I'm only seventeen for another week then I can leave. I have enough money saved up for a hotel until the end of school. I can last that long. I will last that long. I don't hear him downstairs any more. Maybe he's finally asleep. I let myself relax a bit. Enough for me to fall asleep to the whispers of the darkness.
It wasn't always like this. Back when mom was alive Greg was a good dad. He wasn't my real dad. Not biologically. But he was the guy that stepped up when my bio dad stepped out. You know? My bio-dad apparently was there for my first year of life and then bailed. Cue the warm fuzzy feelings. It was just Mom and I for the next seven years until she met Greg. Then it was the three of us until she died when I was thirteen. Now, don't get me wrong, life wasn't perfect. Mom was strict and ruthless when it came to my training. She was a firm believer that I needed to know how to use the skills the goddess gave me and know how to protect myself. Which has served me well so far in my life. Greg was a doting husband and father-figure. Hell, I even called him dad.
But after she died things changed. He hated that I was here and mom wasn't. I can't say I blame him either. I mean, I wish she was here too. And its not like he signed up to be a fulltime dad to someone else's kid but I've learned life doesn't care. Shit happens and you have to deal with it.
Greg is not dealing with it well.
Between the drinking, drugs, and beatings he's not working anymore. So I work to pay the bills and get food as well as go to school. Its not the best situation but its mine. I work at a grocery store and I teach self defense at the community center.
I thank mom everyday that I am able to help someone get out of a violent situation though. I am proud of that.
I have history first. I love my history teacher Mr. Cairn is super nice. But something feels off today. I can't put my finger on it though. I walk in the door of the class and everyone is staring at me i can feel it on my skin as I keep my eyes down making my way to my seat.
Do I have something on my face? I just ran from home to school I didn't even check the mirror. I look up to see the wide eyes of Mr.Cairn.
"Holy shit. What happened to her? I have to do something." I break eye contact in confusion. Oh shit... I didn't check the mirror after the hit last night! It got pretty bad last night. Shit.
"Excuse me for a moment class. Just read chapter nine and discuss among yourselves." He says leaving the classroom. Shit. I don't even know what it looks like how do I make an excuse? I got an idea!
I look to Emily the girl who sits beside me and make eye contact and give her a small awkward smile. I see myself in her mind. 'Holy shit' is right half my face is a bruise! Purple and tender and a nice yellow one on the other side to even it out. The yellow one has three big knuckle sized darker bruises too. Falling is not going to cover this. I break the connection between Emily and myself and start flipping to chapter nine.
"Amoret Kemp, please make your way to the office, Amoret Kemp." I hear over the school speakers. I heave a breath still wracking my brain for an excuse. I was almost there.
As I arrive at the office I notice two police officers and a lady in a bright yellow cardigan with citrus fruits all over it. Like a walking five-alive ad.
I stop and have to take another deep breath and continue. I make eye contact with the blue eyes of the male officer.
"Holy crap! This girl had the shit beat out of her!"
I connect with the hazel eyes of the female officer.
"Poor thing, thank goodness we called the Social worker."
I make my way past the lemon loving social worker and into the office when I hear a gasp from the secretary. I look up and see she has her hands over her mouth and her eyes look watery.
"This little slip of a girl has been going through hell and no one has noticed."
I can't do this. I start backing up to run but hit a hard chest. Oh right the police are behind me. I feel so small. I feel a hand touch my shoulder and I flinch as a reaction further damning me.
"Ms. Kemp. Please come into my office and take a seat." The principal, Mrs. Reid gestures into his office and I shuffle in followed by Mrs. Reid, Mr. Cairn, Ms. Lemons 'r us, and the officers.
"So, Ms. Kemp. I see you've been injured. What happened?" She asks gently.
"I fell?" Shit that came out like a question. I hear a cough behind me.
"We can't help you if you don't tell us. But know that we do have officers at your house." She says in a soft voice but I can tell she is going to take no bullshit.
"I'm almost eighteen. I'm almost out." I say quietly. Ms. Citrus comes to crouch beside me and takes my hand.
"But you're not yet. How long are you going to last? I hear you have good grades are you going to leave for college?" She asks in a soothing voice.
"I either get out or go to college. I can't do both." I say. It sounds bad even to me.
"Well, now you won't have to choose. I am here to help. Let me." I feel all twisted up. Slowly I nod. Just as I'm about to talk I hear one of the officers radios go off. I can only make out a few words clearly. But they are not good words. "Arrest", "resist", and "drugs" were among them. I whip around to look at the officers. They won't meet my eyes. But that says it all Greg has been arrested.
"Fine. What needs to happen?" I ask turning back to Mrs. Reid. She smiles, pride showing in her face.
"Ok, well Ms. Morris here is a social worker who is going to talk to you about some options. Mr. Cairn and I are going to give you guys some privacy. You're being so strong Mor. I'm proud of you." She says with a warm smile. Well shit. The teachers leave me with the police and Ms. Morris.
"Alright Amoret. We're going to start with getting you somewhere safe. Do you have any relatives? Where is your mom?" Ms. Morris asks sweetly.
"My mom died four years ago. Thats why this is happening." I watch her flinch. "I think she had a brother but thats it as far as I know. I don't think I've met him before though." I inform her. "Lon Kemp."