Chapter 1

Milly POV

I had never realized I could miss home so much until that night - the very first night that would be the beginning of my forever.

Teenagers like myself would always say they hated their family, and that their parents didn't understand them. Yeah, well I thought that, too. Now, I continued wishing for my mom to just run through the dirty basement door, smiling hugely, telling me it was all a lie.

I knew that wouldn't happen.

It all started out like my normal school morning. I would get dressed, go to school and then walk home. However, I didn't get to my house.

"You lost?" a man asked me as he drove at my pace next to me as I walked down the deserted road to my house. My mom always told me never to go down this road, but I never listened.

Stupid.

I knew this was weird, but I still talked to him.

"No, I'm not," I said, looking at my feet as I continued walking through the cold, October air.

"Are you sure?" he murmured.

I sped my paces up. My heart was thrumming like a humming birds wings.

I was afraid.

"Yes." Why was I answering?

"Okay then," he sighed. He rolled down his window and drove away, down a road leading to the woods.

I wasn't stupid. I knew where that road led. It led a perfect circle to cut me off where I was walking. Stupidly, I thought that maybe he wouldn't wait for me at the end.

Stupidly was an understatement.

I pulled on my sweater as the fall air nipped at my arms. My breath was in little clouds in front of me, and for some reason I wasn't even thinking about the whole "weird man incident". I was more concerned about Beth, my best friend. Her mom found out she was…doing things - bad things for a fourteen year old - with Scott, her boyfriend. She was grounded, and that meant I was pretty much grounded too since I had no other friends to hang out with.

Stupid! I screamed at myself now.

Why wasn't I thinking about the man? Why didn't I turn and go a different way?

I stopped stiffly once I emerged from the trees to be met with the man from the van. His hair was greasy, and the little amount of sunlight left shined on his brown hair. His eyes were grey, and they were hollow. He looked at me like a lion would look at its prey.

He was the lion, I was the prey.

"Now you look lost," he said. He stepped towards me, and I was like a deer caught in headlights. I just stood there like an idiot. "You're going to come with me now."

I screamed, which had to be a very bad move.

He punched me, and then everything became a little fuzzy.

"Shut up!" he ordered in a deranged voice.

He slung me over his shoulder, then threw me in the back of his van. He put a dirty rag over my mouth, and as he drove somewhere far from my home, my muffled pleas grew quieter and quieter for someone to hear.

No one would hear me - no one would ever know.

Noah POV

October. October 11th.

Huh, seemed like a normal enough day.

Ha, well screw that logic.

Today was not "normal". Frank left the house. I asked where he was going, and he didn't tell me. He said, "Shut up, kid," then left.

Thanks "dad".

Oh, well. I needed to catch up on my books anyway.

So, while Frank was gone, I read the books hidden under the floorboards in my room that was the size of a dog's kennel.

Our house was small - that was an understatement. Our house was a piece of shit in the middle of a trailer park. All the trailers surrounding our house made it look like a god damn palace.

I snorted as I read.

There was a slam outside; a car door. My heart beat nervously as I frantically ran through my room, hiding the books that were for some reason not allowed in our house.

Once the books were hidden, I looked out the window, pushing my shaggy brown hair out of my eyes to get a better view. I squinted my eyes, trying to see through the darkness outside as I heard muffled female screeches.

What the hell…

"I already told you to shut up!" Frank yelled.

Whoever was crying and screaming, stopped, but I could still hear gasps for breath as whoever it was continued crying.

I ran from my room to the outside of our house. Stopping abruptly in front of me was Frank and…a girl that looked a little younger than me.

"What the hell is going?!" I screamed, staring at the girl.

Wow. She was…pretty. Her hair was long and wavy, down to her waist. It was a light brown, and her eyes shined brightly in the darkness. They were green, like big lights in a city.

"Shut up, Noah," Frank ordered, shoving past me with the girl in tow.

I followed him inside. "Frank, what are you doing? Who is this girl? Where did she-"

His hand smacked across my face and I flew across the room, landing into a ton of empty beer cans.

Gross.

"Go to your fucking room!" he yelled.

I stood up shakily, looking at the girl in his arms. She was shaking, and her eyes were bloodshot.

"Tell me what's going on first," I demanded, keeping my eyes on the girl.

"None of your business," he spat.

I turned my gaze to him. "If you're taking random girls into the house, I deserve to know why," I hissed.

He was silent, glaring back at me with the same amount of intensity.

"Fine," he grumbled. "We're keeping her. She's ours."

My eyes nearly bugged out of my head.

"What do you mean 'keeping her'?" I eyed him suspiciously.

The girl started to burst out crying, but the dirty cloth in her mouth quieted it down. I had the urge to go over and hug her or something to make her calm down, but Frank would probably beat the shit out of me if I did.

"I mean, I took her," he said unperturbed.

"You kidnapped her?!" I screamed, my yell overlapping her cries.

He pursed his lips. "I wouldn't really call it kidnapping…"

I rolled my eyes. "What would you call it then?" I spat.

I felt someone staring at me, and I looked at the girl. She was staring at me.

"I would call it claiming. I wanted her, so I took her."

I stared at him for a minute, making sure he wasn't kidding. When I confirmed he wasn't, I felt more than disturbed.

"Frank, she's not a doll you can just take when you feel like it. She's a fucking person."

He shrugged. "I don't care."

I just stared at him.

"And if you tell the cops, you're dead," he growled, glaring daggers into my eyes. He shoved the girl into my arms, and I caught her reflexively. "Put her in the basement while I take a shower." He walked away, and into the bathroom.

I just stood there, staring down at the girl in my arms. It felt weird with her in my arms. She was so small it seemed. She was fragile. I looked down at her to find her still staring at me.

"Uh…" I muttered awkwardly.

Her eyes were big as they stared at me curiously.

"All right then," I muttered. I held her more tightly, turning to the basement door to bring her down.

She was silent as I carried her in my arms down the wooden steps to the basement.

I didn't know what to do. This was wrong. This was fucking illegal!

I searched for the string to the light and pulled on it. A very small amount of light illuminated through the dirty space. I didn't want to leave her down here in the dark, dirty basement. There were fucking rats down here.

"Put me down," she mumbled into the towel in her mouth.

"Oh, sorry," I apologized like an idiot. I set her down on the cleanest spot I could find on the floor and pulled the rag from her mouth. "Please don't yell," I begged. "I do like living."

She didn't scream once the rag was removed from her mouth. She stared down at her little hands, twirling her fingers as tears slid down her cheeks.

I stared at her, pained.

"I'm sorry," I whispered.

She sniffled rubbing the tears from her cheeks.

"If I could, I'd get you out of here."

She didn't respond, so I stood up from my crouch in front of her and went upstairs.

I glared at Frank as I walked past his lazy ass sitting on the couch, drinking beer and watching football.

Tonight, I'd go see the girl sitting scared and alone in our dirty ass basement.

Milly POV

I sat in the basement for hours. I could hear a TV being shut off, and loud, clumsy foot steps going to a different room. The house was silent. I never felt more alone.

I watched as the light bulb hanging from the ceiling swung methodically back and forth.

Noah.

He made me feel safe. The boy who actually cared about my feelings. I wondered if he really meant what he said, if he'd really get me out of here if it wouldn't cost his life.

He was a scruffy looking boy.

I smiled at the use of the word "scruffy".

His hair was all tangled and hanging over his eyes. It was a dark brown, with bright blue eyes hiding behind it.

Bright blue eyes…

I thought of my mother then and began to cry. Her eyes were almost exactly the same shape as Noah's.

I wondered what she thought. Did she care that I was gone? Did she call the police?

I could hear an owl outside, and the sound calmed me. My tears lessened, just like they did when Noah came running in front of my kidnapper - Frank. I didn't know why, but he made me feel safe.

I stretched on the dirty floor, getting as comfy as was possible on this disgusting floor. I crawled up in a ball like a scared kitten. I felt so vulnerable, so hollow here.

There was a little window above me that I stared at, and I briefly considered escaping through there. However, I figured that would be no use. Where would I go, anyway?

So instead I just shut my eyes, hoping that maybe when I woke up, this would all be over.

* * *

"Shit!"

My eyes shot open quickly. They darted through the dark room. The light from the little light bulb hanging from the ceiling was still on, but it wasn't enough to see where the voice had come from.

"Don't be scared," Noah's voice whispered as boxes crackled. "It's not Frank."

I sighed in relief. How could someone I barely knew who was probably the son of my kidnapper relieve me? Oh well, it did. I didn't care.

He stepped into the light, and shook his head, making dust fall.

"I fell," he stated simply.

The corner of my lip twitched, almost smiling.

Almost.

"Yeah," he sighed, sitting down Indian style in front of me, "walking down these shitty stairs in the dark does that to a person."

I sat up, copying the way he sat.

"Hello," I whispered.

He nodded. "Hi."

I was sort of confused why he was down here, so I asked, "Why are you down here?"

He gazed at something behind my head, but I kept my eyes on his.

"Honestly? I have no fucking clue." He shrugged, smirking at me. "I guess I felt bad for you."

I glared at him.

"What?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.

"I don't need pity," I said through clenched teeth.

He laughed. "Uh, yeah you do. You got…" His smile fell, and he looked at me apologetically. "Kidnapped," he finished in a whisper. "You do need sympathy."

I didn't answer.

"What's your name?" he asked after a long while.

"Milly Jensen," I whispered.

He nodded, and I saw him mouth my name to himself.

"And you?" I asked quietly.

"Noah Dwyer."

Dwyer.

"I really am sorry for this," he said again. "I didn't know that he'd do this. I didn't even know he thought about doing this kind of thing."

I grimaced. Of course me.

"Am I going to die?" I whispered almost inaudibly.

He stayed silent for what felt like years, but then he finally answered.

"I don't know."

That was the last straw. I began crying again, covering my face in my knees. I pulled my knees to my chest, wrapped my arms around my calves, and tried muffling my cries.

"I'll try my best, though," he whispered to me.

I looked up at him. "To what?"

"To try and keep him from…hurting you." He laughed humorously. "Trust me, it's a very difficult job. I get my ass beaten frequently." He looked down, and his brow was furrowed as he looked down at his wrists.

I followed his gaze to his wrists and gasped when I saw large, pinkish silver scars. There was also bloody, scabbed lines; new ones.

He didn't look at me.

"Did he do that to you?" I asked.

He nodded.

I felt like crying again. It was irrational. Why should I care? But, I did.

"I can't let him ruin your perfect skin," he said, smiling down at his wrists.

I smiled timidly. I could feel color rising to my cheeks, and I felt like a complete moron.

He chuckled.

I looked up to see him staring at me, and my face got even hotter - if that was possible.

"You blush?" he asked, smiling.

I looked back up at him, biting the inside of my cheek. "Yeah," I sighed, "I do."

He stared at me. "Don't be embarrassed about it," he said. "It's…pretty."

My cheeks may have melted.

"You go to sleep," he whispered. "I'll stay until you fall asleep - I mean, if you want me to…?" He looked at me, waiting for an answer.

"Okay," I agreed. I yawned, then got back into my ball-like position on the floor.

The hollowness I had felt before seemed to disappear as I listened to Noah's steady breathing.

Noah POV

I waited. I sat there like…I don't know what I was sitting here like. I had an odd sensation to protect Milly.

Milly Jensen - the girl who Frank had kidnapped.

I frowned as I watched her sleeping form.

She was so beautiful, no wonder he had picked her. I hadn't seen anyone who ever looked like her. I had only read about it in the girly, romance novels I for some reason liked reading.

She shuffled on the dirty floor, and her hand fell on my knee.

I stared at it. It was so small. It was ivory, and reminded me of a porcelain dolls.

I gently picked it up off my knee and set it next to her. She yawned again in her sleep as I got up off the floor.

I didn't want to leave her, but if Frank caught me down here with her, I'd be dead.

I pulled on the string to the one light down here, then headed upstairs and tried to get a goodnights sleep. I needed it. I hadn't had one in weeks.