Chris held his beer bottle out in front of him, pointing it at Jake. “I don’t believe you, you drunk piece of shit. Why the fuck do you follow me around? You’re not invited anywhere, yet you always seem to show up. Get your own fucking life you miserable little shit. Stop trying to borrow mine. It’s pitiful.”
I braced myself for Jake’s drunk response: “I would, Chris, fucking rock-star-extraordinaire, if your wife wasn’t so obsessed with my dick.” He grinned wickedly, then glanced at my expression and suddenly his grin dropped.
Chris just dove on Jake, knocking him to the sand. It was a bizarre mess of punches. Jake just seemed like he was trying to push Chris off him while Chris repeatedly punched him in the face.
I was so stunned I couldn’t move or speak.
I finally screamed at Chris to stop. I looked for an arm to pull and a way to intervene without getting hurt myself. Chris started to get up to look back at me when I screamed his name, but then Jake swept his leg so that Chris buckled back down to the ground. Then Jake kicked him in the face. I saw blood fly from his nose and my next scream was lost in the crash of the ocean waves.
Chris scrambled up, blood dripping from his face and jumped on Jake again who was still on the ground. He started punching him in the ribs and the stomach. I was so scared, I was crying and looking around for help but people were just staring in amazement. I could barely see who was punching who. I thought I could try to pull Chris off Jake, or I could push him. Or I could…then old Professor Bob just grabbed Chris by the back of his shirt and threw him off Jake, swinging him into the sand over by me.
Chris got up, enraged, nose bleeding everywhere and his hand was a mess. He looked like he was going to charge Jake again but Bob put his finger up and pointed it in Chris’s face. “Enough!” he shouted gruffly. He was shaking, and it was shocking to see Luna’s old friend like that. Jake stumbled up and limped off down the beach. Rissa hurried after him and I was relieved he had someone there to take care of him. Chris looked at me, I think both of our eyes were huge and he was breathing heavily. He kicked Luna’s old weathered white picket fence and cracked the post, then picked up his beer bottle and threw it in the direction of Jake, missing hopelessly. Then he fell on his knees and covered his head with his arms. I went over and sat next to him and put my arms around his head too. I looked up to see Dave standing there. He shook his head at me and I buried my face in Chris’s hair so I didn’t have to look at Dave. People who had gathered, slowly started to walk away back inside the house to leave us alone on the beach.
“Lets go inside and get cleaned up,” I said.
“I don’t want to see everyone” he said, his face streaked with tears, sand and blood. We sat there for a few mintues and then Dave showed up with an ice pack. I held it to Chris’s face and he leaned against the side of the porch railing while I smoothed his hair and held the pack.
“I’ll go start kicking people out” Dave said. I nodded and Chris mumbled, “Is any of that stuff that Jake said, true?”
“No, of course not” I said. “He will say anything to break us up. It is me and you and no one else.”
He nodded and put his head on my arm. That is when I felt the crushing guilt. It was a surprise, and the pain was staggering. Now I had to try and comfort him without falling apart myself. If only I could take it all back.
We sat quietly for a while and then Chris said, “My face and my head is throbbing, and I think my tooth is loose.”
“Let’s go get you some ibuprofin and a fresh icepack. We can go around the side of the house to my room if you don’t want to see anyone.”
I pulled him up and we walked along the path over the dunes and around to my bedroom patio. Thankfully the sliding glass doors were unlocked and I helped him inside and he collapsed on my bed. I got him Advil and a big drink of water, then 20 minutes later he was asleep. I noticed that again, my sheets were going to have blood on them and once again, it was my fault.