Author: Lacey Raine

Chapter 35

A horrible, tense silence hung over the flat, broken only by Jonah's choked and shaky sobs.

He buried his head in my shoulder and cried hard. I didn't know what to do, didn't know what to say. I just sat and held him in my arms, rocking him gently and whispering sweet nothings into his ear. Adam and Jaya looked a little confused. "Er... come on, Adam," Jaya stood up and pulled the younger boy up too. "We'll go get some fresh air, eh? Talk about it outside." Adam nodded wordlessly and followed her out. I was grateful to them.

I stroked Jonah's hair gently. "I love you," I told him, kissing the top of his head. He was still crying too much to respond verbally but he squeezed my hand. "D'you want to talk?" He shook his head. "D'you wanna go to bed, see if you can have a sleep?" Another shake. "Sure? You need your rest, teddy bear. I'll come and lie with you, if you want." He swallowed then nodded. His tears were too much for him to even walk in a straight line, so I carried him through and laid him on the bed, tucking the duvet around him like he was a baby. "There now," I stroked his hair off his forehead, as he brought his knees up to his chest in a foetal curl. "It's okay. He's gone now. He's left. You don't have to do anything you don't want to ever again. God, I love you so much."

" you... too..." He managed, between sobs. I kissed his forehead gently and slid under the duvet with him. I couldn't help noticing that he shrank away slightly as I did so.

"Hey, don't be frightened," I stroked his arms gently. "I'm not going to hurt you."

"I... I know," He said, leaning against me. "I'm so sorry, Lukey."

"Sorry? What for?"

"Bringing him here. I shouldn't've," He kissed my neck gently.

"Shut up, you silly boy," I replied, nuzzling him. "Get some sleep, you need it,"

"I...I'll try. I love you," He tipped his head and kissed me gently, before closing his eyes and slowly drifting off.

I dropped off myself at some point. When I woke up, Jonah was out of bed. "Baby, what're you doing?" I mumbled, sleepily.

"I..." He swallowed. "Nothing. Go back to sleep." I noticed his backpack at his feet. It was half full and flung open. I blinked at him, suddenly wide awake.

"Are you going somewhere?"

"I... no, of course not," He shook his head. "Jaya and Adam are back. She insisted she'd be fine on the sofa and Adam's asleep next door. Go back to sleep."

"Are you running away?" I said, standing up.

"I... yes," He looked down and swallowed.

"Well... why? Have I upset you?" I said, cautiously. If I had, I didn't mean to.

"What?! No," He said. "Luke, you're amazing. You're a great guy. I just... you don't wanna be with someone like me."

"Yes I do,"

"No, Luke, you don't," He said, shaking his head. "I'm bad news. I'm just going to get you into all kinds of trouble."

"I don't care, kitten," I said, stroking his cheek.

"I do. I know guys who are even worse than Blain who'd literally kill if they thought they could have me. Like that guy who kept me locked up in the warehouse, or the one who used to cut me when we did, said he couldn't climax if there was no blood, or...." He broke off, dissolving into tears.

"I won't let any of those people get to you," I assured him. He shook his head, tutting.

"You're sweet, Luke, but you can't half be stupid sometimes," He said. "I mean, don't get me wrong, you have a... a great body. But some of these guys... they'd make you look anorexic by comparison. They're huge."

"I don't care. I'd go to the ends of the earth to protect you. I'd die if it meant I could keep you safe, babes," I said truthfully.

"But... you should see them..." He said, desperately. "They'd hurt you. And then there's Daddy..."

"Daddy?" I blinked at him, perplexed.

"My... my last foster dad," Jonah slid down the wall until he was sitting on the floor. "He was most of the reason I left. Apart from being abused by my foster siblings, he used to smack me around big time."

"Oh, babe, you never told me that," I sat beside him.

"That wasn't all. He used to... he'd come into my room at night and like... touch me," He swallowed. "I was only about nine when he started. I never got it. He told me... he'd tell me that he was getting me ready for when I was thirteen. He said when I was thirteen I'd be big enough for us to have a special relationship. I didn't twig until I eleven and we started doing sex ed. He... he was gonna rape me, Luke. I was scared. I ran away. But he's been looking for me for years. He found me a couple of times, but Blain got some of his mates to get him to back off. He kept coming back. If he finds me here..."

"He won't," I kissed his forehead. "Why didn't you tell me that before? Didn't your foster mum do anything?"

"She... she didn't know that he touched me. But she didn't really care when he hit me. She didn't like me much," He shuddered. "Neither of them did. They just... took me in because they weren't given much of a choice."

"Oh, baby. You should've told me," I stroked his hair.

"Sorry," He replied, leaning against me. 

"Where were you going to go?" I asked, curiously. Sure he'd not want to be homeless again?

"I have a couple of mates over in Hackney," He shrugged. "I met them when Blain used to bring me down sometimes, to this club. I'm not really sure where they live, but I could've met them in the club. But I wouldn't be allowed in on my own."

"How come?" I asked, curiously. He didn't really seem like the kind to have problems sneaking into clubs.

"It's... it's not that kind of place. They don't let you in alone. Well, they wouldn't let me in alone... they know me..."

"I don't really get you..." I said, confused. He shook his head.

"Doesn't matter." He told me. "I'll... I'll come back to bed." He stood up, took my hand and twirled me round so I was facing the bed. We tumbled onto it together and fell back to sleep, locked in a strong embrace.


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