I just stand there and take it to punch after punch recalling all the horrible things I've done and I'm almost glad that this is happening. I know it's weird but I'm almost relieved that I'm finally facing the consequences I deserve. I almost smile at that.

Suddenly Aldertree stops and I look up slowly my body trembling and see Jia holding up her hand but Mel is still holding me firmly. She approaches me with a smirk and I flinch.

"First Alex and now Brandon, Braze? You can't seem to back off."

Wait for what?! What does Brandon have to do with anything? Is it because of the smiles? But they're only greetings!

"W-what-what?" I manage to say because I still can't breathe properly and I'm standing there panting for my life after the many hits to my stomach and my whole body is shaking and I would probably fall on the ground if it weren't for Mel strong arms. Then Aldertree grabs my collar and puts his face so close to mine I can see his red pupils. Is he.. high?

"Brandon is mine! You don't have any rights to waltz in here like a clueless newbie and then just after being here for barely one-week share secret glances with Brandon! Did you get that? GOT THAT?!" Aldertree roars and I flinch away for the millionth time. Wait a minute. Does this guy think there's something between me and Brandon?



Jia is not here for Brandon. She is only here for Alex but she knows that Aldertree is into Brandon so she told him that something's going on between me and Brandon. Of course, he doesn't believe it at first but after all the smiles we've been sharing in the hallways, he's apparently convinced that whatever Jia is saying is true. Mel is here to back up his best friend. But Jia? She's here for revenge. She wants revenge for what happened with Alex and she's using Aldertree's anger that she has been feeding, to do it. They're just puppets that she's using to get to me.

Sudden anger starts radiating from me. After all, that happened that night that's all she thinks about? Revenge?! I still haven't told Alex about what Jia almost did and what I stopped but I can't believe she wants revenge for me stopping it! I can't believe that after all the events that happened that day she's only thinking about what happened with Alex?! Alex isn't even the main character in that night's story! How dare she not care about the most important person of that night?!

She steps closer to me and Aldertree punches me again and I stagger and can't help but let out a painful moan and Mel tightens his grip.

"Too bad he isn't here to rescue you. Like he always did" She says sweetly and strikes a nerve. This whole time I never shed a tear but with those words, I can feel my eyes starting to sting and I glance down onto the floor. Aldertree stares confused above me where I can feel Mel shrug and Aldertree continues his abusing making me bend over automatically and Mel tightens his grip even more.

"If you say something about this to anyone it'll only get worse just so you know." Aldertree hisses between punches and everything is slowly starting to become blurry.

Then Jia opens her mouth again.

"You know even if you blame me for what happened, it wasn't my fault. I may have been an accomplice but you were the one that acted." She snarls moving closer.

"Braze please please please stay with me just look at me buddy it's gonna be fine just look at me.."

Who says I only blame her?

"I laid something out there but you were the one that chose it'

"Braze no no no no stay with me just look into my eyes please don't do this!"

"I put it out there but you were the one that chose to take it. Not me!" She hisses.

"Braze you know I'll always love you right? But please don't do this! Nonononono Braze STAY WITH ME. STAY WITH ME STAY WI-NOOOO!!"

The tears were flooding down my cheeks now and the boys think that it's because of the beatings because Aldertree nods satisfied and Mel lets go of me. I fall down onto the floor sobbing. I can take punches I'm used to them. I and Alex always used to go boxing together beating the crap out of each other but what Jia said? Hurt a thousand times more than the beatings.

"You were the one that did it not me. You should only blame yourself. Just look at you. Such a little nobody. You don't deserve to be here." She finishes with disgust and walks out with the two confused boys. Her words remind me of my dream.

"You don't deserve forever"

I don't. I'm laying there crying my eyes out thinking only of him and not at the bruises forming under my shirt because I couldn't care less.

Eventually, I stagger up wincing at the pain and limp over to the sink and take a look at myself. I look like a complete disaster with puffy eyes and my hair stands out in at least three different directions. My entire face is wet with tears and I start washing my face but the tears come back. After 15 minutes I'm finally calm enough to walk out and get to class just in time and I walk in.

Brandon smiles at me. I don't smile back. Aldertree and Mel smile a satisfied smile. How can something as simple as smiles cause so much trouble? I know I shouldn't do as they say. I know I shouldn't reject Brandon like this when he's greeting me but I do it anyway. Because I'm scared. Because I'm a coward. Because I'm weak and can't escape her because I know what she's capable of.

I head for my seat next to Sammy who gives me a look of question. I don't say anything and when I sit down I can't help but wince slightly because of the bruises. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Aldertree and Mel smirking.

The rest of the week just gets worse. Aldertree and Mel always seem to find a way to corner me and beat me up. Days turn to weeks and now seven weeks later it's still going on. Brandon has long since stopped acknowledging me together with the rest of Group S. Clare, Sammy and Ash have noticed that something is wrong but they couldn't get anything out of me. When they speak in the group chat I just put it on silent mode. I'm basically failing at everything except school where I at least try to keep my grades up.

The bruises on my body are bad and I'm worried that they'll soon break something and I have no idea how to explain a needed hospital visit because lately, they've been using different... methods, their hands not enough to cause harm but what they always stay away of is the face and other places like the neck that can be seen by others. I wear gloves now so I can cover up the wounds on my hands caused by the bow and arrow that I've been using every day now. My nightmares haven't disappeared either. It feels like I'm failing everything in life but the worst part is that I think I deserve it.

During P.E I always change in the toilet so no one sees my bruises but this one time I forget to lock the door. I take off my shirt and look in the mirror and even I get disgusted by what I see. I can't help it. I let a single tear make its way down my left cheek although I know  I deserve everything I'm getting. I'm so useless and worthless I can't even face the consequences like a man.

And that's when the door opens and no other than Ash walks in.

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