"Your friend--" she panted, "The girl with you earlier is outside."
"They wouldn't let her back here or something?" he asked.
"No," she said, "She's out on the side of the building. Someone I think beat
her up or something. One of the security crew came and told me. You better
go out there."
JC's heart went up into his throat. He looked over at Tony and the others
in the room who had all stopped to see what was going on since Lizet had
pushed her way into the room so suddenly. He took a deep breath, "Where?"
"Out by the dumpsters," she said, "Security is out there with her right now.
I think she got knocked on the side of the head or something."
"Show me." Without another word to Tony JC left the room following Lizet.
Immediately the guilt he felt was enormous. He should have brought her back
with him when he'd gone to talk to Tony. He thought that she'd be bored listening
to more shop talk since that's all they'd been doing for the last few days.
He'd thought that the social time for her would have been good for her.
When they got to the side of the building one of the guards was sitting with
Farzana. A jacket was draped over her and she had a bottled water in her
hand. He couldn't see anything more wrong with her than that, until he saw
the far side of her face.
He immediately knelt in front of her. She looked like she'd been crying and
he felt even more upset about leaving her. "Zana what happened?"
"I just wanna go home," she stated, "Please. I'm embarrassed enough."
"How'd you get back here?" he asked looking around at the other people who
had gathered to watch the security guards at work.
"Please just take me home," she said looking up at him with her make up smeared
down her face. The pained expression on his face was enough to let him know
that she didn't want to be there.
He looked at the security guy. "What happened?"
"Nothing," she said and pushed herself up. The jacket fell off her shoulders
and she wobbled a little. "I fell. Can we please get out of here?"
"Your head," he said reaching up to look at her head a little more, "You've
She shyed away from him and looked him straight in the eyes. "I'll fix it
at your house. Can we please just go. I don't want to make this into a bigger
deal than it's already become."
"Ok," he said. He slid out of his jacket and put it around her then looked
around. He found Lizet and sighed, "I'll call you later Lizet. Can you tell
Tony that it was a good show and I'll call him?"
"Sure," she said looking at them both with a worried expression. She pulled
a towel from where it was hanging off her apron. "Take this for your head,"
she said to Farzana then backed away.
They took two guards with them out to the car and once she was safely in
the front seat he turned to the two guards, "What happened?"
"She wouldn't say. It looks like she fell down like she said, but I think
something else happened. I don't know what she was drinking, but you should
get her checked out. Maybe it was the alcohol."
"Yeah," JC said trying not to panic. She hadn't been having alcohol and figured
that she wouldn't be able to get a drink at the bar herself, which only meant
something worse that he was imagining at the moment had happened.
"I think she probably has a concussion," he said, "We found her half concious
and got her up and walking for a minute which seemed to sober her up...give
her a lot of water and keep an eye on her."
"I will," he said, "What are you gonna do about this?"
"JC," he said, "We know the deal. Internally something will be done and we'll
get your info from Lizet if something comes up."
"Thanks," he said and went and climbed into the car as the guards left him.
The silence in the car was scary. He turned on the radio to a soft station
just to cut the tension in the small area and kept glancing at her as they
drove to his house. He didn't know what had happened to her, but he knew
enough about concussions to know that she needed to stay awake.
"You ok?" he asked when she started to nodd off. He remembered something
about concussions and if she had taken a hit to the head he didn't want her
to fall asleep. He didn't quite remember what would happen to her, but he
thought that he remembered that it wasn't something good.
"I'm tired," she grumbled and leaned against the window. "It's hot in here.
Can you open the window?"
He thought about telling her that the switch was right by her hand, but instead
nodded, "Move your head and I'll put it down."
She did as she was told and a moment later the wind blew in the car as they
got on Interstate 4 to go home. "Thank you," she said and leaned her head
back. "I'm sorry for ruining your night."
"You didn't ruin it," he said as they mereged into the next lane. "Just tell
me what happened."
"Can I tell you tomorrow?" she asked with a shaky voice. "I just want to
go and take a shower and go to bed. My head hurts."
He knew that sound. He knew it enough because Bobbie would get the same way
when she was trying to talk to him and not cry. He felt horrible for her
and wished that she wasn't upset, but he couldn't help her if she was going
to avoid the subject like she did. "Did you drink too much?" he asked cautiously.
"No," she said quickly, "I only had coke."
"Did--" He caught himself and calmed his voice. He didn't want to badger
her about this. He just wanted to know the details of what had happened.
"Did--and don't take this the wrong way or anything--but did someone attack
Immediately he got a reaction out of her. She sat up in her seat and moved
to stretch her legs. "No," she said, "No...just leave it alone. I just want
to go and go to sleep."
JC took the next exit and pulled onto a side street and stopped the car.
He didn't quite know what he was doing, but he had to do something. It was
torture to sit there and watch her be upset.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Farzana this is serious shit," he said turning his whole body towards her,
"Tell me what happened or I'll drive you straight to the emergency room and
have them check you out." He hated to sound like a parent, but the way she
was acting he felt he needed to push her a little. He needed more information.
He needed to know what happened so that the guilt he felt would go away.
Tears started first which made him feel horrible. He thought about leaning
over and hugging her, but he knew it would be a poor substitute for the real
thing. He turned away from her and got out of the car. Closing the door and
watching traffice he walked around the front of the car to her side and pulled
the door open. He reached across her, unbuckled her seatbelt.
"No," she said slapping at his hands, "No...don't." She took the bottled
water in her one hand and hit him across the forearm with it as tears fell
from her eyes, "Please JC, just take me home. I just want to go home."
"Come here," he said forcefully dragging her into his arms. He held her close
and after a moment of struggling she seemed to realize that he wasn't going
to hurt her, he was just going to hug her, and that's when the real tears
seemed to flow from her eyes.
"It was dark and I wasn't good on my feet and he, he held onto me then after
a minute he--" Her tears welled up again and she couldn't speak.
"Shhh." It was all the could think of doing to make sure that she knew she
was ok. He stood next to her with her still sitting in the truck seat hugging
him. "Zana...it's ok...I'm not gonna let anyone hurt you ok?"
"I don't want to go to the hospital," she said, "I just want to go home."
"Then we'll do that," he said against his better judgement, "But you have
to promise me that I can fix up your head and that you'll stay awake for
a while. I have a feeling that someone spiked your drink so I need you do
drink a lot of water and not go to sleep. Ok?"
She nodded against him, holding her arms around him. He couldn't feel her
very well through the material of his jacket, but he could tell from the
way her cheek lay on his chest that she wasn't going to be pushing him away
He finally pulled back from her. "Are you gonna be ok for another little
while?" he asked, "The house is still about ten minutes away."
"Yeah," she whimpered out as her hands immediately went to wipe her cheeks.
She touched his shirt where her face had been and tried to wipe something
"Promise?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said.
JC backed away from her, closed her in the car and went to get in the driver's
seat again. This time when he got in and buckled up he put the car into drive
then drove with one hand while the other one held onto her hand.
At the condo Farzana escaped to her room. She was never more glad that JC
had a two bedroom three bathroom place. At first it seemed strange that he
would be living in a two bedroom place, but now it made sense. If he had
company he could have his own room and his guest could have their own room.
Escaping ususally wasn't her way to deal with things, but she was embarrassed
for causing a scene especially after what had gone on that night. Garrett
had reached for her and hadn't really attacked her, but hadn't been the kindest
of guys and when he got mad when she wouldn't kiss him he threw her down
to the ground, grabbed his jacket off of her and had run away.
She'd been feeling woozy about things, but when she fell her fatigue caught
up with her and she decided to close her eyes. She didn't know how long she'd
been there, but soon they were forcing her to drink water and looking at
her and treating her as if she'd been raped or something. She hadn't wanted
them to make a big deal of things. She was embarrassed about not being able
to take care of herself and just wanted to leave before she drew JC into
"Zana?" JC called to her from outside the bathroom.
"Yeah?" she called back trying not to let the idea of him coming into the
guestroom even after the door was closed bothered her.
"I was gonna heat up some pizza. Do you want some?"
"No thanks," she said shaking her head to herself. He was trying sooo hard
to be protective of her now. She never would have guessed that things would
end up like this. She didn't want to be his charity case, but it seemed like
she was becoming one.
"You ok?" he asked.
"Yeah," she called back, "I'm gonna jump in the shower ok? Don't come crashing
through the door or anything? I'll be out in a while."
"Ok," he said.
When she emerged from the shower she found JC sitting on the guest bed. He
was lying on his back, but when he heard the door open he sat up and stared
at her. She was in a towel and backed into the bathroom holding the door
in front of her.
"I brought you stuff for your head," he said pointing to the dresser where
a box of band-aids were sitting.
"Thanks," she said softly.
"Maybe I should patch you up."
"I'm ok--I can do it on my own," she said then stared at him. "Can you let
me get changed?"
"Sure," he said and left the room after looking her over one more time.
She went to her bag and pulled out her pajamas then dug through and found
her sweatpants, a tank top, and a seatshirt. She slid into them then took
a breath before going back into the bathroom to brush her hair and put it
up in a ponytail before she went back into the bathroom.
She had never been so scared in her life the mirror in the bathroom showed
the real fear on her face. It showed that even though her complexion had
been darkened by the sun that she still had been scared out of her mind.
Seeing that the cut on her eye was no more than a tiny scratch she made sure
that it wasn't bleeding then left the guest room.
She found JC sitting in the living room on the phone, but he quickly got
off the line and threw the phone onto the smaller chair next to where he
was sitting on the couch. "Tony says that he hopes you're ok. Lizet told
him what happened and he wanted to come over to check on you, but I told
him not to. He feels like it's his fault since he didn't have you come back
and chat with us."
"Really...it's ok." She nodded and sat down on the couch. "I'm sorry I freaked
out before in the car when you were trying to help me. I didn't mean to be
"It's ok," he said, "I'm sorry that I lost you at the club...I should have
kept better track of you."
"It was stupid," she said hearing it in his voice that he felt responsible
for what happened earlier in the evening, "Let's just leave it at that."
"I should have been there," he said then looked down at his lap where he
was wringing his hands together. "Yet another--" He started to speak but
only ended up mumbling to himself.
His worried expression only wanted to make her cry more. Not only was she
feeling horrible, but he was also feeling that way and she hated the fact
that it was her fault that he was acting like that. She took the chance and
moved across to him and sat next to him. "JC it's not your fault. I was dumb
to go out there in the first place. I'm a big girl. I know better than to
be acting like that."
"Just tell me who did it," he said, "Tell me and I'll get him for you."
She laughed a little and tried to imagine him going after someone. JC had
the bodyguards that could really cause damage, but she wasn't sure how much
good or harm he could do for her. It was a sweet thought though. "Being all
macho like that isn't going to help me. I don't need you to do that for me."
He sat up straighter in his seat, as if her statement had been an alarm clock
and he'd just woken up. "Well what do you need?"
"Just be my friend," she said trying to hold back tears. That's all she needed
for the moment, "You've done that so far and I think that's what I need.
I don't want to talk about this. Just let me forget about this instead of
dwell on it."
"Fine," he said. He took a deep breath and looked around the room then looked
back at her, "How about a movie then? We'll go up to my room and get under
the covers and watch a movie." His speech was choppy as if he was forcing
himself to stay away from the subject that she knew was haunting both their
"Under the covers?" she asked.
"I don't want you to sleep alone tonight." There was a sweet soft look on
his face as he ran his hands through his hair. He looked nervous, something
that she wasn't sure how to react to. JC had been so confident through their
friendship thus far that she wasn't sure how to take the softer side of him.
"No funny stuff...I just don't think you should be alone...just in case you
Instead of telling him no she nodded and let him lead her upstairs. As much
as she didn't want to admit it, she needed him to take care of her that night.
She wasn't going to sleep that well that night anyway so at least falling
asleep next to him that night would give her some piece of mind.