1 Calm Before The Storm.

I brought my knees up to my chest as I heard my parents engross themselves in another one of their screaming matches. They have been like this for a couple of weeks now. I can't seem to understand how we went from being a happy family to a family that fights everyday. We weren't rich, but we were comfortable and happy.

'Please, make it stop.' I muttered under my breath as I felt tears brimming at the back of my eyes. I brought my hands to cover my ears as my tears ran freely down my face. I jumped in my spot when I heard the front door slam shut. The silence that followed made me rise from my bed as I made my way to my parent's room.

I saw my dad seated on the edge of the bed. He had his head in his hands and I moved closer to him.

"Dad!" I called out to him. He raised his head to give me a weak smile. His once vibrant and warm brown orbs looks dull, the stubble on his face looked bushy and unkempt, and the bags under his eyes looks so puffy almost like he hasn't slept in days. I may only be 15 years old, but I knew and understood when my parents aren't happy.

"Hey, Jellybean. I didn't know you're awake." He said as he tapped the spot beside him. He ran his hand through my unruly hair, smoothening it out from the knots that had formed overnight.

"I woke up an hour ago. Where is Mom?" The small smile on his face disappeared after I said that. "Is she preparing breakfast?"

"Bean, go get ready for school now, okay? We'll talk about your mother later." I nodded, not wanting to question him any further. I wanted to know why they keep fighting. I want to understand why they continuously scream at each other when all they used to do was shower each other with love.

"Alright," I said as I walked out of the room. I closed the door behind me as my eyes lazily scanned through my over familiar room. My room wasn't anything special, only big enough to house my queen-sized bed, my four-drawer dresser, and a desk at the far end of my room against the windows. My room wasn't small, but the sky blue paint I begged for as a child makes it feel much more closed in than it looks.

I went into my closet as I tried looking for an outfit for school. School!! I could feel the bile making its way to my throat as I thought of that place. All they do is bully and call me names. I'm pretty much a nobody and I'm more than okay with that. I spend lunchtime in the library every day to escape the humiliation from the other students.

I threw the clothes I got from my closet on the bed which comprises of an off-shoulder shirt with a pair of shorts along with some combat boots.

"Bean, be quick, or you're gonna be late for school." His voice boomed through the walls of the house. I wonder why he keeps shouting when I'm just a few feet away. I ran to the bathroom to get ready for the day. I took a quick shower before I stepped out to brush my teeth.

I threw my clothes on quickly before I started to brush my hair with my mom's favorite brush. She comes in to wake me up for school before going back to prepare breakfast for the family. She made me promise not to do anything with my hair unless she does it. My hair is her favorite thing about me, so she says.

"Bean!! The food is getting cold." He yelled again, his voice vibrating through the walls of the house. A sigh escaped my lips as I placed the brush on my dresser. He's always so impatient. I picked up my bag before running down the stairs.

"Hey, Dad. Thanks for breakfast." I said as I took my seat on the stool. There were pancakes and bacon on the table. I took a fair portion of the food into my plate as I happily ate. My dad watched me as I ate.

"What?" I asked with my mouth full of unchewed pancakes. He let out a chuckle before passing me a napkin.

"Swallow your food before talking. Your mom would have your head if she saw you right now." I smiled at him as I continued enjoying my food. He wasn't wrong. She'll definitely kill me if she saw me do that. My mom was the strict one, while my dad was pretty more laid back.

My father was a store manager by day and a guitarist by night. He made me fall in love with music, and he was more than happy to teach me everything I know about music.

I love singing. It's a part of me that makes me so happy, so complete. It's the one thing that bounded me to my father. My parents usually love it when I sing for them.

'You have the most beautiful voice I've ever heard, Bean.' My dad always said.

"Can we go now, Dad?" I went to drop my plates in the sink. He nodded before carrying my bag for me. I smiled at him in thanks as I let him lead the way to the car.

He started the car as we made our way to Westwood Junior High. We usually had music blasting through the radio as we drove to school or anywhere in particular. We would sing along with the artists, screaming the lyrics at the top of our lungs. It was like our father-daughter bonding time. But presently, my dad was out of it. He wasn't in this car with me, his mind was somewhere else, and I had a feeling that it was because of his argument with mom this morning.

"Is everything okay, Dad?" I asked. He glanced at me, sending me a small smile before looking back at the road.

"Of course, Bean. I'm perfectly okay." I nodded my head as he parked the car in front of my school.

"Thanks, Dad," I said as I made my way out of the car.

"Hey, Bean." He called suddenly, making me turn around to face him. "I'll never stop loving you."

I smiled before wrapping my hands around him. "I love you too, Dad."

I thought I heard him sniff, but I'm not sure. He pulled me away from him gently by my shoulders before placing a soft kiss on my head. "Have a nice day, okay?"

I waved him goodbye before making my way into my hell.

**~**~**

I've been seated here for almost 2 hours now. There was no sign of my dad anywhere. He's always here by the time I came out. I wonder if he forgot to pick me up, but he never forgets.

I blew a deep breath through my mouth as I stood up from the stair I was seated. 'I guess I'm gonna have to walk home. I should get home in 30 minutes.' I told myself.

The wind is whipping through the trees, creaking and groaning like an old rocking chair at the attic. I could feel my teeth chatter and goosebumps form all over as the harsh wind slapped my cheeks and arms. I ran my hands up and down my arms, trying to provide warmth for myself.

"You aren't going to take her with you. She's my daughter too." I heard my dad shout, just when I placed my hand on the knob. They are fighting again. It's no surprise Dad forgot to pick me up.

"Shut the hell up, Nathan. I don't care what you say. I'm taking my daughter with me. I refuse to let her grow up with a useless man who can't even fend for his family." I knew my mom was a strict person, but I never knew she harbored this kind of hatred for my dad.

"Have I ever deprive you of anything, Leah? I loved you, and I never fail to show that to you every day." I could feel the cold biting at my ear at this point.

"Like that would pay my bills. Like that would give my child the future she deserves. Like that would take care of us. I'm done arguing with you, Nathan. I'm leaving with Athena immediately she gets home."

"Did you go pick her, Leah? No, you never do. I always do that. You stopped caring three years ago, and you expect me to believe you care now?" I took this as my cue to go into the house. Knowing my dad, he'll be on his way to come to pick me up.

"I'm home, Dad! Mom!" I shouted, not wanting to give the impression that I heard any part of their conversation. Dad turned to me, his eyes wide, probably surprised to see me home.

"Bean! What are you doing home?" He asked as he spread his arm for me.

"I walked home when I didn't see you." He let out a small sigh as he kissed my hair.

"I'm so sorry, Jellybean. I completely lost track of time." He said, and I nodded before I turned to look at my mom. She glared at me so hard that I had to cower away and hide my face in my father's chest.

"Go and pack your bags, Athena. We're leaving."

"I told you my daughter is going nowhere."

"Mind your business, Nathan. I'm talking to her." She turned to me as she had an angry scowl on her face. "Go pack now, or I'll drag you out myself."

"But Ma--"

"I wasn't asking. It was an order. Go pack your bags." I looked to my dad who had suddenly become quiet.

"Is dad coming with us?"

"Don't make me do something I'll regret. You have two minutes."

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