"Nothing, nothing, tra la la?"

Sarah doesn't know what this feeling is. It's something light in her chest, fluttering with every surge of her blood, a dull ache of longing right below her palm…

Sarah looks down, surprised. For some reason, her hand is clenched just above where she would expect her heart to be.

.this will hurt you more than it will ever hurt me.

Forget twenty-nine, forget twenty-two. Sarah was fifteen, and her life was already over.

.i will be your slave.

Sarah looks over at him with a bland smile on her face. She feels bored, apathetic, and tired. She looks mysterious, out of his league, and hard to get. His throat dry, he swallows twice before he manages to speak without his voice cracking. "So, I'll pick you up at seven?"

Tossing her hair over her shoulder, Sarah shrugs artfully, turning what would be a graceless slump into an elegant, practiced move. Brown curls tangle down her bare shoulders. "I'll be up." She gives him one last, slow look, her eyes half lidded from boredom, although he takes it as desire, her face as cold as ice but nowhere near the level of her heart.

She lingers on the hair, the eyes, the pants - bleached one shade too light blond, one eye too dark and the other a tad too light, scandalously tight but in all the wrong places. Brian swallows once more as she turns to walk away, all long legs and long mussed curls.

That night, he picks her up in his semi-decent car that she picked out, takes her to an almost nice Italian place she told him to go to, and lets her let him only feel her up twice before dropping her back at her door. Sarah sits on the couch, the fabric cool against her bare feet, and tries (and fails) to keep from comparing almost alright Brian to the only man who had promised her everything and actually had the means of delivering it.

The next day, she breaks up with him. He's the only one to cry.

.do as i say.

"Be ready at eight." She's known him (or, at least, known of him) since she was two months past fifteen. "You know I hate it when you where that dress." He's the stereotypical boy next door. "Damn it, Sarah! You know I don't want you talking to him!" Or maybe she's just the girl next door.

"We're going to that rave in an hour." He is more of the bad boy type than the next door type, although no one would guess it from looking at him. "I hate that friend of yours. You shouldn't be talking to a whore like her." He has those big baby blues that say, who, innocent little me? and hair so blond it's almost white.

"Either speak up or shut up. You know I can't stand mumbling." She puts up with him for three days and two weeks before snapping.

"Did I mumble then, bitch?" He's dazed, pretty blue eyes set in a black and blue face when she walks away for the final time.

.love me.

She looses her heart before she even finds out she has one, and because it's gone, she never does.

.fear me.

"Maybe we should pay little Toby a visit, hey?" She's biting her lip when she turns away from him. His green eyes are warm, but with fire and heat and she's never been good at knowing when she's too close to the flame.

"Come, on. Sit back down," even still, she doesn't say please. He stands there with some dangerous little smirk on his face until she reaches out to him, wrapping her slender little hands around his arm. "Please, Nate." His smirk widens the tinniest bit before it vanishes, and he sits back down with her. The arm he wraps around her shoulders is heavy and possessive, and she looks away from him, down at the stained carpet, the way he likes her to.

She drinks what he offers her and eats what he tells her to. She lets him dress her up and dress her down, lets him laugh and threaten to take pictures, lets him touch and hurt and threaten to tell.

She lasts two months out of town before she fell in with him, and it takes her another four to get out, bruised and bleeding and for the first time not leaving a man worse off behind her.