" Jesus." Will Traynor looked over at his alarm clock that read 11pm and sighed. He had been trying to sleep for a couple of hours now, he had a meeting with a client at the crack of dawn, but sleep wasn't coming easy tonight.
It was a cool summer night, a good night for a walk, or a quick jog, which he hoped might tire him out enough that he could get a few hours of rest.
"Guess a jog it is." He said out loud to himself, throwing on his sweat pants before heading out the door.
Will Traynor was 22 years old, and already a success story. He was born from money, his parents owned the castle that overlooked the small town that he planned to escape soon. He was fresh out of university, and had snagged a job buying and selling businesses, which he was pleased to find that he was extremely successful at. His bosses had been shocked by how much money he had made them in such a short amount of time, and he had already been moved up to a higher level position.
He was living in a flat of his own, away from the suffocation of his overbearing parents, but he still felt as if he was under their thumb living in this town, where everyone knew his name, and he couldn't wait to escape.
He had decided to take a five minute jog to the maze, make his way through there and head back home. It wouldn't kill too much time, but it would at least exert some of his pent up energy.
The maze had always been sort of an escape for him. When he was younger and he couldn't listen to his parents arguing anymore, he would go there for hours, exploring all the different passage ways, getting lost, trying to find the quickest way out. By the time he was a teenager, he could find his way out with his eyes closed.
He was getting ready to enter, when he heard a noise, someone crying, a woman. He held back for a second, she sounded far away, but he definitely knew she was crying. He proceeded cautiously. He had heard of people pretending to be hurt or lost as a tactic to rob someone, though he didn't have money on him, he definitely wasn't looking for a fight. He followed through the trails slowly, he could still hear her crying, saying something that he couldn't quiet make out. He walked a little faster, the thought that he might get robbed left his mind, whoever it was sounded really hurt. He stopped when he finally got to where he could hear her clearly sobbing, she was just around the corner, and then he heard male voices, laughing, taunting someone, and as he turned the corner, he heard something extremely vulgar.
Will had seen a lot of things throughout his life, but never anything like what he had stumbled upon tonight. When he turned the corner, there was four men standing in a half circle, one on the ground, on top of someone, he was stripped down to boxers. And that's when he saw the girl, she was sobbing, naked, pinned underneath this man.
" What the fuck are you doing? What the fuck are you doing?" Will yelled.
He caught the men off guard, and the four standing in the circle hauled off, looking terrified, the one on top of the girl scrambled off, grabbing his shirt, and running as fast as he could away from them, before Will was about to grab hold of him.
The girl screamed, and grabbed at her dress on the ground, scrambling back against the hedge of the maze.
"Oh my God." Will whispered. He wasn't quite sure what he had stumbled across, but he knew that it was really bad.
The girl had managed to pull her dress back over her head, and had curled up into a ball, shrinking away from him.
" Are you okay?" He didn't know what to say. He knew she wasn't.
She shook her head no, he could see that she was shaking violently. She wouldn't move or look at him.
" Hey, I promise I'm not going to hurt you. Let's get out of here, I know the way."
She still didn't say anything or move, he reached to touch her shoulder and she pulled back quickly.
"I'm swear I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to get you somewhere safe. I want to make sure you're going to be okay." She looked up at him, and he could see how young she looked. Probably fresh out of high school. Even through the bruised up face, and blood shot eyes he could see how beautiful she was. Dark brown hair, and blue eyes that shined back at him through the moonlight. She was terrified, he knew, and he was still in shock.
"I'm Will." He said softly, wondering if giving her his name might make her feel less like he was one of the guys who was hurting her.
" Are they gone?" She asked in a whisper.
"Yes. They're not going to come back. I'm not going to let anyone hurt you anymore."
She looked up at him for a long moment, seemingly trying to decide if she could trust him or not. He felt like crying. He had never seen anything so violent before, so awful. She must have been terrified, and he shuddered to wonder what would have happened to her if he hadn't showed up tonight.
" You promise you won't hurt me?" She asked softly, her voice breaking.
" I promise. No one else is going to hurt you."
She nodded her head, tears spilling fast out of her eyes, She reached her arm out, and he helped lift her off of the ground.
" Do you know where your shoes are?" He asked glancing around.
She shook her head no, looking almost ashamed.
" Hey, that's okay. Let me carry you."
She hesitated, but leaned into him, and he lifted her up. She wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face against him. He could smell the alcohol on her, mixed with a flowery perfume. He wondered how she had got here and if she knew the men that had hurt her, but he didn't want to upset her more than she already was.
When they finally reached the end of the maze he let her down onto the sidewalk.
" I live just a few minutes from here, come with me, we can get my car and I'll take you to the hospital."
She shook her head violently looking horrified.
" No hospital. Please no hospital."
" But.. you're hurt. We need the police." She looked down.
" I just want to go to bed. Just want this to be a nightmare." She cried.
He felt sick. He also wished this was a nightmare. He didn't know what to do and felt utterly lost.
" I know. I know. I am so sorry. Don't you think you need to see a doctor?"
She shook her head no again.
" They didn't-they hurt me- they made me kiss them and they roughed me up- but they hadn't fully gone through with it yet. You saved me."
" Do you mind if I take a shower at your place? Just get cleaned up a bit.. I can't go home like this. My dad can't find out. He will kill someone."
" They deserve it."
" But, yes you can come to my place. It's just up the road here."
They were interrupted by the sound of a group of drunks walking up the street across from them laughing and carrying on. He looked over on high alert. He almost prayed it was them, he would've killed them. She quickly reached for his hand, lacing her fingers in his, and stood close to him.
" It's not them. You don't have to worry, you're safe with me."
She looked into his eyes and nodded, hers glistening with tears.
They were quiet on the walk home, she stayed close to his side, her palms sweaty against his.
" What's your name?" He asked her as they approached his door.
" Louisa Clarke. And your Will right?"
" Yes. Will Traynor."
She paused for a second and looked up at him. He waited for her to say something, but she didn't. His name followed him everywhere in this town.
He opened the door for her and followed her in.
" Here let me get you some clothes to change into."
He grabbed her a t-shirt and sweatpants, when he came back in the hallway she was standing against the door waiting.
She gave him a small smile that didn't reach her eyes.
" Thank you Will. Thank you for everything."
He was surprised when she reached up putting her arms around his neck, he instinctively wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her close to him.
He didn't even know her, but he just wanted to comfort her, to let her know that it was going to be okay. That he would make sure she was safe tonight.
She held on to him for a long time, and he didn't dare pull away from her, he would let her hold on all night if she needed to. He rubbed her back gently.
" It's going to be okay." He whispered leaning his head against hers.
She squeezed him a little tighter briefly and let go, heading into the bathroom.
He needed a drink bad. But he was afraid to take a shot of anything. He didn't want her to think that he was drunk, or going to do anything to her. So he sat on his bed and flicked on the tv, not paying any attention to what was actually on. He quickly sent an email to his boss and his client, rescheduling to the following day. He had told them it was a family emergency, and being who his family was he knew they wouldn't question him.
He could hear her crying in the shower, he felt so bad for her. He didn't know what to do though. She was so young, and now her whole view of men would probably be tainted.
45 minutes later she came out of the bathroom, dressed in his clothes, her hair was down and he could see how long it was, how truly beautiful of a girl she was.
" You alright?"
" I'm better now. Thank you. Thank you for everything again."
" Is there anything I can get you? Something to drink, eat anything?"
" No, thank you. I'm okay."
" Do you want me to drive you home now?"
She let out a sigh looking at the ground, he could tell she didn't want to go home, her parents would probably ask questions if she came home this late, being driven by some guy they had never met before, in clothes that weren't her own.
" You don't have to leave if you don't want. You are more than welcome to stay here for the night."
She smiled, still not reaching her eyes.
" Thank you so much. I'm just not ready to see my parents yet."
" How old are you? Will they be calling the police to look for you?"
" I'm eighteen. They think I am out with my friends. I was really.. We got drunk with some men at the bar, and went to the maze to hang out, next thing I knew they were gone, and I was still there."
" Some friends."
" It was my fault though. Honestly. I was being a terrible flirt, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Shouldn't have been drinking with strange men."
He felt himself getting a little angry with her.
" It wasn't your fault. It was theirs. Five men try to take advantage of one woman. Being violent to her when she is vulnerable. You could've been passed out drunk, and any decent man would have helped you home, or given you a safe place to sleep it off. I would have never done that to you, even if I was drunk myself. Please don't blame yourself. They are scum."
Her face was a deep red now, and he could see that she was on the verge of crying again.
" Hey, do you want to watch a movie with me? I'm not going to be sleeping tonight anyway."
She nodded and sat down on the bed next to him.
They stayed a wake for a long time, not saying anything, he looked over at her after a while and saw that her eyes were getting heavy.
She gave him a small smile.
" Promise you're not a serial killer?"
He chuckled. "Promise."
And she fell asleep then snuggled under the blanket. Will stayed a wake for a while afterwards, he couldn't stop thinking about the incident, about what could have happened. He started to notice her turning a little in her sleep, beads of sweat lining her forehead. He reached for her hand.
" Hey its okay. Your safe."
She looked up at him, relieved, and nodded, scooting herself closer to him so that they were touching, hands still intertwined. Only after she had fallen back asleep, did he finally let himself rest.