Healing Hands

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Chapter 18 | If Only She Knew

It’s been a few weeks since the bon-fire. Ethan and I have gone on numerous dates, though we haven’t tried doing anything more than that. I can still feel as though I’m not ready for the next step, and Ethan has been more than understanding.

It’s the end of April and the weather has been beautiful. Thank you spring time.

I got a call last week from my doctor, informing me that I was officially STD free, so Lexi and I celebrated by going out to get our hair and nails done. Her treat, of course.

Saying that the news was a relief is merely an understatement. I was so scared that Jeremy gave me something. I felt disgusting up until I got the news confirming that I am clean.

Does that mean Jeremy was considerate enough to use condoms with his previous victims? Or perhaps I am his only victim. Either way, I’m glad to know that it’s all over.

Jeremy is in jail where he belongs, and I am slowly moving on with my life.

I’ve still been having a few nightmares here and there, but luckily they have let up since I started spending so much time with Ethan. One would think they might flare up more, being that he’s related to Jeremy, but honestly Ethan makes me feel safe.

I feel as though nothing bad can happen to me when I’m with him, as cliché as that may sound.

As I get ready for school, today being Friday morning, I feel a tad bit bittersweet about it.

I’m happy for the weekend, but I’m completely stressed out for next week.

Next week starts prep for final exams that are coming up next month.

I still haven’t figured out what I want to do after high school. Obviously, I want to try for college, but if things don’t work out that way I can always go ahead and look for a full time job.

Dad said Liam and I didn’t have to move out right away after graduation. He said we could figure out what we want to do, and continue living at home for as long as we need.

Part of me feels as though it’s his way of keeping us close for as long as possible. Once we move out, he will be all alone in our big house. I think that’s finally starting to hit him.

I feel so sad knowing that dad will be living alone, and won’t have mom here with him to keep him company. I’ve visited her grave a few times since the rape, and I’ve told her all about it.

I was a little nervous, simply because this isn’t something easy for any parent to hear, dead or alive.

I didn’t explain it in harsh detail, just giving her a basic gist of what happened and why.

Of course, I’m pretty certain I’ll never fully know why he did what he did.

Still, part of me is glad that I don’t know.

“Dallas are you ready yet? You’ve been in your room for over an hour! We’re going to be late!” I hear Liam shout from the bottom of the stairs.

I finish braiding my hair, before twisting the braid up into a bun, and then I grab my bag and rush down the stairs.

“I’m done, sheesh.” I glare playfully. “Let’s go.”

I follow Liam out of the house and into the jeep.

He pulls out of our driveway, and heads down the street to Ethan’s house.

An immediate burst of happiness washes over me at the thought of him.

As Liam pulls up to the curb beside Ethan’s driveway, he honks the horn. A few moments later, Ethan comes strolling out of his house and toward our jeep. He hops inside the backseat, and immediately leans forward to plant a kiss against my cheek.

“Morning beautiful.”

His sleepy, yet husky voice sends shivers down my arms. I smile back to him and give him a small wink.

“Good morning!”

“I hope you slept well last night.” He comments.

“I did.” I nod. I didn’t have a single nightmare last night, so today is a great day so far.

“Good. I missed you.” He smirks playfully as I glance back at him.

Meanwhile, Liam is driving in the direction of school, a permanent look of disgust never leaving his face.

I blush as I turn back around to face the front.

“Okay, are you two going to do this every single morning? You saw her last night for fuck sake.” Liam deadpans as we finally pull into the school parking lot.

“Get used to it, bub.” Ethan smiles at his best friend.

“Believe me, I won’t.” Liam sarcastically smiles as the three of us hop out of the jeep.

Ethan immediately walks around the car and up to me, pulling me in for a tight hug. I wrap my arms around his broad frame and pull him closer. He leans down to kiss my forehead, as we hear someone clear their throat beside us.

I look over to see a smirking Lexi.

“Are you two going to be this disgusting every day?”

“Amen sister!” Liam says immediately after. He reaches over for a high-five, but Lexi dismisses him.

Liam fakes a pout before waving at a few girls near the front of the school, and walking over to meet them.

“Where’s Carter?” I ask.

“He dropped me off early and then had to leave. He had an early class.” Lexi shrugs.

Carter is almost a year older than we are, and takes a few classes at the local community college. Lexi met him at the grocery store on Valentine’s Day, and has been smitten ever since.

She says she loves dating an older guy, because they are far less immature and easier to handle.

Ethan always has a comment whenever Lexi mentions it, of course.

“I am so mature Lex. Ask anyone.” He always says.

“I can’t believe he made things official just last week. Feels like you two have been together for years now.” I laugh as the three of us walk inside the building.

“Yeah, same here. I really like him though. It’s definitely serious.” Lexi beams.

“We’re serious too!” Ethan whines playfully from beside me. He leans down and places his head against my shoulder and neck.

I roll my eyes, but smile as I turn to kiss his forehead.

“Not until you officially ask her to be your girlfriend.” Lexi teases.

“Hey, that’s not fair. We’re still taking things slow.” Ethan frowns.

“Awe, it’s okay, you big softy!” I pat Ethan’s head. “You’ll ask me when the time is right.”

I fake a cough, “which is now”, and then I fake another cough.

Ethan’s eyes widen as he kisses my cheek and then darts off down the hallway.

“He’s a mess.” I shake my head.

“I could’ve told you that.” Lexi laughs.

“Whatever. See you in third.” I wave as I close my locker and head in the opposite direction.

As I’m walking down the semi-empty hallway, I spot two familiar figures standing inside the administration office.

What are Ethan’s parents doing here?

As I make my way closer to the office, I step beside the open door and strain my ears to eavesdrop.

“I understand your concerns Mr. and Mrs. Hart. However, I don’t believe that pulling Ethan out of this school, so close to graduation is the wisest choice.” Our school’s Principal says, pure concern laced in his words.

My face pales as my eyes slightly widen.

“I just think his time would be best suited someplace new. He doesn’t need to be around these students and their constant gossip. It isn’t fair to our boy. Besides, I’m sure he doesn’t want to stay in the same school with the girl who accused his older brother of rape.” Ethan’s mom says sternly.

At that, my stomach drops. She still doesn’t believe me? Why would I go through all of this, if it weren’t true? She’s delusional.

“Have you discussed this with Ethan?” Our principal asks.

“With all due respect, we are his parents; we do not need his permission to make these decisions.” Ethan’s mom says again, her stern expression never faltering.

So Ethan doesn’t even know?

I have to warn him.

Ethan can’t leave, not now. Not when we’ve finally started to build a real relationship.

I have to find Ethan now.

| Ethan’s POV |

I’m tapping my pencil against my desk when I see a flash of blonde outside the classroom door. It takes me a second to realize that it’s Dallas, when she finally pops her head into the door window.

My eyes slightly widen at her alarmed state.

She opens the classroom door, and every eye in the room snaps to her.

“Can I help you?” My teacher asks, clearly irritated at the interruption.

“I, uh, need to speak with Ethan. It’s urgent.” Dallas says sternly. She sends me a sad glance, followed by a slight nod so I stand up.

“Please?” I ask the teacher.

My teacher eyes Dallas, before turning to me. He lets out a heavy sigh before nodding.

“Five minutes, no more!”

“Thanks.” I sigh as I immediately follow Dallas out into the hallway.

“Baby what’s wrong?” I ask, pulling her close to me.

“Your parents are here.” She mumbles into my chest.

“What?” I furrow my brows.

She pulls away from me and stares into my eyes.

“Your parents are here. They’re talking to the principal.” She explains.

“What for?”

“They want to pull you out of school! They want to take you away from me. It’s all my fault!” She sighs as I watch her eyes gloss over.

I pull her to my chest again, wrapping my arms around her petite frame.

“Shh. It’s okay baby, I’m not going anywhere.” I try my best to assure her.

“They’re in the admin office right now trying to sign the paperwork. It’s happening!” She exclaims once more into my chest.

“I won’t let them do this Dallas, I promise.”

We pull apart and I brush my thumb softly against her cheek, wiping away a few tears.

“What if you can’t stop them? What’s gonna happen to us?”

I frown as I look into her worried eyes. The bright, blue eyes I’ve come to know, are now back to their previous sad, dull grey.

She’s come so far in her recovery and journey. If I leave now, it may just ruin all of her progress.

“No matter what they do, nothing will happen to us. Okay babe? I promise.” I reassure her again, leaving a tender kiss against her forehead.

She slowly nods, her lips still trembling.

“Get to class, I’ll handle this. Don’t worry.” I say, motioning for her to go to class before she gets into trouble.

She hesitates as she pulls me in for another hug.

“I’ll be there at lunch, you’ll see.”

I watch her walk down the hallway.

I go back into my classroom and grab my bag. “Sorry, I have to go to the office.” I say to my teacher. He lets out another sigh before eventually nodding.

I rush out of the room and head down the hall to the administration office.

As soon as I walk inside, I run into my parents turning to leave.

“Ethan? We were just about to call you out of class.” My mother says.

“Why the hell are you pulling me from school?” I all but shout. “You can’t do this! Not right before graduation!”

“We’ll discuss it at home. Let’s go.”

I shook my head. “No, I’m staying here.” I protest. “This is my school, I’m not leaving.”

“Yes you are Ethan. You are still under eighteen, so you have to, and are going to listen to us!”

I watch as my mother sighs and readjusts her purse on her shoulder. “Now, let’s go. Don’t make me say it again.” She demands while heading toward the front doors to the school.

“Dad, this is insane! Please talk some sense into her!” I protest again.

“Let’s go son. We’ll talk about it when we get home.” He says dryly, clearly unwilling to defend me, or go against his wife.

I curse under my breath as I reach for my phone.

I text Dallas to tell her that I’m leaving, but that I will be back.

I don’t have time to wait for her reply, so I follow my parents out of the building and towards their car.

I get into the backseat and slam my door shut.

“Don’t start slamming things young man!” My mother scolds from the front passenger seat. “Stop acting so childish.”

“Whatever.” I barely say above a whisper.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.” I grit through my teeth.

I cannot let this happen. I cannot leave my school and start over some place new. I can’t leave Liam, Lexi and most importantly, Dallas.

They are the people most important to me. They’re my friends, one more so than the other two.

Dallas and I are finally at a good place. In fact, after she indirectly mentioned becoming serious this morning, I ran off to start planning how I would ask her to be my girlfriend officially.

I had some good ideas too, until she came charging into my classroom to tell me that I wouldn’t even be here to do it.

I frown again at the thought. What kind of life is worth living without a Dallas Ryder?

I know, for a fact, that I never want to find out.

“So you’re just taking me out of school right?” I ask quietly, fishing for more information.

“Actually, we’ve been thinking about a change all together. We want to move closer to your brother. We leave in two weeks.” My mother smiles from the front seat.

“What!” I exclaim. “Jeremy’s prison is two hours away!”

“Stop shouting! We will discuss it when we get home!”

I slouch in the backseat, crossing my arms over my chest.

My phone vibrates with a text from Dallas. I glance down at my phone, as my heart breaks.

Dallas: Okay, miss you already.

If only she knew…

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