Chapter Eighteen

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I'm sure if the Devil existed, he would want us to feel very sorry for him.
-Martha Stout

"Like I said I was eight the first time I ran away from home. My dad was hitting my mom and I bolted, I couldn't see it anymore and she wouldn't do anything about it so I did what I could. I ran." Xavier says, the information surprising me but I agreed to stay silent until he way done. He beside me, us both on the edge of the ledge with our calves and feet hanging in the water. "I didn't know if that was very  stupid or very brave -I knew that running would take the attention off my mom...but it would but it on me instead.

"One thing you have to understand about my father is that he's a sadistic man, he enjoys hurting people. He used to hurt us a lot. It was bad Princess," His voice cracks. "It was really bad. Eventually Mom got pregnant again, I was nine. She had the kid in secret, my dad would have made her get an abortion again but she wanted her baby alive. He was furious when he came home, I had to lock myself in the bathroom with the baby while he took it out on my mom."

I clench my hands into my shirt, looking straight into the water as I will the sting in my eyes to go away, will myself not to react like I want to and throw myself on him.

I know this story is far from over. 

"Skip to three years later. My little sister, her name's Olivia. I called her Ollie. She was four now, I was going on thirteen. I was her favorite person." Xavier's voice wavers, as if he's stopping himself from crying. "And she's preschool and everything's fine. But then we find out my mom's pregnant, the woman at the clinic called...but my dad answered the phone. He was enraged, talking about how this whole family is a waste of air. Which I know now is absolute bullshit. He stuffed us all in his POS car and started driving like a maniac. I had Ollie in my arms, Mom was in the front seat crying. Dad was screaming, we got over a bridge. I don't think he knew it was a bridge.But he was driving like he didn't know what that word meant, took the turn to fast and sent us tumbling over the edge." 

A gasp comes from me before I can stop myself, and I turn to look at him. His steady blue eyes are focused on the water, watching the fish swim around. 

"I don't remember how I knew what to do, but I did. My dad threw his door open before we even hit the water. Was sucked out, the door slammed shut on impact. He survived, swam across the shore where police arrested him. Witnesses saw the whole thing. Mom got knocked out. I unbuckled me and Ollie, made sure she could breath, rolled the windows down. We waited until the water reached our chins to open our doors. I got her out first, my whole life since she was born was to protect her.

"She couldn't swim at all." I flinch at this. "I had her entire body weight on me, she didn't weigh much but in the water it doesn't take much and I was twelve. Eventually though, somehow, I managed to get her on the land. I told her to stay there, stay there until I come back or a guy in a police uniform got her. I went back under, it was a lake, still water no rushing river water. It was pretty shallow, all things considered. I got back under, my mom was out of air, her 'life support bubbles' as I called them were going everywhere. I managed to pull her out and get her to the surface.

"That didn't matter. She wasn't breathing when we got there, she was blue. I didn't everything, everything I could Princess. Medics arrived and confirmed the death time. Dad was arrested so we went into the system. They tried to keep us together, me and Ollie. But it just didn't work like that. Me and her get to see each other twice a year at Christmas and I get to take her Trick or Treating. She remembers me, she writes to me. But it's not enough." 

I started crying, I don't know when but it was his voice that made me, the story was sad enough but his voice...he sounds so broken.

"She's eight now. I can tell she's not happy and it breaks my heart." I think it just broke my heart too. "I know her foster parents yell at her, and they haven't gotten full custody yet. My nineteenth birthday is in two weeks and I'm trying to get guardianship of her. The parents are all for it. Cal's parents, the Hilton's, adopted me and they're willing to let Ollie live with us. I got all the inheritance, so supporting us won't be a problem when I move out."

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