A/N: I do NOT recommend hurting yourself or anyone else to deal with pain. It is always best to express your feelings through words. Talk to a friend, write in a journal, whatever you need to feel better. However, cutting is a real coping mechanism and something many people go through. In an effort to make my characters realistic, I decided to include it in this chapter. If you are a cutter or would like to learnmore, Google the word "cutters" and look at the first site. It is a great site, full of information for cutters and friends of cutters. I also do not endorse witchcraft, paganism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or any religion. The only religion I practice is my daily addiction to my girlfriend. Thank you all for yoursupport and I hope you like this chapter. Please review!

Oh god, why? Why did she do this to me? I thought as I cried on my bed. Marla couldn't possibly have believed me when I said I was okay with this, but what can I do? I don't want to force someone to love me, even if I could. Oh my god, it hurts so much! I was doubled over on my bed, binder fallen on the floor. I doubted anyone could hear. I was crying the tears of extreme pain, the ones where it hurts too much to make sound or to even produce tears; all you can do is try to fold into yourself and scream silently. I gasped for air and sat there, weeping for I don't know how long. When I finally managed to settle down enough to open my eyes, the sun was in an obviously different spot. I checked my clock and saw I only had about 15 minutes until the dinner bell. Fuck it, I thought. I'm not hungry. Then I realized what not going to dinner would imply to Marla and I couldn't let her know how hurt I was. I was serious when I said I wanted her to be happy and I knew she wouldn't be if she knew I was in pain.

Crawling off my bed, I looked at myself in the mirror. Aren't you the pretty picture? I said to the puffy, bloodshot eyes and the nose that would make Rudolph jealous. I opened my dresser drawer and pulled out my pocket knife. Just a little cut, where no one can see it. I rolled up my shirt and opened my knife. Putting the point to my belly, I dragged the blade across my skin, leaving a bright red line. Grimacing at the pain, I enjoyed the bliss it brought me, stealing me away from my thoughts of Marla.

"Ow!" I said quietly, putting my knife away. I pinched the skin together, stopping the blood. I hadn't cut in a while, hadn't had any need to here at Rosewood. And I didn't want Marla to find out. I held the skin together until the blood stopped, then I put my shirt back down. Marla and I hadn't had sex, so she had never had a chance to see the scars on my stomach and legs. A couple I had made too low, but they weren't too hard to pass off as shaving accidents. I went into the bathroom and washed my face. The color was closer to normal, so I felt okay about going downstairs when the bell rang. I took my seat next to Megan and tried to avoid Vanessa and Marla as much as I could without being conspicuous. Marla had been switched to the preparation crew with Vanessa, so I didn't have to see her while cleaning up.

"Hey, Christina?" I turned from the sink where I was mindlessly washing dishes. Allie was standing next to me. "I heard you and Marla broke up, is that true?" Oh god no!

"Um, yea, it's true."

"Ha! So you are a fucking lesbo aren't you? Ha! Vinnie will flip when she hears. We made a bet when you got here on how long it would take for you to go gay! She said at least the first semester. I win!" Allie pranced off happily.

"Great. Glad to see that someone profits from my misery," I muttered under my breath. It was pretty common knowledge that Allie and Vinnie were sleeping together, though they weren't lesbians. They merely "had needs". Whatever. I didn't like either of them.

"Christina!" someone called.

"What?" I yelled back. "I'm elbow deep in some suds here!"

"The Headmistress wants to see you in her office like yesterday!" Oh shit! What did I do wrong? I mentally ran through the list of anything I could possibly be called into Cassie's office for as I washed the soap off my arms. I tossed my apron onto the counter and ran out of the kitchen and down the hall. Stopping outside Cassie's door, I straightened my clothes and knocked.

"Come in," Cassie said. I opened the door and walked into the stern office.

"You wanted to see me?" I asked timidly.

"Sit." She motioned to a chair and waited for me to sit. "Christina, Marla came to me today asking for advice. I assume you know about what?"

I nodded. "I have a pretty good idea."

"Then I assume that she's made her choice. Are you okay?" She was genuinely concerned about me. Shutting my eyes tightly, I felt the familiar lump in my throat. God, I've been doing so much crying lately! I shook my head no before I started crying again. Cassie cried out and came to sit next to me. She rubbed my back and handed me tissues while I cried. I guess I didn't have many tears left, because I stopped crying after about 10 minutes and I just sat there, twisting a tissue around my finger.

"Oh Christina! I'm worried about you. Do you want me to move you?" I shook my head again.

"No, no I can't let Marla know I'm upset. She would be miserable if she knew and I want at least one of us to be happy."

Cassie sighed. "Well how about a new room for tonight then? Just to relax, let a day go by to cool things down? I could put you in one of the guesthouses. They're not too bad and you'd be alone to write, cry, read, take a bath, whatever you want."

I gave a short laugh. "The equivalent of the sleeper sofa, huh?"

She giggled. "I guess so, though I never thought of it that way. Would you like that?"

I nodded gratefully. "I was loathing the idea of being in that room again tonight. But is there anyway I can stay there without making Marla think I'm upset? I really don't want her worried about me."

Cassie sat and thought. "You could say you don't feel up to the stairs since you're still sore from your tumble in the woods. There's a house close enough that the walk wouldn't be too bad."

"Okay, that sounds great. I'll go get some clothes." I got up to walk out and Cassie stopped me.

"Christina, is there anything I can get for you? Maybe some ice cream or chocolate of some kind?"

"Got any vodka?" She grinned.

"Sorry to say, that's one thing I can't give you. Scotch on the other hand…." I chuckled.

"That's okay. Some ice cream would be good."

"Okay. I'll grab some chocolate ice cream and walk you out to the guest house when you're ready."

"Thanks, Cassie," I said gratefully as I opened the door.

She smiled and said, "It's what I'm here for." I walked up the stairs slowly. I really was still sore from falling and then riding today. I probably shouldn't have gone, but you do what you have to do. When I got up to my room, Marla wasn't there. I looked out the window to see the moon and I noticed a tiny light in the woods. Probably Marla and Vanessa. Bet they're out there having sex and I'm in here pouting. I stormed away from the window and pulled out my smallest duffel bag. I tossed in my clothes and toiletries (that bath sounded like a good idea) and made sure George was tucked inside. I didn't want to have to come back for anything, so I took my portable CD player and some music as well. My journal and some pens went in before I zipped it up and grabbed my backpack. One last look around my room left me with my eyes on my dresser. I walked over and opened the top drawer. My pocket knife came out again and quickly went into my bag. I turned off the light and went downstairs. Cassie was waiting for me with a couple of flashlights, a spoon, and huge tub of chocolate ice cream.

"This was all we had," she explained. "There are mini-fridges in each guest house, so you'll kind of be able to keep it if you don't finish it all. Don't worry about it though, you're welcome to as much as you want."

"Thank you." We went out the front door and clicked on our flashlights. The dark sky was beautiful with a million stars. "There really is nothing like the night sky," I said, mostly to myself.

"I know what you mean," Cassie responded quietly. "I went to Panama when I was 13 or 14 and I remember walking out of the hut one night to go brush my teeth and I just happened to look up and… It was the most beautiful sky I'd ever seen. One of those times when you feel like if there isn't a God, then you must be one, to be graced with a sight so holy. I looked up, just looking at the sky, and I felt like it had sucked me up into it and I was spiraling into vastness of it. Never to come back." We walked in silence after that and Cassie led me to the guesthouse. Handing me the key she said, "Go to classes tomorrow if you feel up to it. If you don't, call me, my number is by the phone inside. I'll let the teachers know you're excused for the day and I'll have someone friendly bring you meals." She turned to go and I called after her.

"Cassie!" She turned and waited. "Were you dumped by your first… anything?"

A look that was a mixture of pain, pleasure, and nostalgia swept across her face before being replaced by the caring, concerned look she had had all night. "Yes, I was. I understand. And yes, it gets easier. With time." I nodded and she walked back to the house. I waited until I saw her get back safe, then I opened the door of the little house.

It looked like any hotel room, with a big king sized bed in the middle, across from a TV on top of the dresser. There was a nightstand next to it with a lamp and telephone. A table stood next to the door, complete with two chairs. A mini-fridge was by the dresser. I went ahead and put the ice cream inside and set my bags down. I pulled out my toiletries and went to the bathroom. The bathroom was the one thing that stood out. While the rest had the air of middle-range hotel, the bathroom was pure extravagance. A large sunken tub, complete with jets, was across from the door. Next to the tub was a pile of plush towels and a shower stall. There were two sinks and large mirror. A note was leaning against the mirror.

Dear Guest,

If you were put in this room, then it is because we felt you needed the extra pampering. Under the sink you'll find bath bubbles, soap, shampoo, bath salts, conditioner, etc. Feel free to use whatever you like and please relax. If you need anything, don't hesitate to call the house.
Headmistress Cassandra

I smiled as I set my toothbrush and toothpaste by the sink. I turned on the water in the bathtub and let it fill up. While the water ran I put my clothes in the dresser and laid out my pajamas. I decided that bath salts would be nice, so I went back and tossed some in. The tub was almost full, so I grabbed my journal, a pen, my CD player, a Reba CD, and my pocketknife and went back into the bathroom. I stripped and turned the tap off. Settling into the hot water, I leaned back, relaxing. I dried my hands and put Reba in, making sure the player was safely on the ground and out of electrocuting distance. I had always thought Reba would be great break up music, since she sings about women being strong and not needing a partner to complete them. Here was my chance to test the theory. After a couple of songs though I realized that an old acquaintance had been right. There comes a person that you don't want to get over. I guess it was too soon for Reba. Turning off the CD, I opened my journal.

God what do I do?
She loves someone else and now I'm stuck here, alone
Trying to forget
To forget the tears I've been crying
The love that I lost
Should I have fought, tried harder
To keep her love
Or would I have then lost my dignity as well?
Did she ever really love me or was I just a pawn?
Is she worth my tears or even my spit?
Scream to the stars
"How could you let this happen?
You're supposed to warn me when the best thing in my life is about to become the worst!"
Should I blame Vanessa?
I can't, I know
She did nothing wrong
All she wanted was what I had
Not the first time it's happened
But I can't even be mad at Marla
Because she has every right to look for love wherever she can
Oh Earth!
Thou which art my mother and that which holds my mother,
Grant me a heart as cold and hard as the Arctic ice!
Let my tears freeze before they fall
Let my pain be frozen, never to thaw
Oh Heaven, oh Earth!
All planets and stars and all things holy!
Make me not hurt.

I slammed my journal shut and opened my knife again. I cut into my arm, careful not to cut too deep. I wanted to stop hurting, I didn't want to die. The blood came, rich and red, and fell, drop by drop, into the bath. Like a dye it spread thin, coloring the water a little. I slid the knife across my other arm and then across my thigh. I felt the hot, salted water sting the cut as it was made and I gasped at the pain. The glorious, peaceful pain. I shut my knife and thrust both arms into the water, wanting them to sting as well.

"Oh Isis," I cried, "take this blood as a sacrifice! Take my blood and take my pain!" I don't know what made me cry to the Egyptian goddess of the dead, but I try to worship as it comes to me and Isis was the name that came. "Isis! Come to me!" I threw my arms into the air, water splashing everywhere, and I cried. I grabbed my knife again and furiously made small silts on my stomach, even ripping open the cut from earlier. Soon the water around my body was pink with my blood and getting redder by the second. "Isis, take my pain!" I finally broke down, the pain from the cuts and the pain from Marla consuming me. I wept again and slide into the water. I wanted to drown, I wanted to be drained of blood and filled with water. The blood was my pain, my weakness. I wanted all weakness out of my body and the purity of water filling me.

But I couldn't do it. When I was about to burst in need of air, I found my head out of the red water and gasping for oxygen. I was too weak to even drown myself. I stood up shakily, dripping water and blood. I wasn't bleeding much anymore, my cuts were closing. I looked down at my body, slashed and tattered, and at the reddish water and something stopped.

Something stopped inside of me, I didn't hurt as badly anymore. I wrapped a towel around myself and let the now cool water drain out of the tub. I hopped in the shower and rinsed off, but I didn't bother with soap or shampoo. When I got out of the shower, I calmly picked up my CD player, journal, and other things, and walked back into the bedroom. I towel dried myself, chose not to put on my pajamas, made sure the door was locked, turned off the light, and crawled in bed. I held George close to me and set the alarm for 7, the regular wake up time. I would decide tomorrow if I felt up to classes, but I figured I would take advantage of the day off and my own bathroom.

"Good night, George." I kissed my manatee. "Good night mama," I said to the air. Before closing my eyes I added, "Thank you, Isis."

A/N: I would again like to stress that I do not endorse cutting or any particular religion. Be true to yourself.