Chloe (Made Men Book 3)(10)By: Sarah Brianne
Finally going to the first blank page, she stuck the horrendous photo of herself that Sebastian had given her as a warning message into the photo album. She was going to remember this exact image of herself for the remainder of the school year. Then, when the new school year started at her new school, she could look back at this photo and thank God she had survived.
She closed the book. “I will survive.”
* * *
Looking across the dinner table, Chloe watched her father pour more of the hard liquor into his glass.
He downed the contents the asked, “Are you going to s-s-stare at me o-or eat?”
“Eat, Chloe,” her mother commanded.
Looking down at her plate, she picked up the fork to eat, but she had no appetite. The only reason she was sitting there and not in her room was because her mother had insisted.
“Quit acting like you’re a victim,” her mother’s words rang through her head again.
She glanced back up when she heard the liquor bottle ting against his glass once more.
Quickly, she put her eyes back on the plate when he downed the contents in a split second.
Maxwell wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Go.”
Stunned by his harsh voice, she couldn’t move. He had sounded just like—
“Get the fuck out of my fac-c-ce!” He slammed his hand down on the table, making the silverware quiver. “I can’t even-n-n look at you!”
Jumping up from the table, she tried not to trip as she started sprinting from the table like her life depended on it.
Her father became scarier by the day, each day reminding her more and more of the one who had given her nightmares.
Her eyes became cloudy, blurring her vision along the way. Once she reached her room, she slammed the door shut and leaned her back against the door before falling to the floor, sobbing.
She had asked herself many times, Why me? Why did this happen to me? But tonight, she had started asking herself a different question.
“Why couldn’t I have died?”
The Memory Banging at The Door
It was strange, but in a short amount of time, she was becoming close with Elle. They understood each other as outcasts along with their suffering. The semester was almost up, and it was time for Christmas break. Chloe was going to really miss Elle, yet she wasn’t going to miss school. However, she wasn’t sure what was better at this point: her home life or school life.
Walking to their last class of the day, Chloe kept her head down. She walked closer to Elle than ever, letting Elle guide her through the hallways so she could keep her head down. Since the picture had showed up in Elle’s locker, they didn’t waste time in the hallways, and they were beginning to wonder if they were acting paranoid.
“Freak!” someone yelled out as she passed.
So the name-calling hadn’t stopped, but at least they weren’t too worried about their safety.
Reaching the science classroom, they took their seats in the back.
“Our science project is due before Christmas break. If we don’t finish it today in class, then we will need to finish it up outside of school,” Elle told her in a worried voice.
“Okay,” she agreed, nervous about where this was going.
“Good. If we don’t finish it, then we can finish it up at your house. Tomorrow sound okay?”
“W-Why can’t we do it at yours?”
Elle cleared her voice. “I’m sure you heard about my dad. My parents don’t really want company right now …”
Of course she knew what had happened to her dad. Cassandra had blabbed about it to the entire school at the beginning of the year.
“Come on, Chloe; it’ll be fun. We should make it a sleepover!”
Instantly, she felt backed into a corner. The last word she would use to describe her house was fun. She knew Elle was taking the opportunity to help her come back out of her shell, to make her feel normal again. And while she wanted to desperately, her house wasn’t the ideal place to do so. Nevertheless, it didn’t sound like Elle’s was, either. And since Elle was the one with a good excuse, she was screwed.
What am I supposed to say? My dad is now an alcoholic because he can’t handle what happened to me any better than I can? Realizing her back had now hit the corner, her last hope was talking to her mother to keep her father controlled. If anything, the last thing they wanted was their appearance damaged.
“I-I’ll ask my parents if you can come over, then.”
“Awesome! Do you live in the little white house now?” Elle’s eyes lit up.
She shook her head. “No, we won’t move until January when my father gets sworn in.”
The teacher stood from her desk. “All right, students, let’s get to work. This is the last day you can work on your project in class, so make it count.”