I was sitting on a big bed in a large bedroom, which was Julian’s. He told me to wait for a bit then got out of the room and hasn’t come back since. Will he hurt me like Raymond? I can not trust men. Yeah, he saved me from him, but I couldn’t help but feel insecure. I was in a house that was full of males. They could be like Raymond, he was nice at the beginning. But turned out to be the cruel mad wolf who was so abusive and vicious.
They are waiting for the perfect moment to beat me up. They want to gain my trust first. I can’t let my guard down. I won’t let my guard down. I was cut off from my thoughts by Julian’s knocking, on his door. He didn’t have to knock.
" Stella, can I come? ” He asked in a soft and polite tone.
Yet all of my insecurities, I felt that I belonged here. ” Yeah ” I replied in a quiet tone. Why did he call me ‘mine’?
He entered with a tray that was filled with food. The smell was amazingly good. It was mouthwatering and felt that my stomach demanding for food. ” Here you go ” he handed me the tray and I stared at him. Why would he give me food?
" Why? ” I found myself asking, confused at his action, his nice action.
" Because you need it, and you’re so skinny. You need to eat to be healthier, Stella ” He explained with a sincere smile. I just loved how my name rolled over his tongue. But my stomach decided that it was the perfect timing to growl.
So I nodded feeling embarrassed at myself. ” Thank you ” I whispered then began eating and savoring the heavenly flavors.
" You’re more than welcome, and I looked for some clothes for you to wear but found none of your sizes, you’re too small and there are no female clothes here. Do you mind if you wear my shirt? it’s big and will cover you up ” he asked looking at the floor with a little blush on his cheeks. He was sweet.
" I don’t mind, thank you, Julian, ” I said and he showed me his million dollars smile. That made his dimple more obvious and more adorable.
" Great, now eat while I prepare the shower, you need it to relax. ” he pointed out at my body.
I shook my head lightly. ” Oh no you don’t have to, I’ll just eat this then take my leave ” As soon as I said that he was right in front of my eyes.Wow, he was fast.
I looked into his fascinating honey eyes and saw hurt and sadness and it hurt me that I was the cause of it. ” You don’t have to leave, you could stay here, always” he countered and raised his hand. For a second, I thought he was going to hit me, so I flinched and closed my eyes waiting for the blow. But it never came. ” Stella, open your eyes ” he demanded in a calm tone. I opened them slowly. He was frowning and it killed me to see him like that. Why? He arched his eyebrows at me. ” You thought I was going to hit you? ” He asked in a broken voice.
I nodded feeling a bit scared of his reaction. ” Y-yeah ”
He put his hands on both of my shoulders and sighed. ” Stella, I wasn’t, wouldn’t and won’t ever hit you. Don’t even think of that, I will never lay a hand on you in a bad way, I’d rather die than do that ” he replied genuinely. ” But why did you flinch like that? Was your brother the cause? ” he asked and I felt like an arrow made its way through my fragile, tired heart.
I remained silent.
" Stella ” Julian held my hands and squeezed them gently.” You could tell me, I’ll listen ”
I looked at him, unsure and frightened.” but he w-will come after m-me ” I stuttered with fear remembering all the physical and verbal abuse.
He rubbed his thumbs on my knuckles. ” No, he won’t. I won’t let him lay a hand on you ever. Tell me after you take your shower, okay? ” he whispered and I nodded uncontrollably.
What was wrong with me? It was like I couldn’t resist him!
I finished eating my food which was so good, then hopped into the bathtub. I missed this feeling, the warmth, and the relaxed body sensation. All these years, I haven’t taken this long shower, the maximum time I was allowed for was 4 minutes, and I was not bluffing. Raymond used to stand by my bathroom door and wait 4 whole minutes, after that he would turn off the lights and made me change in the dark, cold and scary bathroom.
I was brought back to reality by a knock on the door. ” Stella, are you okay there? ” Julian worried voice echoed in my ears.
I stood up, grabbed the towel and warped it around my small body. My bruised body.” Yes, how long have I been in here? ” I asked looking for the clothes that I was supposed to wear.
" An hour and your clothes are on the bed. I’ll leave you to change ” he replied and I smiled. He was a gentleman.
" Thank you ” I said then heard the door open then close again and he was out. I opened the bathroom door and my eyes were set on the clothes on the bed. I walked to them and made sure that no one was in the room then let the towel fall to the floor.
I grabbed the new boxers and pulled it to my hips, it was a little loose but okay. I grabbed the shirt and was about to put it on me when the door was wide open. I just froze facing the other way. Facing the white closet.
" Oh my God, I’m s-so sorry Stella. I thought you finished and I was looking for my phone, em, uh s-sorry ” Julian apologized and I nodded.
“That’s okay but can you, um, get out until... I put on the shirt, please? ” I asked in the politest way possible. I didn’t to sound rude in his house.
" Sur- wait... what are those? ” As Julian asked, I felt his cold hand on my bare back.
I didn’t turn so my front won’t be exposed to his eyes ” What? ” I panicked shifting in my place.
" The scars ” he stated in a firm tone and I sighed in agony.
" I’ll tell you, but please let me wear this shirt first ” I pleaded and he was out of the room without any other word. I put on the shirt which reached to my mid-thighs and so the boxers weren’t visible. I played with my hair a bit so it won’t look like a nest when it becomes dry.
When I was finished, I opened the door to call for Julian and tell him that it was safe to enter but I found him right in front of me, waiting eagerly. ” Can we talk now? ” He asked and I gave him a little nod and let him in his room. We sat on his bed across from each other crisscrossed.
“So, it all began 9 years ago” I said and looked at Julian who was listening carefully. I mean, Raymond was not here to beat the crap out of me if I tell. besides, Julian seems kind so far, even if I told him my rough past he can’t do anything except listen. Why would he even do anything for me? I was just an abused 18 years old Stella, nothing was special about me.
" We were a happy family, me, mom, dad and Raymond. Everything was perfect until one fateful night that changed my life entirely. My parents were on a vacation in Brazil, they were sending us pictures and videos saying that they missed us. We couldn’t go because I had acrophobia, I was afraid of heights and Raymond had work to do.” I stopped for a second then continued.
“When their trip was over, they got on the plane, but that plane got hijacked by terrorists who wanted a lot of money and ransom. The terrorists got mad at some point and they started shooting all over the plane, and the bullets broke 4 windows which cause a lot of air pressure and the pilot lost control over the plane and it went down. It crashed on some small island. After a day, they found it and found that 17 passengers survived but... My parents weren’t one of them. ” I explained with tears forming in my weary eyes. I didn’t have the power to cry. I was too tired. I looked at Julian’s eyes and saw hurt, pity, sadness and anger.
He opened his mouth to speak but decided against it. ” Tell me, Julian ” I whispered and he sighed while rubbing the back of his neck.
" I’m very sorry. I know that saying sorry won’t get them back but you are strong and alive. I have a question though! ” he said and I nodded for him to keep talking. ” How did you know what happened in details? did you ask the 17 passengers who survived ? ” he asked.
" Yes we did, in addition to that, we found a video tap in my parents’ luggage. Everything was filmed and recorded, from the take off until the crash. It was horrible seeing everything with your own eyes ” I replied gazing at my palms that were on my lap and played with my fingers.
" That must have been hard watching it, watching them ” he stated and I nodded remembering the good old days with them.
" What happened after they were gone? You and Raymond? ” he asked again and I had no other choice but to answer.
I fixed my gaze to look at him. ” Well, we were very depressed about it, but we saw that it was not good to continue mourning over them forever, we had to move on. Raymond was my legal guardian, he still is. He treated me nicely and did his job as a caring loving brother, but suddenly, one day he came home drunk, like in all cliché movies that didn’t end well. Once he saw me that night... He hit me then slapped me hard on the face. I was too young to understand what was happening back then, so I thought that it was just because he was drunk and it was a one-time thing ” I stopped to take a deep breath, then I saw that Julian was pissed at what was he hearing.
He asked for it.
" I was wrong, so wrong. The beating didn’t stop until this very day. When I asked him why he told me that I made his life like hell and it was all my fault, I didn’t know what was he talking about. Today, he told me that he sold my body to some of his ‘friends’ and he told me that I have to please them, that’s why I broke into your house. I’m sorry about that by the way ” I smiled at him feeling the burden that I put on his shoulders. He looked super mad but then softened when he saw my smile.
" No, I’m glad you did that because I got to meet you, don’t worry about it and you will stay here, we have plenty of rooms here, you are welcomed by everyone ” He replied and I just smiled at his kindness. I made a new friend. A friend who knows about my suffering.
" Thank you ” I whispered again feeling the sleep pushing it’s way to my weary eyes, that were begging for me to close them. I took one last glance at Julian then darkness dominated my whole vision.
As I was watching the tv on my comfortable couch in the warm living room, I heard the main door close. I got up and saw my dear brother. " Raymond, Raymond, listen to my story for today. So me and my friend were playing with the ball then some meanie boy came to us and took the ball, we tried to take it back but he hit my friend so I got angry and punched him in the face and and.... ” as I was ranting none stop, I felt a sting on my cheek. I looked up and saw Raymond, holding a bottle of alcohol looking like a madman. He slapped me.
I placed my palm on my red cheek and felt the pain. ” R-Raymond?” I was dumbfounded by his sudden action.
" You selfish bitch, it’s all because of you. And it’s always you. I hate you, you stinky little brat ” he yelled with hiccups.
I felt the fear run in every inch of my small 9 years old body. ” W-what d-did I do? ” I asked, stuttering from the terror and fright. He didn’t answer me, instead, he swung his big fist to my small face. It was a painful blow. I didn’t know what was happening, that’s why I ran to my room, crying my heart out.
" Mommy, daddy, I need you with me. Raymond is acting funny, why? ” I whispered looking at the sky from my window room.
As I closed my eyes and opened them again I found myself in a man’s arms. Julian’s arms. What? Since when?