The Ghost (Ghost #1)

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Chapter 27

Lia

I’m pulled from my thoughts by an anxious Blake barging in the bathroom. The lock on the door has not been fixed, yet.

He is breathing heavily, his worried gaze fixed on my face as he tries to not look at my body covered by bubbles.

“Jesus, Lia.” He breathes out. “I’ve been calling you and you didn’t answer! I thought-”

“You thought I broke down again.” I cut him off, still leaning my head on the edge of the bathtub.

“Yeah.” He admits.

“I’m fine. I was just lost in thought. I’ve been thinking about my dad.”

He comes in and leans his lower back on the counter, having decided to stay for some reason.

“Your dad? But you said-”

“My adoptive dad.” I cut him off again, looking back to the ceiling.

“He was the one that took me from the streets and gave me home. Apart from him and few other people, you’re the only guy that can touch me without me freaking out or breaking your hands.” I tell him, not minding that I’m completely naked with him in the same room as me, since the water reaches above my chest and the foam covers everything.

“You must miss him.” He says thoughtfully.

“I do. I miss him terribly. The shit with Declan only makes me think of him more.” I sink a little further in the water.

“Why is that? How is that dick connected to your dad?” I can tell Blake is shocked and confused by his tone.

“I met Declan through my dad. He’s a son of my dad’s old friend, so he used to visit us often, but my dad never liked him, not with the way he looked at me.” I begin. “He didn’t care about my hate of being touched, constantly trying to put his hands on me, which pissed off both me and my dad. He warned that dick a few times not to touch me and to stop coming over, but it didn’t work. He kept pestering me. So my dad took the matter into his own hands. Literally. He beat him up pretty badly, when the little shit wanted me to move into his house. That was some fucked up shit. The dick just came to our house and demanded that I move in with him. He kept talking about marriage, our future together and whatnot. But once he started talking about our future kids, my dad snapped. He knew what I went through while I was homeless, so he knew how I felt about men. Declan ended up in a hospital with broken bones and a concussion. I was left alone, until now.” I say.

“What the fuck is wrong with him?!” As expected, Blake gets angry.

“Calm down. I’m not that weak 13-year-old anymore. I can handle him now.”

“YOU WERE 13??!!” And now he’s furious.

“Yep. But I’m stronger now. If he keeps bothering me, I’ll set him straight. I don’t want you anywhere near him, Blake. He’s worse than you think.” I warn him.

“I’m not afraid of that little shit, Lia. He’s pestering my girlfriend! I won’t just stand by and let you deal with him on your own. Actually, I won’t let you deal with him at all. He’s not getting anywhere near you.” He growls.

I sigh, defeated. I’m aware of how stubborn he can be, so I decide to let it slide for now.

I put my feet on the other end of the tub, playing with the bubbles as we talk for a while longer about what we’re going to do today. The change of topic calms Blake down a little as he sits down on the counter, watching me in his bathtub. When the water gets cold, I warn him that I’m about to get out, but Blake, being the idiot he is, just smirks at me, not moving.

“Blake, leave. I am not getting out of the tub with you in here.” I laugh at him.

“Fine.” He sighs dramatically, dragging his feet out of the bathroom.

“Close the door!” I call out after him.

“Oh come on!” I hear him groan, but he does as I ask nonetheless.

“Weirdo.” I mutter to myself, getting out of the tub and wrapping a towel around myself.

I take off the waterproof bandage, replacing it with a fresh one, then take care of my hair and put clothes on.

As soon as I open the bathroom door, fully dressed in Blake’s t-shirt and shorts, I’m crushed into a chest, hitting my nose against it.

“Ow.” I whine, rubbing my nose. “What did you do that for?” I crane my neck to glare at Blake as he chuckles at me.

“You were taking too long.” He pouts cutely, pulling me into him.

“You just saw me 10 minutes ago!” I exclaim in exasperation. Caveman.

He doesn’t say anything, simply taking my hand and pulling me with him to the kitchen. I say nothing, just letting him do what he wants. Me arguing with him will do nothing, anyway; he’s way too stubborn.

We’re greeted by the sight of Jared and Sam as we enter the kitchen. I pull my hand away from Blake’s and head towards Sam to help her with breakfast.

“Morning, Sam. What needs to be done?”

“Oh, hi honey. Could you make the pancakes? I’ll keep working on the sausage and eggs.”

“Sure thing, chef.” I laugh as I get the ingredients ready.

Blake wraps his arms around my waist from behind – as always! – as I mix the batter. He kisses the back of my neck before nuzzling his face into the crook of it. I go towards the stove and put the batter on the pan with a ladle, with Blake’s arms still around me. I pick the plate from the cabinet and put the first pancake on it, but it soon disappears into Blake’s mouth.

“Blake.” I chastise. “It’s for everyone, so don’t eat it yet.”

“But it looked so good.” He whines like the little baby he is, placing his chin back on my shoulder. I have to slap his hand away from the second pancake. That boy, I swear.

I keep hearing Sam and Jared’s laughter, but Blake doesn’t seem to mind as he follows after me like a lost puppy, his hands constantly touching me. It's unbelievable how easily I got used to his touch. He broke through my defenses really fast.

Once I’m done with the pancakes, I take the plate to the table then come back to take the juice from the fridge per Sam’s request.

As we sit at the table, Blake’s hand immediately takes a hold of mine, the same way he did at school, forcing me to put food on my plate with my left hand. I don’t miss the teasing look in Sam’s eyes or Jared’s questioning gaze.

“Did something happen?” Jared decides to ask. He must've noticed how Blake doesn't let me go even for a moment.

“No, why?” Blake answers offhandedly.

“You haven’t left Lia alone all morning. You two were not like this yesterday.” Sam adds, sounding confused and amused at the same time.

“Nothing happened.” Blake says with a little too much force, making it obvious he’s lying.

“Don’t lie, Blake. What’s going on?” Jared obviously caught on Blake’s lie just like I did.

Blake squeezes my hand in his lap.

“The fucker that I almost punched at school keeps pestering Lia. He sent her a message yesterday, but we don’t know how he even got her number.” Blake speaks, his tone angry and worried at the same time.

“BLAKE!!!” I hiss at him.

“The one that gave her those notes?! The pervert?!” Jared’s temper flares as he slams his glass on the table.

“Yep. That’s the one. What am I supposed to do about him?! Beat him up?! I can’t let him get close to her, he’s a fucking psycho!” Blake is close to exploding. I squeeze his hand hard, getting his attention back to me.

“Blake, no. I’ll deal with him myself.”

“You will not get anywhere near him!” He exclaims angrily.

“Neither will you! He’ll have your ass beaten before you can even blink! I will not let you get hurt!!! I’ll handle it!!!” My anger matches his.

“No, you won’t. Who knows what he’ll do to you. He’s already threatened you before.”

“He wasn’t threatening me. He was threatening you!” I exclaim, furious. Why can't he understand I'm trying to protect him?!

“What do you mean by that, honey?” Sam’s worried voice brings me back to reality.

“He’s threatened to hurt Blake, unless I leave him.” I tell her solemnly.

“Why didn’t you tell me?!” Blake asks shocked, but I also hear hurt in his voice.

“Because I will not let you get hurt because of me. Tell me, what would you do if I told you?” I implore.

“I would fuck him up!” He slams his fist on the table.

“See? That’s exactly I why I didn’t tell you. I will deal with him myself, end of discussion.”

“And what do you plan to do, darling?” Jared demands.

“I’ll threaten to sue him for sexual harassment of a minor. He’s 20 years old and I’m 16. I’m keeping all his letters and notes he leaves in my locker as evidence. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll beat him up or talk to my dad to do it for me.” I explain calmly. I’ve thought this thing through. Blake stands no chance against Declan in a fight, but I do.

“If he’s 20, what is he doing in high school?” Sam sounds flabbergasted.

I shrug, not really having an answer to that.

“Why do you think you can beat him up and I can’t?” Blake asks, lost.

“Because he would never hit me, but nothing stops him from hitting you. He’s trained kickboxing for years, you have no chance against him.” I squeeze his hand, hoping he will finally understand.

He sighs, running his hand over his face.

“Dad, is there no way out of this?” He turns to his dad, defeated.

“I think Lia’s idea is good. Dealing with this the legal way may be the most effective, since he’s an adult. But if it turns physical, you have my permission to beat that fucker’s ass, son.” Jared tells us with a small smile. I sigh in relief when Blake calms down slightly at his father’s words and kisses my temple.

After that stressful exchange, Jared excuses himself to his office, while Blake and I wash the dishes, much to Sam’s displeasure. She kept refusing to let me take care of it, but conceded in the end after I whispered to her that it’ll help me calm Blake down. She smiled gratefully, obviously noticing that he was still stressed out.

I wash the dishes in silence, handing them off to Blake to dry them and put them away. But once I’m done with the plates and move onto mugs, Blake comes up behind me and snuggles his face into the crook of my neck, wrapping his arms around me.

“I’m sorry I snapped like that, baby.” I tense in shock at his sudden move, but Blake misinterprets my reaction.

“Please, don’t get mad at me.” His voice breaks in remorse, his chin on my shoulder now.

“I’m not mad at you, Cakey. I’m just as guilty as you. I shouldn’t have lost my temper like that.” I turn my head to kiss his cheek.

“Don’t call me that.” He mumbles grumpily into my shoulder, making me laugh.

“Why not? It’s cute. You said yourself that pet names are a must.”

“You’re so bad, using my own words against me.” He grumbles, but I can tell he likes it when I call him by his nickname.

I place the mug on the rack above the sink just as Sam comes in the kitchen. She stops right in her tracks as she sees our position, smiling adoringly at the two of us. Blake doesn’t seem to notice his mother’s presence yet, so I nudge him with my elbow.

“Don’t worry about it honey, it’s cute to see you two like that.” Sam notices that my nudge doesn’t really work, since Blake does not move away. “Jared and I used to be the same way when we were young.” She adds dreamily.

“But that’s not why I’m here.” Sam snaps out of her dreamy state, getting serious. “I would like to take a look at your stitches before I leave to work.”

“Okay. I just finished.” I try to detangle myself from Blake, but he’s having none of it, leaving one arm around my waist as he walks with me and Sam to his parents’ bedroom.

“Blake, why don’t you wait outside?” Sam suggests, but he just shakes his head in refusal, making me sigh and his mom laugh.

I take off my shirt – well technically it’s Blake’s, but I’m the one wearing it – and I notice his eyes widen at the bold move. I almost smirk at that.

Sam unwraps the bandage, checks the stitches and rewraps them, but then she decides to ask about something I'd rather she didn't.

“Where did you get those scars, honey?” She asks, her fingers going over my back.

“It was years ago.” I try to avoid answering her.

“They look like whip marks.” She whispers shocked.

“They are. It was a belt.” I tell her, not going further into the topic as I put my shirt back on.

“Who did this to you, honey?” The worry in her voice causes me to give her an honest answer. I don't want to lie to her.

“I don’t know. He was never caught.” I sigh. I turn around only to see Sam’s teary eyes widen in shock as she gasps. Blake on the other hand looks like someone just killed his puppy, knowing it’s a part of my past I told him about. He wraps me up in his embrace, leaving a firm kiss on the top of my head, ignoring my wet hair.

“I didn’t want people to see them and pity me, so I covered them up with the tattoo. But I’m not surprised you noticed those.” I turn around in Blake’s arms to speak to Sam.

“I wasn’t sure whether to ask you or not, but after hearing about that boy at breakfast and seeing his notes, I thought he was the one that gave you those.” She explains.

“It wasn’t him. It happened before I even met him.”

“I’m so sorry honey, I shouldn’t have asked.” She looks at me with that one emotion I don’t want to see in people’s faces.

“I’m over it now. I’m not ashamed of my scars, they are a proof that I’m not weak. So please don’t look at me with pity. I can’t stand that.” I gently tell her, earning a sad smile in response.

“You’re such a strong girl, Lia. I’m so happy Blake has you.” She glances behind me at Blake, who silently listens to our exchange, keeping his head on top of mine.

When Sam starts packing her stuff, telling us her shift starts soon, so she has to get ready, we leave the room after bidding her goodbye. Blake takes me to his room, where we settle on his bed to watch a movie on his flat screen. We go over what to watch, ending up with the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. Blake sits with his back leaned on the headboard, pulls me to sit between his spread legs and I lean my back against his chest. We stay like this for the whole movie, with Blake placing small kisses on my head, neck and shoulders from time to time and me caressing his hands that are placed over my waist. After the movie’s finished, Blake chooses another one, and this time we go for DC, picking ‘Wonder Woman’.

We spend the next hours on his bed, watching one movie after another in comfortable silence. I noticed that Blake is still a little on edge, probably about the whole situation with Declan, since he keeps touching me every chance he gets. He likes to play with my hands, especially with the rings on my fingers. I let him do whatever he wants, I really don’t mind his touch as much as I used to. I guess that coming to like him helped me get over my aversion of man’s touch, but only when it comes to him.

“Wanna take a nap before lunch?” Blake puts his chin on my shoulder as the roll credits appear on the screen.

“Why not? I’m not hungry yet.”

He turns the TV off and we lie down on the bed, with my head on his shoulder as he strokes my arm and soon we both fall asleep.

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