"What do you have to say for yourself?" Mommy shouted at Cole, her knuckles turning white from how hard she was closing her fists.

Cole's entire torso heaved, desperate for air. "Ti odio cagna delirante," he mumbled, his voice breathy.

Bella flinched when Mommy slammed her fist into his stomach again.

"I didn't raise a Wop! Learn some respect, I hate your father for ruining you children!" Mommy cried out, her fingers touching the gash on her forehead as tears streamed down her wrinkled cheeks. She shook her head and pressed her back against the wall, her body shaking as her thin and bony fingers moved towards her eyes.

Cole's black hair was matted with sweat and blood, thick strands falling onto his bloodied forehead. His light irises contrasted intensely with the straining, bloodshot scleras surrounding them, and his face and torso were so bruised and bloodied, Bella was shocked he was still conscious.

"Wait for me upstairs, okay, honey?" Mommy asked her boyfriend, and her boyfriend almost instantly complied. He released Cole, and Cole fell to the ground by his feet, groaning and closing his eyes as he spit more blood out onto the ground again.

Mommy's boyfriend instantly turned away and walked out the stuffy bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him.

Mommy stepped closer to Cole's limp body, staring down at him. She pressed her high heel against his lower stomach and he flinched a little bit, but he couldn't move to do anything to defend himself.

"You never hit your mother. You hear me? And you better start speaking English to me, or else these beatings will become regular. Got it?" Mommy growled as she took her heel off of him. "I don't want to do this to you baby, but you leave me no choice."

Mommy stepped away from Cole and closer to Bella, who slowly tightened her arm against Elliot who whined in fear. Bella stared up at Mommy, her expression distasteful towards the psychotic woman as Mommy knelt down to her level.

"You will never touch your older brother again. I know that you can't control yourself, but that is your brother," Mommy said, her voice stern. "And that is repulsive of you."

"He's sick," Bella said quietly, staring up at Mommy.

"Excuse me?" Mommy recoiled, her drawn-on eyebrows furrowing in disgust. "What did you just say?"

Bella swallowed hard and licked her cracked lips. "I said that my older brother is sick. He needs to go to a hospital or s-something, his cuts are dangerously infected. I was just... trying to clean them as best as I could."

Bella couldn't help but falter against Mommy's dominant gaze. Mommy's lips lifted into a grin, and Bella could smell the cigarette smoke on her breath and feel the heat of it beating against her skin. Then, Mommy began cackling under her breath, as she reached up to wipe a stray tear off of her cheek.

Mommy ignored Bella and instead, her skeletal, bruised hand reached out towards Elliot, who immediately flinched away from her. She slid her hand through Elliot's hair, and his lip quivered as he stared up at her. Bella felt him shaking rapidly against her, and she felt his grip around her arm tighten as Mommy's tiny eyes watched him intently.

"Don't be scared of me. I am only mean when your older siblings give me a hard time. I know that you are a good little child. Please do not look up to them," Mommy said, leaning over and pressing a lingering kiss to the top of Elliot's head.

Elliot sniffled, still trembling as Mommy stood up and wiped her blood-stained fingers off on her dress.

"I will retrieve clothing for you two," Mommy said calmly, her hand covering the gaping injury on her forehead.

She turned on her heel and stepped over Cole's body which was laying in front of the door. Then, she walked out and slammed the door shut as hard as she could, shaking the soap on the sink and edge of the tub.

Bella looked down at Elliot, who was still quietly sniveling.

"She didn't touch you, right?" Bella asked him, and he shook his head in response, his small fists rubbing his eyes.

Bella waited a few seconds to walk over to Cole and kneel beside him. She held her towel up around her chest with one hand and slowly pressed the back of her palm to his forehead, which was even hotter than before. When she took her hand off, his blood was smeared on her knuckles.

Cole's eyes slowly opened, and Bella stared down at him in concern.

"I don't feel good," he suddenly croaked, his voice raspy and his breaths slow. Blood was still dripping down his chin from a slice in his lip.

Bella's heart was pounding quickly in her chest. "You're okay, I promise. You'll be okay."

He closed his eyes tight in pain and let out a heavy exhale through his teeth, and a tear slid down Bella's cheek. She had never felt so hopeless.

_

:(
the story isn't ending soon btw and i know it seems that way but its not
also of course any discriminative remarks used in this chapter do not reflect my views and opinions i hope you guys know that by now
thank you for reading!
steph

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