Vincent Mew let out a sigh of relief as he pushed the last of the papers away.
“Finally done,” he muttered with a yawn.
A knock on the dark oak door was barely heard.
The door opened quietly and slowly as Vincent pulled his reading glasses off to rub his temples.
“Vincent, Anne’s crying again and she won’t talk to me or Damon.”
A young man of eighteen stood in the doorway, his black fringe covering his right eye. Vincent sighed again, standing up from his desk and walked over. He ran a hand through his long tousled ebony locks as he came beside the younger man.
“I’ve finished the paperwork,” he announced and the young man’s eye widened in excitement “Pack your bags, Zero. We’re leaving.”
Zero Mew let out a wide smile. Vincent had never seen his youngest half-brother smile so wide.
“OK, I’ll tell Damon.”
Zero ran out of Vincent’s study, keeping his footsteps light and quick. Vincent went the opposite way, heading downstairs to the living room. He paused outside when he heard the delicate sobs coming from inside. He quietly opened the door to see his only half-sister curled up on the lime green couch, crying. Her long ebony hair was coiled around her knees with her arms as she continued to cry. Vincent walked over, knelt by her side and placed a hand on her head.
“Anne,” he whispered to her softly.
Tearstained brown eyes peered through from the mass of ebony hair as he brushed it back to reveal Anne Mew’s face.
The sixteen year old sniffed and held her arms out to Vincent, silently asking for a cuddle. Vincent was more than happy to comply as he returned the action and sat himself on the sofa with her in his lap. Anne snuggled herself into his broad chest and sniffed, covering her cheek.
“What happened?” Vincent asked softly as he kissed the top of her head.
Anne just looked up and Vincent sighed as he heard the loud thuds coming from their father’s bedroom.
“I just wanted to talk to them,” she whispered softly as if she was telling him a secret “But they were both drunk.”
She pulled her hand away and Vincent saw three small gashes from where the prostitute upstairs had probably slapped her.
“I want him to stop,” the young girl sobbed “Why is he cheating on Mama? Why?”
Vincent hushed her and hugged her tighter.
“We’re leaving now.”
Anne looked up at him, her eyes wide.
“Come, let’s go pack your things.”
Anne nodded and hugged her arms around his neck. Vincent picked her up and they went upstairs to go to her room, going round the long way rather than past their father’s bedroom. Vincent placed Anne on the bed and went around her room.
“We can’t take much,” he informed her.
Anne had a lot of toys, most of them given to her from their father. Anne just grabbed her white teddy bear, Alice, and hugged her.
“It’s the one you gave me,” she murmured as she buried her nose into it.
Vincent smiled as he ran his fingers along her bookcase.
“I just want the ones Zero gave me,” Anne mumbled from her place.
Vincent’s eyes scanned the bookcase quickly and took out the books that Anne requested before dropping them in her sports bag. He then went to her wardrobe and opened the doors.
“My ripped jeans, my named T-shirt, my polka dot dress, my trainers, my French Connection socks and all my underwear,” Anne listed the items she wanted.
Vincent swept from one side of the wardrobe to the other, collecting the clothes she asked for. He packed them into the sports bag before grabbing all her school books and placing them in her school bag.
He bent down in front of Anne with her bags in his hand and turned to her, giving her a small nod. She climbed onto his back and let herself be carried downstairs to the front door. Damon Mew waited for them, two sets of bags by his feet.
“I got a few of your things,” he grinned at Vincent and opened the door “Zero’s just placing his own finishing touches and the taxi’s just outside.
Vincent nodded as Damon picked the bags up and carried them to the taxi. Vincent looked up to see Anne looking around the house, clutching Alice to her chest.
“We’re finally leaving…” she whispered.
“Are you happy?”
Vincent smiled wider before carrying her over to the taxi and placing her in the back seat next to Damon. Zero followed after them, a rucksack over his shoulder.
“Where are we going?” he asked as he sat himself next to Anne, wedging her in between himself and Damon.
Vincent turned to them and smiled as he fastened his seatbelt.
“Our new address is Pearl Paradise, 77 Blue Lane, Westend-on-Sea.”
Anne’s eyes lit up as she gasped. Vincent chuckled.
“Your dream has come true, Anne.”
“Good, I can get some positive inspiration then,” he said whilst running his hand over his rucksack strap.
“I’ll teach you the butterfly stroke, Anne,” Damon said as he ruffled Anne’s head.
“Wait, I don’t have a swimming costume!”
“We’ll buy one,” Vincent said as the taxi drove out of sight of the tall gothic house “We can get anything you want now.”
They were free.