Summary: It’s about a girl who’s afraid to fall in love because of her past, until a guy comes to her work place.
They said he is handsome.
Handsome? I do not know from which angle. For me, Liam, is just a mid-standard brown headed guy with a flirty smile. I hate flirty smile.
Hanna accepts Liam here because that poor thing cannot pass a subject without doing a public service. At first, I do not agree to let a boy in here. But Hanna said the Castle—where twelve super cool troubled girls live—is a perfect place for him. He said he likes helping girls. Well, if it’s about helping the girls, I always agree
I remember two weeks ago, he arrived here carrying dozens of red rose. He gives one for everybody. Me? I left it rot in.. I forgot where.
“Lisa, are you going to chop your fingers?”
I startled, that knife is only a centimeter from my fingers. I inhale then pick all the chopped carrots. “Sorry, Janice, I can’t help this daydreaming habit.”
Janice stands across me, smiling. Zee is in her arms, biting a rubber cupcake while watching her mother whisking eggs.
“Hey, what’s with that smile?” I ask.
“I don’t know.” She smiles wider. “Since that flirter arrives, you daydream a lot.”
“Just concentrate on your eggs, please.”
I put the carrots in a bowl then turn around to steam it, but I hit a chest, a broad and warm chest. I look up and freeze for a moment. His blue eyes are trapping me and that flirty smile, I hate it, but my eyes stay.
“Are you going to stand there forever?”
“Yes, if you want me to.”
Janice chuckles. I just roll my eyes then walk, but he blocks me. He picks a carrot. “You know, carrots are better eaten raw.”
“You know, I don’t care.”
Janice clears her throat then flees out from the kitchen, still smiling. I suddenly feel uncomfortable; plus Liam is watching my every move. When I look back, he turns his head.
Then my eyes spot a picnic basket he carries. “Karen made you lunch?”
“No, it’s from Sara.”
“That blond girl with Prada bag?”
“No, that’s Helen.”
Ugh, I want to puke. Bunch of girls come to give him food, it’s like we don’t feed him here.
“No need to be jealous.” He puts the basket. “I prefer your anger-covered carrots.”
I inhale. “Gosh, I wish you don’t exist.”
“Whoa, why you hate me that much?” He grins. “You like me, right? But you deny it.”
I’m mute for a moment. I turn off the stove and stares at the carrots. “Kind of.” Then I leave the kitchen, letting his eyes following me.
In the leaving room, I hear they’re singing I Have A Dream – ABBA, so harmonic and beautiful.
Eight girls stand in two lines. Liam is conducting while holding a music sheet. As usual, his smile is on. He sings in some parts and my ears enjoy that Baritone voice.
I hate guys who sing well.
Katie comes with a long blue satin cloth covering her back. “Lisa! You’re supposed to help me with the sewing, not gazing at that sexy conductor.”
I turn my head in light speed. “What the.. I was staring at the girls, they’ve never been this happy in singing class.”
Hanna stands beside me. She looks fresh, she ponytailed her grayish hair and wear a floral shirt. She wave at the girls, they wave back and Liam suddenly turns his head.
I cannot believe he dares to smile at me.
“I think someone wants you to join,” Hanna whispers.
“Tell him to keep dreaming.” I turn away, walking between pastel blue walls. “Oh, and Hanna, I’ll accompany the girls to the fair tonight.”
“Sure, Liam will go with you.”
After minutes of arguing, the girls agree to ride the roller coaster.
I watch them screaming with happiness. Even Bailey, that little blond girl, doesn’t afraid of height anymore.
“As an eleven years old girl, Bailey is very brave,” says Liam. “You taught her?”
I pretend he doesn’t exist.
“Oh come on, you admit that you like me. Just stop the ignoring.”
“Ewh! I never admit such thing. Kind of doesn’t mean yes, Idiot.”
He grins. “You’re blushing.”
I punch his arm a bit then go for exploring. The fair’s lights are glowing under Manhattan dark sky, it is lovely. I wander to see the Ferris wheel and smile when there’s a family riding it. I almost forgot the last time I have a real family.
Then I turn back to sit on the fair’s fence. I watch the city lights blinking from distance.
“Katie made me a beautiful pillow case. You taught her well.”
Migraine hits me. “Ugh, why are you everywhere?”
“You should get used to it.” He sits next to me and lays his eyes on mine. “I know you love the girls, let’s talk about them." He thinks a moment. "Did Katie fall a lot? I saw scars on her legs.”
“All I can say is his step dad often played with a broom stick.”
“That’s horrible,” he says. “Why Bailey afraid of height?”
“It’s not fear, but trauma.” Chill runs on my skin, recalling the girls’ past is terrifying. “She used to hide on a high tree, because a drunken man can’t climb a tree. An evil pedophile drunken man.”
Liam’s eyes filled with horror. “What about Janice? She ran away from home?”
It is uncomfortable. But I remember Hanna said Liam is now a part of our Castle, he is our guard. “She kicked out from house after admitting her pregnancy. I found her crying on a bus shelter. She was sixteen years old and three months pregnant.”
Liam curls his forehead. “How can her family did that?!”
I am pensive for a moment. I like his face without that flirty smile. “Sometimes, the one you think won’t hurt you, hurt you the most.”
He looks down, watching the grass beneath his shoes for a moment. “What about you?” he asks in low voice. “I mean, you look perfect.”
I smile. "Hanna said I hide my past perfectly.”
“Whoa, are you really smiling at me?”
I am going to yell at him, but my phone shakes in my pocket. It’s Janice. When I pick up, I hear she screams.
“Help me!” She sounds panic and I hear fast footsteps. “Someone.. he’s trying to..”
I jump from the fence, perhaps my heart also jumps. “Janice, what’s going on?! Where are you?!”
“Somewhere.. I don’t know, it’s a small alley.”
“Do you see a sign board or anything near you?”
The footsteps stop. “I don’t know, just walls and.. I think I see a Victoria Secret billboard─” she screams and the call is terminated.
I freeze. My head is full of negative thoughts because Janice said he. For me, that word is related to badness.
Suddenly, my head is spinning. I almost fall but Liam holds my shoulders. “Calm down, Lisa.” He squeezes my arms. “What’s she said?”
“She needs help. I think it has to do with Zee’s father.” I start to run. “I’ll go find her!”
Liam holds my hand. “I’ll go with you.” He picks the Van keys from his pocket. “Please stop hating me until we’ve helped Janice.”
I cannot believe Liam knows that Victoria Secret billboard.
I do not know exactly where it is, but I can see Central Park’s trees from here. Liam stops the car in front of a closed cafe. There are cafes along this silent street, between them lies an alley. I think Janice is somewhere in there.
Liam opens my door. “Have you called the police?”
“No.” I gape. “You should’ve asked earlier!”
He rolls his eyes. “Fine, just stay near me.”
I follow Liam from alley to alley. These walls are strangling me and the smell of rusted iron makes it worse. We only got lights from the top of these buildings, I barely see things.
“Wait!” I see a brown coat on the ground, beside it there’s a phone and a shoe. “These are Janice’s. Oh no, I feel so bad about this.”
Someone screams. Liam runs like a jaguar, but I can catch up. We jump over a low fence then turn left. I suddenly bump his back.
“Lisa, don’t move,” he whispers.
I see Janice sits under iron stairs; she hugs her thin body. A young man with pierced eyebrow stands next to her. He holds a knife and runs its edge on Janice’s arm.
“I still want you here. We can recall our past when you were so wild on bed,” he says. “But idiots come to rescue you. Don’t worry, we’ll meet again.” He waves at us with his knife then leave.
I run to Janice and hug her, she cries on my shoulder. Liam opens his jacket then put it on her back.
“It’s okay, I’m here,” I say.
“Who was that?” asks Liam.
“Zee’s father, I forbid him to see Zee, that’s why he’s angry.”
“I can send him to police.”
“No, he’ll be more dangerous after jailed.”
I help Janice to stand. “Don’t go alone next time, you got Liam.”
Liam put a hand on his chest then bows. “Yes, my duty is to keep the princesses safe.”
Tomorrow is NYU spring break class. I am forced to leave the Castle.
Liam wanted to drive me but I refuse. He better take care of Janice and all the girls.
It is 11 PM and I’m still walking on Lockwood Street, two blocks from my flat. The street is so quiet, I only hear my footsteps.
Suddenly, I hear other footsteps, fast and close behind me. I turn back, but there’s no one. My heart is pounding. I walk faster and seconds later I hear that sound again. When I turn back, I see someone tall stands under the street light. My hands are shaking. I walk again, when I turn back, that figure is gone.
I quickly lock my door. The smell of apple air freshener calms my nerve. But I see my window’s curtain is open, wait, I never left it open. When I check the window, the lock is broken.
Then I hear knocks on my fence. I cannot breathe when I see someone stands behind it. He is big, wearing all black and I recognize stitch marks on his face. He stares coldly and wave at me.
“Ben,” I whisper in horror.
The only plan I have is run to my bedroom. When I arrive, I scream. I see red paint splash on my walls, it says Daddy is back, Melisa Hart. Before I even blink, I see a tall silhouette walks outside my window.
My phone shakes. I am never this happy to get a call from Liam.
“Before you ignore me, I just want to make sure─”
“I’m not okay,” I whisper. “Someone is stalking me. He broke into my flat.”
“Have you called the police?” His voice is tense. “Pick something sharp for your protection.”
Before I answer, my phone is shutting down. Low battery. I hate myself because I left my bag in the leaving room, my charger is in it.
A second later I hear a gunshot, followed by breaking glass. It must be my front window. I do not know what to do about it, so I just pick my scissors then sit beside my bed, crying.
I sit for twenty minutes. No more sign of Ben, until I hear something bangs my kitchen door. My tears flow as I hear the footsteps approaching. He opens every door along his way and now he’s at my door.
Slowly, he opens it. “Lisa?”
My body and soul so pleased to hear that Baritone voice. As he helps me to stand, I see those blue eyes filled with relief. He throws my scissors away and pulls me into his arms.
I cannot believe I cry like a baby in Liam’s arms. But then I hug him tighter and I can feel his heart beating on my cheek.
“You need a boyfriend to protect you.”
I chuckle. “Nope, romance makes me dizzy.”
“By the way, who was that? I think he has a gun.”
“My father. Hanna sent him to jail few years ago, now he’s back.” I cry again. “Yeah, he always brings a gun.”
Liam caresses my head, again and again until I stop crying. Then he takes a step back to erase my tears with his warm fingers.
“Don’t worry, I’m here,” he says. “Come, I’ll drive you to the Castle.”
“I can’t, I have a class tomorrow.”
“Lisa, your life worth more than your grade.”
I frown. “I got a C for Prose Studies. I have to attend all its class to cover up,” I say. “You don’t go to spring break class?”
“No, I never get a C.” He thinks a moment. “What about you stay at your friend’s flat?”
“I have no friends here. It’s okay, Ben is gone.”
Liam holds my hand. He looks at me in a way that I think I’ll never get from a guy—he worries. “Let me stay with you. You can pretend I don’t exist.”
I smile. “Sure, you can sleep on the carpet.”
He gives me that flirty smile. “Okay, but I sleep naked.”
I have count two hundred sheep, but my eyes won’t close.
Liam lies on the carpet next to my bed—thank God he is not serious about sleeping naked. He watches me rolling on the bed for almost two hours.
“You seem struggling to sleep,” he says in a sexy sleepy voice.
“I just can’t stop thinking of my past.”
“Share it with me, maybe it will ease your worries.”
That’s not a bad idea. I get up to sit. “Sit behind me,” I say. He’s confused but he does it anyway.
I unbutton my pajama and lower the backside until a bit of my back is exposed.
Liam falls silent for a moment. I chill when he touches my scars one by one. “He did these to you?”
“My mom died when I was a baby, so my dad raises me by himself.” I inhale. “I was a talkative little girl, I also sing a lot. I once woke him up, he was furious and he beat my back with a broom stick. Then someday, he brought a woman home. I only asked who was she, but he whip me with a belt. As I grow up, I spend a lot of time outside, I go to public library and Central Park. He beat me a lot for that, especially when I come home without beer for him.” Liam holds my shoulders, I feel stronger. “Everything changes when Hanna found me crying outside my house. I was eleven years old back then. She drove me to clinic, because scars were all over my back. Then she put my dad into jail and brought me to the Castle.”
“Hanna is indeed an angel,” says Liam.
I shook my head then button my pajama. “Well, now you know I’m not perfect.”
“You still are.” He kisses my forehead gently.
I close my eyes then turn away. “No, Liam, I can’t,” I say. “I see my dad in every man, even you. I’m too afraid.”
He looks at me. “You should know that not every man will hurt you. One will come to heal you.”
“I’ll learn to believe that.” I inhale, “But for now, I want to sleep.”
“Copy that, Princess.” He lays me down and covers me with blanket. “Don’t dream of me naked.”
The girls hug me when I enter the Castle. It is a good treat after having a crazy day with prose.
“We worry so much about you.” Hanna scans my body with her eyes. “Are you hurt?”
“No, our guard keeps me safe.”
“So you both are friends now?” Janice smiles, all the girls smile too.
I chuckle. “I’ll cook for dinner.”
I cannot stop smiling while chopping the cabbage. My mind stuck on last night. Actually, it is not that bad to be close with someone.
Then I turn around to the refrigerator, but I see the window is open. I quickly close it.
“Afraid of fresh air, Melisa?”
I am shocked and my legs suddenly loosen. I cannot believe to see him here. He looks a lot worse than last time I see him. He has more scars and darken eye circles.
He stands across the table holding my knife. When I take a step, he stabs the knife to the table then pulls something from his pocket. A gun.
He points it to the kitchen door when I open my mouth. “If you scream, I’ll shoot anyone who comes here.”
“What do you want?”
“Come home with daddy.” He jumps over the table and come closer. He touches my cheek with the gun’s edge. “I’ve been away for ten years. Don’t you miss me?”
I take a deep breath. “Go away, Bastard!” I kick his balls and run.
He catches my feet until I hit the floor. I scream as he pulls me. Then he sits on my stomach, pointing that gun to my head.
“Where’s you manner?!” He slaps me with the gun.
“Liam!” I scream and cry.
“Who’s Liam? I’ll greet him with a bullet.”
I hear someone is running, but he stops when he sees Ben. Loud noise frightens me as Ben shoots to the kitchen door.
I take my chance to push Ben then kick his face. I get up, but Ben pulls me and put his arm around my neck.
Ben shoots Liam, but he dodges quickly. Then Ben points the gun at my head. “If you move, I’ll shoot your girlfriend,” Ben said. “Let us leave!”
Liam takes a step and that gun is pressed to my skin. “I’m serious.”
“You’ll be okay, Lisa,” says Liam. “I’ll find you.”
Ben forces me to walk. We go out from the kitchen through the back door.
I smell gasoline near the door. I cry when Ben turns on a match then throws it on the floor. Fire grows fiercely around the Castle and I hear the girls scream inside.
“Why you did that?” I cry louder. Ben slaps me with the gun then pushes me into a car.
The road is empty and I see warehouses along the street.
Ben drives so fast until I get dizzy. Suddenly, something bumps the car from the back. I see Liam’s car behind us, its machine roars.
That blue Porsche is now beside this car, it bumps again. Ben shoots the window, but Liam turns his head down. His car bumps us again, this time Ben loses control and the car hits a power pole.
I protect my head with my arms, while Ben’s head hits the front glass.
I almost faint, but someone opens my door and pulls me out. “Run!” That Baritone voice said.
Two bullets hit Liam’s car. “Stop or I’ll shoot her!”
Liam puts me behind his back and holds my hands. “You must go through me!”
Don’t be stupid!” I cry. “Liam, just let us go.”
“I hope you learn that not every man will hurt you.”
Ben laughs, “What a disgusting romance! I’ll shoot both of you!”
My heart is pounding. I just can hold Liam tighter and wish for a miracle.
I see a pan flies from somewhere and hits Ben’s hand. He screams as the gun falls to the ground. A girl with roller skates runs to smack Ben’s head with a pan and take the gun. She throws it to Liam and he catches it like a pro.
“Nice throw, Janice!” says Liam.
Then bunch of girls attack Ben with pans and broom sticks, they hit him with no mercy. When Ben tries to get up, a little blond girl sits on his chest and pulls his beard until he screams.
“How can the girls..” I’m too startled to finish my question.
Hanna throws her broom and walks to me. “I guess we can’t cook dinner, we’re running out of pans,” she says. “I’m glad you’re okay. I’ll make sure that bastard rots in jail.”
I hear police cars approaching. For the second time, I see polices surround Ben.
I hug Hanna. “How is the Castle?”
“The fire fighters are taking care of it.”
The girls throw their weapon to join our hug. They talks about how cool was that to attack a bad guy. I cry and smile at the same time, I am so grateful to have them.
“Thank you for coming to rescue me.”
“That’s our duty! We girls take care of each other,” they say in one voice.
Hanna caresses my face. “You should go with Liam. I’ll take the girls to my sister’s house.”
Liam looks nervous. “Yeah, you can stay at my flat. It’s not far from NYU.”
I wave at the girls then walk with Liam to his car. He puts his jacket on back and holds me so close. I never feel this comfortable to be touched by boy.
“Ben said you’re my girlfriend,” Liam says. “What do you think?”
“Ewh! That’s the stupidest idea ever.” I laugh to see him gape then I kiss his cheek. “Just kidding.”
He opens the door for me. “You never stop to surprise me. I like that.”
We ride down the road.
I know things will be different from now. The castle burned down, we have no home. The wicked monster is beaten down. He may come back someday, but I am not afraid.
I have my guard.
Thank you to Adinda my sister, Opi Audila class D and Rahmadewi class D for listening to the audiobook.
-Gimme Shelter Trailer
-The Bodyguard 1992 movie
Word Count: (3.681)
Link for work dramatization: https://soundcloud.com/amanda-gita-1/the-guard-audiobook-for-creative-writing