Escape, p.1
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       Escape, p.1
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           Debbie Civil
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  By Debbie Civil

  Edited by Riva Davis

  Copyright 2014 by Debbie Civil



  To God, My parents, Family, and Friends, Thank You!!!

  Chapter 1

  “I need junk food, bad!” is the only thought that comes to mind. Grandmother Betty, whom I nicknamed the Grinch, has been here all of five minutes, and I can’t wait until she leaves.

  “Chelsea, are you going to finish that?” she snaps. Her large gray eyes are giving the Pop-Tart on my plate a death glare. What is her deal? Grandmother has a bowl of prunes in front of her. Does she think I should eat a breakfast that would most likely give me the runs? I wouldn’t go near her choice of breakfast if she paid me. Because of her, the strong aroma of black coffee fills the stale kitchen air. Can’t she eat or drink anything that doesn’t make me want to gag?

  “Yes Grandmother,” is the constant refrain to any conversation that we have. It’s a minor victory that the woman hates the endearment. And let’s just say that I rarely call her grandma.

  “Your mother really needs to be cautious about what you eat. You could get diabetes like your cousin Rain. You don’t want to end up like her, do you?” Grandmother scowls and jabs a finger at the refrigerator as if saying that she’s seen the contents and I’m half way there. Her statement is screwed up for multiple reasons. Number one, Rain has been diabetic since she was five. Number 2, she didn’t get the disease because she ate too much junk food. Her parents have always been health nuts. Looking at the half eaten Pop-Tart makes me lose my appetite. When I’m uncomfortable I don’t eat much.

  “You better wear something decent for your first day of school. The bitter old woman says as she sips her coffee. She's using the “Best dad in the World” mug my brother Tiller gave dad a few years ago. It takes everything in me not to snatch the mug out of her hands. Her comment about wearing something decent on my first day of senior year really annoys me. Her definition of “something decent” is a Versace ensemble. Unlike her, we aren't rich so I could never afford the clothes my cousins wear. Being a part of the lower middle class doesn't bother me. But Grandmother acts as though she is better than us because she has a bank full of millions. And this is what I hate most about the woman.

  “Yes grandmother,” I say.

  “Do you think you’re going to prom this year?” What an insensitive question. She doesn’t know how this question affects me. How could she? On the night of junior prom, Grandmother Betty was in the Bahamas. By the time she returned, I had long since been released from the hospital.

  “No,” is the only response she deserves.

  “Tia is going to prom this year. One of my friends is an up and coming designer and offered to make her dress,” Grandmother brags. The pang in my stomach is so sharp, it causes me to wince. Of course, Tia is the granddaughter that she spoils rotten. It’s all for the best, because I’m not going to another prom.

  “How nice,” I say as I bite into the strawberry Pop-Tart that doesn’t taste so good anymore.

  “I know dear, isn’t it?” she brags about how beautiful Tia is and how much she has accomplished. The spiteful old woman doesn’t notice that she’s being tuned out. My eyes slide over the scratched up counter tops and the purple wall paper. The linoleum floor has its nicks and is warn in a few places. To me, the kitchen looks like home. There have been many days when I’ve gotten home from school and vented to mom while baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies. It hurts to think that my grandmother is looking down on our family. She probably doesn't even know the definition of love.

  “Do you mind dear?’ she asks.

  “Not at all grandmother,” I reply, not really paying any attention to her.

  “Well now that will be fantastic. Spending a bit of time with me will refine you,” the woman assumes. Who does she think she is? She may have millions, but she isn't the Queen of England. Money doesn’t equal class. The anger takes hold of me until I hear footsteps descending the stairs. The day gets worse as my mother walks in. She has a large smile on her face, until she spots our unwelcome guest.

  “Mrs. Philips,” Mom greets in a sour tone. My grandmother has never accepted my mother as family, so Mom is forced to call her Mrs. Philips.

  “I told him I was coming today. Where is he?” Mom frowns at her question.

  “He’s at work,” she answers reluctantly. I clench my fists, knowing what's going to happen. “Oh I forgot. Ian has toilets to clean,” the Grinch snarls, an evil smile stretching across her wrinkled face. I've officially had enough. I stand, gesture for Mom to finish my Pop-Tart, and run up the creaky stairs to my cluttered room. It doesn't take long to slip into a pair of sweats, a baggy shirt, and white sneakers. I pull back my caramel- colored hair into a sloppy ponytail and jog down the stairs.

  “I’m going for a run,” I shout over my shoulder before leaving the house.

  The morning is cool and foggy. It must have just rained because the grass is wet. Something is suddenly nagging at me. A voice tells me that leaving is letting her win. Mom shouldn’t have to deal with the insufferable Grinch all by herself. But, it doesn’t matter. Grandmother has aggravated me to the point of insanity. SO I sprint down the sidewalk and continuously take deep cleansing breaths. For the whole run to the grocery store, everything about my life is forgotten.

  O'Malley's grocery store resides in a massive brick building. It's the largest store in town. I work there four days a week. As I walk through the revolving door, I almost hope Mickey, the manager, wont' notice me. He always wants to put me to work, even on my days off. The store has two floors. The first floor contains everything that a grocery store is supposed to have. The second floor is filled with baking supplies, mixes, and other cookware, along with a few offices. Usually, I have no purpose in going to the second floor. Today I might bake brownies. Grandmother pissed me off that much. I grab a cart and aim directly for the snack aisle. I snatch up bags of Cheetos, Sour Cream and Onion, and Baked Lays Potato Chips. As I turn into the candy aisle, I hear a chuckle behind me.

  “You must be really upset,” he comments, and panic immediately floods through me. My throat tightens as I spin around slowly, and there he is. Adam Smith is gorgeous with long, thick blonde, hair that touches the tops of his shoulders. His baby blue eyes scan me up and down as if trying to figure out what I'm wearing underneath. Unwelcome yearning fills me as we continue to stare at one another. For an instant, it's easy to forget what happened. His lips are so close. The scent of his cologne is filling my nose. I miss him. The realization makes my resolve build. Adams Smith doesn't deserve to be missed. Not after what he put me through.

  “Go away!” I squeak. My throat is closing up and those are the only words I can manage. Images of the bathroom, blood, and broken glass momentarily flashes through my mind.

  “Fine. But eventually, we'll have to talk.” Adam warns before turning away and leaving the aisle. So he wants to talk? The sting of the scar marring my left wrist tells me I will never talk to that boy. As soon as Adam leaves, I hate myself for showing weakness in front of him. Adam can't know he has this effect on me.

  I decide to bake brownies, cupcakes, and cookies. Running into Adam only made me feel worse. I pay for my gain and hurry toward the exit. The only thing I'm worried about is running into Adam again. So I distractedly make my way home. Elmview is a moderate- sized town with a little over twenty thousand people in residence. It is a working class town without mansions or extravagant townhouses. Our most impressive building is the beautiful Catholic Church near the grocery store. The two story building is painted white with stain glass windows and has huge white pillars, a well-kept lawn, and granite steps. Sometimes, I stare at the chu
rch, in awe of its beauty. Today, I merely jog pass it, determined to get home before I break down. As I'm rushing along a street two blocks away from home, I run face first into a hard, muscled chest. The impact sends shock waves through me and for a moment, I forget that I’m holding grocery bags. The items plummet to the ground. After hearing the sound of my food hitting the pavement, I immediately snap out of it. Stepping back from the human tank, my brain tries to come up with a way to apologize to him.

  “You should watch where you're going, “he growls. His anger shocks me since he couldn't have suffered any damage from the blow.

  “Sorry,” I say, trying to diffuse the situation. My eyes wander around the street, not liking that most of the driveways are empty. If he gets out of hand, there might not be people that would be coming to my rescue. The realization has barely formed when the man searches me up and down, as if looking for something. My pulse races when his eyes zero in on the bulge in my pocket. He wants to rob me. His hand shoots out and yanks on the pocket holding my phone. I instinctively dig my fingernails into his wrist. He glares at me and punches me in the face. His blow sends me crashing to the ground; landing in an awkward angle. The tearing of my pants pocket confirms that he's gotten his bounty. Blood runs down my face and into my open mouth. Before I can stop the blow, the man kicks me in my ribs. For a moment, I am seeing stars. When the world becomes clear again, rage turns his eyes black. Knowing he isn't going to relent on the assault, I scream. He curses and kicks me again. He's trying to beat me into unconsciousness. That isn't going to happen. I dodge his next kick, the pavement grazing my exposed skin. Everything will hurt later. The adrenaline coursing through my body numbs the pain for now. He isn't getting away with my iPhone, not after I spent so much time working to afford it. I'm able to make my way to my feet. When I'm standing as steady as I can, I want to applaud myself. The man lunges for me again and my fist collides with his chest. He shoves me and my head strikes something hard when I land in someone's wet front lawn. When the stars disappear, I sit up to feel warm liquid dripping down my back. I'm weak and dizzy, but still manage to stand. The man lunges for me again, and suddenly yelps in pain. I'm gaping in surprise at the girl, probably four inches shorter than me; who sprays whipped cream in the monster's eyes, then knees him. He collapses to the ground and I gape at her. The monster falls flat on his back. He releases my Iphone to cup his junk. So I grab it and slip it into my right pocket.

  “Are you all right?” she shouts as she kicks him in the face repeatedly. She seems comfortable beating on the man, which makes me think this isn't the first time he has tried to rob someone. Or the first time this girl has gotten into a fight. I contemplate how I could help. Maybe I could call the cops. I walk about fifty feet away from the brawling pair and stop near a bush by someone's front yard. It takes three tries for my trembling fingers to dial.

  “911, what's your emergency?” The bear of a man gets to his feet and lunges for the girl. She darts to the side, His dark eyes are now on me. I'm paralyzed with fear so strong, I can't speak. He apparently doesn't like being smacked around by a girl. As the short girl is retreating, she trips on one of the grocery bags. The monster stomps on her shoulder, causing her to screech. I've got to help her. I look around the various houses, which doesn’t provide many options. I notice an old lady on her porch, staring at the scene in horror.

  “You stop that,” she shrieks, but the buff man doesn't care. Instead, he winds up his foot for another kick, but the blow never lands. I hurl a rock the size of a toddler's fist at the side of his head. Blood flows down his forehead. The girl quickly stands, looking to grab the rock that landed by her. The man punches her in the jaw and she crumples to the ground again. The man is aggravated now. He steps over the girl and runs toward his main target, which is me. I don’t even have the time or energy to run. His beefy hands wrap around my neck and just like that, I’m held in a choke hold. When I am about to black out, my attacker suddenly releases my throat. I hear a loud grunt, then a thud. It takes me a few moments to open my eyes. When I do, I see the mountain of a man sprawled on the ground. Standing over him is a vision of beauty. His dark eyes miss nothing. His coal black curly hair is damp and he is shirtless. My guess is he has just taken a shower because his hair is damp.

  “Are you all right Lilly?” he shouts. For a moment, I look at him, confused. My name isn't Lilly. Then I remember the short girl who came to my rescue.

  “Sore, but I'm ok,” she answers as she slowly makes her way over to us. She smiles wide at the hunk and turns to me.

  “How are you feeling, Chelsea, are you ok?” It sickens me that she knows my name, especially since I don't remember seeing her before this incident. I allow the bitter anger to disperse.

  “I don't think so,” I respond as my body grows heavy. Now there is a constant pain in my side that demands attention. Breathing hurts and it feels as though I've been tossed out of a twenty story building. Before either of us can say a word, the sounds of sirens penetrate the silence. The half-naked guy looks agitated and Lilly breathes a sigh of relief.

  Everything is a blur after that. I'm rushed into an ambulance where a police officer takes my account of what happened. He assures me that I'm safe and asks who my parents are. The thought of the police calling them makes me nervous. Grandmother will blame the entire thing on Dad. If he hadn't married Mom, he wouldn't have been disinherited. Then I would have been born to a mother she approved of. Then... trying to finish this train of thought just makes me tired. I'm too uncomfortable on the stiff stretcher and the neck brace to even think of unpleasant thoughts. So I allow my throbbing head to clear as I fall asleep.

  “Chelsea dear, why did you leave the house wearing that?” Grandmother asks as she holds up my grass- stained sweat pants. I'm in a private room, courtesy of the Grinch. She insisted if she were to visit me, she wasn't about to have strangers listening to our conversations. Her excuse is weak at best. On some level, the woman cares for me. Her eyes are red rimmed and the hand holding up my pants is unsteady.

  “I don't know,” I reply sluggishly. It has been six hours since the attack. I'm stitched up and tired from the pain killers that the nurse gave me. It's a wonder that I'm even awake at all.

  “Next time, be sure to dress in proper attire. You don't know who might see you,” she continues to lecture. Thankfully, the lecture is cut short by s soft knock on the door. The old woman stares at the door as if it’s a viper, but I call “come in.” Moments later, the beautiful stranger that clocked my attacker strides in holding flowers, a balloon, and a huge Teddy bear. He looks as though today had been the longest day of his life. Grandmother mutters something about needing a cup of coffee and exits with my clothes in her possession. She leaves the door ajar.

  “Chelsea,” he says shooting me a relieved smile. “I’m so sorry I couldn't come sooner.” He places the gifts on the table beside my bed and I thank him. “I wasn't sure what you would have wanted, since I don't know you that well yet,” he admits. That brings a smile to my face.

  “What's your name?” I ask, He looks embarrassed for a moment before recovering.

  “Peter. Peter Jacobs.” I smile at him and say, “I see that you've found your shirt”. Peter chuckles.

  “I was getting dressed when I heard my grandmother yelling. I grabbed my shoes and ran out to help. I didn't think a shirt was important,” he reasons. I giggle as an image of Peter's beautiful tan skin and sculpted muscles enters my mind. My visitor has the good grace not to comment on my giggles.

  “Well I'm glad you came on time. I think the jerk would have killed me,” I say. Judging by the look on Peter's face, he feels the same.

  “I’m sorry about what happened. It's a shame that someone was so desperate for money, they would stoop so low.” It feels really good to see someone angry on my behalf. Mom was crying, Grandmother kept insulting me, and like usual, Dad was MIA. But the look in Peter’s dark eyes tells me that he would avenge me if he could. My heart is
a little bit lighter because of that.

  “It’s a good thing the police came when they did,” I say, feeling glad that the criminal is in police custody.

  “I’m glad you're all right,” Peter says before eying the door, as if he'd like to escape. It dawns on me that the beautiful guy in front of me is uncomfortable. He doesn't know what else to say. I'm not going to keep him here, and make things awkward. I'm about to tell him I'm tired, when the door bursts open. Adam rushes in holding a family-sized bag of Smart Food Pop Corn, my favorite snack. Peter takes this as his cue and leaves without saying goodbye. Adam closes the door behind him before sitting in the chair by the bed. His gentle hand traces my forehead and I shudder.

  “Go away,”” comes my weak protest.

  “Chelsea, you can't stay mad at me forever,” he softly argues. Adam is wrong. If anyone has the talent of holding grudges, it's me.

  “Go away,” I plead, as he brushes his lips against my forehead.

  “Chelsea baby, you love me. You can’t keep on doing this. I'm sorry”. He's right. I do love him. In fact, there's nothing more I want to do than run my fingers through his hair. But then, I remember. Adam kissing Ivy Miller, her legs wrapped around his waist and the hot anger and betrayal. A bag of Smart Food isn't enough for me to forgive him.

  “I'm sorry Adam, I can't,” I whimper, Adam doesn't relent. His kisses become more insistent. His lips travel down my forehead, land on the tip of my nose and his lips brush against mine for an instant. I want to give in, but there is a clearing of a throat and Adam straightens in his seat.

  “Who is this, Chelsea Rose?” Grandmother demands. I squirm, but Adam, not knowing her, smiles.

  “I’m Adam Smith,” he announces.

  “I wasn't aware Chelsea had a boyfriend,” she snaps.

  “I don't. He was just leaving,” I blurt out. But Grandmother is on a rampage. She walks over to the table beside the bed, picks up the bag of Smart Food, and looks at Adam.

  “You come to the hospital to visit my granddaughter and bring her a bag of popcorn?” she asks with dismay.

  “I like popcorn,” I defend swiftly. Adam, embarrassed, does what he does best and leaves.

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