2. Chapter 2
I let the bag of food spill out onto the table. My little brother Ryan and my three year old sister Caroline run to the table and stuff their faces with the contents. My mom is slouched over the table, drinking a warm cup of water slowly. She's only thirty eight years old, but work has taken a toll on her body. Her dark brown hair was held back in a messy bun, and her skin was an ashen gray. "Mom we can't keep going on like this." She looks up at me, tears glistening in her eyes. "Riley, what else are we supposed to do?" I fight to keep my voice firm. "I'm going to marry Nate." My mother drops her mug, staring at me as she soaks in my words. Violence slices through her voice. "No Riley. No." I sigh. "It won't hurt! Nate owns one of the food markets, and you, Caroline, and Ryan get to have free meals until you can land a job! Mama, this is the only way." She shakes her head. "Riley, you're only seventeen. Do you know what it's even like to be married? He owns your body! He owns everything about you!" "I own myself." I snap back angrily. She sighs, resting her hand on her forehead. "Mama, think about Caroline and Ryan. This'll be good for them." She stays silent. "Mama, please. Let me do this. Nate is......Nate is good." She swallows hard and tears fall down her cheeks. "Honey, you don't have to do this." I press my lips against her forehead. I already had it all planned out. I can't believe I was finally doing it.