Count On Me(10)

By: Melyssa Winchester



“You’re a disrespectful son of a bitch, you know that, Kayden? I fucking bust my ass, going to work every day so we can keep living here and all I get for thanks is your smart mouth. No wonder Mom took off and left us.”

Again, this is not something new to me. He says this every single time we get into it. I’m always the reason mom bailed, even though I’m pretty sure it was the dude at the strip club that’s actually the cause. I don’t bother telling him this though. My smart mouth has already gotten me into enough trouble today.

“Yeah I know Dean, I’m an asshole. You gotta knock some sense into me, yadda, yadda, yadda.”

His fist connects with my face before the last syllable can fall, but I don’t make a move. He hits me again and I slump even more into the floor. I feel the blood rising to the surface on my lip and instead of handling it, I just sit there, letting it come. It’s easier this way. I let him get his anger out and he’ll screw off again. I just gotta make it through the next few minutes until he tires himself out.

“You’re the fucking king of the god damned school and you’re gonna blow it all to save some retarded girl that you can’t even stand? You’re damn right I gotta knock some sense into that dumbass head of yours.”

Punch. Kick. Punch. Kick.

He repeats in a cycle one after the other and as I sit there and take it, the only thing I really want to do and can’t, is tell him not to call her a retard again. My anger is rising now, but it has nothing to do with the beating and everything to do with the names he’s calling her. The names I’ve called her.

God, I deserve so much more than this with everything I’ve done.

As the room starts to spin, I focus on the one clear thought in my head that I’m determined to use to get through this. It’s not even a thought, but a picture and it’s so damn beautiful, I want to hold onto it until this entire moment passes.

Clear as day, I can see myself smiling. Something I haven’t done since the day my mom left us and this stupid ass town behind. A smile Isabelle gave me, wanting nothing in return and one that even in my haze is turning into something more with each passing second.

It’s not my own face anymore, but hers I see and it’s what I grasp onto as I feel the world start to spin and go dark. A clear picture of Isabelle finally doing what I wanted her to do while I was driving her home.

Smiling.





Chapter Three



Belle



My night turned out pretty great considering the way it started. I finally got to see Tristan’s painting, even getting permission to put it up on my wall because I liked it so much. I didn’t get to make the cookies with my mom, but I did get to make them, which is better than nothing.

The bus is gonna be here to pick me up soon. I’m not looking forward to that. Even though I was able to let it all go last night, it doesn’t mean what happened yesterday is gone completely. I can’t escape it, no matter how much I want to because the problem lives right across the street. We’re bound to see each other and it’s all going to come flooding back.

It won’t be any easier at school. The girls that were there yesterday, helping Dillon and Tim do things to me, will haunt me in the halls. They’ll call me names, push me around and do everything they can to make sure my day is that much harder. I’ve seen them do it with the other kids before, so I know what I’ve got waiting for me.

I wanted Mom to call in sick for me this morning, but I chickened out asking her. I really don’t want to go today, especially if Kayden is going to be there, but hiding at home isn’t an option either. Mom always tells me its best to face things head on. So that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

I just hope the fear I feel doesn’t end up making everything worse.

That’s the thing no one gets. The accidents I have, they happen when I’m scared. It starts with my heart racing, which I hear is normal for other kids too, but with me just builds and builds until I can’t control my body’s response.

“Isabelle! Your bus is here!” I hear my mom call up the stairs and I swallow the awkward lump in my throat. It’s time. There’s no turning back now. I’ve just gotta remember to keep breathing and get through this, no matter how bad it gets.

That’s harder to do as I get on the bus and see the faces of the other kids like me. All of them have their own challenges they have to face, just like I do. I just hope that by knowing me, that Dillon and his friends don’t turn on them next. I’m not sure if I deserve it or not, but I know they don’t.

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