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BELLA had to blink several times to clear her vision. Almost immediately, a blinding and overwhelming pain started from the edges of her temples, slowly grating through the front of her skull. She whimpered in pain and tried to stand to her feet, but she could only stay limp on the cold tiles beneath her.

A low buzz invaded her ears, and when she looked up, she saw Elliot across from her, still wrapped in his towel. His head was between his knees, his arms curling around them, and his small torso was racking with sobs inaudible to Bella.

"Elliot," Bella whispered, but her voice was so quiet that he didn't seem to hear her.

Gradually, her hearing came back to her, and the groans and screams all coming from beside her were prominent. Her head swung to her side and the first thing she saw was the man in the dark sweatshirt, and she knew instantly that it was Mommy's boyfriend. His face was shadowed by the hood over his head, his shoulders were broad and his body was stocky, she could tell by the way his dark pants barely fit him. She could see only his mouth - his lips were pulled back in anger as he mumbled something through his crooked teeth.

Mommy's boyfriend was holding Cole up, his arms curled beneath Cole's arms.

Cole's face was dripping with blood. There were gashes on his forehead, bruises on his tired eyes, fresh, reddened marks littering his torso just beside the infected wounds. Mommy had her back turned to Bella, but she could see Mommy's fist winding back and slamming into Cole.

She could hear at that point, and her heart broke at the sound of Elliot's cries throughout the chaos. She scrambled up and ignored the intense pain she felt, pulling her towel up around her body more as she gestured for Elliot to move over to her.

Elliot looked up at her - his face was bright red, and tears were streaming from his terrified eyes, slipping down his sweaty cheeks. His bottom lip was pushed out in a pout, and it quivered as he continued to sob and move over to Bella. He cuddled against her in fear, his cries muffled into her towel.

She watched in pure horror as Mommy continued to punch and kick Cole, to the point where he was hunched over and pleading for her to stop under his breath.

"You're going to kill him!" Bella cried out, her head aching with the forced volume of her words.

Mommy stopped her movements, and Cole lifted his head to look at Bella. He almost fell to the ground, but Mommy's boyfriend bent his knees to pull Cole up again.

Mommy slowly turned to Bella, and Bella noticed a gash on the side of Mommy's forehead that covered almost the entire area of it. She also had a dark bruise on her left eye that swelled her purple eyelid so much, her eye was practically forced closed. Small drops of blood dripped down her forehead as her nicotine-eroded teeth gritted together.

"Look at what your idiotic fucking brother did to me!" Mommy's voice was a high-pitched screech, invading the small space of the bathroom as she pointed to the gash.

Bella's mouth opened a little in shock as she looked towards Cole, whose eyes were closed in pain. A long string of blood slipped from his lip, and he spit on the ground, his saliva holding a dark pigment of crimson.

Elliot couldn't stop crying, and Mommy shook her head, her fists curling in anger.

"Shut that kid the fuck up before I have to!" Mommy screamed again, her face turning cherry red in the dim lighting of the bathroom.

Bella's heart dropped and she tightened her grip around Elliot.

"Shhh," she cooed to Elliot, and Elliot sniffled and shook his head against Bella's arm.

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