A/N: WARNING: This story will deal with both child abuse and rape. If that bothers you too much, I strongly recommend that you don't read.

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns the characters, I'm just borrowing them to entertain.




I heard the door open and fought back the urge to hide under the covers. My heart was beating wildly in my chest, but I refused to give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I could feel the bed shift as he sat down, and held my breath, wondering what I had done wrong this time. Not that it really mattered, of course. He would always find a reason to punish me.

As much as I wanted to run, preferably as far away as possible, I knew it wasn't an option. Because I had no place to go. So I remained where I was, waiting for what was about to come and silently praying that just this once, it would be over quickly. I wouldn't get my hopes up, though. It was the same thing almost every night, and tonight would be no different.

I could smell the reek of alcohol, coming off him in waves, and wasn't sure whether or not to be relieved. I was only nine years old, but had long since learned the meaning of being drunk. If I was lucky, he would be too tired to do things properly. But I also knew that alcohol sometimes affected his behavior in a bad way. Years of experience had taught me never to take him for granted.

James had been married to my mother for as long as I could remember. He rarely spoke to me during the days, but at night, he kept coming into my room. I was used to it by now, still, I never really understood what I did that was so horrible that I deserved to be punished like that.

The first blow came as a total surprise and I accidentally bit my tongue. I could feel the taste of blood in my mouth, but somehow, my brain didn't register any pain. However, the fear caused my heart to start beating even faster. The fact that James had started beating me without explaining why was a bad sign; usually he made a big show of letting me know the exact reason for every single punch, so I would remember not to make the same mistake again.

I had learned the hard way that showing any sign of fear or pain would only make things worse, so I somehow managed to remain silent as he kept hitting me, only gasping for air between the punches. Finally he stopped, and I felt relief welling up inside me. It hadn't been so bad this time.

Then I heard the familiar sound of a zipper being pulled down, and the relief quickly got replaced with despair. I had been wrong; it was far from being over. It was only the beginning...


~eight years later~


The first time I saw Edward Cullen, we literally ran into each other. Or, to be more accurate, I ran into him. I was in a hurry and didn't watch where I was going, not that I needed an excuse to be clumsy. For some reason, stumbling over my own feet just came naturally to me.

It was my second day at Forks High School, and people kept treating me like I was some kind of celebrity. The attention made me feel more than a little uncomfortable; I just wanted to blend in. But, seeing how my father was head of the police force in this small town - known to everyone as Chief Swan - my arrival was unfortunately pretty big news.

I wasn't exactly popular at my old school; to tell the truth, I only had a few people I called friends, none of them very close. But since I moved here, I noticed that people actually searched me out; wanted to hang out with me. It was all new to me, and kind of confusing, since I had never thought of myself as interesting in any way. Honestly, I had always preferred to keep to myself.

This one guy, Mike Newton, kept following me around like a puppy, which annoyed the hell out of me, although I didn't have the heart to tell him to go away. He wasn't rude or anything, but it was painfully obvious that he wanted more than just friendship. And that was not something I was ready to deal with.

I had just managed to ditch him, as nicely as I was capable of, I might add, when it happened. I was on my way to my next class and stepped around a corner when I crashed into a hard, muscular chest, knocking the air right out of me. Dropping the books I was carrying, I could do little more than just stare at the person in front of me.

The boy, if you could call him that, was absolutely stunning; his skin was pale and his eyes the most beautiful shade of green. He had high cheekbones, a strong jawline, a perfectly straight nose, and full lips that just seemed to scream 'kiss me'. His bronze colored hair was messy, and I found myself wondering what it would feel like to run my fingers through it.

Our eyes met, and time seemed to be standing still. He took a step closer, and for a second, I got the crazy idea that he was going to kiss me. In all honesty, in that moment, I would have been unable to stop him. Then his eyes narrowed dangerously and he spoke to me for the first time.

"Watch where you're going, bitch."

I opened my mouth, then closed it again. My eyes widened in disbelief. Did he just call me a bitch? Blushing furiously, I shook my head, as if to clear it. "W-what?" I managed to stutter. Clearly, my mind wasn't working. Otherwise, I would have been able to come up with a snarky response. Sure, I was the one who had run into him. Still, he didn't have to be a jerk about it.

"Just get the fuck out of my way." With that, he pushed his way past me and I was left to stare after him with my mouth wide open. Okay, what had just happened? This strange guy, who just happened to look like some kind of Greek god, had insulted me, twice, and then left without even giving me a chance to apologize, or ask for his phone number.

Wait, what was wrong with me? He was mean and rude, and he sure as hell didn't deserve any apology from me. I took a deep breath, forcing myself to calm down. Glancing around, I was relieved to find that I was alone in the corridor; thankfully, no one had witnessed my embarrassment.



The hurt expression on her face kept haunting me as I strode through the corridor, although I did my best to ignore it, telling myself that I didn't care. People kept moving out of my way and allowing me to pass, knowing me better than to act differently. They avoided me as usual, and it suited me just fine.

Fury started welling up inside me as my encounter with the brown-haired girl with the chocolate eyes played in my mind over and over again. She had touched me, accidentally maybe, but still, I had felt her warm body pressed up against mine and it had taken just about every ounce of strength I possessed not to break down in panic.

The mere idea of someone, anyone, touching me made my skin crawl. Over the years, I had earned myself quite a reputation at school, which resulted in most people simply staying out of my way. I didn't have any friends, and truth be told, I didn't want any. In fact, the only one who still bothered was Alice, and I did my best to push her away.

So, why couldn't I get this new girl out of my head? Why did I feel almost bad for snapping at her? And why did I keep wondering when I would see her again? It just didn't make any sense. Suddenly, I felt a desperate need to get away. So I turned around abruptly and headed for the nearest exit, shoving people out of my way and glaring threateningly at anyone who dared to look annoyed.

Once I was out of the school building, I felt a little better. I took a couple of deep breaths, inhaling the cold air into my lungs. My hands were still shaking, so I reached into my pocket and pulled out a crumpled packet of cigarettes, relieved to find there was still a couple left.

As I lit one up and took a deep drag, I finally began to calm down. This wasn't like me at all; reacting this strongly to a girl. It made me feel confused, vulnerable, and angry. I didn't need this. I was doing just fine by myself, existing but not really living. And I had every intention of keeping it that way.

I should have asked for her fucking name.