Of Confidence

Vingt et un

Melanie stared at the mess of flour and sugar that sat on the counter, small grains gradually making their way to the floor. She felt herself chuckle as she watched the boy turn around with a disarray of pancake materials on his shirt. "John, what are you doing?"

He grunted in return, a pout on his lips. "I was trying to cook you breakfast while you were sleeping. Normal people have Bisquik, Melanie. Why do you have to be so difficult?"

She laughed as she walked up to him, grabbing the broken egg from his hand and holding it over the bowl just right to where no parts of the shell fell in with the yolk that poured out. "I like to make things from scratch. That's why I always cooked for you, not the other way around."

John sat his body on the floor amidst the mix of sugar and flour that had made its way down there as well. "I tried."

Melanie laughed, measuring and pouring the rest of the ingredients into a silver bowl and putting it under their Pampered Chef mixer, letting the appliance do the physical work for her. "That you did, John. It's the thought that counts."

He smiled an undersized smile, but Melanie could still see that he was proud he had made her content in the least. "How'd you sleep?"

Melanie shrugged, "You know."

And he did know; he had been in her room three times calming her when she woke up. She knew he was becoming more and more worried each and every night he was there with her. "My flight leaves in a while."

She nodded her head, "Do you need a ride to the airport?"

"Yeah, you and Kennedy are going to take me, then he's taking you out after," John replied, leaning his back against the cupboard behind him.

Melanie poured the batter from the silver bowl in small measurements onto the griddle on the stove that John had preheated. "I don't really feel like going out though, John."

He shrugged, "Talk to Kennedy. It was his idea."

She sighed, flipping the pancake on the griddle. Talking Kennedy out of any plan he had was a difficult task. He knew how to talk to people to make them comfortable with any situation he placed in front of them, and Melanie trusted Kennedy; she trusted him so much that she doubted she could say no.

She heard a yawning from behind her and John as she felt Kennedy enter the room. It was an unspoken feeling she got in the pit of her stomach recently; without a sound she knew if someone was behind her or near her. The hairs on her skin would raise and she could feel a tingly sensation along the plains of her body.

"What was my idea?" Kennedy asked, taking a seat at the dining room table.

"To go out today," Melanie sighed, placing a plate of pancakes on the table causing John to rise from his seat on the floor and join Kennedy quickly.

She placed syrup in front of both of the boys as she watched them joust over who got to use it first. John won, causing a look of defeat on Kennedy's cheeks as he looked at Melanie. "We're going out today. You haven't been out in a week. Some fresh air could help."

Melanie groaned, taking a seat between the two boys around the circular kitchen table. "What are we going to do?"

Kennedy smiled, placing a mouthful on pancakes in his mouth before speaking, "Surprise," he mumbled through his bite.

"Chew with your mouth closed," John mumbled, through his eating, causing a giggle from Melanie's lips.

Kennedy swallowed promptly, looking at John. "When do we need to take you to the airport?"

He looked over to the iPhone that sat next to him on the table before answering, "We need to leave in like a half an hour."

Melanie and Kennedy nodded their heads while quietly eating their food.

"How was graduation?" Kennedy asked Melanie softly.

"Well before the party," Melanie began, thinking about that day. As she remembered seeing John kissing Taylor after his romantic venture on her balcony she grimaced. "Not that good then either, actually."

John placed his hands on either side of his plate, pushing his chair back causing a scratching noise against the floor. "I'm going to go put my stuff away," he said, excusing himself from the kitchen.

Melanie looked over to Kennedy who was staring at her from the corner of his eye, "Awkward," she chuckled.

He laughed softly. "That's an understatement."

They sat quietly in the kitchen, hearing quiet ruckus from upstairs. "We're trying to be friends again," she spoke softly.

Kennedy didn't look at her, his eyes taking a sudden interest in the food on the blue floral pattern on the dining room table's cloth. "How's that working for you?"

Melanie shrugged, "Things will never be the same, no matter how much he tries. But, it can't hurt to pretend for a while."

Kennedy shook his head and she knew it was because he thought she shouldn't hide from her problems, but at the moment she had so many running seemed like the only solution. "Do whatever you want, Mel. Just know I'm here for you if you need me."

She nodded her head in response, letting it speak for her silent lips. She watched as John padded his way down her stairs and into the kitchen, his small black backpack in his hand.

He nodded his head at them, gesturing to the door and they followed him to the black BMW that was in Melanie's drive way.

Melanie followed John through the door in the front of her house he had just opened, Kennedy trailing at her heels. The sunlight pierced her blue eyes, forcing them closed from pain. The heat warmed her skin quickly, as she felt her fleece PINK sweats begging to be cut into shorts.

She shielded her eyes from the intense sunlight and sat in the car quickly, the heat from the leather seats of the car seeping through her pants and warming her skin even more than the sun had.

She listened to the soft roar of the engine as Kennedy sat in the seat next to her. The care took motion and they were off. The three sat silently, aware of the tension in the air.

The ride to the airport was relatively short, everyone staying quiet and keeping their own thoughts to themselves. Melanie watched as John quietly arose from his seat in the back of their car as they arrived at passenger pickup. Kennedy looked at him from the corner of his eye. "Walk him in, I'll wait out here for you okay?"

Melanie was too embarrassed to tell him that she was scared of the walk back to the car alone. There would be so many people...

She shook nervously as John opened her door, taking her hand in his and walking them into the busy airport. They walked to security quietly, John's black bag held tightly in his hand as to not get bumped out of his hand on the way.

They approached the gate where three security guards sat. Melanie looked at their overweight bellies that piled over their tight utility belts, and she highly doubted that they would be of the least help in case of any kind of emergency.

She looked away from the pathetic guards that sat behind their little podiums and back to John's crystal eyes. His hand was caressing hers in small circles, meaning nothing more than a simple comfort from a friend.

"I'll be back Saturday. That's only a few days think you'll be okay?" He asked, caringly.

Melanie nodded her head meekly. "It's not like I'll be alone. I've got Kenny."

She watched as John held back a jealous grimace. "Yes, yes you do."

He turned his eyes back to her, before giving her hand a gentle squeeze. "I've got to go, love. You better call me and keep me updated on how you are, and if you need anything you know I'll be here in a heartbeat."

Melanie nodded her head again, not allowing tears to form in her eyes as she realized that John was leaving again. She was slowly beginning to depend on him again, finally not afraid at the soft ways his hand would graze hers.

She didn't even comprehend her next actions until after she had done them, and felt John gasping against her body as she held him tightly against her. He ran his hand up her back gently as she squeezed him firmly, before releasing. She looked at the small smile that appeared on his lips, the first sign of any happiness the two had sincerely had in the past week. "Come home soon, okay?"

He nodded his head before turning around, and walking to his gate's security check. "It'll be like I was never gone, I promise."

Melanie wanted to but no matter how she tried, she wouldn't let herself; she couldn't believe any more of his promises.


"Kennedy, I am not going in there."

Kennedy sighed, lightly hitting his head against his steering wheel. "Melanie, I already made the appointment."

She crossed her arms over her chest, staring at the grey building in front of her. It's windows were mirrors, only letting the people inside see through them and she wondered how many people were staring back at her right now.

There was a cut out of a black gentlemen pasted on the window, his muscles bulging through his shirt, a confident smile on his lips.

"It'll be beneficial to you, Mel. Come on," Kennedy pleaded one last time, before she finally caved in.

She begrudgingly stepped out of his Camry and into the Arizona heat. She didn't wait for the boy who was jogging behind her to enter the building.

She was slightly relieved as she realized the building was empty, and air conditioned. Air conditioning was the thing she was mostly excited for.

Melanie jumped as she heard a clap from behind her, startling her. She observed the man as he walked towards her, realizing that his picture out on the window didn't do him justice at all. His biceps were bigger than any of the boys, not that that was exactly hard to beat.

His dark skin was tight against his muscles, showing every definition that could be shown. He must've gone to the gym for four hours a day every day, and eaten extremely healthy his entire life because Mark Wynn was how Melanie picked a Greek god.

"You must be Melanie," Mark said, taking his hand in hers.

She nodded her head quietly, looking at Kennedy from the corner of her eye uneasily. Mark's hand was warm, as warm as the man that night...Melanie closed her eyes to shake the visual out of her mind.

When she opened them she was met with Mark's understanding dark chocolate pools looking into her baby blues, and she silently thanked God that his eyes weren't green.

She watched as he shook Kennedy's hand, making casual small talk ad surveying her curiously out of the corner of his eye. "So," Mark began, "I've been filled in on your situation, and I want you to know that deal with situations like these very often and so I will be extremely careful. I asked Kennedy to participate in this lesson with you because you have known him and are more likely to trust him than a stranger. You are going to feel uncomfortable, when you go home you may be scared, but when you leave here today you will be more prepared for everything, and you will be safer."

Melanie nodded her head and quietly thanked him for his understanding, but couldn't help but to wonder what Kennedy had told him.

Mark led them through a number of exercises after making Kennedy put protective gear on his body. He taught her where to kick, where to hit, when to try to run and scream. He even gave her pepper spray.

Almost the whole way through Melanie realized he was right as well, she did need Kennedy here because on the last exercise she would have been completely uncomfortable.

"Okay, so Kennedy wrap your arms around her waist from the back now...Melanie stay calm," Mark instructed.

She felt herself stop breathing as Kennedy's arms wrapped tightly around her, his hands resting firmly on her hip bones. His breath was on her neck, causing sweat to arise in her pours. His skin was hot and she could feel it through her clothing.

Melanie almost let her tear fall, but then she heard the words that she needed to hear from Kennedy all along in her ear.

"You're safe, Melanie. I'm not going anywhere. I swear."
♠ ♠ ♠
This is prettyyyyy crappy guys, and I am so sorry.
Things will begin to pick up again in a chapter or so.
I'm sorry updates have been lacking I am dying with school! I swear it will be the death of me. I've been doing an average of five hours of homework a night. Forgive me? <3
Anyone Team Kennedy again?