Prologue

I wake up to a slamming door. I guess that must be Dad leaving again, I thought, he's never around anymore. It's probably because he hates his family more then the four or so jobs he has to work to keep his family running. I hear the car stall, then start and screech down the street and onto the highway. I swear I could smell the rubber burning. This is my life, I thought bitterly, as god forsaken as it may be, this is as good as its gonna get.

I stiffly got out of bed and stumbled towards the windows. Just when I had thought I had reached them successfully, I tripped over some discarded shirt still lying in a ball on my floor from probably the week before. Now that summer had come I didn't care about anything, anything at all. I reached the double windows that let me view the street from my room, and threw open the drapes. The noontime sun blinded my eyes and I took a stutter step back squinting.

When I regained my balance and sight I moved back towards the window and gazed out. I saw two girls about my age walking towards the community pool in their bikinis and short shorts chatting happily, probably about the guys they were going to try to hook up with this summer. But they had all the time they needed. It was, after all, only the fourth of July weekend, meaning they had the rest of the summer to pick up some jerk of a guy who would dump them as soon as some one prettier and thinner came along.

I was now focusing my attention on my mirror, which was centered above my make up table. My own eyes locked in the ones of my reflection; I moved towards the table and sat down at the bench in front of it. I was transfixed, staring at my own reflection, like I hadn't seen it in a long time. Well I had been avoiding the mirror all summer. Just like I had been avoiding bikinis, people, shorts, guys, pools, my parents, the beach, and Adam.

I want him.

But it was never going to happen. So I better just forget about it. But I knew I couldn't do that, I'd tried and tried but I knew I couldn't. Oh yeah, I had also been avoiding counselors. Yes, counselors, they were the evil of all evils. And they didn't even help, not even a little bit, not even at all. I look back into the mirror and at my reflection. God, I am ugly, I thought and hung my head. My eyes suddenly relocated to my ankles. Ugh, yet another thing I had been avoiding. The faint scars were still visible on my ankles. Barely there, but still, they were the constant reminder of everything I have ever done wrong.

The sun shined on something silver and shiny, it caught my eye. I looked and saw my razor. Sitting there ever so nonchalantly, just tempting me, tempting me to pick it up and make yet another mistake. Well maybe it won't be another mistake. You never know. "Mom!" I called. No response. "Jeff! Are you home?" Still no response. I opened my door and peered down the hall. No sign of any one, hm, maybe there really isn't any one home. "Any one!" I called again, just to make sure you know. There was still no response. I guess I really am alone. I reached over and picked up the razor, the sun reflecting off the shiny metal and onto my ceiling. The razor sat there in my hands as I gazed at it, looking it over, as if checking for some mistake. Metallically and cold in my hands, I lightly touched the blade. It was still sharp. The house was eerily silent.

I was now transfixed in the shininess of the razor. How could something be so perfect and flawless? It was so unlike the human it tortured. Flaunting its perfection to the lame and ugly. A constant reminder of what I could never be, it's so demanding and powerful. It has such a strong control over me and my actions; it's in my every move, my very being.

The razor was perfect like the pretty, smart, athletic, popular girls. The ones that Jeff would go out with, the kind of girl that Bridget was. But Bridget didn't notice any of this; sometimes it just made it worse. I pushed thoughts of Bridget out of my mind; all Bridget had ever done was try to help me and make me better. My mind now drifted to Adam. What would he think when he found out? Would he even care? Would he think, "well she's finally lost it" and shake his head in disgust? Would he miss me?

"I don't care!" I suddenly heard myself screaming at the top of my lungs. But the truth was that I did. I did care what he thought. Would he think I was a coward for offing myself silently in a deserted house? I checked the clock; it was nearly 1:30. My mother would be home soon. It was now or never. This could be more then just another mistake; this could be that last mistake.

I bet I wouldn't even feel a thing. I mean it stopped hurting a long time ago when I cut, I'd just have to go a little deeper this time. It'd be nothing, nothing at all. The razor was suddenly cold and my hands were becoming clammy. Don't get cold feet, I told myself. Just get it over with! Small beads of sweat were now forming on my forehead. C'mon, I pushed myself mentally, don't chicken out now.

With my eyelids pushed tightly together I raised my right hand and pushed the razor into my skin. Initially it felt like any other time I had cut, but this time it was my wrist, not my ankle. I pressed it in deeper. The blood began gushing out as I removed the razor from my right wrist. Chills were sent down my spine as the blood ran down my arm. I quickly did the same thing my left wrist. But this time I felt it. I felt the sharp pain cut through me like glass. Projecting through my bones and very being. But I pressed deeper hoping the pain would subside. It didn't. The pain was excruciating and unbearable. I harshly pulled the razor from my cut causing more blood then necessary to spill out and trickle down my arm. I couldn't stand that pain I wanted it to all end. Suddenly I began to feel dizzy, I was slightly swaying from side to side.

Clumsily I staggered towards the door. The blood droplets spilled onto the floor, marking my drunken journey. I never realized how far away the door was or how loud the blood was coursing through my temples. I felt very light headed and the room began to spin. When I opened my mouth to call out for help all that I could manage were weak gasping sounds, it was utterly pathetic. The door was coming closer; through the hazed vision I now had I could see it right it front of me. I placed my right hand on the doorknob and turn it, the door creaked open. Right after my hand released the knob I distantly heard a car door slam, Mommy! I mentally cried. As the swirling blackness overtook me and before my body fell to the floor in a crumpled pile, the last thought I had was, Maybe I didn't cut deep enough.
Chapter One

RING! Bridget lifts her head and glares at her alarm clock, 6 AM, time to get up. Bridget drags herself out of bed and promptly slips on a sock and lands with a loud thud. "The first day of high school," she mutters to herself while walking to meet a friend, "I can't believe we finally made it all in one piece." Recounting the dramatic end to last year Bridget sighed. The painful memories cut through her like glass. Maybe my explosion on Sally had been forgotten, or nearly forgotten, she thought wistfully.

She was snapped out of her flash back by Dana's humming, which could probably be heard at least a block away. Dana, like usual, was a bundle of energy ready to explode, bounded down the street to give Bridget a big hug.

"Hey girlie! Long time no see!" Dana said releasing her embrace.

Bridget laughed to herself; this was going to be a good year. Bridget breezed through her first day of high school. She had plain features, with shiny, long, chestnut hair; she wasn't the perfect blonde haired, blue eyed, beauty, but she wasn't bad looking either. Her only outstanding feature was her electrifying green eyes, they made heads turn.

Bridget dropped her gear and flopped onto her bed. "I am so exhausted!" she screamed to an empty house. It's 7:00 already, Bridget thought absently. She had just come home from a particularly tiring field hockey practice. I am never going to be good enough for varsity, she thought. So what if she was a starting right link and the only freshman starting on the JV team.

Bridget got up and stretched. "Computer time." she said to no one. She started to do her homework while the computer loaded and she logged on line. "Whoa, lots of people are on," Bridget said, "And I am talking to myself. What am I going to do, what am I going to do?" she said shaking her head.

Bridget then got an Instant Message from Cammie, one of her closest friends. "Hey Bridget, what's going on? Practice was rough today, huh?"

"Oh my god yes. I thought I was going to die. Nothing much is going on here, what about you?"

"Same as usual. High school is going to be, uh, different. Don't you think so? I mean it's so different already. What about when we really start getting into classes. I am already confused. I am seriously going to fail. I am so dumb and stupid and ugly."

"Cammie! Don't say stuff like that. Especially when none of it is true! You are smart and you aren't ugly. Why would you ever say something like that?" Bridget responded startled but not really surprised. It was bound to happen again.

"Yeah, well you know why. You know I can never get a boyfriend and that none of the guys like me. Its obvious, and I am not smart either. My parents hate me. I am cast aside by my parents because I have two perfect siblings and then my younger brother has a disorder. So the perfect ones and the truly messed up ones are the ones who get all the attention. I bet if it wasn't for Jeff they would have forgotten my birthday entirely. You know it too," responded Cammie. Bridget never knew, saw or meet any of Cammie's siblings, but she knew what she meant.

"I don't know what to say," said Bridget, for once, speechless.

"Then don't say anything. I am out," and Cammie logged off. Now that conversation was bound to happen sooner or later, thought Bridget. Better sooner then later, I have less to deal with now. Bridget logged off the computer and lay down on her bed to do homework and then maybe a diary entry. As soon as she got situated and was half way through her math homework, the phone rang. She looked at the time and it said 8:00. "I wonder who that could be."

"Now that was weird," Bridget said still listening to the dial tone after what could possibly be the strangest phone conversation she ever had. He had never called her before not even when they were going out. But he had become one of her best friends; he helped her deal with Sally and Cammie last year. They chatted lightly about their first days of high school and avoided certain old topics not to spoil our great days. Jeremy was a great friend but Bridget feared they would grow apart during high school.

The phone rang again and Bridget jumped, coming back to reality. She cheered up as soon as she heard that oh so familiar voice on the other end. "Hey, its me, what's up?" was what Bridget heard; it was her best friend Maura.

"Hi! Oh my god! High school is so awesome, isn't it? There's just so many clubs to join and stuff to do! I just can't wait! I've already signed up for newspaper, debate, model UN, and I am going to submit to the writing and poetry journal. All that plus field hockey, swimming, and the spring musical!" was Bridget's enthusiastic reply.

"Jeez! You sure are going to be doing a lot! Right now soccer is good enough for me! So, Saturday night, sleepover, my place. We are going to do home spa, make overs, manicures and pedicures," Maura said.

"Cool sounds like fun. So. how's Sally?" Bridget ventured to ask.

"Let's not talk about her," oh no that means its bad, thought Bridget, "I gotta go do homework, bye!" Maura replied. Bridget hung up the phone and started homework. As she opened her social studies textbook she realized she must be so tired because she had skipped dinner. But when Bridget was on a roll, she was on a roll; nothing would come in her way. Well except maybe sleep, just as she finished her social studies, she fell asleep with the book still open on her chest.

During the next week Bridget fell into a routine. School, practice, clubs, homework, sleep. Some times, she had club meetings during school, but that never threw her off. For now this routine was working, no more confusing conversations with Cammie. But Bridget didn't know that soon this routine would be interrupted. She would be thrown a curve ball that she won't be able to take on by herself or without drastically changing her life.

Bridget was in a study hall newspaper meeting, in which they weren't doing anything. She tried to concentrate on Rodney, the editor, but it was no use, she was off in space. Rain beat down loudly on the windows. The pitter-patter of the drops drowned out Rodney's words and her thoughts as well. Though she did realize that her game for that afternoon was going to be cancelled. The flash of the lightening made her jump. Rain turns out to be very mesmerizing. I can't believe I haven't talked to Jeremy in almost two days; we used to talk every night.

"Okay, now every one get out the assignments I gave you last week," Rodney finished. You know he really is cute, Bridget thought as he walked over to her. But before he reached her, Sally intervened. Why did Sally have to join newspaper, Bridget thought bitterly. She knows this is torture for me to be civil towards her. Look Rodney doesn't buy your act. Even from about ten yards away Bridget could hear their conversation.

From what she heard, Sally was more interested in Rodney then the answer to the question she had asked him. Bridget averted her eyes so neither of them would notice she was listening, or watching, and laughed to herself as Rodney blew her off. Go Rodney! When Sally finally left him alone, Rodney continued his walk over to her.

"How's your article going?" he asked casually.

"Pretty good. Newspaper is a lot of fun. Its my favorite activity, well other then field hockey and swimming," Bridget said. As an afterthought she added, "Well model UN and debate are a lot of fun too. But writing is what I really love."

"Wow, you're doing a lot. Well I really wanted to tell you that you show a lot of promise. Not only as a journalist but also as a creative writer and poet. I am also an editor of the writing/ poetry journal; I was talking to your language teacher from last year and she said you're good and interested," Rodney replied.

"Thanks, this really means a lot coming from you," Bridget was stunned.

"No really, you are a great writer. I was wondering if some time you maybe wanted to get together and work on your story or poem for the journal," Rodney said, "I mean it would be on a strictly business/ friendship relationship," he added blushing. Whoa, Bridget thought, this is Rodney Kinsley. He's a sophomore, cute, editor of the newspaper, captain on the swimming team, and extremely popular. His presence is dominating, even while in a crowded room he stood alone. This question was a no brainer.

"Of course Rodney, sounds like fun," Bridget answered, daring to look into his deep blue eyes, blue eyes and dark hair, what a nice combination. He returned her gaze and looked into her electrifying green eyes.

"Cool, here's my number," he said quickly scrawling the seven digits onto a scrap paper. "Call me and we can talk about when a good time to meet would be. Oh, and you can call me Rod."

"Okay," Bridget stated, still clearly dazed. Allie who was also in newspaper came up to Bridget and asked her what Rod wanted. Bridget told Allie the whole story and it ended in a fit of giggles.

This was the first thing to start to throw off Bridget's routine. The next night she talked to Jeremy. "Oh my god! I can't believe that Rod wants to hang out with me! Me of all people, I mean he could pick any one but he picked me. Can you believe it?" Bridget said still flipping out, even though she majorly flipped out when she told Maura, Michelle, Dana, and Allie.

"Yeah it is hard to believe," Jeremy said seriously. "I mean he's a sophomore. Sophomores don't talk to freshmen. Whenever they, or any other upper classmen, talk to freshmen they are making fun of them. But you said he was serious?"

"Yeah! I mean he called last night and helped me with my math over the phone. After we talked for at least another hour or so. He said he wants to know everything about me," she said dreamily.

"Well, you better be careful around him. He's older and more experienced then you are," Jeremy paused slightly, then added, "He might be trying to take advantage of you-"

"He wouldn't-"

Jeremy cut her off like she did to him, "Well he might be different but you still better watch out. I got to go," and he hung up.

Over the next week her feelings for him became almost overwhelming, yet she hardly knew him. The more she got to know him the more she liked him. He turned her world upside down. But she dealt with it easily, Bridget was used to this kind of stuff. Soon a beautiful stranger caused her life to flip flop again. She first saw him at a field hockey game.

Half time is over and Bridget runs onto the field with her fellow teammates. She had been having a casual conversation with Michelle about how much they disliked math, something they had always had in common. Michelle went into her center link position; the number of starting freshman on the JV team now outweighed the number of sophomores. She gave a weak smile, though she didn't show it, she was really nervous. The game was tied 1-1, and tension was high. But Bridget wasn't nervous, she was sure. She was in the zone today, and playing the best game of her career.

"Michelle, we must be butter cause we are on a roll," Bridget joked.

Michelle smiled and cracked up laughing. I knew that would do the trick, Bridget thought, Michelle loves corny jokes. As she joined in laughing someone caught her eye. There was this guy standing on the sideline and he was gorgeous, much better looking then even Rodney. Who is he, she thought.

"Yeah, of course," Michelle said between bursts of laughter. But Bridget didn't reply, she was still staring at that guy. "Bridget, Bridget!" Michelle said waving her arms in front of Bridget's face. "The games about to start."

"Oh really? Sorry I was spacing out. You know me that space cadet," Bridget said forcing laughter. I have to forget about him for now. Its game time. Within a second she was back in her zone. From the link position Bridget could hear Dana growling, the other team was starting to get really scared. Jeez, it was hilarious. The whistle blew and the second half started.

During the second half they flew. They dominated the field. Every one was in the zone; they were all in the right place at the right time. They had each other's backs, jabbed at the right time, contained for just the perfect amount of time. They actually even talked to each other and made really good passes. Bridget, Dana, Cammie, and Michelle, each scored once in the second half and they won 5-1. God it felt good.

After the game Bridget searched the crowds for that guy again, but he was nowhere to be seen.

She didn't see the guy for the next week, but he never left her thoughts. Even when she was with Rodney. He made her play better, her thoughts of him were what she thought some times the only thing that got her through the day. Things with Sally were constantly getting worse, it didn't help that she liked Rodney too. They weren't even civil towards each other anymore. At least she had Maura who she can always talk to and Jeremy. Especially after she had another online conversation with Cammie.

"I hate myself. I really do," Cammie, said out of the blue one day online. They had been talking about field hockey and how their team was doing and then all of a sudden this. Bridget was surprised.

"You don't hate yourself Cammie," she replied.

"Yes I do. You have no idea what its like to be me. Your good at field hockey, I suck, I should just quit already. I would be helping the team by quitting," Cammie said. Whoa, Bridget thought.

"Cammie your really good! You've scored more goals then any other freshman on the team. You were the second freshman to start on JV, after only 3 days into practice she switched you to a starting position. Your great! You'd be hurting the team by quitting. We can't lose you, you help the team too much," was Bridget's sincere reply.

"Yes I am. You're lying just trying to make me feel better. I know it, you know it. I am just a big, fat, ugly loser. I should just give up now while I still have the chance."

"Give up? Give up on what?" Bridget queried now panicking. She didn't want her to try to do it again.

"Field hockey. Life. Everything, no one would care anyhow so it doesn't really matter. I mean my family wouldn't. They'd be like 'Good we don't have another kid to buy clothes and food for.' Seriously, you know my dad has 4 jobs and my parents never went to college. You also know that my mom can't work because of my little brother and his disease."

Bridget's head dropped into her hands and she started to cry. I thought we saw the end of this last year, she thought. Now its back again, I can't deal with all this. Bridget replied, "I thought we saw the end of this last year. Didn't you learn anything in counseling? Your fine the way you are and I definitely know I would be upset if you died. Other people would be to, you have more friends then you think you do," Bridget managed to type through sobs.

"Yeah, well I learned to lie to those counselors. They had no idea what I was going through. Or what it was like to be me, and guess what? They never will! No one will ever know what's its like to be me or live my life. No one will ever know my pain or have to go through what I have been through. When some one has been through what I have and felt what I felt then they can tell me what's wrong and help me with it. But until then I am not going to listen to them," was Cammie's heated reply. Bridget let out a deep breath. Cammie was right, they wouldn't understand.

"I get that they haven't been through what you've been through or felt what you felt, but you should at least listen to what they have to say. I know that they can't get inside your head or read your thoughts on it, but they might be able to help. You never know. And what I am telling you is the truth."

"Well, whatever. You don't know my pain. You don't know it now and you never will. Both of your parents have good jobs and make a lot of money. Your family is a lot better off financially then mine. And your an only child, my parents have 4 plus the doctor's bills. Then they have me the freak who will never go to college or amount to anything. Just always be a big, fat, ugly loser! I wish for anything I could be you. You are pretty, smart, thin, and your parents like you. You have a lot of friends and guys actually like you. Not like me, your life is perfect," Cammie said. Then very quickly she said, "Well I got to go. It's time to cut again. You know 13 in a very unlucky number," and she logged off.

By now Bridget's eyes were swollen from crying and she decided to get her mind off it by doing homework. It didn't work, even though she was reading about the effects World War II had on Europe she couldn't get Cammie out of her mind. Tears were splotched on all her homework assignments. When she thought she was all cried out, more tears came and she started all over again. By nine o'clock Bridget's eyes were nearly swollen shut from all the tears. She was also exhausted; crying sure does take a lot out of you. As she drifted off to sleep with her math stuff still open on her bed she absently thought, I wonder if my teachers will mind the water stains on my homework and in my text books?

The next morning Bridget and Cammie acted as if nothing had happened. For a while Bridget even forgot about it. In English she even joked around with Steve and Jake. They were working on their short stories and Bridget knew exactly what she was going to write about, Cammie, it made perfect sense. Only she would change the names around.

"What to write about, what to write about?" Jack said mindlessly to no one in particular.

Bridget decided to answer, "Well what do you like to do?"

"I don't know," Jack replied.

"Jeez, Jack. You don't even know what you like to do. That jus sad," Steve said cracking up.

"Quiet down in the back!" Mrs.McKinly shrieked. Which just made them laugh even more. But after she threatened to separate them, they calmed down for a little while.

"Uugghh! I need a girls name!" Steve complained in a whisper. "Cynthia!" Jake suggested.

"No!" Steve replied.

"Dena?" Bridget said.

"Dino?" Steve and Jack chorused. "Dino isn't a girls name, it's a dinosaurs name," Jack added.

Laughing Bridget said, "No you guys, I said DE- NA."

"Oohh," again they chorused. "Now that makes more sense," Steve said.

"I need a guys name," Bridget said. Seeing the looks on their faces Bridget added, "A normal guys name." They looked deflated.

"Bob," "George," "Fred," "No, Bob," "Tigo," "No, that names not normal. John," "Robert," "That's the same a Bob dummy" "Oh," "Johnny," "Juanny," "Jeff." This went back and forth between Jack and Steve for at least 10 minutes.

"Okay, okay, never mind," Bridget said. That ended that unusual conversation.

"What's your story about?" Jack asks Bridget, he takes it and starts to read. "Whoa, that's deep. Good thing nothing like that really happened."

"Yeah, I know," Bridget, replied choking back a sob.

"Hey! I finally got an idea," Jack said. "Yes, yes, yes, ow!" Jack had just bashed his fist against the corner of the table and the three of the burst out laughing. The bell rang and the three when their separate ways. I least I get one light conversation today, Bridget thought.

That day during her free period Bridget was able to check her mail. She had one new message in her inbox that was dated from the night before. She didn't know who sent it but the subject was Cammie. The mail read:

Bridget, I am sorry if Cammie has caused you any pain. She really hasn't meant to, it's just the way she is. I apologize for all the times she's made you cry and if she ever does again I will be your shoulder to cry on. She has the same affect on me but I've learned to deal with it. Please don't tell anyone Cammie's secret, it would break my mothers heart.

I wonder who that could be from, Bridget asked herself.
That afternoon Bridget had a field hockey game. Though it was hailing, they all played their hearts out. Extreme conditions make me play better, Bridget thought. The cold pumps my blood faster and gets the adrenalin rush going sooner. Though this was Bridget's belief, not the rest of the team's. They thought that she was crazy for liking the extremely cold weather, but they loved it secretly.

As they walked into their positions Bridget went up behind Michelle, Dana, Cammie, Ashley, a sophomore, and Julie, a sophomore, and said, "Let's do it," in that calm but competitive voice.

Her remark got yells and cheers from the team. "Come on girls! Let's show them we are more then cheerleaders with sticks!" Ashley screamed. Other teams labeling them as cheerleaders with sticks, really makes them mad. So, like any determined girl, they worked three times as hard to prove them wrong. Bridget thought that her coach told the other teams coaches to have their teams say that so they would work harder. But she doesn't know it's just a theory.

"Where oh where oh where could she be?" Bridget sang scanning the crowd for Maura. She was supposed to come today. Finally Bridget finds Maura and waved, Maura probably freezing to death, but she waved ecstatically anyhow. How did I ever deserve a friend like Maura, Bridget asked herself. Bridget suddenly spotted Rod, standing in the crowd (they had no bleachers) with a huge umbrella, big blanket, and two thermoses' of hot chocolate. He's so sweet.

"Oo-ooo," Michelle teased. "Look who's in the crowd. It's Rooddd, you're so lucky!"

"I know," Bridget whispered. As she waved to Rod, she spotted another face in the crowd. It was the mystery guy! He was like her lucky charm, he made her play better. And in that game she flew, they all did. Even though they were numb, and their hands were permanently frozen around their sticks, they played good.

When the game was over, Rod came onto the other side of the field with her blanket and hot chocolate. He greeted her with a huge hug, but she couldn't take her eyes off the mystery guy. Bridget barely even listened when he told her, he had to go but would call her that night, she just nodded. Oh no, Bridget though scanning the crowd for him. He's gone! Bridget depressingly walked to the bus she was to ride home, when someone grabbed her and pulled her behind a tree. Bridget attempted to scream but a strong hand muffled her mouth.

She turned around and found herself face to face with the mystery guy. He was even better looking up close. He was the type of person you gave a second glance, while flipping through a yearbook he was the type of guy you'd stop to look at more closely. He had light brown hair and eyes that were a most unique shade of blue, almost teal. His shoulders had character; they made him look more dominating then Rod. But guys this gorgeous turned out to be jerks.

"Wh-who are you?" Bridget asked stuttering. She never stuttered.

"My name is," pause, "John, John Smith," he said.

"Mine is-."

"I already know your name," he cut her off. Given the stunned look on her face he said, "I've been watching you play for the past couple of weeks. You're very, very good. I have learned to blend into the crowd easily. I bet you didn't even notice I was here," John explained. Oh my god, Bridget thought, he's a stalker.

"But I did notice you were here. At the game just about a week ago, I saw you in the crowd. Well I have to go catch the bus home." Bridget replied trailing off.

"Okay, but what's your screen name? I'm not on often but I would like to know."

"Sorry I don't give out that kind of information to strangers," she replied with a smile. "Bye." Bridget walked onto the bus feeling ecstatically happy. Bridget walked to the back of the bus and took the seat next to Cammie. "Hey, what's going on?" Bridget asked.

"What do you think? I played horribly today. I really should quit; I would be doing the team a favor. Today Adam and I talked during the band meeting. He'll never like me, talking to him was like teasing myself. He's so nice and sweet and cute and caring. Adam is such a great guy, who was I to think he'd ever like a girl like me. I am too ugly and fat," Cammie replied. Bridget took a good look at Cammie, she was about 5'2", 5'3", beautiful shoulder length blonde hair and big brown eyes. It's not like she was bad looking, she was average. So Cammie wasn't as thin as some of the other girls, but she didn't look heavy.

"What? You and Adam look perfect together," and they really did. "Your guys are like a match made in heaven! You two have a lot in common and have band together! There is no reason Adam wouldn't like you. Plus, you have liked him since seventh grade! You two are finally in the same school together again. I bet you guys are going to go out over the course of your high school careers," Bridget said matter of factly.

"Yeah, right. That'll never happen. This is Adam we are talking about here. You he is one of the reasons I started all this. Being with him and knowing I can't have him kills me. That's why I cut. When I do something wrong or when talking to him hurts too much, I just cut myself. It's as simple as that. It's like leaving a visual mark of my pain. It doesn't even hurt anymore, and if it did hurt I wouldn't be hurting anyone but myself. So I don't really see why you care so much what I do to my own body," Cammie firmly stated. "Plus it's not like I cut deep."

"So, that's not that point. The point is that you are physically and mentally hurting yourself. That's not good Cammie, it never is. If Adam is one of the main sources of your pain try to move on or confront him. If you want to I'll do it for you," Bridget offered, choking back the tears that were fighting there way into her eyes.

"No, it's fine. This is your stop," Cammie told her. Bridget said a quick good bye and got off the bus. As she slowly trudged home the hail turned to a cold rain. Which was good because it hid her tears.

At home that night she had her first, of what would come be to many, conversations with Cammie's older brother Jeff. As soon as she logged on the computer he sent her an instant message.

"Hi, I am sorry about my sister. She really needs to control her anger and emotions in a better way. I am very very sorry," the instant message read.

"Who are you? Are you one of Cammie's brothers?" Bridget asked baffled. "Is this Jeff? Cammie told me that she tells you like almost everything."

"Yeah, this is Jeff. I sincerely apologize for my sister. If she has caused you any mental or physical stress, I can help you. I will give you free counseling, I want to be a psychiatrist. So this is like training for me."

"You already know what you want your career to be? Wow, I have an idea but I am not that sure of myself. How old are you anyhow? I mean if you already know what you want your career to be you must be at least a senior. How come I never see you around the school?" Bridget asked.

"Yeah I do. It's probably because of Cammie. I mean she's always came to me with her problems and I've always tried to help her. And guess what, I really enjoyed it. But since I got accepted into the 'fancy school', she really hasn't talked to me. When I got accepted into The Strom King School, SKS for short, you know the prep school about 20 minutes away; she kinda stopped talking to me. It's probably because SKS is a really good school and she thinks I got all the good genes. Me getting a full scholarship into a prep school is like rubbing it in her face that I am smarter and more athletic then her. But I am not. She takes everything to personally," Jeff finished.

"So you're only a sophomore? Wow, and I know what you mean about Cammie. Just cause I was the first freshman to start on JV she thinks I am better than all the other players. But I am not. Cammie is just as good or better then I am. You know she was thinking about quitting the team. That's what she was telling me today on the bus. She was saying that she's so horrible. Sometimes the stress is too unbearable, that I just don't know what to do. I worry about her all the time. I am afraid she's going to go suicidal again. I can't imagine losing her. Death is so final," Bridget said, the tears from earlier now coming back.

"Yeah, I know. She's my sister I want what's best for her. It can get stressful, tell me what's causing you to be so stressed out?" Whoa he was going to make a good therapist.

"Everything. I mean I have to deal with Cammie, that causes me the most stress. I'm afraid that she's going to do something really damaging or permanent. Like slitting her wrists or cutting to deep or trying to take an overdose of something. I don't want her too go suicidal again. That changed my life last year, I didn't really know how to act around her after that. But she was normal and acted like it never happened so I did that same. Only online was when she told me what she was really feeling. I never know how to respond to her. What else can I say other then not to? But I know that isn't what she needs to hear. I have no idea what's she's really feeling on the inside so there is no way I can help her."

"What else in your life is causing you stress?" Jeff asked politely.

"Well grades for one. Getting good grades has always come easily to me. Lately I find myself falling asleep while doing my homework. Quizzes have become harder and for some strange reason tests easier. I'd rather write a paper then take a test or quiz. My grades really aren't slipping so it's not really that big of an issue but I have to try a lot harder then I did before."

"That's just high school catching up to you. I was just like you in middle school, naturally good at school. Don't worry you'll catch up and get used to it. Pretty soon it'll be like middle school, things get harder and they make you grow up in the process. Anything else, cause if its just school you don't have to worry."

"No there's also newspaper and friends and Rodney. Everything, the only thing that stays consistent is my family, well my parents. My parents have always been there for me and have taught me a lot. They are the people I always know I can trust. There are also a few other people I know I can always trust and they are my true friends. But I fear I am losing one of my best friends. One of the ones that means the most to me."

"Well maybe you grew apart. Have you ever thought of that?"

"No we haven't, I think it's because of Rod. He's-"

"I know who Rodney is," was Jeff's crisp reply.

"Yeah, well he's so nice and handsome. He seems perfect. But Jeremy told me to be careful, like he thinks I can't manage myself. He still thinks I am this little girl, but I'm not. Plus I know Rod would never do some thing like that to me," Bridget stated.

"I know Rodney, trust me watch out," Jeff said. "Maybe he's changed but when I knew him." he drifted off, "well just watch out. I got to go, bye." He signed off.

That night Bridget slept uneasily. She didn't know if what Jeff had said about Rod was true or not, but it was bugging her. The next day at newspaper Bridget seemed to notice all of Rod's faults. Like the littlest things stood out very clearly. Such as he used too much gel in his hair or breathed to loudly. Bridget told herself her mind was playing tricks on her. But now she wasn't so sure.

The more she talked to Jeff, the less bad talks she had with Cammie. Maybe Cammie really is getting better, Bridget thought wistfully. Though Cammie seemed to be getting better the rest of Bridget's life seemed to be getting worse. She dominated the field but that seemed to be the only thing in her life she had control of. Maura's ex- boyfriend, the studly star of the soccer team who turned out to be abusive, was now her stalker. Michelle was having a lot of family trouble, with her mother getting remarried and never being around. Allie's long distance relationship was on the rocks because of a romantic influence at home. Heather, another of Bridget's good friends, just broke up with Steve; the both of them took it very hard. Heather sobbed after telling him it wasn't working out. And on top of all that Jeremy and Bridget were in a fight over whether or not it was good for Bridget to be spending so much time with Rodney. Also she was falling behind on her schoolwork from all the extra activities and field hockey. It seemed like talking to Jeff or Rod was her only escape, though she had never seen Jeff in person. So you can expect that Bridget was very glad when Wednesday night rolled around and she had some time to hang out with Rodney and some other friends.

They all met at the local diner around 5:00 on Wednesday night. Rodney had invited her to hang out with some of his friends, so everyone there was older then Bridget. She already knew who some of the people where such as John DeMarco and Freddy Schaffer from football, Will Stevenson and Bobby MacIntire from soccer, and Jason and Joey Matheson from swimming, but other then that she knew almost no one. As it turns about almost all of them knew her. Word was out that the freshman had some good field hockey players to watch out for next year. After a while Rod leaned over and whispered in Bridget's ear, "Let's get out of here."

"Okay," she whispered back wondering where he wanted to go. As soon as they got outside Rod said, "It was getting stuffy in there. I was wondering if you'd like to come over to my place and work on your story for the newspaper?" he asked. This was an offer she couldn't resist.

"Sure," Bridget replied and followed Rod back to his house. When they reached the house all the lights were turned out and there were no cars in the driveway. "Rod, is any one home?"

"Uh, no. My parents thought I was going to be out all night, so they went out to dinner. Is it okay with you that we will be in the house alone?" he asked.

Bridget felt a little uneasy but agreed. When they entered the house Rod led Bridget up to his room. There was only one dim light in his entire bedroom. I wonder how he can read in light this dim, she thought. "Come here," Rod said patting the spot next to him on his bed.

Bridget hesitated, "Um."

"Don't worry I wont bite," Rod said jokingly, "come here." When Bridget hesitated again Rod repeated, "Come here." Although this time a little more sternly, the joking tone was now missing from his voice. Reluctantly Bridget sat down. "It's not so bad now isn't it?" he asked playfully.

"No," Bridget said in almost a whisper. But the truth was she was scared.

"So," Rod said scooting a little closer. Bridget backed away. "What do you want to write your article about?" he asked moving closer with every word. But for every inch he moved closer Bridget moved farther away. "You don't have to be scared," he said in a seductive voice as he traced the outline of her jaw. "It's me, Rod, I am right here," he said in a low tone that sent shivers down her spine. He continued tracing her jaw and his hand was now moving down her neck. Rod now had both hands moving down her torso and inching towards her chest. Bridget was frozen; she had no idea what to do. As soon as his hands seized her chest she snapped back to reality. Suddenly her lightning fast reflexes were back and she slapped Rod as hard as she could. While Rod stood there still thrown off by her harsh slap, Bridget raced down the steps and out the door. She ran as fast as she could away from his house, leaving a trail of tears.

When Bridget finally stopped aimlessly running and surveyed her surrounding, she realized she was outside the diner. Bridget looked around for anyone familiar and she saw Joey Matheson sauntering towards her. Guess he saw me first, she thought. "Hey, you don't look so good," Joey said noticing her tear streaked face. Within an instant Bridget was telling Joey everything that Rod did and she was crying all over again. "I hold the answer to all your problems," Joey stated. Bridget now noticed his voice had a slight slur to it, was he drunk? "Ecstasy," he finished and slipped a small pill into her hand. Joey then sauntered back over to his car and drove away, sliding all over the road.

I never realized how large and rigid the school looked, Bridget thought walking off the bus. It looks like a huge brick and metal prison. I can't believe I never noticed that before, Bridget had always prided herself on being observant. Bridget felt very detached and still violated from the other night. She felt as though she was in color in a world of black and white. That she stood out, violently contrasting with her surrounding. Everyone seemed to be staring at her, the students were like the red sea parting for her like they did for Moses. Bridget's world seemed to be muted to a hushed whisper. She walked through her routine like a zombie. She sat in the far back of every class and didn't pay attention; all she did was stare out the window. During her free period she ditched all her clubs and swam laps in the pool, she thought it would help clear her head but she didn't succeed. At field hockey practice the coach sent her home early because she seemed sick and disoriented, this put Bridget over the edge. "I've lost the only thing in my life that I can control," Bridget muttered bitterly walking into an empty house.

Bridget decided to take a nice, long, hot, shower. It would clear her bad thoughts and help her think of solutions to her problems. As she picked up her razor Bridget wondered how Cammie felt after she cut. She turned the blade over in her hand and examined it. Then with trembling hands Bridget took the blade and brought it to her thigh. She gently pressed the blade against her skin and told herself it would be a shallow clean cut, she would barely feel anything. Her hands were shaking so violently that Bridget scratched her thigh with the razor. Just as she was about to make the incision there was a loud knock on the door. It startled Bridget and the razor clattered to the bottom of the shower. "Bridget!" her mother called.

"Yeah mom?" Bridget answered now breathless.

"Are you alright? You've been in the shower nearly half an hour."

"I'm fine mom," Bridget said with a sigh.

"You sure?" her mother called back.

"Yeah!"

"Well if you ever need to talk about anything, anything at all you know I'll always be here okay? No matter what."

"Yeah mom I do." Bridget was relieved; she thought that her mother had found the ecstasy. She sighed. Bridget finished up her shower and right after she checked her mail. There was one new message, from Cammie.

Bridget, I know about you and my brother, Jeff. He tried to hide it from me but it's no use. He's not the only person in our family who would make a good psychiatrist. I know you two talk to each other. And you talk about me. And how I ruin your lives. I've always told you that no one likes me and see you and my own brother hate me like every one else! I told you Jeff was perfect. Even you couldn't resist him, no one can. Jeff didn't get his scholarship reinstated for a third year. My parents don't have enough money to send him back. Maybe if I was dead they would. I really want what's best for Jeff; maybe if I wasn't around anymore my family would be better off. Jeff likes you too, I can tell. It's just the look he gets on his face every time I mention your name. You guys are so much alike, you're both good looking, smart, athletic, and I have ruined both of your lives. See a match made in heaven. My times run out now. Not only to be on the computer but in this life. ~Cammie

"No," Bridget breathed finishing my email. "No, no, no," Bridget repeated. "This can't be happening." At the moment the phone rang with a loud, BRING. Bridget pounced on the phone hoping it was for her. "Hello?" she asked tentatively.

"Hey, its me, Jeremy. What's wrong?" he asked. Oh yeah I called him the other night, Bridget remembered.

"Everything," was her reply. Bridget went into telling Jeremy everything. And I mean everything. She told him about everything that had happened since the first day of school. When Bridget came to the part about Rod being a jerk she kind of expected him to say, "I told you so." But Jeremy didn't, he just listened. He really was a great listener too. When Bridget came to the part about seriously considering taking the ecstasy, Jeremy interrupted her.

"Don't take the ecstasy. It will be the biggest mistake of your life. Millions of teens die from only one pill. You have too much to live for to die at fourteen. You're a good student, an excellent writer, a great field hockey player, and an even better friend," Jeremy said sincerely. "And it's obvious that this Jeff kid likes you. About the Rodney thing, well you couldn't have known. You showed good judgment by slapping him and running out of the house. But don't take the ecstasy; it would be a huge mistake! Please, can you just do it for me?" He then added, "Plus, who would take care of Cammie?"

Jeremy is one of the few people other then Bridget and Jeff that know about Cammie. "Your right. I am going to go over to Cammie's house right now and figure out what's going on," Bridget said and hung up the phone. Luckily Cammie only lived a few blocks away from Bridget. Cammie lived in a development consisting of smaller houses then the ones in Bridget's but they were still nice. In a matter of minutes Bridget was standing on Cammie's doorstep and ringing the bell. A vaguely familiar face greeted her at the door. It was the beautiful stranger.

"John Smith!" Bridget exclaimed.

"No," he said blushing, "this is Jeff, Cammie's older brother."

"No, no you told me your name was John Smith. You said you were John Smith, not Jeff," Bridget retorted, getting mad.

"I know, and I am sorry for lying to you. It's just that I didn't want Cammie to find out that I had been talking to you. You see she has this policy where she won't let me date her friends. So I figured if I told you I was John Smith Cammie wouldn't find out. That idea didn't work," Jeff said. Bridget was just taken aback by this. Here was this great looking guy who also happened to be nice, smart and athletic. You don't find many of those around these days. Jeff continued, "I also wanted you to get to know me. Most people automatically judge you on your looks, good or bad. They see someone who they think is good looking and all of a sudden they are either interested in you and if your not so great looking they don't want to talk to you. I'd rather have you get to know and hopefully like me, by my personality not my looks."

"Oh," Bridget said stunned. "Is Cammie here?"

"Yeah she's locked herself in her room. She said she refuses to come out until I give her, her razors back. Or her stash of Tylenol or cough medicine. I raided her room while she was on the computer," Jeff said. For the next two hours Jeff and Bridget just talked. About everything, she told him what happened between her and Rodney. He didn't criticize her or tell her what she did was wrong; all he did was give her a big hug. At the time that's all she needed. They also talked about Cammie a little bit and how they were afraid she was going to do some thing drastic. But eventually Bridget had to leave and go home, tomorrow was Friday after all and she had to go to school.

On that particular Friday things happened that Bridget would remember for the rest of the year, probably her high school career, and maybe even the rest of her life. On the bus on the way to school Bridget got a very important phone call from Jeff. He called Bridget to tell her he found a suicide note while looking for a pen in Cammie's desk. Bridget started to cry on the bus, why did Cammie have to do this, she thought miserably. Though Bridget perked up a bit when she saw Cammie in the hallways. During lunch Adam came up to Bridget.

"Hey Bridget, um, I know you don't really know me and I don't really know you but um, Cammie told me that she was uh, friends with you," he managed to get out.

"Hi, yeah I know who you are. And yes, I am friends with Cammie. What do you want?" she asked calmly. But her head was pleading him not to say anything bad about Cammie.

Well, um, I uh, think I kind of, um, like Cammie," he struggled to say. "And, well I was, um, wondering if, uh, that, um," he took a pause, "if Cammie maybe liked me to? And like if she kind of did, then I was wondering if she'd ever maybe go out with me too?"

"Well all I am going to say is that maybe you should give it a shot," Bridget replied with a sly wink.

"Okay," Adam replied with a huge smile plastered on his face. At the end lunch Cammie walked up to Bridget with a huge smile on her face, one probably even bigger then Adam's.

"Hi! Oh my god, you will never believe what just happened!" Cammie nearly screamed. Bridget could tell she was clearly restraining herself from jumping in circles screaming, "He asked me out! He asked me out! He asked me out!"

"What?" Bridget said like she really had no idea what Cammie was talking about. Bridget was good at faking surprise. Plus she figured that it would make Cammie feel even better that Bridget wasn't in on it.

"You'll never believe this. When I was walking out of band Adam and I started talking. And then he asked me out! Oh my god isn't that so great! He surprised me so bad I was speechless!"

"Oh my god! That's so great! I told you that you and Adam would make a great couple," Bridget replied.

"I know I couldn't believe it. I thought he was joking! I mean seriously, don't tell any one but this morning I was seriously considering doing, you know." Cammie trailed off but Bridget knew what she was talking about.

"Good thing you didn't."

"Yeah, well I got to go, talk to you later. Bye bye!" Cammie said. Bridget watched her leave and smiled. The rest of the day went by like a breeze. Except for when she confronted Rodney of course. She told him off in front of the entire newspaper staff, and said she hoped he had learned his lesson, to never to try to take advantage of a girl. She told him that she had learned hers, looks are skin deep. Bridget walked out of school after the newspaper meeting that day feeling much better then she had in a long, long time. As she stepped into the warm, sunshine, she noticed Jeff waiting for her underneath a large oak tree.

"Hey, what's up?" Bridget said approaching him.

"Hi, nothing. I had the day off so I decided to come here and surprise you. Cammie just told me the good news. That's great, isn't it?"

"Yeah I know. I was just so happy for her," Bridget replied sighing. She could see Cammie and Adam holding hands across the courtyard.

"You know what would do you some good?" Jeff asked her.

"What Jeff?" Bridget queried.

"A walk in the park. You know walking can help relieve stress. It's a known fact, they have statistics and everything for it," Jeff said matter oh factly.

"Oh really now does it? You want to see for ourselves?" she asked him.

"You read my mind. That's exactly what I was about to suggest," Jeff replied. Jeff put his arm around Bridget and they walked off towards the park chatting casually about sports and school. Bridget looked up into Jeff's strong, handsome face as they walked. She felt truly safe with his arm around her, or at least safe as she was going to feel. While she looked up at him she thought, I wonder what else this year has to throw at me. Now I know whatever it is I'll have to take it one step at a time. "Aren't those colors magnificent?" Jeff said pointing to the sunset.

"Yeah, they are," Bridget said with a smile. Jeff took her hand and they walked off into the sunset together. The last thought Bridget had before she gave over to emotion was, never in my wildest dreams did I think heaven was gonna be so hot.