Whenever Trevor leaves for work early, my morning starts off amazing. I wake up without feeling like I need to watch over my shoulder. I don't have to walk on tip-toes or silently wish he doesn't hurt me right before college. This morning I take my time getting ready with a faint smile on my lips.

I often wonder when I'm smiling whether I'm allowed to with the thoughts swirling round in my head. How can I appear happy when in reality I'm miserable? I've always prided myself in my smile being the only thing Trevor cannot take away from me and despite the hell inside my mind, that won't change.

This particular morning, my smile doesn't last long. I glance around the kitchen, letting out a small sigh. The stench in here is almost unbearable and I try to ignore the rubbish littering the floors.

"This whole place is a damn mess," I mutter, clearing a section of the table so I can sit down with my cereal. The rest of the house besides from my room mirrored each other, filthy and cluttered. It wasn't always like this . . . Dad and Mum were so house proud until he died and everything went downhill.

I am mid-way through crunching down on my golden balls cereal when Mum enters the kitchen. I glance at her from the corner of my eye, my shoulders automatically tensing in her presence. She takes a seat beside me, oblivious to the rubbish surrounding her. Trevor must have definitely burned eighty percent of her brain cells . . .

"What do you want?" I ask her abruptly, my tone hostile. Mum lets out a sigh and I feel her burning stare seep it's way into my face.

"Emily, don't speak to me like that."

"Do you not like it? Yeah neither do I when Trevor's laying into me." I mutter sarcastically, my words dripping with hate for her.

She doesn't deserve a chance to speak to me, I've given her too many. There comes a point in your life when you forgive multiple times because you care for someone but eventually you have to let go because they keep shitting all over your chances.

Mum clears her throat, acting completely oblivious to my anger and resentment towards her. I breathe calmly through my nose before taking another bite of my cereal.

"I just want to eat my breakfast in peace." I tell her, hoping she'll stand up and leave me alone.

"Your Aunt Mandy has invited us to her wedding. It's on Saturday and we're going whether you like it or not."

I practically deep throat my cereal and begin sputtering milk and half eaten cereal everywhere. The place is a mess so it doesn't really make much difference. . .

"What?" I ask in surprise, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. I notice a new expensive looking watch perched onto her wrist — courtesy of Trevor, no doubt.

Aunt Mandy is my Mum's older sister who I haven't seen for ten years since my fathers funeral. From what I remember, she's a big woman with dark crazy hair who has a tendency to scream instead of talk. As far as I know, Mum hasn't spoken to her in nine years either. She's probably on her fifth husband by now but that doesn't surprise me.

Mandy goes through men like running tap water.

"Yes she wants to make amends with us and has invited us all to her wedding. Trevor is more than happy to go so I don't see what the problem is."

Her face practically glows when she speaks about Trevor.

Why is she so blind?

Can she not see the bruise under my eyes or my red scalp? Or hear my cries for Trevor to stop?

'"I'm not going. There is no way in hell I am playing happy families with you and Trevor." I spit out furiously, shaking my head in disbelief.

Mum sighs and stands up, scraping the chair back against the tiled floor. She silently places money on the table in front of me.

"Buy yourself something nice for the wedding."

"I'm—not—going—Mum!" I hiss, the grip on my spoon tightening so hard it's beginning to bend. At this rate, my precious Golden balls will never get eaten. Mum takes a step back and begins moving dishes around, attempting to tidy up. I stand up, ready to leave. Before I go I hear her mumble under her breath. . .

"Trevor will make you so you're coming."

I freeze in my tracks and turn around to look at her. She's hiding behind her hair, avoiding eye contact with me. My heart begins to thump hard against my chest and I frown in confusion, unable to believe her words.

She's fully aware of the consequences if I disagree. She knows Trevor will hit me and she's threatening me with him?

Fresh tears sting my eyes but I refuse to let them drop. I hate her. She can't even look her own daughter in the eyes as she threatens to have me beaten if I disagree. I grab the money off the table and slam the kitchen door, running out of the house.

I need to put space between us before I go crazy.


I can't concentrate at all in class. Every time I try to my mind wanders over to the conversation this morning. Mum's threatening words constantly ring through my ears . . .

Trevor will make you.

I feel physically sick knowing my own mother knows exactly what Trevor does to me but never stops him. The thought alone is enough to cause my stomach to stir, bringing up the contents of my breakfast.

"Emily Wentworth!" A voice booms my name, snapping me out of my daze. My eyes meet with a frustrated set that belong to Mrs Wilkins.


"Do you know the answer?" Mrs Wilkins asks me, her voice full of irritation.

"No, sorry." I sigh, my cheeks heating up as the entire class turn to look at me.

"That's the third time today you haven't been paying attention Emily. See me after class please." Mrs Wilkins says sternly, turning back towards the board.

I merely nod and lower myself further into my chair, making myself as small as possible.

This day has just gone from bad to worse.


After continously re-assuring Mrs Wilkins I'm fine and nothing is distracting me, she lets me leave. Teachers are so oblivious sometimes.

I grab my bag and swing it over my shoulder, making my way towards the exit. I'm so focused on rushing straight out of her class that I'm not looking where I'm going and slap hard into someone's chest.

I bounce backwards from the hit and groan quietly as pain flares up my body from my earlier beatings. I feel my body falling backwards, too weak to steady myself. I prepare myself for a hard landing on the floor but it never happens. A warm hand is slid around my waist, the arm tightening around me securely. I feel myself being pulled back up onto my feet and I open my eyes in surprise —

"Thank you, I — " my words are cut short as my eyes connect with Jake Melvin. I instantly feel the breath knock out of me, the cold in his eyes darkening further.

"Sorry Jake," I mumble, feeling my throat tighten. I look away from his intense gaze, not quite able to have another stare off with him. I notice his arm is still holding my waist so I clear my throat, a red blush creeping up my neck. His eyes flicker between both of mine before he drops his arm back to his side and takes a step back.

The entire time he remains silent.

His outfit consists of a plain white shirt followed by jet black jeans. Casual and plain but on him, it works. The shirt clings tightly on his arms that are muscly and defined, the boy clearly works out. I flinch as I inspect them, knowing how hard the impact would feel if he hit me.

I can't help myself, I'm always on edge.

"Watch where you're going next time," Jake mutters quietly, turning his back on me. I frown at his words, narrowing my eyes.

"At least I apologised!"

I stare up at him just as fiercely, watching his body still before he does a slow turn.

Holy crap, he's turning back around.

His eyes flash with an emotion I don't recognise. It doesn't last long as it's quickly masked over with his usual cold hard stare. He chuckles quietly, taking a step towards me so that my back presses against the wall. I gulp nervously, glancing down the hallway for any sign of help. No luck.

I watch in fear as Jake raises his arms, a smirk playing on his lips. He places them on either side of my head, caging me between him. I can feel his body inches away from me and my throat dries up considerably. The scent of soap and musk mixed in with the faint smell of cigarette smoke ravels around me. I scrunch my nose up —

"Jake, move. I can smell smoke on you. It's gross."

Seriously Emily, why are you speaking to him like this? I'm dead. Officially dead.

Someone please play Shawn Mendes at my funeral.

Jake scoffs, his lips twitching up into a smirk.

"So you're feisty, huh, Muffin?"

He stares straight into my eyes, the blue in them glinting with humour. My own widen in confusion and I frown back at him —

Muffin? What the fudge?

"Don't call me that, my name is Emily." I narrow my eyes and try to keep my voice confident but he senses the insecurity behind it. I can tell because the glint in his eyes deepen and I know he's enjoying watching me squirm.

"Okay Muffin."

The corner of his mouth tugs upwards into an amused smirk. I huff unhappily and shove at his chest which causes no movement in him whatsoever.

Is the boy made entirely of lean muscle?

His arm suddenly moves taking me by surprise so I bring my hands up to protect my head. It's a subconscious action I do from living with Trevor. I always figure if I protect my head as soon as I can, it would cause less damage once Trevor is done with me. I close my eyes and wait for the blow but moments pass and I don't feel any pain.

"Emily?" Jake asks uneasily, prying my hands away from my face. I look up at him like a timid child, watching as his eyes flash with concern and confusion.

Oh god, what have I just done?

I grab my bag which has fallen to the floor and run down the corridor as fast as I can go, my trainers slapping against the tiled floor. I glance over my shoulder to see Jake stood there silently, watching me leave with a blank unreadable expression. My heart begins beating wildly and I silently wish he wouldn't put the clues together.

I need to keep my secret forever.

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