Kiernan kept her eyes low as she sat across from Nat at breakfast. She knew that if she caught sight of Gram then she would break her resolve and throw herself at him, heedless of the consequences.

"Earth to Kiernan!" Nat's amused voice broke into her thoughts, and Kiernan turned to her.

"Sorry.. what?" she asked, distracted.

"I understand that a certain dark haired, mysterious boy is now in your life.. But that so does not give you the right to ignore your friends!" Nat exclaimed, and Kiernan chuckled. It was far from the truth.

"He's not" she whispered, as her tower shot up high in the sky, and the sun came out, shining in patches of honey-gold.

"He's not? ..I'm not understanding" Nat replied through a mouthful of muesli.

"He's not in my life" Kiernan explained firmly. Birds sang, flowers burst open, and Kiernan wore the most beautiful of her gowns, high in her tower. The trouble had passed, her world was safe.

"Does he know that?" she asked, and Kiernan was about to respond, but realised that Nat wasn't looking for an answer. She followed Nat's gaze to where Gram sat, stock still; staring at her.

"I'm sorry, I-I have to go" Kiernan muttered, leaving her breakfast untouched and walking hastily out of the dining room.

As Kiernan left the dining room, she felt a hand grab onto her arm. She turned, not meeting the dark eyes that shone bright through her tower world and sent her stumbling away from the window with a hand shielding her eyes.

Kiernan looked at the ground. What had she done to earn this unwanted attention? What did he want with her?

"Let me go" she hissed at him, not wanting to cause a scene in the dining room.

"What is it Kiernan? What's changed?" Gram questioned. His grip softened on her arm, and she pulled it back as though she had been stung.

Winds whipped angrily in the borderlands, and the nesting tropical birds cawed in terror.

"I can't Gram.. I can't" Kiernan muttered, whirling away from him and running out the door and into the corridor. Kiernan hurried blindly through the halls, needing to get back to the room that she and the other girls shared.

She felt the tears course raggedly down her cheeks, as they tore from the sky, landing in violent crashes against the usually tranquil towerland. The sky ripped open, and Kiernan stood at the window, not caring that she was getting wet.

"Kiernan? Kiernan! What is it? What's the matter?" Helaina stood before her, and Kiernan fell onto her bed in a flood of tears.

Kiernan looked up as the door burst open, and Gram stood there, eyes ablaze; wildly defiant.

"Gram! What are you doing?" Helaina yelled, causing a few of the other girls to come running into the room from the corridor.

"Kiernan.. What is it? Tell me.." Gram implored, and Kiernan curled up into a ball, facing the wall.

"Get out Gram" a voice quiet yet determined, from the door, and Kiernan opened an eye, she recognised the voice as Mack's and realised that Nat must have gone and got him.

"I just want to talk to her" Gram spoke; quieter now.

"Just leave her be Gram" Nat advised as Mack ushered him out the door. Kiernan rolled over and found herself eye to eye with Nat.

"Are you ok?" Nat asked softly, and Kiernan nodded. She was fine, Gram was dangerous, dangerous to all that she held dear. She knew that should she pursue anything with Gram then she was signing the death warrant for her tower.

Kiernan nodded, as big cats pawed the earth menacingly, and fire rained from the sky. She had come close that time and she knew that there was no way she could risk seeing Gram again without extensive damage to her tower.

But Kiernan couldn't lie to herself, she also knew that there was nothing more than she wanted than to ask Gram to hold her and never let go.

The night when Ryan watched Kiernan jump from the bridge had been an unseasonably cold one. As though winter were reaching out for one last assault on the people of the earth. She could remember faces. The tight; drawn, worried faces of the ambulance officers. She remembered Ryan riding alongside of her, holding her hand and telling her that it was ok, she'd be ok. She had just tried to keep breathing. The hospital had been a starched white bed of disapproval, with the mark for attempted suicide scrawled in red texta on her chart. She was watched night and day, had counselling in the mornings, and was given plastic cutlery to eat her food with which was taken straight back when she had finished. She couldn't understand why they thought she was trying to commit suicide; knowing herself that it had been nothing more than an attempt to try and silence the voices in her head. She had been in there for a week when they said she could go home. Everyone had been thrilled, especially Sammy. She still couldn't understand why.

The next day in English, Kiernan sat down beside Nat, not wanting to give Gram the chance to sit next to her. She knew that she had been very hard on him, and she couldn't blame him for wanting to know what was wrong, But how could she explain that he was the problem.

It shouldn't be this complicated.. she thought to herself, She wasn't involved with him, had spent at most only a few hours in his company, and most of that time was spent kissing him.

Kiernan shook her head to clear it, not wanting to remember how good kissing Gram had felt.

Kiernan gasped softly as a piece of scrunched up notebook paper was dropped on her and Nat's desk, and looked up to see Gram walking back to his seat.

"Do you want me to read it?" Nat asked, and Kiernan shook her head, she couldn't risk it.

"Throw it in the bin please" she asked quietly, and Nat nodded, walking over to the bin and throwing a piece of paper into the bin, tucking the note carefully into her folder.

The teacher walked in, and soon they were reading through Romeo and Juliet, and everyone's attention was elsewhere.

Kiernan took the chance to retreat into her tower and rest, she gazed out at the thorns, and noticed with satisfaction that they were thicker than she had ever seen them.



Kiernan felt a jab in her side, and she looked up.

"Sorry, what?"

The teacher rolled her eyes, and smiled condescendingly.

"I was wondering if you would be so kind as to read Juliet for awhile" she told her, and Kiernan nodded stiffly, opening her book to the same page as Nat's.

"Gram, could you read Romeo please?" she asked, more a demand than a request.

Gram grunted and Kiernan ignored it as she studied her page.

"I'm drawn to her, I like her. I know that she's afraid.. that she's scared that in being with me she'll lose herself, but she doesn't see what we could be, how good we are for each other. I'm afraid that I'll never feel this way again, and though I've only known her days few, I'm surer of this than I've ever been of anything" Gram finished his speech, and the teacher stared at him in mild shock.

"That was lovely Gram, not a word of what the book says.. but lovely" she told him, amongst the snickers of the boys and the sighs of the girls.

Kiernan felt her stomach contract, not quite able to believe that Gram had just said what he had.

The bell rang, and Kiernan left the room followed closely behind by Nat.

Gram caught up with them, and Nat stopped for a moment, rifling through her bag.

Kiernan looked desperately at Nat, who just winked at her.

"Meet me, after last class.. under the stands.." he begged, and although Kiernan's mind screamed at her not to, she nodded