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I slowly lower my sore body into the tub, wincing at the pain that comes with my movements.
I took the rest of the day off. After Noah left me in that classroom, I couldn’t find the strength or courage to move for what felt like an eternity. Everything hurt, every breath I took and especially every muscle I moved once I eventually forced myself to get up before someone would find me. It’s not like I could tell them anything if they did see me. No, the best thing I could do was to get away from everyone’s sight, and that’s how I ended up in the bathtub.
Everyone’s having classes right now, and it’s not like someone would be able to see me anyways if they would step inside the bathroom. I’m safe, for now.
I thought that a bath would help, I thought that it somehow would reduce the pain in my body, but I’m quickly proven wrong. I stay in the bath for half an hour until I finally give up and realize that only time, and not a silly bath, will heal my body from Noah’s brutal beating.
I take my time drying myself off with the towel, and although the material is supposed to be extra soft, it feels rough against my skin. I make sure that I’m the only one in the bathroom before I step out into the open area. I catch my reflection in the mirror and grimace. Although Noah left most of my face untouched, there’s a dark spot on my left cheekbone that I know will bruise badly. Despite the thing that occurred this morning, I find myself walking towards the one place I’m dreading the most; my old dorm room. The mere thought of stepping inside that room makes me want to run as far away as possible, but it’s the only place where I know I’ll be completely safe from everyone’s stares. I was lucky enough that I manage to sneak into my new room unseen in order to grab some new clothes before my bath, but I know that every sane person could see that I’m not fine. And no one can know about what happened this morning, because no one can know about Noah.
Sighing, I unlock and push the damn door open. It looks exactly like it did when I left it yesterday; plain. Boring. Not that I expected it to change overnight. Not that it matters either. The only thing that matters is that I’m completely alone, and that’s all I care about at the moment. I don’t need anyone else right now. Right now, I need to be by myself; alone. There’s too much going on in my life at the time being, and I’m exhausted and scared. I thought getting through college would be my biggest struggle, but getting through Noah has shown to be far more complicated, and dangerous. He’s unpredictable and reckless. He’s a psychopath, a danger to the society - a danger to me - and I hate that I can’t do anything to change that; not without putting my loved ones in danger, and I will never do that. Not now, not ever. If I have to play by Noah’s rules to keep my family and friends safe, that’s what I’ll do. That’s all I can do.
A yawn suddenly escapes my lips, and I realize that I’m completely and utterly exhausted, even though it’s in the middle of the day, and I slowly make my way to my old bed.
I lie down and close my eyes, thinking that I’ll just rest for a few minutes, but it doesn’t take long before I’ve fallen asleep. Hours later, when the sky has started to turn darker, I’m awoken by the sound of a door being shut quite abruptly. I open my eyes immediately and realize, in a matter of seconds, two things. One; I’ve slept past dinner. Two; Noah just got back.
My eyes dart towards him, only to figure out that he’s already staring right back at me.
“You’re here”, Noah says, sounding slightly surprised.
“I am”, I answer meekly and start fiddling with hands.
“I didn’t expect you to be here already.” He takes a few steps towards me, and I instinctively pull back, although the wall is right behind me.
“Yeah, well, I am…” I trail off, avoiding his gaze.
"Have you eaten? It’s nearly eight.”
I shake my head. “I’m not hungry.”
Noah scoff. “Like hell you aren’t. You’ve already skipped lunch, and now dinner.”
I shrug at his words, not in the mood to have any conversation at all with him. He walks even close to me, and as I still refuse to meet his gaze, he takes a grip onto my arm and roughöy pull me to my feet. I yelp in pain as my bruised body protests against the sudden movement, but Noah doesn’t seem to care. He tries to pull me towards the door, but somehow, I find the strength and courage to stand up to him. I have to bite my lip in order to not scream in pain as I force my body to a sudden halt, and Noah quickly spins around and gives me a funny look.
“What?” he spits, his grip on my arm tightening.
“I don’t want to go out”, I say as my eyes turn glossy.
“Well, I don’t car-”
“I can’t!” I cut him off, my heart beating hard in my chest. “I can’t keep up the act”, I whisper, “not right now. It hurts too much. Everything hurts.”
Noah gives me a long and hard look before he eventually scoffs and runs his fingers through his hair with his free hand. “Fine. But, you should know that it’s all your fault. You created the problem, and you got to fix it too.”
“W-what?” I stutter, my eyes turning into the size of saucers.
“You heard me”, he says sternly as he let go of the grip around my arm.