• "No, please don't leave me... please, stay..."

    The heartbroken, grief-stricken teenaged girl sat at the base of her staircase, mumbling to herself as salty tears slipped from her green eyes down her light olive cheeks. She rocked back and forth in her heave brown blanket, never letting her eyes leave the mahogany door. Her usually smooth, sweet voice had broken, turning rough and shaky. Stringy dark hair hung in her face, though it was normally silky and shiny. Arms covered in goosebumps, shivers ran through her trembling body, especially with every flash of lightning, every clap of thunder.

    The rain pounded on the ground like a child gleefully jumping in puddles. It banged on the doors and windows like an angry mob. The girl was tempted to open the door in hopes of finding him standing before her, but there was no yelling. By now, he would have screamed for her to open up, but the only things to be heard were the rain, the thunder, and the girl's muffled pleas.

    "He's not coming back, Ari," said a teenage male's voice behind her. Arielle turned around to see her best friend standing a few feet away from her on the first floor. He was the last person on earth she wanted to see right now, but it gave her the opportunity to get revenge on what he had done to her.

    "You... you sent him away!" Arielle shrieked, standing up and throwing her warm covering on the ground. She was trembling even more now that she was no longer safe under the comfort of the blanket. "Don't you know what he meant to me?! He was my everything! I love him more than anyone or anything in the whole world!"

    "No, you don't," was his calm, even response. "He did nothing for you. He made your life worse. Those bruises? Those hideous scars? There was no such 'cheerleading accident.' You weren't coincidentally cut on the arms and back. He did that to you. Admit it."

    "He wanted what was best for me!"

    "He abused you. He used you. I don't know what pleasure he gained from all of this, but I know for a fact that it didn't help you at all."

    Arielle sobbed in pain, wishing this day would end, wishing her life would end. "You know what, Jonah?" she said gravely. "I hate you. I hate you so much. You... have ruined... my life... now get out. NOW!!!" Soon enough, Ari was hurling articles from her bag at him: her camera, a reusable water bottle, a pen, a pad of paper. He accepted them as if they were prized possessions, catching them and gently setting them down on the ground. Jonah took her punches, her kicks, her slaps, her scratches, even her crazed bites. "OUT!!!" she yelled, flinging his jacket at him.

    Jonah caught the jacket and slowly put it on. As he zipped it up, he looked at Ari, who was breathing heavily and crumpled on the floor, and sighed. "Ari, think about what I've done. Then consider who ACTUALLY wants the best for you." With that, Jonah flipped his hood up onto his head and left the house, closing the mahogany door behind him. A few seconds later, the sound of the ignition of his car broke through the air, and he drove away.

    Arielle sat quietly by the door again. Jonah was wrong in her mind. He didn't know anything. That pain she got from Hunter had made her stronger. If anything, Jonah didn't want the best for her. He didn't support her, cheer her on for being in a loving relationship, probably because he hadn't had a girlfriend for a long time. Even then, he couldn't keep a girl for all that long.

    "Oh, Hunter, please come back," she wailed. She was all alone. Jonah was all wrong, and she had abandoned all her other friends for her boyfriend. They sure as hell wouldn't want her back now.

    Arielle lay down on the cold, hard, marble-tiled ground. She was still crying, but she had calmed her sobs until all that was left were her tears. Now, she just needed someone. It didn't matter who it was, as long as he or she would comfort her. Would Jonah come back to her after she was such a brat to him? Doubtful.

    Pulling up her left sleeve, she revealed the word "B*TCH" carved into her arm with an X-Acto knife. Hunter had done that to her after she talked to some other guys. Maybe he was right, in a way. Maybe that's what she was. Her slender fingers played with the ends of her hair as she wondered if it was all for the best. Perhaps Jonah was right... but it was too late to call him back now. Arielle Paxton had no one anymore. She was loveless, and that was it.