Chapter 10: Pain
I struggled my way through the crowd trying to leave this terrible party, I came here thinking that I was going to have a fun time, only to have things ending up in a disaster. I felt so horrible in my stomach, that I could feel myself wanting to throw up almost. Trying to find the exit was impossible since the lights were so dim at this stupid party, dammit! Why did this ‘Luke’ guy had to have a big house! I could feel my body wanting to just drop from where I stood, after what I witnessed tonight it felt as if all my energy was pulled out of me. Feeling distraught I could feel the water filling up in my eyes that everything around me was nothing but a blur. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling no matter how many times I wiped them away. All of a sudden I felt someone grabbing my arm with such force and began pulling me through the house.
“Let me go right now!!”
I yelled out angrily at whoever was holding my arm, I wasn’t in the mood to deal with anyone at the moment. I continued to struggle myself free from his hold while insulting him with countless threats but it just wasn’t working. However, I stopped my little scuffle when I realized that it was Ren who was holding my arm. I forgot that I was with him earlier, I really am pathetic for just running away like that, because now I’ve involved Ren in my stupid problems.
“I’m taking you home Luna.”
He said with a monotone voice as he led us outside. He never once turned around to look at me as we made our way towards his car, and I’m glad he didn’t, my face probably looks horrible right now with the amount of crying I’m doing. As we reached his vehicle he finally let go of my arm, the sudden realization came to me at that very moment!
“No! I...I can’t go home!” I raised my voice in a panic.
Ren said finally looking at me with a worried look on his face.
If there’s even a small chance that Eli saw me, I can’t go home! Because I know that he’ll be there waiting for me....and..and I just...I just can’t face him right now!!! I choked out my words and raised my head down and watched as the tears leave my eyes hitting the street pavement.
“Alright, let me take you somewhere then,” Ren responded as he opened the car door for me to get in.
I looked up at him real quick and gave him a slight nod as I stepped into the passenger seat. I don’t know where Ren plans on taking me, but anywhere that isn’t here is fine by me. The ride there was quiet, it didn’t feel awkward or unpleasant though. If anything I think peace and quiet are what I needed right now to calm my anxiety. I looked down at my hands that were still trembling and brought them to a fist so they wouldn’t shake as much. I still couldn’t stop crying though, the wound in my heart was still so fresh and every time I close my eyes, I just kept seeing the same thing over and over, Eli and that girl...
“We’re here,” Ren said as he turned off the ignition of the car.
I brought myself back to reality as I looked up to see where we were. It was a lake that we pulled up next to. I’ve been here before with my family many years ago when I was a child. However, I’ve never been here when it was nighttime. It looks so different from the night sky hitting the water, I could see the ripples reflecting the moon so brightly. Not too long after parking the car, Ren quietly stepped out of the driver’s seat and began walking towards some nearby benches. I don’t know why he left me in the car all alone, maybe he thinks I need some space so I could calm down. Though what I do want to know is why is he doing all of this for me? I pulled out my phone that’s been vibrating the whole car ride here and I knew it was Elijah without even looking at the screen.
“I can’t...I can’t do this right now.”
I said to myself as I turned off my phone. I decided to join Ren outside and noticed that he was staring at the water so intently. I sat myself down at one of the benches and looked up at the starry night sky, it felt soothing for that moment just admiring the many stars above me.
“Feeling a little better?” Ren asked as he continued to look at the lakebed.
“I don’t know...I don’t know what I’m feeling anymore...Why?...Why was Eli at the party? Why did he lie to me?!?!..... Why was he with that girl!”
I said yelling out. The tears that were once dried up began to flow down again, how many times have I cried tonight? ‘How can Eli hurt me like this?’ Ren finally turned around and made his way towards me, he crouched down to where he was eye level with me. He looked at me with so much pain in his eyes, like he was looking at a broken doll.
“Please...don’t look at me that,” I said to him as I averted my eyes down towards my hands in front of me.
“Like what?” He asked curiously.
“Like...you feel sorry for me, I don’t want any sympathy. I know that Eli is a troubled guy, and I know that people might look at us and think that he’s using me to pass the time. However, none of them know that we grew up together, so... so I should know Elijah better than anyone...or...at least I thought I knew him. I wanted to believe that he truly did love me like he said he did. I guess I was wrong though, I was wrong for falling for a guy like him.” I said to Ren as I wiped the tears away from my eyes.
He hesitantly brought his hands out to reach mine and placed both of his big hands around my small ones and began caressing them. All I could do was accept his comforting gesture.
“Ren, why are you doing all of this for me?” I finally asked him as I raised my head and looked at his eyes for any type of answer.
“Luna, the reason I look at you with so much pain, is because I can’t do anything other than hold your hand. I can’t tell you what you wanna hear. I can’t tell you that Eli’s a good guy or that staying with him will make you happy or that maybe what we saw tonight was a misunderstanding. I just can’t bring myself to lie to you, and the reason why I’m doing all of this for you....is because..I..”
Ren gave me a long pause, he stood back up never letting his eyes stray away from mine. He grabbed both my hands and pulled me so hard towards him that it brought me to stand on my feet. He brought me into a strong embrace as he wrapped his arms around my shoulders. This felt so weird to me since Eli and my father were the only two guys in my whole life that I have ever hugged. However, having Ren hug me felt comforting and reassuring somehow...
“It’s because...I like you...Luna.”
He said quietly as if he wanted to make sure I was the only person in the whole world that could hear him.
“I liked you ever since I laid my eyes on you, why do you think I would always find a stupid excuse to come over and find a reason to work around your house. I was a coward for not telling you how I felt sooner, because If I did then maybe you wouldn’t be going through this much pain because of him!”
I opened my mouth but no words were leaving, I’m just completely in shock with what he just said. I wasn’t sure how to respond, all I could do was just look out at the horizon of the lake. What am I supposed to say to him at a time like this?! So many emotions were running through my head leaving me so confused! I turned my head to face him and looked at him to see if he was serious. The strong gaze that he was giving me only answered my question, we continued to look at one another waiting for someone to say something. The cool breeze that was hitting my skin only made me lean closer to him. I then saw Ren’s lips inching closer to mine, is he going to kiss me this time?!
Was the only word that left my lips, as I saw his lips inching closer to mine. I shut my eyes automatically, to nervous to move, what am I doing! I should be pushing him away, if I let him kiss me now then I’m no better than what Eli did. I thought to myself as I felt his warm breath hitting my face. My body naturally tensed up to the sudden feeling, I knew his lips were right in front of me, but I was just too scared to open my eyes because I didn’t know what I would do if I did. Preparing myself for a kiss to happen, nothing ever touched my lips. All I felt was a light peck pressing against my cheek, which made me open my eyes wide at his sudden action. He then pulled away from our embrace and moved his hands towards my face placing his palms on each side of my cheeks. His eyes held so much care and so much compassion, I’ve never seen him look at me like this before.
“I’m not asking for an answer Luna, I know that you truly love Elijah with all your heart. I just wanted to let you know how I felt....and...I’m not going anywhere unless you tell me to. So please...let me be the one that you can come to when you need a shoulder to cry on.”
He gave me a faint smile, as he leaned his lips against my forehead. I continued to stay quiet and unsure of what to say, I didn’t want to make things more complicated by saying something stupid. So all I could do was give him the best smile that I could make right now, though I had little energy in making a smile, he then wrapped his arm around my shoulder and started walking me to the car.
“Thank you...for...for bringing me here, it helped a little,” I said to him quietly as we reached the passenger door of his car.
“You’re welcome, I’m glad it helped. Even if it was a little, I’m just happy that you aren’t crying anymore.”
He replied as he opened the car door for me and made his way to the other side of the vehicle. Entering the car, I placed my hand on my cheek and noticed that he was right, I was no longer crying! I don’t know how he does it, but he makes me feel comfortable being around him. Like I could be myself and not have to worry about being judged or made fun of. I wonder why that is?
The ride back wasn’t too bad, Ren and I exchange a few words and tried to make light of the conversation, even though we both saw my ‘boyfriend’ cheating on me. I was dreading the idea of having to go home and see him though, so I asked Ren if he can take the long way around to reach my house. I was praying and hoping the whole way there that Eli wasn’t waiting for me. That he wouldn’t be there when I showed up. Because if he is, I’m not sure If I’ll be able to hold in the anger and sadness inside me when I see his face.
We finally pulled up to my driveway and I began looking around the front of my house, to my surprise Eli wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I let out a deep sigh of relief and stepped out of Ren’s car.
“Relieved that he isn’t here?” Ren said referring to my reaction.
“Yeah...I thought he would be here.”
I responded as Ren began walking me towards the house. As we reached the front of the door we both faced one another and smiled at each other.
“Ren, thank you for being my...hero, I guess I can say. I don’t know what I’ve would have done if you weren’t there if anything I think I would still be at the party lost and drowning in my tears of humiliation and grief. So again, thank you, for being there for me.” I looked at him with sincerity in my heart, because I was truly grateful for what he did.
“You don’t need to thank me, I already told you that I will always be by your side when you need me, Luna.”
He said to me placing his hand behind my head pulling me in for a hug. He placed my head underneath his chin and wrapped his arms around my upper waist, I finally felt a sense of comfort as he rubbed my upper back with his hand. I then nuzzled my face against his broad chest feeling the anxiety fading away. I wonder what would’ve happened if Ren asked me out first in the very beginning, would we-
My thoughts were then interrupted by a sudden angry voice yelling out in the distance. I knew who this voice belonged to, I immediately pulled away from Ren’s arms and turned my body towards the direction of the sound. I almost felt my heart drop out of my chest as I saw Eli emerging out of the darkness of my front yard, it’s very late right now and almost completely pitch black outside but I didn’t see his truck anywhere! So where did he come from? I could feel my body beginning to shake with anger and sadness as I started to remember what he did!
“Stay away from me! I hate you! I want nothing to do with you ever again you disgusting cheater!”
I yelled out trembling, bringing both of my hands into a fist on each side of my body. I was full of anger and in pain, he’s not worth these tears that I’m shedding out, but I can’t do anything other than cry.
“No...it’s not like that..baby please let me explain! I never cheated on you! You need to listen-”
“I think it’s best if you just leave her alone, you caused enough pain, Elijah,” Ren said with irritation in his voice as he interrupted Eli’s explanation. He then walked towards Eli and stopped right in front of him.
“Ren...I’m only going to say this once. If you don’t get the f*ck out of my face and walk away and never come back. I’m going to kill you, so stay away from me and Luna!”
Eli yelled at him with anger in his eyes, he also looked very serious in his threats. Elijah can never kill someone, I know he wouldn’t but why do I feel this uneasiness luring up inside me. Ren never moved from his spot and just stood there glaring back at Eli with the same death stare that Elijah was giving him. I was beginning to worry, this wasn’t how the night was supposed to end!
“Eli, I’m not leaving her-”
Ren was cut off immediately of what he was about to say as Elijah brought his fist up hitting him in the face, the sudden impact caused Ren to lose his balance making him fall on the floor. Elijah wasted no time in stopping with just one hit and began punching Ren multiple times while he was still on the floor.
I screamed in a panic as I saw Elijah continuing his assault, all I saw was blood leaving Ren’s face. This can’t be happening! I ran up behind Eli wrapping my arms around his torso.
“Eli please stop!! You’ll...you’ll kill him!!!”
I yelled out begging for him to stop, hoping that he could hear me. I then gripped my arms more tightly around him making it harder for him to maneuver. Elijah finally pulled back his punches and looked down at Ren with anger and disgust, Who is this person that I’m holding, because the Eli I know would have never done something like this!
“What the hell is going on!”
We all stopped what we were doing and locked our gaze on the person coming towards us. The sudden shock of who it was made me open my eyes wide, I was completely surprised that he was here! I thought he wasn’t coming back home for another month? I released my hold on Eli and started walking to the man in front of me.
“Dad..what are you doing here?”