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PrologueEdit

I feel the hand come in contact with my face. I wince a little and my dad gives me a triumphant smile. He hits me

Redd

Redd Schaffer

again, except this time, harder. I feel the tears brim at my eyes, but I won't let them fall. My dad picks me up and throws me in the closet. I hear him lock the door and leave my bedroom. I finally break down and let the tears fall. Someday, I wish to escape from this prison. But I know, if I ever do, my dad will come and find me wherever I am, and take me back. My name is Redd Schaffer, and my life is an appalling cycle of pain, hurt, and torture.

Chapter OneEdit

"Redd! Wake up!" My dad screams at me through the door. I hear him unlock the closet and I get up and and open the door. He slaps me as I walk out and I put my hand to my cheek. I wince a little, and change into my plain white tank-top and gray sweatpants. I pull my hair back in a ponytail and look in the cracked mirror. My scarred, bruised, ugly pale skin. My straight, velvet red hair. My sad, lonely, gray-green eyes. I've never been to school since my mom left us when I was eight. I have no friends, and I have a fear that I never
Alex

Alex Ramos

will ever again. My dad abuses me, I'm surprised I'm not dead. He gives me food and water once a week. I'm basically a skeleton with a thin layer of skin and red hair. "Redd! Come down here!" He says and I smell the smoke as I hear him light his cigarette. I walk down the stairs and watch him puff out a breath filled of smoke.

"Yes?" I manage to croak out. He walks over to me and slaps my arm.

"Don't talk to me!" He yells and I wince a little. I look out the tinted window and see a boy peeking through, watching us. He's pointing a camera at us and he's crying a little. He hits a button on his camera and starts to hit all these buttons. Then I suddenly realize it's a phone. He sends the video to someone, then dials some more numbers and puts the phone up to his ear. "What are you freaking looking at?" He asks me harshly, and I shake my head. "Answer me when I ask you something!" He screams and I point to the window, and the boy's gone. He looks at the window and his expression grows angrier. He faces me and slaps my face again, and I wince. I hear a bang at the door and someone's yelling.

"Open the door, or I'll the dang thing down! NOW!" They yell sternly and my dad does nothing. "OPEN THE DOOR!" They yell again and I hear a gun shot. The door goes down and a person in a uniform walks through the door followed by thirteen other men all dressed in the same thing. "We are the police, and we're here to arrest you, Mr. Schaffer." The chief police officer says sternly as two other men handcuff my dad. They walk him out to their car which has flashing lights and throw him in and immediately slam the door shut and lock it with a key.

"So, Ms. Schaffer, what exactly has your father been doing to you?" One of the police officers ask me.

"He slaps me everyday, normally on my face and my arms. He used to cut me when I was fourteen, but he hasn't for a while. That's where I got the scars from. The bruises are from him slapping me. He only feeds me a slice of bread and a glass of water once a week." I say. It's the most I've said since I was eight.

"Is there currently anyone else living in the house or also abusing you?" He asks.

"No, but I did see a boy through the window a few minutes before you came. He was recording him beating me, and I think he sent it to someone." I say and he nods.

"What did he look like?" He asks. I squeeze my eyes shut and remember what he looked like. Golden hair, tan skin, and bright blue eyes. He looked around sixteen, my age, and really cute.

"Gold hair, lightly tanned skin, and blue eyes. I'd say he might be around sixteen." I say and he nods.

"Yes, he came here with us. He wanted to talk to you." He says and I nod a little. The police officer gets up and leaves me in the room by myself. I wait for a few minutes fiddling with my fingers. I hear footsteps and look up and see the same boy that I saw through the window. The police officer sits him down next to me on the old, worn out couch in our living room.

"Hi. I'm Alex." He says, and he's surprisingly calm to be talking to someone who looks like a zombie. His voice is kind of low, but he's cute. I feel my cheeks get hot and I feel a funny feeling in my stomach.

"H-hi, I'm Redd." I say and he picks up a strand of my red hair and runs in through his fingers.

"Like your hair. I like that name. It suits you." He says and the heat in my cheeks gets hotter.

"Thank-you." I say, and then a question lingers in my mind. "How did you know? Why did you turn my dad in to the police?" I ask him and he smiles at me.

"I saw him hit you while I was walking by your window. I started recording it on my phone, and sent it to my mom, then called the police. Then I showed them the video. I care about people like you." He tells me, placing his warm, soft hand over top of my cold, sore one.

"Thank-you, for caring." I say and he smiles at me. He has such a beautiful smile, and I have a crooked, ugly one. He reaches up and touches my cheek. He smiles at me and hugs me close to him. He allows me to cry into his shoulder. He rubs my back and strokes my hair.

"Stop, please stop crying, Redd. Please." He says soothingly.

"I can finally eat, real food, instead of stale bread and warm water." I say, realizing it. I pull back and smiles weakly at him. He runs a finger over a bruise on my forehead.

"Yes. Have you ever had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?" He asks and I shake my head.

"Not for eight years. Do you mean you'd make me one?" I ask and he chuckles and nods. His laugh is so adorable.

"Well, come with me, I'll drive you to my house, my mom is making baked steak." He says and I think. Have I ever had baked steak? Is it a food?

"Alex, what's baked steak?" I ask and he gives me a confused look. Then he laughs a little.

"Baked steak is a food, and you'll love it." He says and I smile. A real, genuine smile. I don't remember the last time I smiled.

"Thank-you." I say as he takes my hand and walks me to his car. It's a white truck, and it's a little rusty, I'm guessing it was his father's. He opens my door and gently lifts me in. He kisses my hand and then shuts my door. I buckle the seatbelt and watch him as he gets in. He buckles his and puts the key in. He starts to drive to a suburban neighborhood a while away from my old house. He pulls into a garage and gets out of the truck. I unbuckle my seat belt as he opens my door and lifts me out. I smile and he leads me to the door.

"Mom! I'm home! I have a girl with me!" He says and I feel heat rise to my cheeks as I see another boy step out of a door.

"Hi, I'm Zack. Alex's older brother." Zack says and I nod.

"Yeah, stay away from her." Alex says putting an arm around my shoulders.

"Oh, so cutie's taken, is she?" He asks eying me down.

"No, she's just my friend, and she's been abused for eight years and I'd really appreciate you stop hitting on her, please." Alex says pulling me in closer to him.

"Fine." His older brother says, rolling his eyes. He walks into the the kitchen and his mom sees me and frowns.

"Let's get you cleaned up, sweety." She says and I smile weakly. She takes me arm and walks me back to a room and dresses me in this: [polyvore]. I smile as I look at my reflection in the mirror, I've never looked so beautiful. I've always looked plain other than my bright red hair, and my scars. Even when I was little I was always made fun of because of my red hair. "You look beautiful, darling." She says hugging me. I smile and pull away. I walk out into the kitchen and sit down on one of the bar-stools. Compared to my old house, this place is a mansion. Alex sits down next to me and puts an arm around my shoulders. I smile and look over at him.

"You look amazing, Redd." He says and I feel the heat rise to my cheeks. I don't know what it's called. "You blush a lot, don't you?" He asks and I shrug.

"Oh, so that's what it's called." I say and he laughs. I laugh a little, too. For the first time since second grade.

"You're laughing, you have a pretty laugh." He says and I blush. He hugs me and kisses my hair. I blush even deeper and he chuckles a little. He takes my hand and leads me over to the couch, which is in much better shape than the one at my old house, but I'm trying to forget about my old life.

"This is a lot more comfortable than my couch at my old house." I tell him and he smiles down at me.

"I'm glad." He says. He pulls me down to rest my head on his lap. He looks down at me and strokes my hair. I smile and he leans down and kisses my cheek. Right where my bruise is. He gently touches my cheek and kisses my cheek. I sit up in his lap and he traces all the scars on my arms. I look up at him and he traces my lips with his thumb.

"What are you doing?" I ask him as he starts to lean in a little. He presses his lips against my own, and touches my cheek again. He's kissing me, right on the lips. He has feelings for me, no one has ever had feelings for me. I start to slowly kiss him back, and he wraps his arms around my waist, and I put my hands on either side of his face. He slowly pulls away and I move my hands off his cheeks and he takes his hands off my waist, I look at him for a second, and touch my lips. They're warm and soft. Not cracked and dry like they used to be. I look up at Alex and he slowly wraps his arms around my waist and I nod. He leans back in and kisses me again. I pull away after a second, and kiss his cheek.

"Redd, why did you disappear after second grade?" He asks me and I decide to tell him.

"My mom left us when I was eight, and then my dad started drinking and smoking to get her off his mind, and it didn't work. So then he started abusing me and cutting me. He yelled at me and locked me in a closet while he went places. He's only fed me stale bread and warm water once a week since I was eight. The only reason I'm out of that prison is you." I say and he hugs me close to him.

"But, I couldn't help it, I looked through the window, and I knew I saw the girl that disappeared after second grade. I had loved her." He says and I feel a tear go down my pale cheek.

"Time to eat, lovebirds!" His mom says and we get up and walk over to the table. He sits next to me and puts an arm around my shoulder. His mom lays a meal in front of me and I stare at it in disbelief. They really make that kind of a meal here?

"What is this?" I ask and she chuckles a little.

"Baked steak, and mashed potatoes. You've never had it?" She asks and I shake my head. I pick up the fork and cut the baked steak and take a bite. It's really good. I smile, it's the best I've had forever.

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