"911, what's your emergency?"
"Daddy..." I whisper.
"I don't know what got into you! Leaving the house without my permission, you must've lost your mind! When I asked you where you were..." he grips my arm tightly, "I expected an answer...not a dial tone."
"Daddy...please...you're hurting me..." I whimper softly as tears begin to fall from my eyes.
"So what else is new?"
He violently pulls me over the threshold, and I gasp loudly. I latch my hand on the wall, trying to break free from the death grip he has on my arm. I somehow manage to get loose, and I run inside, towards the family room.
I jump and Jake suddenly drops his controller before scrambling to his feet and racing towards the door. I get up and follow him quickly at the sound of Isa's voice. My eyes are wide as I watch Isa's dad grab her arm and spin her around. I can hear her crying and her shoulders are shaking. Before anybody can do anything, he pulls back his arm and hits her. I scream as I watch my brother throw himself on him. I watch as Isa falls back, her head bouncing on the hard floor. As Jake and Isa's dad start to wrestle on the floor, I rush to Isa. I kneel next to her head and touch her face.
"Isa!" I cry, "Wake up, Isa, open your eyes, please!"
"Honey, go call the police!" mom says.
I stand up and run to the telephone as daddy walks in. My fingers tremble as I press the digits 9-1-1. I watch as daddy pulls Jake off of Isabella's dad.
"911, what's your emergency?"
"I SWEAR TO GOD YOU TOUCH HER AGAIN AND I'LL KILL YOU! YOU HEAR ME? I'LL KILL YOU!" Jake screams.
"I need the police! And a doctor!" I cry desperately.
"Tell me everything that'd happening, honey," the operator says.
"It's Isa, she hit her head on the floor and she won't wake up!"
"Okay, okay, the ambulance and a police officer are on the way. Are you alone in the house?"
"No, my mom and dad are here, so is my brother."
"Tell me who Isa is."
"Isabella, she's my brother's girlfriend. She's living with us. Her dad came and he hit her, and she fell and hit her head and now she won't wake up!"
"Someone hit her?"
"Yes, her dad!!" I shriek as I look at Isa, "he hit her face!"
"Sweetie, can you put your mom or dad on the phone?"
"Daddy's holding my brother and Isa's dad apart. My mom's trying to wake Isa up."
"I need to talk to an adult, sweetie. Don't worry, someone's already on the way to help."
"Okay. Hold on."
I put the phone down and run to my mom's side.
"They want to talk to you, mommy," I tell her and she looks down at Isa before rushing to the phone.
I take her place next to Isa, and look down at her. I wipe my eyes with the back of my hands so that my tears don't fall on her and I look up.
"Jake," I cry and he immediately looks over at me.
He shakes daddy off of him and rushes down to my side. He picks me up and hugs me tightly. I start to cry and he hugs me slightly tighter as he reaches down to touch Isabella's face.
"Shh," he whispers to me, "don't cry, princess."
"I'm scared, Jake. She won't wake up."
"I know, but she's going to be okay."
I look down at Isa, and I see Jake touching her face. I wipe my eyes again and notice that his hand is bleeding.
"Your hand's bleeding," I tell him and he nods.
"We were notified of an emergency," someone says.
I look up and see two policemen standing in the open doorway, along with paramedics. Jake stands up, balancing me on his hip. I link my arms around his neck and look up at him. I start to cry again as I see tears streaming down his face. He hoists me up, holding me against him and I hide my face in the side of his neck.
"Young man, we're going to need you to come with us down to the station," one of the policemen says to Jake.
"Officer, that's my girlfriend they're taking...I...I really need to be with her."
"I understand that, son, but we need to know what happened."
"Fine," he puts me down, "go with mom, Jen."
"Go on, honey," daddy says, "do as your brother says."
I nod my head and start to walk towards my mom, who's talking to another police officer. When I reach her side, she lifts me up into her arms, and I hide my face in her neck as I cry.
I open my eyes slightly, but quickly pinch them shut as light greets them harshly. I hear a soft knock on the door, and I hear Jake call out.
"Come in," he says.
I hear the door open, and I wait to hear a voice.
"How is she?" Claire asks-her voice near.
"I'm not sure...she still hasn't woken up."
"She'll wake up soon, you'll see."
"I saw him, mom. I saw him hit her. I saw the way she fell to the floor," he says.
"Jennifer saw him, too."
"Where is she?"
"Outside. She wants to come in, but I told her to wait until Isabella wakes up."
"I think that'd be best."
Suddenly, I feel him take my hand, and rub his thumb over my knuckles.
"When she wakes up, she needs to testify against him. The charges I pressed won't be enough to arrest him. She needs to tell the police what he's done to her, or he'll just keep doing it."
"No. He's not going to lay another finger on her again, never. I can promise you that."
"I'm going to go back outside with Jennifer.
"Okay. I'll come get her when Isabella wakes up."
I hear the sound of footsteps, and the door opening. Moments later, it closes again. Afraid to open my eyes again, I make a little noise, and give Jake's hand a small squeeze.
"Baby?" Jake says.
I hear the chair move, and I can only assume that he's standing up now.
"It's too bright in here," I whisper.
"Hang on a second."
He lets go of my hand, and I hear him walk away. Moments later, he picks my hand up again.
"I turned the lights off," he whispers.
I open my eyes slowly, this time I'm able to keep them open. I bring my hand to my head, and Jake sits next to me.
"My head hurts," I tell him, "so does my face."
"I'm sure it does. You hit your head pretty hard on the floor, and he..." he trails off.
"I know," I whisper.
"I saw him. Out of all the times I've seen the bruises he's left on you, I never in my life could picture it actually happening. But when I saw him hit you...I just lost it."
"What did you do?"
"I did the same thing that he does to you. I made him feel everything he makes you feel every time he lays a hand on you. My dad had to pull me off of him."
"Is that why your hand's bandaged?" I ask as tears begin to fall from my eyes.
"I cut my knuckles in the process."
"Does it hurt?" I ask as I take his hand in mine, and run my fingers over the bandage.
"Not as much as it hurt when I saw him hitting you. Seeing him hit you ripped my heart into shreds."
"It wasn't that bad...he's done worse to me before."
"Baby, you've been unconscious since last night, and the side of your face is bruised worse than I've ever seen, and you're telling me it wasn't that bad?"
"I'm sorry," I whisper as I start to sob softly.
"For what? You have absolutely nothing to be sorry about," he whispers back, pulling me into a gentle embrace.
"Yes, I do," I cry, "I didn't even ask who was at the door...I just looked at the clock and assumed that it was your dad, and maybe had stuff in his hands...I could've avoided all of this. God, I'm so sorry, Jake."
"Shh..." he murmurs into my ear, "just don't think about it anymore, okay? Everything's going to be okay. I'm not going to let anything else happen to you. I promise that he's not going to touch you again. You're going to be safe with me."
He pulls back, and presses his lips against my forehead, caressing the stinging skin of my cheek. He murmurs that he loves me, and I say the same to him. He motions for me to lie back, and I do, as he supports my head for me. I pat the spot on the bed next to me before scooting over. He lies down next to me, on his back. I inch towards him, and I lay my head against his chest as I curl up next to him on my side, and he wraps an arm around my waist. I rest my hand on his stomach, and he intertwines his hand with mine, our fingers lacing together. I close my eyes, and my body relaxes. There's no other place where I feel as safe as I do right now.
"Jake?" I whisper after a few minutes of silence.
"What's going to happen to daddy?"
"Right now he's arrested. When my mom heard you scream, she called the police, and she pressed charges for forced entry. You need to do the same."
"I'm scared to do that."
"Why?" he asks.
"What if it doesn't work and he gets out? He'll actually have a reason to want me dead then. And daddy's not one to quit when he's determined, you know that."
"But it will work, baby. Your father's been physically and mentally abusing you since your mother left. That's been, what, four years? You've been hospitalized so many times because he almost killed you, and he wrote out the reports as suicide attempts. He's the cause of your depressions; it's his fault that you're suicidal. It has to work, and it will."
"Let's just say..." I begin, "hypothetically speaking...it doesn't work. Then what?"
"Then we'll leave. I'll take you away from here, somewhere your father won't ever find you, and you don't have to be in constant fear."
"Of course. Your safety is everything to me. And I refuse to sit here and watch you get hurt again."
"I hope that doesn't happen. I wouldn't want you to leave your family because of me."
"They'd understand. I'm sure they'd even help."
"I feel so at home when I'm there."
"I'm glad. I'm sure that's how they want you to feel," he whispers, "they love you, they always have. But, most importantly, I love you."
"I love you, too."
Suddenly, there's a knock on the door, and before either Jake and I can call out an answer, it opens and two policemen step inside.
"Miss Thompson?" one of them says.
"Yes?" I whisper.
"I'm Officer Johnson, and this is my partner, Officer Louis. I need to ask you some questions. I realize that this probably isn't the best time, but we should get this taken care of as soon as possible. Although, if it's an extremely inconvenient time, we'll come another time."
"No...it's fine. I understand."
"We'd prefer to speak to you alone, if that's okay."
"I'll be right outside, baby," Jake says.
He kisses my forehead before getting up and walking out.
"Alright, miss, what exactly happened this afternoon with your father, Timothy Thompson?" he asks, as his partner opens a small notebook and pulls out a pen, looking at me expectantly.
"Well...I was at Jake's house...I left home a few hours before that because I had a fight with daddy. I really needed to talk to someone, and I always talk to Jake. Uh...not long after I got there, daddy called me on my cell phone, and asked where I was, but we hung up. I was scared to tell him because I knew he'd come find me."
"I'm sorry to interrupt, miss, but may I ask what the fight was about?" Officer Johnson asks.
"I accidentally brought my mother's name up in a conversation. And daddy was drunk, too. He's always more violent than usual when he's drunk."
"I see. So, he's hit you before?"
I stop and look up at him when he asks me this. I blink a few times as tears build up in my eyes. I tear my eyes away from his to look down at my fidgeting hands, the tears now running down my face.
"He's been hitting me since my mother left four years ago," I whisper.
"You never told anyone?" he asks, his face etched with shock.
"No. The only person that knew was, Jake, but even then I didn't tell him. He just sort of found out. I've been in the hospital more times than I can remember from being seriously beaten. And I've tried to kill myself on numerous occasions. I've under gone a lot of depressions. The past four years have been very tormenting."
"I'm sorry to hear that, miss. Do you know why your father has been abusing you?" he asks.
"I have no idea. Everything was great before my mother left. I don't know what I did."
"Well, with this information, I can assure you we can lock him up for quite a few years. You won't have to worry about a thing. A Claire Stephens has also pressed charges against your father for forced entry. And he's also being charged for carrying an unlicensed weapon."
The last part causes my breath to catch in my throat, and I feel like my heart has momentarily stopped beating.
"Ex..excuse me?" I stutter.
"We found a loaded gun in his back pocket."
"Oh, my God..." I whisper.
"Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?"
"Very well. Thank you for your time. We'll need you to be present to testify against him exactly two weeks from today in court. It's very important that you're there. And don't worry; you'll have protection the whole time you're there."
I simply nod my head, and they walk out of the room. I sit there and tremble as Jake walks back into the room again. He takes his place beside me, and wraps his arms around me as I lean into him. I don't know why the fact that he wanted to kill me surprised me so much. He had yelled it at me so many times. I guess a part of me always wished it was just the alcohol talking. That deep inside, he really did love me like any father should love his daughter. As the reality of the situation set in, I continued to tremble all over, and Jake held me just a bit tighter. The image of my mother appeared in my head, but as ways, it was fuzzy. When she left, daddy took down all the pictures of her down and hid them. I was so hurt at the fact that she left, that I did everything in my power to forget her-and I did. Now I regret it. There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I could see her again, or remember what she looks like. Another knock on the door shakes me from my thoughts, and I look towards the door as it opens. Jennifer pokes her head in, with Claire trailing behind her.
"Hi Isa!" Jennifer says, "Can we come in for a few minutes?"
"Of course, sweetie," I answer her, settling comfortably in Jake's arms.
"I brought you something."
She pulls out a single deep purple tulip from behind her back, and holds it out to me. I smile at her, and take the flower from her hand.
"It's beautiful, sweetie, thank you."
"You're welcome. A little birdie told me it was your favorite flower," she says smiling at Jake.
"Well, that little birdie was right."
"So, how do you feel? Are they taking good care of you?" Claire asks, and I look up at Jake and smile.
"Yes, very good."
He smiles back, and kisses the tip of my nose.
"I spoke to your doctor. He said we could take you home today."
"I'm glad. I don't want to be here anymore."
"I know, darling. Do you have the key to your house? I'd like to swing by and let you pick up all of your stuff," Claire says.
"I left it in Jake's bedroom."
"Okay. Robert's still at home, so I'll ask him to bring it when he comes to pick Jennifer up."
"Okay, thanks. To all of you. I really don't know what I'd do without any of you."
She smiles and steps closer to me, leaning down to place a gentle kiss of my forehead. She smoothes my hair back gently, as she smiles down at me.
"We'll leave you two alone. You should get dressed, sweetie. I'm going to go sign your release papers so we can leave as soon as Robert gets here," she says.
"C'mon sweetheart, let's go wait for daddy outside."
"Okay. Bye Isa, I'll see you at home. We still have a game to finish up!"
"I know," I smile, "bye, sweetie."
Claire grabs Jennifer's hand, and leads her out the door, closing it softly behind them. Jake sits up slightly, pulling me up with him slowly. He gets up from the bed, and goes into the bathroom and comes out moments later with a bag. He sets it on the bed, and extends his arms out to me to help me sit up the rest of the way. He helps me slowly swing my legs to dangle off the side of the bed, and he begins to take everything out of the bag. I recognize them as the clothes he had given me to wear earlier. He puts everything where I can reach it easily, and looks at me.
"Will you be okay?" he asks.
"I'll be fine," I smile.
"Okay. If you need anything at all, I'll just be standing outside the door. If you don't need anything, just call me when you're dressed, and I'll bring you out. Don't move too fast or you'll get dizzy."
"Don't worry, I won't," I promise.
He leans down to place a soft kiss on my lips before turning around and walking towards the door. He opens it, and steps out, closing it behind him. Being slow and careful like I promised I'd be, I get dressed. It takes me a full twenty minutes to accomplish this-every five minutes having to yell back "I'm fine" when Jake knocked on the door, calling out, "Are you okay?" Finally after finishing, I call him, and he walks back inside. Picking up the empty bag, he puts an arm around me and helps me out of the room that only serves to bring me bad memories.
As we walk out to the waiting room, I see Robert sitting Jennifer, and Claire standing at the nurse's desk. Jake leads me over to where Robert and Jen are sitting, and helps me settle down next to them.
"Hi sweetie, how are you feeling?" Robert asks, as he moves to place a kiss on my forehead.
"Better, I think. I'm just glad I don't have to stay overnight."
"I'm sure. This place can't be pleasant for anybody, especially not for you."
I simply shake my head, and look down at the floor. A few moments later, Claire walks up to us, folding some papers, and smiles at us.
"You're free to go, dear. Let's head out," she says.
Jake helps me stand up, and once again puts an arm around my waist to support most of my eight. When we reach the car, he opens the door, and helps me slide in. He closes the door and walks around to the other side. Once he's settled in, he reaches over to me, and straps on my seatbelt for me. He straps on his own seatbelt and then places his arm around me as I cuddle into him lovingly. The whole ride to daddy's house, Jake's rubbing his thumb over my knuckles, occasionally pressing his lips to the top of my head. When the car comes to a stop in front of the house, I'm almost afraid to look at it. So much hurt has occurred in the confines of those walls that I'm almost afraid to go in.
"Come on, baby, we're here," Jake says.
I simply nod my head, and pull away from him, slowly looking at the house. He unbuckles my seatbelt, after unbuckling his, and gets out of the car. He walks around to my side, only to find me opening the door. He quickly steps forward to help me out, and he wraps an arm around me, pushing the door shut before leading me towards the front door. Before we can reach it, Robert walks ahead of us, and unlocks and opens the front door. As we walk in, I look around at the mess in the living room. The curtains are ripped, the decorations that were once on the coffee table are now scattered all over the floor. As I notice a picture frame lying on the floor, I detach myself from Jake, and walk towards it. I kneel down in front of it, and turn it over. Tears slowly build up in my eyes as I see the picture it once held. It was a picture of me at the park, almost a year ago. I feel Jake kneel beside me, and he takes the broken picture frame from my hands, and carefully takes the picture out.
"You know, this is my favorite picture of you," he says before putting it in his jacket.
"I like it, too," I whisper.
"C'mon, let's get your stuff and get out of here."
He helps me up, and we make our way upstairs to my room. I show him where my suitcases are, and he begins packing my clothes, while I pack boxes of my books, magazines, CD's, pictures, and all sorts of things around my room, and in my closet. I walk over to my wall, where a collage of pictures I made hangs, and I carefully take it down. I walk back over to the box, and slide it inside, careful not to damage any of the pictures. I make my way towards another wall, where a replica of my favorite painting hangs, and I carefully take it down. I roll it up neatly, and I tell Jake I'll be right back as I exit the room. I make my way down the hallway, towards the computer room to get some tape. As I walk in, I gasp loudly and the painting falls from my hands as they fly up to cup my mouth. All over the floor, are pictures. Pictures of someone who could pass off as my twin. They're pictures of my mother.