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Leah sat in the bathroom, silent sobs wracking her body, as Nathan paced outside the door.
“GET OUT HERE YOU STUPID BITCH!” he yelled, while banging on the door.
“Leave me alone!” came Leah’s reply, muffled by her hands, which covered her face, and her sobs.
“NO I FUCKING WON’T LEAVE YOU ALONE YOU DUMBASS SLUT! I’M GONNA MAKE YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU DID!” he ended this shout with a kick on the door, the sound of his voice was pure hatred.
She didn’t even know what she had done to deserve the beating she was getting tonight, but then, Nathan’s mind worked somewhat differently to everyone else’s. This time, she was at the supermarket getting her weekly shopping done, when she was ‘apparently’ flirting with some other guy. This ‘other guy’ happened to be a shop assistant, she wanted to know where to find the pasta. She was rarely allowed out of the house without his supervision, let alone going to the supermarket alone, so she didn’t know where anything was. 

“All I wanted was to make him something special for dinner tonight.” She thought to herself sadly as she dragged herself up from the crouched position on the floor, to the mirror to see what damage he had inflicted this time. It wasn’t too bad in comparison to the other beatings. She gently reached up and touched the swollen area around her eye, she could see it was the starting of another black eye. She was too busy examining her eye to notice the drops of blood falling into sink, which was slowly filling up, turning the water a light red/ pink colour. She was mesmerized my the water, she found it fascinating in a way, to watch it drain away, and show no signs of what was there before, but not this time, even as the now coloured water flowed down the drain, more blood dripped from her mouth into the sink. She moved her head up and looked at her face again, this time noticing her mouth, it was swollen at the side, with blood dripping from it.

Leah began to clean her face in the small bathroom, and barely noticed that the shouts and kicks from outside the door had subsided until she had finished. She debated with herself whether or not to open the door, what if he was waiting outside to jump her in a moment of weakness? It wouldn’t take much to overpower Leah, she was of small build, and even just looking at her made you think you would break her if you even laid a finger on her. Yet she still managed to survive Nathan’s beatings, and he laid more than one finger on her, that was for sure.

She laid herself flat on the ground and peered through the small slit between the door and the floor to see if there were any signs of movement. She couldn’t see anything, so she heaved herself up from the floor (yes, it was the gruelling task it sounds, she was in that much pain) and slowly opened the door a crack. When she was satisfied he wasn’t around, she timidly made her way out of the bathroom and into her small apartment, to search the other rooms. As she made her way over to the first bedroom, she felt an arm grab her from behind and hold her tightly round her neck, restricting her airflow.

“Don’t you EVER try that again, bitch! You hear me?” Nathan breathed heavily in my ear and she could smell the alcohol on his breath, it repulsed her.
“Y-y-yes, Nathan,” Leah stuttered as I dawned on her, the cold against her side wasn’t a liquor bottle, but a knife, whose blade was being pushed harder against her every time, she spoke, shifted, or made a sound.
“Are you gonna fuck me about this time?” he slurred his drunken words in her ear.
“N-n-no N-n-Nathan.” She stuttered again, staying deathly still in his grip, afraid of what the knife could do in his state.
“Go, and make me something to eat,” he mumbled, shoving her towards the kitchen.

Leah made her way painfully into the kitchen and began making him a sandwich, all the while wondering what she had done wrong to deserve a life like this. She was always good, but things never seemed to go her way, and it all spiralled downwards since she began getting bullied in school, she fell behind in her work, and no matter how hard she tried, couldn’t seem to catch up. As a result, she failed her first major set of exams, her GCSEs, and couldn’t carry on in school. Nathan didn’t even live with her, but stayed with her most nights anyway.
She carried the sandwich into the small living room area of her apt. to find Nathan gently snoring.
Leah crept into her bedroom and pulled out the large rucksack that was laid under her bed. She figured that she could finish packing her stuff, and then if she was lucky, sneak away the next morning instead of going to work. 


She only took the bare necessities, the rucksack wasn’t big enough to fit her substantial wardrobe into it, and she could always buy new things if need be, she had been saving her money for the past six months so she could afford to leave him, and her parents opened a trust fund for her before they died, but she wasn’t entitled to any of the money in their wills, thanks to her ungrateful, money-grabbing relatives. 

She thought about her parents as she finished packing and settled into her small bed. How she wished they would be back again, for the days when she was a kid, where her mother would sing her a song before she went to bed, and a kiss on the forehead would make everything ok again, or how her father used to let her climb into his knee while he was reading his paper, a read her out the jokes, thinking about this, she slowly fell into a restless sleep. A sleep plagued with nightmares about her parents death. She could still remember the day as though it was yesterday, even though it was nearly a year ago now, well, a year in two weeks time to be exact. Wow, a whole year without them, it was a long time.

She was sitting with friends when she got the news, it was a small **gathering** you could call it, when two police officers arrived. Everyone automatically hid the drink, thinking one of the neighbours had complained about the noise, (hardly, I mean, the next neighbour was aggggggesssss away, considering the grounds of the house were so big)
Leah walked to the front door and nervously opened it a crack to be greeted by a police officers ID being waved in her face.
“I’m Detective Inspector Hall, are you Miss Leah Dawson?” the plain-clothes officer asked.
“Yes I am,” Leah replied, adopting a straighter posture, to give her an aura of dignity.
“Could we step inside ma’am?” 
“Of course,” Leah opened the door and stood back to allow them into the spacious hall.
“What are you here for?” Leah questioned, giving the officers a puzzled look.
“Erm, we’re afraid, we, uhh, have some bad news,” the uniformed officer said this time.
“Well, what is it then?” Leah was frustrated now, she wasn’t exactly sober, she had two police officers standing in front of her, and some friends sitting in her front room with A LOT of alcohol!
“We’re very sorry, but your mother and father have been involved in a road accident, they are dead, once again, we are very very sorry.”
“Umm, ok, do I need to do anything?” she was in a state of shock.
“Nothing miss, we already have another relative identifying the bodies for us.”
“OK, thank you for coming,” Leah mumbled as she showed them the door.
She showed them out and then walked into the front room and sat down beside her best friend, Clayton.
“What’s the matter?” he asked her, “you look like you’ve seen a ghost!”
“The police, they, just, mum and dad, “ Leah stuttered before breaking down onto Claytons shoulder.
“Huh?” 
“Mum, an-an-and dad are d-d-dead,” Leah sniffled.


Leah woke up the next morning after a fitful sleep, with her head on a tear soaked pillow. She stood up and walked quietly into the adjoining bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror, her eyes were puffed up and red from crying in her sleep and she now had a lovely black eye to match her dark brown/black hair.

She stepped into the shower and let the hot stream of water flow over her body. She looked down at the water flowing over her, and could see that it was slightly red too, so she searched her body for any wounds that she missed last night, and found a large gash in her side where Nathan had been pressing the knife against her, she didn’t even remember it cutting into her, but then, after a while, you got used to all the pain, in a way.
Leah finished her shower and stepped out into the small, and now steam-filled room, and thanked that she didn’t have to look at her reflection because the mirror was all steamed up.

She put on the long white bathrobe hanging on the back of the bathroom door and padded into her bedroom, where she finished getting changed and carefully applied her make-up, as she had done many times before, to conceal her bruises. Not that it would matter, coz no one really cared about her anyway, no attention was paid to her. Leah was one of the inconspicuous people that just blended in with the crowd, never really stood out, and she didn’t care for it to be any other way either.

Leah poked her head round the bedroom door to see if Nathan was awake yet, although it was a pretty stupid thing to do, I mean, it was only 8am, of course he wouldn’t be awake, you could drop a bomb beside him (and maybe one day someone WOULD actually try that out) and you still wouldn’t wake him up.

Once she was pretty sure the coast was clear, she grabbed her rucksack, and the money she had stashed, and crept out of the apartment, taking one last look round before she left.
Leah figured, that her parents wouldn’t want to see her living the way she was, stuck in a dead-end job, a sorter in the main post office, or being beat up by someone who claimed they loved her, and now that she was finally coming to term with her parents death, their anniversary seemed like the perfect time to make a new start in her life, and that meant, leaving her old life behind, her old job, her old boyfriend, and her crummy apartment.


She walked down the main road, getting tired all too easy in this hot, humid weather of New York’s summer.
She really should’ve given more thought to this plan, other than just upping and leaving like that, she didn’t want to leave New York, well, not on her own anyway, but she had no one to stay with, she became somewhat of a recluse and an **outsider** after her parents death, and really, no one wanted to know her, she was 18, in her last year at school, and after being one of the popular crowd, managed to gain the label ‘different’ when she got her lip and nose pierced one week, then a tribal tattoo on her back the next. If you wanted to fit in, you had to be ‘cool’ and tattoos and piercings were not the high-class kids of New York’s version of cool, or normal, whatever they considered normal to be. But the way Leah saw it, there was no ‘normal’ and who were stuck up 18 year olds to tell her who she was anyway?

She continued to think these thoughts as she made her way down one of the side streets, being lumbered by her rucksack.
“FUCK!” she yelped in pain as she fell over heavily on her ankle.
“Fucking stupid, fucking shitty fucking potholes.” She growled to herself as she inspected her throbbing ankle. This was NOT the way her ‘new life’ was supposed to start, by her spraining her ankle. She could feel a tear prick her eyes, as the throbbing pain got worse.
“Are you OK?” she heard a male voice behind her, his accent was American, but it wasn’t New York, Californian maybe?
“Yeah, maybe, umm, ok, no.” Leah said truthfully.
“What happened?” The man came round to the front, and kneeled down beside her, so she got a good look at him. Short dark blue hair, with red streaks at the front, very cool, she loved dyed hair, she had the tips of her own hair turquoise.
“Erm, I kinda, went over on my ankle and twisted it, please don’t saw you saw, I’m embarrassed enough as it is!” she giggled lightly, feeling herself blush at the tough of his hands on her ankle.
“OK, I won’t say I saw then,” he winked at her, “it just looks like you’ve sprained it, but you’ll have to put ice or something on it. Have you got an apartment or something you can go to?”
“No,” she replied curtly.
“Erm, ok, do you want me to bring you to my hotel or something, you could get the doctor there to have a look at it.”
She hesitated slightly, before agreeing, she could book a room there for a couple of nights at least.
“Yeah, ok then.” She agreed, trying to move from her sitting position. She winced in pain, and resumed sitting down again.
“Want some help?” the still nameless man asked, offering a hand to pull her up.
“Thanks,” she replied, pulling herself up.
“I’m Mike by the way.” The man said.
“Nice to meet you Mike, I’m Leah.” Leah replied, going to lift her bag.
“You can’t carry that! I’ll carry it!” Mike told her as he took the bag out of her hands.
“Do you have, like, ALL your belongings in here or something?” he exclaimed as they started off.
“Practically.” Leah said sadly. Mike flashed her a quizzical look, but sensed not to ask more, if she wanted to tell him, she would say in her own time.

They made their way back to the hotel in an awkward silence, with Mike supporting Leah as she walked, not really knowing what to say to her, as he didn’t even know her.
He was glad when she broke the silence.
“So, where do you live then?” Leah asked him, “Because your accent isn’t from around here.”
“Nah, I’m from Glendale, in California.” Mike replied.
“Oh, cool, what are you doing here then?”
“Oh, I’m uhh, just doing a couple of gigs, with my band.” He muttered, as the reached the hotel.
“The Murray Hill East Hotel, excuse us!” Leah commented, good-naturedly.
“Yeah, it’s not too shabby,” he grinned, as they walked into the foyer, and over to the reception desk. Leah looked round the reception area as Mike got the key from the girl at the desk. Not too shabby at all, lots of large sofas to sit around in if you were waiting for someone, with lots of ornaments perched on precarious stands and artwork on the walls.
“OK, Lets go.” Mike interrupted Leah’s thought, by gently pulling her arm, which he had never let go of the whole time.
“Sorry, ok.” and she hobbled towards the lift with him. She looked round the lift in amazement, even it was all done up, with plush deep red carpets and shiny bars round the side that were polished so much you could see your face in them.
“You keep going of into your own wee world,” Mike pointed out as the lift doors opened at his floor and we walked towards his room.
“Sorry, I’m just thinking, I think too much!” Leah smiled at him.
“Nah, it’s ok,” Mike replied as he opened the door to his room. It was a lovely room, absolutely HUGE, with a massive four poster bed, cream shag carpets, sofas like the ones in the foyer, and long thick velvet curtains that matched the deep red carpet out in the hall.
Leah limped over to the bed, and sat down on it.
“Geez, you don’t have to be so nervous, it’s only a hotel room.” Mike laughed at her when he saw her perched nervously on the edge of his bed.
“Sorry, but you have to admit, this is weird, it’s not every day you are invited to some strangers hotel room, just coz you sprained you ankle, anyone else who would’ve saw me, probably would’ve ignored me and walked on.” Leah pointed out.
“True, but you looked lonely, I couldn’t just leave you like that, that’s the thing about New York, you could be a famous rock star or something, walk down the street, and still no one would notice you, unless you were one of those fruits out of N’Suck!” He added.
“Yeah, lonely..” Mike looked over to Leah, and noticed that she had the same, sad, faraway look in her eyes as she did earlier when he said about her rucksack, he wanted to know what she was thinking.

But what was she thinking? She was thinking that she didn’t need to walk down the street of New York to know loneliness, she only had to go back to her apartment, or relive the memories of last night, and every other time Nathan had abused her, physically, sexually, or mentally, to know loneliness.
Why she had stuck with him for so long, she couldn’t really justify in her own mind why she stayed with him for so long, but it was probably because, she didn’t really think she had the strength, up until yesterday, to leave him. Because leaving him meant being alone. Having no one to turn to, and that was the one thing that scared her most in the world, loneliness.


“Leah, hello? Anyone there?” Leah snapped out of her daydream to have Mike having his hand in front of her face, with some middle-aged balding man standing beside him.
“Huh, what?” She blinked, looking up at them both.
“I called the hotel doctor, he’s here to look at your ankle.” He motioned to the man standing next to him.
“Oh, all right then,” Leah returned, propping her sore ankle up on the bed to let the doctor do his thing.
He didn’t spend long looking at it, and acted like every other doctor she had been to, condescending, and as if she wasn’t worth their precious time. All he did was bandage it up, put ice on it, and tell her to rest it for a few days.

“Well, THAT was helpful!” Leah rolled her eyes sarcastically when the doctor left.
“Aw well, having a crappy professional opinion is better than none at all,” Mike pointed out, then added as an afterthought, “even if a monkey could’ve told you the same thing.”
Leah’s tummy grumbled loudly.
“Have you not had any breakfast?” Mike raised an eyebrow at her.
“Nope, breakfast was the last thing on my mind this morning.” She yawned, “I’m just really tired at the minute, I only got a couple of hours sleep last night.”
“Do you have somewhere to stay? Or are you sleeping rough?” He inquired.
“I had somewhere to stay, till I left this morning, hence the rucksack.” Leah pointed towards her bulging bag sitting at the other end of the bed.
“Why, what happened?”
“You ARE nosy aren’t ya?”
“yep!”
“Nothing happened, I just left.” She said a little too quickly.
“Are you sure that’s all there is to it?”
“I’m sure!” She snapped. Making it obvious that that was all she was going to say for the time being.
“Umm, OK then? Do you want to go and get something to eat then? That’s what I was going to do, when I saw you.” Mike changed the subject.
“I’m a bit restricted for movement here!” Leah nodded towards her strapped up foot.
“Nothing I can’t help ya with!” he grinned, slipping an arm round her waist, and helping her stand up.
Just then Mike’s band mate, Chester, burst through the door.
“ Mike- WHOA! Sorry, I didn’t realise I was intruding on something!” Chester gave a knowing wink to Mike as he started to back out of the room.
Mike arm round Leah’s waist dropped, and Leah flopped back down onto the bed.
“You weren’t intruding on anything, me and Leah were just going for breakfast.” Mike retorted.
“Yeah, I can bet yas have certainly worked up an appetite,” Chester winked again, then, closed the hotel room door behind him, not letting Mike reply.
“That was Chester, by the way.” Mike laughed, “now come on, we were going somewhere?” he held out his arm to help Leah up.
“Yep, to get food!” Leah gladly took his support and pulled herself up. “But wait, I need to grab some money from my bag.” She turned round and started limping towards her bag when Mike stopped her.
“No you don’t, it’s on me, I wouldn’t be gentleman if I didn’t pay!”

They both left the room laughing and made their way out onto the street.

“So, do you actually know anywhere we can eat? Other than Mc Donald’s, coz that doesn’t really sound appetising to me at 9am!”Mike said.
“Yeah, there’s a wee café near here, I’ve been to it a few times, and it does a great fry up!” Leah pointed him in the direction they had to go.


“That’s it there,” Leah pointed down the street to wee café called “Costa Coffee” 
“It’s definitely…small!” Mike looked around as they walked in. And small it was, there was a few tables, and a bored looking waitress standing behind the counter, playing with her pigtails.
“Hey, don’t knock the café!” Leah laughed and she limped over the counter to order. “What are you having?” she called back, as Mike sat down.
“Umm,” his eyes scanned the menu in front of him. ”I’ll just have whatever you’re having then.” He concluded as he sat back in his chair and looked at Leah, who had turned her back on him as she finished ordering.
She was pretty, he had to give her that, but that wasn’t what stopped him in the street. It was her vulnerability. She looked like a lost puppy or something, just sitting there with her (multi-coloured) head down, and that huge bag beside her, what was up with that anyway?
Just then she turned round and stared limping towards the table that Mike had sat down at.
“I hope ya like fry’s, coz that’s what you’re getting,” she told him, as she eased into her seat.
“No problem,” he said, as he looked up to see the waitress approaching with her obligatory coffee pot in her hand.
“D’yas want coffee?” she drawled in her downtown NY accent.
“Yeah, please,” they both said raising their cups at the same time. 
“So, what are you going to do tonight then?” Mike asked Leah.
“Huh? What do you mean?” Leah looked at him, confused.
“Where are you staying tonight?” he repeated.
“Umm, I’ll probably just book a room in that hotel or something till I find somewhere else to stay.” She replied, looking into her coffee cup.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on then?” Mike lowered his head and craned his neck so Leah was looking into his eyes.
“Why do you want to know so much?” Leah looked up at him, into his eyes. “I mean, I didn’t even know you till an hour ago, and now you’re wanting to know about my private life. I’m not that interesting, really.” She attempted a smile.
“I dunno,” he conceded, “coz you look…lonely, like you need someone to talk to. And plus, someone doesn’t wear that much make-up if they haven’t got something to hide.”
“Is it really that obvious?” Leah asked sadly.
“Maybe not to other people, but it is to me.”
“Well, what do you want to know then?”
“Well, you could start with why you are out in New York on your own?”
“There’s not much to say about that, I walked out on my boyfriend this morning,” Leah, grateful for the distraction, motioned towards the approaching waitress, and they both started eating their brunch?
“So that’s it? There has to be more to your story than that!” Mike mumbled through mouthfuls. 
“You don’t give up do you!” Leah rolled her eyes. “OK then, you want to know then whole life story?”
Mike nodded.
“Whatever you say, well, nearly a year ago now, my mum and dad died in a road accident, leaving me on my own. None of my relatives wanted to look after me, they only wanted my parents money, so when I finished school, I got a job and bought my own apartment, which was about the same time I met Nathan. At first I thought he was really sweet and all, but then I wouldn’t have been a great judge of character then, and he was the one person I could turn to, but when he moved in with me, he turned abusive, in every possible way…” Leah stuttered the last sentence as she started crying, “Hence all the make-up, you wouldn’t want to look at me without it now, for all the bruises. You know, I really thought he loved be, but the very first time we had sex, I didn’t even want it…he raped me.” She added the last bit quietly, as the tears rolled off her cheeks and onto her, now empty, plate, making her make-up streak down her face.
Mike sat there, speechless from what he had just heard.
“You just gonna sit there?” Leah snapped, shocked at herself for telling all this to a perfect stranger.
“Whoa, sorry, I just wasn’t expecting all that.” Mike said, with a shocked expression on his face.


“Well, now you know, so you can quit bugging me about it.” She sniffed, as she wiped her eye with a tissue.
“I’m really sorry about that Leah, really sorry, but you’ve left him now, it’s a new start, you’re free of that bastard and you can do whatever you want now.”
“With who?” she asked Mike bitterly, “myself? I don’t think so, all my friends deserted me in school, coz I wasn’t **cool** enough for them anymore. I was just the outsider orphan who was sent from relative to relative to stay.”
“Make new friends, see new people, don’t let a bunch of kids put you down like that, you’re a better person than they’ll ever be.”
“Can we go now?” Leah changed the subject quickly.
“Yeah, I’ll just go and pay for this,” Mike answered as she walked over to the counter.
Leah watched his retreating figure, why was he doing all this for her and they didn’t even know each other? Well, she couldn’t complain, she wasn’t in any position to, god knows, she needed someone around right now. She pushed herself out of the seat and started towards the door when Mike caught up with her.
“You weren’t going on me now were you?” Mike laughed, slipping his arm instinctively round her waist as they walked out the door. She didn’t actually need his support that much, but she wasn’t gonna tell him not to, it was quite nice!
“So, we going back to the hotel? Or looking about?” Mike offered.
“Looking about, ya can never beat a time waster like window shopping!” Leah giggled, pointing him in the direction of the main street.
They spent the next few hours trailing around the various shops in New York, making fools of the shop assistants, but never actually buying anything.
They walked back into the hotel and sat down in front of the TV.
“Hey,” Mike started, as he turned round to face Leah, “I saw you looking at this earlier.” He pulled a small paper bag out of his pocket.
Leah just gave him a confused look as she took the bag out of his hand and opened it, it was the dark purple titanium lip ring she had been admiring in one of the shops.
“Mike, you really didn’t have to buy this for me-.” It was the first time in a long time anyone had bought her anything, let alone someone she hardly knew.
“I know I didn’t have to, but I wanted to.” Mike cut her off.
“Thank you so much,” Leah reached over and hugged him, the stood up and went to the bathroom to change it with the one she had in. She was shocked at her reflection as she looked in the mirror, she had forgotten to fix her make up after her outburst in the café, and Mike had let her go about for the past couple of hour, with dark mascara smudges under her eyes, and half of her concealer rubbed off.
“What the hell,” she said quietly to herself, “it’s not as though anyone would be looking at me anyway,” as she washed the rest of her make-up off. This was the real her, she didn’t bother reapplying it for Mike, there was little point, he may aswell see the real her, even if it meant seeing all her bruises and black eyes in their true glory, she thought as she slipped her new lip ring in and made her way out of the bathroom, and sat down on the sofa beside Mike again.
“Is it ok?” Mike turned round to look at her, ”your, your FACE!” he uttered in shock.
“What? You didn’t think I was making all the stuff up earlier did you?” Leah said sarcastically.
“No, but, but, LOOK, what he did to you!” He raised his hand, and brushed his fingertips lightly over the swollen area below her eye, and on down her cheek till he touched the bruised area on her jawbone.
“That’s nothing,” she replied sadly, dropping her head.
“What do you mean?” Mike looked at her as she raised her T-shirt to show the large gash in her side from the knife.
She heard Mike’s sharp intake of breath as he saw the wound.
“Why did you stay with him so long if he did this to you?” he questioned, not being able to justify it.
“Because I had nowhere else to go.” She mumbled as fresh tears welled up in her eyes.


Mike didn’t know what else to do, but let his instincts take over as he pulled her close to him.
“Sssshh, don’t worry about it now,” he whispered softly as she buried her face in his shoulder.
Neither of them kept track of the time till Leah finally sat up and looked at her watch, it was 6pm!
“Mmm, I’m starving,” she mumbled, as she sat up rubbing her red eyes.
“Well, I don’t have anything planned for tonight, we can order room service if you want?” Mike asked, walking over towards the hotel phone.
“Yeah ok, get me, umm, French fries or something.” Leah answered, switching on the TV to MTV.
I song came on that she hadn’t heard before, but then, she never really had the time to listen to music or witch TV, she was usually too busy being a Nathan’s beck and call.

**Crawling in my skin, these wounds, they will not heal, fear is how I fall, confusing what it real**

Was that Mike on the TV, she thought to herself?

**There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface,
Consuming/confusing,
This lack of self-control I fear is never ending,
Controlling, I can’t seem,
To find myself again, my walls are closing in,
[Without a sense of confidence/ I’m convinced that it’s just too much pressure to take]
I’ve felt this way before, so insecure.. **

“Wow,” she breathed silently, as the song continued.
“Mike,” she called, when she heard him set the phone down.
“Yeah?” he answered, as he walked back.
“Why are you on the TV?”

“Ohh, that, umm,” he stuttered as he sat down beside me, “well, I told you I was in a band.”
“Yeah, but you never said you were in a good band, that’s ON TV!” Leah exclaimed, her arms flailing wildly in the direction of the TV.
“Well, you never asked!” Mike pointed out, trying to suppress as smile as Leah stared at him, wide-eyed, then at the TV, and back to Mike again.
“But,” she looked at the TV, “that song, I mean, wow! It’s fucking amazing, it’s like my bloody life story!”
“Is that a compliment for our music?” he asked shyly.
“YEAH! I never knew music could just, just, well, speak to a person like that ya know?” she said, still unable to believe that it was Mike she saw on TV, why had she never recognised him then? It was too weird.
“Well, some people are just blessed with a gift,” he joked. “I ordered pizza and fries by the way, hope you like Hawaiian pizza.”
“Mmm, Hawaiian’s my fave, you must be mind-reader,” Leah winked, as someone started knocking at the door.
“Mike, dude, can I come in?” a voice called through it.
“The doors open.” Mike yelled back as the guy who came in earlier burst through it. Leah remembered him as Chester, and also recognised him as the singer from the video.
“Heeeyyy, you’re the girl from this morning, what’s your name again?” he asked, as he walked across the room.
“I’m Leah,” she said, jumping up to introduce herself properly, “ARGH, shit!” she yelped in pain and fell back down again, having put too much weight on her ankle.
“Uhh, ok, I’m Chester,” he answered, with a bemused look on his face as Leah clutched her ankle, cursing under her breath.
“Nice to, **curse** meet you, oww, Chester!” she cursed a bit more, as Chester looked at Mike.
“She sprained her ankle.” Mike answered Chester’s unasked question.
“Ohh, ok, must hurt like a bitch,” he sympathised. “So, what’s for dinner?”
“We just order pizza and fries.” 
“What kind of pizza?” Chester asked. 
“Hawaiian,” Mike answered, a little aggrieved at Chester butting in.
“Eugh, I think I’ll pass,” Chester stood up and started walking out of the room.
“Good riddance,” Mike muttered under his breath.
“Oh my GOODDDDDDD that hurt!” Leah shrieked when he left.
“More fool you for being polite and trying to stand to introduce yourself!” Mike grinned at her.
“Oh, I’ll never try and be polite again.” She nodded solemnly.
**ROOM SERVICE**
Yet another interruption as some else yelled through the door.
“Ohh, food.” Leah licked her lips hungrily as Mike went to the door and wheeled the food cart in.
“ARGH! Don’t tease me Mike!” Leah jumped across the sofa as Mike held pizza in front of her face, “GIMME!” She stretched her arms out across him as he held it further back.
“AHA! She grinned triumphantly as she snatched the pizza out of his hand and collapsed on top of him. She shivered under his feather light touch as he brushed his fingers over the bruise on her jaw again, and looked into her dark brown eyes.
“Got it!” she sat up abruptly and started eating the pizza.//you stupid bitch, you just ruined a perfectly good chance// she thought angrily.
They both ate the rest of the food in an awkward silence, wary of what nearly happened, and not knowing if the other actually wanted it.
“I’m sorry for earlier,” Mike piped up from the other end of the sofa, as they were watching TV later on.
“No, it’s OK, I guess I kinda asked for it didn’t I?” Leah replied, looking in his direction, but never **at him**
“It’s just, well, I don’t want it to seem like I’m taking advantage of you or anything, coz I’m not!” Mike said worriedly.
“Trust me, if I thought you were taking advantage of me, you would’ve known about it!” Leah grinned at him.
“Ahh, I don’t think I like the sound of that!” Mike relaxed a little at his end of the sofa, and sprawled out inside of curling up in the corner.
“Ohh, d’ya like horror movies?” Leah’s eyes lit up as she scanned the TV magazine.
“Umm, sort of, why?” Mike looked at Leah nervously.
“Coz Scream 3 is showing!” she said excitedly, “and I haven’t seen that yet!”
Silence.
“Please?” Leah pleaded with puppy dog eyes, moving herself further up the sofa till she was beside Mike, on her knees to beg him
“Oh, alright then,” he gave in all to easy, thinking she looked far too cute sitting like that, and getting more than a little hot under the collar with her begging like that.
“YES! You are an easy fight!” she grinned changing the channel as the movie started.
They sat in total darkness watching the movie, Leah, being completely aware that Mike jumped all to easy at any scary parts.
She waited till the suspense started to build in the film, while some other big-boobed, brainless girl ran round a house with a masked, knife-wielding maniac running after her, and saw him curl his knees up to his chest in fear.
“BOO!” she whispered in his ear while grabbing him by the back of the neck.
“ARGGGHHHH!” Mike jumped out of his seat, while Leah collapsed in giggles on the sofa.
“FUCKING HELL! Scare the life out of me why don’t you!” he stammered as his breathing slowly returned to normal.
“B-b-but, your f-f-f-FACE! HAHAHAHAHA!” she roared with laughter, tears streaming down her face, “it was PRICELESS!”
“I didn’t think it was funny!” Mike sulked as he sat down.
“Aww, you’re not gonna give me silent treatment now are ya?” Leah stopped laughing.
“I’m thinking about it!” Mike crossed his arms and looked away.
“Well, THAT didn’t work if you are!” Leah pointed out, stifling a giggle.
“DAMN YOU! I think I should give you something to laugh about woman!” Mike noticed a bare spot on Leah’s back where her T-shirt had rode up and start tickling it lightly.
“NOOOO, don’t you dare!” Leah screeched, knowing Mike had found her tickly spot as she had a mischievous glint in his eyes when he saw her reaction.
“Ticklish are we?” he asked innocently?
“Yes goddammit, hands off!” Leah hopped up and limped to the other side of the room, where the bed was.
“Ohh, I think it’s payback time then!” Mike jumped from the sofa and ran after her across to the bed and pinned her down.
“No, argh, you BASTARD!” she screamed, half laughing, half crying as he tickled her mercilessly. “I give up, I’M SORRY!”
“Are ya REAALLLYYY sorry?” he teased.
“YES!” she yelped as he loosened his grip on her wrists, and took advantage of the moment or weakness by rolling over so she was in the position of power.
“You just HAD to find my tickly spot didn’t you?” Leah asked him.
“Well, I had to get you back somehow didn’t I?” he fired back good-naturedly apparently enjoying the position he was currently in.
“I never realised you were such a wuss,” she giggled, as she got up and limped back to the sofa.
“Hey, that was harsh, I’m not a wuss, but scary movies aren’t my favourites either.” He sat down on the sofa beside Leah, as they continued to watch the end of the movie.
Mike woke up to the TV buzzing silently in the background.
**Must’ve fallen asleep** he thought, and so did Leah, apparently, who now had her head on his shoulder and she slept.
**I wish I didn’t feel like I was taking advantage of her** he stroked her long soft hair as he nodded off back to sleep.

Leah woke up with a start the next morning.
“Where am I?” she said out loud, not remembering the events of the previous day, as she still had to wake up properly. She tried turning over, but was stopped by the unfamiliar arm wrapped round her waist.
The body stirred slightly.
“Morning sunshine,” a slightly familiar male voice said, and yesterday came rushing back to her.
“Mmm, morning,” Leah grumbled as she stood up, aching from the uncomfortable position she slept in. “Want coffee?”
“Yeah, please.” Mike sat up and stretched from where he was lying as Leah realised they were both wearing the same clothes as the night before.

Mike switched on the TV as Leah rattled about in the sideboard where the coffee maker was.

**19year old Leah Dawson went missing yesterday, without leaving any word, and hasn’t turned up in work…** 

**Leah, please come home, I miss you sweetie and I’m worried**

As a familiar voice to Leah came on the TV, she stopped what she was doing and went in to watch the TV.
“No, NO, he can’t be doing this to me,” she uttered in shock as Nathan continued talking to the cameras.
“Is that Nathan?” Mike asked gently.
Leah just nodded.
“Why do you think he’s doing this?”
“He’s just in it for the money, like the rest of them,” Leah spat venomously.
“That’s sick,” Mike looked at the guy on the TV, shaking his head in disgust.
He looked at Leah, who had now curled herself up into a ball, rocking herself back and forth.
“I can’t believe he wants to do this to me,” she whispered quietly, hiccupping her suppressed sobs, “is he gonna haunt me or something now? He’s already done enough damage, you can the bastard just leave me alone!” She yelled the last part grabbing the remote control and turning the TV off.
“It’s not fair,” she whispered, as Mike pulled her closer.
“I know it’s not, but he can’t get you here,” he comforted, hugging her and stroking her hair.
“Why…why…” she kept repeating as she sobbed freely into Mike’s shoulder.
“Sshh, it’s OK now, I’m here for you.” He whispered in her ear. But he was really sure why he was promising things like this, how did he know he really COULD be there for her, he only met her yesterday, but her vulnerability was drawing him in, hook, line and sinker and it almost felt like if she didn’t have someone there for her, she would crumble.
“Thank you so much Mike,” she looked up at him, in a different light this time.
“Anytime,” he whispered hoarsely as he pushed the stray hairs out of her face, he looked deep into her eyes, and saw the fear, so much, it actually scared him, thinking of what Nathan could do to her if he found her, he had muscle on him, you could see that, and Leah wasn’t exactly built.
“I, really don’t know how to thank you Mike, even just for yesterday, if you hadn’t found me…” she trailed off as she shifted so her face was level with his. She leaned in closer to him, feeling her heart race as she felt his breath on her face, she rested her hand on his cheek and she placed a soft kiss on his lips. Then she got up and walked into the bathroom, leaving Mike sitting there in shock.
“DAMN!” he cursed to himself, when he came back to his senses.
Did Leah even KNOW what mental torture she was doing to him? He didn’t want her to feel like he was taking advantage, but at the same time, he didn’t want to take his hands off her, and last night when she was sitting on top of him, well, that was pretty self-explanatory really.
Leah went into the bathroom and when the door was locked securely behind her, she sunk to the floor with a HUGE grin on her face. Just his touch made her legs go numb now, and after that she didn’t know if she was going to be able to stand again. She liked him, she really did, but he’s a famous musician, how long could it carry on for? She finished getting showered as she thought what she should do about it all. //Just see what happens, go with the flow.// she thought, it seemed like the best option, coz there was no point in her getting uptight about someone else, those days were long gone.
She put on the hotel courtesy robe and walked out of the bathroom to where her bag was lying, untouched on the bed from yesterday. She rummaged through it, trying to find something decent to wear.
“Dammit, I’m gonna have to go shopping today,” she muttered, “well, a bit of retail therapy can never hurt I suppose.” as she pulled out a pair of baggy flares and a black shirt.
She walked back into the bathroom and changed into them, then fixed her hair and applied her makeup.
“What you doing today then?” Mike asked as he handed Leah a cup of coffee and sat on the bed beside her, when she went back in.
“I need to do some shopping,” she replied, placing her belongings back in her bag.
“Want me to go with you?” he offered.
“Sure, if ya have nothing better to do than trail round girl shops with me!” she joked.
“Well, don’t ya want my expert advice?” he put on a camp accent “I know all there is about the world of fashion dahling!” and pretended to flick his hair.
“Well, I suppose I’d need some **expert** advice,” she winked as she shoved her wallet in her pocket. “So, come on, you gonna get your ass moving, or just sit there all day?” she held out her hand to pull him up, but once he stood up, he never let go.
They spent hours trailing round the shops of New York City, when they came to one little boutique. It was very dressy, and had the price tag to match. But there was one dress that stood out to her from inside, it was beautiful, it was dark purple, one of her favourite colours, strappy, crossed over at the bust, and had an asymmetric hem. Leah looked at it longingly, and then placed it back on the rack.
“What’s wrong, aren’t ya gonna try it on?” Mike questioned her
“Nah, I don’t think so,” she replied walking on.
“Why not?” he lifted the dress off the rack, walked Leah to the mirror, then held it up to her as he stood behind her and placed his head on her shoulder. “Can’t you see yourself wearing it?” Actually, she could see herself wearing it, she knew dresses like that flattered her shape, and the purple had always suited her.
“Well?” he interrupted her train of thought.
“Oh, I don’t know, I wouldn’t have anywhere to wear it,” she started.
“Well then, we’ll find somewhere to go for you to wear it!” Mike urged.
“Are you sure?” Leah scrutinised, looking in the mirror again.
“I’m sure!” he gave her a little push towards the cashier.
She walked up to the cashier and paid for the dress, wondering if she would regret the decision. 
“Good, you bought it!” Mike grinned at her.
“So, where am I gonna go to wear it then?” she asked Mike curiously.
“Oh, I’m sure we’ll find somewhere.” He winked back at her as they walked out of the shop.
“LEAH!!!!!” Someone yelled as the walked down the road, back towards the hotel.
“Oh my God, Mike, it’s Nathan, WALK FASTER!” she exclaimed, dragging Mike along.
“Leah, you bitch! Get back here!” she heard Nathan yell again, but closer this time.
“Hurry, Mike,” she broke into a run.
“LEAH!” a strong arm abruptly grabbed her.
“Leave me alone Nathan!” she tried to shake his grip off, but he held tight.
“Dude, she said leave her alone.” Mike stepped in.
“Who’s this?” Nathan growled, shoving Mike out of the way with his other arm, “is this what you left me for? The one you’re fucking on the side?”
“I didn’t leave you for anyone Nathan, you were abusing me, that’s why I left!”
“You deserved it, you little slut, and now I see it was all true.” He spat in her face.
“Get your hands off her,” Leah heard an angry voice, and turned to see Mike, walking towards Nathan again, but this time with a look of pure anger and hate in his eyes.
“And what are going to do, you little pussycat,” Nathan mocked.
“This is what I’ll fucking do,” Mike swung for Nathan, but missed, and got knocked to the ground.
“Don’t try that again you fucking fag!” Nathan said angrily.
“Nathan, why don’t you just leave me alone!” Leah shouted at him, “if you don’t go now, I’ll fucking scream loud enough for everyone to hear, and turn you into the cops!”
“You wouldn’t fucking dare bitch!”
“Wanna bet?” Leah said, as she opened her mouth and let the loudest scream rip.
A few people in the street stopped to stare.
“You motherfuckin’ slut, I’ll get you for that,” Nathan shot back as he took off down the street.
Mike stood up and looked after Nathan as she sprinted down the street.
“So much for thinking I could be free of him,” Leah said sadly as she looked at Mike.
“I really don’t know how you could’ve stayed with him for so long.” Mike touched his nose.
“Oh my God, you’re nose is bleeding,” Leah gasped.
“It’s nothing, don’t worry.” Mike blew it off.
“Of course I have to worry, it’s all my fault.” 
“Don’t be stupid, come on back to the hotel.” He nudged her slightly, in the direction of the hotel.
“I don’t know if I can walk Mike, I..I started running earlier, and it was really hard on my ankle.” She started crying, in pain.
“Come on,” Mike said softly putting her arm round his shoulder, and supporting her.
They walked back to the hotel in silence. 
“Mike, I don’t know what to say, I’m, just, I’m really sorry I brought all this on you, I hardly even know you, yet you’re already getting a nosebleed from Nathan, I’m just glad it wasn’t worse,” she mumbled as she sat down on the sofa when they got back. She pushed up the sleeve of her shirt too see large bruise marks where Nathan had been grabbing her.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t you,” Mike said simply, after cleaning his nose.
“Why do you have to be so nice?” Leah jokingly questioned Mike, as she turned round.
“Takes a special kind of person to make me be nice to them!”
“Aww, shut up!” Leah playfully pushed his face away, but he grabbed her hand and kept it there. He ran her hand down his cheek, then across his soft, full lips, before entwining their fingers together and pulling her closer. Leah’s heart was beating so fast and loud the closer they got, she was sure he could hear it.
He looked into her eyes, shocked by the lust in them, as they pulled closer, she slid her arms round his waist pulling him in, losing whatever space there was between them as their lips met. The kiss was full of lust, passion and desire as their tongues wrestled for space in each other’s mouth, neither of them able to have enough of the other, as they ran their hands over each other’s bodies, feeling the heat radiating of the other.
They finally pulled away from each other.
“That was really…nice!” Mike mumbled, while running a hand through his hair.
“Just nice?” Leah arched an eyebrow at him.
“Sorry, I can’t think of anything else to say it was that good!”
“Well, I could say the same for you,” Leah said as someone started knocking, (yet again) on Mike’s door. Leah just smiled.
“Come in.” Mike called as someone already started walking through the door.
“Hey Mike, hey person-I-don’t-know,” Joe started as he walked across the room, “the rest of us want to go out tonight, you up for it?”
Mike looked over to Leah and gave her questioning look.
“Yeah, that’d be cool,” she answered.
“OK, be ready by 8 o’clock! Nice meeting you person,” Joe shouted as he walked off.
“Who was that?” Leah asked Mike once Joe had left.
“He’s our DJ, Joe, he’s a bit weird, but you’ll get used to him.” Mike laughed.
8 o’clock came and Mike and Leah were both waiting in the lobby for the rest of the guys. Leah was wearing her new dress, and her hair done up in twists the whole way round, with it in a bun at the back, and the turquoise tips of her hair left spiking out.
“Heeeyyyyyyyyy,” Joe called as him, Chester and the rest of the guys walked out of the lift.
“Hey Joe, this is Leah, I never got to introduce you before coz you left!” Mike said.
“Hey Leah, pleased to meet ya, I’m Joe,” he said, bending down and giving her a kiss on the hand.
“Leah, that’s Chester, well, you already know him, Rob, Brad and Dave,” Mike pointed to each of them in turn.
“Hey everyone,” Leah smiled and gave a small wave.
“Hey Leah,” they all chorused as they left the hotel to go to the club.
It was a small club, Leah noted as they walked in, but it had good music at least, and a good atmosphere.
“What are you drinking?” Mike asked her.
“Martini and Redbull please.” She answered, talking a seat with the rest of the guys at a booth as Mike went up for the drinks.
“So, how long have you known Mike for then?” Chester shifted up beside her to talk to her.
“Erm, acoupleofdays,” she mumbled hoping Chester wouldn’t hear her properly.
“A COUPLE OF DAYS?” Chester said incredulously. “Mike’s a fast worker, having you in his room and all!”
“We weren’t having sex if that’s what you’re thinking.” She rolled her eyes at him.
“Me, think that, not at all!” Chester said innocently as Mike sat down with their drinks.
As Chester got up to make space he whispered something in Mike’s ear and laughed as he walked up the bar and began chatting a girl up there. Leah vaguely recognised her as her old best friend Clayton’s ex-girlfriend. Rondrah her name was? She was pretty anyhow, quite striking to look at with red hair, and a small petite figure, she certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the boys, and Chester seemed to be getting on well with her.
“Do you wanna dance?” Mike nudged Leah out of her trance.
“Yeah, why not,” she stood up and let him lead her to the floor.
They danced as Leah noted the rest of the guys go up to random girls, and giggled to herself, as she watched them trying to chat them up, some attempts in vain, and some actually successful.
Leah felt Mike pull her closer to him as a slow song came on, and she rested her head on his shoulder.
“That dress was so worth it,” Mike whispered in her ear as the danced slowly.
“Well, you are the expert in all things about clothes, Leah smiled as his lips came closer to hers.
This time though, the kiss wasn’t so rushed, it was sweet as he began nibbling her lip, unaware that she thought her knees were going to give way, and it wasn’t bad enough he was doing that, but he was also massaging his hands round the small of her back, giving her the shivers. He made his way over to her ear and whispered huskily, “Do you want to go and sit down?” Leah nodded and pulled him towards the booth where the rest of the guys were sitting earlier (except Chester, who was now kissing Rondrah near the bar) with girls, the girl with Joe smiled and said “Hi, I’m Amy,” as Leah sat down. She was cute, quite short, with long dark hair, which had pink/purple streaks in it, and was fairly tanned. “I’m Leah,” she nodded as she turned her attention back to Joe who was whispering something in her ear. She looked around the rest of the table to see Rob with a girl who had black hair with pink tips, she wasn’t skinny, but she wasn’t fat either, just nice, with a rather **ahem** large chest. Just then Dave and Brad both walked over with their girls. Dave’s girl wore a strange outfit for a club, but it suited her, she was wearing a red sleeveless top with a cartoon character called Zippy, whom she remembered from a kids show on holidays in England and flared jeans, medium height with olive skin and square glasses. Brad’s girl was tall, and more appropriately dressed with shoulder length blond hair and amazing green eyes. I figured I could get more acquainted with them later.
They didn’t move much as the night wore on, except getting up for the odd dance. Around 12am –1am Chester came over and sat down with them, bringing Rondrah with him, who sat beside Leah.
“Hiya, I’m Rondrah!” she said chirpily, as she stuck out her hand to shake.
“Yeah, I know, you used to be seeing my friend Clayton,” Leah smiled, “I’m Leah, remember?”
“Oh my GOD Leah! How long has it been!” she shrieked as she reached over and gave Leah a huge bear hug.
“It’s been ages, how have you been?”
“Not too bad, well, as you can guess I’m not dating Clayton anymore, but it wasn’t a bad break up, we are still friends, he still wonders what happened to you sometimes you know. I think maybe you should phone him.” Rondrah said.
“Yeah, I probably should,” Leah said sadly as she thought about her old best friend. She couldn’t even remember how they drifted apart, they just sorta, did? Less and less phone calls were made as Nathan came into her life, and then, that was it, they never spoke.
“Are you still with that dickhead Nathan?”
“No, I’ve Ieft him now, I’m glad to say,” 
“Good thing too,” Rondrah nodded vigorously, “he was no good for you, that man, I never told you this, but one night, just before you and Clayton, well, you know, when we were both up at your apartment, he tried to come on to me. I went into the kitchen to get a drink and he followed me in.”
“What? Nathan? Why didn’t you TELL me?” Leah was shocked at what she just heard. How dare Nathan accuse her of flirting with other people, even though she never did, when he done it right there, IN HER OWN APARTMENT!
“I didn’t think it was a good idea, well, it was nice speaking to you again Leah,” Rondrah said, and then turned to Chester.
Leah was in a state of shock after what she just heard, and it was apparent to Mike.
“What’s the matter?” he whispered in her ear.
“Erm, nothing, I’ll…I’ll tell you later.” she muttered.
“Come on, tell me now,” he tugged Leah to move outside with him where it quieter. She gave in and got up with him, god knows she could do with the fresh air now.
They found a bench near the club outside and sat down.
“So…” Mike started.
“So what?” Leah replied.
“What was that all about then?” he rolled his eyes at her.
“OK, well, that girl, with Chester, she’s called Rondrah, and she used to be dating my best friend, well, my **used to be best friend** Clayton, and she just told me, when I was first dating Nathan, and they were all round at my apartment, he started coming on to her,”
“Is there no end to what he does?”
“Apparently not, but it’s not just that, but the fact that he has a go at me, when he thinks I flirt with people, even though I don’t!”
“Do you wanna go back inside or go home?” Mike asked gently, sensing the whole thing upset her, just not letting on.
“Do you mind if we go home?” Leah looked at him.
“Of course not, come on, we can get something to eat on the way, I’m starved!” he rubbed his stomach.
“Yeah, me too,” she said quietly.


They came back to the hotel, after getting burgers from a place near by and eating them on the way up.
“I’m sorry for wanting to come home early,” Leah looked at her watch realising that it hadn’t even turned 1am yet.
“It’s OK, I’d prefer to be with you, than having you be by yourself.” Mike hugged me as we sat on the bed.
“Sometimes I wish you weren’t so nice, I’m expecting you to change any minute.” 
“Well, I don’t plan on changing anytime soon, I like the way I am, thank you very much!”
“Yeah, I guess, but I’m just used to bastards, ya know, I haven’t known much else other than Nathan, and you know what he was like.”
“Are you going to stay in New York then? With him still about?” Mike asked her.
“I don’t know, I was thinking about getting in touch with Clayton again, but that still means staying here, with him about.” Leah shrugged.
“You really should turn him into the cops you know.” Mike pointed out.
“I Know, I should, but if he finds out that I have, and finds me…” she shuddered at the thought of what he would do to her.
Mike sensed what she was thinking. “He won’t get you, he’ll be locked up remember!”
“But what if they don’t catch him!”
“They will,”
“But-“
Mike cut her off, “But nothing, they will catch him, end of story, and if they don’t well, I can take care of the rest can’t I?”
“How?” she eyed Mike sceptically.
“We’ll see, I’ll sort something out.” He assured her.
She nodded in response as she let out a loud yawn.
“You wanna go to bed?”
“Uh huh, I’m wrecked.” Leah answered him, as she stood up to get her PJ’s
She got changed in the bathroom and was about to get into the bed when she noticed Mike settling down on the sofa.
“What on earth are you doing?” she raised an eyebrow him, and started to laugh.
“Trying to get comfortable on this thing, what does it look like?” he rolled his eyes at her.
“You can’t sleep there!” she laughed.
“Well, I can’t sleep on the bed either, you are!”
“Of course you can, the bed is HUGE!” she pointed at it.
“I dunno..” he hesitated.
“Please? I won’t fell safe without you there.” She kneeled down beside him and gave him puppy dog eyes.
“Alright then,” he sighed loudly. “You know I couldn’t resist you looking at me like that!”
“I know,” she giggled, as she pulled him off the sofa, and jumped into the bed. He climbed into bed next to her, and smiled to himself and as she cuddled up next to him and put her arms round his waist.
“Night night sweetie,” he whispered as he stroked her hair.
“Mmm, night,” she mumbled back sleepily.


“I’m gonna fucking make you pay bitch!” Leah stood rooted to the spot as Nathan hissed in her ear, and she could smell the alcohol on his breath.
“For, for what?” Leah stuttered.
“For everything, for fucking that other guy, for screaming, for turning me in.”
“B-b-but, I never went to the police,”
“Yes, you fucking did, bitch, why else would they come to my fucking door?” The knife dug further into Leah’s stomach.
“I don’t know,” she whispered.
“Yes you fucking do you stupid bitch!” he spun her round and kicked her legs so she fell on the floor. He had more of an advantage over her this way. She crawled up against the wall as he towered over her.
“I know how you can say sorry..” he leered at her suggestively
“H-how?” she whispered quietly as he dragged her up by the hair.
“This is how,” he kissed her roughly on the mouth, and groped her breasts roughly.
“Please, Nathan, no,” she whimpered as he pulled down her panties and unhooked her bra.
As she said this he bit down hard on her nipple as a warning not to say anything else. 
She bit her lip to stifle a cry, and closed her eyes, wishing it would all be over as he pushed himself hard inside her.
She slowly opened her eyes, when she heard him come.
He pulled up his trousers as she slumped against the wall.
“I don’t think you tried your hardest.” He grinned evilly at her, with a look of hate in his eyes.
“W-what?” she looked up, terrified as he moved towards her with the knife in his hand.
“NOOOOO!” she screamed, as loud as her lungs would let her.


She woke up in a cold sweat with Mike shaking her.
“Get off me!” she jumped up, not realising that it was only Mike, and he didn’t want to harm her.
“Leah, what’s the matter?” Mike approached her gently, as she calmed down.
She retreated to Mike’s open arms, still shaken up by the dream she just had.
“Nathan, he, he…tried to, kill.. me,” she sobbed.
“It’s OK, he’s not here,” Mike reassured her.
“H-he, said he was going t-to make me, p-pay for going to th-th-the police, and, and he r-raped me.” She broke down in floods of tears, realising that no matter what happened, it was practically impossible for her to be free of Nathan, even if he did get locked up, he would be freed, the best she could do was get away from NY, as far as possible.

Mike hugged Leah tightly and pulled her further back on the bed so they could both lie down, and go back to sleep coz it was only 3am.
Leah could hear Mike’s heartbeat from the position she lay in, with her arms round his waist, and her head on his chest as he played gently with her hair, the sound of it comforted her, and the way he played with her hair while doing this, reminded her of her mother, and how she used to comfort her when she was a kid. This was a time she really needed her around again, just to make it all better, but the only way she was ever going to see them, was if she died to, and as fucked up as her life was, killing herself wasn’t an option.
She slowly drifted off into a restless, empty sleep.


Leak woke up the next morning to the smell of coffee and food.
“I didn’t want to wake you up, but I ordered breakfast for us.” Mike saw her shift.
“Mmm…” she mumbled, not having woken up properly.
“I got you a fry, is that OK? Coz that’s what you ordered in the café, I figured it was a good choice.”
Leah looked at the clock, and she just made out it was nearly 10am. She swung her feet over the side of the bed and stumbled sleepily over to the sofa where Mike was sitting, watching TV.
“Morning,” she said as she got herself a cup of coffee and sat down beside him.
“Morning to you too,” he reached over and gave her a quick peck on the forehead. “Feeling better this morning?”
“What? Oh, yeah, that dream scared the shit out of me,” she shuddered as she thought about it.
“What was it about? You never really made much sense last night.”
Leah relayed all the details that she could remember about last nights dream to him, as he looked at her and listened intently. As she finished what she was telling him a familiar song boomed out of the TV.


**Crawling in my skiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnn**

It was the TV advert for Linkin Park’s album, “Hybrid Theory” Leah glanced over at Mike who was blushing as the ad was on.
“So, when am I gonna hear the ‘amazing breakthrough album’ then?” Leah giggled.
“Well, you can hear it tonight if you want? We have a concert, so, you could come along to it, if you want to, that is,” he looked embarrassed.
“Course I want to, you dope, you only had to ask, I wanna hear yas!” Leah exclaimed, laughing at the reddening Mike. “You look dead cute when you’re blushing by the way.”
“I’m meant to say that about you,” he said, raising his head, smiling, “not vice versa!”
“That’s only in stereotypes!” Leah pointed out. “It’s standard that way, but I’m not standard, I’m extra special!” as she reached for her breakfast.
“You got that right!” Mike said jokingly.
“Oi, shut you up mister!” Leah said mock-sternly as she gave him a playful shove with her foot, and propped her legs up on his knees.
“Let me up!” she said half an hour later, she had tried to make a move for the shower, only to be stopped by Mike’s grip around her ankles.
“Now!” 
“Oh, alright then!” Mike sulked, as he let go of her ankles.
“Don’t pout, it doesn’t suit you,” Leah laughed as she walked towards the bathroom.
When she finished her shower, she stood in front of the mirror and scrutinised her reflection. At least her bruises were fading. They weren’t so much purple anymore, but more of the yellow colour they fade to. And she was pleased to note that the wound on her side had begun healing, as for the bruises on her arm from yesterday, they were still there. But she didn’t really want to think about that right now.


“Are you ready yet?” Mike asked her, as soon as she stepped foot outside the bathroom.
“Ready for what?”
“I’m taking you to the police station.” He told her, as-a-matter-factly.
“NO! You are not!” she protested.
“Yes, I am, if you don’t go then I will, god knows how many more people he could do this to Leah!” Mike made a good point.
“B-but..”
“But nothing, are you ready?”
“Yeah, s’pose” she sulked, as she followed him down the stairs.
“So….” Mike started, trying to break the silence.
“So what?” Leah was still quite annoyed, the dream had shook her up, and she wasn’t too sure about going to the police for the fear her dream might actually come true.
“Do you wanna come to the sound check today, instead of staying alone?”
“Yeah, s’pose,” she grumbled.
“Geez, Leah, don’t huff with me, you know it’s the right thing to do!” Mike said, exasperated, he knew it must be hard for her, but he didn’t understand why she didn’t want to go.
“Sorry, but I really don’t want to go here, I mean, I know I SHOULD, but that dream freaked me out, you didn’t see the look in his eyes, it isn’t the first time I’ve seen that look from him,” she trailed off.
“I’m sorry,” Mike gave her hand a quick squeeze, “but once it’s over with, you won’t have to worry about it will you?”
“I guess so,”
They walked into the police station and were greeted by a woman police officer with an Irish accent, curvy, with red curly hair and a pierced eyebrow.
“What can I do you for?” she asked in her Irish lilt.
Leah stepped back, being too nervous to do anything herself.

“She,” Mike started, giving Leah a little push forward, “would like you to report her ex-boyfriend for being abusive.”

Leah completed her statement, and allowed the woman whose name she found out to be Marie, to take pictures of all the current wounds and marks she had.
She found this quite this quite an ordeal, because she had to relive everything Nathan had ever done to her. She managed to get through it, with Mike’s help, if he hadn’t been there with her, she knew she wouldn’t have been able to get through it, because reliving all the hell he put her through, brought up more emotions than she would have wished, and she ended up crying the whole way through giving her statement.
“Come on,” Mike urged her gently, once she finished her statement. He had a few words with Marie, the police officer, but Leah didn’t care, she was too upset, then they left.

Neither of them had realised how long they spent in the police station, it was a few hours, and Mike was going to be late for his sound check if he didn’t hurry.
They arrived at the Roseland about half an hour late, and looking decidedly flustered. 
“Sorry, we were, uhh, doing, stuff,” Mike mumbled as he made his way up on stage, feeling five angry sets of eyes on him.
Leah sat down at the front, were she saw the rest of the girls from last night.
“Hey, Leah,” Rondrah called, motioning to the seat beside her.
“Hey Rondrah,” Leah said, flopping down on the seat beside her.
“Hi, I’m Tuesday,” an all-to-perky voice piped up from on of the seats near Leah. Leah turned round to see it was coming from the girl who was with Rob, she remembered her as the one having huge boobs.
“Hey Tuesday, I’m Leah,” Leah replied, giving her a weak smile.
The rest of them introduced themselves as Louise, Laura, and Amy had already told me her name last night.
Once they had got themselves known, they turned back to each and continued their conversation about which nail polish was the best, and what outfits they would be wearing to the concert that night.
“So, how come you guys were late?” Rondrah asked me.
“Mike took me to the police to turn Nathan in.” Leah mumbled, keeping her head down.
“Good for you, at least now you’ll get that bastard out of your life.” Rondrah nodded.
Leah turned her tried to turn her attention to what was going on, on stage, but couldn’t really focus, she just wanted everything to be normal. 
“Have you given any more thought to getting back in touch with Clayton?”
Leah blinked, and took a minute to take in her surroundings. She must’ve been really far off in that daydream.
“Oh, umm, yeah, I was thinking about giving him a phone call or something.”
“Good, he really worried about you, ya know, he never really knew what happened to you.”
//Makes a change, some one was actually worried about me//


Leah could hear the audience chanting as she stood backstage with Mike. It was a seated gig, (but people were DEFINITLY not sitting) and he had managed to get her a front row seat somehow, along with Amy, Tuesday, Rondrah, Laura, and Louise.
“Good luck,” she gave him a quick hug, as he was preparing to go onstage.
“Thanks,” he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, as she went to get her seat.
She laughed to herself as she walked over to her seat, Amy, Tuesday Louise and Laura looked liked proper bimbos, that was for sure, wearing short skirts, high heels, or knee boots, she didn’t know how they could do it. Rondrah was dressed a bit better, but was still wearing HUUUGEEEEEEEEE boots. The only time you would ever catch Leah wearing big shoes was if she was dressing up, and even by the end of the night she was lucky if she could walk.
For the time being, she restricted herself to her DC’s or Converse’.
She heard the opening chords to the first song as Linkin Park came out on stage.
The lights came up on Joe, doing his thing on the decks, then on Chester and Mike who came running out on stage.

**Graffiti decorations, under a sky of dust,
A constant wave of tension, on top of broken trust,
The lessons that you taught me, I learnt were never true,
Now I find myself in question [they point the finger at me again]
Guilty by association [you point the finger at me again,**

She listened to the song in amazement, how could these people write lyrics that spoke to her so much? Basically, what she was thinking, and going through in her own life.
“I wanna dedicate this song…” Leah heard Mike say to the opening of Crawlin’ “to Leah, this is for you.” Mike winked at her as Chester began singing.
She could feel eyes burning into her as she closed her eyes and listened to the song.
Unknown to Leah, a few rows back, someone was also listening to that song, with the same fascination she was, but he wasn’t think about how the song related to him, he was thinking about his best friend.

**Even though you’re close to me,
You’re still so distant, and I can’t bring you back.
It’s true, the way I feel, was promised by your face,
The sound of your voice,
Painted on my memories,
Even if you’re not with me, I’m with you**

He listened to the songs, thinking about how it reminded him of her. But he probably wouldn’t see her again anyway.

**A little piece of paper with the picture drawn,
Floats on down the street till the wind is gone,
The memory now is like the picture was then,
When the papers crumpled up it can’t be perfect again**

Why did he have to let her drift away? He shouldn’t have let it happen, god knows what state she was in now. Do you think, when the singer mentioned Leah, it was her? No, it wouldn’t be, it was just a coincidence. 


Leah was aware of the rest of the girls were jumping about while she was standing there, listening to the music.
“Come on,” Tuesday said, pulling at her to join in, Leah started laughing to herself, she was really getting into the whole ‘vibe’ of the concert.
She made an attempt to get into the concert along with the rest of the crowd, but she felt that she really didn’t fit in with them, and their mini-skirts.
Leah made her way out to the side with the rest of the girls when the concert was finished. Mike had told her earlier that they wanted to do a signing for the fans and they would meet them inside later, when the fans had gone.
They crowds in the foyer of the concert hall were dense.
She heard someone call her name as she pushed her way through the crowds of teenagers. She turned round to see who it was, but couldn’t see anyone she recognised.
She felt a blast of cold air as she pushed out the door.
“Leah!” she spun round to see who it was, to be face to face with someone she didn’t recognise.
“Umm, do I know you?” she asked the stranger.
“I figured you wouldn’t remember me,” he gave a small smile, it suddenly clicked in Leah’s brain who it was.
“Oh MY GOD! Clayton!” she flung her arms round his neck.
“Yep, the one and only.” He gave sheepish grin.
“How are you?” she stood back, surveying the person in front of her.
“Not too bad, and you?”
“Alright, no worse than usual,” she shrugged, “do you wanna go somewhere a bit quieter?” she pointed towards a small café still open across the road.
They walked towards the café in silence. Leah couldn’t believe they used to be best friends, and now they were so awkward with each other.
“Are you still with Nathan then?” he asked when we sat down in the café.
“No, I’ve left him, just the other day actually.”
“Finally, he was no good for you.”
Leah couldn’t think of much else to say after this.
“What happened to us?”
“What?” the question was so random, it threw Leah off slightly.
“I mean, we used to be best friends, now we’re like strangers.” He sounded sad when he said this.
“I don’t know, Clayton,” she said truthfully, “I guess we just drifted apart.”
Leah glanced out the window to the concert hall, where she noticed that it was nearly empty now.
“Look, I have to go now, I told Mike I would meet him afterwards. It was nice talking to you again though,” she stood up and gave Clayton a hug.
“Leah,” he started to scribble down something on a piece of paper, “Don’t lose contact with me this time, OK?”
“I promise,” Leah said, giving him another hug, before she walked back to the hall.


“Where did you go?” Mike asked Leah, when she met up with him again.
“Remember that friend Clayton I told you about? Well, he was here tonight, and we just went for coffee.” Leah answered.
“That was good,”
“Yeah, but it was weird, I mean, it was really awkward, coz I haven’t spoken to him for so long, I could tell him anything before, but I didn’t even recognise him tonight.” She looked sad, but Mike understood what she was going through with her friend, the fame did that, took his friends away, changed them all.
“Do you guys wanna go out for a drink?” Chester came up, and shoved himself between the both of them.
“Do you?” Mike turned to Leah and left the answer to her.
“Sure, why not?” Leah smiled, “might cheer me up a bit!” as they followed Chester down the hall to the rest of the group.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“But I don’t wanna go home,” Leah slurred.
“Come on Leah,” Mike pulled her up gently.
“Aww, you’re spoiling my fun Mikey,” she stuck her tongue out at him as she stood up. “Whoa, head rush,” she stumbled as Mike grabbed her.
“I don’t care if I’m spoiling your fun, you’ll thank me tomorrow!” he said firmly.
“Ohh, is that an offer?” Lea giggled, “how about if I thank you tonight then?” she pinched his bum playfully.
“Quit it,” he blushed, “you’re too drunk!”
“Am not!” she argued.
“Are too, and I am not continuing this on.”
They walked out the door into the cold night air.
“I’m FREEZING!” Leah shivered, as she flung her arms round Mike’s waist.
“Well, it’s not far till we get back to the hotel.”
They walked back the rest of the distance in silence.
They arrived back at the hotel room and Leah backed Mike up against the wall.
“So, can I thank you yet?” Leah had a mischievous glint in her eyes, as she stood in front of him.
“What do you have in mind for thanking me then? A box of chocolates? Or a bunch of flowers?” he raised an inquisitive eyebrow at her, and tried to move from the position they were in.
“Neither!” she told him, placing her arm beside him, so he couldn’t move. “More like this,” she moved towards him.
“Oh nooo,” he moved his head.
“Aww. You are such a spoil sport, you spoiled my fun by making me come here, and now you’re spoiling it again,” she pretended to sulk.
“Like I said, you’ll thank me tomorrow,” he said, then immediately regretted it. He knew what to expect next.
“But why can’t I thank you now?” she whined, closing the remaining space between their bodies. All except their faces, but they were so close they could feel each other’s breath.
“Leah, you’re drunk, you don’t know what you’re saying,” he turned his face away.
“Yes, I do,” she placed her arms round his waist, and started to run the slowly up and down his body.
“Leah, please, don’t do this,”
“Why not?” she whispered in is ear, bringing her hands back down and resting on his ass. “You know you like it.”
“No, I-I don’t,” he really wasn’t a good liar.
“Your lips say no, but your body tells me other things.”
Leah was vague in what she was saying, but Mike knew exactly what she meant. He couldn’t exactly control his body reactions, could he?
“Come on Mike, don’t be stubborn,” she moaned, as she slowly took off the lightweight cardigan she had worn to the concert, over her baby blue vest top.
“Look, I’d be lying if said I didn’t find you attractive, but I don’t think this is the best situation-“ he got cut off by Leah closing the rest of the space between their faces, and kissing him hard on the lips. She moved her hands from his ass, and wrapped them round his waist, pulling him as close as possible.
//Fuck it// Mike thought, as he got caught up in the moment.
Leah, never breaking the kiss pulled him backwards towards the bed, pushed him down so she was on top.
She moved her hands down to the button of his trousers and opened them releasing his straining erection.
This brought him back to reality, if he carried on, they would both regret this tomorrow.
“No, Leah, this isn’t right,” he moved her off, and stood up.
Leah sat up angrily.
“You fucker!” she shouted after him as he left the room.
//what just happened?// she thought.
“You just made a complete fool of yourself, that’s what,” she said quietly as she took her makeup off and got changed.
//I’ve really messed it up this time,// she thought sadly as she fell asleep.

Mike didn’t even know where he was going when he left the hotel room, he just kinda, wandered aimlessly when he bumped into Joe.
“Hey dude, what’s wrong?” he asked, seeing Mike was pissed off.
“Erm, I dunno, Leah, just kinda, started coming onto me in our room there,” he mumbled.
“And that’s a BAD thing?” Joe laughed at him. “Dude, you know you like her, and she ain’t half bad either, so what you stressing about?”
“Coz, she was pissed and I don’t want to be taking advantage of her.”
“You’re weird,” Joe told him, walking off.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Next Morning*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Hung over?” Mike asked Leah, when she woke up the next morning.
She grumbled something incomprehensible in response.
“Coffee,” she muttered thankfully, as she sat down.
“You’d need it the state you were in last night,” Mike laughed, while wondering if she actually remembered any of it.
“Was I really that drunk?” she groaned, trying to recall all the details.
“Yep, you were,” he told her.
“Did you really mean what you said?” she turned to Mike.
“What did I say?”
“That, you found me attractive?”
“Well, umm,” he suddenly found his feet very interesting, “Umm, I guess, yeah.”
“Then why did you push me off? I mean, I know I was drunk, and I wouldn’t have done that if I was sober, but I knew what I was doing.”
“Coz, I just didn’t think it was the best situation.”
“If it has something to do with that whole taking advantage thing, well, you can just stop it now, coz if I didn’t want to, I wouldn’t and you would know about it!”
“No, it has nothing to do with that, but you were drunk, I didn’t think it was right,” he looked up to Leah from his feet.
“You’re such a gentleman,” she grinned at him, it felt alien to her, having someone treat her like this, usually Nathan would have been all over her, groping her, and she would NOT having been throwing herself at him like that, but she was just hoping she hadn’t ruined what-could-be, between her and Mike.
“Yeah, well, I try, and you deserve to have someone treat you with a bit of respect.” He told her truthfully.
“Aww, thanks, so, what are we doing today then?” 
“Umm, I dunno, what do you want to do?” he asked her.
“Damn, I was hoping you were gonna answer that, how about, more shopping?”
“Ugh, shopping,” Mike grimaced.
“Well, can you suggest something better Mister Fashion-Expert?!”
“Nah, s’pose not,”
“Ha! I win, we’re going shopping!” Leah grinned.


“What about this one?” Mike pulled a shirt from the rack.
“Nah, it’s too girly!” she looked at the shirt, it was covered in flowers, not her thing.
“This one?” Mike sighed.
“Eugh, NO! It looks like shit!”
“My GOD! You weren’t this hard to shop for the other day!”
“Well, the other day you weren’t showing me shirts that were the colour of shit!” she winked at him as she scanned the rails.
She finally spotted something she liked, but it wasn’t usually her kind of thing. It was a pair of light blue jeans with pink rhinestones round the pockets, and a pink painted print on the front of then, with a frayed bottom.
“Ooohhh, I wanna try these on!” she pulled them off the rail.
“What do you think?” she twirled for Mike when she came out of the changing room.
He was speechless. The colour was definitely her, and the top she had chosen to go with it was perfect, they fitted her like a glove and accentuated all her curves, and he knew he wanted her.
“It’s, very, umm, nice,” was all he could think of.
“Just nice?” she pouted.
“You’ve rendered me speechless, is that good enough?”
“I guess,”
She got changed back into her black flares and T-shirt and went to the cashier to pay.


“HEY! D’ya wanna go to the cinema tonight?”” Leah asked, out of the blue when they were back at the hotel.
“To see what?” Mike asked, suspiciously.
“Dracula 2001!” she giggled.
“Oh no! Not another scary movie with you about, we can just watch one on TV, all you wanna do is scare me!”
“Damn you! How did ya guess?”
“Oh, just a hunch, although, I didn’t quite mind the way it ended last time!”
“Yeah well, I dunno if I want it to end like that tonight!”
“Now who’s being the spoilsport?” Mike argued playfully.
“Moi! I’m hungrryyy, if we can’t go to the cinema can we at least get nice food?” Leah asked.
“Like where?”
“Umm, I dunno, I guess we could walk around aimlessly till we find somewhere worthy enough of our presence?”
“Sounds like a very bad plan to me, but a plan all the same,” Mike said.


“Mmm, that place smells nice,” Leah and Mike walked hand in hand down the street.
“Wanna try it? I think it’s meant to be Chinese or something?”
~*~*~*~
“These Chinese people fairly know how to drink!” Leah noted when she finished her first glass of-whatever it was she drank.
“Just as long as you don’t be getting in the state you were last night!” Mike stated.
“Yes Daddy!” Leah giggled, she was happy tonight, but she didn’t really know why, did new clothes always make her feel like this? Nope. “Maybe I should just stop drinking now if they are all gonna be that strong!” Leah mumbled through a mouthful of food.
“Maybe you should,” Mike nodded his head, he had to agree, they were strong, he’d only had one so far and he was already feeling light-headed.
They spent the rest of the night making aimless chitchat, and then headed home. Neither of them was drunk, only having one or two drinks, but it was a cold night, and they both had their arms wrapped round each other as they walked.
“I’m not even tired,” Leah pointed out as she flopped down on the sofa and turned on the TV.
“Well, I am, and you’re on my bed!” Mike said, good-naturedly.
“Oops, aw well,” Leah shrugged grinning. 
“Am I gonna hafta move you then?”
“Apparently so,” she stuck her tongue out at him, while he sat down beside her.
“I know how to do that,” he slipped his arm in the small space between the sofa and her back and started tracing light circles.
“NOO! You bastard!” she shrieked as she wriggled away.
“Are you gonna move?”
“NOPE! Never,”
“You asked for it then!”
Mike shifted up the sofa and took a hold of Leah round her waist so she couldn’t move and proceeded in tickling her mercilessly.
“Stop…tickiling..ME!” she wriggled around facing him.
When she did, the atmosphere changed in the room, it was filled more with unsatisfied lust, than friendliness. They both looked into each other’s eyes, they didn’t have to say anything to know that they both wanted it so much.
Leah made the first move towards Mike, pulling him closer, and kissing him.
He was shocked at first, but responded by opening his mouth and kissing her back. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other, moving them up and down each other’s body.
Mike made a trail of kisses over to her ear, “do you want to move this to the bed?” he whispered.
Leah couldn’t say anything, she just nodded and let him lift her over.

“What are you going to do when he leaves Leah?” Clayton asked down the phone. It was the next day, as she decided to phone him. What was she going to do? She hadn’t given it too much she thought, she just assumed it would all work out. “He’s not gonna be around forever!” he added.
“I don’t really know, I guess Ill check into a hotel or something, find a new job I guess.”
“Well, you could stay with me for a while, ya know, just till you get back on your feet.”
“I dunno, C, I wouldn’t feel right imposing on you like that!”
“Get real girl, you wouldn’t be imposing! We were best friends for like, how long? You weren’t imposing then, you wouldn’t be now!”
“Well, ok, I suppose, but not for long, and I WILL be helping around the house!”
“If you insist!”
The carried on chatting about random stuff, what each of them were getting up to in our lives, jobs, and the likes and before wither knew it, two hours had passed, and Mike was coming back from the last concert. We said our goodbyes and she put the phone on its cradle.
“How was the concert?” Leah asked him as he walked in.
“It was great, pity it’s the last night though, there’s such an atmosphere here ya know?” Leah could sense he was on one of the after-show highs, lots of dramatic gestures, and talking a-mile-a-minute!
“Last show then?” Leah looked up at Mike’s smiling face sadly.
“Aww, Leah, don’t be sad, please?” he sat down beside her. “It’s not like we’ll never see or speak to each other again.”
“Yeah, I know, I’ll just miss you, that’s all.”
“I’ll miss you too, but we’ll keep in contact!”
They sat in silence for a few minutes, side by side, hugging each other.

“Jesus, look at us, you’d think you were leaving right now!” Leah smiled weakly. She wiped away the tears that were forming in the corner of her eyes as she looked up at Mike.
“Nope, not for HOURS yet,” Mike gestured wildly. The way he was getting on, Leah thought was so adorable, he was like a hyper kid.
“What ya looking at me like that for?” Leah blinked and realised she had wandered off into her own daydream while staring at him.
“I was, just, thinking, that’s all.”
She twisted her head to look at Mike when he never questioned this, to see he was dozing off.
As she padded quietly across the room, she felt a strong arm catch her round the waist. She took a sharp intake on breath as she got a flashback from her last night with Nathan.
“Going somewhere without me?” Leah let out a sigh of relief as she recognised Mike’s voice.
“Nah, I was just going to bed,” Leah said, as she climbed under the warm covers.
She felt secure as Mike slid his arm round her waist and pulled her closer. She realised this might be the last time for a long time she would feel like this, with Mike. She savoured the feeling because she knew it would be a while, if ever, that it would be like this again.

Leah awoke late the next morning to find the bed empty beside her. She looked around the room frantically, worried that he had left without her.

She heard singing coming from the shower.

**The sun goes down/I feel the light betray me..**

She knew the guy could rap, but man, could he sing too!
He walked out of the bathroom humming to himself, and noticed Leah was awake.
“Good morning,” he swooped down to give her a kiss as she stretched in bed.
“When does your flight leave?” Leah asked him as she stood up.
“Wow, talk about a random question, well, umm, I have to be in the airport in about two hours or so.” He replied, a look of sadness, and almost guilt, appearing in his eyes.
“Not really random, I was thinking about it a lot before I fell asleep last night.”
“Have you got anything planned? You know, for tonight, or whatever?”
“Yeah, Clayton, remember him? He said I could stay with him for a bit.”
“That’s good,” he mumbled, as if he was lost in thought. “I’m gonna miss you, you know that, right?” he suddenly jolted back to reality.
“Of course I know that, and you say I’m random!” she replied light-heartedly.

The next two ours went by fast. Too fast for either of their liking, in a whiz of last minute packing, hugging, and a few privately shed tears for the both of them.

“This is it I guess,” Leah raised her voice over the general noise in the airport departure lounge, she looked down towards her feet, not wanting to look at Mike, in a fear of what she might do, or say, to make it harder for the both of them.
“Yeah, I guess,” Mike tilted her chin upwards so she was looking directly into his eyes. “Did I ever tell you how much I like you?”
“Nope, I don’t think you did!”
“Well, I guess I should now, I really like you Leah, more than anyone, I know better ways to describe it, but I’m afraid if I say it, it’s gonna be even harder to say goodbye.”
Leah nodded sadly as a stray tear slipped down her cheek.
“I’ll miss you,” he finished, giving her a final kiss on the lips.
“I’ll miss you too Mike,” her voice quivered.
“Take this,” he rummaged around in his pockets and produced a small brown envelope. She looked at it to see an address written on it, and felt something small and solid inside.
“It’s a key to my apartment in California, if things don’t work out here, don’t be afraid to use it, and my cell phone number is there aswell, coz I don’t wanna lose contact.”
“I won’t lose it,” Leah promised him, as his flight was called.
“I gotta go now,”
“I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me Mike,”
He said nothing, but squeezed her hand as he walked away, down the boarding tunnel. He looked back over his shoulder to see Leah standing there, and gave her a small wave.

“You OK Leah?” Clayton asked her. He had come along for moral support.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” she replied as they walked away, she never looked back, not trusting what she would do if she saw him walking away onto the plane now, “I just-nothing-I’ll be fine.”
She linked arms with him as they left the airport.
She did turn round, eventually, as they were waiting for a cab. She could see their plane taking off, was he missing her as much as she was missing him already? Was he looking out the window for her now? She would never know.

Part 1

TOP   |   Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).