Chapter 8

A month in the apartment and it felt like a lifetime. Terri managed to find a job as a technical supporter for a local internet company. Answering phones all day, sounding chipper.. …okay, scratch the last part. Cara found herself working in a Laundromat over 80 hours a week, on a normal basis. While I did my regular 80, sometimes less, depending on how well I was feeling. I would often get sick, have a split second flashback… It hurt to remember the pain. I was being counseled every Saturday about it, and ended up changing churches due to the harassment. Just… Too many people asking questions I didn't want to answer, or that hadn't already been answered in the papers.

Life was turning into a routine. I got a phone call from Jason, informing me that Chipa had showed up on his doorstep. David retrieved her for me while I was in therapy, and I returned to the apartment to see the two of them sitting by the door. Chipa bounded into my arms, and I propped myself against the banister as I happily hugged her. I didn't think I'd see her again, but luckily I was a packrat and kept the cage.

David stood up and smiled, "You happy?"

"If you can't tell by now." I grinned at him.

I unlocked the room and entered, Chipa happy to have her favourite food again. David stayed with me, sat on the couch (which someone had donated, anonymously). Gorgeous couch, flower designs, lavender and olive… I sat by him, "So you're just bored today?"

"Kind of. I drove all that way to get your dog and come here… I think I deserve a rest." he smiled.

I felt the atmosphere change. It was time to talk. And so I let him know. The video room incident… The attempted rape… The kidnapping and actual rape… It tore him apart to hear me recount my experience there, and my chest panged me as each word flowed through my lips. I was honest with him… I had to be. I owed it to him, I felt.

He told me how Terri, Cara, and the paramedics had arrived… They'd found the blood, my name had been all over the news… Huge manhunt. I'd been gone for two weeks and hope was dwindling. And David, poor David, had been in and out of consciousness, unable to do anything. All he could do was say my name. When they asked who'd attacked me, he would go into a trance, sometimes swinging wildly. He didn't remember a moment of it, only when I'd come in that day.

They found the body of a guy I recognized from school, shot in the head, behind the apartment. It was an abandoned building, which I believed instantly. Far from anyone, couldn't hear the gunshot when he died… Found out, from the people who hung out there, that Chris had been living there, and had invited Ephraim and some other friends to stay with him.

Ephraim was still missing, as was Chris, but the police were optimistic about catching him.

David slipped down to the floor, on both knees, lying his head in my lap, holding my hands in his. I took them away, though, and wrapped them around his head in an effort to comfort him. He turned up after a while and took my hands once more.

"Shana… I don't want to lose you. That's the second time, and I'll be damned if it's not the last time…"

"David, don't get so excited. You're still hurting."

Instead of heeding my advice (and thus proving he was male), he shook his head and looked straight at me. "Shana… I love you."

"I love you, too, David." I smiled. But the look on his face made me furrow my brows.

"No, Shana, you don't understand… I'm in love with you."

A freight train slammed against me at that moment. I felt lost in a trance as the words echoed in my head, until I could think no more and melted into nothingness.

"I… I can't stand to see you hurt, and I want to protect you. I want to always be able to protect you. I love you, Shana, and I want to be with you. Please… Say you'll be mine."

"Terri!" I cried out as I raced over to greet her.

"Hey, Kylie! What took you so long?" she jeered.

"Oh, maybe just the fact that your work is closer to here than it is to the apartment. Cheater." I folded my arms in a mock disappointment.

"What? I left ten minutes after we hung up, like I said I would." Terri grinned.

"Somehow I doubt that." Turning, I spied Cara running up from the opposite sidewalk.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry!" she called out, "I got so caught up… Oh, I never thought I'd get out of there!"

"I can't wait to see who has to pay." Terri snickered, her eyes scanning the parking lot fervently. As she was looking around, I suddenly felt a presence. The atmosphere had changed and I smiled as the familiar arms wrapped around my stomach, I felt those soft lips brush my neck, a whisper, "Hi, Girly." I turned, throwing my arms up and around the neck of my raven haired man, snuggling my head against his chest lightly. "Hi, Baby." I countered with a smile.

"Aww, isn't that freakin' adorable!" Terri cawed with a laugh, Cara giggling softly. I shook my head, "Oh so jealous! You wish you could have someone with gorgeous eyes like these." Then stuck my tongue out.

"Terri!"

Turning, we four spied Tanzy and Jesse running up. "You made it!" Terri smiled.

"Yeah, thanks to Jesse's amazing speeding skills." Tanzy muttered, slumping over and taking deep breaths.

"You'll never get used to it, trust me." Cara giggled as she leapt up to throw her arms around the boy. "Hi there!" To which he simply smiled and kissed her cheek.

"So we're all here?" I asked curiously. My watch told of a movie that would soon be starting without us, possibly sold out if we didn't hurry.

"Not quite all." Turning, we spied a rather tall boy approaching. His hair was a dark brown, obviously of a Spanish decent, and he approached Terri quickly. He was the only person I knew who could lift Terri. She wasn't fat, she was just really freaking tall… Or, maybe I was just short. Either way, he did what none of us could. And she giggled and kicked until he released her.

"So we're ready?" I asked, feigning my over exaggeration. Everyone finally together, we entered the movie theatre. Arm in arm, we couples sat. Tanzy took a space between myself and Terri, obviously anticipating the mock of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 we would do. Our favourite movie theatre game.

But this time, she was left out. My first real movie with David… And wouldn't you know, I never saw a single scene.

And wouldn't you know, I didn't want to see it.