Chapter 1

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"Because the drugs never work, they're gonna give you a smirk 'cause they got methods in keeping you clean.''

"Mia stop." I mumble to my best friend currently jumping on my bed.

"They're gonna rip up your heads! Your aspirations to shreds."

"Mia...." I whine pulling the blanket over my head.

" Another cog in the murder machine." She continues singing then accidentally jumps on my leg.

"Amelia!" I shout irritated she woke me up. Yanking the blankets off my head I sit up and glare at my best friend who is now sitting cross legged on my bed. Her blonde hair which usually comes to her elbows is wrapped up in a messy bun and even though she has a smile on her face, her crustal blue eyes have dark bags under them showing how exhausted she is. These past few years have taken their toll on her.

"Didn't you work late last night?" I ask her. "Why are you up so early? And why are so happy?"

"It's three." She says with no emotion in her voice.

"Exactly. I don't work till seven so three o'clock is early."

"Right.'' She nods, dragging out the word. "Well, to answer your question Marie just came by.''

I groan. "How long this time?" Marie was the woman who lived in the apartment down the hall from ours. She was constantly dropping her three kids off with us so she could go out for "the night'' but it usually ended up turning into a weekend. It got frustrating but it was better than her leaving them by themselves. Which she does sometimes even though Xander, the oldest, is only ten.

"She said a week. Her new flavor of the month is taking her to Vegas apparently."

"Well, at least we don't have to deal with her for a whole week."

She nods absentmindedly, deep in thought. I know what she's thinking about. She's thinking about the bruises that are becoming more and more common on Xander and the occasional ones on five-year old Zoey. The bruises we can do nothing about because Xander always has an excuse and Zoey refuses to talk to anyone. I know it bothers her even more than me, mostly because of the way she was raised, in a loving family. My mother never hit me, but who knows; under the influence of alcohol she might have.

A knock on the door breaks the silence and Mia gives me a small smile before jumping up and running out of my room. I slowly get out of bed and put my hair up in a pony tail while walking down the hall. I freeze when I see Marie handing Mia baby Ryder. What the hell is she wearing? She's dressed in an extremely tight cheetah print dress that comes just below her butt, the top is so low it looks as though her boobs are about to fall out. The closer I walk to them the more powerful the stench of cigarettes becomes.

"Well," I hear Marie say. "I better get going. Thanks again Amy. Morgan." She says waving and me then walking out and closing the door.

"I don't know if she doesn't know my name or if she was trying to give me a nickname." Mia says with an utterly confused face.

"Um, did you miss the part where she called me Morgan?"

"Oh," She laughs "I know she doesn't know your name.... Morgan."

"Not funny. Amy."

She fakes offense. "My name is not Amy it's Mia. Right Ryder?" she asks looking down at the eight month old in her arms. "Can you say Mia?"

"Mama." Ryder shouts excitedly

"No Ryder, say Mia." She tells him.

"Mama!"

I laugh while Mia sighs. "We'll have to work on that this week. Let's go find Xander and Zoey."

I walk behind her and almost run into her when she comes to a sudden halt. I lean from behind her to see what she's looking at and it breaks my heart. Zoey has Salem, Mia's cat, in her lap and fresh bruises on her arm. Xander is staring at a spot on the wall, his blonde hair poorly covering his swelling left eye.

Mia turns and walks to out of the room, to get an ice pack most likely, and I walk over and sit in front of the couch.

"What happened?" I ask Xander looking into his eyes.

"I ran into the door this morning." He tells me, his blue eyes avoiding contact with my green ones.

"Oh. Better start watching those doors. What about you Zoey? What happened to your arm?"I ask the five-year old who I've never heard speak before, hoping today is the day I get an answer. Instead she just stares at me.

"Ryder threw his toys earlier." Xander says while Mia walks back into the room with an icepack.

"Xander put this on your eye." She tells him handing him the icepack. "Zoey why don't you go pick out a movie."

Zoey stares at her for a minute before looking to her brother, slowly getting off the couch, and walking over to the movie shelf. She grabs The Little Mermaid and shows it to Mia who nods in approval.

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As I'm walking to work I can't help but think how different my life is compared to how I thought it would be five years ago. It's like you think you have your life planned out and then one little thing happens that changes the course of everything. When I was in high school I thought I was going to graduate, move in with my boyfriend, and attend culinary school. Five years later here I am living in a run down apartment with my best friend and working nights at a club. I'm not complaining. It was obviously meant to be this way and I know eventually something good will come.

Three hours later the music gets louder and the club starts to fill up. Everyone is ordering drinks. Kids under twenty-one with orange wristbands are drinking cokes. The dance floor is overcrowded, every person is dancing up against three other people. I run back and forth from the bar to tables and before I know it my shift is over, which I'm grateful for. My feet are killing me and my jeans are still wet from the drink that got spilled on them almost an hour ago.

Walking toward the back I think about how I'm going to get into the apartment without waking the kids up. Last time I tired not to turn on any lights and ended up tripping over Salem; waking up the whole apartment building in the process.

"Meghan?!" A voice calls from behind me freezing my thoughts and my movements.

It's a voice a haven't heard in five years. A voice I didn't think I'd hear again.


***

Blah..... I honestly wanted to have this up almost two weeks ago but something happened and I was so depressed I never got around to it with all my wallowing in self pity and what not. So yeah.

First chapter! What do we think? On a scale of 1-10 how obvious is it that I have no idea what I'm doing?

Comment. Vote. or don't that's cool too.

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