"Goddammit, Keira!" Keira's father screamed at her, slapping her across the face. She felt her eyes grow huge, the stinging pain all-consuming, taking her over. She knew there would be a handprint let on her face, a bitter reminder left by the father that doesn't love her.
"I swear I didn't do anything," she said, feeling the tears weel up in her eyes as her father stared down at her in disgust, his brown eyes much like her own full of scorn.
"So you mean to tell me you didn't swipe that ten dollars I left lyin' around?! You mean to tell me that I'm fakin' this?!" He yelled, staring down at his incompetent daughter, the product of unsafe sex with a woman he'd only known for a little over an hour. Keira hadn't known her mother, for she had died just a few months after her birth from a drug overdose, leaving her to live with her less than perfect father.
Thinking it better to just stop the fight before it got out of hand, Keira just apologized to her father and gave her ten dollars of her own. She had no idea what had happened to his real money, but she suspected it's disappearance had soemthing to do with the blonde her father had been entertaining last night when she'd gone to bed. As she escaped up to her room, Keira layed down on her bed, wondering what she'd done to deserve the life she had. She glanced sideways at the picture of her mother, a naturally pretty woman sitting on the back of a pickup truck, her head thrown back in a laugh, , blonde curly hair the same as Keira's in a messy ponytail, some curls escaped and framing her face. She was the type of woman to cherish a child like they deserved to be, to love them unconditionally like a parent should, not beat on their child and hate them for who they were like the man that was unfortunately her father.
"Oh mom. Seventeen years. Why'd you leave? Why'd you take the drugs? Was it because of dad? Was it because of me?" Keira asked hopelessly, wishing for answers she knew she would never get. At least not until she met her mom in Heaven, where Keira knew she would find the woman that had brought her into this world. This world filled with sadness and depression, but also filled with joy and happiness and things that seemed so impossible but were made reality.
Keira didn't live in that world though. She lived in a world where she was lucky if her father was asleep with a hangover so he wouldn't beat her, in a world where she had to fight to live, in a world where her childlike behavior had been long forgotten and seemed like a distant dream. She ehard the bang on her window, causing her to jump in surprise and fear. What could possibly go wrong in her life now? She thought as she climbed cautiously from her bed, peeing out of her window to the lower level, straining her eyes against the darkness. She couldn't see, though, so she grabbed her flashlight from her nightstand drawer and clicked it on, opening the window so she could stick her head out and see better.
"Zephyr?! What are you doing here?" She whispered loudly, looking down at the inky blackness she could make out as her boyfriend's hair.
"Pack your bag, Keira, we're gettin' out of here," he whispered back, turning his head up so that she could see his face through the darkness. She clicked off the flashlight, not wanting to waste the batteries, nkowing she wouldn't be getting any more. Despite the darkness, Keira could still see Zephyr's golden brown eyes sparkling with pain, excitement, and love, all the caring and kindness he felt for her right there in the windows to his soul.
"What?! Where will we go?" She asked, skeptical of this plan. Zephyr was very adventurous and spontaneous, only rarely thinking of a decision or choice.
"Anywhere but here, honey. We can't keep living like this. it isn't healthy for us, and I can't bear the thought of you getting hurt any longer. We've graduated, so we don't have school to worry about. And our parents won't miss us." This was all too true. Keira already knew her dad wouldn't care, and Zephyr's parents wouldn't care whether he died or not. They wren't exactly the most caring, and he suffered for it. He rarely had a decent meal, eating only what used to be served in the cafeteria and what Keira managed to sneak him. Now that he worked at the local pizzeria though, he ate much more often, and finally weighed what a lanky man of his age should way.
"Give me five minutes, okay?" She whispered back down, her decision made. Any life had to be better than this, and Keira already knew that she and Zephyr were forever. They had been dating since sophomore year, when he'd moved here, and they had their future all mapped out. When it became financially possible, they both planned to attend college, and they knew a family was in the future. They both knew all of the drama they'd grown up around wasn't what they wanted for their family, and that was the reason they were doing what they were.
With one last look around her room, she grabbed the photo of her mom on her bedside table before climbing carefully out the window, hopping into Zephyr's warm and comforting arms. They held each other for a minute, relishing in their love, but quickly pulled away, knowing they needed to leave before they got caught. And as they ran down the street, Keira smiled, knowing that somehow, she and Zephyr would make it, under the watchful and loving eyes of her mother.
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