I was in the bathroom stepping out of the shower when I saw my phone's screen flash with new messages. I picked it up and unlocked my phone, reading the first message.
Where the hell are you Emily ? -Mum
I've left home. Im not living with Trevor or you anymore. Bye Mum.
I sent the text feeling powerful over the situation. It's nice to regain control of my life after having it spin out of control for so long. The next text came from an unknown number and a familiar dread hit me as I read it.
You need a man to love you Emily, not a little boy.
It was from Mr Creepy Stalker Guy and I frowned, frustration building up inside me.
Who are you? GO AWAY.
I replied, uncertain whether I had made the right decision. His response was instant and I breathed deeply before opening the text.
It is not the right time. I will never go away. Not until you're mine.
I shuddered at his words. This guy was seriously creepy. I turned my phone off and pushed him to the back of my mind.
No way did I need more hassle on top of everything else going on in my life right now.
I walked back into my room and pulled on a pink heart pyjama set. Super sexy. Next was tackling my hair and after ten minutes of blow drying, it was firmly secured into a ponytail. I stepped into my fluffy bedtime slippers and headed downstairs for a warm glass of milk to end my night.
I had taken the first sip when strong arms wrapped around my waist from behind and I sighed contently, cuddling back into Jake's warm firm body.
"Hey beautiful," he whispered. I grinned and turned around, looking up at him.
"Can't get enough of me Jake?" I smiled sweetly. He smirked back at me, his eyes travelling up and down my body.
"Not when you're covered in bright pink love hearts," he teased, causing me to blush and look away from his amused face. He chuckled before taking the glass of milk from my hands and downing the warm liquid in one go.
"Jake!" I whined, shoving him lightly.
"Sorry Muffin," he shrugged wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
"These bad boys don't feed themselves you know," he winked, flexing his right arm. His bicep bulged instantly and I arched my brow, impressed.
"That shot right up."
"It's not the only thing that shoots right up when you're around."
I spluttered and my mouth flew open in shock as I stared wide eyed at Jake. He shrugged casually in response, his lips twitching upwards into a smirk. I watched him leave, his shoulders vibrating as he chuckled.
"You need Jesus!" I yelled after him, reaching for the milk to heat another glassful. His laughter filled the air causing me to bite back my own grin.
A soft knock on my bedroom door caused me to jump up out of bed, my sleepy state slowly disappearing. My watch read midnight and I frowned, thinking everyone was sleeping by now. I pulled open the door and found Jake leaning against my door frame, fully dressed. He was wearing a plain white shirt underneath his black bomber jacket, finished off with some black jeans. I couldn't help but bite down on my lower lip, how did he manage to look so good at midnight?
Right now, I resembled a potato. A potato in pyjama's.
"Erm, hi?" I smiled, my heart fluttering inside my chest. His blue eyes were sparkling and a small smile played on his lips. He lifted a finger to his lips, shushing me before entering my room. I took a step back and swallowed, watching as he quietly shut my bedroom door over before spinning around. As he turned, his intoxicating scent hit me and I physically swooned.
"Jake, it's midnight. Are you crazy?" I whispered, tugging self consciously at my clothes. I didn't realise how much skin I was showing, I wasn't exactly expecting company.
"Not crazy, I want to take you somewhere." Jake replied, leaning back against my door with his hands stuffed inside his pockets. My eyebrows shot up in surprise and I bit down on my lower lip. "Where are we going?"
"It's a surprise Muffin, get dressed." Jake instructed, pushing his hand through the strands of his soft dark hair.
"You're taking me somewhere at midnight?" I asked however I turned and headed for my wardrobe, choosing an outfit.
"Would you like me to leave you to sleep instead?"
I picked out a Disney crop top and my grey jogging bottoms along with my converse before turning to respond. Sadness lined my voice –
"Not really, I don't get much sleep."
Jake paused for a moment, studying me silently. "Neither do I," he said softly before clearing his throat. I walked over with my clothes and hid behind the wardrobe door as I changed.
"Turn around," I instructed him firmly.
"You're hidden behind the wardrobe door Emily, I can't see you at all," Jake chuckled. I rolled my eyes –
"Just turn around, please?"
I heard him sigh before he shuffled and when I peeked around the wardrobe door, he was facing the wall. I couldn't help but giggle at the sight of him.
"You look like a toddler who's been put into time out".
"Just hurry up and get dressed Muffin," Jake chuckled. I smiled behind the door and quickly changed, tossing my pyjamas onto the bed. When I stepped out, Jake turned around and held his hand out towards me. Butterflies filled my stomach and I walked towards him, slipping my hand into his. The warmth of his touch caused a shiver to run up my spine and I blushed, glancing down at the floor.
"Are you ready?" Jake asked quietly, his beautiful eyes shining in the dimly lit room. I nodded my head, excitement filling me. Jake grinned widely in return and opened my bedroom door slowly, pulling me out with him. We both tip-toed across the landing before going downstairs. Jake headed for the front door immediately, clutching his car keys in his hand. I didn't question his actions and instead, followed him silently. My heart was hammering against my chest and I could feel the adrenaline running through my blood from the excitement.
We both stepped outside into the silent night, darkness engulfing us. I shivered slightly from the cold, goosebumps covering my arms and the back of my neck.
"Are you cold?" Jake asked quietly, directing me to his car. I shook my head, sliding into the passenger seat. Jake leaned down and smiled at me once again, slowly slipping his hand out of mine. I immediately missed the feel of his skin but watched as he walked around the front of the car, sliding into the drivers seat. His car smelled like a mixture of him and leather. He turned the key in the engine and it roared to life before settling back down into a soft purr.
I pulled the seat belt over my body and secured it, noticing my hands were trembling. Silently, Jake reached over into the back before emerging with a red tartan blanket. He draped it over me –
"Try and warm up, it's a long drive," he murmured. I nodded silently, tucking the blanket in around me tighter. I watched him as he confidently pulled out of the driveway before setting off down the road, heading for the other side of town. Curiosity managed to get the better of me.
"Can you give me a clue on where we're going?"
Jake shook his head, turning to grin at me.
"I knew you'd ask me that. Patience Muffin."
"I'm not a patient person," I protested, glancing out the window as houses and parked cars whizzed past us. The world was dark outside, dimly lit by only street lamps every now and then.
"Tough, deal with it," Jake shot back teasingly, keeping his eyes on the road.
"You're impossible sometimes, you know that?" I replied, my lips tugging upwards into a smile. Jake chuckled quietly, turning to head onto the motorway.
"Tell me about yourself Emily," Jake asked, turning to give me a warm look. So different then the first time we met. I'm slightly taken aback by his question, unsure on how to answer.
"Erm, what do you want to know?" I ask him, pulling my knees into my chest. My body is beginning to warm up and I sink into the seat, getting comfortable.
"Everything," he says softly. I feel them again, butterflies. My throat dries out and silence settles upon us as I turn to look at him. He's focused on the road despite the traffic being non-existent at this time.
"Okay, my full name is Emily Wentworth. I've never done anything as crazy as this in my life, especially not run away from home. Pizza is my calling in life, especially pizza with pineapple on it."
"I love pineapple on pizza too," Jake cuts in before motioning for me to continue.
"I like helping people. People who are weak or vulnerable or who simply need a helping hand. I'm big on family despite not knowing any of mine very well. I always wished I had an older brother when I was younger…" I drifted off, resting my chin on my knees.
"To protect me," I smile, turning my head to watch him drive. He's so beautiful, I'll never get tired of sitting and watching him. The way he moves, the way his jaw tenses when he's thinking or concentrating hard. Jake slowly nods, never taking his eyes off the road. It makes me feel safe knowing he's being careful.
"When did you stop?"
"When did I stop what?" I said quietly, my voice a low murmur.
"When did you stop wishing you had an older brother?" Jake repeated. I paused for a moment, thinking hard about his question.
"When Trevor started beating me. Before that, I thought if I had an older brother, he'd stop Trevor from hitting my Mum. Once Trevor started to beat me up, I realised something. I realised no-one in this world could save me. My own mother couldn't save me and she shares my blood. Having a brother wouldn't make a difference if my own mother can't save me from a monster. So I simply stopped wishing for an older brother, I didn't see the point."
"Do you still think that no-one can save you?" Jake asks softly, his hands gripping tightly onto the steering wheel. I know he's struggling to contain his anger from my words. I smile at his question because I like the answer.
"No, I changed my mind."
"When?" Jake breathed out.
"When I met you," I whispered, closing my eyes. After that, a silence fell upon us but it was a good silence. The movements of the car drifting me off into a deep sleep and it was the first time in months, I felt well rested.
I felt the car come to a slow stop and I blinked, my eyes adjusting as I began to stir awake.
"Did you sleep well?" Jake asked me, killing the engine and glancing down at me. I nodded, feeling a blush travel from my neck up to my cheeks. "Yes, thank you." I murmured, sitting up straight.
"Are we here?" I asked him and he nodded, opening up his car door. He disappeared into the darkness outside for a few seconds before my car door opened.
"Come on, hop out Muffin."
I undid my seat belt and wrapped the blanket around my shoulders, taking Jake's hand as he helped me out the car. As soon I was stood up straight, I glanced around, frowning. We were surrounded by trees, in the woods. It was dark out here, no lights to guide us.
"Are we in the woods?" I ask him quietly, keeping a tight hold of his hand. I shivered slightly and Jake immediately wrapped his arm around my shoulders, pulling me into his side.
"Yeah, I want to show you something. Don't be scared, I'm here." He whispered, his body pressed against mine. I shivered again from the tone of his voice, not from the cold.
"Come with me," Jake urged, taking a few steps forward. Leaves crunched underneath our feet as we walked and it felt like we were disturbing nature at night. Minutes passed whilst we weaved through tree's and bushes but I didn't feel scared anymore, not with Jake by my side.
"This is my favourite place," Jake said quietly, breaking the silence between us. We slowly walked forward where the floor disappeared and rocks surrounded us instead. I frowned as I glanced around and Jake took a step forward, hopping onto the first rock. I mirrored his action and his hand tightened in mine, squeezing it slightly.
"I don't want to fall," I murmured, wobbling unsteadily.
"You won't fall, I've got you."
I smile in the dark at his response and we continue to walk along several rocks until before I know it, it's all I can see.
"Almost here," Jake whispered, his voice causing goosebumps to travel down my neck. I peered around in excitement and curiosity. A large hole in one of the rocky walls lay ahead of us.
"Are we going inside a cave?" I asked him. Jake nodded his head, turning around to flash me a quick smile.
"Not just a cave, you'll see."
As soon as we entered, it was nothing like I imagined. The cave entrance led to a clearing where the ground was even and the rocks disappeared. The walls are covered with intricate art, some of it glorified graffiti. I continued to study them in awe, stunned by its beauty.
"It's beautiful," I whispered, reaching out to trace over the pictures spray painted all over the walls. Carvings of initials and names were littered between the art and I read every one, a small smile on my lips.
Behind me, I felt Jake's presence, his body pressed against mine lightly.
"Look up," he breathed down my ear, causing me to shiver. I wrapped the blanket around my shoulders and turned around, facing Jake. A small smile was playing on his lips and when I tilted my head back and looked up, I realised why.
The cave had an open ceiling where the sky was dark and lit up with the most beautiful stars. I let out a small gasp, unable to tear my eyes away from the beauty of the sky.
"Amazing, right? I love to sit here when the sky is clear," Jake murmured, dropping down onto the floor and lying on his back. I slowly nodded and lay next to him, our heads almost touching. Moments of silence passed between us and I turned briefly, my heart thumping against my chest.
Jake was looking up at the sky, looking deep in thought. His arm suddenly reached out, pulling me against him gently. I sucked in a breath, resting my head on his shoulder. It felt so natural being close to him. His body radiated heat and I felt myself relax against him, goosebumps travelling up and down my arms.
"Why do you come here?" I asked him softly, feeling myself falling deeper by the second for him. The real Jake Melvin.
"When I'm angry at the world or myself. I come here to remind myself that no matter what, life goes on. The sky and the drawings calm me down. I can sit here for hours just staring up at how beautiful it looks at night."
I listen carefully to him before reaching for his hand, locking my fingers into his.
"Thank you for showing me your favourite place," I whisper, both of us unable to tear our eyes off the beautifully lit sky. It feels special, like the world knew he was going to bring me here tonight.
"You're welcome, it's just as beautiful as you." Jake murmurs, his voice soft and sleepy. His words cause my heart to leap into my throat and I blink, butterflies exploding in my stomach. I can feel my heart beat pounding in my ears but I manage to open my mouth and reply —
"Thank you Jake, thank you."
"Good morning," Jake smiles, walking over to me whilst holding a tray one handed. The smell of pancakes floats through the air and my stomach grumbles loudly.
"Hi, what time is it?" I smile back, running a hand through my hair. We didn't get back home until late last night, the sun was beginning to rise just as I was drifting off.
"It's two in the afternoon," Jake chuckles, sitting down onto the empty side of my bed.
"Seriously? Wow," I respond happiness filling my stomach as I think back to last night.
The beauty of the night and Jake.
I grin at him and sit up, propping myself up on the pillows behind me. A dull pain flares up my side and I close my eyes, breathing through it. I wish it would hurry up and heal.
"Are you still in pain?" Jake asks me, a worried expression plastered across his face. I shake my head, shrugging it off.
"No, don't worry about it." I smile before looking down at the stack of pancakes he'd made. Their drizzled with syrup and my mouth waters, noticing he'd popped a side of Nutella with them too.
"What did I do to deserve this?" I ask him scraping my hair back and securing it with a hair tie.
"I enjoy making pancakes and I kind of want to impress you," Jake said casually before stabbing the top pancake with his fork and popping the whole thing in his mouth. I raise my brow at him amusingly and watch as he chews through the entire thing.
"Well, I'm impressed." I smile, reaching for my own fork. Jake fist pumps the air in victory, earning a giggle from me.
"Would you like to go back and get the rest of your stuff today?" Jake asked gently, placing his fork down. I shake my head, disagreeing.
"I'm not going back there Jake," I mumble quietly. I know I'm safe here. Each day it became a little easier for me to relax but I'm nowhere near strong enough to face Mum or Trevor. I looked up at Jake, extremely thankful to have someone who cared about me enough to help me.
I climb out of bed and walked up to him, settling myself between his legs. My hands circled around his neck and Jake remains still, watching me intently with a questionable look on his face.
"Thank you Jake, it means so much to me."
"All I did was make you some pancakes? And even then, I've ate most of them." Jake chuckles, his fingers drawing circles on my back. I giggle before moving back to look at him.
"No silly. I mean for helping me. . . I had fun last night too." I mumble, fiddling with my hands.
"So basically I'm like your Prince Charming?" Jake smirks, tilting my chin up so I'm looking into his eyes. His lips began twitching and I smack his chest lightly for teasing me.
"Sort of but without the charm," I admit, my own lips twitching into a small smile. Jake's eyes light up and he chuckles quietly, his chest rumbling against mine.
"I'm so full of charm, you just don't want to admit it."
He suddenly took hold of both of my hands, clutching them tightly as his expression turned serious.
"You don't have to be scared, I'll be with you."
I bit down on my bottom lip, feeling an uneasy feeling settle inside my stomach. I shook my head, finalising my decision.
"I don't need anything, I promise."
Jake sighed, running a hand over his face and up through his hair and I knew something else was troubling him.
"What's wrong?" I asked, my forehead creasing with worry. Jake was silent for a few moments before replying.
"The police will get involved if your Mum tells them you've left home. You know that, right?"
I nodded slowly, my throat drying up with nerves.
"If I tell the police everything Trevor has done, I'll be allowed to stay here… I looked it up." I muttered, feeling anxiety settle inside me. I didn't want to drag the past up but if it kept me away from Trevor, I would do it.
"Trevor said he'd kill me if I ever told anyone his secret," I whispered, my voice shaking. Jake sighed and pulled me closer to him, his arms wrapping around my top half.
"You've got me now Emily, you don't have to be scared anymore. I won't let anything bad happen to you."
His strong arms tightened around my small frame and it felt like he was protecting me from the danger everywhere I turned. Being inside his arms, I felt safe.
"I don't deserve you," I mumble into his shirt. He shakes his head before replying —
"You're right . . . you deserve the world."