I touched the scar lately and grimaced at the pain it still held.
"Nikki! Get down here!"
I heard Evan call my name and it just brought fear to my heart. I'd only lived with him for a month and he already proved to an abusive, inconsiderate, mean, jerk! I'll tell you about it if you want to hear it. It's been a pretty scary month. Here it goes:
I sat staring out the window looking at the city lights beneath me. I'd been flying for at least 6 hours now. I don't know how long it takes to get to Chicago, but it seemed to be taking for ever. I had once tried to make conversation with Evan but was told to shut up. I did for my own safety and had been looking out the window since. I could tell we were beginning to descend. The flight attendant walked down our aisle and told us to put our seat belts on. I clicked my own and went back to staring out the window.
Once the plane had landed Evan grabbed my arm and pulled me off the plane. He led me to a car that was waiting out side the airport. We got into the back and the driver drove away. Evan pulled out a cigarette and lighted it. I was trying to control my lungs but I'd always been really sensitive to smoke. He glanced over at me when I started coughing and blew a cloud of smoke into my face. I dove for the window but Evan stopped me and pulled me back into the middle seat right next to him and reached over and buckled my seatbelt in tightening it as far as it would go. He leaned back into the seat smiling to himself and went on blowing his smoke around the car. I felt like crying. How could I be living with some guy that doesn't even seem to want me.
We pulled up in front of a big house and Evan opened the door and got out closing the door behind him.
I scowled and struggled with the seat belt. I finally got it off and got out of the car greatly welcoming the fresh air. Evan stood on the porch still puffing away at a cigarette.
"It's about time you got out." Evan said flatly.
He opened the front door and shoved me inside. He led me upstairs and showed me by bedroom.
"I'll go get some clothes tomorrow."
With that Evan closed the door and locked it. I heard him walking away down the hall.
He locked me in? My temper flared and I tugged at the doorknob. I finally stopped and looked around my room. It was a nice little room practically empty except for a bed dresser and desk. I walked over to the window that looked over the street. Just like at Justin's.
Justin. Was I ever going to see him again? I never even got to say goodbye. I felt the floodgates open and the tears flowed down my face freely. I made my way blindly over to the bed and curled up into a tight ball at one end and cried myself to sleep.
"Nikki wake up. You have school today."
My eyes fluttered open to find Evan holding a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.
"These are my girlfriend's. She's only a few inches taller than you. They should fit. I'll have Dianne go pick out some clothes for you."
He dropped the clothes on my bed and left. I pulled myself up glad to take the still damp clothes off. I pulled on the T-shirt to find it quite big, I didn't mind, the jeans however were extremely baggy. They were about five inches too long and three or four sizes too big. I looked in the closet hoping for a belt. I found one but it was too big and wouldn't do much good for me. I sighed and walked over to the door happy to find it unlocked.
I walked down stairs to find a petite lady sitting in a bathrobe drinking a cup of coffee. She glanced up at me and smiled.
"Evan was right. You are a cute one. Although those jeans look ready to fall off. I'll go see if I can find a belt of mine small enough to fit."
She got up and walked out of the kitchen. I walked around the table and found exactly what I was looking for. A phone. If both of them worked I'd likely be home alone in the afternoon. I eased myself into a chair and looked longingly at the bowl of fruit in the middle of the table. I hadn't eaten since the breakfast the day before. I only hesitated for a minute before grabbing an apple and taking a bite out of it. I ate the whole thing before Dianne came back.
"Are you hungry honey?" She asked handing me the belt in her hand.
I nodded placing the core of the apple on the table.
She grinned and won't over to the stove and turned it on. She busied herself around the kitchen mixing up a batch of pancakes and putting them on a plate in front of me. She poured me a glass of milk and sat down across the table and watched me quickly eat the five pancakes in front of me. I swallowed the glass of milk in two swallows and sat back. My stomach finally felt full. Evan walked down then.
He raised his eyebrows at the empty plate in front of me. Than he leaned over and laid an affectionate kiss on Dianne's forehead.
"Did you make me any pancakes baby?" He asked straightening his tie.
"I left the batter in the fridge I'll make them now." Dianne answered and got up.
Evan slid into a chair and picked up the paper lying on the table.
I pulled the belt through the loops of my jeans and tightened it as far as it would go. There. Now I didn't need to worry about my pants falling down. I worked up enough courage and spoke.
"Where will I be going to school." I asked still staring at the smooth oak table.
He laid the paper down and looked ready to hit me but wouldn't with Dianne there. He took a deep breath and replied, "A public school about a mile from here. I'll take you today on my way to work but after this you can walk."
He went back to his paper and I kept my mouth shut. After Evan had eaten his breakfast he told me there was a toothbrush for me in the upstairs bathroom.
I walked up their gladly and closed the door behind me. The tooth brush was sitting still in it's package by the sink. I took it and quickly brushed my teeth. Than I found a brush and ran it through my hair. It was in need of a wash but I guessed I'd have to wait until tonight to take a shower. I walked downstairs still barefoot. Dianne noticed and went into her room and came back with a pair of brown hiking boots and socks. The boots were way to big but it was better than being barefoot. Evan ushered me into the car and drove me down to the school. He actually walked in with me and dropped me off at the office.
The secretary looked at me and smiled. Than she moved her eyes to Evan beside me.
"You called last week about her entering 6th grade right?" She asked kindly.
I had to speak up. I just had too. "I'm in tenth grade."
Evan slapped me on the back and grabbed my arm silencing me.
"She's in 8th grade this year." Evan told the lady.
The woman nodded and handed me a schedule. Evan led me out of the office and into the crowded hallway.
"Tenth grade? What the heck is wrong with you?" He asked still having the tight grip on my arm.
"But I am. I skipped two grades." I answered defensively.
He rubbed his head.
"Ok Nicole don't start with me. We have to start getting along because you're going to be living with me until you're old enough by law to move out. Understand?"
"What did you say?"
"I said no. I'm not going to be living with you until I'm 18. Never. I hate you and I know you hate me. What do you really want?"
"You want to know?"
I nodded glaring at him.
"You have a trust fund in the bank that is growing by the day. Since you're an orphan they keep putting money in the bank from your parent's work until your 18. You can't use the money from that trust fund which is now only $100,000 short of being a million. The only money you have is the few grand that automatically went into your account after your parents died. I can have that money now. By the time you're 18 it'll be almost two million."
"You want money! That's all you want? You took me away from my friends and moved to Chicago just so you could have my money? Have it! I don't care about any money, I just want to be back in California with my family!"
"I'm your family you little brat. And you better knock it off before I get really mad and decide to dump you in river somewhere. That'd be the easiest way to get the money. As soon as you die the money's mine. So just give me a reason Nicole. I swear if you don't shape up you won't live to see Christmas."
He finally it go of my arm and walked away. "I'll be here right after school. You better be waiting outside for me."
I rubbed my arm. I pulled the sleeve up to reveal a nasty bruise forming all the way around my thin arm.
I sighed and looked down at my schedule looking for my first class. It was English. I found the room and took a seat in the back just before the bell rang. The kids looked at me oddly. I however didn't stand out with my clothes. All the girls had baggy jeans and T-shirts on. None of the kids listened. They threw papers around and talked through the whole class. I tried to listen, but it really didn't matter if I didn't hear anything because I'd learned all that stuff a long time ago.
The day passed by quickly. I didn't talk to any one and no one talked to me. That's how I wanted it.
I stood out side and waited for Evan my new books in my arms. I already did all my homework during study hall, but if I was going to be locked in my room each night than I wanted something to do.
Evan's car finally pulled up and I walked slowly to the car.
I stopped at my name being called.
A girl my age ran up beside me, "Hey. I'm sorry I didn't talk to you earlier. You're new here right? I heard your name during roll call and I wanted to make it a point to come talk to you. Unfortunately the only thing we have together is Homeroom and PE, which is tomorrow. You want to eat lunch with me tomorrow? Than maybe we can go to the mall after school. You want to?"
I smiled. "I'd love to. But it'd be good if I knew your name."
Evan honked the horn loudly then causing me to jump.
Kristen waved to me as I got in the car.
Evan asked as soon as I had gotten my seatbelt on.
"Kristen. She wants me to go to the mall with her tomorrow."
I let the smile escape my mouth. I couldn't help it. I was happy to be making friends.
"No." Evan said flatly.
"What?! Why can't I go? It's just the mall! Am I going to stay in that house until I'm 18?"
A smile spread his face.
My temper flared and I wanted to do something. I had too. I couldn't just let him tell me I had to stay at that house for the next 5 years! I clenched my fists over and over again trying to fight the urge to hit him.
He dropped me off at the house and told me not to leave the house.
I opened the door and walked into the entry way. I quickly checked the house for Dianne before running into the kitchen and picking up the phone.
I dialed Justin's number and waited impatiently while it rang.
"Hello?" Justin's voice answered. He sounded upset and stressed out.
Hearing his voice brought tears to my eyes.
"Hello?" Justin asked again.
"Justin. It's me."
"Oh my gosh. Are you ok?"
"For now. Did any one tell you what was going on?"
"Yeah. That your cousin came back and just up and left without you saying goodbye."
"That was not my fault. I tried everything to stay here. Kicking, screaming, everything! It usually works on Quantrons!"
"Nikki Ashley told me you were in Chicago. Is it true?"
"Yes. Which means it's two hours later here. Then you would still be in school. Why aren't you?"
"We had a half day. Remember we were going to go to movies?"
"Oh yeah. Well I won't be doing any of that hear. He locks me in my room at night! I already have a nice purple bruise from him too. I can't stay here any longer! He and his girlfriend work during the day so this is the only way I get on the phone."
"Wait a sec. He hit you! I can't believe he would even dare hit you!"
"He didn't really hit me…yet…He just grabbed my arm really hard. You know how easily I bruise."
"Still. I'm going to come out there and we'll fly back together, ok?"
"I don't know if that's such a good idea. How will you pay for it?"
"I'll take it out of my car fund."
"Justin! You can't! You've been saving since you were like three!"
"This is more important than getting a car when I turn 16."
"I don't know Justin."
"Enough said. I'm coming out. How are you going to stop me?"
"Ok fine. But my main worry at the moment is who is taking care of my powers?"
"What?! No way! That's awesome. I never even felt the power leave me. That's probably why I'm still bruised."
"Remember. This is just temporary. You're coming back."
"I know. I have to come back. All Evan wants is my money that my parents left me!"
"No. I told him he could have it but he can't have the money until either I turn 18 or if I die before then."
"Wait a sec, you don't mean…"
"Yes. He told me if I'm not good he'll just have me have an accidental death. He told me to just give him a reason to."
"Nikki I've got to get to the airport tonight before my dad comes home. What's the address there?"
"I don't know. Let me go look outside at the house number."
I dropped the phone onto the table and ran to the front door. On the mailbox on the side of the house it read 9856. I went back to the phone and repeated the numbers.
"I'd go to the end of the road and find out what the street is but I'm afraid that Evan is going to come home."
"That's ok. I'll find it. I better go."
"One more thing. Did Zordon tell you why the Orphanage knew I was all the sudden missing? He told me that no one would ever know I was gone!"
"I don't know. I'll ask Zordon. My communicator is going off. Astronema probably sent some monster. I'll be there as soon as I can. I promise."
I hung the phone up and made my way through the house looking at all the expensive furniture they had. I didn't even know what he did for a job. He must have a hefty paycheck though to afford all this.
I grew bored walking around downstairs and made my way up to my room. I flopped onto the bed and once again let my thoughts wander.
I have no idea what's going on. My life is getting so complicated. I've had near death experiences, been kidnapped my evil space aliens, squashed a little girl underneath my zord, seen my dead parents, and so many other things I can't remember.
The biggest thing is definitely becoming a Power Ranger. I never in a million years dreamed that I would become a Power Ranger. I just don't understand it. Why me? What did I do to deserve all this? It's too much for a 13-year-old. I can't handle it any longer. Being a Power Ranger is big stuff! And here I am only a kid defending the world.
If I took a look at all that's happened to me it would take forever. But why not? I don't have anything else to do. Ok. List it out. First I become a Power Ranger, than Astronema decides that she needs bait for our powers, using me I come back alive, but with a broken arm, then Astronema decides that she's ticked off with us and she wants to kill Zordon. She takes him and brings him to another planet. Than I meet Justin and everything changes once again. Then I go to a wedding and meet every Power Ranger that ever lived one earth and Astronema decides that she wants to kill me and takes Justin just for the heck of it. We spend our summer in ten by ten foot room being occasionally beaten up for the heck of it. Then we finally get off our lazy butts and get the heck out of there taking a slave with us who turns out to be Andros' sister Karone. Then of course they have to find where Zordon is and leave me on earth with Justin and Mike while they go off for two months to another planet. They leave Karone there after finding the rebels that used to live on KO-35. They come back after I've been hit by a teacher and puked at everything remotely close to food. Now after I thought everything would be ok for a while some stupid cousin of mine comes back to adopt me and take me to Chicago. But How? Zordon told me after I became a Power Ranger that no one would ever know I'd been at the orphanage so they wouldn't miss me. But somehow they realize I'm gone and put up flyers about me all over the world. My cousin on a business trip there sees me on TV flies back and comes to get me just because he wants the money my parents left me. He wants to kill me so he can have the money earlier and he will, I know he will. I just want my life to be normal. A normal life with two parents and a home where they love and want me.
I know that Ashley, Andros, Carlos, T.J., Zhane, Cassie, and Mike and Justin are my family now but what I wouldn't give to have my parents back right now.
Another thought popped into my mind that made me giggle, I wonder if my little skirt is on Justin when he morphs with my powers.
After going through all that in my head I felt somewhat better. I still needed to figure out how to get out of here, without Evan finding out. I'm Power Ranger and I love it. I have to be home in Angel Grove where the monsters attack not here with an abusive cousin.
It never really registered that I was fighting my biggest battle ever.