Wow. It's been a while since I updated, but here you are! Chapter Thirteen of S.A.U.! I want to thanks everyone for all the love and support, all the comments and helpful critiques! I hope you like this as much as I do! Enjoy!


"And what is with that stare?" she growled.

I rolled my eyes and turned my attention to the window. Sheesh. A person couldn't even enjoy a simple car ride or what? What was up this old lady's butt now? I hadn't even done anything. Well, if you counted snapping at her to 'mind her own business' and 'burn in the bowels of hell' anything. God, she was so damn annoying.

"Nina Lynn, I asked you a question," she hissed and snapper her bony fingers in my face. "Answer me this instant!"

"How many times do you want me to tell you to burn in hell, you old, ugly witch?" I howled and turned to glare at her.

We'd been like this for almost an hour now. Riding in the back of her shiny black limo, sitting right across from each other, snapping and threatening one another like sworn enemies. We might as well have been. There was honestly no way such a rude, annoying, bitter person could exist in the world. Oh wait. There was that woman I use to call my mother if she was ever one to me. Never mind then.

Paulina sighed and shifted her glare to the window, but not before she grumbled something incoherent under her breath.

I rolled my eyes again. Good lord. I just hoped we could get to the new house before one of us ended up going to prison for killing the other. It wasn't like I asked to be brought here in the first place. I hadn't even known anything. Nobody bothered to tell me that I was going to get kicked out of my own house and shipped off to live in some stupid town with some stupid lady I hadn't even known was alive. Nobody told me that I was going to run into the same guy that tried to rape me—twice. No one told me that my life was going to suck this badly when I came into this world almost sixteen years ago.

Nobody told me anything. So why was the blame always put on me?

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. It was going to be hell from here on out. I could imagine: being forced to eat, sleep, and live inside the same four walls with this crazy lady who seemed to have a habit of pointing out people's flaws. What exactly did I do to deserve this? I wasn't that bad of a person, was I? Was I? If dad were here, then maybe I could—

Don't even go there. I let out a long, shaky breath.

He is not my friend or my anything for me to have to turn to him for help. He made that perfectly clear back at the house. I could tough this out. I'd been through worse. I'd prove to everybody that I didn't need to rely on anyone to get by. Not anymore. I wasn't weak; I was strong and courageous, brave and super smart. I could handle this. I didn't need dad or Bryan or anybody at my side. I made it this far without anybody, right? I could do this. I could do this…

I turn my head and blinked several times to rid myself of the tears I could feel bubbling on the rims on my eyes.

Stop it, I growled. Stop it Nina. They are not your friends. You don't have any friends.

But sometimes I wished that I did. Sometimes I wished that I could have someone there to simply let me know that I wasn't all that bad. That it was all in my head, that things were going to be okay for me here. I wanted someone to tell me that they cared about me, that I was an awesome person, and that everybody who treated me the way they did was wrong. That I was in the right all along and just didn't know it.

I blinked again and took a deep breath.

People only said those things in movies, and in those movies, the person they always said it to wasn't someone like me.

I mean, come on. I put Bryan in a hospital. I snuck out of the house and made mom and dad worry to a point where they had to call the police on me. I treated my siblings like crap so how could I be upset that they treated me the same way and wanted me out of their lives? I let out another shaky breath. I deserved it. Bad people always did bad things and those bad things always came back to haunt them right?

I chuckled humorlessly. Karma. It was the universe's way of giving me a taste of my own medicine.

It was only a matter or time before Paulina felt that same way and kicked me out to the curb like the worthless whore that I was. It was only a matter of time—

"Nina Lynn," she said, her voice as hard and emotionless as ever. I could feel her eyes on me, staring at me expectantly, waiting for me to reply.

But I didn't. I was too emotional. What if my voice gave it away?

"Are you going to tell me how your face ended up so badly bruised?" she questioned. "Who did this to you?"

Again I remained silent. What would she do about it anyway? She was just like mom; she believed everybody else but me. So what good would it do telling her that Jake Stew did this to me? It wasn't like she could do anything about it. It would only cause more trouble and Jake would win anyway. He had Claire and her parents to back him and his story up. Who did I have in my corner? Bryan? He would jump to Claire's side the minute she snapped her fingers.

I swallowed the lump in my throat. Why didn't I just disappear already? Why did I still try?

"I asked you a question, Nina Lynn," Paulina hissed and leaned forward in her seat. "Now answer me."

But I kept silent with my head bowed like the dog that I was.

Why didn't she just say no when mom asked her to come and get me? Why didn't she just hung up and move on with her life? She was only making her life more difficult by having me around. It was only a matter of time until I ended up doing something that would push her over the edge. Just like with Bryan. Just like with the triplets. Just like with mom and dad. It was only a matter of time. A matter of time…

"Answer me!" she demanded and grabbed me roughly by the elbow of my jacket. "I asked you a question!"

"No!" I wailed and jerked away from her, salty tears streaming down my bruised face.

Paulina backed away and stared at me. The same way she had when we were in the plane. Just like the people at the hospital. Just like Bryan, Claire and her bimbo friends when they caught me in the bedroom with Jake. The same look on their faces. Pale, mouth hanging open, eyes wide as marbles, horror in those eyes. The horror that came from having to look at me. To see me. To know that I existed in their lives.

I turned away quickly and dried my face with the sleeve of my hoodie. Stupid, I thought bitterly. I was stronger then this. I had to be. I could handle this. I wasn't weak. Tears were weak. They were a sign of a person's weakness. I couldn't afford to be weak at a time like this. Especially not in front of this witch. That would be another thing she could throw in my face the next time she and I bickered about something. And there was no way I could give in. This was not going to be a reason for her to look down on me. Her or anybody ever again.

"Nina—"

"Save it," I snapped and turned back to glare at her. "I don't need anything from you, got it? So stay off my back."

Like hell I was going to just sit here and take anymore of her lip. I wouldn't be weak. I couldn't afford it now that I was on my own in a place where I could only rely on myself for strength and comfort. I'd prove to everyone that I didn't need them. That I could manage on my own, that I could change. Or maybe I was just fooling myself? Maybe I couldn't change. Maybe—

"Very well then," Paulina said curtly as she leaned back and settled into the smooth black leather of her seat. "I don't even know why I bothered trying."

I rolled my eyes and turned to the window.

It wasn't like she had to either. Just because we were going to live together didn't mean that we had to become friends. We didn't have to talk to each other, we didn't have to be around one another, and we certainly didn't have to like each other. I heaved a glum sigh and leaned my swollen cheek against the cool glass of the window next to my head.

Ah. That felt nice. Hopefully I'd be able to enjoy this last moment of peace without that witch doing anything to piss me off again.

I glanced up at the sky and nearly smiled to myself: the inky blackness, the bright stars that twinkled like diamond fragments against it, and the silvery moon that cast its pale moonlight on the sleeping town below. I didn't know where we were going, but I noticed that we weren't in the city anymore. The tall skyscrapers, the brightly lit buildings, the busy traffic—everything was gone and replaced with a thick brush of trees and a heavy blanket of comfortable evening silence. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.

Maybe coming here wouldn't be so bad. It wasn't like I hadn't been through the worst; my peers thought I was a freak, my family thought I was a worthless whore and a disappointment, my only friend in the world dumped me for other friends, I almost got raped by a complete stranger…I felt the back of my eyes prickle. Jeez Nina pull it together. I could make it on my own. This was my chance to change. My chance to have a brand new start in life. I might as well do things the right way this time. I couldn't afford to screw this all up this time. Who would whisk me away to go live with them in another state if I did? I had no one at my side. But that didn't mean that it had to be like that, did it?

Was there still a chance for me to turn this all around for myself?

I hadn't realized how exhausted I was until my head hit the pillow that night. I found myself in a room big enough to house my whole entire high school: large and spacious with the walls painted a deep mahogany. The twinkling chandelier hung in the middle of the ceiling above my head and the floor was layered with a soft gold carpet. There was a dresser standing next to a set of mahogany doors that led to my new walk-in closet. If I hadn't been so tired, then I actually would've taken the time to freak out over my new room.

I sighed and opened my eyes. So why did I feel so sad?

Why couldn't I just let myself kick back and look forward to being here in my new home? In my new life? Why did I feel like burst into tears of a sudden? Like something wasn't right here? My eyes stung with a hot prickle of tears. What was I crying about now? My heart gave a painful squeeze inside my chest. Why was I being such a dumb baby? This was my chance to change and show everyone that I could stand on my own two feet. I didn't need Bryan or Dad solving my problems or protecting me from anything.

They couldn't protect me from myself. This was something I had to do on my own. A choked sob escaped my throat. I blinked back my tears. What was it? Why did I feel so bothered about being here? I shuddered and buried my face into my pillow, a new found anger simmering on my tongue.

I was being stupid. I didn't have a reason to be upset. I had to do this—no matter how hard I knew it was going to be. I just wasn't use to being on my own like this. Sure, I'd been alone for most of my life, but I always had someone to run to when things got to hard for me. Someone that I could trust or fall back on, depend on to solve my problems for me and comfort me. I was just use to being able to seek help when I needed it from either Dad or Bryan. But I didn't have anyone now. Neither of them remained in my life anymore. I was officially on my own. Alone. Abandoned. Forgotten.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

A sharp tapping on my door pulled me back into my new reality. I quickly dried my eyes with my sleeve and sat up.

"Come in," I called out wearily. "It's open!"

The door swung open them and Paulina stepped inside, carrying something wrapped in a small dishtowel in one hand and a glass of water in the other. She stepped inside and pushed the door closed with her elbow before she advanced toward me and handed me the water. I sighed in annoyance. Sheesh. I couldn't go through this one night without having to run into her every few seconds now could I?

"Thanks," I grumbled and sucked the water right into my mouth.

"Here is an icepack for your face," she said and tossed it to me. "Until the swelling and the bruises subside, you will have no choice but to stay home from school. I don't want you wandering off by yourself. Your mother has warned me about your tendencies to take off without permission or adult supervision."

I snorted. "That woman doesn't know shit," I snarled and set the empty glass down on the night table beside me. I picked up the ice pack and held it firmly against my face. Ah that felt nice.

"We have yet to have that discussion about your use of foul language in my home," Paulina said through gritted teeth. "Obviously simple warnings aren't enough for you."

I rolled my eyes. "Obviously."

"I don't need any sour attitude from you," she snapped. "I have a lot on my place right now and the last thing I need to put up with your childish behavior—"

"Well excuse me for being in such a bad mood," i howled and turned to scowl at her. "I just found out that my parents don't want me, I lost the only friend I will possibly ever have in my life, and now I have to live in a state I've never been in with someone who clearly thinks I'm some spoiled whore. If you were in my place how would you feel?"

I expected her to reply to my right away, roll her eyes, grumble a snide remark maybe. But she didn't. Instead she just sat there on the end on my bed with an unreadable expression on her long, thin face. I sighed and looked away. Now I just felt horrible. All she did was bring me an icepack for my face and some water and here I was snapping at her like that. No wonder Bryan didn't want to be my friend anymore. Who would want to put up with someone like me anyway? Someone who is constantly destroying the lives of other people. All I did was burden people with my problems, throw their kindness back in their faces, and make their lives a living hell because I was miserable.

My vision blurred with salty tears all of a sudden. What a selfish harpie I was.

I didn't deserve to be here. I didn't deserve a second chance. Everyone knew that I would just end up screwing that up sooner or later. And once that happened, Paulina would put me back on the first available flight back to my life in Los Angeles. To the family that I knew wouldn't welcome me with open arms. To a life where everyone despised and ridiculed me because I deserved it.

"Nina Lynn." Paulina leaned forward, her expression still unreadable.

"Just leave me alone," I growled and scooted away from her. "I want to be alone. I don't want to talk to you."

She stayed where she was. "Nina Lynn, I am trying to—"

"Don't you understand English?" I snapped without looking at her. "I want to be alone. Along as in by myself. Not anywhere near you. Leave. Me. Alone."

"Nina Lynn—"

"GET OUT!" I shouted and shoved her as hard as I could off the bed. "GET OUT OF MY ROOM!"

Paulina uttered a baffled cry as she fell to the floor. I jumped back on the bed and turned my back to her so I could glare at the wall.

"Very well then," Paulina said.

I heard her climb to her feet and leave my room, but not before grumbling an 'insolent child' comment under her breath and slamming the door shut behind her.