C11 Exposed secret.
"Emily? Wake up, it's me." Jake's voice floats through the darkness.
I blink several times to clear my blurred vision so I can make sense of my surroundings. I'm lying on a double bed, the sheets are crisp white and soft. The walls are painted a warm neutral shade and the rest of the room is decorated with white furniture.
"Jake?" I call out, turning towards him. My breathing is shallow as I struggle to regulate it. He's sitting on the edge of the bed with intensity filling his blue eyes. Embarrassment fills my body and I sit up, stepping off the bed quickly to leave the room.
"I'm sorry, I have to go." I mumble, my mind disoriented and confused. My legs buckle underneath me weakly and I reach out to grab something before I hit the floor. Jake's hand flies out and circles around my waist. He guides me so I'm stuck between his legs with one on either side. I tremble and try to pry them off me but he doesn't budge. With Jake, I don't panic the same way I did with Austin.
"Stop struggling Emily, turn around." His voice is quiet, smooth. When I slowly turn around, his blue eyes are filled with warmth and safety. I feel the tight hold release from my chest and it's suddenly easier to breathe. His delicious cologne wraps around me, luring me in.
"Take a deep breath, you're safe." Jake murmurs, keeping his hands by his side. I nod my head and breathe deeply for several moments. My dark hair falls over my face and Jake's fingers twitch by his side. His hand reaches up, hovering near my face.
"I'm not going to hurt you, you don't have to flinch." He whispers. It dawns on you that he's aware of your secret. Your eyes fill with tears of fear and relief. Nobody else ever suspected a thing besides Jake. His palm rests against my cheek and he slowly tucks a stray piece of hair behind my ear. Regret flashes through his eyes and he looks ashamed for a moment.
"Did I scare you back there?" Jake asks quietly. I remember the way his eyes turned murderous and I slowly nod my head. Jake curses under his breath and looks up at you apologetically.
"I didn't mean to, he crossed a line." Jake defends himself. My mouth dries out and I find it difficult to respond.
"I understand," I whisper a response. Jake sighs in defeat and begins caressing my cheek. My eyes flutter shut and I sigh at the small amount of affection and how good it feels. Jake chuckles softly at my reaction.
"Stop laughing at me." I mutter, my cheeks flaming up in embarrassment. My heart begins beating wildly against my chest when I realize how close I am to his body. His strong arms remain by his side and my eyes briefly drink in his appearance. The shirt he's wearing clings to his muscular frame and his dark hair is ruffled messily on top of his head. Jake grins boyishly at your warning.
"You're adorable, I can't help it." Jake responds. Butterflies explode in my stomach but they always do when Jake is around. I blush and drop my eyes to the floor. My nerves begin to increase so I draw my bottom lip into my mouth and bite down on it to calm my nerves.
"You shouldn't do that around me," Jake murmurs, intaking a sharp breath. I glance up at him from under my lashes with confusion on my face.
"Don't do what?" I ask innocently. His blue eyes drop to my lips and fill with longing.
"Don't bite your lip like that." Jake responds.
"Sorry, it's a thing I do when I'm nervous." I explain, chuckling lightly. I try to look at anything but him but it's almost impossible to do when he's so close to me. My heart thuds faster and I'm sure Jake can hear the wild beating of it through my chest.
"You're still doing it," Jake mutters, his eyes flickering between mine and my lips. His warm breath tickles my lips and I swoon as I feel my legs weaken.
"If you weren't staring at me, it wouldn't bother you." I mumble to him. He chuckles again and his chest vibrates. He leans in closer so his lips are dangerously close to mine.
"If you weren't so beautiful, I wouldn't feel the need to stare at you." Jake whispers. My eyes immediately widen with surprise and I release an involuntary squeak. Jake's eyebrows shoot up in amusement and his blue eyes twinkle like shining stars. I pull my lower lip into my mouth, biting down on it hard due to my nerves.
"Stop it, Wentworth." Jake warns me, slowly inching closer.
"Stop making me nervous and I might, Melvin." I hit back. He glares at me and I glare back in response, daring him to break eye contact. The corners of his lips tug upwards into a smile. I mirror his expression and try to subside the nerves building in my stomach.
Jake's hands suddenly drop to my waist so he can pull me in. He doesn't realize his strength as his hands land over my bruises and scars. I immediately yelp and react in a way I deeply regret. I lift my knee up and hit him hard between the legs. The moment between us is well and truly ruined.
Jake groans loudly and immediately drops his hold from me. He squeezes his eyes shut with pain and drops back on the bed before rolling around. Pain continues to explode through my body until it becomes unbearable.
"What the hell, Emily? There goes my chance of ever being able to have kids." Jake cries out, his voice strained. I remain silent and turn to face the wall so he doesn't see the tears filling my eyes. The room grows silent and I feel Jake's fingers lightly wrap around my arm. He turns me around and his eyes are filled with worry and concern. The tears roll down my cheeks despite me doing everything to stop them.
"What's going on with you?" Jake asks, his fingers reaching for the hem of my sleeves. I slap them away and shake my head violently.
"Stop!" I warn him. Jake ignores my protests and slides my sleeves up my arm which exposes the black and blue bruises. His eyes cloud with frustration and confusion as he stares down at them. My breathing tightens once again and it feels like I'm on the verge of losing consciousness.
I thought Jake would take one look at my broken and mistreated body and walk away. I thought he'd recoil backwards in disgust and walk away from my life that's consumed with misery. He remains silent and takes hold of my hands instead. Tears roll down my cheeks and this time, I don't do anything to stop them displaying my heartache. When he speaks, his words send a shiver rippling throughout my entire body.
"Let me help you," Jake says firmly, his fingers intertwined with mine. I've never heard those four words from anyone else before. Four words that could change my entire life. I slowly take a step back and walk towards the door before locking it. Jake watches me with curiosity when I turn to face him and intake a sharp breath. His eyes are trained on my every move. I stare back at him and deeply hope I'm not making a mistake.
"Please don't judge me," I whisper quietly. His face remains emotionless as he watches me closely. I have to tell him before I drive myself crazy. I'm plagued by nightmares of Trevor every single night, each one of them more terrifying than the last. When I wake from the nightmares, the fear doesn't stop.
I squeeze my eyes shut and feel for the hem of my top. My fingers find the soft material and I clutch it tightly, pulling the fabric up to reveal the top half of my body. Cold air hits my bare skin and that's when I know there's no going back... My secret and I are exposed.
Tears roll down my cheeks. Years of pent up frustration, sadness and heartbreak catches up with me all at once. Several moments pass before I release my shirt and let it fall down. Jake's eyes remain fixed on my body, where the bruises and the cuts were exposed several seconds ago. His eyes flash through a series of emotion, frustration and sympathy before filling with raw anger. His hands ball into fists by his side and he looks like he wants to either break something or cry.
"My step-dad does this to me," I whisper, feeling the need to explain myself.
"How long?" Jake asks. I look down at my body, knowing what lies underneath the clothes and recoil away from it in disgust. Black and blue bruises cover my whole stomach. Scars run up and down my legs and arms from years of abuse.
"Years." I whisper, my voice choking up with emotion. The anger in Jake's eyes fades and is replaced with sadness. He extends his arm and takes a small step forward. I exhale a deep breath and place my hand in his.
"Do you think I'm ugly?" I ask vulnerably, my voice shaking with fear as I fall into his embrace. His warmth wraps around me tightly and I close my eyes, settling into his safety. Jake runs his hand over my dark hair and leans down so his lips are aligned with my ear.
"I think you're absolutely beautiful," he whispers before enveloping me into his strong arms. I melt against him and close my eyes as the weight is lifted from my shoulders. Jake's embrace tightens and I can't help but feel like he's protecting me from the danger that lurks everywhere in my life.