Ever since my parents died, my life has been… well, if I was to say awful, then that would be an understatement. My brother, Maddox, took custody of me when I was sixteen and ever since, he’s treated me like his personal slave. I’m basically his Cinderella, except for the small fact that he beats me. I’ve tried to leave, but he’s relentless and he always catches me. Last time I tried to run was three days ago and when he caught me, he dragged me back home and beat me to where I couldn’t cover the bruises.
Now, we’re moving. When I woke up from the beating, he told me to pack my crap and put it in the car. Because of him, I don’t have much, so I packed up the few outfits and pairs of shoes I have. After I loaded mine and his stuff into the truck, I asked where we were going and he told me it was a small town called Wolf Wood. He crammed me into the backseat with all his crap and we left.
Maybe there will actually be wolves there and maybe they’ll kill me so I don’t have to live in this hell anymore.
Here we come, Wolf Wood.
“Nevaeh, you little brat, get up,” My brother yells from the front of the car and right after, I feel something hit me. A flash of pain runs over my already bruised arm and I wince, opening my eyes. We’re here?
Staying quiet, I climb out of the car and look at the two story house in front of me. The house has dark bricks and there is a beautiful garden in the front; one that I will have to keep working on. The roof is a mix of gray and green colors, with a large chimney poking out of the top. There are windows at the front of the house, on both the top and bottom levels. I have to say, that my devil brother actually did a good job picking this house.
“Get my stuff and bring it in,” my brother orders and walks into the house. Sighing, I walk around to the back of the car and pick up his two large and heavy bags. I hoist the bags under my arms and start walking to the door. Of course, being the evil person he is, Maddox closed the door. I put the bags on the ground and open the door, immediately picking the bags back up. One of the bags slips out of my hands and clatters to the ground.
“What was that?” Maddox yells from the inside and I quickly pick the bag up, stepping into the house, “Nothing, sir. Where would you like these?” I ask when he comes around the corner. He points up the stairs and glares at me, “Last door to your left, on the very end,” he says and walks away. I quickly get up the stairs and turn to the right; there’s only one room to the right, so I walk down the long hallway. The door is already open and when I go in, I look around; it’s bigger than his last room and the walls are a dark green color. The room is already furnished, as is the rest of the house. I guess Maddox payed extra for that, because none of this stuff is ours.
Once I put the bags down, I make my way back out to the car and get my small bag. I close the trunk and go back inside. Maddox is at the bottom of the stairs when I arrive, so I keep my head bowed, “You will be in the room to the left. Stay out of my room, unless you’re cleaning it and I expect you to unpack my things and get dinner started,” he tells me and I nod, then go upstairs.
Not staying long enough to look, I drop my bag in my room and go back to Maddox’s. I don’t expect him to ever do anything for himself anymore, since he’s always ordering me around. When I get back in his room, I quickly unpack the first bag which is full of his work and nicer clothes. After hanging those clothes in the closet, I zip the suitcase and slide it under his bed. I move to the next suitcase and quickly put his undershirts, jeans, t-shirts, boxers, and socks away. Sliding the other suitcase under the bed, I move downstairs to get dinner ready.
I walk into the kitchen to see Maddox angrily looking through the cabinets, “Nothing!” He yells and I take a deep breath, clearing my throat. He turns around and his eyes narrow when they look at me, “Go get groceries,” he orders and shoves money into my hands. I say a quick yes, before walking out of the house.
I sigh when I realize that I have no clue where anything is... and I have to walk. Pulling out my phone, I look to see that it’s only 2:03 in the afternoon. I have a little while until dinner time, but I have a feeling that this walk is going to take a while. I walk to the end of the driveway and take a left, away from the woods.
Maddox never lets me take the car anywhere, because he doesn’t want me to run away and he thinks I deserve to walk everywhere, because I “need the exercise.” He always calls me fat and ugly, which I know isn’t true, because I got my looks from my mother who was very beautiful. My hair is honey blonde, like my mother’s, and it reaches my waist. I have high cheek bones, naturally light pink lips, and green eyes. I get my green eyes from my father as well as my lightly tanned skin; everything else is from my mother.
But, everything changed the day they died and my brother turned into a monster. My parents were loving and kind; and, believe it or not, so was Maddox. He used to be the best big brother, until they died. When they died, he shut himself away and turned into the abusive and demanding person he is now. I tried to talk to him and get through, but he wouldn’t listen. He sees me as his little servant and more often than not, his punching bag.
I look up from the dirt road that’s dirtying my shoes and sigh. I don’t know how long I’ve been walking, but it’s probably been a good ten minutes, because I can see that the trees are thinning and that the stores are close.
A loud honk from a car yanks me out of my thoughts and I see it speeding right at me. A short scream escapes my lips and I throw my hands up in front of me. The red and black Camaro skids to a stop, not even a foot away and I stumble backwards, falling and landing on my butt. As I sit there, I know that my eyes are wide and I’m shaking. I faintly hear the car door open and someone get out, but it isn’t until the person is right in front of me that I actually see them.
“Oh my, sweetie are you okay?” A woman asks, placing her hands on my shoulders. I look up at the woman; she has shoulder length dark brown, almost black hair and light brown eyes. She looks at me with concern, but when I don’t answer, she gets up and turns to someone else, “Ryan! Come over here,” she orders, but I stay still. She gets back down to eye level with me and now there’s a man with her. He has blonde hair and beautiful bright blue eyes.
“Are you okay? I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing. I’m really sorry,” the man says and carefully pulls me to my feet. I swallow and glance at his hands. I don’t flinch at every little touch like I used to, but I’m not super comfortable with people, especially guys, touching me. He seems to notice and removes his hands, but keeps them out, making sure I don’t fall, “Um… yeah, I- I should have been watching where I was walking,” I tell him and his face twists into one of surprise as he looks over at the woman, who I’m assuming is his wife, “Lu?” He asks, sounding a little confused.
“Oh sweetie, we’re just glad that you’re okay. I’m Lucy and this is my husband Ryan; we live back in the woods,” she says, smiling and pointing from herself and her husband. He smiles at me and I offer a small smile. Ryan has this aura surrounding him, making me feel like I could be safe if I’m near him and it makes me want to stay by him. I keep looking up into his eyes and he looks into mine, as if trying to look into my soul. Lucy grabs my hand and squeezes it, taking my attention away from her husband, “So, what are you doing out on the road?”
“I was on my way to the store to get some groceries so I can make dinner for my brother and me,” I tell her, my voice slightly shaking on the word brother. I don’t like lying to people, but I have to if I don’t want to end up dead in a ditch somewhere.
Lucy smiles at me and it instantly calms me down, “We could give you a ride if you’d like. It’s only a couple minutes away from the tree line and we’re headed that way too,” she offers. I look behind me to where I can see the shops and the large supermarket. My brain screams for me to accept the offer, but it also tells me not to. If Maddox found out, he would be so angry. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?
No, it’ll hurt you, my brain tells me, but I can’t help but think that it will take less time if I got a ride. I look back at the two kind people in front of me and see them both looking at me with expecting eyes, “Um… I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get a ride,” I tell her and a huge smile spreads across her face, “Oh, good. Let’s go,” she beams, gently grabbing my arm and pulling me to the car. I blink several times and notice Ryan watching me with interest and another emotion that I can’t quite place.
Once we’re all in the car, Ryan pulls away and we’re quickly making our way towards the town. A minute later, we pass the ‘Welcome to Wolf Wood’ sign and I smile a little. I notice Ryan’s eyes watching me in the mirror and I smile a little more. He seems really curious, but not in the bad way. We make it into the stores quickly and Ryan parks the car. Did I mention that this car is amazing? Well, it is.
I watch as Ryan goes to the passenger side of the car and opens the door, helping Lucy out. He holds her hand as they walk around to the front, where I’m awkwardly standing, “So, um… thanks for the ride, but I should go,” I tell them and Ryan growls, making Lucy smack his chest. They both smile at me and Lucy steps forward, “I can shop around with you and show you around, then we can give you a ride back to your house,” Lucy offers.
“No,” I answer too quickly and they give me curious looks, “Uh… I mean, no thank you. I don’t want to be a bother,” I say, hoping that it will work. I steal a glance at my phone and see that it’s 2:48.
“It’s not a problem…” Ryan says, trailing off and I realize that I never told them my name, “My name’s Nevaeh,” I tell them and they both smile. Ryan takes a step towards me and I take a slight step back. He notices this and frowns a little bit, “Nevaeh, it’s not a problem for us to help you out. You’re obviously new in town and I’m guessing that it’s a long walk back to your house,” Ryan says and I look down, nodding my head. Why are they being so nice?
“Great, Ryan, you can go get what you needed and I will walk around with Nevaeh,” Lucy says and he nods, walking away. I pull the money out of my pocket and count $200. Immediately, I grab a shopping cart and make my way down the aisles. Lucy is following me as I walk and it’s a little awkward, “So, Mrs…”
“Call me Lucy and you can call my husband Ryan; everybody does,” she cuts me off and smiles at me. I nod my head and grab two loaves of bread off the shelf, placing them in the cart, “Okay, so how long have you lived in Wolf Wood?” I ask, making small conversation to keep the silence away. Turning down another aisle, I grab peanut butter, grape jelly, chips, and granola bars.
“Oh, I moved here and met Ryan when I was 18, so about 19 years,” she tells me and I try not to stare. That means that she’s almost 40, “But you don’t look old enough to almost be 40,” the words slip out of my mouth and my hands fly up to cover my mouth. Lucy just laughs though, “Thank you… I’ve always aged slower than most people,” she says and I look away.
I let the silence fall over us again as we reach the cold section. I grab two gallons of milk and a couple of strawberry yogurts. I move away from the cold section after grabbing shredded cheese, ground beef, hot dogs, and some apples. Next, I get some lettuce and spinach. The salad dressings are right next to the lettuce, so I grab a bottle of Italian and a bottle of Ranch.
“So, tell me about you and your brother?” Ryan’s voice asks me, making me jump a little. I didn’t know he was back with us. I push the cart to the breakfast section and bite my lip, “Well, I’m 17 and I’m starting school tomorrow. My brother is 23 and he doesn’t have a job here yet,” I say, not wanting to get into details. They can’t find out, because I really don’t want to move again.
As we walk down the aisle and I grab various breakfast foods, I notice Lucy has her arm wrapped around Ryan’s and she’s leaning on him slightly. They look like the perfect couple and I feel a pull at my heart that makes me want to cry. I’ve never really been in a relationship with anyone and I don’t think I will be any time soon because of my brother. Looking away from them, I take a deep breath and look over the stuff in my basket. I think I have enough to last a while, since Maddox doesn’t let me eat much and he eats lunch away from the house.
“Are you done?” Lucy asks, noticing me staring at the basket. I look up and nod my head, “Yeah, I think this is enough,” I tell her and she walks in front of me, leading the way to the register, while Ryan walks behind me. I can’t help but tense up as he walks behind me. I feel safe around him, but at the same time, I still feel the need to keep on my guard.
We reach the register and the woman at the register quickly scans all my items. I pull the money out of my pocket and look up to see that my groceries cost $183.59. I count out $185 and hand it to the lady and she quickly gives me my change, telling me to have a nice day. I slide the $16.41 back into my pocket and start picking up bags filled with food. I have a couple of bags in my hands and I’m about to grab more when a hand stops me. I look to see Ryan grabbing some bags, “Let me,” he says and I thank him.
Ryan takes the rest of the bags, successfully making my eyes widen. He’s carrying more than fifteen bags! I look over to Lucy and she smiles as Ryan walks away to the car. Lucy motions for me to follow him, so I do and when I get to the car, Ryan takes the bags from me and puts them in the trunk with the others.
“Thanks,” I mutter as Ryan closes the trunk and opens the back door for me to get in. I slide into the car and just look out the window. I feel and hear the car start, but I don’t do anything and before I know it, Ryan is opening my door, “We’re here,” he tells me as I get out. I nod and walk around to the already open trunk and start grabbing bags. I notice that the car isn’t in the driveway, so Maddox must have gone out to look for a job.
Opening the front door, I walk in and place the bags of food on the counter. I turn to go back outside and run right into a hard chest, “Sorry,” I say when I look up to see Ryan standing there with more bags. He moves around me and places them on the counter. The more I look at and watch him, the more he reminds me of a father figure, “Thanks for helping,” I say as I walk him to the front door.
“No problem. Lu really likes you and she asked me to give you this,” he says, holding out a small piece of paper. I carefully take it and open it to see two names with phone numbers beside them. I look up at Ryan with a confused expression, “What’s this for?”
“Lu told me to tell you to call us if you ever needed anything,” he says, scratching the back of his neck, like he’s embarrassed.
“Oh, okay… thanks,” I wave as he walks back to his car. Lucy waves at me as they pull out of the driveway. Biting my lip, I walk back into the house and pull out my phone. I set the small piece of paper on the counter and save the numbers into my phone. I just might have to take them up on their offer of help if Maddox gets to be too much.