|| Eliana's POV ||
I flinched at the ominous racket of glass shattering downstairs. All I wanted was to run far away. After a long wistful sigh, a wry smile formed on my lips.
“Well, there’s no use of thinking like that. It’s absolutely impossible,” I grumbled aloud.
Mother was still here and she needed me. Why she was still here with that bastard, I’ll never know. And, to be honest, I didn’t want to know. But, she needed me and I knew that I would never leave her. “Family” surrounded us like a bunch of ravenous wolves, waiting for her to die. Another loud bang echoed through the halls and shook the windows. Whatever he did, that son of a bitch better not hurt her. My mother had long told me to never go near my step father when he was in one of his moods. My eyes narrowed at my door. Clenching my fists, I started to shake with rage. It was all I could do to not bolt out of my room and run to my mother’s side. However, per her instructions, I just stood there and stared at the door with gritted teeth.
John Mayer had married my mother a few years ago and, unknowingly to us, was a drunk—a really really bad drunk. He hadn’t laid a hand on her the last few months, but he still hurled the furniture around. The first couple of times he raved about like this had scared me. However, with his behavior becoming a daily occurrence, my fear had been replaced by hatred and anger. Frustrated with it all, I rubbed my hands down my rumbled jeans. I needed to leave. I needed to get out of this hell hole and fill my lungs with fresh air. With my exhibition tomorrow, I needed to calm down and relax. To paint serene and beautiful pictures, one couldn’t be surrounded by crashing and banging noise all day.
I rubbed my temples in an attempt to stave off the slight beginnings of a headache. Peace… I just want some peace, I thought to myself.
As another loud thud reached its way into my room, I snatched up my phone. I scrolled through my contacts until I got to Max’s number and then slammed down my thumb. I had met my best friend, Max Carter, while going to school. We were in the same department at the time and found that we had a lot in common. Never being interested in my family or my money, he proved to be one of a kind. He was a true friend—my only friend, actually. I never got along with the girls in my class. They either approached me to use my money or family prestige to get into high class parties. Their actions didn’t hurt too much. After all, I came from the upper crust of society and that meant that anyone could get away with anything if they possessed enough money. Which, they normally did. The phone kept ringing and I lowered the phone to disconnect the call, but then I heard him.
“Hey, baby girl! What's up?”
I rolled my eyes. He was only a friend to me, but I knew that he had some hope of moving forward to something else.
Groaning in frustration, I asked, “Where are you?”
He chuckled softly at my impatience. “I’m heading to the Underground, love. Why? Miss me?”
My eyes lit with excitement. Max had two favorite hobbies; irritating me and boxing. He excelled at both. He would invite me to his matches sometimes and I found that I also enjoyed boxing. It always fascinated me to watch Max go up against competitors that resembled the Hulk and not only win, but beat them senseless. Maybe it was because he was so fast? He wasn’t a professional boxer. He just did it because he liked it. Rather like me and my painting. Smiling and shaking my head, I cleared my throat.
“Can I come?”
He paused and then with a concerned tone asked, “What’s wrong, Eliana?”
Tears pricked my eyes. This is what I loved about Max the most. He could easily sense what I was feeling without me saying anything.
“It’s nothing, Max. I just need some fresh air.”
Switching back to his carefree self, he exclaimed, “My dear loyal fan, you are always welcome! Who else would cheer for me? Should I come over to pick you up?”
I giggled while grabbing my jacket. “No thanks! I’ll just take my bike. Don't start the match until I get there!”
He laughed. “I wouldn’t dare! You had better be on time unless you want me to lose the match.”
“I’m never late! See you soon!”
Disconnecting the call, I stood still and listened. The racket had stopped. Maybe he’s passed out now? Sighing in relief, I grabbed my bag and stuffed a couple of dollars in my pocket. Standing in front of the dresser, I glanced up to check my appearance. I wasn’t wearing any makeup and my oversized jacket made me look more like a teenager rather than an adult.
Oh well, there’s no time to change and Max won’t care anyway, I thought as I turned and walked to the door.
Poking my head out into the hallway, I took a cautious step forward and closed the door gently behind me. Stealing along the wall as quietly as I could, I made my way downstairs to the back door in the kitchen. As I crept out of the house and ran towards my motorcycle, I felt giddy. No one had seen me and my lungs were filling up with the crisp autumn air.
I hopped onto my bike and whirred towards the main entrance. The guard respectfully opened the gate for me. Luckily, mother never gave the guards strict instructions regarding my comings and goings. I glanced back at the house and then tore through the gate at a rapid speed. Not even a block away, my body immediately started to relax. Hell, I still couldn’t believe I left undetected.
Making my way through downtown, I started to hum my favorite song. Being almost midnight, the roads were almost deserted. It was so beautiful and relaxing to not have cars buzzing around. I loved riding at night. Quickly, I made a mental note to include neon street lamps and the way that they cast a soft orange glow onto the street into my next painting.
Coming up to a red light, I shifted into neutral and came to a stop. Looking around, I only spotted two cars that had stopped aside of me. My mind started to race with ideas for my next painting, when suddenly I felt my bike dip slightly. Someone had gotten on the back! Preparing myself to let out a scream, I felt a warm hand on my back and heard a deep pleading voice.
“Please… don't. Don’t scream. I’m not going to hurt you. I just really need a ride. Please! It’s extremely important.”
What the actual hell? I squeezed the break and contemplated if I should shift roughly into first and send the stranger flying backwards. How dare he get on my bike and demand a ride?