Chapter One

Avalyn opened her eyes and stared up at the ceiling. Today was Sunday, she realised. No school today. Which could possibly mean more trouble from her father and three brothers. Well she was lucky her father would be spending most of the day at the bar anyway. That was a relief. But her brothers? Sean and Jason would probably be spending most of the weekend with their girlfriends, and Michael had to work. So she might be lucky enough to spend most of the weekend by herself.

She stared into outer space for a little while longer, letting her mind wonder to nice places where she was free, a place where her mother was still alive and her family was still happy, talking and laughing together. Her mother had died of cancer when she was only ten years old. That was six years ago now. How fast did time fly by when things were as unpleasant as they are now?

Ever since her mother had died, things had gone downhill. Her father spent most of his time either sitting in a bar, drinking himself senseless, and when he was at home he would either be passed out on the couch or, much worse, he would take his frustrations out on her by raping her. He would also yell at and beat her brothers, who would also take their frustrations out on her in turn. Her life was her own personal hell. And she couldn't talk to anyone- she didn't have any friends at school or work. She mostly just kept to herself while the time flew by. The only people that actually talked to her at school were Rock and his gang, who bullied her during lunch times.

Shaking these thoughts, she got up and headed downstairs. She looked at the clock to see that it was 9:15 a.m. Weekends were her break from work. The rest of the week she was glad that she was anywhere other than at the house, but Michael had made sure that she would only work from 3:30 til 7:30 after school- someone needed to make the dinner at home.

She walked into the kitchen to find Michael sitting at the small table along with Sean and Jason.

'Looks like father has already left for the bar.' She thought.

She stood at the doorway for a moment, trying to decide if she should join her brothers or not. In the end there was no need for her to make a decision. Michael looked up from his bowl of cereal, which he had finished eating, and looked at her.

"Well are you just going to stand there, or did you want to eat something?" He said in his usual calm voice.

Out of all her brothers, Michael was the most unpredictable. She could never figure out what he was thinking. Though he had never touched her in the way that her other brothers or her father had, and wasn't as aggressive, he still had his own ways of degrading her.

He stared at her with an unreadable expression. He was like a cat, ready to pounce at any moment.

She sighed slightly and walked to the cupboard, taking out the cereal. She fixed her breakfast and went to sit at the table across from Michael. Throughout the whole process Sean and Jason ignored her completely while Michael had studied her as if she were something entertaining to watch. She hated when he did that. She would rather he acted as if she were invisible like Sean and Jason did. She could feel his gaze on her face as she ate breakfast.

As she ate, she listened to Sean and Jason telling Michael that they had plans with their girlfriends and were going to be out most of the day. They always had to tell Michael what they were up to because he was the oldest and technically in charge. If they didn't, father would be very angry. Michael, on the other hand, could do as he pleased and get away with it. Father never yelled or beat him since Michael was his favourite. Avalyn has never shown him any disrespect and has always obeyed what he told her to do in hopes that he would favour her and the others would leave her alone. But so far, she wasn't successful.

Jason and Sean left soon and Avalyn and Michael were the only ones left in the house. Not for long though.

"You aren't planning on going out today?" Michael's tranquil voice came from somewhere behind Avalyn as she washed the dishes.

"No." She replied.

She heard his chair scrape against the floor as he got up. She thought he was going to leave soon, too. Then, his arms wrapped around her waist.

"You aren't lying to me, are you?" His voice was still calm and casual, but his words made her tense up.

"Why would I be lying?" Her words came out before she could stop herself, her tone sharp due to her fear. She caught her breath.

Avalyn held her breath as she waited for his response. Michael's grip tightened slightly. This was probably the only sign of anger he was going to show. He didn't show emotions too much. The silence grew.

Michael eased his grip again.

"You better not be lying to me." This time his voice was a shade dark.

He began to place gentle kisses on her shoulder and collarbone, trailing back and forth. Avalyn was frozen with shock. This wasn't what he usually did. Was he going to start raping her too?! She didn't want this! Somehow, she found her voice.

"M-Michael..."

"And watch your tone when you are talking to me." He said in her ear, his voice calm again. "Ok?"

Avalyn swallowed. "O-ok..." She said quietly.

He slowly turned her around and looked into her eyes, which were wide with fear. For a fleeting moment he felt sad for her. But only for a fleeting moment. He usually blocked out the feelings of sympathy. He put his hands on the counter on either side of her and leaned his face down towards hers. He gently pressed his lips against hers.

Again, Avalyn felt that wave of shock and fear go through her. Next came the panic. Was he going to rape her?! Wasn't he supposed to be going to work?

Michael finally drew back and looked at her again. Her eyes were still wide. Without another word, he turned around and walked out of the kitchen.

Avalyn stared after him, stunned. A moment later, she heard the door open and close. She blinked. He was so unpredictable! She couldn't figure out why he did what he did. What game was he playing with her now?

She felt the first tears of that day start running down her face. What had she done to deserve this kind of life? If 'life' is what you called this. Personally, she preferred to call this 'hell'. She shook these thoughts off. She was better off distracting herself and not thinking about any of that at all.

Remembering that the tap was still running, she turned around and continued washing the dishes.