Where the Lake Meets the Shore

Where the lake meets the shore, there's a tree. Look up and that's where you will find me. I never thought though, that a stranger would find my place, but when he does, that's when everything changes.

°♡•♡°

In the part of the park where nobody goes, that's where you will find 20 year old Katie Mason. As she enters her third year at NYU, she seems to have the perfect life, perfect friends, and an all around perfect world. Enter Michael Clark, the new transfer student from down south. Charming young Katie with his southern charm, she just can't help but be lured into his grasp. He might just be the one person she needs to open her up to the harsh reality of the perfect life she believes to have, and sends her entire world into the perfect tailspin.

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7. ~Chapter 6~

Trigger Warning: Abuse, harassment

 

*Next Day*

"This wouldn't have happened if you were here more!" I hear my mother's voice scream out from down the hall as I walk in from work.

"Maybe if you were a better influence, she wouldn't have become such a tramp" Dad shoots back at her.

By now I've entered the room to find Morgan on the sofa, with my parents screaming back and forth at each other, right in front of her. Morgan looks utterly indifferent to our parents' yelling and is just sitting back picking at her purple nail polish. "What's going on in here?" I ask and both mom and dad's heads sharply turn to look at me. Dad's got a manic look in his eye and a beer bottle in his hand.

"None of your business" My sister mutters from where she sits, without even facing me.

"You don't speak" My dad growls at her before taking a long drink from the bottle. "Your sister here was arrested for public indecency after being caught blowing some guy in the park" He spits at me.

"Not some random guy dad" She snaps at him, causing him to glare at her. "He's my boyfriend. And it's not a big deal, teenagers have sex. I haven't been a freaking virgin in two years" she says sharply. Suddenly the room goes silent, dad's eyes bug out to double their size and mom looks like she's just about to pass out.

"You slut" He shouts loudly at her, his eyes going from neutral to a red hot rage. Next thing we know his hand is coming down across my sister's face so hard that she gets knocked off the couch onto the floor. Mom lets out a loud cry and starts sobbing, trying to hold dad back as he's about to hit Morgan again, this time with the now-empty beer bottle.

"Dad, stop!" I screech and launch myself across the room, grabbing onto his arm and yanking it back. "Morgan, go!" I hiss at my sister, who is now finally showing some emotion and is letting her tears fly. She gets up and runs down the hall and out the front door when she sees dad being held back by both mom and I. Probably back to her boyfriend.

When Morgan is out of the room, we release my father. "Oh my God Adam, how could you?" Mom yells, sobbing loudly. But now his anger is directed at me and in a drunken rage, he grabs me and slams me against the wall. 

"Why did you stop me?" He roars in my face, holding the bottle above my head. I grab his hand and try to push it away from me back towards him.

I look over at my mom, who just stands there, sobbing and screaming. "You were going to hurt her!" I yell back, tears streaming down my face. "Mom, help!" I scream at my crying mother. When she does nothing, I see dad swinging the bottle towards my head and before it makes impact I grab the bottle and smash it against the wall, causing it to shatter into a million pieces all over our hands.

Dad yells out in pain and backs up, clutching his hand and shouting curses at me. He comes back at me, and without thinking I smash my elbow into his forehead, causing him to fall to the ground, unconscious.

I look up at my mom who just stares, crying hysterically. "You're weak" I snap at her. "He comes after both your children and all you can do is stand there and cry like a child"

"He could've really hurt you guys" She whispers through her tears, shame crossing her expression. She looks down at her unconscious husband and gets on her knees beside him to examine his hand.

I shake my head at her. "You're pathetic" I say and step over the man to go storming down the hallway towards the door. I hear her calling after me but I ignore  the sounds as I slam the door shut behind me and start walking.

°♡•♡°

I shiver and wrap my arms tightly around my torso. God knows how long I've been walking. All I know is that the frigid May air is chilling me right to the bone and the tears from my eyes have long since dried on my cheek, and it's dark and has started raining. Also, I don't recognize the area I'm in. It looks like the type of place my mother used to warn me to stay away from when I was little, but I never believed such a place existed.

Until now. I think I'm lost.

I'm walking through a neighbourhood full of small ratty houses, almost like community housing but the city seems to have almost given up on it. The streets are filthy and every other street light is either burnt out or flickering on and off. The rest are letting out harsh, almost blinding, orange light. I see a group of people standing under a street light and begin to approach them. Maybe they can help me..

"Um, excuse me" I say softly and the three, rather large and scary-looking, men turn to face me.

"Well well, what have we got here?" One of them asks, taking a drag from what looks to be a cigarette. "What's a beauty like you doing around here?" He asks me, smirking in a sleazy sort of way.

"I think I'm lost" I say uneasily, my heart rate starting to pick up because of these men. "Could you maybe direct me to the nearest bus stop going back to Manhattan?"

"Hmm, a Manhattan girl, eh?" Another man says to me. "You really are far from home" He says. By now, the group has surrounded me, making my blood begin to boil.

I swallow deeply. "Yes.." I mumble. "So if you could direct me to a bus station and let me be on my way that-"

The first man cuts me off. "The last bus left over an hour ago sweetheart" He grins at me. "But if you'd like to come home with me I'll find you one in the morning" He says slyly.

"No thank you, I'll- I'll walk home" I say and try to push past them in the direction I came from, but one grabs me.

"Not so fast, gorgeous" He sneers, breath laced with booze and weed. "You interrupted our discussion, now we want something from you" He says

"No, please just let me go" I whimper out in fear, feeling the tears prick my eyes again. Suddenly I have three pairs of hands on me and I start calling out. "Stop, please! Help, someone!" I scream out into darkness.

And suddenly a car pulls up and a man leaps out, his head covered by a hood, and races towards us. Yanking one of the men off me and pointing at me he snaps, "Get in the car" I instantly recognize the voice so I obey his order.

Minutes later, Michael is back in the vehicle with me and speeding along the road, gripping the wheel tightly. I pull my knees up and rest my chin on them and just stare out the windshield. "Please slow down Michael" I whisper and wipe away at my tears.

He glances at me and lowers his speed. "What are you doing out here, Katie?" He asks, fear laced in his voice. "This is one of the worst areas of the city to be in at night"

I shrug. "I got into a fight with my dad so I left and just started walking, and I guess ended up here"

He drags a hand through his hair and sighs. "Well, you're safe with me now" He says softly.

I look over at him suddenly. "How did you even find me here by the way?" I ask.

"I'm on my way home" He says simply. "When I saw those guys grabbing at you, I felt my blood start to boil and had to stop them"

"You didn't hurt yourself, right?" I ask softly.

"No, the cowards took off as soon as I hit the first one" He shrugs and chuckles. He glances over at me and in the dim light he sees my hand. "You're bleeding" He says calmly.

"Yeah, it's been a long night" I whisper, remembering what went down at my house earlier.

"When we get to my place, I'll fix you right up" He says

Before long we're back at his place and I'm sitting in the middle of the living room with him cleaning up my hand and wrapping it with gauze. The injury wasn't as bad as it looked, just a few small pieces of glass that got imbedded shallowly into my palm. Most of the blood we cleaned off was probably my dad's, but Michael didn't ask.

"I guess you could say that this is the second time you've saved my life" I mumble jokingly.

He smiles and laughs lightly. "You can repay me another time" He replies. "But for now, you need to sleep. Do you want me to take you home?" He asks.

I hurriedly shake my head. "No, please can I stay here tonight?" I request.

He smiles. "Of course you can" He says gently. Concern at my reaction sets into his eyes, but again, he doesn't ask.

°♡•♡°

One full hour later, I'm showered, and wearing some clean clothes that Michael lent me - a pair of boxers and a big t-shirt. Michael offered to braid my hair, saying he learned how from his sister, so I allowed him to, and now we're sitting on his bed as he does so. "Thank you for taking me in tonight" I say to him, letting the relaxing feeling of having my hair done begin to set in.

"No problem, Katie" He says softly. "Anytime you need me, I'll be there, okay?"

"Thank you" I whisper.

We sit in silence as he falls into a silent rhythm of braiding. When he finishes he wraps the end in a hair tie and turns me to face him. "All done! Your hair will look wonderful tomorrow morning"

"Thank you so much, it looks great!" I say brightly, admiring his handiwork.

"You look exhausted" He whispers and strokes my cheek. "Time for bed?" He asks. I nod and crawl under his blankets.

He begins to get up and leave but I grab his arm. "Where are you going?" I ask him.

"The couch" He says softly. "I figured you might want some privacy"

"Stay here please?" I ask and he looks at me quizzically before nodding.

"Sure" He says and turns out the light before climbing in beside me.

I lift my head and lay down against his chest, snuggling up to him. "Thank you again for rescuing me today" I say softly. "I don't know what would've happened if you didn't show up when you did"

"I'm glad I did show up" He says, stroking my back gently. "I'm just so glad you're safe now"

I snuggle deeper into his chest, inhaling the warm scent of his t-shirt. We lay in silence and I allow myself to be comforted by his hand stroking up and down my spine and the steady rise and fall of his breathing. I feel calm when I'm with him. What happened today was terrifying but somehow Michael seems to make it all better with his comforting words.

Before long, I fall asleep in his arms.

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