Thursday, August 22, 2013

Prompt: In death, he wasn't a soldier. He was a child.

"Oh fuck, man, who's gonna say goodbye to my mom for me?"

"Don't talk like that dammit. You're gonna be fine. I know it hurts like hell now but you're gonna--you're gonna get better. You're gonna be alright."

"Shit man, it fuckin' hurts! I'm fuckin' dyin'!"

"No you're fuckin' not. Nobody's gonna say goodbye to your mom for you so you can't die!"

"Brian, you have to say goodbye to her for me. I can't just die and leave her like that! She needs me, man. She needs her little boy to be there for her."

"You are going to be there for her."

"She needs me to reach things on high shelves. She needs me to brag about to her friends. She needs me to... She needs me, man. I can't just leave her like
this."

"You're not leaving her!"

"Yes I am, Brian. I'm leaving her just like I'm leaving you."

"Fuck you man, no you aren't. We're gonna get you to the medic and you're gonna get better so you can reach those shelves for your mom."

"The medic's gonna be too late, Brian."

"Then I'll carry you there."

"We've gotta be three miles out from the base. You can't carry me that far. You gotta have some sort of whiplash or something."

"I'll do it. Fuck the medics, I'm gonna carry you right fuckin' now!"

"No man, that's gonna make the pain come back!"

"Hold on!"

"Shit! That fuckin' hurts! Put me back down!"

"Bite onto somethin' in your pack for the pain. We're gonna get you to the medics."

"Fuck man, fuck! Put me down!"

"We're almost there man, just hold on and weather it out. You're gonna get better."

"No I'm not! I'm gonna die right here, in your arms and in this fuckin' hellhole of a country."

"Stop talkin' like a bitch, dammit!"

"I'm not talkin' like a bitch, dammit. I'm being honest. I got shrapnel n' shit all through my body. I'm dead already, I just don't know it yet."

"You can't be dead. Your mom needs you."

"I know she does. She needs me. She needs to hold me."

"That's right. She needs you. She needs you to hold on for her."

"I can't hold on for her. It's not my choice anymore."

"Fuck you it's not."

"It's not. So now my mom needs you. She needs to you tell her about this, about me. She needs to know that I didn't die alone, that I died in the arms of my friend."

"I'm not gonna do that for you man, because you're not gonna--"

"She needs you, Brian. She needs you to tell her that I was always her little boy. She needs you..."

"Shit, dude, I can't do that. I won't know what to say. I just can't do it.

"Hey, are you listening to me? I can't do that for you!

"Don't you leave me now. We're almost there!"

In death, he wasn't a soldier. He was a child.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I

"Let me tell you a little something about myself. I don't know how I got myself into this situation. I'm not this type of person, and I don't try to be. But despite that, once again I'm here. I'd say it sucks but honestly it doesn't.

"Just because I'm not this kind of person doesn't mean I don't enjoy being one of them–or should I say us? I certainly looove all the trappings that come with the territory, but they haven't yet convinced me to actually try to be like this. I guess I am one and I shouldn't complain, but it's not like I seek it out. It just finds me.

"Being found must be my special talent. I don't try to hide from it so maybe it's not such a big deal, but at the same time I don't believe very many people do try to hide from it and I know they're found far less than me. I guess you can call it what you want; special talent, dumb luck, whatever. I'm going to stick with talent even though I claim at the same time for it to be no result of my actions. The hypocrisy is noted; no need for you to help.

"I hope that by now you're wondering what exactly my 'special talent' is. I like to think that if I was reading this I would be curious. Well, are you wondering yet? Are you salivating over an answer? Is the drool hanging off your lips and dripping to the floor? Good. That means I've done a decent job.

"Unfortunately now is my time as storyteller to stop doing such a good job and maybe piss you off a bit. I hope you'll forgive me, but this first story is over. It was frankly a pretty crappy story, I'll give you that much. In the interest of protecting my integrity as a documenter of my past, let's label this an introduction rather than an actual full story. Hope that makes it up to you a bit.

"Alright alright, I suppose it is a little mean to not tell you anything about these situations I so accidentally find myself in. Here's a little bit for you for the road, until next time. These situations involve me. They involve me associating with other people.

"Hope that can tide you over."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Walk In the Dark


            She closed her car door, eyes sweeping around the parking garage, seeking out suspicious passersby. She didn’t think anybody would cause her trouble, but she couldn’t be too careful. They’d had several reports recently on campus of people being attacked, mugged after dark, so she was going to be vigilant she wouldn’t become the next victim.

            As she surveyed the sparsely parked cars in the rest of the lot, she reflexively pressed the lock button on her keys. She jumped when the car’s locks clicked loudly. She rolled her eyes at her skittishness and turned in the direction of her dorm.

            The lot was well lit, and the yellow light gleamed off the fresh paint jobs on her fellow students’ cars. She tensed a little as she saw a person walking toward her, but when she heard the click of a car’s doors, she relaxed. He was just doing what she was, parking his car.

            At the edge of the garage, the light dropped off quickly. There the ceiling lights ended and the streetlights that replaced them were spotty. She stopped for a second, checking left and right for more than cars, and, seeing nothing, she walked across the street. Her pace wasn’t accelerated; she was cool and collected, in control, perfectly safe.

            A sound from behind her startled her from her determined trek home. A male walked in her direction. She had missed him when she looked. Worried at this lapse, she increased her pace to put more distance between herself and him, suddenly worried about her safety. Her heart beat faster and she willed it to slow; it only added to her fear. She looked quickly over her shoulder and saw him continuing as he had been after her. She spun her head back to face forward, making sure a second wasn’t closing in from the front to trap her on the sidewalk. Nothing was there. She checked behind herself again, hoping he would turn away.

He was still there. Again she increased her pace, walking even faster. Her heels tapped loudly against the brick path under her feet. She worried that even if her pursuer didn’t see the distance separating him from his prey, he would hear the faster, louder sound made by her lifted shoes. She looked back a third time and her breath caught in her throat. He was gone. He’d disappeared and now would show next to her, able to snatch her up while she was disoriented. He was going to get her because she hadn’t kept her eye on him for just a second. She was going to be—

No, there he was. He had just turned into the parking deck she left not a moment before. He wasn’t some supernatural being sent to steal her, he was only another student at her school, trying to get back to his car to make a late night food run. He wasn’t deranged, he was just hungry.

She turned around to face forward again and walk back to her room. She stiffened when she saw another person at the corner; for a split second she thought it was the man from the parking deck, but then she saw it was actually another girl. She reached the corner and turned right just as the other girl continued on to her left. Walking on a little, she went under a bridge riddled with dried gum stuck to its pillars.

She paused to take the gum from her own mouth and add it to the wall. As she stuck it on, she noticed a patch with the pieces stuck together, all touching. She looked closer to see how it would have been possible for her fellow students to create this configuration without touching the other pieces, which would have been quite gross.

            As she looked, her stomach dropped out, but not from the realization that the stickers had touched another’s saliva. The pieces of gum formed a word. It read “run”.

            She stood up straight and all but listened to the instructions. That hadn’t been a collaborative effort; it was a deliberate act by a single person to deliver a message to her, though she didn’t know for what purpose. She figured it was a good idea to listen to it. She moved faster than she had when she had suspected the man of following her, but just as she was beginning to put distance between herself and the ominous wall, she heard a scream echo from the parking deck.

            She froze on the spot, torn between two very different courses of action. Should she continue on as the wall had urged, or should she return to the parking deck and try to help whatever poor girl was back there, fighting against whatever assailant there was. Rooted to the spot, her mind sped out of control trying to decide what the right thing to do was.

            Before she reached a conscious decision, she found her feet carrying her back toward the deck. Alarmed, she had to convince herself it wasn’t an unknown power controlling her; only herself knowing the right decision to make before admitting it. She instead attributed to fear to the unknown she was going to encounter back in the parking deck. She reached into her purse, feeling around before coming back up with her cell phone. She punched in the numbers for campus police before hovering her thumb over the send button.

            She slowed almost to a halt when she reached the entrance to the parking deck. She peeked around the corner, trying to see what was happening before she blindly walked into it. Seeing nothing, she entered the deck.

            It appeared completely deserted. She didn’t see anyone; even the cars were rather sparse. She walked down the row and looked down the connecting aisle. Still she saw nothing. She walked around a little more, but didn’t hear another scream or see anything out of the ordinary. The girl who had screamed was simply gone. She looked around a little more, but still saw nothing. Convinced she had either imagined the whole thing or that there was nothing she could do for the girl, she left the parking deck.

            She repeated her route past the gum wall, trying determinedly not to look at the word on the wall. Just as she had almost passed it by, she glanced back. The word was gone. She stopped to study the wall again. Every piece of gum appeared to be arranged in a regular pattern. Perhaps she had imagined the word just as she had the scream. She doubted that, but it made more sense than disappearing words and students
.
            She continued on her walk back home. She reached the corner after the bridge. The sign showed a hand so she stopped for a second, checking both ways for cars. She didn’t see any, but she heard an engine approaching, though she couldn’t tell from which direction. She swayed in place, unsure if she should go or wait in case the car showed up. She looked each way again but still didn’t see headlights. She looked behind her in case it was coming from there. Seeing nothing, she turned back to look forward, sighing impatiently.

            The engine grew louder; it was coming from her right. Realizing that, she turned and looked. There were still no headlights, but she saw a shadow move. Her breath quickened and she strained to see through the dark. The shadow seemed to be morphing, changing, perhaps growing larger. It didn’t move quickly, but it certainly lumbered toward her. Her gaze whirled around, looking for a car, anything other than the shadow, something that would tell her it was okay to cross the street.

            Suddenly headlights bloomed from around the bend. The car she had been waiting for had finally shown up. Rather than watching the car as it passed her in the intersection, she looked to where the shadow had been. What had just been darkness was now illuminated by the headlights. There was nothing there.

            She shook her head as the car drove by. Now the only sound was its receding engine. With one last look to the right, she walked across the street. The shadow was still gone. Whatever she had seen, or perhaps imagined, was gone now.

            She reached the far side of the street as the sign changed to allow people to walk. She continued along the road a little farther before coming to another crosswalk. She didn’t hesitate at it, glancing around quickly before walking into the silent street. She didn’t see or hear anything.

            Walking along the main street on campus, she began to pass several residence halls. Quiet chatter came from an entrance near her. As she walked closer, the voices were silenced. When she reached the corner of the building and peeked by, she saw the door closing silently, students not in sight. Uneasy, she walked on, passing the empty area between them as quickly as she could without upsetting her appearance of normalcy.

            She heard laughing as she approached the next dorm, a girl laughing a happy, drunken laugh. The laugh continued and grew louder as she approached the girl. But the closer she got, the more the laugh changed. The laugh became harsher, more maniacal and threatening. She felt shivers go down her spine. The laugh was unbearable and ominous, and close. She stopped short, hoping the laugh would stop.

            The laugh continued, growing even louder and more frightening. She slid up against the wall of a dorm, trying to hide herself from the terrifying cackling thing. She was afraid to continue on her route that would take her by it. The laughing reached a crescendo, an unearthly and horrible sound. She shoved her fingers into her ears to block the sound, but it didn’t work; the sound still seeped in.

            As suddenly as it had transformed, it stopped. The laugh ended, taking away the unearthly feeling it had left her with, though not taking away the unease that she had carried with her from the parking deck, instead rather amplifying it. She consciously relaxed her jaw, reaching a hand to massage the soreness away from holding it unknowingly clenched. The unease slowly faded as she heard human laughing come from where the cackling had previously.

            “That was really good!” a voice said, laughing.

            “Yeah,” agreed another, “that was scary as—”

            Her anger broke. She stormed out from behind the wall and confronted whatever had created the terrifying laughter.

            “What the hell was that?” she yelled. “That wasn’t good, that was terrifying!”

            Three pairs of eyes looked at her. One was apologetic, the girl that had created the laugh. The other two look confused and angry.

            “What are you yelling about?” one of them asked her, mad. “Why don’t you just keep walking? You have nothing to do with this.”

            Too furious to respond, she did as they had suggested. She walked by them, out of the open area between the two halls and farther down the street, toward the safety of her room. Her pulse was racing, but this time with anger rather than fear. She was mad that someone had scared her, even though she knew they hadn’t done it on purpose.

            Her anger and the feeling of safety at the absence of fear evaporated after she reached the next residence hall. It was the final one on the street, but also the one notorious for the frequent rule breaking and police intervention. Just as she passed, she heard a door slam leading inside it. She spun to see if anyone was outside near her, but she saw nothing. The student must have been going in, but she should have heard him walking toward the building. Rather than that, she had heard nothing. Had he walked out and disappeared? Were there any moving shadows again?

            She looked around but didn’t see any. She looked across the street; perhaps the sound had come from the hall across the street. She looked but again saw nothing. Looking up, she saw only one window with the lights on. In that window stood a shadowy figure.

            She took a quick breath before finding her throat locked, unable to release it. The shadow remained in the window for a second longer before yanking the blinds shut. The lights remained on for a fraction of a moment longer before being turned off as well, making the room appear just as all the other rooms. But it wasn’t the same; it had the shadowy figure in it. Not the shadowy figure, but rather a shadowy figure. There couldn’t only be one.

            She turned back to the path she needed to follow back to her room and focused only on that. It was imperative she make it home. She had reached the end of the dorms; all that was left was the student center, a coliseum, and a parking deck. Three more things she would pass, and then she would be safe.

            The student center was on her left now, and the shortest route to her room required her to walk through the alley next to it. In the middle of the alley, the small building next to the student center had an alcove that light did not reach at night. She walked into the alley cautiously, staying to the left to maximize her view into the overhang. She realized the one good thing about the geometry of the alcove; there were no shadows.

            She slowed as she reached the alcove, hesitating before walking into its view. She turned sideways, facing the abyss and sliding by it, eyes fixed on it lest something appear from the darkness. Moving slowly prolonged her time in front of the alcove, but nothing appeared from it. When she reached the far side, she turned back forward and walked with more confidence in her safety.

            Rounding the corner, she was now on the north side of the coliseum. She could see all the way down the street, to the corner at the far end of her building. There was nothing in sight. She relaxed, though she didn’t slow her pace. She was going to be back in her room soon and everything was fine.

            A window creaked on the coliseum’s wall. She flinched and turned to look up. A single window was open and though no light was inside, she knew she saw a shadow anyway. She didn’t know how it was possible, but she could feel its presence. The shadow was there, and it was watching her.

            She looked away, locking her neck forward, looking down the street toward her goal. She reached into her purse and fumbled around, fingers searching out her pepper spray. Finding it, her hand wrapped tightly around the small metal can, just in case it became necessary and she could possibly use it to defend herself.

            She moved to the left to get out from underneath the cover by the doors to the coliseum; she wanted as much distance as possible between herself and the possessed building. She heard a door creak behind her and looked back as she broke into a run, but slowed back to a walk when she didn’t see any ajar.

            The parking lot next to the coliseum was full. She surveyed the sea of vehicles quickly, seeing nothing. Just as she looked back, she saw the shadowy figure in the far corner of the parking lot, moving toward her. She pulled the pepper spray from her purse, holding it out toward the shadow with a straight arm. Her breath was ragged and her arm shook, but she tried to project confidence rather than fear. The shadow disappeared.

            She looked around wildly trying to find it again but was unable to. She lowered the pepper spray to her side as she reached the parking deck. She tried not to look inside, but was unable. She stole a glance but saw only cars and concrete. As she looked back she heard a scream, but it was tinny and unreal. It was only an echo of the one she had heard at the first parking deck, trying to haunt her.

            She refused to let it do that. She ignored it and thought of her bed and the short path in front of her, separating the two of them. She was almost there, she didn’t see any shadows, and she had a way of defending herself even if one should show up.

            The parking deck passed by and she found herself able to see her building. Relief flooded through her. She was almost home. She looked around again but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. She quickly covered the remaining distance to the door, slid her key in and opened the door. She slipped inside and pulled it shut quickly behind her. Taking a step away from the door, she slid down the wall and sat on the floor. She was safe now.

            She took a minute to collect herself before getting up off the floor. She put her pepper spray back in her purse and smoothed her pants. She rounded the corner and walked down the hall. Her room was calling her and she was going to be there soon.

            Her room was down at the far end of the hall. She walked slowly down the row of doors, wondering vaguely if everyone else was in their beds. They were rather quiet tonight. Reaching her door, she put her key in a second lock and opened the door to the safest spot for her on campus. She looked down as she walked in to make sure she didn’t trip on her messy roommate’s clothes. She pulled her key from the lock and dropped it back in her purse.

            The room was dark save for her roommate’s desk lamp. It provided light from a ledge on the window side of the room, illuminating both beds and desks. Dropping her purse on her desk, she saw her roommate in her bed.

            “Hey Jane,” she said, “Sorry I’m back so late.” Looking closer, she saw that Jane had a frightened expression on her face. “I didn’t scare you, did I? Oh, you’re in that class where you watch scary movies, aren’t you? You watched one tonight, right? What was it, The Shining or something?”

            Jane didn’t look at her roommate as she spoke to her. Instead, she raised her arm and pointed through her roommate at the corner behind the door as she pushed herself farther into the corner formed by the odd jut in the wall near the pillows on her bed.

            “Allison, turn around!” Jane screamed. “Watch out!”

            Allison whirled around and froze. There was a shadowy figure in the corner, slowly approaching her. Allison couldn’t move. The shadow’s arms raised and a bag dropped on Allison’s head, obscuring her vision. She couldn’t even scream. A drawstring pulled tight around her neck and she dropped to the floor.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Alphabet Game (Attempt 2)


As he began to close the remaining distance between them, his heart began to race. But before he reached her, it froze. Concerned, he was almost distracted from his beautiful catch. Determined not to blow his chance, he refocused on her and found the distance nearing zero.

Every cell in his body was burning; not so much a painful experience but an irritating and distracting one. First kisses were supposed to feel like this, weren’t they? Girls had made him feel this way before, though never throughout his entire body. Hayley was something special.

In his opinion, she was the best thing that had ever happened to him. Just a classmate, until she was more than that. Kindness and shyness on her part had won him over. Loneliness on his had helped. Maybe that was a shallow reason, but he certainly wasn’t upset after the way things had developed between them.

Nothing else he had ever had compared to the pure happiness he felt with Hayley. Once he had thought that maybe someone else filled the void like she did, but that girl had decided otherwise. Previous to her he’d never had anything deeper than obsessions.

Quickening, his pulse brought him back to the present.  Realizing he had accidently stopped his approach to her lips, he looked into her eyes. Stalling for time, he searched her expression, trying to determine if she actually wanted this. The fact her eyes were closed told him she did. Unless she was an expert at concealing her emotions, she was waiting for him to finally reach her.

Voracity tore through him. Without thinking, he plunged forward, abandoning common sense. X was the reason; the physical urge had finally coupled the story the chemical had created. Young love was just the guise it had been deluding him with.

Zero.

The Alphabet Game (Attempt 1)

As she surveyed what remained of her home, she realized that what she had once known would never be again. Before she finally turned her back, she glanced once more at the bedrooms of her previous life. Corpses litter the floor. Dead. Even her baby sisters hadn’t escaped the wrath of fate. Fate: what a joke. God too; this wasn’t His doing, but Xavier’s. He was the reason she had no home, no family, and no future.

If he’d been able to do more about it, she would also have no past. Just because it had already happened didn’t mean he couldn’t do anything about it. Kind of messed up in her opinion, but based on what had happened to her home and family, her opinion didn’t count for anything. Lack of understanding didn’t mean it wasn’t possible.

Maybe it even still wasn’t too late for him to erase her past. Nobody else really understood exactly how the technology worked. Only Xavier and his organization truly knew and they certainly weren’t sharing that information. Preventing mimicry of their machines was the surest way they had to keep themselves ahead of the pack.

Quickly she turned away from the scene. Rusty from lack of use, her tear ducts hurt as she began to weep. She finally succumbed to the emotions she had tried to bottle inside her. Tears fell from her eyes, speeding up as she remembered how to release.

Unless she hadn’t discovered how to regain control of her emotions, she didn’t know how long she would have laid there. Very certain she would soon be noticed if she didn’t flee all that she had ever known, she began to run.

When she had put enough of a distance between herself and the horrors she had witnessed, her head began to clear. Xavier was the cause of this, and Xavier needed to be punished. Young as she was, it had become her mission in life, her only purpose, to end him. Zinc phosphide ought to do the trick.



AN: This was my attempt at The Alphabet Game. The challenge is to write a story, 26 sentences long, which each sentence starting with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. This is the first one I've written. I enjoyed it, so I'll probably write some more.

Friday, August 3, 2012

First Date

AN: strong warning: graphic

The alarm on her phone dinged. She checked the time; her date was in just over an hour. Her heart skipped a beat when she realized just how close she was to finally having her first date with this wonderful, amazing boy.

She stopped a moment in her feverish preparations, letting her curling iron still in her hands as thoughts and memories filled her mind of Zack. Funny, charming, hopelessly romantic–as much as he could be by text. And that was only his mind and mouth. His body was just as appealing as his head. Big biceps from constant gym visits, rock hard abs, but still a slim and sensual neck. And despite his physical size, he was as gentle as any boy she'd ever known.

She jerked out of her reverie. She needed to stop thinking about how great he was and get ready to go see it. She finished curling her hair quickly–she'd been nearly done before her intermission. She applied a small amount of makeup to her face. She rarely used more than a tiny amount, and made sure not to overdo it tonight. She received compliments on her looks both with and without modification, so there wasn't any need to go overboard with it. Just a little around the eyes and some lipgloss would do.

She bent in close to the mirror to put on the lipgloss. It was a new kind she had gotten on her last trip to the store. It was a peach flavor, and this would be her first time using it. A bit of a gamble maybe, but perhaps the date was too. First date, first lipgloss use. It seemed fitting to her. The flavor matched the peach-colored shirt she had picked out for the evening, a very light orange that she was quite fond of. She hadn't planned the coincidence, and she wondered if he would notice. Would he notice the similarity? Would he get to taste the flavor? Would they kiss? She didn't know what was in store for her and them this afternoon.

Fortunately she liked the taste of the peach. That was as hopeful an indication as any of a good upcoming date. She hoped he would like it too, should it come to him tasting it. Maybe she'd just have to make that happen, but she hoped he'd do that himself. She really wanted him to like her.

She noted the time in a wall clock; he'd be here to pick her up in just under ten minutes. She checked the mirror again. Her makeup was all correct, her outfit looked even cuter than when she'd planned it, and she could tell she was ready for this date. It was going to be a great one.

She walked out of her bathroom and made her way slowly out to the front room where she could look out the windows to the front yard and see the street he'd drive up to collect her. She wished she could text him until he got there and she could see him, but he was driving right now. She giggled. She liked him too much.

Just as she was about to check the time–he had to be running late–she saw his car pull into her driveway. Her heart leapt at the sight of him. It was finally date time.

Her parents knew he was coming, so she figured it wouldn't be a big deal when he knocked on the door. She stood and walked at a controlled pace to let him in. He smiled when she opened the door, looking a little relieved. She smiled back.

"Hey Zack!" she said through the doorway. "Come on in and say hi to my parents before we leave."

Zack's smile shrank a little bit when she said that. She knew she'd told him he'd have to do it when they'd first talked about the date and him picking her up. He knew about it, but looked worried anyway. He walked in and she took his hand as he walked by, hoping it would calm him.

"Mom, Dad," she announced, "This is Zack. We're going to the movies and dinner this evening. We'll be back by... Ten?"

"Nine forty-five, Susie," her dad said, cracking a smile. "Just because it's my job to make your life less fun. Zack, you drive careful and take care of my daughter, you hear me?"

"Yes sir!" Zack said crisply.

"You want to say anything, mom?" Susie asked, ready to be out the door.

"Just what your father said, sweetie," her mom echoed. "You kids have fun tonight."

"We will!" Susie promised, turning and pulling Zack to the door. They left and she shut the door behind them.

"That wasn't so bad," he said. "We gotta get going to make this movie."

"Lead the way, darling," she said, smiling as he held her door open. She got in and he carefully closed it behind her. With her ready, he jumped over the hood and wrenched the driver's side door open, spinning around the end and falling into his seat as fast as he could, pulling the door shut behind him. Susie almost laughed out loud at his antics. He was just too perfect.

"Oh sorry, did you see that?" he asked. She nodded. "No you didn't." She shook her head. "What didn't you see?"

"Nothing," she said innocently, trying to feign a bemused expression.

"Very good. Now, let's be off before they come back."

"Who?" she asked.

"Don't worry about it," he said. "Now, which way is the theater?"

Susie pointed to the right.

"Recalculating," Zack said in a falsely high voice. Suddenly he stomped on the gas, shooting the car down the road. Susie gasped and grabbed at the seat.

"What are you doing?" she yelled at him, adrenaline pumping.

"I found the route!" he said. "Oh look at that, we missed our turn."

Susie whipped her neck around and saw that they had indeed passed the street they were supposed to turn on at their rapid pace.

"Zack, slow down and pay attention!" she said, pretending to be irritated.

"Sorry! We'll just take the next turn then."

He did and with their course corrected they made it to the theater in only a few extra minutes.

"Well look at that," Zack remarked, stepping from the car. "We made it in plenty of time. The movie doesn't start for ten minutes."

"Well come on!" Susie urged him. "Let's go so we can get the good seats."

They walked up to the counter and Zack bought two tickets for the current summer flick. He'd said they would both agree on the movie but he'd really just let her pick what she wanted to see.

"So babe, do you want some popcorn?" Zack asked, taking her by the hand as they walked into the theater.

"I think that would be wonderful," she answered, blushing as he called her "babe." "And maybe a soda too?"

"Anything for you," he said. "What kind do you like?"

"Rootbeer's my favorite!" she exclaimed, sliding a hand around his arm, pulling him closer in her excitement.

"You heard the lady," Zack said to the teenage girl behind the counter. "A medium rootbeer, and a large popcorn for us please."

"That'll be $10.50," the girl said, and Zack handed her his debit card. She swiped it and handed him a huge bag of popcorn and a cup which he immediately handed over to Susie. Content, the two headed to the room marked for their movie.

The lights were still on when the walked through to double doors isolating the screen from the outside world, so it was no trouble for them to find a couple empty seats. They got comfortable in two seats directly in the middle of the row at almost the back of the room.

They made idle conversation while they waited for the movie to start, with Susie laughing a little too loudly at all his jokes. When the previews came on, they both quieted down and munched on the popcorn, criticizing or giving acclaim to each soon to come film they saw. After four trailers played, the featured film begin.

The opening scene was dramatic; fighter jet landing on a ship, devilishly handsome pilot stepping from the cockpit amidst cheers from his fellow sailors and servicemen, the ship pulling into port, the crew returning to shore, the pilot finding his wife or girlfriend or mistress or whoever and staring deeply into her eyes. The scene cut away.

Three months later. Susie took a sip of her rootbeer as the camera panned down onto a house. A truck sat in the driveway, bed filled entirely with boxes. Suddenly a man's voice filled the room, projected by the speakers.

"I hope you're happy! All my crap's in the back of my truck and I'm driving away right now! This is the official end of it, of everything! I'm going to pull out of this driveway, and as soon as I do, that will be the last time I ever see you or this house again. Is that was you want?"

The handsome pilot's girlfriend stepped out of the garage holding a box. She threw it at him and he barely caught it before it hit him in the face.

"You missed one," she seethed. "Yes, this is what I want. Get the hell out of here. I never want to see you again."

The pilot turned around and ripped his door open. He threw the box into the front of his truck and climbed in after it, slamming the door behind him. The engine roared and he backed out of the driveway, turned, and raced down the road. The screen faded again.

Susie heard Zack's seat creak and felt him lean over toward her. She froze. Was he going in for a kiss already? She wasn't ready for that, the movie had just started. She was about to turn her head when she felt his lips near her ear.

"I thought you said this was a happy movie," he whispered. She could hear his cute smirk as he leaned back into his seat. She made a concerted effort to not react.

The next twenty minutes of the movie passed in silence from Zack. The rootbeer was nearly gone which was a problem, seeing as they had quite a bit more popcorn to go through.

Susie reached over for a handful of buttery, salty snack food, then popped them into her mouth one at a time. She rubbed her hands together and then reached for the remains of the drink. But instead of feeling the cold, wet side of the cup, she felt a warm squishy surface instead. Surprised, she looked away from the handsome pilot stripping out of his shirt to try and find temporary happiness with a woman from a bar to see what she had touched. When she looked down, she saw her hand entwined with Zack's. His other held the cup out to her. She took with her free hand and smiled at him. He gave a small smile back.

Susie returned her eyes to the screen in time to see the camera pan away from the pilot's pantless legs as he climbed into bed with his catch of the night. She felt a blush rise in her cheeks; Zack had picked a great part of the movie for this.

Minutes passed with them in silent connection, just enjoying each others' company. The soda was gone, so Susie ate the popcorn slowly. It was salty, and she didn't want to leave for a drink and lose the connection Zack had initiated. The pilot was in freefall now; his life had hit rock bottom. He desperately wanted his girlfriend back, but she didn't want anything to do with him. He'd screwed it up with her, and now he was getting what he deserved. He'd called her at least a dozen times, pleading with her to let him make amends, and she was having none of it.

The movie continued on as the popcorn disappeared to the bottom of the bucket. The pilot's life continued spinning more and more out of control. Any money he had he blew on booze, and he kept trying to find happiness inside of other women.

She felt Zack move in his seat, and then his hand pulled upward, away from hers. Her heart sank as he released her. She turned to see what he was doing, and her heart stopped beating when she saw how close his face was to hers.

The hand he had held hers with came up and cupped the side of her face. His touch was tender, gentle. He turned fully sideways in his seat and leaned toward her the remaining distance.

Their lips met and the happiness that eluded the pilot flooded through Susie. This was someone that she knew she could trust and hold and love completely. This was just a kiss, but it was more than a kiss. She could feel more than her mouth connecting with Zack; they were giving each other something that couldn't be said with words.

For several minutes they ignored the pilot's careening life in favor of their own budding one. Zack's tongue ran along hers as he held her. She looked at his closed eyes, transfixed by the intensity of the feeling he conveyed. His eyes opened as his tongue withdrew. He kissed her again before pulling back and surveying her face.

"It looks like I messed up your lipgloss," Zack said quietly, still holding her cheeks. "If anyone asks, just blame it on the popcorn. It tasted nice, by the way. Peach?"

Susie nodded breathlessly. She noticed her heart was hammering now; it must have stood still the whole time they'd kissed. She felt his hands leave their place and some of the warmth left her cheeks, but not all of it. Embarrassed by her physical reaction, she turned back to the movie in time to see the pilot and his once again girlfriend embrace and kiss, much like she and Zack just had. The warmth in her cheeks grew. She snuck a glance at him and saw he was focusing on the screen.

The remainder of the movie played out while they watched, more chastely. She didn't sneak any more looks, and he didn't sneak any more hand-holding or kisses. Susie was anxious for the movie to be over so they could go to dinner. She was curious to see if the car rides held anything for them.

The movie faded out a final time on a happy pilot and his bride stepping away from the altar amid cheers from their friends and family. Applause was supplied by the men and women cast for the movie, but some people in the theater found the need to join in. As the credits scrolled, Zack and Susie stood up and stretched. They looked around the emptying theater and then followed the stream of patrons out the door.

Zack led her back to his car by the hand. They climbed in their respective sides without exchanging words. They hadn't said anything since the kiss. Susie had decided she would wait for him to speak first.

"So turns out it was a happy movie I guess," Zack said as he backed the car out of the space.

"I guess," she replied, relieved he hadn't let the silence grow. "The couple got together at the end. Happy by most standards."

"Mm, I suppose..." he said ambiguously.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Susie said, unnecessary trepidation flooding through her. What was he trying to tell her something? Or was it nothing and she just being a bit paranoid?

"I don't know, I was just trying to be deep I guess," he said, flashing her a smile. She rolled her eyes at him.

"What are we doing for dinner?" she asked to take the subject away from happy couples.

"If it's okay with you, I'd like to take you back to my house so I can make you my specialty. Do you like chicken pot pies?"

Susie didn't know how to respond. Unable to use her mouth, she just nodded. She liked chicken pot pies.

"Cool. I'd hoped you'd say yes so I went out and bought all the stuff I'd need. I bet you didn't know I could cook, did you?"

Still surprised, Susie just shook her head. Zack laughed at her silent response and made a turn to take them in the direction of his house. Susie quickly considered if it was a wise course of action, but decided she would be okay and could trust Zack.

"Sure," she said. "I guess that would be fine. How far away is it?"

"Maybe fifteen minutes tops," he said. "Ten if I go a bit faster."

The car sped up considerably at his words.

"Zack, quit being a daredevil. Fifteen minutes is no big deal. That'll give up plenty of time to be home by my curfew."

The car slowed down slightly.

"Okay, it I must," he sighed, admitting defeat.

They arrived at his house three minutes before the predicted fifteen was up. He pulled into the driveway and killed the engine. It was slanted, so Susie was careful as she got out of the car. Zack led her up the walk to the front door and pulled out his keys. Selecting his house key, he slid it into the handle and turned it to undo the deadbolt. It slid out of the slot. Next he undid the handle lock and pushed the door open. He walked in and she followed him. He closed the door and locked it behind them.

The house appeared deserted. There wasn't a sound from within; Zack didn't yell a hello to anyone further on in the interior.

"Zack," Susie asked, "Is anyone else home? Are your parents home?"

"No, they're out for a work thing or something like that tonight. They should be home before you have to go though. We probably need to leave here around quarter after nine. That'll give us enough time to get home and actually be a little early to impress your parents."

"But what if I don't want to be home a little early?" Susie asked. "What if I want to spend as much time out as possible?"

"Then I'd say we better make that time count for as much as possible," Zack replied. Susie wasn't sure if she should giggle or grin.

"Can we start those pot pies now?" she asked. "I'm starving."

"Sure thing," Zack said. "The kitchen is over there, through the living room. There's a bathroom right beyond it you can wash your hands in. I'm going to go upstairs and go take care of some urinary functions and then I'll come back down and we can make dinner."

She wrinkled her nose at him.

"Well that was a little graphic, wasn't it?" she asked.

"Try not to think too hard about it," he said. "I'll be ready in three minutes."

He bounded up the steps as she walked in the direction he'd indicated earlier, through the living room. There wasn't any rush; she'd be ready well before he was. She spent a moment admiring their furniture. The loveseat was ideally situated for looking at the television and the couch was afforded a good look out the window, though the blinds were closed. The light shining through from the low setting sun gave her a likely explanation for their interruption to her view of the street and front yard.

She continued through to the kitchen. It was immaculate–likely the work of his mother. Susie knew her kitchen at home was never this clean. Everything was put away in the cabinets, and if it wasn't it was organized on the back edges of the counters.

She found the bathroom without any trouble. It was right on the other side of the kitchen, just like Zack had told her it was. She walked in and started to close the door before she realized she was only washing her hands and probably could have done so in the kitchen. She left the door half ajar and gave her hands a good rinsing. It had been a while since she had last cooked, but she remembered it was important to clean up for it.

She dried her hands on a towel from a ring right next to her head, then placed it back. She flicked the light switch and moved the door out of the way so she could exit without rubbing her clothing on the wood.

Zack still wasn't down yet, so she walked back to the living room and sat down on the loveseat. She picked a magazine out of the bin next to the chair and thumbed through it until she finally heard Zack's footsteps on the stairs again. She dropped the magazine back into the bin and looked over for him to round the corner.

He'd changed his shirt while he was upstairs. Now he was wearing a shirt from what she could only assume was one of his favorite bands. She was glad he hadn't worn it for the date. She doubted her parents would have approved.

"Did I make it back in three minutes?" he asked, pretending to be anxious for her answer and out of breath like he'd raced to beat the imaginary clock.

"Well...." she said slowly, sliding her phone out of her pocket and acting like she was doing a serious job of checking the time. "I guess we can say you did."

"Wow, thank you. You don't know what a relief that is to me." He pretended to wipe sweat off his brow.

"So is it time to make dinner now?" Susie asked, hunger starting to gnaw at her.

"Sure, right after this," Zack said.

"Right after what?" Susie asked, but she froze as he stepped toward her.

He'd only been the length of the couch from her when he’d appeared, and he closed the distance in three steps. Without a word from either of them, he brought their lips together. The kiss was reminiscent of the movies, but not the same. Where the kiss at the movies had had more emotion than physical need, this was the opposite. She didn't feel a connection to him in soul, but rather in body. Now rather than wanting him for his person, she was drawn along by his body, swept away by his power in form rather than in spirit.

Together they moved backward, until she felt herself pressed into the loveseat. She felt cornered, but instead of being frightening, she found it exhilarating. She was caught in the arms of someone she knew she had felt something deeper than attraction with earlier, and now she was showing him her trust.

His hands had started under her arms, caressing her upper ribs. While they leaned on the loveseat, his hands slowly moved down to her waist. They slid in behind her, around her back, between her and the seat. Then they balled and slid up her back, taking her shirt with them.

Susie leaned her head back, breaking his lips away from Zack's. For a second he kept his eyes closed and his head still, but when she didn't come back to him he opened his eyes and looked at her.

"Zack, what are you–"

He leaned forward and kissed her again. He was more insistent this time, forcing his tongue out, onto her lips and between them, along the teeth she refused to part and give him entrance. His hands resumed their upward path, continuing to try to take her shirt.

Disgusted and horrified, Susie placed her hands between their bodies and pushed hard on his chest. His hands lost their grip and his lips left here. She felt him back up at the force. Something flashed to her side and she felt a stinging pain in her cheek.

He'd slapped her. A full force, open hand slap right across the face. She couldn't believe he'd struck her. The pain intensified and she felt tears well in her eyes. She wanted to get as far away from him as she could. He'd betrayed and tricked her.

His hands grabbed her arms tightly and forced her around. She was facing the chair now. Zack's arms encircled her and he roughly kissed her, first on the cheek and then down the neck. He grabbed the hem of her shirt again and pulled it up. She tried to elbow him but he was too close for a swing. She felt a punch in her gut and felt the wind leave her body.

Her shirt bunched around her armpits and he moved her arms above her head. He slid her shirt up more, up her arms and over her head. She tried to catch it on her elbows but a twist of the shirt held them in place. She felt a pain in one of her shoulders and her arms went limp as her shirt slid off her hands. In her tear-streaked peripheral vision, she saw it fall to the floor several feet from them.

Zack returned his hands to her sides. She felt him press himself behind her and force her toward the couch. She reached behind herself to try to push him away, to find purchase to hurt him, anything to make him stop, but she found nothing.

Her knees collided with the seat of the couch, halting Zack's pushes. One of his hands left her side and reached for the button on her pants, fumbling to undo it.

Outraged, Susie spun around to face him. She straightened her right arm to its fullest extent and swung it into his face for the hardest slap she had ever given. His neck snapped to the side, but only for a second. He whipped it back straight and pushed her with both hands down to a sitting position on the couch.

Grabbing her shoulders, he threw her down onto her side on the couch. He reached a leg over her before following it with his other, holding her thighs with his knees. He knelt over her and reached down with one hand to pop the button on her pants and undo the zipper. With his other hand he swatted hers away from her waist and his face as she desperately tried to stop him.

He jumped off the couch and yanked her up with him. He encircled her with one arm, holding both hers at her sides immobile. Her pants sagged and he tugged at them until they fell to the floor. He placed a foot on the denim and with his free hand he grabbed the inside of each of her knees in turn and pulled her feet out of the bunched legs of the pants. He swept his foot to the side, sending the pants sliding over to rest next to the shirt.

She squirmed in his hold but couldn't shake him off. His free hand returned to her waist and grabbed her panties. With a forceful tug down, they fell around her ankles.

He didn't lessen his grip as he pushed her legs up against the couch and she found herself wedged between him and the cushions. She felt a hand slid between them and heard a zip. She looked around and saw him peeling his pants away. She shook to break away but the arm clamped down and made it hard for her to draw breath. She heard an elastic snap and felt a touch of rubber.

The arm around her released as the other pushed on her back. Unable to step forward she bent at the waist over the couch, finding her face pressed against the back and her arms caught jumbled underneath her chest. She tried to look back, to turn and get free and escape, but she was stuck.

She screamed as he entered her.

Some of her scream was muffled by the couch, but she didn't notice. The pain was blinding, and the fear even worse. Anything she could do that would help her get free was worth doing.

She screamed again as he continued to thrust, forcing her face farther into the couch. She twisted her head to the left to uncover her mouth so she could draw a deep breath. She held it for a second, and then unleashed the loudest scream she'd ever heard when the pain increased even more. Someone had to have heard her. They had to come to help her.

His left hand left her hip where he had held her and he leaned over her a little to extend his reach, leaving his right to hold her in place. He covered her mouth to silence her screaming. He didn't bother to leave her nose uncovered and panic set in as she found it impossible to draw breath. She violently wrenched her head to dislodge his hand from her nose and after a second inhaled. She opened and closed her jaw frantically, hoping to land a bite on his skin, but he had his palm arced so she couldn't reach it. She screamed again, but he muffled it so much the purpose was lost.

She realized she was completely helpless. The frenetic motion of her arms stopped, and they came to a rest underneath her. The arch of her back relaxed as she accepted the futility of her resistance. He slowed as she went limp, wondering at the cause of her surrender.

Tears spilled from her eyes. They ran down her cheeks and over his hand. He felt their warm tracks across his knuckles.

He nearly stopped as he neared completion. His right hand released her hip and reach underneath, fondling her breast roughly. Pausing, his hand ran nimbly around her side, up to the middle of her back between her shoulder blades when it unhooked her bra.

Her tears increased as the last of her clothing slid off her body and down to rest among her tangled arms. His hand returned underneath, squeezing and rubbing her as he finished. He pushed himself deep as his upper body leaned back, pulling her up slightly from the couch by the face and chest.

Pleasure rippled through his body. She felt him shaking, stretching to his fullest in every direction, before retracting and collapsing on top of her, driving her into the cushions. He laid there for a second, slowly sliding out of her, before silently standing and walking away from her through the kitchen.

Susie remained kneeling on the floor, unable to move. She was ruined; she would never be able to go on normally. The pain hadn't entirely left. It stayed to help immobilize her.

She felt something warm on her legs. She turned her neck to look behind her, an agonizing action, and saw blood streaking down her inner thighs.

Slowly, pausing for long stretches, she pulled herself up onto the couch. Moving her legs made the pain return in torrents, and she nearly gave up and fell to the floor. Eventually she found herself in the most comfortable position she could manage.

She hadn't noticed the tears had stopped, but the thought wasn't lost on her as she felt them return. They pooled in the corners of her eyes before rolling away, some down to the tip her nose, and staining the couch. She began to shake, sobs racking her body.

Through her tears she surveyed her clothes. Her panties had come unhooked from one of her feet and hung from only the other. Her bra was tangled in her arms, affording her no coverage. Her pants and peach colored shirt lay on the floor, discarded at the beginning by Zack.

Zack walked back into the room, taking a pull from a fifth of some sort of whiskey. As his gaze swept downward, it locked on her. He looked at her lying prone on the couch, her only movement an intermittent shudder.

He had gone and changed while she had crawled for comfort, she noticed. He had put his first shirt back on. His pants were zipped again, the condom undoubtedly disposed of.

His expression was cold. He showed no expression of sympathy or of sorrow, but also none of success or achievement. He capped the fifth and placed it on the table. He walked toward her, and she tried to ball up and hide from him. He continued passed her. He picked up her clothes and then walked to the couch.

"Sit up, dammit!" he almost yelled at her. She flinched.

"You're a frickin' mess. Put your clothes back on, for the love of everything holy."

He dropped her pants and shirt on the arm of the couch by her head. He surveyed her for a second, then reached out and hooked her panties over her second foot, pulling them up her legs as much as he could. Just above her knees he was stopped by the couch.

"Come on you little slut, sit up! We have to get you dressed."

Susie was not capable of sitting up. She laid unmoving, staring at him with as much defiance as she could with tears falling from her eyes.

He grabbed her shoulders and forced her to a sitting position. She refused to move and help him. He picked her shirt up and slid it over her neck. Realizing her bra was still dislodged, he attempted to put it back in place, halting his attempt with the shirt. He pulled her forward, opening a space behind her back to try to clip it. After a minute of frustration, he gave up.

"I don't know how to hook this up, so we're just going to take it off. Cool?" he asked, not waiting for a reply.

He curled his fingers around the middle, between the cups, and pulled it away from her chest. It strained against her arms before finding a way to get free. He held it for a second before dropping it next to her.

Her tears continued as he stopped a second to ogle her exposed breasts. She had been demeaned lower than an animal, and he wasn't finished yet. He looked up and saw her tears still running.

"Oh, quit your crying. Was that your first time? Sucks to be you. Maybe you shouldn't be such a slut and this wouldn't have happened to you."

He fed her arms through the shirt one at a time, then slid it down, covering her and affording her a tiny amount of decency at last. He picked her pants up and slid her legs into them, pulling them up to the lip of the couch cushions, just short of where her panties were.

He put one hand on each side of the skimpy underwear and yanked them up, forcing them through the space that wasn't there between her thighs and the couch. Eventually they reached their proper place, but they also smeared the blood on her legs.

"Oh damn it, you got blood on my couch! What the hell is wrong with you?" he yelled at her again. "I'm going to have to clean this up now. Get up. Get the hell up."

He reached behind her, around her sides and pulled her off the couch. He supported her at first as she stood, agonizingly close to him, but he backed up as he made sure she could stand on her own. He let go of her sides and reached down to pull up her pants. Reaching her waist, he buttoned them snugly before closing the zipper.

"And just like that, we're all done. You're good as new. Well, kind of," he said. "Don't forget your bra. Stuff it in your purse or something so nobody asks about it. Also, stop crying. It's annoying and people are gonna notice.

"It's time to go. We're not getting dinner tonight. If your parents ask, you felt sick after the movie but said you'd try to go to dinner where it just didn't work, so I brought you home without us eating."

He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her toward the door. She grabbed her bra from the couch, moving numbly without thinking.

"Whoops, your lipgloss is messed up. You could always tell them that happened because you blew me I guess. That's probably preferable to what actually happened because you're so damn easy."

He opened the front door and indicated the direction of his car. Her tears had begun to stop and dry as she put on a tough face for public. He locked the door behind them and caught up to her on the walk.

"You probably think I'm joking about this. This was your fault, you slut. And if you tell anyone about it, it'll be your fault the next time it happens too."

Susie felt shivers down her spine. More than anything else in the world, she wanted to do everything she could to ensure this didn't happen again.

They reached his car. She walked around and got in after he unlocked the doors. She put her bra in the purse she had left in the car, next to the mace she had forgotten she had ever purchased and never thought she would need. The engine started, and Zack backed out of the driveway.

"Your damn fault, you slut."

---------

AN: there's so much to say about this. Why'd I write this? What the hell's wrong with me? Just.. Seriously, what the hell?

I don't have the answers to all those questions. I wrote this just to see if I honestly could. I knew the ending I wanted, but I didn't know how hard it would be to actually write it.

I feel revolting. I have now planned and, in my mind at least, executed rape. This is something I will absolutely never, ever do. Ever.

I hope this wasn't as upsetting for you to read as it was for me to write. Or maybe it would be a good thing if it was, to help fight against the evils or rape and abuse. I don't know. I just know I need to do something else now.

Tor!

"Sie scheißt... Nein!"

A roar bellowed out from the paltry crowd. It was a little strange that he was in a crowd that was rooting mostly against his country's team, but that was to be expected since he wasn't in his country.

"Jetzt die Amis. Sie scheißt... Tor!"

Now the only celebration he heard came from his left. The groaning multiplied–the locals were unhappy with the performance of their team–but one of his fellow Americans sure seemed to be getting into the game.

Well, maybe getting into wasn't quite right. The game had been close for its entirety; the Germans and Americans had been evenly matched for the one hundred and twenty-seven minutes they had played. Now it came down to penalty kicks. Even for someone who didn't care one bit about soccer, this World Cup match was holding his attention.

The Germans scored on a bad drop by the American goalie, Hope Solo. As the bar cheered and his friend groaned and reached for her drink, Thomas rolled his eyes and slid the bench back an inch from the table to make his position a little more comfortable.

"You know, Lexi, you probably ought to lay off the drinking," he said. "What is that, your third Bacardi?"

"Shut up, Tom!" Alexis said. "I'm fine! Wait what just happened? I missed it!"

As the announcer screamed "Nein!" the screen showed the American kick the ball completely over the net. The goalie hadn't had a chance, but the shooter's aim had been too high. The Germans cheered.

Alexis groaned as she watched the replay. She took a long pull from her drink before Tom pushed the bottom down and took it out of her grasp.

"I think you might want to give this a break," he said.

He it down on his other side, just out of her reach. She tried to stick her arm around him to reach the bottle, but he caught her elbow and countered her effort to grasp the bottle, keeping it just beyond her fingertips. After a second she gave up and folded her arms, pretending to pout. They both knew her five it back after a minute passed.

The bar erupted as the announcer screamed "Torrrrrr!" through the large speakers hooked to the television. The German kicker scored against a hopeless goalie to give Germany the lead.

Alexis slammed her head down on the table in frustration. She played soccer and knew how hard it was but found the Americans' performance unacceptable. Tom waited a second for her to calm down before he returned her drink.

As she took a sip, the bartender from the night before came back and sat next to her. Tom found him nice enough. He seemed to be a good guy who apparently liked giving drinks to people not quite old enough to buy their own.

Patrick had started a conversation with Alexis by the time the next American was approaching for her shot. Left without someone to talk to, Thomas turned his full attention to the game. The American ran up and kicked the ball no differently than the other players had, but this time to German goalie was lucky enough to jump the correct way and make another lucky save.

Thomas suddenly felt the table move violently under his arms. He looked over and saw that Alexis had pushed it away in horror at the play before rolling onto the floor. He saw that, luckily, she had closed her drink first. But he looked back in confusion along with Patrick and saw her curled up on the floor in a ball.

Patrick reached out first, picking her up off the ground and setting her back on the bench between her two more sober friends. She leaned over into his shoulder, her back arched along the length of his arm which he wrapped around her back to support her. She cried on his chest and Thomas watched on as he whispered into her ear, comforting her. He couldn't hear what Patrick was saying, but it didn't seem to be working.

As Alexis's crying continued, Patrick seemed to grow more insistent in his comforts. After a few more lines from his lips, her crying seemed to slow. She sat a little straighter and looked at him from a little greater distance. After Patrick said something else, she nodded and moved back to allow him to rise. After he left, Thomas and Alexis were left alone.

"Where'd Patrick go?" Thomas asked, trying to restart their conversation.

"Oh, he just went to get some shots," Alexis said.

"Shots?" Thomas said. "Lexi, you don't need shots. Look, you still have this drink."

He picked her Bacardi off the floor and handed it to her. She looked at it for a second in confusion.

"Tom, I don't want this anymore," she said in an unusually whiny tone. "I want some tequila. And Patrick and I are going to do it right over there!"

She pointed over toward the corner and Thomas looked to see a storage closet in the wall.

"What? Why over there?" he asked worriedly, something she missed in her buzz.

"That's where he told me to meet him," Alexis responded.

"Lexi, I think we should go back to your room. You need to go back there. I don't like where this is going," he said.

"Don't worry Tom," Alexis protested. "You always think the worst is going to happen."

"Lexi, you're drunk," he said firmly. "You need to listen to me. Patrick is going to do something with you that you aren't going to want to do."

"You don't know what I want to do," Alexis pouted. "Maybe I really do want to do shots."

Thomas wasn't sure if she was serious.

"That's not what I meant," he said warily. "Just remember: at home, in America, you have a boyfriend."

Realization slowly dawned in her eyes.

"Oh yeah, that's right! Tom, where would I be without you? We need to go back to my room and grab my iPhone," she slurred.

"Your iPhone?" he said before realizing that it was best not to question it. "Fine, yeah. I think you left your iPhone in your room. Yeah it's definitely down there. Come on, let's go grab it."

He pushed the bench back and stood up. She followed uncertainly, groping at his shoulder for support. She managed to find her balance and the two walked over to the elevator. Thomas would have preferred to take the stairs to avoid running into Patrick, but he didn't think Alexis could be trusted to walk down them.

Luckily the doors opened before Patrick reappeared and the two slipped inside and pressed the floor their rooms were on. Alexis leaned heavily on the wall as the car descended.

"Lexi, how do you feel?" Thomas asked.

"Not bad. A little upset because of all the rocking this stupid elevator is doing," she said.

The doors opened.

She grasped his shoulder for support again and they walked down the hallway. They reached the first corner where the hallway ended and Thomas led her to the right, toward her room and safety where she could sober up through the night. As they neared the next corner, Thomas stopped and Alexis bumped into him. They were at her room.

"Do you have your key?" he asked her.

"I do," she said pulling it out of her back pocket. "Here you go."

He swiped the key and the door opened in front of them.

"Come on in," she invited. "It'll only be a second."

He followed her as she walked in. He closed the door behind her, key still in hand. He clicked the lock on the handle to slide the deadbolt and flipped the metal hook over the nub on the wall.

"Here's my iPhone!" Alexis announced from beside her bed. It had been resting on the nightstand.

"Why did you need your iPhone?" Thomas asked in slight confusion. He still wasn't sure if he should feel relief that he'd managed to get her out of the bar.

"Oh, you reminded me about John," she said. "I'm going to break up with him before anything happens up there."

Thomas froze. He couldn't let her break up with John drunk. He knew she'd regret it the next day, even if she didn't at the moment. She was way too drunk to know what was going on, and it had become his responsibility to make her decision for her about one bottle ago.

"Lexi, give me your phone," he said. "You're drunk. You don't really want to do what you're about to."

"Actually I do. See? I'm already opening Facebook to send him a message," she objected.

Thomas walked over to her and took the phone out of her hands.

"Tom, give me my phone back!" she yelled, indignant.

She lunged for the iPhone, but missing badly and hitting him in the chest. He used his free hand to push her back and raised the phone up and away from her.

"Lexi, leave the phone," he said, trying to convince her to stop. "You need to listen to me. I didn't drink anything up there. Trust me. Listen to me."

"Give me my phone!" she yelled again, showing him she wouldn't stop.

Desperately he dropped his hand to his side, sticking the phone in the pocket of his jeans. With both hands free, he grabbed both of Alexis's wrists. They struggled for a second before Alexis let her arms go limp.

"Tom, please give me my phone back," she pleaded. "I need to talk to John."

"No you don't," he said firmly. "Trust me. Stop."

She nodded slightly and Thomas let go of her wrists. They fell to her side and she looked at the ground. For a second Thomas thought she was going to cry again. The she lunged out with her arm and stuck it in his left pocket, the one he had put her phone in.

"Give me my phone back now Tom!" she yelled.

He frantically reached down to grab her wrist again and restrain her from removing her hand from his pocket.

"Lexi, stop it!" he grunted, fighting hard against her surprising drunken strength.

The struggled lasted several long seconds, before she seemed to give in to his wishes. She looked down at his pocket, knowing what was in there and why she wanted it, but thinking about the chances of actually being able to get it out.

"You know," she said after a second, "my iPhone isn't all that's in that pocket, now is it?"

Thomas didn't respond.

"Tom, if you let me find out exactly what else is in there, I promise I'll leave the phone alone."

Thomas didn't know what to do. If he accepted her deal, he was no better than Patrick.

"Lexi, you're drunk," he said panicked. "You need to go to bed."

"I'd love to go to bed, Tom. It's actually better this way, isn't it?" she asked. "This way it'll stay quiet and I won't have to break up with John."

He felt her release her grasp on the phone. He numbly loosened his hands on her wrist and she slid her hand free. As she unbuckled his belt, he wondered if he'd really kept her safe at all.

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AN: Well this isn't quite how it happened...