I wanted so badly to reach up and wipe her tears away but I knew the gesture wouldn’t be welcomed by our watchful family.
“What the hell is going on?” My father’s voice was loud, the rage uncontained. I’d never seen him this angry before.
My mother’s face had paled, and she seemed to have aged ten years since the last time I’d seen her. I wanted to step from behind Kassidy but in all honesty I didn’t have the guts to do so with the two people who were supposed to love me looking at me with such disgust.
I did this.
“Dad, it’s not what you think.” Kassidy choked out, panic forced through her tone. I watched the way she trembled, obviously frightened.
They came home early… neither of us expected this.
“Get out of the way Kassidy.” Our father demanded and I placed my hand on Kassidy’s arm, to move her out of my way. I didn’t want her suffering for this, any more than she already was.
She shook her arm away from me, “No. I’m not moving.” She said, staring at our father. “It’s not just Ryan’s fault Daddy.”
I watched as his expression softened, “You’re just a baby Kass…” Then he turned to glare at me, “We trusted her with you Ryan! Do your hormones have no bounds?” I heard the sharp intake of breath come from our mother, as she looked on in horror.
I could say nothing as the guilt built, choking me.
“I’m only a year younger than him.” Kassidy tried so hard to defend my actions.
“You’re his sister Kassidy.” Our father shouted, face turning red. “You’re siblings!”
I could see his anger growing and out of fear towards his actions I softly brushed Kassidy out of the way, “It’s not her fault.” I was ready for the sharp blow that came down on my right cheek.
Kassidy cried out in pain for me but our mother had wrapped her in a hug, keeping her from coming to me. I didn’t want her hurt anyway.
I should have known this would happen.
“What have you been doing to her?” Our father demanded, glaring in to my eyes, “What have you done to my baby girl?”
“I’m sorry.” It was all I could force myself to say.
He hit me again, and again.
Our parents weren’t abusive… I’d never been hit by either of them before but I knew I deserved this. I deserved each well aimed blow. “I’m sorry.” Was all I could manage in between hits, as if saying it again and again would make a difference.
“Don’t! You’re hurting him.” Kassidy was sobbing in the background and I hated myself so much for making her feel like this.
I closed my eyes and the blows stopped. I was standing in place, just waiting. I felt her soft hands and relaxed, knowing it was Kassidy. “Ryan, are you okay?” Kassidy’s panicked voice met my ears, as I heard our father’s disgruntled voice in the background.
“I want you out, tonight.” He growled out.
“I’m fine.” I opened my eyes so that I could look at her.
Even with tears clouding her eyes she looked beautiful. I wanted so badly to reach up and wipe her tears away but I knew the gesture wouldn’t be welcomed by our watchful family. “I’m sorry Kassidy.” I whispered, watching as she bit her lip.
“Please- Please don’t say that.” Kassidy whispered, dropping her voice so that only I could hear. I heard our parent’s footsteps as they disappeared momentarily. “If you say that then… Then this never meant anything to you.”
I looked in to her eyes, as tears dripped down her cheeks… and I knew it would hurt but I had to do it. “I’m sorry Kassidy.” I repeated, pushing her hands away.
“Ryan.” She breathed out my name, staring at me with widened eyes.
If you say that then… Then this never meant anything to you.
Our father returned, but our mother was nowhere in sight. He dropped my backpack to the ground. “It’s got clothing in it. Get out.”
I grabbed the backpack just as Kassidy reached out for me again. Her soft touch would stain my skin, and again I pulled away- refusing to even look at her.
“I never want to see you again. What you’ve done is unforgivable.” Our father glared at me, no kindness to be found within him.
I just nodded.
I already knew it was unforgivable. I’d known it all along.