Just Between You And Me

Emma pulled her knees against her chest and dropped her chin to her knees as she stared out over the water. She dug her toes into the sand, reveling in the feel of the cool, wet earth settling around her toes, combined with the warmth of the uppermost layer of sand wrapping itself around the her feet. She saw a familiar figure walking towards her with a familiar confident stride. She sighed and did her best to smile.

He dropped to the sand next to her and handed her a bottle of water as he silently searched the horizon. He bumped her shoulder playfully with his own, making her smile.

'He knows me too well,' she thought sadly as she took a sip of the cold liquid, letting it swirl around her tongue, giving herself an excuse for her silence. But he knew. He would sit here silently until she was ready to talk. She gave him another small smile, dropping her chin back to her knees. 'He knows the me that I don't know anymore.' She watched the tide dip softly back and forth over the sand, and silently willed the waves to wash away the memories of the night before.

Emma and Peter had stolen away for a weekend out of town. Manny was always out with Craig…Emma's mother was so wrapped up in her own pain at the moment, she was oblivious to Emma's absence. Peter's mom was glad to give Peter a weekend away so that she could spend time with her new love interest…and his dad was out of town. So they'd made their excuses and stolen away to his father's empty condo for a weekend of fun and sun.

Things had been going great…until she found out the truth.

Emma had taken a shower to wash the pool chlorine from her hair. Upon her return, she heard a familiar voice…in audio form…her best friend. There sat Peter, smiling and leering at his computer screen like some sex starved pervert while he watched Manny removing her top over and over. Emma stood frozen in shock. Hurt raced through her.

Finally, she found her tongue…the hurt turning to full blown rage.

"So…this is how my boyfriend spends his time? Watching my best friend flash her breasts to a video camera!"

He jumped up and hurried over. "Emma! It's not what it looks like!"

Emma nodded, too angry to let him near her. "Oh, really? Cause it LOOKS like you're watching that video that you said your mom took!" She sidestepped him and strode over to the computer screen, wincing at the sight she knew would be there. "And, gee! Surprise…surprise! There it is!"

"Emma! Come on! I didn't know it was there. I just found it and was trying to-"

Emma shook her head, tapping a few keys and sliding the mouse around. "Liar. Says here you've viewed this several times a day for the past two months!"

Emma stood up straighter, crossing her arms over her chest. "Don't try to kid the step daughter of the school's computer whiz!"

Peter knew he'd been caught. But he still tried. "Emma…it's a guy thing. It just…" He stepped to her, trying to touch her face gently, but she snapped her head back, fury blazing in her chocolate eyes.

"Don't! Don't touch me! Manny was right about you. You're the devil!"

His face reddened. "You know what? If you weren't such a tease…I wouldn't have to get my jollies from THAT!" he shouted, pointing at the screen.

Emma laughed harshly and rolled her eyes. "That old 'I'll die if I don't get it' crap? It doesn't work with me! I've dated before. I know guys can live without it. Sean-"

Peter's face grew an uglier shade of red. His nostrils flared with rage. "Sean was a loser! Just-"

Emma was suddenly nose to nose with him. The fury in her eyes was frightening…they'd actually seemed to become a fiery red. "Don't you DARE call him that! Sean saved my life!"

"Yeah? Well, he wouldn't have HAD to if you hadn't teased Rick."

The blood drained from her face. He'd known her weakness. "Go to hell, Peter," she mumbled and tried to walk past. Peter grabbed her upper arm roughly.

"You give it up to some asshle in the ravine…get an STD…and you're acting like I'M disgusting? You're nothing but a dirty little Ravine Whore who thinks that she can slink out of her hole, clean herself up, and call herself an angel. But you're not. You're still the same dirty little bitch, wrapped up in a pretty little package."

"Get your hands off me!" she shouted and jerked free from his grasp.

Emma sighed and took another sip of water. "I guess you think I'm crazy too…"

He smiled sadly and shook his head. "Nope. A bit messed up, maybe." He threw his arm over her shoulder and pulled her against him, kissing the top of her head. "But you're no crazier than the rest of us."

Emma heaved a trembling sigh as a stray tear made a silent trail down her cheek. "I'm screwed up!"

He gave her a soft squeeze and tipped her chin. "How's the eye?" he asked.

Emma shrugged, touching it softly. "It hurts less than my pride," she whispered.

He lay back on the sand, cupping his hand lazily behind his head. Soon, she followed, her head drifting to his chest. He gently stroked her hair. "I…I thought he liked me," she mumbled sadly. "But he didn't. He just wanted her."

The shouting continued for what seemed like hours. The more Emma yelled, the redder Peter got. Emma had shouted one final insult. She'd called him a perverted little bastard whore. It sent him over the edge. Emma felt the zing of the back of his hand against her cheekbone, sending her crashing to the floor. Before she could react, he'd dropped to one knee and pulled her head up by her hair.

"You should feel privileged," he growled in her face. "I'm the only one willing to go out with a piece of trash like you!" he spat out before shoving her face down hard on the hardwood floor.

She'd crawled away in shock. She'd never thought he'd hit her. 'Why not? He shoved Manny, didn't he? What would he have done to HER if Craig hadn't come along?' her mind whispered.

She locked herself in a bedroom and dialed the only number she could think of. Sean had heard the panic in her voice, the enraged pounding and screaming on the door, and never hesitated. He asked her where, hung up and hopped on his bike. He'd ridden over an hour to get to her.

"I'll bet your parents think I'm nuts," she chuckled softly, burrowing deeper into his chest.

Sean shrugged. "Doubt it."

Emma cowered in the bedroom until she heard the angry shouts…two males. Glass shattered, something heavy hit the wall several times. Everything went silent and he called for her. Emma ran to him, throwing herself into his arms, without hesitation. He pulled away and looked her over. Taking her hand, he led her out.

"Touch her again and I'll kill you," he growled at Peter's broken body as they passed.

He'd done it before…killed for her. He helped her on the bike and drove back to Wasaga. He spent the night holding her while she cried. She'd told him everything…about Jay…Peter. They had no secrets.

"You look pretty cute in my shirt," he teased, pulling at the collar of the old rock tee. She chuckled.

"Did I thank you last night?"

"No…I don't THINK so…" he teased.

Emma smiled and lifted her head. She kissed him softly, feeling something she hadn't felt in a long time. She felt like she was home. She dropped her chin to his chest, looking in his eyes. "Thanks."

He smiled and nodded, pulling her head back down so that her ear was laying on his chest. She listened to his heartbeat…faster than it had been a moment before.

"You can stay here…for a while. I mean," he sighed. "I know what it's like to have a sucky home life…no one to care."

Emma smiled. "I'd like that, but Mom wouldn't let-"

"Em, you're sick. She hasn't even noticed."

"I'm OK."

He shook his head. "You're anorexic. You need help." He sighed sadly and sat up, pulling her with him. He looked in her eyes. "You know I'm right. Let me help you."

She felt the tears build in her eyes. His lips touched hers softly. "Don't," he whispered, wiping the stray tear from her eye. "I hate it when you cry. I hate that I made you cry."

She sighed softly. "I'm not like Ellie. You know that, right?" He gave her an odd look. "I'm just saying…I'm stubborn."

He smirked. "Grade A pain in the ass, all right," he teased. "I want to help, OK? I owe you."

Emma frowned. "But…you saved my life! You came and-"

He shook his head. "You saved me first. Seems like that's our lots in life. Saving each other. And it's my turn again."

She smiled and lay her head on his shoulder. "Think we'll be doing this forever?" she asked.

He smirked and nodded. "Hopefully till we're old and gray."