Loving Her

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(6) Absent

Absent;
not present in a place, at an occasion, or as part of something.

Skylar Stryker

“I can’t believe he did that to you!” Milan’s eyes widened as she processed my words.

Adam’s arm tightened around my shoulders as we stood near our lockers, waiting for first period to begin.

I nodded my head, “He said I need to know how to run his businesses when he retires.”

“I missed you for those two weeks, why couldn’t you text me?”

I force a smile as I answer, “I told you, the camp didn’t allow me to have my cellphone so that I can actually learn.”

Milan frowned but her attention was captured when Khaleb hugged her from behind. I released a silent sigh of relief and as Adam and Khaleb began talking, I sunk into my thoughts.

For two weeks I was at home healing from the horrible beating Adam gave me. Not only was I in terrible pain but I had to deal with my mom and dad arguing with me for displeasing Adam. I vividly remember my mother telling me that it was good Adam dealt with me while she took my electronics away from me.

Her words affected me more than I thought it would. How could a mother utter such words without even a blink of emotion?

My mind wondered to the image of Tate leaning against his car earlier. His muscular chest was hidden by a grey sweater and his strong thighs were encased in a pair of dark jeans.

He looked so handsome and I had missed seeing his face in the past few weeks. It was incredibly alarming how this man wouldn’t get out of my head, it was like he was burned into my brain.

Even though it had been two weeks, dark coloured bruises still stained my body. Hence the reason I wore such unrevealing clothing.

The bell ringing pulled me from the deep sea that was my thoughts. I was suddenly aware once more of Adam’s heavy arm around my shoulders.

“Let’s get to class.” Milan sighed as she began walking hand in hand with Khaleb.

Adam and I followed.

~

I sighed in frustration as I slam my locker closed. The halls were deserted as everyone had migrated outside for lunch. I was held back from my last class seeing as Mr. Becker, my chemistry teacher wanted to catch me up on the work I missed.

I heard the sound of a deep groan and of books crashing to the tiled floors. I spun around and my eyes widened at the scene.

There stood Tate with a hand pressed to his head and his books scattered all over the floor. Another pain filled groan left him and it sent my body into action. In an instant, I was striding towards him. He seemed oblivious to me standing in front of him so I placed a hand on his forearm, causing him to jerk back and his eyes to open.

“Are you okay?” I ask, ignoring the look of confusion that shone brightly in his beautiful eyes.

“I’m fine.” He mumbled out just before he tumbled forward.

My hand instantly shot out to catch him. I guided him to lean against the wall of lockers and he slid down it.

“This doesn’t look like you’re fine.” I comment, “What happened?”

He winced, “It’s nothing.”

I roll my eyes at his stubbornness, “Come on, I’ll get you to the nurse.”

“No.”

“You’re hurt, Tate, I need to get you to the nurse.”

“Why are you even helping me?” He bit out.

I paused, “Because you helped me.” My words came out in a whisper and it silenced Tate.

Then he reluctantly nodded.

Tate groaned as I helped him stand. I placed his arm around my shoulders and wrapped my arm around his waist only for him to swear loudly.

“I’m so sorry.” I flinch when his arm came into contact with my still hurting back.

Tate didn’t reply to my apology. After a minute of complete silence, then did Tate speak, “Why didn’t you come to school?” He asked as I helped him down the hallway.

I pulled my bottom lip into mouth, “I was at a camp learning for when I overtook my father’s business.” I felt a flutter of happiness in my chest that he noticed I wasn’t coming to school. Did that mean he looked for me?

“I saw you flinch.” His words were harsh and it had my heart quickening it’s pace.

“What do you mean?”

“You flinched when I put my arm around your shoulders.” I was beginning to have a mental breakdown. If Adam found out that I was with a guy alone, he would be pissed but if he found out that the guy found out that he beat me, he would be beyond furious.

Adam was deadly when he was angry. Nothing good ever came from it.

I couldn’t deny him seeing me flinch so I came up with the next best thing. “I fell at the camp, tripped on some logs. It’s nothing.”

Tate wasn’t allowed to speak as a moment later, we entered the nurse’s office. The nurse, Mrs. Peterson stood up the instant we barged into her office, her eyes were wide with concern.

“Skylar? What’s wrong?” Mrs. Peterson asked, rounding her desk and walking towards us.

“I don’t know, he was clutching his head and he almost fell over.” I responded.

“Okay, get him on the cot.” Together, we helped Tate onto the cot where he lay with a groan.

After making sure he was comfortable, Mrs. Peterson turned to me, “Thank you for getting him to me, you may return to lunch now, Ms. Stryker.”

“But-”

She shook her head with a small smile on her face, “Lunch is almost over, you should go before your friends get worried.”

I cast a glance at Tate who lay motionless on the cot before I reluctantly nodded my head and left the nurse’s office.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t stay with him. I wanted to make sure he was alright. I shook my head, I shouldn’t be having these types of thoughts. I could put Tate in danger.

Yet, apart of me longs to make sure Tate was alright.

I sighed before walking back to where I found Tate. When I got there, I picked up his textbooks and placed them into my locker so that I could give it back to him after.

After locking my locker, I lean against it and closed my eyes.

I just wished that the day was over.

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