Chapter 3

'Tomorrow?' I said to myself. All of the sudden a feeling of uncontrollable happiness swelled in my chest and I ran into the house laughing with a broad smile. I ran into my room and hopped on my bed and hugged my pillow with all my might in a giggling fit. I felt tingly all over and it felt so good to laugh again. I laid there with my eyes closed , grinning ear to ear while trying to stop giggling. When I finally stopped I wiped the tears from my face and let out a huge sigh. I felt like a girl that just got her first kiss or something. I gave my pillow one last squeeze and sat up, only to come face to face with my destroyed room. The more I looked at it, the smaller my smile got. My books were everywhere, there were several dents in the wall, and all of the sudden an overpowering smell of alcohol filled my nose. I turned around and saw the stain of tequila on the wall and shards of glass everywhere. The pain from my wrist suddenly returned and I looked at my sleeve, then at my bed. I saw a blood stain about the size of my fist, and my head quickly filled with the event that happened last night. I felt a wave of fear and quickly found myself curled up on my bed, trembling with tears falling down my face. I tried pushing the memories away, but they kept coming back. I laid there for a while, trying to compose myself, telling myself everything was going to be ok, but that did little. I quickly looked at the picture of my mother, and I stared at her for a long time. My tears stopped and I felt a little better, but I was still shaking uncontrollably, feeling as though I was reliving last night. The scene played over and over in my head, even when I finally got up and began cleaning up my room. I constantly shook my head trying to rid of the memory, thinking of how I was going to see Ray again tomorrow, which made me feel better. I finished cleaning my room and slowly stepped downstairs in case my dad was home. I blew out a sigh of relief when I found out I was alone and quickly started on dinner, I always kept ingredients in stock so a fresh meal was cooked every night. As I was cooking, I felt a soothing peace come over me, and I was finally completely calm and composed. Something about cooking just soothed me, I really enjoyed it, and I always felt a sense of pride and accomplishment when I finished, but I didn't know whether I should pursue it as a career. I was afraid if I did, then I would grow weary of it because it would be so demanding for perfection and style, and I was afraid I wouldn't be good enough for the world of high class chefs. My stomach growled as I slowly stirred the pasta sauce, it smelled wonderful and I could not wait to taste it. About 10 minutes Later, it was done, and I put some noodles in a bowl and poured sauce over it and leaned against the sink and began eating, scalding my tongue every few minutes. As I stood there chewing on my dinner, I began to replay the car ride with Ray. I honestly didn't know what he was thinking, I didn't know why he defended me, and I didn't know what he thought when he saw my black eye and the blood on my sleeve, Honestly, I was kinda afraid of what was going to happen tomorrow, I was afraid he may ask to many questions or something, or maybe this was some kind of mastermind plan to embarrass me or something. Yes, I was being paranoid, but I was only considering the possible outcomes. I never was able to trust people easily, well, I never actually talked to many people, even when I was a child, and my teachers brought it up on multiple occasions to my father, he being the two-faced asshole he was, pretended to listen and act like a loving concerned father, but little did my teachers know, when he got home, his rage switched on, and I came to school with bruises under my clothes. The older I got, the more abusive he was, and the more he drank. My relatives came over sometimes to help take care of me, and I enjoyed that, but they didn't really know what was going on when they weren't here, they stopped coming when I was three, and I haven't seen them since 5 years ago, they only called, and in that case, my father talked to them and pretended that everything was fine and I was doing great. The only thing I was actually doing great was my grades. I have a lot of free time on my hands, so usually I resorted to studying, especially when I couldn't sleep. I finished eating and washed the dishes, hung up my apron, and went to take a nice hot shower. As I stood there with my eyes closed letting the hot water pelt my face, I began worrying once more about tomorrow. Where was I suppose to meet him? What am I suppose to say? I shook the thought away. I was worrying to much about it, I decided to just let things flow, see where they go, and intervene only when things started getting close to the danger zone. I step out of the shower and inspected myself in the mirror, I always did this to see the progress of my healing after beatings from my father. I quickly inspected myself finding the usual dark bruises on my body, the only thing that was out of place was out of the norm was the black eye and the vague hand marks on my throat. I quickly turned away and closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I could never stand looking at my body, seeing the bruises and scars of abuse from my father and my self inflicted scars repulsed me. I quickly slipped on shorts and a t-shirt and stepped out of my room to see if my father was home yet. He wasn't and I immediately went into my closet for something that I haven't used in a while. After a few minutes I found what I was looking for. A electronic piano. It wasn't much but it was all I could afford, but it substituted nicely. I never learned how to read music, I learned songs by listening and then figuring out which keys to press and simply remember them. I only made one piece, and that was what I wanted to play. I pressed a few keys and began, and after a minute, the awkwardness melted away and I allowed myself to drift away from reality and become absorbed in the music. The piece was slow, sad, depressing really, but it was a way I could healthily express how I felt. When I could, I usually pulled it out and simply played till I had my fill or my fingers ached. I played the piece over and over again, till I grew tired and switched it off and stored it away in the dark depths of my closet, clicked off the lights, and slipped under the covers. I laid there in deep thought while biting my lower lip, a habit I gained over the years, and feared for tomorrow. I was confused really, but who knows, maybe he's jut being nice. I kept thinking about tomorrow till I fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up and through my daily routine went to school with a click to my heels, despite the freezing October wind and the fact I had to walk in the cold with very little warmth. The day went as it usually does, went to school did my work, good grades, etc etc. Finally, the moment of truth came. It was the end of the day and I was walking down the usual hall, making sure to take my time getting outside, wishing, hoping. I walked slowly for almost ten minutes, and I gave up. He didn't show up, and I began to quicken my pace to get the hell out of this stupid place and be on my way home, regardless of what was waiting for me there today. I opened the doors to the stairwell when I heard someone call out at me. I turned around, and there Ray was, jogging in his white Aeropostle jacket, looking gorgeous as usual. I smiled sheepishly at him and gave a small smile. He flashed that smile at me. That smile that made me get butterflies in my stomach and blush. I kept my eyes to the ground as he caught up with me and I stood there to let him catch his breath for a bit.

'Sorry 'bout that, had to do something.' he panted. I played dumb, making sure of his plans.

'Sorry about what?' I said in a curious tone. He looked up at me and quickly I turned my head to avoid his gaze.

'I said I was gonna see you today didn't I? Besides, I'm gonna take you home.' He replied and flashed me a smile. I looked up at him, dumbfounded.

'You don't have to, I'm fine, I have a bi...'

'Dude I saw what happened to your bike, gotta say, that had to suck,' he said with a frown. I stayed silent for a bit, and finally spoke.

'Really it's fine, I'll just walk,' I replied. As much as I wanted for him to give me a ride, I didn't want to cause him trouble or something, beside, who said I trusted him?

'Look, dude, it's like fucking 20 degrees or something outside, and it was pretty obvious that yesterday you were cold as fuck and today ain't gonna get any warmer, so come on dude I can take you home,' he reasoned. I kept my eyes anywhere but his eyes. I just couldn't bear to look at them. We stood there in silence for a minute or so and I finally decided.

'Alright, if you're sure it won't cause any trouble,' I said softly.

'No not at all dude,' he chuckled and soon I was following him outside to his car. It was indeed incredibly cold outside, and I didn't dress very warm today, mostly due to the reason I didn't have much clothes. We got into his car and he cranked up the heater and I sat there in the comfortable and plush leather seats. As we drove, I constantly fidgeted and kept quiet, till he began talking.

'So what classes are you taking?' he asked with curiosity while keeping his eyes on the rode. I listed my classes to him and he seemed surprised. Most of my classes were Pre-AP or AP classes, and I was able to get good grades in them dude to the result of being confined to my room and those long sleepless nights which I used to study.

'So, you're fuckin smart?' he said with a chuckle.

'Umm...I just study a lot,' I said nervously while blushing a bit. I always tried to hide my face from him whenever I blushed, my skin was pale so it was pretty evident whenever a person saw it. We soon had a conversation going, mostly we talked about him, which I was thankful for. He told me his hobbies, which mostly consisted of sports, music, video games, the usual things really. I learned he originally came from California about 7 years ago, and he lived with his mom and dad who worked for some company. He opened up about his life easily to me, unlike me, who tried to avoid talking about my life. We arrived in my driveway once again, and he stopped me before I stepped out. I looked at him, and he stared back, so I quickly averted my gaze down to the ground.

'How about we make this a regular thing, you know, me driving you home, the weather here is to cold for biking or walking,' He said and smiled sheepishly.

'Really, I would like that, but it wouldn't feel right, wouldn't it be a hassle?' I replied. He busted out laughing and finally said.

'Dude seriously, I got no problem with driving you home I'm good with it, I just gotta know if you would like me to.' He said.

'Ok, thank you very much,' I replied softly with a small smile, when inside I felt like doing back flips and screaming with joy.

'Ok, good, alright see ya tomorrow,' he said and as he backed out of the driveway, he waved at me, and I gave a small wave back. I stepped inside, and froze. There was my dad....and a few of his friends. I never liked it when he brought friends over. They made a mess and they always threw cruel remarks at me, calling me various insults, you name it, they sometimes even hit me if I didn't do something right or fast enough or didn't listen to them. They all stared at me and one spoke up.

'Well if it isn't the sissy faggit, out sucking cocks fag?' laughed one in a gruff voice, They all laughed and one of them flicked a cigarette at me and it landed on my arm. I inhaled sharply as I felt it land on my skin and brushed it off while walking up the stairs quickly and closing the door behind me and closing my eyes, and letting out a long exhale and tried to think of something happy. I remembered my new arrangement and I instantly smiled and blushed. I walked into the bathroom and ran cold water over my arm. Besides the constant jeering from the drunken fucktards, the day went as usual. My dad went out to get plastered and I cooked dinner, ate, showered, homework, and began making some winter clothing by knitting, then went to sleep, constantly thinking about how I was going to be seeing Raymore often now, and I went to sleep with a smile dancing on my lips.

The next morning I woke up and quickly went through the usual routine but when I walked downstairs I saw a sight I had seen quite a few times. My dad was passed out on the ground with a bottle of beer in his hands. I let out a long sigh and slowly hauled him to his bedroom and rolled him onto his bed and pulled the covers over him. Regardless of what he has done, he was still my father. I stepped outside and was immediately pelted with large, cold, drops of rain. I look up at the sky and saw it was filled with dark clouds a lightening. I swore to myself and went inside to fetch my umbrella, and trudge on to school, and by the time I arrived at school, my teeth were chattering and my fingernails began turning blue. A few people snickered, but I brushed it off, and went through the day as usual. At the end of the day I waited for Ray, and he greeted with that killer smile and we walked outside. It was pouring and he sighed and began walking.

'Wait,' I said softly while lightly grabbing his arm. He looked at me and I pulled out my umbrella.

'Use this, you'll catch a cold if you don't,' I said with a small smile. He looked at me blankly and chuckled and took the umbrella and we started walking. He held the umbrella, but it wasn't very big so I walked out in the rain. I saw him look at me then stop.

'Dude, what the fuck?' he said while staring at me. I looked at him.

'What?' I said softly. I saw him cringe a bit when I looked at him. I quickly directed my head to the ground.

'It's just , well you tell me not to walk out in the rain, and you're doing it. You don't even have a jacket, and I do.' He explained.

'Well the umbrella isn't very big, so it's ok.' I began walking and he rushed and grabbed my arm and tugged me under the umbrella. The smell of his cologne quickly filled my nose and I began blushing a little...again.

'Then lets do our best to share, k? he said. We walked side by side, with only about an inch between us. I loved being so close to him....but I also hated it. Being in his presence always made me so confused. I relished it, but I also loathed it so much. I loved it because I was able to be close to him, so close to smell his cologne. So close that I could feel his body heat. But I hated it at the same time. It constantly reminded me that he was out of my league, that there was no hope. It made me feel inferior, he was so much better than me, I felt small compared to him. Insignificant really.

I was deep in thought when his voice boomed in my ears.

'That black eye of yours, you get into a fight or something?' He asked. I remembered my excuse.

'I just got hit by a ....'

'Don't gimmme that bullshit of a reason,' he chuckled. 'It's obvious someone punched you dude,' he said while unlocking his car. I didn't answer the question and the drive was silent, till I notice he took an odd turn down an unknown street.

'Where are we going?' I asked. I stared at him but he kept his eyes to the road, but he had a sly grin on his lips.

'Just a little detour,' he said stopping at a stop sign and looked at me.

'You don't have any plans right?' he asked with a determined look. I thought for a bit about work, but I haven't called so they must think I'm sick. But.. There was my father. I needed to go home and take care of things. Before it happens again.

'Umm.... I need to get home to take care of things,' I said hesitantly while biting my lower lip.

'Is it important?' he asked. I thought for a bit. Ok have a detour with my crush with could head 2 paths. He was going to do something good for me, or something bad. Or I go home, make dinner even though there were leftovers, and avoid a beating. This though might be a one time chance and beside, maybe he won't be home at all today.

'No...I guess it's ok,' I said quietly.

'Good,' he said and he sped away to the unknown destination. In about ten minutes, we arrived at a big black metal gate, and I read the golden lettering.

'Sun.rise..lake....' I read slowly to myself and immediately the name clicked. I sucked in some air and my eyes went back to my lap. I saw this on T.V before, this was a subdivision for the fortunate, and I mean those EXTREMELY fortunate people. He leaned out the window and punched in the code and the gates opened and he drove in. I couldn't help but look at the large houses in awe. They looked like mansions! We pulled up into his driveway and I stared at it. It seemed 4 stories high and it was beautiful. He must of noticed my flabbergasted appearance and he laughed.

'Sorry I didn't tell you, but my parents were the CEO's of the company,' he said and unlocked the door and nudged me inside. I stopped and admired the home. Everything was spotless and had it' place. It was tasteful decorated in a contemporary style with a large flat screen TV with a white leather sectional and a glass coffee table in the living room.

'Follow me,' he said leading me into another hallway. I breathed in the scent of the house. It smelled lovely, homely, clean, not like my house. Usually it smelled of alcohol. H came to a double door and opened it, revealing a dimly litted home gym. I looked up at him, and he smiled back. He always smiled a lot.

'Well, it seems like you have a problem defending yourself, so I'm gonna help bulk you up a bit, you know, so you can stand up to people and kick their asses,' he said with determination. He led me to his room, and I had to admit, it was amazing. It was filled with posters of various footballs stars and all sorts of sports, and he had a desk with a computer, a shelf fill with some books, a king sized bed with white pillows and covers, dark blue walls, and a huge T.V with and X-Box 360, PS3, and a Wii. I left me to gaze around his room and I heard him open something. I turned to his direction and he dropped his pants right in front of me. I let out a yelp and quickly turned around and turned bright red.

'Sorry sorry sorry,' I said over and over again. I managed to get a glimpse of his was amazing. He began laughing really hard, and I turned around and looked at him, wondering what was so funny.

'Dude dude, don't worry, we're both guys, it's no problem, beside I'm use to it,' he said trying to regain his breath. I suddenly remembered I didn't have a change of clothes.

'Ummm, you said you were going to try to umm...bulk me up right?' I asked timidly.

'Of course, you seem to need it,' he said with a frown.

'It's fine, you don't have to, and besides, I don't have a change of clothes, it's ok you don't have to,' I told him.

' Well it's not going to be anything hardcore, and besides, I don't mind, I got a lot of free time,' he said. He seemed determined to get me to workout.

'I don't want to be of any trouble, and I never lifted weights before,' I explained.

'It's easy, don't worry about it, I don't think you'll break much of a sweat,' he said.

'Ok...,' I said hesitantly, worrying about making an embarrassment of myself.

During the workout, I found things very hard. I never worked out like that before, and a lot of things were heavy for me, yet he lifted them effortlessly. I was nervous throughout the whole thing, and was slightly turned on, well when I said slightly, I mean really turned on, seeing him workout and his muscles bulging under his t-shirt, which clung nicely to his muscular body. At the end, I was exhausted, and my body felt very sore, and the bruises did not help.

'You did better than I expected,' he said with a surprised look on his face.

'Thank you,' I said shyly, hoping he really meant it. I did indeed break a sweat, but not as much as I had expected. The drive home was filled with tips on how to workout and when I got home, I praised the fact that my father wasn't home, and kissed the floor in the morning when I found my dad still wasn't home. I called the WalMart store a decided that it was time to quit. I worked there way to long, and I don't know, It just felt like it was time to quit and find a new job. For two weeks he trained me, and I made remarkable progress, but I still looked very thin a frail, but my muscles were more toned and defined. One day we finished working out and I had shorts on and a t-shirt, and we were exhausted.

'Hey, you think you can go get some water?' he asked me, panting.

'Sure,' I said, blushing a little. He was a truly beautiful person, sweaty or not. I poured 2 cups of ice cold water and was carrying them when I ran smack dab right into Ray. Thank god the cups were made of plastic.

'Aw shit, I'm sorry!,' he said urgently while I grabbed some paper towels and wiped up the waters, saying sorry over and over again. He took some and helped me clean up, telling me it's fine and not to worry about it. When we were done, Ray peeled off his soaked shirt, revealing his bronze skin and defined pecs with washboard abs, and huge biceps. I turned bright red and looked down on the ground.

'Sorry about that Levi, lemme get your clothes, you must be freezing,' he said and I followed him into his room and he handed me my bundle of clothes.

'You can use the bathroom in my room,' he said while pointing in the direction of his room. Quickly I went in and closed the door, letting out a long sigh, and turned red thinking about his body without a shirt covering it. I peeled off my clothes and slipped into my jeans, but didn't put on my shirt. I inspected my body once again, two nights ago I received another beating from my dad because I used up all the hot water. This time, it was worse than the last. My body was speckled with dark bruises, but my black eye from the other time was still there, but it definitely improved. I lifted my chin, and the light revealed red marks around my neck from where my dad choked me 2 days ago, this time I think I passed out, but he choked me pretty hard. I was inspecting my arms when all of the sudden, I heard the doorknob turn, and the door opened.....

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