Hey guys, It's River. Yes, I'm actually updating in the same day, on the same story. Unheard of! Gasp. Anyways, I didn't want to leave you guys with just the prologue with this one since this is already done. Hence, what's below.

Chapter One: Phase One-Breaking

I'm thirteen. I have an A+ average that I strive to maintain and am currently in the ninth grade. My name, though it is unimportant and shameful, is Belinda Trimmings.

I have short black hair that I keep in a modern day bob, an athletic/petite build that has blessed me with long slender legs, and boyish green eyes that I inherited from my father. My favorite color is green, and I love watching the moon at night—when I can see it—on the roof of our house.

I've lived in San Francisco for nine years and was born in Venice, Italy during a trip my mother and father took. She hadn't known she was pregnant. I was the unwanted mutant that ruined their love, ending my mother's career as a prima ballerina and her travelings across the globe.

Even before I realized it, I was a nuisance. But besides the fact, I've come to terms with my life. There are six simple rules that I live by:

Do not upset Mother

Act proper and keep myself neat and pristine for Mother

Have my array of masks ready at all times

Keep my grades up as not to shame Mother

Do not let Mother realize how important Dad is to me

Oh, and let's not forget...

Always agree with Mother, despite how I feel

It may seem entirely confusing. What type of person—most of all a teenager—would agree with all those rules? Let me tell you: No one. Eventually, you go mad...

"Hey Belinda!"

Grasping my textbooks to my chest I turned back to see my best friend running down the hall of Richmont High. Jessi's red curls bounced around her as she pushed through the people to get to me, her light blue eyes brimming with happiness.

The uniform freshmans were required to wear—a white long sleeved shirt with a short-but-not-too-short length black skirt and red tie—was completely inverted with her style. Last year, during a trip to Miami Beach, she had some guy airbrush: Hate me Cuzz I'm Fabulous, on the front. I could never figure out how she was able to get away with it.

Jingling on her arms were the bangles I had given to her last month for her fifteenth birthday. Unlike her arms, her hands, as usual, were free of textbooks. The lucky girl had a photographic memory and memorized everything the teachers said; she probably even knew more then them.

"Hey loveable," She chimed as she reached me, giving me a big hug in her usual greeting.

"Bonjour, comment vas-tu mon Tinkerbell?" I greeted, smiling a bit as I flaunted the new skill I had learned in class.

Jessi's eyes widened dramatically and she backed against the lockers, clutching her chest. "Oh lordy! She's speaking French!"

I laughed, batting her dainty arm. "Stop that, you're making a scene."

The teen rolled her eyes but straightened nonetheless, mumbling under her breath, "Pssht. I live to make a scene." Not so surprising coming from the girl who idolizes Paris Hilton, The Drama Queen of Queens.

"So, what's up?" I asked, turning to her after shoving my books in my locker and slamming it shut.

"Nothing much," She grunted giving her locker a good kick. "Ha ha I still own you," She crooned to the locker as it swung open.

Grabbing her Honors Algebra II workbook, due to her work-in-the-book psycho of a teacher, she gently shut her locker and slumped against me. Jessi ran her fingers through her delicate curls, wafting the familiar smell of her apple shampoo. "I'm so failing," She moaned.

I raised an eyebrow, nudging her chin off my shoulder. "How can you be failing? The semester's barely begun." How could she with that lovely brain of hers is what I wanted to know...

Jessi tugged at her curls and gave a scream of pent up frustration. "That's just it. I don't—"

Before she could finish answering someone shoved me, knocking my books from my hands and me on to the ground.

Ow. I winced as my knees hit the yellow linoleum. The subtle chatter in the hallway vanished and I could feel everyone's eyes on me. The only thing I could see was the silhouette of the culprit walking away. Emma Hawkins, the queen bee of ninth grade. She had summer blonde hair, a developed body that we all wished we had, and a bubble gum voice that brought all the cheer to Cheeryville—the perfect world that she lived in. Either God was mocking us for letting her in or we weren't as good as her. Either way...she was a word that my mother burned into me never to use since it wasn't ladylike. Let me tell you, it rhymes with 'witch'.

"Go back to the 18th century, freak," She spat smugly as she strutted past. People parted like the Red Sea.

One of her followers, Elizabeth, gave me a hard kick—before walking after her 'master'—making me loose my balance. A loud crack rang through the air, I'm sure of it, as my head joined my hands and knees on the floor. There was a sharp pain then all of a sudden BAM! We were sitting in the nurse's office, Jessi's pale hand holding an ice compress to my head.

"Ow," I groaned, rubbing my head as I sat up. "How long was I out?"

Jessi sighed, "Most of fourth period."

I kinked an eyebrow. "Seriously? And why are you here and not in class?" I had no need to ask why the nurse didn't make her leave. Nurse Calloway was always asleep in her office, a dead weight that no one could wake up. Knowing Jessi she just carried me in here and rummaged through the sleeping woman's drawers until she found what she needed.

My best friend scoffed, giving me a dismissing tap. She held up two hands, weighing them like a scale. "Be in the nurse's office with my unconscious bestie. Sit through an hour and a half worth of Blahhh." The hand holding me, the left, was considerably higher.

I smiled despite rolling my eyes in the process. "Tha—"

My 'Thank you' was interrupted by the loud ringing of the release bell.

Grabbing her—ours by the number of them—books off the chair, she grabbed my hand and pulled us out of the cramped office.

As we ran out of the room we passed the main office's waiting room, where of which stood my reason for happiness.

I slowed to a stop, just gazing.

Jessi shot me an irritated look before following my eyes. Looking back at me she waggled her dark red eyebrows and took off out the main door yelling, "Michael and Belinda sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"

I glared at her, but laughed despite myself as I called, "You're so immature!"

She stopped, walking backwards as she waved. "You know you love it!" Turning around, no doubt giggling, she disappeared into the bustling crowd of teenagers who smelled of sweat and puberty.

Turning my attention from the sound of the buses departing and the people in the hallway I gazed at Michael.

Michael Bruwer had been my boyfriend of a year. We met last year at his band's second small town concert. He was the youngest—and hottest—member. I mean don't get me wrong, I've heard of him and his band 'Incubus Shadows' but I'd never seen him in person. The way we met wasn't glamorous.

I stumbled around the back exit, trying to find where Jessi had gone. "Crap..." I slurred. Someone had given me a cup filled with a clear liquid inside, I wasn't going to drink it but it had just happened that by the end of the encore my cup was empty.

A man seemed to appear from nowhere. He had simmering dark eyes that seemed to probe me as they looked me up and down. The man had brown hair, identical to the color of my mother's. He smiled, his teeth a lopsided grin. "Hello there," He crooned.

I scoffed, rolling my eyes terribly. "No."

The man looked taken aback. He stepped forward, grabbing my arm so hard I think it bruised to the bone. "No one tells me no," He growled.

I laughed bitterly, still riding the wave of my drunken stupor. To say the truth, I hadn't even realized that I was drunk yet. I stuck my tongue out at him, stepping on his toe. The man didn't budge but I was unwavering. "Well I just did."

The drunken vapor started to wear off and I began to realize just exactly what type of danger I was in.

My sight sharpened, my limbs becoming my own once again. "No! Let me go!" I screamed, hitting him as hard as I could. The creep acted like he'd been bitten by a flea, nothing hindering. But the hit pissed him off. Raising his hand high in the air he snarled, "You little..."

I closed my eyes.

"Bruce, let her go!" A voice demanded. A voice that was vaguely familiar yet not at the same time.

Opening my eyes I saw the guitarist of Incubus Shadows glaring daggers at my attacker.

"Shut up, Michael. Why don't you go play your stupid X-box." The man, whom I take of which is Bruce, said.

"Now where were we," He crooned again, his eyes returning to mine.

Help! I opened my mouth to scream, my eyes squeezing shut once more, when those rough hands were suddenly gone from mine.

I heard Bruce scream a profanity then the sound of something hitting him and Bruce hitting the pavement.

Something warm engulfed me, taking root in my soul as I opened my eyes and found myself staring into liquid brown.

"I'm Michael," He said, smoothing back a lock of my hair.

What is this I'm feeling?

"Belinda," I finally breathed.

Naturally Bruce was kicked out of the band. And naturally I fell for Michael, hard as any twelve year old could fall for a thirteen year old.

Michael was just as he was then except he's fifteen. His short black hair was 'im'perfectly tousled against his naturally tanned skin. He had a strong jaw that was cleanly shaven that sculpted upwards to meet his ears, and his light brown eyes were shining.. Like normally, as a rocker, he had a pair of black skinny jeans and an Avenged Sevenfold T-shirt.

I walked up to him, instantly being engulfed by his arms. "Hey," I said, breathing in his minty scent.

"What's this I hear about you passing out?" Michael whispered, rocking us softly from side to side, his chin resting on my hair.

I gave a nervous laugh, pulling away as I hid my eyes. "Nothing," I said quickly. "Nothing at all." Turning I pushed open the door and walked away.

He stood there for a second, trying to figure things out, before he started after me. "Hey! Belinda!"

I hid a smile as his arms wound around my waist from behind. "Are you trying to escape from me, luv?" He asked in his adorable accent.

I laughed.

A few teachers stared at us making Michael bark, "What are you guys looking at? Its after school I'm allowed to love on her."

"Michael!" I gasped, whirling around so that I could hit him. Naturally, I missed.

He laughed, throwing his arm over my shoulder as we continued our drawn out journey to the school parking lot.

Ten minutes later, we found ourselves at the park where we always departed. His house was a minute in the other direction. Mine was ten more minutes in the other direction—though he didn't know that. I had my reasons for keeping it secret.

Light poured through the trees. The laughter of younger children floated to my ears and I smiled in contentment. Blissberry Park had originally been the playground of an old school I had attended. But when a fire destroyed the building they never bothered to rebuild and expanded the playground.

Michael's hand found mine and squeezed. I gave a little squeeze of my own.

A girl with red pink-tails and a missing front tooth propped herself in front of us. "Hey, Belinda. Come play with us," Angel said. She was the daughter of an old boss of my father's and absolutely adored this playground ever since she was an infant. It was her territory.

I squeezed Michael's hand, looking up at him. "I can't right now, Angel. I have to get home."

The seven year old wrinkled her freckled nose. "Oh yeah, I forgot, your mom is a weirdo."

Michael gave an outright laugh, and tried to cover it up with a cough when I glared at him. "Come on," I sighed, pulling on his hand.

The soft scent of lake water was comforting. My house was all the way on the other side, a couple minutes into the woods. Secluded.

His was back the way we came, the first house on the left. Surrounded.

Dreading our departure, I turned to say goodbye when he pulled me into a hug.

My eyes widened. Sure, he's hugged me many times, but this time... There was something different about it. Something sweeter.

Pulling my head off his chest I looked up at him, puzzled by the emotion I saw in his light brown eyes.

"Belinda..." He whispered, leaning down.

Tingling all over, I waited.

"...I love you."

I would've gasped if it weren't for the fact that his lips captured mine.

He loves...me?

...He loves me.

My eyes slid close and I kissed him back. My hands rooted in the dark tendrils of his hair, his hands sliding to my waist. Fire exploded in my veins as his fingers stroked my skin like a delicate instrument; the bomb he had just dropped on me growing sweeter and sweeter with each passing moment.

Suddenly, my back hit the safety railing and Michael pulled back.

Breathing deeply, he rested his forehead to mine. My eyes fluttered and moved to his, which were still closed. "Belinda..." He breathed, my name a whispered caress on his lips. I shuddered.

"Michael," Placing my hand on his cheek I whispered, "I love you, too."

The way he looked at me in that moment had me realizing that he didn't think I felt the same way. But as I leaned up and tenderly pressed my lips back to his, once, twice, three times, he knew I did.

His fingers crept up the soft flesh of my back. He didn't try anything, just let them rest there as he stroked soothing motions. But in this moment, skin aflame, love set deep in my heart, I wished for once that he would try something.

Instantly I recoiled at the thought—thanks to my upbringing—and redirected my mind to a different track.

We both pulled away at the same time, gasping for air.

Heat flooded my cheeks as I avoided his eyes.

With a single finger he lifted my chin up. "Hey. I love you."

I smiled, punching his arm lightly. "I know that, now." Before he could respond I took off, running full blast down the pathway. A while later I saw the large oak tree at the lakeside. My father's tree.

Slowing to a stop I lifted up the lid of a box hidden beneath the scattered leaves. A white sundress that my dad always said represented purity and my keys lay inside. The clothes I wore now: my freshman uniform, would make my mother scream and probably disown me. There was a rule my mother had: I was only allowed to dress formally.

Oh well! None of that mattered today.

Scooping up my things I ran all the way, skipping as I dodged trees another minute into the forest.

Hugging myself with happiness I bounded up the white steps of our porch, careful not to crush the pink pansies my mother had put around them.

He said he loved me. He loves me!

I was grinning so hard the sides of my cheeks hurt. But I didn't care. It was a good type of pain. I was in love.

Smiling, I opened the screen door and then unlocked the main one.

The smell hit me like a ton of bricks. It was so sweet it was sickening, like honeysuckles multiplied by infinity. What in the world is she cooking now?

Slipping off my flats I hurried and slipped on the scratchy fabric of the mandatory dress.

What Angel had said was right. My mother, Abigail Grace Trimmings, was born and raised in Louisiana, I think somewhere along the way something terrible happened to her because her parents didn't raise her like this. Grandma and Grandfather—may their souls rest in peace—had been rainbow paving hippies; they never raised her to be so prim and proper all the time.

"It is not mommy it is Mother." "Dot every I and cross every T." "You are a female, now act like a lady." "Neat and clean, Child. Neat and clean."

"Sit up straight," My mother had commanded once, this very memory burned into me even though I was two. It was the Spring of '98, and we were all sitting at the table. My mother leisurely sipping her soup, my dad chuckling—pink cheeked, and me; hanging upside down off my chair as I showed mommy my imitation of the monkey at the zoo I'd seen that Dad had taken me to earlier that day. I had even thrown in some of the odd noises.

Dad'sfork clanked against his plate as he speared his steak. "She's only two, dear," He muttered, popping the juicy meat into his mustache hovered lips.

"I don't care, she's a lady, she should act like one." She looked at me. "Now sit up straight, Child."

So obviously my mother is weird...beyond weird. It was like she belonged in the nineteenth century. She was so proper! She never did anything unladylike, refused to use contractions, did housework instead of actually going to work, never showed her true feelings, and demanded everything ladylike of me.

As the white fabric hid the outfit my father had bought me I tied my short hair back with a white ribbon I'd tied around my wrist. Stepping into the living room, my feet making soft sounds on the carpet, the sickly sweet smell was suddenly worse.

I came to a stop before a dark stain the size of a shattered plate on the pure white carpet. "Crap," I muttered, jingling my keys. I'd have to bleach the carpet, and I doubt it would come out even after that. I'm so dead.

Just as I was about to turn and go upstairs to fetch the Bleach I spotted her. Inhuman was she. Unfamiliar. Her light brown hair was flowing over her shoulders in a messy disarray, her feminine gray eyes frozen and unfeeling. This creature frightened me. She was alien, imperfect. A side of her I'd never seen before.

My mother, Abigail Trimmings, always had her hair in a neat bun or held up by a jeweled butterfly clasp that was her grandmother's. Her makeup was always perfect, eyes docile, and her dress flowing past her ankles with no lint or crinkles.

But this, this humanoid...it wasn't her. Was it?

Her arm was perched at an angle on the arm of the sleek black chair her mentor had given to her in her early ballerina stages. In her hand was a spotless wine glass that held an amber looking liquid that I recognized as my father's special occasion brandy. She never drank, though.

The pale of her apron and blue of her wrinkled dress was splattered with red, an entire huge strand of her hair was dripping with it, red dots speckled her face.

Mother! Is she sick? I moved towards her, naively thinking that she had the chicken pocks or something at first. I had been blinded by her alien-ness. But not anymore.

My feet slowed to a stop as I followed her gaze, which was never-changing.

I let a scream that ricocheted throughout the house, my heart thundering in my chest, and my eyes watering. Ice water trickled through my veins while it felt as if I were becoming intangible, fading into invisibility but seeing everything.

My mother's eyes snaked to mine, angered at the abrupt noise that disrupted her quiet stare. With the misplaced grace of a dancer she reached up and slapped me, looking so wonderful while doing it that it should've been Adult Swim's Kodak moment.

A few traitorous tears sneaked out as my head snapped painfully to the side. I clenched my fists, shaking as the tears now ran down my cheeks in a perpetual free fall.

"Do not scream, Child. I will not have any of that in this house," The alien—who I now definitely knew at the "Child" was my mother—said steadily. With that same otherworldly grace that only dancers possessed she lifted the glass to her lips; the amber liquid disappearing with the rise and fall of her throat as she downed the whole thing.

I placed my cool hand over my wet, burning cheek, and made the mistake of looking at the horrific sight again. Whimpering, the tears starting again, I closed my eyes. I hoped to escape the sight but only found it crystal clear in my mind.

In front of the dormant fireplace the man lay face up on the soiled carpet, a mushy blood mass serving as his final resting place. His eyes were staring wide—an emerald green that burned in their sockets against his ever-pale skin. Flesh upon his neck looked as if it were torn out. In my mind I recognize the culprit. A heavy blood stained iron poker still stuck in the back of his skull. I could even see the bloody fingerprint of the weapon on his pale cheeks and cuff-less arms that looked icy to the touch.

Dad...

Opening my eyes, salt water dripping off my chin, I looked at my mother.

Mother removed the glass from her lips, and threw it at my father. The crystals shattered against his body, catching the light of the room in a thousand rainbows. Eliciting tiny cuts on his skin, followed by thin red lines. And then she did something that shocked me, coming from someone as stuck up as her.

She laughed.

Not a tiny chuckle under her breath, but a full blown fit of giggles.

I stared at her, horrified. Someone had murdered Dad and she was laughing?

I dropped to my knees numbly, ignoring the splits of pain that burned my knees as they landed on a large shard of glass, and caressed my dad's face. My tears made soft patters on his face. "Father," I sobbed, my eyes squinting shut as tears streamed down my cheeks, the soft music of them dripping on his skin making no move to soothe me.

Faintly I could hear the muffled steps of my mother getting up; not long after I sensed her figure hovering above me. Was she finally going to comfort me for the first time in my life?

She shoved something in front of me. Reluctantly I opened my eyes, and gasped. My hand flew to my mouth. Long, hard, and sturdy, was it. The wooden handle of my father's ax.

Shaking with realization I looked up at Mother. No...Please no...She....

"I killed him," She said simply, confirming the wretched thought in my head. "Now do what I tell you and clean up, this place is a mess."

I stared at her, tear-eyed, incredulously. What the hell is wrong with her?! Talking about Dad's murder like it's simply a mess that someone made. Like it's nothing!

Fisting the side of my dress I glared at the shattered glass that littered his body, the shudders of mine now ones of anger and hatred. I was seething with them. "Why?"

"Excuse me?" She demanded, as if I had offended her by speaking.

"Why?!" I screamed, the water staying in my eyes now as I whipped my head up to see her. "He loves you! He did absolutely nothing to anger you! He loves you and you've done away with his life like it's nothing!"

My mother gave a laugh that felt so out of place and made shivers run up my spine at its lovely and perfectness. "Oh, shut up," She snarled. "Do not act like you were not lapping up his love like a sick ignorant puppy! Oh yes," She said when she saw emotion flit across my face. "I saw how he sneaked you clothing despite my rules, and how instead of collecting firewood you two would go fishing, using the excuse of 'the ax was too dull.'"

She snickered, righting the ax in her hands and propping it on her shoulders. "Well, we'll test that now, shall we?"

What?

Raising it, she brought it over her head and, before I could stop her, brought it down with the force of a professional golfer.

The blade sliced the lower side of my dress, grazing my leg, leaving a trail of blood. But that was beyond my notice. It felt like an out of body experience. The ax swinging downward, my screaming echoing in my ears. "No, Dad!" I shrieked. And the swift unforgettable sound of the ax hitting Dad's shoulder.

Blood splattered my face. Some got in my mouth. Tasting salty, making me sick.

The mucky sound of my mother retrieving the ax numbed me further. Soul-frozen, I watched her hoist it over her head, the blood dripping warmly on my face. And she laughed, pumping it in the air like it was a trophy she had spent all her life trying to achieve.

I can't tell you how I got from Point A to Point B. It's a blur to even me. Something I don't want to know, what could've made me betray my father the twisted way I did. But the next thing I knew, I too had an ax firmly in my hand.

Hoisting it over my head I whispered a weak, "Goodbye," Before bringing it down on his head, aiming for a direct split down the middle.

Likey? Then...

Favorite.

Story Alert.

Author Alert.

Review.

Dislikey?Then...

Cry.

Scream.

Break the Computer.

Turn off the Screen.

Leave the Page ;)

~River Shadowtress