Undeniable Love

At first, love is unknown.
It’s like a hurricane creeping up on you before it whisks you away into another world.
But April doesn’t know that yet. She’s yet to find out.
When April meets Cain, it just seems like any other ordinary day - just a small conversation between two students on a bus. It doesn’t matter that one of them is dreading the bell for home time, whilst the other is struggling through every day. Or does it? So one day, when something is revealed before Cain’s eyes, what is he meant to do? This girl before him is just like any other girl he’s ever met, yet he feels the need to help her, to protect her.
April isn’t looking for a saviour, someone to rescue her from all this hatred, but she doesn’t have a choice. When Cain comes crashing into her world, life gets better. Somehow, no matter how much she wants him gone, she equally wants him by her side.
Perhaps a lover isn’t what April wants right now, but maybe he can save her. Maybe, after all, there is a way out.

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9. Cain

 

I don’t know what to say; I don’t even know what to do. As I walk away from April, I’m hurt for her - I’m sad that someone like her has to go through so much to want to cut, to want to make herself bleed. I’ve noticed the way she walks around school and the way people treat her like she’s barely there; I’ve watched as no one lets her in, or gives her offers like Katie did to me. Somehow, I can understand why because she tends to back off from others and keep everything to herself, but maybe she does that for a reason. Maybe, only looking in on this now, she had friends before and lost them.
When I reach Katie and her friends, they push some bags of sweets into my arms which I dump into the basket. We’re meant to be shopping for junk food that we can eat whilst we chill out for the rest of the evening at Alyssa’s, but at the moment I have much more on my mind.
April on my mind.
We reach the till and Carter grabs the basket from me, insisting he’ll pay. Once we’ve bagged all the items and squashed back into the car, we all begin to talk again. I wonder if anyone noticed me being silent – probably not.
“You didn’t have to pay Carter – I could have.” Katie says, but thanking him anyway.
“It’s fine. I owe you guys anyway after I didn’t bring money last time and you had to pay with the last scratches of your pocket money.” He replies, and the rest laugh, remembering. I wish I had memories like that, that last forever. Sadly, I don’t.
We’re just driving along, enjoying the view as the skies darken. The guys in the back are talking amongst themselves and I’m just staring out, just wondering how much more shock I can take today – it’s been tough, a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Suddenly Katie’s talking to me, asking if I’m alright.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I say, turning to her and giving her the most convincing smile I can. Luckily these guys don’t know me well enough to tell I’m faking it. Not as well as Dom does.
That’s when I think about earlier, when I called him. Everything just seemed so wrong, out of place. Dom’s my best friend and I just feel like he doesn’t care now that I’ve left, like he can’t be bothered to call me himself and when I call him, he doesn’t have time for me. Then I think that maybe he isn’t the good friend I thought he was. Maybe he was just like all the rest.
When we reach Alyssa’s house, I realise how nice it is. When we pulled up earlier to pick her up I wasn’t really paying attention, more trying to realise that this is actually real and that I’m close to making proper friends.
Alyssa’s house isn’t small, nor big. A porch hangs over the doorway and a crooked but cute path leads to it. We all hop out once we’ve parked in the driveway, and Alyssa’s parents greet us at the door.
“I love how her parents are so cool with having us all over,” Scott says to me quietly, “Like they don’t even care if we eat a load of junk food and hang out in the lounge, just as long as we clean it up.”
I smile, not knowing what to say. I guess it is pretty cool, but I don’t comment because I’m yet to experience it. We all bustle in and her parents look at Alyssa to introduce me, who clearly they haven’t met before.
“This is Cain,” she says, “He’s new at our school.”
I put my hand up as a sort of wave, and Alyssa smiles. Her parents smile too, reaching out their hands to shake mine.
“Nice to meet you.”
To make conversation her Dad asks, “So where did you live before?”
“Not far away,” I reply, “Just a few hours.”
“Ah, must be tough starting new, huh?” Her Mum adds.
“Yeah, not the best. But I’m glad I can be here tonight with these guys. They’re great.” I say, smiling and looking around for the others, who seem to have disappeared.
“In here.” Her Mum pushes open the door to the right and I see Katie and Scott huddled up on the sofa with Alyssa and Carter on the floor. I walk in and the door shuts behind me.
“Hey, come join us with the popcorn,” Alyssa says from the floor, scoffing on sweet popcorn – I’m guessing her favourite.
“Or over here - this blanket is heaven, no joke.” Scott says, lifting it up at the edges, his arm draped over the back.
“Um…” I start, not knowing where to go. But Carter pulls me to the ground, his hand a soft grip on my arm. I pick up a sprite and take a sip. The fizz is alive on my tongue.
“Hey, we owe you a welcome.” He says, lifting a can of coke up to mine.
“Yeah, we do,” Katie agrees, holding up hers. Everyone does the same.
“Thanks guys – you don’t have to do this…”
“No, we do.” Alyssa says, smiling, “You are meant to be here.”
And no matter how cheesy it sounds, I like it. I like the way I’m paid attention to for once, with people that I think really care.
“Thanks guys,” I say, grinning like mad, “Thanks for everything.”
~ ~ ~
When I get home later, I’m buzzing. I just had the best night of my life and I’m still grinning from all the excitement. We ate a ton of food and just talked amongst ourselves really. I got to know them all a lot better and I felt like I sunk into somewhere I felt safe.
“Hi,” My Dad calls out as I walk in, holding onto the wall as I slip off my shoes.
“Hey.” I start on my way upstairs and it’s only when I reach the top that I realise: I have some explaining to do.
As if on cue, Dad shouts, “Can I talk with you a minute?”
I can hear a few murmurs between Nancy and Dad downstairs. Rolling my eyes, I make my way back down and into the living room, joining them on the sofa. They are both staring at me wide eyed and to be honest, it is pretty awkward.
“So where did you go?” He asks.
I look between Dad and Nancy, suggesting that I don’t want her here. He pats her on the back and whispers something in her ear. She gets up soon after to start on the dishes, but I know she’s secretly listening in.
“I only went to the pizza place in town with friends,” I explain, “No big deal. We then went to Alyssa’s house for a bit. Her parents were there and all. They’re really cool, actually. I had a great time and…”
“Cain.” My Dad’s voice is stern, clearly not wanting to know the tiny details of my Friday night life story.
“What? I didn’t do anything I wasn’t meant to.” I insist, “And anyway, you should be happy that I’ve found some good friends.”
He just stares at me intensely. I wish he would speak and I wish he would just do something and not just sit there. But I know why he isn’t doing either. Unlike Nancy, I know something about him - I know something that I don’t want to know or feel, but I do. As he sucks in a breath to speak, I know he’s trying to control his anger, his mighty rage.
“I know you’re trying to get out there and have fun,” he starts off, nice and calmly, “But you need to tell me these things before you go. I had a right to know where you were going because you could have been anywhere, with dodgy people.”
“Did Katie look dodgy to you?” I ask, already becoming defensive of my new friends.
“For goodness sake Cain, you don’t understand.” He says, head in his hands.
“Of course I understand; I’m a teenager now not some small child!” I yell a bit too loudly. Nancy sideway glances at us but then goes back to the washing up.
“I know you’re not, but you’re acting like one right now. Just promise me you’ll tell me next time where you’re going and who with.”
“Promise you, huh?” I say, attitude I shouldn’t be using pouring out from inside me, where it’s been locked up. “Why should I? You can’t even keep one simple promise!”
That’s when my Dad stands up abruptly, walking over to Nancy and telling her quietly if she could please go upstairs. Confused, she does as she’s told, and heart racing, I don’t want to know what my Dad has to say next. I shouldn’t have gone there with the whole promising thing – I know I’m going to regret it.
Once Nancy has disappeared he hisses, “This is not the time and place to be talking about that. We are talking about…”
“Then when is?” I cut in, before he has any chance of continuing, “You never have any time to go over what happened with me.”
Raking a hand through his hair, I can tell he’s getting hit up about this. I don’t care anymore, because I realise how long I’ve been waiting for an explanation that he hasn’t provided me. Now’s my chance and I want it.
“Apologise.”
It’s one word, but it shoots me like a bullet.
“Me? Apologise?” I yell, “What about you? When have I heard your flipping apology?”
“I don’t owe you any apology, you understand?” He shouts, finger wagging in my face.
Anger boils inside me, just waiting to erupt. He can’t get away with this. He thinks we can just move here and pretend none of it ever happened? Well, screw that.
“You owe me everything!” I roar, “You ruined me!”
Tears stream down my face, bolts of lightning flashing across a blackened, broken sky. He knows I’m right. He knows that he shouldn’t have done what he did. Yet he ‘can’t’ admit it. He won’t admit it.
“I never did anything!” He barks, but I know he’s only protecting himself for Nancy. He knows that if she ever finds out she’ll be gone, he’ll then be gone, and I’ll be left.
“What’s this then?” I cry, yanking off my jumper and showing him my arm, “What’s this mark?”
Silence fills the house.
“You have no idea how much it killed me,” I hiss, keeping my voice down, “You have no idea how much it hurt to watch you beat me down like that.”
I can see his eyes stinging with tears, his fists clenched by his sides.
“Maybe your way of apologising was to move here,” I say, voice lowering, “But it isn’t enough for me to want to forgive you.”
“What do you want?” He taunts, eyes wide.
“I want you to actually care!” I yell, realising how he doesn’t get any of this, “I want you to be sorry for what you did to me instead of threatening me to keep your secret safe!”
He turns around, hiding his face and taking a deep breath. When he looks around, blotches are stained under his eyes, and his eyes themselves are just slits. He takes a step towards me.
“Don’t you dare. Nancy is upstairs.” I cry.
But it comes out as a whisper, a signal of my weakness.
“I just wanted a conversation, not this.” He yells in my face, gesturing to this argument.
“Well I thought it was about time we talked about this!” I shout back, “I’m not going to forget, no matter how much you try to change my existing life. You’re a monster, Dad!”
He’s fuming now. His fist unravels, clutching my arm and dragging me through the hallway to the door. His breath is hot on my neck as he snarls.
“You idiot. You said we could leave this behind.” He’s trying so hard to stay calm but I know what he wants to do really.
“How can I leave something like this behind?” I say, between gasps of air as he holds my collar.
“You don’t say another word.” He hisses, face an inch away from mine.
And that’s when he drops me. He drops me onto the lawn and wanders back into the house, slamming the door behind him.
I hate you.
The words are already forming in my mouth, but I don’t have the heart to say them.
As I lie here, flashbacks start to invade my foggy mind. Flashbacks of how he’d grab me by the collar, pushing me up to the wall and beating me on the arm, in the belly, in the face.
It’s all your fault, he’d say.
He blamed me on my Mum leaving, even though he knew it was because he did the same to her too. I’d come home to her crying and making out that her marks were from falling over. But I knew.
He promised me that he’d never do it again; he said after the first time he was being stupid. But he lied. He lied to the face of a child and continued to abuse them. Me.
Pushing those thoughts away, I roll over. Sobbing my eyes out, I feel drained. This isn’t what I should be doing; I’m a man and I’m meant to fight back.
But I’m weak.
I’m just a weak soul with a life I wish I never had.
 

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