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I stare at the red vehicle in front of me and sigh. I’m not ready for this. I’m so not ready for this at all. There’s a gnawing feeling coming from the pit of my stomach, and I know it’s not going away anytime soon. I’ve already become all too familiar with the feeling, so familiar it’s almost become a part of me, and I hate it. But not as much as I hate Noah, who’s the reason to why I feel like I do; frightened. Before I came to America, before I met Noah, fear was only something I stumbled upon once in a while, but now? Now it’s always here, it’s constantly in the pit of my stomach and every time I’m with Noah, I can feel it clench my heart in an iron grip and almost suffocate me. I’ve never experienced such fear as when I’m alone with him; never in my eighteen years of living.
Sighing once again, I take a deep breath and meet Noah’s steel blue eyes that’s staring back at me from the front of his red car. It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, and we’re going to his parent’s house to celebrate. I don’t want to go, I really, really don’t, but it’s not like I have a choice. I never have, not anymore.
“You coming?” Noah asks, finally getting tired of my deep thinking. “We got a long drive ahead of us.”
I want to say no, that I’m not coming, but instead, I gulp and nod before slowly walking around to the passenger seat and climbing in while grimacing in pain. My body is still sore from when he beat me, but he doesn’t care at all because as soon as I’ve closed the door, Noah roughly pushes his foot down on the gas and starts driving. He’s not wasting and seconds, and I hate that too. I hate that he’s in such a rush to get home because frankly, I don’t know what I’ll do when we arrive at his parents' house. Will I really be able to pull it off? To trick his parents into believing that I’m his girlfriend? Perhaps.
Even though I don’t want to give myself false hope, I can’t help but think that maybe, but just maybe, his parents can help me. Maybe they’ll be able to get me out off this mess and away from Noah, but I doubt it. I can’t even recall how many times in the past days that Noah has warned me not to tell his parents anything. All he’s said is that if I do, I’ll be sorry, and I believe him.
Feeling far too frustrated over the situation, I pick up my headphones from my pocket and plug them into my phone. Noah glances over at me, but I ignore him completely and turn on my music to a high volume and rest my head against the window. Before I know it, I fall asleep to the sound of various old songs.
A few hours later, I’m woken up by Noah shaking me.
“Wake up, sleepyhead”, he says with a smile, and as I look out, I’ve realized that we’ve stopped in front of a homey-looking white house with several bunches of flowers decorating the grass in front of the porch.
“We’re here”, Noah says as if I’ve haven’t figured it out already.
I just stare at the house without replying to him, and eventually, he kisses my cheek before going to the trunk of the car to take out our stuff. With my bag in one of his hands, and his on the other, he knocks on the passenger window and I reluctantly unbuckle my belt and open the door. My legs are weak and shaking as I place my feet on the ground, and the fear in the pit of my stomach has been accompanied by a nervous feeling that is threatening to take over completely. What if his parents are nice? What if I’ll actually like them? Is that even possible? Liking someone who gave birth to, or even helped create, a monster like Noah? I guess I’ll just have to see.
Noah hands me my bag, and as soon as I take it, he grabs my free hand and practically drags me towards the front door. My feet refuse to follow my lead, but they aren’t given a choice as Noah forcefully tugs at my hand.
As soon as he rings the doorbell, I can hear voices coming from the inside of the house, and before I know it, there’s a nice-looking woman standing in the opening of the door.
“Noah!” she squeals in excitement and pulls him in for a hug.
“Hi, mom”, he smiles before dropping his bag and returning the embrace. I stand awkwardly beside them as they greet each other and exchange some words, but I’m not forgotten for long. Sooner than later, too soon for my own liking, the woman turns her attention towards me. I notice that her eyes are the exact same shade of blue as Noah’s, and there’s no doubt that he got his mother’s eyes.
“You must be Linnéa!” the woman exclaims, and all I can do is smile politely at her.
“I’ve heard so much about you!” she says before practically forcing me into a hug, and as she does, I meet Noah’s amused gaze and immediately look away.
“Have you guys eaten anything on the way?” she asks as we walk inside, and as none of us replies, she tsk at us and disappears into what I believe is the kitchen.
“Come on, we can leave our stuff in my room”, Noah says and I reluctantly follow him upstairs. I have to admit, though, that I’m surprised at how personal his room is. There are things everywhere, things from school and basketball games, and there’s a ton of pictures and such from when he was young. I don’t know why, but I almost expected his room to be wiped off all personal belongings, but it’s quite the opposite.
I leave my bag by the foot of his bed, not even thinking about that we’ll both sleep there for two days, and walk up to what looks like a family picture. There are two young toddlers in the photo, one slightly bigger than the others, and I recognize his mother beside a man I believe to be Noah’s dad.