A/N: I'm going on a vacation for the next week and I may or may not have the time to write or update. I'll try my best. Thanks for the reviews I've gotten so far - keep them coming! Enjoy the next chapter.


A knock at the door interrupts my misery.

"Scar, you still in there? What's taking so long with the camera? You'll never guess what Ezra and Cam are doing now. It's hilarious." It's Jon. He's laughing at himself.

"Jon," I moan. My voice cracks.

"Carly? Are you okay?" I can't respond, "Carly, I'm coming in."

It takes a moment for him to find me, not at seeing distance from the door.

I'm still naked, my arms are lined with bruised finger marks. I'm lying in a heap on the ground.

He freezes as he sees me, "Oh my God."

I stare at him, blankly, wishing he'd know exactly what had happened.

All of a sudden he's at my side. "What the hell happened to you, Carly? Huh?"

I'm not sure why I lie. "Nothing, Jon. It's okay, I'm-"

His voice is impossibly sad as he interrupts me, "Who did this to you?"

I just shake my head.

"Oh my God," he repeats. "Well, we're just going to have to get you to the hospital, okay?"

"No!" I shout with all the strength I can muster, which isn't much. Tears run pitifully down my cheeks.

He looks as if he could cry himself, "Alright, then. Okay. No hospital. Let's just move you from here. They'll come back to change any time now."

He picks up my costume and slides it on me, dressing me like a child. He picks me up and carries me across the hallway to the band room.

He sits down against the lockers, filled with trombone and saxophone and french horn and flute cases. Some with random bags of food and old marching shoes.

The floor is riddled with abandoned and neglected sheet music, pencils, and broken reeds.

He puts me in his lap, cradling me, and rocks me like an infant.

"I'm sorry," he whispers, placing his lips to my forehead, "I'm so so sorry, Carly. I'm sorry someone did this to you." He wraps his arms around me and holds me tight. It is almost as if he's mourning too.

We sit until the lights are turned off and we're locked in.

"Our parents are probably wondering where we are," I say, my voice low and emotionless.

"That doesn't matter, Carly."

"I can't go home," I mutter, "Too many people. Too many questions."

I think of my parents, always questioning every step I take and move I make. My brothers, not the kind and protective ones that are featured in movies on lifetime that I watch so often, would tease me. My sister would ignore me as usual.

"Then you won't. You don't have to. How about my house? My mom won't ask any questions, I promise."

"Your mom's a doctor," I whisper.

"She'll know what to do, she'll know how to help you."

"I don't want her to know," I croak.

"We need to tell someone, Carly. She doesn't have to tell anyone else, it can just be her. Please."

"We," I murmur, in more of a statement than a question.

"Of course we. Do you expect me to leave you?"

I shrug, "You don't deserve me."

"Why are you saying that? Scarlett, I love you. More than anything else in the world."

I shake my head, and it throbs, "You're just saying that."

"No I'm not. Scarlett, please don't forget that. I know you were smacked around a little today, but that doesn't make me love you any less," his voice grows slower, "I promise I will never let anyone hurt you like this again. Ever. Okay?"

I don't reply, and instead turn my head up to look at him. My green eyes meet his brown. The sorrow and pain and fear I feel is staring right back at me.

A new batch of tears fall.

There is a pool of my blood on Jon's lap when he helps me stand up. I feel nauseous.

He guides me back to the dressing room, and hands me my street clothes to put on.

I'm shaking too hard and I burst into tears.

Jon needs to dress me again. He hooks the clasp of my bra and slides my shirt over my head. I lean on him while I step into my jeans and he buttons and zippers them. He ties the laces of my shoes.

I catch myself in the mirror. There's a bruise on my left cheek and my shoulders and arms have outlines of hands.

"Wasn't that wonderful, Scarlett?" His voice rings in my head.

There's blood on the ground by my feet and blood on my dress.

The world looms darkly around me and I need to lean on Jon for support.