The painful secret (1)

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Chapter ten

"Were you sick?"

Allison looked up at Brian and cocked her head. "What?"

Brian shut his door, but not all the way, and began getting out his art supplies. "You weren't in school for two days. Were you sick?"

"Yes," she said quickly. "Probably had what ever Jason had."

The dark-haired boy set up the chairs and sat down. Allison had grabbed a brownie before taking her seat in the other. She was starving and was glad that his mother decided to make them a snack. "You're not having one?"

Brian shook his head and moved his chair so that he had a good three-quarter angle on her. "I don't like sweets," he said simply.

"Oh"

Silence fell over the room as Brian began to draw. Allison nibbled on the brownie, if only to distract herself. When ever his eyes fell on her, a wave of nervousness washed over her. Even though he was simply drawing, his gaze remained the same; intent and serious. After a couple of minutes, she could start to feel sweat forming on her brow and her hands were turning clammy. She didn't know if it was because of his stare or that it was simply hot. Discreetly, she wiped her hands on her pants.

"Hot?" Brian asked, while still drawing.

Allison was beginning to think he had a third eye or something. He didn't miss a thing. "Uh地 little."

He didn't reply and kept drawing. She decided to just keep quiet. She wasn't even about to ask for a drink or even for him to open the window. By how intently he worked, Allison felt like he didn't want to be bothered in the least bit.

~~~~

"Were you able to talk to him?" Jenna asked her husband as soon as he walked in the door.

Before answering, David gave his wife a small kiss and put her briefcase down. "I did and he was shocked."

"You mean Mr. Lia had no idea that his daughter my be being abused."

He shook his head. "He noticed that she changed after her mother died, but just figured it was from shock. He also said that she refused therapy when he offered it." A sigh escaped him. "Is she here yet?"

Jenna nodded. "She's upstairs with Brian. He hasn't brought up her bruises yet."

"We have to find out who is hurting her or if she is inflicting pain on herself. Her father is really concerned and wants us to send her home so that he can talk to her, but匈'm not sure if that's the best idea."

"No夷f she hasn't gone to him yet, then I doubt forcing her to talk to her father will only drive her away." Jenna looked up the stairs. "I think Brian is the one she will talk to in the end"

~~~~

After a half hour, Brian stood and moved his chair directly in front of her. This made her anxious. Before, she could divert her away and avoid looking at him. Now, she stared at him straight on and he stared right back. It seemed hours until he decided to flick his eyes back on his paper.

"So your father is a surgeon?" he suddenly asked, making Allison gasp in surprise.

She just nodded, her eyes falling to the floor. Her father was one subject that could make her upset in an instant. Even though she tried to hide it, she couldn't. So much sorrow had filled her emerald orbs, but she did not cry or frown. She just raised them back to Brian and pretended like she was bothered by nothing.

Brian, however, was watching her intently. After talking to his mother and father about the bruises she had, they assumed that it was abuse right away, as did he. But he had a different theory. His parents believe that it either self inflicted or done by another person, excluding her father. He, on the other hand, thinks it was him that was hurting her. His parents didn't think so because when they were counseling him, they believed he made a full recovery from everything and anything.

However, Brian didn't care if he had counseling or not. From what he'd seen, Mr. Lia was the only viable person. He pretty much knew that she didn't have a boyfriend because of how introverted she was and she never said one word about having one. He didn't think it was self inflicted either. The positioning of the hand prints would prove that they were made by someone else. She didn't have friends and even though some students at Hilia like to bully her, he never saw anyone put a hand on her.

That left her father. The only person she sees outside school on a daily basis. He was a surgeon and could easily access doctor's notes. To get a note she would have to see a doctor, whom of which would question the constant bruising. Mr. Lia was an authority figure in her life and smallest abuse of that authority would make her afraid of everything. If she couldn't trust her own father, then who could she trust?

Sighing, Brian put his sketchbook down on the floor. As he leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms, Allison arched an eyebrow at him. He didn't say anything, just looked at her, his black eyes yielding a piercing gaze.

"冰rian?" Allison began. "What's wrong? Why did you-"

"Tell me what you're hiding," he said, cutting her off.

The red-haired girl's eyes widened for only a second before she looked away. "I don't安hat are you talking about?"

He leaned forward in his chair, uncrossing his arms. "You know what I mean; where did you get those bruises? What is your father?"

Allison gasped and her hand immediately went to her neck. She shook her head and stood from the chair. "I have to go."

But as she reached for her backpack, Brian grabbed her wrist. She cringed and brought her other arm up, as if she was protecting herself. "No! Please don't hit me!"

Brian let go of her wrist instantly, eyes wide. He watched her lower her arm, her breath shallow and heavy. Her eyes darted everywhere, once in a while landing on him. Finally, she grabbed her bag and sprinted for the door.

"Allison! Wait!"

But she was gone and Brian was left with this horrible feeling of guilt. He was never going to hit her. The thought hadn't even crossed his mind. He realized that he was a bit careless when he grabbed her, but she should have known that he wouldn't even think about laying a hand on her.

It took him a moment to regroup, before he sprinted from his room after her.

~~~~

"Allison!" Jenna called after her as she ran from the house. But Allison didn't look back. When she heard feet hurrying down the stairs, she turned and found her son rushing after her. "What happened, Brian?"

He stopped, but kept his eyes on the open door. "I made a mistake."

Jenna put her hands on her hips. "What did you say to her? Her father is going to kill us if he finds out we confronted her."

His eyes widened. "You talked to her father?"

She nodded, confused by his dire tone. "Yeah. Of course. He's on his way home from work to talk to Allison about her problems. Why?"

A sense of horror washed over him. Without answering, he dashed from the house with one thing on his mind; the red-haired girl, Allison Lia
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