C4 Stars dancing around my vision.
I'm perched on the edge of my bed, looking and feeling exhausted. My eyes are sunken in and dark from lack of sleep. I run a hand through my wild hair and remember the night being full of nightmares. The sun is beginning to rise and it sends a ray of light beaming through the tiny crack in my curtains. The light bounces off the walls, creating an iridescent glow of golds.
I close my eyes and lean back against the wall, enjoying the silence and peace the morning has to offer. The air is always crisp and fresh, almost as if the world is offering me a clean slate every day. My thoughts drift to the encounter with Jake yesterday.
What if he figures out my secret?
I've kept the secret for years and one silly little mistake is threatening to ruin that. I curse under my breath, rubbing my temple as I feel a headache beginning to form.
"I'll just stay away from him," I mumble to myself...That's kind of hard to do when we both share a classroom.
Once I'm dressed in a soft sweater and denim jeans, I decide to tackle my hair and face. One glimpse in the mirror has me wincing with shock.
"Damn, I need a miracle." I groan unhappily, reaching for my makeup bag. I apply concealer under my eyes to disguise the lack of sleep and cover up a tender bruise forming on my cheek.. Over the years I've mastered hiding cuts, bruises and scars with makeup.
I finish my look off with mascara, lip gloss and a touch of blush. Once I'm satisfied that I don't resemble a gorilla any longer, I grab my school bag and head downstairs. I remember hearing Mum and Trevor arguing late last night. Thankfully, it didn't turn violent. They clearly made up as after the arguing came the sounds of their moans floating through the house. I mentally gag at the thought of them having sex and hope to God they used a condom. The last thing this dysfunctional family needs is an innocent baby being dragged into the mess.
I push open the kitchen door to grab a breakfast bar before heading out. When I notice Trevor sitting at the dining table, I freeze and rethink my decision for breakfast. My heart pounds inside my chest as I slowly back up, moving at snail's pace so I don't alert him. I'm halfway through turning around when his voice cuts through the tense silence.
"Where do you think you're going?" He slurs at me in his drunken state. Fresh anger lines his voice and I silently curse under my breath from being caught. I close my eyes and count to five in an effort to calm my breathing. My hands begin to tremble by my side as I turn around slowly, coming face to face with him.
"School." I murmur quietly. He raises one eyebrow and begins taking slow steps towards me. I press myself back into the wall as much as I can, wishing he'll walk straight past me and leave me alone. The stench of alcohol hits me as he approaches and I bite down on my bottom lip to stop myself from gagging with repulsion.
"I'm just about to leave." I whisper, hoping he'll spare me the argument. He pauses once he's standing directly next to me and I squeeze your eyes shut as I realize he isn't ready to leave me alone. His presence causes my stomach to clench and churn with nausea.
I have to put distance between us before I throw up.
I try to take a step away from him but his hand shoots out and circles around my waist. My first reaction is to release a small squeak in fear. Trevor pins me against his side and I release a whimper and open my mouth to protest. Despite wanting to scream at him, no sound leaves my lips.
The worst feeling is knowing your body is failing you when you need it the most.
Trevor lowers his head until his mouth is in line with my ear, his dirty hot breath invades my personal space. I squeeze my eyes shut tightly and wait for it to be over. Tears prick the back of my eyes but I refuse to let them drop. I won't give the pig a single drop of satisfaction knowing that he's hurting me. His hands press further into my skin and I finally find the courage to speak.
"What are you doing?" I mutter with confusion. This isn't how the beating usually goes. Trevor's hand remains wrapped around my waist and I feel sick to my stomach at the contact.
"Don't speak to me like that." Trevor snaps back at me. I suck in a sharp breath.
"Don't touch me like that!" I hit back at him, doing the first thing that comes to mind. I pull my arm forward and elbow him hard in his crotch. His grip on me immediately releases and he bends over from the pain. My eyes widen in surprise and a smirk forms on my lips as I watch him wither around in pain.
Take that, asshole.
I quickly hop over him and make a beeline for the front door. As soon as Trevor regains his composure, he stands up and releases a frustrated yell. I don't have time to react as he comes charging at me like a raging bull in a bullfight. The victorious smirk on my face quickly fades and is replaced with a look of terror. I quickly glance around for something to use as a weapon but it's no use, I don't have enough time.
All I can do is throw my hands over my head and take the hit.
The force of his punch knocks me sideways and I yell out as my body falls to the floor. The dull headache from earlier intensifies until I can hear the pounding through my eyes. I blink several times as stars dance around my vision, mocking me. My hand trails against my forehead where a red sticky substance is trickling down my temple. Trevor grabs my chin and yanks my face back so I'm staring at him directly in the eyes.
His cold emotionless eyes resemble a bottomless black pool.
"If you ever do that again, I'll break your legs and you won't leave this house ever again. Do you hear me?" His words are emotionless with a twisted level of calm. I don't miss the murderous glint in his eyes as he enjoys seeing the fear radiate from me. He suddenly releases his tight hold on me but before he leaves, his foot swings out and connects with my stomach. I groan as a sharp excruciating pain ripples through me. My stomach convulses and I dry heave, turning to the side in case I throw up.
"You fucking disgust me," Trevor spits out before stomping away from me. He's satisfied he's caused enough damage for one day. Your first instinct is to get up and run but your body physically isn't able to move. Once you're alone, you curl up into a ball and release a soft whimper. The first tear falls followed by several others until you're drowning in your pain.
As I step off the bus, I grimace in pain before swapping my book bag to my other shoulder. If I move an inch out of line, the pain flares up immediately. I slowly walk down the road, heading for the school building straight ahead.
"If you walk any slower, you'll never make it to school on time." A voice floats from behind me.
I turn my head slowly and my eyes widen as I realize it's Jake Melvin. He's dressed in a casual outfit that's paired with a denim jacket. There's an unlit cigarette in one of his hands and a lighter in the other. His expression resembles one of frustration and boredom. Yesterday's encounter with him flashes through my mind and I smile tightly instead of responding. He raises a single brow at me before his piercing blue eyes drink in my appearance from head to toe.
"Cat got your tongue, Muffin?" He says bluntly and I frown, shooting him a glare. He shrugs it off before stepping around me and walking ahead. I sigh and switch my bag for the millionth time as I struggle to keep the pain from displaying on my features.
"It's rude to ignore people, Wentworth." Jake yells from over his shoulder. How does he know my surname? I suck in a sharp breath.
"If you haven't already gathered, I'm waiting for an apology for yesterday." I respond bluntly. Jake scoffs and slowly turns around, his blue eyes staring straight at me.
"Apology for what?" Jake asks, looking confused. I resist the urge to roll my eyes at his arrogance.
"You were rude to me for no reason." I explain further. Jake hits back immediately and you remember Trish's words about him being argumentative. The boy seems like he's constantly ready for a fight.
"I shouldn't have to apologise, you ran into me."
"It was an accident, I'm human." I protest, ignoring the nerves building in my stomach from being underneath his intense gaze.
"Manners don't cost a penny, Jake Melvin." I scold him, using his full name for emphasis. Pain flares up my side and I briefly squeeze my eyes shut as I breathe through the discomfort.
"Whatever you say, Emily Wentworth." Jake mimics me, placing the cigarette inside his mouth and lighting it. I grimace and take a step away from him.
"You're extremely annoying," I mumble under my breath which earns a smug smile from Jake. He blows the smoke out in my direction and I choke as it hits the back of my throat. His laughter fills the air as he walks off, leaving me shooting daggers in his direction.
I can't numb the pain and the limp when I walk is obvious. I swallow two painkillers and lean against the back of the chair as I wait for them to take effect. I'd managed to clean up the cut on the side of my head and it's now disguised cleverly with my hair. My stomach pulses with pain and every movement I make results with a dizzy spell. I groan and place my head on the desk as I wait for the storm to pass.
Once the students start cramming into the classroom, I grit my teeth and sit up straight so I don't catch attention. A smile is plastered on my face as I connect eyes with Trish. She looks incredible as always with her long blonde hair that's been loosely curled. She smiles back before noticing the discomfort in your eyes. Her expression fills with concern as she drops down into the seat beside you.
"Are you feeling okay Emily? You look pale." Trish murmurs. My automatic reaction is to nod my head.
"I'm fine, a little tired." I mutter quietly. Trish nods her head and a knowing look fills her eyes.
"Is it that time of the month?" She whispers, sympathy flashing through her eyes.
"Yeah, I feel like I've been run over by a truck." I smile weakly in response. It isn't the truth but not entirely a lie. I focus on trying to get through the lesson without bursting into tears.
The lunch lady smiles at me and extends her hand. I reach for the coins inside my pocket and hand them over. She pushes the plate of steaming pasta and garlic bread towards me.
"Enjoy your lunch, hon."
"Thank you," I smile, taking it from her and walking towards the table in the far corner. Trish is already seated with a few other friends. As always, she's the centre of attention and loves every second of it. When her eyes land on me, she smiles and pats the seat next to her. I sit down and grimace as a jolt of pain explodes up my side. It takes several seconds of deep breathing to make the pain subside. Trish fishes around in her bag before emerging with a box of medication.
"You should take two of these tablets. Seriously, your uterus will forever thank me." She places two tables in my palm and I nod weakly at her.
"Thanks Trish," I mumble quietly, pushing my pasta around on the plate. I suddenly don't have much of an appetite left for food.
"Carbs are your best friend, Emily. Why are you neglecting that plate of carby goodness?" Trish asks me, making light of the situation. I can see the worry flash through her eyes and I plaster a fake smile on my face.
"I'm not very hungry, that's all." I respond, trying to reassure her. Trish nods and leans over to give me a quick hug. When I return her embrace, my eyes lock with an intense stare from the opposite side of the room. I immediately feel my heart jolt as he tilts his head, studying me. I hold my breath and find it impossible to tear my eyes off him.. His expression remains emotionless as he stands from his table and begins to approach me. My eyes widen as I pull away from Trish.
She follows my gaze and frowns with confusion when her eyes land on Jake Melvin. The entire table silences and the conversation comes to an abrupt stop. Jake doesn't seem bothered by the reaction and his face remains blank as he walks right towards me. My heart thumps wildly against my chest, threatening to burst through at any moment. Jake keeps his eyes trained solely on you and ignores the states that linger directly on him.
"Can I talk to you?" Jake says quietly. I simply stare back at him, my mouth slightly parted. His scent wraps itself around me, causing my thoughts to turn hazy and blurred. Wow, he smells good.
"Um—" You stutter, glancing around for an escape.
"It's important." He shoots back instantly, ignoring the burning stares he's getting from everyone around the table. I swallow the lump in my throat and nod, pushing myself up. Pain shoots through my side from the sudden movement and I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to not let the pain show in my face.
"Emily?" Trish asks cautiously. She glances between Jake and I with concern etched across her features. You give her a reassuring smile.
"I'll be right back. Mrs Wilkins wants me and Jake to set up the science class for the next group of students." I explain, hating that I'm lying to her. I can't tell her the real reason because I don't know what he wants me for either. Trish silently searches my face for a few moments before nodding with acceptance.
I walk out of the canteen and feel the burning stares from everyone around us. Students are intrigued as to why Jake Melvin is following around someone like me. I'm never the centre of attention despite people knowing my name. Jake follows behind me, his intense aura is enough to send goosebumps scattering over my skin.
"You could have lied better than that, Wentworth." Jake murmurs down my ear. I resist the urge to shiver as I push through the door and enter the empty corridor. It's deserted during lunch which makes it the perfect place to talk to him.
"I'm not exactly a professional at lying to my friends at such quick notice." I hit back at him. Once we're safely tucked away behind lockers, I whirl around and set my attention on him. For a moment, I forget about my beating earlier that morning. My hand immediately presses against my stomach to decrease the pain.
Jake takes a step forward, his blue eyes filling with concern. He clenches his teeth which highlights the sharpness of his jaw. I flinch when he reaches forward, placing a gentle hand over my stomach.
"Are you going to tell me what's wrong?" Jake says quietly, his voice a low rumble. I blink several times and try to focus on keeping the tears at bay. I want to question his actions, why is he acting like he cares about me? Despite the obvious pain I'm feeling, heat flares up in my body from his touch. I expect him to be heavy handed but he radiates nothing but a gentle nature.
I look up at him from under my lashes. His eyes are intense as they search mine, waiting for an explanation. I'm unable to tell him the truth so I simply shrug and play it cool.
"Girl stuff, you wouldn't want to know." I tell him before leaning against the wall casually. The blue in his eyes darken like a deep ocean and I know he doesn't believe me. He shakes his head which causes his dark hair to fall over into his eyes.
I decide to change the subject so he doesn't see through my facade. With others, it's easy to keep my secret. With Jake, it's almost like he's searching behind the hard exterior I parade around with me.
"What did you want to talk to me about?" I ask him, a small blush creeping up my cheeks. Butterflies flutter nervously in my stomach as I wonder whether this is the time where Jake confronts me over yesterday.
"I want to apologize." Jake says, surprising me. I snap my head up to look at him with shock. My mouth falls open slightly and the surprise is clear on my face.
"You want to apologize to me?" I ask, the shock evident in my voice. He doesn't reply but instead nods at me.
"Since when does Big Bad Jake apologise?" I tease him. He chuckles quietly, his eyes lighting up with amusement. You narrow your eyes with curiosity as you study his smile.
Huh, he's cute when he smiles and ditches the gloomy expression,
"Big Bad Jake? Please tell me that's not what people call me. That would seriously ruin my street cred." Jake responds.
"Okay, maybe not everyone. I just made that up," I smile nervously, fiddling with my hands. Jake glances at me from under his dark lashes and his blue eyes search mine. For a moment, neither of us speak and there's a shift in the energy between us. I feel my stomach somersault and my heart begins to pick up pace. I drop my gaze to the floor and clear my throat to regain my composure.
I have to remember this is Jake Melvin. Despite being absolutely adorable, he's dangerous.
"I want to apologise for yesterday. I wasn't watching where I was going." Jake repeats, looking everything but dangerous.
"What about blowing smoke in my face? Do you know second hand smoke is just as dangerous as smoking the --" I stop ranting once I realize Jake is finding complete amusement in my words. His blue eyes sparkle like a summer's lake as he watches me. I immediately stop talking and let my gaze drop to the floor.
"I'm also sorry for blowing smoke in your face, that was rude. I'm sure you're right about it being dangerous," Jake adds. A small smile stretches across my lips and I'm grateful for his apology. I open my mouth to respond but a wave of nausea hits me. My hand clutches my stomach tightly and I briefly close my eyes. If I don't sit down soon, I fear I'll pass out from the strain of pretending like I'm okay.
"You're officially forgiven, Melvin." I murmur quietly. I hope he doesn't see the pain in my eyes or sense the tremble to my voice. Dizziness ripples through me and my legs buckle underneath my weight. Jake takes a step forward and his scent invades my senses completely. I'm pressed as far up into the wall as I can go, using it to support my weight.
"Are you sure you're okay? You don't look okay." Jake states as his eyes drink in your trembling body. I look up at him but his features begin to blur in your vision. It isn't long until his voice turns into a low buzzing sound. I'm afraid if I open my mouth to respond, I'll burst into tears again.
Black spots appear in front of me and I feel myself stumble on my feet unsteadily. His hands are immediately around me, holding me up whilst I recover from my state of darkness. I whimper quietly and shake my head in protest so he'll leave me alone. I barely know him.
His head dips low until his lips meet my ears.
"I think you're forgetting who I am," he murmurs down my ear. His hands hold my body firmly in place whilst I recover from my dizzy spell. I'm too weak and beaten down to protest so I give up and fall into him for support.
"You can't lie to me Emily, I'm surrounded in a world of pain. Don't think I'm not able to sense it when it's all I feel around you."
I don't reply and focus on clearing my vision instead.