“You didn’t tell him about the money, then?” pervy guy chuckled, a bloodied mess on the floor.
“That was your fault, asshole!” Cindy snapped, throwing a plate down on the table to stand over him. “I told you to leave him out of it but could you stand to listen to me for once in your life? No, of course not because you’re mister Big-Shot”
What was she on about? Pervy guy opened his mouth to say something but Cindy rolled her eyes, striding past him and grabbing my arm.
“C’mon, we’re going after him”
I nodded, not really sure what to say. I followed her to her car, getting in when she unlocked it. She sped off after Damien before I’d even had time to buckle my seatbelt.
“Where would he have gone?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Probably back to the apartment. I think you owe me an explanation first”
She sighed. “I’m sorry you got mixed up in this, Kyle. Graham’s... He’s a pimp. And Do Or Dine’s kind of like a recruitment agency for him. He owns the place which is why no one ever kicks him out and, well...” she sighed. “I’m a prostitute, okay? I work at the diner for a little extra cash. Everyone that works there’s his bitch”
“So when he paid me the other day...”
“He was just testing you out”
She nodded and sped up a little.
“Damien?” I called out once we got to the apartment. Please be here, gorgeous. “Babe, are you in here?”
A faint noise came from the couch. It could’ve just been me hearing things but I had my hopes up. I wandered over to it, kneeling on the cushions. “Damien?” I asked softly.
I could just about see him from where I was. He was pressed into the gap behind the couch that he’d been in before, all wide eyed and starey.
"Please say something"
"Kyle, I don't think he's here" Cindy said, standing by the front door.
"Who's with you?" he asked.
"It's just Cindy, babe"
He went all starey again.
"She drives me home from work, remember?"
"Say something" I said softly.
"Get her out"
"Why?" I asked just as soft.
"Get her out"
Cindy sighed, leaving. I could tell she’d only be outside the front door but hopefully it’d be enough to convince Damien. Apparently not.
"Babe, she's gone. Trust me"
He just kept staring. At what, I don’t know.
"What're you doing behind the couch?"
"What does it look like?"
"I don't know. That's why I asked"
He looked kind of scared so I spoke even softer than before.
"Why don't you come out from there and we'll have a nice hot chocolate, yeah?"
He shook his head.
"You can have whatever you want in it"
He shook his head again.
He shook his head, almost on the verge of tears.
"Okay. How 'bout I make us some and you can drink it back there?"
He didn’t say or do anything. I got up and made some anyway, quietly telling Cindy she might as well go home since there was no sign of him moving. I went back over, seeing him hugging his knees.
"What do you want in it?" I asked softly.
He kind of shook his head. All I wanted to do was snuggle with him, stroke his hair and explain everything.
He pushed himself even further into the gap and I drank my own hot chocolate, a sad expression tugging at my features. He was on the verge of tears again.
"Hey, don't cry, gorgeous" I said as soothingly as possible.
He lay down in his gap and I let the sad expression take over. I lay down on the couch, listening to Damien breathing. He eventually fell asleep and I stayed where I was, staring at the ceiling. I was so exhausted but I physically couldn’t sleep. I heard a whine after a couple hours and looked down, seeing a hand sticking out and apparently feeling around for something.
He tried to reach whatever he wanted without leaving his gap.
"Babe, please say something"
He ignored me, still reaching for whatever it was.
"Please" I begged, feeling like crying.
"Why d'you wanna talk to such a fuck up?" he asked majorly quietly.
"You're not a fuck up. And because I love you"
He stopped reaching and looked up at me. I smiled a little, still feeling like I was about to cry. He looked around and shuffled over to me, apparently risking leaving the safety of his gap. I felt vaguely hopeful but he just stared at me again.
"S'nice to see you properly" I said softly.
He tugged on my sleeve a little.
He crawled onto the couch, curling up and on the verge of tears. I went to cuddle him but hesitated. What if it just freaked him out? He clung onto me all of a sudden and I cuddled him, stroking his hair.
"I'm sorry" I said softly.
"Why?" he whispered.
"Why am I sorry?"
He nodded a tiny bit.
"Because I upset you. I can explain, if you'll listen"
I got the feeling he was too whacked out to really know what was happening so I settled for stroking his hair again. He leant his head on my chest and I kissed the top of it. He stared at something. I glanced over and saw it was the bag of crack, out in plain sight on the table. I sighed a little. He gave a tiny whine, clinging to me more.
"You don't need it" I said quietly.
He was silent and I felt that sad expression start to slip onto my face again. He kept clinging to me and I picked him up bridal style, carrying him to the bedroom. He clung to even more as I carried him. I put him down on the bed and turned to head back to the couch, figuring he wouldn’t want me there.
"What're you doing?" he asked from the bed, having a tiny freak out.
"Shh, it's okay. Get some sleep, I'll only be on the couch if you need me" I said in that soothing voice again.
"Come back" he sniffled.
I walked back over to him, watching as he stared at me a little. I cocked my head to one side and he shuffled over, wrapped in the comforter, and I sat next to him on the bed. He kind of curled up around me and I played with his hair til he fell asleep.