Protecting His Forever

By: LeAnn Ashers

I cup my hand over my mouth with words caught in my throat. God only knows what kind of word vomit I may spew, and I’ve been edgy enough with this man today. I swallow back a gulp, “Kane?” my voice is barely a whisper.

He snaps out of it his fog-filled daze and thrusts a handful of clothes toward me without so much as a word. I take the clothes and look down at my old granny panties resting on top of the stack. Hundreds of Pooh Bears hugging honey pots cover the panties, and they’re folded perfectly to reveal a visible hole on one of the butt cheeks. Fuck my life.

Palming my face, I groan out loud. Kane looks down at me with a mischievous smirk playing at the corner of his mouth, a low chuckle rumbling through his chest as his shoulders visibly shake. Giving him a death glare, I clutch the clothes to my chest and step around him to make my way back to the bathroom.

“Nice panties,” he calls over his shoulder.

"Ha-ha-ha, laugh it up." Turning around I flip him the bird over my shoulder and slam the door closed.

Holy shit. I'm going to murder my mom. Why did she bring my old panties from middle school? I toss the clothes on the counter and drop the towel to the floor. Searching through the pile for my bra, I find that she hid my regular panties under my shirt. Thanks, Mom.


An hour later, she shows her cheeky face. Crossing my arms over my chest, I give her a death glare. Kane chuckles at me, so I turn my glare toward him instead.

“Honey, I’m glad to see you’re awake,” she gushes and walks over to give me a hug. Closing my eyes, I hug her back tightly, basking in her loving hug.

She lets go and touches my face gently, smoothing my hair back. Her kind face is etched in concern. Tears come to her eyes. “You scared me,” she whispers.

“I’m sorry, Mom.” I rub her hand.

“I know, honey. Some deranged man tried to hurt my little baby.” Her bottom lip trembles as her eyes fill with tears. She blinks and one falls down her cheek. My heart breaks that she had to go through this. Lifting my arms, I motion her over for a hug.

Looking over her shoulder at Kane, he gives me a sad smile. Ethan and Chase stand by the door.

“Mom, I’m fine. That man is in jail and seems like he will be for a while.” Kane told me earlier that the man had multiple warrants. One charge had me ready to throw up: rape and murder of a young woman about my age. That could have been me. Oddly enough, the girl’s description matched mine: dark green eyes, long brown hair, short curvy figure.

Chapter Three

One Month Later

Waking up to the sound of knocking at the front door, I panic and fall down onto the floor clasping my pounding heart. My eyes shoot to the clock on the nightstand 10:00 AM. Letting out a deep breath I climb to my feet. My first thought when I hear the knocking is that the man has found me. Come on, Sydney, if it was him, he sure as heck wouldn’t knock on the door and he is in jail. Before I reach the front door, the loud banging begins again.

Peeking out the peep hole, I see just the top of red hair. Weird, who could this be? Taser at the ready, I open the door. Something hard collides with my body and makes me a take a couple steps back.

Pushing the person off of me, I look to see who it is.

Gasping, I squeak, “Brae?”

“In the flesh,” she answers guiltily.

“Where the hell have you been?” I can’t contain my temper. Brae was my best friend. Since the first day of college we had been inseparable. We went to a party after finals our senior year because we wanted to celebrate. I was busy dodging my stalker. Stalker may have been too strong of a word, but it seemed like he was always there every time I went somewhere outside of my apartment. Braelyn was talking to a guy, and when I left the room I never saw her again. I searched for her everywhere. I haven’t seen her since.

“I, uhh. It’s a long story.” Tears rush to her eyes. The Braelyn I know is tough and doesn’t cry. Something horrible has happened. Braelyn had a horrible life growing up at the hands of her stepfather. He was abusive and her mom sat there and watched, but that only seemed to make her stronger. This girl standing in front of me with her eyes overflowing with tears has been broken by something much worse.

“We have plenty of time. Let’s get you fed.” I lead her into the kitchen, her small, fragile hand in mine. Her wrist is really small, smaller than what would be considered normal.

I watch as she lifts her small frame onto the stool, her hands shaking as she pushes her hair out of her face. Her cheeks are sunken in, her lips chapped, stains are covering her clothes and her hair needs a good wash. Bones are sticking out of her chest. She is starving.

Turning around, I don’t want her to see my tears. Braelyn doesn’t deserve this shitty hand that has been dealt to her. Taking a glass out of the cabinet, I fill it to the top with water and hand her a banana.

From the corner of my eye, I watch as she shakily peels the banana back and eats half of it with one bite. Tears fall down my face that I don’t try to hide. Braelyn, what has happened to you?

Fixing her two sandwiches, I place the plate in front of her. She takes one sandwich off the plate and crams it in. If she doesn’t slow down, she will get sick. “Slowly,” I tell her softly, my hand resting on her arm.

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