Note: Okay, so I realized that I had a ton of mistakes in my earlier chapters, so I kind of went back and edited. I apologize for any confusion!

Chapter One

Sakura groaned as she woke, massaging her aching joints and shivering in her thin shirt. 'Tonight,' she thought. 'Tonight I will run.' But, she had been telling herself that ever since her father and mother had started to mistreat her nearly five years ago. It had started with missed meals and hurtful names, eventually escalating into drunken beatings.

Now, she was 15, and and starting at a new high school. Through the years of school, her teachers had called her a genius. Her classmates called her outcast. And her parents called her a worm. Skipping two grades was not always fun. She had been picked on a lot in middle school.

Sighing, Sakura ran her fingers through her stringy pink hair, matted and dirty from a night spent on the dusty basement floor. Standing up and wincing at her bruises, both old and new, she quietly snuck up the creaking stairs. Passing her parents' bedroom on the way up to her own room was always painful. Sometimes physically, most times mentally.

Today, as she glanced through the door left ajar, she shivered and wondered if her parents were testing out new ways to hurt her. Her mother was sprawled out naked on the unwashed bed sheets, ankles and wrists attached to ropes tied to the bedpost. A rag was stuffed inside her mouth. Sakura's father was on top of her, snoring, and also naked. Bottles of finished, and half-finished beer littered the ground around them. She wondered if they even knew what they had been doing. She wondered if they left the door open on purpose.

Sakura kept moving, trying to erase the images from her head. Every morning, she would wake up before 5:oo, so she could shower quickly and dress before leaving for school, or wherever she was going. Today was no exception. Though she hadn't had an alarm clock to wake her up, her internal clock had told her when to do so. Most of the time, her parents were so hung over they couldn't talk. Except for her daily beatings, they barely looked at her. Some days, her father was the one that beat her. Other days, it was her mother.

Despite appearances, her family was actually pretty rich. Her father told her to dress nicely when she went out, as to not shame their family. So, her walk-in closet was filled with clothes from famous designers. In the back of her closet was a small corner dedicated to casual clothes. After she locked the door Sakura headed straight to that corner.

Picking out a shirt with sleeves that went past her wrists was a priority. Hiding the bruises was not only to preserve her pride. It was to prevent an even worse beating if her parents found out that she had shown someone.

Sakura spied a black shirt with a design of silvery green vines wrapping around the body. Dropping a bra and the shirt onto the counter in the bathroom, she headed back into the closet. She grabbed a pair of skinny jeans, white socks, and a silver belt, putting them the counter as well. The last item of clothing to choose was a pair of shoes. Spying a pair of red Converses, she put them by the bedroom door.

Stepping into the bathroom, Sakura turned her face away from the mirror, then changed her mind. She studied herself as she stripped the soiled tee-shirt from her body. Making notes of the dark circles under her green eyes, the bruises marking the places where her mother and father had beat her, the cuts from the broken bottles of beer. Turning away from the mirror, she slipped into the shower.

Every day, in the morning, Sakura would scrub herself in the shower until her skin stung and her bruises ached even more. It made her feel less dirty, less violated, more like someone she could trust. Today, she spent the time musing about life, and its meaning.

Life. What a queer word. So short, yet it entailed so much. Some people were born into a loving family. Some were born into abusive families. Yet some parents had different thought processes. Some loved their children. Some thought their children were mistakes. Some thought that they could use people as punching bags to let off steam. The whole world was weird. Life was unfair. Yet she could do nothing to change it.

Stepping out, hair dripping on the floor, she toweled off and started to brush her hair out. Her hair was something she was proud of. It was long, reaching past her butt. She lathered lotion onto her skin, applying Neosporin to the cuts, and started to slip into her clothes.

Finishing with drying her now silky hair, Sakura picked up her makeup kit and studied the contents. CoverGirl, Revlon, and Maybelline. Foundation and powder to cover her bruises. She contemplated a sharp red lipstick, but thought it made her look more like those girls. The only thing worse than her parents would be to look the same as the girls who helped her parents make her life hell on earth.

She picked up a palette of eyeshadow colors, black, silver, gold, red, green, any color that she could have thought of. Dusting the brush with a bit of orange, she mixed it with the red and closed her eyes. As if she could see, her hands automatically began to paint a canvas of fire on her eyelids. She had been doing it for years, yet she felt strangely awkward as she put on cosmetics. She tried to crack a smile, yet felt it was impossible. 17 muscles to smile, 42 to frown. Should have been the other way around. Yet she completed the feat, a fake smile pulling at her lips. It felt so unnatural.

Putting on a fresh coat of dark pink crackle nail polish, she looked up. The bruises were faint, but still recognizable. Realizing that her lips were pale and devoid of color, she swiped pink lip gloss across them.

Bumps from the room over down below told her that her parents were up, and probably being disgusting again. Rubbing CoverGirl foundation into her face, drying it out and applying another layer of skin color, she deemed herself respectable and unlocked the door.

Walking down the stairs, she gratefully accepted toast with jam from her chauffeur. He favored her with a small and sympathetic smile. Sakura donned a black hoodie with a red bleeding heart on its front. 'How ironic,' she thought.

Before handing her messenger bag to the chauffeur to put in her ice blue Lexus, Sakura checked that she had all the books she needed, as well as notebooks, lunch, Ipod and phone. Then she sighed, and clambered into the back seat of the car. She plugged her headphones into her Ipod and pressed play. Melancholy piano poured into her ears. Chopin's Waltz in C Sharp minor, opus 64 no. 2. What was school? Sakura answered herself; Adventure, and relief.