A step too far

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I turn the key slowly in the front door, my heart pounding as I push it open. Silence comes from inside and I breathe out a sigh of relief before stepping inside. I don't dare slow down and risk Mum or Trevor spotting me in last nights clothes. I make a beeline for the stairs, taking them two at a time.

"Emily? Is that you?" Mum's voice fills the air and I ignore her, pushing through my bedroom door and locking it behind me. I hear her walking up the stairs, her voice lined with confusion.

"Emily? What are you doing?"

I quickly tear off my clothes, dropping them to the floor.

"I'm in the shower! I'll be just a minute!" I yell back at her, heading for my bathroom. I turn the shower on and step inside, grabbing my shampoo to get rid of last night's scent.

Ten minutes later and I'm squeaky clean, smelling of sweet vanilla. I wrap a towel around my body and search through my wardrobe, picking out my white cashmere jumper and denim jeans. My hair is falling freely on my shoulders and I begin to tackle it with my hairdryer, my arms aching from the strain. The bruises on my body are slowly healing . . . slowly being the key word.

I apply some concealer underneath my eyes, covering the dark bags. I choose a pale pink lipgloss and a nude eyeshadow, finishing off the look with some mascara. After I'm content with my appearance I reach Jake's note on my dressing table. A smile immediately stretches across my face and I'm unable to ignore the excitement inside my stomach.

Meet me at two in the park.

My eyes scan over the words a hundred times, over analysing his scruffy writing. Is this a date? I nibble on my bottom lip, re-reading the note over and over again before realising meeting Jake at the park definitely doesn't sound like a date. I sigh unhappily, feeling disappointment settle inside my stomach.

I'm going to admit it. . . I have a crush on Jake Melvin.

The town's bad boy.

His kiss lingers on my cheek and my fingers brush over the skin, wanting to remember the moment forever. I sigh knowing I'll have to put my feelings aside for Jake.

It feels so surreal that he knows everything about Trevor. I have to admit it's good to finally expose the truth but part of me feels vulnerable, scared of what Trevor will do if he knows I've confided in him.

"It's too late to go back now," I murmur,
resting my head in my hands.

*****

I've cleaned my room twice, completed all of my homework, brushed my hair again and re-applied my makeup, adding some liner and blush before finally painted my nails a bright red. I glance at the clock and groan, I have twenty more minutes to kill before I can try to sneak out and meet Jake.

I haven't heard any noise from Trevor or Mum so I'm wishing it'll be simple to leave. I grab my leather jacket and pull it on, deciding I can't wait any longer. I unlock my bedroom door and peek out, listening carefully. Silence. So far, so good.

I close my door quietly and tip toe down the stairs, avoiding the creaky step. I've learned over the years which steps creak and which are safe so by now, I'm a professional. My heart begins to race as I see the living room door wide open but there's no sight or sound of Trevor. I'm just about to open the front door when he appeares out of nowhere —

"Going somewhere?"

His tone is icy and low. I turn slowly and smiled falsely at him, avoiding looking him in the eyes.

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