Warning: This story contains cursing, abuse, and a few sex scenes. While none of these are over the top or extremely graphic, the story has been given an M rating just in case. The rating is simply to protect myself as the author, and it may change over time.

Text copyright 2011 © P.S. Warner.


In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. The steadiness of her own breathing was all she could hear. She exhaled deeply, and forced her groggy eyes open, blinding them with the light bursting through the blinds as she did so.


At the sound of his voice, she abruptly sat up. Her eyes immediately locked with his, and she smiled. "What time is it?" She asked.

Ryan looked at his watch. "Nearly seven."

Allie rolled her eyes. "Alright," she said, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed. Her feet hit the hard wooden surface of the floor, and she stretched her arms above her head. "How long did we sleep?" She asked.

Ryan chuckled, pulling on his blue hooded sweatshirt; the same one he always wore, a dark blue colored one with grey interior. "I'm going to guess about four hours."

Allie winced. "I'm sorry."

"Nah," he shook his head. "It's cool."

She sighed. Ryan had been very sleep deprived the past few weeks, and it was very much her fault. "I'll make it up to you," she offered, offering him an apologetic smile.

"Well duh," he replied, and she couldn't help but laugh at his expression.

For a second, neither of them said anything, and the silence merely built up around them. Then, Ryan got serious.

"Are you alright?" He asked her, taking a small step closer.

She nodded, folding her arms closely across her chest. "Yeah... Last night was just... Well, I don't exactly know what that was. Just..." She sighed. "I'm fine. I'm sorry I called you, really, I'm... I'm fine," she said again.

Ryan frowned at her, and nodded slowly. "Sure you are.."

"I am," she insisted.

He held up his hands, taking a step backwards. "Alright." He still didn't sound certain.

"Really, Ryan. I'll see you at school, okay?" He didn't move. "I'll be fine," she said through a strangled laugh that was very obviously fake. "I'm okay."

Ryan shook his head. "Alright. I'll see you at school."

As he moved to crawl out her window, Allie couldn't stop herself from caling out to him. She said his name so quietly, she wasn'te sure that he would even hear her.

But, he turned on the spot. "Yeah?"

"Thank you," she murmured.

With the half smile that she loved to see him wear, he winked at her. "Anytime, Al."


Making his way across the radiantly green grass of the Kenzington's lawn, after climbing carefully down the ladder that led to Allie's room, Ryan Geller crossed the street and stepped on to the soft grass of his own front yard.

The smell outside was moist, and clean; it was the smell of fall. Ryan loved that smell. The freshly cut grass, the cool air, everything about it.

As he reached his front door, he braced himself for the wrath that was surely waiting for him. Slowly, he opened it and stepped into his kitchen. He took a deep breath and looked around.

But as he let the door close behind him, he saw that no one was there to greet him. "Mom?" He called out. By calling out to her, he was practically asking to be punished, but he proceeded to do it anyway. If he was in trouble, sneaking back in was not going to make the situation any better.

"Morning, sweetheart!" His mother's voice sounded from the upstairs bathroom.

Ryan jogged up the stairs, taking them two at a time, and rounded the corner to see her brushing her hair. She looked at him in the mirror, eyes narrowed. "She needed me, Mom," he insisted, shrugging. "I'll take the punishment, whatever it is, but he..." Ryan shook his head. "It was necessary," he finished.

Necessary was his mother's favorite word. For some reason, using that particular word often seemed to keep him out of trouble.

Lydia Geller looked at her son's reflection in the mirror, and then she turned to face him. "Ryan..."

"Really, Mom. I wouldn't lie to you."

She smiled softly at him after a moment. "I know you wouldn't, honey. I know."

"I'm going to go get ready for school," he said, running a hand through his hair. "Okay?"

She nodded to him. "Go on, then."

Ryan took a quick step toward his mother, giving her a small peck on the cheek. Then, he smiled at her and said, "Thanks, Mom," before walking out of the bathroom.

"Do not be late," she responded, trying to sound stern. But, his mother had never been very good at 'stern', and her voice always came off as sweet and gentle.

"I won't be!" Ryan called, making his way down the hall.


"Good morning, Alison."

Allie nodded to him, her heart racing at the very sound of his voice. "Morning."

He watched her for a moment, and then turned his attention away from her, taking a long sip of his coffee.

Rolling her eyes, Allie crossed in front of the table, making her way to the refrigerator. She snatched an apple from the bottom drawer, and peeled off the little sticker. "I'm going to school," she announced.

"Have a nice day," he replied absent-mindedly.

"Thanks," she muttered, striding out of the room as quickly as possible.

"Alison?" He called after her.

She stopped dead in her tracks. Maybe he would...? She pushed the though out of her mind. He wouldn't apologize. He never had before. She had hoped for that for too long; been let down too many times...

But maybe... Just this once...?

"Yes?" She called.

There was a pause, and then, "Please don't forget to grab my suit from the dry cleaners after school."

Allie barely even flinched. She was not going to allow herself to feel the disappointment that was flooding her heart. She should have known better than to get her hopes up at all.

"Got it," she replied, turning on her heel.


He walked the halls, and everyone he passed knew him by name. He was certain that he had never spoken to half the people who seemed to know him 'so well', but it didn't exactly bother him.

Without football, he knew that he would be a nobody. There would be nothing special about him-although he had been told he was good-looking. He was almost always tan, which was apparently a good thing. His dark hair and complexion matched, and apparently emerald green eyes were also 'hot'. Or so he had been informed.

The girls re-guarded him very highly, too highly for his liking, actually. It seemed to piss some of the other guys off. But it wasn't like he used it to his advantage or anything. He was nice to people, which apparently also earned him points of some kind.

"Hey, Ryan," a girl, who's name he thought might be Kendra, said as she passed him.

Ryan glanced back at her. "Hey," he replied pleasantly.

He looked ahead down the hall and saw her at her locker, rummaging inside with a stressed look about her.

"Hey," he said, coming up next to her and leaning against her neighboring locker. "How was your morning?" He asked, cocking his head to the side.

"Am I a good person?" She asked, stopping her rummaging to look him in the eye.

Ryan frowned. "Of course you're a good person. What's this all about?" He asked quietly, leaning in towards her. "Did he do something...?"

He braced himself as though ready for a fight, but Allie shook her head. "No, nothing. Which is exactly what I expected, I guess... Or, it's what I should have expected."

Shaking his head, he sighed. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," she said with a shrug.


"Ryan, don't."

"You don't even know what I was going to say," he objected, folding his arms across his chest stubbornly.

She was fighting a smile. "Yes, I do. And the answer is no. I have a few months left and then I'm out of here. I'm out of this town, out of this school, out of his life... And that means that soon, he'll be out of mine, too," she shrugged. "Sounds pretty good to me. And besides, I can last a few months."

His expression turned to stone. "Can you, Allie?" He challenged.

"It won't get that bad again."

"Really?" He challenged, raising an eyebrow. Then he glanced around quickly, and lowered his voice. "Al, my mom is definitely on to this. She's not stupid... I mean, you had to know someone would figure it out."

"Ryan, if you tell her anything, I will never speak to you again." Her tone was flat. Dead.

Ryan sighed. "Alright. A few months, and we're out of here."

"Right," she agreed as the bell rang.

"Come on, let's get to class," he said, and they walked side-by-side to first period. They walked with one another every day, spent lunch together, and sat together in every class. Everyone in the school acknowledged Ryan wherever he went, but no one paid much attention to Allie.

She seemed to prefer it that way. Whenever Ryan got stuck talking to someone, she simply kept walking. Other than Ryan, Allie didn't have any friends; she liked it better that way. They were practically inseparable. And, even though Allie claimed that he was losing popularity points through association, they were together most of the time.

Ryan glanced over his shoulder at her. Allie looked at her feet when she walked, and she kept her arms folded tightly across her chest. She was actually very pretty, but she didn't dare let anyone see that. For the most part, she covered up her slim figure with jeans and a t-shirt. Allie appeared simply plain, more than pretty. Ryan was probably the only one who thought differently. He had seen her at her very best moments and at her very worst. He had been with her for as long as he could remember. They had been best friends since they were little.

They had been neighbors since he was about five or six. Ryan's family had moved in one summer, and he and Allie became joined at the hip almost immediately. His older brother, Jason, had teased him about having a girl for a best friend, but Ryan learned to ignore it. He was a tremendous athlete, and he played sports with the boys. He just spent all of his free time with Allie.

"What?" She asked, looking up at him.

He hadn't realized that he had been staring at her the entire time, and he immediately looked away. "Just trying to figure out why I spend my time with someone so..."

She raised her eyebrows at him. "Go ahead. Don't start something you can't finish," she warned, smiling up at him.

"Nah, I like you too much to insult you."

"Okay, we both know that's a lie."

He smirked. "True."


"You working tonight?" Ryan asked her in a whisper, breaking the silence of their study hall. They were in the library, surrounded by a group of overachievers. A few of them actually shot Ryan a dirty look as his voice sounded. As soon as they realized that it had been Ryan Geller who had spoken, however, they immediately looked away.

Allie nodded. "Yeah, I'll be there right after school until close. You coming in after football?" She asked, not looking up from her tattered notebook.

"Yeah, I'll be there. I'll even help you close up," he added, nudging her with his elbow.

Allie smiled lightly, glancing up at him. "Alright. I'll save you some desert," she offered.

Ryan frowned at her. "Does your employer know that you give out free desert?" He challenged.

She rolled her eyes. "Fine, I'll try to charge you for it. But, I doubt she would make you pay; she's your mother, she has to love you."

"Eh. Good point."


Sitting in her multi media class, her one period of the day without Ryan, Allie stared at the computer screen blankly. She could not shake what had happened last night. It was running through her mind non-stop and would not let her rest. She was supposed to be working on the end of the year video. On the seniors' last day, the video was played before they cleaned out their lockers. It was supposed to be all about how close they were, and how much they would miss each other. How they would stay friends forever. But it was bullshit. Everyone knew it. But no one said anything. It was easier to pretend, probably.

That, Allie had no problem with. She had been pretending for as long as she could remember; she never let anyone see what was really happening with her. It just made thigns easier. She pretended with everyone. Everyone but Ryan, anyway.

Tapping her pencil against the table, she thought she heard Mr. Barnes say something that was directed at her, but she ignored it.

Without Ryan Geller, Allie would have nothing.

Without Ryan she would have no one to talk to. She would have no job. She would have no one that came when she called. She would have no one to rely on... No one to fall back on when she couldn't take it any more... She would have nothing.


"Hello?" He answered on the second ring.

"Ryan?" She asked, her voice a whisper.

"Allie, what happened?" He demanded, his voice burning with concern. "Are you alright? What did he-"

"Can you just..." She stopped, holding back the tears that were threatening to leak from her eyes. She stopped. Ryan didn't say anything for a moment, but she knew that she wouldn't have to elaborate any further.

"I'm coming."


With one tap, she rushed over to her window. Ryan's silhouette was all she could see, and she pushed at the frame, opening it as wide as it would go. Ryan swung his legs over the edge, feet landing silently on her floor. He turned his back to shut her window, latching it in one swift motion. When he turned back towards her, she closed the space between them in one quick stride.

Ryan's arms encircled her automatically and she buried her face into his chest.

"What happened?" He asked, pulling away so that he could read her face.

Allie shook her head, taking a small step back."Nothing," she muttered quietly, making her way to the edge of her bed.

Ryan was two steps behind her. He sat down next to her, and wrapped an arm around her waist, rubbing soothing circles on her back. "Is he here?" Allie nodded. "Downstairs?" He asked, and she nodded again. "Did you lock your door?"

"Yeah," she whispered.

Allie was trying to hold it all in, but now that Ryan was with her, she stopped and allowed a single tear to fall from her eye. As it ran down her cheek, she laid her head against Ryan's shoulder, and his arm tightened around her.

"Alright. It's okay, Allie. It's okay."

She nodded against his shoulder. "Yeah," she whispered, as though to reassure herself.

"Alright. Let's get some sleep," he insisted, pulling at her waist with his arm. She gave in without hesitation, laying down slowly. "I'll get the light," he said quietly. Ryan was always very cautious about the volume of his voice. He knew as well as she did that someone would pay for it if Allie's father ever discovered their little secret... And they both knew who that someone would be.

"Ryan-" She started, but the sound of footsteps in the hallway silenced her immediately.

Ryan held a finger to his lips, and listened at the door. "He's only going to bed," he assured her quietly, forcing a smile. She nodded and prayed to God that he was right. "Alright," he said, crawling in to bed next to her. "Now, let's get some sleep, alright?"



She turned to face him. "Hmm?"

Something in his eyes told her that he was no longer going to say what he had originally planned on saying. "You're sure that you're alright?" He asked sincerely.

"Yeah... Thanks, Ryan." She whispered, her voice cracking.

"Hey," he whispered back, "come here." And in one swift movement, he had pulled her close to him, his arms wrapping around her protectively. "It's okay," he promised, and, though it was an empty promise, she tried as hard as she could to believe it.

"Don't go," was her response.

He chuckled and rubbed her arm gently. "I won't."


She met him for lunch at their usual table. Her sack lunch, containing a peanut butter and honey sandwich and a red apple, sat in front of her. She took a large gulp of her bottled water and noticed Ryan staring at her. "What?" She asked, raising her eyebrows.

He grinned crookedly at her. "Nothing, just... I will never understand how you came up with that," he said, gesturing to her sandwich, "that's all."

She rolled her eyes. "You know, maybe if you actually tried it..."

Ryan shook his head at her slowly. "Oh no, no way." He grimaced in the direction of her lunch.

Dramatically rolling her eyes once again, Allie chose not to argue with him on the subject. After multiple attempts of trying to convince him that peanut butter and honey sandwiches were not completely disgusting, she had pretty much given up. "So how was pre calculous?" She asked, changing the subject.

"I should have taken it last year with you, it sucks. But then, we can't all be super geniuses."

Allie scoffed. "Oh shut up. You're just as smart- if not smarter. And besides, I needed you to take Chem two so that I wouldn't struggle so much when I took it." She added, taking a bite of her apple.

"Not that it even mattered. You took it over the summer anyway."

She shrugged. "And I passed it, thanks to you."

"How did you manage to do that anyway? I can't believe they let you. Plus, now you get that media class instead, and that's a piece of cake for you." He sounded jealous.

"Just asked." She said shortly.

Ryan stopped, catching her tone. "So you said you work right after school, right?"

"Yeah. And I swear to God, Ryan, if your mom says anything to me about-"

"Relax, Al. She's not going to say anything. I promise."

Thinking quietly for a moment, neither of them said anything. Then, Allie had one of her 'let's be serious' moments. "Why do you hang out with me, Ryan?" She demanded, frowning at him.

Ryan never seemed to like these. He would always make a joke, then answer her question seriously, and then end with something humorous. It all balanced out in his mind. "You mean besides the fact that you're hot and it makes me look like a freaking stud?" He challenged.

"Screw you," she muttered, knowing better than to take his compliment seriously. But she was not quite able to hold back the smile that twitched at her lips. "I'm serious, Ryan. Think about it. Football god," she said gesturing towards him, "and then there's-" He cut her off, which she was actually thankful for, considering she had no idea what she would have referred to herself as.

"When's my birthday, Allie?" He asked.

She frowned. "August twenty fourth."

"My middle name?"


"My favorite color?" He asked quickly.


"Favorite soda?" He demanded, even more quickly.

"Trick question," she accused. "Dr. Pepper, and Coke."

"That's why, Allie."

And without another word, he went on eating his lunch.


She walked in through the glass front door, breathing in the familiar scent of pie and coffee. The cozy little cafe was her sanctuary. Apart from Ryan's house and her room, -when Ryan occupied it- this was the only place she felt at home. She set her school bag down on her usual table and looked around.

Ryan's mother appeared around the corner, greeting her with a smile. "Hello, dear," she said cheerfully, setting down the coffee pot she was holding. "How was school today?" She asked, wiping her hands off on her apron.

Allie smiled back, greeting her with the same pleasant tone. "School was fine. Light homework."

"Good, I'm glad to hear that. And Ryan?" She asked.

"Same for him, I think."

"Good. We haven't been too busy today," she said, making her way back towards the kitchen. Allie followed her, snatching her usual apron from the edge of the counter. "Only had the regulars."

"Think we'll be busy tonight?" She asked, always hopeful for a late night at work.

Lydia paused, pursing her lips as she considered it. "I'm not sure, actually. I would guess no, but I could always be wrong."

Allie nodded. "Yeah."

Damn. She had been hoping for a busy night. One that would keep her late. Going home was never a pleasant experience.


"Geller," Matt called out to him. "Hey, man, you coming with us tonight?" He asked casually, leaning up against the locker next to Ryan, folding his arms across his chest. Ryan thought for a second. "Ahh, come on, man. You can't bail. You always have an excuse for not hanging out with us. You're starting to hurt my feelings," Matt said, pretending to stab his heart and twist the imaginary knife.

Ryan laughed, but he shook his head. "School night, Carter. Can't."

Matt sighed, rolling his eyes. But he knew better than to put up an argument. He was just going to lose, anyway. "Alright. See 'ya later then," he said, pushing off of the locker and heading out the door.

"Later," Ryan called back, grabbing his bag.

His walk to the cafe was a short one, only about two and a half blocks. When he reached it, he smiled to himself. Looking through the window, he saw Allie sitting at their usual table, reading a book.

"Hey," he said casually, flipping the sign to "closed" behind him.

Allie looked up from her book and smiled. "Hey."

Lydia appeared from behind the counter a second later. "Hi, sweetheart. How was practice?" She asked.

"Good," he said with a nod.

"You two," she said in an accusing tone. "Would it kill you to respond with something other than, 'good' or, 'fine,'?" she asked, frowning at the two of them simultaneously.

Ryan laughed, taking a seat next to Allie, "Yep. And we're too young to die," he responded.

Allie was silent.

Lydia rolled her eyes and then disappeared, going back to doing whatever it was she was doing before Ryan came in.

"Alright, Al, whatcha' reading now?" He asked, cocking his head to read the cover.

"To Kill A Mockingbird," she responded, marking her page and flipping the book closed, setting it down in front of her.

Ryan frowned. "Again?"

"Want your desert?" She asked, raising her eyebrows. "I saved you some."

"Hell yes," he replied with an eager nod.

She stood up to get it, and he followed her, taking a new seat on one of the stools at the counter. Allie turned back to him, a piece of pumpkin pie on the plate in her hand. "Hang on," she said before he could even ask.

She reached down in to the mini fridge underneath the counter and brought up a can of whipped cream. "Thatta' girl," he said in approval as she pushed down on the nozzle. She let it foam onto his plate, not daring to put it on the pie itself.

Allie knew that he preferred to cut a bite and dunk it in the whipped cream. She didn't know why, and neither did he, but she knew that he liked it, and didn't really care why.

"Thanks, Al."

"Yep," she muttered, putting the can back in its place under the counter.

Ryan ate slowly, cutting tiny bites. "So how was it today?"

Allie shrugged, taking off her apron and folding it. She set it on the edge of the counter. "It was fine. Pretty slow, really."

He winced. "You need to step it up as a waitress," he demanded. "My college education depends on this place."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh please, you're smart enough to get a multitude of scholarships. Not to mention you're a little above average when it comes to football," she added, making him smile.

"Oh yeah!" He exclaimed, sounding surprised. "Alright. Go ahead and slack off then," he finished, cutting another bite and popping it in his mouth.

She laughed and snatched his fork, taking a rather large bite and dunking it in his pile of whipped cream.

He grabbed it back, scowling at her as he went back to eating.


"What else?" He asked, putting the mop back in the closet.

Allie thought for a second, pursing her lips. "Nothing," she said with a shrug. "Swept, mopped, counters are clean, silverware has been washed and folded... coffee pots are off..." She shook her head. "I think that's it."

"Awesome, let's get the hell out of here, then," he said, going to lock the front door.

"Did you get your homework done?" She asked, turning off the back lights and snatching her books from the table.

He turned back towards her, grinning. "Yes, Mom, I did. I might actually get some sleep tonight," he commented cheerfully.

Ryan took the books from her arms and she sighed, not fighting him on it.

"I'll even walk you home," he said sincerely.

She scoffed. "Thanks so much. Or, you know, we could look at it as me walking you home. Since we're neighbors and all."

Ryan shook his head, "Nah."

They stepped out in to the fresh night air, and Ryan took a deep breath. "What did your mom have to leave for, anyway?" Allie asked, locking the back door behind them.

He shrugged. "I don't know, just said she forgot to pick something up at the cleaner's or something," he said, rolling his eyes.

Allie froze beside him. "Shit."

Ryan froze, too, automatically. "What's wrong?"

"I was supposed to pick up his suit after school... Oh my God, Ryan.. I completely forgot. I- I went straight to work and I didn't even- God, I didn't even think about it, and now... Shit!" She was frantic.

Ryan knew better than to say something like, "He'll understand," or "Just get it tomorrow". He had asked for it today, and that meant today. "Alright, Al... Maybe he forgot," he suggested, trying to give her a little hope, even though he knew it was false hope, soon to be ripped away from her.

Allie swallowed and kept walking. "I'm so screwed," she mumbled, closing her eyes.

"Want me to walk you inside when we get there?" He offered.

"Oh yeah, that'll make him even happier..." She said sarcastically.

He said nothing.

"Sorry," she whispered. "Just..." Allie shook her head, and walked a little quicker. "It would only make it worse, Ryan. But thanks anyway."

He sighed. "Want to stay at my house?" He offered.

She smiled a little. "Do I want to? Of course I do." She shook her head slowly. "But we both know that would never work. He would never go for that."

"Yeah," Ryan agreed, hanging his head.

"It'll be okay," she promised, though they both knew she was lying. "He'll understand."



"You're sure that you don't want me to come in?" He asked as soon as they reached her house.

Allie forced a smile and nodded. "Yeah. It'll be fine. I'll just explain that I had work and I forgot. It'll be fine," she said again, but her eyes were begging him to stay. He didn't say anything, and she knew that he was just as frightened as she was about what was waiting for her inside.

"You will call me if you need me," he said sternly, handing over her books as she reached for them.

Allie nodded. "Yeah." Her voice cracked a little. She wouldn't call him. Not tonight.

"Good night, Al." He said quietly, eyeing her front door with worried eyes.

"Night, Ryan," she whispered back, clutching the stack of books to her chest, as though they would somehow protect her.

She didn't turn to look back and see if he stayed to watch her go inside, she simply took a deep breath and pushed the door open.


"Mom?" Ryan called as he walked in.

"In the kitchen, Ryan!" She called back.

He made his way to the kitchen, trying desperately to ignore the sick feeling in his stomach. But the more he tried to ignore it, the more it grew. So many horrible scenarios crept into his mind.

Ryan sat down at the counter, and his mother turned to him.

"Is Allie with you?" She asked.

He shook his head. "No," he replied, though he wished that he could have given a different answer. He wished that desperately.

Lydia frowned. "Shoot! I was going to give her those," she said, gesturing to a pile of clothes on the table. "Jim told me to give them to her. Said her dad needed them tonight, and that she must have forgotten to pick them up."

Ryan's heart sank to the pit of his stomach.

"Oh God..." He whispered.

"What's that, honey?" She asked, but he was already on his feet.

He grabbed the clothes in one swift motion. "I'll be back!" He hollered, sprinting out the door, barely remembering to shut it behind him. He ran as hard as he could across his lawn, across the road, and through Allie's yard, stopping only as he reached her front door.

He rang the doorbell twice and waited, rather impatiently, until the door cracked open.

His throat felt thick as he saw that it was not Allie who answered it.

"Hello," Robert Kenzington said to him suspiciously. "What can I do for you?" He asked, a stern look on his face.

Ryan swallowed. "My mom picked these up when she went to the dry cleaner's today. She needed someone to watch the cafe, and Allie volunteered so that she could run some errands. Jim sent them with her for Allie, but my mother forgot to give them to her," he said, trying to take as much of the blame off of Allie as he could. "She asked me to bring them over to you." He hurriedly told her father what the situation was, praying that he made the slightest bit of sense.

Robert Kenzington merely nodded to him, accepting the plastic bag that contained his suit. "Well, thank you," he said shortly, and began closing the door.

"Uhm," Ryan interrupted before he could shut him out. "I'm sorry, but, is Allie here?" He asked, licking his bottom lip nervously.

Her father's face remained expressionless; like stone. "I'm afraid Alison wasn't feeling too well when she got home. She went to bed early. Thank you again for dropping these off," he said and shut the door before Ryan could even take a breath.

Standing in shock, Ryan paused a moment before coming to his senses and sprinting to the side of the house. He lifted the ladder up off the ground and tilted it so that it rested on the side of the house. He climbed until he reached Allie's window.

Tapping rapidly, yet quietly, he waited, crouched upon her roof.

A few seconds later, he saw her small figure appear at the window. She shook her head, but Ryan didn't move. He tapped twice more, and saw her hesitate. "Come on, Al..." He whispered, not sure if she could even hear him.

The window slid open slowly, and Ryan climbed through the opening quickly.

As his feet hit the floor and he latched the window closed, Allie backed away from him.

He turned toward her, but as he took a step forward, she took another step back.

"Allie," he whispered, "come here."

"No, Ryan." Her voice was barely audible.

"Allie," he said again, his voice still quiet, but more firm. "I'm going to turn on the light," he announced.

"Please, Ryan... Just... Don't."

Ignoring her protests, Ryan crossed the room in four large strides. His finger flipped the switch as his eyes checked her door knob. It was locked. He turned back towards her, but she had spun to face the wall. He walked quietly over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Let me see, Allie," he insisted.

She shook her head. "No."

"Allie," he practically begged.

She sighed. She couldn't fight with him with her father right down stairs. Not without him coming up, anyway, which would only make the situation worse.

As she turned to look at him, Ryan held his expression, preparing for the very worst. Why should he make her feel even worse about it? Holding back the gasp that wanted so desperately to escape his mouth, his eyes scanned her face.

Allie's eye was already beginning to bruise. The side of her face was a bright red, and her lip had started swelling. Her eyes were puffy and red, but he guessed that it was mostly from crying.

"God damn, Al..." He whispered, gently stroking her face with his fingertips.

She winced and pulled away, tears streaming silently down her cheeks.

"That..." He struggled to speak. "That goddamned son of a bitch!" He whispered angrily, spitting the words. Allie looked down, no longer wanting to hold his gaze. Ryan frowned, exhaling quickly.

"It's..." She whispered, her voice cracking. "It's nothing..."

"Bullshit it's nothing." His words were too harsh, and she flinched as he spoke. Ryan sighed. "Alright," he muttered, "let's get you cleaned up." He placed an arm around her waist and pulled her towards the bathroom that was, thankfully, attatched to her room. Allie leaned against him, not putting up the least bit of a fight as she walked with him.

Ryan wet a towel with cold water and gently began wiping the dried bits of blood from Allie's lower lip, which had been split open. He kept his breathing steady as he worked, making careful motions until all the blood was gone. He rinsed out the towel and folded it again, setting it on the edge of the sink.

Allie said nothing as he searched the cabinet for something that would stop the swelling.

"You should ice it," he said quietly, frowning at her.

Allie shook her head, "The ice packs are down stairs. I'm not leaving my room, Ryan, and you sure as hell aren't going down there."

Pausing for a moment, he looked at her swollen face, her broken eyes meeting his. "Do not lock me out," he demanded, turning away from her and making his way back to the window.

She objected quietly, but he was already out on the roof, careful to not make too much noise.


He rummaged through the freezer, fingers hunting for a pack. Finally, he found what he was looking for, and yanked it from its place. He looked for another, but he wasn't able to find one.

Ryan filled up a zip lock bag with ice cubes to use as a second ice pack. She was going to need more than one with her eye and lip.

"Ryan," Lydia's voice came from the doorway.

Ryan looked up at his mother, zipping the bag closed and shaking his head at her. "Sorry, Mom," he muttered.

Lydia's eyes softened and she shook her head. "Ryan I have to say something to some one about this... I can't just ignore-"

"Yes you can. She'd be furious with me, Mom. And I will not lose her because of you. I'm dead serious, if you bring this up to her, or if you-"

"Okay! I get it." She said, closing her eyes slowly.

"Good." He said sharply, turning back to the door.

He heard his mother sigh behind him. "Will you be coming home tonight?" She asked, crossing her arms.

Ryan paused at the door. He shook his head, not turning around. "Not tonight, Mom." He said, and then he stepped outside.

Closing the door gently behind him, he made his way back to the Kenzington residence. He felt bad about arguing with his mother. Rarely did they fight, so when they did, he always felt guilty.

He often had to remind himself that Lydia was his mother. She was very lenient about letting him stay out, or allowing him to not come home at all... But it was different for them. They had a good relationship. He obeyed her, when she was right, and she trusted him. What other parent would let their teenage boy stay over at a girl's house without putting up an argument? Ryan never had to sneak out, which was nice, considering he always had to sneak in to Allie's house.

He often felt guilty about that, remembering that her father had rules, even though his mother didn't. But then he would remember that her father was also a pompous jack ass with a short temper. Sometimes Ryan considered telling Robert Kenzington these things, and maybe even showing him physically what he thought of him... Then Allie would cross his mind. And why should he make things worse for her, just to justify his own feelings of anger? It wasn't right... Though it was very tempting.

Once he was back on the roof, he pushed at the window. It opened with ease.

He stepped in to the dark room, and found Allie in the bathroom, staring in the mirror, hands braced against the edges of the sink.

"Al," he whispered, placing a hand on her back. She jumped a little at his touch.

"Sorry," she murmured, turning to face him.

He handed her the ice pack and she accepted it, pressing it just above her eye. She winced a little at the coldness of it, but held it firmly in place. Ryan took his homemade ice pack, and gently put it on her lip. She half smiled at him, but he couldn't smile back.

"Allie..." He started, not sure where he was going with it, but feeling the need to say something.

Allie smiled more sincerely up at him. "I'm okay, Ryan."

His eyes widened, and he gaped at her for a moment. "No, you're not."

She shrugged. "I am, though. I've had worse... And really, this should be fairly easy to hide. I was thinking about it... If I just wear a darker shade of eye shadow and a lot of cover up, that should take care of my eye and my cheek. My lip will be tough, but maybe if I ice it enough tonight, the swelling will have gone down enough that-"

"Stop!" He said, maybe a little too loudly, gripping her shoulders. Allie froze. "Allie, you can not keep doing this. Do you realize that what he's doing to you is wrong? Do you realize that it's not only wrong, it's illegal? It's immoral? It's... It's... It's so bad, Allie! I can't even..." He trailed off, too frustrated to say anything more.

Allie let him breath, and then reached out to him, placing her hand on his cheek. "Ryan," she said in a tone that said, 'look at me.'

He did.

"Ryan, I'm thinking logically, alright? Do you think I like thinking like this? Do you think I come home and beg him to get drunk? It's not like I ask to hear about how much he misses my mother and how I'll never be able to make up for taking her away."

Ryan didn't respond; couldn't respond.

"I am facing the facts, Ryan. He will not change. He will never change. This is just how things are." She spoke slowly, annunciating each word. "I am going to be out of here soon, and then all of this will be in the past. I have to accept what this is and deal with it. I am not going to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I will not show him that I am weak."

"You're not weak, Allie," he whispered, shaking his head.

She stroked his cheek gently, her cool fingers trailing along his jaw line. "Ryan, I love you for taking care of me, and for waking up in the middle of the night for me, and for everything else that you do..." She trailed off. "I couldn't do this on my own, Ryan..." She continued, her voice cracking a little. "I can not lose you. Because if I lose you... I will have nothing left."

Ryan's heart sank as he realized what she was thinking. "Allie," he said quietly, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "I am not going to leave you. Ever. If you're worried about me bailing on you, think again. I'm not going anywhere," he promised solemnly.

Allie nodded quickly, as though she never doubted him. "Good," she whispered, her voice giving out all together, the tears winning the battle and spilling over her protesting eye lids. She collapsed herself against him, staining his shirt with her tears. Ryan stroked her hair softly as she cried against him, holding her tightly against his chest. His arms wrapped securely around her, pressing her even closer.

After a few minutes, Allie pulled away from him, apologizing for the disgusting wet spots she had left on his shirt. He ignored her apology; there was nothing to apologize for. "Come on, Al." He pulled her towards her bed, and she laid down, curling herself in to a tiny ball. Ryan walked over to the door, flipping the light switch, and checking the knob again, just in case.

Then he made his way back to her bed, climbing in next to her. He propped himself up on his elbow. She needed sleep, but he could tell that she was fighting it.

Ryan pulled her comforter up to her shoulders, and she turned to face him, still holding the ice in place.

"Come here," he whispered softly, pulling her in. Sometimes they would sleep on opposite ends of the bed, but on nights like this, he always held her. On nights like this she liked to be held, to be comforted... To feel safe.

He wanted her to feel safe.

As he winded his arms around her waist, she rested her head gently on his chest. The ice was cold and his body was telling him to pull away, but he didn't move an inch. Her breathing slowed, and he knew that she had fallen asleep.

He looked down at the beautiful, free spirited, intelligent girl sleeping on him, and wondered how anyone could be so ungrateful. Allie was damn near perfect, other than her caffeine addiction, which he was partially responsible for. She was always home on time, got straight A's in school, worked more than any normal teenager would, and spent very little, constantly putting money in the bank. Her fther had nothing to be angry with her about. Ever.

It didn't make sense.

And, it hadn't always been this way... When they were little, Robert Kenzington had been a rather enjoyable man. Ryan and Allie used to build forts in her back yard, and Robert was always the first one they'd show. He would crawl inside with them, and comment on how 'sturdy' or 'well put together' their forts were, telling them both that architecture was a wonderful career choice for the pair.

And even when they entered double digits, he could remember Robert baking Allie a cake for her eleventh birthday. It was a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It had tasted horrible and was a little too crispy for cake, but they ate it anyway, not wanting to hurt his feelings. He used to associate with Lydia, too.

What happened to that man? Where had he gone... And who was this monster that replaced him?

Ryan's thoughts were so scrambled, he couldn't even manage to think about fitting sleep in between them.

Up until Allie was fifteen, he remembered nothing disturbing the peace of their household.

Ryan had started staying the night sometimes, just because it was convenient. They never told Robert, but Lydia always knew. He could remember the very first time that he discovered Allie's secret. They were fifteen, and it was in the summer time. Ryan went over to Allie's house and asked to see her. Robert had informed him that Allie was sick, and had told him that he couldn't go up and see her.

Suspicious, and angry at Allie for not telling him she was ill, Ryan had climbed the ladder that night, not daring to risk it during the day. Allie had left the window unlocked and he crawled through the opening as he usually did.

"Go away, Ryan," Allie had insisted, rolling over in bed, not looking at him.

Ryan had shut the window angrily, and marched over to her side. "Why didn't you tell me you were sick?" He had demanded. "I would have brought you soup, or a magazine, or something."

Allie refused to talk with him, and Ryan became offended.

"Allie? What's wrong with you? Why are you being like this?" He had asked, completely oblivious.

"Ryan, please..." She had begged, and he could hear tears in her voice.

"Allie..." He had walked closer, sitting down on her bed. Her back was facing him.

She had rolled over when he placed a hand on her shoulder, and he could remember his eyes widening at the sight of her.

"Oh my God, Allie. Did you get in to a fight?" He had asked, gawking at her swollen cheek.

She shook her head. "No..."

"Was it Sarah?" He insisted. Sarah Parks seemed to be a reasonable guess, considering she had hated Allie since the first grade when Ryan chose to give Allie his valentine instead of her.

Allie shook her head. "No, Ryan. It... It was him."


She looked at him with angry eyes. She gave him a look that begged him to understand and not make her explain.

"Who...?" Ryan started, and then stopped short. "Oh... Oh, God... Al... Was it your dad?"


Snapping his mind back to the present, Ryan tightened his arms around Allie. He exhaled sharply, staring down at her. Some day, he would make sure she could escape all of this. He just wanted her to be safe. And she would be. Ryan would take care of her. Just like he always had.


-Author's Note-

-This is now the REVISED first chapter. :) I'm going through all of these and editing them.. So, this one should be better- maybe not flawless, but it should be better.! :)

-Song inspiration came from Switchfoot's "Learning To Breathe".