The Girl Next Door

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Chapter 19: I Love Her

I went home pissed. I should’ve stayed with her. I shouldn’t have let her be alone.

I burst through the front door and immediately knew I shouldn’t have.

My dad whirled around. His eyes were bloodshot and he gripped an empty bottle of Scotch. “What are you doing slamming doors in my house, boy?” he slurred. “Gotta teach you some respect.” He hurled the empty bottle at me. I had just enough time to duck out of the way. The bottle shattered against the wall sending glass rocketing in every direction. Even if he was drunk, he still had a good arm. He lumbered toward me. “You no good piece of s***. I should’ve thrown you on the streets the moment your mother left me!” he screamed swinging at me once he was close enough. He fist connected with my cheek. I felt his ring bite into my flesh. My hand flew to my face and I bit my tongue to keep from crying out. He just kept at it; punching every exposed place he could reach. Blood ran down my face like tears from places I couldn’t even feel anymore. And you know what? This wasn’t even the worst he had done. After minutes of the pain I finally collapsed on the floor. “You wimp. You’re not as strong as you make people think.” he sneered down to me. He kicked my ribs. I let out a gasp of pain and curled in on myself hoping for some protection. “Clean up this mess.” he commanded before lumbering off somewhere.

When the pain had finally subsided enough for me to move, I sat up and looked around. I was surprised by how much blood had actually made it to the floor. There were little puddles all around me. I slowly pushed myself up from the floor and went to the kitchen to find something to clean the floor. I quickly wiped the blood with a wet cloth and left the house.

I stumbled my way across the yard, over Shaina’s fence and up to her window. Honestly, I was in so much pain, it’s a miracle I made it over the fence and up to her window. I glanced in the window and saw Shaina curled in bed. I tapped loudly on the window.

“It’s open.” she called.

I opened the window and fell into her room which just made everything hurt worse all over again. I groaned and didn’t get up. I heard Shaina shuffling in bed.

“Matthew?” Shaina asked quietly. “Matthew, are you okay?” Her voice became more panicked.

I just moaned and curled tighter into myself. She knelt down beside me and pulled me gently onto my back. I kept my eyes clamped shut. I didn’t want to see how she would react. She gasped. “Oh my god. What happened?”

“My ribs.” Is all I gasped out. I finally decided to open my eyes. Shaina’s face hovered above mine. I immediately noticed her eyes were bloodshot and puffy and her nose was red. I reached up and cupped her cheek. “Hey, you’ve been crying.” I was worried about her. School had ended hours ago but she looked like she had just wiped her eyes of fresh tears.

She pulled away from me. “It’s nothing. Come on. We need to get you cleaned up.”

I pushed myself up on an elbow. “No. It’s not nothing.” I tried to press. “You’re important too.” I told her quietly reaching up and gently stroking her cheek with my thumb.

She leaned into my hand slightly. “Let’s get you cleaned up and then maybe I’ll tell you.” she responded.

I nodded and allowed her to help me up.

She helped me sit on her bed and lean back against her wall. "I’m going to go downstairs and get ice.” she told me.

Shaina left closing the door quietly behind her. Something poked out from under her bed. I leaned forward and to get a better look. It was a handle. To what I didn’t know. So I grabbed it and up came a knife with crusted blood on it. It didn’t take long for me to put two and two together. Shaina’s puffy eyes, the bloody blade. And I hurt inside for Shaina. I couldn’t believe she had resorted to harming herself.

I heard her thump up the stairs. As soon as she opened the door, she froze.

“Shaina?” I asked trying to stay calm but not succeeding. My voice shook. “Please tell me this isn’t what I think.”

“It wasn’t what you think.” she responded quietly sitting beside me with the first aid kit.

I dropped the knife on the floor. “Shaina-” I tried again.

She looked up from the box, “Matthew. Stop.” she told me firmly. “Let me clean you up.”

I stopped talking and held still so she could clean my face. She handed me an ice pack and quietly told me to put it on my swollen eye. I did as I was told. She wet a piece of gauze with peroxide and cleaned the gash my dad’s ring had left on my cheek. I winced. “I’m sorry.” she murmured softly. She grabbed butterfly sutures and as she reached to place them on my cheek, the sleeve of the sweatshirt she was wearing slipped a bit. I reached up and slipped the sleeve of her sweatshirt down. There were long thin slices down her arm. “Shaina...” I gasped.

She jerked away from me and fell off the bed. She moved across the room against the wall. “Shaina, please.” I pressed her. “Why-why did you do this?” Honestly, I was trying my hardest not to cry. I know, that sounds whimpy, but it hurt me that she hurt herself.

Shaina pulled her knees into herself and curled around them. She didn’t answer me. I moved from the bed and knelt down in front of her. She hid her face in the top of her knees.

I tugged her arms from their tight grip around her knees and pushed up the sleeves of her sweatshirt to reveal the ugly cuts staining the inside of her arms.

“Shaina,” I tried again gently. “What happened?”

She looked up at me her eyes full of tears. “Everyone at school.” she choked out in a sob. “They won’t stop with the teasing and the rumors and Alice is making my life a living hell! I can’t take it anymore! Everyone thinks I’m a slut and a whore. And the guys! Ugh, the guys are the worst! They keep trying to get me to sleep with them! I just couldn’t take it anymore, Matthew!” She sobbed. “I just snapped.”

I knew things were bad between her and Alice but I had no idea about the guys besides the ones who had tried to hurt her. I pulled her into my chest and held her tightly. “Why didn’t you say anything?” I questioned her.

She clung to me tightly. “It isn’t your problem.”

She says it wasn’t my problem but I care about her so much when someone hurts her, it becomes my problem. She can’t face this alone. I don’t want her to face this alone.

“I care about you. I really do.” I told her. I unwrapped her arms from around me and stared down at the cuts. She sobbed. “Shaina,” I whispered causing her to look up at me. “You don’t have to face them alone.” I cupped her wet cheek and she leaned into hand closing her eyes. I decided to finally do something I had wanted to do for a very long time. “Let me face them with you.” I murmured before pressing my lips to hers. She sighed against my lips like this was something she had been waiting for forever. She kissed me back furiously. And I kissed her back with the same power.

“Shaina,” I sighed her name.

“Hm?” she hummed as she nipped at my bottom lip.

I pulled back to look at her. Even with puffy, red eyes from crying, she was still the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I cupped her cheek and placed a feather light kiss on her lips. “Will you be my girlfriend?”

She nodded smiling and kissed me softly, “Come on,” she whispered against my lips, “Let’s get you clean up.”

Shaina stood up and offered me her hands. I gripped them and she helped pull me from the ground.

I sat on the bed and she sat in front of me and cleaned the blood from my face. Her touch was so light. As she placed the butterfly suture on my cheek, I turned and placed a light kiss on the inside of her wrist. I heard her sigh small.

“Now your ribs.” she said softly. “Take off your shirt.”

“Oh. Shaina. Eager are we?” I joked smirking.

She laughed quietly. “It’s not like I haven’t seen a guy’s bare chest before.”

I was slightly shocked by her words, but laughed it off and tossed my shirt into the corner.

She gently ran her hands down my sides. I closed my eyes sighing and melted into her touch.

She pulled her hands away. “Um it-it doesn’t feel like you have a break. It’s probably just a bruise. I’ll tape it to be sure.” she rushed in one breath then she quickly turned away and began rummaging in the medical box for tape.

She turned back to me and wrapped my ribs tightly. I winced when she would press the tape on the area my dad kicked.

When she was finished, I took her wrists. “Now, let me clean you.” I told her gently.

I pulled her into her bathroom and set her on the counter. We were about the same height now. I reached down and pulled her sweatshirt over her head and tossed it somewhere in the bathroom. I didn’t pay attention. Shaina was left in a tank top. She wouldn’t meet my eyes. She just stared down at her mangled arms.

“Where is a wash cloth?” I asked her gently.

She pointed to the cabinet to the left of her. I pulled out a white wash cloth and wet it in the sink.

I took her arm and gently began to scrub the dried blood from her skin. Shaina whimpered when I reached some of the deeper cuts. It felt like a punch to the stomach each time she would whimper. “I’m sorry, baby.” I whispered to her.

When I was finished I tossed the wash cloth, that now looked more pink than white, into the sink. I took her arm again and began to kiss each of her gashes tenderly.

Shaina let out a tiny hiccup of a sob. I looked up at her tear filled eyes.

I reached up and wiped at the tears that spilled onto her cheeks. I let my hand rest on her cheek. “What’s the matter, Sweet Pea?”

She threaded her fingers through mine and squeezed my fingers tightly. “I’ve never had anyone who cared about me so much. I mean I've had Chad but..."

“Well now you have me.” I promised her as I pressed my lips to hers. I meant it too. I was never going to leave her.

She wrapped her arms around my neck and I settled my hands on her waist as I stepped between her legs. The kisses got heated quickly.

“Promise,” she gasped pulling back slightly. “Promise me you won’t leave me.” Her voice sounded pleading.

“I promise,” I growled. “I will never, ever, leave you.”

She smiled and I smashed our lips together once more. I picked her up from the counter and she wrapped her legs around my waist.

I carried her into the bedroom and laid down on the bed. She stiffened beneath me. I immediately pulled away from her lips and softly kissed up to her ear. “We don’t have to do anything but kiss unless you want you.” I murmured. And I meant it. I wasn’t going to do anything to make her uncomfortable or make her feel pressured. “I won’t force you into anything you aren’t ready for.”

She nodded and pressed her lips back to mine. I allowed my tongue to slide along her bottom lip and she opened up to me.

Soon, her hands slowly skimmed down my bare back. I felt her hands touch my scars. I dropped my head to her shoulder, the emotions becoming too much, and shivered under her touch.

“Matthew,” she murmured softly as her hands came to rest on my shoulders. I lifted my head to look at her. All I could find in her eyes was protection and love. She twisted her hands into the hair at the back of my head. “You’re safe now.” she told me.

And I believed her. I smashed my lips against her and she kissed me back hard trying to control the kiss. I chuckled in the back of my throat and kissed her harder maintaining control.

My hands skimmed down her sides until I found the hem of her tank top. I twisted it around my fingers. “Is this okay?” I asked not wanting to do something she wasn’t okay with.

She bit her lip and nodded with a sparkle in her eye. It was gorgeous.

“Are you sure?” I asked her. “I don’t want to force you.”

She grabbed my chin so we were looking each other in the eye. “Matthew. I trust you. With everything. I’m positive.” The way she said it, so definite, I knew she really was positive.

I nodded and pulled her shirt over her head.

I’m sure you can guess what happened next. But if not, let’s just say everything went down and it was awesome.

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