I woke up at the stroke of midnight with my leg screaming in pain. I called out to my mother, but she didn't come. I know she's a light sleeper, and her room is two doors away from mine, so there can't be an excuse for her absence in my time of need.

I got out of bed and limped my way to the freezer to get some ice, pain getting increasingly unbearable with every step I took. I opened the door and water spilled onto the floor. That's when I realized my sister's stupid dog unplugged the fridge again.

"Damn it, Shigure." I sighed, repressing the urge to yell at said mutt for fear of waking anyone.

I painfully knelt down to the floor and plugged the appliance back in. Once it was in place, I heard the whirring of the mechanism starting up. Still in pain, I stood up and got out a rag and dampened it with cold water. Only when I sat down to nurse my leg did my mother finally come downstairs.

"Must you really yell for something this early in the morning?" She groaned. "Especially when you can take care of yourself..."

I shot her an irritated look. "You're kidding, right?" I replied. "Why would I yell for you in any situation other than an emergency?"

"I don't want to hear it, Tobie. It obviously wasn't that bad of a tragedy; you're taking care of whatever it is on your own. By the way, what is your problem- other than the obvious?"

I narrowed my eyes at her and chose my words carefully, not to slip in anything sarcastic that could get me beaten again. "It's a Charlie Horse."

"A Charlie Horse?" She repeated. "Hardly enough reason to wake me from my slumber."

"Oh, well excuse me for having my mother be the first one to think of for help in my time of need." I blurted out.

"Your sarcasm is overwhelming." She said, approaching me.

"Yeah, I'm fluent in sarcasm you arrogant pompous bitch." I said, again unable to stop myself. But I didn't have a feeling of regret this time- I had snapped.

Now, she walked toward me and backhanded me.

"Don't you dare talk to me like that!" She hissed, leaning down to my level and pointing at me like a child. "For that, I'm having you clip the lawn with scissors again."

I sighed. Again? I thought to myself. I remembered when she made me do that last week. I had added too much salt and pepper to her chicken, so she sent me out to mow the lawn, but the lawn mower was conveniently not functioning, so she tossed me a pair of long yellow scissors and wished me the best of luck.

My elderly neighbor Carol had come by and asked why I was doing this. I told her the lawnmower broke and I just felt like being weird that day. I don't think she bought it, but she left. Later, her husband Donald came over to mow the lawn for me and insisted I had earned it after I helped his wife with her gardening yesterday.

"And don't expect neighbors to help this time- they're going to a family get-together." Heather said, interrupting my flashback.

"Great! Watch me care " I grumbled.

"You should, considering you have three more hours of sleep left."

" It's midnight." I pointed out. "I always get up at five-"

"Well, you're starting at three." She interrupted. "Sleep well."

She then turned around and went back to bed.

I sat there on the couch, my leg still hurting, and I began sobbing. The figurative pain in my heart seemed to overwhelm the physical pain in my leg.

Why am I still here? I asked myself. I don't deserve this! Maybe I should just No! I shook the thought of leaving from my head. I need her ?

For some reason, that last thought didn't sound right; 'I need her'? Do I? Do I really? Do I need this abuse? Do I need this treatment? Do I need to compromise who I am or who I could be for that woman?

Then, my next move was clear. I felt the winds of destiny change and tell me I need to do something more. I belong, just not here.

I wiped away my tears, took a deep breath and did a few stretches to help my leg. It started feeling better after a minute or two, so I stepped on it and straightened out. I still felt a slight twinge of pain, but it was nothing too serious.

I walked upstairs to my room, closed the door, and just stood there, thinking. I began devising a plan for escape; pack up, run away, withdraw all my savings from paid yard work from the neighbors-since Heather never paid me-, find somewhere to stay, get a job and live on my own something like that sounds good.

After establishing that the first step was to run away, I went to my closet and began packing clothes into my duffel bag including: socks, shorts, pants, shirts, undergarments, fishnets, my only skirt, pajamas, and tank tops. I got all my necessary clothes and realized the last things I needed were the toiletries, so I silently snuck out of my room to the bathroom. There, I got out my travel bag and packed my toothbrush, toothpaste, hair stuff, face wash, etc . When everything was packed, I closed the bag and turned to leave when I came face-to-face with my blonde haired blue-eyed sibling.

"Where you going?" She asked, arms crossed and head tilted to one side.

"I'm granting 'mommy-dearest's' wish." I replied, sarcastically.

"Oh, you're getting her a Corvette?" She asked innocently.

"Uh, no." I raised an eyebrow. "I'm leaving."

She furrowed her brows and gave me a confused look. "You mean the wish of you never being here?"

I bit my lip and nodded.

"No!" She cried as she wrapped her arms around me. "Please don't leave!"

"Shh!" I tried to quiet the crying, hoping Heather didn't hear us.

"But I love you!" She whispered, sniffling. One would never guess that she's 14 by the way she's acting right now.

"Sondra, it's okay." I assured her. "I'm just going to stay at Stephen's house for a while. You know where it is; come visit."

She pulled away from me and wiped a tear away with her sleeve. "Can I?"

I nodded. "Uh huh. Just call ahead, okay?"

She nodded in agreement and sniffled again.

"Now, go to bed. I'll be leaving in a minute and I don't want to wake the parent."

"O-okay." She agreed as she gave me one last hug before she tiptoed off to bed. I heard a fain whisper of 'I love you' before her door closed.

After double checking my itinerary and turning off the light, I crept to my room and put everything in the duffel bag and changed clothes. I got out of my raggedy old pajamas and threw them away. I got on my jeans, black tank top, and black and silver AFI sweatshirt. After throwing on socks and my converses, I climbed out the window. I sat on the windowsill for a moment, feeling the cool summer nighttime air surround me and breathe in the crisp Ohio air. I then heard footsteps approach my door, so I hit the ground running, not looking back or worrying if I'd get caught or not.

I turned the corner onto Julliard Blv. and ran to 2319, my best friend Stephen Donwitty's house. It's a small one-story house with a stone walled front, two matching spiral bushes in the front garden with a statue of Buddha between them.

Looking around to make sure nobody saw me, I snuck inconspicuously against the side of the house to the back. I dropped my bag to the ground and got on my hands and knees and tapped on the basement window. Nothing happened, so I tapped a little louder and called for him. "Stephen!" I hissed in a loud whisper. "Stephen, it's me, Tobie! Open up!"

I rapped on the window faster and a little louder until a light finally came on. I saw him standing by the light switch, his black hair slightly messy, his tanned skin glistening in a thin layer of sweat, wearing the boxers I got him for his birthday- I didn't actually think he'd wear them ever Then, I saw him walk up to me, stand on the couch and open the window.

"Tobie?" He grumbled, rubbing one of his eyes. "What the hell is going on?"

"Let me in and I'll explain." I suggested. As I said that, I felt tears form as the truth of tonight's incidents finally hit me.

"Oh, Christ, come on in." He demanded as he latched the window open and grabbed my bag for me. I crawled through the window and plopped myself into the couch and began crying. I had my face in my hands, but I felt my best friend sit next to me.

"It's alright hon. Let it all out. I'm here." He said, patting my back.

"I'm sorry." I apologized, wiping my face dry. I looked up at him and sniffled. "I've had enough of her crap " I trailed off as something caught my eye.

On the bed opposite the couch was someone in his bed, sitting up and looking at us, mirroring my confusion. Stephen followed my gaze and saw where my eyes landed.

"This is Kayle." He introduced us. "He's um "

"Oh, yeah." I said as the pieces fell into place. I looked back at Kayle and smiled. "It's nice to meet you.

"Nice to meet you as well." He said before he cleared his throat. "You must be the famous Tobie I've heard so much about."

"Yeah." I nodded, blushing; I tend to do that when I find out people talk about me. "Oh, I'm sorry if I interrupted anything " I apologized, looking back at Stephen.

"You kinda did," he replied hesitantly, "but it's okay; you obviously need someone to talk to. I'm here."

I nodded and my eyes rested on the corner of his room. Then, something else caught my eye: a long leather strap and two pairs of silver handcuffs. I obviously did interrupt something.

"What did she do?" Stephen asked, knowing my issue had something to do with Heather.

I took a deep breath and gathered my thoughts, not knowing where to begin.

"Let me guess, all her abuse has just built up and you can't take it anymore?"

He knows me so well. "That's exactly it." I replied with a faint laugh. "I had to get out, and I didn't know where else to go."

Stephen hugged me close. "Well, you came to the right place, just the wrong time." He was about to say something more, but was cut off by the booming voice of Officer Donwitty; Stephen's dad.

"What's with all the noise?" He yelled as he opened the bedroom door. The built, balding man stormed in and froze at the sight of me sitting on the couch, eyes puffy from crying. "Tobie, oh I'm sorry. I thought Stephen never mind. Are you okay?"

"Oh, um, I'm just having trouble with Hea- uh, Mom."

He sighed and crossed his arms. "Figured as much. You know, I'm surprised you endured her as much as you have." He said with a laugh. "I can't take that woman for more than a minute at a time. Ha ha "

I just smiled and nodded. "I guess I'm a trooper."

His booming laughter echoed throughout the basement. "You got that right. Well, I'll just leave you to your healing I'll see you later." He waved goodbye as he shut the door behind him.

I looked to Stephen and his face was pale. I suppose he was worried his dad would've stepped forward and saw his male lover on the other side of the wall and thrown a fit.

"Anyways, can I crash here?" I asked, expecting I could take the couch in the upstairs living room and leave the two with their privacy.

"Sure, I'll go get you a pillow." He said, getting up and leaving the room. Before he disappeared behind the door, he gave me a reassuring smile.

When Kayle and I were left alone, it felt awkward. I just looked over to him and smiled, trying to be polite. I saw that he wasn't much bigger than Stephen, but he was paler and had blonde hair and dark emerald eyes.

Just then, the door opened and I looked up, but instead of my best friend, I saw his dad walking toward me with a pillow and a folded blanket.

"I assume you want to stay the night?" He asked, handing me the bundle. I felt panic take over my body and tried to get up to him before he saw his son's gay lover, but I was too late. He turned the corner and saw the boy.

He was silent for a moment, but I saw his face turn from shades of red to blue to purple before he screamed.

"STEPHEN ANDREW DONWITTY!"

"I'm so sorry." Stephen apologized to both of us as he shut the door, saving us from the wrath that was his father. I haven't seen him this angry, even when he found us at a club we had snuck into. I'm sure he'd take that angry dad over this one.

Kayle and I were standing on the corner with our stuff, dumbfounded. I turned to him and offered to walk him home, since there's some boys around here that are notorious for gay-bashing.

"Thank you, I'd appreciate it." He said as we walked off to his place.

He told me about how he and Stephen had met and about how he doesn't shut up about me. I laughed and told him how Stephen and I grew up together behind Heather's back, seeing as how she doesn't allow me to have a social life.

"That's rough." He pointed out, nodding.

"Yeah, but I think it's time for me to leave that whore." I said. "I just need to find somewhere to go."

"Do you have money?" He asked, eyeing my baggage.

"A little." I replied. "Just enough to pay for one month of rent and the down payment of an apartment and nothing else."

He squinted at me and seemed to be thinking for a bit. "The motel down the road-"

"Is run by my mother." I interrupted. "Yeah, I won't get very far.

There was an awkward silence for a moment, but we had arrived at his destination. He turned to me and thanked me for the company. I was about to leave, but he had something more to say.

"Listen, Tobie, I think I know of a place that can take you in."

"You think there's a place?"

He nodded. "Well, I know someone who went there. But she left and visited me once, but never returned again, but the one time I did see her, she was different."

"Different?"

He nodded again. "Yes, but different in a good way. She was happy, so it's not a bad place how do I put this?" He paused and looked for the right word. "It's a... a 'coven' I think she said."

"Coven?"

"Yeah. I hear it's a fantastic place and they could probably take you in if you want. The only drawback is that you can't see your family again."

I considered this for a moment, then decided to go for it. I know I'd never see Sondra again, but I know Heather will treat her well; she always had, it was just me that got the bitch end of the stick.

"Where is this place?"

Kayle gave me directions and I bolted after thanking him properly. I followed the instructions perfectly, but when I got to where I was supposed to be, there was nothing. It was pitch dark out and I couldn't see anything, and it didn't help that the flashlight I had burnt out.

I fell to my knees and began to cry right there. I have the worst luck ever; I'm born into a family where the only two people who like me dies, and everyone else, except my sister, hates me. Then, when I finally take charge of myself, I go to a place where I know I'm welcome, but get kicked out because of my friend's sodomy. And to top it all off, I get lost in the pitch-black woods with no source of light.

Out of frustration, I slapped the ground, but there was a rock and I sliced my palm open.

"Damn it!" I yelled from behind my tears. I cradled my hand to my chest and sobbed some more. I didn't know what else to do, so I just sat there and prayed to a God I knew didn't exist.

"Help me." I cried quietly to myself. "I didn't do anything to deserve this. Please help me find a way to be independent. Please!" I sobbed harder, and thought about suicide.

But, the scenery changed. The dark clouds in the sky dissipated a little and the moonlight shined so bright, I could see for miles if it wasn't for the trees. However, the object of interest was only a few yards away. In the clearing of the woods, I saw a large Victorian house with a wraparound porch. In this light, it looked pure white with a dark blue roof and matching blue trim.

I got up from the ground and walked toward the building, luggage in the uninjured hand. As I got closer, the house seemed to get bigger and more eerie, yet at the same time, welcoming. I climbed the stairs to the porch and approached the front door. I had noticed that the windows were blocked off; I couldn't see in, but I had a feeling someone was home, so I knocked. But, there was no answer, so I knocked again. I heard the noise I made echo throughout the massive building, but nobody came. Feeling exhausted, I grabbed a small blanket I had packed and sat down, back against the house and waited for someone to arrive, while wrapping up my bleeding hand.

I had been sitting on the porch for a few hours; I hadn't fallen asleep, but I was in a state of deep meditation, giving me the physical benefits of sleep. I was brought back by the sounds of whispers. I opened my eyes and saw two tall, skinny, good-looking men with long silver hair standing at the bottom steps of the porch. They wore long matching robe/dress-like outfits typically seen in India.

"Yuki," the one on the left spoke, "there seems to be a visitor."

"I believe you are correct, brother." The other one replied. Under closer inspection I saw that they were twins.

"I'm sorry." I apologized. "I didn't mean to trespass. Please don't call the police, I'll just go. I don't want any trouble." I grabbed my belongings and was about to leave when one of them stopped me.

"It's actually quite alright." Yuki said, blocking my way out. "You can stay, but we'd feel much better if you stayed inside, come dear."

They approached me and escorted me back to the house and let me in. The inside didn't match the outside at all; there was an extravagant chandelier in the middle of the ceiling hovering over the end of the long staircase. The walls had deep red wallpaper with a golden ivy-like design and the carpet on the stairs was the same shade of red and looked like crushed velvet.

"Leave your bag here, dear." Yuki said. "Wallace will take care of it."

I put my bag down and followed Yuki to another room, which I assumed was the dining room. There was a long table with enough seats to occupy 14 people.

Yuki sat me down in a chair next to him and smiled at me. In this light I saw that he had a purple streak in his hair, and he was extremely beautiful and his pale green eyes were so kind and assuring. I could tell he was here to help, and that I've come to the right place.

"Now dear, what is your name?" He asked.

"Oh, um, my names Tobie." I informed him. "Tobie DeSylva."

He scrunched up his face like he just smelled something mildly disgusting. "Tobie? Isn't that a boy's name?"

"Actually, that's not my birth name." I defended. "It's actually Jezebelle, but I'm not girlie. I hang with boys, and they gave me a more suiting name."

"Oh but honey, that name doesn't suit you at all!" He gasped.

"Excuse me?"

"I think your birth name is perfect."

"But it's so so girlie "

"No, I can tell it's perfectly you. I look at you, see past the the baggy sweatshirt and make-upless face, and see the beautiful woman behind your deep, dark violet eyes."

I raised an eyebrow at his absurdity. But, I didn't want to offend him- not when I might have to depend on him for shelter and food etcetera. "Um thank you. Nobody's ever really complemented my femininity."

"Well they should more often." He said, nodding to himself. "Anyways, I assume you're here because you " he hesitated for a moment with his eyes closed before he continued, " you've had enough of certain family members and you need to be yourself and not somebody's maid, am I right?"

His accuracy stunned me for a moment. "Uh yeah, that's pretty much it."

"Well, why don't we just take you to your quarters." He suggested, standing up. "It just so happens we have a free room."

"Wow lucky me." I replied, following him to the stairs. "But wait " He turned to me still grinning. "What about the rules? Do I pay rent? How about-"

"Come dear," He interrupted, "we can talk about it some other time. Don't worry your pretty little existence, we'll take care of you."

Don't worry your pretty little existence? I asked myself. I never heard that before.

We continued out of the dining room and went up the stairs to the second floor. I was amazed at the amount of doors this hallway had. Ahead of us were four doors on each side, and I looked behind me to see two more sets behind the staircase's railing.

We continued down the hallway and he stopped and turned to me in front of the last door on the right.

"This is your room here." He opened the door and waved his arm in a wide motion, ushering me inside. "If you'd like, we're having dinner downstairs in half an hour and we'd love for you to join."

I gave him a confused look. "Dinner? It's almost three in the morning!"

He nodded. "I know, it's a little late, but everyone's still on their way back from their jobs." He hesitated on the last word, but he still had a sweet, welcoming expression on his face.

"Okay then," I replied, "half an hour you said?"

"Yes, oh, and if you could wear the dress we put in your closet, that would be fabulous."

"Dress?" I asked, slightly worried. I don't wear dresses. Ever.

"Yes," he replied, "we always get dressed up for dinner. It's just the way we run things."

I nodded in agreement. I don't want to be too nit picky. After all, they are saving me from starvation. The least I can do is suck it up.

"Now, get yourself comfortable." He said, turning to leave. "See you at dinner."

At that, he left me to get acquainted with my new room. I wandered over to the closet that was to hold the dress. I opened the doors and saw all my clothes hung up. I guess they decided to unpack my baggage

Then, at the end of the hanger rod, there was a garment bag, so I took it out, assuming that was the garment in question. I unzipped said bag and saw that it was a black, spaghetti strap, T-length dress with a bright purple sash.

I took it off the hanger and tried it on; it fit perfectly. Even so, I was uncomfortable since I never wear skirts or dresses. The last time I wore a dress was at my father's funeral when Heather was eight months pregnant with Sondra.

I finally checked the full-body mirror in the door and thought I looked sexy, which made me even more uncomfortable, yet at the same time, I felt pretty.

I then rummaged through my bag and found the necklace my father had left me before he died. It's a little cerulean teardrop with a sapphire gem near the top on a silver chain. Sapphire is my birthstone, which my father and I share. I was born September 17th, the day after his 22nd birthday. I took off my watch because I was pretty sure it would 'clash' with the dress, but I kept on my chrome bone bracelet, since I can't take it off.

While I was accessorizing, I came to a realization. I could tell this dress was tailor-made; it fit me perfectly. I've never seen these people before, so how did they have my measurements?

I felt a chill go down my spine, so I sat on the huge queen size four-poster bed. The red satin sheets were so smooth, and it frightened me a little. It reminded me of the vampire brothel from the Tales From the Crypt Movie. But, I let that bad feeling go a little, making me a little bit more comfortable; comfortable enough to lie down and rest my eyes until mealtime.