Adam was not quite sure at which point in his fight with Chase Elena had entered. It may have been at the beginning, or maybe somewhere around the middle. He doubted he was lucky enough that she had missed the whole thing. Either way, he knew she had heard the ending, otherwise his favourite person in the entire world would not be looking at him like he had just broken her heart.
Both brothers started forward at the same time, stopping to give the other a glare when they ended up side by side. Elena must have been reeling from the fight since she barely noticed their interaction. She simply stood there, eyes never leaving Adam's form, a folded piece of paper clutched to her chest. After what seemed like an eternity, she managed a few words. "Lizzie made you a get well card."
She slammed the paper down on the cyber desk and turned on her heel. Adam caught up to her at the elevator with a speed that would make even Bree's head spin and threw out a pleading hand. "Laney, please listen to me."
"I have to go," she choked out. The elevator doors slammed shut on her teary-eyed face. Frantic, Adam did what he always did when at a loss; looked to Chase for an answer. The shorter boy was already leaving through the back exit. Adam followed suit. They both covered the distance to the front door and burst into the living room just as Elena passed the kitchen. She stopped in her tracks, startled, and then walked right on by.
Chase grabbed onto her denim jacket in an attempt to get her to listen. "Elena, please wait!"
"Don't touch her," Adam growled, yanking him away by his shirt. Chase stumbled under the force of his pull, catching himself on the edge of the chair at the last moment. In a moment of unusual strength, the younger boy spun him around. A rare expression of vexation twisted his face.
"Stop fucking pushing me around!" he yelled, right before he barreled into him.
Blinding pain erupted in Adam's injured arm as it made contact with the wall. He fell to the floor in a daze, a heap of ringing ears and blurry eyes. It took him a few seconds to realize what had happened, and when he came too, another voice had joined in the mix.
"What is going on?" Douglas was yelling. "Why is Adam on the floor and why is there a hole in the wall?"
Adam grit his teeth and willed away the remnant pain that begged him to stay down. He ignored Douglas' questions and rose to his feet, discarding the cast on the floor. Mr. Davenport would have to reset his arm anyway. He might as well remove the annoying restriction.
"Laney!" he kicked the door shut behind him before he ran out into the driveway. Elena was opening the door to a baby blue Honda. Adam ran up and slammed it shut, grunting as the motion shook his unhealed bones. She jumped back in surprise. "Please, please let me explain-"
"Explain what?" she spat. "What is there to explain? I heard everything!"
"No, you didn't. It's not what you think."
"Oh, okay," she gave a sarcastic nod. "My bad. So you and Chase don't have some sort of weird deal going on in which you agreed to 'let him have me'?" She brought her hands up to put air quotes around the phrase. "Like I'm some kind of object to be passed around-"
"It's not like that! I don't see you as an object." Elena gave a mirthless laugh.
"Right," she rolled her eyes. "And I'm supposed to believe that after what I just heard."
Adam sighed. He shoved his hands in his jeans and took a few steps away from the car. When he came back, he reached out to put a hand on her face. She stepped away from his touch. "Okay," he said, not letting on how much her recoil hurt, "okay. What you heard was true. Chase did ask me not to pursue you romantically because he wanted to, and I.." he looked down, too ashamed to hold her gaze. "I said I would."
Elena threw her hands up. "Who even does something like that?" she wanted to know. "Who goes around making deals having to do with someone else's love life?" Her anger was building by the second, voice getting louder and louder. Yet, she did not yell. "I mean, did you even stop to think for a second that I'm my own person? That- that I can make my own choices? How on earth could you even think that this was a good idea?"
Adam opened his mouth to answer. The only thing that came out was, "Chase asked me to-"
"And to think you didn't even tell me after what happened between us," she continued. "After what you said yesterday in the hospital about wanting us to be together. Was that a lie? Or were you lying to Chase? Because I mean, you're telling him you won't go after me and then you're sneaking into my room and kissing me and going down-"
"Laney, Chase-". She erupted.
"This is not about Chase, Adam, this is about you!" She thrust a finger into his chest, words stinging more than his actions. The tears running down her face only hardened the blow. "I let you in! I was honest with you! Told you things nobody beside my mom knows, and not once did it occur to you to be honest with me!"
His hands tightened into fists. It was hard to stand there and watch her cry without taking her into his arms. Closeness had become their thing so unexpectedly that not being able to do it now was disorienting. "Laney, I wanted to tell you. There was never a good time."
"Never a good time?" she repeated incredulously. "I can't even believe you're saying these words to me right now. What about the night you came over and I asked you what we were?" Adam blanched. "Forgive me if I'm wrong but that seemed like the perfect time."
"Things were different then, okay," he whispered, taking a step towards her. "Chase had just told me some stuff and I was still coming to terms with my feelings for you." He reached out to take her hand, holding it near his heart. "And I do have feelings for you. Elena, I love you."
Elena's eyes widened. She froze like that for a second, resembling a character straight out of one of Leo's anime shows, until she recovered. "What?" Her voice was as small as he had ever heard it. "Adam, don't-"
"I love you," he repeated. "I love you. I'm in love with you." Besides to Mr. Davenport or his siblings when he was about five, Adam had never said those words to anyone. He had just never connected with anyone the way he connected with Elena, meaning his past relationships did not last long enough to get to a serious stage. If he was being honest, he loved Elena for quite some time now. Adam could not pinpoint exactly when it had started, but standing here, in front of her, he could not remember a time when he was not in love with her.
"No," she hiccuped, eyes sliding close. "No. I trusted you. I trusted you and you lied to me."
"And I was wrong." He took her face in his hand, ignoring the discomfort in his upper arm. "I was wrong, okay? I should've never lied to you, but I'm telling you the truth now. Laney, I swear I'm telling the truth. I love you. I am so in love with you." Elena covered her mouth with her hand. "And I know you love me too."
"What?" she removed her hand, face faltering. "W-what are you talking about?"
"Friday night, after I gave you the NyQuil. You were all high and drowsy but right before you fell asleep, you told me you loved me."
Elena shook her head from side to side. "I- I don't remember that-"
"Do you remember this?" He placed a kiss on her forehead, deeply inhaling the scent of her hair. The smell of coffee told him that it had been freshly washed. "What about this?" His lips trailed down her cheek, moving towards the spot on her neck that he knew drove her absolutely insane. "You remember this, babygirl?"
"Adam," she gasped his name, just as her hands gripped onto his belt loops. Her head fell back and he wound his fingers into her thick tresses, exposing her bare neck for him to continue his actions. His arm slipped behind her waist to pull her flush against him.
"Come on, babygirl," he pleaded between kisses. "You must remember some of this. I'm so, so sorry that I hurt you. Please forgive me."
"Stop," she whimpered. "Please, stop." Adam released her immediately. Elena dropped her face into hands. For one long, agonizing minute, Adam watched her sob helplessly, refusing to go against her wishes.
Elena lifted her head. She wiped the tears off her reddened face and fixed him with a puffy gaze. The sadness in her chocolate eyes shattered his heart to pieces. "I can't do this right now. I need to go home." She reached for the door. "I'm going home." His heart clenched.
"Adam." He turned around. Bree was standing there with her arms crossed. She did not at all looked pleased with her older brother. "Let her go," she demanded, "now."
Adam glanced back at Elena. She was already in her car.
"Adam Charles Davenport, if you so much as try to open that door I will speed you to North Korea and leave you there." He stepped back unwillingly. Bree would absolutely make good on her threat, but it did not make him any less mad that she had interrupted. "Now come inside."
Adam hung his head. He waited until Elena's taillights were out of sight before following Bree. Once inside, Adam began to feel the effects of his adrenaline wearing off. He grabbed his smarting arm and sank into the couch. "Shit!"
"Shit is right," Davenport said, appearing from seemingly nowhere. He was dressed in a robe and wiping the remainders of a mask from his face. Adam spotted a seething Chase sitting on a high chair at the counter. Douglas was standing beside him. Bree simply took a seat on the recliner.
"Now that everyone's here," Davenport continued, "would someone mind telling me what in the hell just happened?"
Donald sighed long and hard as he tended to his eldest son's re-broken arm. Sundays were normally a chill affair for the family, and he resented the unexpected upset. After lunch, the kids usually stayed at home doing their or thing or went to visit friends. Chase and Douglas would get up to a little bit of mischief in the lab, but nothing too serious that required his attention. Either way, it gave him some much needed alone time for relaxation and self care. So it really pissed him off when all the yelling interrupted his me-time and he came downstairs to a destroyed wall courtesy his perpetually warring sons.
Ever since their pre-teens, it was like all Adam and Chase could do was fight. TV shows, movies, what to order for dinner- it all ended in the two boys being scolded, grounded, or both. Their fighting made Donald long for the days when they were children, when they got along perfectly and never fought unless someone threw a tantrum. He had no clue what had changed between the two for them to always be at each other's throats, but he was sick of it. This behaviour was ending today.
"It's all Adam's fault," Chase was telling Douglas over by the cyber desk. "He's always pushing me around. I'm so tired of it!"
On the couch next to him, Adam popped his head up. "That is not-" he groaned as Donald pulled his arm into the sling. "That is not what this is about. What happened today was your fault. This would have never happened if you'd stayed in your Goddamn lane!"
Douglas placed a hand on Chase's shoulder as he got to his feet. "Boys-"
"Stayed in my lane?" Chase repeated. "Do you even know what that means? You are the one who went and kissed Elena-"
"Elena?" Douglas questioned, shooting a glance at Adam. "The girl from the hospital? Isn't she your girlfriend?"
Donald winced, finally beginning to understand what was going on. He silently thanked God that Tasha and Leo were out at the moment. She had distinctly brought up the topic of Adam and Chase liking the same girl a few weeks ago and asked him to talk to the boys about it. Regrettably, Donald had done no such thing.
"You know what?" Adam said. "You're right. I did kiss her- twice. First time I asked and she said yes, and the second time she instigated it. And you wanna know why she did that?" He paused for an answer that would never come. "Because she likes me. Not you. Me."
An enraged yell erupted from Chase. Douglas scrambled to grab the back of his shirt, just missing the flannel by a few centimeters. Seeing this, Donald stepped in front of Adam, who was geared up to take the hit. In the end, it was Bree who stopped it. His one and only daughter sped off from Leo's chair and deposited Chase on the other side of the room. She stood over him with her arms crossed, daring him to try to move. He stayed put.
"That is enough!" Donald raised his voice loud enough to gain their attention. "I have had it up to here with this fighting between you two. After this you both are grounded until I say so! Now tell me what happened this time." He stared down his youngest. Chase was almost always forthcoming with him. Surely he would tell him what was going on.
This tactic proved to no longer be effective. After a few seconds of locking gazes, Chase turned his head in defiance. Donald then moved on to his eldest son. The boy was sitting on the couch again, nursing his broken arm. When he saw his father looking at him, he made a noise of resignation and began singing like a canary.
"Chase liked Elena before me. When he saw we were getting close he came to me and asked if I wouldn't go after her so he could have her." Here, everyone turned to Chase in surprise.
"Chase, did you really do that?" The brainiac did not even answer Douglas's questions. He just looked down at the floor.
"He did," Adam answered for him, "and I said I'd do it. Things were fine for a bit until Elena and I started falling in love-"
Chase scoffed. "She does not love you."
"Then why did she say she did?" Adam shot back. Chase gave him a look of contempt.
"Adam," Donald's tone was warning. "Stop it. Chase, you too."
"Sorry," the elder boy muttered. "Anyways, considering the fact that things had started to progress between me and Elena, I decided I should tell Chase. I hadn't figured out exactly how to do that yet when he came in here accusing me of going around with her behind his back-"
"Which you were," Chase interjected. Douglas gave him a look.
"I was not," Adam defended. "And I was trying to explain that when Elena walked in. She heard everything and ran out. Chase and I were trying to get her to listen to us when he grabbed onto her shirt and I pushed him away. That's when he came at me. None of this would have happened if he had just believed me-"
"You know, I can't exactly blame Chase for not believing you," Bree said. Everyone looked at her. "I mean, you pick on him constantly and you've done this before with Sabrina. You have to understand why he'd be reluctant to listen to what you have to say."
Adam quieted down. From the floor, Chase looked up at Bree with a warm smile. "Well, thanks for being on my side, sis." Bree gave a short laugh.
"Wha- I'm not on your side. If I'm on anyone's side, it's Elena's. Both of you messed up." Donald rocked back on his heels, sharing a look with his brother. The spiky-haired man had his hand on his chin and was regarding Bree with a curious expression. He gave a shrug and took a step back, the meaning clear: let her continue.
"Chase, you should've never even asked Adam that in the first place. Elena's not some possession to be bartered for, and honestly you're way too smart not to see how wrong you are. You can't just call dibs on another human being." Adam was enjoying Bree's reaming out of their brother, a wide smile on his face. It disappeared quickly when she set her sights on him.
"And you! How could you even say yes?"
Adam stammered to answer her. "I-I wasn't thinking. I guess I felt guilty over Sabrina-"
"The situation with Sabrina has nothing to do with Elena. And even if that's your excuse, why didn't you come clean with her? You say you're in love with her, but look at what you've been keeping from her!" Bree grabbed onto her hair. "God, you two are so stupid. You're both sitting here acting like the victim but you're forgetting the real one- Elena. She knew nothing about this dumb deal you two had and now she's getting the brunt of it while you're acting like spoiled little brats. Grow up! Both of you!" With those final words, Bree gave her brothers one last look before storming off.
"I…" Donald began, immensely impressed with the way his daughter had handled the situation. "I couldn't have said it better myself."
"Me either," Douglas agreed. He snapped his fingers and pointed in the Bree's wake. "D'you think we made the wrong one the leader?"
"I'm a great leader, thank you very much," Chase rose to his feet. Adam opened his mouth to rebut.
"Quiet," Donald said, "no more fighting. Your sister is right, you guys have seriously messed up. Now I don't know how, but you are both going to make this up to that girl. What you both did was atrocious, and like I said before, you're grounded. I mean it. School and back, that's it." Both boys nodded.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Davenport. I didn't mean for it to get this far. I just really like her." Donald gave his son a sympathetic glance.
"Chase, I know that, but it sounds like she likes Adam. Not you." Chase hung his head. "I know that's not what you want to hear, still, you can't force her to like you. You need to let her go." He turned to Adam. "And as for you. You're saying you're in love with her, and I'm not trying to invalidate what you feel. It's just that love is a very strong emotion and I'd prefer if you don't throw it around without really understanding what it means. Now, if Elena decides to forgive you, then so be it. If not, leave her alone and move on as well. But whatever happens," he fixed his sons with a serious look, "let this be the last girl that comes between you two. I'm tired of this fighting. I need you two to do better. Understood?"
"Good," Donald nodded. "Now let's talk about who's going to fix that wall."
Tears blurred Elena's vision as she sped down the road. She did not know where exactly she was going, but kept driving nonetheless. A million and one thoughts ran through her mind, all of them centering around one focal point; Adam. Every touch, every kiss, all the times he had comforted her played over like a movie, climaxing at the conversation and ending with three simple words. I love you.
I love you. He had actually said that to her. In some small way her heart was happy, as though it had been waiting a lifetime for him to say it. Elena's feelings for Adam had grown so intensely, crept up so fiercely that she did not have time to sit and decipher them, which was why she had suggested they talk. And that was what she had gone there to do. She just wanted to talk to him, maybe take him for ice-cream like he had done for her what now seemed like so many moons ago. Instead she walked in on the words that would not leave her be.
You were supposed to let me have her! Chase had said, like she was a plaything. The last piece of candy or a seat on an airplane to be reserved.
I tried! Adam had replied, confirming he knew and even agreed to what Chase was talking about. Some sort of agreement the two had made that essentially gave her to Chase. At least that was what it seemed like to her. And to hear that he had lied to her about his feelings, on the night when she had been so truthful in so many ways. The night she had told him her deepest secret. It was all just too much to handle.
Somehow, her driving had taken her to the hospital. She pulled up in the nearest park and ran out of the car. Her mother had been called into work today, resulting in her having to drop Lizzie off at a friend's before she headed to Adam's. Knowing she would still be here, Elena made a beeline for her office.
Cal was in there when she burst open the door. He was sitting opposite her mother at her desk, the two having lunch as they went through patient charts. Both adults rose to their feet in alarm when they saw her. "Elena, honey, what's wrong?" The worry in her mother's voice was palpable.
"I don't feel very well," she whimpered. "I don't feel well at all." Her knees gave out.
"Elena!" Her mother rushed to her side. Cal, closer to her, caught her first. He scooped her up and placed her on the couch. Cool fingers felt out her radial pulse as he waved a hand in front of her face.
"Elodie, could you get me a glass of water? Thank you." He checked his watch and gave a nod. "Elena, you're a little worked up. I need you to take a few deep breaths else you're going to make yourself faint, okay?" She shut her eyes and nodded, tears flying off her face with the action. After a while, she was able to slow her breathing a bit. "Let me help you sit up."
Cal brought her up slowly. A glass of water entered her her line of sight. "Sip this, baby. Take your time." Elena did as she was told, letting the water slide down her throat. The yelling had left her vocal cords more ragged than she realized. "That's it," her mother stroked her hair soothingly, "good girl."
When she had drunk half the glass, she rested it to the side. Her mother was still smoothing her hair back and whispering soft nothings to her. She felt a bit stupid now, behaving as she did. No doubt she had given her mother a near heart attack by bursting in in a frenzy. "I'm sorry," she mumbled, "I didn't mean to scare you."
"It's okay, honey." Cal had noticeably taken a step back, giving the mother-daughter duo their space. It was an act Elena was grateful for. "Baby," her mother took her face in her hands, "can you tell me why you're so upset? You said you were going to see Adam. What happened?"
The mention of his name brought on a fresh round of tears. Elena buried her face in her mother's shoulder and began to sob once again. Arms came up and around her body to hold her. She appreciated them, but deep down she was wishing for another pair. And she hated it, hated that the one person she wanted comfort from was also the one person the rational part of her knew she should not see right now. It was so unfair how much her heart was aching for him to be the one holding her right now.
"I just want to go home," Elena cried. "Please just take me home."
"We can do that. Let me just get my car keys and-". She gripped her mother's arms tight.
"No, mom. I want to go home." Her mother's hands halted as her words made sense.
"Honey," her mother's tone was panicked, "surely you can't mean-"
"Yes," she whispered. "Yes, I do. We never should've come here. I want to go back to New York."