Agape

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Abso-freaking-loutly

Chapter 7

Ella:

Well, it’s official, yup Declan got suspended from school for three days. Three. It was supposed to be longer but somehow Wes was able to get his parents to talk to the board of education.

Apparently, the idea of expulsion was proposed, but thankfully there weren’t enough votes. With the three days of suspension from school also came three days of detention when he came back. Declan was lucky.

Even though he was the one to get in trouble, I was the one heavy with miles of worry. He did some real damage to Noah, it was rumored he had a broken nose that would now be crooked.

Even though Declan doesn’t show it, and it’s not completely visible to most, he is filled to the brim with stress. To the point where sometimes he just needs to spill some, get it out of his system. He used to smoke, that was one of his ways of releasing it. Football is another way. Now I don’t know, he has a full plate.

He works now, he has school, he has bills to pay, and even though Riley is well taken care of, he worries about her too.

On the outside people see him as the pretty jock who can play a killer game of football, but on the inside, he has just as many problems as the rest of us. Declan is human too, he suffers just like everyone else and even if you can’t see it, it’s there.

To know about Declan’s life and parts of his past, it breaks my heart. He never even had a chance to be a kid, instead, he walked on eggshells, never knowing what was going to come next when he was going to be hit again. He could never feel safe.

Still even now that he’s emancipated, he has to be an adult when he shouldn’t have to be. He has to take care of himself when instead he should have parents taking care of him. His scars tell a very sad story, the story of his life.

I wish I could take it all away.

Declan had to work tonight till twelve. If he were in school he would have gotten out of football practice, took me home, and then went. But since he ditched school and was now suspended, he can just go. He worked five to twelve, eight hours total. How he gets up in the morning is still a shocker to me. Still, an actual job is much better than selling illegal things for Hayes.

As Declan dropped me off at my house borrowing my truck, he kissed my cheek and squeezed my hand. “I’ll see you later, yeah?” He asks, hinting he’ll be coming over after work.

I nod my head murmuring, “I’ll be waiting.”

He smiles my favorite smile, “Don’t wait up, it’s going to be late and you need to sleep.” He tells me, tucking loose strands of my un-contained hair behind my ear.

I frown, he needs sleep too and I have a hard time sleeping when he’s not there with me. “No promises,” I whisper, knowing full well I will wait up for him.

After, I open the truck door and slip out. But before it’s shut Declan calls my name. “Oh and Ellie.” He says, and I turn my head. “No running by yourself.” His forest green eyes were intense, he wanted confirmation that I wouldn’t.

He held my gaze until I verified I wouldn’t. “I won’t D.” He instantly relaxes, a sigh leaving his lips. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I say back, then shut the door. He doesn’t drive away though until he sees that I’ve made it into the house. My heart sinks as I hear the rocks crumble under the weight of my truck, signaling that Declan is off to work.

Now I’m officially alone again. The house feels empty most of the time without Thomas around anymore, he lives in his college dorm. My mom works late all the time now too, so that leaves only me in the quiet house.

I hate being home alone. Every creak of the floors, every drip from the squeaky pipes, and every flicker of an old lightbulb sets me on edge. It felt like half the time I was living by myself, so how Declan did it I had no idea.

I let out a breath leaning against the door. What am I supposed to do now? I have to wait eight hours until I see Declan again, eight long miserable hours. I can’t run, well I can if I invite Olivia over. Then she could stay for a while and I won’t have to be alone.

As I ponder what to do next, I think about the three days of school without Declan there. If he can’t go, then I probably won’t either. Let’s face it, without him there I’ll be a bloody cliche, in other words, a total wreck.

Wreck, wreck, wreck. The words echo in my head, the more I think them the more they seem true. Ella, wreck, Ella, bloody cliche, Ella, wreck, Ella, bloody cliche.

Slamming my hand against the door, for a second I shut up the thoughts. At least now I can think about my hurting hand. While my head’s clear, I take my phone out and dial Olivia. I can’t be by myself because then I’ll be in my head. I hate being stuck in my head.

For once watching Netflix won’t help because I don’t have anybody to watch it with, and if I read it will just be all the more quiet.

“Hello,” Olivia answers within two rings. Relief fills me. “Hey Liv.” I say.

“Ella Bella! What’s up girl?” She sings, sounding happy.

A sudden smile lights my lips, I’m already feeling better. Just talking to her makes me feel less alone. “Nothing much, my house is so quiet that it’s loud.” I laugh silently when it’s quiet everything else is so much louder, “I was wondering if you want to come over for a while, nobody’s ever home anymore.” The last part falls silently from my lips, it’s almost a whisper.

She laughs. “You don’t have to ask me twice, I’ll be over soon. Should I bring running clothes?”

“Definitely, I’ve been itching to run. Declan doesn’t like it when I go alone.” I spill in complete honesty.

On her side of the phone, shuffling is heard. She must already be running around, getting her things together. “He’s so protective of you, it’s hot.” She squeaks, then laughs. “Haha you know what I mean, anyway I’ll see you in ten.”

“Seen you then,” I mumble, then the line goes blank.

*

Just as Olivia arrives, I’m trying my Nike sneakers tight. I always double knot my shoes so they don’t come untied when I’m running. The last thing I want is to get in a good rhythm and then trip over my laces, that’s super annoying and very inconvenient.

“Where to and how long?” Olivia asks right as she opens the door.

Pulling my lace tight, I stand up. “Just the back roads, maybe two miles out and two miles back,” I suggest, now putting my phone in my armband.

She nods. “Sounds good.” She then pauses before saying, “So I heard about that fight, is that why you left school early?”

I’m quiet for a moment before saying, “Yeah. Declan needed me.” That’s all I say, but it’s the truth. I left because I knew he needed me. Just like if I needed him, he would be there without question. It wasn’t a hard decision to make.

Even though I hated Declan fighting, he actually in a way helped me. Just when I was beginning to panic over getting asked a question I didn’t know, he somehow was there to stop it, even if he was fighting to do it.

“Wes was freaking out when he heard,” Olivia tells me. “As soon as the office called Declan down over the speaker, Wes was up and out of his seat.”

I glance at her, and as I do I notice something I haven’t before. Her olive cheeks are tinted pink. Oh my gosh, does she like Wes? “You like him don’t you?” I question.

I never knew a lot about girl crushes or anything, I wasn’t even good with advice. But I know that look, that blush. She was blushing, the way I blushed whenever Declan was around.

“What, why do you think that?” She asks, suddenly nervous.

A smile pulls onto my chapped lips. “I don’t know, I can just tell.” I say, shrugging my shoulders.

“Oh.” She mumbles. “Well um he does seem cool, and his eyes are really pretty.” Laughter escapes my throat. Olivia doesn’t usually get nervous but when she is, it’s kind of funny. “He is cool.” I agree.

“Yeah yeah whatever, can we run now?” She asks, not liking her sudden embarrassment over the subject. Letting it go, I push open the door and turn on my running playlist. “Sure.” I say and begin to jog as soon as I’m outside. “Try to keep up.” I yell.

I can hear Olivia mumble under her breath about me starting without her, the sound of her feet hitting the grass is not too far behind me. As we run, the world slowly begins to evaporate around me.

Moonlight a distant glow stars illuminating the darkened sky. Olivia and I run in sync, a duet in the night. Both of us thrive off the energy that only the night gives, a new motivation with each step the further we go.

My heart thrums loud in my ears as my fists continue to punch the air. A cooling breeze brushes my skin but propels my hair forward hitting my face. With a shake of my head, my hair falls back.

The lyrics of my music are a whisper on my lips as I repeat the words. As I repeat them my body pushes me to move faster, to run to the beat of the music. Olivia does the same, feeling the same pull as I am.

A runners high, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s an addicting freedom that you can’t get enough of, it’s pretty powerful. Sweat slides down my neck creating a damp puddle on my shirt. My body is hot like a machine, only the wind colliding with my sweat is when I feel a slight coolness.

Just running with Olivia makes the feelings multiply. Somehow running with a partner just makes the run not only easier but more staggering.

As we round the corner back to my house, I pick up my pace as I always do. I like to go all out in the end, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Olivia kicks it up a notch also, she’s steps behind me though.

Once my hand hits the tree (A finish line of sorts) only then do I let myself relax.

“Wow...just wow.” Olivia gasps for breath. “That was pretty awesome.”

I nod letting myself fall onto the ground. “Yeah, it was.” For a second I let myself bask in the feeling before it goes away. Then we laugh together for no actual reason.

“Do you want a smoothie?” I randomly ask, craving something cold. My stomach is suddenly hungry from the long run.

“Abso-freaking-loutly.” Is Olivia’s reply.

“Strawberry?” I suggest it because that’s my favorite. Banana with strawberry protein, the best thing you’ll ever taste. “Now you’re talking.” Olivia mumbles.

In seconds we’re up off the ground and stumbling into my house. What teenager isn’t in a rush to eat food?

*

When the clock hits eleven, Olivia leaves to go home. She treasured her sleep and if she didn’t go to sleep soon she would be miserable tomorrow at school. Before she left she asked if I would be there tomorrow, knowing about Declan’s suspension, of course, she was curious if I would be there when he wouldn’t.

I told her probably not, she frowned but understood my reasoning. I guess you could call Declan and I a pair, if he couldn’t be there then I wouldn’t be either.

Declan gets out of work in an hour, so I decide to keep myself busy until then. Still having not yet taken a shower, that’s what I do, well not exactly I’m actually going to take a bath. Same difference.

In the bath, the water is extra hot just like I like it. The smell of orange fills the bathroom because of my orange scented bath salts. Waves of ease filter the air, and with it is a relaxing vibe.

I make sure to take extra long, really taking my time while shaving. The longer I’m in the bath, the more time that will pass, and the sooner Declan will be here. Once I’m out of things to do, I take out the plug and let the water drain.

After I’m dressed in all Declan, his shirt, and boxers, I revel in his smell. Opening the bathroom door, I step out of the steamy room. The first thing I see is Declan laying on my bed, eyes closed, shirt off, legs crossed, and arms behind his head.

His tan skin displaying all his scars, still he wears his imperfections in a way that is beyond mesmeric. For a moment I take in his godly appearance, his forest eyes lull open and his mouth parts into a lazy smile.

“God, you look sexy in my clothes.” His velvety voice fills the room.

My cheeks tinge with unmistakable warmth, his choice of words dizzying. I fold my hands together glancing down. “t-thanks.”

He chuckles. “Well, get your butt over here.”

I stumble over to the bed, my feet not so graceful now that he’s here. As I climb onto the bed he reaches over and pulls me onto his lap. “You smell edible Ellie baby.” He murmurs smelling my hair.

The heat of his skin seeps through my shirt and down my spine, I’m very aware of his stomach muscles against my back.

I smile. “How was work?”

He groans. “Draining.” His fingers brush up under my shirt, resting on my bare belly. “And what have you been doing?” He ponders.

I relaxed against him, “Olivia came over, we ran and then hung out afterwards.”

“Did you now?” He coos.

I hum in response. His fingers slide over my belly feeling my hot skin. My mind zooms in on him, the way his fingers feel, the way his voice sounds, and how he holds me against him.

“I missed you.” I breathe. “Nobody’s ever home anymore.”

His fingers halt. “Does your mom always work this much?”

“She has been lately, I barely ever see her. The house has been so quiet, it seems empty.” I whisper, suddenly telling him how I feel. When I’m not with him, I’m usually alone unless I call Olivia. Most of the time I dread coming home.

“Oh, Ellie.” He murmurs. “You’re not alone.” He pauses. “Do you want to sleep at my place tonight?”

“Yes,” I say softly. He always knows what to say, he always knows how I’m feeling without me having to even explain it, and he always knows how to make it better.

*

Like it? Love it? Want some more of it? Haha, comment if you know the song. Anyways here’s another chapter, let me know what you think!

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