After finishing up at Lulu's, I decide the safest place for me to be is college. It was supervised by teachers and somewhat safe. I'd already missed two hours but showing my face is better than not attending at all. On the way there I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being followed, my every move watched.
I knock on my classroom door and enter, my eyes landing on a substitute teacher sat at the desk instead of Mrs Wilkins.
"Sorry I'm late, dentist appointment." I explained briefly before taking a seat next to Trish. I still feel like crap, my body weak and sore, constantly in pain.
I managed to hide my bandaged arms underneath a grey turtle neck jumper along with black leggings and black boots. I ignored the stares around me and instead pulled out a text book from my bag, placing it on to the desk. Beside me, Trish watched before leaning closer —
"You look terrible Em, should you even be here?" Gee, thanks Trish.
"I feel fine," I lied bluntly, staring at the empty sheet of paper on the desk.
"Is it the flu?" Trish asked before adding –
"What if it's Ebola?" she grimaced and I didn't notice her subtle way of creating distance between us.
I immediately spluttered with laughter and cursed myself for doing so as pain shot through my side. I gripped onto it tightly, waiting for the pain to subside.
"It's not Ebola," I explained, breathing in and exhaling out slowly.
"It's always best to be safe than sorry. Ebola kills you know Emily."
I rolled my eyes at her and glanced at her book number to see what subject I should be on. Out of nowhere, Trish grabbed my wrist closest to her and squealed quietly –
"I have so much to tell you!"
The pain is instant.
My wrist exploded in flames from the burning sensation running straight up my arm. I sucked in a breath and yelped, yanking Trish's hand off me. Her eyes widened and she shuffled backwards, watching me squirm beside her.
Oh god. Don't cry.
I felt my lip wobble as tears threatened to spill from my eyes. I quickly stood up and headed straight for the door, ignoring the murmurs of my classmates behind me. I didn't care anymore, all I want is the pain to stop.
I ran through the empty hallway, pushing past the double doors and heading straight for the girls bathroom. Painful tears rolled down my cheeks and I wiped them away quickly.
I'm strong, I can do this.
I clutched my arm desperately and let the tears slide down my cheek willingly, knowing I'm not strong at all. I'm lying to myself.
I heard the door push open and I hid my face behind my hands, hoping whoever it was would leave me alone.
His voice was low, quiet.
I looked up through my blurred vision, seeing Jake stood against the doorway, a worried expression on his face. Upon noticing the tears in my eyes, he walked towards me and crouched down. His eyes scanned over my features, growing a shade darker as he took in my distressed state. Eventually he looked straight at me, an intense look in his eyes.
"I think it's time you tell me what's going on."
I remained silent, unable to let him into my thoughts. I couldn't tell anyone, the thought terrified me. Jake sighed at my silence and instead reached up, wiping away a tear with his fingers. I immediately froze, sucking in a deep breath from the way his fingers felt against my cheeks. He placed one hand under my chin, tilting my head up so that I was making eye contact with him.
"The teacher wouldn't allow Trish to leave," he said quietly. I nodded —
"What about you?"
"I'm not going to let a teacher stop me," Jake smiled, his eyes still full of worry.
"Please talk to me," he pleaded, pausing to give me a chance to respond.
"Everything is so messed up," I answer him, closing my eyes and leaning back against the wall. The floor was filthy but I didn't care.
I felt his arms wrap around me and he pulled me into his chest without hesitation. His body felt warm and for the first time since my dad died, I felt safe. Jake held me silently as I sniffled on his shirt and didn't push for me to explain what was wrong. I could feel his heart beating against his chest, his warm scent wrapping itself around me.
"Whatever it is, it's going to be okay." He mumbled, a slight hint of anger in his voice. It didn't feel like the anger was directed at me. I relaxed against him, the small amounts of affection was all I craved. It scared me how quickly I was beginning to want Jake in my life.
"God, I must look a mess right now," I chuckled, wiping the tears off my cheek as I pushed back from his embrace. I felt a warm blush creep up on my cheeks from having Jake so close to me.
He was staring at me intently, as if he wanted to say something but then decided against it. His phone beeped in his pocket, ruining the moment we were having. Jake reached for it however didn't break eye contact with me once. I sat there, feeling vulnerable as I felt his eyes sink into me, find out every secret.
Finally, he tore his stare off me and briefly scanned over the text, letting out an annoyed breath.
"I have to go."
I nodded quickly but couldn't help feeling a little dis-heartened. Jake must have noticed my disappointment and he sighed, running a hand though his soft hair. He pushed it back away from his eyes and stood up off the floor, holding out a hand for me to take. I reached out and clutched his hand tightly, noticing how rough his skin felt against mine. His hand radiated warmth just like his body and he pulled me up gently until I was on my feet.
"Thank you Jake," I said quietly, noticing how close our bodies were. He was literally inches away. I could see his chest in front of me, rising and falling as he took slow breaths.
"Anytime," Jake whispered. He inched forward, raising his hand to tuck a piece of stray hair behind my ear. I flinch automatically, not realising I was doing so. I'm too panicked around the male sex.
I, Emily would die alone having never loved in my life.
"Why do you do that?" He asks suddenly looking at me, his head slightly tilted to the side. I glanced to the right, unable to keep eye contact with him as I was afraid he'd be able to see right through my lies.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Jake raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to reply when his phone beeped again, multiple times.
"Crap," Jake muttered under his breath, clearly annoyed at the person on the other end. He answered the call, holding his phone up to his ear. As he listened to the call on the other end, his blue piercing eyes never left mine. I found myself staring back, getting lost inside the swirls of blue and thick dark lashes.
"Don't let him leave, I'll be there in twenty," he eventually said quietly, his tone low and icy. His voice snapped me out of my daze and I blinked, taking a step back.
It was my turn to raise my eyebrow at him questioningly and he shrugged in response, pocketing his phone.
"I'll see you later," he said quietly, taking a step towards me. I sucked in a breath as his face grew inches away from mine. His hand reached up, resting against my cheek and he used his thumb to wipe away the final tear on my cheek. His touch felt good and I could feel his warm breath tickling my bottom lip. He was so close.
The only thing I could respond with was a simple nod of my head. Jake nodded in return before taking a step back, pulling me out of my daze. He sighed unhappily before disappearing out of the bathroom, leaving me questioning what the hell just happened between us.
The Party Before My Birthday
"Party at mine! Everyone's coming." Ivory grinned, handing me and Trish a note with an address scribbled messily across it.
Only an hour remained before school would officially be over for the weekend. I immediately opened my mouth to let her know I couldn't make it. It's my automatic response to any social situation. Trish grabbed hold of my arm, pulling me back before I could speak.
"We'll be there, count us in!" Trish smiled. Ivory did a little happy dance, her eyes lighting up before moving on to the next group of people.
"Trish! I don't go to parties, you know that."
Trish pouted sadly, giving me her best puppy dog eyes. It's so hard to resist her puppy dog eyes.
"Please Em! It's your birthday tomorrow so think of it as your birthday party! I know it's not your scene but do this for me? Please?" Trish whined, her voice dripping with persuasion. I roll my eyes at her but can't help my lips from tugging up into the smallest of smiles.
"I'll see what I can do," I replied, feeling the nerves and excitement beginning to build up inside me. I dreamt of this moment for so long. . . My first party.
I pulled out my phone and found Mum's number, taking a deep breath before calling her. Trish nervously sat beside me, her leg bouncing up and down in anticipation.
I crossed my fingers on my left hand and Trish did the same with both of hers, mirroring my actions. I needed all the luck I could get. Mum finally answered after a few rings. I breathed in deeply, ready to throw my drama skills her way.
"Hey Mum! So it's really close to exam week and I'm behind on homework. I was wondering if I could spend the night at Trish's house. You remember my friend Trish from school, don't you?" I asked, blabbering way too quickly.
"Emily slow down! Yes I remember Trish, she's a lovely girl. You can study at her house tonight. Remember you need to be home early tomorrow morning for your birthday."
My mouth flung open in shock.
Mum actually agreed to let me stay out for the night. I did lie to her but she didn't need to know the real reason, right?
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I said quickly, ending the call before she could change her mind. Trish's eyes lit up and she squealed loudly, holding out her arms. I squealed in response and lunged for her, embracing her in a tight hug.
"I can't believe this! My best friend is going to part-ay with me tonight!" She pulled me back happily, placing her hands on either side of my face. I grinned widely, feeling the excitement practically burst through me.
"Maybe Jake will be there?" Trish teased, wiggling her brows at me suggestively. I felt my cheeks heat up in embarrassment and lightly slapped her arm.
"Stop teasing me," I grinned, biting down on my lip nervously. Almost every night Jake and I talk about anything we can think of. The conversation always flowed so easily with him and ended with my stomach sore from laughing.
A good kind of pain.
The late night phone calls would sometimes drift over into the early hours of the morning. He'd quickly became someone I thought of regularly and seeing him in college every day was the cherry on top of our friendship. He's funny, cheeky and not as scary or dangerous as everyone else made him out to be.
Lesson one kids – never stereotype.
"What if I don't like parties?" I asked, doubts filling my head. I've never experienced one before and the thought of being around a bunch of drunken teenagers, crammed into small rooms didn't really appeal to me.
"We can leave whenever you want." Trish re-assured me, leaning over to give my hand a squeeze. I gave her a grateful smile in return, grateful for her friendship. She broke out smiling once again, her eyes lighting up.
"I cannot wait to party with you. This is going to be the best night ever!"
I couldn't help but giggle in response, the feeling of excitement overcoming my anxiety and nerves. It's party time!
"Trish!" I groaned, staring in shock at the shortest dress in history.
"I cannot wear that! I'll look like I belong on a street corner!" I explained, handing her the dress back. I was sprawled out on her bed, watching as she ripped apart every single corner of her wardrobe.
"Jake will like it," she winked, causing me to shoot her a stone cold glare.
"I don't dress to please a guy."
She rolled her eyes playfully before disappearing back inside her wardrobe. Yes, it really was big enough to get lost in.
"Aha!" she yelled triumphantly, appearing with a dress in her hands. It was gold, short and covered with sequins. I gawked at the dress and threw Trish a dirty look —
"How many prostitute costumes do you own?"
Trish gasped, her eyes widening –
"This is designer Emily!" She whined unhappily, pouting her lips. Trish dropped the dress on the floor and huffed, crossing her arms like a two year old.
According to Trish's behaviour, she had never left the terrible two's stage.
"I think I'll dress myself Trish," I grinned, rolling off the bed and heading for her wardrobe.
So that's how I ended up two hours later wearing a long sleeved top with ripped jeans and black boots. My outfit covered the scars and bruises running up and down my body and that was good enough for me. My hair was curled to perfection and I had applied more makeup than usual with some red lipstick and dark eyeliner.
I'm definitelychanneling my inner Taylor Swift.
I spritzed myself with some perfume before standing back and scrutinising myself in the mirror.
"Wow. We look hot," I grinned, holding my hand in the air for Trish to high five. Trish beamed back at me and slapped my hand hard.
"Yes we do." Trish smiled, adjusting her bright pink crop top. She wore it over black distressed jeans matched with pink stiletto's. Trish didn't leave her house for a party without bringing her stiletto's.
"Come on, we've got a party to get to!" Trish giggled excitedly, grabbing my hand and dragging me out of her room. A smile stretched across my face and I felt my level of excitement rise quickly. This is reallyhappening.
Tonight is the night I break my party virginity.
"Let's make my first party a memorable one." I grinned, feeling completely carefree. It was time for me to finally act like a teenager.
As soon as the taxi parked up outside and I stepped out, I gazed up at Ivory's house in slight awe. The large building stood in front of me was decorated beautifully from the outside, the garden kept trimmed and flowers looked after. Two expensive looking cars are parked across the driveway, their shine so bright despite it already being dark.
"Wow," I say under my breath, my stomach breaking out into nervous butterflies. Beside me, Trish let out a low whistle.
"Are you ready?" She asked me, holding out her palm. I glance down at it before nodding. She took hold of my hand, intertwining our fingers together. Her warmth spreads through my palm, calming down the nerves bubbling inside of me.
When we enter, the hallway and living room is crowded with teenagers, laughing and chatting. The music blared all around the house, bouncing off the walls. I craned my neck, noticing a large group of tightly packed people dancing in the living room. Across from them, a bunch of guys were playing beer pong, clutching bottles of alcohol with silly carefree smiles on their faces.
"Emily! Trish! You made it!" Ivory grinned, appearing in front of me. She handed me a drink in a plastic white cup and I took it from her, smiling back.
"Hey! Yeah I did, this looks great!" I said loudly, leaning into her ear so that she could hear me over the loud music. Any louder and we'll all be deaf within the next hour. . .
"It's one of my legendary parties, trust me. You won't forget this night!" She grinned widely before wondering off into the crowds of people. I lifted the cup to my nose and sniffed it warily. The smell of alcohol knocked me back so I slowly put it down behind me on a table, grimacing slightly.
"Oh come on, it's not that bad." Trish chuckled from my side and I rolled my eyes before picking the drink back up.
"I guess it is my birthday tomorrow, right?" I said, justifying my action. Trish nodded eagerly, signalling for me to take a drink. I lifted it up gingerly to my lips and let the liquid run down my throat. Surprisingly it didn't taste as bad as I thought it would, fruity with a little zing to it.
"That isn't as bad as I thought it would be," I smiled and Trish giggled, taking a large drink from her own cup. She leaned in closer towards me, her features turning serious.
"Lesson number one, don't leave your drink unattended. Lesson two, stay away from the hoe's and their bro's. Lesson three, don't wonder off with a weird guy you don't know, okay?" She said firmly. I nodded at her, trying my best to remember all of her tips. Trish nodded, her head bouncing up and down.
"Good, and most importantly, have fun!" She grinned, pulling me into a tight bear hug. I returned her embrace, breathing in deeply.
She pulled back and smiled at me, placing one hand on either shoulder.
"You've got this Bestie, say it with me."
"Yeah, I've got this." I repeated her words, sounding confident. The volume of the music grew louder and Trish cheered loudly along with several other people.
"I'm going to get another drink, I'll be back in a minute!" Trish yelled, disappearing off into the crowd. I nodded and smiled, watching her go before taking another sip of my drink.
My eyes scanned over the crowd, landing on a familiar face – Austin. I waved at him, giving him a friendly smile. We had spoken once or twice but never had a full on conversation. Austin is good looking with his caramel toned skin and large, brown eyes. His lashes were long and fluttery, much to the dismay of every girl in here. He was never short of female attention and I watched as he wondered over towards me, shooting me a cute grin. His eyes drank in my appearance and I found myself blushing, a red tint covering my cheeks.
"You look cute when you blush!" He laughs, pointing at my cheeks. I gave him a shy smile, feeling my cheeks heat up further.
"I look like a tomato when I blush, don't lie to me." I say playfully, taking another sip of my drink. Austin throws his head back and laughs, his eyes lighting up.
"Are you enjoying the party?" I ask him and he nods, taking a step closer with the same wide smile on his face.
"I haven't seen anyone I like the look of, until now." His words are suggestive and I can feel the blush deepen on my cheeks. I don't reply and instead nibble on my bottom lip nervously. Austin takes a step closer towards me, resting a hand on my waist.
"You look great Emily! Do you want to dance?" He asked eagerly, I didn't respond for a few seconds as I thought about his question.
Hey, why the hell not?
"Yeah, let's dance!" I responded, following him towards the crowd of dancing bodies. We both began dancing carelessly with each other and I closed my eyes, feeling free. I felt a hand on my waist and I opened my eyes to find Austin very close to me, his body dancing against mine. I laughed a little before taking a step back and continued to dance. My body moved to the beat of the music and everyone around me was equally having a good time. Austin pouted childishly at me before closing the distance between us again.
I let out a little nervous giggle, glancing around warily for a familiar face.
His hips pressed into mine and I shuffled backwards, feeling uncomfortable. Austin's hands settled on my hips and I paused, my body stilling. I sucked in a breath as he massaged the area where Trevor had beat me. My body was still tender, covered in bruises.
Austin's hands were directly above the bruises.
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all…
I leaned towards his ear, a frown fixed on my face from the dull pain in my sides.
"I think I'm going to go find Trish!" I yelled into his ears, placing my hands over his in an attempt to move them. He didn't react to me but must have heard my words as his hands applied more force, keeping me still. An instant flare of pain shot through my body and I yelled out, yanking myself away from him.
"Stop!" I yelled, my hands beginning to shake. He was staring at my body with hunger in his eyes and I watched as they turned shades darker. Austin took a step towards me and in return, I took a step back. I was trapped between sweaty bodies, caged in like an animal. I found myself struggling to breathe, my throat tightening. The nauseating smell of alcohol hit me and Trevor's face instantly flashed through my mind.
The last person I want to think about tonight is Trevor.
Austin didn't seem to hear or see my discomfort and he once again grabbed hold of my waist, pulling me against him. He pushed his body into mine and I shoved hard at his chest, hating the way he felt against me.
"This isn't fun anymore Austin!" I protested, my words doing little to slow him down.
"Please get — "
I barely had time to finish my sentence as he was ripped away from me in an instant. I blinked and stepped back, stumbling into a few other people behind me. Austin was lying on the floor, his eyes wide with surprise and fear.
"Oh my god," I gasped however I could feel the relief run through my body. My sides were throbbing painfully and I couldn't help but wince in pain every time I moved. Jake was stood over Austin, his shoulders squared defensively. My eyes travelled down to his fist that was tensed, ready to strike.
"Jake, don't!" I cried, lunging towards him as he leaned down to hit him. One of Jake's friend picked me up in one swift move and pulled me back in the crowd, not allowing me to get in between Jake and Austin.
"You don't want to get in the middle of that sweetheart" he muttered in my ear, holding me back.
I continued to watch in horror as Jake gripped Austin by the collar and dragged him to his feet. He made it look effortless despite Austin being the same size as him.
"The girl asked you to get off her. She shouldn't have to ask twice."
His words were icy, dripping with danger.
"She was enjoying it." Austin spat back, his eyes burning with hatred and fear. My own widened in surprise at his words and I shook my head, protesting. Jake didn't turn around to ask me if he was right, he already knew the answer.
"If you try that again, you can enjoy my fist in your face." Jake hissed, leaning down to his ear. He didn't make an effort to quieten his words down, everyone could hear his threatening words. Austin simply chuckled at Jake, challenging him to hit him already.
"She isn't yours to protect, get the hell off me."
Jake made a low sound in protest and it almost sounded like a growl coming from his throat. I watched in horror as he swung his head back before smashing it into Austin's face. A scream escaped my throat and I wanted to squeeze my eyes shut so I didn't see the blood pouring from his nose. Jake's head snapped towards me and I almost recoiled backwards from his eyes.
I immediately silenced, frozen to the spot.
His eyes held a murderous glint and my heart stopped from fear. My entire body began to shake and I opened my mouth before clamping it shut once again. His eyes were cold, bloodshot and vicious.
Just like Trevor.
Breathe Emily, breathe.
I remained frozen, staring wide eyed in terror at Jake. Visions of Trevor beating me with the same cold eyes clouded my mind and I felt like a hand was closing in around my throat tightly, restricting my breathing. I gasped like a fish out of water and Jake's eyes softened considerably. He walked towards me and I shook my head further, unable to tell him to stop.
"What's wrong Emily?" I heard Jake ask distantly but Trevor's threats filled my eyes, taunting me. An arm wrapped around my shivering body and I whimpered, yanking it away from me. My head was pounding hard and my lungs were tightening further. I whimpered in fear, feeling my head go hazy and disorientated.
I began to push through the crowds, my legs wobbling underneath my weight.
"I need some air," I whispered, barely able to hear my own words. I used the bodies of others to keep myself standing but it wasn't enough.
The inability to breathe finally caught up with me and I felt my eyes roll the back of my head.