Hah! Look at that! I have another new chapter, only it's for Steps! Hope you enjoy and I'll try to have new chapters for the others out soon, neh?

Catalano's looked like a pretty fancy place. Wonderful, I'm sure the maitre-de was going to love my getup. And what a wonderful look I was given. Dick.

Allieoops was sitting at the table and looking rather annoyed. "Aw, did we keep you waiting?" She turned a lovely shade of blue. I really wish I knew how to make that color. But, I'm more of a writer than a painter. Oh well.

Vivi sighed in exasperation, but Tien looked rather amused. She knew my antics and had heard my rant the day I had met my darling step-sibby. She also knew better than to take me seriously. She is one smart cookie, let me tell you.

"If we weren't in public, I would tell you exactly where to go," Allie doll hissed in my direction. Excuse me? Tell me where to go? If she was going to tell me to go to hell, there were more poetic ways of saying it. Especially in public.

"As long as I get to choose my hand basket, I'll be glad to take a trip to the fiery underworld, sib." There we go. For the second time today, I had taken away her insult and thus prevented her from feeling superior. She'll learn. Someday.

Sibby (you know, I like this new nickname!) finally noticed my guest. It took a minute, but the recognition hit. "You're Mrs. Seifuku!"

Tien nodded and didn't say a word. Humble little thing. Well, not so little, but she is humble. I knew she wasn't going to play Allieoops' game of "I'm rich, so let the ass-kissing begin." And Miss Bitch began it from the beginning.

"I've always wanted to meet you! I read about you and your sister all the time in the paper, making this amount here and dealing with these clients there. Tell me, what's it like to do what you do and deal with the rich people of the world?"

Tien's smile wavered. "…Excuse me?"

Oh god, she kept right on talking. "Well, you know, you're so rich…it seems almost natural that you would work with people of that same stature."

I looked over at Vivi. Yup, she's in shock. Tien chuckled at Sibby's question, and I recognized the laugh as the "foolish child" laugh. "Yo. Give it a rest."

Van Something ignored me and kept right on going. Her tone of voice screamed, "I have money! Pay attention to me!" but I knew Tien wasn't falling for it. She's too smart for that bullshit. If it did anything, it helped Tien ignore my darling step sibby. And yet it didn't deter the poor pathetic thing. She just kept on talking and talking and talking as if she was going to lose her voice soon so she had to get everything out. Too bad Kat wasn't around; I could arrange such a scenario. I finally snapped after 10 minutes of true hell.

"Allison. Shut. Your. Trap."

I wish you could have seen the look she gave me. Anyone else would have cowered in fear. "What did you say to me?"

Here we go. "I told you to shut the fuck up. Tien isn't interested in hearing about how much money you have. She doesn't care."

Darling Sibling sniffed in my direction. "I suggest you shut yours next. She obviously doesn't care what you have to say. No one in the family does, not even your father. I can't imagine anyone else cares either."

Whoa. What?

Her eyes were gleaming with hatred. It was obvious that she had been waiting for this moment for a long, long time. "Don't you get it? No one cares about you. You're unwanted. Your dad doesn't care, Mumu doesn't care, and I don't care. Vivi takes pity on you, even Mrs. Seifuku seems to take pity on you. They pity you; they don't care about you. Learn the difference."

She finally did it; she learned my weakness. And do you know what made it worse? I knew she was right.

I stood up and quietly pushed my chair in. Without a look to any of them, I turned and ran out of the restaurant. I am perfectly capable of leaving an area without the last word…it's just a little rare. It usually only happens during times like these, when someone cracks through my tough exterior and leaves me vulnerable and alone.

I didn't turn around when I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. "She's right. I'm not wanted."

Tien shook her head. "Are you out of your mind? Of course you're wanted."

I sighed. If only… "You're not my real parent, much as I wish you were. I'm not wanted by the people that should matter the most to me." Oh fuck. I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

I had a fleeting thought to struggle as Tien's arms encircled me, but I didn't have the energy. I just let myself fold into her familiar scent as the tears began to fall. "Why? Why did this happen to me? Why am I so unlovable?"

Tien held me tighter. "Oh Camille…I love you like my own daughter, and I'm at a loss as to how anyone could turn their back on someone who is so beautiful and full of life."

Me? Beautiful? Couldn't be. No one has ever given me a second look, unless it was to sneer at me or send me a comment. And those who send me a comment get one sent right down their throats. "I'm not beautiful, Tien. I'm a mistake."

"No one's perfect. I don't even know who my parents are."

I smiled a little as I thought of Tien's adopted mother. She was littler than me, and even more of a holy terror. She and I get along quite nicely. "But your adopted mom loves you. You have loving parents. I wish someone would take me away from all this shit. Before I do something stupid."

Whoa. Seriously stupid thought. As much of a punk and a loner as I am, I don't have the guts to actually harm myself. I can barely watch Skuz give himself insulin injections.

Tien raised an eyebrow. "Stupid?"

I just shook my head. "Desperation. Never mind." I looked back at the restaurant as the dread began to creep around. "Do I have to go back in there? Can I just chill with you for awhile? Pretty pretty please?"

Tien sighed. "Not just yet. I need to clear some things up."

Clear what up? Something with Vivi? Or was I going to get to see a class-act fight between Tien and the Soon-To-Be-Dead sibling? This was going to get interesting. At least I was hoping it would. It would definitely brighten up my day.

I followed her back into the restaurant, heart pounding. What was Vivi thinking now? Did she hate me for running out? Good god, I sound like a fucking prep. I need to stop worrying what one woman thinks; she's not gonna make or break me. But the fear didn't go away…it only got stronger as we got closer to the table.

Tien gave both Vivi and Sibbo a calm smile as she sat down once more. She looked serene to a mere passer-by, but I recognized the look in her eyes. It was the "say one bad thing about Camille, and I'm gonna eat you alive" look. It was then that I knew Allieoops was about to have her ass handed to her on a silver platter.

Oh, was I right. The minute I sat down, Allie turned her eyes to me. "Why are you back? Tien convince you to stay? She offer to pay for you? I know I wouldn't. It would be good riddance and that would be the end."

Tien looked her square in the eye. "Allison. Be quiet."

Allieoops huffed and gave her napkin a defiant look. "Well, it's about time someone put her in her place," she muttered.

My place? I know where that is. I think it's high time someone showed my darling step-monsterette where she belonged: out in the fucking dumpster. And I was real close to showing her the way.

God, the stare Tien gave her was one that even I would be afraid to receive. But still, she just kept going. I don't know who she was trying to impress, because she wasn't scoring points with anyone sitting at her table.

"The difference between you and me is that I have class, and you don't. I'm well-liked, and you're not. My parent loves me, and neither of yours do. Does that make me better than you? The world agrees…"

Where does she get this "the world loves me" crap? Half our school hates her. Was she so wrapped up in herself that she was that clueless? Highly possible.

Tien folded her hands in front of her and leaned towards Allieoops, her voice calm and quiet. "Allison Van Burick. If I hear you utter one more word, I will personally escort you out of here. Do you understand me?"

Yikes. Even I understood that tone. In the back of my head, I realized I had heard it before. That's the tone she used for Alaina. I felt my heart flutter. Weird.

My stupid sibbo sniffed at her. Uh oh. "I'm not your child. You can't touch me, no matter how much money you have. And if you do, I'll scream."

That's it. I could handle Allie's abuse when it was directed towards me. But Tien? I don't think so. And what did I do? The unthinkable.

I stood up, rather slowly, and looked right at my step-sibling. "Allison." Yep, I got her attention. Well, to be totally accurate, my tone got her attention. She turned and looked me right in the eye. "What?"

I grinned at her. "Shut your trap." Then I slugged her across her perfect little face. She screamed and fell the floor, hands flying towards her face as the blood came trickling out her nose. Hope I didn't break it. Just a simple bruise would be nice. Out of the corner of my eye I see Tien almost laugh, but catch herself just in time. Then I chance to take a look over at Vivi.

The look she gave me almost made me regret my last decision. She was disappointed in me, I could tell. Not the most pleasant feeling in the world, knowing someone who actually matters to you isn't happy with you. But the little bitch had it coming. And Tien is the only one who can really make me regret being who I am.

I gave Vivi a nod (of apology? Maybe) and walked out of the restaurant for the second time that day. This time, however, I knew I wasn't going to be allowed to go back in.