Running Away

Nick's point of view

"Nick, hello?" I heard AJ's voice and second later I saw his hand waving in front of my face.
"Ow!" I complained as his hand connected with my nose.
"Sorry man," he apologized.
I glared at him. "What do you want?" I asked.
"I asked you a question like five minutes ago and you didn't even blink," he told me.
"Oh, sorry Bone, I just have a lot on my mind right now," I said shrugging.
AJ raised his eyebrows. "Like what?"
"Stuff," I said vaguely, hoping he'd get the hint.
No such luck.
"What kind of stuff?" AJ prodded.
"The kind that's on my mind," I retorted.
"What's the kind that's on your mind?"
"The kind that's on my mind."
Was it so hard to see that I didn't want to talk about it or did I have to spell it out for him?
"What is it?"
Apparently I did.
"I don't wanna talk about it," I said sighing.
"Are you sure?" AJ asked.
"Jay!" I exclaimed in frustration.
"Okay, okay, I get it," he said raising his hands.
"Are you guys fighting?" asked Kevin from the backseat of the van.
"No," AJ and me replied.
"What was the question you asked?" I queried turning to AJ.
"I wanted-" he began but was cut off by Kevin.
"Are you guys sure you're not fighting?"
"Yes!" we both hissed turning our heads to look at him.
"All right, just checking," said Kevin leaning back in his seat.
"You were saying?" I asked AJ.
"I wanted to know where you were for the past couple of days. You were kinda unreachable after those interviews," he replied.
"I, uh, um," I stammered. I wasn't sure if I wanted to tell AJ the truth. "I just had a lot of stuff to take care of," I finally said.
AJ raised his eyebrows again. "Stuff?"
I wondered if I used that word too much.
"Yeah, stuff," I said, uncomfortably adjusting my position in the seat.
"Uh huh, sure Nicky," said AJ nodding.
I wasn't even going to tell him not to call me Nicky. It was useless anyway.
"It's just unimportant stuff, nothing for you to worry about," I said.
AJ nodded again. "Okay, if you say so."
I released a small sigh of relief and turned to look out the window. My thoughts immediately drifted to Hope. I wanted to help her somehow but I couldn't even begin to imagine where I would start. She pulled a pretty good disappearing act on me.
All of a sudden something clicked in my mind.
"That guy!" I exclaimed out loud without meaning to.
"What guy?" I immediately heard the four voices of my band mates.
"Um, never mind," I said quietly.
"Nick, I didn't know you swung that way," cracked Brian from the back.
"Shut up," I mumbled.
This was not the time and place for gay jokes.
I realized why the man who opened the door yesterday seemed familiar to me. He was the same one I saw leaving Hope's building before I found her unconscious.
I remembered him and figured that he was her father.
I could practically hear the gears in my head turning.
It just didn't add up normally that I saw him that day coming out of the building. There was no way that there could've been a burglar in Hope's apartment, absolutely no way.
I felt a chill as it dawned on me what had really happened.
Hope was beaten by…her own father.
I clenched my jaw from anger. I couldn't believe someone would do that to their own child. It took a heartless person to commit an act like that.
I had to help her, now more than ever.

Hope's point of view

I looked at my watch in anticipation. It was just a bit after three o'clock in the morning and I finally heard the sounds of my father snoring from the bedroom.
I got out of my bed as quietly as possible and took out the suitcase that I stored underneath. It contained all of my belongings plus one thousand dollars in cash.
I couldn't stay home anymore. I was going to run away, go to some motel, and stay there until I could find a new job and then move to an apartment.
I took one last look around the room, and then quietly slipped out the door. I took a deep breath and headed downstairs.
I walked forty minutes to the closest bus stop. I was going to go to this motel that was about two hours away from my house, this way I knew my father wouldn't find me any time soon.
The bus came about twenty minutes later and I gratefully got on, anxious to get away from my former home.
I got to the motel a while later and went to the check in desk to see if they had any vacancies. They did. I checked in and paid for a week. The motel wasn't expensive so I had plenty of cash left over.
"Well, this is home, for now anyway," I announced to myself as I opened the door to room number twenty-eight. The room itself was very simple. It contained a queen size bed, a dresser, a small table, a nightstand, and a TV with a cable box. It was clean and there were fresh towels in the bathroom.
I sighed and dropped my suitcase on the bed. I began taking out the few clothes that I had and hanging them in the closet.
I took my toiletries and placed them in the bathroom.
I couldn't believe I was finally on my own. As much as living with my father scared me, this scared me even more. I had no one to turn to and no one to lean on if things got too rough.
I sank down on the bed and put my head into my hands.
What if I had made the wrong decision to come here?

Nick's point of view

I stood nervously in front of Hope's apartment. I didn't even know what I was going to say to her. But I knew that I wasn't leaving until she was with me. I couldn't let her stay there any longer or she was going to end up much worse than last time.
I took a deep breath and knocked.
"What?" asked Hope's father, opening the door. "You again!" he pointed at me.
"I need to speak to Hope," I said, keeping my tone as even and as determined as I could.
"She ain't here," he replied, then narrowed his eyes at me. "Do you know where she is?!" he bellowed, grabbed a fistful of my shirt and yanked me towards him.
I tried not to gag at the strong stench of alcohol that hit my nose. "N-no," I said, my voice breaking slightly.
Hope's father looked at me for another few seconds and then shoved me away, sending me tumbling into the wall behind me.
I felt the air rush out of my lungs, as my back became friends with the concrete wall.
The door slammed and I was left standing alone in the hallway.
I took several deep breaths to get my lungs working in a proper manner once again, and then headed downstairs.
It really seemed like Hope's father had no idea where she was.
I guess I wasn't the only one she had pulled a disappearing act on. Though I was glad she pulled one on him. Now the question was, where did she go?

Hope's point of view

"Here is your change," I said smiling at the customer, a little girl of about nine years old.
"Thank you," she said timidly, took her candy bar, and left the store.
I sighed as my smile disappeared from my face.
Being on your own was harder than I had ever thought possible.
I got a job at another grocery store, this one miles away from my previous place of employment. I rented an apartment a couple of blocks away from where I worked and bought some furniture for it. The apartment wasn't big, in fact; it was very small. It had only one room and a bathroom, no kitchen, no bedroom.
It wasn't much, but it was home and it was safe.
I never went anywhere except for work because I was afraid of running into my father. Even though I was far away from him, I couldn't help but be afraid.
I thought about Nick often. He was the closest thing I ever had to a friend. I was sure that he had long forgotten about me and I knew it was for the best.
I turned my attention back to my cash register as another customer approached. I quickly scanned his items, made change, and packed up the products he bought.
I took a look around the store. It was tiny; one of those corner grocery stores that only had one cash register and sold stuff like candy, milk, soda, magazines, and a few other necessities.
I was lucky to have gotten the job there. The previous cashier had quit only the day before I arrived. The pay was decent and it was enough to cover my rent and utilities. I didn't like the job too much, but it was the only thing I could find and it's not like I could pick and choose.
Thoughts of my father finding me began to haunt me. I was terrified more than anything of him coming into the store one day and dragging me back home. I knew that I should've left the state if I wanted to make sure he'd never find me again, but I couldn't afford to do so. I just hoped that two hours away was far enough.

Nick's point of view

"Come on, please?" I whined.
"No, you can wait," Kevin said sternly.
"Pleeeeeeease?" I let out my most pathetic wail ever.
"Kev, let him," Brian said, looking at me with a pitiful expression.
"He can get a drink when we get to the radio station," Kevin insisted.
"But it's forty minutes away and I'm thirsty now!" I exclaimed. "It's not my fault someone drank all the water in the limo," I said, shooting a dirty look in Howie's direction.
He shrugged. "I was thirsty."
"I was thirsty," I mimicked.
Yes, I was fully aware of my childish antics but you try going without liquids since the night before and we'll see how mature you'd be.
"Fine," Kevin said, his jaw clenched. He signaled for the driver to stop. "There's a grocery store. Go get your water and get back here, quickly."
I bolted from the limo and ran into the store at warp speed. I found the spring water and went to pay for it.
I was fumbling for change when a familiar voice brought my attention to the cashier.
"That'll be a dollar twenty-five," she said.
I stared at her. She stared back.
"Hope?" I said quietly, my rush forgotten.
Panic flickered in her eyes, and then it was gone. "Yes, Nick?" she said coolly.
"Where have you been?" I hissed. "I've been looking everywhere for you!"
"Did you not get the note I left with the receptionist at the hospital?" Hope asked, her eyebrows raised.
"Yes I got it," I told her. "But you should know something about me, I never listen," I grinned, trying to lighten the mood.
Hope wasn't amused. "I don't care if you don't listen, I just need you to stay away from me, for both of our sakes," she said.
My grin disappeared. "Hope, I am not going to stand by and watch while your father beats you do death!" I whispered angrily.
I heard a sharp intake of breath and Hope looked at me with fear in her eyes. "How did you know?" she asked.
"Contrary to popular belief, I'm not stupid," I said evenly. "I saw your father come out of the building minutes before I found you. I put two and two together, it just didn't click immediately though," I explained.
"Nick, I appreciate your concern, but I'm fine," Hope said and held out her hand.
I looked at it with a blank expression.
"I don't care how famous you are, you still have to pay for your drink," she said smirking.
"Oh, right." I gave her the money and took my water. "I can't let you stay with your father," I said, looking directly into her eyes.
"I don't live with him anymore. I ran away and got an apartment of my own," she informed me.
I released a sigh of relief. "Thank God." I then took the receipt she gave me, grabbed a pen from the register, and scribbled down my cell number. "Call me if you need a friend," I said with a warm smile. "Day or night," I added.
"Thank you," Hope said quietly, taking the paper from me.
"Nick! Did you buy the entire store? Get your ass back in the limo! Kevin's head is about to explode!" AJ exclaimed, running into the store.
"Shit!" I yelped. "Call me," I told Hope. "Bye." I then ran out of the store behind AJ.
"I hope you enjoyed your water because I am never letting you out of the limo again," Kevin growled when I shut the door behind me.
"Sorry, I-" I began but he cut me off.
"I'm not looking for an apology, I'm just warning you," he said.
I wondered if he wasn't even going to let me out if my bladder was about to burst. Then again, he would probably tell me to hold it.
I leaned back in the seat as we continued our way to yet another fascinating interview.

chapter 2 coming soon