I locked the door as we walked out and made sure to close it quietly. After living with Rob for almost three years now I pretty much figured out how easy it was to get awake and pissed off.
Kylie and I held hands as we walked down the street to her school first. Her school started after mine did but I would always drop her off and her teachers would let her wait inside. The teachers at Kylie’s school seemed genuine; they cared about Kylie. What they knew though, was that their step-father had a job that required me to drop off Kylie early on mornings.
“Alright be good. Love you baby,” I said to Kylie when we reached her school. I kissed her forehead and then watched her walk into the school. She waved good-bye to me and I forced out a smile to her.
Then I continued my walk to school. Everyone was going to be rowdy today because it was the last day of school. I stuck the headphones from my iPod into my ears as I approached the school. People were already walking inside of the school. Joining them, I focused on the music playing.
After five minutes of wandering the school like I always did I stopped at my locker and grabbed my books. Putting my coat away, I noticed that I forgot to cover up the bruise Rob left on my arm last night. Quickly, I grabbed my make-up pouch and put concealer on my wrist. When I turned around I spotted a man maybe a year or two older than me staring at me. He looked from my face to my arm.
I slammed my locker shut and walked to my class trying not to let the mystery man bother me. He probably hadn’t even seen anything. “Emily what color is your dress for tomorrow?” One of the kids Tyler asked me as I took my seat.
“What do you care?” I questioned. Tyler and I had been somewhat friends since first grade. He knew something had changed when my mother died and Rob took over. But Tyler didn’t know much after that.
“Curiosity I guess,” He shrugged.
“Curiosity killed the cat,” I muttered. He laughed but turned his attention away from me. Satisfied that he hadn’t pressed me on the color of my dress, I thought about what tomorrow would be like. Obviously I couldn’t miss my own graduation. But I couldn’t exactly leave Kylie home with Rob either.
“Tyler?” I asked him tentatively. He turned around to face me again.
“What’s up?” He replied eager that I started a conversation.
“Do you think that my sister could sit with your parents at the graduation tomorrow? Our step father can’t make it but I can’t leave her home,” I requested.
“I’ll have to check with my parents but I’m sure it’d be fine. Why don’t you give me your cell phone number and I’ll text you about it,” He responded.
“Umm… it hasn’t changed since freshman year so I think you still have it,” I told him. He nodded.
“Great. But I have a price for asking my parents,” He said with his eyebrows raised.
“What?” I questioned him.
“What color is your dress?” He asked in response. I shook my head but it wasn’t strong enough to smile.
“Blue,” I answered him. He chuckled. Then the teacher took attendance and the bell rang. We rushed through our classes just watching movies and saying good-bye to our teachers.
“Now remember; everyone must be here by ten for a final run through,” Our assistant principal told everyone. I glanced to Tyler in a way of pleading and he nodded as if to say “Yeah I’ll ask about that too,” and I was grateful. I couldn’t bear to leave Kylie alone with Rob.
When school ended I started to head out of the building. The same guy from this morning stood outside of the door. I glanced towards him and he walked towards me. I turned away from him and began walking faster towards Kylie’s school. The mystery man followed. I couldn’t risk him finding Kylie so I stopped and turned to face him. “Who are you?” I snapped at him.
“Are you okay?” He asked in response, disregarding my question.
“Yeah I’m fine. Now leave me alone,” I demanded. He took a step closer to me. I took a step back.
“You sure you’re fine love?” He questioned. I nodded. “Okay. I’m Zayn by the way,” He told me holding out his hand. I looked from his hand up to his face and then looked away. He dropped his hand. “Nice meeting you,” He said as he turned and walked back towards the high school. I sighed in relief. Maybe he had seen something.
I continued the walk towards Kylie’s elementary school, looking back every couple of steps. I went over every detail of the man; he had dark brown hair, dark eyes, and a stubble of a beard. He was kind of attractive but the way he acted gave me a weird vibe.
“Hey Ky! How was school?” I asked my sister when I retrieved her from the school. She smiled up at me.
“Good. But I was sad to say good-bye to my teachers,” Kylie answered.
“That’s okay. You’ll have all new teachers next year,” I promised and hoped it would be true. We walked home feeling slightly happy. Just before we reached the house my phone began ringing. I checked the caller ID: Tyler.
“Hello?” I said into the phone.
“Hey Ems. My parents said it was cool if your sister sat with them tomorrow. They even said they’d love it you guys came over before we had to go and then come back over so we can go to dinner,” Tyler replied.
“Oh thanks Tyler! But I think we’ll pass on the dinner,” I responded into the phone.
“Are you sure? Wait hang on- my ma wants to talk to you,” He told me.
“Emily dear! We haven’t seen you in a while. Please come celebrate with us after the graduation tomorrow,” She said.
“I’m afraid we don’t have the money,” I replied.
“Nonsense. Think of it as a graduation gift. I won’t take no for an answer,” She insisted.
“I guess so…” I told her quietly.
“Great! Why don’t you guys come by early and I can help you get ready,” She exclaimed.
“Umm…sure,” I answered.
“Excellent! See you tomorrow,” She responded and then the phone was handed back to Tyler.
“Hey. Sorry about that,” He apologized.
“It’s okay. Really. And thanks Ty,” I said falling back into our old friendship a bit.
“Okay. See ya tomorrow!” He answered. Then he hung up the phone.
“Who was that?” Kylie asked me.
“Do you remember my old friend Tyler?” I questioned her. She nodded. “Well tomorrow we have to go to my school so I can get my award for school. But I have to sit with the students so you are going to sit with Mr. and Mrs. Martin,” I explained.
“Okay,” She replied. I smiled.
“I love you so much,” I told her.
“Me too,” She responded.
“Alright let’s go inside to get dinner ready,” I advised. We stood up and walked inside. Rob was sleeping on the couch. Kylie and I brought our bags upstairs and then came back down. Tonight was pizza night and Kylie loved to help me cook.
I handed her the pizza dough to roll out and she gladly accepted. While she formed the pizza dough I began cutting up the pepperoni and grating the cheese. “Here’s the sauce,” I whispered to her as I slid the jar over to her and she began spreading the sauce.
Together we completed the pizza and I stuck it in the oven. Then we went upstairs and played Memory with cards. After about ten minutes I ran back downstairs to take the pizza out of the oven. Rob was awake now. “What’s for dinner?” He questioned as I walked by.
“Pizza,” I replied and walked into the kitchen to get it. I cut three pieces and put them on a plate before carrying them back to Rob. I held out the plate.
“My graduation is tomorrow. Are you going to come?” I asked Rob.
“Why would I want to come to your damn graduation?” He questioned. “Besides I’m going out tomorrow. Leaving early and I won’t be back til Sunday,” He growled. My eyes lit up with an idea.
“Okay. Should I leave you breakfast before I go?” I asked him.
“What do you think?” He snapped as he shoved a piece of pizza in his mouth. I turned and walked away. Grabbing two pieces of pizza for Kylie and I, I headed back upstairs.
We ate silently and then threw our plates away. “Okay now let’s get you cleaned up,” I told Kylie as I walked into the bathroom and started the shower for her. When she got into the shower I laid down on my bed and counted all of my bruises. I had two on my face, one on my neck, one on my wrist, and two on my ribs. I sighed and started to think through my escape plan again.
I would take £620 with me for Kylie and I. We would leave early Sunday morning before Rob got back. We will pack one bag each and wear our trainers so we could run just in case.
When Kylie got out of the shower I helped her get dressed into her pajamas and then braided her hair. “What was our mom like?” Kylie asked me. She was so young when our mother died that she didn’t remember very much.
“What do you remember about her?” I questioned.
“I remember she was beautiful,” Kylie said.
“Yeah. Gorgeous just like you. And she loved you very much. She always used to braid my hair and she taught me how to braid.” I told Kylie. She smiled.
“I love you,” Kylie whispered as I finished. I lay down in the bed beside her and started to rub her back.
“I love you too,” I replied. After a couple more minutes she was asleep and I got up to take my own shower.
The heat of the water flowed thru me. It gave me strength to face the day tomorrow. It gave me perseverance to get Kylie out of the hell hole we were living in.
When I was out of the shower I looked over my bruises. Most of them were faded except the one on my wrist which wasn’t that bad either. For a while I just stared at myself in the mirror. I had dark brown, curly hair with blue eyes and rose colored lips. I was pretty average.
Sighing, I stepped into my room and changed into my own pajamas. After another twenty minutes of thinking and worrying about tomorrow, I fell asleep with my sister in my arms.