"If you are good, I'll let you come into the kitchen." Vincent said, leaning up agianst the rim of the closet door, one hand on the knob.
I nodded, shuffling past him as he lead me upstairs. I'd never seen it before.
At first, I had to shield my eyes from the light. It was so much brighter up here. Nearly one side of the house was covered with poorly managed windows, and coated in a thick layer of dust. Once my vision came into focus I noticed how suprisingly normal this layer of the house was.
Of course. I thought, If anyone were to come, they would think this is a normal home. Where normal things happend and a normal kid slept every night.
"What do you think?" Vincent asked, spreading his arms out showcasing the full view of the room. I quickly responded "It's nice."
Again I followed him, this time into the kitchen, where the cabinets had been filled with glorious piles of food. There were fresh sodas in the fridge and a whole drawer full of candy. It made my mouth water as Vincent poured some potatoe chips into a bowl.
"Here." he said, handing me a glass of Coke. I took it, gulping it down greedily. I made me sad to look down into an empty glass moments later. Vincent refilled it and asked, "How are you?"
I fought the urge to glare at him. How am I? How do you think?
"That's good." He paused, taking the glass from my hand. "Is there anything you need? More pillows? A different change in clothes?"
Why was he being so nice?
"No." I said, starting to walk down stairs.
"Where are you going?" He questioned, catching me by the wrist. I flinched as he pulled me closer, his thumb tracing the viens of my forearm. It felt nice.
No! No stop it. He doesn't care about you. Fight.
I wriggled my arm from his grasp, placing it behind me. My body was the only thing I had, I wanted to protect it. I saw Vincent's eyes narrow, but his tone was soft.
"Where are you going?" he repeated.
"I-I was going downstairs. To the closet." I stammered, instinctivley backing agaist the wall.
"I already told you, if you are good, I'll let you in the kitchen. So, now its time for your present." Vincent jogged out of the room, coming back a few seconds later with a small television set with a large, red bow on top.
"Happy Birthday!" He cheered, shoving the T.V. towards me. "It only gets two channels so don't start thinking you are special or anything." He mumbled, turning it on.
Happy Birthday? Has it been that long?
"17." I whispered, stunned.
Vincent smiled, toying with the remote, at last finding the channel station.
"Welcome to Fox 2 News, I'm Hannah Fellman here with James Curt on a special report. Recently there have been claims of a missing person named Nicholas Bou.." Vincent had shut the T.V. off, fumbling to turn down the sound.
"Let me see that!" I yelled reaching for the remote, my hands shaking so hard that I struggled to find the volume.
"...It is said that Nicholas was last seen with his girlfriend in late August six months ago. A source tells us the family is.." A hole was punched through the screen.
"Why can't I know?" I shouted, my fists curling at my sides, prepared for a blow. "You have doubt, don't you? That my family might actually still love me. That they might acutally still be looking."
"I don't have a doubt!" Vincent shrieked, jabbing a finger at me. "None what so ever, that is what I'm protecting you from, the truth. Your family does not care anymore."
"What for?! Even if I believed you what makes you think that I will stop fighting you? I will always fight you."
"Because, it wouldn't be fun if you were already broken."
I stopped, the air catching in my throat. Because for a moment, I he was right. If I quit now, I would have no chance of leaving this place. Always stuck here, always in pain.
But, is here any worse than out there? If no one loves me then what's the point?
"I do." Vincent soothed, as though he had been reading my thoughts. "I love you."
I ran to him then, giving in to him. I had been shoving him away all this time. Still, a voice cried in my head No, no don't.
I blocked out the voice, and for the first time in six months, I felt arms wrap around me, holding me, like I mattered.
The tears began again, and I was awkward and stiff in the embrace, but I couldn't forget his words, "I will never let you go."