Chapter Five: Haunted

~~

Lizi looked to the floor and began to explain to Seth what had happened. "Well, a couple years ago, I dated Nick. I liked him a lot--maybe I even loved him. Everything was awesome in the beginning, you know? It was great, he was romantic, sweet, gentle, caring, loving--everything a guy should be--and I was happy..." she paused. "But after the first couple months, everything started to go downhill..." she stopped talking, hoping he got the point and she wouldn't have to give him any more details.
Seth thought he knew what she meant, but he wanted her to tell him, just to be sure he wasn't wrong. "How so? What did he do?" he asked, giving her a sympathetic look to show her that it was okay to talk to him and tell him everything.

Lizi swallowed a lump in her throat and began to talk. "He started to talk down to me...and make me feel worthless. He called me a Venus Fly-Trap, because I 'looked so good and wouldn't fuck him,' and a worthless bitch. He'd tell me stuff like 'the only reason a man would ever want you is for your body,'" she explained with a tear in her eye. "So, naturally, after awhile, I started to defend myself. But being as...Nick...as he is, he didn't take it well. He'd hit me, scream at me, throw me against things..." she started to cry. "And one night...he--" she sniffled and looked up at Seth, seeing his concerned, gentle eyes. "--he raped me..." she put her face in her hands and sobbed.

Seth's jaw hung open as he walked around the table, sat next to Lizi and wrapped his arms around her. "What a fucking creep. What an asshole. Are you...okay now? Did...he get you...pregnant?" he asked as she took her face from her hands and hugged him, crying on his shoulder.
She bit her lower lip and sniffled. "No...I was on the pill. But it was still...just the mental stuff was so much, I didn't think I'd get over it..." she buried her face in his shoulder.
He caressed her hair, speaking softly and comfortingly in her ear. "Are you okay now? Have you...gotten over it? I mean, I know it's a horrendous experience, but, are you doing any better about it? Like..." he paused and allowed her to speak.
She nodded and sniffled. "Yeah, I'm recovering. There was a long period of time when I was locked in my room and wouldn't talk to anyone, because I felt so worthless, but I'm over that now..." she moved her face from his shoulder and looked into his eyes. "I mean...I was until he called me last night," she bit her lower lip. "He...threatened you and stuff...I...whoa, hold on a sec. You said you know him. How?"

He sighed and released Lizi from his hug, took her hand and looked into her eyes. "Yeah...I know Nick. He and I have always hated each other. He always seemed to get the girls I liked, he seemed to turn my friends against me, and my most recent ex-girlfriend, Sarah, cheated on me with him," he shrugged and looked to Lizi. "But he's done far worse. Remember how when your stepdad asked me about my parents and stuff, I kind of got a little weird and searched for a subject change?" he asked, paying attention to the unwavering look in Lizi's eyes, and how she seemed just as interested as she had a couple seconds ago.

She nodded. "Yeah, I remember. I didn't want to say anything last night because everything was so perfect and I didn't want to ruin it, but now I'm curious. What'd he do to you?" she asked, holding his hand in hers, making sure he knew that she understood by the look in her eyes.
He let off a half-smile, because he could see the care and understanding in her facial expression. "Well, when I was fifteen, my mother and his father...got married. And after they did, I started fighting with my mom a lot. I mean, about stupid things, you know? Stupider things than the average teenage boy and his mom..." he looked out the window. "And his dad didn't make things much better."
Lizi shook her head and curled her upper lip. "Peter never seemed to make things better when I tried to ask him to stop Nick from hurting me, either..." she sighed. "Neither did Andrea..."

Seth looked to the floor. "Andrea...my mom..." he turned his glance back up from the floor, to Lizi's eyes, which were filled with a shocked expression. "She never made anything better for me, either. As a matter of fact...she was so fixated on the fact that Nick and Peter were her ideal family that when I turned nineteen...the day I turned nineteen to be exact, we got in a huge fight because Nick had punched me. So, she suddenly kicked me out of the house. I was basically homeless for almost a year..." he sighed and held back a tear from coming down his cheek. "I haven't told anyone about that. I just let people think that I moved out willingly, and I stayed with a bunch of people for that whole year when I was homeless..."

Lizi put her arms around Seth and held him close. "It's okay. I know how manipulative Nick can be...I bet your mom thinks about you every day, Seth..." she caressed her thumb over his cheek, watching as a solitary tear protruded from his eye. "I bet she realizes that she made the worst mistake of her life picking Nick and Peter over you. If you were to go back to her..."
Seth shook his head. "I'm not going back. I promised myself that I'd never look back, and I'm not going to. I have to live for today...and today is you..." he grinned slightly at Lizi. "I'm just glad I found someone who knows what I feel...someone I can actually tell about...all of that. You're not going to, like, leave me here alone now, are you?" he asked, pushing some of her hair behind her ear.

She shook her head. "Like I said last night...I don't intend to go anywhere..." she smiled gently, meeting Seth's eyes and seeing the grateful look resting within them. "Seth, I wouldn't leave after having such an amazing time with you last night...are you kidding? I'd have to be crazy!" she took his hand.
He enveloped his fingers within hers and kissed her hand. "I wouldn't let you even if you wanted to, Lizi. You know, we have something really great here. I..." he stopped himself from letting her know too much. "I'm just glad I know someone else who knows how much of a prick Nick McGregor is..."
She nodded and watched his brown eyes bore into her. "Seth...I never thought I'd move on...you know, start dating again. And when I did, I never thought I'd have as much of an amazing time as I had last night. I thought I'd be a horrible date...was I?" she asked, watching as he shook his head.

He pressed his lips to her cheek and grinned a little. "You were an amazing date. If you weren't, I wouldn't be here right now, Lizi. I had so much fun...and you're so sweet...everything was perfect. I promise..." he kissed her hand gently. "Um...hey...what are you doing after you get out today?" he asked shyly.
She thought for a second and shook her head. "Um...nothing that I can think of...why?" she grinned. "Did you have something in mind?"
He nodded and put his hand on the table. "Okay...please tell me if I'm being too forward, but I was wondering...if you'd like to come to my house and maybe stay...for the night..." he shrugged. "I'd understand completely if you were horrified and slapped me in the face right now, but...I just thought I'd--"
She nodded and smiled. "I'd love to...there's nothing on Earth that would make me happier, I swear it..." she told him with a smile. "And then on Monday, since no one is home on Monday nights, you can come stay at my place with me..." she leaned forward and kissed his lips gently. "That is...if you want to..."

He nodded and returned her smile, savoring the taste of the kiss on his lips. "There's nothing I'd rather do. That way I can keep you safe through the storm that's supposed to be blowing through our area on Monday night..." he winked. "We could get cozy under a blanket and watch a movie..."
A grin spread across Lizi's face. "We could do that even when there wasn't a storm, but I see your point. We could watch the special presentation of CSI that's coming on...well, if you like that show anyway. Murder is definitely a good scary thing to get cuddly to..." she laughed.
He laughed and nodded. "I like CSI. Catherine is the hottest woman to walk the planet, aside from you..." he clicked his teeth at her. "Watching that show with you would be so...oh yeah...focusing my attention between you and Catherine would be a task, but I'd keep my eyes on you more..." he put his hand on her knee.

Lizi rolled her eyes and laughed. "Oh, I compare to the beautiful ex-stripper, Catherine Willows? Wow...I must be something really great. I'll tell you one thing though...even if I am so hot...I'm never becoming a stripper..." she looked at the crushed expression on Seth's face and scoffed. "Except if it's for foreplay..." she spoke in a low, sexy tone. "Maybe then..."
Seth's jaw hung open as he watched Lizi stand up, flip the sign on the door to open and go behind the counter. "I can't believe you're cruel enough to put that image into my head. That was so..." he grumbled as he turned to leave the ice cream shop.
She laughed and kissed him before he turned around. "Sexy?" she added before he got out the door. "I know it was. Just wanted to leave you with that little fantasy..." she snickered and watched as he glared at her playfully, before turning around to walk across the street.

~~

Lizi watched as Seth unlocked his door. They'd had a very silent car ride from Quinton to Seth's house, two towns away in Greenfield. They'd left Lizi's car behind in Quinton, parked where it wouldn't get towed, at one of Seth friend, Mike's house. Then, the car ride had been silent, and full of wondering about what the other was thinking. But as they walked into Seth's double wide trailor, Lizi could do nothing but smile. Seth's charm and manners kicked in immediately, as he offered to take Lizi's coat and put it on the hanger. She smiled and allowed him to take her coat off. "Thanks...I could have done that though..."

He shrugged and walked her to the couch. "Proper manners. My mom taught me a couple things before she turned into the flaming bitch of all Earth..." he joked. "Do you want pizza or Chinese for dinner? I can't cook, so I have a lot of leftovers in my fridge..." he laughed and walked into the kitchen.
She returned his laugh and got up to help him in the kitchen. "I don't care. Whatever you're in the mood for, Seth. I do want to help you get it, though. I'm not inept..." she stood beside him and dished out some food on the plate that stood before her. "So...what do you have planned?" she asked with a slight grin.
He grinned back and took two glasses, filling them both with Pepsi. "A little TV, a lot of cuddling...maybe getting to know a little more about each other, since there has to be more we have in common than music and Nick..."
She was ecstatic. There was a man left in the world that got to know women before trying to seduce them, and she had him. "That sounds great..." she took her glass of soda and followed him to the living room. "Throw in a little kissing and you have the perfect night..." she sat down beside him and they got comfortable.

They ate silently, watching Cold Case on TV and exchanged gentle glances the whole time. Lizi finally broke the silence when she finished eating, by sitting back and smiling. "Your house is nice. I feel comfortable here, and I don't feel comfortable anywhere except for at home. So...maybe it's you that makes me comfortable..." she winked and grinned, leaning over and laying her head on his shoulder.
He smiled and put his arm around her, holding her close to him. "I'm more comfortable around you than I have been around anyone else for a long time, Lizi. I have trust issues, and I never thought anyone else would see me for me. But you did...you're amazing."
She nodded and shrugged, placing a soft kiss on his cheek. "I'm not amazing. I just know how it is to be hurt by Nick, and left with the trust issues. He's like a plague or something..." she looked at the TV. "I mean, a few more months with him and I may have been one of the cases on one of these kinds of shows..." she joked.

He frowned and nodded. "Then we'd never have met or gotten close or anything. Or...actually, we probably would have, because I would have been killed close after you, so we would have met one way or another..." he joked too, placing his hand in her hair and playing with a few strands.
She laughed and looked up at him. "It's destiny that we're here now, Seth. It's like Nick was supposed to bring us together while tearing us apart inside or something..." she confused herself. "You know what I mean, right? Cause I kinda lost myself there..."
He laughed and grinned. "Yeah, I know what you mean, and I agree, too. We're destiny..." he kissed the top of her head and picked up the remote. "How about we go cuddle in my room?"
She nodded and stood up, following behind him as he led her to his bedroom...

~~

Long lost words whisper slowly to me. Still can't find what keeps me here.
When all this time I've been so hollow inside, I know you're still there.
Watching me, wanting me, I can feel you pull me down.
Fearing you, loving you, I won't let you pull me down.
Hunting you, I can smell you alive. Your heart pounding in my head.
Watching me, wanting me, I can feel you pull me down.
Saving me, raping me, watching me, oh.
Watching me, wanting me, I can feel you pull me down.
Fearing you, loving you, I won't let you pull me down.
Haunted - Evanescence