A/N: I changed Ayden's name to Aydian so it wouldn't be too close to Hayden's! Just a heads up.

Chapter 31


"Patricia? What a pretty name. My name is Jeremy. Oh, why must you leave me now, my darling Patricia? Why won't you stay and have a dance with me?"

"Because this Patricia has a previous engagement… with me."

-Jeremy & Aydian

"Oh come now, Chris. You know that this ball only comes around once a ye'r. Don't let your father hold you back from this," I pleaded to Darien in an old English accent as he dramatically kicked at the ground (which is actually our stage).

"Oh, no! Far be it from him to doeth that!" Darien spat. "He probably already has a girl lined up for me and everything else! The ol' goat probably already has garments laid out for such an occasion as this already as well!"

"Don't call him that, no matter how true it is..." I looked at him the best I could with admiration, just as the script called for, and it wasn't hard… all I had to do was pretend he was a certain someone. "If you do not want the girl he lines up… then why not find your own?" I offered.

"Oh yeah? Like who? Who would want to go to the masque with someone as messed up as I?" He threw himself down on the floor and put his elbows on his knees so that his hands would cradle his head perfectly.

I sat down beside him, smoothing out my dress all around me. I gave a face that seemed grave as I suggested, "Why not ask Margaret?"

"Margaret?" He raised his head to spit the name with appalled venom in his tone. "Margaret Hamilton? Although she is quite a beauty…" He paused for a moment, in thought and then waved the idea away. "No… I'm sure she already has someone by now."

"Just ask her." I tapped his leg as I got up. "I'm sure she will say yes," I interrupted before he could object. I then began walking, but then paused and turned back to find him staring after me, admiring me. I blushed. "Chris, any lady would be foolish to turn someone, such as yourself, down." I then gave a weak smile. "She'll say yes."

I then made my dramatic exit just in time to hear Mrs. Martin applauding us. "Bravo! That was nicely done, you two. You make a fabulous dramatic pair that sends shivers down my spine. Oh, the suspense! And Hayden, those curtains need to be drawn as soon as that scene is over? You get me?"

When she was done, I went back stage to see what costume they have to 'fit' me in next. As I went, I passed up Hayden who was pulling the ropes to the curtains, proving to Mrs. Martin that they worked. She then left him alone to go help the other girls with Rose's fitting. While they assisted her, I sat back to wait patiently.

All day, I had avoided Hayden, but he had also avoided me. I could tell because in the classes I had him in, he had his face hidden in a book. In the halls, he went out of his way just to not cross my path. Then, as I sat down at our usual lunch table, that now had Damien and Dana as additions, Hayden didn't even bother showing up to lunch, and neither did Dante. Rose said that Dante was probably off with Hayden, and they were probably just catching up on some 'guy' stuff or 'band' issues that we don't know of. As much as I wanted to believe her, I knew better. I knew he wasn't there because of me.

I was hoping that by telling Hayden those things last night that it would help me focus solely on Damien, but it did not. Now, I couldn't stop thinking about Hayden. I kept worrying about him, about how he was, about his band, and I kept wondering if I had really hurt his pride that much… but I knew that I had hurt much more than that.

I looked away from Hayden just in time to see Dana walking over to me. She sat down beside me in the floor and smiled. "So… I was thinking—"

"Oh dear, this can't be good," I mumbled, which earned me a punch to the shoulder.

"Shush! Now then, as I was saying, I'm thinking that we should go to Clair's party. Y'know, the one that's Friday night? Yeah, I was just talking to her and—"

"You were talking to Clair?!" I said loud enough to where Dana shushed me and looked around. "Why on earth would you be talking to her? I do not, I repeat, do not like her. There's no way that I'm going to—"

She cut me off immediately as if I had offended her. "Shush now. She's talking to me because I'm a senior, 'kay?"

I glared. "There's still no way I'm—"

"Oh, but there is." She gave me a small smile. "You see… we have a slight problem here."

I narrowed my eyes. "Slight? Like what kind of problem?"

"Like… you're leaving right after finals and the play performance next week." She looked away from me, and all I could do was gawk at her.

"Are you serious?" I felt so breathless, so lost at that moment that I flinched when my voice cracked. I couldn't just up and leave!

Dana's expression was guarded as she turned back to me. "I know this isn't what we had planned on… but it's the only way. Nate's made some changes, thus, we have to make some changes. He's coming here. I'm not sure when or how… for all we know he could be here now," she whispered fiercely. "So… we thought that Clair's party would be a good place to keep you at so that Devin and Alistair can do some work. All I'm sure of is that we can't take any chances. We have to tell Hayden, and soon, so he can be prepared. Can you do that for me?"

I looked away from her, knowing that I probably couldn't do what she was asking. I had made it clear to Hayden myself that I didn't want him, and now I would have to be the one to come running back first? Crap that!

"I don't know if I can…"

"Well, you need to try because Damien's taking on too much right now. He's fully devoted to 'the watch'. We're trying to keep tabs on Nate, but it's hard. Alistair… he's helping him…" She shook her head, and I could tell she was holding back tears. "I'm freakin' PMSing here, and all the same, I can't be with my man, and I'm under too much pressure. Urg! This sucks." She laughed bitterly, which made me look away. I heard her sniffle before she said, "You talk to Hayden tonight at the club… and for the meantime, don't go down any dark allies, 'kay?"

I gave her a questioning look, but still nodded all the same and listened to her boots click as she left. My eyes landed on Hayden's back as she did, and I sadly looked away.

This would be interesting.

The crowd around me was full of swaying, dancing bodies, and yet I stood motionlessly. "Must I really do this now?" I whined to Dana, who was dancing with Alistair. When Dana danced, she looked like she knew what she was doing. For some reason, if I wasn't doing a slow dance, then I felt as graceful as a retarded swan.

Rose was sitting at a round table with Darien and all of his jock friends, and their dates of course. Darien had his arm draped around Rose's waist, and she looked like she was enjoying every second of it as she smiled up at him, in love with his voice most definitely. Who wouldn't be? Darien was fiiiine, I'll give him that.

"Oh, quit whining, Adrienne. As soon as Hayden's done playing, you go over and talk to him, 'kay?"

"You don't get it though. We got in a… 'fight', sort of…"

Dana narrowed her eyes but still kept her hips swaying with Alistair's movements. "What do you mean, 'sort of'? Either you're fighting or you're not."

I sighed as I looked back at Hayden's form, using that beautiful voice to capture the attention of every female in this room… and it was working over time as I looked around to see some drooling. Well good for them. He could have them all!

I pouted as I stalked over to sit in a booth. I was vaguely aware of listening to the steps behind me. I sat down with my back to the stage and crossed my arms. I was not going to talk to that conniving little twit… whom I was angry with for sticking his foot out in front of me, thus making me trip and fall for him. I was a failure.

I let my head fall to the table, aware of Dana and Alistair scooting into the bench in front of me.

"Oh, come on, Adrienne. It couldn't have been that bad. What did you say to him?"

I looked up at her, my eyes weary. "The other night when I was sobbing… I was sobbing over him… but it was because I caught him making out with another girl." I looked away, watching the crowd and noticing the couples and how happy they looked. Lucky them.

At Dana's shocked expression, Alistair took his leave. "I'll go get us some sodas."

I smiled at him and then looked back at his girlfriend. "And then… he came to my window while it was storming outside when Damien and I were asleep… and I went to the window and pretty much told him to please go away, that I didn't want him…" I trailed off, afraid that my voice might crack.

"What are you, a moron?!"

I almost jumped as I looked up at her. "Excuse me?"

"Adrienne Collins, you my dear are a complete and utter idiot for saying such a thing to him. He was probably just kissing the other girl to make you jealous, and heck, it worked!"

My hand flew to my chest at her horrified accusations. "I, my friend, am not jealous!" I stood up then to make an escape, but I found myself rooted in place. "I'm not!"

"Oh yeah?"

I glared at her, letting my hair fall into my face, and she followed me as I went to stand near the back. I did it to get away from her, but she only followed me. "You're not going anywhere by yourself, Adrienne! Are you stupid?" she scolded.

Just then, the music stopped, so I turned around. The rest of the band was wiping sweat from their brows, but not Hayden. Hayden was nodding at the crowd in approval to their cheering. "Thank you," he said huskily, "Thank you very much. Let's slow things down a bit with this next song. We did not write it. It's called "Yours to Hold", and it's by the band Skillet. Enjoy." He then turned around to look at the rest of the band. They nodded at him, and he turned back around to face the crowd. Just as he did, our eyes met, and I froze.

"I see you standing here
But you're so far away
Starving for your attention
You don't even know my name

You're going through so much
But I know that I could be the one to hold you

Every single day
I find it hard to say
I could be yours alone
You will see someday
That all along the way
I was yours to hold
I was yours to hold…

My head began to spin in all directions as slow memories attempted to envelope me. I shook my head, as if to shake off the memories, or what were our memories in any case.

"I see you walking by
Your hair always hiding your face
I wonder why you've been hurting
I wish I had some way to say

You're going through so much
Don't you know that I could be the one to hold you…

As he started into the chorus again, I bolted for the exit. I could hear Dana's high heels clicking after me. "Where do you think you're going?!" she squealed, which caused some people to shush her with their glares. "Adrienne." She grabbed my shoulder and spun me around. "What's going on with you lately?"

Alistair appeared behind her, but he wasn't focused on us, he was too busy glaring at all of the men admiring Dana. Goodness, who could blame them?

"I don't want to talk about this…"

Dana didn't let me go. "You're in love with him…" she deadpanned. "Face it. Embrace it, however you want to see it. In any case… you can't just 'ignore' these little feelings, you idiot. Don't you see what they're doing to you? You're acting like a crazy and running away from everything. What's up with that?"

I glowered at her. "I'm not in love with him! Stop telling me that!"

Dana shook me. "You love Hayden. You love Damien. You love two very special men. Now stop fighting it and get on with life!"

When she stopped shaking me, I could only stare at her, her words sinking in so deep that they felt suffocating.

"I'm stretching but you're just out of reach
You should know
I'm ready when you're ready for me
And I'm waiting for the right time
For the day I catch your eye

To let you know
That I'm yours to hold…

The chorus started again, and this time, instead of bolting, I found myself walking around the crowd. I sat back down at a booth, but Dana and Alistair didn't join me. Instead, they were slow dancing with the other couples not far from my table. I noticed Alistair keeping his eye on me, and then Dana flashed me a smile as she made him come closer to our table. "Just remember… Damien will be joining us soon. Fix things with Hayden before he comes, okay?" She smiled once again and they drifted back to the crowd, her head at peace against Alistair's chest.

"I'm stretching but you're just out of reach
I'm ready when you're ready for me…

As they finished, everyone applauded them and screamed. I stood up when I saw them heading off the stage, and I knew I had to talk to him. I pushed through the mingling bodies, some shooting me dirty looks, and headed for their table. I was almost there, thank goodness, when fate decided to be just cruel to a small girl like me.

"Hello, hello, beautiful." The taller man grabbed my wrist, causing me to almost stumble at the sudden halt. He wasn't as tall as Damien or Hayden, but he looked to be about 5'7 at the least. "And what's your lovely name, darling?" he purred as he kissed my hand.

I made a pained face, which he didn't seem to catch it. "I don't have a name, and I really must be going." I jerked my hand away and turned around, but he was quick to snake his arm around my waist.

"What's the rush, sweet heart? Just give me a name. Any name." He gave me a big smile, which only made me cringe at the strong smell of alcohol.

I rolled my eyes. "Fine. It's Patricia. Now, I must go."

He didn't let go. "Patricia? What a pretty name. My name is Jeremy. Oh, why must you leave me now, my darling Patricia? Why won't you stay and have a dance with me?"

"Because this Patricia has a previous engagement… with me," a beautiful daring voice declared in a possessive way.

The man and I both turned around to see the voice standing over me. Once my eyes saw the black dragon tattoo on his right shoulder, I could've recognized that tall giant anywhere.

"I'm sorry to keep you waiting long, muffin." Aydian bent down and placed a kiss on my forehead, snaking his arm around my shoulders. "I had to finish that song. You know how it is. Thank you for keeping my girl company for me, Sir, but now I must be selfish as to take her back." Aydian gave a charming smile as he swept me from the drunk's arms and into his own.

"You're taking my woman? But I found her first," the drunk declared.

Aydian didn't lose his cool though. "I know, and for that I thank you kindly," he replied politely. Without any other exchanging of words, Aydian twirled me and we 'danced' away into the mingling/dancing bodies.

When we were in the clear away from the drunk, I looked up at the 6'3 form. "Okay, number one, did you just seriously call me 'muffin'? Number two, thank you for saving me, and three, why the heck are you so tall?"

He laughed at that. "Of course, the short ones are always quick to be blunt, and you're welcome. Did you ever think that I just stumbled upon some miracle grow or something?" He smiled down at me, twirling me again. "And you didn't like my nick name?" He frowned down playfully at me.

"The miracle grow is a big possibility, and since you saved me, I'll forgive the nick name." I danced a little with him, my eyes searching for Hayden.

"He's not happy, you know."

I looked back up at Aydian. "Excuse me?"

"Hayden. He's been in a bad mood lately, and I know it has to have something to do with you." He wasn't looking down, but he was watching all the other people around us.

"Did he say he was mad at me?"

This made him crack a smile. "So I see you return this affection for him, hm? Well darn, and here I thought you'd make a good candidate for a good girlfriend too. Way to drown my hopes, pumpkin." He sent a smirk my way, and I responded to it.

I stepped on his foot purposely and took pleasure in his wince. "Don't toy with me because it's just not fair." He was indeed cute, I'll give him that. He'd definitely be a candidate for me too if I didn't already have my eyes set on Damien.

"Ah, it's okay. I have a feeling that we'll become good friends anyways, so I won't worry myself with that."

I nodded and my eyes began looking back through the crowd again. Aydian must've caught that since he chuckled. My eyes flew back up at him. "What?!"

"Nothing; it's just that you're doing the same thing he does every night before he plays. He always has to look for you, y'know? When he saw you tonight…" He shook his head, and I felt as if my head was spinning. "Man, I was afraid he'd just walk out into the crowd and go to you. He hates fighting with you, but you know he's too prideful to fix it." He shrugged. "I guess that just means that you get to fix it."

I wish.

"You do know though…" He paused and leaned his forehead to mine, catching my eyes and taking my undivided attention with it. "He doesn't feel a thing for Rae, okay?"

I shook my head and opened my mouth, but he placed his middle and index finger over them.

"She was drunk. She's in love with Dante, but she continuously flirts with Hayden when she's drunk. Dante just up and left her for Rose, what else is she to do? She wants him, and she might just get him if she cleans up her act. Rose is a pretty hard competition, and she's a good pick, I'll give Dante that." He grinned. "But he needs to get the balls to tell Rae to knock it off, 'cause now she's just messing with Hayden and you."

I blinked a few times and moved his fingers. "What? There is no Hayden and—"

He closed my mouth again, and I bit at his hand. This made him smirk. "This is just my personal take on it, but I think she likes to steal men, I really think this, and she loves a good challenge. She knows Hayden is head over heels for you, so this presents a challenge to her. So, what's it going to be?"

I looked away from him and back around the crowd. "Where is she now?"

"Probably still back at our table trying to sit on Hayden's lap."

I looked back at him, that same smirk on his lips as my face registered horror. She wants to give him a lap dance already?! "Then shouldn't we go back to the table now?"

Aydian made a face. "Are you tired of me already, love?"

I dropped my hands from his. "I just… I really want to talk to him right now… and I would just love to glare at Rae." I smiled at him before I looked back into the crowd nervously, but this time I searched for Damien.

Aydian nodded though and wrapped his arm around my waist, a boyish smile gracing his lips. "Whatever you want, cupcake."

I rolled my eyes before I punched his ribs lightly. "Thank you, buttercup. I know how much you just love to give me what I want."

He smiled brightly now. "You know it."

Once we made our way to the table, we found the band sitting there, all blowing bubbles through their straws making their pop fizz to the top of their cans, all of them but Ian, who was watching, and Hayden, who was just staring at his unopened can, and surprisingly, he wasn't alone. Aydian chuckled as he approached, which brought their attention to us. Rae took one look at me and then made a pouting face. Oh gee, did I just ruin her fun?

Too bad.

"Wow, Aydian. Nice date," Jarrat smiled at me just before he turned back to smirk at Hayden. "Dude! You let your rhythm guitarist steal your woman!"

Aydian laughed and shook his head as he pulled up some seats for the two of us. I sat down beside him and noticed Hayden looking at him. I looked at Aydian, but he was looking right back at Hayden. Was it just me, or did they seem to be having some sort of weird, awkward, silent conversation?

"Come on, Ian! We only have one final song to do. I think we can take just a little beer. Maybe just one at least?" Justin begged, and as my eyes averted to him, I noticed his hair wasn't blue anymore, but a lime green now.

Ian simply looked impassive. "No, Justin, because if you're intoxicated then you can't properly play the beat, and seeing that your our drummer, that would be bad." The shocking blond hair covered the sides of his face, so I couldn't see his expression well.

Justin glared daggers at him. Jarrat then slammed his can down. "Crap it, Ian! Just let us have our beer and be happy, would you?! It's bad enough that we have to witness Adrienne and Hayden's love issues. We need to drown them out with better things, such as alcohol."

My mouth fell open at that. "Love issues?! Well I've never—"

Aydian shut me up by putting his hand over my mouth. He shushed me and then looked over at Jarrat passively. "Jarrat, before trying to pick a fight with anyone about love, just remember who usually has to beg a girl to date you."

I could hear Justin and Ian both coughing, trying not to laugh. I, too, was trying to fight a smile. Jarrat couldn't get his own date? Heh… lovely.

Jarrat threw the empty pop can at Aydian, who moved his head to the side, letting the can fly by his head. He then stood up and sulked off, mumbling that he wanted a beer. At the mention of that, Justin was well on his heels. Ian shook his head solemnly. "Well… that was very rude of them. They didn't even say goodbye." He then looked over at me and slipped out of his serious mode and back into shy mode. "Sorry about that, Adrienne."

"Hayden," Rae whined, "Come dance with me, please?"

"Haven't you heard?" Aydian spoke up, showing his distaste in her to her face. "Hayden doesn't dance with just any girl."

Rae glared at him. "Well then, I'm not just any girl, now am I?" she pointed the question at Hayden. Hayden was looking across the table at Aydian and me, but then averted his eyes back to his unopened can. He finally got up and put his hands in his pockets.

"I'm going for a different drink," he mumbled as he began walking off.

Aydian nodded at me and I stood up to run after him. "Hayden!" I called after his retreating form. "Wait!"

Suddenly, Rae filled my line of vision as she stepped in front of me. "No," she replied gruffly. "You stay away. You gave him up, remember? So he's mine now." She scowled at me dangerously, and I returned the look in anger.

"I won't be taking him away from you, hun… at least not tonight," I replied, pushing past her. Instead of getting further, I could feel her pull me back by my shoulder, and as soon as she did, my face was slung to the side by the slap of her hand.

"I'm warning you…" she breathed out raggedly, but then stopped the threat.

I remained looking at the floor for a moment, letting the side of my face regain it's nerve, anger was boiling to my surface as I turned to face her. For a moment, I thought that she was cowering back from me… but it wasn't just me, I soon realized. She was cowering back by the fact that I now had Dana and Rose by my sides. It was three to one, and she didn't like the odds. I made a move forward, but a restraining pair of arms stopped me. I turned back to find none other than Dante holding me back from killing this horrible vermin in front of me.

"Tell ya what, Rae," Rose's eloquent, high-pitched voice became arrogantly sweet. "You let us have your precious Dante, and we'll give you our stinky Hayden."

Rae's cowering face hardened at that comment. "Excuse me?" She straightened now. "Your Hayden?"

Rose raised her perfectly arched eyebrow, tilted her head to the side and then looked at Dana and I. "Dana, did I stutter?"

Dana kept an impassive face as she looked to Rose. "No, Rose, I believe you were perfectly clear." She turned back to Rae and sent her a pleasant smile that held more than just dislike, but warning as well.

Dante cleared his throat uncomfortably. "I'm not hers, by the way."

Rae sent a critical look at him, hurt flashed in her eyes before it was replaced with betrayal.

Rose turned around to look at Dante. "No, you're not… but that doesn't mean that she's left you alone since you've left her, and I intend to give you your freedom."

I could see her give him a persuasive smile, which he seemed to return slowly at receiving her attention. Rose turned her gaze back onto Rae. "So what shall it be, sweet heart? Do you want Dante, or would you rather Hayden?"

"Or better yet," Dana cut in now, "How about she go find her own man? Why should you two share with her?"

Rae's face matched her red hair. "Adrienne gave him up! She told him she didn't want to be with him, and she made it perfectly clear!"

Dana was up in her face before I could even retaliate. They were maybe half an inch apart, and Rae was maybe a tiny bit taller, but Dana's boots gave her a boost. "Of course she did! She gave him up because you were all over him! You made it look worse than it was, and what else was she to say to him after that?! 'Oh there, there, Hayden. It's okay. I understand completely that you just let another girl kiss you! Come away with me now!' I don't think so, honey, so you better make up another alibi because your current one is ridiculous."

Wait… he let her kiss him? What?!

Dana took a step back and glared daggers. Rae only looked like she was bound to cry. "He's mine! I want him!" She stomped her feet, which made me tilt my head to the side.

Did she seriously just stomp her feet?

"Too bad," Rose replied coldly.

Mascara tears ran from her eyes and down her freckled cheeks. I turned away at seeing that. She might've hurt me physically, but it wasn't as bad as being hurt emotionally and mentally. Dante looked down at me and motioned to a side corner. I looked that way and my eyes met the target.

As I made my way to the corner, Hayden didn't even bother looking down at me. He was leaned up against the wall, his hands in his pockets. It was the same posture he had been in a day ago when Rae kissed him. He looked good though, I'll give him that. Then again… dang it.

I sighed to myself. He always looked good.

"Hey," I said a bit quietly.

I could tell that he heard me, but he made no move to reply or any sign that he had heard me.

I sighed and looked down at my feet. I have to warn him. I have to tell him why I will be leaving soon so that he won't get suspicious. In fact, I have to tell him the whole story. He deserves to know…

"Hayden, I need to talk to you."

He didn't look at me still. His eyes were focused on the performing band.

I bit my bottom lip and finally sighed deeply in frustration. "This is important, okay? Do you remember your brother Nate? Hm? Does that name ring a bell?"

His eyes grew slightly wider in alert, and I saw him look at me from the corner of his eye, but he didn't train those orbs on me completely. He nodded slightly after a moment for me to go on. He was making me angry.

"Yeah, well, he's in a gang. And you know what else? He wants you. He wants you to join him so that he'll have a successor to take on his job if he's to die. And you know who he's going to come after if he can't get you? Hm? Do you know who it is, Hayden?" I raised my fist to meet his chest, but his hand caught it before I could land the blow. I moved my other hand forward, but he only restrained it next. Salty tears were filling my eyes, but I blinked them away. "Let go of me," I demanded in a low voice. "You make me so mad, and I'm surprised that you're ignorant to not know who your brother's coming after."

"It's you. Crap it, Adrienne," he hissed in a restraining voice. He seethed for a moment and then regained his composure. "You don't think I already know all this?" He towered over me now, walking toward me. I backed up. "You don't think I already know that he's here? He'll be in town tonight." He backed me up against the wall now. "You don't think I already have tried out so many different plans in my mind trying to figure out how to keep him away?" He put his hands against the wall on both sides of my face, allowing my hands to drop to my sides.

I closed my eyes for a moment, and then opened them when I felt his forehead against my own. He was breathing harshly now. "You don't think that I've already tried to beg him to stay out of this?" He laughed bitterly at this. "I tried everything to keep him away from you, Adrienne, all except one thing. Now… it's just getting personal." He backed away.

I blinked a few times, trying to make my mind stop thinking about his warm breath dulling my senses. "So… he's already made contact with you?" I whispered out in realization.

Hayden leaned back against the wall beside me and nodded. "Yes."

"He's asked you to join him, hasn't he?"

Hayden remained silent, but closed his eyes and took a deep breath and let it out through his teeth.

It all clicked right then. "That's the one thing you haven't tried…" I whispered, backing away at this horrifying realization.

Hayden looked at me in alarm. "Adrienne…"

"Have you given them an answer then?"

"Adrienne…" he said, more pleadingly this time.

"You're thinking about joining them, aren't you?"

He didn't answer, just looked at me. I could only stand there, dumbfounded. He reached for me, but I shook my head.

"Look, Hayden, I don't know what they do in these gangs… but I have a feeling it's nothing good—"

Hayden's temper flared at this. "A feeling? Ha! I know it's not anything good, but then again, I figured you'd be okay with all of this since Damien's involved."

My mouth dropped. "What? He's in a good gang though."

Hayden snorted at that. "Good gang? Since when? His is just as bad, Adrienne."

At my confused expression, something dawned across his face. "He didn't even tell you, did he?" he asked me now. "He didn't even tell you anything about his gang."

"He told me he took in people who don't have families though. That doesn't sound bad." I replied back.

Hayden snorted. "Yeah, of course they don't have families after they kill them."

I stood there, frozen. My insides felt like they were being clawed at and ripped open, and it was a pain that I couldn't bear to think about. So instead, I tried thinking more of the argument beforehand. I shook my head furiously, tears trying to surface. "Then why would you think of joining them if they're bad news, you idiot?!" I yelled in frustration.

Hayden grabbed my rigid arms and pulled me close to him, towering over me again. "Because they're not pulling you into this!" he replied fiercely.

My face fell, and my rigid body softened. I bit my bottom lip to keep it from shaking. Every fiber in me was scared, but oddly at peace knowing that even if they were trying to get to me, and even though Damien had lied to me…

I looked down at his hands on my arms.

He was still holding onto me no matter what because I was his… I was his to hold.

He was breathing harshly again as his anger swelled at the thoughts running over in his mind. He closed his eyes, slowly calming down.

"I won't let you go in my place… it's not worth it. I wouldn't do that to you," I whispered out, breathless. I looked away, but as his grip tightened I looked back up. Every bit of resistance that I felt toward him began to dissolve at the broken expression on his beautiful face. "I'm not afraid…" I whispered, thankful that my voice didn't crack.

It felt like a trance had settled over us. There was no longer any dancing bodies, no longer any music, or anything else. I felt deaf to the world around me. All I could see was Hayden in front of me. His eyes searched over my face and then slowly he moved toward me. I didn't resist. His lips lingered over mine for a moment, and I could only try to ignore my heart beating so loudly that my head might explode.

"As much as I appreciate the offer…" His hot breath was intoxicating me. "I can't let you do that." He released me, and as he did, the trance was broken.

I felt confused at the gesture. Well, I did until a strong arm encircled my waist, and as it did, I could hear a familiar drunk's voice, Jeremy's, up on stage now.

"This song's for my girl, Patricia, that I met here earlier before she was a'taken from me." He too a swig of his liquor, cleared his throat, and then began singing:

"Oh Patricia,

You'll never know me,


'Cause I'll watch you from afar,

Oh, I'll always love you, Patricia…"

A/N: Okay, so Damien's in deeper crap than what he let on. I didn't want to do that really, it's just that... gosh! He's too perfect! I think that's why everyone likes Hayden better; because he screws up and stuff it makes it funny whereas Damien... he never seems to. He's just too perfect so I thought I'd try to make this more interesting and more of an actual race between the two since... I mean, come on, we all love Hayden, right? It's time to round some Damien fans back up to make it a closer race somehow soooo... Any suggestions?

Thanx for the reviews, by the way! ^-^ They're very much appreciated and encouraged (they encourage me) so keep 'em comin! See ya in the next chappie!

Disclaimer: I did not write the song "Yours to Hold". It does not belong to me, but to the band Skillet, whom you should check out 'cause they're awesome. BUT I did write the Patricia lyrics!