Emerson leaned her head on my shoulder, lacing her fingers through mine. As I held her hand, I could feel her heartbeat. I was beating so fast, and her entire being was trembling. It was two days after the incident between me and Frank down in Florida, and Em and Iwere in the back of a squad car, driving down our street back in New Jersey. The cops who'd come to separate me and Frank had recognized Em immediately, and they'd driven us straight back home to Jersey.
I was terrified. I was now finally able to understand the fear Em had of her father. We had tried desperately to tell the police what he'd done to Em, but apparently her dad had told them that we would say something like that. He'd said Em was trying to condemn him because he didn't approve of her being with me all the time. A load of bull, obviously. The police said they'd take us home and have my car returned, but do nothing else. As far as they were concerned, the case of the runaways was closed.
When the police car ground to a stop in front of Em's house, I decided to give one last ditch attempt to convince them how awful her father could be. Especially if he'd found the gun and extra bullets.
"Officer, you've got to believe us. This man is dangerous. Please, it's only a few months until Emerson is eighteen, just let us stay away and keep ourselves safe. He might have a gun,"I begged. Beside me, Em shuddered. The cop in the passenger seat turned around and shook his head.
"No can do, sonny. We've spoken to the girl's father. He's just a normal parent who's worried about his kid. And besides, what kind of man would shoot his own daughter?"
"My dad is that kind of man," Em said in a small voice. I squeezed her hand. God, I hated seeing her looking so defeated. I needed to protect her. It was my job. I would go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe.
"Let's go, Em," I said, pulling her from the car. "They're not going to help us. Pigs," I spat, shooting a glare at the officers and slamming the car door before they could say anything. We watched mournfully as the car pulled away.
The house was dark and quiet. Em stood next to me, trembling. Her blue eyes were wide with fear. "Where is he?"she whispered, her voice shaking.
"Looking for me?" her father's icy voice broke through the silence and his large frame filled the hallway before us. "So," he began, stepping closer. "Thought you could just up and leave me, did you? You little slut. And you," he snarled, turning on me. "Didn't think I'd ever notice how much time you spend with my daughter, turning her against me? Think again." He lunged forward, catching me off guard. His fingers curled painfully into my shoulders and her shoved me backwards. My head cracked hard against the wall. I sank to the ground, stunned. Em shrieked and tried to run to me, and that's when I saw it: the gun. Her father bashed me in the side of the head with it before aiming haphazardly at Em, pulling the trigger.
"No," I moaned, trying desperately to see straight. Em's scream was terrible as the bullet ripped through her abdomen. She fell to the ground only a few feet from me. I stretched my hand out. I had to get to her. But her father was moving slowly toward her, still pointing the gun.
"My only child," he said somewhat regretfully. Em squeezed her eyes shut in pain, pressing one hand to the bullet hole and trying to pull herself away from the madman with her other arm. There was nowhere for her to go however, as she was already backed up against a wall. Her father continued.
"I suppose it's not your fault you were born into this family, but you were. I hate you. You're the reason your mother left me. If it weren't for you, I'd still have her! But no, you had to come along and fuck up everything. Everything! And for that, you deserve to die." He cocked the gun and pointed it at Em's head. I cried out and threw myself in front of Emerson as the shot sounded.
"And for that, you deserve to die."
No. Please God, no. My father raised the gun and I hid behind my hands. Blood bubbled from the wound in my abdomen.
What came next happened so fast, Ididn't know what was going on. Shouts from everywhere burst through the door. My father let out an outraged cry and pulled the trigger. I screamed, but didn't feel the pain of being shot. I heard a pained cry as Gerard hit the ground in front of me, the bullet hitting him in the stomach. My father was being tackled to the ground by a few of our neighbors, the gun knocked away. When I looked down at Gee, everything else seemed to stop. He was alive, clawing in agony at the gaping bullet hole in his gut.
"Gerard! Oh God, Gee," I sobbed, scrambling over to him, blood, his and mine, everywhere. I ignored my own terrible pain, focusing on him. I pulled Gerard into my arms, pressing a hand down onto his wound to try and stop the rushing blood.
"Em," he choked, gasping for breath.
"Shh, don't speak. You'll be okay, Ipromise. The neighbors got my dad and I'm sure they've called 911."
Gerard squeezed his eyes shut for amoment. "How bad is your wound?"
I tore my eyes away from his face to look down at myself. Crimson blood bubbled forth, and I felt as though I'd pass out any moment. But I couldn't worry about me. I looked back to Gerard. His face was paler than should be humanly possible and his chapped lips trembled. His hazel eyes were filled with pain.
"It's not that bad, really. I'll be fine," I lied. But he knew me too well. He placed one hand weakly over mine.
"You're lying to me. It's not good news, is it?" Gerard's eyes filled with tears. "We're not going to make it, are we?"
I shook my head fiercely. "Don't you say that, Gerard. We're not leaving yet. We've got too many things we need to do," I growled. Gerard smiled sadly.
"Hand in mine, into your icy blues. And then I'd say to you we could take to the highway with this trunk of ammunition too. I'd end my days with you in a hail of bullets..." As his weak voice sang the all too true lyrics to our song, the awful blood began to come forth from his mouth, spattering his nearly white lips as he coughed, the blood choking him. That's when I heard the sirens.
'Gerard!" I cried. "Hang on, please. The ambulance is nearly here. We're going to be okay."
"I love you, Emerson," he gasped, sending more blood across his pale skin. I leaned down to kiss his lips, his blood mixing with my tears. Pain shot through my side.
"Don't you say your goodbyes, Gerard. You'll be able to tell me you love me tomorrow. And the next day. And every single day for the rest of our lives. I swear to you." He smiled up at me and reached up to touch my cheek. He opened his mouth to say something, but the police and paramedics chose that moment to burst through the door. The EMTs surrounded us, and the police jumped on my father, who the neighbor was struggling to continue to hold down. EMTs began pulling Gerard away from me. Iwas starting to become hysterical, everything taking its toll on me. I screamed for Gerard as they moved us apart. Our hands were still tightly clasped and Gee's eyes were locked on mine. A woman knelt down beside me, prying my fingers form Gerard's. They lifted him onto a stretcher and whisked him from the room. I began sobbing uncontrollably, convinced I'd never see him again. The woman along with other medical personnel began lifting my upwards.
"Gerard! Put me down! Gerard!" I cried, squirming in their grasp.
"She's going into shock! Let's go!"
Everything around me blurred and I felt as if I was spiraling backwards, screaming soundlessly into the darkness.