Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

Because of You – Kelly Clarkson

It was the worst feeling in the world; the feel of fire touching the skin and the smell of burning flesh and the smoke in your lungs making it hard to breath. I coughed and tried to open my eyes. The smoke from the fire was burning my eyes but I still had to find my parents.

"Scarlett," I heard my mother yelling. I looked around myself but there was nothing but fire. I tried to move but I was afraid that one of the burning planks would fall on me. I was, after all, only seven.

"Mom," I yelled back. Maybe my mother would follow the sound of my voice and find me. I tried to find a way out of the room and then I saw my mother. She was standing at the door to my room. She was holding a large wooden plank in her hand and she shoved the burning ones out of her way. I held out my hand and she pulled me against her. It was the best feeling in the world, the feeling of safety when your mother hugged you.

"We have to go outside now," Mom said. I nodded and she picked me up. I don't know how we found our way outside but soon I was breathing clean air. The fire department and ambulance were there and they quickly grabbed me from my mother and started checking me for any damages.

"Angela, would you please take care of her? I have to go inside and look for Mitchell," Mom said. I looked around us and noticed that my Dad wasn't there.

"No, Mom, don't," I said. I didn't want her to go inside. What if she didn't come out this time?

"Scarlett, stay with Angela, I'll be back with your father," Mom said. She kissed me on the forehead and snuck into the house when the fire department wasn't noticing. I waited and watched my house crumble to the ground, but my mother never came out.

I woke up gasping and out of breath. It had happen again. I had the nightmare again after almost a week. My skin was on fire even though it was freezing outside and inside. I had thought that at least for a while I would have some relief from the nightmares. But I should have known it was too good to be true. The alarm went off, making me yell. No point going to bed now, it's time to wake up. I picked up and threw the alarm clock against the wall. The immediate silence rang out around me. I pushed aside the comforter and got out of the bed. Walking to the window, I pushed aside the curtain and leaned my forehead against the cod glass. I took a deep breath and walked to the bathroom so I could get ready for school. Looking into the mirror, I looked deep into my gray eyes, flecked with blue and deep violet but looked almost black now. I can't deny that I'm not beautiful. With my gray eyes and dark hair that fall down in gentle waves all the way to my waist, I was definitely passable for beautiful.

I am Scarlett Mason. I don't have any parents; they died leaving me with a giant house in the middle of nowhere and a fuck load of money. I live by myself except for Angela, my nanny. Well, she's not my nanny now but she was when I was a little girl. Now she was just Angela and she was the only other living breathing human being in this big house beside me. After my shower, I walked to my room and turned on the light there, because it was still dark outside despite the fact that it was early morning. I grabbed my coat out of my closet and wrapped a scarf around neck. I went down the stairs slowly because I still had plenty of time before I had to leave for school.

"Ms. Scarlett, I have put your breakfast on the table," Angela said, coming out of the kitchen. Angela was probably in her forties and she never got married, because she was busy being with me. I will be forever grateful.

"Angela, please call me Scarlett," I said, quietly. Angela always called me Ms. Scarlett despite my protests. She just nodded, like she did every day, but I knew we would be back to square one tomorrow. I ate my breakfast in quiet, mostly because there was no one to talk to and I was used to it. Angela was upstairs making my bed. I used to do my bed before, but Angela said it made her feel like she wasn't doing her job. I put my plate in the sink and turned on the water.

"Angela, I'm leaving for school now," I called up the stairs. She appeared at the top of the stairs and reminded me to drive slowly because the weather was bad. I waited in the garage until my car warmed up. Then I drove off towards school. I lived out in the middle of nowhere, so it usually took about half an hour to get to school, longer if the weather was bad, like today. I went to a regular public school, nothing fancy. It didn't really matter where I went to school, there was no one left to object. I parked my car near the front of the school, because the parking lot was still considerably empty. I took a deep breath and walked into the school.

It's funny when I think about it; school is the worst time of my day, when the only time I am surrounded by people is at school. Someone walked by my side, not noticing me. I try to make sure that I remain anonymous, an invisible presence in the back of the class. I am a good student, but I like to remain in the back. I like to fade into the crowd, and not stand out. I don't know if my life would have been different if my parents were alive. I tend not to think about them. I don't even remember them anymore; they are just faded memories of what used to be. I went into the library and sat down near the window, watching the parking lot as it filled up. Soon there were students running into the school, trying to get out of the cold. I decided to go to my locker. I wasn't nonexistent, people still knew I was there; they had just learned to avoid me. I opened my locker and dumped my bag inside.

"When are you going to move out of Nightmare Ville?" I heard a voice say from behind my locker door. I closed it halfway to look at my best friend, Viola Stone. Viola and I have been best friends since we were born. We were born two days apart from each other; our parents had been best friend. My parents had been her god parents when they were alive and her parents are my god parents. They had offered to let me stay with them, but I had declined. I couldn't live under someone else's roof, while I still had a roof of my own.

"Trust me, my bags are packed and I'm standing at the threshold, there's just this invisible barrier blocking my way. How did you know?" I asked, as I took out my English textbook.

"Are you kidding me? I could sense you had a nightmare from down the hallway. I am your best friend," Viola said. She shook her head and opened her locker, which was right next to mine.

"Hello ladies," called out a male voice and we both looked up to see, Jeremy Bates, Viola's boyfriend. I waved to him. Jeremy and I had a weird relationship, if you could even call it that. We never really talked much, just hung out together occasionally because of Viola but that doesn't mean I hate it him or something. Viola gave him a quick kiss and turned to look at me.

"I will talk to you at lunch. Do not skip," she said in her stern voice. I smiled at her and nodded. Then I turned away from her and walked down the hall. For the first time in the four years I have been here, a person turned around and bumped into me. It was a guy I knew from my humanities class. I bend down to pick up my books, without complaining.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't see you there," he said and bent down to help me. I looked up and into his vivid green eyes and for a second I froze. Or maybe it was that the lingering feeling of emptiness the nightmare had left inside me disappeared. The world just fell quiet and sighed.

"It's okay, I'm fine," I said, quietly. He opened his mouth to say something else but I beat him to it.

"Thank you," I said taking the book he was offering and then I walked away. I don't really know his name; in fact I don't know any of my classmate's names. If it wasn't for Viola I would really be invisible. Viola is the editor for the school newspaper, so she knows everyone and everything that went on in the school. On top of that she was dating Jeremy Bates, the second hottest guy in the school and he was on the basketball team. Obviously, I didn't know who the first hottest was, but that was fine by me. I didn't really care much about guys, it was just too much to deal with in my already messed up life. In my English class we were reading Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It had to be by far the most boring play written right after Macbeth. It probably wasn't as boring as I thought it was but I sill had a hard time paying attention to the teacher. I just looked out the window, at the quiet world outside. I loved the snow, it made the world seem more magical and peaceful, something I had never experienced before.

I paid enough attention to the teacher to make sure I knew everything that was going to be on the exam. When most people looked at me, they just automatically assumed that I must be a brat because I didn't have parents and I was raised by a nanny. But I remember my parents enough to know that they wanted me to be a nice person and to do something good with my life. My parents left me with enough money that if I decided to not work for the rest of my life, my children and my grandchildren would still have enough money to survive without ever working. I wanted to do something with my life for them. The bell rang and I got out of my seat slowly letting everyone else walk out in front of me.

"Scarlett, can you stay for a minute, I need to speak with you," my English teacher said. I sighed. I didn't want to stay, and I knew why she wanted me here. It was because of the parent teacher conference next week, and it is 'recommended' that every student's parent come. That was going to be hard in my case.

"I called my Aunt Marjorie; she will be coming for the parent teacher conference next week," I said before she had a chance to ask me that question.

"That's great, Scarlett. It's really important that I discuss your progress with a guardian," she said and then I walked out of the classroom and into the next one. Aunt Marjorie wasn't really my guardian but I would pick her over my grandmother. My grandmother expected me to be like her; to be a fake. She was all about pretending to be something you're not for the sake of fitting into a crowd. If it had been up to her, she would have me on every committee in school so I could fit in. My next class was art. Art was one of my favourite subjects. I just loved how you could take a blank page and fill with so many colours. It was pure magic.

"Okay, everybody, eyes up here. Today is a free period for all of you because your teacher isn't here today," the supply teacher said causing everyone in class to cheer; they were getting a free period. I pulled out my sketchbook and just doodled for the rest of the class. There wasn't much to do and I didn't feel like doing anything big, just something to keep my mind from wandering. When I never did anything, I couldn't help but think about the nightmares. They have been plaguing me since I was 7 years old; that's when my parents died. I just had two more periods to go before I had lunch. I knew for certain Viola would ask me about the nightmares again and I wouldn't be able to tell her anything. The problem is that I never remembered them in the morning; I just had this really hot feeling like I was on fire. The next class I had was math, and again my teacher wasn't there. It seemed to me that all my teachers that being snowed in there houses. Why couldn't everyday be this good?

I continued to doodle in my sketchbook, waiting for lunch to come. I almost always spend lunch in the library, reading a book because the cafeteria gets too loud for me, but I had promised Viola. Breaking my promise to Viola was like saying I didn't want to eat food for the rest of my life. I needed to eat food and I couldn't break my promise to Viola; she was like my sister. The only person I could trust with my life besides Angela. The next class went by real fast, and I didn't even realize when I was standing by my locker.

"Oh, good you're still here. I thought you were going to skip out on me again," Viola said, running up to me.

"No, I said I'll be there," I said and put all my books in my locker. I waited while Viola dumped all her books in her locker and then hooked her arm into my mine. We walked arm in arm into the cafeteria and went to our regular table. We never ate the cafeteria food, because Angela said it was unhygienic, so she made lunch for the both of us.

"I love it when Angela makes food for me," Viola said, grabbing the brown paper bag I had put in front of her. I smiled and opened my own bag. Just then Jeremy came over and sat down next to Viola dumping his lunch tray in front of him.

"You two are so lucky; you don't have to eat cafeteria food," Jeremy said, putting fries in his mouth. Viola nodded, thoroughly enjoying her sandwich. Jeremy didn't sit at the jock and cheerleader table. Ever since he started dating Viola two years ago, he has been sitting with us.

"If you want I can have Angela make lunch for you as well, she wouldn't mind, she likes cooking," I said to Jeremy. I avoided talking to him directly because it would be harder to deflect his questions.

"Wow, seriously, you would do that?" Jeremy asked. I nodded.

"Are you sure you want to do that? Wouldn't want to make Amma angry," Viola said to Jeremy. I didn't know who Amma was but if she were anything like Angela, she would definitely get angry if Jeremy had me bring his lunch.

"Are you coming over today?" I asked, Viola.

"I can't, I have to interview all the candidates in running for the student body president. And I have to interview the captain of the basketball team," she said, pouting.

"Are you guys coming to the victory party this Friday?" Jeremy asked, looking at Viola expectantly.

"What victory party?" I asked, looking at him. I wasn't interested but Viola got angry when I sat with them during lunch and completely ignored their conversation.

"The victory party that's going to be held at my house after the game on Friday," Jeremy explained.

"But the game is on Friday, it hasn't happened yet. How do you know the team is even going to win?" I asked, scrunching my eyebrows.

"Well, that's just how my brother rolls," he replied.

"That's why I have to interview him because he is the captain of the basketball team and he's absolutely certain we are going to win," Viola piped in.

"Who is this guy?" I asked.

"Him," Jeremy and Viola said at the same time pointing behind me. I turned around and saw them pointing towards the guy I had bumped into his morning; the guy in my humanities class. He was sitting at the jocks and cheerleader table but he looked like he wanted to be far away. I knew what that felt like.

"I know that guy; I mean I don't know that guy but he's in my humanities class," I said turning around to face them.

"Well, that guy is my fraternal twin brother, Caspian Bates," Jeremy said, glaring at his brother. Huh, I didn't know he had a brother, let alone a fraternal one.

"Anyways, so you are coming to the party because if I'm going, I'm taking you with me," Viola said to me.

"That means you're not coming," Jeremy said and I smiled. Viola turned to glare at him and he looked down at his tray, which made my smile even wider. It is always best to fear Viola.

"You have to come. This is our senior year and you at least have to go one party before we graduate," Viola said, with a puppy dog look in her eyes.

"Vi, it's going to be too loud," I said looking deep into her hazel eyes. I knew if I looked deep, she would give in to me. Viola opened her mouth to say something, but closed it and stared at the person who had walked up to our table.

AN: New story! I hope you guys like it. I think this is going to be my favourite story out of the three I have written so far. The next chapters for all my stories will be up tomorrow. So read and review. I need to know how you guys liked it. XOXO.