Away From Home.

The wooden bench is hard and cold, but this is my bed tonight. The concrete floor is dirty and there's litter everywhere, but I cannot leave until morning yet somehow I am pleased to be here and not back there. I am waiting for it to arrive but it won't be here for hours still, but at least I am safer here. At least noone has spoken to me since, it happened. I know I can never go back I can only go forward, away from everything I have ever known.

It's morning now. The train's here to take me to London. I'm not Katie anymore I am now Alexx, I thought I should change my name, just in case, they come for me. It's time for a new life, a new me.

I am happy to leave here in so many ways but sad as I have to leave my best friend Jack behind, but that can't be helped. Jack said that he'll join me as soon as he can, but I am surprisingly OK with leaving him behind for a while. I know I can't stay, I hate being treated as a servant for my mother and father, I had to do all the shopping, all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the chores, do my little brother Darren's homework and get good grades at school, I just got sick of it, so I've upped and left. Hopefully I'll survive on the streets of London. I didn't tell Darren what I was doing because I knew he would tell, he wouldn't have let me, he may be younger than me but he is strong willed and I already miss him, and Jack, I don't blame them this is not their fault.

The train ride seems to last forever, maybe it'll just go on and on and I won't have to struggle on the streets or meet Jack, no, he is my best friend. Noone sits next to me but I don't want them to I just stare out of the window not really taking it in until I reach the stop.

When I arrive in London the station is small and as dirty as the one I left and I need to find somewhere to stay, I'm thinking about where to go when an Asian girl with dirty dark hair (Japanese maybe?), who looks about my age, walks up to me, she says to come with her and leads me to a side street near the station. She doesn't look like she'll hurt me so I go with her.

The Asian girl says "Hi, they call me Tsutu, I can tell that you're a run away, I can spot a newbie any day. I can help you if you want."

I reply "Thanks, that'll be great, I'm Alexx by the way."

I wonder how long Tsutu has been on the streets and why she's there but I don't dare to ask. She takes me two blocks away, to this apartment and says that the guy who owns it, runs a small charity and allows child and teen runaways to stay until they can manage on their own. The charity also provides food and water. I think that this will do until I can meet up with Jack. Tsutu seems kind.

I brought this newbie to the apartment, she says her name is Alexx, she seems nice and I'm keeping an eye on her because she wants to meet up with someone soon she won't go into details, maybe it's because we've just met or she might not want to talk about it, I won't force her to tell me anything.

It's morning now, I'm quite hungry but as it's a charity we don't get much food but at least me and Tsutu get some and a roof over our heads, if only for a while. There isn't as much space as we would prefer but we stayed out of the other runaways way. There isn't much furniture or much of anything, apart from runaways there are about half a dozen of us in total.

It's been four days since Katie, sorry, Alexx ran away, I'll keep my promise, I'll meet her in London, like I said. I'm leaving by train tomorrow, I have to be with her.

I've been here for almost a week, still hungry but it's the best we could do. There are about ten of us here now including me and Tsutu and as a couple of people leave some more arrive, it's hard to keep track of them all. Jack arrived yesterday, but I'm unsure about Jack staying, he gets on well with Tsutu and seems to be surviving fine, but he has a good life at home, I tried talking to him about it but he said he wanted to be with me. If he went back I would have to go back too, I don't know why.

It turns out Tsutu had been on the streets for over a year before I arrived, her parents beat her up and half starved her. Some people are really nice and kind but prone to bad things that aren't their fault.

Alexx asked me if I wanted to go home but I said no, said I wanted to stay with her. I didn't tell her my full reasons, I didn't tell that my feelings for her are more than just the friendship she feels for me. I met Tsutu she seems nice, a little talkative but I'm glad she decided to help me and Alexx of all the people she could have helped. There's just something about her that I don't particularly like.

I never knew how close Alexx and Jack were until Jack arrived. It seems to me that Jack may like Alexx more than a friend but she's oblivious and I'd rather not tell her as I may be wrong. Jack's alright but I don't think he likes me much. I've been on the streets for over a year and know how things are run, sure I've had my doubts about staying but I know that this is better than my old life. Anything is better than that.

It's hard, living out here, why can't it be easy? Since when are any of my decisions easy? Nothing's easy, we have just enough food and water for all of us to get by, but we have no money, if we wanted to leave we wouldn't be able to support ourselves, knowing that the only choices are staying here or going back is the toughest part. I can't get a job, I'm only fifteen with no qualifications noone would hire me.

For some reason I'm starting to feel more about Jack, I don't know why, maybe it's just me. I have been wondering whether he might like me more but I don't want to ask, it will probably be embarrassing. We seem to be drifting apart slightly, but it can't be, not for us, we're too close.

It's hard for me out here, but it may be worse for them, I think it's straining their friendship being here, Alexx seems to be feeling more towards Jack now, I think she may have noticed his feelings but she isn't sure what they mean and doesn't want to ask. I know living here is not good for them. I'm getting closer to Alex, we're sort of friends now but I think it may be better for her and Jack to go home. This isn't the life for them, noone would choose this life if they had a half-way decent other choice.

It's hard here. There's barely anything to do but it's somehow easy to lose track of the days, but I think it's been over two weeks now, anyway, I'm wondering whether this may have all been a mistake. I don't think my parents meant to be mean, but I'd rather not go back. My life is different here, not necessarily better, but different. I miss Darren everyday, I don't know what he's doing or how he is. Me and Jack are drifting apart, this isn't right, it shouldn't be happening.

I still like Alexx but I wonder if it's just a crush, I need to go, I need to tell someone, I should have thought of this before. I can't stay. It's not safe, not for her or for me.

Jack left during the night. He didn't tell me or Tsutu anything. I thought I loved him but I'm not sure now but I'm still worrying about him. I don't know where he is, or why he left.

Alexx is really sad now Jack's left, not really depressed but just missing him, a lot, it turns out they didn't like each other as much as they thought. Jack didn't tell me anything about why he's done this, I never got on really well with him but I want Jack back for Alexx's sake.

Of course, it's right there, I need to tell them. They'll know what to do. They'll help her. Even if I can't. No, I know I can't help on my own.

The apartment seems emptier without Jack, I'm sad but it's not like I'm depressed or anything like that but more like grieving for a lost friend. I wish he'd told me where he is going or why. I don't know why he would leave me like that without even a goodbye.

Jack left two days ago and I know now why he went, it was such a surprise. Jack told the police that we had run away and told them about my parents, now Jack's going back home and me, Tsutu and Darren aren't going back, instead we're going into care. Seeing Darren again it was like I had never ran away, I hugged him and

I said "Darren I'm sorry I left you without saying bye, I didn't want you involved, I won't leave again, I missed you too much" I told him, hugging him tight.

Darren replied "I understand Katie, it's not your fault, they treated you worse, I missed you too. I'm not letting you ditch me again".

I introduced Darren to Tsutu and told him how much she'd helped me, he understands why I left him behind, I won't do it again. I'm being called by my real name, Katie, now, Tsutu understood why I lied to her about my name, it's the only lie I've ever told her, I don't plan to lie to either of them again. The care home is nice, really big and clean and more comfortable than the apartment. I share a room with Tsutu. Darren is in the room next to ours and Jack said he'll visit on the weekends. We're still sort of friends at the moment at least. Tonight, I know I'm going to sleep with a smile on my face.