I caught you
The continuous vibration in my pocket halts only a brief moment before beginning again as it has for the last ten minutes. Finally having enough of it, I rip the thing out of my pocket, keeping one keen eye on the road while the other checks the source of my manifesting anxiety. Ella, Ella, Wes, Ella...I don’t even bother looking at the number of missed calls, knowing it will only distract me and in turn make me second guess my decision.
Shutting down my phone completely, I chuck it into the passenger seat, though a part of me wants to pick it back up and call Ella to assure her I’m just fine. But that would lead to her wanting an explanation, one that I can’t fucking give without her thinking I’ve gone mad. By the list of missed calls, I can only assume Wes and Ella know I’m not where I told them I would be. But sometimes you win some and you lose some, them being worried and angry or whatever the hell their feeling is my loss while what I’m about to do will hopefully be a win.
Slowing my car down to a complete stop near a network of cracked rectangular cement as a sidewalk, I switch gears into park then turn off the car, focusing ahead just past a row of beat-up shrubs and full green trees at a rundown motel. The parking area is small, the lopsided yellow and pink neon sign is lopsided, and the one-story motel itself is chipping bright pink paint. Cheap plastic chairs sit outside only some of the doors, in fact, a tan wrinkly man is sitting in one smoking a cigarette.
Right now I’d kill to have a cigarette.
Sighing, I sit back and watch the motel waiting and observing, learning and counting the people who pull in and how long it takes for them to leave. While doing this, I watch the time religiously, scanning my surroundings, searching for any inconspicuous activities, and or anything out of the ordinary. As the clock ticks, numerous people, most of them older males, pull in and stay for a short period of fifteen to twenty minutes before leaving. The visits become a pattern, a schedule, as the men just walk right through the motel doors without so much as a thought to knock.
Some carry in black duffle bags, a clear sign of illegal drugs considering my background knowledge and previous experience it wasn’t tough to know. Others just enter the rooms with nothing and after come out with nothing. Upon coming here, I hoped it wasn’t true, that maybe what I saw could have been just a figment of my imagination or I could have just been jumping to conclusions without knowing all the details. It’s difficult not to recognize the signs, it’s difficult not to go through all the solutions when in my heart I know what is happening.
She doesn’t deserve this, to live a life like this. How could he do this to her? How can he have no empathy whatsoever? Slamming my hands down on the steering wheel, I repeatedly let it out, while my jaw clenches so hard it hurts. When the anger begins to trickle out, only then do my hands give up and instead run down the structure of my face, willing myself to think. How the fuck am I going to do this? Maybe if I just ask she’ll come home with me, maybe she’ll want to talk.
Does she even want to see me? She hasn’t even reached out.
After two complete hours of waiting and studying the pretty consistent visit patterns, I know there’s a fifteen-minute flat period where nobody comes until the next scheduled visit. Twisting the key, I turn my vehicle back on and begin to pull up to the small weathered parking lot after checking my mirrors, knowing I only have little time. Parking once again, this time right before the rooms, I take a deep breath and grab the door handle.
With quick strides I’m in front of a door in seconds, knocking on the rusted metal, not knowing which room she’s vacating. Out of ten sweets, there are only four with active visitors and if she’s a prostitute like I’m guessing she is, then these are the only ones she could possibly be occupying. A part of me hopes to find her, while the other part hopes she isn’t here at all and that everything I thought was just a false interpretation of me imagining the worst.
For a long moment the door doesn’t open, the woman inside probably finds it strange as hell that somebody is actually knocking and not barging in. That or she’s wondering why someone is knocking while it’s her time off. After about thirteen seconds, the door cracks open, and a woman with brown hair and squinty eyes peaks out. I immediately pretend to cough, looking away from the barely clothed female. “Sorry, wrong room,” I mutter, turning away and walking to the next, hearing the door slam behind me.
Wasting no time I begin to knock on the next rusty door, hoping to god this is the right one. And just like the last door, the person inside waits a few seconds before cracking the door open a smidge. My heart stops in my chest as my eyes meet the women’s, the same sapphire ones that used to hold warmth, the same sapphire ones Riley inherited. They were a shade off from Ellie’s ocean ones that always appeared to ripple leaving you spellbound.
Unlike Ella’s, hers were bloodshot and red-rimmed with lingering crescent moons just under them. It was obvious she lacked sleep and was most definitely high on some kind of drug. Fucking hell, how could somebody do this to their wife? She seemed paralyzed as her body stood unmoving and her blue orbs began to shine with moisture. Does she recognize me?
“D-Declan?” She stutters.
I nod my head. “It’s me, mom.” I breathe, taking in her appearance. Her dark curls are the same but longer, her frame small just like Ella’s. Her eyes dart down before she crosses her arms trying to cover herself up. I immediately lift my sweatshirt over my head and hand it to her, which she takes with shaking hands and a frown. After she puts it on she brings her gaze back to me and unlike Ella, I can’t read her expression.
“You shouldn’t h-here.” Her soft raspy voice says. Then in a quieter tone, “I don’t want you to see me like this.”
Biting back my annoyance, I run my hand through my hair, after bringing it down to feel my pocket making sure the syringe is still there. “It doesn’t bother me, it’s not like I haven’t seen worse.” She blinks, not liking my words. “You shouldn’t be surprised—you don’t think I don’t know what’s going on here, but I know better than anyone. And if I see one of these men barge into your room again they won’t be able to stop me from breaking every bone in their entire body.”
Tears begin to slide down her tan pink cheeks, as she shakes her head wiping at them, not wanting me to see her cry. “It’s not your job to s-save me Declan, I’m t-the parent. This is m-my life, you need to live yours and s-stop worrying about me.” She sputters out, tugging at the ends of my sweatshirt. “I loved you, I s-still do. But you have to let me go.”
“I thought you were dead, he told us you were fucking dead.” I spit not being able to hold back my anger. “Do you know what that was like thinking you were gone forever, that I’d never see you again? Well, let me tell you it was hell, complete hell because everything after just got worse for us.” My hands form fists as I step forward. “I-I thought you were dead. Now that I know you’re not I’m sure as hell not letting you go—and now...now I’m going to help you get out of this hell hole because you don’t deserve this.”
She once again shakes her head. “No Declan, I’m no good to you, I could never save you when you needed me most.”
I push the door open farther, she tries to stop me but I’m stronger. “But I can save you and I’m going to.” She backs away from me stumbling past the metal bed, her eyes pleading as I continue to walk forward. I know it’s the drugs talking, she’s addicted and because of it, she’ll do anything to stay. It’s not her fault, it never was. “You’re high mom, you’ll understand when you’re clean.” She continues to shake her head wildly, the words ‘no’ and ‘please don’t’ falling from her bitten lips.
Knowing I only have little time until the next man whore gets here, I close the gap between us as she hits the beige wall. She’s about to scream but I quickly cover her mouth and pull the syringe out of my pocket. Biting the cap off and saying a quick prayer that she’ll forgive me, I stick the needle into her arm, she tries to avoid it but fails. Her eyes never leave mine as she slowly fights losing consciousness, but is not able to for long and begins to slump, sliding down the wall. Not letting her hit the ground, I place my hand behind her neck and below her knees picking her right up off the floor after stuffing the needle back into my pocket.
“I’m sorry,” I mumble close to her ear.
Not wasting a single second longer, I take big strides towards the door, slamming it shut behind me, then quickly hurrying to my car, placing her in the passenger seat and buckling her up. Once in the driver’s seat, I crank the engine, switching gears into reverse and stepping on the gas, getting out of this god awful forsaken place. She’s going to stay with me. I’m going to protect her and help her get clean from that poison before I let any man in hell touch her again without her consent.
She’s is my mom, the woman who loved me even after every fucking terrible thing that happened to her. I couldn’t leave her in a place like this, I wouldn’t.
As I drink my water trying to tell myself Declan is alright and that he can take care of himself, I peer out the small window above the kitchen sink noticing Thomas’s vehicle is gone. Weird, he must have got up earlier than me if he’s already out and about this morning. Here I am thinking he was sleeping when really he’s actually gone doing who knows what at this hour. Apparently, it’s not unusual to be God knows where at this time of day, just when the sun breaks the horizon since Declan is unattended for too.
Still, I wish he at least told me the truth.
Not surprising that I’m alone.
Refilling my glass, I amble into the living room and plop down on the leather recliner hoping to be able to relax myself to the best of my ability. Placing my glass down on the fancy coaster next to me on the oak end table, my hand then reaches for the remote and switches the tv on. It doesn’t take long before I’m scrolling through the channels for what seems like forever until finally choosing Shawn Mendes’ ‘In Wonder’ documentary.
Calm down Ella, he’ll call you back soon.
Ten minutes into the documentary, inconveniently three knocks on the front door find my ears. Mentally groaning, I stand up wondering who it could possibly be. Declan doesn’t knock anymore and Thomas wouldn’t knock either considering he has his own key. Who else would visit me other than Olivia, and she’s in school right now? Reaching the front door within ten or so steps, my hand twists the brassy lock until it clicks and then turns the knob opening it.
The first thing my eyes take in is the shoes, they are black and sleek and expensive. Leisurely, my eyes lift taking in the nice dark washed jeans, the pricy graphite grey crew neck, and finally, the guy’s terrifyingly familiar face. Sanguine lips, straight nose, sharp eyebrows, chocolate curls, and lastly those stupid shadowy blue eyes. My heart kicks up a few beats and not in a good way as my throat closes. “Don’t look so down love, I’ve just come to play.”
My sweaty palm on the brassy knob squeezes as I go to slam the door shut, but knowing my luck Hayes catches the door and forces it back open with ease. He brings his piercing orbs to mine, full of amusement, as his smooth lips quirk into a grin that causes my stomach to turn queasily. “Now, is that any way to treat a guest? Haven’t your parents taught you pleasantries or least of all manners?” He shakes his head, chuckling softly. “What a shame for a pretty girl like you, supposedly Declan has yet to fix this attitude of yours. No worries, my methods are far more victorious.”
I step back, fear encroaching my limbs. How does he know where I live? “Sorry to disappoint you b-but you’re not a guest and you’re not w-welcome here.” I sputter, hating how weak I sound.
He steps into the house, shutting the door behind him. “Oh but I am, and you and I have much to catch up on.” Horror kicking into first gear, I take the wooden dining chair behind me and swing it forward with all my strength, throwing it at him. Without waiting to see the damage I turn sprinting up the stairs to my bedroom as fast as my feet will take me praying to god to not stumble. As soon as I reach my bedroom, I slam the door shut and twist the lock, hearing his heavy footsteps as he takes his time prowling up the stairs.
“You can run all you want, love,” Hayes calls, as I scramble away from my bedroom door and fumble past my reading chair to my bathroom, shutting and locking myself inside. Nothing about Hayes visiting is welcoming. “But know any place that you hide, I’ll find you. Anywhere that you go, I’ll follow you. And when I retrieve you, you’ll wish you hadn’t run, because your punishment will be nothing short of spectacular.”
Turning to my window, I quietly unlatch the locks with trembling hands pulling it up along with the screen trying to calm my explosive heart as a cool breeze kisses my warm skin. He begins to pound on my bedroom door, causing my anxiety to triple times a million as my eyes take in how far it will take for me to jump down onto my back porch and after, slide down onto the back deck. Hearing him slam repeatedly into my bedroom door, each one giving a loud greater scary crack, sending vibrations across the floorboards, I put one foot through the window and duck my head pushing myself out.
The big crash makes it hard for me to hold in a sob knowing he’s now in my bedroom. His footsteps begin walking to my bathroom door, my last shield of protection, sending an ice-cold shiver down the length of my spine. “One door Ella, are you afraid?” He taunts as I quietly swing my other leg out the window and slide down, willing my legs not to crash into the side of my house and make a loud noise. My slippery hands grasp tightly at the white frame of my window as I dangle counting to three before letting go and free falling.
I land with a loud thump on my stomach, biting back the urge to scream as pain ricochets through my kneecaps and elbows. Ignoring the sharp pain, I scuttle to stand up and edge myself over and off the shingled roof of my back porch to slide down to the back patio. A second loud crash fills my ears, causing me to move faster. Following the same routine, I force my hands to let go and drop, but this time landing on my feet seeing it was only about an eight feet drop.
A thump above has my head surging up, Hayes has already jumped out my window without even an ounce of hesitation unlike me. Spinning around, my feet fly forward, doing a full-out sprint towards the woods, the wet grass spindling in between my toes reminding me I’m shoeless. As soon as I reach the woods the ground isn’t going to be so easy to navigate, considering pine cones and rocks and thorns will be everywhere along with the brush.
“Run as far and as fast as you can for as long as you can because it will be pleasurable to see fall, to know that when you do—you’ll be withering in fear.” He yells behind me. My arms pump slicing through the air directing myself to move faster. I scan the tree line and beyond through blurry eyes searching and trying to think with a clouded mind where it will be safe to hide. But all the land is flat, save for a few hills that are a distance back if I can even make it that far.
Stumbling over a branch, I force myself to balance knowing what will happen if I fall. Adrenaline pumps fast into my bloodstream as my chest rises and falls, swallowing mouthfuls of air to keep me going. Reaching the trees, the silky green grass turns into a brown mess of pine needles and twigs. As my feet hit the harsh ground, the discomfort is almost instant. He has shoes, it won’t bother him. Why couldn’t Thomas be home? Where did he go? Why did he leave me home alone? No matter how upset he is with me right now, I wish he was here. But luck is never on my side.
As who knows what pokes into my feet, rocks and pebbles slice cuts into my soles, tears finally begin to trickle out of my burning eyes. It didn’t matter how much endurance I have or how fast I can run, he had shoes. As he got closer, his footsteps became louder, and his ragged breathing was heard. It wasn’t really ragged, just controlled, he was in shape which made everything all the more worse for me.
I wish I was with Declan right now.
He is going to hurt me.
Just as I thought it, my ankle caved in and I fell face forward onto the floor of strong-smelling pine needles all because of accidentally missing a stupid pothole. I tried to get up, I did, but pain shot up bursting through my foot causing me to fall back down. And that was when the real feeling of terror hit me like a slap to the face. Hearing the crunch of dried out leaves and sticks behind me, I knew there was no getting away.
His shadow fell over me as he came to a halt, his black sleek shoes on the ground before me. He then kneeled, grabbing my chin and forcing me to look into his dark blue eyes. My lips quivered but I wouldn’t dare let my teeth chatter. “I caught you.” He murmured, letting me soak in my defeat. “Hush, I’m not going to hurt you, love.” I didn’t believe him, that would be stupid. “It’s just a punishment to teach you some mutual respect and then maybe we can have a civil conversation, yeah?”
Happy thanksgiving lovelies!! I’m thankful for all you guys and your support, you guys inspire me to write! I hope you enjoy this chapter, please tell me what you think and your guesses as to what is going to happen next! Sorry for any mistakes!