It wasn’t hard getting away from that place. I knew I had to go home and that they’d find me there, but I just needed to get my stuff and after the comment about how much I was going to eat I lost my temper a little. I had to be careful when I got home, because Melissa was obviously having a party and judging by the amount of noise coming from the house, everybody who was somebody was there. I sneaked around the house to where the makeshift rope ladder hung. I quickly scaled the wall and fell through the open window onto my bed giggling. I always loved that part, though the ache in my side was evident. It flamed up as soon as I started the walk to my house, but it didn't make me go back. Music was blasting from downstairs as I grabbed a bag and started throwing my clothes in it. I didn’t know what to pack though so I just grabbed the comfiest things I could find along with jeans and a few more good-looking things. My makeup bag was squished inside after I got my shampoo and stuff in. Flat iron and phone charger, laptop. I looked around my room trying to think about anything else I could possibly need, when my phone rang. I checked the ID and it was Michael. Of course he’d be calling.
“Don’t worry. I’m home. I’ll be back in a bit.” Lies.
“I’m already half way to your house.” OMG what?
“Okay… just park at the house next to the one with the party going on then.” I sighed.
“Hmm… just get out there alive.” He said before hanging up. Wow, rude much?
I slung the bag around my shoulder and descended down the wall. I peered around the shrubs in the front lawn and saw the headlights of a car parked exactly where I told Michael to. I strutted towards the car passing through the lights.
“Jessica?!” I heard someone call.
“Oh god…” I mumbled recognising the hag’s voice.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she screamed.
“Away from you!” I yelled back at her as I opened the door.
“You can’t do that! Mom and dad left me in charge here!”
“Mom and dad are gone! They’re never coming back and Sheila and Adam are not my fucking parents! They never have been and they never will be! Goodbye Melissa.” I got in not bothering to listen to her reply. It was true. They never acted like they were my parents and my real parents were gone forever. Michael pulled away from the house leaving her on the porch calling after us. I sighed with my head in my hands. I couldn’t believe what she had become.
“You alright?” he asked softly.
“Guess so…” I mumbled looking at the road in front of us, the lights flashing past us.
“I know you’re not.” He said glancing at me.
“Then why did you ask in the first place?” I sighed. He didn’t say anything, not for the rest of the drive or when we pulled into the parking lot. I grabbed my bag and walked to the door of the apartment as he went to a different door and hung the keys on the handle. I frowned, confused for a second. I shook my head and pushed the door open.
“Hey, you’re back.” Ashton said getting up from the couch.
“Yeah, hi.” I said placing my bag on the couch. I heard the door close which meant Michael was inside.
“Jess, you’re sleeping in my room, remember?” Michael pointed out.
“I’m fine on the couch, thank you.” I mumbled.
“Are you sure?” Ashton asked. “Michael’s bed is the best thing ever.”
“I’m sure. I just need a blanket and pillow please.” I said rummaging through my bag for the pjs I swore I packed.
“Alright.” He said heading towards his room.
“Well… goodnight. Hope you sleep okay.” Ashton said heading down the hall towards his own room.
“Great.” I sighed throwing my bag on the floor.
“What’s wrong?” Michael asked, his arms filled with blankets and a few pillows.
“Forgot pjs.” I said taking the pillows from him.
“Oh, I can lend you something. No biggy.” He said pulling the couch out. I didn’t know it was a sleeper couch. He quickly covered it with the blankets and disappeared down the hall again. I sat down and waited for him to come back. It wasn’t long when he stood in front of me with a white t-shirt and what seemed to be a pair of Batman boxers. I smirked taking the clothes from him and headed towards the bathroom. While I was changing, I caught a glimpse of the purple bruises all over my body and tears instantly sprang into my eyes. I shook my head trying to clear my thoughts and it seemed to work. I hastily pulled the boxers up my legs when I saw the fresh cuts not two weeks old on my left thigh.
“Gaaawd… Really?” I sighed looking at the ceiling. Well he had already seen the healed scars on my arms so there was no use in hiding these from him. I gathered my clothes and returned to the living room. Michael was casually chilling on the floor near the couch when I rounded the corner. I bent to put my clothes in my bag and caught him staring at me.
“It’s rude to stare, y’know…” I smirked sitting on the couch.
“Sorry.” He mumbled blushing a bright scarlet.
“It’s okay.” I untied my hair from the ponytail and shook it out. He got up from his spot and stood there awkwardly scratching the back of his neck. I thought he looked kind of cute doing it.
“I’ll let you get to bed then.” He said softly.
“Alright. Goodnight Mikey.” I said making myself comfortable on the couch and pulling the blankets over me snuggling into them.
“Goodnight Jess.” He said turning the lights off and heading to his room. I could hear his footsteps on the floor and the click of his door opening. He didn’t close it though. I took a few deep breaths, calming myself, and drifted off.
I’m in a dark room, surrounded by a big empty bed. The only light is coming from the flickering candle at the end of the room.
“Hello?” I call out. There’s a rustle coming from the shadows. I try to move my hands, but they’re bound behind me. I struggle against the bonds, the rope cutting into my flesh bringing tears to my eyes.
“Look at the little bitch struggling.” A man snickers from inside the darkness. A woman laughs from the other side of the room.
“Who’s there?” I ask, fear building inside me.
“She doesn’t remember us." The woman says again. Then I recognise the voices. Sheila. Adam. Oh no. Adam appears in front of me, a wicked grin on his face.
“You’re gonna get it this time. Running off like that is gonna get you punished.” He says spitting at me.
“Please, I didn’t do anything.” I try to reason.
“Shut up!” Sheila shrieks slapping me across the face. I cry out in pain as the beating starts.
I’m bound to the bedpost and can’t move. Adam kicks me in the gut, the old injuries flaming up. It burns as they continue. A punch in the face and I feel the blood trickle down from my temple. I can’t feel my body anymore as they continue. My head is pounding and I cry for help again and again. No one coming to my rescue.
“Stop! Please stop! Mom! Dad! Anybody please!” I repeat hoping someone will save me. I hear my name being called. It’s frantic.
“Jessica! Jess! Wake up! It’s just a dream!”
“Stop! It hurts! You’re hurting me!” I screamed.
“Jess, open your eyes! You’re safe!” Michael said holding me and gently stroking my hair out of my face.
“Michael…” I started crying and he only held me closer. He sat holding me for what felt like ages, but was really just 10 minutes. When I calmed down enough and stopped crying he gently let go of me.
“Jess, your nose is bleeding…” he said softly and helped me to the bathroom. I rinsed my nose with cold water and waited for the bleeding to stop.
“It’s over now.” I mumbled to myself, referring to the nightmare and the bleeding. He followed me back to the couch and helped me to lay down again.
“Are you going to be okay?” he asked kneeling beside me. The lights were still turned off, but I could see his sparkling eyes in the dark. Tears were welling up in my eyes again and a sob escaped my lips as I hid my face in a blanket.
“Want me to stay?” he asked. I didn’t trust my voice so I only nodded. “Move over.”
I moved to the other side and felt him slide in beside me. I crawled closer to him and he wrapped an arm around me. Tears were spilling down my cheeks again staining his shirt as my head rested on his chest, his hand rubbing reassuring circles on my bare arm. I bit my lip to keep the sobs from escaping. He started humming softly, a gentle and calming tune. I took deep breaths to calm and centre myself again; and after a while it worked. My eyes started to droop. I was exhausted from all the tears and it wasn’t long before I fell asleep with Michael’s humming sending me off peacefully.
Her screams pulled me from my sleep and I was wide awake. I ran to her side. She was restless and her nose was bleeding. She kept pleading for someone to stop and even called out for her parents. I didn’t know what to do so I tried waking her which proved to be much more difficult than I thought. When she did wake, she was crying and all I could do was hold her. Her blood was all over the pillow and now my shirt as well, but I didn’t care. I just wanted her to be okay. I followed her to the bathroom just to make sure the bleeding stopped and back. I knew it was wrong to offer for me to stay, but she needed someone. It broke my heart seeing her cry and knowing she was holding back her sobs. I remembered my mother humming to me when I was a child and started humming the song I knew so well. It wasn’t long until I heard her breathing deepen and the tension in her body leaving instantly. Soon she was asleep in my arms and there was no way of leaving her. She was wrapped around me, her head on my chest and her arm drooped across my waist, her fingers grazing my hip under my shirt. Her touch sent little zaps of electricity through my body and across my skin. I held her close and soon drifted off with her in my arms.