Jessicas Favorite Stories- I'm so glad to see one of my old reviewers back! I hope, with time, the others will come back too. I had such fun with all of you. Thank you for reading this!

True Talker- Thank you :) I work really hard to make sure that Ryan's feelings show through. Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time on his emotions, and have none left for other characters...

myheart4you- Well if you can write from a girl's perspective, I applaud you, because that is something I just can't can't do. As for Ryan meeting somebody, I'm still thinking hard about that. A lot of readers think he would fit well with Sam, as you said, so that's always an option. Maybe I should take a vote.

skylove- Don't worry, Ryan is somebody I always will continue with, until the very end. I love him very much.

The Red Dove- I'm so glad to see you again! I hope you'll like this story as much as you liked the first one!

Thank you very much for the love. :)

Also, if you all be so kind, my little sister has posted a story here, and I'd love if you would all drop a review for her. She's on my favorite authors list, as Alatum Cloud, and her story is called, "Would I rather?" Why it's called that is beyond me.


Chapter 2

When I got out of school, Thomson's police cruiser was outside waiting for me, so he must have just gotten off of work, or was only on break, because when he usually drove me places he would take a normal car, so it wouldn't attract attention to us.

"Hey, where do you want to go?" he asked me when I got in, ruffling my hair as I sat. I shook it back into place, or probably made it worse, then shrugged.

"I don't care."

"Okay, how about Olive Garden then?" he asked. We'd been talking about trying the food there the last time we had gotten together. I nodded.

"Okay."

At the restaurant, I told him about my mother, and how she had called after all this time, and how I didn't know what to do. He was twirling his spaghetti on his fork, thinking deeply as I spoke. Since I'd just had spaghetti the day before, I was now eating just some soup and some salad.

During my time with Dominic, my food income had been limited. I was only allowed to eat at specific times, and I was only allowed to eat specific foods. Nothing that would make me gain too much weight, because Dominic was fucking picky like that.

Sometimes, eating too much food caused problems for me. My body was so accustomed to only tiny amounts, that eating huge portions would make my stomach hurt. So that's why, such as right now, I often just ate small portions, slowly easing my way back to normal portions one meal at a time.

"Ah Ryan, it's never easy with you, is it?" Thomson teased when I was done explaining. I nodded.

"What do you think I should do?"

"I think...you should talk to her." he said slowly, thinking about it. "I know you probably have a lot of feelings of animosity towards her, but I think it would be good for you, and I think you would regret it if you didn't."

I thought about it. I did want to talk to her. I wanted to know why she had left us, if it was worth it, and why she wanted to be around now. I wondered briefly if she had another kid now. That might explain the sudden maternal instinct. That would be funny, in a totally not funny at all kind of way. Every time I was reunited with somebody, there was a new child, somebody to replace me.

And...I kind of missed her. I mean, she was my mom. I hadn't thought about her in a long time though, not during my time with Dominic. My mind had been filled with things far more important. Things like the family that I'd left behind, and the friends, and of course, how to please Dominic, keep him happy, make him love me.

"Okay." I sighed. "I'll meet with her."

Thomson smiled at me and nodded at my food. "Now eat up, and let's get you home."

When we got back to my house, there was an unfimiliar car in the driveway. That on it's own made me wary. I didn't like being around strangers much. It made me nervous. What did they want? Who were they?

"Come on." Thomson urged me gently. "Let's go see who it is."

"Nobody good." I grumbled, getting out of the car. We went inside, swinging the door open without knocking.

"Hey, I'm home!" I shouted, because I didn't see anybody. "And Thomson's here with me!"

A minute later, Steven was standing at the bottom of the stairs, running over to give Thomson a hug. He was followed by an unfimilar teen, about my age, and another minute later, Terry, Dad, and Dusk were downstairs, along with a woman, and two more kids, both girls, closer to Steven's age, maybe a year younger. The woman's eyes widened when she saw me, and she teared up. After a second, I recognized her. It was my dad's sister, Aunt Mary.

That probably meant these were my cousins, John, Astrid, and Katie. I hadn't seen them since I was twelve. They'd grown up. They were all staring at me in awe, silent, not sure what to do. Astrid moved first, tackling me into a hug, Thomson having to keep us upright.

"Ryan!" she said. "I'm so sorry!"

A minute later, her twin, Katie, was beside us, joining. I tensed up, not sure what to do. I slowly hugged them back. "Astrid, Katie. You girls really grew up." I was glad that they still remembered me, and surprised that they'd missed me this much.

Aunt Mary was beside us a moment later, saying all kinds of stuff.

"Oh, we never thought we'd see you again, look how you've grown, you poor baby."

All kinds of sentences jumbled together. What was going on? First mom calls, then these guys come to visit? Was I the family circus act now? Where they all going to swarm around me and stare, and ooh and ah?

"Mary. It's really good to see you." I said, smiling politely. "All of you." Me and John used to hang out a lot when we were kids, during boring family functions, and I wondered if he'd feel at ease enough to move up here and say hi, or if he was too weirded out.

As if sensing my thoughts, John slowly started coming over, holding out a hand for me to shake. I met it, and he looked up into my eyes, like he was looking to see how much I changed. I was lucky he'd caught me on a good day. Today I seemed normal enough. Some days I screamed and cried, and threw stuff around. The last time that had happened was when I'd woken up from a good dream about me and Dominic, one of the ones that made me miss him a lot.

"Hey man." he said. "I'm...sorry about what happened to you." he said awkwardly, and I nodded, pulling our hands apart.

"Yeah. Thanks."

He nodded now, and moved back a few steps.

This was going to be awkward.

*(*)

An hour later, all the kids were outside, playing in the front yard. Well, not really playing. Steven was playing with baby Ryan, and Katie and Astrid had joined in out of boredom. I was sitting on the roof of the doghouse, and John was in our shed, looking for anything interesting.

I closed my eyes against the sunlight, but as always, the first thing I thought about was Dominic, so I opened them again quickly.

Baby Ryan was crying. I looked over, and saw that she had fallen, and her knees were scrapped up. For a second, I had a horrible sense of deja vu. This was the scene of the day I'd gone missing.

I wanted to shout, nobody leave anybody alone, because I was suddenly sure one of us would be snatched away if we did. It was possible. I didn't think it could happen to me, but it did.

My thoughts were ripped from my little sister when a sharp whistling noise pierced the air. The others looked over at John curiously, who had just come out of the shed. But I recognized the noise instantly, and suddenly, I couldn't move, frozen to the doghouse.

"Why do you guys have this?" John asked, slashing the whip again. He was moving toward me, and the tip came within a foot of me. My heart was screaming in my chest, and I jerked automatically to get away from it, and I fell off the doghouse, onto the ground.

"You okay?" John asked, but my eyes were locked on that whip. Why did we have that? Where had we gotten it from? How long had it been here? The whole time?

It hurts. Whips hurt. They burn into your skin, and make you bleed and cry, and you can hear it coming down on you, but there is nothing you can do!

"Ryan, what's wrong?" Steven asked, running over to make sure I was okay. Again, I didn't reply, and when John lifted moved his hand again, I was suddenly screaming, jumping to my feet and running away from him as fast as I could. Deep down, I knew he wasn't going to hurt me, but in my heart, everyone was trying to hurt me.

Everyone was Dominic.

"Ryan!" Steven called after me alarmed. I ran past them, and without thinking about it, was out of the front yard completely. I had to get away. Those things...they shouldn't be used on anyone, not even vicious animals. They were inhuman, and they made you feel like you weren't human either, a worthless piece of trash, and they let you know when you'd been a bad boy, and you can scream and scream all you like, but nobody is going to come help you, so shut up.

I stopped running when a car almost slammed into me when I'd jumped into the street, planning on crossing it and going as far as I could.

I stood there, my sense returning, and within seconds, I was ashamed of myself. I would never be normal. There would always be moments such as this, that reminded me of Dominic, and I would probably always react like this.

My back felt like it was burning. I could still remember, very clearly, the whip coming down on me, scaring me, not just once, not twice, but again and again. The day I saw my family on TV. The day I tried to escape into the woods. The day I accidentally bumped into him, shoving him down, and he thought I'd done it on purpose. The day he just felt like it. The day I asked for it, because I could tell he was mad, and I wanted to make him so happy.

Those scars were on my back, reminding me, and everyone who saw them of who I was, and who I had belonged too.

"Dominic." I found myself whispering. "Why did you do this to me?" Another thing I wondered so often. There was no way that all of it had been a total lie, was there? He had to have loved me, at least some days. He could have just been doing nice things to confuse me, but sometimes, I saw it in his eyes.

Like when we were lying in his bed, snuggling, and he told I joke, and I laughed, a real laugh, not one of the fake ones I would do just to keep him happy. I'd seen his eyes flood with something then, real love, and it had confused me further, one of the many things.

I had to talk to him. I had to know.

"Did you ever love me?"

I love you. His voice in my ears, sweet, and somehow sickening.

"Ryan!"

I looked up. It was my family, all of them looking at me worriedly, afraid I'd run off again if they moved too quickly or something. John looked at me guiltily.

"I'm sorry." he said quietly. "I didn't know that...that he'd whipped you."

I didn't respond, still embarrassed, still scared, and still confused. Seeing this, Thomson reached out for a comforting hug, and instantly I was accepting it, wishing it could wash away this confusion.

Did you ever love me?


Point of last chapter- To introduce of the problems of this story.

Point of this chapter- Show that Ryan is still confused and scared.

Ben- *sleeping*

Me- Why's he so tired?

Max- He just ran six miles.

Me- Why?

Max- I bet him he couldn't.

Polly- Oh Max, you devil.

Me- What did he get if he could?

Max-Nothing.

Me- Okay. *yawns* I'm kind of tired too. *curls up next to Ben and falls asleep*

Polly- So yeah, leave a review if you don't mind. They are like food writers.

Max-*Yawns* I'm tired too. *Lies down and goes to sleep*

Polly- Don't leave me out! *plops down, yawns, and goes to sleep*

Don't worry if you think it's moving a little slowly, it just needs a few chapters to get exciting.