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...


5. Chapter 4

 "Hey guys!" I greeted Reagan and Ronnie as I walked in through the door.  I placed my backpack on the chair, reminding myself that I needed to do my homework.

    "Hey sweetheart!  About this morning..."  I broke in, not wanting to hear the lecture.

    "I have a surprise!  I think you'll like it!"  I exclaimed loud enough that even Reagan looked up from his paper.

    "Really? You better not be making trouble"  Reagan said, standing up.  I smiled and grabbed a water bottle from the fridge.

    "Well, you won't have to be cooking dinner tonight..." I started to say, but Ronnie cut in,

    "You know I don't trust you in my kitchen, Courtney!  So if you're thinking of cooking us dinner then it's not even a question!"  Her face was dead serious but the pink frosting that was smothered on her face made it hard to stay serious.

    "No, no! Just listen to me!  We were invited to dinner, toight at seven.  A guy from school invited us"  As soon as I said the last sentence I regretted it.

    "Hm, a guy?  Is he cute?" Ronnie raised her eyebrows as she waiited for my repl.

    "Yes he is a guy, and you can decide if he is cute or not tonight!  But NO we are not more than friends, so don't even think of playing matchmaker!" I gave her a playful push.

    "Anyway, they're kind of rich, so wear some really nice clothes.  They live up in that old mansion"

    "Great, you finally get talking to somebody and it's a rich snob, fantastic" Reagan mumbled.

    "I am gonna go do my homework, but please be civil when your there......REAGAN." I said as I hopped up the stairs, grabbing my bag on the way.  I had to get my homework done so that I could get ready.  It may not be a date, but again, I felt the urge to want to look good for Hunter.  I plopped down on my bed and opened up my biology textbook, better get working.




    The shower water was freezing!  Ronnie must have used up all the hot water.  I took the fastest shower possible before jumping out and blow drying my dripping hair.  It was only five o'clock, and I had time to get ready, but I didn't want to rush it.   My hair dried quickly and I went into my closet to decide what to wear.  I scanned my formal clothes, which didn't take long concidering that I didn't have many.  I wondered just how formal I should take it.  Again I scanned my clothes.  I had a wrap dress that I had only worn once.  The top was sleeveless, so i knew it might be chilly, but the dress itself was gorgious.  The royal blue silk had a line of diamonds that stretched across it, right below the bodice.  The silky fabric was set in a way that it would flow every move I made.  The dress reached a little below my knees.  It had been my mother's dress, it was the only thing I had of hers.  Ronnie had been borrowing it when my mom died and had kept it ever since.  Yes, I would wear this dress, it was perfect.

     I slipped on the dress and picked out some necklaces to wear.  The silver jewelry matched the diamonds on the dress and I made sure to put in some big diamond earrings to match. Now I had to get on my hair and makeup.  I quickly made big curls in my hair using my favorite curling iron. Makeup time.  I  put on some mascara and a bit of eyeliner. My  eyes stood out already and I didn't want them to stand out even more.  The eyeshadow was the same color as earlier, silver, but this time the outer rim was royal blue and it looked splendid.  I applied some blush to my not very defined cheekbones and picked out some light pink lipstiick.  I had always had these items on hand, I just never used them, and now I was having fun doing it.  I walked over to my closet and got out a pair of silver heels.  I wore silver a lot when I dressed up, so for my formal clothes I always had silver accesories on hand, if you haven't noticed, I like the color.  I slipped on the heels and walked around, getting used to being a couple inched taller.  It would help, because Hunter was at least 6 inches taller than my and now the difference would only be maybe 3.

    I stepped back and looked at myself in the mirror.  Woah, I looked different, but I didn't have time to stand there 'cause when i looked at the clock I saw that it was 6:45 and we needed to get going.  I went down the stairs, frantically looking about to see of Reagan and Ronnie were ready.  They were standing next to the door, waiting.  Ronnie had black dress pants on with a pumkin orange ruffled shirt.  Her shoes where black flats and her super short hair was arranged in a simple yet formal style.  She was holding a white cake that had been elaborately decorated with red frosting roses.  Reagan stood next to his wife, looking quite dashing.  He had on a tan tuxedo and a red tie.  His shoes had been recently shined and his hair combed back.  They both had cleaned up nice, just for me.

    Both of their eyes widened when I stepped in front of them.  My curled hair fell about my shoulders and I smiled.

    "Well, I think this boy IS attractive if your going to meet him loking like a model!" Ronnie exclaimed.  Reagan just whisled and opened the door for me.  I walked out calling back over my shoulder,

    "Ronnie, I'm not quite sure why you grew up, at times you can sound like a teenager youself"  She laughed as she walked out with me,

    "Oh, you can't blame a 36 year old lady to want to see an attractive young lady to finally meet her attractive young prince"

    "Oh Ronnie" I sighed, slipping into the driver's seat.  When we were all settled I backed out and started driving towards the old mansion.  This was going to be interesting!




    I knocked on the front door of an enormous house.  Sure it was old, but it looked like a castle, extravagant and beautiful.  Hunter's father, Mr. Lapet, opened the door with Mrs. Lapet and Hunter behind him.

    "Welcome!"  He greeted us warmly.  I gave him a smile and accepted his handshake.

    "Come in! Come in!" said Mrs. Lapet, motioning us in through the door.  Hunter's eyes hadn't come off me yet.  He looked me up and down, scanning every inch of me, then looked at my face and smiled.  He was wearing a typical royal blue button up shirt with black dress pants.  I realized that we were matching.  I smiled back at him.  His wavy blonde hair had been brushed to the side, unlike his father's, which was tightly gelled back.  Mr. Lapet was wearing a regular black tuxedo and his wife was wearing a tight buisness-like dress and a white jacket with tall stelleto heels.  Her shoulder-length (clearly dyed) blonde hair was straight and made her look like a real life barbie doll.  The room that we stood in had columns and had a staircase that led up who knows how many stories and you could go in so many directions that I knew that I would have gotten lost immediatly.  A vase sat on a small table with roses and beautiful paintings were up everywhere in this palace.  A huge chandelier hung from the ceiling, glass pieces hung from it, looking as if diamonds and gems wer floating above us.  I now knew now Ronnie's analogy had been correct. It was as if I had stepped into a fairy tale dream.

    Hunter held out his hand and I took it.  His parents were immediatly getting along with Reagan and Ronnie.  It turned out that Mrs. Lapet bought desserts from "Home Bakers" all the time and their conversation was started.  Reagan and Mr. Lapet were talking buisness and polotics, and were very engrossed in it.

    "Courtney, you look.....breathtaking!" Hunter said as we followed the others into the dining room.  I blushed, but his comment made me feel beautiful. Although suddenly I was aware of the amount of leg and cleavage I had showing.  Sadly, I couldn't feel the happiness that should have been flowing throught me.  That hadn't changed, I still had no emotion.

    "You don't look too bad yourself, Lapet" I said, "And your house is...amazing, you live in a palace!"

    "Hm, it's a palace if your my princess for tonight, deal?" He gave me a smile, showing off his dimples.

     "Well, your highness, that might just work out for tonight!"  I gave his hand a squeeze. I had thought he was teasing, but it wouldn't be for a long while before I realized that he was serious, he wanted me as his princess. No, then I saw it as a tease.

    "I think we'll all have fun tonight, your foster parents seem quite nice" Hunter looked at me.  Again his green eyes scanned me, landing back on my face.  He blushed a bit when he saw that I had seen him.  He brought my hand up to his face and lightly kissed my knuckles.

    "Welcome to my palace, Princess Courtney" He said, lowering my hand. My cheeks turned a light shade of pink, but when I turned where  Hunter was looking I just about fainted.  The dining table was stuffed with food, the room had ornate vases and decorations, I really had stepped into a storybook.  Tonight was going to be.....amazing.




"Here is the appetizer!"  Mrs. Lapet exclaimed as a platter full of lettuce wraps that were overflowing with peanut butter chicken pieces were excorted into the room.  Ronnie and Reagan's eyes had been wide the entire time, but as the food started coming out in elaborate settings, like a restaurant, but better, their eyes were wider than an owls.  There were four courses, all brought in by maids.  The second course was chicken kabobs and the third course was lobster tails served over a salad.  Each course was more wonderful tasting than the last.  The fourth dish was my favorite.  Never before had I tasted a better cake.  One layer was a chocolate cake so moist it just about melted in your mouth and the next was a mousse and the next was a thick whipped cream.  Another layer of cake topped it with a ganoche that had been poured over the entire thing.  After all of our stomachs were full all of us sat and talked.  Much laughing went around the room, the adults had a couple glasses of expensive wine, which may or may not have given them their giddy moods.  I was having a good time until the Lapets asked me a question.

    "You seem like such a nice family, although Courtney doesn't look anything like you, are you sure she's yours?"  laughter followed from everyone except Hunter and me.  I knew that they were on the brink of drunk and that Mrs. Lapet hadn't meant harm, but it did. 

      "Excuse me, I need a little fresh air" I said, standing up from the table.

      "I'll show you to the balcony, there is quite a nice view"  Hunter stood up from the table also.  The adults hadn't cared about our absence, they were happily talking amongst themselves.  Hunter wrapped his arm around my shoulders as we walked out.  He lead me through the entry room and across a beautiful hallway before we came to a semi-circle balcony that jutted out from the side of the house.  I went to the edge and looked out over the field that my Lugar de paz lay in, calm and probably reflecting the beautiful moonlight..  Hunter's voice broke into my thoughts.

     "I'm so sorry, she didn't know, and she has been drinking"  he grabbed my hand, "She never would have purposely hurt you, I can't even say how sorry I am"  He looked uncomfortable, like he didn't know how to comfort me and was trying to think of a way to do it.

    "It's not your fault, Hunter" I said before looking at him.  He had been looking at me the entire time with a worried look in his eyes.  Again he brought up my hand and kissed it lightly, his warm lips sending shivers down my spine.  Now more than ever I wanted to let go, to let Hunter be there, let the feelings I should have at this moment run rapid.  But deep down I knew that if I let myself feel again that so much pain and anger and sadness would follow.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to live through that no many how many Hunter's were in the world.

    "When I told you that I couldn't feel i meant it.  I can't feel sadness, pain, happiness or even.." I broke off and squeezed his hand, "even love"  Hunter's eyes got wide

    "How do you live without love?  Don't you know that people like Reagan and Ronnie love you?  How can you live not feeling love?  Without feelings?  How? Tell me, Courtney, the truth, have you really gone for years without having feelings? Numbing them, even now?"  I looked away from those eyes, the eyes that showed that he wanted me to say that I had been lying, that I could feel love, but I couldn't.

    "I'm not gonna lie to you Hunter, I wouldn't do that.  So know that what I say is truth.  I can't feel pain or sadness or happiness, no.  But although it may seem impossible I can still feel hate" I stopped but Hunter urged me on.

    "You haven't answered my question yet, Courtney Coolman" He whispered.

    "No, I can't feel love, I know that Reagan and Ronnie love me as much as they can, but that's because they are stuck with me.  But I can't feel it, I have never loved anybody anyway, my boyfriends were all jerks, abusing me, cheating on me.  Love doesn't exist, Hunter, this world is too evil, people can't love anymore.  It's all a story, true love is.  Never does anybody find actual love in life.  You can't prove it to me with a thousand stories or anything else"  I started to walk away from him, pulling my hand away. 

    "How can you say that Courtney?" He grabbed my hand and pulled me back.  I struggled to loosen his grip but instead of letting me go he pulled me into his chest and wrapped his arms around my waist.  He had trapped me.

    'If you could feel what do you think you would feel right now? He questioned, his breath warm against my skin.

    "I would probably feel like I was supposed to kiss you, I would think that you wanted me to do something for you.  Most likely my naive feelings would think that you had feelings for me.

    "What do you think now as you are numbed" His voice was wavering.

    "I think that you are trying to prove something, that you want me to say your right.  I think that you are the sweetest guy I know and that you will find a girl that is sweet like you and that although you may be acting like it tonight, you don't have feelings for me.  And if you do have feelings for me, which you don't, I would be breaking your heart"

    "That's all I wanted to hear" Hunter let me go. 

    "Can we still be friends? Or will you hate me, now that I have told you what I see?" My voice came in a whisper.

    "I am your friend," Hunter said, "You can trust me to be there for you, and that I will help you feel again"

    "What if I don't want to feel?" I asked sharply.

     "You do, I know you do.  You just haven't seen your reasons yet"  Hunter walked towards me, the moonlight making him look extremely attractive.  The moonlight shone in his eyes as he took both of my hands.

    "May I have this dance?" He asked and gave me a smile that swiped away my fears of him now hating me.  I took his outstretched hand and replied, "Why of course my prince" 

     Hunter twirled me into his arms as he started to dance.  Not a regular teenager kind of dancing, but dancing as if he was really a prince and we were at a ball.  We slowly moved around the balcony.   He twirled me so that now my back was against his chest and his arm was around my stomach.  His breath was hot on my neck and it gave me goosebumps.  I knew that I had saddened him.  I didn't like that.  We whisked around to the other side of the balcony before lifting me up and twirling around with me still in the air.  Hunter put me down when we were in the center.  But it wasn't long before we landed in the center again and we stopped.  I was leaning backwards on his arm and he was the only thing holding he up from falling.  We were breathing hard but our faces were close together.  I didn't know what was gonna happen, what should I do?  He gave me a look full of sadness.  What was he so dang sad about?! That I couldn't feel?  He'd only known me for a few days, he couldn't have any feelings for me anyway.  But he was right, I did want to be able to feel.  I had tried.  When I was in his arms and he asked me what I would have felt I had tried to let myself feel again, but I couldn't.  I was stuck without feelings.  Nothing could help me and I could never love Hunter, even if sometime in the future he did love me.

    We were still standing there, neither one of us had moved when the adults came in.

    "It's getting late, we better get going....." They stopped when they saw us, stunned.  Hunter helped me up and then kissed my knuckles one more time.

    "Goodbye princess" he whispered in my ear as I walked past him.  I blushed as Ronnie raised her eyebrows at me.  The Lapets led us to the door, thanking us for coming.  They stopped in the doorway, still talking.  Hunter pulled me back when they weren't looking.

    "Meet me Sunday at the pond, 12:00" He said.

     "Deal"  I said, but before I knew it Mr. and Mrs. Lapet had hugged me and we were leaving.  I wasn't sure whether tonight had been good or bad, but I must say, it had been interesting.

    "So not your prince charming, only a friend, huh?" Ronnie questioned me with a teasing look on her face.

     "Don't worry, I won't ask questions, you can keep your little secrets" Ronnie said when I gave her an annoyed look.

        I just laughed and started driving away, hardly listening as they told me how much they had liked my little "surprise".     

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