We started to walk back to my apartment hand in hand. We talked about everything and nothing all at the same time. I was desperate to get to know more about him. We talked about him the whole time and every time he tried to ask about me I changed the subject. I wasn’t ready for him to know everything.
“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” I asked. It’s like we were playing twenty questions. He nodded softly and his face fell somber. I had hit a soft spot. “You don’t have to answer.. If you’re not ready.. Its okay Liam.” I murmured feeling bad about my question.
“No I want to.” He said shaking his head. “I have two little sisters.” He bit down on his lip hard. “And I had a younger brother.” I squeezed his hand in reassurance and listened to him carefully talk about his sisters. They were twins about three years younger than us. I listened to the crazy things he did to the girls and how much he adored them. He protected them with his life. They were his world. Everything revolved around his baby sisters.
“Hope and Anna are everything to me. I would died if I lost them.” He pulled his lips into mouth and stopped talking for a while. I looked up at him to find him staring off into space. His mind was somewhere else. I didn’t say anything the rest of the way and neither did he. We walked in silence up to my apartment and not once did I let go of his hand.
We sat on the couch side by side. He released my hand and shoved them into his pockets. I pulled my lips into my mouth and looked at the ground quietly with my hands in my lap.
“You haven’t said anything about yourself this whole time..” He pointed out. I sighed knowing I had to tell him something about me. I didn’t want to. I barely told Dylan anything about me why should I tell him yet. I shook my head softly.
“Do you want something to drink?” I asked trying to get out of the situation and went to stand up but he grabbed my arm softly and pulled me back down.
“I want to know more about you. I barely know anything.” He stared over at me. “Please Amanda..” He begged. I had to tell him something, but what? It had to be something small.
“I don’t know.. I don’t have anything to tell.” I lied. “My life is boring and bland.” I glanced over at him and he didn’t believe me for one second. I bit my lip and looked back at my hands avoiding his gaze. I felt his warm hand on my shoulder, his thumb rubbing against it softly.
“There has to be something.” He said.
“Really, there’s nothing.”
“Liam, I said there’s nothing. That means there is nothing. Can’t you just respect that?” I snapped at him. He pulled his hand away quickly. I sighed at myself. “I’m sorry.. I didn’t mean to snap at you.” He shook his head not saying anything. I chewed on my lip and stood up, but this time he didn’t stop me. I walked to the bathroom and locked myself in.
I put my face in my hands as I slid down the wall. I took a deep breath in trying to calm myself. Seconds later there was a light knock on the door. I hitched my breath in my throat and closed my eyes.
“Amanda?” Liam’s, voice barely audible through the door.
“Are you okay?”
“Please open up...” I reached for the doorknob and hesitated. “Please..” He spoke again. I unlocked it and hid my face in my knees before he could opened the door. I felt him sit beside me. He tucked the stray hairs behind my ear and rubbed my back softly.
“I’m sorry for overstepping..” He mumbled. When I didn’t reply he let out a soft sigh. His hand fell on the back of my neck and pulled it away quickly. “Amanda, you’re burning up.” He quickly grabbed my sleeves to push them up on my arm and moved away quickly.
“NO! No, no! I’m fine!” I yanked down my sleeves quickly and pressed my back against the tub. He looked at me confused. Several emotions crossed his face in the matter of seconds. Confused; Scared; Worried; Concerned; None of them were realization. My heart raced in fear and I stared through him.
"Amanda.. What was that all about? Are you okay?" Worry laced his words. Liam moved closer to me but I backed away again so I was just out of reach. He didn't need to know about this part of me. He doesn't need to know how messed up I am.
A cold shiver ran through me and my stomach did flips. I tried to throw up into the toilet but there was nothing in my stomach so it became violent dry heaving. My whole body ached and my scars burned. I felt his hand rubbing my back while my head was buried in the toilet bowl. After sometime I passed out on the floor of the bathroom.
The next thing I knew I was laying in my bed, alone. I couldn't feel Liam's warm body next to me. I shivered and sat up looking around. I was freezing but I was drenched in sweat.
"Liam..?" I croaked out. My throat was raw and dry. He peeked his head in the doorway and smiled softly.
"You're up." He pointed out and walked to my bed. He handed me a glass of water like he could read my mind and I took a small sip to quench my thirst but not enough to upset my stomach.
"I'm sorry about earlier.." I mumbled. I looked down waiting for him to lecture me.
"You don't have to apologize. I'm not sure what happened but when you're ready you can tell me." He spoke softly and I took another sip of my water. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine. My throat just hurts a little." His hand pressed against my forehead then dropped away.
"I think your fever went away finally. So thats good. And your stomach?" He questioned.
"Good, do you think you can hold down some food? Even if it's just jello?"
"No." I shook my head softly. My stomach growled and I held it tight, silently cursing myself.
"Sounds like your stomach doesn't agree." He chuckled softly. I bit my lip hard.
"It's just making weird noises. I'm not hungry." I lied. He sighed and nodded softly. I looked down at the blanket letting my hair fall in front of my face. His warm hand tucked my hair behind my ear and I bit down on my lip hard. He stroke my cheek once and got off the bed.
“Where are you going...” I whimpered, not wanting him to leave my side.
“To the kitchen real fast.” He replied with no emotion. I nodded in response and watched him leave the room. I pushed up my sleeves and examined the scars that Liam had almost seen. The thought of him knowing scared me and gave me shivers down my spine. If he knew he would leave me. Dylan found out by accident, but he never brought it up like it made him uneasy. I ran my fingers across them slowly remembering each reason. Most of them because of insecurities that controlled me. Nothing would ever take away my addiction.
“Amanda...” Liam mumbled. I looked up to him in the doorway and he dropped the glass of water on the floor and it shattered. I sat there stunned for a few seconds then shoved down my sleeves. He didn’t say anything all he did was stare at me. Tears welled up in his eyes and I covered my mouth.
“I-I didn’t hear you come in...” I whispered into my palm. He let his tears fall freely down his cheeks. He stood there for minutes not saying anything just staring, not at my arms but into my eyes. I looked back to see the sadness swimming in his eyes. His cheeks were stained with tears that didn’t stop.
“Liam.. Please talk...” My voice filled with pain and fear and he walked over to me slowly. I watched him quietly waiting for him to speak. Waiting for him to tell me I was disgusting and that he had to leave and never speak to me again. His shaking hand reached out toward me. I pulled my lips into my mouth as his hand pushed up my sleeve.
His fingers ran slowly over each dark scar that was visible. He didn’t stop his tears and some landed on my bare skin. He wiped his eyes on his arm and lifted my chin so I was looking at him. My lip quivered and tears streamed down my face. He wiped my tears away gently and rubbed my cheek.
“You’re gorgeous.” He whispered. Tears fell from his eyes again as he touched my cheek. My own tears caught on his thumb and my chin quivered.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry you had to see this.. I’m sorry I ruined everything because I’m so gross looking. I’m sorry Liam.” I choked out between shaky breaths. He shook his head and held my face.
“You didn’t ruin anything. You are not gross. You are absolutely beautiful. More beautiful than any girl I have ever seen in my entire life.” He spoke softly. A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth and he stroked my cheek softly. He wiped my cheeks clean and pulled me into a warm hug. I relaxed in his strong arms and he rubbed my back.
“Liam..” I started. He squeezed me softly and rested his cheek on my head.
I didn’t say anything for a while. We stood there for what seemed like hours not saying anything, just enjoying each others company. He rubbed my back softly, patiently waiting for my reply. I didn’t want to break the comfortable silence between us, but I needed to say it.
“Liam,” I started once more, “I’m ready.” His hand kept moving along my back. I looked up at him and I saw his red rimmed eyes looking down at me, they were full of joy and happiness, and once again that one look I couldn’t place. I could still see the sadness was there in the back of his head. He still knew, but he hadn’t left.
“Are you sure?” A tone of seriousness enveloped his voice and his face hardened a little. I nodded in response, completely sure that I was ready. His hands moved from my lower back up to my face. He looked into my eyes and smiled softly.
“Amanda Conner, will you be my girlfriend?” His eyes never left mine as he said the sentence. His voice was hushed like if he said it any louder something might jump out and catch us.
“Liam Marshall, I would love to be your girlfriend.” I responded with happy tears in my eyes. A huge smile broke out on both of our faces. Liam rubbed my cheeks with his thumbs and placed a loving kiss on my lips. Our lips moved in sync with each other and his left hand snaked down to my waist. He pulled me closer to him and I wrapped my arms around his neck. He broke away from me, out of breath and rested his forehead on mine. Our eyes still closed, I focused on trying to slow my breathing. He placed a soft kiss on my nose and took a deep breath.
“Amanda?” His voice laced with concern and worry.
“Can I see them?” He lowered his voice to almost a whisper. My body tensed at his question and I pulled away from him.
“Liam... I...” I trailed off and his face fell. “I don’t want you to see how disgusting I am.”
“Oh, Amanda, no. Don’t think like that. Never in a million years would I think that.” I bit down on my lip as he said that. He had already seen my arm. It wasn’t even my bad arm and he hadn’t left.
“No one except for me has seen all of them..” I mumbled.
“Maybe it’s too soon... I’m sorry.” He shifted on his feet. I felt unsafe when I wasn’t near him. I felt cold and alone.
“Not all at once..”
“You don’t have to Amanda. I understand, well I don’t, but I’m trying to understand how you feel.”
“Just my arms.. That’s it. I have to let somebody in.” I pulled my sleeves farther down into my hands.
“If you’re completely sure you’re ready to. I don’t want to force you.” He watched every move I made as if he was going to write a book about it someday. I bit down on my lip and looked down at my arms. My scars burned and itched on my skin, like they would make holes in my shirt. If that were the case I would be practically naked. They covered my whole body. Every inch of me practically. My right arm was worse than my left, my thighs were worse than my arms combined, and my stomach worst of all.
I nodded my head softly and pushed up the sleeve on my left arm. My skin crawled as I felt his eyes scanning my arm carefully. His fingers reached out to my arm and touched the dark scars one by one. Every place where his skin met mine felt like it had caught fire. I wanted to do nothing more than to shove him away and run to my blade.
“Why....” He mumbled almost silently. “Why did you do this?” He choked on his words, barely able to get them out. His question caught me off guard and I pulled away quickly.
“You have no business asking me that question.” I snapped, furious that he would ask me something like that.
“Amanda....” He started but I didn’t let him finish.
“That is none of your business! It was my choice!” I let my voice raise in anger. His jaw clenched and he balled his hands into fists.
“Why are you getting so defensive!? It was just a question!” He spat back his voice laced with anger.
“Because you barely even know me!”
“I am just trying to understand, Amanda!” He took a step towards me and I backed away.
“It’s none of your business! You don’t need to understand!” I screamed at him. His chest heaved in uneven patterns and all of his muscles were tensed.
“I have a right to know!”
“No you don’t!!”
“I’m your boyfriend!”
“For what?! Like ten minutes!?” As soon as I said that his face turned red and his veins bulged from his neck. His breathing was hard and heavy.
“Do I mean NOTHING to you Amanda!?” He screamed. He turned around and punched a hole in my wall.
“Liam....” I whimpered.
“NO!” His voice boomed in my ear drums. I covered my ears and he stormed out of my room.
“Liam come back....” I whispered, knowing he couldn’t hear me. I heard my front door slam shut. Tears brimmed my eyes and I sat back on my bed in disbelief. I heard loud bangs from outside my apartment. I winced and looked down at my hands. My scars itched like crazy and I heard that voice in the back of my head telling me how bad I messed up, and how stupid I was. I needed Liam to come back. So I could be okay, so I could be safe again. I let tears fall from my eyes as I curled into a ball on my bed.
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