When the shower was over, Ava stood in front of the foggy bathroom mirror. She used her fingers to draw circles on the glass, just where her eyes would be. Then she drew the outline of her mouth, and finally, uncovering the spot on her shoulder with the nasty bruise.

Ava lowered her eyes and looked at the discoloration on her skin; it was ugly, bluish-purple and swelling.

His hands reached out for her, a dark look in his eyes as he struck her. She went down without a sound, slamming her shoulder into the ground. He stood over her, his eyes full of lust, and a malicious grin on his face. His fingers wrapped around her hip as he bent down, and they tightened as she struggled.

Something broke and someone screamed in pain and Ava found herself lying face down on the bathroom floor, the tiles cold against her cheek. She was sprawled out, her hands covering her face, arms bent obscurely. She was trembling, a long string of saliva on her fingers, and her eyes were overflowing with hot tears.

Something heavy slammed against the door and someone pounded on it. Judging from the power behind the bangs, it was Jake.

“Ava, are you okay? I heard something break.”

Red was all that she saw now. It slid onto her palm, warm and sticky. Before she could react more, however, he was crouched beside her, slowly plucking the shards of glass from her skin. She never ever realized she’d cut herself.

“You’re so fragile,” Ian murmured, sliding her head into his lap. “It’s not good that you get hurt so easily. First with that man in the woods and now this?”

“I didn’t tell you about that,” Ava whispered, closing her eyes.

He smiled and brushed his hand along her cheek. “I’m your friend, darling. I’m supposed to know your secrets.”

The hands holding her seemed to change and the voice was different as it tugged at her brain.

“Ava, are you okay? You’re bleeding but there’s no glass in your hand. Hang on, I’ll go get mom.”

Ava didn’t need to open her eyes to know that she was alone again.

The End

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