Face Down

Hannah Sarina "Rina" Marsh is 19-years-old and trapped in Kona, Hawaii with her abusive and drug-addicted boyfriend, Angelo. To pay the bills, Rina works at the Kona Bar and Grill where she meets Dakota Chapman.

Can Dakota help Rina escape?

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1. One-Shot

Disclaimer: Human beings can't be bought or sold in the United States anymore... no matter what Trump wishes were true. That being said, I don't ‘own’ Dakota Chapman, I don't even know him. If anyone actually does know him, I have a baby sister that would kill for his phone number, and a friend who wants his dad’s! ;-)

Disclaimer II: The song Face Down is by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. I make no claims of ownership.

Author's Note: This story was written by request of Sarina and was beta read by Meghan (Christlove88). The plotline itself came from Hannah (HannahtheBanana1994). She wanted to see a Dakota story that featured domestic abuse but she didn't want Dakota to be the leading lady's “White Knight”, she wanted the leading lady to realize her own self-worth and SAVE HERSELF before any romance happens. She also suggested the song Face Down for this story. So, while Sarina requested this, this story is really the product of the work of four different people: Sarina (who requested a dramatic Dakota romance), Hannah (who came up with the totally girl power plot), me (you know, the one who actually wrote it), and Meghan (the one who made it readable).

 

“Are you going to even bother getting dressed today?” I couldn't stop the question from leaving my mouth.

My boyfriend, Angelo, was sitting on the futon in the living room of our tiny apartment wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and a white wife-beater. After our last fight, he had promised he would start looking for a job. He did NOT look ready to go job hunting.

“Bitch, what did you just say to me?” Angelo turned away from the TV to look at me and I got a good look at his eyes. Wonderful... his pupils were blown. He was fucked up already and it wasn't even eight in the morning yet.

“Nothing, babe,” I quickly shook my head. I didn't have anymore sick days left at work. I couldn't call out if Angelo went nuclear on me and left bruises in any noticeable places. I grabbed my apron off the coffee table before dropping a quick kiss on his cheek. “I'm working a double so I won't be home until nine.” I knew he wasn't paying attention to a word I said but at least later when he was pissed off that I was ‘late’ getting home I could honestly point out that I had told him.

“You're always here, first thing,” I couldn't help but smile at the curly-haired man with the nice, dimpled smile that was quickly becoming one of my regular customers at the Kona Bar and Grill.

“What can I say?” he smiled and shrugged. “The food's good and this place is on my way to work. I also kind of have a crush on one of the waitresses.”

I felt my face heat up and I knew that I was blushing. Angelo was the only guy that I had ever been with and I wasn't used to men flirting with me. I wasn't anything special to look at. I was tall and (in my opinion) too skinny. My hair was naturally so red that my fifth-grade teacher had bullied me into playing Annie in the school play. My eyes were your average, nothing-to-write-home-about brown. This was Hawaii. Guys went for the exotic-looking native girls, not the transplanted southern belle who couldn't shake off her North Carolina accent no matter how hard she tried.

“You know, I've never asked your name?” I changed the subject. I was genuinely curious. This was like the tenth time I'd waited on him and I had yet to learn it.

“Dakota Chapman,” he held out his hand.

“Hannah Marsh,” I extended my hand to him. “But most people call me Sarina or Rina.”

I was shocked as hell when instead of shaking my hand, he laid a quick, soft kiss on my knuckles.

Dakota and I were friendly from that day forward. He came in for breakfast and dinner every day that he worked and he always made sure to sit in my section. He quickly became one of my closest (only) friends. When he came in for dinner, he always came in at the end of my shift. This made it so that I could spend twenty or thirty minutes talking to him before I had to head home.

Dakota had a pretty interesting backstory. He had been born and raised on the islands and his parents had divorced when he was a little boy. He was close to both of his parents but he had a stepmother that he couldn't stand. He had a younger brother and a baby sister and he was the grandson of the famous Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman. Dakota had gone into the family business and worked as a bail enforcement agent. He didn't really have that big of a social life because, like me, he was quiet and a little bit introverted.

During our many shared conversations, I had opened myself up to him as well. I told him that I had been born and raised in Charlotte (Char-Town as I called it), North Carolina and that my mom had died of lupus complications when I was nine. I was estranged from my father and older sister, Esme. I stayed away from my father by choice. A womanizer, Esme and I had discovered that our dad had cheated on our mom when she was on her deathbed and neither one of us had spoken to him since. Esme, I was estranged from because she hadn't approved of my decision to drop out of UNC Charlotte to move to Hawaii with Angelo in my freshman year. She thought that I wouldn't go back to school and would end up stuck in a dead-end job with a deadbeat boyfriend. I was too proud to call her up and admit that she been right all along.

It was Saturday night and, as had become our routine, I had clocked out before joining Dakota in his usual booth to share a chocolate lava cake. I knew I was being way quieter than normal but I had had a rough twenty-four hours. Angelo was iced out of his mind the night before and had spent a good portion of the evening tossing me around like a ragdoll because I wouldn't give him any drug money. As I took a bite off my fork, I couldn't help but snort out a laugh at the irony of the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus song that began playing over the restaurant's sound system.

Hey girl, you know you drive me crazy

One look puts the rhythm in my hand

Still, I'll never understand why you hang around

I see what's going down

 

Cover up with makeup in the mirror

Tell yourself it's never gonna happen again

You cry alone and then he swears he loves you...”

“Hannah... why do you stay with that dickhead?” Dakota's voice broke me out of my melancholy thoughts. “You deserve way better.”

“Why do you insist on calling me, Hannah?” I tried to steer the conversation away from Angelo. We'd already been over this before and we always ended up talking in circles. “My name's Sarina or Rina.”

“No, it's not,” Dakota shook his head. “Your name is Hannah. Sarina's your middle name and you only use it because Angelo says it sounds more exotic. I'm not Angelo, princess. I think you're pretty damn perfect just the way God and your mama made you.”

I didn't know what to say to that so I didn't say anything at all. I just continued to listen to the lyrics of the song playing.

Do you feel like a man when you push her around?

Do you feel better now, as she falls to the ground?

Well, I'll tell you, my friend,

One day this worlds got to end

As your lies crumble down,

A new life she has found

 

A pebble in the water makes a ripple effect

Every action in this world will bear a consequence

If you wait around forever you will surely drown

I see what's going down...”

That night, before we parted ways, I asked Dakota for his phone number and told him that he probably wouldn't be seeing me again for awhile. When I got home, Angelo was out on what I could only assume was another bender. I changed into a pair of sweats before grabbing my phone and making a long overdue phone call.

“Hunter residence.”

When I heard my brother-in-law Brett's cringe-worthy southern drawl it was like a blast from the past and I promptly burst out in tears.

“Kiddo, what's wrong?” Brett's voice was full of concern but I was crying too hard to explain. “Hold on, sweetpea, I'll get Esme.”

“Banana, what's the matter?” My big sister came on the line only a minute later. She was using my childhood nickname so I knew she was concerned.

I spent the next almost hour spilling my guts to Esme, sobbing pretty much the entire time. I told her about Angelo's drug use and how I worked double shifts six nights a week to pay the bills. I told her all about Angelo's habit of using me as a punching bag when he was high on ice. I told her about Dakota, the man who had become my best friend that I had fallen in love with. I told her that I knew he would help me if I asked but I didn't want to. I didn't want to start a relationship where Dakota had to be my White Knight and rescue me like I was some sort of damsel in distress.

“I'm booking you on the next flight home,” was all Esme had said when I finished speaking. “We'll get this fixed, Banana. I promise.”

As my plane departed the islands with Charlotte as its final destination (well, after two changeovers), I put on my headphones and pressed play on my Pandora app. I couldn't help but smirk at the song that started playing. The lyrics had taken on a whole new meaning.

Do you feel like a man when you push her around?

Do you feel better now, as she falls to the ground?

Well, I'll tell you, my friend,

One day this worlds got to end

As your lies crumble down,

A new life she has found

 

Face down in the dirt,

She said, “This doesn't hurt.”

She said, “I finally had enough!”

Going home to Charlotte turned out to be the smartest thing I ever did in my life. I spent time with Esme and her two daughters, Breanna and Carmen. To save up some money, I worked at Brett's computer repair shop during the week. I fell easily back into the routine of southern life. A nine to five job, church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, and watching Breanna and Carmen chase fireflies in the evening did wonders to help heal my soul and my mind. I would miss this way of life when I returned to the islands. Oh, I was going back alright. I had just been accepted at the University of Hawaii and would return to Kona in a little over a month's time. I had taken out a restraining order on Angelo and Esme and Brett were floating me an advance on the trust fund left to me by my late mother (I wouldn't have access to it until I was thirty). My boss at the Kona Bar and Grill said that my old job was still waiting for me so supporting myself wouldn't be a problem. Brett had done some research and found an apartment for me in a gated community with good security. Living in Hawaii had always been my dream and I refused to let Angelo take that dream away from me. I also didn't want to give up on my relationship with Dakota. Even if all we ever were was friends, I knew that I wanted him in my life.

It was Sunday and I had just gotten back from church when I finally decided to call Dakota.

“Please, tell me that the Charlotte area code means that this is Hannah?” was the rather adorable way in which he answered the phone.

I giggled, “Yeah, it's me.”

I heard Dakota let out a breath. “You've had me so worried about you, princess.”

“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to worry you. I just needed to get away.” I proceeded to fill him in on everything that had happened since the last time we had seen one another.

“I'm proud of you, Hannah.” He actually was. I could hear the pride in his voice. “You got yourself out. You know you could have come to me for help, right, princess?”

“I know, Dakota,” I smiled. “But I wanted to do it on my own. I didn't want to make you have to rescue me.”

“You wouldn't have had to make me do anything. I would have done it because... you're incredibly special to me Hannah Sarina Marsh,” his tone became huskier.

“You're special to me too, Dakota,” I admitted in a voice so meek that I was surprised that it came out of me. “I just didn't want to start something with you while I was a still-attached damsel in distress,”

“Is that what this phone call is all about... starting something with me?”

“Yes? Maybe? If you want to?” Every word came out of my mouth in the form of a question and Dakota chuckled.

“This isn't about me and what I want, baby.” He had never called me that before and I got a warm pleasant feeling in my stomach. “This is your new life. It's up to you what role I play in it.”

“What if I want you to play the role of my boyfriend?” I got up the courage (from where I don't know) to ask.

“Then I'll be a very happy man Hannah.”

For the rest of the month, Dakota and I had stayed in touch via phone and Skype. When the time finally came to say goodbye to my family and hometown, I was sad to leave them behind but I was happy because I knew that Dakota would be waiting to pick me up at the airport when I landed in Hawaii.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I had a chick-flick moment when I found Dakota waiting for me at baggage claim holding a dozen red roses. I squealed and jumped into his arms, totally crushing the flowers. Yep, I could have passed for Meg Ryan. Luckily, Dakota didn't seem too bothered by my behavior. He just smiled before pulling me closer for a long kiss.

“Welcome home, princess,” Dakota pressed a kiss to my forehead when we parted.

My new apartment wouldn't be ready for another week so, in the meantime, I was staying with Dakota in his small, one-bedroom beachfront bungalow. After fixing ourselves a quick dinner, Dakota took me out to the beach to sit in the sand and watch the sunset.

I was sitting with my back against Dakota's chest while he had his arms wrapped around me. “It feels so good to have you here, baby.” He laid a kiss just below my ear. “This is where I've wanted you since the moment I met you... in my arms.” He moved lower and kissed my neck. “This past month, knowing that you were mine and not being able to touch you was pure torture. Promise me you won't leave me again, Hannah.” I could hear the genuine fear in his tone.

I turned so I could look him in the eye. “I'm not going anywhere... at least not without you. I promise.”

Dakota reached up and cupped my cheek, gently stroking my skin with the pad of his thumb. “I love you, Hannah Sarina.” He was the only person to call me Hannah except for Esme and, now, I was okay with it. To the rest of the world, I was Sarina. I was Hannah to Dakota because, like Esme, he knew the real me. The woman that the rest of the world would probably never get close enough to know.

“I love you too,” I leaned in for a kiss so he didn't see the tears in my eyes.

We made love for the first time that night and later, as I lay naked and sated in his arms, Dakota whispered one word, “Stay.”

“What?” I picked my head up off of his firm chest to look at him.

He sat up against the bamboo headboard and reached over to turn on the bedside lamp before turning to look at me. “Don't move into that apartment... stay here with me. It's closer to campus and sharing expenses would be cheaper on the both of us. Why pay for an apartment when I'm going to use every excuse in the book to make sure you're in my bed every night? That's just throwing money away princess.”

“You're serious?” I smiled as I got excited.

“Baby, I know what it's like to have you naked in my bed... did you really think I was going to let you leave?”

FIVE YEARS LATER

I had moved my things into Dakota's bungalow the very next morning and our relationship continued to progress at a rapid pace. The day after I moved in, I met his family for the first time. His mom, Maui, and dad, Leland, were cool as were his little brother and sister but I was never a very big fan of his gold-digging stepmother or the rest of the extended Chapmans save for his uncle, Duane Lee.

The month after I met the Chapmans, Dakota flew home to North Carolina with me to meet Esme, Brett, and my nieces. Esme and the girls loved Dakota right away. When Brett took Dakota to his favorite shooting range and he learned that Leland had taught his son how to shoot, he was sold on my choice of boyfriend.

By the time Christmas rolled around, I was feeling like life couldn't get any better. School was going great (I was majoring in education) and I was only working four days a week, singles (one shift only) because Dakota actually helped out with the bills. I was in love and in a healthy, adult relationship where I felt safe and wanted. Yep, I thought I couldn't get any happier but Dakota proved me wrong on Christmas Eve. He got down on one knee in front of my family and his and asked me to marry him. We got married the following spring on a plantation just outside of Charlotte.

“Princess, you ready to go? Everyone's waiting for us at my dad's place,” Dakota appeared in our bedroom doorway.

“Yeah, just help me zip up,” I turned my back to him. I was seven months pregnant and reaching behind me was damn near impossible.

“You know I prefer to help you out of your clothes, not into them.” Dakota laid a kiss on the nape of my neck as he zipped up the back of my dress.

“Yeah, well, we wouldn't be running late for my baby shower if it wasn't for your habit of helping me out of my clothes,” I joked.

In reality, after I graduated from school and completed my first year as a fifth-grade teacher, we had decided to try for a family. We had gotten lucky and I had gotten pregnant on the first try.

“Yeah... I'm never going to be sorry for not being able to keep my hands off my sexy wife.” Dakota spun me around before wrapping his arms around me the best he could given my condition. “I love you.” He laid a gentle kiss on my lips.

“I love you too,” I giggled before smacking his chest lightly. “Now, stop distracting me, we have to go. You know if your mom is left alone with Jamie for too long, bad things happen. We don't need to be bailing your mama out of jail for whoppin' your stepmom's ass at my baby shower.”

Dakota just laughed and shook his head as we headed out.

 

FINIS

 

  

 

 

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