I'm going to go ahead and say it now so that I don't have to keep repeating it. ANYTHING that says, 'by River Shadowtress' or is signed 'River' is by me and not Lunar Lover. That is why my name is there. Also, please check out some of LunarLover's material, they are really good.

CLAIMER: This entire thing is a work of fiction. The plot, storyline, characters, everything belongs to me. So, I would appreciate it if no one would plagiarize. Thanks.

Chalkboard

~Prologue~

My name is Lillian Carter.

By age five my father was on trail for murder.

By age thirteen my mother began to get sick. She started to slowly deteriorate before my eyes.

By age fourteen I had led my school to the championships.

By age sixteen...

I found myself back in court. Except this time I was the victim.

I wish that I could agree with what my therapist says, but I can't. She tells me that I didn't realize what was happening to me, that I was forced to go along with it.

I'll tell you right here...

I wasn't.

At first I was, I will admit. But somewhere along the way I lost myself in the intoxicating enigma that was Derek Thomas.

It sounds like a normal romance, right? No. If it was then I wouldn't be sitting up here, sweating nervously under the gaze of the judge and jury. I catch my mother's eye. Her usually ebony skin is weak and weary, pale in its color; making her dark eyes stand out. Only a little bit of her forehead peeks out from beneath the tangerine scarf shielding her bald head from view.

Darika isn't my real mother. She's my step mother. My real mother ditched me after birth, not even staying long enough for her to recover. She disappeared off the face of the earth. So imagine my father's surprise when she shows back up after him and Darika have been married for four years. He killed her... Didn't even wait to her the first word come out of her mouth. Didn't wait to hear her explanation. His fingers itched for blood, burned with hatred, and he was rewarded. With a twenty-eight year life sentence.

Don't get me wrong, though, I love Darika. More than she'll ever know. But.

As mean as it sounds, I don't want her here. I don't want her to hear the story of her only daughter's downfall. But mainly I don't want her here because the reason all this happened is because of her. He used her against me. And now this is the moment to be heard.

The judge stares at me. "Ms. Penny," He says, accidentally using my father's last name instead of my mother's. After all, everyone knows who my father is.

My eyes are blank, void, as they mechanically move up towards his voice. They follow up the neatly trimmed whiskers hugging his chin and the broad set line of his jaw. "Yes?" I whisper, my voice sounds so small, like a child's.

"Ms. Penny," He says again. "please answer the question."

I feel a bead of sweat slide down the back of my neck. It's cool against my skin.

"C-Can you repeat the question...please?" I stutter, aware of the court's scrutinizing gaze on me.

The room is hushed, almost vacant in its silence.

The brown eyed prosecutor smiles coaxingly at me. "Ms. Carter," He emphasizes, his eyes glancing at the judge before returning to me. "Do you see the man you had relations with in this courtroom?"

Reluctantly, I nod.

"Good," He drawls, walking a little. "Can you please point him out for the court?"

I turn my head in Derek's direction. My mouth dries and my voice lumps in my throat as I'm met with agonizingly green eyes.

I'm frozen.

My heart beats.

I'm sure everyone can hear it.

I know by his eyes that he can.

Does he hate me?

"Ms. Carter?"

He should hate me.

"Ms. Carter, can you point him out?"

Shakily I raise my hand. "...There..."

The word grates out like cement.

It weighs down my heart, makes it impossible to fly.

Impossible to lie to myself anymore.

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~River Shadowtress.