Chapter Twenty-One ~ A Day With Lauren (Part Two)

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*Wynter's POV*

Lauren and I had been out all day long and it was getting dark out. I had been pulling down the signs whenever I saw them, which had been quite a damn lot. Literally, the trunk was full of them. Thank God Scarlet had an extra car so she could drive around to get them. Lauren and I were nowbat a park and I was chasing her around trying to catch her.

"Nanana boo boo, you can't catch me!" She giggled.

"Oh, really?" I asked raising an eyebrow. She nodded matter-of-factly. I continued chasing her and then 'tripped' I hit the ground with an 'oof' and she stopped.

"Are you okay?" she asked and came back to me. I faked looking hurt, but when she was close enough I grabbed her ankle and pulled her down beside me. I sat on her stomach and began tickling her. She started laughing hysterically and gasped, "St stop!... please!... can't breathe!"

Knowing she was lying just to make me let go, I continued. "What was that about I can't catch you?"

"You can!" she exclaimed. I smirked and jumped up, running away while yelling that she was it. We played around for about another hour before decided it was time to call it a day. We were walking back to the car when I looked up and my insides turned to shit. My knees felt like giving out. But instead l completely tensed up and pushed Lauren behind me.

Because a few feet in front of us leaning against the car I'd borrowed was my father.

I didn't say anything and neither did Lauren. "What?" he asked. "No hug? No 'hi dad'?" By the smirk on his face I could tell he was just being cruel. I didn't reply. "You should've known l'd
find you sometime; especially with you're face all over magazines." He through something at the ground before me and I looked down to see
a magazine. Zayn and I were on the cover and it was a picture of us at the dance. He pointed to his rusty blue truck. "Get in."

I felt Lauren shaking behind me and she whispered, "Don't go. Please don't go." Just as I was about to refuse, he pulled out a gun. I had no choice now.

Slowly turning around to face Lauren, I said, "Look at me." Her watery eyes stared at mine and her bottom lip was quivering. "I'll be alright. I want you to take my phone and sit in the car, okay?" she was shaking her head 'no' but I was persistent. "I want you to call Julie and tell her to come get you, then call Scarlet and tell her where the car is. Nothing else, I don't want tobmake the boys suspicious." The tears startedbslipping and I wiped them away, holding my own back, before kissing her forehead.

I grabbed the magazine, handed it to her the car and pushed her towards the car and she reluctantly got in. I heard the car lock and then he grabbed my arm, not to gently, and dragged me to his truck. I looked at
Lauren one last time before being shoved into the passenger seat. I almost gagged at the smell of the truck: alcohol and cigarettes. I stared straight ahead with my fists and jaw clenched as he began driving us to the house.

When we pulled into the driveway I was yanked out of the vehicle and dragged to the house. I told myself not to make any sound and give him more satisfaction. I felt pain shoot up my back like electric fingers when I was slammed against the wall and my head hit it with a thud, creating a massive headache.

"Thought you could escape, did you?" he yelled in my ear as his hands held me in place. I didn't answer, just stared him down. Without seeing it in time, his fist connected with my jaw. Without enough time to recover fast enough before his foot hit my side.

I couldn't hold it back anymore. I screamed out in pain. I crawled away from him with one hand holding my aching jaw. "Oh no. You're not running this time," he smirked. Fear ran through me like a fucking race car. He closed the distance between us and wrapped his hands around my neck, lifting me off the ground and cutting off my air supply. I tried to pry his wrinkly fingers loose, but to no avail I didn't succeed. I was struggling and kicking my legs. This is it, I thought. I'm going to die. I love you Lauren. Just as I was about to pass out, I hit the floor and coughed as I tried too quickly to refill my lungs with the much needed and wanted oxygen. The world was spinning, my head was killing me, and my whole
body hurt already.

The beating lasted about ten more excruciating minutes, consisting of slapping, punching, kicking, and pulling my hair. Oh, and lets not forget the insults and profanities. When he walked out of the room I was just a bruised, bleeding heap laying on the floor. Get up, I told myself. My body reluctantly obeyed and I slowly got to my feet. Trying to be as silent as possible, I made my way to my room. I shut the door behind me when I got there and walked into my bathroom. l didn't even look at myself in the mirror when I peeled off my clothes, I just got in the shower.

I gently washed my body, wincing when the soap seeped into the cuts but I sucked it up. After about twenty minutes l climbed out and wrapped my towel around myself. I had bruises on my torso, and on my neck shaped like fingers. Go figure. My cheek was bruised from getting slapped too hard and my jaw line was cut open. Cuts were also on my arms and legs from his shoes. I didn't want to see them anymore, so I put on a black sweatshirt and blue sweat pants and crawled into bed.

As I was laying there Zayn entered my mind. What was he doing right now? I started to silently cry and hugged my knees to my chest. I usually wouldn't do this, so why was I now?

Because he made me feel safe and he couldn't be with me when I needed him most. The only times he could ever protect me would be after the damage is done.

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