I wake up the next morning in my bed, my covers drawn up to my chin. The sun is shining through the flimsy curtains that are meant to protect me from the light at such an early hour.
As I sit up in my bed, I notice I’m naked under the sheets. Realisation dawns on me. Simon must have carried me into my room after he’d finished. My room was still a mess, apart from my bed. A sick feeling rises in my throat when I remember that all my money was gone. I have nothing now. It’s only a matter of time before my mother found out, if she hasn’t already.
I slowly stand up, careful to not put too much pressure on my leg. I look down and I see a bandage wrapped around my thigh, the blood staining the filthy cloth. This was his game. He would stab me, punch me and hurt me, and then he would make sure it would heal fast for his next shot. My entire body is aching, and I try to carefully balance myself against my bedpost.
You might be wondering why I hate my mother if all of this was done only by Simon. But she’s the one who gave him permission to do this to me. To take advantage of me. I never wanted my virginity to be taken like this. I’d dreamed about giving it to the person I loved, the person who I would give all of myself to. But my mother took that leisure from me and gave it to Simon. A bastard, perverted person she says that ‘loves’ the both of us. And I hate them both for it.
I quickly cover up and make my slow descent downstairs, ready to make breakfast. I usually wake up an hour before they do so I can cook and finish in the kitchen before they come down. I rush around the kitchen, pulling out some eggs, bread and the toaster. I need to catch up on some work before university because I’ve fallen so far behind already that I’m not understanding anything in class right now. So I decided to make scrambled eggs. Easy yet delicious. They won’t mind, as long as there’s food.
Once I’ve finished cooking, I go upstairs to do some work. Luckily, university is quite different from highschool, in the way that teachers aren’t chasing you down for homework and due projects. But I guess that can also be a bad thing, like in my situation. Without that little push, I haven’t exactly stayed on task.
I finish as much as I can in about half an hour, and I stand up to go have a shower. I grab some underwear from the mess on the floor, and I pick out a pair of high-waisted blue skinny jeans and a baby pink tank top, with a long sleeve floral print cardigan to go over it. I kind of get sick of wearing long sleeve shirts all the time, but I can’t have anyone asking questions. I’d get in trouble. I decide I’ll clean the mess up after school, as I rush to the bathroom.
While I’m in the shower, I ponder over what happened yesterday. Simon found the money. And he punished me for it. But I knew that it would be nothing compared to what my mum would do. She might not rape me, but she has her ways. Ways I’d rather not come across. I could only hope Simon hadn’t told her about it yet. But I had a sinking feeling in my already hollow heart that, that I would find out soon.
When I realise that I don’t have a lot of time until school starts, I jump out, put my clothes and concealer on, and rush out. I grab my bag and leave the house as quietly as possible, forgetting about the pain in my leg for just a moment, until I stop to catch my breath, the pain coming back. I lean against a pole next to me, pain shooting through my body. I try to stand on my own, but I stumble, coming close to falling face down on the sidewalk. I look around to see if anyone was around to help me, but the street was deserted. I was alone.
I limp across the street to the park. I hadn’t been to it for a long time. The last time I went was on my way home from school three years ago. I’d stayed there for so long, enchanted by all the kids running around, without a care in the world. I’d watched a little boy fall down and scrape his knee, his mother and father rushing to help him, fussing over him as if his life was ending right there. I had known from then that that life, was something I would never have. I knew I would never have a stable family, one that loved me and cherished me like that. When I had finally gone home, punishment awaited me. That was the day Simon took my virginity. The worst day of my horrible life.
I sit on a lonely bench beneath an old, wilting tree, staring out at nothing as I slowly swing my legs back and forth. I don’t realise exactly how long I was sitting there, until I look up and see the orange sky. I was meant to be home over two hours ago. Shit. I curse myself internally as I realise that the trip home would take me forever as well, seeing as my leg didn’t feel any better than before. I can feel it swelling up and the bandage straining around the wound, trying to contain the blood. I come to the conclusion that it would be at least another half hour before I get home.
The walk is long and hard as I try to go as fast as possible without putting pressure on my leg. It’s already dark, and the houses are all lit up, no doubt everyone was having dinner.
I reach the house, and quietly let myself in. I try to make my way up the stairs without getting caught, when my mother comes out of her room, smirking at me as she watches me try to climb the stairs, my legs shaking under the pressure and my forehead covered in pesperation.
“Where have you been? It’s seven o’clock and you just arrive home now. Where were you?” She fires questions at me, expecting me to answer, but when I don’t, the smirk is gone, and replaced with a scowl.
“ANSWER ME YOU DISGUSTING SLUT! WHERE WERE YOU?!”
I suck in a deep breath and put on my straight face, trying to hide the fact that I’m lying. “I was at uni the whole day mom. It just took some time to walk to and back from school.”
She looked at me with anger in her eyes, and I knew something was wrong. “Really? Is that so? Then why did I think I saw you at the park this morning when I drove past to do some shopping? Huh?”
My mouth suddenly feels dry, as if I had rubbed sandpaper all over the inside of my mouth. Shit. Today was shopping day. How can I have been so stupid?!
“Oh, and while we’re talking about recent issues, Simon informed me that you’ve been hiding twenty thousand dollars in your wall. From me. Where did you get it?”
“I TOLD YOU, IT’S MINE! I NEVER STOLE FROM ANYONE, I SWEAR! IT’S MINE!” My sudden outburst takes her by surprise, then she says calmly,“Don’t you dare speak to me like that. Get to your room. And don’t come out.”
“No, I’m not going to do what you tell me anymore”, I say angrily. I stand in front of her, crossing my arms over my chest and staring at her outraged face. I don’t know where the sudden bout of confidence had come from, but I really am tired. Tired of being abused. Raped. Hurt. Enough was enough.
I don’t think my mother appreciated my little display of courage, because she stomps her way into her room, and I hear shuffling about in there, before she emerges from the doorway, a whip in her hand. She raises her hand and strikes me, earning a scream from me as I fall to my knees in pain. I try to stay balanced on the staircase, because the last thing I need is to get a damn concussion as well. She stands over me as she continues to lay all her anger out on my back, screaming at me between every strike.
“You are a disgusting...slutty excuse for a daughter...and I don’t want to see your face anymore! Leave this house...and never come back! Or I will kill right where you are! GO!”
I can feel the blood flowing from my back as I crawl across the hall to my bedroom, in too much pain to stand. I gather what I can into my bag, shoving a few pairs of clothes in, my concealer, hairbrush and my toothbrush. I still have those two bank notes from the day before stuffed inside it already. I use my dresser as support as I try to stand. I can’t exactly crawl on the streets can I?
I limp down the stairs, and to the front door. I stuff my pair of vans into my bag, and I leave the house, my spare key sitting on the kitchen counter. I won’t come back here even if it is my only option. No matter where I end up, nothing can be as bad as what I’ve suffered all these years. Nothing.
I stagger down the street, in too much pain to think about where to go. To a passer by, I probably look like a drunk person trying to find their way home. I walk around a corner, and I stopp when I see what’s happening.
There is a group of loud men and young guys, standing in a circle as two of them throw punches and kicks at each other. I walk closer to see who is fighting, and I gasp out in shock.
Jace is standing in the middle, a bloody nose and a messed up face, his shoulders hunched and his fists up, a smirk on his face as he watches his opponent advance. I have to help him somehow. So I do the only thing that seems logical.
“JACE WATCH OUT!” I yell out to him as the guy swings a fist at him, trying to take him by surprise. It works. As Jace turns in my direction, his opponent punches him square in the jaw. Jace flies in the opposite direction, his body crashing to the ground and going limp. People make room for me as I push my way over to him, kneeling down beside him as I look over the destruction wreaked on his face. I can hear them all gasping and whispering behind me, but right now, I don’t care. All I care about is Jace.
“Jade, what...are you....doing here?” His words come out broken and hoarse, as he stares up at me in confusion.
“Me? What about you? Why are you here fighting with these people?” I can’t understand why he is on this side of the neighbourhood anyway. He’d told me he lived on the other side, thirty minutes away from my area.
“Look, it doesn’t matter. Okay? Just, you need to get out of here. Now,” he says seriously. I’ve never seen him this serious before, and it sort of scares me.
I try to help him up, but my back suddenly spasms, reminding me of the painful beating i received not ten minutes ago. I scream out in pain and crumple into his chest, bringing him down with me. He looks over at my back, and he growls. He growls! What the heck?
“WHO DID THIS TO YOU?! WHO?!” His anger is radiating off him in waves, and I don’t like it.
“No-one Jace. It’s fine. Let’s just go.”
I try to stand up, but instead he picks me up and carries me, looking around at everyone gathered around us. His electric blue eyes stand out in the dark, as he looks at his opponent. I watch in facination as his eyes dull a bit, and his stance freezes, as if he is being mind controlled. He is staring at the other guy, and the other guy is staring right back at him.
What in the world is happening?
I look at the other guy closely. Then, I suck in a breath. This guy is hot. He has almost black hair, which glows under the lamp light, and deep, electric blue eyes that instantly has my attention. His body is deliciously muscular and hard as rock, and tanned to perfection. As if he feels my gaze on him, his blue orbs meet my green ones, and he smirks, checking me out in turn. But his smirk turns into a scowl as he spots the wounds on my arms and back. I’d forgotten to grab my jacket as I was leaving the house. Too late now. The damage is done.
He stalks over to us, looking down at me from in Jace’s arms. He growls out in his deep, suave voice,“Who the fuck did this to you?”
I’m taken aback by his possessiveness, seeing as he doesn’t even know me. I look up at him, and I get a strange feeling in my chest. Although it’s very faint, I feel my heartbeat pick up just a little bit, my chest suddenly feeling a little warmer. But I quickly shake the feeling from my chest as I whisper my deepest secret to the both of them,“My mother and Simon.”
Jace tightens his grip on me to the point that it causes me pain in my back, and I whimper in pain. The mystery guy growls out at Jace, and Jace bows his head, as if submitting to the guy. I furrow my eyebrows in confusion at their strange behaviour. They are acting like animals.
“You’re hurting her! Give her to me,” he says angrily. My eyes widen as Jace gently lays me in the strange man’s arms. I struggle as I try to get out of his arms, but he growls out again as if trying to quieten me. My eyes widen and I panic, ready to fall out of his arms if it would get me away from him.
He is a complete stranger and I’m in his arms. And despite my aching back and tired body, I look up at him and whisper, “Please put me down. Please.”
The man looks down at me with pursed lips and furrowed brows. If I had to guess, I would say he even looked...hurt.
“Alright. Jace will hold you for now,” he agreed at last. He gently hands me back to Jace, his eyes never leaving mine. And as much as I want to look away, mine stay glued to his as well.
The minute Jace’s arms are around me again, I finally let my body relax. And that’s when tiredness kicks in. I smile up at Jace and yawn widely, my eyelids drooping.
Jace smiles sadly and mumbles,“Sleep. I promise I’ll look after you.”
And as I drop off, the last thing I hear is one word, whispered by that same delicious voice.