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Big Mouth: Abigail The Runaway

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            Growing up, I always knew I was different from my family. My mom was a beautiful blonde with dark brown eyes, and my father a strong, handsome, man of color. My younger sister is so adorable with her light brown skin and big brown eyes. I am the odd ball with pale skin, blue eyes, and auburn hair. My friends always threw out the “your dad must be the milk man” joke when I would bring it up. But today has turned my life upside down.

            “What the fuck is this?” I spat throwing a small box down on the dinner table.

            “Language, Abigail!” My mother scolded.

            Dad reached for the little pink box, opened it, and exchanged defeated looks with mom-- if I can even call her that now.

            “Abby, honey, sit down,” Dad suggested as he patted the table.

            “BURN THE FUCKING HOUSE DOWN!” My hormone monster Samantha demanded, grabbing my shoulders from behind. Her furry claws growing in fury.

            “I don’t want to sit down.” I mocked as my heart raced in my throat.

            “Abby, please-- we’ve been waiting for the right time.” Mom said trying to calm the storm brewing inside of me.

            “The right time?” I spat.

            Give it to em’ baby!” Samantha encouraged.

            “When was the right time, Cheryl?” I asked angrily.

            My mothers face twisted in guilt as she spoke, “honey, your father and I were told we could never have children. When we first got married, we looked into adoption and it was truly the best option for us at the time.”

            “We went to our local adoption agency and we found a perfect match.” Dad stated holding moms hand.

            “She was young, and got pregnant after a one night stand. We met her through the agency and she decided she wanted a closed adoption.” She open the box with a macabre smile and pulled out the small photo album with “Abigail’s Adoption” printed at the top. “Abigail, I know this must be hard for you--”

            I cut her off, “how in the hell could you know how hard this is for me? I’ve spent my life thinking that you actually birthed me and it was a fucking lie.” My throat began to close as tears swelled in my eyes.

            “Sweetheart-- if you have any questions we are happy to answer them.” Dad said softly.

            “I don’t even know where to start.”

            “Ask us anything, please.”

            “Is Jada adopted too?” I asked thinking of my younger sister.

            “No, she was a miracle pregnancy. It was a one in a million chance.” My mom stated.

            I scoffed in disbelief as my mom started showing me the pictures. The album started with pictures of a young woman-- my birth mother-- showing her pregnant belly. There were a lot of pictures of my parents with this woman, and then a ton of pictures of mom and dad holding me, and then a few pictures of all of us together, and the last picture was of my birth mom holding me and kissing my forehead.

            “This was her final goodbye to you as we left the hospital-- she told you how much she loved you and that you were better off growing up with a family who could give you their world.”

            “I can’t do this shit. This has to be some sort of sick joke.” I scoffed swiping the tears from my cheek and grabbing the album.

            “We can always talk about this another time, sweetie. I’m sure this is a lot to take on.”

            We sat in silence as my mind wandered about what my life could have been like. What was she like? Who is my real father? What are their names? I thought slouching in my seat.

            “Her name was Barbra,” Mom stated, “she doesn’t live too far from here actually. They live over in Bridgeton, New Jersey. It’s only a few hour drive from here-- I’ve met with her a few times since your adoption. She’s doing pretty well-- married, and has a son-- I think his name was Andrew.”

            “I just-- I have to get out of here.” All of the stress was overwhelming me until I was heading towards a full on anxiety attack.

            “Abigail! Where are you going?!” Dad said chasing me out the door.

            I ran as fast as I could to my car. The wet grass licked my bare feet, but I didn’t care. I was getting the fuck out of this madhouse.

 

~*~

            I drove my car to a secluded hang out spot outside of town. It was a beautiful animal sanctuary that was flooded with trees and fresh air. I had parked my car in the lot and walked towards the creek.

            “Where is everyone?” Samantha asked, springing out of nowhere.

            “No one’s here-- that’s pretty odd for a Friday night in the summer.” I stated as I watched my hormone monster pick at her bright red nails.

            “What are we going to do, my sweet nectarine? Your parents lied to you.” Samantha said surrounding me in locks of her red hair.

            I sat on the edge of the concrete bridge and hung my legs over the side. My toes were nearly touching the water, “I honestly don’t know. I feel so fucking betrayed.”

            “I have an idea! We can light the house on fire and run away!” She said in a menacing tone, striking a match on the bottom of her hoof.

            “That’s not a good idea. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty pissed off, but I don’t want to kill them.”

            Her match went out and for a moment she frowned until a devilish grin spread across her face, “what if we drove to Bridgton, New Jersey, and met your real mommy? Maybe she’s better than this one!

            “I love the way you think, Sammy.” I grinned.

 

~*Cheryl’s POV*~

            “Roger, what are we going to do?” I sobbed into his strong arms.

            “We are just going to have to let our little bird fly, Cheryl. She needs time to figure out how she feels.” He said softly rubbing my back.

            “She hates us.”

            “We knew this was going to happen one day-- but this isn’t how we planned it.”

            “I was hoping to tell her on her 18th birthday with a heartfelt card and flowers.”

            “I know. I was going to give her a funny “you’re adopted” birthday card and everything.”

            I snickered as I wiped my tears.

            “I wish we would have went up to the attic with her. I never thought she would have stumbled upon this box. It was hidden pretty well.”

            “It’s all my fault. I was up there looking through her old baby things and I must have left it out.”

            “It’s okay, honey bear. We will get through this together.” He squeezed me before releasing me from his comforting embrace.

            “I guess I’ll have to make a phone call.” I said biting my lip nervously.

            “It’s going to be okay.” Roger said as he handed me the wireless home phone.

            I looked through the phonebook that was sitting on the end table. Once I found her name I dialed the phone. As the line rang, my head was filled with thoughts of her answering the phone and being upset-- yelling at me for spilling the beans before she was ready.

            “Hello?” A familiar female voice said answering the phone.

            “Barbra?” I said as my voice cracked.

 

~*Barbra’s POV*~

            “Who’s this?” I answered into the phone, pausing to turn off the sink.

            “It’s me-- Cheryl.”

            My heart fluttered nervously, but I kept calm and smiled, “how’s it going, Cheryl? It’s been such a long time since I’ve heard from you.”

            There was a pause on the line as muffled sobbed seeped through the phone line, “she knows.”

            “What?” I asked in a dumbfounded tone.

            “Abigail-- she found out. She was rummaging around in the attic and she found the box full of pictures and keepsakes from her adoption.”

            “Oh no-- please tell me this is some kind of sick joke.”

            “No. She-- she stormed out and she isn’t answering her phone. I’m so worried that she’s going to do something stupid.”

            I tried to wrap my mind around the situation when I heard Marty yelling at the TV in the living room.

            “I just wanted to warn you, Barbra. I know we had wanted this to go much differently, but the cat is officially out of the bag.”

            “Barbra! Bring me some floss! I have broccoli stuck in my teeth and I can’t suck it out!” I listened as my husband shouted from the other room.

            “I can hear that you’re busy-- I’ll call you soon to set up the big day.” Cheryl said softly.

            “Thank you. I look forward to seeing you-- and Abigail.”

            “Talk soon, buh-bye.”

            “Bye--” The phone call ended as I placed the phone on the charging dock.

            “Barbra! Where’s my floss?” Marty called as I walked into the living room.

            A defeated look fell upon my face as tears dripped off of my chin.

            “Barbra? What’s wrong? I can just get the floss myself if you were busy.” Marty said noticing my breakdown. He jumped from the couch and came to my aid.

            “M-Marty, remember when I told you about the baby I placed for adoption?”

            “Yeah, I remember-- Allison?”

            “Her name is Abigail-- but yes.”

            “What about Abigail?”

            “She found out she was adopted-- and not in the way her adoptive parents had planned.”

            His eyebrows rose in concern, “what do you mean?”

            “She has questions, Marty, questions I’m not sure I can answer.” I sobbed.

            “Don’t cry, honey,” he rubbed my arm, “everything will work itself out. You are so strong, Barbra, you can handle this.”

            “How do I look this poor girl in her eyes and tell her that I didn’t want her?” An ache filled my chest, “how do I even tell Andrew that he has an older sister?”

            “ANDREW, COME DOWN HERE!” Marty yelled up the stairs.

            Momentarily my handsome young son came hustling down the stairs, “what, dad? I was just in the middle of something.”

            “Sit down.” Marty said holding my hand.

            “What’s going on? Oh my god-- are you two getting divorced? Is it my fault? Please tell me it’s not my fault.” Andrew said anxiously.

            “No honey-- it’s nothing like that.” I said reassuring him.

            “Oh thank god. I don’t know if I could handle that right now.” Andrew said relaxing into the couch.

            “There is something serious I need to talk to you about though.”

            “You’re sending me to military school? Please, mom, for the love of god, I will die there!”

            “Jesus Christ, Andrew! Just shut up and let your mom talk.” Marty demanded.

            “Thank you sweetheart-- and no, we aren’t sending you away. This is something I’ve never talked to you about, but I don’t want you to freak out or get upset.”

            “What’s going on?” Andrew asked lightly.

            “Honey, before I met your father, I made some bad mistakes. I had a one night stand with someone at a club one night and-- well-- I found out I was pregnant short after.”

            “What?”

            “Listen, Andrew, I was young, I didn’t have a stable life and, well, I decided to give the baby up for adoption.”

            Andrew’s expression went from nervous to curious, “you gave a baby up for adoption?”

            “I did. Her name is Abigail, and through the years I had kept in touch with her adopted parents and tonight they called me.”

            “What happened?”

            “Abigail found out she was adopted-- and not in the right way. She’s very hurt and frustrated with her parents, and we might be going to see her soon. That way you two can finally meet.

            “You’re kidding. This has to be a weird joke, there’s no way you could give a baby away, I see the way you gaggle at every baby at walmart.”

            “It was the hardest decision of my life, but I did it for her.”

            “Oh my go, you’re serious.”

            “I just love you so much, Andrew, and I wanted to tell you myself before all of this unravels.”

            “Thanks for telling me, mom. Honestly, I’m really excited to meet my new sister.”

            I smiled, I just know that everything will be just fine.

 

~*Abigail’s POV*~

            The road was long and I grew more tired with each mile that passed. I was finally in Bridgeton. I decided to pull off the rode and park my car outside of the Bridgton Mall that was almost completely emptied. It looked pretty dead so I decided to park under one of the street lamps for safety.

            I glanced at the clock and it was rounding midnight. I lowered the window a little bit as I took a hit from my weed pen. I inhaled the smoke, and seconds later I exhaled.

            “Good thing you just got some more wax yesterday.” Samantha said mischievously.

            “Yeah, this one tastes like cotton candy. It’s so relaxing.”

            “You deserve to relax after such a horrible day.” My hormone monstress stated.

            “It really was a shitty day. I can’t believe I’m fucking adopted-- I mean, I totally believe it. I don’t look anything like my parents, but still. I can’t believe they kept this a secret my whole life.”

            “If they wouldn’t have made you go up to the attic to get that stupid door wreath, you would have never known.”

            “What a shit show.”

            I rolled up the window most of the way and leaned back my chair all the way and laid down. I grabbed the fluffy blanket I kept in case of an emergency, and wrapped myself in it. I felt cozy and secure, doing my best to keep thoughts of the night from destroying my desire to sleep.

            My breaths slowed as I began to slip away into a sweet slumber--

            “Are you fucking dead?” A low, raspy, masculine voice hissed into my window.

            I jumped, grabbing the combat knife I had hidden beside the driver’s seat. When I looked to the window a pair of emerald green eyes were peering in at me. For a moment, the earth stood still as I engraved the young man’s image into my mind incase I was kidnapped or sexually assaulted. He wore a grey tee-shirt, black pants, his hair was short, mostly black with blue underneath, and the sides of his head were shaved.

            “What the fuck do you want?” I bellowed, hoping to make myself look like someone to not fuck with.

            “Easy, cunt, I just wanted to make sure you weren’t fucking dead.”

            “Nope, I’m very much alive.”

            “Why are you sleeping in the parking lot like a loser?”

            Why is he being so fucking rude to me? I thought before speaking up, “it’s none of your fucking business, ass-hat.”

            He almost seemed to chuckle, “this place gets weird at night. I suggest parking somewhere else.”

            “I just need some sleep-- I don’t have very far to go--”

            “Where are you headed?”

            “Why? Are you going to stalk me like some deranged serial killer?”

            “Maybe.”

            “Then why should I tell you?”

            “Look, I live near here. I want to point you in the right direction.”

            “For murder?”

            “For safety-- this time.”

            I shrugged, “fuck it, I’m heading to Bridgeton.”

            His eyes widened for a moment, “Bridgeton, huh?” The teen then smiled wickedly, as if he was coming up with some evil plan.

            I gripped the combat knife tighter, “get away, freak.”

            He held his hands up in retreat and stepped a foot back from my vehicle, “I just think it’s weird.”

            “What the hell do you mean?”

            He huffed a small laugh, “it’s weird that we are going to the same town.”

            “What?”

           “Jesus Christ! Is he Andrew?” Samantha asked, flinging her fury body forward, “I don’t see any resemblance.

            “I fucking live in Bridgeton.” He stated.

            “Holy fuck--” I said feeling as if the wind was knocked out of body.

            He cocked his head in interest, “what?”

            “I--I-- um-- are you-- I mean, who are you?”

            He leaned his face closer to the car window and I studied his features once more; piercing emerald eyes, a long face, strong jaw-line and chin, no facial hair, short emo hair style, lanky, and standing at least 5”10 or 6 foot. He’s my age! There’s no fucking way he is my brother.

            “Are you afraid or something? Because you fucking should be.” He stated reading my facial expression.

            “I’m not afraid of you,” I stated strongly, but shivering inside.

            He grinned maliciously as he chucked a soft evil laugh. He pulled his wallet from his back pocket and shoved the image of his drivers license to the window.

            Judd Birch-- and he’s… 17 years old, I thought reading the I.D., “thank god.” I whispered, sighing in relief.

            “What?”

            “We aren’t related.”

            “That’s a weird fucking thing to say.”

            “You have no idea.” I said feeling fragile in the eyes of this stranger.

            “Look, you can either choose to stay here-- where the fucking meth heads come out to play, or I can show you somewhere safe to stay.”

            “How do I know you’re not one of those crazy ass meth heads?”

            He smiled, “you don’t.”

            I bit my lip as I questioned what the best option would be.

            “You can either stay in crack city central, or come with me.”

            “Go with the boy! He smells like cigarettes, whiskey, and mystery!” Samantha pleaded.

            “You know what, fuck it, sure.”

            “Unlock your door.”

            Butterflies filled my stomach as I hit the unlock button, “don’t try anything weird. I will fucking stab you.”

            He got into the passenger seat and shut the door, tossing his backpack into the backseat, “not unless I slit your throat first.”

            “I like this mother fucker. He’s scary!” Samantha said excitedly.

            “Where am I going?”

Chapter Text

            We have been driving for a little while, and I still felt uneasy about having this modern day Jack The Ripper in my passengers seat. I played classic rock on the radio to cover the awkward silence as the mysterious boy directed me to a safe location.

            “Do you have a name, idiot?” his muffled voice questioned through a cloud of cigarette smoke.

            “What’s it to you?” I scoffed, rolling my eyes.

            “Come on, retard. Just tell me your stupid name.”

            I can’t tell this creep my real name, I thought to myself. I don’t want to end up on the news being abducted from my bedroom… and as the search party looked hopefully for me, I would be lying somewhere in a ditch with my throat slit.

            “I was talking to you.” Judd stated, awaiting my answer.

            “L-Leonora.” I said, giving the odd boy a portion of my name.

            “Leonora? What a stupid name. I’m going to call you Leo.” The word ‘Leo’ rolled off of his tongue like a lick of ice cream on a hot summer’s day. Even though he insulted my middle name, I couldn’t help but smirk at the nickname he had given me.

            “So what’s your deal, Leo?” He asked curiously.

            “It’s not really your business.” I spoke.

            “You’re obviously a stupid runaway.”

            “If I’m a runaway, what does that make you?”

            “Someone who wants to see the world burn.” His sadistic laugh made my stomach twist.

            “Fair enough.”

            “Why did you run?”

            “My parents.”

            His interest perked as he flicked his cigarette butt out the window, “did you murder them? Please tell me you sawed them into tiny pieces and you’re driving around to dumping their chopped up bits in scattered locations.”

            What the fuck?

            “The thought had crossed my mind-- but no. They kept something important from me and now I’m just figuring some shit out.”

            He frowned, “I was really hoping to see chunks of human bits hidden in the trunk.”

            “Not this time,” I shrugged, “maybe next time.” I stated half jokingly.

            “So what the fuck are you up to?”

            I slunk in my seat. His question made me feel small, “it’s weird to say it out loud.” A familiar pain weighed on my chest as I waited for his reply.

            “I can sit here and assume some fucked up shit, or you can just say it. Or not, because I really don’t fucking care.”

            “You know how some parents give their kid a birthday cake that says ‘you’re adopted’ as a joke?”

            “Holy fuck.”

            “Yeeeeah, I found out I was adopted.”

            An awkward silence filled the car. Did he feel bad for me? What was he thinking? Was he judging me for being so pathetic?

            He pulled out another cigarette from the Camel box that was sitting on the dashboard. He lit it and handed it to me, “life’s a fucking cunt. You can choose to either be fucked, or fuck it.”

            I took a drag and the smooth nicotine filled my lungs. I blew it out the window, “you’re not wrong… I’m trying to get my shit together.”

            “Pull in here,” Judd said pointing out a shitty little 24-hour gas station, “I have to piss.”

            I pulled into the Eddy’s Gas Station and up to the gas pump. It was dead-- only a few drunken stragglers sat around the outside of the main door, but no cars were parked on the lot.

            Judd took the cigarette from my fingers and climbed out of the renegade. He tossed the remaining nub to the curb before disappearing into the shady building.

            After making myself put my bare feet on the ground, I swiped my card and began fueling my car. My mind started furiously running the whole evening on a loop to try and comprehend it all. Everything happened so damn fast-- first I’m adopted, then I’m running away to Bridgeton, and then I meet a strange boy with blue and black hair-- his eyes angry, yet so enticing-- and his voice low and gravely. A tingling feeling tickled the bottoms of my abdomen.

            “I’m baaaaack!” Samantha sung off key, sliding down the lamppost.

            “Jesus Christ, I never get a break. What do you want?”

            “My precious plum,” she said sweetly, “I’m here because this little creep makes you hornaaay.”

            “No way! He’s a freakin’ weirdo!” I protested.

            “He’s a hot weirdo with the eyes of a psychopath and hands of a murderer.”

            “Okay, yes, something about him makes me feel uneasy-- but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.”

            “I bet his cock is a good size too. I wonder if he shaves or if he has a full bush of pubic hair.” Samantha bit her lip with her jagged teeth as I watched her imagination take flight.

            “Ew! You’re so gross, Sam!”

            “Oh come on, you know you want him to take you behind this filthy gas station and part your labia like mosses parted the red sea.”

            “Okay! That’s enough! I’m trying to figure out some serious shit and now is not the time to have feelings for a potential serial killer!”

            “Okay, pumpkin pie. I’ll be baaaack. Toodles!” Samantha smirked as she disappeared into a pink puff of smoke in the shape of a heart.

           

            I put the gas cap back on my little jeep, started it, and pulled up close to the main gas station doors. Why does he make my stomach tingle? I’ve never been into guys like him, but something about Judd enticed me-- excited me in a way no boy ever has. Maybe it’s because he found me in a venerable hour, or maybe it’s because he’s dangerous-- either way, I would more than likely never see this guy again. I thought to myself as I waited for Judd to exit.

            What is taking him so long? I thought trying to spot Judd. Where is he? I started to feel a little uneasy being by myself. I wonder if he bailed on me—I should have never said anything about my stupid situation. I tried not to make eye contact with the drug addicts and drunks that were sitting on the curb of the building.

            With each passing minute, the more I questioned if I should just drive away without the guy who brought me here because there’s no damn way this place is safe. Why should I even stay? The dude is a total jerk and he’s super weird too—but, he is trying to help… maybe. If I leave, will he hunt me down? If I stay, will he take me somewhere else like this? I sighed weighing my options.

            How can I trust this guy? Why did I trust him earlier? I should have just stayed at that creepy ass mall parking lot. I’m more freaked out here as I watch these gross people make out and shoot up, than I was at the mall. At least I was mostly alone there.

            “Baby cakes,” Sammy whispered, tapping on my shoulder.

            I yelped at her touch, “damn it, Sam! I thought I told you to let me figure shit out?”

            “I know, honey boo-boo, but I felt like you might need a little talkin’ to.

            “Why?”

            “Because! I think you should go hunt the boy down.

            “Ugh, Samantha, quit.”

            “Girl, he might be a crazy pants, but at least he knows the area. You can’t use your phone to google a place to go, so you need this guy’s help.

            “I guess you’re kind of right. But I don’t trust him… I don’t really trust anyone now.”

            “I know, but you don’t have a choice.

            “Damn it, when you’re right, you’re right.”

            She kissed my cheek, “damn right. Bye, bye boo-boo.” As fast as she came, she had left.

            I pondered for a minute before finally deciding to leave the comfort of the jeep a to find Judd. I stuck my barefoot down to the pokey cement and tried to keep myself from thinking of all of the nasty things that have been here. Condoms-- blood-- semen, needles-- trash juice—god damn it! I would never be caught dead without shoes, and this is fucking nasty! I thought as I hustled to lock my car and get inside.

            I pulled open the door and rushed in as the bell dinged loudly. As I did my initial glance around the inside of the store, I didn’t see the tall teenager that had brought me to this gross place.

            I tiptoed lightly, hoping to not bring any unwanted attention to myself. The store clerk was busy chatting on the phone as I continued my search for the mystery boy. I searched every snack isle, by the soda dispenser, the booze, and everything in between. Where the hell did he go? I thought curiously.

            The only place I didn’t look was the bathrooms in the far corner of the store by the front counter. I took a deep breath and hurried to the hallway that led to the bathrooms. There was the women’s on the right, and the men’s on the left. On the wall straight ahead was a big, red door with an EXIT sign above. The door was slightly propped open and the nighttime summer breeze was blowing in. 

            I was so focused on the open door, and as I went to reach for it a large hand grabbed my shoulder with force.

            “What the hell?” I panicked; jerking around to see a dirty middle aged man with greasy hair and dark brown eyes.

            “Where are you going little mouse?” He chucked disgustingly as he pushed me to the red door.

            “Leave me alone.” I stated strongly clenching my fist, preparing myself to fight this full grown man. 

            “Just be a good little girl and come in here with me.” He said motioning to the woman’s bathroom.

            A massive lump grew in my throat as my heart rattled against my ribcage, “you’re gross! There’s No fucking way.” 

            “Shhhhhhh. You need to be a quiet little mouse, or I’ll have to fucking kill you.” He said revealing a gun hidden in his belt.

            My body was trembling against the man’s grasp. I was horrified. I wanted to scream and yell, but I was frozen solid with absolute fear.

            He showed his fucked up, yellow teeth as he yanked a handful of my hair with his right hand and held my mouth with his left. I fought against his strength, kicking him and struggling to try and take his hand from my mouth and head. The man backed out of the EXIT door and he tossed my body into the darkness of the back of the gas station.

            For a split second, I was able to maneuver out of his reach. I swung as hard as I could. My first met his jaw with so much force, that a sharp pain shot up my arm. By the time I could blink, the man struggled to stand straight. He wiped the blood from his busted lip before jumping to me and grabbing me by the shirt. I struggled against his grip again.

            “Fucking let go of me!” I said as he held my neck in his hands.

            “I’ll let go of you once your body goes cold in my hands.” I could smell the alcohol on his breath as he threw me sideways like a frisbee.

            I fell to the ground and slid on my hands and knees, scraping them against the rocky pavement. I tried to scramble to my feet to try and escape, but he was standing over me pulling his belt loose. His ere smile making my stomach clench.

            “You’re a feisty one, you little bitch.” He spat, looping the belt around my neck.

            I should have stayed home. I thought as I quickly reacted by putting my elbow up to my neck so the man couldn’t strangle me. I yanked downward as hard as I could and the mans grip loosened. I crawled speedily through his legs and got back on my feet. I’m not going to die! I’m not going to fucking die!

            I saw the man go to reach for his gun. I lunged onto his arm and refused to let go.

            “Get off me, you little cunt!” He grabbed the back of my tank top to try and pull me off of him. It began ripping in his grasp.

            “Eat shit, you fucking pig!” I stated strongly, finally using my inner linebacker strength to knock him backwards and release the gun from his hand. With the force that shoved him back, I fell to the ground and clawed my way to the small hand gun.

I aimed the gun to the man, ready to shoot when suddenly his angry expression changed to confusion as he collapsed to his knees, falling face first into the ground.

            What the fuck happened? I thought breathing heavily.

            My arms and feet scrambled me backwards as a tall figure stood in the open doorway, illuminated by the light from inside. As the figure stepped out. It was the boy with black and blue hair.

            “Leo? What the fuck?” he asked, rushing to help me from the ground.

            “J-Judd?”

            “Why would you leave the car, you stupid cunt?” He scolded me like a child.

            “I didn’t want to be alone.” I said dropping the gun.

            Judd rubbed his temple, “I had to buy a few things. Then I went to the bathroom to piss. When I walked out the side entrance, I saw that you were gone but the car was there.”

            “I—I just came in to look for you.”

            “Idiot. You’re lucky I had my blow dart on me, or this could be a whole other situation.”

            “Yeah, because I was about to fucking murder him.” I said sharply kicking the downed pedophile.

            “The dart had enough tranquilizer to down a full grown rhino. His ass went down fast.”

            “Will he die?” I asked curiously.

            “No—but he fucking should.” Judd spit on the unconscious body.

            The adrenaline was beginning to wear off as the pain from the attack settled under my skin. My hands, knees, and feet were burning horribly and I winced looking at the wounds .

            “They’re just scrapes. You should be fine.”

            “I’ve been through worse. But it still stings like a bitch.”

            Judd glanced down at my knees when he noticed something, “where are your damn shoes?”

            “Oh-- um—I ran away without them.”

            “That’s disgusting… Go in, you need to clean up. I’ll take care of this shit show. I’ve always wanted to dissect a human.” An unsettling grin appeared on his face as he tossed me his backpack, “You can use any of the shit in there. There’s medical wrap in there, and since your shirt is ripped, you can wear the one that’s in there. It’s one of my old, gay, ass shirts from middle school.”

            “Um, hey-- listen-- I--I--"

            “Don’t be weird, faggot, just go. I’ll meet you back at the car.”

 

            In a weird way, I was starting to trust this bad mouthed teen. He had his own fucked up way of being kind and a part of me felt like he was the only human being I could even trust. Even if he’s most likely going to wear my skin as a coat, he’s still a better option to trust than anyone else.

Chapter Text

            My body ached as the sunshine seeped into the car window. I lightly rubbed my eyelids awake and shielded my face from the sun. When I looked over my shoulder to see the passenger seat empty, I began to question my evening. Did all of that crazy shit actually happen? I questioned. I glanced at my hands that were dressed with medical wrap, then down to the faded royal blue tee shirt I was now wearing with a neon green skull placed over an X.

            “That really happened.” I stated to myself.

            “Yes it did, my sweets! And it was a wild adventure! First you gave that pedo a fucking beating, and then that psycho boy saved you from your first murder!” Samantha said crawling up to the front seat.

            “Those martial arts lessons paid off, that’s for sure.”

            “I’m so glad that he saved you!

            “He didn’t ‘save me,’ Sammy. He just assisted me in not killing someone.”

            “And I was surprised that he called the cops after zip-tying that stupid mother fucker.

            “I’m just glad he covered for me.” I said sitting my seat up.

            “I was surprised that the cops took his whole story.”

            “Yeah, but it made sense. I liked how he told them he saved a hooker from getting raped. The police were surprised that he had him all tied up and ready to go to jail.”

            “I just wish he would have stayed with uuuuuus.” My hormone monstress said before moaning in awe.

            “Quit! He probably would have tossed me down a well, then force me to put lotion on my skin before making me into a meat suit.”

            Sammy laughed a sexual laugh, “He could have been the one to make me disappear, you know?

            “It isn’t a bad thing that I’m still a virgin,” I huffed, “I’m pretty proud that I didn’t loose it to any of the losers in my old school.”

            “They were all stupid little shits anyway. Judd-- now he’s a fucking man.

            “Well, I probably won’t see him again anyway.” I sighed.

            “Honey buns, he gave you his cell phone.

            I raised my eyebrow. She was right, he had given it to me before he left last night, “true, but if he gave me his burner, how will I get ahold of him?”

            Sammy’s posture drooped, “shit. You’re right.

            “I’m anxious for today,” I bit my fingernail nervously, “I’m looking forward to meeting my birth mom, but what if she doesn’t want to meet me?”

            Sam curled her long hair around my face and stroked my cheek, “don’t worry! I’m sure she’ll be happy to meet you again. And if she isn’t, fuck her.

            “It’s all so conflicting-- maybe I should go home.”

            “Oh hell no! You’re not giving up now! We’ve come too far to turn back now!

            “Maybe there’s an easier way to do this,” I suggested as I pulled the photo album from my backseat, “maybe I can go home and set up a proper meeting.”

            “Come on, Abigail! You don’t want to give your parents the satisfaction of having control!

            I nodded in agreement, “I guess all that’s left for me to do is make a phone call.”

            “That’s it, my precious! Make the call!

            I held the small flip phone in my hand. It was 9 am and it was time to make a call that will change my life. I looked at the piece of paper with a number written on it and swallowed, “I can’t believe my Google search for ‘Glouberman’ actually worked. And it’s weird that there’s only one Glouberman family in Bridgeton.”

            “Technology is awesome.

            I held my breath as I clicked the numbers into the phone. The line rang a few times before a kind woman’s voice answered the phone, “This is Misty at Tri-County Bank in Bridgeton, how may I help you?”

            I cleared the lump in my throat with a small cough, “Good morning, Misty. This is Jane from Peggy’s Flowers, and I was calling to ask a silly question.” I said putting on my best southern accent.

            “Sure thing, Jane! How can I help you?”

            “I was curious if you wouldn’t mind giving me the address of Marty Glouberman? I had written it down for his flower delivery for his wife, but I must have misplaced it.”

            “Um-- I’m not really sure if I can give out that information.” I could hear the hesitation in her voice, “but I can forward you to Mr. Glouberman!”

            “Oh-- well, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to bother him. I don’t want him to be upset since his order was last minute. He already seemed a little upset-- it’s possible that him and the Mrs. Are going through a little tiff.”

            “You know what, I’ll go ahead and give you his address.”

            “Oh thank you so much, Misty, you are a life saver!”

 

~*~

            After receiving the address from the lovely lady at the bank, I made my way into the superet I had been parked outside of. I was on a mission to find a few outfits, get some new undies, and a new bra. I felt like a moron for just running out of the house without packing a bag, but I had enough cash to get myself a few things and maybe a couple packs of ramen to eat.

            “What about this dress?” Sammy said holding up a bubblegum pink dress, “it screams ‘I’m your long lost daughter!’ And it has a nice V neck to show off your perky breasts.” She winked.

            “I don’t really want to show my breasts to my birth mother.”

            She shrugged, “it was worth a shot.

           

            I skimmed through the clothing racks and choose a few nice things that fit my budget. My cart was filled with a nice pair of dark blue jeans, some faded jean shorts, a few pairs of undies, two bras, a sleeveless, white shirt with a dream catcher printed on the front, a nice sky blue blouse, a pretty black dress with beautiful yellow sunflowers all over, some socks, a pair of cheap shoes, a nice pair of flats, and three packs of ramen.

            Once I checked out, Sammy followed me out of the store pestering me about not shoplifting some make up.

            “Okay, that’s enough! I need to go somewhere to shower, and then I’ll be off to meet the person who birthed me.”

            “Oh honeydew, I know! I just think that your face would look better covered in stolen make up!

            “I usually would have made myself look pretty, but I don’t really want to get arrested today. And besides, natural beauty isn’t a bad thing.”

            “You’re right! I love you boo!” Sammy said kissing my cheek. She then disappeared.

 

~*~

            I was able to sneak into a local gym to shower and change into one of my new outfits. I paired the sky blue blouse with the dark jeans, and the cheap white sneakers I had found at the store. I shifted nervously in my seat as I programmed my car’s GPS to the Glouberman household.

            This is a huge moment, I thought combing through my wet hair with my fingertips. What if she hates me? What if she doesn’t even want to see me? My heartbeat grew louder and faster as I rolled up to the house.

            “You have arrived at your destination.” Samantha said rubbing my shoulder from the back seat.

            “The house looks nice-- weird color choice, but okay.” I said looking at the two-story house. It was an odd combination of sky blue and mustard yellow, with a red brick chimney, and white trim. There was a little sidewalk that led from the side of the driveway to the front door and the yard was well kept. There were tall trimmed bushes that acted as a fence to separate their neighbors’ homes. They had a small concrete driveway on the left side of their home decorated with a medium sized basketball oop. Right behind the hoop was a tall wooden fence separating their front and back yard. Over all, the entire house seemed warm and inviting.

            I walked up to the house—my heart racing raster than it ever has before. I was scared, excited, nervous, but over all I felt curious. Curious to see the woman who birthed me. Curious to see the life she had made after getting rid of me. Curious to meet my half sibling. Curious to see a peek at what my life could have been like.

            I held the tiny pink photo album in my left hand and my right fingers trembled as

I went to touch the doorbell. I could turn around right now, or just do it all ready. Why am I second-guessing myself? After my family lying to me my entire life, going through some crazy ass shit to get here, I’m going to do it. I thought pushing the doorbell. Here goes nothing.

 

~*Barbra’s P.O.V*~

            The doorbell rang unexpectedly. Since Marty was at work, and Andrew was at

Nick’s house, I had to answer it. I sighed at the inconvenience and walked to the front door. I hesitated before opening it... Ever since Cheryl and Roger called a few hours ago, I’ve been on edge. Am I even ready for this? What will I tell her? The bell rang again.

            Here goes nothing. When I swung the door open, I was met with a teenaged girl.

Something about her seemed so familiar- - Her long locks of Auburn hair, big blue eyes, and her facial features seemed so- -me?

            “Can I help you?” I managed to ask.

            She smiled softly, “a-are you Barbra Glouberman?” Her nervous voice spoke as she clutched onto a little pink book.

            “Yes? Can I help you?” Could this be her?

            The young girl opened the small book and showed me a picture of myself holding a newborn baby wrapped in a pink blanket, “I think you’re my birth mother.”

            My eyes began to pour tears down my cheeks is it really her? After all of these years, is it her? “Oh my goodness- Abigail? Is that you?

            A relieved expression crossed her face as liquid dripped down her freckled cheeks, “I’m sorry for d-dropping by like this. I-I just…. I have so many questions.”

            “I know you do, sweetheart. Do you maybe want to come in for a little bit?” I asked, opening the door to let her inside.

            As she followed me inside, she glanced at all of our family pictures. “Is this your son?” she asked pointing at a Andrew’s picture from a few months ago.

            I smiled somberly, “yes. That’s Andrew, he’s 13.”

            “It’s weird to think that I have a little brother.”

            “Abigail? Would you like something to drink? I can make coffee or lemonade?”

            “Um-- lemonade please.”

            “Sure thing. Want to sit in the kitchen?”

            She nodded and followed me into the kitchen and sat across from me at the table.

She still seemed a little nervous and was shifting in her chair as he placed the pink photo book on the table.

            “I never knew I was adopted… and when I found a little box in the attic and saw all of this- this stuff, a lot of things made sense.”

            “Honey, I know this must be hard to understand, but I want you to know that I gave you to your parents because I wasn’t ready to be a mom. Putting you up for adoption was the hardest choice in my life, but I’m so glad I did.”

            Abigail looked hurt by my words, “How old were you?”

            “I was 25 and I got pregnant after a one night fling. When I found out I was pregnant, I met with Planned Parenthood, and I decided that adoption would ne what was best for you.”

She started to sob. My heart ached, so I reached out and grasped her hand.

            “I’m so sorry, sweetie. I can’t imagine how you feel right now. But I do want you to know that I loved you so much, that I had to give you the best life possible.”

            “All of this, it just… it’s just so unreal.”

            “Abigail, we never wanted it to be this way. Your parents wanted to tell you on your 18th birthday.”

            “I just wish they would have told me sooner. I feel so let down—I feel betrayed. I was lied to my whole life and I’m so angry with my parents for keeping this secret from me.”

            “Abigail, I know you’re angry, but you know how much they love you.”

            “Do I?”

            She’s so upset. How do I explain to her that what her parents did was right? I was the one who wanted the closed adoption-- I could have had an open adoption and we could have explained to her at a young age that she was adopted. I thought to myself as I tried to process everything.

            Just as I was about to reply, the doorbell rang again, “I’m so sorry, honey, I’ll be right back.”

            I walked to the door and sighed before wiping my face and clearing my throat.

When I opened the door, I was faced with two old friends, “Cheryl, Roger—”

            “We drove all morning to get here. I figured she might be here since she wasn’t at any of her friends’ houses.”

            “She’s sitting in the kitchen. We’ve been talking about everything, but I am so glad you came. This is definitely something that you need to be apart of.”

            “Thank you. I’m so, so sorry that everything happened this way.” Cheryl said as she and Roger entered the house.

            As we all entered the kitchen, Abigail stood up from her chair, “why are you here?” she stared angrily.

            “Abby, your mom and I were so worried when you didn’t come home. We thought you went to a friends house or something, but when we called your friends, they said they hadn’t seen you.”

            “We figured that you might possibly come here, so we got here as soon as we could. We wanted to be here to help you and talk to you about everything.”

            Their words seemed to anger her even more, “I don’t understand why you guys lied to me by whole life. Why? Why the hell didn’t you tell me sooner? I always felt like

I didn’t belong, especially after you had sissy. Her skin tone, hair, eyes, it all made me question if I was adopted. My friends picked on me because I looked like I belonged to “the milk man,” and come to find out, I don’t even belong you!”

            Roger and Cheryl were devastated by their daughter’s words. They couldn’t even speak.

            “Abigail, I know you think your parents wronged you, but they didn’t want to see you hurt.” I said standing up for her family.

            Abby’s anger melted into sobs as she crumbled down into her chair. We rushed to her side and hugged her.

            “We wanted to give you a wonderful life, Abby. A life where it wouldn’t matter if you were adopted or not.” Cheryl said.

            “I know- I know, I just… I’m so confused and hurt.”

            We all sat back down at the kitchen table to discuss going forward.

            “I think we need to talk about what we’re going to do now.” Her mother started.

            “What do you mean?”

            “Your father and I have been talking the entire drive down, and we also discussed this previously with the Glouberman’s… Abby, when you became a teenager, we came down here for a weekend and talked about what would happen when you found out about your adoption.”

            “What do you mean?” Abby asked.

            “Your parents and I have talked about having you come stay here with us for a little while so you can get to know me, your brother, and our family.” I spoke softly with a reassuring smile.

            Her eyes grew wide with excitement, “are you serious?”

            “Of course we had planned things differently, and it was supposed to happen on your 18th birthday… but, your father and I truly think this arrangement will fit with your needs right now.”

            “Are you serious right now? Really?”

            “Marty and I would be so delighted to have you in our home for a while so you can have time to get to know us. Your parents and I have been close since you were born, and I wanted to have the opportunity to make a relationship with you.”

            “When? How?” Abby asked.

            “While we were driving down, we talked with Barbra, and we came to the conclusion that you could start the school year here. There’s still time to get you signed up for high school before the year starts. Only if that’s something you would be interested in.” Cheryl said, squeezing Abby’s hand.

            “That would be awesome! I- I don’t even know what to say!”

            “We have a spare bedroom upstairs. It’s all yours if you’d like to stay.” I said hopefully.

            “I would absolutely love to stay.” Abigail said with excitement in her eyes.

 

~*Abigail’s P.O.V*~

TWO WEEKS LATER

 

            I cannot wait for this fresh start! It’s been two weeks since I found out I was adopted, and today was the day I was finally coming back to Bridgton to meet my brother, Andrew, and Barbra’s husband, Marty. I plan on coming home every other weekend to spend time with my folks, and little sister Jada too. Even though I had a plan, I was still anxious about living somewhere new, and I still had the strange boy with the black and blue hair stuck in my head. I still had his burner phone and shirt, but I also had no way to figure out where he lived to give him his things back. To be honest, I really liked the shirt, and it meant even more to me since a boy gave it to me… Even if that boy could be a murderer.

            I felt horribly nervous as I climbed out of the car. My mom and dad helped gather the last of my bags and walked me back up the familiar sidewalk leading to the front door of the Glouberman’s house.

            “I can’t wait to meet your brother! What if he’s hot?” Samantha said pawing at me playfully.

            “You’re so gross! He’s 13, and my brother.” I hissed.

            “Okay, okay. You’re right. I’ll just be quiet for now.” She said covering her mouth with her fury claws.

            “Are you ready, sweetheart?” Dad said as his brown eyes began to water.

            I nodded, I was unable to speak a single word, or I would start crying too.

            “It isn’t too late to change your mind, Abigail. There’s still time to sign you up for school back home.” Mom said wiping her cheeks.

            “I want this. I promise-- if it doesn’t work, I’ll come home.” I said giving mom a reassuring smile.

            I reached for the doorbell and was reminded of the day I stood in this very same spot-- and now I’m able to live the life I could have been apart of. I’m going to have so much fun living with the Glouberman’s and it’s going to be awesome to be a big sister to a new brother.

            “Here goes nothing,” I whisper as my finger tapped the bell.

 

            I heard commotion from inside the house. A man was yelling loudly, but I was unable to understand everything through the walls. Shortly after, footsteps hurried close and the door flew open. Barbra came forward and gave me an excited, nurturing, squeeze before letting us inside.

            The house was very tidy-- almost cleaner than before. The green carpeting looked freshly vacuumed, and the pink rug by the sofa was vibrant and clashing against the rest of the room. The blue couch cushions were plumped up and the all of the surfaces were wiped clean and dust free.

            “Andrew and Marty are really excited to finally meet you, Abby. I think Andrew is upstairs in his room, and Marty’s in the bathroom, but he’ll be down in a little bit.”

            “Would it be okay if I went upstairs? I have a few bags I need to put down.” I asked politely.

            “Sure, sweetheart. We’ll be up in a little bit.” My mother said as she and dad handed me my bags.

           

            As I walked upstairs, I looked at all of the cute family pictures that lined their walls. Maybe they’ll hang my picture up there? I thought as I reached the top of the stairs.

            “The house isn’t horrible… But hopefully your room isn’t like their bedroom closet.” Samantha said biting her nails. “What if they’re sex freaks and try to make you apart of a family orgy?

            “Jesus Christ, Sam! Where the fuck do you come up with this shit?” I stated as I walked down the hallway.

            All of the doors were shut, but at the end of the hall, there was a door with a cute white sign hanging from the door handle saying ‘Abigail’s Room’ in bright teal.

            “I think this is my room.” I said to Samantha as I slowly opened the door.

            “Oh my god, I’m freaking out! Look at this! They decorated and everything!” she said barging into my new bedroom in complete thrill.

            Everything about the room was just-- so nice. They had painted the walls in the most perfect shade of bright teal-- I could tell because of the lightest smell of paint wafting through the air. The trim on the bottom of the walls, as well as the doors and windows making the room feel bigger-- even though it was pretty big. The carpet on the floor was a light shade of grey and it went so well with the room. My queen-sized bed was placed in the corner of the far right wall. A beautiful, fluffy white comforter was draped over mounds of pillows on top of the bed. Directly next to it was one of my nightstands with a very pretty essential oils defuser placed next to a lavender digital alarm clock. On the wall my bed was pushed against, was breathtaking. Stringed lights were hung in a zigzag formation down the wall. Small pictures were clipped to the lights and the sight of it made my eyes water.

            The rest of the room was perfect. On the left wall parallel to my bed, my TV was mounted, and my gaming system was set up on the cubed shelving unit below. Each of the cubes in the unit was filled with games and movies that I couldn’t wait to watch in my new room.

            My desk and rolling chair were set up on the right wall next to the closet door. It was set up just like I had it arranged at home. Notebooks, sketchpads, and printer paper on the bottom right open shelf, and all of my coloring gear on the left shelf. My printer was set up on the shelf above the desk surface, and a glass full of pens, pencils, and highlighters were set next to a lavender desk lamp.

            My clothes were hung neatly in the nice closet, and folded in the drawers. The laundry basket was tucked into the closet, and a trash bin was sitting untouched next to the desk. My shoes were unpacked and on the shelf in the closet, posters were tacked to the wall, my large corkboard was placed by the door with all of my planning needs-- everything seemed to be perfect.

            I squealed happily as I flopped backwards onto my bed, “I can’t believe everything’s unpacked!”

            “We hired our personal decorator to come down here and set everything up.” Mom said happily from the doorway, “I hope you like it.”

            “I love it! Thank you so much! I thought I was going to have to put everything together myself-- this is awesome.”

            “It really turned out nice,” Barbra said with a smile, “I’ve been coming in here every day to open the window to try and air it out-- I hope the smell doesn’t bother you.”

            “I’ll put some vanilla in the defuser and it’ll be just fine.” I said eagerly.

            “Oh I almost forgot! I have a gift for you.” Barbra said pulling a little box from her pocket.

            “Really? I really couldn’t ask for more.”

            “I insist! It’s something I’ve held on for years.”

            I opened the box to see a silver necklace with a cursive letter ‘A’ hanging from it, “it’s so beautiful! Thank you!”

            “I bought it for you when I was still pregnant with you. I’ve been holding onto it for all of these years-- waiting until this day.” Barbra beamed happily.

            I hung it around me neck and hooked the clasp. It hung perfectly on my chest. “I love it. Thank you.”

            “You’re welcome. Now! I need to go find Andrew so you two can finally meet. I think Marty might be done in the bathroom-- so hopefully he’ll come out soon.” Barbra said as she exited my new room.

           

            A few moments later, Barbra comes back into the room with a short, pear shaped boy following closely behind. He was wearing blue jeans and a green sweater-- it was odd that he wore these things in the summer. He looked pretty much identical to his picture, except his face bore a sad, patchy mustache.

            “Andrew, introduce yourself to your sister.” Barbra insisted, pushing the nervous boy forward.

            “Good day, long lost sister. I’m Andrew Glouberman.” Andrew said in a super awkward tone of voice.

            Is he fucking with me? Or is he always weirdly formal? I thought before shaking it off and introducing myself, “hey, Andrew. I’m Abigail Leonora Greenwood-- slash Glouberman. Nice to meet you, little bro.” I said pulling him in for a sisterly hug.

            “Y-yeah, okay.. I-I think I need to go to my room now. Nick is waiting for me at his house.”

            “Uck, stop being so weird, Andrew!” A man scolded from the doorway. He looked like an older version of Andrew, accept the top of his head was completely bald- except for the hair growing around the side. The man didn’t have any facial hair, but he did have a large nose and hair poking from his ears, “sorry about my weird kid. I’m Marty, Barbra’s husband. We are happy to have you in our home.”

            “Nice to meet you.” I said with a sweet smile.

            “Now Andrew, are you really going to leave your poor sister here all alone while you go hangout with your weird friends?” Marty scolded.

            “I had planned to--” Andrew said softly.

            “Honey, Nick’s older sister Leah is Abby’s age-- you should take her with you for a few hours.” Barbra suggested.

            He sighed, “I guess.”

            “It’ll be fine, I promise.” I winked, “I’m cool.”

            He swallowed hard, “o-okay.”

            “We can take my car if you want-- or can we walk?”

            “It’s down the street, but I hate walking at night.”

            “The car it is.” I said giving him a thumbs up.

            “The four of us can go out to dinner and catch up!” My dad suggested to the Glouberman’s. They all seemed to perk up as they discussed where to go for dinner.

            I grabbed Andrew’s hand and pulled him out the door, trying to avoid the awkward goodbyes.

            “Be back later on, you two! Tomorrow’s your first day of school and you’re not going to be late!” Marty yelled to us as we raced eagerly down the stairs. I grabbed my jeep keys from the hook on the wall and Andrew and I hurried to get in.

            “That was intense. I’m just glad dad didn’t get the chance to embarrass me.” Andrew said as I started the car.

            “All families are embarrassing. It’s no big deal.” I shrugged.

            He laughed, “oh you have no idea.”

            “Oooookay… So, anyway-- will there be food at your friend Nick’s house? Or should we go grab something?”

            Andrew clicked his seatbelt, “his parent’s will feed us-- but I should text him to let him know we’re both coming.”

            “Perfect-- hey, Andrew?”

            “Yeah?”

            “Thanks for letting me tag along.” I said smiling, pulling us out of the driveway.

            “No problem, Abby.”

            “Now! Direct me to our location!” I demanded in a goofy tone.

Chapter Text

            As Andrew and I pulled up to his little friend’s house, I was in awe of their beautiful mansion. Even through the darkness, I could see the beauty of this two story home with what looked like a full sized attic. The light from the streetlamp in their front yard illuminated a small area of the grass, as well as their driveway that pulled into a four car garage.

            Once we parked the car out front, a short boy accompanied by a slender teenaged girl emerged from the front door. I felt nervous, but I snuck a small hit from my weed pen to calm the nerves before meeting the Birch family.

            "Abigail, this is Nick and,” Andrew paused for a moment, making a strange sensual sigh, “this is Leah.”

            Nick looked mildly uncomfortable at the sight of me, but he managed an awkward smile before speaking, “nice to meet you.—I uh—Andrew let’s go up to my room. I need to show you something.”

            “It’s nice to meet you too.” I smiled genuinely.

            “You two weirdos have fun.” Leah said as she rolled her big blue eyes. Her blonde hair was cascading down her chest before tossing it over her shoulder, “don’t mind them. They’re weird, but cool in as stupid little brother way.”

            “They don’t seem half bad. I mean, I literally just met both of them but they seem alright.” I laughed.

            “Well, if you want to come to the back yard, my dad is grilling some dinner. I don’t know what you like, but he’s making some chicken, steak kabobs, corn, and some asparagus too.” Her big blue eyes beamed happily as she walked me around the side of the gorgeous building she gets to call home.

            As we rounded the side of the house, Leah opened the tall privacy fence gate and it opened up into a magical back yard. It was huge! Especially for a property in town. There was a beautiful in ground swimming pool completed with a big slide and a floating basketball hoop. There were yellow lawn chairs spaced around the side of the water, and a table and chairs, as well as a gorgeous outdoor grill set. There was even tiki torches lit throughout the open area.
            Nick and Leah's parents were setting out the food and plates as we wandered to table. Their eyes lit up at the sight of me.

            “Yeah, when Nick told me that Andrew had a big sister I thought he was lying, but here you are. Welcome to our home! We are so happy to have you here.” Her mom said pulling me into a tight hug. Her blonde hair tickled my nose as she giggled, releasing me.

            “I’m Elliot, and this is my sensual wife, Diane.” Mr. Birch stated, wooing over his wife.

            “It’s so nice to meet you. You have such a gorgeous home.” I said doing my best to make a polite impression.

            “She’s beautiful and has good taste.” Mrs. Birch said with a playful wink. 

            We all sat down at the table and Nick and Andrew came outside soon after. Dinner was delicious And after we finished eating, the conversation started once more.

            “How has life been since you found out you were adopted? It must have been very confusing for you, but you seem to be doing good.” Diane asked nurturingly.

            “It was super weird finding out I was adopted - but I mean, it’s not all bad. I got to move here and start over, so I really can’t complain. It’s been pretty nice so far.”

            “Don’t you miss your friends and family?” Nick asked curiously.

            I sighed, “now don’t get me wrong,  I know I’m going to miss my family but… I really didn’t have any friends... not anymore.”

            “I’m sorry to hear that, honey. But I’m glad you’re so excited for a fresh start.” Elliot could sense it was a sensitive subject.

            “Yeah! I’m excited to go to a new school and meet new people.”

            “It'll be good for you!" Leah exclaimed, “and I’ve already texted like all of my friends and they really can’t wait to meet you.” 

 

~ * ~

            School started and it was honestly really easy to find my groove. People perceived me as Bridgeton High's edgy new girl. I dressed myself in mostly rock trees, ripped up jeans, and neon rainbow colored converse shoes. I loved being the positive talk of the halls on the first few weeks of school, but I loved my friend group even more. Leah had introduced me to her closest friends when school had started and we have been an inseparable bunch since. All of us are unique and different, but our personalities click really well. Tara Reed is our Hippie. She has a crystal or essential oil for every ache, pain, or misfortune. Marcus Wall has a keen eye for photography—and possibly the best smile I’ve ever seen in my life—too bad he’s taken. And that just leaves Kara Bowman. Funny story about Kara, we were actually really close friends when we were younger. She moved away in the 5th grade and we lost touch. Kara is our creative hand. She’s insanely talented when it comes to the arts. She can draw, paint, and sculpt just about anything in any style. She plays guitar decently well and she is a wiz when it comes to Photoshop. 

            I was making decent grades and trying pretty hard to get them. When I wasn’t spending time with Kara, or the gang, I was studying, or spending time with my bio family. I loved my birth mom, and Marty. They are such an odd couple, but they really seem to love each other—in the weirdest ways. Andrew is a decent kid, but we don’t spend a whole lot of time together. He mostly keeps to himself or spends time with his little pervert friends. Every now and then, Nick and Jay come over and I can hear them talking about all kinds of weird shit through the walls.

            Over all life was good. I was good-- and nothing was going to bring me down! Especially since my favorite holiday is zoning in! It was just another boring afternoon at Bridgeton High and Kara, Tara, and I were sitting at the usual hangout spot under the stairs.

            “I still think we should go as something sexy, like a slutty school girl or something.” Kara suggested.

            “I think we should go as gypsies! It would be so fun and I could give everyone henna tattoos!” Tara said happily.

            “No way! Halloween isn’t about being sexy—even though it’s a bonus—it’s about being scary! I think we should all dress up as our favorite horror movie character! Or, we could even go as something scary from a video game—like the nurses in Silent Hill! That would be sick and also sexy.” I was hoping I had made my point, but they still continued to pout.

            “I don’t like being scary. It messes up my aura.” Tara complained as she clutched the crystal hanging from her neck.

            “And you know I love a good horror movie, and game, but I really want to keep it simple and sexy this year. Like maybe we could go as vampires! We could dress sexy, but still be spooky?” Kara said giving me a nudge.

            I frowned, “you guys are no fun!” I then slowly began thinking of fun costumes for the group. Last year, the three of them dressed up as the powerpuff girls, so we had to find something to top that.

            “Hey guys! What’s going on?” Leah questioned as she and Marcus joined us.

            “We’re arguing about what our costumes are going to be for Halloween.” Kara huffed.

            “Oh my gosh, I’ve been so busy that I forgot to tell you that I already have our costumes figured out.” Leah said with a smirk.

            “Seriously? Why didn’t you tell us?” Tara said with a sigh.

            “I’ve been so busy with the Cruisable, that I’ve been forgetting to tell you! Tonight’s the party out at Daniel’s house—which is ‘kid friendly’ because his family’s home passing out candy to the trick or treaters. My parents going to be out at a party, so I think Nick is going trick or treating with the Glouberman's.” Leah explained.

            “What are our costumes?” I asked happily.

            “You’ll just have to wait and see!"

 

~ * ~

            “What do you mean I can’t go to a friends house tonight? It’s Halloween!” I protested, “I had told you guys a million times that I had plans tonight!” I said with an annoyed sigh.

            “Oh honey, we know. And we are so sorry that you’re disappointed, but we didn’t realize that the Bilzerian’s Halloween Party was tonight. We’re sorry, sweetheart, but we really need you to stay with the boys tonight.” Barbra said as she grabbed her purse.

            “I left gas money for you on the table sweetheart. We will be back late.” Marty said as he and Barbra left the house dressed as Popeye and Olive Oil.

            As the door closed I huffed angrily. How unfair! What am I going to do now?!

            “I’m sorry Abby. But at least we can have fun going trick or treating.” Andrew said softly trying not to upset me.

            “Fuck it. You know what? Hell yeah. Let’s go have some fun.” I said mischievously, “I’m going to grab some stuff and I’ll be ready to go get your little friends.” 

            I hurried up the stairs to get some things together—silly string, my hidden bottle of Jack Daniel’s, toilet paper, and my phone charger. When I opened the black back pack I was met with a familiar object I hadn’t seen in months. It was the burner phone that boy had given me when I had ran away from home. I could still see his face clear in my mind—harrowing green eyes, plump lips, black and blue hair… What was his name again? It started with a J? Jeremy? No-… Jack? Maybe? How come I can’t remember? I pondered for a few moments before shoving the last of my things into the bag before zipping it up and heading out to the car.

            “Are you ready?” I asked Andrew as I started the car.

            “Oh—yeah I’m ready.” He said nervously wrapping a blue blanket around his neck.

            “Also, I think your costume is pretty cool. You and your little friends are going to be adorable dressed as pigs in a blanket.”

            “Thanks. I thought it was a funny idea.”

            “Are you going to be meeting up with Missy tonight?” I asked with a wink.

            “Oh good lord, I don’t know.” He said shifting nervously.

            “Have you kissed her?”

            An anxious laugh bellowed from his mouth, “No, I wish.” 

            I pulled up to Jay's house and he ran out in his pig in a blanket costume, and jumped into the car. He looked oddly sweaty was breathing heavy, “Jesus FUCK. I hate my fucking brothers! Let’s get the FUCK out of here!”

            “What the fuck?” I yelled as Jay’s brothers ran outside and threw balloons at my jeep. When they hit the car and burst, the liquid looked thick and sticky on the windshield. IS THAT CUM? GROSS! WHAT THE FUCK?!


            “Get out here, you little homo!” One of them yelled to Jay.

            Out of pure disgust, I flung my car door open and hopped out, “what the fuck is wrong with you!?”

            As Jay’s brothers eyes met with mine, their expression changed. Kurt straightened his pot leaf hat and Val tugged at his hoodie.

            “Somebody better clean this shit up! RIGHT. NOW.” I yelled, losing my shit.

            “Oh my god, Abby—I—we are so sorry!” Val said punching Kurt, “you’re ideas are disgusting! Why would you make me do that!”

            “Me? You’re the one who saves your cum in jars! You’re a sick fuck!”

            “You’re both fucking disgusting! Clean my car right fucking now!”

            The dumbass boys scrambled to get their hose from the side of the house to spray my car off. I climbed back into the jeep and locked the doors for Jay’s safety.

            “You are awesome, Abby! And incredibly sexy.” Jay said smoothly.

            “Uck… Thanks, Jay.” I said as I watched Val and Kurt finish cleaning my car.

            “Jay comes from a family of animals.” Andrew stated as we drove away from the hell house. 

            We soon arrived to Leah and Nick’s house. I had only really been over one time—I usually came over to get Leah, but other than that, I had never really been inside her house. 

            “Abby!” Leah exclaimed running outside with Nick, “what’s going on? Why are you picking up the children?”

            I gritted my teeth, “Barbra and Marty are going to the Halloween party at the Pub Party Room that Guy Bilzarian is throwing… and I’m guessing that’s where all of our parents are going.” 

            “So you’re not going to Daniel’s party? You’re not even in a costume, Abby!” Leah protested sadly.

            “I really want to go, but I want I can’t just leave the kids.” I shrugged.

            “Hopefully you can figure something out! Daniel texted me not too long ago and said that his parents decided to go to the Bilzarian’s party. So now he’s throwing a rager in his house.”

            “Seriously?” I groaned, “that’s so cool.”

            Leah leaned in close and lowered her voice to a whisper, “maybe you can ditch these kids early and sneak over? I’ll bring your costume with me.” Leah winked.

            “Do it! Say yes!” Samantha said leaning in behind Leah.

            I bit my lip, “I’ll see what I can do.”

            “Oh come on!” Sammy said before disappearing with a very grumpy look on her face.

            “Byeeee!” Leah said as she walked back to the house.

            “What did Leah want?” Andrew asked as I pulled out of the driveway.

            “She probably wants to set up some kind of secret lesbian make-out sesh.” Jay said as if he could picture it.

            I rolled my eyes and grinned, “maybe—but you’ll never know.” I said jokingly in a sexy tone, “it’s a secret.”

            The boys were blushing as I giggled at the sight of their red cheeks. I parked my car outside of the high school. The very wealthy neighborhood was within walking distance, so it was a perfect place to start trick or treating. Each house was decorated with high quality, spooky décor. Most houses had lights and little boy up cure things, but this block was super cool and scary. Each house looked to be out of a horror movie!

~*~

            After a few fun hours of wandering around aimlessly, and watching the boys beg for candy from strangers, I was ready to take them home. I corralled the guys and we began the hike back to the car.

            “Okay punks, it’s time to pay the candy tax.” I stated holding out my hands.

            “Come on, Abby.” Andrew said with a whine.

            “I’m serious, little bro. Cough up the goods.”

            They each handed me a few of their large candy bars and several pieces of their miscellaneous treats. I was satisfied. My hoodie pocket was nearly bursting with candy like a piñata and I was thrilled to be one step closer to my first high school party in a new town. But first thing’s first. It was time to stir up some good old fashion fun. I pulled the kids to the side.

            “Are you guys ready to do some fun shit?” I asked opening my backpack of goodies.

            “Wait—are you suggesting that we vandalize someone’s house?” Andrew asked nervously, “because I-I don’t know if I’m capable of vandalism.”

            “Oh come on, Andrew! It’ll be so fun! This house is surrounded by houses that don’t have lights on. It’s a bit of harmless shenanigans!”

            “I’m reluctantly in. “ Nick said as he snatched a roll.

            Jay grabbed one of the toilet paper rolls from my hand, “don’t be a pussy—just do it.”

            “Uck, quit quoting your dad’s law commercials.” Andrew protested, “how about I hold the bag. I can’t do it—what’s this?” He asked pulling out the bottle of Jack.

            “Quit digging in my stuff! And that’s mine anyway. You little kids can’t have any booze.” I stated snatching the bottle.

            “Why is there a flip phone in here? Oh my god, you’re a drug dealer!”

            “Shut the hell up, Andrew! No, I’m not a dealer. Sure, I dabble in a little marijuana, but I’m not a dealer. I got this phone from someone who helped me a while back.”

            “What are you? A hitman? Jesus christ!”

            I laughed, “I’m not a hitman. Look, I got this burner phone from a dude that helped me when I was running away. He was sort of a freak, but he was nice enough to help me. Now, are you going to vandalize some shit? Or not?” I stated shoving the liquor and phone back in the bag and zipping it for safety.

            “No way. Knock yourself out.” Andrew stated.

            Nick, Jay, and myself began tossing the toilet paper happily through the branches on the trees outside of our victims house. We were in complete bliss as we rampaged through the yard. We only had three rolls so it wasn’t too much damage, but it sure was hella fun.

            I grabbed my backpack from Andrew and secretly snuck a swig of Jack before tossing the bag on my shoulders, “you have some cool friends, Andrew!” I said high fiving Nick and Jay.

            "Am I cool enough for a hug?” Jay asked biting his lip in angst.

            “I don’t think you can handle that.” I said giving him a playful shove.

            We laughed as we ran back to my orange jeep.

            "That was so much fun!” Nick said out of breath, “I think vandalism is my new favorite hobby! What a rush!”

            “Hey now! You can’t do this shit all the time. Number one rule of doing something illegal is: don’t get caught. If you keep doing it all the time you will get caught.” I stated.

            “So what’s next?” Andrew asked nervously.

            “I just want her to deep throat this lollipop,” Jay stated as he held out a green apple blow pop, “I will literally jizz in my pants.”

            “Come on, Jay! Again this is my sister.”

            I ignored Jay's comment but still took the sucker and shoved it in my pocket. “Chill out, little bro! It’s getting late, I think I’m going to take your asses home.” I said with a smile, “besides, I have plans for tonight.”

            “Whaaaaat? Oh come on! The night is still young!” Jay protested.

            “Look, you guys are pretty cool, so I’m going to level with you.” I started, “I’m going out tonight with the girls—and Marcus, and you guys can’t come.”

            “Oh thank god,” Andrew sighed with relief.

            “Now listen  I’ll drop you three off at Nick’s house and then I’m out. Now, before you get your panties in a bunch, I’m going to give you $30 bucks. $20 for pizza and $10 to rent a movie or something.”

            They all nodded in approval.

            “Also, you guys have to cover for me.”

            “Andrew’s not capable  of lying.” Nick stated.

            “Okay, well I’m technically not lying. Look, I just need you to tell the parents that I’m staying over at Kara’s place—which is what I’m doing.” I said with a wink, “Barbra and Marty won’t care that you’re over at Nick’s house—I’m not telling you what I’m doing, but I am going to stay with Kara. Got it?”

            “Sounds good, right Andrew?” Nick said nudging the nervous pear shaped boy.

            “S-S-Sure.” Andrew said anxiously.

            “Cool. Now take the money and get lost, punks!” I said jokingly as they hopped out of the car, “call me if you need anything!” 

            They ran into Nick’s house with their buckets full of candy and money for a fun night.

            I felt pretty pleased with myself. I was able to take the little nerds out for trick or treating tonight and I was still able to go out. It was perfect! Now I just need to get to Daniel’s house to get in my costume Leah made and its game on! I thought to myself as I started to follow the GPS.

            My mind began to wander and I started thinking back to earlier when Andrew found the little grey flip phone in my backpack. I wish I could just remember his name.

            “I miss that handsome, psycho boy,” Sammy said as she appeared in my passengers seat, “he was so cool and dangerous.”

            “He was definitely a crazy pants. I remember what he looks like—and that his name started with a ‘J,’ but other than that I’m at a loss.” I said thinking about the good looking teen with the black and blue hair. My lower abdomen began to tingle at the thought of him.

            Samantha grinned, “that crazy pants soaks your panties.”

            “Oh come on!” My cheeks felt fiery.

            “I still remember how he smelled like cigarettes, Jack Daniel’s, and summer sweat.”

            I groaned, “I know—you know, he did say he lived around here—I wonder if he goes to school with me?”

            “We could always check the local juvenile jail!”

            “Maybe… or I could just ask around. I might be able to convince Kara to try and draw a picture of him!”

            “That's a thought… We could charge up that phone he gave you and look through it.” She said as her fury claws placed the mysterious grey phone in my lap.

            “That’s not a bad idea. I can pull in here and get a charger and we can charge it at Daniel’s house!” I said pulling into the local Gas Mart, “they actually sell these burner phones here too, so I should be able to find a charger.”

            “Atta girl!” Sammy cheered as I hurried into the Gas Mart to hunt for the charger.

            It was an easy find. I was able to walk right in and find it in a matter of seconds. Once the cashier rang me out, I hustled back to the jeep and hurried to Daniel’s party. Once I got there and parked my jeep in the packed lot across from his hous, I pulled out my phone and called Leah.

            “Where you at, bitch?” Kara said loudly, answering Leah’s phone.

            I laughed, “I’m outside! Where’s my costume?”

            “We have it inside! We’ve got everything set up in Daniel’s parents' master bathroom! Hurry your ass up!” 

 

~ * ~

            “Oh good lord… really?” I said tugging on the shirt with round holes cut around each breast, exposing my hot pink bra.

            “At least you wore a bright colored bra.” Leah stated as she finished curling my hair.

            “I had no idea we were doing a Mean Girls theme! I would have dressed up at Halloween Katy, not slutty , plastic Katy.” I said with a pout.

            “You don’t like it?” Leah asked frowning, “I spent all afternoon cutting the holes in the shirts and paring them with pretty skirts and heals.”

            “Just lie to her! Tell her you like it! She’s the popular queen bee and she must not be put down!” Sammy said before disappearing. 

            I created a smile, “I’m only fucking with you, boo! I love the costumes. You make a perfect Regina George.”

            “Really?” She asked perking up.

            “Boo, ya whore! Mine is the best.” Kara said admiring her costume, “I love Gretchen Wieners!” 

            “Mine is the best over all! I love Karen! She’s so goofy and sexy,” Tara said with a sensual smile, “I’m wearing red jasper and smoky quartz to help my sex drive and open my sexual being. Maybe tonight’s the night I finally seduce Marcus? Who knows.” She said biting her lip.

            “Real it in, love, Marcus has a girlfriend. He really likes Tori and you’re not going to mess that up, are you?” Leah said bursting her bubble. Something caught her eye as she looked to the corner where my clothes were laying, “is that your shirt?”

            I looked to the royal blue shirt that had a neon green skull over a large black X printed on the front. It instantly hit me—How did I not realize that I was wearing his shirt?

            “Earth to Abby—hello?” Leah said waving her hand in front of my face.

            “Oh—um—yeah that’s mine.”

            “Weird, my brother has that same shirt and I haven’t seen him wear it in a long time. I haven’t seen anyone else with one similar so I was curious.”

            “Really?” I asked curiously, “I didn’t think your brother liked heavy metal…”

            "Do you live under a rock? My brother’s a psychopath.” Leah said with a laugh.

            “Um—what?”

            “Guuuyyys! I lost my buzz! We’ve been hiding out in this bathroom for an hour now! Abby’s all ready, so let’s gooooo.” Kara whined.

            “Okay. I’ve got to bring my bags of make up and stuff to my car, then I’ll find you guys.” Leah said hoisting her pink bags over her shoulder.

            “I need to put my back pack in my car too,” I said tossing my clothes in my bag, “but you guys need to get lost. I need to change my tampon.” I said shooing them from the bathroom. 

            “Gross! We'll see you downstairs.” Leah teased jokingly before walking out the door.

            As soon as she left I locked the door behind her. I hurried to get the little phone and charger from my bag and plug it into the outlet next to the sink.

            “Here goes nothing, sugar plum. The moment of truth!” Sam said emerging from behind the shower curtain.

            “I’m nervous… but let’s do it.” I said turning the phone on.

            In a matter of seconds the phone had come back to life and was ready for use. I just opened the contacts folder when suddenly the phone began buzzing and an unknown number crossed the screen.

            “What the fuck?!” I yelped. I was nearly jumping from my skin, dropping the phone on the countertop.

            “Oh my god! Oh my god! Answer it!”

            I reluctantly opened the phone, “h-hello?”

            The other line was noisy and music thumped loudly.

            “Hello? Who is this?”

            “Who the fuck is this?” A familiar, gravelly voice asked.

            “I asked first, asshole!” I stated, feeling my heart pound in my throat.

            “How come this fucking phone is on? I thought I told you to break it in half and ditch it? Are you a fucking idiot?” 

            “I’m sorry! I just had to--"

            “Shut the fuck up and ditch the god damn phone if you know what’s good for you, Leo.”
            “Wait!” Fucking fuck... it was definitely him and-- and he called me Leo.

            “Honey, we gotta GO!” Sammy said sternly, “he has some kind of tracker on this phone—or something! We need to do what he said and break this god damn thing!” 

            As quick as he called, the line clicked and he was gone. As fast as I could, I threw everything back into the backpack and hurried out of the bathroom. I was nearing a full on panic attack. I had to get back with my friends. I had to be with someone. What if he was tracking me down right now? What if he can see that I’m here? My mind raced as a hurried out of the house. I snapped the phone in half over my knee and chucked it into the road.

            “Abigail! What the fuck is going on? Are you okay? Holy shit!” Kara said yanking me to look at her, “I was calling your name and you completely ignored me in the house. What the hell is going on?”

            I swallowed, my hands shaking as I pulled my weed pen from the front pocket of my back pack. I took a few hits before finally calming down enough to walk to the side of the house and tell her everything--without having eyes on us.

            "Oh my god, are you shitting me? You never told us about the guy!” Kara stated. 

            “I know! But look, you can’t tell anyone about this. I’m totally freaked out about the whole thing. And now that the phone is gone, I shouldn’t have to worry.”

            “He’s going to be one hard dude to find. There’s at least 20 guys with emo hair that go to our school. And almost all of them have color in their hair and look like killers.” 

            “If he does go to our school, he would be a junior.”

            “Hmmm… I’ll have to think on it and get back to you.” Kara said sipping her drink, “let’s put your shit in your car and go back to the party. Let’s not worry about that asshole, A! It’s Halloween for devil’s sake! Let’s go get fucked up and have some fuuuun!”

            I giggled, “fuck it. Hell yeah let’s do it!” I said walking to my car. I pulled out the bottle of Jack Daniel’s and took a few swigs before locking my car and joining the grinding teens in fun costumes insside of Daniel’s house.

            As I was dancing with the girls and having a good time, I could have sworn I saw the back of a tall boy with black and blue hair out of the corner of my eye. Maybe it was the weed? Maybe it was the booze? Or maybe it was him-- hunting his prey?

Chapter Text

            It was finally the last night of the school’s play, The Cruisable. Leah was playing one of the lead roles, Kara and Marcus were in the ensemble, and Tara was in the crew. It was a really weird play that was hard to follow, but the gang was doing a great job on stage.

            I was stuck sitting with Nick and his friend Mathew as we watched the performance. My mind kept wandering away from the stage lights in thoughts of the fun night ahead of me. I was so ready to dance and have a fun night with my friends.

            “I don’t understand a damn thing that’s going on.” Nick whispered to me.

            “I don’t think anyone does.” I said giggling quietly.

            “I can’t wait till this is over.”

            “Me either-- I love them, but this play? It isn’t the best one I’ve seen.”

            “I just want to go play video games.”

            “I just can’t wait to party.”   

            “Party?” He asked with his brow raised.
            “Yeah? Leah’s throwing the wrap party at your house?” Did he not know this?

            “I guess I’m going then.” He said excitedly.

            “What? No way. No kids allowed.” I said shaking my head.

            “Shhhhh!” Someone shushed in an annoyed tone, “my kid’s up there! You’re ruining the play!”

            I rolled my eyes, “sorry.”

           

~*~

            The play was finally over and it was time to leave for Leah’s party. I walked back stage with Nick and hugged Kara.

            “You all did such an awesome job!” I said praising my beautiful bestie.

            “Thanks! It was outrageous, but a lot of fun.” She said laughing. Her long, Rapunzel like hair was falling down her back in a waterfall of bouncy curls.

            “Are you ready for tonight?”

            “Oh she is so ready.” Marcus said putting his arm around her shoulder.

            Her cheeks flushed before she brushed his hand off of her shoulder, “shud’up!”

            “Hey Marcus,” I smiled, “are you driving the girls over there?”

            “You know it. They always insist that I be their chauffer.” His smile melts my insides like the sun melts ice pops on a hot summers day.

            “Is Tori coming?” Kara asked.

            He scratched the back of his neck, “I don’t know. She didn’t even come tonight.”

            “She came to one of the other shows though, right?” I asked.

            His face looked genuinely sad, “no. She said she had more important things to do.”

            “Seriously? That’s a bunch of shit.”

            “No joke-- but, oh well. Maybe she’ll want to come out tonight.”

            “What are you guys talking about?” Tara asked joining the discussion.

            “We’re just talking about how Tori is being a skank.” Kara said with a sigh.

            “Hey, hey, she is not a skank. She just has more important things to do-- that’s all.”

            “Okay, okay-- everyone stop. Let’s not focus on the bad, let’s focus on how we are going to have a great time tonight-- even though we’re going to Leah’s house, we’re still going to have fun.” Tara said inhaling deeply and exhaling.

            “What’s wrong with Leah’s house?” I asked curiously.

            “Nothing, Tara is just being a drama queen.” Kara stated.

            “Look, her house freaks me out! I hate it. It has a bad aura.” She said shivering.

            “Okay, crazy pants. Well, I’m excited! We never get to hangout at her house because of Tara’s ‘problem’ with her sensitivities.” Kara said giving Tara a playful nudge.

            “Okay ladies, we are not going to start a cat fight.” Marcus said putting one hand on each of their shoulders, “I will come pick you up tonight around 8, okay?”

            “It’s 6:30 right now-- so let’s go over to my house to get ready!” Kara said grabbing Tara’s hand, “You want to come, Abby?”

            “I’ve got to change my clothes, so I’ll probably walk over to her house right after. But thanks for the invite. I’ll see you guys in a bit.” I said winking.

            They frolicked happily out of the auditorium, Marcus following them closely behind.

            “It’s such bullshit!” Leah growled, walking up to me.

            “First, great job tonight. Second, what’s up? What’s bullshit?” I asked trying to figure out why Leah looked so pissed off.

            “Nick is coming to the party.”

            “Why? I thought he was going to hang out with Andrew,” then it clicked. Andrew was going to Missy’s house to play games and have dinner, “oh-- shit. I forgot Andrew had a date tonight.”

            “Exactly.” Leah scoffed.

            “Well, I mean we could lock him in his room.” I suggested.

            “No, he’ll just hangout and behave himself or I’ll kill him.”

            “Sounds like a solid plan.” I laughed.

            Her expression lightened and a smile came back to her face, “I can’t wait till 9. The D.J is all set up in the house-- speakers inside and outside. I was able to get some booze, and a few others are bringing some too. It’s going to be crazy.”

            We started towards our cars, the unusually warm air blowing through the leafless trees. “Sooooo,” I said mischievously, “you gonna make a move on Daniel tonight?”

            “I-I donno. Maybe.” She said bumping her hip into mine.

            “I think Kara and Tara are going to try and hunt Marcus down-- especially if Tori doesn’t show.”

            “Oh my god, they need to quit.” Leah laughed as she got to her car.

            “I know. I’ll see you in a bit!”

            “Kay byeeeeee!”

            “Byeeeee!”

 

~*~

            I glanced in the mirror. My usually kinky locks of auburn hair were now flattened straight and smooth. I was wearing a white, Mushroom Head shirt, with their band logo splattered like blood on the front, and I had altered it by cutting a slit in the cleavage. I wore a black and white plaid mini skirt over a pair of fishnet leggings, and black combat boots to complete the outfit. I had spent the most time on my make up to be sure I looked perfect. I wore grey smokey eye with black winged eyeliner, a set of falsies, a very light stroke of blush, some killer highlighter, and a deep red liquid lip. I even put in a new nose ring! It was a super simple and cute red stud heart. I looked pretty damn good, and I felt even better.

            “You better get going! You don’t want to show up late!” Sammy said putting some lipstick on her lips.

            “I don’t want to be early either-- but you are right. I should leave-- but what should I tell Barb and Marty?”

            “Oh honey, just tell them you’re going to sleep over at Leah’s.” She said patting my head.

            “But they’ll ask why I’m wearing this,” I said motioning to my outfit.

            “Hmm… Maybe wear your long coat that goes down to your knees?” She said draping the coat over my shoulders.

            I slipped it on and buttoned it all the way up. It hid my raunchy outfit pretty well and I smiled, “show-time.” I slung my backpack over my shoulders and walked downstairs to the living room.

            “Why are you wearing a coat?” Marty asked loudly.

            “I was going to walk down to Leah’s house for a sleepover.” I grinned hopefully.

            “Make sure you’re back in the morning! Don’t forget that we’re going to the synagogue around 9, okay honey?” Barbra said with a sweet smile.

            “You got it, Barbra! I’ll be home by then.” I said hurrying to the door.

            Once I got outside, I rushed to my jeep and took off my coat and stashed it in the backseat. It was too warm for a coat anyway, but I didn’t feel like having it stolen, or lost during my adventure.

           

~*~

            As I walked up to the Birch house, the street was lined with cars. I’m so glad I walked over here. I thought as I stepped on the sidewalk. The pop music was thumping in my eardrums when I opened the door. When I entered the house, a thick cloud of strawberry vape smoke was blown in my face.

            “I gotcha! Ha! What’s up?” Tara said with a giggle.

            “Is that THC?” I asked enjoying the pleasant smell.

            “Not this one,” she frowned, “I left my THC vape at home. This one will just have to do.”

            “Oh my goooosh! Hey Abby!” Kara squealed nearly tackling me as I entered the door.

            “Drunk already?” I teased.

            “Fuck you, no! I’m just having fun!” She said laughing, her face mildly flushed from the wine she was drinking.

            “I can’t believe this is my second official party at this school.” I stated.

            “It’s the second of many!” Leah shouted, rushing over.

            “Hey girl! Rad party.” I said squeezing her in a hug.

            “Thanks! Welcome to my house!”

            “I’ve literally never been inside-- it looks like your pictures were taken down. What happened?” I asked noticing the bare spaces on the wall where nails were placed.

            “Yeah, I didn’t want anything ruined.”

            “I totally understand. Your house is gorgeous.” I said walking further into the home.

            “Yeah, Tara is-- sensitive. She says it messes with her aura-- but, she seems to be doing okay now.”

            “For now.” Kara teased.

            We exchanged laughs until Tara blew smoke into our faces in protest.

            “I’m going to get some more to drink. Abby! You need a drink! Come on!” Kara said grabbing my hand, dragging me through the ocean of teen bodies.

            The inside of the house was stunning, just like the outside. The walls were painted a beautiful baby blue with white crown molding caressing the high ceiling.

            I snapped back into reality as we finally made it to the kitchen. It was filled with people mixing drinks and taking shots.

            “Here, bitch! Drink up!” Kara said handing me a cup she filled with wine.

            “Cheers, bitch!” I said tapping cups with Kara as we chugged the sweet wine.

            The music suddenly stopped and Daniel’s voice boomed through the speakers, “can I have everyone’s attention, please? Thank you,” he stated, climbing onto the coffee table in the living room, “tonight we celebrate the end of The Cruisable. The cast and crew have worked their asses off, and in the end it all paid off!”

            Everyone clapped, whistled, and held their red solo cups high as they saw Daniel do the same thing.

            “To The Cruisable!” Daniel yelled triumphantly, chugging the last of his cup.

            “To The Cruisable!” The crowd yelled, mimicking Daniel, throwing their drinks back.

            The D.J then started blaring the music once more. The floor was vibrating with the thumping beat of the bass.

            “Let’s go dance!” Kara said as she pulled me back into the living room.

            “Hey girls!” Marcus said loudly as he dug his way through the dancing bodies, “Have you seen Tori?”

            “Forget her! Let’s just have some fun!” Kara said grabbing his hands, shaking them to force him to move his body.

            He smiled for a moment until it faded, “she might be here, though. I need to find her.” He pulled away and Kara shook her head angrily.

            “I don’t get what he sees in her.” Kara said as she shrugged.

            “Hey, I’m gonna go talk to him-- I’ll be back in a bit, okay?”

            She nodded, continuing to shake her hips to the music.

           

            I sifted through the local high school kids that I hardly knew, and made my way to the back door. When I walked outside, I saw Marcus sitting in a chair close to a little fire pit that was sparking with a beautiful flame.

            “Hey, you okay?” I asked pulling up a chair next to the frowning boy.

            “Yeah-- well-- no, I don’t think so.” His expression looked unsure and his eyes sad.

            “What’s going on? Is Tori still not coming around?”

            “She’s not, and she’s being a total--”

            “Bitch?” I said for him.

            “Yeah. She’s being rude to me, doesn’t want me to go out with my friends, and she’s super possessive.”

            “It sounds like you need to rip that Band-Aid off, sweetheart.”

            “I know but-- I think I really love her.”

            “Marcus, listen. The people that truly love you wouldn’t treat you this way.”

            He rubbed his forehead, “look, Abby, I know you’re trying to be nice, but I--”

            “Marcus, seriously. You deserve better.”

            His smile finally returned, “thank you.”

            “And I have no problem standing up and talking to Tori for you.” I said with a truthful laugh.

            He chuckled, “oh yeah?”

            “Fuck yeah! Screw that bitch.” I said nudging his arm.

            “Thanks, Abby.”

            “You got it! Now, here’s a remedy for your sorrows.” I said taking the bottle of Jack Daniels out of my backpack, “take a sip.”

            “Are you trying to make me an alcoholic?” He said gasping jokingly.

            “Never! I just want you to have fun! And you need to catch up.”

            “Fuck, I’ll take one sip.” He said grabbing the bottle and taking one mouthful. His face filled with disgust as he forced himself to swallow, before coughing.

            “That’ll put some hair on your chest!” I said taking the bottle and drinking a few sips with no problem.

            “Jesus Christ, Abby. That’s terrible.”

            “Not as terrible as Tori.” I said with a wink.

            His laugh filled my heart with joy, “you’re terrible.”

            “Oh come on! Anyone’s better than Tori.”

            “Oh yeah? Like who?”

            “Well, for one, there’s Kara. She’s a total babe, she’s super artsy, and she’s a good person.”

            “I see your point, but I don’t think she likes me like that.”

            “Are you kidding?” I asked in total disbelief.

            “There’s no way she likes me.”

            “Oh my god, guys really are blind.” I shook my head, “she totally likes you. She talks about you all the time-- Tara too.”

            “For real?”

            “Oh my god, you act like it’s such a shock.” I laughed, “now let’s get back in there and have fun with our friends!” I said gabbing his arm pulling him to his feet. I put my backpack back on and held onto the bottle of Jack as we went to join out friends in the house.

            I was finally cutting loose. Dancing like a crazy idiot with Kara and sipping the honey colored liquor from the bottle. All while Leah, Tara, and Marcus played wine pong and card games.

            Time had lost it’s meaning and before I knew it, Nick’s friend Jay had arrived and was running around howling and yelling ‘party wolf.’ Not too long after that, Andrew and Missy walked nervously into the kitchen.

            “Whaaat’s up little bro?” I slurred, throwing my arm over his shoulder.

            “Oh hey, Abby.” Andrew said with an unsure smile.

            “Awwww, Andrew, is this your little giiirlfriend?” I said lightly poking her nose.

            She giggled, “Andrew, your sister is acting strange.”

            “Um-- hey Abby, are you drunk?” He asked.

            “Pshhhh, not really. Just buzzed.” I poked his nose, “beep.”

            “Oh my god.”

            “Why are you guys here anyways?”

            “Nick invited us.” Missy said grabbing Andrew’s hand and gave it a squeeze. His face melted, “it’s our first high school party.”

            “Cool shit, huh?” I said drinking the last sip from the once full bottle of Jack.

            “Jesus Christ-- did you drink that whole thing?”

            “H-hey now, don’t be a judge-a-roo.” I giggled, putting the empty bottle back in my pack, “anywaaaay, have you seen your spazzy friend? I want to hunt him down for a drink of that cotton candy brandy.”

            “Won’t you get alcohol poisoning?” Missy asked genuinely concerned.

            “Noooooo, I’ll be fiiine.” I chuckled.

            “If you say so.” Andrew spoke softly.

            “Oh boy-- well, you kids have fun. But, I swear to god-- Andrew, if y-you get drunk, I’ll have to kick your ass. You’re too young for this shit.” I hiccupped.

            “Okay-- see you later.” He took Missy’s hand and led her away from the kitchen.

 

            I managed to make my way to the dining room and found Jay sneakily pouring cotton candy brandy into people’s cups, “OW, OW, OOOOOWWW! Party wolf!” He howled. Once he laid eyes on me, he ran, tripping and bumping into the teens gathered talking.

            “Hey Jay,” I laughed.

            “Hey sexy, care to partake in some forbidden fruit?” He asked grabbing his balls.

            “Ugh-- no. Buuut, I would like some of that cotton candy brandy.” I said winking playfully.

            He grabbed the pink, bear shaped bottle, a new solo cup, and then began pouring the hot pink liquid for me, “anything for you.”

            “Thanks, Party Wolf.” I teased while rustling his dark, messy hair.

            “Abby! Over here!” Kara shouted over the music, waving to get my attention.

            I wobbled over to her, pushing my way through the drunken teens to get to my best friend, “whaaaat?” I playfully groaned.

            “Tara locked herself in the pool house again.”

            “Again?” I asked curiously.

            “Yeah-- it’s happened before. We actually had to take the door off its hinges.”

            “Jesus.” I said following her outside.

            “She always complains about this house freaking her out.”

            “I remember you s-saying that.”

            We walked to the pool house to find that Tara still had the door locked. Kara knocked loudly on the wooden door, “hey, open up! Come oooon!”

            “No!” A voice stated from the other side, “I’m not coming back to the party!”

            I took a deep breath, “honey, open up so we can talk about it.”

            “This house freaks me out, Abby. I don’t want to come out.”

            “Shhhhhh, it’s okay-- I got some really good weed in my vape. Do you want a few hits to calm down?”

            A few moments passed until she finally opened the door, “gimme the pen-- please.” She sniffled.

            Kara and I hurried into the room and closed the door behind us. I got into my backpack and pulled out the vape. When I handed it to her, she took a really long hit and coughed horribly after.

            “Better?” I asked taking the little vape back, sucking in a few small hits.

            “Better,” she exhaled, “here’s my problem-- this house is seriously fucking haunted.”

            I rolled my eyes, “c’mon, you must have had too much vodka.”

            “Nooo, hear me out! I’ve seen him several times and, and he always tries to scare me.”

            “You’re so full of shit,” Kara said laughing uncontrollably.

            Tara snapped and started to raise her voice at Kara and they spat at each other for a few moments until I stepped in, “behave children! Tara, you genuinely seemed freaked out-- why don’t you just go home?”

            “I don’t want to,” she pouted, “I want to stay here.”

            A loud knock startled us, “open up, guys! Quit hiding!” It was Leah.

            I opened the door and let her in.

            “Tara,” Leah said frowning, “why don’t we just take you home? I know Duke tends to single you out-- but tonight he’s doing his own thing.”

            “Wait-- you for real have a ghost in your house? I asked.

            “Yeah, and he likes to play pranks on Tara because she’s sensitive.”

            “I am spiritually sensitive!” She stated almost angrily.

            “He really isn’t that bad--” Leah said softly.

            “He fucking possessed me!”

            “Oh come on! It wasn’t that bad.”

            “He made me strip down to my underwear, run down the street, singing what’s new pussycat. I was mortified!”

            “Oh come on! It was hilarious!” Leah said as we all exchanged giggles-- except for Tara who looked livid.

            “I was humiliated! And he likes to prank me, so that’s why I hate going inside her house.” Tara stated.

            “And this is why we never hangout here.” Kara said with a shrug.

            “And that’s why I’ve never been inside Leah’s house.” I said putting two and two together.

           

            After several minutes of talking with Tara, we convinced her that it was okay if she went home. Once we got a plan of Leah driving, and Kara riding in the back seat with Tara, I started to feel a bit woozy.

            As I clicked Tara into her seatbelt, I turned to Leah, “h-hey-- I’m not feeling too hot. C-can I go-- um lay down somewhere?” I asked holding my stomach, “I think I mixed my alcohol and it m-messed me up.”

            “Yeah-- you don’t look too good.” Leah said smoothing my hair out of my face, “just go upstairs and lay down in our spare bedroom. It’s literally the last door at the end of the hallway.”

            “Th-thanks.” I said with a smile.

            “You need help getting up there?” Kara asked, poking her head from the car door.

            “Naaahhh, I got this.” I said turning back to the house.

            “You sure? I could call Marcus to come help you.”

            “Naaahhh, I’m okay. Th-thanks though! Let me know when you’re coming back.”

            “You got it, Abby!” Leah said before driving out of the driveway.

 

            Walking was a struggle. I could hardly keep my body moving as I nearly faded in and out of consciousness. I waded through the unfamiliar faces until I finally made it to the stairs.

            I struggled to hoist myself up the stairs, and I ended up crawling my way to the top. I had tunnel vision of the door at the very end of the hallway. I steadied myself enough to walk in a wonky zig-zag towards the door.

            “Hey- you okay, Abby?” A familiar voice asked from behind.

            When I turned around, I saw a tall teenaged boy in a red striped sweater, and a navy blue beanie, “h-hey Daniel.” I said with a giggle.

            “Do you need some assistance, m’lady?” He asked taking hold of my arm.

            “I just want to go lay down-- Leah said I could use the guest bedroom.” I said pointing to the door at the end of the hallway.

            “I guess I could help you.” Daniel teased.

            “Thanks,” I giggled, holding onto him as he walked me to the door.

            Daniel helped me get into the room. He was being so kind-- but there was something about his mannerisms that seemed off-- but the amount of alcohol I drank made my judgment hazy.

            “I’ll go get you some water, okay?” He said with a strange grin before walking out of the room.

            “Something is off about this guy--” Samantha said as she climbed out from under the bed.

            “Daniel? He’s being so nice.” I said smiling, trying to kick off my boots.

            “No, Abigail, I don’t like him-- I can feel it in my gut.” Her nervousness started to make me feel paranoid.

            “I think he’s just trying to be kind.”

            “Maybe…

            “Where have you been all night?” I asked curiously.

            “I’ve been hanging out with some old friends-- Connie and Maury.”

            “Are they hormone monsters too?”

            “Yeah, I think I’m going to have a three-way with them when they’re ready to leave.

            “That’s freaky-- I didn’t know you had friends.” I said switching on the small lamp by the bed. The light gently illuminated the bedroom and my eyes began feeling heavy.

            “Oh shush!

            “Who were you talking to?” Daniel asked as he entered the bedroom and closed the door behind him.

            “Oh-- what-- was I talking?” I asked nervously, “I’m drunk.” I said climbing onto the bed and sitting up.

            “Here, drink some water.” He said handing me a glass, “it isn’t cold, but it will get you hydrated.” He smiled as he watched me drink.

            “Thanks for being so nice, Daniel.”

            “No problem-- keep drinking,” He said putting the glass back to my lips.

            After I finished drinking, I had a weird taste in my mouth-- maybe it was the mix of the alcohol? I thought.

            “Feel better?” He asked grinning-- almost laughing.

            “I-I think so.” My heart was racing in my chest-- something is off about him.

            “I’m so happy that I could make you feel better.” Daniel said putting his hand on my thigh.

            Samantha appeared behind him, waving a red flag, “Don’t fall for it! He’s being weird! Get out of here!

            “Y-yeah-- um-- I think maybe I should go back and have Marcus t-take me h-home.” My body started to quiver as the anxiousness building inside of me began to unravel.

            “Why would you want to go anywhere? You should stay here with me.” He said running his hand up my skirt, his fingers dancing on my leg.

            “I--I-- um-- I don’t think this is a-- um good idea.” My vision was hazy and my body began feeling really heavy.

            “Don’t fight it.” He said putting his left hand on my cheek.

            I shoved him away, “fuh--fucking quit. Y-you’re freaking m-me out.”

            “Oh come on. You practically begged me to bring you in here.” His hands found their way back to my hips.

            I hit them away, “stop!”

            He grabbed my wrists. His green eyes narrowed menacingly, “make me.”

            My heart was bumping faster than it ever has before. I yanked my hands from his grasp and punched him square in the jaw-- my knuckles cracking from the blow.

            “Run baby, run!” Sammy cried.

            “You fucking bitch.” Daniel said with a psychotic laugh.

            “D-Don’t fucking t-touch me again.” I said trying to stand from the bed, but falling to my knees. What the fuck? Get up! I thought struggling to pry myself from the floor.

            “Oh my god-- he drugged you. He fucking drugged you! Yell for help!” Samantha panicked.

            “That roofie should be kicking in about now. What a shame-- I like it when they fight back.” Daniel said rubbing his already bruised jaw.

            “HELP!” I yelled, until Daniel rushed to me, crouching down, forcing his hands over my mouth.

            “Shut the fuck up,” he hissed, “no one can hear you over the music down there.”

            I looked to Samantha, horrified, hoping that there was something she could do to help me.

            “I’ll go get help, baby! I’ll get help!” Samantha said disappearing.

            I struggled against his strong hands the best I could. I finally was able to kick his foot out from under him, causing him to let go of me and fall on his back.

            “SOMEONE HELP ME!” I screamed, stammering a few feet away from the door before my legs gave out and I fell-- grasping the door handle and turning it open.

            “No you fucking don’t. You’re not ruining my night!” Daniel stated angrily as he threw me away from my way out of this hellish room.

            I glanced around the room and saw my backpack. I reached for it and swung it at Daniel with all of my weakening might. He jumped back, and then tugged it away from me. Once he felt the weight of the empty, glass, Jack bottle, he smirked. The next thing I knew, I was falling to the floor-- pain pulsating from the right side of my skull. Blood clouded my vision as I blacked in and out before finally passing out.

 

            All I could feel was pain-- when my eyes finally opened, my wrists were tied above my head with some sort of thick wire, and my ankles were restrained to each of the bottom bedposts-- keeping my legs apart. I wanted to move-- speak-- anything, but I couldn’t. It felt like sleep paralysis-- my eyes could move, but nothing else could.

            My body felt exposed-- cold-- and when I moved my eyes down, I could see my breasts were exposed-- so he had nearly stripped me naked. Tears swelled in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. Why-- why is he doing this to me? Where is Samantha? She’s supposed to find help! I thought, my mind screaming in agony as I prayed for this nightmare to end.

            I could see Daniel sitting in a chair at the end of the bed. He had taken his clothes off and had them in a folded pile on the floor by the bed. When he noticed my eyes were open, he grinned a devilish grin, “there you are, baby girl, you’re finally awake.”

            He held a knife in his hand and gently drug it against my upper leg, “don’t cry-- shhh-- it’s okay. It’ll be over soon, I promise.” His cold hands lifted my skirt and I felt the knife against my vulva.

            Just stop-- please fucking stop!

            He pulled my fishnet stocking away from my crotch and cut a hole in it, “oh my god,” he said with a thrilled giggle before pulling my underwear away from my skin. He then began cutting the fabric between my legs. My whole vagina was exposed to him, “oh wow-- you are beautiful,” he said putting his cold finger on my labia.

            “Are you a virgin?” He asked leaning in to see my face, “you totally are-- oh wow, this is fucking amazing.” Hi licked the tears that were dripping down my neck and climbed on top of me. I listened to the sound of him spitting into his hands before pressing his moistened penis to my vagina.

            I was trembling on the inside as he leaned in and whispered, “don’t be afraid-- I’ll take good care of you.” He then pushed his penis into my body.

            Inside of my head, I was screaming-- wincing in pain as he groaned in pleasure. Liquid fell down my cheeks like a waterfall-- I wanted to kill him. I wanted to smash my Jack bottle against his head and beat him to death with the table lamp. I wanted to kill him-- make him suffer-- but most of all--… I just wanted this to stop.

 

 

*Samantha’s P.O.V*

            I have to help my baby! I thought sprinting through the house to find someone who could help. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Connie-- the most beautiful hormone monstress, talking to Maury-- her one true love.

            I rushed to them-- trying my best to not knock anyone down.

            “Fuck, Sammy! What’s wrong? Did you get a dick lost inside ya again?” Connie gigged.

            “No!” I shouted out of breath, “my baby needs help!”

            “What?!” Connie said standing up, knocking over several drinks.

            “This guy-- Daniel-- he drugged her-- he’s going to-- going to--” I began crying into my claws.

            “Where is she?” Maury said shaking my shoulders.

            “She’s upstairs-- but we can’t help her. We have to find someone who can!”

            “My kids are too young to see something like that--” Connie stated sadly.

            Maury looked like he had a solution, “oh my god-- what if, and I’m just spit-balling here-- but what if I revealed myself to one of my old kids?”

            “What?” I asked.

            “I think I can do it-- I think I can get him to see me again.” He said booking it back inside the house.

            Connie and I followed him close behind. We ran up the stairs and to a door marked with caution tape, biohazard symbols, skulls and cross bones, and ‘TRESPASSERS WILL BE FLAYED!’ written on the door.

            “Who-- what?” I said curiously.

            “Watch out, babes,” Maury said backing up, “here goes nothing, AAAAAAHHHH!” He said running into the door, falling back on his ass.

            “Jesus fuck!” I said throwing the door open, “it wasn’t locked.”

            “Judd! You in here?” Maury yelled.

            There was a teenaged boy with black and blue hair lying on his bed with headphones covering his ears. His eyes fixed on the flip phone in his hands. The closer we got to him, I finally recognized him, and “oh my god--he’s-- he’s the boy that saved Abby… Holy shit!” I stated in near denial.

 

 

~*Judd’s P.O.V*~

            I fucking hated how Leah was having this bullshit party. The only upside of this whole thing, was the excuse to drink Jack and spy on the idiots here. I was happy to finally be in my room after hours of playing inside the walls watching shenanigans unfold. Like Nick fucking up with Tallulah, Tara and Kara trying to suck Marcus’s dick, and watching Nick’s friend Andrew and his weird girlfriend try and fit in.

            I was blasting ‘Face Down’ by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and scrolling through old text messages. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large figure.

            I pulled my headphones off, “what the fuck?”

            It was a large monstrous creature emerging from the shadows, covered in hair-- something about it seemed familiar.

            “Judd! Do you remember me? It’s Maury-- I put you through puberty a few years ago. I was with you until you made sweet love to that girl-- what was her name-- Tori?”

            “What the fuck do you want? Why are you back?” I snapped curiously.

            “Well-- I don’t have time to explain-- But--”

            “No he doesn’t! We need your help right now!” Another monster said rushing to my bedside.

            “What the fuck is this? Some kind of fucking joke?” I said looking at the now three monsters standing in front of me.

            “I’m Samantha-- My girl is in trouble! She’s down the hall and someone-- someone drugged her! She needs help!” The monster cried.

            “He’s going to rape her!” The other female monster stated horrifically.

            I could see the genuine concern on their faces. This isn’t a joke, “where the fuck is she?!” I said jumping up from my bed.

            “She’s in the guest bedroom! Please hurry!” Samantha said.

            I grabbed the axe from the corner of the room before busting out of my bedroom, down the hallway in full sprint.

            When I got to the door I hesitated-- swallowing-- trying to prepare myself to see a dead girl laying in the room. After two seconds of building my courage, I flung the door open. At first, I was greeted by blackness-- the metallic smell in the room hit my nose instantly. Jesus fucking Christ, if there’s a fucking dead person in here, I’m going to lose my shit. I was terrified, swallowing hard as I tried to turn on the light, but the bulb was busted. Fuck-- Where’s the bed? Where’s the lamp? Fuck-- there it is. I thought blindly feeling my way to the end table. I took a deep breath before turning on the bedside lamp.

            The small amount of light revealed the body of a young teen girl-- her pale, freckly skin exposed down to her hips. I quickly took the shirt off my body and laid it over her chest. Her breaths shallow-- but there. Her hands and feet were bound to the bedposts and I exhaled in complete disgust. How could someone fucking do this? I questioned, doing my best to stay strong for this poor girl laying in my guest room.

            The girl’s underwear were lying next to her, looking as if they were cut off of her before being raped. A small amount of blood was smeared on her legs and on the bed from the act that had just taken place. Fury exploded from inside of me as I hurried to pull the knife from my pocket to cut her free. Her arms fell to her side as I released them from the restraints. Hair covered her face-- I had to know who she was. My fingers nearly trembled when I brushed the hair away from her face.

            I stepped back, “L-Leo? What the fuck?” My heart rattled in its cage as I gathered my thoughts, “oh my fucking god-- what the fuck.”

            I shut the door and locked it, hoping no one would come up here and think I did this fucked up shit. I hurried to gather her bra and shirt from the floor so she could get her clothes back on once she was able to move.

            A small groan startled me-- a noise escaping Leo’s lips as her fingers twitched.

            “Baby! Oh my sweet little angel.” Samantha stated, falling to her knees. She began running her long fingers through her bloodied hair.

            “Watch out-- let me see her head.” I demanded, taking a closer look at her head wound. “It’s not major, but it might need adhesive-- I could use super glue-- or bandage stitches-- I think I have some.”

            She was finally moving, writhing in discomfort.

            “Oh my sweet pea! Are you okay?” Samantha asked holding her hand.

            “S-Sam?” Leo quaked.

            “Yes, baby! I’m here with some of my friends-- Connie and Maury.”

            I backed up before she could see me. Connie and Sam hurried to console her. I was still trying to put the puzzle pieces together, “Maury? Who the fuck did this to her?” I growled softly.

            “I think Sam said it was some guy named Daniel?” Maury replied.

            “Daniel? What did he look like?”

            “He-- he was wearing a blue beanie and a red striped shirt.” Sam said quietly.

            Leo began full on sobbing, her body nearly convulsing. I wanted so badly to console her, but Sam and Connie were doing anything they could to try and calm her.

            “Don’t let him-- don’t let him come back.” Leo sputtered, trying to sit up.

            “We won’t! I promise!” Connie stated.

            “S-Sam? You aren’t going to leave me, a-are you?”

            “No, baby! Why would you ask me that?” Sam said brushing the tears from her face.

            “Because-- S-Sam-- he took my virginity. Don’t you disappear?” Leo’s words cut through my insides and fueled the insanity that was building from this horrific event.

            “No way baby cakes! I will die before I leave you!” Sam said firmly.

            “I’m going to fucking kill him.” I growled, grabbing the ax, heading to the door.

            “Hey! Think, man! He might not even still be here!” Maury said standing in the doorway.

            “Wh-who’s that?” Leo said softly.

            I turned around and walked towards the frightened girl.

            “He’s the one who saved you!” Samantha said.

            “I didn’t do much-- but I’m about to.” I stated.

            “Wait-- are you-- are you that guy from when I ran away?”

            “So you do remember me?” I said leaning down.

            “I’ve been trying to remember your name for weeks--”

            “Judd-- I’m Leah’s older brother.”

            “What? I thought Nick--”
            “He’s the little brother.” I said scoffing.

            “Th-thank you.” She said grasping my hand.

            My eyes began burning when the words came out of her mouth, “I wish I could have been here sooner.”

            “It’s okay. You’re here now.”

            I looked away from her. I felt ashamed. I should have known something was going on. I should have stayed in the walls-- I should have been able to kill Daniel before he ever had the thought of doing this to her.

            “It’s o-okay.”

            “No it’s not. And, I need to get you to the hospital-- I think you can understand why.”

            “What?” Leo asked curiously-- almost as if for a moment she had forgotten what she had just went though.

            “You need to go complete a rape-kit-- and possibly get a stitch in your head.” I stated.

            “Why? What? Was I raped?” She started to panic, trying to get up from the bed.

            “Fuck-- roofies. God damn it-- look, I’m getting you to a hospital. Daniel slipped you something and he-- he raped you, Leo.”

            “What? Daniel raped me?” She asked, suddenly reliving what she had just been through, “fuck.”

            “Sit up.” I demanded, sitting at the edge of the bed, “I’m going to help you get dressed.”

            She nodded. I did my best not to blush as she revealed her breasts to me as I assisted her with getting her bra back on, as well as her shirt.

            A knock on the door made me almost jump out of my skin.

            I grabbed the axe and walked to the door. The handle jiggled and soon after, my sister’s voice spoke from the other side of the door, “Abby! Hey, come on! I need to talk to you!”

            I bit my lip trying to figure out if I should let my sister in. I sighed heavily, fighting all instinct to open the door and show her that her friend had been raped because they left her alone-- but I kept strong.

            “I guess this bitch is sleeping with the door locked.” Leah giggled.

            “Probably!” Kara joined in, “hopefully she doesn’t have a boy in there.”

            “Shut up!” Leah laughed obnoxiously.

            I listened as the girls walked away from the door and down the hall.

            I had to get Leo to the hospital, unnoticed by her stupid friends. I hurried to collect anything in the room that had blood, or other forms of DNA, on them and crammed them into her backpack. I then helped her get the rest of her clothes on.

            She looked embarrassed, “my undies-- they’re gone.”

            “Hold on. I’ll go grab you a few things-- don’t worry about it.”

           

            I hurried out of the room and down the hallway to Leah’s. I rushed in and grabbed a pair of her underwear for Leo to use for the time being. I put them in my back pocket before entering my bedroom. I dug around for a clean shirt for myself to wear, and a pair of grey sweatpants for Leo to wear since her clothes were ruined.

            Once I was able to get Leo fully dressed, I picked her body up from the bed and carried her down the stairs. She gripped onto my shirt with all of her might-- nearly ripping holes with her nails.

            What a fucking shit-show. I thought trying to make my way out of the back door without being seen by Leah, or any of her fucking friends. If I see that fucking Daniel, I’ll kill him. I swear on my fucking last breath.

            The night air kissed my arms as I hurried to get Leo to my car. When I got her in the front seat and was trying to click the seatbelt. Her eyes swollen from all of the crying she’s done in the past hour, blood slowly crusting in streaks on her forehead, and her body shaking from the torment she had endured.

            I fixated on her big blue eyes as I finally clicked her buckle across her chest.

            “Thank you.” She whispered painfully, throwing her arms over my shoulders, pulling me close to her as she sobbed.

            “Everything’s going to be okay, I promise.” I said pulling from her embrace, wiping the tears from her cheek.

            “I hope so.”

            “Are you ready?” I asked, getting in the drivers seat.

            She nodded slightly. “I’m scared-- I just want to go home.”

            “No, I’m taking you to the hospital. You need to file a report about what happened, Leo. If you don’t, he could do it to someone else.”

            She winced, “you’re right. I have to go in-- and since he-- he--… I should go.”

            “Fucking hell. I’m sorry this shit happened to you.” I said.

            “Don’t-- please-- I just want to get this over with so I can go home.”

           

            The rest of the drive was fairly quiet. I played music softly so she could somewhat relax before getting to the Emergency room. I never thought I would see her again-- and I never thought we would meet again like this. I thought walking her into the Hospital. This girl-- how come she keeps popping into my life? First, the mall, next, the phone, and now this? What the fuck is going on? I thought holding her hand as the nurse helped her into a wheelchair.

            “You need to wait here.” The nurse stated as they began wheeling her away.

            I fucking hate this.

Chapter Text

            I groaned softly as I awoke with horrible aches and pains. My eyes peeled open and were stung by the dry air. Where am I? I slowly blinked until blurred objects-- blinking and beeping took shape. Hospital? My inside began to panic and I went to sit up.

            “Hold on, sweetheart. You’re okay. You’re safe. I’m nurse Molly-- you’re at Bridgeton Hospital.”

            “What-- how?” I sputtered, not remembering why or how I got here.

            “You were brought in last night, do you remember what happened?” She sat next to my bedside.

            I rubbed my face, “I can’t really remember anything.”

            She looked unsure, like she wanted badly to explain what had happened to lead me here, but something was holding her back, “I’m going to get your doctor-- she asked me to get her once you woke up. I’ll be right back, okay? Can I get you anything?”

            I shook my head ‘no,’ and she hurried out the door.

            “Hi sweet pea, how are you feelin’?” Sammy said appearing from behind the curtain.

            “Sammy-- what happened to me last night?”

            “That’s a very hard question to answer.” Her mild happiness faded from her face.

            “You’re scaring me-- what happened?” My heart raced in my chest as I nervously waited for a response.

            “It might be best that you don’t remember.” Her eyes filled with tears, “I don’t think I have the heart to tell you.”

            “Was I in some kind of accident?”

            “No-- Abigail--

            “You never call me Abigail.” I felt the blood wash from my face.

            A light knock sounded from the door, “it’s doctor Walker, may we come in?”

            “Sure.”

            Nurse Molly came in the door and pulled the curtains back revealing her and a female doctor, “Hi, Abigail-- or do you go by Abby?” The doctor asked kindly.

            “Abby is fine-- I hate to ask questions so fast, but I really don’t know how I got here.”

            Doctor Walker’s face softened, “you were brought in by a friend last night, he was afraid that you had been a victim of the date rape drug. When you came to us last night, you were very distraught and told us that you had been drugged and raped by a person named Daniel. Do you remember any of that?”

            Her answer knocked the wind out of me.

            “Are you okay?” The doctor asked seeing my shocked expression and swelling eyes.

            “I-- I um-- I just don’t remember anything.” I cried, hurrying to wipe the tears rolling down my skin, dripping onto my neck.

            “Here sweetie,” the nurse said handing me a box of tissues.

            “Thank you.” I said blotting my face, trying to calm my sobs.

            “Abby? We understand that this circumstance is not a good one, but we want to give you the opportunity to allow us to call family members. It would be good for you to have a support system while you’re here recovering.”

            “I just want to go home-- can’t I go home?” I asked anxiously.

            “Well-- we had to give you a few stitches on your scalp, and in these cases with young teenagers, we like to keep you to watch you closely.”

            “No. I-- I can refuse treatment, right?”

            “Abigail-- we don’t think that would be best for your mental and physical health.”

            “I can’t stay. I have things to do with my family and they’ll be upset if I don’t show up.”

            “Let us call them so they can understand the situation.”

            “No way.” I said strongly.

            The doctor looked saddened by my decision, “I really don’t think that’s what’s best, Abigail.”

            “Look-- I know you won’t understand this, but I’m adopted. I came to this town and moved in with my biological mother. I know it sounds like a huge lie, but please believe me when I say this-- I love it here. I love living with my birth mom. I’m d-doing better in school, I finally have friends,” I said trying to hold back the emotional tears, “but if my parents find out about all of this, they’re going to make me go back-- I don’t want that. I want to stay here.”

            Her face showed compassion, “I can’t even try to imagine how hard everything has been for you--” Doctor Walker stopped speaking when her cellphone began ringing loudly, “I’m so sorry-- this is completely rude of me, but I do need to answer this. It’s another doctor.” She said taking her phone call out into the hallway.

            “The boy gave us your phone last night-- he even bought a charger from the gift shop so we could charge it for you.” Molly said taking my cell off of the charger on the counter, “here-- just incase you want someone to be here with you.” She said handing me my phone.

            “Thank you, Molly.” I said looking at the black screen. It was off and maybe it should stay that way until I get out of here.

            The door swung open and Doctor Walker came rushing back in, “I’m so sorry about that, it was important and I’m really glad I was able to answer.” She paused for a moment while she sat down on the corner of my bed, “I just received a call from someone-- who is remaining anonymous-- and this person said that they will be paying for your time here at the hospital in full-- therefor, this whole hospital visit is completely confidential.”

            My brow twisted in confusion, “what?”

            “Listen-- this person insisted in keeping this visit confidential just for your sake.”

            “I don’t understand.”

            “He asked us not to say who he was.”

            “It wasn’t Daniel, was it?” I said nervously thinking he was trying to cover up his behavior with money.

            “No, it’s nothing like that at all, I promise. I actually know who this person is, and this person would never want to harm a single thing.”

            I still didn’t understand what she meant-- but at least I won’t have to worry about telling my family about the tragic events of the previous night.

            “Before we can discharge you, we need to discuss a few things.”

            “Of course.” I said softly.

            “Last night, we preformed a rape kit when you came in. Your friend had also brought a backpack filled with evidence of your assault so we could get a better DNA scan. Since this entire visit is confidential, we need you to give us a good number to contact you about the tests we have run-- and other than that, there’s only one thing we need to go over before we can discharge you.”

            “Of course, thank you.” I said picking at my fingernails.

            “We have already talked about this, but since you are stable now, it’s best to discuss this now. Last night, we had talked about giving you a Plan B pill to prevent pregnancy.”

            When she said the word ‘pregnancy’ my heart palpitated, “I still want it.” I spoke, clutching my hospital robe at the chest.

            “I know how hard this is for you to process so fast, but it does work best the sooner you take it-- so your nurse will bring it to you now, okay?”

            I nodded. I never imagined myself having to take Plan B-- not like this at least.

            “Abigail, I need to ask you one last question.”

            “Yes?” I managed to say.

            “Are you feeling okay? Do you feel like you could harm yourself? Or try to end your life?” Her tone was warm-- caring-- and it made me question myself.

            “No,” I said swallowing the lump beginning to form in my throat, “I really think I’m okay.” I forced a smile.

            “Okay, honey. After you take your pill, you are free to go. But please, please come back if you ever feel depressed, or lonely, or if you just feel like talking to someone. We will help you. There are support groups you can join when you’re ready, and there are so many resources you can use during your healing process.”

            “Thanks Dr. Walker.” I muttered.

 

~*~

            The kind nurse Molly bought me a clean outfit from the hospital gift shop. The outfit consisted of grey sweatpants, a white hoodie, and cheap slip on shoes. She had even went out and bought me a new pair of undies and a bra from the nearby mall. She said it was very important that I was comfortable.

            As I walked out of the hospital, the cold fall breeze hit my skin like a cold shower. It hurt to walk-- or move in general. My vagina was extremely sore and with every step I felt horribly uncomfortable.

            I finally had the urge to turn on my phone. Maybe someone could come get me? I could make an excuse? Tell someone I got into it at the party and needed stitches? I paced restlessly in my mind. I could always call Leah-- or Kara-- but… could I really lie to them about what had happened?

            “You need to call someone, honey.” Sammy said appearing from thin air.

            “Sam, who would answer at 6 am?” I said.

            “Call Kara-- or call Leah’s house? I’m sure someone is bound to hear your call.”

            I bit my lip, “I guess.” I found Leah’s house number and swallowed hard before clicking the call button.

            The line rang for a while until a deep, groggy male answered the phone, “Hello?”

            “Hi-- um, is Leah there?” I said softly.

            “Who the fuck is this? It’s 6 am.”

            “It’s a friend-- look, I wouldn’t be calling unless it was an emergency-- I’m sorry.”

            “Who is this?” He asked again.

            “Why does it matter? Just let me talk to my friend.” A lump began to swell in my neck and it became hard to talk.

            “I’m going to ask one last time. Who is this?”

            “It’s Abby. There. Are you happy now you rude fuck? Now let me talk to Leah-- or Kara-- or anyone but you.”

            The boy was quiet for a minute. I listened to the thuds of him going up the stairs, and then him opening up a door. He whispered quietly trying to get one of the girls to wake up until he spoke again, “they aren’t moving. They drank too much.”

            “Fuck-- fucking fuck!” I said trying my best to keep my crying frustration bottled inside.

            “I’ll give you a ride.”

            “How do you know I need a ride?” I asked curiously.

            “Where are you right now?”

            “Why?”

            “Because, I’ll come get you, idiot.” When he said ‘idiot,’ something seemed familiar.

            “Are you sure?”

            “I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t sure.”

            I rubbed my face and huffed quietly, “I’m over at the Bridgeton Hospital.”

            “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

            Before I could thank him, or give him details, the call ended.

 

~*Judd’s P.O.V*~

            I swallowed the last mouthful of Jack from the bottle resting on my nightstand. I needed a drink to force me awake-- after all, I had been waiting for her to be released all fucking night.

            My body was quick to get new clothes on, and I tried to be as fast as I could for her sake. I still couldn’t believe all of this had happened-- especially here in my own goddamn house.

            I slipped my shoes on and tripped on the way out of my bedroom-- bumping loudly into the wall. When I was getting ready to go down the stairs, a quiet, sleepy voice started me from behind, “hey.”

            I scowled, “what?” Turning around sharply to see Kara standing in front of Leah’s room.

            “Where are you going?”

            I growled, “what’s it to you, cunt?”

            She crinkled her nose at me, “I was just curious if you were running off to go blow dicks in the alleyway behind the movie theater.”

            “Maybe.” I shrugged, laughing evilly.

            “God damn it-- my stomach hurts.”

            “I don’t fucking care.”

            “Rude.” She teased. But I had been fed up with this conversation as soon as it started.

            “Okay-- I’m leaving now.” I said hurrying down the stairs and grabbing my jacket.

            “Hey now-- aren’t you at least going to offer to take me with you?” She asked with a laugh.

            “No.”

            “Come on Judd. You’re being a weirdo-- more than usual. You were totally sketchy last night after you came back to the party. Did you commit a murder?”

            “No I didn’t commit a murder-- but I’m about to.”

            Her expression looked genuinely alarmed, “fiiiine. Go have fun.”

           

            I grabbed my car keys and hurried out of the front door. As soon as I got into my car, I swallowed. Horrific images of Abby raided through my head as I started the engine. Man the fuck up. I got this. I thought to myself, pulling the car out of the driveway.

            My mind was racing and I was completely engulfed in thoughts of Abby, that I didn’t notice something in my backseat.

            “What in the FUCK?!” I said nearly driving off of the road.

            It was Maurice, “look man, I hate to do this, but we have to talk.” He looked genuinely upset.

            “I’m kind of in the middle of some shit. Can it wait?”

            “Not really. I better just spit it out right now.” He began coughing violently until he coughed a large furry cock from the back of his throat, “this is for you.”

            I took it and slammed on the breaks to stop at a sign. The dick was holding a sign saying, ‘Happy Second Puberty!’ In emerald green lettering. “What the fuck is this shit?”

            He laughed nervously, “congratulations on your second round of random boners, cracking voice, and acne! I know it isn’t ideal-- but--”

            A cackle rumbled from my chest, “you’re fucking joking.”

            My angry laughter made him gulp, “nope. You get to re-live puberty all over again.”

            “You’re fucking lying.”

            “No-- I wish I fucking was, but I’m dead serious. The D.S.I said that since I re-appeared to you, you have to go through puberty all over…”

            I grabbed his throat and gave it a squeeze, “I helped that girl, and now this shit? It’s fucking horse shit! I’ve already lost my virginity, so how the fuck is this going to work?” I released my grip and he coughed.

            “Same way as before. Basically you’re a born again virgin.”

            “Fucking great.” I said gritting my teeth.

            “Hopefully you can stuff that cock in a lady soon and get rid of me-- same as before.”

            “Maury, I haven’t had a girlfriend for almost a goddamn year. I don’t want to deal with you and your shit for another year.”

            “Come on, I’m not all that bad.” He said nudging me.

            I shook my head and sighed, “can you get lost no-ow?” My voice squeaked and I was instantly ready to stab him to death.

            “Are you going to get Abby now?”

            Her name still shakes me to my core and I’m instantly brought back to several hours ago where I had found her hurt body after being preyed upon.

            “Yes.” I replied turning into the hospital.

            “Last night was pretty fucked up.”

            “It was.”

            “How are you feeling about all of this?”

            “Fucking angry.” I said as my knuckles turned white from my grip on the wheel.

            “Is that her?” He said leaning into the front of the car, pointing at a small figure leaning up against a concrete light post.

            She was wearing a grey sweat outfit and clutching a small plastic bag to her chest. The sight of her made my heart race and blood fill with anxiety.

            Maury disappeared as I slowly pulled up to the lone girl. When I pulled into the spot next to where she was standing, her lifeless blue eyes snapped in my direction. When she saw me, her face changed-- she looked scared?

            I got out of the car and approached her slowly.

            “How did you find me?” She said nervously.

            “What?” I asked.

            “Look-- if you’re still pissed off about that fucking burner phone, I’m sorry. I’ve had a really fucking shitty night, so if you’re here to shoot me, just do it.” She said angrily, wiping the tears that started to drip from her bloodshot eyes.

            “What the fuck are you talking about?”

            “The fucking phone! When you helped me in the summer-- remember?”

            “I’m not a fucking retard. I don’t give two fucks about that.”

            “Then why are you here?” Her voice went from angry to curious.

            She really has no fucking clue. “I brought you here-- last night. Remember?”

            Her eyes widened in shock, “what?”

            “Yeah-- I brought you here and made sure you were safe. I’ve been waiting for a call since then.”

            “You did that for me?”

            “I just wish I could have been sooner.” I said grinding my teeth and ribbing my forehead in frustration.

            “You-- you um-- you found me?”

            My mind instantly went back to the moment where I saw her cold, bare body tied to bed.

            “Hey-- you there, guy?” She said pulling me from the terrible memory.

            I cleared my throat, “yeah, I found you.”

            She exhaled deeply before showing me a hint of a smile, “I’m sure it wasn’t easy… I don’t remember anything after getting Tara to go home-- so I have no idea what happened… just that something happened. It’s horrible to not be able to remember-- but in a way, I’m glad I don’t.” Abby’s pupils made contact with mine, “thank you.” She whispered.

            How can she thank me? I wasn’t there to save her-- or take the breath from that rapist-- it pisses me off that she’s sitting here thanking me even though I didn’t do a fucking thing. Thoughts raged inside of me as I tried to hide my anger. “Yeah-- get in.”

            I opened the door and helped her climb up into my car. When she moved, I could read the pain in her eyes. Angered whimpers came through her teeth until I finally got her settled.

            I joined her inside the vehicle and began driving off, “are you okay?” What kind of question is that? Of course she isn’t okay.

            “You know-- considering everything that happened-- I’m still alive… So that’s a good thing I guess.”

            “I thought you were dead.” I blurted.

            “Really?”

            “When your hormone monster found me and told me something happened-- I thought you were dead. When I opened the door and got the light on, I saw you lying there with blood on your head-- hands and ankles tied up. Until I saw you breathe, I thought you were dead.”

            She was silent for a little while until her voice appeared once more, “I was lucky-- I guess.”

            I bit my lip. What do I say to that?

            “I don’t even remember your name.”

            “Really?”

            “Yep. I’ve been trying to remember since I moved here.”

            “Judd.”

            “That’s your name?” A smile crept across her cheeks. Seeing her teeth made my insides uneasy.

            “Yep. I’m Leah’s older brother.”

            She was taken aback, “wait-- what the fuck?”

            “What?”

            “How have I literally never seen you? Me and Leah are close-- and when I moved here, I got close with all of her friends too.”

            “I don’t like to be found.”

            “I can understand that.” She said lightly.

            I pulled up to my house. When I looked to Abby, she seemed unsure, “hey, I brought some of your things upstairs last night-- your weed pen, cigarettes, lighter, shit like that. You don’t have to go in if you don’t want to.”

            She picked at the skin around her nails, “I just don’t want to see Kara or Leah. I’m not ready to say anything to them yet.” Her thoughts made her shrink in the seat.

            “No problem. I’ll be back. Don’t touch any of my shit.” I stated before leaving the car.

            I walked into the house and jogged up the stairs and into my bedroom. I had put all of Abby’s things in one of my old backpacks that I never use. I threw it over my shoulder and walked out of the room.

            “Where have you been? I need help cleaning this shit up.” Leah said peeking her head out of her room, her eyes sill heavy from exhaustion.

            I scoffed, “I’ve been fucking busy.”

            “I don’t care. You need to help clean some of this shit up.” Leah stated.

            “Not right now. I’m still busy.” I began heading down the stairs again.

            “What could be so important?”

            Her question sliced through me. I turned and sent her a deadly glare, “I can’t fucking tell you, you fucking cunt. So shut up and leave me the fuck alone.”

            Leah’s expression morphed from teasing sibling anger to looking like a kicked animal. Good. Fucking bitch. Left her goddamn friend to get raped in HER house. My sister continued to fuel fire to my rage until I walked back out to my car.

            “Ready?” I asked Abby as I handed her the backpack and began driving.

            She rested her things in her lap and nodded.

            “It’s -- about 7:30 now.” I said looking at the clock on the dashboard, “will you get caught coming inside?”

            “No-- they usually sleep until about 8.”

            The car approached the Glouberman house and I pulled up to the curbside. Abby got out of her seat buckle and was going to get out of the car, but she began to struggle.

            Without hesitation I quickly made my way around the car to help her down.

            “It hurts-- I’m sorry.” Shame flushed her cheeks and it added gasoline to my roaring fire.

            “Shut the fuck up. Don’t be sorry.” I stated sternly, helping her to the ground.

            “Thank you.” She said trying to stabilize herself by leaning on the car.

            My eyes watched as her legs shake with pain. I can’t imagine what that must feel like. I thought to myself.

            “Can I help you?” I asked-- my cheeks gathering color.

            “How?” She asked quietly.

            Without a second thought I scooped Abby up and held her to my chest. She rested her arms around my neck as I carried her to the front door. I took the key from her fingers and quietly unlocked the door. We walked in with the light steps of a ninja-- trying out best not to wake anyone in the house. I let Abby down to re-locked the front door and then I carried her again as we walked through the house. She was very light and her weight was a decent workout once I got up all of her steps. I let her down right before her bedroom door.

            She creaked it open quietly as we heard snoring coming from both of the other bedrooms.

            Her hand grasped my shoulder and quickly pulled me inside of a door. She closed it behind us without a sound; her fingers locking it as we walked into her teal bedroom. It wasn't very well lit, but strings of white twinkling lights illuminated parts of the bedroom in a soft golden light.

            “Why--” I began speaking until she cut me off.

            She placed her index finger over her mouth, “you have to whisper.” She said almost inaudibly.

            “I have to leave soon-- I don’t want you to get in trouble.” I said softly.

            Her nervous expression worried me, “please don’t… I--I don’t want to be alone.”

            “Don’t be retarded, I can’t stay.”

            When her eyes locked with mine, I couldn’t tell her ‘no.’ As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t get myself to. She has been through so much already. If anything, I can sneak out her window. It shouldn’t be hard.

            “Please?” She asked.

            I was pulled from my thought of escape with the sound of her voice. When I turned back to her, I watched as liquid dripped down her cheeks like raindrops.

            How can I say no?

Chapter Text

~*Abby’s P.O.V*~

           

            I don’t want to be alone. I placed my things on the floor next to the closet, my heart pounding as I carefully sat on my bed. Why do I want him to stay with me? He makes me nervous-- but he’s done so much to help me. Maybe I can trust him after all?

            Judd walked around the room and stared at all of my posters, admiring some of the rock bands I had taped to the wall, “cool room. Mine’s better though. It doesn’t look like Barbie barfed in there.

            “Barbie colors are pink, asshole. This is total paradise.” I said smiling, looking at all of the hard work my family put into this room to make it perfect.

            Judd sighed as he pulled my desk chair over to the bedside. He sat directly in front of me-- his green gem colored eyes studying my facial features.

            Something about his mannerisms actually came off as kind. He reached for my hand and pulled it close to his chest. He pulled a knife from his pocket-- I went to yank my hand from him, but he held tight. A sense of panic washed over me as I struggled against his grip until he let go. He had cut my hospital tags from my wrists.

            “Idiot, I was trying to help.” He said grumpily.

            I rubbed my wrists. They were still sore and bruised from last night.

            “Sorry--… Sorry about everything.”

            “Is it bad I don’t remember?” I spoke softly, leaning down to take off my boots.

            “Why would you want to?”

            Why would I want to remember being raped? “I know this sounds weird-- but I hate that my memory was taken from me. I feel guilty in a way… I feel like I should at least remember something.”

            “You don’t want to remember, Leo. It was fucking awful.” The word ‘awful’ rang through my ears like a fire alarm-- loud and repetitive.

            “It’s hard to explain-- but I hate it. I hate all if it.”

            Judd put his index finger to my lips and shushed me, “someone’s up.

            I listened closely over the sound of my quickening heart and nervous breaths, and I heard light footsteps approach my bedroom door. My hand reached out to Judd’s, grabbing him and tucking him behind the bedroom door where it opens in.

            There was a quiet knock before my brother’s voice came through the other side, “Abigail? You home?”

            I opened the door slightly to reveal my lump of a brother standing there in his red pajamas, “Yeah-- I’ve been home for a bit.

            “What happened to you last night? You disappeared.”

            “I-- I um-- it’s kind of hard to explain, Andrew.”

            “Do you want to talk about it, Abby?”

            Yes, I really do-- but how can I tell him what happened? He’s still just a kid.

            “Abby--” He said in a normal voice.

            “Shhhhh! Don’t wake up the parents.” I said pointing to Barb and Marty’s room.

            “Sorry-- Look, someone said they saw Leah’s brother carry you out to his car… I just wanted to be sure that you were okay.” He whispered.

           

            I lightly brushed the strands of hair hanging in my vision and his eyes grew large, “I got into a fight… But I’m okay. You should see the other guy.” I winked playfully-- but on the inside, my guts were knotting and twisting uncomfortably.

            “Fuck… Well, I’m glad you’re okay. I hope you gave that person a black eye.

            “No worries, little bro.” I said playfully rustling his untamed hair.

            “Oh-- also, were you like talking to someone? I could have sworn I heard someone talking to you.” He leaned in to my bedroom to try and look around until I blocked him with my arm.

            “Nope. No one but me.” I spoke softly.

            “Okay-- well, I’ll see you in a few hours. Night, sis.

            “Night, kid.” I said closing the door quietly.

            I inhaled deeply and went to the closet and grabbed a towel and some clothes.

            “What do you want me to do now? Can I fucking go yet?” Judd stated-- nearly scaring me out of my skin. My mind was on a million things, that I actually had momentarily forgot his presence.

            “If you don’t want to stay, just fucking go.” I said entering my bathroom. I turned on the water and closed the door. God fucking damn-it, can he just give me a break? I just want someone to be with me right now-- even if that means him.

            I let the warm cascading water cleanse the blood, sweat, and tears from my skin. I huffed through the pain as I scrubbed every inch, nook, and cranny until my skin felt almost raw. I was carful washing my hair, and did my best to keep soap and conditioner away from the stitches, but it wasn’t easy.

            My fingertips grasped the water handle and I shut it off. I slowly got out of the tub and dried off. My eyes began feeling heavy as the exhaustion started to kick in. I hurried to get dressed before walking out into my bedroom.

            To my surprise, Judd was still there. He was sitting in the chair leaning over onto the bed, fast asleep. His face nearly buried in his arms. I softly climbed around him and lay still on top of the covers. How could this guy actually give a shit about me? Why? Why did he help me? Why did he stay?

            My thoughts trailed off as my eyelids weighted shut-- drifting into a deep sleep.

~*~

            “Abby! It’s time to get up or we’ll be late!” Barbra said knocking on the door.

            I jolted upright, Judd? Did he leave? I felt groggy and confused as I scanned the bedroom. There was no sign of the boy with black and blue hair. I went to grab my phone but noticed something pink stuck to the screen of the cell.

            What’s this? I thought holding the paper close my sleepy eyes. Once they focused, I realized that this was a note from Judd.

 

            I put my number in your phone. I usually use burners-- for business-- but I gave you the one for my personal smartphone. Message me… Call me… Or whatever.

-Judd

           

            I checked my phone to see that he did in face put his number in my phone-- along with a contact photo of himself scowling.

            My eyes stared at his photo-- studying his features and thinking about shooting him a text. Should I message him? No-- maybe he’s sleeping.

            “Hurry up, Abby! I don’t want to be late!” Barbra said from downstairs.

            “Coming!”

~*~

            After eating a fast breakfast, and lying about the stitches, the Glouberman’s brought me to temple. For some reason, my parents and little sister were there as well. We sat through an interesting service, and as everything was coming to a wrap, Barbra and Marty stood up, pulling me with them.

            “As you all know, Abigail has joined our family. We would like to do something special for her to not only bring her into our family at home, but show her some of her family roots too. So we are thrilled to say that we will be throwing her Bat Mitzvah!” Barbra spoke with pride as the entire temple clapped, “now we know that Abigail is not of Jewish faith, but she comes from a long line of Jewish ancestors, so we thought it would be amazing for us to share this special experience with her.”

            Jessie’s mother stood up and held her daughters hand, “we have also decided, that since Abby is already sixteen, Jessie will be showing her the way. They’re going to share their special day. Jessie is thrilled to be Abigail’s guide.” She was doting over her daughter, but Jessie could only manage a nervous smile.

            Is this weird? Should I even be thrown a Bat Mitzvah? I thought to my self.

            While we were all leaving. Jessie pulled me to the side, “I’m so excited that we’re going to do our ceremonies together-- it takes a lot of pressure off.” She smiled a sigh of relief.

            I put my hand on her shoulder, “I think this is really cool. I mean, I had no idea that the family was doing this-- but I think it’s neat that they want to show me a piece of my heritage.”

            “So we have two weeks to prepare, can you handle that?” She teased.

            “Girl, you know it!” At least I hope.

            “Oh! We are going dress shopping later today. You should totally come with us!”

            “We were planning on going together,” my mother said approaching us.

            I gave her a side hug, “girl’s day?”

            “Oh yeah, a total girls day! It’ll be you, Barbra, Shannon, Jessie, and me. Your dad is going to keep watch of Jada while we’re out.”

            “That’s amazing! I can’t wait!” I said excitedly.

            Samantha crept behind me and whispered in my ear, “have you forgot about Judd? I thought you were supposed to call him?

            I turned to her and whispered, “I really could use a girl’s day-- it’ll be fun.

            “What’s that sweetheart?” My mom questioned.

            “I was just saying that I could really use a girl’s day.” I smiled to reassure her.

            “Oh my gosh! I forgot to tell you that we’ve even rented a pink limo!”

            “Seriously?” I asked happily.

            “Yeah! It’s waiting out front for us too.” She said leaning over to kiss my dad.

            “We are so proud of you pumpkin. We think this will be such a special experience for you.” My dad said giving me a kiss on the forehead.

            I tried not to wince at the tenderness of my scalp.

            It alarmed my dad, “I’m so sorry-- I forgot about your stitches. I still can’t believe you were in a fight.”

            “Yeah-- you should see the other guy,” I said playfully punching his arm, “those martial arts classes you put me through really come in handy.” My insides were screaming behind my playful ways.

            His face lightened, “you ladies have fun, you hear me?”

            I gave him a kiss on the cheek, “you bet!”

            My four-year-old sister clung to my side, “I love you, Sissy! Can I come with you too?” She looked up at me with her big, brown, hopeful eyes.

            “Sorry, Jada, big girls only.” I said squatting to her level, patting her on the head.

            She frowned, “I am a big girl.”

            “I know you are, but-- I guess bigger girls only.”

            She threw her arms around my neck, “I don’t want you to go.”

            Dad came to my rescue and began tickling Jada’s armpits. She giggled and let go of my neck. He picked her up and tossed her up in the air.

            “While she’s busy, lets go.” Mom said grabbing my hand.

            I was pulled out the door and gasped once I saw the pink stretch limo waiting for us, “oh this is wicked!”

            “Let’s hop in! The others are in there waiting for us!” Mom said rushing me to the door. When she opened it, the other girls were already inside. Barbra and Shannon were enjoying a glass of Champaign while Jessie was drinking a bottle of water.

            Mom and I climbed in. I sat next to Jessie, and mom joined the other parents.

            “This is so cool!” Jessie exclaimed, “I’ve never really been in a limo before.”

            “It’s pretty neat, right?” I said ruffling her red hair.

            “It really is,” Jessie said looking over to the moms laughing and sipping their drinks, “hey-- so what happened last night?

            My heart fluttered nervously at her whispers, “what?

            “Someone told me that they saw Judd carry you to his car and drive away with your unconscious body. What happened?

            “Oh-- um-- he was actually helping me.

            “How could he help you?

            “Well… It’s kind of complicated-- but, long story short; someone tried to fight me last night and they ended up hitting me with a fucking Jack Daniels bottle and--” I stopped talking, realizing that I was about to spill my guts out to a thirteen year old.

            “And?” She asked reading the pain in my face.

            “Oh-- and it knocked me out. I actually had to get stitches last night.” I said pointing at the fresh stitches on my head.

            “Yikes! Did you like tell any of your friends what happened? I know Leah and Kara were freaking out when they couldn’t find you last night. They thought something bad happened to you.”

            Bad--Bad--Bad-- the word rang though my brain like a fire alarm.

            “But at least you’re okay.” She said squeezing my arm.

            “Um-- yeah, you’re right.” I said trying to give her a smile.

 

~*~

            The whole day was amazing! We went to the Mall and did some clothes shopping, then we went out for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, and we then went to a nice dress store to try on dresses. I found a beautiful teal princess gown-- even though I’m not a supper girly girl, I was in love with the dress. It was a strapless gown with a sweetheart neckline. The bodice was beautifully beaded, and the dress poofed out beautifully at the ribcage, falling nearly floor length. Poor Jessie had found a very cute lavender princess dress, but her mom insisted she get the most hideous yellow and brown stripped dress that made her look like a wet cardboard box. As disappointed as she was, she agreed to the terrible dress.

            While we were getting ready to leave the dress store, Jessie pulled me into the bathroom as our mothers talked.

            “You okay, girl?” I asked as the door closed.

            She started to completely break down. Her tears alarmed me and I quickly pulled her into a hug.

            Once she began calming down she finally spoke in whimpers, “my mom-- she cheated on my dad with some lady-- and now she wants be to wear that horrible dress.”

            “Hold the fuck on-- what?!”

            “My mom-- she cheated on dad. Nick told me last night.”

            “Oh my god, I’m so sorry, Jessie.” I said hugging her again.

            “And I feel like I’m going to burst inside!”

            “I’m sure you do. I’m sorry that all of this is happening.”

            “The worst part about it is my dad has no idea.”

            “Seriously?”

            “Yeah-- I don’t know what to do!”

            “I think you need to have a talk with your mom. You need to confront her, tell her that you know and see what she says.”

            “Yeah.” She sighed, “I’m just nervous about it all.”

            “Of course you are, and I don’t blame you.”

            She took a deep breath and smiled, “thanks, Abby. Andrew’s lucky to have such a cool big sister.”

            I wiped her tears away with a paper towel, “well thank you, you’re not bad yourself, kid.”

                       

            After my little chat with Jessie, I waited until she had walked out of the store with the rest of the ladies so I could make a special purchase.

 

~*~

            I was nearly out of breath by the time we hauled all of the damn bags into the house. Between Barbra and my Mom, they went a little overboard and board. Barbra had gotten some new clothes for Andrew, Marty, and herself. Mom had gotten some new things for my bedroom, and some new clothes and shoes for me too. I was exhausted, and very sore from all of the walking I had done.

            Once mom had gotten me settled in, she decided that it was time to wrap things and head back home. I kissed them goodbye and waved as they drove off.

            It was starting to get late, so I told the Glouberman’s goodnight and headed up to my bedroom. I pulled my phone out of my purse and finally turned it back on since the morning. I had 30 text messages to read and 10 voicemails. Jesus Christ-- I should go through these. I thought looking through the messages from Leah, Kara, Tara, and Marcus. Most of their messages consisted of “what happened last night?” or “call me, bitch!”, but I was struck with worry when I began listening to the last voicemail from Kara.

            “Abby-- look, you have to call me! Daniel was just arrested and it is all over Facebook! You need to fucking call me, bitch!”

            “Arrested?” I said out loud.

            Sammy crawled out from under the bed and began dusting herself off, “he was? Fuck yeah! That little prick deserves to rot in jail.”

            “I don’t want attention drawn to me-- I don’t want people to know.”

            “I know, but you need to make sure he stays in jail and pays for his crimes.

            I swallowed, rubbing my eyebrow stressfully, “Sam-- I’m so lost right now.”

            She took a seat on my bed and pulled me beside her with her massive locks of hair, “why are you lost, sugar?”

            “I want his ass in jail, but I don’t want people to know I was victimized.”

            “Abby, when things like this happen, you need to talk to someone about it. You need to open up about your feelings and have a support system. I know you don’t want to tell anyone, but you need to.” Her voice was stern, but gentle.

            My chest began quaking as sobs seeped though my lips, “h-how can I tell anyone?”

            A cold chill shivered down my spine as I was visited by a feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time. Shame. A tall, floating, cloaked figure appeared and hissed into my ear, “how can you tell anyone? What if they all blame you for putting Daniel in jail? Everyone likes Daniel, but who would believe you?

            “Get the fuck out of here, Shame Wizard! We don’t need your shit!” Sammy said shoving the ghostly figure, “my girl has been though enough! She shouldn’t feel ashamed of something she didn’t do! If anything, you should be visiting the damn kid that did this to my baby!” She began getting teary eyed as she stood up for me.

            The Shame Wizard cackled as he disappeared into the floor.

            Sammy held me closely, “please, baby, please don’t feel ashamed. You didn’t do anything wrong! I know because I was there!”

            I began wiping the tears away from my face when suddenly my phone started ringing. It was Kara. Do I answer? What do I even say?

            Just answer, boo-boo. Talk to someone.” Sammy said softly.

            My pulse was nearly off the charts as I answered the call, “h-hello?”

            Kara’s voice burst through my eardrums, “HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE FUCK, BITCH? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?”

            “Look-- it’s a lot to explain.”

            “You better start fucking talking then! I thought something happened to you!”

            Something did.

            “Jesus! Where did you go last night?”

            “I actually had to go to the hospital--”

            “YOU WHAT?” She bellowed angrily, “Why did you have to go to the fucking hospital?”

            I tried my best to swallow the emotional lump forming in my throat, but it wasn’t working. I can’t speak-- it hurts too much to.

            “Abby! What the fuck happened?”

            I cleared my throat, “ I um-- I…”

            “Abby, you’re starting to freak me the hell out! Are you okay?” I could hear the panic rising in her voice.

            “I-- I can’t do this right now.” I covered my mouth with the palm of my hand to quiet my cries.

            “Please-- please for Christ sake tell me what happened. You’re scaring me Abigail.”

            “It hurts too much to talk about right now-- and I-- I um have to get off of here and-- and um I have to help Barbra with planning my party.”

            “Are you okay?”

            Am I okay? I feel like I’m fucking dying inside. “I will be.”

            “You’re freaking me out.”

            “I’ll be okay, I promise.” I tried to mean those words, but they stung to say.

            “You know you can talk to me about anything, right, Abby?”

            “I know-- you’re my best friend.”

            “You can trust me.”

            “I know I can-- and I do. It’s just hard to talk about right now. Everything is still-- fresh.” My fingertips grazed the sutures on my scalp, thinking about all of the crazy shit I had been put through.

            “Okay… Well, when you are ready, you know I’m here for you.”

            “I know-- thank you.”

            “So, did you see that Daniel was arrested this morning? They haven’t released a statement about why he was arrested, but they said that they would release an update shortly.

            “Really?” I said softly.

            “Yeah. The dude’s a fucking prick. Did you see that Leah made him wear his hat full of Nick’s brandy barf? The dude totally deserved it.” She almost seemed to laugh.

            My insides twisted at his name-- thoughts of the horrible possibilities he put me through raced through my head until Kara began talking again.

            “Anyway-- you said something about a party?”

            “Yeah, my parents, and the Glouberman’s, have decided to through me a Bat Mitzvah. It’s in two weeks.”

            “That’s really exciting!” Kara said perking up.

            “It really is. I’m excited to learn more about my roots.”

            “Are you parents excited?”

            “They are. They think it’s a really cool idea-- even though I wasn’t raised Jewish.” I almost chuckled.

            “Yeah, that’s kind of weird.”

            “It is, but it’s super cool in it’s own weird way. I’m actually having a shared ceremony and party with Jessie-- Andrew’s little red headed friend.”

            “She’s a cool kid, it’ll be a lot of fun for you guys! And then of course we will have a bangin’ party afterwards.”

            “You bet, bitch!”

            “Hey, I have to get off of here and get ready for bed.”

            “Boo, ya whore.” I tease playfully.  

            “But seriously-- call me if you want to talk. I’m here for you.” She said kindly.

            “Thanks, Kara. You’re the best friend a girl could ask for.”

            “Well, you’re just lucky I love you, hoe!”

            I laughed lightly and said my farewells to Kara.

 

~*TWO WEEKS LATER*~

 

            The past two weeks have been very interesting to say the least. Leah, Tara, Marcus, and Kara have been keeping a close eye on me. They can sense that something has happened. Even though I have refused to crack open that bottle of horrific memories, they’re still eager for me to open up to them about what’s going on. They have even been inviting me to our local gym to try and get me to work out some of the stress.

            My second parents have also decided that Andrew isn’t ready for a relationship yet, and they have forced Missy and Andrew apart. I have been spending some nice one on one time with my brother, helping to mend his broken heart like the good big sister I am.

            In recent news, I had visited the police station to go over my statement in private and discuss how to go from there. But, that same day while Daniel was in jail, he collapsed and was unresponsive. He was taken to the closest hospital where they found that he had terminal brain cancer from the Cotton Candy Brandy seeping into his brain. It was hard for me to see people posting links on social media to help cover Daniel’s cancer costs, and links about how Daniel shouldn’t be held in jail.

            When law enforcement finally posted the story of why he was in jail, so many people were sharing it, saying that Daniel’s ‘not that kind of person,’ or they were saying how he was a complete waste of human potential. I tried really hard to stay off of social media sites for my mental health.

            Some days were harder than others. I’ve been hurting so badly inside that the depression kitty has been visiting me. She has been taunting me into having issues with self-harm again. And she keeps me wide-awake at night, and hopelessly exhausted during the day. When I do sleep, my brain has been tormenting me with nightmares of Daniel hunting me down and tying my hands and feet down taking advantage of me. Each night when I wake up, I instantly resort to grabbing my phone. I would usually stare longingly at my list of contacts and talk myself out of calling anyone at 3:00 am-- but tonight was different.

            Staggering breaths huffed from my chest as beads of sweat dripped down my forehead. Fucking god damn it! Fuck! I thought wiping my hot cheeks. I just want this shit over with! I feel like I’m drowning in this shit. I just want to talk to someone! Fucking anyone!

            I swiped through contact after contact until-- Judd? I could call him. At least he knows about everything. I bit at my fingernail; I haven’t talked to him since everything had happened. Maybe I should?

            “Ding-dong, it’s your favorite hormone monster.” Sam said emerging from my closet, tripping on a pile of dirty clothes tossed on the floor.

            “Sam-- I just hate this. I hate feeling like I can’t talk to anyone.”

            “You know that you’re not alone,” she said sitting on the bed, “you need to call your friends.”

            “No! I’m not ready for all of that.”

            “Abby, it’s been two weeks. You need to talk to one of them.”

            “Sam, listen, they’re already worried enough.”

            “And that’s exactly why you need to tell them. We have to stay strong and do what ever we can to battle that damn depression kitty.

            I exhaled deeply though my nose. She’s right.

            “I know it’s hard, Abby, but you need to start healing. Daniel’s in jail and he’s not coming out any time soon. You need to start talking to someone-- anyone.” She suddenly stopped and smiled, “what about that boy with the crazy eyes?”

            “What? Judd? No way-- he’s done enough for me.”

            “Abby, think about it, he knows about what happened, he helped you after, and he said you can always call him!” She smiled excitedly handing my y cell phone.

            “Sam, how can I call him? What would I say?” I said getting down from my bed, “would I tell him that I feel alone? Or maybe tell him that I’m scared that Daniel’s going to have one of his friends climb through my window and finish what he started?” The panic rising in my voice startled me. I do feel alone-- I still feel scared.

            “Abby, you need to call the boy-- in fact-- there!” Sam had pressed the call button and before I realized, it was ringing.

            She grinned, looking pleased with herself.

            I was anxious with each ring to Judd’s phone. “What if he doesn’t answer?”

            “Just wait, baby cakes. Be patient.”

            “What--” Judd’s groggy, low voice said through the phone.

            “I-- I um.” I said, trying to collect the right words.

            “Leo?”

            “What? Um yeah, it’s Abby.”

            “What do you want, Leo? It’s too early for this shit.”

            I swallowed.

            “What?” I could hear a shift in his tone. Suddenly he wasn’t so irritated.

            “I just feel alone, okay? I feel like I’m suffocating in this stupid shit!” I stated angrily, wiping away the tears of rage, “I just wanted to talk to someone.”

            “Fucking hell.”

            “You know what, this was a stupid idea. I shouldn’t have called.” I was getting ready to hang up the conversation.

            “Woah, wait, hold the fuck on.” He said loudly.

            “What?”

            “I told you that you could call me any time. Don’t freak the fuck out on me when I ask you a question.” His voice was suddenly almost kind.

            “I know-- I just… I feel like total trash!” My body trembled as the cap blew off of my bottle of emotions.

            “Come over.” He didn’t ask, he nearly demanded.

            “What?”

            “Are you deaf, retard? Come over.”

            “What? It’s 3:40 am, how the fuck can I just leave?”

            “Leave a note, and come over.”

            “You say that like it’s easy.”

            “Write them a note that you went to the 24 hour gym. Then come over.”

            I looked to Sammy, who was ogling at the whole idea, “you know what? Fuck it.”

            “I’ll meet you at the back door.” He said before ending the call.

            “Is this a date?” Sammy exclaimed.

            “What? Fuck no. I’m just going over there to talk to him.” I said grabbing my workout bag.

            “Could it be? You could show up in your sexy nightgown and do a strip tease.”

            “Get lost, bitch. You’re making me nervous.”

            “Fine! Peace out, Girl Scout. I’ll be watching you closely.” She said kissing me on the head. Soon after, she was gone and I felt like a nervous wreck.

            I hurried to collect a second set of clothes and toss it in the bag. I pulled on a black sports bra before putting on a baggy teal sweatshirt over it. After I got on a pair of black work out pants, I rushed to get my socks and shoes on so I could hurry out the door.

            Before hurrying out the door with my gym bag, I tossed on a jacket and wrote a bullshit note to Barbra and Marty:

 

Went to the gym! Be back by Lunch! Call me if you need anything!

-Abby!

 

            I locked the door behind me and hurried to my car. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I can’t believe I actually agreed to meet him at his house, but I just wanted to be around someone, even if that meant him.

            When I pulled up to his house, I parked on the street a few houses down so my car didn’t look suspicious if anyone were to see it-- like Leah.

            I locked my car on the inside before leaving it so it wouldn’t honk and alarm the neighbors. Then I quietly made my way to the back gate of the Birch residence. I pulled my phone out and texted him that I was here before advancing into the back yard.

            My hands trembled as I closed the gate and bolted the lock. When I turned to go to the door, two yellow eyes were peering angrily at me at ground level. Did they have a cat? What the fuck is this? I said nearly jumping back when it began growling. The eyes came closer and I prepared myself to fight the gremlin-sized creature.

            “Leave her alone, Greg. She’s fine.” Judd scolded as he turned on the porch light. The light revealed a small raccoon that was standing up right-- almost looking like it was trying to apologize?

            The little creature scurried away into the darkness of the back yard and Judd turned out the light. He grabbed my wrist and pulled me inside of the house. I followed him blindly through the house, trying my best to not to knock into random shit.

            “Come on, retard. Keep up.” He whispered as we made it to the stairs.

            “I’m trying-- it’s hard to navigate in the dark.” I hissed, tip-toeing up the stairs.

            We reached the hallway and I was met by a strange feeling of familiarity. The only light that was visible was a small nightlight in the middle of the hallway that revealed a few bedrooms, and a room at the end of the hallway. A memory pierced through my brain when I saw the last door at the end of the hallway-- a flash that consisted of Daniel opening the door and walking me inside.

            “What the fuck are you doing? Get inside.” Judd’s gravely voice pulled me from the awful thought dancing in my mind.

            I nodded, entering the strange bedroom that smelled like teen spirit-- weed, sweat, and possibly Jack Daniels. Black lights illuminated parts of the bedroom in florescent blue light. Lighting up a ton of band posters, stop signs, weapons, and a gaming area. Pieces of wallpaper were ripped down and almost all of the windows had been poorly boarded up. All but two were nailed shut. The one by his bed, and another on the same wall-- but the wood lay on the ground carelessly like it was a project he was working on. His bed was messy and covered with blankets that seemed oddly normal, and the blue light from his alarm clock showed 4:00 AM.

            “Sit.” He demanded, pointing at the bed.

            I felt a swell of nervousness flush over my body as I sat on his bed.

            Judd pulled up the gaming chair and sat down, “What’s going on?” His green eyes were staring intensely into mine and it was hard to break away from his gaze.

            “I can’t sleep,” I managed to say. I looked down to my hands and began anxiously picking at the skin around my thumb.

            “Why?” He asked making me feel like a total idiot.

            “Because I have nightmares-- I can’t remember anything from that night, but yet I still have nightmares. It’s fucked up.” I stated.

            He kicked his feet up onto the bed and leaned his chair back, “even though you don’t remember it, your subconscious might.”

            “You have a point.”

            “Leo, I know this shit fucking blows, but have you talked to anyone about what happened?”

            “No-- I can’t.”

            “Yes you can. You just don’t want to, why?”

            “Are you seriously asking me that question?” I scoffed, trying to hold back my emotions.

            “Are you a mute? Because the last time I checked, you’re able to communicate.”

            “Why are you being a fucking asshole to me?” I said huffing angrily, searching his eyes for an answer.

            “You’re being an asshole to yourself. Now shut the fuck up before you wake someone up--”

            There was a soft knock on the door and a sleepy voice followed, “Juuuuudd, can you turn down your TV? I can’t sleep.”

            That sounds like Nick. I thought breathing quietly though the silence.

            Judd rushed to the door and cracked it open just enough to look Nick in the eye, “get lost, turd.”

            “Whose bag is that?” Nick questioned.

            I looked to my backpack and swallowed.

            “Scram, you little cunt.” Judd said lunging forward to startle Nick. He then slammed the door and locked it.

            Judd walked back to me and sat by my side on the bed. He reached into his dresser drawer and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He lit one up, took a few puffs and handed it to me before opening his window.

            “Thanks.” I stated taking a deep drag.

            “Look Leo, you can’t control what happened to you, but you can control what happens next.” As he went to take the cigarette from my fingers, his eyes wandered to my wrist. His brow rising curiously as his hand grasped my arm and pulled it closer to his vision. I watched anxiously as he clenched his jaw in anger. He took the burning cigarette from my hand and sat it in the ashtray, “why did you do that?”

            I pulled my sleeves down over my wrists in shame. I couldn’t look at him.

            “Are you deaf or fucking ignoring me?”

            When I finally looked back to Judd, I could see his heart pounding against his grey nightshirt. Is he angry with me? What the fuck is going on?

            “Fuck, Leo. I fucking told you to come to me if you needed anything. Why did you do that to yourself?”

            “Because I just want to feel something-- anything. I want to have control over something that happens to me-- pain that I cause myself. And it isn’t even that bad. It’s only a few small cuts-- I’ve been through worse.”

            A sharp exhale pushed through his nose, “just stop that stupid shit, Abby. Seriously, I’ll let you kick my teeth in before you do that to yourself again.”

            Is he actually trying to be nice to me or something? “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

            “Then stop hurting yourself. Period. Believe me or not, but your life has meaning. Too many people actually give a fuck about you, so you need to reach out to them.”

            Judd has a point. I had spent the past two weeks nearly secluding myself so I wouldn’t have to face my fears and speak them out loud. Endless tears poured down my face as I sobbed into my hands.

            “Fuck-- I didn’t make you cry, did I? I’m sorry.” Judd stated with slight anxiety.

            “It’s okay-- I--I needed this--” I said between cries.

            Before I realized what was happening, he pulled me into his chest; one hand caressing my head and the other around my waist. I           melted into him like butter on hot toast. I finally felt like I wasn’t alone in all of this horrible shit I was going through. I finally felt okay.

            After several minutes of crying into his muscular chest, I was finally ready to pull away. When I did, I saw that I had left a large wet spot on his shirt, “I’m sorry--” I stated nervously feeling the need to apologize.

            “It’s gross, but whatever.” He said standing up from the bed, pulling the shirt over his head revealing his pale, muscular body.

            My cheeks felt warm as butterflies filled my stomach. The sight of his bare chest sparked a tingling fire in my lower abdomen.

            “What’s your deal? You look sick or something.” Judd stated grabbing a tank top from his closet.

            “I um-- I just-- I think I might have cried too hard.” I swallowed-- feeling relieved that he finally had something covering his six-pack.

            “Gotcha… Do you want to watch a movie or something? I’m honestly getting really tired.” He said rubbing his face sleepily.

            “Um-- you can put one on if you want.”

            He turned on his Xbox One and scrolled through Netflix before finally clicking on a TV show to watch. That 70’s Show. The volume was turned down to basically nothing as Judd climbed into bed next to me.

            “You can lay down, you know. You don’t have to sit up.” He said softly.

            I swallowed, “you sure?”

            “You’re safe here. I’ll kill anyone that tries to come in here. Or I’ll sick the raccoons on them.”

            I chuckled softly before kicking my shoes off and lying in bed next to Judd. As weird as I thought it would be, it was actually really nice. His warm body had already heated the covers and he had his back pressed against my side. I wanted so badly for him to roll over and pull me in for another hug, but he lay still.

            I started focusing on my breathing, listening to each inhale and exhale before rolling onto my left side-- I was now back to back with Judd-- the psycho boy with green, gem eyes and blue and black hair. My mind wandered as I slowly began to drift into sleep.

            Before being released into slumber, Judd's body rolled over-- his warm breath grazing my neck as he began pulling me into his arms. My back against his pounding chest, and his arms around my stomach. This feels-- nice. I almost wish that he'd never let go. I thought as he pulled his left arm out from under me and began stroking my hair gently. His soft, kind hands lulling me into a deep sleep...

*TWO DAYS LATER*

~*Judd’s P.O.V*~

            It had been a few days since Leo had come over. I haven’t heard much from her since-- other than how her family was throwing her some kind of religious party. Maybe she was busy getting ready? Or maybe she just didn’t fucking like me? Who knows.

            “Leah, Judd, you’re grounded for three weeks.” My mother stated after scolding the two of us for throwing Leah’s stupid party.

            “What? But mom, that isn’t fair!” Leah stated angrily, “Abby’s Bat Mitzvah is tomorrow, and I promised her I would be there!”

            Oh fuck-- that is tomorrow. I said thinking about the bright teal invite stuck to our fridge. My heart thumped loudly in my ears like a bass drum at a metal concert. As much as I fucking hate people and parties, I really want to see Leo again.

            “No ‘but’s’ about it, missy! You both were very irresponsible.”

            How the fuck am I irresponsible? I wasn’t the one who through the fucking Bill Cosby party. Rage filled my veins and tightened my muscles. Leah’s the one who caused all of this shit to happen.

            “Mom! That’s so unfair! Ground us on Monday! I’m trying to be a good friend!” Leah protested.

            “No way, young lady. The two of you are grounded.”

            “Dianne, don’t you think we’re being a little harsh? Let them go to Abby’s Bat Mitzvah.” Dad said trying to get mom to relax.

            “Elliott, they threw a party while we were away. I can’t just let them off the hook.”

            “Throw a fucking fit! You have to go that party! If you don’t go, Abby will think you’re ghosting her and not in a fun way.” Maury said punching his fist to the wall.

            “I really think it’s unfair to ground us now.” My voice startled my family.

            “Judd, I know you don’t think it’s fair--” Mom said.

            “It’s complete bullshit.”

            “Judd’s right, mom! It’s bullshit! All of you get to go, and we have to stay home? That’s bullshit and you know it!” Leah said taking the reigns.

            “Let’s just let the kids go to the party, sweetheart. They just want to be good friends.” Dad said kissing mom on the cheek.

            “Fine. You can all go to the party. But, afterwards, you are completely grounded.”

            I grinned walking up the stairs after our fight with mom. I’m excited to see Leo-- even if that means I have to see all of their annoying friends-- and all of the other people that will be there-- but it will be cool to see her again.

            “Why are you smiling?” Nick asked in a teasing way.

            I instantly gave him the death stare, “what the fuck did you say, retard?”

            He swallowed, “nothing-- I-I said nothing.”

            “He asked why you were smiling,” Leah chimed in, “and honestly I’m curious too. Why do you even want to go to Abby’s Bat Mitzvah? It doesn’t make sense. You hate everyone.”

            I shrugged, “out of all of your friends, she’s the only co-o-ol one.” My vocal chords cracked and Leah instantly snickered. I will light this bitch on fucking fire.

            “Whatever, you’re being weird. You’ve been weird ever since the house party.”

            If you only knew why-- you fucking homo, I thought opening my door, “so what? Who the fuck cares?”

            “I don’t know what you’re up to, Judd, but I’m going to find out.”