Prologue

I do not know how any of this started. I mean, technically, I could tell you a chain of events and try to pinpoint the exact moment when it 'begun,' but it started far before I met him that night. I have always been what other people like to call a pushover. Nice is what I have always strived to be. If I could help I would. If putting a smile on my face made others feel happier I will do it. If someone wanted me to sacrifice something so they could gain personally, I was ready to sacrifice. I could analyze what the hell is wrong with me. Why I am a people pleaser and maybe it has something to do with my family. Is that so wrong though?

I grew up the middle child between an older brother and a younger sister. My brother from a very young age was never really like the other boys. Instead of football he would play with my sister and me. He was always far more social than I could ever hope to be. You could always count on him to strike up a conversation as we sat on the bus with random strangers, managing to make me turn red with shyness. I still remember the day he came home from school crying. It was the first day of middle school physical education that the class had to dress out. He was drawn to watching some of the other boys change and when he finally did take his pants off all of the other boys laughed. Until that day I never thought it was weird when my brother liked helping me pick out underwear or asked sometimes if he could wear them or when he would play around with my mother's bras when we dressed up. My brother, my sweet brother, had worn his favorite pair of underwear for good luck that day and they just so happened to be mine.

My brother became incredibly mellow after that. He stopped making conversation with the kids at school and the following year when I entered into middle school with him I was his only companion. Of course I never thought that to be weird, because that is how it always was with us. We were always together. I was always pleasant, but I was also incredibly shy. If I ever had friends it was because he made them for us. The neighborhood always recognized our dependence on each other too. We were always grouped together, a package deal, just how I liked it.

There was only one person I encountered outside of my family for a prolonged period. Nat Carr. In fourth grade, for some unknown reason I liked him and for once came out of my shell a bit to let him know. He was a perfect nine-year-old gentleman. We 'dated' from fourth grade to sixth, where we just drifted. For the rest of that year we never spoke and the next year in seventh grade his mother took him out of public school and sent him to a private one in hopes of improving his grades enough so that he could continue to play football, basketball, and later do track. When he came back to public school it was eighth grade and for some reason we began to speak again while the popular kids inducted his willing self into their group. We were friendly and we remained just friends until junior year of high school when we began to date again.

Our relationship lasted a whole of nine months before my beautiful baby sister stepped in. My sister is only a year and three months younger than I and she is by far the most likable of the siblings, a gorgeous spit-fire and easily desirable. She always had beautiful strawberry blonde curls that give a lion's mane a run for its money. Both of us have what our mother liked to describe as Coca-Cola bottle shaped bodies. However, she always knew how to use it and appreciate it. The life of the party, she never really needed me or our brother, but we were all close in a weird way, living in our household, that was the only way to be.

She was always popular and never had trouble making friends. A born dancer, our father kept her in classes and on competitive teams from a young age. She never lost her love for dancing and in high school she joined both the dance and cheer team. My sister always had boys lining up outside of the house and down the street to take her out, but she never let it get to her head. Maybe it was because she always had her eye on one.

When she was a sophomore, and I a junior, she finally got him. Imagine my surprise when it was none other than Nat Carr. For them, it was one of those whirlwind love stories packed with forbidden love and unbridled passion. For me, it was heartbreaking and devastating, but you could count on me to shut up and slap a smile on even when she started to bring him around the house like I used to not but two weeks earlier.

My father was a controlling man. He always wished that he had gotten boys, but was burdened with two girls and a son who wanted to be a daughter. He was old school to say the least and a caveman to say the worst. In one breath he could lecture us about being messy and not picking up after ourselves and in the next order us to clean up after him. He had expectations of all of us that were nearly impossible to achieve. Of the three of us, my sister was always his favorite. She was a daddy's girl and rightly so since she was the only one who could be the person he wanted her to be. He was always complaining about something being wrong so there was no pleasing him, at least from my end.

He is the oldest of a family of boys and was raised by an unappeasable father who had more marriages and divorces than children. By the time we were in high school he had stopped talking to his brother, our uncle, and vowed that he would never attend his funeral. Both him and his brother were almost spitting images of the way their father was and my father absolutely hated hearing it. Somewhere in his mind, he had convinced himself that he was nothing like either of them, something that was such glaring nonsense.

I started hurting myself freshman year. I still remember how everything changed. I always was a suffer-in-silence type, but everyone needs an outlet and writing was just not cutting it, no pun intended. I remember my father yelling at me about something I had done and when I was left alone I punched my hand so hard I left a bruise. It was a cathartic feeling. I could hurt something without actually hurting someone. At that point I began to do it all of the time. The feeling was intoxicating, the sting of my skin, and the pain of a blow. About three months after I started, my brother killed himself and the bruises were not working like before. I found a blade and took to my skin. I learned quickly that what I was doing to myself was not something I should share with others so I became an expert at hiding the little nicks on my skin as well as hiding any other extreme emotion I felt. Grin and bear it, that was my motto.