As Rain stepped out into the storm, she threw her head back in exhilaration. Thunderstorms always had a certain cleansing power to her. She let the water soak through her clothes and into her pale skin as she danced in the downpour. All of the negative energies that had built up over the past week were slowly draining from her body. It was nearing the end of summer and Rain was enjoying this rare shower.

Rain was laughing and crying, but Jack, who was watching her from inside the warmth and dryness of the house, didn't notice the tears running down her face. He smiled as she twirled in the grass then finally dropped onto her knees, smiling the prettiest smile he had ever seen then dropping her head in tranquility.

Jack cracked the front door slightly to see Rain more clearly. The moment he did, Rain's head shot up and she stared at him. She grinned and started towards the door.

Once Jack realized what was going on, his eyes widened and he turned to run, but he was too late. Rain's arms were around his waist, pulling him out into the weather. He yelped as his shaggy hair was soon drenched as his ragged clothes were. Rain giggled as Jack tried to shake the water from his hair, only to gather more water in his brown locks.

The front door opened. "Jack! Rain! Get in here NOW!" It was their foster father, Charles. They lived in a group home with three other boys. Chris was the oldest at sixteen. Tom was the second oldest, just months younger than Chris. Eric was the third oldest at fifteen. Jack was the second youngest at eleven. And Rain was nine. The older brothers were nowhere to be found, probably smoking God-knew-what on the side of the street with their friends, or breaking windows in just down the road in the deep industrial area of south Detroit.

Jack and Rain scrambled into the house. Charles slammed the door just as Rain got through it and turned around. Rain trembled as Charles' eyes darkened. He picked up an umbrella.

"You two need to learn not to go out in the rain like that," Charles said, hitting the umbrella into his palm.

As his foster father took a step toward him and Rain, Jack whimpered. Charles laughed and stared at the two drunkenly.

"You scared, Jackie? You should be. You should be pissing your pants right now in anticipation of the beating you're about to get," Charles taunted.

Rain threw herself in front of Jack. "Don't hurt him! It was my fault! Punish me, not him!"

Rain began crying even before Charles' hand came down on her head, grabbing a handful of her hair and throwing her against the wall. She curled into a ball and watched as Charles hit Jack in the crotch, bringing him to the floor, and then kicked his ribs. When Jack tried to rise, Charles punched him in the right eye. The impact from the hit sent Jack back to the floor, where this time, he laid still.

Rain backed against the wall as their foster father came towards her. She tried to scream, but her mouth was covered by Charles' enormous hand, muffling any sound from emitting. Soon after being struck hard on the face, Rain blacked out. The last thing she saw was the front door being kicked open and two men dressed in black with shiny badges running in with guns.

The next morning, Rain opened her eyes slowly. She cautiously looked at the rest of her body, scared of what she may see. Instead of open wounds or bruises, she saw bandages wrapped around her left fist and ribs along with her head.

She groaned as she tried to sit up. There was a woman sitting in the corner, knitting. She looked to be in her mid-forties. She was wearing and pretty blue blouse and a black skirt along with black heals. Her loosely-curled hair was down to her shoulders and blonde, but grey was beginning to show. When she saw that Rain was awake, she smiled. "Ah, you're awake. How are you feeling?"

Rain whimpered. The woman looked at her sympathetically. "That man is never going to hurt you again sweetie. I promise." The woman smiled softly at Rain, hoping for a response. Rain simple stared at her. "My name is Evelyn. I'm your new social worker." Rain looked at Evelyn suspiciously, but slowly and barely audibly said, "I-I'm R-Rain…"

Evelyn smiled warmly. "That's a pretty name. Are you hungry?" Rain began to nod but stopped herself. "W-where's Jack?"

The nurse shook her head. "I'm not sure which hospital he went to." Rain began to cry. Evelyn hugged her compassionately. "Shh… it'll all be okay. You're safe now. Nobody is going to hurt you." Rain had never heard those words before. She didn't know what to think of how to respond, so she just cried until she fell back asleep.

The next morning, Rain woke up and saw Evelyn watching her from the corner. She was now wearing a mint green suit and the same black heals that she wore before. Evelyn stood up and walked over to the side of Rain's bed.

"Rain, you're going to go to your new home today. Now don't worry. These people won't do anything like you're foster father did to you. They're good, kind people. I picked them out myself for you. Their names are Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. The woman's name is Elise and the man's name is James. They're so excited to meet you."

Rain said nothing. To her, this was just going to be another foster home. No love. No attention. She nodded, her hopes given to her yesterday by this woman slowly draining from her, dread replacing it.

________________________________________________________________________

Three hours later, she was being checked out of the hospital by Evelyn and wishing all of this would be over with. They drove for about thirty minutes until they pulled up at a white house with black shudders. Rain could tell that they were now in a more suburban area of the city. There was a medium sized yard with a willow tree and a stone bench under it. The lawn was neatly cut and there was a wind chime hanging on one of the lower branches of the willow. A large red rose bush was against the house, and ivy grew up the outer walls.

Rain thought that it looked beautiful. She hoped that the people she were to live with were good, but knew thought it doubtful.

Evelyn pulled open the car door. "We're here, Rain." Rain jumped slightly and slid out of the car, trembling. Evelyn placed a kind hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry, Rain. They're not going to hurt you."

As they began walking towards the house, a woman and man emerged from the door, smiling warmly.

The woman, Elise, had long brown hair that blew around her face from the slight breeze. She was wearing black jeans and a green tunic-style shirt. She was wearing a silver bracelet that wrapped around her left arm and a chain with a small gold heart on it around her neck. She was wearing no shoes.

The man, James, had his dark blonde hair back into a ponytail. He was wearing black jeans similar to Elise's and a white tee-shirt. He also wore no shoes.

The two met Evelyn and Rain half way and both hugged Evelyn. Evelyn popped the trunk to her car and pulled out a small bag. "I picked up some clothes for Rain. These will work until you can get her some new ones." James grabbed the bag and nodded.

"Yes, Elise is planning to bring Rain out tomorrow to get her some new clothes and shoes and things. Would you care to come inside, Ms. Mercer?"

Evelyn shook her head. "Usually I would, but I have errands to run before I get home. I'll be back to visit in a week or so to see how she's doing though." Evelyn smiled at Rain. "Rain, this is James and this is Elise. You're going to be staying with them for a while. Okay sweatie?"

Rain nodded and clenched onto her ragged used-to-be-white teddy bear. Elise crouched down to Rain's level. "Rain, we're so excited to have you here. I hope you'll enjoy being with us. Would you like to come on inside? I have some fresh cookies and milk with your name on them." Rain's eyes brightened. "Yes, please."

"Okay then. But say bye to Ms. Evelyn now first okay?"

"Yes ma'am. Bye bye Ms. Evelyn." Evelyn smiled and kissed Rain's forehead. "Bye bye sweat heart. I'll see you soon." Then, Evelyn Mercer got into her car and drove away. Little did Rain know that Evelyn would soon move to the other side of town and not be able to visit her anymore.

­­­­­­­­­­­Review please! =] I haven't been on here in forever, or written for that matter. So please, if you're going to flame and your whole life revolves around being uberly critical on peoples' work, flame responsibly. Only YOU can prevent forest fires! Lol. I'll hopefully have the next chapter up soon…. I love reviews, so please write some!

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