Prologue: An unexpected visitor

I whistled cheerfully in the bathroom, attempting to whistle 'Jingle Bells' in tune. Attempt is the key word, mind you. It was Christmas in twelve days. There was just something about Christmas that filled me with warmth and excitement. The Christmas tree and decorations had to be set up, the many meals to plan…yes, the cheesiness was overwhelming, but hey, it was fun partaking of it.

After the final ear piecing note, I dried the last of the water droplets off my back and I looked around for my pajama top and shorts. After shifting the laundry basket around, I still couldn't find it. Ugh, I must have left it in my room. I wrinkled my nose. Well, there was no way I was going to streak down the corridor to my room. This was simply due to the fact that on my way down, I would have to bypass the living room. And I was certain that my younger brother, Ryan, didn't need to be mentally scarred so early on in his life. Besides, the opposite reaction might just happen and he would go after girls even more…now, seeing your fifteen year old brother flirt was just disturbing. Especially when he was already on to his tenth girlfriend. Even my younger sister had a boyfriend and I had only had one. And it hadn't even been a proper relationship. Okay, okay, I was twelve at the time and dear Ashton Ferguson from next door had a bunch of hand picked flowers in one hand. It was sweet, okay? A pity he didn't stay that way. Ever since third form, he turned into macho jock machine and from then on, he completely ignored me. Unless of course, he needed help on his English homework, because the amount of sports he played rendered him illiterate. Ha! I knew all that head bashing in football had to have done some damage.

Giving up, I grabbed the last piece of clothing which hadn't been put into the laundry basket. It was of course, my lime green and blue striped bra which was disturbingly bright, according to Ryan. I had been shocked to hear that his little slut girlfriends weren't wearing something equally or even more bright. He'd mumbled incoherently under his breath and walked away, throwing my laundry onto my bed. Aw, he just hadn't wanted to admit that he'd made it to second base. Then again, I didn't want to know either.

I slipped my bra on, wrapped a towel around my waist and opened the bathroom door, the cool air flooding into the steamy room. And met a pair of laughing green eyes.

"Nice bra there, Reese," A guy stood in front of me, the amusement clear in his voice. "I didn't know you were into such uh, eye catching lingerie. What a pleasant early Christmas present."

I screamed, looked up and immediately crossed my arms in front of my topless chest. I was immensely relieved that I had decided against streaking braless down the corridor. "Who the hell are you? Do you have even a shard of moral decency?! Stop staring at my chest!" I flushed immediately, my cheeks tinted crimson.

That only made the mysterious guy laugh even more. "Don't you remember me? I'm shocked."

I snorted, regaining my composure. "Oh yes, the first thing any girl does when she is being sexually harassed is to try and find out who is attacking at her."

"Isn't that what most people do?"

"Uh, no. I think self preservation is. So, if you don't mind me repeating my question, who the hell are you?" I glared, trying to shift my towel up to cover more of my chest.

He crossed his arms and looked appraisingly at me. "Why don't you take a stab in the dark?"

"First of all, it's the freaking middle of winter and seven at night so I'm cold. Secondly, why should I be exchanging pleasantries with a stranger when I'm topless? You know, I should just scream for help."

He sighed resignedly, shrugged off his grey shirt and handed it to me. I reached out and put it on, buttoning it up as fast as I could manage. This was of course, done while I was checking his chest out. I couldn't help but notice the nicely defined muscles. Okay, I was a hypocrite.

"Happy?" He said.

I nodded my head begrudgingly before taking a better look at him. He had dark brown hair, long enough to just curl over his ears. It was gelled into a casual messy array, as per the usual for adolescent males. He had bright green eyes, delicate eyelashes which surrounded them. Damn, I wanted those eyelashes. I stared into those eyes, recognising something. Just. I had seen those green eyes before. In fact, it wasn't long ago that I saw them. They were in a photo that was lying on the hall table a few days ago. And I was a little seven year old in the photo riding my toy tricycle with a strange knobby kneed boy with bright green eyes sitting in the background.

Oh shit. I looked back at him. "Seth Wakefield?"