Feels Like Home

"Sometimes home isn't a place...sometimes it's a person."

17 year old Harper has to completely start over when her dad and his new girlfriend decide to move to a new, much smaller town, and take her with them. She's absolutely miserable, wanting nothing more than to stay in her home with her school and her friends and everything that's familiar. But will that all change when she meets the ever so arrogant Justin Bieber, who's determined to make her like him? Hmm...maybe this move would'nt be so bad after all.

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7. Chapter 7

After what seemed like hours of walking, I finally made it home. Exhausted and without thinking, I walked up the steps and through the front door of the house.

 

“Hey, Harper,” my dad said as he turned on the couch to face me. He seemed surprised. I glanced at the time on the TV box. 1:42 AM. It seemed so much later.

 

“Hey, Dad,” I said weakly. “I’m gonna go lay down, okay?” I said, passing him and heading for my room.

 

“What’s on your shorts?” he asked with a chuckle.

 

I winced. “It’s uh, beer. I spilt beer on myself so Justin brought me home,” I told him over my shoulder as I kept going. I wanted nothing more than to get out of these clothes and get in the shower. I felt dirty and disgusting.

 

I heard him laugh as I shut the door behind myself. I wasn’t strong enough to keep up a pretense right now.

 

Instead of getting undressed before I got in the shower, I climbed in with all of my clothes still on. Maybe if I kept them on they wouldn’t reek so bad of urine. So I sat numbly in the floor of the shower as the cold water washed over me.

 

I wasn’t sure how long I sat there. I didn’t really care much, until I started losing feeling in my feet. I figured that was a good indicator to get my ass up. So I slowly climbed out of the shower and turned the water off. I peeled off my dripping clothes and let them fall to the floor. Again, I didn’t care enough to do anything else with them. I dried off as best I could and wiped the smeary make-up from my tear-stained face. I didn’t even care enough to wash the rest of it off. I laughed out loud as I stared at myself in the mirror. I actually kinda looked like a raccoon.

 

Pulling my fluffy bathrobe on over my naked, still kinda wet body, I made my way slowly back into the bedroom and into bed. I wanted nothing more than to drift off into a coma-like slumber. But of course, I could never have what I wanted. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Collin’s face, as if he were still pinning me down and only inches from my face. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep any time soon.

 

I laid there for hours, for the first time in my life totally unsure of myself. I tried to watch TV but still kept finding my mind wandering back to him. I tried to read, but couldn’t focus long enough to comprehend even a single sentence. I tried to draw to distract myself, but kept seeing him in the abstract shapes. Getting frustrated, I pulled the paper from my notebook and crumpled it up then threw it across the room. I fell back into bed, feeling the tears well up in my eyes again.

 

I felt my heart stop when I heard a quick tapping on the porch door. I jumped, but when I saw Justin standing there smiling at me, I let out a sigh of relief. But I was in no shape to talk to him. No shape to pretend like I was fine. I dismissed him with a wave and rolled over so my back was to him.

 

There was a slight hesitation, then another knock. Softer this time. “Harper!” I heard Justin yell. “C’mon, please let me in. I got worried about you, you disappeared.”

 

Again, I waved my hand dismissively. There was more knocking, quicker this time. “Are you mad at me?” he yelled. “Harper, seriously, please let me in...you can let me in, or I’ll let myself in. I know how to pick locks, ya know…”

 

I sighed. Still feeling like I was moving in slow motion, I got up off the bed and trudged to the door. I turned the lock, then went back and laid down once again.

 

He pushed the door open and let himself in. “Thanks,” he said. “I got really worried about you, ya know.” I felt the bed shift as he sat down on the edge behind me.

 

Instinctively I rolled over quickly and scooted all the way to the other side, until my back was on the edge. “Hey, hey, hey,” he said softly as his hands shot up, like I was a cop with my gun to his head. “What’s wrong?” he asked, slowly letting his hands drop.

 

I pulled my robe tighter around my body, hugging myself with it. I looked down at the chevron pattern of my comforter and studied it carefully, anything to keep from looking him in the eye.

 

“Harper,” he said softly. My eyes shot up to his quickly when he moved closer to me. He noticed the defensiveness in my eyes and gave me a quick nod. With a sigh, he pulled his shoes off and let them fall to the floor. “Alright,” he sighed as he crossed his legs beneath him, Indian style. He put his hands up again. “I won’t move. I’ll stay right here, okay?”

 

I gave him a small nod, then went back to studying the chevron pattern, tracing it with my eyes. It was silent for a moment as he watched me. I didn’t have it in me to speak.

 

“What happened to you?” he asked softly. “You went to go pee and you disappeared.” I didn’t answer. I had nothing to say. There was no way I could tell him what happened, him and Justin were friends. “I mean...if you didn’t want to dance or uh...do anything with me,  you didn’t have to. You could’ve told me.”

 

I surprised myself when a chuckle escaped my lips. The fact that he was doubting himself seemed ridiculous to me. I glanced up at him to see his eyebrows risen and a smirk on his lips. “So she’s not a mute…” he muttered.

 

I finally got the courage to speak. “I don’t wanna talk about it,” I said simply, pulling the robe tighter around myself once again.

 

He suddenly gasped. “Harper, what happened to your arm?” he asked suddenly. He started to lean forward, his hand outstretched towards mine, then gave it a second thought and stayed where he was. I could see the concern in his eyes.

 

I glanced down to see that my wrist was exposed, and that it had bruised all the way around where he had grabbed me. It was already turning purple and black. I quickly pulled the cuff of my robe down, then crossed my arms so my wrists were no longer exposed. “Nothing,” I muttered.

 

“Harper...who did that to you?” he asked, his words dripping with worry. Tears started to spill over and down my cheeks as he spoke. “Please talk to me,” he begged.

 

I shook my head, unable to even begin to form the words and tell him what happened. I couldn’t even begin to think about it.

 

“Well, I’m not going anywhere until you talk. I’m your friend and I’m worried about you,” Justin said, again sounding like he was begging.

 

I surprised myself as I laughed again. “I guess you’ll be here a while, then,” I told him.

 

“Can I at least lay down?” he asked  after another moment of silence. “I’ll stay over here on this side.”

 

I thought about it for a moment and gave him a hesitant nod. Although I knew Justin wouldn’t do such a thing, the thought of him touching me made my heartbeat accelerate.

 

“Okay,” he said softly, his eyes intently on mine as he laid down. He still stared at me as his head hit the pillow, facing me. “Whenever you wanna talk….” he whispered, though he didn’t finish his sentence.

 

I just gave him a nod. I knew I wouldn’t be talking any time soon. I continued to study the pattern on my blanket as I felt his eyes boring into me. The minutes passed until they turned into hours and I began to feel my eyelids droop. Yet, his eyes were still intently on me. As I grew tired, there was some kind of shift in the atmosphere surrounding us. At first his stare felt curious and worried, like he was ready for whatever came out of my mouth. As I started to doze off, his stare turned into something...more protective. I eventually, finally, fell asleep as he watched over me, keeping me safe.




 

When I woke up, I felt strangely peaceful. At ease, even a little happy. I opened my eyes to see Justin laying on the other side of the bed, facing me. His eyes were closed, his mouth open as he snored softly. I smiled, admiring how good looking he was. Had we hooked up last night?

 

My smile faltered as my memory came back to me. No. Collin had tried to force me to have sex and I peed on him. Justin came over to check on me, and fell asleep watching over me. I got up slowly out of bed, my shoulder stiff and painful from not moving all night. I made my way to the bathroom as I rolled my shoulder around. Maybe a hot shower would ease the pain, and make me feel a little better.

 

And so I turned the shower on, making the water as hot as I could possibly handle it. Maybe if it was hot enough to scald my skin I could stop thinking about it. Maybe I could burn away the feeling he had left on me. I let my robe fall to the floor and stepped into the steaming shower, welcoming the painfully hot water. Although it burned where it hit me, I sought comfort from it.


 

JUSTIN'S POV


 

I woke up to an unfamiliar view. The first thing I noticed was that I was alone, although that wasn’t strange or unfamiliar. But then I noticed that I wasn’t in my own bed, but Harper’s. But where was she? It wasn’t until then that I faintly heard the sound of the shower running.

 

With a groan, I rolled over to look at the alarm clock. 8:13 AM. Fuck, it’s too goddamn early. I rubbed my eyes and slapped my cheeks a little, trying to wake myself up. Even though we’d only slept about 4 or 5 hours, I had to get up and check on Harper.

 

As I rolled out of bed, I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering. What happened to her? How did she get the bruises on her wrists? Why wouldn’t she tell me what happened? Did someone hurt her? Did she do that to herself? What the fuck happened to her?

 

“Hey, Harp?” I called after giving a quick knock on the bathroom door.

 

“Y-yeah?” she called back, sounding nervous.

 

“I just uh...wanted to check on you. Make sure you’re okay,” I told her through the door.

 

“Oh, yeah I’m good!” she said confidently, though I could tell it was bullshit. “I’ll, uh, I’ll be out in a minute.”

 

“Alright,” I said. “Take your time.”

 

And so began the waiting game. I plopped myself back down on the bed and waited. I turned the TV on and began flipping through channels, although there’s never anything good on at 8 on a Sunday morning. So I settled for an old cheesy sitcom.

 

Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long before Harper came out of the bathroom. Instead of wearing the robe like she had last night, she wore only a towel, wrapped around her body and tucked under her left arm. She didn’t even glance in my direction. She walked leisurely to her closet, where she disappeared for a moment as she gathered her clothes. She came back out with a stack of clothes in her arms and still, without so much as an acknowledgement of my existence, she walked back into the bathroom and shut the door behind herself.

 

Even though she was going through whatever...tragedy had happened, I couldn’t help but to admire how beautiful she looked. Completely natural with no makeup, her long hair wet and curly as it fell around her face. And hot. She was so unbelievably hot, especially in nothing but a towel.

 

Fuck, stop it Justin. Most definitely not the time.

 

So again, I waited. I was growing bored of the show on TV and I started to doze off, until I heard the bathroom door open again. My head shot back up. “Hey,” I said softly, giving her a small smile as she walked towards the bed.

 

Her hair was still wet, face still free of makeup. She was wearing an oversized T-shirt and Nike shorts. Still, she somehow managed to look incredible. “Hi,” she said softly as she sat at the end of the bed beside my feet, crossing her legs beneath her. I noticed she tucked her hands into her lap, hiding her bruises. I pretended not to notice.

 

“Are you okay?” I asked, genuinely concerned. She was smiling and seemed totally fine, but I knew it was a charade.

 

“Yeah, yeah,” she said, nodding a few times. “I’m good. Totally fine. Don’t you, uh...need to get home? Before your parents realize you’re not there?”

 

“Nah,” I said, shaking my head. “My parents use Sundays to run errands all day. I usually don’t even see them until dinner.”

 

She nodded, and I visibly saw her losing focus, like her mind was on something greater. “Do you uh...wanna talk about last night?” I asked tentatively. She quickly shook her head ‘no,’ still not looking at me. “Okay…” I nodded. “What about yesterday morning? With uh...what’s his face?” I scrambled my brain but I couldn’t remember that jackass’ name to save my life.

 

She shook her head again, then stopped. “Actually...yeah. Let’s talk about it,” she said, taking me by surprise.

 

“Oh. Okay,” I said, sitting up in bed. “So is it like...over between you two? Officially?” I asked.

 

She actually laughed, and not ironically or sarcastically like she had last night. A real laugh. Maybe she would be okay. “Yeah, it’s over,” she said, giving me a small grin. “I mean...he’s got a history of uh, anger issues so...I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back around at some point but uh. Yeah, I’m done with him.”

 

“Well that’s good,” I said with a nod. “I didn’t really know him, but he’s definitely an ass. You deserve a lot better than that.”

 

She gave me a smile then looked down at her hands in her lap. “Thanks,” she said softly.

 

Then a thought occurred to me. “Harper...did he do that to you?” I asked gently. I knew it was far fetched. As far as I knew he’d left yesterday morning, and those bruises didn’t show up until after she got home from the bonfire. But still, I had to ask. If I didn’t, just the thought of not knowing for sure would have driven me crazy.

 

Her head shot up, eyes wide like a deer caught in headlights. Then she visibly relaxed after a moment. “Oh, this?” she asked, holding her wrist up for a fraction of a second before she let it fall back into her lap, out of sight. “No, no, definitely not. Blake has anger issues but he never put his hands on me.”

 

And yet...someone did. It was making my blood boil, knowing someone hurt her, and not knowing what kind of piece of shit was responsible. Who would do such a thing? If he was capable of that, what else did he do to her?

 

I pushed the thoughts from my mind before I exploded in anger. I wanted him, whoever it was,  to suffer like she obviously had.

 

“You know what?” she suddenly asked. “I uh...I do. I want to talk about...last night.” The more words that came out of her mouth, the softer her voice became, and the less confident she sounded.

 

I eyed her warily. “Are you sure?” I asked. “You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to,” I told her.

 

“I know, but...it’s unhealthy, right?” she asked. “To keep stuff bottled up, you know?”

 

I didn’t want to answer. She was right, but I didn’t want to make her talk. “Whatever you want,” I said simply.

 

She nodded, though it seemed more like she was trying to convince herself of something. “Well, uh...I went to go pee,” she said softly, looking down at her lap. I could already see the tears welling up in her eyes. I wanted to hug her, to hold her and comfort her and make her stop. I didn’t want to see her hurt like this. “But um. I didn’t want anyone to see me pee so I kept going deeper into the woods. Well, I, uh...I found a spot. But then um...he was there…” she trailed off, getting lost in her own memories.

 

“Who?” I asked softly.

 

She blinked quickly, bringing herself back to reality. Without looking at me, she just shook her head quickly and continued. “He was talking to me, being friendly. He kept telling me how pretty I was. Then he um...he pinned me up against the tree,” she said, her voice trembling now. “And he um...he kept telling me to just give in. And that I really wanted it.” She cringed at the words coming out of her mouth, sending a shudder down her spine. “Then he um...he pulled down my shorts. And spread my legs. But I was so scared, and I had to pee so bad. I couldn’t hold it so I…” she trailed off again, finally looking up at me. Her tears had spilled over the rim of her eyes, falling down her cheeks. “I ended up...peeing on him,” she said softly, obviously embarrassed. “So he jumped back, and I took my chance. I grabbed my shorts and I just ran.” She sat up straighter as she finished her story. She looked down at the comforter, wiping her face with her hands. “I found my way home, I knew I wasn’t far. I got in the shower, then got into bed. And eventually...you showed up.”

 

“Harper…” I said softly. There was a sharp pain in my throat as I fought back my own tears. I wasn’t gonna cry, not right now. “You um.” I cleared my throat. “You really need to go to the cops.”

 

Her eyes widened again, totally terrified. “No, no, I really don’t,” she said. “He didn’t actually um...rape me. I’m okay. No reason,” she sputtered.

 

“But, Harper---”

 

She cut me off, her tone serious. “I’m not going to the cops. My dad doesn’t know what happened. He doesn’t need to know. I just got settled, getting the cops involved in a bunch of bullshit is the last thing I need.”

 

It was quiet for a moment. I didn’t know what to say, or how to comfort her. I wanted nothing more than to hold her and tell her she would be okay, but I remembered how terrified she’d been when I moved in too close to her last night. She didn’t want to be touched, understandably. My mind was talking in circles, but it came to a halt when she laughed. And I mean, really laughed. Like she’d just heard the funniest joke. “What’s so funny?” I asked, sounding cold.

 

“It’s not funny,” she said, though she continued to laugh. “I mean, not really. But you know...everyone talks about how dangerous it is living in the city. There’s thugs, muggers, the crime rate is so much higher...so you know, to make my parents feel better, I took self-defense courses,” she explained. “For the longest time. I was really good too. And you know...not once was I ever attacked while living there. Then I haven’t even been here a week and…” she laughed again. “And you know what? I couldn’t remember a single, damn thing I’d been taught.” She laughed as tears fell silently down her cheeks. “I stood there, totally and utterly vulnerable. And couldn’t remember a damn thing.”


I had nothing to say, no words. My heart ached the more I listened to her talk. This time, I couldn’t stop the tears from overflowing.

 

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hey guys! So I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I know its been a while since I updated, so I apologize. Like I said, I'm currently working 2 jobs and going to school, so be patient with me. I'm also trying to decide when to publish a new story I've been working on. I'm not sure if I should write both at the same time, or wait until this one is finished. I would love some feedback! 

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