It's dark and cold. I'm tired, too tired to get up and grab another blanket. So I lay. Just listening. I can hear my roommate Kitty softly talking to herself while she sleeps. I can hear the creaks of the movement within the giant mansion. I can hear the not so soft snoring of the person in the room next to us.

I'm awake now. There's no way I'm going to get back to sleep. It's only four in the morning. Well I might as well get up and get a head start on my day, I think to myself. There's always so much to do in the mansion. There's always someone new coming too. Sometimes for visits, some to live here, in what I call battered and bruised manor. I know that it's not really nice or even completely true in all cases, but it is in my case. Right now I'm living in a boarding school meant for kids who have somehow lost their parents. Whether they were abandoned or taken from their parents or even both. Sometimes we get the rare case were the child's parents and all of their family have died. But me, I'm not sure what category I belong in.

Most people here are normal. They dress in bright colors and talk loud. For example my roommate Kitty and I are complete opposites. Katie dresses in lots of pink and flowers. She has long light brown hair that flows in the wind, and she even has that valley girl accent, where she says "like" or "totally" ever other word. I can never get her to shut up. But me, I wear dark colors. I have short dark brown hair cut in a bob style. It even has this random white stripe. I'm not sure how I got it, but it's been there for as long as I can remember. People always tell me I should dye it but it's part of who I am.

Because I'm the only person awake I can finally have some privacy. I don't have to wait an hour to take a shower. So I take my time. I stay until all the hot waters gone. I quickly get dressed and brush my hair. I gather my make-up and swiftly put on my dark eyeliner and mascara. I cover my eyelids with dark purple eye shadow giving them a smoky look. I see my eyes, they're dark and vacant. They're cold. I remember when they were a bright, happy emerald green, now they're just dull grey green. They changed shortly after my mom died.

It was so long ago. I was only four. I was left to my dad and at first everything was alright. Soon dad started to drink. It wasn't so bad at first; it was just a drink here or there. But as time progressed everything he looked at, including me just reminded him of mom. So he drank more. He got fired from work. He wouldn't let me go to school for fear someone would see the bruises that coved my body. In his own weird way, even though he hit and pushed me he still loved me and couldn't take it if I was taken away.

It went on for twelve years, until one day I got a call from Xavier's boarding school were there motto is every kid has a hidden talent and deserves to shine. They gave me a full ride scholarship. So I left my old life in Mississippi to move on up to the big city New York, and everyone here is so strange. So is the weather. It's always so cold. I realize I hate snow.

My daze is broken by Kitty banging on the door yelling at me, "Anna Marie I know you got up early and I know you have been in that bathroom forever get out!"

I take my time. Fix my make-up. Get rid of the stray tears streaming down my face. Finally I leave the bathroom avoiding eye contact with Kitty. Of course she's my best friend but no one knows the extent of how I got here. They all think I'm the quiet freak who refuses to show a talent. Maybe I should tell Kitty. Or even someone else. Everybody here has had something bad happen to them in regards to their parents. I push away my thoughts. They only ever lead to bad things. I head on to the kitchen. I hope no one's there, I say to myself. It's still dark out. Only a few are awake but there all off doing things to prepare their day. As I walk I hum softly to myself. It's the closest I've gotten to singing in a long time. I get lost in the tune and eventually start to sing softly, just a little song about the Mississippi. My southern accent has dulled but you can still hear the soft southern twang.

"That sounds nice," I hear another southern accent but different from my own. I look to my left to see the person behind the voice. I haven't been here to long but I thought I was the only southerner in this place. The person I see is tall, with shaggy auburn hair. I can see his eyes. Are a deep brown color but in the light, it's almost as if you can see bits of red in them. There glowing.

"Remy," he says introducing himself. He stands there waiting for me to introduce myself too. I don't like to talk much anymore. My throat feels dry. Why am I acting this way? The guy just heard me sing and he complimented it. The least I can do is introduce myself.

"Anna Marie," I say. "But most people call me Mute." I see him crack a smile. He most likely has heard of me. The mute girl. He's probably thinking he got he mute girl to talk.

"Charmed," he says. As he tries to bring my hand to his lips, I pull away.

"If you want to keep that face of yours intact, I suggest you don't touch me again swamp rat," I say.

"Swamp rat?" He asks. I can read accents. My mom taught me. I can tell he's from New Orleans.

"You're from New Orleans aren't you?" I ask even though I know the answer.

"Of course," he says as I start to walk away. "You sure do talk a lot for a mute," he laughs.

"Never said I was one, just that people think I am," I state as I slip out of his vision.

My day went by as it normally does. I go to classes, pretend to learn. Sleep behind a textbook. But my days a little more troubled than normal. Talking to that Remy kid brought up really bad memories of the south, and some good ones. For the first time in a while I feel homesick. I mess the sun shining on my all too pale skin. The smell of the river as the current drags it along. Lying in the grass on a hot day, trying to cool off because its way to hot. The rope swing by the lake, I use to swing off of it when I was little, before my mom died. Oh and how I miss the food. I miss the always home cooked meals. None of that stupid out of the box stuff. Real food has spice. I miss the first bite when your taste buds explode with flavor.

For the first time since I've been here, I'm actually sobbing. It's not just a few tears like this morning. I'm crying a river. In front of everyone, I flee the class room, heading to the attic. I discovered it a while back, and nobody ever goes there anymore. The dust might be a problem, but being alone more than makes up for it.

I stay. I cry for everything and actually let myself feel sorry for myself since all of this happened by then I think, but you're here. You're away. You are safe. This makes me feel better. So I take my time and pull myself together.

I leave a little bit later, feeling better than I have in ages. I go to my room wash all my make-up off and change clothes. Something I can breathe in, and head down to the dining room for dinner with a giant smile on my face.

Everyone's staring. I'm a little different. I'm in a light purple shirt and blue jeans. I 'm wearing no make-up and the biggest difference is I'm smiling I'm saying "Hi" to people on my way down. I hear the whispers.

"What's wrong with her?" I hear one say.

"What drug is she on?" says another.

"OMG! The mute girl just talked,"

"What happened?"

Soon Kitty is next to me. She gives me a strange look but gets over it. We go in. I endure dinner, with everyone staring at me and whispering.

As soon as I'm done eating the food that's not even worth a name. I start to head back to my room. I'm exhausted. That's when I hear the principal Mr. Xavier call me. He tells me to meet him in his office in ten minutes.

I'm scared. I don't want to go. Am I going to get in trouble? I did skip almost every class today. Am I going to get expelled? I have no place to go. He arrives and points for me to sit in his oversized green chair. It looks like it could eat me.

"Anna Marie I got a call today," he says with a serious face.

"From who?" I ask almost choking on my words.

"Your Father," in that moment I know all the color has drained from my face. I can't breathe. How did he find me? Is he coming to take me back? Soon those thoughts leave me and I'll I can think is what's he going to do to me?

"Anna Marie you have two choices. The first being, we can bring him up here and see if he will sign you over to me as your guardian or you can go back home to him and if anything happens you can call the cops and be taken away from him," he says. But I don't like either option.

"Are those my only choices?" I ask softly.

"It seems so my dear. I can't think of anything else," he says in a firm voice.

"What if he doesn't sign the papers?" I ask meekly

"Then if he wants it, you must go back to with him."

I can't help it. I cry. I thought I had cried more than even possible earlier but I guess not, because now the flood gates have just burst and there is no containing the water works. I use to be strong. I thought I could handle anything, but just the mere thought of going back with that monster, scares me. I guess it's too much for me to hold.

I'm not sure what all happened last night. But I think I told Mr. Xavier to have my dad come on up. I'm not sure. All I remember is him calling Kitty to try and get me back to our room. She can't do it alone. So I felt strong arms wrap around me and carry me to my shared room. It can't be Mr. Xavier, he's old and fragile, so I'm not really sure who it was but they were warm and comfy so I didn't protest.

It's been a few weeks now and nothing really interesting has happened. I don't know what's going on with my dad right now, or what Mr. Xavier is telling him over the phone. He hasn't been here yet. But I know he will soon. I've gotten closer to Kitty and Remy the southern guy. It's weird. I'm not really sure why we are friends. I mean he flirts with everything in a skirt, but he's easy to talk to and he can cook. Don't forget he's arrogant and can be a total jerk, I tell myself. But they are my only real friends here. Remy is the only one that knows what's happened to me. He will keep it a secret and in trade I'll keep what happened to him to me. I'm with him now.

"Today's the day Anna Marie." He said in his accented voice.

"I guess it is Swamp rat," we've been friends for a while now but I still call him that. It keeps him in line. My bags of the few things I brought with me and my few things I got in the short time I was here.

"Everything will be fine," he comforts. No it won't, I think. This can end only badly. As if he picks up on my thoughts, he pulls me in for a hug and softly says "I promise."

Disaster, that's what this is going to be. I just know it will. I'm waiting in the big rec room. Other kids are playing video games or gossiping. I'm sitting just waiting. I hear a knock on the door. Everything is in slow motion. I can hear my heart beating, boom…. Boom… it sounds like a drum. One of the teachers gets up to open the door, step… step…. Step he's almost there. As the door is slowly opened you can hear the creaking and squeaking. My heart stops. Behind the door is a short bald man. He's wearing a cut off shirt and you can see his muscles ripple with the movement of his arm. I realize I hadn't really been breathing until I feel a hand on my own.

"Anna Marie, Pumpkin."

"I'm not your pumpkin," I say filled with anger.

"You will always be my pumpkin."

"Please just sign the papers, I like it here," right now I just feel like puking.

"But I miss you," he said as he comes over and gives me a hug. I smell the beer and vodka. It stinks, the smell over takes me. So I push away.

"Please," I whisper. "I just want to stay here."

"Mr. Darkholme if you could follow me to my office, let's see if we can settle something," and just like that Mr. Xavier and dad disappeared. Just by seeing my dad I know he hasn't changed. I smelled the alcohol on him. His clothes were dirty. I really don't want to go back. Of course I miss the south and everything down here is so different. The girls are mean and catty here. Back home were not, were raised to be polite and care for others. Nobody here knows manners.

I'm pacing. I'm nervous. It's been an hour; I just wish all of this would end. What's going on in there? I wonder. Everything is moving to slow, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. In what feels like hours; is only really a few minutes. They come out. My dad storms out. Mr. Xavier turns to me and says "I'm a very persuasive person." He laughs as though he has made a joke.

"I can stay?"

"Of course dear." As soon as the words are out of his mouth, I turn and jump into Remy's arms and hug him as hard as I can. All the while yelling, "I get to stay! I get to stay!" as he spins me in the air.

The end. I hope you like it and don't forget to review