Stephenie Meyer owns it, I just put her characters in my world.

Special thanks to: Cullen Confection, ButterflyBettyCullen, SweetPoeticJustice (aka A.S.S.), GrayMattersFanfiction, and Meg Ugbot. These ladies rock AND all have stories...go read them, after you read this!

This is my first time writing! Let me know what you think.

If you are into music, I find the song Creep by Radiohead extremely fitting.

Chapter 1

I found myself driving 80 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. I couldn't slow down. I had to get away again. My knuckles were white; I gripped the steering wheel so hard. But I swore, I was going to stay away this time. I instinctively reached for my neck. Damn, I hoped I didn't have bruises. I had no clue how to explain this. How do you hide bruises on your neck in the middle of the freaking summer? I knew I wasn't going to die, but I was tired of wondering how far I could be pushed.

We had been together for almost six months when the abuse started. It was easy to forgive in the beginning, because everything he said was true. I could handle the verbal abuse, I was used to that. Between my manic depressive mom, trying to be my best friend when I just needed a mom, and my dad, who would rather just stand back than fight, I knew what I was worth.

This time, I was at his apartment cleaning so we could leave, and I accidently hit the coffee table with the vacuum. I had no grace. When God was giving out grace, I thought he said race and took off running. Riley was measuring out bags of pot to sell to his friends. I didn't smoke. I liked prescription meds. I knew what to expect with those. I knew how much to take to stay awake so I could wait tables, maintain my grades, and talk to him all hours of the night. Anyway, Riley was pissed. His face hardened, his eyes turned to stone.

He was quiet. He was so sneaky, he could walk up behind you, and you would never know it. I should have known it from the silence of the room. I squeezed my eyes shut hard. I never felt him pick up the vacuum cleaner cord. I never felt it go around my neck. But, I sure as hell felt it tighten, and I heard him whisper in my ear, "You stupid fuck! You just cost me ten minutes." I couldn't respond. My hand instinctively reached for the noose around my neck. It was hard to talk when you couldn't breathe. I had learned not to fight him. This was about control. I knew that once he had my attention, he would stop.

He did. When I stopped struggling, he loosened the cord. I struggled to catch my breath. No matter how many times something like this happens to you, it is still a shock. I needed to apologize.

"I-I didn't mean to hit the table. I-I j-just wasn't paying attention."

"It's okay, baby. Now get the fuck on your knees and straighten this shit back out."

I did. I always did, whether it was straightening out the measured bags of pot or talking him down from a bad trip from his drug of choice. I felt the carpet crinkle under my knees. I thought if I just dropped him off at a friend's house and then left, I could go and not come back. Nobody gets this pissed over a bump to a table. The dank smell of the weed infiltrated my nose. I just had to make it to college. Once I got there, he couldn't do this to me anymore. I just needed to get away. I wonder if he could go with me.

"There, look. It's all straight. I wasn't trying to mess any-anything up. I just thought we could leave faster. I needed to head out soon."

His eyes softened and he looked at me through his lashes, "I know. You just have to understand, I was really focused on this." He pushed my hair off my shoulders. "You hair is so soft, so pretty. You are lucky it is so pretty." He wrapped it into a ponytail in his hands and pulled it firmly, letting me know he was still in control. The sad thing was I knew why he did this. His father did it to him. I felt so bad for him. While my head was tilted back from the force of his pull, his kissed me.

This was what I would miss. The bastard could kiss. I didn't think when he was kissing me. He put his fingers on my neck and whispered, "Don't worry, with your hair nobody will see that tiny little burn from the cord. I need to be more careful. I know better than to leave marks." He did and he told me almost every time. My bruises were always under my clothes if you could see them at all.

"It's okay. Nobody but you ever even looks at my neck, and you know me, they will just think it was the curling iron or something." I whispered. I couldn't cry. It just made me look weak.

"True, you are clumsy as fuck. Go on out to the car and you can take me to Benny's. He's waiting on me. You go do what you gotta do. But be back in about an hour and a half." He didn't ask, he told me.

Even if I didn't leave, he was so much easier to be around when he was stoned. So much more mellow. We got in the car together and he put in some music. He was telling me about the band, "The Grateful Dead". I liked them because they were a little bit country, and that was what I grew up on. We drove up the gravel drive to Benny's. Benny lived so close to the ocean that I could hear and smell it. I loved that smell, almost like Vicodin, the way it relaxed me. He leaned over, touched my neck, and turned my chin to him. I was wearing loose jean shorts and he slid his free hand up the leg. He was rubbing me through my underwear. It didn't matter to him that I was not wet, he knew I would be soon. It didn't matter to him that I didn't want this. It didn't matter to him that I was tired. It didn't matter. I looked over and sheepishly smiled at him.

"You will be back right, baby?" He murmured.

"Yeah." I responded automatically.

"Good, because you know how much I need you."

I watched him open his door and get out. He walked like Jim Morrison. He did it on purpose, he had spent hours watching videos of Jim. He had the sexy swagger down to an art form. He didn't look back. He just walked into Benny's.

I refused to break down right here. I put the car in reverse and headed to the parking lot of the grocery store. I could cry there. And I cried for 30 minutes. I decided this was it. I didn't need him. I didn't need this. I looked in my pocketbook for something to help make me numb to pain. I found it. A couple of Ativan would work. I slammed the car in gear and drove.

I convinced myself that I was so much better than this. And I knew that I was. I was reaching 80 miles per hour, surely I was going to get pulled over, if I didn't slow down. I looked in the rearview mirror; you couldn't even see what I went through earlier. I was calming down, a victim's worse habit. I remembered my mom telling me how important it was to have a man. I hadn't been without a boyfriend in six years, since I was twelve. I had always had them lined up, one after the other. Because who were you, if a man didn't need you?

Riley knew that was my trigger. He didn't have to say I love you. He just had to say he needed me. I looked down at the clock. Damn, if I hurried, I wouldn't be late to pick him up.

Thanks for taking the time to read. Let me know what you think.

Abuse is very real. Please seek help, AT LEAST someone to talk to, if you or someone you know is being abused. Sometimes, just letting someone know is all the difference.