Chapter one Tia's POV

            "Tia, I know this may be hard on you…" My mothers voice trailed off as I watched her eyes fill up with tears, once again.

            "No, mom. I'm fine with this, really." As long as you get us away from this drunk bastard. I added to myself silently.

            I watched as my mom boxed up the rest of her possessions in a rush, and hollered at me to get my boxes in the car that instant.

            We're running away. Yeah, I know what you are thinking… a grown woman and her teenage daughter are running away? You heard right.

            "Tia… c'mon, we don't have all day you know." My mother waited intolerantly as I ran back into the house for another consignment of boxes.

            My father was expected home in less than a half hour, and I'm taking my time? What the hell am I thinking? My father is the person we're running from, and I'm going to jeopardize my life again just to see the ugly wallpaper thru-out the house once more?

            "I'm done." I said finally after I slammed the back end of the jeep shut. "Let's get out of here."

            My mother started the jeep and peeled out of the driveway, the same way I do. But we both wanted out of here. There wasn't a second we could spare. I watched the road straight ahead, not even taking a glance back to the house I'd had lived in all of the 16 years of my life.

            My father is abusive. Straightforward as that. You probably are thinking, why the hell didn't you just report him to the police? You see, we have. The police cannot authoritatively arrest my father unless we have evident marks from him. My mother and my wounds have long since healed, and hell, we aren't staying about for another round.

            The next best thing we could do was leave. It took long enough to locate someone farther than 200 miles of here to take us in for a while… but when the only person we could find was my mother's college friend, I was more than thrilled. I was leaving luminous California, and heading to blizzard New Hampshire. I seriously am in high spirits.

            "How long is this trip going to be?" I asked as I flipped throughout the radio stations.

            My mother looked at me and laughed. "You're asking me?" I watched as she shook her head, "I'm just following the directions. I have no idea how long it'll be. You know I've never been out of southern Cali."

            "I was just asking." I said and flipped the station yet again. We're roughly 2 hours into the drive, and looking around all I saw were mountains. Did I really expect to get a high-quality station?

            "I'm sorry I had to do this to you." My mother said gently, devoid of taking her eyes off the highway. "I never considered you having to leave your friends."

            I almost laughed out loud. What friends? I have no friends. "It's fine. We needed to get out of there. I understand."

            "We're going to be so happy in New Hampshire." My mom smiled and looked at me. "This is where we get to start our new foundation."

****

            "Tia, wake up. We're in New Hampshire." I heard my mothers' voice, but I didn't bother to budge. Five days of driving in the cramped up Jeep, and sleeping in cheap Motels along the road… I should have been MUCH happier to be in New Hampshire.

            "Let me know when we pull into their driveway." I groaned and covered my eyes from the sun with my arm. "Better yet, let me know once you've settled in and have everything out of the Jeep."

            "Well, I'd let you sleep a bit longer, but we're already here." My mother smiled. "They live right on the boarder."

            I looked out the window as my mom pulled up into the parking lot of a rather immense apartment complex. It had eight floors, and was enclosed in red brick. The complex was very appealing.

            "I'm going to go make sure this is it, and make sure they're home. You stay here." My mother told me as she got out of the car. I watched as she walked up to the entrance, and as soon as it opened, a lady jumped into my mothers arms. I assume that is Jean, my mothers' friend.

            It was another few seconds until my mom returned to the car, "Tee, come on in. Don't bother with your stuff yet. Jean just wants to get acquainted for right now."

            I followed my mom into the complex, and quickly wished I had changed out of my pajamas. Standing in that hallway, wearing plaid P.J.'s. bottoms, a tank top, and my dark brown hair a completely disheveled… I knew right away I didn't fit.

            "Jean, this is my daughter… Tia." My mother smiled as she introduced me to the woman.

            "Aw, Tia… Your mother said so much about you in her letters. I'm so glad I could finally meet you personally." Jean enveloped me into a massive hug, but swiftly let go. "Lets go upstairs to our rooms. We have the double rooms so you pretty much get your own apartment to yourself. We just share the living room." She told us and sauntered to the elevator. We rode the elevator up to the seventh floor and Jean escorted us to the rooms. We walked inside and as soon as we did, Jean opened her mouth, "Jessica!" She yelled at the top of her lungs, and turned back towards my mother and me.

            "Jessica, she's the youngest, right?" My mother asked as we heard the footsteps running across the floor. As soon as I got a good look at Jessica, I KNEW I didn't belong. Her light blond hair was tied up precisely in a perfect ponytail, and she was wearing slim fitting, stylish clothes. I looked down at my own worn clothing and instantaneously felt self-conscious.

            "Tia!" Jessica yelled vibrantly and ran over to me to hug me. "I couldn't wait for you to get here!"

            "Um, thanks." I smiled and returned the hug.

            "No, really. This is going to be awesome. I've always wanted a big sister… Having to put up with a brother all the time isn't that much fun." Jessica smiled, but I frowned. I was never told how many kids Jean had. Living with a sister… I could handle… but a brother? I'm used to being an only child.

            "You have a brother?" I asked Jessica, and she smiled.

            "Let's go up to my room," She grabbed my hand. "We have a lot to talk about."

            I turned around as Jessica dragged me through the hallway and waved bye to my mom as she smiled at me.

            Jessica opened the door to a huge room, complete with a pink canopy bed, white dressers, a full size mirror, a TV., and a closet that was the size of my old room.

            "Wow." I breathed. "This room is amazing."

            "Thanks." Jessica smiled and plopped down on her bed. "Have a seat."

            I followed her and sat down on the bed as Jessica folded her knees up to her chest. "What do we have to talk about?" I asked as Jessica turned on the TV.

            "Nothing," She laughed. "Our moms haven't seen each other in forever. I wanted to give them their privacy." I smiled; Jessica was an extremely nice girl.

            "Yeah, I guess they have a few things they need to catch up on." I said and laid back on the bed.

            "How come you moved here?" Jessica blurted out, and unfolded her legs. "I mean… not to seem nosey or anything. You don't have to tell me, I understand."

            "Um, I'd rather wait a little bit before I go discussing it. It's still a tough topic." I said quietly. "Do you mind showing me where we are staying. I haven't gotten much sleep the past couple of days, and I'm extremely tired."

            I watched as Jessica jumped up, "Sure, you're going to LOVE your room." I followed Jessica out of her room and then into the hallway of the seventh floor. "Your apartment is exactly across from ours, not even six feet away."

            "Cool." I said and stared at the door. "Um, are we going to go in?"

            "Yeah, let me just go get the key from my mother." Jessica smiled and opened the door to their apartment.

            "Okay, I'm going to go outside and bring a few of my things back in." I told her and headed towards the elevator. It took a few minutes for the elevator to arrive, and then I walked on and pressed the button for the main floor. Once the elevator doors opened up again, I walked outside and to our Jeep. I grabbed three of my nine boxes, and headed back inside.

            I waited for the elevator again, and when the doors opened, someone ran right out of the elevator and into me. I dropped my boxes all over the place, and looked up at the person with my face fuming.

            "Oh, um… sorry." A guy, around my age was standing in front of me. His intense green eyes showed no sign of admission of guilt.

            "And I suppose you're just going to stand there and not even bother to help me pick these back up." I snapped as I bent over to retrieve on of the boxes, which had opened and all my belongings were scattered all over the place.

            "Well," He started and shook his head. "Hell, why am I trying to make up an excuse?"

            "You mind removing your grubby foot off of my shirt?" I retorted while looking down, seeing him standing on one of the shirts that had fallen out of a box.

            "Actually, I would." He replied with a full-on smirk on his face. "And I best be going, no need for me to stick around here, pretty lady." He said, faking a western accent.

            "You…" I started, but before I could finish, the kid was already out of the door.

            Goal Number One… try to be more social. Don't let jerky people get you down, NEVER retort back.

Well, well, well… I guess it was time for a new story that I actually enjoy writing. I hope you all enjoy EL as much as I do, and don't forget… review! Let me know what you think of it, and give me some tips. I know I'm not the worlds best writer, so I can always use suggestions and constructive criticism!

Thanks!

Stephanie