“I don’t want to go home Joey.” Jess said. They were walking home from school. Joey had another black eye to explain to his teacher.
“I know Jess. I don’t want to either but we have to.” Joey said sadly. He looked at himself and her. They looked dirty. They did their best to try and look ok and they always look kind of dirty. But that day they looked particularly dirty. Although, they didn’t have any problems fitting in at school. The girls drooled over Joey and guys were constantly doing stuff for Jessica. Joey had messy straight blond hair that fell in his eyes constantly. He was fourteen at this time. Jess was twelve. She had long blond hair that reached down her back. She had never had a haircut in her life. Her mom liked for her hair to be long. Joey had always tried to grow his as long as he could just because his mom and Brandon, their step dad, hated him to have long hair. They might look dirty but Joey made sure Jess had at least passing grades. He on the other hand, was failing. His teachers let him go to the next grades though.
As they got close to their house they could hear their mom and Brandon yelling and breaking things. No doubt they would channel their anger on them the second they walked through the door. Joey
sighed. He knew too well what was waiting for him. He didn’t believe in God but he prayed to God to give him some excuse not to go home.
“Joey!” Jess said.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Look! That girl from school I trying to get your attention.” She pointed across the street to a girl that was waving at them from her door way. Jess and Joey ran over to her.
“Hey Joey, hey Jess. Do you wanna come inside for a while? I’ve got brownies.” she said. She could probably hear the yelling.
“Sure. Come on Jess.” Joey said and they went inside. Jess and Joey took their shoes off at the door. Katy handed them brownies.
“So Joey, is that story of how you ran into a stop sign really how you got another black eye?”
Joey stayed quiet.
“Don’t worry. My parents aren’t home. You can tell me.” She said.
“No I didn’t run into a stop sign. I might be failing but I’m not stupid.” Joey said.
“So what did happen?”
“What usually happens. It’s not hard to figure out.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry.” She said.
“It’s fine. One day we’ll be free. One day we’ll all be free.” Joey said. Jess looked at the girl a few times over. She thought Katy was the complete opposite of her. Katy had short black hair. Jess had bright green eyes that glowed with pain and innocence. Katy had Dark brown eyes that burned with love and warmth. Jess watched them talk for a little while and then slipped away out of the living room and into the kitchen. Katy’s house was beautiful and very clean. She had plush white carpet and fancy decorations. Each room was themed as a different culture. Jess’s house had yellowish carpet that was nowhere near as soft and it was covered in stains. Katy had a big kitchen that had all marble counter tops and an island in the middle of it. The kitchen looked like it was themed of ancient Greece or Rome. Jess’s kitchen had 5 broken cabinets and the refrigerator had a big dent in it from when Brandon tried hitting Joey and missed. And it was nowhere near as big. Jess wondered into the dinning room. It was themed as Egypt. They had a chadellere that hung above the table. It looked like a bunch of loose squares of different sizes stacked on top of each other with a small triangle on top. Jess went into the next room. It looked like an office made in prehistoric times. The chair made Jess giggle. The chair was made so it looked like you were sitting in a dinosaur’s mouth.
“Jess!” joey called. Jess ran through the rooms back to him. He had his shoes on and was standing by the door with Katy. Jessica quickly put her ragged shoes on when Katy said, “hey Jessica. I wanted to give you something. Wait here.” Katy ran up the stairs and came back down holding something behind her back. When she got to Jess she handed her a pair of sparkly red shoes.
Jess smiled, “I can keep these?”
“Yeah, there yours forever.” Katy said. Jess tore off her worn down shoes and socks and put them in her back pack. She put on the red shoes and smiled. “Thank you!”
“No problem. They didn’t fit me anyway.” Katy said. Jess and Joey walked out of her house. It was quiet. Joey didn’t hear the sounds of familiar yelling. All he heard was the sound of Jessica’s new shoes hitting the pavement as she skipped next to Joey.
Joey opened the creaky door slowly. He peaked inside and only saw his mom asleep in her puke green, corduroy recliner. She was holding a lit cigarette. Joey opened the door and told Jess to be
quiet and go straight to their room. She nodded her head and took off her new shoes before she ran through the living room, down the hallway and into their room. Joey watched her go into the room
and heard the click of her locking the door. Joey quietly snuck into the living room and took the cigarette from his mom’s fingers and put it out in the ash tray. He turned around and grabbed his
bag but when he stood straight up he saw Brandon’s fist coming straight towards him. Joey didn’t have time to duck. Brandon hit him in same black eye. Joey fell back on to the crappy tile
“Where’ve you been boy?” Brandon slurred the words angry.
Joey got on his feet and stood as stern as he could and said, “Teacher kept me after school because of my black eye. Again.”
Brandon hit Joey again but this time in the stomach. Joey bent over trying to catch his breath.
“What’d you tell her?” he asked in a gruff voice. Joey take in a long breath and stands up again.
“I told her I ran into a stop sign.” Joey said with his voice steady.
“Why didn’t your sister come home?”
“She doesn’t know the way home.”
“Too bad. I was gonna have some fun with her. Where is she?”
“She went to her friends’ house.” Joey said.
Brandon hits him in the side of the head. Joey got dizzy and stumbled trying to clear his vision and stop the ringing in his ears.
“You’re lying to me.” Brandon said.
“Well, good fucking luck proving that.”
Brandon grabs him by his throat and shoves him against the door.
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