In Your Arms

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Chapter 5- Haven

*Warning: This chapter does show a scene with a suicidal attempt. You do not need to read it to move on with the story, if it is triggering for you please go to the next chapter.

I feel the sun on my face and wake up on the floor. I was surrounded by the empty space.

I get up, grabbing my bags to the spiral stairs that led to an open floor with just one door that had a bathroom in it.

It had not even a mattress inside. There was a window that was in the center of the room and it looked out to the backyard that was just surrounded by trees. I opened up my suitcase, grabbing my tooth and hairbrush.

I head into the bathroom and look in the mirror. The last of my interaction with Charlie lay on my face and body, a bruised eye, busted lip, bruises along my arms. I open the mirror and reveal a medicine cabinet. I decide then to just brush my teeth and leave my hair as it is.

Once finished I go back to my suitcase and take out a pair of leggings, a black t-shirt and black running sneakers.

I head down the stairs, grabbing my house keys and sweater.

Before I know it, I’m running. I run down the driveway and turn. I keep running feeling the wind whip around me. I run so fast the trees are just whipping past me. My mind goes to him again. To our last fight. I see his hands coming towards me. The fear starts to creep up slowly. I can’t breathe. I feel the tears coming down.

I stop and fall to my knees, trying to catch my breath.

All of a sudden, I feel two hands grab me by the shoulders, lifting me to my feet. My eyes cloudy, so I can’t see a thing. All I can feel is my heart pounding in my chest and the two foreign hands that were holding me by my arms.

Then I finally hear something. Someone. A voice telling me, “Breathe.” I feel like my chest is about to explode. Then I hear the voice clearer, “In through your nose, out through your mouth. Just breathe.”

I do as the voice tells me and try to get a hold of my breath. Finally, I am able to stop hyperventilating. I’m able to breathe and my heart starts to calm down. My eyes get clear. I still feel the hands around my arms. Finally, after what seemed like hours of trying to grasp onto reality, I see a man.

He was much taller than me. His dark brown hair lay messy on his head. Then I see his beautiful grey eyes and this scruffy five o’ clock shadow. Realizing where and what was going on, I jump back, away from him and look around frantically.

“Hey hey,” he puts his hands in the air in an ’I come in peace” gesture, “I’m not gonna hurt you, but are you okay?”

The tears were begging to come out, but I fought as hard as I could. “Yeah, I’m so embarrassed, I’m sorry.” With that, I ran in the other direction, back towards my house. Away from the mysterious man.

*******

Once I went home, I frantically close the door, locking it behind me. The memories were fighting to break out. I couldn’t do it.

I slid down the door and sat on the floor. The tears finally won me over and broke out.

“Okay Haven calm down. Calm down.” I kept wiping the tears away. Finally, being able to calm down and stop crying. I get up again, grabbing my house and car keys.

I walk out, locking the door behind me. I walk to the car and glance at the dashboard, 11:00 on the dot. I didn’t even have a clue where I was even going. I just wanted to get away. Find something that can help me escape my mind.

I decide to drive to the town. With that, I turn the ignition and start driving, heavily relying on memory when driving to my house and road signs- there weren’t many. I hadn’t been here in years. Not one memory came to mind when I thought of this place. But apparently, my grandmother used to live here and left the house to her grandkids, well, me. My mom forgot about the property, lucky me. So I called up the family lawyer and claimed the deed to the house. But the house came empty. So once I get my hands on a steady income, I can start buying things slowly.

After driving for about 10 minutes, I begin to see a small community of houses and then stores. Next thing you know I’m in the town square by the water. Where each street had little shops and led to a dock. I decide to park the car by a park.

When I start walking I see all types of people. Some jogging, some walking with their families and friends. I put my hands in my pocket, clutching my keys tightly. I start looking at the shops for any ‘Looking for Hire’ signs. I decide to walk along the dock. There are a bunch of shops right on the dock, in a way, it was like Coney Island in New York, just smaller and with a much cleaner looking beach.

I look over the dock rails and I see the beach. The sand almost looks white and the ocean is a beautiful light blue. I smell the salty air and close my eyes, taking a couple deep breaths. Yeah, this is my place of escape.

I open my eyes and continue to walk the dock, looking at the shop. I then see a Bar & Restaurant. I walk a bit closer and the name of the place comes into view. AVA’S Place. There were a few people eating at the tables outside, enjoying the afternoon sun, and some are sitting inside. I see a sign next to the entrance of the bar and see it says, “Now hiring.”

With that knowledge I walk inside the bar, revealing, a rustic themed restaurant. It was long, sitting tables in a column against a window that had the view of the ocean. There was country music playing and a bunch of chatter going on. I look behind the counter and a man. He had super long hair, that was tied in a low ponytail and a thick beard. He had on a navy-blue t-shirt, revealing a very muscular arm that is covered in tattoos. He was counting money over the register and laughing at something a customer in front of him said.

I decide to sit at the stool closest to the door. That was when a girl with short bleach white hair that looked like it was a bob cut, but was hair sprayed to sit at the side of her head. She had cute, winged eyeliner and a nose piercing that was the finishing touch to her punk look. She wore a baggy pair of boyfriend jeans and the same navy-blue t-shirt that had a small logo of the bar’s name, AVA’S Place. Right underneath I see a name tag that says Autumn.

“Hi, I’m Autumn, can I get you anything?” Her soft southern accent came out smoothly and was soon followed by a soft smile.

“Hi, actually, I was wondering is there a manager I can speak to?”

Curiosity came across her face. “That depends, you ain’t complainin’ about me are ya?” I look at her and shake my head. Then she cracks a big smile. “I’m kiddin’ love,” she turns her head and points to the far end of the bar, “that scary lookin guy over there is actually the owner. I’ll send him over for ya.” She pats my hand that was folded on the bar and walks away. Once she made it to the ‘scary looking guy’, as she referred to him, he looks over at me, smiles a small smile and nods at her. He places the money he was counting in the register and hustles over to me.

“Hi, what can I do ya for?” He had a deep voice, but same as Autumn, a soft southern accent was noticeable. His eyes rakes over my face and all of a sudden I realize my bruises. But no judgment comes over him, just concern. Insecurity washes over me and I feel myself being jittery.

"Hi, my name’s Haven. I actually just moved here, and I saw your sign in the front about hiring. I was wondering if there was any chance, I could apply.”

He folds his arms over his chest and looks at me intently. This guy was definitely intimidating.

“Well, mind if I ask a few questions?” I nod slowly. “Okay, well, where’d you move here from?”

“I’m from the city, New York.”

“Wow, that’s a big change from the city to a small town. How about work experience? You ever bartended? Served food?”

“I never bartended, I actually don’t even drink. But I have had a waitress job before. Just one.” He nods and looks down. I could tell he was thinking hard about what to tell me next.

“One more question, what’s up with the black eye and lip?” I take in a sharp breath and feel the panic rising in me. Haven, it’s okay. You’re okay. You got in an accident.

“Oh, uh, car accident. Car got totaled but luckily, I walked out like this. Sorry I didn’t better prepare for a job interview but I saw the sign and wanted to jump at the opportunity.

“Oh man, glad you’re okay. Well, look, I need a server and we’re in rush season. I know Autumn can use the help. So how about you come back for the dinner service, say 6 and you can get to training. I’d do it now but my brother-in-law is actually training right now, new manager.” I nod and give him a small smile.

“Thanks very much... uh...”

“-Drew. Names Drew.”

“Okay, nice meeting you Drew, see you later.” He nods and grabs the rag on his shoulder walking back to the register. The door swings open right as Drew was about to head to the back and there I saw him. The guy from earlier. He was showing Drew his t-shirt, which I now know as the work shirt. All of a sudden, I see Drew nod in my direction and that’s when my eyes met those grey eyes once again. He didn’t recognize me at first, but then realization hit his face and he starts to walk towards me. That’s when I get up and walk out the bar. Oh no, oh no, oh no. This cannot be happening. Not that guy of all guys.

Once I walk outside, I start walking fast. Of all the places to decide to work it had to be where that guy works. I’m assuming he is said ‘brother-in-law’ to Drew. Man, I can’t believe my luck. This guy saw me having a panic attack. I ran away from him after he stopped to help me. Once I find my car, I hop in and put my face in my hands. A bunch of emotions rush over me, but the one that stands out is just embarrassment. I know I’ll owe him or have to give him some type of explanation.

I turn the car on and start back towards the house. Maybe he’ll respect my space and not ask questions. Maybe he will pretend that nothing happened. Maybe. I settle with the internal struggle of not knowing what’s going to happen, and decide to just go with the flow. This is my life now, I can only go with the flow right now. All control is relinquished.

Resentment fills my heart. My whole life has been filled with misery. It’s like my life died when my dad did. My mom met Charlie’s family and saw they had money, and I just followed blindly, trying to hold on tightly to the one parent I had left.

The reason I left was because I couldn’t take the isolation Charlie made sure I had. I had no friends. No communication to anyone besides the house made, who Charlie made sure to seduce so I couldn’t get into cahoots with her. Everyone I knew Charlie knew, so if I ever said anything they would just tell him. I tried once and I got a good beating from that one. I’m a weak person. I stayed for my mom, because she would guilt trip me by saying things like “Oh you’re my only daughter” , “If you leave Charlie, you’re going to kill your only parent because I can’t handle knowing you won’t have money.” She would tell me this is what love was. That I can’t make him angry, thats why he did the things he did. Just a whole guilt trip.

I don’t even know how I was able to leave. That day is a blur. I left everything. Made sure that no one can trace me to this place. Every day I can only hope that no one finds me and tries to make me return.

I can’t go back.

I won’t go back.

I get home, but theres a memory filling my mind so I just remain in the car. Tears automatically fill my eyes. I’ve been fighting this for too long. My mind finally succumbs to the memory and it’s just playing in my mind as if it were a movie.

******

“Mom,” I say on the house phone, as I was lounging in the back yard soaking in the sun by the pool. “I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

“Oh Haven, you always say silly things. Don’t even mutter another word about your husband, whom you must respect always.” I take a deep breath. I look down at my exposed legs and arms. There were bruises all over me. From being roughly handled and constantly pushed into things. Tears gather in my eyes.

“Mom, he hurts me,” I say, suppressing a sob.

“Haven,” she says sharply, “Don’t ever mutter such a thing. Charlie is a man. Who must be pleased. If he shakes you up a bit, it’s not because he doesn’t love you, it’s because you aren’t doing enough for him.”

“But mom-”

“Hush Haven,” I hear her say. I can hear her growing frustrated with my insisting on telling her what goes on in my life. “I’m tired and you’re making me upset. Do more for your husband if you don’t like being pushed around. I don’t want to hear of this again. Oh Samantha, the flower decorations are horrendous. It’s supposed to be roses, lilies and lilacs, not dandelions and weeds. Oh Haven I need to go, this party I’m decorating for is a mess. Ta ta dear.”

*Click*

I hear the phone go dead. That’s my cue to sit up and cry. I had no one. No support. No one to comfort me. No one to help me gain the courage to leave Charlie. I was alone. My mother doesn’t even care that I’m being physically hurt. I get up putting on my kimono and going inside my big empty house. Yes Charlie had money. Yes, he provided. But that was as little as he did for me. I’m home all day, every day. Basically waiting to get my ass beat for whatever reason Charlie convinces himself I deserve. I can’t handle this life anymore and I just want to end it all.

I don’t want to deal with this anymore.

I’m alone. No one cares if I’m dead or alive. Why not jus end it and get it over with?

I walk up the stairs to my bedroom. I walk into the bathroom and turn on the bathtub. I open the medicine cabinet and grab the sleeping pills my mom gave to me to “calm down” a couple of weeks back. I take 5 pills and grab bring my lips to the faucet to swallow the pills two at a time. I take off my bathing suit and kimono. and hop into the bath.

I feel myself already about to drift off to sleep. This world is better without me in it. My mom doesn’t have to worry about me killing her or Charlie being mad at me for doing certain things that upset him. I am done being everyones punching bag and they won’t have to worry anymore.

Before I succumb to the darkness, I hear a loud scream and feel hands on my face. Before I wake, the darkness claims my consciousness and I’m unable to move anything. Now my thoughts too are drifting away into the dark.

*******

I don’t know if I’ll ever get over my past. It’s a part of me. It will always be apart of me. I fear that no matter where I run to in this world, I will never be able to move forward. Charlie has made his dent in my life. 6 years of my life has been wasted. 6 years of being thrown around like a rag doll and 13 years of being manipulated and controlled by my mother. It’s true I have attempted suicide and it wasn’t one of my proud moments, but I can’t dwell on anything anymore.

I try steadying my breathing by grasping the steering wheel. Once I feel myself growing calmer, I wipe my tears. Eventually, I get the strength to walk out my car, up my house steps and inside.

This is the start of something new. Yes, my past will always be with me, but Waterston is my fresh start.

No mom, no Charlie, just me and my new life.

The beginning of a new chapter in my life.

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