Chapter One- Angel

I sat staring across the room at her, listening to the sound of her magnified voice bouncing off the walls. The club was crammed full of people as it was every other Friday night since its opening just a few months ago. For a new club, it was amazingly popular, although it was the only teen club in town.

Heather, the lead singer and bassist of the band on the stage, was easily the most beautiful sight I'd ever seen; she was more beautiful even than my dreams. I wanted her; there was no doubt about that. She was one of the only reasons that I still came to the club; her band played every Friday. Even now as I gazed at her from afar, she amazed me.

Her hair, which was grown out much, much longer than most other girls', was dyed black and was frosted with dark red. Her eyes were dark green, and she had a cute little nose and soft cheek bones. Her lips were plump but small, and her jaw and chin were a soft curve from her ears. Her slim shoulders and thin neck were most always bare, and all the more enticing because of it. Everything about this woman attracted me; her height, her slender figure, her full breasts, her round bottom, her tight calves. Just thinking about her made me tingle.

I loved the way her voice sounded. She could sing and dance and play all at once and it was magnificent. Her band was the only one that I ever cheered for, mostly because it was the only one that I really listened to. I came every night and checked the band list and then sat and waited. Sometimes I looked for her, but it was easier after her set was over.

I watched her walk off the stage after thanking the audience. She seemed to skip down the steps on the edge of the stage. It was nearly impossible for my eyes to follow her through the crowd, especially with people flocking to her to give their praise. I kept her in my sights only for a short minute before the crowd engulfed her. Disappointed, I turned in my seat to face the bar.

Another band started setting up on the stage, but I didn't care. I didn't really listen when they started playing either, though it was hard to ignore the shrillness of the singer's voice, and the sour notes that the novice guitarist was playing.

"A coke, please," I heard someone say next to me.

I looked to my right, and there she was. I'd never been this close to an angel before, and I wanted to reach out and touch her.

"I can get that for you," I spoke before she could reach into her pocket for cash.

She barely glanced at me.

"Thanks," She said as I laid the money on the bar.

I stood as she began to walk away. This was my chance, and I wasn't going to let her get away.

"You sounded really good on the stage; I like your voice," I shouted over the noise in the room.

"Thanks," She said again; I couldn't tell if she was trying to loose me or if she was actually going somewhere.

"Have you been singing long?" I asked, barely keeping pace with her.

She stopped and turned around.

"Look, I don't know you, and …"

"My name's Daniel," I held out my hand. "You're Heather, right?"

She eyed my hand cautiously before taking it. I smirked at her before leaning down, all the way down, to kiss her knuckles.

"And I'd like to get to know you," I leaned in by her ear to speak this time.

"A lot of guys say that to a lot of girls. Then they have their fun and leave. I don't need that," She informed me.

I laughed, although I wasn't really amused at all.

"I'm not one of those guys," I told her, smiling.

"Oh really, you've never done anything? Ever?" She clearly didn't believe me. With how attractive she was, I could understand why. This couldn't have been the first time she'd been hit on, after all.

"Nope, I'm saving myself," For you.

She rolled her eyes and turned to walk away, but I kept following her. I tried to keep my cool, but I was getting desperate. She got trapped against the wall, and I had to admit to myself that I kind of felt bad for her. She looked so helpless, and I felt like a lion hunting down a wounded gazelle. A lion that wanted to lick the gazelle's wounds clean, and help it to prosper beside the lion.

"Please leave me alone," She said to me, and I could tell that she was afraid. Her eyes were downcast, and she had her arms wrapped around herself. She even looked about to cry.

"I-I'm sorry," I stuttered. This was the last thing that I'd wanted to do to her. "I didn't mean to scare you or anything. Maybe we could talk somewhere quieter?" I suggested, praying that this would help.

I saw a couple walk away out of the corner of my eye, and then she was gone. The world's tiniest hole had just opened and she slipped through it like water through a strainer. I cursed loudly, not caring whether or not anyone heard. I made my way back to the bar to finish my water before leaving. I didn't know if she was still around or not, and to be honest I didn't really care. I was completely and utterly screwed. I'd finally gotten my chance to make a good impression on this perfect creature that didn't even know of my existence and what did I do? I fucked it up royally. God had to be punishing me for something; I just didn't know what yet.

As I started the engine in my beat up old camero I checked my phone. Eleven forty seven. This had to be the first time I'd ever gotten out of that place before midnight. I didn't even want to go anywhere, and I certainly didn't want to go home. There was really no point in going home. There never was.

I sped off down the road, not caring about the speed limit. The cops didn't start patrolling the club until around one in the morning, so I wasn't worried, and even if they did I don't think it would have made much difference. I was pissed, cops or no cops.

"I can fix this," I told myself as I slowed down to stop. "Think, Daniel, think. There's gotta be something I can do to fucking fix this." I growled the last two words.

I pounded my head against the headrest a couple of times before closing my eyes and breathing deeply. My ears were ringing and my heart was still pounding; I needed to calm down and think.

Suddenly, I heard screaming. Not happy screaming, but terrified screaming. It was a girl's scream. I pulled the keys out of the ignition and grabbed a pocket knife out of my glove box. Okay, it was a lot bigger than a pocket knife, but what the school security didn't know wouldn't hurt them, right?

I pressed myself against a building and peeked around the corner. There were two guys, maybe three, and a small-ish looking girl trapped between them. They were laughing, and shoving her around, and I could see that they had bats or clubs of some sort. There were plenty of trash cans for me to hide behind on the way there. Part of me considered calling the police, but by the time they showed up this poor girl could be dead or worse.

As quickly and quietly as I could I slipped from trash can to dumpster to trash heap, each time getting closer and closer to the group.

"What's wrong, don't wanna play with us?" One of them teased, laughing.

"Yeah," Another joined in. "We just wanna play!"

The third man just laughed, giving her a hard shove to the ground.

"Play with us!"

They were wearing clown masks and hoods to cover their faces and hair. Dark gloves covered their hands, and dark pants and boots added extra camouflage. I felt a metal bar next to my foot, and I grasped it tightly. My heart racing, I stood just as they went to grab her.

"Why don't you play with me instead?!" I shouted at them.

They all looked, and one even laughed.

"Looks like we've got another new friend!" The chuckling fiend observed.

I ran at him with the metal, ducking just in time to avoid being clobbered in the face. I hit him hard in the knee, and he crumpled, dropping his weapon. A second man came at me, and I slashed at him with the knife but missed. I swung at his head with the metal and caught the mask, which went flying. Lucky for me, it caused him to drop his weapon in attempt to conceal his identity. He ran down the alley; away from my car, thank god. The third one looked unsure of what to do, so I ran at him, screaming in what I hoped was a menacing tone with the metal raised above my head. Apparently it worked, because he quickly joined his partner. I knew that the first man was escaping, but I didn't care. They could get away all they wanted as long as I got the girl to safety.

"P-Please, please d-don't h-hurt me," She begged when I turned to her. She was scooting away from me, and when I took a step I saw her face.

"Heather?" I panted, hardly believing my eyes.

We were both silent for a long moment.

"Come with me, I need to get you out of here. You're safe with me, I swear," I dropping the metal and shoved the knife under my belt.

She hesitated, and that hurt me deeply.

Of course she's hesitating! I mentally berated myself. She probably wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for me.

We walked quickly to my car, and I was careful to keep my distance from her. I didn't want to scare her off again.

"Lock the door," I told her as I sped off.

"Where are you taking me?" She asked, and I couldn't help but notice how cute and innocent she sounded.

"Away from here at least. You should get cleaned up before you go home, or do you want me to go back and…"

"NO!" She shouted, knowing what I was going to suggest. "No cops, please no cops. My parents can't know this happened."

I nodded.

"Okay, no cops," I agreed, relieved. "Where do you want me to take you then?"

"I-I don't know. Anywhere," She ran her fingers through the loose strands of her hair that framed her face. God she was beautiful.

"Um… are you hungry?" I asked awkwardly. "I could stop at McDonalds or something and you could get cleaned up there while I'm ordering."

She accepted the offer quietly and with a blush.

The rest of the ride was quiet except for her occasional sniffle, but I didn't know what to say to her really so I just kept quiet. I mean, what do you say to a girl that just almost was gang raped?

"So, um, what should I get for you?" I asked, pulling open the restaurant door for her.

She told me and then made a beeline for the ladies' room. I ordered our food and got a seat for us, ordering an extra ice cream for her. Girls liked comfort food, I reasoned. She'd like that, right? I didn't know for sure, but I thought she looked like a vanilla girl.

She emerged a few moments later and sat in the booth seat across from mine. She glanced at me before unwrapping her burger to eat. I did the same. It was polite to wait to start eating when you were in a group, wasn't it?

"So..," I started before joylessly laughing once.

She stopped chewing and looked at me with her cheeks full of cheeseburger. I fought the urge to chuckle at her. Damn she so fucking adorable. How was it even legal to be like her?

"Never mind," I muttered before filling my miserable mouth with fries.

She swallowed her food and then nibbled on her lip before setting the burger down. Why wasn't there something I could do to make this less awkward?

"Thank you," She spoke so quietly I almost didn't hear her.

"I can't accept that," I didn't look at her, but I felt her questioning gaze. "It was my fault you were in that alley, wasn't it?"

I looked over at her to see her staring down at her lap.

"If I would've just done what I do every other goddamn week at that club you would've been safe," I pounded my fist on the table. I ran my fingers through my hair and sucked in a deep breath.

"I-what?" She sounded confused. "Every other week? I don't understand…"

I chuckled, opening my eyes to glance at her just one more time, drinking in her pale cheeks and bare chest. Black and red were clearly her favorite colors, she wore them well. Her tank-tops revealed her pale chest, and I wanted nothing more at that moment than to wrap my arms around her waist and lay my head over her heart and make everything be okay.

"Don't worry, I'm not stalking you or anything," I spoke somewhere between a joke and seriousness. "I just…you play every Friday. You have a beautiful voice and you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen…" At this point it was like trying to stop a flooding river. I couldn't hold it in. "I come to that club every weekend for two reasons: to listen to you, because your band is amazing, and to try to hunt you down and get on my knees and beg you to let me be yours."

I trembled when I was finished speaking. I couldn't really have said that to her, could I? I licked my lips nervously, praying that she took this news better than I was.

"Is that why you saved me?" I looked up to see tears in her eyes. I couldn't tell why they were there, but I'd do anything to make them stop.

"No! I heard someone scream, I had no idea it was you! I was in my car beating myself up for scaring you off!" Again?! I just couldn't keep anything to myself!! DAMNIT! "I-I swear, I had no idea that it was you until after!"

I was begging God to let this end well.

"I was so afraid that it was going to happen again…" She said, obviously more to herself than to me.

"W-what happen…again?" I was confused.

"Isn't being raped once enough?!" She buried her face in her hands and cried.

I whipped around that table and was sitting next to her faster than I thought was ever possible.

"It'll be okay," I spoke to her. "I promise, I'm going to make this better. Heather, I'm so sorry," And I meant it.

"I can't keep doing this," She sobbed into her hands. I didn't know what she was talking about, I really had no clue. "They already took one baby away from me, I can't…I can't…"

I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her against my chest.

"Let it out…" I whispered in her ear.

I don't know how long she cried, but I would've waited forever if it meant getting to see her smile at me just once. She just sat there in my arms; tired with a stranger in a McDonald's booth with a half-eaten burger and a puddle that was once known as ice cream lying before her.

I wasn't sure what to say, so I just didn't bother thinking anymore.

"No one deserves to have a child stolen from them," I told her, not sure why I said that or what it meant.

She didn't cry as I'd expected her to, but instead looked up at me with those sweet green eyes.

"My parents…they ripped him out of my arms the day I left the hospital," She told me. "I knew they would…one of my friends, he brought a camera. He recorded the birth, and he took so many pictures and developed them for me. I didn't want to forget my first son. I still remember how tiny he was, and what his first kick felt like when he was in my belly…"

I ran my fingers through her ponytail as she spoke to me. My head was resting against hers, and for a long moment I didn't care. So what if she'd been raped? So what if she was a childless mother? She was still perfect, and she didn't have to be childless forever. I could give her that, I realized as I nuzzled into sweetly-scented hair.

"Daniel?" She looked up at me.

"Yeah?"

"I need you to take me home," Those weren't quite the words that I'd wanted to hear her saying, but I realized that she was right. I stood up with her in my arms and carried her out to my car. The workers could take care of our mess as far as I was concerned. If they hadn't heard her crying than there's no way they were out where they were supposed to be anyway, so they deserved it.

As I walked with her she snuggled up into my chest, and I couldn't help but smile. She was scared of heights; a lot of girls were; it wasn't anything unusual. Just adorable. I've got to find a new word for her.

Yet, as I set her down in the passenger seat I simply couldn't find a word for her. One just simply didn't exist, and in a weird way, I was okay with that. I didn't need a word for her; I could just remember her as she was. I could take her picture and show her off when I wanted to talk about her beauty, and I knew deep in my heart that the world would understand that. They had to, who could ignore it? I couldn't; not now and not ever.

"Where do you live?" I asked her, and she gave me directions to her house. This time the silence between us wasn't so awkward. I wouldn't say it was comforting, sleepy maybe, but definitely not comforting. Or awkward. I kind of hated it though, because all I wanted to do was hold her again.

It took about ten or fifteen minutes to drive to her house, but when I pulled up I was amazed. Her house was huge. There were all kinds of trees and gardens in the front yard, and, from what I could tell in the dark, she basically lived in a miniature white house. Awesome!

"You can park in the driveway," She told me. "My parents are gone for the weekend."

So I did. After I stepped out of the car I walked around and opened her door for her and then she led me up to the front door.

"So…I guess I'll see you around?" I asked awkwardly, stuffing my hands in my pockets.

She looked at me. Her hand was on the door handle, and it almost seemed glued there the way she was holding it.

"No," She replied. I wanted to cry. It took everything I had not to break down on the spot. "You should come in though."

I wasn't sure what that meant, but I followed her inside. God, her house was clean. I didn't think that operating rooms were this clean. Hell, I half expected the carpet to gleam at me.

"Come on," She said, walking to a staircase. Her house was amazing. The front door led to the kitchen, which I thought was kind of strange, but the living room was right there too, and the dinning room. The staircase separated the living room and dining room neatly, but it made them look squished too. Weird.

She walked ahead of me up the stairs and turned around the corner, so I lost her for a minute, but once I got to the top I heard her in a room off to the left of me.

"You can do whatever. It doesn't really matter when you leave, as long as you won't be in trouble," She told me. She must have heard me come up the stairs because I wasn't in her room yet.

"I get in trouble for breathing," I started to say as I stepped into the room.

When I saw her, I froze up for a second. She was undressing right in front of me! I turned quick, not wanting to be rude and also taken waaaay off guard.

"I-I'm sorry, I didn't know what you were doing!" I tried to explain quickly.

"It's okay. You already know my darkest secrets, so whatever you see now doesn't matter," She sounded broken again. I needed duck tape, just to put the pieces of her back together while I learned how to mend glass.

"If it doesn't matter than why can't I see you again?" I asked quietly, almost hoping that she didn't hear.

"That wasn't what I meant," I felt her standing close now, but I didn't want to turn to her. She would've seen the tears in my eyes then, and my pride wouldn't let me reveal that part of me. Not yet anyway.

"Then what did you mean?" My voice cracked as I started speaking. Please, God, don't let her make fun of that.

"I-I meant that I didn't want you to leave," She wrapped her arms around me from behind, and I felt her head on my shoulder. "It's been a long time since I really felt safe with anyone…you know?"

Yeah, I did. But I didn't say that. I could feel the tears trying to come out now. Why didn't I just let them? I turned around and put my arms around her again. It was hard to hide that I was about to cry because of her height. I wasn't very tall, maybe five foot ten, but I only had two or three inches on her.

"After everything that's happened to you, how can you just trust me?" I asked her quietly.

She was quiet for a moment.

"I didn't at first. When started talking to me it kinda freaked me out; most people just say "Hi, you were great!" and then they're gone, but you held on. But…I don't know. I mean, if you're willing to beat up three guys trying to rape a random chick that just happens to be me then…your worth it right? I could trust that kinda guy and be safe with that kinda guy, right?"

She took my hand and led me over to her bed, shutting her door as she passed it. She didn't have the largest bed in the world, but there was enough room for two thin people like us to snuggle.

"I won't leave you," I vowed in her ear as she was dozing off. There was a light switch by her bed, and I reached over to switch it off. "Never, never, never. You'll always be safe as long as I'm here."

That was the first night we spent together. It wasn't the last, but it was the most innocent. As I watched her sleep in my arms I smiled to myself, coming to the realization that I wouldn't have had it any other way.

7