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I hurriedly throw my jacket back on and pull on my helmet. I don't bother with lacing the D ring, I need to get out of here, I can't deal with this right now, knowing that conniving little bitch, she'll blackmail me for something or other. Just like her father blackmailed my parents into keeping quiet about something they saw, but even I don't know what. I kick the bike into gear and let out the clutch, slamming on the gas to get out of the lot as quickly as possible.

I'm not ready to go back to my apartment just yet. Going for a ride always clears my mind and ensures that I don't go home angry, depressed, etc. When I'm on the bike, I don't feel anything but free. I remember the times my dad and I worked on the bike, and it is nothing short of bittersweet.

My father and I had a special connection, but then I found out that he was not only a cheater, but had cancer. I isolated myself to my room. Marie became abusive and did nothing but drink.

It was only another month after I found out about those lovely bombshells, that my dad passed. He refused treatment when he was diagnosed, said he didn't want to be sick as the price for another couple months on earth. Couldn't say I disagreed with him; if I was in his place, I probably would have done the same thing.

I'm drawn out of my reminiscing by a light turning red. I pull the brake and downshift, eventually coming to a stop. That's another thing I like about motorcycles and manual transmission vehicles, you have to be aware of so many things that you don't have time to think about anything other than what you're doing. You have to focus entirely on the road as you drive, the ratio you must maintain between clutch and gas when you shift, the speed you're going and the distance you maintain from the car in front of you. You need to be aware of where the other cars around you are and make sure you're turning your signal on and off whenever you turn. Those are just the basics. There are so many other aspects to riding that would take too long to explain. But that's why I like driving my motorcycle, even in the freezing cold. It gets my mind off of the things that I tend to focus on and suddenly, it's just freedom.

When the clock on the bike reads almost and hour and a half since I left the school, I decide it's time to head home. I need to take care of Roxie and ice my back again. Maybe I'll finish the marvel movie marathon I started last night with Xalen.

I get back to my apartment and open the door, hearing the familiar thump and clack of paws skittering across the floor as Roxie runs down the hallway to greet me. It's one of the few things in my life that I can count on with any amount of regularity, but Roxie's getting old. She's 10 years old, coming up on 11, yet she still acts like a puppy. The normal life expectancy for a pitbull is anywhere from 8 to 15 years, but she is already not moving as well as she used to, she can't run with me anymore, and she struggles to sit or lay down. That still doesn't stop her rambunctious attitude, but it makes it difficult for her to express as well as she used to how happy she is. The way she moves, I don't think she'll make it to New Years. The thought makes tears gather behind my eyes. I push them away, no sense in crying over something that hasn't happened yet.

I greet her quickly when she finally makes her way up to me,"Hey, girl! I know, I was gone longer than usual and I'm sorry, but momma had some stuff she needed to get sorted out."

I reach over and grab the leash off the wall behind the door,"I bet you're ready for your walk, huh?" I say it more as a statement than a question.

Roxie hops around as well as she can, clearly excited and ready for her walk. It makes me smile, and the last of my worries melt away. I attached the leash to her bright blue collar and head out the door, locking it behind me. It brings me another modicum of peace, knowing that Jefferson, nor anyone outside of my small circle of friends, knows where I live. Lord knows what kind of shit they'd pull if they did know where I lived. Then again, rich white snob like Jefferson probably wouldn't even come near where I live, too chicken.

Yeah, she came to the Dungeon, but it's not necessarily on the bad side of town, just one of the more skeletal parts. It was surprising to see her there in the first place, but now she knows who I am, so I have to make an extra effort to avoid her. At the very least, the teachers at school have stopped the assigned seat thing now that they know our names. I can sit at the back, and she'll just sit on the other side of the room...hopefully. Although, knowing my luck, she'll saddle right on up to me, and blackmail me for something or other. I know she's already failing bio, and history, which are my best grades, not that any of them are bad. I can just imagine what people would say, the school bad girl having good grades? Ha! Yeah right! The bitch is a nerd? Oh that's rich! The list goes on.

Everyone in my school is a goddamn stereotype. The popular girls are rich snobs who control the school, the jocks are stupid but somehow manage to pass their classes, and the outcasts, are of course, me, my friends, and every other nerd and geek. I love being an outcast though, I'd prefer it to having to wear skirts and heels, all the time. That's not to say I can't walk in heels or wear a killer dress, I just really don't like to. The only time I do either of those is homecoming.

Homecoming is something I only go to if my friends drag me, and they do. Every. Single. Year. Even though I've been an online student until this year, I've still gone to homecoming kicking and screaming, metaphorically speaking. Homecoming is actually coming up, now that I think about it. Crap, that means my friends will make me go, and if they don't see me, well they'll drag me to homecoming in my pajamas if they have to - don't ask, it was freshman year; we don't talk about freshman year - so I have to go find a dress for homecoming, and make sure it's something I can easily slide pants on underneath for when I'm riding the bike.

I decide I'd better just get it over with, so I head back out to my bike, gear up and head to one of the Ross stores nearby. They typically have some stuff that I like. Usually good quality without costing hundreds of dollars just for a dress.

As I come to a stop, I hear some rather odd conversation coming from the car next to me.

"...Captain America do?"

A childlike voice replies in gleeful, though obviously slurred speech,"He threw his shield and then the winter soldier caught it like it was nothing! It was so cool, and he stopped hydra for a second time, but he killed SHIELD with it. It was sad."

I look over to see who's in the car and what the situation is. It's Chastis and it looks like she's got a small boy in the car with her, maybe her brother. Shit. He looks like he's in pain, does she abuse him? Or was this just extreme bullying, either way, I have to make sure they get to the hospital quickly.

I call out to Jefferson in my southern accent to get her attention,"Everything okay? Your boy seems like he's in a lot of pain. Do you need to get to a hospital?"

Jefferson turns to me, no recognition in her eyes yet,"Yes, we need a hospital, He got beat up in school. The nurse wouldn't do anything. I'm trying to get to Mildred Keeney Children's Hospital. I'm pretty sure he has a bruised if not cracked rib or two."

I clench my jaw and grimace inside my helmet, I hate bullies,"I have some experience with cracked ribs myself. I know where Keeney is, I'll clear the way."

The light turns green and I pull away, peeling out of a stop. I gun the engine to get a good start and then start weaving through traffic, honking the horn on my bike and revving the engine as much as I can.

My father would have a heart attack if he saw how I was driving, but I think he'd also make an exception given the circumstances.

In little to no time, we're at the hospital and Jefferson is taking her brother out of the car, "Come on Kase, Breathe for me. In. and Out. In. and Out." She yells her thanks to me as I pull away.

I can't help but mutter under my breath,"You're a brave kid Kase, rest easy."

I resume my trip to Ross and also my pity party, because I hate dress shopping, but I'd really rather not be dragged to homecoming and away from Netflix in my pj's.

When I get to the store, I go straight to the dress section and focus on the dark colors. As I'm looking, something catches my eye, hanging in the plus size section, hidden away and clearly in the wrong place, is an off the shoulder floor length dress, covered in black lace, the best part is that the back of the dress covers the entirety of my back and hides my tattoo completely. It's perfect, and will satisfy my friends who like to make sure I look girly on homecoming night.

I have a pair of dagger earrings that will look great with the dress, too. Just the right amount of dangerous to work with the dress. Now I need to get a pair of the torture devices otherwise known as heels.

I head over to the shoe section and begin searching for something that will match the dress. I look until I find a pair of heels that are black and fade to red. They aren't too high so I won't end up killing myself, but they will add a couple inches to my height. As I'm in the checkout, dress and heels in hand, I feel someone come up behind me, far too close for comfort. When they start to put their arms around me, I decide enough is enough, I turn with my fist flying before I can tell who it is. My fist makes contact with an obviously masculine face and they go down, unconscious before they even hit the ground.

The woman behind the register asked me,"Do you need me to call the cops?"

I look down at the man, only to realize it's Xalen. That mother fucker, he knows better than to sneak up on me in public spaces. I face palm.

"No ma'am, it's actually a good friend of mine. He just forgets that I react violently to people who get too close to me in public spaces, bad memories." I respond to the woman's question.

"I have a motorcycle outside that I ride, do you have any bungee cords or cinching straps? He doesn't have a car and I need to get him to the hospital up the road to make sure I didn't give him a concussion."

The woman responds,"We have both in the back, I'd suggest using the bungees to secure him to you and the cinch straps to secure him to the seat."

I nod my thanks and head toward the back, after slinging Xalen over my shoulders in a fireman's carry, having no care of bruising his ribs and gut, jerk deserves it for being an idiot. I retrieve the cinch straps from the back and head out to the parking lot, dress and shoes in a bag that I put in one of my saddle bags on the bike. Then I cinch Xalen to the seat, climb on and bungee Xalen to my back. I carefully start the bike and drive the five or six blocks to the hospital.

I unbungee myself from Xalen and he immediately slumps forward onto the front seat of the bike.

"Even when you're KO'd you're an idiot. Why do I put up with you again?" I say shaking my head while questioning his unconscious form, knowing there won't be an answer.

"Oh yeah, because for some godforsaken reason, I give a damn about you."

I finish removing the straps from the bike and lug him over one shoulder. I walk into the ER lobby where I had been not an hour before, and readjust Xalen so I have one of his arms around my shoulder and I have an arm around his waist.

I manage to get the attention of a nurse and say,"excuse me, my friend took a pretty hard fall after being socked in the face and I'm worried he might have a concussion." The nurse nods and takes him from me, putting him in a wheelchair and rolling him into the back, presumably to take x-Rays.

It's then that I notice Jefferson is still here, though now she's trying to hide her face with her hair. Even with her efforts though, I see the bruises through her hair. It's obvious to me that whatever she told the staff, it wasn't true. I know my bruises, and that's definitely a nasty left hook and a solid right jab. Whoever hit her must have been wearing a ring on their left hand, judging by the cut in her swollen eye. That basically leaves two options for who's been hitting her, mom or dad. My money's on the dad, as statistically speaking, men are more likely to be physical abusers than women. I shoot Jefferson a questioning look, but she just looks away, and starts talking to Kase, fretting over him like a mother would, or should anyway, i wouldn't really know, my mom was an asshole.

Seeing Jefferson beat up and yet caring more for her brother than herself, makes me question everything I thought I knew about her. She's not complaining about the pain, she's just focused on taking care of others. I have to admire that. With this revelation, I see Jefferson as more human and less of a bitch. It also makes me want to punch her dad in the throat. Maybe there's more to Chastis than I thought. Maybe I was wrong.