can: I wanted to have a little of this couple because you never see them. But… this will be a darker story dealing with jealousy and dating abuse.

A match made in heaven, that's what everyone thought they were. She loved him, and he loved her. Girls wished they had a boyfriend that loved them that much. Boys wished they had a girlfriend that hot. Everyone wanted to be them. They wanted the fake relationship that they showed to the world. The relationship where he gave her flowers, showered her with compliments, and bought her anything that her heart desired. But, if they knew about what was hidden, they wouldn't pine for it. They would know why he acted that way, to make up for his past actions.

He gave her the flowers to say he was sorry for cussing her out the night before; mental abuse. He showered her with compliments, because she did a good job covering up the bruise he gave her; physical abuse. He bought her whatever her heart desired because, he stole everything from her; sexual abuse. If everyone knew about how he battered down her self-esteem, beat her body until her bones rattled, and forced himself on her; they wouldn't wish that for anyone.

But, they didn't know. Everyone was so blind. Blind to her insecurities, beatings, and shame; so blind to the abuse.

Now, when they got together everything was perfect. They were always laughing and kissing, it was a match made in heaven. The people that brought them together were nothing short of angels. So, it didn't make sense how this relationship could be such hell for her.

Maybe it was a test, to see how strong she was, or to see if she could stand up for herself. Even if it was a test, wasn't it too difficult for her. At the same time, God would never give her an obstacle that she couldn't overcome. Will she really become strong from this pain? Or will she just become cold?

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Heat blared down on the football field as twenty young men ran plays in layers of pads. A handful of players were sitting on the bench, sweating even more so from being stagnant. One of the motionless men watched on even more intensely than the others. His brown eyes flickered as he followed the snap of the ball to the quarterback to it being caught in the receiver's hands. As he watched play after play, he wished that he was out there practicing instead of melting in the heat.

The young man looked at his bench mates. One was the asthmatic red-head whose father is a lawyer and he threatened to sue if he didn't make the team. Another was the kicker; he only went in a few times per game so he was unneeded in scrimmaging. He would much rather be playing his guitar than practicing. The last was the odd new kid, who was new to public school, and was put on the team for numbers.

There he was the kid with the rich dad and all of the training. But, coach said he didn't know his right from his left and that his four-year-old granddaughter could pitch it further than him. He never denied it. He knew that he was far from the best, but he could at least get a chance to play on the practice field if not the real field.

He scanned the green and saw who was playing. How much better could they be?

The brown-eyed boy stared at the wide receiver, a juvenile delinquent. Sure, he was quick on his feet; that's only because he used to eluding the police. His hands were swift; that's only because he is used to the five-finger discount. He shouldn't even be playing; he has violated the school's athletic guidelines by being arrested. But, that was swept under the rug because his parents were cops. In fact, his father was the school police officer and he patrolled the games. His mom was always helping out with the PTA. His brothers were on the football team. His whole family was well known and liked, so he had to play.

He then looked at the left tackle. He was strong, but that's only because the coach has been working with him one on one since freshman year. He was also big, but that's just because he got good genes. But, he was never rough enough. Even always helped members of our team and the other team up when he knocks them down. It makes no sense how he is so damn nice. He really shouldn't be playing every Friday night. He should be taking care of his fiancée who is a freshman in college and his daughter. But, whenever he isn't playing he's with them or helping out at his mom's restaurant. He's a nice guy so he had to play.

His eyes finally gazed upon the quarterback. He had a strong arm, but that from all the fist pumping he does at parties. His aim was great; but that his just from the beer pong he plays. All he did was party, on Mondays he always came to school with a hangover. He was a great leader though, people always flocked to him. He just had this charismatic personality and a contagious smile. His father was the football coach in the college the town over. His brothers were, twenty, thirteen, and seven; and the star quarterbacks of their respective leagues: college, middle school, and peanut. He was a part of a dynasty so he had to play.

The boy closed his eyes. He began to imagine if he was out there on the gridiron, giving his blood, sweat, and tears. He could feel the turf under his feet rumbling from the clash of helmets and bodies. He could feel his ears begin to ring from the cheers of the crowd and the cheerleaders. He could even feel each and every bump in the leather that was tightly pressed on the football. His arm even began to crane back and flick as if he was throwing the game winning pass.

"Boy, quit day dreamin' and take a shower. You smell worse than Owen's jock strap!" Coach Hatchet hollered. The young man opened his eyes to a squint. But, the large coach was standing right in front of him blocking the sun. He nodded and jumped off of the bench. Quickly, he made his way to the field house were his team was. He opened the door, and was greeted with its signature odor of sweat, old tennis shoes, and fermented testosterone.

All of the guys were changing out of their pads. Some just threw on shorts and a t-shirt and headed to their cars to take a shower at home. Others were stark nude and grabbing towels to take into the showers. The benchwarmer decided to go and take a shower.

There were only a few guys in the showers, but he never felt comfortable around other guys so he went to the last stall. The hot water pelted his skin, but he didn't mind. He just rinsed the perspiration from his body and hair and jumped out. Wrapping the white towel around his lower half he made his way back into the locker room.

No one was there but the left tackle and his buddy the wide receiver. The bench warmer ignored them and promptly got dressed. He was always dressed in the nicest and most expensive sportswear but, he had no real pride behind it. The boy slammed his locker and made his way out of the field house. The sun stung his eyes as he made his way to one of the benches by the field house.

This is where he always sat as he waited for his ride to pick him up. He normally would have driven home. But, since his sister broke his taillight he had no truck. The sweat began to build up underneath his arms again as he waited in the heat. His mom said she would pick him up after her appointment for her lip injections. But that should have been over with at least twenty minutes ago, and the office was only two miles down the road. His house on the other hand was on the other side of town.

He sighed. Suddenly, a car stopped in front of him.

"Hey Tyler, Did you need a ride?" The left tackle, DJ, asked. Tyler looked up at DJ. Why was he offering him a ride? They hadn't talked to each other since the eighth grade. But, DJ is a nice guy. He's probably just doing this out of the goodness of his heart, he figured. The benchwarmer said yes and jumped into the passenger side of the SUV.

When he got into the car, he automatically began to take in his surroundings. There was a case for a nursery rhyme CD in the console, a pink sippy-cup in the cup holder, and a car seat in the car. Tyler pulled out his phone and sent his mom a quick text saying that he got a ride. For some reason riding in DJ's car reminded him of his family going on a road trip. It was probably the items for a toddler, the clean R&B song that was playing, and the fact that this car was spotless other than a few cheerios in the backseat.

"I hope you don't mind, but I have to pick up my daughter from day-care. It's like ten minutes away and it'll take a minute or two to get her." DJ said while turning into a lower-middle class part of town. The benchwarmer looked at the houses they were passing. He had been in this part of town to drop of his sister at a friend's house before. But, he wasn't too familiar.

The two sat in an awkward silence for awhile until DJ shared his plans for the weekend. Evidently it was his daughter's first birthday party that weekend. His fiancé was inviting a bunch of her friends over, and he was doing the same. But, they were going to do the little cake and present deal first and then he and the guys were going to watch the game at the sports bar down the road. "Did you want to come?"

Tyler had never really been invited out with the first-string players. His dad has always told him to jump at opportunities so he did. He told DJ he would come to the party. Once benchwarmer accepted the invitation, they were at the day-care. The left-tackle quickly ran in to get his daughter. He was back in a minute or two later, DJ strapped the little girl in and got back to his place in the driver's seat. "So, what's it like being a dad?" Tyler asked as he looked at the toddler in the rearview mirror. That was the icebreaker for the rest of the conversation of Tyler asking DJ things about his daughter and fiancé.

The less talented athlete learned that DJ's fiancée, Katie, graduated last year, and she was now in fashion design school. They had an apartment together in the new apartment complexes that were built next to his old neighborhood. His little girl was named Adriana. Tyler looked back in the rearview mirror. Even though he really didn't know Katie from anywhere other than the internet, this little girl looked exactly like her. "Cute kid." Tyler meekly said.

The two talked about sports and other typical male things as DJ navigated through the town. They got closer to Tyler's neighborhood. "So, are you ready for the game next Friday?" Tyler asked DJ hoping to get some information out before they reached his house. But, Tyler's plan fell through. Before DJ could answer, he was right in front of the other young man's house. They said their goodbyes. And, that was it. He got to talk to a starter.

He opened up his front door using the keypad that was built into the stone wall. The ornate glass door opened with a click. Tyler stepped into his home a shut the door with his foot. There was no one welcoming him home. Silence always plagued his home. He dropped his bag by the door. Tyler slinked to the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator. His eyes scanned it looking for something to fulfill his adolescent hunger. With the milk carton in his right hand and an applesauce cup in the other, he closed the appliance.

Tyler made no attempt to grab a glass or spoon. He just drank the last corner of the milk, peeled back the applesauce lid, and basically drank it. He ran his hand across his mouth and then his pants out of habit. Leaving the two empty containers on the counter, he ran up the stairs to his room.

His room was nothing too extraordinary. Yes, his bed, nightstand, dresser, and desk were all top of the line; his mother would have it no other way. His shoes squeaked against the wood floor. Tyler stopped short and peeled his shoes and socks off of his feet with his heels. Jumping on his bed seemed like a good idea, so he did. Tyler could have melted into his comforter. He was just that tired from his classes.

The college prep course that is what he was taking. But, in all honestly Tyler should only be in maybe one or two advanced classes. But, no his dad said that colleges looked at that stuff, and if he were to get an athletic scholarship he would need to be good both on and off of the field. He sighed, rubbed his eyes, and the shut them. The light coming in from his blinds illuminated his room, making the burgundy walls seem as if they were glowing. In fact the whole room at an ethereal glow.

This only made Tyler even sleepier. He began to drift in and out, and he finally went into a light sleep. In his pocket, a phone began to vibrate waking him up. An adolescent groan emerged from his throat. Being the slave to technology, he answered the phone. There was a text message, from Geoff.

Geoff was the quarterback. The quarterback that threw infamous parties almost every day of the week. Geoff's parties were like the ones in movies. His parents were always out of town, the best music was always playing, there was enough food, booze, and babes to make anyone think they were in heaven; or so he heard. Tyler had been invited to the parties before, but he never went. But, this was Geoff's first party of the senior year. Tyler had to go, right?

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart couldn't really say anything to their son for going out and staying out late. So he decided to go to the party. What he would do their, that's another thing entirely. Tyler peeled himself from the bed once he heard the familiar click of the front door opening. When he was younger, that click would make run down the stairs to greet whoever was entering with a toothy smile. But now, he'll just slink down the stairs to make sure no one was robbing the place.

Sock covered feet slowly but surely, worked down a flight of stairs. He jumped the last two, and stopped in front of his dad's office. There was a low light coming from underneath the door. A slightly smoky smell was squeezing out also. Tyler raised his hand to knock on the door, because that is what he always does. That is what he has always done, knocked on his father's door. He had no idea why he did it, was it because he taught to early, or was it just a habit?

Three knocks, their sound filled the home and echoed off of the walls. A faint hum of an Italian opera song could be heard through the door. Tyler started to patiently wait as he always did. His father's almost silent steps got closer to the door. The older man stood on the other side, unlocking the many locks that closed him off from the world. Each snap of a lock made his heart beat harder. Tyler was always intimidated by his father. Any and everything the older man would strike some sort of fear into his heart.

He took in a sharp breath in. Maybe the rush of oxygen would calm his nerves. Tyler always did that, but it never made a difference. The adrenaline would always surge through his body as electricity goes a power plant. As the door creaked open, the seventeen year-old began to feel like a small child again. Then, he was face to face with the aggressor, the intimidator, his father.

An average person wouldn't find him to be very intimidating. Maybe a little displeasing the first time you met him, but not intimidating. Kurt Stewart was a strong man, a stern man. His eyes seemed to pierce your soul, but at the same time those wounds would heal with is wit. His voice commanded attention, and you listen to what he says whether it is harsh or kind, wrong or right. His personality pulled in people of all walks of life for all of the right and wrong reasons.

His only real fault would be his temper, especially in a drunken stupor. Kurt was not the one to infuriate. His temper was like a lit match that was dropped into a forest. It can be extinguished by a damp leaf falling from high in the trees' canopy. The damp leaves were almost always Priscilla, Connie, or Caro nome; being his wife, daughter, and favorite opera song respectively. Tyler was one of those damp leaves when he was younger, but as he has gotten older and less successful it seems as if he has become something else.

His temper can also be a lit match that has grown from a pile of dry leaves. Lately, Tyler has been a pile of dry leaves to his father's temper. Nothing he ever seems to do can satisfy his father anymore. After the match was lit, and wasn't extinguished it could turn into a moderately sized fire. Once it was at this point not even damp leaves could smother these flames. The only thing that could be done is to stop alcohol from being incorporated into the mix. Once alcohol was added to the flames, it could become a raging forest fire. It was this heat that would melt someone's skin, burn their bones, and cauterizes their organs. Once this blaze overcame his father, no one could put it out. Nature had to take its course.

Kurt and Tyler's eyes met as the door creaked open. The younger male's heart felt as if it would stop any second. "Are you just going to stare at me or are you going to come in?" His father asked with a deep tone that was powerful enough to send vibrations through the teen's chest, but was sprinkled with enough dry wit to make him comfortable.

Tyler stepped into his father's office to feel the warm carpet beneath his bare feet. His hand still rested on the brass doorknob. The teenage boy was extremely careful to close the door as soundlessly as possible. He shuffled out of the doorway and into the larger portion of the office. Tyler was greeted with husky aroma of his father's cigar. The smell was something that Tyler had to grow to love, it wasn't unpleasant, but it was quite pleasant. His mother despised the scent, and sentenced Kurt to smoke in his office like a recluse.

Smoke gracefully floated from his father's lips as the older man exhaled. Tyler watched the smoke rise, and then disappear in the air. The young man's eyes flickered towards the box of cigars that was open and seemed to be alluring him. Taking a leap of faith, Tyler sat in the identical easy chair that was separated from his father's by a nightstand that was supporting the tempting tobacco treat. Kurt looked over to his son with a sly smile.

"You want one?" Tyler's heart soared as his father offered his first cigar to smoke solo. He wanted to leap from his chair and accept at the top of his lungs. That would be over the top, so Tyler decided to pull it back by just giving his father a quick nod. He looked over the different cigars. Double Claro to Oscuro, Parejo to Presidente there were so many options for him to choose from. His fingers lingered over a Colorado Maduro. The dark brown seemed to call his name, Tyler's fingers seemed to be pulled to it like a magnet. But, his father quickly slapped his hands away.

Tyler snatched his hand back and watched his father with a mixture of fear and anticipation. His heart fluttered as Kurt picked up a cigar. The father rolled it in between his fingers and gave it a swift sniff. The older man let out a sigh. "Colorado Claro, very simple, very nice. Good for your first solo cigar." He handed Tyler the cigar. Just as he had watched his father over the years, Tyler used the guillotine cutter on the cap of the cigar. He placed the cap in the ash tray, and grabbed the box of wooden matches. He struck the match. A clean flame rose at the tip of the match.

Remembering what his father always does, Tyler put the cigar in between his lips and raised the match to the end of the cigar. As he lit the free end of the cigar, he inhaled. A small amount of smoke rose from the bundle of tobacco signaling that it was heated and lit. He quickly shook the match extinguishing the flame. The rest of the process was natural, he inhaled. But, he did not let the smoke go into his mouth. The older teen just let it mingle in his mouth, and he let it out whenever he felt necessary.

Kurt looked at his son with pride, which was very rare. He had a smug smile on his face, and he patted his son on the back. Tyler exhaled and removed the cigar from his lips. "Dad, I just wanted you to know that I was going out tonight." The father nodded, and grabbed a small white modern looking remote. He pointed it at the speaker system holding an mp3 player. Kurt skipped through songs until a Doris Day song began to play. He then lowered the volume on the blue-eyed golden girl's voice until she was nothing but mere background noise.

"Son, I don't care where you go, as long as you're back before me." The father said with his slight laugh. Tyler was taken aback by his father's comment. But, he took another drag of the cigar just in case he would explain.

But, he didn't. So Tyler just assumed that his father was going out with one of his many mistresses. Don't presume that Kurt Stewart doesn't love his wife Priscilla. He does, very much so. But, he just likes using the young tight little things around his office. They keep his stress levels down. In fact, if he hadn't been having extramarital affairs, Mr. Stewart would have probably had been slapping his son left and right. Hell, he would have been smacking is wife and daughter around too. These pretty young things keep him relaxed enough to just yell at Tyler about twice a week; and that's just fine with Kurt.

Father and son just sat in the smoky room enjoying their nicotine getting slight buzzes and talking about various subjects: weekend plans, collegiate sports, and ideas for the extravagant birthday party that they would be hosting for Mrs. Stewart. Tyler looked at the clock on the adjacent wall. It was around seven-forty. Tyler removed the cigar from his mouth sat it on the ash tray, allowing it to burn out on its own. He stood up from the easy chair.

"What time are you going to be back at home dad?" Tyler asked as his feet sluggishly carried him across the room. He saw a pack of gum on his father's desk, and he grabbed a piece for himself. He pulled the metallic paper covered confection out of its package. Artificially flavored mint gum sent ice cold jolts past the young man's tongue, down his neck, and rushed out to his shoulders giving the same feeling of a winter's breeze. He turned back to his father silently chewing.

Mr. Stewart's eyes were closed and his lips were folded in. His cigar was out of the security of his mouth, and was lying in the ashtray next to Tyler's. To anyone who had never watched Kurt Stewart smoke would find this very strange. But, his son knew exactly what he was doing.

Just how a good wine taster will allow a wine to breath before spitting it out, Kurt was allowing his smoke to dance with grace inside of his mouth. He was savoring his last puff. His lips then formed an 'o' and he let the smoke slip out like a mistress into the night. The middle-aged man opened his eyes slowly. "Whenever I'm home." He bluntly replied.

Tyler managed a barely audible, "Okay." The bonding moment between father and son had passed. So, Tyler did nothing but leave the study as quietly as the smoke escaped through the vents.

Author's Note: Things will soon heat up in this saga. Tell me anything, good or bad. A lot or a little. I need any kind of feedback I can get on this story.

Best Wishes,


ps: This is the longest chapter I have ever written.