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...


3. Chapter 2


I jumped up and turned to where I had heard the noise had come from. A boy stood in front of me. His dirty blonde hair rustled in the breeze and his green eyes seemed to glow in the dark as he stared at me. I didn't move, speak, or barely even breath.

     "Are you lost?" He asked me. He thought I was lost!

    "No, what are you doing here?" I made sure that my voice sounded demanding. His gave me a sideways smile, even in the dark you could see his dimples.

     "I live here, my family just moved into that house up there. This is part of our land" He pointed to where an old mansion had stood for as long as I remembered.

    "You live there?! Oh I'm-I'm sorry........I'll leave. I've been coming here forever and I never thought someone would move into that house...." I started walking away. I realized that I had been babbling, but I was crushed. How could someone move in, this was the only place where I felt at peace, and it was being taken away from me.

    "Wait, you don't have to go!" He grabbed my arm, which scared me. I tried to struggle, but he was too strong.

    "S-sorry. But you don't have to leave. I can see by the way you talk that you like it here". Embarrassed, he let go of my arm.

    "Who are you?" I asked after a moment of awkward silence.

    "I'm Hunter, Hunter Lapet. And you?" He looked up into my eyes. Woah. I suppressed a gasp. It was as if those bright green eyes could see inside me, read and understand my thoughts.

   "I'm Courtney Coolman" I motioned towards the rocks where I had been sitting,

   "Wanna sit down?"

    "I will, after you tell me a bit about yourself. I don't just sit down with any trespasser" Hunter teased me. I couldn't help but smile and give a little giggle.

    "Well of course, what was I thinking? But seriously, could we sit?"

   "You sit, I'll be right back" Hunter looked at her for consent before darting off towards the house.

    "Wait!!" I yelled. He stopped abruptly and turned around.

     "Don't tell anyone that.... That I'm here" I yelled to him, desperate.

     "Don't worry Courtney!" He yelled back before starting to run again. Wow, Hunter was way different than all the guys I had ever met. How could be be so calm about someone trespassing on his family's land?

    "Oh my gosh!! I trespassed!!! I could be arrested!" In my sudden realization I hadn't thought before speaking out loud. I'd been arrested before, but I hadn't liked it. The police treated me like a naughty child, like I had no feelings. My mind went back to Hunter. Why was he being so nice? I hadn't laughed or been comfortable around anybody for a long while, but already I was loosening up and talking to a total stranger!!! Hunter is probably no different then everyone else you know. He may look kind and good at first, but after you get close he will strike and hurt you where he can injure you most. I looked towards the way he had left. I faintly saw the outline of his body as he ran back. He looked about my age, 17, but there was a playfulness in his eyes.

    "I'm back! Are you still here?" Hunter's voice cut through the darkness.

    "Ya I'm here, thanks for not telling anybody about me" I said, standing up. "No big deal! You can come here whenever you like! Except for me nobody else will be coming out here". He handed me a bag of marshmallows.

    "What are these for?" I asked, confused.

     "S'mores!!! What fun is sitting around telling stories without a snack?" Hunter smiled as he held up a box of graham crackers and a bunch or Hershey chocolate bars.

   "Are you serious?"

    "Heck ya!! Help me find some sticks for a fire. I'll find some rocks to put around it so that it doesn't spread. I started walking around in circles, looking for sticks. I finally found an amount that Hunter was happy with.

    "Alright. Lemme get the fire started, them you can start telling me about yourself" he looked up at me with a playful look in his eyes.

     "And I might have a few good stories in mind"

    "Ok, but on one condition" I said. Hunter stood up, clearly worried.


     "That you double the chocolate on my s'more" I replied, grabbing a chocolate bar. He chuckled and started getting to work at the fire, lighting a match. It wasn't long before he had a small flame, then a fire was flickering, lighting up the area around us. I looked over at him in the firelight, actually seeing who I had been talking to. His light wavy hair was messy, having been rustled my the running and the wind. For the first time I noticed Hunter's chiseled features. He had defined cheekbones and his skin was tan, he must have moved from somewhere warm. His chest muscles and abs caught my attention. Along with his biceps. I may not trust guys, but hey, I never said I didn't like looking!! He turned his head towards me and saw me looking at him.  I blushed slightly.  I hoped he couldn't see me beacause of the darkness, but I probably wasn't that lucky.

      "Alright Courtney," he gave me a smile, his dimples re-appearing,

    "Story time!!" He laid back and handed me a stick that had two marshmallows on it.

    "Alright" I had never told anyone about myself, even my boyfriends, but for some reason I had decided to tell him. I didn't know why? But I had.

    "Here it goes!" I took a deep breath before started my story.



I just poured it out, everything.  Maybe it was because no one had every wanted to know about me, cared at all.  Maybe because i was desperate to be able to come to my "Lugar de paz".  Whatever the reason it all just came out.  About my parents, about my beatings from Jack, about all of my boyfriends, even about how I had numbed my feelings, not by drugs or alchohol but by willpower and hatred, for all these years and that now I couldn't feel happy or sad, just anger.   Hunter listened contently.  His face never changed and neither did his green eyes.  They never moved, just stared at me, showing me that he was listening, drinking in every word.  When i finished tears where streaming down my face and my breath was coming in short hiccups.  Embarassed, I turned my face away.  Hunter scooted next to me, reaching for my arm.   As he rubbed my arm gently he whispered,

    "Shh, it's OK, I understand, Courtney" The way he said my name was so soothing and he was being so kind that i couldn't help myself.  I turned around and gave him a hug.

   "You made me laugh for the fist time in five years," I whispered quietly,"Thanks".

   "No problem, you seem like a nice person.  No one should have to go through what you have"   My head was looking down, but when i felt his gaze turn to me looked up.  His eyes met mine, and we held each other's gaze.  "Maybe i can trust him, maybe i can let my self feel again"   I thought to myself. I didn't know then what would happen soon, I didn't know that what I was thinking now would be dangerous.  No, I wasn't thinking of danger then, only of what it would be like to trust someone again, to trust Hunter.

    He smiled suddenly and laughed.

    "What is so funny?" I asked, thinking he was laughing at me.

    "My marshmellow!!!!  It's burned to a crisp!"  He pointed towards his stick that now only had a pile of goop dripping off of it.

    "More like melted...." I corrected him, not at all seeing how it was THAT funny.

    "Well anyway, we'll put on some new marshmellows and I'll tell you a bit about myself, before I awe you with one of my amaing stories!"  He leaned over and plucked my stick from my hand.

      "If i get in trouble for falling asleep in class tomorrow I'm blaming it on you, Lapet"  I mimicked a teachers voice as best as i could. Then i remembered something.

     "Hunter, where are you gonna be going to school?  He looked up from his bag of marshmellows.

     "It's a place called Hackmoor High, where do you go?"  He handed me back a stick  with two more marshmellowson it.

    "Well, you might be seeing me tomorrow, and every day after that" I stated as i moved my marshmellows over the fire.


    Silence overcame us as we stared into the flames.   Without warning he started talking.

     "You already know that I'm Hunter Lapet," He started,"I moved here from Miami, Florida"

     "You chose to move to New York instead of living in Florida?!" I realized that I was interupting but I was surprised.

    "Ya, it's my dad's business, he needed us to move here for a couple years or longer.  I really didnt have a say.  But anyway we moved up here yesterday.  My dad is a big business owner and he wants me to inherit the business, but I don't want to, I wanna be a school teacher.  I want to teach Science, it is something I find joy in.  My dad doesn't understand that.  I wish I had something more interesting to say, but my life has been pretty boring except for the cruises and vacations...."  I knew Hunter felt awkward right then, but I didn't know what to say.  He was the kind of person that never would usually talk to me, EVER.    The silence was killer, neither of us knew what to say.  It was as if I had lost ability to speak.  Finally, when I tested my marshmallow I found that it was ready and i finally had something to say.

    "Oh! Is yours ready?  Mines about falling off the stick!" I exclaimed, making Hunter jump from the sudden noise.  He shook himsef out of a daze and took a look at his marshmellows.

   "Yep, your right, they're ready!"  Quickly he grabbed a cracker and wad of chocolate and slammed on the marshmellows.  He grabbed more and handed them to me.

    "Thanks"  I said as I put my s'more together.

    "Wait,,,,," Hunter put his hand behind his back.

    "What?" I asked suspicious of what could be behind his back.

    "Here's what you requested" With a miscevious smile he handed me a bar of chocolate.  I remembered, I had asked for double the chocolate on my s'more.

     "Hmm, you didn't poison it, did you?" I joked and gave him a smile.  He laughed and smiled back right before taking a big bite of his s'more.  I bit into mine.

       We stayed there long into the night, talking, telling stories, having fun.  It was around 2:00 when I finally realized how late it must be and that i had school the next day.

    "I better go, Hunter, see you tomorrow!" I yelled as I stood up.

    "Bye Courtney, see you tomorrow"  He stood up and walked up to me with his arms out for a hug.  I let him hug me and I even hugged him back.  Without another word I walked away, towards my house.  I knew that I would be tired tomorrow, but I didn't care.  When I got into my bed that night I fell asleep thinking about those bright green eyes with the kind understanding look in them.  A look of caring thoughts.  All i heard in my dreams was Hunter's voice saying I understand Courtney......... I understand.........








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