Knowing the path perfectly, I closed my eyes, pictures of what had happened playing through my mind.
Walking into the house to see everything going smoothly, until an argument broke out. I sat on the floor in my room, trying to block out the noise coming from my kitchen. What was once a petty fight turned for the worse when they started screaming at each other. Then, I heard the smashing of glass.
I slowly opened my door to see my mom on the ground, crying and holding out her hands out to protect herself. I shouted for my father to stop as he grabbed a lamp and smashed it against her arms. Blood poured out of her open wounds as the glass dug into her skin.
I heard him yell, "Shut up, Briana!" after he had hit her once, and continued to do it multiple times. I rushed up behind him and tried to yank him away, but instead he turned on me and punched me in the face, hitting the side of my cheek. It went numb instantly, and ignoring the pain was something I had long since gotten used to.
Instead of staying any longer, I fled the house, dashing towards my usual place. My dad called for me to come back, but made no attempt to stop me.
Finally, after about ten minutes, I came upon my destination. I skidded to a halt, drying my eyes, and climbed a tree next to me.
Once I was a few feet above the grass, I pulled the bag I had left hidden in the limbs towards me, and stopped escalating any further.
Resting on a few large branches, I pulled out a bottle of water and chugged it down, knowing I would be here for a while. I tossed my dark-brown hair into a messy ponytail, then relaxed.
Tears started to pour out of my eyes, making each second seem to last a minute. I closed my eyes and made no sound, hoping that I wouldn't ever have to open them again.
After what seemed to be like an hour, I froze in my spot, quieting myself completely as I strained to listen to the rustling of leaves I had heard.
Unsure of what else to do, I pulled the zipper of my backpack shut and dropped out of the tree, about seven feet to the ground.
My unprotected feet burned as they connected with the sidewalk upon landing, but I ignored it and looked around.
He stood directly in front of me, a worried expression on his face. I calmed myself, then ran towards him so his perfect body could protect me.
"You came, Liam," I said between sobs. He wrapped his arms around me, holding me tightly.
He didn't reply. I dug my face into his shoulder, wiping my eyes. After what felt like forever, we separated slightly, Liam staring into my eyes. My arms rested on his neck, while his hands held my waist.
I gazed at his face, amazed at how flawless he was. He had tan skin that helped blend in his few freckles around his nose. His eyes were a dazzling hazel, and his light brown hair was slightly messed up, but in a way that only made it look better.
Concern filled his eyes as he lightly grazed the bruise on my cheekbone, the connected his soft lips with mine, closing the gap.
The kiss ended shorter than I had expected. Liam left one arm around my hip, then walked with me back towards the tree. Instead of going back in it, we sat on the ground, his jacket loosely draped on my shoulders.
I couldn't help but stare at him, still unbelieving of the fact that he was mine. Liam was the captain of the football team, and was so undeniably handsome that he could get any girl in the entire school. Yet he still chose me.
He looked over at me and brushed my hair out of my face with his warm hand, leaving a trail of fire wherever he touched.
Then, he looked intently into my eyes as he asked, "What happened this time?"
I stared at the dirt, mumbling, "Another fight."
He continued to stare at me, raising my chin as he stared deeply into my gray eyes. I tried get out of his grip, but it seemed impossible with my little strength.
"I love you," Liam whispered.
"I love you too," was all I could come up. He pulled me closer to him.
"But, why," I added, even though I had already asked this question more times than I could count.
He laughed to himself, then looked back up at me. "Because, Bree, you're perfect. I love everything about you. Every time I'm near you, I feel like it's impossible not to smile. Everyone else is wrong about you. But no matter what they say, I will always love you," Liam said. Each word came out with no uncertainty. He slowly kissed me again.
After a few minutes or so, we broke apart, our foreheads touching.
I knew it seemed stupid, but I really felt like he was meant for me, even if we were only seventeen. I'd known him since before I could remember and always wished I had him; now I did. Liam loved me like no one else ever had. He gave me the chance that I had always needed.
Whenever the overly-popular girls at school would see me with him, they would always make fun of me, asking why he would go out with someone like me. Instead of trying to act cool around them, he would stand up for me, but in the end they always walk away laughing at me, at us.
For a while, we rested quietly, our bodies close as possible. Darkness rapidly took over the sky, a signal that we needed to get home soon.
Once the light of the day had completely vanished, I broke the silence, asking him, "Can I stay at your house today?" His response was single nod, than another kiss to my forehead.
Liam helped me up and we started towards his house, hand in hand. As we entered his home, I smiled gently at his mom, who wore a look of concern as she noticed my cheek. Liam shot her a look that told her that he had it under control, and she went back to cleaning.
We walked straight into his room, both of us exhausted. I sat down in a foldable chair in the corner, thinking that was where I'd be sleeping. Liam saw me and shook his head, then picked me up as if I weighed nothing and placed me on his bed. He laid down in it next to me, his arm wrapping around my lower back. Unable to help myself, I set my head on his chest, shifting myself closer to him.
I felt as if the world could be ending, but as long as I was with Liam, nothing bad would happen to us. I closed my eyes, knowing that I would be completely safe for the night, and fell asleep.
I woke up to dim lights shining through the window on the opposite wall of Liam's bed. The warmth of his body was absent, and I panicked for a moment. I got up as quickly as I could from the bed, throwing off the blanket he had placed over me as I slept, and left the room in search for him. I frantically walked down the hall, the smell of sausage filling my senses.
As I entered the kitchen, I saw Liam standing by the oven, turning a piece of meat on the stovetop. I ran up to him and hugged him from behind. He turned around with a spatula in his hand and returned it, knowing I was probably worried that he wasn't with me. He leaned down to kiss me on the forehead, but instead I planted my lips onto his, pulling him closer to me.
The sizzling of sausage drew us apart, and he quickly flipped the last of it in the pan.
I laughed at him, looking at the clock above the oven. It read, "6:02".
I stared back at him, then asked, "Why are you up so early?"
"I thought you might want some food before we walked back to your house. We still have school today, you know, and I figured you would want to change or something. I don't want your dad to hate me anymore than he already does."
I smiled, then grabbed one of the biscuits sitting on a plate nearby, taking a bite. Thinking about it for a minute, my expression dropped, knowing that he was right. We had to go back to my house, and I would have to face whatever I was going to get.
Liam finished making breakfast, and we ate it in silence. I helped him clean up afterwards since he had gone through so much trouble for me, and we set off.
We walked without a word, the chirping of the early morning birds the only sound. As we approached my neighborhood after about twenty minutes, I tensed up. I could tell Liam noticed because he stopped me and pulled me into his arms.
Although I wished I never had to, I withdrew from the hug, taking his hand.
My lawn had a few broken beer bottles scattered about it, indicating that my dad had been drinking a lot.
I stepped through the front door cautiously to see my father sitting on the raggedy couch, passing the time as he waited for me by chugging more alcohol.
Aware that I had come in, he said, "Where have you been?"
"With Liam," I answered.
"You should have come back here when I told you to," He snarled, getting up wobbly. He took a step towards me, and I backed up a bit just to run into Liam. He grabbed my shoulders, moving to my side, and took my hand again.
"And you!" He jabbed a finger at Liam, shoving him back a little. I could smell the liquor in my father's breath.
"You shouldn't be taking her away like this!" He growled in his face, obviously drunk. He pulled a fist back and slammed it into his face, taking Liam by surprise. My dad took a glass bottle from the other hand and smashed it on his head, shattering it into a thousand tiny pieces that went all over the floor. Blood streaked down his face within seconds.
I shouted as loud as I could for him to stop, unable to do anything. I watched in horror as he continued to hurt Liam, and shortly after, vise versa.
Tears streamed down my cheeks, unable to look away from the terrible sight; Liam was only trying to protect himself, but my dad had other intentions.
He turned around for a minute and reached for the pistol sitting on the side table next to the couch; He always had one lying around the house.
Everything from there on happened in a blur. My father pulled the handgun up to Liam's head. My boyfriend's cries of plea for him to stop. The firing on the gun. Liam's body slumped on the ground, dead.
My dad stepped back, his eyes showing how shocked he was at what he had done. A scream escaped my mouth, a cry so piercing than I thought was ever possible, and my father directed his attention towards me.
He looked back down at the pistol in his hand, and drew it to his temple. Before I could protest, he pulled the trigger.
He fell to the ground, the gun skidding across the floor, and next to Liam's leg. I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, hoping this was just another one of my nightmares.
Either my mom had left the house after a fight, or was also lifeless, because she hadn't come out of her room.
After about an hour of no change in the environment, reality hit me, and I realized this was actually happening.
Slowly, I got up from my uncomfortable position on the ground. I looked down at Liam, and new water droplets streaked down my face.
I bent down next to him, and placed my lips on his one last time. His mouth was agape, probably because he was just as shocked as I was at what happened, and his lips were cold.
When I stared back at Liam, I noticed the handgun. At first, I backed away, then realized I had nothing to lose, nothing to live for. I held it in my hands for a few minutes, then put my finger on the trigger.
Only one thought could enter my mind, and it never escaped.
My life is over.