Chapter 4: Justin
We started walking home, a smile on my face as I walked close to Damian. I leaned my head at the bottom of his bicep since I couldn’t reach his shoulder. He looked at me and smiled, moving his arm from where my head was and wrapping it around my shoulder, and pulling me close to him. I smiled more, closing my eyes as continued to walk down the sidewalk.
“You smell like a forest and a bonfire,” I commented as I looked up at him with a smile. He shrugged, keeping a casual look on his face.
“Well, I’ve always like to play with fire,” he replied, smirking slightly. I giggled, getting his song reference. I moved closer to him, burying my face in his side as we continued to walk. I felt his hand start running through my hair, a small smile forming on my face as I enjoyed the comfort.
“You know, you smell like one of those Lavender Lemon Yankee candles,” he said after a minute, causing me to release a small laugh and gaze up at him.
“Is that a bad thing?” I asked with a small smile.
“Nope, I was just saying since you commented on me,” he said with a slight shrug. I smiled more, looking up at him as we walked. He glanced at me, looking back in front of him.
“What?” he asked as I continued to look at him. I shrugged, turning my gaze forward as we began to approach the apartment buildings.
“Nothing, I was just looking at you,” I said with a smile. I glanced up at him, catching him smiling slightly and then stopping.
“You know, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen you smile,” I said, looking up at him and beginning to pout. “You should do it more often, it’s pretty,” I said while looking up at him.
“I smile more than a handful. It just doesn’t last very long…” he said with a shrug, a small blush going over his face as he looked down.
“But it should last long! It’s pretty!” I said again, looking up at him and pouting more. “Smile.”
“I do smile!” he protested as he moved his arm away from my shoulder so we could walk into our apartment.
“I’m talking about right now,” I said, crossing my arms while pouting like a two-year-old. “Pleeeaaassseee?” I begged while dragging out the word. He turned to look at me, stopping in his tracks as he stared at my pouting face. He sighed, looking down and then up while forcing a small smile, it not the same as when he genuinely does it.
“There, I did it!” he said, then the smile fading back to the normal look he usually has. I sighed, pouting more as I walked past him and into the apartment.
“What?!” he asked while clueless, following me into the apartment and shutting the door behind him.
“Nothing, it’s fine,” I said, mainly just sad that he wouldn’t even smile for me. I sat on the couch as I stared at the blank TV, a saddened look taking over my face.
“Just tell me...is it because of the smile thing? Look I can’t force a smile, it comes when it does,” he spoke in a reasoning tone. I continued to stare at the TV, my arms crossed as I ignored him.
“Please Halo-” he started when I got up and started walking towards the bathroom.
“I’m gonna take a shower,” I interrupted flatly as I walked into the bathroom, closing and locking the door. I heard him sigh and sit on the couch as I remained in the bathroom.
The sad look was still on my face as I began to undress, setting my clothes on the bathroom counter and getting into the shower. I started humming a song I loved called ‘Save Me’ by Jellyroll, the sound of the water drowning out most of my voice.
I got out of the shower, drying my hair off, and then wrapping the towel around my body, holding the towel still as I stepped out of the bathroom. I closed the door behind me, letting the steam from the shower vent out through the fan and open window. I glanced around the room, Damian being nowhere to be seen. I felt a bit of relief, a small pit in my stomach still there from the bit of sadness that remained inside me. I released a small sigh, walking through the living room and into the bedroom, accidentally leaving the door cracked.
After a minute I heard the door open, jolting around quickly as I covered myself with the towel, my face becoming bright red. I saw Damian turn around quickly, blocking his eyes with his hand as he also turned bright red.
“Uh...er...uh….s-sorry,” he jumbled embarrassingly, shutting the door and walking out of the room quickly. I tightly held the towel around my waist as I stood there shocked and embarrassed.
I got dressed into some sweatpants and a black t-shirt, putting my hair up into a messy bun, and walking out of the room slowly. I looked around the living room, seeing Damian again not there. I let out a sigh in relief, not knowing if I’d be able to face him from the awkwardness.
I stepped out of the room and walked slowly over to the couch. I sat down, grabbing my phone off of the coffee table, and starting to browse through the internet. I heard a door creak open, turning my gaze behind me and seeing Damian step out of the bathroom, his face was still slightly red but a different expression on his face. I didn’t know how to exactly put it, but it wasn’t a look I’ve seen him have before. I quickly turned my gaze away, looking down at the floor awkwardly.
“I’m sorry about before…” he mumbled guiltily, messing with the sleeves to his hoodie.
“It’s okay,” I mumbled back, knowing it was just a simple, awkward encounter but it was still super embarrassing. He looked down, slowly maneuvering over to the couch and sitting down on the other side. I glanced up at him, then back down at the floor as I began to fumble with my fingers.
“You know, it really is fine,” I spoke, breaking the silence as I turned my attention towards him. He continued looking down, messing with his sleeves and then pulling them down slightly past his palms.
“I know…” he mumbled quietly. I looked at him a bit concerned, feeling this tension around him.
“Are you okay?” I asked a bit worried. I scooted closer to him despite still feeling embarrassed, looking up at him while concerned.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he answered quietly, but my gut told me he wasn’t. I took a glance at him messing with his sleeves, then looking up at him with a bit of a worried expression.
“What did you do?” I asked, my gut telling me he did something and wasn’t telling me.
“Nothing,” he quietly answered, however, the look he gave made me think even more that he was lying.
“Damian please don’t lie to me,” I said, my eyes growing watery as I looked up at him hurtfully.
“I didn’t do anything…” he mumbled again, a guilty facial expression taking over his face. My eyes began to grow bloodshot as tears blurred my vision.
“Damian please!” I begged. A few tears ran down my face as I began to sniffle. He sighed, keeping his attention on the floor. He rolled up his left sleeve, holding out his inner wrist as he revealed newly made jagged cuts. I looked up at him even more hurt, tears streaming down my face like a waterfall.
“W-Why?” I asked hurtfully as I scooted a bit away from him. My heartfelt like someone stabbed it, a pit opening up inside my stomach that began to drown everything inside me.
“I felt bad...and I...I needed a vent and...this is the only thing I know how to do...when it comes to venting…” he replied quietly and guiltily, his attention on the floor still as his skin turned a bit paler. I shook my head, getting up and backing away from the couch.
“You have me! Why would you do that to yourself?!” I asked as my voice cracked, tears streaming down my face endlessly as I ran into the bathroom.
“Halo wai-” Damian started, starting to stand up when I slammed the bathroom door and locked it.
I curled up on the floor, my back against the cold bathroom door. I pulled my knees up to my chest, burying my head in my knees as I wrapped my arms around my legs. My small frame began shaking as my pants became soaked with tears.
Why would he do that? Why didn’t he just say something? It was a stupid mistake. This is my fault...If I hadn’t left the door cracked then he wouldn’t have walked in...if I didn’t make such a big deal out of him smiling then he wouldn’t have felt bad...I’m so stupid...but he shouldn’t have done that. He could have just said something…why didn’t he just talk to me?
My mind echoed in deprecating thoughts as I continued to cry into my knees. I heard a knock at the door behind me, causing me to jump slightly.
“Just go!” I snapped as I sobbed, knowing it was Damian at the door.
“Please, Halo I’m sorry!” he apologized in a pleading tone. “Please!”
“Y-You..c-c-could’ve...t-talked t-t-to...m-m-me!” I trembled as more tears streamed down my face, my cheeks glistening in the bathroom light from the tears.
“I know, I’m sorry, just please I won’t do this again! I promise!” he begged in the same pleading voice. I lifted my head from my knees again, sniffling and turning my body slightly towards the door as I continued to sob. My heart was still shattered, the pit in my stomach continuing to grow as I felt it consume the broken pieces to my heart.
“Y-Y-You...p-promise...m….m-me?” I asked shakily for clarification, my heart pounding heavily and painfully against my chest.
“Yes! Please Halo, I’m sorry!” he answered in a plea. I swallowed hard to try and calm myself down. I sniffled, tears continuing to stream down my face as I shakily stood up. I attempted to wipe my teary eyes with the back of my hand, only smearing the wetness onto my cheeks.
I unlocked the door and slowly opened the door. I looked down, seeing him on his hands and knees like he was praying to a god. I opened the door wider and stepped out, kneeling beside him. He looked up at me, a sad and guilty expression covering his face. I leaned over and hugged him, burying my face in his neck as I sniffled. A few more tears ran down my face and onto his neck.
“I hope you keep your promise,” I mumbled in his neck as I squeezed him tighter.
“I will,” he answered quietly, his arms slowly wrapping around me. I moved my arms so they were wrapped around his neck, holding him tightly as tears continued to stream down my face.
“I’m sorry…” I mumbled, feeling like he did what he did because I was upset at him. I let out a sniffle, my shattered heart remaining in pieces as I continued to hold him.
“Halo, it’s not your fault, it’s mine. Please don’t blame yourself, it’s not your fault,” he answered in a guilty tone. His hand moved to my back, slowly running up and down it in a soothing manner. I sniffled again, my small body curling up close to his.
“I’m s-still sorry,” I muttered sadly, letting out another sniffle. His grip around me tightened, holding me close and tightly against his chest.
“It’s not your fault,” he said again. I sniffled, having my face buried in his neck still.
“Just keep your promise,” I mumbled, sniffling and looking up at him through red and puffy eyes.
“I will, I promise,” he answered in the same guilty tone as before. I moved up and kissed his cheek, sniffling and moving my head back to his neck.
“Wanna watch a movie?” I suggested in a mumble, holding him tightly still.
“Sure,” he spoke quietly while holding onto me. “What movie?” I looked up at him, wiping my nose and eyes with the back of my hand.
“D-Descendants…” I said quietly. I enjoyed those kinds of movies…
“Okay, come on,” he replied in a soft tone, standing up and helping me up. He slipped his hands into mine, his eyes falling onto my red and puffy face. He released a small smile to try and cheer me up. I looked up at him again and smiled slightly, my heart pounding heavily against my chest still but I was hoping it’d go away.
“Before we do that…” I said quietly, squeezing his hand tightly and pulling him into the bathroom. I yanked his sleeve up, seeing the sleeve on the inside drenched in blood and his arm smeared from the blood soaking his arm. I sighed sadly, kneeling and opening the cabinet beside the sink and pulling out some tape. I stood back up, pulling him close to me as I took a disinfectant wipe and wiped the cuts.
“Ow…” he winced in a whisper. I continued to wipe the cuts despite feeling the impulsive yank of his arm.
“I don’t want it to get infected,” I replied quietly. I sniffled, throwing away the bloodied wiped and taking the tape, and wrapping his arm. He looked down with a guilty expression, his gaze turning to his wrapped-up arm.
“I’m really sorry Halo…” he guiltily spoke. I pulled down his hoodie sleeve, looking away with a sniffle.
“As long as you don’t do it again it’s okay,” I responded in a quiet voice. He nodded sadly, turning his body towards the door and slowly walking out as I followed.
I walked over to the couch, sitting down beside him with my heart beating slowly and painfully. I had this pit inside my chest that swallowed the whole of my emotion. I didn’t feel sad or even mad...I didn’t really feel anything…
I moved a bit closer to him as I leaned my head on his arm. My attention was focused on the movie, all touch with reality completely drained out of me. My eyes began to feel heavy as they burned for me to fall asleep. I closed my eyes, and within a few minutes, I was passed out with my head on Damian’s arm.
I woke up, sitting up and rubbing my eyes. I looked around confused and tiredly, my vision blurred from being asleep. Eventually, I was able to see, looking around the room while still confused. I looked over, seeing Damian asleep beside me as we were on the couch. I remembered what happened the night before, which caused a small shot through my heart. I looked down, standing up with a yawn and walking into the bathroom.
My mind cycled through thoughts about what happened last night and before, thinking about why he would even hurt himself over me being upset. Did I really get him that sad? Did he even do it because of me? I thought to myself in curiosity and hurt. I cared about him...and I didn’t want him to get hurt...let alone hurt himself...there’s too much pain in the world...and I don’t want to be around it...I don’t want to feel it anymore…
I walked out of the bathroom while rubbing my eyes like a toddler, looking over at the couch and seeing Damian awake and staring at his phone. I sighed, walking over and sitting down beside him, my head falling onto his shoulder. His eyes fell on me, seeing me comfortably and sadly cuddling him. I felt his arms wrap around my waist tightly as he pulled me close. I could hear his heart pounding heavily as I moved my head to his chest...he must still feel bad.
“It’s okay, like I said last night,” I spoke softly and tiredly.
“I know...I just still feel bad…” he answered quietly. I looked up at him, forcing a small smile and kissing his cheek.
“Don’t feel bad for the rest of the day, maybe we can spend the day doing something!” I said in a forced happy tone. I knew that if I forced myself to be happy, eventually I’d feel a bit more positive...and I knew he needed to think I wasn’t upset at him still…
“Like what?” he asked as he looked at me with the same guilty expression as last night.
“We can start by getting some breakfast? I’m kinda hungry…” I said sheepishly, looking down as I moved so I was on his lap.
“We can go to our favorite place ever,” he said jokingly, meaning McDonald’s. The guilty shining through his tone but I could tell he was feeling a bit better.
“Yes!” I said in a forced excited tone. I released a small genuine smile as I saw one crack on his face, then his smile fading after a minute. I leaned over and kissed his cheek again, feeling better than I did before.
“Let’s go!” I said as my smile slightly grew, getting off of his lap and standing up. I stretched, turning around and looking at him for a minute. “I’m gonna go get dressed. We can walk!” I said since I knew he wanted to drive but I was gonna have him walk so it would take longer.
“Okay,” he answered quietly.
I walked into the bedroom a bit happier, closing and locking the door so another moment like yesterday wouldn’t happen. I put on a pair of dark blue jeans and a t-shirt that had Midoriya from My Hero Academia on it. I put my hair up in a high-ponytail, looking at myself in the mirror for a minute. I took a deep breath, the emptiness inside me slowly fading away. I walked over to the door and opened it, walking out of the bedroom and into the living room. I sat on the couch, looking down and grabbing my sketchbook. I began sketching some anime characters, concentrated on the sketching.
“Are you ready?” I heard a voice say from behind. I jumped, my concentration breaking as I jolted my attention behind me. I saw Damian behind me, wearing a pair of black jeans and a hoodie that had ‘Panic! At The Disco’ written on the front of it and the back said ‘Pretty Odd’.
“Yeah,” I answered, setting the sketchbook and standing up. I walked over and threw on a pair of black and white converses, looking over at Damian as he put on a pair of black Doc Martin’s. I smiled slightly at him as he looked over at me, a small smile forming on his face as he stood up.
“Ladies first!” he jokingly said. I giggled, smiling a bit more as I opened the door and walked out of the apartment.
We walked down the flight of stairs, walking out to the sidewalk and keeping a steady pace while walking. I looked over at Damian who was falling slightly behind, his gaze focused on the ground. I walked back a bit so I was next to him, looking up at him.
“Did you change the tape?” I asked, nodding to his covered arm. He looked over at his arm, and then back down.
“No…” he responded quietly. I sighed, stopping in place and pulling up his sleeve. “Hey! We’re in public, pull it back down…” he yelled in a quiet voice, moving his other arm to his sleeve that I had rolled up and attempted to pull it down.
“I know it’s in public, but you should’ve changed the tape,” I said, rolling back up the sleeve and seeing blood soaking the tape. “You see? You’ll get an infection,” I said like a concerned parent, looking up at him.
“I’ll re-tape it when we get back, I just wanna get food first…” he said quietly, yanking his arm away and quickly pulling his sleeve down. People were already staring at us as they walked by, some of them giving dirty looks at the fact Damian had tape on his wrists.
“Okay fine. You better promise though!” I said, looking away and walking down the sidewalk in front of him, avoiding eye-contact with all the people giving dirty looks. I felt Damian walking a bit faster as he caught up with me, his attention focused on the ground as he slipped his hands in his hoodie pockets. I looked up at him, seeing his face a bit paler than usual and him biting the inside of his cheek.
“It’ll be okay,” I said soothingly, feeling his anxiety at the people staring. I interlocked my arm in his, holding onto him as we walked towards the McDonald’s we’ve gone to every day.
“Can you order again?” he asked as we reached the McDonald’s. I looked up at him, seeing his anxious look.
“Yeah I can,” I said, smiling at him and walking inside the McDonald’s. He slowly followed, his head down as I walked towards the counter. I walked over, starting to order what we normally got. Once I got our food I walked back over to Damian, handing him the bag of food.
“I ordered, you get to carry it!” I said, giving a small smile. He took the bag, looking up at me anxiously and then down again.
“Okay…” he mumbled, turning on his heels and quickly walking out of the restaurant. I followed him out, then walking beside him and looking up at him.
“Are you okay?” I asked, hoping he wasn’t still upset about last night. He turned his head towards me while biting his cheek and then down.
“ Yeah...just people and I don’t go well together…” he answered quietly. I smiled sadly at him, walking a bit closer and interlocking our arms.
“It’ll get better, even I’m not very outgoing…” I said while hugging him. He looked over at me and cracked a small smile.
“Well if you don’t wanna order like that again or something I’ll-” he started when I interrupted him.
“Damian, it’s fine. I’m just saying that it’ll get easier for you to talk to people, it just takes time,” I said as we began to approach the apartment complex. I let go of his arm, starting to walk through the parking lot with Damian following behind me.
“So this is where you bitches live, huh?” I heard a familiar voice that sent chills down my spine. I spun around, seeing that group of teenagers from before. The brunette guy smirked as he walked closer to Damian and me. “Kind of pathetic for adults.”
“Back off,” Damian spoke clearly and protectively. He protectively stepped in front of me. I hid behind him slightly, feeling a bit scared.
“Oh, what’re you gonna do? Talk crap? Squeeze my throat again? That’s called assault, and since I’m 17 technically that’s an assault against a minor,” the brunette-haired guy spoke with a smirk.
“Don’t make me hurt you, I don’t give a shit if you’re a minor or not,” Damian responded angrily. I hid behind him more, feeling even more scared than before.
“Ha! Yeah, tell that to the judge buddy,” he said back with a smirk.
All of a sudden, I felt someone pull me away from Damian, holding my arm up behind my back that sent shooting pains through my shoulder and arm. I released a yelp, looking behind me scared as I saw the blonde-haired guy looking at me with a small smirk and then up at Damian.
“You see? If you try anything, my little friend here will be glad to hurt your little angel,” the brunette-haired guy said with a smirk. “So choose wisely what you do next.”
“You sack of shit!” Damian growled, going over to the brunette-haired guy and grabbing his neck, pinning him down to the ground. I started to scream, feeling my arm going more up my back and hearing my bones cracking. My shoulder and arm had sharp pains shooting through it, feeling like any second it’d break.
“DAMIAN PLEASE! JUST LET HIM GO!” I cried out in pain, tears beginning to stream down my face.
“Oh? Damian is your name huh? Kinda devilish if you ask me,” the brunette guy sneered. Damian squeezed his throat more, causing my arm to go up just slightly more, it on the verge of breaking. I screamed even louder, tears streaming down my face.
“PLEASE! JUST LET HIM GO!” I screamed while in pain. My arm throbbed and felt like someone was ripping it in half. Damian stared angrily at the brunette-haired guy, then turned to look at me. Once he saw the pained expression on my face, he let go of the guy. He stood up, looking over at the blonde-haired guy holding my arm.
“I let him go, now let her go!” Damian spat protectively.
“Nah, I don’t think I will,” the blonde-haired guy said with a smirk, yanking my arm up, causing my shoulder and arm to snap. I screamed as loud as I could, my broken arm awkwardly plopping on the ground. Tears streamed down my face like a waterfall as I clasped the part between both my broken arm and shoulder.
“YOU PIECE OF SHIT!” Damian yelled at the blonde-haired guy, starting to go after him. The blonde-haired guy took off running with the brunette-haired guy, both of them getting into a car and driving off before Damian could do anything.
He stopped as he saw them drive away, then turned to look at me as I cried and screamed. He bent down in front of me, looking at me with a worried and guilty look.
“Are you okay!?” he asked in a worried tone, despite it was obvious I wasn’t.
“I..I...c-can’t..f-f-feel...m-my a-arm,” I stuttered as I cried, my hand clasped on my limp arm still.
“Here, I’m gonna take you to the hospital,” he said in the most soothing tone possible. I felt him pick me up as I continued to cry, carrying me to the car and gently setting me into the passenger seat. I curled up in a ball in the seat, my arm feeling both numb and like someone was stabbing it.
“It’ll be okay, just try and take deep breaths,” Damian said to me as he started to drive fast towards the hospital.
“I...c-c-can’t!” I yelled while crying. I didn’t mean to yell, but the pain was unbearable.
“I know, but just try, we’re almost there,” he said in a soothing tone. I could tell on his face though that he was both terrified and infuriated. He was driving at about 90mph, causing me to feel a bit scared.
We pulled into the hospital parking lot, Damian practically drifting into a parking space as he got out of the car quickly. He rounded to my side of the car, opening the door quickly and grabbing me carefully. He held me like a baby as I cried from the pain, feeling more shooting pains travel from my shoulder and through my arm. I felt his heart pounding heavily and quickly as I leaned my head into his chest to try and mumble my crying.
He walked into the hospital while holding me still, a few doctors rushing over as they saw my broken arm laying limp as he held me.
“What happened?” one of the doctors asked while another instructed Damian to set me down on a gurney.
“A group of kids...they got mad and then they did this to her…” Damian replied shakily.
“We’re gonna have to give her surgery,” the doctor said as he looked at my shoulder, the bone poking out of it.
“Wait what?! Is she gonna be okay?!” Damian asked in a panicked tone.
“Damian, it’s fine...I’ll be okay,” I said as they started pumping me with pain meds. I laid back in the gurney as the doctors began wheeling me away.
“She needs the surgery now or else she could lose her arm and possibly her shoulder,” the doctor responded to Damian, then everything turned black.
I woke up two days later, everything around me spinning as I scanned the room confused. I tried sitting up but felt something around my arm and shoulder. I looked down, seeing me laying in a bed and a hospital gown. I looked around the room even more confused, my vision becoming less blurry and beginning to see the hospital room. Everything that happened before rushed back into memory, causing my eyes to water slightly.
I looked over, seeing Damian sleeping in a chair beside me. I leaned over slightly, taking my good arm and shaking him awake.
“Damian….Damian!” I repeated, trying to wake him up. He groaned, waking up and sitting up slowly. He rubbed his eyes, glancing over at me tiredly.
“You’re awake!” he said excitedly, his eyes widening as he turned to face me.
“Yeah…” I answered tiredly, looking down at the cast around my arm and shoulder, a sad look falling over my face. “What happened to my arm and shoulder?” I asked, knowing that blonde-haired guy did something to it but not knowing what.
“Your arm and shoulder got badly broken...but they had to do surgery on your shoulder and well...it’s kinda artificial now…” he spoke sadly as his gaze turned to the ground. I looked at him shocked, tears starting to stream down my face.
“I hate those guys!” I said as I began to cry, looking away as more tears came out.
“Halo, I know I hate them too, but it’ll be okay,” Damian said soothingly to me as he sat on the bed, pulling me into a hug. I hugged him back with my good arm, my tears soaking his hoodie.
“I hate them,” I said again in a muffled tone.
“I know...I got sort of revenge though…” he said, causing me to look up at him.
“What?” I asked as I sniffled, my cheeks were glossy from the tears.
“When you were getting the surgery done, I was in the waiting room and I saw those guys come into the hospital. I more or less got really mad and broke that blonde-haired guy’s wrist and then they all kinda got really scared and then felt bad but I didn’t buy any of their bull-crap,” Damian explained as he continued to hold me. I stared up at him in shock, but also thankfulness.
“Thank you,” I said with a small smile, sniffling as a tear streamed down my face.
“And I got that stupid blonde kid’s name. Justin...I hate that name…” Damian said spitefully. I giggled slightly, burying my face in his chest.
Justin...sounds kind of cute…but he hurt me, there’s no way I’m going to forgive him for that...no way…
I hate Justin….