"Zacky?" Vanessa questioned, just to make sure it was really him she had seen, "I remember you!" She smiled widely and I couldn't help but smile as well.

"You do?" Zacky asked and she nodded.

"You always snuck me candy when Dad wasn't looking. It's all coming back to me," She seemed glowing with happiness and Zacky wrapped her in a large hug.

We walked back to the car and Vanessa sat in the back seat. I was putting bags in the trunk when Zacky approached me, "You didn't tell me over the phone that she was with you," He said and I shrugged.

"You're happy to see her aren't you?" I asked and he nodded.

"I am. I' really happy, Van, but there's just one problem," He sighed and I gave him a questioning look, "With what happened last night with Matt..." He trailed off, "Jimmy and I thought it was best to put him into therapy," He confessed.


"It's not the therapy you're thinking. The one where you go once a week to talk about all your problems. We checked him into a hospitalized facility in Palm Springs so he could take some time away from the band as well."

"So he's not even home?" I questioned and he shook his head, "What about Val?" I asked and he shrugged, "She wouldn't let him go alone, so she's staying in the hotel across the street until we can release him."

The whole two hour drive home (courtesy of late-night traffic) gave me the time to think back about Jesse. He gave his life up for me. I wouldn't understand why anyone would give their life up for someone. It was cruel, what he did. We should have died together. I loved him, I really did. And now he was gone.

The park at night was a scary place for a twelve year old, but I had managed to get myself stuck in the middle of it, along with pouring rain. I was a petite girl, so I had managed to squeeze myself underneath a park bench, staring the the swings moving with the wind. I curled into a ball and hoped for the best.

I have thirty dollars in my pocket, a box filled with old memories, and a butter knife (as if that were going to keep me safe). I had no place to go, but I could live on the streets for a while before I find another foster home, I guess. If I spend a dollar a day, I could spend a month on my own. Food couldn't be too expensive. I didn't eat much to begin with anyways. Foster parents never gave us more than half a plate of food every night. Breakfast was nothing but a glass of milk and lunch was scraps we could find lying around.

The rain had softened up to light pitter-patter on the cement, but I was still scared. The only light illuminating the park was one lamppost beside the bench. It wasn't until now I realized how alone I was. I had been beaten, was sore from living at the home, but were the streets any different? What if I got mugged or raped?

I started to cry at this moment. First it was silent tears rolling down my cheeks before I started to sob. My clothes were damp and my entire body was sore and broken. I couldn't do much but possibly go back, only to face an even worse beating. I must have been crying loud because I suddenly heard feet tapping on the ground, "Is anyone there?" A voice called. It was deep and I could tell he was older than me. Finally he stopped in front of the bench. He sighed and knelt down so he could look at me, "Are you alright?" He asked but I didn't speak. He looked around before looking back at me. He sighed once more and lay down flat on the ground so he could get closer to me, I whimpered, "It's okay," He said softly, "Sh, I'm not going to hurt you."

I looked up into his deep eyes. They were green, rimmed with light brown around his pupils. I liked them a lot, and I suddenly felt sage with him, "Are you hurt?" He asked and I nodded. He nodded back, "I'm going to pull you out from under there, okay? I'm going to take you somewhere warm and dry," He smiled and I shook my head, "Why not?" He asked, but I still didn't speak, "Are you hiding from someone?" And I nodded, "Well," He smiled, "I promise I won't let them get to you."

With that he reached forward and placed an arm under the back of my knees and the other around my neck. He pulled me out as I slightly winced in pain from my bruises, "It's okay, I'm going to get you out of here," He whispered and soon he was standing up. I liked the way he was carrying me. I felt like a princess.

We were soon in the parking lot of an apartment complex. A few cars were scattered around, but it was vacant for the most part. He carried me up two flights of stairs, without a sweat, before we reached a hallway with many doors. He changed how he was carrying me, sliding an arm under my bottom with my legs loosely wrapped around him. I felt like toddler in his arms. With his now free hand, he reached into his pocket for a key before opening the door, "Hello?" He called once we closed the door. He was back to carrying me like a princess and I looked around the room.

It was a living room connected to a kitchen. It was surprisingly large for such a small apartment complex. The couch in the room sat three girls watching television, "Who is that?" A girl asked but the man didn't answer.

"I need the first aid kit and a warm towel," He ordered and two of the girls left, the third jumping off the couch so the man could set me down. The girl put a pillow under my head and turned to him for more instruction, "Are you hungry or thirsty?" He asked and I simply nodded, he turned to her and she knew to go to the kitchen and get something.

Seconds later, the two girls reappeared and the man had a brown bottle in his hand, along with a white cloth. A warm towel was placed over my forehead and I realized how shivering cold I was. He poured some liquid into the white cloth and looked at me, "It'll sting a little, but I have to do this to make sure nothing gets infected," He explained and I nodded. I trusted him for some off reason, though I had never trusted anyone in my entire life.

I whimpered as he tended to my cuts on my arms and cheek. Another towel was brought so I could be dried clean as I ate my sandwich the other girl made me, "You girls can head off to bed. I'll sleep out here tonight with her," He smiled at them and they nodded, giving me slight smiles before disappearing behind two doors.

"What's your name?" He asked and I looked up at him.

"Van," I replied and he gave me a warm smile.

"Van," He whispered, "That's a pretty name for a pretty girl," I blushed, "How old are you, Van?"

"Twelve," I answered and he nodded.

"Any reason why a twelve-year old like yourself is hiding in the park at this hour?" He questioned.

"They hurt me," I replied and his eyes became sad, almost angry.

"Who hurt you?"

"Foster care," I told him and he nodded.

"Well, they aren't going to hurt you anymore, Van. I promise." He reached beside me and grabbed a blanket before placing it over me. It was warm and I cuddled into it, "It's late and you should go to sleep. I'll be right here if you need anything, okay?" I nodded and he smiled before running his fingers through my hair, "Goodnight, Van."

"Wait," I whispered and he looked back at me, "What's your name?" I asked and he smiled sweetly, flipping his shaggy hair out of his face.

"Jesse," He answered, "My name is Jesse."

I felt Zacky gently shake me awake. I sighed and glanced outside, seeing Vanessa waiting patiently. We were at my apartment. It was my apartment now that Jesse is gone. Truth be told, I don't want to go in there. We had been together for so long, I don't want to be in the home we shared, "Vanessa is going to stay with you until we sort everything out," He told me as I unlocked the door and I nodded.

I showed Vanessa to my room, letting her know it was alright for her to use anything she needed. She seemed grateful towards me, and her happiness made me smile, "It's weird having her back... But I'm glad," He smiled.

"So how's Brian?" I asked and he looked at me grimly.

"Van, do you think you're related to him and Michelle?" I shook my head.

"I checked the library, Zack. Their last name is Haner and mine is Blumenfield. It doesn't match up," I sighed and he nodded.

"You'll understand everything soon, Van," He put a hand on my shoulder.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means you'll find your parents soon."

Zacky left without a word, leaving me alone as Vanessa slept peacefully in my bed. I made my way to the couch, planning on sleeping near the view of the ocean. I lay down, but couldn't force myself to sleep. I found myself glancing at Jesse's shut door. Finally, I gave in and got up. I stood at the closed door, my palm against it as tears slid down my cheeks. I took in a deep breath before opening the door and stepping inside.

I shut it behind me, leaving me alone in the dark room. Moonlight from his window illuminated half of the room. I sighed and walked over to his drawer, pulling out one of his t-shirts to wear. I threw it on, stripping myself of my other clothes before wandering around his room. He had pictures of us, plenty of them. I sighed before sitting on the bed, remembering our last moments together.

He kissed me, then told me he loved me. Did he love me more than I thought? But that would be absurd, because then why wouldn't he have told me sooner? Why would he wait until his last few breaths to tell me?

Jesse was dead. I was the reason he was dead. If it hadn't been for me, Jesse would be alive. He died for me, and I shouldn't have stood back and watched. I should have fought with him, and at the worst died with him. Jesse was mine. He was the only person in the world who focused on me and only me. Now he was gone. My light had gone out and I was alone in the world. I was surrounded by the same darkness that engulfed me before I met him. He changed my life and I ended his.

Life was cruel.
♠ ♠ ♠
language: polish

second update for the day. i think i have two more in me, whaddya think??? but for now i'm taking a break so i can eat. mac&cheese is calling my name, and i'm answering :)