Finally Brendon headed to the bathroom, leaving my sight. The lust was slightly manageable when he wasn’t near me at least. Everyone other than Veronica, Ryan, and I left our table, heading in different directions. I simply sat, bathing in the happiness of not desiring any touch from Brendon I could possibly get.
It still felt wrong.
"Come on!" Veronica suddenly urged, grabbing my hand. "There is a goody stand outside. There is something you have to try!" She said, excited.
"I- maybe I should wait for Brendon to get back first." I said, awkwardly. I felt as if I were a small child in need of permission to go outside.
"Oh, he's in the bathroom. It'll be fine." Veronica said, brushing the issue to the side.
Ryan grinned, "Yeah guys, go for it."
And with that I was being dragged away with Veronica. "I've always sucked at bowling." She admitted though she’d come close to second place. That wasn’t sucking as far as I was concerned.
"Me too, evidently." I replied, not really knowing what to say.
Once outside Veronica bought some kind of sour candy which she offered me immediately. I ate some hesitantly to find that it was delicious. The fact that I ate it with enthusiasm seemed to make her forget about me supposedly being 'anorexic' thankfully.
She went to the other side of the stand, talking to me while out of sight. I threw the container of candy away since it was now gone. "So, how amazing is Brendon in bed?"
"Uh- I..." What an awkward question to be asked.
I could hear her giggling. "Oh, come on! I heard that moan earlier. He must be amazinggg!" She sang the sentence out.
I laughed awkwardly, "He's... really good in bed." I replied, blushing.
I could still hear Juliette's moan. It had been so beautiful. So fucking sexy. I almost walked back to the table as I exited the bathroom but instead I wandered by the doors, clearly seeing Juliette standing outside by herself.
What was she doing? ... Had that bitch been trying to trick me? I quickly made my way outside, fuming.
Juliette didn't see me coming until I grabbed her arm, spinning her around. Her eyes widened and her lips parted but it was too late. I saw red. Violent, overwhelming red. My hand quickly slapped across her face, causing tears to fill her beautiful eyes. "Don't ever try to leave me again." I whispered harshly, without thinking. "You'll die before I'll let you go."
Juliette simply looked to the ground, brushing the tears from her eyes. She didn't say a word.
"What do you think you're doing?" The sharp question came from Ryan, who had been standing behind me.
I stepped away from Juliette, releasing her arm just as Veronica stepped from behind the cart on the street with widened eyes.
Ryan stepped towards me, "What the fuck are you doing Brendon?" He repeated.
I didn't know what to say. I was wrong. I promised Juliette I would stop hitting her and here I was... hitting her, again. "I've been working on my temper." I whispered, looking away from Ryan.
"You've hit her before?" Ryan asked, disgusted.
Juliette surprised me when she spoke, "Ryan, it's none of your business. Brendon and I have problems like everyone else so just stay out of it."
Ryan looked surprised but continued on, "I'm not just going to let it go. You can't let him abuse you."
"I said let it go." Juliette said, through gritted teeth. I noticed the side of her face was now bright red from where I'd slapped her. God, I was a monster. A terrible, horrible, abusive monster.
"You're stupid." Ryan said, glaring at Juliette. Veronica was watching in horror. She tried to say something but then my fist connected with Ryan's jaw.
"Don't talk to her like that." I felt myself yelling, the angry red returning as I lost it. My knee then connected with Ryan's stomach and he grunted, doubling over.
Ryan hadn't made a single move to defend himself as I knee-d him in the stomach once again, shoving him away from me. "Never call her stupid. She's not fucking stupid. She's amazing." I shouted.
"Brendon, Brendon... stop!" Juliette's voice broke through my anger and then I felt her small hands grabbing at my fists, "Stop it! He's your friend!" She said, trying to calm me down.
That's when... I think I saw Juliette for the first time. Here she was, being held captive by me... and yet she was trying to protect Anne, trying to protect Ryan... trying to protect everyone but herself.
She was an amazing girl. I was in love with her. I had made a mistake though. I'd taken her freedom from her. Could anything between us ever be real after what I'd done?
I looked in to Juliette's beautiful face and made a quick decision, "Go."
"What?" Juliette whispered.
"Go! Get away from me." I said, wanting her to be safe. With me she would never be safe.
"Brendon, just calm down." Juliette whispered, stepping closer to me.
I stared in to her eyes, "I'm asking you to leave Juliette." I wanted to make it very clear. She was free. She was no longer my slave. "I don't want to hurt you anymore."
"You know I can't do that." She whispered, in an attempt to keep my friends from hearing. Thankfully Veronica was making sure Ryan was okay so neither was listening to us.
"I'll tell Anne to leave too."
"You'll go to-"
"Jail?" I asked, hitting an all time low. "I don't care anymore. I finally found out what I want and I can't have that."
"Can we just talk about this?" Juliette begged.
I shook my head, "No...” I walked away from her. I ignored her crying out my name. I couldn't take that. I couldn't take hurting her again. She was free of me.
Each step felt heavy, full of regret... I couldn't go back though. I couldn't force her to be with me. If I did that… Well then, that wouldn't be love. I loved her. I couldn't stand knowing she was only with me because she had to be.
Jon met me at the door. One look at my face and he knew something was wrong, "Juliette?" He whispered.
"Gone." Was all I could say, not even bothering to look back at where she was probably still standing. She'd be confused at first. She might be slightly shocked. In the end she would be happy though. Without me... she would be free.
"There is a bar down the road." Jon mumbled, "Let me go get everyone else."
A drink had never sounded as wonderful as it did now.
The warmth of the first shot of vodka I had didn’t quite feel warm enough so I quickly took two more shots, hoping the warmth would grow. Unfortunately all I could imagine was the bad press for the band upon me being arrested, the other bodies that would be found, Anne’s story coming out and… Juliette. What would happen to Juliette?
Bitter tears built behind my eyes but another shot of vodka pushed it back for just a little longer. I didn’t want my last free moment to be spent at a bar, crying like a little fucking girl.
“What happened to you?” Ryan sat in the empty seat next to me. I knew this conversation was coming but I honestly had hoped he’d wait. Right now I was regretting everything to do with Juliette. I didn’t need to add on much. It was already fairly pathetic and I hated myself enough, didn’t I?
“It’s just with her.” I lied. Well, sort of lied. It was just with Juliette that I didn’t want to be violent but it was with a number of girls that I was deadly towards. This curse, would it ever fade?
“Passion does fucked up shit to our minds Brendon but come on, not you. Don’t be that guy.” Ryan glanced around, uninterested in being overheard.
I nodded, “I’m that guy. Why do you think I told her to leave?”
“I think that maybe we should push back tour.” The frown upon Ryan’s face was hard to melt away. I’d have to do more than fake it this time. He’d seen a part of me that I couldn’t make him forget.
“I think that maybe you’re right but will it actually happen? That’s something else entirely.” We both knew it just wasn’t that easy. Most of the tickets were sold out, and the plans were already made. It wasn’t that easy to just say, “Hey guys, never mind. We actually aren’t coming, sorry about that!”
“We don’t have to cancel it, just push back the dates. It’s not the easiest thing in the world but sometimes shit happens.” Ryan said, staring intently at his phone.
“I get the feeling that I don’t really have say.”
“I’m sorry Brendon but there is something that is obviously wrong with you. What other habits, aside from hitting your girlfriend, have you been hiding from us?” Ryan’s words were harsh but I understood that he meant for them to be. It was what I had to hear.
I didn’t say anything. Ryan probably didn’t expect me to. The question lingered in the air, poisoning my thoughts. He’d made the dent he meant to. From there my own head would take over, continuing to reinforce the damage of what had happened.
The streets were cold, my legs unnaturally shaky. I felt as if it had been forever since I’d had to rely on myself. Had Brendon taken that from me? I was still afraid though. How was it that without him I was still afraid? The fears were different but still present.
At first I aimlessly walked. Then I realized I had Veronica’s number and I decided to find a pay phone. Then I realized I didn’t have any money on me.
I ended up walking up and down the street, collecting random change and thanking god for careless people who didn’t want to pick up the change they’d dropped.
Finally I doubled back and slipped the coins in, dialing Veronica’s number and hoping she was still with Brendon.
“Hey, this is Veronica. What’s up?” She didn’t sound nearly as cheery as before but her cheer wasn’t completely diminished. She was obviously a naturally happy person. I wished to be like that.
“Hi.” I swallowed hard, knowing I had to make this fast. “It’s Juliette. Sorry for calling so soon but I’m standing at a pay phone near the restaurant and well, I really need to get a hold of Brendon.” How could I not have a phone on me, or have his phone number on me? How could I be fighting so hard to lose all of my rights once again? I was fighting to be his captive.
I was fighting to die.
“I’m not with Brendon.” Damn. “But Ryan is. They are at a bar in town. Do you need a ride there?”
“Um, if you could… I’d really appreciate it.”
“Be at the restaurant in um, it’ll take about twenty minutes. Be careful out there.” Veronica muttered out a goodbye but I had already stopped listening and the phone had dropped, hanging by the cord.
What was I doing? I couldn’t stop myself. I needed him like I needed a cold. He was an infection, steadily building inside of me.
Despite every objection running through my mind I still found myself walking towards the restaurant, knowing I would try my hardest to find Brendon because it couldn’t all just end like this. It just couldn’t. I could see no happy ending to our story but I still had to try.