Hey everyone, I am still alive and very, very sorry that it has taken me waaaaaay too long to update this story. I just couldn't get it right so I left it and life got in the way... Anyway thanks for being patient with me and continuing to review even when I don't update for months. There will only be one more chapter after this one and finally an epilogue, so it is almost the end, sadly.

Chapter 20 Stronger

Tick, tick, tick; the sound of my watch the only thing I could hear despite all the commotion around me. I was aware that the judges had gone off to deliberate the performances, pick their winner but that wasn't the most prominent thing on my mind, it didn't even bother me that most of the campers were now aware of how positively screwed up I was. No, the only thing that was plaguing my thoughts at the minute was the empty seat in the audience, the seat that had been occupied by Darren just moments ago.

I was overly aware that I was alone, that the music blaring from the stage would block out any of my screams or cries. I wondered if anything were to happen, would anyone even notice that I was gone Shane was busy, Caitlyn was mingling with all the parents, Brown was on the stage, and my mother was serving the intermission refreshments. I stood up from the seat I had been occupying; my legs a little stiff as they had been still for so long, and made my way out of the deserted room, out into the open where there would be people, lots of people.

I opened the door, the hinges squeaking in protest as I pushed it open further and slid through into the bustling backstage area. I exhaled in relief releasing a breath I wasn't aware I had been holding in, and leant against the wall.

"Hey Mitchie," I heard the voice say and the relief that I had just felt completely deserted me.

"What do you want?" I asked trying my upmost to stand strong.

"I just wanted to see you. That song was for me wasn't it?" he asked in a sickly sweet voice, I don't know what came over me and before I knew it my hand had reached up and connected with his cheek causing a satisfying cracking sound.

"You little bitch, I am going to kill you, you thought last time was bad you don't even know what I can do to you." Darren replied venomously, his words stinging me as he reached out and grabbed me roughly by the shoulders.

I let out a small cry half in pain, half in shock but I refused to let myself cry. He lifted one hand from my shoulder and I braced myself for what was about to happen, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes waiting for his fist to connect with my face but it didn't happen. When I opened my eyes Shane was standing in front of me holding Darren's clenched fist in his hand.


1 week later...

It was a week after Final Jam, a week after my name had been called out as the winner, and a week since Darren had been taken away by the police. I had given a statement to the officers and a court date had been set, Darren was going to stand trial for what he did to me. I was glad he was going to pay for what he did, but I was completely terrified of standing in front of a room full of people and reliving that night in front of them.

"Hey Mitch, you okay you look zoned out?" My mom asked breaking me out of my trance.

"Yeah I'm just thinking about court, I know it's not for another week but I can't help it." I replied.

"Oh honey of course you're nervous, and you don't have to do anything you don't want to, no one can make you go into that court room." She answered firmly.

"I know but I think I need to, I have to face him, show him that he hasn't beaten me, I think going into that court room and facing him is the only way I will really be able to move on." I said firmly, almost trying to assure myself that I was strong enough to do this.

My mom nodded in agreement and smiled at me proudly, "That's my girl" She said softly and pulled me in for a hug.


I had been home from camp for six days now and word had gotten around about my attack, the case was due to go to court tomorrow and I was actually much less nervous than before. The whispers and stares from people around town didn't concern me either, in fact the only thing that was on my mind was Shane Grey. It was crazy how much I missed him and I tried everything to get him out of my head but I just couldn't. It was crazy, I had known the guy just a few weeks and yet it felt like we had been friends forever.

It was almost 8pm when my phone started to ring and I knew instantly who was calling.

"Shane, hey." I said without bothering to check the caller ID.

"Hey Mitchie how you doing?" He asked sweetly.

"I'm okay I guess, I'm not sure how I feel about tomorrow, one minute it terrifies me, and the next it is the just something I need to do." I replied seriously.

"You'll do great Mitchie I know you will, just take a deep breath before every question and know that by telling your story you are putting a monster behind bars, making sure he can never do this to anyone again." He said, his voice slightly raised at the vague reference to Darren.

"Yeah I guess so." I replied knowing I didn't sound particularly convinced but he let the subject drop.

We talked for another 30 minutes about everything and anything unrelated to tomorrow which really helped me relax, and it wasn't until I was about to go to sleep that I realised how much I wished he could be with me tomorrow. I knew that my mom was going to be there but somehow Shane managed to make me feel safe in ways that she never could.

I laid my head down on my pillow and closed my eyes hoping that tonight I would be able to get a few hours sleep but knowing deep down that it was highly unlikely. I sighed loudly and let waited as the hours dragged by slowly brining in the next day.