Chrissy’s hand reached up to her heart, and her breath increased. Phil’s face looked even worse than she’d envisioned with her hands. Scars, everywhere.
“I knew this was how you’re react,” Phil mumbled then pulled his hood back over head.
“It just startled me, that’s all.” Chrissy reached for his hand, but he pushed away from her and stormed into the light of the campfire.
“Is this what you wanted to see?” he asked, turning to face her, the firelight shining across his face, casting frightening shadows.
“You know I don’t care what you look like,” Chrissy insisted.
“What about when we go out in public together?” Phil demanded. “Will you care then?”
“N-no,” her voice faltered.
“Don’t you call me a liar, Phil Chapel.”
“I don’t want your pity,” Phil snapped at her.
“What do you want?” Chrissy demanded, hurrying after him. The small campfire cast dancing shadows around the clearing, both illuminating and concealing them.
“All I want is freedom to be able to go out into the world without fear of how people will treat me.”
“I’ll be your freedom,” Chrissy said. “You don’t have to be afraid anymore.”
“You don’t know what you’re saying,” Phil said.
“I’m here for you. Let me into your world. I’ll be beside you, and we’ll be together. You don’t have to be alone.”
“Is that why you came here?” Phil whirled on her, fierceness in his eyes. “To save me from my loneliness. To show me pity?”
“You wrote me those notes, remember? You wanted me to know you before I saw you. Well, I like you.” Chrissy stepped up to him and rested her hands on his arms. Those strong arms, powerful, protective. “I want us to be together.”
“But you’re so beautiful, and I’m so ugly.” Phil turned away.
Chrissy wasn’t going to let him have a pity party. She slid her hand into his and pulled him back. “Don’t push me away. If you need some time, I understand. I’ll wait forever if that’s what you need. Just don’t push me away.”
“I don’t want to wait forever.” Phil pulled Chrissy firmly into his arms, gazing into her eyes with an intensity that brought a passion into her heart she didn’t know existed. “I want you now, and always.”
Chrissy didn’t wait a second more. She lifted onto her toes and pressed her lips to his. Those beautiful, scarred lips moved with hers as their arms held one another firmly. The fire crackled beside them, and their passion burned just as hot.
“Stop!” Phil pulled away. “We have a guest.”
Chrissy didn’t see or hear anything but the campfire. Her heart raced as she searched the darkness at the entrance of the clearing. “How do you know?”
“I’m trained to know.” Phil pulled her gently behind him in a protective maneuver.
“Chrissy,” Greg called from somewhere down the path. “Where are you? Are you okay?” Now Chrissy could hear them. Greg had brought friends. Too afraid to fight off the monster on his own, he had to bring reinforcements. What a jerk.
“I’m fine, Greg,” Chrissy yelled back. Go away. I was trying to make out with my boyfriend, and you’re messing everything up.
“I can’t do this,” Phil whispered. He pushed Chrissy away. “I can’t let them find me. Goodbye, Christina.”
“Phil…” Chrissy searched the darkness, but he’d disappeared.
“Chrissy, are you there?” Greg and his friends rushed into the clearing just as Chrissy crumpled to her knees in tears.