“Since I’m still here… I’ll always consider you my hero Jon.”
Jon noticed the tone she used and stopped in place, too many thoughts running through his mind all at once. “You know that this will be okay, right?”
His burning gaze ripped right through Christian and she felt as if she were falling back in to her body, nodding slowly to acknowledge his words. “What if this is as okay as it gets though?”
Jon’s mouth got dry, his thoughts ceasing to process. “Sometimes it is, for some people.” He didn’t want to lie to Christian. He wasn’t sure her pain could ever go away, or if things would start looking up or down. He could only try, and hope for things to go his way.
Christian nodded, grip tightening upon her bag. She’d packed only a few things, as Jon had taken care of Leo’s body. Sadly being near Christian offered the most contact he’d had with dead animals in his entire life. He didn’t blame her for that though, he couldn’t blame her for anything because he had his own demons and knew that they applied the blame liberally enough.
As Christian directed Jon in to a small coffee shop three blocks from her house he braced himself as he heard a loud squeal, followed by, “Christian! Oh my god!” And then a girl around Christian’s age was wrapping Christian in to a breath stopping hug. Jon wasn’t sure how either of them could breathe.
“Anna!” Christian sounded happy as she greeted the girl, tightly hugging her in return.
“My dad is having a hell of a time contacting the creator of the site.” Anna whispered in to Christian’s ear, quietly enough that no one else could hear. “But when he does you can bet it’s going to be shut down.”
Christian nodded, “Thank you so much.” Then at least a large chunk of the drama pressing down upon her life would be lifted, and she’d feel a little safer.
It would be a step in the right direction.
“Who is this?” Anna gestured to Jon, eyes quizzically staring him down with an intensity that only a best friend could have.
Right then there was another huge squeal and Jon jumped out of the way, thinking that there was another best friend about to hug on to the other two girls. Instead the girl who had squealed rushed over to Jon, “Can I have your autograph?” She asked, blushing furiously.
Jon blinked multiple times before hesitantly nodding, “Sure.” He struggled to throw on a carefree smile, as he gazed down at the fan.
The girl pulled a notebook out of her bag, struggling to find a pen as well. “Here.” She finally found it and handed him both, making sure that their fingers brushed together in the exchange. “Can you make it out to Emily?”
“Of course Emily.” Jon smiled at her, before chancing a glance at Christian. Their eyes met, and hers were full of questions.
It only took Jon a few seconds to scribble an autograph in to the girl’s notebook but then she began to talk to him about his music and he lost track of Christian’s conversation with Anna, as they wandered towards the counter together.
When Emily finally finished gushing about how much she loved Panic! at the disco Christian was nowhere in sight, causing a small surge of panic to race through my veins, as I approached the counter. “Where is Christian?” I asked the girl, who I now knew was Christian’s best friend, Anna.
“She ran to the restroom. Don’t be all possessy; god knows she’s had enough of that.” Anna spit out, narrowing her eyes at me.
“Possessy?” I’d never before been called that, and seeing as how it wasn’t any word I’d ever heard of… I doubted anyone else had been called it either.
“Yes, possessy.” Anna watched me carefully, “Would you like coffee?”
“Um sure.” I bit my lip, wondering what Christian had told Anna about me, if anything. “Can I get a… What does Christian like?”
“Coffee wise?” Anna asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Well yeah, that and well, other things too… like what could I take her out to do?”
Anna’s eyes narrowed once again, “Don’t go making moves on my best friend while she’s at her worst!” She threw her manicured fingers down on to the counter top, “I swear if you just want in her pants then I’ll cut your dick off.”
I stepped back, somewhat intimidated with where the conversation had gone. Cut my dick off? Yes, I was not in to that happening. “So, what coffee can I get for Christian?” I snapped.
Anna frowned, “Got a temper, do you?” She was intentionally pressing my buttons. “She likes anything blended really, but her current favorite is caramel.”
“Fine, two please.” I pulled my wallet out, focusing on it so that I wouldn’t have to focus on Anna’s burning gaze. I was the center of her hate currently, most likely because of what had happened between Christian and Benjamin but I didn’t want it to be like this. I wasn’t like Benjamin and I didn’t like being treated as if I were the bad guy.
“So, who was that girl?” Anna casually asked, since no customers had appeared behind me yet.
“The one that asked for your autograph, and why would she want your autograph?”
“She was just a fan.” I did not want an interrogation. My god, what had I gotten myself in to by approaching the damn counter? At the quizzical look she continued to shower me with I continued, “She is a fan of my band, Panic! At the disco.”
Anna’s eyes widened and she covered her mouth with her hand, in an attempt to lessen the blow of her loud shriek. I winced, sliding my card. She grabbed on to my receipt, not yet handing it to me. “OhmygodIloveyourbandsomuchand-“ She was cut off as Christian appeared beside me, a small smile on her lips.
“Breath Anna.” She suggested, laughing.
Anna’s eyes widened further, “You knew and you didn’t tell me?”
Christian shrugged, “I just got here. What is it that I know now?”
“He’s in a band! Not just a band but Panic! At the disco!” Anna stopped herself from screaming the words but it looked as if it was a trying task.
“Oh that.” Christian nodded, “Yeah, so?”
My eyes widened in appreciation.
Christian already knew I was in a band. How could she not? She met the entire band earlier. She didn’t say anything though and that… that seemed incredible to me.
She gave me the chance to be a normal guy around her, without the shrieking and staring, and that was something I really, really liked.
“You knew?” I sat down next to Christian, watching as she took a small drink of her caramel blended drink. I took a drink as well, agreeing that it was quite delicious. It was sweet, yet bitter- kind of like Christian. I could see both sides of her, even if she didn’t think I could; because she didn’t think we knew each other. It wasn’t that I knew her… not in the technical sense anyway, but I’d seen her on a pretty bad night and what I saw about her wasn’t bad at all… and that said a lot about a person and who they really were. I wondered vaguely if she saw me on a similarly bad night… would she feel the same?
“I’ve seen pictures before.” Christian shrugged, “But I wasn’t really sure, and hadn’t really given it much thought, until you introduced me to your friends.”
“Oh.” I could say no more on the subject. I was pleasantly surprised though, that much was known.
“Thank you for the drink, it’s really good.” Christian glanced behind us, towards Anna. She was busy making orders. “I’m sure she said some things she doesn’t mean so don’t hold any of it against her, okay? I didn’t want you to be left alone with her; I figured you’d still be busy by the time I got back.” Christian blushed, “I didn’t really get the chance to tell her that you’re my hero.”
I looked down in to my drink, focusing upon the small pieces of blended ice. “I’m no hero Christian.” There, I’d said it.
“But you are.” She said it with the most confident tone I’d heard her use.
“Why?” I braved glancing up at her, “Why do you say that about me?”
Christian glanced around the room nervously before leaning closer to me. She grabbed on to my hand, bringing it up to her throat. I noticed the way she tensed as my fingertips brushed against her skin and she leaned her head back so that I could clearly see the defined bruising, “I call you my hero because that’s what you are.” She hesitated before continuing to brush my fingertips along the skin covering her neck, and I gave her full control, not wanting to frighten her. This seemed to be hard enough already. “You saved me. I was being choked and- I thought I was going to die, because Benjamin had lost control. He loves choking and the power it gives him… but then he got angry, and he loved pushing me a little further than I could actually handle going- and… one of the other men stopped him Jon. There weren’t three guys there… there was four- but one left, he left before you got there because Benjamin got mad and made him leave so that he could continue without interruption. I barely had time to get in to the bathroom… but he wanted to continue choking me and he didn’t want to be stopped, so I doubt he would’ve.”
Christian moved her head again, gazing in to my eyes. I gazed back at her, completely aware that I was wearing my emotions on my face. How horrible… How fucking awful. “Since I’m still here… I’ll always consider you my hero Jon.”
She let go of my hand and I nervously withdrew my fingertips from near her neck, watching as she tensed until my fingers were on the table in front of us.
I couldn’t speak so all I did was stare, watching the way Christian’s eyes crinkled when she laughed, the skin wrinkling just slightly. She had dimples, which were adorable. How could someone not want to make her laugh? How could their aim be completely opposite of that? Her nose twitched and she waved her hand in front of my face, “Earth to Jon!” The laugh that followed was beautiful.
I think that’s when I started to like Christian.
It was so fast and so unexpected but she was so innocent, despite the awful things that had happened to her. I didn’t even know everything yet, and I didn’t know if she’d ever be able to tell me. Could I even bare to hear everything that had happened? Could I protect her from her stalker lawyer ex-boyfriend?
… Was I strong enough for the both of us, in all our fucked-up-ness?
Oh god, please help me.
I don’t want to pay for my father’s sins anymore.
I just want to save Christian from hers.