We pulled up to the rickety old house, and i felt a twinge of excitement that echoed within the sea of melancholy I had been feeling lately.
The house was by no means new or luxurious, but it was much more than I had anticipated.
We moved from California, where we had a two bedroom apartment in the worst part of town. Walking to work each day had become a constant nightmare. While I was thankful to move, I couldn't help but expect the worst.
I've lived with my mother and her husband for three years now, and to say I hate it is an understatement. I was raised by my amazing grandmother for most of my life, but unfortunately she died a few years back. The only other relative able to take me in was my mother.
'Melissa', she insists I call her. As though I'm just some child she found on the street.
Melissa and I have a non-existent relationship, which mean's she pretends I don't exist and I stay out of the way. The issue lies in her husband. Frank likes to drink far too much, and when he does he becomes a complete asshole. I keep my distance from Frank when he's been hitting the bottle too much.
We just moved all the way to Georgia due to a job offer Melissa had gotten. Frank could hardly hold a job, so Melissa paid most of the bills. Typically, I worked part time. I used my money to buy the necessities that Melissa refused to provide.
The new house was much bigger than I had expected. It looked pretty old, sporting chipped white paint and a crooked porch jutting out from the front of the house.
The only thing I was looking forward to regarding out cross country move, was finally having my own bedroom. My bedroom in California consisted of me hanging a curtain to block off the unused dining room. Frank insisted he needed the second bedroom as an office.
I climbed out of the car and stretched, slinging my backpack over my shoulder as I walked to the front porch. I could hear Melissa and Frank already begin to argue, but I had learned to successfully tune them out.
The front porch creaked and groaned under my feet, but I didn't mind it. Frank only ever stepped outside to run to the liquor store, so I would have plenty of time to myself on the porch.
Melissa opened the front door and stepped inside behind Frank. I wasted no time heading upstairs to my bedroom.
"The smallest room, Aurora. Don't forget it." Melissa reminded me, not that I could forget.
I went upstairs and looked around, instantly grateful I had a bathroom close to my bedroom. I felt a smile form on my face when I peeked in Melissa and Frank's room. They had their own bathroom connected to their bedroom, which meant Frank would leave me alone for a change.
Frank always pushed his boundaries with me when he was drunk. He was smart, and never did it while Melissa was around. I had a constant air of caution when I was around Frank. He had gotten handsy a few times, but when he was drunk he was easy to escape.
I walked into my bedroom and looked at the paint peeling from the walls. Once I managed to find myself a job, I could make this room a little more presentable.
I had a small fund saved up since I was old enough to get a job. While I was a straight A student, I needed a backup plan in case I didn't get a scholarship. Escaping this place the moment I turned eighteen was constantly on my mind.
I dropped my backpack on the floor and looked around. It was a small room, but it had a working door and four walls. A rickety queen sized bed sat against the far wall along with a dusty oak dresser.
I ran downstairs and grabbed my large suitcase from the trunk of Melissa's car, struggling under it's weight. Melissa and Frank were still arguing, but that gave me plenty of time to wrestle my suitcase to the top of the stairs.
Everything I needed fit comfortably in my suitcase. I didn't have many clothes, but I had grown used to that sad fact.
I stuffed what clothes I owned in the dusty dresser, pulling out an outfit for school tomorrow.
Melissa had wasted no time enrolling me at the local public school. Anything to get me out of the house and out of Frank's thinning hair.
I stuffed my debit card in my back pocket and ran downstairs.
Melissa had her back turned to me, bickering at Frank as he set up the small TV in the living room.
"Where do you think you're going?" Melissa snapped, turning around to face me as I opened the front door.
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at her. She never cared where I went before.
"I'm gonna go find something for dinner." I shrugged.
I had stopped eating dinners with Melissa and Frank a long time ago. The court had made Melissa my legal guardian until I turned eighteen, so I refused to give her any of the money I worked for. Instead, I supported myself to the best of my ability.
"Get me a six pack while you're out." Frank snapped, his beady eyes narrowed at the hazy image on the TV.
I gritted my teeth together, this man was an idiot. "I'm seventeen."
I turned on my heel and walked out the front door, ignoring Frank's mumbling.
I walked out onto the main road and sighed. I had no idea where I was going. My eyes flickered left and right a few times before finally deciding to go right.
All I needed was a gas station. I could get myself a bag of chips and a bottle of water and call it a night.
I walked down the main road for maybe fifteen minutes and sighed with relief when a small corner store came into view.
That was one thing I'd miss about California. In Cali, you could walk in just about any direction and find a gas station or grocery store.
I walked into the poorly lit corner store and said hello to the cashier, a girl not much older than myself. I grabbed a bag of chips, a couple bottles of water and a granola bar and walked over to the register.
"Hi, um do you know where Westlake Highschool is?" I asked the girl as I swiped my debit card. She had to be in her early twenties. Her hair was jet black but she had a stripe of green running through it.
The girl nodded as she pressed some buttons on the register, "Sure do. Just follow this road until you reach the traffic light and turn left. You won't be able to miss it." She nodded.
"Thanks." I gave her a small smile as I took my receipt from her hand.
The girl looked up from the register, "You new around here?"
"That obvious?" I chuckled. I haven't seen much of the town, but it was clear that it wasn't the largest.
The girl nodded, a small smirk playing on her face. "Towns pretty small. Most of the people in town have houses further out in the woods." She shrugged, as if it were nothing new.
I furrowed my eyebrows, it just sounded strange. "Why not just live in town?"
"I dunno. People around here seem to like their privacy." She shrugged.
I left the corner store feeling confused and a little wary. The girl didn't give me much hope for school tomorrow. If this town really was small, there was no way I'd go unnoticed.
This was the middle of my junior year. Once I finished the rest of this year, I only had one more to go. One more year and I could finally escape Melissa and Frank.