110. Eternal Flame, page posted 5/21/21

Page 44 of 68 (14 pages still to come!)

Eternal Flame — Page 44

Author commentary

Oliver: Put your empathy to the test.

A preview of the upcoming BCB page.

Comments from Patreon

Comment ID #14754

Stay strong Lucy!! Hold on to your boundaries! He still hasn’t apologized or taken accountability for his actions!!!!

Robust  

Comment ID #14755

FINALLY. Now talk out what happened and MAYBE you have a chance at a friendship again, Mike.

CheesyRobotMacaroni  

Comment ID #14756

Going to need a lot more than that, Mike.

Jim Avery  

Comment ID #14757

he actually admitted he messed up, which is progress!

Fiver26  

Comment ID #14758

Gonna say the words "I'm sorry"? Because that's the barest start. THE BAREST.

Lady Indigo  

Comment ID #14759

Oh nice emotional manipulation Mikey....

TiddieSprinkles77  

Comment ID #14760

I'm sorry Mike but WHERE WAS THIS OUTBURST BEFORE? You're only apologizing and begging because SANDY is gone! Please leave Lucy alone dude. I really hope Augustus shows up and kicks his ass.

Elizabeth Carroll  

Comment ID #14761

AND STOP GRABBING HER!!

Elizabeth Carroll  

Comment ID #14762

This is so wrong... Mike you don't get to say that to her when you said that you wanted her gone (and dead)

Camelote  

Comment ID #14763

Get on your knees and apologize for everything.

Dayo Gonzales  

Comment ID #14764

He doesn't even care how triggering this might be for her. He drove her to attempt suicide, never ever even attempted to reach out, and now wants to cry and pretend he misses her? I know he's a fictional teen cat, but I want to kick him in the shin.

Mary Tacoroni  

Comment ID #14765

Ehh he DID go to the hospital. Lily told him to leave

nalem  

Comment ID #14766

He's made the first and hardest step to healing and reconciliation. However, even if he's admitting it and feels sorry for what he has done, he can't expect that things will miraculously get better and all is forgiven. Lucy may understand how Mike is feeling now, but she's not ready to forgive him just yet. He has to earn her forgiveness and that may take a while.

Keyblade Dragon  

Comment ID #14767

As much as he admits he messed up... that is still not a full apology, and he's not really in a state to make such properly. Too emotionally charged, and hell he even insulted her by saying what he thought of her in the last page. And now touching her again, with words that push more into that emotional manipulation range again. Lucy needs to stay strong, stand her ground here.

Akkarri  

Comment ID #14768

Having a hard time taking Mike in good faith with this... If he missed her so bad, why did he wait until Sandy broke up with him to have this conversation?

I think he really needs to take a page out of Lucy's book and try being his own person for a while...

Willum  

Comment ID #14769

No matter how much he tries, Lucy ain't taking him back so easily.

Keyblade Dragon  

Comment ID #14770

They are not friends. Lucy is not obligated to anything to do with Mike.

So much parellel to the time Lucy thought he hated her. She is handling this the best she can. They are both teens but still apology is needed for any kind of progression on having them back in each others life.

Tylily  

Comment ID #14771

Stop physically preventing lucy from leaving!!!

LemonSourHero  

Comment ID #14772

I don’t think he is trying to be manipulative? I think he is emotional and he has feelings all over the place. So much to work through, so many different conversations to be had. Lucy needs to leave it as “we can talk about it later”. He has so many apologies to make and so many feelings to work through. It’s not Lucy’s job to help him do that anymore.

Silver-the-wyrm  

Comment ID #14773

Admitting that he messed everything up so bad is a great first step. Can't wait to see how things unfold ^^

esinololly  

Comment ID #14774

I dont know why everyone seems to be assuming mike is trying to manipulate her. He doesnt have that kind of forethought, and i legit think he might have BPD or something similar. He has wild mood swings that he then doesnt know how to back down from. He knew he fucked up when paulo hung up on him, he knew he fucked up after plenty of the shitty things hes done. I think he has trouble controlling his emotions and has even more trouble making up for it.

Justin N.  

Comment ID #14775

But that isn't a reason nor does it excuse the behavior. He still has to make amends and apologize properly - if he cannot self reflect and do that, then he certainly does not get to use his emotional outbursts to selfsoothe (which is what is happening here.)

BadChemistry  

Comment ID #14776

Dude yeah he goes back-and-forth. He doesn’t have enough consciousness to spare right now to be manipulative, he might not be going about this perfectly but he is in full Reaction mode.

Strikhedonia  

Comment ID #14777

Manipulation behaviors don’t have to be planned or intentional to still be manipulative. He is just flailing and reacting now because he is desperate for comfort. Is he conciusly thinking “If I cry and hug her she’ll forgive me” ? No, probably not. But he is still doing her harm even if that harm is unintentional because of BPD or other emotional regulatory issues. A reason, even a really good reason, isn’t an excuse and doesn’t make this ok.

Parks  

Comment ID #14778

Where's the Abbey crying a puddle emoji when you need it. I'm genuinely feeling

JHC  

Comment ID #14779

So Mike, did you miss her this entire time or is this coming to the surface because Sandy broke up with you? If you missed her SOOOOOO much, why did you make that comment to Polo about going and laughing at you with her? If you REALLY missed her, why were you so nasty on Halloween and why did you blatantly ignore her?

Erin-Leigh Van Orden  

Comment ID #14780

Yeah, I think he has a lot of introspection to do before he is a safe person for Lucy to be close to again. Right now he misses the comfort and reassurance she always gave him when Sandy bailed. He even remembered that on screen earlier in the school day in another chapter.

Missing the services a person did for you when you need that person is not the same thing as missing them and caring about them as a whole individual.

I think the fact that he has repeatedly ignored her request for him to not touch her is telling that he wants her comforting back, not her herself yet.

Parks  

Comment ID #14781

At long last, it seems like Mike is getting somewhere!!!

I just want to say—I’m not a mike fan by any means (he’s been a least favorite of mine for a while) and I’m not a fan of how he has handled this whole interaction at all. But I don’t think he’s intentionally trying to manipulate Lucy, and I disagree with the take that that’s his explicit intention. It seems clear he genuinely really misses her, is being honest here, and is finally starting to realize how badly he screwed up. He hasn’t fully gotten there yet, but damn, it’s a relief to hear him finally say “I’m sorry” and “I ruined things”.

It’s not enough, yet, by a long shot. But maybe he’ll get there. I’d like him very very much to stop forcing physical contact with Lucy because she clearly doesn’t want it though! I know he’s desperate for any kind of comfort right now...but he needs to back off.

Michelle M.  

Comment ID #14782

I understand that people make mistakes, I understand that Mike is still just a kid, and I understand that Mike is an emotional train wreck that has just been building up due to his horrible relationship and his paranoia that everyone was against his 'great' relationship with his ultra popular, beautiful, smart model girlfriend... but this is just SO DISRESPECTFUL.

If Sandy didn't just dump him he wouldn't be saying this all to Lucy right now. I believe that he has been wanting to make amends with her but hasn't had the balls to actually take responsibility for what he said to her, cause he really did mean it in the moment he said it.

I dont like that this is happening to Lucy, this is just bringing back past trauma that she is still healing from... if she does say they can start over I REALLY hope she sets some boundaries and confirms to him that she can't just forgive him immediately cause he wants her to, he is going to have show he is not going to say some fucked up shit again and show he is worth being friends with..

End rant 😠

Mearcyn  

Comment ID #14783

Wow I actually hate this. It’s so gross. She’s treating as though he’s invisible? She already set those boundaries when she came back and said he had no issues avoiding her before, so why not keep it that way. Lucy was right when she called him out in chapter 103. He glares at her for taking care of another boy, and now that he doesn’t have Sandy, he’s making himself Lucy’s responsibility again in a much more brazen way. It is emotionally manipulative even if it’s not from a consciously bad place. I feel bad for her, you can tell she cares about him, but she knows he is toxic.

Gabrielle R  

Comment ID #14784

Yes, and she even gave him an opening for a genuine apology and communication when she said “What parts did you mean then?”. He didn’t have an answer, and he has had tons of time to think on it. It was only when he dug in again that she slammed the door shut. And she has still been the bare minimum of civil and polite but not fully engaging when they are in shared spaces. He still hasn’t answered her question.

Parks  

Comment ID #14785

He isn’t just doing this bc sandys gone he’s doing this bc he’s in an emotionally intense state. If he did this the next morning I’d be like yeah ok. But she JUST left and he’s in full on reaction mode rn. This is just him speaking his truth.

Strikhedonia  

Comment ID #14786

No. NO NO NO. Let her go. I had a boyfriend like this and he was the most traumatizing pos ever. Rampant narcissistic jerk that only cared about HIS precious feelings.

Mike needs to go to therapy and leave Lucy alone until he has grown some. She is not his comfort blanket, she is not his parent nor is she obligated to let him back into her life when SHE had to pick up the pieces of herself and figure out how to put them back together because of HIM. Mike, I get you have big sad right now, but you are not the one. Let go and get real help.

Joslynn Hamblen  

Comment ID #14787

Yeah, it’s understandable because he is a kid and deeply upset, but this is all about him wanting her to comfort and care for him now that Sandy doesn’t. It’s about him and his feelings.

Parks  

Comment ID #14788

Yeaaaah. But they are juniors now so he is at least 16, possibly 17. Too old to be using a girl he traumatized and emotionally destroyed as his emotional comfort blanket. He is a kid but it isnt like he is 8, 10, even 13 or 14 and doesnt understand how deep his bullying cut her.

Joslynn Hamblen  

Comment ID #14789

this just makes me so 😬

prismabunny  

Comment ID #14790

I know he's not intentionally manipulating her, but he is manipulating her. Mike is in full reaction mode and wants comfort, but again, LUCY IS THE WRONG PERSON. She owes him nothing, and it is not good for her mental stability to be out in this position. He needs someone else, someone he hasn't hurt, and she needs to maintain her boundaries. I feel so badly for them, but damn, I feel more for Lucy.

Friday  

Comment ID #14791

All of this.

Parks  

Comment ID #14792

Mike saying sorry is a start, but it's still not coming from a place of care for Lucy; it's coming from a place of hurt on his end. He needs to take some time alone to think before even attempting or expecting anything from her.

Lapis  

Comment ID #14793

Shut the fuck up Mike 🤣

Leoinu  

Comment ID #14794

excuse you sir, she don't owe you s h i t

Marcella Ash  

Comment ID #14795

Honestly I'm personally squicked out by how many times in the last few pages Mike has grabbed Lucy, been pushed off/pulled away from, just to reach put and grab her again. He's not only stomping on her emotional boundaries, but her physical boundaries as well. I'm not saying I don't understand, and I know he's emotionally volatile, but OOF. It's very.... ungood.

Lavvy Jack  

Comment ID #14796

At least 5 times Mike has grabbed/hugged Lucy without her consent.

Tylily  

Comment ID #14797

Agree. REALLY want him to stop grabbing her.

CeCe  

Comment ID #14798

Vero, you did such a wonderful job on this page. Lucy and Mike's hug has so much depth and emotion. The movement and color, wow! <3 <3

Jennifer  

Comment ID #14799

So first he grabbed her hand. She told him to stop touching her. He wrapped his arms around her. She pushed him away. He tried to grab her arm as she attempted to leave. She pulled it out of his reach. So once again, he grabs her whole body. Not ok not ok not ok

CeCe  

Comment ID #14800

God he is so wishy washy it’s giving me whiplash 🤦‍♀️

Brittany ann  

Comment ID #14801

comedy is included with the romance genre for a reason.

MoreloMorelo  

Comment ID #14802

Mike has still yet to make a single acknowledgment this entire conversation of Lucy's own agency and feelings, except on how they affect him. Not a single consideration spared for why she might feel the way she does, just the me me me of how her actions make him feel bad and so she should change them. It hasn't changed at all from when he was still actively scorning her - he never cared at all that his behavior was hurting her, his only thought spared was for making sure he could sleep easy and not feel guilty over liking two girls at the same time no matter how it made his longtime, very loyal friend feel. *Always Sunny "I've had enough of this dude" meme with Mike's face here*



oh yeah one call out though, just because I've been real vocal about my dislike of Mike over the last few pages - disliking Mike =/= I dislike the comic or writing, this arc is *chef's kiss* awesome reading and I am super excited for every new page

AlisterTX  

Comment ID #14803

Oh Mike, why do you remind me so much of my ex? -_-

Marysol Rodriguez  

Comment ID #14804

Mike let her go. You can't drag her with you. She doesn't need this. Fix yourself first.

Felix Rodriguez  

Comment ID #14805

Mike will be dead by the end of the story. Place your bets.

Dave Ostroske  

Comment ID #14806

I’ve been thinking the same thing too, with how he’s acting. The question I have is will it be by his hand, by alejandro’s (I think that’s the name of the guy who was hunting Mike from “encounter”) or will someone else do it out of spite for something?

jordan sanford  

Comment ID #14807

My guess is cynical, to be honest. Lucy could continue to ignore him. Mike would feel completely alone in his brittle state. And in general, men are more likely than women to attempt suicide after long-term relationship breakups. But I'm an old man working off of 30yo statistics.

Dave Ostroske  

Comment ID #14808

I wonder where Mike's certainty that his friends are making fun of him behind his back came from, cause it really seems to be something he's latched onto as justification for isolating himself from them. It wasn't something Lucy ever really did, though Paulo and David were certainly really bad about it in middle school. Mike seems to be really stuck in the past about a lot of things, stemming from his relationship with Sandy first and foremost; it was a time when Paulo was pretty rude to him like he was to everyone that wasn't a girl and when Lucy was really dependent on him (probably cause of the trauma of the attack in the alley and her general dislike of people hitting on her). But it was also the time when he and Sandy seemed to be at their happiest together.

I'm not wild about how much he's hugging her in the last few pages, but this is an important step for him! This is really the first time he's been able to acknowledge that he was in the wrong in a way that's not halfassed and accusatory. Lucy is certainly not obligated to accept the apology at this point, and I don't know that I'd even really want her to. While this is a good turning point for Mike, I'm mostly looking forward to how his behavior changes in future chapters. He's hurt all of his friends with his angry outbursts and he really needs to come to terms with the fact that they've all grown up a lot in ways that he's been deliberately ignoring. Also he could probably use the same anger management therapy that Abbey's been getting lmao

Emma Breslauer  

Comment ID #14809

He's codependent. In his eyes Sandy could do no wrong, and most of the discussions regarding her (since her last visit, I think?) have come in the form of criticism, well-intentioned or not. If those were construed as an attack on her (which they obviously were) then they might as well be an attack on him. Toss in the thought distortions of Personalization, All or Nothing Thinking, and Self-labeling, and you've got "They keep attacking me, they must be doing it all the time and probably think I'm a complete loser." Combined with the rightful anger he refused to send Sandy's way, and you've got an emotional powder keg, and we're seeing the results.

I could be wrong, but if the gang had real concern regarding him and Sandy, I don't remember them expressing that concern in a generous way, at least not until Mike had already convinced himself everyone was out to get him. Had anyone asked him if he was happy? Did anyone ask if he liked how he felt in his relationship with Sandy without offering snark or criticism first? I don't remember, so I'd be curious to know. Not justifying the way he's lashed out recently, but that's probably how he needed to be met. **EDIT** Yep, Paulo tried, at Halloween. Mike's just reeaal codependent.

kerBamf  

Comment ID #14810

Mike apologizes to Lucy after realizing he’s been a dick and all ya jackals still want his head on a spit.

Steven Pope  

Comment ID #14811

For real it seems like people are going insane with expectations, these hateful comments are clearly coming from a personal place cause hoo boy that’s a lot of emotional judgment behind some of these words

Strikhedonia  

Comment ID #14812

Imo he hasn't realized anything other than "Sandy doesnt want me anymore" and has reverted to his security person just like Lucy knew he would. That isnt an apology, it's him panicking because his entire identity is "Sandy's boyfriend"

Joslynn Hamblen  

Comment ID #14813

"I miss what we had!"

Heimdal  

Comment ID #14814

T O X I C

Bridget Kelly  

Comment ID #14815

STOP. TOUCHING. HER.

Catcata  

Comment ID #14816

Lucy: But I have to go.

Mike: BUT WHY!!!!

Lucy: Monday Night RAW is coming on in ten minutes.

Mike: ……….Oh.

SCD  

Comment ID #14817

I ....dont like the idea of him doing that to her. ... If he doing this or not. Mike need to like get a slap of reality. She might need to just slap him to wake em up. He messed up and he's saying sorry then said that everyone laughing at him. It's concerning. Like yo Lucy brother or Aug someone need to like help. It's a creepy vibe from this. It's like he's going into a spiral breakdown. It's down right disturbing. He's about to crack if Lucy don't respond how he wants to.

NeshBearWorks  

Comment ID #14818

Hot take: I don't think Mike is being manipulative, not intentionally at least. He's dealing with the emotional train wreck he dealt himself and not handling the sudden explosion of repressed emotions well. I wouldn't expect much else.

I truth, I think he does genuinely miss Lucy, and has for a while. We've seen several flashbacks to that effect already. I don't think he's allowed himself to admit it until now because of Sandy, just as he's repressed any thought that might paint her in a bad light and raged against anything that he's seen as an assault on Sandy's character or their relationship. Now that Sandy's gone, he has 1. no excuse to repress what he's been thinking/feeling and 2. no justification for how he's treated Lucy, which he does feel guilty about (that scratching-the-wall scene right after Lucy left). All that emotion and realization hitting like a truck and who does he meet at the tree? It's the perfect storm. Has he reverted to "I need comfort" mode? Duh. Is what he's doing triggering for Lucy? Absolutely. Is the way he is handling this okay? No. However, I think what's going on in him is more complicated than chalking it up to emotional usury. He's codependent and has work to do.

Doesn't make the situation less toxic. Clearly Lucy still cares. Hell, even with them completely separated and Mike a royally hot mess, she gave Mike advice on Halloween rather than just rag on him. I hope she keeps her cool and can point him in the right direction; I'm a sucker for redemption stories but I won't ask for more than that.

For everyone who wants Mike's head on a pike: did you forgive Augustus?

kerBamf  

Comment ID #14819

I don't think its fair to compare someone who was raised in an abusive, fighting to survive situation and who was also groomed/sexually manipulated to someone like Mike. Comes across very insensitive

Daryan Nolan  

Comment ID #14820

Alec Emmerich

One of the key rules to a good apology folks: Do NOT demand anything from the person you're apologizing to. If your apology comes with an ulterior motive, even one as simple or with seemingly good intentions such as mending fences, the apology loses its value as an admission of guilt, and only serves as a means to an end. The best apologies are the ones where you admit guilt, admit to what you've done that hurt the other person, (yes, even if you think you were justified) and leave the decision to rebuild the relationship to the other person. And if they decide not to, YOU ACCEPT THAT. No one is entitled to continue a relationship with you if you hurt them.

Of course, I doubt Mike is aware of all this, but regardless, his apology here is the perfect example of using an apology manipulatively. Highly doubt he realizes that either, as a lot of what he's saying here still comes off as genuine, but that doesn't make it any less manipulative.

Load 2 replies  

Comment ID #14821

Everyone: Mike stfu and be better right now

Strikhedonia  

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