"Let me get this straight: Adele was your father's wife and she didn't say anything about it this entire time?" Jonathan incredulously asked Brynn. The two had returned from break that day, tense and irritable. Jonathan had somehow managed to put up with Grandmother and her wickedness. The old woman had been under the weather for the majority of the break which gave him some much needed space from her.
Brynn had her eyes closed and pinched the bridge of her nose. She muttered, "Don't make me repeat it. That wasn't even the worst part of it all."
Jonathan was still trying to wrap his head around it all. He had had a feeling that Brynn's break would be eventful and she'd have many stories to tell when she returned. He hadn't expected it to turn out the way it did.
"What happened between you and Adele?" Jonathan pressed. He was curious as to how the older woman would take it. Brynn was the love child of Adele's husband and his mistress. Wouldn't there be some hard feelings?
"She told me that none of it was my fault. I ended up staying with her for the rest of the break," she explained as she tiredly rubbed her eyes. She sat on the floor of his dorm, leaning against his bed and would probably pass out at any second.
Jonathan sat across from her with his back pressed against the spare bed. He rubbed his chin as he absorbed all of the information. He was surprised by how Adele had handled the situation. Obviously, she was willing to forgive and forget if she had been friendly to Brynn for this long.
Brynn stretched out and straightened her legs so they ended up in his lap. He absentmindedly started tracing along her skin, having already memorized the shape of her ankles and the feel of her smooth skin.
"There's no way I'm going back there for Christmas break," she mumbled. "That house is a landmine, waiting for one of us to step on it so that we'll all explode."
Jonathan smirked. "Nice analogy."
She gave him a small, tired smile. Brynn crawled over to his side and leaned against his shoulder. Warmth pooled in the pit of his stomach.
"I'd rather stay with you over break."
"As much as I'd like that, I highly doubt my Grandmother would allow you to stay with us." The thought of him bringing Brynn home to Grandmother's made him cringe. He could picture her chasing Brynn out while wildly waving a broom at her.
"Not with your Grandmother," she corrected him. "Why don't we go to Metropolis for a few days? They have that one inventions museum—you would like that. We could go out for dinner, see a movie."
As she said this, she pulled up the sleeve of his shirt to his elbow and started tracing the underside of his arm. Her nails gently traveled up and down his arm, tickling his skin. Heat rose to his face and he had to bite the inside of his cheek.
"Grandmother would never allow it," he said quietly as he watched her fingers slide back and forth.
"She doesn't have to know, silly," Brynn teased. Her breath was warm against his neck and he sighed. "Tell her you're going there to job shadow. Say it's for extra credit; you always use that excuse."
His stomach felt like it was a Ferris wheel, spinning in circles faster and faster. She knew how to convince him to get her way. He nearly melted in a puddle on the floor when he felt her lips brush against his jawline.
Jonathan managed to snap out of his haze and pulled back a little. "It'd be too risky. If she found out, I would be done for. She would probably make me transfer schools."
Brynn rolled her eyes. "She can't be that bad—"
"I think I know my Grandmother better than you," he lowly growled.
Brynn blinked at his sudden change of voice. She moved away from him and sighed. "Okay, sorry. I just thought it would be nice to actually spend some time with you over break."
She knew how to play him and make him feel guilty whenever he upset her. Jonathan frowned and leaned against her. "I want to but she would never buy it. Grandmother would know that something was up." He pulled her closer and hooked his thumb under her chin. "Why don't we spend some time together after exams are over? I don't leave to go to Grandmother's until the next day. We could go to a museum and get dinner and see a movie that night."
"Really?" She beamed at him happily.
Brynn leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss on his lips. Jonathan's hand wrapped around the back of her neck and pulled her closer to him. Her breath tickled his face and her own hands were tangled up in his hair.
Next thing he knew, he had her on his lap. They paused for a fraction of a second, both surprised by his sudden boldness. Brynn's mouth curled into a smirk as she lowered herself to his mouth and kissed him slowly. Her hands rested on his chest and he squeezed his eyes shut when he felt her fingers dig into him.
His breathing was coming out faster. Heat rushed through his body and his blood went to his head, giving him a slight headache. He ignored the pain as he ran his fingers up and down her arms. Her lips were slightly chapped but still tasted sweet.
Sometimes, he found himself wondering how in the world this had happened. How was it possible that he had Brynn on his lap and was kissing her fervently? It had to be a dream. There was no way a girl like her would touch someone like him. He was Jonathan Crane, resident freak, the boy with no friends. Girls used to run in the opposite direction when he walked into a room.
He hesitated and tried to wake up. He hated how his brain tortured him this way, teasing him with the thoughts of having someone to care about him.
Brynn reminded him that this was reality when she pressed her body into his and kissed his earlobe. The action caught him off guard and he embarrassingly let out a sound. He felt Brynn smirk against his skin and soon she had traveled back to his mouth and was convincing him that this was real, that she was real, and that she wanted to be there.
It carried on for a few more minutes. When Brynn pulled away, they were both breathless and wanting more. She pressed her forehead against his and closed her eyes, tangling her eyelashes with his.
They sat silently for several moments. As his heart slowed down, he played with her hair and attempted to braid a lock of it. He failed horribly and left her with a giant knot instead. She flicked him on the forehead as she worked to try and untangle it.
"Stupid," she teased as she combed her fingers through her hair. She rolled off of his lap and sat next to him.
"Nice hickey," he teased back. Brynn blushed furiously and tried to hide the angry red mark with her hair.
"See what you do to me?"
"You liked it."
He waited for a reply that would have him blushing and looking away with embarrassment. Instead, Brynn remained silent. She licked her swollen lips and rested her head on his shoulder. "You're right, I did."
He smiled to himself and rested his hands on his stomach. The two sat silently, listening to the sound of their breathing and taking in each other's warmth.
. . .
Exam week hit Brynn with the force and brutality of a freight train. All those times she had chosen to skip class finally came back to bite her in the ass. Half the material she read was foreign to her and she struggled to teach herself. Three nights in a row, she pulled all-nighters, learning to live off of energy drinks and coffee. She ate so much sugary candy until it felt like her mouth would start bleeding. She was convinced that a third of her body mass was made up of sugar and caffeine.
She regretted her choices. It would take a miracle sent down from heaven to allow her to pass these exams. Brynn knew that if she flunked, she was getting kicked out of GU. The dean had already been in contact with her.
As the week dragged by, she saw Jonathan a few times. Each time, he looked fresh and calm and his eyes weren't bloodshot. The stress of exams wasn't affecting him like it was her and he was acting like it was any other week. She greatly envied him for his drive to succeed and do well in school. It took all her energy not to cut his head open and swap his brain with hers.
To make matters worse, Scott kept trying to get in touch with her. Each time her phone vibrated and his name lit up the screen, Brynn hit ignore and ground her teeth together. She no longer cared about what he had to say. She had been right all along; Olivia killed her father. The bitch had stolen him from her as well as Adele. There was no one to blame but Olivia.
Brynn tried her best to keep those thoughts at bay. She locked them up in a cell in the back of her mind and swallowed the key. She already had the stress of exams to deal with; she didn't need guilt and conspiracy theories dumped on her as well.
Somehow, she managed to make it through the week (barely). After her last exam, she left the class with heavy legs, sleep deprived and on the verge of insanity. It was a wonder that she hadn't started hallucinating.
Brynn wanted nothing more than to sleep for a solid seventy-two hours when she returned to her dorm. That wasn't an option; she and Jonathan had plans for that evening. Despite her exhaustion and deteriorating sanity, she smiled. A few hours of sleep was what she needed before she would go out with him.
Brynn set her alarm clock for ten different times to make sure she didn't hit snooze, fall asleep again, and miss her date. She collapsed in bed, was enveloped by the warmth of the covers, and fell into a coma for the next several hours.
To her, it felt like she'd blinked. It took eight out of the ten alarms to finally wake her up. Begrudgingly, she rolled out of bed and into the bathroom for a shower. The hot water scalded her skin and turned her light pink. Brynn's vision teetered from side to side as she stood under the spray. How was she expected to go out tonight and not fall asleep on the sidewalk?
The shower woke her up a little bit. Once she was out and dried off, she turned her radio on and found the loudest, fastest song playing that she could find.
Jonathan knocked on the door when Brynn was finishing up blow drying her hair. She answered the door looking like she had driven across the country with the windows rolled down. He smirked when he saw her. It quickly dropped from his face when he saw she was wearing nothing but a blue bathrobe.
"I-I can wait," he stuttered and looked around uncomfortably.
Brynn frowned, not catching on to why he was behaving like so. "I'm almost ready." She left the door opened and returned to the bathroom to finish brushing through the rat's nest.
Jonathan sighed and entered her room, keeping his eyes averted from the bathroom. Brynn smirked at him as he passed by.
"What are we doing tonight?" she called as she tugged a comb through her hair. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes and she grimaced.
"I thought we'd get dinner," he said and sat down on her unmade bed. Jonathan picked a glossy magazine off the floor and leafed through it. "Maybe stop by the museum. They have that new exhibit featuring artifacts from ancient civilizations…"
She poked her head out of the bathroom. "Is that the one with the mummies?"
"Yes," Jonathan replied, his eyes lighting up. "I believe they have three mummified Egyptian pharaohs."
"Nothing more romantic than staring at dead bodies."
His eyes darkened and looked at the wall. "If you don't want to go, we could do something else…"
She walked out of the bathroom and ruffled his hair. "Kidding. Maybe we can poke one or try to resurrect it."
The brightness returned to his eyes. Jonathan leaned back and cocked a brow, causing her face to flush. She loved it when he did that. "I wasn't aware that you were a necromancer."
"I have a few tricks hidden up my sleeve," she quipped.
Brynn picked up the outfit she had chosen to wear that night from her chair. She gave Jonathan a serious look and said, "No peeking."
She narrowed her eyes at him. His face remained blank for several seconds, not catching on to what she was saying. Brynn rolled her eyes and said, "Close your eyes."
It finally clicked in his head. "You know there's a bathroom right there?"
"Too far," she answered. "Eyes closed."
He sighed and obliged, covering his eyes with his hands. Brynn changed out of her robe and into the red sweater, short black skirt, and black tights she had chosen for the evening.
"You can look now," she said as she went to her vanity to put her earrings in and do her makeup.
"No sweats?" he teased. She noticed in the mirror his eyes wandering over her. Brynn blushed and dropped the wand of mascara she had been holding. Her face matched the color of the sweater. Keep it together…
"Does it look okay? Is it too dressy?"
"You look lovely."
The blush darkened and Brynn bit her lip. She would never grow accustomed to being complimented by him. Giddiness overtook her when she remembered that she was special to him. There was something thrilling about being complimented by Jonathan. It was rare when he handed them out and he only ever seemed to do so for her.
She walked over to him and leaned down to give him a kiss. His lips were warm and felt right on hers. Jonathan slowly stood up, his lips still on hers, and cupped her cheeks. When it ended, their faces remained within inches of one another. Jonathan's thumbs brushed against her cheeks.
"What was that for?" he asked.
Brynn shrugged. A smile appeared on her face and she wrapped her hands around his wrists. The exhaustion, stress, and every other dark emotion that had been holding her down suddenly vanished, replaced with peace and safety. "I just wanted to."
"I like it when you do what you want," he said quietly. Jonathan pressed his lips against her forehead where they stayed for a few seconds. Her eyes fluttered shut and she leaned into him, her stomach flipping.
He stepped back and looked at her for a second. Something unsaid passed between them and Brynn understood. It was their way of saying they were comfortable with one another and were willing to be their honest selves in front of the other. They were willing to place their trust with the other.
. . .
They left the campus and hailed a cab to take them into the city to the restaurant Jonathan had in mind. It was a small Thai restaurant down the street from the museum which served some of the best noodles she had ever eaten. They sat at a table by the window and people-watched, coming up with crazy, far-fetched stories for the people who passed by. Jonathan was much better at it than she was, basing his stories off the way the people carried themselves. For one man who shuffled down the street with his hands in his pockets and his eyes on the ground, Jonathan spun together an elaborate tale about a Russian assassin who was betrayed by his fellow comrades and escaped them before they could murder him.
"That sounds like the plot of a movie," Brynn said as he finished telling her about the man's trek through the snowy motherland that had left him with eight toes.
"Well, it's not," Jonathan disagreed. He tapped on the table with his index finger and nodded. "I'm telling you this man's life story."
Brynn giggled. "Why are you so convincing?"
"Because I'm an honest man," Jonathan said gravely, his eyes betraying no emotion. They stared at each other, Jonathan keeping his face stony. Brynn was trying her hardest not to burst from giggling. She lost her cool when Jonathan winked at her.
Their trip to the museum was short lived. Dinner had left Brynn more hyper than a little kid on Christmas morning. She was shushed twice by a tour guide for speaking too loudly, received a murderous glare from the guide when she not-so-quietly imitated him, and was finally thrown out when she poked a statue of a golden cat.
"Way to go," Jonathan scolded after being escorted outside by security. The two of them sat on the steps leading to the museum. Brynn sat next to him, choking from laughing too hard.
"I'm…sorry," she gasped out in between laughter. Her stomach was starting to cramp and she thought her lungs would burst. "I couldn't help it. That tour guide's squeaky voice was too much for me to handle."
"Should I call someone?" Jonathan asked. He leaned back against the stairs and stretched his legs out. "I'm worried about you. I think I should drop you off at Arkham."
"No!" she squealed.
"I'm about to."
"Did you drug me?" Everything was so goddamn hilarious for some reason. Brynn tried to control herself but nothing seemed to stop the endless laughter.
"You caught me. I drugged you at dinner."
"You fucker," she exclaimed.
"Shh, don't let the whole world know about it."
Brynn somehow managed to gain a sliver of control over her body. Still snickering, she leaned against Jonathan's shoulder. "Are you mad that you didn't get to see the mummies?"
He looked at her deadpanned. "Furious."
"I'll bring you back another time," she offered.
"I believe you were just banned from the museum for life."
"That's what disguises are for."
Jonathan shook his head and stood up. He offered her his hand and pulled her up as well. Her hand remained enveloped in his as he led her away from the museum. "Let's go back to the dorms before you get us kicked out of something else."
Jonathan hailed a cab once again. They sat silently in the backseat, staring at the buildings that passed by. Yellow light poured out of store windows and onto the sidewalks. Behind the glass, displays were set up with possible gift ideas to give loved ones for the holidays. People walked up and down the sidewalks carrying numerous shopping bags.
The warmth and quietness of the cab was slowly lulling her to sleep. Brynn's head found its way to Jonathan's shoulder and her eyelids dropped over her eyes. She was close to falling asleep when the cab pulled up to the university and dropped them off. Jonathan practically had to drag her across campus.
They ended up in her dorm room. Brynn shrugged out of her coat and dropped it on her chair. She filled a cup with water and tried to keep the exhaustion at bay. The cold water rushed down her throat and, after a few more cups, woke her up.
"Let's watch a movie," she suggested when she was sure she wouldn't fall asleep.
Jonathan kicked his shoes off and sat on her bed. "What movie?"
"I don't know, we can find something on TV."
She plopped down next to him and grabbed the remote off her night stand. The screen came to life and changed pictures as she flipped through the channels. She stopped on a channel that was playing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Brynn wrapped herself up in her blanket and leaned against the wall next to her bed.
Watching a movie with Jonathan turned out to be impossible. He asked questions about everything—why was Rudolph's nose red? Why wouldn't the other reindeers let him play with them?
"Haven't you ever seen this movie?" Brynn asked.
Jonathan shook his head. "Grandmother said it was sacrilegious."
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?!" she asked incredulously.
Jonathan remained silent and stared at the screen. His silence last for thirty-seven seconds before he was asking more questions.
"Well, that was pointless," he said at the end of the movie.
"You should have paid attention."
"You talked the entire time."
Jonathan lied down and closed his eyes. "I don't like watching movies."
Brynn sighed in defeat. So much for that. She looked down at Jonathan. He seemed so relaxed and content.
"You're in my spot," she told him when he opened his eyes and looked up at her.
"It's my spot now," he said quietly.
"You can share, you know."
He stiffened when she lied next to him. He shifted to the side to give her some space. The bed wasn't big enough for the two of them and they were cramped up together. Brynn propped herself up on her elbow.
They lied there silently. Jonathan's eyes were closed again and his chest rose and fell rhythmically. Brynn carefully removed his glasses and put them on the nightstand. She then started stroking his hair gently.
"That feels nice," he murmured. He moved closer to her and before either of them knew it, they were kissing. It was different from all the other times. Their movements were for the most part the same but something felt different. Brynn had a feeling it was because they were in her bed.
They kissed slowly as the heat built up between them. Jonathan pulled her closer and closer. His breath was hot on her face and she gripped the front of his shirt. She shivered when his fingers glided over the side of her neck, along her shoulder, and down her arm.
It wasn't long before Jonathan was on top of her. His lips left her mouth and trailed across her cheeks and down to her neck. She squirmed under him as his warm mouth slowly danced over her skin. Heat rose to her face and boiled in her stomach. This was the most intimate they had ever been and it felt wonderful.
She closed her eyes and listened to his breathing and paid close attention to the way he felt against her body. His movements were slow, careful, precise, and well-executed. She tried not to giggle as she realized she was scoring and observing him the way a judge would with a gymnast.
She guided his face back to hers and kissed him passionately. Her hand slid to his back and pressed, signaling him to come down. He obeyed and rested on top of her body. Jonathan released a growl when she wrapped her legs around his waist. His mouth pressed harder against hers and he tangled his hands in her hair.
Brynn's back arched when she felt him tugging at the hem of her shirt, asking for permission. She nervously lifted her shirt a little and felt Jonathan's hand slide under and travel north. She hissed when his hand rested on top of her bra and gently squeezed.
Stars were starting to pop up behind her eyelids and her heart was pumping faster and faster. She pulled his sweater over his head and groaned when she saw he had a button-down on underneath. Brynn eagerly unbuttoned the shirt and pulled his undershirt over his head (god, how many layers were necessary?).
His skin was warm and soft and she drank it all in. Her nails gently slid over his back and over his shoulder and along his surprisingly toned arms. Her hand traveled to his chest and pressed over his heart. His was beating just as furiously as hers.
Brynn rolled them over and started kissing his neck. She didn't spend much time there and soon her lips were traveling over his chest and down to his stomach—
"Brynn," Jonathan's voice suddenly snapped her out of it. She looked up at his flushed face and noticed the hesitation in his eyes.
"Right. Sorry," she muttered.
She lied next to him, her face turning pink. Brynn tried to catch her breath. The realization dawned on her that they would have gone all the way that night had he not interrupted. It shocked her that she would have been okay with it and that she was still willing to.
Jonathan rolled onto his side and started playing with her hair. Brynn's eyes wandered down to his shirtless torso and drank in the sight of him. His body had changed since they had gone swimming together. He was still thin but had put on some muscle. A light patch of hair trailed from his belly button to below his belt.
Brynn rolled onto her stomach and sighed as he scratched her back. The gentle movements calmed her nerves and made her drowsy again.
"I should get going," he said softly a few minutes later.
"Baby, it's cooold outside," she sang tiredly. Without opening her eyes, she draped her arm across his bare torso. "Stay."
"It's getting late."
Brynn opened her eyes and looked up at him. "Stay the night."
Jonathan's eyes slightly widened at her words. Brynn swallowed and went on. "It's cold and I don't want you walking across campus this late at night. And I won't see you all break."
She waited for him to say no, absolutely not. She knew she was pushing it and crossing into unmarked territory between them. Right when she was about to say that she was joking, Jonathan nodded and said, "Alright."
Brynn tried to contain her surprise. That hadn't been expected. She had been sure that he would deny her request.
Jonathan grabbed his undershirt and put it back on (Brynn tried not to complain when he did so). He leaned over and turned the lamp off on her nightstand.
The two tried to get situated. They found it was easier if they slept back to front. Jonathan settled behind her and wrapped his arm around her. Brynn held onto his hand and stared at the wall, too nervous to sleep.
Jonathan's breath came out faster than normal and she could tell he was just as nervous as she was. She tried to calm them both down by tracing shapes on his hand. That always calmed her when he did it.
Eventually, his breath slowed and his body relaxed. Brynn wasn't sure if he had fallen asleep or if he had just calmed his nerves. She didn't bother to find out. The exhaustion that had been following close behind her all day finally caught up and pulled her under.
. . .
Brynn was rudely awakened from a blissful slumber by the sound of chimes. She peeled her eyes open and wiped the crust away. There was a warm lump lying next to her. Brynn rolled over and saw Jonathan, sound asleep. She had forgotten that he had spent the night.
The chiming sound blurted again. Brynn looked around for the cause and saw her phone on the opposite side of the room. Carefully, she crawled over Jonathan and out of bed to retrieve it.
The screen claimed that the call was from Scott. Brynn groaned and went into the bathroom and locked the door behind her.
"Whaddya want?" she asked groggily. Brynn grimaced when she smelled the sour stench of her morning breath. Yikes. She made note to take care of it before Jonathan woke up.
"I have called you numerous times this week; why haven't you picked up?" Scott barked on the other end.
Brynn held the phone away from her ear. His loud voice was giving her a headache. "Could you use your inside voice?" she growled.
Thankfully, he lowered his voice but the rage remained in his tone. "I need to talk to you."
Brynn leaned against the counter and sighed. All she wanted was to hang up, crawl back in bed, and curl up against Jonathan. "Why?"
"You know why!" he hissed.
"Right, your conspiracy theories," Brynn grumbled. "My mom's innocent and some invisible people killed my dad. How could I forget?"
"Is this funny to you?" Scott's voice was rising again. "I have been worried sick about you for the last week, I thought one of them had gotten their hands on you."
"Well, I'm fine."
"I need to see you. Now."
"I'm kind of in the middle of something," Brynn whispered angrily. There's a boy in my bed who I happen to like a lot, Uncle Scott! This can wait.
"You're in danger."
Brynn's brows furrowed. Had she heard him correctly? "What?"
"You're in danger, Brynn. Someone's on to us and I don't know who. I need to see you now," he demanded.
Terror seeped into her veins. From the sound of his voice, it was clear that he was telling the truth. Brynn gripped the edge of the counter and whispered, "Who knows?"
Scott huffed angrily on the other end of the line. "I'm not sure who but someone who was involved in the death of your father."
Brynn gritted her teeth together. "Then I'll stay away from you. If we're not in contact then they can't bother us."
"It doesn't work that way, Brynn."
"Don't get angry at me! This is your fault. I didn't want anything to do with this," she shot back.
She heard Scott exhale. Several seconds passed by before he said anything. When he spoke again, his voice was as sharp as a blade. "You agreed to listen to what I had to say. I know I've been putting it off and telling you to wait but now's the time. If I don't tell you what I know then they will interfere and I'll never get to tell you. You'll never know how they set your mother up for the downfall."
Brynn gulped. She couldn't deny the fact that he was right. She had agreed to listen to what he had to say. Curiosity had gotten the best of her and she couldn't deny that she wanted to hear what he had to say.
Quietly, Brynn opened the bathroom door and peeked outside. Jonathan was still asleep, his chest gently rising and falling. Brynn closed the door again and closed her eyes.
"Where should I meet you?"
. . .
Jonathan awakened to sunlight pouring into Brynn's room. He stretched and felt his joints pop. His body ached from sleeping in the tiny bed. Aside from the soreness, he felt refreshed. He hadn't slept that well in ages.
He rolled over and saw that Brynn was no longer in bed. She must have gotten up before him. Jonathan sat up and looked around the room. "Brynn?"
No answer came. Brynn was nowhere to be found. Jonathan frowned; had she woken up and freaked when she saw that Jonathan was in her bed? She had been half asleep when she offered him to spend the night. He felt embarrassed and stupid. He knew he shouldn't have spent the night with her. Why couldn't he use his better judgment when it came to her?
Jonathan noticed a pink sticky note on the nightstand that had not been there the previous night. He peeled it off the top and saw Brynn's loopy handwriting scrawled on it.
It read, Something came up and I had to leave early. I'm sorry I didn't wait for you to wake up. I'll call you later. –B
Disappointment washed over him. Leave it to Brynn to do something like this. She couldn't have at least awakened him to tell him what was going on?
He knew he shouldn't expect so much out of her but it still greatly annoyed him. After everything that happened last night and the fact that they had spent the night together for the first time, she at least could have let him know that she was leaving. Jonathan rolled out of her bed, gathered his discarded clothing and redressed. He left in a bitter mood.
. . .
Brynn thrummed her fingers anxiously against the steering wheel. The traffic jam she was stuck in had just started to budge. Brynn's foot jumped back and forth between the gas and brake as she drove down the highway. Scott had asked her to meet him at an address in downtown Metropolis at eight; it was now past eight forty-five.
The inside of her cheek was raw from chewing on it so much. She tasted the coppery tang of blood and swallowed hard. Scott's tone over the phone had been unsettling. Was it true that someone knew they were talking? Or was he just pulling her leg? It had to be true; Scott had sounded terrified.
Panic swelled up inside her. She never should have agreed to listen to him. What if this so-called enemy was going to hurt her and Scott? Or worse—those she cared for? She thought of Jonathan walking home late at night from the library, unaware that some hooded figure followed close behind.
Stop it, she commanded when tears started to sting her eyes. Everything's going to be okay. You and Scott will figure this out. He was probably lying and just wanted an excuse for you to come over.
Brynn prayed to whoever was listening that that was the case.
After a long drive, she drove off the highway and into downtown Metropolis. Shiny skyscrapers touched the sky and reflected the early morning sun. People walked down the street with bagels and brief cases in their hands. A mother and her child walked hand-in-hand, laughing. This setting was much different from Gotham.
Ten minutes later, she found the apartment building Scott wanted her to meet him at. Brynn frowned when she saw three police cars, an ambulance, and a crowd of people standing outside. What was going on? She parked her car in front of the building next door and started walking towards all the commotion.
She scanned the crowd for Scott. There was no sign of him. Had she gone to the wrong address? No, this was definitely it.
Brynn walked through the crowd and headed for the entrance. Right when she reached the door, a grim-faced police officer stopped her.
"No one's allowed inside, ma'am," he told her. There were dark circles under his eyes and he had a bushy, gray mustache.
"What happened? I'm supposed to see my uncle," she explained to him. She glanced at the doors again, suddenly desperate to get inside. Where was Scott and what was going on?
"There's been a suicide."
"A suicide?" she repeated slowly. She looked back at the crowd, searching for Scott. "Wh-what was the name of the person?"
"I believe his last name was Branden."
An icy block settled in the pit of Brynn's stomach and all the blood in her body rushed to her head. Next thing she knew, she was falling forward towards the officer.
The muffled sound of his voice filled her ears. She felt hands wrapped around her arms and she was being pulled up.
"Christ!" the officer exclaimed. "Can I get a medic over here?"
"I'm fine," she mumbled as the officer set her down on the stairs. She swatted away a paramedic and said it more firmly, "I'm fine."
Brynn rested her head in her hands and breathed deeply. The world was spinning faster and faster and making her sick. There had to be a mistake—Scott wasn't dead. He was supposed to be telling her about her parents and the people who had destroyed them. He wasn't supposed to be dead.
Somebody brought her a cup of water and she gulped it down gratefully. Once it was all gone, she chewed on the rim anxiously. Scott was the only person who knew the truth about her parents and now he was dead. She was all alone in the world and the people who had done this to her and her family were still out there. She had never felt more exposed and vulnerable before.
Ten minutes later and after convincing the paramedic that she was fine, Brynn sulked to her car and sat silently. The crowd had begun to thin out. Officers were still going back and forth between the building and their cars. The ambulance that carried her dead uncle drove past her. Brynn's eyes stayed on it until it turned down a different street.
The shock that had knocked her off her feet earlier was gone. In its place was anxiety. Brynn sat still and stared at the license plate of a parked car for a solid five minutes. When she snapped out of her stupor, only one thing was on her mind.
Scott hadn't committed suicide; he'd been murdered by the people he feared.
. . .
A/N: What?! An update sooner than a month after the previous one?! Can it be?
Thank you, thank you, thank you reviewers: dEnIsE tHe StRaNgE, Solstice White, Jasmine Scarthing, AbbySheeran, Emonster94, Annoynmous, puternic, CupcakesAndAlice, Guest, Raven54623, and RandomGothamGirl. Thank you also to anyone who added the story to their alerts! As I've said 100 times before, I love you all.
This chapter went from being really cute and fluffy to dark as night. Scott's dead and Brynn thinks it wasn't suicide. What do you think?
I've been meaning to ask you guys, but can I get some feedback on my writing? I've been trying to incorporate more details and stuff. If I need to improve anything or if you have any advice, it'd be greatly appreciated.
The Sherlock season finale is going to kill me tomorrow. I'd like red roses and ice cream cake at my funeral. Feel free to take up the story after I'm gone. Read and review and perhaps I might not die! I'll only suffer from an aneurism or a heart attack or something like that… (I'm terrified.)