugly shade of purple from lack of oxygen. In a panic that her boyfriend was actually going to kill Jason, Erin did the only thing she could think of and back handed the right side of Tate's head as hard as she could.

Dark eyes shot up to look for the person who had struck him, and controlled by his rage Tate threw himself at the assailant, so consumed by anger not realizing it was in fact Erin.

Cold fear washed over Erin as Tate's strong grip latched around her throat squeezing so tight she fought and spluttered for breathe. "Tate!" She gasped, clawing wildly at his hands. "It's me! Tate it's Erin." After what felt like the longest moment of Erin's life, the pressure on her throat eased as the red mist that clouded Tate's mind began to clear.

"Wh...I'm so sorry." He whispered in despair. "Did I hurt you?" It wasn't the first time he'd lost control and accidently snapped on Erin, but he'd never strangled her before and the realisation of what he had done brought his world crashing down. He'd hurt the only person he cared about.

"I'm fine." Coughed Erin, sucking in as much air as her lungs would allow. "I'm fine." She repeated in a softer voice, more to convince herself than Tate. Scrabbling to her feet on shaking legs, Erin turned her attention to Jason who was watching the pair with cruel smugness. "Why can't you leave him alone?"

Jason laughed. "You're defending him? After we all just witnessed what he did to you," Stepping closer to Erin, he bent down to her height his whole aura oozing patronizing smugness. "Is it because you like that sort of thing? You like it...rough."

Erin could practically feel the snap in Tate at Jason's words but before he could grab at the jock again she yanked him back using her whole weight to stop him. "Leave us alone!" Turning her attention to Stephanie, she shoved Tate towards her unwilling friend. "Please just take him outside. Please."

Although it was very much clear Stephanie wanted to do anything but be around Tate, she pulled him out of the gymnasium all the same.

"You see I told you guys he was a freak, if anything he's worse than I gave him credit for."

Erin's own anger spiked and instead of heading to the girls bathroom, where she intended to check the damage Tate had done to her neck, she marched over to Jason only stopping when their bodied were inches apart. "What's your fucking problem?" She hissed, poking his chest. "Is it because I turned you down at your party? Is that what all this is about? You're pathetic Jason."

"You turn me down? That's not how I remember it." Raising his arms, Jason gestured at the small group that had gathered to watch the fight. "All these epople saw what that freak is capable of. No one wants him in this school, after parents and teachers find out what went down here he's finished."

Before she could stop herself, Erin slapped Jason across the face the almighty crack it let off echoing around the hall. "Fuck you Jason." Spinning on her heel, Erin stormed away just as he clutched at his reddening cheek. As her hand brushed the door she paused and glanced over her shoulder. "Years after we've graduated, I'll come and knock on your door Jason just to ask what it feels like to have peaked in high school."

Erin wasn't sure how long she had been laid string blankly at the curtain as it billowed in the cool night breeze. It had been an awkward evening that was for sure; she and Tate had returned to her house after she had left Jason in the gymnasium, both not in the mood to sit through the remaining lessons of the day, Erin's house was always the easier option no one would even notice they were there. But as the hours had crawled by it became increasingly obvious that Tate had no intention of speaking to her, she assumed he was too consumed by guilt, and when they had gone to bed he had simply truned on his side facing away from her. She wasn't sure if it was the coke or the tension but Erin couldn't sleep, no matter how hard she tried.

Sitting up Erin reached onto the window-sill, snatching up the tattered pack of cigarettes before lighting one with a match. Glancing over at Tate's bare back she couldn't help but sigh; if he just talked to her instead of bottling everything up they would probably be talking or she could even be sleeping. God she needed sleep. Her body was screaming out for it, all her muscles ached and her eyes stung they were so tired but the less she slept the harder she found it to sleep at all. "Tate, I know you're awake so you might aswell talk to me." Beside her Tate grumbled lowly as he turned onto his back, still avoiding eye contact. "It was an accident, I don't hate you or blame you. Please..." She didn't know what she was saying please for, she just couldn't take anymore of the silent treatment.

"If you love someone, you should never hurt them." Tate said somberly, plucking the cigarette from Erin's fingers. "I hurt you today. I fucking hurt you Erin."

"Yes you did, but you didn't mean to. And it was that idiot Anderson's fault anyway Tate. Stop punishing yourself, it was a mistake."

"A big mistake." He corrected.

Erin sighed. "But a mistake all the same, it's not like you're going to make a habit of it." Snatching back her cigarette, she silently fumed at how stubborn Tate was being. It was one of the only traits he had that Erin utterly despised, all she wanted to do was talk about what had happened and move on. Simple. But her complicated boyfriend had other plans and was making her initial awkwardness turn to annoyance. "For fuck sake Tate, either man up or fuck off." Lifting her foot she kicked at his side hard until he fell out of the bed in a tangled heap of limbs and bedding. "I wasn't even mad at you asshole! But guess what I am now." Standing up on the mattress, Erin threw the ashtray that had been perched on the window sill at Tate's head, missing him by millimetres. "You came back here with me, did some coke and ignored me. You could have done that alone at your house, you didn't need to bring your pity party here! Fucking get out!"

"You want me to fucking go?!" Tate yelled back, his own temper flaring. "Cos I'll fucking go Erin! I'll walk out that door and you'll never see me again!"

There it was the emotional blackmail that Tate did so expertly without even realising he was doing it, Erin had been wondering how long it would take till it went in that direction but for once she promised herself she wouldn't back down so easily. "Oh here we go! That's it Tate, make it about you like you always do. Walk out. Do it, because if you do it will be me who doesn't give you a second thought! FUCKING DO IT!"

It was a common occurance for screaming arguments to be heard from Erin's house at all times of the night and day, so there was no need to worry about how loud she was being. Her neighbors didn't care and he Mom certainly didn't.

Tate hesitated for a second, his hard running through his unkempt hair. If he left he would have won the argument but he knew Erin, she wasn't joking when she said that she'd forget alla bout him. As cold as he could be, Erin could be positively artic. "Fuck you, I thought you said you'd never leave me?!" It was a weak comback but it was all he could come up with.

"I'm not the one fucking leaving am I Tate?"

She had a good point, one Tate couldn't argue with. Silently admitting defeat to himself, he did the only thing he could think of that would defuse the situation. Stomping across the small bedroom, he grabbed the back of Erin's nec and pulled her to him crashing his lips onto hers. He felt her angrilly kiss him back with just as much fever, nipping at his bottom lip every now and then.

"This doesn't mean you won." Erin panted when she broke the kiss in need of air. A smile pulled at the corners of her mouth when Tate grinned the stupid lop-sidded grin he knew melted her heart. "I always win Langdon."

Drawing Erin back to him, Tate kissed her feriously again his hand ghosting down her flat stomach towards her light blue panties. This was exactly what they both needed to get out their frustrations, with that thought in mind Tate crept his fingers under the waistband of Erin's panties snaking down to tease her. Just as his fingers were about to dip inside of her, Erin slipped out of Tate's hold a smug smirk on her pretty face.

"I don't think so Langdon, you got to try harder than that to get back in my good books." Giggling loudly, Erin weaved past Tate towards the opposite side of the room feeling extremely pleased with herself. "I thought you liked a good chase?" She taunted with a quirked eyebrow.

With a speed that Erin couldn't have prepared for, Tate was across the room and had her pinned against the wall, her slim legs wrapped around his hips. "I only ever chase you." Unable to hold himself back any longer, Tate wiggled free from his boxers and drove into Erin earning a high pitched squeak from the blonde. Angry sex was what they were best at, it was how they operated and as he pounded into her knowing that no doubt the commotion had woken Chad and Michelle he couldn't have cared less. It felt to good. He loved fucking her and he fucking loved her.