“Move.” I was shoved roughly into the corner of the wall as Brent walked passed me down the hall. My head cracked against it hard.
“Fuck.” I hissed putting my palm on the soon to be bump. His retreating chuckle vanished when he closed his door. I took my hand away from my head to see blood and to freak out. Rushing to the bathroom I flipped the lights on and ran to the mirror. There was a huge gash with blood running down into my eye.
“Shit.” I cursed turning the water faucet on and washed the blood from my face but the blood wouldn’t stop.
“Aiden,” I heard mom call me from down stairs. Quickly I grabbed a wash towel and pressed it to the wound.
“Aiden?” She called again, I heard her footsteps coming up the stairs,
“What are you do-?” Her eyes widened when she saw me and rushed in the bathroom taking the towel away.
“Oh my god, Aiden!” She exclaimed. I put a fake smile on my face to ease her worry.
“It’s nothing mom I just tripped.” I lied. Her face was full of concern.
“Oh baby.” She reached in to the cabinet and took out the first aid kit. “Here, sit, let me do this.” She ordered tearing open a disinfectant wipe. I jerked back at the sting.
“Aiden, you’ve never so been clumsy before.” She fussed mainly talking to herself but I shrugged as she worked.
“Everyone has a clumsy moment, mom.” I joked.
“Yes, but apparently yours are dangerous.” She pulled out a roll of bandages and wrapped them around my head, covering the gash. It was throbbing bad and hurt like a bitch.
“I guess.” I stood when she was done. She put the kit back and turned to me.
“You called me earlier?” I asked remembering she needed something, her eyes widened in recollection.
“Oh yes, I wanted you to come with me to the shelter.” I instantly cringed.
I don’t know what it was about shelters but they made me feel guilty and awkward.
“I-I don’t know.” I said unsure walking down the stairs unconsciously looking out for Brent.
“Oh come on baby, I don’t want to go alone.” She pleaded from behind me. “I always get so depressed when I go to this one and I thought it would be better if I could bring you along with me.”
“What kind of shelter?” I asked once we were in the living room.
“It’s the domestic violence and abuse shelter.” I froze.
I couldn’t go there! It would just be a huge reminder of what I’m going through. What I just went through not a few minutes ago.
“With that bandage on your head you’ll fit right in.” She said with a pleading look. I gave her a flat look,
“That’s not funny mom.”
“I know.” She sighed, with her head down like a child being lectured. Letting out a soft chuckle I couldn’t say no to my dear old mom like that. I sighed,
“Fine, I’ll go.” I said reluctantly.
She lifted her head with a huge smile,
“Really, yay!” She squealed pulling me in a huge hug. Geez why is my mother so strong?
“Alright, got to breathe here.” I struggled to get out. Letting go, she ran to get her purse and grabbed my hand, dragging me to the door.
“Were leaving Brent!” She yelled before throwing me into the car. Good thing I was already dressed,
“Alright, were going to be there for an hour or so and help out. There’s this woman I always talk to, she just a sweet heart. It breaks my heart when she told me her story. I just wanted to go and kill… never mind.” She cleared her throat, giving me a sheepish look.
“But there are kids there that have been through so much. I can’t even believe the things they have been through.” She shook her head, “I couldn’t even imagine any of those thing happening to you, Nash and Connie. I mean-” she was going on and on till I shut her out and stared out the window.
I was starting to develop a raging headache as the back of my head began to throb like mad. My thoughts were brought back to how I got the painful bleeding gash in the first place.
I hate him!
He just won’t stop will he? I bet he gets off on hurting me. Making my life a living hell and I wanted to punch him in the face so hard till he saw stars but I wasn’t that strong.
Ugh! Liam come back now, I need you!
The car came to a stop in front of a huge white house with a sign that said ‘The Sanctuary’. My heart was heavy as we got out of the car. Was this going to be my future soon? I know they tell you that you need to talk someone in these situations but that is really hard to do when you’re scared. Telling someone means possibly getting into more trouble with them. The constant fear of that person getting ahold of you somehow or worse, even killed if they were fueled with enough hate for you. And that could be the case for me, I could die for what I am; and that’s not just from Brent but anyone who hates gays to the point of killing. It wasn’t an uncommon thing to hear about. This is why they always say being homosexual makes your life a hell of a lot harder. But there’s nothing I could do about it, this is who I am.
An unexplainable fear washed over me and I suddenly started rethinking about telling Liam about Brent. It would probably only make more problems for me.
“Aiden?” Mom was standing at the door holding the door open while I stood in the middle of the parking lot staring up at the sign. I shook my head,
“Sorry, coming.” Jogging up to her she gave me a small motherly smile. It warmed me a bit but not enough. We walked into a large foyer and there was a lady behind a desk against the wall. Mom went over to her,
“Grace, lovely to see you again.” The lady said.
“Hey, Susan.” Mom greeted. “I came to help out, I brought my son Aiden with me.” she waved her hand gesturing towards me. Susan looked over at me with a warm smile.
“Hello there.” she said to me. I nodded my head.
“He’s so cute.” she cooed to my mom like I couldn’t hear her.
“I know right.”
Rolling my eyes I began to wander closer to a door less entry way. I saw people sitting or playing games in what looked to be the living room. It had I big TV with a game console that a few kids were playing on, I think it was a Wii. There was a woman sitting by a huge window just staring outside. Others were reading books or sitting quietly staring into space. I turned back to my mom as she finished up her conversation.
“Alright Susan, what do you got for me today?” Mom asked. The woman smiled.
“There’s not much to do, we already had helpers this afternoon but if you want. We did laundry today so I guess you can bring up their blankets. Also Jillian’s been asking for you, she really likes your company.” Mom nodded,
“Alright we’re on it.” Mom took my hand and led me to a huge closet down the hall, full of blankets. Reaching in, she grabbed a couple and handed them to me.
“All their doors should be open right now so just hand them a blanket or place it on the bed,” nodding I headed up a flight of stairs noticing that my mom was correct. All the doors were really open.
Taking a breath I went to the first door, a woman was sitting at a desk writing something.
“Knock, knock.” I said because I couldn’t really knock with an arm full of blankets. She snapped her head up,
“Oh,” she said timidly. I gave her a reassuring smile.
“Yes, thank you.” She stood and took the top blanket.
She wouldn’t look me in the eyes as she took it, just kept her head down, put the blanket on her bed and went back to her writing. Frowning I went to the next door and so on. I was starting to become more and more depressed at each door I stopped by. A couple doors back was a woman with her two children, they all shared the same bruises on their faces and arms. I tried to keep a friendly smile on my face but it was quickly fading. I don’t know how the people who work here do this every day? It’s killing me and I’ve only been her for a few minutes.
The last door was closed so I hesitantly knocked holding the last blanket I had under my arm. There was no answer. I knocked again a little louder but still nothing. I made the assumption that there was no one in so I slowly opened the door. I was just planned on placing the blanket down at the end of the bed and leave but when I entered, I saw a girl about my age. She was sitting on her bed staring at the wall ahead of her. I froze, scared that I just did something wrong, was I not supposed to open the doors?
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” I exclaimed.
She didn’t move she just stared at the wall. I glanced over too but saw nothing.
“I have your blanket.” I tried again, still nothing.
Making a split decision, I walked over I placed the blanket at the edge of her bed. Peering up at her saw she had short shoulder length brown hair with blonde streaks and a white hair band on the top of her head. She wore a white top with a pair of holey ripped blue jeans. But what caught my attention were the bruises. I cringed at the sight, both her eyes were a deep blackish blue color and her eyes were blood shot. Her lip was busted and there was a dark bruise in the shape of a hand on her arm. The marks followed all the way up her arms and the skin you could see though the holes in her jeans were covered in fading finger marks. Not to mention the big one on her neck.
My eyes were wide as I rudely stared at her, but in my defense she was the only one I’d seen so battered since I got here. Then I noticed her blank desolate brown gaze were on me. I jumped a bit before I walked back to the door.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to stare.” I apologized quickly. She frowned a little.
“Are you new here?” I was shocked she spoke to me at all but the sound of her voice tugged at my heart strings. It was soft but shaky even though she wasn’t quivering in the least. I quickly shook my head,
“No, my mom volunteers here.” I told her.
“Oh,” she went back to staring at the wall. I turned to leave when her voice sounded again.
“You should tell someone.” She said quietly.
Stopping I turned back to her.
“Sorry?” I asked confused. She looked at me again,
“Tell someone.” She repeated. I shook my head at her,
“I don’t know what talking about” I said confused. Her expressionless eyes stared a hole in me, how could she know?
“You do know, and its better you come face to face with it. It doesn’t get better, it gets worse and the longer you hold out, the harder it is to get out.” This girls who barley said a thing this entire time, who seemed so broken was now helping with a problem she shouldn’t know about.
“I-I do-” I licked my drying lips, was it that obvious.
“You do.” She said stubbornly. I didn’t say anything.
“I was like you.” She said. “I kept quiet; I never made a peep.” Her brows furrowed.
“He told me not to, and I never did.”
“Y-you don’t have to tell me this.” I stated quickly, holding my hands out waving them for her to stop.
“I would get so scared when I knew it was close to the time he came home. I would hide in my closet.” She continued as if I never said a thing.
“But when he did come, it was like he could sniff me out. That closet door would come flying open and he would reach down and grab me by the arm so roughly that it would dislocate sometimes. He would always have this smile when he heard me scream. I would beg him to stop but he would start shake me, yelling for me to shut up. His breath was so strong with the smell of alcohol it would make me gag.” Her eyes were staring down at her hands now as she wrung them together.
“Seriously you really don’t have to tell me this.” I pleaded.
“He would throw me to the floor and kick me till nothing but blood came out of my mouth.” She continues. My heart was starting to beat erratically in my chest, I didn’t want to hear this, and I didn’t want to be reminded of Brent.
“Please.” I begged tears coming to my eyes.
“No one ever came to help me. My mom was in the house but she was too doped up to do anything, not that she cared. Then he would leave me on the floor crying in pain. When he left that would be the happiest time of my life. He’d had enough of me and he went to go grab beer after a beer till he would pass out on the couch with the TV on.” She looked up at me with those damn empty brown eyes. I was biting my lip trying to stop it from quivering but the tears were betraying me as they fell from my eyes.
“They say that the most important man in a girl’s life is their father, the one who gave us a chance at life, the one who’s supposed to protect you from the harsh and cruel ways of the world. The one you comes running to when you get your heart broken by your boyfriend, the one you go to for comfort. Well, my father was the one I had to hide from, the one that showed me the cruel ways of the world. But I shouldn’t have hid from him. I should have fought but it was too late.” She gave me knowing look,
“You hide, I can see. You may think that no one will see the hurt, the pain in your eyes but I do. I hate what happened to me and I don’t want anyone to go through that. So tell someone, and fast before it’s too late for you too.”
I couldn’t do it any more, I couldn’t stand there listening to this any longer. I rushed out, running down the stairs, out the front door, ignoring Susan’s worried calls. Once I reached the car I ran to the back and slid to the ground hugging my legs to my chest and cried against my knees.
What do I do?
If I told someone, Brent would be angry and who knows what he might do. But if I didn’t I didn’t want to become that girl in there. Or any of them for that matter but the realization was; I already was. I was broken, I had shattered a long time ago but never fully healed, never had closure. He still haunted me and all those hazy nights still haunted me.
What do I do?
“Aiden?” My mom’s concerned voice came out of nowhere and I quickly wiped my face and stood to see her coming around the car to me. “Honey what’s wrong?” She asked.
“It was just too much mom, can we go.” She peered in my eyes before nodded.
“I understand, I was like this my first time I came here, you should have seen me, balling my eyes out the whole way home.” She said and I knew she was trying to make me feel better.
I buckled up and we drove off leaving the shelter to slowly fade away in the back window. I was glad. I never wanted to go there in the first place. I never wanted to be reminded of this part of my life but the reminder was waiting for me at home anyway.
Mom told me she had to go run a few errands but she would be back in an hour or so.
“Go in the freezer and eat a gallon of ice cream. It works.” Was her advice to lift my spirits. I numbly I walked to the front door and trudged up the stairs once inside. I just wanted to sleep, I was so tired and drained and all I wanted was my bed. I reached the top step only stopped in my tracks when I noticed Brent leaning against the wall a few feet away.
“You’re home.” He said, there wasn’t any condescending tone in his voice. It was serious. My eyes were wide as I watched him warily but said nothing.
“Where’s Aunt Grace?” He asked his green eyes staring into my blue ones. As I remained quiet, his eyes turned hard.
“Damn it Aiden, I’m just asking you a simple question.” he growled.
“I just want to go to my room Brent.” I finally spoke. He pushed himself off the wall standing in my way.
“That’s too bad.” He retorted, getting in my face. I glared up at him, feeling like after what that girl had to say to me, I’d had enough.
“Move.” I demanded. His eye widened in shock, even I felt surprised by my audaciousness.
“Oh, are you finally grow a pair?” He taunted, his signature smirk appearing on his face.
“You know what, I get it ok. I get you hate my guts. That hitting me is the only way to make you feel like you’re in charge or maybe it makes you feel like a man or something. But I’m tired of it!” My voice was exasperated. “I’m gay Brent, there is nothing you can do. You can’t beat it out of me, if that’s what you want. You have made my life a living hell; you have no idea how close to hell either. Now I would appreciate it if you’d move out of my way.” I hissed glaring up at him.
His lips tightened in a line, his eyes were swirling with emotions I never knew he had. Fear, anger, sadness, regret, and …. Lust?
It all happened to quickly, he grabbed me by the back of my neck and roughly pulled me closer in his arms, smashing his lips to mine. An overwhelming shock tore through my body, was he kissing me? I stood there, my eye wide as he kissed me. When he tried to open my mouth with his tongue was when I snapped out of my shock and struggled against him. Trying to wiggles out of his arms, finally I got my hands up to his chest which was closely pressed to mine and push him back, hard. I watched him stagger back breathlessly, his eyes finally opening but their lustful gaze soon changed as his green eyes widened with full on terror.
Everything was going in slow motion. His mouth opening to say something, his face contorting into fear as he reached for me. But all I saw was that he was getting farther and farther away and then it hit me; I was falling. I tumbled down a few stairs bumping in to the hard edges and when I finally hit the bottom I felt excruciating pain shot to the back of my head.
I think I heard Kyle’s scream when everything ebbing into darkness and the pain in my head was becoming too much to bare. Only one thing came to mind before it all disappeared.