"Really Abby? I can't even drive yet." My face turned a rosy colour and I looked down to the ground, away from the bright red BMW convertible glaring at me. "I know Cammie honey; I just wanted to show you how much I appreciate your hard work. You do so much for me, and I know how hard the past few months have been for you, with your Dad and all." I turned by face up to the woman who had taken me in after my Mum left and my Dad died. She was my Mum's sister, but had been more of a mother than her.
My Mum left my Dad and me when I was six. I got up one morning to see my Dad sitting at the kitchen table crying, clutching a tear stained piece of paper. He didn't even notice me standing in the doorway. He never noticed me after that.
From then on I was on my own. My dad eventually turned to alcohol as a means of numbing the pain, so I often came home to his drunken self, and was more than once on the receiving end of his anger; beatings so bad that I had to be hospitalised more than once; broken ribs, concussions, bruises, and burns. He once came at me with a hot iron rod from the fire. He branded my upper left arm and my right leg with it; not listening to my screams as I begged for him to stop.
I remember curling up into a ball in my room at night, crying and trying to forget my horrible life. I was constantly worrying about how I was going to cover up the next bruise or cut. I didn't want anyone to find out, I knew what social services did to kids my age; no one wanted a damaged seventeen year old. They all wanted the prefect little baby to raise as their own. I would be stuck in foster care the rest of my childhood. I couldn't let that happen, so I tried my best to hide it all. I made no friends and made sure not to become close to anyone; I didn't want anyone to get too close and maybe find out about my home life.
I circled the car that was now to be my own, peering in the window and running my hand over it with wonder, as if it might disappear if I stopped touching it. "Abby, I really can't believe you, I don't deserve this."
"Cammie, look at me. Never doubt for one second that you don't deserve this. You are everything to me and I want to show you how much I love you. I couldn't imagine my life without you in it."
I looked over at Abby who now had tears streaming down her beautiful face, and leaned in to give her a hug, inhaling her sweet smell of Chanel No5 perfume. She knew how hard I found it to have physical contact with other people after everything with my Dad, and so understood everything I was trying to tell her in this gesture of love and affection.
"Okay," Abby breathed wiping her tears on the sleeve of her wool cardigan and giving me a bright smile, her green eyes sparkling, "shall we take it for a test drive?"