He stood in an alley watching, waiting. He stared at her, her long black hair billowing about her tall frame. She kept her eyes locked on the ground as she walked quickly, purposefully. She reminded him of his mother, the way they both walked, almost fearfully. He didn't know why the girl walked like that he knew his mother's reason; his father. His father was an abusive man, constantly putting down all those around him, especially his son and wife. He made it clear to them everyday how worthless they truly were in his eyes. It turned the boy's mother into a woman who openly felt inferior, but her son took a different route. Like many others before him, probably like his dad, the boy became a bully. He took it upon himself to point out others' inferiorities just to mask his own. He continued to watch her. She was his favorite victim. As his father's face appeared in his mind, the girl drew closer. She again would be the one the boy let out all his anger towards his father on. He put out the cigarette that had been dangling from his mouth and stepped out of the alley. She stopped in her tracks, letting out a sigh. She wasn't scared, she wasn't worried, she wasn't upset, though she knew what was coming. She was simply tired. Exhausted of the torment he constantly tried to cause her.

"Hello!" He exclaimed with a false happiness lacing his voice. "How are you on this fine day?" When she attempted to walk past him, he grew angry. His outstretched arm prevented her from continuing on her path and was forced to stay in place.

"Go away, Travis." She said simply; and as if it had been rehearsed, he let out a chuckle. She'd expected it.

"That's why no one likes you, you know." He growled.

"I know." She answered. It was easier to just agree with him whether what he said was true or not.

"Maybe if you weren't so pathetic, you'd have a boyfriend."

"I don't care, Travis." She said coolly. "Unlike you, I don't need someone to raise my self-esteem for me." Her voice grew colder. "And I don't need to try to make others feel bad to make myself feel good. I'm better than that." She watched as his face contorted to one of fury.

"Listen here, you little bitch." His face was dangerously close to hers and she could smell cigarettes in his breath. "You're nothing. You're completely unworthy!" And he stormed off, just like that. She sighed and continued her walk home. What Travis said has never gotten to her, she never cared. Today was different though. She didn't care about what he'd said, but why did he always want to her pain? Even though he was unsuccessful in his attempts, he still always tried. What had she done to him? She has never said a word to him the first time he'd tried.

It had been the first day of school after winter break, the first day of her second semester of the eighth grade. She'd been sitting in her homeroom talking to some friends a new boy walked in.

"Travis McMullen." He said gruffly to the teacher, handing her his transfer into the class. Mrs. Rochet nodded and told him to go sit in the book of the room, in the available desk, right next to where the girl and her friends had been sitting.

"I can't believe your dad did that!" Her friend, Rhonda, was saying. This had caught Travis's attention.

"He's been working really late for a while." She shrugged. The girl's other friend was awed.

"So he just took you out of school for a day?!" Nikki asked. "My dad would never do that!" The girl nodded, smiling.

"We've missed hanging out." She told her friends. "I love my dad." Travis sat there, angry. That girl's father loved her and his didn't. What did she have in her to make her father love her? And what did he have that his father didn't love him? Before he had time to comprehend his own thoughts, Travis was on his feet.

"Shut up, you annoying bitch! No one wants to hear your fuckin' voice!" He had stormed out of the room.

A few tears escaped the girl's eyes as she continued to walk home. What had she done to cause such hatred in him? She sat down on a corner and took out "The Book." On her tenth birthday, her father had given her a notebook engraved with her name.

"For all your thoughts and memories." He had told her. Every year since then, aside from another birthday present, he'd give her a new book. Her form of emotional release lied in that book. She had found that writing lyrics always helped her to feel better. Thus, The Book was full of songs. It took her but a moment of thinking before she scribbled down the first verse.

"Won't let them get me,

Won't let them bring me down.

I know I'm lucky,

I have everything I want,

I have everything I need."

She looked at it and frowned. She didn't like it at all. She'd think of something as she made her way home. Though she wasn't pleased with what she'd written, she was happy with the idea behind it. She was indeed lucky and very aware of it. Every day she watched her parents take a medication to keep them alive. But she didn't need any medicine and she was so fortunate and grateful she didn't. For if she had been born sick, she wouldn't have lived to see her fourth birthday. Now here she was, at age sixteen, perfectly healthy. Yes, Annette Davis had been born without AIDS.

A/N: Chapter one. I thought it would be interesting to keep her anonymous until the end of the chapter. I've never used that technique before so I'm not sure how well it worked. Hoped it wasn't too bad. Constructive Criticism makes the writer's world go round. (Wow, could that have been any cornier?) So please review.

Thanks so much for reading,

Ale