The door behind me closed. I waited impatiently for someone to speak. I knew they were waiting. They were waiting for me to show up. Frank couldn't understand. I couldn't explain it to him. I'd heard the hurt in his voice though.
It wasn't fair but I had to shut down emotionally. If I didn't... then I'd break down. I'd break down for my mother. I'd break down for my father. I just couldn't do that.
"You didn't come home with the bus." My father's strict voice met my ears.
"Yes, I did." How would he know? Frank told me the time. I wasn't late.
Lying was always a mistake. "We watched the bus come and you weren't on it." My father growled, striking me.
I cried out, realizing this hit was much more painful than any other had been. Had he really been holding back on me before? It hadn't felt like it then but it did now. This time his blow had much more force and then he hit me again... And again...
"I'm sorry." The first rule was not to lie. I'd already lied. The second was to fix my mistake. Apologizing was all that I could do. What more did he want from me? "I'm sorry that I lied." I repeated, since he didn't respond.
"So, who are you seeing?" My father asked, angered. "You fucking slut. I can't believe you're dating behind my back."
"I'm not!" Not really.
"Do not lie to me again." His tone sounded dangerous, sending chills through my body.
I said nothing, knowing there was no fixing this mess. I would recieve whatever punishment he saw fit. No amount of begging would change his mind when he got like this. The angry tone, the brutal hits... but my time with Frank had been more than worth it.
That's all that kept me sane through each blow.
I had a friend.
For the first time in my life I had something worth living for.
I nervously sat in front of Isabella's house, waiting for her to emerge. I couldn't remember being quite so nervous in my entire life. She'd answered my text so quickly, deciding to come along to Gerard's with me.
Then she came out, a man shouting at her. My windows were down just far enough to allow me to eavesdrop. "If you get in that car then don't think you can come back here, you slut!" The man yelled, red in the face.
She stopped in place, shaking her head. "I don't know where I'll go but it won't be here, not again." With those words spoken I got out of my car, rushing up to her.
I watched the man's eyes narrow as he stared at me in disdain. Okay, so for most parents... I wasn't what they wanted to see but the hate in his eyes that I saw went to an entirely different level and then I found myself reflecting the look as I noticed the state Isabella was in.
I placed my hand upon Isabella's shoulder, itching to hit the man in front of me. Isabella seemed surprised, "Frank?"
"Yeah." I said, voice thick with emotion.
I knew something was going on when I saw the first bruise on her but how could he? How could he fucking hit someone as perfect as Isabella?
"I'm assuming you're the boy my daughter has been sneaking around with these last few days." The man spit out, sounding disgusted.
"I'm assuming you're the one that gave her these bruises." I spit back, making fists with my hands.
The man looked past me at Isabella, "Do you really think this scumbag is what's best for you Isabella?" He shook his head as Isabella said nothing, "Go ahead. Go on along. Let him break your heart but when you come crawling back you better know that things around here are going to be different."
Isabella turned away and I watched the strong facade she'd initially kept up fall apart, revealing that she wasn't as perfect as she seemed. To me that just made her human but to this man? He seemed even more disgusted and I felt like I truly understood her.
I turned away as well, placing my hand upon Isabella's back. I led her to my car, fighting the urge to violently lay her father out on the ground in front of his home. I'd show him what being a man meant. He had no right to hit her.
When the car door closed behind me Isabella spoke, "Say it."
"What?" I asked, startled.
"Say whatever you're holding back." Isabella said, shaking her head. "I'm not perfect, not even close. I might not have a home anymore, and I've been living with the abuse for as long as I can remember so go ahead and fucking say it. I know I'm weak. I know I'm worthless. I'm nothing more than some disabled loser as far as all of you 'normal' people are concerned." She spit out, seeming disgusted with herself.
Her sharp words horrified me but I said nothing, starting my car. I wasn't going to say anything with her dad standing outside, staring at us. I would have nothing to do with her family, from what I could tell they weren't worth anything.
By the time we reached my house Isabella was crying, trying to hide it from me.
Her tears tore at my heart and I didn't really know what to do so I decided to be honest. "It's only been a few days Bella, and I don't even know if I should be saying this but... You're the best thing that has happened to me." God, I was going to sound like some cliche idiot. "You're not disabled. Disabled people are the people that let their disadvantages get the best of them. You don't let being blind get you down, not from what I've seen. Your dad has filled your head with shit and you need to clear it out." Where was I going with this? I was so fucking bad at giving pep talks. "You're not fucking weak. You're so fucking strong."
Isabella laughed, wiping her tears away. "You're awful at giving speeches." She said, sounding somewhat cheerful.
I laughed as well, "Yeah, I usually get F's."
"I give you an A." Isabella said, grinning.
I brushed her hair away, smiling in return. "Don't ever forget how strong you are Isabella." I let my lips fall against hers. "Once you let people push you down, you lose yourself. I don't ever want to see you lose yourself."
Isabella laughed, but it was forced. "I just- I'm having such a hard time not crying right now." She finally admitted. "But thank you for coming. I'm sorry you had to hear that shit."
"I'm glad I did."
"Why?" Isabella asked, confused.
"It's over." I said, confident that I wouldn't let her get hurt again.
"I'm still confused." Isabella said, brushing more tears away.
"You're not going back." I replied, "I'm not going to let that happen again."
"It's my home Frank. Or well... it's my Dad and my Mom. I can't just be gone forever. Sure, we fought and I'm temporarily kicked out but they'll let me go back... eventually."
"I won't let you." How could she not see that she shouldn't go back? He was hurting her!
Isabella smiled sadly, "You make a good hero Frank." She said, biting her lip. "Unfortunately, good things don't last. Soon enough you'll get tired of me. I wear people down."
"Because you're blind? You're fucking kidding, right?" I wasn't that type of person.
"Yes, because I am blind. You can't spend your life looking after someone and I need help. My parents... help me."
"Well, now you've got me. You don't need them." I muttered, leaning my head back against my seat as I parked.
Isabella just shook her head, as if she didn't believe me.
I would make sure she was taken care of though. Her Dad couldn't just abuse her, I couldn't let that happen. I stole a glance at her bruises, finding that my anger was still there. I would protect her because someone had to and because... my lips still itched to kiss her, my fingertips wanted to explore further.
She made me feel something I'd never felt before. It wasn't easily explained but I didn't feel as if it would fade.
How could I let her fade away behind the bruises?
"Are you sure you want to do this?" I asked, nervously peering at Gerard's house.
"Yeah, that was the plan... hang out with Gerard. Why would it change?" She was so fucking adorable.
"Let me get your door." I said, opening my own door.
Once I opened Isabella's door I reached for her hand, helping her up. I knew she could do it on her own but I loved to touch her, even if it was just the simple act of holding hands that allowed me her sweet touch. I still loved every second of it.
"Thank you." Isabella said, her hand gently clasping upon mine.
"Are you ready for this?" I asked, somewhat worried. I wanted to protect her from the world but the bruises on her proved that would be difficult. I had a lot of work to do to protect her. The way the frown kept easily slipping on to her face made me aware that I might even have to protect her from herself.
"I'm not sure we're ever really ready for anything." Isabella mumbled, "But I'm going to go in and I want to have fun, no matter how hard that proves to be." Then she smiled, and oh how beautiful her smile was.
If only I could really figure her out.
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