When my mom suddenly entered the scene, Jason jumped up, getting off me, freeing me. I was free! I was free…
I didn’t look back at Jason or my mother once. I only wriggled my feet into my old sneakers without untying the laces, and then I started running. I didn’t even close the door behind me or bothered to put on something warm. I ran through the streets in my worn-out shoes, sweatpants and blood-stained hoodie that was from the women’s section. Tears, snot and blood mingled on my face and made a mess, but there was nobody around at this hour to see it. When I last checked the clock before getting in the shower, it had been 7 in the morning, and it was Sunday.
I hadn’t been fully conscious of where I had been running, until I stopped for a second when the cramps in my sides were getting unbearable, and found myself in a familiar area. My feet had carried me to Matt’s neighborhood. Was I going to go to his house? Well, I didn’t have much choice of where else to go.

Reluctantly and simultaneously desperately, I rang the doorbell of Matt’s house. I was about to practically throw myself into Matt’s arms when the door opened, but I stopped myself in time.
“Who are you?”
“I-I’m-“ I stuttered, staring at the familiar yet unfamiliar dark-haired guy in front of me. It clicked with me that this must be Matt’s brother. I didn’t get to meet him the day before. I was about to tell him that my name was Lars, that I was Matt’s boyfriend and that I really wanted to see him, but on their way, my words got lost and all I blurt out was: “Matt.. please.”
Matt’s brother turned around and called towards the inside of the house: “Matt! There’s a bloody boy who I think wants to see you!” He gave me a bit of an awkward, yet reassuring nod, and then left. A few seconds later, his older brother appeared in the hallway, wearing a beige dressing robe and looking as if he couldn’t have been awake for longer than half an hour.
“Lars! What happened?! Did your stepdad-?”
I just nodded, and got into Matt’s open, inviting arms. I wanted to ask him if we could go to his room because I didn’t want his family to see me in such a state, but before I could, Matt was already leading me through the living room and into the kitchen. He mumbled kind nothings like: “It’s going to be okay,” and “I’m here” while he lead me past his very confused and shaken parents who were having breakfast at the kitchen table, and grabbed a wet towel to clean my face.
It was completely silent in the kitchen except for my irregular, choked-back sobs that were slowly getting less until they died down too. Once my face was clean, Matt put his hand on my hair, and asked in a warm voice: “Have you had breakfast yet?”

And like that, I suddenly found myself at the breakfast table with Matt’s family, in front of a home-made stack of waffles. “If you don’t like it, you can spit it out while I’m not looking”, Matt’s father had said to me with a playful wink when he handed me a plate with one covered in maple syrup.
For a second, I thought that Matt was going to pretend like nothing had happened and that he was just going to let me have breakfast at his place and then send me home again or something, but when I had two bites (that tasted so great that I almost wanted to cry again and I had no desire to spit out) down, Matt put his hand on mine and asked: “Do you want to tell me what happened?”
With my eyes on the orange juice Matt’s mom was pouring for me, I first muttered a soft “thank you” to her, and then explained to Matt: “That asshole somehow got his hands on a video of us kissing. He beat me up over that, like a fucking psycho.” I didn’t care that I was cussing in front of Matt’s family. “Mom intervened. They’re probably fighting now.”
Matt didn’t know what to say for a second, so he quickly shoved a large bite of waffles down his throat to give him a little extra time to have to come up with a response. I did the same thing.
“Do we… need to call the police?” he then hesitantly said.
“Please don’t.”
“It’s ok.”
A silence fell, but Matt’s hand was comfortingly caressing mine, letting me know that although he didn’t really know how to handle the situation, he was there for me.
“I’m sorry for bursting in and disrupting your peaceful breakfast like that”, I said with a bit of a grin.
“Don’t be sorry,” Matt quickly said, “is there anything I can do to help? Are you very hurt? Do you need to see a doctor?”
I shook my head, but didn’t like how I had just walked into Matt’s house like I had and now didn’t have anything I was actually planning to achieve with that. I tried to think of something. Was there anything Matt could help with? Why had I gone here in the first place?
“You already did enough by cleaning me up and feeding me,” I then decided, “so thank you for that, truly. Do you think… I should go back home to check on my mom?”
“Well…” Matt thought for a second, “it’s not that you’re not allowed to stay here for as long as you’d like, but I do think that you’re right. I think your mom might need you right now, after she stood up for you. If you’re feeling okay enough to go, I think you should go and talk to her.”
For a little longer, I ate waffles with my left hand as Matt was holding my right one. He offered to drive me home once I was ready to go.

When we arrived at my place, Matt tightly wrapped his arms around me and kissed my sore face all over. He mumbled things like: “Stay safe” and “I love you” while keeping me in his safe, warm embrace. I thought it was very sweet, but I didn’t really know how to react to it. I just thanked him again, gave him a quick kiss on the lips, and then got out of the car to face whichever circle of hell we had entered in the meantime inside.

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