Runaway
Author: Lacey Raine

Chapter 19
Jonah

 For a minute when I woke up, I didn't really know where I was. Then I remembered.

Blain wasn't in bed any more- I could hear him humming in the bathroom. I brought my knees up to my chest and squeezed my eyes shut, trying to get rid of this nightmare. Blain laughed in the doorway. "You're awake, then? Good. Let's talk," He said. I opened my eyes and sat up.

"Blainey, I really am sorry. I didn't think. I was high..."

"Save your excuses Jonah. Who's the guy you were staying with?"

"Beg pardon?"

"Elliot said you were staying with some guy. Who was he?" Damn. I knew I couldn't trust him.

"Er... his name was... James. James Mulligan." I said. James Mulligan had, in fact, been one of the lads who'd given me crap in one of the Homes.

"So what was he, like another trick or something?"

"Er... not exact- yeah. Well. He let me stay with him if I... gave him something in return, if you get me," I shrugged, the lying getting easier.

"Well he obviously wasn't very good at it," Blain remarked, raising his eyebrows.

"What d'you mean?" I asked, perplexed.

"All your bruises have cleared up," He pointed out. "And I'm pretty sure I've never seen that jumper before. Or the tee-shirt."

"Oh... the bruises... he didn't hit me. Not much anyway... and the clothes? I er... he took all my clothes away from me. I nicked them off him," I said.

"What the watch as well?" Blain said. I nodded. He picked up the watch examining it. "Good brand that. Reckon you'd get a couple of quid in crack money off it."

"I don't take crack anymore. L-James wouldn't let me," I told him. "He stopped me drinking as well."

"So you, Jonah Carter, have been functioning for nearly two months without vodka? Maybe there is a God," He said. He looked at me. "Oh, and George is having one of his parties tonight. I know how much you love them..."

"Right," I ducked my head. I didn't need to hear anymore. I knew what George's parties were like- and I hated them.

***

The house was exactly the same as in my nightmares.

The way it looked, the way it smelled, even the way people sounded inside it was a perfect parallel to the harrowing dreams I'd had. Blain led me into the house with his arm firmly around my waist. I didn't have mine around him- he looked more powerful like this. It was a symbol that I was his property, only on this planet to do as he said.

He took me into the front room and over to the flea-bitten old sofa where I'd had so many long, sleepless nights. I remembered from past parties that I just had to sit there in silence and wait while Blain pimped me out and got everything sorted around that. I was surprised however, to see another boy on the sofa. He looked a fair bit younger than me. He was porcelain pale, though his face was covered with freckles and had a mop of hair which was either dirty blonde or light brown (I couldn't tell in this light). His eyes were a light golden-brown colour. All in all, he was a pretty cute kid. He had a beercan in his hand and was shaking violently. He shrank back into the corner when Blain stopped in front of him. Blain grinned. "Jonah, this is Adam. Adam, say hi to Jonah," He spoke to the guy as if he was a toddler.

"H-hi," Adam stammered.

"Why don't you two keep each other company, eh? I'm gonna go talk to some people in the kitchen," Blain addressed it to me rather than anyone else.

"Sure thing, sir," I simpered, giving him a sickly sweet smile.

"Good lad," He slapped me on the bum then walked out of the room.

I sat down beside this Adam guy. "Sorry, what was your name again?" He said, sounding a little more confident now Blain was gone.

"Jonah," I told him, smiling.

"Oh. Like the guy who got eaten by a whale in the Bible?" He said.

"Hey, don't talk about my grandpa," I replied, winking at him. We both chuckled. Then Adam sighed. He looked around.

"Lot of older blokes," He observed.

"Mm," I said, watching him carefully. "Surely you know why we're here?"

"I...well..." Adam bit his lip.

"Where're you living?" I asked, trying to change the subject. I assumed it would be with Cory and Byron - Elliot and Josh- whatever.

"I used to live with my uncle. With Benjamin now, for the past month or so," He said. Oh. Maybe I was wrong then. 

"Bald Benjamin or Curly Benjamin?" I asked.

"Curly," He said, with a slight smile. Then he frowned again. "But... I er... I work for Blain. I think."

"He's a right dick, isn't he?" I said, lowering my voice so nobody would hear. Adam nodded. "Try living with him."

"Owch," Adam winced sympathetically. He looked up at me through his fringe. "You don't think... will they really make us..."  

"That's why we're here," I told him. He bit his lips, tears welling in his eyes. "A word of advice, Adam? I'm not being harsh or anything, because I remember how scared I was when I first set off. And I feel for you, honestly I do, but don't cry. Don't get upset, it'll just make them mad."

"I know, but..." He sniffed. "I shouldn't be here. I don't want to be here. I'm only fourteen, Jonah. I'm scared."

"I know," I said. "I'm seventeen, and I'm scared. But just go along with it. Don't ask names, do whatever they tell you, and they'll be okay with you. Maybe feed you, if you get lucky."

"Benjamin always says if I want feeding I have to earn it," He bit his lip. "He said if I'm good tonight I can eat tomorrow. I haven't eaten in three days."

"Poor thing," I gave him a quick hug while nobody was looking. "It gets easier though, I promise. I was twelve the first time Blain had me doing it. And... and I've come out just fine."

"Twelve? I thought I was young," He said.

"How old are you again? Fourteen?"

"Just. I turned fourteen last month," He shrugged.

Then the door opened, and Blain walked back in.

Adam started shaking again. Blain crouched to his eye level. "Listen, cutie," He said, in a sickening sweet tone. "There's three guys in here who want to meet you."

"Th-three?" Adam repeated, his brown eyes widening. "No, Blain... Mr Hart... please..."

"You'll do as your fucking well told," Blain growled, punching Adam in the chest.

"I'll do it," I said, quickly, jumping to Adam's denfence. Blain looked at me. I sighed. "Give him a break, Blain, he's only fourteen- just a little kid. And he's only been doing it for a little while. Give him a bit longer before you start him on group stuff. I'll do it."

"Jonah..." He began.

"Look, are any of my regulars in there? Because I'll know what they like, won't I?" I'd never dared interrupt Blain before... it felt kinda good. Rebellious.

"Fine," Blain said, "You know where to go." As I started to walk out of the room, and he started to lay into the poor kid, I saw Adam mouth the words Thank you so much.

 

 

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