It's been hours.
Darkness surrounds me and everything is eerily quiet. I lay weak next to my fathers grave and felt comforted, almost as if his presence is around me. I feel my phone vibrate again and I pull it out of my back pockets, squinting at the brightness of the screen. Jake has messaged and rang me multiple times.
I quickly scan over his text, each one becoming more frantic and worried.
Emily, please tell me where you are.
I turn my phone off.
I don't want to talk to anyone. Right now all I want is to be left alone.
I tug hard at my hair, staring down at my phone as I wait for her reply. I check everywhere I can think of but she's nowhere to be found. My fists clench as I remember how Tobias made her feel. Overtime my feelings for her are becoming indescribable and I don't know what to tell her.
The truth is I'm scared.
I don't have the best experience when it comes to girlfriends.
I remember Violet, the pain she and Tobias bought my way. I vowed to myself I'd never get close to a girl again, never let her into my heart but slowly Emily is breaking that vow. The pain in her eyes flashes through my mind at Tobias' words and I yell out in frustration at the sky.
It's been hours.
My phone rings and I quickly pull it out of my jacket, frowning at the name on the screen.
"Hello?" I answer.
"She's at the cemetery."
Amil's smooth voice answers me.
How does he know that?
"Are you following her?" I ask him, a deep frown on my face. He shouldn't have done that without asking me first.
"Of course I am Jake. Do you think I would allow you to bring her to our place and not follow her afterwards? I am making sure she doesn't go running to the police. You should be thanking me."
His voice became more threatening and I remember my place within the gang. Amil is leader which means I have to respect him, no matter what. If I dislike something Amil does, I have to keep my mouth shut. Those are the rules.
I take a deep breath, thinking about my next words carefully.
"She wouldn't go to the police Amil, that's something you don't have to worry about." I say quietly, making my way in the direction of the cemetery.
"You know I'm more careful than that. I can't simply take your word for it. She will be followed until I feel necessary," Amil says firmly before hanging up on me.
I sigh and put my phone back into my pocket. I want to help Emily and get Trevor
myself however I know Amil would never allow it. The gang made a vow to never get into any trouble unless it's one of Amil's orders. It's
his way of keeping us all in line and avoided unnecessary beef with other gang members.
I remember how I'd spoken to him about the situation with Emily. He'd remained silent the entire time before slowly nodding, letting me know he's help. I didn't need his help, I needed his approval. I wanted to kill Trevor for what he'd done to Emily but I also have a duty to the gang and I can't give that up for a girl.
Even if that girl is Emily.
So why is my heart protesting?
Emily's POV –
The wind whips sharply around me and the tree's sway with their branches. It's completely dark but darkness feels comforting.
My head snaps up and I see Jake's silhouette stood a few feet away from me. I swallow the lump in my throat and stand up, walking away from him quickly.
"Emily, wait!" Jake yells, running after me.
He's faster than me and it didn't take long for his grip to circle around my arm and for him to pull me back into him. I struggle against his grip and clench my teeth tightly.
"Let go of me, I want to be alone." I tell him,,my voice thick with emotion. Jake releases his grip and takes a step back. When I turn around his eyes are apologetic as they search mine.
"Please let me explain."
"I already gave you the chance Jake! What makes you think you can mess with my feelings so much?"
His winces at my words.
"I'm a jerk, I know! I don't deserve another chance to explain the situation. I don't mean to hurt you Emily, I've never wanted to hurt you!" Jake responds, his voice desperate. I remain silent, the cold wind whipping harshly around us. Despite the icy temperate, I don't feel anything.
"You're freezing, take my jacket."
I shake my head and clench my fists tightly, remembering Tobias' hurtful words.
"Are you using me? Trying to take advantage? Will you sleep with me and drop me straight afterwards?" I ask him, feeling my eyes fill with fresh tears.
"I'm not using you."
"But Tobias said — "
"I don't care what Tobias said, he's wrong!" Jake yells out in frustration, his beautiful features twisted.
"Please take my jacket. You're freezing Emily, I can see you shaking."
I shake my head in protest, my eyes drifting over to my fathers grave. I want to stay beside him, ask him for advice. I knew he can't answer me but I'm desperate. My chest fills with pain once again and I stumble, reaching out to hold onto something.
"Emily, what's wrong? Talk to me."
I don't want him close to me but when his skin makes contact with mine, I can't seem to let go. I hold onto him tightly, the pounding in my head increasing until it becomes unbearable.
That's when I really feel the cold hit me. It invades every muscle of my body like an ice blast, shocking me into a frozen state. I open my mouth to breathe in sharply but my lungs tighten making it impossible.
"We need to get you out of the cold," Jake breathes into my neck but I don't register his words. I feel my legs weaken underneath me and I fall into him, broken. I don't have the strength to fight anymore and as I fall to the floor, I question whether I ever really did have any strength at all.
The Mother's Return
I placed her down gently onto my bed and groaned, stretching my arms above my head. I had carried her the whole way here and right now, I was exhausted as she looked. I walked over and grabbed a blanket from the foot of my bed, placing it over her. Her eyes were fluttered shut, mouth parted beautifully. I ran a hand over my face as it finally hit me –
I need to tell her how I feel.
I know she's finally been pushed over the edge. I wasn't a mind reader but even I know when a girl starts becoming impatient, confused. Emily had been through more crap than I could imagine the past few weeks and I shouldn't be adding to that.
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, I studied her for a minute, noticing her eyelids flicker as she slept. I decided not to wake her and instead pulled my phone out of my pocket to check up on Ivory.
Everything okay at the party?
I sent her the text and pocketed my phone, feeling my own eyes grow heavy with sleep. My body ached to lie next to her, wrap my arms around her warm body and cuddle her close to me. All of a sudden, the front door slammed loudly from downstairs and I immediately jumped to my feet, alert.
Ivory an Tobias are out.
So, who the hell was that?
I quietly walked over to my wardrobe, opening it and grabbing the metal baseball bat I kept in there. My heart beat began to pick up speed and I was now wide awake, muscles tense.
I gripped tightly on to the cold metal handle and opened my bedroom door slowly, taking one last glance at a sleeping Emily. She looked completely out of it so I creeped out, careful not to make the floorboards creak.
I could hear faint voices coming from the kitchen and I sucked in a breath, scurrying down the stairs. The kitchen door was ajar slightly and I pushed it open further before barging in, the metal bat raised above my head.
I was ready to break some bones.
Two high pitched screams greeted me and I dropped the bat instantly, the metal clanging loudly against the kitchen tiles. I groaned, dropping my murderer act. I looked at the two women apologetically, wincing. Mum was clutching her heart dramatically and Auntie Myra was staring at me in shock, her mouth wide open.
"I – am – so – sorry."
I grimaced as I made my way towards Mum with my arms outstretched. She breathed out a deep breath before smiling, wrapping her arms around me in return. Her perfumed scent immediately wrapped around me, it was comforting.
"What are you doing back here so soon Mum?"
"We had to leave business early honey" she explained. I pulled back and nodded at her, noticing her drawn in eyes and dark circles.
"Where's my hug, gorgeous?" Auntie Myra smiled and I chuckled, turning around to face her. "You're next Aunty M" I grinned.
"Despite almost scaring me to death, I missed you Jake."
"I missed you too Auntie M, sorry about that." I chuckled, pointing at her heart.
"Don't want to set your ticker off, do we?" I joked and Auntie Myra laughed, slapping my arm lightly. She's a loving woman who shared the exact same features as Mum. The only difference between them was Mum had long dark hair whereas Auntie Myra sported a shoulder length style. Both of them looked exhausted, no doubt from the plane journey home.
I turned the kettle on and grabbed three mugs from the cabinet, setting them down onto the counter. I was glad to have Mum and Auntie Myra home but I knew I had to tell them about Emily soon. I sighed heavily, placing a teabag inside each mug.
"What's wrong Jake? You look worried," Mum pointed out. I smiled at her weakly, feeling grateful to have two caring mother figures in my life. They had practically raised me, Ivory and Tobias since we were all kids, our fathers leaving at a young age.
My dad is an asshole anyway. I barely know him.
"I need to talk to you both," I said quietly handing them both a mug of tea. They looked at me with a worried expression and I pulled out a chair beside them, taking a seat.
There was no point beating around the bush so I told them straight away.
"So whilst you were gone, I helped out a friend and she's now staying with us for a while till she gets back on her feet. It's not like we don't have the space, right?" I said quickly, glancing between them both. Both of them looked at each other before turning back to me. Mum was the first to speak.
"A girl?" she asked with a hint of humour in her tone. I nodded, scratching the back of my neck as I knew what was coming next.
"Are you dating her?" Auntie Myra asked and I shook my head, frowning. Why am I not dating Emily yet? Because I'm scared of that kind of commitment.
"But, you want to?" Auntie Myra added and I glanced up to find her watching me, waiting for an answer. I cleared my throat, feeling uncomfortable with the conversation subject.
"Jake, you know you're allowed to have friends stay over and if it's a girl you're interested in, I'm happy for you, really." Mum said placing her hand over my arm. I turned my head, giving her a grateful smile.
"How long will she be staying?" Mum asked and Auntie Myra nodded, wanting to know the answer too.
"I'm not sure yet. She's having a rough time at home with her Mum and stepfather and she needs somewhere safe to stay, is that cool?" I asked, lifting the mug to my lips and taking a drink. The warm liquid soothed my body and I sighed, leaning back against the chair.
Mum nodded, taking a sip of her own tea and I turned towards Auntie Myra for her approval. I lived under their roof so it was my responsibility to ask. It's respectful and the right thing to do.
"I don't have a problem with her staying, the house is big enough and I can see she means a lot to you." Auntie Myra finally responded, eyes shining brightly. I groaned at her words, knowing exactly what she was thinking. Auntie Myra grinned at my uncomfortableness, knowing she was right over her suspicions.
"So, when can we meet her?"
"She's asleep at the moment," I lied not wanting to worry them. Technically, Emily was asleep.
"In your bedroom?" Auntie Myra asked, her eyebrow raised at me. I cleared my throat and nodded silently.
"Yeah she wasn't feeling well so I let her stay in my bed. Don't worry Auntie Myra, you're still my favourite lady." I joked, making light of the situation.
She laughed, shaking her head at me at me in response. We chatted for a while about their business trip before they both decided to go up to bed, exhausted from the plane ride. I was left alone in the kitchen, giving me time to think through everything on my mind.
I heard someone walk down the stairs and the kitchen door opened to reveal Emily, her skin pale and her eyes red raw. I sat up straighter, giving her a small smile. She didn't smile at me back and I sighed quietly, knowing I have some explaining to do.
"Mum and Auntie Myra are back," I said quietly letting her know. I watched as her eyes widened and she gulped nervously. I tilted my head, low key finding her nervousness a little adorable. "Does she know about me?" she mumbled, staring at her feet.
"Yeah, she's cool with it, don't worry." I added quietly, sensing the obvious tension between us. Emily nodded and walked over to the sink, pouring herself a drink of water. I reached out and grabbed her wrist, forcing her to look at me. Her entire body stilled and she turned slowly, her eyes flashing with pain.
Pain that I caused.
My heart deflated as I searched her eyes. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and let her know how I feel about her but I physically couldn't get my words out. Why is this so difficult?
There was a firm wall built around my feelings and no matter what, I couldn't break it down to let her in. I dropped her wrist sadly, knowing she didn't deserve the heartache I was causing her. She deserves better. She remained still for a minute, giving me another chance to explain.
"Jake?" she whispered, urging me to explain. I dropped my gaze to the floor, my heart thumping against my chest as I tried to form the words correctly before I spoke them. I couldn't do it, my mind became a blank canvas. Moments of awkward silence passed between us before I heard Emily clear her throat.
Without saying another word, she turned and left the kitchen, leaving me alone with only her scent lingering around me.
I tip-toed up the stairs, tears pricking the back of my eyes. I was so sure Jake was going to say something, let me know what was really going on in his mind. When he dropped my hand and turned icy towards me, I couldn't help but feel hurt as hell. I had given him a second chance to explain but even still, he decided against it.
I flopped down onto my bed and closed my eyes, sighing from finally getting some much needed rest. Within seconds, my eyes became heavy and sleep took over, pulling me into a whirlwind of nightmares throughout the night.
I was falling, falling through a dark hole and I desperately tried to cling onto the sides to pull myself back up. Screams echoed around me and I slapped my hands over my ears, wanting to block the noise out but it only intensified it.
My fathers voice was taunting me. Trevor's voice was loud and vicious. My mother's voice was extremely high pitched, calling my name over and over again. All three of them were yelling at me, their words stabbing me through my heart, over and over again. I shook my head furiously, wanting them to stop and then suddenly, everything went eerily quiet. I removed my hands, shaking with fear and glanced around. I was on my old bedroom floor and everything looked so realistic. I shut my eyes and willed myself to wake up, knowing this nightmare wouldn't end well.
The bedroom door banged loudly causing me to scream and Trevor pounded it from the other side, beating the door as if he was beating me. I huddled into the corner and whimpered, my hands hiding my face. I felt vulnerable, like a little child.
Wake up Emily, wake up!
"Wake up Emily, wake up!"
My eyes flung open and I screamed out loud, tears falling down my cheeks. Jake was stood over me shirtless, his hair sticking up in different directions. I looked around in complete fear to find myself back in Jake's house, safe. I sobbed in relief, my face completely drenched in tears.
Jake was looking at me wide eyed, full of concern. He pulled back the covers and climbed in beside me, pulling me into his chest.
"You're safe Emily, you're safe. I won't let him hurt you."
My entire body was shaking and I forced myself to calm down, breathing normally once again. I was drifting back into sleep when I felt his lips press against my forehead softly –
"I'm sorry Muffin."
Mine, all mine.
I woke up the next morning shivering slightly, noticing how the temperature how dropped in my room. I turned around in my bed and hit something hard. I froze and closed my eyes wishing it wasn't what I thought it was. Shit. I turned around to find it was true.
Jake was in my bed. Crap.
I took a deep breath, feeling myself panic.
Calm down Emily, just think.
I went over last night's events and vaguely remembered having a nightmare. I groaned as I also remembered Jake climbing into my bed to comfort me. I shuffled a little away from him as I was very aware of his skin touching mine and it was sending shivers down my body which weren't exactly helping my state of mind.
I decided to crawl out of bed as quietly as I could so I didn't wake Jake. The bed creaked underneath me and I froze in place.
I mentally groaned and turned to face Jake. His eyes looked tired and his stubble around his jaw line was darker. He ran a hand over his face and watched me.
"Yeah, I'm awake," I mumbled, climbing off the bed. I saw Jake stretch from the corner of my eye, his arm's flexing from the movement.
"Can you put a shirt on or something," I mumbled turning around to grab a hoody. It was absolutely freezing.
I turned to face him, frowning at his blunt response.
"Put a shirt on Jake."
"No." Jake replied, his eyebrow raised at me. I sighed in frustration at his stubborn attitude.
"What's your problem Emily?" he asked.
"Nothing." I mumbled grabbing my stuff to head to the bathroom. The whole conversation was turning childish, both of us avoiding the real problem between us.
"Emily," Jake said and I turned around to face him. "Can we talk?" he asked and I took a deep breath, thinking about my next move. I didn't know what to say.
"I'm not ready to talk." I whispered in response before heading out the room.