"What the…?" Raina muttered, when she found herself curled up into Kander's arms, their faces so close they could kiss. Immediately, the memories of the night before came back one at a time. She paused to look at him. The sun was in the middle of going down - they had slept for a long time. Perhaps even twelve hours, she didn't know. He was still sleeping, his mouth open and his arms around her like she was his favorite toy. He looked so cute in the position that he was. She moved to wake him, but stopped immediately. When had he fallen asleep? Perhaps he had only just gotten to sleep. She didn't want to wake him now.

But it was too late. He looked at her, blinked in confusion before grinning. He never let go of her or moved to pull away.

"Hey, Raina." He muttered. "Long time no see. What time is it?"

"I don't know. When did you fall asleep?"

"Oh, right after you did. I told you I'd sleep well. It looks like it's about seven or six outside. Hang on." He pushed himself up, and leaned over her in such a manner that he was nearly on top of her. She giggled, and pushed on his chest, so he let himself fall on top of her.

"Oof, you stupid idiot!" She grumbled, and he laughed.

"It's around eight." He told her, pushing off of her, back to their original position.

"I guess I won't be going to see Cari then." Raina mumbled. Kander stared at her.

"What?"

"You obviously know nothing about me!" She teased, and he gave her a knowing look.

"I know who she is. She's your friend from high school, but you were going to see her today or something?"

"Yeah, I was. I was going to check on you first. I wasn't expecting to go to sleep, though."

"Neither was I, but I'm glad it happened. I know I wouldn't have been able to sleep if you hadn't been there for me."

"So, now that you're awake, what are you going to do all day--I mean night, of course."

"Spend it with you, duh." Kander muttered, prodding her in the stomach. "Besides, you need a pick-me-up. I don't think Normrak's going to come back, so why not?"

"What?"

"I mean, I don't think Normrak is coming back. So why not hang out with me all night? You can't go see your friend. She probably wouldn't be awake at this hour, anyway."

"Kander, you forget that it's only eight. She doesn't go to bed that early."

"Trust me, Raina. You don't want to see her right now."

"What are you talking about?" Raina said, her eyes narrowing at him as she pushed herself up into a sitting position. One of the straps of her shirt had fallen over her shoulder, so she pulled it back up before settling a gaze on Kander. "Why not?"

"Raina…it's just…okay, it's hard to explain." Kander said, and ran a hand through his hair. "Just trust me, though. She lives a life that you never knew about, and she knew what happened to you while you were gone."

"What the hell are you talking about, Kander?"

"I mean…well, Rina knew who she was."

"So what? And why did Rina know?"

"Because, Raina. Cari wasn't exactly…well, I don't know how to put this. She's more wrapped up in our lives than you think."

"As if! What the heck is going on?"

"Raina. What would you do if I said that Cari had a past that you never knew about?"

"I would say you're lying. We told each other everything."

"Not this."

"Are you saying that she's a vampire?"

"What? No! I'm saying that she's human, but…"

"But what?"

"Maybe you should get this from her." Kander sighed. "It's a smaller world than you think, Raina, it really is."

"You're always full of surprises, Kander." Raina sighed back. Kander smiled at her, and kissed her forehead.

"I don't mean to be." He said honestly. He stroked her hair and held her close. "I know I should have told you earlier, but I don't know. I never thought you'd want to go back to your old life after what happened."

"Shut up." She said, and felt her heart break again.

"Aw, Raina…" He said, and made her look him in the eye. "We're going to be okay, alright? Do you want to go see her? I'll wait for you."

"Yes, of course I want to see her, you retard." She muttered.

"Alright." He said, and let her go. "Have fun, and you're coming right back, right?"

"Sure." She agreed. And with that, she disappeared, appearing at a familiar front door. Her friend's house never changed. The door was still the color of splintered wood, and the door knob was, of course, a dull shade of gold with copper scratches underneath. Raina rang the door bell, which was right next to the door, and grinned at the familiar sound.

When the door opened, she expected her friend to be taken aback. She expected her friend to be excited to see her. She expected anything but what she got.

"Oh, Raina." Her friend said, unexcitedly. "What are you doing here?"

"Um, I came to see you." She replied, confused. She looked at her friend hard. The short-haired brunette had a wry half-grin on her face, something that also wasn't normal, and her light green eyes (with golden specks, of course) stared back at her, making her uncomfortable. Her friend seemed to be standing on offense, her hip stuck out and her jeans tight around her legs. She wore a dark black t-shirt that seemed almost too big on her.

"Why?"

"Because…I missed you, Cari. What's wrong with you?"

"You are what's wrong with me." The girl said coldly. She crossed her arms on her darkly clad chest, and Raina simply stared, surprised. "You never contacted me, even when you could have, you didn't! I didn't even get invited to--never mind."

"What are you talking about?" Raina blurted. How could Cari know about any of what had happened to her?

"Don't play stupid with me!" Cari shrieked. "Don't you dare! Just tell me what happened; tell me why you didn't call! Tell me why you just disappeared!"

"It's…a really long story." Raina replied, taking a deep breath.

"Well, then I think we have a really long time."

"It's complicated."

"I'll figure it out."

"It's-"

"Stop thinking of excuses and just tell me, damn it!"

"Well…it started on my graduation night." Raina began, and slowly and in painstaking detail, told her friend what went on. Raina broke into tears several times, and her friend simply watched. Cari would occasionally soften her face, and let it melt into care and concern, but held it in a strict, controlled expression most of the time. Raina felt like she would be talking for hours, and almost did so. It took two hours for her to tell her entire story. But, she wanted to make sure that her friend knew everything. She didn't want to leave out any details that might be important later, and she definitely wanted her friend to believe her. She was cautious about talking about the whole vampire-human thing in the story; her friend was going to think that she was way crazy.

"I know it's hard to believe," She muttered. "I know that the whole vampire thing isn't even supposed to exist, and I know that it'll make you think that I've just gone insane, but it's true. It really is, and I don't know what I can do to make you believe me."

Her friend was silent, and simply stared at her.

"I'm sorry that I haven't been contacting you. I've been stressed lately, and…"

"Raina, you need to stop now."

Raina shut up, and waited for her friend to say something. When nothing was said, Raina shifted to her other foot, nervously.

"I was never honest with you." Cari admitted. "And the truth is, I didn't think you'd actually tell me the whole story. I thought you'd lie to me about where you've been, but you didn't."

"Why would I lie to you?"

"Come on, Raina. Vampires? That's not a believable story." Cari said through tight lips.

"No, I swear that it's true--"

"Raina, shut up." Cari interrupted firmly. "Just listen to me, okay?"

When Raina nodded, her friend continued.

"I didn't think you'd tell the truth. It's so easily unbelievable. But, I haven't been honest with you. The entire time you've known me, I've been able to hide something huge and major from you, because I didn't think you'd believe me." Cari wrapped her arms around herself - something that she had always done when she was nervous. "It's a little bit…well, unbelievable. Just like your story. Uh, sometime in early, early high school, I was walking home. Only, it was nighttime, and I was out because I had to buy my mom some more medicine at the drugstore down the street, you know. Well, on the way home, this guy just…grabbed me. At first, I thought he was going to rape me because he kissed my neck, but then, all of a sudden, I couldn't move."

"Cari…" Raina muttered.

"No, listen. And this girl, this blonde - and slutty might I add - girl came out of nowhere, and completely kicked his ass. I think she killed him, but even to this day I don't know. She, uh, well, she told me that he was a vampire and crap, and I thought she was insane. She said her name was Rina."

"What the hell?" Raina exclaimed, and her friend shushed her.

"No, listen. It's a small world, you know. And…well, she taught me how to fight so that if I ever ran into another vampire I could beat him up instead of dying myself. Since then, that's what I do. I go around and try to find them so I can pull them away from some poor person that was just like me. I mean, I know it's dangerous, since I'm no…vampire, really. I'm not even a slayer, seriously. I just…I don't know. Since she taught me, it's like my job. You thought my boyfriend was abusive, that's why I kept coming home with bruises and cuts. You thought I went to parties…but I didn't. I really didn't."

"You lied to me the entire time?"

"No, you don't understand. I had to, Raina. And I was going to try to stay mad at you for not contacting me. I was going to…I don't know, Raina. I just don't know. I didn't know what to think, because I've been fighting these horrible things all this time, and now you….you are one of those things, and I don't know what to think. But…I can't just throw you out, you know."

"You lied to me." Raina repeated. Cari looked to the side, holding herself protectively.

"I'm sorry."

"You lied. How did you get away with lying all that time? How could I not have noticed? I just don't understand."

"I'm sorry, Raina. I really am. But the story I just told you…you would have thought I was absolutely off my rocker wouldn't you have?"

Raina quieted and thought. "I guess I would have," She agreed.

The girls enjoyed each other's silence for a while, each thinking hard about the other's stories. Raina was having a hard time believing how Cari could have lied to her all those years, but it did start to make sense. Raina had never met the abusive boyfriend that Cari had been dating, and they had few sleepovers after that point in high school. She had never really paid attention to the lack of sleepovers because she was so busy with her siblings, especially during high school.

Cari looked at Raina, and sighed.

"Raina, I'm sorry that I lied." Cari bit her bottom lip. "But, right now…I'm meeting somebody, another, well, human, I guess. It's weird to refer to him that way."

"Your boyfriend?" Raina questioned with a grin. She felt like they were in high school again as Cari pressed her lips together tightly and blushed a little. "It's your boyfriend!"

"Yeah, well…" Cari said, her mouth curling into a girlish smile. "Maybe he is! But, I still have to meet him."

"You'll talk to me later, won't you?"

"Of course I will, Raina. I'm sorry that we weren't honest with each other, but you know I love you more than any friend I've ever had."

"I love you too."

"I know." Cari said quietly. "He's going to be upset if I'm late, and worried too. He's kind of…in the same predicament. I mean, he was trained by Rina too. That's how we met. I think she just…picks a bunch of people and does classes, I swear."

"Alright." Raina agreed slowly, and her friend surprised her with a hug. Hugging the girl back, Raina smiled to herself. She had her best friend back, and that was all she needed, right? At least she wasn't worried about Cari not being able to handle the truth of what she was.

"Bye, Raina. Call me, okay?"

"Yeah, I will."

"Alright, bye."

And with that, Cari skipped off to her metallic blue car waving. Raina smiled at her before focusing back on Kander's living room, where she soon appeared. She heard a few noises from the bathroom, and made her way to the closed door before pressing her ear to it. What she heard was more than scary.

"Baby, please! Oh!"

Kander was singing. In the shower. Raina suddenly dissolved into quiet, uncontrollable laughter before she hit her fist to the door a few times. The moment the banging went through to Kander's ears, she heard an abrupt stop in the middle of the word "you". Quickly afterwards, she heard the shower turn off and rustling. Kander opened the door, his hair sopping wet and a towel flung around his bottom half, and she burst into laughter again, soon falling to the floor, holding her stomach. Kander, singing in the shower? That was beyond hilarious, and she couldn't do anything but laugh. Not to mention, his singing was horrible. He looked at her seriously and crossed his arms against his chest, leaning on the doorway, almost looking conceited.

"Uh, Raina?"

"Oh my god, Kander!" She managed to burst in between her laughter. Kander began to look annoyed and he soon let out a puff of air.

"It's not that funny."

"Kander," Raina said, and smiled. "You were singing. Alone. In the shower. Horribly!"

"It wasn't that horrible!" He said defensively, and grabbed her shoulders as she stood up. He shook her. "As if you never sing in the shower!"

"Well, not normally." She said truthfully. She giggled. "Actually, I don't at all, you weird-o."

"Yes you do! Everybody does!"

"And even if I did, I doubt I'd run out in a towel just because someone hit the door."

"Well, I didn't know who it was."

"That's even worse, Kander! What if I was, oh…I don't know, Normrak or something?"

"Well, then I guess you'd be horribly shocked seeing me in a towel and you'd leave me alone, now wouldn't you?"

"No, I'd probably just kick your ass."

"Pshaw!" Kander said, and waved his hand in her face. She knocked it away. "You know I could kick your ass."

"Not Normrak's."

"Well, maybe…I could put up a fight!"

"Not really."

"Yeah, really. Where's your confidence in me?"

"Obviously not here. Not when we're talking about Normrak."

"You're stupid." Kander muttered and waved her off. "I'm going to get dressed."

He began to walk off, and stopped suddenly before turning around, a wickedly sarcastic grin on his lips.

"Unless, you'd rather me stay in a towel?"

"Kander!" Raina exclaimed, and blushed. "No, go get dressed."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes!" She said, and pushed him into the bathroom. He wiggled his eyebrows at her, and shut the door behind her. She jumped, surprised and fell against the door. He fell with her, and didn't move to get off of her. She thought her heart was going to jump from her chest. She was sure that he could feel it pounding into his very…scantily clad body. He smelled good, though. Like soap and…his own personal little scent.

"What," She said, and bit her lip. "What did you close the door for?"

"I knew it'd make you nervous." Kander replied simply and grinned. She pushed him off of her, and tapped her foot impatiently waiting for him to step back.

"Get out of the way, Kander." She said darkly, and he held up his arms in surrender.

"C'mon, Raina. I was just playing with you."

"I don't like being played." She glared at him. He looked confused for a moment before suddenly brightening and letting a look of 'shock' come over his face.

"Right, I would totally play you." He agreed sarcastically, rolling his eyes. "My wife…Rina…" He trailed off and sighed, before shooing her out. "Go on."

"Kander…"

"No, Raina. You made it perfectly clear."

"Made what perfectly clear?"

"What you think I'm doing."

"What are you doing, Kander? I don't even know what you're doing!"

"I don't know…" He paused, and pushed himself up to sit on the countertop. He ran a hand through his dripping hair and sighed. "I don't know what I'm doing Raina. I really don't. I don't know if I'm flirting or just…being me. I don't know if I'm trying for rebound or…I don't know, just looking for comfort in grief. Raina, I just don't know."

"Neither do I, Kander. But whatever you're doing, I don't think it's too incredibly healthy."

"Raina…"

"Yeah?"

"I really miss her."

"I know, Kander." She muttered, and fell into his open arms. She hugged him back. "I know."


Hey, you guys! I totally had to try writing this chapter THREE TIMES! I had it fully written once, decided I didn't like it, and erased the whole thing until this came out. I'm still not a hundred percent happy, but it's better than it was. It's just difficult to write her friend in. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's a sign. XD

Thanks to all of you that wished my luck with my relationship crisis. You all rule. It's nice to think that other people care. And if you don't care, don't tell me. XD I like the little world I'm in.

!!TO MY REVIEWERS!!

Ambeicromber: Yes, they're really good friends. I love that about them too. Perhaps a tad bit confused, but still really wonderful friends. If only we were all so lucky! I think I like this version better too, but tell me if I get WAY too off track and totally butcher the storyline, okay? XD Don't forget, I love knowing what you loved about the old story so I know what to include in this one. I just can't wait to write in Feral, Cali, and Taile. XD They were so much fun to write! Hehe. Thanks for your review! I hope you like this new chapter.

Ebonydragon: Honestly, I'm not sure when he's coming back. XD Hopefully soon! It's not as…inspiring to write without everybody's favorite emotionally-confused man. But no worries. He will be back, within the next couple of chapters if we're lucky!

Allison Smith: Ah, yes. I can't imagine Normrak being extremely happy with finding them in bed together. Of course, I wouldn't be happy to come home and find my husband (in his case, wife) in bed with his/her best friend. Haha. That would be one hell of a reaction to write wouldn't it? Ah, I plan on going back through and editing the errors out later. Most of the time, I just write the chapter and put it up immediately, without much proofreading. Probably not the smartest thing, but oh well. XD

Toxic-noodle725: Man. I could have swore you had three O's in your name. That's crazy. Oh well. I'm usually off my rocker anyway. Yeah, poor, poor Kander. He loved his wife like whoa, but now she's gone. I feel horrible throwing a baby into it, that poor man. D: And I'm hoping Normrak will be back soon, but I'm not going to promise anything that I can't do for sure! I know he'll be back within the next few chapters though. We can't get too far into the story without that man, y'know?

Tearitrightup: That would be something. XD Of course, she and Kander have always been quite…close, I think. All the way up the first book I wrote. They're wonderful friends, but sometimes I do wonder if they'd truly click as romantic partners. And I'm sure Normrak would not be thrilled with the whole Kander and Raina thing. XD Hahaaa.

TheSkyIsGreen: Freaked out? Maybe not. XD I love it when people love my story. It totally gives me inspiration, seriously. Ever time someone leaves a review, I get a little email alert, and when I read it, it makes me want to drop everything and write more story. EVERY SINGLE TIME. And the more review alerts I get, the more I want to write. Odd how that works, huh? Thanks for reading and reviewing. I hope you like this new chapter, seriously!

Rockchick07: If I get it published, you guys will SO be the first ones to know. I'm hoping that it can get published, but I'm not sure if it'd make it. It's always worth a try, y'know? I'm glad you can feel what Raina feels. I feel whatever she feels when I write it down, and the more specific I get, the more complex I fear the emotion is, and the more I wonder if people will get it. XD I'm glad you're intuitive like that. Thanks for reviewing!

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR REVIEWS! YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION! R/R!