Lola was a name that grated on my ears. Most people considered it sonorous and calming, but after my teenage years, fraught with rebellion, Lola was a name uttered in exasperation rather than cooed.

THat is why I insisted Spencer call me Lara. It was a close sound so that I would still answer to it, but distant enough from my childhood that I could free myself from my past mistakes. He didn't seem to care either way. Lola, Lara, both names meant love to him and loving me was all he knew to do.

He found me in the...

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There's somebody standing in the corner of my room.

He showed up yesterday. Waltzed in through the front door like he owned the place. Maybe he does, actually. I certainly don't.

I've been here for a couple of months. When the sun's up, I'm usually out doing something else, like fishing in the creek out back, or building a dam with rocks and fallen branches. It passes the time. Every now and then it even gets me something to eat.

But in all my time here, I'd never known anyone to even step off the sidewalk onto the lawn. Never...

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Sarah felt a little guilty. This wasn't her bed after all. But to each his own. This isn't some pink kiddie playgroundworld where cotton candy feeds you until your next meal, and mommy and daddy are there to catch you when you scrape your knee. In this world, houses are foreclosed, children are taken away by Children's Services, and husbands beat you after a late night out with beer. If you're lucky, he passes out before you have to fight him and shout NO. In this world, anything is possible, things you couldn't fathom happening to you as a 7-year-old...

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"This is the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in", Bradley thought. No wife, no kids pecking away at 6am, no job to drudge off to. "I can get up whenever I want."

Living off the street was a lot easier for Bradley than he'd expected it to be. You can make $20/hour simply begging on the subway. When everyone gets out of work it's prime time, everyone's happy to be done with the day so they'll toss you their spare change they made from the day. He remembered how uncomfortable loose change can be in the pocket of a...

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"No. I won't go back."
I listened, expecting and shoring up my supply of reasons in advance.
"I tried. I really tried."
Around me, the contents of my storage facility. I would rather die than let them use that label on me. So, yeah, I had no running water, no electricity, no nothing except the contents of my closets and drawers slung everywhere serving as a multipurpose couch/bed/cocoon. Yeah. I'm that person. Rehab had been so not for me.
The streets - my arms are too scarred for tattoo ink. This, this is slightly better than the alternatives, of which...

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