Seeing Through Tears

Chapter 18

A Fucking Mystery, part B


Things were left unsaid said with Shannon. The thin line between hope and uncertainty wavered within their barriers until I fell upon distrust. I didn't know this woman, despite my memories of her. Time changes people for better or worse; no one stays the same.

Everything hung in the air during the ride home, dangling right in front of our faces. I could tell it was eating her up inside; she seemed like the kind of person who needed to talk, needed to fill hollow voids. She proved this correct when out of nowhere she asked me, "So what's with your hot boyfriend?"

I gaped at her, an incredulous expression plastered on my flushed face. "W-what boyfriend?"

"Don't play dumb." Her grin was sly. "How long have you been dating Seth?"

I frowned at her comment, confused. "Did he say we were dating?"


"Well, we're not." I told her curtly.

"Okay. I was just assuming…"

"Well you assumed wrong, so… shut up now."

I know, I know. I'm a brat; so sue me. Seth, his hotness and what he had to do with me was not her business.

And so once again, things were left unsaid with Shannon, much to her disappointment and her childish pout. I would have felt sorry for her, but how did she expect me to just allow her waltz into my life and become my new best friend or mother with open arms? Thanks for trying, Shannon, but I already had a best friend, and mothers were no good for me.

As I thought of last night, I was now back to my usual morning, hugging my binder against my chest as I walked through the halls, trying not to come into contact with anyone. With a deep sigh I approached my locker. For a moment I contemplated on opening it, but being too tired from a sleepless night that only included thinking myself to death, the only thing I could do was close my eyes and lean against it, allowing the cool metal to seep through my thin sweatshirt, urging me to wake up.

I was able to enjoy this for a total five second before I was disrupted by a clicking sound that reminded me much of a camera. Willing myself to open my eyes I found Nev beaming in front of me, a digital camera in her hands. She eagerly lifted it up to look at the screen and clicked it again, me seemingly being her model.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before regarding her. "What are you doing?"

She took another picture before answering. "Taking photos, of course."

"Well, stop it. I don't like photos."

"I know." Nev sighed dramatically, pinching my nose and removing her hand before I could swat it away. "For some weird reason you think you don't look good in them."

"That's because I don't," I muttered, fiddling with my locker combination. And it was true. I always looked terrible in pictures. My nose always looked too long and my eyes always turned out red. It wasn't the hottest thing in the world, I'll tell you that now.

Nev scoffed and took another photo, causing me to scowl. She then observed her results and sung to me. "Your pants are on fire, my Dear."

I opened my locker and started rummaging through a pile of papers on the second shelf, mentally smacking myself for my next thought. Despite my annoyance I was unable to resist the curiosity of what my friend was talking about now. "What do you mean?"

She shoved the small digital screen in front of me. "See? See?"

Glancing at the screen, I noticed that for once my nose looked normal in size and my eyes weren't shining red like I was some kind of beast. Well, hey. I wasn't a complete troll in a picture for once. "Fine." I submitted. "You win this time." Nev must have taken my confession for more than it was, for she flashed me a pleased grin only seconds before the camera flashed in my face once more.

"My eyes!" I winced and jerked backwards, bumping into the lockers. "Why are you doing this, anyway?" I demanded. "Is this your new plan to drive me mad?"

"No. Of course I'm not taking photos of you to drive you mad." Nev looked offended for a moment, but it quickly dissolved as she petted her camera. Strange, strange girl. "I guess I just want to take some photos of our every day lives. This is our last year of school, and these are the things we'll look back on. See, look!" She pointed to her camera as if it had the cure for cancer written on the photo that showed my demented face. "It's you, at your locker!"

"Oh." I deadpanned. "Well, yay. When I walk across that stage and shake the principal's hand, I'll have you to thank for the fact that I can't find his hand, because I've gone blind!"

She grinned and took another photo. "And I'll be there to say, 'you're welcome'."

"Dandy." Nodding, she took a few more photos that were closer to my precious eyes than I would have preferred. I tried desperately to blink the spots away, but no avail. I found my vision blurred for the moment. "Stop that." I heard the camera click again, and then, God forbid, the girl started to hum.

I growled and tried my best to follow her soft humming, the click of the camera, and took a daring step towards her…

ending up walking right into my locker door, face first.

"Ow!" I bit my lip to keep from cursing the evil chunk of metal that sadly was my locker.

"Oh." I could hear Nev wince. "That looked like it hurt."

I rolled my eyes under my eyelids… if that's possible. "That's because it did."

"I'm sorry." Nev said, sounding sincere.

Sighing, I replied, "It's Oka-" I quickly stopped my self, hearing another click. "Did you just take another picture of me?"

"What?" She asked innocently, as if she had done no wrong. "It's not everyday you walk into a locker, no matter how much of a klutz you are."

That's it! I'm going to break that camera, even if I can't see! With this in mind, I took that step forward again.

And then I realized that I really have no sense of direction because…

I walked into my locker door, yet again.

"Nooo!" I whined, cradling my head in my hands. "That hurt!"

"Aww…" I heard Nev coo. Someone touched my face, whom I assumed would be Nev… but I had a strange feeling that it wasn't. If only I could actually see. "Do you want it kissed better?"

I was at a loss for words, my face scrunching up in disgust. I did not want to think about Nev that way. "Nev, what the…" My vision slowly came back. I could see Nev's blurry face in front of me, but her arms were at her sides. Soon I could see that the thumb on my cheek belonged to someone standing beside me, rather than in front. I followed the hand, the arm and jumped a little when I found Seth frowning down at me. Dear Lord. Did he always have to sneak up one me?

Nev sighed happily and took another photo. My jaw tightened. I really, really wanted to break that camera… right after I was able to look away from Seth.

The frown on Seth's face quickly dissipated as he stared down at me, and his lips braking into a grin.

Only making my anger and frustration rise that much more, my fists balled until my knuckles were white. Huffing, I demanded, "And just what is so funny?"

"It's… it's nothing." He laughed a little. "I just forgot how much of a klutz you could be at times." He took my hand and tugged on it, seemingly trying to mollify my anger by stroking his thumb across my white knuckles. It didn't work, especially when he laughed more and told me, "God, you're such a hazard. You should get a warning sign, you know? A bright orange one that can't be missed so people know to keep away when you're- ouch!"

He looked down at his hand that was holding mine and raised his pierced eyebrow in a way that seemed as if his pain suddenly amused him. "Anna, are you aware that your nails are trying to break my skin?"

Befuddled, I glanced down to see that my nails were in fact digging into the palm of his hand. I gave him a sheepish look and pulled my hand away, wondering how I was capable of doing that without noticing. I'm not a violent person… at least I usually am not. The only time is when I feel like I'm so stressed, frustrated or angry that I'm about to explode.

Nev, to my surprise, had stopped taking pictures, although she was still playing with the camera. Seth, on the other hand was once again watching me, trying to invade my mind to see what was exactly wrong with me as he leaned against the lockers with his arms crossed in a casual way that somehow dominated everyone else in the hall; not that he didn't already dominate everyone in his presence. He was in his usual attire: his black trench coat that swayed and flowed with his smooth, long strides, his funky bondage pants that made me often wonder if they could be used in a Gothic army, as well as the combat boots on his feet that accented his every step, making people aware of his eerie approach. His eyebrow ring had the courage to question everyone and everything by just lifting it with an arch of his eyebrow, and the black eyeliner rimming his night blue eyes penetrated his stare in a way that made me think he could see right through anyone, as if the person were only a luminescent figure.

I sighed and ran a hand through my hair, shooting my gaze around the growing crowds of the halls to avoid that stare that was on me right this moment. None of us spoke so I attempted to listen to the constant chatter surrounding us, fogging the silence of the hallway but all the conversations blurred together, creating incoherent noises that made no sense and had no purpose. Did anyone else notice it had gone quiet?

Nev eventually started muttering something about batteries and smacked her camera. "Hey guys," she said, brushing a strand of hair out of her hazel eyes. "I'm going to go get ready for class. The batteries in this camera ran out and I need it for graphic arts."

She left before I could protest, and I knew then that I had found myself in an even more awkward situation. I know it would be perfectly normal for anyone else, but I was naturally an awkward person, and I very well remembered the promise I had made to myself yesterday. I had to talk to Seth about what his mother had oh-so-wonderfully informed me of. The thought of talking to him about it, opening my mouth and mentioning what his mother told me made my nerves jitter. What if he thought I was accusing him of doing it? What if he thought that I believed he was a horrible person?

This was stupid. I shouldn't get so worked up over just asking him for his side of the story. There was no reason why he should be upset if I bring it up. It's just a conversation between two mature adults, after all. Right. I had made my decision. I would talk to him about it. Taking a deep breath I prepared to meet his gaze, open my mouth and start explaining my concern… but instead I took a deep breath, kneeled down and shoved my head into my locker.

I heard Seth's voice float from above me. "What are you doing?"

"What?" I forced myself to laugh, not knowing what I was doing myself, except for trying to avoid him. But I couldn't tell him that, it would only give him a thousand questions more to ask. "Can't a girl look through her locker in peace?"

"Yes, but do you always shove over half of yourself into your locker when you need to find something?" He sounded amused, but I also detected a hint of softness that possibly stood for affection.

I grumbled and rummaged through my locker as best as I could, deciding to see if there really was anything I needed for my first class, which was drawing and painting. After a moment I realized that everything for art was already in the class, and that I also couldn't hide my face in my locker forever. Reluctantly, I pulled myself out and looked to my right, finding that Seth wasn't where I had last left him. I frowned and glanced around, a surprised sound escaping my lips when I discovered Seth now on my left, hovering right over me, his head cocked to the side and his face only inches away from mine.

Thrown off completely, I fell back onto my elbows and took a few deep breaths.

Seth bent over further to see if I was all right, a worry line creasing his smooth forehead. "Are you okay?"

"Seth," I breathed. "Could you please stop doing that?"

He looked confused by my request. Holding out his hand in an offer to help me up, he asked, "Stop doing what?"

"Sneaking up on me!" My voice raised a bit as I said this, shooting an accusing glare his way. "Practically every time I see you it's because you sneak up on me. I swear, you're going to give me a heart attack at eighteen."

"You just blame your medical problems on everyone, don't you?" His smile was warm, a striking contrast from the usual smirk he wore in these hallways of our institution. Deciding that he had waited long enough he reached down, took my forearms gently in his hands and brought me back up onto my feat before I could stop him. "First you blame Nev for your horrible eyesight-"

"I have twenty, twenty vision, I'll have you know-"

He concluded as if I'd never interrupted him. "And now I'm the reason for your future heart attack." He looked down at me, his face so friendly that I would have never recognized him at school if I hadn't seen the expression before. It made me wonder why he continued to act cold towards anyone who wasn't a close friend. It made me wonder if it was even an act. Frankly, everything about him made me wonder exactly who he was. I was as easy to read as a book; even if I didn't share anything with him he seemed to figure it out on his own. Maybe he was just too complex for me. I had a simple personality, I was a simple person, but he wasn't. But despite that, how in the world was I supposed to believe that someone who treated those he cared about, including me, with nothing but respect tried to kill himself by overdosing?

I looked away from him and dropped my gaze to the shiny green floor where I could see a faint, blurry reflection of us. It reminded me of a painting I once stumbled upon, distorted beyond simple understanding. I had to stare at the painting for hours to comprehend every hidden meaning. Biting my lip I sighed and leaned on the lockers, arguing against my inner turmoil.

"Hey." Seth frowned, tipping his head to the side. Reaching a hand out he grasped my chin and forced me to look at him. "What's wrong?"

I stayed quiet for a moment before reluctantly replying, "I - it's nothing."

My interrogator's eyebrows furrowed in rumination as he studied me with concern. "I don't think so, Anna. You're acting pretty strange, even for yourself."

"What?" I huffed, pulling his hand away from me. "Are you saying that I'm weird or crazy? Do you think I'm a nut case?"

"Well…" he hesitated, biting his lip. "I wouldn't go so fare as nut case, but you can act very distinctly Anna at times." I began glaring at him but he only gave me a reassuring smile, running a hand through his raven hair. "No worries, though. Being very distinctly Anna is a good thing."

I couldn't help it: I melted into a puddle of goo with everything that was presented to me - his smile, his words and saying them in his silky, smooth voice - it made everything that much harder to do.

And to my greatest fear, he only continued, placing his hand above my head to lean against the locker. He hovered over me, his smile widening in an agonizingly slow pace. "What I'm wondering, is why you're willing to shove yourself in a locker to avoid me."

I avoided his eyes, as I ironically answered, "I'm not trying to avoid you."

"Well, you're obviously avoiding something." His hand that was not holding him over me grasped my hand. He laced his fingers though mine, trying to slowly coax the truth out of me. "I really wonder what it is that's possessing you to shove yourself into lockers and act so jumpy."

You know, it's his own fault for presenting me with the perfect opportunity. It was now or never, and the last option would eat me alive.

It's just such a shame that I was horrible at bringing up serious subjects, and discussing them. Rae, and even though very rarely, sometimes Nev, were the only two people that I could communicate with when it came to serious matters.

"Look, Seth." I said, taking the deepest breath I could. I found my hands clinging onto my navy blue sweatshirt for dear life; they were gross and sweaty and not behaving in least, just as my legs that were itching to run in the other direction. "There's something I heard… well, no. Something I was told that I wanted to talk to you about… or check." By this time, I was biting my lip as my friend's face distorted in confusion. "Or… I'm not really sure."

"Okay…" Seth said slowly, suspicion mingling in with his confused expression as he narrowed his eyes. "Who told you the something that you wanted to talk to me about… or check?"

I licked my lips and turned my face away, very aware that he had me trapped. His arms had moved so that both of his hands were placed on either side of me. He surrounded me with black, and it was not comfortable at the moment.

After a long hesitation, I was able to move forward and tell him, "Your mom told me."

He his jaw clinched and he visibly grew rigged against me, a strong contrast from his smooth voice as he inquired, "And just what did she have to say?"

"I don't think what she told me was intentional, at the time." I told him carefully, trying to mollify his growing tension. "It more slipped out of her, than she told me, but she did say it." I paused, watching him as he practically held his breath waiting. I closed my eyes and took the plunge. "Sh-she said that you almost killed yourself by overdosing."

There was silence. He didn't respond. Having no clue as to what he thought I slowly opened my eyes and faced his solid, unreadable expression.

"Seth?" I detached one of my hands from my sweatshirt and tugged lightly on his trench coat, gazing up at him in desperate questioning. "Is that true?"

My friend sighed deeply and ran a hand through his hair, considering his answer. He then pulled a step away from me and asked, "Does it matter that much?"

"What?" I was stunned by his sudden carelessness. "Yes. Of course it does. You could have-"

"So what are you checking, Anna?" He almost hissed his question, venom starting to drip. I would have been offended if I didn't noticed a traced of hurt crossing over his face as he asked.

"I'm not checking anything." I quickly insisted. "I - that was the wrong word."

"Then what?"

I winced at his cold tone but did not allow myself to falter, straightening out my posture as I faced him. "Calm down, Seth. Why are you suddenly getting snappy?"

"Because!" He snapped. "You obviously believe something that my mom said, who I would never think you would trust."

"I don't! That's why am checking-"

"Oh, look, that checking word again," He drawled out sarcastically.

I growled low in my throat and tried again. "That's why I'm talking to you about it. Because I don't trust her."

"But you do enough to consider it."

Throwing my hands up in frustration, I shouted, "I would consider it with anyone!"

"I don't see why this is even such a big deal." He muttered. "I mean it was well over a year ago-"

"So you admit it." I interrupted, confirming it for myself.

"Yes." Seth nodded. "I admit it. I almost died because one time I took too many drugs. But it was over a year ago. So what? I did a lot of drugs then."

"That's not the point." I told him softly. "I don't care if you used to do drugs. I know you're over that now. All I want to know is why you did it."

My friend shook his head, his eyes descending to his combat boots. "I was just a stupid kid. That's all."

"Then why can't you look at me right now?"

He stiffened, but said nothing.

"Seth." I sighed. "I know something happened. What was it?"

His voice was loud and firm when he said, "Nothing happened, Anna."

"But Seth, I know you're not that stupid as to just try and kill yourself..."

"Yes I was!" he shouted. "I was a stupid kid, Anna."

"No." I shook my head, refusing to believe him. He still couldn't look my in the eye. Instead, he was yelling at the Scooby Doo sticker on the inside of my locker that was right above my head. "You're lying."

He threw his hands up. "Why does it even matter?"

"Because you almost died, you idiot, and I want to know why!"

"That's not important now."

"Yes it is!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.

Alarm flickered across his face. He glanced around the hall and then in a flash, I suddenly found myself squished against the lockers, Seth's hard form pressing up against me. Silent I remained as he softly took hold of my shoulders. He dipped his head into the crook of my neck, his mouth close enough that I could feel his breath moving swiftly against my skin. I closed my eyes at the sensation, scolding myself at the same time. Now was not the time to have these feelings.

"You might want to keep it down." Seth whispered, his voice still tense. "People are beginning to stare."

I opened my eyes, catching onto him fast. Of course. He knew I hated attention, so what a better way to make me shut up. "I don't care. If yelling in the hall is what it takes to get you to listen, then that's what I'll do."

"Damn it, Anna," he hissed, pulling his face away to look at me. "Just drop it."

"No." I countered, frustration growing. "Is it so hard to just tell me?"

His grip on my shoulders tightened. "There's nothing to tell."

"You said that you trusted me once. If you do, then tell me why you did that to yourself."

Hands releasing my shoulders, he took a step back and met my gaze. "You're really one to talk about that, Anna. Don't you remember how the rest of it went?"

I only stared but him, remembering his words that morning he attempted to do my eyeliner. Sometimes things are just too hard to talk about.

I immediately softened my approached, guilt feeding up inside. "Seth I'm…"

"Just don't." He shook his head, taking a step back.

"I'm just worried about you."

He tipped his head, his mouth curving into a frown. "Than how do you think I feel?"

"This isn't about me, Seth, I-"

"Do you trust me, Anna?" Seth asked. His eyes were all over my face as he held out one hand.

I swallowed nervously, glancing at his reached out hand. "What's your point?"

"Exactly that." Was the only answer he gave me. The bell rung at that moment. He gave me a sad smile, dug the heel of his combat boot into the rubbery ground and spun in the opposite direction, striding down the hallway.

"Seth!" I yelled after him. "I'm not done here! Where are you going?"

"To class." He turned his head for half a second to give me a glance.

"But you never go to class!"


Five minutes later I found myself entering the art studio for drawing and painting. I shuffled in anxiously, realizing that this would be my first time attending class in almost a week. I had no idea what I missed, or if I would be able to catch up today. To most kids, art electives were something to take only to gain more credits, but to me it was so much more. Every art class I took mattered, because art and all it's flexible options of creativity was my only skill and talent that I had even a remote future in.

At the front of the class I spotted my teacher, Mrs. Nelson. Slowly I approached her, weaving through scattered chairs and tables. She lifted her gaze from the paper she was reading as I reached the front of her desk, and she smiled.

"Nice to see you're back, Anna." Absently, she readjusted her glasses on the bridge of her nose. Through her thick lenses she scanned the studio as it flooded with students. "I was beginning to worry that you were loosing interest in the arts."

I would have smirked, aware that she was only joking, but the argument with Seth was still fresh in my mind, fighting my lips in any way to curve upwards. However, my teacher did have a point. She couldn't keep me away from this class if she tried. I often came by before and after school, and occasionally during lunch to touch up on my latest assignments or for advise on future ones.

"So what have I missed?" I asked quickly, trying to save every spare moment I had for this block. I needed to get as much done as possible.

"Well…" She paused. "This week we've been working on composition. I'm certain you are aware of it already, yes? The cross, triangle, and circle are three orders in which you can compose your art."

All I could think to do was nod. "Yeah, I know. We worked on that last semester in Art 12, also in some other classes…."

Mrs. Nelson looked relieved. "That's what I thought. So you won't need another lesson, will you?"

I shook my head, and again, relieved, she began to explain the assignment. The assignment, as I expected with my luck, was due today. Although she was willing to give me an extension due to my absence, I didn't want to waste anytime and fall behind the rest of the class.

I hastily selected all the supplies and tools I needed and then made my way to my usual secluded table in the far right corner of the studio. Unfortunately, when I arrived there, I found that it was no longer secluded.

A hiss ran through my voice as I plopped everything onto the smooth surfaced tabled. "What are you doing here?"

Startled, Chris jumped out of his slumped position, his silver eyes alert as they darted around the room. When he spotted me, he allowed himself to resume his relaxed position, slumping over the table, resting his head in his arms. His voice muffled, he asked me, "What do you want?"

"To know what you're doing here in this class, sitting at this table."

"Well, as if the first answer isn't obvious, I am enrolled in this class, and to answer your-"

"Since when have you been taking drawing and painting? I don't remember seeing you."

He glared at me for interrupting, but carried on. "I would think that was obvious as well. By the look on your face when you're doing something in this class, you wouldn't notice if the school was on fire."

I had to agree with him there. Hand me even a mechanical pencil and a scrap piece of paper, and I would be in a daze of ideas and pictures, but hand me a brush and an endless supply of colors, and I was in my own world, drugged on the ecstasy of creativity.

Sitting on the opposite side I cautiously watched him out of the corner of my eye as I organized the acrylic paints and paintbrushes in front of me. After I had everything in order I asked Chris, "So why are you sitting here now?"

He let out a sigh and straitened his posture. With a reached out hand he pointed to a table on the far left side of the studio. "I used to sit over there," he said, as if that was enough explanation in itself.

Raising my eyebrows in curiosity I twisted myself around to inspect his former table. Just like Chris expected, I understood within the first glace of its occupants. Never would I have guessed that I would have any sympathy for Chris, the new basketball player that Seth had to beat the crap out of last weekend, but at this very moment, I did. And it was for one very simple reason.

The tenth grader girls.

Because the overall studentry did not have much interest in art, most art electives were compact. For example, the class I was taking now was not just drawing and painting twelve, but drawing and painting eleven as well, which included a few lucky grade ten students. Now usually I had no problem with people younger than me, but the three lucky grade ten girls who made it into the class just drove my patients right through the ground, until it past the earth's first layer and melted in lava. Sometimes, it was just so very hard to be in your own little world when every five minutes a certain groups at a table would squeal like fan girls or shout at each other… sometimes throwing paint. A very dynamic, and tortuous collection of mood swings to witness. (A/N I tell you this now, damn it, I mean no harm to tenth graders or those younger. You'll get it. Just read on.)

I turned back around in my seat, suddenly trying to stifle a laugh as I imagined Chris sitting there with them. They must have had a field day.

"It's not funny." He growled, reading my face.

"I'm… I'm sure it isn't."

He seemed to accept this, nodding his head in some confirmation as he resumed his slouched position. I eyed him for several moments before asking, "So why are you sitting here."

Chris groaned and slammed his head against the table. "Can't you see I'm trying to sleep?"

I hid a grin. Anyone could have seen that, but since when did I do him any favors? I barely knew him; though I remember well that a week ago he tried to shove his tongue down my throat without my permission. In a light, careless voice I said, "All I'm saying is that there are plenty of tables in this class. Can't you sit some where else?"

"Well, I thought this one would be unoccupied." He explained, his annoyed tired eyes glaring at me. "You haven't been here all week."

Suppressing an eye roll I went to work. I selected a thick round brush, dipped it in blue paint, then carefully, I dabbed a tinny bit of white on the edge and slowly swept the brush across the canvas. "Well I'm back now, so you can leave."


I lifted my gaze from my canvas to him. "No?"

"No. I'm not going back over there." His face contorted in horror as he jabbed his thump in the direction of his fear. "No way."

"Then move somewhere else."

Chris heaved an exasperated sigh and ran a hand through his hair, glancing around. "There's no where else to sit."

The grip on my paintbrush tightened. Despite the fact that I sympathized with Chris for sitting at that table, I didn't want him here. "I don't care, just move."

A look of realization crossed Chris' face. Cocking his head to the side, he inquired. "You're not still mad at me for what happened at the party, are you?"

Oh, he was so lucky that I couldn't seem to loosen my grip on the brush; otherwise it would have gone right through his head. "What to you mean am I still mad? Of course I am!"

"It wasn't that big deal," he told me matter-of-factly.

"How can you say that?" My eyes grew wide. I couldn't believe he thought so casually about it. "Do you know it's like to have someone invade your space like that?"

I watched the impassive expression on his face dissolve as he stared at me. "Alright." He sighed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean any harm."

"Didn't mean any harm?" I repeated skeptically. "You scared the shit out of me!"

"And I'm sorry for that!" He yelled, holding up his hands in surrender. "I really didn't mean for it to scare you that much, I just…"

I arched my eyebrows and crossed my arms, waiting for him to explain. "Just what?"

"That stupid boyfriend of yours pissed me off." He confessed, shooting a venomous glare towards my paintbrush. "He got me in trouble my first day here!"

"So you just thought you'd shove your tongue down my throat to get back at him?"

"Well, yeah." He said, firm in his answer. "I mean, it's pretty obvious that he has a soft spot for you. I didn't know you were going to take it so seriously."

"How do you think I was going to take it?" I began waving a finger, scolding him as if he were a miss-behaved toddler. "You don't shove girls against walls and force them to make out with you! My God, I didn't know what you were going to do!"

"Wait a minute." He licked his lips, suddenly worried and concerned. "You didn't honestly think I was going to… to…" He swallowed nervously. "Rape you? Did you think I would really do that?"

"It um… crossed my mind for a second." I answered hesitantly, remembering just how frightened I was that night.

Blood drained from his face as his eyes widened and his mouth dropped. "Oh, God. Look, Anna, I would never do something like that. I wasn't going to do anything, really… not like that."

I nodded. "I know that now, but not then. How would you feel if you were a five foot three, small female and had some tall, muscular guy you didn't know pin you up against a wall?"

He bit his lip in thought. "I never saw it like that…"

"Do you understand now, though?"

"Yeah." He nodded slowly, locking our gazes. "I understand now, and… and I'm sorry, Anna. I never meant to scare you like that. I just wanted to get back at Seth, but I guess I did the wrong thing. I'm sorry."

I smiled a little. Maybe Chris wasn't such a bad guy. Sure, he had some really, really rough edges, but he truly seemed sorry for what he did. "Don't worry about it. Just don't shove any more girls against walls unless they want you to."

He laughed. "I'll keep that in mind."

"Great." I sighed, looking down at my empty canvas once more before mumbling, "And he's not my boyfriend."

Chris rolled his eyes. "He might as well be."

"Whatever. Now shut up and let me work."

He only raised and eyebrow, smirked, then set out to complete his own assignment.

The class flew by quickly. I had completed my assignment with several minutes remaining before the bell rung. The result of an hour of hard work was a simple painting of a rowboat set in the middle of the ocean, during a storm. Fog haunted the air but between the mist and rain you could detect three additional boats lined up in the distance, fading into the background. I chose to compose my painting in a cross design.

I gazed down at it, absolutely in love. It would have been just another painting if not for the reflection of the center boat in the water. It looked so real, distorted against the waves. The only thing I had left to do was sign it.

Across the table, Chris studied it and gave a nod of approval. "Impressive." He said. "I didn't know someone could do that in only one block."

I shrugged. "It takes practice."

"Well," He laughed, throwing his backpack over his shoulder. "I'll see you later then."

I looked at him skeptically. "You're going? There's still five minutes left."

"So?" He raised an eyebrow as he strode away. "What's the point in standing around for five minutes?"

I shook my head, thinking that Seth could say those same words just as carelessly. A sudden sadness came over me. I didn't know how I was going to fix things with him. Everything was becoming so confusing, so complex.

With a small sigh I picked up my paintbrushes and paint containers and rushed to clean them in the sink. When I was done and made my way back to wash the table, I could only stare at the empty surface in horror.

Where was my painting?

Frantically, I glanced around the room, turning in every direction. When I couldn't find it then, sheer panic flew through me and in an instant I was running around the room, searching every group's table to find it.

The last table I had to search was the tenth grade girls'. Reluctantly I approached them, aware that they hadn't noticed me. It wasn't on the table, but one of the girls was holding a painting I couldn't quite see. When she shifted, my eyes landed on my latest creation.

"Oh thank God." I sighed with relief. "I thought I lost it."

All three girls glanced up at me, snotty looks on their faces that clearly said, 'like, what are you doing here?'

The girl holding my painting raised a black eyebrow, ice eyes shooting me a cold look. "What are you talking about?" she asked, sticking her nose in the air.

"I…I…" It was strange that I suddenly found a girl two years my junior intimidating. I couldn't put my finger on it, but something about her was familiar. "You have my painting."

She looked at me as if I suddenly grew two heads. "No I don't."

"Yes you do." I said. "It's right there in your hands."

She glanced down at the painting and then towards me. "What are you talking about? I painted this."

Blinking, I wondered if the girl had gone mad. "No, you didn't paint that. I did."

She tossed her head to the side. "Are you sure?"

"Positive." My voice became grave. I refused to let anyone claim any of my work. Even if it was a simple doodle I drew on graphic paper when I was board in math class.

A sneaky, evil smile crossed her glossed lips. "Well, I'm pretty sure I painted it as well."

I opened my mouth to object, but Mrs. Nelson's voice cut in. "It's something wrong, girls?"

"Yes," I said, glaring at the girl who clearly held my painting. With a thumb I gestured towards her and told Mrs. Nelson, "This girl is stealing my painting."

Shocked, Mrs. Nelson regarded the girl. "Is this true, Livy?"

The girl, who was apparently Livy, Blinked innocently. "Of course not, Mrs. Nelson. I was working on it this whole time." She showed her the painting. "See, it even has my signature."

At that moment, I wanted to cry. Why oh why didn't I sign it when I had the chance?

"I see." Mrs. Nelson's tone was blank as she studied the painting.

Weakly, I argued, "She just signed that, but it's not hers'. I didn't get a chance to sign it yet."

"It does have some qualities of your style, Anna." Mrs. Nelson commented thoughtfully. "However, it's not as abstract as you usually go for."

I swallowed with difficulty. "That's because I didn't have time!"

"But Mrs. Nelson." One of the other girls sitting at the table argued. "I saw Livy paint it. Honestly."

Mrs. Nelson glanced at the painting again and then took it in her hands. "Did any one see you paint this, Anna?"

"Chris did." I mumbled, feeling my defense fall. "But… um, he just left."

My teacher looked torn between the two of us. I could only watch her think as I clenched my sweaty palms, drums pounding in my ears. I cried and screamed inside, hoping she'd hear me. That painting was mine, damn it!

"Well, I'm not sure who to believe." She moved to the counter placed it down. "I suppose I'll have to put it aside until I'm positive who it belongs to."

Although that wasn't exactly want I wanted to hear, I felt relieved that Livy at least hadn't gotten it yet. Little thief.

"What!?" She whined. "But I painted that!"

"No, you didn't." I hissed, utterly annoyed.

Perching a hand on her hip, she jutted her chin skywards. Her ice eyes scanned my form, and I suddenly felt microscopically small in my worn out jeans and faded, slightly torn sweatshirt as she faced me with her designer outfit. "Oh, what do you know?" She scowled. "You're only Trailer Trash."

Her friends laughed, thinking that it was hilarious, that she somehow offended me, but I didn't care. In only a moment I became translucent and the comment drifted right through me, exiting through the other side without so much as a drop of blood or a tiny bruise. I had been called much worse. I was tougher than they thought.

The bell rung moments later. I left quickly, but was in no hurry to rush to my next class. I didn't care if I had already missed a week. My foul mood set me in no state to attend math. I hated that class enough already!

Instead, I made my way out side towards a secluded area near the back of the school where not many people hung around. I threw myself onto the abandoned cement steps and glared at the invisible wind whipping violent waves against my face.

How could so much happen in such little time? In a little more than an hour, I managed to make Seth hate me, and loose a painting!

Close to losing it, I clenched my fists tight and slammed the soft ends of my hands against the pavement, resisting the urge to scream. The action did nothing to pacify my frustration, but thinking of nothing else, I repeated the action several times more as I cursed the ground with a glare.

"Hey, Dudett." I heard a voice chirp from behind me. I stopped pounding my fists as he moved to sit beside me on the steps, nudging my right side with an elbow. "What's with that big frown?"

I shifted away from Skid and his touchy elbow, bowing my head. "Nothing." I muttered, failing to hide my miserable mood as my tiny voice hissed the answer. I stole a quick glance at Skid before resuming mentally burning a hole through the ground.

Skid mimicked my frown. Twisting himself upside down on the steps he leaned far over to my side, his face now under mine, our eyes locked. "It doesn't seem like nothing."

"Well it is." I insisted, moving back a bit.



"Hmm." Skid's eyes furrowed in thought. I caught onto his game quickly.

Sighing, I declared, "I'm not telling you."

His frown deepened. "Are you sure, dudett? It might help you to talk about it."

"I'm sure." I told him firmly.

"Well, okay." He shrugged and became silent, but only for a moment. Trying to be discreet, he asked, "This wouldn't have anything to do with Seth, would it?"

My head snapped to the side, eyes regarding him carefully. "How would you know?"

"Well…" He smiled a bit. "For one, he was so testy that he almost threw a wrench at me in auto class."

"A wrench? Are your serious?" I was stunned by that fact, but even more so that he smiled as he said it.

"Yup," He mumbled, digging through his coat pocket. "You've really got him riled up, Dudett."

I bit my lip. "I don't think that…"

"Chocolate covered soybeans?" Skid offered, shoving a bag of funny, very distanced smelling chocolates in my face.

"Um… no thanks." I slowly pushed his hand and the bag away from my face.

"Well, if you're sure." Skid said, tossing few in the air and catching them in his mouth. "Chocolate always make me feel better."

I only watched him, wondering if there was something more than chocolate and soybeans in the ingredients. "I'm sure, thanks."

He grinned at me, a cute, boyish grin that matched his playful eyes and the chocolate stuck between his teeth. "You know, I've got to hand it to you. Not many people are able to talk to Seth about certain things and leave without a scratch."

I bit my lip in confusion. "What are you talking about?"

"The argument you had with Seth."

I feigned innocence. "How are you so sure that we had an argument?"

Skid rolled his eyes, looking at me as if I was the one on… chocolate covered soybeans. "I was in the hall when it happened. Anyone standing in that hall knew you two were auguring."

I felt my face turn pallid. Oh God, people heard what we were talking about? "Are you sure?"

"Oh yeah." Skid bobbed his head eagerly in confirmation. "Your voices echoed."

"Echoed?" I repeated in horror.

He nodded again, gingerly leaning back on his elbows. "But of course, no one knew what the hell you were talking about."

"Well, that's at least one good thing." I muttered to my self in sheer sarcasm.

"But I knew what you were talking about." Skid said, ruining my brief relief. He face, despite the influence of chocolate covered soybeans, formed a serious look. "It was about his overdoes, wasn't it?"

"How do you know?" I asked quietly. Subconsciously, I curled my legs up towards my chest and hugged my knees, trying to secure myself, put up some kind of guard.

"It's simple if you've known Seth for a long time." Skid explained. "People he doesn't know or doesn't care for, he doesn't mind acting like an ass towards them, but people he does care about, he only treats with respect. But… Seth has a serious flaw that causes him to act… different towards those he cares about, when a certain subject is brought up."

I found myself beginning to lean towards Skid, my curiosity growing. "And what flaw would that be?"

"He can be very defensive." Skid sighed. "Something happened almost two years ago that made Seth completely fall apart."

"What happened?" I whispered.

"I don't know." Skid could only look down at his hands, shaking his head. "He wouldn't tell me. I'm his best and he wouldn't even tell me. Besides, even if I knew, you'd have to hear it from him."

I nodded in understanding, continuing to listen intently.

"I have a vague idea of what caused him to suddenly turn to drugs, but I'm not exactly sure."

"You mean he didn't do anything before that? I asked.

Skid shrugged, biting his lip as he explained. "He did a little, but not much. Honestly, he'd only smoke pot at social events, but even that was rare. After whatever happened, though, he started using other things.

I felt a shiver run through me that had nothing to do with the wind. "What did he use?"

Seth's friend hesitated. "I don't want to tell you. They were just more… dangerous than pot. We tried to help him quit, but he said it was the only thing that could dull the pain… but I guess it didn't work, because one day he just cracked and the next thing I knew I got a call from Tracy, who was balling her eyes out because Seth was in the hospital, almost dead."

I closed my eyes, suddenly trying to fight tears. Even thinking of Seth in that state, in so much pain that he had to reduce himself to drugs ripped my heart apart. There was a whole life he had that I didn't know about, and it was only full of pain and agony. I somehow felt certain that he still had a part of that world in him somewhere. Otherwise, he wouldn't be so defensive to talk about it.

I fought to keep a steady voice as I asked, "What happened after that?"

"His parents stepped in." Skid said, licking his lips as the cool wind dried them. "They sent him into rehab for three and a half months."

I smiled a little for some reason. "At least they were able to do something right."

Skid nodded in agreement. "It did help Seth, that's for sure. After that he didn't even touch weed and seemed to return to his old self - the real Seth. He only smokes cigarettes now, on a few social occasions and when he's stressed. It's really only once a week or less. Maybe even once every two weeks or a month."

I laughed a little. "I never felt so okay with someone just smoking after that story."

Skid smirked. "Me neither. I'm trying to cut back on my own smoking now. Weed, of course. You know, slowly." He rambled. "But it's hard when you're a vegetarian."

I chuckled, throwing my head back. "What does being a vegetarian have to do with quitting weed? It's not like it has protein in it."

"Open your eyes, dudett!" Skid cried, waving his arms in the air. "Weed grows from the ground. It's a plant. Vegetarians live off plants!"

I shook my head, fighting giggles. "You're crazy."

He scoffed, waving a hand. "You're clearly the crazy one if you can't see that logic."

I laughed harder.

"Be quiet, dudett. " Skid huffed. "I'm not even done talking about Seth yet. Try and be serious."

Biting my lip to calm myself, I muttered, "I'm sorry, what was your point again?"

He paused to think about this for a moment, before clearing his throat. "I was trying to explain that Seth is very defensive when it comes to this subject. Even after I thought he had gotten over it and decided to approach him about exactly what happened, he punched me in the face because I refused to shut up. I ended up having a broken jaw."

My eyes widened. "You're not joking?"

Skid bobbed his head eagerly. "No joke, dudett. And he knows I'm a fragile vegetarian."

I smirked at him, tilting my head to the side. "Do you use that excuse for everything?"

"I'm serious." He told me earnestly. To prove his point, he rolled up one sleeve to show me his wrist. "Look at how bony my arm is."

"I don't know," I mused, hiding a grin, "I see a lot of fat on that arm."

Skid suddenly glared at his bag of chocolates, talking to them as if they were real villains. "I knew you'd be my down fall." He muttered something under his breath and went through his pockets again. "You mind if I have a joint, dudett?" He asked, before proudly informing me, "I'm down to one every other a day now."

I only smiled and told him, "Just smoke into the wind."

He grinned and eagerly lit one up. "So…" he said, slowly letting out his first puff, into the wind. "What else is knew with you?"

I don't know how it happened, but I began telling him about everything that went on during drawing and painting. I told him how I made amends with Chris and bitched about that grade ten girl Livy. Skid, despite the fact that he was becoming more and more out of it with every puff, was a good listener. When I was finished venting, I felt I had made a new friend. The slightest bit of weight lifted off my shoulders despite everything. I liked having more friends, and Skid was a cool guy. For crying out loud, he made me laugh just as I was about ready to rip someone's head off!

After awhile Skid began to... mellow out more, and started informing me of all things he saw in the cloudy sky. Really, all I could see was one large blob of gray that expanded across the whole sky. The exact kind of blob you see right before it rains. But hey, if Skid could see a werewolf in a tutu, the yellow submarine with the Beatles waving at him, a dancing fridge and a talking cake that apparently told him "Skid, if you were baked goods I would eat you too", than hats off to him.

He was just about finished his joint when thunder rumbled and rain began to fall.

"Aw fuck, the sky's pissing on me again!" He cried, glaring at the clouds.

I made no comment, lifting my hood over my head and grabbing the collar on his coat to bring him up.

"Hey!" He protested, trying to get the last bit of weed out of his joint. "Hold on a damn second."

"No." I tugged on his collar. "You're getting wet."

"Then I'll get wet."

"But Skid," I argued, "You're a vegetarian. You get sick easily."

"Fucking fine then." He grumbled, throwing the rest on the ground. "Have it your way."

It was then I concluded that Skid had a potty mouth when smoking pot. Haha. … Oh my God. Did I just giggle? And over that? Crap. Maybe not all of that toxic smoke went into the wind. Tossing that thought aside I quickly shuffled us both inside the school, aware that we stunk of the forbidden plant. I vaguely wondered if the apple body mist I had in my locker would hide the smell. Did Skid mind smelling like apples?

"Hey!" Someone hollered. I glanced down the hall, eyes landing on Chris who was running towards us, carrying a canvas in his hands. "I've been looking all over for you!"

"Why?" I inquired, raising my eyebrows.

He only grinned and thrust the canvas into my hands. In awe I stared down at the boat in the middle of a storm. "Oh my God, how did you get this?"

"Mrs. Nelson came to talk to me." He explained, scratching the back of his neck in thought as he found the right words. "At first I thought I was in trouble for leaving early, but she didn't even mention it. She just showed me your painting and asked me if I saw you paint it. Apparently someone else was trying to claim it?"

"Yes." I confirmed, still reverently gazing down at my painting. "One of the tenth graders."

"It was Livy, right?"

I glanced at him cautiously. "How did you know? Did Mrs. Nelson tell you?"

Chris shook his head. "I've heard things about her. Guessed it was her in the first place."

"So she's done this before…" I mused, trailing off thoughtfully.

"Quite a few times, yes." He told me matter-of-factly. "And I guess Mrs. Nelson believed me when I said you were the one who painted it, because she just handed it to me and told me to give it to you." A cheeky grin lurked over his face. " And you got and A, by the way."

I was just about to do a little dance of victory when a screeching voice violated my ears.

"Give me back my painting, you bitch!"

Oh dear God, what now.

I closed my eyes and counted to ten before opening them, meeting the flaring ice orbs of spoiled little Livy.

"Hi there." I grounded through my teeth. "What can I do for you?"

Her hand was once again perched on her hip, one foot tapping the rubber ground as she tossed her head to the side, beautiful raven hair flowing in shiny waves at the movement. "You. Stole. My. Painting."

Is it possible for pretty little rich girl to possess the voice of a monster? Listening to her, I suppose it was.

"No, I didn't." I told her as firmly as possible. As tightly as I could, I grasped the canvas into an iron grip. "Mrs. Nelson decided that it belonged to me. After all, I'm the one who painted it."

"No," she hissed. "I'm the one who painted it."

"I'm sorry," I said, trying to study her closely. "Are you delusional or something? Do you actually think you painted this or are you just a spoiled brat who can't let go of one of your lies?"

She screeched at the top of her lunges and lunged towards the painting, clutching onto it with her fancy manicured hands. I grasped onto it ever tighter than before as she tried to pull it away from me.

Everything became a blur after that.

I felt all the frustration I had let go earlier flood right back into my blood stream, tainting my mind and haunting my heart.

Her constant screeching faded into the background, become wails of a sea witch echoing across the ocean. I was but an innocent fisherman on a tiny rowboat, the rain and the wind tossing me from side to side as foggy mist blinded my vision. All I could do was clutch onto the wooden side of the boat that was bound to break and sink, dragging me along the depths of the endless ocean. I just wanted it to end.

And it did.

Just as we pulled the canvas on opposite ends, the wood framing it snapped in two, as did my painting.

Along with it, I snapped as well.

The moment I came back to my senses, I discovered my fist was flying right towards her nose. But by the time I realized this it was to late to stop.

I heard something crack just as her agonizing scream bled in my ears.

Everything was perfectly clear now. Just perfect.

"You bitch!" She cried, clutching her nose. Even though she tried to cover it with her hands I could clearly see crimson liquid flowing through her fingers, dripping down her chin.

Oh dear God, what have I done?

"You broke my nose you fucking whore!"

I broke her nose!

Oh God, I broke her nose. That's got to hurt. I know it does. I had my nose broken once… it was all pain. Just pain.

I can't believe I inflicted that kind of pain on someone else…

Rigged, I realized I stood, gaping at her crimson face of pain, unable to completely process what I did.

"I'm going to fucking kill you!" She declared, stumbling over her feet as she jabbed a finger in my chest. "You're fucking dead once my boy friend finds out!"

You know what? I would have let her kill me anyway. I can't believe I did this…

"You know what? Screw waiting for my boy friend. I'm taking you down now!"

Although she said only she would take me down, she had made eye contact with a few other girls in the fast forming crowd. They seemed to know what she was thinking, and before I could even blink I was surrounded.

There was no fighting this. I broke her nose; let her brake whatever she wanted. It's only fair. Besides, I've become used to it.

Just as I felt a foot imprint itself hard on my back, two hands took hold of my shoulders and pulled me away.

Livy screamed in out rage at the action. "What the fuck are you doing, Seth!?"

Seth? No, it couldn't be Seth. He was mad at me.

I looked up to discover him, though, and quickly questioned that theory.

But what was he doing?

"Leave her alone, Olivia." Seth told her firmly. She started screaming at him, profanities flying everywhere just like her arms. Seth took it well, eyeing her as he pushed me behind him to where Skid stood… laughing. Wait, why was Skid laughing? This wasn't funny!

The crowd began to fade, but Livy had only just begun.

"Why the fuck are you defending her!?" She cried, pointing at me. "She broke my nose!"

"I realize that, Olivia." Seth sighed. "But-"

"You should be defending me, not her!"

Sighing once more, Seth rubbed his temples. "You don't need to do this, Olivia. You've already done enough damage."

"What do you mean?" She wailed, tears mixing with her bloodied faced. "She broke my nose!"

"Just go away!" He snapped. "You're the one who started it!"

Her bottom lip began to tremble and a more distinct kind of pain flashed through her eyes. "I hate you!" she screamed. "I fucking hate you!"

Seth grew absolutely still as she stomped off, blood marking her trail in tiny drops.

Skid continued to laugh, oblivious of what just happened.

"Stop it Skid." I pleaded. "It's not funny."

"But it is." He insisted, clutching onto his sides.

"Why?" I demanded. "I broke her nose!"

"Yeah, but it's only Olivia."

My blood turned cold. I suddenly realized just who Olivia was. "You mean… she's Seth's sister?"


I shook my head, trying to clear everything. Dear God, what have I done? I punched Seth's sister! I glance back at Seth who wasn't doing anything. His Face was impassive. He didn't even seem to care! A loud burst of giggles erupted from Skid.

"Stop it," I told him. "This isn't funny."

"But it is." Skid chuckled. "Right Seth?"

Seth didn't respond.

"It's shouldn't be funny. I broke her nose! She's bleeding. He should be angry."

"No he shouldn't." Skid insisted. "She's an evil bitch. Do you know how she treats him? She deserved what you gave her."

I had no idea if it was the weed talking, or Skid himself, but Seth didn't object to what he said.

"I don't know why he doesn't care, but he should." I said, talking a deep breath. Why didn't they understand? "It's his sister, for heaven's sake!"

"Shut up!" Seth roared. "Both of you just shut up!" His breath was ragged. He looked like he was literally going to self-combust. We could only stare as he let out an aggravated growl and stormed off.

"Well." Skid said, his laugher no longer existent as he gaped after the enraged Seth. "I guess he really does care."

Yeah, and I guess he was really defensive to other things as well… unless… Olivia was part of the original problem. No. It was just that she was his sister. Wait. Now I'm just confused.

Oh hell, it was all just a fucking mystery!

A/N: I was going to put this up after it was edited, but my family has been having some trouble with Shaw, our cable company, and to put a long story short my internet connection is bitch, so I decided that since I was finished today I'd just use my friend's computer and post it now. The edited version will come in a few days. And yeah, I do have a newer computer now, thank you for all those who sympathized, but for some reason, because technology hates me, something always gets in the way. Lol. Whatever, bring it on, gadgets. So if you have a problem with all these typos, come back in a few days and they might be fixed.

I'm sorry. I Never meant for this chapter to take so long. I wasn't procrastinating, I swear. I've been working on this chapter constantly, but the problem is, I kept rewriting things. Yeah. So I finally just decided, "Fuck it, let's just post the bugger." And now it's here.

To be honest, one of the reasons why this took so long was because I'm afraid of what the response will be for this chapter. Things were meant to be funnier, but I realized, most of these subjects are serious, and should be taken that way. For example, Anna punching Seth's sister was supposed to be funny… but I don't think it work out that way. Sometimes, I think this story is too funny for it's own good. But sometimes it's not. Yeah, I can't make up my mind. I'm really confused about my feelings for this story right now, but I know exactly where I'm going and where I'm taking it, and I ask that you please be patient with it. The plot is going to start to become slower. Need more development with some things… oh crap, I'm rambling again.

I guess what I'm trying to say is it takes a lot longer then we expect to give into the hands of love and trust. In a review for the last chapter, someone asked me to please answer a question, which I believe was something like, "What inspired you to write this story?" yeah. I really loved that question, by the way. At first, it was to try and portray the mind of an abused girl, and how she would respond to someone who had a romantic interest in her. Then it developed into more. This story is all about trust on both sides of the relationship. And in saying that, please take note that my characters are far from perfect. Even Seth. In fact, I'm glad this side of him is coming out. He was becoming an "little" bit too perfect for me.

Thank you for all your reviews on the last chapter! They all meant a lot to me. Seriously. Whenever I felt discouraged or afraid to move on in this chapter I glanced at the reviews and remembered all the awesome people that read, appreciate and understand it. Then I realized that my fears of a bad response are silly, cuz you guys are awesome! My friend said it's only because I'm a perfectionist that I do that (the worrying and rewriting) but I argue that if I was a perfectionist, the story would be better.

This brings me to my next point. I've finally taken up editing the previous chapters. I think over half of them are posted now, and hopefully all will be completed soon. Going through those chapters, I realized just how many typos there were in this story. Wow. Do I ever love you guy for reading through all of those and still loving it!

I'd like to thank Temperamental for editing the previous chapters. You rock, girl! Take a bow!

Anna's picture is on my profile page, go check that out. I've had nothing but good responses to far.

Oh, right, I wasn't done with the reviews. Sorry, I'm a scatter brain right now cuz you know… it's two in the morning and I still need to get myself home… Thank you so much for responding to my question. I loved reading what your favorite part of the story is. I think most you said that it was the characters, and I think main favorite is Seth… then Anna. I'm glad you guys are so fond of the characters. I love them too and I honestly think they're the ones who make the story.

Next up date will be in… three weeks? Yeah. That sounds good. I'll try and make that my dead line. The next chapter isn't as long, or hard. Of course, that's what I said about this chapter. It was only supposed to be 6000 words, but it ended up being almost 12000. If you want to know how the chapter is going as I write it, go check out my live journal on my profile page. I have it as my home page. It's very useful. I even post snippets of the chapters I work on. Go see and add me as a friend if you have one. I like friends.

So… review and I shall love you. Seriously. I. Love. Reviews.

As does Seth. Yes, Seth will love you if you review. He is a review whore.

Happy reading!