For my whole life, I've always been looking for the perfect guy. Someone to love me unconditionally, despite what I am. But there was never anyone to hold me and comfort me, so I realized I had to start living for myself. I grew up without a mother or father figure, nearly friendless and always alone. I was an accident. I was the mistake, the burden, the pain. I was never good enough, no matter how hard I tried. So I stopped living for them, and started living for myself. It was hard, growing up. Soon, my mother and father divorced. My mother spent almost all of our child support money on alcohol, barely leaving enough for me to survive.
I was on my own.
I spent all my free time either studying or looking for a job. Not many people would hire a high school senior to work for them. A scholarship, I hoped, would help me save money. I planned to apply for a scholarship and work at a cafe nearby.
Soon, my results came. Although my scores were fairly good, I didn't get the scholarship.
Heart heavy, I trudged home.
My mother was there to "greet" me when I returned. One look at my face and I was sure she could tell the outcome.
"You useless girl!" she screamed, throwing her crushed wine bottle at me. The sting was excruciating, sharp pain stinging all over my face. "Can't you do anything?" she cried, lunging at me and cuffing my ear.
"Ow! Mom, stop!"
I went on like that for months.
One particularly bad day, I was out in the rain, hiding under a playground slide when he walked by.
"Are you okay?" he asked, glancing at my cuts and bruises.
I shrugged. "Do I look okay to you?"
He walked closer. "I'm Lucas," he said, putting his jacket around me. I squirmed, feeling uncomfortable. "I'm Lilia. Uh, I really don't-"
"I know," he said. "Come over to my place, just for the night. My mom will get you cleaned up. I'll sleep on the couch."
I started to protest. "It's too much for me to have," I insisted.
"It's fine," he said. "Now hurry up."
I pulled his jacket tighter around me and followed him in the rain.
Once we got there, his mother looked surprised. "Lukey, is this your...girl?"
"Mom!" He groaned. "This is Lilia."
I couldn't help but laugh. This family was so comfortable, so easygoing and simple. It was the kind of life I always wanted, and still do want to have.
His mom left the stove and put her arms around me. She smelled like a bakery. "There, there you poor dear. Auntie Pam is here."
"Lukey, she's so skinny!" Auntie Pam said. "Why don't you take a shower?" she asked, glancing at my cuts. "Find something for her to wear, Lukey."
The shower was warm and comforting, and it made me feel happy like I've never been before. When I came out, Luke jumped and stared for a second longer than he should have. "You're so beautiful," he said. Then he turned away, blushing and mumbling out 'sorry'.
I blushed and grabbed a towel.
"Here, I thought you could wear my sweatshirt," he said, still not looking at me. It was so cute I just couldn't help myself. I leaned over and kissed him, right on the mouth. He was shocked at first, but he put his arms around me and kissed back.
"I'm so sorry," I blurted.
"I-It's okay," he said, staring at my towel with a pink cheeks. "Y-your towel fell off," he said.
I turned bright red. "Oh." I crossed my legs and quickly pulled on a pair of shorts. "Where did you say that sweater was?"
Auntie Pam smiled when she saw me. "You look so gorgeous! Look, Luke, doesn't she look so beautiful?" He turned bright red and nodded. "Sit here, next to me and Lukey." Auntie Pam directed. "Casey, Luke's little sister, should be out in a moment."
A little girl with hazel eyes and warm brown hair walked out of a closed room and sat at the table. She looked exactly like Luke, from the slope of her nose to the exact manner in which they spoke. "Hey," she said, nodding in my direction. "I'm Casey. Wanna play a game with me after we eat?"
"Sure. I'm Lilia."
Throughout dinner, Auntie Pam kept piling food on my plate. "Have some more," she'd say. "Take as much as you'd like."
When I was stuffed senseless, I went to Casey's room and knocked on the door.
"Come in," she sang.
I walked in and kneeled on the plush rug. "What do you want to play?"
---Switch to Luke's P.O.V.
Luke, what have you done? You've really screwed it up! You must immediately go beg for forgiveness and never do that again!
She's hot and she has a sexy body. What's there to be upset about?
My inner angel and demon were at war again, this time over my latest catastrophe. Lilia really doesn't know how attractive she can be. From my sister's room I can hear singing, and wow, Lilia has a really beautiful voice. It's angelic and lilting, captivating. If I wasn't attracted before, I sure am now. She really does seem so perfect. If only she wasn't so much in disbelief over how amazing she is. I have no idea if she feels the same way, though, and I don't know if I can risk losing her.
In the morning, I knock on the door. Lilia's still asleep. I cross the room and sit next to her, wondering what she's dreaming about.
"Luke...I love you too." she says.
"w-what?" Can she read my mind? Oh no, did she hear me calling her sexy? Luke, you've really messed up, again.
She wakes up soon after. "Luke," she begs, "Do I have to go home? Can I stay here? I'll clean the house for you, and do everything. I just can't go back to that-" In the middle of her sentence, she collapses. "Lilia? LILIA!" I check her forehead, and it's burning hot. Her temperature? 114°F
"Mom! Casey! We need to get to the hospital, stat!"
"You can see her now," the guy says. "She'll be okay, just have her lie low for a few days. One visitor at a time."
I rush in. "Lilia, you can't just scare me like that."
Her eyes are dull, but they light up again once she catches sight of me. It's enough to make my heart flutter. "Sorry," she says.
"Lilia, I love you," he says, and I can see he's been crying. "Please don't leave me like this," and it's almost like a dream.
"Luke, I-I love you too."
He collapses in relief. "You never have to go back there. I talked to your mom, and it took convincing. But I told her if she wants you back, I'd have to let the police know some things about how she's been treating you over the years."
I hug him and I'm so glad I never have to go there again. "Luke, I have a few questions, though."
"Shoot away," he says.
"why did you approach me in the the first place?"
"Well, my dad left us when I was younger. I saw you there, hurt, lonely, pretty, and I thought, if that was me, wouldn't I need a helping hand?"
I smile. "Last question. Why, how could you love someone like me?"
"You're beautiful," he says. "I can't look at you looking like you do when someone pays you a compliment. You're beautiful, sexy, kind, sweet, and you ask me why and how I can love someone like you? The question is, how can I not?" He leans over and kisses me.
"Don't get sick," I warn.
"It's a small price to pay for one of your kisses," he says.
And you know what? Maybe we're not perfect, but I love him and he loves me, and that's good enough.