Chapter 1: Prologue
You all know the story. The Demolition Lovers, Jersey's Bonnie and Clyde of 2002, Gerard and Lindsey with their names spray painted across the city.
What nobody knows is that they weren't always criminals. Things started out innocently enough, in fact.
But then they fell in love. Yeah, that complicated things.
Luckily for you, I know the story. All of it, from start to finish. I hold every single detail within me, and I can feel them, in my blood, in my bones, and I'm ready to share the whole story with anyone who is willing to listen.
Come on. Did you really think I could keep something like that to myself?
Chapter 2: October 23, 2001
It was 39 degrees, and Lindsey didn't have a coat.
She should have expected this, she knew. Alas, in her haste during the months before, she wasn't thinking about how harsh the beginning of winter could be. Besides, that was back in August, when it was still hot out, and she wasn't thinking of winter's not-so-distant arrival, just about the Golden Rules of Running Away, one of them being to always pack light. Therefore, once the time finally came, she walked right out the door without a second glance at her winter coat.
Now, winter was making an early arrival, and that coat was still in her mother's house in Connecticut, leaving Lindsey to freeze her ass off in New Jersey.
She sighed, her breath making a warm white puff appear in the early evening air. "Damn," she muttered.
Once again, she reached into the pocket of her jeans, withdrawing her cell phone to see if, by some miracle, Jimmy might have messaged her, telling her to come on by, the door's unlocked. All hopes of this occuring were in vain. Jimmy had not once tried to return the calls she had made within the past hour, which most definitely meant that the door was, in fact, not unlocked, and Lindsey was not welcome to come on by, because Jimmy was either out or inside the apartment with Chantal, doing things that she most definitely did not want to think about.
With great disdain, she returned her phone to her pocket. Unsure of what exactly she should do at this point, she examined the street she happened to be on the corner of.
Lindsey had always had the tendency to wander. It was in her nature, which she thought would be in her favor when she decided to finally take the plunge and leave home. Though she had done plenty of wandering since that fateful day, it had mostly been of the blind variety. It turned out wanderlust and sense of direction were two totally different things. At the age of 25, Lindsey should have known this. Yet, it seemed that age and knowledge were just as different.
Her wandering skills didn't seem to be doing her much good this time, either. Of all the street corners the urban parts of New Jersey had, Lindsey seemed to have stumbled upon a rather mundane one. It mostly seemed to consist of cobblestone wall after cobblestone wall, with an odd three or four establishments lining it. These just so happened to be a pool supply store (nah,) some sort of café (closed, unfortunately,) a comic book shop (eh,) and a lingerie store (hell no.)
Quite obviously, her options were limited. What was also obvious was the fact that she was frozen to the bone already, and Jimmy didn't seem to be inviting her over, so she had to go somewhere. With that, she was forced to make a choice between the four buildings before her. She stared at them blankly, feeling as if she were participating in some sort of magic trick: pick a card, any card.
In the end, she settled on the comic book shop, figuring it most likely wasn't crowded, and a few 12-year-old nerds most likely wouldn't bother a borderline homeless woman trying to get warm, right?
With that, she decided to go all in, moving from her spot in the middle of the mostly vacant sidewalk to the door of the shop as fast as her practically frozen legs would take her.
A bell gave a tinny jingle as she pulled the door open. Much to her delight, a gust of warm air also came along with the door's opening, sending a tingle of something between pleasure and relief up her spine. Her happiness grew upon realizing that the place was also empty, not even an employee behind the desk being there to greet her. It was absolutely perfect.
She closed the door behind her, heading towards a large beanbag chair that resided next to a display, directly beneath the vent that the warm air seemed to be coming from. Pleased, she collapsed into the chair.
She made herself comfortable quickly, happy to be somewhere that was not only warm, but actually pleasant. It was cozy and private, and the comics on the shelves and posters on the walls vaguely reminded her of her childhood, the days she didn't have to worry about things like finding her next meal or whether or not her friend would be around to let her into his apartment should she need shelter of some sort. If she wasn't so tired, these thoughts might make her sad, but she was tired, and she was happy just to have this little place, with its beanbag chairs and colorful posters advertising the adventures of familiar superheroes. So she settled into her chair, almost feeling like smiling, and, before she even knew what was happening, Lindsey had fallen asleep.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"What the hell?"
Lindsey was startled awake by the voice. It was apparent that the speaker was male, and, by the sound of it, quite angry. Despite this, she did not expect to open her eyes to see a man standing in front of her, fuming. And yet, that was exactly the sort of wake up call that life had dealt her.
"What are you doing?" the man hissed. His almost-green eyes made direct contact with hers, unblinking, despite the fact that, if the purple rings beneath those angry eyes were any indication, the man was just as tired as Lindsey was, if not more.
She stared back at him, too groggy to answer his question. She would have if she could, but her mouth was dry and her tongue felt heavy in her mouth, the effects of both exhaustion and, quite possibly, dehydration.
The man sighed, his irritation becoming increasingly obvious. He dug a hand into his pocket, still staring at Lindsey. She realized that, despite their striking color, the man's eyes almost seemed clouded over, as if he was feeling a little hazy himself.
He seemed all too alert, however, when he retrieved a cell phone and waved it front of Lindsey's face. "I am going to call the police," he said from between gritted teeth, his rage making his voice shake and his face redden.
This caught Lindsey's attention enough to finally make her speak. "Why?"
This seemed to make the man angrier, if that was possible. He extended one shaking hand, pointing at a sign that was taped on the side of a shelf. "Can't you read?"
Okay, things obviously weren't getting any better here. Lindsey knew that much. If this stranger with weird eyes and a bad attitude wanted to play dirty, she would gladly reciprocate.
"Not with you standing in front of me," she replied coolly.
The man rolled his eyes before stepping aside, still pointing at the sign. "There, see? It says 'No Loitering.'"
"I was not loitering," Lindsey shot back. In some respects, she was right, though the rational voice in the back of her head reminded her that sleeping in a public place was probably a hell of a lot worse than loitering.
"What do you call what you were just doing, then, princess?" the man asks. "I came back from my break just to find you laying here, in my store, like you were dead or something. I don't know how many customers you might have scared off doing that, but I'm going to pretend like that doesn't matter. The point is, it is against the law for you to be sleeping in here."
His voice was like a knife, and his eyes offered her no sympathy. Of course, that didn't stop her from trying to play the pity card. "Please, sir," she said, her voice quiet, with just the right amount of unsteadiness, her lip jutting out ever-so-slightly. "I don't have anywhere else to go."
She watched with satisfaction as the muscles of his face softened ever-so-slightly. It was a divine thing, watching the moment of realization, as he realized that she wasn't just a loiterer, she was a homeless loiterer. And that, friends, was a whole different ball game.
Yeah, Lindsey was manipulative. But God was it fun.
Despite the consistent stoniness of his eyes, the slightest tint of pink appeared above the man's cheeks, silently showing embarrassment, guilt. It was once his features began to slightly unwind themselves that Lindsey really got to look at the man himself, rather than just his eyes.
If he took better care of himself, perhaps got a good night's sleep and a shower, he would be handsome. When he was feeling sorry, he wasn't just a pair of angry, violet-rimmed eyes, but silky dark hair and a sprinkling of tan freckles across the bridge of his nose and the facial structure to rival a Greek god. Lindsey liked him a lot better when he didn't look like he was considering killing her.
In fact, she'd really like to draw him.
He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but you have to at least pretend like you're interested in buying something if you're going to be in here. It's...."
"The law," she finished. "I know. And, to humor you...."
She grabbed the nearest book on the shelf next to her, the newest addition to some new Batman series.
"I am going to buy this."
He opened his mouth, surely about to tell her that no, she didn't have to do that, but she intervened before he could do so.
"You can keep the change. No, you will keep the change. And you'll enjoy my last ten dollar bill-" she paused to read the tag clipped to his shirt- "Gerard."
He shook his head, leaving Lindsey to interrupt again. "You can't refuse service to me. That is also illegal, is it not?"
The man groaned, practically shaking with frustration as he walked behind the counter, quickly scanning the book and adding the bill to the cash register. He handed Lindsey the book and receipt, but instead of announcing the charge, he pointed straight to the door. "Go."
Lindsey gave a smile dripping with false sweetness as she took the book. "Thank you for your patronage."
With that, she headed for the door, out into the cold. She'd go outside, count her money, try to call Jimmy again a time or three, and, if all else failed, find a nearby motel where she could offer some of her meager savings to the middle aged loser at the checkin desk.
Now, if fate was kind to them, Gerard and Lindsey would never see each other again. But fate doesn't work that way.