“You'll come with me tomorrow, right?” Justin asked, holding Krystal's hand as they walked through the lit streets of Seattle. She had admitted to him earlier that she had never been to Seattle and he decided that he wanted to take her on a walk around the town to show her the sights.
“If you want me to,” She nodded, “Do you go to funerals often?” She wondered, “I mean, like, whenever one of your members dies?”
He shook his head, “Not really. I hate to admit it, but we have people die all the time. I'd be going to funerals every other day if I went to all of them. James was just a friend from childhood.”
“Are you okay?” She wondered, turning her head to study him.
“Yeah,” He frowned, “Of course. Why wouldn't I be?”
“Your friend died,” She shrugged, “It can't be easy to deal with. You don't have to be tough with me, ya know. If you need a shoulder, I'm here.”
He brought the hand he was holding to his lips, placing a kiss on the back of it, “I appreciate that, Baby. Thank you. I'm okay though,” He was really starting to fall for this woman, “It's not my first time having to bury one of my friends. With the lifestyle I lead, it happens a lot more than it should.”
“I'm sorry, Babe,” She sighed, “It must be hard to always lose people that you care about.”
“It's a large reason why I hesitate to get close to people,” He informed, finally opening up to her a little, “It's also why I'll do anything to keep you safe.”
“Thankfully, I usually don't find myself in too much danger,” She smiled. They had reached Central Park and Justin pulled her over to a bench where they both took a seat, his fingers still intertwined with hers as he studied her face.
“Were you scared today? When I took you to the hide-out?” He wondered.
“I got a little nervous, because I didn't really know what to expect,” She shrugged, “But I trust you when you say I'm safe with you. You've been so sweet to me the last few days that it was surprising to see your Gangster side today.”
“Did it scare you?” He asked, licking his lips, “Cause today was calm. I can get a lot worse than that.”
“No,” She shook her head, “You didn't scare me, Boo. I just prefer your sweet side when it comes to your interactions with me.”
“Mark's worried that I'll lose focus if I keep seeing you and falling for you,” He confessed.
“Will you?” She wondered, “Because as much as I love spending time with you, I don't wanna be the reason you get seriously injured or killed just because you weren't focused. I wouldn't be able to live with myself.”
He put his arm around her shoulder, pulling her close to him, “No. I won't. I'll be more focused because I'll have you to protect too.”
“But if you're worried about protecting me, how can you worry about protecting yourself?”
“Because I know how to protect myself. I've been doing it for a long time,” He licked his lips, “I'd already kill for you, Baby. I know I can keep you safe. If I didn't think I could, I wouldn't have let you in and I wouldn't have brought you here.”
“Won't you be distracted though? Worrying about keeping me safe?” She questioned, studying him.
“No,” He shook his head again, “I'm in this, Baby. I fall a little harder for you every moment we spend together, but I still know who I am and what I have to do. Please don't walk away from me. I feel things with you that I've never felt before and I just wanna give you the world. I want things to be perfect between us. I've got this. I know that I can handle everything. If I couldn't, I'd tell you.”
“Promise me that if you can't, you'll tell me,” She stared intently into his eyes, “I'm not some timid little girl who can't handle things. If we're really gonna do this and I'm gonna be a part of this, then don't hold back sharing with me. Don't just take the burden of everything on your own, cause I can handle it too. If this is for real between us, then we should be equal partners. We can share the burdens.”
“Are you saying you want to be a part of this life?” He gave her a confused look.
“Not really,” She shrugged, “I mean, I'd prefer to stay as out of it as I can, but you can always talk to me and I'm always gonna be willing to help if you need it. I don't wanna be initiated or anything, but the closer we get, the more my loyalty belongs to you.”
He studied her for a moment before speaking softly, “I realize we've only known each other a few days, but I am falling so hard for you, Baby Girl. Sometimes you do or say things that just leave me amazed. I'm really looking forward to getting to know the rest of you and falling madly in love with you.”
A light blush crept onto her cheeks as she smiled, “I'm feeling the same way, Boo.”
“Are you sure?” He asked, a light frown crossing his features, “I mean, I know you're guarded, Baby, but I feel like you never really tell me how you're feeling.”
“Honestly,” She bit her lip for a moment, “I am very guarded. I'm really trying not to be with you, Jay, because you've not done a single thing to deserve it. I'm just scared of getting hurt again. You are so amazing and so perfect and so fucking gorgeous. I keep trying to put up walls to stop myself from getting more feelings for you, because I don't wanna get hurt, but it's becoming impossible. We've only known each other for 4 days and I know it's too soon for us to be so invested in this, but I can't help it. I want to spend every moment with you because I enjoy your company that much, but every moment we spend together, I start to like you more and more and you give me this feeling in my chest that makes me wanna scream with excitement when you show interest in me. I'm a 32 year old woman for Pete's sake and I'm acting like a 12 year old.”
He chuckled, pulling her closer to him as he gave her a one-armed hug and kissed the top of her head, “Don't fight it, Baby,” He whispered, “Cause I feel the same way. This could turn out to be the greatest thing in our lives.”
“How though?” She frowned, “We barely know each other and even without knowing you that well, I'm still feeling like this.”
“I just know,” He spoke softly, “I knew the minute I looked into your eyes that you were gonna be a big part of my life. I'm feeling the same way you're feeling. I promise. It's okay if we fall in love with each other quickly. You and me are the only ones that matter right now.”
“I don't want either of us to get hurt, Jay,” She sighed.
“Are you one hundred percent committed to us, Baby?”
She pulled away to look into his eyes, “Yes.”
“Then neither of us are gonna get hurt,” He reached up to caress her cheek, “Because I'm that committed to us too. I feel connected to you in a way I've never felt before. I look into your eyes and it's like I knew you in another life or something. So, trust me when I tell you that I'm not going anywhere. I'm in this for real. What do I gotta do to prove that to you?”
“You're doing exactly what you need to do, Babe,” She touched his pecs through his shirt, “I'm sorry that I'm such a freak about this.”
“Don't apologize,” He brushed the hair out of her face, “I get why you're scared to jump in, but I'm just letting you know that I already have my entire bottom half in the water.”
“I'm old,” She frowned again, “I shouldn't be falling in love like an inexperienced teenager.”
“Even though you've been in relationships before, no relationship is ever the same. Nobody ever falls in love the same way twice, so, it's okay to let go and just go with it. Please stop holding back, Baby. I'm doing everything I can to prove that this is what I want. I'm even stepping out of my comfort zone and showing you sides to me that no one in the world has ever seen. I'm not holding back with you, so don't hold back with me,” He studied her intently.
“I'll try,” She whispered, “Because I really do want this with you, Justin.”