Karen Blake is an aspiring author, and has always loved writing, drawing, and reading. She attends Full Sail University for Creative Writing in Entertainment.
By the time I reach a dark, quiet back road, I was already feeling lightheaded from the open wound on my cheek. Stopping on the side of the road, I took a shaky breath as my hands tremble uncontrollably. I was soon ripped out of my reverie by intensely bright lights. “This is it…” I whisper to no one in particular, as the lights came closer and I am able to see the bright red pickup truck, and I start to wave my hand wildly, hopefully indicating that I need the driver to stop. The truck rolled to a stop and I was shocked to see a strikingly beautiful girl, who looked just as shocked to see me, as well. I couldn’t blame her either; I was apparently gorgeous to people or I wouldn’t have been working in the business that I was forced into and couldn’t escape from without a struggle.
“You look like you need to get away from here, darlin’…” The girl said in a warm, southern drawl. Her voice sounded like honey to me, and I wanted to just break down and cry right there in the road. Quickly, I found my voice and let her know I did. Once I was settled down in the truck, the girl looked at me, her eyes questioning. I gulped in anticipation, would she kick me out for looking like I did? “No bags?” She asked, looking out of her window.
Relieved, I answer the question eagerly. “No bags. Just the clothes on my back.” She turned back to me, and her eyebrows quirked at my remark. My stockings were torn and my heels were too high, my dress to short. I squirmed under her scrutiny. She turned away and began to drive. No longer being able to stay silent, I finally decided to tell someone the truth…a stranger, nonetheless.
As soon as her mouth opened, my skin prickled and my hands gripped at the seat. “My name is Alayna.” She beams at my dumbfounded reaction.
“My name is Kayleigh…” I mumble, analyzing her facial features. She was beautiful, with high cheekbones and perfectly shaped lips. “Are you a model?” I ask, immediately wanting to take back the words. You’re not a man trying to flirt, stop asking stupid questions! I chastised myself silently. Alayna laughs at my discomfort.
“Actually, yes and you should be, too. I can get you in the business.” She offers. “Oh, sweetheart, it’s nothing like that…and if you want, I can always be there to make sure it doesn’t happen that way.” She looked like she wanted to take back that last part, her cheeks flush a beautiful pink. I smile shyly, the nagging fear residing.
“Yes, I’d like that…but what about…” I trail off, turning away.
“I’ll protect you.” She promises adamantly and grabs my hand, lacing her elegant fingers through my own bruised ones.
The sun was starting to peek out over the horizon. A warm and sweet sensation washed over me, was this what safety felt like? I had forgotten over the years. “Are you hungry, Kayleigh? I was on a road trip for a shoot but I can stop for a few minutes…” Alayna says, slowing down after I nod. She pulls into a small diner’s parking lot and turns to me, seemingly memorizing my face.
Slowly, as if not to scare me away, her hand rises and she caresses my wounded cheek with her soft, perfect hands. Slowly, her finger traces the outline of my cheek, my nose, and my lips. I shy away and she looks hurt.
“Alayna, how old are you?” I quickly search for a distraction.
She squints her eyes at me before answering. “Twenty-three, and yourself?” I smirk, and she tilts her head in confusion.
“I just turned eighteen today.” She lets out a surprised yelp and I’m the one to laugh at the discomfort now. “That’s right, I ran away in time for my eighteenth birthday…isn’t that ironic?” Her eyes fill with something sadly familiar. She smiles through her tears, something I’ve done for many years.
“Happy birthday, Kayleigh…let’s make this a good one.” She says and gets out of the truck, quickly coming around the other side to open the door. I jump out and embrace her. She laughs and encircles me with her surprisingly strong arms. I press my face into her neck, breathing in her lovely scent.
“Thank you.” She was the one to save me, like no man ever did.