Always Midnight

Madison Johnson's life changes the moment she lays eyes on Christian Watson. Christian is unlike any boy Madison has ever met in her life, he's a guy with a secret-he's a vampire with a deadly past. When they fall in love, Christian's past soon makes its way into their future together. As his past catches up to him, Madison must decide how much she will sacrifice to be with the man she loves. Copyright © 2011

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8. Class Fights and First Dates (pt 2)

Word had spread about the argument between Eric and I, people also knew about Christian's interference. If anyone had the thought that Christian would be an easy target for bullying, those thoughts were long gone now. At lunch I had to tell the whole story to my lunch table with help from Jensen and Dean. I searched for Christian in lunch but he was nowhere to be seen, neither were Emilia or Lucas. My heart sank. The rest of the day floated on by without any disturbances. Jensen had been correct about Mr. Rinehart, who made sure to stick his head into my study hall class no doubt checking up on me. When I pulled into my driveway, there was Christian's car. My nerves started going haywire, as I stepped out of my car. Christian stepped out of his car as well as I walked up to greet him. 

“Hey how are you?” I asked him. 

“I‘m okay, it’s you I’m worried about. I was swinging by to make sure you were okay.” Christian said, leaning against his car. 

“I’m fine, I’m glad you stopped by I wanted to say thank you again for defending me with Eric when you didn’t have to do that.” 

“You’re welcome, after what he said he to you I wanted to do more than shove him.” Christian said. 

“I’m glad that’s all you did. If anyone thought about picking a fight with you, I think today's display of your strength pushed that idea out of their minds. Do you want to come inside?” I asked him. 

“I don’t think that’s a good idea how about we sit on the porch?” Christian suggested.

I really didn’t care where we were as long as we were together, I thought, following him over to my front porch where we sat down on the swinging chair.

“So what happened with Eric anyway? He seemed to be angry about something you did to him…” Christian asked curious.

“I turned him down, Eric is the type of kid that apparently hates to hear the word ‘no.’” 

“Yeah. he seems like that type.” Christian said, distracted. “Madison, I hate this situation that we're in.” His words caught me off guard, the conversation had changed abruptly, I didn’t want to talk about it but I knew Christian and I had to figure out what was going on between us. If we didn’t we would only keep going in circles. 

“I hate it too. There's no use of us pretending that we're not going to see each other nearly every day. This town isn't a big community we are bound to run into each other, and even if that wasn't the case, I can't seem to stay away from you.” I told him truthfully. Those words lingered in the air, Christian remained quiet for a moment. 

“When you told me you liked me, I freaked out. I became unsure on what to do, I thought I could stick to my word and stay away from you. When we ran into each other in the parking lot I wanted to fix the mess I created but you told me to go away. Those words snapped something inside of me, and I'm trying to do the right thing and stay away. I'm failing miserably because I can't stay away from you either, and I'm realizing that I don't want to anymore. We should be able to have a friendship." Christian confessed to me.

I admit I wanted Christian in a more intimate relationship but I would settle for friendship because the truth was I wanted him to be in my life in any form. 

"I agree. We should be able to be friends, I would like that." I replied, turning towards him. 

"Me too, I haven't felt like this in a while." Christian mused. 

"Feel like what?" 

"Hopeful and cautious. Every since we've met I've haven't been acting like myself, I'm childish and unsure of myself. It's not in my nature to display those characteristics. Does that sound weird?” He prompted. 

“No, everything you're saying is exactly how I've felt, it's frustrating because I can't understand where all this has come from. I mean we barely know each other, maybe we were best friends in a past life." I half joked with him, trying to lighten the mood.

I knew my plan worked the second I heard Christian laughed. 

“We should hangout tonight.” He suggested. 

“Sure what do you want to do?” I asked.

“I’ll surprise you. I’ll be here around seven tonight okay?” He asked me. 

“Okay.” That was the only reply I could manage out, once again, Christian managed to catch me off guard. 

“Good, see you later.” He said, getting up from the swing, making his way back to his car. 

I remained sitting on the chair, momentarily immobilized. A seed of doubt surged through me, and I began to question my sanity. I pinched my arm quickly, double-checking myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. The pain and sound of crunching gravel confirmed that I wasn’t dreaming, as I looked to see Christian waving as he drove away. Two hours later I was ready to go, I scrutinized every detail of my appearance, from my hair to my clothes. I settled on black leggings with a deep purple lace tank top, and a black sweater with black stilettos. The outfit screamed casual but cute, my dark hair cascaded down my back in loose waves, that took more than forty minutes to perfect. I didn’t bother putting on makeup, instead I opted for a fresh faced look. Exactly at seven o’ clock, I heard my doorbell ring.

My heart beat pulsed loudly in my veins, the minute I laid eyes on Christian. He was stunning, he wore a cream colored sweater that highlighted the brown in his eyes. I held onto the door handle for support, and produced a smile for him. He didn’t smile. The usual pretenses he used to guard himself faltered. His eyes enlarged as he did a sweep over my body, he bit his lip trying to regain his composure and his jaw clenched. He shook his head then forced his eyes to meet my stare. 

“Hi…Madison you look really nice.” He told me, his voice thick. 
“Thanks you look nice too…” I muttered, because he didn’t look nice, Christian looked phenomenal, there were no words to describe it. I gripped the doorknob handle, certain it would snap off. 

He smiled warmly, “Are you ready to go?” 

Pain shot through my hand, I quickly released my death hold on the doorknob and nodded my head. I closed the door, locking up the house and followed Christian to his car. He walked to the passenger door side, holding it open for me. I got in, clicking on my seat belt as he slid into the drivers seat. My breathing began to sound shallow, and my palms were sweaty. I cursed myself, I stared out the window breathing slowly trying to regain control of my raging hormones. 

“Where are we going?” I asked him. 

“It’s a surprise remember?” He teased.

“Right."

"I promise it's a nice area. You've probably been there before since you've lived here your whole life." He told me.

"Maybe, maybe not. There's some places I swear I've driven by a thousand times but never have explored. I wish I could travel more, not only around here but the world too."

"Yeah? If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?"

"Anywhere Tropical or with a lot of history, like Rome. How about you?" I asked.

"I've traveled more than I wanted to, I've been to lots of countries and not one of them had anything that I was searching for. I thought if I traveled I would find that substance to fill the vast void I've had in my life for a while. I never found it until recently." Christian told me.

"You mean somewhere you felt at home at?" 

"Yes, that's part of it. And finding a good friend definitely has helped." He told me, winking at me.

“I’m glad that we both got a chance to figure things out. I understand how hard it must’ve been for you especially when you’re trying to be loyal to your girlfriend. I honestly should've been more sensitive.” I said.

“Girlfriend? Me? No, I only said that to get your friend Jocelyn off my back. That young girl is very aggressive when it comes to boys. My only girl that is a friend is you. I don’t want to hurt you and I don't want you get hurt because of me."

“Then don’t hurt me, be honest with me. I'm not asking you for much, Christian." 

"I wish it was that simple." He replied.

"It is that simple, at least it can be." I told him. He smiled sadly at me but didn't respond for a while. After a few moments he broke the silence.

"What made you think I looked unhappy in the library?” 

His question surprised me, I pondered how I could answer him without offending him. 

“I thought that because when you spoke to me about not finding love, there was this pain in your voice. A pain that seemed out of place for a someone our age to have experienced. Even now, when I look at you I sense you're unhappy underneath it all but there's a light inside of you that refuses to burn out. I can see that struggle in your eyes, and I know that you're fighting to be happy again. You strike me as an incredibly strong guy." I gave myself a mental pat on the back for finding the right words.

I risked a quick glance at Christian, and saw that his jaw had clenched. My ego deflated immediately. I bit my lip, "Christian if I offended you, that wasn't my intention."

"Offend me? That was the most beautiful thing anyone's ever said to me. I don't see myself as a strong person sometimes, and there is darkness inside me. Maybe more darkness than some others, but knowing that someone like you can see light inside of me when I can't see it myself. That means more to me more than you'll ever know." 

The air in the car electrified and I couldn't breath for a minute. I barely registered the fact that we had reached our destination but I took in no details of our location. I focused my energy on keeping my breathing even. Christian turned to look at me and when our eyes locked on each other, I thought my lungs would collapse. I wanted to run my fingers through his hair and touch his lips with mine in that moment. I pushed the thought out of my head, and pulled myself together.

"Thank you, and you're welcome." I blurted out. I had to remind myself that this boy was off limits, but my resolve was cracking. Christian made no attempts to leave the car, instead he 
sat in the drivers seat and continued to talk. 

“Where were your parents tonight? I thought I would be interrogated and threatened.” 

“My parents aren’t together anymore, it’s only me and my mom. My mom works at the hospital with your dad, she stays there late most nights, I’m usually on my own.” I explained.

“I’m sorry to hear that. Do you miss your parents together?” 

Christian's questions was getting really personal, I didn't mind opening up to him how I felt about him and us. However, talking about the events of my parent's divorce was personal to me. Christian sensing this spoke again. 

"Madison, I'm sorry that's none of my business." He apologized. He was correct, it wasn't his business but I found myself wanting to tell him anyway.

“It's okay, I miss my dad everyday, he’s back in Georgia with his new family. I don’t think any child of divorce gets over the damage not having both parents in the household. I lived with my dad for a while but I missed my mom. My dad was remarrying and I couldn’t handle it so I left Georgia. There are moments when I understand they weren’t meant to be but other times I wish more than anything for them to reconcile.” I felt vulnerable in that moment, and my soul felt exposed.

“I’m sorry that they aren’t together, I didn’t know how painful this would be for you. Sorry I brought up the subject.” Christian apologized again. 

“No, it feels nice to talk about it, I’ve never expressed my true feelings about the divorce to anyone not my parents, or best friends. Only you. It’s liberating.” I assured him.

“Good I'm glad it feels liberating. I'm here whenever you need someone to talk too.”

“Thanks but enough about me, what about you? Do you like it here in Maple Falls?" 

“At first, I hated it here. I fought with my family moving here, the summer went by fast. Some weeks I would go back to Canada and stay with friends. When school started, I heard all the snickers behind my back. Our family was like some circus freak show to many people around here. But now, I’m grateful I came here.” 

“Why?”

“Because my father loves his job. Emilia and Lucas love being here, starting a new fresh start. My mother is happy here, she loves the weather. And I’m happy because I met you, a new friend.” 

“I am glad things are working out for your family.” I told him, happy that tonight I've done nothing but bond with Christian.

“Thanks. Come on, let me show you the surprise.” he said, 

Christian opened the car door, stepping out into the cool fall air. I followed him, curious and intrigued, until we reached a wooded area. Christian turned to face me, looking down at my shoes.
“I’m going to have to carry you, you’re wearing the wrong shoes, I should’ve forewarned you. It’s a short hike but I don’t want to explain to your mother why you broke your ankle hanging out with a guy alone in the woods.”

“Okay, good point.” I said.

Christian whisked me up into his arms. He carried me as if I weighed five pounds instead of the hundred and fifteen pounds I did weigh. He carried me on an uphill trail, until we reached a clearing. Placed in the clearing was a blanket and picnic basket, Christian placed my feet on the ground. The view from the top of the hill showed the whole town of Maple Falls, it was spectacular. Houses were scattered, some lights on some off, appearing as stars. 

“It’s beautiful.” Christian stated.

“Yes, where did you find this spot?” I asked, marveling at the scenery.

“I was hiking one day and stumbled across it, it was hidden between the bushes. It’s a spot for me to relax and think. It’s been my secret for a while now, I figured since you’ve shared some secrets with me I could share one with you.” He told me, I turned to him, his brown eyes burned holes into me. He walked over to me, taking my hand into his. He led me to the blanket, I kneeled on the blanket, as he did the same. He let go of my hand, and reached into the basket pulling out crackers, cheese, and pepperoni. Then he pulled out a bottle of champagne and chocolate coated strawberries. I stared at the layout of food he had, apprehensively. Christian peered at me, instantly reading the puzzlement in my eyes. 
“What’s wrong Madison?” 

“I’m confused. We’re not on a date right?” 

“No we’re hanging out. It's the food right? I thought it would been too much, too romantic, but I’m new at this. Sorry do you want to go somewhere else?” 

“Yeah, dates involve the champagne, and strawberries. But this is wonderful, let’s enjoy it. I love strawberries anyway.” I insisted. 

Christian broke out into one of his boyish grins that made my heart palpate. We sat there the whole night talking about unimportant things with each other; how we couldn’t stand English, likes and dislikes, my trip to Oasis Pond, books, and music. We found we had a lot in common.

“Why are you single?” He asked, suddenly. I bit my lip thinking hard on the best way to answer, because honestly I didn’t know the answer myself. 

“Truth be told, I’m not sure. I guess I’ve never really met anyone that seemed interesting to me. Most of the boys in school are superficial and are only interested in having a casual fling. I don’t want that. I know I’m only sixteen but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want a meaningful relationship with a guy who will love me as much as I love him, I guess. Gosh how cheesy do I sound right now? My mother always makes fun of me for having an old soul.” I admitted, embarrassed. 

“It’s not cheesy at all. You’re very mature for your age Madison.” Christian commented.“Being here tonight with you has been great. It's been one of the best nights I've had in a long time." 

I took a sip of my champagne, Christian wasn't making this easy for me at all. Every grin, every sweet thing he said to me tonight made it harder for me to resist him. It made it harder for me to remember that we were only friends.

"I agree, I'm having a good time myself." I admitted.

"I'm glad. I have to admit that you're not the person I expected you to be." Christian observed out loud. 

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