Chapter 1: Here We Go Again

She watched as he came towards her, anger written all over his once handsome features. He raised a hand, she didn't even flinch anymore, she was used to the stinging, the pain. The only difficult part was coming up with new excuses as to how she got the bruises. This was one of those moments where he didn't care where he hit her. He just went off, "I wouldn't have to do this to you, if you weren't such a slut!" He yelled after another hit sent her to the floor.

"Get up." He said coldly looking down at her. She turned her head slightly as she watched him from the corner of her eye. She began to push herself up. Slowly moving on to her hands and knees, however the moment she was up, he sent her a hard kick in the ribs forcing her to drop back down. I can't keep doing this. She thought as black and red spots danced before her eyes as he wrenched her up by her long brown hair. She cried out gripping his wrist.

"Please, baby, please, stop!" she cried. He carelessly tossed her on the bed. Tears of fear were slowly sliding down her face. Maybe tonight's the night. The night when he finally goes too far. She thought almost welcoming it.

"Shut up! That guy had no right to look at you that way! What did you do to give him that impression?" He yelled. His fierce, angry eyes scanned over her laying there in a helpless heap on his bed.

"Julian, baby. I love you-." She started sitting up only to be cut off when he back handed her hard enough to be sent flying off the bed and crashing to the floor. Then after slamming her back on the bed he took a moment, breathing hard. "It's what you're wearing…" He started his voice soft as his fingers skimmed over the black dress that had a deep V-neck and, cut just above the knee, suddenly his grip tightened and he pulled it from her body, the sound of tearing fabric filled the room. The sounds of the girl's broken sobs accompanied it shortly after.

Julian's eyes scanned the broken girl's body once again, only this time something even darker was held in them. The girl's body seemed to shake in anticipation of what was to come next. He climbed over the foot-board of the bed, his hand reached out, and slid up her bare leg. His hazel eyes changed now holding something that she knew was fake, something that they held after every one of these moments. It was something they held when he looked at his girlfriend, and saw what he's done to her. He sighed as he climbed up the foot of the bed and leaned over her, his tie was undone, along with the first couple button's of his button up shirt, his fingers gently brushed up from her navel to her shoulder then he stroked the side of her face where he just backhanded her.

"I'm so sorry, baby. I-I just get so scared that you're going to leave me, or someone will steal you away, I didn't mean anything I said, or did. Please Ember, please. I'm sorry." He said as he slid his arms around her waist and pressed his face against her toned, yet very small body.

She let out a breath of relief, as she responded to him. Her arms going around his shoulder's as she held him close to her one hand at his back trying to sooth him, while the other was in his dark brown hair scratching at his scalp. "I'm not leaving you." She began. Her eyes filling at the truth of that statement, I never can, at least if I want to keep my mother and sister's life normal, and happy. She thought. I can't get away from this. She bent forwards to kiss his head as she let her tears spill over, "I can't leave you." She whispered to him softly. Even though she already knew it, because he apologized after every time, it always struck her into shock that as he apologized, sounding so sincere there were never any tears as he looked upon all the damage he's done to her.

Upon entering her home as quietly as she could a light flicked on in the hall leading to the upstairs, she looked up careful to remain somewhat in the shadows so her mom won't notice the severity of the bruises that marked her face, "Ember? Is that you? How was the big celebration for Julian's new camera business?" Her mother Madeline asked her.

At first Ember simply nodded not wanting to move her stiff jaw, but she realized her mother couldn't see her all too well, especially not in the dark, so she answered with a simple, "Yeah it's me, and it was fine." Her voice cracked, just like her lips were, dry and cracked.

"Ember…" Madeline began softly as she took the couple steps down the stair case and flicked on the lights so that they were brighter and she could see her eldest daughter better.

"Sweetheart…" She gasped as she gazed at her daughter's battered and bruised face, she took in the watery red eyes, and broken expression on Ember's face and looked away momentarily. "I-I'm sorry you have to go through this sweetheart, but you know what happened when I stood up to your father, and look where it landed us." Madeline said her voice barely above a whisper.

"Yeah, we had to downgrade to a three bedroom house, with two bathrooms and the kitchen and living room." Ember snapped.

"Ember, I understand if you're mad, but look at us, this is not the living conditions we want, we have no hired help anymore, I've been trying to take care of your sister, and the house to maintain appearance's. I can't do that and have a day time job. If it weren't for your relationship with Julian in the first place we would be living in a neighborhood, or worse, an… apartment complex." Madeline wrinkled her nose at the thought of it.

Ember stood there trying to imagine her mother living in an apartment, and spending time with her daughter's and being happy, but Ember knew that would never happen, ever. She looked at her mother, Madeline looked stretched, and torn her dyed blonde hair showing roots of dark brown, her bright blue eyes had a distant look of tiredness to them. Finally Ember took in what her mother was wearing, or more specifically what she wasn't wearing she had on thigh high stockings held up by a black lacy garter, she was wearing a black dress, that showed off too much. Luckily for her, Dad was more than eager to pay for her boob job, otherwise she'd actually look like she had two kids. Ember thought as she glanced to the floor almost ashamed of her mother at this moment.

"Your-." Ember began.

"Yes, I am." Ember's mother cut her off, holding her head high, "I'm out to see one of my clients tonight, I don't really mind this job, not to mention it works because it's night, and I only have a select few clients." Madeline replied with a clipping tone.

"You-." Ember began angrily but cut herself off, as the glare she aimed at her mother simply faded.

" 'I' what? Ember Carlie Hayward." Her mother snapped as she glared at her daughter, her hand already on the doorknob, and her clutch in her hand.

"You…You just be careful." Ember said softly, as she looked at her mother's face slowly.

"Oh." Her mother sighed, "Sweetie." She said releasing the doorknob and started forwards towards Ember, but she was walking away up the stairs leaving her mother down in the front hall alone.

Upon waking up the next morning, Ember quickly took a shower, then walked over to the mirror to survey the damage of what last night had brought this time, upon looking in the mirror she saw a bruise had formed on the left side of her face, and she had a slight dark circle under her right eye, the promise of a bruise to come, she sighed as she took out her make up bag, and spent the next ten minutes trying to cover up the evidence. Afterwards, she quickly woke her mom up, listing off every thing Casey needed for her field trip, compliments of Julian's dad, Richard. Then she raced out of the house, skipping breakfast, and hopped into her silver 2010 Lexus SC 430. Julian surprised her with it for her 17th birthday, before everything got turned upside down.

Pulling up to school, she saw Julian waiting for her in his car, it was in the parking space for Spenser Academy visitor's.

"Ember…" He said looking at her face closely as she came towards him, clicking the lock button to her car once she reached his window, his Audi A4 Cabriolet had the top down. Ember just looked at him as a series of flash backs hit her like a ton of bricks, she closed herself off, and remained silent waiting for him to speak first, "Aren't you going to say good morning to me?" He asked her his eyebrows rose. She gulped down her fear, and whispered out, "G-good morning." She stopped at that afraid to ask anything else in fear of setting him off. He'd pull up the roof of his car and smack me around in there. She thought, glancing at the roof that was hidden in the back of the car.

"Not in a very talkative mood, I see…" Julian said his eyes seeming to pierce through Ember, causing her to quiver inwardly. "That's fine, I'll make pleasant conversation, then." He began with a sigh as he draped his arm out of the car and caught Ember's hand with his, he held it to his mouth and kissed it lightly, "How'd you sleep last night?" He asked his voice seeming interested, but his eyes held a slight glare, as though he knew exactly how she slept, tossing and turning in her bed all night, praying and wishing on every star out there, that she would find a way to leave him.

Suddenly a group of student's walked by, The 'Son's' of Ipswich, and their respective girlfriends, the girls giggled with each other, as the boys walked by smoothly, The blonde one with electrifying blue eyes and the brown haired boy next to him glanced in Ember's direction. The blonde smirked in her direction, while the brown haired boy waved at her as if they knew her.

Suddenly his hand squeezed her hand tighter, so tightly she could feel her knuckles grinding together, but she knew better then to react in public. "Who are they?" Julian growled, as his eyes glared at her, she pleaded with him with her eyes.

"N-no one, I don't know them. I mean I do, but I don't talk to them." She replied quickly as she felt his hand tighten more on hers. "Please Julian you're hurting my hand." She finished frantically trying to pull her hand out of his grip. He pushed her hand away from his roughly as he slid his sunglasses on and started up his car. "I'm picking you up at your house tonight, at seven, be ready by then, got it?" He asked gruffly. He started to pull away, but she gripped the door, crying out, "Wait." He instantly stopped somewhat surprised by her outburst, however he looked at her over his sunglasses in an almost scolding manor, then gestured to her hand still on his car. She removed it quickly. "There's no one to watch over my sister, my mother will be…" She paused glancing away uncomfortably then back to him and continued, "working."

"Ah… yes, working." He began arrogantly, as he stressed the word working, knowing exactly what her mother turned to after her father left the family. "Well," He began, "It won't be a problem. We can take her to my house, and leave her with one of our nannies." He finished. "So both of you be ready by seven." With that he pulled away, and Ember sprinted into the school. Hoping that no one saw that 'hand' interaction. She made it to her seat just in time as the teacher walked in, sitting down at her desk, she quickly pulled out her notebooks, and started to take notes.

That is, until someone interrupted her by tapping her shoulder softly, she flinched away even though she knew she was safe from Julian inside the school this year it didn't stop her from reacting that way towards everybody. Turning around she saw the blonde boy, who smirked at her in the parking lot. Ember's eyes widened slightly as his name came to her mind, Reid Garwin.

"Hey, I don't mean to bother you, but d'you have a pencil could borrow?" He asked with a slight cocky grin on his face. Ember nodded not saying anything to him, she was so used to either being attacked physically for talking to other men or even having other men look at her in a flirty way, without her even realizing, so she just became unresponsive to every male aside from Julian.

"Thanks," He whispered to her. "It's Ember, right?" He asked. She nodded still not saying anything to him.

"I'm Reid Garwin." He introduced. She nodded, not meeting his eyes now.

"Are you okay?" He asked her. Ember snapped her head up to look at him, her eyes searching his face for any sign of a joke, or a prank, but he was serious. Instantly she turned and faced the front of the class room, focusing on the teacher, as she started feeling her throat close around a lump, and her eyes sting slightly. No one's ever asked me that. Not seriously anyway, aside from Casey, but she can't know about anything about Julian. I won't allow it. She thought the last part letting a fierce expression come over her face. For the rest of the day she tried to avoid, Reid Garwin like the plague, but it didn't seem to be working. She always ended up seeing him in the hall, or stuck near him in some classroom, he didn't attempt to talk to her again, but she could feel whenever his eyes were on her.

She seems strung out. Reid thought as he chewed on the end of his pen during current events. He watched her fidget uncomfortable in front of him. "What're you doing?" He heard Ty whisper to him.

Reid looked over at him with a lazy smile. "Daydreaming about the extremely hot girl in front of me." He replied.

"No- well yeah, but why'd you ask her for a pencil during calculus? You don't take notes, in that class," He began. "Or any class for that matter." Tyler added as an after thought, shaking his head.

"Maybe I'm turning over a new leaf." Reid replied as he gaze returned to the dark haired girl in front of him, wonder why she shut down the moment he asked if she was okay, or why she didn't utter a single word to him during the conversation he'd tried to have with her. She was pretty, and seemed smart seeing as how she was taking notes in her classes. What could possibly be her problem? He thought, Chronic shyness? Nope. She spoke during classes. Was she simply nervous because I'm Reid Garwin? That's a possibility a lot of girls get nervous around me. He thought as Tyler babbled on to Pogue about Reid being obsessed about getting with a girl.

"Another conquest, huh? Who is it this time, Reid?" Pogue laughed softly.

"Ember Hayward." Tyler answered for Reid seeing as how he was too busy gazing at the girl.

"Whoa, you might not want to do that. Her boyfriends, Julian Rowe, the captain of the football team, he graduated last year." Pogue warned looking to Reid softly.

"Boyfriend? Was that the guy she was talking to earlier-?" Reid began louder then he should've.

", would you like to enlighten us about Napoleon's career?" The teacher asked as he sighed frustrated, everyone in the class turned to Reid some wearing smirks other looking like they'd just woken up, but Reid noticed Ember's face showed one of timid ness, as she glanced up at Reid, only to find him looking back at her, she quickly turned the other way.

"?" The teacher said again impatiently.

"Uh… yes sir." Reid stated as he looked to the teacher.

"Would you like to share your knowledge on Napoleon we were going over him this whole class, I'm sure you know at least something."

Reid cleared his throat then started, "Uh.. yeah I do actually, I know he draws 'Liger's' on his drawing pad, and he loves his tater tots. Oh! And I love the part when he's at school, and he needs Chap Stick, and he says 'but my lips hurt real bad!' " A lot of people laughed at this, Ember smiled a little, sending Reid's spirits to soar higher, and getting him to feel a little more cocky.

"We are not discussing, Napoleon Dynamite, it's Napoleon Bonaparte, but I'm sure you wouldn't mind reminding yourself of that little fact while your on your way to the Provosts office."

"Nope, I'd love to." Reid replied back.

The teacher sighed and gestured for Reid to come down so he could write out a pass for him, Reid grabbed his stuff, and headed down, Where he was standing it put Ember right in front of him. She looked to him, and smiled slightly as her left absently rubbed the left side of her face. Reid noted that a part of her skin seemed darker then it was before, like a bruise almost. Reid's face must've showed something, because Ember quickly grabbed her stuff, and raced out of the room, without a word to anyone, including the teacher who was busy writing Reid his pass.

As soon as he was handed the pass Reid took off in search of Ember, he wanted to talk to her or at least get her to talk to him.

Okay, that's my first chapter, I wasn't sure if I should use Reid or Tyler, I mean that can always change over the course of things, but I don't know if I want Ember to end up with either one of the boys, or maybe Julian will change… who knows. Oh right I do. Haha anyway pictures of the characters are in my profile, so go take a look-see if you're curious. Please R&R -