It didn’t matter how much I screamed or how much I cried, because they’d either ignore me or slap me away and just keep on fighting until one of them was knocked unconscious. And right now it was exactly the same – they just wouldn’t stop screaming at each other.
“What the hell is wrong with you, Karen?!” My father screamed at my mother, his arms flailing in all different directions with anger. I could feel the heat of his wrath from upstairs, behind the banister, where I hid myself to sadly witness just another one of the Mainn beat down parties. I’ve seen them mad at each other before, but this kind of enragement was something new to me.
My mother snorted in disbelief at him and said, “What’s wrong with me?! You’re the one who beat my boss to a pulp!” My father only laughed at this, as if what he did was nothing compared to what she could have done. “Yeah! Only because you were sleeping with him, you good for nothing tramp!” He spat, and in return I watched as my mother pulled her hand back far and slapped him hard across the cheek. He only hesitated for a moment before reacting and easily slapping her back with much more force and much more hurt.
And after that, the yelling, the screaming, the arguing, and the beating would only continue on for the rest of the night until they got bored with each other and moved on to beating me. I was sick and tired of this daily routine. Constant fighting, little sleep, no silence. I just wanted out.
I left from my crouch behind the banister, leaving the horrid image of the two, and scurried into my room. I quickly threw a clutter of random items into my large canvas bag and escaped my hell of a home through the window, down the trellis, and on to the cold street as quickly as I could. I didn’t think my parents would even notice my absence.
The cold of mid-December wind bit through mare bare shoulders and exposed toes. I was in such a hurry to get out of there that I didn’t even think to grab a jacket or appropriate shoes. I mentally slapped myself and sped through the dark, empty streets as fast as my frozen feet would carry me. And with the silence of the late night, I thought.
I knew I didn’t have to worst life. I had something like a home, I got fed, I had a decent education, but all of these things meant nothing when you have to live it through hell with no love and no kindness. Honestly, I didn’t need any of those things. Those things didn’t matter when you hated the life you were living in. It didn’t matter that I was out in the middle of winter and I’m all alone, completely vulnerable to the dangers of the world.
But all that really mattered to me by this point was for someone to actually see me as more than just a punching bag. For someone to actually care about me and my well-being, to actually love me.
Continuing on throughout the night, I felt the cold only getting harsher and my paranoia only growing larger. I roamed the streets and the sidewalks, trying to keep myself distracted, counting my footsteps and listening to the almost silent slaps of my feet against the pavement. I kept my mind off of things, but not for long.
I thought I heard footsteps – ones that were uneven from mine and not too far away either – and my heartbeat raced. I halted, but the second pair of footsteps didn’t. In a small moment of bravery, I spun around, only to find nothing but a lone sidewalk. With a sigh of relief, I turned back around, only to run straight into something tall and hard. A scream escaped my throat, my mouth being covered by a large hand only seconds later.
With my eyes squeezed shut, I tried to pull myself away from the person, but was only pulled closer to them. “Calm down, girl. I’m not gonna hurt you.” A familiar voice spoke. My eyes shot open wide, but I couldn’t see the face before me. “Who are you?” I asked, shaking terribly, not only from the frigid cold, but from the ignorance of who was holding onto me, refusing to let me go. The person pulled the two of us back a couple of steps until we stood under a street lamp. I gasped.
“Kellan? What the hell do you want?!” I shouted, my voice echoing in the dark night, as I pulled away from him, instantly feeling the deathly cold once again. “I don’t want anything.” Kellan said and I grimaced. I never liked Kellan Dainey. There is just something about a conceded, egotistical jerk that disgusts me. “You just happen to be out here at midnight with no shoes, no jacket and no protection from all the dangers of this town.” Kellan said jokingly, but I didn’t even crack a smile. I was too cold and too distraught from how torn up my family is. I think Kellan could tell, because something softened in his normally cheerful eyes.
Kellan shuffled and took off his leather jacket, holding it out for me to take. I stood silent and motionless. “Well take it or you’ll freeze to death.” He persisted, coming closer to wrap the jacket around my shoulders. I could instantly smell the welcoming scent of woodsy musk and breathed it in. I was silent, but Kellan was completely full of words.
“Why don’t we get you home.” He moved to stand behind me, his hand hovering over the small of my back. I flinched. My heart skipped a beat and my breath quickened. I didn’t want to go home. Once my dad figured out I was gone, he’ll beat me until every inch of my body was black and blue. He’s done it before and he’s not afraid to do it again. “Hey, are you ok?” Kellan asked, probably sensing the fear was spread throughout me.
I nodded the best that I could, but said, “I just can’t go back there. Not tonight.” I shivered again, the small tremble traveling from my neck to my ankles. I heard Kellan hesitate before he spoke, which made me look up at him with interest. “Well, how about you stay at my house for tonight and we’ll talk about everything tomorrow?”
He suggests and I become reluctant, but really, what were my options? I could go back home and get beat, stay out here and freeze, or go with Kellan and hopefully get a good night’s rest. Though in my head it seemed unrealistic, I preferred the latter. “Ok.” I whispered. Kellan gave something like a nod and began walking, but I felt frozen, my two feet stuck in one place no matter how much I willed them to move. They were starting to hurt, as if thousands of needles were pricking them all at once. It hurt to breathe let alone walk.
Kellan stopped walking when he noticed I wasn’t following his stride. I had a pleading look set into my eyes, and without bothering to get my approval, he came up to me, put an arm underneath my legs and the other along my back. I was pressed against his chest in a matter of seconds. I laid my head against his chest and listened to the nice rhythmic beat of his heart. I let my eyes drift close and felt my muscles relax. And for that second, I felt ok.
My eyes were stung with a bright light. It was a struggle to get them to open, but when I did I saw faces – all men, all similar.
“I think she’s finally waking up.” A deep, smooth voice said. When my eyes were fully open, another voice spoke – a voice that wasn’t all too wanted. “Yeah, but she looks like hell.” Someone chuckled and I heard a thump, as if someone had just been lightly punched. “Shut up, both of you.” The deep voice came again and shimmering, deep green eyes hovered above me. They were kind, gentle, caring. They almost made me feel at ease – almost.
I groaned, already feeling a headache form as I did my best to raise my groggy body. I felt as if I weighed one thousand pounds and then some. “How do you feel?” The green-eyed-god asked me. His face was clean cut and they his hair fell into his eyes my heart flutter. I almost forgot his question. “Heavy.” I answered truthfully, resting the back of my hand against my forehead, feeling the slight wetness from sweat. “Well, you looked like you were sleeping pretty hard,” he said, a smile in his eyes. “Even Kellan and Liam’s fighting didn’t wake you up.”
That’s right, I thought, instantly remembering everything that happened. My parents arguing, me running away and then Kellan taking me to his house. I blinked. I am so stupid, I thought, blinking hard again. “What time is it?” I asked my voice barely above a murmur. “Too early.” Kellan said and I glanced at him. His bright blond hair was sticking up in all different directions and his eyes still looked heavy. I also couldn’t help but notice he was only wearing boxers, which made my cheeks flame red. “6:30” The older one said and I struggled to remember his name as he stared at me. “Oh, by the way,” He began. “I’m Patrick Dainey, but you can just call me Patch.”
There we go. The last name triggered most of it. In this city, if you didn’t know the Dainey family, you’d better be new. The Dainey’s were a family of six: mother, father, and four sons, Patrick, Liam, Kellan and Craig. They were one of the richest families in Charlotte, but if you didn’t know them by their money, you knew them by their tragedy.
Their parents had just returned from a year long trip to Kenya, for a mission trip, and their mother was pretty close to her due date. At the time, their father hadn’t known that he was carrying a deadly disease, but he found out soon enough. While trying to make treatments for their father’s disease, their mother went into labor, but it wasn’t the miracle they were expecting. Complications occurred and sadly, she died in child birth, with their youngest, Craig, barely living. But the heartbreak didn’t end there. Just a few weeks after Craig’s birth and their mother’s death, their father got very sick from the disease to the point where he had to be hospitalized. He died as well as few days later. With the death of both of their parents and the birth of Craig, their life, mostly Patch’s, changed drastically. If it weren’t for their money, their life would have just gotten worse.
Patch, being the oldest, had to drop everything but his job just to take care of Craig. With the other two boys being at school all the time, Patch had to take responsibility and take the major spots of their mother and father. The entire community knew and were surprised that the brothers managed to get things back to normal within the next few years. I was surprised by Kellan’s actions the most. Instead of growing into a better person over time, he became a pompous ass that all people with eyes know him to be. Which was why I wasn’t so sure about being in this house right now.
“I’m Danielle.” I responded, studying all of their faces. Only Kellan’s showed the most recognition. “We know.” Patch said in a soft voice that clashed with his rough exterior. “Would you like some breakfast?” Liam asked with a smile. As much as I hated to admit it, I was starving. Running away from home probably wasn’t the smartest idea; I thought miserably and swung my legs over the side of the large bed. My bare feet landed on the hardwood floors in silence as Patch grabbed a hold of my arm, helping me up and steadying me.
“I would love some.” I said once I was standing up on my own, though I still felt dizzy with sleep. “Thank you.” Patch chuckled. “Oh, it’s alright.” He said. “But maybe while we’re eating, you can tell me why you were out that late at night, all by yourself.”
I swallowed. If Kellan hadn’t of found me, where would I be? I wondered this as I felt a hand travel to the small of my back, leading me out of a doorway and down some stairs; a really long amount of stairs. I started to stumble and grabbed on to the closest thing that I could find, which just so happened to be Kellan’s muscular arm. I snapped my head to stare at him and our eyes locked. He was looking at me with a mixture of surprise and sympathy, but if faded quickly and I let go of his arm.
I followed the boys into the very large, very fancy kitchen.
Liam had gotten there before any of us and he was now wearing a ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron, standing in front of the stove, starting on a fresh batch of bacon and eggs. Not my favorite, but it would do to cease my undying hunger. I sat down at the table along with Patch and Kellan as Liam kindly made us breakfast. But Patch didn’t wait at all; he went right into the twenty questions.
“Why were you out so late at night like that?” He asked, now taking in a mouthful of bacon and eggs, followed by a large swallow of orange juice. He was obliviously trying to give me time, even though it was a rather simple answer. “My parents were fighting, literally, again and I was just getting sick and tired of it, so I left – really without thinking all too much about where I was going.” I explained with a shrug and started on my still steaming breakfast.
I didn’t realize how hungry I really was until the food hit my tongue, because then I started scarfing down the food, which was cleared off of my plate within minutes. When I looked up from my plate to take a drink of juice, they were all staring at me with their mouths slightly agape. My juice was halfway to my mouth, but I froze, the glass now dangling inches from my face, taunting me, but I set it down reluctantly. Softly, I muttered, “Sorry.” Without looking into their mocking/curious/annoyingly similar eyes.
I could tell Kellan would have said some smart remark of his if Patch hadn’t started up again. “Wait, fighting how?” he asked and I hesitated. The only other person who knew what my parents were truly like was my best friend, Theo Julliin, and he’s out of town until January, so really I had nowhere to go and no one to talk to. “You can tell us, Danielle.” Patch said reassuringly, sensing my hesitation. I took a breath.
“Like verbal and then it increases to physical and then the abuse gets passed down to me.” I said it all in a rush, naturally hating being the center of focus, especially when they were things I didn’t like to think about anyways. And that’s exactly what’s happening right now. Wonderful, I thought with a fake cheer, pushing my plate away, my appetite no longer present. I felt nauseous just thinking about my home life. Misery is sure as hell not the best company.
I looked up when I heard a fork clatter against a plate and I saw Patch shaking his head, whereas the other two sat with their faces practically touching their plates. “No one should have to live through that.” Patch said, now looking me in the eye, his beautiful green eyes holding my dark ones. “It’s not a big deal.” I muttered, trying to make it seem small and meaningless, but Patch only groaned. “It is a big deal. If someone innocent is purposely getting abused by the people that are supposed to love and care for them, then yes, it is a big deal.”
“Excuse him, he’s a lawyer.” Liam murmured under his breath, meaning it as a joke. Patch ignored him, keeping his attention fully on me. “Well, do you have anywhere else to stay?” He asked, sitting as still as possible, where I couldn’t stop fidgeting, my fingers intertwining and twisting into weird knots. I shook my head. “No, well not until Theo gets back, but that shouldn’t be until January.”
I couldn’t help but notice Kellan’s head shoot up when I said Theo’s name. I almost forgot that Theo and Kellan hated each other for reasons that I wasn’t yet informed on. I brushed off the small memory and looked back at Patch. His eyebrows were furrowed and it looked as if he was thinking very, very hard. He was muttering to himself, too quietly for me to hear across the long table, but the he finally gave a heavy sigh and looked up at me.
“Danielle, would you like to stay with us for a little while, at least until your friend gets back?”
A/N: Hello, readers!! Well, this is the prologue and first chapter of my revised novel My Mixed Emotions. Please comment and tell me what you think! Constructive criticism is accepted :) XOXO KeRi