The trip to the pub had left me thinking…what things was I missing on? All my life, I had been obedient and good. I was an obedient daughter, a good student, a caring sister…generally perfect in every way. I wondered if thats why I was referred to as ”weird kid ” or ”little miss perfect ” or ”party pooper ” all the way through middle school.

Even throughout high school, people avoided me. Ever since that one time I had told the teacher about some of the students intentionally skipping classes, I had been the odd one out. No one talked to me and no one said anything important in front of me. That was the first time when I had actually thought about it. I had thought about changing into one of those cool girls in the stories who date bad boys, flunk classes, smoke, put on lots and lots of make-up…But I had never been able to.

I liked being good. I liked to do everything perfectly organized.

That was one of my secrets.

I had OCD.

Even Reese didn know. I had been trying and trying to get over it, but anything unorganized made me itch. I wanted to get past it before Reese noticed my creepily organized apps, documents, shoes, books and whatever else. Maybe Reese could help me get over it, maybe he would accept me with the OCD. But maybe he would just leave me the second he heard, and I didn want that to happen.

After thinking about it, and thinking it about it some more, I decided to do something bad-girlish.

I decided to talk back to or interrupt a teacher as I had heard many of the popular girls doing.

Reese was sitting on the seat in front of me. I was chewing on gum, getting ready for my chance. I knew that the teacher would probably ask me for the answer of a question, and I was thinking of the perfect thing to say before everyone in college began to call me ”little miss perfect ” just like everyone else.

Little Miss Perfect might not seem too bad, but its as insulting as any other insult. It made me feel weird and odd. It made me feel like I was somehow less than the others or maybe as if I was a robot. I sometimes thought that I had been programmed to work perfectly, to function perfectly. But maybe everyone likes imperfections.

”Miss Winters, would you like to answer the first question in this exercise? ” The teacher looked at me through his spectacles.

He looked at me with a mix of expectance and irritation. Almost as if he knew that I would answer correctly.

”Why me sir? ” I asked abruptly, ”Are those thick glasses not enough for you to see that I DID NOT volunteer, or is it too much to process for your THICK HEAD? ”

Everyone including the teacher, looked at me in surprise.

All the students started laughing at my response and several let out murmurs of agreement. Some even patted me on the back saying good one. I felt happy, but Reese…he looked surprised…he looked confused…he looked disappointed.

My face instantly dropped when I saw that.

”Miss Winters I suppose youll be joining Mister Silver in detention today. Continuing… ” The teacher went on as I stared at the back of Reeses head.

Detention? He had detention?

As far as I was concerned, Reese got the best grades. Why would he get detention?

Come to think of it, I don think he attends a lot of the classes.

He also seemed like a bad boy.

Of course, it was normal for him to get detention.

He was one of the cool kids after all.

Maybe he had just been disappointed that I had found out he got into detention, and not at my reply to the teacher.

After class, Reese pulled me aside. He waited until everyone was gone then he turned to me. His eyes were all serious. He leaned against one of the white walls as he beckoned me to sit on a wooden chair.

”What was that little stunt you pulled back there, Hm? ” He asked with an eyebrow raised.

I stayed silent.

He sighed and placed his palms on my desk, standing across of me, staring at me with an immensely powerful glare that made me feel as if he was looking through me. A shudder went through my spine and my hair stood on an end as I looked up and saw Reese looking all angry and fierce.

”Answer me, Amanda. ”

He rarely called me Amanda. It was always Amy or Baby. He must really be serious about this. Did he really like the perfect me?

I sighed.

”Im sick of everyone expecting so much of me. Im tired of being perfect. Im done with cleaning up after my mothers mess. Im sick, sick, and sick of my life, Seriously Reese, do you know what a hellhole my life is? ” I blurted out.

That wasn what I had meant to say, I was planning on giving him an explanation, calmly. But I had let my true emotions out, I had told him the real reason. It was all stress and fear and anxiety.

His expression immediately softened and he pulled a chair next to me and turned me to face him so our faces were inches apart.

I looked away.

”Amy, talk to me. ” He said, his eyes looking at me through his jet black air, making me feel somehow reassured.

A tear slid down my cheek.

I dropped my head in shame.

And then I told him.

My mother had been missing for 2 days, and she had showed up yesterday. She had been sleeping the whole day, highly drunk. At around mid-day, a man showed up and tried to barge in saying that my mom had something of his. By all the noise and hassle, my mom woke up and she looked startled to see him. The man pushed passed me and threw my mother to the wall demanding money. Turns out that my mother had borrowed a thousand dollars to pay for my college admission, and now, the man was back, asking for the money she had borrowed. When my mother said that she didn have the money ready, and she would pay him back within a month, the man got angry and began kicking her against the wall. I tried to stop him, but he twisted my arm so much that it had been temporarily paralyzed. I had a few hundred bucks saved up and I had given them to the man, begging his forgiveness.

After he left, I consulted my mother and she started crying like an 8 years old and argued with me for no reason. Then she left at night and I hadn seen her since.

I was crying in Reeses arms by the time I was done.

He raised my red cotton sleeve over to my elbow and eyed the bruise that had appeared due to the mans tight grip. He kissed his teeth and gritted his teeth,

”Amy Im so sorry. Amy you shouldve told me, you shouldve damn called me at that time. Amy I love you, alright. I care for you. Whats the goddamn point if you won tell me anything? ” He asked, frustrated and angry.

That made me cry more.

”Im sorry Reese, Im sorry. ” I sobbed.

He wiped my tears away and put two fingers under my chin and raise it to meet his eyes and offered me a smile.

”Its OK Amy. No, Im sorry. Im so sorry. ”

He held me as I cried my heart out. The walls, the desks, the chairs, the black board, the screen, they all witnessed as my tears dropped and splashed against the cold floor.

I hadn called him because I didn want him to know where I lived. I didn want him to think of me as poor or lower than him.

What he suggested next surprised me.

”Amy, you have this mans contact, yes? ” He asked softly.

”Hm. ” I nodded through my sniffles.

”Ill pay your debts. ”

My eyes lit up in hope and I met his eyes.

”Really?! ” I was shocked and happy, but his eyes showed mischief.

Of course…there was a catch.

”You have to come live with me though. Ill hire your mom a caretaker, and she needs so start talking to a therapist, Amy your mom needs help. ” He whispered softly into my ear,

Live with him? He wanted me to live with him? To share his room, to share his bed?

”W-W-Will you parents be OK with it? ” I asked, ultimately hoping they would not because I wasn ready for such a big step.

I liked to take things slow…

”Yes they will. I live with my little sister, my parents are usually never home. ”

I let my head rest on his chest. I was now in his lap.

”B-B-but my mom, she— ”

”No Amy. Your Mom will be fine. You need to do whats best for yourself. Besides, is the thought really that frightening? Im not gonna force you into anything, Yknow ” He smirked and his face showed amusement.

Great he was making fun of me.

”Ill think about it. ” I murmured leaving the conversation at that.

The smart answer would be yes. The answer I wanted was yes. Mom was home by the time I got there and I told her what I wanted. Her answer was………………..No! Suddenly, I lost it.

”Oh, so you can get into anything you want, but I can even breathe at my own free will? Besides, he can help us get out of the mess that YOU dragged us into!! ” I snapped.

My mother huffed.

”Its not that. We
e not a charity case Amy. You don display such matters to your boyfriends. ”

”I can , but you can? Why I remember that one guy who knew everything…MOM HE KNEW EVERYTHING! ”

I began to yell.

I yelled at my mom for being irresponsible, I yelled at her for never caring for me. I yelled the truth out.

For some reason, I couldn hold off the truth ever since the stare Reese had given me that stare. Weird,

Mom began to cry when I finished and I began rubbing her back, embarrassed.

”I know Amy. I know that Ive been a terrible mother, Amy Im so sorry. ” Mom said as she hugged me as I comforted her just as Reese had comforted me.

”I guess Im…scared. ” It felt weird to see my mom so weak, so broken.

”Im scared of being alone Amy. Even since your dad left….Ive been…heartbroken. ”

I had never tried to understand my mom. That had been my mistake all along. Of course, she had been through a lot. It couldn have been easy. She had been drinking to ease the pain, she had borrowed the money for my sake after all.

In the end, I got mom to agree.

I called Reese that night and he told me he would pick me up the next day.

This day would be the last in this tiny hellhole that I had survived 9 months in. Reese would arrange a luxury apartment for my mom, hire her the best maids and book appointments with world-class therapists.

And that got me thinking….

Where was all this money even coming from…???

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