Prologue: 'the mistakes we make'.

She sat staring at the tepid prison building, her hands gripping the steering wheel tightly as if she as deriving strength from it.

Stop being such a coward.

I am not being a coward, I am just…

A coward?

No, I am just afraid of losing all that I have.

Then turn around, go back, and you never have to think about this kid again.

I, I… can't…

Marissa Atwood sighed, her long blonde hair falling out of her carefully created chignon because of her restless hands; the result of the internal debate that she kept having. She chewed on her bottom lip, a nervous habit she had formed all those years ago as her face mirrored the anxiety and the turmoil that she felt in her heart. She knew what she was about to do could very well wreck her marriage, her life, but she also knew that she couldn't not. There was something in his eyes, call it kindness, call it reluctance, but it was something that she couldn't let go yet. She had to find out why he had done what he had done…

Gathering all the courage that she had, she unbuckled her seatbelt and stepped outside. Slowly she walked towards the gate, her hands unconsciously smoothening the nonexistent wrinkles in her dress as she approached the first guard. He barely glanced at her as he opened the door.

The first thing that hit her as she stepped inside was the darkness that seemed to pervade, even though the neon lights glared overhead every few inches. The smell was stale, as if it had been years since anyone had really bothered to clean up. Whether it was the dankness or her feelings that were choking her, she had no idea. She could hear the raucous laughter and the screams from the prisoners and for a moment, she felt raw fear trickle down her spine. For the millionth time she wondered if she should even be here at all. If Ryan came to know, she was here...

No point in thinking about it now... Squaring her shoulders, she approached the second guard

"I am here to see Seejay." She said politely although her voice held an unnatural tremor.

This guard looked up at her and almost did a double take. Classy ladies like her didn't come here often. He gave her a leery once over. "And you are…?"

She thought carefully, her hands flicking away her hair nervously, before she answered. "Uh… a friend."

The guard watched her skeptically aware that she had side stepped his question, not giving him her name. He knew he could pull it out of her if he wanted to, but finally he just decided to let it go. What did he care, really? "Just wait down the corridor in room number 102"

"Thanks" she muttered, before she nervously made her way towards it. This is it. Now, there is no turning back.

She subconsciously took the seat that was nearest to the door as her apprehensive eyes surveyed the room, taking in the varied occupants of the other chairs and tables. Some were laughing, some were silently talking with their guests and some were brooding. But, what struck her the most were their eyes. Every single person in their had the same kind of eyes. Hard, cold, bottomless, shell less. They wouldn't blink if they had to kill and she suspected that many over here had to. What was she doing here? She must before she could complete that train of thought and her feet could actually take any action, the door opened and a weary boy of about sixteen walked inside. His eyes weren't that hard, or that cold or that bottomless, or that shell less. But, they soon would be, if he stayed here.the thought popped into her mid from God knows where. Even from this distance she could see the torment that burned in his eyes, the sadness that lurked in their depths and the maturity that aged his face. He seemed 'big', almost like a 60 year old man was trapped in the body of a sixteen year old boy and what saddened her was that he seemed just as battle weary... like he had given up.

"Hey Seejay…"

Seejay was shocked. Never in a million years had he thought that he would meet Marissa Atwood, when the guard had told him that someone was here to see him. What was she doing here? The wife of the same man who was indirectly responsible for him being here in the first place was here to see him? It didn't add up. He masked his confusion with the same indifferent look that he used on everyone as he raised his eyebrows questioningly up at her.

"Uh, I don't know why I am here…" she began awkwardly, looking anywhere but at him.

"Well, that makes two of us".

Her eyes immediately clashed with his. His were obstinately staring at her, like they were daring her to answer. He was barely sixteen years old, but in that moment, she could have forgotten that, except for the hurt and the pain, besides the confusion, she saw lurking in their depths. She had seen such eyes once… She had fallen in love with them…

"Look, I just wanted to know why you did it."

Her eyes softened as they implored him to confide. Somehow, he found himself unable to lie to her. He folded his hands on his lap as he looked away. "What does it matter? I am here aren't I?"

She leaned towards him, her voice softening. "It matters."

He almost wanted to believe her, believe that she cared. But he had had a lifetime of people lying to him, for him to really believe her that easily, however soft and true her voice rang. "No, it doesn't" he breathed out harshly, "not to you, not to your family and definitely not to me. So, just go!"

Immediately her hands clasped his, effectively stopping him. "Wait. Just wait! There's… there's something else".

And here it comes, he thought. He was right in his first assessment. He never should have trusted her. He was almost disappointed though, he had really thought that she was different. He waited for whatever it was that she was going to say.

"Your dad…" she took a deep breath, "he died today".

For a minute all he wanted to do was pretend that he was at home and that none of this had happened, so intense was the pain and loneliness. He had no one left anymore. His hands gripped the table tightly; his entire body convulsing, his eyes tormented and stormy, before he finally brought himself under control and they blanked. "Thanks for telling me". He said in the same emotionless tone you would use if you had to thank someone for giving you the right directions or if someone gave you a glass of water.

She placed her hands softly upon his trying to give him whatever comfort she could. "I am sorry…" she whispered.

He looked up at her, and what she saw almost had her blanching. In that moment, he looked like such a lost boy; she could clearly see the vulnerability, the pain, the confusion, the loneliness, the fear, the fear he was so desperately trying to hide. God, he was just sixteen, almost the same age as her son and she couldn't help it; She crossed the distance in one quick step as she hugged him to her. "Oh baby, I am so sorry."

He flinched as he stood awkwardly in her embrace, his hands falling uselessly to their sides. It had been years since someone had held him like that, almost like a mother… and even though he convinced himself he didn't want it, he didn't really want this embrace to end. He had almost felt loved for once, even though it was for a minute. Finally, she pulled away. "If there is anything I can do…"

He looked down as he bit on his lip. "Leave…?"

She sighed. She wished there was something she could do. She couldn't. That was the truth of the matter. It just wasn't her place…

"You are a good kid and he loved you however warped it may have been. Just remember that". She squeezed his hands reassuringly as she sadly looked at him.

A ghost of a smile came into his eyes and he looked up at her in gratitude. "Thanks. And… and I am sorry for you know… I didn't mean to."

"I know. That's why I came". She smiled back.

It happened in a split second. One second she was turning to leave and the next second she was pulled roughly to one side by a giant of a man, "my, aren't you a sweet little thing?"

"Let her go." Seejay ordered, his eyes narrowing in a warning. The man turned towards him laughing derisively, "oh and you gunna stop me?"

They both circled each other, like opponents in a ring, the older man laughing hysterically while Seejay's face only showed anger.

"Okay, boys, I think this is not required."

In one swift move, Seejay butted headlong into the guy, causing the guy to lose his balance and fall. The guy not deterred brought Seejay down with him, his weight acting as a pulling force. Almost as if he was a rag doll, the man flipped their positions, pummeling his massive fists into Seejay's face.

"Wait, no, stop." Her cries went unheard.

What happened next happened in a blur. The guards came and restricted the man as they took him away., "You are dead, you punk, you hear me. You come back into the cell and you are dead!" his shouts could be heard even after they had led him away

She crouched down over a bleeding Seejay, "are you alright?"

His eyes almost glazed over with unshed tears. Too much had happened today. He brushed her off as he got up to leave. His lips curled in derision at her question. "Of course I am, I am bleeding, in jail, my dad's dead, I have no future and now some six footer wants to kill me and there is no other way for me to go."

She could not leave him like that. They would kill him in there. And he had tried to save her. But what else could she do? She didnt have an option. There was no other way. Except... Well, no, she couldnt. But, then she looked intoo his eyes, the same sad, tormented, confused, angry, lonely brown eyes and she knew she couldnt turn away. "Wait…" for the second time her hands raised to stop him… "There is another way…"

He stared at her, afraid to believe what she was saying.

Now she KNEW she was in deep trouble.

She had just agreed to bail out Oliver Trask's son.

(Don't kill me. We all hate Oliver and Oliver is not and will never be shown to be the good guy here. I have been playing with this idea for quite some time. Most of the story will be in flashback showing us how they got to this point and the last few chapters will be the continuation of the prologue. The next chaps are going to be extremely fluffy coz there will be more angst later on. It's not a mystery. It is the struggle of a family to accept another as their own. Please, just give it a try and I promise you that you wouldn't be disappointed.)