Leaving my house was never a matter of just leaving my house. Every single member of my family always had to have something to do with it.
Just the same with getting back. Always a member of my family to greet me. If you'd call it that.
At our usual turn-off point, Morgan leant in to kiss me, and I leant away.
She frowned, offended. "What's wrong?"
"I... There'll be people watching..."
She sighed. "There's always going to be people watching."
I remembered the first time she kissed me. It took her weeks to convince me it would be all right, and I was so scared it barely lasted for a second. For the month after, I was constantly paranoid that someone had told my family. But no-one had.
"I know," I said. "You know I just worry... Morgan?"
I cast my eyes up and down the street. It was deserted, as usual. "I love you."
"I love you too," she smiled and took her own look along the empty street before kissing me for a long time.
"Hey, Tammie, where've you been?" My brother Kye sauntered up to me.
"Uh... the park..."
"Who with? Your girlfriend?" He pressed me up against the wall.
"I..." I hesitated, knowing that my brother could see through lies. He was an Edwards kid. We all could.
Kye slapped me across the face and I fell to the floor.
I stopped the tears before they came and stood up, pretending it hadn't hurt.
That was the one thing no-one in my family could see through. The emotions I faked. Faked emotions were equal to some kind of status in this house, although my homosexuality meant my father made sure I remained firmly at the bottom of the food chain.
"You're so weak," Kye sneered. "Look at you. Look at your clothes, like you're better than everyone else. But you're just flimsy, like this material," he tore the sleeve of my dress and walked away.
I sighed and went to my room. The reason I was "flimsy" was because my parents had me on a harsh diet which meant that, at the age of seventeen, I hadn't even reached seven stone yet. My mother would kill me if she knew I'd eaten fast food with Morgan.
And my clothes. The only choice I got in those was which delicate and useless dress I was going to wear. Which fragile shirt I was going to wear with my thin skirt.
The only thing I'd ever bought for myself was a green parka, from a charity shop. I told my mother it was more expensive than it was so she'd think I'd gone to a high-class shop for it.
I'd left it on Morgan's motorbike, so I texted her asking if she could bring it when we met up tomorrow. She didn't reply, but she never replied immediately unless she was alone.
I looked in my mirror. A bruise was forming around my cheekbone, so I brushed my hair over so that it couldn't be seen. I hadn't even told Morgan about the abuse, and I wasn't about to let her know.
I picked up the only picture I had of us together. It was taken three months before she asked me out, and I knew because I remembered the way she looked at me. Plus, it was the day I told her I was a lesbian. She had liked me first. Morgan always made the first move, and I felt guilty for that.
Sighing, I hoped she wouldn't tuck my hair behind my ear as she liked to do. I'd find a way to avoid it. I always found a way to avoid her knowing.