The Girl Next Door

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Chapter 14: My Story

I thundered down the stairs and back into the living room. “Here you go!” I gently tucked the pillow underneath her head and draped the blanket over her small frame. “Alright you want something to eat or drink?”

“Just a glass of water, please.” She requested quietly.

I immediately noticed the change in her attitude. She was upset.

“Sure...” I said skeptically. “Are you alright?” I asked her though I figured she wouldn’t answer me.

She just nodded and turned away looking for the t.v. remote. I decided not to press and just left to get her water. I went into the kitchen and filled a glass with water.

“Here’s your water, my lady.” I said as I set the glass down on the coffee table.

“Thanks,” she mumbled and turned her attention back to the t.v.

I knew something was up. It was obvious. I wrestled the remote out from her grip and paused the television. “Shaina, what’s up? Something’s wrong. What is it?”

“I don’t wanna talk about it.” she said annoyed. “Honestly, you’re acting like my best friend but I barely know you...” She ranted sounding frustrated.

I shrugged. “Well, what do you want to know?”

She dragged a hand through her hair then looked down at it disgusted.

“Hang on. We’ll continue this conversation after I take a shower. I feel gross.” She told me.

I jumped up. “Do you need help?” I offered.

She eyed me. “Noooo...” she dragged it out.

I suddenly realized what it had sounded like. “I meant getting up there,” I quickly backpedaled, “not actually showering.” I finished my cheeks and ears burning.

“Oh! Um yeah if you would help me.” she said quietly.

I gathered her in my arms and took her upstairs. I set her down on the bed. “What else can I do?” I offered.

“Go down the hall and the first door on your left is the laundry room. Grab me two of the pink towels.”

I left her bedroom to grab the towels.

As I walked in, she dropped her phone onto her pillow. “Here are the towels.”

“Great. Just put them in my bathroom.” she told me rubbing her forehead. She sounded kind of bothered but I decided not to ask.

I set the towels down on her sink. “Alright. You good to go?”

She nodded. “Yup.”

“Call me if you need anything.” And with that I left closing her door behind me.

I went back downstairs and settled on the couch and turned on ESPN.

My phone started ringing. “Yeah?”

“It’s Nick. Alice is as it again. There is a shit ton of flyers.”

“Damn. Are you serious? That, that... b**** won’t lay off. Thanks for the heads up, Nick.”

We said our goodbyes and I hung up.

I checked the time and realized Shaina had been in the shower for awhile.

I ran up the stairs and knocked on her bathroom door. “Shaina? You okay? You’ve been in there awhile.”

“Yeah Matthew, I’m fine!” She hollered back. “I’ll be out in a few minutes!”

I left her bedroom and sat at the top of the stairs waiting for her.

After a few minutes, her bedroom door opened and she stood there in a tank top and sweatpants. “Well hello.” she greeted.

“Ready to go back downstairs?” I asked her standing up.

“Are you going to let me walk or?”

I shook my head. “Not a chance.” I said seriously.

“Then, how about you go make us some coffee and I’ll wait here, at the top of the stairs. We’ll talk here.”

I was going to object but thought ’hey, why not?” I sighed in defeat and asked, “How do you take your coffee?”

She smiled knowing she had won. “Caramel creamer and two scoops of sugar.”

I turned and went downstairs to prepare our coffee.

I went back up the stairs slowly, carrying two coffee mugs. I handed her the smaller Kind Coffee mug and held onto the large Bad Ass Coffee cup.

“Thank you so much.” she said cradling the mug in her hands.

I sat down across from her, careful not to spill my coffee. I took a sip while studying her over the rim of the cup.

“So what do you want to know?” I asked after swallowing.

“Tell me your story.” She told me taking a sip of her own coffee.

I frowned confused at what she was asking, “What do you mean?”

“Tell me the story of Matthew Knight. Why is he the brooding bad boy?” She asked clarifying.

I’m nervous about telling her my story but I trust her. I really do. “Alright, let’s start from the beginning,” I took a swig of coffee. It burned as it went down but I didn’t mind. “I wasn’t wanted as a child. I was an accident. A fun night. I wasn’t meant to be born. From the moment I was born, not in a hospital might I add, my parents hated me. My mom looked at me as a kill-joy. I ruined her fun life of drinking and drugs. God, the drugs. My mom would take me with her to pick up her drugs from her dealers. She would use me to get the price her dealer was asking for, down. She used the ‘oh I’m a single mother with a kid. I don’t have that much money’ excuse.” God, these memories were rough to think back on. I took another sip of coffee for a break. “My dad was drunk from the day I was born. I have never, in my life, seen him sober. He would leave the house drunk and come home drunker. When I was six, my mom left. She just literally up and left. I came home from school and she was no where to be seen. Her closet was empty, all her belongings gone. She didn’t care about me. She left me alone at six to fend for myself against my drunk father.” Another swig. “My dad came home high one night. He was so messed up and in the drug haze, he saw me as a threat. He beat me. He beat me within an inch, an inch, of my life.” It almost became too difficult to continue. All I could remember was the pain. I took in a shaky breath.

“Matthew,” Shaina tried to stop me, laying a hand on my leg, “you don’t have to continue.”

I shook my head. I had to get this out, off my chest. “No. I do. You have to know I trust you. I want you to trust me too.”

She finally nodded. “Okay.” she whispered.

I took a deep breath, a sip of coffee, and continued, “He loved the feeling of being powerful and he became addicted to it. He beat me anytime he laid eyes on me. Now, he’s so high or drunk, he doesn’t even know what’s going on. Two days ago, he threw a remote at me because I didn’t look at him when he told me I was worthless. Last week, he beat me to the ground,” I pulled my shirt up revealing the angry bruise on my hip she had seen in the car the other day, “and he kicked me leaving this.” I set my cup on the stair and rolled up up sleeves to reveal scars that littered my forearms. One thick white one stood out of all of them. It ran the length of my arm, from the middle of my bicep to my wrist. I ran a finger over it, “My dad came home pissed one night when I was nine years old. He dragged me out of bed and into the kitchen. He-” I choked on the memory. She took my hand and gave it a squeeze. I continued. “He yanked a knife out of the block and trailed it down my arm yelling at me about how it was my fault my mom left him and that I didn’t deserve to live. I shouldn’t have been alive.” I felt the tears stinging behind my eyes. I dug my fingers into my eyes to stop the tears that were building. “You’re probably wondering why don’t I fight back.” I looked down at my hands unable to meet her eyes, “I know that if I fight back, I won’t be able to stop. I won’t be able to bite back the anger I’ve been holding back. I’ll probably kill him. I’m just taking it until I can get out of this damned town. That’s why I do so well in school. I want to make it out of here. I want to do something with my life! Something productive. I just want to make it.” I sighed finished and frustrated. I reached for my coffee mug and downed the remaining contents.

“That, was a lot more than I expected...” She trailed off swallowing a gulp of coffee. “I know this is weird but, can I hug you?”

I sighed out a laugh. One of her hugs would be great right about now, “Sure.” I held out my arms.

She slid across the step to me and wrapped her arms around me. “You’ll make it.” She whispered to me. “I know it.”

For some reason, I believed her.

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