Chapter one- Liv

            I was going to kill him. Murder him. I swore to myself as I marched through the halls down to the nurse's office.

            "Hey, Liv, what's… oh no. What happened?" my best friend Nell Palmer asked as we passed each other in the empty hall. The knowing look on her face already told me that she wasn't going to like what I was about to tell her.

            "One of these days, Nell, I swear I'm going to rip Damien Devoir's head off of his shoulders and feed it to your pit bull!" I snapped.

            "What did he do?" she asked calmly.

            "What didn't he do? God it is the first day of freshman year… the first day and he had to go and dump his entire water bottle all over me," I spluttered.

            "Olivia what did you do to him?" she asked cynically and I just glared at her.

            "You're supposed to be on my side about this," I muttered.

            "What did you do, Liv?" she asked again and I sighed.

            "One thing led to another… as usual, and we just argued and he yanked on my hair as I walked past so I… I…" I couldn't stop giggling.

            "Liv!" she nearly shouted as she gripped my shoulders.

            "I pulled his pants down," I said and she just looked at me, and we both started laughing.

            "Oh Liv… no…" she said shaking her head, but I just nodded.

            "Yeah so he dumped his water bottle all over me. I'm going to the nurse now to call my dad and get him to run me up another pair of clothes," I sighed.

            "So how many classes do you have with him this year?" she asked.

            "Well its only fourth period, and he's been in my English and Biology and obviously Chorus," I muttered.

            "I don't care what you say, you two have always sounded great together," she said and I just huffed. We were both the lead vocalists in the county.

            "I don't care. I can't stand him. One day, Nell, one day I'm going to do it. I'm going to kill him," I said and she just shook her head as she walked back down the hall.

            "Go the nurse!" she called and I just shrugged as I wandered around the halls, managing to lose myself.

            "Great…" I muttered as I hugged myself. It was freezing cold in the building, and I was soaked to the bone in a white tank top and a pair of jean shorts.

            "Crestman," I heard him call me, but I just kept walking. "Hey come on, wait up," he said.

            "Why? So you can dump more water over my head and chill me even colder to the bone? I'll get you back for it Devoir," I spat as I spun around to face him, water spraying from my long wet curly hair.

            "Yeah I don't doubt it," he mumbled, glaring at me with those greenish gold eyes of his. I just glared back. We had a history. Since elementary school we had a history, of hating one another.

            "Batman?" I asked, and the blush I saw rise in his cheeks satisfied me.

            "I had nothing else to wear and I didn't expect to come to my first day of high school and have my pants pulled to my ankles!" he nearly shouted.

            "And I didn't expect to have a bottle of water dumped over my head and catch pneumonia!" I shouted right back at him.

            "What is going on out here?" a teacher asked coming out of his room.

            "Sorry sir, I was on my way to the nurse's office," I said glancing around. "But I got lost," I sighed.

            "Freshman. The nurse is down this hall to your left. And what are you doing young man?" he asked.

            "Bathroom," he said holding up his pass.

            "Uh huh, well let's keep it down then. There are classes," the teacher said, and with that, closed the door.

            "See what you did?" I hissed at him.

            "You started it, icy," he hissed right back, and I kept my gaze fixed ahead of me.

            "Are you ever going to grow up and just stop with the name calling?" I asked.

            "Are your eyes ever going to stop looking like glaciers every time you look at me?" he replied.

            "Not unless yours stop looking like a burning emeralds," I mumbled as I walked into the nurse's office to call my father. High school was going to miserable.

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Junior Year- Three Years Later

            "Hey Nell," I yawned as she threw her books in the back of my'79 Mustang. I was running late that morning, but she'd said she wanted a ride anyway.

            "Hey," she said climbing in and shutting the door and I took off down the road.

            "Sorry, my alarm didn't go off," I said as she cranked the heat up.

            "Don't worry about it. Gave me time to do that History assignment," she said and I nodded absentmindedly. "What's wrong Liv?" she asked.

            "Tryouts are today," I said.

            "And I still don't know why you are so worried about it. Just because it's the first time you're trying out for the damn winter play, doesn't mean that you can't get cast. You will get a part, and I'm betting money on the lead or supporting lead," Nell said confidently and I just gave her a meek smile.

            "I don't know. I hope so," I said.

            "You'll be fine," she said. "As long as you can hold your temper and pull in some good acting skills around Damien, than you're going to be fine," she said.

            "What makes you think he's going to make it? It's his first time trying out as well!" I snapped.

            "Hello! You both do solo's for Chorus all the time and Mr. Bell has been after you two to try out since freshman year, Liv. You both have got the leads in the bag. There is no one that can top your voice and you know it," she said.

            "What about Heather Francis? She's got almost an opera voice, and she's had the lead since before we even got into high school," I moaned.

            "But it's not anywhere near as good as yours. Enough, I'm not giving you anymore pep talks," she said turning the radio on and I just shook my head.

            "If Damien screws this up for me, I swear to God that's it. I'll destroy that precious little sports car of his. I need this role. You know that I need to participate in something this year in order to get a good transcript for college," I said and she nodded.

            "I know," she said simply. Nell didn't have that problem. She'd never had that problem. She was the class treasurer, a member of student council and national honors society, participated in SADD, was captain of the Varsity Softball team that went to the state championship every year, managed the guys' Junior Varsity Football team and was a peer counselor. She had a GPA of 3.98 in her G&T and AP classes and had her list of Ivy League schools all picked out.

            "Yeah you have nothing to worry about Miss Perfect," I said.

            "I am not perfect," she said. "Don't call me perfect."

            "Okay… Miss Perfect. Are you going to come to the auditions and hang out, or are you going to get a ride home with Deacon's friend?" I asked.

            "No I'll stay and hang out, I think he is too," she said.

            "Thanks Nell," I sighed as we pulled into the already full parking lot. As I drove down the row to my assigned parking space, I nearly screamed as I saw Damien's little black Mercedes parked in spot.

            "Uh oh…" Nell murmured as she glanced at me and then at Damien's car. I threw my car into reverse and drove out backwards nearly three times as fast as I had come in, scaring a few people up and down the row. I found his parking space completely empty, and I pulled in and turned the car off.

            "I'm still looking up those anger management control courses for you," she said and I smirked as I reached into the backseat and got my binder and my old jean bag that was covered in patches of some of my favorite classic rock bands.

            "You do that Nell, you do that," I said.

            "Hey baby," we heard Deacon say as he jogged up to us and took Nell's books as he kissed her. "What's wrong?" he asked immediately when he saw the alarmed look she still had on her face from my little stunt.

            "I'm going to homeroom, guys," I said as I quickened my steps and they slowed theirs. It was a morning routine. Nell and Deacon had met freshman year and had been together since. I knew that five years later I'd be visiting them both at their home and playing aunt to their kids.

            "Well Crestman, nice show you just put on," Damien said in my ear as he walked up behind me, and I pushed him away.

            "Devoir, I am not in the mood. Just to let you know, next time you take my space, the space that I paid for in full, not only will you be called down to the office and fined, you will be picking your car up at the body shop," I said with a false smile and he just laughed.

            "Yeah, I'm sure your insurance company would love that," he said.

            "Yeah, I'm sure your insurance company just loves your little expensive sports cars," I said. "Oh, but wait, Mr. Millionaire has enough money to throw around like that, what on earth was I thinking?" I said as I stalked away from him, leaving him just standing there, shaking his head.

            The day seemed to drag by endlessly, and I was both looking forward to and resenting the tryouts for the play. We only had this one chance, and then the results were to be posted the next morning. As soon as the bell for 7th period rang, I dashed out of my physics class and down the stairwell, nearly plowing people over as I did.

            "Jesus Christ Liv! What's the rush?" I heard Adam say as he grabbed hold of my wrist as I pushed the door open to the stairwell.

            "Adam, not now, I have to go. The tryouts are today. Remember?" I asked him and he just sighed.

            "No I didn't. I'm sorry; I have tutoring today, a new kid who's failing algebra or something. I'm sorry," he said again and I just shook my head.

            "No don't worry about it. You go. I'll call you later," I said and he kissed my cheek and squeezed my hand.

            "Good luck," he said walking down the hall, and I just waved. We'd just started dating three weeks ago, and I was finally starting to hope that I'd found something that would last. My two previous boyfriends had both used me, and then dumped me, after I'd told them I wouldn't sleep with them. But Adam was different…

            "Crestman," I was dragged out of my dream and back to reality as I was walking down the hall in a daze. It was Damien, again, as usual.

            "Come to tell me to break a leg?" I asked without turning around as I pulled the door open to the auditorium.

            "Actually, yeah, literally," he said tugging on one of my curls as he walked past to join his friends at the foot of the stage who had stayed to watch him try out, including his newest girlfriend Dahlia Rinata, otherwise known as the class slut.

            "You too Devoir," I muttered as I dropped my bags into the seat next to me and then sat down and reclined back into the comfortable chairs.

            "Okay, before we begin, I'd like to thank you all for coming to try out for our winter play. There are many of you, and a limited amount of parts, so obviously not everyone will receive a part in the play. This year, we are performing Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare, or otherwise known as Kiss Me Kate. So for your audition, you will be asked to perform a scene with another member, and then a solo, and then you will have to sing. So good luck to all. First up, we have Ashley Grant," Mr. Bell, the director of the theater arts course said as he greeted everyone. I glanced around at all of the fifty or so people trying out, and noticed how everyone was looking at me and whispering; especially Heather Francis and Dominic Shuler. They'd had the leads in the last five school plays, before I was even in high school.

            "Oh great," I mumbled as I sank further down into my chair. That was the last thing I needed.

            "Hey, sorry we're late. Told you we'd show," I heard Nell say and I smiled at her and Deacon as they sat down.

            "You nervous?" Deacon asked, but I shook my head.

            "No, not really, just more worried about Heather Francis," I sighed.

            "Oh. Don't worry about her. You can beat her hands down. Liv I think you've got this all pretty much covered. You don't have any competition except for Damien, but he's going to get the male lead obviously of Petrucio," he said and I just shrugged as Damien walked on stage.

            "Where's Olivia Crestman? That girl promised me she'd be here…" Mr. Bell said and I stood up.

            "I'm here Mr. Bell," I said walking over to him, my hand on my hip as I glanced back at Nell and Deacon and ran a hand through my mess of light brown curls. I could feel Damien's heated glare on me and didn't even bother to look up at him.

            "Good, good. I want you and Mr. Devoir to perform Act I Scene II, where Petrucio is trying to convince Kate to marry him and she goes literally haywire," Mr. Bell said handing me a script and I took it as I walked on stage. He gave us a few minutes to look at the script before we had to perform it. I smiled to myself when I read that I had the opportunity to slap him across the face. I was already enjoying it.

            "Um, Mr. Bell. There's one problem with this scene," Damien said glancing over at me and then to the teacher and I groaned.

            "You are such a baby," I snapped at him and he just looked at me.

            "It says that she gets to hit me," he said anyway.

            "Well just improvise it then," Mr. Bell said.

            "No, I can hit him. I don't mind, believe me I'd love to," I said, and half of the people auditioning burst out laughing. It only earned me another glare from Damien.

            "Miss Crestman, that won't be necessary," Mr. Bell said shaking his head, muttering something that sounded oddly like "I should have been prepared for the two of you…"

            "Okay," I said reluctantly. I still got to scream and shout at him while he tried his damnedest to pacify me. After we performed the scene, we just looked at each other and then down to Mr. Bell who was nodding his approval. Damien and I both glanced at Heather and Dominic, who were both talking amongst themselves, glaring at the two of us. It made me shudder.

            "Good. Olivia, flip to Act II Scene III and read the soliloquy by Kate," Mr. Bell said, and I did. To my surprise, I found acting easier than I thought it was going to be. "And now, a song. You can choose whatever you wish, just see if Nikki knows it on the piano," he said. I walked over and told her that I wanted to sing a Leann Rimes song to show the range of my voice and she said it wasn't a problem. I took a breath, hummed a few scales to get myself in tune, and then closed my eyes and belted out Commitment.

            "Yeah Liv! You show 'em girl!" Nell shouted as soon as I was finished and I opened my eyes to a stunned audience, well everyone except Nell, Deacon, and Damien, who looked as if he were bored.

            "I'm so sorry that you've gotten sick of my voice over the past couple of years, but you aren't so special yourself anymore either, Devoir," I said as I walked past him and off the stage. And after he performed, I looked just about as bored as he felt, and I had to turn away when his new little lovesick girlfriend who followed him around like a puppy dog started hanging all over him.

            After everyone was done auditioning, I told Nell and Deacon to take off without me, and I stayed in the auditorium alone for a few minutes, just staring at the stage. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I'd just fallen in love with acting.

            "Don't look so smitten with yourself. You don't have the lead just yet," I heard the cold voice of Heather Francis and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I'd thought I'd been alone.

            "Heather, I realize that you must be upset after not having any competition for the last five plays you've been in, and I never intended to try out-"

            "Than why did you?" she nearly shouted at me as she took a step towards me, her brown eyes blazing with anger.

            "Because I needed the extracurricular activity," I barely got out. I knew I was lousy when it came to one on one confrontations, well, with anyone except Damien. I could hold my ground against him but that was just about it. I had no brothers or sisters to argue with and I'd never been one to pick fights. I avoided them at all costs.

            "So why couldn't you have just joined Show Choir or something?" she snapped.

            "I- because I, just, didn't think about it…?" I stammered.

            "Yeah well I'm just letting you know now, I've got the lead. I don't care what he posts tomorrow, if it says you, you're going to him and telling him that you don't feel comfortable with the part. I know Damien got the male lead, and he can make the female lead soar and I don't plan on letting you ruin this for me. And if you do, so help me God you'll pay," she said through her teeth.

            "Heather don't you threaten her. She deserves the part more than you ever will, and I'll be damned if I play the lead next to you. If I make anyone soar it isn't going to be your sorry excuse for talent. Let's go Crestman," Damien came out of nowhere and he grabbed my hand as he led me out of the auditorium, leaving Heather stunned. As soon as we were out of the school building, I spun around and looked up at him.

            "Why'd you do that?" I demanded to know, more embarrassed at the fact that he'd seen me at a complete loss for words in front of Heather.

            "Why'd you let her make a fool out of you?" he demanded, completely upset with me about it.

            "She didn't make a-"

            "Oh yes she did, Crestman, now isn't the time to let your pride take over you," he sighed as he glanced over at me as we walked to our cars.

            "I was fine," I mumbled, expecting him to laugh, but he didn't.

            "No, you weren't. You're terrified of her; I saw it written all over your face, you couldn't even talk in sentences Crestman. You weren't fine," he said.

            "Yeah well I don't need anyone to come to my rescue and help me argue with someone who doesn't deserve the time of day," I said.

            "Then why did you let her get to you? You don't let me get to you," he said.

            "You're different, Devoir," I sighed.

            "Why'd you let her get to you?" he asked again and I shook my head.

            "I didn't," I said.

            "Whatever. Just listen to me for two seconds before you go driving off in your damn horse, don't give up the lead. I won't do it if you're not playing beside me," he said and with that walked away. I looked at him quizzically as I got into my car and then just shrugged as I started the engine and left.

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            "So how do you think you did?" Adam asked. I'd just gotten out of the shower and I was sitting on my bed wrapped in my towel when my phone rang and I snatched it up. I smiled to myself when I heard his voice on the other end.

            "I'm not sure. I guess we'll find out tomorrow," I said.

            "Come on Liv, no time to be modest," he chided and I just laughed.

            "Seriously? Well… I think I may have the lead," I said.

            "I knew you'd do fine. And your voice completely surpasses Heather's," he added and I shuddered at the mention of her name.

            "I know. I think Damien probably has the male lead as well," I said.

            "Well we all know that Mr. Bell has been looking for someone good enough to replace Dominic for a few years now, Liv," he said.

            "Yeah he didn't do so great," I said.

            "He's the reason no one comes to the shows," he sighed. "But now that we've got you and Damien as the leads, it should be packed. Everyone knows that you two can sing," he said.

            "I hope. How are you such an optimist?" I asked with a small laugh.

            "How? Because you never seem to have enough confidence in yourself and I'm just trying to help, Liv," he said and I smiled.

            "I appreciate it," I said quietly.

            "Are you angry with me now?" he asked hesitantly.

            "No! No, of course not, complete opposite in fact. I just… didn't realize you care you so much," I said.

            "Well I do and I have for months now, I just wish I hadn't waited so long to tell you," he said. We'd met each other when I had been a freshman, him a sophomore, and had been friends since. It had never occurred to me that he'd wanted more than a friendship, but when'd he asked me on a date, I'd found myself saying yes.


            "Liv don't interrupt me. I just- I've liked you since the day we met, and it's taken me two and a half years to gain the confidence to ask you out. I'm a senior now, and I don't have much time left at home. And I could kill myself for waiting so damn long. Olivia, just promise me you won't push me away if I rush things. Stop me or tell me to slow down and I will, just don't push me away," he said quietly.

            "Adam you know I wouldn't," I said just as quiet. He meant the world to me; he was my best friend next to Nell.

            "Thank you," he sighed.

            "What do you want to do tomorrow night?" I asked.

            "Let's just stay in and get some movies or something," he said.

            "Sounds good. Listen, I'm sitting here wrapped in a towel freezing-"

            "Did you just get out of the shower?" he asked.

            "Yes, so let me change and-"

            "I'll just talk to you tomorrow in school. I've got a project I have to finish anyway. I just got bored with it and called you," he sighed.

            "You better finish it Adam," I warned.

            "I will, I will. Get dressed, go to sleep miss leading lady," he said and I laughed.

            "We'll see, don't jinx me," I said.

            "Good night Liv," he said.

            "Night Adam," I said and hung up the phone. I changed into pajamas and crept downstairs, careful not to disturb my father who was sitting in the living room grading papers. He was a college professor at the local University and taught Creative Writing classes along with Basic English classes. As I quietly walked passed the living room, he glanced up.

            "Why so quiet? What's wrong Liv?" my father asked as he took his reading glasses off and sighed as he sat back in the sofa. He'd been attentive to me ever since my mother had died of cancer a year and a half ago… well, when he wasn't away from home, which was starting to become more frequent. 

            "Nothing dad. I just had a long day, the tryouts were today," I said as I walked in and sat down across from him, picking up a few of the essays on the coffee table. I saw that they were short stories and scanned through the first one on the stack.

            "And how do you think you did?" he asked and I glanced back up at him.

            "Okay," I said simply.

            "Olivia…" he started and I just looked at him.

            "I think I got the lead. Nell and Deacon were there, it helped," I said.

            "How is Nell? She hasn't been over in a few weeks," he said and I just shrugged.

            "She's been out of town a lot recently dad. I think something is wrong with her aunt up in Maine," I sighed.

            "Again?" he inquired.

            "I don't think the problem was ever resolved," I answered, leaving it at that. I didn't like prying into other people's private lives, even if it was Nell.

            "Well, I don't know how you felt about the mare we went and saw last weekend, but I went ahead and bought her anyway," he said, changing the subject. I looked up surprised.

            "You bought the Appaloosa?" I asked with a smile and he nodded.

            "I'm going to go up and get her this Sunday if you want to come with me," he said, and I nodded.

            "What's her name again?" I asked.

            "Storm Dancer, but the owner's called her Dancer," he said.

            "Dancer," I said with a satisfied smile. "I like it." We lived on a horse farm that my mother used to run. Since her death, we'd done our best to keep up with it, and the horses, but we'd hired a few ranch hands to help us out, and since then it had been running smoothly.

            "It's getting late, don't you think? And you are getting that other Mustang tomorrow," my Dad interrupted my thoughts, and I sighed and nodded.

            "Yeah, I know. I've got to clean out part of my garage for it too. And I have to finish Mr. Mark's engine," I moaned and my father just chuckled.

"My daughter the mechanic. I never would have thought. But if it's what you want than you know I'm fine with it," he said and I nodded. I had my own garage where I restored old classics and also worked on the locals' cars as well for a price. It's where I got the money to restore the cars I loved so much.

"Good night, dad," I said kissing his cheek as I stood up and walked into the back of the house to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Taking the back stairs up so as not to disturb him anymore, I went into my room and shut the door and plopped down on my bed. But sleep was not coming. I was too nervous about the play, about what role I was cast in. I was more so worried about how Heather was going to take it. And how on earth was I going to be able to stand Damien long enough to put on a show for the entire community?

            "Oh God help me…" I moaned as I finally fell into a restless sleep.

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            "Well come on! Why are you slacking behind? You're the one in the play you know!" Nell rushed as she pulled me across the school parking lot the next morning, making me drop all of my books.

            "Nell! Would you please calm down for two seconds? Two seconds is all I ask," I begged as I stooped down to pick up all of my things.

            "Fine! Come on," she said, ignoring every word I had just said. I just huffed as I glared at her, swiping a curl out of my face as I stood up and marched ahead of her.

            "You are getting on my nerves," I warned her as we walked into the building and calmly made our way to the auditorium where the cast list would be posted. I sighed as I walked over on trembling knees and waited for everyone to clear out of the way. I spotted Damien all the way in the front, a broad grin on his face telling me one thing only: he had the lead. He must have sensed my glaring at him as I shook my head because he glanced back at me.

            "Well?" I called up to him, not wanting to push my way through the crowd.

            "You've got it," he said and I laughed and smiled as I hugged Nell.

            "I got the lead! Oh my God, yes, this is exactly what I need," I said as Deacon walked over. He took one look at us and just smiled.

            "You got it didn't you?" he asked and I nodded, nearly jumping up and down as I hugged him.

            "Yes, yes I got it! I play Kate," I said, my thoughts running a mile a minute through my head. They were stopped dead in their tracks though as soon as I more felt than saw Heather Francis' raging glare on me. I nervously glanced at her out of the corner of my eye, and she was fuming.

            "Come on, let's get out of here. Do you two have any important classes today?" Deacon asked, noticing my unease, and we looked at each other and shook our heads.

            "No… well I have a test," Nell sighed.

            "I don't. I just have to come back at the end of the day for rehearsal. Why?" I asked, although I already knew.

            "When's your test, babe?" Deacon asked.

            "Second period," she said with a grimace.

            "Then meet Liv and I at the Corner Café around quarter of ten. We don't need to be here," he said.

            "Sounds good to me. Let me find Adam though and see if he wants to come…" I said pulling out my cell and text messaging him. He answered saying that he had two classes that he couldn't miss, and he couldn't come.

            "Oh well, we'll have fun on our own. Come on, let's get out of here," Deacon said.

            "Alright, good luck on your test Nell, we'll see you in a bit," I said.

            "Thanks, bye guys," she said quickly kissing Deacon and then heading for homeroom as Deacon and I left the building.

            "Listen, I'm having a party next week. Please, please, please say you'll let me borrow-"

            "Deacon you know I don't care," I said looking at him as we got into my car and drove out of the parking lot and down the two-minute road to the Café.

            "Thanks, I didn't think you'd care. I just wanted to ask before taking the speakers," he said.

            "No problem, I'll just drop them off next Friday," I said as we walked into the Café and ordered our drinks and sat down.

            "Wait… does that mean you aren't coming?" he asked.

            "I don't know Deacon. I may, I may not. But you can use my speakers either way," I said.

            "No, you have to come. Nell will be pissed if you and Adam don't show," he said.

            "Nell will not be pissed. She could care less if I ever showed up to any of these parties that you two throw. I stayed for five minutes last time, and she thought I'd been there the entire night," I said.

            "Then at least make an appearance before taking off," he said.

            "I guess," I said.

            "Well if I can't convince you, Nell will," he said confidently. And he was right. As soon as she arrived from her brief walk, ten minutes late, he told her that I wasn't planning on coming, and ten minutes after that she'd cornered me into making a promise about showing up. I didn't really mind. I was used to going to her parties, staying for a half an hour and then taking off back home.

            "So you have the lead in the play… this is great. I'm joining Tech Crew just to be around the whole atmosphere of it all," Nell said excitedly and we both just looked at her.

            "Do you have time?" Deacon asked and she nodded. She made time for everything, including him. How she managed everything, we would never know.

            "Yes I have time, I always have time," she answered.

            "We know," I said.

            "Back to the party…" she rattled on about the details. We hung out at the mall for the rest of the day until I had to go back to school.

            "Have fun, don't rip Damien's head off!" Nell called after me after I dropped them both off back at her house and drove back to school. I parked my car and hurried into the building only to find that I was early.

            "Miss Crestman… where were you fourth period?" Mr. Bell asked as he saw me sit down in one of the seats.

            "Guidance," I said simply and he nodded as he turned back to talking to another student.

            "Bullshit," Damien said as he sat down next to me.

            "And why on earth would you care?" I asked with a sigh as I flipped through the playbook he handed me.

            "I don't. I just saw you and Deacon leave right after you found out and then Nell wasn't in third period. I kind of put two and two together," he said and I smirked.

            "Well aren't you the smart one," I said.

            "Yes I am thank you very much," he said. He wasn't making a move to get up either.

            "Where's your little lovesick puppy dog?" I asked and he laughed.

            "Why?" he asked dryly and I glanced up at him a little surprised.

            "Well just figured since she follows you everywhere including the bathroom she'd be here," I said simply as I closed the book and looked at him.

            "Why are you always so cynical?" he asked, genuinely interested.

            "Why are you always so arrogant?" I asked and he shrugged.

            "Hey, when you look this good, why not?" he asked and I just shook my head.

            "You aren't good looking, get over yourself," I said. It was a lie. He was good looking by all meaning of the word, tall, dark hair, greenish gold eyes, perfect tan that was just his natural bronze tone, dazzling smile and an amazingly toned body to go with. But he knew he was good looking which made him an arrogant asshole. What also made him an arrogant asshole was the fact that he had money and flaunted it, and that we'd argued our entire lives and he loved besting me. I stood up to go to the bathroom, but he grabbed the seat in front of him blocking my path. I just crossed my arms as I looked down on him.

            "I am too Crestman and you know it," he declared.

            "You need your ass kicked once or twice Devoir, and I know a ton of people who'd be willing to do it, myself included," I said shoving past him as I smacked him upside the head, and in turn he smacked my ass. I snapped my head around and glared at him as he just laughed.

            I stalked into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror and just looked at myself.

            "Why do you let him get to you?" I asked myself as splashed some water on my face and then grabbed a paper towel and wiped it off. I nearly jumped a mile when Heather walked into the bathroom with two of her friends, both members of the play as well, just with less significant parts.

            "Well, if it isn't Miss Kate," Heather spat as she leaned back against the bathroom door. A nervous feeling was rising in the pit of my stomach. I didn't want to be alone with them. "Little Miss Kate who stole my part," she added through gritted teeth as she glared at me. Before I realized what was happening, her two friends had me pinned against the floor before I could react.

            "Oh my God, what the hell are you doing? Get off of me!" I shouted.

            "I warned you, I told you not to ruin this for me! But you went and did it anyway," Heather nearly screamed at me as she pulled out a switchblade. My heart stopped, and then started to pound in my chest, so hard I thought it would burst. This was not happening…

            "Oh my God…" I murmured as my whole body froze. She was insane! "What in the hell is your problem? You're going to stab me because I got the lead in the school play? Are you insane?" I screamed at her, and one of her friends clapped their hand over my mouth to keep me silent. They had my wrists pinned to the floor along with my ankles as Heather stood over me.

            "You had to go and fuck up my whole senior year. You had to go and fuck up my chances of getting into a good acting school, screwing up any chance I have of making it. I hate you!" she screamed as she tore at my stomach with the knife, and I cried out with the shock of the pain as the blade bit my skin. She slashed me across the stomach four times before she dropped it and looked down at me and then to the knife in her hands. She threw it in the garbage can and glanced down at me once more, her face completely white, and the three of them rushed out of the bathroom, leaving me there bleeding and bruised. I managed to sit up, tears streaking down my face as I did, and I looked down at the slashes across my abdomen.

            "I have to stop the bleeding…" I murmured as I wiped the tears from my face, but to no avail as they just continued to sting my eyes and pour down my cheeks. It was the first time I'd cried in years. It hurt so much. I knew I needed stitches, but how was I going to explain my situation to the doctors in the hospital? I couldn't.

            Standing up slowly, I got paper towels and held them against my stomach, eventually stopping the bleeding ten minutes later. I flushed the towels so no one would find them. As I was washing the blood off of my hands, I heard the bathroom door open again, and I sighed with relief when I saw it was only Devoir.

            "What are you doing in here?" I asked him, drying my hands and then wiping the tears from my cheeks.

            "What's wrong with you?" he asked confused and I just shook my head as I walked past him.

            "Nothing, not that you'd care anyway," I muttered, but he grabbed my wrist and I nearly screamed in agony and he let go, but not before gently turning my hand in his and looking at my wrist.

            "I did not do that," he said looking at me, a little stunned.

            "I know you didn't!" I snapped as I held my wrist in my hand, trying to flex it. But it hurt so much, just as my stomach was starting to throb.

            "What in the hell happened to you?" he asked looking down at my shirt, and I looked down as some blood started to seep through my light blue sweater.

            "Nothing," I said walking out of the bathroom, with him right on my heels.

            "Crestman what happened?" he asked again and I just looked at him.

            "Would you just forget about it? Please?" I asked as we walked onstage.

            "All right you two, it's about time. Let's take it from the top," Mr. Bell said, and Damien just looked at me.

            "We'll finish this later," he assured me and I just shrugged as I started reading my lines. Rehearsal lasted an agonizing two hours, and when we were finally able to leave, I hurried out to my car, and slammed the door in Damien's face. He pounded on my window as I started the car, and I rolled down my window.

            "You need to leave me alone, alright? I have to go home, I'm bleeding and it won't stop. Just leave me alone, Devoir, God please. For once in your life just listen to me and let me go," I nearly begged as I threw my car into reverse and left. But I didn't go home. I drove myself to the nearest Patient First and checked myself in. After going through the necessary paperwork, I was lying on the table while a doctor gave me fifty-two stitches without questions. I'd already had a story made up just incase though. 

            "These are some nasty cuts," the doctor commented as he finished up the stitches.

            "I know. I live on a ranch and just had an accident," I sighed.

            "Well you should be more careful next time. Any deeper and you could have ended up in the hospital needing surgery to repair internal damage," the doctor warned, only making me feel even more sick to my stomach.

            "I will. I'm normally not so clumsy," I said quietly.

            "Alright. All finished. We'll give you a call when you can come and have them removed, which should be in about two weeks or so," the doctor said, helping me to sit up.

            "Thank you," I said with a small smile as I walked out of the room. I wrapped my arms around myself as I walked out into the biting wind, and was shocked to find Damien leaning on my car door, his car parked right next to mine.

            "I'm only going to ask you one more time," he said.

            "You are unbelievable you know? Why do you care, huh? So you can just go run your mouth to every damned person at school about how I can't defend myself?" I said as tears sprang to my eyes, but I held them back. I was determined not to cry again, especially in front of him. His intense gaze wasn't helping though.

            "So they did hurt you then?" he inquired, and I just looked away.

            "I want to go home. Move, please," I said quietly. But he made no attempt.

            "Not until you tell me what happened," he said.

            "Devoir, you wouldn't believe me even if I did tell you, okay? Hell I still don't believe what happened," I said glaring at him, and he just smirked.

            "Try me," he said.

            "Heather slashed me with a switchblade four times. I came here to get stitches; I needed fifty-two," I said, and his smug look was immediately replaced with astonishment.

            "What?" he asked, as if he hadn't heard correctly.

            "She slashed me with a damn switchblade Devoir! What part don't you understand?" I snapped.

            "All of it!" he shouted and I just shook my head.

            "Well than that is your problem, now move. I need to go home and lay down, my stomach is killing me," I said

            "Show me," he said glancing at my stomach and then back to my eyes.

            "Devoir!" I snapped.

            "Crestman you aren't going anywhere until you show me," he said taking a step towards me, and I subconsciously took a step back. I just sighed as I held my shirt up just high enough so he could see half of the bandages, and then dropped it.

            "Jesus Christ…" he muttered as he shook his head, and I moved past him and unlocked my car and opened the front door only to have it slammed shut again.

            "Devoir please, please just let me go home," I said tiredly as I slumped against the car, resting my head on the back of it and closing my eyes. "I'm tired, and I just want to go home and sleep. Let me sleep," I said.

            "You aren't driving," he said shaking his head, and my eyes snapped open as I gaped at him.

            "God you are not my father!" I said darting around the other side of my car and quickly unlocking it and getting in before he could stop me. Locking the rest of my doors just as he went to open the driver's door side, I sighed as I started my car. I rolled down my window and looked up at him glaring down at me.

            "You are the absolute most stubborn woman I've ever had to deal with. You know that?" he asked.

            "Well I figured you'd kind of be used to it by now considering you've had to deal with me since we were six. Good bye," I said throwing my car into reverse and pulling out of my space, and then speeding out of the parking lot on my way home.

*    ~    *    ~            *    ~            *    ~            *    ~            *    ~            *    ~            *    ~            *    ~            *    ~            *    ~            *    ~

            "Liv, what about this one?" Adam asked holding up the most recent horror movie to come out on DVD and I nodded.

            "Wait- you already saw it," I said curiously and he shrugged as he walked back over to me.

            "I know, but you haven't. And I don't mind you hiding in my shoulder every time you get scared," he said with a smile and I just laughed, ignoring the searing pain in my stomach as I did so.

            "Ulterior motives, huh?" I asked.

            "Exactly," he said lightly kissing me.

            "Alright, come on. I wanted to see it anyway," I said kissing him back and then taking his hand as we walked up to the front of the store. We paid for the movie and then got into his car and left for his house. As he went to his living room to set up the movies, I went to the kitchen and got a couple of beers. I needed to chill and just forget about the whole damn day.

            "What's wrong?" he asked dryly as I handed him a beer and I shrugged into the sofa.

            "Just one of those days," I sighed.

            "Liv, you got the lead in the play. How can it be one of those days?" he asked, searching my eyes. I couldn't lie to him; I never had been able to lie to him.

            "Just is," I tried anyway.

            "Bull," he said.

            "Can we just forget about it and watch the movie. Please?" I asked as he sat down next to me and I curled up next to him, resting my head on his chest. He just sighed as he kissed my forehead and wrapped his arm around me and pulled me closer.

            "Alright, if that's what you want. I know you'll talk to me about it when you want to," he said and I nodded as he started the movie. We were halfway through the movie, and I had completely forgotten about what had happened, until I had nearly screamed and Adam's grip on my stomach tightened. I only winced even more as I unwrapped his arms from my stomach and hugged myself, hunched over in pain.

            "Liv, what's the matter? What's wrong?" he asked, and I vigorously shook my head as I pressed my head against the back of the sofa as I bit my lower lip.

            "Nothing. Nothing. Can I have Tylenol, or Advil or something?" I asked and he nodded as he left to go get me medicine. I pulled my shirt up and gently took the bandage off and stared at the stitches splayed across my stomach.

            "Damn it…" I muttered as I noticed the little prick of blood starting to come between the stitches on the third cut, and I reached over and grabbed a tissue and gently wiped it away with a sigh of relief.

            "Oh my God… what happened?" I heard Adam say and I quickly pulled my shirt back down to cover the stitches, but glared down at the bandage still in my hand.

            "I just had an accident at home," I muttered as I put the bandage back over the stitches.

            "What kind of accident, Liv? You have a ton of stitches across your stomach," he said walking over and handing me a few pills that I gladly took.

            "Fifty-two," I said.

            "Fifty-two?" he repeated, stunned.

            "I'm alright. The doctor said I can have them taken out in about two weeks," I said and he just shook his head as he sat down next to me.

            "What happened?" he asked again and I just shrugged.

            "I was in the barn moving things around and I dropped a box of brushes-get this- onto the pole of the muck rake. It in turn flew up and got me across the stomach," I said.

            "Olivia! Why didn't you get your father, or Kurt or Gerard or one of the other guys on your ranch to help you?" he snapped, angry and concerned at the same time.

            "Because I'm lying to you," I murmured as I ran my hand through my curls.

            "What?" he asked.

            "Just, promise me you won't tell anyone Adam. Please? And that you won't do anything," I said hesitantly. I knew what would happen if he did. Either Heather's boyfriend or herself would end up lying dead in a ditch somewhere. Adam was a big guy, not fat at all, just big. Standing at least 6'4", he weighed around 260 and I knew for a fact that it was all muscle because he worked out everyday. He wasn't one of those guys whose muscles literally ripped their shirts or anything, but he had enough to be pleasing to the eye. Adam was the top defensive linebacker in the state, and already had colleges offering scholarships to play for their school. He had his choices narrowed down to Notre Dame and University of Massachusetts and I had no doubts he'd make it to the NFL if he wanted it.

            "Liv…" Adam said waving his hand in front of my face and I grabbed it and set it in my lap after I threaded my fingers through his.

            "Promise me," I said, but he shook his head.

            "No, because if it's self-inflicted, I'm getting you help," he said sternly.

            "No, Adam, no. It's not self-inflicted. Quite the opposite in fact," I said.

            "Who hurt you?" he asked quietly, but the rage I sensed building in him only made me crawl into his lap as I wrapped my arms around his neck. I needed him to stay calm.

            "It was right before rehearsal today. I was in the bathroom, just standing in front of the mirror, you know. And Heather came in with two of her friends… they held me down as Heather slashed me with this switchblade thing-"

            "Heather Francis?" he asked as his arms circled me and I nodded.

            "Yeah," I sighed.

            "Jesus Christ," he mumbled as he bowed his head into my hair. "Why?" he asked quietly, gently rubbing my back.

            "Because I got the lead and she didn't," I said as I closed my eyes.

            "This is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous," he said. "What is she? Fucking crazy? I'll take care of it," he added as he kissed the top of my head.

            "No Adam, don't! Don't do anything, please. Just don't," I said shaking my head as I looked up at him.

            "Liv don't worry about it, alright?" he asked, continually rubbing my back.

            "Adam please," I murmured as my head fell to his chest again. I was almost in a lull with the feeling he was evoking by rubbing my back.

            "Don't worry about," he said again, situating himself so that we were both lying down on the sofa, me curled up on top of him. It wasn't an unfamiliar position; we'd been close like that since we met. Within minutes, I was asleep wrapped in his arms.

A/N: Hello! Yes I finally reposted this because I've had enough people emailing me, bugging me about Liv and Damien, enough to make me feel bad for not posting it. And because it's been months, I'm going to do it chapter by chapter just to refresh all of your memories, and to give me a few more days to finish chapter nine. Lol, I'm almost finished it, don't worry. Hope you're all happy I'm finally starting to repost this!! :o)