She hears him open the window.
A click of the latch and she knew, Veronica was able to get in the closet, lock the little door and take a breath before he would be able to maneuver himself through the window. After almost three months side by side, inseparable, she’d recognized his meaning immediately with bringing her parents that little book, marked up and everything, telling them she was depressed. And he knew that she would understand right away the threat behind his words. The one thing about this boy is even though she knows him better than anyone, she still couldn’t predict him, and he’d left her alone for almost three days after she told him to… but what did he want? Why now?
A copy of Moby Dick underlined and marked with her handwriting, on point almost scarily so and all of the little indentations explained how the world was cruel and harsh… blah, blah, blah… She throws it against the wall of her closet.
She should be scared, terrified, on the verge of peeing her tights, but mostly she’s just annoyed. Annoyed at how he could be so fucking psychotic, annoyed that she hadn’t seen it before everything escalated so quickly and wrecked her life and mental health for good.
“Knock, knock.” That cocky little sneer of his lights a fire in her veins that makes her take a deep breath. She hates that she can’t distinguish whether it’s a fire fumed by hate or lust, sometimes the two were just too close for comfort, especially with JD.
“Sorry to come in through the window, dreadful etiquette, I know.” Fuck him for that one, she’d been drunk and scared as she’d climbed through his window on that marked night, that glorious, horrible, wonderful night. He knew what he was doing here, that fuck.
“Get out of my house!” She says, cursing herself for her voice cracking slightly as she tries to stay calm.
“Aw, don’t be like that. Hiding in the closet…” She hears him tap on the door and jiggle the knob with no luck. “Unlock the door.” Calm rage is the only way she can think to describe his tone.
Another unsuccessful twist of the knob accompanies his demand, she can hear him pat the door with annoyance. She leans up against the wall and slides down under her sweaters hanging messily on a rod. He never asks, he just states and expects her to follow through.
“I’ll fucking scream.” Her voice quakes, and she hugs her knees up to her chest. “And my parents will call the police.” The threat falls on deaf ears, she knows.
“All is forgiven, baby!” He calls, she hears a thud on the door as he leans against the outside, testing it’s weight most likely. “Come on! Get dressed, you’re my date to the pep rally tonight!” He knocks three times before disappeared from the door, each bang rocking the room, she’s surprised he didn’t break his fist. She can almost feel him moving around her room, touching her things, her books and her bed. That fuck.
Then it dawns on her, JD doesn’t do school events. He is as stereotypical loner kid as you can get and would never in a million years willingly to go to a pep rally.
“What? Why?” She asks, confusion lacing her voice as she pulls her legs into her tighter, a part of her hoping she’ll disappear into herself and never have to put up with that stupid grin of his again.
“Well, darling. Our classmates thought they were signing a petition… you really should come out here and see what they really signed.” Paper crinkles outside the door as he pulls something out of his pocket. She buries her head in the nook between her knees, not wanting to talk to him anymore and hoping he’ll just go away. “Are you listening, Veronica?” Something bangs against the door, a distinct sound of metal on wood, and her skin crawls with cold fear as sweat gathers on her brow. “When you chucked me out like I was trash… well, I thought I’d have to kill you. Collateral, you know?” A chuckle sounds through the room, she shivers and bites her lip, was she that expendable to him. “But then I got to thinking that it’s not us! It’s that fucking school, all those assholes filling your head with shit!” Something hits the door and she jumps, trying to push herself deeper into the closet. “They’ve made you so blind, darling! Messed up your mind and fucked you up good.” His voice was suddenly very close to the door, but he wasn’t yelling anymore. There wasn’t anger in his tone, just an eerie gentleness that made the hair on her arms stand tall. “I can set you free from all that, I promise.
“You left and everything seemed to fall apart. I even fucking punched the wall, like some manic love sick douche bag.” She winces as he laughs and imagines him hitting the wall in his little, white room with the little dresser covered in intelligent books, she can almost hear them hitting the floor as the walls shake.
“But, Veronica, my sweet perfect girl. Holy shit! You changed my heart, babe. You set free all this truthful shit inside of me and I realized I can’t loose you. Not when I know how to fix it.”
He becomes calm again, she can almost feel his cooling drawl wash over her like a tide, pulling her towards him, urging her to open the door. “I was meant to be yours… me and you… We’re meant to be one. Come on, darling, we’ve got to finish this. When that school gym goes boom, just imagine how free we’ll feel. Just picture it, babe.”
Horror flashes through her skin as it sinks in what he wants to do, he wants her to help him blow the school to pieces. JD is asking her to help him commit a genocide of Westerburg High. She wants to scream that he’s fucking crazy, that she would never help him and he needs to be committed. But no words can seem to escape her lips no matter how hard she tries, her mouth just runs dry as sand. All she can do is retreat like a coward even further into her little corner.
“In all that rubble, you know what they’ll find?” Once again paper crinkles as he giggles like a giddy little boy on Christmas. “We! The students of Westerburg High will die. This final act might actually get through to this world that we will not be slaves of society. We choose to end our path here in favor of a better world. Signed! Everybody! I tricked that bitch Duke into getting everyone to sign. Clever, I know.”
She hears the paper wave as he twirls it around outside the door. “Come on, baby! We can smile and cuddle and make s’mores as they all burn. Like camping but better.”
Veronica tries to scream, but tears choke at her throat and clog any sound form escaping. She wants to get away from him, she wants to curl up and melt into the wall but she can’t seem to force herself into the hard surface next to her. He’s gone mad, more like fucking psychotic, and he want’s to drag her down that dark hole to hell with him.
For weeks she’d thought that JD was her world. Without Heather to tell her what to do she’d thought she’d be lost, but he stepped right in the mythic bitch’s place, just under another façade. He’s become her world by telling her that she was all the mattered and he was so blessed just to know her, how their love was God. And it made bile rise in her throat as she thought about that night she’d pulled the trigger on Kurt Kelly. How he’d held her as she screamed and cried, whispering in her ear how much he worshiped her and how he’d die for her, how everything will disappear and they’ll start fresh. Just them, and be happy. That their love was God. She’d asked him to stop, that they had to stop offing any classmate that bothered them and he’d agreed. If I am what you choose… that was what she’d told him the night he’d revealed his master plan to kill every asshole that walked the planet. That he wanted to make the world a decent place for decent people… like them… We don’t deserve to called decent, Veronica thinks. But no, she’d told him that she’d leave him. And for a moment she remembers his flash of fear as he gathered what she was saying. He’d agreed… You’re the one I choose. She’d let him drag her along, thinking it was real love and that she could keep him together.
Her fists curl in her hair as she curses herself, it shouldn’t be her responsibility to keep him from going off the rails. She’s only seventeen, she shouldn’t have to deal with serial killer boyfriends and the deaths of every kid she’d ever known. It was all too much, and so was he. This little bitch had twisted himself so far into her psyche that she couldn’t so much as think about anything else besides his smug face and piercing sad eyes. When she closed her eyes she could almost feel his hands on her waist, leaving bruises that he said were meant only as reminders of his love. How he’ll always be with her, it would be there dented in her skin.
After that first night she was never in charge of sex again, he’d taken control from her faster than the bullet in the gun that killed Ram and she’d liked it at first, something inside her melts when he pushes her into the mattress and claims her flesh for his own. He knows how to play her, how to make her moan or scream or even buck in a smoky pleasure filled pain. But that doesn’t give him the right to play with her emotions and body like he’d been doing for the past three months. It’s like he owns her, and that’s something she just can’t allow anymore. But she doesn’t know how to fight him. She feels so helpless and small and weak around him that it makes her stomach move inside out. Physically fighting him would be a lost cause, he’s stronger than her and he has proven that time and time again. Plus, she doesn’t know if she can match his manipulation skills, even with her heightened IQ. There’s just this thing he can do where he makes everything seem okay, he knows how to comfort her to numbness before sinking his fangs into her mind and making her think he’s been right all along.
“Please come out, darling.” She can sense the impatience in his voice, he’s becoming fed up with her silence evidently. Veronica had learned to deal with his outbursts calmly, but when he’d start to talk about something disagreeable and she’d talk back at him he’d usually just shut her up with a hard kiss. Kisses that she could still feel on her lips, and taste on her tongue. “You’re meant to be mine!” She heard something fly across the room, a book most likely. But his voice had surged from a quiet and calm burr to a rage that filled the room and made her bones shake in anticipation. “Can’t you tell? I’m all that you need! You fucking carved me open! Can’t just LEAVE ME TO BLEED, BABE. ” A few more things fly and hit the far wall in his fit, Veronica just sits quietly trying not to let too many tears escape down her cheeks. She doesn’t want to cry, but the tears are more for her than anything else. They’re for her parents and her future that she’ll never get to have, the normal life and normal loves she should have gotten. But no, she gets stuck with a sociopathic killer who latches onto her like a leach and refuses to let go unless he can kill her first. Veronica doesn’t want to die, she decides that she’s too set on living to go along and become another statistic in the USA today. But will she even get the choice?
“VERONICA!” The scream is deep and angry, it jolts her, causing her to bite her lip and she tastes copper as blood fills her mouth. “Open the door, please.” Even though he can’t see her she shakes her head. “Can we not fight anymore? Come on, VERONICA!” The room vibrates and she feels the tears streaming down her cheeks and wetting her neck as she tries to hold back sobs. “I know you’re scared, Veronica. I’ve been there! I can set you free!”
He’s still yelling at the door and she tries to concave herself inward, her hands tangle in her messy hair and pull her head down into her knees, foolishly hoping that she’ll no longer be able to hear him. “VERONICA!”
She shivers, hugging herself tighter. “Don’t you dare make me come in there! I’m going to count to three!”
Her body feels like it’s stopped in time, she knows that in the next few minutes he’s either going to kill her, kiss her or something much worse that she can’t even fathom.
/Please, God, no. Don’t do it. Don’t fucking do it, you stupid fucking psycho. I don’t love you I don’t I hate you I fucking hate you… I don’t want to die. I don’t want anyone to die./
“Two… FUCK IT!” It’s like her ears bleed as the gun shot reverberates through the tiny closet and the door is kicked open with a dramatic slam on the inside wall. He walks in with light around him, like some dark fucked up angel coming to drag her down to hell…
/My own Lucifer, how quaint…/ She’s still clutching her head down and a part of her hopes he won’t spot her in the corner under her hanging sweaters.
The room turns stale as he takes tentative steps towards her, she can hear the clank of his heavy boots and the faint wisps when her clothes brush his long coat as he passes the few feet through the closet. Heat radiates off him as he sits on his heels next to her, she feels his hand on her head, heavy and warm.
“Get up” is all he says. She doesn’t answer, wondering if he’ll pull her up by her hair if she refuses to move. “I’m really not in the mood, Veronica. Get up.”
It’s not the hair but her arm that he chooses as his method of moving her. She feels the light tug slightly before the sharp yank that drags her out of her fetal position and up to slightly standing. JD pulls her over to the wall next to her sweaters and props her up as if to get a good look at her. He’s able to treat her like a freaking doll she’s so malleable to him. Without saying anything he lifts her chin up with a strong grasp on her jaw, his other hand gripping her side to keep her in place. Her hands fall to his chest, she can feel his heartbeat, erratic through his shirt. She’s forced to look into his eyes for a few moments before he lets go and wipes away the tear stains on her cheeks.
“You’re the only thing that’s right about this broken world.” He leans in and kisses her forehead, Veronica frowns and concludes that she will not give in that easily as she brings her knee up right in between his legs, and shoves him backwards.
The walls of her bedroom bare dents from his hissy fit but she barely notices as she runs into the hallway. Her mind barely registers the fucking /roar/ from her closet as she hears the door slam open and his heavy stomps coming after her.
“Veronica? Is everything alright?” Her mother’s voice floats up the stairway. Fuck, she’d forgotten about her parents downstairs in all the chaos. She hears her mother’s light footsteps coming up the stairs as she runs for the open bathroom door. “I made you a snack, honey.” She moves out into the hall just in time to see a wild eyed JD poised with his gun in her bedroom doorway, and aiming right for her.
“MOM!” She screams as her mother gets to the top of the stairs. But it’s too late.
JD’s eyes stay locked on hers as he moves the gun just slightly to the side and pulls the trigger twice, he holds her gaze like a snake and prey.
When the smoke clears she’s able to look to the stairs and see her mom splayed on the top few steps, eyes open and two angry red bullet holes in her chest. Pâté slides down the stairs on a shattered platter. Mixing with blood.
“Veronica? What was that noise?” Her fathers voice calls from downstairs, when he gets into the foyer and sees her mother’s hand peaking through the rods on the banister he starts to run upstairs.
“NO! DAD, DON’T!” She shoots out of her shocked state and runs for the stairs to block his shot or something, anything to stop him. But before she can reach the first step she feels an arm wrap around her middle and yank her back, throwing her to the side and into the wall. Two more gunshots go off in her ears as her head throbs from the hit.
Tears stream liberally down her face as she pulls herself up from the carpeted floor and moves towards her parent’s room where she knows there’s a phone. Veronica refuses to let herself look at the stairs, the image of her mother lying there will haunt her enough.
He’s fast on her heels but doesn’t manage to catch her before she slams the door shut and twists the lock, she hears him banging on the door and his shoulder makes the wood wince with a sickening crack.
“Come on, VERONICA. Not this again.” He laughs, the fucker has the nerve to /laugh/.
“YOU SICK FUCK!” She screams at him, sobs threaten to take her over as she searches frantically for the phone. “YOU FUCKING KILLED THEM!” The phone is usually on the bedside table, but the spot was bare, there was even a little line of dust from where it was supposed to be.
“I set you free! Don’t you get it? There isn’t room for anyone else. Chaos killed the dinosaurs, darling. Turned them all to dust just to make room for you and me!” She runs around the room, not knowing what to do or where to look.
Looking up she remembers that her parent’s room has the trap door that leads to the attic, if she could get up there… then she could jump off the roof or shimmy down the drain pipe or something.
“Our love is GOD! They will all die because we say they must! THAT’S WHAT GODS DO.” She was really getting tired of his elitist bullshit.
In her father’s closet she finds the pulley, after taking a second to catch her breath… she almost faints from despair as the smell of his cologne wafts from his clothes. But she’s able to pull herself together long enough to get the pull down ladder out before she hears another gun shot and the door cracking open. Loud footsteps trudge across her parent’s bedroom as she pulls her self up step by step, she’s almost there…
Veronica’s heart drops as a hand wraps around her ankle and pulls her down roughly, he binds her with his arm around her, grasping her from behind, his fingers digging into her flesh like a vice. She feels the barrel of the gun against her temple and his hot breath in her other ear.
“Do it” is all she can say.
“Don’t tempt me, Veronica.” His voice is menacing as it slides down her neck and twists her stomach into knots.
“Six bullets, JD. I counted. You couldn’t even if you wanted to.” She smiles and mentally high fives herself for remembering what his little revolver can carry.
“This is a pistol, dear. Not a little boy. I upgraded for the occasion.” Her heart sinks, he could have ten more shots ready to blow through her brain.
“Fuck you.” JD’s mouth is on her collarbone and he bites down hard, Veronica screams and flails in his hold. “Why? What do you want from me? I’m only one girl, I’m only one person… please.” She never thought she’d be begging JD, of all people, for mercy.
“You’re meant to be mine. I’m collecting, and you have nothing else to live for now, darling. I am all that you need.” She pulls at his grasp a little more, just slightly and is fingers dig even deeper into her arm, she can feel the bruises forming like ice.
“I’ll never need you, you… sorry psychotic fuck.” She spits, but her body is tired and trying to get away from him is hopeless, all she can do is try not to think about what’s outside that door. Her eyes close and she sees her mother’s face, blank and dead, she sees pâté mixing with blood…
“We have some unfinished business to attend to.” He starts to pull her towards the exit of the closet.
“NO!” Veronica tugs her body with all the strength she has left back towards the closet, but his arm remains resilient.
“Stop being so fucking difficult!” He yells in her ear, she feels the sweat on her neck mixing with the tears that are flooding around her collar.
“It’s not you! I promise… I… I can’t…” The dam brakes and she can’t feel her limbs as she shakes uncontrollably, her breathing becomes erratic as she gasps for some air to fill her lungs that seem to not allow anything in. In a moment her vision blurs and she looks around at the little closet and her father’s suits all hung neatly, the discard pile of old spy novels and the Christmas gifts hidden away on the top shelf. All she can smell is his cologne which smells exactly like a father who reads spy novels… as blackness takes over.
When Veronica wakes she’s propped up against the closet door in her parent’s bedroom, everything seems normal enough… until dark boots enter her line of vision and she tries to scream. A hand clamps over her mouth before she can make a sound and looking up she sees JD standing above her with worry wrote on his brow.
“You passed out. I think it was a panic attack.” He says quietly as he brushes her hair out of her face. His touch, though so unwelcome, is comforting… just to feel someone there. But she knows that’s his trap, to make her feel like he’s all she needs to stay sane. Veronica crossed that line long ago, the trick was pulling herself back.
“I can’t go out there.” The words come out, the ones she’d been trying to say before as she collapsed into grief. Her head shakes back and forth before she attempts to get up and realizes her hands and feet are bound together with some of her father’s ties.
“I just can’t deal with you’re little escape attempts anymore, darling.” He stands up and walks to the bed, she sees him pick up a scarf of some sort before he moves back to her.
“What do you want?” Everything had fallen apart, that image she’d had of her misunderstood boy was shattered by this monster in front of her.
“You, Veronica. Haven’t I made that clear?” He kneels down and pulls her legs straight out, a little roughly, before propping himself on his knees over her lap. Veronica curses herself, feeling his weight and that smell of sweat, cigarettes and artificial cherry that was so JD. It makes her want to gag, or kiss him, but mostly just rises bile in her throat.
“Why me?” Her voice is so quiet it’s almost inaudible. Big hands delicately cup her face and force her head up so she’s looking at him, inhaling his breath, his eyes are intense, a sad deep blue that used to make her knees go weak… but all she could see now was a creature she didn’t recognize. You’re not the one I chose…
“There’s been others, ten high schools and in each one they just didn’t get it. But after Chandler kicked it… I knew you’re understand… even when you came through my window that night and told me what to do, I could feel it.” He leans forward and puts his lips to her temple, something that used to melt her, but now it just makes her shiver.
“You, Veronica, are so special… I’ve never loved someone as much as I love you. And that fucking scares me, darling. It really does. I realized with you that I don’t have to be frozen, I can feel and it’ll hurt but it’ll be a good hurt. Some pain is worth it. I won’t give you up.” One of his hands slides down her arm, tracing the skin and leaving a cooling sensation in its wake.
“Are you going to kill me?” Even after everything she’s still afraid of death, she’s not ready to go.
His face drops, she can feel the curve of his mouth on her skin before he pulls back. The expression is unclear, she senses that he’s just as confused as she is.
“I don’t think so.” He admits solemnly.
“Don’t think…” A clog comes to her throat again and tears force their way out of her eyes.
JD’s hands aimlessly wipe away her tears as he looks at her nose, not her eyes. “I don’t want to, Veronica. But I just don’t know.”
She nods, because that’s the best answer she’s going to get from him and that pisses her off. But she tries to not let her anger, or worry, show too much.
“What now?” A part of her wants to stall him, maybe one of the neighbors heard the gunshots and the police are on their way, but it had been a while since the whole fiasco, she didn’t know how long she’d been out. Chances were, anyways, that if the police showed up he’d shoot her and then himself instead of giving up.
“We follow through. I’ve got the bomb in my car, I told you that we have a lot of work to do. This is our big finale.” He leans forward and kisses her nose very quickly before reaching for the scarf and wrapping it around her eyes, at least he has the kindness in him for that much. But the scarf makes her think of her mom and how she always smelled like spices, Veronica inhales and tries to memorize the sent as best she can, unsure of when she’ll get the chance to smell it again.
She feels his arms dip under the bend in her knees and then behind her back as he pulls her up into his arms, cradling her to him like a child… or a bride. Without any fight left in her she leans her head against his shoulder, trying to burry herself in him incase the scarf fails.
His steps are slow and measured as he makes his way to the stairs, she feels him take the first step down and then another… all the while she tries to stay still, to not cry, to not think about the dead body underneath her. On the forth step she hears the cracking of glass, the pate platter and once again the vision of brown crackers and blood comes to her mind. When they make it to the bottom of the stairs he sets her down.
“Okay, so I don’t want any of your neighbors thinking something funny is going on, darling. So I’m going to take off your leg restraints and the blindfold.” He pulls the tie from her ankles and gently tugs the scarf from her face. She’s facing her front door, he stands behind her almost pressing himself up against her, making her think of how their bodies mold just right. But then he disappears for a split moment before returning with her jacket and draping it over her tied hands. “If you so much as make a sound or a move to run I will shoot, Veronica. Don’t test me.” The harsh barrel of the gun presses into her lower back.
“I won’t, JD.” Saying his name hurts.
They walk outside and he shuts the door behind them quietly, Veronica makes a beeline for his car that’s parked on the curb, he stumbles a little trying to keep up with her. All she wants is to get out of temptation, her mind is telling her to scream, to run, to do anything… but her body is shaking with fear and dread and she can’t tell how much longer she’ll be able to control herself. He opens the passenger door for her and with a strong grasp on her shoulder pushes her inside. The car smells familiar. He’d taken to it after they’d started dating in favor of his motorbike, being on the back, though a thrill, had made it hard to hold hands and talk as they drove.
The driver’s door opens and shuts with a thud, she doesn’t look at him.
“Well, that was easy. Wasn’t it?” He says as he slides his hand onto her upper thigh. Veronica hates that she doesn’t flinch away, she hates that she’s used to his touch even when she doesn’t want it… she’s accustomed.
“Just drive” is all she can manage in response. The tears have stopped, thank god, she feels dry and run down. Maybe they’ll get into an accident and some drunken teenager will ram into the passenger side… ending it all before it gets any worse… what could be worse? At least she can dream.
JD frowns beside her, his little grin fading as he turns the ignition and starts driving down the street, away from her parent’s house and the life she’d known for so many years. Veronica stares out the window at nothing in particular. Just the road ahead and she can see all the faces of the kids she’d known since Kindergarten… all the faces of the kids she was going to be responsible for blowing up. They’re only seventeen, they still have room to grow and maybe some could turn out to be decent people worthy of JD’s world.
Guess she’ll never know.
They turn into the school, the pep rally doesn’t start for another half hour, and she still can’t believe it’s only 7:30 at night, after everything that had happened that day. He puts the car in park and sits back, closing his eyes for a second.
“Second thoughts?” She asks willing her voice not to crack.
“Nah, just picturing it. Very Bonnie and Clyde of us, don’t you think?” His chuckle is dark and she squirms in her seat, slightly tugging at the binds on her wrists under the coat.
“Sure, JD.” His head jerks to the side as he stares at her, she can feel his gaze burning into her profile. She can’t face him, the only way she’d staying sane at the moment is by keeping him out of her vision and attempting to keep him out of her head.
“Look at me.” His hand had stayed on her thigh the entire ride to the school, squeezing every now and then just so she could tell he was there. But now his fingers trace up her side until he grips her shoulder lightly. Veronica still looks forward, she knows eventually he’ll just grab her chin and force her to look at him. This is her last form of defiance. “Veronica, look at me.” His voice is calm and gentle, like a warm tide… pulling her… tugging at her heart. That’s the voice he used when they’d sit next to the lake at midnight and talk about their fears, their loves and everything they wanted in life. She’d been with that voice when she’d had her meltdown after Kurt and Ram, after she’d told him to stop all the killing, the voice he promised with. Veronica can feel the tears bubbling up again, but she forces them down, unwilling to cry in front of him anymore.
“What?” Her voice breaks, tears threatening as she turns her head just slightly to look at him. Big eyes face her closer than she’d expected and she inhales quickly, partly in fear and partly in want… cursing herself for the urge to kiss him just so the world can go away for a few minutes.
“I am sorry. I know what it’s like… I never wanted to hurt you.” He has tears in his eyes too, the way his face falls tugs at something in her heart. But she has to keep herself together because she knows it’s just another manipulation game.
“Why… if you know? You told me.” She takes a second to gather her breath just so she won’t spill over into sobs. The memory was fresh, when she asked him what had happened to his mom and the explanation told her so much about him. Why he was the way he was. “You miss her so much… why… why would you take mine away from me?”
The look on his face was priceless, a mix of shock and fear and realization. Veronica felt a small satisfaction at his pain, a small smugness that she was able to hurt him with her words.
“I set you free.” He croaks, his voice isn’t sure anymore, it isn’t steady like it had been before.
“Stop saying that! You did the opposite, JD, you’ve trapped me.” A new surge of confidence flies through her veins. She can almost feel the fire spilling from her eyes. “You’ve trapped me with you like a fucking slave. This is the opposite of freedom.”
“Veronica…” His hand cups the side of her face, his thumb making patterns on her neck. “No… no. We’re going to leave this shit town. We’re going to be free together. You have a choice.”
“What choice, JD? I go with you or you kill me?” She shrugs out of his hand, immediately feeling the loss of his touch like a cold burn. Her entire torso is twisted towards him now, and his hand moves from her face and slides to her upper back. Making himself so fucking present that it hurts.
“I guess. Just drop it, okay?” He rubs her back a little before moving his hand so he can reach for a bag in the back. “I already set up the thermals in the gym, we just have to set the detonator in the boiler room.” Before she can protest more he’s opening the door and pulling himself out. She thinks that he’ll just leave her in the car, lock it or something.
That was an optimistic thought.
The passenger door opens and he holds out his hand, she has no choice but to use both of hers to grab him as he pulls her out with ease. Her legs feel weak as she stands on them, and for a moment she almost stumbles but he grabs her around the waist and holds her to him, pressing her between he car and his body. JD’s taller than her by almost a foot, and his lean body is the perfect mold to hers, annoyingly so. He stands like that for a few moments before leaning down and kissing her hard on the mouth. All teeth and biting, gathering her lower lip in between his teeth and pulling to the point of pain. Veronica winces, or moans, she’s not quite sure and then he lets go. When he kisses her the world goes blank, he knows how to swirl his tongue just right to make her liquefy in his hands and he bites just the right spots to make her gasp for air like she hasn’t breathed in a century.
That kiss was different though, it had the same effect on her as always, but she could taste the sourness in her mouth afterwards. It just wasn’t the same escape that it’d been since that first night she’d grabbed his face and tore their kiss into her skin like a third degree burn.
Phantom nail’s rake down her spine in memory of their lovemaking, if that’s what it can be called. Heather had once told her that you either make love or you fuck, but JD had known how to bridge the two in such an intoxicating way. She thinks about how he’d drugged her with his kisses and intoxicated her with his touch as he dug his claws into her body and soul, scaring her permanently without her even knowing.
She’s pulled forward and they walk quickly to the back door of the school, and he pushes it open with ease. The pad lock is broken, she notices as they pass through the janitor’s hallway. When they make their way to the boiler room he jolts the door open effortlessly and it scratches over the floor as it moves to the side. With a sharp tug he pulls her into the room and the slight noise of the working systems keeping her in the moment.
“Just sit down there, babe.” He pushes her down by her shoulders and she sits on the cold cement floor, pulling at her bonds slightly under the coat. “And don’t try anything.” His fingers linger on her shoulder before he turns away.
Veronica watches him as he pulls a bomb out of his little bag, it’s not as big as she’d thought it would be, but the timer is flashing red and he sets it up against the main boiler. The next thing he pulls out is duct tape and she watches him intently as he winds it around the bomb, securing it to the vat of hot water and steam.
The tie around her wrist isn’t as tight as it should be anymore, he shouldn’t have used silk if he wanted it to stay tight. One of her hands slides free after a sharp tug and the silk slips through her sweaty fingers. JD is looking at the bomb, tinkering with wires and making sure it was set just how he wants it.
She slowly pulls herself up and onto her feet, trying her hardest not to make a single noise. Luckily the noise from the room was masking any little give away she’d have. Veronica scans him from behind and sees that the gun is stuck in his side pocket, sitting on the floor as he squats, his coat splayed out around him. She moves quietly until she’s behind him, picking up a little crow bar that was leaning near the door.
Without thinking twice she rushes him and he turns just in time to maneuver himself out of the way from the slamming metal bar.
“Cute!” He growls as he reaches for the gun in his pocket, pulling it out and pointing it right at her head.
“Turn off the bomb, JD.”
“This little thing, dear? I’d barely call this a bomb, the real bombs are the thermals I have packed under the bleachers. THOSE ARE BOMBS.” She stares down the barrel, barely able to make out his face behind it. “The world will look at he ashes of Westerburg high and won’t say they died because of society. They’ll say they died because they were society. The only place Heathers and Marthas can get along is in heaven.”
“I wish you’re mom had been a little stronger.” She says and the gun drops just enough just so she can see his face falter a little, she steps forward.
“Things happen.” He snarls, his eyes filling slightly.
“You know, I wish she’d stayed around a little longer.” Veronica knots her brow in concern, she takes another step, forcing him back.
“Can’t help what happened.” JD’s voice is on the verge of screaming.
“I wish you’re dad was good, babe. I wish all those grownups got it.” She walks forward, her crow bar spinning as she gets a good grip on it. Letting the cold metal seep into her soul, letting it freeze her feelings for him. Turning him to nothing but ice to be shattered.
“They don’t, too bad.” A tear slides down his cheek, his eyes hot and red.
“I wish we’d met before they all convinced you life was war.” Veronica felt her face fall to match his. They’re so damaged, so fucking damaged. She meant it, if only her and JD had been a normal couple, his mom fawning over her and saying how she always wanted a daughter… prom night… college, he could have gone to a college near Stanford and then they’d get engaged and then married and had kids. Live a normal life. It hurt so much being able to see it all play out in her mind. “I’d wish you’d be good for me.” Her voice is so broken and quiet as she mutters the last of her thoughts.
“You know what I wish, baby, I wish I had more TNT!” And with that she looses her slight hesitation slamming her crow bar into his forearm, making him curse as the gun flies out of his hand and across the room. JD grabs her arm and forces her around so she’s backed up against him and struggles to get out of his grip. He pulls the crowbar from her sweaty grasp and flings it across the room. Veronica grunts and elbows him in the side, lunging for the gun, he falls over her and seizes her ankles causing bile to rise in her throat at the memory of a few hours ago. She kicks back and hears something crunch as her foot makes contact with his face and a mild yelp as he lets go to clutch at his nose. Veronica is able to make it a little further before she pushes herself up on her feet, feeling her ankle twist in her haste. An iron grip wraps around her upper arms, pulling her to the side and slamming her into the wall of the machinery. Her face makes contact with the metal, making her head spin for a moment before he flips her around, his fingers leaving marks on her skin in their vice like hold.
JD’s nose is broken, and blood streams down over his mouth, dirtying his already grimy tee shirt. He looks horrifying, a real monster, especially with the joker like grin that’s sprawled across his face.
Before she can turn away or knee him in the crotch he’s leaning forward and covering her mouth with his. She tastes blood as it smears on her chin and the bruises on her face scream from his jagged nose pushing into her. For a moment she’s lost, in the taste of copper and the smell of cigarettes and slurpies. With her undamaged leg she thrusts her knee up in between his thighs, grinning inwardly that she was able to disarm him the same way twice. He backs up, and then she realizes how stupid she had been as he rushes for the gun, so she jumps on his back as he bends to retrieve it. JD spins with the gun but her hands are already groping for it and he slams her into the cement wall, her head throbs as he does it again, she sees stars and blackness threatens to over take her.
No, he will not win.
She rakes her nails across his collarbone and he shrieks in pain, blood beading around the little marks. Veronica is able to kick out the back of his knee and he falls forward. Her first instinct is to get the gun and for once she follows it, taking a handful of his hair she yanks him back and over, reaching for the weapon, but he’s too quick. She feels his hands on her before she sees him come at her, the gun in between them, the metal scrapes against her shirt, she can’t tell which way it’s pointed.
A cry rips through the room as he pulls her up to standing and they struggle with the gun between them, she feels him pull at her hair and she slams her forehead into his face, but he doesn’t move back. They dance around the room in the little death march they’ve created, not sure who will give in first, both ready to die if that’s what it takes. Just he’s determined to take her with him if he must go. She feels his lips on her neck as they struggle and how they move up to her throat, he kisses her roughly and it only last a minute before she bites down on his lower lip, drawing blood into her mouth again.
A shot fills the room and Veronica screams.
They both still, back off a little and look at each other. Her hands move to her stomach as she pats around, trying to find a bullet hole. She’d feel it right? If she’d been shot, she should know.
JD stares at her the gun poised in his hand for a moment before he falls backward and crashes into the hard floor. The gun falls from his hand and she looks at the blood on his grey shirt seep out and onto the floor.
“Was that good for you? Cause it kinda sucked for me.” He chuckles slightly before coughing up some blood.
She rushes over to him, kneeling down at his side and putting her hands on his shoulders. “JD! It’s over, tell me how to turn off the bomb.” Nothing, he stares at her, his face a mix between pain and awe. “TELL ME, PLEASE.”
His hand reaches up and brushes her cheek, tracing her jaw until his fingers lightly rest on her lips. “See you in heaven, darling.”
Veronica gapes at him as his eyes shut, she feels his hand slip off her face and his breathing stops. A choke of tears threaten to break through her walls, she holds back but cant help but giving a strangled cry as she throws her head down onto his body. In a fucked up way… he was all she had left.
After her moment of grief she looks at the bomb and decides that she may want to live but she doesn’t deserve to live. This world is for decent people, and she was far from decent.
She pulls the tape off the bomb, there’s five minutes left on the timer and she hugs it to her stomach as she runs out of the boiler room, her twisted ankle screaming at her the entire way out. A voice in her head reminds her that it won’t hurt for much longer. As she pulls herself through the school she tries to remember that she’s doing this to save everyone. All those kids, Martha and Heather Mac, the good kids. She’s giving them a chance. Hopefully none of them screw it up too badly.
When she gets to the center of the football field she sits in the grass. No one is around accept the lights that beam down on her like she’s in some show. Her life feels like a fucking movie at that moment, but this story won’t have any sort of happy ending.
The bomb doesn’t have any noise, so she looks at the time left, two minutes ticking away at her life. The amount of time she needed to make popcorn was all she had left on this world. Veronica laughs to her self a little at the irony of the situation.
“I don’t even get to write my own suicide note.” Her voice carries across the empty field.
“Put it down, Veronica.” Her head whips around to see him standing there, his face is solemn but he seems unhurt otherwise.
“No, I don’t deserve to live!” She screams at him, he’s slightly limping and holding his side where a few minutes ago he’d been shot dead.
“I respectfully disagree.” He walks quickly towards her and she tries to scoot away but he’s on her in a flash. “Put it down.”
She shakes her head roughly, maybe the thing will blow and take them both. At least she can choose to push him away in the after life. Either that or she’ll be forced with him for eternity. Maybe she’ll get to see her parents again.
“We’re damaged. I know we are. But maybe we’re not beyond repair, we can fix it, not here, but somewhere.” He reaches out and takes hold of the bomb, pulling it from her grasp. But he doesn’t move away or throw it or anything.
“No, we can’t.” Veronica see’s the time, less than a minute left. Just stall.
“I worship you, you know that right?” He leans in and kisses her forehead, her nose and her temple. He stays there, the bomb between them.
“JD…” She reaches up for his face, touching it ever so slightly. “Fuck you.”
Veronica pushes off from him, even though his hands grope for her roughly as she drives away from him and the bomb.
His hand wraps around her wounded ankle as he tries to yank her back. She pulls roughly and he cries out for her but her ears are buzzing with adrenaline and she sees the edge of the field, she can almost taste safety.
Ten, nine, eight, seven…
It’s too late, she thinks.
A loud sound reverberates through her skull and she feels the sensation of actual fire on her legs before her eyes seem to melt and she’s nothing but a scorch on the fiftieth yard line.
Veronica opens her eyes to her bedroom, bright light beams through the windows, and she sits cross-legged on her bed. JD leans up against the closet door, just out of the light.
“I’ve been waiting for you.” He whispers, stepping into the light. Everything about him screams death, his skin is pale and without color, nose still broken, eyes sunken and red. His stomach is open, blood drips as he walks, his insides spilling out of the gash from the bomb.
“Waiting?” She asks, touching her own stomach. It’s not until she looks down does she realize her legs are missing from the thigh down. A scream rips from her throat as she stumbles over her own hands in an attempt to run from her own deformed body.
“You didn’t die in the blast, like me. You’re in the hospital right now, I don’t know if this means you’re dead or if you’re just starting to slip.” He moves towards her and she shakes her head, he stills.
“So I’m in the hospital, my legs are gone and if I wake up I’ll be an orphan and you’ll be dead and my life will fucking suck.” Veronica touches the stubs at the end of what used to be her legs. It didn’t hurt… there was just a dull ache.
JD chuckles and moves to the side of her bed, she’s huddling against the backboard. He sits and looks at her, wiping his mouth to get rid of some of the blood. “When you wake up, it’ll hurt like a bitch too.”
Then it was her turn to laugh. Veronica laughs so hard she starts crying, hot tears stream down her face as she tries to pull herself together.
“So what? You expect me to just let myself die and go with you into some afterlife you’ve created?” Her voice is loud, and echo fills the room with each word.
JD scoots so he’s leaning against the headboard next to her. She doesn’t flinch away from him, he moves his hand to her thigh, doesn’t squeeze, doesn’t do anything, and just touches her.
“Do what you want. I don’t have the power to tell you otherwise. I should have given you the choice in the first place. I really should have.” She could hear the regret in his tone, apparently he’d had time to think while she was being surgically saved or what not. “It could be nice, you know. Staying here, we have all the time in the world, literally… We could be beautifully happy here, Veronica.”
Veronica looks over at him, he lifts his hand up and brushes her matted hair from her face before putting his arm around her and gathering her closer to him.
“I don’t want to wake up.” She says and the light of the window does out, replaced by a dull glow, as if moonlight was streaming in. Her eyes close trying to adjust to the change and when she opens them JD’s wounds have closed, he no longer has blood dripping from his nose or sunken eyes.
Its just JD. Whole and real, without the crazed look on his face, he’s just looking at her like she is a miracle, like she was God herself. Something brushes against her leg, wait, she looks down to see two legs and her feet with those blue socks she love so much.
“Not to freak you out or anything, but I think you just died.” He whispers into her ear, nipping at the skin, the very spot that makes her weak.
“No shit.” She says with a huff and she turns her head so their lips brush lightly. He takes her invitation and kisses her with a passion that she hadn’t felt since the last time they’d… JD moves over her, his knee forces her legs apart and he nudges it up to rub against her, making her squirm under his body weight. Veronica feels his kiss intoxicating her, like it had so many times before. She feels a knot in her lower abdomen form, the good kind of knot, the kinds she missed so much…There’s something ethereal about the whole thing, about every touch and every scrape of teeth.
He’s kissing down her now bare stomach when her mind snaps back to who is on top of her.
“Wait, JD.” She pushes at his shoulders.
“What? What’s the matter, baby?” He asks looking up, there’s something about him all flushed and messy hair that makes her blood boil with need, but she just sighs.
“I can’t do this.” His face falls into confusion and he returns to kissing her stomach. “I can’t fuck you!” She shoves him back so he slides off the bed and onto his knees. “I’m not going to fuck you in this limbo whatever it is. You… you’re…” Monster, psychopath, stupid fuck… all the things she couldn’t bring herself to say. “You killed my parents… you killed my world.” Then she remembers. “You killed me.”
JD stares at her from the end of the bed. His face is younger, a child’s face and hurt beyond what she’d ever seen him before.
“I love you.”
“You don’t kill the people you love.” Veronica feels the tears slide down her face. She looks around the room, the one she’d grown up in and cried in and lived in before everything went to shit. The door to the hall swings open and she jerks her head up to the dull light that spills from the hall.
“Veronica?” It’s the same voice her mother had used as she called up for a snack that night.
“Mom?” She jumps off the bed and sprints to the door, but JD’s arms wrap around her waist. Stopping her in her tracks.
“If you go, we’ll never see each other again.” His voice is like honey that had sat in the cabinet too long, it’s sweet but sticky and hard, she can feel his tears falling on her neck as he kisses her right on her pulse point.
“Veronica?” The voice calls again.
“MOM!” She yanks forward, but he holds her steadfast.
“Listen to me, Veronica! Please, don’t leave me. You can’t leave me alone! I heard her too…” JD buries his face in the nook of her shoulder. “When I first came here, waiting and waiting… my mom’s voice called to me. You can’t think that it was Big fucking Bud who taught me how to get away with murder, can you?”
That’s when it all fit, the only reason his parents were able to make it work at all was because of his mother’s shared bloodlust, any other sane person would see the complete deranged nature of JD’s father… and only two fucked up people could have made someone like him. “You’re mom taught you how to kill?”
“She knew that there were assholes in the world, and she told me so. She told me that we have a purpose here and let me tell you… she really fucked me up, Veronica. I didn’t see that until you.” He looks towards the closet door, she can sense his dread and he buries his face in her shoulder again.
“Let go of me, JD.” She whispers, her hand reaching up to his cheek before she brushes his hair tenderly.
He complies without a fight, his arms slipping from her waist, even though he leaves a hand on her hip with a grip that isn’t meant to keep her there, just a desperate plea. She leans up and covers his mouth with hers, memorizing the feeling of him. Like she’ll ever be able to forget.
Veronica moves away breaking their touch and turning for the door, she hears it again the soft call and can smell her mom’s perfume mixed with her father’s cologne. It smells like the bed she used to crawl into as a kid when the thunder was too loud.
Before she disappears through the doorway she turns her head to take one last look, he’s on his knees, crying loudly… a woman steps into the frame from the wall where the closet door is. She’s in a crispy dress, still lit around the edges and one side of her face is burnt like charcoal.
Veronica feels a hand on her shoulder, and she looks up to see her dad and mom with their bodies facing towards the whiteness ahead. A genuine smile comes over her face for the first time, she takes her mom’s hand and feels tears leaking from her eyes.
“Don’t cry, honey. We’re going home.” Her mom kisses her cheek and brushes her hair from her face.
Veronica looks back again, JD is back to being a dead man, his innards spill onto the floor as the woman hugs him from the side and whispers in his ear. He looks up at her, blood dripping down his bottom lip and out his nose. They keep eye contact as she starts to walk with her parents, she swears his lips mumble something before the door shuts.