Silence, p.53

Silence, page 53

 part  #1 of  Silence Series



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Seven days later, Mum and Jasper and me sat on the new sofa in our living room. Mum had donated the one Dad bought last year and got a good deal on this new one seen as it was in stock and being discontinued.

  A lot of things had changed in our house. It looked completely different. Mum was trying to get rid of Dad but his shadow ran deeper than objects and pictures. He was locked up, but he might as well be wondering around the house.

  I couldn’t relax. Everything had me on edge. Being here was like drowning.

  Mum looked exhausted. She’d barely slept.

  But she believed me.

  She chose me.

  Jasper was mostly angry. He cried the first day but after that he just wanted to punch things. I just wanted to sleep somewhere that didn’t remind me of the past.

  “How are you feeling?” Mum asked.

  I’d lost count of how many times I’d been asked that. Mum wanted to know how I was feeling every second of the day. I wasn’t even sure of that.

  “I’m doing okay,” I replied. This minute I was alright. It could change so fast, though. “You two?”

  Jasper shrugged, gritting his teeth. He was going to grind them down if he kept it up.

  “I’m okay,” Mum whispered emotionally.

  She was not okay, and that was one of the main reasons I kept quiet for so long. But I felt so much better that it was all out in the open and my family stuck by me. When they didn’t question if I was telling the truth, for the first time ever, I felt like it wasn’t my fault.

  Stopping blaming myself completely was difficult but Mum, Jasper, Cole and his family made it easy.

  Cole had barely left my side. He was only at his house now because I needed time with my family. Dad had been charged. There would be a long investigation into his and Frank’s activities but they were somewhere they couldn’t hurt anyone else.

  “I want the sentencing over with,” Jasper growled.

  He hoped they would admit what went on. So far neither of them had, and I didn’t expect them to. I was fully prepared for it to go to trial, and I was terrified. I’d have to stand up against my dad and the man who’d abused me for years.

  But I’d do it because I wasn’t prepared to be a victim. No matter how hard being a survivor was I was determined not to let them ruin my future.

  “I don’t think it’ll be that easy, Jasper.”

  “He owes you that much!”

  I got off the sofa and went so sit on the two-seater with him. He took a deep breath and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. “He owes all of us that much but that doesn’t mean he’ll do it. We’ll be fine if we stick together.”

  “Will we?” he asked. “None of us can sleep in this fucking house. Everything here is rotting. I want to get out, go somewhere far away. Neither of you can tell me you haven’t thought the same. I see you both struggle just as much as me.”

  Mum looked away, confirming that Jasper’s observation was true.

  If it was that simple I’d be gone by now. We couldn’t just take off. We didn’t have the kind of money it took to up and move so quickly. The house would have to be sold.

  We could go somewhere, though. We had family…in Australia.

  I almost didn’t want to suggest it.

  I’d have to leave Cole behind.

  Curling up, I laid against Jasper’s side. I couldn’t leave Cole. I loved him so much; he’d been the one who’d given me the strength to carry on all these years.

  But how could I stay here when I felt like that scared little girl still. I could tell everyone I was fine, I could be strong and not blame myself, but that would never stop the memories. It wouldn’t make me feel pure again. It wouldn’t give me back everything that was taken away.

  I don’t ever want to be that little girl again.

  You’ll always be here. Here, especially.

  England is where you were abused.

  This house is where you stopped talking.

  I scrunched my eyes closed, feeling my heart beat too fast, my lungs constrict and my hands start to shake.

  I can’t stay here.

  “We could go to Pete’s,” I said before I could stop myself.

  Australia was a really long way away.

  I’d have to end things with Cole.

  Jasper looked at me with his mouth open, and I burst into tears. How the hell could I actually leave Cole if I cried at the thought of it?

  “Don’t cry,” Jasper whispered. “Right now we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do. It wouldn’t have to be forever.”

  No, but I couldn’t leave him hanging.

  “Oakley, we don’t have to go that far,” Mum said, crouching down in front of us. “We can work something out. I have enough savings for a few months and could pick up work. It doesn’t have to be that far.”

  It didn’t have to be, but Australia, about as far away from England as you could get, seemed so good. None of us could stay here, and Australia had family.

  With everything that’d gone on recently, we didn’t need to add money worries to it. I couldn’t put that stress on Mum.

  “I think we should do it,” Jasper said.

  Mum nodded. “I do, too. It wouldn’t be permanent, we’d have to come back eventually, but my main concern is getting you somewhere you can heal. I don’t care where that is or what I have to do to achieve it.”

  “Neither do I,” Jasper said.

  “You’d be giving up so much,” I whispered. “I can’t ask that from you.” As much as it’d hurt to be here and relive everything all the time I couldn’t make them leave their life behind.

  Jasper had Uni, friends and maybe Abby. Mum had a career, family and friends.

  “You’re not askin’,” Jasper said. “We stick together. I don’t care about anything other than you right now.”

  Smiling through my tears, I grip Jasper’s arm.

  “Okay,” Mum said. “We do this together. We’ll go to Australia for as long as we need. We’ll heal there. I’ll get us all through this. I promise I won’t let either of you down again.”

  The enormity of our decision hit me. I sobbed into Jasper’s shoulder while Mum stroked my hair and cried.



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