Adrienne walked slowly beside her friend Faith on the upper level of the mall. They were headed to the arcade. It was Saturday and they had nothing better to do. Adrienne was highly anticipating getting on the Dance Dance Revolution machine. She had been in love with it since the first time she played on one three years ago. She remembered the first time she played like it was yesterday.

It was her thirteenth birthday and the party was being held at a local pizzeria/arcade. Adrienne thought she was too old to have her birthday parties held at such a place, but her mother had insisted and so as not to hurt her feelings Adrienne went along with it. She had to admit, it wasn't all bad. Fifteen other girls had been invited and they had scattered about the arcade. Adrienne didn't mind, she was fine hanging out with her best friend since fourth grade, Faith. Her mother hadn't seemed to notice that Adrienne never hung out with all the other girls. It wasn't that she didn't like them, and the other girls liked her to a certain degree, she had just grown extremely accustomed to only Faith's presence, and she didn't really want to change that.

They had been sitting in a booth chatting and giggling over the cute guy behind the counter where you traded in your tickets for candy and prizes when Faith asked if she wanted to go play some games. Adrienne readily agreed and they went off, in search of a little entertainment.

"Hey look at that," commented Faith, pointing to where a small crowd had gathered around what looked like two people dancing . "Let's go check it out."

Thoroughly intrigued, the two girls went over to see what was so enthralling.

There were two teenage girls who looked slightly older than Adrienne and Faith playing some kind of stepping game. There was music playing and a lighted marquee just above the screen that said DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION. Adrienne looked at the screen and noticed that there were arrows moving up the screen in time with the music. After a moments observation, she figured out the basics of how the two girls were playing. Apparently, when the arrows scrolling up the screen reached the stationary arrows at the top, they had to step on the arrows on the metal pad to earn points. She wanted to play! She turned to Faith and said, "That looks like fun. You want to play when they get done?"

Faith smiled at her friend.

"Yeah!" she said. "But you know, I think I saw another game on the other side, across from the pizza stand. We can go see if it's empty."

"Okay!"

Adrienne remembered how she felt when her feet were moving across the pad, seemingly on their own. She knew it was meant to be. Adrienne liked that feeling and ever since she had been playing every time they went to the mall. She had even bought the home edition for Playstation 2. (She was currently saving money so she could buy the metal dance pads and get rid of her plastic ones.)

"Hey!"

Faith's outburst jerked Adrienne out of her thoughts.

"Look!" She said, pointing to the arcade entrance. Adrienne could see the DDR machine from where she was standing. She could also see that someone was on it, and they were doing really good. They were moving really fast and there was a crowd gathered around, watching. Some people were chanting what was apparently his name.

"MARCUS! MARCUS! MARCUS!" She heard them yelling.

"Let's go check it out, Adrienne, you may have some competition!" Faith said jokingly.

Adrienne laughed and ran to catch up to her friend who was already practically at the arcade entrance.

"Wow he's kind of hot." Faith whispered and nudged Adrienne in the elbow. (There really was no need for her to whisper, they were looking on from the small cafe in an adjoining room. They had a perfect view of the guy apparently named Marcus from a table in the corner.) Adrienne laughed and looked at her friend. She couldn't deny that, he was tall, at least two inches more than her, with shaggy dark brown, almost black hair, dressed in a goth/punk style in a black tee-shirt with a white long-sleeved T underneath and black pants with two straps that hung down to the back of his knees and crossed in the back.

"He's almost better than you at this!" Faith noted.

"He probably is." She agreed. "He looks like he's been playing a lot longer than me anyway." She looked at the screen and listened to the music. He was playing The Legend of Maxx, the fastest and hardest song she'd ever come in contact with, and from the looks of it, he wasn't having any trouble, even though he was on heavy.

"You should play him" said Faith. Adrienne looked at her like she was crazy. "What?! I bet you could beat him!"

Adrienne continued to give her a psycho look. "No way in Hell!" she practically shrieked. "There's no way I could beat him!"

Faith waved her off. "Sure you could. I know you can, and as soon as he gets done with this round, I'm going to tell him to play against you!" She smiled triumphantly at Adrienne who was looking as if someone had just painted her face white.

"No!" she exclaimed, gaining weird looks from some of the other people in the cafe.

"Why not?" Faith asked slyly. "Are you shy?"

"Well, first of all, he looks like he would murder me slowly and painfully with small sharp knives if I looked at him the wrong way-"

"Oh, come on! Just 'cause he does all his shopping at Hot Topic? It's not like you don't ever go in there, if I remember correctly, that shirt you're wearing now came from there. You're just making excuses, we both know that you like a little darkness in mystery in a man. Just one game, you need some real competition besides me anyway. Someone who might actually beat you. The only way you'll ever really appreciate the game is to be beaten at it a couple of times anyway."

"Getting a little thoughtful are we?"

"You bet your ass I am! Look, he's done, I'm going over there to talk to him for you."

Adrienne tried to yell at her to stop, but she was already running across the room to catch up with Mr. DDR-king. Cough-sarcasm-cough. She was seriously contemplating running away right now. Or committing suicide. They were on the second level of the mall, so if she jumped from the window and landed the right way, maybe she could shatter her own skull. She pictured what Faith would say then.

Maybe something like: "If only I hadn't tried to force her to publicly humiliate herself by playing DDR with someone who could kick her ass!"

Nah, she wouldn't say that.

Sulkily Adrienne got up and walked to the counter to order a drink.

"Can I help you?" asked the very bored looking guy behind the counter.

"Medium Coke,"

Taking her five-dollar-bill, he handed her a styrofoam cup and her $4.01 change. She stuffed the money in her pocket and took the cup to fill it up at the fountain against the wall.

She had just gotten the lid on the cup and was about to take a drink when someone tapped her shoulder. Knowing who it was and dreading facing them, she asked without turning around, "What?"

"Adrienne, I want you to meet someone," came Faith's overly-cheerful voice. Sighing, Adrienne turned around to face her certain doom-

-and came face-to-face with the sexiest face she'd ever seen. She was temporarily winded.

"Adrienne this is Marcus. Marcus, this is Adrienne, she plays Dance Dance Revolution almost as well as you do!"

Adrienne struggled to find her voice, but all she could manage to get out was a meek, "Hi."

She was almost sure she was going to crack under his penetrating stare. His dark brown eyes bore into her as if trying to search inside of her for something. S he had to break this awful silence before she lost all nerve completely.

"So you play DDR?" Stupid, she thought. Of course he plays DDR! That's why he's here talking to you . . . er . . . not talking, whatever.

"Religiously," he said with no feeling whatsoever. He was seriously starting to scare her.

Adrienne smiled but couldn't think of anything more to say. Luckily Faith piped up saying, "C'mon you two should go play each other! It would be awesome!"

"You want to?" he asked, flashing her a smile that plainly said, "CHALLENGE MY SUPERIOR SKILLS, O UNWORTHY ONE!!!" (Well, okay, she seriously doubted that he would say that, but it was amusing nonetheless.

Suddenly it was like someone had taken a vacuum and sucked every bit of confidence out of her body. Desperately she tried to think of an excuse to get out of this predicament, but the only thing she could think of was, "Uh . . . well . . . I mean . . . I'd love to, but . . ."

"But nothing!" exclaimed Faith, with a fiery look in her eyes. "Come on!"

At this point, Adrienne knew that resistance was futile. Once Faith got that look on her face, you knew that anything she wanted, she got, even if it killed her. Heaving a sigh of relief, Adrienne followed Faith and "Marcus" out of the cafe, toward what she was certain was her certain doom.

"Guys before I can do anything, I need to get some quarters, I'm all out."

"Come to the arcade without quarters," mused Marcus in from beside her. "Smart."

"All I had was a five!" she defended herself.

He sighed and said, "Don't worry, I'll pay for your side of the machine."

Okay, NO way in HELL was he going to humiliate her AND pay cash for it to happen, not as long as she had four one-dollar bills in her pocket that she could get change for. "You know what? I think I can handle getting four quarters in change."

"Not as long as that sign's up," he replied, smirking with satisfaction.

"What sign-oh," she looked up at the four change machines that were grouped together in the center of room. Above one of them was a sign that said- ALL CHANGE MACHINES OUT OF ORDER-NO CHANGE AVAILABLE.

Well, if this wasn't just a big slap in the face. "What about the cafe? They have to have change there!"

"The cafe won't give anyone change Adrienne," Faith said matter-of-factly. "remember how you always laugh at people who try?" Adrienne was sure she heard Marcus snicker without looking at him. She hated him already. But anyway, there was no other way that she could think of to get out of this, so all she could do was submit to it, utter defeat was upon her and somewhere she knew fate was laughing it's ass of at her. She could have kicked Fate in the nuts if it were here right now.

"So how long have you been playing DDR?" Said Marcus, stepping up on the metal dance pad on the right side.

"Three years," Adrienne said with more confidence than she felt. "You?"

"Five and a half," he said casually.

Adrienne tried her best to laugh like she meant it, but it came out a nervous chuckle.

"So are you going to play or not?" He asked with a smirk on his face.

"Of course," She said, stepping up to the metal pad, certain that at any moment she was going to die.

AN- Ok, this idea sort of popped into my head one day while I was playing DDR. Tell me what you think!!! I think I made the beginning a little too . . . blah, if you know what I mean, I think I need a little more detail instead of saying "this happened" then "that happened". It's like I'm writing like a minimalist, and I'm not too fond of that kind of writing. I hope I made the first chapter long enough, it was around 2,000 words and I think this was a good stopping point. I'll work on it a little more tomorrow, but I need to concentrate on a title, this one's probably only temporary.