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The scars of my secret
I walked down the stairs to answer the door shivers running through my body from my fever of 99.7. I walked closer to the door once I saw who it was my stomach flipped; and I quickly turned my back to the door. It was my boyfriend Josh and if he saw me like this he would find out my dirty secret. You are probably wondering what I'm talking about; I am talking about my dad, you see my mom and dad got divorced when I was 3 I haven't seen my mom since. My dad drinks and he beats me; I was only wearing short sleeves and the bruises ran up and down my arms, if Josh saw this he would flip. "Jessica are you there? I brought soup." Josh said from behind the door. My heart melted he was the perfect boyfriend. "Just a minute!" I yelled to him and ran to grab long sleeves. I threw off my t-shirt, replaced it with a thick long sleeve sweater, and ran to answer the door. "Hey." I said once I opened the door. He walked in and placed the bowl of soup on the kitchen counter. "I bought your favorite broccoli cheddar soup from Panera but if your too sick to eat it-"
"It's perfect." I said leaning into him. He placed his hand on my hip right where my dad had punched me yesterday. I pulled away trying not to say anything like ouch or wince but I couldn't help it, I flinched. "Jessi, are you okay?"
"Um.. ya I'm fine." I said looking away. He put his hand on my shoulder. "You don't look okay what's the matter I can help." He pleaded. He looked so apologetic I had to tell him something… but what? I thought of something and lied. Yes I lied, yes right to his face, I was only doing it to protect him, protect him from my dad.
"I just fell yesterday that's all it's just a bruise." I said hoping he would buy it with no more questions asked; but sadly that is not the way my boyfriend roles. "Let me see." He said taking the bottom of my sweater. I closed my eyes ready for him to not only find that one bruise but many others on my hips and stomach. He gasped "Jessica! What happened?" I started to cry I knew this was it, he was going to find out; I was going to tell him. Tears spilled, my heart thumped louder and louder in my chest, my breathing accelerated. "Jessi, slow down, relax." He said still looking down at my stomach covered in black and blue. "It's my dad..." I trailed off waiting for him to connect the two I knew he would. He ran his hand up my hip tracing the bruises he finally looked up at my tear stained face. "He did this to you?" a tear slipped down my cheek as I nodded my head yes. "Just once right?" he asked me hopeful. I wanted to say yes but it wasn't the truth. "No.. I'm sorry Josh. I didn't want you to know.." I cried. His face turned form angry to upset. "Where else?" He asked looking me in the eyes. I couldn't speak I was too afraid that if I did my voice would break and I would cry some more so I did the only thing I thought of. I took off my shirt my bra still on and I looked down at myself also seeing what Josh was seeing except he was seeing it for the first time and I was seeing it for about the tenth time since my dad beat me. "Why didn't you tell me? Why do you let him do this to you?" Josh asked frustrated. I was burning with pain like a whole inside of me was getting bigger and bigger. "Josh, I didn't know what to do and I didn't want to put you in danger I just had no one to turn to so I couldn't fight back. I had to endure it." I said shying away from him. He grabbed my hand and lifted my arm. "You would endure this; Jessica don't you see what he is doing to you he could kill you if he keeps beating you. You could die." he told me sternly. I was afraid, I've never seen this side of him before it kind of scared me but I knew that he wouldn't do anything to hurt me like my dad would. He saw the fear in my eyes and softened, he placed my arm carefully back down to my side and grabbed my shirt off of the floor. "Here you must be freezing." he said but before giving me my sweater he ran his hands up my arms softly knowing I was fragile. He pulled the sweater over my head and helped me carefully push my arms through; I winced a couple of times when his touch was too hard on my bruised body. I felt awful for telling him but I was glad that I wouldn't have to hide so much from him anymore like how I missed a lot of school when my dad beat me too much that it showed, I wouldn't have to lie about being sick anymore to him he would know. "You are probably tired let's get you up to bed." He said. He went to wrap his arm around my waist but took his arm back. Seeing this, being right in the middle of this, him not being able to touch me without hurting me hurt more than it would if he really did touch me. I grabbed his hand and wrapped it around my own waist leaning against his warm strong body. "I will not let your dad hurt you anymore Jessica I promise you that." He whispered in my ear.
Once we got to my room I began to protest. "Josh you can't stop my dad he will hurt you, bad. I don't want you to get in the middle of this so please don't; for me please...." I said trying to explain to him how much it would hurt me if he got hurt. "Jessica I can't just stand by and watch you get hurt I will not be the innocent bystander." he told me. I was about to protest some more but then someone walked through the door. I knew it was my dad; I suddenly felt all of the blood run out of my face.
Luckily my door was shut that meant I had time. I grabbed Josh’s hand “Quickly you have to get out of here.” I said tugging him toward the open window. “Jessica...” Josh pulled back. “I have to stop this, it’s-it’s madness; your dad is crazy.” He told me. The words stung but I still pressed on. “Josh please... Please let me do this my way. Oh god no he’s coming. Go…” I said panicky. I was breaking out in sweats and shivers. I heard my dad stomping up the stairs; Josh only had seconds to get out without getting caught. Tears spilled “Josh please go!” He came close to me grabbed me not caring how much it hurt and kissed me so hard, so passionate. I knew that he didn’t want to leave and half of me wanted him to fight for me but I knew he would get hurt if he tried. I practically pushed him out of the window before he went on his own. My dad banged on the door “Jessica open up now! Jessica don’t make me impatient... What are you hiding in there? JESSICA OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!!” my dad screamed. Fear rippled throughout my body as I opened the door; Josh was gone thank goodness. Once I opened the door my dad slapped me across the face, not hard but enough to leave a mark. He hit me again and again; I screamed louder and louder, piercing screams that hurt my own ears. I was hurting, aching all over; maybe even bleeding a little but I couldn’t tell. Once I was on the ground unable to move my dad left my room and shut the door. “Goodnight honey I love you.” he cooed to me. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I closed my eyes prepared to sleep on the floor too tired and in pain to move an inch. I drifted in and out of sleep waiting for drowsiness to take me and never let me go.
I woke to the clanging sounds of rocks hitting the window. I slowly lifted my head and I got a major head rush. I grabbed the sideboard of my bed to help myself up and to keep myself from falling back down. I walked over to the window and clung onto the windowsill for support. I glanced down and Josh was outside, did I dare let him inside risk having my dad find us together and possibly killing both of us… “Josh?” I whispered into the darkness outside of my window. “Yes it’s me are you alright? Did your dad... Hurt you?” he asked. I didn’t answer not wanting to make him feel like it was his fault. “Jessica? Honestly I want to know.”
“Yes... He hurt me.” I told him. I heard him take a deep breath and shift his weight. There was a moment of silence before he asked me “How bad?” I was scared to answer knowing that the answer I was going to give him he wouldn’t be happy with. “Bad...” I said sitting down and leaning my back against the wall under the open window. “Jessica I have to tell someone, someone who can help your dad and you.”
“No! Josh please don’t say anything to anyone they will take my dad away from me and put me in one of those child abuse facilities and I don’t want to go there.” I pleaded. I forced myself to stand up and look at him.
“I will think about it; as long as you think about what I have said. I love you Jessica.” Josh bargained with me.
“I love you too.” I said before he headed off into the darkness and I couldn’t see him anymore.
Once I got to school I walked to my locker, I unzipped my jacket and held it in my arm. The hallway began flooding with people and I searched for Josh hoping he would not be in one of the crowds just so I would have time to cover up some of my new bruises and cuts. I pulled my turtle neck up a little higher, pulled the sleeves down around my hands, and fixed my long necklace that was hanging just above my waist. After finally getting the right combination on my locker it opened and I stuck my jacket inside then my backpack. “Jessi…” I turned around knowing it was Josh who was behind me. He grabbed my hand, pulled me around the corner that was out of sight from anyone else and into a little hallway where no one ever goes. “Show me what he did to you this time.” He told me. I nodded knowing not to pick a fight with him, knowing that this was serious. I folded my turtleneck down revealing a blue-ish red mark across my neck; I took my sleeve and rubbed the makeup off of my right cheek where there was a black and blue hand print from my dad slapping me and a small cut on the top of my head. Then I rolled up my shirt a little showing him the red line that went from my waist down to the bottom of my left hip.
“He cut you! Jessica this is the last straw I am telling social services or dealing with your dad myself.-”
“But-” he cut me off before I could change his mind.
“I am doing this and you can‘t say a word to change my decision; you have to understand that I am done watching you get hurt, by your father of all people. I am trying to protect you.” he told me. He put his hand in mine and pulled me closer to him. His hands were strong yet gentle and soft as he took me in his warm embrace. “Everything will be okay Jessica I promise.” I rested my head on his shoulder feeling mixed emotions. I felt angry, angry at my dad for hitting me for so long, angry at myself for telling Josh, angry at Josh for putting himself in danger to protect me from something that I have been dealing with for a long time but part of me knew I should listen to him. I was upset, hurt by my dad, scarred forever with every memory of him hitting me, and now cutting me. I was scared, afraid of Josh getting hurt, frightened to go back home but not frightened enough to turn my dad in. I wouldn’t turn my dad in I loved my dad but did he love me the way I loved him? Did he only think of hurting me? What am I saying; my dad doesn’t want to hurt me he just does it when he’s drunk I love my daddy and he loves me so I wouldn’t turn him in; never. The early bell rang and I stepped out of his hug; I turned to get the rest of my stuff and get to homeroom. Josh followed behind me, he did not touch me, he didn’t slip his arm tight around my waist like he would’ve; he didn’t want to hurt me anymore than I already was I assumed.
The school day went by quickly; I was proud of myself for stifling my flinches when my friends would grab my arms and pull me along with them. I was good at that after having a lot of practice doing it but I kept thinking about what Josh had told me. Everything he said ran through my head, he can kill you Jessica. I am telling social services or dealing with your dad myself. I am done watching you get hurt, by your father of all people. I carefully put my jacket on, then my backpack and headed out into the cold. The wind whipped my hair in my face and I quickly pulled it back into a ponytail; I stuck my headphones in my ears blocking everyone out and walked home. I opened the back door to what I knew was an empty house. I turned on a couple of lights to brighten up the house; I didn’t like the depressing look of the not completely dark but kind of gray lighting in the room. I dropped my heavy backpack to the ground and when it hit the floor it made a loud thud. I sat in a hard wooden chair at the kitchen table my bony shoulders aching from lugging my massive backpack all the way home from school. I rested my head in my arms and closed my eyes taking deep calming breaths before I decided that I should get my homework done so that it wouldn’t hang over my head all evening. I got out of my seat heaved my backpack lifted it and carryed it up the stairs to my bedroom with one lanky arm. I sat at my desk tapping my pencil which was making the most obnoxious noise as I was trying to figure out the answer to a math question; the tapping was really irritating but for some reason I continued to hit the eraser of my pencil against my desk.
In a matter of 45 minutes to and hour I finished all of my homework so I started to read; soon I lost track of time. I jumped hearing a sudden knock on the door. My stomach twisted into multiple knots as I walked down the stairs and across the room to get the door. I was expecting my dad but then I remembered that he wouldn’t have to knock he has a key…. I opened the door not knowing who it was going to be standing behind it. “Jessica……” Josh sighed and hugged me softly. He kissed the top of my head and his hot breath caressed my forehead. I was dumbfounded, speechless “I uh.. Wait wha- what are you doing here?” I stepped out of his admiring hug and looked him in the eyes hoping to find the answer there, but to my defeat I found nothing. He shut the door and pulled me into the kitchen before saying anything more. He sat down in a chair and I settled down into a chair next to him. “I am here-” but he was cut off by the slamming of the front door before he finished. I glanced at the clock it was 7pm and my dad had just walked in! What was I thinking I should’ve looked at the clock before I opened the door then I would’ve known not to let Josh inside. I shouldn’t have let him stay and now he is going to get seriously hurt; it’s all going to be my fault. “Jessica!” my dad shouted not realizing I was in the next room. I looked at Josh with wide eyes not knowing what to do and scared out of my mind. By the look on his face I knew what he was here for, he wouldn’t have to complete his sentence I knew what he was about to do. My dad walked into the kitchen head down; I put my face in my hands and started to cry knowing full well I couldn’t do anything to stop this from happening. I peeked up at my dad who had finally looked up seeing me and Josh in the kitchen; he wasn’t saying anything just standing there staring horror struck at the both of us. I knew that he would break, very soon he would overflow with anger and hit me hard. I prayed that it would be me he would hit not Josh; I never wanted to witness Josh getting hurt for one minute of my life but I knew that tonight I would have to. My dad clutched my arm and yanked me out of my seat; he pulled so hard that the chair flew to the ground with me. I screamed my arm agonizing with pain; Josh stood up and went towards my dad with his fist clenched. “Josh don’t…” I tried to yell but it came out of my mouth in a rigid tone, he didn’t listen. I saw my dad’s fist clench and I shied away from him; he punched me in the gut. The blow to my stomach knocked all of the air out of me and I curled up into a ball on the ground gasping for air. My dad picked up a bat that was leaning against the wall beside him and swung hard at Josh. Josh flew across the room into the door which made me gasp. Josh stood up again he didn’t give up he was ready for a fight; only I knew who was going to win, I still prayed that Josh would. I finally caught my breath. “Daddy no!” I pleaded I tried to get up while I had one arm around my torso. This time Josh was the one throwing the punches he punched my dad in the shoulder then in the stomach but my dad wasn‘t affected by Josh‘s punches. My dad then threw the punches back at Josh; I screamed as Josh slid onto his knees. A stream of hope ran through me as I saw Josh take his cell phone out of his pocket. I looked at my dad who held the bat high over his head ready to hit Josh over the head killing him. My stomach lurched, and I screamed “Stop!” I knew no one would listen so I lunged at my dad and grabbed the bat. In that moment before my dad finished me off I saw Josh dial the numbers 911….