Oh God, I wanted to change my mind. I wanted to. I had to. I needed to. But I knew I couldn't. So I didn't. I unhinged my tightly shut jaw and I began my story, begging with everything I had that he wouldn't leave me because of it.
"Okay, so. My brother, he was diagnosed with Leukaemia when I was, like, uh 9 I think? Yeah, 9. Anyways, that was when everything sort of really started to go down hill.
'Joe, my father, had always had a drinking problem, he was never at home and he'd spend all our money on alcohol. It didn't bother us all that much, I mean of course it was hard, but we coped on our own. But when we found out about Jye, it started to get a lot worse. He was drinking even more, so much so that he would be out for days on end. We didn't know where he was half of the time.
'We had just enough money to pay for treatment, and it was going to save him. He was just on the brink of life and death, and we had a time limit. So, my mother, Lauren, mustered up as much of our money as she could. She didn't even bother getting an extra job, and she didn't try to work overtime either. All she did was collect the money we already had, and we were short.
'So, I tried to run a bunch of fundraisers to get enough money. I did everything from car-washing, to bake sales, and even shoe shining, and I got the money we needed. And then Lauren decided that she wanted to fuck Jye's doctor. When Joe found out, he went ballistic.
'He said that he wasn't giving any of our money to that hospital, but it was too late for Jye. We couldn't move him to another hospital, the doctor said it wasn't a good idea, plus it would've been expensive. More expensive than we could afford.
'So, they left him there to die. Those bastards ruined everything. Lauren was too selfish to keep it in her pants and Joe was too proud to even keep his own son alive.
'Everyone found out about Lauren and the doctor, so we moved away. She told me we moved because she couldn't handle being without Jye, but I knew she just hated that her reputation had been soiled. We moved a long way away, leaving Jye in his grave. It was like they forgot about him, and it wouldn't surprise me if the did forget, they were so obsessed with themselves.
'I wanted to go back home so badly, because I liked the old life. Before Jye's diagnosis, we were happy, despite Joe's drinking, we were happy. I had so many great memories there, you know? It was like they left, along with my baby brother.
'Anyway, Joe really took a turn for the worst when we moved. I was 10 by now, and he had gotten a little abusive. He never used to yell at my Lauren, let alone lay a finger on her. He wasn't an angry drunk, but ever since she decided to sleep with the doctor, he snapped. It was like he became a new man, an angrier, scarier version of himself.
'It started off with him being a little aggressive, pushing her every so often and yelling at her, calling her names and such. She was so helpless. She still loved him, she still does, and she don't know what to do so she took it.
'He got worse and worse as time went on, he started to actually hit her, and then she turned the attention on me. Instead of protecting me from him, she pointed him towards me, like she was saying 'Spare me, take the easier target', and he did.
'Remember when we went camping, and I said I lost my virginity when I was 10? And that I didn't want it to happen? That was Joe. Then he did it again, and again, and again. 19 times later, I had had enough, and I ran away from home when I was 15. I left Lauren a note, telling her to leave me be, and I rang the cops to tell them about Joe on my way out. After all she had let me go through, I still couldn't leave my mother with him. So I told them everything and then I ran away, with a bunch of money I had been saving up for years. I'm not sure how far I walked, but I must've walked for a day and a half straight before I found the perfect place.
'It was just an old abandoned warehouse, but it was just what I needed. So I set up camp in there, and I lived there for a few months. I barely had enough money, and I don't know what I would've done to earn more if it weren't for someone showing up one night and shining a torch in my face. I knew it was a police officer as soon as I saw him, but I couldn't see his face.
'He asked me what I was doing in there, and I just told him I was camping out for a school project. Which was a lie, because I hadn't gone to school since I left home. He was sort of silent, just staring at me, and I couldn't see his face at all because of the light in my eyes but then he said my name and I was so scared of him.
'But he took the light from my eyes and I recognised him. It was Chloe's dad. Chloe was my best friend as a kid, but she moved away about a year before everything happened with Jye because her mum got relocated. Kyle, that's Chloe's dad, knew I was lying somehow. He forced me to tell him everything, and I did because he was the first person that I knew that I had seen since I came here. I was afraid of him at first, but then I remembered how lovely he was, and that I could trust him because he was a cop. So I did.
'He took me back to the police station, and he let me off the hook for trespassing. Then he took me back to his house, and he told me he'd have to take me back to Lauren in the morning, as I was underage. I protested but he told me it was the law, he seemed so sad for me, but I had always hated pity so I took up his offer for a shower instead of letting him be sad over him. 'Chloe was asleep, and she had absolutely no idea that I was there. She didn't find out until the next morning when she saw me sitting on her lounge reading a book. She jumped on me, and we hugged for about an hour, and then I told her everything and she begged her parents to not make me go back there.
'Lucky for me, her mother is a lawyer, and a very good one, at that. She managed to get Lauren to agree to me staying with them, but she had the right to visit me twice a month, so she did until I became of age, and I was so glad that I don't have to see her again. Chloe and I bought a place together, my father was in jail on various counts, my mother was out of my life, and I was away from the horrors of my childhood. I made a point to go visit Jye once a fortnight, but I started to get slack with that this year.
'That night when you found me, after I had been humiliated and rejected by you, the first time I had ever liked a boy, let alone gotten the courage to tell him about it, I went and got drunk. I was pissed at you, at Natasha, and at myself. I was just angry at the world, like I always have been. I came home to find Lauren in my kitchen, we had a fight, I kicked her out, and then I properly cried for the first time since Jye died. The next day she left me a parcel full of my old stuff. Not one single good memory in there. It was all the things I had shoved away after either her or my father ruined them for me.
'I'm still not sure if she left it there on purpose of if she isn't know what was inside it, but it really was the chocolate topping on my shit sundae. So, that's why you found me like that that night" I conclude, and part of the weight on my shoulders is lifted, but the rest of it waits around for his response. It all crashes back down on me when he gets up and walks away.
A huge part of me thought that maybe he would stay. I was hardly expecting him to leave, but he proved me wrong. He got up and he left me and I sat against the tree with my head in my hands because I'm so stupid and I've just ruined the one thing I had going for me.
I stand to my feet and I punch the tree behind me with a yell. I punch it a few more times before I fall to my knees, my knuckles red and my heart heavy. I don't cry. I am too upset to cry. I should've known this would happen.
"I guess we have more in common than we thought" His voice is behind me and I am positive I'm dreaming until his finger is pointing at my red hands, and I see his are the same.
"I thought you-"
"I know I shouldn't have left so abruptly but I didn't want you to see me angry so I went and punched some inanimate objects and oh God do I feel better now" He says, kneeling down so he is level with me. "I am deeply offended that you thought I would actually go"
"You wouldn't have been the first" I say quietly.
"You've got a lot of hate stored up in that heart of yours, don't you? You are completely and utterly blinded by it and you expect the worst from people but it seems that's all you've been shown"
"You have no idea" I sigh, shaking my head. "So, does this mean you're staying?"
"I wouldn't leave you for all the money in the world" he says with a small
smile and he links our hands together, pressing a kiss to my red knuckles.
"That's good to know" I breathe out, hardly having the ability to talk, and he laughs.
"I hope you know that this in no way affects the way I feel about you"
"Also good to know"
"I like you so damn much. Thank you for trusting me like that, it means the world that you would let me in like that" He says, kissing my nose.
"Thank you for coming back"
"As cheesy as it sounds, I will always come back. That's a promise"
"Swear to bacon?"
"I swear to bacon"
"Good. Now hurry up and kiss me" I say and he doesn't think twice before diving in, and I feel so glad to have him, and the rest of the weight leaves my shoulders and finally I'm free.
"Be my girlfriend"
"Luke, are you sure? I mean we both have so much going on right now-"
"I don't care. I'm sick of waiting, okay? I just want you. I want all of you. Please, please just be my girlfriend. I know you won't hurt me like she did, I know that now and I trust you and I know you trust me and there is no point in us waiting any longer, so please. Just say yes"
"Yes" I'm scared. I am so fucking scared of what could happen but I need this. I need to be happy. I must deserve it by now. I deserve to be happy.
"Oh God this is the greatest day of my life" Luke says, standing up and bringing me with him and we share a tight hug. I don't want to let him go, so I don't. We stand there, in the middle of the trees, and we hold each other like it will be the last time, and I pray to every known God that it will be the first of many.
"Hey guys, me and my girlfriend are back" Luke calls as soon as we step inside the beach house, a smug grin on his face as he looks down at me proudly. I have never seen someone look like that because of me and it's just another thing I can't wait to get used to.
"Woah, what!?" Chloe squeals, sprinting out in front of us. Her eyes go down from our huge grins to our connected hands and her eyes pop out of her head. "Someone get the bloody camera!" She screams, and she runs away, and then the other three boys run out to see what's going on. I feel like an animal on display at the zoo.
"Are you guys together?" Ashton asks quietly and Luke nods his head, smiling. Then Ashton lets out the girliest squeal I have ever heard and he hugs Michael tightly.
"Oh darling, I am so proud of you. You've always been my favourite daughter" Calum says, grabbing my arms in his hands and kissing my cheeks.
"Hey!" Chloe says, pulling him away from us and proceeding to take at least 43 photos.
"Oh dear God. I think they're happier than us about this" I laugh, watching the commotion in front of us.
"Not possible" Luke says, before pulling me in front of him and pushing his lips onto mine. My hands rest against his chest and his sit on the small of my back as that glorious feeling runs through me again, holding me captive and not letting me go. Not that I mind. I giggle softly and he hugs me to his chest, and I let his amazing scent surround me, making me so happy it hurts. Oh God am I falling fast.
I straighten the last piece of my hair and fix up my black shirt, doing up the studded belt around my black skinny jeans. I leave my face without makeup, and puff my hair up just a bit, before running downstairs and jumping on Luke's lap.
"Hello girlfriend, you look absolutely stunning tonight" He says, putting down his phone and pecking my lips softly.
"As do you, my trusty steed"
"Oh so now I'm a horse?" He smirks and I wink at him.
"Drop the S and we've got a deal"
"Hey!" He shouts, pushing me off of his lap and onto the lounge before jumping on top of me and laying there, unmoving.
"Get up you fatty"
"No. You called me a whore" He huffs, picking up his phone and placing it against my chin, using me as a stand.
"Whatcha doing?" I ask, the phone falling over when I talk.
"Playing a game"
"Is it some porno game?"
"What is it"
"High School Story" He mumbles and I laugh loudly at him.
"You're joking!" I giggle.
"Shut up" Luke groans.
"Did you make a pretty little character named Luke?" I ask and he rolls his eyes.
"Yes. And me and you are currently 'crushing'" He says matter-of-factly.
"No I'm not, I'm heavy metal"
"Stop having dry sex on the lounge, we're leaving" Michael yells at us and I push Luke off of me and he lands on the floor with a thud. I try to walk over him but he grabs my leg.
"Now walk" He instructs and I use all of my strength and drag him all the way to the front door, puffing by the time I reach it. "Last one out is a rotten egg!" He yells, jumping to his feet and pushing me out of the way so he can run outside, giggling loudly at himself as he runs to the car.
"What even are you?" I say quietly, locking the door behind me and walking to the car, a smile never leaving my face.