1- Grumpy Beginings
From the other side of the car, Sutter makes a funny face at me as I slide into the backseat laughing out loud! I couldn’t remember why we were laughing, maybe it was because of Blaze’s stupid joke. “What’s next, Blaze?” Sutter asks, grabbing onto Blaze’s shoulder and pressing it in an affectionate way. It shouted ‘he’s all mine, lady’s hands off’ loudly. They’ve been dating for three years, and Blaze just put a beautiful promise ring on her finger. In my opinion, their love story is one to admire.
“It’s a surprise!” Jax said with a wink. Blaze and Sutter introduced me to Jax shortly after I moved to the neighborhood. Jax and I have been dating for about four months now. I am actually still getting used to the idea of a boyfriend, as my Dad would not allow me to have one. Jax was my first boyfriend, perhaps even my first everything. I figured since I turned 18 last month that disrespecting his rules of not dating till I graduated wasn’t too bad. In addition, since Jax is Blaze’s best friend, we kind of hang out with him and Sutter, so it isn’t exactly going against my father’s wishes since it may be considered hanging out with my friends.
“Oh, how I wish you wouldn’t do that!” I exclaimed loudly as I rolled my eyes toward the roof. He thought I was weird for hating a surprise, so he began planning and calling it a surprise all the time.
“I know, I know, you hate surprises! “, he said, looking at Blaze, “but she’ll like this one, right big boy?” I rolled my eyes in his direction.
In the rearview mirror, Blaze smiled. I shook my head and noticed from the window that we were at the biggest make-out point in the entire area. A mountain cliff overlooked the city, and it was commonly known as make-out ridge.
“Hey what are we doing here? Didn’t I say I wanted to wait on that?” I demanded of my boyfriend, he knew how important preserving my virginity was to me. It did not matter to me if Sutter and Blaze were already messing around with one another, I wanted to wait until marriage. The fact that I didn’t follow such a path did not mean I had to be like them. This was important to me; I did not want to lose myself in trying to be someone else or anything else. “Wait, what time is it? You guys will make me late to get home, you know how my dad gets whenever I come home late!” I scold her.
Jaxon smiles and opens the door for me, “Relax Sweetness, we have 45 minutes before you have to be home.” He jumps out of the car and offers me his hand to help me out. As he leads me to the loose gravel, he pulls me up into his chest and wraps his arms around me. He lowers his head to kiss me sweetly. “I just want some quiet time with you, and Blaze wanted to make out with Sutter! This seems like a reasonable place to do so.”
I smile up in his face, “Oh, okay.” I pull his head down for another kiss, the feel of his lips on mine was so soothing, I could kiss him all day if I wanted to. I lean against him as we walk down the winding path toward the overlook area of the cliff for our alone time. He cups my chin with his hand and pulls me closer for a deeper kiss. The cool night air gave me goosebumps down my arms; I wasn’t dressed for the winter weather, so I felt a bit guilty as he handed me his jacket when he broke off the kiss and noticed my goosebumps.
He stares into my eyes with hope in his gaze as he smiles. “Are you still thinking about Prom?” I know he wants me to go to the dance with him but my Dad won’t allow me to go, since I can’t date.
I release a long sigh as I gaze up at him. “I really want to go, Jax, but you know what my Dad said at the last dance I asked him to go. I really don’t think he will change his mind because it’s prom, so you might want to go with someone else.” I looked down at the hand he was laying on top of mine. It felt good to have it there, I realized how much I love him.
“Yeah, I know what you said about him, but I’ll keep waiting for him to change his mind and let you have fun this time.” he assures me while being firm in his statement.
I look up into his face and softly say, “I know, and I will ask him when it feels right. I have Lydia and Kendra to worry about, if they see me not following Dad’s rules then they may think it’s okay for them to do the same thing. I can’t let them see how my Dad really is, as it will destroy them. It’s just me, Jax, the only one who is capable of keeping them safe. I am the only one he beats on, and I want it to stay like that. This is why I need to be at home most of the time so that I know that he really is leaving them alone.” I said softly, trying to keep back the tears that threatened to fall from my eyes.
“I know and I don’t mind if we don’t go... I want you to know that sweetness,” he says as he releases a deep breath. “I will just stay home and talk to you over the phone again, and you can even call me Sutter to hide our tracks,” he says hugging me tightly in his warm arms.
“Jax, I will not stop you from attending the prom. It would be unfair of me to tell you to stay home, but even so, even if I cannot, I suggest you go and have fun!”
“haha, I know... but you need to know that Naomi, I am not that kind of boy. If my girl cannot attend a dance then I won’t either.” He states as he holds my hand, squeezing my fingers tightly together. I lean my head against his shoulder and close my eyes, enjoying this time with him since I wouldn’t get to see him again for a long time outside of school. I loved the peace he brought into my life. He always knew how to say just the right thing to calm me.
“Hey, guys! Let’s get moving! Let’s get her home in time!” Blaze’s voice rings out behind us, as I sit up and stare back at my friends. He stands up and extends his hand towards me; I place my hand in his and he pulls me gently up to standing. I brush off my shorts and hold Jax’s hand as he leads me back to the car. It was time to leave the small peace I was having, it was time to get back to the hell I call home.
The ride back was extremely silent since my friends knew how I felt about going home and they knew how much darkness existed in my life. See, my Dad’s a very controlling man, he gambles everything away, and because he’s always losing, he gets angry with me. I’ve spent most of my life for the last year or so hiding bruises and cuts that he’s given me in his temper tantrums. I make sure that he does not hurt my little sister’s, so I have to pay attention to what he does every single day. I never knew what kind of mood he would be in when I got home and it was always worse if he’d been drinking. “How long do we have to get me back to my house before I’m late?” I ask my friends. I could never drive myself anywhere since we only had one car at home and my Dad always needed it so I had to trust them to get me home on time.
My best friend glances back at me from the front seat where she sits next to her boyfriend, “Naomi, please calm down, it is only a 15-minute drive to your house from here, and we have 20 minutes to get there. I promise you won’t be late, we will get there in enough time.” she sends me a friendly smile, they knew I didn’t want to report anything to the police. I had to keep everything quiet about what was happening at home; the only thing I could do was find my mother and get her to take us away from him.
“I’m sorry guys, I know you’ll get me home in time. I just don’t want him in a bad mood tonight.” I almost whispered.
Jax pulls me closer to him, “I wish he would just keep his damn hands off of you. It’s not right what he does to you Naomi, I want to put a stop to it so bad.” he whispers into my ear sending goosebumps down my arms as his hot breath runs down my neck.
“Yeah, Naomi you know he has no right to take his losing out on you.” Sutter says with a pout on her face, I knew she wanted me to move in with her and her family but they couldn’t take all of us so I haven’t done that. I couldn’t do that to my sister’s.
“Hopefully tonight he is on his best behavior, I think I will hang around tonight for the signal just to make sure that you are safe and okay. I could probably go to bed better if I knew that you were safe.” Blaze says eyeing me in the rear-view mirror.
“Awe, thanks, guys.” I smile at my crew; they knew exactly how to cheer me up when I was feeling down. Blaze has done this after our group dates more than once. He stood outside my bedroom window and waited for me. I am supposed to signal to him from the window once I am safe in my room. If I don’t signal he has always threatened to call the police. He hasn’t had to do that because I have always managed to send him a signal before getting beaten by my Dad.
“SHIT!” I hear the worry in his voice and glance out the window, seeing the highway stopped in a parking lot. Shit, I cannot have this happen now, I am going to be late. I knew that being late would put my Dad in a bad mood as he told me before I left that I had to be on time to serve his company food and drink as he was planning to have some over.
“Jax, we’re not going to make it in time!” I yell.
“We’ll do it, Naomi, Just trust my skills,” says Blaze as he keeps his attention on the road in front of him. I knew he was looking at the road, devising a plan on what to do next. I narrow my eyes at the back of his head, silently willing him to come up with something before I glance back at my boyfriend’s face. I close my eyes and send a silent prayer to the man upstairs, hoping he will actually hear me this time around.
I sigh as I watch the minutes tick by, “Guys, I can not be late today, he has some kind of meeting tonight, he told me about it, and I have to get home to help him with the meeting like a good little girl.” I mutter out.
“Girl I promise you, we will get you home. Just calm down.” Sutter says, peering back at me with a small smile.
“What do you mean like a good little girl?” Blaze growled, clearly disgusted with my word choice.
“Oh you know the usual, I have to have the house looking good, food and drink served,” I said softly since I was ashamed to admit it out loud.
“You mean like a little slave?” he growled, as he stared at me, shocked through the rearview mirror. I glanced down, ashamed because that’s exactly how I felt about the whole thing.
“Nao... I’ll get you out of there as soon as I figure out how to get all three of you out.” he says, wrapping his arms around me, showing that he wasn’t going to be releasing me anytime soon.
I let out a small chuckle as I push at him to release the hold a little, “I know Jax... hey get off here, we can go the back roads!” I said hurriedly as I notice the exit come up in view, it was the one before mine and I knew we could still get to my house by taking it.
“That’s right, it might actually be faster this time around!” boasts Blaze as he gets onto the off-ramp.
“Blaze, would you please slow down a bit. I don’t want her to get hurt because of us!” Sutter begs him, while her eyelashes flutter at him. I smile at her, she was so concerned about me and that warmed my heart. Of all the places I have lived, this one has easily become my favorite because of the friends I have.
You see my Dad has moved us around, he owes so much money to a lot of Money sharks, don’s, and gang leaders that it’s not even funny. Whenever he knows he can not pay, he borrows from another, moving us to a different location with no forwarding address. To tell you even more about my past, a year ago, my Mom got tired of his BS and walked away from him and unfortunately, us girls. I hated her for a matter of a day because that was when I figured out what she had been putting up with from him, our wonderful amazing father or so I thought he was great. She had taken all the abuse to save us girls and when she left that is when he turned his fury and rage towards me, his eldest daughter.
“What time is it?” I ask them as the car stops in front of my house, I notice a black car in the driveway that I have never seen and jump out of the car and run inside knowing that his visitors were already there and I was in trouble.
“It’s actually 9:05 Nao, maybe he won’t notice that you’re a little late this time?” Sutter suggests.
“Maybe...” I mutter as I close the door, giving my boyfriend a light kiss, and rush inside.