Prologue:

I heard his footsteps before I saw him. He was on top of me, each blow driving me farther into shock. I felt the palm of his right hand slap my face while his left struggled to tear my clothes and cup my breast. An icy pain exploded in my lower abdomen, snapping me to awareness. I screamed. He ran.

As if in a dream, I touched my hand to my stomach and put it to my face. It was dripping blood. I pulled out my phone and called 911. Help will come soon I remember thinking right before I passed out, the beat of the song playing on my iPod still pulsing in my ears.

_________

Dear Journal,

Hi, my name is Everett, but my friends call me Ever. When I was in eighth grade I was raped by my ex-boyfriend, Kerry. I got a crap load of trauma from that experience, and what did he get? My virginity and… hmm nothing else. No one helped. He never got punished. Life went on like nothing happened. I never even got an apology because his parents denied the fact that their child was so perverse and cruel.

I was left broken.

When I was in ninth grade I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily the doctors caught it before it got too serious. I went into surgery and recovered thoroughly.

I was left scared.

Last Monday was my first day of school. I am terrified to face the pattern of my life. Another year, another tragedy. What will happen next? I go blind?

If I make it through another day alive, I owe you ten bucks.

--Ever Love, Ever

I put down my pen and closed my diary. I hated my new therapist; he was making me keep a journal to vent my emotions and share my thoughts. Haven't I been through enough without having to depress myself with my "feelings"?

I hopped off my bed, stuffed the lime green book on the shelf above the window, and went downstairs to grab some breakfast. But first, I walked into the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror. I have straight brown hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. I was wearing a pink abercrombe shirt and some light wash skinnies of the same brand. My thin frame made most of my clothes pretty baggy unless I got them in a small enough size. This ensemble, though, was form-fitting and comfortable.

As I walked into the kitchen and grabbed an Amp energy drink from the fridge, my mom walked in.

"Everett! Too much sugar this early in the morning!" She took the soda from my hand. "Eat some special K instead. It, unlike this," she said looking disgustedly at the can "has some nutritional value." I poured myself a bowl of cereal and, as I walked out, retrieved the soda from off the counter in the same stride.

I took a few bites of cereal and stole a look at the clock. 6:50 already!

"Bye, Mom!" I yelled, grabbing my backpack and running out the door. When I got to the bus stop the bus was just pulling up. Climbing in, my friend, Mel, flagged me down. I plopped down next to her and her infamous never-ending chatter started.

"Did you hear? We are getting a new student in History class today! Apparently his name is Nathaniel. Maybe he'll be cute…" She gushed on and on about how she couldn't wait to meet him. She probably hoped that he would be boyfriend material. And she had just lost her old boyfriend, Brent… Mel interrupted my wandering thoughts

"Are you listening?" she asked.

"What? Oh, sorry, I'm a zombie today." I replied.

"I said that I once heard the name Nathaniel means 'gift from god' or something… Maybe he'll be sent for you, Ever." She repeated smiling.

I smiled back wryly.

she didn't understand how much I hoped.

______________

I walked into History class and my eyes jumped to the guy (Nathaniel?) who stood with a mob of girls around him, including Mel. He was blonde, green eyed, tall, and very handsome. The other guys in the room were abandoned at their desks, jealousy written on all of their faces.

I chuckled and sat down in my usual seat. When the teacher walked in, the mob dispersed and the new kid was left standing at the front of the room.

"Nathaniel Saint?" the teacher asked. All the girls sighed, love-drunk.

"Yeah, that's me." He said, waving his hand sarcastically. "Saint, the saint. But, looking at these wonderful ladies, I think I'm already in heaven."

Oh god. What a totally arrogant loser. I would never fall for a guy like him. How are all these girls so distracted by his looks to not tell what a jerk he is? I thought to myself. When I rolled my eyes, he looked at me and winked, strolling over the empty seat next to me and sliding into it. Everyone settled down and class started. As the teacher started lecturing about World War I, a small scrap of paper slipped onto my desk.

You wanna hang out at my place today at 5?

I stole a glance at him out of the corner of my eye. He was waiting for an answer. I scribbled no and passed it back. He read the refusal and turned red. He leaned over toward me and whispered

"Come on. It will be fun, just friends. We can watch a movie or something…"

"No."

"Please?"

"No."

"Pretty pretty please?" He gave me a mock pout and puppy dog eyes.

"Ugh, fine. But don't expect that to work on me a second time…" I grumbled.

"Cool. Here's my address," he said handing me a scrap of paper "and I'll see you at five." He smiled triumphantly and turned his attention back to the teacher.

_______________

I sailed through the rest of the day, dreading the date with Nathaniel. Maybe it won't be as bad as I'm expecting I hoped.

As the clock neared five, I got ready to go.

"Where are you going?" asked my mom.

"Oh, just to hang out with a friend. We might watch a movie or something." It wasn't exactly a lie.

"When will you be home?" asked my dad, ever the over-protective one.

"Probably around nine, I think. I'll call you if there is a change of plans." I replied, repeating the routine I've been through with my parents many times. "No, I won't go anywhere alone. And I will be safe." I headed for the door trying to escape the last promise.

"And no boys." My father said before I could step out the door.

"No boys." I agreed without turning around. Well there went the 'not lying' vantage point. I walked out the door and quickly got into my car. What I wondered does this night have in store?