I couldn’t help but throw myself at him. Marshall was the only person that I felt like I could trust, at least besides Jed. But now that Jed is…gone, I really need someone.
I fell right into his chest. I could feel my sobs getting harder and louder. He surprisingly wrapped his arms back around me. It was very comforting.
We stood there for a long while. He let me cry and snot all over his sweater. After quite some time, I pulled away to look at his face. His eyes were very apologetic and sad. I could tell that he had emotions for what was going on.
He looked down into my eyes as he wrapped a jacket around my shoulders. I pulled it on and snuggled inside it. The jacket was big and heavy, and I practically drowned in it. But either way, it was nice and warm. I looked down at my feet as I sniffled. “I’m sorry I made your sweater all icky.”
He chuckled. “It’s really okay. I can wash it any time.”
“And thank you for the jacket.”
“I figured you’d be cold. You kinda rushed out in your t-shirt and your shorts.”
“Are you…” Marshall paused, and I looked up into his beautiful baby blue eyes. “Are you okay Ava?”
I looked out into the woods. I could hear things making sounds, and I wasn’t sure what it was. A soft rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. “I just…” I wasn’t able to find my voice. I felt the tears coming again. I wiped my eyes for a final time. “I just can’t believe what I saw.”
He nodded and then looked down at his shoes. “I’m really sorry Ava. Please believe that.”
I nodded and he looked back at me. “Marshall will you please walk with me and talk?”
He smiled slightly and then nodded. We started walking as the sky got even darker. There were no streetlights out here, but we could still see the road in the darkness and fog.
“What would you like to talk about?” He asked, breaking the silence between us.
I thought about it for a moment. I really wanted to take this time to ask him some serious questions. “Well, can I just ask why you’re so nice to me? I mean, why aren’t you a dick like Carter is towards me?”
He giggled. “Well Ava, believe it or not, but I like you.”
I half-smiled. “Well thanks Marshall, but that’s not really what I meant.”
He sighed. “I don’t like Fredrik. I really can’t stand being where I am. I do what I do because I don’t have anything to be able to live on my own yet. He’s the only job that I have, and the only source of food and money.” He sighed again. “I hate seeing how upset you get when you’re around him. When I first tried to help and kidnap you, I couldn’t have cared less about you.” He stopped walked, and I turned around to face him. “But the more I got to see you, the more I really wanted to get to know the real you. I could see how scared you were whenever you were with Fredrik, and when you finally found out who he really is in his nonhuman form. I really don’t want you to be miserable with him for the rest of your life.”
I smiled. Through all the pain I had been feeling before this moment, I felt like it vanished. I was actually feeling very relieved. “I-I don’t know what to say.”
He continued to walk, and I turned to walk with him. “You don’t have to say anything. You don’t even have to forgive me for everything I’ve done to you.”
I grabbed his hand. I entwined my fingers with him. I felt a lot closer to him than I ever thought I could be. “Marshall, could you at least do me a favor tomorrow?”
For once our footsteps were in sync. “Could you please break up with Bridget tomorrow?”
He laughed. His laugh was cute. It wasn’t obnoxious, and it wasn’t annoying. It was normal and cute for a boy like him. “I can do that. But only if you can do me a favor too.”
“What would that be?” I felt a smile forming on my lips.
He stopped me from walking any further, and then he grabbed my other hand. We stood there holding each other’s hands in the middle of the dirt road. I could see a faint smile on his lips. “We need to disguise you.”
“You heard me Ava.”
“Well yeah, I heard you, but what do you mean by disguising me?”
“Why would we need to do that?”
“I just feel like it would throw Fredrik and Carter off.”
I paused and looked out into the fog, thinking about it. It did sound like a valid plan, and I had to admit, anything to get those two idiots off my case would be worth trying.
I looked at Marshall and I nodded. “What are we going to do?”
“I’m not sure yet. But I figured we could take care of it after school tomorrow. How does that sound?”
“Sounds good.” He grabbed my hand and we continued walking down the dirt road.
We finally reached the outskirts of town and I could see the faint glow of streetlights. Under the sound of thunder, and under the few strikes of lightning, the rain started to fall again.
He walked me all the way back to my street. He turned me to face him and he put his hands on my lower back. “I’m gonna go back now okay?”
I nodded. “Thank you Marshall for walking me back.”
“I want you to be able to trust me Ava. You can come to me for anything.”
I nodded again and looked into his chest. He pulled me close into a hug.
“I really do care about you Ava.”
I pulled away and looked back up into his face. His baby blue eyes shone bright in the low gleam of the streetlight. He leaned down and he kissed me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and I let it happen. I knew it wasn’t the best thing for me to do, especially at a time like this, but I couldn’t help myself.
We finally pulled away and he was smiling. It was really cute. I smiled back at him and I gave him another long hug. “Goodbye Marshall,” I said as I walked away.
I hurried back to my house. The fog thickened, but I found my front porch. The lights were still on in the house so my parents were still awake. I opened the door and I could see my father pacing back and forth in the living room.
Being back at my home brought even more tears to my eyes.
My father stopped and stared at me, then he eagerly rushed over. “Ava are you alright sweetheart? Where have you been?” He locked me in his embrace, and then my mother came and joined in. “Oh Honey! Are you okay baby?”
I could feel the tears flowing from my eyes like a leaky faucet. I backed away and then looked at them both. “Mom…Dad…Jed is…” I looked down at my face and watched my tears fall to the hard wooden floor.
My mother wrapped her arms around me. “We know Honey. We found him when we came home from work.” She was sobbing as well. “Honey we need to get to the hospital right away.”
My face shot up to look at hers. “You mean…?”
My father half-smiled. “Well of course Ava, Jed had to go to the hospital. There was no way that he would’ve been okay if we didn’t call an ambulance.”
My heart nearly skipped a beat. My father ushered my mother and I out to the car as he locked the door. We filed into the garage and into the big SUV parked inside. We sped off out of the driveway and headed out of town. The nearest hospital was in the next city over, so that’s where we went.
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