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Too Much Blank Space, Not Enough Vomit - Ch. 9.1

by LordStar


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and mature content.

Rhys glanced up from his phone as the elevator doors opened. He and Lip made eye contact and Rhys sighed, stepping into the elevator and turning to face the doors without saying anything. Lip let out a small huff but didn't say anything either.

"I'm sorry," Rhys said eventually, staring straight ahead at the doors. "For attacking you. I was drunk and it was wrong. But you had no right to make that comment yesterday."

Lip remained silent. Rhys felt his anger bubbling.

"Besides, why do you fucking care that I slept with him? Why do you care about who I sleep with at all? It's none of your fucking business."

"I don't care that you're a slut," Lip muttered. "I'm mad about your stupid abortion."

Rhys huffed, sneering. "If I want to sleep around and get abortions, that's within my right, Philip. It has nothing to do with you."

Lip growled. "Do the fucking math, idiot."

Rhys paused, turning to look at him with a frown. "I'm sorry?"

"You were ten weeks along," Lip said slowly, as if Rhys were stupid. Rhys only continued to stare at him. Lip scoffed.

"Jesus fucking Christ, Rhys, get your head out of your ass. You were ten weeks along. We slept together two months ago. Do I have to fucking spell it out?"

Rhys blinked as realization dawned on him. His stomach twisted and he looked away, skin crawling. "I didn't realize."

"Didn't realize it was mine?" Lip hissed quietly, grabbing Rhys by the arm and pulling him closer as the elevator stopped and an elderly woman got on. "Didn't realize that you should have at least consulted me before you just made that decision?"

"Oh please," Rhys snapped, pulling his arm away, "don't tell me you wanted to fucking keep it. You don't even like me, remember?"

Lip growled again. "I said I didn't - "

"And besides, you're poor and I'm poor and we're both fucking kids," Rhys continued, talking over him. "The last thing that baby needed was to be born addicted to drugs to two poor parents that couldn't afford it and didn't even love each other - "

"I said I didn't love you, not that I don't love you," Lip snapped, voice rising enough that the elderly lady gave him a look. Rhys stared at him, dumbfounded.

"And regardless," Lip continued, quieter now, "it wasn't just your decision, Rhys. I would have liked to have been included."

"Well I'm sorry," Rhys sighed. "But it's not like I can go back and change it."

"And now you're just rubbing it in my face by sleeping with all these fucking old guys," Lip leaned back against the corner, crossing one ankle over the other, suddenly aloof. "Acting like what happened between us was just par for the course for you."

Rhys gaped at him. "You're the one with a fucking girlfriend, asshole!"

"Katy's a lesbian, dickface," Lip retorted, not looking at him. "Something you'd know if you'd bothered to bring up the fact that we slept together and talked about it like an adult instead of assuming things and sulking."

Rhys was stunned into silence, unsure what to say. They reached the ground floor and the elevators opened. They walked together to the parking lot in silence.

"We need to talk," Lip said, as Rhys lit a cigarette. The Subaru was parked across the parking lot and Rhys pulled his hood up against the rain.

"Yeah," he said, exhaling smoke. "We do."

"Later," Lip promised, then put a hand across Rhys' cheek and kissed him softly. Rhys' breath got caught in his throat and he was so surprised he didn't kiss back; it was only a second or two before Lip pulled away and turned, walking towards the pickup and getting in. Rhys shook himself out of his trance and walked towards the Subaru.

Leah stared at him for several long seconds after he got in. "He's 'not anything', huh?"

"Shut up," Rhys muttered, not meeting her eye. He was grinning like a maniac, cheeks pleasantly flushed.

"How long as it been since you used?" she asked, wiping the grin from his face. He looked out of the window.

"Three days," he said softly. "But I think about it all the time."

"That's to be expected," she nodded, not taking her eyes off the road. "You need a sponsor."

"You?" he asked, arching an eyebrow. She glanced at him, looking surprised.

"What?"

"I thought you could be my sponsor," he shrugged. "Since we're already friends and you're at my house all the time and we go to meetings together anyway."

To his own surprise, Leah let out a heavy sigh. "I'll have to think about it."

"Um, okay."

"In the meantime, you might want to rethink this thing with Lip. It's not wise to get into a relationship so early in recovery."

"It's complicated," Rhys muttered. "It's not like we're in love or anything. It's just...it's just complicated."

"Complicated," Leah said as they pulled up to a red light, "is never good."


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Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:20 am
Panikos wrote a review...



Hiya, LordStar. Bisc has kind of already nailed most of the points I wanted to make, so I'll keep this fairly brief.

One of the first things I want to mention is kind of a consistent problem across the story, actually. I don't feel like your chapters flow into one another well enough. Whenever I come back to review this, I can never intuitively tell which is the next chapter; I always have to go back and check which part I reviewed last. While this is expected to an extent, I do think it makes the story feel a bit jarring, because it feels like certain developments - rather than being summarised - have been snipped out entirely. You left the last chapter with Rhys lying on the bed and chain-smoking, then this one starts with him getting in a lift with Lip. How much time has passed? It's not always easy to tell from the context. I wouldn't mind just a little bit of summarising before you get into the chapter proper. Obviously we don't need to know every insignificant detail, but sometimes jumping from active scene to active scene without any kind of padding makes the story a bit spiky.

This is definitely a key development in Rhys's story, though I have the terrible feeling that it might only end in tears. I can't quite get behind Rhys and Lip's reconciliation because Lip...still doesn't endear himself to me. I don't understand why Rhys is the only one apologising. Yes, I think it would've been better for Rhys to tell Lip about the pregnancy, but it's not his decision. And Lip didn't even acknowledge that they'd slept together until after the termination. Lip's got a lot of nerve attacking Rhys for avoiding that they slept together, because it seems like Lip was doing the exact same thing. I don't understand why Rhys never brings that up - if Lip spent two months being silent about the time they slept together, why exactly would Rhys trust him with the truth of his pregnancy?

I'm not sure whether we're supposed to like Lip at this point, though. I don't know whether his and Rhys's relationship is going to develop into something we're supposed to root for. If it is, I'd be concerned about how unsympathetic Lip is. However, if it's supposed to be troubled and/or Lip is going to go through a lot of development, his characterisation is fine. Though I do still think Rhys's should hold Lip accountable for his behaviour more.

I also agree with Bisc that the 'I said I didn't love you, not that I don't love you' line requires a bit more explanation. Back when they fought, it definitely sounded like Lip was trying to let Rhys down gently. Has he fallen for him since? Or was he always into him, and just didn't want to say? Either way, he needs to take responsibility for what he said back then. Rhys can't be blamed for thinking that 'I didn't feel the same' means that Lip isn't into him.

I do really like how you tie this storyline into the issue of recovery, though. I'm interested to see how this relationship with Lip affects him going forward, and whether he'll be a positive force or a negative one. As it stands, I really don't think Lip is going to be good for him.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




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Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:32 pm
fraey wrote a review...



Hello again. I've meant to officially review some of these chapters as I have in the old drafts of Vomit, but it's taken me quite some time.

What really strikes me with this chapter are the switching emotions between the characters. I've always appreciated Rhys for what he brings to the story regardless of whichever situation he's in - he's passionate about what he cares about, he's not afraid to stand up for himself, and he's stubborn enough to not want to ask for help he's forced to need it. Unfortunately, these aspects can bring a whole lot of bad reactions adding on to this, such as him not wanting to get help or support from getting an abortion to feeling indebted to Ethan or Leah and then not letting himself spiral into a worse situation without trying to get out of it.

Lip as one of the main characters brings a different personality to the table as he himself seems rather caring towards others but also quick to becoming a spitfire when he feels he's been wronged. And here he does whether that's a truthful statement to an outsider or not. It feels like almost too much and not enough is happening in this chapter as there are a lot of bold statements in this dialogue - especially concerning how every single character seems to slut-shame Rhys - but I can't quite tell where this story is really meant to go concerning Lip and Rhys.

Overall, this was an interesting chapter to read - I really did like the last lines by Rhys and Leah about things being "complicated." That very much winds up pretty much everything about Vomit and these characters in general. Nicely done and I hope to get to more of this story later.




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Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:58 pm
DougalOfBiscuits wrote a review...



Hey, since it's review day figured I better get moving before it's over!

Nit-picks:

Rhys blinked as realization dawned on him. His stomach twisted and he looked away, skin crawling. "I didn't realize."

"Didn't realize it was mine?" Lip hissed quietly, grabbing Rhys by the arm and pulling him closer as the elevator stopped and an elderly woman got on. "Didn't realize that you should have at least consulted me before you just made that decision?"

"Oh please," Rhys snapped, pulling his arm away, "don't tell me you wanted to fucking keep it. You don't even like me, remember?"

Sorry for the massive quote but it's necessary to track these lines of speech for what I want to say. To me, Rhys seems genuinely sorry for not realising the baby was Lip's. Lip then expresses anger and says something I think broadly reasonable, that he should have been at least consulted. Rhys then gets angry again. I think he ought to be more defensive, as if he's trying to hide the fact that he feels bad. Alternatively, his mood could get particularly turned by the suggestion that Lip should have a say in the matter, since it's a common narrative that fathers (AMAB fathers... sperm providers?) should be able to prevent pregnant AFAB people from having abortions. Anyways, this just seemed a little inconsistent.

"I said I didn't love you, not that I don't love you," Lip snapped, voice rising enough that the elderly lady gave him a look. Rhys stared at him, dumbfounded.

This is a cute line but I think the double meaning needs explained. Does Lip mean that he has come to love Rhys in the past ten weeks? If so, the scene with their confrontation doesn't make much sense because he definitely seemed to be letting Rhys down easy because he doesn't feel the same. Does he mean that he platonically loves Rhys?

Overall:

I think the confusion I've described is preventing me a bit from being fully enthused about the developments between Rhys and Lip. I can understand that it might be sexual/romantic tension that's causing them to argue this way. Like, not just in an "it's complicated" way. If Lip is so annoyed that Rhys never brought up the fact they slept together, why didn't Lip? Why is Lip calling Rhys a slut if he cares about him? I guess Lip is right that they need to talk, but there's a lot of confusion here that I hope gets cleared up.

I like the ending. It really draws together the Lip/abortion/Turner storyline with the recovery storyline. And the line Leah delivers is properly foreboding and I'm really curious to see where that goes.

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)





The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
— Mark Twain