Bouncing around the foster care system, Sophia has a horrible life until at the age of eighteen; she flees her abusive “father.” Trying to survive on the streets, she is taken in by a pimp, Jax. While she makes enough money to rent a rundown apartment, Jax’s percentage leaves her struggling to pay her own way.
While treating herself to a cup of coffee, she meets Matt. The persistent young man asks her out, not realizing her circumstances. When Sophia reveals her past and shares with him her current life, Matt is undeterred.
A violent, life-changing encounter with Jax brings Matt to her rescue. He takes her to his parents’ guesthouse, where she is welcomed and given a job in his father’s church. The only stipulation is she must attend church with the family.
Blossoming in her new life, Sophia and Matt begin to explore their relationship.
However, someone is not pleased with the changes in her life. Threatening calls and messages are only the beginning of the danger to Sophia. Corruption, lies, and betrayal threaten the couple and when the truth is revealed, many lives are left in turmoil. Can faith and love overcome the devastation in Sophia’s life and lead to her redemption and the life she deserves?
It was a slow night. My short, red dress that was always so promising, had failed me. My long, brown hair hung in loose waves down my back, and my green eyes popped with the heavy make-up and dark liner. What was the deal tonight? This was bad, really bad. I was $500 short and things weren’t looking in my favor. I had two options: one, tell Jax I didn’t have the money and face punishment; or two, give him everything I had without taking my cut, pushing me back another week behind on rent. Another week behind, and another week closer to eviction. What to do, what to do.
“Here you go,” I heard a man say behind me. His voice sounded oddly familiar. I turned around to find a frail girl, wrapped in a torn, blue blanket. Thick grease molded to her hair and her face was smudged with dirt. She was holding a can with a sign: HOMELESS. ANYTHING HELPS. Oh no, I don’t think so.
“Take it back, Charlie. Take the money back, or I’m calling your wife,” I said.
“I said take it back!” I yelled.
He reached into the can and pulled out his five-dollar bill, mouthing I’m sorry to the girl. He glared at me before taking off. I marched over to the girl and propped my hands on my hips.
“What are you doing?” I snapped.
“What does it look like?” she scoffed.
“Go,” I ordered.
“I said go. This is my corner.”
She looked around aimlessly and shook her head. “I don’t see your name on it.”
I laughed dryly. “No? But you’re getting ready to see my six-inch heel where the sun don’t shine if you don’t leave.” I pulled off my shoe and held it in my right hand with the left still propped on my hip. I wasn’t kidding. Determination seeped out of my voice and ownership covered my face. As far as I was concerned, this was my corner and others weren’t welcomed. My money depended on it.
“Fine, fine. I’m going.” She stood up with the blanket still wrapped around her. I noticed the brand of her jeans as she sloshed off. Abercrombie. Ha, I laughed to myself. It wouldn’t have surprised me if she dirtied herself up and parked on the street just to make some money. Lazy people. Some of us had to earn a living the hard way.
I didn’t have another hit the rest of the night. I contemplated what to do. I couldn’t be kicked out of my apartment, but I didn’t want to face another beating from Jax. The last one left me with a busted lip and a black eye. Needless to say, that wasn’t good for business.
He pulled up to the curb in his black Cadillac at three in the morning, the same time he did every time I worked the street. I got into the car and pulled the money from my bra.
“Here,” I said, tossing him the bills.
“That’s my girl,” he said, caressing my cheek.
“Take me home, Jax. I’m tired.” I wasn’t tired. I was stressed. I needed money for rent.
“You don’t want to talk?”
“I’m not much in the mood for talking.”
He took the hint, and we drove in silence downtown to my apartment. I gazed out the window the whole way, feeling distraught. I just wanted to be home alone.
“See you tomorrow, Sugar,” he said. I blew him a kiss and exited the car, rolling my eyes the whole way up the stairs to the door.
When I arrived at my apartment, I was greeted by a friendly note on the door.
Rent by next Friday or you’re out.
Ah, the man who owned this building, he had a way with words that was for sure. I lived in a rundown building, probably built in the 1800s. I found the occasional bug, and you could hear the softest of noises through the paper-thin walls. There were a few other apartments around me, if you could even call them that. Five hundred square feet including a kitchen with ancient appliances, a tiny bathroom enough for one, a small bedroom big enough for my bed, and a living room the size of a walk-in closet. On the lower level of the building was a furniture store. I paid $600 a month for this “home,” but it’s almost all I could afford. Housing in Atlanta, Georgia was hard to come by. At least for me!
Once inside, I tore the place apart. Surely I had some money around, some kind of stash I put away for emergencies. I flipped up the mattress, nothing. Tore through the closet, nothing. How am I going to make rent? I couldn’t get kicked out. I had nowhere to go. There was no way I was going to stay with Jax. I would just have to work really hard for the next week. Call me what you want, but you couldn’t call me a quitter.
I wanted a new life. There were so many times I thought about taking every penny I had, packing up my car, and just leaving. I’d drive until I couldn’t drive anymore, and I’d start a new life. There were only a few problems with this dream of mine. I wasn’t sure if my little Saturn would make it. That car was on its last leg, and I, of course, couldn’t afford a new one. The other problem, I had no idea what I’d do when I got there. Hard to find a job when you don’t even have a high school diploma. Does McDonald’s even hire without a diploma? Didn’t know, never tried.
I felt like I was dying a slow death, my past and present a pure hell. All my life I’d been a runaway. I had perfected the art of escape; running was all I knew how to do. Only now there was nowhere for me to go. Four years on the streets had done me in. I’d had enough, but escaping this life almost felt impossible. Life continued on, but I was stuck. Death almost sounded better than this game of survival I called life.