Chapter One: Where it all Began
The yellow, thankfully dim light from our long hallway was slightly beaming into the tiny guest closet my daughter and I are crouching inside. The size of it is around 4 feet wide and about 5 feet in length, so we were feeling pretty squished. A fair amount of sweat dripped from our bodies due to being trapped in here for thirty minutes or so. At least I believe it’s only been thirty minutes, I’m afraid to think it had been a lot longer. I know as soon as we attempt to crawl out and escape this house we have called home all these years, we would be found. There would be no turning back, and no telling what would happen to us. There are only so many places in this house to hide and for him to look. Let’s just say I didn’t have much of a plan.
The smell of tide from the recently washed clothes we were crouching under lingered in my nose, causing me to almost sneeze. I quickly put my hand over my nose, avoiding the loudness that it would bring if I weren’t to do so.
My beautiful daughter, Isabelle (we all call her Belle for short) her body is now shaking a great deal, her eyes are widened, wondering what was going to happen next, and her hands, they grasped onto mine as tightly as possible. Her confusion is undeniably noticeable, and I only feel one emotion for her, guilty. It was all my fault as to why this was happening. This was never supposed to be something a nine-year-old, almost ten should be enduring ever in her life. She should be getting tucked into bed right about now, with me reading a book sitting on a chair right alongside her. Then before I would leave the room, I’d turn her nightlight off (yes, she still has a nightlight, she gets scared of the dark), kiss her on the forehead like I always do, and walk over to her door to switch off the main light letting her then to drift off into a peaceful sleep. But, no instead, we are here.
“Don’t be scared, mamas got you. We’re going to be okay.” I said as I tightened my arms firmly around her, holding onto her for dear life.
“Mommy, I’m scared.” My daughter immensely expressed as she began letting one tear fall after another, sobbing in the quietest manner she possibly could.
I wiped away the tears falling from her eyes off her cheek then ran my fingers through her gorgeous, long brown hair that reached her lower back while shushing her to be as quiet as a mouse. She didn’t understand any of what was going on already, so she just listened and did what she was told.
I peeked out the closet while doing so, praying Belle or I wasn’t to make a single sound, and praying that the door wouldn’t creak. Thankfully it didn’t. I saw nothing, nor did I hear a thing. No footsteps. No one was talking. No doors being opened or slammed. No glass or lamps being broken. Our breathing was deep and rapid at that point, the suspense was killing us, but there was nothing we could do but sit and wait for our moment to get the hell out of there.
All of a sudden, a deafening and startling bang echoed through the house. I heard some of the roofs of the second floor falling to the first, onto my tile in the kitchen. Shots had been fired from our very own 22 that was locked up in a safe of my husband and I’s closet. Footsteps were now heard getting closer,
He’s found us.
Year2008 - Freshman Year of College
-18 years old
No one ever tells you how incredibly different college is from high school. The larger body of students, all diverse from one another, the buildings ten times bigger than before, the possibilities being placed right in front of you to pick from, the schoolwork load, ridiculous, and harder than I ever imagined it would be. This was coming from an almost all A student all through ninth grade to senior year in high school.
When I enrolled in my college months ago, I chose my major, which is finance. It had never been a dream of mine, but both my parents graduated with this degree and had been very successful from the career choice. I have to say they’re not the happiest people on earth, but at least they had money to afford everything they need or could ever want. I never wanted or intended to struggle, that was one of my biggest fears in life at the time. Now when I look back, that fear isn’t even in my top five fears.
Three months from the very first day of school had already come and passed. I was beginning to make a group of friends and was already getting invited to a ton of college parties. I was a huge party girl in high school, so I knew I was going to go to them if invited, while in college.
My first college party came on a Saturday, a Saturday night I would never forget. My best friend/dorm roommate Quinn and I had just arrived at the biggest fraternity on campus. We were dressed up, with our hair all done. My hair down and straightened while hers was up and curled.
A bunch of students were standing outside in the front yard, drinking and talking. It was pretty quiet out there, but once you were let in by the doorman of the house, the sound of music blasted through your ears, thinking they were going to bleed because of how loud the sound was. There were people everywhere, filling up every inch of the house, not leaving much space between a single person. Two large long tables were against the back wall of the living room/hangout room, that was only being filled up by different alcoholic beverages, such as Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, you name it, they had it right on that table. We somehow made our way through the crowded dancing, and to the table. Just as I was about to grab the vodka and orange juice, Quinn yanks them both from my grasp.
“Hello?!” I yelled out at her while throwing my hands in the air, wondering why the hell she did that.
“You never put enough of the alcohol in your drinks, you know... The part that gets you drunk! Here let me do it!” She nudged me with her shoulder while beginning to make my drink then stuck out her tongue to let me know she was playing. Sort of.
She finished making mine and hers, then we turned around and began dancing to the beat with our drinks in one hand. I wasn’t much of a “legit” dancer, but as a club one, I was not too shabby to look at by the guys; for them to drool over. I knew how to move my body exactly the way they wanted me to.
Just minutes after dancing, we already had company staring at us from a few feet away. Two very hot guys from what I could see in the blinding, changing of colored lights, not knowing how to react to us. At least that’s what I had thought after the song ended there came one of them towards me. He had short, dirty blonde hair, an athletic build, and was wearing beige shorts and a guy blue tank top. He walked right up to me, leaving no room between our already heated bodies. Our eyes locked, this man had me intrigued. He smirked as I turned around, pretending I didn’t see him. I waited a moment then looked around to see if he was still there, he seemed to have disappeared. All of a sudden, I felt large hands grab onto my waist lightly, and there his face was appearing over my shoulder. He was then whispering to me how he could make me feel things that I never had with one touch. I felt slightly uncomfortable, I didn’t know this guy, not one bit. Who was he to act on me like this? Although I was uncomfortable, I figured I’d really live for a night and just see where this would take me.
No one was around but us it seemed, we acted as if is there wasn’t, because he then lifted up my shirt just a little, enough for him to feel my skin under. He pulled my neck towards his face to look up at him, and kissed me, trying to distract me from something else he was about to do, which was slipping one of his hands down my shorts. Everyone was still dancing to the beat, not paying any attention around them, so even as I yelled and moved my body, trying to escape his grasp, I was invisible and couldn’t be heard. I tried pushing him off but was having no luck, as his hold was very steadfast. My face turned pale, my eyes, full of fear, had grown in size, and my mouth was opened wide underneath his large hand, trying to scream.
All in the same moment, a hero came to my rescue and knocked the hell out of the guy causing him to let go of me and fall on his ass. He was not getting up anytime soon from the floor. I still was panting, trying to catch my breath as I looked up at the man that saved me from the awful experience I just endured. He put out his hand for me to grab onto. I didn’t know him from Adam, but this guy had just helped me, so I didn’t see the harm in taking it.
He led me out to the backyard of the house, which was surprisingly pretty quiet. Not many people were back there. I know I should have gotten Quinn to come out with me, but she was still busy dancing with a normal dude that wasn’t trying to get in her pants. At least not yet.
I was really hoping that this man wasn’t trying to do the same.
After we reached a couple of backyard chairs that we could sit on, he asked with a worried look, “Are you okay? Did that guy hurt you?” Kind of invading my space, he grabbed both my hands while we sat down on the chairs in front of one another.
While trying to gather myself and get my mind up to speed to what was happening in the now, I managed to say, “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Just some piece of shit that was trying to get in my pants. Which was not gonna happen.” I played it off like I was cool, okay with the situation, but really, I was still freaking out internally that it happened.
“Well, I’m glad I was able to help.” He let go of my hands then sat back into the chair.
“So, who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?” This man had dark brown hair, an amazing fit body with nice abs that were showing through his shirt, and when we were standing, he seemed to be about 6 feet. I’ve always been a sucker for tall men. He was overall one of the hottest guys I had seen, even being in a college every day full of them.
He looked at me with his dark chocolate brown eyes before speaking, then a grin grew on his face, “My name is Trent Grayden. I’m twenty-one years old, I’m here for another year, then I graduate with my business degree. Most likely, in the honors, I hope. My parents will kill me if the results are any different. And your name is?”
His gaze was even more profound now, like he was actually interested in getting to know me. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t let him, and for me to get to know him back. He’s everything my parents would love, and for us to be successful together. To top it off, my eyes couldn’t stay off of him, so that was a big plus. I escaped from my deep thoughts and finally replied to him, “My name is Adeline, Adeline Johanson, but all my friends and family call me Ady. I am also majoring in business. I’m following in the same footsteps as both my parents. I am just a freshman, so I still have four years to go. You’re lucky you only have one.”
“Well, Adeline. You seem to have a great and similar future like me. Maybe we can talk more about all this over dinner? Tomorrow night? So, we could get to know one another better? Only if you’d like. I know we have just met...” Charming, has manners, and very respectful. I chuckled because of how the night was going, then told him yes. There was a possibility it could end in a disaster, but I took the chance anyway.
The next day had come fast, and I still had no idea what I was going to wear to this date, or non-date, whatever it was. Wait, was this a date? Or could it just be two people trying to become friends? I hoped it was. Either way, I couldn’t stand him up, I needed to hurry and get ready. I only had an hour until he was to pick me up from my dorm. My friend Quinn had come earlier and brought me a short blue dress with her favorite black heels, just to give me another option out of the four I already had. Dresses were always my go-to. I’ve never been big on dressing casual unless I was going to class or just out with friends to lunch.
After fifteen minutes of trying to decide, I finally went with a short, gorgeous red dress of mine along with the shiny top of the line silver heels. Red was my color, especially with my bold red lipstick to go along with almost any apparel. If this little red dress didn’t draw him in, I was not sure what would. If this was a date.
I was starting to believe it was a date right off the bat, and sure enough, I was right. He was opening doors for me, pulled my chair out at the expensive restaurant called, “The Blue Shell” in which no one gets in for months after putting in a reservation. A gentleman at its finest. I had never in my life been treated that way by a man. I was just hoping his personality matched his manners.
“So, what do you like to do for fun?” He asks as I took a sip of my water. I tried to remain calm, but my nerves were getting the best of me. I hoped he didn’t notice.
“Well, when I’m not following in my parent’s footsteps becoming a businesswoman, I like to paint. My easel is back at home, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to bring it to my dorm soon.” I looked him up and down, then quickly looked away as soon as he began to stare. While smiling like an idiot, “What do you like to do for fun, Trent?”
He had to think for a minute like he didn’t have anything in his life he did for entertainment. “In my free time, I exercise.”
I couldn’t help it, I laughed out loud. “That’s what you call fun?” At this point, he was really staring at me now. I actually did appreciate his love for exercising though; his body was very appealing to my eyes.
“Hey, hey, don’t hate. It relieves my stress, so I call it fun.”
“Okay. I guess I can see how that would relieve stress. It’s not my thing, though.” I paused, not knowing what to say next right away. “What made you get into business?”
“My father owns one of the largest companies in New York. So, he asked if I wanted to get into what he does and then eventually work my way up in the biz to get where he’s at now and take over.”
“Wow, that’s impressive. Definitely a better reason than mine.” We both chuckled.
The night was going well with conversations of our past and present, talking about how we grew up and what all our future goals were, then our food finally arrived.
A few conversations came up here and there as we were, but mainly we were just stuffing our faces, not leaving any room for dessert.
Then a question that led to a particular conversation started it all. Odd behavior followed after.
“So, have you had many boyfriends?” He asked with a dashing smile and his cute accent to boot.
Most women would have looked at that as cute, as a simple “normal” question, hell I was one of them, I just wish now I wouldn’t have been. That was just the beginning; his wrath of jealousy. “I’ve had a few. My mom and dad never really cared for any of them. I guess they weren’t good enough. One of them lasted a year, but that was my longest relationship.”
Anger had appeared on his face, but he didn’t act on it. Instead... being as overconfident as he could, “I’m sure your parents wouldn’t mind me.” He paused for a moment then continued, “That’s a long time to have been with someone. Are you still in contact with him?” His eyes would not leave mine.
I gave him a bewildered glance, then answered, “No, no. This was a long time ago.” His face lit up with relief, and a smile came afterward.
All I could do was give a chuckle and smile. At the time, I was falling. Falling hard for that charmingly handsome face, the compliments he was giving me, and lastly, how it was all making me feel. Ignoring the questions and statements he had given that were “off’.
What I couldn’t see just yet, was the evil within him that he hid from me. What he hid behind all those beautiful qualities.