Adam rubbed his eyes as he rolled over and grabbed the phone. "Hello?" He croaked out.
"A-Adam? Is that you?" A scared female voice asked.
"Katie?" Adam asked, sitting up. "Katie, where are you?"
"In L.A. Adam, I-I need your help. I'm really scared."
Adam flipped on the bedside lamp and hunted around for his jeans.
"Adam, who's on the phone?" A sleepy voice asked.
"It's Katie. Go back to sleep." He told Tanya as he kissed her softly.
"Adam, I really don't think this is a good idea."
"Tanya, I don't have time for this. Katie's my sister and she needs my help. End of story." He told his girlfriend as he stuffed his feet in his shoes and grabbed his car keys.
Tanya put a soft hand on his cheek. "I just don't want you to get hurt again."
Adam pulled her into his arms and reveled in her warmth. He pulled back slightly and looked into her eyes. "I know." Adam gave her a gentle kiss. "I'll be back soon."
Adam frowned as he drove down the expressway. He knew Tanya was only trying to protect him, but she didn't understand. None of his friends did. They didn't understand that Katie was family.
They had little or no tolerance for Katie or her problems. He couldn't blame them. They didn't know what it was like. Dad always away on business or working long hours. Adam had fought for his dad's attention by trying to be perfect in everything he did. Katie found she got more attention by being bad.
Adam sighed. Katie wasn't a bad kid; she just got mixed up with the wrong crowd.
Adam strained his eyes to see into every shadow. He hoped his old jalopy was enough to deter carjackers by its looks alone. He really didn't feel like getting stranded and mugged in L.A. at 2am.
Adam drove as slow as he dared while he checked the streets. Everything was deserted. Even the prostitutes had gone home or wherever they go.
"Come on, Katie. Where are you?" He muttered.
Then he saw her.
She was huddled next to the payphone she had called him on. Her black hair was ratted and hung down her back. Her face, when she looked up, was gaunt and she sported a nasty shiner.
Adam threw the car into park and rushed over to his little sister. "Katie? Geezus, what happened?" He asked as he wrapped her in his arms. He felt her cling to him and something wet on his shirt.
"I-I was so scared. I didn't know what to do, and he wouldn't leave me alone. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
"It's okay, Katie. Everything is going to be okay." Adam whispered. "Come on, I'll take you to Mom and Dad's."
"NO! No, Adam please. Can't I stay with you?"
"Do you want to get clean? Don't lie to me, Katie." Adam stated.
"Yeah...the-the last time was bad. Really bad. I didn't know what to do. I-I don't want to do that anymore. I don't like what I'm doing." She whispered.
"Then you can stay with me. But I've got rules. One, you go to rehab, and you do everything they want you to do. Two, once you're out of rehab you get a job. Above all you stay clean. You screw up even once and you're out. Got it?" He told her. This time he meant it. He wasn't going to waver like his parents had with her.
"Got it." Katie said. She looked up at him, and she had a slight smile on her face. "Thanks Adam."
He helped her to her feet. "Don't thank me yet. The hard part is just starting."