From the outside, it looks like I’ve got my life together. A place to live and a successful business sure can hide a lot, namely the scars that remain from everything I’ve lost.
Abuse comes in many forms, but who would believe me if I told them I was suffering at the hands of the woman I love? I know I need to get out, but I just don’t have the strength.
trying to avoid getting my feet stomped on by the masses of rock fans jumping
up and down to the pounding beats of the band playing inside the club. The bass
vibrated through me to the point where I could feel it rattling my insides. My heart
felt like it might explode from my chest at any second, and the intensity of
the strobe lights added to my need to get outside. My palms were sweating.
exit so far away?
beam of strobe lighting hit me right in the eyes. I stumbled, blinking rapidly
to try and clear my vision, but I still knocked into a couple of people. They
didn’t notice because everyone was knocking into each other in time to the
music. I was getting covered in other people’s perspiration, flinching with
every drop that hit me, and I straightened up as best as I could and continued
to fight my way to the door. With every step closer, my heart thudded harder
with the anticipation, and as I finally crashed through the door, I gulped in
air, spluttering as my lungs tried to keep up with my irregular breaths. I
stumbled a few more steps forward, the cold air and the light rain on my skin a
relief after the heat of the club. When I’d got my breathing settled, the rain
started to fall harder, and I fumbled through my bag and pulled out my
umbrella, popping it up and holding it over me to keep me dry. I slowly made my
way towards the bridge across the River Exe on the Quay in Exeter. My entire
body was still shaking as I took tentative steps, repeating over and over to
myself, ‘It’s okay. You’re okay.’
state, I could appreciate the beauty of where I stood. In the dark, all of the
bars and clubs were illuminated with bright lights, the colours shimmering on
the water that rippled with the increasing raindrops. I kept my focus on those
ripples as I drew in long breaths, letting them out slowly until my body began
to settle and the winter air bit at my bare arms.
around to see a guy sitting on the bridge’s railing, facing me. In my rush to
get my anxiety under control, I hadn’t seen him. There probably could have been
a knife-wielding maniac standing there and I still wouldn’t have spotted him. That’s anxiety for you. In one way, it
made me hyper aware of every potential danger, but at its height, I struggled
to see or notice anything around me until I felt safe again.
hadn’t run for cover from the downpour—he was getting soaked—I said, “Yeah. I’m
towards the club. “Did you just come from in there?”
me to try something new.”
from the railing and straightened up. There was concern in his blue eyes but he
still looked slightly wary. Not surprising, really. I’d shot out of a rock club
and shattered his peace. “Something new?”
said, “It doesn’t matter.”
Not at all. It did matter. It mattered because of the promises I’d made to
myself. My first real challenge and I’d already let myself down.
was cold and the rain was hammering now. November winds were unforgiving. I
wrapped my free arm around myself, rubbing my hand up and down. I should have
brought a jacket.
head, and I stepped closer to him, raising my umbrella and moving it over him
to give him some cover. I figured I’d probably taken up enough of his time
already, the least I could do was stop him catching a cold.
ridiculous to him. I was a grown woman having a panic attack, and he was… I had
no idea what he’d been doing out there. He must have been freezing too. He wore
blue jeans and a black t-shirt with Youth Authority’s logo on the front, his
clothes starting to cling to him from the rain. His accent was slightly
northern. Manchester, maybe?
with curiosity. “You were in there too?”
offer any further explanation. I was torn between asking questions and leaving
him alone, but he looked a little lost. There was something in his eyes that I
man of few words. After a few more beats of silence, I figured he just didn’t
want to talk to a stranger, so I sighed and readjusted my handbag strap on my
shoulder. As I turned to walk away, he said, “The support act was shit.”
“I thought so too. But I also thought I could handle this kind of gig, so I
don’t trust my own judgement anymore.” I heard him chuckle and I turned to face
him again, once again raising my umbrella for him. “What? Do I not look like I
belong in there?” I glanced down at my outfit and snorted out a laugh. I’d worn
black jeans and a black t-shirt with a purple gothic angel on the front. Not my
usual attire, but what the hell did I know about places like that? I may have
been wearing the right clothing—kind of—but I was sure everything about me
screamed that I wasn’t supposed to be there.
the guy said quickly. “You look fine.”
could see his cheeks flush and I bit my lip to stop myself laughing. The blush
didn’t entirely match his look; dark hair, beard, tall and broad-shouldered. He
didn’t look like a man who blushed. He wasn’t setting off my weirdo radar
though, so I said, “Why are you out here? Surely the support act wasn’t so bad
that you had to miss the main event too?”
in. But…” He shrugged.
eyed his exposed arms and he shivered.
good at reading people, but I couldn’t decide if he wanted to keep talking to
me or not. I felt as though I’d interrupted him in a moment of deep thought,
which, of course, I hadn’t meant to do. Now we were just two strangers standing
on a bridge.
inspiration for her. Her first book was released in 2013, and she has gone on
to release two successful series’ and a handful of novellas, all falling into
the category of Contemporary Romance.
Kyra is also a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been
since she first learned to read. When she’s not reading, you’ll usually find
her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or
enjoying nights out at comedy shows and live music venues.
Lennon is a proud supporter of several charities. She
currently volunteers for her local cat shelter as a fundraiser and social media
guru. Kyra has also had stories published in charity anthologies to raise money
for Cats Protection, the British Heart Foundation, the Innocence Project, and