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Author's Chapter Notes:
This is my first fan fiction in English. So please be a little patient with me!
Finally, after many days of traveling she'd reached California. It nearly taken all of her power to get there. Now that she was there, her whole body was full of pain, trembling from the cold, and because she was too weak to move. It felt like she'd had to pay a price way too high to get there.

She could not even remember the last time that she had gotten any sleep. It had been way too dangerous to sleep on the highway. She had only spent the first night of her trip in a motel, but hadn't been able to sleep more than a hour. She was just too afraid of the guy she spent the night with who had offered to take her with him to the motel. She also could not remember the last time that she ate something, but she was sure that she could not hold anything inside of her stomach anyway.

Her whole life everybody kept telling her that life in America was way better than in her home country. Now she had the feeling that this was the biggest lie that she had ever heard. When she had started her trip to America, she thought that there would be people to help her once she get there. It didn't take her very long to find out that most people only seemed to think of themselves. Nobody seemed to be interested in her problems.

She could still feel the eyes of the men on her body when she was sitting next to them in their cars, happy that someone let her ride with them. She even could still feel their hands on her knees when they tried to touch her.

A few hot tears were running down her face. She had absolutely no idea what to do next, how to find a way out of this hell. It seemed like she'd just escaped from one hell, only to find herself in another hell which was different but in some ways even more dangerous.

Joanna Martinez was a young, Mexican woman, soon to be 21 years old. She had grown up in a poor family. Her parents had five children and could hardly take care of them. They had learned to live from day to day without knowing how or if they'd have anything to eat for the next day.

Her mother always said that there was a better life for Joanna in her future. She'd said that Joanna would be the one who would save her whole family. Joanna had never understood the real meaning of her mother's words until the day her father told her that she had to go away. She'd never finished school because it was too expensive, so she was forced to stay at home and take care of her younger siblings.

In her father's eyes, she was never really any use for their family because she didn't make any money. Without any hesitation, he'd sold her to an owner of a large estate who had offered such a large amount of money for Joanna that the family could live of it for at least a whole year. Joanna begged her father to change his mind about the offer. The only thing that she knew about the man was that he was almost 50 years old. She never imagined herself being with a man that she didn't know, never mind that she didn't love.

Her father had hit her. He had never allowed her to talk back to him, especially because he thought that being a girl she was expected to be seen and not heard. Joanna did not give up though. She'd even begged on her knees for him to change his mind about sending her away to stay with a man that she already feared even before she met him. Nothing stopped her father from hitting her though. He even took off his belt and hit her on the back with it until she was lying on the floor, crying in pain.

Joanna did not take much with her. She knew that she had no time to leave. She only said goodbye to her sister Mariella, who was two years younger than her. It was hard to leave her in Mexico because she knew that once she was gone, her sister would have to go through the same thing that she had. She'd even thought about taking her with her, but she decided that it was just too dangerous.

She'd ran away during the middle of the night without knowing where she was going. The only thing that she had in the back of her mind was what she had heard about life in America. People always said that in America life is better for everyone. So, America should be her safest place to hide.