In Your Arms

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Chapter 3- Haven

I feel a tap on my shoulder that startles me out of my sleep. I jump but quickly realize the ticket lady standing over me.

“Sorry but ticket?”

I quickly nod, still half asleep, as I scramble to find the ticket in my pocket. I quickly hand it to her rubbing my eyes. Once I regain my focus, I look at her hand that’s holding my now punched ticket.

“Hey, do you mind telling me the next stop?” I ask as I grab the ticket from her hand.

“Next stop is Savannah, North Carolina.”

“Oh wow, okay. Thanks.” She walks away to the rest of the people in the seats. I look outside the window. I must’ve slept for the full 13 hours. The butterflies in my stomach were slowly settling in as it hits me that I am one stop away from what is going to be my new home.

My new beginning

*********

After about half an hour, I gather my things and I get off the bus and see the platform. I take my luggage and bag and walk through the station till I see the sign RENTAL CARS. I head for it. I see a very small woman behind the counter. Her very long black hair fell past her shoulders. She was definitely young. She looked up at me, giving me a small smile.

“Hi ma’am, how can I help you today?”

“Hi, I need a rental car. I was wondering if you do yearly rentals?”

She gave me a confused look. “No, I’m sorry the longest you can rent is up to 6 months. Honestly it’d be cheaper to buy for long term.”

I nodded slowly. “Yes of course. Alright, well I’ll do the one-month rental and just will try to figure out what I can do as soon as I can.” She nods and begins typing on her computer. Once we exchanged payment information and did the paperwork. She turns her work computer towards me.

“Well, these are your options for available cars. It goes from the lowest price rate to the highest price rate. These are your options based on the payment you submitted. Click on your choice, and I’ll take you to it.”

I began scrolling and immediately my eyes found a good economy car. I click on it. “I’ll do this one.” She turns the computer back and turns around, grabbing a set of keys.

“Follow me.”

I follow her into the car garage with many different cars lined up. Until I find the blue car that I had just chosen on the computer screen. A blue Mitsubishi mirage, the year 2017. She clicks the unlock button on the car key and turns towards me smiling.

“Here you go love, don’t forget this day next month you must bring it back or you’ll keep getting charged the daily rent price until it does get returned and also, we need it back with a full tank of gas.” I nod.

“Got it! Thank you, I appreciate it,” she smiles and walks away, returning to her desk station.

Once she’s out of sight, I place my things in the back of the car.

I settle in and get the piece of paper with my home address on it. I enter it into the navigation system in the car and begin driving, starting my journey to the town called Waterston.

No time to second guess. No time to doubt. Just moving forward in my life. No one knowing where I am or where I am going.

I take a breath.

I see the open road once I leave the station and after 5 minutes of driving, I can’t help but roll down my window. No cars were around me; it was just open road. I smell the fresh air. All of a sudden, I feel the urge to release something deep inside me. I poke my head to the side of the window and start to scream. At the top of my lungs, letting out every emotion that was slipping out of my pandora’s box of emotions little by little. My anger. Frustration. The hate that has been slowly revealing itself since I left the city.

I feel overwhelmed. I can’t believe I left. That I gained the courage to leave everything that I know. I breathe in deeply bringing my head back into the car. A small tear falls down my face. I quickly wipe it, shaking my head. It’s not the time to break down.

*********

It’s been about an hour and forty-five minutes. I finally see the sign Welcome to Waterston. It takes me another 15 minutes until I pull into the long driveway that leads to a beautiful brown cabin house. My new home. When my Dad died, he left a will. I got a call from his lawyer to go to his office without my mom knowing. He left me a note explaining that he was leaving behind a fully paid off cabin in a location my mother would never guess I’d go. My Dad knew things were going to change after his death. Even in death he is still paving a path for me to be myself. That was always the battle with my mom, she just couldn’t relinquish control over my life.

I shut the car off and get out taking my things with me. There are 3 steps that lead to a front porch as well as a mahogany front door. The cabin had a beautiful oak wood on the outside. It was a late fall afternoon, so the sun was already setting. I go up the steps and look under the mat and find a manila folder. I open it and look inside where there is a set of keys, a note on it saying:

Welcome to the town Haven, enjoy your new home - Steven Rhodes

Rhodes was the realtor I worked with over the phone. He dealt with my Dad previously.

I grab the keys, place the envelope under my arm and enter the house. I turn on the lights and see a nice open space that revealed the living room and a long hallway. As I walk inside, through the open hallway made my posts in the house, I see a set of spiral stairs, behind it a kitchen. The spiral stairs led to an upstairs loft-like floor. I leave my bags by the stair. I go back to close the door behind me locking it and place my duffle bag on the floor. There was no furniture in sight. Everything is empty, lifeless. You could tell this place has never been lived in.

“You made it Haven, “I say in a small whisper.

I grab my bags and go up the spiral stairs. I am greeted with a large window that overlooks the back yard of the cabin. I couldn’t see anything past the trees that flooded my yard, which I’m glad about. I sit on the floor by the window and open my duffle bag. I take out a small blanket and pillow I bought at one of the travel stores. I lay the small square pillow on the floor and cover myself with the thin fleece blanket.

The truth of my situation is I will never escape Charlie. He’s all the way in New York and he still has his hold on me. I don’t know how I’m going to ever move on from this. Will I ever feel safe? Loved? Cared for? Worthy of love? I don’t know, but it feels like those wholesome feelings feel far from me. All I feel is abandoned and angry. Angry at the fact that I chose to marry a man and that man treated me like I was nothing. The worst part of this is that is how I feel. Like I am nothing. Like I do not deserve true love.

I’m not even sure I know what looks like. I never dreamed of my soulmate. My dad always told me to pursue a future. Then he died and my mother used my grief to steer me in the direction that she wanted me to go. I allowed her and I hate her for it. I hate me for allowing her too.

The loneliness settles around me and in me. All of a sudden, I feel the tears that I’ve been fighting come down slowly one by one. Next thing I know my tears turn to sobbing. I decide to just cry until I fall into deep sleep. That’s when the nightmares return once again.

************

I’m in my kitchen cooking dinner. I tried to enjoy my day. All of my days look the same. Online school in the morning, cleaning, laundry, and then preparing for Charlie to come home. That was my schedule. I feel like a robot living the same life every day. I actually did something different, because I’ve been going stir crazy in my house. I went to the farmer’s market.

I’m not really allowed to go out without Charlie. For a number of reasons. He doesn’t want guys to hit on me or me hit on them, he doesn’t want people to ask questions and I open up about our situation, and to top it all off he told our neighbors that I have severe anxiety and can’t leave my house alone. I’m just trapped like a bird in a cage. I hear the door open. Perfect timing, dinner is ready to be served. I turn off the oven and walk to the entrance, just as Charlie was taking off his jacket and shoes. I smile and stay standing, waiting for him to approach me.

His eyes land on me and he smirks. He walks over to me and pulls me close, planting a kiss on my lips. When he releases, he looks me in my eyes, he has dark cool brown eyes. They never captivated me.

“Dinner?” I nod and turn to walk to the kitchen. He takes a seat at the table, which is rare for him. I serve him immediately, along with my plate. I sit at the far side of the table.

“So, how was your day?” I ask calmly, taking a bite out of the salmon I made. The acidic flavoring fills my mouth. He takes a bite as well and his eyes meet mine.

“Fine, fine. Yours?” I tell him the chores I did, leaving out my schooling and my trip to the farmer’s market. He nods, keep his eyes on me. He wipes his mouth with the cloth napkin. “You know,” I take a sip of my water. Our eye contact not breaking. I look at him curiously. “I got an interesting phone call today.” I gulp, having an idea of what he’s about to say. I feel my hands find one another and begin to fidget. I keep my nervousness isolated to my fidgeting hands and offer him a curious smile.

“Oh?” I ask quietly. He nods scratching his cheek. He suddenly gets up and strides towards me. I remain seated. The fear settles in me there’s no escaping anywhere. He reaches my seat and brings his hands to my cheek gently. His face suddenly contorts angrily. He brings his hand back and slaps me. Hard. I look down, stunned by the motion. He grabs my face to look at him.

“Do you know who called?” He asked quiet but coolly. I don’t say anything. Another slap to my face

“Charlie, Charlie, please,” I plead. He slaps me again. He then picks me up by my hair, so now I’m no longer sitting in my chair, but being led by my hair being pulled.

“You call yourself a good wife? Huh?” He pulls my head to the side; pain was just shooting through my head. “You know Lorraine saw you? I get a freaking phone call saying you’re out. You didn’t ask me for permission, did you?” He shouts at me. I give no response, but the fear is radiating off of my body. “DID YOU?”

I yelp in fear from his rising tone and respond ‘no.’ My confession doesn’t bring a better reaction, but nothing I would’ve done, was going to help me in this situation. He is yelling in my face, still gripping my hair and I cower down trying to avoid him hitting me in the face again.

My hands shoot up, to try and loosen his grip on my hair. He’s red in the face. I went to the market. I just wanted to get out, but I forgot that he didn’t care about my wants, just that he wanted full control over everything. I look up at him desperate for him to see the pain in my eyes and for him to realize that he is the cause of my pain.

“Charlie, I’m so sorry. Please let go. I just went to the farmers market to get you some fruits.” With that, he scoffs and throws me to the side against the hard cold floor. He finally released my hair. My head throbbed. Pain shot through my body. I lay idle. Not wanting to do anything to cause him to come and touch me again. I just listen. I hear him breathe hard. I hear his feet shuffling against the tiles.

Even when I hear him go upstairs turn on the television, I stay lying exactly where he left me. The thought of dying just flooding my mind. I am worthless. I have let myself go completely. My life was forever changed because I was afraid to stand up to the only parent I had. Fear ruled my life. It controlled me. I had no choice anymore in whether to fear or not, it just was there, all the time. My will to do just grew stronger by the day.

I close my eyes allowing the silent tears to fall down my face. I snuggle closer to the wall, trying to find some comfort. The only comfort that I can give myself.

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