Chapter 1

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    I silently watched the lurid pink water running off my body, the shower washing away any evidence of what I just went through. My eyes fluttered as pain flashed violently through me. I grit my teeth against a cry and wave of nausea. I waited until the water was only slightly tinged with pink and shut off the water, pulling back on the clothes that I had been wearing beforehand. Alex would have gladly given me clothes but I was already asking so much from him.

    I pulled open the door, my eyes riveted on the ground. I felt so worthless, but I couldn't let it show. Alex would immediately know. I pushed unpleasant thoughts from my mind and smiled as arms wound around my waist. I turned to Alex, his arms readjusting. He smiled back, the action warmly lighting his faded green eyes. "Hi." He greeted me. "Feel better?"

    "Yeah, a bit." I answered truthfully. He ran a hand through my long copper hair and I had to smile more.

    "You look tired." He muttered softly, worriedly tracing black circles under my eyes. I just shrugged. "What time is it?"

   He glanced to the stove and his lips pursed. "A little after midnight." He turned back to me and grinned tiredly. "Guess that's why, huh? It's been a long night."

    I had a brief flash of memory and winced. "That may be a bit of an understatement."

   His eyes flashed briefly and his expression became one of guilt. "I'm sorry I wasn't there in time."

   I shrugged. "It's fine. It's my fault I didn't tell you sooner."

   "I swear if I ever see that bitch again--" He started.

   "You won't!" I snapped, fear clutching my chest. "You won't be anywhere near her."

   He glared at me, his jaw clenching and unclenching. "She doesn't deserve to have you protecting her." He snarled and I caught a glimpse of fang. He really did hate her. "Not after what she's done. What she's been doing."

   "I deserved it." I blurted out, instantly realizing my mistake. A low growl erupted from Alex's chest and his eyes glowed in anger.

   "No! Alyssa, Do not ever say that. You don't believe what that bitch did to you is something you deserve, is it?"

   My eyes narrowed and I glared at him. "I disobeyed her."

   He leaned over until he could easily see into my eyes and I knew he was serious. Which meant he could see I was serious too. "I don't care. Nobody deserves to have that done to them by their own mother."

   We stared each other down for a moment and finally I yawned, my features softening. I didn't realize until then how drained I was. Alex picked me up easily and carried me into his room,laying me on his bed.

   "Where are you sleeping?" I mumbled, barely able to keep my eyes open. He gestured to a sleeping bag on the ground. "Right there. I promise you that you won't get hurt. She won't get you."

   "Mkay." I said lightly, smiling. He kissed my forehead and I was asleep.

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