Connor whistled as he arranged the flowers and popped them into one of Abby's best vases. Once he had done that, he threw away the trimmings and took the vase into the living room where Abby was playing with her pet lizard.
They had spent the best part of their day moving furniture around. Connor had been staying with her for the last few weeks, and if he was going to stay for longer, her would need somewhere proper to sleep. The bed had just been delivered and Abby had given Connor some sheets to put down. She looked at all the tanks surrounding her as she fed her exotic pets. She was startled by a huge crash, behind her.
Turning around she saw Connor with his hands clamped over his face, smashed glass and flowers were strewn around on the floor at his feet. What shook Abby up; was Connor's reaction to the accident.
"No, no, no, no, please, I didn't mean it, it was an accident!" Connor looked over to Abby anguish etched on his features. He was shaking from head to toe, and had the look of a small child about him. He had not shaved that day, but his actions became those of an overgrown child.
"It's ok, I know you didn't mean to... It wasn't my best one was it?" She went over to hug him.
Connor hung his head and nodded, and he looked as if he was about to cry.
"Never mind, you can buy me a new one." Abby smiled as she rubbed his back. "Look why don't you go on up to bed, it's late. I'm going to tidy up down here and then I'm going to bed myself."
Connor continued to hang his head; he pouted, and slowly trudged to his room. Abby was worried about him and she followed him up. Something was wrong and she couldn't figure out what. He had been fine until the pot had broken, and now it seemed as if something had snapped inside him, and his behaviour was odd and strange.
She helped him strip and tucked him into bed, assuring him that the broken urn was really no big deal. She sat by his side and ran her fingers through his hair to calm him, hushing him when his murmurings became loud. She looked down at him as he began to drift off to sleep. He looked so handsome when he slept and she began to wonder when she had started to have feelings for him. She waited until he had fallen asleep before venturing back downstairs to tidy the broken remains.
In his troubled sleep, Connor heard the sound of breaking glass.
"I'm sorry Dad, I'm really sorry, I'm really sorry." Twelve-year-old Connor struggled against his father as he hustled him off to punish him.
"Please Dad, not in there, it's dark in there." Connor thrashed about against his dad; he really didn't want to be punished for this. It was an accident, he had not meant to knock the vase off the coffee table and break it. He was just playing with his light sabre; he really did not mean to break his Nan's favourite urn.
He marched him down to the cellar, not caring that the boy was sobbing loudly, begging not to be punished so harshly. He stripped him of his shirt and pushed him to face the wall.
"Please Dad ... It was an accident; I promise I won't do it again. Please Dad, please don't." Connor wailed as he saw his father turn around and pick up the cane that hung on a hook against the opposite wall.
Connor howled in agony, as the cane was brought down repeatedly on his back. Bright red welts appeared as his father struck him. He didn't stop until Connor had lost consciousness and then he left him there, in the cold, dark cellar.
Abby had just finished clearing up when she heard someone. She turned towards the sound. It was Connor and he was shouting. "Please don't leave me here, please don't leave me, please don't..."
Abby ran as quickly as she could to reassure him that she was not going to leave him. She ran into the room, expecting to find him awake, but Connor was talking in his sleep, or rather crying in his sleep. The pillow was soaked with the salty liquid, and he moaned, tears still flowing from his eyes, glistening on his cheeks.
Quietly she sat beside him, and once more began running her fingers through his hair, knowing the action would calm him. Connor clutched at her, pulling her arm close, refusing to let go, even in slumber. Abby's heart broke; she wondered what had happened to make him behave in such a manner.
Letting Connor hold her hand she struggled with the zipper and button to her jeans, she shimmied out of them and then she snuggled into bed with him. Pulling him close she resumed running her fingers through his hair. Soon Connor's groans of agony became soft whimpers, and he settled into a deep sleep.
Abby woke in the middle of the night, finding the space next to her cold and empty.
She found Connor in the kitchen, sitting staring at the empty wall in front of him. He was pale and she could tell that he had been dreaming again.
"Are you ok Conn?" she asked sitting down next to him.
"Yeah," he mumbled morosely.
"Will you tell me what you were dreaming about?" Abby leaned towards him. "It was horrible to watch you like that. Please tell me..."
Connor gulped, he closed his eyes. If he looked into Abby's gorgeous blue eyes he would not have the courage to tell her, and he needed to be able to tell her. He needed to tell her about the way his father would beat him, leave him in a cold dark cellar, and not give him any food or water. He told her of how he still suffered from nightmares.
Abby listened quietly, tears streaming from her own eyes. She listened as Connor told her about his abusive father and how the police had come looking. How the police had found him shivering, in the cold, damp and dark cellar, welts across his soft skin, where he had been beaten. He told her that if she looked hard enough, she would still be able to make out the silvery scars that had been left behind.
"Thank you, thank you for sharing your memories. How about we make some new ones?" She leaned over and kissed his cheek. Holding his hand, she led him back upstairs to bed, turning off the lights as they went.
She tucked him into bed once more and then snuggled down next to him. Connor began to hyperventilate. He began shaking and he got up and walked into the hallway. Turning on the hallway lights, he came back.
"I'll pay for the electric when it comes in, but I won't be able to sleep with the lights off."
Abby closed her eyes and snuggled up to him. "Conn... shut up!"
Connor blinked, he sighed. He hadn't told Abby the whole truth. He hadn't told her that he had been found with a knife in his hand, his father's lifeless body slumped in a corner.
This was one story he did not want to share, one story he wanted to bury in the past, the truth never to be told...