"Chels? You there?"
"Yeah Danes, what's up?"
A silence followed.
"Not Terry again?" Chelsea sighed.
"Well… this time he said he was sick"
"Oh. So… what's the big deal?"
"I don't know, he just seems to miss SO many of our dates… Sometimes I feel like he's faking most of the time"
"He's a busy guy"
"Yeah I know, and I'm TRYING to be patient, but… but I don't think I can take this any longer. He's always skipping out on dates for some other reason. And on the few times that we ARE on a date he's always either dead on his feet or is dragged away for some important reason that can't be solved later by his Highness Mr. WAYNE"
"Maybe you should just talk to him. Get it out of your system"
"Yeah, but every time… whenever I ask I always feel kinda guilty. Is it right to question him? I mean he IS working… he IS busy… he feels like this job is like he's paying his debt to society"
A sigh. "Yes I know Dana, but are you going to let THAT stand in your way? After all, Terry DID say he loved you"
"So, what are you still talking to ME for? Go on Danes! Call him! Talk!"
"Right. Thanks Chels… I just wanted to know that what I was doing was right"
Chelsea snorted. "Of COURSE it is. You're so patient Dana, if Terry were MY boyfriend I would have DITCHED him ages ago"
Dana chuckled. "Yeah, well, I try to be nice"
"Hey, was that a-"
"Call you later!" Dana laughed and hung up. She lowered the phone to her lap and stared at it, the laughter dying on her lips.
Should I? She wondered. She shook her head and grinned. Why was she acting so afraid? It was only TERRY. What was there to be afraid of? Shaking her head at her silliness and grinning she slowly pressed in Terry's number. She held the phone to her ear. She had her whole speech worked out. She would ask Terry if he was all right, if he needed anything, then ask him out to the cinema. Maybe she might treat him to popcorn too, if he was good, or maybe a pizza. She tapped her fingers impatiently on the bed.
Come on Terry, pick up! I KNOW you're home.
Suddenly Dana had a thought. What if he wasn't? What if he had been lying? What if…
Nah. What could be the worst of it? He wouldn't lie to me. He's probably just sleeping, she thought and felt a bit ashamed of thinking Terry would lie to her and cheat her. Finally there was a clicking sound.
"Dana!" Terry exclaimed.
"Are… are you okay?"
"Yeah, sure! I'm fine!"
"Why are you panting?" Dana asked, concerned, hearing Terry gasping slightly.
"Oh, just been working out a bit"
"Working out? Terry, you're sick"
"What can I say? I hate lying down, not doing anything"
Dana smiled. Typical Terry. She was just about to say so when she heard another voice.
"Terry? Who's that?"
Dana froze. Was that… another girl? She shook her head. No, probably only Mrs. McGinnis.
"Shh!" she heard Terry hiss. She felt somewhat suspicious. Terry would never tell his mother to 'shh'.
"Terry, who is that?"
"That OTHER voice"
"Voice? What other voice?"
"Terry?" came the female voice again, louder. This time Dana was certain; it DEFINITELY wasn't Terry's mother. The voice sounded too young. Too soft. Too… teenager.
"Is that another girl?" Dana asked, not keeping the 'danger' tone out of her voice. There was a silence.
"McGinnis! How could you?" Dana asked, her eyes filling with tears.
How could he? How DARE he?
"You were KISSING this other girl weren't you? That's why you're out of breath"
"Dana, it's not-"
"You LIED to me!" Dana yelled. "How could you? I TRUSTED you! You told me you were sick!"
"No, Dana, you don't-"
"Don't what? How many girls have you been seeing behind my back McGinnis? Every time you break off on our dates, is THAT where you go? To see another girl? I trusted you! I thought you were WORKING!"
"Then explain this girl"
"Terry, what's going on?" the other girl asked.
"I'm only trying to help her out-"
"Oh yeah, by kissing her and telling me you were working out! No, wait, I bet you're going to make up some lame LIE again. She needed CPR I suppose?"
"Shut up McGinnis. I don't want to see or talk to you again" Dana said between clenched teeth and hung up. Almost as soon as she put the phone down it rang again. She lifted it to her right ear, wiping away a tear trickling down her cheek.
"H… hello?" she asked.
"So? How'd it go?"
"Oh, Chelsea…" she said, her voice breaking.
"I… would guess it didn't go well"
Dana took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. "He was with another girl"
There was a shocked silence. "Are… are you sure? It could have been his mother"
"NO, Chelsea! He was gasping!"
"THEY WERE KISSING! AND HE SAID HE WAS WORKING OUT!"
"HE LIED TO ME!" Dana yelled, tears flowing freely down her cheeks now. "HE SAID HE WAS SICK, AND HE WAS SEEING ANOTHER GIRL!"
Another silence. "Dana, I'm so sorry…"
Dana took another breath. No point getting angry at her friends, it wasn't their fault.
"It's okay Chelsea. It's wasn't your fault"
"I know, but… that JERK"
"Oh Chelsea, what if he's been seeing other girls? What if he never liked me? Maybe that's why he kept cancelling out on dates. Maybe that's why we hardly talk, why he hardly ever calls"
"Come on Dana, don't think that way. Look, forget Terry. There are tons of other guys who I bet would DIE to go out with you. If Terry wants to be a jerk, then let him be. Don't let him affect your life"
Dana sniffed. "Chelsea, can I call you back later?"
"Of course" Chelsea said warmly and hung up. Dana put the phone down onto her lap, her hand shaking. Then, yelling in anger she flung the phone as hard as she could against the wall. It hit hard and smashed into pieces. Her tears coming out in small gasps she put her head into her pillow and sobbed. She heard the door open quietly.
"Dana? Honey, are you all right?" she heard a concerned male voice. Lying facedown into her pillow she could feel the bottom left corner of her bed sink down as someone sat on it.
"Yes. I'm fine," she said, her voice muffled by the pillow.
"You don't seem all right. What was that noise? Why is the phone lying on the floor in pieces?"
"I don't want to talk about it dad"
"You can tell me. It's good to let things out" Mr. Tan said, stroking Dana's soft raven-black hair like how he did when Dana was a small child and he wanted to comfort her. It comforted Dana when she was little. It annoyed her now.
"I DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU ANYTHING! IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, ALL RIGHT? I CAN HANDLE IT, I'M NOT A LITTLE GIRL!" she exploded. She felt her father's warm hand leave her hair immediately and the weight from the bed lift.
"All... all right. You ARE a big girl now… I keep forgetting that. I'm sorry" her father said, the hurt in his voice piercing the young girl's heart. She was about to sit up and apologize when she heard the door click shut. She sat up slowly and hugged her pillow to her chest. Damn Terry. Damn him.
He had just ruined everything. It was all his fault. How long? How long had he been cheating her, telling her he was working for Mr. Wayne when he was probably out doing who knows what with another girl? More importantly, how long had she allowed herself to be fooled?
Good trick Terry. We hardly talk; you break off nearly all of our dates. Then when we see each other again you do the whole kind, sweet 'I'm so sorry, I promise I won't do that again, I'll make it up to you let's go out tonight' act then break your promise again. It wouldn't have worked on Chelsea but it sure worked on me.
Dana sighed, huddling up and resting her chin on the top of her pillow. It had sure worked on her. Terry and her had been going out for how long? Two years? Three? How many times had they actually kept the date and enjoyed it out of all those years? Once? Twice? Thrice?
"Boy had he fooled me," Dana murmured, feeling her eyes prickle with tears again. "And here I was thinking that he would never lie to me. Thinking he actually LOVED me"
What's wrong with me? Why does he prefer someone else instead of me? Because I ask too much of him? I ask too LITTLE of him. Because… because I'm ugly?
Dana's eyes filled again. Why doesn't he like me? Anyone else would. Even the Rat boy did. She remembered back when Terry had missed yet another date. Angry, she had stormed to her car to find a beautiful white rose and a message. She had immediately assumed it was Terry. Happy, she had called Terry and arranged a date for dinner. She had put on the white dress. The white dress that Terry liked. Personally she didn't really like the thing, it was uncomfortable and made walking casually a little difficult, but she didn't care. It was all for Terry. As usual, the teen had been late. She had been about to leave when she was kidnapped by two gigantic rats and was led down into the sewers to meet Patrick, a young boy who was teased because of his appearance. He had cared about her, cared when Terry had not. Dana, however, wanted to leave and was not allowed to, restricted to by the boy. In the end she had been rescued by Batman and the Rat boy… presumably killed in an explosion. Afterwards she had been sitting in the back of an ambulance, trembling, dirty, barefooted, exhausted, terrified and her clothes ripped. Terry had only then come, saying that he should have been there. Dana, sobbing, had not cared at all. She simply collapsed into his arms, sniffing and crying. But now she was thinking about it.
"You should've been there all right," she murmured. "Where were you? Sneaking in a little make-out session with… with some other girl?"
She had a sudden thought.
"Terry's been seeing a lot of Max lately… could he… and her…"
From downstairs she heard the faint ring of the phone.
"Hello?" she heard her father say. "Oh, you" he said, his voice just a level icier. She heard her father plod up the stairs then he opened the door.
"Yours honey" he said softly.
"Who was it?"
Mr. Tan was consideringly shocked and concerned at the shattered look on his daughter's face. His feelings changed from concern to slight alarm as he saw his daughter's face swiftly change from broken to downright furious and determined. Dana got off the bed and stormed down the stairs. She picked up the phone roughly and held it to her ear.
"What is it now Terry?" she asked angrily.
"Look, Dana, that wasn't another girl"
"Oh really" she said, her voice dripping sarcasm.
"How can you think that? You're the only girl for me Dana, the one and ONLY. No others can or ever will come before you"
Dana felt her heart soften.
No. Don't. He's probably only lying again.
She frowned and willed the happiness in her heart to subside. She wondered what to say to Terry, what would truly make an impact.
"Liar" she said simply. There was a stunned silence.
Hah, expected me to come back to you all smoochies again didn't you? So you could break my heart again? You'll have to try harder than that
"McGinnis, get this into your head, you're a lying, cheating, lowlife dreg who was once in juvie which makes you lower than dirt. My father was right about you all along, you were no good. I ignored him, ignored him because I loved and trusted you. But for you to lie like that to me… and… and betray my trust…" Dana's vision blurred and her voice rose "I don't even want to see or talk to you again. Got out of my life! Don't say that wasn't another girl. I could HEAR her! But no, you think gullible little Dana will swallow up any old lie you feed her. If that's how you think of me, as a funny little TOY you can… can love… then when you're fed up of it destroy…" Dana gulped. There was a silence.
"I love you, Dana," Terry said quietly.
"Well you sure have a strange way of showing it. All those missed dates, all the times you stood me up?"
"It's over" Dana said simply and hung up. She could feel the hot tears streaming down her face.
"Princess?" Mr. Tan asked tentatively. Not caring any more who got hurt, only minding that her heart was currently feeling as if someone was ripping it into half she stalked past her father back to her bedroom and slammed the door, whereupon she walked to her bed and cried herself to sleep.
Dana was wakened by a light tapping on her window. She frowned.
Who would be trying to talk to me at one AM? She wondered, glancing at the clock. The tapping came again. She suddenly felt afraid.
And why would they want to come in through the BALCONY?
Dana walked cautiously to the window, picking up her old baseball bat as she walked. Slowly, she pulled back the curtains with one hand and opened the window witch led to the balcony. She dropped the bat.
"Batman?" she asked wonderingly. The black figure looked at her silently then looked out to Gotham City. Dana felt more confident.
"What are you doing here?"
The dark figure looked at her again. "Visiting"
"Visiting, huh? Funny way to come in"
Dana detected a hint of a smile on the vigilante's face. "Would you have preferred I rang the doorbell?"
Dana crossed her arms. "Why are you here?" she repeated. Batman fell into silence. Then,
"Ever wanted to fly?"
"Look at Gotham. Don't you ever wish you could fly? See all the sights from a bird's eye view?"
"Well yes, but I don-ahh!" Dana shrieked as Batman, using one hand to hold her head and the other to sweep her feet off the ground, lifted her into the air while cradling her in his arms.
"What're you doing?" she asked, panicked. Batman swooped up higher.
"Look" he said. Obediently, the girl looked down. And all fears were forgotten.
"Wow. It's beautiful"
She turned her head to lock eyes with the Batman's. "Is this what you see every night?" she asked.
"Not every night. Hardly"
Batman grinned. "I'm not called the hero of Gotham City for staring at the nightlights"
Dana nodded. "Point taken," she said. She closed her eyes blissfully; enjoying the way the wind breezed through every strand of her hair. Guessing at how Dana was feeling, Batman slowly shifted his hands to Dana's waist, wrapping his arms around so Dana could truly feel as if she was flying.
"Wow" Dana whispered, looking down. "It looks so quiet from up here"
She turned her head to see Batman. "So, you're really strong right?"
"So I'm told"
"So… no danger of dropping me, right?"
Dana thought she caught a ghost of what she perceived to be an evil grin. "Danger? No danger. But I DO get a bit tired now and then…"
Dana shrieked, whirled around and clutched Batman's neck tightly. He coughed.
"'Scuse me…" he choked.
"Don't drop me"
Dana relaxed her hold. Grinning, Batman let go.
"AHHHHHH!" Dana screamed as she plummeted back down to Gotham, faster and faster.
This is it, I'm gonna die now…
She felt a yank at her right wrist.
"Wanna do it again?"
"NO!" Dana yelled.
"Oh, so you WERE scared"
"I was not scared. I was enjoying the adreline rush"
"I WAS!" Dana protested. Only then did she realize. She was arguing! With BATMAN!
Somehow she had always imagined the vigilante to be like how he was depicted in the legends. Tall, dark, scary… and humorless. She had never imagined talking with so much ease with Batman. Heck, she had never even imagined talking to him at all!
"So, um… no sidekicks?" she asked.
"Sidekicks. None? The old one had three"
"Two, the first one left"
Batman hesitated. "I work for the old Batman. He's forbidden me to have one"
"He's still ALIVE?"
Batman snorted from laughter. "Yeah, he is"
"Well isn't that being a little bit hypocritical then?"
"Batman isn't 'fair'"
Dana smiled then slipped into a comfortable silence, looking at the city. She loved it. So bright… so beautiful… so far away from all troubles… troubles…
"You okay?" Batman asked, feeling the girl tense in his arms.
"Yeah, just… thinking"
"Thinking" Batman echoed thoughtfully, quietly. He landed and let Dana down.
"Where are we?" she asked, taking a step forward.
I recognize this place… it's…
"Why did you take me here?" Dana asked. On top of my EX-boyfriend's flat?
"Best view of the city"
Dana looked around. "You're a liar"
"So I am"
"That's not the reason why you brought me here"
"It's not" Batman agreed. "But I can tell when someone's unhappy. Care to tell me why?"
Dana turned away. "My boyfriend was with another girl"
"And he was out of breath. He was kissing her"
"That's… bad… you know for certain that he was kissing her?"
"You don't have to be Batman to know that"
Batman lifted an eyebrow. Dana half smiled. "Yeah, right, okay. But does he not like me or something? He skips out on tons of our dates. He's one of the most popular guys in our school, amongst the girls anyway. I lost count of the amount of times a girl has come up to me and told me I was the luckiest girl alive for having this guy as my boyfriend a long time ago"
"Maybe he was just trying to help the girl. Because she was in trouble"
"And he was kissing her for what reason?"
"Maybe they were old friends"
"Maybe. Hey, why are you even defending this guy anyway? You don't know him. I don't even know why you brought me here. I mean, I only met you once, when you saved me from Willie Watt in the room when I was playing with my friends with that ouija board. I never even talked to you. Don't tell me you decided to randomly go to someone's house and show them the city"
Batman stood there, stony silent. He looked at the teenager standing in front of him, raven black hair blowing in the wind, arms crossed, a small suspicious glare on her face. He smiled slightly. She was so beautiful. He couldn't afford to lose her, he loved her too much.
Bruce's gonna kill me… oh hell with it.
Batman took his mask by the right ear and pulled lightly. The mask came off easily and Dana found herself staring into two sparkling crystal blue eyes.
"Terry?" she whispered disbelievingly.
"I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you"
Terry just looked at her.
"Who was that girl?"
"Melanie? I've heard of her before…"
"You have. Ten, from the Royal Flush Gang"
"And you were kissing HER?"
"I'm sorry about that… Old feelings just came up again…"
"So that gives you the permission to cheat on me?"
"No! No, not at all Dana. You're the only one"
"How do I know you're not lying?"
"I showed you who I really was, didn't I? I know I should have earlier… I'm sorry. But I couldn't just tell anyone, you know? I…" Terry cut himself off and looked at his feet, miserable.
"So whenever you cut off on our dates you… weren't with another girl?"
"Of course not!"
Dana ran into Terry's arms and hugged him tightly, resting her head on the red emblem on his chest.
"I'm so sorry… and I accused you…"
"I'M sorry. I should have told you. And you're right, I had no right to be with another girl" Terry said and kissed Dana on the top of her head. He put the mask back on.
"Well? Ready for another go?"
"Whenever you want" Dana smiled. Grinning, Batman picked the teenager up and took off to the night sky.
You're my sunshine after the rain
You're the cure against my fear and my pain
'Cause I'm losing my mind
When you're not around
It's all, it's all
It's all because of you
~It's all because of you, by 98 Degrees
Ohhhhhh I just hate it when I have a good idea and as time goes on it gets worse and worse… it was MEANT to be ANGSTY. Good grief. I think I'll just go kill myself now. Farewell cruel world…