I just needed a place to stay with a halfway decent family for the next two years and then I"d be gone.
I didn"t have much expectations. What I knew about the foster care system is what I"d seen on the news over the years and it was never good. Thankfully I was old enough to defend myself and wasn"t afraid of being beaten to death or scalded in the bathtub.
The first three months in the home were hell. Twenty strangers in a room, some of them from even worse circumstances than my own.
I had to change schools because of zoning and my new school was a cesspit, but I still applied myself same as before.
I was counting down the days until I turned eighteen and could get out of there. I even considered running away but was too scared to go through with it. The streets from the stories some of the other girls who"d ran away before told me, were much worst.
So, between witnessing beastly fighting between some of the others and constantly having to secure my stuff so it wouldn"t be stolen I kept myself busy with my schoolwork and stayed out of the way.
Then one day the city decided to let the local news station do a segment on the home and the conditions there.
We weren"t told anything more than that and that we"d better be on our best behavior and have our areas cleaned up.
I did my best to stay hidden while all the others were vying for attention, and maybe that"s why the reporter sought me out and chose to interview me.
I tried declining but the matron gave me one of her stern looks and I knew that if I didn"t agree they"d be hell to pay once the cameras left.
I"d seen her and some of the other girls eyeing me and whispering behind their hands and was afraid I was the target of some conspiracy or other. I had a good idea what that was about. It was my face, my body my looks.
Some of the others had told me that some of the rougher girls hated me because I pretended to be this perfect little angle when I was no better than them. Something I never even considered.
I"d tried only once to make amends, but when I was threatened with acid in my face I figured it out. It"s true I did take more care with my hygiene and always made sure I was neatly dressed even though I had only rags to wear.
I"d come to love my new body in the past year after accepting that it was who I am, and now, instead of fear when men and boys noticed me, I just felt admired. Though I still wasn"t willing to do anything about it.
My hair was a riot of wild black curls that fell below my waist and in my much thinner face it was easy to see the almond slant of my brown eyes.
I knew I was pretty, knew that my body gave men ideas and made women envious, but if they only knew how innocent I was of the things they thought of me.
That day after the look of death from the matron I agreed to the interview. Not that I had a choice. She"d proven time and again that she could be monstrous in her punishments for the least little slight.
She was one of those women who just hated me for no other reason than I was more beautiful than she"d ever be. As if I had anything to do with it.
We sat in the main office alone and I don"t know how she did it, but the reporter got me to tell her my whole life story. She even looked at my school reports, taking notes of everything as she went.
I didn"t think anything of it after she left. In fact she hadn"t done me any favors since the other girls took offense to me being the only one singled out to do a sit down.
It didn"t matter that I had nothing to do with it. They saw what they wanted to see. For two weeks I had to evade my more spiteful adversaries the best I could because of all the attention I got after that piece aired.
If only they knew how much I hated it. Hated having my life exposed to the world, pathetic. Or so I thought until I was called into the office one day after school.
It was a day like any other, nothing special. I"d spent the day taking tests because we were being let out for the summer in a few weeks.
My only thoughts as I went into the dorm like room I shared with the others to put away my stuff was that I was one more year closer to getting out.