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...


4. Chapter 3

    "Courtney, Wake up darling!" Ronnie's voice awoke me the next morning.  I groaned.

    "Nooo, I don't wanna get up!" I moaned.

    "You're gonna be late for school!  Now get up!"

    "You can't make me" I mutter and cover my head up with the pillow.   Ronnie groans.

    "I wanted to do this the easy way, but we're going to have to do it the hard way"  I felt my warm covers ripped off of me and the pillows yanked out from my hands.  Ronnie laughed as I scrambled to grab the covers.

    'See you at breakfast!" She sang, walking out of my room.  I didn't reply but went right to getting ready. I hopped into the shower and tried to wake up out of my sleepy daze.  That's when I remembered last night, meeting the blonde rich boy.  I smiled a little at the thought.  When the water started to get cold from how long I had been in the shower, I stepped out and dried off feeling awake and refreshed.    Mechanically, I went to grab some of my sloppy clothes but then remembered something; Hunter.  I couldn't let him see me like that!  No, I would dress normal.  I opened my closet and pulled out a dark purple shirt and jeans.  I pulled them on and looked in the mirror.  A zombie, I looked like a zombie.  I grabbed a brush and forced it through my tangled mess, making it look human again.  My head stung where I had gotten cut the day before and a scab had formed over it, which I was careful to avoid.  I put the straightener through me hair until I actually looked presentable.

    "Courtney hurry up! You must have your brain food before school!" Ronnie called down.

    "Fine!  I'll just be a minute!" As fast as I could with my untrained hands I put on mascara and a bit of blush, finishing it off with a bit of purple eye shadow.   I slipped on some shoes and ran down the stairs.  Reagan sat at the table, chatting with Ronnie and stuffing muffins and fruit into his mouth.  Ronnie, as usual, had already started her days baking and was mixing batter in a bowl ferociously.  I walked in quietly and looked at my plate of food. It was not small portions, I'll tell you that!  I had two sunny side up eggs, a bowl of fruit, and a chocolate chip muffin.

    "Ah look!  The sleepyhead is awake!" Reagan joked.

    'Haha, ya I'm awake, but I don't have time to eat ALL of this!"  Before either of them had replied I snatched up the muffin and darted towards the door.

    "Courtney!  You need to eat your fruits and proteins!  You know that just eating the sweet stuff isn't good for you!" Ronnie yelled out.

    "Goodbye!" I yelled over my shoulder, grabbing my backpack and heading out the door.

    "Courtney you must star-" I didn't stay to hear the rest of the lecture in healthy eating.  With quick steps I made it over to the car I had gotten for my sixteenth birthday and stepped in. I took a big bite of the freshly made muffin and it was gone within seconds.

    "Here we go again" I muttered through my full mouth and put the key in the ignition, "Another day of Jack"  the car started without problems and I got ready to go back to High school.




     "Hey, Coolman!" I heard Jack yell as I attempter to make my way to my class without being caught.  Inwardly I groaned but didn't turn around.

     "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" Jack shouted, grabbing my shoulder and whirling me around.  I tried to free myself from his death grip on my shoulder, but he was too strong.

    Without looking him in the eye I said, "What do you want?"  He chuckled like I'd made a joke.

    ''Oh, Nothing" He laughed and slammed his fist into my gut.  I gasped and doubled over, losing grip of my books.  "See ya later, Coolman!" Jack called out as he strutted away like a proud peacock.  I scrambled to pick up my books, which were now being trampled on my other teens.  My fingers were stepped on multiple times but no one noticed the lame girl crawling on the floor.  When I had recollected myself (and my books) I walked meekly towards my homeroom, head down and my eyes meeting no one else's. 

     No one spoke as I entered the classroom and quietly took my seat in the back.  My teacher, Mrs. Malokie, was squinting at her computer as havoc was created around her.

    Finally, she stood up and announced indignantly, "Sit down!  We have a new student joining us today and I expect you to behave like nice little teenagers!  Here he is!"  Snickers went around the room at the 'nice little teenagers' but not from me, I was excited to see someone at school who didn't hate me!  Hunter walked into the room wearing a green shirt and dark-wash jeans, and every eye turned towards him. 

    "Hello, Mr. Lapet!" Mrs. Malockie greeted him with a fake smile.  She was clearly thinking 'great, another kid to deal with'.  Hunter paused before replying, his green eyes searching the room.  They stopped on me and he smiled broadly before looking back to Mrs. Malockie.

    "Hey," He said casually.  I heard giggled coming from behind me and knew immediately who they were; Jessica and Fran.  The most shallow but yet most popular girls at Hackmoor High.  Jessica had perfect blonde curls and a mask of makeup always covering her face.  Fran's hair was blonde but the bottom had a strip of pink and not surprisingly, her makeup matched Jessica's.

    "Oh My, look at him!" Jessica giggled.  Fran joined in, making them sound like a couple hyenas. 

    "He is hot!" She replied to Jessica.  

    "Hunter, you can take a seat next to Dalton, he's over there" Mrs. Malokie's voice was loud enough that I couldn't eavesdrop on Jessica and Fran.  Dalton put his hand up for a high five, which Hunter hit before sitting down. 

    "Hey man" Dalton, one of the jocks, greeted him.  I saw what was happening already, Hunter was going to be with THEM, the 'it' group and I would be forgotten.  I was so wrong to think that a rich kid would even consider being a friend with someone like...someone like me.  The announcements were given, which no one ever really listened to, before we were supposed to head to our next class.   Gathering up my books I stood up, ready to leave, when Hunter came towards me.

    "Courtney! Hi!" He greeted, puling me into a hug.  "Trespasser," He said in a sing song voice into my ear.  I laughed silently. 

    "Hey Hunter, Welcome to Hackmoor High"  I answered him.  I heard gasps from Jessica and Fran and saw people giving me weird glances.  I was Courtney Coolman, the quiet nobody and I was talking, it got people's attention.  people had already started to filter out of the room and I started to feel uneasy, I didn't want to be late for my next class.

    "Oh, I better go, can't be late on the first day! Need to make good first impressions on the teachers!" Hunter smiled, "See ya!"  I smiled back, relieved.






My classes went by without me meeting up with Jack, until lunch.  Hunter already had been invited to join the jock's table.  I heard them ask him on the way into the cafeteria.  When I heard them ask him my head jerked up and I listened with both ears open.  I didn't know why I was hoping that he would choose me over them, no one would, and that's why his answer surprised me.

    "Nah, maybe later man. I already have someone I was hoping to hang out with for a while"  My hopes fell.  He probably was gonna ask Shan or someone popular and hot.  I had wanted to ask him to sit with me, but there was no hope in that now.

I plopped a piece of "Pizza hut" pizza onto my plate. After I had gotten a bit of salad and a coke I payed and went to sit down. The cafeteria was crowded, it always was. No one ever sat with me. I just sat in a corner at my own table, and that wouldn't change today or any other day. Hunter was just another guy who wasn't gonna care. I knew that pretty soon Jack would show up to get his share of my lunch and maybe give me some new bruises but I sat down to eat anyway. My head stayed down, so when I heard footsteps next to me I immediately assumed that it was Jack and held out my tray.

      "Here you go, take what you like" I said, not putting my head up.

     "Well, if you insist..." It wasn't Jack's voice, but Hunter's!! My head jerked up.

      "You-you aren't sitting with Dalton and with Shan and..." I didn't know what to say.

      "Nah, I'd rather sit with someone that has a brain" he joked. "May I sit?" He motioned towards the chair.

     "Ya, totally" I smiled. Wow, he chose me? We talked for a while, laughing, exchanging stories, even I seemed to loosen up. I didn't know how long it was before Jack came over to spoil it.

    "Hey!! Coolman!!! What happened to my lunch? You wanna explain?!" His voice was loud and demanding, everyone in the cafeteria heard him. He boxed my ear, hard.

    "Quit it man!!! Lay off her!" Hunter jumped up and stood in front of me, guarding me from Jack's next attack.

    "Oh!! Is the new boy fighting your fights now Coolman?" Jack pushed Hunter to the side and gave me a kick in the shin. Hunter's eyes reflected the anger that was inside of him. He clenched his fist and planted a punch to Jack's eye before I could stop him. Jack stumbled back, stupified.

    "I was right, pretty boy gonna take care of you now? Can't stand up to me yourself?" An evil smile appeared on his face right before Hunter punched it off. I jumped up and pushed Hunter away when Jack went to punch him back. I wasn't able to block it. The punch hit Hunter straight in the gut and he moaned. I grabbed him and pulled him away.

    "Stop Hunter, it's not worth it, go. I don't want you to get hurt!!!" I was desperate for him to understand, to stop the fight. His green eyes looked down at me.

    "They were hurting you, it's not right!! Who's gonna teach them a lesson?"  His voice showed that he wasn't worried about anyone but me. He didn't care if he got hurt, he just didn't want ME getting hurt. I was shocked. No one had ever though it was worth the time to stand up for me.

    "How sweet! Prince Weakling saves the Loser in distress!!!" Jack's voice broke into my thoughts. Hunter went to punch him again but I pushed him back, making him punch the air.

    "What do I have to do to make you stop?!" I shouted at him. Jack came up behind me a kicked me hard so that I collapsed into Hunter's arms.

    "Let's go" Hunter whispered in my ear. He picked me up and held me in his arms.

     "I can walk y'know" I said. Hunter smiled down at me.

    "This makes it more fun" he replied before running out of the cafeteria.

    "Come back you cowards!!!!" Jack screamed at us. But Hunter kept running until we were outside. He stopped at a bench where he sat me down before sitting down himself.

    "Why didn't you listen to me?" I asked.

    "I didn't like seeing you getting hurt" He answered after a second. He looked up at me, our eyes meeting.

     "Hunter, you don't want to ruin your "hot guy" reputation on your first day, do you?"

     "You think I'm hot?" Hunter gave her a miscevious grin and nudged me lightly.

     "I didn't say that...I heard other girls talking about you though". I was blushing bright red.

     "Huh. Could you give me a hint?" He laughed and leaned back in the bench.

     "Hmm. Sorry but think if the shallowest girls you've seen today and that's it!" I informed him. He chuckled quietly. Around us the leaves were starting to fall and the grass wasn't so green anymore, but somehow it still seemed pretty in its own way.

     "I want to thank you. I don't want you to get hurt, but I'm touched that you stood up for me". I said quietly.

    "Its not right for a nice person like you to be hurt by a jerk like that, Courtney". I looked at him.

    "What tells you that I'm a nice person?"

     "I don't know, but your not dishonest. You have a side to you that you have hidden from all the people here. A laughing fun side that you have buried behind a girl who doesn't care. But, I guess I just don't know yet, I'll just have to see won't I?"

      "Guess so" I whispered.  We sat there until again Hunter broke the silence.

     "So, my parents always insist that I bring someone over for dinner after the first day of school, something about raising my hospitality level.  They want me to look know I'm not quite sure what their reasoning is, but they want me to invite someone over tonight"  He looked embarassed and I could tell that he was uncomfortable about his parents. 

     "So, did you invite Dalton?" I asked.  He laughed and sat up.

     "Wow your clueless, I'm inviting you and your family over for dinner tonight!!"  Hunter was smiling and his green eyes shone with amusement.

    "Oh, well, ya, sure!  What should we wear?"

    "Typical girl question," he chuckled, "I suppose something nice, my father has an aquired taste in people.  Seriously they are the most embarassing parents ever!  So be prepared to be smothered with questions about school and your education....  So, can you come?"

    "Wow Hunter you do a great job of convincing people to attend your events!  But ya I'll come"   stood up as the bell sounded, it was time to get back to class.

     "Woah, thats one loud bell" Hunter looked at the school then back to me, "Thanks for agreeing to come, I thought you might turn me down"

     "Turn down a dinner that you are making, henceforth no work on my part?  What kind of person do you think I am?"

    "True, Courtney, very true, see ya at seven"  We laughed as we walked back into school, his fingers lightly brushed my hand as we walked. We both stepped away to the side.  I had a feeling that Hunter would be a good friend, "'but no more than a friend"   I told myself.  I couldn't completely let myself go, not yet.


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