Before Emma took a breath, Jane slapped her hard across the face.
“You stupid bitch! He already paid for you! And the money is already gone! You’re gonna marry him or I’ll have to sell the house!”
“You should feel lucky that someone thinks you’re even worth anything,” Anna teased.
“You’re not going to sell the house, and I’m not going to marry that man! I’ll pay that money back on my own!” Without any of her things, Emma stomped out the house and back into the rain.
Jane was an evil bitch, but this was an all-time low.
Emma had been sold. She wanted to cry and scream at the same time. Her tears mixed with the rain, and after a while she couldn’t tell the difference.
Matt, she thought. I need to see him.
Being around him always made things better. Matt had a way making the bad feelings melt away. He was the one she was supposed to marry after graduating. Not some perverted old man. He came from a wealthy family. Maybe they could help her with this.
She stormed out and walked towards Matt’s dorm. The rain suddenly stopped. In fact, she wouldn’t go home if it wasn’t pouring this afternoon.
The last thing Emma wanted to do was go home. It wasn’t a home. At least not to her. She’d lost her mother when she was young, and her father has been in varying degrees of drunkenness ever since. In one of his more sober moments, he got remarried. Jane was nice at first. She came with her own daughter, Anna. And the expansion of the family seemed to do some good for her father. For a while anyway. Soon enough, he was back to his old ways. He’d be drunk from 9:00am. He never hurt them or anything. Jane took care of that. She was evil incarnate.
Emma had become a servant in her home. Her father lived in a perpetual drunken stupor. Emma wasn’t sure he was even in there anymore. Jane took advantage of this and forced Emma to do everything. Jane and Anna never lifted a finger. Unless of course it was against Emma.
The sight of her home was bittersweet. While it held the precious memories of her childhood, it also held the deep trauma of the abuse Jane subjected her to. The cold rain soaked her down to her soul.
“Just a quick in and out,” Emma reassured herself this afternoon before getting into the house. She went around to the back door, and prayed for it to be unlocked.
As she closed in, familiar sounds assaulted her.
“You good-for-nothing sack of shit! Why don’t you just die already? You aren’t worth anything to me alive!” Jane’s venomous screams rattled the house.
This home was once such a happy place. That joy existed only in Emma’s memory now. The house was dark and desolate. Jane’s screams and the droning of the TV drowned out the noises of Emma sneaking around. Or so she thought.
Just as she reached her room, arms flew around her waist.
“Emma! Sneaking around here in the dark! What do you think you’re doing?” Anna squealed as her arms tightened around Emma’s body.
Emma’s body stiffened. This is the last thing she wanted.
Jane was evil, but Anna wasn’t any better. She often piggybacked off of Jane’s cruelty. Anna thrived off of it. “Mom! Look who’s trying to avoid us!”
Jane marched out of the living room, and her eyes narrowed at Emma.
“What the hell do you want?” she screeched. Anna let go and giggled with malicious glee.
“I need some of my things,” Emma sighed.
“All you and that deadbeat father of yours do is take, take, take! Neither of you contribute anything to this family! I’ve kept us afloat for these last ten years! And you! You’ve been such a horrible pain in the ass!”
“I work three part time jobs while going to school full time! I pay you $500 a month! I clean this house every weekend! What more do you want from me?” Emma countered.
“Prices go up. Aren’t you supposed to be educated? Your father put us in so much debt! I can’t afford anything anymore!”
Emma was tired of this argument. She was cold and wet. She just wanted to leave.
“I don’t have the energy to do this with you. I’m just going to get my stuff and leave —”
Her thought was interrupted by the sudden rain again. She had to ran through the storm, and with water sloshing everywhere, she made it to Matt’s dorm eventually. Emma knocked on the door, and waited. The door opened and she hoped to see her salvation on the other side.
“Matt! I—” she stopped short when Matt’s roommate was there instead. “Oh, I’m sorry to bother you.”
“Emma, you’re soaked. Are you all right?”
“Yeah, sorry. Is Matt around? I need to see him.”
“He’s…” his roommate said. His hand scratched the back of his head, and he looked down. “He’s… he’s not here. He ran out a little bit ago. Said he was busy with… something.”
Emma felt bad. Matt was under a lot of pressure from his family, and was usually busy to ensure he met their standards. She should have known better than to show up unannounced like that.
“Oh. That’s okay. I understand. Thanks. I’ll try him later,” she smiled and turned to leave.
“Yes?” Emma turned back and saw Matt’s roommate reaching towards her with a sad look on his face. He seemed to battle with something, but shook his head as though he’s changed his mind.
“It’s nothing. Be careful out there, yeah?” He offered a smile and then closed the door.
Emma trudged back to her dorm, heavy with water, sadness and regret. Naked laundry it is, she joked to herself. After what seemed like the longest day of her life, she finally got back to her dorm hall. As she got closer to her room, she thought she heard her name.
“What else could happen today?” she whispered to herself. As she got closer, the voices became clear.
“Come on, Matt,” a sickeningly sweet voice simpered. “You’re going have to choose between us eventually. Tell me, baby. Which one of us is it? Who do you really love?”