The silence in the kitchen grew, as the tension between the two brother’s settled. Neither of them moved. It was like a silent war, that neither of them wanted to lose. Mikey was the first to give in. “She’s scared, and she doesn’t understand man. Hell, I don’t understand either.” With his words came a deep sigh, and a shake of his head. “She deserves…” Mikey trailed off.
“She deserves a hell of a lot better than this.” Gerard finished for him. His words sounded cold, as if he were detached from the entire situation. It hurt Mikey to hear Gerard use that tone with the only thing that seemed to make him normal. If Rian wasn’t enough anymore, would anything be?
So instead of continuously pestering his brother with the same line of attacks Mikey switched it up. “So, what is your plan then? How long will you keep her down there? How do you expect to get her to take a pregnancy test, without arising her suspicions that she’s… well, potentially pregnant. If she is pregnant then will you let her go? What about a doctor? She might have to see a doctor Gerard. Would you guys keep the baby, abort it, or use adoption services?”
Gerard took a deep breath. “Shit Mikey.”
“It’s a lot to take in.” Mikey agreed. “And there is a girl downstairs that might have to face all of those questions, and more… but you won’t even tell her. You won’t give her the time to cope with what is, or could be happening /to her/. How is that fair?”
“I don’t know what to say to her.” Gerard admitted. “I don’t want her to know.” The words fell heavily from his lips, draining each brother of any left over energy.
“She’s so scared Gee.” Mikey shook his head. “She doesn’t want me down there. She wants you. She wants, and deserves, to know what is going on. Just go talk to her.”
Gerard’s closed fist fell on to the kitchen counter and Mikey expected an explosion. He expected to be arguing for the rest of the night.
But instead Gerard closed his eyes, and the fight left him.
Mikey didn’t press the issue as he stared at Gerard. His shoulders had slumped, and his face was screwed up in to a look of concentration.
Then his eyes opened.
He didn’t say anything to Mikey, simply pushing past him.
Mikey breathed out a sigh of relief as Gerard disappeared behind the basement door.
The stairs creaked underneath my weight but Rian didn’t even look up, or speak. She was curled up on the bed, behind the bars. She had tears running down her cheeks, and she was blankly staring at the wall. She finally spoke. “I’m not hungry.” Her tone was dead, flat.
“Good, because I forgot food.” I quietly answered.
Rian breathed in sharply, as she looked up at me through the bars. It really did make the situation a lot worse. It was like I was penalizing her for sleeping with me. We shared an intimate act and I felt closer to her, but I knew this would completely shut her down. I didn’t know what else to do though. I was scared, and ashamed… and I just needed her to understand, but I didn’t know how to make her understand.
“How are you feeling?” I asked, stopping near the foot of the couch.
“You drugged me.” Rian whispered.
“Yeah. I did.” I replied, trying to sound calm. To some degree I was hoping if I made it seem like no big deal then maybe she wouldn’t see it as a big deal. Maybe this could still be okay. Maybe.
“Why?” Rian breathed out. “Why are you doing this to me?” The betrayal in her tone tore at me. I was betraying her. I had betrayed her trust. Could things ever be the same between us again? I could only hope.
“I’m just taking care of you.” I cleared my throat. I wanted so badly to go to her side. I wanted to hold her, and kiss her… and make love to her again, and again. It had been a heavenly night. I wanted many more nights like that with her, but I wasn’t so sure I’d get that. I was terrified, and for once I didn’t know what to do.
“Is this because… because I wouldn’t run away with you?” Rian asked. Her eyes widened, and she was slowly working her way to standing up. “You can’t keep me down here forever.”
“I don’t plan on keeping you down here forever.” I assured her.
Rian’s eyes fell to the floor as she stood. Her legs were shaking. Her fingers wrapped around the bars, and she rested her forehead against the cold metal. “Are you going to kill me?” Her words floated around the room, stunning me.
“What?” I swallowed hard around the lump in my throat.
She slowly raised her eyes back up to mine. She looked afraid, but angry. A mix of emotions pooled in her eyes, as tears threatened to spill. I could see the shine but she wasn’t openly crying just yet… and I was the one doing this to her. This wasn’t fair, but I didn’t know what else to do. “Are you going to kill me?” She repeated the question.
My throat tightened. My face had become heated due to the shame of the situation. My feet carried me forward. The key was heavy in my hand. Rian watched me apprehensively but she was the one person that should never be afraid of me. She was the one person that I would never hurt.
But I was hurting her.
The key wouldn’t fit in to the lock the first few times I tried but eventually it worked. I left the key in the lock, and pulled open the door. As I stepped aside Rian made no move at first. She was still shaking, or shivering… What was the difference, really? She looked terrified.
“I’m afraid.” Rian’s voice was a whisper.
“It’s okay.” I replied softly. I was so tired. I just wanted to go to sleep. I could take her upstairs and we could go to sleep, right? We could sleep now. I just wanted to sleep. This was all just too much. “I’m here now.” I waited for her to come out. I waited for her to come to me, but she didn’t.
Instead she took a carefully measured step, and grabbed on to the bars on the door. It swung shut, clicking back in to place though the key was still in the lock. “No…” Rian looked so lost and confused, and she wouldn’t even look at me. “/I’m afraid of you./” I couldn’t breath. It was like the breath had been knocked right out of my body. I felt like a wild, trapped animal as I looked up at her.
She had stepped away from the door, and her knees hit the back of the bed. She fell in to a sitting position as she blankly gazed right past me.
“Rian…” She looked so small behind the bars. How could I put her there in the first place? Suddenly everything that made sense before made no sense now. What had I done?
Rian pulled her knees up to her chest as she sat on the bed. “You were right Gerard. You were right.” She still wasn’t looking at me though. “I should have waited. I should have waited, because all those stupid magazines are right… I gave my innocence to you and everything changed.”
“Please.” My throat felt dry, and whatever had been about to come out of my mouth died when Rian looked at me. She looked so… betrayed, so sad, and so let down. I had let her down. “This isn’t forever.” I choked out.
“Neither are we.” Rian whispered.
Mikey was sitting at the kitchen table. I threw the key down on to the table in front of him. “I’m going out.”
“You didn’t honestly expect her to be happy with you, did you?” Mikey asked, right before taking a sip of his coffee.
“She doesn’t get it.” I replied softly. “I have to do this.”
“No, you don’t.” Mikey shook his head.
“Yes, I do.” I had to. I had to keep her safe, and otherwise she wouldn’t let me… I had to. Why didn’t anyone else get that?
“No. You don’t.” Mikey’s voice hardened. “No one else has to Gerard. Shit happens. This happens. Believe it or not you’re not the first guy to have a pregnancy scare with his girlfriend. Weirdly enough, you’re not even the first guy to have a pregnancy scare with his underage girlfriend… but to my knowledge none of those guys acted like this. None of those guys locked the girl away. None of them.”
“Yeah, well this is different. We are different.” Why couldn’t he just get it?
“No.” Mikey shook his head. “You’re different, but Rian isn’t. She’s just a normal seventeen year old girl, with fears and hopes and dreams, and family… and choices. You get that she has choices to make too, right Gerard? This isn’t all about you, and she isn’t some Barbie doll. You don’t get to call the shots with her, and she won’t just believe whatever you say.”
“I think she broke up with me.” I whispered, confused.
“Did you expect her to want to stay?” Mikey asked.
“I’m in love with her Mikey. Just because she doesn’t want to be with me now… it doesn’t mean I’m going to let her go.”
“What?” Mikey sounded alarmed.
“Did you really expect anything else from me?” I quietly asked.
Mikey shook his head. “Shit just keeps getting worse, and I don’t think you’ll ever get it.”
“I don’t think so either.” I agreed. “But in the meantime… I have the girl.”
“No.” Mikey looked down at his coffee cup. “No, you really don’t.”
I didn’t respond.
The shower cooled me off.
Thoughts ran wildly through my mind, and I didn’t know what I was doing anymore. This is what I was afraid of. I was afraid of losing control, and now I had. Two kills. Two completely loose kills. Rian. Mikey. I was off the rails, and quickly slipping further.
But I wouldn’t let go of her.
But I couldn’t let go of who I was.
I had blood all over my hands, and despite how hard I scrubbed it would never go away. Every fucking time Rian looked at me I could feel the hope she felt. I could see her innocence, and the chance of innocence I’d taken from each of my victims.
The feelings of guilt weren’t my own. It was like I was borrowing Rian’s feelings, and they were tearing me apart. I had dissected my own intentions many times, and gone over just why I killed and there was just something wrong with me, something terribly wrong.
But Rian made it right.
The only problem with that was I’d already spent my life sinning. I had given in to my sick urges, and done what I wanted so desperately to do. I had taken lives. I loved it. I immensely enjoyed it.
Rian… made that wrong.
And a baby? How could I be a father and a murderer? What if I was ever to get caught? My child would be raised without a father. Rian was strong, but being a single mother would take strength she shouldn’t have to possess.
And my relationship with Mikey… it was being wrecked. And I cared. I cared so fucking much. And I could see their faces when I closed my eyes.
I didn’t give a shit about the people I killed but Rian… Rian did. She didn’t know them but she didn’t have to. She was the type of person who cared about everyone. She was the type of person that I could never be.
I paused at the door to the basement. It was closed. “She’s asleep.” Mikey was behind me. I hadn’t even heard him. I hadn’t been listening, or paying attention. “When I went down a few minutes ago she was already asleep.”
My hand fell down to the doorknob. “Don’t you want the key?” Mikey asked.
“I have an extra.” I replied, softly.
“You don’t have to do this, you know?” Mikey sighed, sounding frustrated. It was as if he were dealing with an errant child.
“I’m just going to get some sleep.”
“With Rian?” Mikey asked.
“Yeah.” I couldn’t stay away from her.
“Do you think that’s such a great idea?” Mikey asked. “You’re sending mixed signals. She’s going to be confused, and angry. She’s probably still angry.”
“I don’t care.” I turned the knob.
Mikey shut up.
Rian was curled up in bed without a blanket covering her. I was quiet, though quick as I walked across the room. The key slid in easily. She didn’t move.
Strands of hair were stuck to her face, where her tears had dried. The thought of her down here alone and crying tore at me, but there was very little I could do at this point.
I tried not to wake her as I laid down beside her, grabbing her blanket from the end of the bed. She said something in her sleep, and moved over a little. I leaned against her, inhaling the smell of her. She still smelled like my body wash. She mumbled something again, and then face planted in to my chest.
Finally I felt comfortable.
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