Lost Innocence

September 18, 2013
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I was alone. All alone in New York City. But I couldn't stay. I couldn't stay at home because they would find me. They would find me and kill me. I did something that no one can ever know about. I killed him. But I had to,right? What would've happened if I didn't? The worst part is not knowing when they'll come for me. The flashbacks came at night when I would try to fall into a peaceful sleep. They thrashed in my head and they wouldn't drift away. But I couldn't let him get away with it. He killed my mother. He was a druggie. He dealt them, took them, and killed people that didn't have his money. My mother found out and wanted no part in it, she was going to leave him. He was enraged and wouldn't let her leave him. He grabbed her by the neck and shook her. His grip got tighter and tighter, he slowly let the life slip out of her. I was hiding in the dark of the room after coming in from being out late that night and he hadn't noticed that I saw him murder my mother.

I couldn't stop the tears that night, they just kept rolling out like tidal waves. That night I decided to never let him get away with what he did. He would pay for what he did to my mother. So I snuck down to the basement,with tears running down my face and my whole body shaking, grabbed his handgun and hid it in my room. I thought about it for at least two days. I can't do this, I thought, I can't kill someone! But I had to do it for my mother. I was going insane, fighting with myself. I finally decided that I would avenge my mother. I would do it for her.

I waited until he was asleep and by then the thoughts had long corrupted my mind. I was to far into the darkness to turn back and then forget everything. I did what I planned on doing. I killed him, just like he killed my mother. As soon as I realized what I did I packed a bag of clothes and grabbed whatever money I could find in the house. I thought about trying to hide his body or call an ambulance, but I would just put myself in more danger. I stuffed the gun in my bag under some clothes. If I didn't bring the gun the cops would find it then find me and I couldn't risk that. I couldn't leave at first. I mean, I would be leaving everything behind. But I also couldn't be found and killed by those men.

I knew my stepfather had some money from the drug dealing in a safe in the basement. I didn't know his code for the lock so I grabbed a hammer and began to bang on it until the lock broke. It took a while but i finally destroyed it. I grabbed what was in there which was about eight hundred dollars, enough for a plane ticket. Obviously his drug business wasn't going that great.

I took a cab to the airport and just sat outside thinking about the events of these past few days. I mean,I killed a man. I started crying again but roughly wiped the tears away because I didn't need to cry, and I didn't want to. Then I got on the first flight to New York City. I knew that his three partners were after me. They made regular trips to our house at night for their part of the money. They had to have found his body by now. But here I was now in New York with no where to go. Eventually after wandering around for hours i found a park. So here I was just laying on a park bench. The stars were somewhat visible in the park. They were shining down on me and I envied them because they were way up in the galaxy and I was stuck way down here in misery. I was so sleepy and cold. I just let my eyes slowly flutter shut.

I groggily woke up after hearing a loud car horn, followed by several more. I was startled. I forgot I was in New York, but as soon as my mind cleared from the drowsy fog it was in I remembered everything that happened and what I had done. It was only six in the morning and there were so many joggers passing me, giving me looks. I guess because I was an eighteen year old girl laying on a park bench. But this was New York I didn't think that, that was so unusual. I was so hungry my stomach wouldn't shut up. I had only been to New York once when I was like twelve, so I definitely didn't know my way around. I dug around in my bag and finally found ten dollars. I just kept walking until I found a McDonald's. I ordered some food and sat down at a random table. After I finished I walked outside and saw three men in matching black hoodies. Were these the men that had come to kill me? I got really paranoid and hid, my chest was heaving like I had just run a marathon. They turned around and I ran out of my hiding spot standing right in front them waiting for them to turn around. They stopped and stared at me like I was a maniac and just kept walking. It obviously wasn't them or I would've been dead by now.

After I made that scene I walked around and ended up going into a book store. It was a warm refuge and I was freezing. I walked around brushing my fingers over the tarnished and wrinkled spines. I picked up a book and started to run my eyes over the yellow pages. I wasn't paying attention and walked straight into a tall brown haired, blue eyed boy. He helped me rebalance and smiled at me. I kinda just brushed him off and mumbled a thanks.

"Are you ok?" the stranger asked me.

"Yeah, I'm fine." I grumbled.

He just shrugged and asked "Do you need help finding anything?"

I just looked at him, "Is this your way of hitting on me?" I asked. I was surprised at how abrupt I was. But I was so on edge and wasn't in the mood for any stupid guys bothering me. He looked like he was trying not to laugh. I was confused as to why he would be laughing, I looked down at my black skinny jeans and combat boots. Was it my outfit?

He shook his head, smiled and replied, "Um no, I work here." I was so embarrassed. I looked down and felt my checks heat up.

"Oh, well you should really wear a name tag or something." I mumbled trying to hide the fact I just totally embarrassed myself.

He looked at me and smirked, "I'll let my boss know" he said. "That's a good book. I've read it a lot." He told me after my cheeks recovered.

"Great for you. But you can go help someone else now," I said with aggression. I turned on my heel but didn't walk off. I could still feel his presence behind me. "Look I get that you work here and you have to help your customers, but you're creeping me out," I remarked.

He walked around to face me and said with a smile on his face "You're not from here are you?" he asked. I froze and could feel myself start to sweat. What if he was helping them?

I gulped and responded barley above a whisper, "What?"

He repeated his question but added, "I pretty much know everyone that comes to this book store and I've never seen you before." I took a giant breath of relief and released the tension from my body.

"I decided to come here for a while. I don't know how long I'll be here," I told him.

He nodded and offered "Well I've lived here all my life. I could show you around."

I immediately declined, shaking my head I responded, "No. Um I mean I'm good. I'm sure I can figure it out."

"Oh okay, well you know where to find me if you change your mind." After he said that there was silence, he tilted his head to the side and said, "Do you have any plans for lunch?"

I looked at him like he had a third head and said, "No I don't, why do you need to know?"

He straightened himself and said, "Well I was going to ask if you would like to accompany me,like an apology, you know, for not wearing a name tag."

I blushed yet again and replied, "I don't know you're a complete stranger, how do I know you're not gonna kidnap me or something?"

He laughed and said "Well I guess you'll just have to trust me."

I scoffed "Oh, ok sure I'll just do that."

"C'mon! I know the best sandwich shop just down the street from here!" I hesitantly nodded my head. We walked out of the shop. He turned to me and stared at me while we were walking.

I couldn't take it anymore, "What do you want?" I exclaimed.

He laughed lightly and simply replied "Your name"

I looked down, "Charlie" I said after about five minutes.

"That's unique for a girl, I like it." I mumbled a thanks and after he realized I wasn't going to ask him for his name he offered out his hand and with a raspy voice said, "I'm Will" I took his hand and softly shook it. I dropped it and let my hand hang down at my side again. After walking for about two blocks we got to a quaint deli and he opened the door for me, "Ladies first."

I rolled my eyes at how cliche that was and entered the shop. I waited for him to come into the shop. He smiled at me and placed his hand on the small of my back to guide me to the counter. I gave him a look as to say Don't touch me again. He moved his hand away from my back and awkwardly cleared his throat.

"Erm, two of the specials please," He told the cashier. She punched it into the computer and gave us our cups for our drinks.

"What do you want to drink?" He turned to me.

"Just coke please." I spoke.
We sat down at a booth and just starred at each other for a minute. He of course broke the silence.

"So tell me about yourself," He prodded.

There's not a whole lot. I'm an only child. Oh ya and my parents aren't alive anymore and I'm running from three guys who want to kill me! I thought to myself. But instead of actually saying that I told him "Well there's not much. I'm an only child. I'm new to the area and--Oh look our foods ready!" He grabbed the trays form the server and thanked him. We tucked in to our lunches. Everything was quiet because we were both eating. The bell rang letting everyone know a new customer had come in. I turned my head a little to the side to study the tall man that was ordering.

I couldn't move. I stopped mid chew and couldn't swallow what I had bitten off. Will looked at me with concern. I knew that man. He was part of my stepdad's pack. I turned quickly when he went to turn around.

Out of all the deli shops and restaurants why the heck did he come into this one! I tried to think of a quick way to get out of there. I thought out of impulse and grabbed Will's hand, yanking him out of his chair. I sped walked to the door and pushed him out.
He looked at me like I was crazy and questioned "What the heck? I was enjoying that sandwich!"

I shrugged and said, "Well I didn't like it, plus it was getting way to crowded in there."
I started walking and he followed me.

"Are you sure you're okay?" He questioned.

"Positive," I said annoyed by this point.
"I have to go. Thanks for the lunch but I need to find somewhere to stay for the time that I'm here." I told him and started to walk away. He however had other ideas because he ran up to me and grabbed my arm. He turned me to face him and asked me,

"You need somewhere to stay? I have a place and its--"

"Dude! I just met you! It's really nice to offer but I'd rather be in a hotel or something." I cut him off.

"No! That's not what I was going to offer!" He exclaimed. "My parents used to run a bed and breakfast but no one's come to stay in months. No charge because I can tell you're going through a really rough time." He gently said to me. But I didn't want charity and certainly not from some stranger I just met.

"I appreciate it but I just met you and the whole free charge thing would make me feel bad because I do have some money and I just--" I gasped for air because I said all of that really fast. "--I don't want to burden anyone and I don't know you!" I exclaimed.

"Look I know that you're in some type of situation, but I'm just trying to help you out. I know it might be scary because you don't know me but I wouldn't do anything to hurt you, or anyone for that matter." He spoke softly to me. I looked into his bright blue eyes and found myself getting a tingly feeling in my stomach. I felt like I could trust him, even if I didn't want to. I reluctantly stepped towards him, because I had moved away from him. "Okay, I mean I guess I could..um I guess I could stay at your place." I swallowed hard after I said that because I had found trouble with finding my voice.

"Alright, good," he said. "we can walk over there right now, it's not far." He gently grasped my arm and started to direct me in the right direction to walk.

We had been walking for about ten minutes and we weren't talking at all. I didn't find the need to. It wasn't an awkward silence, it was just peaceful. I wondered when I would have a run in with the men that were after me. I knew deep down that it wouldn't be long before they would find me and hurt me and I was petrified. I mean I was by myself and no one would help me. I was jolted out of my thoughts when Will spoke.

"Sorry, what did you say?" I asked a little embarrassed that I had managed to be so caught up in thought that I had ignored him.

"We're here," he told me.

I didn't say anything just nodded and walked inside. He led me into a beautiful Victorian styled house that had obviously not been updated in many years. We stopped in the huge foyer.

"Well, you can pick a room upstairs, and there are bathrooms up there as well," he turned to me and spoke.

I was hit with a pang of guilt and realized he wasn't the bad guy, he was just trying to be nice to me. "I know I haven't been very nice to you, or warm, or happy, or thankful,
but I didn't come here to make friends,I came here to get away from them and I just wanted to say thank of for what you've done for me," I spoke all in one breath.

"Hey, it's okay," he put his hands on both of my arms and rubbed them up and down my arms to try and calm me down. "Everyone goes through really hard times, and I know that I don't know what you're going through but I think that I could help you get through it," he said as he moved to hug me.

I was taken aback by the warm embrace. I didn't hug him back immediately because I wasn't one for physical contact. I finally came back to my senses and slowly hugged him back. It was an awkward hug on my part but he didn't care because he just squeezed me tighter. I finally broke away from the hug.

"Why do you even care about me, or helping me? I've known you for a day," I questioned.

"I don't know to be honest, but you are really intriguing and beautiful," he had me blushing at this point, "and I don't know, you just, you just pulled me in," he said.

"Thanks, for you know, all of that," I spoke awkwardly.

He nodded his head and asked me, "So who are them?"

"Um..I-I, did I say them?" I spoke. "I meant get away from stuff back home," I tried to cover up my mistake. I could tell he didn't buy what I was saying because he narrowed his eyes at me.

"Are you running from someone?" He questioned me

"Um hey, I'm really tired, I think I need to get some rest," I dodged his suspicion.

"Goodnight," he said and leaned down to kiss my cheek.

"Ya, you too," I said and backed to the stairs.
I walked up the wooden steps. They began to creek under me as I made my way to the third door on the right of the hall. I opened the door and saw a gorgeous king bed in the middle of a beautiful antique room. The walls were white and so was the bed frame. The walls were hung with unique paintings of flowers and fields. It was peaceful and calming. The window was propped open and letting in the freezing air into the pure white room. As I shut the window I saw two figures across the street walking in the park. It was getting pretty late and they were the only ones on that side of the small area. As I studied the men one of them looked up and pointed to me. I knew at that instant who those figures were. I grabbed the curtains on the side of me and yanked them hard in front of the window. I stumbled backwards and tripped over the fire wood that was resting by the astonishing brick fire place. I fell to the ground and the air was totally knocked out of me. I heard feet running up the stairs. Will walked in and saw me on the ground.

"Oh my gosh!" He exclaimed "Are you okay? What happened?" He shot question after question. However, all I could do was stare at the window. He noticed my gaze and went to open the curtains. I leaped off the ground and pushed him away from the window.

"No! Don't open the curtains! I can't..they could see me," I tried gasping for air and couldn't stop my chest from heaving up and down. I hadn't even realized I had been shedding tears until Will reached out and wiped them away.

"What happened? Why are you crying?" He tried to coax the story out of me.

"I did a bad, awful, terrible, thing before I ran away. If I told you, y-you wouldn't, wouldn't want anything to do with me," I sobbed.

"I promise I won't throw you out on the streets or abandon you," he told me.

"Those men out there are after me, they want me dead, t-they are going kill me," I told him my voice cracking at the end.

He eyes were filled with worry at this point and he asked me," Why would someone want to kill you?"

"I-I killed, I killed my stepfather," I squeezed my eyes shut as soon as I told him that. I knew his opinion about me would change completely. I would no longer be the beautiful girl, that lured him in. I would be the despicable human being that killed a family member.

"Why, why would you, k-kill someone?" He asked with some much sadness in his voice I almost thought he was going to cry.

"He..he killed my mother. He choked her because she found out he was a drug dealer, she wanted nothing to do with it, we were going to leave him and he got so mad, h-he took her and he shook her, and a-and his grip got tighter until she, she s-stopped b-breathing!" I sobbed into his chest.

He said nothing, he just held me while sobs wracked my body. I was shaking and I'm sure he could tell. He took a deep breath and then lifted my face to meet his eyes.

"Okay, okay calm down and just, just breathe," he soothed.

"I took his gun, a-and I shot him, I didn't even hide his body I just left.." I gasped. I wiped more tears that were running down my face, and continued, "And, n-now those men are after me because I killed their leader, a-and they're going to kill me!"
I felt him pull me even closer than before and rock me back and fourth like a child. He waited to speak until my sobs were muffled sniffs.

"I don't think you're a terrible person, I mean technically it was out of defense," he told me. "I promise no one will lay a finger on you as long as I'm around," he assured me.

"I can't ask you to put yourself in harm's way just for me," I said to him.

"Look, I care about you a lot right now especially since I know your situation, it would be an honor to protect you," he said with honesty in his eyes. I couldn't help it when my heart swelled after he told me that. No one has ever vowed to protect me from anything. I felt so stupid because I just met this guy today and I already felt like I could fall for him. He was just so different and sweet and caring. I reached up and kissed him on the cheek.

"Thank you, for everything, no one has ever done the things you did for me today," I said with complete gratitude. He just smiled at me and started to lean in slowly. I could feel my face heat up as he got closer and closer to my face. I didn't know what was happening, it was like my brain and body were frozen. I couldn't move or think or do anything! I felt his warmth radiate off of him and onto me. He finally reached his desired destination: my lips. We kissed for what felt like an eternity and broke away for air.

"You're so beautiful," he whispered to me. I blushed and just looked down.

"Well, I guess I should head off to bed, it's really late," I spoke softly. He smiled, kissed my cheek then walked out of the room and shut the door. I fell back on my bed and got under the warm duvet and snuggled deep into my pillow. I couldn't believe how he made me feel. I never got those affectionate feelings,and for him to just march into my life and make me feel them was annoying. But I couldn't fight the smile that formed on my face as I thought about the amazing kiss we shared. I felt fireworks when he touched me and my skin tingled when he kissed my cheek. I felt the exhaustion from the long day consume my body and take over. I felt my eyes droop and my breathing slowed.

The next morning I woke up and looked at the beside clock to see it was only two a.m. I sluggishly got up from the warm bed and made my way down the stairs to get some water when I noticed a light in the kitchen. I rounded the corner to see Will sitting on a bar stool. I cleared my throat so I wouldn't scare him and he turned around to face me.

"Oh sorry, did I wake you?" He asked

"Oh, erm, no you didn't,I couldn't sleep," I said with sleep still clear in my voice. I sat down on a bar stool across from him. The kitchen was quaint and similar to the bedroom, all white with silver appliances and flowers in colorful vases scattered throughout.

"Are you hungry or something?" Will asked me.

"Not really, but a glass of water would be awesome," I said with a sweet smile.

"Sure thing," he mumbled as he got off his stool. He fixed my glass and I just admired how his hair looked so tussled because he had just woken up. He was a very handsome guy, and I still couldn't believe he kissed me. I blushed just thinking of it.

"Here ya go m'lady," he handed me the water.
I couldn't help but laugh at his choice of words, "Wow, thanks," I told him.

There was silence and we both started laughing. We were still in mid-laugh when there was a small crash that sounded like it came from outside. It wasn't very loud but loud enough to hear from the kitchen. We both stood from out stools and made our way to the front door. I became paranoid, what if it's one of them? They've come for me and what if they hurt Will? Wait. Why would I, I mean ya he's cute and sweet but do I really care that much about him? I stopped my thoughts from dragging me further into the argument I was in with myself. I continued to follow Will to the front of the house. He unlocked the door and peered outside. I tried to do the same but he held me back with his arm. After the coast was clear he moved outside to try and find what crashed. I stepped out onto the wooden porch with him to look around. As I tried to find the broken object I stepped on a rather large pebble. I picked it up and looked at it, as I flipped it over I saw that there was a number on it: 45th. My breathing stopped. What was that supposed to mean? I rushed over to Will who was looking at a broken flower pot with dirt spilling out of its side. I showed him the pebble that clearly had caused the destruction of the pot.

"It's them. They're here!" I exclaimed but immediately put my hand over my mouth in case the men were still lurking in the dark shadows of the early morning. He took the pebble from my hand and looked at it.

"Okay calm down, calm down, I'm not gonna let them hurt you," He soothed me for what felt like the hundredth time, "this is a street, it's by the book shop. I pass it everyday" he confirmed.

My breathing had come back but was shaky and ragged. My scared self turned angry and ready for a fight. So in the heat of the moment I stepped off the porch jogged down the steps of the house and screamed loudly, "IF YOU'RE READY TO KILL ME THEN DO IT NOW! GET IT OVER WITH!" I was beyond livid at this point and wanted to carry on shouting but couldn't because by this time Will had ran after me and grabbed me around my waist trying to bring me back to the safety of the house. I realized what I did and surprisingly didn't feel regret, but instead more fire burned within me. I was determined to stay alive and not let anyone take my life. I pushed Will off of me and stormed inside. He came in immediately and grabbed me by my shoulders.

"Are you insane?!" He exclaimed loudly

"Pretty much. I'm ready for what they want to do to me. I won't go down without a fight!" I said with way to much courage than I should have.

"No you're not! I don't want to see you dead! I care about you a lot and if something happened I would, I don't even know!" He said exasperated. I reached up and stroked his cheek with my hand.

"I promise I won't get myself hurt," I said not completely reassured myself but if it made him feel better than I would promise him that.

It was dark outside and I walked out of the house with a raincoat on my body and my combat boots loosely tied. I started to walk down the stairs and turned around to see Will standing on the porch looking at me sorrowfully. As soon as I thought I was going to go find those men, Will ran down the steps and almost crashed into me.

"You're crazy if you think you're doing this alone," he told me totally serious.

"Will, I can't let you come if--," I was cut off by his voice.
"Stop trying to convince me not to come. I'm coming whether you like it or not," he said stubbornly.

I rolled my eyes and began walking and of course, he followed. I didn't really know what I was going to do when I saw the men but I knew I wanted this to end. I didn't want to be afraid to walk outside anymore. I didn't want to have to look over my shoulder constantly.

We had been walking for about seven minutes when we came to the street. The courage that had once surged through out me like lighting had dimmed into a small spark that was wavering in the cold air. I walked into the ally and could feel myself shaking. I heard footsteps in the distance and froze.

"It's nice to finally meet you," a sickening voice growled from the darkness. I couldn't see their faces but I knew by the ruff silhouettes that it was them.

"What do you want?" I growled back at the man.

"You destroyed what we had worked so hard to build and I think that the only way to even out the score is to get rid of what caused it to crash down," he spoke from the dark. I swallowed, what could've been my last breath, and stepped forward only to be pushed behind the back of Will.

"Over my dead body," Will barked. I tried to move him and tell him to go back to the start of the street but he wouldn't listen.

"That's big talk boy," the man laughed, "giving up your life for her? Are you sure you want to do that?" He pestered Will. "Would you do that for a murderer? Someone who killed their own stepfather? Huh?" He demanded at the end. Will stayed in front of me and I could feel his body tense.

"Will you don't have to do this, I'll be fine just go," I tried to tell him but he ignored me. I moved from behind him and stepped further away. Looking for something I could use as a weapon,something sharp. I found a broken beer bottle, figured we are in a sketchy ally I though to myself as I picked up the glass. I threw it at the outline of the shadow that I could see. I heard a deep groan at the same time that I heard a gunshot go off. I screamed and ducked to the ground not sure where the bullet would go.

I forgot that I still had my bag on my back and ran behind a dumpster to fish for the gun I had used to kill my stepfather. I pulled it out and aimed for the shadows. I heard a body drop but not sure whose body it was. I freaked and ran out from behind the dumpster. It all happened in slow motion after that. I heard Will yell my name and as I turned to look for him I saw his body run in front of my own. My head snapped forward just in time to see his body fall against the cold pavement.

"NO! WILL!" I screamed out.
I looked up and saw the man smirking. I took the gun and shot as many bullets as I could. Not really caring where they went just as long as one of them hit him. I heard a gasp and opened my eyes that I hadn't realized had closed and saw the new pack leader on the ground with a bullet in his chest. I looked to the right and saw that only one of them was left. I didn't know where the other druggie went but he was no where to be seen. I shot the gun again and nailed the last man in his leg. He crashed to the ground.

I dropped to my knees next to Will's head, "Will! Will, talk to me! Keep your eyes open! Keep looking at me!" I screamed at him. He was hit in the lower stomach. I took off my rain jacket and put pressure to his gun wound. I knew I couldn't call the cops so I tried to help him stand up. When I finally got him on his feet I knew I had to hurry so he wouldn't bleed out. I walked as fast as I could with Will leaning on me for support. I tried to make it back to the bed and breakfast but I knew it would be to long so I walked us back to the park. I found a bench laid Will on it and called 911. I jumbled out a lie that could be believable. I told the man on the phone that "We had been walking back from a late night walk in the park and some guy tried to shoot me but Will jumped out in front of me" it wasn't a very good lie but I was put on the spot. The man on the other end stayed on the phone with me until the ambulance got to us. As soon as they did I hung up and was at Will's side.

"C-Charlie," I heard barely above a whisper and looked down to see Will reaching his hand out.

"Will, Will I'm right here. Right here. I'm not going anywhere I promise!" I cried as the tears started to fall slowly down my face.

"I'm sorry ma'am but you can't come in the ambulance, we are going to bring him to the hospital and you can come see him there" the paramedic told me.

"I have to, you don't understand!" I screamed at her. "I have to go with him! He needs me!" I continued on. She kept apologizing, telling me I couldn't come. She gently pushed me away from the ambulance and started to shut the doors to the vehicle.

"No! Will!" I screamed at the back of the closed doors. They got into the ambulance and started to drive off. I couldn't stop the sobs coming from my mouth. I was shaking and choking on my own tears. I couldn't stand up anymore and collapsed on my knees in the cold rain. It was my fault, my fault that this happened to Will. I thought back to last night when everything was perfect and I remembered the promise he made me,

" ...it would be an honor to protect you."

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