Chapter 2 - Heal

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Jo wakes up, totally disoriented. She has no idea where she is for a minute and hasn't realized yet that she slept al the way through the evening and night, until the next morning. She sits up and rubs her eyes, slowly remembering where she is and what happened. She notices the sun shining through the curtains and wonders what time it is. She looks around the room and her eyes land on a small table on the other side of the room. On it is a plate with a croissant and a glass of orange juice. Her stomach growls at the thought of it and she gets up to bite into the croissant. A soft moan escapes her, while chewing on it happily. She takes a sip from the fresh juice and faintly hears whistling from downstairs. She smiles as she enjoys her breakfast, while looking around the room. She spots a big, soft towel on the chair with her backpack.

She grabs her toiletries bag and doesn't give herself time to think twice, getting up to find the bathroom. She gets in and starts the shower, while she quickly undresses. The second the water hits her cheek, she feels a sting and as the water flows over her body, she realizes she is sore all over. She closes her eyes and tries to relax, while she gets her hair out of the braid. She washes it with a bit of shampoo from the bottle she finds in the corner. She washes her body and steps out of the shower. She uses the towel to dry off, before wrapping it around herself. She walks towards the mirror and grabs her toothbrush and toothpaste.

She brushes her teeth while she wipes the fog from the mirror, she stares at herself with new interest. She spits out the toothpaste and brushes her hair thoroughly, still looking at herself. She quickly braids her hair while it's still wet, to make sure it stays in place today. She looks at herself again and notices something different about the reflection. She can't really pinpoint it, but she seems more relaxed, happier. Not pretty, but she never was, so that's impossible. Her confidence is at an all time low, from being with Mark for 5 years. Even though she lost a lot of weight, she can't see anything beautiful about herself. Mark made her diet, because she was too fat for his taste... She shakes her head violently, to stop herself from thinking about Mark. That guy doesn't deserve a second of her time any more. Not ever again.

She puts on some make-up, before walking back to her room. She smells coffee, right before she closes the door behind her to get dressed. She rummages through her bag and pulls out a T-shirt from the old days. Her favorite Foo Fighters one from back then. She also finds her red lace bra and panties and smiles. She bought those, dreaming of wearing them when she was free to live her life somewhere else. She used to touch them at the back of her closet, promising herself she would be strong enough some day. She puts the underwear on and pulls the T-shirt over her head and quickly becomes aware of the fact that everyone she meets today will know about the lace bra. Because the shirt is too big and leaves her entire shoulder bare. In the old days it would have annoyed her, but today she giggles. "Nothing wrong with a beautiful bra strap. It's not like I am walking around naked. And it mixes the old with the new in a very nice way." She puts on her skinny jeans from yesterday and some socks, before sliding her feet into her army boots. How she missed those boots. She almost lived in them for years. But...she stops herself and says: "Now you can wear them whenever you want!" She picks up the empty plate and glass and goes downstairs, towards the whistling and the smell of coffee.

She puts the dishes on the counter in the kitchen and looks towards the bar and sees Jake. He walks towards the coffee machine with two mugs and winks at her. He pours the coffee and invites her to sit down at the bar. "You look a lot better than yesterday." Jo looks at him with a slight smile, a bit surprised at how straight forward he is again. She takes a sip of her coffee, before thanking him for everything. And asking if there's anything she can do to pay him back for all he did for her in this short time. He looks her straight in the eyes and says: "Tell me how you got that scar and who or what you're running from." Jo looks down and turns pale in a second. Jake says: "I am not asking your life's story or a detailed report. Just tell me the bare facts." Jo nods slowly and takes another sip of her coffee for courage. She stares at the cup before softly speaking: "The scar was given to me by my ex. He is also the one I am running from." The second Jake hears how she got the scar, he swears. He slowly drinks from his own coffee to calm down. Taking a deep breath he states: "You can stay here for as long as you need or want. And I can always use some help around here, if you want to pay me back for it." He looks up at Jo, as she carefully does the same. "You should be proud of yourself girl, for walking away from that. I can see in your eyes how hard that must have been, but you did it." He lifts his hand and moves towards the scar on her cheek, but Jo jumps back as an old reflex kicks in. His eyes go wider and he mumbles a soft apology.

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