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I think a lot, but I don’t say much.

~Anne Frank

I ran downstairs as if my life depended on it. The corridors passed in blur as my heart thumped, thinking what I had done wrong now.

“Adrian!” I called out.

“He’s here. With me.” I heard in response to my call. Rihanna had replied for him from the kitchen, stressing on with me. Like I care, bitch.

“What happened?” I asked as I entered the kitchen.

My apple pie was on the floor in crumbles as Adrian stood over it, pissed off at god knows what. Rihanna was giving me her signature smirk, her arms wrapped around his as her humongous chest rubbed itself on his arm. Ryder on the other hand, stood in the corner, his eyes eyeing me as always.

“What happened?! This happened!” Rihanna pointed at the apple crumbles as if it was a bomb she had just defused.

“What’s wrong with-?”

“Can you shut that stupid mouth of yours?!” Adrian roared as I stiffened, immediately at his command. “Wasn’t one beating enough to make you understand that you cannot back answer to me!” He was seriously pissed off but something held him back from hitting me again today. His fist was pressed so harshly and tightly that I won’t be surprised if he had splinters on his palm. “I want you to make some good, party snacks, okay? Ten of my friends are coming. And please, not a stupid apple pie! What are you? Nanny?” Rihanna’s laughter filled the room as Adrian stalked off, breathing in and out heavily, as if to calm himself down and not run after me to hit me square in the jaw.

I silently cleaned the room, relived that he managed to not run back and have his way with me. I stood where I was for a second, contemplating whatever had just happened and taking a few breaths which I had paused for a really long time. A sigh left my lips, after Rihanna left, eyeing me cautiously, her heels spreading the crumbles of my destroyed apple pie more; and then, I made some cheese balls, lemonade with soda and finger chips for them, before packing it up and telling Adrian I was done, who only nodded and dismissed me from his room which was, trust me, very rare of him because he sat on the edge of his bed, composed and calm, much to contrast his earlier behaviors towards me. He looked peaceful for once as he nodded at me, hardly registering my presence while he flipped through the pages of a new book he has bought, few days ago.

I walked up to my room, only to be stopped by Rihanna before I could reach my room.

“I saw that.” She smirked.

“Saw what?”

“My twin brother trying to help you.”

“So...” I trailed, not knowing if there was a better reply than that which won’t offend her.

“So... Stay away.” She smiled, but her smile was the fakest I had ever seen. “You don’t have to gain sympathy from him or anyone else. Because, hey! You lost your parents, okay? Not your whole world, loser.” She laughed as I fled away from her, chocking on my own tears.

I banged open my door only to be surprised to see Ryder standing near my study table.

“What a-are you doing-” I began to ask, taken aback by his sudden appearance. He never, even dared to knock on my door, simply because he never cared to reach my corridor.

“I want you to stay away from me.” He said in a low dangerous tone, his eyes burning into mine with anger as he turned to face me.

“I.. What?” I asked, confused.

“Stay. Away. From. Me.” His every word came out carefully and dangerously and his face held only one expression. Anger.

“I never came near you. What do you-” I was pushed against my door in a matter of seconds. Ryder’s face was a few centimeters away from mine and noticing the way he held me there I knew he was holding back. “Why are you holding back? Hit me.” I spat as his eyes changed from anger to a little shock. Today would be a hell of a day to record because first, I saw Adrian refrain himself from hitting me in a time which is not even near my aunt’s arrival and then, I saw Ryder, the emotionless freak display different emotions. Above all, I knew something was different with me as well. I didn’t back down.

“I am not holding back-” He tried to argue but I cut in.

“Yes, you are. You hate me just like your sister and my brother. You want to hit me, abuse me, call me names just the way they do. But you’re holding back, Ryder. Why are you holding back?!” I screamed, shocking the both of us. I had never ever dared to do this to anyone and Ryder knew that. Either I was going to die very soon or else, Adrian would have me again. I wasn’t ready for that, not now. I didn’t need another beating on my own birthday. I don’t need another scar somewhere on my body just to be reminded of it every year. As much as I loved this new confidence which was seeping in my veins, I knew I had to eject this out of my body because I wasn’t strong enough to actually fight both the boys. I was giving them a reason to hurt me, knowing that I was an unguarded and unarmed territory.

“I don’t care, Scarlet. I am nothing like your brother even though I do despise you as much as he does.” With that he pulled his arms away from me and left me in the room all to myself.

All this while a little part of me knew that Ryder was the most innocent one here. That somewhere he didn’t like all of this bullying and that is why he never raised a finger on me. But no, I was wrong. He hated me just the same way everyone else did.

I was nothing to him or anyone in this house. Just a liability.

I ran down the stairs to the living room from where Adrian had called me again. His friends were already there from past one hour as I waited for them to leave in my room.

“Get me another beer bottle from the fridge.” He shouted. I gulped. There was beer in the house? Adrian had never ever done that. If Lucy found out, she would kill him!

Lucy. Of course. If she finds out. Which, she never will.

I got the bottle and speed walked to Adrian, handing it to him. As I looked around, everyone was already half drunk and Rihanna sat, almost naked on Adrian, her little dress showing all her thighs. Ryder sat in the corner, talking to a blonde boy and both of them weren’t drunk at all. They laughed at something as a hand grabbed my legs. I was pulled down to the couch where a friend of Adrian’s, John was below me.

“Oh my god, this bitch jumped on me!” He shouted, winking at the others. My cheeks blushed hard as I tried to pull away from him, but Adrian did it sooner than I could.

He pushed me against the wall, as I winced in pain, my arm and back almost breaking with pain. I had underestimated Adrian and this day. It wasn’t easy; this is one of the worst days of my life. I guess I was too early in judging how it would turn up. All I wanted was a good night’s sleep in my room, and here I am, being pressed to the wall with drunken teenagers around the room.

“Listen to me, you little bitch. You don’t have to throw your filthy body on guys just because you have to make Adrian jealous. Don’t you get it?! He’s mine! He’s related to you, by blood! You cannot have him!” For a minute, I wanted Rihanna to stop. I wanted the tears and the pain to stop coming at all. But no, it stayed. The humiliation burned my anger more and more as every second passed by and all my desires to kill her remained my own. It took everything in me not to kick Adrian in the shin and run away.

When I nodded my head, something indescribable happened.

Adrian broke his beer bottle on my arm.

It pained like a bitch, to be honest. I cried out in pain, as all the others sniggered with alcohol filed mouths which was enough to drown my cries for help. Blood seeped out of the fresh wound as I whimpered away from Adrian, the blood and alcohol mixing on it. Rihanna and Ryder were the only ones not laughing. Because Rihanna was busy kissing Adrian and Ryder was busy eyeing me. I got up from the floor before the carpet would receive any more blood.

Pain? It was long gone.

I was so used to it by now that it didn’t matter to me anymore. I knew I was turning emotionless by every other day and by the time I got over two years in high school, I would be completely broken. Pain would be replaced with anger by the time I escaped. So much anger that I just might end up killing Adrian or Rihanna. I know it’s not normal but this happens to me all the time.

I sit and plan their murders without even regretting all of it. I would never regret hurting them.

A part of me wanted to run away but the only reason I held on was because of my aunt. Only and only because of her. She was the last family I had known after my grandmother had also passed away last year.

I could not leave her here. I couldn’t be a liability to her as I disappeared.

You’re still a liability to her now.

I shook the voice in my head, realizing I had managed to come to the most unused bathroom in this house. My aunt’s office’s bathroom. Knowing no one would disturb me here; I went inside and began to inspect my wound. As I was beginning to remove a piece of the glass, the door opened, making my heart thump again. I wanted to run away, hide this wound or just beg Adrian not to hit me anymore, that it was enough for today.

Or better, kill him.

You know you can’t. You aren’t strong enough.

I could still take him down..

But, the figure which appeared in my mirror wasn’t Adrian; it was Ryder Hunt, staring at me through the mirror, until his eyes landed on my hand, which covered the wound. He looked into my fear filled eyes, once again, which were now dripping with tears, with his clear green ones which held a foreign emotion as they gently eyed my wound. For the first time, I thought I saw him a little caring towards me but eyes can also be treacherous. He walked up to me, holding my other arm before locking the door behind him. I decided not to reply or ask him anything as he placed me down on the toilet, ripping the shoulder of my shirt in order to clean the arm.As he was cleaning it, without looking at me again and I tried my best not to shout or whimper, the office door opened and I heard Adrian speak on the phone.

“Mom! She’s okay!” He said, frustrated.

“Oh she better be!” I realized the call was on speaker because Adrian was going through her files, I could hear the shuffling. “Don’t you realize that you go a little too far with the beatings, Adrian?!” My heart stopped for a second as I heard my aunt speak those words again and again in my head, my brain trying to make sense of it. Ryder too seemed to stiffen beside me; he had heard her too and wasn’t expecting it.

Realization charred through me like venom. She had known all this while about everything. Every time she visited, she knew what all I had been through before she had shown up. She had known it all, and yet she kept this drama going. For a second a little piece of me broke as a part of my mind which had always suspected her of knowing this, won. She was never there, she never knew according to me but now, I realized that I should have known better. That, something like this could not be hidden. She had seen the marks, but never asked me about them. When my counselor asked for her, she was never free though she went out on dates. A voice in my mind had always reminded me that she was also involved. That she also hadn’t cared. With that, it broke. With that one part of me broken, the pain was long gone. Anger was now boiling me, and at the same time, this part of me was rejoicing that now I didn’t have to feel guilty for hurting her when all she ever did was hurt me by not being there for me, her very own niece. She promised to take care of me, and here she was, protecting her son.

“Oh come on, Ma! It’s not like we need her after she’s 18! She can then sign the form and the trust will be ours! All we need is signatures, which trust me, she’ll give us!” He laughed into the phone, as a tear drop escaped my eyes. I mentally promised myself that this was the last time I would be crying for them. I cursed myself for even thinking that she had cared about me, not the money.

So, it was all about a stupid form which would hand my trust fund to them. Why hadn’t I figured it all out before?! She only needed me for the freaking money my parents had left me! Was I that stupid to not know that all she ever wanted from me was money and nothing else? Why would take a child in their shelter without having a motive behind it?

“Yes, Adrian. But she needs to be alive to sign it! I don’t care how much you beat her up and use her, I want the money and-” That was enough. I had had enough of listening to that excuse of a relative talk about me that way. I moved my hands away from Ryder, who had an iron grip on me. Sympathy, love, tears were the last things I needed right now.

“Scarlet, I’m so-” He began but I stopped him in between.

“Save it.” I growled as I felt the door of the office close. I picked out the last piece of glass, the pain not even reaching me. “It’s not like you didn’t know about this.” I spat and left the bathroom.


Because Ryder’s eyes held sympathy from me.

Sympathy. The only thing which always pissed me off.

I ran to my room, locking it from inside to avoid any drunkards walking in.

Did I cry?

No. I did not. I wouldn’t waste my time with that kind of bullshit when I had a whole plan waiting for me. My mind now had a new found confidence but I knew I had to drop this act. I had to leave before Ryder would tell anyone about me knowing anything. I had to run away before they stopped me.

Come on, Scar. You got this.

My parent’s money was the only thing I had from them passed on to me. It was the only thing that would protect me from not being left alone after I turned 18. I had to protect it from my Aunt and Adrian. But before that, I had to run away to protect myself. And I had to do it soon. I knew how to run away better than anyone. I had thought a perfect plan a year ago, should my aunt also turn against me and I would lose her support as well because you see, I learned to suspect people very early in life and if someday, the beatings would have been worse, I had a plan to leave my aunt, despite her intentions. If worst would come to worst, I did have a plan to save myself because when it comes to choosing their own son or an abused niece, I know my aunt wouldn’t choose me. The little part which hoped she would was long dead. The bag waited for me to be packed in. I grabbed all my essentials and almost all my clothes which consisted of baggy sweatpants and sweatshirts. I don’t party; hence I don’t own anything fancy. I stuffed it all in my bag, grabbed my car keys and opened my window. Before that, I threw the letter I had written a year ago which the was the first part of my well thought out plan.

“Scarlet!” I heard someone shout before I jumped with my bag, ending with a thump on the garden.

Don’t tell anyone, I do this a lot.

I looked up to my window to find Ryder’s head popping out. “Scarlet! Don’t leave please!” His eyes held emotions for once which made me realize that he really didn’t want me to leave. But I knew my eyes held no emotions in response to his. We had switched places, Ryder and I, and now there was no turning back. “I won’t tell Adrian that you know. Please don’t leave.” He whispered again but I had already picked my bag up from the earth, slinging it on my back.

“You can tell him anything you want to, but trust me, nothing is going to stop me now, Ryder. I will try and run away all the time. I just might report this too. So, leave me alone. Let me go. You all hated me, anyway. Find another victim to your bullying. I’m out of business.” I spat, not caring who heard me and who didn’t, before running to the garage.I took out my car, planning to drive it to the nearest airport. My cousin was too drunk to call the police and my aunt won’t care to call me back. If Ryder kept his mouth shut, my dream of escaping would come true in a few hours.

Where would I go?

That’s a well-kept secret. I knew where I had to lay low until I turn 18, but before that I needed to take out all the money from the bank. I knew I could do that with just my fingerprint and no identification. They had literally underestimated my running skills. They hadn’t known that I planned it every day, this escape, if ever my aunt also turned against me or the abuse got worse. I have it all thought put since I was 7, you see. I have done my research, I have my maps, I know my moves. This isn’t clichéd as I am not some teenager on the run. I am running with a perfect plan in my mind, whose first part is lying in the form of a letter in my bedroom. I have been silently planning this for years. And now, I know exactly what to do. I thought to myself, a smirk filling my face as the street lights began to pass faster and faster.

It’s over, finally.

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