“Just set her in my bed.” I pointed towards my room, but Liam looked at me like I was crazy.
“The girls soaking wet, Soph.” We looked at the limp girl in Liam’s arms.
“I don’t care, but please?” I pleaded and he reluctantly nodded his head. I followed behind him, pulled back my white duvet, and Liam set her on the bed. I pulled the duvet over her and she whimpered.
“Sophia?” Claire attempted to open her eyes, but couldn’t muster up the strength.
“It’s okay; just lie down for a while.” I smoothed her hair back and felt her forehead, she felt normal.
“I’m sorry. It’s just… the p-pain.” She winced and I lightly rubbed her arm.
“It’s okay, love. Just rest for now.” I watched as she lightly nodded her head and nod off to sleep again. Liam and I tip toed out of the room and I silently closed the door.
“Is she okay?” Liam asked me looking at the door, as if he was trying to see through it.
“I hope so. She was covered in bruises, so I assume it was John.” I walked into the sitting room and we both had a seat on my tan love seat.
“Who is she? And who’s John?” Liam asked me, obviously getting frustrated.
“That’s Claire; she’s the girl I told you about. We grew up together and we had a falling out because she called me a gold digging bitch for dating you.” Liam winced a bit at my words, but I continued. “She’s been dating this dick, John, since we were sixteen. He does drugs; he’s abusive, and just no good. I tried to get her away from him, but she got angry and that’s why she called me that.” I smiled as Liam took my hand and squeezed it.
“Love, you’re a wonderful person.” He kissed my cheek.
“Thank you, but I know she didn’t mean it. She just refuses to leave that asshole and I-I just worry about her.” I felt my lip quiver, but I fought back the tears. Claire looked like absolute hell. She was soaked, she looked sick, and anyone could notice those bruises from a mile away.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay.” Liam cooed and pulled me into a long cuddle.
For the second time today, I woke up not knowing where I was. Except this time the house smelt of flowers and cinnamon, instead of cheese and vomit. I sat up and looked around, trying to collect my thoughts. My body still ached, but I wasn’t feeling as shitty as I had. Sophia! I remembered crying in front of Sophia and then falling. Either I was dead, or she let me in. The second choice was more probable. I carefully slid out of the soft bed and limped into the sitting room.
“Evening sleepy head.” A guy with brown hair and warm eyes greeted me from where he was sitting on the couch. I recognized him as Sophia’s new boyfriend, Liam.
“H-hello…” I shakily replied, feeling very uncomfortable.
“Claire?” A familiar female voice called to me from what seemed to be the kitchen. The voice matched the face once she stepped into the sitting room. She gave me a relieved smile and rushed to give me a big hug. I tensed a bit, but realized I had really needed a hug. I squeezed her back until the pain in my body overwhelmed me.
“Ow.” I muttered and she immediately backed off.
“Are you okay?” She scanned my face and waited for me to answer her.
“I-I’m just in pain.” I quietly replied and she rushed off into the kitchen.
“I’ve got you some pain killers.” She rushed back in with a cup of water and some pills in hand. I gratefully took them and she rushed the glass of water back into the kitchen. “Here sit down.” She led me over to the closest couch and sat down next to Liam on the opposite one. I sat down and looked around. Her house was themed baby blue and tan, and it looked beautiful, almost calming.
“You’re place is beautiful.” I complimented her and she smiled.
“Thank you.” She took a hold of Liam’s hand. “Claire, what happened?” She scanned my body and I looked myself over. I had horrible bruises everywhere, on my arms, neck, shoulders, it was disgusting. I looked over at the young couple and their faces softened.
“John…” I muttered out and lightly rubbed my arm. I decided I needed to tell somebody, so I described everything that had happened from getting ready yesterday to waking up in Sophia’s house. I didn’t leave anything out because I couldn’t. For once, someone wanted to know what happened to me and was worried, it felt, nice.
‘So, he took your stuff and left? Is that him breaking up with you?” Liam innocently asked, John would never leave me and God help me if I left.
“No, it’s punishment for standing up for myself.” I replied and I could tell Liam was surprised. “What time is it?” I asked as I realized John might be expecting me.
“It’s five.” Sophia looked at her phone then back at me.
“Fuck!” My eyes went wide; John’s going to kill me.
“What’s wrong??” Sophia asked as I jumped to my feet.
“I need to get back, John’s gonna kill me for being late.” I felt panic and pain rush through my body as I tried to walk out the door.
“Oh no, you’re not going back, not in that shape.” Sophia blocked my path to the door.
“Soph, please.” I pleaded, trying not to cry.
“No, I can’t let you.” Sophia’s face softened as a tear escaped my eye. She pulled me into a light hug.
“He’s going to hurt me bad if I don’t get back.” I whispered in her ear and sucked in my breath.
“No he won’t, I’m not going to let him.” She tried to comfort me, but I knew the truth. No one can protect me from John, I can’t even protect myself. “Please, just stay for me. I’ve got a few friends visiting; it might take your mind off of things.” She rubbed my back before pulling away and searching my eyes for an answer.
“I would, but I haven’t got any clothes, makeup, nothing.” I shook my head.
“Just let me take care of everything, please.” She negotiated with me and I felt like giving in.
“I don’t want to impose, especially after what I’ve done to you.” I looked down, feeling the guilt build up in my chest.
“I’ve got my best friend back, Claire. Please, you and I are too close for anything to come between us.” She gave me a sweet smile and hugged me again. I breathed in her familiar cinnamon cent and smiled to myself.
Sophia begged me to stay with her, probably because she realizes what I have to face when I get to my tiny flat tonight. So, I stayed. She loaned me some clothes and let me use her shower. She really is the nicest person I’ve ever had the pleasure of befriending. After I was done getting cleaned up, I helped Sophia cook up some spaghetti for her guests. Liam’s friends from his boy band, One Direction, were coming to visit. I had heard of them, but I wasn’t a fan. I tried to stay optimistic as the time rolled by, but in the back of my mind I was thinking about what John was going to do to me. Sophia said that the One Direction boys would be in around six thirty and it was already six twenty.
“Claire.” Liam whispered at me. I was in the kitchen helping Sophia with the last touches. “Come here.” He gestured for me to come and I obeyed.
“Yes?” I whispered back and, surprisingly, he pulled me into a hug. I tensed a bit, but hugged him back.
“I’m sorry and your secrets safe with me.” He pulled away and smiled at me.
“Thank you.” I said with tears building in my eyes, no one has been this nice to me in a long time. We heard a knock at the door and turned towards the noise.
“Sophia, they’re here.” Liam yelled to Sophia in the kitchen.
“Could you get it, babe? I’m almost done in here.” She yelled back.
“Okay.” He replied and looked at me. “Let’s go greet the boys.” I followed him as he walked to the door.