Letting Go

After being brutally abused by her father and outcasted by her classmates, seventeen year old Keller Alvidas is glad and even relieved to spend her last year at Edge-of-The-World, the sleepy small town she grew up in. Everything changes when the Gabriels, a group of orphaned teenage boys arrives. They break all her rules about meeting new people but they too have secrets and when the truth comes out Keller has to decide wether to let go and save herself or to continue to be dragged through everything she wanted to run away from, all for one chance she might never get.

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9. Halfway

Keller's P.O.V

I look around the table at expectant eyes and interested faces. I take a deep breath and launch straight into my story.

"My mother, she was sick. I don't remember from what, I was too young, but it was bad and she lived mostly in the hospital. At the time we didn't know that dad was a gambler and that we were in debt, we had no clue. One day, the doctor said that she needed surgery and that it would completely rid her of her sickness. It wasn't a lot of money and I was so happy because I thought we had the money to pay for it but then dad admitted that we had absolutely no money at all to pay for it and it broke mom's heart. She masked her pain but I could always see the cracks in her armour. Anyways, she died and my dad became an alcoholic and lost even more money. Sometimes, most of the time, he would leave drunk and then come back drunk and it was a nightmare. He used to smash empty bottles over my arms when he'd get mad. That's how I got these," I say exposing my criss crossed scars on my arms.

"Anyway,one time I snuck out because I needed to study for my test and he didn't like that one bit. The day after I came back and we got into a fight, I was pretty beat up after it but it wasn't enough for him. He grabbed a knife and I dragged it across my face. I went to school the next day and then I got sent here," I finish, "I was thirteen."

The eyes of the Gabriels were cast down, probably from embarrasement from asking me to tell my story. We all sat there in silence until Al gently lifted my face to see my eyes. 

"You're not crying," he says.

"Why would I cry?" I ask confused. I was used to telling my story to people, mainly police officers and jury members.

"Because it's sad, I've heard people with easier lives than the life you've had and they completely ball their eyes out when explaining their stories," Al says.

"Well, crying doesn't give you anything good in life. Crying wouldn't have stopped my dad from hurting me and crying won't wipe away my scars. All crying gives you is pity and I can't stand it when people look at me like I'm some kicked puppy or something," I say bitterly.

"I'm sorry for asking," says James finally.

"Don't be, I'm not sorry it happened. I practically did it to myself," I say.

"What do you mean?" says Ed.

"I mean, I kept going home even though I knew I was going to get beat up once I step inside. Teachers asked me if I got abused and I denied it every time until I really got hurt. If I just admitted that my dad abused me I probably wouldn't have gotten all these scars and broken bones," I say.

"You were thirteen and scared and no one blamed you!" yells James, "And besides, it was your dad who did it to you, he's the one at fault, not you." His face was flushed with anger and he was breathing hard.

"It wasn't your fault," he says softer this time. But it was, I want to say.

"Well thanks a lot," says Will to Ian.

"What did I do?" he says indignantly.

"You just had to ask about her scar and now everyone's sad," says Will.

"Hey, you wanted to know too," Ian retorts.

"Anyways, let's put the cake back and head to our room," interjects Ed, "You want to come?" I feel my cheeks flush. Ed justs laughs.

"Not like that, just to hang out," he says while smiling. The rest of the guys agree and I'm suddenly being pulled by my hands by Ian and Ed into a very messy room beside three other smiling guys. My previous anger washes away.

"You guys are very messy," I say while taking a seat on one of the only two clean beds in the room. There were banana peels on the floor and empty bowls. There were also dirty and clean clothes mixed together on the floor. I turn one shirt over with my foot.

"Didn't you guys come just yesterday?" I ask, "How is the room already this messy?" Everyone points towards Will. "I'll clean it up later," is all he says while the rest of us laugh.

I look across the room and something on the sidetable near the bed catches my eye.I walk over and my eyes shine with delight with what I find. Passenger CDs, The Script albums, Beatles CDs, Bon Jovi and Coldplay albums.

"How in the world did you get these? I can never find them anywhere," I say holding up the Beatles and Passenger records. Ed gets up and from his bed and holds The Beatles record in his hand.

"A lady  from our old orphanage back in the UK got it for me for Christmas. I'm not sure if it's original though," he says thoughtfully. Ian pipes up about the Passenger album.

"I got it from the music shop down on main street, I went there yesterday," he mentions, "You're a fan?" I smile, "I sure am." I put the CD in their CD player and play Let Her Go, one of my all time favourite songs. The boys groan as Ian belts out the song and sings along. He has an amazing voice.

"So was that all true? Did you guys really meet up in Ireland?" I ask randomly.

James answers first, " It's true,the four of them met in England and then they came to my old orphanage in Mullingar and we all met and we were like brothers."

"So why'd you guys move so much?" I wonder curiously, no one moves from England to Ireland just for a change of scenery or anything.

"We were a handful and each orphanage thought we were trouble so they kept shipping us to about every city in England. Our latest orphanage in Mullingar kept us the longest, and we all loved it there. We were always playing harmless pranks on everyone and they all enjoyed it until it got out of hand once and we got shipped here," finishes Will with a sad note in his voice.

Everyone looked sad for the first time since I met them today and I really wanted to cheer them up. It's only fair since they helped me with Josh.

"Well then consider me your welcome guide. Welcome to Edge-of-the-World the only place on Earth where you get bullied half your life and study for the other half! Utter paradise!" I exclaim sarcastically. Everyone bursts into laughter at my screaming and eventually I laugh too.

"That's the first welcome we got today, you know," mentions Al. I smile at him and he smiles back.

"Hey speaking of being bullied, where'd you learn to beat up what's-his-name and them?" asks James.

'His name's Josh, he's in my math class, and when you get abused as much as I did you pick up a few things," I say somberly. Everyone gets quiet and I get up.

"I should leave now, it's getting late. Thanks again for your help with the Josh and the jerks," I check my watch and it reads 1:00. I'm almost out the door when James catches up with me.

"Want to walk with us to school tomorrow? I know we only met but you're fun to hang around with," says James shyly. They want to walk with me? I remember their friendliness and their humor and their utter genuineness and I realize that I really want to get to know them better.

"I would love to," I let out and James smiles his brilliant smile and walks back to his room. I don't really notice how exhausted I am until I'm alone. My own room in the same size as the boys' but it feels oddly empty and cold. I ignore the feeling and collapse onto my bed.

 

 

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