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To Raise A Child
((This thread is to mark Ricky's journey in attempting to gain Marta's trust and help her heal. This will be an ongoing thread that I post in containing mostly their interactions. If you would like to participate, please PM me first.))

Continued from Heart of Sin

Marta sat in the corner of the room on the floor. She was able to see the closed door clearly. The man Ricky had taken her here - said he adopted her. Did that mean he bought her and she was now his property? That's what El Diablo had said. He owned her and leased her out to people...whatever leased meant.

The man Ricky had been nothing but kind to her, but she didn't trust him. He was a man and she was a girl and men hurt girls. That's what they did. The kinder ones were worse. They made you think you safe and then they hurt you. it was always more than physical. It always hurt on the inside. She could feel the pain in her heart and stomach and it gnawed for days with the feelings of betrayal.

Among his kindnesses was this room. Ricky said it was her room - her own space. He had bought her a bed, a dresser, and a chair. There was a closet that had some clothes hanging in it and a pretty dress that he had bought her hung on the door. The dresser had clothes in it as well. He bought her toys too. She didn't understand why it was taking so long for him to hurt her. Maybe he liked making her terrified.

Sometimes Marta would start to shake and feel sick. It was then that she got angry and sad. Ricky took her to a doctor. The doctor always smiled and asked her how she was feeling. She wondered what the two were plotting. They said big words like "heroin" and "withdrawals" and looked at Marta sadly. Then the doctor would give her a shot and she’d feel better. They had gone several times and Marta had noticed there was less liquid in the needle than when she started. She heard them talk about “weaning” and didn’t know what it meant.

She hugged her knees to her chest trying to hide in the corner and buried her face in her knees. He had never tried to hurt her, but Marta knew it was coming. Most of the time, she stayed in her room, avoiding those kind eyes and bright smile. The longer the kindness lasted, the worse it hurt. it was then Marta began to realize that Ricky wasn't a man. He was a monster. The pain would be really bad this time.

She huddled in the corner in fear and felt the stinging tears in her eyes, overwhelmed by the thoughts. Ricky confused her. She didn’t know why he was being so nice and lying about it. He was mean too - she knew it. Mommy and Rafael were gone too, and it was her fault. If she hadn’t been born, none of this would have happened.

Marta tried to hold the tears back and kept the whimpering low. Some men got mad when she cried and said it"turned them off." She didn't know what they meant by that. Others smiled at her pain and enjoyed it. She wondered what kind Ricky was. Maybe if she made him mad, he would let her go away and then she would really be safe.

There was a knock at the door and Marta jumped. She didn't think she would ever get used to that. At the brothel they never knocked. Marta wiped the tears as the door cracked open. Ricky never looked in either - it was strange. “Marta, it’s time for dinner.” He always let her eat with him too.

She stood and walked slowly and carefully to the door. Ricky was waiting outside and she didn’t meet his gaze. You never looked unless they said it was okay to. “Sir, may I use the bathroom please.”

“Of course, honey. You don’t need to ask to do that anymore okay?”

Marta didn’t answer as she went to the bathroom and closed the door behind her. She wanted to cry again. He said things like that a lot. That she didn’t have to ask to get dressed or go to the bathroom He said she didn’t have to wait on him all the time. She knew it was a trick. He was doing this so he could hit her. She saw through his lies and wouldn’t fall into his trap. She took this time to wash her face before sitting down at the table to eat.

Ricky asked her questions, but she didn’t hear or answer. She quietly ate and planned. She wanted Ricky to hurt her because it would hurt less the sooner he did it. Maybe if she made him mad enough, he would get rid of her. Of course, maybe she could escape. That’s it. She would run away. If she got away she would be safe and if he caught her again, he could start making him mad.

[Image: Marta_zps1a4758b6.jpg]Edited by Enrique, Dec 31 2014, 11:27 AM.
The days following his adoption of Marta were rough. Ricky wanted her to be happy, and even though he knew this would take time, but he wished he could help her immediately. He hated seeing her scared an upset.

He had a lot to learn. Everyone said raising a child was difficult but rewarding. He had to wait for the reward though, right now he had to gain her trust, but that was proving to be difficult. He understood why, but it was still hard.

Each day presented new challenges. The first time she had withdrawls, Ricky had almost freaked out. He had taken her to the doctor and they spoke about how to help her about that. Ricky slipped him some cash to keep quiet. It wouldn't do to have the Nuevo Leon's find her again.

What upset him the most was he was unable to get her to break her old habits. She was subservient at all times. She stayed in her room most of the time. She never met his gaze.She was always polite but even that made him sad. It was always in fear.

He kept smiling around her and never raised his voice. He was always happy to see her, but seeing her sad made that difficult. All hewanted was for her to know that shedidnt need to fear anymore, and she could have a normal life. But the trust wasn't there yet.

Ricky went to her room and knocked, letting her know dinner was ready. She came to the door and Ricky could tell she had been crying. She asked to go to the bathroom and it was in that subservient way. Ricky reminded her that she didn't have to ask. As she went to the bathroom, Ricky stifled back the tears. Hedidnt want to see her upset.

As they ate, Ricky tried to talk with her, but she remained the silent. He had to gain her trust, but didn't know how. He needed something to get her to break out of her shell. The rest of the day was uneventful and after Ricky tucked her in he went to his own room. Every night he released the days tears before bed. He didn't want Marta to see him sad. It wasn't anger that caused it. He just had to cry. Marta's emotional scars were deep and hewanted them to heal. Ricky moved beside his bed and knelt on the floor. He lit a candle forMarta and prayed for God to be with her. He prayed God would help him take care of her and have the patience to see this through.
About two weeks later...

Marta awoke with a start. The nightmares had started after Uncle Roberto had appeared. Nightmares of Uncle Roberto taking her away - of men hurting her - of Ricky hurting her. Deep down, Marta knew that her Uncle had given her to the brothel and had killed mommy and Rafael. It was because of her too. She had been bad and that had been her punishment.

Now Uncle Roberto had come to see Ricky. Ricky had sent her upstairs. They had talked - probably planning what to do with her. Marta could feel the tears again and she cried into her pillow. She looked up and on her dresser, she could see the stuffed panda Ricky had gotten her after the zoo. Marta didn't know why he was so nice to her, but she knew it wouldn't last.

Marta was afraid - the time would come for Ricky to hurt her, but she didn't know when. It made the fear worse. She looked at the clock. It was a little after midnight. Now would be a good time. Ricky should be asleep right now.

Marta got out of bed and changed into some jeans and a long sleeved shirt. She grabbed her coat, hat, and gloves and put them on. She tiptoed out of her room and moved quietly to Ricky's room and peeked in. She saw him knelt down in front of candles - lots of candles. She saw a string grasped in his clasped hands and at the other end, a cross with a man on it. Her mother had told her something about that man - named Jesus - but Marta didn't remember it.

Ricky said words softly and Marta had to strain to hear them. "Lord, grant Marta peace and grant me the wisdom to teach her that there is still good in the world."

Marta understood prayer. She seemed to remember mommy doing that. She understood enough to know that was what Ricky was doing - and the prayer was for her. Marta was confused and stepped away. She didn't know why he would pray for her peace when he was planning to cause her harm. She tiptoed down the stairs to the back door and opened it quietly. Stepping out, she closed the door just as quietly.

Part of her said that staying with Ricky was a good idea. Part of her said she was safe with him and he wouldn't hurt her. That part wasn't loud enough as she turned and ran through the streets. She would make it on her own.

[Image: Marta_zps1a4758b6.jpg]
Edited by Enrique, Jan 19 2015, 12:59 PM.
Ricky had tucked Marta in earlier and tried to go to bed himself, but sleep didn't come. He had called his mother and spoken to her about raising a girl. His mother had only one child - a boy, but as she was a woman, he hoped she would have some insight. She gave him some advice and notified him that Marta was eleven. She would be changing soon.

That thought scared Ricky. He didn't know how to handle...that! His mother told him to calm down and get in touch with a female friend to help her out when the time came.

The memory of that call came back that night and Ricky called Mercedes.

"Ricky it's late."

"I know, but I need to talk to you about Marta."
Ricky explained his problem.

Mercedes laughed. "I'll be right there."

Ricky didn't know why she had decided to come, but it didn't take long for her to arrive. She had a box with her. She sat and spoke with Ricky about what would happen. Ricky was very uncomfortable, but Mercedes told him that as her adopted father, he needed to know this, so he listened.

The box contained the items she would need when the time came. She noted that eventually he would have to go down the "No Man's Land" aisle at the store. Funny that Ricky could face monsters without a second glance, but that aisle filled him with dread. They set a time for Mercedes to come back and explain things to Marta and formed up a plan so that Ricky would be prepared when it happened and then she left, giving Ricky a kiss on the cheek as she did.

Mercedes stopped for a moment and turned around. "I'm not dumb Ricky - a bartender wouldn't have taken her in. You're not just a bartender are you? One of these days, you'll tell me what you really do."

Ricky smiled. "Someday."

Ricky checked the clock - Midnight. He went to his room and followed his normal routine. He lit another candle and prayed for Marta and himself. It was routine now - he hoped God would answer this prayer. Marta had taken a step backwards since she had seen her Uncle again.

Ricky stood, finishing his prayer and noticed the door opened a crack. He had closed the door. He always closed the door. A sense of anxiety filled him and he went immediately to Marta's room. He searched the house - bar - and even the safehouse. Marta was no where to be found.

Ricky was filled with anger directed at Roberto. That son of a bitch had caused this. She had been getting better. He grabbed a pistol, a first aid kit, and a blanket. He hoped he didn't have to use the pistol and packed it underneath his coat. As he left the house, he grabbed a flashlight.

The back alley was dirt and thankfully so. He saw the small footsteps of a child in the dust and followed them. Several blocks a way, a piece of fabric on a pipe caught his eye. Ricky examined it. It was a piece of Marta's coat. He was on the right track.

He followed the footsteps until they led into the woods outside of the city. Ricky frowned and then grimaced as he heard the howl of a coyote. He would have to find her quickly - before the coyotes did.

Edited by Enrique, Jan 20 2015, 04:30 PM.
Marta ran as fast as her legs could carry her after getting out the door, unaware of why she ran so fast. The thoughts going through her head confused her.

"Ricky's he's not...Ricky's he's not..."

She ran until she ran into the corner of a building as she turned down the street. Marta heard a tear and pain shot through her shoulder. She wanted to cry, but stifled the tears and slowed down. Coming to a forest, she ran in thinking Ricky wouldn't find her there.

As she moved through the woods, she became scared. It was dark in there and she could hear the animals scurrying around. They had been cute in the zoo, but some of them could be really scary. She got on the ground and crawled into some bushes and hid. That's when the tears stung her eyes and she started crying.

Marta didn't know how long she cried, but it was when she heard the footsteps that she stopped. She tried to bury herself deeper into the bush as whoever wore the boots stopped in front of her bush. All was quiet for a minute as he knelt down. "Marta?"

It was Ricky's voice. Marta had no idea how he had found her. She had no idea what to do. She couldn't get out of the bush without passing Ricky and she had no where else to go.

"It's okay Marta, I'm here and you're safe now."

Marta didn't want to leave, but she did. She felt safe around him, but didn't think she should. Or she didn't feel safe around him and felt she should. Marta didn't know which. Another coyote howled in the distances, and it made Marta crawl out from under the bush to see Ricky.

Girls had run away at the brothel before - they didn't come back. Marta was scared and worried. She didn't know what she would see when she looked at Ricky. Ricky hadn't stood, instead he wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and Marta chanced a look at his eyes.

The kindness was still there, but it was laced with worry. She could recognize worry - all of the girls at the brothel had it. "It's okay Marta - are you hurt?"

Marta didn't answer through her crying. Ricky picked her up and Marta stiffened as he did. He started walking. "You're safe."

He said it a second time, and Marta realized she wanted to believe him, but couldn't. That part of her wanted to hug Ricky and cry into his shoulder, but she just cried as he walked home.

When they arrived in the kitchen, he set her down on her feet. "Marta, are you hurt."

Marta nodded and said. "My arm hurts."

Ricky knelt down. "I'm going to look, okay?"

He asked her and Marta nodded, preparing herself. This was it. He was going to hurt her now. She had made him mad. She cringed as he lifted the sleeve of her shirt and looked at her arm, and then released it as he let the sleeve drop back down.

"It's a bruise, and not too bad. You'll be okay. Go to your room and get into your pajamas and I'll bring you something to help with it."

Marta obeyed, wondering what had just happened. He hadn't hurt her. Maybe he would in the room. She got into her pajamas and climbed into bed. Ricky knocked and asked if he could come in. She still hadn't gotten used to that and mumbled a yes nervously.

Ricky entered with a glass of liquid and something wrapped in a towel. Sometimes the men at the brothel gave her funny tasting water called wine in a weird glass with a stick before. But this stuff looked more like real water. Ricky handed her the glass and she sniffed it. It didn't smell like the funny tasting water either. She took a sip and her eyes grew. It was real water!

Ricky handed her the thing wrapped in a towel. It was cold. "An ice pack. Put it on the bruise and it will make it feel better and help it heal faster."

Marta hesitated but did as instructed. It stung at first, but soon the pain subsided. Her arm felt better. "Marta, I'm not going to hurt you. Ever."

Marta didn't look up, but wondered how he seemed to know what she was thinking. He hadn't hurt her. He had opportunity and reason to do so, but he hadn't. She still couldn't trust him, but she wanted to. Part of her was beginning to believe that what he said was true - that she was safe here.

[Image: Marta_zps1a4758b6.jpg]Edited by Enrique, Jan 23 2015, 03:33 PM.
Ricky had found her, and had come to him. He didn't know if she trusted him, but doubted that was the case. She was scared and primal instinct made humans go to each other in those sort of situations. It was probably nothing but human instinct that brought her out from underneath the bush.

He took her back to his home in silence, with the exception of telling her that she was safe every now and then. At the house he checked out her arm - a bruise - she would be fine.

Marta was already in the bed when he brought her the ice pack and some water. Marta seemed deep in thought and he wondered what was going through her head. His heart ached at seeing such a young one going through what she was. He knew he had to be patient.

"Marta, I'm not going to hurt you. Ever."
Ricky wasn't sure what prompted the words, but Marta stayed silent and didn't look up. There was a change in her eyes though. Something had gotten through to her tonight.

"Go to sleep. Things will be better tomorrow."
Ricky said, beginning to rise.

"You're not mad?"
Ricky sat back down and looked at her. Confusion, sadness, and regret were in her eyes.

Ricky looked at her softly. "No niña. Not mad - a little worried, but not mad."

Marta stayed silent, deep in thought. She was probably matching her experiences with men and how they differed from her experiences with Ricky. She didn't look up, but still held confusion.

"'ll feel better tomorrow okay?"

"I can't...bad dreams."

Ricky nodded. A girl that experienced what she had was bound to have nightmares. "They are just dreams niña. They cannot hurt you, and you are safe here."

That puzzled look came on Marta's face. He had her thinking - this was good - he hoped. Ricky had to keep working. She would heal in time. He thought of when he was upset or sick. His mother would sing to him, so Ricky sang.

"Duérmete mi niña,
duérmete mi amor,
duérmete pedazo,
de mi corazón."

Marta looked at him, speculation in her eyes. "Mommy used to sing me that song."

Ricky smiled a genuine smile. "So did mine."

"You had a mommy?"

Ricky laughed. "Of course - maybe some day you will meet her."

A momentary smile broke out on Marta's face. "Is she pretty. My mommy was pretty."

Ricky nodded. "Very pretty."

"I miss her."
Marta looked sad.

"That's because you loved her. She loved you too. Always love her and remember her. Then she will live here."
Ricky placed his hand over his own heart.

Marta looked at him in wonder and then yawned. "You need sleep hon. Do you want me to sing again?"

Marta nodded and Ricky sang the song again, lulling Marta to sleep. He kissed her on the forehead and then retreated to his own room where he lit another candle and prayed a prayer of thanks - for Marta's safety and for her progress lately. He had found a crack in her shell, and that meant that soon she would let him help her.
Things were back and forth. Some days Marta was fine and other days she was reclusive. She was changing, but still fighting her past. Ricky kept up the praying. He had that much to give her at least. It was difficult though.

Marta was growing more mature, both physically and mentally. Already she had added a couple of inches to her height, and she was beginning to become a woman. The girlish features were beginning to disappear, replaced by more womanly ones. The little girl he had rescued was disappearing.

And she needed an education. There was so much to worry about. Ricky had sent her to school, but had pulled her out after she came home in tears the first day. She was several grades behind the kids her own age and even the younger ones called her stupid. They didn't understand that she hadn't had the opportunity to learn as they had. Kids could be so mean sometimes. Ricky decided she wasn't ready for a public school and instead enrolled her in an online school.

Whether it was to prove people wrong or she was just gifted, Marta took to learning like a fish to water. She worked everyday and showed great progress. It was what she was doing today while Ricky was blowing off steam practice shooting.

Roberto hadn't come back yet, and Ricky hadn't found him either. It was nerve wracking, but Ricky wen to his pastime of shooting. Marta sat on the porch with the tablet Ricky had picked up for her to do her schoolwork on. Twelve shots fired and most were on target. No matter how much one practice, no one ever achieved perfection. As Ricky reloaded, he noticed Marta had set her tablet aside and was watching him.

"How did you get so good at that?"

Ricky smiled as he reloaded. "Lots and lots of practice."
As Ricky watched her, he could see the intrigue in her eyes. This was something he needed - an activity that caught her attention. She had been working hard and needed a break anyways. "Do you want to try it."

Confusion marred Marta's features. She didn't understand why he was offering, but she stood up and approached, nodding as she did so. There was a sort of joy that sparkled in her eyes for a moment. Ricky had found yet another method of breaking through her shell.

Ricky handed her the empty revolver. "I'll show you how to hold it before I load it, but first of all. Never point this at anyone, okay?"

Marta nodded in understanding and then Ricky showed her how to hold the weapon, aim it, and fire it. He handed her six bullets and showed her how to open the chamber and load the rounds into it before instructing her to take her first shot. Marta did so, her bullet straying far from the target.

There was a look of failure in her eyes. Ricky didn't have long. "That's okay - everyone misses their first time. My first shot was worse than that one."
The look disappeared. Ricky inwardly sighed at the averted crisis.

"What did you do wrong?"
Ricky asked her.

Marta thought for awhile. She was a smart girl, and figuring this out on her own would not only help her learn the lesson better, but it would help build her self confidence. "I think I closed my eyes before I shot."

Ricky smiled and nodded. "Don't do that!"
His tone conveyed humor and Marta giggled. It was like music to Ricky's ears. He was glad that today was one of her good days.

He instructed her to take more shots, and progressively they got better. Marta was beaming. She was a natural to it - just like she was to learning. "Can we do this again sometime?"
She asked, her voice hopeful.

"Of course we can. For now though, you better get back to your studies."

Marta gave him a smile and handed Ricky the gun back before getting back to work on her schoolwork. It had been a very good day.
Today was supposed to be a happy day, or so Ricky had told her. It was her 12th birthday. Like always Ricky had been kind to her. He had taken her to shoot the gun a few times. She had enjoyed it. He encouraged her to continue working hard in her school work. It was another activity that she found fun, but Marta couldn't shake the feeling that it was all a trick.

Ricky had no reason to help her, so why was he being kind? Marta didn't understand. Ricky came out soon bearing a cake, the words "Feliz Cumpleaños" etched in icing on the top. Ricky put the cake in front of her. "Happy Birthday, Marta."

Marta stared at the cake. This was too much. She didn't like that he was being nice. She didn't want to feel the betrayal. She didn't want to feel the uncertainty anymore. Marta flung the cake across the room, making a mess over the wall and floor.

"Stop being so nice. I don't want it to hurt when you change"
Marta yelled at Ricky. "I don't want to be scared of you anymore. I want this over with!"
Marta moved to begin removing her clothing.

Ricky wordlessly responded by grabbing her wrists. Marta had expected a touch of some sorts, but she hadn't expected the touch to be as gentle. It was enough to cause her to pause and look up at Ricky. She saw the anger behind the eyes, but it was laced with the same kindness she had come to expect from him.

[Image: Marta_zps1a4758b6.jpg]
Marta Gonzalez

It was Marta's birthday and Ricky could tell she was on one of her off days. He hadn't expected the outburst, however. It worked in Ricky's favor though. He was too caught off guard to react right away, and by waiting he gained some insight. Marta had been afraid of him betraying her. She had expected him to rape her.

Ricky moved without thought when she started to remove her clothes. His hands grabbed her wrists, preventing her from completing her movements. His grip wasn't hard; he didn't want to hurt her, but he couldn't let this happen. She looked at him, surprised. He was angry, but once again, it wasn't at Marta. The cartels had turned her into this. Only two words escaped his lips. "Never again."

Ricky could see the wheels turning behind Marta's eyes as he let go of her wrists. There was no mark on her arms from the grip. Marta looked on the verge of tears, but she spoke. "I need to be alone"
Marta turned and ran to her room, shutting the door behind her.

Ricky wasn't sure if he had responded right, but this was critical. She needed time to think. Ricky would give her that - the time it would take him to pray for guidance. Ricky went to his room and lit yet another candle and began his prayers. His actions now would either heal Marta or make everything worse.

Edited by Enrique, Apr 19 2015, 02:45 PM.
Marta ran into her room and shut the door behind her before sitting down on her bed. The tears came soon and stung her eyes. She was confused. When she had started it, he had stopped it. Could it be that he really wasn't looking for that? The words he had said rung in her head - never again.

Ricky was just confusing to her. Marta didn't know what to think, but as she tried to put the pieces together, she remembered the earlier days - the meetings with the doctors and the big words that had been spoken. She now had the tools to figure out what those words meant.

Marta picked up her tablet. The first thing that she remembered was the word lease. She said the word aloud slowly, sounding out each syllable to figure out how to spell it. She typed Leese into the search engine. The results made no sense - there were people with that name, but it wasn't something that you did. She looked at the bottom of the page where the related searches were. She found another word - lease and clicked it. "A lease is a contractual arrangement calling for the lessee (user) to pay the lessor (owner) for use of an asset." There were some big words in the definition, but she sounded them out and eventually understood what El Diablo had been doing to her. He had been selling her out to the men, but had she done the same to Ricky - Ricky hadn't treated her the same as the other men.

The next word she looked up was heroin - again sounding the word out loud. What she found was different - it was some type of drug that could be injected - had that been the liquid that the doctor had given her - she needed more information, so went to her next word - withdrawal. Seeing an article on drug withdrawal she clicked it and read. There were a lot of hard words, but she used the words surrounding it to figure out what they meant. The pieces began to come together for her. Withdrawal was what was happening when Ricky had first taken her in and she would suddenly get angry and sad at the same time.

More was needed though - a missing piece or two - she searched weaning, again sounding the word out. She found a definition page. There were several definitions, but only one fit in with her situation "to detach from a source of dependence."

Marta figure it out. She had gotten the shots of heroin at the brothel. She was dependent on it, and when she needed it, she got angry. Ricky had taken her to a doctor, and she remembered each time there had been less in the needle. They had slowly made it so she didn't need the drug anymore. She didn't even remember the last time she had needed it.

Marta felt guilt as she remembered all of the good things he had done for her. Marta didn't remember the last time she had felt hungry or thirsty. He took care of her when she felt sick. When she had run away, he found her and told her she was safe. Ricky had helped with her bruise. He sang songs to her and had taken her to the zoo. Ricky had really been nice. It hadn't been a trick, and in return, she had run away, broken things, torn the pretty dress he had given her, and resented him. She had been so bad.

Marta looked at her closet door. Ricky had replaced the one she had ripped, it was in a bigger size too. Marta realized she had been growing, but now she wondered what the last word meant. The one Ricky had said to her. She sounded it out and typed it into the search engine. Adopt.

Adopt: to take by choice into a relationship; especially : to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child

Marta felt the tears begin again. Daddy had died when she was young. Mommy and Rafael had died shortly after she was taken. Ricky had taken her out of that place and had taken her in. He treated her like she was his own family. The guilt struck her hard. She had been bad. She had wanted to make Ricky push her away, and now she was worried that she had.

Marta stood, and left her room. Ricky's door was closed, she could hear him whispering - praying for her again. All the times she had overheard him came back. He had always prayed for her and meant them all. Marta moved away from the door down to the kitchen. She found some paper towels and began to clean up the mess she had made. Hopefully, Ricky would keep her if she started being good.

Marta heard Ricky approach and she faced him, seeing the kindness in his eyes. Marta trembled, still crying. "I'm sorry. Please...I'll be good, don't push me away."
Marta had let her eyes fall to the ground, unable to meet his gaze.

It wasn't until she felt Ricky pull her into a hug that Marta realized he had approached her. "It's okay Marta. You were scared. I won't hurt you. Ever."

Marta turned to look at him again. She felt safe, and for the first time, she wasn't scared of that around Ricky. "I know now."
Marta said.

Ricky smiled and Marta did with him. "I'm glad Marta. Happy Birthday."

Marta hugged Ricky. "Thank you."
She hoped the words conveyed the amount of gratitude she really had. "What now?"
She asked.

Ricky smiled at her as she released the hug. "It's your birthday. What do you want to do?"

Marta felt really special in that moment. Today was her day! She could spend it how she would like. She thought for a minute and then came up with an idea. "Stay here! I'll be back."

Ricky laughed as she ran back up to her room and took the dress off of her closet door. She changed into it and walked back down the stairs. Ricky smiled at her when he saw the dress.

Marta approached, feeling the butteflies in her stomach. It was her birthday - a great day for a new start. "Ummmm...daddy, will you take me to the zoo for my birthday? That's what adopt means right - that you are now my new daddy?"
Marta was unsure, but she wanted this now.

[Image: Marta_zps1a4758b6.jpg]
Marta Gonzalez

Edited by Enrique, Apr 19 2015, 03:33 PM.
As Marta left to go upstairs, Ricky smiled. The time she had by herself she had sorted some things out it seemed. He had seen the guilt on the girls face and the honesty in her eyes when she said she knew he wouldn't hurt her. Ricky wasn't sure what had caused the change, but he was glad that it had happened.

When Marta came back down the stairs, Ricky almost choked, but he held back and kept the smile. He bought her that dress and when she had ripped the first one, he had gotten another. For him, the dress had become a symbol of the fight she was going through, and to see Marta wearing it made him happy. But not as happy as when she called him 'daddy.'

Although the words she spoke were different, Ricky heard her asking him to be her daddy. "I will gladly be your father, if that is what you want."

Marta smiled at him and gave him a hug. Ricky hugged her back and smiled, glad at her answer. "Alright, let's go to the zoo."

It was a beautiful day out, and father and daughter walked to the zoo. In contrast to their first trip, Marta was overly excited. Instead of quietly looking on, she hardly stopped talking. She kept pointing out different animals she wanted to see. Ricky smiled and followed her lead - it was her birthday after all. In reality, it really was a new beginning for her. Ricky knew her struggles wouldn't likely be over for a long time, but she trusted him now, and he would help her through them.

Edited by Enrique, Apr 20 2015, 10:04 AM.

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