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Love IS Respect - Part 1.5
“Ahh,” I screamed as I woke with a start. Strong arms were wrapped around me. I struggled violently, remnants of my nightmare frightening me.
“Shh,” the familiar voice cooed, “it was just a nightmare. Just relax.”
I stopped fighting him and tried to control my breathing. “Oh, Ty,” I exclaimed as I threw my arms around his neck in a choke hold.
“Everything’s fine Tay. You’re at my house. You’re safe,” Ty assured me, stroking my hair over and over.
Some guy named Zach used your phone to call me. He said you mentioned a Ty before you fainted and as I was the only Ty in your phone’s contact list he figured you were referring to me. When he told me---” Ty’s voice cut off as his whole body tensed.
“What did he say Ty,” I questioned, even though I was pretty sure I already knew.
He took a deep breath before answering. “He told me he was with you at the movie theater and that the girl who owned this phone needed a ride and he’d wait until I could get there. He said you and some guy claiming to be your boyfriend had been fighting and by the looks of things it was rather one-sided. Zach said you had looked terrified and that there was blood---” Ty’s voice trailed off again.
“Thanks, Ty.” I murmured my gratitude in his ear, arms still locked around his neck.
“For what,” he asked.
“For coming to pick me up, for being with me now, especially after how horribly I’ve treated you,” I explained.
“Don’t thank me for something that’s my fault. I’m just as much to blame as you are for how things have been between us lately.”
“What’s your fault Ty?”
“This,” he said, lightly tracing the curve of my left cheek.
“Don’t think that Ty! Besides, what happened was my fault. I put myself in that situation. I didn’t listen to you, my best friend, the one person in the world I can trust. Hell, I didn’t even listen to myself. I knew something wasn’t right, but I ignored my intuition. You were right Ty, I was so stupid. I---”
“No! None of this was your fault Taylin. Do you hear me,” he demanded harshly, shaking me for emphasis.
I burst into tears. “Please don’t be mad at me,” I begged, sobbing into his chest. I couldn’t take him being mad at me for anything anymore not after everything I’d been through this last month.
“Oh Tay,” he apologized frantically, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to raise my voice like that or be so rough. I just…It’s not your fault, okay! And I’m not mad you, sweetheart. Please don’t cry,” Ty begged, as he gently wiped away my tears with the pads of his thumbs. He touched our foreheads together until my sobs subsided.
“Promise you’re not mad,” I asked, my breath hitching, as tears still seeped out of my eyes and down my face.
He grasped my chin with his thumb and index finger, bringing my face up to his. I couldn’t bring myself to look him in the eyes.
“Look at me Taylin,” Ty coaxed.
I gathered the courage to look at him.
“I -- am -- not -- mad -- at – you-- Taylin Edwards. You got that?”
“Yeah,” I nodded shyly.
“Good,” he smiled and then kissed away my tears
Although I was shocked by his action, I didn’t question his motives because it felt right and --- it felt so good. We stared into each other’s eyes for awhile. “What are you thinking Ty,” I asked eventually.
“I’m thinking that if I could get my hands on that b****** I’d---”
“No,” I shook my head emphatically, “please don’t say that Ty. Don’t even think that way. Promise me, Ty.”
He looked up at the ceiling with tightly clamped lips. Ty stubbornly refused to answer me.
“Promise me,” I commanded, emphasizing each word slowly and distinctly. And there was no way in hell I was going to take no for an answer. “I can be stubborn too Ty.”
“He HIT you Tay,” Ty hissed between his teeth.
I grabbed his face between both of my hands and forced him to look at me this time. What I saw in his eyes made me pause. His tightly held body spoke of anger and rage, but his eyes spoke of pain and guilt as he internally struggled to keep the tears from overflowing. I hadn’t seen Ty cry since that day in the sixth grade. He must feel very strongly about all this. It was a humbling moment for me. No one had ever cried for me before.
“Promise,” I whispered. “Just promise you won’t go starting anything.”
He looked at me for a long moment. “Fine, I won’t go looking for anything, but if he---” Ty finally gave in.
“Promise,” I pleaded again, interrupting before he could list his conditions.
He sighed. “Okay, okay, I promise.”
“Thanks,” I exhaled, relaxing in his arms as I snuggled closer. I yawned.
“Close your eyes Tay and get some sleep. I’m not going anywhere,” Ty instructed me with his gruff voice that was so endearing.
“I know,” I replied sleepily, my eyes already closed.
“Night, Tay.” He pulled the covers over us and began stroking my hair again.
I sighed happily. There was something on my mind that I just had to say though. “Ty,” I asked.
“I love you.”
“You do,” he asked, surprised. I didn’t know if it was more a ‘I’m so happy you said that” or “I don’t feel the same way and don’t know what to say” kind of surprise. “Why,” he asked.
I didn’t know what that question meant in the scheme of things either, so I just told him the truth. “You save me. You keep me sane. I just do; I think I always have since the very first day I met you in sixth grade.”
It was quiet for a long moment. I wondered if he had fallen asleep.
“Ty,” I asked again.
“Yeah,” he murmured.
“Do you mind if I love you?”
“No,” he chuckled, “I don’t mind.”
“I don’t mind because – well, because I love you too silly.”
“You do,” I echoed his surprise from a few minutes ago.
“You’re surprised,” he stated. “How could you not have known? I mean you know me better than I know myself.”
I shrugged. “All those girls…” I trailed off.
“Those other girls were just placeholders. I didn’t want to admit my feelings for you were real because then you had the power to hurt me.” He sighed. “Taylin, the past several weeks have made me realize how much you mean to me. My life literally sucks without you; I was miserable the whole time. Just ask my mom and sister. Please believe me when I say that you’re the only one I want to be with Tay. It’s always been you---I love you.”
“Me too Ty,” I mumbled, half asleep. “I missed you so much it hurt. I don’t ever want to feel that way again.”
“Sleep now Tay,” Ty whispered in my ear. He pulled me closer, tucking my head under his chin, and every now and then he’d kiss the top of my head. I fell asleep knowing I was finally home where I belonged.
*** Please read:
This is a work of fiction. I was inspired by the Lifetime Original Movie, Reviving Ophelia, which is about an abusive teenage relationship. I was also inspired by another story that I read on Teen Ink by HLFelix called Stick ~ check it out, it’s really good~ http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/256850/Stick/?page=1
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please tell a parent, a teacher, a guidance counselor, or an adult you trust. Don’t try to “handle” it yourself; this type of situation is above your expertise. Abuse is about manipulation and is not restricted to physical violence. Verbal and Emotional abuse is just as damaging and hurtful. Even if you’re ashamed or promised not to tell, this is a serious issue that needs to be told immediately. And don’t be the person who knew and didn’t say or do anything. It could be a matter of life and death or serious injury. I repeat, this is a work of fiction, but for some it’s real life. Please visit www.loveisrespect.org for more information.***