Claire POV

I am thirteen years old today but I doubt they will care. It's just another typical day for them. I looked in the mirror before I got dressed for school. Bruises covered my back and abdomen. My parents were clever you see, always hurting me where no one could see me - even in my gym kit. I put on my jeans and a hoodie and went to school. I loved school; mainly because it was the only place I didn't get hurt. Well, much. There were always people there to make fun of me and call me names. But I didn't listen to them.

The school day, as always, was passing too quickly and before I knew it, lunch time came around. I sat under my usual tree looking at the other kids that used this time to relax and have fun with their friends. I wished I had friends. Really, I wished I could fit in with the popular kids, mainly so they wouldn't pick on me. This group held two couples – Michael Glass and Monica Morrell, and the other couple was Eve Rosser and Shane Collins. They were two years older than me but they were so cool. I kinda knew Michael; he lived around the corner from me. Most days I walked behind Michael and his friends to school, just to feel that sensation of fitting in and feeling loved.

"Hey freak! Stare much?" Brilliant, Eve Rosser had seen me. She walked over to me, closely followed by Shane, Michael and Monica.

I managed to mumble a no and glance away.

"Oi, bitch!" shouted Eve, "I'm talking to you. Look at me!"I looked back up at her and saw Monica and Michael making out right in front of me. I could feel a blush rise to my cheeks as I saw Michaels hand slide down Monica's leg, then up her skirt. She let out a moan in his mouth and then to look at me.

"God, you are such a perv." Monica looked pissed, "Want to watch us have sex or something, would that make you happy?" I looked down again, grabbed my bag and tried to walk past them.

Monica wrestled me to the ground, putting pressure on all the fresh new bruises I had gained, and a cry escaped from my throat. Monica and Eve must have heard as they started to laugh.

"You are so weak. You can't even handle a tackle to the floor?" Monica whispered into my ears. She pinched the side of my stomach, which shouldn't have hurt that much, but the scream came out before I could stop it.

Suddenly Monica's weight disappeared and I rolled to see a blurry Shane above me, I tried to roll away from him knowing he could do more damage. I'm not completely stupid, he was on the wrestling team, and I knew he was strong. But before I could roll away from him, he picked me up in his arms.

I heard him say, "I just want to talk to her, okay?" and I felt us moving across the field. We went to the other side of the school and around the corner before he sat me down on the grass.

"Um, this is gonna sound really odd, but can I have a look at your stomach?" Shane was looking serious as he spoke, so I wasn't quite sure whether this was a joke or not.

I just looked down at the grass and whispered "I'm fine."

He looked hurt, and stared at me with pleading eyes and simply said, "Please?"

I shook my head as my eyes began to water.

"NOW!" he ordered.

Tears streamed down my face as I pulled onto my knees, and took off my hoodie. I heard his intake of breath as he saw my arms, but I carried on and lifted my shirt up to my bra line.

"Oh my God!" he whispered.

"Shane!" I was surprised with how strong my voice sounded, "You can't tell anyone ok?"


"No, you can't please promise me, if the people who did this find out I've told, it will get a lot worse. Trust me." My voice seemed to falter at the end.

I looked him in the eye and he simply nodded.

Shane's POV

I looked at Claire as she screamed in pain. I couldn't take it no more; I picked Monica up and threw her to the side. I picked her up and turned around. I then saw the look on Eve's and Michaels face. I gritted my teeth and said "I just want to talk to her, okay?"

Eve seemed as though she was about to protest but Mikey nodded, took Eve's hand and they walked in the other direction with Monica running to catch up behind them. I took Claire over to the other end of the school thinking of what to do.

Once I had set her down and really looked at her, I was reminded again of how cute she was. I cleared my throat.

"Um, this is gonna sound really odd, but can I have a look at your stomach?" I felt kind of rude saying it, but it wasn't as if I was asking her to strip completely or anything.

She looked down and mumbled, "I'm fine."

I wanted to tell her that she clearly wasn't fine, but I took a deep breath and breathed "Please?"

She shook her head in protest. I was getting frustrated.

"NOW!" I ordered.

Tears streamed down her face as she looked back up at me and I could see her figuring out if she could trust me. She did, she started to take off her hoodie and I was mortified at what I saw on her arms. She started to lift her top and words fell out of my mouth. "Oh my God!"

"Shane!" she kept her voice steady but horror filled her face, "You can't tell anyone ok?"

"But..." I started to protest but she interrupted.

"No, you can't please promise me, if the people who did this find out I've told, it will get a lot worse. Trust me." She just looked at me waiting for an answer. Finally I nodded in agreement. As soon as I did, she shoved her hoodie back on and walked away from me.

I couldn't believe someone was hurting Claire like that. I had to try and put a stop to it, but how?