Chapter One

Ebony

"I really like you" Blake said running a finger against my cheek. I leaned into his touch but I couldn't say the same thing back to him. I just couldn't.

"You feel the same don't you?" Blake asked holding me away from him to look into his eyes.

I was saved from answering as my phone rang.

I snatched it up and put it to my ear without checking the caller ID. "Where the hell are you?" My father's voice screeched through the phone. I flinched, I always flinched, it became a conditioned response to me whenever I heard or saw my father. "Get your ass back home right this instance"

"I'm leaving now, I'm sorry"

"You're sorry? Just get home now" He put the phone down on me, I turned sheepishly to Blake. "I have to go home"

"Alright" He kissed me on the lips; I felt nothing.

I turned around walking over to my baby, my rusty blue Volkswagen Dodge 1500. It wasn't much but it ran perfectly and so I was happy with it, besides it was the best present I'd get off my parents, considering they only got it from a scrapyard.

I drove home a cigarette hanging out my mouth. Smoking un-stressed me, I needed it for going home late to my parents. I was so dead.

I heard yelling when I parked in the driveway but I stopped dead when I entered the living room to see my boss sitting on our couch as calm as can be.

"You weren't the only one late, as apparent" He flicked a hand towards the kitchen where I could hear both my parents having a go at either one of my younger siblings.

I nodded sliding down on my father's armchair, a pack of fags lay beside it. I picked the packet up taking two out, throwing the other at my boss knowing he'd expect me to.

I cupped my hand around the lighter even though there was no wind. You got used to it so you ended up doing it every time.

My palms were clammy, I was sweating and my entire body was tense. My boss had never visited my house, never.

"I have an important job for you" He leant forwards after a few uncomfortable minutes of silence; no doubt he's intention to stretch it out.

"And if you accomplish then you will move up earning twice the amount you earn now"

My ears picked up at that. My family was rather poor, my parents had jobs but they spent all their money on drugs for themselves. My older brother used to pay for the mortgage on the house, the bills, living costs by being part of the Saint Hood until he left for university and I had to take over being the second eldest.

"What do I have to do?" I asked nervously, but tried my damm hardest not to not show it.

He placed a gun out in front of him. All members of the SH had a gun; he giving me another signalled I was using the gun for real this time, as in not just using it to wave around.

I swallowed deeply. Nothing of good could come out of this. What did they want me to do- rob a bank?

I didn't even want to think of the obvious.

"Don't worry" He smiled at me. "When you read this" He said handing me a file, the one the FBI have on an suspect on TV. "Your want to do it. You have a day to decide"

My worst fear was confirmed.

"If I say no?" I asked him before he left.

"Then no pay rise! I assure you, I can even bet your say yes"

"Don't count on it" I burst out with, my mouth not being able to connect to my brain.

Boss just raised an eyebrow and grinned in amusement.

I breathed a sigh of relief over that little slip up and then grabbed the gun shoving it into my jacket before Gabrielle saw it. She was smart for her age; she never had the choice to not be not with our parents. We had all lost our innocent years ago. If that was not true my eleven year old sister would not have her hair dyed back; a lip and nose piercing in; would not have a foul tongue; would not have to be so grown up…the list was endless.

I sat back in my father's armchair, smoking another cigarette as Gabrielle sulked up to her room, ignoring me as if I was part of the furniture, and then there were my parents.

"What did your boss want?" My mother asked me sitting on the couch, my father next to her.

"The chance for a pay rise"

"Then take it girl"

"I have a day to decide"

"Fuck that!" My father stood up coming over to me, grabbing the cigarette out my hands and thrusting the butt of it against my arm. I wanted to scream but compelled myself not to; I gritted my teeth against the pain, the ash hurt like hell. I flicked it off making my arm sting. "You have nothing to decide, you will do it no matter what you have to do, do you understand?"

"Yes father" I replied meekly.

"Why were you late?" My mother questioned me.

"I lost track of time, I'm sorry"

"Not good enough, you're grounded"

"Fine"

I stood up and went to my room. I loved my room, it was all mine. I decorated the walls in posters of my favourite artists and music bands. The rest of the room was painted red and black. I had my double size bed, my beanbag chair, my dresser, the normal things. The laptop I brought myself was on the floor, my TV hanging over the bed and my guitar balancing up against the wall.

I loved my guitar. I loved playing the guitar, I loved making up songs and I loved singing about my favourite songs.

Music was my life; it was my escape from reality and god did I need one.

I lay on my beanbag chair and intended to read over the file when I got a buzz from my phone. I digged my cell phone out my pocket seeing a text from one of my best friends Paco Rodriguez, or it may be his twin Roxanne who found that bullying him was her favourite outlet. I felt sorry for Paco; he had not just Roxy but Benjamin his bipolar, narcissistic personality disorder brother.

My ex. We had dated for five months but we weren't good for each other. The fuck I missed him though; maybe that was why I couldn't commit to Blake because I still loved Benji.

Love never dies.

I sighed and typed in my password reading the message, it was certainly from Roxy.

Tomorrow is our first day of senior year baby! Let's drink its success, oh hang on the start of its success xx

I pressed the link seeing a party going down at the lake.

I pondered it for a while, my grounding, then thought; fuck it, I wasn't missing a party.

I went over to my dresser pulling out four outfits I could wear to the party. I drawed my finger across all of them finally settling on a red ruffled shirt and dark blue jeans. I threw on a leather jacket and my favourite short black boots. I glanced once back at the house then disappeared from the window.

My parents would hardly check on me anyway and if they did well I wanted to party, I could deal with the consequences when I got back.

I walked to the place being as I couldn't take my car, my parents would notice that.

"You came!" Karoline threw her arms around me.

"Of course, as if I'll miss a party!"

"Don't get too drunk, we do have school tomorrow"

"Hangovers on your first day of the last year of school is a must have"

"Okay if you say so Ebony"

I blew her a kiss then headed for the keg grabbing a beer.

"Hi Eb-ny"

I froze. And then I turned around. "Benji?"

He looked good. He's black blue hair with that silver line running through the fringe, he's green like leaves eyes, that pouty mouth of his that always melted your heart.

He presses himself against me running a hand through my hair and tugging me even closer.

"Benji" I warned.

"I just want this to do this" He hugged me to his chest for several moments then let me go with a small smile.

I watched him walk away as I sipped my beer. He was drunk or he wouldn't have done that, he avoided me like the plague just like I did although not so much.

It was best, really.

I got another beer then walked across the grass and up to the wooden bridge that overlooked the lake when I saw there was someone else there.

A guy. Correction: a hot guy.

I studied him as I walked up to him. He had steel blue eyes set against tanned skin; he had a searing red scar running from his cheek to his upper lip. He's jaw was set rigid, his muscle's tensed.

He was staring out at the lake.

I walked past him going slowly across the bridge till I reached the end leaning against the post waiting for the twins seeing their black Escalade they had to share pull up.

I glanced to where the guy was only to see him staring at me.