-Ashlee's POV-

I collapsed into my bed completely drained. Hayley had comprehensively documented everything, complete with photos of my current injuries. I still wasn't sure I was comfortable with all this, but I couldn't lie to them anymore. I thought about dinner, but decided I wasn't hungry so I made an effort to clean up some of the mess instead.

This place disgusts me. Everything here is tainted in one way or another. My thoughts were pointless, harmful and definitely detrimental. I sighed and sat on the couch and started at the clock on the wall. Nine pm. Every minute he wasn't here made it worse for me. I resisted the urge to cry just as I heard him fumbling at the front door as he tried to let himself into the house. I heard a voice that wasn't his and I began to really stress. I bolted up the stairs just as he got the door open.

"Oi, slut. Daddy's home!" He bellowed with intentions that were unmistakable.

I shuddered, feigning sleep as I heard three sets of steps. Three? That couldn't be right. I peeked out from under the covers as I heard my door open. Yep, three. This was not going to pleasant, but when was it ever pleasant?

***

I shifted groggily, naked with all my wounds exposed, trying to recall where I was and what had happened. The sheets felt sticky, my sheets. I was in my bed. But why was it sticky? I attempted to sit up but my head spun, I put my hands on it instinctively and saw the blood on my hands. Looking over my body I could see several wounds around my torso that could be the culprits. Most were shallow and caked in dry blood but a few deeper ones were still oozing blood. I looked at my phone. 3.50pm. I'd missed a whole day of school, fifteen calls and had had seven text messages. I decided to get up, staggered briefly and collapsed in a heap on my bed and promptly passed out.

***

I shifted groggily again and started at the déjà vu. It all came back to me and I broke the pain barrier as I grabbed for me phone. 9.22am, April 29th. Shit. That's like, two whole days I've been out of it. I ignored the numerous missed calls and text messages and made another valiant attempt at rising. I made it and wobbled weakly to the bathroom. What I saw made me want to throw up. I did throw up. Then looked again. The deeper wounds I'd discovered days ago were definitely going to require stitches which meant getting to the Cabrini Hospital. Which, was going to be a problem. My right eye was black and swollen, painfully, now that I was aware of it. My body was also covered in bruises and I was sure this meant a few cracked bones. The pain was everywhere and I willed myself not to pass out again. I opened the cabinet and looked for soft bandages to cover the wounds and carefully wrapped it around my torso, right arm and left lower leg.

Who do I know with a car, who do I know with a car, who do I know with a car? It's Friday, yes? Yes. Kristian!

I stumbled back to my room and stared at my sheets. Ew, ew, ew, ew! My phone was no longer on my side table. It should've been there. It was on my floor where I dropped it. 10am. What if he's in class? Let's just hope not.

I scrolled to his name and pressed call. One ring, two rings, three rings, four rings, five rings, six rin-

"Hello?" The word was slurred.

"Were you asleep?" I sound shaky, damn it.

"Yeah.. Ash?"

"Yes? But why were you asleep?"

"Because my races got cancelled today. Where have you been?"

"Umm.."

"You're not at school, you don't answer calls, you don't return calls, you ignore text messages and you haven't been on the internet! Fuck Ashlee, Hayley hasn't stopped crying!"

The reprimand shocked me and I started to cry, "I'm sorry," I stammered, "I, I haven't been awake much these past few days."

He softened a bit, "want to tell me about it?"

"No," I sobbed, "Can you take me to the hospital?"

There was a sharp intake of breath on the other end of the line, "why?"

"Because, I um, need stitches."

"I'll be there as soon as I can. And in the meantime, text Hayley or leave her a voicemail or something."

I agreed, pulled a loose t-shirt and trackies on and left Hayley a voice message explaining my absence briefly and telling her we'd get together before the big date night we'd planned on Monday and to call me. I didn't bother with shoes, my feet were sore and I grabbed my key, my phone, swallowed a couple of pain tablets and sat on the doorstep waiting for Kristian.

***

I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I know I'm strapped into a car. I started violently and the car pulled over suddenly.

"Easy Ashy, you're with me, it's okay beautiful."

I exhaled deeply and looked at him. He looked upset and confused.

"You looked so exhausted I just carried you into the car. We're only five minutes away from Cabrini okay?"

I nodded and he pulled back onto the road and we spent the next five minutes in silence. When we arrived at the hospital my legs wouldn't support me so he carried me into Emergency and we took our place in the queue. I rested my head on his shoulder and he squeezed my hand.

"Sleep a bit Ash, bit of a wait ahead of us."

"Okay, I murmured and I went to sleep."

***

I woke up to the sound of a new voice addressing me and Kris prodding me gently.

"Miss Schneider, through here please."

I rose slowly and Kris was at my side so I didn't collapse. He tried to pick me up but I pushed him away and somehow managed to get to the hospital bed. I lay down and he sat at my feet daring the nurse to tell him he couldn't be there.

"The doctor will be with you shortly." And with that she left.

He looked at me and smiled sadly, and I smiled sadly back.

"It'll be okay you know."

"Will it?"

"Yes."

The doctor burst through the curtains at that point. He failed at hiding the shock on his face.

"I'm doctor Matt Campbell and I will be looking after you today."

I tried to smile and Kristian looked at him with interest.

"So tell me, what's happened here?"

That was something I hadn't thought about. What was I going to tell them?

"I umm, got into a fight."

Worst. Lie. Ever. And he knew it.

He gave me that look, "What's damaged then?"

I told him about the open wounds and how they had kept bleeding and about all the bruised and my eye and the bones I thought were broken and Kristian excused himself.

"Is he hurting you?"

"No!" The question horrified me, "he would never."

"Sure. But if he's not responsible, who is?"

"I can't tell you."

"You can tell me, you just won't."

"Well, there's that too."

"If someone's hurting you Ashlee, you need to tell someone."

"It's okay."

He sighed, "well, we'll get some x-rays and other scans done and clean out these cuts. Then see what else needs to be done."

I nodded.

***

Several scans and painful wound wash outs later I was told I would be spending at least two nights in the hospital. I had seven broken ribs, and they'd had to repair a lung, my cuts were infected and the bruising was of some concern. Kris helped me get set up in my hospital room and Dr. Campbell showed up.

"How are you feeling?"

"Pretty beat up really."

He smile sympathetically, "we need to call a parent or guardian. Do you think you could give us a name and number?"

I stiffened noticeably and I knew he'd picked up on it, but what could I do?

I forced out his name, "Michael Schneider – 0430 652 435"

"Thanks Ashlee." And he left.

"I have to get going, Ash." His voice broke into my thinking.

"Oh, okay."

"I'll bring you some stuff tomorrow if you text me a list."

"That'd be awesome Kris, thanks. Here's my key."

His hand brushed mine and he leant forward and kissed me, just short but sweet on the lips. His cheeks flushed and he left hurriedly. I desperately wanted him to stay now.

"Come back, Kris..." My voice a whisper.

***

He glared at me. I stared at the ceiling. But I could feel his eyes. They pierced my body. I shuddered and he smiled. He smiled because he'd elicited the response he wanted. I felt dirty.

"You are in so much trouble when they release you."

I was afraid of this. I decided in this moment that I was going to die.

"Can I do anything for you hun?" The nurse inquired gently.

"Make visiting hours end early?" I asked, only half joking.

He glared at me and she said, "Mr. Schneider, your daughter needs her rest."

He was furious, but he agreed politely and left. The nurse smiled at me and I thanked her. Genuinely thanked her.

A/N

So sorry this took so long. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but summer holidays in Aus, so I promise plenty of updates.

Oh, and have I mentioned I love reviews?