A/N: Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know that reviews are welcome (hint hint) and I would absolutely love it if you critiqued :) Virtual pies to everyone who reviews!!!

Chapter 1

I have to run. I know this immediately after stepping into the house. Staring at my mother's dead body almost brings me to tears. I'd been expecting that she would OD soon, but it still hurt. The bluish purple marks on my back proved that she wasn't the best of mothers, but I knew she still loved me.

She hadn't been showing it lately. Back when I was little and everything was fine, she used to take me to an ice cream shop and we would talk over two large sundaes. That was before she started doing drugs. After that, there was a change. It wasn't sudden, but the more drugs she started using, the less she noticed me. Finally, it was me who had to cook dinner and do the dishes, who had to clean the house and pull back her hair when she puked. It was like I was invisible. I didn't like it, but that's how things went.

Now I turn away from the body that once had my mother's soul in it. I don't see her in there, and that's how I know without checking for a pulse. There is no life in her body.

I start to think practically. There are only a few choices, but I already know which one I'm going to go with. Scenario number one, the one most people would take, is to call the police and explain. A social worker would pick me up and take me to a foster home. But I've seen the kids that come from foster homes. Some can turn out really good, but others… need I say more?

The next scenario is to make my mother's body disappear and live on my own for a while…that won't work though. My façade might work for a while, but it was only so long before someone noticed something. Besides, where would I put the body?

That leaves scenario number three. I have to run away. They'll immediately notice that I wasn't at school, but by the time that happens, I hope I will be gone. I go up to my room and try to decide what to take with me. I try to wipe the tortured expression off of my face. My guitar…I can't take her with me! It definitely would make me conspicuous. I can imagine the file with me in it. "Teenage girl, brown curly hair and green eyes, tan, stubborn but shy, carries a guitar around." I could NOT bring my guitar.

I stuff a bunch of clothes in a bag and a few necessary hygiene items before going back downstairs. I go to the cash box and grab all the money. I know it's dangerous to have so much, but where else would I put it?

Suddenly, the doorbell rings. My stomach tightens. I wait tensely and see a UPS truck. A guy walks away and I let myself breathe in short, ragged gasps. That could've been bad.

I take one last glance at my mom, and head out the door.

The world is not a safe place, especially for teenage girls. The thing is, I really don't care anymore. All I want to do is survive on my own. So who cares if I finish high school? Who cares if I don't live in a good neighborhood?

The clock is ticking, and I'm painfully aware that it is. In fact, I am downright paranoid! Every car that passes looks like it's owned by someone I know. It's killing me. As soon as I walk out of my little suburb and reach the actual city, I signal a cab.

The cab driver is a gruff-looking, slightly scruffy older man. His hair has turned all gray, and not the smooth, light gray, but a dark coarse gray that is not extremely attractive. He is smoking. Can he legally do that? I wonder distractedly.

"Where to?" he says impatiently in a tone that tells me this isn't the first time he asked me.

"Anywhere," I say simply. "Just away from here."

He eyes me suspiciously. "You running?" he asks.

I laugh a tad too loudly. "Of course not," I lie. "It's just… I need a break…from my family for awhile." What family? "They've been not very nice to me." That's an understatement.

"Are you sure I can't help you?" he asked. His gruff persona is all just an act. He is genuinely concerned.

"I told you, I'm not running," I say stubbornly.

"Okay," he sighs. He doesn't believe me. "How long do you want to ride?"

"Just to New York." I lived in Union City, about 20 minutes from New York City. No one would ever be able to find me there. The downside is that there is a lot of crime in that area. I won't be safe on the streets alone. I need an ally immediately.

"So you do have an agenda," he says, as if trying to memorize where he is taking me.

"Don't you dare report me," I snap coldly. "I just need a break."

"It's a dog-eat-dog world out there," he warns. "And a little kitten like you ain't gonna survive."

"I'm not a kitten!" I say irritably. For some reason, this cab driver is getting on my every last nerve. This doesn't happen often.

He looks at me through the rearview mirror, raising his eyebrows disbelievingly. "How much do you even weigh?" he asks rudely.

I weigh 120 pounds, but I'm not going to tell him that. "More than you think," I hiss. "You're not supposed to ask a girl that."

He laughs at my obvious irritability, and then sobers. "You ain't gonna last more than a day, Sweetie," he says. "Why don't we just go back to where I dropped you off?"

"I have no other choice," I sigh bitterly. "Please don't send me back." I was tired of this, him trying to pry. We reach New York City, and he stops.

"Here," I hand him the amount of money I see on the sign. He pushes it away. "Keep it," he says sadly, like he knows I'm going to fail. "You'll need it."

I roll my eyes. "Bye," I say, climbing out of the cab.

"Bye, Kitten," he says softly.

Next chapter you get to meet him ;)