Chapter 53

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Short chapter, but I think it'll be worth it. Time to learn who's theories were right. Enjoy!


      THE LAST TIME my life was turned around must have been close to a year ago, at my last foster home. There was a girl named Vienna who's mom had been ripped away from her and sold into sex trafficking when Vienna was little. She had the same thoughts I had about foster homes and how they never felt like a real home.

      We'd hit it off pretty quickly. It started off talking at dinner and escalated to us planning on running from the home together. I'd been excited—I'd never had a real friend before. Never had somebody to confide in. We'd been inseparable . . . until she took all of the money I had saved up to eventually get my own place when I turned eighteen. It wasn't much more than fifty dollars, but that money had been one of the most important things I'd kept with me through homes—aside from my mother's necklace, of course.

      My heart was crushed. I'd confided in Vienna about my money stash. We were going to both save up and get a place together, her only being a year older than me. I didn't realize until meeting the Tyler, Jay, Cyrus, and Ryder that she'd never really been that great a friend in the first place, but having made my first real friend and having her crush my trust and hopes was devastating to my fifteen year-old self.

      That soul crushing devastation was exactly what I was feeling right now, only a thousand times worse. I stood frozen in the hallway, staring at the man who'd just walked out of the school's office. He looked angry, but the expression on his face wasn't what had my feet grinding to a halt thirty feet away. It was the man standing there—the same man who's pictures I burned and tore up so many years ago—that had me on edge.

      And then there was the dark haired girl tugging desperately on his arm.

      "Dad, please. You need you leave. You can't be here," she was saying. "Don't do this to her."

      Dad. I processed her words and their meanings, but it didn't stop the betrayal from burning tears in the back of my eyes.

      "You should have told me you two were communicating," he said to her, clearly irritated. His voice was deep, a lot more so than I thought it would be. It came out like a rumble from his chest and echoed from how low it resonated, and I later realized he would probably be good at public speaking.

      My binder slipped from weak, trembling hands and crashed to the floor. Papers scattered across the hall in front of me, but I didn't care. At that moment, Selena and the man I'd been trying to forget since the day I was born both shifted their attention to the source of the noise.

      Selena's face went pale. "Skye, wait—"

      But I wasn't listening. I turned on my heel and ran. Where I was going, I had no idea. All I could think was I need to get out of here. As far away as possible. Run. Run. Run.

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