Four years ago

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Four years ago

       Nick never got along with his father. It was evident that his father was only a money-making machine for the family and nothing more. So, it wasn't surprising that Nick would suffer a blow or two to the face every once in a while, when he spoke back, or didn't do as he was told.

       Tonight was one of those nights.

       And when it happened, Nick would find himself calling his nearest buddy for a place to crash. Even though his own house was better described as a mansion, when the old man was there, no matter if placed at the furthest possible distance, Nick knew it would be better for his sanity to stay away from the toxicity of the house that never became a home.

       Tonight, he found himself calling River. It wasn't the first time he called him after such an occurrence. He was his best friend, almost like his brother.

       "Hello?" The coarse voice on the other end of the line sounded, proving obvious that River had just woken up.

       "River," Nick tried his best to keep his tone steady, camouflaging the venom he held for his sperm donor of a father. "Can I crash at your place for tonight?"

       "Yeah man of course, come over. Text me when you're here." River aimed to sound as if he hadn't just woken up, but it was an attempt that Nick appreciated.

       If he could count on anyone, it was River and the Parker's.

       Nick arrived at the Parker's house less than twenty minutes later, firmly holding a piece of tissue against his lip that kept bleeding, much to his annoyance. Before he was even able to exit from his car, the front door was already wide open with a worried-looking Brenda frowning down at him, her arms crossed over her robe to shoo away the cold of the winter night.

       "Nick, sweetie, come in," she waved him inside once he was halfway up the garden stairs. "Oh goodness, what happened?" Her eyes surveyed the deep gash on his lip and the swelling under his eye socket.

       "Nothing new, Mrs Parker," he forced a laugh.

       It was then that Nick noticed River approaching him from the staircase, only there was someone he had never met before following closely behind. He almost had to do a double take when he realised the ample similarities between River and the unfamiliar girl, but he had not known River to have any siblings.

       "Mate, are you okay?" River asked, knowing the answer already.

       "I'll live," he said, wondering when it was his time to leave this life.

      River's slit eyes and clenched jaw said what he couldn't out loud, at least not in front of Brenda and the girl whose name Nick was eager to find out. You could tell he was angry at Nick's father and if the women weren't present, he would curse him using every disgusting word known.

       "Nick, sorry, this is my sister. I was going to introduce you to her tomorrow with the rest of the boys, but I guess the others can wait." As he spoke, the girl smiled.

       The only thought that ran through Nick's head as she beamed at him was oh God, how beautiful.

       "Hi, I'm Emily," her voice, being as sweet as it was, seemed to rid the taste of blood from Nick's mouth and he suddenly forgot about the fight with his father. Emily wasn't making a big deal out of it either, which he would thank her for in the future.

       "Nick, nice to meet you." he outstretches his hand towards her, causing the corners of her pink lips to pull even further upwards as they shake hands.

       "Let's clean you up, love." Brenda said, leading the way to the bathroom where the first aid kit would be, but Nick no longer cared much about his injury, he was rather more focussed on Emily.

       They grew closer over the next few months and years, but little did he know that at one point she would become the centre of his world. And that one day, his world would come crashing down, all from his doings.

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