OK...this is an old story, pulled from my own personal archive, so it's far from being accurate, other than the eating disorder (which isn't brought up in more than passing...not detailed so as not to repulse or offend anyone...). Other than the flashbacks that you recognize, all of this came from my own imagination.

I hope you read and enjoy, but to those of you who feel it is OK to pull other people's stories from other sites, post them elsewhere and call them your own, please don't force me to get nasty. I enjoy writing, and I hope everyone enjoys reading. If I find someone else taking credit for my work elsewhere, you will have ruined it for everyone else, as I WILL stop posting my stories. Thanks.


"Please, Jack! Stop crying! It's OK...Really. Mommy will be home soon."

He continues to wail, "Daddy! Want Daddy!"

"Daddy's not here...I don't know if..." I bite my lip, not willing to say the words 'if he'll ever be back'. They're too painful. He has to come back! "He'll be back...When he can."

I look around the living room, trying to bounce little Jack on my hip. My eyes make contact with the mirror that now hangs in place of my parents' wedding picture. I want to look away, but I'm mesmerized at the sight of myself. My eyes are sunk in...the dark circles stand out sharply against my ghostly white skin. My hair, which used to be smooth and shiny, is now a matted mess of something that looks like a heap of hay. My cheekbones stand out more...in fact all my bones stick out more. Yet, for some reason...It's my hair that bothers me the most.

"Emma...What happened to your hair?"

Jack's cries grow stronger and I bounce him more frantically. "Shhh! Please, Jack? If you stop crying, I'll give you a lollipop!" He stops crying for a moment, his lips snapping closed. What a relief! "OK...Let's go get that-" His face scrunches up. "No...No, no, no. Please?" His wails are higher pitched than before. I want to scream along. It's not bad enough that Jack is so unhappy that he's actually digressing back to near infancy...and I'm so off lately...But the memories are making my head swirl.

"Peter...Can't you take a hint! You hurt my best friend! I don't want to be anywhere NEAR you!"

"Some friend! Couldn't stop you from becoming a ravine whore, could she!"

So, he knew the truth. It wasn't like I'd expected it to be kept a secret. Not in the "hallowed halls" of Degrassi, or as I like to call it "Rumor Mill Central". It shouldn't have hurt, but it did. Not that he knew...not even that he thought so little of me. What really hurt was the betrayal.

"Where did you hear that!"

Peter smirks, and I'm sure he'll say Alex or Jay...maybe even Paige. Nope. "Oh...Nowhere important...Just from your 'best friend' Manny."

When I'd confronted Manny, she'd given me some lame excuse about "only trying to help".

"Help! HELP! How could you! After everything! I stuck up for you! I stood by you all those times that you screwed up!"

"Emma! Wait! I just...I was trying to explain to him why you're...why you're the way you are now."

"Oh...And how AM I now?"

Cold...uncaring...unfeeling. Those were just a few of the descriptive adjectives that Manny had sputtered. So I showed her how cold and unfeeling I REALLY am.

"I want you to get your crap and get out of my house! I NEVER want to speak to you again!"

"Em! Where am I supposed to go!"

"I don't GIVE a damn! How's THAT for cold, uncaring, and unfeeling!"

My thoughts are interrupted by the feel of warm wetness spreading across her waist, cooling as it seeps down her hip. My brother's was peeing all over me! "JACK!" I don't mean to shout with so much rage...It just comes out.

"Moooo-m-m-mmyyyyy!" His cries are becoming more frantic.

"No, Jacky...Shhhh...I'm not mad. Please don't cry." I try to make my way through the mess we'd created throughout the day. I just want to get him changed into dry clothes so I can get changed. I kick piles of stuffed animals out of my way, trying to ignore the lack of Snake in the house now. My mom took down everything. No more wedding photos...no photo of the four of us the day Jack was born...no more-

"OWWWWW!" I yank my foot up, nearly falling down, and try to free the Lego that has firmly implanted itself in my heel. When did I become a single mother to a child that isn't even mine!

"That's ALL you care about! Emma Nelson...environmental crusader...a babysitter...a nurse!"

Wouldn't Sean be satisfied to see me now? He dumped me for being all those things. He dumped me for not being fun...not giving him any of my valuable time...Oh, yeah. He'd get a huge kick out of this. I can picture him, standing there smirking and crossing those arrogant arms, saying "I told you so" with his eyes...Gorgeous eyes that I always found so easy to lose myself in. NO! I wasn't going to think of him. Not now...Not ever...Not anymore.

I run up the steps to the nursery trying to hold back tears at the memory of Snake standing in this very room, his forehead smeared with blue paint. A shameful memory floats into my mind's eye.

"Did you change my name in the office?"

"No...The secretary knows you're my daughter."

"But I'm not. I only have one dad...and he's not here."

Had there ever been a time when Snake had treated me like a step kid? If so, I can't remember. From the moment he'd accepted Mom's proposal, he'd done nothing but treat me like I was his. And how did I repay him?

"Emma, sit!"

"You're NOT my dad!"

"OK, Jack. Let's get you dry."

"Want a bafffff!"

How frustrating! But I gather his bath time supplies, mentally checking them off as I go. Anything to keep my mind on the moment...and out of the past. "Soap...check! Shampoo...check! Ducky...Boat...Captain of the boat...check, check, check! Towel...washcloth...check and check! OK, Kiddo! Bath time!"

I so need a shower! I reek like baby urine. Why wasn't I a better daughter!

"I thought when you gave birth to Jack...I thought you gave birth to a baby...not a jet plane!"

Why couldn't I have been more helpful back then? Why couldn't I have been less whiny? Maybe Snake wouldn't have left them. Maybe...

"Just say you'll take me to the clinic tomorrow morning? Just say?"

I know in my heart that this was the moment when Snake's feelings towards me changed. I wasn't his daughter anymore. I was...I was another source of shame for him. It breaks my heart to realize that, but I go on as if I don't notice. Why did I get into that van?

"You've already had the tour."

"Show me again...For REAL this time."

I pull Jack out of the tub, wrap him up in his Spiderman hooded towel, careful not to place him on my pee stained hip. At least he'd stopped crying! I carry him back to the nursery and dress him in my favorite outfit…a green sweat suit covered in colorful fall leaves. I put his socks on and grab the hairbrush, but realize he's finally sleeping. What a relief! Wait! Can I get him from the changing table to the crib without waking him? I feel my heart sink when his eyes flutter open and he lets out a sobbish squeak. But then his fist goes into his mouth, he sighs, and his eyes flutter closed again. The soft snorting noise signals that he's back to sleep. 'Poor baby!' I think, covering him with his Spiderman sheet as he rolls onto his tummy, his tiny tush in the air. I can't help but watch him for a moment before the chill of my wet hip and leg sinks in again. I sneak out, closing the door nearly all the way...just leaving a small crack so that I can hear him if he wakes up.

I run back down the steps and freeze when I see the mess in the living room. Mom's going to be home soon and I still have to get changed, clean up the living room and bathroom, then start dinner. It's moments like this that I can at least be thankful that Jay and I hadn't gone further than we had, or this could be my life. Wait a minute! This is my life!

"I never told Alex about us. I liked that you had...virtue...or whatever."

Those words still chill me to the core. How virtuous am I...Really? I'd never analyzed much during that time, but now I think about it a lot. I'd felt a change between us before I'd went to the ravine that first time. Who wouldn't have! When I felt his hands rubbing my shoulders...sliding down...at drama club practice that afternoon...I knew. I'd felt the fireworks shoot through me. When he stopped me after practice...drove me home...I was sure he was going to kiss me, but when he hadn't...I was disappointed, but I pretended not to as I thanked him and hopped out. He invited me to the ravine and I accepted. I knew I wasn't going on a picnic!

"What's in the van?"

"What do you THINK is in the van?"

"Beer...Beer...and more beer? Ugly seventies shag carpeting?"

I'd wanted something to happen. But I freaked when he kissed me. I freaked...But I hadn't been able to shed the kiss from my mind. I'd liked it. Not because it was hot or passionate, but because I'd felt the desperation in Jay's kiss. He'd wanted me. After all the bad mouthing...all the hurtful remarks...the threats about keeping my mouth shut...

"There's LOTS of girls in that ravine, Emma. I chose you."

He wanted me...Green Peace...Cause Girl...It's something I still can't understand. How could the line between love and hate be so miniscule? But it was. Deep down, he liked me...and I found it amusing. So I'd went along. Toyed with him a bit. Wouldn't Manny have flipped out if she knew the truth about why that whole scenario had 'gone down'? But things blew up in my face...as usual.

"Alex is sick...and she thinks I gave it to her."

"Awww...Poor Jay. Let me make you feel better."

"You're one cold girl. "

"There's LOTS of guys in that ravine, DYING for a chance to be with me."

"Yeah? Well, right now? I'm not one of them."

Ouch! That hurt. I realize now that one of the biggest reasons I'd gone to the ravine to meet up with Jay was because I was numb. Numb until I felt the spark between me and Jay. I now realize that I'd just wanted to feel something...anything. So I went back. Two bracelets. Two neon green wire bracelets had been wrapped around my wrist...payment for my trouble.

"Maybe YOU'RE the one who needs to shut up! You didn't earn that bracelet. Amy did."

"Amy...earned them...from you?"

It seems so silly now that I'd wanted those damned bracelets, and had went through so much trouble to get them. Two ten cent bracelets...What had my real payment been? An STD and a nasty reputation.

"That kiss today? Who KNOWS what I caught from that?"

I shake my head again, trying to clear it as I dress quickly in a sweat suit. I hate my body now. I'm…shapeless.

"She really IS flat as a board."

These last few months, I'm just not hungry anymore. I'm sick of food! Not that anyone had noticed. Mom's in her own depressed fog. Snake never makes eye contact with me in school. Everyone at school's too busy spreading rumors to care...and if they do see the change, they probably find it amusing.

"Emma? Breakfast."

"I'm not hungry. Thanks."


No arguments...not "You're skin and bones!" Nothing. Just an "OK" or a "Hmmm...Don't forget to come straight home from school to watch Jack." No one noticed.

"If Sean were here, he'd notice!" I mumble to myself as I climb the stairs to go start dinner. I don't know for sure if he would or not, but...Yeah, Sean had always noticed everything...the tiniest details.

"You're not smiling."

"Maybe because I didn't find it funny."

"Yeah. I guess it IS pretty stupid."

"Sean...It's OK. Just being here with you is nice."

"Nah...You don't like the movie then we'll go do something YOU like. Come on."

It didn't happen often. Sean usually wasn't sweet like that around other people, but he could be. That's what had always mattered to me. The potential of Sean going the extra mile. And what made it nicer was the fact that he'd been enjoying the movie with JT, Toby, and the guys. It didn't happen often that he let his heart rule out over his sense of guy "shame", but...

"Shut up! Get in!"

"Sean, calm down!"

"No! Emma? You coming?"

I'd sensed a flicker of the old Sean. My Sean. I'd gotten in the car next to a fuming Ellie Nash. I shouldn't have been there, but...Sean had asked. No matter how many times I've denied it out loud, Sean had always been my weakness...my soft underbelly...So I went. Ellie didn't want me there. Jay could have cared less. Normally I wouldn't have gone, but Sean had asked. He didn't actually ask me to come...just if I was. It was my right, right? We'd both just seen a hell of a lot more than Ellie or Jay could even imagine. We had a right...No, an obligation to be a single unit that day. We needed to be attached at the hip for a while to get through this.

"Come on, Bam-Bam. Get in the car."

"Staying! I'm...staying. Look. For the first time in my life...I need to be here...to deal."

And with that, he was gone. I just watched as he told Ellie he loved her...hugged Jay goodbye...Gave me nothing more than eye contact Jay's little orange civic pulled away.

"I needed closure, dammit!" I start yanking toys up from the floor...used tissues from the couch. "I needed you to help me deal!" His image floats into my mind. We're sitting on the beach, and my body's turned towards his...the way we used to sit together...and I'm trying not to flirt with him. I'd felt the vibe from him, but he was with Ellie. "Why did you bother saying all that sweet stuff!" I pick up a Lego and throw it angrily in a tote next to my leg.

"Emma, I'm sorry for everything I put you through last year. EVERYTHING."

"Ancient history..."

"Why'd you apologize and leave me alone!" I feel like I'm going crazy. My life is chaos. Sean was chaos. No...At one time, Sean had been a stabilizing factor in my chaotic life. Now he's gone. Now I have no one...Nobody that understands.

"Hey, Emma. I was wondering if maybe you'd want to go to a movie?"

"Sure, Derek. Sounds great."

I hear the front door open, but I keep cleaning up. Keep talking to myself and letting memories seep into my conscious. "Should have left Derek out of my mess. Poor kid didn't know what he was getting into!"

"Emma! I'm home!" Spike calls out from the entry way just as I throw the last toy in the tote. I don't speak to her until she enters the living room. "Oh! There you are."

I'm drowning! I feel my control slipping. I'm going over the edge…So I lash out. "Yeah. Here I am. Here I always am, Mom! I have no life anymore!"

"What about Manny? Isn't she-"

"She hasn't lived here for months, Mom! I hate her, and we're not friends anymore! Haven't you noticed!"

"Em, Honey...It's just really hard right-"

"Oh, and it's easy for me! I don't eat anymore! I don't sleep! But you haven't noticed that, have you?"

"I'm just busy so much since Snake-"

"Since Snake left? Yeah, well...You keep pretending I'm the old Emma...But I'm not! This isn't fair! You don't see that we're hurting too! Jack? He cried all day for Daddy! What am I supposed to tell him! No! It's not my job! You just ignore his question! He's a baby! He misses his dad! I miss my dad! But you don't care!"

"What am I supposed to do? Huh?"

"The most important person in my life dumped me because I was...Because I was being just like you!" The realization rocks me to my foundation. "I'm just like you!" I have to get out! So I turn and walk to the front door, grabbing my jacket on the way.

"Where are you going?"

"Somewhere...Somewhere I should have gone a long time ago!"

"What am I supposed to do! I need you-"

"No, Mom. You need Snake. Either call him...or hire a babysitter. I can't...I can't anymore. Jack's asleep in bed...Dinner's in the oven." I finally look Mom in the eye, tears streaming down my cheeks and whisper, "I need...I need a normal life! I need..." And then I finally realize why my control has been slipping. I need a place to deal...the one person who can help me heal.

I slam the door behind me and run down the street, hot tears streaming down my face. When I finally gets there, I take a deep breath and wipe my eyes. I bang on the door and wait a few moments until he opens the door angrily.

"What the hell are you doing here, Green Peace?"

"Shut up! Grab your keys. We're going on a road trip."

"Excuse me? Who the-"

"I'm somebody who you owe...big time! Do this for me, and we're square."

He sighs and grabs his keys and a tee shirt. "You're losing your mind, you know that right?" I nod and he just shakes his head. As an afterthought, he snatches up his jacket and trademark shades. "Where to, Gree-err...Emma?"

"Just drive."

Three hours later...Here we are. I heave a sigh and get out. He opens his door and stands up, staying put. "What are you going to do if he's got a girl in there?"

I just shrug. I've thought of the possibility the whole way here, but I shove the idea away. "Just...Bye, Hogart."

He waits, even though I'd shrugged him off. I figure he's hoping to scoop up the pieces of broken Emma...again. Come hell or high water...never again. I knock. Will he know me? Of course he will! Will he want to remember me? It doesn't matter. I'm here...No turning back. The front door opens and there he stands. He looks...He looks..."You look...good."

He frowns, rubbing his eyes. It's late. He knows it's late. I know it's late. "You look like hell!"

I will the tears back, relief flooding through me at the realization that I was right. He had noticed "G-Gee, thanks!"

He smiles sadly and lifts my chin to study me. "You look thin. Don't they feed you back in Toronto?" I hear his teasing...I knows it's his way of showing concern. And that's all I've wanted. Someone to notice...Someone to care.

"Oh, Sean!"

He takes my hand and leads me inside. "Come on. It's a dump, but...You're welcome to..." He sighs sadly. "I missed you...Everyday. Guess I should have at least called..."

"Yeah. Guess you should have."