I know, I know... FINALLY Right?
So I'm rubbish, life is busy and I get easily distracted! But I have a new chapter ready so please forgive me. All of you should send nice messages of thanks to one reader, Smashtastic, for messaging me very kindly asking for more of this story! I hate to disappoint so here it is.
Special thanks from me to Smashtastic... I hope you enjoy this chapter.
Chapter Forty Four – The Goodbye Song?
Headphones in, she tried to keep her mind focused on the textbook in front of her. Math. She sucked at math.
It was getting dark outside of her bedroom window so she flicked on her desk lamp and again read the problem she was supposed to be solving in the textbook. She instead found herself wondering, as she often did, about how her friends at school did their homework. Were they shut up alone in their rooms struggling to work things out too? Were they worried that the ticking clock was counting down the minutes until their 'fathers' came home from work? Or were they sat at a dining table as their moms cooked dinner, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their dad so he could sit down and help explain the questions before they would all gather together and eat dinner and chat about their days. The mom would talk about work running late and what the family schedule was that weekend. The dad would smile as he ate and say thank you as he finished his meal. The daughter would laugh and then whine about school work and her best friend forgetting they had plans for the football game the next night. The family wouldn't always be perfect but they would love each other.
A car pulling into the driveway, visible from her small window, caught her attention. She looked at the clock, he was home early…
After hearing the man bustle into the house, slam down his work bag and kick off his boots, the girl listened for him to reach the staircase. He didn't come up the steps though; he carried on into the kitchen in the back on the house.
She quickly scribbled what she knew would be wrong answers in her school book and put it away in her satchel. She pulled her hair tighter in its pony tail and headed downstairs. Her socked feet were quiet on the steps and in the hallway. She watched the man grab a beer from the fridge and twist of the cap. He was disheveled after a long day. He was a plumber; he spent his days crawling into dirty, damp spaces to reach rusty pipes. Recently he'd been working at a high school in the next town over. The drive meant he was usually back later than this.
She walked into the kitchen, "You're home early," she said with a forced smile.
"Jobs finished. Don't need me anymore," he replied whilst pulling tubs of leftovers from dinner the night before out of the fridge.
"Oh well, have you got something else lined up?" she asked casually. It was the wrong question. He slammed the container in his hands down on the kitchen work top. The lid came loose and bits of pasta flew up into the air and splattered onto the island counter and floor.
"Are you my fucking wife?" he snarled at her. The girl took a step back at his words, the wary smile she had worn dropping from her face. She'd had a feeling, an unexplained concern that makes your stomach churn, early in the day that something bad was going to happen. "Well, you snarky little bitch, nothing to say now?" he glared at her, his eyes dark and seething.
This wasn't her father. She didn't have one. This was a man who had willingly let her into his home. The girl grew up in foster care, she was alone in the world accept for one dear, close friend as a child. Then at 12 she'd been put into this home. Things were really looking up in her life. Teenagers never get picked! She had just made it out of the children's home in time. She had been terribly sad to leave her best friend behind but he was older. He was 14. Teenagers never get picked! His time for getting out of care had passed. He wasn't leaving that place until he was 18 and an adult.
He had wanted her to leave, begged her to go and be happy with a family that had chosen her, a real family that wanted her. She knew the home she was going to had a mom and a dad and that they had a son. She would have parents and a brother. She might get to be a real child with a normal family. They even had a dog.
So she had left her best friend behind. They promised to always write to each other and see each other again really soon. She had seen him once, very soon after she had first left. She had written loads at the start and then his letters were fewer. Time passed and he stopped writing all together. She had still written to him. She gave her parents the letters addressed to the boy but he never replied. She was 15 now and he would be 17. He was almost at the age. Soon he would leave the home they had grown up in together (if he was even still there in the same place). She missed him. Now she was a bit older she wondered if her foster parents sent the letters she wrote at all. Her mom had often told her she needed to move on from 'that place'. They didn't want her talking about the life she had before, and she didn't want to upset them.
She wished he still wrote to her as she could really use a real friend right now. On her 15 birthday her foster mother left. She taped a note to the fridge saying she just "couldn't do this anymore" and that was it. She was gone. The girl hadn't even noticed anything was wrong… she still wondered if it was her fault, he foster brother definitely thought so.
Things changed after that, her new dad had less smiles, he worked late and longer days, he smelled bad most of the time, he cried.
Then came the beer cans littering the floor. The girl would clean them up in the mornings before school, tiptoeing around the man snoring loudly on the sofa. Beer cans smelt gross and on more than one occasion she'd picked one up expecting it to be empty, only to slosh the remains over her hands. Stale beer… yuck.
Now she kind of missed the beer cleaning mornings, because he foster father had long-since graduated to whisky, vodka, and anything with higher alcoholic volume that was gulp-able from a bottle.
She shook her head, focusing back on the man in front of her in the kitchen. He was still staring at her, but a glint in his eye was different than normal, he was a bitter person, but this look it was crazed. In a quick motion he was around the kitchen island and clutching onto her wrist. His grasp was so tight it hurt.
"You were a mistake, do you know that?" he said in a voice so flat and steady it was menacing. "She wanted a girl, my bitch of a wife. Always wanted a girl. I wouldn't have another bratty baby in the house so instead we got you." He was drunk; she could see it in his eyes as they couldn't quite focus on her. He hadn't been nice to her in a long time, but he'd never been so mean.
"I think you owe me, you owe me my wife back. I don't have her though do I? I just have you," with his free hand he grabbed her chin and turned it to one side then the other. "You've grown in to a pretty little thing Skye."
That was the first night her foster father kissed her.
And the first night she cried herself to sleep because she'd let him. Skye had been trembling in his grasp, she'd never been afraid of this man before but in that moment she had been terrified of what he might do.
It got worse. He had been coming into her room some nights when he got home late. He would stroke her hair while she kept her eyes tight shut pretending to be sound asleep. He'd found another job but he hated it. He took it out on her and her foster brother in different ways. He would shout at the boy and beat him every so often. Nowadays the boy barely came home. He was older that Skye.
She's thought about running away a few times, but where would she go to? She'd written letters to her friend back at the care home, but she wasn't sure he was getting them or if he even remember or cared about her. She'd put her return address on the envelope though, just in case. She didn't have a mobile phone and the landline had been cut off a few weeks back when no one paid the bill.
She was trying to bury her life in school work, but even that wasn't helping anymore.
Last night her foster father had put his hand under her duvet. Skye had panicked and leapt out of bed. He'd laughed at her.
A week after, one night changed her entire life.
Karen refused to let Ben feel like he was winning. She couldn't let him have all the power, she'd been his foster sister enough years to know he was obsessed with winning.
"Are you doing this because of what I did to Daddy dearest?" she asked him, pausing only for a second before adding in a snarky voice, "or because Mommy never wanted you?"
"Now you're Karen Cartwright, you think your some big hotshot. You think you're better than me. Well you'll always be the trashy teenaged girl my parents took pity on to me, Skye Austin. You'll always be the dirty slut that was having it off with a man more than twice her age," he screamed at her. She'd hit a nerve. "You might have changed your name and run far away, but I've found you, you filthy little slut," Ben spat as he paced furiously back and forth.
"Did you know he was arrested after you disappeared? He lied and said Mum had taken you away, he didn't know where. No body worried about you. No one even tried to look for you. No, he wasn't arrested for anything he did with you. He was picked up by the cops after ploughing his car into a woman and her child while drunk as a skunk. He killed the baby," Ben said it like it was a joke. Karen felt sick. "I think that's your fault, I hope you think so too."
"I couldn't get emancipated, and nobody wanted the 17 son of a baby killer living with them. Not when the 'rumors' of his extracurricular activities with you started to circulate. Who did you tell Skye? Which one of you bimbo schoolgirl friends did you tell you were banging your own dad?" Ben asked.
Karen had lost track of Ben's story a bit now. She hadn't told anyone about her foster father and what he tried to do to her the night she finally got away. Why would she? But Ben carried on anyway. "That night when I got home, I thought we'd been burgled and that it had gone terribly wrong. All the blood on the kitchen floor and actual bloody footprints leading out the back door to the garage, I thought that shit only happened in movies." Ben laughed. Karen didn't want to think about it all.
She decided to change the subject, "None of this explains why we are here now Ben? What the hell did I do to deserve this?"
It was the wrong question. "You ruined me!" he shrieked, suddenly in her face grabbing her harshly by the throat. "You've got you perfect little life now, and I hate you. My mom left because you were never the daughter she really wanted. My dad disintegrated before my eyes because she broke his heart, but when I tried to comfort him he beat me and wanted you. You left my life in ruins after that night and my father is now a messed up looney in a prison cell. I lost my home! I was shipped around place to place but always known as the weirdo son on the incest loving baby murder. MY LIFE HAS BEEN HELL!" Ben finally broke. Tears were streaming down his face. His grip around her neck was becoming dangerously tight. Karen was struggling to breathe.
She was crying too. He was going to kill her and she could do nothing to stop him. Blackspots were clouding her vision.
"I'm sorry," was all she could croak out before the room around her slipped away completely.
And anyone who had forgiven me now hates me for this cliffhanger :P sorry guys... More soon (ish).