Chapter 4

1 year later

John is on his daily jog as he slows down on the curb. The light was green and cars were speeding past. John jogs in place to keep his heart race up as he waits for the light to change. On the other side of the street he can see 3 guys hassling a teenage girl. They had to be in high school. John pulls the earplugs from his ears and listens in on their conversation intrigued.

Bully 1: When you gonna let us get it, Nicole?

Nicole: Seriously, Jordan leave me alone. I told you I wasn't interested and you need to leave me the hell alone. (Nicole takes a step to her left to avoid them but the 2 other guys block her path. She sighs in frustration.)

Nicole: Oh my God. Andrew and Eddie, move. (She takes a step to the right but they follow and block her path again.)

Nicole: UGH! Get out of my way! (Nicole shoves Eddie back in frustration trying to free up her personal space.)

Jordan: Nicole, shut up. You already know the deal. (He takes a step towards her and looks down into her averted eyes.)

Jordan: You're real pretty, Nicky. You know that I like you. Why you gotta play so hard to get? We all know you're easy. (He grasps her chin but she pulls her head away from him. He grabs the side of her head with both of his hands agressively. John has seen enough and begins making his way over to them across the street. He barely dodges a car doing so.)

Jordan: We want you and if you don't give it to us, we're gonna take it by force. (He leans down to kiss her when he gets shoved back by John.)

John: She said no. (Jordan stumbles back and stares at John in shock. After a moments delay, anger forms on his young face.)

Jordan: Fuck you, man! (He swings at John but John grabs his wrist and yanks him to the ground with Jordan's own momentum.)

Eddie: What the fuck!? (Andrew swings at John who in turn grabs his fist and twists his arm behind his own back. John kicks his leg out in front of Andrew and shoves him forward sending him plummeting to the ground.)

Jordan: What the hell is this? Super man? (He is still on the ground too stunned to get up and face John. John looks down at him and this moment of distraction allows Eddie a cheap shot that lands on the corner of John's eye. John looks at Eddie angrily and clocks him back sending him flailing to the ground. Nicole's eyes are wide open in awe. She looks down at the guys on the ground in pain then back at John.)

Jordan: Enough with this shit. (He jumps to his feet and swings at John who blocks the punch. John grabs both of Jordan's arms and shoves him against the brick wall restraining him.)

John: If you guys don't want to get hurt I suggest you leave now and leave this girl alone. Got it? (John hastily lets go of Jordan who backs away in fear. He turns and runs off as his friends follow suit. John watches them retreat around the corner and then sighs as he places his hands on his sides.)

John: Kids. (He chuckles as he shakes his head. Nicole stares at him in disbelief. He looks at her and shrugs.)

John: What?

Nicole: You...

John: Oh that? Psst. That was nothing. Just a bunch of punk kids is all. I can handle myself. (John lets out a cocky smirk as he brushes off the invisible dirt from shirt.)

Nicole: You're like... you're Superman. (John laughs at her comparison.)

John: Trust me, I'm no Superman. Former cop, yes. They teach you all that in the Police Academy. So it's nothing special.

Nicole: You're a cop?

John: Well, no. Not anymore.

Nicole: Oh... Well, hey thanks a lot. Those guys are constantly harassing me. They want me to...

John: They want sex, I know. I didn't mean to eavesdrop but I over heard what they were saying and saw them all over you. I had to intervene, ya know? Guys like that are nothing but trouble. Steer clear of those types.

Nicole: Yeah I know. Thanks again though. (She turns to walk away. John shoves his hands in his pockets and watches her.)

John: Hey? (She turns around and looks at him.)

Nicole: Yeah?

John: I never caught your name. I should have introduced myself first. I'm John. (Nicole grins ear to ear and nods.)

Nicole: I'm Nicole. (John smiles genuinely at her and bows his head.)

John: It was great meeting you, Nicole. Take care of yourself now. Stay in school. (Nicole dips her head with a smirk.)

Nicole: That's such a cop thing to say. (With one last exchange of chuckles, they turn and head their own way. Nicole stops when she notices the group of guys who were harassing her down the block waiting for her. She stops the moment she sees them and sighs.)

Nicole: Um... John? (He stops walking and turns around.)

John: What's wrong? (Nicole points silently down the block to reveal the guys to John. He shakes his head in annoyance.)

John: Geez, man. These guys just won't let up, will they? (Nicole shrugs. He makes his way back over to her.)

Nicole: They aren't going to leave me alone just because you beat them up. They bother me everyday and won't listen to anybody. We told the principle and they get detention and in-school suspension like every day. Nothing works. (John places his hands on his hips and thinks. John steps off the curb to cross the street.)

John: Come on. I'll walk you home because that's what it looks like I have to do. (Nicole follows him across the street and they walk towards her house. The perverts follow them far behind and John is very annoyed by them. They reach Nicole's house and the boys seem to retreat a little bit down the block. Nicole and John look down the block at them and John shakes his head in exasperation.)

Nicole: I hate those guys.

John: Yeah, well they seem to like you. What's their deal? (He looks down the block and the guys are still there watching John like they were hawks and he was a helpless rat.)

John: Shows over boys! (He can see them grumble amongst themselves and make their way around the corner finally leaving Nicole alone.)

Nicole: Thanks a lot, John.

John: It was my pleasure. I know how these teenage boys get. Just make sure you report them at school tomorrow so this stops. I'm not gonna be around everyday to protect you. (Nicole nods in agreement.)

Nicole: Yeah, I know. I'll report them tomorrow then. (The front door opens and a woman peers her head out in confusion. She is on the phone with someone.)

Woman: I'll have to call you back. (She clicks the hang up button and looks at Nicole and John with her brows furrowed.)

Trish: Nicole? What's this? (She looks at John with intent but wary eyes.)

Nicole: Oh, mom, this is John. John, this is my mom, Trish. He just beat up Jordan and those guys because they were messing with me. (Nicole chuckles at the memory.)

Trish: John? Do I know you? (He furrows his brows in confusion.)

John: I was just thinking the same thing actually. (Trish looks around and steps out from in front of the door.)

Trish: Come on in. Both of you. (John and Nicole make their way into the home. Nicole throws her book bag on the couch and John looks around admiring the place.)

John: This is a nice place you have here Mrs... (Trish points to the couch so he would sit and he does.)

Trish: Wilson. Miss. Trish Wilson. (Trish makes sure to emphasize the Miss part of her name the most. She holds her hand out and they shake hands.)

Trish: You want a drink?

John: Oh, no. I'm fine. I just wanted to make sure Nicole got back here safely. I'm not meaning to stay long.

Nicole: Mom, it was hilarious. John beat them all up at the same time. (John's cheeks turn pink and he shrugs.)

John: It was nothing, really.

Trish: Beat up Jordan huh? Well, you've done the community a favor. That kid is always stirring up trouble. (She points to the side window of the living room. It was broken and she had a piece of plywood over the window.)

Trish: Just yesterday he threw a rock through that window. (Trish shakes her head in despair.)

Trish: I don't know about that kid. His parents need to learn to discipline him correctly. Thanks though for looking after my daughter. Those guys are a bunch of horn-dogs. I'm going to call that school tomorrow and see what we can do because they are just out of control and I had just about enough of them. (Trish sighs as she places her head in her hand.)

Trish: And their mothers won't pay for my window and I don't know anybody who can fix it. The only guy I found wants to charge me 300 for it and I'm not willing to pay that much.

John: Well, I could fix it. (Trish shakes her head no.)

Trish: Oh, no. No. That's alright.

John: I insist. I mean, that's not safe having a piece of wood over it. Anybody can knock that out and get in here. (Trish contemplates his offer then slowly nods.)

Trish: Okay then. I'll take you up on that offer. Thank-you. (A little boy runs out of his bedroom and stares at John.)

Trish: This is my son, Jeremy. J.J, this is John. He beat up Jordan for your sister. (Jeremy's eyes grow wide and John laughs to himself.)

John: Am I gonna be known as the guy who beat those kids up? (Jeremy walks up to John and stares up at the 6'0 tall man.)

Jeremy: Are you Superman? (John laughs again out loud.)

John: Why is everyone calling me that? No, I'm not Superman. (He rubs Jeremy's hair playfully. Trish looks at John with an admiring look. She takes a seat across from John and crosses her legs like a lady.)

Trish: So, where do I know you from? (John shrugs. Jeremy takes a seat next to John on the couch and looks up at him.)

John: I don't know. You tell me. (John glances down at Jeremy and grins.)

Trish: I have no clue. I can't help but feel like I know you.

John: Yeah, I'm getting the same vibe. I've met a ton of people. You know, I used to be a cop so maybe I met you then.

Trish: Oh, no. Not possible. I'm a good girl. I've never had a run-in with any cops.

John: Is that so? Well, maybe we can change that then. (He winks playfully at her and she laughs.)

Trish: No thanks. I like being a good girl. (She bites her lower lip.)

John: Every good girl goes bad eventually. And when you do, I'll be there to take you down. (Trish gasps and John smirks. Nicole's eyes grow wide as she watches them flirt. She smirks to herself and Jeremy furrows his brows.)

Jeremy: Are you taking my mommy to jail, Mr.? (Trish and John finally realize they aren't alone and Nicole laughs nervously.)

Nicole: No, he isn't. Come on, Jay, lets go play with your cars. (She begins to usher her little brother out of the room but John jumps up clearly embarrassed. He clears his throat.)

John: That won't be necessary. I'm heading out. I need to finish my jog.

Trish: Are you sure? (She stands up clearly disappointed.)

John: It was nice meeting you kids. Be good for your mom. (Nicole nods and takes this as their cue to leave. John and Trish stare at each other blushing. Both are clearly embarrassed by their bold actions.)

John: Sorry.

Trish: No, it was my fault. (They nod in agreement and John points awkwardly to the front door.)

John: I should get going.

Trish: Of course. (They make their way toward the door.)

Trish: So, my window. When you wanna do that?

John: Straight to business, huh?

Trish: I'm sorry. I...

John: I'm joking. How about tomorrow? (John opens the front door and steps out onto the porch.)

Trish: Tomorrow sounds great. Thanks for the offer.

John: No problem. Serve and protect, right?

Trish: Serve and protect. (John starts to back away and Trish waves at him.)

Trish: It was nice meeting you. Thanks for everything. See you tomorrow.

John: Like wise. Until tomorrow. (John turns and continues on his jog. Trish leans up against the doorway and watches John all the way until he disappears. Nicole appears behind Trish in the doorway.)

Nicole: Geez, mom. Stare a hole through him why won't you? (Trish snaps out of her daze and goes back into her house.)

Trish: I'm not staring. I just..

Nicole: You like him. (Trish tries her best to feign a disinterested look but fails.)

Trish: What? Don't be silly. I barely know him.

Nicole: Mom. (Trish sighs.)

Trish: Okay, fine. I have a crush. But can you blame me? Did you see those biceps? Mmm. And you can definitely tell he has a 6 pack. Did you see the way his shirt clung to his abs? Come on, Nicky. He's hot. Admit it. (Nicole smiles and holds her hands up in defense.)

Nicole: Okay fine. I admit it. He's hot. But he was mine first. (Trish gives her daugher a straight face and Nicole laughs.)

Nicole: I'm kidding! Take a joke. (Nicole smirks and Trish rolls her eyes playfully. Outside, John stops jogging and turns around looking back at Trish's house.)

John: Where do I know her from? (John turns and continues his jog while trying hard to remember how and where he knows Trish from but he can't come up with anything.)