As Justin and I continue to elaborate on the sick tale of the modern day Bonnie and Clyde, Mari's eyes drift off into another place. My attention falls on her after she lets out the saddest sigh I've ever heard. For a long moment, everyone is in silence. I felt as if there was an elephant in the room but at the same time, I feel that a bomb is about to drop. "Why are you telling me this," I turn to Justin while trying not to allow my eyes to fall of Mari's.
Justin notices the confusion in my eyes and allows his sympathy to show. Tilting his head so that his long black hair would stop bothering his vision of site, Justin lets out a brief sigh, "look, you're obviously someone very important to my sister...Very important to her if she asked me to tell you about this." It's funny how the human heart reacts to anticipation. The blood in your veins runs warm but that feeling is only abstract. Beads of sweat form on your forehead but you only notice that if you touch the salty fluid. The heart, however, the heart's reaction to anticipation is the most obvious. Fast. Disorderly.
I listen as my heart frantically beats for something that I have no knowledge yet of knowing. For something that is apperantly a difficult perception. The sound of thuds. Thuds, and then some more thuds. More thuds. Thuds until, "Kruger Joseph..." Justin's voice managed to stop the pounding for a second. However, the long pause he takes after saying Kruger Jospeh's name does not help the additional pounding loudly in my ear.
Justin's cold eyes becomes sad and mysterious as tears begin to form. My eyes focuses on both him and Mari at this point. In some way, Mari tries to disguise her tears by covering her eyes with her blonde hair. It's as if she doesn't want me to see her cry and also, she doesn't want me to see her, at all. "Mari? Why are you?...Whatever it is guys? Just tell me, don't leave me in all this suspense," I cry. To my surprise, Mari lifts her sullen head and, "you have to be patient. You have to hear us as clear as possible." What was she talking about? "Brennan you're rare. Beside,...besides Justin, they're are no guys like you exsisting anymore...What-what we're about to tell you is something that you can't repeat and I know you won't because I can trust you. I can trust you with my life...You're a good person Brennan," Mari concludes through sobs.
"Kruger Joseph...I'm his son.."
The blow came to me like a punch in the face. At this point i'm afraid. I'm taken back. His son? Before I could collect any other emotions for this shocking revelation, Mari interjects.
Taking a tiring stand, "I knew the girl. I knew Paige Daley, she was my best friend...She was brave, and she was incredibly courageous even in her most frightening moments...She always protected me and she pretty much died...for me." Mari's legs begin to wiggle as they become weak and I jump up to catch her before she falls. With my hands gripping her waist, I allow her light weighted body to sway towards mines. Impulsively, I watch for Justin's reaction but there is none. "I got you...Do you need water? Are you okay?" My voice appears shaken but I need to hide any emotions that i'm owning at this minute because Mari has something more relevent to reveal.
"I'm fine. I just need to sit down.." Mari gently takes a seat back in the same spot she leap from while glaring at Justin from the corners of her green eyes. "She was just an innocent girl, we both were. But they didn't care because we saw them. We knew who they were and they were nnot going to let us just go..." Mari's voice becomes filled with distain and disgust but I choose not to interrupt as a billion questions swim through my head. As she talks, Mari's glass eyes are focusing on the floor as well as Justin's. They both stare off into another place. I can tell that wherever they are, is somewhere they rather not be. I can coclude that the only reason they're in that place is because they need me to be there with them. They need me to see what they've saw and I don't think I want to.
"It wasn't your fault. It wasn't your fault despite anything he told you," Mari softly says to Justin as the two lost souls slowly make eye contact. I stand in this living room alone as they seem to tell this story for the first time out loud. I'm just a gateway, I suppose, because to them, i'm no longer in the room. Whatever is going to be said has to be said and i'm just glad that I get to be here for Mari. I know that i'm now sitting in this room with the son of a serial killer and the friend of his victim. I know that I can consider them strangers but not for long. I find myself trusting these two kindred spirits. I find myself wanting to help both of them. However, with this intense conversation going, I have no other choice other than to allow them full disclosure.
In a way, I believe me being the third party helps because Justin and Mari couldn't possibly battle this out alone. They obviously have this harmless yet sordid connection. Justin's father murdered Mari's best friend. How did they meet? I wonder how Mari knows and did Justin tell her? Wait. Didn't Mari say that Paige saved her life? I'm so confused...I guess I'll just have to wait and listen. But if they keep talking in riddles, I will have to ask...
"Yes it was," Justin whispers. Mari shakes her head, "No."
"I didn't think they would be back," Justin continues.
"Doesn't matter," Mari annoyingly replies, as if she's heard those words from Justin too many times.
"He killed Paige, him and Francis, and he..he raped you," Justin confesses.
My head spins around. My heart pounds faster than a speeding bullot. Again, I don't get enough time to take in this revelation because Mari and Justin continue their confrontation.
"He shot you and he left you to die and so did I. I'm just as a monster as my father was," Justin confesses.
Wiping her read swollen eyes, Mari turns her attention directly on Justin, whose eyes turns in the oppisite direction. "That's not true. Justin, you didn't have a choice. You were a victim, you were terrified. Just as terrified as Paige and me...You saved my father's life!" Mari cries as she tries to persuade her adopted brother of his innocence.
"Everytime you or your parents tell me that I still can't force myself to feel that way...It all could have been avoided if I had just left you and Paige alone at that store. I knew what Krug was capable of, even still, I should have stopped him that day..." Justin's tears finally falls from his glass stain eyes.
Mari grabs Justin's hand to comfort him as they both cry and relive an unimaginable experience. "I keep thinking...If I would have just not caused that wreck they would have let us go," Mari confesses shakingly.
As I watch them recollect the horror of their story, I can't help but to notice their uncertainty. For Justin, his uncertainty is the fact of guilt. Could he have prevented what happened? Could he have stopped his father from murdering Mari's friend? Mari, however, is uncertain that Justin could have or could not have helped them escape. She will never say the words out loud. She would never blame Justin due to his own struggle with guilt.
What I understand, at this point, is more than I have ever understood about Mari. All this time, I wondered countless number of nights and days about Mari's enigmatic persona. The doubts of me not being her type whenever she would flinch if I touched her in certain places. That kiss I force on her all those weeks ago, my confession of love, her decision of pairing me up with my ex, the way she was always guarded when I asked about her past, and just about every single detail of Mari Collingwood was beginning to make sense at this moment.
"You called out my name, you were begging me to help you. He was crushed on top of you-" before Justin can finish his statement, Mari quickly shuts him up with, "he gave you a chance to hurt me but you didn't. I will never forget that."
The look Justin gives Mari is heartwrenching. He hopes she could forget everything about that day. The words never come out but I hear them loud and clear and so does Mari. After more minutes of sobs and silence I decide to grab Justin a beer and Mari a bottle water from the fridge. Justin doesn't drink so I drink his beer before handing them both water. Minutes of silence turns into hours of silence. I had no idea what to say because I didn't feel I had as much right anymore. They obviously needed to get those things out and they needed a trusted third party on the outside to be present. The voices in my head were holding their own conversations. It was really hard to thiink straight after multiple bombshells like I've heard tonight. But. I have to say something. I have to be included because I loved Mari too much to be invisible right this moment.