Once Blake is calm enough, we go to the detention. Ms Wells is surprised to see me at first, but once she catches the sight of my hand entwined with Blake’s, she just smiles at me, gesturing for us to take a seat. I’m grateful she doesn’t separate us, since I think Blake doesn’t want to be alone.
The whole situation with his dad is confusing to me, but I don’t ask questions. It’s between him and his dad. I haven’t had anyone berate me for anything for the last few years, so I don’t exactly understand how serious it is. But judging by Blake’s reaction, I’m guessing Jared is a force to be reckoned with. Which is why I won't leave him alone. Not when he's so... vulnerable.
The hour in detention is over before I know it. I’ve spent the whole time here holding Blake’s hand, with his head on my shoulder as he kept drawing unintelligible patterns on the back of my hand with his finger. Ms Wells has pretty much ignored us, entrusting Blake to me completely and concentrating on the other students she purposefully put in the front seats, and for that thoughtfulness I thank her as we leave the classroom. She wishes us a good day, smiling gently at me. I’ve always been aware of her fondness of me. She’s made it pretty clear that she likes me after I went to her to talk about stuff that wasn’t yet discussed in her class. She was impressed with how far ahead of the program I was. Ever since then, she’s made it a well known fact that she favors me.
Blake hasn’t let go of me even once during the trip to my car. I already texted William and Tyler, asking them to pick up Blake’s car from school’s parking lot. They immediately agreed. I see them waiting next to Blake’s Mustang as we walk out of the school.
“Where are your car keys?” I softly ask Blake as we near my car.
He wordlessly digs into the front pocket of his jeans and hands me his keys. I unlock my car and let Blake get in. I’m getting slightly worried now. He’s been listless ever since the detention started, completely lost in his thoughts. But when I offered to actually take him there on a different day, he only shook his head in refusal.
“Wait here for a moment, okay?” He leans his head on the headrest as he relaxes in the passenger seat in my car.
I quickly approach William and Tyler, who’ve been watching us with concern etched on their faces.
“Take care of him. Please.” William pleads as I hand him the keys to Blake’s car.
“I will. Can you bring his car to his house later? I’ll drive you back.”
“I’ll go with him. You take care of Blake. Please, little one.” Tyler adds, giving me a hug that I for once don’t resist. All three of them are on edge, as though they know something I don’t.
“Don’t worry, it’ll be okay. I’ll take care of everything.” I pat Tyler’s back. He squeezes me for one last time before letting me go and I bid my goodbyes as I head back to my car.
The guys leave before I even reach it. They just up and left! Unbelievable.
I put my backpack in the backseat then get in. As I put the key in the ignition, I hear the seatbelt alert. I look to Blake, only to see him lean against the seat with his eyes closed. I lean towards the seatbelt, placing it around him and buckling him in. He opens his eyes and looks at me with a small smile on his face.
“You’re so good to me, sweetheart.” He croaks.
“I’m a great girlfriend, aren’t I, Cakey?” I try to get him to relax. It works, as his smile gets a little wider.
After I turn on the engine and put the car in drive, I take Blake’s hand, like he’s done to me countless times before, then put our joined hands in my lap as I drive. I remember his address from my last visit to his house, and fortunately I know the town well enough to reach there from school without the help of my GPS.
The closer we get to his house, the tenser his hand gets in mine. I start rubbing circles on the back of his hand the same way he’s done to me, hoping that it has the same calming effect on him as it had on me.
He stops the movement of my thumb by lacing our fingers and pulling my hand towards his lips, leaving a delicate kiss on my knuckles. Then he places both our hands in his lap, again drawing patterns with his free hand.
“Whatever happens there, please don’t leave.” I almost don’t hear him as he speaks so quietly.
“I won’t.” I promise. I couldn't possibly leave him like this.
Once we arrive to Blake’s house, I can tell he is still not ready to confront his dad. He keeps taking deep breaths as if to calm down, but it doesn’t seem to work. I help him unbuckle then leave the car, going to his side. Once I open the door I crouch next to Blake, the open door providing cover for me.
With a gentle grip on Blake’s arm, I get his attention on me.
“It’ll be fine. If anything goes wrong, I’ll handle it, okay? I’m here with you, yeah? You have me to help you. There’s no need to be worried. I’ll take care of everything.” I try to reassure him as much as I can. I don’t know what to expect, but I will try to handle anything that comes my way.
Blake turns in his seat, putting his feet on the ground as he leans down and presses his forehead to mine, cupping my cheeks.
“Even you might not be able to help this time.”
“Have some faith in me, Cakey.” I poke his cheek, feeling relieved when I see that gorgeous smile on his face again. He has a beautiful smile.
Once we reach the front door, Blake opens it still keeping a tight hold on my hand. I manage to stop Blake long enough to take off my shoes before going further into the house with him. We find Jared and Sam in the living room, clearly waiting for Blake. But what surprises me is the sight of two big suitcases next to the couch they’re sitting on. I greet them with a nod of my head, getting one from each of them in response.
“Blake, I think it’s best to leave Lia out of this. This matter does not concern her.” Jared states.
“Yes it does and she will stay here.” For once his voice sounds strong and determined.
He pulls me with him to the couch in front of his parents, pulling me extremely close to him, clutching my hand in his as he addresses his parents.
Jared is the first to talk.
“I’ve put my faith in you, son. For a moment there I thought you’ve finally changed your ways. I thought you finally realized your mistakes and decided to make amends. I believed this until I got that damn call from your school describing how you’ve acted at school, during class nonetheless, and that you’re being punished for it. How am I supposed to react to that? How do I trust you again? You’ve failed me, son. Again. You can say your goodbyes to Lia and your friends. You’re leaving to Montana the first thing in the morning. Your mother already packed your bags. We got everything ready and I will personally drive you to the airport.” I sit there stunned. That’s why Blake reacted like that. The juvie in Montana. The very reason we’re ‘dating’ to begin with.
I feel Blake’s hand tighten around mine. I give him a reassuring squeeze back.
“Mr Knight, I would like to ask you to reconsider. The school year ends in couple of months. Is there really need for you to go to such lengths with Blake’s punishment?”
“You don’t understand Lia, we’ve told him countless times to change his ways. The juvenile center is our last try. But out of my sympathy towards you, I’ll talk to the principal there to allow you to contact him.”
“What if he acted this way because of me?”
“What do you mean by that?” I can tell Jared does not like what he’s hearing.
“What has the school told you?” I ask, wanting to know how much damage control I have to do.
“They told me he almost attacked his classmate after screaming obscenities at him.” I nod in understanding.
I turn to Blake, only to see him lean his elbows on his knees as he trembles with silent sobs.
“Baby, do you still have the notes from Ms Wells’ class? The ones I got?”
He looks up to me, his watery and red eyes stare at me in confusion. A quick squeeze of his hand pulls him from his stupor, as he croaks a quiet “yeah”.
“Give them to me, baby. All of them.” I softly tell him, watching in silence as he listens to me and hands me a bunch of small pieces of paper that he snatched from my desk.
I place the notes on the coffee table between the Knights and me, turning them around so that Jared and Sam can read them.
I wait for their questions as they go over the contents of the notes, the sick, perverted and revolting notes I received during class.
Sam gasps in shock, putting a hand over her mouth, and Jared looks ready to murder someone. He turns to Blake with inquisitive look in his face.
“If you tell me you wrote those, I-” I interrupt him.
“No. No, no, no.” I vehemently shake my head at them. “Blake did not write them. The student he supposedly attacked wrote them.” I take a deep breath before talking.
“We were sitting next to each other in Ms Wells’ class, as we take that course together. William and Tyler were sitting behind us, leaving the seats in front of us empty. The student that sat there is someone I used to know. He’s made his intentions towards me pretty clear 3 years ago, but I didn’t think he would transfer here. He’s been bothering me during class, giving me the notes you can see in front of you, and constantly turning around in his seat to stare at me. I find him extremely creepy, and so does Blake. When I came back to school yesterday, I found out about him coming to our school. Blake and few other people have told me that ever since he transferred here, he’s been creeping around the school, seemingly looking for something, or someone.”
“He found who he was looking for. I warned him to back off, but after seeing those fucking notes I just saw red! You can’t blame me for wanting to wipe the floor with his fucking face! What if mom received something like this? Wouldn’t you react the same way?!” Blake continues after me.
Both of Blake’s parents look from me to him then back to the vile notes laid out in front of them.
“I would.” Jared says with pure fury in his voice. Did I screw up? “Of course I fucking would! The fucker would be dead!!!” He glares at the notes in front of him, reading them again and again.
“I’m so sorry, sweetie.” Sam starts sobbing uncontrollably, covering her face in her husband’s shoulder as he embraces her.
“I will cancel your trip to Montana.” Jared states as he gets up, ready to leave. Blake’s whole body sags with relief, but I feel nowhere near satisfied.
“Jared?” I catch his attention.
“Yes?” He asks, as Sam leaves the room, crying.
I stand up from the couch before I speak.
“If you find my words rude, that’s fine, but I would like for you to apologize to Blake. You’ve decided to send him away before even hearing his side of the story, immediately assuming he’s guilty of whatever he got accused of. I know it’s probably not my place to say it, but I think that as a father you should have more faith in your son, in values you’ve instilled in him during his upbringing. He’s your son, your flesh and blood, but you consciously choose to believe a stranger instead of him, abandoning him in his time of need.” I don’t even realize I’m crying at the end of my rant until Blake turns my face towards him, wiping the moisture off my cheeks. He crushes me to his chest, stroking my hair as I cry into his shirt. This whole thing hits too close to home. I remember my own parents’ abandonment. Seeing Jared so ready to just get rid of Blake reminded me of my own past.
“I’m so sorry son. I never meant to abandon you. That was never my intention.” I still hear Jared apologize, his voice breaking with emotion.
“Let’s get you to bed, hmm?” Blake suggests, picking me up bridal style, earning a half-hearted glare from me.
“I can walk.” I tell him. It’s already embarrassing enough for me to break down like that, but carrying me is just plain humiliating. I’m not weak.
“Let me carry you, it’s the least I can do for you.”
He takes me to his room, kicking the door shut behind him. After putting me on his bed, he goes to his closet. I don’t miss how his mood seems better. I sit on the edge on the bed as he hands me clothes.
“You can take a shower and go to bed. Your stuff is in the bathroom."
“You’re not going to ask?”
“No.” He sighs. “You didn’t ask me either, which I want to thank you for. I wasn’t ready to talk and you respected that. So I won’t pry.”
“Thank you.” I get up to go to the bathroom, but I’m stopped with a grip on my arm. Blake engulfs me in his embrace, wrapping his arms tightly around my midriff from behind, mindful of my healing ribs. He puts his chin on my shoulder, just like he did this morning.
“No. Thank you. You saved me today. I was so stressed out about this whole situation I couldn’t even utter a word. You came to my rescue, pulling me out of that dark place I was trapped in. And I won’t ever forget how you stood up to my dad, demanding an apology in my place. You never fail to surprise me.” He kisses my temple then puts his chin back on my shoulder.
We stay in this position for a few more minutes before Blake decides to let me go. I take a hot shower in his bathroom, thinking about my lost family. As I reminisce my early years, I realize with horror how little memories I have left of people I once called my parents. I can’t seem to recall their faces as well as I used to. The dam that kept my emotions and memories at bay broke today, after years of hardening my heart it shattered like damn glass. I feel fresh tears running down my cheeks, as the agony I thought I was done feeling hits me with an unimaginable force that makes my knees buckle beneath me. I fall down to the floor, bawling my eyes out, my heart shattering into pieces as the past comes back to haunt me once again. The tattoo on my back feels like scorching fire as it serves as a reminder of my personal nightmare.
“Lia! Are you alright? What’s going on? Open the door or I will break through it! Lia! Sweetheart, answer me so I know you’re okay!” I hear Blake’s frantic voice from somewhere far away.
I rock back and forth on the floor, keeping my arms wrapped around my body, the water falling on me feels cold on my numb skin. I slowly lose myself into the darkness that has already consumed me before. It’s here to swallow me again.
“Jesus Christ, Lia! MOM!!!”