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| chapter song: try me - jason derulo ft j.lo |

| dedication: toreachthesky - for the cover, to die for xoxo |


I went to the only place I knew I was safe enough to be myself.

Palmer was inside the store room when I entered her bakery and the smell that hit my nose managed to work its own magic on me instantly. I grabbed the back of my palm and wiped away the wetness under my eye and slapped my cheeks to restore some colour back into them.

"I won't be a second!" Palmer's voice came from the midst of the store room. I gulped brokenly down my parched throat before inhaling deeply. The walk from College to Palmer's was a solid thirty minute walk and it was playing its toll on me right then.

I looked around the freshly displayed cakes, my stomach churning already at the sight of the delicious sweetness. I mentally picked out the ones I was going to try before Palmer came out from the store room. She had cake batter all over her and I frowned at her slightly surprised face - flour coated face that was.

"What are you doing here at this time Ori?" Palmer questioned, wiping her hands with the cloth that was sticking out her apron pocket.

"I'm not having a great day." I said slowly, my voice breaking over each word that I managed to say. I dropped my head and lifted one finger to wipe away another tear.

I heard Palmer gasp before she quickly came to the front and engulfed me in one of her massive hugs. She was shorter than me but I still felt completely veiled by her arms that clutched around my neck.

I breathed out and everything came out shakily and shattered. I didn't know what to do, whether to go home and confront my lying, pathetic excuse of a Mother. Or whether I should tell my Father of all her satanic doing. I didn't know whether I was to go to Brandon and demand all the answers for questions every victim of a cheater had. How many girls did he sleep with, for instance?

"Oh Ori, what even happened. Talk to me." Palmer's soft voice spoke in my ear.

"Everything is going horribly wrong." I told her.

"Talk to me, Honey."

"It's that Mother of mine. And that ex-boyfriend of mine."

Palmer pulled back, her expression telling me everything she was thinking. She looked up at me with wide, disbelief-filled eyes. "No." She whispered incredulously, shaking her head at me in disbelief.

I nodded at her, lifting my hand once again to wipe away the tears. I had to stop crying over worthless, lying humans.

"Your Mother was something else entirety but this is even disgustingly disgusting from her. Ori, you must feel all sorts of devastation and repulsion."

"I feel sick, so sick."

"I don't blame you, child." Palmer wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me close to her chest again. I clawed at her warmth like a selfish person and clung to her like a lost child. My Mother never showed me any compassion and love and my Father was always away to even form a bond with me. But with Palmer, I couldn't help but feel like an innocent, growing child around her and she was showing me all the ins and outs of this world with baby steps.

She pulled back softly and guided me to one of the chairs that were pulled up at the counter. She went back around the back, and disappeared back into the store room. I waited patiently, not controlling the drift of my mind to Brandon's face. I closed my eyes at the blurry image my mind was trying to form to torment me further.

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