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The Only Witness

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Author's note: Usually I write about love stories or off of a nightmare I have had, but I decided I wanted to...  Show full author's note »
Author's note: Usually I write about love stories or off of a nightmare I have had, but I decided I wanted to challenge myself and write about a topic that was out of my realm of experience or knowledge along with a very difficult mental disorder.  « Hide author's note
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Eight

The next week, President was out of the country for a wedding so I was put in charge. Everything was going smoothly until Friday of that week when Peter came into my office to discuss the contract. As he was getting up to go to the bathroom something dropped out of his pocket. Once he was out of sight I went over and picked up the small glass box and opened it. Inside were my crushed metal ring, my father’s fixed necklace, and my mother’s fixed bracelet. I froze and wanted to cry as I saw the objects but looked up when Peter came into the room, “Oh gosh! I’m sorry for opening it! I didn’t mean to pry into your business. You just dropped it and my curiosity got the best of me!”
He smiled, “It’s alright,” He replied, “I’m sure you can relate to why I keep those with me. I remember your teacher mentioning you lost someone.”
I nodded, “My best friend.”
He seemed on the verge of tears, “Those three things are from the three people I have lost,” He slowly took the box from my hand and pulled out the necklace, “This was my best friend’s signature necklace. He was a famous model who died in a car accident with his wife who was also a famous model who was the owner of the bracelet. Now, I was not given these when they died, they were actually given to their one and only child who was this perfect girl that I ended up raising from when she was the age of 10 till she was 18 and I lost her too. She left these three things behind for me on top of a note telling me that she might be killed if I came after her. Of course, I would never want anything to happen to her so I did not go after her for a few years,” He looked to me, “She is the same person my two models are in search for. Two years after she left we started trying to look for her once more, but she has been hidden by the man that took her from me.”
“Do you know who took her?”
He nodded, “Her uncle that her dad warned me to keep her from but apparently she had been seeing him the whole time I raised her without my knowing. He raped her and beat her and I’m afraid that even if she is not with me anymore, he is still beating her.”
I looked away, “I’m sorry. I brought up painful memories.”
He shook his head, “I actually wanted to tell you this because you are someone who can relate and…you remind me a lot of Noel.”
“Thank you for the complement,” I whispered, “Now, we should probably get back to work.” I focused on the contract for the rest of the meeting but by the time I got home I had lost control. I was crying hysterically while hugging a pillow and blubbering out how sorry I was for what I had done to Peter, Rider, and Ash. I lay on my couch crying but jumped as my front door was thrown open and my uncle came storming into my room. He ran at me and punched my face so hard that I fell off of my couch and hit the side of my head on the corner of my coffee table. Blood started from the cut now on the side of my head as I looked up to my uncle in horror.
“That bastard named Peter suddenly called my work and got me fired because he said he had proof I was a molester! You made me lose my job you b****!” He hollered as he pinned me to the ground, “Now he’s damn right! If I wasn’t a molester I’m going to make sure I am one now!” He ripped my silk shirt in half as I screamed.
“No!” I hollered and he slapped me across the face.
“Shut up or I will kill Peter!”
I kept quiet as I cried and my uncle started to slip off my skirt. I was frightened and screamed when my uncle suddenly passed out on top of me. I looked up in fright to see Peter with a baseball bat while standing next to Mr. Elrick, my photography teacher. Peter shoved my knocked out uncle off of me and I immediately stood and ran into Peter’s arms, “Peter!” I cried, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
He pulled me closer to him as he cried on my shoulder, “It’s okay, Noel, I’ve got you,” He whispered, “I will never let him hurt you again.” Mr. Elrick called the police and my uncle was hauled off to jail for sexual abuse, child abuse, and three murders. I called an emergency meeting to the president when had just gotten back to the country, Rider, and Ash. We met in the same meeting room but when I stopped at the door Peter looked to me in confusion, “What is it, Noel? Don’t you want to let your two best friends know you are here?”
I looked to my feet, “But will they accept me when I have to tell them everything.”
“They will love you no matter what.” He whispered and then opened the door for me. I walked in with my strawberry blond hair down to my shoulders, and another set of 10 stitches on the side of my head. When I walked in with cover up on my face tattoo, no glasses, and my natural hair color back I felt as though I was going to cry. Rider and Ash froze as they saw me walking in while holding Peter’s hand.
“Good afternoon, President.”
“Annabelle! What happened?”
I took a deep breath before meeting the president’s eye again, “My name in not actually Annabelle, sir.”
“Then what is it?”
I looked up to Peter and when he smiled back to me I looked back to the President with confidence, “My real name is Noel Lovette Morel. I’m the daughter of Guillaume and Charae Morel and adopted daughter of Peter.”
“Why have you been lying to us and tell us you were some else?”
Peter stepped ahead of me, “She did not mean to hurt you, sir. She was being held against her will and forced to lie to everyone about who she was so that she could not be found.”
“President, I want to resign from my position as vice president effective immediately and would like to propose a new contract for the models you have hired to represent the company.”
“What do you mean a new contract?”
“Well since I am starting work with my two co-models I would like to also be part of the contract.”
“Noel!” Rider yelled as he came up from his chair and stared at me with tears welling in his eyes.
“You idiot,” I whispered before walking over to him and putting my hand on his cheek, “I told you to not come looking for me,” I embraced Rider as I started to cry and so did he, “Thanks for coming after me,” I let go of Rider and went over to Ash. I embraced him, “Both of you are morons.” I cried into Ash’s shirt and he started crying also as he pulled me closer.
“I’m not allowing you out of my sight! Not for a second!” He whispered before I let go and looked to the president.
“So what do you say, sir, do we have a new contract?”
“Of course,” He said with a smile, “You may have a different name and background but you are still the girl I hired.”
I nodded towards him, “Thanks, sir.” I added before hurrying over to Peter. I clung onto his arm like I used to with my father when I was very young. After discussing the details out, I was added to the contract and then I was able to go to a hotel where Peter, Rider, and Ash had been staying for almost a month and a half now. My belongings had already been delivered and when we got inside I felt ill. There was too much love and caring here that it now made me sick, “Peter, can I take a shower? I haven’t taken once since two days ago because of what happened.”
“Of course. Go ahead, Noel.” He said and I quickly grabbed a tank top and a pair of shorts. I took a quick shower and came outside in my different set of clothes. I walked into the main living room of the two room hotel suite that had the main living room placed in the middle. When I went in Peter smiled towards me, “Mr. Elrick called to speak with you about something. I told him you would call him back.”
I went over to the fridge and got bottled water, “I already know what he will ask, so there is no point in my response.”
“And what exactly is he going to ask you?” Peter asked as I took a seat on a small couch next to him.
“He wants me to visit a grave,” I whispered, “He must know now that I never attended the funeral or visit. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.”
“Why not? Isn’t this the friend you talked to him about? The one who made you stop modeling for Mr. Elrick?”
I nodded, “But he died because of me.”
“What do you mean?”
I gave Peter a dark glance, “You know exactly what I mean, Peter, of all people you should understand.” I mumbled as I put the water bottle back in the fridge.
“So you’re saying Sam killed your friend?”
I leaned against a nearby counter, “Yea,” I whispered, “The idiotic boy fell in love with me and once my uncle caught on that he was in love with me he got rid of him. He did the same thing he always does; he made it look like an accident.”
“Did he know what your uncle was capable of?”
I nodded, “The boy reminded me a lot of dad and I took a liking to him and accidentally let him figure everything else out. Then he stood up to my uncle for me and that was it. He died that week.”
“How exactly did your Uncle Sam kill him?” Ash asked as he sat in a single seat couch across from Rider who sat in one similar.
“I’d rather not say.”
Peter sighed, “Damn it, Mr. Elrick was right.”
“What do you mean?” Rider asked as he turned to Peter.
Peter crossed his arms over his chest, “I described how Noel used to act and he told me she was a different person now. I didn’t know he meant it so literally.”
I looked to my arms, “I’m sorry; I don’t think I’m what you were looking for. I am nothing like the old me and I don’t think I can go back to being carefree like that.”
“You are you, regardless of how you’ve changed, Noel,” Rider retorted as he looked back to me, “We came to get you even though we knew you would most likely be different.”
I wrapped my arms around myself, “If only that were true,” I whispered and then smiled, “Then everything could go back to the way it was before. Oh, how marvelous that would be,” I was distracted from the urge to cry when my phone went off, “Yea?”
“Anna?”
“Oh, hey. What’s up?”
“The guys and I thought you might want to go with us to the funeral tomorrow. I mean it is for you late fiancée.”
I smiled and sighed, “I’d love to, but it seems I cannot,” I whispered, “But have a good time, okay?”
“Are you okay, Anna? You sound upset.”
I let out a laugh, “Oh you know me too well Emily, don’t you,” I chuckled to myself, “It’s nothing really. My dog passed away.”
“Oh I’m so sorry! Do you want me to come hang with you? We could talk.”
“No, I’m alright. My uncle is taking me on a trip starting tonight to make me feel better, so I’ll call you when I’m back, okay?”
“Definitely! Feel better!”
“Bye,” I shut the phone and sighed, “Well goodnight.” I whispered before walking into the other room and lying down on my bed. About an hour later I heard Rider and Ash go to the other bedroom and Peter come into the room I was in. Once I heard the three of them lightly snoring I got back up and went to the living room. I read a book my friend had told me was really good with just the light from the moon since I was afraid one of the guys would be woken up if I turned on a lamp. Sitting on the heater felt nice since it was under the window that I needed to be near to get the moonlight. I did not stop reading until I heard one of the guys go to the bathroom. Rider walked into the living room and looked surprised to see me.
“Hey, how long have you been up?” He asked in a yawn as he scratched his side.
“Not too long.”
“Do you want to go down to the dining area and grab breakfast for those two lazy asses?”
“Sure,” I replied before putting down my book and going over to Rider. We walked down to the breakfast area as food was being set out and only two other people were down there, “What should we get them?”
“Ash will want eggs, orange juice, and pancakes and Peter usually gets coffee, sausages, and a bagel.”
“Well I can get the bagel and orange juice since they are next to what I am getting.”
“Okay, I’ll get the rest.” He replied before we separated. I grabbed a bagel, orange juice, water, cereal, and an apple. We went back down to the room to see the other two were awake.
“Hey, Noel, your phone kept going off while you were gone,” Peter said as he handed me my phone, “I picked up accidentally and some guy started yelling at me so I hung up.”
I sighed before calling the newest number back and going to the window of the room, “Chris, what is it? Is something wrong?”
“Hell yeah there’s something wrong!” He hollered and I had to pull the phone from my ear, “I come to your house today because Emily said your dog died or some stupid s*** like that and she did not want you to be by yourself so she told me to come over! And what do I find? Your whole house has police caution tape around it!”
“Please, Chris, calm down.”
“What’d the hell did you do? Did you kill someone or something? Did you get caught with illegal drugs?”
“No nothing like that, Chris. You need to calm down or your blood pressure will rise,” I said and he let out a deep breath, “Now, I am alright. I am just at a hotel because of some problems that happened and I was asked to leave my house for some time.”
“So you’re not running from the law? And why did some punk answer your phone earlier?”
“The person who answered the phone is one of my relatives I’m staying with at the hotel.”
“Can I come see you? I need to talk to you about something important and I want to make sure this guy your with is not a rapist or something.”
I let out a small laugh, “Yea, like I’d ever been stupid enough to go live with a rapist. Get real, Chris. Now, wait just a second so I can ask if you can come,” I looked to Peter, “One of my best friends is really worried about me and wants to come meet you. Is that okay?”
“Of course.”
“Chris, I’m at the Marriot in the northeast end of town in room 208. I’ll be waiting, okay?”
“Yea, see ya’ soon.” He replied before hanging up.
“Geez, that guy,” I whispered as I picked up the glass of water. I drank some, “I will get ready so you guys can eat.”
“Okay.” Peter replied as I went into the other room.

When there was a knock at the door, I had already gotten into a pair of black skinny jeans and a navy quarter sleeve t-shirt and was now eating my breakfast as the guys got ready for the day. I quickly answered the door and smiled towards Chris. His black hair was spiked up while he wore dark colored jeans, black sneakers, and a black band shirt, “Hey there, stranger.” I said with a smile but froze when he grabbed my chin.
“Who the hell gave you stitches on your face? I’ll kill the punk!”
I sighed, “Come on in,” I said and then led him inside before shutting the door. I brought him over to the couches, “Do you want water?”
“That’d be great.”
I went over to the fridge and grabbed him a water bottle. As I was walking back I looked to him, “My uncle got angry at me and he ended up hitting me. That’s where the stitches are from and why there was caution tape at my house. It had been the site of abuse so I was asked to stay with my adoptive father I had moved away from for college along with my two best friends from my home town.”
He stared at me, “So where is this uncle of yours and how can I kill him without anyone noticing?”
I smiled, “It’s alright, Chris, he’s in jail right now and I will be testifying in court in a few days.”
“So are you going to tell them everything that has happened since you came here, I mean to your friends and adoptive father?”
I looked to my hands, “As if I could.”
“Are you going to tell them about Austin?”
My eyes were burning with tears, “What is there to tell?”
He put his hand on top of mine, “Well for starters, that he was your fiancé for almost six months before he died and that you were pregnant with his daughter but had a miscarriage.”
I smiled towards him, “They don’t need to know.”
“So you’re going to do to them what you do to the others? You’re going to pretend everything is great even though it’s not.”
“If you weren’t so smart and weren’t so close to Austin you would be just like the others.”
“But I’m not like the others,” He whispered, “I still don’t know everything about you, but I know a lot more than everyone else. I know your real name, I know you ran from your hometown, and I know your uncle forced you to do a lot of things you did not want to do.”
Suddenly the door to Ash and Rider’s room was pulled open, “She did not run from her hometown because she wanted to,” Rider pointed out as he walked over, “She was forced away or her uncle would have killed one of us.”
“Is this one of your friends?” Chris asked and I nodded.
“Chris, this is Rider Stevens,” I whispered, “Rider, this is Chris Purdy.”
“Nice to meet you.” Rider said as he shook Chris’s hand before sitting down on the other side of me on the couch.
“Nice to finally meet you too.”
“Finally meet? What do you mean?”
Chris smiled to Rider, “Well I’ve heard a lot about you from Austin. You and Ash Williams were his only love rivals.”
“Who’s Austin? And what do you mean by love rivals?”
Chris laughed slightly, “Austin is the boy whose funeral is today. He was deeply in love with Noel, but he always felt second in her heart to the two models she had hidden pictures of in her room.”
“Pictures?” Rider asked me.
I looked to Chris, “Austin misunderstood. I just loved the photographs those two take,” I turned to Rider, “He’s referring to some of the photographs I have of you and Ash. I collected your photographs while we were apart so I could still see you two.”
“Well, Chris,” Rider said as he leaned forward, “You’ve known Noel for all of this time, so could you tell me what you know?”
Chris smiled, “Sorry dude, but if Noel hasn’t told you something, I sure as hell shouldn’t. For one it’s not my place and if she chooses not to tell you something, it’s probably because she doesn’t think you can handle it. That’s why I don’t know everything.”
“But you know about us so you must know a lot.”
Chris shook his head, “I only know who you are from Austin’s constant bickering about you. Noel didn’t tell me.”
“So the Austin you are referring to is the boy Mr. Elick spoke of?” Peter asked as he walked into the room.
“Chris, this is my adoptive father, Peter. Peter, this is Chris Purdy.”
“Hey,” Chris said with a slight smile, “And that reminds me! You never told Professor Elrick about your true relationship to Austin, did you?”
I shook my head, “Of course not.”
Chris looked to Peter, “Noel wasn’t friends with Austin,” He remarked, “They were engaged.”
“You never told me this, Noel.” Peter said with shock.
Chris sighed, “She doesn’t talk about him very often and I can’t blame her for it,” He put his hand on top of mine; “She was in the car accident with him and was slightly traumatized when he died.”
“You were in the accident?” Ash yelled as he came into the room, “You must’ve been injured!”
I shook my head, “I only received a scratch.”
“But how could he have died and you only received a scratch?”
Chris looked to Ash, “The car hit the side of the car Austin was in head on. The part of the car Noel was in was barely damaged.”
“That must’ve been horrible.” Peter whispered as he looked to me.
“He’s in a better place,” I replied before turning to Chris with a smile, “So what did you want to ask me?”
He sighed, “I thought you would want to know that they finally found out who was driving the car. The wreck was not an accident.”
I looked away, “Really?”
He nodded before squeezing my hand, “They are going to hold court in two days to convict the man who killed him and I thought you would be a good witness to testify since no one else saw the wreck.”
“I can’t.”
“You need to, Noel. You refuse to tell me what happened, but don’t you want the man who killed your fiancée behind bars so he can’t hurt anyone else?”
I looked to him, “I’ll think it over, alright? I just can’t think about it for today.”
“I understand,” He whispered, “Well I should go. I have work starting soon.”
I kissed his cheek, “Be safe, alright?” He nodded before leaving the room and the area was filled with silence.
“That court date is the same as your uncle’s court date, right? So you can’t go to both.”
I looked to Rider, “I’ know.” I whispered before going to my bed and lying down.
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