I turned over, having momentarily forgotten where I was, and rolled into Morgan.
"Huh?" She blinked in the early daylight filtered in through her curtains.
"Sorry, I just woke up," I told her.
She smiled and pulled me closer to her beneath the duvet. "Go back to sleep, it's a weekend. We've got ages."
At her words, I was suddenly wide awake, and I scrambled out of the bed. I searched quickly for the dress I'd been wearing the previous day.
Morgan sat up, dazed and confused by my sudden movement. She fluffed out her hair absently. "Tammie... what are you doing?"
"Going home," I told her as I slipped off the pyjamas she'd leant me and started pulling on my tights.
Still a little sleepy, she yawned and spoke slowly. "I... don't understand. Why?"
Now I was dragging a brush painfully through my hair. "It's the weekend, Morgan. It's when the newspapers come sneaking 'round the 'popular' families' houses to get a story for the Sunday paper. If I'm not there, it'll all blow up."
She sat on the edge of the bed and stopped me when I moved to pick up my bag. "Tammie, stop, will you? Calm down."
"I can't calm down! Think of what happened yesterday!"
She stood. "Nothing is going to happen."
I grabbed my phone, where the inevitable text from my brother displayed on the screen. In by ten or everyone knows.
Morgan frowned when she saw it. "He won't."
She sighed and several emotions shot through my body. Guilt: I knew I was disappointing her, and that she was a little upset that I was just going to leave. Panic: it was nearing nine, and my house was over an hour's walk away. Fear: when I did get home, what was Kye going to do to me?
I stepped closer t her and stroked her face. "I'm sorry, OK? I just... I wouldn't be able to cope."
She shook her head and pushed me away. "No. No, you can't just do this. We're supposed to be together."
"We are together, Morgan. But I have to leave. You need to understand. I can't just do what I want like you can."
She crossed the room and shut the door, preventing my exit. "You can't go back there, Tammie. I won't let you! I saw the abuse he gave you, and I'm not going to let it happen again."
"If you keep me here, it will get worse! Look what I got last time, just because he saw me walk in."
She paused for a second, then frowned again. "Wait, so what if he does tell everyone? I can just deny it, and everyone knows you're gay anyway."
"He's not going to tell them I'm a lesbian, Morgan, he's going to tell them that we're together! There are cameras all over our house. He'll find footage to prove it! You won't be able to deny that!"
"OK, Tammie, I don't..." she hesitated, seeming to be struggling to find an argument. "I don't care about that as much as I care about you." She moved closer to me and hooked my hair behind my ear. "I'm not going to let you go back there, knowing that your own brother is going to hurt you."
"No, you have to," I told her, attempting at reason. "You know I have to go back at some point, and whenever that is, he'll still hurt me. The longer I'm away, the worse it'll get."
She shook her head again and looked into my eyes with a determined expression. "You're not going."
So I made a decision. A decision I knew I would regret, but one that had to be used. "Morgan... if you keep me here, he will hurt me more." I spoke to her calmly and levelly, choosing my words deliberately to hurt her, and regretting it the whole time. "And he isn't afraid to come 'round here, you know that. If you keep me here... you may as well be abusing me yourself."
She stepped back, shocked and offended. There was silence while she stared at me and we both took in what I'd just said.
"Fine then!" She finally shouted. "Go! Leave! Just... just leave." She turned away from me.
I stood for a moment, torn between comforting her and ensuring my safety. Then my phone buzzed.
Forty five minutes.
And I ran.
I made it with a minute to spare, having sprinted the whole way. I flattened my fringe over by bruise before entering the house.
Kye grabbed me before the door had time to shut and pressed me against the wall. "Lucky bitch," he sneered into my ear, before pushing me towards the conference room. His nails dug into my arm, and he spun me around. His face was furious and three centimetres away from mine. "You're getting hell for this."
I knew he wasn't going to tell anyone. He couldn't, because that would effectively be losing his own game. That was why he was angry, and I was going to pay for it.