This is it. This is how it all ends, and there’s nothing I can do about it, but lie there and wait for doom.
I turn my face over to watch the fight so that I could at least avoid seeing the disgusting hunger that’s oozing out of Jeff’s eyes as he ogles over my body. My hands feel helpless under his crushing palms and even after he lets go to press down on my body with his weight, my muscles are too weak to push him off. I hear the clinking sound of metal on metal: he’s unbuckling his pants.
I look at Scarlett, whose screams are unwavering as she gets a slap across her face from resisting. Jeff’s large hands cup my chin firmly and turn my face to him. He holds a slimy grin from ear to ear and in his hand was his relaxed member, which he strokes tenderly at sight of my face.
I hear sudden yelling as Jeff turns to look over in panic. I follow his stare and see Damon and a few men in police uniforms. Relief washes over me, but it seems all my muscles have given up on me. I don’t smile or scream as Jeff shoves his member back in his pants and reach down to wrap his hand around my neck rather tightly.
“This isn’t over,” he spits in my face as he glares down at me with desire and anger. With that, he runs off, abandoning his friends, who are still caught up in their fights. The guy on top of Scarlett gets pulled off by two cops, and as I stand up quietly, I glance over, glad to see that her pants are still on and zipped up. I step down the stairs of the porch and watch as Damon joins Vinh to fight the badly beaten giant he was facing.
A cop has helped Silas bring down the man who had been punching him senseless, and as I approach him, I feel my knees give in and he runs to catch me in my fall.
“Lane!” Silas lifts me back up, straightening my legs. He gives me a worried look, but I can’t tell what he sees in my face. “I’ve got you, Lane. My Lane…” I rest my cheek on his chest, and he fits me in under his neck as he rests his chin at the top of my head. He keeps one hand on my back, only gently, careful as to not to hurt me. His other hand runs along my hair, stroking me to somehow calm me, but it does the opposite.
I was lifelessly calm before, but his touch brings me back to reality, to understanding to full extent of what had just happened, what almost happened, what could have…
I burst into tears as my hands reach up to grasp at where his shirt laid on his shoulders. Hot, burning tears streak my face, leaving a puddle on his chest. I hear myself screaming as I turn so that my voice becomes muffled in his chest. When I was finally done letting out all the screams, my throat has become dry and my voice hoarse. I turn back so that my cheek is resting on his chest again.
I inhale his scent, but register it as something familiar. While tears continue to fall from the corners of my eyes, I look up at him and laugh, sounding different because of my stuffy nose as a result of crying.
He looks at me in bewilderment.
“You,” I sniff to avoid snot running out of my nostrils, “You used my shampoo?”
He sighs in relief and holds my face with both of his hands, wiping away the streaks on my cheeks with his thumbs. A new tear falls from my eye, and instead of wiping it away, he leans down to kiss it. I throw my arms around his waist and press myself as close to him as I can.
He really is my Superman.
At the police station, they try to contact my mom, but she rarely picks up unfamiliar numbers. I’ve already explained to them twice that she likely won’t answer and I don’t want to call and bother her. She would just freak out and then I’d have to deal with an overbearing mother with a barely-surviving income. They seemed unconvinced until Damon stepped in.
“I’m not sure you should be taking her home. This is why she needs her parent or guardian here to take her home, for her own safety,” the policeman, Frank, points out to Silas after his offer to take me home.
“He can take me home,” I say, starting to feel annoyed by this man.
“Are you sure? You can choose to stay until-”
“Geez, Frank. Calm down, will you,” Damon cuts in, “He’s okay to take her home. Trust me. He’s her boyfriend.”
Both Silas and I stare at Damon in surprise, and he gives us a weak smile. With that, I realize that I had chosen Silas in my most vulnerable moment. I didn’t approach Damon while I was in a daze. I didn’t even think about him. It was Silas that I came to for comfort and it seems absurd now to ever have doubted that he was the one I would choose. And while I realize that this is the truth, a pang of guilt hits me in the pit of my stomach as I look to Damon, who has now engaged in a conversation with Frank.
“Damon?” My voice is still hoarse from the screaming.
“Yeah,” he answers softly. There was a sadness in his eyes, but the concern was still present.
“Can I talk to you outside?” He nods and we step outside.
There’s a small field of grass just in front of the station with slight hills that add a dimension of color to it as the setting sun reluctantly dazzles it with a purple ray. There are people walking around the patch of grass, admiring a statue that sat at the center.
“I know what you’re going to ask me,” he starts before I could say a word, “And I just want you to know that I’m okay with this.”
“What?” I turn from the view of the grass to stare at him. He wore a t-shirt that had a cute little worm wearing glasses and a book on its head. I can’t believe I’m giving this up.
“It’s okay. I know you like Silas,” he continues with a sigh, “I just want to make sure you’re happy. My feelings for you are useless if you don’t like me back. But that’s fine because I really only need to know that he treats you right.”
“Damon…” The guilt was getting heavier.
“I’d rather have you around as a happy friend than a sad girlfriend,” he smiles wide, “I just want to be around you. I mean, who else do I know that could teach me some bad words in Vietnamese?”
We both laugh and suddenly everything is lighter again. The weight that dragged down my stomach is gone and I turn to look in through the glass doors at Silas, longing to be with him again.
Seeming to catch my glance, Damon suggests, “Go to him. And go home. You need the rest.”
The drive home was completely silent, and the entire time, I was wondering if Silas had misunderstood what my private conversation with Damon was about.
He must think I’ve begged for Damon to come back to me.
When we get home, my mom still isn’t home. It’s not late enough for bedtime, but I feel worn out. We reach my bedroom and as I lie down on my bed, I scoot in toward the wall. Again, he must have misinterpreted it as me trying to distance myself from him. He sits down on the empty space between us on the bed. He reaches over to tuck a stray lock of hair behind my ear. Before pulling his hand back, caresses my cheek with the back of his fingers. I grab his hand before he could stand up.
“Stay,” I command with a whisper.
“I will.” He doesn’t hesitate, but there is still sadness in his eyes.
He sits still for a while, and we just stay that way, looking at each other without doing anything. I realize that he hadn’t gotten the message yet. What an idiot. I reach over to tug at his shirt, and finally he lies down next to me.
We don’t touch, but just look at each other for what feels like an eternity as we lie next to one another.
“I’m sorry, Lane,” he whispers wistfully, and I finally see how badly he had been bruised. I reach my hand up to touch his face, resulting in a flinch of pain.
“Why are you sorry?” I try to pull my hand back, knowing that I’ve hurt him, but he stops me, leading my hand back onto his face and pressing it on his cheek. He winces, but keeps my hand there and I could feel the throbbing of the bruise on his face.
“Because I couldn’t protect you. I let him-” He exhales with anger to the thought and then softens his expression. “I wasn’t good enough to keep you safe.”
“I don’t know why I wasn’t screaming like Scar was,” I confess, “I don’t know why, but everything felt numb, and even as I was feeling scared, I was also kind of out of it. Like I had given up. If I didn’t have you there with me, I would have stayed that way forever, I think. You may think that you didn’t save me, but you did. You always do.”
He doesn’t respond, closing his eyes as the warmth from my hand transfers onto his cheek.
“Kent…” I sigh, hoping it would wake him.
He opens his eyes, brighter than before. So we just lie there, looking at each other with soft smiles.
“So Damon,” he starts and I know exactly what he wants to ask.
“What about him?”
“What did you guys talk about earlier?” I can hear the nervousness in his tone and it makes me exhale in amusement.
“He said he wanted to marry me.”
“What?” His eyes widen in bafflement.
I laugh at him, at how gullible he seems in this moment. “I’m kidding.”
“Oh ha ha,” he drawls sarcastically, “very funny.”
“Okay fine,” I start, “He said that he knows I like you.” Silas blushes. “And that he understands that I must go to you as long as you treat me right.”
Rather quickly, he pulls me into an embrace, and I melt in his arms.
“I’ll do everything I can to make you happy, Lane. I promise.” I hear the smile in his voice as fits his head into the side of my neck, smelling my hair.
From the corner of my eye, I catch something unfamiliar in my room. I squint at the little sticky note that sat out of place above all the others. It was a cartoon drawing of a woman flying up into clouds, holding a man in a cape.
“Um, what’s that,” I speak into his ear, knowing he’s the only one who’s been in my room recently. He turns to look at the wall, twisting his torso to do so.
“Oh, yeah. I drew that this morning.” He turns back and I lie back down on my side to face him.
“Yeah, but what is it?”
“It’s you and me. You’re the one with the superpowers, though,” he explains timidly.
“But you have the cape,” I point out.
“Well, I still want to be Superman,” he answers sheepishly as I lower my lids at him, “But you’re the one saving me.”
“Why am I drawn to save you? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” After all, it feels like he’s always ready to save me.
“Since Dylan left, I’ve been a little lost. But when I’m with you, everything is clear and I like who I am. I really wish I’d met you sooner. You’re my compass in a sea of confusion. My Super-Lane.”
“What?” He looks at me with disbelief.
“Don’t say stuff like that. Too cheesy.” I wrinkle my nose at him, like I just smelled bad feet.
“What? No, it was cute,” he responds, trying to sound hurt.
“Alright,” he answers, sounding resolute, “Fine. Be that way, but I won’t stop.”
I giggle, secretly hoping he never does.
After a while, he lies flat on his back with my head on his chest. His arm wraps around me and it makes me feel safe. I close my eyes and mention the one thing still creeping in our minds, “Jeff is still out there somewhere.”
Hot air shoots out of his nose as the thought is finally front and center, the elephant in the room has finally been acknowledged. “They’ll find him. He can’t hide forever.”
I don’t respond and he lifts his head to look down at me, which makes me lift mine to look up at him.
“Are you feeling better? I mean about what happened…”
I nod slightly as I rest my head back on his chest.
“I won’t let him do anything to you, Lane,” he reassures me softly as he gently runs his hand through my hair. “I’ll always be here for you.”