Loneliness hits me like a ton of bricks.

Light streams in through the window, settling around me like a protective halo. My eyes slowly flutter open and I groan, squeezing them shut tightly. The sunlight is too bright for my sensitive vision. My eyes sting and I can barely keep them open for any longer than a few seconds.

I listen out carefully for any noise, my body shaking in fear. Silence surrounds me, the feeling of loneliness hitting me like a ton of bricks.

I'm lying on the bathroom floor, my head resting against the tiles in an uncomfortable position. My entire body aches from the slightest movement.

My eyes fill with tears as reality hits me.

I have to continue living this nightmare.

I inhale deeply before gripping tightly onto the toilet seat as I attempt to lift myself up. My legs wobble underneath me unsteadily and my arms begin to shake vigorously from the strain.

All I want to do right now is sleep.

My body is screaming at me to give in and rest from years of being mistreated.

I shuffle over and lower myself carefully in the shower, sitting cross legged on the floor. The second the warm water washes over my body, I feel my shoulders slump in relief. I spend the next half hour in the shower, feeling completely numb to the world.

Once I'm showered, dried and dressed, I crawl to my bed, opening up my nightstand drawer and taking two sleeping tablets.

I bury myself deep inside my bed surrounded by blankets. The clock on my bedside table reads 10am. The thought of attending school makes me nauseous, my stomach churning.

I pull the duvet around me and snuggle in, breathing in the familiar scent. Barely a minute passes before my body finally gives in and I fall into a deep much needed sleep.


I wake up to the sound of my phone going off repeatedly. I groan and reach out for it on my bedside table but it's not in its usual place. I sigh and slowly sit up, my body screaming in pain. It's dark outside and my clock reads 11pm. I slept through the whole day.

"Wow, that's a new record for me." I mutter. I crawl onto the floor towards my phone which is by my door.

The screen is brightly lit up, alerting me that I have several missed calls and numerous amount of texts. I let out a small groan as I reach over for it. My arms can barely support my weight and I feel myself grow light headed. I know I'm about to pass out if I don't rest so I shuffle back towards my bed, phone in hand. I press the home button and wince at the screen.

I am so not ready to face brightness.

I have ten texts from Trish, asking if I'm okay and whether I'll be coming into college. As the texts progress, Trish believe I'm beginning to ignore her and don't want to be friends anymore. I let out a small laugh at how overreactive the girl can be sometimes. After texting her back and letting her know our friendship is fine, I scroll along to my next text message.

It's from Ivory, asking whether I'm okay as I don't usually skip a day. I smile at her concern and respond to her, again letting her know that I'm fine.

Nothing is ever fine but I can't tell her that, I can never tell anyone.

I'm afraid if my secret is exposed, people will treat me differently. . . Like fine china.

Breakable, weak and fragile.

That's not how I want to be known. I don't want people to whisper behind my back, whispering about my abuse. I don't want rumours being created about how Trevor did this and did that to me.

The next text message is from an unknown number. My heart speeds up as my mind wonders to the night where I received the call from the person claiming to be my dead father. Since then, I've had no other calls but the thought of it still causes an uneasy feeling to settle inside my stomach. I breathe in sharply, composing myself before my eyes scan over the text —

Are you ok? -J.

I bite my lower lip as I try to figure out who's texting me. It takes me a while to realise but eventually, I get it. J is obviously Jake.

How did he get my number?

Why does he care if I'm okay?

My heart begins to pick up speed once again but not because I'm afraid. . . Because I think Jake cares about me. Why else would he ask how I am? I quickly push the thought to the back of my mind. The boy doesn't care about people, definitely not me. I decide against ignoring him so I quickly text him back, wondering whether he'll even respond.

I'm fine, thanks. Em.

I send the text and don't expect to get a response back immediately. I sit and stare at my phone for a few moments, surprised that he's texting me.

Where were u today? And if you didn't already know, it's Jake.

I roll my eyes and text him back, a ghost of a smile flickering across my face.

Me - I know it's you, silly. And I was at home, busy.

Jake - Can I call you?

I hesitate at my phone, taken aback by Jake's request. I'm afraid if he hears my voice, he'll sense the pain I'm feeling. I bite down on my lower lip, strangely wanting to hear his voice. I feel so lonely and maybe talking to Jake will take my mind off things. . .

Me - Sure.

My phone rings instantly and I glance down at it for a second or two, unsure of what to do. Without thinking too hard about it, I answer the phone, holding it up to my ear.

"Hello?" I whisper, my voice quiet and hoarse.

"Hey Emily."

I smile, liking how my name sounds coming from him. I'm also surprised at how comfortable I feel talking to him. "Hi Jake."

"Are you okay?" Jake asks. I notice his voice is deeper than usual with a hint of raspiness.

"Yeah, I'm probably coming down with the flu or something. Have you been sleeping?" I ask him, sounding amused.

"You got me."

I laugh quietly, pulling the duvet up to my chin. My body sinks into the covers and I sigh, shoulders slumping in relief.

"Do you want me to come round and keep you company? I can bring medicine." Jake responds, his voice raspy.

"At half eleven? It's dark outside." I respond, ignoring the flutter in my stomach. I can't believe Jake Melvin just offered to keep me company and bring me medicine.

"I'm a night person," Jake responds back, humour lining his voice.

"Like a vampire?"

"Yeah, I'm pretty good at the whole blood sucking thing as well."

"Gross Jake," I giggle, his voice washing away any feeling of loneliness. Instead a warm sensation grows inside my chest and a smile stretches across my face.

"I thought all girls love vampires?" Jake jokes. I roll my eyes at his stereotypical thought —

"Not this girl. Besides, are you trying to make me love you?"

My words are risky, directed to be a joke. Once they leave my lips, I instantly regret them. Jake pauses for a moment on the other end, silence falling between us.

"I don't need to try," he eventually replies and I immediately scoff, feeling grateful that the conversation has steered towards being playful again.

"You're so big headed. Not every girl wants you Jake." I tell him.

"That's where you're wrong Muffin. No-one can resist my handsome face and bright bubbly personality." His tone of voice is sarcastic, causing me to giggle once again.

"Are we still describing you? Because that sounds nothing like you Jake." I respond, biting back a giggle.

"Ouch, that hurt Wentworth." Jake chuckles.

"Do you want me to kiss it better?" I tease, feelings my cheek ache from the grin on my face. Jake chuckles on the other end and I imagine him smirking, a cheeky glint in his eyes.

Gorgeous blue eyes that resemble the ocean.

"I'd love for you to kiss it better." Jake responds without hesitation. I pause, noticing the playfulness right his voice has disappeared. I swallow the lump in my throat nervously, unsure of how to respond.

"I'll hold you to that." I say quietly, a slight shiver running down my spine. Jake pauses on the other line for a brief second —

"Make sure you do, Muffin."

We end up chatting on the phone for the next hour, talking about all the silly things in life. The conversation never turns deep but I prefer it that way. One thing I notice is that I couldn't stop smiling and giggling the entire conversation.

After the call, I turn my phone off, putting it underneath my pillow. Jake made me feel better. I don't quite feel like I've just done ten rounds with Mike Tyson and obviously lost.

I close my eyes, drifting off into one of the most peaceful sleeps I've had in a long time. My dreams are focused around the people in my life that make me happy. The people who make me smile and cause a warm feeling to settle inside my stomach from the thought of them.

Dad, Trish, Grandad, Ivory, Jake. . .

Yes, even I'm surprised at the last one.

Next chapter