• Chapter 1- Grace

    I fell against the broken crust of the earth; a sharp pain shooting through my head. He laughed, how could he do this to me. How could I let him, I am so stupid. I kicked him in the shin, and he slapped in the face, I recoiled and tried to untie my hands. He was on top of me forcing his lips onto mine; I tried to get out from under him, with no luck. His hands went to my blouse; he ripped it open, exposing me to the cold of the night. He kissed my chest, I kept trying to escape.

    “Let me go.” I yelled. He looked up at me and before I could say it a second time, his hands were wrapped around my neck. Black spots began to envelope my vision and I fell into unconsciousness. Wishing none of this was happening. His laughter filled my head, his face haunting my memories.

    I woke up; I was still in the field. I pulled my skirt up and wrapped my jacket around me. I stood up and meet trembling knees, I felt the back of my head it was warm and moist. I walked over to a streetlight and saw the red staining my fingers. I looked around, no one was close by. I wondered what time it was, guessing it was late. I walked across the field and climbed up the side of the house to my room. I fell in trying not to make to much noise. I grabbed a pair of sweat pants and an over sized sleeping shirt, I walked over to the bathroom and turned on the hot water. I had to do something about my head. Evan, my next door neighbor was a doctor, well still in school, but he should know how to stitch up a head. Besides we were on very good terms, he was trying to adopt me; he knew what goes on at the house. He saw the outcome a lot, and then would help me, even if was as simple as an ice pack. I hoped in the shower, the warm water bring feeling back to my numb body. The water was a light pink color. My knees starting shaking again, I grabbed the shower curtain, then blackness overcame my vision and I fell to the bottom of the tub.

    I woke up again, this time in a warm familiar bed. I felt the bandage around my head. A light mumbling came from outside the room.

    “There’s nothing we can do about this one. From the looks of it, he didn’t even know about this injury.” An unfamiliar voice said.

    “He didn’t come check on her after he heard the crash; I just came to drop some food off and heard no answer from her.” Evan said.

    “I’m sorry.” A door closed and I heard a car pull away. The room’s door opened and Evan walked in.

    “How you feeling?” I shrugged, seeing I didn’t really feel too much. “The pain relievers are working then.” He sat in the chair next to the bed. “Who did this to you?”

    “I can’t” I answered; I knew he would do something to me if he found out I told on him. Evan sighed. “I can’t, he’ll do something.”

    “Was it Kevin?” I shook my head. “Are you sure?” I nodded. “Well, you still should go to school, but guess it’s up to you.”

    “I’ll go.” I walked to the dresser on the other side of the room, which held a bit of my clothing. “I’ll be downstairs in a few.” Evan nodded and left. I leaned against the wall, the pain of last night, or early this morning whenever it happened. Overwhelmed me, I put my head in my hands. “Why, why, why.” I muttered over and over. Evan knocked on the door.

    “You alright?” He asked.

    “Yeah fine.” I lied, wiping my eyes. I changed into a pair of worn blue jeans and a black shirt. I removed the bandage from my head and hide the stitches with my hair. I grabbed the jean jacket hanging on the chair. I walked downstairs. Evan was putting stuff in his school bag.

    “I brought your bag over as well.” He pointed to the black Linkin Park messenger bag sitting by the coat hooks. I nodded and grabbed an apple sitting in the fruit basket. “Well let’s get going.” I put my jacket on and grabbed my bag. The car ride was quiet, Evan stopped outside of my school.

    “If you need anything call. I will pick you up after school and you can crash at my house tonight.”

    “Thanks Evan.” I hugged him goodbye and left the car. Felix and Max were already sitting at our table. They waved me over and I ran over to them. “Where’s Kimmi?”

    “Home, she’s not coming today.” Felix answered.

    “So, how are you Hun?” Max asked hugging me. I shrugged, I still felt dirty from last night. I looked across the school grounds, Adam was laughing with his friends. He smiled at me and I turned back around towards Felix and Max. I sat down, between Max’s legs and leaned against him. Nothing could happen between us, I mean he is cute. But, he loves me like a sister. He started playing with my hair.

    “Why did Evan drop you off today?” Felix asked.

    “I crashed at his house last night, Kevin was having a party.” Felix nodded.

    “Grace, you should let me cut your hair.” Max said. “I have a style that would look absolutely-” He stopped; I felt his hand brush over the stitches. He sighed. “He do this to you?”

    I shook my head. “I just fell.” I lied. They both sighed. “Honest to god truth.”

    “Whatever.” Felix mumbled. I tensed as Adam walked up to us.

    “Hey Grace.” He said smoothly.

    “What do you want?” I asked irritated.

    “Just saying last night was fun.”

    “Adam just go away.” Felix interrupted. Adam turned toward his brother.

    “And what will you do?” He asked. Felix got up and Max grabbed him.

    “No.” Max said. “Don’t do this.”

    “Look you have the f** protecting you.” Adam mocked.

    “Shut up.” I said. Adam turned back towards me. “Just leave us alone.”

    “Fine, but one more thing.” He stroked my cheek and leaned in.

    “Don’t touch me.” I hissed pushing him back. Max was about ready to let go of Felix.

    “I won’t hurt her.” Adam paused. “Much more then I already have.” He chuckled and left.

    “Grace.” Max said. “What happened?” I shook my head.

    Felix grabbed my shoulders and forced me to look at him. “What did my brother do to you?”

    “Nothing ok!” I yelled. He let me go and I walked away from them. I sighed and leaned against the school building. “I’m sorry.” I said, hearing them walk up to me.

    “It’s ok.” Felix said while he hugged me. “Sorry about my brother.”

    “You can’t help that. He’s just an a*****e by his self.” Felix chuckled in agreement. The bell rung. “Well let the fun filled day begin.” We walked into school and I linked arms with both of them.

    “So are you going to let me cut you hair or not?” Max asked at the lockers. We were lucky enough to get three lockers together, and it was only a set of there three lockers on the wall area in the hallway. It was between two classrooms, the rest of the walls had more on it.

    “Sure why not I could use a new style. But after my head heals.”

    “Of course.” Max smiled. “Well see you later babes.” He kissed me on the cheeks and I walked into the classroom. I sat in the seat in the back and next to the window. I pulled out my sketchbook and started working on the drawing that I started a week ago. It was of a girl and boy, the girl was leaning against the boy, and her head resting against his chest, the boy leaned against a tree his face buried in the girls hair, the leaves falling around them. The girl held a single rose; I was going to make it raining, but that effect would come when I colored it.

    “Alright class, please turn in your papers on World War 2.” Mr. Mandela announced. I pulled mine out of the bag and passed it forward. Then I went back to working on my drawing. There was a knock on the door and I was pulled away, a boy who was around 5’6” walked in, he was lean but had a slight build. He wore a pair of dark blue jeans, a black turtle neck, and a red blazer over it. His face had the most beautiful features, two ocean blue eyes, stared out from underneath his wild jet black hair. “This is Chase Rileys and he will be joining us for the rest of the year.” I saw the rest of the girls already crushing on him; I threw my hopes out the window. I was nothing special, I was about 5’4” with an athletic build; I had long red hair, a long scar traveling down my left cheek, and topped off with light plain grey eyes. He sat down in the empty seat next to me.

    “Hey.” He said his voice soft and smooth. “I’m Chase.”

    “Grace.” I smiled. I went back to drawing, I felt him looking at it.

    “That’s really good.” He mumbled. He was busy looking at the complex design I put in the tree. “Mind if I look.” I shrugged and shoved the sketchbook over to him. He flipped threw, most of my drawings were of people, I would sit in the park and draw them. Whether it was a kid playing and there smile was just the most beautiful thing in the world, or it was the way a couple looked at each other. A few of my drawings I just made, those were mainly complex flower designs or tattoo designs. He stopped and looked at a picture of a man in a pair of black pants and dark red shirt. A pair of wings came out from behind him, his green eyes stood out from beneath his hair, and he held a sword in his hands. He opened to the next page it was of Felix and Max. Felix was leaning against Max his eyes closed and his body tired. Max was resting his chin on Felix’s head, and had his arms wrapped around him. “You capture so much emotion.” Chase noted. “These two love each other.”

    “Like brothers.” I replied. Chase shook his head.

    “They have trust in each other, the way the one is asleep and the other is watching, is love more then anything else.”

    “Max may have feelings like that, but Felix not so sure there.” I said.

    “Whatever, I don’t know them so I’ll stop while I’m ahead.” I shrugged, he pushed my sketchbook towards me, the drawing I as working on, face up. I chuckled.

    “So how you liking Maine?”

    “Colder then I’m used to.” He said. “Came up here from Florida have to admit hardly see these temperatures down there.”

    “Well, it’s just going to get colder.” He sighed. “Don’t worry once spring comes around we all love it.”

    “Hope so.” He mumbled. The bell rung and I put my stuff in my bag. “So what’s your next class?”

    “Theatre.” I answered. He smiled. “What?”

    “I have that class, too.”

    “Cool.” We walked to it together and sat down at a table. “Felix is running late.” I mumbled to myself. Chase looked at me.


    “Nothing.” I saw Felix enter, his face torn between anger and confusion. He sat down next to me, quiet and passed us our notebook.

    “Please just write down what happened last night.” He said. “I need to know your side of the story.” I sighed and nodded. He looked at Chase. “Who are you?”

    “I’m Chase.” Chase said smiling and holding out his hand.

    “Felix.” He denied Chase the handshake. I noticed my penmanship getting shaky and I was getting emotional. Felix gripped my hand. “You don’t have to write anymore, I think I got what happened.” I nodded at him thankfully.

    “Hey cutie.” Amber said to Chase sitting on the desk and started playing with the collar on his blazer. “Now why would you be hanging out with these losers, when you can have me?” Chase looked at us confused.

    “They don’t seem like losers to me, they seem like cool people, personally.” He smiled.

    “Well, you just haven’t met me; I can give you the time of your life.” She offered.

    “Pass.” Chase said. Me and Felix chuckled. “Besides, I don’t like whores.” Amber huffed and walked off.

    “That was brilliant man.” Felix said giving Chase a much deserved high five.

    “Alright class.” Mrs. Rivers said. “Break into the groups you were working with yesterday, and the new kid can just join who ever you want.” The class became loud and out of order. Mrs. Rivers was an older teacher, she needed to retire. The kids were hell on her life, and he husband for 35 years passed away 2 months ago. She was no longer the outgoing random one I liked. It’s like she just didn’t care anymore. She was letting herself go. They say lovebirds die within months of each other, and penguins die within a year of there mates dieing. Wonder if she wanted that to happen.

    “Hello anyone home?” Felix asked knocking on my head, pulling me out of my daydream. “As I was saying Chase is going to be in it now, so you, him and Kimmi are all on the run from the psycho killer played by your truly.” Felix said, giving himself honors. “So you like the idea?”

    “Yeah.” I mumbled. He looked at me.

    “Let’s keep our minds on the present for now.” He said, I nodded and started to help write the first draft. I was a total ditz in it, and Chase was a pothead. So it was a dark comedy, Kimmi character was relatively normal seeing she couldn’t say what she wanted it be like. The teacher came and looked at our idea and gave it her stamp of approval, which just happened to be a smiley face. She let us go out in the hall and work. We did very little work out there, we mainly played around, for the most part so Felix wouldn't go and track down Adam for what he did to me; either Chase was oblivious to something happening, or was very good at not sticking his nose in others peoples business. We went back to the room a few minutes before class ended, finishing up the outline of the story, which would surprisingly happen in fifteen minutes. The bell rung and was walked out.

    “I think Kimmi should be a total badass and save us.” I suggested. Felix laughed at the thought and Chase nodded.

    “That would be funny.” He said. “I’ll talk to her about it tonight.” I nodded. “Well see you two later and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He pointed to Chase.

    “And what would you do?”

    “Hell, I don’t even know that.” We laughed and he walked into his class.

    “So I have creative writing next I don’t know about you.” I said. Chase smiled. “You have it?” He nodded. “Nice.” We walked in. We didn’t sit next to each other, I took my seat in the back and he sat in the front next to a girl with short brown hair, glasses, and heavy acne who kept to herself. I wrote the story for part of class, but for the most part I worked on my drawing. I studied the boy, he started looking like Chase and the girl looked like me. I couldn’t bring myself to erase the faces. I pulled out my colored pencils and worked on the coloring. I made the leaves all different colors and some affected by the rain, the boy and girl remained colorless, except for the rose the girl was holding, I made that red. The bell rung and me and Chase walked to lunch.

    Felix and Max were already at the table, they waved us over. “Hi I’m Max.” Max said right way getting up and shaking Chase’s hand.

    “Chase.” He sat down next to me. Felix was looking at me, I knew he wanted to talk, Max had the same look.

    “Grace we need to talk. Please excuse us for a minute Chase.” Felix said.

    “Yeah of course.” We all got up and walked to the back of the lunchroom and sat down on the stage. A couple of the Goth kids looked at us funny, but I shrugged it off.

    “We know what Adam did do you.” Max said, I bit my lip. “Why didn’t you say something.”

    “Because I didn’t want to.” I replied, not noticing the cold tone it now had.

    “Grace we love you, and want to help you but you have to tell us.” Felix said.

    “When has help done anything except hurt me. The police asked my dad questions and a week later I was at the hospital for three broken ribs and a concoction. Help hasn’t done anything for me, not since my mom died.” The both sighed.

    “Please just listen to us.” Max said softly. “We are trying everything to get you away from this place. Out of this hell. Grace you can do so much with your life, you are a brilliant writer and actress, but your drawings, I have never seen anyone with talent like that. Don’t throw it away.” I noticed he was quivering. I sighed and shook my head.

    “I don’t want to go through anymore s**t.” I said, holding back the tears. “I want someone to hold me and whisper in my ear how much they love me and mean it. I want to have a family that will ask what’s wrong and not use it against me. I want to leave this place so bad.”

    “We are your family Grace. Me, Kimmi, Max. We love you for who you are, so start straightening up and telling us what is going on.” Felix stated. “My brother will pay for what he did to you. Evan will protect you, so will we.”

    “I know, its just-” I started.

    “No buts, we are here for you. We will never hurt you; there is no reason not to tell us what is going on in your life.” Max said hugging me. I looked over at the lunchroom, Chase was playing with his food at our table. I saw Adam and his friends looking at him. Adam’s eyes drifted to me, he smiled. “Now, let’s turn that frown upside down.” Max said changing the subject. “I am taking you shopping and cutting your hair this weekend. You are getting a makeover. I am going to make you hot.”

    “Thanks Max, but I don’t have any money.”

    “You forget something. My daddy is rich and he loves me.” Max laughed. “He will let me pamper you, besides you know what he said to me this morning.”

    “What did your dad say this morning?” I asked, ready for the interesting tale.

    “He said, son. I love you and I want you to take that Grace out for a makeover she needs it. That girl looks so drowned out; she looks something Cher wouldn’t even wear.” He smiled and I laughed, to speechless about the tale to reply. “No answer means I won.” He did and little dance. I wiped my eyes and we walked back towards the table.

    “Sorry bout that.” Felix said. Chase shrugged.

    “I don’t mind.” He looked at me. “You ok?” I nodded stiffly.

    “So Chase, tell us about your self, why move to this place?” Max asked.

    “Well, my dad is a doctor and came to work at the teaching hospital here. Better job, and this place is a little bit better for the family. My mom teaches people about outdoor safety, you know rock climbing, hiking, rafting, and stuff like that. So, two opportunities came, my mom is working at some lodge and my dad is at the hospital. The school is better, a lot smaller then my old one.” He sighed. “Plus, I didn’t like Florida to much, to many old people.” We laughed. “That about says it all.”

    “Interesting.” Max said. “By chance do you have any siblings?”

    “Only a sister and she’s married.” Max frowned and Felix patted his shoulder.

    “Its ok a bud you’ll find someone, someday.”

    “Somewhere over the rainbow.” Max sang. “A boy waits for me.” He frowned. The next bell rung and we parted ways. I had most of my afternoon classes alone. I walked into art; Chase was talking to the teacher and then sat down at my table. I smiled and walked towards him. Amber put her leg out and tripped me.

    “Oops.” She said. “My bad.” He friends laughed. I gather my stuff and Chase helped.

    “You ok?” He asked.

    “Fine.” I said. We sat down at the table. I looked for my sketchbook, but couldn’t find. “Did you grab my sketchbook?”

    “Thought you did.” I looked back at Amber’s giggling table.

    “Give it back.” I said.

    “What.” Amber said, she picked up my sketchbook. “Oh this.” She smiled slyly and her hand gripped a slice of paper, she tore it out. “My bad.” She started to do more.

    “Stop.” I said. She kept doing it. I got up and tackled her, she fell to the floors, my hands wrapped around her neck.

    “Grace stop.” Chase said grabbing me. He held me tight. I felt his heart beating against his chest. His arms filled with warmth “Why don’t guys just leave her alone.” Amber smiled and chuckled. I gathered up my sketchbook remains and walked to the table. The teacher came in and walked over to us.

    “Grace what happened?” She asked, I shrugged silently.

    “She attacked me.” Amber said. “I was kindly giving back her sketchbook and she just tackled me.”

    “You were tearing apart my sketchbook.” I said showing the teacher the remains.

    “She’s lying Ms. Woods. She has a tendency to do that.” Amber recoiled.

    “She was tearing apart her sketchbook.” Chase said. "We have proof."

    “But the stupid girl still tackled me.” Amber said.

    “Amber leave.” Ms. Woods ordered. “Grace you ok sweetie?’

    “No, my sketchbook is ruined.” All my pages were torn so bad; you could hardly make out the picture. The binding was pretty much destroyed.

    “Hang on a minute dear.” She walked to the cabinet and unlocked it pulling a bag out. “Here, I bought it for me, but I feel really bad for what Amber did.” I pulled a black leather bound sketchbook out. A white tree of life stood on the cover; I flipped through the empty pages.

    “Thanks.” I mumbled, she nodded and went to go teach class. Today was relatively easy; we were working on the still life paintings from last week. I stood at my easel and worked on painted the tree outside the window. I added the effect of the window as well. Chase sat at the table doing something; I wasn’t really paying attention I was still worked up about the sketchbook. I already threw all the pages in the garbage, pissed off about them. The bell rung and I grabbed my bag and put on my coat.

    “I’ll see you tomorrow Chase.” I said walking out. Evan was already waiting for me. I got in and wasn’t in the mood for talking.

    “You hungry?” Evan asked.

    “Sure.” I replied. He studied me.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “Just s**t at school.” He nodded and pulled into the parking lot of the Chinese restaurant that was in town.

    “Want to talk about it?”

    “Not really, just want to eat and go to sleep.”

    “We can do that.” We ordered take out and ate out home. Soon after I fell asleep hoping tomorrow would be a better day.