I was just finishing chapter three of Treasure Island when a head popped around my half open door.
"Dinners ready." Nathan stated, not waiting for me to answer and leaving to go downstairs.
I marked where I was up to and stretched, looking at the time; I'd been reading for almost 2 hours.
Everyone was already seated by the time I walked into the kitchen, Carla motioned for me to come sit next to her and as soon as I did she started questioning me on my first day;
"Did you see any cute guys?" She beamed at me. Sam, Lucas, Jamie and Aiden all looked up and awaited my answer. I burned up at the question and the attention.
"I- I d-don't know."
"Carla, don't ask people embarrassing questions like that!" Karl jumped in, he must have known it would make me uncomfortable talking about guys given my past. Or he could see how beet red I was. Either way I was immensely grateful for the save.
"It's just some girl talk dad, calm down. We can gossip after dinner Alex, when all these losers aren't around." She giggled.
"Who you calling losers? You do know we're the most popular guys in school right. You know Alleycat if you wanted instant popularity you should totally get with one of us... I'm the most popular so I'm clearly the best option for your status." Lucas winked at me and chuckled at my reaction "I didn't know you could get any redder, my work here is done."
"Topic change. Now" Sandra said eyeing her children with a look that meant they better do as they're told.
By the time I'd finished my meal my face had cooled down. After helping clean up I once again retired to my room while the majority of the Spencer's went to the lounge to watch a movie together.
Carla followed me up to my room and sat cross legged on my bed looking at me expectedly.
"Soo... did you?" She continued her inquisition from dinner.
"I was too busy trying to not embarrass myself all day. I wasn't looking." I answered quietly looking at my bed spread. It really wouldn't matter if I saw cute guys, which I had; There's plenty of attractive students at school, but what would that matter to me... I didn't want to be involved in anything remotely relating to flirting or romance with anyone at school.
"Shame. There's plenty of hotties there, once you get the swing of the place you'll be noticing them left, right and centre. Trust me." She laughed "Most of my day is spent eyeing them, I actually just got partnered up with this guy in my class..." she gushed and fanned her face jokingly "He's beautiful, and I get to spend hours with him on this school project, who knows, all that time together, he might fall helplessly in love with me."
Carla was such a romantic, and I could feel green envy building up inside me at her carefree attitude to love and how she didn't see danger at every turn.
"Will you b-be studying at h-his place?" I ask.
"Mostly school I reckon. We didn't properly plan everything out today, but he could come here if he needed to, I've had school partners come here to work before, imaging I was at his, and we were alone laughing and joking and then he kissed me." She looked out dreamily, and did a quiet sigh.
"You should- you shouldn't work alone with him." I said before I could stop myself. Carla shook herself from her little day dream and raised a concerned eyebrow.
"Are you okay? You look really pale."
"Yeah, I'm just tired" I try and attempt a small smile and it seems to do the trick. She still looked uncertain but stands up and says she'll leave me to rest.
It takes me a while to finally nod off, Carla's lack of self preservation unnerved me, were most people who hadn't grown up like me or suffered like me this lackadaisical about everything. I would never want to be alone for a long period of time with someone I barely knew, with anyone really.
When I finally get to sleep it's plagued with memories and nightmares...
"Alex, you'll be working with Joshua" My English lit teacher shouts out and moves on to the next assigned partners.
Joshua was quiet in class, if I had been given a choice in partners (unless you were allowed to work alone) He probably would have been in my top 3 anyways so I wasn't too displeased with how things had turned out. He gives me a small smile and a shy wave. Yep, not a bad choice at all.
It had been a week of us working on our project; everything was going well, I was even opening up to him a little and he didn't seem as shy. We did most of the work in the library.
On the second week, we stopped outside the library door to read a sign posted outside.
"Library closed due to repair work, apologies for any inconvenience."
"I'd say we could go to mine but my mom has her weekly book club tonight and she demands that no one is the house for it. I'm sure it's some kind of cult thing." Josh laughs jokingly.
"We could go to mine." I suggest. Stephen will be here for at least another 2 hours. He has to work late on Thursdays and teach students that require extra help. Much to his dismay, but the extra pay is good so I've heard and it would ruin his reputation of being Mr amazing if he refused.
Derek always goes out straight from work with the guys and doesn't get home until the early hours of the morning. He gets long weekends so it's basically his Friday night.
"Yeah... that'd be great." Josh agrees and without any fear of intrusion I allow him to follow me back.
Of course I know he has to be gone before Stephen gets back; no one can know we live together. But I feel confident that we have enough time.
It's a little after an hour and we have just stopped working. "I think the conclusion can be left until tomorrow, I can't work anymore. My brains turning to mush" Josh says taking his glasses off and using his thumbs to squeeze his eyes.
"I can get you a drink and some painkillers if you have a headache?" I ask with a kind smile.
"A drink would be great."
I get up and grab two glasses of apple juice - it's either this or beer - and walk back into the lounge passing him a glass and sitting back down. Josh takes a long gulp, placing the glass on the table and then slowly scooting closer to me on the sofa.
"Thanks, I needed that." He gratefully pats my knee. Keeping his hand there.
I just smile at him. Wondering how to tell him to leave now that we were done with the work for the day.
"Look.. I don't know how to do this. I'm not great with people, but then again neither are you... wait that sounded rude. I mean, you're quiet. And I'm quiet, now I'm just stating the obvious. What I'm trying to say is that I've enjoyed these two weeks with you. I was wondering if you'd like to carry on... you know hanging out with me, after this projects over, I mean if you don't want to that's completely fine as well, it's just an idea"
I wasn't sure how to answer at first. No one had ever wanted to spend time with me other than to do the the mandatory school work.
"Uhm... Su-sure I guess."
His face lights up like I've just handed him the greatest gift, surely my friendship isn't that important to him.
"That's great!" He laughs. And I smile at him.
The door suddenly closes and I look up in shock; Derek is at the foot of the door... his blurry eyes are looking towards me, Josh and the hand on my knee.
I don't say anything at first, but inside I'm berating myself. Sod's law that the one time I bring someone here, he decides not to stick to his usual routine.
"D-Derek... you-you're ba-back early."
Josh stands up and pushes his hand out ready to shake Dereks, who is looking all kinds of confused.
"Who are you?" He ignores the outstretched hand and Josh drops it.
"Joshua sir, I'm Alex's partner."
"The fuck?! You're fucking my daughter?" Derek rages.
"What- no - no sir, her school-pro... project partner." He stutters out. Backing up a little.
"You think I'm stupid" He drunkenly stumbles towards us. "I just saw you, your filthy hand on my princess. Looking at her like she's yours" he grabs a hold of Josh's shirt collar and I stand up instantly trying to remove his hand.
"Derek pl-please. He's telling the truth!" I cry out. He can't hurt Josh.
"She's not yours" he's nose to nose with a trembling Josh "you ever talk or touch her again... I'll kill you." He pushes him back and Josh trips over his feet and lands back on the sofa before shooting up and running towards the front door without looking back. Leaving me with a hostile Derek.
He turns his sights onto me and I could pee my pants from the menacing look in his eyes.
"De-Derek I swe-swear, we we-" I don't get to finish my sentence. I'm grabbed by the throat and shoved onto the sofa. Derek is astride me with a speed I wasn't sure was possible, especially knowing he's intoxicated.
"Did you forget who you belong to princess," he spits at me, "you must need a reminder."
His hand that was still around my throat moves down over my chest, his creeping hands slither down until he's at the edge of my T-shirt. Ripping it off me in seconds.
I tremble and try to get loose, begging him to believe me, a red hot burn to my cheek from his fist stills me for a moment.
His face comes down onto mine and his lips latch painfully over my own, with bruising force he's kissing me and like always I gag at the horrendous act. Trying to move my face to the side to get out of his grasp. His lips travel across my cheek that are covered in tears and down my neck and shoulder where he bites down hard. A searing pain shoots down my neck and arm and I cry out.
With one hand he pulls both my arms up and keeps a firm hold on them so I can't use them to try to push him off. The other is against his pants, freeing himself.
A last futile attempt at struggling against him earns me another punch to the stomach and I take short breaths to ease the pain.
"You ever even think" he seethes "about leaving me. You'll be dead before you've even come up with a plan do you hear me?"
I whimper against him, while he moves my underwear to the side.
I don't doubt a word he says, and I know I will never, ever be as stupid as to bring someone back here again.