For Travis, life was something he couldn't complain about. He was in college with good friends and he art was amazing. Then Derrick killed Naomi and things went south.
Fan Fiction off of the movie Gossip starring Norman Reedus, James Marsden, and Lena Headey
It had been the coldest, rainiest night of his life, that Travis could remember. He felt every drop of rain fall straight through his clothes and freeze his skin. Every little drop of moisture was like a bullet to his heart because of what he’d overheard. “He’s a sociopath!” Derrick’s words echoed through his mind and he shuddered at the memory. “How sick and demented does a guy have to be…?” How could Derrick say something like that? Derrick…his best friend the person Travis trusted more than anyone—except for Jones maybe. Travis would have been willing to go down with Derrick, but not for him. This was too much! Sick and demented…
Travis looked up from the street he’d been staring at and let his eyes be bombarded by the onslaught of weather. “Is that what I am, you fucker!” he shouted at no one. All that shit Derrick had said about him being original and on the road to greatness was bullshit, and Travis had been the idiot not to see it. “Well, my eyes are open now,” he added quietly to himself.
He didn’t rape Naomi. He didn’t even think she was that pretty, but that wasn’t a reason to kill her. Travis hated the idea of untimely death. It sent goose pimples over his skin. She had killed herself! Hadn’t she? That was what the gossip was the day he had found out. “Fuck gossip,” Travis muttered, shoving his hands in his pockets and continuing to walk. He didn’t know where he was going, but it was away—far away. He needed to be somewhere where he was sure he wouldn’t have to see, think about or even hear about Derrick Webb again.
Gossip had started it all. Just a little white lie that turned into a huge problem. Was Travis just some fucking pawn? That entire project must have been some sick joke to get Travis on a creative high so that he wouldn’t notice. It had been Jones’ idea…she wouldn’t play a joke like that one him. She wasn’t cruel, not like Derrick.
Where could he go? Would the police actually believe Derrick? What if he was a suspect now? He couldn’t go to his parents, they probably wouldn’t even care. Travis doubted his aunt was accessible, being that she lived in Canada. Anyway, that would make him look like he had something to hide. He was innocent! He didn’t do anything wrong!
“Travis!” His mind was too closed to register the distant sound of voice that approached him. He kept walking. “Travis, wait!” Was it Jones? He hoped not. She probably believed it too, all that shit Derrick had been spewing out at the Detective. “Travis, slow down!”
With that, he took off at a run. No! He didn’t want to deal with it anymore! Not that he was going suicidal, he just wanted to find some corner in the world and hide away. He felt stupid, exposed and abused. How could Derrick be so heartless? Travis would have been there for him, done anything for him, and all that made Travis was an expendable scapegoat. So he ran, away from Jones, away from life, away from anything that would remind him of how positively naïve he was.
“God damn it, Travis! Get back here, now! I have to talk to you!”
Travis hated that tone Jones got when she was mad. It reminded him of his mother, what he remembered of his real mother. As much as Travis wanted to keep running, he couldn’t. That tone just made his legs stop moving. He’d only got a short distance, but the sidewalk abruptly ended a few feet from where he stopped. He was in some deserted back alley, completely unaware of how he’d gotten there. He turned on Jones, a bit of anger rising with the bile in his throat. “What?” he snapped.
Jones stepped back unconsciously, slightly intimidated by this new side of Travis that was not the timid artist she once knew. “I’m sorry, Travis,” she stated quietly, barely audible over the pouring rain. “I know I’m not Derrick, but can I apologize for him? What he said, I know he didn’t really mean it. Look, Travis, I—”
“Shut up!” Travis was practically screaming, the turmoil in his mind just too much to contain. “What the fuck, Jones? You come out here to play messenger? Well fuck you! And fuck Derrick, too! You guys must think I’m just the easiest little toy, right? ‘Well, just fuck Travis over, he’ll forgive you in the morning.’ You know what? I fucking hate you guys!” He turned away from her, intending to walk in some other direction.
“Travis! I’m not telling you what Derrick told me to tell you! For all I care, Derrick can fuck himself!” She grabbed his arm when he didn’t respond and spun him around easily. He wasn’t going to fight back. “I hate that he said those things about you, and I swear, I had nothing to do with that. I love your art! I do! It makes me proud to even know you.” Jones could tell he wasn’t having it, but she wasn’t going to give up that easy. “Open your ears, Travis! Listen to me!” He rolled his eyes and she couldn’t stop herself from smacking him.
With wide eyes, Travis reached up slowly to touch his stinging face. The rain just muted and the whole world was suddenly put on pause. The cold just made his skin burn more where her hand had been. Suddenly, he wasn’t so pissed off anymore. He felt bad. He’d yelled at Jones. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly, back to the old Travis.
Jones cringed and immediately wished she’d controlled herself. She had to snap him back to his senses, but maybe that wasn’t the best way. With a steady hand, Jones reached up and gently turned Travis’ face toward her, making him look her in the eyes. “Are you calm?” she asked seriously.
“I don’t hate you, Jones. I just…” He didn’t know what he wanted to say. Everything was so confusing. A vortex of feelings, an uproar of passions, all of different types, was slamming about his brain. There was an epic battle of what emotion should stand out most. “I trusted him…”
“I know, Travis.” Jones put a reassuring hand on his shoulder and used her other hand to keep the rain out of her eyes. “Look, don’t run, okay? I know you didn’t do anything, and if the police don’t believe that, then fuck them. But please, let’s just go…I don’t know, get a cup of coffee, or something. I need something to warm me up, and you do too. So let’s just go, okay?”
The world started up again. The rain pounded in his ears again and he felt the cold again. He felt Jones’ hand on his cheek, and he could see her pleading eyes. Why couldn’t he just run away? What difference did it make? “Okay,” he said quietly. He loved her smile as she grabbed his hand and began to lead him back the way he’d come. Maybe that was the only reason he followed her. He loved to see her smile.
When they’d gone to the café to get coffee, Travis was on the verge of crying. He was still thinking about how much Derrick had betrayed him. How had been so stupid? He kept asking himself that as Jones got him a seaming cup and placed it right under his nose. He didn’t want to touch it. “Do they think I killed her?”
The pause was all Travis needed as an answer. For a few moments, Jones just stirred her coffee, pretending to be staring intently at the swirls of cream. She finally sighed and spoke up when she heard Travis put his head in his arms on the table in front of him. “Derrick is pretty damn convincing. He used your project as an accusation that you were stalking Naomi, and I think…I’m pretty sure the detective thinks you’re a suspect. They think you raped her, too. Apparently it wasn’t a suicide and some one did actually rape her before they killed her.”
“It was Derrick,” Travis stated, his voice muffled by his coat. It had to have been Derrick. Who else would kill a girl like that? Just out of the blue. ‘A psycho would,’ Travis thought scornfully.
“You don’t know that. I don’t think even Derrick is capable of murder.”
“Then why is he trying so hard to blame it on me?” Travis’ anger was rising again. He kept his voice level to avoid stares from the people surrounding him. “I ought to get a gun and go back there and shoot his ass.” He raised his head and looked out the window miserably.
“Travis, don’t talk like that. You know if you did that then they really would arrest you and you would go to prison and I don’t want that.” She saw the tears in his eyes, saw the pain on his face, started to hate Derrick as much as Travis did now. “Whatever the cops do, we’ll get through this, okay? You and me. I’ll look out for you, so fuck Derrick and fuck his ego! Be better than he is and face the fucking music!”
As soon as she said that, the door to the café opened and the familiar figure of the detective approached them swiftly. Travis just stared for a long time, waiting for the man to say something. Jones sipped her coffee, trying to believe that he wasn’t there, standing by their table. Finally he spoke, so they couldn’t just ignore him anymore. “Travis McMinn?” he asked flatly, “That’s you, right?”
Jones didn’t let Travis answer. He’d probably just end up screwing himself over if he uttered one syllable in his current state. “Can we help you, Detective?”
“Yes, actually.” He pointed out the window and made some sort of hand signal to some one that neither Travis nor Jones could see through the pouring rain. “I have a question for Mr. McMinn.” From his pocket he drew a folded piece of paper. Once he had it nicely flattened out, he showed it to Travis. It was the picture of Naomi at her graduation. “Have you seen this picture before?” Travis nodded indifferently. “Where?”
Glancing at Jones, he knew he was on his own with this. He hated being in the lamp light in the interrogation room. “Uh, Derrick Webb gave it to me,” he replied timidly, afraid that his answer could be used against him. “He said he got it from Naomi’s dorm room.”
“One more question: Why would he give it to you?”
Travis knew exactly where this was going. Damn Derrick and his lying mouth! He didn’t want to answer, but he that knew not answering would look suspicious. He couldn’t leave too long of a pause before his reply either, because that wouldn’t look too good either. His head hurt. “He gave it to me for my…wall. We were doing a project on gossip and rumors. It was based on Naomi.” That wasn’t so bad. It was the truth, and it wasn’t incriminating in the least.
“Was the mural on your wall completely your idea?”
The bell on the café door rang as two police officers entered. Travis’ heart dropped like a stone in the water. He shot a worried look at Jones, who tried to put on a reassuring smile, but failed miserably. “Are you sure your obsession with Naomi Preston didn’t pass farther than the necessities of your ‘project’?”
“Obsession?” Jones began incredulously, “Travis doesn’t have an obsession with Naomi Preston! He’s just an artist, so leave him alone.”
“I can’t do that,” the detective stated unconcernedly. He motioned the police officers forward and took a pair of handcuffs out of his pocket. “Travis McMinn, you’re under arrest for the rape and murder of Naomi Preston.”
No further warning needed. Travis face lost all color from his already pale complexion as his eyes fell upon the shackles. The second the detective grabbed his arm, he stood and pushed him away. He tried to run…big mistake. “Let me go!” The officers were on him in a heartbeat, holding his thrashing body still. “I didn’t do anything!” The taller of the cops bent Travis over the table, knocking over his untouched cup of coffee. “Jones!”
People were staring now. Everyone was watching as the metal cuffs were bound with a definitive click around Travis’ wrists. Everyone heard his shouts of protest. “You have the right to remain silent,” but Travis wasn’t silent. Jones had long since stood and tried to help him, but there wasn’t much she could do. “Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.” Like Travis cared! He tried desperately to get away as the two officers pulled him up and proceeded to drag his kicking and screaming form from the café.
“Jones!” he shouted, tried to throw them off of him, but they wouldn’t let go. “You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to you.” Travis couldn’t afford an attorney, and he didn’t want one. He wanted to go home!
Jones was following. “Please let him go! He didn’t do it! I swear to God!” She grabbed the detective by the arm and stopped him in his tracks. “You can’t do this! Where’s your warrant?”
“Ever heard of obstruction of justice?” Jones stopped in her tracks and glared viciously at the detective. “Watch where you step, Lady, or you’ll be joining him.” And that was it. Jones didn’t want Travis to go to jail, but some one had to stay out and give Derrick a swift kick in the ass.
“Jones!” Travis shouted, his voice cracking with the terror in his heart. “I don’t want to go! Tell them I didn’t do it!” The officers at his sides just held him still, as they pulled him out into the rain and across the street. “Tell them!”
Jones said nothing and just watched as the officers forced her best friend into the back of a cop car. She couldn’t believe it. Derrick had done it. He’d gotten his way and he’d gotten away with it. The look on Travis’ face was one of complete horror, like a child facing some yet-to-be-known punishment that he dreaded more that anything. The car door slammed and Jones let her tears fall. “I’m sorry,” she muttered as the car drove away.