Courtney has been hurt many times in her life. Her mom left when she was only 6 months old and her father disappeared the same night. Now Courney is seventeen and lives with her foster parents, Reagan and Ronnie.
Courney has never been loved by anyone. At school she is severely bullied with no friends or support. Courtney has lost all hope in ever finding someone who cares and has numbed all of her feelings in fear of being hurt again. When one day she meets Hunter, a new kid who just moved from Florida, he tries to reach out to her. Courtney ignores him, fearing to be hurt and abandoned again. But When everything Courtney knows becomes a lie and she is stuck in the middle of a web of secrets and mystery will Hunter be the only one there to help her? Hunter cares for Courtney as more than a friend, but does she realize the obvious? Can she save what she thought was lost? But most importantly can she love Hunter back, or will her feelings and emotions be forever numbed...


2. Chapter 1

      Courtney hurried through the bustling hallways of Hackmoor High. She dodged sororitys, couples, and groups of jocks before bumping into Jack and his girlfriend, Hallie.

      "Hey!! Watch where your goin', Coolman!!" He yelled.

      "Sorry, it was an accident" Courtney mumbled under her breath, preparing herself for a blow to the stomach.

      "Oh you WILL be sorry!" Jacks voice threatened as she raced away. Finally she came to her class, breathing hard. Jack scared her. Ever since 6th grade He had been one of her worst fears. I had lost count of the amount of times that I had to stay home from one of the injuries he had given me.


                  "Courtney Coolman! You late!" The teachers voice rang out even above all of the reckless teenagers.

       "Yes Mrs. Mackrie, I was, ummmmm, delayed....." A note flew and hit Courtney's hand. She picked up the crinkled paper. In sloppy letters it read "Did you finish my work sweetheart?" Courtney had forgotten!!! She had been given Hallie's biology homework to do for her. It was now laying on her bed at home, completed, but at home. Courtney would have to give Hallie hers if she wanted to avoid a beating. She wrote on the opposite side of the paper. "Yes, I'll give it to you after class". Mrs. Mackrie's eyes were still upon me and I couldn't throw it back.

      "Miss Coolman," the teacher started walking towards her,"what exactally were you delayed by? For you seem to be delayed quite often now a days". My eyes glanced over at Hallie, I only dared take a second. Her mouth moved just enough for me to make out what she said. "You'll be SORRY". "Ummm" I had to think hard. I needed an excuse if I didn't want another beating.

      "My books fell and I couldn't pick them up with so many people in the halls". It was a lame excuse and I knew it, but hopefully Mrs. Mackrie would fall for it.

       "Oh you clumsy child!!! Learn to keep your things together!!" Was all she said before walking back to the front of the class. "Now open your books to page 145....." The lesson had started. "That was close" I thought to myself.




      "Stop please!!!!" I wailed out in pain. It was supposed to be lunch but instead I was being "sorry" with Jack.

        "This is for bumping into me this morning!!" Jack planted a firm punch to my gut. Pain shot through my body. That's where he had punched me yesterday and I already had a bruise.

       "Now this is for almost selling me out to Mrs. Mackrie this morning!!!" Another blow came, but this time Jack twisted my arm until my entire body flipped over and landed on the hard cement floor.

        "Ahhh. But I didn't!!! I didn't tell!!" My entire body was weak. I could barely move.

       "Ah ha!!! And this is for talking back to me!!!" Jacks voice rang out as he stomped on my stomach. I screamed. I must be dead. I felt nothing but pain and fear.

       "Oh and thanks for the lunch" Jack chuckled as he walked away leaving me on the floor. With no food and no help. Gosh, this sucked. I called out in pain when I tried to sit up. After a second I tried again. This time there was no pain. Only the hatred that burned inside every fiber of my being. I had learned from these years of beatings. Learned from the years of emotional discomfort of my family how to block out the feelings. Block out everything and push through. That's what I did now. I am a piece of crap in the eyes of everyone else. I didn't belong in this world. An outsider. That's what I am. Now all I had to worry about was what Reagan and Ronnie, my foster parents, would do when they saw my new bruises and cuts. But then again, did they even actually care? No one else did.  I was alone.  Jack never stopped hurting me, and nobody else seemed to even see me.  I thought something must be wrong with me, maybe it was my pale skin, my different colored eyes, or my height (i had always been short) that made me a target for people.  But it hadn't taken me long to see that it wasn't that at all.  No, it is just because thats how it is here, in the world we live in.  There is no love.  The rest of the school day went by in a blur, but that thought kept coming bak to me, along with a question.  Is Love real? Can I be loved? But my answer always came out the same, no matter how i tried to change it.  No there is no love, and i can never be loved, by anyone, ever.




  "What happened to you darling?" Ronnie's head peeked around the kitchen door.  Ronnie was always baking something.  From cookies, to brownies, to cakes, and even did it for a small company called "Home Bakers".

     "I'm fine" I answered in a bored voice.  although I realized that I must look horrible, black and blue skin and scratches from head to toe, she must have gotten used to it by now.  Reagan looked up from his newspaper, his big glasses poking up from behind the giant folds.

      "She's right Courtney, you don't  look too good!" He announced rather loudly.

      "Whatever" was all I said before jumping up the stairs, two at a time.  I plopped down on my bed.  Across from where I sat was a mirror. Looking at myself i realized why they would be more worried than normal.  My normally light brown hair had blood in it, and my lip was dripping with the same ooey substance.  Immediately my hands traveled to the top of my head.  I had a cut, not too big, but big enough to bleed.

       "Perfect" I mumbled. I walked over to the shower, still rubbing my head.  I stripped off my clothes, revealing a big bruise across my stomach, in the exact shape of a shoe.  The same was all over my entire body.

      "There was one from when I forgot my lunch, and that one is from that day i got an answer wrong on Hallie's Math test,,,,"  The list went on and on.  I turned around to start the water.  After it was the desired heat I stepped in, letting the water flow over my tired body.  I grabbed the shampoo and started scrubbing the blood out of my hair.  As the water ran down my back I couldn't keep myself from thinking about my parents, my real parents.  I knew almost nothing about them, it was all a mystery.  All I knew was what had been told to me, A.K.A nothing.  My mom had left mysteriously when I was only six months old, and my father disappeared the same night.


      At least that's what I was told.  Ronnie and Reagan had found me that night, hidden under a bush in the back yard.  That's when they took me in, became my fake parents.

      I was now 17 and had never met my father, he had left my forever.  My mother on the other hand..........was more than a mystery to me.  People said she was dead now.  A strange disease catching her as she fled.  I have searched and searched, but I have never been able to find a picture.

     Every old picture I found would immediately be given to Reagan or Ronnie, but none of them were her.  Apparently they had known my parents.  Ronnie has given me detailed descriptions of how they looked.  My mom had light brown hair just like mine, and defined cheekbones, a trait I was not fortunate enough to inherit,  My Dad had dark hair and the eyes that I was known for, one blue and one brown.  I know it seems weird, one blue one brown, but that's how outsiders like me are, weird.  I wish I had a picture of my parents, something to hang onto.  I have nothing left of them, only stories and descriptions.  Reagan said that they used to have a picture, just one, but it had been lost when they moved.  It was odd to think that anyone had know my parents.  I guess that's what i found unfair.  Why did all of these people get to meet them, know them, talk to them, and I, their daughter, have never met them.  Without thinking I start singing.  It is a sad song by Adele, Someone Like You.

      "Never mind I'll find someone like you-u I wish nothing but the best for you-u!! Don't forget me! I beg! I remember you said, sometimes we last in love but sometimes it hurts instead-ead! Sometimes we last in love but sometimes it hurts instead......"   The song as about loosing a guy, i knew that, but to me it describe my life.  I tried to find someone to replace my father, someone like him, but it's impossible.  I pray that he hasn't forgotten that he has a daughter.  last but not least, I know that Love doesn't always work out.  I had dated many guys, and had been cheated on, played, abused, you name it.  Love isn't real.....well not for me anyway.




      By dinner I was washed up and ready, actually looking like myself this time.  I went downstairs.  No one was there.  After a couple seconds of confusion I remembered.  This was Reagan and Ronnie's date night!  One night a week they went out to dinner together for "quality couple time".  A not sat on the table and I walked up to it slowly.  I hated being in the house alone.  Everything seemed so quiet as if someone or something was holding it's breath, waiting for te right time to attack.  Picking the not up in my hands I read:



    I made some macaroni for you!  It's in the fridge!  Because you had such a bad day at school, I also made your favorite!  Brownies!!  Don't get into any trouble while we're gone. 

                                                                                                                  Love you sweetie,


     P.S. Reagan said to make sure that you do your homework.  You know him!  All about the boring stuff!!"


      I couldn't help but laugh at that last part, Reagan was a total nerd, but great when i needed help with certain subjects.  "Macaroni eh? Sounds good to me!" i spoke out loud just to break the silence.  I gobbled up the macaroni and barely breathed before I moved on to the brownies. 

      "Mmmmmm"  They were delicious.  Soft and gooey, just how I LOVED them.  As I savored the chocolaty goodness I took a glance outside the window.  Everything was dark, but a full moon shone high in the sky.  It was still.  Not a cloud in the sky, not a bird flying past to cover it up for a second, just the bright shining moon.  It seemed so invited, like a painted invitation in the sky.  Faster than I had eaten my macaroni (which is quite fast i must say) I did the dishes and had put on a jacket and shoes.  In my room I dimmed the lights and lined my pillows up to look like i was asleep.  Although they rarely looked in my room it was just an extra precaution in case they got home before me.  I opened my window.  I could go out the front door, ya I know, but coming out the window as so much more fun! Plus, when i came back I didn't want to have to some back through the door in case my foster parents were down there.  I crawled out, one leg at a time, slowly descending onto a tree branch that hung not far from my window.  I swung down onto the next one, and the next until I reached the ground.  It was a little chilly, but not too cold.  It felt good to breath in the brisk nigh air, to fill my lungs with it's purity.  I walked, enjoying the company of the hooting owls and the whispering winds.  I came to a small pond, were I always came to think.  Here, where there were no street lights or cars the stars shone brightly, like a box of glitter had been spilled and scattered amongst the heavens.  I sat down on a rock.  Everything here calmed me.  I had never seen another person here, just me and an occasional duck.  I had come to name it.  It was my "Lugar de paz" or "Place of peace".   I closed my eyes, I tried to feel happy, tried to feel anything, but all I felt was the same emptiness.  But I heard a rustling noise behind me and suddenly I realized...... 

I wasn't alone.              







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