Even from outside of the house, I could hear Jack yelling at my mother. I wondered, for a slight moment, what the neighbors thought. But I didn't care. This wasn't my life anymore.

I hadn't the slightest clue of where I would go, or what I would do. But one thing was for sure. I wasn't ever coming back to this wretched place ever again.

I walked around the streets for a while; the neighbors did nothing. They were used to me wandering.

I walked in the empty streets, scuffing my heels and splashing through puddles. I kicked rocks around, doing anything and everything possible not to focus on the burning pain in my nose.

After a while, I looked up and realized I was across the street from a small convenience store. I pulled my sock of money out of the bag and counted it. I had just under two hundred dollars. It wouldn't last very long.

I dashed across the street and across the desolate parking lot. Inside, it was warm and dry, and I found myself wandering towards the hair dye.

I'd always wanted red hair... What better time to try it than now? I grabbed some off brand of red hair dye and went over to the snack aisle, picking out a bottle of water and a box of granola bars.

"Is that all?" a boy of about eighteen asked, eying my stuff as I stepped up to the counter.

"Uh, yeah. Yeah, that's all," I replied. I looked up to look at his face.

Shaved head, ear and brow pierced, fierce brown eyes, large lips. I recognized him.

"Sam?" he glanced up at me from the register.

"Clair? That you? What are you doing out so late? I thought Jack had strict rules and shit," he said.

"Um... I got kicked out," I told him. It wasn't entirely a lie. I did get kicked out, but last week.

"For good?" he asked.

"Um... no. But I don't plan on returning. God, I hate that mother fu--" I was cut off by an elderly woman entering the store.

She gave me a hard glare, and I understood that she didn't like the language.

"Well, you know," I said instead.

"Yeah. Well, hey, if you need a place to stay, my house is open," he offered.

"Really? Are you sure? I don't want to impose," I wondered, hoping that he wouldn't go back on his word. A couch would be comfy after a week of sleeping on bus stops. Hell, a carpeted floor would be nice, too.

"Yeah. I get off shift in an hour, if you don't mind chillin' out here 'til then. My dad is out of town for the week, so it's just me and my older sister. Nobody 'ill mind," He explained.

I nodded, understanding. He scrutinized my face for a moment, and I was curious as to what he was staring at.

"Claire, what the hell did you do to your nose?" he asked after a moment.

"Is it that obvious?" I asked, hoping to wiggle out of explaining what had happened.

"Yeah, Claire. You're nose is crooked and covered in blood. And you've got a cut above your eyebrow. How the hell did you do that?" he asked again, this time in a hushed voice as the elderly woman reappeared.

"It's a long story," I answered.

"Did that ass hole do this to you?" he asked, outraged. His face was red, and his eyes burned.

"Sam, it's not that bad. Besides, I threw the first punch," I said, unsure of why I was defending Jack.

"Why are you defending him!" He yelled in a whisper.

"I'm not!" I said loudly. That was another of my flaws; I deny things to the bone. I hate agreeing with people and giving them what they want. This is the result of living with Alex Cooper, who I call Jack, for four and a half years.

The End

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