Chapter 3

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"Growth is often messy, uncomfortable, and full of unexpected feelings"
Before I go wake Lily up I make a mental check of everything I am grateful for:
-Waking up today
-Lily and Cameron being healthy
-Having a safe trip down here
-Having the strength to go on with the day
-I have enough money and food at the house right now to make sure Lily and Cameron have everything they need.
It might be a short list but it is perfect for me. I make myself do this every single day so that i can remember everything good that happens to me.
Nobody is immune to the darkness, and if they aren't careful anybody can get sucked into it.

After going through my daily mantra I head back to Lily's room and see that she is still peacefully sleeping. I pick her up and slowly start rubbing her back to wake her up. When she starts to stir I whisper sweet nothings in her ear to try and make sure she wakes up peacefully. After a minute she opens her bright blue eyes and I can't help but smile at her.

She blinks multiple times- probably getting the sleep from her eyes. After she's done Lily looks up at me and smiles, then nuzzles her head back into my chest. I know she is still tired so I go and get a bath ready for her and Cameron to share. While the tub is filling back up I check the clock once more. 7:30. I have half an hour to get them bathed, dressed, teeth brushed, and ready for the day. I take a deep breath and keep repeating "I can do this" in my head while I walk to my room to wake Cam up.

Once I get there I see that he is already up and playing on my phone. Another small win of the day. "Okay Cam it is time for your bath, come on buddy." At this he shrieks and jumps in the air while I start laughing.
"It isn't funny!"
"Oh come on you should of seen your face buddy. It looked like your souls left your body!"
He just stares at me and pouts. Immediately guilt fills my body and I start apologizing." Hey Cam I'm sorry I shouldn't have laughed okay? I'm sorry buddy it wasn't right."
He looks up at me then smiles and walks out of my room saying, "I'm glad we agree."
I got played by a 5 year old. How does that happen?

I walk into the bathroom and Cameron is already in the bath and still smiling at me. I glare and slightly smile so he knows I'm joking. I set Lily down in the tub and begin washing them both. Once I'm happy and think that they are adequately clean, I get them both out of the tub and dry them off. I dress Lily in a red flowery dress that I got at a thrift store. Cam picks out his own outfit which happens to be a simple Jean and t-shirt combo. I head downstairs carrying Lily, with Cameron trailing behind. When we get downstairs mother is standing there with coffee in her hand.

"Cam take Lily and go to the living room alright? I'll be there in a minute." I whisper to him. Not questioning anything he just nods and grabs Lily from me, and goes on his way. I walk further into the kitchen ad mother looks at me with a disgusted look.
"Jesus Sang! I thought I raised you well, not to wear clothes like that."

I take a second to look at my clothes and it is just sweatpants and a t-shirt. I have no clue why she disapproves. She must see the confusion on my face because she then explains what the look was for." Those sweatpants show off your body far too much. I didn't raise you to be a whore." Just like that I receive another chip in my armor. No matter how much I want to retaliate right now I can't risk a beating since my ribs are still sore, and I have to unpack today. I must have taken too much time to answer because the next thing I know my chin is being grasped in a harsh grip and the familiar smell of vodka floats into my nose. Of course she put vodka in her coffee. How classy.
"Don't stand there like an idiot. Answer me Sang."

"Yes mam. I apologize and will do better next time." I whisper out. She seems satisfied with my answer because she lets go and begins talking as if that never happened.

"Today I am going on a trip so you will be alone for a week. Later you are to unpack and get everything settled. I want you to register for classes and then go to school like a good girl. Do you understand me?"

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