“Hey, I gotta be home at eight.”
“Yeah, I know it. I’ll get you home.”
They drove on, Jake at the wheel and Chelsea next to him, strapped in.
“My mom said, Jake.”
“I know it. It’s not much farther now. We just take that right and stop over at that white house and then I’ll take you home. Don’t want your mom yelling at you, you know.”
“Yeah. Is it really a ’61, though? If it’s not a ’61 you gotta take me home.”
“Well, maybe I need your help to tell me. It’s definitely a 300-G, though.”
They pulled into the house and got out. Jake opened a side door to the garage and led her in. There was no car, and garbage bags lined the floor. There was another boy in the garage, a little older than Jake, wearing a leather jacket. His head was shaved. He looked bored. She turned to look at Jake.
He hit her, pushed her down to the ground. He locked the door. She scrambled up and he hit her back down again and pulled the knife.
“Jake? Jake, please don’t. I gotta –”
“What did I do? What did I do, I don’t –”
He cut at her, peeled away the skin of her thumb. She screamed.
She clawed at him, sobbing.
“No, now shut – Chelsea, shut the fuck up. Shut the fuck up!”
“Please stop. Please, Jake, please stop –”
He kissed her on the lips, forced his tongue into her mouth, grabbed her wrist, held her down. Behind him, her cell phone buzzed.
“I saw you today. I saw all three of you talking about me, Chelsea. I saw you and those two laughing, okay? I saw it. You’re gonna stop, alright? I’m gonna make you stop, now. You can’t go talking about me that way.”
He hit her again.
“Jake, I don’t – listen to me, I don’t know. I don’t know. Please don’t.”
“I saw you. I fucking saw you do it! You’re not gonna laugh at me again, okay?”
“Yes! I promise! Jake, please, I won’t! I didn’t, Jake! I didn’t laugh at you.”
Jake sat down across from her and held her tight against him.
“You love me, right? Chelsea? You love me, right?”
“Yes! Jake, yes! Please.”
“Alright. Alright. Listen, I gotta do this. I know you’re sorry, but I have to.”
“Jake, no. Please don’t. I love you. I love you, please.”
He took her hand, cupped it in his.
“I know it. I love you too. It’ll be alright. I love you too. Just close your eyes. I’ve got you. I’ll get you home after I’m done.”
“I’m so tired.”
He walked over to the bench in the back of the garage, left her quivering there, and turned the radio up. Her phone buzzed again. She glanced at it. It was from Izzy. I’m at the wall. We need to talk, come on.
Then he undid his belt and knelt down beside her again.
When he was finished, he brought her home, just like he promised. She went to bed without talking much to anybody except to tell her mom that she wasn’t feeling well and that she would be skipping dinner. She heard Matt and Charles come home maybe fifteen minutes later. She slept that night shaking, with a pillow to her stomach.