Love is less feeling and more fact to Klara. If she loves a person, she probably doesn’t have a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings about them, and yet knows that it’s just a fact of life that she loves them.
Nina doesn’t hate her family. She could easily hate them, considering what they did to her, but she honestly just doesn’t think about them, or her childhood, very much at all. She’s completely over that. Not to say that her childhood didn’t leave scars, both physical and emotional, but she just doesn’t want to dwell on what happened in the past. Now, if she were to think about it a lot, to really put her mind to what the they did her, she probably would get angry, and would seek to find something to press charges against them for.
Klara doesn’t wish she was born into another family. Some people in her place would, as a lot of the things she dealt with did borderline on abuse, but she doesn’t wish herself anywhere else. Not to say she doesn’t wish her adult life didn’t turn out a bit different, but she does have a strange relationship with her opinion of her family. She doesn’t love her father and her only brother who she loves is Lev, and yet she believes she was meant to be within that family, if nothing else.
Joseph is not an outwardly violent person. He can be, but he doesn’t really care to be. He’s not big physically, and there are plenty of other people who could hurt him if they really tried to, but he’s quick, and good with his hands, and they wouldn’t get out without a few scars and broken bones if he ended up in a physical altercation. He’d rather have a weapon, as anyone would rather have a weapon. Obviously bow is his weapon of choice, but that’s in general, and more for hunting than anything else. Joseph owns guns and has shot guns, although he’s never shot a person, but, considering whatever the circumstances were, he wouldn’t have an issue shooting someone. It wouldn’t leave a bad taste in his mouth. It would just be a fact of life.
His emotions are very hard to read, even for people who may have known him for all of his life. He’s quiet, extremely laid back, and at times may seem rudely apathetic towards what’s going on around him. He is. In some ways, at least. He doesn’t really want to be bothered with stupidity, and most people go under that category, but if you’re someone who he likes, or someone who he loves that doesn’t really matter. You can be as stupid and illogical and unreasonable as you want, but he won’t leave you. He’s well aware of that stupidity, but doesn’t hold it against people he cares about.
"Happy" is weird for him because you don’t know when he’s happy because for the most part he doesn’t show those outward signs. This really depends on the situation, though. The thing that makes him happy the most is hunting and archery. He’s been doing this since he was small, and it relaxes him, gives him peace. At the same time he’s very serious about it as well. It’s not a joke, but it is fun for him, and he’s very, very good.
The second thing, which is really the first, in the end, is Scarlett. Scarlett makes him happy. She’s different from him, and at the same time they’re very alike. He can talk to her, and she’ll listen, and sometimes they don’t have to talk at all. They don’t always understand each other, but two people hardly ever will completely understand each other. But he loves her and loves being around her.
Joseph has a fine relationship with his sisters, even Kira who the majority of the rest of the family can only take in small doses. He doesn’t mind her at all. His relationship with Natasha is better, because they are two people who completely understand each other, even though they’re very, very different, her being far more outwardly emotional than he is, and having different general interesting, but one thing they have in common is their loyalty, and capacity to love. They’re both level-headed and can make hard decisions when they need to. That’s why they get along so well and he frequently visits her.
His relationship with his parents is cold, because his parents are cold people. They’re working people who never should have had a family in the first place. He doesn’t like them, and doesn’t really love them, but has the loyalty of family ties that brings them together when they need to be, although he wouldn’t care if he never saw them again. They’re not important and have caused more hardship than anything else.
Sam was normal.
She’s a normal, eight year old girl, with a fast mind, and a faster body, running around the house spewing out rays of sunshine that did nothing but her annoy her parents and agitate her nannies. No one ever struggled to figure out who was Sam and who was Thomas; they couldn’t have been more different, even when they were attached at the hip. That didn’t make a difference though; Sam still loved her sister with all of her heart, even if she wasn’t like her. Thomas was safe. She was protection from the world that might have tried to hurt Sam. The only people who had really tried to hurt her so far were the ones that were supposed to love her, and sometimes Thomas protected her from that. Or when she couldn’t, the equally as small, equally as bruised eight year old would hold her sister until she stopped crying. Thomas never cried. Sam didn’t know why.
The beatings didn’t stop her from being happy, though. They stopped Thomas from being happy, Sam knew that from early on, but not her. Her red hair meant that there was fire in her blood. Her blood boiled and she can birth to rainbows. Sam just couldn’t stop being happy. She didn’t want to stop. Why would anyone want to be sad? That seemed silly to her. She never wanted anyone to be sad a day in their lives.
But she didn’t know many people. She knew her sisters and her parents and the nannies that were in and out of the house. Her mother said they always left because Sam was useless and wild, she was stupid, and they didn’t want to deal with her stupidity anymore, just like her mother didn’t. Sam didn’t feel stupid. She didn’t feel useless, she felt smart most of the time. She did well in school, even though the kids made fun of her and called her names. Sam liked school, and her teacher never told her she was stupid. The teacher would tell her, wouldn’t she? Teachers always had to tell the truth, that’s what Sam thought. Her teacher was nice, she was tall, and had brown hair. She smiled at Sam and sometimes gave her snacks at the end of the day. Her teacher would know if she was stupid.
"Why would you ask that?" Mrs. Wes looked at Sam quizzically from her desk, her eyes narrowed, her hands that were moving quickly among the papers around her desk stalled, and folded over the wood of the desk. Sam was standing in front of her, head down, suddenly ashamed she had even asked.
"I don’t know," she told her, but she knew exactly why. Those were the words that kept ringing in her ears, and she just had to know. Sam started to feel sick to her stomach, and had to force the tears that were threatening to spring out back. "I’m sorry—" she turned quickly and started out of the room, clutching her backpack to her chest.
"No, sweetie, wait—" Mrs. Wes called after her, but Sam was already gone.
Sam was stupid.
She knew that now, no matter what any teacher told her, no matter what her sister told her, no matter what she had once believed. Sam knew she was stupid. She couldn’t stop herself from doing stupid things. She was stupid and useless, just like her mother told her. She wished she wasn’t, but there was nothing she could do now. Mrs. Wes had called back home that day, and Sam knew she was in trouble by the look on her mother’s face as she got off the phone with the school. She had tried to run away, but that only made the whole thing worse. Her father wasn’t home yet, but when he came home, he beat her too, when the pain from her mother’s hand hadn’t yet left. And then they locked her in her room for the rest of the weekend, and wouldn’t let her out for anything.
It was the nightmares that made her stupid, she was sure. She’d been having them for as long as she could remember, and only sometimes she remembered the whole dream once she had woken up. Most of them time she only got bits and pieces, but they were always the most scary parts that she remembered. She tried not to cry, but she couldn’t help it. Sam was a crybaby, and the nightmares scared her so much. Sometimes she got so scared at night, when her room was completely black and she was alone, that she couldn’t make it to the bathroom quick enough. Those were some of the worst times, and she would crawl back into bed and cry until morning, and then she’d cry some more, when her mother, or one of the nannies found her in soiled sheets. The nannies always knew what would happen to her, but one of them did anything. None of them cared.
So Sam kept crying. She didn’t know what else to do. It made her feel better, but only for a little while, and then she’d cry some more. She couldn’t stop. When the sunshine was gone, there were days and days of rain.
Sam was a crybaby.
But she didn’t cry with Simon. He was the only person, other than Thomas, that really made her happy. He made her smile, and took the rain away. He was older than her, and when all of the nannies refused to come back, at least if they had to deal with Sam, her parents sent her over to him. She was ten now, and had been coming to stay with him after school for two years. He helped her with homework and watched movies and, if it’s a late night for her parents, made for her dinner. Sometimes he’d leave to go out with his friends for a little while, but he always came back, smiling, and she was always happy to see him. He was eighteen, but his mom worked a lot, so she was hardly ever around. Sam loved Simon. He didn’t make her feel stupid or useless. When she was with him, she felt normal, and that’s good. She didn’t feel normal a lot anymore.
She didn’t think anyone could be as nice as him. People at school never stop teasing her, and she didn’t understand why. She wanted to be friends with them, and tried so, so hard, but they just didn’t like her. No one teased Thomas. What was wrong with Sam? Was she ugly? Was she weird? Sometimes she felt weird, but she wasn’t really sure. She asked Simon if she was weird, and he just laughed, and told her of course not. She’s not weird, she’s perfect, normal, beautiful. That made her feel better, but she still had an inkling that someone was wrong with her that she just couldn’t put her finger on. Most of the time she didn’t worry, but sometimes she did. Sam didn’t want to be weird. She wanted people to like her the way Thomas liked her. She wanted people to like her the way Simon liked her.
Sam was weird.
She was really weird, and she wasn’t sure why. When she looked in the mirror, at herself, and then at Thomas next to her, she didn’t see the difference. Red hair, big eyes. Thomas’ lacked any luster, but all in all, they were the Sam. They dressed different, but that didn’t make much of a difference. You wouldn’t be able to tell them apart otherwise, and yet Sam knew she was weird, but still didn’t know why.
Ryan liked her, though. Ten year old Ryan didn’t think Sam was weird, and Sam loved her for that. At fifteen, as much as she loved Thomas, and she did, Ryan had become her best friend. Ryan was tall for her age, had pretty light brown hair, and was just so cute. Sam walked her to school in the morning, holding her hand tight in the brisk New York wind, and she told her about the world. Sam knew a lot of things. She might have been stupid, but in some ways she was smart. Straight A student, and she had a fantastic memory. What Sam really loved was cars, though, and even though she knew she’d go to law school like her parents, that didn’t stop her from loving cars. As they walked to school, she’d talk to Ryan about cars, and Ryan would listen like no one else did. Except maybe Simon. Simon always listened to Sam, and she loved him even more than she had before.
He was twenty three now, and worked a lot more than he had before. He was in college, and working, but never stopped letting Sam come over. She was too old for a nanny now, but every day after school, she’d walk to Simon’s, and Thomas would pick Ryan up from school and take her home. Sam’s parents knew that she went to Simon’s, but they didn’t care as long as she didn’t bother them. She knew she did bother them, most of the time, and didn’t want to get hit anymore than she had to, so she spent most of her time there. Even when he wasn’t there, there was plenty for her to do. Simon was rich, and he had already moved out of his mother’s house. He didn’t want to live on campus at college, and Sam wasn’t sure why, but she liked this better anyway; at least now she could still visit him anytime she wanted to.
If it was late she’d sleep over, and when he came home and crawl into bed with her. He had shown her things Sam didn’t know anything about before, and she really, really liked them. Much of the time she spent at this house when he wasn’t there was spent masturbating. He had shown her that, and once she started she couldn’t stop. It was god’s gift to mankind, her fifteen year old mind was sure. Why else would he have given people the ability to touch themselves and send lightening bolts throughout their bodies? Sam didn’t ever want to have to stop. Sometimes during the day at school she’d go to the bathroom just so she could rub herself off. She never wore pants anyway, so that just made it easier to lift up her skirt and have at it. In the morning, at lunch, in the afternoon, after school, and all while she was at Simon’s. It was the most important thing to her. Nothing had ever made her feel this good.
Maybe that’s what made her so weird.
Sam was addicted.
Sam was addicted to a lot of things, in the end, but there were some that stood out more than others. Sam was addicted to jerking off. Sam was addicted to sex with girls (including Ryan; especially Ryan). Sam was addicted to murder.
Sam was twenty one years old and could already call herself a serial killer. That was a funny thing, in the end. This was Simon’s doing, of course. Simon was the reason she had gotten into any of this, and sometimes she’d think back and wonder if she was wrong, but she didn’t think so. She wasn’t wrong, neither was he. They were best friends, and Ryan had now come into the fold.
Sam really did like college, but she had always liked school. First of all, she was away from her parents blows, and that alone was a gift. She felt sad for Ryan, who had neither Thomas nor Sam anymore to help her, as they were so far away at Columbia and only came back sometimes, but Ryan had Simon, Sam made sure of that. She didn’t want Ryan to have to be alone, the way Sam had felt alone even when she wasn’t, so she introduced the two of them, and they became friends very quickly, in and outside the bedroom. Having two of the people she loved the most be friends was the happiest thing Sam could think of. She wished Thomas liked Simon, though, but Thomas hated him, she always had, and she wasn’t sure why. Nothing Thomas said about him made sense, anyway.
The other thing she liked about college were the girls. There were so many girls she didn’t know what to do with all of them. They were tall and short and big and small and some were students and some were teachers and they were all just so pretty. No one teased her anymore, and that was wonderful. She smiled at them, and she smiled back, and sometimes they end up in bed together, or in the car together, or behind one of the campus buildings together, with the girl on her knees and Sam’s skirt hitched up. Those were her favorite times. She just loved girls, and never stopped looking for them.
Sometimes when she slept with them they never left. That was usually when she would go home to visit, and bring a girl back to Simon’s place. She didn’t mean to kill them, not all of the time, but it was such a rush, she’d never felt anything like it. Murder was sexual. Everything was sexual, and she couldn’t get enough. She had read about people who were addicted to sex, but she didn’t think she was that bad. She just wanted to get her fill, and so far, she hadn’t.
Sam knew murder was wrong, and at times she felt gross and dirty for what she had done. Simon told her that there was nothing wrong with what she had done; death is natural, and sex is natural, and bringing the two together was good for the body and mind and soul. She believed him, and so she kept on. There was a hollow space in her chest, but she didn’t pay attention to it.
When she had Simon and Ryan, what else mattered?
Sam is broken.
She’s completely and utterly broken, and she doesn’t know what to do with herself anymore. What she had loved for so long, she doesn’t love anymore, or it doesn’t love her. She wants to be happy, and she has happiness right in front of her, but doesn’t know how to reach out and take it.
Sam is sad.
She’s been sad for a really long time. Nothing makes her happy anymore, nothing brings back the sunshine that lasted for years. Ryan isn’t here, and she doesn’t love Sam anymore. Sam’s come to the realization that Simon is bad for her. She feels like everything has been ripped away from her. Everything she ever loved.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
What she did love has been replaced with something so much stronger. Alex. Four years, and she’s fallen in love with Alex. Every part of her body wants Alex at every moment of the day, in every way. Her love for Alex surpasses her love for Simon, or Ryan, or even Thomas. Her love for Alex is eternal.
But Alex is angry with her. She has been for a while, and Sam knows why. She might be stupid and weird, but she knows why. She knows why and she wants to change.
But she doesn’t know how. Being a certain way for so long as crippled her. She doesn’t know what to do. But Alex hurts her in the best of ways. She wants so badly to make Alex happy, to make her proud, and she’s not. She’s not.
Sam is a failure.
She doesn’t want to be a failure. She tries so hard to stop hurting people, and she has, for three months, but will that be be enough?
Will Alex love her again?
The girl has dark green hair.
As someone that dreams about dyeing her hair as many different obscure colors as she can find the moment she leaves for college, hair colors is one of the first things Ryan notices about someone else. Most of the people she surrounds herself with have the same two hair colors, brown and blonde. Sure, there are varying shades and varying styles, but after a while it all gets a little boring.
But this girl, she’s exciting. Ryan can sense it. It’s not just her hair color. It’s the way she holds herself, the very way that she sips at her coffee cup and the way that her fingers slowly turn the pages of her book. She looks at bit older, probably in her early twenties or something, and Ryan’s only sixteen. Not that that bothers her, though. Ryan has enough experience with older women to know what she’s doing.
“Is this seat taken?” Ryan asks with a smile, holding a coffee cup in one hand and a cheese Danish in the other. It’s been about three days since she’s last eaten, and she can’t think of a better person to celebrate eating again with. Well, except one, But that’s just not possible. Distance is a bitch, that’s for sure.
The girl’s head shoots up, a scowl of annoyance etched onto her features, but she takes a look at Ryan and her scowl fades into something that can almost be called a smile. “Uh, sure,” she says after a moment of hesitation as she tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. Her voice is a lot deeper than Ryan expected, but she likes it. She likes everything about this girl, even if she’s barely even met her.
“Thanks!” Ryan chirps, sinking into the chair across from her new companion. “I’m Ryan.”
“Gina,” the girl answers as she closes her book and looks up at Ryan with a smile—a real smile.
“A pretty name for a pretty girl.”
Gina laughs. “Are you flirting with me?”
Ryan shrugs, looking at Gina with a tiny smile perched on her face. Now that she’s sitting right across from her, she can really see Gina. She can see the freckles that dot her face, the hints of black roots peeking from underneath her green strands. She notices the chipped blue nail polish on Gina’s nails and the tattoo of a cross on the middle finger of her left hand. “I’m not flirting,” she mutters, wrapping her lips around the straw of her coffee for a drink. “I’m just telling the truth.” She pauses, reaching out and grabbing Gina’s left hand. The other girl jerks back slightly, but then she relaxed and lets Ryan touch her. “I like your tattoo,” she says.
“Really?” Gina asks, crinkling her nose in a way that let’s Ryan know that she’s said the right thing.
“Yeah,” Ryan answers.
After a few minutes of talking, Gina admits that she has to go—but not before generously offering Ryan a home.
Five minutes later she’s sitting in the passenger seat of Gina’s Honda, singing along to the radio as Gina tries to start up the car. Ryan looks around; they’re in the back of the parking lot, and the nearest car is at least ten rows ahead of them. She bites her lip and turns to Gina. “Having trouble there?” she asks with a smile, titling her head as she looks at Gina.
“Yeah,” Gina mutters, frustrated. “This thing’s a fucking piece of shit.” She growls, taking the keys out of the ignition as she lets her head fall onto the steering wheel. “Fuck this.”
Ryan frowns and lets her hand fall on Gina’s back, rubbing in small, slow circles. “I’m sorry,” she whispers.
Gina doesn’t say anything for a few moments, but then her head shoots up. She looks Ryan straight in the eyes and leans forward. Ryan feels her heart quicken, and meets Gina in the middle as their lips touch. She grins into the kiss, giggling as Gina starts to kiss her neck and pull her across the car and into her lap. Gina’s hands travel up her shirt and Ryan moans.
Her hair is blonde.
It’s a dirty blonde, one that’s closer to brown, but Ryan knows blonde when she sees it. Her name is Jesse, unless the grimy music store that she’s at allows their employees to lie on their nametags.
“Need any help?”
Ryan jumps as if she’s surprised, but she’s not. Jesse’s been staring at her from the moment she walked into the store, eyes glued to her short dress and the long legs that traveled from under it. It was only a matter of time before she came over to her, Ryan was sure. She flicks through the stacks of records, not really even bothering to take in any of the pictures or the names because she doesn’t really know what she’s looking for. In all honesty, she’s not looking for anything. She just doesn’t want to go home. Her parents think that she’s staying after school for tutoring, which is stupid because she could pass history even if she slept through every single class, but now that it’s just her at home she tries to find as many excuses to get out there as possible. Still, Sam should be coming home from college soon, and Ryan wants to have a present ready for her. Now that she was thinking about it, an old record was a pretty shitty gift for Sam. Ryan decides to give her something better, like a new vibrator.
So she bites her lip, turning around to find herself face to face with Jesse. “Nope,” she answers, popping the ‘p’ with a smile.
Jesse raises her eyebrows, sticking her hands into the pockets of her jeans. She’s wearing a plaid shirt and her hair is cut close to her head in a very boyish crew cut. Ryan wonders if she’s one of those butch lesbians. She realizes that she doesn’t care.
She also realizes that she doesn’t want to play games.
“Wanna sleep with me?” Ryan asks, leaning back and pressing the palms of her hands onto the table behind her. If Jesse says yes then the day becomes a success, and that’s another fifteen to thirty minutes away from her parents. If not, then Ryan can always find someone else to share her time with.
Jesse blanches, face flashing deathly white as she looks at Ryan, trying to figure out if she’s joking or not. Ryan only smiles, teeth pulling at her bottom lip as she waits for Jesse to give her an answer.
Time stretches out for what seems to be forever before Jesse finally gives her a soft yes.
She’s some thousands of miles from home, sitting in a nearly empty bus station while she waits for her next ride. Her limbs are stiff, and her eyes are streaked with tears. Ryan’s not sure how long she’s been crying for, but it feels like it’s been forever.
She doesn’t know if she’ll ever be alright again.
The display board above her head tells her that she has twenty minutes before the next bus comes to take her a hundred more miles on her journey. Away from her parents and away from her. Ryan just wants to get away. Away from this gross fucking bus stop. She just wants a nice bed and a hot bed. California is just a really long way away.
She sighs, pushing herself up out of her seat as she grabs her bags and walks to the bathroom. The door opens and she finds herself face to face with a girl that looks around her age, if only a few years older.
The girl’s hair is light blue, a few shades lighter than Ryan’s. Her mouth goes dry.
She doesn’t know how it happens, but somehow she finds herself on her knees, licking up the girl’s thigh in the bathroom. She keeps muttering something. “Mindy, Mindy, Mindy,” is what Ryan makes can make out.
She doesn’t know if the girl is muttering out her name, or the name of someone else. In the end, Ryan decides that it doesn’t matter.
Andi’s really cute. She’s also Silas’s girlfriend, and her hair is a boring shade of brown. There are caramel streaks on the end, though, so that’s something.
Ryan’s not exactly sure how they got to this point, but Silas said something earlier about Andi being a no good prostitute, so Ryan supposes that it would’ve come to this point anyways.
Andi really is cute, really fucking cute, especially when she’s rubbing Ryan off.
Her girlfriend’s hair is brown, but this girl’s hair is purple.
Her name is Rina, or maybe Reese. Maybe it’s Rebecca, or fucking Roberta. Ryan doesn’t know and doesn’t care; she just remembers that it starts with the same letter as hers.
They’re in Ryan’s room, the one she shares with Bianca. Ryan’s laying down, unbuttoning her shirt as she waits for Robertato hurry up and get the rest of her clothes off.
“You live here all by yourself?” she asks as she shucks off her jeans.
“Nope,” Ryan says with a smile, throwing her shirt to the side. “My girlfriend lives here too.”
Roberta pauses. “Oh?”
Roberta frowns, as if she thinks this is a bad idea, but her underwear goes comes off a few seconds later, so it must not be that big of a deal.
The girl has red hair.
It leaves a sour taste in Ryan’s mouth, but she smiles at her anyways.
“So your name’s Ryan, right? I’m Chris.”
Ryan nods slowly and makes a tiny noise of confirmation. It’s weird, she doesn’t even bother to share the fact that her middle name is Christopher. The thought doesn’t even cross her mind.
“You wanna get out of here?” Chris asks with a smile. She bites her lips, leaning forward as if she’s trying to get Ryan to look down her low-cut top. Ryan’s eyes flick down her a second, but the thought of undressing Chris doesn’t excite her. Not today.
She doesn’t know why she’s being so weird.
“No thanks,” she says slowly, and her words sound hollow. She feels hollow inside, and she doesn’t know why.
Chris frowns at her. “Are you sure?”
Ryan contemplates saying no, she thinks about agreeing to leave with Chris. It would be fun; it would be easy. Wouldn’t it be?
She shakes her head, pushing herself off of her seat as she looks at Chris. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I need to go home. My girlfriend’s waiting for me.”
Andi can’t remember her father ever saying telling her that he loves her. She can’t remember him ever looking at her with anything other than annoyance and disgust. She can’t remember him ever treating her like she was a part of the family.
Because she isn’t
Andi might’ve been his daughter, but she would never be his family, because she’s evidence of his mistakes. When he looks at her all he sees is the reason that his marriage almost fell apart. When he looks at her older brother and sister he sees them for who they really are. He sees the football star that’s going places, and the artist that’s going to share her gift with the world. When he looks at Andi, all he sees is a mistake. Because that’s what she is. A mistake.
Her step-mother is worse, if that’s even possible. She absolutely hates Andi with everything in her, and Andi knows this. She knows this as easily and as surely as she knows her own name, and though she had accepted it years ago, it never stops hurting.
It never stops hurting, and it never will, and all she can do is temporarily numb the pain. So she lives on a diet of drugs, alcohol, and sex, binging and fucking until the physical pain overwhelms the emotional one.
She never meant to be out on the streets. That was never the plan, but honestly, Andi doesn’t know if there ever was a plan. Somehow, someway, she finds herself sitting at the nearest bus station with the money she saved up from working at the local skate shop tucked in her backpack.
Andi sighs, tears dotting her face as she leaned against the cold glass, stuck between wanting to rest her eyes as she waits for the bus to come and being on alert in case someone tries to attack her. Though, she isn’t even sure what she’ll do if someone does attack her at this point. Hit them with her backpack? Claw their eyes out? Her father never bothered to enroll her in self-defense classes as he had her older sister. Apparently, she wasn’t even good enough to learn how to stay alive.
She isn’t good for anything, really. Her step-mother had made sure that she was aware of that. Those words have been hammered into her head so many times that she can still hear them rattling around in her brain, and she’s sure that she always will. You’re nothing. Nothing! You’ll never amount to anything. Like a fucking broken record that doesn’t know when to shut up.
The cold wind whips around her, making her shiver and wish that she had taken the time to pack a bit more carefully. Even when leaving, even when trying to get away from all of it, she couldn’t do anything right. She curses quietly to herself as her shivering hands zip up her coat. A black truck slowly rolls up by the terminal and she freezes like a deer in headlights, sure that this it. She’s going to die here and now, with no one to even mourn her death.
The truck stops, and Andi holds her breath as a skinny man that looks to be in his late twenties step out and makes his way to her.
"What are ya’ doing sittin’ alone here, darlin’?" he asks, leering down at her with a predatory grin.
Andi swallows. "Just waiting," she whispers. "Waiting for the bus."
The man pauses, pulling a box of cigarettes out of his pocket. He holds out one to Andi and she takes it slowly, hesitating as her fingers wrap around the tiny stick. "Where ya’ goin’?"
She shrugs. "Calfornia." She hasn’t thought that far ahead. She hasn’t thought about where she’s going or what she’s going to do once she gets there; all she knows is that she had to get away, but California sounds right. It sounds new, it sounds fresh, and it sounds far enough from Nevada. It sounds perfect.
"And how are you planning on doing that?" The man laughs. "This bus only takes you so far, sweetheart." He pauses, taking out his lighter. "I could take you to the border, though.”
Andi smiles slightly, chewing on the end of her cigarette. "Really?" Her words are soft, barely audible.
He nods, giving her a slick grin as he took a quick drag. "Yeah, it’s no problem. It’ll cost you though. Not as much as it would to take the bus or a train, but hey, a man’s gotta make a living."
The smile slides off of her face, and Andi’s eyes drop to the ground. She has some money, but it’s not much. It’s barely anything, and she needs enough for food and a place to stay when she gets to where she’s going. Tears prickle in her eyes again, because just for once, she wishes that things would work out in her favor. She looks up at the guy, ready to tell him that she’s going to have to pass him up on his offer when she notices how he’s looking at her. His eyes are glued to her breasts, and he still has that predatory grin slicked to his face. It makes her feel sick, and she can almost feel the bile rise in her throat, but if she wants to get to California she’s going to have to do something.
She bites her lip, blinking back tears as she looks up at him. "I don’t have a lot of money, but I can pay you in other ways?"
And that’s how she finds herself getting fucked against the side of a car five minutes later, with silent tears dripping down her cheeks.
There are times when Andi wonders if having sex had ever really been enjoyable to her. She watches movies when she’s bored sometimes, because Rabbit has the biggest collection of bootleg movies that she’s ever seen in her life. It’s always the romantic movies that get her, the ones where the main character and her love interest don’t fuck. He doesn’t slam into her, doesn’t grab her by the hair and yank her around as if she’s some flimsy doll toy, which is something that Andi’s had her fair share of in the bedroom. No, in these movies, he holds the girl. He plants soft, loving kisses along her skin. He caresses her face and tells her that he loves her. Not once does he call her a slut, bitch, or whore. Not once does he shove his dick into her mouth and force her to choke on it.
In other words, it’s completely different than what she’s used to, and Andi loves it. She watches all of the romantic movies she can find, indulging herself on corny, Hollywood produced sex scenes as easy as she indulges in chocolate. It’s cheesy. It’s romantic. It’s beautiful.
And later that night, when Rabbit has her face shoved into the sheets, grunting that she owes him, she can hope that maybe, just maybe, she can have something that’s half of what the characters in those movies have.
His name is Silas, and he’s not the worst person she’s ever slept with. He’s not the worst person she’s ever met either, not when there’s her father and step-mother that are included in the list. He’s has a dirty mouth and a sharp tongue, but he pays well, really well. Sure, he painfully rough, but she’s had worse. A lot worse, so she doesn’t mind him as much.
But one day Rabbit kicks her out and she doesn’t know where to go. She hasn’t been out on the street—truly out on the street yet—and she doesn’t ever want to be. She’s gotten everywhere she wants to go by using her body to her advantage, so it would make sense to go to one of her “clients” places. The problem is that she only has one of their addresses saved in her phone. All of the rest of them fuck her in random places because they’re too good to have a whore in their bedroom.
Andi doesn’t know what to expect when she shows up at Silas’s door, but she knows that she won’t leave without trying. It’s obvious that he doesn’t want to take her in, but she can’t be out on the streets, she just can’t be, so she offers up the only thing she has: her body. It doesn’t matter that she’s lost a client now, because she has a place to stay and food to eat. The sex, still as rough and painful as ever, isn’t that bad. There’s always worse waiting outside of his apartment, so she’ll take what she can get. A few days turns into a week, a week turns into two, and he hasn’t kicked her out yet. She calls this progress.
The first time he slaps her, her head spins so hard that she feels like she’s going to black out, and she wonders if she made a mistake.
Andi was stupid to ever believe that she could have happiness. She knows this now, knows it like she knows the back of her hand. She doesn’t know why she expected anything out of Silas, but she did, and all she’s gotten is disappointment and a new batch of bruises and injuries that appear at least once a week.
There’s something inside of her that hurts whenever she looks at him. It makes her heart feel weird, and she doesn’t know why. It’s only when she’s watching TV while he’s off doing who knows what—probably fucking another girl, because she’s not even for him; she never was—that she realizes that it is. It’s love. Andi loves Silas, she loves him so fucking much, but she’s terrified of him and wishes that he would just let her go. He doesn’t love her, this she knows. He probably doesn’t even like her because he’s always telling her what a no good junkie whore she is. He’s never been anything but cruel to her, no matter how much she’s tried to be nice and make him happy. Even when she was in rehab he was horrible to her, so much so that she wished that he hadn’t made it in time, that she had just overdosed and floated into the nothingness of it all.
There used to be a time when Andi would hit him back. She would match him word for word, blow for blow, and though she would end up laying on the floor, bloody and sore after ever fight they had, she still felt accomplished. There used to be a time when she would try to leave, only to be dragged back by her hair, but at least she tried.
Not anymore. She wouldn’t dare hit him, wouldn’t dare try to leave, because now everything had changed. She was pregnant; she was bound to Silas once and for all.
Everything changes when Loki’s born.
Every ounce of fight leaves Andi’s body. She doesn’t think she could fight back if she wanted to, and she doesn’t want to. Not when there are bruises covering her from head to toe, not when her daughter might accidentally get hurt in the crossfire. Loki’s the only thing that matters to her at this point, and Andi would rather die than see Loki hurt.
She’s dying anyways. If her crippling cocaine addiction doesn’t kill her first, then it’ll be Silas. She’s sure.
So that’s why her hands shake as she scrolls through the contacts of her phone, teeth tearing into her lip as her eyes flicker rapidly between the phone and the door. Silas could walk through at any moment and that would ruin everything. This is her one chance, the one opportunity to save herself and her daughter, and she will not fuck it up.
The phone is ringing, and she holds it up to her ear, letting out a sigh of relief when he picks up. “Carey?” her voice cracks on the first word, and suddenly there are tears running down her face. She’s crying so hard that she can’t see and she can barely breathe, but that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t fucking matter, because this is her out. This is Loki’s out. She’s saving her life and she’s making a better one for her child. “Carey?” she repeats, clearing out her throat so that she can get the words out. “I need you to come get me, please,” she begs, clutching her phone for all it’s worth. “Please, I need you to help me.”
Fucking bitch, he thought, his mind going back and forth over what quickly went wrong, and everything always going back to her. Fucking bitch, fucking antagonistic bitch, just couldn’t seem to get enough, and now look what she’s doing. Look what she’d fucking done. Silas kept his eyes closed, laid back on the bed with his hands behind his head. He could hear the sound of the shower going only a bit away from him in the hotel room. A fucking hotel room, the five of them, because his sister couldn’t keep her emotions in check. What a fucking bitch.
He could still smell the smoke from the fire she’d started in her room, and hear the blaring of the smoke alarm going throughout their house. She told them she had been defending herself against him, that he was going to hurt her, to try and kill her, some fucking bullshit she pulled out of her ass. And they’d believed her. His mother, her father, his stepfather, their little sister Lena, although her opinion didn’t really fucking married. They’d all believed her sob story that Silas had come after her. What India happened to be leaving out was the fact that she’d started the whole goddamn thing. She’d opened her mouth, she’d decided she wanted to have a go at him, throw jabs at him. That wasn’t fucking cool. She deserved exactly what she got, although he really couldn’t do more than put his hand on her arm before she shot across the room and threatened him with a light. He didn’t think the bitch would actually like the fucking bed on fire. He had seriously underestimated her.
What she hadn’t told them is what she said about his father. Saying shit about him, calling him a junkie. Because of that fact her father was some bigs-hot she assumed she was untouchable, and that she could shame him for “coming from a nobody”. He’d buried that shame long ago (or so he thought). But of course she’d be the one of bring that shit back up, to throw that in his face like he’s not fucking good enough for the rest of them, because his father is an addict and has been in an out of rehab since he was a teenager. It’s not like his mother would have cared, though. She talked the same way. He wanted to ask her why she had a kid with him, if she hated him so much.
Silas heard the sound of the shower go of. His stepfather and sisters were in the other room of the hotel, watching TV, playing a game, some shit. He wanted to get of there. None of them were fucking worth it.
He should have fucking known. He should have known all along that they planned to ship him off the moment he got out of school, but there was still of a level of him that was surprised. He wanted to leave them, but this wasn’t how. He saw himself moving out into some apartment in the city where he could do as he pleased without the watchful glare of his loving parents over him every moment of the day. Not that he really worried about them much, and they didn’t care about what he did anymore, at least that’s what he thought. Go to school in America. That’s what they told him, but all he could actually hear was, Leave our family alone. He wasn’t one of them. He wasn’t a Bernard, he was an Ackermann, and they seemed to all have shit wrong with him. His mother didn’t lie and tell him that sending him away wasn’t a punishment, they both knew that she wanted him out of her hair. Silas was nothing more than a reminder of a mistake made in her youth, one never to be repeated.
At least they bought him a decent apartment. Spacy, filled with light, but dark enough not to fuck with his constant hangovers. His first night in California he bought all of the liquor he could get and got so fucking wasted his hangover lasted for almost two days. School would be starting soon, and he wasn’t looking forward to that. Law degree, like he actually fucking care about the law. Especially the American law. But he didn’t plan to come back, or they didn’t plan to take him back, so why not? He didn’t want them. They weren’t his family. And his father was dead.
The second night is when the girls came. He didn’t remember how many but enough to make his head spin. Drinking, fucking, everything in between. This was the life he was talking about. Why the fuck did he need to ever go back to Germany?
Her name was Andi and he wasn’t really sure if she was worth it. She was pretty, really fucking pretty, and had a body that would make angels cry, but he wasn’t sure whether she was worth it. Worth anything, really. She was a whore, and a junkie, and the first few times he’d paid for her to come and sleep with him, because he could afford it, and didn’t really want to make the effort in forcing her to sleep with him. So he paid her and fucked her from behind and all was well. But somehow they kept ending up together. He didn’t care about her, but she was sort of interesting, so he didn’t tell her to fuck off. Well, he did, but he didn’t really mean it, and she stayed around anyway.
When she asked him if she could stay with him for a few nights, he honestly didn’t know what to tell her. His first inclination was to tell her to fuck off and find someone else, but he didn’t. She looked so fucking desperate, it annoyed him, and he told her yes just to get that fucking pathetic, useless look off her face. Having her around had perks, anyway. Sex he didn’t have to pay for, that was a perk in itself, even if her living with him did mean he actually had to deal with her after pushing her face into the sheets. Oh, well. It was worth it. Kind of.
He didn’t like her that much; she had a big mouth, and he’d had to physically shut her up many times when just telling her didn’t exactly do the trick. And yet, she never left. A few days turned into a few months, and the time passed ridiculously quick. And not yet did he want her to leave.
Any bliss in having free sex and a pretty face to look at had passed and now he was just fucking mad. He should have known something was going on, but six months passed, and he didn’t notice. That was his own fucking fault, and he’d never make that mistake again. Seeing her sprawled across the floor, bleeding from so many places he wasn’t sure if she was even alive anymore, that was a reminder for them both. That was a fucking reminder to her not to steal from him again, and if she did, what would happen. His anger had boiled over, and he’d hit her, but Silas had hit her before. Never this hard though. And he’d never enjoyed it this much.
Did that make him a bad person?
Probably, but he wasn’t concerned with that. Him being a bad person was almost a given, considering where he had come from. Silas didn’t want to be like his father. He didn’t want to be some junkie criminal who beat women and couldn’t get through the day without getting high off the fucking ground. And yet that’s exactly what he was, and he didn’t really mind that much. Andi just didn’t look as good unless she had a black eye or a busted lip, and that was just a fact. He didn’t even hate her. But he didn’t really like her either.
And this sure as fuck wasn’t love.
Three years. Three years of beatings on both of their sides, of screaming, of Andi threatening to leave, of Andi actually leaving, and him dragging her back by her hair because there was no way in hell she was leaving him. They weren’t done until he said they were done. And they were in no way done. Three years of her bitching at him, and him ignoring her until the bitching got too much. Three years since he had left Germany and only spoke to his mother every few months because honestly neither of them cared about each other very much.
Silas still wasn’t sure if Andi was worth it. He still wasn’t sure if he should love her. He wasn’t sure whether or not he did love her, but he knew she loved him, which was fucking ridiculous. He wasn’t someone who should be loved, he learned that a really long fucking time ago. He shouldn’t be loved, he didn’t deserve to be. He was a bad person. And he liked being a bad person. He really fucked liked being a bad person.
Andi wasn’t a bad person. She wasn’t a good person, but she wans’t bad either. They enbaled each other. And she loved him. And he hated her for loving him.
Loki was born in the summer, but that didn’t matter because he’d stopped going to school long ago. Going to law school with a hangover, going to law school when you can’t get off that fucking high, that wasn’t even an option. His parents stopped paying for his apartment and they had to move to the shitty part of town. He shouldn’t even still be in the country. He had eternal bags under his eyes.
He was alone.
But he wasn’t alone. Andi seemed to stick by, no matter what, and he still hated her. He hated her for staying and hated himself for making her stay. He could see that she hated him too. And he didn’t blame her at all.
She shouldn’t have had Loki. She should have aborted her and run out of town. and he hated himself for not letting her, for pulling her hair and telling her she wasn’t going to murder his child. He didn’t want Loki to die, but he didn’t want her to live. Not like this.
But she would live. She was pretty, and healthy, and strong, and she would live.
But the real question was, would he?
He comes to America when he is thirteen years old. His parents say this will be better, but he only sees the difference in the details.
Everyone speaks differently. English. No one else in the family picked it up as well as he did. Except maybe Svetlana.
They don’t like him at school and he doesn’t know why. But he doesn’t pay much attention to them either. He’s thirteen and in eighth grade. Everything about life is awe inspiring. There is so much to learn.
He’s sixteen and Luka got mad when he came in and found Svetlana in bed with him. He said he was worry. He doesn’t even know how she got there.
Now he is eighteen and suddenly their lives have changed. Luka has become friends with important people.
Misha’s teachers tell him he should go to college.
He’s scared and doesn’t even realize it.
They tell him he has talent that shouldn’t be wasted. He could be a famous chemist someday.
He’s a straight A student and gets accepted to Harvard.
He doesn’t go.
Misha starts cooking meth when he’s twenty one, and Luka sells this to the mob. They like him. They trust him. And his drugs are fucking fantastic.
Misha likes cooking drugs. It makes him happy.
Luka opens a store. They have more money than they ever have had. The mob really likes Luka.
Misha works for him there.
He loves his brother a lot.
Zoya is his friend. He likes her. She’s smart and they can talk for hours.
Svetlana marries Zoya’s dad when he is twenty seven.
Now he and Zoya are family.
She tells him she’s pregnant. He doesn’t know who the father is.
She has a boy. Names him Leo.
She moved in with Luka. He doesn’t know why and doesn’t care. She visits him at the store. It’s a good thing.
He wakes up and she’s next to him. He remembers what they did. It’s not a big deal.
Zoya is pregnant.
Luka’s mad at him again and he doesn’t understand why.
They name her Amy. She’s small and brown haired.
Misha loves her very much.
They move in together, buy a house in the city; Zoya, Leo, Misha, and Amy.
The four of them are a family.
Amy is his little girl. They do everything togeter, all of the time. He reads to her, and they talk about science she’s too little to understand. That’s okay, she’ll understand someday.
But then Amy grows up.
He doesn’t know what happened. She spends less and less time at home. Zoya tells him that’s normal for kids to do, to go out with their friends and have fun, but he never did that.
Misha knows he’s not normal.
She has a boyfriend.
She has a lot of boyfriends.
She goes away to college.
He misses her more everyday.
And when she comes back, she says she’s in love. His name is Eric. She says he kinda reminds her of Misha.
And that’s when his heart breaks.
He sees them together.
And hates him.
Misha’s getting older.
And any robot can be replaced.