Tonight was the night.
Zephyr and I couldn't wait to get out the door, but just before we left, I decided to do my makeup in a smoky eye for the occasion. I thought it looked pretty good...actually, I thought it looked hardcore and kind of sexy. I smiled in the mirror.
We drove there when it was already dark out. I always noticed the city looked so cool at night with all the lights on and the flashing colors of headlights, signs, and billboards. The streets were filled with cars, most of them probably to the My Chemical Romance concert, and people walked down the sidewalks, as if it were still daytime. It just looked so busy and exciting. Zephyr was blasting "Famous Last Words" in the car and already we were having fun.
When we arrived at the concert, we walked in to a dark room filled with screaming and thrashing fans, waving glow sticks. In the back there was a stand where t-shirts and other merchandise of the band were being sold, and a bar. Zephyr and I took our seats in the middle. The stage lights glowed in the front of the room, filling me with anticipation. Being at this fantastic and once-in-a-lifetime event with my brother, surrounded by zealous fans, sharing in their thrill...it felt so exhilarating and fulfilling.
Then My Chemical Romance took the stage.
We all screamed at the top of our lungs. This was when the crowd really seemed to come to life. The song was so full of passion and emotion and intensity, it was infectious on everyone. The sound of My Chemical Romance and the roar the crowd seemed to blend together, as if the band had become one with the fans just by our mutual ardor of music and power of emotion. We were forgetting all our cares, as if we were lost in time. The music was everywhere, surrounding and consuming all of us, so that time and space seemed to dissolve and it was just the music around us.
But moments later, though was faint because of the music, from the bar, I could swear I heard the shot of a gun.
Several heads turned. It had come from the bar. Seconds later, their heads turned back to the stage, absorbed in the music. But I couldn't. I was now deaf to the music, out of the zone. Someone needed help. I could feel it.
I turned to Zephyr. "I'll be right back." Then I hurried away before he could say anything.
I shoved through the crowd, trying to get to the bar as fast as I could. When I finally got there, I looked around frantically, then found who it was. A young man, about six feet tall, with dark hair and olive skin. He was cringing and clutching his side, where blood was pooling. I approached him, and he raised his head a bit to see me. When I saw his face, and looked in his deep brown eyes, I knew instantly it was Dante Sorrentino.
Time stood still in that moment.
"Some drunk man shot me. Help me, ragazza. Please. Help me," he gasped, in an Italian accent.
"Relax, I will," I promised, meaning it. I took off my sweater and pressed it onto Dante's wound, then put my arm around him, supporting him. It was mostly dark other than the stage lights and the building was packed with people. It seemed that most of them hadn't even noticed that Dante was shot at. Everyone had turned their heads back to the stage after the gun went off, anyways.
Everyone but me.
I pushed through the vast crowd, murmuring "Excuse me" over and over again, until after what felt like a endless trek, we reached the doors. I pushed on the cold silver handle, shoving the door open and pulling Dante outside with me. It was significantly quieter. Security didn't seem to notice us, probably because Dante's head was lowered. I kept walking forward, intent on reaching the hotel and tending to Dante's wound there. I prayed hard that I would make it there soon enough. I didn't want Dante to die.
It was a bit cold outside, especially without my sweater on, as it was already a little past nightfall. It worried me a bit to be walking outside at night alone except for a man bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound. He was even more vulnerable than I was. But at least there were many street lights and the hotel was only a few blocks away.
Dante moaned in agony a few times.
"It's alright," I said softly. "We're almost there."
When we finally arrived, I took him inside and up the stairs to my room as quickly as I could. I laid him down on my bed and gasped loudly. There was a lot of blood. I lifted his shirt and examined the wound. It was at his side, by his ribs. I felt his chest and his back, but didn't find a bullet hole. The bullet must have only grazed him.
"It's ok," I told him, breathing a sigh of relief. "The bullet only grazed you. You're going to be ok."
He seemed to calm down.
I ran to the bathroom for a first aid kit, then set it on the other bed and opened it. There were bandages and an endless amount of gauze, among other things. I took out the gauze first, placed some over the wound, and pressed both my hands on it, applying pressure for a few minutes.
My phone buzzed.
A text from Zephyr read, Where are you???
I texted back with one hand, Back at the hotel. I went to bed early cus I don't feel well.
It felt like eternity, but once the bleeding stopped, I took a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and soaked the wound. Dante cringed at the sting.
"It's ok," I said, and gently touched his forehead, which was now beaded with sweat. I have to say...he looked pretty attractive with his damp black hair and the soft lighting of the bedside lamp on him.
I placed my hands on the wound again to try and lessen the sting. Then I took a tube of triple antibiotic, applied a thin layer to the wound, and bandaged it with gauze and a square of tape.
"Grazie," Dante sighed. "Thank you...so much."
"You're welcome," I replied, my breath shaky. "You shouldn't move too much for a little while so...you can stay for the night."
"No, I couldn't --" Dante started to protest, but I cut him off.
"I'm the only other one in this room. I came to the concert with my brother, but he's in a different room. You need to rest here until the wound closes and heals." I knelt at his bedside and touched his arm. "I won't call the police, I promise."
He was silent for a moment. "You have a kind heart, ragazza."
I smiled. "Thanks. My name is Heaven, by the way. Heaven Tessier."
I looked at him and it dawned on me that...he was stunningly attractive. His hair was such a deep, lush black and looked shiny and sleek. The lamp cast a warm glow on his light olive skin. I was sure he was in his twenties but he had such a captivating youthfulness and handsomeness.
Perhaps it was just gratitude, but for someone so dangerous...he was being so gentle toward me. Even so...I felt something blossom inside of me. I found myself staring at him as if in a reverie, unable to tear my eyes away. I was intrigued by him, like I wanted to know him. It was a mysterious feeling. I've had crushes before, but I had never felt this way before.
Eventually I climbed back onto my bed. "You just rest for now."
I woke up the next morning, rubbed my eyes, and rolled over...to find Dante missing.
The bright morning sun shone on the bed he had occupied last night, which was now empty.
I laid there for a moment, staring at it, stunned. How could he be gone? Where was he? Was he ok?
Frantic and truly panicking for his safety, I raised myself to one elbow...then heard something crackle under my pillow.
I lifted my pillow to find a slip of slightly crumpled paper. I took it and saw that it said DANTE SORRENTINO with a phone number.
I felt overwhelming relief...and a surge of joy. I remembered how I had felt last night, how I felt a kind of attachment to him, like I wanted to know him. I felt a warmth spread through my chest, as if through my heart.
But then it hit me...could I stay in contact with a known violent criminal?
I looked at the slip of paper in my hand, that had his name and number written in blue ink on it. I held it and stared at it as if it were a precious belonging from a dead relative.
I reached for my phone and added Dante's number.