2: Shadows

Peyton is done being depressed. It's been four years since her boyfriend, Justin Bieber, was shot by a guy named Colton--and now, all she wants to see is Colton, dead. Though, the familiar shadows are distracting her, because they all remind her of her boyfriend. What happens when she finds out that she was right, all along? And what happens when more shadows get into the picture? © 2013 by beliebervision. All Rights Reserved.

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10. Chapter 9

Peyton stared at Justin like he was some kind of alien. She tried to say something, but she couldn't find her voice. Her mind was just having a tough time trying to comprehend that Justin might actually be sitting there. Though, it might have just been the alcohol. 

Ryan--who was sitting right next to her--put a hand on her knee. "Peyton, are you okay?" 

She shrugged away from him, not wanting anybody to touch her. She looked at Justin again. And she thought that he was the only one allowed to touch her. But if he was really there, then...no. She couldn't bring herself to think that Justin was actually sitting in front of her. 

"Ryan, he's not really there, is he?" She looked over at Ryan. His eyes were expressionless, but the frown on his face said otherwise. Eventually he nodded--very slowly. 

"Yes, he's there." 

Peyton forced herself to look at Justin, then at Ryan, then at Justin again. "You're not really there." 

Justin studied her. And unlike Ryan--his eyes showed four years of agonizing pain, being separated from her. "I'm here." 

She shook her head. Tears started streaming down her cheeks at an unrecognizable pace. "But...you never died? And...and if that's true, then you never bothered to see me again?" 

Justin ran his hands through his hair and sighed. "No, no that's not it at all. You're right, though. I never died...it's just I didn't want to scare you." 

Peyton wrapped her arms around her knees. She started to rock back and forth while she cried. Ryan rubbed her back. 

"Tell me everything." She sniffled. 

Ryan gave Justin an encouraging nod. Then he started explaining everything. 

"Okay well, that night that I was...shot," He looked over at Peyton. "I did die. But after the Ryans took you home, and nobody was there, I woke up again. I started breathing normally. I was loosing a lot of blood at the time, though it didn't really matter because I was startled at the fact that I was still alive. 

"I remembered getting into a sitting position and trying to stop bleeding--when someone came in. I didn't realize that Chaz and Butch were still there. I had to admit that I was nervous that Chaz was going to finish me off, but after looking at me and seeing the pool of blood that I was sitting in, he took off his shirt and wrapped it around my gunshot wound to stop the bleeding. Butch came in too and helped, though I'm not sure he wanted to. 

"After the bleeding was stopped, Chaz took me to the hospital. I was brought into the ER and they stitched me up--" 

Peyton wiped away some of her tears before interrupting him. "Can I see?" 

Justin nodded and hooked a finger into the neck of his shirt, pulling it down slightly just so Peyton could see the stitched up wound. She winced and closed her eyes. 

"Anyways, they stitched that up. I was on medication for a while, but I had nowhere to stay. Chaz was still working for Colton, but he was starting to realize the damage that he really had caused. He didn't want Colton to know that he was helping me, so I couldn't have stayed with him. One night I snuck into the house when you were sleeping and grabbed some extra clothes and money. I debated waking you up so I could tell you that I was fine, but like I said before--I didn't want to scare the crap out of you. 

"I slept on the streets. A few weeks after the whole incident, I got the nerve to tell Ryan Good. He was surprised. Just not as startled as I thought he would be. He let me crash in his house for a while, before he left for Arizona. After he left I was alone again. A few more weeks passed and I started to spend my money on drinks and cigarettes. Sooner than I thought, I was broke, had nowhere to go, and I was starting to get sick. I came to the conclusion that I had to tell someone else that I wasn't dead. So I told Ryan." 

Justin gestured to Ryan before talking again. 

"He helped me. He gave me some more money and water and food. We both knew it wasn't safe for me to go back to the house, so Ryan called Christian and you guys moved out to Atlanta with him. I can't remember how long it had been then. Probably two years. But I still had the house for a while. Probably about a year. Then Ryan and I decided it would be best to sell it, just to give the illusion that it wasn't being used. 

"Once that was gone, Ryan gave me money to fly out to Atlanta. I lived on the streets down there. It was much nicer though. It was definitely warmer down there than up in Stratford. One night I was just going around to different bars to find girls--" 

Justin winced as he saw Peyton's horrified expression, though he kept talking anyways. 

"And I accidentally found you. I wanted to tell you so badly that I was still alive. I knew I couldn't do that though. That didn't really help my mood. Eventually--that night--I was so mad that I just grabbed the first girl I saw and told her to bring me to wherever she was staying. And...we had sex. That happened a lot after that." 

Justin was expressionless as he stared at Peyton. Peyton, the girl who never thought about doing anything like that with Justin, was jealous. And angry. Angry at him for not telling her. 

"After I got over that I started following you. That one night at Christian's house, that was me. I was hungry and Ryan and Christian both said I could take food whenever I felt like it. I had a key to the house. I was going to go up to your room just to see you, but you were already on the stairs. I...I wanted to just tell you right then and there. But you passed out and Ryan had to bring you back to bed. 

"We both went out after that. We had no clue that you were just going to decide that it was the right time to kill Colton the next morning. But when we did find out about that, Ryan wanted me to follow you guys and he said I could tell you when you guys got to California. And now we're here." 

Peyton blinked back the last of her tears. She was anything other than sad right now. She was utterly upset and angry. Angry was the feeling that just kept flashing through her mind. She quickly got up from the bed and maneuvered her way over to the door. Once she was there, both of the boys stood up--ready to protest. 

With one hand on the door handle, she said, "How could you? Be alive? And not tell me. But you knew?" She looked at Ryan, who nodded. 

"You knew for all of those years. And I didn't. I had to suffer from all of the pain. While you, and Ryan Good, and Chaz all knew that their best friend was alive and everything was all well and good for you guys." Her voice rose. "How come I didn't get to know that my best friend was alive? Huh? Am I just too fragile and not capable of realizing that he's alive, right away, like you guys?" 

"Peyton, it wasn't like that--" Justin reached out a hand but Peyton had already walked out the door. She ran. She wanted to just run away from everything, because life wasn't fair. She stopped on the side of the road and sat down on the ground. Hugging her knees like she did in the motel room, she started to cry. Then the Range Rover pulled over and Justin walked out. 

He knelt down beside her and she knew he was watching her, though she couldn't see him. 

"Peyton you have to understand that it was for your own good. You know I missed you right? It was so hard for me not to tell you." 

She looked up at him. His eyes were glossy, indicating that he himself was trying to hold back tears. All she did was shake her head. "How was it for my own good if I was the one who was suffering? And nobody else had to! You had your fair share of women by your side! Maybe I should have had sex with Ryan!" She yelled, standing up as she did so. 

"No, you shouldn't have. Look," He lifted her chin up lightly so she was looking him in the eyes. "I know you can see my pain and I know you can feel your own pain. But you have to understand that I still love you and not telling you was just my way of showing it. I figured that you had accepted that I was dead. So what would have happened if you figured out that I wasn't really dead?" 

Peyton shook her head. She wrapped her arms around herself, just now realizing how cold it had gotten. "No Justin. You're the one who doesn't understand. I never got over the fact that you were gone, even if we never really established some kind of relationship, I still referred to you as mine. I didn't let anybody else touch me or anything. Tonight, what you saw with me and Ryan, was me giving up. I gave up on you Justin. But now that I know that Ryan knew about you being alive this whole time, and now that I know that you're still alive, what am I supposed to do? Be happy about it?" 

Justin hesitated. "Well I never thought that you'd be happy once you found out. Maybe relieved, but not happy." 

"You have no clue how freaking relieved I am!" She screamed. "You think I'm relieved?! Bullshit! I'm angry and upset and confused, wondering, Why is my boyfriend still alive, has been for four years, but just decides that now's the right time to tell me?"

"I'm still your boyfriend." He whispered. 

Peyton looked at him with utter astonishment. "What?" 

"You called me your boyfriend." 

She sighed with defeat. He knew that deep down inside of her, she still cared about him. "Yes, because that's what I want you to be. It's just, you were never there to be it." 

Justin licked his lips and looked away from her. "But you understand now that I didn't want to scare you so quickly." 

Peyton studied him and saw for the first time tonight, how different he looked. He had bags under his eyes. His chest heaved up and down, like he was having trouble breathing. His hair was tangled and matted with dirt. She was starting to realize just how much he had to suffer too. That she wasn't the only one. Suddenly, she flung herself at him and wrapped her arms around him. With a big shaky sigh, she closed her eyes. 

Justin seemed startled at first, then he, too, wrapped his arms around her, and they stood there in an understanding silence. 

"I missed you Justin," She said, tightening her grip around him. "But I'm still frustrated about everything. I just wanted to know what it was like to hug you again." 

Justin said nothing, as he buried his face into the crook of her neck. Finally, he said: "I missed you so much. You have no idea how much I want to make it up to you." 

"Oh, I have an idea about it." She said, pulling away from him and making her way over to the Range Rover. Before she got in, she turned to look at Justin again. "And you will make it up to me, buddy. I'm going to make sure you do." 

He smiled. A weary, tired smile. "Anything you want, baby." 

Peyton shook her head. "Don't call me that." 

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