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AFTER SLEEPING for several hours, Bella groggily lifted herself from the cold ground, and immediately, she felt like the weight of her head would slam her back down. She let out an involuntary groan, suffering from the intense pounding at the base of her skull, and her fingers flew up to touch the dried vomit at the corner of her lips.

She looked up with glazed eyes at Cole, who was sitting across from her. His iced eyes were trained on her, his head was tilted back and his eyebrows were knitted together.

"What?" Bella asked him, her eyes squinting as a result of her overwhelming headache.

"Nothing," he shook his head.

Bella noticed Elliot leaning against Cole, his growing blonde hair falling in front of his closed eyes as he slept. Bella noticed that he seemed to be sleeping a lot lately, and it worried her.

"What happened?" Bella asked, straining her mind to recollect any memories from the night before but to no avail - she only remembered walking out of the bathroom upstairs.

Cole chuckled under his breath and shook his head again.

"Tell me," Bella demanded, pressing her palm against her forehead and resting her elbow on her knee. She narrowed her eyes at him, and he took a deep breath.

"Uh," he exhaled, "Well, you were on top of me for a good amount of time."

Bella winced and tilted her head down, attempting to hide her flushed face.

"You scared Elliot, you told me about your mom cheating on your dad," Cole continued to explain bluntly. "And you were basically saying that The Bitch and her fucked up boyfriend aren't so bad. You were acting just like her."

Bella swallowed, the sides of her dried throat sticking together as she stared at the floor and played with the hem of her new dress.

"Her boyfriend could be used to our advantage," Bella spoke, her voice low but Cole seemed to hear her words.

"How? He's done nothing but-"

"Just listen!" Bella exclaimed as loudly as she could without waking Elliot. Her skull continued to ache in desperation with each word she spoke, but she ignored the intense throbbing. "He said he would do anything for me."

Cole furrowed his eyebrows and looked away, his shoulders tensing. "Did... he didn't... touch you at all, did he?" Cole asked, his deep voice strained and filled with discomfort.

Bella shook her head gently. "No, and I don't think he will-"

The door flung open, the doorknob slamming into the drywall so hard it almost cracked beneath the force. Mommy stood at the doorway, contused circles surrounding the lower area of her wrinkled, tiny eyes as she stared between Cole, Elliot and Bella.

Bella wondered if she was going to punish her for vomiting on the ground, and for being in the room after they were supposed to be separated. She ducked her head down and refused to make eye contact with Mommy, but she could feel those terrifying, beady eyes staring her down.

"Would you look at that, the slut's first hangover," Mommy said, chuckling lightly afterwards. 

Bella slowly brought her eyes to look at Mommy, who had her fingers laced together and a large, yellow grin flashing between her lips. She was clad in baggy sweatpants and a large sweatshirt that hung off of her thin and tall body - it was the first time she wasn't wearing a dress.

"You," Mommy pointed a thin and bony finger at Cole, "Come here, now."

Bella watched as Cole hesitantly moved away from Elliot, making Elliot stir and slowly blink his eyes open to watch Cole try standing without the use of his arms. Elliot's hands instinctively reached out to latch onto Cole's leg, but Cole just looked down at the small boy.

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