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Lucas could feel himself wince at the bite in Nathan's words. The words echoed in his psyche and hit way too close to home. They reminded him too much of Jason. The bad memories just kept washing over him. He tried taking deep breaths, breathing from the gut, trying to regain composure.

The only thing he could muster was a quiet but firm "no" at Nathan's questions. Did he get off of it? Did Nathan really think he was like that? Well, he probably gave him good reason to but... God, he wanted to throw up. He was ashamed, but at the moment more angry than anything. He had resolved not to lose look weak, but somehow that translated into anger. Lucas could sense the disdain dripping in Nathan's voice. His fists trembled slightly by his sides.

"Exactly. What does it matter to you?", he asked sharply, words like knives. "If that's what you want to do, go for it. Just give me a shiner and go home then, Nathan. This really doesn't concern you", he continued. He couldn't look the other man in the eye but figured just settling for staring at the wall behind him would be convincing enough.

Distantly, Lucas registered the shakiness in the other's voice and knew it meant something. He was too proud for that though, and blinded by anger. He had always been too proud for his own good.  Still, part of him wanted to take Nathan up on his offer, but then what? It would never go as he hoped anyway. He couldn't rely on someone he had just met. He couldn't do that to someone he actually liked and respected. Might as well end it here. A laugh bubbled up in his throat like bile, tortured and ugly.

"What, are you ashamed of being friends with someone like me now? What if I do like it? You think money can solve everything, huh?", he shot back, each question like a physical one-two to the chest. He knew he was wrong. He was so wrong. Yes, money could solve everything. No, he didn't like the place. No, Nathan wasn't doing this out of nastiness or pity (he hoped, he really did), but he couldn't accept him finding out how desperate he was. After his heated words, he exhaled heavily through his nose. Unclenching his jaw, he shoved past Nathan, walking towards his bus stop. Shit he would probably miss it, and only a few busses ran at this hour. 

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Lucas Odierno