Authors: J.M. Witt
By: J.M. Witt
Copyright © 2014 J.M. Witt
All Rights Reserved 2014
Hiding Away (Anchored Hearts Vol. 1.5)
© 2014 J.M. Witt
All rights reserved.
This book may not be reproduced in any form; in whole or in part, without written permission by the author.
All characters and events in this book are fictional. Any similarities to real life people and
events are purely coincidental.
First Printing, 2014
Cover Artist: Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design
Photographer: Shelton Cole
Models: Paul Blake & Tara
Model: Jennie Dare
Publisher: J.M. Witt Books
Rick: Your continued support never ceases to amaze me.
D, A, E, T
: I hope you learn that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
: We did it, again! I love taking this journey with you. Your support means more than you could ever know. I wouldn’t be here without you.
To my friends:
I love getting messages from you and how you loved the book and can’t wait for more. I know your husbands are happy too!
Jennie, Paul & Tara: Thank you for letting me
utilize your beautiful faces, bodies and hands. You helped bring my characters to life and for that, I’m forever grateful.
Shelton & Traci: Thank you for taking the time on the photo shoots. The work you both do is astounding. I look forward to working with you both in the future.
Kellie: Thank you so much for taking this on. You’re the best.
Estella: Thank you
for putting up with my wandering brain, procrastination, bitchiness, and most importantly my dirty sense of humor!
Betas: Jasmine, Melanie, Loca, Tami, Elaine, Ava, Estella, DJ, Tyf, & Skye. You have all given me the confidence to press on. Your love and admiration is only rivaled by my own love and admiration for YOU!
ST: You bitches rock. I couldn’t do it without all of you and your unending support. Love you girls!
ladies: Where do I even begin? I’m going to keep this short. We’ve shared everything, except maybe cup size. B, if you were wondering! You’re the first I turn to in moments of joy, stress, frustration, and sadness. Thank you for listening and being there for me. It’s going to be one HOT summer!
Snyder: I truly wished we lived close
r. I’m so looking forward to our adventure together. The fans won’t know what bit them. September is too long to wait to see you again. I love you bunches and, ummm... Yup, that is all!
Table of Contents
~ JANE ~
Looking in the mirror, I could see the bruise beginning to form. It would be black within the next day or so. I went to the kitchen and grabbed a bag of ice to try to reduce the swelling. I decided then and there that I was done. No more beatings at his hand. I started organizing my thoughts on how and when I’d make my escape.
A week later I was frantically packing my bags. My eye had blown up horribly and was still bruised. I’d stayed inside most of the week, until I was able to open it again. I had to hurry before he called the house to check on me. The Greyhound bus was scheduled to leave in forty-five minutes. He wouldn’t expect me to take a bus and leave my BMW behind. My plan was brilliant; at least I thought it was.
Everything of importance to me was packed in the three bags I carried. Mom had wired me money, which I carried in a pouch around my neck. I left my cell phone, having already purchased a ‘pay as you go’ phone, with cash, so he couldn’t track me. Though, after some time I’m sure he’d figure out that I moved back home, across the country. I hoped and prayed he’d just let me go.
I pulled into the parking lot around the block from the bus station. Gathering my bags, after I removed all the papers linking the car to me, then I threw the keys on the seat and left it unlocked. Given the shady neighborhood the car would be gone soon. Becky, a coworker from the hospital, was the only one who suspected what was going on with Derek. I’d put in my two weeks’ notice at work a month ago, at Derek’s insistence. Though, I didn’t tell Becky that I was fleeing. The less she knew the safer she would be.
The attendant working the desk took in my appearance and she gave me a heartfelt smile. My attire wasn’t appropriate for a summer day in sunny San Francisco and she seemed to understand why I was wearing jeans, a hoodie pulled over my head, and big black designer sunglasses, trying to mask the black eye Derek gifted me with. I made my way onto the bus finding an empty seat in the back. Once the bus pulled away and we were twenty minutes down the road, I put my ear buds in and let out a relieved breath trying to forget.
“Jane, you’re done with work. I make more than enough to support us and you’re place is here, at home.”
I was shocked at the words coming from his mouth. This wasn’t the Derek I moved across the country with. How could he have fooled me? What warning did I miss? “Derek, I love my job, please.”
He towered over me and I tried to shield myself from his angry words and his beating fists. He was convinced I was cheating on him, which was absurd. I’d already lost the baby, which he was also convinced wasn’t his, thanks to another encounter with him. After his true colors emerged I told myself I was better off without him, or anyone.
I shook the memory away as a rogue tear slid down my cheek. I was done crying for him, what he made me believe, and what I found out. He was an abusive monster who turned me into someone I didn’t recognize. Never in my life did I understand why women would stay with abusive pricks. I understood now. But I was determined to get myself back. I refused to become another statistic.
I couldn’t just go home, not with the black eye I was donning. Stopping in Des Moines, I decided to get a hotel for a couple days, until I was presentable to face Mom and Dad. They only knew I had ended things with Derek and was headed home, nothing about the abuse. Mom had wired me money with no questions asked. Derek had confiscated all of my credit cards and tracked
bank account like a hawk. He would’ve been alerted had I withdrawn money. I would have to take care of the account when I got home. At least my trust was safe from him. I had been thinking about escaping for a few weeks, just waiting for the right time, but our confrontation last week was what sealed the deal for me. It was now or never.
Walking up to the desk at the Marriot in downtown Des Moines, I asked for a room. I paid cash for two nights and requested to be near the lobby, figuring being in close proximity to the hotel staff was my safest bet. Checking out my room, after bolting my door shut, I dropped my bags on the first bed and threw myself back on the second bed. I took in a deep breath as emotions flooded me. My throat balled up and my chest tightened. I refused to cry, not now. Jumping off the bed I discarded my
clothing and decided to take a shower, since it’d been almost three days since my last one. Not to mention how sore my body was from the lack of movement.
Once I was clean and had dressed, I grabbed my purse and headed down to the hotel restaurant. I was in desperate need for real food, instead of the gas station snacks I’d been living on for the past two days. Requesting a table in back, with my sunglasses on, the hostess didn’t bother trying to make eye contact. I sat myself so that I could see the patrons coming and going from the restaurant.
I ordered water and a big juicy burger. No one seemed to notice me in my dark corner of the restaurant and I was thankful. I had one ear bud in listening to Pandora but trying to stay alert to my surroundings. I attempted to login to my email on my new phone but the fucker had already changed the passwords. If he was looking for information in my email he wouldn’t find it. I would have to figure out the email issue when I got home.
I hadn’t been there in over a year. Derek and I had moved to San Francisco after Christmas of 2011.
What a fool I was.
Thirty years old and what did I have to show for it? A degree I was no longer utilizing, thanks to him, the lost hope of a baby, and an abusive ex-boyfriend who probably would’ve killed me had I stayed.
A new release by The Civil Wars came through the solitary ear bud I was wearing. The haunting melody sent shivers down my spine and the words resonated with me. It was like a ballad reminding me of everything I’d lost and all that I was hoping to regain by leaving. Words were never more accurate; I wished he was
The One That Got Away
I had wasted the last three years of my life on that asshole.
What started as a friendship four years ago slowly, very slowly, turned
romantic. I had resisted his advances for months.
Why did I give in?
The only reason that came to mind was loneliness. Never would I have thought Derek, suit and tie financial advisor Derek, would be an abuser. He kept it hidden from me for so long. Part of me, the broken part, instinctually wondered what I had done to provoke him. The small, proud sliver of me, that was still intact, immediately chastised myself for such thoughts. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was no longer in denial. I was fucking angry! I needed to hit something and couldn’t wait to get back to the gym once I was home.
After paying my bill for dinner, and a few additional carry out items, I headed back to my room. I bolted the door before setting my food on the small kitchenette counter. Feeling like I had been hit by a bus, I yawned profusely before removing my shoes and jeans. I double checked the door and slid my luggage rack, covered with my large duffel bag, in front of it. I grabbed the TV remote and climbed into bed.
I was with Derek and it was our first official date. We were laughing as we walked down the beach hand in hand. Before I knew it, he was on top of me as we made love for the first time. His gaze became angry, then the yelling started, and the last thing I remembered was his fist flying at my face.
I bolted upright, breathing heavily, tears streaming down my face, and I was drenched in sweat. It was just a dream, a nightmare, both really. Looking at the clock I saw that it was past two in the morning and the room was stifling hot. Turning on the
bedside lamp, I walked to the air conditioner and turned it up. I sat back down and discovered the sheets were soaked, with my sweat, and most likely my tears. Getting up, I removed my soaked shirt, pulled on a dry one, and climbed into the other bed, glad to have a double occupancy room. The remainder of the night was free of nightmares, but my sleep was restless.
The bruise around my eye had made drastic improvement over night. Makeup alone should hide the remaining bruise. After applying makeup I went down to the restaurant and ordered a breakfast large enough for two and took it back to my room. I watched mindless morning TV while stuffing my face. Looking over the bus schedule I decided it would be safe for me to resume the journey home this evening with the progress my eye made. I would lose a night at the hotel, but it was worth it to get home sooner.
As the cab pulled up the long drive, a couple days later, I noted that nothing had changed. It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders as I stepped onto the gravel driveway of my childhood home. My mother came from very wealthy roots which rubbed off on my upbringing. I never wanted for anything and after Jason died, I became my parents’ sole focus. My parents struggled after we lost my brother, but managed to stay together. I couldn’t believe it had been almost fifteen years since his passing.
The cab driver dropped my bags on the front porch as I pulled out some money to pay him. He thanked me for the tip before driving away. I took out my keys, but the door swung open before I had a chance to use them.
Janey!” Mom hurled into my arms and it took all I had to not start sobbing.
“Mom, you’re hurting me,” I groaned against her neck.
She pushed me away, with her hands still on my shoulders, looking me up and down. My moving across the country was very hard on her and I understood why. She was ecstatic to hear I was moving back home, even if it was under heartbreaking circumstances. I had told her I found Derek in bed with some floozy and she didn’t question me.
“Are you hungry? Cook made your favorite and you need to put some meat on these bones of yours.” She released my shoulders and reached down for my bags. I snagged them before she had a chance to do so and we made our way inside.
“Famished. And anything Cook makes is my favorite.”
I took my bags up to my room and told mom I’d be down shortly for dinner. Stepping into my old bedroom was like going back in time. Mom hadn’t changed it since I moved out after my freshman year of college. I had stayed here for different periods of time over the last ten years, but it was never something I planned on being permanent. Now, I didn’t mind the thought. At least here, at home, I was safe.
Dinner was great and I ate way too much. I excused myself to bed, against mom’s wishes, explaining that I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep. I gave her express orders that if Derek called she was to tell him that she hadn’t heard from me, but to let me know he called. If she was suspicious she didn’t let on.