"I think you're a nice guy. Am I stupid to think so?" Rian asked quietly.
"No, but I'm going to ask for a to-go box, would either of you like one?" She asked, standing up and stretching. I watched as the stranger's eyes moved back to her body, a feeling of rage building within me. "Gerard?" Rian asked, gaining my attention again.
"No." I pulled my wallet out and gave it to her, "Just go pay. Mikey and I will be here." And I'll be staring at my future victim.
I didn't hear whatever Rian said before walking away, a frown upon her face. Mikey cleared his throat. "What's going on bro?" He asked, frustrating me as my attention slipped from my could-be victim once again.
"What?" I snapped, unused to having others with me when I wanted to be alone. Rian and Mikey weren't easily blown off. I didn't want them to leave. The situation... was undesirable as I had no idea what to do with them in tow.
"What is going on with you?" Mikey repeated, slowly. "You were all over Rian earlier. Smiling at her like every five seconds... for you it was pretty mushy and well, now... now you're ice cold. You keep ignoring her. I'm pretty sure you're confusing her with the mixed signals."
"I'm just tired." I lied. "I was the one that got hit in the head with a book after all... after taking pain pills. I'm a little out of it. Back off, okay?" That didn't sound like me. The raised eyebrow and simple nod Mikey gave me let me know that he was thinking the same thing.
We fell silent and I searched for the stranger, finding his booth empty. I had missed my opportunity. Where was Rian at? It was taking quite awhile for her to pay and come back...
It was after a few minutes of staring out the restaurant window that I realized the laugh I was hearing was Rian's. I turned my head to look for her, my eyes landing on the stranger once again. The stranger was ... talking to Rian.
It didn't take me long to reach them though it felt like each step took several minutes. My anger bubbled as I tried to remain calm. I'd never lost it in a public place. I didn't intend to start making scenes now.
Rian noticed as I approached and her smile widened, "Hey Gerard! This is Roger Wrankler. He just introduced himself to me. Evidently he's a bouncer at a club called um... I'm sorry; what was it called?"
"Club Raysin. I've been there for ages. I was just telling Dear Rian here how I'd be more than happy to show her a good time there." Roger winked in my direction, making me feel slightly ill. This guy with Rian? Not going to happen.
"Do you even know how old she is?" I snapped, grinding my teeth together as I tried to stay calm. Never before had that been such a hard task.
"I told him." Rian said, uncomfortably shifting. "But I mean, yeah... a club... probably not the greatest idea."
"Oh come on Rian, clubs are fun." Roger flashed a sinister smile. "You'll loosen right up."
"She's loose enough. Get lost." I said, losing the patience to even pretend to be nice to this obvious creep.
"Gerard, why are you being so rude?" Rian whispered, staring at me with concern.
I took one look at her and stepped closer to Roger, intimidating him as much as I possibly could without ripping his heart out and shoving it down his throat. I did not like this man. I did not like the idea of him around Rian in a poorly lit club with loud music covering her words. I did not like how he looked at her. I couldn't control myself... what was happening to me?
"I think maybe you should let the girl decide for herself on whether or not she'd like to party with a real man like me." Roger sneered.
Real man? That pushed me over the edge. What was with that phrase? It was overused and so very, very wrong. I was more man than this... this, creep. The fabric of Roger's shirt bunched up beneath my fingers as I roughly grabbed it, pulling him closer to me. "Stay away from her." I spoke quietly, carefully... I would say nothing wrong in a public place. I would do nothing wrong. Now was not the time for me to start making mistakes. I would 'deal' with Roger later.
"You know where to find me Rian. Have a nice day." Roger said, using an overly cheerful tone. I released his shirt hesitantly to watch him walk away, a bounce to his step. The sharp intake of breath behind me let me know that I still had Rian to deal with. I had acted like an ass. I promised myself I wouldn't make a scene and then I walked over and... made a small scene. Small or not; It was still a scene.
Still I couldn't help but feel that there was something off about the man despite his fake nice-ness. Plus, who invites a 17 year old girl to a club that serves alcohol? There was something terribly, terribly wrong with the man... I just had to keep Rian from him.
Together we walked back to Mikey in silence and I realized I would have to find a way to keep Rian safe from all of the hidden monsters in our city... oh and there were so very many of them.
It wasn't until we all arrived back home that Mikey tried to lighten up the situation. "So... we were going to um, get costumes... Masquerade party?" His face lit up in embarrassment as Rian stared at him silently.
I had completely forgotten. "Oh yeah. Well, why don't you and Rian go?" I had work to do. Roger Wrankler had crossed me. He would find out just how big of a mistake he had made by hitting on Rian.
"I... was actually thinking..." He cleared his throat and looked directly at me, making ridiculous hand signals with his hands that I could not figure out for the life of me, "... that you and Rian could go, together."
"You do know that I can see you clearly, right?" Rian asked, biting her lip as she studied Mikey.
Mikey blushed, "Oh well... they make it look easier to convey meanings in movies. Gerard, you and Rian should go together. There. I said it. It's been said. Do you guys get it now?"
"I got it before." Rian muttered, rolling her eyes. "You want Gerard and I to go shopping together." She stated, being a lot more blunt than Mikey had been.
"And Rian is so obviously mad at me." I muttered, purposefully being loud enough so that Rian could hear me.
Rian's eyes narrowed as she turned her full attention to me, allowing Mikey to sneak out of the room. "Roger was just being nice to me." Five seconds later we heard the front door slam signifying Mikey's disappearance from the house.
"He was a creep." I informed her, not really wanting to talk about it any longer. She was making this difficult. Roger was about to become a part of my life that I didn't want her to know about. She had been close to being victimized. I never wanted her to know that. Wait... Did that mean I no longer planned to kill her eventually?
Shaking my head quickly I tried to shake my thoughts clear out of my head. I didn't want to think about the future. I didn't want to think about harming Rian. How could I decide forever in just one day though? Anything could happen. Yet the idea of something happening still bugged me immensely.
"He was just being nice." Was all that Rian responded with.
"You need to open your eyes." I snapped. "Not everyone is just 'nice'." I informed her. "Bad things happen to little girls like you because nice people aren't always what they seem. Not every monster is upfront about their intentions." God, I sounded like I was warning her about myself...
"My eyes are open. I'm not as stupid as you think." Rian said, walking out of the room.
I quickly followed her, "And you still think Roger was just a nice guy?"
Rian continued walking, reaching the front door. She turned to look at me as she placed her hand on the door knob, as if testing me. I walked closer, fighting the urge to pull her body to mine.
The door knob turned slowly, her eyes never leaving mine. All she had to do was pull and the door would open. I heard the faint creak as the door slowly opened, my hand shot out, slamming the door closed. I stared in to Rian's eyes, trying to figure out what to say or what to do. I had no reason to require Rian to stay. If she left... the possibility of me never seeing her again pressed down upon me.
"I think you're a nice guy. Am I stupid to think so?" Rian asked quietly.
"Have I ever hurt you?" I asked.
"Has Roger ever?"
"Why does this have to be a big deal?" I asked, frustrated.
"You're telling me that I can't be around him. You turned down an invitation for me without consulting me. It's a big deal... because I don't want you to think that you have complete control over me Gerard. You don't. We barely know each other... I really have no right to be staying in your home but... I have the feeling that if I were to try and leave..." Rian trailed off, dropping her hand from the door knob, "Well, you wouldn't allow that... would you?"
"I'm not forcing you to stay." I spit out.
"Okay." Rian turned back to the door but my good hand was still resting firmly against it.
"Rian..." I began, finding myself unable to continue past her name. What was I to say? She wasn't free to go but I didn't want her to feel like she had to stay when I couldn't even think of a reason as to why she should stay. "It's not how it seems." I tried to explain, pathetically failing.
Rian took a deep breath, still facing the door. Her voice came out loud and clear however, "I feel safe around you." She stated, "At first I felt like I was making the wrong decision by letting you take me home but I was desperate and didn't care about my safety. Then I left." Rian turned around to face me, a smile on her face. "And you found me Gerard. I wasn't really lost in a directional sense but I was lost. You still found me and you brought me here though. So, maybe you won't let me leave. I'm not trying to leave right now. I don't really have anywhere to go and though we haven't known each other long... I trust you to not hurt me. I wouldn't have gone anywhere with Roger. I'm not stupid. I decided to trust you, not him but... you're going to have to trust me with my own life. I didn't appreciate you cutting in and talking for me. I was being polite. Being polite is a far cry from being stupidly trusting." That was the most Rian had talked at once.
I nodded, realizing what the problem was. How had I overlooked it? "I'm sorry... I was wrong." That was the first time I had ever uttered those words. I was being honest though. I really was sorry for how I'd acted. I should have realized that Rian could take care of herself in a public setting with a total creep. Why had I forced my way in to the conversation and acted like a dumb-ass? Oh yeah, I ... wanted to protect her. I was becoming protective...
Rian smiled, stepping away from the door. "That's all I wanted." She admitted. "Thank you... and thank you for being protective." With that she winked at me, giggling as she walked back to the kitchen.
"Wait, what?" I called out, embarrassed that she seemed to be able to read me so efficiently.
Rian laughed as I met her in the kitchen. "So, you think I'm protective?" I asked, moving my body closer to hers as I pinned her against the counter. She looked so sexy just standing there. How was I to resist such temptation?
Rian wasn't frightened of me at all as I leaned closer, my hand brushing against her cheek. "I know you are. I don't know why but- it's sweet." She said, seeming unsure as to how she should feel. I was in the same boat because as I leaned closer and my lips danced inches from Rian's... I found that it now turned me on more to know that she wasn't frightened of me and hopefully never would be. How could things change so dramatically in such a short period of time?
My lips were just about to meet Rian's as my phone began to violently shriek, ruining the moment. I stared in to Rian's eyes, trying to figure out how I felt about her or rather, why I felt anything at all.
"Are you going to get that?" Rian finally asked.
I nodded, realizing it wasn't in my pocket. "Hmm. I don't know where I put it." I said, following the sound to the living room.
There upon the living room floor sat my cell phone. I had just missed the phone call but I noticed plenty of missed phone calls from an unknown number from earlier. First I dialed Mikey's number since that was the call I had just missed.
"You and Rian better yet?" Was the first thing that Mikey asked.
I rolled my eyes before grudgingly responding, "Yes."
"Awesome! Listen, I have a great idea..." Mikey began just as Rian walked in to the room.
"There is a traffic light party tonight at this club... You could bring Rian. I'm sure she'd enjoy it." Mikey finished.
I sighed, realizing that from the time Mikey learned Rian and I weren't dating he had made it his life mission to hook us up. "Let me ask her. I'll get back to you on that." With that I hung up, not waiting to hear him try to persuade me to go. If Rian wanted to go then we could go... despite any internal objections on my part.
"Ask me what?" Rian asked just as I shut my phone, ignoring the missed calls I had for the time being.
"Mikey wanted to know if you wanted to go to a party tonight."
"Sure." Rian smiled, "I mean, you're going... right?"
I nodded, "If you want to then I'll take you."
"Sounds fun." She responded.
I nodded, "I'll tell Mikey we will come then. It's at some club so I'll have to find out where."
Rian yawned, "Do you mind if I shower?"
"Go ahead." I said, forcing a smile. "I'm just going to call Mikey back." Why was I lying? Because I didn't put my phone on the living room floor and because I didn't know the number that kept calling me. Had Rian used my phone?
Rian didn't seem to notice as she went in to my bedroom, shutting the door behind her.
I stood in the middle of my living room before pressing the listen button, waiting to hear the first of many voice-mails I'd been left.
Suddenly my ears were flooded by a language I couldn't understand but... sounded like what Rian had spoken earlier. French. I didn't know anyone who spoke french. Rian had used my phone... but why?
I sighed, saving the voice mails. Once I was finished with all five of them I started texting one of my classmates, remembering that he took french classes. Frank Iero. -Hey, I'm looking to learn a little french. You up for the challenge?-
After the text was sent I texted Mikey, -Where? Rian and I are coming tonight.-
Seconds later my phone lit up as I received a reply from Mikey. -Club Raysin. Meet me out front at eight.-
Club Raysin... sounded familiar. It took me about ten minutes to realize that was the club that creepy Roger was talking about. This... could work to my advantage after all. Mikey could keep Rian company for an hour or so while I visited with Roger.
Oh Roger, how you'll regret setting your eyes on Rian.
Rian stepped out of the shower, dripping wet with a towel barely covering her body. She was the picture of perfection if you ignored the bruises lining her beautiful body. I hoped soon enough they would fade, never to return again.
"Hey." She smiled upon seeing me sitting on my bed.
"Hey." I responded, laying down. I was still clutching my cell phone as I thought of the voice-mails I had received. I hadn't listened to them all thoroughly but they seemed to begin frantically. Rian was seventeen years old. She was sure to have parents somewhere... wondering where she was... and when they found her with me... Well, that could cause a lot of problems. I was twenty-three years old. Under the state law until she turned eighteen it would be statutory rape if I did anything sexual with her. If her parents found us together... they'd think the worse. I'd done worse than have sex with a minor, having the blood of over fifteen people staining my hands but... could I handle the scrutiny of the law?
The idea didn't make me want to tell Rian to leave. Instead it made me want to keep her possible contact to her family to a minimum. How could I do that without causing her to be uneasy?
"What's wrong?" Rian asked, sitting next to me.
My eyes went to her as I realized she still wasn't dressed. "Nothing."
"Don't lie to me. Now, what's wrong?" Rian asked, biting her lip.
I toyed with my cell phone for a few minutes before finding the number I'd missed phone calls from. I handed her my phone. "Whose number is this?" I asked, coming off a lot colder than intended.
Rian closed my cell phone, staring at it as she set it on the bed next to me. "I'm sorry."
"That doesn't answer my question." My personality switch had seemingly turned itself and I was finding it hard to be nice to Rian.
"I was calling home." Rian swallowed hard as my suspicions were confirmed.
Before I said anything that I'd regret I walked out of the room, grabbing my cell phone. The bedroom door slammed behind me, echoing through my mind. How could I treat Rian how she deserved to be treated when I was me?
I was not a nice guy. Unfortunately I found myself infatuated with the girl who had stumbled in to my grasp and now her chances of ever escaping my horror story seemed dim.