Status: Hiatus.

The Dark of the Night More Inviting Than the Sunlight

Chapter Thirty; Distant Gaze.

Jeph's Point of View

After Branden decided to 'hit the sack', I found myself alone with Dawn in the living room of mine and Branden's mutual apartment. I shifted slightly in my seat and she opened her mouth to speak, but for some reason she stopped herself and sat there for a few seconds, with her plump lips slightly parted. I watched carefully as her pink tongue slowly remoistened her lips, and couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to feel her soft lips pressed against mine.

I'm pretty sure it was an unintentional action of hers, because she didn't even seem to be aware that she was doing it (by that I mean looking incredibly attractive,) or what effect it had on me (thank God for that!) Finally, I managed to look away from the beauty in front of me, and crossed my legs, in order to prevent or hide an eventual physical reaction in my... private area. I felt like an out-of-control hormonal teenager again... or no, worse than that! I felt like an old, disgusting pervert! Deeply ashamed of and disgusted by myself, I forced myself to look at her.

She looked so anxious with a small crease between her eyebrows and, her glance so distant. It was quite obvious that something was bothering her, and I had a feeling that it had to do with her father. As if to confirm my assumptions, she looked directly at me and asked me questions regarding her father.

"How did he react, my father, when you told him that I was dead? What did he say? What did he do? Did he seem genuinely sad?" she asked in an unsteady, raspy voice.

She had gotten a sore throat and a pretty bad cold, as a result of the events the night before. Branden said that she was lucky that she didn't get pneumonia, after all time she spent out in the cold. In order to be able to give Dawn all the medical care she needed, Branden and I had arranged so that she would be sleeping in the convertible bed the following few days.

I cleared my throat and thought carefully about what my answer would be before I finally replied. "He seemed sincerely upset." I decided it was for the best that I didn't give her the full story on how it all came about...

Wayne, which was the name of her father, had indeed seemed sincerely upset as we told him the lie. But what seemed to make him the most upset wasn't the fact that his daughter had been found dead, but that he was worried that he'd get the blame for it. He'd even made up a story on how Dawn used to sneak out at night without his permission, making her seem like an irresponsible teenage girl. Of course that made me upset; it was so far from the truth that you could ever come!

My anger was threatening to spoil our cover, but fortunately Branden saved the situation by explaining to Wayne that neighbors had called about a fight previous night. "They said they'd heard some shouting and things breaking, before they saw, what we assume to be your daughter Dawn, burst out the door. Witnesses also claim to have seen you lock the door right after she left..." Branden had said calmly, and I had to say that I was impressed by his improvisation.

The effect those words had on Wayne, confirmed that it was probably exactly what had happened. He stared at Branden with horror and stuttered as he told a new version of his story:
He claimed to have watched a hockey game on TV proceding night. In his ardor he hadn't realized himself that he was making so much noise by shouting at the players. During the period break he'd gone to the fridge to get a beer and on his way back to the TV couch he'd accidently come in contact with the hall mirror; it fell down and broke. After that he'd remembered that the front door was unlocked, so he'd locked it; thereof all the noise and him locking the door. Dawn had probably sneaked out the door only seconds before he'd locked it, and he hadn't noticed because he was busy gathering the shards.

"Tell me something Wayne, what game did you follow last night?" Branden asked, just as calmly as before.

"Umm, San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins?" Wayne responded insecurely and Branden smirked smugly at him.

"Those teams didn't meet last night," I said scornfully and crossed my arms above my chest. "It's pretty obvious what really happened. You, Wayne Jones, beat your daughter so badly last night, that she rather wanted to spend the night outside than staying another minute in the house with you. And now she's dead! I'd call it murder, wouldn't you?" I roared through gritted teeth.

That's when the man before me, finally broke into tears, even fell to his knees, admitted it all and begged to God for forgiveness. No matter how much I hated the man for what he'd done, I couldn't help but pity him. As soon as he'd calmed down enough to hear us, Branden explained what really happened. That we weren't actually real cops and Dawn didn't die proceeding night - though she was very close... and most importantly, that we had the whole conversation recorded. So if he didn't follow our instructions; that any contact with his daughter must be on her condition and that he should keep giving her money so that she can support herself, we'd hand it over to the police as proof and have him arrested, before he could blink.

"Oh, okay," she mumbled, interrupting me in my thinking. Her gaze became distant once again, and her eyes started to fill up with tears.

"Dawn, are you alright?" I asked concerned, not quite sure what to say or do.

"I'm okay," she whispered softly, and wiped away the tears before they had a chance to start overflowing her beautiful icy blues. "Just a bit tired, it's been a long day..." she explained, avoiding to look directly at me. It seemed to me that she was ashamed of crying in front of others, and I assumed that it probably had something to do with not wanting to be seen as weak.

At that moment I wanted nothing more than to just hold her tight and let her cry her hearth out against my shoulder. I wanted to let her know that crying was not sign of weakness at all, and that I thought she was one of the strongest, most amazing persons I'd ever had the pleasure to meet. I wanted to tell her that she was the closest thing to perfect I'd ever seen in my life. But I didn't.

"It has indeed been a long day," I agreed instead, and removed myself from the convertible bed. "You should probably get some rest, you know where I am if you need anything. I lo-good night." I was quick to leave the room. I realized that the three words that had almost slipped out of me, were true. I loved her.
♠ ♠ ♠
Sorry about the long wait. I'd like to thank you all so much for your patience - you truly are the greatest! <3
Oh, and happy easter everyone, don't forget to set out a trap for the easter bunny - that way you'll get your hands on all the candy you ever wished for. Why be satisfied with a little when you can have it ALL? *use your imagination to insert a power-mad emoticon (that suits my extremely lame... can you even call it a joke?) here*

Lots of Love,