To Be Loved

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The Date

Dani's pov


I was floating.

People say life is beautiful. That the world was a place filled with joy and happiness...where everyone lived together in unity and love. I never saw it.

My world was always filled with the worst sort of sufferings. A world drowned in pain and blood, a life filled with betrayal and hate. But it wasn't anymore.

It had been a week since Stella took me in. I had planned on ending it all, the pain the hurt ...everything. But then Stella helped me. Whenever I needed it she would make that special tea of hers that would magically make everything disappear. One sip of that tea and it was like I had been taken to a whole new place where No negativity existed. The tea saved my life...but it also ruined it.

Now it was like I couldn't function without it. It was the only thing that kept the memories away, it was what kept me sane. And I didn't want to lose it...ever.

I craved the relief it gave me like my next breath.

So I accepted Stella's pleas and decided to stay here with her. Now we share her dingy apartment and for some reason she didn't even ask me to pay rent. She takes care of my expenses and doesn't ask for anything in return. I still don't trust her or her actions but I was too far gone in the ecstasy the tea gave me to question it.

Every day she would go to the bar she worked in and come back really late at night. I would always be alone in the morning but she makes me a glass of tea every morning before she goes. I would be too far gone in the feeling of floating around to even realize what's happening around me. I would simply keep smiling and giggling at everything that happens and keep muttering random words that doesn't make sense to anyone. Yesterday I cut my hand while playing with a knife but I only kept giggling and muttering how pretty the red drops were as the blood trickled down my hands...

Deep inside I knew that Stella was doing something to me. That this craving was not good for me. But I didn't care. All I wanted was to get rid of the memories and this helped me do so. So I didn't care whether it was good or bad, the relief was all I wanted.

Today Stella had taken a day off and locked up in her room all day. It was past 12 in the afternoon by now and she still hadn't made me the tea. I was feeling jittery and frustrated, the noises clawing at the ends of my conscious and I needed it badly...

I started walking towards her door and as I approached it I heard muffled voices from the other side of the door. It sounded like she was talking on the phone.

".....No that wont do.....she...that's not enough...I didn't waste my stuff on her so you...okay.....tonight....not less than 1000 dollars..." I heard her muffled voice speak. I didn't understand what she was saying as my mind had been clouded by the need for her drink.It was all I could think about.

I knocked on the door frantically trying to get her attention ad was rewarded when she opened the door. Once she saw my disheveled state she walked to the kitchen and started making the drink. She never let me see how she made it saying that it was a family secret.

I plopped down on the couch and started breathing heavily as she was taking a long time in preparing it and I was in dire need of her drink. Once she brought the cup to me I grabbed it from her hands and chugged it down , not caring that it was almost boiling hot.

The now familiar feel of calmness washed over me as I drained the last of the drink. I let out a sigh and leaned back into the couch, closing my eyes in relief. A few seconds later I opened my eyes to see Stella watching me with a weird look on her face. When she saw me watching she gave me a quick smile before saying,

"So Mal...what do you think about going on a date?"

Huh?

"What??" What the hell is she talking about?

She gave me a blinding smile and put an arm across my shoulder before saying,

"You have been cooped up in this apartment for so long..you need to get out and enjoy the world! So I decided to help you and set up a date for you tonight!!"

"No"

My voice ringed through the apartment as her face fell. She knows I hate meeting people and going out.Especially men. Then why is she doing this? I can't be in the presence of a man without having a panic attack because of Ryan and she knows that after I freaked out when the delivery guy came to bring pizza one day. Every man I met had betrayed me in some way and I was not willing to go through that pain again. Even Henry had given up on me...he hadn't even tried to contact me after that dreadful day...

" Oh...I'm sorry if I was a bit forward...but I really thought you would agree after everything I did for you...well at least you're not on the streets alone waiting for rapists and muggers..."

I cringed as she said that. It is true that she took me in when I had no one for me and I guess I was being a bit ungrateful...it's only one date...

"Okay...just one date..." I agreed reluctantly.

She immediately brightened up and started talking about the guy she had set up for me.

"So Darren is a friend of mine and he just got divorced so he might seem a bit weird...he's going through a phase but don't mind that. He's a good guy so you don't have to worry about anything.."

She continued talking about he was a great guy and how I was lucky to be going out with such a rich guy. As she rambled on about what I should wear I zoned out and started worrying about what I was going to do. I couldn't talk to a man without shaking and now I had to spend hours in the close proximity of one. I hope she gives me the tea before I have to go...

**********

Hours had passed and I was now waiting for Darren to come. Stella had been hovering over me all day like a mother hen and she had dressed me up in a very short red dress. It was too revealing and I was not comfortable wearing it but she wouldn't listen to my protests and forced me into it. She caked make up on my face and when I got fed up of it and tried to stop her she again reminded me of where I would be without her. I gave in and now here I was, waiting for the guy to come pick me up.

As I sighed in defeat at trying to get comfortable in this horrible dress the I heard the doorbell ring and looked up to see a very giddy Stella walking towards the door. She opened the door and I finally got to see the Darren she was talking about all day.

He was a forty something man who was half bald. Little hair he had was a mix of white and brown and a sheen of sweat covered his forehead. His beady black eyes soon found me right away and they raked down my body shamelessly. His suit looked expensive but it was barely able to cover his protruding stomach. His hands were covered in large gold rings and his entire aura screamed loaded but it was obvious the guy was a sleaze.

Why would Stella set me up with such a guy.....

They greeted each other and as Darren started towards me Stella suddenly stopped him and said,

" Mallory dear why don't you go inside and touch up your face again..."

I hated wearing this stuff and now I had to touch up?

"But-" I was cut off by her saying,

"Now"

I didn't want to anger her so I went and did as she said.

As I was coming back to the door I saw Darren hand something over to Stella which she quickly hid in her pocket. It seemed really weird but before I could ask what was going on Darren approached me and took my hand in his.

He took my hand and placed a slobbery kiss on it and I had to hold back my grimace at how disgusting it felt. I didn't even know kisses on hands could feel disgusting....

"Hello sweetheart....I'm Darren. You ready to go?" His voice had a raspy quality, not the tye which sounds sexy but the what sounds like he had had one too many cigarettes.

I'm regretting this already....



********

When can I go home....

That is all I have been able to think about the whole time I have been here. Darren brought me to a very upscale restaurant that was really far from where I was staying. The whole time he has either been staring at my cleavage or has been making inappropriate comments that made me want to bash his head in.We were now having dessert and so far the chocolate mousse has been the only positive aspect of this dinner.

The tea was starting to lose its effect, making the memories reappear and I couldn't wait to get back home. I had to get back before it completely wore off.

I was brought out of my daze when I felt a sweaty hand on mine. Darren had placed his hand on mine and was now stroking it making me cringe internally. Soon the waiter arrived and as soon as he paid the bill Darren dragged me from my chair and took me back to the parking lot where his car was. I sighed in relief at the night finally getting over and started to get in the car but my relief was short lived.

Suddenly I felt something slam me onto the side of the car and a blazing pain flashed through my skull. I was dazed from the impact but was brought to my senses when I felt hands roving over my body.

"I can't wait anymore sweetheart...you have been teasing me throughout dinner and you didn't expect me to wait now did you..."

What is he talking about...this is one date...

"Wha-"

"Shh...shut up and stay still as I get my moneys worth...."

And suddenly everything became clear.

Why Stella was willing to take in a complete stranger. Why she was acting weird and what the Darren had given her earlier....it all made sense to me.

I knew it was a mistake. Trusting again. Living again. It was all a mistake but I ignored the feeling. I decided to give life one last chance and look where that got me. I tried to escape my past where I was used by everyone, but I only succeeded in letting myself get hurt again. And once again...I had lost. Lost myself and the heart I had been slowly mending. No one had saved me before and no one was coming now.

Then I felt his hands grab the neck of my dress and heard the sound of clothes ripping. He started grabbing me and I started to squirm and get away from him. His hand hand been covering my mouth muffling any sound I had tried to make. But when I got the the chance I bit down on his hand harshly and let out a loud scream.

"SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!"

I was cut off by a harsh slap to my face and fell down to the ground. The gravel bit into my skin like a thousand needles pricking me and I could no longer feel my legs. I felt the weight of him above me as he repeatedly punched my stomach and was about to give up. Life had lost all meaning and I no longer so any reason to life. I could just end my misery once and for all...removing my worthless existence from the world.

I was about to give everything up and let the darkness take me for the last time when I heard it. The voice which had brought me back. The voice that had been by my side for months. The person who was willing to sacrifice everything for me and be happy about that. The person I had thought to be a figment of my imagination. The person I had woken up to see...

"MALLORY!!!!!"

**********
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