EGOCENTRICITY: CH. 1

Summary: With my junior year of high school ending badly, my parents decided to send me off to god-knows-where. They called it discipline. My friends say its karma. Me? I think its bullshit.


My parents are evil.

There is no other way to describe it. I mean, how the hell else could I have been put in this extremely embarrassing, but highly anticipated situation? Granted, it was completely my fault and something that I had foreseen... and by foreseen, I do mean that I was aware of the fact that my mom would lunge for my throat and attempt to rip out my trachea as soon as we stepped through the front door of our house. I also knew that she would chase me up the stairs into my room, that I would have to climb out my window and shimmy down the drain pipe until I reached the guest room. I also knew that she would be waiting for me in said guest room, glaring menacingly and waiting for me to come up with some ridiculous excuse as to why I got into a fight this time. I also knew that instead of answering the question, that I would dive bomb her, getting a nasty case of rug burn in the process, and effectively end up hiding in the broom closet in the kitchen.

Yes, the broom closet.

And… okay so I'm exaggerating a bit, but the little scuffle that my mother and I got into ultimately ended with my hiding in the broom closet, so no harm done, right?

Right.

And, well, to be honest, the broom closet is a far sight better than the coat closet near the front door. I always end up hiding there. And by the time I have the nerve to creep out, she's standing there, waiting. And guess what? I get my throat ripped open anyways... actually, the proper way to say that would be that "she ripped me a new one", but since when has anyone cared about logistics? I certainly haven't. Maybe that's where I made my first mistake...

Or, maybe, it was when I decided to let that whore, Cynthia Brennan, goad me into a fight. It wasn't one my most stellar moments, I admit. Luckily, it happened on the last day of finals, after school and... was diffused before I got down to any serious ass kicking. But why am I to blame? If she wouldn't have had opened her big stupid cherry flavored mouth to begin with, then my fist wouldn't have found a permanent home on her face. Or on the side of her head. Or her stomach. Or her throat.

Er, well, it didn't quite make it to her throat, because campus security jerked me off of her before I could mutilate her body further, but ya know? What's a girl supposed to do? Walk away? Ha! As if my mother or the principal could understand what it means to be me. I have a reputation to protect. I have an image to uphold, and if that image is tarnished? Well... it wouldn't hold over well. I'm just glad that this fight didn't happen in the middle of softball season; otherwise I would have gotten kicked off the team. Now that wouldn't have gone well, and Cynthia is just lucky that I decided to wait until the day of finals before I kicked her sorry ass. If she thinks that she can talk crap about me and get away with it, she's got another thing coming.

It has been getting tiring after all. I mean, after about fifteen months of dealing with her immature bullshit, I couldn't take it anymore. Maybe if my mother knew how she was always so busy calling me a slut and feeling up on my boyfriend, she would understand where my anger comes from. Maybe if she knew my position at school, she would also understand what it means to be who I am. To be the best looking... okay, so maybe that was a bit debatable, since most of my friends were really pretty good looking girls, too, but... shit. I was the one with the best looking guy. I was the one who every girl hated because of my perfect life. I was the one who could snag up any guy I wanted and not be called a slut. I was the one who got nerds to do my homework, even if they hated me. I was the one who was the most popular girl at school, and nothing was going to change that.

I was also the one who got attacked by her mother for defending her title, but we're not going to worry about that. It's not as if she was popular, anyways. She was a nerd when she was younger. She enjoyed Calculus and Physics and all of that other disgusting stuff that no one is supposed to like... except. Well. To tell the truth, I do enjoy math. And science. And maybe English. I mean, crap, how many times in your life do you get to read a play where everyone kills themselves and some stupid broad "accidentally" marries her only son? Ha. Yeah. That's what I thought, too. And while I would never admit it to anyone, for fear of death, that I positively love school and that I wouldn't mind eloping with Brian or Taylor Beauchamp. They were both that hot.

And, speaking of hot, this broom closet just wasn't cutting it.

Frowning, I leaned forward, and attempted to peer out through the cracks. Ah ha! No mom. But my little sister was at the kitchen table, scribbling on something... probably coloring again. And if Adrianna was busy coloring that meant that Mom wasn't nearly as pissed at me as I was first led to believe. Heh. I'm beginning to think that my precious little Mummy loves chasing me around the house. Probably the only exercise she has the chance to get aside from walking from the kitchen to her car in the morning. Granted, she would have to walk back to her car from the office, and then she'd have to walk from the car to the house, but... this is probably the only time she stampedes through the house. Hell, when Adrianna went through that whole phase of coloring on the walls with permanent markers, my mom didn't even stampede that much. It was a bit sad, really, that the only person that could make her stampede is me. But, on the plus side, at least I know when I'm in trouble. This, ya know, doesn't happen often. If it did then—

The mop was digging painfully into my back, so I crept out of the closet as quietly as possible, wanting to heave a sigh of relief as Adrianna continued coloring.

"Oh, Natalie," Adrianna said, not even bothering to look up from her coloring book. "Mom's been on the look out for you."

Well, there went my great escape. I rolled my eyes. I couldn't even sneak right.

I didn't bother to wonder how she knew that it was me hiding in the closet. It was like one of those normal, every day occurrences. Although... they don't really happen every day, so...

"Know where she's at?" I asked as nonchalantly as I could. She stopped coloring for about a second before she shrugged her shoulders.

"Nope. But she's prowling."

Hmmm. Prowling is a far sight better than stampeding, that's for sure.

"Oh, well, if you see her, don't tell her I'm here."

"Why?" Adrianna asked.

I tried giving her one of those incredulous looks, but fuck me if it didn't work. She wasn't even looking at me. Still. What a disrespectful little twit. I'd beat her up, but... well, there's always some type of benefit that comes from having your little sister on your side. For one thing, if I stay in her good graces, there's a higher chance of having her back me up and lie for me in the future. For another... well, the last time I irritated my sister, she tore the heads off my Barbie Doll collection.

Ha, yeah, so I still have Barbie Dolls. They're the collector's edition. That's like asking a nerd why they collect Star Wars toys...

And, yeah, I collect those, too.

Like I said, there are some things that you can't tell anyone.

"Eh, no reason."

Adrianna actually stopped coloring at that point, which surprised me, because no matter what the situation, she never stops coloring. She's a weird one, my sister.

"Natalie," Adrianna said slowly. "Have a seat."

And, good god, she actually motioned to the seat across from her. I would have laughed, but she would have ratted me out. Like I said, little sister equals ally. There is no way that I am actually going to pass up this opportunity to get away. So, I have to appease her, first. And, yes, appeasement does work in most cases. You just have to make sure that your little sister isn't using you and that you stay in control. It's all about mind games, really. And if I hadn't learned at an early age that all girls are manipulators, then I wouldn't be where I am now. And, yes, it did take a lot of work to get here... but in the end, I'm still happy.

That's all that matters anyways.

"Natalie," Adrianna started, steepling her fingers in a most serious fashion. "I do understand that you have a reputation to uphold, but is violence really the answer?"

I blinked.

"How old are you again?" I asked, completely serious.

These types of things elude me from time to time.

"My age is highly irrelevant to the situation, Natalie," Adrianna muttered, lifting her crayon. "But for the time being, I do believe that I can indulge you. I am Adrianna Kramer, and I am fourteen years old. My goal in life is to become an artist and an archeological anthropologist. I prefer crayons to pastels and oil paintings, but I prefer charcoals to crayons. I suppose the only reason why I use crayons is because of the way the wax feels on paper. The reason why I am interested in becoming an anthropologist is because I, unlike some people I am associated with, am interested in our history and how we have evolved. Since creationism is such an irrational belief, if I do say so myself, I have decided to go forth and find the, what the uneducated would call 'The Missing Link', and—"

"You've gotten more loquacious lately," I pointed out, enjoying the way her face twisted unpleasantly. "Can I ask you something?"

Adrianna opened her mouth to make a smart-alecky comment, and I waved her off.

"Isn't digging up a bunch of fossils the same robbing graves? I mean, I can understand the logic of wanting to learn more about our ancestors, but what's the difference between going to a grave yard and digging up a skeleton and going to the desert and digging up a fuc -- ah, skeleton?"

Also, let it be known that it's always a BAD IDEA to cuss around younger sisters. It makes them offended and leads them to believe that it's all right to be rude... which it isn't. And it also means that valuable allies will be lost. Even if they are fourteen years old and think it's okay to commit the entire Webster's Dictionary to memory. And I thought I was odd.

"Interestingly enough," Adrianna started, and her voice was unnaturally light. "There is no difference. However, if the uneducated were led to believe that there was, then I highly doubt many sponsors would be eager to support such a scientific endeavor. Tell me, Natalie, were you trying to insult me?"

I stared at her incredulously. At least this time, she was able to tell what I was feeling.

"Ah, good," Adrianna continued. "Because it would be in your best interest to refrain from such laughable actions."

I snorted.

God. And I wanted help from her?

Oh, what I wouldn't do for her to be cute and four again.

"Adrianna," I asked in my most sickly sweet voice. "Would it offend you so if I were to ascertain the whereabouts of the genus homo, female, I might add, in whose womb I gestated in for nine months?"

Adrianna looked at me carefully. "If I were to give into this most heinous demand, in what way would you go about rewarding me?"

Ah, yes. Finally. After these ridiculous word games, we actually make some leeway.

"It depends on what you want."

Adrianna smiled. "My chores, two weeks, all your allowance money."

I stared.

That was enough to make me want to start cussing at her in Spanish.

Only... I didn't know Spanish, so there really was no point.

Crap.

"One week, one quarter of said allowance, and I'll buy you doughnuts for a week."

Adrianna sneered. "Do I look like some fat deposit? I'm not you, Natalie."

I resisted the urge to glare at her, because, one, I am not fat nor anywhere near pleasantly plump or chubby. I'm very athletic, I'm fit, and I have curves in all the right... fine. I won't lie. I don't have child-bearing hips, and my boyfriend says that my ass could be a bit rounder, but I still have a nice set of D's. I only weigh about one twenty, and most of that weight is in my breasts. Yeah, it's a genetic thing, and one that I'm too happy about, but... well, at least I have some curves. Which is a lot better than having none, which is my sister. But then again, I can't blame her for not hitting puberty yet. It's my parents fault for having some genetically altered child that shouldn't really be--I'm not going to finish that sentence, only because I don't mean it, and I'm not mean enough to say something like that.

Which is such a lie because I could so say it if I really wanted to. But I don't, cause she's my sister. And despite popular belief, I do have some sense of loyalty to my family.

But it's rather non-existent now that I really think about it.

Hell, I only know (personally) one cousin from my mother's side and I have like, six aunts and uncles.

Yeah, so I don't pay attention, but honestly, what's the point? It's not like they fucking pay attention to me anyways.

But I digress.

The point is, "I'm not fat."

Adrianna snorted. "No, you're not fat, but you eat like a cow."

"Are you calling me bulimic?"

"Good god, Nat," Adrianna sneered, glaring at me. "Just because you're stupid doesn't mean you have to make me look like an idiot, also. Give me some credit. If you were bulimic and I knew about it, I'd have told mom and she'd already have you locked away in some clinic by now, where people attempt to force food down you're throat... not that you'd need any forcing. You're a garbage disposal as it is."

I continued to stare at her, offended.

"Cows eat all day, Nat. And that's where the similarities end. Happy now?"

I shook my head. "You still haven't agreed to our deal."

"Fine, I don't care. But instead of doughnuts can it be like... uh, coffee? Yeah, coffee. Java City?" I nodded in defeat, and she grinned. "She's in her room making phone calls. Considering that it's been quiet and we've been chattering up a storm for about the last five minutes, I can safely say that the front door will be unoccupied."

"Check for me?"

"Fine," Adrianna sighed, before sliding out her chair. "I'll just be a second."

Despite the fact that my sister is such a nerd and a freak, she is nice. That's about the only redeeming quality she has. We do have our moments when we fight, but most of the time when I need to manipulate her into doing what I want, it starts with these horrible word games and suddenly, ends with her speaking plainly. I hate it when she uses big words, but I have to admit that I started it. I always start the words games when I want something, and she knows it too. Oh well, whatever. At least I don't have to worry about my mom guarding the door, and at least I might be able to make it out alive.

I glanced at the clock. Four thirty. Just enough time to make it to Morrison's and back.

"Here."

I turned towards Adrianna and grinned when she handed me my coat and purse.

Such a sweet little sister.

"Mom should be off the phone in about thirty seconds... she was saying her goodbye when I walked passed."

I nodded, and before she could say another word, I darted out of the kitchen, through the living room, into the foyer, and out of the front door.

Some people think it's a bad sign to run away from your mother, but I sure as hell don't. Hell, I'd like to see them stand up to her and see how well their willpower of steel holds out.

Tch.

Yeah. Right.


Morrison is probably one of the coolest guys I've ever had the decency to meet. And trust me, with my status around the school, I've met some pretty cool guys. My boyfriend being one of them. But he's not important right now. What's important is the fact that Morrison is cool, and if I could, I would have his children. But I haven't told him yet. Some part of me actually suspects that he already knows. But, whatever.

His older brother smokes weed, like, every day, and his oldest brother is twenty-five, and hotter than hell. Too bad he's married. I couldn't help but wonder why some upscale hottie would want to marry a psycho tree-hugging beatnik, but whatever. It's his choice, and although part of me wants to scream at him for marrying an infidel, I couldn't blame him. His wife was hot. And she does have the tendency to be relatively normal despite her really weird beliefs. Morrison is relatively normal, actually, and if weren't for the fact that I'd be coined the school slut if I hung out with him too much at school, I can't help but love hanging out with him outside of school. He's so fuckin' awesome. Like... shit. He's off the wall.

First off, he lives in this huge house around the corner from me. I almost always go there whenever I'm trying to escape and he always welcomes me. Plus, he'll sometimes have some non-descript friends over whenever I do decide to bother him, so I normally have the chance to make some nobody feel like the shit I'm going to be in. At least I can have some fun before the bomb waiting for me to get home goes off.

Not that I'll put myself into that position.

I'll stay long enough at Morrison's to mooch some dinner off of them before I have to go home (and while I don't like it when people attempt to mooch off of me, I have no problem mooching off of others... and no, I don't see the hypocrisy. It's perfectly normal). Then, I can honestly say that I'm full, and Mom never bothers me on a full stomach anyways. Then, at least, I might be able to go up to my room and go to bed without having to deal with her bitching at me.

Yeah, so I beat someone up. She was a beast and she deserved it.

At least now she knows what'll happen if she attempts to mess with me.

And, since Morrison is aware of the fact that I tend to get into trouble almost everyday, and happen upon his house almost everyday, the front door is unlocked almost everyday.

So I entered.

The one thing I like the most about Morrison's house is the game room. It's so fun. He has one huge plasma T.V., almost every game console you can find, about a million video games, a pool table, a ping pong table, some pinball machines, a poker table... it's by far the hugest room in the house. The second most entertaining area of the house is the backyard. He has this huge pool with two diving boards and a waterslide. And I thought I was wealthy. Actually... I do live a pretty comfortable life, and I can afford expensive, name brand things, but my parents aren't into extravagance. Let's just forget the fact that I go to a private school, and tuition there is about fifteen thousand dollars a year, but, oh well. Who's paying attention, really? Once Adrianna is done at St. Charles, she'll be going to St. Mary's, also.

Although, it's rather funny, now that I think about it. While we aren't atheists, we aren't very religious either. Mom likes to say that we're agnostic, but I don't believe that crap one bit.

Adrianna is probably the only person in our family that will tell someone to their face that their religion is stupid and makes no sense, but then again, she's becoming more and more cynical. If it weren't for me and the absolute girliness that I exude, she'd probably be butch or some such shit. Gah. As if having a nerdy artist in the family isn't enough, now we have a lesbian. Ha. As if. If Adrianna were a lesbian then, well, I wouldn't be popular. Which I am. Which must mean that Adrianna is not. Ever see what happens to a homosexual at a Catholic school? But then again, even if Adrianna were flaming, it's not like she'd admit it to her friends. But she would admit it to her family. Mom has this whole "freedom of expression" crap going on. Besides, when she was younger, she engaged in some not-so-biblical premarital sex with a woman also, so...

Ew. Bad image.

And I thought I liked to try new things.

It's a wonder that she even ended up having children in the first place at the rate she was going. But I suppose love can change you, especially if you want to be changed.

"Natalie," Morrison replied as I entered his room, not even bothering to look at me. No. Instead, he continued reading through his book, even though he knew that I knew that he wasn't really reading his book anymore. I mean, come on. When Natalie Kramer walks into a room, no one even has the will to concentrate on their previous tasks. Morrison is probably the only one strong enough to even pretend like he can withstand my natural charm. I mean, it's almost like sucking all of the air out of a room. And yes, it's happened. There was one rather amusing incident, when I had to go the Social Science office to make photo copies for my Economics teacher, and there was a T.A. just kicking back and relaxing, and as soon as she set her eyes on me she literally freaked. Like, eyes popping out of her head, falling out of her chair, accidentally destroying the nice, new expensive copy machine that the school just bought the year before kind of freaking out. Heh, and I thought that I had issues when it came to these kind of things.

But alas, it's the truth. No one can really act even partially sane when they're around me, and I thrive on it.

I'm Natalie fucking Kramer for crying out loud.

"So how's it going?"

… And so what Morrison is the only person who doesn't quite give a damn.

I resisted the urge to frown because it gets me every time he acts nonchalant. Every. Time. That's not to say that he always acts that way, especially when he has his tongue down my throat, but that's not the point. The point is, he was acting like I was the last person on earth he wanted to see (as if he actually cared how I was doing, after all) and I only loved him more for it.

Yes, I have the tendency to be masochistic. But the only reason why I don't just flounce over to him and cut him in his damned trachea is because he doesn't add the shit talking with the very obvious snuff. Not like Cynthia Brennan.

…Who's probably still busy crying her mother a god damned river because she's too weak and too insignificant to hold a candle to the one and only me.

Ha.

Morrison actually smiled at me when it took me a second too long to answer.

And I swear, he has the cutest smile in the world.

First off, the braces he had back in seventh grade worked wonders. He used to have the worst snaggle tooth in existence, but now... now he's just beautiful. He's my best male friend, although I do spend more time ignoring him at school than I do paying attention to him.

I mean, yeah, okay, so it sounds a little cruel and a little unfair… I mean, how can someone so beautiful and nice and kind and just, you know, best friend-ish be so… unworthy?

Weeeell, he's not entirely unworthy. I mean, he and I do fool around more often than not, and he knows, just as well as I do, that all we'll ever truly be, aside from best friends, is fuck buddies.

Yeah, I said it, but really, who gives a shit? As long as Kevin doesn't find out, then that's all that matters. Kevin as in my boyfriend Kevin. Kevin, the boy I lost my virginity to. Kevin, who I didn't like having sex with because it was painful and weird and Kevin broke the first two condoms (and wore one inside out)… but I'm pretty sure the first time is unpleasant for every female. To be honest (and it's a rarity, honestly), it was the only time as well, but who's counting really? …well, Kevin's counting, but Kevin doesn't exactly count at the moment, otherwise I wouldn't be tonguing other guys behind his back.

It's partly my fault that Kevin and I have only had sex once, though. But if any girl had sex and it was the most painful experience of their lives, I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't be too keen on the situation either. But my refusal to actually have sex with my boyfriend was enough to make him not want to engage in any type of sexual activities. Which pretty much meant a decline in tongue wars.

Which also meant I got steamed off as all hell because who wouldn't want this tight little body of mine?

So Morrison decided to help me with my lack of... sexual stimulation. And boy, is he ever good at it.

That's not to say that Kevin and I don't make out a lot, because we still do, but I think that the sex wasn't all he anticipated either. But what's to be expected when two virgins (I'm trying to be optimistic here) get together and try to indulge in some forbidden pleasure? It probably would have been a lot more enjoyable if he'd been trying to get me pregnant. But thank god that didn't happen.

"I'm mad as all hell, actually," I replied as I flopped down into a beanbag chair. "My mom is off her fuckin' nut again."

Morrison actually took the time to look at me.

"Oh, yes, the love of your life, Miss Brennan. What'd she say to you this time?" If it weren't for the fact that I knew him so well, I'd almost think that he was being sarcastic.

"Oh, ya know, just that I shouldn't go down on every guy that pays and that just because I don't look like crack whore doesn't mean I'm not a slut and that I need to stop asking her friends if I could engage in lesbian sex with them… I mean, give me a break. Have you seen her friends? They're like, the ugliest girls I've ever seen!"

"Really?"

I grinned at him. Oh how I loved it when he played my games. Even if he did manage to sound exasperated and bored out of his fucking mind at the same time.

"Tch, yeah. Beating them with an ugly stick would have made them look cute."

Morrison gave a weird little laugh and tossed his book to his feet and finally gave me his full attention. "You're such a bitch sometimes, Nat."

I gave him a dirty look.

Which, you know, wasn't very dirty considering the fact that I was grinning like a damned loon, but who's paying attention, really? I mean, Morrison might be, maybe, because when I smile I have the tendency to look drop dead gorgeous and if there was one thing about me that made up for my almost lack of ass, it was my smile. Perfect teeth, nice, white, and straight. Who could ask for more?

A moment of awkward silence passed.

Then, "So what happened after the fight?"

"Well, technically, I'm supposed to have gotten arrested for fighting with her, but my mom pulled her whole lawyer spiel and managed to get me out of trouble."

Morrison nodded. "Do you think that her parents will press charges?"

"Nope," I sighed. "My mom offered to pay for the hospital bills. She also said that if Cynthia needed to see a therapist after this she'd pay for that, too. It appeased them, but I also think it had something to do with the fact that Mr. Brennan and my mom are fooling around on the side."

Morrison snorted. "Wow."

"My father's fully aware, of course. He's just as much of a ho as she is."

Morrison actually laughed at that, and I really, really enjoyed hearing the sound of his laugh. Half the time I couldn't help but wonder why I even bothered to go out with Kevin in the first place, but... reputation vs. happiness, reputation vs. happiness... hmmm, for some reason, reputation seems to win out on this one.

Yeah, I'm infatuated with him, but then who in their right mind wouldn't be? It's not that he's good looking, per say, but... damn is he good looking. He's about six inches taller than I am, has the softest honey brown hair ever and the prettiest hazel eyes I've ever had the chance... uhm, well, I'm not a very poetic person so I won't even attempt to make a metaphor. While I do enjoy poetry from time to time, I am no closet poet. Sure, I loved Hamlet and Oedipus, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. Besides, I'm going to become a Cosmetologist... or something along those lines. Although, I highly doubt my mom would be willing to put money into Beauty school, of all things. The simple thought of beauty eludes her. While she is beautiful, the only time she really puts effort into making herself beautiful is when she has to make an appearance somewhere. For someone who's a lawyer, she spends an awful lot of time at home... which is something that I marvel over continuously.

Sometimes I feel bad for the choices that I make. I mean, some people consider me to be really shallow and nasty, but I just don't get it. I mean, what's wrong with caring about looks, seriously? What's wrong with wanting to be pretty and cute and, well, perfect? Sure, I'm not the wealthiest girl, nor the smartest person in the world, but I get what I want, and that's all that matters. Kevin is by far the hottest guy in school, I am by far the most gorgeous girl in school, and we let people know it. Morrison is my guy on the side, and I'm almost positive that Kevin has his girls on the side. Yeah, it probably has something to do with the fact that the last time we had sex, it wasn't very fun (for me, I might add. The only thing he probably didn't enjoy was the fact that I kind of laid there, wanting to cry... I don't have a high tolerance for pain. Yeah, I can give it out in large doses, but receiving it? Not my strong point, let me assure you), and after we had sex, we couldn't look at each other the same way again. I don't nitpick him about it like some girls would do with their boyfriends ("Why don't you spend any time with me anymore? Why don't you treat me right anymore? I love you! Why can't you understand that?") Blahblahblah, same old shit. I'm not like that.

Most likely my parents influence, but I don't like giving them too much credit. Besides, one of the main reasons why I don't care as much is because of Morrison. If it weren't for him, I'd probably be angsting over the fact that Kevin would rather spend time with some blonde, big-breasted (no comment) hussy rather than me. Hell, at least it's not Cynthia Brennan. I'd castrate him if he ever went out with her.

"You have such awesome parents," Morrison said a second later. "You seem to like to follow in their footsteps."

I looked at him then. "Oh, yeah? How so."

He gave me a look that clearly asked whether or not I was retarded. Well.

"You're so gay," I grumbled, turning away from him. "Anyways, where are your parents?"

Morrison shrugged and took up his book again. "There's food in the kitchen."

"Who said I was hungry?"

"That's why you're here, right? To mooch off of me, like always."

I pretended to be offended. "Aw, Morrison, why--"

"Could you just leave? I really want to finish this chapter before they get back."

I scoffed and stood up. "Never had much of a problem with me hanging around before."

He gave me a dirty look.

I had half a mind to chuck the nearest projectile at him, but instead, I slammed the door behind me.

But damn, was I hungry.

God, I hate it when he's right.


He shoved his tongue down my throat fifteen minutes later.


"I should probably go home now," I said, rolling away from Morrison as his front door slammed shut. It was actually funny how quickly he put on his shirt and straightened up the couch cushions. In fact, he was lounging back on the couch, the perfect picture of innocence just as his mom strolled into the living room to check on everything. Her youngest son, Kenneth, was trailing behind her with his big eyes and dopey expression. I had half a mind to pounce on him, but I had a feeling that Morrison would get jealous. Seriously. He's such a girl like that.

"Natty!" Kenneth grinned and shuffled over to me, throwing his arms around my neck. I grinned.

Yeah, the kid's in love with me. What can I say? I only babysat for Mrs. Taylor once, and ever since then, Kenneth has adored me. Of course, that was six months ago, and since then, Mrs. Taylor won't let me within a five mile radius of her youngest (and most impressionable son) without some parental supervision. It's quite amusing, really. I suppose I really shouldn't have invited half of my friends over to her house, or allowed Kenneth to eat three bowls of ice cream and given him permission to play video games until eleven o'clock on a school night, but then again... oh, hell. I'm a shitty babysitter. But the fact that Kenneth was more energetic than two bunnies going at it hardly mattered. My life was at its pinnacle at that point. I love the little kid though, and I stuck with him, even when he told me that he loved me most.

Yeah, Morrison gets pretty darn annoyed when that happens. And I still don't get it. I mean, the kid's seven.

Me thinks Morrison--

"Stop it," Morrison said suddenly, lifting his brother up.

"I didn't do nothin'," Kenneth whined. "Mommy."

"He was talking to Natalie. Go to the kitchen and start your homework. Morrison, put your brother down." Mrs. Taylor paused. "Nice to see you Natalie."

I would have sneered at her if I knew how. "Good to see you too, Mrs. Taylor."

Mrs. Taylor nodded and left.

Kenneth blinked at me with his huge, hazel eyes (eyes that mirrored Morrison's) and followed after his mother, looking somewhat sullen.

And I couldn't fault the kid. If I had a choice between being trapped in a room with a bootylicious babe and my mother, I'd choose the babe, too. At least it would give me a chance to scratch her face up so that I'd be the only babe in the room. Hah. No, seriously. Mrs. Taylor is one of those tight haired, tight lipped kind of people. She wears business suits and heels almost every day, wears her hair in buns so much that I marvel at how she gets through the day without getting a headache, and is one strict piece of work. I mean, she's worse than my mom. And my mom is pretty strict. Granted, she does believe in that whole "freedom of expression" bit, but that's probably because Morrison's pothead of a brother, David. I think he's queer. Morrison just thinks I'm delusional.

"Bye Kenneth, I love you!" I chimed in just as he was exiting the living room.

Kenneth blushed.

How precious.

"You know, you shouldn't flirt with him," Morrison said a second later.

"Well at least he's open with his love," I retorted, giving him an innocent look. "And besides, with looks like his, girls are going to be all over him before he even reaches puberty. I'm only ten years older than he is and already I can't resist him."

"You know, they have a name for that type of complex," Morrison muttered sarcastically. "It's called pedophilia. People get put in jail for that kind of thing."

I snickered. "Yeah, well that didn't stop--"

"Just shut up already."

I shut up.

Morrison glared at me.

I glared at him.

And, really really felt like stabbing him in the kidney, but I knew it wouldn't have made a difference. Why the heck was he irritated with me? I didn't do anything except for let him grope me and kiss me and only rolled away when I knew that Mrs. Taylor's razor sharp gaze would probably cause my heart to explode if she even found me doing anything remotely close to necking with her wonderful son. Pfft. God. This family.

"Is this some sort of male PMS thing?" I asked a second later. "Because I really don't need--"

Morrison gave me a furious look that promptly shut me up. "Don't worry about it."

"You know," I started teasingly, moving towards him. "They have a name for this type of thing. It's called an inferiority complex. It makes straight guys look gay."

"Do you want me to punch you?"

"Think you can?"

Morrison stayed silent for a moment.

Then, "Nah. You'd probably kick my ass, being butch and all that."

I didn't even pretend to be offended. Whatever the hell he was annoyed with before had certainly disappeared now. Or, maybe he was just acting. I wouldn't put it past him, he's sneaky that way.

"Thank you," I murmured, pressing a mocking kiss to his forehead. "So if I go and elope with Michael Forester you're not going to get all pissy with me, are you? Because nagging doesn't suit you."

"Nothing's bothering me."

"Liar."

"Look--"

"I understand," I said, even though I didn't. I moved away from him waving my hands dismissively and brushed my bangs out of my eyes.

A moment of uncomfortable silence passed. I meandered over to the little flower pot sitting in the corner and started to pull leaves off of it. Mrs. Taylor would forgive me. She had about fifty more plants littered throughout the gargantuan house of hers. I highly doubted that she would miss a few (make that ten) leaves off of her... whatever the hell type of plant this was.

"Stop it," Morrison said again.

I stopped, looking over at him innocently. "Stop what my bestest buddy in the world."

He rolled his eyes on me. "You should at least try to get along with my mom," he answered a moment later.

For some reason that I could not comprehend (actually, I could, but I know that acting like I was clueless would make Morrison all the more irritated) I started cracking up. The crumpled leaves in my hand fluttered to the ground and I clutched my sides and slapped my knee. Purely for dramatic effect. And boy, did it seem to have an effect because Morrison had already stalked over to me and grabbed me by my arm.

I shut up immediately. God, his hands hurt.

"I'm not joking," he said, tugging me towards the living room arch. "Just... go say hi to her or something. Nicely. Not that fake shit."

"Fake shit?" I asked, prompting him to elaborate. I already knew what he was trying to say, but I suddenly felt like being rebellious. Or impertinent. Hmm. Adrianna's word games really are starting to expand my vocabulary. I suppose there are some things that are worth doing after all. Even if said word games usually ended in me getting caught by my mother and having her rip me a new one.

"That whole 'I'm going to claw your fucking eyes out if you ever talk to me again' shit is starting to piss me off. How long have you known my mom?" Morrison ground out. "And, I mean, you're practically my --"

Morrison wisely didn't finish that sentence. Although, I think the fact that my foot had connected with his shin in a rather painful manner had something to do with it. He gave a little hiss, which normally means that he's angry (I'll ignore the maniacal glint in his eyes for the moment) and shoved me away, kneeling over to rub his shin. It was one of those moments that didn't even need words, so I didn't bother to say anything. No. Instead, we just stood in the hall like idiots, Morrison glaring at me as he rubbed his poor little shin, and me, leaning against the wall, watching him closely.

I loved him, honestly. But sometimes he was just... gah. And me, liking his mother? Yeah right. As if. I have better things to do than make nice with some stuck up all-perfect-mom who's biggest wish was that the spawn of two Swingers had been aborted while in the womb. Or... you know, hadn't been conceived at all. I don't take being disliked lightly, and that's something that Morrison knows, but the fact that he's stupid enough to actually push that thought... it makes me want to throw up my lunch. This, incidentally, consisted of last night's spaghetti, a bottle of orange juice, an apple, two hostess cupcakes and a bag of gummy bears. Hmm. I wonder what that would end up looking like. No doubt there would still be chunks of gummies within it. An interesting thought. And one that made my head spin.

Ew. Vomit. Was I seriously just thinking about that?

"You should probably go home now," Morrison said after a while.

I spared him an annoyed look. "What? I'm not even invited to dinner?"

"No," Morrison grumbled, shoving me towards the foyer. "I don't want to deal with your crap. Just go away."

"Fine," I said, too annoyed to even argue back. Morrison continued to glare at me.

"But I'm not the only one that needs to put forth a fucking effort," I snapped, shoving him aside as I went towards the front door.

He didn't bother to argue either.

He knew I was right.

I usually am.


My father's Mercedes was in the driveway when I got home, and I had the hugest urge to kick it. What I wouldn't do to let out some of my anger right about now.

While Morrison has the tendency to be a huge ass, his mother was the biggest... gah! Just the thought of her makes me want to go find some poor, unsuspecting girl (preferably one that pissed me off good enough) and beat the crap out of them. My Mom always said that it wasn't a good sign when I wanted to get violent with someone voluntarily, but then I think that I'm always violent. Voluntarily. And... well, perhaps that's not something I should be proud of, but I really do enjoy staying active. Part of the reason why I even became a softball player to begin with was because of the fact that I enjoyed hitting things with a bat... heh, yes, issues, I think. But at least no one except for Cynthia Brennan knows how violent I can get. Fighting is something that comes easy to me, strangely enough, but I seriously...

Oh, great, my mom is peaking out the window.

With a sigh of frustration, I finally looked away from the Mercedes and strode to the front door, ignoring the way that the curtain swung shut. She must have been doing that every minute for the past hour. And I thought I had issues. Well, issues that I wouldn't let anyone else in on, unless they were really special to me.

But the simple thought of special things made me want to punch a wall, and I practically kicked the door open as I stormed inside. I had the good graces to kick the door shut, too, but judging by the look on my mother's face, that wasn't necessarily the smartest thing to do.

"Are you hungry?" She asked, and she still sounding angry. Damn. And here I thought Adrianna would have managed to shove some tranquilizers down her throat by now. And the fact that I was hungry was enough for me to realize that the talk she wanted probably wasn't going to wait until tomorrow. Friggin' Christ. Nothing was going my way today... absolutely nothing. I'm seriously beginning to hate my life. I mean, only a few months ago I was having the time of my life, sliding into home, getting dirty, hearing the crack of the ball on my bat, running through that pretty green, getting sweaty... yeah, not your typical prep, but no one ever says anything about it. Besides, I tried cheerleading, too. Which was how I met Kevin in the first place. And because he was in my Science class in ninth grade. It wasn't as though we were really good friends in ninth grade, but that certainly changed once I made the cheerleading team.

"Yeah," I grumbled, marching into the dining room. I already knew I was in trouble, so why try to postpone it? Mom would never attack her children over a nice linguini--I'd like to think she has more taste than that. But then again, there are some things that can change in the space of a second. Like my relationship with Morrison. Ugh. I didn't even want to think about him at that moment. There were more important things that I have to deal with. So what if his mother looked at me like she was going to inject poison into my veins? So what? It's not as if any of it matters, especially since the only person I really cared about in that house was Morrison. And if that made her hate me more, then so what? It's not like she could tell her son not to screw around with me. Morrison is too independent to listen to that kind of crap. But just because we're screwing around doesn't mean that I actually have to get along with his parents, right? I mean, we're not dating or anything, so it shouldn't matter. We're just fuck buddies, after all.

Right?

My mom must have seen my thoughts on my face, because she paused as I sat down at the table, staring at the pasta in front of me.

But as is the way with my mom, she thinks that making sure she gets her point across is a far better way to spend time, so instead of actually taking the time to figure out what I was going through, she sat down and began to eat. EAT. Like it was nothing. Like my problems meant nothing. My angst. My battered and torn emotions with my shredded pride and my low self-esteem. Why couldn't she be worried about that? My thoughts? Because she didn't care. Yeah, so my teen angst might not have been as bad as it should have been, but... crap, having my best friend's mother hate me, especially when said best friend has been my best friend since the sixth grade really makes me queasy. Damn, where did I go wrong? Just the thought of it makes me want to upchuck my lunch.

Tch. Now, I wasn't so eager to eat my linguini.

"Can I be excused?" I asked, staring blankly at the noodles in front of me. My father shifted in his chair and glanced at me from his spot at the end of the table. Adrianna looked like she wanted to start laughing like some idiot, and my mother... well, her face got a little tight and her eyebrows arched and she pursed her lips like she swallowed a bunch of lemons. Ah, poetry. Why is it that you can only aid me now, when I have no use for you? Jesus Christ. That crap pisses me off.

"You haven't touched your food."

"I'm not hungry."

Adrianna spit her noodles back on her plate, she was laughing so hard.

"Adrianna," my father said, looking slight disapproving. "Don't be so rude."

"Father," Adrianna grumbled, wiping her mouth with her napkin. "While your observations would have been accurate had you been speaking of my sibling, they are highly inaccurate at the current moment. The simple fact that Natalie is neglecting her bodily functions leads me to believe that she is currently feeling despondent. Perhaps it would be in our interest to ascertain as to what the current situation is."

"Addy," my mother said blandly. " Don't mock your sister. Of course she would be upset. She knows the trouble that she's in."

Oh, right. As if I actually care about being in trouble. I don't care about the fact that Cynthia Brennan has a fat lip and a black eye and probably a broken rib. I don't care about the fact that if I'd been in school, I would have gotten a week's worth of suspension, or that I'm probably missing part of my scalp... well, probably, but most likely not. Only because I'm friggin' awesome... except... I huffed in frustration and stood from the table, not even caring for etiquette. It's not like we really need etiquette for some crap assed linguini anyways.

"Natalie," my father said sternly. "Please sit down."

I took the chance to glare at him, hoping that my annoyance was evident and that no one would mistake it. It was absolute. After all, no one in my family even spoke to me if I was feeling even the least bit annoyed. It usually ended in broken jaws and crushed knuckles and...

Okay, so I'm a damned liar. Who cares?

Broken plates, at the most. Maybe some emo-burn. No one in my family is very good at reigning in their emotions, after all, with the exception of Adrianna. The simple thought of my sister made me want to dig my heel into her throat, and grumpily, I plopped down in my chair, not bothering to look at the linguini in front of me for fear of actually getting sick.

"Now, Mom," I started, trying my hardest to squash my annoyance. "Do you really want to splatter my insides over this beautiful dinner that you made with all your heart?"

"It would add to the taste," my mom answered. Tch, cannibals. "Natalie--"

The pure exasperation was enough to make me defensive, and I was growling at her and brandishing my fork around like a weapon.

"It wasn't my fault!"

My mom gave me one of those patient looks. "I don't understand how it's not your fault. She was the one who came out of that fight with injuries, not you. You know your own strength, Natalie. You know better than to--"

"It's not my fault she fights like a five year old tripped out on heroine. Besides, she provoked me--"

"You shouldn't have let yourself be provoked."

"You'd have been provoked too!" I yelled, frustrated beyond words. I try not to yell at my mom. I really do. I try to keep my composure the way that she keeps her composure, but it doesn't help. The more patient she becomes, the more irritated I become. I can't help it. It's like she just drags me down over and over just to prove her point: it's completely my fault. And now, she's doing this just to prove that I am incapable of controlling my temper. Which, you know, I am, but that's not the fuckin' point. "She called me a slut, said that I was a prostitute, and she called me a lesbian! What the hell do you expect me to do?"

"Walk away?" Adrianna interjected when no one answered the question.

I chucked my plate at her.

"Natalie!" My mother yelled as the plate shattered against the wall behind Adrianna's head. Almost wearily, Adrianna picked the noodles from her hair and just gave me one of those looks. The look that clearly states that I'm the biggest idiot ever and to hell with any help I might ask for in the near future because I sure as hell am not getting it and oh, I might want to consider finding some other place to sleep tonight, because who knows if I might wake up with her standing over my bed holding a butchers knife. Or rather, who knows if I'll wake up at all? She's psycho like that. Although, on the one point, I can concede to the fact that I was the one throwing plates, but it didn't matter.

"She deserved it!" I snapped, surging to my feet and resisting the urge to kick my chair away. "She needs to stay out of my damned business, and so what if Cynthia got hurt? She deserved it, too. I had to deal with her crap all year, and I'm tired of listening to her talk shit to me all the time. I can understand if she's jealous of me, but for the entire time that I've been there, I didn't do a single thing to her to warrant that type of behavior. I let her chip away at me all year and every time she did it, she did it because she knew I couldn't do anything! Not with cheerleading and softball, but now... fuck! I hate her, okay? And if I see her again, I won't hesitate to kick her ass!"

"Language," my father said.

"Apologize to your sister," my mother said, and I shook my head, glaring at Adrianna fiercely. "Now, Natalie."

"I didn't do anything wrong."

Adrianna snorted and continued to wipe away at the white sauce in her hair with a napkin.

"Natalie," my mother started, but my father waved a hand and stood.

Uh oh.

I think they all saw the panic on my face, or perhaps it was how I suddenly started backing up towards the door, because Adrianna looked like she was about to laugh her head off. Tch. And here I thought she was... oh hell, I did throw a plate at her head. Granted, I made sure it wouldn't even come close to hitting her, but still.

"Natalie," my father said, and his voice was so quiet that I immediately froze. "Apologize to your sister."

It's like he has this sort of god-like power that makes you revel him. When provoked, he's a force to be reckoned with. He's all quiet fury and not this loud, blazing inferno the way I am. He'll usually let me and my mom duke it out until I start to get too out of hand before he intervenes. Most fathers would let their wives do the work, but my father is quite the opposite. He usually ends up doing most of the work. And the first step to disciplining a child is invoking the Fear of God into them. I felt my jaw unhinge at the sound of his voice and at the way his face was twisted in rage.

Ah ha. Yeah, maybe throwing the plate was a little bit too much.

"I'm waiting, Natalie," my father said, taking a step towards me.

"Fine," I grumbled, trying to sound rebellious. It didn't work. They knew they had won that one. "I'm sorry for attempting to inflict bodily harm on your frail visage with a rather expensive projectile."

"Don't mock your sister," my mother snapped, her patience already wearing thin. Or maybe it was because she hated the word games Adrianna and I had with one another. Whatever. That was something special between my sister and I, and I know that Adrianna knew I was actually being sincere. Or rather, I wasn't. But my life was at stake here, and a few moments of humility was certainly better than... than facing the full wrath of my father. I'd only had to suffer the consequences of that once, when I was thirteen, and I thought that spankings were still illegal then. Damn, I was so wrong. I couldn't sit down for about a month.

"I accept your apology," Adrianna said. "But now my hair smells. Let's say... another week of chores."

"Fine," I bit out. God, she was so fucking manipulative.

But something switched then, because suddenly, the air was less hostile. In fact, it was downright chilly and I knew that there was something happening that shouldn't have been happening. It was like... opening the front door when you know it's snowing. Letting something in that didn't need to be in. Attempting to feed a rabid dog beef jerky. Getting my hand snapped off. Running around with said limb gushing blood. Fainting after said limb lost too much blood. Wishing that I wasn't standing there, waiting as the MOMENT OF DOOM continued to approach, instead, hoping for some rabid dog to skip along and bite my hand off so I could bleed to death.

Although, I don't think that dogs are quite capable of skipping. Jumping around like rabbits, certainly, but not skipping. Unless, you know, said animal was missing a limb. Then they look like their skipping. And that was a very cruel thought and one that makes me want to cry and gouge my eyes out with broken dinner plates, but whatever. I think I just wanted to find some alternative to walking around in the snow naked. Because this was certainly what it felt like.

I blinked instead.

"Natalie," my mother said, latching onto my elbow. "Have a seat."

My father sat down, too, picked up his fork, and started eating. As though he hadn't just threatened to beat the crap out of me. Damn it. Something was up. Something I should have foreseen. Something... something that made me wish that I had been smart enough not to get all prissy on Morrison and act as though his mother was Satan reincarnated. Gods. As if that didn't cause enough unwanted tension, now I have to deal with this.

I sat.

My mother returned to her seat and curled her fingers together. I think she was attempting to look imploring or something like that, but instead, she just looked thoroughly irritated and highly amused. Gah.

I was going to die. I was going to die. They were going to cut me open, fry my liver, and sell my spleen and kidneys to some kid that needed a transplant and they were just going to leave me there to die. Oh, woe, cruel world! If only I hadn't punched Cynthia Brennan, if only...

DAMNED ADULTS.

I folded my arms over my chest petulantly, and glared at the white stain on our yellow wall.

"Natalie?"

"What?" I snapped, turning to glare at my mom.

"You are aware, of course, that we were supposed to go to Hawaii in two weeks, correct?"

I nodded, dreading where this was headed. Actually, I could almost picture it. In fact, I think I already knew. No more Hawaii. No more chances at a tan. No more... nothing. Nothing. No hot guys to screw around with for four weeks, no way to make other girls jealous of me, no more surfing or parasailing or--

"Let me guess," I asked, turning back towards the white sauce dripping onto the carpet. "I'm not going?"

"How right you are," my father said as he twisted his noodles around his fork.

"So what, I'm just supposed to sit around here holding my metaphorical dick for three and a half weeks? I don't think so."

"Language," my father said so threateningly that I was immediately straightening in my seat.

"Of course not," my mother snapped, sounding somewhat amused. Or annoyed. Whichever you want to call it. It usually goes hand in hand, and with her, you never know. "But keeping the house clean for two weeks is a suitable restriction. However, you will not be able to go out until all of your chores are done. If anyone is home, you need to make sure that they get breakfast, lunch, and or dinner before you leave to go anywhere, and you must have the dishes they use cleaned up when they're done." Oh, okay. Didn't sound too bad. I was used to playing maid whenever I got into a little bit of trouble.

"That still doesn't tell me what the heck I'm going to do while you're all gallivanting around on the beach." I know I sounded like a little kid who was just told that, no, I wasn't allowed to have any candy, but who cares? I was tired of being annoyed, and at that point, I just wanted to punch something. A wall would have done, but I doubt it would have helped. I do much better when I hit something, you know, living. My mom would probably tell me that it's an infantile way of releasing my anger. Morrison would have laughed at me and hit my shoulder. Adrianna would have suggested that I take up gardening and... well, my dad would just look at me like he always looks at me. The look that shows he's very disappointed at the person in front of him.

Actually, I should probably give more credit to my father but... no. He's evil. Just as evil as my mother. And Adrianna.

I'm the only normal one in this family. I mean, it's just so obvious.

Although... I collect Barbie Dolls and Star Wars toys. Something is telling me to rethink that thought, but... I won't. No one has to know after all.

"One of Adrianna's friends already asked her mother if she could go, so Haley is going to go in your place." Ah, well, she wasn't so bad.

"Okay," I agreed listlessly. Or probably emotionlessly. I was just waiting for her to get to the point. There was really no reason for her to draw this out and for my father to just sit there and eat his pasta like he didn't have a care in the world. It also didn't do to have Adrianna sitting there sipping her grape juice and laughing into her cup at the same time. God, I hope she chokes on it. It would serve her right. Who the hell cackles and drinks grape juice at the same time anyways?

"So," my mother continued, her amusement fading. Hah. Take that, woman. There's no way I'm going to let you draw me into a rage again, just because I can't go to Hawaii. I've seen pictures. Not like I can't experience it through osmosis. "Since you aren't able to stay home, your father made arrangements and you're going to be staying with your Aunt Barbara. Ms. Oswald is going to house sit."

"That old broad down the street? The one with the seven cats?" My mother sighed and fluttered her eyelashes in annoyance.

A moment passed.

Then it hit me. "We have an Aunt named Barbara?"

My father gave a small sigh of annoyance and looked at me then, setting his fork down against his plate. "Of course. She visited us... six Christmas' ago."

Yeah. I still didn't remember her. "Uh..."

"She's my sister," my father continued. "The disciplinarian."

I resisted the urge to snort, because it seemed that everyone in my father's family were disciplinarians. But instead, I just stared at him blankly, not comprehending. I knew my father had sisters, but to be honest, the only sister I could remember was Bridget, who lived in Seattle and was the secretary for some CEO. Last I remember, she ended up having some postal worker's baby and divorced him two years later. Of course, my father had three brothers on top of it, but the only brother I could distinctly remember was Uncle Timothy, who got me into sports in the first place. Well, softball. He was probably one of the biggest sports fanatics ever, but he didn't have any children of his own. I think that's why he decided to take out his sports mania out on me, but I didn't find it a big deal. Other than that, I can't think of anyone else. Let alone a woman named Barbara. I know that my dad's other brothers names are like Todd and William or something. Or maybe Todd was really a Tyler. Not entirely sure. Not like we spend that much time keeping in touch with our relatives anyways.

My mother huffed then. "Really, Natalie. When are you going to take a look at the reality around you? Perhaps if you paid more attention to your family instead of what shoes matches with which skirt, you might be more successful in life."

I snorted. Right, because this supposed Aunt of mine spent so much time paying attention to me. I returned my stare to the wall behind Adrianna's head.

"She has a daughter named Normandy, for what it's worth," Adrianna cut in.

I blinked. Actually, that was beginning to sound rather famil...iar.

"Wait," I said, panic rising within me. "Wait, you mean the Aunt who bought me a humidifier for Christmas and threw away my Polly Pocket because she said I was too old to play with it? The only who took me to the hospital because I caught a tiny cold and then told me I couldn't play with other children, locked me in my room, and then beat the living hell out of me when she found out that I snuck out and ate half of my Christmas chocolate instead of drinking some chicken broth? That bitch?"

My father actually looked like he was trying to recall the situation. My mother gave her plate a disgruntled look. Adrianna just cackled.

"She's also the one that lives in Wyoming."

I froze.

And stared.

Then leaned slowly back in my chair so that I could stare at both of my parents at the same time.

"You have got to be kidding me," I said so slowly and so quietly that it startled them both. I think they were expecting me to get angry.

"Does it look like we're joking?" My mother asked, giving me a level look.

Oh, well, they were right.

"Are you out of your fucking minds?" I shrieked, jumping to my feet. "I mean, did you knock some screws loose or something? Wyoming? Wy fucking oming?!"

"Language, Natalie!" My father said, rising to his feet. "Sit down."

"No! I can't believe... you're both crazy. I am not going to Wyoming. You can't make me!" Let's forget that I sounded like a five-year-old child, once again. Of course they could make me. I was just doing my best to ignore that fact.

"You don't have a choice in the matter young lady," my mother responded, also rising to her feet. I glared at her. I just... I just couldn't. believe. it. Wyoming? Wyoming? Of all the places... the very least they could have done was sent me to friggin' Seattle. That wouldn't have been too much of a problem at all. At least it was still was a city. Not some psycho back of the water town where I'd probably get strung up on a noose for looking at someone in the wrong way. I couldn't... I mean, the nerve. And they knew that I wouldn't be able to survive. Knew that I was going to be pissed as all hell. Knew that I would rant and rave and damn it I so felt like punching someone. I felt like I was going to drown in my rage. I felt like leaning across the table and shoving my fist into my father's face and choke slamming my mom and... AAAAAAH!

"That's where you're--"

"If you don't sit down and shut up this instant, I'm going to make sure that you'll never be able to sit down again," my father said, forcing me into a raging silence. I don't think I've ever been this angry before. I couldn't even prompt my legs to move, even though I wanted them to. No... no, it wasn't possible, I was shaking too much. Somewhere along the lines, I had sunk my teeth into my lip and I just knew that I was going to pierce my flesh soon. My hands were clenched into fists and I was trying so hard not to lash out at the people around me. It would have been so easy but... but I couldn't, and I knew it. They knew that they had won this, too, and my eyes started to sting as I glared at the Alfredo sauce that had started to dry on the wall.

Adrianna snorted into the silence.

I had to have let loose a scream as I picked up my glass of juice and threw it at the wall, watching as purple-red slid down the wall and onto the white carpet, because it was still ringing in my ears. For some reason, I still didn't feel any better than before. I was still angry and frustrated and... God. Wyoming.

My parents didn't even bat an eyelash as the glass shattered against the wall.

A moment passed.

Adrianna turned in her seat and stared at the grape juice on the carpet.

"Well, that'll certainly take some time to remove. Think you're up for the challenge, Natalie?"

I let out another scream of rage before locking myself in my room.


A/N: This is going to be a ball to write. Seriously. Nghi… thanks for staying on my back, because if you hadn't, I probably wouldn't have decided to post it (finally), if it weren't for you, so… hugs and kisses and all that other boring stuff that people do to show that they appreciate things…

Or something. XD

Edit:8/31/06: nothing serious, just saying that I've cleaned up the grammatical errors that I could find. If there are more, please be kind enough to point them out to me.