IV

"Pain and Messages"

The rest of the week went off smoothly. Scott and I would work together; we did not talk, except for this one time a day after we had been assigned to be partners. Since it was now December, and the semester was about to end the teacher said that it was going to count for 25 % of our grade after the final exam. Along with an essay, the project was supposed to have a model for it. Scott had decided on building a chart and model showing what Viruses & Bacteria could do to the human body if a flesh eating virus broke out. Although kind of sickening, I thought it was an interesting idea and nodded my head when he pitched it to me.

It was smooth sailing after that. We worked quietly and respectfully side by side, I never had to look up at him, or talk to him. I only had to e-mail him my half of the report on my mom's lap top, and that was that. Interestingly enough, every day when we filed out of class he would keep the door open for me. His actions made several students question is mental state, and during class, everyone would stare at us. Whispering amongst themselves wondering what was going on between us, I heard someone say that he was fucking me. I didn't react, I stayed quiet.

"Let them say what they want, I ignore them. You do that every day don't you?" Scott mumbled while he scribbled notes down, he did not turn to me when he said that.

"Yeah…I do." I surprised myself by responding. Scott stopped writing momentarily, resting his led pencil down on the desk for a second, I felt his eyes on me. Studying me, I wasn't sure of what to make of that, I froze then. I didn't want him to try and start a conversation; I didn't want to get in any trouble at home. To my relief, he picked up his pencil and kept writing, we said nothing else to each other after that.

As smoothly as that had gone. Things took a turn for the worse during my weekend; it was a Sunday when it happened. Mom wasn't home, as usual. She was with Cary-again. Off on some weekend getaway, I'd never met Cary, though mom had been seeing him for quite some time. I don't know why she never brought him over, maybe if she had brought him over to the house, Edward would not have had free reign of the house most of the time.

I made the mistake of leaving out one of my notes for science; it wasn't a note but a worksheet that I had saved to look at in case I needed material. It had actually fallen out of my back pack one afternoon, and I had not noticed that the paper was in the downstairs closet. Unfortunately, Edward found it before I could. That Saturday, I was in the kitchen making myself a bowl of Clam chowder soup. I had just poured the soup into a plastic bowl and was about to head back upstairs to my room to eat it in private, when out of nowhere Edward came stalking toward me. I didn't even have time to look up when he slapped me. Hard.

My brother is six feet tall, and weighs 195 pounds. He works out every now and then, and his arms are extremely powerful. So when he slapped me, the sheer force sent me flying back onto the kitchen floor, the soup I had made was still boiling hot. It was a bad habit of mine to overheat my food, but thankfully when the bowl went crashing onto one of the counters, the contents did not land on me. Sparring me of a severe burn. I'd hit my head on the floor when I fell, whimpering I struggled to get back onto my knees, I felt a well of tears begin to sear my eyes. I covered my face, that was when Edward reached down and grabbed me by the hair, with ease he yanked me too my feet and I screamed.

"Eddie!!! Eddie no!!!" I cried, with blurred vision from my tears; I saw how angry he was. His face was red, the vein in his neck was popping out and the glare he wore, it frightened me worse than anything he had ever done to me.

"What's this?" he stormed and pushed me up against the refrigerator, which shook and clinked when my frame slammed against it. "Who the hell is Scott?! Why is his name next to yours?!"

I froze. Oh god! I thought to myself. I knew that he would find out, but secretly and foolishly I thought that if I was careful I could hide my partnership with Scott. That was stupid, what in the world was I thinking by hiding it?.

"Who is Scott!" he shouted in my face, the way a drill sergeant would yell at a new military trainee during basic training. I shook in my place; my arms crossed my stomach fearfully hoping somehow that that would shield me from his wrath.

"He…he is…"I stuttered. Edward slapped my face again, so hard that I bit down on my tongue, I tasted blood.

"Speak up! Who is Scott? Huh? I've been nice to you this past month, and now you spring this on me? Who the hell do you think you are Gail?" He pushed me again, the refrigerator shook once more. It wobbled a little more than the last time; I feared that if he pushed me hard enough that it would fall on top of me "You have rules to follow, why did you break one of them huh? You're not allowed to talk to guys!!! Why?!"

"I…I'm sorry Eddie." I began to sob; I never liked crying in front of him. But this time I was just so scared of what he would do to me. "I didn't have a choice…the teacher assigned the partners I just-"

"You just stayed quiet when she gave you a guy partner right?" he fumed, his nostrils flared like an angry bull. "Oh I'm sure you just loved that your partner was a guy, let me guess. He's cute isn't he? Do you like him? DO YOU?!" he didn't even give me enough time to explain myself.

I didn't even have time to run. He never gave me a warning, he just did what he did as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Grabbing me by my hair, Edward forced me out of the kitchen and into the living room. He shoved my face into one of the decorative pillows on the sofa I yelped pitifully. With his weight he kept me pinned down while he yanked off my top, leaving me bare from the waist up. He took off his belt, he climbed off of me, I knew than what he was going to do, he had done it several times to me when I had been bad; quickly I rolled up into a ball when the first swing of his belt hit my lower back. I covered my mouth with my hands, muffling my screams.

He drew back, and swung at me again. Over, and over that leather belt stung my back, I even felt my skin break, I felt blood, I screamed into my hands so loud that I was sure it was enough to make the heavens shake. I didn't fight back my tears this time; I didn't have the strength to keep them back, instead they flowed from eyes and down my cheeks freely.

He assaulted me for several hours that day, in more ways than the lashing. He beat me so bad that I had to stay home from school the following week and the week after that. I was horrified, because the first semester exams were just around that corner. I told my mom that I couldn't get out of bed because my stomach hurt, and that I could hardly walk out of bed without stumbling. She thought I was just trying to get out of going to school, but she soon grew concerned when she saw me try to walk. None the less she let me stay in. I really didn't want to stay home, but I had no other option. Every time I breathed in, the lower part of my abdomen pinched, and then my thighs were so bruised to a state where I couldn't even sit down. I couldn't sleep on my back; Edward had cut me a few times with the force of the belt.

I had to sleep on my side to ease the pain, I couldn't even sit down since my inner thighs were also bruised, I had to use a soft pillow to support my weight on the bruises, but sitting was just too much of a challenge for me. My mom had actually expressed concern with my lying in and having to miss two weeks of school. To be honest with you, I never missed a day; I had perfect attendance until now. She worried over that, I overheard her one night while she was talking to Edward; she wanted to take me to a doctor to have me checked out.

"Gail seems to get sick like this every now and then. But this is the worst I've seen her limp, She's not coughing; she has no fever…what if she has some sort of physical abnormality?" Mom said in a hushed tone "Perhaps there is something wrong with her legs, maybe I should take her to a specialist."

Edward calmly and easily deterred my mother from doing so, knowing well that the damage he'd done would alert hospital staff that would most surely call in the proper authorities.

"Your worrying too much, Gail really gets competitive during P.E. She told me so herself, she probably just pulled a few muscles during track. She's fine mom, I'm telling you-you don't have to worry." Edward sounded pretty convincing, almost had me believing that I even ran track. Though when we ran the mile; I would really, and usually just walk alone for the hour.

Even though I was unable to move around on my own, or fix myself something to eat. Mom did not stick around; she still went off with Cary. Entrusting my brother to care for me, ironic right?

Edward did not stay home during my time in recovery. He knew that if he came after me again that he would only injure me further, when I got like this, Edward usually left me alone till I was better. It was somewhat of a blessing. I had no idea where my brother went off too, I prayed that where ever he went, he would stay there. But come sun down he always came home, he brought things for me though. That was the strange part.

He'd bring me back cheeseburgers, soda. A bag of chips that I liked, and movies to watch on TV he would also bring me medicine and bandages. He would actually clean my wounds. It's weird, but whenever Edward hurts me like this, he becomes nicer to me. He reverts to the loving older brother that he used to be. Though he never told me that he was sorry for causing me pain, for causing me to miss school.

"It's for your own good, you'll thank me later" he would say and leave my room. I doubted that I would ever thank him.

Oddly, I didn't worry much about my recovery; I'd been through similar type of injuries before, some worse. I worried about my science project with Scott; I was actually looking forward to building the model in school. Now Scott would have to build it himself. I was sure that I would fail it, and I was certain someone was going to take my place as his partner. The only thing that could make up for this was to do well on my exam, I was certain I could do well…but I knew that It would still be a low grade. I did not want a low academic score; I needed a higher score if I was to get an academic scholarship two years from now.

"Honey, do you want to use my computer while I'm not using it?" My mom asked me one day, when she came into my room to check on me. Secretly I figured, what's the point? I can't go to school to finish my project. What use was there for it now, but to keep my mind off things, I told my mom I would like to use her computer. And she left it in my possession.

During my second week in recovery, curiosity got the best of me, and I logged into my g-mail account. I was hoping to see an email from Carol. She was the only person I talked to on the internet. Except for this elderly woman in Tokyo, Japan, but that was a pen pal that I rarely spoke too. Carol wrote me twelve, each one asking me how I was doing and if I was okay, updating on her ongoing rivalry with Zach. She wrote me and told me that she 'accidently' dropped a jar of tacks on his lap. And that he had been pricked by them. She snidely remarked how appropriate it was that it was on his lap, a prick for a prick she stated.

I responded and told her that I would be back for at least the final exams. While clearing out my e-mail, I deleted several junk mail, and then I came across one that stunned me. Scott, he had e-mailed me again. In the subject it said: Are you ok?. I hesitated to open it. But something drove me too. I looked around me, and looked out my window; Edwards's car was not in the drive away, seeing that the coast was clear. I clicked on the e-mail.

Gail,

Look I know were not friends or anything, but we are partners on this assignment. And you did do a lot of work, most of the important research anyway. I'm letting you know that I've finished the model, I'm turning it in this week. I didn't get a new partner or anything just so you know, no one would pair up with me half way. Lol.

But I finished it, and I'm sure you'll get credit. But, yeah the reason I'm writing you is because well…It's weird that you just started missing school now. I mean I don't have the best attendance record, but no one has ever seen you miss a day of school, and it's weird. Look, I don't hate you, I just think it's awkward that you don't talk to people, correct that. You don't talk to boys, how do you manage that anyway? Most of the school population is male. And everyone notices this behavior, I notice it, though you probably think I haven't. I have. You don't seem like a bad girl, so why don't you just socialize a little more? I guess I'll see ya next semester, or at exams if your back by then.

Get well.

Scott.

I finished reading it. And I frowned, I glared then. It was because of him that I got beat up like this, I couldn't reply to this, I didn't need any more trouble. How dare he write me!. I softened my expression, and looked down at my hands, no, it wasn't Scott's fault for my state. Edward just couldn't be controlled. I know that it was stupid of me to do what I did next, something drove me to it. After this I wouldn't need to speak to Scott again, I could just write him and that would be the end of that, I clicked on the reply button. And I began to type. I kept the e-mail short and simple.

Scott,

I'm ok. Thanks, I'm just sick.

Maybe I'll be there for exams.

I don't know if I'll be able to talk more. I don't know how to.

Gail.

Liar! You're a liar Gail!, this is what I said to myself. I'm not okay, but how could I write my classmate that I was black and blue from my back down to my legs. I shouldn't be writing him back. But I clicked send, I figured that would be the end, and that I wouldn't have deal with Scott anymore. I guess I was just grateful that he kept my name on the project, I was happy that my grades would remain high, this is the excuse I used for myself. My excuse to do what I just did.

I did not dwell on the e-mail. Not during the rest of my time at home.

I made it back to school on exam day. Carol ran up and hugged me the minute she saw me, I tried my best not to flinch, but she noticed me wince in pain when she pulled away from hugging me. Although I could walk now, the cuts on my back still hurt me, they were just starting to heal, Eddie had done a number on my back. I think I've mentioned how brutal he can be on my back, it makes me wonder if I'll have back problems in the future, I had the scars for it. Which is why I never wore any revealing clothing in the summer; I was a t-shirt and long sleeve type of girl, year round.

"God, what happened? You look like you've just learned to walk again! Did you get into an accident Gail?" Carol's eyes showed me genuine care, she was worried about me. I had a well thought out excuse in my head; and yet I hesitated to say it to Carol to through her off.

"I fell off my bike while out with my mom, rolled down a hill and hurt my back." I shrugged my shoulders, I did my best to muster up a smile for Carol. It was a closed mouth smile, but it was something, and it sure seem to do the trick for Carol. Carol said aw to me and linked her arm with my and we walked together into school. I know the way we link arms is kind of queer, but I don't mind it, since I don't really look when I'm walking, I see it as a blessing that Carol guides me.

To her it was a physical way to express how much she cared for me as a friend, that she trusted me, others saw it as something a little more comical. The hot red head guiding the spooky quiet girl, it was seen as a charity by some. I often questioned why Carol liked me, why she always sought me out and hung out with me. She never answered me when I asked her that, I figured she just liked that I listened to whatever she had to say. And I never made a snide remark when she mentioned something stupid, she told once that she loved having sex without a condom on.

I thought that was gross. Why would she actually enjoy that? . Thought I never told her that to her face. Maybe she saw me as her personal confidant.

"Well in any case, I'm glad your back." Carol smiled sweetly.

We went to English, and took our test. I saw Zach and John sit in the back like always, I noticed Zach glance my way, but I was not looking to get into another confrontation with him. John was weird that day, he saw me and Carol and waved. Carol rolled her eyes and whispered to me .

"While you were gone that little freak tried to make friends with me. I don't know what he's up too, but I don't want to find out what it is!" Carol said sourly and added "He asked about you, that Zach did. He walked up to me with John at his side. They wondered why you were out."

I blinked questioningly. Zach? He asked about me? What the hell?!.

"Why did he do that? " I was confused.

"I don't know, I told them to screw off and to mind their own business, that's why I dropped the tacks in his lap." Carol glared, she had not mentioned that in the e-mail. After she mentioned that, Carol and I received our Scan trons and test booklet. I finished the test quickly. I was good at English, I loved English. Though the remainder of class I was pretty distracted, I wondered why Zach asked about me.

I wondered why Scott wrote me. And why John wanted to be friends with Carol…and possibly me. Just what the hell was going on now?. Why this sudden attention?. And by men? That was the last thing I wanted, though it sounds contradictory since I did respond to Scott's e-mail.

I said good bye to Carol. And went to my other classes, I think I did well in them.

The next day something similar happened. Although I did not see Carol in the morning, I ran into someone else. Can you guess who it was?.

"Hey" Scott greeted me. I was sitting by myself at my regular desk. I didn't react, I sat in place blankly and looked at my desk, all I had in my possession that day was my pencil. Pencil and paper, that's all you needed during exams. Scott didn't seem dissuaded by the fact that I did not respond.

Go away, go away. Please!. I thought as I bit down on my lip. I knew that I should not have responded to his e-mail, what the hell was I thinking?.

"You don't look too good, you look like you were struggling to walk just now." he was the second to mention that to me now. He slid the chair out next to me and took a seat, his pencil clanked as he placed it on the desk. He sighed, he did that a lot. "Did you get into an accident?"

I kept quiet.

"You wrote me back. I just take that as a good sign that you'll talk to me eventually." He stated to me, and that was it. Scott didn't say anything else to me. The teacher didn't care where we sat on exam day, as long as we didn't cheat. I took the test with Scott next to me. I'll be honest with you, it was hard to concentrate. My hands shook when I penciled in the scan tron. My heart pounded nervously. I didn't want him there.

Really, I didn't.

But maybe that's a lie too.

-

Authors note: Hi everyone, thank you for taking time out to read my story and for reviewing. I'm surprised by the turn out. Six reviews for the last chapter, and I just have to say…wow! Thank you for telling me what you think of it, it means a lot to me that you would take time out to tell me your opinions on this story. I'm really trying my best. I took a break from writing and this story because I didn't think the first two chapters were any good. I wanted to improve…but I think I'm doing better now. Thanks and please keep reading, I appreciate it. – smiles –

Edara- No thank you, it's always a joy to hear someone say that they think your writing is good. Gives me confidence to keep writing, thank you, please stay tuned.

Springdaizy- I don't really like writing the "certain parts". I have to write them in. it's important to Gail's character shaping.

Sive- I'm glad you like it, do you have any suggestions on improving my grammer and spelling? I still feel that I miss a few things here and there, I'd be greatful if you could point them out for me.

EvaJolynn- It is, I feel like I'm going to hell for writing this down lol. But I read somewhere that if you want to be writer, a good one, that you have tackle a subject that's difficult and if you write it well. Than that's when you can call yourself a writer, and I'm hoping I can achieve that. But the best thing is that you love Gail, that makes me happy that you like her.

FascinationMaxx- There is, a year in between each chapter. . I'm looking to fiish what I started, so don't worry about there being a large gap again. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with her brother. I'm pretty much still writing his parts as I go along, most of Gail's relationships I've thought out. But not the one with her brother…it's weird huh?.

Killacupcakes- Honestly I am creeped out by the incest too. But thank you or taking time out to review me, and I hope you keep coming back to read this story, I hope I don't disappoint you.

Marlene