~As long as I’m here, No one can hurt you~Billie Eilish
Chapter Theme Song: 'Everything I Wanted' by Billie Eilish
Alex drops me off at my gate and I tell them a farewell. I make my way up to my doorsteps then turn around to see that the car is still parked there. Alex’s arms are hugging the steering wheel as he peers out at me from the driver’s seat while Ansel is watching me from under his glasses. I offer them a wave and they each return one, ensuring I have gotten inside before they speed away.
Jeff and my Mom aren’t on the couch tonight, and I recall that I hadn't eaten my dinner earlier because of all the drama at the table. I make my way to the kitchen to make myself some cereal, but to my utter annoyance, Jeff is at the sink rinsing a cup. I roll my eyes and decide against eating. I don’t want to be in the same space as him. I turn away to head to my room when he speaks.
“Little girls should be little girls.”
I raise a brow, turning my face to glare at him. “Excuse me?”
He puts the cup into the dryer and whirls around to look at me. “Bringing a guy home at your age is rather unacceptable.”
I cross my arms, giving him a dirty look. “You’re not my Dad, get that straight. Now in case you think you being with my mom gives you the right to control me, you’re wrong. It won’t happen. Not in this life or the next.”
His jaws tighten as I turn away to walk out. A stern grasp on my elbow ceases my steps and I whirl around as Jeff towers over me.
“Don’t fucking walk away from me. Or I will show you that I have all the control, you hear me?”
A muscle in his face twitches and I grimace at his painful hold, gritting my teeth. “Let me go.”
“Have some respect. Or I will remind you why you should. Should I remind you? Have you forgotten?!” His hold tightens on my arm as he pulls me fiercely toward him. His eyes darken on me as I squirm under his grasp.
“Let me go!”
“Your father is gone, and I am in control. I have always been in control, so don’t you dare turn your back to me, you little twat. You think because those little boys at school flirt with you that you have the right to speak to me however you want to? Think again, I will straighten you out!”
“Take your hands off me!”
“Don’t let me have to teach you a bloody lesson, because you know I will. You know I will mess your fucking head up! Don’t let me have to show you who-!”
I raise my knee and hit him straight in the groin. He hunches over in pain, clutching his center as his eyes go wide. The blood rushes to his face and the veins in his neck stand at attention. I step back as he struggles to keep on his feet.
“Ah! You little…!”
He attempts to limp toward me, so I reach for the salt bottle on my counter, unscrew the lid and throw the dust into his face. He cries out, gripping his eyes as he hurries to the sink.
My Mom races inside the kitchen in her nightgown. Terror is on her face as she looks at Jeff, who has his face muzzled under the running water and then at me, who’s gripping the salt container in my hand as I furrow my brows at him. When she realizes what happened, the color drains out of her face.
“What-what have you done, Rainey Slate?!” She bellows at me.
“Tell him to never touch me again!” I yell. “I am not ten anymore! So, if he thinks he’s going to do what he did to me years ago, then he’s wrong!”
“Do what? Huh? You’re always making him out to be a bad person, what on earth is wrong with you?!”
“Touch me again and I’ll kill you!” I warn him.
“Go to your room!” My Mom barks at me. “You disgust me!”
I bring my eyes to her. I know she cares for Jeff more than she cares for me, but I don’t know why it hurts more each time she takes his side.
I throw the salt container onto the counter and storm out of the kitchen. I make my way up to my room, slamming the door and ensuring I close all the locks in case that perverted psycho decides to plot a revenge tonight. I won’t let what happened seven years ago happen again.
I sigh and undo my buttons. I pull my dress shirt off, leaving just my white tank top. I am about to neatly fold the fabric when a small paper drops out. I reach down for it, then unfold it to see what is written on it.
Hey, here’s my number. If anything happens, call me.
Despite the upsetting events that just took place, a small smile still manages to creep on my face. When did he slip this into the top pocket of my shirt? He sure is swift. But why am I surprised? I watched him briskly beat two guys to a pulp tonight.
When I realize how much I am smiling to myself like a girly teenager, I wipe the beam off my features and clear my throat; however, the blushes remain.
I sit on my bed, contemplating whether I should call and ask if he’s fine. Would that be too forward? I put the note on my bed and decide to get a shower instead.
I spend quite some time in the bathtub, and it’s solely because my mind is consumed with thoughts of Ansel. I get out of the shower and get dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. I pull my hair up in a messy bun and hop under my covers. I begin to watch a mafia series on Netflix, but my mind flows right back to Ansel once again.
I will just ask if he’s fine. That’s all. That doesn’t mean anything at all. It’s just a classmate checking up on her classmate. Completely normal.
I pull my phone off my lamp table and reach for the small paper on my bed. I punch his number in and the most unusual thing happens once again; my heart skips a beat. I jerk my legs as it rings. It’s now on the third ring and I realize he’s probably asleep, so I am about to remove the cell from my ear when his voice breaks through the line.
My throat runs dry and I find myself stricken with the same apprehension from earlier today in Math class. I can’t remember how to speak.
“Hello?” He speaks again and I shift in my spot, tucking my feet beneath me as I sit up straight.
“Uh, hi. It’s-”
“Rainey, is everything okay?” Worry is laced in his tone, and I hear ruffling sheets on the opposite end. He’s probably in bed.
I blink my eyes. “Y-yeah, I am fine actually…I was just wondering if you were.”
“Oh, yeah, I put a band-aid on the bruise.” He chuckles a little and I smile.
“Well, that’s good to know…”
There is this awkward silence and I close my eyes, scratching my forehead. “Well, uhm, as long as you're fine…”
I gesture to remove the phone when he speaks again.
“Look, it’s not my place to intervene in your family business but what your Mom said today about you being ‘hard work’ was not true. I hope you didn’t believe that.” He says.
I grip the phone tighter and smile a little, lowering my head. “Yeah…thanks, Ansel.”
There is a brief silence again and for some strange reason, I can sense he’s smiling.
“Yeah, well then, I’ll see you at school tomorrow...” I say.
“Yeah, see you tomorrow. Goodnight Rainey.”
My smile stretches, because the way he says my name is so different than how anyone else has ever said it, “Goodnight Ansel.”
We get off the phone and I place the cell on my bedside table. I grab the remote, turn the TV off and settle beneath my covers. I close my eyes and drift off to sleep, thinking about Ansel.
^A/N: Hi! :-) If you like my story, don't forget to hit that heart/like button at the bottom. ILY!