As the sky began to lighten, the assemblage of punks and misfits in the apartment began to shut down. Some filtered off to other squats, some just curled up in the detritus of empty bottles, cigarette butts, and stains. Rhea and Martin made their way to the closet they now called home.
Secretly, Rhea was terrified about what might happen next. She'd never really had a boyfriend, something she would never readily have admitted. She liked Martin, and they had gotten close fast but whatever was going to happen, she wasn't ready for it to happen tonight.
Martin crawled under the blankets, still fully clothed. “Thank God!” Rhea thought, and crawled in next to him. He pulled her close and kissed her sweetly on the cheek. “Goodnight Rhea” he murmured, and almost immediately dropped into a deep alcoholic sleep. She smiled, relieved and let herself go.
It was close to noon when everyone started to wake up. Cloudy and hungover, the conviviality they had all shared last night was replaced by a certain awkwardness, even a hint of hostility. Brad had woken before anyone, and was back in his spot on the sofa, after rudely rousing the kid who had decided to sleep there. He simply sat there, glowering, responding to no conversation.
This did nothing to help the atmosphere, and the remaining sleepers soon cleared out, muttering thanks and promises to hang out again. Only Martin and Rhea were left, and under Brad's uncomfortable gaze, they wordlessly retreated to their haven.
Pulling the door shut, Martin said “How about I go get you some breakfast in bed?” “I bet you use that one on all your girlfriends!” Rhea laughed. Martin blushed. “Actually...” he trailed off. Rhea thought for a moment, and then realized what he was getting at. “Holy fuck!” she said “Are you telling me you've never had a girlfriend?” Martin only blushed deeper. Softening her attitude, Rhea threw her arms around him and whispered. “It's OK... I've never really had a boyfriend either.” “Don't tell anyone, OK?” Martin asked her. “I won't tell anyone 'bout you if you don't tell them 'bout me!” Rhea said. “Pinkie swear?” To seal the deal, they locked fingers, then, shyly, locked lips.
Many kisses later, Rhea's stomach began to growl so loudly that Martin could hear it. “I'll go get you something to eat” he said. “I'll go with you” Rhea quickly replied, not wanting to be left alone in the apartment. “No, let me do this for you” Martin asked, with puppy dog eyes. Rhea couldn't deny him. “OK” she said, “but don't be too long, promise?” “Pinkie swear!” Martin grinned, and kissed her one more time.
As she listened to him leave, Rhea smiled to herself. She felt pretty damn lucky. Martin was a good guy. Relaxed, she started to fall back asleep, when she heard something that made her sit up. The floor had creaked, as if someone were walking-
The door flew open. It was Brad. Rhea scrabbled. Back, then forward. He caught her, and lifting her small frame, held her in a bear hug. “Martin's too fucking dumb to know what to do with this” he hissed in her ear. “You deserve a real man.” “Fuck off a me!” Rhea gasped and squirmed, desperately trying to escape him. It was like trying to escape a straightjacket. He tried to lay her out in the closet, but it was to small for his bulky frame to move about. He swept her back up and moved for the bathroom. “I told you, bitch” Brad snarled, “this is my house and my rules.” “You can't just-” Rhea started to protest, but broke off as her skull smashed against the wall. “You're mine!” Brad yelled. “Speak again and I'll fucking kill you.” Rhea didn't doubt the truth of this statement, and shut up.
Reaching the bathroom, Brad set her on her feet and turned to shut the day. Rhea's heart was beating faster than anything she had ever experienced. Wild with fear, she struck out in hopes of making it past him. With one hand, he slapped her across the face hard enough that her teeth cut into her lip. She fell backwards, stunned. He calmly locked the door, then fell on top of her. He pulled at her clothes. She was too scared to fight him anymore. Her head was ringing from his blows already. He ripped her shirt in half down the front, the sound of ripping cotton sending new waves of terror through her. And then- the door to the apartment opened. Martin! She screamed his name. Brad smashed her head against the tile floor. Her consciousness wavered. There was a pounding noise, but she wasn't sure if it was from her battered head or somewhere else.
Suddenly, the door splintered and flew open. There stood Martin, a tiny avenging angel holding a baseball bat. Brad turned and struggled to haul himself off Rhea, but he was too slow. The bat the small, angry punk held crashed hard across his forehead. He shook his head, but the blows kept coming until he groaned into unconsciousness.
For a moment, nobody moved. Then shakily, Rhea struggled over the prostrate body. Martin grabbed her and helped her up. Removing off his hoodie, he gently helped her pull it over her head. “I'm sorry, I'm sorry!” He repeated, shaking. “Let's get the fuck out of here!” Rhea slurred through swollen lips. “Yeah, let's go!” Martin agreed. Quickly, they gathered their things from what has briefly been a sanctuary. Shouldering both their packs, Martin also held Rhea up by the waist.
Closing the door, the left, still two innocents in a world full of wolves. Running still from another memory they would have to drown.