After dinner we came back to Dex's massive house. I wondered where his parents were, but kept the question to myself. I wasn't sure if it would be overstepping the boundaries.

"I still can't believe you don't eat meat," Dex said to me. We were going downstairs to watch movies. That meant he had four stories to his house! Seriously, was this guy rich or what?

"Eh, I don't really feel like eating dead animal; that stuff doesn't really appeal to me," I told him nonchalantly. Avenue laughed. She laughed a lot, though. Not Dex, I think I only heard him laugh once; when Avenue pinched the waiters butt and told him it was me. The waiter, whom I later came to know as Jonathon, asked me for my number. I gave him the number to the rejection hotline.

"I just don't understand how you function without it," he said for probably the fifth time that night. It was starting to bug me.


He glared at me, but didn't say anything more. He's smart, I thought, Most boys would keep going until I kicked them in the nardos.

"So what movie are we watching?" Avenue said, just as peppy as ever. It was cute for the time being, but I could tell her perkiness would get annoying soon. In a bout an hour I was sure I'd put a muzzle on her.

I shrugged and Dex just sat down on their black leather couch, resting his feet on the sleeping bag in front of him. It was there when we came down.

"How about Grease? Or Grease 2? NO! Sixteen Candles! Or Teen Witch—"

Dex cut her off. "No." I gawked at him. How could he say no to those movies? They were classics!

Avenue scowled at him, but only lost her peppy attitude slightly. "I'm sure Ryan wouldn't mind seeing those movies." Dex looked at me expectantly.

"Actually," I said slowly. "I love those movies." Avenue perked up immediately. She squealed before running up the stairs to get the movies from her room. Dex stared at me. "What?" I asked defensively.

"You could have played along, you know. We could have watched American Pie or something." I laughed, that was such a guy thing to say.

"She's a crazy bitch, but her fuck's so good I'm on top of it. When I dream—" I quickly answered my cell phone, ignoring Dex's inappropriate comment. I thought the song was funny, jeez.

"Helloooo?" I forgot to check the caller ID.

"Hi honey!" Shit.

"Hey, Mom. What's up?" I knew I sounded irritated, and I knew it probably hurt her feelings but I didn't care. She hurt my feelings a lot.

"I was just wondering how everything's going at your dad's," she said in a cheery voice. It was sickening.

"Fine," I said flatly.

"Well that's good! Um, Lindsay wants to say hi." I heard some shifting on the other line and then:

"Ryan?" I groaned, loud enough for her and Dex to hear. "Why did you just make that noise?"

"Goodbye," I slid my phone shut.

It started ringing again so I turned it off.

"Who was that?" Dex looked amused. I couldn't understand why, it might have been funny if I didn't have a scowl on my face.

"Eh." I didn't feel like answering, I just wanted to watch a movie and forget about the whole day.

-- -- --

"Thanks for letting me stay here," I told Avenue and Dex the next. It was Sunday and I had school on Monday, so my mom was expecting me home.

Avenue smiled, "No problem! It was great sharing my room with you! We should do it again." No we shouldn't. The whole night she just kept talking and talking. SHE WOULDN'T SHUT UP!

"I'll call you," Dex told me, giving me a one-armed hug.

I suddenly remembered something. When I first met him he was looking for me. Why? "How come you were looking for me that first day we met?" Then I remembered it had only been one day. "Yesterday?"

He smiled, "I'll tell you when we get coffee."

I returned the smile with a growl and got into my car. Just as I was driving away I heard Avenue tell Dex, "I love her car!" I do too.

-- -- --

"Hey Ryan," my friends said in unison, with almost no emotion.

"Hey guys!" I was the most lively of our group (which is sad, I'm really not even very sprightly). They got annoyed of me easily; I wondered what they would think of Avenue. They'd love her hair.

"What'd you do this weekend," my friend, Kamile asked me. He has a weird name; it goes well with his weird personality. He wears more than enough black, but always manages to have an odd color. Today he was wearing a mango colored bandana around his neck. His hair's white with lime green bangs, covering his right eye. He's bipolar too. Sometimes he's almost as peppy as me; sometimes he won't talk.

"Caught my dad sniffing coke," I waved my hand as if it were nothing. But it was something, to me at least.

Mary laughed. She dresses like a prep, but she doesn't act like it… much. I was surprised that she laughed, I expected her to just stare at me, emotionless as always. But she laughed and added, "That's so priceless!"

Lucky for her the bell rang, signaling one minute until class. "I have to go to Spanish," I mumbled.

Micah is my favorite friend, he's the most understanding. When nobody's watching, he's even nice to me. He has Spanish with me, because apparently it's an easy A.

He walked me to class and before we went in told me he was sorry about my dad. His considerate remark made me smile. My smile grew when I walked into class to see we had a substitute; I hate my Spanish teacher. She's a real drama queen, she even cries during class sometimes. Not for something important like catching her dad sniff coke, but just because we talk to much.

Our substitute was a guy, and he looked young. Just out of college, I bet.

"Hey guys," he greeted just after the bell rang. "I'm just going to start off with: I can't speak Spanish… at all. I was just a last minute substitution. So, um, we're not going to be doing Spanish today." That was followed by cheers from nearly every student. "Instead, we'll just be, hanging out." He flashed a wide grin, that I immediately fell in love with.

"What's your name?" I jock hollered from the back.

"Kyle Keen, but call me Kyle, Mr. Keen is my father."

Kyle started walking over to the table Micah and I were sharing. Micah is gay, and I could tell he had a crush on Kyle by the way he flicked the hair out of his eyes. His hair, surprisingly, was his natural color: blonde.

"Hey kids," Kyle said. I scoffed at him for calling us 'kids'. "What?"

"I'm not a kid, I'm 18." He nodded as if saying 'That's-what-I-thought'. "What?"

He smiled, "I call everyone a kid, even my older brother. Nothing personal." Then turning to Micah he said, "I like your hair, kid."

Micah didn't seem to notice his sarcasm. "Thanks," he said happily. That's right happily. An emotion!

"I like your hair," I told Kyle. "How'd you get it that way?" I wasn't stupid, I knew how he got it that way; I just wanted the attention back on me.

He was sporting a faux-hawk. It looked cute on him, with his brown hair.

"Just put some gel on my hand and did this," he grabbed the hair on the middle of his head and pulled up. "Yours is… quite interesting."

"Filler," I mumbled under my breath.

"What was that?" I shrugged. "I'm 25, I'm not stupid. What did you say?"

"I said that was a filler. The word interesting. Like, you don't want to hurt my feelings by saying what you really think, but you don't want to lie, so you say something that wouldn't hurt my feelings, and isn't a lie. If that makes sense…"

He smiled, showing off his perfect teeth. "That makes sense," he affirmed.

He stayed at our table talking to us for the whole period. I didn't even find it odd that I was talking to a teacher. Well he was a substitute teacher, but close enough.

That period was done and over with too quickly, I was sad to leave. I really liked Kyle, but it was strictly platonic. I gave him a hug before leaving; he laughed and hugged back.

I picked up my Coach purse—I bought it Sunday after leaving Dex's—and headed off to second period.

-- -- --

Avenue called me after school. She asked me if I wanted to go to the mall with her, and I said yes. She told me that we just had to go to Hot Topic and Pac Sun. I told her that I loved those stores, but also wanted to go to Hollister, and she gagged. It was quite comical, actually.

I'm not preppy at all; I hate preps. But Hollister is one of the few preppful (yes, I know that's not a word) that I can handle. And I always try to find something I can make look unique.

After going to Hot Topic and getting a cute pair of shoes with hearts on them, we went to Hollister. Avenue took one step in and then walked out. She told me it gave her the chills just being in there, so she'd meet me at the bench a few feet away.

I started looking around, trying to find something no one else I knew had; I didn't want to be a replica of anyone.

"Need help looking for anything?" A guy, who I assume worked there, asked. He was really cute, kind of short, but muscular. I could see his bicep muscles through his shirt. There was another guy standing next to him, wearing a Sweet Factory uniform; I figured he was on break.

"No," I smiled at him. "I'm just looking."

As I started to walk away I heard the Sweet Factory guy say to him, "Man, she's freakin' hot!" I smiled. I was hoping someone would notice; I was wearing a miniskirt that was probably a little slutty, but oh well. My shirt was modest, it came up almost to my neck and the sleeves were quarter length.

"Thanks," I tossed over my shoulder. I turned around to wink at him and he was blushing. It was so cute, I wanted to hug him!

The guy that worked at Hollister—Hollister guy, I named him-- nudged Sweet Factory guy and then winked at me. My smile grew. He really was cute.

I picked out a yellow hoodie that read "Hollister 22" across the front. Why 22? Couldn't it be 21? Or 23? WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT 22?!? When I opened my purse to get out my wallet so I could pay, a piece of paper fell out. I held the back of my skirt, as to not flash anyone, and bent down to pick it up.

I smiled when I read: Ryan. I don't know if this is against the rules, but since I'm only a sub, call me sometime. 360) 555-4364. –Kyle

I folded the note up and stuffed it into my purse before paying. They were out of bags at the front, so Hollister guy told Sweet Factory guy to get some from the back.

"So what's your name?" He asked me once Sweet Factory guy left. He smiled at me and I saw something brown in his teeth. Chocolate? Gross, brush those things.

"Ryan," I bit my lip. "Yours?"


It was quiet until Sweet Factory guy came back. "I like your hair," he said to me. I could feel my face getting hot from the blush that found it's way onto my face. That's what happens when I get compliments.

"Thanks, I like your… um, hat." It was blue and said "Sweet Factory". So, yeah, I lied, but who doesn't?

The guy laughed, "Thanks. It's mandatory." Woah there, don't use big words like that on me.

Matt gave me my bag and put the receipt in it. "Bye Ryan!"

"Bye Matt… Sweet Factory guy," I called back, exiting the store.

"It's Tucker!" That's my dog's name, I laughed.

"Do you know them?" Avenue asked when I found her at the bench outside the store. I shook my head. "Too bad, they were cute." I was surprised she thought so, I pegged her as the type to like guys with black hair and lip rings, but that's me stereotyping again. I really need to stop that.

-- -- --

"Where's the Blond Child?" I asked my mom about 10 minutes after I got home from the mall.

"Outdoor school." Yes!!!

"We should go out to dinner to celebrate," she gave me an evil look. "Just kidding." Not.

"Okay, where to?"

"Taco Bell." Seriously, why did she even have to ask?

"I'll ask Doug." She left to her room and about 5 minutes came back. "We're going to Quizno's and then seeing a movie." I scowled. Didn't I suggest dinner? I said Taco Bell, not Quizno's. And no movie; my mom has horrible taste.

"I'll just go to Taco Bell and you can have the night to yourselves."

"Sorry honey, my car's in the shop, and Doug's car is still at the airport. We're going to need to drive yours." Fuck you. I threw my keys at her and then stormed to my room.

I was putting my Hollister sweat shirt away when the receipt fell out. I picked it up to throw in the garbage, but something caught my eye.

On the back in messy handwriting it said: Call me:360)555-6377. Matt.

Wow, third number in two days; I'm on a roll.

A/N: I don't like how this chapter, but then again I never do. So review and tell me what you thought please. Thanks for reading it.

Seriously, 5 seconds… 3 words. You like it? You hate it? You don't care?