Jem Coughlin lay with his back against the metal mailbox. The bullet wounds in his stomach and leg felt as though they were on fire. The police were surrounding him, he knew he would never make it out of this… and the last thing he thought about was her.
He had always seen her in the park. She was usually with her baby brother, but sometimes she was by herself. When she was by herself she would sit on an old, broken down slide writing in a journal. She never wore makeup, he didn't know why, but he liked that about her. Her hair was long and it was always falling down in front of her eyes. Sometimes he heard the other girls laugh about her, make fun of how she doesn't wear makeup and has never had boyfriend and never goes out drinking and her name... he thought her name was pretty, just unusual. It was Isla. No one knows what happened to her in her childhood, he only found out when he was talking to a friend of her late mothers…
Her biological father had run out on her and her mother when she was seven. Her mother raised her, and did a fantastic job... but then she married a man named Paul. Paul abused Isla when her mother wasn't around.
Isla's mother had a baby boy when Isla was sixteen. But she died in the process. Isla took care of the baby, Sam, since Paul obviously didn't give a damn what happened to him. Isla had to drop out of school though, because she couldn't leave Sam by himself.
Isla was eighteen now... but she was still very young.
Jem had known Paul before he married Isla's mother, and personally, he hated him. The hate had grown much stronger ever since, especially one night two years ago when Isla was sixteen, which was also the first night Jem had met her…
Jem was walking with Doug having just left the rink, when they heard;
They looked over and saw the bastard beating his step daughter. He was drunk, really drunk.
Without saying a word to each other, Doug ran to Paul and Jem to Isla. She was lying on the ground, so Jem was terrified she had actually died and he quickly rolled her over. When he did, her eyes were open and she seemed more shocked then anything. She was completely silent for a minute but she was gasping, trying to catch her breath.
"Are you ok?" he asked her because she looked like she was about to pass out.
"Uh... yeah… I need to go upstairs." she said and scrambled to her feet, but lost her balance and Jem caught her.
"Maybe you should sit down," he said trying to get her back on the grass, but she remained on her feet.
"No… I have to get Sam. He is up there himself…"
"Listen, I think it is a better idea for you to stay here-
But she shook her head quickly and tried to get out of his grasp but he held onto her tightly, but she was frantic, almost hysterical. And then when Jem pulled her back once more she broke down in sobs. He was caught off guard by the sudden tears and wasn't really sure how to handle the situation. So he just pulled her close and held her in a tight embrace, the only thing he could think of, while she cried until there were literally no tears left. Afterwards she was almost falling asleep so Jem led her upstairs and to her bed, where the baby was sleeping. She got in beside her brother and Jem kneeled down and pulled the sheets over her. He felt a little stupid doing this, because he is not really a good comforter and he was definitely not the type that puts people to bed, but this girl was just looked so vulnerable that he would have felt bad just leaving her.
He stood up to leave, but she caught his hand.
"Thank you." she whispered
He smiled softly and then walked back outside. He didn't give a shit what Doug had done with Paul, because honestly if he saw him right now he would have killed him.
Ever since then Jem had been keeping an eye on Isla. He had gone to check on her after that night, and she was fine but was always very shy around him. But if there was ever trouble with Paul, she would call Jem. It didn't happen very often, but when it did, Jem was not nice about it.
And then this year, when she turned eighteen, Paul had been arrested and sent to jail for 20 years. Jem had no idea why he was arrested and he didn't want to know. All he knew was that he was gone and he wouldn't hurt Isla anymore.
But he didn't get any more involved with her after that. He was a bank robber anyway, it was dangerous, so whenever he would see her at the park he would turn and walk away, but sometimes he was able to catch a glimpse of her hurt expression. But he never did anything.
But he always kept an eye on her and watched her grow from an awkward sixteen year old to a beautiful- in his eyes the most beautiful- girl. But he never talked to her and she eventually stopped looking for him.
One day, he and Doug were walking to Fergus Colm's flower shop. He was not in a mood to talk to anyone. He was out drinking last night and he had a bad hangover. He just wanted to go to bed. But when he walked in, there she was. She was putting some white flowers in a bouquet of red roses. She didn't notice him at first, but then she looked up and saw him. She looked away quickly and began fixing the white flowers.
"What the fuck happened to you?" Fergus asked him.
"None of your fucking business," he mumbled and started to walk to the backroom.
"No. you stay out here." Fergus said and walked to the backroom with Doug. Doug glanced at Jem once and then followed Fergus.
Jem scowled at them and that sat down and put his head in his hands. After a few minutes of silence he turned to Isla.
"How are you?" he asked her.
"Fine." she said, she seemed a little surprised that he asked her.
He couldn't think of anything else to say to her. So he put his head in his hands again.
"Do you want an aspirin?" Isla asked him when she was standing by the freezer where the flowers were kept. He nodded and she came over to him and handed him two pills and a glass of water. She stood in front of him for a minute and then pressed her hand to his forehead. He didn't push her hand away because he felt really warm and her cool hand felt good on his hot skin.
"You have a fever." she told him and then walked over to the tap and took a cloth and ran it under cold water.
"It doesn't matter." he said to her.
"You took care of me once. Let me return the favor," she said and walked back to him and pressed the cold cloth on his forehead. He wanted to say something to her, tell her not to bother and just leave him alone, but he couldn't. So he just closed his eyes while she continued to wipe the cloth over his face.
"Were you out last night?" she asked him.
He nodded and opened his eyes. The sun was shining through the windows and it seemed to be shining right on Isla. Wow, he must have more of a hangover then he thought.
Isla finished and walked back over to the sink and threw the cloth on it. She walked back over to him and hopped on the counter beside him, her bare legs dangling close to him. She was only wearing shorts and a off the shoulder tee shirt in the hot summer weather.
He didn't what the hell he was doing, but he reached up and touched her leg. She caught her breath, but didn't pull away from him. He stood up and continued to run his hand over her leg, but stopped at the hem of her shorts. She was young, so he didn't want to do anything that would scare her. So instead his hand went to the side of her face and his thumb began pushing the stray strand of hair away from her eyes and lips, and then he leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips. He could tell she was still a little scared, and she didn't really know what she was doing, so he didn't go any further then just kissing. But it lasted a long time.
The whole time, the thing that was going through his head was;
This is such a fucking bad idea.
But it didn't stop him, he continued kissing her until the heard the door open from the back room. And that's when Isla pulled away from him and walked back over to the counter and began making another bouquet of roses, pink this time. Jem was staring at her and Doug looked at the two of them with a quizzical expression.
"Everything ok?" he asked Jem.
"Yeah, let's go." he said and quickly walked out with Doug in tow.
Why the hell did he do that? She was only an eighteen year old, practically a kid, a kid who had to deal with an abusive man and taking care of a baby. And now she has just been kissed by a man who was twenty years older than her. But he couldn't help it, there were lots of girls in Charlestown and he had slept with more than a few, but honestly, this girl was the only one he had ever had feelings for. Ever since the day he saw her being beaten by Paul, he knew he felt something towards her. He always had to remind himself of her age… but it's hard when he watched her grow right in front of his eyes to the beauty she is now.
And now when he was getting ready to run out and face the police for the final time, the last thing he thought of was the girl in the park.
Reviews would be lovely please :)