Author Notes: Thank you to everyone who has continued reading our story (especially those who have reviewed as they are the only thing that keep this story going!), be it since we started six years ago or only just recently discovered it. Now, we know that many of you have been extremely frustrated, annoyed, or just plain angry with the way our resident Goth has acted and treated the rest of the cast since her post time skip return. On several occasions we have asked for your patience and promised to explain her behavior, that in time her actions, thinking and outlook would make sense.

Well, it has been a LONG time coming, but this chapter could not be rushed as we needed to make sure everything fit together ourselves to keep the promise we made back in the opening AN of chapter 1, that this story is going to have some very serious and very dark themes realistically portrayed.

IMPORTANT TRIGGER WARNING: This chapter addresses a number of subjects that readers may find disturbing that run the wide spectrum range of abuse. We have attempted our very best to portray these realistically and respectfully, as well as the effects they have had on the characters who were affected. In the closing AN there will be some explanations for those who do not wish to read this chapter and instead would prefer a summery to keep up to date with the story.

So, with that, we present to you the thirty first chapter of "Unbreakable Red Silken Thread": Chance: Unexpected Encounters Part II


Gwen hadn't known what to expect when she opened the closed portal to the bathroom of Heather and Cody's dorm.

Despite having lived here for almost two weeks she had only used it once; the day Heather revealed her confinement and ordered her to shower. Between her bitterness, hatred, and a not so insignificant lingering hangover, she had barely even been aware of her surroundings, let alone paid them much mind at the time. Since then, she had been content making trips to the floor's communal bathrooms like she had before she was forced to move out of Duncan's dorm.

Ironically, she remembered when the Punk and she applied for their room and noticed the option for one with a private bath. To be more precise, she remembered how much more expensive they were from the standard dorm and how once the added price was revealed, Duncan had shot the prospect down without even asking for her opinion.

It was a perfect example of how in sync they were, since she'd thought the same. After all, who the hell paid an extra two hundred dollars a month for a bathroom?

Even so, she would admit, she had been at least a little curious, just to see what the fuss was all about. And though she was looking forward to this about as much as walking into a lion's den wearing an assortment of seasoned steaks, the Goth would get to see just what Duncan had turned down for the both of them.

Overall, she was extremely unimpressed.

It was small in every sense of the word excluding the ceiling overhead. It was crammed, narrow, and every necessary feature it possessed seemed to be have been made more with little kids in mind than college students. Though Gwen was oblivious to it, this was more extreme for her than Heather due to her taller, fuller figure.

It was all the proof she needed that it was stupid of Heather to have dumped so much money into a private bathroom when there was a free option right down the hall.

"A fool and their money," she muttered under her breath before shaking her head.

The piece of Gwen's mind that never fully turned off, often to find fault everywhere, couldn't help but wonder what on God's green earth could have motivated such a waste. Was it an obsessive need for privacy, or simply always wanting to have 'the best?' Neurosis or ego?

If she had bet on it, Gwen would have wagered the latter. Four bottles of shampoo and three different types of conditioner spoke of vanity few could boast.

Regardless, the most well endowed resident of the floor aside from Jasmine stared around the mundane, confining quarters pensively. Her relentless critical gaze searched with intensity for any obvious cameras. To her disappointment, unsurprisingly, there weren't any.

Then she remembered, begrudgingly, that for all of Heather's faults…she wasn't stupid. Stupid people didn't wrap others around their little finger at a whim.

Within the span of a single breathe, a civil war started and finished within Gwen's mindscape.

Gwen didn't even notice the two tiny versions of herself popping up out of thin air on her shoulders. These weren't the typical miniature personas of an angle and devil, however. Each was far more detailed than that.

The first was three times larger than the latter, wearing the same shameless outfit she had for Duncan on Halloween, from the lace-up boots to the spiked collar her boyfriend had worn on Total Drama. The only other notable feature was how the low-cut black tube top was sporting a skull motif that mirrored Duncan's right below her cleavage.

[I don't know why you are acting up.] GwenD haughtily said. [Looking for a reason to try and run away from the one person who's ever truly loved her like a little kid, again?] After saying this the larger embellished construct used Gwen's hair to swing over to the other's shoulder perch, towering over them with crossed arms and annoyed frown.

Looking upwards at her taller companion was another Gwen, though this one matching her appearance back during Total Drama's three seasons. Her hair and modest attire were a familiar mixture of black and blue-green in keeping with its Gothic aesthetic; and though she didn't have the thick womanly curves that were flaunted for the whole world to see, her C cups were still easily noticeable. More noticeable, however, was the resolve and warmth that radiated from her being, something her colossal counterpart lacked. The only unusual aspect about her was the image of her diary from Total Drama, which she still possessed even now adorning her top.

{No. I'm just seeing if I need to call someone on their bullshit. Even if it's her.} GwenC retorted evenly.

[It must be so tiring to look for ways to ruin a perfectly passable arrangement, kid.] GwenD shot back, leaning down to both look GwenC in the eye and show off her generous cleavage.

GwenC neither backed down nor peaked a glimpse at the impressively feminine display. {As much as I can't believe I'm saying this, I think Sammy has a valid point.} That caused GwenD to rise to her full height before blowing out a disbelieving scoff. {Cody might have the sex drive of a rabbit on Viagra, but he really wouldn't need to have cameras in here. We both know Heather is shameless enough to flaunt herself in her birthday suit whenever she feels like it. Remember how she was in the shower rooms for all three seasons?}

[Doesn't matter.] GwenD shot back like a mother trying to get an annoying little child to stop their prattling. [Cody's a historically proven pervert. He'd set them up just because he could. Married men still have Playboys hidden under their beds or buried out in the woods.]

{Playboy? Buried in the woods?} GwenC asked mockingly. {God, do you have any idea how old you sound?!} Raspy chuckles filled the air as GwenD brooded in seething rage, crossing her arms underneath her generous chest; it made the display even more bountiful by accident. {News flash, hag, this is the twenty first century! Cody's got Internet access, and is a nerd! He could literally find any kind of porn he wants, no matter how disgusting or weird in a few seconds. Going back to run of the mill girls walking around in the buck would probably give him blue-balls.}

GwenD glared down at her, wishing to dominate her as Duncan often did. But tellingly, she couldn't rebuke anything that had just been said.

Seeing she had handed a telling blow on her counterpart, the Gwen of Total Drama pressed further with an even more damning salvo. {Does Duncan even look at all those old magazines of his anymore?}

GwenD's look morphed from anger to something else, something between shame and pleasure. [No…] she admitted with a blush forming.

{And that's not counting the common knowledge that everyone here knows, that apparently Cody gets ridden more times by Heather than all the rollercoasters at Six Flags during their summer season.}

[You need to go to rumors and gossip for your evidence?] GwenD asked mockingly, getting the wind back in her sails and feeling quite eager not to lose to this upstart again. [Oh yeah, that'll hold up well in court. 'Your Honor, I'm hinging my whole case on something that I heard from this guy who knew this guy's cousin's once-removed niece…'] She didn't feel the need to finish her point.

{Then why don't you use her own ears, hag?} GwenC fired back. {Or are you going to deny that she heard them going at it for hours the same night you wore that get-up?}

Yet again, GwenD was powerless before the logic of the younger persona. Much was at risk now as she knew that if she didn't think of something fast, she would be forced to admit that Gwen might actually be wrong.

Then, like a bolt from the blue, inspiration struck the bustier of the two beauties. [Then what about our trip to Jamaica in World Tour? Remember what Cody did?]

Now it was GwenC who showed a look of true horror, but unlike her counterpart, she didn't show any signs of resisting. How could she? The proof was unarguable. While she had been asleep, the Tech Geek had taken a picture with her lying on a beach chair. The proof had been threefold, the picture itself, the reruns of the show, and her sunburnt hand.

It was just like…

[Exactly.] GwenD gloated with a cocky grin and her arms crossed up her boobs even tighter, causing the display to nearly overrun their flimsy confinements. [Even if Cody has no reason for the cameras, can you honestly say that he hasn't put some up? Did Derek need the cameras he set up?] Pausing she let the accusation linger before continuing, [Tell you what, I'll even meet you half way and say there weren't any until after Gwen moved in.]

GwenC fidgeted under the victorious gaze of her taller opposite for what seemed like hours, memories long since buried though seemingly never deep enough clawing their way to the surface. Eventually, by way of admitting defeat, she asked, {So what do you think she should do about it? Should Gwen just go use the communal bathroom like she always does?}

[Actually, I have an even better idea.] GwenD commented while looking around the bathroom. [Since Cody wouldn't logically have any reason to set up cameras in here, Heather has no reason to expect them. Maybe Gwen could use that to her advantage?]

{How?}

[If Gwen acts like she knows about the cameras and plays along, it'll only be a matter of time before she catches Cody 'using' the recording, and when she does, she can show it to Heather as a big 'fuck you' to them both!]

{So, you're saying she…?}

[Yes, she'd have to give Cody a little show or two, but—]

{How can you be okay with her whoring herself out to—!?}

[Gwen wouldn't be whoring herself out to Cody! She'd baiting a trap so she could get out of this shithole and back to Duncan!] GwenD retorted angrily. [Besides, she already caught one dickless pervert when she didn't know any better. This time, she knows exactly what's going on, and it's not like she hasn't done worse for Duncan just 'cuz he asked.]

GwenC was silent for a long time, mulling several things over in her fictitious mind. {You're sure this will fuck over both Cody and Heather?] She asked.

[Remember how her mom reacted when she showed her what was on that laptop?]

GwenD and GwenC shared a dangerous slasher smile at the thought of Cody being on the receiving end of the same thrashing Gwen's mother had given her stepfather that day, it was the same kind the Goth had flashed to Leshawna when the big girl suggested getting revenge on Heather for the stunt she pulled with Trent during TDI. With that, they both vanished in an imaginary puff.

Gwen stood there, shuddering with revulsion as she made up her mind, before instantly reconsidering it. The idea was unappealing to say the least, but if it meant causing trouble for her jailers, and possibly getting herself kicked out, then it would be worth it in the end. Sure, it would mean giving Cody something she really, really, really didn't want him getting his hands on. However, it wouldn't be the first time, and at minimum the thought of him jerking off to some recording of her in the shower wasn't as painful as the prospect of being stuck here for the rest of the year.

She missed Duncan…and she was getting tired of the weird nightmares plaguing her every night.

With the thought of sleeping peacefully in his strong arms fueling her, the Goth looked around again, this time with a much more critical eye to try and figure out where the pervert would most likely have put them. As horrible as her first run-in with hidden cameras had been, it, combined with her suffering three seasons of Total Drama, had given her a pretty good idea of where to look.

They'd be set somewhere that gave them a wide unobstructed view of a high traffic area, which meant the most likely spots they would be aimed at were the center of the room and the shower itself. For a moment she was tempted to start looking for them, but that would put Cody on guard, which would make catching the now not so little pervert that much harder. Closing her eyes and sighing, she nodded to herself, the sooner she got this over with the sooner she'd be back in Duncan's arms.

With slow, purposeful steps, Gwen moved herself into what would have been dead center if the bathroom were a stage.

Then again, in some ways, the Goth thought darkly, it was.

Pushing down such irony, Gwen looked directly at the mirror over the sink as she began to loosen the clothing that covered her from the imagined Tech Geek's perverted leering. It was the first camera she remembered them finding, just high enough to get a full view of her breasts every time she changed, got in the shower or dried herself after getting out.

The pale skinned woman then recalled some of the more sensual ceremonies she had performed at Duncan's behest, stripping and showing off the body she knew he loved so much. If she was going to do this, if she was going to bait Cody, she was going to make damn sure he got so horny that he didn't even care about getting caught. As such, she didn't simply get undressed, rather she put on a performance to fully emphasize her supple curves and rippling bosom in a coy manner, conveying a paradoxical desire to fuck her partner for all he was worth with a matching indifference that made the awful possibility of going no further feel like a real concern.

She imagined a song and attempted to sway her body as it became a less and less clothed corporeal form. The focus on that rhythm allowed her to fight through the gooseflesh that came from the thought of being watched as she unhooked her bra, then deftly covered her chest with one arm as the other lowered the garment to the growing pile at her feet.

It was important, she knew, to keep just enough covered to tease, to tantalize, to keep whoever was watching on edge wanting and waiting for more. At least in the case of Duncan that had proven true, and she was willing to bet Cody wouldn't be any different in that regard.

Funny how much things had changed since high school, when puberty had struck her with a vengeance all at once. She remembered how much she hated the 'looks' every guy and more than a few girls gave her, either ravenous or envious. It was always one or the other.

She would have given anything to go back to how things had been the year before, when everyone just ignored her.

But no matter what she did, nothing stopped the staring, the leering, the 'accidental' bumps or outright groping. Trying to keep herself covered with sweaters just made her stand out even more, especially during the summer, while sports bras had the unfortunate effect of making her breasts look even wider while holding back their volume. Even fighting back and dislocating a few wandering wrists only encouraged them further. The harder she fought to keep them away, the harder they tried to reach her, until finally she just gave up and stopped caring all together.

Thus, 'The Goth' had been born.

Of course, her mother didn't even notice the sudden change in wardrobe. Hell, she doubted the woman even heard two words she'd said to her during the entire freshmen year, and half of her sophomore year combined. But then again, why would she? She was all wrapped up in her new boyfriend, then husband at the time.

Swaying her hips side to side with the continued rhythm and beat of the song only she could hear, Gwen shimmied out of her panties, twisting and turning as she alternated which arm was covering her breasts from view before bending forward in as exaggerated a way as she could to finally remove the thong. Soon enough, though not nearly soon enough to her, Gwen was naked as the day she'd been born and shifted from tease to flaunt.

Remembering the first day she'd walked into school as her 'new self' was impossible to forget. Gone were the sweatpants and thick sweaters, in their place a surprisingly form fitting and snug top and jeans that showed off her figure without showing much skin beyond a tasteful amount of cleavage. The makeup had taken her hours, though the dye job had taken the entire weekend. If they wanted to look, if they wanted to see, she'd let them, she'd show them what it was they wanted. All the while ignoring their very existence. Treating them as she herself yearned for, to be invisible, forgotten, nothing more than a ghost or shadow.

The black lipstick, along with the blue-green stripes in her hair raised quite a few eyebrows. Just as her corset top raised more wood than Jonny Appleseed in his lifetime. But at first the massive change threw everyone through a loop, and nobody seemed to know what to do or how to react. Unfortunately, that only lasted for a few days. Then it was right back to how things had been, though there were noticeably fewer offenders than before.

With her new attitude though, even those remaining quickly dwindled as she simply offered no resistance or even acknowledgement to whatever she heard, or others did. It was funny how quickly she went from 'the challenge' to 'the dead fish' in their eyes.

Strutting her stuff as if walking towards Duncan's bed, complete with a subtle kissy face and sliding her hands up and down her sides after cupping and squeezing her bust, Gwen made her way towards the shower tub, even making a show of raising one curvaceous leg up over the rim, and then the other. No efforts were made to hide or obscure the gifts nature had bestowed upon her, rather it was just the opposite as she altered her movements mid-stride to elicit as much jiggling from her breasts as she could.

Even while maintaining her sexy façade, her sarcastic nature couldn't quite be repressed as she commented to herself, "It's even smaller than the one back home with Duncan." One lone eye then went up to the showerhead, which was quite obviously new. At a glance the removable wand with multiple settings would have been enticing, but she knew full well exactly how easy it was to fit a camera into a showerhead that large.

Most people would have been hard pressed to think of something worse than finding out their stepfather was a pedophile, but she could list several without even thinking.

Finding out that he'd rigged three hidden cameras in her private bathroom, and half a dozen more in her bedroom were close to the top. That he had four months' worth of recordings of her showering, dressing and undressing was even worse. But nothing, literally nothing came even remotely close to the knowledge that her first time masturbating had been recorded by that creep. It was years before she even thought of touching herself after finding that out, and even now it was difficult to keep that fact out of mind whenever she tried.

Knowing what had been recorded just made it even more humiliating and painful. As if school hadn't done enough to enforce the fact that all guys were perverts in her mind, that bastard had all but cemented the fact into scientifically proven law.

She remembered the day her mother introduced him to them, how nice he'd seemed, so friendly and kind with his bright blue eyes and gap-toothed smile. It was…weird, to think of her mom dating, but if there was one thing the woman had to her credit it was that she'd never stopped trying, even while juggling work and two kids. Her own father had run off after her mother revealed her pregnancy to him, only for the same thing to happen again when she became pregnant a second time.

If she tried, Gwen could just barely remember Patrick's father, his face and his voice, but it was fuzzy and blurry given how young she was at the time.

Derek, or 'Strike Three' as she thought of him, was an old friend of her mother's from back when she had been in school, and they'd reconnected while she'd been hunting for a new job. At first everything seemed so perfect. He was smart, handsome, ran his own business, spent time with her and her brother, and of course showered their mother with gifts and affection. It had only been a few short months before they were married and moved into a new home together.

Nothing, absolutely nothing had even hinted that there might have been a problem, that Derek had been someone to watch out for. Even worse, his getting caught was only thanks to a complete accident, a total fluke.

Had Patrick not tripped and dumped his entire milk filled bowl of cereal on her report that morning, she wouldn't have needed to reprint it. And since she'd seen Derek log in his laptop enough to know the password, she'd thought nothing of just using his rather than running upstairs to use hers. She'd been just about to log out when she noticed the innocuous folder in the bottom corner of the desktop with her name on it.

What followed had been a blur, but she distinctly remembered making sure her brother caught the bus before calling her mother, and then the two of them calling the police.

Three guys, three losers, three strikes…and yet her mother had the gall to say DUNCAN was trouble? That he was a bad influence? Who the hell was she to criticize ANYONE, let alone her daughter when it came to their choices? At least Duncan was honest, he was straight with her, told her what he wanted, and while she might not have liked everything he told her to do, the fact remained that he never once hid anything from her.

For all his creepy and stalkerish tendencies, she had thought Cody was as well. It was the primary reason she tolerated him as much as she had. Why even with their rocky relationship on TDI she regarded him as one of the only five sane other contestants. He annoyed her, he pestered her, he bugged her, he set off a few alarm bells with the creepy sniffing and keeping bread in his pants, but at least he was forward and honest with her.

Then, Jamaica happened, or rather she saw the episode and found out what he did.

'I going to give that little pervert a show he'll never forget,' the Goth thought bitterly. It was just like with her mother, when she'd been forced to choose between living under her roof, or to keep dating Duncan.

Two painful choices, but only one that led to someone that really gave a damn about her.

With that goal in mind, that one person who gave a damn, she turned on the water and tried to focus on the one thing that never failed to improve her mood. A hot shower. To preemptively wash off the shame of what she was about to do, Gwen let out a sigh of contentment as she stretched the muscles beneath her pale milky under the cascading water.

She dreaded this being a repeat of what happened on Halloween, feeling dirtier when she left the shower than before she'd entered. Regardless, she began the show proper; performing an act of bathing that was more fitting of a cheap porno. Then again, like porno, sex was a guy thing after all. She'd learned that soon after moving in with Duncan. It was something for their enjoyment, something they loved that only a woman could give them, making the relationship between them a trade. A fair exchange. The guy got to enjoy something only a woman could give him, while the woman in turn got the guy they wanted. It was simple as that.

At first, she acted on muscle memory, entering a mental routine not dissimilar to whenever she was forced to give Duncan one of his oh so beloved titty-fucks. Her mind became blank as her body moved with a degree of autonomy, understanding the world and her actions through her senses without the oversight of total consciousness.

Gripping her large breasts, she squeezed them harshly, then pushed the pair together as hard as she could with a long deep sigh as she arched her back, then hefted each with one hand.

In the back of her mind, she could just imagine Cody watching her, his eyes wide and mouth dropped open as far as it could reach. For all her faults and shortcomings, Gwen was woman enough to admit (if only to herself) that Heather wasn't physically ugly. At the same time, she also knew that between the two of them she had the Asian Queen Bee dead to rights in the looks department. If they both walked into a room naked, there wouldn't have been a single eye on her former rival, not with her curvier and more buxom figure on full display. It was half the reason Duncan loved picking out the clothes he did for her. He wanted everyone to know how drop dead sexy she was, and that she belonged to him.

Which was why now, she could see in her little mental show an angry Heather shouting and swearing at Cody, only for the Tech Geek to ignore everything she was saying, to not even acknowledge her existence, let alone her presence. His eyes were on her, and only her, fixated just as they had been back on Total Drama.

Turning to one side, she put her hands behind her head then arched once again, making sure her bust gave a healthy bounce before a realization flashed through her.

All those times, whenever Duncan had asked her to do something like this for him…he'd always told her what to do, and without thinking she had just done exactly that.

But right here, right now…she was free to do whatever she wanted to do. She'd always been an actress following Duncan's script, yet now here she was the director of this little number. There was no doubt in her mind that Cody would be jerking off for hours to whatever she did, but knowing she was in control of what he saw…

This was very much new and unexplored territory for the Goth. And in her mind once again she could still see Cody sitting there, watching her, waiting with abated breath to see what she was going to do next. It wasn't like with Duncan, where he'd go for as long as his patience could hold out then scoop her up and toss her onto the bed. She knew Cody would just sit there and watch, because she decided to give him something to see.

Her skin began to tingle as the warm water enflamed the heat radiating from her meager sense of shame and growing arousal within, then, almost comically she nearly tripped over herself as she grabbed the first bottle of shampoo she could get her hands on. 'He's watching you,' some part of her mind whispered, 'You get to fuck him and Heather over, and be in complete control the entire time. Show that nerd what he can only dream of, and what that skinny bitch can never give him!'

What the hell was wrong with her!? She could feel it…some part of her was getting turned on from this?

Freezing in place, her mind raced, desperate to find some kind of answer, some way to make sense of this. Narrowing her eyes, she ran down the short list of things that came to mind and shot them down one by one. Recalling what she'd seen on those recordings made her want to vomit, so she KNEW it couldn't be some weird shame fetish. With all the times Duncan had her put on little shows for him, including the recent tit-wash she'd given him there had never been anything either.

She didn't usually hate doing anything for Duncan, hell just knowing that she was making him happy was enough to make her feel happy. It was more a matter of she didn't exactly enjoy most of what he liked.

At the end of her rope, her thinking turned towards Cody…but again (thankfully much to her relief) there was no hint of that being the source either.

With trembling hands, she began to spread and lather whatever it was she'd grabbed, and soon her nostrils burned with the overwhelming fruity scent of Sour Apple shampoo. Her ears turned the sound of slamming water beads into a thunderous din of judgment, condemning her for acting like such a whore while another part pushed her, drove her to continue the show.

Something, she had no idea what it was, but something was coursing through her veins. It was like liquid electricity, surging through her as all at once she felt a growing paradox of strength and weakness beginning to rise. Even with her eyes closed as she rinsed out her hair, she could still feel Cody's eyes on her, see him watching her in her mind.

Mind still racing, her thoughts came to a screeching halt as she remembered the last time she'd felt something similar to this. Halloween night, when she'd put on that ridiculous getup for Duncan, hoping to spend the night with him…

Eyes narrowing ever so slightly, she put two and two together.

She was doing this by choice, because she wanted to, because she knew it meant she would be out of here and back with Duncan that much sooner. As her mind continued to ponder this, her body switched back to autopilot, as it had so many times before.

Of course, she could never tell Duncan about what she was doing. But there really wasn't any reason for her to tell him, was there? Either Heather would just kick her out and leave her alone, or she'd do something stupid like tell Duncan, or maybe even show him the recording. If that happened, all she needed to do was act the part of the victim and turn it against Heather, saying she must have put the cameras in the bathroom and recorded her while she was thinking of Duncan.

Oh, oh…that would not turn out well for the Queen Bee, since Duncan knew all about what happened with Derek and how much she HATED hidden cameras. If he suspected for even a second that Heather or Cody had secretly recorded her, he'd beat them within an inch of their life.

Yet another surge of power flowed through her. She'd be out of here, and if Heather or Cody even tried to use this in any way…they were dead.

It had been years ago, during the challenge where the final four of TDI were "lost at sea" in a cabin set afloat, but she still remembered the look of anger in his eyes that day she'd revealed what had happened with her former stepfather. The greatest of the "sins" she confessed to her future boyfriend, fat friend, and her archenemy. Duncan's eyes burned with a fury that had frightened her at the time. Even Owen looked ready to kill, his usually jovial and friendly face having turned dark and unsettlingly serious.

Of course, Heather had been Heather and only offered a snide remark about how 'Gwen' probably wasn't even her real name.

Thank God she hadn't learned about that until after the Talent Show fiasco, otherwise she would have told the entire world, and…

Shaking her head, the Goth instead focused on the most unexpected thing that had come of that entire mess, of bearing her deepest darkest secret to the others.

Discovering that Chris McLean apparently did in fact have a soul.

Giving a quick glance over the assortment of bottles lining the shower basket, her eyes fell on what must have been Cody's body wash, as it was the only non-fruity scented thing to be found. Popping the cap, she started pouring it into her hand, then thought better and began drizzling it across her body, starting with her arms, then a thicker trail along the tops of her breasts, stomach, and thighs.

The Goth recalled her panic at learning the entire time she'd spent with the other three had been recorded, that her confession of what had happened with her stepfather was on tape. She had begged and pleaded with the host not to air that footage, only to learn the cameras had 'mysteriously' switched off for some reason, and that none of their confessions had been recorded before he shooed her away from his private trailer.

Sadly, that wouldn't be the case this time, and she knew it.

Setting the bottle back, she got to work, and felt the gradual transforming of the soap she'd slathered all over herself from a cold goop into a rich warm lather. Purposefully missing some soapy spots to re-clean them a second or even third time, every action was dragged out and made as sensual as possible. From sliding her fingers longer than needed between and around her breasts, along her legs, across her stomach, and in circles around her pussy. She made sure to squeeze her tits in any number of ways when a semi-believable reason to do so cropped up.

With each new action, the feeling of disgust arose in her gut and risked being revealed. As much as it wounded her, though, she maintained that paradoxical sexy façade. It didn't erase the feeling, that feeling lingered even as she finally turned the water off.

Why did this, this have to be the first time she'd been able to decide what she wanted to do in so long?

To distract herself from that question, along with the feelings of shame and humiliation at knowing yet another perverted nerd was going to be getting his rocks off to watching her on film, she focused on her next goal as she started drying herself.

Learning about Heather during her breakfast with Sammy.

She used the disgust and revulsion of what she had just done to put a fire in her belly, even as it rumbled at the prospect of food. The blonde would be an easy mark to manipulate and play like an already-stringed fiddle, especially since she felt so guilty for knocking her out, and for knocking the wind out of her.

Interacting with other people was hard for her, but she vowed right then and there to suck it up. She would NOT be the lump of awkwardness she had been with that Anne-Maria skank!

The Goth kept echoing that sentiment over and over again, hoping she would believe it.


Once she was finally finished, dried, redressed, and had applied her usual makeup, Gwen made her way back to the kitchen/dining room only to find herself staring dumbfounded at what was before her.

Sammy had her back to Gwen, but even so it was obvious she was working with a waffle iron.

As in she was making waffles.

Not just thawing them out with a toaster but was actually, legitimately, literally making waffles. And not just waffles either. There was bacon, hash browns, and even eggs! For a moment Gwen could have sworn she was five years old and back at her grandmother's again as she watched her moving around the kitchen with a confidence and grace that seemed alien and impossible for the meek little nervous wreck she had talked to before. As she worked, the blonde was humming a tune that the Goth vaguely recognized as a Disney song, though she couldn't recall exactly which melody from the Mouse it was.

At some point in the hummed beat, Sammy even did a pseudo-Disney princess twirl, only to instantly loose her grace and confidence the moment she realized she was being watched. She jumped with a squeak before spewing out the latest in a long series of rambling apologies. The sight and smell of the food caused Gwen to mostly tune her words out, only picking up a few bits and pieces that she had heard the shower stop but not the Goth's approach.

Ignoring that, Gwen simply asked, "Did you seriously cook all of that just for me?"

Sammy shook her head, now looking bashful and worried. "I didn't have a chance to eat breakfast this morning," the blonde explained before adding, "I hope you don't mind me eating some as well, I think I kinda made…too much, hehe."

Colored curious, and fighting the rumbling of her stomach at the impressive spread, Gwen voiced her confusion, "Why would I care when you're the one who cooked all this?"

The blonde looked like she was about to explain before abruptly stopping herself and forcefully shook her head. "It—it's nothing," Sammy said, "Just some…uh…some old habits—that I'm still dealing with."

Not giving it a second thought, Gwen said nothing while taking one of the table's seats.

Pleased at seeing she would have a guest to join her, Sammy smiled despite her previous unease. "So…how do you like your waffles, Gwen? Do you want jelly? Jam? Or syrup?"

Surprised, Gwen said, "Uh, nothing…" She was too shocked by all of this to say more. Still a bit shaken from both her actions and realizations during her shower, Gwen now found herself trying to remember the last time Duncan had gone out to get breakfast for the both of them…

Teal eyes shot the sitting Goth a curious look. "Do you really like dry waffles? That's—" Sammy stopped when she saw Gwen staring at her, her sitting body getting quite fidgety. "Are—are you okay, Gwen?"

"Why are you doing all of this?" asked the Goth, her raspy tone conveying a sincere lack of understanding. Sammy looked at her with a gaze just as devoid of comprehension. "I had a knife on you. I tried to hold you down. Why did you make all this for me, for us?"

Shyness fought through the other kinds of timidity that usually dominated Sammy's face. "We—well, you see—the thing is…I was actually a big fan of yours on Total Drama." A blush crept onto the Good Twin's cheeks. "You were so confident and strong, and I—" The blonde paused and then cleared her throat. "And I felt bad for knocking you out…and then punching you…" There was another pause, this time it was more guilt-ridden. "So, I wanted to really, really make it up to you. So, I…" she trailed off while motioning towards the waffles, bacon, hash browns and eggs that had yet to be put on the table.

"Are you another psycho stalker or something?" asked Gwen bluntly, dreading that another Sierra or Cody not only existed, but also actually managed to find her.

Sammy frowned at the both the accusation and implication. "No. I'm not a stalker, or a psycho," she paused then added, "That's my sister."

Gwen raised an eyebrow at that, recalling that Sammy had said something about having a sister before. An identical twin named Amy, who apparently was a hellish little thing that even someone like Jasmine had a hard time dealing with.

Frankly, Gwen didn't believe that bit for a second. Partly because she was having a hard time grasping how someone could be so evil and obsessed with making their sibling miserable. The other reason, however, was much simpler, having already voiced it before. "I still don't see how this, Amy could be all that bad," Gwen spoke up, "I mean, if she's no bigger than you there's only so much she could do."

Sammy gave the Goth a look she couldn't quite decipher while setting her dry waffles on her plate, then the bacon, eggs and hash browns in the space between them. As Gwen helped herself to generous amounts of all three, Sammy brought her own waffle to the table and drenched it in enough syrup to where it would start to devolve into a sugary paste within a few minutes. Only after cutting off a piece and taking a long savoring bite did Sammy return her attention to Gwen.

After giving the Goth an once-over, the Good Twin asked, "What would you call someone who sneaks up behind you and pants you in the middle of the cafeteria during lunch hour?"

Gwen cut a piece of her own waffle and brought to her mouth as she listened to the question. The dryness pulled whatever moisture there was from her mouth and throat, but the flavor was actually surprisingly good. Swallowing, Gwen answered, "Someone that's going to get their ass kicked, but not a psycho."

"That's why Jazz almost put her arm in sling." Sammy replied, taking another bite of her own waffle.

The Goth stared wide-eyed. "Jazz almost broke your sister's arm for pulling your pants down?"

Any further comment by Gwen for such brutal overkill was only not spoken due to a need to fill her begging belly. She ate her samplings of egg, bacon, and hash brown in peace, her taste buds practically singing praises and hymns for Sammy's skills in the kitchen. Everything was great, and far better than anything she'd had in years. The eggs were light and fluffy, with just the barest hint of something she couldn't immediately identify. The bacon was crisp but not charred, with the bits of fat still having just the right amount of chewiness. And last, but far from the least, the hash browns were cooked evenly and golden enough to a trigger an onslaught of old-timey prospectors had they seen them.

Gwen had eaten the bulk of all three side dishes before noticing Sammy still hadn't answered her yet. Finally looking up from her food, the Goth forced Sammy to answer with a solemn shake of her head.

Gwen started to bring another new piece of her waffle to her mouth when Sammy added softly, "She didn't pull my skirt down…she—she cut the back off…with a box cutter."

The dry piece of teasingly tasty goodness was frozen in mid-air, just as it had been about to enter her mouth at that. The Goth's mouth hung wide opened and her eyes bugged out. As much as Gwen loved horror…that was the most horrifying thing she'd heard in her day-to-day life. Not fully knowing why she was doing it, and despite her remaining hunger, Gwen lowered her fork back to her plate. Taking another bite after hearing that just felt…wrong.

Sammy's head lowered towards the table, her upper body wilting once again as a shudder rippled across the entirety of her diminutive form. After a brief struggle, she managed to suppress it. "I—I was so…embarrassed, so humiliated! Amy really got me bad that day, again! Why did I have to have such a horrible sister!? What did I ever do to deserve that!? What could I have done!?" Sammy shouted out of the blue, making Gwen visibly flinch. The Good Cheerleader hadn't devolved to the point of tears, but she conveyed about as much sorrow as a human was capable of without crossing that watery threshold.

After a few moments, a few unsettlingly fast moments, the more obvious pain and humiliation had left Sammy's face. She exhaled heavily, her breath splashing against the faint steam still rising from her plate. "I—I'm getting so sick and tired of this…" The twin's sentiment trailed off as she sat there for a few moments staring at nothing in particular, before mechanically eating a few pieces of cut up waffle. She hardly noticed her food.

A thick and choking silence filled the room. Gwen's stomach rumbled and growled but she didn't eat, her mind too focused on the other person at the table with her. The Goth's imagination wandered towards a particular topic, the topic of Hell, or rather Dante Alighieri's famous portrayal of it. She thought about the ninth circle, the deepest one, reserved for those sinners guilty of treachery against those with whom they had special relationships.

Despite modern portrayals of Hell consisting of some giant pit of flame, those who abused and deceived the people that had trusted them most were eternally punished by being encased in ice, with the level of submersion reflecting the scale of their betrayal. Obviously, being trapped in ice while buck-ass naked wasn't very pleasant, but that wasn't what had stuck in Gwen's mind as she read that part of world-renowned literary classic that also served as Dante's self-insert historical revenge fan-fiction. There was also a subtler punishment that most people overlooked. The trapped traitors would have their eyes glued shut by their tears. They were just as trapped by their pent-up pain, and because their eyes were frozen, their souls were overwhelmed with repressed grief they couldn't release. That detail always struck Gwen as especially cruel, even for Hell.

Something in Gwen had always wondered what actually seeing that would look like, what was the face of someone who was overwhelmed by pain but couldn't shed tears to release it.

Now she knew.

And she knew that the girl sitting across from her, despite knocking her out twice, didn't deserve that.

Gwen felt something she hadn't felt in years…empathy for someone other than herself or Duncan. The problem was, she didn't know what to do with it.

For some reason, Gwen found it extremely difficult to interact with people who weren't Duncan as of late. Sure, she'd never been a social butterfly, and being around others had always been a bit difficult for her, but it had never felt so…impossible before. Just talking to other people felt like a second language she knew but hadn't spoken in so long that she felt rusty, uncomfortable even trying.

And that was ignoring the legitimately heavy shit that this girl just opened up and shared with her!

Even if she had been the social and chummy kind of girl, how the hell was any person supposed to respond to that?

Still, the sight of the poor girl down in spirits gnawed at the Goth. Her pain was pent-up.

The Goth had an idea for how to possibly help loosen that suffering, if only a little bit.

"Y—you know," Gwen said out of the blue, feeling like the stuttering mess sitting at the other end, "You only flashed your panties in the middle of the cafeteria. So that's—what? Like a hundred people, tops, who saw them?"

Sammy's focus returned to Gwen with a hurt expression radiating on her face. It wasn't the reaction Gwen had been hoping for, but even if her plan failed, the pain wasn't pent-up, and that was still an improvement. "H—how is that a good thing?" asked Sammy.

"I got pantsed on international television, remember?" Gwen answered, "so I know at least a couple thousand, if not tens of thousands of people saw mine. And I know they got a good look because I was only half way up the cliff and I had to keep climbing!" The Goth shouted, though in a purposefully played-up manner, conveying bombastic but empty wraith more akin to a comedian doing a stand-up routine than someone lashing out. "Not to mention all the times they reran that episode, or how many recorded it!"

Sammy stared at her a few moments before a sad smile graced her previously trembling lips. But it was still a smile. "Y—yeah…I—I guess you've got a point there, Gwen." The Good Cheerleader admitted. The smile faded but the sorrow didn't return. Another win. "But this wasn't just a onetime thing."

As much as Gwen wanted to learn more, she also wanted to eat while the waffles were still warm. So, she helped herself to a few more bites of breakfast, she'd earned it as far as she was concerned. While she had been eating, the Goth pondered how she wanted to resume the conversation. So far her instincts had proven valuable, so she was willing to keep trusting them as long as they worked out in her favor. Even if they brought up something that she often tried to forget about.

Her family.

"Yeah, I know siblings can suck," the Goth spoke up, "Got a little brother myself, a real pain in the ass. He loved to prank me. The worst thing he did was switch my hair dye, swapped one of the teal bottles with hot pink. An unforgivable crime, obviously, though I'll give him credit for figuring out a way to switch the labels around," she chuckled. But then got worried when Sammy didn't so much as grin at the playfully exaggeration. The fact that her head dipped down again was also a troubling sign she realized. "Uh—you okay?" Gwen asked, suddenly wondering if her instincts were a crapshoot after having been ignored for so many years.

"Uh?" The blonde said dumbly before snapping back into focus. "Oh! Sorry!" she said quickly. "I—I was just trying to figure out how exactly to label Amy's deeds on a scale." Gwen stared confused. "Y—you know, to figure out which was the worst?"

The Goth hadn't imagined that Sammy would attempt to trade tit-for-tat, and didn't think that the blonde should share her most painful memories. Gwen needed to learn more if she wanted her companion to open up and trust her, but this was walking a very dangerous tightrope given her own raw emotions from earlier. As she idly ate a few more pieces of her annoyingly dry waffles, Gwen commented, "Just think of the first few things off the top of your head." She then continued eating and waited.

"Well, the first thing that comes to mind," Sammy started, "happened back in my freshmen year, well, high school freshmen year. Amy…helped set me up on my first ever date. A blind date."

Gwen smirked. "Let me guess, the guy was a buck-toothed nerd or a homeless guy."

Sammy didn't smirk back, instead merely shaking her head before sadly poking at her food. If it hadn't been for what she had done to Gwen earlier, Sammy wouldn't have elaborated. But she felt obligated. "No," she sadly recounted, "There was no guy. At all." She sighed as Gwen yet again stared at her with genuine astonishment. "Amy dropped me off at this little diner at the edge of town, saying my date would drive me back home. She—she had been nice…er to me lately, so I wasn't as suspicious as I should have been. She even made sure to drop me off a little before the date was supposed to happen, to make sure I didn't miss it." A bitter parody of a smile stretched against Sammy's face as she remembered.

"I—I was so nervous," Sammy continued, "Like—really, really nervous. I—I…I waited at that diner for five hours." She gulped. "Five whole hours, Gwen! Nobody showed up! I actually sat there until the diner closed! When I was being forced out, I had to beg one of the waitresses for some change to use a pay phone to call Jazz to pick me up! I felt like the biggest loser ever, and I had to call Jazz, waking her up at almost midnight!"

Before Gwen could say anything, Sammy continued venting, the dam to her torments having been broken down and not even all the self-loathing or consideration for others in the world could seal it up.

"The night before our junior prom she cut up my dress with a pair of lawn sheers! And then, the night before senior prom she shaved my head and eyebrows while I was asleep! During our family camping trip last year she waited for me to get into the RV's shower before turning on the smoke alarm, which made me run out completely naked, then she locked the door behind me! I was shivering in the middle of the woods until my parents got back!" Sammy ended it there. She huffed and puffed at the rant she had unleashed. Lingering hurt still marked her face but not as much so. The pain wasn't as pent-up.

The Goth's vision got blurry for a second as everything Sammy had said slammed into her skull. Her cynical side doubted anyone could be as cruel as Amy, so over-the-top with her villainy that she sounded only a swirly mustache away of tying Sammy to railroad tracks. She didn't doubt that douchebags like her existed. Heather was proof of that. They just weren't so cartoony.

But there was no mistaking the sincere pain in Sammy's voice and face as she said these things. It brought back bitter memories of her own. The Goth remembered all too well her own voice, raspy and cracking as she had to retell what happened, what she'd found, what she'd seen…what was on that damn laptop to every living soul in that courtroom…

Gwen allowed silence to reign for over a minute before she finally responded, pushing her own emotions back down into the pit she kept them locked in once more. As painful as it was, she'd had years to practice and perfect the art of ignoring the claws grabbing at her ankles.

"Wow, what a fucking bitch." she commented bluntly, matter-of-factly. And she meant it. The Good Cheerleader looked at her as if she had grown a second head before a few loud, shameless chuckles escaped her wide grin. Seeing that made Gwen feel good, and mentally she kicked her leg to bat off the long spindly arm that had grabbed it. She ate another piece of dry waffle to celebrate that grin. Then she thought of something else. Not to take away from Sammy's earlier admission, but she felt the need to say it. "How long was it until they got back? Uh, your parents during the camping trip, I mean?"

Sammy shrugged. "I'm not sure. I always take a shower before breakfast in the morning, and it was dark when they got back. So, eight—nine or ten hours…maybe?"

Gwen struggled to find her raspy voice. How could one person get shat on so much by Life? Hearing these tales made her briefly wonder if she wasn't Karma's bitch, after all. Rather than give voice to that, she quickly tried to press on. "So, what did your parents do when they got back?" The Goth ate another piece of waffle, hoping to hear about whatever punishment her parents quite rightly bestowed upon this devil child.

Sammy wilted again. "Same thing they always did…nothing." Gwen thought about how she shouldn't have been surprised by this point, and yet she somehow still was. "Amy told them she didn't know I was outside. That—that she didn't hear me knocking because she had headphones on."

"Who keeps headphones on for ten hours straight?" asked Gwen. "Even if you can ignore the temporary blow to your hearing, you'd still have more wax than Madame Tussauds." The Goth was an authority on the topic. She had burned through quite a few Q-tips. "Besides, that wouldn't explain the smoke alarm."

"I know, right!" Sammy agreed with zeal, so happy that someone understood her viewpoint. But as quickly as it came, the joy displayed vanished behind the more typical expression befitting a kicked puppy. "But my parents believed Amy, like they always do. I was grounded for the rest of the vacation."

Now grimacing, Gwen muttered, "Ouch" under her breathe.

The Goth was unsure if Sammy heard her or not. In any case, the blonde shook her head. "Y—yeah…I—I've had it rough…b—but I try not to think about it. I mean, I don't—it still sometimes—uh, I'm trying to move on with my life as much as I can."

Gwen gave Sammy a gift no one but her boyfriend had witnessed since she'd left home, a small sincere smile devoid of any of her trademark sarcasm. "Good for you," The Goth said with rarely felt genuineness. Sammy's eyes twinkled at the minuscule positivity. Riding high off that, Gwen took another stab at her waffle, but didn't eat it. This time, she held it in front of her face and looked at the twin with a raised eyebrow. "You know, Sammy, I think I would like some syrup on this after all," she said with a grin.

Sammy smiled and handed the Goth the bottle that would unlock the waffle's true potential. As Gwen poured out some on the waffle she had left, Sammy spoke up, "I still can't believe you ate so much of that dry." A lighter kind of chuckle was heard.

"Real nice of you to not say anything," teased Gwen, with a softer tone than normal.

"I—I don't know how other people like to eat things," Sammy said mildly embarrassed. "I don't want to risk offending anyone."

"Personally, I think people put too much stock into that," Gwen commented as she poured a generous amount of syrup onto the remaining pieces. "But, with food at least I get it, and learned not to question the weird shit people like to eat." She closed the syrup bottle." After all, I did become friends with Owen, right?" The Goth showed another grin.

She handed the bottle back to Sammy, who laughed while nodding her head in agreement. Gwen's ears heard Sammy say something else, but she didn't truly process her words. The Goth was too focused on her waffle to catch her soft voice. She ate with gusto now, shoving in fork-full after fork-full while barely stopping to breathe. The hints of flavor that had been there before exploded in an ecstasy of deliciousness. Glops of syrup slowly dripped from the sections of carved waffle impaled aloft in little amber raindrops. As she placed piece after piece of heavenly goodness upon her eagerly waiting tongue, Gwen, despite her best efforts, moaned loudly in delight with every bite.

Seriously, she couldn't remember the last time she'd ate anything this fucking good.

She waited until there were only a few pieces left on her plate before turning her attention back to Sammy, who was giving her a bug-eyed disbelieving look. Gwen stared at her for a few moments, and then blinked. "I don't know if you could tell, but I hated every bite." She managed to keep her face serious through the power of sarcasm. "I'd like to send it back and complain to the chef."

Sammy looked at her completely perplexed before getting the joke, then promptly broke out into a fit of hysterical laughter.

"But seriously," Gwen commented once the laughter she was pleased to hear ended, "this meal was really good. I kinda wish the waffle hadn't started out as dry as the Sahara, but that complaint is not aimed at you. For once, the customer wasn't right. Funny that."

The smile on Sammy's face hurt her muscles and threatened to crack her head in half.

Sammy was on cloud nine! Someone other than Jasmine actually liked her cooking!

She basked in the warmth of the praise before her more critical mind had to ruin it, had to add qualifiers that lessened her achievement. Those qualifiers took much of the joy away.

"Honestly," Gwen kept going, not noticing this, "when you said you were making breakfast, I just assumed you were going to put in some toaster waffles."

The smile on Sammy's face was sad, but not to the same degree as the previous ones. "I couldn't have done that if I had wanted to, Gwen. Heather forbids processed foods in her kitchen. But I—I've had a few years to learn how to cook…" she trailed off.

Gwen was confused. Why would she be sad about having a skill not everyone was good at? "Did you take cooking classes or something?" she asked.

"It—it's more along the lines of 'something,'" Sammy said after a few seconds. "Since my parents worked odd shifts, so we only had cold cereal for breakfast, but Amy didn't like cereal…and she forced me to learn how to cook…"

"Why didn't she just do it herself?" asked Gwen.

The pause until Sammy spoke again was a miniature eternity, and when she finally did speak, the Good Cheerleader's response was slow and more than a little bit cryptic.

"She said I 'would need to know how.' Her exact words."

Colored even curious now, Gwen asked, "What did that mean?"

Sammy said nothing for a little bit, the blonde having found herself at her threshold. She had already told Gwen more about her past than anyone outside of Jasmine, even more than Cody or Heather. She didn't know if she could open that particular door, release that particular pain. "C—Can we pl—please change the subject," Sammy said, forcing the words out, "I—I, uh, I really don't like talking about my sister…or my family…"

Gwen's ears perked at that, even as she nodded in understanding. As much as she wanted to know, she could read the room well enough not to pry.

Besides, this was her chance!

Her sympathy for the poor girl sitting across from her had almost blinded her to the obvious. Her conversational partner had unknowingly provided the opening she had been waiting for. Something she had honestly forgotten about until just now, her main reason for agreeing to breakfast in the first place!

"So…" Gwen began, as she nodded, this time more carefully and calculated than before, "how exactly did you become…uh…friends…with Heather?" she asked, the sentence nearly dying with a prolonged pause to force the word 'friend' out of her jet-black lips. The Goth looked down at her food, both to sample a few more bites, and to give Sammy a chance to answer, not wanting to pressure her before getting the information she craved.

The taller young woman did so for what felt like a minute or two, before tiring of the silence. She returned her gaze to Sammy, and was sincerely surprised to see the blonde all but glowing red with a blush. Gwen's coal colored eyes seeing this spurred Sammy to turn away. The blue-eyed college student cleared her throat, attempting to exorcise the awkwardness her reaction had birthed. The gesture didn't help much. Gwen didn't push, though it was becoming increasingly difficult to hold back.

"W—well…uh…ya see…" Sammy started, once again a stuttering mess, despite herself. "I get along with Heather just fine…but—but friend? I—I've only known her a few weeks." A pause filled the air. Gwen didn't know it, but Sammy was in the midst of a fresh wave of self-loathing. Heather and Cody were her only true friends outside of Jasmine, her girlfriend, and she had only known them for a few weeks. How pathetic was that? Regardless, surprising herself, Sammy forced her thoughts to be given voice, to be heard. "I—I only got to know them through Jazz. We…ugh, we were in…uh…a tight spot. We—um, uh…needed something…and…Cody helped us out." Her cheeks reddened.

Gwen saw this with interest. But more than the blush, the word choice was telling. Sammy had only said Cody helped. What did that mean? Had Heather not been around to help? Not willing to help? Or maybe even the source of the dilemma itself? She hoped the latter two. Could this be a wedge she could use against Heather? Rekindled with a little hope at more ways of getting back at the one who she once again came to hate above all, Gwen asked, "What did they help you with?" Saying 'they' instead of 'he' to avoid suspicion.

Sammy shook her head violently, the red on her face becoming more fiercely present. The cheerleader wondered if any amount of willpower could negate the crippling cornucopia of complex emotions that the events of Cody helping her and Jasmine have their first time could elicit. "I—I, I'm not going to…uh…tell you that, G—Gwen. It's—it's a, um—a private matter." The blonde uttered meekly, before finding a little more strength in her voice as she added, "And—it doesn't matter anymore. It's been resolved."

Muscles that hadn't been used on the Goth's face since sitting down at the table pulled themselves down into a frown. Her overall countenance was deadpan. With as blunt a tone as her naturally raspy voice offered, she asked, "Is Heather blackmailing you too?"

"No!" Sammy snapped irately. "Why did you—We were having such a nice time!" She paused. "Well, I—I mean besides rethinking about all that stuff—" she frantically shook her head, "B—but anyway, why do you keep saying things like that, Gwen?"

Annoyance crept up Gwen's spine. What she had learned about Sammy dampened the fire in her belly, but not completely. "Because it's the truth," she said directly. "It's the kind of person she is. She's selfish, self-centered, self-serving…the trinity of selfs."

The meek twin's face tightened a little. "You're wrong," she said with a tense voice.

"A leopard can't change its spots and a wolf can't decide to go vegan," Gwen shot back easily. "And if you think they can, I've got a lovely bridge I'd like to sell you, Sammy."

"She has and I don't want your bridge!"

Any holding back due to the sob stories she had just heard was burned out of the Goth. Her raw hatred for Heather enflamed and hammered on her heart, giving her strength. Any thoughts of holding her tongue were gone as she had two separate yet conjoined thoughts. Heather blackmailing or manipulating someone like Sammy was unforgivable, and she was obligated to attempt to help this stubborn misguided girl see the light. "Then prove it!" Gwen snapped, laying down the gauntlet to see if Sammy could pick it up.

Cross and upset, Sammy was awash in the rarely experienced warmth of wraith's currents. It took her a few moments to gain enough clarity to properly respond to the challenge. "She's letting me stay safe in her dorm, for one thing!" she roared at the sitting Goth. "And she and Cody helped me and Jazz move into our dorm! And introduced us to their friends! And she's been teaching me a few things I've wanted to learn for a while!"

Snorting on reflex, Gwen already had a retort in mind. "And what exactly is she teaching you? I doubt Heather could teach anyone anything, other than how to suck up or suck someone off."

Before she knew what she was doing, Sammy rose to her feet and slammed her hands down on the table. Gwen actually jumped a little at how fast the previously timid waif of a blonde had escalated the argument. She had gone from throwing stones to H-bombs.

"She's been teaching me how to stand up for myself! Something no one but Jazz ever tried to help me do, Gwen!" Sammy screamed, not giving a damn how loud she was, heaping onto her vocal cords a mere fraction of the violent vehemence she felt for Amy. "How to sleep at night without being terrified of waking up without any hair on my head! How to see myself as something other than the worthless, ugly thing I had been told I was since I could walk! How to feel like a goddamn human being for the first time ever! IS THAT ENOUGH PROOF FOR YOU, GWEN!?"

The blonde breathed heavily as she stared down the sitting, and now slightly trembling Goth. Her eyes, which had been blue pools of sorrow and insecurity, were now azure suns of hate. The way her face was clinched made Gwen terrified that she would lunge at her like a wolf. In the back of her mind, Gwen remembered that this girl had already knocked her out twice without even trying. She shuddered to imagine what she could do with the level of bloodlust she was projecting.

Gwen was also forced to acknowledge that she had grossly underestimated the "help" that Heather had given this girl, and she was forced to admit that the advice was likely sincere given what she now knew about her past. Yet, that also made perfect sense, because what better way to buy the loyalty of someone like Sammy?

But the Goth had to focus on getting this girl to not go for her jugular. With that in mind, she cleared her throat as she held out her hands in a gesture of surrender. "Li—listen, uh…Sa—Sammy…" Gwen began, stuttering, "You—you're worked up. W—why don't you just sit—sit down and calm down so we can—?"

"NO!" Sammy fumed with enough force to weld Gwen's jet-black lips shut. The attempts to pacify her only blew a mighty wind upon the flames of her fury. "I will settle down when I want to settle down! Not when you or anyone else thinks I should! GOT IT!?"

Yet again Gwen was stunned into silence at the metamorphosis she had witnessed. The person standing before her, despite looking as identical as her evil twin Amy supposedly did, wasn't the same previously diminutive and shy blonde she had been talking to earlier. No, this person was someone who had inspired a level of terror Heather could only dream of. Hell, it might have been a level of terror that surpassed what even Jasmine could instill. She had faced down man-eating wild animals and psychopaths that weren't this scary!

The air was so tense as to feel made of electricity. Sammy was its lord and master, its gender-swapped Zeus. If she so chose, Gwen would be helpless to stop her assault.

But then, within a timespan measurable in blinks, all that electricity fizzled out. Sammy suddenly started to sag and calm down on her own. Anger wasn't something she was used to expressing, and she was sitting on almost two decades' worth of pent-up pain. The white-hot waters of rage had left, to be replaced by the gentle but heavy tide of shame. "S—sorry about that, Gwen…" Sammy said meekly as she rubbed her arm looking away.

The Goth's response, a few seconds delayed by regaining her senses, was straightforward. "What the fuck was that?"

Sammy was quiet for a long moment, with a look so deeply pitiable that if she hadn't just almost made Gwen crap herself with fright the Goth would have given her an awkward hug. "I—I'm sorry…" Was the blonde's meek response. "I—I'm not used to expressing myself. It's—it's not easy for me to say what's on my mind, especially when I'm angry." The blonde sat back down into her chair with disarming demureness.

"Yeah…I can tell you need more than a little practice with that," Gwen quipped. When the instinctual drive for sarcasm abated, the Goth pondered something else and she gave Sammy a curious look. "But why the hell would you need to learn how to do that? I mean, you're, like…what…" she paused, looking Sammy over, "Eighteen, right?"

Sammy looked embarrassed, looking down at her fingers, which were now touching each other. "Uh…I'm actually twenty," she said meekly, knowing she once again seemed like just a pathetic little kid. She braced herself for the mocking comment that would rub it in. Her face pinched, waiting for the inevitable verbal blow. The blonde was shocked it never came. Opening eyes that had been held tightly shut, she noticed Gwen, waiting for her, the look on her pale face not mean or belittling, more mildly confused than anything else. Sammy felt much better knowing that. So much so that it emboldened her to continue. "The—the reason I need to learn how is because, uh, I was never allowed to learn growing up."

Fresh confusion grew on Gwen's expression. "Never allowed?"

The Goth noticed something odd. After being blindsided so severely twice in this discussion of theirs, she wouldn't get caught off guard again. So, the small details she might have otherwise ignored, things like how the twin had looked at her funny, almost as if in mild surprise, before an amateurish attempt to quickly cover it up, she'd almost missed Sammy's choice of words.

"B—back home," Sammy explained, figuring her lashing out earned Gwen some more clarity, as much as she didn't want to dig back into such dark and painful depths. "Until just a few weeks ago, act—actually, Amy…" she left the sentence hanging, before starting over, "Amy didn't treat me like a sister."

"Yeah," Gwen said without thinking, "I've kinda gleaned that much for myself."

"Uh, right," Sammy laughed awkwardly, realizing how obvious that was. "Any—anyway, she didn't treat me like a family member. I—I…I was more like a dog to her. Actually, I lie. She seemed to think of me as less than a dog." That really hurt to say. She paused to collect herself and summon forth the necessary strength to divulge any further.

Gwen waited patiently for Sammy to continue. Though she didn't enjoy the idea of getting shouted at again by the petite pasty skinned She-Hulk, she did believe that getting this out in the open would help. She was vaguely aware of how odd it was to find she actually cared about Sammy feeling better. Normally, she wouldn't have given a damn, but something in Sammy spoke to her. She could relate to families fucking you over, and being fucked over by life in general.

Sammy took a deep breath, and steeled her nerves. "Like I said before, our parents worked odd hours. Mom has an early morning shift and dad works the graveyard shift. They rarely saw each other, or Amy and me. We were never alone, not technically, but we had to take care of the house and ourselves. At least way more than kids our age should have had to since our parents, well, needed to sleep."

Gwen nodded before asking the obvious. "Why did they have such odd schedules?"

Sammy managed the incredible feat of getting even more downcast. "It's my fault."

The statement was the saddest thing Gwen had ever heard because of how certain it sounded. It sounded just as absolute as people saying they breathed air. The intrinsic obviousness of the statement was all the emphasis the words required. The astonished shock in Gwen's eyes must have shown because Sammy winced anew at the pause. "I—I was born with a heart defect, a bad one," she explained, "And it—well, it cost a lot of money for my treatments since we lived in America until about ten years ago," she paused. "It's better now, mostly, but I still have to be careful, very careful. My heart is weak and I'm easily winded, worn out."

Again, Gwen bobbed her head up and down in acknowledgement. She was half-tempted to ask another question but because of that greater attention to detail, she gathered that more was on the way. A moment later, Sammy proved Gwen's theory correct.

"Because of all of that," the good twin continued, "I got a lot of attention from my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and everyone else because, well…for years there was the danger that I…wouldn't be around as long as Amy, and all that attention made her jealous. Even to this day, she thinks that I'm their favorite. Me! How could I be their favorite when I feel so bad all the time, right?" She laughed at that, in a way that made Gwen wince more harshly, like hearing nails on a chalkboard.

"So, she did everything she could to make me miserable ever since we were very little. And she did." Sammy paused again. "When we got older, it got worse. It—it got so bad that I'd just do whatever Amy told me just—just so she would leave me alone, so, she wouldn't hurt me as often."

A ball of ice that burned dropped in Gwen's gut. "What do you mean by 'as often'?" The Goth asked, already forming a few ideas about the answer.

As expected, Sammy got silent for a while. "Amy never stopped," she eventually replied. "B—but when I…'behaved,'" a shiver was sent through Sammy that Gwen felt from across the table. The blonde shook her head. "When I…did that… did what she told me, she wasn't…as bad."

"It doesn't sound like there was much of a difference." Gwen said, as tactfully as she could. She had trouble the last time she had to walk on eggshells around someone else in a conversation…that wasn't Duncan at least.

Sammy shook her head fitfully. "I—I really don't want to talk about it, Gwen," She said that so weakly, the anger and passion had been overheated, leaving only the despair. "All I'll say about it is that there's a difference between 'bad' and 'worse.'" The blonde looked up at the Goth and her teal eyes begged in a way that said that Sammy would do anything to not go deeper into this. It was the look of a beat dog that couldn't even hate. Despite her best efforts and sympathizes, Gwen couldn't' erase her skeptical look. "Please don't push me on this. Jazz is my…she's my best friend…and for the longest time she was my only friend. Literally my only friend. And I haven't told her everything yet."

Gwen couldn't ignore the simple, shameless pleading shimmering in those innocent blue eyes. Begging her to not push this, to let this topic remain buried. The Goth nodded her head in understanding.

Sammy showed a look of pure happiness that was rendered foul by the context. So much affection was sent Gwen's way simply because she respected Sammy's explicit wishes. That provided an unsettlingly deep look into how rare such an occurrence was.

And that was why when Sammy spoke up again, Gwen was more than a little surprised. "But—but I will tell you about other stuff, if you want." The blonde offered out of the blue. Despite how much she read the Goth was at lost as to a motive for further revelations. From there, for some reason Gwen couldn't fathom, Sammy gave her more details about life with Amy.

It started with how there was a set of 'rules' that Amy had laid down which were meant to be treated as holy gospel, which had to be followed to the letter for "less bad" treatment. She wasn't allowed to talk unless asked something or told to. How her life had gotten very, very quiet and even lonelier as a result of this forced isolation. How her only break from this isolation was Jasmine, and how Amy would punish her every time she spent time with the girl from Australia until Jasmine nearly sent Amy to the hospital after finding out. From that point onward, Amy tended to not punish her as severely or often, at least for that.

Similar to before, Gwen found it difficult to fight against her skepticism at all of this. If a girl's life was this horrible for this long, how had she not shuffled herself off the mortal coil? Despite her morbid attire, outlook, and past, Gwen had never contemplated suicide but knew it was an option. The Goth had enough tact to not ask that particular question. Instead, she brought attention to something else, something that had been bothering her for a while now.

"But what about your parents?" she asked. "How did they never catch onto any of this?" Sammy stared at her, so she elaborated. "I know you said they were rarely around, but they would still see something unless they suddenly developed the perception abilities of John Milton."

Sammy went quiet again and clenched her fists for a few seconds before releasing them. Her eyes went from her loosened hands back to the Goth girl who seemed both so smart but so goddamn dumb at the same time. "Did you know that punching someone in the stomach doesn't leave a bruise for very long?" she asked. "Or that locking someone inside a tiny closet for an entire day doesn't leave marks at all? Neither does locking someone in a sleeping bag out in the middle of the woods. Hot wax doesn't leave burn marks. Falls down stairs are easily passed off as slipping. Pillows don't leave bruises either."

The blonde paused and allowed Gwen to wallow in what she didn't say as much as what she had. The Goth looked blindsided for the third or fourth time this entire conversation. That had been why Sammy was so willing to explain details about her past outside of the difference between 'bad' and 'worse.' She wanted Gwen to fathom how truly bad it was. "Amy's a lot of things," Sammy resumed, "but she's never been stupid. She is careful, always careful. And cautious and planning. I don't think she ever acted out on a whim."

Understanding dawned on Gwen as the similarities between Amy and Derek manifested themselves before her eyes. Who would ever suspect a kid of being so cruel, so evil to their sickly twin sister? Better yet, why would they ever have reason? For the same reason nobody suspected the owner of a security instillation company of being a voyeur and pedophile, because they never gave any reason to be suspected.

Gwen nodded her understanding. She couldn't go to her parents because Amy never left any proof and it sounded like she would always have an alibi or excuse to explain away whatever Sammy might say. And since their parents were always either working or dead tired, they missed whatever little clues or hints might have been there to catch.

The fact she had finally grasped enough of Sammy's situation to not ask any more dumb questions gave her the courage needed to finish her thoughts on her evil sister. "Amy made my life Hell, Gwen. For as long I can remember. It got so bad that I stopped trying to oppose her three years ago," she paused to rub her arm while looking away before retuning her focus to Gwen. "Jazz is the only reason why I got out of that horrible place. I try not to think of it as a home. It wasn't. Homes are where you should feel safe." Some chitterling was heard, and Sammy looked down to see Chikktika and Boo on the floor. Smiling, she picked them up and brought them to the table. Gwen glared at the perverted devil rats as they got petted and chewed on pieces of bacon still on Sammy's plate, partly because she had yet to forgive them for what they'd done to her, but also to distract herself from Sammy's words. "The dorm me and Jazz live in is a home, and this dorm is a home. At least to me."

Gwen wasn't sure what to feel after hearing that. It was personal but misguided, yet, she understood completely. This place couldn't be a home…it was Heather's! But again, she had the sense to not say that, and absentmindedly kicked her leg under the table. Instead, she asked, "How did you get your dorm?" Sammy's attention turned from the ferrets to her. "I didn't think you could get rooms after the semester started and the way you talked about it. But it sounds like you got yours just recently."

"Yeah, that's true," Sammy admitted as she continued feeding and scratching the ferrets, "I had wanted a dorm for a long time but I didn't have the grades to get a scholarship. Amy didn't want me getting higher grades than her, so I never got better than high C's. And she wouldn't let me get a job, so I've got no money. The only reason I have a cell phone is it was a gift from Jasmine."

"So, not to sound too obvious," Gwen began, "But how did you and Jazz get your dorm?"

Sammy smiled, still small but this time happy. "Cody and Heather helped," she explained. "Along with Brick and Jo."

That got Gwen's attention, she remembered the Jockette who she had met in the hallway. Thinking about her talk with the RA still left her feeling cold, for some unknown reason. Repressing that, the Goth simply asked, "How?"

"After Cody and Heather helped Jazz and me with our…problem," Sammy began, "they suggested we get a dorm of our own. Jazz liked the idea, b—but I was still…uh, s—scared…of Amy…" She paused with a look of shame across her lovely features. Gwen waited for more, knowing better than to interrupt this willing fount of information.

"Cody and me were cleaning dishes that morning," The Good Cheerleader Twin resumed, "while Jazz and Heather snuck out. We didn't even notice they were gone until they came back around lunchtime. When they got back, they said they had gone to talk to Brick and Jo. It seems that Jazz talked to her parents and they agreed to help her pay for a dorm room that had just become vacant a few days earlier. And—and Jazz asked me to be her roommate. I—uh, I said yes." She giggled a little as a gentle, wide smile graced her lips.

Gwen frowned at that and scrunched her eyes. The blonde didn't know what to make of that look but felt herself wilt a little under its gaze on reflex. She assumed she had done something wrong.

"How can you be so happy about Jazz going behind your back like that? Asked the Goth.

The nervousness left Sammy as she understood that the pale woman's ire wasn't birthed from her messing up but rather a misunderstanding. Sammy liked that. She could fix that.

"It—it's okay, Gwen," Sammy said sincerely. "I needed her to do that. I really, really did." She admitted before another pause to wallow in self-shame. But this one was brief. "Anyway, I wouldn't have had the strength to get out from under Amy's thumb on my own. I know that. I've always known that…" Another longer pause of pity and shame rung out. "But with Jazz's help, I was able to move on. And Heather's been trying to help me be more assertive and not so timid…" A third pause happened, but this one wasn't heavy. A few little, embarrassed chuckles were uttered. "I haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet. Ha, hah, hah."

The Goth bit back her naturally sarcastic agreement with that observation. She lacked the desire to do so, and she knew it would counterproductive to learning more about Heather.

"Is that why you got so mad at me for insulting Heather and Cody?" Gwen asked. "Because they helped you get your dorm, and get away from Amy?"

"That's part of the reason. Well, half of it," Sammy explained, "The other half is that if it hadn't been Cody and Heather, Jazz would still be my only friend. Thanks to them, I have several friends now—at least I think they're friends—and I'm still making more."

Gwen gave her a questioning look. Sammy's response was a beaming smile.

"It all started with the house warming party Jazz and me threw…"


And that was the latest chapter! As always, we hope you enjoyed it!

Okay, so, a lot to unpack here, as pretty much the full extent of Gwen and Sammy's luggage has been set out here for all the world to see. Right off the bat that shower scene has been written, rewritten, planned and re-planned for FIVE YEARS. I'm honestly still not entirely satisfied with it because there are far too many things that were all packed into the one scene, but given how this arc plays out it was important to get all those threads started at the same time.

At any rate, as indicated in the chapter, Gwen's father ran off when her mother got pregnant, leaving her to fend for herself while she was still in high school. Gwen's brother, Patrick is three years younger than her, and as was the case with Gwen's father, his took off rather than take responsibility for his actions. Then, there was number three, the big one, Derek.

Now, this chapter was extremely difficult for a number of reasons, not just the subject matters involved but also with trying to show as much as possible without it coming across as forced or like we were trying to just dump all this exposition on you without giving it fair time to play out. At the end of the day there were a few things that just couldn't realistically be explained as there was not enough room or time to do so.

Put simply, Derek fell in love with Gwen's mother when they were both in their teens, and Gwen could pass as a copy of her mother from when she was the same age minus the Goth aspect. This is not rationalizing, and it sure as hell isn't justification for what he did, but it's important to know in this context as Gwen herself is aware. Think back to chapter 17. Remember 'the germ of a new feeling started to sprout in her belly'? The first time Gwen saw the Jamaica episode of TDWT is when Cody went from 'weird friend' to 'dangerous threat' as she has consciously likened him to her stepfather ever since.

What happened traumatized her, and has had a lasting impact on her, especially when it comes to those who do things that betray the trust of others. She's extremely paranoid about Cody as a result, but more than anything she is EXTREMELY angry towards Heather because she's being blackmailed with of all things, something that was recorded that she doesn't want anyone to see or know about.

Heather is using quite literally the biggest and brightest red button of all the big red buttons Gwen has, and is threatening to use it against Duncan. So of course she is going to be hostile and defensive.

Speaking of Duncan, it's also important to note the exact nature of the ultimatum Gwen was given by her mother, either live under her roof or continue dating Duncan. As far as Gwen is concerned, her mother is the last person to have any right to say anything concerning her dating life, but if you suspect her mother just might know a thing or two about a bad choice in men, well, you'd be right. Gwen is unknowingly following in her mother's footsteps, dating a guy very similar to her own father.

Yes, Gwen has been extremely caustic towards Heather and Cody, but, look at the situation from her perspective, how similar this is all playing out to what happened before. Heather is blackmailing her and she knows Cody has already taken pictures of her while she was asleep, and she's still dealing with the trauma of finding out her stepfather was a pedophile that recorded her for months. This is why she has an extremely negative view towards perverts and is somewhat closed minded when it comes to anything of a sexual nature, for her it always goes back to those recordings.

What makes everything worse is her relationship with Duncan, which is finally going to be explained and explored in greater detail, because it is important for the full scale and scope to be seen for the problem to be understood. Duncan has some very serious flaws, but not everything is his fault either. A few clues were sprinkled throughout this chapter that will be developed in the future. Here's a hint, pay close attention to the shower scene, it should be obvious, but if not, well, you'll just have to wait.

On the opposite side of the fence, we have Sammy, who has dealt with an extremely abusive sister for most of her life, along with a little something else more eagle-eyed readers may have picked up on in how the twins are more alike than they realize.

That being said, ladies and gentlemen, meet the 'wildcard' that is going to be the key to the next part of Gwen's journey.

I apologize for the lengthy notes here at the end, but I felt it was important to lay everything out on the table after six long years of trying not to tip my hand in regards to Gwen's character. If any of this had been revealed earlier it might have made things easier to understand, but at the same time it would have made the interactions that much more difficult and it would have been the only thing people paid attention to. We wanted everyone to see Gwen for who she was before learning why she was that way.

We hope that you will stick with us and continue reading as this story plays out. Likewise, please, PLEASE let us know your thoughts and feelings. Your feed back is what keeps us going and is critical for making sure we are explaining things and laying them out in a way that is understood. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please let us know.

Lastly, and most importantly, we want to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR that abuse, no matter what form it may be in, physical, mental, emotional, sexual, is WRONG. If you, or somebody you know is being abused, get help, don't stay quiet, and never, for any reason EVER blame yourself. It is not your fault, it is never your fault, and it never will be your fault. The only one at fault, is the abuser themselves.

Never forget that.

All right…let's move onto some less heavy topics. Lol

About the scene with GwenC and GwenD. As I'm sure you've gathered this is a echoing of the CodyX and Cody4 thing from the earlier chapters of this story. But it's also different. Here, you'll notice how both sides don't exactly think very highly of Cody. GwenC might be better than GwenD, but she ain't no shoulder angel! Lol. But at the same time, GwenC is also kind of what Gwen would be like if this story started off with her when she's written well from the show. We gotta get to that point. Hopefully the ride is worth the initial rockiness of Gwen's unlikeability.

Next, about Sammy's backstory. I know that Gwen's backstory will probably dominate the discussion but please don't ignore Sammy's trauma and scars. Lol. What do you think of her backstory? Do you find it believable for this story's tone?

I know these closing thoughts are already absurdly long but I just have a few quick things to say. The next chapter will feature Cody and Heather finally meeting Lindsay! And yes, the contrast between this chapter and that one will be on purpose. Gotta get all this angsty taste out of our mouths somehow, right? Lol. And the chapter after that one will be…a flashback chapter! To the party that Sammy is going to be describing to Gwen. That chapter will hopefully be just as palate cleansing.

So…that's all for now and we look forward to seeing you at the next chapter!

Until next time, please read, review, favor, follow, and spread the word!