Chapter 18

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"Asia, I need some help with this turkey." My mother says as she lifts the heavy turkey and places it onto the counter.

"Okay." I push my hair out of my face and rush over to help her. She makes me help her season the turkey and put it into the oven.

After my long night, all I wanted to do was lay in bed and rest but I couldn't with so much going on today. I had to help clean up the house, help my mother prepare some of the food, and gather my own self together. To think this holiday break away from school would be relaxing when it's been quite the contrast.

"Hey Ace, do you want to come with me to grab some breakfast for everyone? I could use an extra hand." My Dad asks.

I look up from cleaning up the kitchen table and let out a breath of air, blowing a loose strand of hair out of my face. I don't know why he decided to ask me to go with him as if I am not cleaning and my brother is sitting in the family room probably watching TV. Seriously.

"Sure," I say because it's not like I can just blatantly deny him.

"Where's Kyle?" My mother asks. "He should be cleaning up like I'd asked him to." She then practically yells Kyle's name in my ear which makes me cringe and rush away upstairs to my room.

I hurry into my boots, coat, and scarf and meet my father who was waiting for me at the door. It's really cold outside being that it is the end of November and just a few weeks away from winter.

"Is Dunkin Donuts fine with you?" Dad asks once we are in the car.

"Yeah, sure." I nod.

My father and I chat causally as we head to the store and once we get there I watch as he orders. He ends up buying a dozen donuts, iced coffees, and muffins. Not sure why we needed so much food for a family our four, but on a day like this who's watching what they eat?

"Can we get him a blueberry muffin? He loves those," I hear a younger girl's voice behind me in line ask.

"I don't know if they'll let us bring it in." An older woman replies.

"But it's thanksgiving." I can hear the sadness in the little girls voice.

"I know, Honey. We'll still get it." The woman's voice says soothingly.

As my father and I stand to the side waiting for our large order, I hear my father mutter something angrily and I look over to ask what he said. But as I look, I see that he is looking at something behind us. And by the time he tells me not to worry about it I have already peeked behind us.

My eyes land on the people behind us and I get a tightening in my stomach. Of freaking course. Matt's mother and sister are standing just a few feet away from us. I try to turn around before they can see but I know it's too late. We've made eye contact.

Luckily, Maria doesn't say my name or call me out and I keep still. I concentrate on controlling my breathing and I ball my hands into fists. My father sets his hand on my chest, sending a wave of calmness through my body. I fight the thoughts that try to come into my mind and focus on my breathing. My dad puts his arms around my shoulders and hugs me tight, secretly reassuring me that I am okay. I know that with him by my side I am okay and I do not have to worry.

I honestly have not seen Maria and Maddie since they approached me at the hospital almost a year ago. They tried to reach out to me but I'm just not ready to face them. You would think in such a small town we would bump into each other, but nope. And I liked it that way.

They've sent me things like cards and flowers, claiming to apologize, but it's not their fault. I don't want an apology from them because they didn't make their son/brother do what he did to me. And it's not their fault that I just happened to be naïve and fall for his conniving ways. I just don't want or need any apologies from them.

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