Hey everyone. Sorry for the amount of time that it has taken me to update. Exam period has just started and a busy couple of months are coming up. As for this chapter, there will be a flashback written in italics.

Please read and review

Charlie gasped and closed his eyes tight for a brief moment, as if trying to block any images of bruises and cuts covering his girl's beautiful porcelain face from coming into his subconscious. He could feel that cold hard lump forming in his throat and he felt sick to the pit of his stomach. He knew that Sophie's childhood had been bad, but he could have never imagined that it could have been that sort of nightmare where the monster never left her, even when it had vanished out of view. "Oh Nana" He breathed.

Claire wiped a tear from her eye and leaned forward to run her fingers through Charlie's hair. "Come on Charlie, you have to stay strong for her. I know that she is a strong and independent young woman but this is her weakness and you need to be her strength"

Charlie nodded and stood up. "I'll…I'll come up with something in order to protect her Nan. I will do anything it takes. Right now, I need to be with her". He took a deep breath and rubbed his teary eyes before striding out of the room. He entered the bedroom to the sight of Sophie sleeping soundly, buried under the comforting softness of the quilt. She looked so peaceful, as if nothing was worrying her, but of course, she had the fear, worries and nerves piled on top of her, chipping away at the wall of strength and hope she had constructed around her since she was nine years old.

He sighed, carefully moving the blankets to lie beside her. He pulled her close, enveloping her tightly in his arms, and kissed her head. He laid for what felt like hours, watching her sleep, her head moving to rest on his chest.

As Charlie held her, he felt her stir. "Sophie" He whispered, brushing his hand across her cheek. "Hello baby"

Her blue eyes fluttered open and she blinked quickly to adjust to the light and capture her focus against his face. "Hello" She said, a blank emotionless expression on her face.

He let a sigh cross his lips. "Lorenzo thinks he has it worked out" He said. "I need you to tell me the truth Sophie. Now more hiding. Did your mother abuse you? Did she hit you?"

Sophie immediately choked up, her vision blurring with tears. She stayed rigid and motionless for a few seconds, before nodding. "Yes"

"No. I don't want too". The tearful whine crossed the lips of the six year old little girl in a pitiful attempt to appear brave and strong. She stood in the kitchen of a large New York house, the light gleaming back off of the bright white cabinets making her squint. She wore a perfectly presented little red dress, topped with a white cardigan and her long never cut blonde hair was tied back in two perfectly straight plaits that stretched down her back. Yet, her face wasn't perfect. Her lip was cut, her eyelid grazed and her cheek red. She looked up at her mother.

Her mother towered over her, her black clothing contrasting against her bleached blonde hair. "What did you say? Now, listen to me you little runt. "You are going to finish cleaning this kitchen until it shines like the diamonds I wear. Then you will do the usual, slap on a smile for daddy when he gets home. Then he will suspect nothing. Do you hear me?" She snapped holding Sophie by the shoulders.

Sophie blinked away tears. This was an everyday occurrence. Sophie's father would leave for work before she was awake, then her mother would wake her minutes later for breakfast of dry toast and milk. If she didn't clean her room, or weed the garden or complete her homework the moment she returned home from school, the beatings would start. A slap here and a claw grab there, it had reached a point that Sophie was used to it, but that did not stop it from hurting. About half an hour before her father returned home, her mother would cover her daughters face in make up so thick that it wouldn't rub off until the next morning.

She nodded. "Yes mommy, I'll clean it mommy" She whimpered. "Please let go…"

"Gladly" She scoffed, pushing the small girl to the floor. "I do not know what ever made me want children. You are a rotten little girl, who does not deserve to walk this Earth. You want to be a writer, you say, a dream that matches your brain dead little mind! Now get to work!"

Sophie wiped her eyes with balled up fists. "Yes mommy" She whispered grabbing the sponge and climbing onto the stool. "Whatever you say, mommy". She scrubbed the counters until she could see her reflection in it. She could still every cut and bruise and the tears that run down her face. She was programmed, each hit acting as a button to get her to carry out the work that her mother could not be bothered to do. She did not have a child out of love. She did not want a child to love and care for, to see grow up into a success. No, she wanted a child to do all of the work.

Karen watched Sophie carefully, smirking. "That's it, work for your supper runt. You're like Cinderella, your precious princess. But this is forever, no happily ever after"

"Be quiet mommy" Sophie cried. "No talking whilst working, that's what you said"

"I meant you!" She snapped. "I can talk when I want. A child, like you, should be seen and not heard. And daddy will never found out, he is as brain dead as you are. Mommy loves you, a little slave, just what I have always wanted…."

Well there it was. Wow, Sophie's mother really was a monster wasn't she?

Please review. Your comments keep me writing.