Ignite Page 5

’’You know, it\s impossible for someone\s lips to get that big on their own, right?’’ I told Jaxon.

’’Shut up, Sara,’’ he murmured without taking his eyes off the screen.

The bimbo babysitter eventually gave the man-child a sticker and ordered pizza. A few seconds later - and wow, that was a fast delivery - a blonde woman in an equally skimpy pizza delivery outfit knocked on the door.

’’Did someone order... pizza?’’ she asked, winking on the last word at the two of them. What the f*k?

’’Oh, please do come inside. I was just rewarding this good boy for his great behaviour,’’ replied the red head who was now rubbing her breasts with a manicured hand.

Quickly knowing where this was going, I stood up and looked away from the screen. ’’I\m going home, Jaxon.’’

He barely batted me an eye as I walked out of the room.

’’Where is the charger?’’ I asked him.

’’Bedroom.’’

Going into his bedroom, I found the charger on his dresser among other suspicious electronic devices. I could see no receipt. Hearing the moans erupting from the TV, I quickly left the house, shuddering at the things some guys watched.

As I arrived to the front door of my house, I could hear laughter from inside. I stopped breathing and put my ear against the door. I could make out my mother\s voice. And his. My skin crawled at the familiarity of it. Going in was the last thing I wanted to do, but I had no choice in the matter.

Walking in, the talking immediately ceased. He was seated on the couch in a dirty white singlet and jeans. He looked fatter than before and had grown a light beard around his large face. But I wasn\ paying attention to his overall appearance. It was his eyes;those same brooding, dark eyes that fell over me and made me feel like I\d been kicked down to the ground by hate.

’’Well, lookie who showed up,’’ he slurred, pointing the tip of his beer bottle at me. ’’Lookin\ real good there, doll. Come and give your daddy a kiss hello.’’

My feet momentarily would not budge. They weighed a ton as I slowly made my way over to him. Mom was nearly passed out beside him, half a cigarette lit in between her fingers. I accidentally knocked a few empty beer bottles over on the floor, and peered down to see that the tiles already had mud stains and cigarette butts all over the place. The smell was positively revolting.

I stopped a few feet away, staring at him with a chill that I was sure he could feel. ’’How long do you intend on sticking around this time?’’ I asked, not bothering to hide the bitterness in my tone.

He laughed, eyeing my body. ’’I\m gonna stick around til my heart\s content, little thing, and lookin\ at my grown up daughter, I\m thinkin\ I\m gonna enjoy hangin\ about.’’

’’Yeah, I bet you are,’’ I retorted, eyeing Mom plopped half consciously beside him. ’’Back to doing what you do best - destroying Mom like the nothing you are.’’

His eyes widened, and that familiar fury erupted out of them. So his anger hadn\ improved much. Go figure.

He made an attempt to get up, but in his half drunken state, he couldn\ seem to balance long enough. I was long gone at that point, running up the stairs to my bedroom. I shut the door in and locked it. A few minutes later the knob rattled. I never thought that putting a lock on it was going to be useful, but I was glad I was wrong.

’’Yeah, you hide in there, you little thing,’’ he grumbled, scratching at the door. He put all his weight against it, rattling the knob repeatedly. ’’You can\ hide in there forever.’’

I rolled my eyes. What was this drunken asshole going to do from across a locked door? I plugged my new phone into its charger and plopped down onto the mattress on the floor. I watched the door in complete darkness. Watched him rattle away until he growled in anger and stalked off.

*****

His shouting woke me up. And her crying.

I sat up and listened in on the tornado below. My heart was already thumping erratically, like it used to. I crawled over and grabbed the cell phone from its charger and turned on the phone. It was half past midnight.

The sound of a loud crash had me shaking. It sounded like glass.

’’Yeah, you f*kin\ bitch!’’ he roared. ’’Nothin\ but a whore! Why did I even bother to come back here to your whorin\ ass? Left the Jackals for this shit?!’’

I dialled Jaxon\s number, trying to steady my shaking fingers. My anxiety and fear were through the roof.

’’Yeah?’’ he answered.

’’Hey, it\s me,’’ I whispered, gripping the phone tightly.

’’What is it?’’ His voice went dead serious, no doubt recognizing the fear in my voice.

’’I just need to hear your voice.’’

’’Get your fat f*kin\ ass up and clean this mess, you dumb slut!’’

’’What\s going on?’’ Jaxon demanded. ’’Why is that asshole screaming?’’

’’He\s just doing what he does best,’’ I said, attempting to keep the tears at bay. ’’I just need a familiar voice.’’

’’You\ e scared.’’ When I didn\ respond, he sighed. ’’Sara, if you\ e scared, tell me now. I can be over there in a heartbeat-’’

’’No,’’ I interrupted. ’’That would make things worse. He would explode and take it out on her. Just talk to me.’’

’’About what?’’

’’About anything.’’

I heard heavy creaks just outside the door. I huddled into the corner, pulling my knees to my chest, watching the door. I couldn\ stop shaking, and my bladder suddenly felt heavy. No. Surely not. He could not make me wet my bed at 17 years of age!

The door rattled.

’’Jaxon,’’ I whimpered, ’’are you there?’’

’’I\m here,’’ he said softly. ’’What\s happening, Sara?’’

I jumped at the sudden loud bang against the bedroom door.

’’Still got this door locked, eh, little thing?’’ he roared. ’’Open it right now! You\ e going to get your lazy ass up and help your whore of a mother clean up that f*king mess! RIGHT NOW!’’

’’Sara?’’

I didn\ say a word. I didn\ move either. For some reason I thought that not making one bit of noise would somehow embed me into the wall and the monster would forget all about me. H didn\ . Instead, he began ramming into the door, screaming for me to open it, cursing at the top of his lungs that I would be sorry if I didn\ . I looked around the room as if expecting an invisible door to show up out of thin air to whisk me away.

By the fourth slam, the lock cracked and the door swung open. His tall, wide frame took up the doorway. He was seething in anger, panting deeply as the cords in his throat thickened.

’’Sara?’’ Jaxon sounded really concerned now, but he was barely audible in my ear. I faintly heard the sound of keys jingling on his end.

The monster raced forward, and I closed my eyes, mentally preparing myself for his violent onslaught. He screamed for me to get up, but then picked me up sharply by the arm, squeezing me tightly. He whipped the phone out of my hand and threw it against the wall, knocking the plaster off with it. He brought me forward, so close to his face that I could smell the cigarettes and alcohol on his breath.

’’Stupid little slut like your mother. Bet you\ e just as easy as her too, huh?’’ He grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and yanked down hard. I flew forward, only managing to not completely fall because of his other tight grip around my arm. The back of my neck stung.

He dragged me out of the bedroom, and it was only near the stairwell that I began to wake up. He couldn\ do this to me. How dare he! Why should I allow him the control?

’’Get your hands off of me!’’ I found myself screaming. ’’I\ll call the f*kin\ cops, you sick f*k!’’

I shouldn\ have said that. Not when I was at the top of the stairwell.

He threw me forward, and I fell hard, face first, tumbling down them like a bag of bones. Pain erupted everywhere, but mostly to my right shoulder and head. Everything went black for a few seconds, and my head felt like it was swimming. I blinked my eyes open, and the searing pain grew worse by the second.

Before I could even recover myself, he was over me, screaming incoherent words into my ears. I was too dizzy to understand and my vision was blurry. I felt my body being forced up, dragged again by his tight grip on my arm into the hallway. I was shoved back down, and felt sharp pieces of glass beneath me.

Mom cried harder from somewhere, but made no move to me. He screamed, ’’Clean it up, bitch! Clean it up!’’ over and over again.

Screaming and cries filled my ears, and then the sound of a nearby door opening. Hands suddenly wrapped around my waist and pulled me up. There was nothing rough about these ones.

’’Sara?’’ Jaxon\s voice filled my ears. Was he really here? Or was I imagining it?

The monster screamed at him to get out of his house, shoving Jaxon back so suddenly, I would have fallen if he didn\ have me tightly wrapped in his arms. He walked us back, shouting something at the monster before sitting me down at the bottom of the stairs.

Still dizzy, I looked up in time to see two Jaxons moving dangerously close to the monster. He was shorter than him, but broader, stronger, and not at all intoxicated. ’’Don\ you ever dare touch her again,’’ Jaxon growled. ’’You\ e a worthless piece of shit.’’

The monster went to clock Jaxon for the insult. He dodged it and before I knew it, he shoved the monster against the wall and returned his own punch, hitting him hard against the face. Repeatedly. Blood erupted from the monster\s face, and Mom screamed for Jaxon to stop. I felt sick by the tone of her concern for the prick.

When he was done with him, the monster was lying flat on his back, unconscious.

Hands went on me again. ’’Get up, Sara. You\ e coming with me. Let\s pack some shit first.’’

I was beyond rattled as we hurried up the stairs to my bedroom. I was so slow and dizzy, he was practically hauling me up there himself. I showed him into the room and he turned on the light. Instantly his face fell at the sight of my room: a mattress in the corner, a tiny night table with some of my things, and the clothing rack where I kept the few clothes I had.

’’God, Sara,’’ he muttered sadly. ’’I didn\ think it was this bare.’’

He\d never seen my bedroom until then. It was the one thing I\d never wanted him to see. I didn\ want his pity.

’’Grab some clothes and things you need, like for school and shit. Hurry before that animal wakes up.’’

*****

Without the opportunity to say anything to my mother who was sprawled over my unconscious father in tears, I left with a suitcase of my belongings, and we made it back to Jaxon\s house without interruptions. He carried my bag in, throwing it randomly on the floor before returning to the car to help me out. He treated me as if I was a wounded baby animal, delicately holding me close to him as he brought me up to his room.

He sat me down on the bed and then grabbed a glass of water, some painkillers and a wet rag. Turning on the light, he sat next to me and watched me down the pills.

Silence filled the air for ages until my head finally cleared and I was a lot calmer.

’’Is there anything I can do for you? Should I get Mom?’’ he asked me, tentatively.

I looked at him and saw a face I never came across often: a sad Jaxon Barlow. There was so much emotion flooding out of his eyes, like a torchlight emitting a shine of deep pity for me.

I hated it.

’’Don\ look at me like that.’’ I glowered at him.

’’Like what?’’

’’Like I\m that poor Ugly Sara everyone used to laugh at.’’

’’I\m not laughing, Sara.’’

I sighed. ’’Don\ get your mother. I\m fine.’’

’’You look like you\ e in pain. You\ve got bruises on your arms already.’’ He lightly stroked my arm, and I looked down at what he was touching and saw the deep redness in my skin. It was going to be ugly tomorrow. ’’What\s hurting the most? Maybe I can help.’’

’’My shoulder and head,’’ I muttered, looking away from his penetrating eyes. ’’But I\ll be okay.’’

He was royally pissed. ’’I\m half tempted to go back there and beat seven more shades of shit out of him. How f*king dare he touch you.’’

’’It\s fine.’’ I shrugged and drank the rest of my water before setting it down. ’’I was stupid to think I could be there. I shouldn\ be surprised the first night he\s back the shit storm followed with him. You were right to tell me not to go back.’’

’’Am I hearing this correctly?’’ he asked, a ghost of a smile playing on his lips. He leaned forward so that his face was in front of mine. ’’Say it, so I can relish the words.’’

I fought a smile. ’’You were right, Jaxon.’’

’’Never thought I\d hear you say that, but you shouldn\ .’’ His amusement went back to a frown. ’’You wanted to be there in case something happened to your mom, but now you know she\s not your responsibility. Not with the way she treats you, Sara.’’

I nodded in return. My throat closed tight as I gulped away the sadness I felt for her. And disappointment.

’’Where does it hurt on your head?’’

I pointed to the side of my head, and he put a warm hand there, feeling the growing swell with a broken expression. ’’I\ll get you an ice pack for that. What about your shoulder?’’

I pointed to it. Since my collar was torn from the monster\s shove, Jaxon was able to pull it down my right shoulder to have a look.

’’It looks awful, Sara. You\ e going to be in for a hell of a bruising tomorrow.’’

I shrugged. ’’I\ll be fine.’’


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