Chapter 10: Pain
Struggling my way through the crowd, I did everything I could to leave this terrible party! I came here thinking that I was going to have fun...only to have things ending up in a disaster. I felt so sick to my stomach that I could feel myself wanting to throw up! Trying to find the exit, it became difficult with the lights being so dim and my tears weren’t making it any easier with how blurry everything was! Dammit! 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, my tears couldn’t from falling no matter how many times I wiped them away. I was then caught off guard by someone grabbing my arm with such force as they pulled me away from everyone!
“No! Let me go!”
Crying out in anger to whoever was holding on to me! I wasn’t in the mood to deal with anyone at the moment, so I continued to struggle myself free from their hold while insulting them with countless threats but it just wasn’t working! Nevertheless, 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’m such a coward for just running away like that because now I’ve involved Ren in my stupid problems.
“I’m taking you home, Luna.”
He said calmly while leading 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, though the sudden realization came to me at that very moment!
“No! I can’t go home!”
I raised my voice in a panic while taking a step back from Ren.
He asked, sounding worried as he opened the door for me.
“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...I just...I just can’t face him right now!”
I cried out my words as I looked down, watching the many tears leave my eyes hitting the street pavement.
“Alright...I understand. Let me take you somewhere else then...”
Ren responded as he had me get in the car, giving him a slight nod to his offer...I wasn’t sure where Ren planned on taking me? But anywhere that isn’t here is fine by me, however, the awkwardness in the car ride was unpleasant. I’m sure Ren doesn’t know what to say...but neither do I. Looking down at my hands, I watched as they couldn’t stop trembling. And what’s worse is that I couldn’t stop crying, 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 again, Eli and that girl...
“We’re here,” Ren said as he turned off the ignition of the car.
Bringing myself back to reality, I looked up to see where we were. It was a lake that he had pulled up next to. I’ve been here before with my family many years ago when I was a child. It’s strange but...I remember when I got lost here when I was a kid. It was nighttime like it is now, but...I also recall someone helping me find my parents. I just don’t remember who it was...
As I watched 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 really wanna know is why is he doing all of this for me? Pulling out my phone, I noticed the number of times it kept vibrating in my pocket. I knew it was Elijah without having to look at the called I.D.
“I can’t do this right now,” I said to myself as I turned off my phone.
Deciding to join Ren outside, I noticed that he was staring at the water so intently. Sitting at one of the benches, I looked up at the starry night sky, it felt soothing just admiring the many stars above me...peaceful.
“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?! And why was he with that girl!”
I yelled out in anger while slamming my fist along the bench! 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? I thought he truly cared for me. Seeing Ren turning himself around, he made his way toward my direction. Crouching down to my eye level. 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...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. But I guess I was wrong...I was wrong for falling for a guy like him.”
I said as I wiped the tears away from my eyes. He then 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...is that...I...really like...”
Before he could finish what he had to say, he gave a long pause as 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! Bringing me into a strong embrace, he wrapped his arms around me! This felt so weird to me since Eli and my father were the only two guys I have ever hugged in my whole life. However, having Ren hug me felt comforting and reassuring somehow...
“It’s because...I like you...Luna...”
He quietly said as I felt his hands starting to tremble!
“I’ve liked you for a very long time, 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!”
Hearing his words, I tried to say something...but no words were coming out. I’m just in complete 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! Turning my head to face him, I saw the seriousness in his expression. The strong gaze that he was giving me was almost overwhelming as 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?!
Was the only word that left my lips, as I saw his face inching closer to mine!
Shutting my eyes automatically, I was too 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. But I just feel frozen...my body naturally tensed up and I didn’t know what to do!? I knew that his lips were right in front of me, but I was just too scared to open my eyes. Preparing myself for a kiss to happen...nothing ever touched my lips. All I felt was a light peck pressing up against my cheek, opening my eyes wide at his sudden actions. He pulled away from our embrace and moved his hands towards my jawline, placing his palms on each side of my face. 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 said with a faint smile, as he leaned his lips against my forehead. Continuing 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, even though I still feel heartbroken. However, I’m grateful that Ren told me his feelings, that’s not something people could do so easily. He then wrapped his arm around my shoulder and started walking us to the car...
“Thank you, for bringing me here. It helped,” I quietly said to him as he helped me get in the 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 got in his vehicle. Placing my hands on my cheeks, I noticed that he was right. I was no longer crying! I don’t know why, but he makes me feel so comfortable being around him. Like I could be myself and not have to worry about being judged or be 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 conversation, even though we both saw my ‘boyfriend’ cheating on me. I was dreading the idea of going home and seeing him, so I asked Ren if he can take a 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...
As we pulled up to my driveway, I began looking around the front of my house. And to my surprise, Eli wasn’t anywhere to be seen! Letting out a sigh of relief, I stepped out of Ren’s car.
“Relieved that he isn’t here?”
Ren asked in a gentle smile...
“Yeah...I thought he would be.”
I responded as he began walking me towards the front house. Reaching the porch, I was able to feel relaxed...
“Ren, thank you for being...my hero today. I don’t know what I’ve would’ve 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...”
I said with sincerity in my heart.
“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 while placing his hand behind my head, pulling me in for a hug! I felt him resting his chin on top of my head, smiling, I wrapping my arms around him. Nuzzling my face against his broad chest, the anxiety that Eli had caused was now fading away. I wonder, what would’ve happened if Ren did ask me out first?
My thoughts were immediately interrupted by a sudden angered voice yelling out in the distance! And I knew all too well who this voice belonged to, so I immediately pulled away from Ren’s arms and turned my body towards the direction of his voice! I almost felt my heart wanting to drop out of its 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 parked anywhere! So where the hell 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 in hatred as I trembled, bringing both of my hands into a tight fist. I tried so hard to hold back my tears, he’s not worth it...but I can’t do anything other than cry! I hate this! I feel so weak and pathetic!
“No...it’s not like that...Luna. 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 already, Elijah,” Ren said with irritation in his voice as he interrupted Eli’s explanation. He then walked towards Eli and stopped him from getting any closer to me.
“Ren...I’m only going to say this once. If you value your life, you’ll get the fuck out of my way. And stay away from Luna...if not, I’m going to kill you.”
Elijah’s voice never sounded so frightening before, even the hatred in his eyes made me believe he was going to hurt Ren! Is he really being serious in his threats? No, Elijah can never kill someone...he wouldn’t, but why do I feel so uneasy? Seeing that Ren wasn’t moving from his spot, he just kept 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 immediately cut off by his words as Elijah brought up his fist, hitting him directly in the face! the sudden impact caused Ren to lose his balance making him fall to the floor! But Elijah didn’t hesitate nor wasted any time stopping with just one hit as he began punching Ren multiple times while still on the floor. The impact of Ren’s body hitting the concrete floor so harshly was too horrific for me to hear!
I screamed in terror as I watched Elijah carry out his assault, the sight of blood leaving Ren’s face as Eli held no sympathy for what he was doing, was terrifying! This can’t be happening!? I’ve never seen him act this way before! So I quickly sprinted towards his side and wrapped my arms around his torso!
“Eli! Please stop! You’ll kill him!”
I cried out, begging for him to stop. Hoping that he could hear me, I 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 here?!”
We all then 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? Releasing my hold on Eli, I started walking towards the man in front of me...
“Dad...what are you doing here?”