“I haven't heard from him since we got back on Sunday,” Krystal spoke to Aaron and Courtney. They'd come over to ask about her trip, “He might just need some time though. We did have to go to a funeral of a childhood friend of his.”
“It's weird that you haven't heard from him though, don't you think?” Courtney asked, a frown across her dark features.
“I dunno,” Krystal shrugged, “I haven't really known him all that long yet, so maybe he just needs a little time alone.”
“I'll kill him if he hurts you,” Aaron stated, getting angry at Justin for not having contacted his best friend. Krystal's front door opened and they all glanced towards Justin as he entered.
“Hey,” He greeted, making his way towards Krystal and wrapping his arms around her from behind, “Hey, Baby.” He kissed her cheek.
“What's up?” Aaron spoke, still a little angry.
“Yeah,” Courtney spoke up, “Where you been, Justin?”
“I-I just needed a little time,” He said softly, “I'm sorry I haven't called, Baby. It won't happen again.”
“It's cool,” Krystal shrugged, “It hasn't even been a full 2 days yet. I was just worried about you.”
“Sorry about your friend,” Courtney spoke, “Krystal said he was gunned down while walking down the street?” Krystal met Justin's gaze, verifying the lie she'd told her best friends.
“Yeah,” Justin spoke up after a moment, “He was just on his way to the grocery store and got shot. He lived in a not-so-great neighborhood.”
“Sorry to hear that, Bro,” Aaron had softened a little.
“Thanks,” Justin rubbed his eyes with his fingers, “It's been a long few days.”
“Well,” Courtney spoke, getting up, “We should let you guys talk. Call us later, K.” She pulled Aaron out of the house and shut the door behind them, heading to their own home next door.
“Are you okay?” Krystal asked softly, once they were alone.
“Yeah,” Justin turned her around in his arms and stared into her eyes, “I just had a couple things to take care of and I needed some time. I'm sorry though. I should've at least called and said that.”
“It's all good,” She reached up and brushed the hair out of his face, “I was just worried about you.”
He let a small smile make it's way across his lips, “I missed you, Baby.”
“I missed you too, Jay,” She returned his smile.
“As much as I just needed to deal with my shit alone, I hated being away from you,” He tucked her hair behind her ear, “I promise from here on out, I'll let you in. Okay? I just got really messed up for a minute.”
“I understand, Babe,” She nodded, “It's really okay.”
“Gawd, you're perfect,” He breathed, pulling her into a tight hug as he took in her scent, “I was prepared to walk in here and have you angry at me.”
“I'm not angry, Jay,” She spoke softly as he held onto her for dear life, not wanting to let go, “I just don't want you going through things alone. If we're really in this relationship, we should deal with shit together.”
“And we will, from here on out, I promise,” He held her tighter, “You're the most amazing person I've ever met in my entire life.”
“I doubt that,” She chuckled.
He pulled away to look into her eyes for a moment, “Can we just go upstairs and cuddle?” He wondered, “I just wanna hold you for awhile. Please?”
“Of course, Babe,” She nodded, happy that he was letting her in. She allowed him to lead her up the stairway to her bedroom. He pulled the covers down and they both got into the bed. He immediately pulled her to him, her head resting on his chest as he brushed the back of her hair with his fingers. Neither spoke for a few moments. Silence swirled around them as she thought about him and what he needed in that moment. And he stared at the ceiling, deep in thought about something unknown to her.
“I'm falling in love with you,” He admitted after another few moments of silence, “And it terrifies me.”
She moved so her chin was resting on his pec and she looked up into his eyes, “Why does it terrify you?”
“Because it's barely been a week,” He stroked the hair out of her face as he spoke, “And I don't wanna lose you. I'm so afraid to let myself feel this and get attached because I don't want you going away like everyone else always has.”
“I'm not going anywhere, Baby,” She said softly, a frown crossing her features, “I'm starting to fall for you too and I'm just as terrified that I'm gonna get hurt, but if I have my way, I'm never going anywhere.”
“Can it just be you and me forever?” He asked, tears pooling in the rim of his eyes, “I just wanna be with you and only you, like this, forever.”
“I wish,” She smiled, “But even when the rest of the world comes knocking, I'll still be here beside you, Jay. Even if we don't work out as a couple, I promise to always be your friend.”
“Don't say that,” He frowned, “I can't stand the thought of you being with anyone else. You're mine and you're always gonna be mine. I'm never gonna let anyone take you from me.”
“Nobody's gonna take me away from you, Babe,” She frowned and touched his face in reassurance, “I'm not going anywhere.”
“Promise me,” He licked his lips, “Promise me that you won't decide this is too much for you and walk away.”
“I promise, Baby,” She didn't hesitate with her answer. Without another word, he pulled her up to meet his lips as he kissed her passionately, a hunger hiding in the kiss that she'd never known him to have before. He flipped them over after a moment, immediately removing her shirt and tossing it to the floor beside them. He didn't hesitate in removing her pants either before finding her lips again. He broke the kiss after a moment, whipping his shirt over his head and unbuckling his belt, standing and pushing his pants and boxers to the floor before crawling back on top of her.
“Show me you're mine, Baby,” He commanded, covering her lips with his as he pushed himself inside of her. His movements were almost rough and urgent as he thrust himself inside of her. He got up on his knees after a moment, staring down into her eyes intently as he moved her legs to his shoulders and continued to thrust in and out of her, staring into her eyes and biting his lip. He maneuvered her hips and smirked to himself as she signified that he was hitting her spot and he continued grinding his hips into her. He felt her start to grip him and he let himself go as they both came together. Once he was sure they'd both finished, he dropped her legs and collapsed on her chest, their breathing still labored as he lay still inside of her, “I want you to be mine forever, Baby,” He whispered, looking up into her eyes, “Please? Tell me you're mine forever.”
She reached up and brushed his hair out of his face as the sweat beaded up on his forehead, “I'm yours as long as you'll have me, Honey.”
“I didn't hurt you, did I?” He nearly panicked, just now realizing that he was a little rough with her.
“No,” She smiled and shook her head, “I may be old, but I'm not that fragile.”
“You're not old,” He cracked a small smile and she watched as his eyes trailed off and he appeared deep in thought.
“What can I do to make this better for you, Baby?” She asked, touching his face gently.
“I don't know,” He breathed, pulling himself out of her and rolling to the other side of the bed, sitting up and running his hands over his face, “I'm so fucked up in my head right now.”
She sat up as well, pulling the sheet around her naked body and reaching over, rubbing his back, “I would be a little worried if you weren't, Baby. Losing one of your childhood friends is fucked up and it's bound to fuck anybody up, but you're not alone. I'm here. So, do you just need to talk? Or cry? Or get drunk? Whatever it is you need, I'll be right there with you, but you gotta let me in.”
“I just need you,” He said softly, looking over at her, “I-I promised myself a long time ago that I'd never trust or have faith in anyone again. That I'd never let anyone get close to me, cause they always left, but with you I can't stop myself. If you left me now, I'd break.”
She turned to face him, giving him her full attention and taking his hand in between both of her own, “Have I given you any reason to think I'm gonna leave or walk away, Baby?”
“No,” He shook his head, fighting the tears again, “But I've already put you in danger and I'm sitting here being such a pussy right now. Why wouldn't you walk away?”
“Because I care about you, Justin,” She tilted her head to the side and held his gaze to show her sincerity, “Everybody's got some kinda baggage and bad parts to their lives, but you're amazing and I'm starting to fall in love with you. I want you. All of you. If I didn't, I would've walked away when you first told me about your Gang. You make me feel things I haven't felt in such a long time and every moment we spend together, my feelings for you grow even stronger. I'm not ready or willing to give that up. The fact that you're here right now, showing me this side of you, especially after knowing how you have to be in other parts of your life says a lot. It shows me that, just maybe, you are serious about this and you are willing to share all parts of yourself with me.”
“I'm supposed to be strong and tough,” He reached up and wiped away a few tears that had slid down his cheeks, “I'm the leader of a gang for fuck's sake and I'm sitting here crying like a little bitch. So many people would have my head if they knew how I was being.”
“Well, lucky for you, it's just you and me here now,” She pulled him to her, placing his head in her lap as she stroked his hair and he moved his arms to hold tightly onto her thighs, “You don't have to be that tough Gangster with me, Jay. What happens here, between you and me, stays strictly between us,” She paused to lick her lips, “I'm actually really glad you're comfortable enough to show me this side of you. It shows me that you're letting me in and putting a little bit of the burden on me.”
“It's only been a week and I trust you more than I trust anybody,” He breathed, the tears still slowly rolling out of his eyes, “There's not one other person in my life that would be here with me right now. Watching me cry and trying to help me through it. Please don't think less of me because of this.”
“I never would, Baby,” She stared down at him and used the hand she wasn't brushing through his hair to wipe the tears off of his face, “I'm always gonna be here for you, Jay. Regardless of whatever else happens between us, you need a friend. Someone that you can trust and count on to be there for you and have your back no matter what. I promise to be that person for you, even if you decide you don't wanna be with me.”
“You're fucking crazy if you think I wouldn't wanna be with you. Especially after this. I probably don't deserve someone like you,” He turned onto his back, leaving his head on her lap, but staring up into her eyes, “Why are you so fucking amazing? And what could I have possibly ever done to deserve your attention? I'm nothing special and I've done so many horrible things, but God brought you into my life anyway. I don't deserve you, but I'm so thankful for you.”
“I know quite a few people that would argue with you about me being amazing,” She took his face in her hands, “And you are special, Jay. You're amazing. We've all done horrible things and fucked up really bad, but I've only known you for a week and I see how amazing you are. I've been outta the game for a really long time, but you've shown me more love in the last week, than I had my entire last relationship.”
“Tell me about your last relationship,” He urged, not being able to fight the need to know everything about this wonderful woman before him.
She shrugged, “There's not much to tell. We were together for the better part of 6 years. He was young, cheated on me all the time, treated me like shit, disrespected me, beat the shit outta me and I loved him so I forgave him over and over again. Finally, one day, I was just done. I couldn't do it anymore. He's the only person I've been with for the last 7 years up until you, which I told you before. Then prior to him, the only relationship worth mentioning was my on again/off again fling with Aaron for 5 years.”
“You and Aaron had a relationship?” He frowned.
“Yeah, on and off. We started off as best friends though and fought to keep our friendship through all of it. Then when I met Darion, he met Courtney and it was just like all the hurt and pain that we'd put each other through on a romantic level disappeared and we were strictly best friends. I don't know how we got through it the way we did, but thankfully he's still my best friend. I haven't been in love with him for a very long time and we get along so much better now.”
“Is he still in love with you? And doesn't Courtney get jealous of the past you guys have?” He studied her.
“No,” She shook her head, “He's madly in love with her and I love her to death. I always usually hated his other girlfriends, but when he introduced me to Courtney, I immediately took a liking to her. She's one of my best friends now too. I don't know what I'd do without either of them.”
“And I'm making you lie to them,” He let out a disgusted laugh at himself, “I'm sorry, Baby. I don't want you hiding anything from them. If you trust them, I trust them. You can tell them.”
“Are you sure?” She wondered, caressing his face lightly with both of her hands, “I don't have to tell them if you're not comfortable with them knowing.”
“No,” He stared up into her eyes from his position on her lap, “It's okay. You can tell them.”
She leaned down and placed an up-side-down kiss on his lips, “Thank you, Baby.”
“Do you think you could ever feel that way about me?” He asked after a moment.
“What way?” She frowned.
“That you couldn't live without me and that you'd do anything for me? Do you think you'd ever consider me, not only your boyfriend, but your best friend?” He bit his lip.
“I'm already starting to feel that way, Jay,” She informed, “The connection I feel with you makes me feel like I could tell you anything and know that my secrets are safe and I won't be judged. That's rare. Courtney and Aaron are really the only other people in the world that I feel that way about. I don't keep a lot of friends, but I do know that as of this moment, I definitely don't wanna live without you in my life.”
“You're my best friend, ya know,” He admitted, “Even though we just met, I'm closer to you than I am to anyone in the world. I don't wanna lose that.”
“You won't lose me, Baby,” She smiled down at him, “No matter what, I'll never turn my back on you.” Just then, Krystal's cell phone rang and she grabbed it from it's resting place on the nightstand. Without recognizing the number, she answered with a frown.
“Hello?” Justin listened carefully as to hear the person on the other end.
“Hey, Krystal, It's Mark. Justin wouldn't happen to be with you, would he? I really need to talk to him.”
“Uh, yeah, he is. How come you didn't just call him?”
“Both his phones are off, which they never are,” Mark sighed, internally blaming Krystal for Justin turning off his phones.
“Can I ask how you got my number?” She frowned in confusion.
“It really wasn't that hard. If I could get it this easily, you might wanna consider getting some security at your place. Can I speak with Justin please?”
“Yeah, Of course,” Krystal pulled the phone away from her ear and handed it to Justin, “It's Mark. He said your phones were off and he needs to talk to you.” Justin frowned and took the phone, sitting up before placing it at his ear. Krystal got up and made her way into the bathroom to pee while Justin spoke with Mark. She returned a moment later and climbed into bed just as he was ending the conversation. He placed the phone back on the nightstand and pulled her into his arms.
“I'm sorry he called your phone,” He spoke.
“It's okay, it's just a little weird that he got my number,” She frowned, “If it was that easy for him to get my number, do you think you could get me a gun to have when you're not here? I'd feel safer if I knew I could protect myself.”
“Anything to make you feel safe, Baby,” He kissed the top of her head, “But I plan on being here to protect you at all times.”
He felt her nod against his chest, “Why are both of your phones off? Mark said they never are.”
“I didn't charge my main one and I just couldn't deal with that part of my life for a little while, so I turned it off when I came over here,” He explained.
“Do you do that often?” She prodded gently.
“No. Never. I've never turned it off on purpose before,” He confessed, “I always need to be reachable, being who I am.”
“Do you wanna tell me why you needed to turn it off now?” She moved her head, resting her chin on his chest as she looked up into his eyes.
“I felt like the walls were closing in and I couldn't deal. I felt like I just wanted to escape it for awhile and I know that's wrong and I can't do that, being who I am, but I-I just needed to try to forget that part of my life for a few minutes,” His voice was low and he had a deep look on his face, “James dying like he did really makes me realize my own mortality and I've felt so invincible for so long now. It's just like my entire world is crashing down and the realization that I could be killed at any moment has finally hit me.”
“You have thousands of people protecting you, Baby,” She reached up to caress his cheek, “So, we'll increase your security when you're not in a safe place, just to be sure someone's always watching your back. And you have me now, so I promise to always watch your back too. I may not be the best at it, but I'll do the best I can.”
“I don't want you to have to do that, Baby Girl,” He stared down into her eyes, “I want you to forget that life as much as possible. I want you to be happy and carefree. It's my job to protect you.”
“How about,” She moved up his body a little bit, holding herself up on her arms as she stared down into his eyes, “We protect each other.”
He let a genuine smile cross his features, “Yeah,” He whispered, “We'll protect each other.”