"You are in danger, no?"
I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever the day had to throw at me. I yawned behind my hand, careful not to wake Jake who was sleeping soundly beside me. Since living here, I had only slept in my own bed once or twice. Most night's I'd end up with Jake, cuddled closely against his chest.
Remembering his heartfelt words last night caused my lips to tug upwards into a smile. I turned towards his sleeping form, taking a moment to study his beauty. His mouth was parted slightly, the cut from fighting last night still red and sore-looking. His eye lids were shut peacefully, bare chest rising and falling steadily as he slept. The white sheets were pulled down to expose his stomach and I couldn't help but let my eyes trail down the dark line of hair that disappeared underneath the covers.
I leaned forward and pecked his lips softly, missing the feel of them press against mine. He groaned in his sleep and turned his back to me in response.
"Oh, charming," I muttered, rolling my eyes.
I sat up and rolled his sleeping body so he was lying flat on the bed. He sighed heavily, murmuring words of protest.
"God, do you wake for anything?"
Jake's eyebrows creased together and he opened one eye slowly, staring at me sleepily.
"Morning, sleeping beauty." I grinned, giving him my best toothy smile.
"Muffin, what are you doing?" he groaned, stretching his arms above his head. He didn't wait for an answer before closing his eyes again, drifting back into a sleep.
"Jake, wake up" I said firmly, lightly slapping his chest.
He opened one eye again, looking directly at me. I continued to grin at him and he reached forward, shoving me back so I rolled further away from him. I let out a small gasp and batted his hands away from me.
"Fine, if that's how you want to play. Look's like I'm going to have to take extreme measures."
Jake's eyes snapped open and he glared at me questionably.
"What's extreme measure's?" He asked uneasily, his voice raspy and low from sleep.
I smiled sweetly at him before dipping down and placing a gentle kiss on him. His body was warm and my lips hovered over the contours of his stomach. I felt his body tense underneath me and he shuddered, his hand shooting out to grab hold of my wrist. In one swift move, I was dragged on top of Jake's body, my face hovering over his.
"Don't Muffin," he mumbled quietly, his voice a low rumble. He sighed and ran a hand over his face.
"I'm going to need every inch of willpower to stay away from you," he said, placing a gentle kiss on my forehead. I pulled back, confusion filling my eyes.
"Why? You don't have to stay away from me" I replied, feeling a little hurt. Jake tucked a strand of loose hair behind my ear before replying.
"I don't want to confuse you anymore than I already have. I need to stop being selfish and put your needs before mine."
I nodded slowly as I absorbed his words, my cheeks heating up in embarrassment. I had never slept with anyone before and I couldn't help feeling Jake didn't want to sleep with me because of that reason. Am I too in-experienced for him? The thought had never even crossed my mind, until now.
Jake was oblivious to my thoughts and instead wrapped his arms around me, cuddling me close to him.
"Sleep well?" he murmured in my ear. I nodded, suprised at myself for actually getting a good night's sleep. I decided to push any thoughts about me and Jake to the back of my mind. He didn't seem like the type of person to judge me for being inexperienced. Plus, he's right. It definitely isn't the right time.
A lazy half hour passed of us cuddling before Jake climbed out of bed, stretching as he did so.
"Get dressed Emily, we've got stuff to do today," He instructed firmly, pulling a clean white shirt over his head.
"Can I at least know where we're going?" I asked him, feeling uneasy from his whole mysterious act.
"You'll soon see" Jake replied, not giving away any clues. He walked over to his wardrobe and I rolled my eyes at his back before jumping off the bed and heading for his bedroom door. I pulled it open and stepped out in to the hallway, coming face to face with Tobias.
"Hey," I said quietly noticing how his eyes were roaming down my body disapprovingly. I quickly tugged on Jake's shirt self consciously knowing exactly how this must have looked to him. Tobias barely glanced at me before scoffing and walking away.
God, what is his problem?
"Jake, where the hell are we going?" I whispered loudly, trying my best to keep up with his fast pace.
"Just follow me," Jake replied, checking over his shoulder every few seconds to see if anyone was following us. We'd driven to the rough side of town before ditching the car and walking through some dark alleyways. I stumbled over a glass bottle, grimacing as it missed my bare ankle by inches.
"Ew, this place is disgusting." I grumbled under my breath, pushing bits of rubbish away with my feet. Jake barely slowed down and simply called out to me from over his shoulder.
"Keep up," he said before walking off, faster this time. I rolled my eyes and muttered under my breath, speeding up so that I was practically sprinting after him. We turned the corner, coming to a complete dead end. No brick wall to jump over, just a building blocking us off from going any further.
I looked around, expecting a door or some sort of entrance. Dirty walls strewn with terrible graffiti and moss stared back at me.
"Are you planning on murdering me here?" I asked, scrunching my nose up from the smell of filth and rotten food lingering in the air.
Jake chuckled quietly before turning to face me. He let out a deep breath, taking hold of both of my shoulders. I frowned from the sudden switch in his personality. He went from chuckling to deadly serious within a split second.
"Look at me Emily," he said firmly and I frowned, obeying him silently. His eyes were completely serious, expression neutral.
"Do not say anything unless he asks you. Let me handle it."
I stared back at him in complete and utter confusion and watched as he let go of me to push aside a dirty wooden box on the floor. It revealed a metal square that was bolted to the floor. Jake crouched down and pulled out a screwdriver from his pocket.
My eyebrows immediately shot up, intrigued. I watched as Jake unscrewed all four screws, patiently.
What the hell is he doing?
"Jake, can I borrow your phone? I think I need to give your doctor a call…"
He ignored me and continued to work whilst I watched intently. Jake eventually tore off the door, placing it beside him on the floor. Without a word, he turned and lowered himself inside the hole. I figured it led to the sewers underground and my eyes widened in shock –
"Jake, what the hell are you – "
He sighed and stopped me midway, holding up his hand. Half of his body was missing in the deep, dark hole of the mysterious underground sewer hell. Basically, he looked like he was missing the bottom half of his body completely, floating around on the floor. It was definitely a sight you don't forget.
"Just trust me, okay?" He said.
His hands let go of the floor that he was using to balance himself and I watched as he simply vanished.
Now, he was gone.
I gasped, running forward to search for him. It was pitch black down the hole and I began to panic, crazy thoughts running through my mind.
"Jake? Oh my god, he's dead. He's dead!"
I looked around desperately for help when I heard a low chuckle come from inside the hole.
"I'm not dead you idiot, jump!" Jake yelled up at me. I peered into the hole nervously before taking a step back.
"I'm not jumping into a black hole. It's dark down there and there's probably rats waiting to feast on me," I shuddered, thinking of the long tailed creatures. I heard a sigh and could visually see Jake rolling his eyes at my diva response.
Did he really assume I was going to jump down into some sewers?
"You're delusional" I shouted down the hole, letting him in on my thoughts.
"Muffin, it's not a sewer. I'll catch you if you fall, which you won't because it's not even a long drop!" he yelled, sounding frustrated.
I groaned and lowered my feet into the hole, gripping onto the sides tightly with all the strength I could muster. I really shouldn't have dressed in my good white jeans and black jacket today.
"I cannot believe I am doing this. This is actually crazy, what has my life become? This is it, I'm going to die. I'll jump down here to my death and I'll be eaten by a bunch of starved rats who like the taste of freshly showered human!" I mumbled to myself, having no intentions of letting go anytime soon.
"Emily! Get down here now before I drag you by your feet!" Jake shouted, his voice echoing underneath me.
"I'm coming, you asshòle!" I yelled back before closing my eyes and letting go. Surprisingly the ground met my feet quickly and I put my hand out on the wall to steady myself.
"Finally" Jake mumbled in the dark. I grabbed his wrist, my eyes squinting as they became accustomed to the dark.
"Where am I Jake?" I asked seriously, fear building up inside my stomach.
The floor was concrete and the sides were made of brick, not a single rat in sight. It appeared to be an underground street, boxed off. It seemed to go on forever and Jake held my hand, giving it a squeeze to re-assure me.
"This will all make sense soon. Remember to let me do the talking," he said, pulling me along with him.
I stumbled before regaining my balance and followed Jake. It was eerily quiet and I felt strange down here, out of place. We had only been walking for a few minutes when Jake came to a halt in front of a large metal door.
He sighed heavily, bracing himself for what was about to come. I swallowed the lump in my throat nervously, my heart hammering against my chest.
What's on the other side? Or, who?
He knocked on it three times, each knock firm and loud. Jake paused for a moment before kicking the bottom right corner. He repeated this three times and I shook back in awe, shocked at what was happening in front of me right now.
Is that a code?
The door banged causing me to jump and it opened slowly, creaking as it did so. Jake took a deep breath, let go of my hand and pushed it open further.
My hand were sweaty with nerves and I followed Jake, taking in my surroundings. It was a dark room only lit up with a few bulbs hanging from the ceiling. In front of me was a large pool table and next to it was a small bar scattered with a few bottles of alochol on top. The walls were covered with writing I didn't recognise, a foreign language maybe?
I glanced to my left, noticing a set of leather seats pushed up against the wall.
So it was basically a bachelor pad…
Nothing too scary.
Beside from the fact it was underground.
I inhaled deeply, forcing my nerves to calm down. There was a man sat on one of the couches, his feet swung on top of a black coffee table. He was dark haired in his late twenties, hair styled slightly over enthusiastically. It gleamed from the over use of hair gel. He wore a black jacket, black jeans and black trainers. A huge gold watch was perched on his wrist and he screamed authority. He held a cigarette in one hand and something small and black in the other.
My eyes widened and I froze, my mouth becoming dry as I realised what the object was he was holding.
A freakin' gun.
My terrified stare never left the small pistol that the man held and from the corner of my eye, I saw Jaw calmly walk towards him, taking a seat by his side.
Mr I-Carry-A-Pistol nodded towards Jake in greeting, sporting a heavy Spanish accent. His tone was icy, dangerous causing a shiver to run down my back. He put the gun down on the coffee table in front of him and looked at me, eyes burning into mine. I watched in disgust as his eyes roamed over my body and I stood there helplessly, not knowing what to do.
"Who is this?" He asked, quietly turning towards Jake. He held out a cigarette for Jake to take.
"She's the girl I was telling you about," Jake responded, taking the cigarette from his hands and lighting it. He leaned back in his seat and I watched him in shock, seeing a completely different side to Jake. He didn't bat an eyelid at the gun that was causing my knees to shake with fright and he looked… Comfortable.
Like he belongs here.
I swallowed the lump lodged in my throat and tore my gaze away from the man's eyes. It was then when I noticed another two men stood against the wall, holding pool cues and chatting quietly to each other. I had been so caught up and frightened from the gun, I didn't even notice them before.
They looked young, maybe nineteen or twenty. They both wore identical black vests and had a slightly tanned complexion with dark jet black hair. One of the men glanced at me giving me a cute lopsided grin before holding out a pool cue.
"You play?" he asked and I shook my head, feeling rooted to the spot. This entire room was creeping me out and my hairs on the back of my neck were stood pin straight, along with goosebumps.
"It's been a very long time since we've had such a pretty girl in here."
My head snapped back to Mr-I-Casually-Carry-A-Gun-On-Me. He was once again leering at me and I looked down at my hands, fiddling with them nervously. Standing in front of him made me feel like a piece of fresh meat, an object. I gritted my teeth in anger towards Jake, he never should have bought me here.
I heard him get up, standing to his feet. He began to get closer and my heart started thumping wildly in my chest causing it to ring through my ears. My hands were shaking slightly and my tongue was dry.
He stopped until he was inches away from me, the strong scent of expensive cologne filling my senses. I wanted to turn my face and breathe in anything but his scent which was overpowering and sickly. I took a step back, creating distance.
"What's your name?" He said quietly his voice slick and smooth.
"Emily" I responded quietly, never once looking him directly in the eyes.
"Pretty thing suits you much better."
He chuckled quietly and I chewed the inside of my cheek, turning so that my gaze met with Jake's. His face looked emotionless, watching as his gang leader/boss treated me like this. I noticed his hands were clenched tightly in fists by his side and I frowned, knowing he only did that when he was angry.
Was the anger directed at me or his boss?
"Emily? You can look at me, I won't hurt you" the man said, humour lining his voice. I glanced up at him and studied his face, not believing his words. Nothing about this man could be associated with safety.
"I don't believe you," I whispered quietly letting my eyes drop to my shoes. He sucked in an annoyed breath at my response.
"You don't have to believe me but tell me one thing…would Jake bring you here if I would hurt you? You are a friend of Jake's so you are a friend of ours" he replied a little too smoothly, gesturing to the other two men in the room.
"You are in danger, no?" he asked, his head tilted slightly as he studied me. I glanced at Jake and he looked away from me, not meeting my eyes. A stab of pain went through my heart and I clenched my fists tightly. Jake didn't ask me if this is what I want, he assumed I'd want protection from one evil man against another.
Did he ever stop and think what I'd have to pay in exchange for this protection?
A strong feeling told me it wouldn't be pleasant.
I shakily walked towards the door, ignoring the burning stares I was getting.
"I'm not in any danger. I'm sorry for wasting your time but it looks like Jake got it wrong. It was nice to meet you – "
"Amil" he replied bluntly, studying me carefully. His eyes were slightly narrowed and I swallowed the lump in my throat, willing myself to stay calm.
"It was nice to meet you Amil. I'm sorry but I don't want to be involved with any of this. Don't worry though, I'll keep quiet. I've learned to keep my mouth shut over certain things."
By this moment, my hands were shaking and I turned around, pulling open the door and walking away from the danger, away from Jake. I didn't stop running until I was back at home with my bedroom door locked and windows firmly shut. Darkness completely invaded my room and I climbed into bed, gathering as many blankets as I could.
All I want is to feel safe and protected.
Partners in Crime.
My bedroom door flung open, the lock completely falling apart from the force. Jake stood in the doorway, his chest rising and falling heavily.
He looked angry, really angry.
"What the hell was that Emily?" he yelled. I stood up off my bed and faced him, my hands clenched angrily by my sides.
"Don't speak to me like that!" I responded, shouting back at him.
"Do you know how much I had to convince him to take you round there? He isn't someone you just walk away from! He was going to help you!"
His tone was icy and his face was cold, emotionless. I sucked a breath, the anger inside me increasing until it was ready to explode.
"How dare you take me there without even asking me first Jake! I told you, I don't want to live in fear anymore and you put my safety in the hands of some underground gang leader. He had a gun Jake, a freakin' gun! Do you know how scared I was?" I said sadly, my voice breaking. I took a step forward, challenging Jake who was now silent, thinking carefully about my words.
"Taking me there did make me realise how little I know you. You say they shouldn't be messed with but you're one of them, aren't you?" I asked, narrowing my eyes at him.
Jake's eyes lit up with fire, his whole posture turning rigid. I knew my words has angered him, his entire body seizing up.
"I'm not one of them," he said bluntly, his voice quiet. His fists were clenched and he stared at me directly, eyes never blinking.
"Liar," I responded, shaking my head.
"You fit right into that place. You took me away from Trevor and put my safety into the hands of a gang leader. I don't want to live a life in fear Jake! I've spent years of my life being terrified. I don't need your little gang."
Fear surrounded me everywhere I went. Is a life without pain and fear possible?
Jake paused for a moment, blue eyes burning with a newly lit flame. My words tipped him over the edge. I watched as Jake chuckled slowly, his chest vibrating.
"You stood back and allowed someone to beat you for years! I was making sure it wasn't going to happen again! I care for you Emily!" he yelled back, his usual beautiful features twisted with anger. I felt a pang of hurt stab through my heart and I blinked before hitting back at his harsh words.
"I don't need gang protection! I can do this myself!" I shot back, my voice wobbling as I spoke. I knew my words were a lie but I needed to say them out loud for myself. If I can't protect myself, I can't expect anyone else to. Jake suddenly lunged towards me and I screamed, backing up into the wall. He grabbed my arms tightly, holding me close against him.
I shut my eyes, feeling the familiar feeling of fear settle in.
"Let me go," I whispered, my voice trembling in fear.
"I'm not Trevor, I won't hurt you."
I pulled my head away from him as far as I could go, squeezing my eyes shut tightly. My entire body was shaking in fright as Jake picked me up before placing me back down, his arms still holding me in place.
"Open your eyes," Jake ordered.
I opened them slowly and stared back at my reflection in the mirror. Jake was lifting my top up, exposing the blue and black bruises that were now slowly fading. They looked alien next to my tanned skin, holding painful memories. I felt my eyes fill with tears and I looked away, repulsed at the sight of me. Jake still had hold of my arms and was standing behind me, watching my reaction.
"You're telling me you don't need my help, huh? Look at your body! Look at what he did. It kills me to see you like this Emily!"
His words echoed down my ear and I squeezed my eyes shut, tears sliding down the side of my cheek.
"They might not be the friendliest people in the world but they damn well don't beat up girls like Trevor did to you! You're in danger but you're too naive to realise that! He was willing to help you Emily. We all want to help you!"
He let go of me, dropping my arms. They fell limply against my side and I let out a muffled cry as Jake left the room, slamming the door behind him. My body sank against the floor, heavy sobs overcoming me as I realise he's right.
This is one long battle I couldn't win myself.