A/N: Is it just me or has it been awhile since our last update? : ) SunnyD here, and I think a round of applause is in order for Azzie on this one (Loud Applause and Whistling) Azzie put a LOT of effort into this Act, and it is a long one o_O Very long.

There's not much else to say, except read and review (we love reviews, we REALLY do!) The order of the scenes for this Act is Nikki, Azzie, myself (SunnyD), and then Azzie once again.

Act 4

Scene One

It's late at night, Amira is asleep in bed. Suddenly, there is a crash from the parents' room. Amira wakes and sits up in bed.

Amira: (Sleepily) What time is it?

There is another crash, followed by yelling. Amira pushes the covers away, gets out of bed, and sneaks to the door of her parents' room.

Trish: I can't believe you! The nerve of accusing me of cheating on you!

Sam: You were! I saw you out on a date with that carpet guy!

Trish: (Stutters) But- that- His name is Charles, not "carpet guy"! And it was not a date! We were discussing work-related things!

Sam: You're lying.

Trish: (Raises voice) No, I'm not!

Sam: (Shushes her) Quiet! We don't want to wake up the kids.

Trish: (Quieter) Well... I saw you out with that Michelle girl that one time! The one who wore short skirts and worked at that coffee place down the road. Don't tell me that was just talking!

Sam: Trish, that was in college. We weren't even engaged!

Trish: So? How is that any different?

Another crash is heard from the room. Amira bites her lip.

Sam: It's completely different! Everything's changed since then! Especially you.

Trish: Excuse me?

Sam: Well, I didn't mean it like that. Since you brought it up, though...

Trish: Are you saying I'm fat?

Sam: Well, your waist isn't exactly getting any thinner.

Trish: That's it! I'm sick and tired of you!

Sam: It's good to know the feeling's mutual!

Amira gasps, then clamps her hands over her mouth.

Sam: Did you hear something?

Scene Two

The next day Amira is walking across the street towards the old, graffiti-covered building and into the gravel parking lot. She spots David, leaning on the hood of his car. Her heart skips a beat and she feels silly for getting so excited over his presence. Any worries about her parents are temporarily pushed out of her mind.

It's 12:00 P.M., two and a half hours before school ends. She managed to pass the ever gullible Clara and escape off the school campus in order to meet David. With no thought to what could happen if she was caught, she left during lunch, daydreaming about David's warm embrace.

Now, as she approaches him, she tries to mirror his cool, relaxed posture, only making herself look awkward. She's coming closer when she fails to notice the large rock on the ground. She trips over it and falls, scraping her face and palms on the hard bits of gravel. David's by her side in a second.

David: (Worried) Oh my god, are you all right?

He helps her up and examines her cuts while she tries her hardest not to cry.

David: C'mon, I think I have a first aid kit in the car.

He opens up the hatch of the car and the two of them sit on the open floor space. David produces the first aid kit and begins rapidly cleaning and bandaging her cuts.

Amira: (Wincing as he cleans her hands) Thanks, David. Sorry I'm such a klutz. (Smiles sheepishly and blushes)

David: No problem.

He kisses her hair and puts his arm around her. She leans into his shoulder and they lay back, relaxing in silence for a minute.

Amira: (Looking around) I like your car.

David: Thanks. It was a complete piece of junk when I got it. You have no idea how many hours I've spent working on it.

Amira: I didn't know you were good at that kind of stuff.

David: I'm not great at it, but I have fun doing it. It gets my mind off of things for a while. Whenever I get in a fight with my dad, I usually go down to the repair shop down the street. They let me keep my car down there and work on it. I try to spend as much time there as I can-as much time away from reality-but they close at 10:30. Usually Dad's passed out by then, but I still dread going home.

Amira: (Silent for a minute) Is there anything else you do to distract yourself from things you don't want to think about?

David: (Smiles) I spend time with you.

Amira rolls her eyes.

David: I'm serious. It may sound stupid and cheesy and I'm sure you don't feel the same way, but your company really is important to me. I have something for you.

He reaches into his pocket, a pulls out a small black box. He opens it up, exposing a ring with a silver band and a sapphire heart in the middle.

Amira: (Shocked) David, I'm flattered, but...I am way too young to get married!

David: (Smiles) You're too cute. It's not an engagement ring; it's just a promise ring. Will you wear it?

Amira: Just exactly what am I promising to do?

David: To trust me. Know that I have your best interests at heart and I'd never do anything-anything-to harm you in any way. (Leans in and whispers in her ear) I love you, Mira. (Pauses for her reaction- her face is blank) So, will you wear it?

Amira: Yes. (She holds out her hand and he slips the ring on her finger- she sits there admiring it for a minute)

David: (Concerned) Mira? You okay? You still look like you might burst into tears.

Amira: (Looks up at him, her eyes welling up) My parents...

David: What about your parents?

Amira: They're separating. They had a fight last night.

David: (Shocked) Oh, wow. That's... completely unexpected. I'm so sorry.

He pulls her into his lap and hugs her close to this chest while she stains his shirt with tears.

David: (Soothingly rubbing her back) It's okay. I promise, it'll get better. I'm here for you. And think of it this way- at least your parents are both alive and well.

Before Amira can reply, a group of three burly boys walks through the gate and into the parking lot. The leader is a tall boy with white-blonde hair. The other two boys are thick, shorter, with greasy brown hair, and look spacey and slightly stoned. David immediately tenses up and looks ready to defend.

Leader Boy: (Sneering) Well, if it isn't David and his little girlfriend! What'd ya' do to make this pretty little thing cry? Tell her who your father is?

The three boys cackle in sync. David releases Amira and steps out of the car. She follows, wanting to stand up for him.

David: (Coldly, under his breath) Amira-stay .in. the. car.

Amira obeys, terrified, imagining what would happen if David made those muscular boys angry.

David: Chris.

Chris: Stupid.

David: (Ignoring the jab) I see you brought the potheads.

Chris: I see you brought a cute girl. (Motioning to Amira) C'mon back here, baby!

David: (Whips around, a fiery stare in his eyes, looking slightly insane) No! Stay it the car.

The second David turns back around; Chris' fist is headed straight for his face.

Scene Three

Amira: DAVID! (Fumbles with trembling hands to open the car door)

Chris' two other cronies are furiously trying to get a hold on David, who's putting up enough of a fight to keep them both at bay… for awhile…

Mean while, Chris is making his way towards David's car at a relaxed pace with a terrifying smirk of anticipation. In Amira's desperate concern for David's safety, she doesn't think to lock the car door.

Chris: (Opens the driver's door and slides in) So what's a pretty lil' thing like you be chillin' with a rat like David for?

Amira: (Still clawing at her door) Call them off, tell those guys to stop hurting David!

Chris: (Shrugs) I might… on certain conditions.

Amira finally manages to open her door, but Chris wraps one arm around Amira's waist and keeps her in her seat as he reaches past her and closes it again.

Chris: Hey, baby what's your issue? You don't like talkin' to me, is that it?

Amira: Get your arm off of me! (Squirms pitifully)

Chris: Why don't you hang with me and my crew for awhile, honey? You might find that you like us better than your lil' friend over there.

One of Chris' buddies has managed to lock David's arms behind his back, and the other one has started to punch his stomach with vigor.

Amira: (Sobbing hysterically) No, stop it, please! I'll do anything, just leave David alone!

Chris: (Slow smile spreads across his disgusting face) Anything? You promise?

Amira: (Nods franticly) I swear!

Chris: (Leans out of the window) Yo, Brian, cut it out man! Time to roll!

Brian stops punching David and the other boy drops him on the ground unceremoniously. Brian and the other kid jog up to the car with expectant looks on their dirty faces.

Third Kid: Are we jackin' David's car or what?

Chris: (Exasperated) Could you possibly be more retarded, Trey? Why would we do that when we already have a freakin' car?

Trey: (Smaller voice) Uh… I dunno…

Brian: (Snickers) Stupid!

Chris: Well… (Turns to Amira) let's go to a more private location…

Amira: (Folds arms across chest) I'm not moving an inch until I know that David will be okay.

Chris: Don't worry 'bout it, I'm sure that Jason will find him eventually- he always does. Now I suggest that you cooperate with us, because to be honest, you don't really have a choice anymore.

Chris inclines his head slightly to the right and Amira is suddenly punched squarely on the back of her head. Trey had snuck up behind her while Chris was talking and managed to knock her unconscious through the open window.

When Amira comes to it's dark outside, and she can't distinguish where she is. Feeling very confused, she remains lying down for awhile until she remembers seeing David on the ground and Chris making her promise to do anything he wanted. She sits up suddenly and then falls back again due to the head rush. But she does discover that she is in the back of an old Volvo, surrounded by trash and pillows. Before she can attempt to sit up again, Chris enters the back of the Volvo with her.

Chris: Hey, babe, I'm sorry 'bout what Brian did earlier. It was the only way to get you here without a fight.

Amira: (Screams at the top of her lungs)

Chris: (Wince) Jeez, girl, cut that out! No one can hear you anyways.

Amira: (Glares) I swear, if you hurt me I'll-

Chris: Relax, if you just keep yo' mouth shut then you and David will be fine.

Amira: What're you-

Chris cuts her off by leaning forward and kissing her neck, whispering nonsense in her ear, trying to distract her from everything that's happening. She's been expecting this, and tries her hardest to duck away from him. She succeeds, but instead of triumph, she receives a stinging smack to her face by Chris' rough hand. Trying to be as tough as David is, she bites her lip to keep from screaming, to keep from giving Chris the satisfaction he craves. He starts kissing her cheek, trying to meet his lips to her's, while frantically sticking his hand in her pocket.

Amira: What are you doing?

Chris: (Irritated) Just, stop talking for one minute, would you? (He sticks his hand in her other pocket)

Amira: (Furious) WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I DEMAND AN ANSWER!

He slaps her across the face with such a force that she lets out a terrible yelp, gripping at her stinging skin. He's about to smack her again for making too much noise, but he stops.

Chris: (Taking Amira's hand) What's this?

Amira: (Gulps, looking away) A ring.

Chris: (Angry) Well, obviously! Stupid, girl. Where'd you get it?

Amira: (Straight face, quiet voice) David gave it to me.

Chris: (Smirks) Give it here.

Amira, knowing she has no other choice, removes the ring from her finger and places it in Chris' outstretched hand. He examines it for a minute, stuffs it in his pocket, and turns back to her.

Chris: You wanna know something about your boy? David used to roll with me an' my gang. Did he tell you that? I'm sure he didn't; he probably don't want you to know that he used to be just like me.

Amira: (Voice trembles) You're lying.

Chris: Nope. David was even worse than me when it comes to this stuff, though. You know how many girls he did this kinda thing to, just 'cause he needed some "fun in his life"? Or a little money?

Amira: Shut up, I don't believe you! If David hates you so much now, then he must have realized that you and your "crew" are nothing but evil jerks!

Chris: What if we kicked him out? Who says he left cuz he wanted to?

He tries to distract her again, running his fingers through her hair and whispering again, more to himself than her. She desperately tries to distract him, knowing what's coming next if she doesn't change the subject.

Amira: Have you ever heard of a girl named Brittany?

Chris: (Laughs) Heard of her? Of course I've heard of her! Wow, that brings back some memories...good times, good times.

Amira is desperate to ask him what he means and try to get as much information as possible, but shouts are heard from the dark outside of the car, followed by the sounds of fighting.

Chris: (Groans) That's gotta be Jason… I should've known, he owes David one.

Chris steps out of the car, yelling, and Amira, not sure where she should go if she were to escape, let alone where she is, stays in the car, enjoying the moment without the overpowering stench of smoke coming from Chris. She turns the light off in the car, relaxing in the dark. A minute later, the door is thrown open, and a familiar voice whispers in her ear.

David: I distracted them. C'mon, let's get out of here.

Scene Four

Amira sits in the dark, staring at David's silhouette, the only part of him she can see. His hand is outstretched, beckoning for her to come.

David: Come on! (Tugs on her arm) We've got to hurry! They could stop fighting any minute now and see us or we could get killed! Amira, come with me! ( Urgently) Now!

Amira hesitates, unsure of whether she can trust David or not. She knows she shouldn't believe everything she hears, but she still doubts his trustworthiness.

Amira: (Still hesitantly) But-

A gunshot is heard from outside the car, and a window shatters. Amira and David jump.

David: (Panicked) Now!

He grab's Amira's arm and drags her out of the car. She resists at first, but runs along when another gunshot is heard, along with the sound of David's sharp intake of breath. They wind up, after at least a mile and a half of running, in the wooded area they had met at once before. Amira rips her arm away from his grasp and David backs up, clutching his side and keeling over, breathing hard.

David: Amira-(Breath)-what happened back there?

Amira: (Panting and collapsing against a tree) I-(Breath)-don't know...it all seemed to be happening too fast.

David: (His chest heaving) Did he hurt you?

Amira: A little. You?

David lifts his shirt to display bruises and cuts covering his entire chest. Amira winces at the sight.

David: That's what I get for being stupid. (He huffs and slumps against the tree, next to her)

Amira: David?

David: (Wincing from the pain) Yeah?

Amira: There are a few things I want to discuss.

David: (He groans) Like what?

Amira: (Deep breath) Well, Chris mentioned some things...

David: Yeah?

Amira: I just have some questions, some things I want to set straight...

David: (Frustrated) Like what? (Snaps) Amira, spit it out already! If you have something to ask me-ask me. If you want to talk about something, just tell me what it is! Do we have to go through this whole guessing game?

Amira: (Slightly hurt) Right. I'm sorry.

David: (Sighs and then grimaces at the pain in his side) No, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped at you. Listen, there's been something I've been meaning to tell you, but I've held off on-

Amira: Can it wait a minute more?

David: (Wraps his arms around her waist and leans into her shoulder) What is it?

Amira wriggles out of his grasp and leaves him feeling rejected.

Amira: I want some answers. First-Chris said you were once part of his gang. Is that true?

David: I've done some stupid things, but I'm not keeping secrets from you. So, yeah, it is true. But I regret it all. It was a dark period in my life and I won't go back there.

Amira: Ok. Second-What did Chris mean when he said you've "done this thing" to other girls for some "fun in your life"?

David: Well, that I don't have an answer to. I don't know why he'd say that.

Amira: (Slightly suspicious) Ok, then. Third-

David: (Getting to his feet) Honestly, Mira, are you going to trust this jerk that just kidnapped you and told you whatever he could to turn you against me or are you going to trust me, your boyfriend, who loves you very much? Seriously. Think about how stupid you're being.

Amira: (Stands up also, offended) Stupid? (Scoffs) Right. That's what you're supposed to say to someone you (Air quotes)"love".

David: (Shocked) What's with the quotes? What? You don't believe that I love you?

Amira: Well....you have only known me for like, what? Two weeks? How can you tell you love me when you barely know me?

David looks at her, his sparkling, deep-brown eyes full of sadness as they peek out from the curtain of black hair. He kicks the toe of his shoe repeatedly into the ground, his hands in his pockets.

Amira: (Feeling bad) I'm sorry.

David: S'ok. I gotta go now. See you at school.

He begins to walk away, hanging his head, but Amira catches up with him.

Amira: Wait! What was it that you wanted to tell me before?

David: (Shakes his head) S'nothing. Doesn't matter anymore.

Amira: Oh. Ok. Bye! (She offers a small wave and tries to smile)

David: (Mumbling coldly, already walking away) Bye.

Amira sneaks into the house. The clock reads 11:35 p.m. She's shocked at how fast the time seemed to pass. Hearing shouting from her parents' bedroom, she walks on by and down the hallway. Phoebe's standing outside the doorway of Amira's room.

Phoebe: (Crosses arms) So.

Amira: So?

Phoebe: Where were you?

Amira: (Sighs) Just...hanging out at Clara's house.

Phoebe: (Looks Amira up and down) Mira, you're covered in dirt, your hair's a mess, and you smell like alcohol and smoke-you were definitely NOT at Clara's house.

Amira: Did they notice I was gone? (Referring to her parents)

Phoebe: (Shakes her head) They've been fighting all day. They missed the call from the school saying you skipped. I was the one who picked it up and also covered for you while you were "at Clara's house".

Amira: (Grateful) Thank you, Phoebe! (She embraces her)

Phoebe: (Grimaces) Whatever. Just, promise, in the morning, that you'll give me some answers, okay?

Amira falls asleep the minute her head hits the pillow. She tosses and turns through the night, haunted by nightmares, all involving David-David getting hit by a car, David being pushed off a cliff, David being tied to a chair and tortured... Amira wakes up in a cold sweat several times. She's in the middle of another terrifying dream when she's shaken awake by Phoebe.

Phoebe: Wake up!

Amira: (Groans) Too early. Go 'way.

Phoebe: (Hands on hips) Mira, it's 12:30 in the afternoon. Wake up already, you lazy bum!

Amira hugs her blankets to her chest and rolls over, sighing as she tries to drift off again...

Phoebe: (Angry) We have to leave in five minutes! If you don't get up-

Amira: (Props herself up on her elbow) Where are we going?

Phoebe: Mom went to a spa, Dad went out apartment-hunting, and I was left in charge of you. We're going to my boyfriend's house.

Amira: Boyfriend?

Phoebe: Yes. Now get dressed! He's got a brother your age-you never know, he might be cute! (Smiles)

Amira: And I only get five minutes to make myself decent?

Phoebe: (Smiles) Yep. Good luck!

Amira jumps into the shower, ignoring the five-minute deadline. She towels off and starts working on her hair.

Phoebe: (Pounding on the door) Will you hurry it up?

Amira: (Smirking) I'm going to take my time.

She hears Phoebe's frustrated growl outside. After another five minutes, Amira saunters out of the bathroom, sporting her favorite jeans and flowing, light-blue blouse.

Phoebe: Well, it took you forever, but you look nice. Ready to go?

Amira: (Happy with herself) Yes, I am.

Amira sits in the car, looking out the window, feeling like something's strangely familiar...

Phoebe: Don't you dare think you've gotten away with not telling me what happened last night. When we get home, you're spilling everything. Okay?

Amira: (Grumbling) Fine.

They pull up and Phoebe parks.

Amira: (Confused) Wait a minute-what are we doing here? This is David's apartment! Is this some kind of joke?

Phoebe: (Also confused) No! This is where Eric lives.

Amira: (Eyes bug out) Wait-you're dating Eric?!

Phoebe: (Rolls eyes) I already told you that, smart one.

Amira: (Shocked) Eric Tripp?

Phoebe: You know him?

Amira: He's David's brother!

Phoebe: (jaw drops) Are you serious? So we've both been dating Tripp boys?

Amira: (Grimaces) Dating? Not so much.

Phoebe: (Knocking on the door) Did something happen?

Amira: I'll tell you all of it later. I promise.

Eric answers the door.

Eric: (Points to Amira) Hey, I know you! What are you doing here?

Phoebe: This is my sister, Amira. I guess you guys have met, huh?

Eric: Yeah. She's that girl my brother's got a thing for. C'mon in.

They walk inside, following Eric into the house. It's surprisingly clean. The one time Amira saw it (when David answered the door the first time), it was messy, with beer bottles and cigarette butts everywhere. The house in its current state is tidy, no sign of any beer, cigarettes, or much else, for that matter.

Eric: (Walks over to a door and pounds on it) David! Wake up!

Eric puts his arm around Phoebe's waist and she smiles admiringly at him.

Eric: (To Amira) Hey, Amanda, get David up, will you? And don't bother us. We're busy people.

Phoebe gives her a threatening glare. And with that, she and Eric disappear into another room, locking the door behind them.

Amira awkwardly knocks on the door.

Amira: Uh...wake up!

Hearing nothing, she curses Phoebe, takes a deep breath, and opens the door.

David's sprawled on the bed, on his stomach, snoring. Uncomfortably, she walks over to he bed and whispers in his ear, "Wake up!" Still nothing. She pokes his arm. He stirs, but falls right back asleep.

Amira: (Whispering, to herself) Oh, forget it.

She makes it half-way across the room before tripping on a pizza box. She falls, making a loud crash. David jumps up immediately and blinks a few times, squinting and rubbing his eyes.

David: (Pleasantly surprised) What are you doing here? Wait, am I still dreaming?

Amira: Unfortunately, no.

David stands up, stretches, and yawns. He looks down at himself and they both notice at the same time that he's wearing nothing but a pair of boxers.

David: (Awkwardly) Uh...

Amira: (Blushing) I'll just let you get dressed...

She slips out the door and waits in the living room. She heard Phoebe's loud, ecstatic cackle from the other room and the cereal Amira wolfed down before she left threatens to make a reappearance.

David emerges a minute later, wearing a sweatshirt and pair of old jeans.

David: (Referring to his clothes) Is this better?

Amira: (Smiles) Much better.

David: (Becoming serious) About last night-

Amira: Stop it! I don't want to talk about last night! It didn't happen, okay?

David: (Nods) Right. Didn't happen.

Amira: Good. Can we talk about something else?

David: Sure. Why are you here?

Amira: My sister's dating your brother.

David: Wait, Matt's got a girlfriend? He's only four!

Amira: (Crosses arms, gives him a look)

David: (Looking let down) I know, I'm not funny. So Phoebe's your sister?

Amira: (Sighing angrily) Yes.

David: (Grinning) Got any more sisters?

Amira: (Gives him a jokingly-disappointed look)

Just then, the front door opens and a middle-aged, slender woman enters. She smiles with the same full lips and deep brown eyes as David.

David: (To the woman) Hey, Jen.

Jen: Hello, Dave. Who's this? (Gestures to Amira)

David: This is Amira. Amira, this is my aunt, Jen.

Amira: (Smiling warmly and extending her hand) Very pleased to meet you.

Jen: (Shaking Amira's hand) You too. You are just as adorable as David said you are!

Amira: (Blushing like crazy) Thanks!

Jen: Now I understand why David spent so much on that ring he got you. You are just too cute! Hold onto Dave-he's a sweety and he definitely loves you with all his heart.

She flounces into the next room, happy, as if nothing happened. Amira feels like a terrible person and David is looks incredibly embarrassed.

David: (Embarrassed) Sorry about that.

Amira: (Nervously) David, I hope you don't mind me asking, but about how much did you spend on that ring?

David: (Looking at his feet, blushing) Let's just say, I worked a lot of overtime.

A knot forms in Amira's stomach as she thinks of Chris furiously pulling the ring off her finger.

David: Do you think I could have it back? You know, since we're (Pauses briefly) over now?

Amira: Um...I don't have it with me.

David: That's okay. Can you get it to me by tomorrow?

Amira: Uh...no.

David: (Confused) Can I pick it up? (Pauses) Wait a minute, you didn't sell it, did you?

Amira: No.

David: Did you lose it?

Amira: Not exactly?

David: (Frustrated) What then?

Amira: (Avoiding eyes contact) Chris took it when he kidnapped me.

David: (Face falls) Oh. (Angry) I hate that guy.

Amira: Me too.

David: I'm sorry you had to meet him. It's all my fault. (Pause) I'm sorry for everything I've ever done to you. Everything. I'm sorry for all those things you had to see. I'm sorry for throwing rocks at your window-

Amira: (Giggles) I forgot about that.

David: (Smiles) Anyway, I just wanted to say I'm really sorry. I hate not being on good terms with you, especially since I probably won't see you again.

Amira: (Stops giggling) What?

David: (Inhales sharply and swallows, then speaks quietly) If my dad isn't sober in a month, Eric, Matt, and I are going to live with Jen in Colorado. (Pauses) I like living with Jen, and I'd prefer to live with her, but you aren't in Colorado. Not like it matters, really, now that you hate me. But I'll still miss you.

Amira: (Sad) I don't hate you. I just don't trust you like I used to.

David: (Angry) Why? Because some jerk told you I'm a bad guy? I suppose you believe a tomato is a fruit, don't you?

Amira: Uh...it's been proven... Listen, can we please not fight about this again?

David: Fine.

They're silent for a few minutes, both of them staring at their feet, trying to block out the sounds of Phoebe and Eric in the other room.

David: Can we still be friends?

Amira: (Smiles) Yeah. That would be awesome. We can hang out still, but see other people. And I promise, if there's anything I can do to help you guys, I'll do it in a heartbeat. I don't feel the same way about you as I did before, but I'd miss you so much if you left.

She walks over to him and slowly wraps her arms around his torso, resting her head against his chest and hugging him tightly. He holds her, not wanting to let go. Phoebe and Eric enter the room right then and David reluctantly releases her.

Phoebe: Come on, Mira. It's time to go!

Phoebe kisses Eric on the cheek, Amira waves goodbye to David, and the two sisters make their way home.