Brendon stood quickly, his long legs clumsily following Christian towards the front door.
“So, her ex-boyfriend is stalking her?” Ryan asked; voice as quiet as it could possibly be.
“That sounds dangerous.” Spencer murmured.
“It is. He doesn’t care how far he goes. He made that obvious last night. He just wants to scare her, scare her so that she’ll go back to him and it fucking pisses me off.” Jon angrily stirred the noodles, wishing he could pour the boiling water on to Benjamin’s face so that his inner ugly would show on the outside.
“You don’t think she will, do you? He sounds like a total creep.” Ryan noted.
“I think he finally crossed her line today.” Jon mumbled, feeling sympathy for Christian. “He killed her cat, Leo. We found him at her apartment.”
“Fuck.” Spencer tightly closed his eyes, “Why haven’t the police been notified?”
“I’m scared that it won’t help the situation. He’s a lawyer, and Christian has tried to leave him before. She told me that Anna forced her to file a police report against him awhile back and nothing happened. He just made it go away.”
“What for?” Spencer asked.
Jon took a deep breath, hoping that Christian wouldn’t hate him for telling. “That time it was because he was beating her.”
“Damn.” Ryan breathed the word out.
Jon could only nod.
“Holy shit.” Brendon gasped, staring in horror at the pictures on Jon’s laptop. He was just playing around, checking out Jon’s browser history. He liked to snoop around sometimes. It was a bad habit. His habit just bit him in the ass, hard.
Christian was asleep beside him on the couch, and he couldn’t help but look over at her before looking back at the pictures again.
With one horrified click Christian’s moans filled Brendon’s ears and he couldn’t look away from the video playing, and it wasn’t a good video at all.
“Wh- what are you doing?” Christian’s whispered voice finally brought Brendon back to reality and he slammed the laptop closed violently, eyes wide in horror. “What were y-“ Christian pulled as far away from Brendon as she could, nearly falling off of the couch. She quickly stood, wanting to be further away from him.
“Christian- wait. I-“ The words died on Brendon’s lips as he stared at her, with a pained expression. He was still trying to process what he’d seen. He wasn’t ready to see shit like that. He would probably never be ready.
Christian just shook her head, “Stay away from me.” She yelled, unable to keep her voice calm. It wasn’t a nice way to wake up. She felt safe here. She had Jon here. Why didn’t she feel safe anymore? She could barely think. She just wanted to be far away.
Brendon stood quickly, his long legs clumsily following Christian towards the front door. “Wait, don’t go Christian. I’m sorry- It’s not what you think-“ Brendon called, just as loudly.
“Don’t.” Christian closed her eyes, stopping in place. She didn’t want Brendon to follow her. She was just scared. She was tired and scared and Brendon wouldn’t stop following her. “Stay, just stay right there.”
The noise had gained Jon, Spencer, and Ryan’s attention and they were all coming down the hallway, confused as to what was going on. “What’s wrong?” Jon asked, glancing between Christian and Brendon.
Brendon tentatively stepped forward, setting Christian off. She quickly grabbed the door knob, and ran outside. Jon glared at Brendon, “What the hell did you do?”
“I- I was just snooping around your laptop and I didn’t expect- and she woke up while I was watching some horrible video… starring her.” Brendon whispered, looking absolutely horrified. “She got scared. I didn’t mean to.”
“Stay,” Was all that Jon said as he rushed outside after Christian, concerned thoughts flooding his head.
“Christian!” Jon yelled her name, the cold air brushing against his skin.
He couldn’t see her down the road, and he knew she couldn’t have made it further than that so quickly. Where the hell was she? “Christian!” His voice was panicked, as horrible thoughts drifted freely through his head, leading him to believe the worst.
“I’m over here.” Christian finally called out with a weak voice, from behind Jon’s car.
He quickly rushed over, seeing her sitting on the cold hard ground, with her knees pulled up to her chest. “What are you doing over here?” He softly asked, slowing down so as not to scare her off.
“I don’t ever want to see those videos again, or hear them, or see the photos... or remember how it felt because that’s the worst part Jon.” Christian breathed in deeply, looking away. “I can remember exactly how I felt then because sometimes I still feel that way, like at night when I’m trying to sleep… or when I wake up. I feel so scared, and so alone… and so vulnerable and I know… I just know it’s not over. Benjamin isn’t going to stop. I don’t know why he wants me so badly when he’s already ruined me completely. What more can there be to break? I’m pretty fucking broken.”
“You’re just bent.” Jon said; a silly but sad grin on his face. He slowly lowered himself to the ground next to Christian, and leaned against his car.
“I know.” Silence took over for a few minutes before Jon spoke again, “Brendon feels really bad.”
“I’m not mad at him or anything. He didn’t do anything wrong.” Christian shook her head, “I just woke up to those sounds and… then I saw myself and I couldn’t escape the feelings and Brendon was beside me instead of you and I guess…” Christian blushed.
“I guess I expected it to be you.”
Jon felt a pang of disgust run through his body, “You expected me to be the one watching those videos of you?”
“No.” Christian quickly shook her head again. “That’s not what I meant. I expected you to be next to me when I woke up.” She laughed, dryly. “I’m clingy, aren’t I?”
“I could be.” Jon whispered, slowly and gently placing his hand on Christian’s knee. She froze, tensing but did not push him away.
“You could be clingy?”
“No, I could be there when you wake up… always.”
“Always is a pretty big promise to make.” Christian warned.
“I feel pretty confident making it.”
Christian let her head fall down, on to Jon’s shoulder. She felt even more exhausted than she had when she fell asleep earlier.
“Do you-“ Jon paused, taking a chance to enjoy the feel of Christian against him. “Do you feel like that right now?”
“I don’t feel the same way around you that I do around Benjamin.” Christian whispered. “But you weren’t there, Brendon was. And … I don’t know how to feel when you aren’t around.” She laughed angrily, “And I’m making myself so mad because I’m being so stupid. I barely know you but you’re comfortable to be around. You make things okay, and you make feeling just… happy be okay. Today was the best day I’ve ever had Jon, the best.”
“I can promise you better.”
“I believe everything you say.”
Jon and Christian felt the cold drops fall from the sky, on to their heads, and they realized it was raining. “Can we go inside now?” Jon asked, somewhat hesitant to break away from Christian.
“Oh no.” Christian’s eyes widened. “Your friend saw me naked.”
Jon wasn’t all that happy about it either. “Yeah, I’ll be wiping his memory tonight before he leaves .” He joked darkly.
Christian grinned, standing up quickly. She outstretched her hand to Jon, and though it was a struggle she managed to pull him to his feet. “Still saving me.”
“Well, you know… when I find that I’m good at something I like to stick to it. It increases my odds of getting it right.”
“You’ve yet to be wrong.”
“Even when I do this?” Jon leaned down, hesitating right before his lips met Christian’s. He stared in to her eyes, questioning whether it was okay or not. Christian didn’t speak but she did lean up the rest of the way, pressing their lips together.
Jon slowly pulled away, maintaining eye contact. He wanted an answer.
“Even when you do that.” Christian whispered, a small smile tugging at her lips.
“I’m so so so so so sorry.” Brendon was breathless by the time his apology ended, and Christian just stared at him, trying to take in every word he had spoken, so quickly.
“Um.” She nervously licked her lips, glancing at Jon.
Jon shrugged, giving her a small smile.
“You didn’t do anything wrong.” Christian finally said, watching as Brendon collapsed against the couch, relief flooding his face.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure of it. I’m sorry for running out like that though. It was dramatic and stupid and I’m just so tired. I wasn’t thinking clearly.”
“Will you sit by me?” Brendon nervously asked.
“Sure.” Christian was more than happy to fall down beside Brendon on the couch, pulling the blanket over her body again.
Jon sat on the floor, next to Christian.
Spencer took the chair, and Ryan left to the kitchen to get some of the pasta Jon had cooked.
Christian couldn’t fall asleep again, but she closed her eyes because Brendon kept staring at her and she didn’t really want to deal with awkward conversation regarding what he’d seen.
Jon laid his head back against the couch, his hand resting on Christian’s foot which was poking out from underneath the blanket.
Spencer was angrily discussing the stupid parts of the movie they were watching, while Ryan taunted Brendon with food.
The night was close enough to perfect, considering how well the previous night had gone.
“He knows about my dad Spencer.” Jon whispered, glancing at Christian. She was fast asleep, after having faked being asleep for the last half an hour. Jon had listened to her breathing, amused with her act. He knew that Brendon made her uncomfortable but he also knew she would grow to adore him. He had that effect on people. She just wasn’t so forward, so he knew it would be a rocky beginning. She didn’t like talking about herself and Brendon wanted to know everything.
Ryan and Brendon had made some stupid bet, which Brendon lost so now Brendon had to treat Ryan to the movie theater, so they left. Now it was just Jon and Spencer, and a sleeping Christian.
“What?” Spencer looked away from the television, full attention now trained on Jon.
“He made a stupid comment about me going to hell, and joining my dad and just… there was something else he said about our desires being the same, about me wanting to hurt Christian…” Jon shuddered, disgusted. “He has to know about him but how?”
“Well, I guess it wouldn’t be hard for a lawyer to find the police reports.” Spencer said, frowning in his friend’s direction. “You don’t believe that shit for a second, do you?”
“I… don’t think I could hurt her.” Jon looked at Christian. She was still peacefully asleep, softly snoring. “But I – I don’t think that…” He swallowed hard. This was a hard subject for Jon to discuss. “I think my father loved my mother very much. I just think that our family has a very fucked up way of loving… I think that I’m completely capable of being that fucked up.” Spencer was the only one who knew Jon’s fears.
Jon was afraid that he was like his father.
“Do you want to hurt her?” Spencer asked, knowing Jon wasn’t really capable of it, despite his dark fears.
“No.” Jon was sure of that.
“Then how could it ever happen? You have total control Jon. You won’t do something unless you want to. Inside… you have to really want to do it in order to do it. So unless you’re hiding some insanely violent desires then you’ll be fine.” Spencer leaned forward, looking at Christian. “You really like her, don’t you?”
“You haven’t known her for very long.”
“I know but it doesn’t matter.”
“You’re right, it doesn’t.”
Jon was surprised that Spencer was agreeing with him. “You’re supposed to be the logical one. How can you agree with me on this?”
Spencer laughed, “Jon, there is nothing logical about liking someone, or even loving them. Logic isn’t something that can be felt so to include it in romance is foolish.”
“Holy shit, that makes sense.” Jon let out a nervous laugh. “I like her way too much, way too fast but she’s just so innocent and so… vulnerable. It’s like she’s completely on display right now because of all the shit she’s going through. I see her, the real her… and she’s something amazing.”
“It’s moments like this that really define us.” Spencer mumbled, standing up. “But you know this isn’t over, and it won’t be until her ex leaves her alone. Someone as dangerous as him can’t leave much room to hope for a happy ending. Can you handle her falling apart more?”
“If she falls apart anymore… I’ll fall apart, I think.”
“I don’t think she would handle that very well.”
“Do you think she’ll like me if she sees me fall apart?”
“I think it’s moments like this that define us.” Spencer repeated the statement. “So, that’s something worth finding out.”
“Jon?” Christian’s voice was quiet, but the house was quieter.
Jon woke immediately, sitting up. “Yeah. Hey, I’m right here. Remember, I said I’d be here when you woke up.”
Christian glanced down at Jon, smiling. “You don’t look very comfortable.”
Jon was lying on the ground, without a blanket. In all honesty it was cold and uncomfortable and he hadn’t been sleeping all that well when Christian woke him up. “Well, you passed out on the couch so it wasn’t like I could head to bed. We discussed this earlier.”
Christian’s smile grew. “We can go to bed now.”
“Wait.” Jon leaned against the couch, lightly running his finger along Christian’s foot and up her leg. She shivered, feeling goose bumps erupt upon her skin. “I know it’s late and we are both really tired but I need to discuss something really important with you.”
Christian took notice of how serious Jon’s tone had gone. “What’s wrong?”
“If I ever hurt you-“
“You won’t.” Christian confidently cut Jon off.
“Please Christian. I need to say this.” Jon pleaded; eyes full of pain. It was very sobering for so early, or late- however it was put it was still a weird time to have such a serious conversation but his tone gained all of Christian’s attention.
“If I ever hurt you or if you ever think I’m going to hurt you then I want you to get far, far away from me. I don’t want you to stay and risk getting hurt. I couldn’t live with myself if I knew I ever hurt you and I’m so afraid that I will. You’ve just been through so much… I don’t want to do that to you.”
“Why do you think you will?”
“I don’t, I guess. I didn’t mean that I did but it’s just… it’s always a possibility, for anyone.” Jon lied, his fears still not fading. Christian actually brought them to the surface. She was already so hurt. What had happened to her was everything he was afraid of doing to someone, and he knew she couldn’t live through it again. “It’s just important to me that you leave if you ever feel afraid of me. You can take my car keys, or my wallet… I don’t care. Just don’t ever let me hurt you, please.”
Christian ungracefully fell from the couch on to the floor beside Jon. She scooted a little closer, laying her head on his shoulder as she had earlier. “I won’t run from you Jon.”
“Please.” Jon whispered.
“I can’t promise it.” Christian replied, “I’ll never run from you because even though I barely know you… I know you better than I know anyone else and I know you’d never hurt me.”
“I can’t change your mind, can I?”
“Then can you promise me something else?”
“I want to teach you self-defense.”
“Um… like hitting and stuff?” Christian sounded so innocent in that moment and she felt very naïve.
“Good.” Jon breathed a sigh of relief. “We can start tomorrow.”
“Okay, fine… but tonight can we sleep?”
Jon laughed, “Yes, we can.”
“And no kicking in your sleep; self-defense lessons have yet to begin!” Christian warned, jumping up from the ground. She felt alive as Jon raced after her down the hallway, to his bedroom. He caught her right before she hit the bed and together they fell, Jon lying on top of Christian.
“Goodnight.” Jon whispered, breathing down on to Christian’s face.
“Goodnight.” Christian whispered back, leaning up. Her lips stopped inches from Jon’s and he watched her carefully as he closed the distance, kissing her gently.
When Jon pulled away and rolled off of Christian he was grinning from ear to ear, and Christian’s words just made the grin get bigger, “I’m starting to get a hang of this.”