Dakota never had life easy. Her parents were abusive drug addicts and always beat her senseless. She never had real friends expected for one. Rian, he was the popular jock that ever girl would die to have. Calling the cops on her parents drug dealers want their money, and they will do anything to get it. Anything. Know she is on the run with Rian and Rose. how can she cope with this lifestyle? Will romance brew between Dakota and Rian? Read to find out!


1. Chapter One


The red, green, and blue strobe lights flashed on and off to the sound of the electronic music. I could smell the sweat coming off of people's bodies as they swayed in time to the sound of Equinox by Skrillex. I looked up from my plastic cup full of Pepsi to the digital clock on the wall. I decided it was time to leave, so I removed the drunk man's hands from my hips, like usual. I walked out the back entrance to be welcomed by the crisp clean air instead of the uncomforting heat raditaing off people's bodies. I inhaled deeply, and began to walk. Different scenerios played through my head as I shuffled towards my home meekly.

You see, anything is expected the moment I walk through the front door. Should I go to my best friend Rian's house?

I decided to take the bigger risk and walked through the heavy wooden door of the seemingly abandoned woodland cabin. The musty, moldy smell flew to my nose as I stepped foot into the dark entry room/living room, lit only by a few candles melted onto the end tables. The sight of my mom's stringy and frizzy deep red hair still seemed foreign to me, even after living with her for 16 years. Next thing you know, I was shoved up against a wall, a hand on my neck forcing my head up. I looked into dark blue, bloodshot eyes, somewhat like my own and felt a saddned pang of my heart. This is my mom... This is how she is... I was thrown roughly to the floor, hitting a lamp on my way down, a dark growl emitted from her throat.

"Where were you?" she demanded sharply. I opened my mouth to reply, but her worn out shoe collided with my jaw, jerking my head to the right.

"Where were you?" she repeated. It was now obvious she was high, because she swayed slightly from side to side, and she had a distant look in her eyes.

"Out," I replied quickly, hoping not to be kicked again. Her face twisted in anger, then flashed to confusion as she fell to the ground, unconscious.

I scrambled to my feet, and sighed in relief, staring at my mom's body. I guess I made the wrong decision this time. Looking around, I didn't see my dad, so I hurried out the door for the walk to Rian's house.

I got to Rian's yard about ten minutes later and noticed happily that his bedroom light was on. I climbed on to the lowest branch of the tree by his window and began to work my way up, occasionally untangling my chestnut colored hair from leaves and branches.

I finally reached his window, opened it up, and somersaulted inside to find my best friend, Ri, running a hand through his mid-long blond hair. He was shirtless, his red, black, and grey plaid pajama pants hung loose and low on his hips. He turned to me and smiled that smile and I knew he was going to say something...stupid.

"Why, hello there! I didn't know I had a stalker," he teased, smirking. I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose in frustration.

"You, sir, are an idiot." I struck a dramatic pose and looked up at him with puppy dog eyes and a pouty lip. "I thought by now you would recognize your number one fan," I quipped, mocking hurt. He raised his eyebrow. I rolled my eyes and met his. His eyes flickered down to my bruises and small cuts. He approached. I flinched, his cold hands grazed my cuts and bruises.

"Who did this?" he asked seriously. I looked away. His hands found my shoulders and he shook me gently, causing my eyes to snap to his. I could feel my inner walls breaking down as I bit my lower lip. I searched my head for a lie. Something quick, something easy...

"I fell out of the tree," I lied swiftly. I could tell Rian didn't buy it because he snorted. "Okay, okay fine. It was my crackhead mom," I replied though gritted teeth. His features softened as he scanned my face cautiously.

"Your going to be all right, Dakota," he murmured, pulling me into an embrace. After the shock passed a little bit, I wrapped my arms around his well built torso. When he said my full name, it sent shivers down my spine because he rarely used it. I felt... somewhat special.

"I want to leave," I mumbled softly into the crook of his neck.

"Then why don't you?" he asked coolly and seemingly expresionless.

I sighed and replied, "If I leave, they won't have anybody to take care of them and it would be my fault. Plus, I don't want to leave you." I let my head rest in the crook of his neck now.

"You know you don't have to leave," I heard him say. I lifted my head and shot him a confused look. "Your parents can go to rehab and you can move in with me," he mumbled into my hair. I felt heat rise to my cheeks. I pulled away, letting my side swept bangs cover one of my eyes. Rian still had me in a half embrace. I awkwardly removed his hands from me and cleared my throat.

"My parents are probably passed out, so maybe I can sneak home." I broke the silence and then I laughed darkly. Rian frowned, but gave me a half-hearted salute as I climbed out the window.

I meandered down the trail to my house and opened the door. To my "surprise", nobody was home. On the distressed gray couch, a yellow post-it note was stuck next to a bag of drugs. I picked it up and read the scribbles to the best of my ability.

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