Swear to me you won't
Water swooshes down my throat in icy cold gulps as I slam the perspiration covered glass down on my kitchen counter, the noise reverberating the room, a pale comparison to my mother’s endless pounding on my locked bedroom door. We’ve been here twenty minutes, only ten minutes ago she woke up and has been yelling, pleading, and banging ever since. She’ll say and do anything to convince me to let her out. Here I am locking her up again. Just a different place but for different reasons.
Whatever she’s on needs to filter itself out of her system. I knew she would go through withdrawal symptoms, but this—this wasn’t what I was expecting. Screaming, moaning, begging. Fuck, I just want to let her out, to give in but that would defeat the whole purpose of me going through all this trouble to get her here. For fucks sake, it sounds like she’s dying or close to it. What did he do to her? Where had he hidden her all these years? Why keep her a secret?
“Declan baby, open the door.” She pleaded softly, her throat raw from yelling just moments ago. “I’ll stop, I p-promise I’ll get better. Just o-open the door.”
Hearing the calm in her voice has me walking slowly across the tiled floors, past the kitchen table, and to my bedroom door. Lifting my hand to the smooth brown wooden door, I place it in the center releasing a long breath. “Declan.” She murmurs again, gentle but strained. She sounds like a thin thread of string stretching until the point of nearly snapping. Desperate. Completely, utterly, desperate. She should know I don’t and won’t capitulate that easily, especially when it’s her who needs help. I don’t even care if she fucking stutters I won’t give in.
“I’ll open the door mom,” I say evenly, hearing her harsh intakes of breath on the other side. “I’ll open it when that shit is out of your system and you’re ready to think straight.” Turning around, I force myself to stride away down the hall, hearing her screams within seconds pierce my ears with threats and curses and cries behind me. It’s fine if she hates me right now, it’s fine if she wants nothing to do with me after. The choice will be hers once she’s clean, at least then it will be what she wants for a change, not what she has been forced to do like she has her whole life.
In the living room, her tantrum continues but quieter now with the space between us. Pacing back and forth, walking a hole into the carpet, I grab my head, fisting my hair. Think Declan, fucking think. What am I going to tell Ella? Oh hey, I kidnapped my mother and locked her in my room. So how’s your day baby? And Wes is going to fucking kill me if he finds out, I can already hear him reprehending me. What was I supposed to do? Leave her there to possibly overdose along with all the other appalling things that were going on? She’s my mom.
Tugging so hard that my head starts to ache, conveniently my pocket begins to buzz. Great who the hell is calling me now? Digging my phone out of my pocket, I glance at the caller and inhale, looking down the hall before answering. “Yes Wesley, nows really not the best time—”
“Shut the fuck up and listen.” He growls through the phone, cutting me right off. What the fuck is his problem? “While you’ve been out dilly-dallying around searching for your risen from the dead mother and lying to everyone else, your lookalike paid an unwelcoming visit to your special someone at her house.” The anger lacing his voice is not missed, and the bold piercing anxiety lacerating my chest isn’t either. What the fuck is he saying? How does he know about my mother?
“What the fuck are you talking abou—”
Wes hisses. “I’m talking about Ella you bastard! Hayes decided to visit her while you have been out blindly chasing your mother, ignoring everyone.” After each new word, my heart rips and tears and shreds like shears uncontrollably slashing ribbons. Hayes visited Ellie? He visited my Ellie when I wasn’t there. It takes me a minute to actually comprehend what he’s saying as the panic swivels in, curling inside my fury filled body.
I don’t even realize it as I’m already sprinting to the kitchen collecting my car keys as a jillion different curses sputter in my head. “What do you mean Hayes fucking visited her?” I demand, searching the counter until my eyes finally land on the long blue strap with the silver ring of keys. “Is she alright, did she lock the doors?” The questions keep coming, falling right from my worried lips. “Was Thomas home? Are you with her now—”
“No, she’s not fucking alright, I found her passed out in the woods covered in her own blood.” He seethes, venous interwoven in his tone, striking me right where it hurts the most. I sprint harder, slamming my apartment door shut behind me, trampling down the time-consuming stairs. My Ellie’s hurt. I wasn’t fucking there, she needed me and I ignored her calls. What the fuck is wrong with me? My baby is hurt because I wasn’t there to protect her. “You should’ve been here.” He snapped. “She’s a bloody mess and I feel fucking sick trying to comprehend who could do this to her.”
Hot tears streak my face. This is my fault, my fucking fault. She must have been so scared. The thought wrecks me. How did I not know, how could I not feel it? How could I be so fucking stupid? “Tell me she’s a-alright—tell me she’s not h-hurt too badly.” Jumping down the last four stairs, I hall it to my car, swinging the door open and throwing myself in. “What the hell does visit mean? She—she was fine this morning, just tell me what the fuck is happening? Blood where blood how? ” I yell my voice cracking, feeling so helplessly enraged.
I’m coming Ellie, I’m coming.
Calmly Wes responds, “She was cut open Declan, Hayes carved a knife into the bottom of her stomach near her waist.” My heart stops, then blasts harder and faster. “She couldn’t walk, she’s in a hell of a lot of pain.” In a quieter less collected voice Wes says, “Her stomach says ‘eyes open’, whatever that means. I’ve cleaned up the cuts, they are really deep and will scar. Whatever message Hayes had, it’s meant for you Declan and it’s etched on Ella so you don’t forget it.”
The anger and worry and guilt sit heavily as a ton of bricks on my shoulders. Hayes, that fucking bastard, when I see him again I swear to god he’s dead. I’m going to fucking strangle him. He hurt her, my baby. “Tell her...tell her I’m coming as f-fast—” I choke up not being able to finish my sentence. Instead, I end the call, chucking it at the passenger door, while I slam my fist on the steering wheel surpassing the speed limit.
“Ella wake up!” My eyes spit open as I fly up, poignant pain extending from the top of my abs down to my pelvic leaving me gasping for air. Immediately my vision settles on my shirt covering my stomach which is actually Declan’s, my hands hovering over the deluging pain, while my lips strain from trying not to quiver. It was all real. A hand grasps my trembling one which has me glancing up to meet caramel eyes flecked with worry. “It was just a dream, Ella Bella,” Olivia says lightly, squeezing her fingers around mine.
It wasn’t a dream.
I nod, trying to get my trembling under control. Taking in my surroundings, I immediately know I’m in my room and in my own bed. My bedroom and bathroom doors are still off their hinges but now propped up against my white wall. The memory of Hayes pounding on the doors and the noise of them crashing brings back the true terror of earlier, of the fear that is still intoxicating me now. Warm blurry blobs prick my vision as my toes curl. “I don’t want to be in here,” I say quietly.
Wes must have brought me up here after cleaning my wounds. I’m surprised I fell asleep, not that it was peaceful considering every time I close my eyes I see blue shadowing ones.
There’s a movement in my peripheral vision, Wes standing up from my chair in the corner in light-washed jeans and a blood-stained crew neck. My blood. “I thought you might be more comfortable up here, I can bring you somewhere else if you tip me for my services,” Wes says, a small smile gracing his lips.
I nod, attempting to smile but only end up grimacing. “My mom’s room right down the hall please,” I mumble, squeezing Olivia’s hand. She too smiles, but it looks forced. Wes walks over to me so Olivia steps to the side releasing my hand. He gently maneuvers his hands under my knees and neck, trying his best not to hurt me as he slowly lifts me off my plush mattress. I can’t help but curl into him, wishing it were Declan in his place, feeling the need to hide. I’m truly beyond grateful he and Olivia found me.
“You guys won’t leave right?” I ask with a terrified lilt. “You’ll stay with me?”
Wes holds me a little tighter, not enough to hurt me but to reassure me. “We’re not going to leave you, Ellie, we’re going to stay until you get sick of us and end up throwing us out.” The tears that were welling in my eyes spill with relief, the thought of being alone petrifies me more than it ever has before. I don’t even want an ounce of time by myself, not when Hayes could show up at any time and slice me open again, or even kill me. I thought I was going to die.
"Swear to me you won’t,” I say with wobbly lips, needing to know for sure.
Wes looks me in the eye with his blue matching ones, more intense than I’ve ever seen him before. “I swear we won’t leave.” He promises, continuing to walk the short trek down the carpeted hall full of picture frames to my mom’s room. “Declan will be here too, he’s on his way.” He adds, pulling my mom’s door open. “I spoke with him when you were sleeping, he finally decided to pick up his phone.”
“Thank you,” I whisper as he pulls back my mom’s purple comforter, setting me down on the soft cushiony surface. Her scent immediately invades my senses, comforting me only slightly as Wes props me up against the pillows brushing off my thank you. Olivia jumps on the bed beside me, once again grasping my hand, obviously still very concerned. It warms my heart knowing how much she cares and frankly right now the last thing I want is personal space.
Declan’s on his way. I miss him, I want him to hold me and make the world fall flat, to kiss me and make the worry disintegrate as easily as sand slips swiftly through human fingers. He lied to me, this happened because he didn’t tell me about going to find his mom. Instead, he lied and ignored me. He wasn’t here when I needed him. He told me he’d protect me.
Reaching across me, Olivia grabs my mom’s television remote and turns it on, scrolling through the channels. “Are you guys hungry, because I’m starving?” Wes says, and just then his stomach rumbles proving his statement. Olivia laughs, but I don’t dare, not wanting to feel the burning in my stomach. Instead, I tell him the kitchen is open to whatever he wants, as long as he brings snacks back up. His face lights up as he turns around already striding away in the search for food.
Once he’s out of earshot, Olivia’s eyes bore into me. “How are you feeling and don’t you dare say fine?” I don’t say anything for a moment because I’m not fine. Other than the horror encasing me and the billowing stinging pain in my abdomen, everything else just feels numb, not okay, not anything, just numb. A loud bang downstairs has me flinching, knowing someone just slammed open the front door. Hayes. My mind immediately resorts to Hayes. Olivia must notice because she squeezes my hand. “It’s only Declan.”
My shoulders fall slack as a sigh falls from my trembling lips. Footsteps come stomping up the stairs, then another set behind them. “Declan.” I hear Wes growl.
“You’re not stopping me from seeing my girlfriend Wesley so back the fuck off.”
Without realizing it, my hands dig into the comforter as a nervous feeling floats around me. He’s here and he wants to see me. Turning to Olivia, I whisper, “What am I supposed to say?” I don’t know why I ask it, this is only my Declan but for some ridiculous reason, I’m buzzing up and down with nervousness. I don’t know how to feel, relieved or angry or happy.
She lets go of my hand, slipping off the bed, but her attention stays trained on me. “Say what you feel and don’t hold back.” She tells me, planting herself next to me on the floor beside the bed. “Whatever you feel, you have the right to feel it. And if anger is a fraction of that, don’t suppress it, let it out.” Loud footsteps come padding in, followed by another pair of equally loud ones and my heart picks up in speed as Declan comes into full view. My breath hitches.
Olivia gives me a small reassuring smile before telling me she would be right downstairs. I nod only half paying attention as my eyes examine the beautiful boy before me, forest orbs red-rimmed as if he’s been crying, crimson smooth lips pulled into a frown, and his stance tense. Wes is right behind him, eyes narrowed sharply, clearly fuming at his friend. He says something low enough that I can’t hear in which Declan stiffens. Wes then nods reassuringly at me before backing away and leaving.
“Ellie” Declan breathes, sounding choked as he slowly closes the gap between us. I can’t bring myself to say anything when he collapses to his knees next to me, tears already staining his hollowed cheeks as he takes me in noting his shirt that I’m wearing. “I’m so so sorry, so fucking sorry.” He repeats over and over again. My heart crumbles, piece by piece chipping away inside of me, cleaving, severing, splintering as my tears come forth and join his.
“I-I was so worried a-about you.” I croak out. “And y-you—you lied to me.”
He continues to cry in front of me, reaching for my hands. I pull them away, hating the look of rejection in his eyes, hating the way it hurts me too. But he hurt me. I remind myself. He did more than just hurt me. “What h-happened to trust? You got m-mad when I keep s-secrets but you do the same.” I stutter, trying not to let the look on his face stop me. “You didn’t tell me about finding your mom, h-how is that any different?”
He shakes his messy head of curly hair, that I so badly want to touch but refrain from doing so. “It’s not Ellie, it’s n-not different.” Ellie. I try to ignore the name, the guilt, and remorse leaking right off his lips gnawing at me. “I’m so fucking sorry I didn’t tell you—”
“You said that,” I whisper, cutting him off. “But you still hurt me. I n-needed you and you weren’t there.” The words are out the words that hurt me the most. “Hayes is the one who t-told me about your mom. He’s the one w-who released her onto the streets. He did that knowing you’d leave me alone.” I tell him voice cracking as the taste of salt brushes my tongue. “It should’ve been you who told me not him,” I say, biting the inside of my cheek. “It should’ve been you who found me.”
He goes to speak but I put my hand up stopping him. “I w-was so so scared, I tried to run, I really really tried.” I choke, looking at him through blurry eyes shaking my head back and forth. The sorrow in his masking his features, the sadness and rage made it all worse. “I couldn’t g-g-getaway, I couldn’t—”
Declan’s warm lips on mine muffle the rest of my sentence, tasting of repetitive apologies, regret, and pain. And for a short moment, I give in, needing his contact. “I hate myself, I fucking hate myself. I can hear your pain, I can see it, fuck I’m even breathing it.” His green irises stay stuck on mine, and the sadness in them ripples through me as unsteady as ocean waves. “I love you so goddamn much and I hate myself for—for not being here for you. It s-should have been me.” He shutters as if remembering something.
“No Ellie, this isn’t fucking okay. You’re not okay.” He snaps, not out of spite but endless guilt. “He hurt you. I-I hurt you and I’m so fucking sorry. You got hurt because of me.” My lips quiver, my whole body already shaking. He takes my hand and this time I let him, not because I forgive him but because I need his comfort, he’s the person who can make me feel better. “I will let him bleed me dry before he ever lays a hand you again, I cross my fucking heart. He can torture me in a million different as long as you’re okay.”
I want to be so mad at him, but it’s so difficult especially when he melts my heart all the while breaking it. Doesn’t he know I’d do the same for him? Having Declan scars in the back of my mind, I’m glad it was me and not him. He doesn’t need anymore. He didn’t know Hayes was going to show up at my house. But he still lied to me. “Hayes didn’t hurt me, not as much as y-you did,” I whisper. “Because I trusted you.”
And for a moment, I’m mad that I told Olivia to get this shirt for me to change into and not one of my own. Even when I’m mad at him, I’m still looking for his comfort.
Update, update!! Enjoy lovelies and please tell me what you think!! Are you mad at Declan? Would you accept his apology if you were Ella? Do you understand his reasoning? Let me know and if you liked this chapter please vote, I’d really appreciate it! Until next time.