A/N: O.o…I have absolutely no clever explanation for this. All I ask is that you read and review; and enjoy.

I do not own Ella Enchanted. It belongs to Gail Carson Levine.

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She had a box full of them. A big box; a Prada shoe box that was black and discreet and oh-so perfect. She hid it under her bed, under the cover of old clothes that she refused to wear any longer. No one knew about it; and that was the way she hoped it would stay. The thought of anyone finding out was atrocious. So, she always locked her door, she always made sure to check the box, to make sure that no one had disturbed its peace.

And so far, no one had.

Not her mother--who wasn't really nosy at all, just curious.

Not her younger sister--who really was a snoop.

And not her…no, no, never her…,

She was much too busy with him, and her friends.

But then again, Hattie was busy, too.

She was seventeen, and goddamnit she was going to further her social life. She had friends, and boys who would kill to get into her panties. She didn't need her.

~*~

Hattie went out that night, black, designer purse in hand, the contents of her box stored inside. She never knew when she might need them; life was just so unpredictable! Unpredictable or not, she strolled down the dark street, her destination clear. Her "best" friend, Blossom's house. Blossom was having a party that night, and Hattie had seriously considered not going…after all, she would be there with him….but, no. Hattie couldn't afford to let her social life suffer.

Blossom's house--which was a mansion, like Hattie's--was bright and noisy, even from outside. No inheritance money for her….

Hattie rounded the curb, and stepped onto Blossom's front lawn. As soon as her three-inch heels hit the damp grass, she felt fine. Not anxious, but calm. Social gatherings tended to do that for her. The front door opened before she could even put her hand on the shiny gold doorknob. Blossom was there, bottle of Grey Goose in her hand.

"Hattie! You came!"

She was positively gushing (with drunkenness)!

"Yeah," Hattie smirked, tucking a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. She just wanted inside, so that she could get shitfaced, and forget about things for a while. Blossom noticed, and stepped aside, allowing her in.

The music was positively blaring; enough to rupture and eardrum. The couch and chairs in the living room were full of drunk, horny teenagers; groping and lip-locking and fucking…Jesus, she certainly hadn't counted on attending an orgy. And really, she wasn't in the mood to fuck with anyone, much less watch other people do it. Seriously, she--

Oh.

Hattie froze mid-step, her body seeming to lock up; robbing her of movement. There she was…curled up in his lap…lips on his…hand down his pants…no, no, no, no, no, NO!

Her stomach heaved; she felt nauseas and angry and confused and--

She sprinted out of there as fast as her high-heels could take her. The bathroom; that was the only thing on her mind.

Once she got there--and trust her, Blossom's bathroom was far to nice of a place to vomit or shit--she dropped to her knees, pulled her bag open, and rummaged inside for the remedy.

Ah! There it was!

A silver handled, silver bladed pocked pocketknife. One of the many other knives hidden in the box beneath her bed. There was a switchblade in there, and a kitchen knife, a variety of multi-colored pocketknives….

She felt like a collector; most people collected stamps, Hattie collected knives.

Choking back sobs (because Hattie was raised to keep her emotions contained), Hattie rolled up the long sleeves of her dress, and took a deep breath. There were hardly any scars on her arms; she paid attention to other, less noticeable parts of her body. Insides of her thighs, stomach…discreet places that were easy to hide.

She let herself fall back against the door, and closed her eyes. She pressed the cold, silver blade to her forearm, and dug the fuck in.

Blood drained out from the wound…fresh and tantalizing…and Hattie made the mistake of allowing herself to think…she never allowed herself to think about what stressed her out when she did this. It made it difficult to…stop. She'd let herself go too far once, and her legs had become…mutilated. It was…awful. She still had the scars, and they were visible, but no one ever brought attention to it, and boys were far too busy with what was between her legs to worry about scars.

But now…all she could think about was Ella…and not the wonderful fantasies that made her wet, no, the realities swam through her head…Ella was the reason she started this--the reason for all of her doubts and insecurities…

The blade dug deeper into her skin, and she brought it slowly downward; carving a path of self-destruction.

And then she began to count in her head, as she always did; to keep careful track of how many marks she made, how many cuts…

1. Ella kissing Char…

2. Ella's hand down his pants…

3. The sight of Ella coming to thoughts of him…

4. The sound of his name on Ella's perfect lips…

5. The way he wrapped his arm around her waist…

6. --

Hattie gasped; loudly, a searing pain was shooting through her right arm.

"Oh, fuck…" she mumbled, dropping the bloodied knife onto the plush white carpet.

"Motherfucker…" she hissed, grabbing a (white) towel, she wrapped it around her arm. It bled through immediately.

"Oh, god, no…" she whimpered, her arm still stinging and bleeding profusely. She had probably ruined everything. Her cover of perfect calm and collectedness…that perfect mask of sanity that had just now slipped right off her face…

It amazed her; really, it did, that she had allowed Ella--her much loathed stepsister, to drive her to do such things. But…Ella was…no. Hattie pushed the thoughts aside. She wrapped the towel securely around her arm, shoved the knife back in her purse, and hastily rolled down the sleeve of her dress. Everyone was either drunk or having sex--she could get out without anyone seeing, right? She thought so.

Hattie opened the bathroom door, and cautiously stepped out. She sighed in relief when she made it to the front door--

--just in time to hear Ella come. The sound of "Char, yes! I love you!" reverberated against the walls…in her head…

And the fresh cuts on her arm began to sting again.