Chapter 11

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Tiana POV

Today is the day. Today is the day I can finally get out of this dreaded place. Tyson's mom, Liza, has already moved my stuff from the old house to the guest house. The thought fills me with a sense of both dread and excitement. And fear. Always fear.

"Hey," Tyson says, startling me out of my thoughts.

"Hey yourself," I say, smiling. That is, until I see his hesitant face.

I frown. "What's wrong?" I ask, anxiety building up inside me.

He hesitates, then sighs and runs a hand through his hair. "I may or may not have.... invited my friends over to see you.

"WhAT?!" I exclaim, anger burning through my veins. Does he not understand just how much of a vulnerable situation I am in? Is he that blind?

"Look, I know you're probably really pissed but I just thought something normal, apart from myself, would be good for you. You don't have to worry about them judging you. Because they won't. I haven't told them what you've been through. But I've told them that you're a survivor. Don't worry," he says, though he still looked hesitant.

Before I could respond, a boy with petty blue eyes and brown hair poked his head into my room.

"Seriously?" I ask Tyson, sighing in defeat. What's done is done. Since I can't change the past, I can work on present.

"Hey Tiana," Xavier says, smiling and entering the room. The smile does absolutely nothing to calm my nerves.

"Hey," I say. My voice quivers a little and my voice is soft and small, but I said it. And to me that is a victory. There is a victory in every little step you take towards your goal. Even the smallest steps. Because only you know how hard it would have been to take that little step. That little step in the right direction.

"So she can speak," he says, smirking. His eyes flit from my face to the bandages around my hands and I immediately try my best to hide them They are the reminders of when I was at my weakest, at my worst. I don't want them to see it.

I am so ashamed of it. And of myself.

"Idiot," Tyson mutters, hitting Xavier at the back of his head.

"Hey! You can't blame me for looking!" Xavier says, rubbing the back of his head and sounding every bit like a petulant 5 year old child.

"I just asked one thing from you. One. All I told you to do was to not look at the bandages. I swear you're a child sometimes," Tyson grumbles, glaring daggers at Xavier.

Xavier gives Tyson a flat look. "What about that one time I just mentioned the fact that you couldn't jump off a tree without breaking a bone and you literally said "Watch me" and did just that? Who's childish now?"

Tyson's eyes immediately widen and he looks at me with absolute horror written in his eyes. "I was thirteen! I didn't know any better!" he says, obviously trying to justify himself. Then he looks at Xavier and glares.

"You piece of shit! I knew you would embarrass me! Why did I agree to this?!" He looks about ready to pounce on Xavier when Liza calls him.

"Ty! Come here for a second will you?"

He glares at Xavier. Then says "This is not over," and walks out of the room.

Xavier lets out a sigh of relief. "I swear he's like an enraged bull when he's angry."

"Well that comparison will definitely not calm him down," I say, trying my best to look like I'm smiling and not drowning in my own anxiety. I don't think I succeeded.

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