One Sided Love

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Chapter 46


Casey’s Pov


I wake up feeling...nothing. No headache, no pain, no aches at all.

I open my eyes to see darkness.

No, no, no, no! I’m back in the basement!

No... it’s a different room?

Why is it in darkness!?

I feel wires around me, but I can’t see them, it’s too dark.

My eyes start to adjust to the pitch black as I start to see the surfaces around me but soon, I wish I couldn’t see anything at all.

I look across the room and see two red dots. I stare at them for a minute before they go out and come back, like it blinked?

It blinked...

It blinked!

The panic sets in as hear a loud beeping next to me and the creature smiles widely, sharp pointed teeth glowing in the dark.

I scream.

I scream so loud.

Where the hell am I?

Where’s Damian?

“DAMIAN!” I scream.

Seeing the creature coming closer, I jump out of bed, ripping seemingly invisible wires away from my body. The beeping going long and continues.

I scream when I see another creature lurking close to me. I wrap my arms around my head, covering my ears too and scream hoping Damian will come.

Someone shouts my name.

I look up.

The lights flicker on and the creatures disappear.

My eyes adjust and instead of monsters in the dark I see a figure in their place, a strangely familiar person.

“O-Oliver?” I ask the figure before me.

“Yes, Cas, it’s me” I see a man standing behind Oliver.

I start sobbing for a different reason now. “no. You’re not real. Y-you’re dead. You can’t be real.” My cruel minds playing more tricks on me and this incarnation of ‘Oliver’ is too perfect. It hurts my heart to look at.

“Cas, I’m real. I’m not d-”

“NO! You can’t be real! I had to stand in your blood for days! You’re dead!” I sob the words out.

He looks taken aback and so does the man next to him. ‘Oliver’ takes a step forward and I freak out.

I slam my own body against the wall. “No, don’t come near me, DON’T TOUCH ME!”

The man next to ‘Oliver’ tries to hold him back “Oliver. Let the doctors deal with this, she’s distraught.”

“She needs to know I’m real, it’ll help her” ‘Oliver’ says and takes another step forward, i slump to the floor, my legs giving out.

“STOP!”

“Case-”

“Don’t touch me” I’m now begging.

“I’m not going to touch you” he kneels down and holds his arm out to me “you touch me, I’m real, I’m here. See for yourself.”

I look into his eyes, it looks like Oliver, it looks just like him. I reach out a little before drawing back “please don’t hurt me” I beg him again.

“I would never hurt you Cas, I love you, remember?”

I’ve heard Damian say those words and not mean them so many times they shouldn’t have an effect on me. But hearing them come from Oliver.

Even if it’s a fake ‘Oliver’.

It means everything.

What do I have left to lose..?

I reach out again and lightly graze ‘Oliver’s’ palm.

He’s...real?

He’s here.

I look into his eyes.

“Where’s Damian? Where am I?”

Sadness cover comes his face, soon to be replaced with anger “He’s gone. The police got him” his hand closes gently as he holds my fingers in his palm “you’re in hospital munchkin, you’re safe.”

I...believe him.

“Y-you’re really h-here?” I ask as more tears fall from my eyes, his eyes are watering too.

“Yeah munchkin, I’m here, it’s me.”

I don’t waste another second and fling my arms around Oliver’s neck and tightly hold him as I sob onto his shoulder “h-how?”

“I don’t know Cas, I wasn’t dead to begin with, I woke up, got hit by a car and came to hospital, i woke up a few days ago from a coma.”

Oliver’s arms wrap around my back and his voice sounds strained. I think he’s crying too.

Doctors and nurses flood into the room, they try to talk to me and break me and Oliver up but I’m not letting go. I still don’t know if this is real but I’m not letting it go that easy.

Somehow, we manage to stand up, I’m still holding Oliver tight and all that’s left is a doctor and a nurse who are being really insistent about putting the IV back in.

I don’t even look up until I hear a voice that makes me breakdown again.

“Baby?” A whisper cuts through the room.

“Mum?” I look up from Oliver to see mum in the doorway, tears rolling down her cheeks as she stares at me wide eyed and pale.

She runs to me and hugs me so tightly. “M-mum-m-my” I sob hysterically. She wraps me into a motherly hug and holds the back of my head stroking my hair. She presses kiss after kiss onto my head as we both cry.

———

I wake up. I didn’t even know I was asleep.

The light is on.

Mum is next to me. She smiles when she sees I’m awake. Tears automatically well up in her eyes, she gives me a sad smile.

“Hi baby. Good to see you awake again.”

I look around the room.

“Where’s Oliver?”

“He’s back in his room, he said he’d come back later.”

“Where’s Lou? Is he okay? Did he think I abandoned him at school? Was he upset? Does he hate me?” All the questions I’ve been worrying about come through.

“No baby, no. He could never hate you. The school rang me when no one picked him up, they looked after him until I got there” tears started escaping her eyes “then we couldn’t find you- Casey, baby I was so worried I’d never see you again” she cried and hugged me.

“I didn’t think I’d see you again either. Where’s Lou?” She pulls away from the hug.

“At home with a babysitter. I wanted to bring him but I wasn’t sure if-I didn’t know what you’d be like. I didn’t know the state you’d be in. I didn’t want to scare him” I nod in understanding.

I look down at myself. Both my wrists are in casts. A square shaped bandage over his initials and a bandage where I cut myself and my hand bandaged up from the glass.

My eyes start to water and mum takes my non-bandaged hand and squeezes it tightly, reassuring me with a little sad smile.

A doctor walks in.

“Ah. Miss Nickels, I’m glad to see you’re awake.” I say nothing “I have a few questions for you. The first being about when you woke up last. Can you tell me what made you so frightened?”

In minimal words I reply “the dark.”

“What about the dark?”

They’re going to think I’m going crazy.

“I see things, creatures, they have glowing eyes. I only see them in the dark but I sometimes hear them whispering to me.”

“Hmm, hallucinations and auditory hallucinations. When did they start?”

“When he put me in the basement” I heard my mother shrike, when I looked up, I seen she was trying not to cry.

“I see. Maybe a round of antipsychotics would be good to add to your medication. So, what did you feel when you seen these ‘creatures’?” He jotted down in a notepad.

“Are you a doctor or a therapist?” I was actually confused, he smiled.

“I’m a doctor but I need to know so if it happens again then we know what to do and how to help.”

“Just don’t turn off the lights. And all I feel is fear.”

He nods “Now, what’s the last thing you remember?”

“the police saved me.”

“Very good, and after that?”

“I fell asleep.”

“Good. Now, I have some very private things to discuss that may make to uncomfortable. It is regarding your treatment. Are you okay for me to continue?”

I nod and mum squeezes my hand tighter.

“Okay. Well, after you fell asleep during the journey here, we were unable to wake you. Under further examination we seen that you had server internal bleeding. We were able to stop this however and then moved onto your wrists-”

“What do you mean internal bleeding?” Mum asks worried.

He took a second “Miss Nickels, we understand that you were sexually assaulted and as a result of the assault you suffered from several abrasions and tearing of tissue, one of which was partially bad and had closed from the outside but continued to leak blood on the inside.”

I can’t even describe the noise my mother made upon hearing this. The most painful cry came from her mouth as she broke down beside me.

Her daughter had been raped and she didn’t know how to take it.

I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t reassure her that I was fine because I’m not. So, I just watched her as she cried, she then got up and left.

I had unconscious tears falling down my cheek as I remembered what he did.

The doctor stood not knowing if he should continue.

“Please. Carry on.”

He nodded “we cleaned up all your outside injuries and bandaged them up. Your left wrist was badly broken and we had to put 5 pins in as well as a cast to promote healing and the right one was fractured in two places so we also put a cast on that one. We put you on fluids and we are not happy about your weight but that will be something to build up on in the coming weeks.”

I could see he going around the point so I decided to just say it “what else about the internal damage from the assault?” I couldn’t say the word. ′Assault’ was easier, he understood.

“In terms of that, we are putting you on antibiotics to decrease the chance of infection and transmission of any sexual diseases. The abrasions should now heal themselves over time but things like going to the toilet may be painful. We are unsure about long term damage however, only time will tell. If you can remember, did he use protection?”

“No” I said bluntly.

“In that case, we could get you the morning after pill but it is not guaranteed to work as it has been more than 12 hours since and unfortunately, they do work as the sooner you take it the better.”

“He gave me one this morning.”

The doctor looked at me for a second and nodded. He then looked me over and explained that I was on very strong pain meds and when I come off them it may feel like a ’bus ran me over’, honestly, his exact words, I think he was trying to lighten the mood, it didn’t work.

He told me the carving would scar and so would the whips but they would fade overtime. He informed me that the police would come by later.

After a while of staring out the window to my side I hear sniffles from the door way. Mum stood there looking at the tissue in her hands.

She looked at me “baby I’m so sorry, I never-I never would of thought something like this would happen. I don’t know what to say. Why didn’t you tell me he was ‘Peter’?”

Ah yes, ‘Peter’ the babysitter.

“He threatened Lou.”

“Oh baby” Mum led on the bed with me, my head on her shoulder as she hugged me. We stayed like that for some time until Oliver showed up at the door.

Mum smiled at him and got up.

“I’ll give you two a minute” she left the room.

He silently and cautiously replaced mums place on the bed and wrapped his arms around me.

We didn’t say anything he just held me.

I started to get an itchy feeling under one of my bandages, the one where he carved his name into my skin.

I want to see it.

I slowly pull the tape on one side but Oliver’s hand stops me.

“Don’t. Leave it.”

“I want to see” he lets go of my hand and I peel the rest of it off.

I see it. All scabbed over. Clear as day.

‘D. K’

I find my fingers tracing the scar.

“It’ll be fine. It won’t be as b-”

“He raped me” he goes silent “he left me for days standing in your blood. He manipulated me. He touched me. He belted me. He scarred me. H-he raped me, a-ll night, last n-night.” I ball my fists in anger as silent tears rolled down my face.

Oliver said nothing more but pulled my head to his chest and held me.

———

A light knock on the door woke me from sleep.

“Hello. How is everyone?” I recognise the voice a little even though they whispered.

“To be expected” my mum replies, when did she get in here?

“Oliver’s been discharged now and all I want to do is take him home but, as you can see. I don’t have the heart to wake him” a man replies.

Keeping my eyes shut I realise me and Oliver fell asleep cuddling each other.

“They’ve been through a lot. Has she said anything about it?” Officer Andrews! I recognise.

The room falls silent “no but the doctors said enough” my mum reply’s suddenly.

Oliver stirs in his sleep and wakes up.

His body tenses “dammit. Dad! You scared me staring like that!” I hear slight chuckles in the room.

“Sorry son but you looked so sweet” the man, Oliver’s dad replies.

I hold Oliver closer “is she still asleep?” Officer Parker asks.

Oliver looks down at me and our eyes meet “no” I bury my head into Oliver’s chest more. I don’t want to see it speak to any of them.

“Hey Casey? You up for a talk?” Officer Parker asks. I shake my head and Oliver hands get tighter around me.

“It’s okay Cas” he whispers.

“Hun, we just need to ask some questions” I hear officer Andrews.

“Baby, they just want to talk to you” mum reassures.

“Oliver we should leave.”

“I’m not leaving her dad.”

Too many people.

Too much.

I scoot closer to Oliver and hold him tighter whilst shaking. I shake my head frantically and start to sob into Oliver’s chest.

“Too many people.”

“She’s overwhelmed and afraid. Maybe one on one would be best” Officer Andrews suggests.

Oliver leaves with his dad and I had to be pulled off him by mum.

“Mum i want you to go” she looks at me like I’m crazy “you don’t have to hear this” I know they’re going to ask me some questions that are going to be bad.

“Casey, I can’t leave you, you’re my baby I need to be here for you.”

“Tell Lou I’ll see him soon. Go home, please” reluctantly she leaves, she won’t be able to handle hearing what happened.

Soon it’s just me and the two officers I own my life to.

“Hi Casey” Officer Parker greets with a sad smile “are you feeling any better?”

I’m so sick of all the ‘sad’ pity smiles.

“I can’t feel anything. Morphine” I point to a one of the needles in my arm.

“Hun, are you okay to answer some questions for us? You can say no if you’re not ready but we have to ask them.”

“Let’s just get them over and done with” they both come further into the room and sit down to the left of me.

“I’d like to start off by telling you that Damian Kyle is safely locked away in a jail cell. You won’t have to see him again until the trial.” I nod “okay, first question. We found the notebook you wrote about him and everything that happened, is there anything else that happened that isn’t in the book?”

“I’m glad you found it. No, everything’s in there.”

“Good, that’s good. Of course, we will need you to go over something’s from it but it’s good you kept track. It will be easier on you” I nod.

“Casey, what happened on the 3rd of April when he took you?” Officer Parker asks.

“I, I had a plan, I was going to take the book and hand it into the police with a statement but-” I look at them “you stopped me...But that wouldn’t have mattered, I left the book in my locker and I would have had to go back anyway” I reassure them as I can literally see the guilt they have about it.

“I went to class and he stopped me from leaving. He got angry about my hair and then left the room locking the door behind him. When he came back, he dragged me to his car. When we were in the car he started to laugh. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going and when I protested be choked me. He took my necklace when he found out it was from Oliver...He ordered food then, I started asking questions about how he killed Oliver. That’s when I found out he never even had a gun. It was just to scare me. He then held a cloth to my mouth that burned my lungs from the chemicals. I tried to fight it but I couldn’t. I fell asleep whilst he stroked my hair.” I finish telling them what happened, swallow hard and I feel tears wanting to come out my eyes but I don’t let them, not yet.

“Chloroform?” Officer Parker asked.

“He-he told me he tested it on L-Lou when he would babysit” I look down, I’m still devastated that I never noticed that Lou was being drugged by that man.

“What happened when you woke up?”

“I um, I was in his room and...the sun was setting... I had a really bad headache... I was on his bed with him and he had his arms around me. I freaked out and tried to get out the room but he had locked the door. When I tried to go out the window, he dragged me by my hair to the bed. He got on top of me...He assured me that he wasn’t going to rape me and that he was only playing, that’s what he always called it, playing. He started kissing my neck.” I started to squirm as I remembered the feeling of his lips on me. I scratched my neck with my nails as I could still feel his mouth on my neck, his breath on my ear.

“It’s okay hun, take your time. We’re getting everything down, like you said, the sooner we do this the better” officer Andrews says.

“I was still trying to get him off me but he told me to stop because he might ‘lose control’ and get too ‘excited’. When he let go of my hands, I tried to push him off but he got...angry, he said ′I’m not going to fuck you. Like I’ve already said, I’m only playing. You try to stop me, push me off and fight then bad things will happen’” I quoted him exactly.

“What bad things?”

“He said it would get worse. He would do more...worse things. He then told me to put my hands by my head or by my sides. He then continued to kiss my neck. When he was done, he pulled me so I was sitting up, he asked me if I had any idea what I did to him, he kept listing things like my smile and voice, he then took my hand and made me touch his erection through his trousers. When he let go, I moved away and he dragged me back. He screamed at me ′what did I tell you!′ and hit me. H-He told me to never run from him. He then k-kissed me on the lips and stared kissing down my neck again and moving onto my collar bone, going further down than before.”

I took a breath knowing the worst was yet to come. I can’t breakdown yet.

“He kept asking me who I belonged to. I was crying silently when he grabbed my breast, I hit his hand away. He-he got v-very angry. He slapped me, twice, he ended up splitting my lip. He grabbed my neck and then got be-between my legs. He bit my neck and started...grinding on me...”

“This all happened when you woke up?” Officer Parker enquired, I nodded “Casey, what did he do next?”

“H-he stopped when I started screaming. He said I-I shouldn’t have pushed him and that he warned me. He tried to comfort me but when he seen it only made me worse, he went to get dinner ready, he kept telling me to give ‘us’ a chance. I fell asleep crying.”

They looked stunned.

Silence for a minute “what happened next?”

“I woke up again, everything in the house was locked up, he cut off my nails because I filed them into points to scratch him with.”

They smiled at this.

“He set up dinner and I refused to eat anything because he might have drugged it...He insisted that I called him by his first name so I told him to screw himself. He told me people would think me and Oliver ran away together but he never used his name, he used to say ‘that boy’ or the ‘little shit’ he really didn’t like him. He planned on going to America, he booked flights for, well tomorrow.”

“Why America?”

“He got a professor teaching job there. That’s when he told me he was drugging Lou with sleeping pills or chloroform so we could have ‘alone time’...He tried to get me to eat but I refused, he threatened me that if I didn’t eat the next day, he’d make soup and pour it down my throat. He started laughing and it freaked me out so I tried to run. He caught me and said some disgusting things to me that made me feel more sick than I already felt.”

“What did he say?”

“Something along the lines of that I wanted him really behind the ‘fear’, that he bets I was...wet and saying how good I felt to him when he grinded on me. His comment made me feel so sick, then I was sick, all over him. It was manly bile which was gross. But It made him drop me. He went away and changed as I cried on the floor. I hadn’t eaten at that point for 3 days so throwing up really hurt. He carried me to the shower and watched me when I showered. Later on, we watched a film and I had to sit on his lap. He kept touching my legs and that’s when he found the cuts on my thigh.”

“Casey, when did you start self-harming?”

“The day I broke up with Oliver. It was just- everything was going round in my head...All my emotions were mixed up and I couldn’t think. I dug my nails into my arms in anger and the pain cleared everything. It was the one pure emotion that couldn’t get muddled up with the rest. It helped me think. It wasn’t until the day he s-panked me in my room that I actually cut myself, until then it was just nails, pulling on my hair or hitting myself.”

I look down in shame. But I don’t regret it. It helped at the time, you have no idea how all of that felt so finding something that actually helped, I don’t regret it.

“We understand Casey, we really do. How did he react?”

“It was weird. He was being nice?..but he did end up telling me that if I wanted to hurt so bad to go to him and he’ll leave his mark on me.” I look down to my chest “he wasn’t bluffing.” I shrug my shoulders “after that I fell asleep on his lap, I was so tired.”

“And that was the first day?” Officer Parker asked and I nod “when did he put you in that basement? DNA found down there matched you and Oliver.”

“The second day.”

“The second day? Why?”

“I decided to piss him off. He had only given me two rules at that point and that was to answer him if he says something and then the other was to not say Oliver’s name. So, I spelt Oliver’s name out on the ceiling. Also, because I refused to eat again.”

“So, he put you in the basement?”

“After he forced me to choke down cold tomato soup then he put tape over my mouth so I couldn’t throw it up even though my body tried to. After he carried me to the bathroom and practically drowned me to rinse the rest of the soup off... He then tried to r-rape me but I pretended to pass out, I slapped and punched him. I ran but tripped on my leggings that were halfway down. He kicked and punched me on the floor before telling me in detail what he did to Oliver. Then, he chained me up and left me in the dark for days. I don’t know how long it was before he came back down but by that time my legs had given up and I was barely conscious. That’s when I started seeing things in the dark, hearing things.”

“What happened when he did come down? Do you remember?”

“A little...I think he threw water on me. I was already in underwear. He then took them off but he didn’t look. He never looked...He kept throwing water on me. I can’t remember much but I think he gave me food and water and changed me. He would always ask if he could touch me. But he left me again down there, in the dark because I didn’t say his name. The days in the basement are unclear. He would come down, I think, once a day. He would manipulate me and make me think things. At one point he showed me a newspaper, he told me no one was looking for me. That’s when I gave up. I let the voices in my head take control and I did everything he said.”

“Did he do anything in the basement to you?”

“No. He never touched me like that. He washed me, changed me and fed me and talked to me but that’s it.”

“Did he ever let you out? Take you back upstairs?”

“He once took me up for a bath. That was when he first put the splints on me because the bruises scared me” I look down at my casted wrists.

“After that he stopped using the chains and put a mattress down for me. By that time, my head was so messed up. The doubt and voices got really bad and I couldn’t focus, he had left the newspaper on the floor and it was the only thing I could think of that may help so I read it and forced myself to focus on the words. That’s when I noticed pages were missing, I figured that people were looking for me but he removed it. That’s when something snapped on my head and I just, well I came out of daze. After that he came down and did a little speech about how I’d love him in time and whatever, he then kissed me and left. Then there was the time the bulb went out. I got scared and screamed for him. In the darkness I see these, monsters, creatures. He came down and took me up to calm me. He hugged me for a while and let me look out the window, I hadn’t seen daylight for days. We ate upstairs together and that’s when he told me I’d been down there for 12 days. He changed the bulb and then let me have a shower.”

“What else happened within the time you were with him?”

I know what they’re talking about. They want to know about the sexual assault.

“I-I don’t really want to...”

“It’s okay Casey. We are on your side but, we need to know what happened. Take your time.”

I sit up more in the bed and cross my legs “what do you want to know?” They look at each other.

“Did he ever touch you inappropriately and without consent?” Officer Parker asks.

“Yes. The day he let me out the basement, he started kissing me and touched me on the outside of my clothing.”

“Where exactly?”

“My private area” I didn’t know how else to put it.

“Okay, anything else?”

“That night I got my period so despite still kissing me and making me sit on his lap, he didn’t really touch me. But then after that he kept doing the same thing.”

“Which was?”

“Lightly caressing on the outside of my underwear. Then one night...”

“What? What happened?”

“He-he made me dance in the lingerie he bought me for my birthday a-and laid me on the bed kissing me-” tears trickled down my face remembering.

“Casey just breath, slow breaths, it’s okay” officer Andrews advises seeing my panicked tearful face.

“H-he took my hand and put it into his boxers, he was kissing my neck as he used my hand to jerk himself off. When he was done, he let me wash my hands before he told me to lie back down on the bed.”

“Okay Casey, you don’t have to continue if it’s too much for you-” I had to continue or else I’ll never repeat it again.

“I l-led on the bed and he took off the thong I was wearing. He p-arted my legs then me noticed I was crying. He said he was showing his l-love to me the way I just did for him. I started to panic and b-begged him not to, he restrained my hands and kiss-ed me. Before he could do anything more, I head butted him and he got o-ff.”

“Casey-”

“He sh-outed at me and got his b-belt. He took the bra off me and laid m-my torso o-on the bed on my stomach. H-he b-belted me and m-made me co-count each h-it and apolo-gise. H-he g-ave me 10" I sobbed, I sobbed hard.

Officer Parker stood up and leaned over the bed to hug me.

"Shhh. Shhh. We don’t have to continue if it’s too much for you. We can come back tomorrow?”

“N-no. I’m okay.” I said wiping my eyes and taking deep breaths. She sat back down but held my hand as I continued “w-when he was done, he put h-is fingers in me anyway...He said how beautiful the marks will look as s-scars... He then took care of me by dressing the cuts. T-the next day he gave me an option. Either I-I’d touch him lik-e before, he touch’s m-me like he wanted to or w-we grind. I-I didn’t want to touch him and I didn’t w-want him to touch me like t-that so I chose the th-third one. B-but I-It wa-s so m-much worse” I cried.

“H-He had full con-control of my h-hips, he touched me to make me feel t-things. I kissed him back to get him to trust me. I didn’t stop him because i-I had a plan. He h-had told me that m-morning that tomorrow we’d need to cl-clean the house. I had a plan of escaping when he was dis-distracted so I needed him to trust me in the meantime. I n-nearly got away...”

“What happened Casey?”

“The n-next day when h-he was cleaning the base-ment I l-ocked him in. I took a bag of supplies and ran. I got to a g-ate when he found me. He d-ragged me back, hit and kicked me. He made me strip and dance for him. He made me feel s-so worthless, he made me so angry I just sn-snapped. I told him I wasn’t a v-virgin because it seemed to mean so much t-to him, I told him I slept with Oliver because I d-did. He c-chok-ed me and threw me onto the bed. He cuffe-ed my wrists the the headboard and got a kn-knife. He carved t-this” I looked at the scar ” he s-said ′Now y-you will always carry my mark on you f-for a-a lifetime, no matter what happens. Right ab-above your heart, for all to s-see’. W-When I l-look-ed b-ack up he h-had taken off his c-clothes. I-I told him I-I lied, I be-begged him, I-I screamed b-but nothing stop-ped hi-m” I started sobbing uncontrollably remembering what had happened not even a day ago.

“Casey. I need you to tell us what he did.”

“He r-aped me, o-over an-d o-ver and o-over and over ag-ain. I don’t e-ven know how h-he kept go-ing. H-e would st-op for 5-10 minutes be-fore doing it ag-ain.”

“Casey. I know this is hard. I understand, I really do but do you know how many times he...started again, whether he finished or not, each time he did it, counts as a separate charge against him.”

“I don’t know. I lost c-ount. 9...11 I d-on’tkn-know.”

“Okay, okay. It’s okay. The hospital did a SAEK when you were under because of the internal bleeding. We have all the evidence we need to get him more than a life’s sentence. You don’t need to worry about him anymore. You will need to testify in court and give a statement, as well as Oliver but that’s it. You don’t even have to see him we can do a recording and play it for the court.” Officer Parker informs me.

“Okay.” I merely whisper.

Officer Andrews gets up and engulfs me into a hug, which I wasn’t expecting.

“You’re safe now sweetie. Thank you for answering our questions. If we have anymore, we’ll contact you. I’m so sorry this happened to you hun.”

After a while they both left leaving me on my own. A nurse came in and tried to turn off the light. I had to fight her on it and she called my doctor confirming it had to stay on.

I still didn’t sleep that night. Thoughts of him and what happened keep racing through my mind.

Only when the sun’s rays came through the windows in the morning did I fall asleep.

———

“But I don’t care” I hear a stubborn voice shout.

“Miss, we are going in” a boys voice this time?

“Is she still not letting you in?” Another boy?

“Oi zombie boy, come help us!” The girl shouts.

“If you don’t go, I’m going to have to call security.”

“I really don’t care, I’m going in to see my friend one way or another. I’ll climb out the window next door and come through the window here if I have to” the girl says again. Wait a minute...

“Becks?” I open my eyes to the voice. They all shut up and stare at me.

Becks, Ben, Thomas and Oliver.

Becks goes under the nurse’s arms as she tried to stop them from barging in.

“Oh my god! Casey!” Becks runs to me and hugs me tightly.

“What the hell! I thought I was first hug” Thomas shouts.

“Shut up you doofus! Casey, how are you?” Becks says as she flips Thomas off and pulls away from the hug.

The rest of the guys come into the room as the nurse gives up.

“Hey munchkin, how did it go with the police?”

I just shake my head. I don’t want to talk about it.

“We made an agreement not to talk about any of that so don’t worry. We are here to put a smile on that beautiful face” Becks announces.

She shoves a ‘get well soon’ bag at me. Inside it was way too many sweets and chocolates.

Thomas holds up a bouquet of flowers and looks at Oliver “come on Oliver! You’re meant to be the boyfriend, it’s common curtesy, to get people who aren’t well, flowers.”

Oliver snatches the flowers from Thomas and faces me “I got you these” he says and hands them to me.

“Hey!” Thomas shouts and tries to get the flowers back.

“Becks, get him” Oliver calls as he moves out the way.

“With pleasure” Becks jumps onto Thomas’s back and tackles him to the ground.

It’s just like it was before.

But I’m not...

I’m not laughing.

I’m not the same.

How can I ever be the same?

I look at the flowers still in Oliver’s hands and I see a daffodil. Sudden memories of Damian holding me from behind flash in my head from when he let me pick the flowers. Followed by a flash image of the glass vase smashing in the ground.

I look at my bandaged hand from the glass and the cast on my arm.

The room goes silent. Tears fall down my face.

As one image fades another one comes. All of him. Him touching me, talking to me, smiling at me.

I start sobbing as I drag my knees to my chest and bury my head in them. I feel multiple arms around me.

I look up to see all three boys hugging me. Oliver behind me, Ben and Thomas to my sides. I lead onto Thomas’s shoulder as he’s closest.

I thought I’d be okay once I was away from him. But he’s still here.

I’m my mind.

Engraved onto my skin.

He was right. I’ll never get away. I can never forget. He’s a part of me now.

He’s gone but I still can’t get away.

He won.

———

I’m woken up in the evening of the day by a small pitter-patter running into my room followed by a dip and bounce on the mattress.

Becks and the boys left after talking...a lot and messing around with most of the equipment in the room.

Something heavy presses onto me and I shoot up and grab it.

Damian found me.

He broke out of jail.

He came for me.

I open my eyes to see a small figure on top my waist, my hands tightly wrapped around his biceps.

“Lucas! I told you not to do that!” I hear mum shout down the corridor but I don’t react to that.

I stare emotionless at the little boy in front of me. Tears in his eyes, I’m unsure if it’s from my tight grip on his arms, seeing me or the way I’m acting.

“Lou?” I ask him, letting go of his biceps and watching his little face. My hands shaking as I rub gingerly on his arms where I just held him “Lucas? Is that you? Are you really here?” I ask the now crying boy in front of me, unsure if this is an hallucination.

“Casey?” Now he’s confused. I’ve never acted like this before. Tears start streaming as soon as I hear his scared little voice.

I wrap my arms around his little back and squeeze him into a tight hug. His little hands wrap around me. I hear him cry In between my own sobs. I ignore the fact that mums by the door.

“I thought I wouldn’t get to see you ever again.” I pull him back and look at his small round face. I wipe away his tears “I missed you so much Lou” I kiss all around his face making him giggle.

He copy’s my actions and tries to wipe away my flood of tears before kissing my face. I strangle out a laugh.

“Casey, where did you go? Why did you leave? Did I do something wrong?” I cry more at his questions.

"Lucas baby-” I cut mum off.

“It’s okay mum” I assure her before turning back to Lou “I didn’t leave you by choice, I wanted nothing more than to see you.”

“What do you mean?”

“A bad man took me away.”

“A bad man?” His eye brows furrow.

“Yes, he took me away but the police got me back.”

“Why did he take you?”

“Because he wanted to hurt me” I hear mum sob.

“Did he hurt you?” He asks with sudden concern.

“He did but I’m better now.”

“Why? Why did he want to hurt you?”

“I don’t know Lou. He-he wasn’t well in his head” implying he was crazy is better than confusing a kid by telling him that he thought it was love but he was just obsessed and possessive. Why do I feel like I’m defending him?

“I don’t want him to take you again” Lou sobs and hugs me, I hug him back tightly.

“He never will again, the police put him away in prison.”

“Don’t leave me again” he whispers.

“I will never leave you again, It’s impossible because as long as I love you and you love me, i will always be in here” I point to his chest where his heart is.

“In here?” he looks down.

“Your heart. I will always be in your heart and you will always be in mine. And as long as you remember me in here” I point to my head “you will never be alone” I tell him.

“I love you Casey, I will always keep you in my heart and remember you.” He hugs me.

“I love you too Lou.”

“I won’t let the bad man take you ever again, I pinky promise” he holds up his pinky finger.

“And I promise to never leave you again” we interlock pinky’s and I kiss his head.

We hug for so long he ends up falling asleep on me. His grip as tight as ever on my nightgown as I stroke his brown locks.


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