Darkness surrounded me. I ran down the seemingly endless hallway. I gathered something was chasing me, so I tried to run faster. But it was too late as I felt a hand on my shoulder and then something whacked my stomach.
I woke up dazed, with my stomach throbbing. I looked up to see that Lexi had thrown a mop and bucket on me.
“Good morning to you too,” I muttered.
“Get up you filthy girl, I want the housed mopped before I wake up again.” She told me.
I looked over at my alarm clock to see that it was just 5:30 in the morning. Of course she would do this on the first day of summer. I got up and started my chores, heaven forbid the floor in the barely used dining room isn’t cleaned to perfection.
The only good thing about summer was that I didn’t have to do Stacey’s homework for her. Everyone in this family uses me for whatever they find convenient. I cook, I clean, I do three times the homework I should, I do our taxes. I’m a jack of all trades, yippee.
I pass by a mirror in the bathroom and see just how sick I look. My face is pale, my long dark hair drowning out any color. There are huge bags under my eyes. My eyes, the trademark of our family, still shine with hope. I look sickly skinny. And my frumpy clothes aren’t helping.
“Move, bitch,” Stacey says as she marches into the bathroom.
I scurry out before any harm is done. I glance at the clock and notice it’s later than I thought. Lexi trots down from upstairs. Looks like the devil finally woke up again.
“I need you out of sight, Stacey’s friends are coming over.” She says to me.
I nod and go to my small room and lay down on my old bed. They, being Michael and Lexi, literally got this bed on the side of the road because someone was about to throw it out. There’s several springs sticking out but I suppose it’s better that the wooden floor.
I hear the door ring and only wish that I had friends, only wish that I could be normal. Why do I put up with this? I always wonder that but I know the answer. I don’t have anywhere else to go. I drift to sleep, seeing as the four hours I got was inadequate.
I wake up from the boisterous sound of my stomach growling, sadly this isn’t the first time it has happened. I decide to risk the consequences and swiftly make my way to the kitchen. Unfortunately, I forgot the warning about Stacey’s friends.
“Go away you little bitch!” Lexi screeched at me. “I told you not to come down here, you piece of shit, can’t even listen to directions!”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“You damn well better be, thinking you can come into my kitchen when I told you not to.”
By now all the girls had fled to the living room and were laughing at me and the abuse I was going through. Before I can register what’s going on I feel a hand slap across my face. It stings but I’ve grown used to this pain. I go back to my room before she can do anything else.
I lock the door and get ready to go out to work. The library is such a great place to go to, the quiet and serenity just engulfs you. And my friend, kind of, also works there so he makes Susanville a little more bearable.
After grabbing my backpack, I go downstairs so ready to make my escape. Just my luck, Mikey comes out of his room and pushes me down the stairs.
I land at the bottom of the landing in a heap and when I get the courage to look up I see a very pissed off Lexi.
“You good-for-nothing fucker! I told you to stay the hell away from me, you disgust me. Every damn day that I have to look at you makes me sick. And you can’t even listen to a simple direction.” She practically screams at me.
She walks away and I think it’s safe to leave but quick as a whip I hear a smack as pain shoots up my back. I fall to the ground once again landing on my wrist painfully. Everything, everywhere hurts. I turn around and she strikes me again with the frying pan. As she hits me across the face blood pours out my nose.
Damn, just what I need, a broken nose.
She throws the pan at me one more time, for good measure as I run out the house. I keep on running, and sincerely hope she won’t come after me. It’s very unlike her to make a scene because in this small town everyone knows everything, except for my situation.
I run halfway to the library until I collapse out of exhaustion. Running low on sleep and food, and being injured is never a good thing. My breath comes in short pants and it hurts just to breathe through my nose. My wrist is swelling and I think I twisted my ankle from being pushed down the stairs. I feel the pain vibrating through my back. A frying pan? Really, who thinks to throw a frying pan at their step-daughter?
I slowly make my way to the library. Finally welcomed by the scent of paper and old books I scurry to the bathroom but unfourtantly, Max sees me.
“Hey Christina, whoa oh my god Chrissy, what happened?” he quickly says after he sees by blood stained face.
“Nothing, can I just go to the bathroom?” I plea with him.
“Sure thing baby doll, you can’t go to work looking like this!” he replies and picks me up and takes me into the women’s bathroom.
Of course Max would do this. He’s kind of flamboyant, in multiple ways if you know what I mean. After Max helps me clean up I still look like a mess. A nasty bruise begins to form on the side of my face but at least my nose stopped bleeding.
“Now darling, I need to know what happened.” Max states bluntly.
I unload on him the story of my glorious morning. He already knows most of my life story except for the abusive family part. Lexi and Michael generally hit in places that can be hidden.
“There is absoletuly no way I am letting you go back to those people tonight! You are sleeping over at my house. It will be fun!” he says after reading the askance look I give him, “I can paint your nails, and you can paint mine. Then we will make cookies and watchThe Notebook. And in the morning we will go shopping and go to work and then I suppose I could return you to that retched house of yours.”
I consider his plan for a moment, and accept because that sounds much more appealing than what I know I would get at home.