Prologue I growled slightly under my breath. I couldn’t believe he actually stood me up.

I knew he would get caught up at that party. So here I was, standing outside of the art gallery. I waited for another hour in the cold air. I took out my cell and texted him. Where r u? I constantly checked my phone, but with no avail, he didn’t reply.

I should’ve expected it. Beck was a cool and popular guy. Maybe our friendship is not meant to be. The guy who owned the art gallery closed the doors and turned off the bright lights. “You alright, kid?” he asked me. I lifted my head to him and smiled slightly. “I’m fine. I just need to get home.” I stood up from the cold bench. “Were you waiting for someone?” he asked. I glanced at him from under my dark honey hair.

“No.” I answered in my quiet voice then turned the other way, heading down the street. I didn’t feel like calling my mom or even Brenda to come pick me up. I didn’t want them worrying over my feelings. I turned down an alley to hurry through a neighborhood when I saw a group of drunken men. I started to breath heavy. I didn’t want to cause any trouble so I turned back. “Hey!” one of them called to me. I ignored it and kept walking until someone grabbed my arm. My throat felt dry so I couldn’t choke out a scream.

“Hey! We were talking to you!” the drunken man slurred as his friends followed him. “I-I’m sorry.” I whispered. I started to twist my arm from his grip, but it just got tighter. Just chill out for a minute, Maddie. Try to talk yourself out. “Tell us your name.” another spoke from behind me. I twisted my arm again. No luck. “Um…” I tried to stall.

“Tell us!” the one who had my arm hissed, tightening his grip. “Maddie.” I bit my shaking bottom lip. “Maddie…” they all mused. I took this chance to make one final twist and turn sharply out of their dirty hands. I didn’t make it far as one of them tackled me to the ground. “Mmmm…she smells like vanilla.” He mused in my ear. I started to shake. “L-let me go.”

I started to wiggle around, but immediately stopped when I felt my coat drop to the floor. “No.” I said weakly. Another piece of clothing fell. “N-no.” I said again. More clothing. Struggling, kicking, punching, hurting, pinning. I felt something brush against my breasts. “No.” I closed my eyes as tears leaked.

I felt something brush on my core, then, with a heavy gasp, breaking through my virginal barrier. “NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Beck. Beck… BECK!!!! Soon they left and rain came. I cried and screamed Beck’s name. He didn’t come though. No one did. Beck

Lauren pressed her lips to mine again, teasing my mouth with her strawberry tasting lips. “Mmmm…” she hummed into my mouth as she took my bottom lip into hers. “Hey! You two!” a teacher called. We broke contact and jumped away from each other, grinning wickedly. “Sorry, Mr. Cox.” I apologized. Lauren would never. He frowned then turned back to his classroom. “Now where were we?” Lauren smiled seductively and grabbed my shirt.

I smiled back. “Heading to class.” I finished for her, prying her hands off. She frowned and pushed back her brown hair. It was curled elegantly around her tanned face. Her thin lips turned into a smile as she put her hands on her curvy hips. “We should head to class.” I smiled, grabbing her hand. She grinned up at me then shrugged. “Fine, I’m probably going to fail though.” I led her to her first period then headed to mine.

I ran a hand through my black straight hair. I was naturally tan. My body was lean and tall with minimum muscles. I didn’t usually brag, but I was a good looking guy. I walked down the hallway, texting on my phone when I heard my name. “Beck!” something heavy grabbed onto my foot. “Beck, Beck, Beck, Beck!!!” my younger sister, Brenda, called to me as she latched herself onto my leg. “Okay, okay. You caught me. What do you want?” I asked with a hint of annoyance.

She looked at me with her hazel eyes and smiled. “We need to get to class.” “No shit.” I answered. “GASP!!” she gasped. “What?” “You said the S word.” She giggled. I sighed and nodded as we headed to class. “Today we will be working on the mysteries of Romeo and Juliet.” The teacher announced.

Everyone in the class groaned and I turned to my friend, Matt. “Tell me why we signed up for this class again?” I sighed. He snickered and looked up at me from his dark curls, staring at me with his green eyes. “Hot chicks, dude.” He grinned. I rolled my eyes at his small brain then turned my attention back to the teacher. “You will get a partner and will study as much as you can about this book. Write an essay on it about how you felt towards the book. You can write anything you want…as long as it’s thirty pages.” The teacher smirked at the groans.

“Okay, now…” she called out names, girls with boys. “…and Madeline with Beck.” The teacher said. Madeline… I turned in my seat to see her in the corner of the room. Her desk was facing the window and her small, pale hand cupped her chin. Her light green eyes were not focused; they were just watching birds fly by. Many people in the school said she was weird. I didn’t know her that well so I wouldn’t know.

A lot of the rumors about her were about how she doesn’t talk. Her hair was straight and falling down her back with a bang on top of her eyes. It was reddish brown and shiny. Her face was heart shaped and her red cheeks were covered in freckles. Her nose was button like and he lips were full. The top lip bigger than the bottom one. Her figure was slim with curves like any other girl, but she was pretty. I admired her natural beauty. Her face wasn’t covered with makeup at least. I stood in front of her, waiting for her to at least acknowledge me.

I was thinking about tapping her when she finally sighed and turned her eyes on me. I suddenly felt uneasy. I felt naked under her patronizing gaze. It was like her eyes were looking through me. Slowly, her eyes turned softer and she frowned slightly. “Hey,” I greeted. She didn’t answer. “I’m your partner.” I said, sitting down across the wooden desk. No answer.

“Do you want to start now?” I asked with raised brows. Her lips didn’t move. I frowned. This was getting aggravating. “Are you going to say anything?” I hissed. She narrowed her eyes at me while raising one brow. I finally sighed and let my anger calm down. She tore out a piece of paper out of her blue notebook and started scribbling on it.

When the bell rang, she was gone, but a paper was on her desk. I read it. Meet me at my house. Not that hard to find, Beckett. I frowned at my full name, but shrugged. I knew where the old Hawkins house was. And to be true to her word, it wasn’t that hard to find. Matt was suddenly in front of me, grinning. “Man, that girl is hot.” He sighed. I frowned at him.

“She doesn’t talk.” I replied. “Good. Talking is overrated.” He smirked. I laughed at him, despite myself.

I hopped out of my blue pickup truck. It was still shiny from its last wash. I locked it and it beeped in response, lighting it headlights. The Hawkins’ house still hadn’t changed. It was at least forty years old.

The house was surrounded by corn stalks and an old barn in the back that was surely holding horses. The house was white and pretty big. It was about five miles from the city. I didn’t know why Madeline went to school all the way downtown.

I walked to the front door and immediately the door opened.

A beautiful blonde woman smiled warmly down at me. “You must be Beckett. Maddie said you would be coming over.” She smiled. Maddie? And she talks? “Um, yeah. We have a project to work on.” I smiled back. “Good, um…just follow the music and you’ll find her.” She said then gestured for me to come in. I headed inside and looked around. It was beautiful and open. I liked it. I suddenly heard a guitar being lightly strummed. It was beautiful.

“Great, isn’t it?” the mother asked me, smiling. I grinned back, “She’s good.” “Yeah, she’s been playing since her mother died.” Her smile turned sad. “Her mother died?” I questioned with raised brows. “Yes, five years ago. Cancer. And her father died in a car crash with my husband. She stopped talking. Only a few words now and then…” she trailed off, tears were forming in her blue eyes. “You’re her foster mother?” I asked hesitantly. “Oh, no. I’m her auntie.” She said.

“Oh, well…I’m going to go up.” I said awkwardly as I headed up the stairs. The music was a quiet lullaby. I walked to the room and cracked open the door. Madeline was looking down at her guitar, strumming it with her creamy, small fingers. She played for awhile as I stood there, watching. She finally sighed and turned to see me peeping at her. I immediately turned red and walked in. I sat across from her on the hard wooden floor.

She looked back down at her guitar and started strumming again. “Um, do you want to start?” I asked. No answer, just music. “Okay.” I said awkwardly as I put down my book bag. More strumming. “Madeline? Are you going to answer me?” I asked, growing frustrated. Her strumming got louder. “Fine, I’ll just go.” I sighed and stood, grabbing my things.

I started towards the door when I heard a soft, delicate voice. “I didn’t think you would give up so easily, Beckett.” She spoke from behind me; her strumming slowed and came to a soft ending. She was talking? To me? “Don’t call me that.” I said after I recovered. “Don’t call me Madeline.” She whispered back. I turned to see she was watching me. “What do you want me to call you then?” I asked.

“Maddie. Call me Maddie.” She whispered, “And I’ll call you Beck, Beck.” “Maddie, then. Are you going to help with the project?” I asked. “Here’s the real question. Do you really need my help? I mean you are THE BECK. So as much as I’ve heard, you have an A+ average, you date the top cheerleader, and you can throw a football fifty meters. So, really? Do you need Madeline Ava Hawkins’s help?” she asked sarcastically in her soft voice. I frowned. “The real question is…do you want to help me?” I asked.

She was silent for a few minutes. “Touché.” She whispered finally and turned to give me a small smile. I gave a full blown grin back. I strolled down the stairs, a grin on my face. Hell, I made a big accomplishment today. I made Madeline (AKA Maddie) smile and talk today. We had finished half the work then ended up just listening to her strum her guitar. She was really good.

Her auntie was sweeping the porch and whistling a tune that I didn’t recognize. She looked up at me and smiled. “How was it? I hope she at least looked at you.” She rolled her eyes, trying to be playful, but I knew she was half serious. “We talked and did the work.” I shrugged, trying to be nonchalant and walked past her. She was frozen for a second until she hurried to catch up with me. “Wait! She talked to you?” she asked breathlessly. “Yeah.” I nodded. She squealed.

“She hasn’t talked to no one except me in years! Oh, are you coming over tomorrow?” she asked urgently. “Yes.” I nodded again. “Great!!” she screamed and jumped a little. Happy tears were running down her face and dripped onto the dirt road. “Great.” I smiled back and got into my car. She waved as I drove away, a giant smile lighting her face. “See you tomorrow!” she screamed then hopped off happily inside.

I felt an arm wiggle its way through mine. “Where were you last night?” Lauren asked. “Um, I was out.” For some odd reason I didn’t want her to know I was at Maddie’s house. Maybe that’s a good thing. She suddenly skidded to a halt, thus stopping me as well. She turned me around to glare at my face.

“Your not…cheating on me, ARE YOU!?” she hissed. “What? No!” I almost yelled. Her glare softened and she smiled. She kissed me swiftly then strolled down the hallway and around the corner. I sighed heavily and rolled my eyes. I would never cheat on her…would I? Well, obviously you’ve never met Maddie Hawkins. I drove to her house again and this time her auntie was on the porch, sipping some tea and reading a book.

Chickens were clucking on the dirt road and flying when I came through. The auntie put down her book. “Beck, so good to see you again.” She smiled. “You, too…aunt.” I grinned back. “Oh, just call me Theresa.” She shrugged. “Theresa then. I’m going to head up.” I said. “Oh, she’s not in the house, she’s in the barn with Valentine, her horse.” Theresa pointed to the barn in the back.

“Oh, thanks.” I thanked then headed to the barn. When I finally made it, the barn door was closed. I pushed it and it creaked open. The first thing I saw was pale, long legs. They were creamy and attached to them were some small denim shorts. Attached to that were a white camisole and a pink and white checkered button up, showing the white camisole. Attached to that was Maddie. Her hair was curled messily and in a ponytail on the nape of her neck. She was brushing a brown horse.

“C’mon in, Beckett.” She called softly and the horse neighed in response. Maddie smiled softly and kissed its face. “I told you not to call me that.” I started to set down my stuff when her small voice stopped me. “I wouldn’t put that down if I were you.” She warned softly, not even looking at me.

I looked down to see I was about to put my book bag in some shit. I huffed and tossed it back on my shoulder. Maddie started to lead the dark horse, Valentine, to a stable. She locked him up and took off his saddle. She refixed her ponytail, putting it into a messy bun. She finally turned to me and sighed. “Are you ready to start?” she asked softly. “Sure, whenever your ready.” I shrugged.

I handed her the Romeo & Juliet book and she sat down. She started reading it swiftly. I sat down and watched her read. As I was saying earlier, I admired her natural beauty, the natural hair, her petite figure, her creamy skin, her dotting freckles, and her big doe-like eyes. After two hours of watching her, the sun started to set and she closed the book with a loud BANG! causing me to jump and look back at her. “How was it?” I asked. “Stupid, horrific, bad, and lazy, but that’s just my opinion.” She shrugged.

I chuckled and grabbed the book from her. “Romeo & Juliet is a classic. Why do you have to be so opinionated?” I asked her, twisting the book in my hands. She didn’t answer. She stood up and frowned down at me. “You should get home. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She said quickly and quietly as she ran towards Valentine. I frowned at her short goodbye as she jumped on the horse. “Wait!” I called as the horse took off with her on its back.

The next day at school, Maddie was hardly there. I didn’t see her in 2nd period or in 5th. Maybe I upset her. I sighed as I passed the library. Then when I saw a hint of red I turned my head to see Maddie on a bookshelf, reading a thick book. I walked inside and started towards her, hiding behind bookshelves to get a closer look. I was behind her when I heard her sighed.

“Just come out already, Beck. It gets annoying.” She sighed softly and swiftly turned to me. I was stunned by the closeness. I was in between her legs and she looked back down at her book. I made no motion to move. She turned a page and I looked on the bottom to see what she was reading, but her creamy hand quickly blocked it. “Not a chance.” She smiled victoriously. I was stunned again. Her smile was beautiful. Her pearly white teeth shining at me while her full lips encased. I grinned back and shrugged.

I sat next to her on the bookshelf, just enjoying her company. I leaned against my locker, waiting for Matt when I saw Maddie come down the hall. She glanced at me then went down to her locker. Matt grinned at me while Brenda situated herself next to me, listening to music. I rolled my eyes as she bobbed her head to the music, shaking her black hair. I turned my head back to Maddie as she put in the combination and opened her locker.

Suddenly, everything went in slow motion. There a rattle above her and she looked up. Before Maddie could stop anything, the bucket that had been over her head, slinked over, splatting her head with blue paint. It splattered everywhere, covering her books and book bag, along with her white button up she had been wearing. It stained her hair and she closed her light green eyes at impact. Everyone was frozen for a second, hell, even Brenda stopped dancing.

Suddenly, everyone broke into laughter and pointed at horror-struck Maddie. Brenda, Matt, and I didn’t laugh. Lauren and her friends followed her as she walked up to dripping Maddie, chortling. “You look a little blue, Madeline!” she laughed. “Oh, she’s going to cry.” Another teased. But Maddie didn’t. Unlike most girls, who would just burst into tears and run, Maddie was still frozen, glaring at my girlfriend. Lauren leaned into the stained girl and whispered into her ear.

She straightened back up and Maddie’s eyes darted to me. I opened my mouth to say something, but snapped it shut. What could I say? She shook her head at me then turned and walked off, leaving the school. Later that day, I went over Maddie’s house. I stopped on the dirty road and looked up to see Theresa with her head in her hands. She was sitting on the porch, shaking.

She looked up at me with swollen eyes from crying. “Beck…” she whispered. I nodded grimly. “What happened?” “She didn’t tell you?” I whispered. She shook her head. “Prank at school.” I sighed. She nodded. “She’s in the woods. There’s a bath down there. She likes to go there and think.” She shrugged.

I nodded and headed down. I stumbled over rocks and dirt until I saw the bubbling water. No one was in it and it was like a Jacuzzi except it was made into the ground with rocks circling it. Suddenly, Maddie emerged from it, her mouth gasping for breath and her hair falling down her back (And no paint!). She opened her eyes and they widened when they saw me. “Dammit, Beck!” she shrieked loudly, the loudest I ever heard her speak and I jumped a little.

She clutched her chest underwater and I understood her outburst. She was naked. Dear lord… I quickly covered my eyes and began to sputter apologies. I heard splashing and the rustling of clothes. I opened my eyes hesitantly and gulped with nervousness when I saw her in a red bathing suit, two piece. “Skinny dipping? How cliché of you.” I grinned at her, trying to lighten the mood.

She rolled her eyes in disgust at me and wrapped a big white towel around her. She walked around me and I sighed. “C’mon, Maddie…” I reached for her wet arm and as I soon as I touched her electricity flowed through me, followed by a warm glaze. She turned her wide eyes on me. We stood there, staring at each other. She was the one to finally break it and started back to the house. I followed after her. I matched my pace with hers. “Are you upset?” I asked.

She didn’t answer. “Maddie?” I called. No answer. “Would you talk to me?” I frowned. Silence. “Oh, not this shit again! Really? The silent treatment?” I growled. Her lips didn’t move. “I am so tired of this shit!” I sighed. I didn’t realize I was talking to myself.

I turned around to see Maddie was sitting down with her head in her hands. Her body was shaking and I made a move to sit next to her. She was crying softly. I was just about to put my arm around her when she said something. “Just go, Beck. I don’t want anyone here right now.” She whispered. I hesitated, “Go, Beck!” I nodded even though she didn’t see me. I headed back to the house and frowned when I saw Theresa standing on the porch, clutching her hand to her chest.

Her eyes turned sadder when she saw me alone. Her shoulders slumped and she waved goodbye as she went back into the house. The next day, Maddie didn’t come to school. I talked to my friends and sister about it, but all they said was: Lauren: “Good, I’m glad that freak is gone. She shouldn’t be allowed at this school.” She scoffed. I rolled my eyes and growled under my breath. Matt: “That girl looks even hotter in blue.” He sighed.

Brenda: “…………..Who’s Madeline?” she frowned. All of my friends were idiots. But those were just my closest friends, all the rest wanted to fuck me, be me, love me, or kill me. Later that day I went to Maddie’s house. As soon as I got to the door, Theresa pulled me in. “Great! You’re here!” she cried in rejoice. “Yeah, I’m here.” I said.

“She hasn’t come out of her room all day.” She sighed worriedly. “I’ll make her.” I smirked. She smiled back and pushed me up the stairs. “And be gentle!” she warned. I nodded and opened her bedroom door. Maddie was curled up in a ball on the floor, leaning against her bed. I sat across from her as I sat down my book bag. She didn’t speak.

I crossed my legs Indian style and stayed silent. I started tapping my hands against my converses. “Have you ever been to an art gallery?” she whispered after a few minutes, her voice was raw from not talking. She didn’t look at me though. I frowned. “Art gallery?” I had heard of an art gallery before, but hadn’t been to one in my whole life. “Yes, I have posted some of my art in some, and I was wondering if you would

like to go with me to see the grand opening in three weeks. Theresa won’t be able to make it.” She finally looked at me with her big eyes. Once again I was stunned by her beauty. How could anyone breathe around this girl?! I sighed then nodded. Her face lit up and my breath was taken away (Corny shit, I know, but that’s what happened). “Do you want to talk about it?” I asked after a few silent minutes. She sighed and uncurled herself, sitting like me.

“It was your girlfriend.” She hissed. I frowned. “It was not Lauren.” I argued. “Your girlfriend’s last name is Mallory right?” she asked. “Yeah, so?” “Well, did you know in German that Mallory means unlucky?” she smirked. I grimaced at her and scoffed. “It does not!” I argued. She rolled her light green eyes.

“Whatever. I should probably go downstairs. Theresa has been worried sick.” She sighed as she stood up. I followed after her as she walked downstairs. Theresa enveloped her in a crushing hug, tears running down her face. “I can’t loose you. Please…” she whispered into Maddie’s hair. Maddie returned the hug and I headed for the door. “Beck!” I turned to the sound of my name and felt warm, slender arms wrap around me. I looked down to see Maddie was hugging me.

Her body was smaller than mine, but the right height. I wrapped my arms around her as her vanilla smell encased me. We finally let each other go after a few moments and I left with a smile on my face.

My locker slammed in my face. I turned to see Lauren glaring at me. “Where were you yesterday? I called and called, but you never answered.” She sneered.

I frowned. I wanted to see Maddie’s grin. I reopened my locker before turning to her. “I wasn’t in cell phone range.” I replied. My locker door slammed again. I sighed. “Where were you?” she repeated. “I was…um…getting your birthday present.” I shrugged as I opened my locker again. “My birthday was two months ago.” She growled as she slammed my locker shut.

“He was with me. Shopping.” Brenda sneered as she broke through us. Lauren and Brenda never ever got along. They were always glaring at each other. “Well, that explains why he was out of cell phone range.” Lauren growled. “How so?” Brenda asked. “He was blocked by your fat ass!” Lauren retorted. “Please, you’re the one wearing clothes two sizes too small.” Brenda snarled. “Are you calling me fat?” “Jesus called you fat.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes. I got in between them and pushed them away from each other. “Would you guys stop? It’s so tiring.” I sighed. “Where were you, Beck?” Lauren asked. “Places.” I sighed. “WHERE!?” she screamed. “Away from you.” I shot back and went to class. I passed the music room and was immediately grabbed by sets of arms. “Hey!” I choked out.

“Shh!” Matt hushed. “Dude, what the hell?” I frowned. “Shh! Listen…” he trailed off and pointed to the music’s room door. I pressed my ear to the room and heard a sound of a guitar and a beautiful voice. “…You tucked me in, turned out the light Kept me safe and sound at night Little girls depend on things like that Brushed my teeth and combed my hair Had to drive me everywhere You were always there when I looked back You had to do it all alone

Make a living, make a home Must have been as hard as it could be And when I couldn't sleep at night Scared things wouldn't turn out right You would hold my hand and sing to me…” I smiled widely at my friend who smiled back. He suddenly frowned and dashed around the corner. I frowned in confusion. “Beck?” I heard the delicate voice behind me call. I inwardly cringed. I was in trouble.

I spun around to see Maddie’s confused face. Her guitar was strapped to her back. Suddenly, her cute freckled covered button nose scrunched up in disgust. She sniffed my shoulder and cringed. “You smell like rat’s ass.” She stated simply and quietly. I sniffed my shirt only to find out it smelled like Lauren’s perfume. I sighed. “It’s just Lauren’s perfume.” I assured her.

She tilted her head to the side in innocent confusion. “Lauren smells like rat’s ass?” she asked. I grimaced as she smirked and walked around me. I grabbed her by her guitar and she sighed as she turned to me. “Is there something else you wanted?” she asked innocently. “Do you have a problem with my girlfriend?” I questioned, gazing at her intently. She scrunched up her cute face.

“Of course not, Beck. I mean she is the girl that dumped paint on me. And she is the girl that insults me. And she does smell like rat’s ass. What is the problem?” she shot back sarcastically. I frowned again. “I told already she didn’t do that.” I hissed. She sighed. “Are you coming to the art gallery in two weeks? I really need you to be there.” She almost pleaded. I sighed, too.

“I promise I’ll be there, Maddie.” I whispered as I brushed my fingers against her cheek. She smiled and walked around me, walking around the corner, after waving goodbye. I arrived at her house two days later, wanting to say hi. I knew I didn’t need to be here anymore, since we finished our project, yet I still yearned to see her. I turned to the corner, towards the barn only to see Maddie and Theresa talking quietly.

Maddie held her guitar in her hand tightly. Theresa I walked outside to see Maddie was still sitting on the door of the barn. I sighed. She had been out here all night, crying. She would usually do it in her room, but I got worried about her. She never cried around Beck though. He made her stronger someway and even changed her. Sometimes she refers to me as mom.

Sometimes she calls me a bitch for taking everything away from her. I walked over to her and sat down. She turned to peek at me from beneath her long lashes. “You done with the song, honey?” I asked quietly. “Yes.” She replied, quieter, and turning away to look at the sun. “What is it about?” She turned to me with sad eyes. “You…me…us.” She whispered. “Can you play it for me?” I questioned.

She stared at me for awhile and I thought I hit a nerve until she sighed and turned to her guitar. People singing: Theresa Maddie Together “You tucked me in, turned out the light Kept me safe and sound at night Little girls depend on things like that Brushed my teeth and combed my hair Had to drive me everywhere You were always there when I looked back

You had to do it all alone Make a living, make a home Must have been as hard as it could be And when I couldn't sleep at night Scared things wouldn't turn out right You would hold my hand and sing to me” “Sing with me, mom.” She whispered to me. I felt tears brim my eyes as I remembered the old nursery song. Caterpillar in the tree How you wonder who you'll be Can't go far but you can always dream Wish you may and wish you might

Don't you worry, hold on tight I promise you there will come a day Butterfly fly away Butterfly fly away, butterfly fly away Flap your wings now you can't stay Take those dreams and make them all come true Butterfly fly away, butterfly fly away We've been waiting for this day All along and knowing just what to do Butterfly, butterfly, butterfly, butterfly fly away Butterfly fly away Butterfly fly away Tears shined both in our eyes as we stared at each other happily.

“I love you…mom.” She whispered. “I love you, too, honey.” I whispered back, engulfing her into a hug. Beck I decided this was their private moment as I got back into my car and drove away. The next day I came, Maddie seemed happier. She smiled often and laughed at my witty comments. Before I left, I kissed her lightly on the forehead, basking in her vanilla scent. “Goodnight, Beck.” She whispered, stepping away from me.

“Goodnight, Maddie.” The next day at school, I completely ignored Lauren. All she did was bitch and moan about how she presumed I was cheating on her. I went over Maddie’s house later on and Theresa smiled widely at me, pointing to the cornfield. “YOLADY YOLADY YOLADYOOOO!” I called. Maddie let out a high whistle in return and I took off after it. I heard her high pitch giggle as she headed towards the falls.

There was a low waterfall in the back of the forest where she liked to think. I saw her small body take off into the woods and I followed after her. “Maddie!” I called out to her as I saw her in front of the falls. She had on small shorts and a tank top. She smiled widely at me before grabbing the rope that was attached to the giant oak tree and flinging herself onto it. She swung back and forth until she let go of the rope and fell into the water. “Maddie!” I chuckled then started to become uneasy when she didn’t rise.

“Maddie!” I cried in panic as I started to take off my shoes and socks. I threw off my shirt and started to dive in when her head reached the surface. She grinned widely at me and her eyes roamed my half naked body. “You like what you see?” I teased. She shrugged indifferently. “I’ve seen better.” I rolled my eyes and sat down to put my feet into the water.

She swam over to me and raised her body up to mine. She sat next to me and smiled brightly. I brushed my fingers over her wet cheek as she grabbed my other hand. “Jeez, you’re soaked.” I complained. “Why thank you. I know you like me better when I’m wet.” She grinned. I rolled my eyes as she started to dry up from the sun. “We should head back to the barn. I want to show you Valentine. He just got his mane trimmed.” She was obviously excited.

She skipped happily to the barn with me trailing behind her, checking my phone every time it dinged when I got a message from Lauren. I ignored them as we walked into the barn and Maddie untied her horse. It neighed as she tied it to the pole. “Isn’t it nice?” she asked. I looked at its hair and nodded. “Actually it is. Did you do it?” I looked at her. She shook her head. “No, Theresa.” She replied.

“Hmmm…” I hummed while nodding my head. “Let’s go back to the house. I smell dinner!” she chirped happily. “You know you really have changed.” I grinned. “I know I have. The teachers aren’t offering therapy anymore and I actually say hi to people.” She smiled back. I pushed her against the barn’s wall and smiled mischievously down at her, trapping her with my arms. “You know that’s all because of me, right?” I whispered to her.

“Yeah, and Theresa is a unicorn.” She retorted sarcastically. I rolled my eyes. “No really. She shits out rainbows and everything.” She said sarcastically, smirking slightly. “I’m just kidding, Beck. You really have changed me. And…I thank you for that.” She whispered sincerely. “Don’t bother.” I whispered back. Our faces were close together and I glanced down at her lips. Before I could catch myself, my lips covered hers and my eyes stayed open as I watched hers widen in shock.

I immediately parted from her and watched her with cautious eyes. She grimaced up at me. “Should I slap you?” she whispered. “Probably.” I replied, just as quiet. She nodded, but grabbed the back of my neck to kiss me. Her mouth parted hesitantly and she slipped her tongue into my mouth. I picked her up by her thighs and held her tightly to my chest, our lips moving in sync.

Someone cleared their throat from beside us and we both turned to see Theresa. We jumped away from each other, holding our hands up, palms out. “Sorry.” We said in unison. “Mmhmm. Time for dinner. And someone is here to see you, Beck.” Theresa turned and left. I frowned in confusion and Maddie walked in front of me. “I’ll see you later, Beck.” She replied quickly then turned and ran towards the house. “Wait!” I started after her, but suddenly Brenda was in front of me, grinning.

“Hi!” she greeted. “What are you doing here?” I growled. “I came to warn you that Lauren is hunting you down.” She grinned and shrugged. “For what?” “Something about you cheating on her, oh, I don’t know. Let’s talk about why you kissed Madeline.” “How did you know about that?” I growled. “Oh my God! You really did? I was just kidding!” she squealed.

I scoffed at her. “Let’s go home.” she insisted. Maddie was just coming out of her house and Brenda went to hug her. “Oh, I have heard so much about you! I’m Brenda! Beck’s sister. I love your hair and you are really pretty! Anyways, my number is 555-0987! Tootles.” She grinned at her and got into my car. I started after her, but Maddie grabbed my wrist. I turned to her to see she was eyeing me worriedly. “I want us to still be friends.” She whispered.

“Of course. I wouldn’t give up our friendship for nothing.” I bluffed. I wanted to be with her. She smiled. “Don’t forget the art gallery is having my art hung up tomorrow night. 9 o’clock sharp.” She reminded me. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” I smirked and got into the car. “Where the hell were you!? You were supposed to be at my house helping me with my French!” Lauren rambled.

I turned to her as I closed my locker and sighed. “Je vais le faire à vous ce soir.” I promised in fluent French. “What?” she asked in confusion. I rolled my eyes. Maddie would’ve understood it. “I’ll make it up to you tonight.” I repeated. “Great! There’s a party tonight!” she grinned. Something in my mind clicked, but I shoved it away. I needed to pay attention to my girlfriend.

Later that night, Lauren picked Brenda and me up. We rode to the party at Matt’s house. The whole school was there, but I felt like something was missing. I quickly shoved the thought away and wrapped my arms around Lauren’s waist. We started dancing, getting drunk, and kissing. I no longer had that empty feeling, it was filled with beer.

Brenda whispered something in my ear over the thumping music, but I didn’t hear it. She took me outside so I could vomit into the bushes. She got into my car and drove off with me in the backseat. That was all I remembered. Madeline I growled slightly under my breath. I couldn’t believe he actually stood me up. I knew he would get caught up at that party. So here I was, standing outside of the art gallery.

I waited for another hour in the cold air. I took out my cell and texted him. Where r u? I constantly checked my phone, but with no avail, he didn’t reply. I should’ve expected it. Beck was a cool and popular guy. Maybe our friendship is not meant to be. The guy who owned the art gallery closed the doors and turned off the bright lights. “You alright, kid?” he asked me.

I lifted my head to him and smiled slightly. “I’m fine. I just need to get home.” I stood up from the cold bench. “Were you waiting for someone?” he asked. I glanced at him from under my dark honey hair. “No.” I answered in my quiet voice then turned the other way, heading down the street. I didn’t feel like calling my mom or even Brenda to come pick me up. I didn’t want them worrying over my feelings.

I turned down an alley to hurry through a neighborhood when I saw a group of drunken men. I started to breath heavy. I didn’t want to cause any trouble so I turned back. “Hey!” one of them called to me. I ignored it and kept walking until someone grabbed my arm. My throat felt dry. I couldn’t choke out a scream. “Hey! We were talking to you!” the drunken man slurred as his friends followed him. “I-I’m sorry.” I whispered.

I started to twist my arm from his grip, but it just got tighter. Just chill out for a minute, Maddie. Try to talk yourself out. “Tell us your name.” another spoke from behind me. I twisted my arm again. No luck. “Um…” I tried to stall. “Tell us!” the one who had my arm hissed, tightening his grip. “Maddie.” I bit my shaking bottom lip. “Maddie…” they all mused.

I took this chance to make one final twist and turn sharply out of their dirty hands. I didn’t make it far as one of them tackled me to the ground. “Mmmm…she smells like vanilla.” He mused in my ear. I started to shake. “L-let me go.” I started to wiggle around, but immediately stopped when I felt my coat drop to the floor. “No.” I said weakly. Another piece of clothing fell.

“N-no.” I said again. More clothing. Struggling, kicking, punching, hurting, pinning. I felt something brush against my breasts. “No.” I closed my eyes as tears leaked. I felt something brush on my core, then, with a heavy gasp, breaking through my virginal barrier. “NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Beck.

Beck… BECK! Soon they left and rain came. I cried and screamed Beck’s name. He didn’t come though. No one did. I opened my eyes when I felt heavy rain. I could tell it was morning from the lighter sky. My core ached and was bloody. It ached to move. My thighs and arms were dotted with bruises.

I stood up and limped to the street. After awhile, I couldn’t stand on my wiggly knees anymore. I rolled down and hit the wet pavement. I heard beeping and the scrape of tires on the road. I opened my eyes to see the tires heading for my head and I waited with anticipation. I wanted to die. I waited and waited, but nothing happened. I felt arms wrap around me.

“Maddie? Maddie! Answer me!” I heard a familiar voice. I slowly opened my eyes to see Brenda. She looked at me with her hectic brown eyes then sighed with relief when she saw mine. “What the hell are you doing in middle of the street?!” she cried then she got a better look at my body. “Maddie? Why are you bleeding…Oh my God!” she choked out. She grabbed me into her arms and put me into the car.

“Hospital! That’s right! I’ll take you to the hospital!” she said as she made a sharp turn and I groaned with pain. “No…hospital.” I groaned. “I have to, Maddie—” “No fucking hospital!” I growled. “Okay, okay. Where do you want me to take you?” “I don’t know. Anywhere.” I sighed. “Fine,” she replied as she pulled into a driveway. I didn’t know the house, but I immediately identified Beck’s car.

She grabbed me out of the car and I leaned on her or strength. She hauled me to the bathroom and started a bath. “Take a bath and I’ll go get some clothes for you.” She insisted as she stopped the full tub’s water. I nodded and stripped as she left. My thighs still ached and my core burned. I sat down in the water until it turned pink from my blood. I let sobs wrack my body. After awhile of crying, I stepped out of the shower and faced my reflection.

My face was deathly pale and my eyes weren’t happy like they were days ago. No blush even in my cheeks. I wrapped a white towel around me and limped out of the bathroom. I immediately bumped into a hard chest and familiar arms wrapped around me. Beck I woke out of the bed with a hammering headache. I actually cried out in pain as I clutched my head. I heard the running of bath water and I knew Brenda was occupying the bathroom.

I staggered out of my bed and opened my door. Brenda was there, glaring at me. “My head.” I groaned. “You jerk.” She slapped my across the face and my ears rung. “OW!” I cried. “That’s what your ass get! Did you know Maddie had an art thing last night?” she hissed. My eyes flew open and my reminder crashed through my head. That was what was trying to break through the barrier last night.

“Where is she?” I growled at her. “In the bath. She’s bleeding.” She whispered. “Bleeding? Why would she be bleeding?” I frowned. “I think she should tell you herself.” She whispered and turned to her room. I walked to the bathroom and pressed my ear to the door. I could hear Maddie’s soft cries and it broke my heart. Suddenly, the door swung open and she bumped into me.

She was only in a towel and she was horribly pale. She looked up at me with dead green eyes. “B-B-B-B-B-e-e-e-c-c-k-k!” she stammered and fell to her knees. I fell with her, wrapping my arms around her small frame. She cried into my chest. Suddenly, she was angry and pounding her fists onto my chest. “Y-You did this! You weren’t there!” she cried.

“What? What do you mean I wasn’t there!?” I frowned; her thumping on my chest was ringing into my ears. “They…they took everything!” she yelled as tears collected in her eyes. “Who? What did they take?” “You weren’t there! You…weren’t… there.” she cried. “Brenda!” she called. Brenda came out with her car keys. She shooed me away, grabbing Maddie by the hand and threw clothes at her. They walked outside, well; Maddie limped, and got into Brenda’s car.

“Maddie!” I yelled, but they were already gone. Later that day, I drove to her house and knocked on the door. Theresa came out yelling. “What did you do? What did you do to her?” she cried. “I didn’t do anything!” I answered. “She hasn’t come out of her room.” She replied. “Maybe I can help.” I insisted. Theresa hesitated then nodded.

I walked up the stairs and tried the door. It was locked of course. I tried knocking. “Maddie! Maddie, open the door.” It was quiet. “If you don’t open the door we can’t talk.” No words. “Answer me, Maddie.” No answer.

I tried the door again and soon got tired of this game. I shoved my shoulder against the door and it opened from the blow. Maddie was on the floor, rocking back and forth. She was clutching onto a picture, muttering words to herself. “They took it. I’m filthy. All gone.” She whispered to herself as tears fell from her eyes. I walked in front of her and sat down. I grabbed both sides of her face, but she flinched from my touch.

I felt my heart fill with a twinge of pain from the rejection. She glanced at me then looked away, rocking back and forth. “They took it, Beckett! And you weren’t there!” she cried. I reached for her again. “Don’t touch me!” she yelled. I flinched and leaned away. “What did they take, Maddie?” I asked. “Don’t call me that.” She whispered. “But—”

“Don’t ever call me that, Beckett.” She growled. I was stunned by her words. She continued to rock. I trailed my eyes up her legs and saw all the purple and black bruises. I frowned and turned to look her in the eyes. “What happened?” “I’m filthy!” “What happened?” I asked more firmly. “I can’t…”

She shook her head as she gripped her hair with her small hands, squeezing her eyes shut. “What happened?!” “They raped me, Beck! They took everything!” she convulsed with sobs. I froze where I was. Everything clicked together. She needed me there with her. And I wasn’t. They raped her. I wasn’t there. She could never forgive me. I grabbed her hands, but she snatched them away from me.

“I can’t, Beck. I’m filthy.” She cried. “Just go. Just leave.” “No, I won’t leave.” “LEAVE!” she shrieked. I flinched again and stood. I walked out of the broken door and passed Theresa. She frowned sadly at me as I strode down the stairs. For months, it was the same thing. I would come over everyday yet Maddie never talked. Theresa would give me some food then I would go to her room and convince her to eat. She barely did. It was rare when she did eat.

She was getting skinnier and skinnier. The bags under her eyes were getting more noticeable. Theresa tried therapy, but every time we did she screamed and cried for hours. Madeline The pain in my chest was getting worst. I couldn’t speak without my throat burning, so I decided not to. I would not eat until I was clean. I scrubbed every inch of my skin everyday until it bled. Nothing worked, I was still unworthy. I cut my filthy skin to get rid of the pain, it didn’t work either. The blades weren’t

sharp enough to tear the filthiness that had become me. Beck was trying. I knew I continued to hurt him and Theresa. They weren’t going to be in pain anymore. “Have a nice day at school, honey.” Theresa whispered to me. I turned to her and nodded. She brushed my messy hair out of the way and smiled sadly. I turned from her and got out of the car. She took off. I sat on the bench by the school. Luckily, no one was here.

I dug in my gray backpack and took out the pills. They were really strong for heartburn. Enough in to kill. I took out my bottle of water and peered at the different colors of pills. I grabbed a handful and started shoving them in my mouth. Swallowing. After five minutes, the drugs started doing their job. My vision started to get hazy and it got harder to breathe. I slumped on the bench, laying my head on the cool material.

It wasn’t until I saw Beck; I realized what I had done. Beck I slammed the door of my truck as I repositioned my bag on my shoulder. I was here for an earlier hour of studying. Helping Theresa with Maddie was getting harder and harder. I sighed as I walked towards the school when some movement caught my eye. I turned to see Maddie on the bench. She was breathing heavily and lying on the seat. I frowned as she watched me with her empty, sad eyes.

“Beck…” she whispered from her dry lips. I ran towards her, dropping my bag on the ground. She was pale, paler than usual. I grabbed her in my arms and fell to the ground with her. “Maddie. What happened?” I demanded as I shook her fragile body. She didn’t answer. A bottle rolled from her slender fingers and hit my shoe. “Oh, no! No, no, no, no, no, no! Maddie! Hang on!”

I reached for my phone in my pocket, but her cold hand stopped me. I raised my eyes back to hers as tears sprung from her eyes. “I lied.” She whispered. I was confused. Why was she worried about a lie? She was dying! “I love the book Romeo & Juliet.” She explained. She released my hand and cupped my cheek as she breathed heavier.

“I’m so sorry. Take care of Theresa… Beckett.” She smiled slightly. Tears started falling from my eyes, too. “You’re not dying on me, Maddie! Please.” I whispered. I grabbed her forcibly and buried my face in her vanilla smelling hair. “These violent delights…have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and power…” she trailed off, looking deep into my eyes. She pressed her soft lips to mine. I could taste the medicine on her mouth. She wiped the tears from my eyes as she parted from me.

“Which as they kiss…consume.” She whispered. Her eyes started to droop and she started to convulse in my arms. “Maddie!” I hissed as she shook in my arms. Then she was still. Not moving or breathing. “MADDIE!” Theresa shook in my arms, sobbing. “She’s going to make it.” I whispered again and again.

Brenda was quiet in her crying, biting her nails and making small whimpers. Finally, the doctor came over to our chairs. I knew the answer, but I didn’t want to hear it. “D-did she…?” Brenda trailed off. The doctor was silent as he shook his head. I heard Theresa let out a loud wail as I heard my voice reach outcaves. Before I could catch myself, I ran out of the door. I could hear my sister calling me, but I didn’t care.

I got into my car and drove to Maddie’s house. I ran to the barn and opened the door. There was a note. I picked up the paper and read. If you’re reading this, then I’m sure your Beck. You were always smart. I will definitely miss you. You gave me light, a reason to live, and a reason to smile. I know Theresa is a wreck, she will be for awhile. Please…for me…take care of her.

I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell or good or bad. I believe in soul and spirits, if I was good enough for the spirits then I am with them now. I love you, Beckett. I will see you in the after life. Please don’t forget me. PS: check the art gallery. I was already crying when I was done, but shook it off and ran out of there. I got back in the car and drove to the art gallery I was supposed to meet her in a few months ago.

I ran into the gallery and ignored people’s stares. “Excuse me, do you know where Madeline Hawkins’s work is?” I asked a receptionist. “Um, in the back.” She answered. I nodded and walked to the back. There were pictures of me, Theresa, places, animals, houses. They were all beautiful. I smirked at the last one. Maddie was asleep in my arms, paintings under us. “Beck!” I heard her voice behind me.

I turned, but no one was there. I fell to the ground, and leaned against the wall. “I love you, too, Maddie.” I whispered into the air. Madeline I smiled as I heard the words escaped his full lips. “Beck…” I whispered. I loved him and he loved me. I leaned down and pressed my lips to his warm forehead. He could not see or hear me, but I still loved him. I turned away, leaving my life behind.

My name was Maddie Ava Hawkins and I was free.

The eND

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful