fifteen: r u n

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  to Radha_Vallabh for loving and supporting this story and for being awesome in general. thank you so much, love! 💙

~

  Outside, my mother knocked on my door several times as she continued to cry, and it lasted for another few seconds, but was stopped abruptly when I heard my father's boisterous voice yell in the background, calling my mother and demanding that she come back downstairs to finish clearing up the kitchen.

  I texted Claire and left her a few voicemails, quickly summarizing the turn of events. Then, I picked up a duffel bag and a backpack and stuffed a bunch of clothes and shoes inside them.

  Grabbing the money I earned and saved from working at Target, I shoved thirty dollars in my pocket for buying snacks and drinks on the way to Claire's place.

  Before leaving, I placed my hand on one side of my gray-colored walls, tapped my index finger on it three times, sighed deeply, and gave one last look at the room I grew up in.

  It was time to say goodbye, time to move on and be whoever I wanted to be, be with someone who loved and accepted me for me.

  No more hiding.

  "You've got some fųcking nerve breaking your mother's heart, you pathetic, ungrateful shīt," Dad was standing beside the door and had his right arm around Mom, who was sobbing silently, her head buried deeply in between his neck and shoulder, and with his other hand, he pointed an accusatory finger at me and glared at me.

  If looks could kill, I probably would have been dead for a long time now. Because ever since he had found out about me and Claire that night, he's been giving me that same unnervingly angry look ever since.

  "And you have some fųcking nerve coming back here and acting like nothing's happened," I retorted, my voice as cold as ice. "As if you haven't hurt her physically, as if you haven't mentally and emotionally damaged me, as if you're the fųcking goddāmn king who did nothing wrong. D—"

  "You motherfúcker—" he snarled, but I cut him off then; I hurried outside, slammed the door in his stupid face, and ran.

  Tears started to prick my eyes, and as much as I didn't want to cry, I let them stream down my cheeks, feeling drained but completely relieved at the same time.

  The more I ran further and further from what used to be my home, the more I felt in control, the more I felt the weight finally lift off from my shoulders.

  For now, I wasn't sure what was going to happen when I reached the bus stop; I wasn't sure what Claire was going to say if she saw me sitting on the front steps of their apartment building later this afternoon because she hasn't answered my texts yet; I wasn't sure what was going to happen to my grades at school because I wasn't going to live my parents anymore and I wasn't going to the same school starting tomorrow, but I was pretty goddāmned sure of this:

  I was free. For real this time.

  Finally.

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