"Just because you forgive me doesn't mean I'll stop hating you."
I drop to my knees, and I slowly crawl towards the pictures. As tears begin to build up in my eyes, I frantically shuffle through a handful of pictures. Everything made sense now.
"Baby, I'm going to take the suitcases..." he trails off, "where'd all these pictures come from? Did you put copies of them in our album?"
"This isn't me," I whisper.
"What do you mean it's not you? It looks exactly like you."
He comes closer, and kneels down next to me. He takes a picture and looks at, his eyes widening slightly. I look up at him as the tears roll down my face.
"That's my mother," I whisper before I begin to sob softly.
He drops the picture and takes me into his arms, holding me close to him as I bury my face in the crook of his neck, my arms wrapped tightly around his middle. He pulls me into his lap, holding me even closer to him as I continue to cry.
"Th..that's why he hates me...because I'm the exact replica of her. That's been my only mistake. My only mistake has been looking like the one person he hates more than me."
"Baby, don't say that. It's not your mistake. You didn't ask to look like her. You didn't strive to make yourself look like her, you understand me?"
"Jake, will you take me to go see him?"
"What?" he asks as he pulls back from me.
"I...I need to talk to him. I need to make sure this is the reason."
"Baby, why are you so insistent on finding out all of this? All it's going to do is hurt you more. You're going to torture yourself by going there. You know that he loves nothing more than to hurt you, why do you think this time will be different?"
"I don't think it'll be different. I just...I can't live the rest of my life not knowing why my father hated me so much. I mean, what if there was something I could've done to make it better?" I ask.
"Maybe there was, but why would you want to know now, after all the pain he's caused you? The only thing it's going to do is torment you. I don't want you to live the rest of your life that way. We're starting a new chapter of your life, baby. And it doesn't include pain and torment."
"That's how I want it to be, too. But I won't be able to do that if I don't talk to him first. You need to understand, this is something I have to do."
"Okay," he agrees, "if you have to do this, I'll take you. But I want you to promise me that if anything gets out of hand, you'll come back outside, and we'll leave."
"Are you kids okay up there?" Robert calls up as we hear footsteps.
"Yeah," Jake says as Robert appears in the doorway.
"Did you drop these pictures, honey?" he asks coming closer.
"No, they were already here when I came in. I think daddy did it."
He kneels down, and picks one up. He looks at it, confusion clouding his face before looks up at me.
"It's my mother," I tell him.
"My God, you're the spitting image of her. I thought it was you."
"So did I," Jake says, "where's mom?"
"She took Jennifer home. I decided to stick around in case you needed a hand."
"Well, there are three very heavy suitcases sitting on Isabella's bed. You're welcome to grab them," Jake grins.
"Sure, son," Robert chuckles, "but only because they're Isabella's!"
I giggle slightly and look up at Jake. He brings his hands to my face, and gently wipes the tears away. He smoothes my hair back with both hands, before cupping my face, and gently running the pad of his thumb across my skin. I smile slightly, and he begins to slowly lean forward. He softly presses his lips against mine, causing a soft sigh to be heard from my lips. As he kisses me, his gentle fingertips dance around the soft skin of my face. He slowly pulls away, and rubs the tip of his nose along my cheek, running his fingers through my hair as I giggle softly. He smiles, and moves to rub the tip of his nose against the tip of mine.
"Eskimo kiss," I whisper as I rub mine back against his.
"Yup," he whispers back with a smile, "I love you, baby."
"I love you, too."
He pulls back slightly to press a soft kiss to my forehead, before pulling away enough to pull me into a loving embrace.
"Are you going to take these pictures with you?" he asks.
"I'm not sure. I want to, but at the same, I don't. In a way, I feel like all of this is her fault. Her selfishness caused me all this pain. She's the reason."
"I know, baby. I understand," he says.
"Maybe...I'll just take one. If I don't, I might regret it."
"Okay, I'm going to take the rest of your things out to the car, alright?"
"Did you pack everything?"
"Almost; everything else will fit in my gym bag," I say.
"Okay. I'll be back in a few."
He presses one final kiss to my forehead before standing up. He made his way towards the door, and he disappears from my sight. I turn towards all the pictures, my eyes scanning over each one. My eye lands on one in particular, and I pick it up. It's a close up photograph, very similar to a shot I have of myself. I stand up as my fingers brush against the glossy surface of it. I walk out of the room, and make my way towards my own room. I walk over to my desk, and reach underneath it where my diary is hidden, and pull it out. I flip through the pages, quickly scanning the written words until I find the entry where I wrote about wishing I had never forgotten what my mother looked like, and put the picture there, before snapping it shut. I walk over to my closet, and pull out my gym bag, and slip my journal inside of it.
I walk into the bathroom and I flip the light switch and open the drawer. I place my gym bag on the floor and stretch the opening so that it stays open on its own. I begin to grab handfuls of my make up, and putting it all inside my gym bag. Next comes my large collection of nail polish, but I put those in more carefully so they don't break. I move the bag aside and I open the cabinet doors underneath the sink, and pull out my box of hair accessories. I open the box and dump the contents inside the bag, before reaching back inside and pulling out my three hairbrushes, my hair drier, and flat hair ironer and put it inside of the bag. Just as I'm zipping the bag, I hear the door open an close before I hear footsteps on the stairs. Suddenly, Jake appears in the doorway.
"All your stuff's in the car, baby. And I grabbed your painting, too," he says.
"Thanks, I completely forgot about it."
"It's alright, are you taking this, too?"
"Yeah, but be careful, though, my make up and nail polish's in there, and stuff."
"Okay," he says as he picks it up, and slings the strap over his shoulder, "ready to go?"
"Alright, let's go."
He takes my hand, and we make our way downstairs. As we walk towards the door, I look around, not believing that pain might actually be over. But, it was too soon to know for sure. I wouldn't be able to actually believe it until I saw it happen.
"Are you okay?" Jake asks me.
We step outside, and he locks the door again, before leading me towards the car. He opens the door for me, and I slide in, scooting over to save him a trip. He slides in, as well, and closes the door.
"All ready to go?" Robert asked from the front seat.
"Yup," Jake says.
"Sweetie, Claire spoke to me about you moving in with us."
"Yeah, I hope that you're okay with that."
"Of course, honey. You know that I adore you. I feel like you're a daughter to me."
"Thank you, you really have no idea how much that means to me."
"It'll be a pleasure for us to have the honor of enjoying your company," he says as he looks at me and smiles at through the rearview mirror.
"And I'll have the honor of enjoying yours."
The rest of the ride back home is in an enjoyable silence. Jake and I are cuddled together in the back, enjoying the feel of each other's arms around one another. We arrive at Jake's house in a matter of mere minutes, and we both crawl out of the backseat. After slight debating, the guys convinced me into going inside while they took everything inside. But before I went in, I sneaked my gym bag, and took it with me. I knocked on the door, and soon heard footsteps on the other side.
"Who is it?" Jennifer calls out.
"It's Isa, can you open the door for me?"
"Hang on!" she says as she unlocks the door and swings it open, "hi!"
"Hey you," I greet her as I pick her up and balance her against my hip.
"Be careful, baby," Jake says as he walks up behind me.
"I know, I got her. She's as light as a feather."
"Honey, get down, you're going to hurt, Isabella."
"Stop worrying, geez. I got her," I say as I start making my way towards the family room.
"What did I do?" Robert asks as he chuckling slightly.
"Nothing, dad, you just added onto my previous bugging."
I hear them both laugh, and I turn around to glare at them, causing Jennifer to giggle. When they turn around to see me glaring, they immediately stop, and rush upstairs with my stuff. I smile, satisfied with the outcome. I walk inside the family room, and plop down on the couch, careful not to hurt Jennifer's legs.
"Do you want to finish playing?" she asks me.
"I'd love to, but first, your brother and I have to go out. There's something I need to take of before I can do anything else."
"Okay. Are you going now?"
"I think so. I'm just going to change into some clothes of my own first."
"Okay. I'll be waiting for you."
"We'll be back as soon as possible."
"Tell Jake to drive safely."
"I will, sweetie," I tell her as I press a kiss to her forehead, "I'll be back soon."
She nods her head and I get up, setting her down on the couch. I make my way towards the door, and I start climbing the stairs. I bump into Robert half way up.
"Oh, I was just coming to get you. Jake's waiting for you in his room, sweetie," he says.
He smiles and nods his head, before continuing down as I continue up. I walk down the hallway and stop outside Jake's door. I knock, and wait until he calls out for me to come in before I open it. I see him sitting in front of his computer, his right hand resting on the mouse. He looks at me and smiles as he rolls his chair back slightly. He pats his lap, and I walk closer to him. When I reach him, I lower myself sideways onto his lap. I place an arm around his neck, and he wraps his around my waist. I turn to look towards his computer screen, and I see that he's flipping through our photo album that we made on his computer. He stops on one where we're standing together, him behind me with his arms around my waist, his hands clasped together on my stomach. My hands are resting on top oh his, and his lips are pressed against my cheek, both of our eyes closed-a look of pure bliss on our faces.
"I love this picture of us," I whisper, "we look so in love."
"Well, we are, aren't we?" he asks playfully, and I turn to look at him.
"Are you saying that I'm not?"
"I...I don't know...you are now...but who knows..."
"You should know better than that."
"I know...I'm sorry..." I get up from his lap and walk away a few feet, my back to him.
"Baby, what's wrong?" he asks, his arms wrapping around my waist from behind.
"I'm so afraid."
"Of us-of you. I'm afraid that it's just a beautiful dream that's going to crash down on me. I don't want to go back to living in that nightmare that my life was-is. I don't want to lose what we have. But I'm so afraid that you're going to realize how much better you can do, and you're going to leave me. I can't stand that thought of that. You're my only escape...you're the only one who makes everything okay. Without you, I have no reason to wake up every morning."
"Sweetheart, you don't have to be afraid of us, or of me. I'm not in line to snap in half and hurt you, I swear. If I thought there was even a remote chance of that happening, I'd walk away now. But, I'm not planning on walking away now, or ever. You're it for me. From the moment I saw you, I knew there was something special underneath all of the dark make up and black clothes," he whispers, and I giggle slightly as I picture myself in those times, "I knew from then that you were the girl I wanted to spend all my time with. You'd think I was stalking you or something..."
"You did give me that impression once or twice," I whisper playfully as he turns me around to face him.
"I just wanted to know everything about you. I still do."
"You do know everything about me," I whisper and he smiles.
"I'm glad. I love you, Isabella."
"I love you, too. I'm sorry I went into all of that."
"Don't be. I'm glad you got that off of your chest. It's not good for you to keep feelings bottled up, so promise me that if something's bothering you, you'll talk to me about it right away."
"I promise," I whisper.
He pulls me into his arms, and kisses the top of my head. His hands run up and down my back, and I sigh, cuddling into his embrace.
"Is there any way that I can convince you not to go talk to your dad?" he asks, and I shake my head, "I didn't think so."
"Will you still take me, or-"
"Of course, baby. That is, as long as you keep your part of the promise."
He pulls back enough to cup my face, and looks into my eyes. I see his eyes roam the features of my face-my cheeks, my nose, my lips-before settling back on my eyes, meeting my gaze. Slowly, he began to lean closer to me. I instinctively let my eyes flutter closed, and tilted my head to a slight angle. His lips gently covered mine. There was no movement-just a pressed kiss to my lips. The simple gesture showed more than words could've managed. The kiss showed me patience, understanding, love, care, and support. We pull away from each other, and he pulls me into his arms, cradling my head in his chest.
"Jake," I whisper.
"Tell-" he cuts me off.
"I love you," he whispers, holding me slightly tighter.
Those are the only words I need to hear to know everything's okay. It was one of the few things that he could say that made my world okay.
"I love you, too," I whisper quietly.
"I know," he pulls away to look at my face, "I'll wait for you downstairs, okay? I'm assuming you want to change."
"Okay. I'm going to go sit with Jen while I wait, then."
"Okay. I'll be down in a few minutes."
"Take your time. I'm not rushing you," he says.
I smile at him, and nod my head. He places a soft kiss on my forehead, before proceeding to walk towards the door. He steps out, and closes it softly behind him. I run my hands through my hair as I move towards the bed. I unzip the suitcase that's sitting on it, and I begin to rummage through it, looking for a particular black shirt. Once finding it, I set it aside, and went back to rummaging. I grabbed the pair of jeans I was fishing for, and set them aside, as well. I pulled out the necessary undergarments, and closed the suitcase, once again zipping it. I slowly slipped out of the clothes I was wearing, and pulled on the new clothes I'd just found in my suitcase. I sit on the edge of the bed, and pull on my black Vans, tying the hot pink shoelaces. I walk towards the bathroom to stand in front of the mirror and I frown at the dark bruise high on my left cheekbone. It was more than obvious someone had hit me. That was a given just by looking at my face.
I make my way to the bedroom again, and walk over to where my gym bag was sitting. I unzip it, and pull out my make up bag, before making my way to the bathroom again. I sit my bag on the counter, and open it, putting the contents of it on the counter. I camouflage the bruise as much as I can with my pale skin with cover up. I add a dark shadowy look to my eyelids to help blend the dark shadow of the bruise against my skin. I reached into my bag, and grabbed my dark red lipstick. I carefully applied it, before putting everything back, and grabbed my bag. I flipped off the light switch, and walked into Jake's bedroom. I put my bag back where I'd gotten it from, and left his bedroom. Before I made my way down the stairs, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I gasped at what I saw. How could I have not noticed? Suddenly, the memory flooded my thoughts.
"What are you wearing??" he snarls at me as he walks into the kitchen.
I look down at my appearance, slightly confused. What was wrong with what I was wearing? Simple jeans, a black shirt, and my black Vans; what was the problem? When I looked back up, I gasped and subconsciously took a step back when I found daddy standing next to me, glaring down at me. I close the faucet, and pull my hands out of the sink where I'd filled up cold water to wash the dishes with.
"I don't mean your clothes, stupid. I mean this," as he says this, he roughly grabs my face, and it suddenly dawns on me that he's talking about my dark red lipstick.
I look at him as he narrows his eyes at me, and suddenly, they widen-and his grasp on my face tightens as he sinks his thumb and forefinger into my cheeks.
"This is your mothers, isn't it?"
"N-no! Of course not, daddy...I got it yesterday-"
"LIAR!" he roars and I shake my head frantically.
"Daddy, I swear! I bought it yesterday!"
"How many times have I told you that colors like that are for trashy women?? You listen to me Isabella, I will not have people knowing that you're just like your mother!"
Before I can reply, he lets go of my face, and grabs me by the hair, and pushes my face into the cold water. I gasp loudly and my eyes open wide as I struggle. He holds me down a few seconds, before pulling me back by my hair. By this time, I'm sobbing, begging him to stop. This seems to anger him more, and he doesn't even let me stop talking before he dunks my face back in the water. This causes me to swallow water, and I panic, as I feel that I can't breathe. Suddenly, he yanks me back, and pushes me onto the floor as I cough violently, trying to refill my lungs with air.
"Isabella!" someone yells, and I feel hands grip my shoulders.
As someone shakes me, I scream and pull back in panic. I hit the wall and slide down, crying as I put my head between my knees, my hands clasped over my head. A hand on my arm makes me tremble violently, and I coil tighter in my little shell.
"Baby, it's me..." I hear, and I quickly look up.
When Jake's face comes into view, I don't waste any time. I throw myself into his arms, wrapping my arms around his neck, clutching his shirt tightly in my fists and I sob.
"Honey, what's wrong? What happened?" he asks gently as he holds me tightly.
"He hated this color...he was trying to drown me...he was hurting me..." I cry.
"That's over now, baby. You're safe now, you're with me."
"I have to take this off..." I pull away from him.
I begin trying to frantically wipe away the lipstick with my hands, before Jake stops me.
"Don't move," he whispers.
He gets up and quickly makes his way to the bathroom. I hear opening and closing of cabinets, and moments later, Jake makes his way back to me. He kneels down next to me again and gingerly wipes at my lips with an unscented baby wipe. He gently holds my face with one hand, as he removed my lipstick, also wiping away my tears.
"Thanks..." I whisper.
"Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. I don't know how that happened...one minute I was here, the next I was back at home, with /him/," I closed my eyes and leaned into him, "that time he dunked my face in the water...because I was wearing-"
"Shh," he whispers, "it's over now. Don't think about it anymore."
"You're right, I'm sorry."
"Don't be. Do you still want to go?"
"Yes...now more than ever."
"Okay. I want you to have something to drink before we go. You need to calm down," he says as he pulls me up onto my feet.
I nod my head, and let him pull me down the stairs, and into the kitchen. Claire's sitting at the kitchen table with Robert when we walk in. I notice an open manila folder in front of Robert.
"Oh, honey, are you okay?" Claire asks immediately.
"Yes, I'm fine."
"Good. You gave us quite a scare," Robert says.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to."
"That's quite alright. I'm glad you're okay."
I give him a little smile before Jake hands me a cup of water. He pulls out a chair for me, and motions for me to sit down. I sit down, and Robert puts a hand over mine.
"Sweetie, there's something I need to tell you," he says.
"What is it?"
"I'm going to be representing you in court. I'm not sure if you know this, but you need to testify against your father in court."
"I know," I whisper as I look down.
"Everything will be okay, you know that, right?" he says, and I nod, "I'll make sure of that."
"I know, thank you."
"You're more than welcome."
I look up at him and smile slightly. He pats my hand, and I drink the water Jake poured for me. I feel his hands settle on my shoulders, and he massages them gently, relaxing me.
"Are you ready to go, baby?" Jake asks.
"Yeah," I say as I stand up.
"Where are you going?"
"Just to the park, we're going to take a long walk and talk about some things," Jake answers before I can.
"Oh okay. Well, have fun. And be careful, it'll be getting dark soon."
"I know. Don't worry, we'll be back in a while. C'mon, baby."
We say our good byes to both Claire and Robert, and we make our way towards the front door. Jake opens it for me, before pulling it closed, and locking it. He clasps his hand in mine, and we walk to his truck. Once he unlocks the door, he opens it and helps me in. I scoot towards them middle while we walks around to his side of the truck. He hops in as I buckle my seatbelt, and he buckles in. Putting the key in the ignition, he starts the truck. The entire ride to the county jail, I'm leaning against him, mentally preparing myself for what's about to happen.
As we finally pull up the parking lot, I look over at the building. I look down at my fidgeting hands, and I bite my bottom lip. Jake puts his arm around me, and pulls me towards him. He kisses the top of my head, and whispers in my ear that everything will be alright. I nod my head in agreement, and holds me slightly tighter before letting me go. We both unbuckle our seatbelts, and we hop out of the truck. He holds my hand as we walk in through the double doors. I see two police officers sitting at either door, watching closely everyone that walks in. We make our way to the desk at the front.
"Good evening, ma'am. My name's Isabella Thompson...would it be possible for me to have a few moments with my father? He was brought in yesterday. His name is Timothy Thompson."
"One second, please."
I nod my head, and she turns slightly to type information into the computer. After a few moments, she picks up her walkie-talkie, and speaks into it.
"Officer Gibson, this is officer Lopez at the front desk. I need Timothy Thompson, number 3452, to be sent to the visiting area, escorted by two officers. He is not to be left alone there under any circumstances, is that understood?"
She turns to me as she sets the walkie-talkie down.
"He should be down in about five minutes. If you go down this hallway, and take your first right, you'll see the visiting area. You're not allowed to be with him alone, but you may have some privacy. If anything unusual is taken notice of, he will be removed immediately for your own safety."
"Okay, thank you."
Jake leads me down towards the visiting area, and another officer lets us in. When I walk in, he's already sitting at a table, handcuffs around his wrists. Jake moves to follow me, but I motion for him to stay where he is. He hesitates before nodding. I slowly make my way towards the table where he sits, and I sit down in front of him. I look at his bruised face, and I look down. When I look back up at him, he's glaring at me. He always knew how to intimidate me.
"Are you happy now?" he snarls.
"I found the pictures. Her pictures...is that why? Is that you hate me so much?"
"What are you talking about?"
"The pictures of mom, I found them. We're nearly identical. That's why you hate me, isn't it?"
"You're stupid. Is that the only reason you came?" he asks.
"Answer me!" I said, my voice suddenly cold.
"Yes! Do you think it's easy living with someone that's the spitting image of someone that left me?! And not only do you look like her, you act just like her! The way you talk, the way you walk, the way you throw yourself at men. Why else would I hate you?"
"That isn't fair, daddy," I whisper as tears begin to roll down my face, "I did nothing to you. I did nothing to deserve this. All I ever wanted was for you to love me...just the way you used to. And I still want that..." I slowly rest my hand on top of his, "I forgive you, daddy."
"Just because you forgive me doesn't mean I'll stop hating you."
He pushes my hand away with a violent fling, and stands up. He walks away, and the officers escort him out the door. I watch him leave as more tears roll down my face. The rude gesture isn't what affected me-no, it wasn't that. It was his words. The words I was dreading to hear were now replaying themselves in my head.