Chapter 9: I'm Sorry I Spoiled The Party, But You Did Too

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I opened my eyes, not sure if it had been two hours or two seconds. John's slap wasn't hard, but the shock that he had actually hit me caused me to plunge into my subconscious, to ask myself what the hell had just happened. My heart was beating a mile a minute. I slowly raised my head; it was throbbing slightly. All eyes were on John, who was standing in the middle of the room. He looked so separate from the rest of us, taking a defensive position. I blinked. Was that Jane? She stood behind John, a scared look on her face. John was breathing heavily and trying not to appear like he was. He towered above me. I stared at him square in the eye and he averted his gaze, looking at Ryan instead.

"Is that your bird?!" John yelled at Ryan. He pointed to Jane, standing by the door. She backed up against the wall, her eyes wide. "Is that her?"

Ryan's eyes burned for a split second, and then the light went out to be replaced by a wounded, cornered look. "Yes."

"Stay with her!" John grabbed Jane's arm and dragged her to Ryan. "She's yours and y/n is mine!"

"She's not yours," Jane said, meaning to mollify John, but this made him angrier. "Don't!!" His voice had a rough tone to it that I had never heard before.

"John, stop it!" I screamed. It was the first time I had spoken since he burst into the room. My voice made him stop and turn and look at me and give me a look like glass breaking. My breath came in sharp, ragged bursts. I couldn't believe he could be so possessive. I could not believe it. But then again, I could. I head read about it in Cynthia Lennon's John. He had hit her once for dancing with another man. She had come out of the bathroom in the cellar, and he had knocked her head against a pole... a cleaning lady had then warned her to stay away from him.

John seemed to notice the wild look in my eyes. His voice caught as he took a deep breath. He was still standing in a protective or defensive position; it was hard to tell. Jane stood near the wall, looking tiny. I was on the bed, vulnerable, hands outstretched towards John, palms facing towards him, warding him off, on my knees. Ryan was still sitting on the bed, but he looked as stiff as a board. It was like looking at a bunch of statues. No one spoke; John was breathing heavily, looking like he wanted to punch something. There was a tiny movement by the door, and it swung open.

"Stay away from him," someone suddenly said, walking inside. My eyes snapped to his face. It was Danny, looking sober since I saw him in the basement. His green eyes bore into mine. "Y/n... please. Stay away from him. He hit you."

Something broke inside the room. Time froze for a moment, and we all stared at Danny. Someone followed through after him quietly; it was June, looking terrified. Danny shut the door behind both of them calmly.

John's eyes flared for a moment, and I really thought he was going to hit Danny, but I saw the corner of his mouth tremble a little. It was something I'd noticed offhand before as I gazed at him throughout the last couple of days. This was when he was vulnerable and at his worst, when he missed 1961 but wouldn't say so, when I would talk about my father and he would start to say something and not finish. When Danny said, "He hit you," he seemed to realize that he did, and that was what made it so bad.

John tried to make the most of it. He said, "fuck you all," and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

The feeling returned to my legs. I exhaled.

***

Maybe two minutes had passed from there. When John left, the silence had broken. I sat down on the bed breathing normally again and touched the side of my head gently. June came over and examined it.

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