16. I Care

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"I can't believe he's been beating on her! He deserves much worst than what he got." I could hear Justin down the hall. He sounds really upset. Well, of course after what just happened, but now I was kind of scared to confront him. I slowly moved towards the door in an inexorably, steady pace. "I wish she was comfortable enough to tell me." 

"She was probably really scared Justin." I heard another voice.

I moved closer to the door to eavesdrop. The old, wooden floor beneath my feet creaked. I tightly closed my eyes hoping nobody heard the obnoxious noise.

"Marissa?" Justin called. I cursed myself. "Rissa, is that you?" I walked into the room. 

"Yea." Justin glanced at me. 

"Rob, Devin, can you give us a minute?" Justin looked at the floor. 

"Sure." The two men left the room, leaving Justin and I alone. I shut the door behind them. 

"Are you okay?" I asked. 

"I should be asking you that." He kept his head down. I gulped. 

"I didn't mean for this to happen. Things got really out of hand."

Justin looked in my direction. 

"This isn't your fault. You're the victim." I ran my fingers through my hair. 

"I'm not. I'm not a victim. I don't need you to feel sorry for me Justin." I got defensive.

He rested his elbows on his knees and looked away from me. 

"I didn't mean it like that. I just meant you're the victim of domestic viol-" 

"I know... I didn't mean to be defensive. I jus-" 

"You keep your guard up... because you don't trust anybody."

My heart dropped. 

"I get it." He continued. There was a silence. I sat in the chair next to him. 

"Thank you for defending me." 

"That's what any decent person would have done." He stared out the window. I leaned back in my seat and inhaled deeply. 

"He slapped me and pushed me into a dresser." I confessed. Justin finally looked at me. I just stared at my feet. "He accused me of cheating on him... with you. It pissed me off that he would accuse me of something like that. He cheated on me before and I brought up his past. He told me to shut up, but I didn't. And yea, t-that's why I'm all bruised up." I quickly wiped my tears before they fell. Justin rubbed my knee. 

"I wish you could have told me." 

"I didn't want anyone to know. I don't need anyone's sympathy." 

"It's not even about all of that. You should be able to talk to someone. You shouldn't have to keep this bottled up and you damn sure shouldn't fear your boyfriend." 

"I wish I could talk to someone and trust someone. Every time I let my guard down, someone betrays me. All I have is myself. I'm the only one that has my back, Justin." I said frustrated.

"Look..." He smiled at me. I'm heated and he's smiling. 

"What?" 

"You're opening up to me..." He kept smiling. 

"Oohhh. I guess I am." 

"Let your guard down. Just a tiny bit, for me." He looked into my eyes.

"Justin..." I trailed off. 

"Please." He begged. 

"I don't know if I can." 

"I'll earn your trust. I don't expect you to just hand it to me. You need someone who will always be there for you."

"I hope you're not doing this because you feel bad for me." I looked him sternly in the eye. 

"I'm doing this because I care and maybe sometimes I will need someone to talk to. Will you be there for me?" 

"If needed." I answered. Another silence overcame us. "You kicked his ass." I tried to ease up the mood. Justin laughed. "Thanks again. You're like my hero." I smiled at him. 

"You're welcome. I would do it again. I'm not going to let anyone hurt you anymore." 

"You can't promise me that." 

"I'll do my best." Justin spoke sincerely.

Fluid expelling from his lip caught my attention. I placed my thumb near the wound. 

"Justin, your lip is bleeding." He touched it. 

"Damn, I didn't even realize. How bad is it?"

I leaned over and placed my finger near it, trying to get a better view. I could feel his breath on my lips. I looked into his eyes and moved away, when I realized how close I was. 

"It's not that bad."

I looked at his lips. He licked them. I switched my gaze back to his eyes. 

"What are you, a vampire?" I joked. 

"If I was, don't you think I would of sucked on your neck by now?" He mocked. I playfully rolled my eyes. 

"Let's go get you cleaned up."

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