Chapter 1

The door swung open. Aly looked up and scowled as her best friend walked into the room. He smiled and dropped a book bag on the floor. Then he set a plate wrapped in tinfoil on the desk. Aly looked at the plate and then smiled.

"What did you bring me?" She reached for it but Taylor pulled it out of the way. He smiled broadly, as she jumped off her chair and reached for the plate. He held it above her head and she jumped up.

"Nothing for you, Aly." He laughed as she tackled him. He dropped the plate and she barely caught it. She ripped the tinfoil off and found an empty plate.

"What is this? You said you were bringing me a surprise!" She stamped her foot on the ground like a child. Taylor smiled and reached into his book bag. He pulled out a bag of oatmeal cookies. She smiled and grabbed the bag before Taylor could pull it away.

"There, are you happy now?" He grinned and sat down at her desk. "What were you studying?" He pulled the books on the desk forward.

"Calculus, what else?" She fell into the other chair and propped her head on the desk. Taylor scanned the page she was reading.

"Need any help?" He had taken Calculus the year before. He hated finals. The time that finals at school came around made the entire school go insane. Studying all night and sleeping after the finals were done was the main focus. Taylor shut the book and picked up her notes.

"No, not really." She replied to his question. He smiled and tossed her the notebook with her notes in it. "But you can study something else."

The last day of school brought the last finals for the junior class. Aly sat against a tree at the end of the school day. She yawned and looked over the people that she had spent all year with. There was Annie Littmore, the girl that dated Taylor for a few days at the beginning of the year. She saw Garret Thompson, the guy that she had dated for a time. Friends and mere acquaintances passed by her as she sat by the tree. Then she stood, taking the backpack with the final things to come out of her locker. She walked slowly through the courtyard to a gate that led to the parking lot. Taylor was leaning against his car, talking casually with two girls. Both girls had blonde hair and wore skimpy clothes. They stood, holding the last papers of the school year. Taylor smiled at them and continued his relaxed talk. Aly walked over and opened the door on the other side of the car. Taylor turned and looked at her and then looked back at the girls.

"Sorry ladies. I have to drive the old friend home." He smiled at Aly with a teasing intention. She raised her eyebrows at the girls and then smiled as Taylor climbed into the car.

"Who were they?" She asked as they drove towards the gate. Taylor smiled and settled into his seat more comfortably. He turned the steering wheel and sent Aly flying into the door. She turned to him and smacked his arm. He looked shocked for a moment. "I told you that I'd hit you if you did that again!" He chuckled richly and looked back at the road.

"That was Lana Smith and Sally Redding from my math class. I told you about them." He turned the air conditioner on and glanced at her briefly.

"You never told me they were so..." She trailed off as her cell phone rang. The caller ID read: Mom. She sighed and flipped open the phone. "Hi Mom."

"Alyssa, can Taylor bring you by Target? I'm shopping." Aly looked at Taylor and then turned her attention back to the phone. "Yeah Mom, I'll be there in a few minutes." She shut the phone and turned to Taylor. "Could you take me to Target? Mom is shopping again." He laughed and turned the car towards the department store.

Aly found her mom in the housing section of the store. The child in her mother's arms squirmed and Aly reached for it. She smiled at her baby brother and handed the baby back to her mother.

"Hey, Mom what are we looking for?" She grabbed the shopping cart and started to push it along after her mother.

"I was looking for those curtains that match the bedspread in Leo's room." She glanced down the aisles and then turned down one. "Aly, go look down another aisle. Maybe we can find it faster." Aly nodded and left her mother to find the curtains.

She turned down an aisle, lined in red paint, and looked at the bedspreads and sheets around her. Nothing looked like the blue elephants in Leo's room. She reached out and touched the soft blankets as she passed them. She imagined that some day she would enjoy shopping for her own home. She smiled and looked down at the cart. A child was blinking up at her from the seat. She looked at the little girl and then looked at the other child holding on to the cart. The girl looked worried. She said something that Aly didn't quite hear. Then she said it again.

"Mommy, Derek's gone!" Aly looked at the little girl, confused. Mommy?

"What?" She asked, confusion lacing through her voice.

"Derek's gone!" The girl had to have been six years old.

"Derek?" Aly asked, still baffled. She looked at the young child in the cart and then back to the little girl.

"Derek, Mommy!" The little girl said again, exasperated. Aly looked back at the cart and saw a black purse. She reached for it as the little girl continued to yell about Derek. She opened the purse and pulled out a wallet. She flipped it open and saw her first name on a driver's license. The credit cards had her name on them too. It was the last name that made her stop. She was Alyssa Bennett. The cards told her that she was Alyssa Bass. She looked at the cards for a moment and then she saw a picture. She looked at it and saw three children. Two of them were the little blonde girls in the cart. The other was a boy, about four-years-old with blonde hair and blue eyes. Aly flipped the picture over and saw a date written next to three names: Kathy, Derek and Lily. She glanced at the two girls with her and then at the picture. A flood of panic hit her from somewhere that she couldn't describe. She suddenly knew that Derek was missing, that she had to find the boy.

"Where did you see him last?" She asked the little girl by the side of the cart, Kathy.

"He was here a second ago, Mommy." She turned and looked up and down the aisle. Aly followed the little girl's glance.

"Alright, let's go find him." She turned the cart and looked down the aisle. An employee of the store walked past her. "Excuse me!" She yelled at the woman. The lady turned and looked at Aly.

"Can I help you, ma'am?" She smiled the absent smile of an eager to please employee. Aly turned her eyes to the woman's eyes and then looked at the children.

"Um, Derek…my son, he's missing. Have you seen him? He has blonde hair and blue eyes. He's about four." Aly was trying to remember this child, but had never known him. She was describing him off the picture that she had seen.

"When did he go missing, ma'am?" The woman looked worried instantly. She glanced around the aisles, wondering if Derek was nearby.

"About ten minutes ago." Aly flipped open her wallet and showed the picture to the woman. "Please help me find him!" She turned and pushed the cart up the aisle. When she reached the edge of the housing section of the store, she saw a few team members running around. The woman that she had asked before came up to her.

"Ma'am, we found him." She pointed to a man that was walking forward, a little boy holding his hand. Aly rushed forward, thinking that was what a worried mother would do.

"Derek!" She cried. The little boy looked up.

"Mommy!" He broke out of the man's grasp and ran to Aly. She caught him in a hug and then shook him roughly.

"Don't ever do that again!" She picked him up and carried him to the cart. She turned around and looked at the man. "Thank you." She turned and hurried to the cash register. She paid for the things that were in the cart. When it came time for her to sign her name, she struggled to sign the last name. Her mind went back to Taylor. Taylor Bass, her best friend.

Ok, me again, writing new stories as they pop into my head.....hope you enjoy. I have about ten chapters written already so it won't die, I hope. If you want something I'm sure won't die, try Ebony or one of my finished works. Hey, but don't let this make you stop reading. I am working alot with this idea and I really like it.

Please leave a review. I would really love to know if someone is reading.