“Shit!” I whisper-yelled.
I stubbed my toe against the edge of the bed as I was attempting to sneak out.
I peeked over at Richard...or Ryan...or whatever his name was to make sure he was still sleeping. When I was sure he was I continued to pull up my skinny jeans. My eyes were squinted in the dark, trying to find the rest of my clothing that was scattered around his apartment. When I had finally tracked down my blouse, I hooked my heels in my one hand and slung my handbag on my arm. Then I quietly tip toed out of the bedroom, past the kitchen and sneakily out his front door, which the idiot forgot to lock.
It was close to two in the morning and the roads were practically empty, it would be impossible to find a cab. Luckily the guy lived walking distance from the club we met at. It took me just over twenty minutes to walk back to the almost dead club and find my red Camaro still parked across the street from the entrance.
Once I was safely sitting in the driver’s seat, I smoothed my hair down and quietly banged my head against the steering wheel. My adopted parents would be so mad if they knew where I was. I didn’t want to think about getting caught with the headache that my sudden soberness had brought on. I would have the worst hangover tomorrow morning.
I sighed deeply but started the car anyway and drove to the house. As soon as I got back, I drove up the extensive driveway and parked next to Cameron’s new Ferrari. Then I snuck quietly to the side of the large house and began to climb up the rose ladder to my bedroom window on the second floor.
I climbed into the dark room quietly and found the light switch for the en suite bathroom. Once I was inside it, I pulled off my skinny jeans and blouse and replaced them with fuzzy shorts and an oversized T-shirt. I scrubbed my face of my smudged mascara and ruined make up. Then I ran a brush through my messy dark brown locks.
I walked back into the room and switched off the bathroom light. I sauntered up to my king sized bed and picked up my purse from next to the bed where I left it with my heels. I pulled out my phone and plugged it into its charger on my bedside table. I sighed and crawled onto my large bed, snuggled into my pillows and fell asleep.
My name is Esther Rebecca Matthews and this was a normal night for me. It wasn’t always like this. Three years ago, my mum, Carli Matthews, was brutally murdered by Kent Matthews, my father. He was a drunk, an aggressive drunk. He had never been taught good manners and patience and I sometimes wonder how my mom could marry a man like that. He wasn’t always like that. They had me when my mom was eighteen going on nineteen and he was seven years older than her.
They met at a concert during her junior year of high school and she says it was love at first sight. And of course with her being a high school teenage cheerleader, barely capable of understanding the morbid truths of the world, and him being a hot college football player it didn’t take long for them to engage in the usual reckless sexual behaviours. And just after she finished senior year, barely making it with her just above average grades, she found out she was pregnant.
Her parents were incredibly strict Christians and she didn’t want to break the news that she was pregnant out of wedlock; they would probably have shunned her and forbid them to ever see each other. So they got married two months into her pregnancy. She never went to college. Kent finished his degree and got a well paying office job at some fancy business company. She moved out of her parents’ house and soon enough they had me. After that my mom managed to get a job as a waitress for some restaurant. And five years later, things were working out for them. She eventually got promoted to manager due to her hard work and determination. He eventually became CEO. We were a happy family.
But nothing lasts forever.
Suddenly dad got busier and more stressed. I would hear him arguing with mum about the silliest of things in the middle of the night. The stress, the arguing; that suddenly became the norm for them and it tore them apart. Mum would always come into my room, tears in her eyes and climb into bed with me.
Dad began drinking to solve his problems. And every time he did, he got worse. It started with yelling. Then he would threaten her. And soon it got so bad that he dared to lay a hand on her. We would talk and every time I asked if she was okay she would nod, with a bruise forming on her face, and tell me,
“I’m a big strong brave girl. Just like you will be one day.”
She would tell me stories; sell me dreams of a prince in shining armour. She would sell me dreams of a nonexistent fantasy.
She sold me a happy ending, and I believed her.
Then one day, I came home the day before my fifteenth birthday to find the police swarming my house. I kept asking what was happening but they were disregarding me as the annoying neighbor’s’ kid; a child stepping past their boundaries and being curious. So I snuck past the yellow tape and ran into the house.
Once I was standing in the living room, the officers shouting at me and trying to chase me out became a dull throbbing. I couldn’t concentrate on anything but the blood. There was so much blood. It was splattered across the floor and it painted the wall. But mostly it surrounded the woman that had cherished and taught me love from the moment I was born.
“Mum!” I screamed, running towards her beaten and bruised body. I knelt beside her body, not noticing the blood soaking into the knees of my jeans. Tears pooled quickly in my big bright green eyes as I sobbed over her body, cradling her in my lap, begging for her to come back.
She promised me a happy ending and she lied.
The gun wound through her head was what broke my heart the most.
I didn’t need the police to check through the surveillance tapes to tell me that it was my father. I knew because shattered on the wall next to her head was a vodka bottle.
Ever since I have been on what one might call a downward spiral.
I was adopted by Cameron and Selena Summers, a lovely rich British couple with hearts of gold. Unfortunately, a heart of gold was not what I wanted. I wanted my mum. They took me in and tried their best. In the three years I have lived with them, I have maybe spoken less than a hundred sentences.
I never wanted to talk.
At first, I wouldn’t talk to them because every time I opened my mouth to say something, the image of my mum’s lifeless body that couldn’t hear me, respond to me, would pop up and I would be speechless. Then it was because I didn’t know what they were capable of; I never knew what my father was capable of. They weren’t the only ones I shut out. I stopped talking to all my friends from my old school. I pushed people away.
Then the nightmares came.
I would always dream of the scene that I saw on the surveillance tapes. I would always see how my dad beat her and threw bottles at her. And I would see how when she turned away from him to wipe her tears, he pulled out the revolver and shot her in the back of her head. But I would always be there. In the nightmares, I would be standing at the entrance to living room, unable to move, screaming at them to stop fighting; screaming at him to stop hurting her. And when mum’s lifeless body would drop to the floor, he would turn, point the gun at me and shoot.
And I guess it was true in a sense. It was true because when he killed my mum, he killed a part of me too.
I was dead on the inside.
But anyway, the night terrors got so bad that I became an insomniac. No matter what, I wouldn’t let myself fall asleep. The sleep deprivation lead to stress and I guess that there was one trait my dad passed on to me. About four months after the night terrors started, I didn’t want to go to sleep one night. So I thought of something to do. I had heard some kid talking about a college party that was being thrown that night. So I waited until Cameron and Selena had gone to bed before pulling on a pair of ripped jeans and a Victoria’s Secret corset with high heels and a leather jacket. I did my makeup, which mum had taught me, and styled my hair.
I snuck out through my bedroom window, stole Cameron’s sports car keys and drove myself to the party.
I was blessed with my mother’s soft features and dark brown hair and bright green eyes and good looks so it didn’t shock me when I pulled up and several guys threw their undivided attention at me. I walked into the sorority house like I owned the place and no one questioned the fifteen year old me. I found the alcohol stash fairly quickly and downed as many beers as I could find. I could feel my body becoming numb to my problems and I loved the feeling. The more I drank the more I forgot, so I drank until I couldn’t feel anything.
It worked. But it only worked for a night. I woke up the next morning at five in the bed of some random sorority brother with an ache between my legs and not a shred of my innocence left. I snuck out in pain, having to search carefully for my clothes early in the morning. Then I had to ignore the blinding headache I had and drive Cameron’s car back home and sneak in through my window. Then I had to get rid of my party clothes and makeup and tuck myself back into bed as if I had been there the entire night before Selena woke up at seven when she went for her morning jog.
That was where it all started; that was the beginning of the vicious cycle.
I would go out, drinking or clubbing, drink myself silly, get high on all sorts of things and wake up in the arms of a stranger, only to do it the next time I felt the night terrors creep up.
The night terrors eventually left, but my bad habits didn’t. I was hooked by now.
The numbness was freeing. I didn’t have to worry about anything, even if only for a few hours. It became my way to cope with the ever present emptiness that my mum’s death brought.
And one day, my bad habits caught up to me.
One day changed everything.
And that is where my story begins.