Chapter 1

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She should have known better than to bake the chocolate muffins in the early morning, but she couldn't help it. She has been edgy ever since she woke up at 4:00 am, nervous with the anticipation. The feeling vanishes when she sees a flash of red darting into her kitchen, a sleepy smile on said face.

"I smell chocolate." The little girl's eyes widen, almost glowing. Getting closer to Lydia, she grabs at her mom's apron, demanding attention. "What you doing?"

Lydia can't help but smile. "Good morning sweetie." Her hand falls to the girl's hair and she bends down to kiss her forehead. "It's the first day in your new school. You want to make new friends, right?" The girl nods. "So we'll take the muffins and you can give them to your teacher and your new friends. Is that okay?"

The little girl cracks a smile, nodding happily. "Can I have one now?" She's on her tiptoes, stretching her arms up trying to reach the top of the island, but the surface is way too high for her to reach them.

Lydia chuckles. Anything for my little girl. "Only when you're all ready for school. We are already running late. So why don't you go and get dressed while I finish up here, okay? And then wash your hands." The girl starts running out of the kitchen and down the hall. "No running, sweetheart."

Lydia can't help but smile at the girl's enthusiasm. Her daughter is taking everything so much better than she is. Obviously it's because the girl is still very young and has never met her father so she doesn't remember her him, but Lydia does. She remembers everything. The way their relationship started after a one-night stand when they were in college. How she endured years of psychological, and sometimes physical, abuse. How he forced her to marry him, threatening to expose her family's financial issues. Raised on a well renowned family, she couldn't have it so she agreed, even though after a year they were already divorced; his idea. Not that Lydia didn't want that, it's what she wanted the most, but fear kept her in her place beside him then. It was after the divorce that she found out. She still vividly remembers the day she told him she was pregnant. It was the worst day of her life. After he snapped and screamed his lungs out, their house - where Lydia had stayed after the divorce - was completely shattered. She left that very night. She wouldn't want to admit it, but she considered abortion or giving her baby away, afraid he might do something to her. But Lydia just couldn't bring herself to do it, so she kept running. And now, four years later, she is in a new town, starting a new life. And she wouldn't have it any other way.

Lydia is startled by her phone buzzing as she finishes putting the muffins in a beautifully decorated box that she bought for the occasion and then takes the call.

"Hi mom."

"Hey sweetheart. How are we today?" Her tone is a little apprehensive, Lydia notices.

"Well, okay, I guess. Considering... I'm just a little nervous, that's all."

"And our baby girl?" Lydia smiles at how endearing her mom's voice sounds.

"Oh, she's happy. We made chocolate muffins." At the mention, the red-haired girl comes running from the bathroom, hands still wet, a black band almost slipping from its place at her waist. "I'll put you on speaker," says Lydia, sitting the girl in one of the seats from her kitchen's island and drying her hands, then tying the black band in a ribbon on the girl's back.

"Hi, Nana." The girl screams and Natalie laughs on the other side of the line as her granddaughter greets her.

"Hey, little angel. Ready for your first day?"

The girl grabs one of the muffins and stuffs her mouth. "Mommy made muffins and I have a new dress."

"Oh you do? I bet you look pretty." All three of them smile.

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