"What do you mean, your Dad is the reason you're here?"
"He did this to you?"
"No... I'm dumb. I-I fell down the stairs."
I look down. I can here his voice getting angry.
"Don't be angry."
"I'm not angry at you. Your scumbag of a father doesn't know what a beautiful daughter he has. How long has he been like this?"
"What?" I was still flushed at being called beautiful. "Oh, uh. It doesn't matter."
"My whole life. He used to do it to Mum too, but she left..."
"And didn't take you with her?"
"No, she said she needed to pull herself together and then she'd come back for me."
"Eight years ago."
"So both of your parents are idiots."
"Hey! My Mum was lovely!"
"Until she left her daughter in the hands of an abusive man."
"She-I-" I don't have a good enough argument.
"Riley?" I can hear Mr Cook.
Gerard gets up. He looks out from the curtain.
"Brown hair. Shortish." He looks back at me. I nod.
"She's over here." He calls. "I better go then."
"No-I mean. Can you stay?"
"It might a bit weird."
"Okay. Will you come back once he's gone?"
Mr Cook came round the curtain. Gerard waves at me and then leaves. Mr Cook looks taken aback by the sight of me.
"You look like you're in a lot of pain. How are you holding up?"
"I'm actually okay. I'm on morphine."
All I could think of was Gerard. His eyes. His hair. His jawline. He's so perfect. I could hear Mr Cook talking, but I didn't listen. In the end, Mr Cook wished for me to get better and he was gone. Gerard comes back round the curtain.
"How'd it go?"
"Meh. It was okay."
The doctor pulls the curtain the fully open.
"So, your nurse tells me that you and Gerard are quite close." Shit. I look towards Gerard and we give each other a look.
"Yes." Gerard butts in, "We're very close. Family friends." I stare at him. What the hell is he doing?
"Well, I also talked to Riley's teacher and we agreed that her father mustn't know where she is. However, if she stays here it is very likely he'll find her."
"I'll take her." Gerard says bluntly. "I can look after her."