Against All Odds

This story doesn't stop at romance. It is a story of love and friendship through all the bad times and hope for a better life. It deals with the horror that is in our world today and questions the humanity of it. The main characters in this book, Tessa and James, are determined to stay together and stay alive, against all odds.

Perhaps it is a bit exaggerated in places, but these things still happen, even if we don't want to believe they do. I want to open people's eyes to the hardship some people suffer and encourage people to try to make a change in our world. Please let me know what you think of it :)

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4. Part Two - James - Chapter One

One hour left. One hour to freedom. I wish time would go faster. I wish. I wish I could be loved. My birthday wish from four years ago comes back to me. Then my mother's words, "Nobody will ever love you!". She was wrong. I was a girl who never knew love. Until I met James.

~

Blood. Drugs. Creeps. Fists. More blood.

I wake with a start. The nightmare have been more frequent lately. I can hear the rain pelt down on the bridge I'm sleeping under, and the soft splash it makes as it falls into the river beside me. Then I hear a noise that is not natural. It sounds like something heavy dragging on stone, accompanied by heavy, gasping breaths. My heart pumping, I cautiously sit up and look to my left. A dark shadow. Limping. Towards me. Coming for me. I scramble to get up, and slip. I fall on the hard ground, scraping my hands. Then I hear his voice, "No! Please... help me." There is no malice in it, no intention of hurting me. I sit up, and take a closer look at him. He is only young, maybe a few years older than me. He holds his right foot up, that was the dragging noise, the limping. He is clutching his left shoulder. Then I notice his shirt, soaked in blood. It trickles down his hand, dripping onto the ground. He isn't a threat. I have to help him. "Sit down." I tell him. He collapses onto the ground. I asses his injuries. The ankle is probably sprained or broken, that can wait. I need to look at his shoulder first. There's too much blood for my liking. "Ok, we need to get your shirt off," I tell him. "I need to see the wound." He nods. I help him take it off, revealing his bony torso. I get the feeling he hasn't eaten  in a while. That's not good, especially with the amount of blood he's lost. The sight of his body reminds me of that man two years ago. When he took off his shirt. I don't want to touch him. I swallow. I have to touch him. I have to help him.

The wound is bad. "How did this happen?" I ask. "Stabbed." He says, struggling to get even one word out. Stabbed. The target was his heart, lucky the attacker had a bad aim. I tentatively touch his shoulder, my hand shaking. He flinches. I take his shirt and press down on the wound, hoping to stop the flow of blood. After half an hour it hasn't stopped, but it's definitely weaker. I go to the river a few feet away and fill my cupped hands with water. When I pour the water on the wound, he lets out a gasp. Pain or relief? It's hard to tell. Handful after handful of water and the wound is becoming clearer. I have to refrain from gagging at the sight of it. The repulsive  flesh and blood brings back memories of my mother. Flogging me. I shake my head. Concentrate. He needs me.

An hour later and the bleeding as completely stopped. I take off my t-shirt from under my coat and rip it. I manage to make a good bandage out of it. Now for the ankle. I lift up his tatty trouser leg and take off his shoe. It's really swollen. "Can you move your foot?" I ask. He grimaces in his attempt, but his foot doesn't move. "It's broken." I tell him. He groans. "Great." He says sarcastically. "Don't move. I'll be back in a minute." I say, getting up. I've seen this done before so I know what to do. I find two small but strong sticks, and return to him. I secure them on either side of his ankle with a strip of my t-shirt. I use the rest of my t-shirt to wrap up his foot. When I'm finished it looks pretty secure. I take a blanket out of my bag and put it around his shoulders. "Go to sleep." I tell him. I take his blood-sodden shirt and wash it in the river. When I return, I find he's still awake. Sitting down beside him, I ask, "Can't sleep?" "No. I don't want to." He answers. I realise the rain has ceased. The moon comes out from behind the clouds. I see his face for the first time. He has dark brown hair and deep, chocolate brown eyes. He has a defined jaw and cheekbones. And he is pale. Very pale. "How long was it since you ate?" I enquire. "I can't remember. Days, weeks, maybe." I look in my bag for the half-loaf of stale bread I stole a few days ago. "Here." His eyes open wide, and he takes it without a word. We sit there for a while, him eating, me watching. I study his face. He has scars. On his hands too. I notice a piece of his left ear is missing. What has he been through? Did he also have a mother, or father, who beat him over the littlest things.

When he finishes the bread, I get him a drink of water from the river. "It's safe," I tell him. "I've been drinking it for days." He drinks his fill.

"What's your name?" I ask.

"James. What's yours?"

"Tessa."

"Tessa." he repeats. I get a strange feeling when he says my name. It's different than the way my mother said it.

There's no hate.

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