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When we walked through the local diner’s door and I saw Nigel’s friends gathered around a large table with other teenagers that looked to be my age I froze.
Nigel grabbed my hand giving it a squeeze “Annie relax we just thought that it was time that you met some of the kids that you go to school with other then us and your band” I yanked on my hand speaking from between my teeth “I don’t need to know any of them they are all jerks who blame me for what happened.”
Nigel ignored my words and my struggle to get away from him and dragged me to the table where he friends sat talking.
The talking stopped as they all turned to look at me and Nigel “hey guys we are glad that you could make it” Chad one of Nigel’s friends shouted jumping to his feet and making me wince from the volume of his voice “god tone it down Chad” I requested rubbing at my head that was starting to ach.
He chuckled pulling me into a one arm hug before making me face the others at the table “Okay Annie you know the guys from our soccer team so I will introduce the others to you” I shook my head glowering at the others at the table “there is no need to since I know all of them.”
Bianca a tall blonde that resembled Barbie and was just as plastic looked up at me giving me the fakest smile I had ever seen “yes guys we are all great friends isn’t that right Annie?” I shook my head looking at her in disgust “us friends please when have we ever been friends Barbie?”
She glared at me for daring to call her Barbie in front of hot guys but at this point I didn’t care, I couldn’t believe my brother and his stupid friends would think for one moment that I would ever be friends with these kinds of people.
Nigel nudged me towards a chair whispering in my ear so no one else could hear “relax sis I know that you would never be friends with her and her kind but there are a couple of new people your age that I do want you to meet” I raised my eyebrows in question and he nodded towards the right of the large table to three people I had never seen before “Annie I would like you to meet Blake Morgan and his younger siblings Kane and Amber they are your age and will be starting school with you on Monday.”
Glancing at them I could see that they were what one could only describe as bad looking people, ones that would belong in a gang of some sort.
The one called Kane looked up at me with eyes that seemed to hold nothing but contempt in them making me shrink away from the look and look at Nigel “now that I have met your friend’s can I go home I have things that I need to do.”
Nigel looked at me questioningly “things what kind of things do you need to do Annie that can not wait until we have eaten?” I shrugged looking down at the tiled floor rather then meeting his dark blue eyes that looked so much like mine “just things Nig I do not need to tell you everything I do.”
Nigel grabbed my chin and gently lifted it until I was meeting his eyes “that is to bad sis because I promised dad that I would introduce you to some new people after what happened and also make sure you eat so we are doing both before we leave” I looked at him pleadingly “please Nig these people are not the kind of people I want to be friends with anyway and I simply get something when we get home.”
Nigel shook his head then pulled the chair out in front of me “sit down Annabelle and find something to eat and mingle or the only thing you will be doing when we get home is talking to father about why you want to be a loner when you never used to be that way”
 I shot him a glare then sat down avoiding everyone’s gaze instead grabbing the menu sitting on the table and studying it.
“So Annie tell us a bit about yourself” I looked up at Blake who had spoken “surely my brother has told you everything that there is to know about me?”
Blake grinned at my brother then looked at me again “he has told us a little bit about you, like where you go to school that you play in a band with your friends but he hasn’t told us things like do you have a boyfriend, what kinds of things do you like doing outside of school and your band” I shrugged glancing at Nigel “no I don’t have a boyfriend and other then my band I write songs and read” I smirked at him “sorry there is not much to know about me I am not very exciting.”
Bianca stopped her obvious flirting with Kane and gave me an evil smile before looking around the table “that is not quit true is it Annie?” I gave her a warning look to shut up but she was one bitch that never did know just when to shut her mouth “in fact until very recently Annie did have a boyfriend one that loved doing all kinds of things with her.”
Nigel shot to his feet his face red with rage “shut the hell up girl you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about.”
 Bianca raised her eyebrows “really so am I wrong in saying that not only did he use her as a boxing bag but he also made her do other pretty sick things and when his family catches up with her they will make what he did look like child’s play.”
Before Nigel could stop me I was out of my seat and across the table slamming my fist into her nose so hard that you could hear the bone crack before blood started to spurt out “you were told to shut up, my life and anything to do with it is not open for discussion now or ever have you got that Barbie” I shouted hitting her again before hard muscle arms yanked me of the table and carried me out of the diner.
 My body was pushed none to gently against my brothers truck “stay there until you control yourself” I looked up at the husky voice to find Kane looking down at me with starling green eyes “what the hell are you doing?” I growled shaking in outrage that he would dare put his hands on me.”
He flicked his black hair out of his eyes so he could see me better then looked me up and down “you are what 5’8?” At my nod he looked towards the diner “and those people in there are friends with Bianca and would take you down and take you down hard so I am taking you out of a dangerous situation” I started to laugh “dangerous situation hardly.”
 He looked at me in disgust then started walking back towards the diner when Nigel stepped out the door “thanks Kane for getting my sister out of there I owe you one” I looked at Nigel in disbelief “Nig I can look after myself and that blonde Barbie had no right talking about my past in front of people like that.”
Nigel ignored me and continued talking to Kane “Annie is not usually like this I do not know what has gotten into her lately, she usually ignores what people say about her but these last few weeks it is like just the littlest thing will set her off.”
I stomped over to where they were standing and planted myself in front of Nigel “talking about me like I am not even here Nig will most certainly set me off so either take me home or I am walking.”
Nigel gave Kane apologetic look “sorry I think my sister has forgotten her manners” Kane shook his head “don’t worry about it my family has heard a little about her past from people in town so we understand that things for your family is strained at the moment.”
The people in this town didn’t know the first thing about the things that I went through at the hands of the man I loved and they never would but I hated that people would listen to what was being said and believe it as gospel “these town people don’t know anything about my life except for what they have made up and you are a fool if you believe any of it.”
Nigel grabbed my arm giving it a gentle squeeze “come on Annie lets get you home to your nice comfy bed so hopefully you wakeup in a better mood tomorrow” I shook his hand off and headed towards the truck “Annie not everyone is a bad guy” Kane called making me turn to look at him “I know that my father and brother aren’t or the guys in my band and that is all I need to know.”
 Kane crossed his arms and smirked at me “really so what about love you have to trust the person that you are going to marry” I held my arms open a mocking smile on my face “love new guy is very over rated” he shook his head his smirk slipping slightly “your ex must have messed you up pretty bad for you to think that way” I looked away with tears in my eyes “lets just say that the song that Eminen and Riana sing holds a lot of meaning for me.”
Having joined me Nigel wrapped his arm around my shoulder “we will see you and your family tomorrow Kane” Kane nodded but continued to look at me with a frown on his beautiful face “see you then Nigel. Goodnight Annie I hope that what ever problems you are having sort them selves out because someone as beautiful as you should never give up on love.”
He went back into the diner as Nigel pulled my door open and helped me into the truck “he is right you know sis you are beautiful and there are some good guys out there that are nothing like Reece and would never do those sorts of things to you” I squeezed my eyes closed just wanting the day to be over the life I was stuck in to be over “maybe Nig but I would have to be looking to find him and to be honest I just am not ready to find him and maybe I will never be ready.”
Nigel patted my shoulder and kissed my head “one day sis you will be ready to love again but until you are dad and I will always be there for you” I opened my eyes to give him a small smile before closing them again waiting for him to take me home to the only place that I felt safe anymore.

Submitted: March 20, 2011

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