I'd been on the phone with my mother the whole morning, eventhough I wasn't allowed to speak to anyone outside of the house. Harry wasn't home as usual and it was the best time to sneak a call. Mrs Briffen told me she would cover up for me if anything so with her as my back-up, I took the risk.

I only realised last night that I was still numb to everything that had happened to me. My mind was still processing the string of events that led up to this. The deeper I dwelled, the more I tortured myself.

It hurt.

It hurt knowing my future was bleak. And it was especially painful to be finally hit with the realisation that I was considered as some sort of... prostitute.

I feared that my mother would be ashamed of me one day. Maybe that was why I hesitated before dialling her up this morning.

But our conversation was just what I needed. Her voice calmed me. She cried and apologised. She promised she would figure out a way out of all this. She told me to hang on for just a while longer. But her promise wasn't that much of a motivation as I knew there was absolutely nothing she could do to get me out of this mess. Nevertheless, talking to her soothed me.

She also added that they had received the money but they weren't going to spend a single cent. I protested against it and expressed how I would get a sense of peace if they did otherwise. The throaty coughs that intervened almost every sentence she spoke worried me. They sounded harsh and the concern for her health became the only thing that occupied my mind.

"I really wish you could come with me, Thalia." Mrs Briffen said.

"Me too." I sighed, leaning against the doorframe. "I don't know how this weekend is going to turn out."

"Dear, please take care of yourself." 

"I will. Have a safe journey, Mrs Briffen." I went in for a quick hug before she scuffed over to the taxi, the heavy coat seemingly weighing her down. 

I shut the door and realised that I was all alone in the house now. I could escape ever so simply if I wanted to. I could just hop onto a cab and go home. But the things Richard could do to my family kept me petrified.

I made my way over to the kitchen, deciding that I'd tame my growling stomach. Mrs Briffen had left soup on the stove and I turned the knob to reheat it. I spooned out some of it to taste it, and I ended up burning my tongue. I dropped the spoon and the soup in it spilled onto my vintage dress.

I grumbled, my irritation growing. I hated how bad things kept happening to me, no matter how little or big.

I turned off the stove, aware that the soup was obviously warm enough. The smell of it saluted my nostrils and made me think of the times my mother cooked soup for Jakey and I. I didn't know how long I'd have to wait to have that again.

I found myself humming a tune. I began to sing a lullaby that my parents would comfort me with until I was ten. I chuckled when I remembered how Darren made fun of it when he found out the embarrassing secret.

"Angels watching, e'er around thee,
All through the night
Midnight slumber close surround thee,
All through the night"

My voice rustled as memories of my father flooded back. My vision became blurry as I felt tears build up. I didn't like how I'd become so emotional. I didn't want to be so weak.

"Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping
All through the night"

I continued to hum, my tone quivering as I poured the soup into a bowl. "All through... the nigh-" I was suddenly interrupted by the kitchen door sliding open.

"H-How did you know that song?" My heart pounded as the deep voice filled the room. I felt so embarrassed.

"M-My parents. They used to sing it to me." I answered.

"Oh." I was surprised when I noticed that his eyes were a little watery as well. He quickly palmed at his sockets, making sure it didn't show. He turned away from me and walked over to the kitchen counter as he unbuttoned his jacket.

"Thalia," Harry called.


"I'm having a party. My friends are coming over soon,"


"I want you to change into something else."

"What? Why?"

"It looks funny. This isn't the 18th century."

"I'll just stay in my room then."

"I don't care where you stay. I want you to change that ugly dress."

I narrowed my brows and looked away, resuming stirring my soup. "Oh you're angry at me?" He questioned as he got up from the stool. He walked towards me and tugged at the elastic band that held up my ponytail.

"Stop that!" I turned to him. He was only a few inches from me now.

"And don't tie up your hair." He added.

"Why?" I asked, infuriated.

"Because I said so. You're living in my house. You follow my rules." He asserted. I was living in his house because I was forced to. I couldn't imagine anyone willingly wanting to live here with Harry. He glared down at me and it pressured me to drop my gaze to the floor. He was such a bully.

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