A/N: I'm sick and tire of updating Royal Trepidations. I get halfway through chapters and then my muse leaves me for about a month. Therefore I've given up on it until school is out (about a month) and meanwhile, I'm going to start a lighter story with a plot not as complicated as RT. So enjoy.


She had hated him since childhood.

The reason why she had forgotten, but hate him she did and it seemed to rub off on him, for now, he too hated her with his very being. her hatred had been like a flickering candle, though ablaze at times, but dying down in its flame at others. In her weakest moments, she found herself turning to his reassuring words; she'd always thought that the would make a great therapist. A contradictory therapist of course - one that could offer the utmost reassurance one moment, then lower your being to nothingness the next - but a good one nevertheless.

It seemed so easy in her thoughts, too complicated to be understood the reality that they had crafted for themselves.. One could describe him as a volatile being. Perhaps hate was too strong a word. Dislike then. She really did not like him. Any way described though, he had always been there for her, whether she wanted someone to turn to for reassurance, or just a familiar face to ground herself. And he and his family had helped her family through her father's death six years ago.

He never failed to act as a constant in her life. She recalled all too well how he got the Perfect Attendance award year after year. Which was why, as she sat there in seventh period Physics, her mind ran on overdrive, summoning up a million reasons for his absence. His seat, second row, third seat from the left, was empty. No one else seemed to notice. In fact, the boy who sat to his right had welcomed the absence, taking no hesitation in placing his books atop the empty desk. She frowned, unable to concentrate on the teacher's incessant drone. Where could he possibly be?

The day seemed to drag too long for her, and as much as Gene hated to admit it, his absence totally fazed her. Life just wasn't right without Ethan there to constantly annoy her. Well, to be fair he didn't always annoy her but it was enough for him to get under her skin and itch the hell out of her.

Their relationship was (there was no other word for it). Bipolar. Yes bipolar. She'd love him one moment and absolutely loathe him the next. A "relationship" very much like the infamous Mr. Ethan Brighton himself- an enigma.

"Ms. Ashton" the balding overweight bastard of a teacher called her attention to the front of the room.

"Ms. Ashton would you kindly pay attention." His monotone voice was quickly lulling her to sleep- if only her anxious state would let her.

Damn him. Even when he wasn't here he could still annoy her. Nevertheless, worried about him she was - he had never missed a day of school in his life if she could remember. Well... except for that one time she gave him her chickenpox in the third grade.

Grinning evilly, Gene basked in the warm memory.

Almost as quickly as the memories came flooding through her head, the bell signaling the end of the period disrupted Mr. Henderson from his off the wall debate about how electrons and positrons (much like donkeys and horses) shouldn't be bred together.

He's too much, she thought to herself, grabbing her notebooks and hugging them to her chest as she exited the classroom. The hallway was, however, suspiciously overcrowded for the end of school and suddenly all movement seized to a halt. Carefully, Gene managed to push through the crowd, and find what the commotion was all about.

Her eyes fell on him the one person who had managed to get her blood boiling within seconds. She couldn't understand what was so special about him until she too noticed why everyone had surrounded him.

A large bruise covered the majority of his temple (at least the parts that she could see were not covered with his dark brown wavy hair). The aforementioned locks were disheveled, and sticking up all over the place. Wearing a look of boredom, Ethan had positioned his body casually against a row of lockers and his backpack was still on the ground- forgotten.

Out of curiosity, Gene advanced.

Something jumped in her heart when she looked at him. Something unwanted and unneeded. It teetered on the edge of concern and almost fear for him. The concern made her wonder what had happened, leaving her mind frantic. Enough that she found herself running to him before she even knew it. And then she realized that she was in the center of a semicircle of students, all with their eyes trained on the two of them. Like a herd of cows, they turned their eyes to the guy standing just outside of the circle, whose eyes were full of hatred and whose hands were clenched so tightly that his knuckles had gone bone white.

Recognition registered in her mind.

Matthew, her own flesh and blood-- the older, usually calm brother. However, he had a look of pure disgust and hatred on his face. His ice blue eyes emphasized by the dark blue polo that he had on - how scuffled and splattered with blood. The scowl on his face was only illuminating his dark demeanor further. Something must have touched his emotions regarding a rather personal issue, because usually even the most insulting remarks aimed at him could not stir his cold mask.

All too clearly, he was the last person she expected to see, and the last person she wished to have gotten involved in something with Ethan. Not that he was a stranger to trouble at all, but he rarely got into an all out brawl nor was it that he never did anything with Ethan.

Contrarily (and ironically) the two of them were best of friends. It irked her to no end that the one person that her brother could possibly chose to be his best friend was her worst enemy.

Both Ethan and Matthew were glaring fiercely at a figure on the ground. The two of them wearing identical smug expressions on their face, both her dearest brother and his idiotic best friend were looking somewhat smugly at a guy lying slumped on the floor, cradling what looked like a broken nose.

"What the hell is going on here?!" Gene demanded, her chestnut curls flying as she shook with anger. "Haven't you guys had enough of detention? Mrs. Ainesman is going to be so pissed when she finds out you got into another fight. You're going to tell mom if she suspends you- I refuse to cover up for you this time!"

Her brother looked up, finally noticing her. The glare in his eyes hardened and he glanced at his best friend. In silent agreement they both smirked and turned to her again.

The crowd watched in silent fascination.

"Gene. We heard the most interesting bit of news during first period this morning," Ethan lazily began.

"Interesting news about you in fact and amazingly it happened last night." He paused for a moment, "would you care to enlighten us? Perhaps it was a misunderstanding." Matthew's eyes gleamed wickedly.

First period they had practice for Lacrosse. Nothing there. Last night? Gene's memory racked through the events that happened last night- Shopping with Xandria, going back to Xandria's house for her pool party, making out with some guy- oh shit. They found out.

Her eyes drifted to the figure on the floor - Robert Periway. Damn.

Her eyes widening she began to slowly back up. The crowd parting for her.

Ethan shook his head patronizingly- "Run." He warned and then lifted himself off the lockers.

She ran.

Down the halls, out the main entrance, down the 32 steps of the stairs, and across the grass, trying to make it to Xandria's car. Unfortunately half way across the field a pair of muscular arms snatched her.

"ETHAN LET GO OF ME!" Gene demanded, knowing instinctively that it was not her brother behind her. Her brother smelled of some cologne that she had given to him for his birthday a couple years back from Fiji. He had liked it so much that he now ordered it specially. No. Ethan always smelled of pine and cedar and something spicy that was his own scent. Besides. The arms that encircled her were olive tan. Her brother was lighter.

Ethan tsked in a mocking tone, "you naughty, naughty girl. Daring to make out with Robert Periway while we were still here!"

Her brother behind her clucked disapprovingly as he slowly walked around to face her, "I would at least thought you'd have the common sense to wait another month until school's out and we" he gesticulated at himself and Ethan, "moved to Yale for college."

"Please," Gene rolled her eyes, still struggling to get out of Ethan's hold, "first off, it was one kiss- it was not making out. A two second kiss is nothing compared to the suck face that I've seen you both do. And second we both know that you're going to wait to the last minute this summer to move your lazy butts to Connecticut."

"Ah," Her brother wagged a finger, "but we are allowed to, as you so put it- suck face. You however are not." Gene glared, and centuries worth of feminist anger was brought to life in the almost scream that erupted.

"Why you sexists bastards! So it's alright or you two to stick your tongue down another girl's throat and I can't have one kiss?!"

The two of them nodded emphatically.


"And" Ethan drawled on from behind her, "if you didn't go around kissing random guys, we wouldn't have to go around beating them up for trying to sleep with you."

Gene gave another half scream and shook herself loose from his hold, her wild curls blowing in the spring breeze

"He was not trying to sleep with me." She shook her head emphatically. "It was just an innocent kiss."

"That was not what we heard from dear old Robbie" He brother's eyes narrowed at the memory.

"And so we had to take care of him."

"You're both unbelievable" she closed her eyes in half disbelief, "I'm going to go home with Xandria". And with that she stalked off in fuming rage.

"I'll see you at home then" her brother called out laughingly, "and we'll deal with your punishment later."

This time Gene did let out a scream of frustration as she whirled around, but the boys had already turned to head for the school, laughing and punching each other on the way.

They were incorrigible. Then again, Gene was quite used to the two of them "protecting her" from boys. It had gone on forever and as long as she could remember. The two of the had known each other since the fifth grade and had bonded over who had the coolest sized bruise from soccer practice.

The two were inseparable.

They even looked similar enough to be almost brothers- even though Matthew's sandy blond contrasted drastically with Ethan's chocolate black brown hair. They were similar in height and build - though Matthew was a slight bit broader and they were both brilliant, charismatic flirts out to conquer the world.

Of the two, Ethan was the more serious one, more focused in whatever his goal might be, and while the two of them were certified geniuses in their own right, it was Matthew who was the more creative of the two.

They had planned on opening their own company after college, and with them going to Yale in a year it didn't seem so very difficult a dream. She however, had no clue about what she wanted to do with her life. But as she was still had another two years in school, it didn't seem like such a big deal.

"GENE!!!" an energetic blond waved at her from a convertible, "COME ON BABE WE'RE SO LATE!!!"

Gene laughed, her previous anger forgotten as her best friend began her antics again.

Sandra McClure was a five foot seven, busty blond, beautiful and surprisingly smart woman. Xandria (she hated the name Sandra) had been her best friend since forever- though Gene was four years younger than she. It was true. At fourteen, Gene was a sophomore in high school having skipped both kindergarten and first grade. Xandria, her brother and Ethan were all Eighteen, seniors and ready to leave childhood behind them after graduation.

Hmm, perhaps that was why her brother had such a problem with her "dating". Thinking upon it, fourteen was a rather tender age. And the guys of her high school never really believed that she was fourteen. It was for a logical reason really: Gene didn't look it.

She was of medium height- five foot four, with wild curling chestnut hair and while not with a fully developed figure, she didn't have a boyish one either. Her skin was pale and her eyes an intelligent sharp green that darkened into brown near the edges.

No she didn't look her age.

---- Three months later -----

"Hurry up! You're planes going to leave!" Gene frantically tried to push her brother and Ethan faster toward their gate.

"What's the rush? We've got a whole fifteen minutes!"

The boys looked at her incredibly.

"Never mind that" Gene waved at the air, "We have to be at the gate NOW!"

"Whatever you say" Matthew grinned and threw her over his shoulder, beginning to sprint toward the gate.

Twenty two seconds later, Gene was hoarse from screaming, Ethan was doubling up in laughter and Matthew was rubbing his back from being beaten.

"You know, children never do seem to grow up do they Sara?" A feminine voice asked amused behind them.

"They certainly don't Margaret."

The boys whirled around.

"MOM!" they yelled at the same time. Sure enough, both the Brighton and the Ashton family were situated behind them, smiling bemusedly at the three.

"We thought you guys had work," They accused, as they both went to kiss their respective mother's on the cheek and Ethan hugged his dad.

"Well, we'd thought we could take off a day to see our boys off," Mr. Brighton winked.

Gene stuck up her nose in a mock arrogant manner, "I told you that you wanted to be here," she intoned, "and now you're going to be late if you don't get on that plane!"

Matthew hugged her, "Be good kid, and remember NO DATING!"

Behind him Ethan laughed and winked at her as he boarded after her brother.

Gene scowled.

Never would she have guess that within six years her attitude towards him would change.


A/N : Not bad eh? Next chapter up later this week.