Chapter Nine

"Doctors say it's a fractured rib." Ben said wheezily. I looked at him commiserating.

Adam nodded, "So you'll be here for a while then."

"Pumped up on morphine." Ben tried to laugh but it required lung space he didn't have. The fractured rib restricted his breathing and it was obvious when he talked. "So Joyce didn't tell you?"

I shook my head, "I was so worried." Momentarily lost for words, I looked away, my stomach tightening. The prospect of losing another father, I realized, was something I couldn't deal with.

"I'm sorry Lil." He wheezed, placing his hand over mine. It was a direct contrast- the firm hand and the frail breathing. I had to remind myself Ben wasn't that old. He was Carmen's age, but I always had a tendency to look at him as much older. He was mature, and wiser than Carmen.

I gulped. Carmen.

Last time we'd talked, I hadn't been in the best state of mind- though how could she expect me to just walk away with her? And away from Sooke no less? Ben had been right- he wasn't coming back- but there was always hope. That and Sooke was my home. Always had been, just now, I had roots here.

I glanced at Adam and Ben, who were now talking about god knows what.

Yup, I had roots here.

Hey Mom. I sat there looking at the blinking line. It waited patiently and I leaned back. How was I going to phrase this? Carmen and I really hadn't ended our last interaction on a high note.

Ben was in a production, and fractured a rib. He's gonna be in hospital for a while as it heals. They can't do much for him but keep him on painkillers.

I'm fine here, on my own- Was that too heavy? Too in your face?

I left it.

Adam and I are friends, better friends now- which is all cool.

Love, Lily.

I sent it and checked my watch. Gnawing at my bottom lip, I realized I would get a reply from Carmen almost instantly. She'd be at her computer at work- and consider this worth replying to. I waited for an email, scuffing my feet along the floor in boredom- and jumped when the phone rang.

"Hey Adam."

"Adam?" My mother's voice was amused. I doubted she was however.

"Oh hey Mom."

"Hey sweetie- I got your email." I nodded and realized she wouldn't hear or see it.

"And I'm thinking that maybe you should come stay with me." My brain was a half second behind the rest of my body which had froze and was now trembling. I forced myself onto a seat and listened as Carmen explained her reasons.

"I just think that Sooke isn't the right place for you. Terry and I want you here babe." Babe. That reminded me of the baby.

"How far along are you now?


"How far along are you now with the baby?"

"Twenty seven weeks." She said, the mention of the baby making her breathless with joy. I bit my tongue from lashing out with an insult. It hurt, it really did- But I didn't want to go back.

I sighed, trying to control myself, "I love you Mom. Bye."

"Bye? We haven't finished talking!" She was laughing with slight shock.

"If all we're going to discuss is how everyone wants me back in America, then, yes we are finished talking."

"Babe- you have to understand where I'm coming from."

"Yeah, I get where you're coming from, Mom." I paused, "But no one bothers to get where I'm coming from."

"That's because where you're coming from is illogical."

"Love is illogical." I heard her sharp intake of breath.

"You weren't in love."

"Just because you're my mother doesn't mean you dictate how I feel."

"You don't know love." She said shrilly.

"That tone is very unbecoming." I said, welcoming my walls as they burst up.

"You don't know love." She repeated.

"I know I didn't love Adam, now. Not when we were dating; mostly thanks to your and Richard's relationship." I hesitated and than spoke from my heart, "I know what I felt for Damion was only a fraction of what could have happened- and that fraction was infinitely more than what I felt for Adam. Probably infinitely more than what you felt for all your random hook-ups over the years."

"Lily." She gasped in anger or shock. I couldn't say anything. I knew I'd spoken from the heart because it hurt. Hurt like hell, I reflected, glad I was sitting down on the couch. I'd said his name and everything. Any therapist would have been proud.

"Lily, I am your mother- I thought I raised you to be respectful!"

"I'm 17, Mom." As of last year; the twenty eighth of November. My stomach twisted. "Why do you care? Why do you care whether I waste the next few years in Sooke finishing school?"


"It's my life Mom, and this is the way I want to play it. I will visit." I promised.

"I'm not sure that's enough." She hedged.

"Love you Mom." I said softly, dismissing her.

"Love you too Lil- Terry and the baby send their love too."

"Bye." I whispered, hearing the dial tone. I hugged a cushion to my middle, placing the offending phone on the table. Concentrating on my breathing, I tilted my head back and closed my eyes.

When I opened them, tiring moments later, I spotted the Shakespeare project behind the couch. Wearily reaching over, I smoothed it out on the coffee table. What doesn't destroy you makes you stronger. Why not go for gold in the therapist's eyes?

"I bought Chinese!" Adam called as he entered. I jumped for the sound system, turning it off. It had tore at me, required a lot of me, to work on the project- and I'd brought down, rather heartlessly, the compilation he had given me.

What doesn't destroy you makes you stronger. I recalled. Rather sadistic of me.

"Sounds great." I called back, surveying the now finished board.

Adam came through and the look on his face was comical. He recovered quickly enough however, though still left a little to be desired.

"That's your Shakespeare board." He whistled through his teeth.

"Yeah." I mused, "I finished it."

"Wanna celebrate?" Adam held up the bag.

"Sounds good." I moved the board off the table and pointed to the couch.

"No dining room?" He sat down and we ripped into the Chinese. I'd known I was hungry- I just hadn't bothered to do anything about it. The lion in Adam came to the fore as he tackled the food with enthusiasm. He was still cat-like dainty, but he held power in his presence.

"You're a lion alright." I murmured.

"My lioness." Adam smiled and ruffled my hair. I ducked from underneath his hand and snapped at it.

"My feisty lioness." He corrected.

"Much better." I approved. From then on, all I could hear was chewing.

"Should we put some music on?"

I shook my head, remembering my CD still in there. Adam would make a scene.

"Turn the television on." I suggested.

"I thought as the lion, I got to make the decisions." Adam pouted.

I snorted, "You're a softie."

"Clearly. You'd have to be pretty tough to cope with that on your own." He cocked his head towards the project.

"That's how I roll." I smiled slightly, sadly, "On my own."

"You don't have to."

"That's how I roll." I repeated. He took the hint.

"Wallowing in self-pity?"

"No." I jumped and realized, too late, that I'd fallen.

"That was a bit defensive, me thinks."

"So, what, that was your thought quota for today? One thought?" I parried.

"Yeah." He ran with it, "Sometimes I exceed it- but other times, it's just so hard." He shook his head mournfully.

"Poor baby."

"So did you see Ben today?"

"I told him I'd pop by when I could- and I did see him frequently during the week." I justified. Besides, today was my pain filled day. To everyone else it was a Saturday, but Saturdays were when I handled the pain.

"Yeah, doubt he's lonely. Most of the town has popped by at some stage or another to check on him."

I nodded, "He's been around since the Ice Age. Everyone knows and loves him."

"Respect too." Adam said, bringing my mother to the fore of my mind. Adam read my mind with that uncanny ability- or just saw my expression and jumped to conclusions, cause he asked:

"How's Carmen?"

"No idea." I sighed, "But that's become normal for us."

Adam shrugged, "I wouldn't know. My family life is pretty stable."

"Same here." I teased, "Just, mine's spread over two different countries."

"Do you think about your dad often?" He asked. I furrowed my brow and looked at him. He had finished his Chinese, and was wiping his mouth with a napkin.

"Not really- like, when you said family and I said two different countries, I meant Sooke, and Los Angeles. Not where ever Richard is currently living. And, like, when people say family, they usually think Dad, Mom and kids. I think Mom and me."

"No plural-yet." Adam added.

"No. And I probably won't really accept the kid anyway."

"Do you know what gender it is?"

I shook my head, "Very little news for the past few weeks, remember?" I thought about it. "I mean, they might know," I conceded, "But last I heard they were keeping it a surprise."

"What are the names they are weighing up?" I glanced at him shrewdly. Was he leading up to something? If he was, I had no idea what.

"Probably more flowers- Petunia." We laughed at the absurdity and Adam switched the television on without further ado.

Day passed to night and vice versa- the age-old process- in a blurring fashion. Sunday rolled around, an uneventful day. However, Monday started off happy and slid downhill.

"Hey Amber- Woah!" I greeted her, "What's with the hair?" She'd highlighted it; chocolate brown mixed with bright pink stripes.

"Don't you love it!" She squealed.

"What's up with Adam?" I opened her car door and slung my bag to the floor, before sliding the board in the back and getting into the passenger seat.

"He's sick. Today's gonna be interesting." She viewed me, tipping her sunglasses down. I couldn't remember a day she'd worn sunglasses- the weather really was righting itself. Unless the lake holiday was counted. Amber looked quizzically at the board.

"It's the Shakespeare board." I explained quietly, "I finished it. Better late than never, right?"

"Wow, big weekend, huh." I'd told her over the phone what had happened with Carmen. Adam didn't understand, and girls were better listeners anyway.

"Yup." I sighed, my stomach starting to flip as the school came into view.

"I don't feel well- maybe I caught something from Adam?" I suggested hopefully.

"Maybe you did. Then again, maybe you're missing your comfort blanket."

"Your metaphor just went straight over my head." I groaned.

"Adam." She said matter-of-factly, "Come on, you'll be fine."

"You stick with me?"

"You don't need mollycoddling Lil." She thought for a beat, "If you did, you'd be in California, with your mom."

"Oooh low blow." I teased her, "I think I'm hurt- imagine what Adam would say if he heard you'd hurt me."

"I think he'd congratulate me." Amber laughed, tying the multi-coloured hair in a ponytail.

"I want to lick your hair!" Some random called out as Amber and I passed him in the parking lot.

"Thanks baby!" Amber called back, before glancing at me. I burst into slight hysterical giggles.

"Please don't start." Amber rolled her eyes, perching her sunglasses atop her head.

"But I want to lick your hair!" I protested.

"What would Adam say to that? You're being silly."

"Don't twist my words!" I said indignantly.

"He'd probably like it." Felicity caught up with us and we entered school.

Amber greeted a few people amicably before turning to Felicity.

"Stay away from me! Ye possibly sick one!" Amber crossed her fingers, checked them, and then thrust them in Fel's face.

I looked between the two and rolled my eyes, much like Amber had minutes before, "Now you're being silly."

"He does have-" Felicity rattled off some virus.

"You want to be a vet when you end school, right?" I confirmed. She nodded.

"That explains everything." I said mysteriously, deliberately winding her up. She looked frustrated, but disappeared off to her locker without a peep.

"Almost." Amber critiqued, "By now, I think she's used to it."

I nodded sadly, "Fel's days of being irritated at us are over."

"Lets have a Pity Party!"

"You know, Amber, I love you- but really, sometimes, you're a five year old."

"Nothing wrong with that." She pouted and I went to Math.

The classes whipped by quickly, time evaporating out of my hands and I watched the clock hands shift until it was lunch. I hadn't eaten a lot for breakfast and my stomach was protesting.

I scooped up pasta and it was nearing my mouth when I spotted Sam, striding with a purpose towards the table. I couldn't run, I reasoned, and placing the spoon down, I readied myself for the attack. My stomach growled impatiently and I forced my gaze away from my pasta.

"You bitch." He growled, in sync with my stomach.

"You pig." I returned, my voice level. What was this about? "You only daring to abuse me now that Adam is out of the picture?" I drawled.

"No- that's just handy." He spat. I leaned back and observed him. He was shifting his weight back and forth, acting very much like a caged animal. His face was red, I viewed, and anger owned him.

"How have you been?" It was amicable and served to set him off.

He was spluttering and foaming at the mouth. Behind my walls, I longed for a suitable opponent. One that would actually do their best to shut me down. Shutting Sam down would be much like kicking a puppy. But, he wanted a fight.

"How have I been?" He managed to get out, "It's not me you should be asking!" Katie came up beside him and I smiled at her. She didn't return it and it faded from my face.

"Should I be asking Katie?" My voice was still pleasant, but the undercurrent of coldness flowed through and overpowered it. Amber pretended to shiver, exchanging a glance with Felicity.

Katie stepped forward, "There are rumours going round- apparently you've been saying nasty stuff about me?" she challenged. Sam, having been dismissed, chafed at the bit.

"We are a volatile group." I remarked, enjoying the rise it got out of Sam.

"Don't bait him." Katie's voice was quiet- she'd been aiming for cold, and hadn't quite reached it.

"You want to go head to head?" I said, but my mind was elsewhere. What would Adam think? I wanted to laugh. He'd be furious- I got in trouble on his day off and he didn't get to see it. Added to the fact I was supposed to be letting people in, not kicking people forcefully away. I was attacked first, however. Cheering up at that thought, I turned my gaze to Amber.

"Do you know what they're talking about?"

"Sandies been spreading lies- apparently you hate Katie and really want Sam." Amber met Sam's gaze, "She is so wrong." Amber turned back to examining her nails, "Lily's all about Katie, not Sam." I snuffed a laugh and continued a conversation with Amber and Felicity. Sufficiently subdued, Sam sat down and dragged Katie with him.

"Sorry." Katie murmured as we walked to English.

"Don't be." I said politely, "You had a right. He didn't, but he thought he did."

"Lily-" she pleaded.

"Bye Katie." My smile didn't reach my eyes. What was it with males and casting me out? It was Sam, so I didn't react as badly- but my history meant it smarted and made me think, a lot, about myself. Something I didn't like doing, especially when I couldn't talk to Adam about it.

"Babe, do you need cheering up?" Mitch asked, "Cause I know a few tricks that'll leave you satisfied and purring."

"Cause every girl wants to purr." I rolled my eyes, trying not to choke on the lump in my throat.

"Sure." He shrugged, "It's a natural human reaction to moi."

"Oh, you're not human?"

"Haven't you heard?" Mitch put his hand to his mouth and widened his eyes, "Darling, it's big news- I'm a demon, seductive and full of sexual powers." He explained. I froze and forced my food to stay down. He switched his attention to the girl next to me and I caught the teacher's eye. In due time, Mr Kravitz made his way over to me.

"Sir, I don't feel very well." I muttered, praying he'd let me go. He did, and my pace was that of a run as I escaped the classroom, the tears free-falling.

Ben was still in hospital, and there was no way I was getting Adam to pick me up- not when he was so sick that he was bed-ridden.

I hung around the nurse's office until the bell rang and I excused myself to find Amber.

"Girl, you no look so good." She said immediately. My eyes weren't that puffy from crying and I'd retied the waves of red hair into its ponytail, but I figured my skin tone was green, and my eyes, darker in colour when I was crying, or angry, gave me away. I tripped getting into Amber's car and swore.

"Sam get to you that bad, huh?" Amber sympathized.

"Then Mitch." I tried to laugh but it came out strangled as I wiped a few more tears away.

"You sit next to Bailey in English don't you?"

I laughed, "I'm pretty pathetic. I still don't know her name."

"Mm, but kinda understandable- you spent so much time sitting next to D- he who I shall not name." She remedied quickly, glancing at me.

I chuckled again, still dabbing at the stray tears on my face.

"I hate crying." Amber stated, flicking her windshield wipers on as the rain started; it was an automatic reaction for the people of Sooke. No one trusted the hot weather. "It tracks ski trails through my makeup, exposing the horrible rocks and crevices." She lamented poetically.

"Did you just compare your face to a mountain?" I shook my head, the smile on my face growing more pronounced.

"Just cause my similes and metaphors are cooler than yours!" Amber poked her tongue out and swung onto my street. Grudgingly getting out, I waved and ran inside, feeling much happier than I had ten minutes ago.

I wasn't going to see Ben that afternoon; but he had asked me to run the bookstore whenever possible.

I needed a car, I realized. In fact, I really needed a car. I couldn't keep depending upon Amber or Adam.

Then it hit me and I groaned. Ben had a car. A car, which he currently was not using, a car I could use to get to the bookstore.

Hopping in, I backed rustily out of the driveway and made it to the bookstore, parking, I thought, quite neatly. Proud of myself, I unlocked the store and entered to the smell of books. I breathed it in and smiled. My third home.

I opened up the doors, dusted and vacuumed, before flicking over the 'OPEN/CLOSE' sign.

I only had three customers, but I figured Ben would be pleased. I was holding my own without the income; Carmen sending money over for me, and an inheritance Ben got from his aunt- great aunt- paying for the hospital. The inheritance was a huge sum of money, I knew, because I'd looked at it. He didn't really need the shop; the house having been given to Ben by another obscure aunt. Everyone from his family had shifted from Sooke to the outside world, but Ben was content to remain behind.

Flicking the OPEN/CLOSED sign back over, I locked and left the store. I had planned to go home, but Friski's warm glow made me rethink my plans. I stepped inside, glad to be out of the cold weather and ordered a hot chocolate. Scanning the menu, I realized there were a few dishes that weren't on it a few months ago.

"Hey Amanda." I called to Amber's mom, "You been expanding the menu to include dinners now?"

"Why not?" she shrugged, smiling, "The restaurant is my life."

I laughed, "I thought Amber was."

"She doesn't know it." Amanda stage-whispered, "But she actually comes in at a close second." Amanda smiled, "It's tough, but I make it work."

Suppressing a smile, I ordered sushi- a filling snack that, out of the choices, least clashed with my hot chocolate. When I was done, I carried my dishes round the back, certain Amanda wouldn't mind me helping. I wanted to say goodbye to her anyway. She poked her head out of the small office.

"Hey Lily- I got a replacement for the time you were, well-" She grimaced and I motioned for her to carry on, "But the replacement has moved out of town- would you be interested in your job back?" I nodded emphatically.

"Thank you so much!" I called as I paid and left.

Driving home felt strange- I was so used to either sleeping in the passenger seat, or being free to watch the trees blend and flash by. Clicking the lights on, rain began to fall and I, without a hesitation, also clicked my windscreen wipers on. I was getting better, I reasoned, navigating the roads uncertainly. Finding my street, I breathed a sigh. Sooke was small enough that my ability to get lost didn't hinder me too much.

The lights lit the house up in a cosy manner and it spilled out onto the lawn. I stumbled inside and shut the rain out. It howled around the house, begging like a dog to be let in. Setting the mound of homework set for Friday on the coffee table in the lounge, I proceeded to work through it. Math required no thinking- just repetitive working out on paper, and I soon got into it, my rhythm undisturbed. This allowed my mind to drift, and drift it did, skipping over Sam and his outburst today and ending up at Adam. I continued to scribble down equations while remembering and comparing Adam this year with Adam last year. A memory I'd tried to so hard to forget flashed by and I put the pencil down. A mental image of an angry- a scared Adam, I corrected.

Jayden was driving…and Adam had randomly appeared at my house. I concentrated on Adam's actions rather than what had happened after. He had thrust a book at me; visibly upset…what had I done with it?

Abandoning the homework, I raced upstairs and choked on the dust under my bed. Dragging the book out, where I had thrown it so he would not see it, I flipped it to page 72, the number burning in my mind. Closing my eyes, I fought hard to remember- and flipping the page over, found a disappointing amount of information. A spider crawled from the pages and I absently swatted at it, engrossed in the meagre information anyway. It scuttled away and I flipped the page, now irritated. The information was very little.

I growled and chucked the book, this time, on top of the bed. There was no point. I was never going to know the truth. The Mythology Madness book was no help. Years of deciphering would not untangle the truth from those screwed up paragraphs of lies.

Leaning against the bed, I stared at the wall opposite, thinking once more. Memories I had shoved out of sight were resurfacing. However, some of them were not painful; they had just been lumped in the same timeframe and then discarded because of that.

The librarian had mentioned something about a great-grandmother- so had he, but I squashed the pain, the will for information overpowering the pain. I would hunt tomorrow, I decided, the steadfast clock displaying numbers. I was only just going to scrape six hours of sleep; I had spent so long on that homework.

I slammed the door on Amber before she could say goodbye and was in the house, with no more than a parting wave. My legs took to the stairs like a duck to water and I must have broken a world record for stair climbing, I was up so fast. Finally- information he had held back! It didn't take me long to find it. It only hit me after I found it that, well, there was a very real possibility I might not have found it. After all, if Carmen hadn't dumped all the useless, but sentimentally valued stuff with Ben when we moved, it would be in California- or worse; thrown out. It was in a diary format, and I found myself growing to like my great-grandmother as I skimmed its pages.

I could not believe it. It was not happening. I was sitting, in a pub- the one on Hill Street- and a demon sat down next to me!

I was so shocked; it took a while before I started talking. I crossed my fingers and hoped he thought my awe-struck look was caused by his beauty. Of course, demon he was, and because of that, in no way did he compare to Arthur. But I led him on- he was lonely and I arranged a date with him for Saturday. In order to do this, I had to appear quite enamoured with him. I really hope Arthur does not look down upon me for this.

Amelia had written it the way she thought- nothing was hidden. This was her diary, I reminded myself. With trembling fingers, I thumbed through the next few pages.

So Saturday came. I dressed up and with trembling fingers- I looked at my own and forced them to stop.

- I opened the door to the bar and stepped inside. I was so excited- my nerves were all over the place. As expected, the demon was there. He introduced himself as Damion and I thought that was ironic, telling him so. The ties between demon and Damion at the time ensued much hilarity. I suspect it was due to the nerves already mentioned. I was rambling.

I gained a lot of information from him that night, about demons. For example, I previously did not know that demons did have enemies, nor the full extent of their powers. Damion (the demon) discussed Blood demons, and Bitten demons- but I knew about those already. What I wanted to know about was the mythical Bonded. And he was happy to talk.

One part of our conversation I recall clearly.

"The Bonded type- I don't believe they exist." He was cynical, that was clear.

"Why not?"

"I've existed for over four hundred years and haven't found anyone."

"Maybe you didn't notice." I countered.

"Believe me, you know when you meet your Bonded. Provided you meet their eyes, it's an instant connection. The eyes truly are the windows to the soul. Soul mates." He barked a bitter laugh at this. "There are four stages. Meeting, Acceptance, Claiming and then Turning."

"Would you turn your Bonded?"

"Yes- in a heartbeat."


"Not really." Again, that barking laugh. He continued to down drinks, but proved to become more and more incoherent and eventually I left. I was satisfied with the amount of information he had given me.

I ground my teeth down. While Amelia was satisfied, I wasn't. I needed more information. I doubted I'd meet another demon- there couldn't be that many in the world- this research project was for my own devices.

My heart began to ache however and I snapped the book shut, reaching up to slid it under my pillow. I wasn't his Bonded. If I was, he would have turned me. Yes, we did have this connection, and it did- to me- feel like a soul mate sort of thing. I didn't fall for guys as hard, or as fast as I'd fallen for him, I mused bitterly. But he would have changed me. So obviously I just fell for the demon charm. My mouth twisted at the irony and I recalled my words when he'd let me go.

The first pretty boy. I sighed, running my hands through my hair and staring dejectedly at myself in the mirror. The dark grey of my eyes seemed to be permanent. What did everyone else see when they looked at me?

A pathetic excuse for a person. I grabbed a hair tie from the bedside table and hastily tied my hair up. I needed to get out of the house; I was dragging myself down. Shoving my feet in the first pair of shoes I saw, I snagged the keys and sat in the car, wondering where to go.

Flicking the engine on, I listened to it start up and smiled satisfactorily. The grumble convinced me I was on earth. But I needed that bit more.

I swerved to avoid an oncoming SUV and parked, entering Victoria General Hospital. Nurses and doctors rushed about the hospital- people, the public- however I was still detached. Opening Ben's room door, I silently dragged one of the chairs over to the bed and, resting my head on the bed, I fell asleep.

"Lil?" Someone was rubbing my shoulder. For a moment, I panicked, thinking back to nights I couldn't remember- a.k.a my drinking days. Oh god- I haven't slept with someone, have I? Blearily trying to yank my eyes open, the hospital room wavered in and out of my sight. Relieved, I rolled the crick out from my shoulders, gritting my teeth as the pain increased and then died down again.

"Morning Ben." I groaned, the clock face coming into view. Jumping up, I muttered a farewell and ran out of the room.

I barely made it to class, but what mattered, I told myself, was that I made it. Taking a seat next to Amber, the tapping of her foot and expectant look on her face alerted me to the fact she wanted answers.

"Spent the night at the hospital." I blurted out, trying to keep her off my back.. Her face immediately fell into one of worry for me, eyes wide, mouth a perfect 'O' shape for gasping.

"Did something go wrong with Ben?" she cried, hands rising to her cheeks.

I shook my head, "Company." I explained, watching the eyes return to normal, something akin to pity filling them. Mr Chung believed Amber required his utmost attention due to her struggles in Calculus, and in doing so, he kept Amber from distracting me. I finished the problems rapidly, wishing all life's problems were solved this easily.

"Hey, I heard Ben had a visit last night." Adam jogged up beside me, on our way to lunch.

"You're alive!" I rejoiced, throwing my arms around him.

"You're alive too!" He teased me, but I was too happy to see him to care.

"Only one more period left, thank god." I groaned. Adam slipped an arm around my shoulder and I leaned in as he hugged me to him.

"It'll pass like that." He snapped his fingers, reassuring me.

Sandie treated me to a glare as I sat down, my apple and soda sitting alone on my tray.

"You gonna eat that?" She said. It was said, not to get her point across, but so she could say something- and pour as much acid into it as possible. Her voice was corrosive and her body language clearly indicated she didn't want to be here.

"Probably." I said listlessly staring at my apple. It was a vibrant red and I felt sick. Shoving my tray away, I focused on Sandie.

"So now you're not going to eat it?" she raised an eyebrow, reminding me with a kick to the stomach, of Stacey. However, Sandie's emanating waves of hatred were meagre compared to Stacey's, which offered small comfort. I was at the bottom, in most aspects of my life. What way was there, other than up?

"I'm not fond of fruit."

"Why are you here?"

"Why are you here?" I returned at her.

"You've had many opportunities to leave- why haven't you? Or is your latest boy toy keeping you here?"

"Adam is eighteen- almost nineteen. Given I am seventeen, he doesn't classify as a boy toy. You have also had many opportunities to leave."

Amber walked past, discussing one of the topics in Science with Katie.

"Mr Jameson is a crap teacher." Katie drawled, swiping my apple. They both noticed the animosity emanating off Sandie and glanced at me to confirm. I ducked my head slightly, and nabbed my apple back off Katie. Biting into it, enjoying the sharp taste, I swallowed and listened to Amber.

"Well, I was thinking we could have, like, a sleepover at my place this weekend- cause those are always fun."

Katie replied with an immediate yes and I looked at the floor.

"You going to go?" Adam asked as we walked to English.

"I don't know- I don't have the best sleeping patterns." I smiled slightly, "I can just see Amber and Katie ringing the police or for an ambulance when I start screaming."

"You can't be held captive by your dreams." Adam said softly.

"But I am." I shrugged and opened my mouth again, "I wouldn't want to get rid of them anyway…I enjoy seeing him." Adam stiffened and didn't say anything; the look of disapproval on his face saying it all.

"What can I say?" I laughed slightly, "I've never been normal."

"Want to have a sleepover at your house then?" Adam offered.

"With who? You? A girly one?" I laughed, "No. Thanks, Adam, but no."

"We could invite Felicity."

"No." I sighed. Somehow- having Adam round, for a pre-determined sleepover, was weird. In fact, it was very weird.

"I'll be fine." I managed to get out, ducking into my classroom in a successful effort to get away.

"Adam- still the loyal puppy." Bailey said. I shot her a look, one she didn't see; the honey blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, with wisps draping about her face.

"Dahling, obviously I'm the dog around here- want to be my bit-" Mr Kravitz clapped a hand over Mitch's mouth.

"Mitchell- not required." He said, as sharp as my glance.

Mitch shook the hand off, "See- even teachers can't resist touching me." He said brightly, "So Bailey, can I call you my bitc-?"

Bailey cut him off, "In this relationship, you're obviously my bitch."

Mitch opened his mouth and they both kept me entertained, the constant sparring of words leaving little room for concentration on work. I could see Mr Kravitz folding and unfolding his arms, but he eventually decided not to come over, a wise decision as Bailey and Mitch weren't going to listen.

I walked home, Amber staying after school for cheerleading practice. It seemed schools were the same all over, most offering the same activities.

Slumping onto the couch, I breathed out with a long sigh, before getting up and fixing myself afternoon tea. The phone rang insistently, but I ignored it. Talking to Adam- I just didn't feel like doing. I was pretty sure it was Adam. I stayed up late, watching more crime dramas. They seemed to be on a loop and I found myself predicting who the killer was, and usually getting it right. An alert popped up every now and then, letting me know Ben had booked a movie for Sunday night. I shut it down and continued watching my crime dramas.

"I'm good at this." I realized aloud, laughing at myself and the predictable shows. Taking myself to bed, when they finished early morning, I rolled into bed. Staying up late had seemed like such a good idea. Hah.

Eyes- everywhere. Just eyes. All belonging to demons. Black-orange, red-bronze, copper. Every pair of eyes spun until only one pair was visible between the trees and I blinked as Damion emerged from the trees.

"Death is welcome." I said softly and he nodded.

"Would telling you I'm sorry make a difference?" He asked and my heart danced to the sound of his voice. I felt sick as I stared at him.

"You left me. Sorry does nothing." He reached out to stroke my cheek and I went to bat his hand away- only to have my hand go right through his. He was disappearing already, I realized with horror and soon the dream world vanished to be replaced by another one.

The innate sense of de ja vu alerted me to the idea of it being a memory and as it played out, I realized it was- with a twist.

Adam and I were racing to the top of his lookout, where he sat down, lounging on the seat and I looked out over the railing.

"That's Washington State." He pointed out, coming over to me, his breath hitting my neck. I shivered and his arms wrapped around my middle. He spun me to face him, pressing his lips to mine.

"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that." He whispered against them. I threw him off- only to realize I'd thrown Damion off me and once more he disappeared.

I was glad Ben wasn't here when I realized the awful shrieking was coming from my mouth. I closed it and put my head back down on the now soaked-with-tears pillow, letting out a long sigh.

AN: I pulled through with another chapter!

Thank you so much Holly, Sadie and OnMyWayToGettingLost for reviewing!