Then You Look At Me

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~As time passes, things change every day. Wounds heal, but scars still remain the same~ Eminem & Sia.

Chapter Theme Song: ‘Beautiful Pain’ by Eminem ft. Sia.

TRIGGER WARNING: Chapter contains implication of sexual assault.



I take a shower then get dressed in a black tank top and white pajama pants. I put my damp clammy hair into a messy bun and make my way downstairs to get something to eat before my mom or Jeff arrives.

My phone dings in my pocket while I amble to the kitchen and my face brightens when I realize that it’s a message from Riley.

I miss Crossview ☹ I should just run away from home. Bailey is super annoying!


I chuckle softly, glancing at her chat’s display picture. Ironically, it’s a snap of her and Bailey. Her arms are thrown over his shoulders in the most loving way possible. I smile at the image as I type a response.

Your dp is saying the complete opposite Ry. Lol. You both look so adorable XD


I place the cell onto the counter, tipping on my toes to reach the cabinet’s handle. I sift through the wooden space for something that isn’t bread or cereal. I want a home-cooked meal but considering my mom only eats take-outs, that’s probably impossible. My mind flows back to Ansel’s mom’s stewed chicken and my mouth salivates. God, Riley isn’t the only one who wants to run away from home.

My cell dings with another notification and I close the cupboard and reach for it.

Lol! He forced me to take that pic btw :-D Anyway, how’s Ansel?


I am ninety-nine percent sure her true intention is to know about Alex. I can tell she likes him, but I am not sure what’s holding her back.

Ry, we both know Alex is who you secretly want to ask about lol.


I pick at my nails, idly watching the three moving dots at the bottom which signals that’s she’s typing a response.

Ugh. You got me. How’s Alex? 😊


I smile. I knew it.

He’s great. I was at their house today. Do you want his number?


The blue ticks beside my text box tell me she has seen my message, but she pauses for a few seconds before she begins to type.

Nah. I’m scared of him. He’s way too hot. And hot guys are players. ☹


I want to disagree, but recalling Alaric’s cheating on Sam, I can’t say she doesn’t have a point. I sigh. Poor Sam.

I get what you mean. But he seems to really like you though.



Yeah…but I saw a few girls checking him out at Club Naked the other night. I don’t know, standing next to him makes me feel a tad bit insecure.


I frown. Riley is pretty. She has a cute face that tends to have heads turning whenever we go out. I don't know why she can't see that.

Are you nuts? You’re amazing, Ry. Don’t you dare think otherwise!


I realize that I haven’t gotten something to eat yet and my mom may arrive anytime soon, so I place the phone onto the counter and move toward the fridge.

I squat down with a tired sigh, scanning the space for food. There is only a jug of milk, soft drinks, beer, and ham. I am not surprised. Jeff drinks a lot and considering he’s always lethargic, the only thing he has the drive to prepare for himself is a ham sandwich. I can’t understand what my mom sees in him, he literally brings nothing to the table.

The sudden creak of the front door followed by the deep growls of laughter makes my blood instantly run cold. I shut my eyes, taking a deep breath. I recognize those voices all too well. As if it isn’t bad enough that Jeff is home, he has his friend Greg Taylor with him. They both share the same qualities and tendencies. My hatred for them both run equally deep.

I should just return upstairs, but the growl in my stomach is starting to make me nauseous. Deciding I am not in the position to be picky at this point, I grab a packet of ham from the fridge, deciding to make myself a fast sandwich. I just need to quietly prepare it as swiftly as possible. Hopefully, I can slip my way upstairs to avoid interacting with them.

“Woah, look at this house. It’s freaking huge.” Greg’s deep croaky voice, which tends to raise the hair on my skin, booms off the walls as they enter the living room. “Now this is what I call a luxurious lifestyle! I am proud of you, bro.”

“Well…life has been good to me, I can’t complain.” Jeff chuckles and I roll my eyes. Everything here belongs to my mom, so he’s not the one who should be getting the praises.

“I have money myself, and I must say, I freaking envy you.” Greg titters. “Miranda is a gift to you from the heavens. Where is she by the way?”

At the mention of my mom’s name, I keenly listen in on the conversation.

“She’s at work. She’s a CEO, where else would she be?”

“Yeah, you’re right. I haven’t heard from her since I left the country in 2017. Is everything okay with you two?”

“Yeah…” Jeff sighs, and I hear the couch dips as he sits on it. “But she fucks like an old woman…”

Greg laughs and I furrow my brows at the rude remark about my mom. We may not be on good terms, but it still makes me disgruntled to hear him speak about her that way. I press my lips together and decide not to say anything. They haven’t noticed my presence and I don’t want to pull their attention. I am not finished making my sandwich.

I spread cream cheese on the wheat bread while the two continues to speak.

“If she isn’t pleasing you then go to a club and find a younger girl to have fun with. My Dad did that a lot when he was dating my mom, and he didn’t even miss his sex life with her after a while.” Greg simply suggests.

“I do that quite often.”

“Do what?”

“Hook up with chics from the clubs. I don’t choose a bitch over twenty though, Miranda’s saggy titties have traumatized me enough.”

Greg cracks up at this and I swallow hard. Those words are way too mean.

“Pray she dies soon. You’ll get all her assets and possessions. Let her put your name on the will, Jeff. That’d be the best thing to ever happen to you. Imagine you attaining this fine house and—”

He trails off abruptly, a sudden wave of silence sweeping through the house. Realization dawns on me and I blow my cheeks out, knowing the reason for his unfinished sentence.

“Woah. Look who’s all grown up.”

Footsteps travel toward the kitchen and I shut my eyes. Please leave me alone.

I quickly put the sandwich into the microwave and set the timer. Greg slants against the fridge behind me, crossing his arms against his chest.

“Damn. You grew up nicely. I like what I see.”

His eyes roam down my body, landing on my thighs. I swallow, shifting my weight in discomfort as I impatiently tap my nails on the counter. The microwave is being unusually slow tonight. I watch the moving numbers, feeling Greg’s disgusting stare on my back.

“Lady shape and all…I’m impressed.”

The microwave hasn’t reached the allotted time, but I press stop and retrieve the sandwich; I rather eating cold food than being in the same space as them. I slip my cell in my pocket and quickly grab a 7UP from the fridge, turning around to leave when Greg saunters in my path.

“What’s the rush, Rainey?”

I sigh, while Jeff chuckles from the living room, shaking his head. “Be careful, she might throw salt in your eyes.”

Greg snickers at the remark but doesn’t move.

I glare at him. The smug smile on his face makes my stomach churn as he strokes the stubble on his craggy jaw.

“Do you have a boyfriend now?” He jams his hands in the pockets of his trousers, rocking back and forth. I see when his eyes drop to my chest and bile rises in my throat.

“Get out of my way.”

He tilts his head to the side. “Still feisty, I see. I haven’t seen you since you were fourteen, Rainey. Come on…be nice.”

I tighten my hold on the soft drink, shifting angry eyes to Jeff, who’s smirking from the couch. “Could you please tell your friend to piss off?”

My tone is sharp and demanding, but Jeff seems to find it humorous since he simpers.

“He’s right in front of you, you tell him.” He takes a swig of the beer in his hand, raising a brow at me.

I motion to get around Greg when he blocks my path, pressing a palm on the wall to bar me. I clench my teeth, giving him a dirty look. His face is enough to cause chills all over my body.

He drops his voice. “Listen. I don’t want you fooling around with these boys out here. You need a man. Not a boy. A girl with a body like yours…” He gives me a once over, a clear look of iniquitous lust in his eyes. “Shouldn’t be dealing with a kid.”

I furiously shove him out of my way, and he stumbles back laughing while I storm out of the kitchen in a rage.

“I should start coming over often, what do you think, Jeff?”

I hear Jeff laugh as I prowl up the stairs. “You can even live here if you like!”

I enter my room and slam the door behind me. I crash on my bed, raising my knees to my chest. Memories begin to flood my mind; of the day it all began.

°°Flashback Begins°°

June 06, 2013

Rainey (10 Years Old)

Little girls play with toys, right? But why do I feel like I was wrong to have played with my dolls that day?

The door to my room creaked open, and my big amber eyes looked up to see Greg stepping inside. The wooden floor squeaked beneath his boots, his movements roguish and stealthy.

Greg had been over several times before that day, he’s a friend of both Jeff and my mother. He would always buy me ice-cream and get me roasted marshmallows. I would automatically feel elated whenever he’d come around.

I gave him an angelic smile, the smile that hasn’t returned to my face since that evening.

He closed the door behind him and sat on the mat beside me, gazing at the two dolls in my small hands. “What are you doing?”

“Getting Suzie dressed. She’s going to the mall with Bella.” I spoke sweetly and he tittered, placing his elbows on his knees.

“Who’s Suzie and who’s Bella?”

I showed him the doll with black hair, and he pretended to be interested, nodding his head. “She’s Suzie. And the other is Bella.”

“Nice.” He pointed at the doll’s underwear. “I like Suzie’s little…bikini thing.” He chuckled.

It wasn’t anything great. It was just pieces of fabrics sloppily sewn together to imitate an undergarment. But at that moment, I was much too young, too naïve to spot his hidden intentions.

“Oh, it came with the dolls. My mommy also bought a few others for them; would you like to see?” I readily motion for the toy kit when he held my shoulder.

“No, no it’s okay,” he asserted, but his hand lingered for much too long on my arm. “I want to see something else instead, will you let me see?”

My forehead puckered in ignorance as I innocently stared at him. “What’s that?”

He placed a palm on my skinny thigh. It felt cold and rough against my skin and my gaze dropped to the uncomfortable gesture.

“Yours.” He said in a low voice. I raised confused eyes to look at him while his hand began trailing beneath my yellow summer dress.

“I want to see yours, Rainey.”

°°Flashback Ends°°

A loud knock at my room door pulls me from the terrifying depths of my mind. I let out a sigh, burying my face in my hands. That memory is one of the many that I hate so much.

The knock comes again, this time louder and I get down from my bed, wiping sweat from my forehead.

As soon as I open the door, my mother furiously barges into my room. I stumble back, gawking at her in bewilderment.

“I am taking your laptop, your cellphone, everything!” She grabs my laptop off the table, and I lunge over to her in confusion.

“Why? What did I do?”

“What did you do? You know very well what you did, Rainey Slate!”

“No, I don’t!”

“Mrs. Cameron called me today!” She shrieks. “She told me that you were involved in an altercation, you know I am sick and tired of your delinquency!”

I press a hand against my forehead, shifting my weight. “Wh-what did she tell you? I was being bullied and all I did was stood up for myself, what did she—”

“Why do principals have to call me all the time about you? Do you know how much money I bribed her with so she could enroll you in the school? She didn’t want to accept you, knowing the reason you got expelled from Freetown, but do you know what I did? I paid her extra!” She beats at her chest. “I fucking paid her extra, so don’t waste my goddamn money or go live with your wretched father!”

She looks around the room frantically, probably searching for my cell which is in my pocket.

“I don’t know what she told you, but I didn’t do anything! I just stuck up for myself!” I lament.

“That’s always the excuse. ′Sticking up for yourself’. I am sick of hearing it! Can’t you be a normal child like everyone else? All my friends have normal kids, but I don’t know what sin I have committed to wind up with a daughter like you!”

I narrow my eyes at her. “Don’t say that to me!”

“I will say it!” She places a hand on her hip, my laptop in the other. “I had such a long day at work, I lost an important deal and your delinquency makes me feel so much worse!” She looks around the room. “Where is your phone?”

I cross my arms, jerking a leg. “I don’t know.”

“Where is your cellphone, Rainey Slate?!”

“I don’t have it, okay?”

Instantly, my phone dings in my pajama and I shut my eyes. Bad timing, Riley.

My mom steps forward and forcefully shoves her hand in my pocket. I lack the energy to object, so I just allow her to grab the device without a fight.

“Just so you know, no Riley and no Ansel!” She yells, turning my cellphone off.

I squint my eyes at her. “No, you cannot ban me from seeing them.”

She scoffs. “I can do a lot of things; I am your mother. Riley can’t come over and you can’t see Ansel. When you reflect on your actions then you will have ‘friends.’” She storms out with my laptop and cellphone, slamming the door behind her.

I press my palms over my eyes and lay back on my bed. I roll onto my side, resting my head in my palm. I stare out the windows at the night sky, my mind flowing right back to Ansel. I close my eyes, wishing I could be wherever he is.

^A/N: Hi😊Thank you for reading❤I love the chapter theme song so much, please check it out if you can!💜

P.S: If you like my novel, don't forget to hit that like/heart at the bottom. Also, don't forget to follow me, so that you can get instant notifications of when I've updated. Thank you! ILY! Stay tuned for more💜


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