But love isn’t like that. Eli doesn’t love me and never has.
I wouldn’t reply even if I did have any credit on my phone. I wouldn’t go looking for him if he was on fire and I had the only bucket of water.
I hammer the last of the nails into the plank I’m holding and then I stop. The countryside that felt so open and free feels too open now. I feel too exposed here. Far too exposed.
I gather up my things and head back to the house, thanking my lucky stars that I’ve only got a few hours left before Jack and Michael get home.
Maybe tonight I’ll finally reach out and talk. Maybe tonight I’ll tell them everything.
I just have to trust they’ll still look at me the same way if I do.For the first time since I’ve been staying here, I bolt the back door behind me. I never lock it, not even when I’m in the fields, but today’s not like the other days.
I dump my new boots on the mat and tell myself that TV might not be so bad for one afternoon, just until Jack and Mike get home.
I’m just grabbing myself a coffee when I feel the shiver in the air. It’s not cold. It’s different to that.
A sixth sense. A shudder in my mind.
And then I know. I sense him before I smell him, and smell him before I see him, a waft of weed hitting my nose from the dining room doorway.
He props himself in the frame like he owns the place, hood up high so his eyes look even darker than usual.
“Made me fucking come for it, didn’t you?”
I play it cool, just like always. “Had no fucking credit on my phone, nor bus fare either.”
He looks about the room and I hate how he ogles everything. “Landed on your feet here. Fucking some posh guy so I hear. Whole shitty town is talking about it, a silly old bitch directed me right to your door.”
“I’m working here,” I tell him. “I’m fixing fences.”
“Fixing fences and sucking dick,” he sneers. “Have you missed mine? I bet you fucking have, you filthy little bitch.”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” I snap.
“Shame,” he says and takes a step forward, “since you owe me pretty big, I’ve been charging interest.”
“I’m not paying you interest,” I say calmly. “I’ll give you your fiver and the money for the food when I have it, but I don’t have it, so you’ll have to fucking wait, Eli. You’ve wasted your fucking time.”
“Oh yeah?” he asks and I fold my arms.
I flinch as he clears the kitchen island with one sweep of his arm. The fruit bowl tumbles and smashes on the tiles, the bottle of olive oil crashing into a stool and dribbling its contents everywhere. “Whoops,” he says and laughs as I can’t hide the horror.
“Don’t!” I hiss. “Don’t you fucking dare!”
“Just a job, is it? Doesn’t look like just a fucking job to me.”
He takes the clock down from the wall and smashes it under his foot. Swings a stool against the wall until the plaster chips and the legs buckle.
I clench my fists and then I go for him, screaming blue murder as I launch myself onto his back. I rip down his hood and claw at his scalp, my legs gripping him tight as he tries to shake me off.
When he throws us both to the floor I lose my advantage. He’s so much bigger than me, pinning me down as I wriggle. His grip is tight on my wrists, his fingers digging in so tight I know he’ll leave bruises, but I struggle all the same.
“I came for my fucking money,” he snarls, “but you can pay with your dirty cunt if you like.”
“I don’t fucking like,” I hiss. “You can fuck off me.”
“You fucking want it,” he says, but I don’t.
I don’t even think I ever did.
I used to think Eli was just a boy, but the body bearing down on me is anything but.
He holds my wrists in one hand and tugs down his waistband with the other, and it’s so tempting to close my eyes and pretend I want this.
Pretend I’m the dirty girl he always said I was.
But I can’t.
I’m Michael and Jack’s girl now, and only theirs.
I only want to be theirs.
I get one chance to strike and I strike hard, shunting my knee up full force into his crotch.
It works. He rolls to the side with his hand over his dick, cursing at me as he flaps around like a fucking fish.
“I’m your brother,” he wheezes. “Your fucking brother, Carrie. I’m the only one who fucking loves you. The only one who fucking cares.” He rasps another breath. “You think this guy here loves you? You think he fucking wants you like I do?”