I grabbed her hand. “Want some company?” I asked, praying that she wasn’t going to shut me out.
“Yeah, OK.” She nodded slightly and walked off without waiting for me.
I needed to speak to Jake first, make sure he wasn’t going to go around there without me or anything. “I’ll just be a minute. I’m just going to help Jake clear up the table,” I lied, nodding at the splinters of wood scattered across the floor. She nodded and walked off quickly. I watched her walk up the hallway before turning to Jake. “Don’t you dare go there on your own. I’m serious, Jake. If you want to go, then I’ll come with you,” I whispered to him warningly.
He frowned but nodded reluctantly. “I’m not going to go unless I need to. If he doesn’t come near us then I don’t want anything to do with him. If comes anywhere near her though, I’ll kill him,” he growled.
I nodded, I knew he would, I could tell by his face. Stephen Walker was in some deep shit, because if Jake didn’t kill him, then I would if he came anywhere near my Angel. “Listen, I need to go in there and make sure she’s alright. I’ll speak to you about this later. Don’t do anything rash, Jake,” I said sternly. He nodded and I practically ran down the hallway to her. I let myself in her room; she was curled into a ball on her bed, sobbing her heart out. I hated seeing her like this; it brought back memories when I used to see her like this every night since she was eight. The sight of it now was breaking my heart.
I laid down in front of her and wrapped my arms around her tightly, throwing my leg over hers, pulling her closer to me as I rested my chin on the top of her head. If he ever touched her again I was going to kill him. I won’t let her live her life afraid of a man. I didn't care if I ended up doing time for it - so long as she was safe, that was all I needed.
After about half an hour of her sobbing hysterically, her breathing became deeper. I pulled back slowly and looked down at her. She was sound asleep. Her face was red and puffy, it was stained with tears, but she still managed to look like the most beautiful girl in the world. I kissed her forehead gently and wiped her tears away, untangling myself from her as gently as I could.
I snuck out of her bedroom and found Jake sitting on the sofa; his mom was in the kitchen making dinner. I sat down next to Jake letting my eyes wander over his face. He looked so stressed; I hadn’t seen him like this for a couple of years. The last time I saw him like this was when his dad got in touch about two years ago, when we were sixteen. That was about a year after we had beaten the crap out of him and kicked him out. Apparently, Stephen had wanted to see them again to make amends, or so he said anyway. Jake had freaked out, just like earlier, and in no uncertain terms told his dad that if he ever came near Amber again, that he would rip him to pieces. It was just lucky that that conversation happened over the phone; otherwise that as**ole would be rotting in some unmarked grave right now.
“Alright, Jake?” I asked, gripping his shoulder, squeezing affectionately.
He sighed and nodded. “Is she OK?” he asked quietly.
I shook my head. “No,” I admitted sadly. I winced as his face turned harder; I hated to see Jake so angry. “She’s asleep now though.”
“You need to help me, Liam,” he mumbled, closing his eyes.
“Of course,” I agreed, nodding quickly. I’d do anything it took to keep my Angel safe, anything in the world.
“I don’t want her on her own. One of us needs to be with her at all times. Can you stay with her while I go to work during the week?” he asked, looking at me hopefully.
I smiled a little guiltily. “I always do, Jake. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. She’ll be fine.” I smiled reassuringly. I would never let anything hurt her again. I’d let it go on when they were kids and I never forgave myself for that. I mean, if I’d just said something to my mom or dad, maybe it would have stopped before it got too far.
He nodded. “Yeah, I know. Listen, about tomorrow, I don’t know how she’s going to react to this Johnny kid. I know he doesn’t know anything, but what if he starts asking her why we don’t see him? He could upset her at school. She’d hate that. She’ll have years of this now,” he said sadly.
“Jake, we’ll just have to see how it plays.” I took a deep breath and decided to tell him what I had been thinking about since his mom first said that as**ole was back in town. I wasn’t sure how Jake would react to my suggestion though; hopefully he’d see that I was thinking about her. “You know I’m off to college in a couple of months. Well, I was going to turn down my scholarship to Boston and go to college closer to here so I could still stay with her, but if the worst comes to the worst, I’ll take her with me to Boston. She can transfer schools,” I suggested, shrugging, waiting for his reaction.
I’d been thinking about this a lot over the last few months, since I received my offer letter. That college was an awesome opportunity for my career, but I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to leave Amber even before we got together, but I don’t even think I’d survive it now that I finally had her. I was thinking about either going to a local college, or asking her to come with me to Boston. The trouble was that Amber was only sixteen, so I was sure I was going to take the first option and stay here with her. Now that this situation had come about though, I was back to the asking her to come with me plan. I could take her away from it all; we could have a fresh start where she wouldn’t be reminded about him every day, where she wouldn’t have to worry about bumping into him every time she stepped out of the house.
I expected Jake to go crazy at me for even suggesting that I take her away from him; it surprised me when he didn’t. He just nodded. “Thanks, man,” he said sadly.
“I’m going to go and ask your mom if I can stay the night,” I said, standing up and heading to the kitchen. Margaret was still upset; her eyes were red from crying.
She smiled sadly when she saw me. “Is she OK, Liam?” she asked, looking towards the hallway as if expecting her to come out.
I nodded. “She’s upset, but she’s sleeping now. Margaret, do you think I could stay with Angel tonight? We won’t do anything, I swear. I just want to be there for her when she wakes up,” I pleaded. I would be staying in her room regardless; I just thought it would make things easier if everyone knew I was in there.
She came over and hugged me tightly. “You’re a good boy, Liam, you always have been,” she said with a tear in her eye.
“Is that a, ‘yes, you can share a bed with my daughter, Liam’?” I joked, trying to lighten the mood. It worked, she laughed.
“Yeah, OK.” She nodded, rolling her eyes and sniffing loudly.
I kissed her on the cheek. “Everything’s going to be fine. Jake and I will watch out for you both,” I promised as I hugged her tightly.
She nodded. “I know you will. Just watch out for Jake for me too. I have a feeling he’s going to do something rash and get himself in trouble,” she said, frowning.
“I’ll watch him. Don’t worry about anything.” I smiled and rubbed her back gently. “I’m going to go grab some clothes and stuff from mine. I won’t be long.” I turned and practically ran to my house, trying to be as quick as I could.
My mom was ironing in the lounge. “Hey, Mom. I’m staying with Angel tonight,” I informed her as I breezed past without waiting for an answer. I shoved fresh clothes and my school books into a bag, before heading back out to see my mom. I hadn’t seen her since Friday morning when I came out of my room, pretending I’d stayed the night here as usual.
“How are you and Amber getting on?” she asked, grinning happily.
I smiled, thinking about just how great we were getting on before all of this happened an hour ago. “Awesome. Really awesome,” I admitted.
She beamed at me happily. “You two are being careful, right?” she asked, looking at me warningly.
I smiled and nodded. “Yeah, Mom, Angel’s on the pill,” I stated, rolling my eyes. She had never asked me about my sex life before and now all of a sudden she was interested? “Listen, I’ve got to go. Margaret’s back so she’s making dinner. I just came back to grab my clothes.” I shifted the bag on my shoulder, looking at the door longingly; I just wanted to get back over there as quickly as I could in case she woke up.
My mom looked at me curiously. “Margaret’s home and she’s letting you stay with Amber?” she asked, looking a little shocked. I smiled, knowing that under normal circumstances Margaret would have kicked my ass just for asking to stay, but what with everything going on she didn’t seem to mind.
“Yeah, she said it was fine.” I kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll see you tomorrow night about nine when Jake gets home from work, OK?” I called over my shoulder as I walked towards the door.
She sighed dramatically. “It was nice to see you, Liam,” she called sarcastically.
I laughed. “Love you, Mom.”
“Love you too,” she called, just as I shut the door.
I ran back to Amber as quick as I could, she was still asleep in the same position. It was only seven thirty; maybe she’d sleep all night. I laid down next to her again, just looking her over. Instantly, she snuggled closer to me, the same as she did every night. I wrapped her tightly in my arms and closed my eyes, trying to think of anything other than the worst memory of my life. The image of walking in on her father trying to force himself on her while she laid there bruised and bleeding on their lounge carpet. After he left, she admitted that her father had been touching her since she was about five. After that confession, she never spoke of it again. I think she buried it so deep inside her that she kind of pretended like it didn’t happen or something – like denial I guess. The only time that you ever saw effects from it, where when people touched her and she panicked.
A little while later, Jake brought in two plates of food. He looked at Amber with a pained expression on his face. “You think we should wake her and get her to eat something?” he whispered.
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