"You heard me," he spat, "where the fuck were you?"

"I-I-" she squeaked, all courage dashed, "I spent the night at a friends!"

"Bullshit!" He growled, and his hand was at her throat, "Whores like you spend the night with men." His fingers pushed her hair aside, and he examined her neck.

"Fucking lying skank." He hissed, running his fingers over the affectionate lovebites and bite marks.

"Plea-Please let me go!" Roxie sobbed, wriggling against the wall, hoping to gain some freedom of movement. Maybe then she could run. She could smell the beer on his breath though. He wouldn't let her move.

His hands continued their usual exploration of her body. Neck, and chest, and back, and arse, then... she winced as he stuck his hand up her skirt.

"Slut, no underwear. And you thought I'd believe you slept at a friends?" His mouth was at her ear, and she cried silently. Knowing that screaming and fighting would only make him angrier. Her tears, however, he seemed to find some twisted joy in. He suddenly shoved two large fingers into her. She screamed quietly. She wasn't ready to accommodate this sort of intrusion. He didn't care. He kept at it until her body reacted enough to make it any fun for him. She felt terribly sore, and hated her body for having any reaction to his actions at all.

"Get on all fours, worthless bitch. You need to be taught a fucking lesson." His voice was burning with sick pleasure. She did as she was told, tears running thick and fast down her beautiful face.

He wouldn't be quick. He never was, when he wanted to punish her. He was harsh, though, but she couldn't help herself. He didn't care about her screams. He wrapped his fingers around her neck when he thought it funny, and seemed to enjoy her desperate gasps for air.

She lost track of the time, trying to distract herself. But when she felt him empty into her she couldn't help but whimper. This had to be her fault, right? She deserved it some how. Whore that she was. She remembered the night before, with Reck. Surely that made her a slut?

Maybe Micheal was right.

Maybe this is what she deserved. Maybe all she was worth was someone else's pleasure.

But with Reck, she'd loved the pain. He had enjoyed her coming. Her pleasure.

Micheal enjoyed her pain. Her anguish. The desperate way she begged for mercy. Begged for him to stop.

"I wouldn't have to do this if your mother hadn't left because of you acting like a bratty, cunty, bitch." He said, before violently thrusting into her again. She screamed at the stabbing pain. She couldn't handle this. She wasn't ready enough. Wasn't wet enough. Oh fuck, it hurt. It felt almost as bad as it had the time she'd lost her virginity in the back of some punk-rockers car. Drug-filled and convinced that she was totally in love with the messy haired teen with dirty fingernails. That time she'd gotten blood and tears onto the interior.

No blood, now, but tears were plentiful.

He stood up, and she collapsed into a heap, he kicked her in the side and laughed at her yelp.

"I'm going to be out for the night. Lock the house up and don't fucking touch my booze." He spat, as he grabbed his jacket from the hook beside the door. She didn't answer, remaining curled up on the cold floor. "Worthless, lazy cunt." He growled at her, swinging the door open and storming out. When it closed, she remained on the ground, unable to move for a while. Her ribs ached from his kick, but not enough for them to be broken. Roxie knew how that felt.

Blinking at the ceiling, she remembered the first time. The time it started. The day after her mother left. Roxie had heard a car start up outside in the middle of the night, then front door open as quietly as was possible, the old thing creaked. Her mother had tiptoed into Roxie's room. She hadn't seemed to realise in the dark that Roxie was awake, as she had merely bent over the bed and kissed the top of her head.

"Bye, my love. I'll see you soon. I'm sorry I can't take you with me." She had whispered, almost to herself, as she stroked Roxie's hair gently. Next thing, she was gone, and Roxie felt tears begin to drip down her cheeks. She knew things weren't safe for her mother. She'd seen the bruises, heard the fights and the punches. She knew if her mother stayed things would only escalate. Would only get ten times worse.

Her mother must have thought that Micheal wouldn't dare hurt Roxie, as he hadn't when her mother was there. But the next day, at about noon, when Roxie had just finished her shower she had walked out into the living room in her towel.

"Where's mom?" She asked innocently, as Micheal sipped from a bottle and stared at the baseball game on the blurry TV screen.

"Gone." He said.

"Gone where?" Roxie was immediately sarky, irritated by his nondescript answer.

"Who the fuck cares." He slurred, and she caught sight of the collection of brown bottles surrounding his chair.

"I fucking care. Where the hell is my mother?" Roxie's voice was raised, the hand that wasn't clutching her towel was balled up in anger.

Micheal rose unsteadily to his feet, smashed his mostly finished beer on the floor.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing? Look at the mess you've made!" She said, all her frustration at her mother's leaving bubbling up to the surface.

His actions were oddly quick for someone so drunk. He grabbed her by the neck, she yelled and fought against him. But he was relentless, and after giving her a few subduing blows, he grabbed her hand that clasped her towel around her.

"No, please, no." She begged, weakly. He didn't listen, and hunger filled his eyes as it fell to the floor. His hands found every tender, private place on her body, and invaded wickedly.

"So much better than your bitch mother." He said, as his hand slid back and forth between her pried open legs. "I don't know why I didn't think of this years ago."

Her mother had gotten married to Micheal when Roxie was 11, they'd been together five years when her mother left. That had been six months ago and Micheal had used that time to his fullest advantage. Roxie found herself used and violated at least three times in a week. But she tried not to count, tried not to remember each moment of pain and self loathing. Micheal was careful to make sure that Roxie blamed herself.

Her cries and screams fell on deaf ears. Her begs for mercy were met with a chuckle or a curse. He loved her pain. He thrived on it. He didn't give a fuck what she did, really, but enjoyed punishing her when she "misbehaved". *********************************************************************************************************************

Roxie sighed to herself as she turned the shower off and stepped out. The bathroom mirror had steamed up, and she wiped the fog away to examine the nasty purple bruise that was beginning to form where Micheal's kick had landed.

She shrugged it off, it would fade soon enough, they always did.

She toweled off quickly, then trudged into her room across the hall, the messy cave of darkness she called home. She pulled the shirt that had been tossed over her stereo off the dusty contraption, and inserted her favourite mix tape. Roxie stood still for a minute or two as the thrilling beginning of "Dazed and Confused" flooded the room. She closed her eyes and sighed.

Perhaps she should still be crying. She felt awful, dreadful, utterly crushed and hopelessly lost. Yet not one tear. She felt no worse than usual. She shuddered as she realized she was getting used to it. Getting used to him. It was never something she had wanted to accept, but perhaps this was easier. Maybe this way it'd be easier to handle.

She shook away the thoughts, and began digging through her closet, losing herself in the music.

It felt good to be showered and in clean clothes. She felt a little more human. But only a little.

She pulled a face at the bruises that spattered her stomach, but when she thought about it, the only way they could have ended up there was if Reck had left them behind, she smiled at them.

Her makeup was done quickly, and she felt herself with it on. She lay down on her bed, and crossed one leg over the other, she reached under her pillow and pulled out a small tin. There they were, top of the line, ready-rolled spliffs. She giggled to herself as she placed it between her lips and grabbed her lighter from the bedside table. Well, Reck's lighter. He'd left it in her room the last time she'd thrown a party at hers. Roxie flicked the lighter, the flame jumped up and only took a moment to light the end.

She lay back, closed her eyes, and took a drag. It didn't take long, the music and smoke was all consuming. She hummed and enjoyed the pleasant, enveloping feeling of contentment. Everything was okay. Everything was going to be okay.

She only half remembered stubbing out the joint and letting comforting sleep embrace her.

The knocking became so persistent that Roxie had to accept that it wasn't a dream, and that someone really was at her bedroom door. She peeled her eyes open, and her blood froze. It could only be him. But the time was only eight P.M., according to her bedside clock. Surely she hadn't slept through the two days and a night?

"Coming" she said, meekly, opening her door in such a way that it'd be easy to slam it shut again if need be.

Jen stood in the doorway, with Max and Zane grinning behind her.

"You, miss, were due back at the Loft an hour ago." She said, hands on hips, but a smile on her face.

"Oh, sorry. Sorry." Roxie said, she'd only been asleep five hours, thank God.

"God, it stinks of pot in here." Zane said, cheerily, picking up a stringy set of undies from the floor, smirking at them, and slipping them into his pocket. Roxie didn't protest, though he made no effort to hide his pervy thieving.

"Yeah yeah, and I bet your room doesn't smell any better." She said, then thought for a moment, "How did you lot even get in?"

"Handy dandy lock picking." Jen said, waving a bent up hair pin at Roxie, "I remember I learned how to do this when I was 14, and I would steal liquor from my grandmother cabinet." Jen's face was clouded by fond memories, until Max said,

"Well, the gig is in two hours. We should probably get to White Tiger." She snapped out of it, and nodded, but not before handing Roxie her own hairbrush from atop the vanity.

"Trust me, gorgeous, if you ever want to see Reck's dick again, you'll fix that mess."