Chapter 2: No sign of Danger
2 minutes earlier……
“Seriously, man, I’m telling you, if you go to that strip club, you’re not going to want to leave.” I was driving back from work with my best friend and roommate, Jacob.
I shook my head, smiling. “Why the hell are you going to a strip club in the first place, aren’t you with that red head girl, Liz?”
“Annelise. How many times do I have to tell you her fucking name is Annelise?”
I nod, right. I’m surprised he even remembered her name. He’s used to jumping from girl to girl to girl. I’m surprised he can keep track.
“Going to a strip club is not cheating.” He said.
“You don’t think fucking someone is cheating.”
This dude. “How isn’t it?”
“Because sex is sex. A physical activity. If you have feelings for that girl then yeah, it’s cheating but if you don’t, you’re in the okay zone.” He said
“You make no type of sense.”
“Think about it.”
“I have thought about it and it still sounds stupid. You need to go back to school instead of going to all those damn strip clubs. Maybe you’ll learn something then.”
“Says the dude that dropped out of college to be a bartender.”
“Yeah, and my dad acts like I’m fucking retarded for it.”
Jacob laughs. “I mean he’s always been a tightass, since we were kindergarten.”
“I swear, all my failures I put on him.”
“You can’t put ALL your failiures on him, he’s an old man that lost his wife. Of course he’s going to go crazy and hate you.”
“He acts like it was my fault. My fucking fault that my mom was murdered. I couldn’t do shit, and he still blames me.”
“Hey, dude, calm down, relax. You’re going to ruin your next night off. We’re going to get home and get fucking shit-faced all night.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
The road gets a little lighter and I look over at the woods. “I hate driving this way.”
“I know. It’s some creepy shit. Hey LOOK OUT!!”
I turn my head to see a girl in the street, jumping into the way, just in time as I slam my foot on the brakes. It jerks us forward and then back.
Whoa. I never felt my heart beat so fast.
I shut the car off and look to Jacob.
He looks panicked, fearful.
What the hell? “The girl.” I whispered.
Jacob nodded. “I know. I saw her too.”
I looked out my windshield, but didn’t see anything, and then I looked out the window of my left and my eyes grew wide. “Shit.” I opened the car door.
“Ethan, dude, we’ll call 911 or something, get back in the car.”
The girl’s laying on the ground, now unconscious. She has long, auburn hair. Her skin is pale but covered in dirt and blood. “Fuck. I crouched down, staring at her and leaned my ear down towards her lips to check if she’s breathing.
“Man, what are you doing?”
“Help me get her in the car.”
“What?” He asked.
“Help me get in the car, she’s hurt.” I said. I placed my hands under her back and thighs to scoop her up.
Jacob opened his door and shut it as he walked over to us.
“Open the back door.”
He shakes his head in irritation as he opens the door.
I go and place her into the backseat and shut the door.
I hear a rustling in the woods. “Someone’s coming.”
Jacob ran onto the other side of the car and got in. I got in too and started the car a couple of times. It stalled.
“Fuck me.” I tried again and it started just as I seen a guy coming out the woods. I stomped on the gas and the car flew forward.
Zooming through the darkness.
“Holy shit,” Jacob said. “Who was that?”
He sighed in relief. And ran his fingers through his hair. “What, are you going to drop her off at the hospital or something?”
“Ethan? Aren’t you going to drop her off?”
I stare at the road and shake my head. “No.”
“No? No? What do you mean no?”
“I meant exactly what I said. No.”
“Why? You don’t even know the bitch.”
“Look, she can be in danger. It’s obvious she was running from someone. And if I drop her off, the hospital may be the first place that person looks.”
“This is going to be a mistake.”
I look at him. “Trust me.”
“I trust you. It’s her I don’t trust. We don’t know what kind of chick that is back there. She can be trouble.”
“You two have that in common. I’ll just fix up her wounds, feed her, and let her sleep and she’ll be on her way.”
Jacob shakes his head. “This chick can easily, fucking easily be a serial killer. Come on, a random chick, that’s hot by the way, just coming out of the woods. This can easily be a trap.”
“You watch too many movies, man. Chill out. We’re almost home.”
A few minutes later, I parked into the driveway of our house.
I turn the car off and look to Jacob. “Okay, I’ll get her and you go open the door.”
“You know, this is basically kidnapping.”
“Neither of us are going to hurt her. Okay? I’ll fix her up, let her rest and feed her.”
“This is so stupid.”
“Just go open the goddamn door.”
Jacob sighed and opened the car door.
I opened my door and got out of the car. I closed my door and then opened hers.
I slid her out a little by her legs and then slid my arms under her and lifted her out of the car. Her head dropped back in my arms.
I stared at her features. Her small pink, curvy lips. Her small button nose. Her pale face. Her long auburn hair with golden streaks.
“Come on!” Jacob shouted. He snapped me back to reality and I carried her to the door and through it.
Jacob wrinkled his nose in disgust. “She smells like dirt and sex.”
“She was probably raped.” I said.
Jacob closed the door. “Or, she’s just a dirty whore.”
I gave him a look. “Shut up. I’m taking her to the living room.”
“You’re going to let her dirty up the couch?”
“Yeah, I am. Stop being a fucking prick, okay? She’ll be gone by the morning.” I said. I knew it was a lie. She wasn’t going to be gone by the morning. I know even though I didn’t know this girl, I wanted to know her. And I will make up any excuse to make her stay. I just want to know what the hell happened to her.
I carried her to the living room and laid her down on the couch.
I examined her cuts more closely. A majority on her arms. They don’t look too deep. Just deep enough to draw blood. Whoever did it didn’t do it to kill her, just to hurt her.
I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with people these days. “Somebody’s been cutting her.” I said getting up.
Jacob came in the room with a beer. “So?”
“Why are you acting so heartless towards the girl? She didn’t do anything to you.”
“I don’t trust her. And she looks like a bitch, anyway. The pretty girls are always bitchy.”
I nod. “That explains Annelise.” I say walking pass him.
“Annelise is not bitchy. She’s badass and way prettier than that bitch in there.”
I shrug. “Whatever helps you sleep at night.” I mutter and grab a big white bowl from the cabinet. I run hot water in it and grab a rag from the drawer.
I brought them into the living room and sat them on the wooden coffee table and I sat beside the items. I brushed her hair from her face and she stirred a little. I can already tell she’s going to go crazy when she wakes up. She’s going to be scared, confused, and I want to help her.
My eyes roam down to her torso, a spot of dark red blood seeped through her shirt.
I look at her face and then back down to the spot. Fuck. I hope she doesn’t think I’m trying to do anything.
I grab the hem of her shirt and lift it back a little, Jesus, there’s a long gash in her abdomen, and its still bleeding a little. Fuck.
I’ll get to that later. I pull her shirt back down and move closer as I dip the rag into the bowl of hot water, wring it out and start to wipe the dirt from her face.
Almost immediately, her eyes flew open.
I felt warmth on my face. And it felt good. It felt very good. I opened my eyes and they met with a guy’s. A stranger. Where am I? My brows furrowed as I sit up.
“No. No. Wait, you’re hurt!”
“Where am I?” I choked out as my throat tightened.
“My house. It’s okay, relax. I saved you out of the street.”
“The street?” I don’t even remember a street. I made it out?
He nods. “Yeah, me and my roommate saved you. You’re cut pretty bad. Please let me get the dirt and blood out of the wounds.” He says. His hazel eyes are looking into mine. Worry shown, thickly coated in his eyes.
“You’re not going to hurt me?” I whispered.
He shakes his head. “No. I was just going to clean you up, let you rest, make you something to eat and drive you to your place.”
“I don’t have a place.” I say as I slowly sink back down to the couch. I lay my head down on the cushion and looked at the man.
“Where are you from?”
“Here. But my house burned down three years ago.”
“So where you been this whole time?”
“I…I don’t want to talk about it. I’m sorry, mister.”
He smirks. “My name is Ethan. Ethan Kary. You?”
“Aubrey Nathe.” I croaked.
He looked into my eyes and bit down on his lip. “If you don’t have anywhere to go, you can stay here until you get back on your feet.”
“Really?” I asked. I don’t think I should trust this guy. I barely know him and out of nowhere, he tells me I can stay here. I don’t really have anywhere else to go, though.
He takes a white rag, wrings out the water and wipes the cuts on my arms.
“Does this hurt?” He asked.
I shake my head.
He stops for a second and looks into my eyes. “What the hell happened to you? Were there people chasing you?” He asked.
How did he know? “Yes.” I whisper.
“The person who did this to you?” He asked as he continued wiping the dirt and blood from my skin.
“I stabbed him.” I whispered.
He stopped again and looked into my eyes. “You killed him?”
I lick my dry lips and look away from him. “He was a rapist…and a murderer. I hoped I killed him.” I whispered.
I could feel him looking at me. And I wonder what’s going on through his head right now. Do I creep him out? Is he weirded out by what I just said? Is he scared? Does he think I’m crazy? Does he think I’m some kind of psycho murderer?
I turn to look back at him. “I was put in a brothel when I was thirteen.” I admitted.
His eyes grew wide as he looked at me. He dropped the rag in the water and gawked at me. “Thirteen?”
“Why would you-”
“I didn’t want to be there. My uncle, Aarik put me there when a fire killed my parents. He put me there to make money for him. And him and his guards were who I was running from in the woods.”
“What the fuck?”
“I know its crazy.” I said.
He nodded, wiping more blood and dirt from my arm and when its clean enough, his eyes go to mine. I can tell he has more questions but he says nothing about it and changes the subject. “There’s a cut on your stomach is it okay if I…”
He drops the rag and watches my reaction as he lifts my shirt.
The warm air hits my stomach.
I bite down on my lip, watching him carefully.
He swallows hard as he grabs the rag and dips it in the bowl of water.
He wrings it out and then places it against my abdomen.
I moaned unintentionally and he met my eyes. “You okay?”
I nodded. “Yeah, the water feels good.”
He wipes the blood from the cut, looking distracted now.
The hot water calms down the slight sting of the cut.
I can feel more cuts up further.
“There’s more, further up.”
He stops and looks into my eyes. “You’re okay with me….?”
I nod. “Just do it. Get it over with.”
He wrung more water onto my body, making the cuts cool down.
“Why are you being so nice to me?’ I asked. That’s why I was still iffy about him. He was being a little too nice. Too generous. And it alerted me.
“No one’s ever been nice to you?”
I smile a little. “Not for the last three years.”
“Well, I’m not like most people and I have no reason to be mean to you. I’m not an ignorant fuck like other people.”
I smiled a little at his comment.
“I’ll run you some bath water so you can soak. I’ll put Vaseline over you cuts, patch them up, Then you can put on some of my clothes and sleep in my bed.”
“It’s okay. I can sleep on the couch. You’ve already done enough.”
He shakes his head. “Trust me, the bed is more comfortable.”
“But I’m the guest.”
“Right. This is my house and I insist you sleep on the bed.” He said.
I sigh, giving in as I nod.
When he’s done wiping the blood away from my cuts, he puts the rag in the water and looked to me. “I’ll run you some bath water.” He says.
I nod. “Thank you.”
He nods, stands and walks away.
I turn my head and look up at the ceiling.
Should I trust him?
I just met him but he seemed nice. But he can change at any point.
I reached down to the pocket of my jogging pants and I couldn’t feel the knife.
I swallowed hard.
“What are you doing?” Asked a guy. He had black spiky hair, dark brown eyes and a scowl on his face.
“I’m his roommate, and his best friend. If you try anything funny, you’re going to get your ass kicked. I have no problem hitting a girl.”
I arch my eyebrow, confused. What did I do?
“Did I do something wrong?” I asked.
“Yeah, you ran in front of our car in the middle of the damn night. We could have died.”
“Well, I’m sorry. I-”
“What’s going on?” Ethan walked back in the room looking between me and his friend.
His friend didn’t break away from my eyes. “I’m just telling your little girlfriend that I don’t trust her.”
He looked at Ethan and then back to me before walking out of the room.
“Did I…do something to make him mad?”
Ethan shakes his head . “Jacob hates everyone. Don’t take it personally. In order for him to like you, you either have to be hot or have money.”
“Why’s he friends with you, because you’re hot?” I ask, innocently.
He smirks. “I hope he doesn’t think so.”
He smiles and then turns serious. “The cuts don‘t hurt?”
I shrug. “I feel numb. Very numb.”
“It’s probably from adrenaline of me almost running you over and you almost getting killed by those guys.”
That was possible.
“Can you walk?” He asked.
I sit up, and I swoop my legs to the side and plant my feet to the floor.
I get off the couch and take a few steps. “Yeah, I can walk.”
“Okay. Follow me.”
I do as he says and follow him from the living room, through a hall, and into the white, clean bathroom.
I have to admit, I enjoyed seeing new scenery. “It’s so clean for boys to live here.”
He smiled. “That’s what Jacob’s girlfriend says.” He turned off the water and turned to me. “There’s clean rags and towels in this bottom cabinet.” He says pointing to it. “My room is right next to the bathroom so just go in and I’ll have some of my clothes laid out for you.”
“Thank you. For everything…really. No one’s ever been this nice to me before.”
He brushes my auburn hair out of my face and smiles. “Enjoy.”
He begins to walk out of the bathroom but then turns. “Um…is spaghetti okay for dinner?” He asked.
I nodded. I haven’t had spaghetti in years.
He nods and shuts the door.
I bite down on my lip as I go to look in the mirror. My hair is messy and has leaves matted in it. It’s tangled and frizzy. My skin is covered in dirt and grime. I see the visible cuts on my arms and shoulders.
I look disgusting.
I lifted my already torn shirt from my body which revealed more cuts.
One long one in my abdomen.
I traced my finger over it, lightly. Then I looked in the mirror again. I guess once they heal, they’ll be less visible. I unhooked my bra and let it drop to the floor and then pulled down the jogging pants.
After that, I pull down my panties, grab a rag and get into the bathtub.
The water feels so good as I sink into it.
I shut my eyes and lean my head back. It’s hot and numbing. Just how I like it.
I didn’t realize I fell asleep until someone knocked on the door, making me jump.
“Sorry! I’ll be out in a few seconds.”
“Okay. Dinner’s ready.” Ethan said.
I nod. “Thanks.” I grab the soap from the soap dish that hung onto the rim of the tub and I lathered myself up, wiped the dirt from my face and the rest of my body, careful around the cuts, and rinsed myself off.
I found the shampoo and washed my hair quickly and rinsed the dirt out.
I pulled the stopper from the drain and got out. I grabbed a towel, dried my hair best I could before wrapping it around my body and walking out of the room.
I walked next door, into Ethan’s room and first thing I noticed is his huge bed. It looked comfortable and he was allowing me to sleep here tonight. I smiled.
Back at the brothel, the bed I had was tiny, uncomfortable with springs sticking out of it. I had one pillow and blanket while everyone else got better things. I was always treated worst because I was inexperienced. Most of the guys didn’t want to touch me because I didn’t know what I was doing.
But a lot also didn’t care, they didn’t care about raping me. They didn’t care how I felt or the fact that it was hurting me. They just didn’t care.
My eyes water up as I sit down on the bed.
I’m thanking god every day ad night for now on that I made it out of there.
I look up.
Ethan’s peeking in the door. “Are you okay?”
I shake my head.
“Can I come in?”
“It’s your room.” I muttered.
He walked in and sat beside me on the bed. “Look, I don’t know a lot about brothels. But I know you weren’t supposed to be there. If your uncle comes to look for you, I’ll protect you, Aubrey, okay?”
“Why would you do that?” I whisper.
“Because I like you. And I know you don’t deserve that shit.”
I smile. “But you don’t know me. I can easily be some odd serial killing chick.”
“Jacob thinks that. But I don’t. I just have a good vibe about you.”
“I have one about you too.”
He smiles and stands. “I’m glad to hear it. Get dressed and I’ll come in and put the band-aids and Vaseline on you. And afterwards, you can come have dinner.” He says. He backs away and shuts the door.
He has a good vibe about me. Within an hour, he knows I’m good. And oddly enough, I know he’s good too.
I can tell. I wanted to trust him and I think I did. For now anyway. At the first alertness of danger, I’ll leave. I just hope I find no danger with Ethan.