I'm sure most of you are mad at me for taking so long to update but the truth is that I'm just not all that invested in this story anymore. I started this when I was in eighth grade and now i'm a junior, so obviously my interests have changed. I wasn't even sure I was going to continue this, I was thinking about just making the previous chapter the end, but I felt awful leaving such amazing people as yourselves unsatisfied yet again. I admit this is the shortest chapter of the story, but only by a couple hundred words. writing for this is like pulling teeth at the moment, i'm so sorry.

in my latest absence, though, I've been working on two other stories. Toward September and Never Forget. They're on my wattpad account, and they're what I've been spending all my time on. It would mean the world to me if you'd read them! I promise that I update both of them every couple of days (my inspiration for them comes so easy it's unbelievable)! I can't leave a link here but my username is JerichosRiot!

Anyway, hope you enjoy, sorry if this chap is a little confusing.

Chapter Twenty Six
She's Leaving Home

"I still can't believe we're going boys!" Georgie cries out in delight, twirling around Pru excitedly. The young girl blushes profusely as her crush circles her. Lucy stands off to the side in a murmured conversation with Paul having come all the way from London just to see the boys off. Mimi waits by the gate with an indifferent expression on her sophisticated face. John's got his arms around me so tight I'm afraid he'll never let go. I bury my face in the crook of his neck, breathing in his scent for what would be the last time for months. "I'm so happy for you lot," I whisper. The fact that they had gotten a chance to go on a legitimate tour is beyond amazing. John's dream of becoming a real musician is finally coming true.

"I'm happy too, Sadie, but I really don't wanna leave ye behind," John murmurs in my ear. Smiling, I lift my head to look at him. His hazel eyes are sad but a little excited for the unknown that lays in wait for them. "Johnny, your band is going on tour. A real tour. Sure, it's in Germany, and that's far away. But this is the opportunity you've been waiting for, isn't it?"

"Stop being right all the time, it's aggravating," he chuckles playfully, swaying me from side to side. "But we never coulda done this without you, my angel face. Silver Hammar never would've known our names if it weren't for you."

I brush off the compliment and simply savor the feel of his arms around me, his lips on my cheek. They'll be leaving with him in just a few moments. The fog horn of the massive ship sounds and we both nearly jump a foot in the air. He lets out a carefree laugh, throwing his head back. I feel the laughter shake his body and I soon join in. I don't even know where the giggles came from, but I found myself unable to stop.

"Hey, mate, it's the final call, we gotta scram," Paul insists. I reluctantly free myself from John long enough to give Paul and George the strongest bear hugs I can manage. "We're gonna miss you, Sadie," George admits before pulling away and running up the gangplank. Paul pulls me off to the side. "Sadie," he begins, looking far more serious than I cared to see, "Ye fixed my best friend. There ain't no other way to say it. Thank ye." And without another word, Paulie is gone to.

I finally turn back to John. Oh, John. My heart seems to have suddenly caught up to my mind because now it's screaming at me to convince him not to go. I don't want to be alone any more than the next person, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to end his dream.

I pull him close, relishing the feel of his racing heart against my own. "I'll be back before you know it, my angel face. I love you," John murmurs with conviction. I bite back my tears and simply press a chaste kiss to his lips. "I love you too, Johnny. Behave will you?"

He lets me go and hesitantly makes his way up the gangplank. Seeming suddenly decided, he rushes back down and crashes his lips down onto mine. Taken aback, I remain frozen for a moment. Not long after, I throw every emotion I have into that last kiss. Every smile, every butterfly, every kiss, everything he's ever made me feel and love.

With a devilish grin, he pulls away and shoots me a wink before disappearing from view.

Standing there, breathless, fingers touching my tingling lips, watching the ship slowly disembark is such sad experience but I can't help but feel it couldn't have happened any other way. Our story is beautiful, unique, rare. But, as I watch the ship grow smaller and smaller, I can't shake the feeling that it's coming to an end.

Three Months After...

"Mimi! I'm home!" John calls out excitedly, bursting into the once familiar house. He bounds happily into the kitchen in search of his aunt and his love. "My angel face, I'm back!" The house is shrouded in silence. The only sound is the low hum of the refrigerator. His good mood slowly deflating, John takes the stairs two steps at a time and throws open the door to his room. The bed was unmade, sheets strewn about haphazardly, clothes half hanging out of drawers, the closet door flung wide open. There is no sign of Sadie's drawing supplies. It looks...stale. Dread suddenly fills John and with a shout, he dashes from the room and heads back downstairs.

He flies past the living room at first until movement catches his eye. He enters the small room with a flustered face. "Mimi!"

His aunt avoids his gaze and simply stares down at the cup of tea in her hands. "Mimi? What's wrong? Where's Sadie?"

After releasing a troubled sigh, her haunted brown eyes finally meet his. They're watery and red. Realization dawns on him at last. He begins to shake his head, "No. No."

"I'm so sorry, John," Mimi whispers, "but she's gone."

"What! Why wouldn't you tell me!" John screams.

Mimi chokes back a sob. "She wouldn't let me tell you. She told me she'd be fine and that if you knew, you'd leave the tour and come for her. She didn't want you to lose your chance. And now look at you. You're going on another tour!"

"I want my angel face, not another fuckin' tour!" John bursts out before falling to his knees. Mimi comes over and sits herself on the rug beside him. He buries his face in her neck when she hesitantly wraps her arms around him. "What happened, Mimi? Where is she?"

One month earlier...

"Mimi! I'm headed out for the day!" I call out cheerfully. "Just be back before 3! We're having dinner with the neighbors at 5!" she responds. I swing open the door and skip down the steps. Pru's waiting by the road and waves excitedly when she catches sight of me. "Morning, Sadie!" We link arms and make our way down the street. She asked yesterday if she could join me at Rita's studio. The older artist and I are planning on having a fun day messing around with new colors, most likely resulting in yet another messy paint war.

The three of us get up to our usual antics. Three hours later we find ourselves covered in hues of blues and reds and greens. Rita, a woman who most certainly couldn't be thirty something with the way she behaves, is the worst of us. She offers no mercy in our war of colors. Pru whines that her mother is going to kill her when she finds all the blue paint that streaks her dark locks. We simply tell her that to hang out with artists one must be willing to get a little dirty. She grumbles at the both of us but her smile never fades.

She's so unlike the girl that used to taunt me I can hardly believe they were the same person. I can't help but think about how different my life has become in just the past few months. I had made so many friends, so much family, and found so much love. Who could ask for more?

I walk Pru home to make sure she doesn't get lost. Again. Before I turn to go, Pru attacks me with a hug. "Sadie, you're the best friend anyone could ask for, you know that, right?"

I simply laugh and shrug her off but she seems earnest. "No, I mean it. Without you, I still might be that awful girl you used to know. So thank you for showing me it's okay to be myself again."

"You're welcome, Pru, but you should know you did all that yourself," I respond. With a final hug, I leave her there, dark eyes filled with unshed tears watching me go. I find myself looking back at her once more. I soak in her appearance, yellow dress littered with green paint, dark hair pulled into a bun, eyes soft and inviting. I take a mental picture of it to store in the back of my mind. I have a growing feeling that I'm going to need it.

I only realize how right I was about that when I finally round the corner to Mimi's street. There's an unfamiliar car parked at the end of it. It's sleek black color strikes me as foreboding. Frowning, I make my way down the road toward that familiar red brick. I come to a frozen stop before I even reach the gate.

My heart forgets how to pump and falls uselessly to my stomach.

"Ah, Sadie, how good to finally meet again," her oily voice greets. The devilish smile on her horrid face strikes me with more fear than I've felt in months now. I stand there, gaping in utter shock at the woman who ruined my life. "You thought you could run, girl, but I never lose. Yer coming back with me."

Those words pull me out of my shock and I take off down the street like a bat out of hell. Legs pumping faster than ever before I sprint down the road that holds the house I'd finally come to call my home.

Adrenaline pumps through my veins as I fly down the sidewalk. I duck down another road and cut through someone's back yard. Terror mixes with that adrenaline when I hear her voice on the wind. The mix is like a bolt of energy, and I glide through the trees. I pop out on a different street, one I've never ventured to. Not worrying about getting lost at the time, I take my chances and continue down it. I run and run and run until I feel like my lungs might burst.

I have no idea where I am. All I know is that the strain I just put on my body is too much. My vision blurs, rapidly going in and out of focus. My throat feels like it's closing in on itself. I swear my heart is about to burst right through my chest. I stagger forward, putting out a hand to the side of the nearest building to balance myself. My vision goes blurry once again, only instead of focusing itself again, it goes black.

"No!, Mimi! Don't let her take! I can't go back!" I cry in fright. My terrified sobs freeze the poor woman. John's aunt watches in horror as Ms. Kollins' men drag me down the sidewalk. I kick and scream but their grasp never falters. Ms. Kollins is waiting by the car, the gleam in her eyes promising nothing but horror. My world is crashing down around me, and the only person I need is having the time of his life touring Germany. Thinking of John gives me an extra burst of energy. I dig my heel into the foot of one of the men and bite the arm of the other. They yelp in shock, and I take off back to Mimi's arms when they let go of me.

"Surely, we can come to an agreement. We are both level headed women, after all, aren't we?" Mimi tries. She holds me like she'll never let go. I wail in frustration when once again I am ripped from her grasp. "I'm afraid that we've passed the point of negotiation. Terribly sorry. But don't worry, you won't miss this miserable waste of life for long. She's easily forgettable. I'm simply returning her to the only place she belongs."

I'm being stuffed into the car, but just before they close the door, Mimi's authoritative voice booms, "I will come for that girl, Ms. Kollins. She is a daughter to me, and if you think I will see her go without a fight then you are a foolish woman."

"Good luck," the devil herself spits.

I sob pitifully into my hands in the backseat of the car. It smells foul, like cigarettes and booze. I can only half remember how I ended up back here. I was running and running and then everything started to go dark. I woke up to some overly large hunk of muscle dragging me down the street. The man remains faceless to me as his features, surely as sinister as his fearsome hold on my arm, would only cause me more nightmares if they were to become known. Ms. Kollins was waiting smugly back at Mimi's for me.

John's aunt had been traumatized, darting fretfully about, doing all in her power to keep me away from that awful woman. She cried with me as I was forced to shove everything I could fit into one measly bag. I forced myself not to go in John's room, afraid to make leaving that much harder. I left most of my sketchbooks there knowing that he would need something of me when he returned.

I was almost emotionless as I crammed my belongings into my bag and strode down those comforting halls one last time. I had finally found a home, and just as soon as I had, it was lost to me again.

During my brief moments with Mimi, I told her everything I'd never been able to say. She was the kindest woman I had ever met, despite her attempts to hid it. She meant more to me than she would ever know. The hardest part of saying good-bye was telling her what to say to John. She hated every bit of my plan but I could see in her eyes that she knew it was only for the best.

That still doesn't make leaving any easier. I'm terrified of what lies ahead of me. Ms. Kollins is surely going to punish me for my rebellious behavior, and I can only imagine what it might be. I mean, if I ran away because she tried to kill me, what might she do after I've ran away?

Mimi is still screaming for me as the car violently screeches away. I only sob harder, the reality of leaving sinking in. I think of all the things I'm losing. Liverpool. Life. Happiness. Pru. Rita. Mimi. Paulie. Georgie. John.

The last has me bawling my eyes out.

"I hate you!" I shriek in a previously unknown level of anger. My banshee like pitch causes Ms. Kollins to jump in the front seat. "I fucking hate you!"

Her greasy smile sickens me to the core. "Well, at least we know the feeling's mutual, you filthy brat. Yer lucky I found ye. That bitch would've tossed ye out on the street sooner or later. But with me, oh with me, darlin', ye've got yerself a home forever."

I've never felt more disgusted in my life. With every mile that brings us closer to London, I can feel the old feelings of despair in hopelessness seeping back in. I swore to John I would never let myself be anything but happy again, but with the current situation, I feel like that's the only thing I'll never be again.

"I talked to ye every week, Mimi! How could ye not tell me what happened?" John demands in an angry fit. He violently rips himself from his aunt's grasp, disgusted that she had lied to him.

"She wanted it that way, John. Do think it didn't kill me, lying to you every time you asked for her?" Mimi retorts defensively. In truth, the woman just didn't have it in her heart to break his over the phone. How does one tell another that the love of his life has been taken away so abruptly?

"Where is she? Is she back in London?" John wonders anxiously, his fury deflating as quickly as it had come. Mimi shakes her head, unable to say anything more to him. She isn't sure how to break any more bad news to her beloved nephew.

In a quiet, broken voice, John pleads, "Tell me, Mimi. I need to know where she's gone. I need to find her."

Choking back a sob, Mimi coughs out, "She's gone, John."

The teen rolls his eyes in impatient frustration. "I know that. That's pretty much all I know."

"No, Johnny. She's gone," Mimi repeats, stressing her words. John's anxious movements fall still as he studies her heartbroken face. Dread floods his already distressed eyes. Before he can ask, she elaborates, "I went to London to find her, bring her back. It wasn't but two days after. I got there but they said she was already gone."

Hope springs into John's eyes, his features brightening up. "Then they must know where she went! We have to go find out!" He rushes to the door, grabbing his coat off the rake as he flies by.

"John!" Mimi calls. He pauses and looks back to her. "I already know where she's gone."

John watches her expectantly.

"She's in America."

A/N: yea, sorry about it's out of orderness but that's just how my mind is functioning today. it's kind of on overload, sorry:/