Chapter 41

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Colton's POV

The drive home with Cam is silent after our little fight. I knew she'd find out about my first arrest sooner or later, I just don't know why I didn't tell her before. It was stupid of me to not fess up.

I can tell she's still mad, but I think she relaxed a little after I explained everything. That day was one of the worst days ever. The news of my mom leaving just hit town and everyone made their own assumptions of why she left.

The boy I beat, his name was Kyle, was the only one who guessed right. I don't know what made him think that, I thought my family was good at keeping our secrets. After that I was sent to a continuation school and that's where I later met Penn.

I never told Camryn why I beat Penn up the first time and I don't know if I should, she hasn't asked ever since we had coffee together. Damn that feels like forever ago. That day I told Cam I couldn't be anything more than friends with her, but look at us now. I can't imagine not having her by my side.

I look over at Cam, she has one hand on the wheel and the other under her chin. I take her hand and place a kiss on the back. She sighs and caresses my cheek, then puts her hand on the wheel.

When we finally get to her house, we quickly get out of the car and make our way into the house. Once inside, I see a pink duffle bag at the bottom of the stairs.

Cam looks at it confusedly. "Aimee?" she calls out. Aimee comes from out of the kitchen. "What's your bag doing down here?"

"Look, you guys have a lot going on right now it seems, and I don't want to get in your way, so I told my dad to come pick me up," she says, looking down at her hands. I look over at Cam and she looks hurt. "He just texted me saying he's here."

"Aimee, you're not in our way, that's crazy, why are you leaving?" Cam asks, stepping toward her cousin.

"Look Camryn, your dad told me everything before he left," she whispers, but I can still hear, "I'll come visit you when you have less going on. I wrote down that address in your notebook on your desk, you should really use it. Call me when you have time," she says. What address? Camryn's real parents'? She kisses Cam cheek to cheek and reaches for her bag.

"Bye Colton," she says, not looking me in the eye, going around me to get outside. I can tell she no longer likes me, why would she? All I ever do is cause her cousin pain.

When the door closes behind her, Cam sits at the bottom of the staircase. "Ugh I'm the worst, I can tell she felt so uncomfortable," she says. I make my way to her and sit down.

"It's my fault, I'm sorry she left, I know how much you missed her." Cam stays quiet. I know she's upset, but she just doesn't want to say it. "I'm just going to go, call me later," I tell her, kissing her temple. I need to give her time to cool off.

"Colton you can't go home," she stands up, grabbing my arm. She has a worried look on her face and I know exactly what she's worried about.

"I'll be fine, promise," I half smile.

"You don't know that."

I don't say anything, I just kiss her again and exit the door. I cross over to my lawn and open my front door. I see my dad sitting on the couch. When I close the door, he pauses the TV.

"What'd you do this time?" He asks, still sitting down. I ignore him and start walking towards the stairs. I hear him stand up and then feel a sharp pain in my back as a bottle I didn't know he had hits me. "I asked you a damn question," he booms. He walks towards me until he's directly in front of my face.

"Aren't you tired of this?" I ask. We've gone through this many times, and I'm sure as hell tired of it.

"I'm tired of my son being a piece of shit, I'm tired of my son being useless and I'm tired of my son talking back to me," he yells before pulling his arm back and punching me right in the gut.

His blow knocks the wind out of me and I double over trying to catch my breath. He pushes my over and I fall to the floor. He kicks me three times in the stomach before he starts undoing his belt.

I groan in pain, trying not to scream, I don't want Cam to hear. I can't get up in time and my dad starts slashing me with his belt. I cover my face with my arms and just take it. I bite my lip and I take it. Every whip, every kick, and every blow. I hope to black out, but I never do. I feel everything. My body feels like it's on fire and I uncover my face to cough up blood.

"Stop," I beg weakly, but he doesn't. He hits me with his belt three more times and kicks me four more times before stepping back.

"Ha, I'm not tired of this just yet," he laughs. He walks back over to the couch and resumes the TV.

I try to move but cringe in pain. I think this is the worst he's ever beaten me. I cough up more blood, then try to move again. This time a make a little more progress. I carefully climb the stairs, trying not to fall over. After what feels like eternity I'm in my bedroom. I close and lock my door and slowly sit down on my bed.

The pain is getting worse and I decide to let it out. I cry. Not heavily, but enough to make my breathing worsen. I cry about my wounds, I cry about the words that were said and I cry about my mom. I reach into my bedside drawer and pull out an old envelope. I pull out its contents. The letter my mom wrote me when she left and her wedding rings. I read her letter for the thousandth time:

My dearest Colton,
I'm sorry, but this is the last you'll hear from me for a while, but trust me, it's for my own good. I'm leaving your father and I need to leave you there until I can get a place for just the two of us. It's not safe for either of us, but I need to make sure I can provide for you on my own before I take you from him. As soon as I find a place for the both of us, I'm going to get you back. I promise you that baby. Until then, I'm going to need you to be strong, be strong for your mom okay Colton. I love you so much and I'll be back to get you soon.
-Love, Your Mommy

My tears fall on to the old piece of paper. I remember when this letter use to make me feel better, now every time I read it, I can feel a piece of me die inside. She lied. She never came back for me. She left me here to be beaten half to death by my own father. She's selfish and I hate her. I crumble the piece of paper in my hands and throw it at the wall.

I look in the envelope and take out the two rings inside. The engagement ring is huge and I remember it looking so beautiful on my moms finger. I decide to keep the ring and put it back in my drawer.

Even after being tainted with hate, I feel this ring has potential to be beautiful again.

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