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Just Breathe

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Chapter One Bailey 6 weeks earlier

“Okay, bubba make sure all the important things you want to bring with you are packed. Tomorrow is our big day.” I lean down and press a kiss to my baby brother’s forehead. Logan is 5 years old and as far as he’s concerned, I’m his only parent and not his sister.

“Mom, are you sure you’re okay to run away tomorrow? I know your bruises still hurt you.” Logan whispers as he plays with his food. Usually, he would have scarfed down his mac and cheese, since it’s the “bestest” food in the whole wide world. His words, not mine. But today my little man is a ball of nerves and not even his favorite food is helping.

“Hey, look at me.” I lift his chin and bend down on my knees so that we’re at eye level. His sad green eyes mirror my own. Thankfully, it’s the only thing we inherited from our lovely father.

“The only thing that can ever keep me from protecting you and getting out of here, is if I stop breathing.” I stop to make sure he really understands there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect him and give him a safe life.

“Tomorrow we start a new life where it’s just you and me, and all the mac and cheese you want.” At the last part, he gives the biggest smile, it lights up his entire face, and all is right in the world.

“I love you mom.” He throws his little chubby arms around my neck and squeezes as hard as he can. It’s moments like these that make all the bruises and two broken ribs I have worth it. Just to hear him say those three little words.

“I love you. Now, finish up quickly before your father gets home from work. Remember Logan, we act exactly like every other night. We can’t give anything away, okay?” I give him my serious mom tone, so he knows I mean business. “I won’t say a peep, I want to leave this place so we can be safe mom, I don’t want him hurting you anymore.” With that, he finishes up his dinner and quickly goes back to our room and he won’t be coming out until tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow I take my baby and will never look back. I just pray to whoever will listen that everything goes according to my plan. Father already gave me my usual, weekly beating three days ago, so I’m hoping that tonight he’ll leave me alone. Logan’s right, my injuries are killing me today. More so, I’m pretty sure I have a broken rib or two. If they’re not broken, then they’re bruised to shit. I had to work yesterday evening and waiting tables doesn’t help. None of that matters though, I have saved enough money in the last two years to get away from this hell hole with Logan. My boss is giving me his old truck, which makes leaving fast and much easier, instead of having to wait for a cab to take us to the bus station. I may have struck out with the father I was given, but somehow, when it comes to friends, I’ve lucked out.

Joe, my boss, wanted to help me out a lot sooner by having me and Logan move in with him until I could find my own place. I kindly declined his offer, not that I don’t trust him. It’s that to start a new life with Logan it can’t be in the same damn town as our father. If I could, I would leave the country, but let’s face it, I don’t have the funds for that. So he gave me his truck that he will be dropping it off at exactly 8:10 AM tomorrow. Father dearest leaves for work at exactly 7:55 AM to start work at 8:45 AM. That gives us 15min to ensure he leaves and doesn’t run into Joe arriving and loading our bags.

Everything is ready. All that’s left is surviving this last night and for morning to arrive.

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