C12 Happy birthday, Muffin.
I blink several times, feeling like I'm sensitive to the entire world right now. I let out a low groan, the pounding in my head growing to be ten times worse. I groan, clutching the sides of my head. My eyes squint as they adjust to the brightness. I glance around, realising I'm still at Ivory's house.
"Happy Birthday to me . . ." I sing bluntly, massaging my sore temples. My thoughts turn back to last night. The party. Austin and Jake.
It's that exactly moment that I realise what I've done. My mouth falls open with shock and snap it shut again. "No, no way. What have I done?" I murmur, my head falling into my hands. Holy Mother of Jesus.
I told Jake my secret.
I climb out of bed quickly, glancing down at my outfit from last night. It's crumpled up, clinging to my body unattractively. I pull at the material, grimacing from the way it feels against my skin.
Does Ivory know I spent the night at hers?
Did Jake bail on me last night?
There's a soft knock on the door, snapping me out of my thoughts. I smooth down my clothes, tugging at my hair self-consciously.
"Come in," I say out loud, clearing my throat. The door opens and Ivory pops her head around. Her auburn hair is pulled back into a messy ponytail, dark bags underneath her eyes.
A sign of a good night.
"Hey Emily," Ivory said softly, entering the room and closing the door behind her. I give her a small smile, running a hand through my hair.
"Thanks for letting me crash here." I mumble, staring at the floor instead of making eye contact.
"Don't worry about it." Ivory smiles.
"Good night?" I ask, feeling my muscles relax. Ivory laughed quietly, reaching up to rub her temples.
"Amazing night. I'm paying for it today though, I feel like I've been dragged through a rose bush backwards." She groaned, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. Her eyes meet with mine, flashing briefly with sympathy.
"Jake mentioned you needed a place to crash, you're welcome here anytime."
My stomach churns uneasily as I try to figure out whether Ivory knows my secret or not. I try and not think of Jake telling Ivory every last detail I told him.
"Thank you. I appreciate it," I respond tightly, disappointment washing over me.
"Follow me." Ivory grins, stepping off the bed and heading for the door. I inhale deeply before following her close behind. The smell of warm pancakes and chocolate wafts through the air and my stomach rumbles loudly.
Huh, I guess it knows what it wants.
Ivory giggles, glancing at me from the side.
I grin back at her sheepishly, biting on my lower lip.
"I guess I'm hungry." I state obviously, causing Ivory to giggle further. We both head down the stairs that were completely covered with rubbish and empty cups from the night before. Beside from the aftermath of the party lying all over the floor, the house is very beautifully designed.
Ivory pushes back the door of the kitchen and I follow her, glancing at the dining table that's covered with half empty alcohol bottles. My stomach churns and I quickly avert my gaze so that I don't embarrass myself and throw up. I'm so not ready to face alcohol just yet.
My eyes land on Jake who's stood by the cooker, spatula in hand. I raise my eyebrows in surprise and immediately feel a blush rise to my cheeks from the sight of him. He's flipping pancakes casually —
"Jake?" I frown, feeling confused.
Did he stay the night too?
Ivory glances between me and Jake before grabbing an aspirin box off the counter and clutching her head. I can tell the girl has a serious hangover.
"I'll leave you two to it." Ivory says. I give her a small smile and she leaves the kitchen, shutting the door softly behind her. My attentions diverts back to Jake and I stand watching him for a few seconds. He's wearing last nights clothes, his dark hair ruffled messily across his head. I begin to feel extremely self conscious so I decide to start a conversation —
"Last night was . . . Interesting." I say quietly, mentally slapping myself for bringing it up. I've decided my brain turns into an unreliable pile of mush when Jake Melvin is around.
"Yes it was, sit down." Jake says quietly, signalling at the table. He doesn't make eye contact with me and I nibble on my bottom lip, silently taking a seat at the table. I feel my hands begin to grow clammy with nerves so I decide to try to make conversation again.
"You cook pancakes?" I ask him, amusement lining my voice. This time he finally turns around, a sheepish grin on his face. He holds the spatula in the air, shrugging a little.
"You got me," Jake winks, a sparkle in his eye. A flutter grows inside my stomach and I smile, dropping my eyes to the floor.
"Can I have one? I'm starving." I admit, holding my stomach. Jake nods and plates two up before dropping them down in front of me. He holds up a bottle of syrup, the muscles in his arms tensing. I try not to stare but it's so hard when he looks so. . . Good.
"You like syrup?"
"Of course I like syrup, what kind of question is that?" I tease him, rolling my eyes. Jake shakes his head, biting back a smile before squeezing the syrup all over the pancakes.
I take the fork he's offering me and try a small bite, moaning with pleasure from finally eating. It doesn't help that Jake's pancakes are incredibly delicious. I can't remember the last time I had pancakes. When I'm on my third bite, I glance up at Jake, ready to applaud him on his pancake making skills but he's watching me, head tilted to the side. A smirk plays on his lips —
"You moan when you eat, Muffin?"
I choke on the piece of pancake in my mouth, dropping the fork onto the table. My eyes glare at Jake who begins to splutter with laughter. The blue in his eyes sparkle and despite being mad at him a second ago, I'm not anymore. I laugh alongside him before defending myself.
"You make amazing pancakes and I haven't eaten properly for days. This is like heaven to me."
Jake's laughter dies down, the carefree expression on his face disappearing. He pushes the plate towards me silently and I stir in my seat uncomfortably.
"Eat as many as you want." He finally says, breaking the silence between us. He stands up and turns his back to me, running a hand through his wild hair. His shoulders are squared up, full of tension and I know he's thinking about last night.
"Emily, can we talk about—"
I stop Jake short by shaking my head.
"No, not now. Let me enjoy some food before you grill me over last night." I explain to him, giving him a small smile. He returns the smile, nodding his head in agreement.
I end up spilling every secret to Jake Melvin.
Why was it that suddenly things become so real once you say them out loud?
I've only known Jake for a few weeks but I feel like we share an indescribable connection. Jake always listens to me patiently but the thing I value the most about his friendship is that he never judges me. . . For anything.
I've always been terrified of anyone knowing my secret but when I tell Jake, it's a relief. It feels good for someone else to know the stuff that happens behind my closed door.
We're both in Ivory's living room. I'm on the couch with a blanket draped over me and Jake is laid on the other side, his head propped up on one of the cushions.
"Why did you decide to tell me?" Jake asks me quietly, blue eyes staring straight at me.
"I can't take it anymore, there's a constant war inside my head. Do I tell people or do I not? If I do, Trevor will kill me but if I don't, it never stops. All I want is for it to stop." I reply honestly, looking up at the ceiling to stop the tears from falling. I blink them back, not wanting to cry in front of him.
"Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"I didn't tell you because I haven't told anyone and I've only known you for a few weeks Jake, I had to make sure I can trust you." I tell him. He slowly nods his head, eyes flashing with surprise.
"You trust me?"
I nod my head, realising that I do. I really do trust him. Despite everyone around me warning me off Jake Melvin, I've learned that I can trust him. The endless conversations we've had, the way he makes me feel safe just from being in his presence.
"I really do. There's something about you that reassures me I can trust you." I tell him. He looks at me intensely for a while, his eyes fixed on mine.
I've grown to learn that Jake has a kind soul. He may be involved in a world of violence but there's an aura around him that I can't seem to pull myself away from. Since knowing him, we've grown closer and thinking about it causes my lips to tug upwards into a smile. When I glance up at Jake from under my lashes, he's smiling back at me. I lean forward, lightly slapping his chest.
"Stupid oaf," I say to him, rolling my eyes. He grabs hold of my hand, raising one eyebrow at me with a smirk on his face.
"Oaf? Ouch, your insults wound me Muffin."
His words are a hushed whisper and he lightly pulls me forward. I feel goosebumps erupt over my skin, running up and down my arms as I grow closer to him. My eyes flicker between both of his and I can feel my breathing shallow out. Butterflies explode in my stomach as the tension between us grows until it almost becomes unbearable. I study every inch of face, unable to believe how beautiful he is.
"What do you want?" He murmurs, blue eyes dropping from my eyes to roam over my lips. I feel him inhale sharply before his eyes flick back up again to meet mine. The intense look in them causes the butterflies in my stomach to go crazy.
"I'm not sure," I whisper in response, my body screaming at me to close the distance between us. If I inch closer, our lips would finally meet and I'll be kissing Jake Melvin.
"Let me help you decide." Jake murmurs, his breathing growing heavy. I slowly nod my head, watching as desire and a newly lit flame fills his eyes. He continues to pull me forward, his addicting scent wrapping around me.
The door springs open and I quickly jump back from the sound, snapping me out of the trance I was in. Jake closes his eyes and sighs, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose.
"Ivory, what do you want?" He groans, glaring at her. She stands in the doorway, looking more alive than she did previously this morning.
"Sorry, was I interrupting something? Are you guys making out on my couch?" She smirks, glancing between Jake and I. I feel my cheeks burn with embarrassment, turning beetroot red.
"No, you're not interrupting. We're just talking." I say quickly, avoiding eye contact with Jake. She rolls her blue eyes at me, cutting me off by holding her hand up in the air.
"Yeah, I'm sure you were just talking. Stop hitting on my friend Jake." Ivory tells him off, one hand on her hip. I glance between them both, wondering how they know one another.
"I'm not hitting on her and technically, she was my friend first." Jake hits back at her, throwing a cushion in her direction. Ivory dodges it, throwing a glare in his direction.
"God, you're such an annoying cousin. You know that?"
"You guys are family?" I question them both, looking at Jake. He nods, rolling his eyes at a triumphant looking Ivory.
"Yeah, this little dork is my cousin."
Good looks clearly run in the family.
"That's cool, I didn't know." I smile at Ivory. She huffs dramatically, turning the TV on before turning back to me.
"It's not cool at all. Try living with him and my brother, it's a nightmare."
"I'm not annoying, I'm fun." Jake mutters in response, sounding hurt. I chuckle quietly and Jake decides to explain further.
"I live here with Mum, Ivory, her brother Tobias and their Mum. She's my Aunty Myra."
I nod feeling a little overwhelmed as I tried to remember the information.
"You guys have an amazing house." I tell them both.
"Thanks, you're welcome here anytime Emily. It's not like we don't have the space." Ivory gestures at the open air. I smile at her in response and look down at my hands, biting my lip nervously. They're both being so nice to me and I'm not accustomed to that. Jake shuffles closer and leans down so that his lips meet my ear —
"Why are you nervous? Relax," he whispers, his voice sending a shiver to run down my spine. I glance up at him, noticing how thick and dark his eyelashes are. His eyes are beautiful and I don't realise I'm staring until Jake laughs.
"You could take a picture, it'll last longer and you can use it to keep you company at night." Jake smirks smoothly. I gasp, my mouth dropping open slightly.
"Ha, you wish. I'd end up with nightmares." I mutter playfully, earning a chuckle from Jake.
"What time is it?" I ask out loud to no-one in particular. Jake glances at his watch before answering — "Eleven thirty."
My eyes widen and I immediately spring off the couch.
"Crap." I mutter, reaching for my jacket. I'm late, very late.
"What's wrong?" Jake asks me, his expression confused. I mutter a brief explanation and turned towards Ivory in a hurry.
"Thank you both for letting me stay here."
"You're welcome, don't be a stranger." Ivory smiles, holding out her arms as she signals for a hug. I return her smile, leaning in and embracing her. I can't thank her and Jake enough for being so kind to me. I make my way towards the door, glancing down and sighing at my clothes. When I push down the handle to leave, Jake's hand slams the door shut again, stopping me from leaving.
"Where are you going?" He questions me, frowning deeply.
"Home. I really have to leave, like now." I reply desperately, trying to open the door again. Jake shakes his head at me, his jaw tense with frustration.
"No, you can't."
"Jake, please. I need to go!" I tell him firmly, feeling the panic inside me increase.
"Emily, you can't go back there. Let me look after you." Jake argues back, anger lining his voice. I feel the panic increase inside my chest and images of Trevor growing increasingly angrier by my lack of presence clouds my mind.
"You're not my hero Jake!" I yell at him, trying to make him see sense. Hurt flashes through his eyes and he lets go of the door before taking a step back.
"Please understand, I need to get home." I plead with him, pulling the front door open. I silently wish Jake doesn't hate me for it. I walk out the front door, the fear inside of me growing until I feel nauseas.
It's my birthday today but Mum has clearly forgotten. No-one else knows beside Trish. I pull my phone out of my pocket and glance at the screen. One message from Trish.
Happy Birthday Bestie! I'll see you in college soon! Love you xoxo
I stuff the phone back inside my pocket, making a mental note to reply to her later. My gaze lands on Jake who's leaning against the doorway, watching me like a hawk.
"Please don't tell anybody my secret," I plead with him before turning around and hurrying down the driveway. I hear Jake follow me from behind and his warm hand slip in mine. The smooth feeling of paper falls into my palm and I feel him close my fingers around it.
I turn around, curiosity written across my face as I look at him. I don't have time to question his action so I wrap my hand around it tighter, not wanting to lose it. Before I can leave Jake leans close to me, bending down slightly.
I feel his lips press against my cheek tenderly and I freeze, stunned to the spot. The skin sparks up with electricity from his touch and his lips linger before he pulls away. I inhale sharply, my fingers tracing over the skin. I can still feel the pressure and contour of his lips.
"Happy Birthday, Muffin."
He turns around and walks back to the door, hands stuffed inside his pockets. My heart skips a beat from his words and begins thumping wildly against my chest. He knows it's my birthday.
I want to run up and kiss him properly but decide against it. It just a friendly birthday kiss, close friend to friend. I have to push any feelings for him aside especially since my life is so crazy right now. Having feelings for Jake will make everything increasingly difficult . . .
Especially with Trevor in my life.
Speaking of Trevor, I turn around and bolt down the street.
I need to get home, before it's too late.