Runaway
Author: Lacey Raine

Chapter 6
Luke

 Gina was waiting for me outside the studio. She jumped into the car and kissed me on the cheek. "Hiya, babe," She said, cheerily.

"Hi," I replied, weakly. She studied my face carefully.

"Hey, what's up?" She asked. I shook my head. She sighed. "C'mon, Luke, you can tell me."

"I'm fine," I insisted. "I just...I'm feeling a bit ill, that's all." What was I supposed to say? I picked up a seventeen-year-old runaway prostitute who I found half-dead in he park and every other word he says is a swear? She'd tell me I'd gone mad. Maybe I had.

I pulled into the car park outside of our building. "Come into my flat for a bit?" Gina asked, as we reached our floor. I sighed.

"I think I just wanna go to bed, babe," I said, giving her a hug. "I'll see you later, yeah?"

"Okay then," She kissed me gently. "Get well soon. Love you."

"I will," I replied. "And I love you too." I watched her walk into her flat before I went back into mine.

Jonah was sat in the exact same spot as where I left him. "I didn't think you were serious," I said. He shrugged. He had tears stains on his cheeks. "Have you been crying?"

"Yes," He said bluntly. I sat opposite him.

"You know, most boys your age wouldn't admit to that," I said. "I know I wouldn't have when I was seventeen."

"Well I'm not like other lads my age, am I?" He snapped. "I don't know any lads my age. All the tricks are older than me and so are Blain's other two."

"He makes others do the same?"

"I dunno if he makes them," He shrugged. "I've only met them a couple of times. Corey Cliff and Byron Katt are they're professional names. Don't know their real ones. Corey's twenty-one and Byron's twenty-eight."

"Coffee?" He looked on the verge of tears again. He nodded. "Milk? Sugar?"

"Please," He said, very quietly. I bustled about the kitchen, making a great show of making the coffee. I placed a mug on the table in front of him. He didn't pick it up straight away- him burning his tongue with the tea earlier on probably showed him not to. He sighed. "Luke, why are you doing all this for me? I was just some homeless guy in the park. You wouldn't have done that for any other tramp, would you?"

"No," I admitted. "But you were just a kid. It was cold and you looked like you were in so much pain. I couldn't bare it."

"Thank you," He ducked his head down again, tears glittering in his eyes.

"It's no bother," I replied. "It's not like you take up much room. There isn't much of you, is there?"

"Couldn't afford food when I was with Blain," He shrugged. "Bread and water. Milk, sometimes. Baked beans if we were lucky. And vodka. Blain always managed to blag a bottle of vodka from the pub across the road."

"Oh,"

"I'm not an alcy," He said, defensively. "I just... the drink helps get rid of the pain. And the drugs."

"How many are you on?"

"Crack. Weed. Heroin," He shrugged. Then he shuddered. "Blain thinks I'll go back, I know he does. He thinks I need a fix. I don't. I can give up. I'm not going back to him."

"You've got the right attitude there," I said. Jonah sighed.

"I'm just worried about when he finds me,"

"He won't find you," I tried to pat him on the shoulder but he sprang away.

"Oh, trust me, he will," He sighed. "He was always pretty clear on what he'd do if I ever tried to leave him. Blain isn't the sort to not get what he wants. He'll search the whole world if he has to. And he's got mates all over the country. He'll get to me eventually."

"Report him to th-"

"No!" He cut me off. "I'm not going to the police."

"Why?"

"I was a prostitute. They'll arrest me too," He said. "D'you know what happens to young guys in jail? I can't bare that, not again."

"If you told them you were forced into it I'm sure they-"

"No, Blain would deny it. Everyone would deny it," He shook his head, his hair whipping his face. "It's their word against mine."

"I-"

"Just drop it, Luke," He said. He glanced at the clock on the wall. Eight thirty. He yawned. "Can I go to bed?"

"You don't have to ask,"

"Can I borrow some pyjamas or something?"

"Don't you have any?"

"No. I don't really have many clothes," He picked up his thin black rucksack and tipped out the contents of it; a white singlet, a blue shirt, similar to the black one he was wearing, a grey tee-shirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of sweatpants. That was all in the way of clothes. Well, that and a couple of pairs of boxers and a pair of socks. Along with them was an empty cigarette box, a lighter, a small penknife and a little red notebook.

I stroked the cover of the book. It was the only one of his belongings that looked well-kept and looked after. "What's this?"

"Private," He shoved it in his pocket, blushing.

"Is it... is it your diary?" I asked, amused.

"No. Yes. Fuck off," He snapped. "So can I borrow some pyjamas or what?"

"Er... sure, come on," I led him into the bedroom and rumaged through the drawers. I managed to come up with an ancient pair of blue pyjama bottoms and an old faded red tee-shirt. He took them from me, thanked me quietly, then went into his room.

 

 

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