Chapter One: New Life, Same Life
Savannah washed the morning dishes and sighed heavily. The time on the daisy covered clock by the corner of the small kitchen read 7:52AM. It was that late? Shit, she would have to hurry up. She picked up the pace on washing the dishes. She pulled her hands out of the hot rinse water and ran wet fingers through her long, dark auburn hair.
She stiffened. Oh no, please not this morning. Please, anyone out there, don't let her start this morning, she pleaded to any deity.
She turned to the open doorway. She sounded pretty close. Dark green eyes widened. Oh shit, she panicked. She threw her hands into the water.
Her aunt's upper lip curled. "Why were your hands out of the water, Savannah?" She grabbed her arm in a tight grip and pulled her close. "You're supposed to be doing your chores—not playing around!"
Savannah lowered her head. "I'm sorry, ma'am."
Her mouth twisted into a contemptuous smirk. "You better be sorry, you useless girl." Releasing her arm, her aunt stormed out of the kitchen.
Savannah counted her footsteps—to make sure her aunt was gone or else she would receive a far worse beating. When she was absolutely sure, her body sagged in relief. She finished the dishes and the other miscellaneous chores.
Later, she, her brother, and their aunt gathered into the car. Her brother was dropped off first. When they were in front of her new school, her aunt turned to her with a mocking hundred watt smile.
"Listen here, Savannah," she started, sweetly, "You better not tell anyone about your 'discipline' this time. We don't want to have another… accident, do we?"
Savannah shook her head. "No, ma'am, I don't."
Her aunt nodded. "Good." She kissed her cheek and opened the passenger door. "Now get out and have a good day at school."
She didn't have to tell her twice.
Savannah dragged herself down the hallway. She kept her gaze on the floor, refusing to move anywhere else.
A strap of her messenger bag hung loosely on her left shoulder. Her arms gripped her notebooks and folders tight to her chest. Her body hunched as she walked, trying to act casual. In the corner of her eye, she saw the other students who were now her schoolmates (oh joy) huddle around the neutral colored lockers.
They laughed and talked with their friends as they carried along their everyday morning. They were probably talking about some stupid rumor or some other meaningless gossip, but it sure looked like fun.
Savannah sighed and shook her head. She adjusted her belongings in her arms and fixed the strap of her bag. Summer break had ended, so today was everyone's first day back. The only difference between them and her—she was the new kid.
Unexpectedly, a pair of hands pushed her aside.
Savannah stumbled and grunted when she fell into another person. She fell backwards onto her behind. In the process, she dropped her books and folders to the floor. Some of them flipped open, papers scattering about in reckless abandon. "Oof!" Pain shot through her behind; she winced. Dammit, that hurt.
"Watch where you're going, you stupid girl."
Her eyebrows furrowed at the condescending voice. She looked to the person, a scathing remark on the tip of her tongue, but the person already walked away. All she saw was long, black hair pulled into a high ponytail.
Well, that was weird.
Putting the person out of her mind, Savannah grabbed her things one by one. She hoped beyond hope no one noticed her embarrassing moment—She heard the low snickers and giggles from the students around her—never mind. Savannah's face burned. Or at least it would have but she never blushed easily. With her voice soft, she said, "Oh, god."
"You need any help?"
She looked to meet a pair of amused, almost black eyes above her. She studied the boy and blinked in slight confusion.
The boy was black as midnight and had short, black hair. He wore the school's mandatory uniform in a crisp and immaculate manner, unlike the other boys.
Savannah gave him a sheepish smile. "Um, y-yeah, I sure could use the help. Thank you."
The boy nodded, knelt and grabbed her books.
She shoved the rest of her belongings he didn't grab into her bag. Great, Savannah, she berated herself, what a way to embarrass herself in front of her new classmate.
With everything up, the pair rose to their feet.
She rubbed her behind. The fall hurt more than she had thought it would.
"Hey, you okay?"
Savannah met his eyes again and touched the back of her neck, smiling. "Oh, um, yeah, I'm alright. It's nothing. It's just a little stinging in my behind, that's all."
He shook his head. "No, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this." He touched her cheek. "Did you get hit by something?"
She laid a hand against her cheek and panicked. Oh no, did her aunt leave a bruise from this morning? Dammit, she was in such a rush she didn't have enough time to go and check herself. She put her things down and quickly unzipped her bag, looking for a reflective surface. She found her metallic pencil case, peered into it and looked at the crude reflection of her cheek. A reddish bruise stared back.
Looking away from the mirror, Savannah smiled tightly and waved it off. "Oh, it's nothing. I was playing ball with my younger brother yesterday and I got hit by the ball. It'll clear in a few days."
The boy stared at her for a few extra moments but nodded with a smile, chipped tooth showing. "Okay. Anyway, what you doing carrying 'round all these books with you? Didn't you find your locker?"
She nodded, slow.
"Then why are you lugging them 'round? There are small breaks between classes. You don't need all this with you at once."
Realization dawned onto her and she smiled. "Oh! I-I didn't know. You see, at my old school, we didn't have many breaks between classes, so we had to carry everything to each class. Thanks for letting me know."
He smiled once more. "The name's Travis. What's yours?"
"Savannah. It's, um, nice meeting you, Travis."
"You too, Savannah; do you want me to help you back to your locker?"
Meeting his eyes, Savannah smiled, her eyes crinkling at the edges. "Thanks, Travis. That would be great."
Travis nodded and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
Her cheeks warmed from the unsuspected touch.
"A'right then. Lead the way, Savannah."
Savannah trotted down the hall for her next class. She scratched her head and grimaced when she came across a delicate part of her scalp, courtesy of—she shook her head of the memory.
She reached the gymnasium and walked to the girls' changing room. She changed uniforms quickly, looking around, wary. Fortunately, there were no other girls present in the changing room. She twisted the combination lock on her assigned locker and opened it, throwing her uniform inside.
"My, my, look at what the trash brought in."
She jumped. There was someone in there with her? She hoped they hadn't seen anything—that would cause trouble that she did not need. She turned to meet three girls. "Hello. Can I help you with something?" she asked.
One of the girls stepped forward, a small smile on her lips.
She was skinny; she seemed to barely weigh in at one hundred pounds. She had green eyes and a large forehead. She wore her dirty blond hair to her shoulder blades in a spunky cut. The girl wasn't ugly, but she wasn't beautiful either. She wore a small blue nose ring and four holes in her ears. There was a scar on her light skin near her temple; it didn't look like it was going away anytime soon.
"I need to talk a couple things over with you," the girl said, her eyes trailing slowly over Savannah. "Freak."
The other two girls giggled, haughty smiles curving their mouths.
Savannah flushed but turned mid-way from the group, fiddling with her combination lock once more. "Really? What is it that you need to talk about?"
All of a sudden, a hand gripped her shoulder and forced her around. She stared into a pair of fierce green eyes.
The girl's upper lip curled. "You will look at me when I'm talking to you, freak. Now, you're in my area and I want you outta it."
Savannah scowled. "But this is my locker."
The girl narrowed her eyes. Her grip on Savannah's arm tightened and her nails dug into the skin. Not a millisecond later, she chuckled softly and released the pressure on her arm. Her hand lashed out suddenly at her in a slap.
Savannah's cheek exploded with a flash of pain. "Ouch!" What the hell was that for?
Her voice void of emotion, she said, "I don't think you've heard me clearly, Freak." She snapped her fingers.
Two pair of hands clutched the front of her t-shirt. Her back slammed into the locks, causing her to groan in protest. The locks jingled loud in her ears. It took her a moment to recapture her breath from the sudden movement—and the pain.
You make it six steps before a hand grabs the back of your shirt and you're yanked. You're practically choking when you're slammed into the wall. You cough and hold your neck where the shirt collar bit into your skin.
Her eyes widened. Oh, god, no. Savannah kicked and struggled against the hands holding her.
The girl slapped her again. "Stop struggling, bitch."
Savannah, with reluctance, stopped. She should've known better than to fight this.
The girl smirked. "Good. Now, I'll say this again. I don't want you anywhere near here."
She quivered but bowed her head in defeat. What was the point of fighting against this? She would never win. "Yes."
"Good." She sent a punch into her stomach.
"Gyuh!" The aching intensified. Her stomach burned. The next second, her butt met the floor. She curled in on herself and listened helplessly to the group's harsh laughter at her pain.
Savannah rested her chin in her open hand. With a plastic fork and her mashed potatoes, she sculpted a figure. Afterwards, she crushed the figure with the tines of the bendable fork. It wasn't as though it was going to be eaten anyway. She hated mashed potatoes. A sharp pain throbbed in her stomach again and she groaned. Gritting her teeth, she curled an arm around her middle.
Something slammed onto the table spot beside her.
She jumped and looked up to see the boy from the hallway. What was his name again? After a moment, she remembered it to be Travis.
Travis laughed. "I didn't mean to scare you, Savannah." He took his seat.
Savannah blinked away her lapse in concentration and gave him a weak smile. "It's okay, Travis." She turned back to her food and gave it a scrutinizing look. Her stomach clenched in pain once more. She decided right then that she wasn't going to be eating any kind of lunch today.
"You okay? You haven't touched your food."
Savannah looked up to meet his concerned gaze. "Yeah, I'm fine. I'm just not hungry." She grinned passed her frown and pushed her tray to the side.
"You wouldn't mind if I took it, then?"
Savannah shook her head.
Travis grinned happily and pulled the tray to his side of the table. He started on the lunch, shoving a spoonful of mashed potatoes happily into his mouth.
Savannah rolled her eyes in good nature at his eagerness.
"¡Qué una línea!" An accented voice complained in Spanish a few minutes later. "Y todo sólo por un estúpido pedazo de pavo y puré de papas, también. Ugh!"
Savannah and Travis both looked up. They watched a girl make their way to the table, a gentle sway to her walk. Curly, honey-blond hair bounced with each step. The girl was quite tall and had a slender build. Savannah noticed that her uniform was a bit different from everyone else's. Her skirt was a little shorter than required and knee socks not school standard.
"¡Hola, mi Amor, how you've been?" the girl asked once she met the table,.
Travis, with his mouth full, nodded his head. He chewed for a minute, swallowed the food and then replied, "I've been fine, my darling Jessica, and to what you said earlier, the food sure tastes great."
The girl named Jessica smiled and took her seat beside him. After pressing a sticky kiss to his cheek, she turned her attention to Savannah. She raised an eyebrow. "Hello?" she said a bit slow. "Who are you?"
Travis stuffed more food into his mouth. "That's the new kid, Jessica."
Her forehead wrinkled. "We were supposed to get a new kid?"
Travis nodded. "I guess so."
With a frown, she took her plastic fork and twirled it through her mashed potatoes. "How do you know about her?"
"I met her in the hallway earlier. She had fell and dropped her things. I was helping her pick them up."
Jessica hummed and looked to Savannah. Her frigid light brown gaze on her face measured her. After an eternity, her eyes warmed and she nodded her head, a ghost of a smile on her face. "I guess you're okay. I'm Jessica, Travis's girlfriend."
Savannah nodded and looked her over. The girl looked Hispanic. Her facial features were okay. She wasn't any beauty queen but she was pretty in her own way. The mole on the left side of her lips stood out. "I'm Savannah."
With a nod and a smile, Jessica started her lunch and threw herself into a conversation with Travis. The couple chattered and laughed about various things. Meanwhile, they sneaked in little kisses here and there.
Savannah wrinkled her nose. She didn't like public displays of affections. Turning away from the scene, she laid her head down on the table.
"Um, Anna?" She looked up to Jessica. Her eyebrows creased. "Are you feeling sick? Um, if you are, I can walk you to the nurse's office."
Savannah blinked and smiled, shaking her head. "No, I'm alright, Jessica. I just have a slight headache."
Jessica pulled her bottom lip between her teeth. She tilted her head sideways. "Well, if you're sure…"
She nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure."
With a final look, Jessica turned back to her conversation with her boyfriend. As the minutes dwindled down, Jessica and Travis stood to their feet. Jessica surprised Savannah with a farewell hug and a genuine smile. They soon departed for their next class.
Savannah bid them farewell. Soon the lunch bell rang and she left for her respective class.
Savannah trudged up the stairs to her house after checking the mail. She fished for her keys when she reached the door. Upon entry, she took note of the lack of shoes by the door.
Her aunt and brother weren't home yet.
Removing her shoes, Savannah picked them up and went to her bedroom. She toed the door closed and threw her bag and shoes to the side. The bag landed into a pile of dirty laundry. Her shoes smacked the wall before falling to the ground in a corner.
She contemplated showering but she was too tired. Instead, she changed into a loose fitting t-shirt. Exhausted, she fell on her bed and went straight to sleep.
Savannah crawled out from under the covers (when had she even got under them in the first place?). She looked to over to her alarm clock as she tried to gather together pieces of her scattered mind. Peering at the neon digital numbers, she saw that it was 7:00PM.
Seven… Seven… Oh, god, it was seven o'clock!
She sat up, moaning softly at the dizziness she suddenly felt. Once it passed, she panicked. Oh no! She hadn't done any of her chores! And she didn't make Spencer and herself any dinner! She jumped off the bed. In the process of rushing, she tripped on a bundle of blankets and met the floor. She took a moment to moan and curse and then got up to continue in a more careful, albeit panicked rush.
"Sh...it!" She bolted out of her bedroom door and into the kitchen. In there, she flipped on the light switch and hurried over to the cabinets and clattered through them with her hands. Pulling out different pots and pans, she started making dinner.
She turned back to see her brother, Spencer, standing in the doorway. His usually tidied short, black hair was sleep-mussed and his dark, acorn-sized eyes glazed over with hunger. He was dressed in his blue pajamas. "Sis, I'm hungry." He pouted.
Savannah laughed. "Dinner will be ready soon, Spence."
He smiled and skipped to the small kitchen table, taking a seat.
Savannah turned away and went back to completing dinner. She poured the pot of Ramen noodles into two bowls and went about to adding the necessary seasonings, which included little bits of meat and vegetables. Finished with the preparations, Savannah picked up the bowls and slid Spencer's in front of him and hers to the other side of the table.
Spencer smiled his thanks. He quickly said a prayer (he was the only one of the family who believed in God) and then chow down into his dinner.
"Spencer, did you shower before putting on your pajamas?"
"Yeah, Sis." Seconds later, he yawned and rubbed at his eyes. "But I fell asleep."
Savannah chuckled and patted him on the head, earning a pout from him. "Don't feel so bad about it, Spence. I did too."
He smiled big, revealing a missing front tooth.
Savannah returned the gesture, went back to the sink and dropped her hands into the water. She began to wash the dishes. She heard her name called, paused in scrubbing a particular spot on a plate and looked back to her brother, her eyebrows raised.
"Can you help me with my homework? There are a couple of math problems that I don't get."
With a smile, she replied, "Sure, Spence, I'll help you, but right after I'm done with the chores, okay?" She winked playfully.
Spencer nodded his head and went back to eating his dinner.
Savannah went back to work.
Savannah awoke in a cold sweat. Harsh, ragged breaths pushed in and out of her lungs. She could feel her heart beating viciously against her throat. Tears involuntarily pooled in her eyes. Her hands clenched around clumps of fabric, knuckles turning ash white. She pulled her legs to her chest and wrapped her arms around them in an attempt to calm down.
She began to cry.
Looking up, she saw her brother's figure standing by the door's opening. She wiped her face on the back of her hand and then switched on her desk lamp. "Spencer?"
Spencer sniffed and rushed over, throwing his arms around her and crying into her chest.
"Spence, what's wrong?" she asked, worried.
Spencer sniffed again, shaking his head against her chest. "I'm sorry, Savannah. I didn't mean to. I don't want Aunt Rachel to know." He started to sob softly.
"Shh... Spence, don't cry. Aunt Rachel isn't going to know." Savannah cupped a wet cheek and wiped at his tears with her thumb. Giving him a soft smile, she kissed his forehead.
He hiccuped but smiled nonetheless.
She pulled her brother up onto her bed, pulled the sheets back, allowed him to climb under and pulled the covers back over his body. She kissed his forehead. "Rest, okay? I'll be right back."
Savannah tiptoed out of the room. Once she was inside of her brother's room, she worked quickly to remove the soiled sheets and changed them. She threw the dirty ones in the harbor for cleaning.
Their aunt did not need to find out about Spencer wetting the bed again.
The last time she did...
Savannah cleared her head of the painful memories and went back to fixing the bed. When she was done, she left to go back to her bedroom. Once inside, she walked up to her bed. She pulled the sheets up and snuggled up into her brother's side.
Spencer turned to face her and snuggled sleepily into her front.
Circling her arms around his waist in a loose embrace, Savannah buried her face into his soft black hair. The tears she held at bay finally fell.
To Be Continued. . .
Update 2 (10.13.2013)
I went through the chapter again because I noticed some things weren't going with what I planned later into the story. Not too much was changed so the chapter is still the same.
Update 1 (04.10.2013)
I fixed up some sentences, tightened up the prose, fixed up Savannah's characterization and changed the meeting between Jessica and Savannah a little so it wouldn't seem like Savannah is a Mary-Sue or at least on her way to becoming one. Besides those changes, the chapter is still the same.
~Thank you to Rogue Energizer Bunny for beta-ing this for me.~
Seeing Through Tears. All rights reserved (c) 2012-2013