She’d been hurt for the last time. She ran from that place she used to call “home” and out onto the street. She looked frantically around, where can I go? Her feet took off and she was running again. She ran the mile to the park in under five minutes, the fastest she’d ever run. She arrived out of breath, and shaking. Tears blinded her eyes as she stumbled onto the playground. Suddenly, she just stopped moving. She couldn’t force her feet to take another step. Her entire body was shaking, her sobs wracking her body. Her knees buckled and strong arms wrapped around her waist and held her up, lips pressed against the back of her neck in a silent kiss. She leaned back against him and his arms tightened against her.
“Shh,” he murmured. “Baby, shh.” Her body continued to shake with her silent cries. She raised her fists to her eyes and continued to weep. He pressed his forehead to the back of her neck and just held her while she cried. When her sobs quieted, and her breathing became regular he lifted his head and kissed her hair. Neither moved for a second, listening to the silence. One of his hands reached up and pulled the sleeve of her shirt down, revealing an untouched wrist. He did the same to the other, revealing the same thing, and sighed in relief. He turned her around and kissed both of her scarred wrists.
“Thank you,” he whispered to her.
“How did you know I was here?” She asked him, her voice still shaky and weak.
“I was coming to get you, you ran right past me” he said with a small smile.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. His hands cupped her face and he pecked her lips lightly.
“Are you okay?” He asked her, searching her eyes.
“I am now,” she mouthed. He pressed his forehead to hers and wrapped his arms around her waist, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath.
“I love you,” he whispered against her lips. She pressed her body into his and wrapped her arms loosely around his neck.
“What would I do without you?” She whispered back. She tilted her head up a little and kissed his lips, love pouring out of her. He kissed her back just as passionately and tightened his hold on her. They pulled apart, both breathing a little irregularly.
“Come on,” he said pulling away from her. She followed as he walked out of the park, his arm wrapping around her shoulders, pulling her close to him. She smiled and wrapped her arm around his waist, leaning her head on him.
“Where are we going?” She asked him confused.
“Your house,” he answered. She stopped walking and a ripple of pain tore through her chest. “Hey, hey” he said cupping her face and looking her straight in her wide, frightened eyes. “We need to get some stuff for you.”
“What?” She said, not understanding.
“You’re not staying in that house anymore,” he said firmly. Her eyes widened and filled with fresh tears. He swiped his thumbs under eyes to clear the tears there. “None of that now,” he said with a soft smile.
“I love you,” she whispered. He kissed her forehead and resumed walking to her house, her hand enclosed in his.
She shook slightly, looking up at her big house when they arrived, her breath stuck in her throat. He squeezed her hand and said
“You don’t have to go; I’ll go get your stuff.” She shook her head and began walking towards her backyard. She pushed the ladder up against the side of her house, directly under her window and began climbing while he waited for her at the bottom, holding the ladder steady. She opened her window silently and climbed into her room. She walked over to her door and cracked it open; peering around the hallway to make sure her stepmother wasn’t around. Satisfied that she was alone, she hurried to her closet and began throwing her clothes into a bag. She packed all the things she couldn’t bear to leave behind, and then turned back to her closet. She reached onto the top shelf and pulled down a shoebox. Opening it, she looked at all her mother’s belongings that she had salvaged from her father’s anger. A few pictures and pieces of jewelry occupied the box. Most important was her mother’s favorite necklace, a beautiful silver locket with pieces of blue topaz embedded in the front, her mother’s favorite stone. She opened it and inside was a picture of her mother on one side, and a picture of her mother holding her as a toddler. She reached behind her and clasped the necklace on then packed the box into her bag. She opened the window a bit farther and threw her two bags down, grabbed her purse, and began descending the ladder, closing her window behind her. She was free.