Jess woke up the next morning and for a second, she had forgotten about Jason calling her last night. Then it all came back to her, and she was filled with almost the same dread as when she was with him. She didn’t want to just lie there with her thoughts so she got up to see if Tyler was awake. She found him in the kitchen with a coffee.
“Hey Jess, did you sleep ok?”
“I did thank you. And thanks for staying in the room last night, you didn’t have to.”
“Yes I did Jess, I need to make sure that you’re ok. Are you ok Jess?”
“Well, I was. Before he called last night”
“I know Jess. I’m sorry” Tyler said sympathetically feeling so angry at Jason for doing this
“What do you think Tyler? You think he’s gonna come after me? Or you?”
“I . . . really don’t know Jess. I still think he’s just playing mind games”
“Maybe you're right. Well, at least I know not to answer if that number calls again.”
“Yep. We should probably change your number again”
“Yeah. We really should. But who knows what other information he got from my phone?”
Tyler really didn’t like this situation at all and he still wanted Jess to go to the police. But he knew she didn’t want to, and didn’t want to push her into it.
“Well, hopefully nothing. I assume you blocked him on Facebook?”
“Oh yeah, I definitely did that”
“Good. Don’t want him trying to harass you on that as well.”
“Yes, I certainly don’t want that to happen. I’m so glad we're both not working today. At least I can relax a bit.”
That was easier said than done today. Every time her phone went off her heart nearly stopped. She even kept looking out of the window because she was so paranoid about Jason finding her here. She must have been staring out the window for about 5 minutes at one point. She was so lost in her thoughts when she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was only Tyler of course but she jumped so much she nearly fell over.
“Whoa, Jess. Are you ok sweetheart?”
“Yeah. Sorry. I'm Just a little jumpy today.”
“That’s understandable. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to sneak up on you. I just wandered if you
wanted a hot drink?”
“Oh. Yes. Tea would be good.”
“Coming right up. And Jess? It’s going to be ok. I promise no matter what I won’t let Jason hurt you again. Ok?”
“Ok.” She replied, feeling a little reassured.
As the next few weeks went by, Jess heard nothing more from Jason and was feeling a little better every day. She was still a little paranoid and didn’t go out on her own anywhere, but was starting to feel a little more back to normal. Tyler started to believe even more, that Jason was just trying to scare her when he called a few weeks ago. He was still looking out for Jess of course, but he wasn’t so worried anymore. He figured that Jason had given up and moved on, well that’s what he hoped anyway. Over the last few weeks as well, Tyler felt that he had grown closer to Jess. The only downside to that what the possibility that she only see’s him now as a really close friend, and nothing more. In fact, that was the reason he hadn’t summoned up the courage to tell her he felt about her. He knew he would have to at some point. It was too hard being so close to someone but so far as well. He knew that eventually she would find someone else, and then he may lose his chance for good. Not only that, but he also hated the thought of her ending up with the wrong person and getting badly hurt again. He knew he had to say something soon, but that was a lot easier said than done.
Another week went by with no word or sign of Jason. It had almost been a month since he said that he would “see her soon”. Jess and Tyler figured that if he was going to do something, he would have done it by now. Jess was so used to living here with Tyler now, and she had no regrets about leaving Jason. Her life was so much better. She was thinking about this as she was getting ready for work for yet another Monday morning. She had enjoyed having a weekend off, but as always, Monday morning came way too quickly. She almost felt happy about complaining about a Monday morning. When she was with Jason she had bigger worries in the morning, like how to cover up a black eye, or making excuses for missing work. She almost felt more normal now, and it felt good. Jess was quieter than normal on the drive to work.
Tyler asked her if she was ok. She said she was fine, just thinking about how better things for her were now. Tyler smiled when she said that. All he wanted was for her to be happy.
He kept stealing glances at her when she wasn’t looking. He couldn’t look at her without thinking just how beautiful she was. The more he looked at her, the more he wanted to tell her how he felt. In fact, he had never been so sure in his life of what the next words out of his mouth should be.
“Hey, Jess. Can I ask you something?”
“Sure, what is it” she replied?
He lost all nerve when he looked at her. He had to say something.
“Um. I just wondered . . . if you wanted to do something tonight. For dinner maybe”
“Yeah sure. Like we could go for a meal or maybe grab a takeaway” Jess replied completely oblivious that the poor love struck Tyler was trying to ask her out.
“Yeah. Well it depends if you want to go out or stay in.”
“Um. Well a nice Chinese takeaway sounds nice. The sofa and a move should be involved to. Oh and a bottle of wine maybe?”
“Yeah. Sounds nice”
“Cool. Look forward to tonight then”
“Yeah. Me to” Tyler replied. ”Well at least that gives me some time to think about what to say.” he thought realising he just decided to tell Jess tonight how he feels.
The day went quick for Jess but slow for Tyler. He was so nervous about tonight he could barely think straight. What was he even going to say to her “Hey Jess, can you pass the soy sauce, oh, and by the way, I’m in love with you” He almost chuckled at that notion. Jess spent the day looking forward to tonight. She loved spending time with Tyler. He was the sweetest guy she had ever met and she couldn’t imagine life without him now. Part of her hoped that tonight may just lead somewhere, but she was still afraid to even go down that road with Tyler. Part of her was afraid of getting hurt again, but it was mainly because she felt that Tyler would never feel the same way. She had always been insecure about herself and being with Jason had only made that worse. All she could do was see where tonight took them. She was too scared to make a move herself and ruin the friendship that they had built up.
Tyler was both relived and nervous that the end of the day had finally come. He waited for Jess to get ready to leave, and then they made their way to his car.
“So Jess. Dinner tonight, shall we go for Chinese?” Tyler asked.
“Yeah. Sounds good. We should pick up a bottle of wine or something on the way home”
“Yeah. We can do that to”
On the way home, Tyler was fairly quiet. That was because he was really nervous about what he was going to say to her tonight. Jess noticed he was quiet and asked him if he was ok.
He just blamed it on being tired after work. They got home and made themselves comfortable. They picked a movie to watch and ordered there food. Then Jess suddenly remembered that she had forgotten the wine.
“You know what we forgot, the wine”
“Oh yeah. Was looking forward to that to that”
“Well that’s ok, you wait for the food and I will just go to the store and grab a bottle.”
“Um. Are you sure Jess. It is getting dark you sure you wanna go out on your own?”
“Well, I can’t be scared of being alone all my life can I. It will be fine it’s like less than five minutes to the store. I want to go, I feel I need to get out on my own at some point”
“Are you sure?” Tyler asked, he really didn’t like the idea, but couldn’t really stop her.
“Yes I’m sure. It will be fine I promise ok?”
“Ok” he replied
“I will see you in about 15 minutes ok”
“Ok Jess, be careful”
“I’ll be fine” she said as she left the apartment.
As soon as Jess stepped outside she felt a little paranoid. But as she started to make her way to the store, she felt ok. It felt good to be out on her own. As she walked a little further, she remembered how quiet it could be around here. Her paranoia started to comeback, then she realised she was just being silly. Then she felt a little uneasy when she heard footsteps behind her. She decided to try not to worry about it, but they seemed to be getting close fast. ”Probably nothing” She thought to herself as she carried on walking, speeding up a bit. Then she could sense this person was right behind her and without warning, she was grabbed from behind. She tried to scream but the person covered her mouth. With wide eyes she turned around to see the face of her worst nightmare, Jason. She tried to scream again, but it came out muffled as he tightened his grip over her mouth.
“Hello Jess. I’ve missed you. And now, you’re coming with me"