Scarred roses

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When things are broken they can be fixed. When people are broken, it takes someone special to put them back together again. Hazel's always wanted to do the right thing by her family. Sometimes she even succeeds. Hazel and her sister Audrey have spent over half their lives trying to bury the past but what do you think would happen if the past somehow found them? Beaten and bleeding on their doorstep no less. Nick Koster represents everything Hazel is trying to forget. A past of loneliness and childhood abuse. But like her, he's got a past he'd rather leave behind. Their shared past and hardships is what brings them closer together but can that very same thing be what drives them apart?

Romance / Other
J.E Montgomery
5.0 1 review
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Chapter one

When it came to that particular time in the evening when it was tempting to settle down with a good book and a cup of tea, the attic by far, was my favorite place to do this. The basement was my dark-room; a place I used to work on my photographs during the mornings when I wasn’t doing chores. The kitchen was usually mama’s safe haven; a place she could relax and do what she loved without being disturbed. The work-shed inside the barn was papa’s sanctuary; a room cluttered with bits and bobs, just waiting for him to tinker with. The living room was Audrey’s place; a room she could host all her little parties and social functions without having to worry about interruptions. But the attic was where I went for peace. A dusty, cozy nook in the house that caught most of the warmth from the sun, and the best view of the evening sky. It was here I sat down, making a little dust-cloud as my backside hit the bay-window cushion, then drew my knees tight into my chest. Tonight, I was reading Wives and Daughters; it was a banned book, since it was set and printed in England, but banned books turned out to be the most interesting. It seemed anything with a semblance of a plot was deemed ‘too dangerous’ for us to read these days; even the sappy romance-novels.

Still, that never stopped us from hoarding all our books. We all thought it was bad enough when the soldiers came to claim our country as ‘New Germany’, taking away our native tongue, our food, and our culture, but when they put out a list of literature, truth and fiction, that was to be burnt, that’s when I started to make up my own, little library. Under the washing machine in the basement, was a loose, concrete tile. This tile could be lifted, and underneath was an empty space, big enough to fill with eight books. For just about six years now I’ve had them stashed away, and the German’s never suspected a thing. And now that they would soon be gone, I doubt they ever would. I wondered then, if I should perhaps give them to the library once it’s opened again. I knew eight books wasn’t nearly enough, but they’d need to start somewhere if they were going to rebuild what they had.

“Hazel!” It was Audrey, calling from downstairs. That’s odd-why didn’t she come up to the landing? “I need you down here-we’ve got another one!”

Camp survivors. I knew them well enough. I nearly spilt my tea, jumping up to escape the attic. Oh, who cares? It’d be cold by the time I went back up anyway. Running down the narrow, little staircase, across the landing and down the bigger stairs, I met Audrey in the foyer, who had her arms around what looked to be a young man. He was half-standing, half-leaning over my sister, who was buckling under his weight. Quick as I could, I slung his other arm over my shoulder and helped her lug him to the sofa. He was filthy; all of them were. At this rate, the salmon-colored sofa we had would be muddy-grey by the time these liberation's were finished.

“How is he?” I asked her, kneeling down to get a better look at his face.

“It looks like he’s been beaten, but not critically. He may have a couple of broken ribs at the most. I don’t think he’s starving though; just look at him.”

She was right. He was injured, covered in dirt, but he wasn’t emaciated. Just a hot meal, and some water should do the trick. As for his bruises though, I wasn’t so sure.

“Audrey, why don’t you telephone Ingrid while I clean him up. If he’s got any, broken ribs, I think we ought to have her take a look.”

“Good idea. If you need me, just yell. I’ll be down like a bullet!”

I went to get the medicine kit as Audrey ran upstairs to use the telephone. We’d stocked up on supplies just this morning, after a couple of young women stopped by for a day or two. The two were horribly thin, with skin like concrete and eyes as hollow as a couple of saucers, but after a bath, some clean clothes and a few meals, you could swear they were just hungry peasants. The tattoos on their forearms were their only giveaway. When we bid them goodbye at the station, I thought I’d almost seen one of them smile; just the faintest, upward-tug in the corners of her mouth. But that moment was gone, almost as quickly as their train had been as it drew away from Bolen station. I hoped they were able to find what they were looking for, in Krakow. Little dreams were scarce enough these days; how rare must the bigger dreams be?

I was brought back to the present by a low, quiet groan that came from the stranger’s chapped lips. Shaking the memory off, I took what I needed to the living room and began to get everything ready. Warm water was poured into a chipped, ceramic bowl, bandages of most varieties were laid out, cotton-balls soaked in antiseptic, and a fresh muslin cloth was waiting for me. I started by cleaning his face; although he had a thick, tawny beard, I could tell that beneath it, he wasn’t very old. Probably close to my age, if I were to guess. He had a straight nose, a sharp but well-formed facial structure, and a pair of soft, honey-pink lips. The color, unfortunately marred by a deep, little cut, still fresh. Whatever could’ve happened, I thought, for him to deserve this? He was so badly beaten, he could hardly walk.

“Everything’s going to be fine,” I told him, as he gave another groan. “You’re at a go-between house. We’re only half an hour away from the Birkenau section, and there’s a train-station here that can take you directly to Krakow. We can offer you food, clothing, a bed until you’re well enough to be moved. Now, I’m just going to clean you up and then we’ll see about getting you some food.”

“Food?” He whispered, as I took an arm and started mopping away more dirt. “You’re very trusting, aren’t you? How do you know I’m not a German?”

“Because your German sounds awful,” I replied, chuckling. “And what about me? I’ve been speaking to you in Polish, haven’t I?”

“Yes, but many German’s can speak Polish,” he croaked. “Some even speak it well.”

“Well, I speak German too, but I can’t speak it well at all.” I said, “Some even say my accent mocks them.”

“The more mocking they get, the better.” He said bitterly, “and when they’re sent goose-stepping back to Germany, they’re going to have a lot to answer to.”

On the cuts and scrapes, I dabbed some antiseptic. It stung him terribly, but it had to be done. I wonder if it’d been an automobile accident? Somebody could’ve just ran him down in the middle of the night, then dropped him at the first house they saw? It’d explain the cuts, at least. Unless of course, the aggressor wore a ring.

“You’re not from here,” I said, unbuttoning the torn, stained shirt. “That much I know for certain-and you’ve got a sense of humor too. So, how did you happen upon Bolen? There’s another village much closer to Birkenau, and I know for a fact there’s a go-between house there too.”

“You think I’m from that wretched place?” He asked me.

“You could be-then again, you could just be a hungry peasant. Either way, I know you aren’t from here.”

“You’d be correct,” He said, hissing again as I started to work on one of the bigger cuts. “I’ve been wandering; trying to find work, a bed to sleep in, people who don’t know me. Obviously, it hasn’t been working out very well.”

“You’ve been working as a farm-hand?”

“Lifting heavy things, hauling hay-bales around, anything the farmers would tell me. Only, it doesn’t take very long for something to ruin it.”

“Maybe you’re just having bad luck.”

“If so, I’ve been having it for most of my life.” He said, “What about you then? You’re young, I know that much, and yet you speak Polish and German, can patch up a wounded idiot in a heartbeat, and you have no qualms talking to him either.”

“It surprises me too-I’m normally quite shy.” I said, wringing out the muslin cloth, watching as the reddish-brown water dribbled down into the china-bowl like a faucet. “But I can always talk to the patients; although you’re one of the only patients who talks back.”

“So what are you? A nurse?”

“Far from it!” I laughed, “I was a school-girl; then we had no school, so I had to help out around the house.”

“Practically fresh out of the cradle,” He remarked, wincing again as I prodded around his ribs for any signs of a break. “So was I-sixteen when they took me.”

“How old are you now?”

“Eighteen-nearly nineteen. I’m an adult now, I suppose, with no idea what to do next.”

“I’ll tell you what you’ll do next-you’ll swallow a pain-reliever. I’m having a friend of mine come over to have a look at you.”

“But you’re already having a look at me,” he joked.

“Somebody who knows what they’re doing. She’s repaired a broken rib before, and if need be, she can do it again.”

“A nurse?”

“No-a friend. After that, we’ll see about getting you something to eat.”

Audrey came down, carrying a fluffy, white towel and a clean set of papa’s old pajamas. Her thick, coal-black waves swept into a loose chignon. With her there to keep an eye on our guest, I took the china-bowl and the muslin cloth to the kitchen to wash. No doubt, he’d need a proper bath, but that couldn’t be done until Ingrid gave him the once over. Even then, I thought we might have to boil the water. Birkenau or no Birkenau, he’d have to clean enough to pass for a civilian.

“He seems very wary,” Audrey said, joining me. “Kept looking at me like I’d offended him, somehow-and I swear, there’s something very familiar about him.”

“How so?”

“His eyes, I think. They’re very…blue, striking. Like he could freeze you solid, just by looking at you.”

Now that she mentioned it, there was something familiar about that man-or boy, rather. But I couldn’t put my finger on it.

“Maybe he was with the Polish forces-he’s in too good a shape to be from Birkenau.”

“You’re right. On the other hand, Ingrid is on her way here. She’s bringing her own medicine kit, and some of her father’s cocaine-the kind the dentists use.”

“I couldn’t imagine any, other type.” I joked, “In the meantime, I thought I’d make supper. Dumpling soup?”

“Sounds just the kind of thing we need,” she said, smiling for the first time in the entire evening. Albeit, it was a tired grin, but still something. “I’ll let Ingrid in.”

We had some leftover dough from last night’s dinner, so I took that from the refrigerator and put it aside, fetching the stray, shrunken carrots from the back of the vege box, and one, fat turnip. We had no beef, or beef stock, but mama had been clever enough to remove every ounce of fat she could get from the last cow we had and boiled it down to make something similar. Now and then, we used it for the meals we could stretch, like soups and stews. Dumpling soup in particular was nice, because if we put the fat into the dough itself, it was almost like eating real meat. Heaven knows real meat was hard to come by, even with the war drawing to a close.

It didn’t feel right sometimes, cooking in mama’s kitchen when mama wasn’t here. On those lazy kind of afternoons, I’d sometimes like to sit and watch her; cooking, just for the fun of it. She had a particular way of dicing the vegetables, first separately, then mincing it all in a big heap before she tossed it all into one, big pot. Then came the seasoning; sprigs of rosemary, chives and thyme she’d let me pick from her garden, all cut up, then crushed together with her mallet to ‘squeeze out every bit of flavor’. With some beef-fat and water, she’d brew it all together until it became a creamy, sensational soup. Even now, I swore I could still taste the salty broth, and the potatoes so soft, they nearly melted in my mouth. We would eat this soup together; every last drop, until even the pot was licked clean. If the German’s ever knew we had food that tasted this good, they’d think they were being too generous with our rations.

Even as I did everything right, I still couldn’t conjure up the same magic mama had when she cooked. The vegetables were diced, just as she taught me, the seasonings measured to the exact amount, and the water, salt and beef fat had been brewed into a competent, broth-but it was still, never as good. It would suffice for tonight however, with a guest that needed something to sate his hunger. So I threw myself into the task, until the broth was thickening in a simmer. Knowing there was nothing more to do, I shook my hair out of it’s tightly-knotted bun and ran my fingers through it. Soothing the tender scalp that still had yet to heal from the last time I’d washed it. Honestly, when this was all over, I couldn’t wait to fill our bathtub to the brim with hot, bubbly water and just soak in it for hours. The water would never go cold, the bubbles would never dissolve, and my hands would never prune.

In my moment of reprieve, I never expected to be grabbed-much less, by the patient who could barely walk just ten minutes ago. He was surprisingly strong despite his injuries, and at full-height, towered over me in a way that made me look like a midget in comparison.

“You thought you could fool me, didn’t you? Just one bat of an eye, and I’d melt, just like mama and papa?”

“What are you talking about?” He was talking like a lunatic!

“You know exactly what I’m talking about! Prancing around, playing the victim; you were very good at that. One would think you didn’t deserve it after all.”

“Didn’t deserve what?” He responded by throwing me against the wall, so hard I thought he’d bruised my back.

“Don’t play dumb with me, you pathetic, little weasel! Tell me! Tell me how you managed to slither away and survive when I made sure you couldn’t?”

There was something…familiar about what he said. As if I’d heard it before, from another person, in another place, at another time.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Audrey appeared, snarling as she yanked him away from me. “Let her go!”

No sooner had she pulled him back from me, did he seem to snap out of his puzzling delusion. He looked down at himself, seemingly wondering why his hands and arms were shaking, then back up at me. Putting two and two together, to his absolute horror.

“I-I’m so sorry! I didn’t know what I was doing- “

“We’ll discuss this later!” Audrey hissed at him, placing herself between the two of us to act as some sort of shield. “Go to the bathroom; you can use the sink to wash up in there, but no baths or showers-we don’t have our hot water back yet.”

He left rather quickly, especially eager to obey after what he’d just done. That left Audrey and I in the kitchen together. Ingrid had left, I presumed, before she got the chance to say hello to me, so it was just me and my sister; no strangers, no scary doctors, probing me with invasive questions, just my big sister. Someone I held in a much higher regard than any doctor or ‘expert’.

“Oh Hazel!” She cried, wrapping her arms tight around me. “Are you alright? Did he hurt you?”

My head was drawn, tenderly to her shoulder as she stroked my mussed-up bob of hair. Sighing, I sank into her. Putting my arms around her waist as she did her best to give comfort. It was always difficult for the people I loved to find the right things to say to me when I was in such a state. Though it didn’t happen half as often as it used to, family and friends just couldn’t successfully imagine themselves, feeling what I’d felt, using it to bring about some understanding, and I could never think of asking them to. It was just too unfair.

“I’m fine Audrey-it’s no worse than I’m used to.” I said, finally pulling back to meet her concerned eyes. “I…I think he was in some sort of trance; like he was speaking to another person when he spoke to me.”

“You don’t know for certain Hazel,” she said, “some people do that, to trick their victims into thinking it’s their own fault.”

“I know that Audrey-I know it quite well. But even you saw the way he sprang back-I don’t think he knew what he was doing.”

“Even if he didn’t, he’s still dangerous.” She pointed out, “what if he attacks us, while we’re sleeping? We can’t defend each other if we aren’t even awake.”

“Then we’ll sleep in my room, or yours. Please Audrey, at least until we can get him a day-fare to Krakow and organize a helper from the refugee center.”

I kept my eyes locked to hers, pleading silently for her to consider it. He didn’t hurt me: not really. When he was of sound mind, he did seem like a genuinely nice person, just…bitter. And if he was a Polish soldier then there was a good chance he’d have been a prisoner of war, and they would’ve seen things, terrible things, that could’ve affected them in a way we couldn’t imagine. If that be the case, who were we to throw them out of our house when they needed help?

“He could be lying,” She said.

“Why would he? If he’s a thief, there’s nothing valuable to steal. He’s far too weak to even think of taking advantage, and serial murderers don’t apologize for threats. We can take papa’s rifle and keep it upstairs if necessary! Just please, say we can at least try to help.”

Her resolve was weakening, I knew it. Eventually caving in as she let out a deep sigh.

If we let him sleep here for the night, he’ll be sleeping downstairs.” She said, “and if he so much as touches you again, he’s as good as gone.”

“Shall we tell him then?” I said, trying not to sound too pleased.

“I’ll do that. You can get supper ready; I think we all need something to eat after this evening, don’t you?”

She wasn’t wrong about that. As she left to go and fetch the guest, I took some mismatching bowls from the pantry and started ladling the thick, steaming broth into each dish. God, it smelt good! I was almost tempted to eat my share right away but thought better of it. I always ate dinner with my sister; guest or no guest. So I did my best to reorganize the dining table into something close to a finely laid-out meal. I put a vase in the middle, even though it was empty, I laid out the cutlery, straightened to perfection, I even found some old, grey-washed napkins; folding them into triangles and sitting them in front of each bowl. With a jug of lemon cordial and some odd mugs to complete the look, I felt just a tiny-bit proud of myself. Even with shortages, we could still eat like civilized people.

“What’s this?” Audrey walked in, just as I hoped she would, pleasantly surprised. “A fine banquet, and, dare I imagine, refreshments?”

“If that’s your fancy way of saying soup and cordial, then yes.” I replied, smiling meekly. “I thought it’d be nice to eat like we’re in a restaurant again-at least, for a little while.”

“Well, it’s very sweet of you darling.” She said, pulling up a chair. “We can be high-society for the evening.”

“Am I invited?”

The guest stood, lingering in the doorway, looking very sheepish as he met my eyes. He was trying to tip-toe around me, just as I expected. What else was a person to do after they’d nearly attacked a perfect stranger in some kind of trance? But he didn’t look dangerous at the moment. If anything, he looked nearly dead-tired. The least he deserved was something to eat before he went to sleep.

“Take a seat; this is just some supper before we all go to bed.” I said, gesturing to the empty place, opposite myself.

Without a second-thought, he sat down. Scooping in spoonful after spoonful so fast, the broth had no time to spill before it landed in his mouth. And I thought I was hungry! Really, I’d never seen somebody devour a bowl of soup so fast; not even real soup, with meat and stock. I suppose I ought to either take it as a compliment that he could like the soup I made, even with the lack of ingredients, or realise just how little food he must’ve been used to, wherever he’d come from. Either reason justified his speedy devouring of the supper, and the modest request for a second-helping. With Audrey’s approval, I gave him a smaller bowl-full, noting that we had to save what we could until Bolen was officially liberated, and we could have all our food back.

“This is perfect though, really.” He insisted, polishing off his second bowl. “I didn’t know you could make ersatz taste so good.”

“We do what we can,” I said, just finishing off my own serving. “And most of it isn’t really Ersatz; just small things that we’ve scraped together.”

It felt odd, being in such a position. For every other time, Audrey was the social butterfly; always making conversation, talking so directly to you that it felt as if there was nobody else she would rather talk to. I was the timid one; always falling into the meek, submissive role that required a lot of nodding and smiling. Now that the roles had switched I could feel the discomfort so sharply, it could’ve sliced right through any attempts at being civil. The sooner our guest could leave, the quicker things could get back to normal.

After devouring every, last bit of my meal, I decided it was time I went to bed. I wanted to be reading a little more, but my body was telling me I needed the sleep; and staying up all night, reading until my eyes went bad wasn’t going to help one bit. Bidding my sister and the guest goodnight, I ventured upstairs to the bathroom where I began to scrub the weariness away. Forcing the tangles from my hair, the imaginary dirt from my face, and the fuzz from my teeth that wasn’t really there. I did all I needed to do, not daring to look into the mirror long enough to see the tired, thin girl staring back at me. We’d all looked a little ragged from this war, but my own face had always irked me. So many secrets it kept, a feeling hidden in the eyes that was unnerving. I could never look at it for very long, or the things I kept buried deep would come to revisit.

Banishing the thought in realizing just how tired I was, I left the bathroom. Marching right up to my bed and collapsing, face-first into the rumpled duvet. No blankets, no sheets, I didn’t even bother to close the window. I just snuggled into the softness of my beloved bed and shut my eyes tight. Hoping for either nice dreams or no dreams at all as I fell quickly into a slumber.

Dreams always began, just like this. A mirage of pictures and faces, all vaguely familiar, swirling around me before a sea of shapes, colors and objects would begin to form and fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Then I would find myself stuck in some sort of memory-true or make-believe. It would play out like a radio melodrama on Papa’s wireless; some of the words crackly and vague, as if I myself couldn’t quite remember all that had been said and done, and the picture was always fuzzy. Like faces I could hardly remember, or a place I hadn’t been to in years.

This melo-dream started out nicely, as it always had. I was in the kitchen with mama, standing on a chair to help her make dinner. I was peeling the carrots, just as she had taught me; watching as the rough, blemished skins came off in long, orange ribbons atop the cutting board. It was funny, I thought, that carrots smelled almost sweet when they weren’t cooked, and nothing close to sweet when they were. I smiled at the strange thought as mama asked me to get her some potatoes from the garden-shed; three, big ones, as big as I could carry. I obeyed without a second-thought, feeling for the first time in a while, quite fine. I was so used to being afraid of my own shadow, I thought that after I’d gotten everything off my chest, it’d be alright. I was foolish-I knew it then, and I know it now. If I could go back to this moment, really go back, I’d tell my younger self that under no circumstances, should she go to the garden shed. I’d stop myself from being the scared, cowardly, little mouse everybody felt secretly ashamed of for all those years. But time couldn’t be stopped; just as much as a mouse couldn’t turn itself into a lion.

He waited in the corner, next to the potato sacks, where I couldn’t see him at first. But in a few seconds, I was all too sure he was there. In the dark, musty confines of papa’s garden-shed, he made a grab for me. Digging sharp, jagged fingernails into my skin as he wrestled me to the concrete. It felt hard and cold beneath my head, but an uncomfortable pillow was the least of my worries. It was him! We hadn’t seen each other since yesterday afternoon-not since he’d figured out that Audrey knew our secret. He wasn’t just angry about it; he was deadly furious. As if even seeing me in pain couldn’t sate the rage boiling inside him.

“You told her everything, you little rat!” He hissed, grabbing a fistful of my hair and yanking it, tight. “You couldn’t keep your fat mouth shut for a second, could you? One scratch and you went blabbing to your slutty sister.”

I was crying; big, fat, ugly tears that wet my pale cheeks.

“Don’t you know what this means? What this will do to me?! You’ve been very disobedient Kazia, and you’re going to be punished. I’m going to make sure no one will have to look at your sad, ugly face again!”

“Please, don’t do this- “Smack. I forgot, I wasn’t supposed to talk back to him.

“Blabbing is what got you in trouble right now, gutter-rat!” He snarled, “No, I have to do this. The world will be a much better place without you here to spoil it.”

He strangled me. He curled his grubby, little fingers around my neck and strangled me for all it was worth. I writhed beneath him, I turned myself from side-to-side, trying with all my might to get away. But once he had me in his clutches, there was never any room for escaping. Every crevice was closed off, so that the only direction I could find was up. Up at his hateful, sneering face, and his eyes that seem to burn straight through me, to the dull concrete beneath. Maybe he was right. Maybe the world would be a better place if I wasn’t in it. After all, what was one, scrawny, little girl compared to millions of others who deserved life far more?


That was new-this nightmare always came to an end at some point, during the strangling and the burn of losing my breath. But there was never my name. To be specific, my name being called by a voice that sounded familiar. It was a woman’s voice; either my mother or sister, just calling for me over and over, as if there could’ve been hope for me after all. As if the boy could be stopped.

“Hazel, Hazel, Hazel, Hazel! Wake up!”

I shot up, gasping and drenched in sweat. I was back in my room, this time the lamp was switched on, and Audrey actually was there in front of me. Her hands holding my shoulders, as if she’d been trying to shake me awake.

“Audrey, what’s the matter? Is there something wrong? Have the allies come yet?”

“No, no, it’s nothing like that. Hazel, you were screaming! So loud, I think the neighbours might’ve heard you. I thought it might’ve been that boy, coming back for another go, so I came to check.”

I wanted to scream when it happened, but as he forced my wind-pipes closed I couldn’t even make a sound. Though, I wasn’t actually being strangled this time, was I? It was ten years’ worth of wishing I’d screamed, just once, accumulating in making a big fuss, all while I wasn’t even conscious.

“No Audrey it wasn’t him, but…I-I had that dream again.”

The dream? But you haven’t had it in years! You were doing so well…”

“I know I was, but it was there, and it felt so real…I can’t get it out of my head. I can still feel his hands around my neck, like someone had put a noose around me and kept on pulling.”

I was doing my best, not to hyperventilate at the moment. Every time this happened, or something was done to trigger a memory of him, I would find myself wanting to be as small as humanly possible. The air would feel restricted in my lungs, the space around me would grow smaller, tighter, and the crippling fear that he was going to find me again one day just made me into this whimpering, crying mess. I knew I was never a brave or tough person, but this? It made me feel ashamed. Nobody should want to feel that pathetic and weak all the time.

“We need to do something,” Audrey muttered to herself, her brow creasing as she thought hard. “We need to get warm! And no wonder. You’ve got the window wide open, and no blankets at all. I swear Hazel, you’ll catch a cold before Winter’s even begun.”

She stood, closing the window tight, then drawing the curtains to a close. Pulling me to my feet, she quickly straightened out my wrinkled bedspread before pulling it back and tucking me in. When I thought she might’ve gone back to her own room, she held the blanket open, so she could climb in with me. Locking me in her arms, pressing the odd, tender kiss to my hair and forehead.

“I was so scared that day,” she said, nuzzling her nose against my brow. “I pulled him off you, but you didn’t just get back up like I hoped you would. You just lay there; you wouldn’t move no matter how much I asked you to. I held you close, I tried to shake you, I just kept on asking, begging for you to just wake up and stop teasing. And then when mama came and saved you…I thought I was going to lose you Hazel. He was so close to ripping our family in half, I felt I could’ve killed him if we didn’t get you back.”

It made me shiver to hear her say that; even now, after all these years. The fact that she could’ve felt angry enough to want my torturer dead both scared me and filled me with warmth at the same time. She loved me enough to want to hurt a boy who bullied me, but could she take somebody’s life with that love? I was sure that could never be.

“You wouldn’t have killed him,” I said, putting my hand on the small of her back. “You would’ve wanted to-I know that, but you couldn’t have had the heart the take a person’s life. It’s just not what Audrey Kazia would do.”

“I wouldn’t have been Audrey Kazia then,” she wore, tightening her embrace. “I would’ve been somebody sad and angry, who wanted the right the wrongs. I would’ve wanted to hurt him, the way he hurt you.”

“But he can’t hurt either of us anymore,” I reminded her, “we should get some sleep; we’ve got work to do tomorrow, and I’d like to go over to Ingrid’s to thank her for her help.”

“You’re right-as much as it pains me to admit it.” She chuckled, “I’ll stay with you; in case you have any more nightmares.”

“You don’t need to; you need the sleep as well.”

“Honestly, I’d rather be here with you, than alone in that big, empty bed. It never feels quite warm enough when I’ve got it all to myself.”

Cuddling me closer, she planted one, last kiss atop my head before giving a quiet yawn. We were both very tired, and staying up, whispering to each other when we could’ve been getting some well-needed rest was seeming more and more silly to me. So with the scent of Audrey’s toilette water against my cheek, and the caress of her silky hair, I began to relax. Welcoming the dreamless sleep that was to come with open arms.

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Gelly: I like overall story it is good and interesting ❤

Rachelle Thorburne: Really enjoying this book

Abigaella Ridore: So far I like this story, my first time to read a story on that app, and I love it. Thanks

rpvm6zw4dp: Have enjoyed all the books so far, can’t wait for more. 😁 I will be reading some of the others by this author 😍

Lissy: I absolutely love this book.

DestinyKitten: Really interesting and amazing story. It's funny, relatable to some degree and exciting, while an interesting plot. Other than needing a bit more detail and mistakes, it was perfect and definitely fit for the stores. It would be great to seen the other character's more.

viewcoco2007: Awesome book!!! I can't wait for you to write more books. This book has so much humor and it had intense moments at times. I like this book so much I plan on reading it again. Even though it had some punctuation and grammar problems every now and then. I do recommend this book for all to read. Th...

Anamika Haripersad: This is one of the best stories I've ever read. I loved it. There was not a single thing that I did not like. I wish I had a love life like this one. If I could give a higher rating I would. 😊😊

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More Recommendations

Kelly Sugden: This book was so good I loved it witch I have to agree with someone else comment I seen earlier about how he feels about her and everybody acting like he was the bad guy when he wasn't at all

Connie Jenny: Love it can’t wait for more updates to I can see what happens

D: So so so cute. Love Tate and his little foxy mate. Probably my favorite couple.

D: Cute like the not so perfect body type and the realness of interracial relationships

Linzi Daure: I love this book xxxxxx

Deleted User: The fact that the book ends before she even goes on the date/dinner is so frustrating. But Even though...I love your story and the rollercoasters it takes me on. 💚🖤🖤⚔☠😁☠⚔🖤🖤💚

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.