My family didn't want me.

I had traveled around town like a zombie. I was distraught and hurt. I had no support, no anything. My parents had even contacted Daphne's parents and told them everything, now I don't even have my friend. She was my everything. The support I needed when I was hurt or sad. My escape when I just needed to get away. My cohort and always getting me out of trouble.

She won't be saving me now.

I ended up in the park. I'm now just like everyone I felt bad for when seeing them sleep in weird places. But here I am preparing to sleep on a bench. Why did everything have to turn out like this. I didn't tell anyone that my father was a drunk or that my mom only fed me when it was necessary. I continuously pretended that we were a happy family. A perfect family. But we weren't; and it all went completely south when they found out my secret. Hiding it has always been hard and exhausting.

I'm so tired.

I stretch out on the bench. My dad had found my sketchbook when he was searching my room for money. Only I had learned over the last few years and I only keep money in my bank account, I never bring money home. He was furious when he had seen what was in it. He called me all the names in the books as he beat me. I tried to escape him and I almost didn't. I ran out of the house as soon as I saw an opening.

I hurt everywhere.

I don't see how what I am is any different than what anyone else hides. I can't believe that it took me this long to leave. I should have left a long time ago. I wouldn't be in pain. I wouldn't want to cry. I wouldn't wish death on myself. I just want it all to stop hurting. All this because of who I am. All because of something I can't change.

All because I am gay.

I didn't know what was ahead of me. I didn't know where I would end up or what would come of me. But for know all I can do is worry about tonight. Even though the thoughts of death passed through my mind doesn't mean that I want it to happen. I don't want to get killed overnight for something I have no say over. If I can make it through tonight, I'll look for a job tomorrow. I notice some guys doing drugs, closed my eyes and slowly drifted off.

Maybe I should have gone to a motel.

Chapter One

"Mel, look."

"What is it Linds?"

"He's just a child."

"What are you – holy...What is he doing sleeping out here?"

I groaned as the voices entered my mind. I stretched uncomfortably and ended up falling off the bench; hitting the ground with a grunt.

"Are you okay?"

I opened my eyes and saw two women staring at me. One blonde, one brunette. "Fine." I mumbled. The women were beautiful and most certainly don't need to be around me. The brunette sighed and helped me up. "Let's go get you something to eat and you can tell us what lead you to sleep on a park bench." she said gently. I stared at her and reluctantly nodded.

They brought me to Liberty Avenue. There was a small diner that, according to them, their friend's mom owns. It was a nice place, very colorful. A woman came up and squeezed the girls to her. "Melanie and Lindsay, haven't seen you in a while. What brings you here?" she asked popping her gum. They looked at each other and pulled me forward.

"We found this in the park." the blonde, Lindsay, told her. The woman looked shocked as she stared at me. "Why the fuck are you so skinny?" she asked, hands going to her hips. I looked down at the floor. "I don't normally eat a lot. My mom...she didn't think I needed much food." I whispered. The women gasped and I was led to a booth. "I am going to get you something to eat. You will eat as much as you can and it's on me." the woman stated firmly.

I nodded staring at the table. "How old are you?" Melanie asked. I glanced up at her through my eyelashes. "I'll be nineteen in a couple of months." I replied. Melanie frowned. "We're not going to hurt you. You're not in trouble. There is nothing to be scared or nervous about." she said. I gave her a small smile. "I know. It's just all catching up.

I lost my family. I lost my only friend. I lost my home. All I have is the money in my bank account. That won't last long because I don't have a job and I have to get things that I need to survive." I told them quietly.

Lindsay smiled at me. "We have a guestroom in the attic. You can move in with us. We'll help you get a job and if you feel uncomfortable living with us, you can pay rent once you get a job. We can even give you chores." She said looking at Melanie. Melanie nodded at her and they both looked at me. "Why? Why would you want to help me?" I asked. Before they could respond the woman came over with a bowl of soup, some crackers and a glass of something bubbly.

"Here ya go." she said placing it in front of me. I take a sip of the drink. Ginger Ale. "Thank you." I said smiling. She looked slightly shocked but smiled back. "No problem Sunshine." she laughed and walked away. "We want to help you because we know what it's like. My family is Jewish and Linds came from a well off family. I was more accepted by my family than Linds but it was still hard." Melanie said regaining my attention.

I started eating as I thought over what they said.

"I won't be in the way?"

"*snort* Never."

"I can pay rent?"

"If you want."

"I'll find a job."

"Of course."

"You won't baby me?"

"You're an adult."

"I can go out and do what I want?"

"Within reason."

"I can date guys?"

"Why wouldn't you be able to?"

That shocked me.

"I can date guys?"

"We're lesbians, do you really think that we would stop you from being with men."

That makes sense.

"Would I have to go to a guy's house or could I bring them home?"

They look hesitant, obviously that was an inappropriate question.

"If you are going to bring guys home, let us know ahead of time."

"That's the same if you are going to be spending the night at someone else's house."

I bit my lip to keep from smiling, they sound like mothers.

"Do you have any children?"

"You, if you come live with us."

I crinkled my nose at that.

"We know you aren't a child."

Lindsay is really good at the mother thing. "I guess it couldn't hurt." I said and the women broke out into large smiles. "That's wonderful." Lindsay said happily. The woman walked back over. "How is the food Sunshine?" she asked. I smiled. "It's wonderful thank you." I told her. "Debbie, he agreed to come live with us. We'll take good care of him. But maybe you could help with something." Lindsay said leaning over the table slightly.

Debbie smiled and gave a small laugh. "Is that so? Well what can I do to help." she asked. "He wants a job so he isn't dependent on us." Melanie responded. Debbie looked shocked and then turned pensive. "Well, Sunshine, how do you feel about working with me here at the diner. Though you won't start working until after you are settled at their house." she said looking at me.

I opened my mouth to respond or protest, I'm not sure which. I finally nod, giving up on trying to answer. Debbie looked off to the side when the bell rung above the door and her face went sad before it went back to being happy. I smothered the urge to look. "Hey there baby, how are you doing?" Debbie asked. I noticed the sad looks in Melanie's and Lindsay's eyes.

"I'm fine. Stop asking."

I freeze at the desire that washed through me. Shit. I never met the man, never even saw the man and now I am beginning to lust after him. I keep my eyes focused on the soup in front of me.

"Who's this?"

The voice came from right beside me. I moved to look up at the male.