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Right now I felt like punching Blake in the face. I was to slow to even attempt to shield my face from Alex.

"Did you fucking touch her?" Blakes voice was calm and collected but his face said other wise.

"No!" I shouted. I avoided Alex eyes but he grabbed my chin in between his index finger and thumb, and scanned my face until his eyes landed on my cheek. I yanked my face from his cold hands and quickly snatched the folder from his hold.

"Who the hell touched you? Was it that bastard Tim?" His voice came out harsh, almost in a growl.

"All of you need to leave. Right now." I turned around, ready to run inside the house, but Alex was quicker and pulled me backwards gripping the hoodie.

I glared at him and let out a small grunt. But he wasn't the one I should be blaming. I turned my attention to Blake who was just silently watching. Drew and Chase were awkwardly standing behind him just watching the damn situation escalate.

"Like I said all of you need to leave" I steered my words towards the trio this time. There was no point in arguing with a person as stubborn as Alex. Drew pulled Blake away from us and within a few minutes they left leaving just me and Alex.

"Are you going to tell me what happened?"

I took in a deep breath, slightly rocking back and forward on the balls of my feet. I was tired and hungry and this was not helping me at all. The number one rule from that monster is to avoid any problems at all cost, to stray away from attention. Looks like I've broken that rule multiple times today.

But Alex is your friend you can tell him anything. Go on, tell him how horrible your father treats you. Tell him all the horrible-

Shut up! He's not my father! And I can't tell him anything. That monster will hurt him.

He could save us

I let out a frustrated groan, closing my fist around the strings of the hoodie.


I snapped back to reality, recognizing the impatient and withdrawn look on Alex face.

One more lie wouldn't hurt.

"Earlier I went to Cartons for some Ice cream. On the way home I bumped into a group of girls. Nothing serious happened."

I was surprised at how smoothly the lie came out of my mouth.

You're getting better

My stomach twisted up into a tight knot at that thought. I don't want to get better at lying.

"What the hell do you mean nothing serious happened. Look at your damn face!"

I winced at how loud his voice was. Alex pulled out his phone and I immediately became alert, the bells going off inside my head.

My voice wavered through my trembling lips as I spoke up. "What are you doing?"

He didn't answer me right away, to focused on his phone.

"I'm calling Samuel. Go inside Charlotte, it's cold outside. Don't worry we'll take care of it-"


I was to worried to even note how cold it was. He can't tell that monster. I just can't let him. He'll find out I left home without his permission and.....I've already messed up today.

I tried to take the phone away from him, but he kept on twisting away from me.

"Please don't call him. I promise nothing bad happened. It was a one time thing!" I could feel my chest tightening at my lame attempt, and I was on the verge of tears. He ignored me, his eyes hardening as he spoke into the phone.

"Hello? Yes I need to speak with Samuel Elieson. It's an emergency."

"Alex don't do this!" I bent forward to grab the phone again but Alex shoved me off of him and I fell to the ground. A sob escaped my lips and I forcefully swallowed the lump in my throat. I was not about to cry again. Of course nothing ever goes my way.

"No I don't have time to wait. I need to speak to him now." Alex said through gritted teeth. He ran his fingers through his hair and patted his chest, probably looking for his cigarettes. Taking out the packet, he took a glance inside and cursed, throwing it to the ground. I just stayed on the ground trying to collect myself. All I could do was sit there watching as Alex finally got a hold of the monster while I let my tears stream down my face, soaking my shirt.

"Tell him it's about his daughter"

A beat of silence.

Alex abruptly took the phone away from his ear and ended the call, letting out a frustrated growl. A sense of relief hit me so hard I had to contain myself from laughing out loud. The monster didn't pick up the phone. He didn't pick up the phone.

Now you can convince Alex a little better.

He finally took a look at me still laying on the ground and his eyes dropped a little. I stared right back at him holding my breath. Bending down, he held out his hand for me to take but I refused to take it. I know it's not his fault that he doesn't understand, but I can't help but feel angry at him. What right did he have to invade my life?

Even Grant knew when to back off when I didn't want to tell anyone the torture I go through at school. I could feel the tiredness taking over my body, threatening to take me away.

"I'm sorry Charlotte. I didn't mean to push you that hard."

I shook my head at him, finally standing up to where I barely towered over his hunched body. Him and his stupid tallness.

"You're apologizing for the wrong thing. I told you not to call Sam- dad but you did anyway." I wiped my nose across my sleeve hoping he didn't notice my slip up. His nostrils flared and he swiftly stood up craning his neck down to glare at me.

"I'm not apologizing for that shit. You can't keep letting these people step over you. Even at school like with Tim, you can't let people treat you like shit."

Now It was my turn to glare at him. All my tears dried up and anger quickly replaced my fear. My eyelids felt heavy, no doubt I look horrible. I didn't want to start any more problems but Alex words struck a nerve in me.

"Don't talk like you know what I go through at school" I spat out harshly.

Alex eyes twitched and I subconsciously noticed his hands curl up into a fist. He opened his mouth but I cut him off.

"You are never there. You're always skipping school and only show up at the worst of worst times. You don't think I don't stand up for myself? Well I do. I do but you're never there. So don't you dare come here and tell me I let all these fucking people step over me. Another thing, you have no right to tell Samuel," - My voice cracked when I said that monsters name - "anything."

I didn't feel satisfied enough so I shoved him with so much force he almost fell to a side bush beside him. He quickly caught his balance before he fell and straightened himself.

I was tired of all this bullshit. All of Alex bullshit, all of schools bullshit, all of the monsters bullshit. Everthing. It's getting harder to deal with every day and I feel like I'm going crazy.

Stay sane. Don't break down, not now.

I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself. I need to take baby steps. First let me get Alex to leave. Then I'll get some sleep so I could spend all afternoon tomorrow with Grant.

Grant will make everthing better

I relaxed at that thought, my anger subsiding. When I was sure I was calm I opened my eyes to find Alex staring at me with a knowing look.

Ever since I met him it was like I couldn't keep anymore secrets to myself. Right off the bat he'll know when I'm lying and he just....gets me. He knows about my time to time outbursts, like now. The fist time it happened was when some stupid guy ran me over with his bike. Of course it was an accident but Alex had to go and make a big deal out of it.

He wanted to call the monster but I refused. We argued back and forward until I completely snapped and called him an asshole. He was just as surprised as me but I didn't care. I went off on him until he hugged me hard. I cried into his chest for who knows how long. I only have these outbursts when it's about the monster, and I know Alex have noticed but he doesn't say anything about it.

He'll figure out your secret soon.

No he won't. Alex is a smart cookie, but he can't solve this problem. I can't put him in danger like that

"Just this once please don't tell my dad about this." The fight in me had completely vanished, my shoulders slumped in defeat as I willed my tired eyes to stay open. I already knew there was no point in arguing with him but I had to try. I will never give up trying.

Alex visibly swallowed hard, the vein in neck straining. It suddenly dawned on me how selfish I was being. I didn't dare try to even think how he was taking this, always having to be there and protect me. I was so blind to see it because I've never had someone care for me as much as he does.

He swiftly raised his fist, quickly wiping a tear I failed to notice, and sat on the porch steps. I slowly trudged towards him until I was directly in front oh him, pulling my sleeves over my hands. A couple of seconds passed by before he gently pulled on my arm and pulled me into his strong embrace. We didn't say anything for the remainder of his stay, to caught up in our own thoughts.

For this split cherished moment we were on the same page, but how long will it last?

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