Fighting to be free, p.6
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       Fighting to Be Free, p.6
 

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

  “You want me to stay the night?” I asked disbelievingly.

  He pushed himself up off the bed and walked to me in all his naked glory. I couldn’t keep my eyes off his body. “Yeah, I want you to stay the night,” he confirmed, smiling his sexy smile at me, making my stomach flutter.

  Oh, I can definitely stay the night!

  I nodded in agreement, hoping I didn’t look too eager. I didn’t want him to think I was the clingy stalker type. “Okay, I’ll just text my friend and tell her. I’m supposed to be staying at her house.” I grabbed my phone from the floor where it had been carelessly abandoned in a fit of passion, and then sent a quick message to Stacey, telling her that I’d go to her place in the morning and requesting that she leave the window unlocked for me so I didn’t have to sneak through the front door and risk getting caught by her parents.

  When I was done, I tossed my phone on the side table. Jamie was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching me with lustful eyes. I blushed when I realized I was wearing only a pair of panties. He patted the bed, and I grinned as I sauntered back over to him, swaying my hips seductively. A slow smile spread over his face as he gripped my waist and pulled me onto his lap, tickling me playfully and making me giggle and squirm. He pinned me to the bed before kissing me forcefully and starting over where we’d left off.

  CHAPTER 5

  I WOKE IN the morning with my head a little fuzzy from the alcohol and my body aching all over from our activities last night. Jamie was a lot of fun in bed and not like Miles at all. Miles was serious and dominant; he was a “Lie on your back and spread your legs” kind of guy. He never once wanted to change positions, and if I ever suggested that I be on top he refused adamantly, looking at me as if I had grown a second head.

  Jamie, on the other hand, seemed up for anything, trying out different positions and angles. He wasn’t serious at all; he was flirtatious and playful, chatting easily between sessions. After having sex for the third time we’d finally fallen asleep.

  Jamie’s arm was draped across the small of my back, pinning me to the mattress. It was a nice pressure. This was the first time I’d ever spent the night with a guy. Whenever Miles and I had been together it had been a quick fumble somewhere before we would go home. He never once stayed over, and since both of us lived with our parents that made real private time impossible.

  I carefully rolled over to look at Jamie, hoping I hadn’t had vodka goggles on last night. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw him looking just as gloriously hot as I remembered.

  Scooting closer to him, I felt his arm unconsciously wrap around me, holding me securely to his side. It was nice. When I glanced down his body, I drew in a shaky breath at what I saw. The scars that I had felt and vaguely seen last night in the dingy light after having too much to drink were really noticeable in the daylight. He had a lot of them, way too many to count. They were dotted over his torso. Most of them were small, but a couple were long, raised, and puckered and looked like they must have been deep. There were also a few little round marks that looked like old burns or something.

  I trailed my fingers over them tenderly. When I got to a big scar that stretched all the way from his right hip to halfway across his stomach, I winced and tried not to imagine the pain that this must have caused him. Unable to stop myself, I bent my head and kissed it lightly as tears burned my eyes.

  “Mmm, morning,” he mumbled sleepily. I turned to look at him, willing myself not to cry about this. Suddenly he sighed deeply and rolled so he was on top of me. “Guess you’re gonna ask me about that now, huh?” His tone was sad, resigned.

  “I want to, but if you don’t want to tell me, that’s okay,” I said quietly.

  “You want the truth or the lie?”

  “The lie,” I whispered, running my hands up his back and pulling him closer to me, touching the scars there too, wondering how this beautiful boy could have been put through so much pain.

  “I’m clumsy, I fall down a lot,” he stated, kissing my neck.

  “And now tell me the truth.” I held my breath, not even sure I wanted to know.

  He sighed and pulled back, looking at me with weary eyes. “I didn’t have a very enjoyable childhood, Ellie. The people who should have looked after me didn’t,” he said simply. I could hear the anger in his tone.

  A single tear escaped my eye even though I was trying my hardest to keep them at bay and not make this harder on him. My heart broke for him, and I just didn’t know what to say, so I pulled his face to mine and kissed him, wrapping my arms around him tightly, as if I could save him from the memory of it. He kissed me back fiercely and pulled away just as I was beginning to get breathless.

  “Don’t feel sorry for me. It was a long time ago. I don’t need your sympathy, it’s okay,” he said quietly, kissing down my neck, heading lower, his intention clear.

  When he planted an open-mouthed kiss just below my navel, I cupped his face in my hands and tilted his face so he had to look up at me. “There are no more condoms,” I teased, smirking at him.

  A devilish smile crept onto his face. “Yeah, I know, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make you scream.” He raised one eyebrow playfully as he kissed back down my body again.

  * * *

  About an hour later I was dressed in my outfit from last night, staring into the mirror distastefully. The dress was way too short and way too tight. I cringed, trying to tug the bottom down and magically make it longer.

  Jamie laughed quietly and pulled a T-shirt from a drawer, tossing it to me. “Here, you can put this on over it if you want.”

  “It’s that obvious that I look like a dirty tramp, is it?” I asked, giggling awkwardly.

  Before I could move, he grabbed my waist and pulled me flush against his body. “I think you look beautiful. Even more beautiful this morning with no makeup than you did last night, and that’s saying something, because last night you took my breath away,” he murmured before kissing me passionately.

  Oh my God, this boy is too sweet! Corny, but sweet.

  I pushed him away, laughing. “Again with the corny lines? You’re out of condoms, being corny isn’t gonna get you anywhere,” I teased, slipping his T-shirt on over my skimpy dress.

  “Well, will it get me your number?” he asked, seeming nervous.

  My number? He didn’t think this was a one-night stand? “Um, Jamie, look, you seem like a really great guy, and last night was awesome, but I’ve only just gotten out of a relationship. I’m not really interested in starting anything right now.” My experience with him had been the best time I’d ever had with a boy, but I couldn’t deal with anything heavy right now, not after Miles. I just wanted to be on my own for a while, do my own thing without having to worry or ask anyone’s permission.

  “Oh, right, yeah, okay, that’s fine.” He shifted on his feet, looking away from me as he grabbed another clean shirt from his drawer and pulled it over his head. “Come on then, I’ll drive you home,” he said quietly, ushering me out of his room. He led me a little down the street to a beat-up old pickup truck. “Sorry, bit pathetic, huh?” he said, looking embarrassed as he opened the passenger door for me. “Okay, where to?” he asked as he climbed in the driver’s side.

  I directed him to Stacey’s because that was where I was supposed to have spent last night.

  When we pulled up outside, I smiled nervously. “Well, thanks for the ride.” I shifted in my seat, unsure what else to say. I’d just had a one-night stand. Me, Ellie Pearce.

  “No problem. Here.” He handed me a piece of paper with a phone number written in extremely messy handwriting. I looked back at him, confused. He shrugged. “Just in case you ever need anything, I don’t know, a ride in a crappy pickup or something, you can call me.” He leaned over and pressed his lips against mine. I kissed him back immediately. Jamie’s kissing was out of this world. If I could, I would live right in this moment and never move.

  I pulled away after a minute or so and smiled. “I’d better go
. Thanks for last night, it was fun.”

  “Bye, Ellie.”

  I closed the door and waved good-bye as I skipped off to the side of the house. Luckily for me, Stacey had a ground-floor bedroom, plus her on-again, off-again boyfriend used her window a lot, so he’d moved a boulder beneath it to make entry easier. I climbed through the window silently. Stacey was still asleep even though it was after ten in the morning, so I slipped into bed next to her and curled up for another hour of blissful slumber.

  * * *

  Something was poking my arm. “Wake up!”

  “Ow, Stace, stop poking me, you know how easily I bruise,” I grumbled. She laughed and poked me again repeatedly until I opened my eyes.

  “Soooooo?” Her eyes twinkled with excited curiosity as she dragged the word out.

  “So, what?” I asked innocently.

  “So, that guy was so freaking hot! Was it good? Did you use protection? Where did you go? How did you get home? Are you seeing him again?” she asked, seemingly all in one breath. I sat up and stretched, yawning. “Oh, you’re wearing his shirt!” she cooed, giving me the that’s so cute face. “Come on, details! I want to know everything.”

  “Stace, jeez, slow down. Okay, yes, he was insanely hot. We went to his place. He was incredible. He drove me home, and no, I’m not seeing him again. Was there anything else?” I asked, smiling.

  Her expression resembled that of a proud mother who’d just seen her child walk for the first time. “You had a one-night stand! Oh, your first, I am so proud of you! And wow, was he hot, I could climax just thinking about him.” She laughed, fanning her face and making me laugh even harder.

  Once we were dressed, we decided to go shopping for a while. It was nice to have the day to myself for once and do things I wanted to; usually I spent Sundays with Miles, either at his house or at mine. It was wonderful to be able to just do something regular, like shopping. After hitting a few stores, we stopped at a café for a bite to eat, ordering coffee and blueberry muffins.

  “Hey, want to catch a movie tonight? You could stay at my house again; you already have your school stuff for tomorrow,” she suggested.

  I nodded. “Sure, I’ll need to call my mom and tell her, though.” I grabbed my purse, rummaging through, trying to find my phone, but it wasn’t in there. I checked my jacket, but the pockets were empty.

  “What’s up?” Stacey asked.

  “Can’t find my phone, I must have left it at your house.” I shrugged, carrying on eating.

  She whipped out her phone and dialed. After a couple of seconds her eyes widened and a wicked smile spread across her face. “Well hi, who’s this?”

  I frowned at her in question, wondering who she was talking to.

  “Right, no, this isn’t Ellie. I’m Stacey. You obviously have Ellie’s phone,” she said. “I’m sure she’d love to meet you tonight for dinner to get her phone back, Jamie.” Stacey grinned at me as she spoke. I gasped and reached to snatch the phone from her, shaking my head adamantly. I didn’t want to go and meet him. Her smile grew larger as she held up one finger, signaling for me to stop. “Absolutely, she’ll meet you there at eight then, okay.” She laughed and disconnected the call, grinning with satisfaction.

  I groaned and put my head in my hands. “Stace, I don’t want to go out on a date. Can’t I just be single for a little while without having to do stuff with a guy? What happened to girl time?”

  “Oh, come on, it’ll be fun. Plus, you said he was incredible in the sack.” She waggled her eyebrows at me suggestively. I sighed in defeat. There was no way I could deny that fact—he was awesome. “You’re going!” she insisted.

  I groaned again. I guess I had to go; I needed my phone. “Fine, whatever.”

  Stacey clapped her hands excitedly. “We should buy you a new outfit,” she chirped. I tried to ignore her enthusiasm, but as I sat there listening to her planning on doing my hair and makeup for me, I realized that I was strangely excited to see him again.

  CHAPTER 6

  JAMIE

  WHEN I DISCONNECTED the call from Ellie’s friend, I smiled to myself. I was secretly happy to discover Ellie had left her phone at my place. It meant I had an excuse to see her again. I almost couldn’t wait for tonight.

  But first I had something to do.

  I’d been avoiding this all week, but I couldn’t put it off any longer.

  When I pulled into the churchyard, I stepped out of the truck, grabbing the flowers I’d purchased and looking around helplessly. I didn’t even know where her grave was.

  An old groundskeeper was raking the dead leaves at the front of the church, so I cleared my throat to get his attention. “Can you help me find out where someone is buried?” My voice shook as I spoke, and I hoped he didn’t notice. I didn’t like to show emotion. Emotions were a weakness, something that gave people power over you, and I never wanted anyone to have power over me again.

  He looked up, pulling a red hankie from his pocket and wiping his brow with it. “Sure, let’s go to the office and have a look at the records.” He smiled kindly as he nodded over at the church.

  I followed him through the church into the little back office. “What’s the name you’re looking for?” he asked, heading over to a file cabinet.

  “Sophie Cole.” Even saying her name hurt and made me feel so much guilt that my hands were shaking. He rummaged through the cabinet and came out with a book, flipping through the pages.

  “Right, here we are. She’s buried in section C, grave number 258. Want me to show you?”

  “Um … yeah, that’d be great, thanks.” I smiled gratefully.

  We didn’t speak as I followed him out to the other side of the cemetery. With every step, the pain in my heart grew. The wind whipped the dry leaves around us as we walked, swirling them over the gravestones as if they were dancing. I took deep breaths, trying to keep my grief at bay as I followed behind the old hobbling man.

  After a few minutes he stopped in front of a little gray headstone. “Here you are. If you need anything, I’ll be around the front.”

  “Thank you,” I mumbled quietly. I waited until he walked off before looking back at the marble headstone. Placing the flowers down, I read the inscription. It was just her name, date of birth, and date of death. There was no quote or fond farewell like those that marked the neighboring headstones. My flowers sat there against the yellowing, patchy grass, looking lonely, just like I felt inside. I didn’t know what to say.

  I gulped, swallowing the lump that was rapidly forming in my throat. “I hope you’re in a better place, Soph. I’m so sorry.” My voice broke as I said the words that always formed in my head when I thought about my baby sister. When my eyes started to sting, I quickly turned on my heel and jogged back to my truck.

  I hadn’t been ready for this. This morning I thought I was, but I realized then that I wasn’t even close to being ready to let her go.

  After taking a few deep, calming breaths, I glanced at my watch. There was only a little while left before I had arranged to meet Ellie. I wouldn’t even have time for a shower. My sadness over my sister was eating me up as I drove back to my place, heading to my room and digging in my drawer for a clean shirt.

  As I stripped my old one off, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. My body disgusted me. I hated it, it made me loathe myself. I couldn’t look at it, not without thinking about my past, and I refused to do that. The past was the past.

  As I traced my finger over the biggest scar—the one that Ellie had kissed—I started to think about how it had happened. I suddenly got so angry that, before I knew what I was doing, I’d smashed my fist into the mirror, ignoring the pain in my knuckles.

  “Shit!” I grumbled, looking down at my reddened knuckles, noticing one was oozing blood. Why had I done that? I was about to go on a date, for fuck’s sake. Idiot! Still mentally cussing myself out, I stalked to the bathroom to rinse it.

  Once satisfied the bleeding had stopped, I lifted the lid of the toi
let tank. I reached in, pulling out the plastic bag that I was using to store my money. Once I’d fished out a hundred dollars, I wrapped the rest tightly in the bag, wedging it back in just above the water level. After grabbing my jacket and Ellie’s phone, I headed out.

  On the way, I stopped and bought a single red rose. She wouldn’t really want a bunch of flowers to be worrying about all night, but I figured a single one should be okay. I hoped that would be romantic even though I had no clue how to even be romantic. This was my first actual date. I had no idea what to do or say.

  As I stood outside the restaurant, which I’d chosen specifically because she’d mentioned last night while we were talking that Mexican food was her favorite, I silently cursed myself for not arranging to pick her up so she wouldn’t have to walk anywhere alone in the dark.

  A little while later a cab pulled up and out she stepped, looking like a goddess. The tight black pants she wore made her legs look long and perfect, and the belt made the white shirt she was wearing cling to her small waist. I groaned quietly and decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to meet her again; it was like torture wanting her and knowing she wasn’t interested. She was so far out of my league that we were practically on different continents. And yet I’d never longed for anything as much as I longed for her. I wanted to be good enough for her; I wanted her to want me.

  “Hey.” She smiled nervously.

  “Uh, hey, you look, um … you look … wow. I mean, you just look
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