The playground was obscure. The past held many memories at this particular spot, but the locals and tourists now flocked towards the new, grand Play Spot. Only a select few still kept in contact with the metal slide and wooden swings. The old sandbox was overgrown, completely taken over by local weeds. But the weeds, the cracked pavement, and the rusty swings didn't bother me. Nothing else could make me more heartbroken. The images replayed over and over again in my mind.

It hurt to talk.

It hurt to walk.

It hurt to breathe.

I knew these images would never go away.

The wretched occurring would never fade from my memories. I tried to think past all of this. But every time I did, it was impossible. A future without him? It was unbearable. Unthinkable.

"Akacia." I heard my name. I looked up from my spot on the rusty, wooden swing.

It was him. It was Peyton. Peyton Blaine Thomas. Faber Hills High School shooting guard and plays forward on the soccer team. A-B average school grade. College bound. Popular. Rich. Everything I was not.

I, Akacia Jane Blocking was average. Maybe even below average. I play the part of your everyday teenager. I get good grades, I go to school, I brush my teeth. I've never been in the popular crowd. My only scrapes to the towns private celebrity I have was the parties Peyton took me to. The days when we would jump from party to party. My hand on his, his on my waist. Keeping me from the loud drunken laughs. These parties were harmless, at least that's what I had thought.

Then, my parents went out. They were headed to a conference in Maine. It was all weekend and Peyton talked me into having a party. We bought soda and chips, my friend Gwyenn burned us a few CDs, and the house was stripped of precious belongings. Though we didn't live in the rich part of town, our house was nice sized.

"Kaci, it'll be fine. Nothing will happen to your house and everyone will see even better how much of a great girl you are." he assured me.

"Are you sure they know they're not allowed to bring alcohol in here? And that the wine cabinet is off limits?" I asked him. I had been nervous as soon as he mentioned the word 'party', but I trusted Peyton. If he said he would help me, he would. He always stuck to his word.

"They know. All of the drinkers will be sober tonight. I promise." he smiled down at me. I leaned into his comforting embrace as he kissed my head.

I trusted him as the first few guests arrived. I was the perfect hostess. I did all of the things I had gathered from the various parties Peyton had taken me to. Everyone complimented the food, the drinks, how I looked. The music was working great. Somehow in the mix of things, I lost Peyton. I figured he would help me host and was somewhere around helping out.

"Akacia, the bathroom upstairs is out of soap. And I'm pretty sure you want to get soap in there before people decide to just stop washing their hands all together. G-ross. That would be soooo disgusting." Heather Biggs was the town's resident talkaholic. She talked nonstop and was very dramatic about everything.

"Heather, thanks. I got it. Enjoy the party." I smiled. I headed up the stairs and into the bathroom. I restocked the bathroom as the line had actually halted for the moment.

While upstairs, I went to make sure that the bedrooms were all still intact.

My parents' room was fine. My room looked barely touched. As I moved towards the guest room, however, the light was on under the door.

Nevertheless, I barged right in.

The scene on the bed shocked me.

Peyton was making out with the town's slut.

Maci Kline.

The room smelled heavily of vodka. I noticed a bottle sitting on the nightstand.

I ran over, grabbed the bottle and escaped, hearing Peyton yelling my name behind me. I locked myself in the bathroom. The bottle in my hand shook uncontrollably.

I unscrewed the lid and took a long, hard swig.

Not a drinker, the alcohol took effect on me as soon as it touched my lips. I felt myself sway and took fast to the counter top. The image in my mind wasn't turning to a scar. It was burning, remaining an open wound. Salt water was poured over it. The vodka dimmed the pain. Even only entering my system a second before, I couldn't think.

I stood there thinking for a second.

I spun around and headed for the door. I slammed it open to see Peyton leaning against the wall, his shirt, which had been laying on the bed only moments before, was now on. Maci was just now huffing out of the bedroom. His head was in his ands and he was shaking.

I shook my head and sprinted down the stairs. I ran into the living room, over to where Gwyenn was watching the music.

I unplugged the music and turned to the people that were dancing.

"Everyone out. There better not be a single bottle left on the floor. Now or I call the police." I said, and then I moved through the rooms making sure the guests were following directions. I saw Peyton trying to talk to me a few times, but I was on a Vodka-induced rampage.

"Get the hell out of my way, Peyton." I growled.

I herded the people out of the house, then I went into my room to cry. Midway through a particularly horrible crying jab, I tore into the guest room, removing the sheets on the bed and throwing them down the stairs. I then proceeded to wash the dirty sheets. I wished I could wash the image from my mind.

His hand up her shirt, her hand tracing his abs, their heads, moving in sync with one another. I couldn't help but finish the image. He leaned her back on the bed and proceded to make love to her. At my party.

The thought hurt worse even now.

I was silent. He continued towards me. He stopped at the post of the swing, as if he was afraid I would attack if he got too close.

"Kaci. I-" he started.

" Don't you dare say you're sorry. Don't you dare." I warned him.

He closed his eyes. He saw the hurt in my eyes. The betrayal. The tears starting to form.

"Baby... Kaci... I don't know what to say..." he told me.

"How about you explain to me? Do you think you owe me that? I mean when the hell did this start? Was this the first time, or am I just the last to find out?" I accused. My heart was breaking by every word.

He slid down until he was on the gravel ground. His head was on his arms which were folded on his knees.

"I was drunk." he whispered.

"And that's your excuse? First you allow alcohol in my house, then you consume such alcohol. Then you abandon me. Finally, I find out you're making out with Maci Kline. Do you think you being drunk is going to just excuse everything? Make this hurt a little less?" I exploded. I couldn't take this hurt anymore. I got up and ran through the path in the woods. I heard him behind me. Being a basketball and soccer player, he was faster than me. He caught me by the waist. He hugged my back to his chest.

"I am so so so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. If someone told me I would ever cheat on you, I would've punched them in the face. I love you Akacia. I love you so much it hurts. It kills me to know how much I hurt you. Please, please, please forgive me. Baby, I love you." he cried onto my shoulder.

This time, finally let the sobs fully consume me. The pain bled out through the tear ducts in my eyes. My body trembled with the extreme cries.

He turned me around in his arms and hugged me. When my knees gave out, we fell to the ground together. He put me on his lap and kissed my face. My arms wound their way around his neck.

He murmured his apologies to me.

When there was nothing left in me to cry out, we sat there, my head on his chest.

"I won't ever hurt you again. I swear. I love you so much Akacia." he whispered.

It was there, in his arms, on a shaded path in the woods, that I finally, completely gave myself into the deep hunger for sleep.