“That has to be the sweetest thing I have ever heard, Liam,” I murmured, kissing him tenderly. He kissed me back and rolled so I was underneath him. “I could kiss you all day,” I whispered, as he kissed down my neck, nibbling gently on the skin and making me moan breathlessly.
“Mmm, that sounds like a good plan,” he mumbled against my skin. I wrapped my legs around his waist and pulled him closer to me, kissing him with everything I had. He pinned my arms above my head and kissed me again before trailing kisses across my cheek to my ear. “I love you, Angel,” he whispered.
My heart stopped and my body began to tingle but I didn’t know what to say. “I…. I…. Liam…. I….”
He kissed me again, stopping me from speaking. I felt his grip loosen on my wrists, so I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him closer to me. “You don’t have to say anything. I’ve felt like this about you for years, but you’ve only just stopped looking at me like your brothers as**ole best friend. I just wanted to say the words to you, that’s all. I’ve been waiting to say them for a long time,” he said, smoothing my hair away from my face. I wrapped my arms around his neck tightly and kissed all over his face, before finally kissing him long and hard on his perfect mouth.
We must have fallen asleep because I woke up with Liam wrapped all over me. I looked at his clock. Holy crap, it was past nine! Jake would be home already. I nudged him awake. “Hey, I gotta go, it’s after nine,” I stated, urgently trying to unwrap him from me.
He groaned. “Ten more minutes, Angel,” he muttered sleepily.
I laughed; he looked so cute when he was sleepy. I giggled as I tickled him. “Liam, it’s not morning, it’s still night-time, but I’ve got to go. Jake will be wondering where I am!” I explained, finally prying him off me and jumping up. He groaned and pulled me back down to him, holding me tight against his body, smiling sleepily. I giggled. “Will you stop! I need to go,” I said, laughing as he nibbled my earlobe.
He shook his head. “No, I don’t want you to go,” he muttered, as he kissed my neck. I pushed him up and he groaned. “But I’m going to miss you,” he whined, making me laugh even harder.
“I’ll see you in an hour. Anyway, I have homework to do,” I said, with a shrug.
He sighed in defeat. “Yeah, me too,” he admitted, pouting slightly. I climbed out of his bed and went to the door. “Hey wait. I’ll walk you out.” He grabbed my hand as we walked down the hallway.
I stuck my head into the living room. “Bye, Pat. Bye, Rick,” I called.
“Goodbye, honey,” Rick replied, not taking his eyes off the TV.
Pat smirked at me. “Bye, Amber. Did you guys have fun?” she asked, giving me a wink. I blushed like crazy and nodded not sure that my voice would come out if I tried to speak. Liam rolled his eyes and pulled me to the front door, where he pushed me against it lightly and kissed me until I was dizzy.
“I’ll see you at half past ten, OK?” he whispered, caressing my cheek.
I walked quickly to my house, turning back to smile at Liam as I walked in the front door. Bless him, he was standing on his porch checking to make sure I got home safe and I live like thirty feet from him.
Jake was sitting on the sofa, waiting for me. As I walked in the door he looked at me, his eyes tight with anger. “Where have you been? I’ve been worried! You could have left a note or something,” he said, shaking his head disapprovingly.
“Sorry, I was over at Liam’s. Pat asked me to stay for dinner, and I thought, seeing as you weren’t here, that I’d go so I wouldn’t be here on my own,” I said with a shrug.
“I love Pat’s dinners!” he moaned, his angry expression leaving his face, to be replaced by a jealous one.
“Well you missed a good one too, she made a homemade pie and everything,” I teased, smiling wickedly as he groaned.
“Well, I enjoyed my grilled cheese,” he joked, making me laugh.
“I’m going to go do my homework.” I turned and started towards the hallway so I could go to my room.
“Ambs, wait a minute. I need to talk to you about something,” he said, patting the couch next to him, looking sad.
I plopped down next to him. “What’s up, Jake?” I asked, concerned, he looked really upset about something.
He took a deep breath. “I spoke to Mom tonight.”
I smiled. “Yeah? Is she OK? Is she coming home?” I asked, getting excited, thinking about seeing my mom sooner than a couple of weeks. I’d missed her like crazy and the time that she was here always seemed to go too fast.
He shook his head. “She told me something, but I don’t want you to freak out about it. There’s nothing to worry about, I promise.” He took my hand and looked at me, smiling sadly.
Oh crap, this is going to be bad! “What is it?” I asked, already imagining the worst. We were going to have to move to china. She’d lost her job. She was getting remarried - but I suppose that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless he was a jerk. Hundreds of things were running through my mind, but the last thing I expected was what Jake said.
“Our father has been in contact with her. He wants to see us, apparently, make amends for what he did,” he spat through his teeth, his sadness turning to blind rage.
I couldn’t breathe. My lungs just refused to work. My heart was beating way too fast as my body started to shake. He was coming back. He wanted to see us. The last time I saw that man, he had ripped my school shirt off me and had pinned me to the floor while he undone his pants. He was about to rape me when Jake and Liam came in and beat the crap out of him. Oh God, he was coming back. I replayed all of the beatings he handed out to me and Jake, all the touching that happened when I was alone with him, the whispered words and secret smiles. My vision started to get black spots as I hyperventilated. I was going to die I could feel it; my body was shutting down, unable to deal with the memories and the pain.
I was vaguely aware of shouting. “Just let go. I can help her!” a voice I recognised, shouted.
“Call 911 for f**k sake. She can’t breathe!” Jake shouted.
“Jake, let go of her! I got this, I promise,” the voice said urgently again.
I was jostled slightly and then I felt two strong arms go around me, pulling me into a hard chest; there was a beautiful smell that I recognised as Liam.
Oh thank you God, Liam’s here! My heart rate started to slow as I felt him press his lips to my neck and breathe slowly and calmly down my back. I tried to match my breathing to his. I concentrated on the feel of his steady heartbeat against my chest and the black spots slowly started to fade. After a few minutes I regained control of my arms and I wrapped them tightly around his waist, clinging to him as if he was the only thing keeping me from falling off the edge of the world. My father was coming back, but I was with Liam, he wouldn’t let anything hurt me, I knew that. So I started to feel safe in his arms. After what seemed like forever, I was able to pull back to look at him.
“You alright now?” he asked, putting his hands on either side of my face and pressing his forehead to mine.
I nodded and licked my lips, they tasted salty for some reason, and then I realised I was crying. I wiped my face and sniffed. I slowly became aware of my surroundings; I was still in the lounge. I looked over to see Jake sitting there, shocked, staring at me and Liam. His mouth was hanging open, his eyes wide. I thought about stepping back, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t move away from Liam, he was my safety; he was the one I needed, the one that would keep me sane through all of this.
Jake walked over and pulled me from Liam’s arms, making me whimper. He wrapped me in a tight hug. “Damn it, Amber. Don’t ever do that to me again! I thought you were going to die! Shit, you scared me,” Jake ranted, as he rocked me back and forth gently.
“I’m OK,” I said weakly. I looked back to Liam for reassurance and saw that he wasn’t there, the panic started to rise in my chest as my breathing started to get shallow. “Where’s Liam?” I choked out, tears flowing down my face again. Oh God, he left me!
Jake hugged me tightly. “Shh, it’s OK. Just breathe, Shh,” he murmured, but I couldn’t, my lungs were too tight. “Shit!” Jake gasped looking at me. “Liam, get in here quick!” he almost screamed.
Liam ran back into the room, holding a glass of water which he put down on the table roughly, spilling half of it, before wrapping his arms around me. “It’s OK, Angel,” he whispered, putting his lips to my neck again.
After a couple of minutes, when I could pull back, I smiled at Liam gratefully.
Jake looked murderously angry. “What the fuck? You two are together, aren’t you?” he roared.
Liam just held up a hand to stop his rant. “Look, Jake, you and I will talk about this, but now’s not the right time after what just happened. I need to make sure she’s OK,” he said sternly, ending the conversation.
Jake looked at me apologetically and nodded. “I’m sorry, Amber, but I had to tell you, to make sure you knew, but I promise I’ll never let him hurt you. You don’t need to worry about anything. I’ll kill him before he touches you,” Jake said, taking my hand.
I smiled but I had a feeling it would look more like a grimace. “I know that, Jake. I’m sorry I freaked out and scared you.” I raised a shaky hand and swiped at my tears again.
“That’s OK. Just don’t do it again,” he said, smiling at me. I laughed weakly and nodded.
Liam handed me the glass of water and I drank it gratefully. I noticed that Jake was watching Liam’s every move, glaring angrily. “Stop looking at him like that, Jake, he’s done nothing wrong,” I said, frowning.
He shook his head and clenched his jaw, taking a deep breath, obviously trying to calm himself before speaking. “You two are together,” he said simply, looking between the two of us for confirmation. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. OK, so much for a couple of weeks.
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