It seemed like the perfect romance between Cleveland high school seniors Johanna Orozco and Juan Ruiz Jr. "He was funny, he was a great listener, and he was there for me when I needed him to be" Orozco, now 20, said.
She seemed to have it all. Then one day Orozco's luck changed in a way she could never have imagined, when Ruiz -- once the love of her life -- fired a shotgun at her face, sending her through a medical marathon of reconstructive surgery and recovery.
Before their relationship took its dark turn, the attractive and popular couple was the envy of their classmates at Lincoln West High School.
"They were gorgeous...gorgeous and they looked good on each other's arms. They were the ideal couple," said drama teacher Catherine Zak. "Everyone wanted to be like Johanna and Juan. They were outgoing, personable and very much in love."
After a year and a half their happy relationship turned tumultuous, as Ruiz became irrationally possessive and violent, Orozco says.
"I loved him and I thought if I was able to help him, he'll be able to change," she told "20/20's" Elizabeth Vargas. "I guess I was just in denial."
Orozco began documenting her emotions in her journal. "Dear Journal," she wrote in April 2006, "My heart is really sad now. Today, Juan had pushed me and called me a bitch. It hurt me so much inside. I don't understand why he turned out to be this way...he never was like that towards me before."
With her Prince Charming long gone, Orozco tried to end things with Ruiz, but he refused.
"He would either threaten to kill me or hurt me or himself if I didn't take him back, or he'll beat me until I said, 'Okay, we're back together,'" she told "20/20." "I was just scared."
In a final attempt to break up, Orozco removed Ruiz's photos from her My Space page in Feb. 2007. That's when Ruiz came to her home in the middle of the night and raped her at knifepoint. Before he left, he threatened her, saying that he'd kill her, if she told anyone.
CLICK HERE to see photos of Johanna and Juan through the years.
But Orozco refused to be silenced and notified a teacher the next day. Authorities were called and Ruiz was arrested.
With Ruiz in jail, Orozco believed she would be safe; four days later he was released from the overcrowded detention center and placed on house arrest, monitored only by an ankle bracelet.
On March 5, 2007, Ruiz left his house at 1:03 p.m., armed with a sawed off shotgun and a mask. Hiding by Orozco's house, he waited for her to come outside and to get into her car. Johanna recalled the events leading up to the moment that would change her life.
"I put the keys in the ignition. I look towards my left, and I see someone dressed in all black come out," she said.
Then she saw a gun pointed at her and recalls staring into the perpetrator's eyes before everything faded to white.
"We just connected our eyes...for about ten seconds. And then after, I don't remember anything," she said.
Ruiz shot Orozco in the face from only a few feet away. Her neighbor Maritza Santiago heard the shots and rushed to her side.
"There was blood and human tissue. It was horrible, I mean, till this day, I couldn't put myself to see it again," Santiago said.
Unable to get through to 911, Santiago drove Orozco to the hospital -- in rush hour traffic. With the severity of her injury, doctors said the fact that Orozco made it to the hospital alive was in itself miraculous.