Christian is more to blame than she's willing to let on, yet she's still a victim.
The air conditioning in Brendon’s car was finicky and decided to suddenly kick in about half way through the drive to Benjamin’s place. He wasn’t answering his cell phone.
I was about to give up on calling when Benjamin suddenly picked up. “I thought we weren’t talking anymore.” He had a smile in his voice, which sounded completely sinister.
“Where’s Anna?” I tried to keep my voice calm and even, knowing that any display of weakness towards Benjamin would be a mistake. I was so over him, and everything he’d done. It was weird, but he had been my biggest fear until I saw Jon all dressed up… and the box- /that had inspired true fear/.
My short lived relationship with Jon had become important, but I was frightened that we weren’t on the same page, or that things would take weird turns and we’d end up… well, not as bad as Benjamin and I had ended up but broken up in a normal sense.
I didn’t want to lose him so soon, and it was weird for me to even panic about it. It wasn’t something I’d really ever worried about.
Benjamin had become nothing other than an obstacle. I didn’t want him to be the reason that things failed between Jon and myself.
I didn’t want him to be a reason for anything involving my life.
I’d let him control me for far too long, and I was just over it.
“She came to me, you know. I didn’t go after her.” Benjamin smoothly replied.
“So? She has the freedom to say whatever she wants. Freedom of speech, remember? That is a real thing, you know. Despite how you like to pretend it isn’t. You have no actual control Benjamin, not over anyone who won’t give you the control you desire.”
“Give it like you did?” Benjamin chuckled. “You never really told them that part, did you? You didn’t tell anyone. I may have been abusive but you /consented/, and that’s really the part you want to forget, now isn’t it?”
A deep breath. A sharp turn. I was still driving. Still driving. He couldn’t see me. It didn’t matter though. My voice broke, and gave it all away. “Where is she?”
“I think an answer for an answer would be fair here.” Benjamin coyly replied. “So, have you told anyone Christian? Have you told anyone your real secret?”
“I don’t discuss my mistake frequently, actually.” I sharply answered. “It’s not anyone’s business.”
“I want it to be.” Benjamin replied. His voice hardened. I knew what was coming but it still sucked. “It’s not over Christian, and it won’t be… until you come clean. Until you admit… you’re just as bad as I am, if not worse.”
My breathing hitched, as if something had temporarily gotten stuck in my throat. This was the part I blocked out. The part I tried so hard to forget. This was what Jon could never know, because before I was just an innocent victim, but the reality wasn’t quite so clear.
“Can’t do it?” Benjamin was chuckling. “I’ll give you another choice, because I am… very easy-going, as you know.” He laughed again.
This was all so funny for him. “Where is Anna?” I asked, though my entire mouth now felt dry.
Brendon had a bottle of water in his cup holder. I hoped it hadn’t been used for anything other than water as I took a giant swig. Where was I going? Benjamin’s place. Yeah, I was going to Benjamin’s. Why did it seems so far away?
“She’s with me. You want to see her?” Benjamin asked, so casually.
“Let me talk to her.” I requested.
“You know that isn’t going to happen.” Benjamin calmly replied.
“Where are you? I’m ten minutes away from your place.” I pressed down on the gas, feeling a bump as the car easily sped up.
“I’m not at home.” Benjamin was taking his time.
I pulled over to the side of the road quickly, nearly letting out a scream of frustration. I didn’t want to play his games. I wanted Anna. I wanted to forget my past mistakes. I wanted this to be /over/. Would it ever be? I wasn’t so sure.
“Where are you?” I cried out, losing the calm I could only pretend I had. “Where, Benjamin?”
“Has he fucked you yet?” Benjamin demanded, and though he tried to sound cold… I could feel the anger in his words, and I knew. I knew he still felt something, whatever it had been that he’d felt. It wasn’t normal, and it wasn’t healthy… but it had been something. I didn’t respond. I don’t think he honestly expected me to. “How does it feel when he kisses you?” The questions kept coming. “When he touches you? He doesn’t scare you like I do.”
“I know.” I replied softly. “That’s why I’m with him.”
“But Christian…” Benjamin sighed, as if annoyed. “If he doesn’t scare you, like I do… then how will he ever make you feel safe, like I did?”
“I never felt safe around you.” I spit out, desperately wanting to throw the phone. He was taking advantage of the situation. I couldn’t hang up. I needed to get Anna. I needed to get out. I needed this to all just fucking end. “Ever.”
“Tsk, tsk.” Benjamin chuckled. “Lying isn’t such a good idea Chris. Don’t you think you’ve already lied enough?”
“I never lied.” I snapped.
“Well, you didn’t exactly tell the fucking truth either.” Benjamin snappily replied.
“I didn’t.” I might as well admit it. We both knew the truth. We both knew the game we’d been playing. “But you went too far Benjamin. You went too far that night.”
“I made you an offer, and you fucking accepted.” Benjamin replied coldly. “You accepted. It’s not my fault that you didn’t read the fine print.”
“You knew I wouldn’t want that. Who would? You knew Benjamin. You knew that you were crossing the line. You could have killed me. I’m surprised you didn’t. If it wasn’t for Jon-”
“Stop fucking talking about him.” Benjamin angrily cut me off. “Stop acting like he’s some big hero. He’s not. He doesn’t even know the real story.”
“I get that you’re mad, and I get that you want to hurt me-”
Once again Benjamin cut me off. His voice was so low, so frighteningly low, filled with rage. “I don’t want to hurt you Christian. I want to kill you.”
(Third Person POV)
“She took my car.” Brendon came back inside, looking distraught.
“Why didn’t she take mine?” Jon asked.
Spencer rolled his eyes. “You’re more concerned with whose car she stole?”
Ryan crossed his arms over his chest. “She’s trouble.”
Jon glared between the two of them.
Brendon shrugged. “She didn’t steal it. She just borrowed it.”
Everyone could hear the words that he didn’t say out loud. They were all thinking it. It didn’t need to be voiced.
“So, I’m here.” Christian unnecessarily commented, upon climbing out of Brendon’s car. “Where you want me to be.”
“You are.” Benjamin was lazily carrying a baseball bat. Christian knew it was an act of intimidation, but she didn’t expect him to do what he did. The baseball bat came down hard on to Brendon’s windshield, with a loud resounding crack.
She jumped, but tried to pretend that she didn’t.
Benjamin wasn’t done.
He hit the side of the car, and the hood. “That’s for your boyfriend.” He dropped the baseball bat, no longer needing it.
“It wasn’t Jon’s.” Christian quietly commented.
“Then happy fucking birthday to you.” Benjamin snapped.
He looked disheveled. Well, for Benjamin. He didn’t get all that loose. He was a very controlled person.
“Now what?” Christian asked. She was nervous, with good reason. Not more than thirty minutes ago Benjamin had confessed to her that he wanted nothing more than to see her dead, by his hands, of course.
“You want Anna.” Benjamin smirked, his calm instantly returning. “And you don’t want to follow my rules and tell the truth. Do I have that right?”
“Yes.” Christian whispered.
“I didn’t hurt her.” Benjamin answered the question Christian hadn’t had the guts to ask. “Not really. I just scared her. She can’t press charges. She intruded in my home.”
“So you moved her here?” Christian asked, glancing around. It was a warehouse type of area that they were in but she knew from prior experience that the place was bigger, with many different ‘rooms’.
“I did.” Benjamin replied. “But you can’t really prove that, whereas I can prove that she broke in to my place. I have it on tape.”
“I don’t care about the proof.” Christian replied. “I just want her. I just want to leave.”
“You have to do something for me.” Benjamin replied.
“So, you said.” Christian replied, thinking of the phone call. “What do you want?”
“To relive our past.” Benjamin smirked. “It wasn’t that long ago but long enough for you to have healed… and for me to miss it.”
Christian went cold. “No.” She couldn’t do that. She couldn’t.
Benjamin shrugged, as he took a few careful steps. On the table near Brendon’s car was his phone. He picked it up, while Christian looked around. It was very similar to a garage. Her attention was stolen by the sound of a scream.
It was coming from Benjamin’s phone.
He handed it over.
His smile never melted away.
Christian’s eyes stayed glued to the screen as Benjamin’s little home video played. Anna was terrified, though not visibly harmed in any way. Still, the terror… Christian knew what it was like to be afraid, and so she would never underestimate the way it changed /everything/.
“What exactly are you asking me to do?” Christian’s voice was flat, dead.
She dropped Benjamin’s phone on to the ground.
It made a loud thud. Christian almost stepped on it, but she didn’t want to push her luck. Benjamin’s smile faded, but he said nothing of the incident. His phone remained on the ground.
“God, Christian… I’d pay to see you cry.” Then he laughed, as if he’d just cracked the best joke, ever. “Oh wait, I already did, didn’t I?”
Christian wanted to roll her eyes, but she couldn’t do it. She was still afraid of Benjamin, and probably always would be.
“I want to see you bleed.” Benjamin’s tone took a serious turn. “My belt. Your back. Take your shirt off.”
Benjamin shrugged. “Or you could leave. You could leave Anna here, and wait until the time I choose to call Jon and tell him all of the dirty details of our torrid love affair.”
“You can’t keep her here forever.” Christian whispered.
“Baby, you don’t even know half of what I can do.” Benjamin menacingly replied.
“How bad?” Christian felt a tug of resignation as she realized she was running out of options. Legally, Benjamin was more powerful than her. She would look like a fool going against him, or filing any kind of report. She had already looked like a fool once before.
Benjamin shrugged. “I want it to hurt. I want your tears, and your blood… think of it as our equivalent of break up sex.”
“You’re giving me no choice.” Christian replied.
“You’ve always had a choice.” Benjamin chuckled. “Don’t pretend otherwise Chris.”
Christian felt like she was betraying Jon, and herself, and even Anna. They both just wanted what was best, but they didn’t realize she had basically poisoned herself with Benjamin. They didn’t realize the real problem had always been her. She nervously and slowly pulled her shirt off, and by the time it dropped to the floor beside Benjamin’s cell phone her face had turned bright red.
“The bra.” Benjamin didn’t even look at her.
Christian felt so small as her bra dropped down to the ground, leaving her on display. Benjamin was working his belt out of the loops in his jeans. “Should we have Anna watch, have her watch how you don’t even run away?” Benjamin inquired, teasingly.
“Please, no.” Christian replied, softly. She knew he would do it, just to cause her pain. She knew Benjamin was capable of anything, and that was why she was here.
Whenever she went against him in his sick little game…
So now she was playing, just as she’d played in the past.
It took her back to all of those awful times that she’d tried to push out of her mind. It took her back to her nightmares, the ones that Jon had to wake her from when she started crying, and even yelling.
But she didn’t cry, and she didn’t scream. She didn’t ask him to stop, or even think of it. Not this time. Things were different, even Benjamin could feel that. “Turn and face the car. I want you to brace yourself on the hood. That way when you leave, you can remember me and this.”
Christian said nothing as she faced Brendon’s car. She gently placed her hands on the hood, even though broken glass cut in to her open palms.
Benjamin caressed his belt with his fingers, loving the feel of leather between his fingers. He didn’t even pace himself, or let the suspense build as he had in the past. He just wanted it to hurt, and it did.
Christian cried out the first time the belt struck her back. She couldn’t help it. She had been expecting the pain, but to actually feel it was something else entirely. Her body erupted in pain, and she didn’t have a chance to adjust to the feeling before the belt hit another spot.
Tears bit at the back of her eyelashes but she kept them away, as she tightly squeezed her eyes.
Benjamin’s hand tightened on the belt as he furiously struck her, finding all of his rage disappearing in the violent act that he called love.
“Do you think it was something I said?” Jon asked.
They had all been watching a movie.
They were all hungry, but Jon wouldn’t make anything or let anyone else make anything. He was still sure that Christian would come back.
So was Brendon.
Spencer had stopped speaking completely, while Ryan voiced his doubts.
“That’s it.” Ryan threw his hands up in to the air. “No more romance movies for you. I’m banning them.”
Brendon glared. “You can’t ban anything with Sandra Bullock in it!”
Ryan rolled his eyes. “You didn’t do anything wrong Jon.”
“But what if I really scared her?” Jon asked. “Like, away?”
“Then she was never really here to begin with.” Spencer finally spoke up again. “Jon, if she comes back… then she comes back. If she doesn’t, well then Brendon’s going to have to file a police report for his car.”
Brendon leaned towards Jon and whispered, “I won’t.”
Benjamin swung open the door. Christian didn’t waste any time as she rushed forward to Anna, who was sitting on the ground, still sobbing.
Christian’s back exploded in pain as she leaned down.
Anna jumped up. “Christian!”
“Anna! Oh Anna, are you okay?” Christian asked, as they hugged tightly.
Benjamin had moved behind Anna, and his eyes met Christian’s. He smiled as she winced in pain. Still, she didn’t pull away from Anna.
Anna spun around quickly, but as soon as Benjamin looked at her she completely lost her bravery. “You’re insane.” The words were quietly spoken. “You won’t get away with this.”
“I already have.” Benjamin answered. “Go on to the police. I’d love for you to explain your way out of breaking in to my house. I have video surveillance for a reason.”
Christian shook her head. “Just forget it Anna.”
Anna’s fists tightened. “You’re a monster!”
“Worse things have been said.” Benjamin replied.
“Come on, let’s just leave.” Christian gently grabbed Anna’s arm. “I’m ready to get out of here.”
“No goodbye kiss?” Benjamin teased, as he easily stepped in front of Christian, blocking her path out of the room.
“Anna, can you go out for a second? I need to talk to Benjamin, alone.” Christian tried to make her confidence show, but it failed. It always did around Benjamin.
Anna nodded, and Benjamin stepped aside. Once Anna was out, Benjamin shut the door. They were alone. “Yes?” He smirked.
“I know you feel something for me.” Christian’s voice was rough, probably from giving in to screaming earlier. She had to anyway. Benjamin wasn’t going to stop until she did.
“Pity?” Benjamin asked, “Do you want me to apply some ointment before you go home to whatshisname?”
“His name is Jon.” Christian sharply replied. “And you know that, and you also know that I will never let you touch me again.”
“Shame.” Benjamin replied, carelessly.
“You were my worst mistake Ben.” Christian’s voice broke, as her eyes filled with tears. “You will always be my worst mistake, and nothing more.”
Benjamin looked uncomfortable for a brief second, but then he quickly covered it. “There was a time when I was what you needed.” He finally commented. “There was a time when I wasn’t a mistake.”
“No.” Christian shook her head. “You were never anything other than a mistake, but there was a time when I needed to make that mistake. There was a time when I felt I had no other choice, and I was wrong but I didn’t know then what I know now.”
“You’ll miss me.” Benjamin looked furious, yet he still remained in control of himself.
It was that controlled fury that he displayed which frightened Christian so much, because she knew the fury underneath… and that was truly terrifying. She had only ever made him furious once, and she almost didn’t survive it.
“We have history.” Christian looked away. “That’s something I can’t forget, and something I’ll never forgive. Goodbye Benjamin.”
Benjamin didn’t reply.
Christian didn’t wait.
“What happened to your car?” Anna whispered, obviously uncomfortable with the silence.
“It’s Brendon’s car.” Christian answered softly, wondering how he’d react.
“Oh.” Anna made a soft noise.
“Benjamin had a baseball bat.” Christian revealed.
“Why’d you come for me? I was so terrible to you.” Anna sobbed. Christian hadn’t been aware that she was crying again, but since she was driving there was little she could do.
“It’s okay Anna.” Christian promised. “It’s going to be okay. He will never, ever do anything to you again.” That was something Christian felt comfortable promising, since she knew Anna wasn’t Benjamin’s target. He just took whatever chances he had against her.
He always had.
“You’re my best friend Christian.” Anna breathed out. “But I haven’t been a very good friend to you. This whole Jon thing… I’m just so afraid you’re going to be hurt again, and I can’t believe I wasn’t there to stop you from being hurt the first time, with Benjamin… and it just scares me.”
“It scares me too.” Christian confessed. “Jon scares me, but it’s a different fear and he is a great guy, he really is. I know I don’t have the best track record when it comes to boyfriends, but Jon is different. He really is. You should get to know him Anna, give him a chance.”
“I would like that.” Anna replied softly.
Christian forced a small smile, as she tried to picture her best friend and boyfriend together… but all she could think of was the aching state of pain that her back was in, and why it was like that.