Agape

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I'm not the bad guy

Chapter 24

Ella:

With Hayes’s tight grip on my chin, my stomach churned with cramping knots and tears streamed fitfully down my crimson red cheeks as my eyes darted from his penetrating blue ones to the woods around me. I couldn’t hold back the gulp, knowing he was going to hurt me, punish me. The way he was watching me with a dark kind of amusement dancing along his terrifyingly handsome features only made anxiety prickle my skin head to toe, showing visible goosebumps. It was extremely nerve-wracking.

He’s nothing like Declan.

My ankle throbbed terribly, scaring me further, knowing my chances to get away were now gone. Gone, gone, gone. He knew it too and didn’t bother trying to hide the fact considering the tilt of his red lips. Jerking my chin away, he releases his grip, and I immediately start scooting back, wanting to get away from him and his disgusting touch all the while ignoring the ache of my foot. Where are you D? Why did you lie to me? I wanted to scream and I wanted Declan to hear me. But he wasn’t here, and he wasn’t going to save me, not this time.

“Don’t look so pale, love. We haven’t even started yet.” Hayes chuckled, reaching out and swiftly grabbing my injured ankle, squeezing hard, halting me from moving further away from him. A balloon of pain skyrockets not only through my foot but up my shin bone. I hiss out a screech not being able to help it, digging my fingernails into the dirt beside me all the while thinking I hate him, I hate him so much. The tears spitting out of my eyes only frustrate me further.

I take my other foot and kick him repetitively until he catches that one too and pinches my skin with his nails. “S-stop—let me go.” I grit, my skin stinging from the pinch. What is he going to do to me?

“Why would I do that exactly? We’re just getting started.” He drawled, smiling a wicked smile that made fear ice it’s way through my veins. I ignored him, trying to wiggle my feet free but his hold is solid, unbreakable. Without thinking, I impulsively lunge forward with a balled fist and hit him square in the nose using as much force as I possibly can. Catching him off guard, he grunts pulling way back, scrunching his face in pain, which in turn leads to him loosening the hold he has on my feet.

Wasting no time, I dig my feet into the ground and push back away from him quickly. I then use my hands to help me up off the ground, balancing on my one good foot before limping away, trying to run without putting too much pressure onto my twisted ankle. I don’t dare look back, keeping my gaze forward, heading back into the direction of my house. With each step, a hot aching pang shoots up my right leg as all kinds of sharp things dig into my bare feet. My heart pummels loudly, vibrating in my ears as Hayes yells behind me. “You’re in for one hell of a treat Ellie—run all you want, you know I’ll catch you.”

He’s only calling me Ellie because Declan does, to make me vulnerable so I can trip up.

Run, run, run. I did just that, I ran as fast I could, propelling my feet to move with my newfound injury. Fear became my adrenaline, hope became my motivation. I needed to get away from Hayes before he could hurt me because he would without question if I didn’t. Choking oxygen down my lungs, my arms punched the air ahead, willing myself to run through the invisible brick wall to the sight of my house. He wasn’t going to hurt me without a fight, he wasn’t going to win without a war.

I will rely on myself because I’m all I have.

In times like this, I wish I had neighbors.

The crunch bristled close behind me, but my legs kept their speed, straining forward letting the moisture drip heedlessly from my eyes. In about twenty more feet and I’ll be in my yard, in the green lush grass, then I’ll have a better chance. Faster Ella, move faster. My body buzzed, knowing the danger not far off. I sprinted until a pain so agonizing hit me abruptly, emitting the center of my back shocking the adrenaline right out of me as a yelp left my tongue.

And then I’m staggering, falling, collapsing.

My cheek face plants into the ground along with my arms and legs following. The world around me sways as if I just spun around and around hundreds of times but only one thought in my head remains. Get up Ella, get up and run. And I try to get up, I try really hard, but the pulsing all around me is dizzying, unbalanced, and my back is screaming bloody murder. Scanning the unsteady ground, a rock the size of a Yankees candle sits unmoving beside me. That’s what Hayes threw at me and clearly was spot on with his target.

Footsteps slowed and my insides clenched feeling utterly defenseless. “I told you I’d catch you. And if you decide to run again which is highly improbable might I add, I’ll catch you then and every time after.” Hayes purred, his voice inching closer along with his hair-raising presence. He can’t win, I can’t let him. “A pity if you ask me, wasting essential time chasing, but I do admire that drive.”

“If it’s s-such a waste, then don’t c-chase me.” I stutter, looking for anything and everything to protect myself. My eyes narrow in on a small thick branch about two feet long, only an arm’s length away.

A chuckle falls out of his mouth as he places both legs on either side of my stomach. The next thing I know, the excruciating pain in my back amplifies, his bony knee pressing into my spine. I cry out, a fresh wave of tears surfacing, my nails cutting into my palms. His hand then reaches around my head to grasp my cheeks tilting my head up as his warm peppermint smelling breath brushes my ear. “Punching is so unladylike—and fighting a girl because you spilled water on her is malevolent. Here I thought you were a good girl.”

My breath catches in my throat. How does he know about that? He was in the office when it happened, not in the hallway. “Y-your hurting me.” I whimper, feeling my temper rise and fall knowing I’m helpless. “And s-she pushed me, she started it. How do you even know, you weren’t there?” That’s when it hits me, did Hayes know the girl who pushed me?

His lips graze my ear before nibbling, and shivers of revulsion drivel through me. His hand forces my head higher, hurting my stretched neck. “Jessica was very mad about the bloody nose and the black eyes you gave her. She’s a splendid actor in my opinion, wouldn’t you agree?” Hayes whispered sensually, his other hand pulling my hair. I couldn’t move with him on top of me, pinning me to the ground and I certainly couldn’t move with his knee jabbed into my back.

The blood drained from my face. “You knew her, y-you had her pick a f-fight with me,” I mumble, not believing it, but knowing full well he did just that.

“Indeed.” He murmured lazily, confirming it. “I needed you suspended so we could have a little chat and distracting Declan was too easy. You see, releasing my mother out onto the streets was sure to spark his attention, he has a weak spot for her.” Hayes explained, sounding nothing short of entertained. He was using his own mother as a pawn in his game. “It’s perfect really, Declan goes to dear old mom’s rescue and I get to play with you. My mother always did favor him over me.”

I felt sick and partly betrayed. Why didn’t Declan tell me he was going to see his mother? Did he not trust me, did he not want me to know? Why was Hayes using her so he could get to me? His knee eased up causing my shoulders to visibly slump at the small relief lessening the pain only slightly. A shaky breath leaves my throat, but the urge to pull at my hair is quite intense. Anger and confusion and sadness roiled beyond my skull but mostly fear. “Why do you want to talk to me?” I ask quietly, voice cracking.

Hayes shifts, dropping my face, as he searches for something. “Because I’m not the bad guy.” The urge to roll my eyes is strong, knowing how untrue that statement is.

“Your a-actions say differently.”

A moment of silence passes, only the sound of the wind and my erratic heartbeat before his smooth voice graces my ears yet again. “My actions keep me alive, I get my orders and I fulfill them.” He pauses, breathing. “If I were to disobey my father—you don’t disobey him or you pay the price. Declan knows that better than anyone.” For some stupid reason, I feel bad, remembering the scars on his back from the day at the warehouse when Julian made him take off his top.

“Declan doesn’t take o-orders anymore.” I counter.

In a quick motion, I’m being flipped over onto my aching back, Hayes now hovering my stomach, one of his hands pinning mine above my head, his other one holding a pocket knife. His depthless blue orbs bore into mine, my lips quiver. “And that’s exactly why I’m here, Declan’s been a bad boy and he needs to be disciplined,” Hayes murmurs, his face too close to my own, so close I can feel his hot breath. “This will be a mercy compared to what Julian has in store, you’re only a warning to show his rage, love.”

Before I can find words to respond, Hayes has my shirt lifted and the cool knife grazing the delicate pale skin of my stomach. Panic swells in my gut as Hayes traces the sharp steel along the band of my waist causing shivers. “P-please don’t.”

For a split moment, he contemplates my plea, and I think maybe just maybe he won’t hurt me. The split moment passes and Hayes looks me in the eye. “I have to.” And then he presses the blade down near my waist into my skin and I scream at the immediate stinging agony as he cuts me. I try to squirm away but squirming only enhances the burn as blood oozes, coloring the knife a deep red which makes my pummeling heart to lurch.

“Stop...p-please.” I cry all the while screaming, water gushing down my blotchy cheeks. Oh my god, it hurts, it hurts so bad. My arms strain to get free against his calloused hand pinning them down, but he’s too strong. His legs are pressing into mine, leaving me entirely powerless so there’s absolutely no way to fight back. Every intake of air scorches my lungs, every slight movement is misery, every thought terror. And this was only a warning to hurt my Declan.

He isn’t just randomly cutting, he’s carving.

Seconds feel like minutes, minutes feel like hours, as he carves slicing my flesh left to right into letters with ease, familiarity. Through the extreme discomfort, I can’t make out a single letter. I scream and scream and scream, even as my throat becomes raw and the birds screech with me. If there were glass nearby I’m sure it would break and bust and shatter. Through my blurred vision, Hayes doesn’t even seem fazed by what he’s doing as if he’s done this before but he’s not amused either, just blank.

What will Declan think of me when he sees this? Without even having to look, I know the marks Hayes is creating will scar, a permanent reminder of what he did to me, a permanent reminder of Declan’s warning. After what seems like an eternity, he pulls the damaging blade away from my throbbing swollen flesh and cleans the blood off with my risen t-shirt. I’m still, not able to move a muscle, afraid he’ll cut me some more as he lets go of my wrists and stands up. I sob silently, unable to do anything else.

He watches me with every retreating move he makes, not tauntingly, just blank of any visual emotion. “Tell your champion to count his blessings, Julian is bloodthirsty and to put it lightly, pissed," Hayes said, articulating every word so I remember. “You’re just collateral damage love, he’s the real star on this playing field.” With that being said, he turns around and strides away, not once looking back.

Laying in a puddle of my own pain, my eyes flutter shut feeling drowsy, and sleep washes me to a land of black.

*

“Ella.” Someone yells through the dark abyss, stirring my slumber. “Oh, my fuck—Ella.” They shake me, once, twice, more. “Ella open your eyes, please open your eyes.” The shaking wakes up the burning ache consuming every inch of my body, pure fiery agony an unrelenting force of torture. My eyes spear open wide and awake and hurt filled, taking in the trees, the blinding sun, the pine needles piercing my arms. It takes a whole minute to adjust.

“It h-hurts.” I screech. “Stop it hurts.”

Blond unkempt hair and blue worried eyes loom over me, not Thomas but Wesley, his hands fly in the air releasing me, not realizing shaking me awake would only hurt me further. But relief hits me like whiplash, Wes is here, and I’m not alone anymore. How did he find me? “I’m—I’m calling nine one one.” A girl sputters sounding raspy, Olivia’s frightened voice.

Immediately, I shake my head, cheeks already dampening all over again. “No no no, y-you can’t. Don’t call t-them.” I hurry out pleading. “Please don’t c-call them.” The hospital will only ask questions.

Her dark hair and beautiful face etched with lingering concern and fear come into my line of sight, as she kneels next to me. Her caramel eyes are filled with tears, matching mine as she examines me up and down. “Ella you need to go to a hospital, you’ve lost so—so much blood.” Her hand caresses my face, her lips trembling as if she can feel my pain by just looking at me. Again I shake my head, saying no over and over again.

Wes takes Olivia’s hand and also shakes his head, telling her not to. He then looks at me. “Ella, I need to get you inside, we have to clean you up before you get an infection.” He says clear and calm, though his eyes tell a different story. “I’m going to have to pick you up in order to do that, alright? Will you let me pick you up?” I nod, lips trembling. He leans forward gently placing a hand under my neck and the other under my knee. “This is going to hurt.” He warns before lifting me off the ground and to his chest.

My stomach bursts into flames and I hiss out as Wes begins to walk. “Why didn’t Declan tell me?” I ask quietly, trying to distract myself from the ongoing unending pain, wishing to forget about Hayes. Wes raises an eyebrow in question and that’s when I realize he doesn’t know what I’m talking about, which means Declan lied to him too or at least didn’t tell him. “He w-went to find his mom and he didn’t even tell me.” It hurts to say it, to even think about it.

Wes’s eyes widen as he curses under his breath. “Let’s get these cuts taken care of first and then we’ll worry about that.” Olivia hurries ahead of Wes, so she can hold the doors open, refraining from asking questions, probably knowing now’s not the time.

Before we go inside, I force myself to ask in a mere whisper, “What does my stomach say?”

Wes’s frown deepens. “Eyes open.”

*

Please comment and vote if you enjoyed, I’d really appreciate it! Sorry for any mistakes! Also if you haven’t listened to Shawn Mendes’ new album, go do that because it’s so good!... Enjoy, stay safe, and tell me what you predict is going to happen next!

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