Fighting to be free, p.11
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       Fighting to Be Free, p.11

         Part #1 of Fighting to Be Free series by Kirsty Moseley
 

  Her eyes widened. “Well, are you all right? What did the doctor say? And why did you tell me you were sick?” she asked, stroking my fingers softly.

  “I didn’t want you to see me like this, and yes, I’m fine, the doctor said I was fine. Just bruises and a couple of tiny fractures,” I replied dismissively.

  She winced. “Fractures? Like broken bones? Where? What the hell?”

  “A couple of fingers and ribs, that’s all. They’ll heal on their own; it’s no big deal.”

  She stepped forward and went up on her tiptoes to kiss me, but she still wasn’t tall enough. I smiled and pressed my lips to hers lightly. She tasted delicious. It was like torture, and I wished with every bone in my body that I was different, that I deserved her attention and sympathy, but I didn’t.

  She pulled back after a second or two. “You’re really okay?” she whispered. I nodded in confirmation. “Is there anything I can do?” she asked, trailing her fingers over my cheek and jaw softly.

  “No, it’s fine, I promise,” I replied, closing my eyes, enjoying her touch.

  “Oh, well, never mind then. I was going to offer to kiss it better, but if you’re fine then I won’t,” she teased, smiling playfully.

  “Well, it hurts a little,” I admitted, playing along.

  She grinned and led me over to the bed, guiding me to sit on the edge. Her hands went to the bottom of my T-shirt and carefully lifted it over my head, gasping as she caught sight of my body. Her eyes filled with tears again.

  “Jamie, this looks awful! The doctor honestly said it was okay?” she asked, clearly horrified as she sat on the bed next to me. I glanced down at myself. The bruises had worsened since I dressed this morning, and almost my whole upper body was now shades of red and purple. She groaned as she moved to look at my back. “Jeez, Jamie, your back’s even worse,” she said quietly.

  My eyes fluttered closed as she leaned in and planted a soft kiss on my back. The attention from her felt so nice that I forgot the pain. But as her fingers trailed tenderly across the healed scars, revulsion washed over me. When her lips pressed against one of them I pulled away from her and grabbed my T-shirt, disgusted with myself.

  “Sorry. Did I hurt you?” she asked, wincing apologetically.

  I shook my head quickly, frowning. “No, you didn’t hurt me. I just don’t want you to think you have to do that, it’s not nice for you to do that.” Her pretty mouth shouldn’t be anywhere near my disgusting body.

  She frowned and gripped my shirt just as I was about to pull it back over my head. “I don’t understand, what’s this about then? Your scars?” she asked quietly.

  I groaned. I didn’t want to have this conversation. “Ellie, look, just leave it, all right?”

  She shook her head and pulled the shirt from my hands, throwing it on the chair. Her hand went to my shoulder and she pushed gently, her intention clear. I sighed and allowed her to push me down onto my back. She raised herself up onto her knees and straddled me, but she was obviously being careful not to touch me in case she hurt me. She leaned over me, resting her forearms on either side of my head, our faces inches apart.

  “I know you don’t want to talk about it, I can see that, and that’s fine. But you shouldn’t keep thinking that there’s something wrong with your body, Jamie. Honestly, you are sexy as hell.” She looked directly into my eyes as she spoke.

  She can’t really think that, though, no one in their right mind can look at that mess and find it sexy.

  “Ellie, I know I’m not—” I started, but she put her hand over my mouth, stopping me from talking.

  “You’re not listening to me. These scars”—she sat up and trailed her fingers over my chest gently—“they make you who you are. I don’t know what happened to you, or how you got these, but you’re still here. You survived all of that, and it’s made you the person who you are today. It didn’t beat you; in fact, it probably made you stronger. These don’t make you any less attractive. Believe me, stud, every single inch of your body makes my mouth water.” She blushed, chewing on her lip.

  As I looked into her eyes I could see the truth there: She actually wasn’t bothered by my scars at all. My heart sped because of how incredible she was. I cupped her face in my hands and pulled her down to kiss me. After a gentle kiss, she pulled away and placed soft kisses down my neck before trailing them over my chest and stomach, running her tongue across my scars. I closed my eyes, soaking up her attention. My whole body was alight with sensation, and I had honestly never been this happy in my whole pathetic life.

  I was so freaking hot for her it was unbelievable. She pulled away and lay next to me on the bed. “Better?” she asked, raising an eyebrow as her fingers tickled patterns across my chest.

  I nodded. Heck yeah it was better; that acceptance from her had meant everything. “Yeah, thanks.” I brushed her hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear, marveling over her flawless complexion and her compassion. Her bringing me food and medicine because she thought I was sick was easily the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me. I’d only known her for three days. “So, did you change the ringtone that Stacey put on your cell?”

  She giggled and shook her head. “Not yet, but I will.”

  “Let’s hear it,” I suggested, laughing as I grabbed my phone from the side table and dialed her number quickly; she gasped and tried to snatch it from my hand. I gripped her wrist as her hand closed around my phone, trying to disconnect the call. She was giggling as I pressed my lips to hers, waiting for the song to start playing.

  “I … I … I … I can make your bed rock” started blasting from her schoolbag.

  I burst out laughing as she pulled the pillow from under her head and put it over her face, chuckling as the song continued to blast in the background.

  “ ‘I can make your bed rock’?” I asked, smirking. I’d only heard this song once before, I think it was by Young Money, or something like that anyway.

  “The chorus is worse,” she whined, lifting the pillow. Her face was an adorable shade of red and I couldn’t resist bending my head and capturing her lips with mine while the song continued in the background—something about my room being a G-spot and “call me Mr. Flintstone.”

  We made out for about half an hour, and then she sighed and pouted. “I should go, my parents will be wondering where I am.”

  “So, you free Friday night?” I asked hopefully.

  Her nose scrunched up. “I can’t, Friday’s game night.”

  “Huh?” I asked, wondering what sport she would play.

  “I’m head cheerleader for the football team.” She shrugged.

  “Wait, back up a little … I’m screwing a cheerleader?” I groaned at the thousand lustful thoughts of her in a little cheer uniform. “You have a uniform?” I could feel myself getting excited at the thought alone.

  She nodded, rolling her eyes. “What is it with guys and cheer uniforms?” she teased, trailing little kisses across my cheek.

  “Seriously, Ellie, you wear those little gym shorts under your skirt?” I asked, my voice filled with lust.

  She laughed against my neck. “Yeah, but they’re called spankies, not gym shorts.”

  “What color are they?” I gripped her tighter, pinning her to me as she went to get up. I ignored the pain in my hands.

  “Well, why don’t you come to the game Friday? Maybe I’ll let you see my spankies up close,” she purred.

  “Yeah? I’d love to watch you shake your … pom-poms,” I answered immediately.

  She giggled before pushing herself off me, bending to retrieve her schoolbag. “I need to go. So I’ll see you Friday then. Game starts at seven on my school’s field. I’ll be on the sidelines if you want to come say hello.”

  “I’ll walk you to your car.”

  Suddenly she gasped and her eyes widened in apparent excitement. “Oh wait, I almost forgot the reason I wanted to see you today!” she gushed. I watched, confused, as she dug around in her schoolbag. “
I stole something from you yesterday when I left.”

  Stole something? Did I even have anything worth stealing? From her bag she produced my ripped photo.

  “Why did you take that?” I asked, swallowing the lump in my throat at the sight of the ruined photo of my sister.

  “I needed it so I could do this.” She grinned, holding out a white envelope.

  “What is it?”

  “Open it and see.” She shook the envelope at me, urging me to take it.

  Taking it from her hand, I opened it, curious. When I saw what was inside my heart leaped into my throat. The photo of Sophie. My chest tightened as I struggled to breathe. This photo was the only thing in the world that mattered to me, the only thing of any value, and when I’d seen that it had been ripped I’d felt like I’d lost her all over again.

  How the hell could this girl who I’d known for three days do something like this for me? She barely knew me, yet she went to all this trouble. She blew my mind and left me speechless.

  Ellie pointed one slender finger at Sophie’s face. “I couldn’t get the line to go completely, and the hole at the bottom looks a little … strange,” she said quietly.

  I raked my eyes over it slowly; the photo looked almost perfect to me.

  “How did you do this?” My voice was barely above a whisper.

  “I used Photoshop.” She shrugged dismissively, as if doing the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me was no big deal.

  I’d never had anyone think of me like that before and, to be honest, I didn’t know what to do or say. I wasn’t used to being treated nicely.

  “Thank you.” The words just didn’t seem to be enough. When my eyes started to prickle, I looked away from the photo. I never cried. I probably hadn’t cried since I was about seven years old. Crying didn’t get you anywhere; you just had to suck it up and deal with what life threw at you.

  “You’re welcome. I could tell you were upset about it. There’s a flash drive in the envelope too, so you can get more copies if you want.” She bit her lip as if unsure of herself. “Well, maybe I’ll see you Friday then?” She turned, grabbing the door handle to leave.

  My heart took off at the thought of her being outside here alone. “Hey, wait! Don’t go out there on your own. I’ll walk you.” I reached out, holding the door closed.

  She rolled her eyes and smiled. “My, aren’t we a gentleman.”

  “I’m not a gentleman; I just don’t want you to get hurt by the scum that live in this building.” I pulled my T-shirt over my head quickly and slipped on my sneakers. After grabbing my keys, I pushed the photo into my pocket and took her hand.

  As we walked out of the building, I glared warningly at the guy who immediately started checking Ellie out, and pulled her closer to me as a prostitute stood up, smiling at me seductively. “No thanks,” I said, shaking my head quickly before she could proposition me. Ellie chuckled as she led us over to an old lime-green Volkswagen Beetle.

  “This is the car your grandfather left you that’s always breaking down?” I asked, smiling.

  “Yeah. I love my car, but it’s not too good when she refuses to start.” She patted the roof affectionately.

  “Well, it just so happens I’m pretty good with all things mechanical. I’m only a call away, and I take payment in kind,” I said suggestively, pushing her against the side of the car gently and pressing my body against hers. A smile graced her lips as her hand slid around my waist and down to my ass, pulling me even closer. “Thank you for the photo.”

  “No problem.”

  She smiled, tilting her head up in clear invitation of a kiss. Smiling back, I obliged, slanting my mouth over hers and kissing her passionately. All I wanted to do was carry her back up to my room, lock the door, and never leave … but that couldn’t happen because her parents would worry if she didn’t get home soon. With a sigh, I pulled away and opened the car door for her.

  “Ellie, promise me you won’t ever come here again,” I instructed. She rolled her eyes in response, clearly not understanding how bad this area was. “I’m serious. This is important, you don’t come here again, I mean it!” I looked her right in the eyes, wanting to make sure she understood.

  “Okay, Jamie, whatever you want,” she replied, going up on tiptoes and pressing a kiss to my bruised jaw before climbing in the car.

  Closing her door, I stepped back as she started the engine, applying plenty of gas before it roared to life. While I watched her drive up the road and disappear from sight, I couldn’t contain my smile. I had never been this happy before, and it was all down to this girl.

  CHAPTER 10

  WEDNESDAY PASSED THE same as Tuesday. I didn’t really do much, just rested as much as possible so that if I was working on Thursday, I wouldn’t be suffering too badly. Taping my two broken fingers together seemed to stop them from throbbing as much, which I was grateful for.

  On Thursday morning I made my way to the junkyard, praying that this would work out. When I walked into the office, Connor turned to me, smiling. His face fell almost immediately once he caught sight of me, his mouth dropping open in shock as his eyes widened. “Whoa, what the fuck happened to you?”

  I’d already decided to lie and try to play up that this wasn’t my fault, in a bid to keep our agreement open. “I got mugged. I’m okay,” I lied, shrugging.

  “Damn. Did they catch the guy?” he asked, pulling a chair over for me to sit in.

  I waved it off with a flick of my hand. “I’ll stand, I’m all right. No, they didn’t catch him.”

  “Well, that’s bad luck. They get anything?” he asked, sounding concerned.

  “Just my wallet,” I lied.

  “There are some real assholes around here now. This used to be a nice area.” He sighed.

  “So, how’d the auction go?” I asked eagerly, wanting to change the subject.

  A smile crossed his face as he walked around the back of his desk and sat down. “It went great, actually. Car sold for almost eight hundred bucks. We only bought it for fifty, so …” He smiled, reaching into his desk drawer and pulling out a lockbox. He opened it and started to count out bills. “There’s three hundred and fifty for you.” He slid the pile of bills across the desk to me. “My dad loved the idea, he wanted to know when you can have another one done by.”

  I resisted the urge to jump up and whoop with excitement. “I could have one ready by next Wednesday, definitely,” I told him, grinning ecstatically. Everything seemed to be working out perfectly.

  “That’s great. How about we have a monthlong trial? If it works out I’ll put you on the books,” he offered.

  “Yeah, whatever you want,” I agreed, still grinning wildly. If I worked hard, I should be able to get about two cars done a week. If I could get them to sell for the same price as this one, I would be earning decent money.

  “Great. This was a really good idea, thanks for bringing it to us. Dad was thrilled with how it went.”

  I stood and nodded, shoving the cash into my pocket. “Guess I’d better get to work then, huh? Thanks for this, Connor, and thank your dad for me, too.” My body finally seemed to relax. Maybe things would work out after all. “Hey, want to grab a drink tonight to celebrate?”

  “I’m there,” Connor answered immediately.

  As I headed out to choose the next car from the line to work on, I couldn’t keep the proud smile off my face.

  * * *

  On Friday night I pulled up in the parking lot of Ellie’s school, excited to see her again. We’d exchanged a few texts over the last two days, but I hadn’t spoken to her since Tuesday, when we’d arranged this date—well, technically it couldn’t be classified as a date, considering she didn’t actually want to date me.

  Climbing out of my truck, I took a deep, calming breath. I looked a mess, I knew I did. Ellie would probably take one look at me, with my fading bruises, in my plain black T-shirt and jeans, and pretend she didn’t know me in front of her friends. Part of me actually hoped s
he would because the more time I spent with this girl, the more I liked her, and that wouldn’t end well because she wasn’t interested in a relationship. Even if she were interested, I wasn’t good enough for her anyway.

  I sighed and followed the crowd around the back of her school to the large football field. The bleachers on both sides were filling up rapidly. It seemed like the whole school was here, with parents, too.

  I headed to the fifty-yard line, trying to find a seat where I would have a clear view of Ellie shaking her perfect little behind.

  After a few minutes the cheerleaders came jogging out, jumping around and shouting, exciting the crowd. My eyes found Ellie immediately in her little red skirt and red-and-white top, which clung to her breasts and showed off her flat stomach. Her hair was pulled up into a neat bun; in her hands were red and white pom-poms. My eyes widened. The uniform was hotter than I’d dared imagine it would be.

  The cheerleaders huddled, talking for a moment before they broke apart and spread out, launching into their very well practiced dance routine. I watched in awe as she did all kinds of flips and leg kicks; they were dancing and throwing each other
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