I Kissed the Boy Who Hit Me This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 19, 2009
I really didn't see it coming. His hand, angry and rough and quick as lightning, connected with my jaw as he smacked me across the face. Hard. My neck snapped to the side, my chin pointed downward, and that's where I stayed for at least a full minute. I was afraid to move, afraid to breathe.

Oh, my God. I'm dreaming. Please tell me this isn't real.

Hot tears clung to my lashes, but I refused to let myself cry. I focused on the burning sensation in my cheek, too afraid to shift in my seat. My face was on fire.

I swallowed hard, watching the scenery as it passed: the green grass and the yellow sun, the black blurring of mailboxes and rooftops. Except for the steady hum of the air conditioner, there was dead silence.

I tried to focus on anything, anything but the boy next to me, breathing heavily. Anything except the car speeding up as he stepped on the accelerator, driving more recklessly with every dip and curve in the road.

See the sidewalks, a steady stream of white concrete against the jet black road. See the treetops, so severely contrasting the painted cerulean sky. See the fire hydrant, bright like the stars that shine above the lake at night. See–

“This isn't my fault, Caitlin,” he said quietly. I peeked at him out of the corner of my eye. His hands were gripping the steering wheel tightly, his knuckles turning white.

“What?” I was surprised to find that my voice was soft and steady, though my hands were shaking and twisting in my lap.

“You left me waiting there for an hour. What was I supposed to think?”

“It was an honest mistake,” I whispered, so quietly that I could barely hear myself. “I lost track of time.”

He glanced at me, his jaw clenched so hard I thought he might shatter his teeth. “Yeah, sure.”

I hesitated, not knowing what he wanted me to do. I opened my mouth, and I watched his hands, and I made sure they didn't come anywhere near me. “I'm telling the truth,” I said finally, quietly. “I was doing exactly what I told you I'd be doing … working on my story for the paper.”

“Of course you were.”

“Why don't you trust me?”

“Who was that guy you were with?”

I sighed, knowing I could never win. My cheek hurt so much, worse than when I fell of my bike and skinned my elbows and knees. It hurt worse than the time I cut my hand on a fence and needed six stitches, or the time I fell on a flower pot and sliced my knee open. It hurt because he made me hurt. It hurt because he wanted me to hurt.

“I … I just–”

“Spit it out, Caitlin!”

I fell back against the seat, feeling more defeated than I'd ever felt in my life. It was like reaching the top step just to find more stairs. It would have been easier to think, I'm sure, if my face didn't have a heartbeat.

“Why are you being so mean to me?” It just slipped out, and Aaron looked bewildered. He didn't answer right away, or even as we pulled into my neighborhood. By the time he'd parked in my driveway, we were both completely silent.

“I'm sorry, Cait,” he said. “That was really stupid; I don't know what came over me.”

I let my eyes meet his for the first time that afternoon. “I don't either.”

He shut the car off and twisted in his seat to face me. His hand slid over my forehead, and down through my hair, and finally settled around my neck. He pulled me toward him, gently, and kissed the cheek that still ached. Now it ached with yearning.

It's strange, I suppose, how someone can treat you so wrong and you can still want him so much. I wanted to feel his lips on me again, brushing away the hurt and the pain. I wanted his touch. The school parking lot suddenly felt a million years away.

“That will never happen again,” he assured me, kissing me softly. “I swear I will never do that again.”

And I believed him.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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katiemiladie said...
Jun. 26, 2010 at 12:11 pm
I don't know if you've ever read the book Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, and I'm not accusing you of anything, but parts of your story seem like they are copied and pasted straight from the book. I mean, except for a few words, it's the exact same story. Words and all. Even the characters names are the same. I'm not saying you did anything, but, next time be a bit more careful of how your stories take the shape of ones that have already be written.
waiting_to_be_found replied...
Jun. 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm
Well the guy's name in dreamland isn't Aaron, it's Rogerson... right? Hahah. But I do agree, this is oddly similar to that storyline, like the main ideas are the same  "connected with my jaw" I mean this is the exact same way Sarah Dessen wrote that. I mean you even have the "I'm dreaming" part in there... hmmm. I think it is okay that you mold your stories around other peoples stories, but at least change all the names, and add some creativity of your own, no offense, but this isn't your i... (more »)
swhite111 replied...
Jun. 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm
The only similarities between this piece and Dreamland are the topic chosen (dating violence) and the setting (in the car). It really isn't anything like the book by Sara Dessen. In Dessen's scene, the male character, named Rogerson -NOT Aaron- is upset because Caitlin insults him. In this piece, he is upset because he is imagining her holed up in a school with some other guy, and his head is flooded with jealousy. The words used by the two authors are not the same at all, and nowhere in this ar... (more »)
JessieBecker replied...
Jun. 26, 2010 at 8:01 pm

i completely agree. 

Dessen's novels are well known throughout most teen girls. I can imagine that you have at least heard about her novel dreamland. 

even the main Character's name, "Caitlin" is the same.

in the story, The first time Rogerson hit Caitlin was in his car. just like this. The descriptions of the characters are even oddly similar.

either your rewriting someone's work, or this is a crazy coincidence. 

sorry, but this isn't your st... (more »)

JessieBecker replied...
Jun. 26, 2010 at 8:04 pm


Rogerson beat Caitlin in the novel for multiple reasons, and I don't this it was ever for insulting him either.

I even think that Rogerson used the same line "This isn't my fault Caitlin" the first time she was hit as well.


swhite111 replied...
Jun. 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm
There are several YA fiction novels on the topic of dating violence, and many scenes in many of the books take place in the car. In the car scene in Dreamland, Rogerson hit Caitlin because she called him a baby, and, since she had no idea what was going on in his home life, it made him upset enough to hit her. This instance was not due to jealousy. Also, most stories like these use the line "this isn't my fault" because this is a common statement made by the abuser, as they are unwilling to own ... (more »)
MadisonReneeJane replied...
Oct. 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm

The whole time I read this all I thought was, "This has to be from Dreamland." It was so similar I don't believe it was you're own. I can see if you wanted to do an intereptation of it, but that would be under fan fiction and you have to say if it is or not.

One scene in Dreamland is when she gets out of her photography class and Rogerson sees her with a guy and hits her because of jelousey, so yes, the scene was very similar to the book. I've read Dreamland almost 10 times and the onl... (more »)

bobun16 said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm
wow, this was great!
silver_moonlit10 said...
Jun. 5, 2010 at 10:08 pm
He did it again, didn't he?
Babylufin replied...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 9:49 pm
They always do.
emmyhaze96 said...
Jun. 4, 2010 at 9:12 pm
This reminds me of Dreamland, by Sarah Dessen. It's very well-written, and i love it! It takes alot of talent to cover such a difficult issue so well, and I salute you:)
swimster23 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 4, 2010 at 7:38 pm
Great details it's like you're actually in the car wth them listening to the convorsation!  Good job on the voice, too.
ajkstarr said...
Jun. 4, 2010 at 6:10 pm
hey, first of all, very good job!I;m currently writing  piece of a similar theme, would you mind reading it? its in the forums uder writersworkshop and then under short stories. the thread is called does this feel authentic. I would reallt like opinions. all are welcome to read it and comment
roxymutt said...
Jun. 4, 2010 at 11:08 am
This might have been the best piece i have read on this web site so far!  It was INCREDIBLY well written. I really felt her emotions, knew what she was thinking, feeling, wanting!  I would love you to keep posting these!!! :D if you could check out my only article Beep... and give me some pointers because I believe you could help me!!! thanks and amazing!
TorioT4 said...
Jun. 4, 2010 at 8:10 am
amazing tht was great
smilethroughtherain said...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm
Very good! Makes you think about the difference between experiencing it and being an observer.
thatclarinetgirl said...
May 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm
That made me want to cry! I sorta now that feels. Keep writing!
k1ck4ss said...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 9:47 pm
Powerful and pretty well-written.
Wellington This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm
it was written so well- such an important topic but you wrote it so softly it was heart-breaking..:(
bornforsports96 replied...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm
I thought the same thing!
soccercrazy replied...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm
exactly my thoughts as well! =]
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