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Author's Chapter Notes:
When I woke up the next morning AJ had his head on my shoulder and his tattooed arms around my middle, he was still in a deep slumber. Grinning, I freed myself from is hold and got out of bed. After a quick shower I threw on the clothes I had been wearing the night before, left a note on my pillow for him and went out the door.

I’m going to get some of my stuff at home.
I think she’s working today so I’ll be fine.
Don’t worry,

My house was only a few blocks away so I decided to walk. It was just past sunrise when I reached the driveway. I searched for the spare key under a plastic rock in the garden out front. Once I found it I let myself in. No one was there, thank God! I went through the living room and up stairs, I finally came to the bedroom, I opened the door. Gagging as the stench of cigarette smoke hit my nose.
I winced when I heard the front door slam. She was home. I ducked into the bedroom, sprinting to my closet. I grabbed a duffle bag off the floor and I started throwing clothes, hangers and all into it. I then ran to the dresser pulling drawers out, I started dumping socks and underwear in the bag. She was coming up the hall— oh God! How was I going to get out of this one??
“Where the hell have you been?” She screamed from the doorway.
“I-I was at a friend’s. It got late so I crashed there…No big deal.” I couldn’t tell her I was with AJ. I didn’t want her to know where to find me.
“For two days?! Don’t lie to me, Nicholas! Where the fuck were you?” She bound toward me, shoving me back causing me to fall over my bag. “What the hell is this?” She yelled inches from my face. “Are you going somewhere?”
When I didn’t answer she picked up a wooden hairbrush off the dresser then stood over me. “I asked you a question!” She sat on my chest making it slightly difficult to breathe. She struck me across the face as hard as she could with the back of the brush. I could feel warm liquid dripping down my cheek and onto my neck. I was bleeding. I grabbed her arms and rolled her off me then jumped to my feet, heading for the bedroom door. I was almost at the top of the stairs when I her coming out of the bedroom. I turned back, she was right behind me. She took hold of my shoulders and threw me back, sending me head first down the stairs. I’m pretty sure I hit my head because suddenly everything went dark.