Copyright 2011 © Rebecca Garner. All Rights Reserved.

Written for the August WCC, brought to you by my left brain activity and the Review Game. Please vote for it or leave a review. Voting ends the 14th at midnight. The prompt was, "hope is a cruel beast".

Hope hated her name. In fact, she despised it. Why? If someone had asked her yesterday, she would have told them because her father had named her. After her mother died of cancer, and her father abandoned her, Hope was left in Foster Care when no one cared about her. After years in the system, she gave up her dreams that someone would rescue her from the hell hole she had been thrust into. Finally, at the age of 16, she got emancipated from the system and got herself a full time summer job. Now she lived with an annoying roommate in a crappie apartment. She rode her bike to her highschool at 7:30 AM every morning, and got home at 3:00 PM every afternoon, before dragging herself to the diner where she now worked nights and weekends.

When she got off work at 10:00 PM, she rode the used bike she just bought back to her apartment. She hated her name, she hated her job, she hated her apartment, she hated her roomate, and she hated her life. Some of her classmates may have thought her bitchy, or rude, or goth upon meeting her. The funny thing is, they were right. The oceans of hatred and bitterness her time in foster care had drowned her in had changed her. She was no longer the smiling, laughing child she had once been. Life had hardened her, forced her to grow up, and grow up fast. And she was fed up with it all.

That morning started as horribly as all the others did for Hope Adams. She was awoken at 4:00 AM by her roomate's beastly cat clawing at her face, finished her English homework from the night before to maintain her barely passing grade in the class, took a freezing cold shower as her roomate had used the very little hot water they could afford already, got dressed in her two year old tattered clothes, and skipped breakfast to bike the half hour to her highschool. Then again, she never ate breakfast, so it wasn't so much as skipping it as ignoring that some rich bitches of the classy side of town had the luxury of affording milk and cereal. This was her rutine, and she was used to it.

The only differance was that today was her picture day. She hated picture day. It was the one day of the year girls had the excuse to pay $500 for an outfit that looked like hers, caked pounds of chunky makeup on their snobby faces, and looked down on her for not giving a shit about her appearance. That's what happens, she supposed, when one of your foster parents molests you and leaves you with the burning desire to look like crap so no one will ever touch you again. Its why she dressed like a hobo most of the time. That, and she couldn't afford to dress any better.

To say the least, Hope was the epitome of the phrase, "Shit happens." Her mom dying of lung cancer a week after she was born, especially when she had never smoked a day in her life. Her dad skipping town on her when she was five because he couldn't handle raising a child alone with all the drugs pumping through his veins. Her string of foster parents; each couple being worse than the previous one. One time her foster father had locked her in a car truck over night, in below 30 degree weather, because she had forgotten to clean her room when he asked. The court's judge innitially refusing to grant her emancipation case. Her having to sleep with the bastard to finally have him come round. And finally, the current circumstances she now found herself in. To say she had trust issues and hated men was a gross understatement.

That morning, upon arriving at school, she locked her bike in its designated rack and nearly ran to her locker. Over the weekend, she had accidentally forgotten the stash of pot in her locker, and was worried someone may have seen it and stolen it. And if they took her $50 dollar glass pipe she was about to slap someone. Imagine her relief when she saw her boyfriend Martin Earle standing beside her beat up locker, inspecting her Green Bean (the nickname she had given her beloved pipe).

"Hey Mel, wassup?" He said without dragging his gaze from the Green Bean.

She was still happy with her decision to use her "middle name" Melissa in school. It wasn't really her middle name, but hey, no one else knew that. She wanted nothing to do with her real name... until she legally changed it to Melissa Irvine. But she couldnt do that until she was 18. All the more reason to be counting the days till then.

"Oh hey Martin, nothing really. But say, can i have my pipe back, i need to take a hit before Spanish." Her picture was scheduled for right after Spanish Class.

"Oh that's right, i forgot you were of the philosophy, 'study high, take the test high, and get high scores.'" He gave her a look. She ignored it.

"Yup, thats about the size of it." He shot her another look with those sexy brown eyes of his and refused to hand over Green Bean. "Oh come on, you know that melevolent meany face has it in for me! Did you see the way she glared at me the other day? And she always down-grades my work."

"Maybe because the paper you use smells like you were smoking a stoggie while you were writing it, and the paper even sounds like you were too? I quote from Friday's homework, 'I didn't know jalepeno poppers tasted so...jalepeno-y. Its like a fire in my mouth!'"

"Oh come on, it doesnt say that. I was talking about hot cheetos, duh. Plus, i wrote it in Spanish. Technically, i followed the assignment to the letter!"

"Mhmmm." He stared at her meaningfully, tossed the pipe to her, and walked away. Martin was the exception to the rich-bitch rule, and her philosophy that men were the spawns of satan. Then again, by anyone else's standards, he was poor, fat, ugly and rude. To her he was just... Martin. They had been Spanish seat partners throughout the four months they'd been in school, because their teacher thought he was a good influence on her or something. Fuck that shit, she only listened to him because he was hot. Just because he wasn't a stick, or on the football team, the richy-bitchy girls at their school wouldn't give him the time of day. She was fine with that, as long as he continued showering his undivided attention on her.

They had hooked up a few times, and despite her better instinct, every minute she spent with him she felt her feelings grow. It freaked her out, like she was cavorting with the enemy- for that was how her life experiances had painted men in her book-but she couldn't help the way she was feeling. No one knew her past, her issues, or her life, but Martin. She wouldn't go so far as to say he was her best friend, for that implied having multiple friends of varying levels. Her barriers against people where obviously working, for he was the only friend she had. She liked it that way. He was the only person who wholey had her trust, and her heart, in spite of every rational bone in her body. Once or twice, when she was in a state of vulnerability only of course, she had even allowed herself to go so far as believe that she loved him.

She opened her locker, grabbed her stash and with the Green Bean in her other hand, walked off campus to the heavily wooded area to smoke a bowl. Their school was so retarded the teachers would hardly have cared, if they even noticed her activity. She reached her favorite smoking spot, secluded from all over by trees and a big rock you had to climb to get there, and started packing the bowl.

She looked up for just a second while she dug in her faded blue jeans for her lighter and noticed two people beyond the trees. They had obviously climbed the same boulder she had, which was no easy task, and gone a good two minutes beyond her. Imagine her shock when noticed Martin sticking his cheating tongue down one of the rich-bitches throats. It was with who he was cheating that made her want to kick him right in the nuts. Martin was frenching their 30 year old Spanish teacher. The Green Bean slid her hand and settled into the soft ground below her with a light thump. Maybe she had been right all along. Boys sucked... apparently, quite literally.

Every vein in her body exploded with fury. She wanted to kill him. Well, maybe not kill him, but take his stupid face, bake it onto a deep dish pizza, and eat it. Hope thought back to herself, when she had been re-fastening her bra after her night with the judge to get her emancipation case rolling again. It was the summer before freshman year, just over a year ago, that the bastard had named his price for her desired outcome in the case. She'd never forget the way his eyes raked over her just before he said that all he wanted was her in his bed. She'd shivered, cringing at the thought of giving away the last bit of herself to that horrid man.

It had been when she was pulling on her shirt that he whispered in her ear, "I would have done it for a kiss, lover." He had pulled her back over to him and took her a second time against her will. She had thought that was rock bottom, that she had just given away the last bit of herself and been betrayed over it. If only she had known going into her relationship with Martin that what she had given him...had been worth so much more than her virginity. She had given him her heart, and he had just thrown it back in her face.

As a child she had partaken in the silly gesture where people would form little hearts out of their hands, then pretend to break them or crack them to be funny. She now realized that the childhood gesture was wrong. He hadn't broken her heart. He hadn't cracked it even. He had taken a shot gun and blown it to pieces. Later that night, she took her roomate's pistol and did the same to her head. The hope of love finally finding her... the hope that there was an exception to every rule...the hope that someone could actually love her...

Hope hated her name. In fact, she despised it. Why? If someone were to ask her now, she would say it was because "hope" turned out to be the cruelest beast that Hope Adams ever encountered.