Seventeen year old Paige Reed was standing over the trunk of her car; she was sighing as she picked up another set of clothes, and then shut the trunk and entered the gas station restroom. A few minutes later she exited and got back into the vehicle. She placed the dirty clothes in the back of her car and started her car. If it wasn't bad enough that she was living on the street, now she had found out that her parents were looking for her. There was no way she was going back if she could help it.
She started the car and followed the signs toward the interstate. A good half hour passed by and she, somehow, got lost. She had no idea where she was and had to pull to the side of the road. She looked up and noticed a street sign, "Prescott ST," she said, pulling out a map, "Well," she sighed, "Clearly, I'm lost." She groaned, looking down at the map, she began to cry.
It wasn't like Paige was weak, she wasn't, but she certainly didn't want to go back to her parents. Not after what her parents had forced her into and what her adoptive father had done. No, her body shaking as the tears fell, there was no way she was going back to that. A few more minutes of crying and there was a knocking on the passenger window. She looked up and saw a woman, around her age. She smiled at Paige and waved, "Are you alright?" She asked, in a quiet-yet-understandable pitch.
Paige reached over and put the window down, "Uh," she said, "Hi?" Paige wiped her tears. The woman smiled, "I'm Phoebe," she said, "I live right there," she pointed to the manor behind her, "with my two sisters; Prue and Piper. I was just out jogging and heard you crying. Are you alright?" Paige shook her head, "No," she said feeling very lost and scared, "I'm lost," In more ways than one, she thought. Phoebe smiled, "Would you like to come in? We have some hot chocolate, and I'm a good listener," she said with all sincerity.
Paige rolled up the window and turned off the ignition, getting out of the car, since it was parked safely at the curb. She sighed, "I," she started, "Thank you," she sighed, looking down at the ground as they walked up the steps. The first thing Phoebe noticed was that the girl was obviously very scared of something, and looked frail and very pale, as if she never really saw any daylight or hardly ate at all. "So," she said, as she opened the door, "What's your name?"
"I'm Paige," she said, not wanting to give the last name of her parents Reed, since she hated the name so much. Paige looked around the manor, "Wow," she said out loud, not used to such a large space. Phoebe smiled, "You can sit down in the conservatory if you want, and I will bring the hot chocolate, okay?" Paige nodded, feeling comforted by Phoebe's peaceful demeanor and her relaxed state, at least enough to stay for some hot chocolate.
A few minutes later, Phoebe returned with two other women; her sisters, probably. Phoebe sat beside Paige, offering her one mug of hot chocolate, while taking one for her. The oldest woman there smiled, "Hi, Paige," she offered her hand, which Paige readily accepted, "I'm Prue," she sat down one the other side of Paige. The last female smiled as well, a genuine smiled matching Prue and Phoebe, "I'm Piper," she greeted, correcting her glasses than offering her hand, "Nice to meet you," she said as she shook Paige's hand. Piper then sat down across from Paige, since the three seats on the couch were taking.
Paige sighed, looking down at the hot chocolate, for a good five minutes. Prue had been studying the young girl and noticed how scared she looked; as if someone had been abusing her, and as Paige looked down at the mug Prue's suspicions were confirmed when she saw the marks at the top of the girl's neck. Prue sighed and decided to say something, "Paige, honey," she smiled here, looking Paige in the eye, "I know we just met, and you have no reason to trust me, but my sisters and I want to help; okay?" Paige just looked at her, studying this woman for a few minutes. She shook her head, looking away and back at the hot chocolate, "No one can help me," she finally said.
Phoebe looked at Paige, moving to place a gentle hand on the other's, "Paige," she said simply, "I know a part of you knows we wouldn't lie to you. You know the truth when you hear it, right?" Paige jumped a little when Phoebe touched her, but didn't move away. Something about them put her at ease. She just wasn't sure what it was. Paige looked up at Phoebe and began to cry. She couldn't stop herself because, after all this time, after all these years, she had finally found someone, even if they were three strangers, who she felt safe with.
Phoebe just placed her hand around Paige's shoulder, trying to be very gentle because, she too, noticed the same bruises and scars that Prue had noticed. Paige just kept crying, her head on Phoebe's shoulder. Piper handed her a tissue from the box on the table, which Paige readily accepted, "I'm sorry," she said, feeling embarrassed, "I should go," she said but making no move to do so. Piper shook her head, "No dear," she said with the same genuine smile on her face, which spelled love on it, "You don't have to go anywhere," she said, "You're safe here, okay?" She said simply.
Paige nodded her head, "Okay," she said. Paige then became aware of someone rubbing circles on her back; must be Prue, she thought. Sure enough, it was. Paige sighed, her head still buried in Phoebe's shoulder, "I don't want to go back," she whispered, "I don't want to go back to them." Phoebe nodded her head, "Okay," she said, "You don't have to. You're safe here," she promised. Prue looked at Paige and said, "Paige, we want to help you, okay?" Paige nodded her head, "Okay," she said in a small voice. Prue then said, "My boyfriend is a police officer. He will help us do that. Would you like his help?" Paige thought about it for a moment because, normally, she would be against that since many police officers only returned her 'home' but she trusted the three of them and if they trusted this guy, then she would too. Why do I trust them? Paige thought, but she had no answer; the only voice that knew an answer simply told her to trust them. She decided to trust that part of her subconscious.
Moving forward, she knew it would not be that simple but she had to do it. She had to trust someone and, being that they were the only ones she had trusted her whole life, she knew what she had to do. She looked up at Phoebe, "Please don't send me back to my parents," she begged, "my father will only hurt me more," she said in a very small voice, smaller than she had ever heard her say, but it wasn't every day she admitted this. The last time was when she was thirteen. She told her mother, who subsequently beat her. She never trusted anyone else after that, not after both her parents proved that she was unloved.
As soon as the words left Paige's mouth, the three women's arms found there ways to her body. The arms protected her. She felt safe. It wasn't like they wanted to hurt her. Paige, even after all she had been through, and perhaps because of it, knew the differences between protecting someone and hurting them. She knew the minor and major differences between a protective touch and a harmful touch. These women were protecting her. They were holding onto her, protecting her, and refusing to let go. These women, even though they didn't know her, were going to do their best to protect her. That meant the world to her; perhaps even more than the world itself is worth? Well, even so, it was definitely worth more than she was, in her own mind, because Paige thought, I'm not worth anything, right? That's what they told me, and who am I to question them?