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Chapter One

"I won't be gone long, Mom. Don't even worry about it." I assured her, pulling her in for a brief hug. I flashed her a smile, trying to comfort her as much as I could.

She always had a conniption when I went out for grocies, or for anything for that matter, using the same lame excuse each time: There are crazy people out there, sweety, if you ended up getting raped I wouldn't be able to live with myself.

And usually, I obliged, wanting to keep Mom as happy as she could get. But this time, I needed to go. We were basically out of everything besides Milk, Grapes, and Cereal. And those weren't enough to get us through yet another week.

I was 19, so it wasn't that big of a deal, since I was a legal adult and wasn't covered under my Mom's insurance anymore, I could basically go to the Grocery Store anytime I wanted and nobody would even think to question me.

Even before adulthood I had been independent. The week after Dad was murdered, I decided to become my own person. To sever all bonds so I would never feel that kind of pain again.

But as it turned out, those tight bonds were extremely hard to break. And even after I thought they were broken, I realized it would always be there. After Mom was diagnosed with depression and had been in the hospital for attempted suicide, it was then I realized the pain would never go away. I realized other people needed me, and I couldn't just leave them. I needed to think about other things besides my own emotions, about my own well-being.

"Honey, please be careful," She begged, "We can go another week without groceries. I'm sure we have something!"

Mom frowned as she glanced into the bare cupboards, biting the side of her cheek in thought.

She inhaled, turning to meet my eyes, ready to find a way to make me stay with her. As much as I loved her, both of us have lost weight because of her separation anxiety forcing me to stay home instead of buy us food. Usually I ended up sneaking out at night to some 24 hour fast food restuarant or gas station so I could at least eat something.

Before she could come up with another excuse for me to stay at home forever, I cut her off, "Quill is waiting outside for me, Mom. He'll be with me. I'll be fine! Promise."

Quill was...someone I definitely felt safer with, despite him being as skinny as skinny gets, his house was literally my second home when I tried to leave everyone I loved, but, as I said, keeping yourself distant from everyone wasn't easily achieved. He ended becoming someone I trusted more than I trusted myself, although he was a sarcastic irritation that I hated somedays.

"I don't think that's something you can promise," She grumbled, crossing her arms.

I rolled my eyes, stomping a foot in frustration. She could be infuriating sometimes!

"Goodbye, Mother!" I screamed, exasperation seeping desperately into my voice. I grabbed my purse, wanting to be gone and back as fast as possible so I could study for college exams next week.

"Love you, honey!" She called after me, her voice raising a few octaves.

"Yeah, right," I mumbled so she couldn't hear my snarky remarks.

I rolled my eyes, slamming the door behind me. I would only be gone a twenty minutes or so, there was really nothing she needed to worry about.

"Mommy issues again?" Quill asked as I slammed his royal blue car door shut.

I huffed, crossing my arms and sinking even deeper into the seat of the car. Quill tended to be a sarcastic irritation, but, he was the one person she actually felt safe around, despite the fact that he was as skinny as skinny gets.

He smiled, flicking the side of my head, "Aren't you just the sweetest little thing!" He cooed, poking my face.

I furrowed my eyebrows, shooting him a glare. Right then, I really wished someone would jump through the car window and strangle him to death.

"Leave me alone, Quill. I'm not in the mood." I snarled, swatting at his hand.

He just chuckled at my pathetic attempt to be angry at him. But, as the time began to waste away, I started to grow just a little more irritable with him.

He pulled at my sloppy ponytail, laughing at me as I did so.

He definitely knew how angering he was, but, clearly, that seemed to be his goal.

I glanced up at him, watching his face drop a little, as he noticed I was actually upset. My eyes portrayed sadness, clueing him in on the sadness overtaking me.

His dull blue eyes looked down at me, filling with sadness. He ran it through his curly, black hair, silently placing his hand on my shoulder. He knew about my Dad, he knew what happened, he knew about how I tried to section myself away from everyone, he knew how my mother had tried to kill herself and how she had horrible separation anxiety. But he never brought it up, yet his hand resting on my shoulder felt like him questioning everything all over again.

I grabbed his wrist, glaring at him with my big, brown eyes, "Stop it, Quill. Just leave me alone." I growled, brushing the staticky strands of blond hair out out of my face.

He rolled his eyes, starting the car. I stared blankly out the window, my hot tears fogging up the glass.

"You know I didn't mean it like that," He breathed, tugging gently on my shoulder.

I squirmed out of his grasp, smacking his fingers, "I know," I sighed, trying not to choke on the sobs blocking my throat.

I watched the fresh droplets of rain pound against the window.

And as the rolling rain blurred the window, and while the cars zoomed past, I saw him. I saw him just as I last remembered him, frizzy, strawberry blond hair and round spectacles, but I knew it was him. I watched him pull up next to us as we waited at the red light, I watched him turn his turn signal on to turn into the library parking lot.

But when I blinked, he was gone.

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