One more thing before you go

"I really like him, September. He seems to be good for you." A young woman said. The girl named September sighed with happiness.

"I'm glad you do. I love him. He's got his faults, yes. But, still." September said. She tucked a stray blonde hair behind her heavily pierced ear.

"So that means you're over…" The other girl asked, pausing when she saw September's face.

"I've been over him for a long time, Libby." September said. She paused and licked her lower lip, her saliva making the skin on her lip burn. She'd bitten off the chapped bits and made her lip bleed without even meaning to. "We're friends again, though. He's a good guy. He really is. Other than lying, of course. But, I guess you can't have everything."

Libby smiled. She unfolded the leg she had been sitting on and let it fall to the ground as she sunk into the pale green couch. She studied September, who sat in front of her on a black Lazy Boy.

"You're not wearing it. How come?" Libby asked. September looked down and let out a fake laugh.

"Oh. Yeah. I took it off this morning. I get a bit bloated in the summer, and it was kind of digging into my skin. I guess I just forgot to put it on."

"Will he be upset?"

"Why? It's not like I have to wear it all the time. Not that I don't like it or anything. I just…I don't think it'll matter. He knows I love him. That's all that matters. That he knows."

"That's true." She sighed softly. "I just love the idea of you two, you know?"

September smiled. "Aww. Thanks. I'm just an idea!"

Libby laughed. "No, you dumbass. You're happy. You're in love. He's made you a better person."

"I know that's what you meant." September said. The grandfather clock on the wall ticked happily away. "Is the situation improving in the dorm?"

Libby rolled her eyes. "They actually talk to me instead of at me. That counts as progress, right?"

"Totally." September said, smiling. "Hopefully you can move out by Christmas, like you wanted."

"That's if Leona is willing to move out of her dorm as well." Libby sighed. "I have no idea what I'll do if she says no. I don't want to commute from home."

"If she says no, you can move in here. I'll even be a good friend and not charge you." September laughed, hoping to get Libby to return the laugh.

Libby nodded and stood up. "Listen. I have to get going. My roommates asked me to help them make dinner this morning."

"I thought you were going to tell them that you didn't want to help since they refuse to let you talk on the phone when they're in dorm?"

"Yeah. I tried that. It didn't really work as well as I wanted." Libby said, forcing a laugh. "Anyway. I'll talk to you later, okay? Tell Virgil I said hello and give him my love."

"Will do." September replied. She stood up as well. Libby leaned over and wrapped her arms around September.

"You guys make a good couple. I'm glad it's working out." She said as September wrapped her arms around Libby.

"Yeah. Me too." September said as they ended the embrace. Libby turned and headed toward the door as September followed.

"No need to walk me out, dear." Libby said, a laugh escaping her lips. September smiled.

"It's habit, I guess. Think about what I said, though. I'm sure Virgil won't mind." Libby stopped as she reached the door, her hand resting on the door knob.

"I will. Call me later, okay? If I'm with the roommates from hell, I'll go and walk around or something. I miss hearing from you."

"Yeah. No problem." September replied, a soft smile resting itself on her lips. Libby turned the door knob and opened the door. She walked out of the door and into the hallway. She turned and waved at September, who waved back. As soon as she was out of eyesight, September closed the door and locked it.

She made her way over to the kitchen, thoughts bouncing in her head. September focused on the set of cabinets that hung on the wall, trying to push all the thoughts out of her head. She opened the dishwasher and pulled out a cast iron skillet and placed it onto the stove.

A soft buzzing noise made its way to her ear drum. September dug into the pocket of her jeans and pulled out her phone. Opening the flip, she brought the phone to her ear.

"Hello?" She asked. The person on the other side sounded as if wind was blowing into their mouthpiece. "Close your window. The wind makes it hard to hear you."

"Hello to you too, baby." A voice said from the other line. The sound of the wind died. "Happy?"

September felt herself cringing at the word baby. She hated it more than anything in the world. She'd asked him not to call her 'baby', but he never listened.

"If you didn't call me baby, I'd be extremely happy, Virgil." September replied, leaning against the counter behind her. He sighed.

"Sorry, September. I always forget that you don't like to be called 'baby.'" Virgil said, his effeminate tone wrapping itself around her words. He paused for a moment. "But, I like calling you baby. You are my baby. The girl I love."

September felt a smile creeping onto her face despite herself. "So, why did you call?"

"Maybe I just wanted to talk to you, baby." He replied, letting his southern twang in. Since moving from Cut and Shoot, Texas to Naperville, Illinois, the twang seemed to be more and more prevalent.

"Did you find a job yet?" September asked, nibbling on her upper lip. Virgil let out a sigh.

"Not yet. No one seems to want a nineteen year old who isn't in college and only has farming experience." He said.

"You'll find one. I know you will." September said.

"In the meantime, I don't think I'll have enough money for my cell phone. Do you think maybe you could cover it?"

"Yeah! Sure. No problem." A slight feeling of sickness crawled its way into her stomach. She tried to ignore it.

"Thanks, baby. I love you."

"I know." Virgil let out another sigh.

"I hate it when you don't tell me that you love me back. Why don't you just say it?"

"I do, Virgil." September replied. Her phone beeped, indicating another call. "I've got to go. Someone else is calling. It might be my mom. I'll see you when you get home, okay?

"I love you, baby."

"Yeah. I know." September pulled the phone away from her ear and clicked the send button.

"Hello?" She asked.

"Hey." A soft voice replied back.

"Desiree!" September exclaimed. "Aren't you at work?"

"I'm off today, silly." Desiree said. "I was wondering if you wanted to go out tonight. Ren is in town, and he needs us to cheer him up."

"What happened with Ren?" September asked, resting the phone on her shoulder as she walked over to the refrigerator. She opened the white door and looked inside. It was nearly empty. September hadn't had time to go shopping; she'd worked all week. "Great. Virgil didn't go food shopping." She closed the refrigerator and walked back over to the counters she'd been leaning on.

"Probably too busy playing World of Warcraft." Desiree said darkly. "Anyway, Ren found out that Jack wasn't born a boy. He's kind of freaked out by the whole thing."

"I'm guessing he's more freaked out that Jack never told him?"

"Exactly. I asked him why would Jack tell him. I mean, just because he was born with female parts, that doesn't make him less of a boy."

"Yeah. That's true. Ren just needs a lesson on what transphobia is. Though, I think Jack should have come instead of Ren. It sounds like he could have used the drink more."

Desiree laughed. "I guess Ren invited Jack, but Jack has class in the morning. He said he'll come over the weekend. But, it's Thursday now, and we need to make Ren feel better."

September bit her lip. "I want to Desiree, but tonight is bad. I can't stay out past eleven. I have work in the morning."

"Have Virgil call your work and tell them you can't come in. Not like he's doing anything else with his time. Come on, September. I miss seeing your pretty face."

"He's looking for a job. It's hard moving to a new city." September said, ignoring the compliment. She paused. "If I call in sick, then I don't get paid. I'm the only one making money."

"You can miss a day. Just cut back on some things for a week or two. If you're too broke, I'm sure Ren will lend you money, dear." Desiree pleaded. "Ren needs us. And, you need to get out. Away from Virgil for a bit. His toxic gaming schedule is making you go crazy."

September sighed, glancing at the skillet on the stove. "Alright. I'll leave him a note. Only because Ren needs us, and I miss hanging out with you."

"Yay!" Desiree cried. "Get your butt over here so we can make each other look gorgeous."

September laughed. "Yeah. I'll be over in a few. Like I said. I need to leave a note for Virgil."

"See you in a bit! Bye!"

"Bye." September said, pulling the phone away from her ear. She closed the lid and slid the phone into her pocket. He wouldn't mind if she went out. They were their own people and could stand to be separate for the night.

September walked into the living room and sat in the Lazy Boy. Leaning forward, she grabbed a pad of paper and a pen from off of it. The page had a grocery list in her handwriting on it. A ring of liquid had imprinted itself on the clean white background. Virgil had probably rested a can of soda on it. September ripped the page off and tossed it onto the table in front of her, watching briefly as it floated to the table.

She turned her attention to the pad in front of her. "Just write that you're going out with Desiree and Ren. Write that you'll be back at around midnight, and that he should eat dinner without you."

She stared at the paper, biting her upper lip. This wasn't going to get the note written. She stood up and walked over to her purse, which rested on the dining room table. Placing the notepad on the table, she grabbed her wallet out of her purse and opened it up. September dipped her fingers into the fold and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. Closing the wallet, she shoved it back in her purse and picked up the pen. She quickly scrawled a note and tore the page off. Taking the money and the note, September walked over to his laptop, which rested peacefully on the couch. She placed both on the laptop and then walked back over to her purse. She grabbed it, along with her keys that sat next to it.

Slipping her shoes on, September glanced around the quiet apartment. It would be fine for her to get out for a night, and she just wouldn't buy brand name things when she went grocery shopping to make up for her calling in sick at work.

September walked over to the door and unlocked the top lock and then the lock on the knob. She walked into the hallway, closing the door behind her, and turned back to the door. She stuck a key into the top lock and locked it back up, and went down to the lock in the knob, locking that as well.

"Desiree is right." She said to herself, heading toward the stairs. "We need some time away from each other. Being together all the time isn't healthy."

"Where in the fuck have you been?" Virgil yelled, making September jump as she pushed the door open. "I've been worried sick. I ran out of minutes while calling you. You could have at least paid my phone bill before you went off without letting me know where you were."

"I'm sorry." September replied. "I forgot about the phone. I'll pay it."

"Where have you been?" Virgil repeated, watching as September closed the door. "It's one o'clock in the fucking morning. I've been worried sick."

"I know what time it is. Contrary to popular belief, I do own a watch." September snapped. "I was with Desiree and Ren."

"And you couldn't call me and tell me where you were going? I spent half the night just worrying about you!"

"I'm fine, Virgil! I left you a note! And, it's not like anything could have really happened to me. I do know how to protect myself." September said. She raised her left hand to scratch her nose. Virgil squinted and walked over to her. He grabbed her wrist, his grip tight. "Oww! No need for painful wrist grabbing. I'll let you know where I am next time!"

"Why aren't you wearing it?" Virgil said, his voice almost sounding like a hiss. September felt her heartbeat quicken.

"Wearing what?" She asked, trying to sound casual.

"The ring! The one I bought for you? You know. The one I presented to you when I asked you that question? The question you said yes to so I gave you that ring?"

"Oh. That ring. I took it off this morning…" She began. The grip on her wrist tightened. "Son of a bitch. Let go of my wrist!"

"Why would you take it off? There is no reason to! None!" Virgil yelled. With his other hand, he pushed September into the door. Hard. Rage bubbled in her stomach.

"I can think of a few reasons, actually. And if you don't let me go, you're going to find out the top one." She said, her tone acidic. She moved slightly from the door. He pushed her back, holding his palm on her collarbone.

"Fuck you, September. Fuck you and your friends. You don't even care that I sat here, worried. The fact that you don't wear your ring is enough proof for me."

"Here's some more proof, Virgil. You let go of me, or we're history." September said.

"You don't call the shots around here! I do!" September slammed her right hand into Virgil's abdomen, causing him to drop the hand that was placed on her collarbone. The one holding her wrist didn't budge.

"Let go of me, Virgil." September said.

Virgil jerked September forward, tossing her to the ground. She fell in a heap, shocked. Virgil's leg shot out and connected with her stomach. The pain rocketed throughout her torso. The air flew out of her body as stars began to dance before her eyes. A kick found its way to her rib cage. Her mind tried to brace her for action. Another kick landed, hitting her thigh. The pain shot itself about.

Her hands found their way wrapped around Virgil's ankle before the next kick landed. With all her strength, she pulled the leg forward, pulling Virgil down onto the ground with her. In his confused state, she quickly got up, ignoring the pain.

"Wait, baby. I love you." Virgil said, watching as she grabbed her purse from the floor. "I've got multiple personalities, baby. You know that. It wasn't me who was doing this to you."

"Let me guess. It's a new personality. One that just happens to be an abusive parent or some shit." September said, her voice shaky.

"No, baby. No. Quartz. You know how jealous and overprotective he gets." Virgil said, getting up. His hand found its way around her wrist. "You can't leave me, baby. I need you."

"Because you need someone to pay your phone bill? Or because you need someone to abuse?" September said, her eyes narrowing. Virgil's free hand connected with her cheek as pain blossomed throughout her face.

"Never speak like that to me." Virgil said, his voice low. The grip on her wrist became tighter. He yanked her arm behind her back, pinning it in an uncomfortable angle. September bit her lip to keep from making a sound. "I do so much and I ask for so little in return. How dare you?"

September brought her right leg up and ground her heel into Virgil's foot. He pushed her to the ground; she landed painfully on her left shoulder and bicep.

"You stupid bitch!" Virgil screamed. He kicked at her stomach again, harder than before. His foot flew into her chest as she tried to catch her breath.

"Stop." She whimpered as another kick hit her in the ribs. Tears stung her eyes as she willed herself not to cry. It would be better for her if she didn't. Showing emotions was a sign of weakness. "Stop, Quartz."

The kicking stopped. Her body screamed in pain. It was almost as if she could feel the bruises forming already. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Virgil's hand hanging in front of her face, as if he wanted to help her up. She ignored it and pulled herself up.

"I don't know who I'm speaking to, but I'm going." She said, picking up her purse that had fallen when he'd pushed her.

"I only did it because you needed to be punished." Virgil said. His voice had dropped considerably. September walked past him, not bothering to look at him. She reached the door and opened it, only looking at him once she was outside of the apartment.

"Go to hell, Virgil. You and your pretend multiple personalities." She said, pulling the door shut so it slammed. A loud thud exploded a moment later, followed by shattering of glass. The door flew open, Virgil standing in the doorway heaving.

"You stupid fucking cunt. How fucking dare you?" He bellowed. September backed up slowly. "Get back here. You need to be punished."

September turned and ran down the staircase, throwing backward glances at Virgil.

"I hope you fucking get raped. You deserve it, you bitch!" Virgil yelled. A vase soared down the stairs and smashed into the wall next to the door. Glass exploded everywhere. September shielded her face and torso, not wanting glass embedded in her skin. Her body ached as she did this as her heart pounded in her ear drums.

She moved her arms away from her face and looked up at Virgil. He was still in the doorway. September looked back at the door in front of her and went down the rest of the stairs, glass crunching under her feet.

September twisted the knob of the door and pulled it open. She then slipped out of the door, letting it close behind her. Letting out a shaky breath, she ran to her car, not daring to look back.

She slipped quietly into the dark apartment, her heart racing and her body aching. She pulled her keys out of the door and dropped them into her open purse. It was Ren's spare apartment that he rented out for when he came here. When he wasn't using it, he welcomed Desiree and September to it. September flipped the light switch onto the wall as light flooded the room. Ren's suitcase was nowhere to be seen.
"Thank god." She muttered, closing the door behind her. She walked over the leather couch and fell into it. Ren's cat, Shrimp Fried Rice ran into the room and over to September, sniffing her softly. "Hey, Shrimpy."

She patted the cushion next to her. The Siamese meowed softly and jumped up onto the couch. He pushed his face into September's hand. She let her hand glide over the cat's arched body. The cat curled up lovingly next to September's thigh, looking up at her with a half smile on his furry face.

September ignored the cat and started digging into her purse. She pulled her phone out and flipped the cover open. She quickly dialed Desiree's number and brought the phone to her ear.

"Hello?" Desiree asked, answering after three rings.

"Hey, Des. It's me, September." September said, stroking Shrimp Fried rice softly.

"Oh hey." Desiree said. "I was wondering when you'd call. Did everything turn out okay with Virgil?"

"Yeah." September said casually, hoping Desiree wouldn't catch the lie.

"Good. Let me guess. He was playing World of Warcraft when you got in, and he hadn't even noticed you were gone."

September laughed weakly. "Partially right. He noticed I was gone, but the note told him where I was." She paused. "No, I was calling to ask you where Ren is going to be staying for the night."

"Probably at his apartment. I don't know. He had to go back to the bar because he left his keys there, though. I hope he gets back there safely."

"I'm sure he will." September's heart began to pound as Desiree let out a loud yawn. "I'm going to let you go, sweetie. You sound tired."

"Mmm. Okay. Call me tomorrow." September heard Desiree disconnect as the door to Ren's apartment opened. September looked over to the door to see Jack standing in the doorway, suitcase in hand.

"Jack!" September squeaked. Jack looked up in surprise.

"Where's Ren? And why are you bleeding?" Jack said, setting down the suitcase and closing the door behind him.

"He should be here soon. He left his keys at the bar." September said, a soft smile forming on her lips. "As for the bleeding? I got into a fight at the bar. You know me. I can't seem to ever keep my opinions to myself."

"And that's why we love you." Jack said, walking over to the couch and sitting next to September and Shrimp Fried Rice.
"I'm going to go clean my cheek" September said, standing up. She winced slightly, hoping Jack wouldn't catch on. Resting with bruises all over was not a good idea. September saw Jack nodding out of the corner of her eye.

Heading over to the bathroom, she paused to turn and look at Jack. "I know everything is going to work out between you and Ren. Just have a little faith."

Jack looked up at her, worry in his eyes. "Thanks. I will."

September turned back and walked into the bathroom, closing and locking the door behind her. She stared into the full length mirror Ren had put on the wall, focusing on the spot where Virgil had punched her. She hadn't noticed at the time that his ring had caught her cheek, making a tear in her flesh. It seemed the least painful out of the injuries.

September lifted her shirt slowly up her body, over her head, and dropped it onto the floor. Forming bruises littered her pale skin like a connect the dots picture. Every bruise looked as ugly as it felt. September gingerly touched one on her stomach, recoiling as her finger hit the tender skin. She brought her fingers to her jeans and undid the button and the zipper on them, lowering them to her knees. A large bruise made a home on her thigh, looking like the other bruises.

"Son of a bitch." September said quietly, her stomach knotting from anger. Hot tears slipped out of her eyes. How could she let herself be the victim of this? How dare he violate her like this?

Pain rocketed through her hand as the sound of shattering glass reached her eardrum. She blinked as the cracked mirror came into focus, a few shards missing from the mirror.

"September?!" Jack hollered. "What happened? Are you okay?" September heard his footsteps coming closer to the bathroom.

"Everything's fine." September yelled back, watching the blood pool around the piece of glass lodged into her knuckle; the various other scratches were also bleeding.

"What broke? I heard glass shattering." Jack said. He was next to the door now.

"Uhm. Nothing broke, Jack." September said, the pain of the punch searing her hand up to her wrist. She wanted to scream from the pain. Cry. Something.

"Don't lie to me, September. Let me in."

September paused. She brought her jeans up, using only her uninjured hand. She managed to zip them and button them using only one hand, though it took a lot longer than she wanted. She glanced down at her shirt and picked it up. A puddle of blood from her injury sat next to the shirt. September slipped the garment on carefully, trying not the get blood on her clothes. She reached over to the door knob and unlocked the door. Jack slipped into the bathroom.

His eyes caught her injured hand. He gingerly took her wrist into his hand, staring at the wound. With his other hand, he reached over and flipped the faucet on.

"We've got to get it to stop bleeding. You're going to have to go to the hospital." Jack said as September let the water hit her hand. She shrieked as the water hit the glass. "Don't let the water hit the glass, stupid! Clean around it!"

September did as he instructed as he looked around the bathroom. "Why in god's name did you punch a mirror?"

"I have no idea." September replied through gritted teeth. "One minute I was looking at it, the next my fist was covered in glass."

She watched as Jack grabbed a clean, fluffy, white towel down from the towel rack and pulled her arm towards him. He placed the towel around the glass and onto the wounds.

"I'll call Desiree so we can use her car." Jack said, starting to walk away.

"No!" September yelped. Jack glanced at her. "No need. My car is parked in front of the apartment."

"I can't drive stick shift." Jack said, a slight pout on his face. "And, I'm not letting you drive. You'll bleed all over the place."

"Ren should be home soon. Let him drive." September said. She saw Jack wanting to object. "It'll take him just as long to get here as it will Desiree. And, Desiree has work in the morning."

Jack pursed his lips, clearly looking like he was thinking. "Okay. Go sit on the couch so I can clean up in here." He moved out of the doorway to let her out of the small room. "Raise your arm over your head so the blood flows away from the wound."

September nodded and brought her arm over her head. She stepped out of the room and headed over to the couch, feeling the pain of the bruises and the cuts. Why did she punch that mirror?

Moments later, the front door opened, revealing Ren.

"What are you doing here?" He asked, still clearly drunk. There was no way that Jack would let Ren drive. Nor would she, for that matter.

"Uhm. I decided I didn't like your mirror, so I broke it. Don't worry, though. I'll get you another one." September replied. Ren squinted his eyes.

"Which one? The bathroom one?"

"Yup. It kept telling me that I look fat in it. I decided that it needed to be punished for its lies."

"I just ignore that mirror anyway. Desiree had put it up as a joke." Ren sat down onto the couch next to September. He reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. "You look like shit. What happened to you?"

"Got into a fight." September replied.

"Where? You were sober at the bar."

"That doesn't mean I can't get into fights, Ren. You know me."

Ren snorted. "I know that you don't get into physical fights, September. Just like you don't go along punching mirrors."

"I told you. The mirror told me I was fat."

"Mmmhm. I know. You told me. I'm also telling you that Desiree is going to kill you."

"That's why I don't want her to find out. I'm going to call a cab."

"Why? You're car is downstairs and you didn't drink tonight."

"I know. Jack doesn't think I can drive and not bleed at the same time. He seems to think that glass lodged in my knuckle is a bad thing and someone should take care of it."

"Jack's here?" Ren said, paling. He glanced at September, finally realizing her arm was raised. "Shit! You really weren't kidding about the mirror. Fuck! Call Desiree. She can get the glass out and give you stitches."

"No. I'll call a cab. No Desiree."

As Ren was about to speak, a knock sounded at the door. Ren got up and walked over to it quickly, opening it up widely once he reached it. Desiree stood in the hallway, a medical kit in her arms. Ren closed the door behind her and turned to look at September.

"You idiot. Why the fuck would you punch a mirror?" Desiree exclaimed, crossing the room to where September sat. "And why the hell do you look like someone beat the shit out of you?"

"She got into a fight at the bar." Ren piped up. He crossed his arms over his chest. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jack coming into the room, his arms crossed as well, and his cell phone dangling out of his hand.

"Bullshit. I was sober as well. You didn't get into a fight with anyone." Desiree said.

"Look. I really don't want to talk about this. Can you please get this glass out of my hand so I can stop bleeding and suppressing screams of agony?" September snapped. She felt outraged that Jack had called Desiree, even though she'd clearly stated that she didn't want Desiree involved. Involving Desiree meant telling the whole truth. It meant September's whole secret life would shatter. It meant that September wasn't in control.

"Fine. We'll talk after. Bring your arm down." Desiree said, her voice almost monotonous.

"Do you have anesthesia?" September asked, leaving her arm in the air. Her entire arm hurt at this point, more from the lack of blood in her arm.

"Yes. Now bring your arm down so I can begin."

"Tell me what happened." Desiree said. It was nearly five am. They both sat on the balcony of Ren's apartment, watching the sun begin its rise.

September sighed. She felt as though she'd gone through a blender. She wished she could apply some of the anesthesia to all the bruises.

"Let me guess." Desiree said, taking the silence as an opportunity for her to talk. "Things didn't go well when you got to the apartment, and he hit you. You came here because you had to get away. You were angry that he did it. Angry that you were placed in such a situation. So, you took your anger out on the mirror, only for you to need six stitches."

September didn't respond. Of course she hit the nail right on the head. Desiree pulled out a box of cigarettes and a lighter. September watched in interest as she lit a cigarette and brought it to her lips, not bothering to offer September one. "I was so stupid."

Desiree shot a glare at her. "It's not your fault, you idiot. Well. The glass is. Yeah. But him? No." She paused, her glare softening. "Has he done this before?"

"No. Never physically abusive. More…controlling than anything else." September replied, her eyes drifting out over the balcony. Hints of orange dabbed at the lowest point in the sky. Memories of his angry face danced in front of her eyes as the sound of glass filled her ear drums. She closed her eyes. When did things get this complicated?

"You can't stay there, September. You need to leave him. Jesus. Why didn't you tell me he was acting like this?"

"I couldn't, Des." September said, opening her eyes and glancing at the young woman. Her short blonde hair hung in a frazzled bob, playing off her slightly tan skin.

"But you will leave him, yes?" Desiree said after a few moments of silence. September nodded. "Do you need me to go with you?"

"No. You need to sleep, though. You have work today." September replied.

"I'm off today as well." Desiree said, smiling softly. "You should get some sleep, though."

"I'm just going to go over there. He'll probably be getting up about now anyway. His gaming buddies need him."

Desiree nodded. "Drive safe. If things get out of control, call the police." She paused. "Be careful not to pull any stitches. Even though you have the band aid, it can still happen."

"I was hoping to get more stitches, though." September said darkly. "They give me street cred."

"My foot up your ass is going to give you street cred."Desiree replied, smiling

September stood up, her joints cracking. She pulled the screen door open and stepped inside. Both Jack and Ren were lying on the couch, sleeping peacefully. Shrimp Fried Rice laid at both of their feet, snoring slightly. September felt herself smile as she made her way over to the front door, grabbing her purse as she walked. She opened the door as quietly as she could and made her way out of the apartment, closing the door softly.

The apartment she shared with Virgil was quiet. He was probably still asleep. September checked the clock on her phone. Five thirty. She let out a sigh.

"September?" A soft voice asked. September looked up. Virgil stood in the doorway of the kitchen, his eyes bloodshot. "You came home, baby."

He started to walk over to her. September held her hand out, a sign to keep him back. He ignored it as he wrapped his arms around her, rocking her gently. "I'm so sorry, baby. Please forgive me."

She shook her head, tears slipping from her eyes. "Please stop hugging me. I'm in pain."

"I don't want to stop, September. I was terrible. I should have never done that."

"You're right. You shouldn't have." September said. She wiggled out of his arms. "I'm not your baby. And, I'm not staying. I came to tell you that we're through. No more."

Virgil sucked in a breath. "You can't be serious, baby." He paused, running his fingers through the light stubble that was beginning to form on his cheek. "Come to bed. You know that I can always change your mind…"

September shook her head. "Is that all you think about? You hit me last night, and you think that I'm going to crawl into bed with you?"

"It wasn't me, baby! It was Quartz!" Virgil cried. "Come on, baby. Please don't do this to us."

"Stop calling me baby!" September yelled. "I told you! I'm not your baby, and we're through!"

Virgil's eyes flashed. "Don't do this to me, September."

"Whatever. Get over yourself." She looked around the room, trying to see if anything was hers. Though she lived here, she'd never brought anything with her besides a cell phone and her keys. All her things were at Desiree's and Ren's.

"You can't survive without me, September. You're absolutely useless if I'm not by your side. You're a shell of a human being. I give you life. I give you personality."

"You give me a headache and bruises." September said, cutting him off. He lurched forward. She quickly sidestepped out of the way, running towards the door.

"Touch me, and I'll call the police." September said, her hand on the doorknob.

"You're the one who claims she's not defenseless. You claim to have all these years of karate experience. Let's see it, September." Virgil taunted. He laughed, the sound cruel. "You're weak. Pathetic. You need someone to constantly protect you."

"Says the person who needs someone to control constantly!" September shot back. She pulled the door open and stepped into the hallway. "Fuck you, Virgil. You will never amount to anything."

She saw Virgil making a dash for the door. She slammed it shut and quickly headed down the stairs, hearing the door open behind her as she reached the bottom stair.

"Get back here! I'm not through with you!" Virgil hollered. September quickly opened the main door to the apartments and stepped out, letting the door close behind her as Virgil began his descent down the stairs. Her heart slammed into her chest as she walked backwards from the door. Virgil opened the door, a mad gleam in his eyes. "You can't leave me, September."

September didn't say anything as she bumped into her car. She walked around the front of it, still facing Virgil. He didn't leave his spot from the door. She opened the car door and plopped down inside of it, closing the door as she grabbed her seatbelt. She looked over to see where he was. Still in the doorway.

She pulled her keys out of her purse and stuck the key into the ignition. Turning the key, the engine came to life.

"You're a coldhearted bitch who no one will ever love again." Virgil screamed. September focused her eyes on the road as she pulled out of the parking spot and drove away.