I silently counted my steps as I kept my gaze latched onto my shoes that were barely holding on by a thread. The sun had nearly set, and Mason and I had spent the majority of the day finishing up on the project. He had been unusually quiet today, and didn’t seem like his usual cheery self. Peeking at him from the corner of my eye, I could see eye bags beneath his eyes, indicating that he hadn’t gotten much sleep. He seemed to be lost in his own thoughts as he stared blankly ahead of us.
There had been times at the library where I wanted to speak up and ask if he was alright, but I didn’t want to intrude. Besides, Mason didn’t seem like the type to openly discuss his feelings. Though he was friendly and often talkative, there was something that told me that even he was shielding his true emotions.
Shoving my hands into the pocket of my jacket, I diverted my attention to the changing colors in the sky. Orange mixed with soft hues of yellow took refuge in the sky, and I couldn’t help but be in awe of it’s beauty.
Despite the fact that the world was littered with evil, there was no denying that the world itself still retained it’s beauty, regardless of all the abuse it had receives by it’s occupants.
As I saw my dorm building come into view, I let out a quiet sigh of relief. Although I was appreciative that Mason had insisted on walking me back, walking in silence was agonizing. Slowing to a stop in front of the double doors, I turned towards Mason with a small smile occupying my lips. I watched as he attempted to smile back at me before quickly looking away. I felt a nagging voice in the back of my mind speak up as I furrowed my brows at Mason’s behavior.
Had I done something wrong?
I felt my heart drop as another suggestion came to mind.
Had Mason discovered the truth about Rick and I?
That coldly possibly be true. He wasn’t even from the same area that I came from, and something told me that he would’ve spoken up if he knew something.
Maybe he just didn’t want to be friends with me anymore.
I could feel a sinking feeling in my chest at the thought. I had only realized now, that maybe our friendship wasn’t so bad after all.
After feeling invisible for years, I felt noticed by Mason.
He had been one of the first people, besides Isla to actually make the effort to get to know me. Softly clearing my throat to get Mason’s attention, I decided to speak up, “Are you okay?” I softly asked as I watched his eyebrows slightly raise. He stared at me for a brief moment before a smile enveloped his face.
“Yeah, of course. I just didn’t get much sleep much last night.” He offered as an explanation as he continued smiling at me. Returning his smile with one of my own, I slowly nodded my head. Though he wore a massive smile on his face, I could tell he was deflecting. His eyes indicated that he wasn’t telling the truth, but I decided to let it go knowing that it probably wouldn’t get me anywhere.
“Well, I hope you sleep better tonight. Thank you for walking me home, Mason.” I said with a small wave before making my way into the building. He flashed me another smile before turning and heading the opposite direction to his building.
I had barely stepped into the warm building when a voice spoke up from behind me.
“How was the carnival?” Roman questioned as I let out a soft gasp. Turning quickly, I looked towards the direction where Mason headed and let out a sigh of relief as I realized that he was no longer in our vicinity.
Looking up, I locked eyes with an irritated Roman who was dressed in a dark hoodie along with black pants. His hands were shoved in the pocket of his jeans, and he had his hood up.
“How many times have I told you that you’re playing with fire here? Doing these little activities, going out with your friends is risky. It will eventually get back to Rick, whether or not it comes from me.” Roman warned as I felt my stomach drop at his words. These past couple days had been nothing short of a dream, but every dream came to an end at some point. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, Roman was right. I’d be foolish to think that Roman was the only person assigned to watch me.
Rick knew better than to do that.
He was calculated, always anticipating the next move.
“I know.” I whispered as I pushed my hair behind my ear.
Silence enveloped us as darkness consumed the sky. it was getting late, and there was only ever one reason why Roman came around this late.
Rick had summoned him to get me.
I could feel my heart beat accelerate at the thought of coming face to face with Rick again. It had been nearly two weeks since I had last seen him, and I wasn’t prepared about what to expect.
Staring up at Roman, I knew he could see the question lingering in my eyes as he let out a sigh and spoke up, “He asked me to bring you.” Roman confirmed as I tightly shut my eyes. Regardless of whether or not Rick knew anything, if there was one thing I knew about him, it was that he didn’t need a reason to justify what he wanted to do to me.
Inflicting pain on me was something he just felt I deserved, regardless of my behavior.
Nodding my head, I followed Roman towards the back of the parking lot where his car was parked. Quickly settling into the passenger seat, I silently buckled my seatbelt as I tried to calm my nerves. I tried to remind myself that there was no point in overthinking what was to come. I had experienced it all before, and at one point in my life, Rick’s verbal and physical abuse had become a part of my daily routine.
Sliding into the drivers seat, Roman placed the key into the ignition and began the car as he turned onto the main road. The car ride was brief and silent as Roman made his way to another unknown location, different from the last one we had been to. Parking in front of what appeared to be an abandoned building, he shut off his car and turned to face me. I could tell that he wanted to say something, but refrained against it as he took the key out of the ignition. Even though he didn’t say anything, I could see exactly what he wanted to say though his dark orbs.
There was hell to pay inside.
And I’d be at the receiving end of it.
Letting out a deep breath, I followed Roman inside the dark building. A strong smell wafted my nose as we walked past various of Rick’s men. Many were just lounging around drinking, but others were counting cash and sorting through drug shipments. A couple of the men hollered greetings to Roman, but he ignored them as he headed up a flight of stairs. Following behind him, we made out way to the second floor before turning into a narrow hallway and stopping in front of a closed door. Clenching my fists at my side, I braced myself for what was to come as Roman knocked on the door. We waited for a few agonizing seconds, before finally hearing a muffled, ‘come in.’
Roman stepped in first, and I followed as I kept my gaze firm on the floor. I could feel Rick’s gaze burning holes through me as Roman spoke up, “Sir, Isabella.” Roman informed as I heard silence from Rick’s end, before he finally spoke up.
“Thank you son, that’ll be all for you today. Shut the door on your way out.” Rick quickly dismissed. I could feel my heart drop at the realization that Roman would be leaving, and I would be left alone with Rick. I watched from the corner of my eye as Roman glanced at me with an unknown look clouding his eyes, before nodding his head and heading out.
I could feel my body trembling as the door clicked shut and Rick stood from his seat.
It’s okay, Isabella, you’ve gotten through this before. You can do it again.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it...daughter.” Rick lowly said as I remained silent. I didn’t know what to expect, but judging by the edge in his tone, I knew that I would be on the receiving end of his wrath.
“It seems like in the time I haven’t seen you, you’ve decided to bend my rules.” He venomously said as he stepped closer to me. I could feel my nails digging into my palms at how tightly I was clenching my fists in fear. Keeping my gaze firm on the floor, I anticipated his next move as I tightly bit my lip.
“Look at me!” He roared angrily as he slammed his fist into my abdomen. Collapsing onto the hard floor, I let out a loud gasp as pain spread throughout my body. I could feel tears blurring my vision as I reluctantly looked up at him.
Disgust and anger clouded his features as he breathed heavily from above me, “You think that you can just go off to that school and defy me?!” He yelled from above me as I remained silent and held my hand against my throbbing side.
“Answer me!” He screamed as his boot came down and slammed into me once again. I could feel the wind get knocked from me as he continued to kick my body as if it was a soccer ball.
I could feel hot tears leaking down my face as I whispered, “No.”
Through tear stricken eyes, I watched as he kneeled down, a sickly sweet smile plastered on his face. Roughly grabbing my chin in his hands, he tightly held my face and brought it closer to his as he lowered his voice, “You will always belong to me, Isabella. You will never be free. Remember that.” He warned before shoving my face away from his, my body slamming against the floor once again at the force of his push. I watched through blurred vision as he stalked out of the room as the door rattled loudly.
Laying still on the frigid floor, I silently let the tears drop as I allowed my body to grow accustomed to the pain, as my thoughts from earlier this evening rang through my mind.
To others the world may be beautiful, but for me it was tainted with misery and darkness.
I somehow managed to find some time to squeeze in an update in between studying for midterms and preparing for my birthday this weekend.
This was definitely a darker chapter, but I hope you all enjoyed it.
Stay tuned for the next update!