Okay, so here's my new story! I know I should be working on my other ones, but I really felt the urge to write a cliché slash romance. Heh. I'm thinking of adding more stuff to this chapter later, but we'll see. I hope you enjoy it!

Story warnings: Like I said, it's slash. That means boy on boy action. There might be girl on girl action later, too. We'll see how it goes. Also, there will be swearing, lots of fluff, romantic sappiness, touchy subjects that may offend some readers (but no one's forcing you to read it!), really big jerks, making out (maybe more!), smoking, alcohol, the stupid things teenagers do, and...maybe the occasional evil rabbit. You have been warned!

Disclaimers: I don't own any brand names mentioned in this story. I do however claim all characters and plot. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And if these characters do resemble any real people...I'm kinda worried.

Chapter One: I Hate My Name, I'm Freaked Out by this Neighbourhood, and…What the Hell is Wrong with this Kid?!

Madeleine. You would think that the biggest problems in my life would stem from this name. After all, it is rather…feminine. And I guess for awhile, this was true (mostly in elementary and middle school). But in the last year, things have gotten a bit more complicated, making that fact that I'm named 'Madeleine' seem kind of insignificant. After all, when you're taking medication for a rare (if not almost completely nonexistent) disorder, and you've just moved, and you're starting a new school a month into first semester, bizarre names just seem pretty small in the grand scheme of things.

Oh, and why is this name so bad in the first place, you ask? Simple: I'm a boy.

Now I know you're thinking who would give their son a girl's name? Answer: my mum. Now, she was one of those mothers who didn't want to know the gender of her baby before it was born. She managed to avoid hearing it quite nicely until she accidentally overheard one of the nurses during one of her hospital visits mention "oh, it is such a healthy baby girl!" Of course, my mother, although disappointed to have unintentionally broken her vow, was completely thrilled at the prospect of a baby girl. (Too bad she didn't realize the nurses weren't talking about me.) And so, she decided to name her 'Madeleine' (don't know why, she just liked the name). Anyway, labour came, blah blah blah, I was born, and what's this? I was a boy. Unfortunately, my mother was so delirious from the drugs and pain that she didn't see that I actually had an extra appendage before she blacked out. But not before uttering the curse that would haunt me for the rest of my life, "Name the baby Madeleine." And by the time she woke up and learned of her mistake, it was too late. My birth certificate was already written up, signed, and everything. (Don't ask where my dad was during all of this, because I have no idea.) And so, I am stuck with the name Madeleine. At least I have the option of going by the more manly 'Maddy' (which I take full advantage of, thank you).

So. That's me. Madeleine Langley, a seventeen-year-old senior, living in a new town, and attending a new school on Monday. Can you sense the excitement radiating off of me?

I scrape my hands back through my hair with a sigh, letting the soft black strands slip through my fingers in choppy layers around my face. So many freaking boxes.

"Maddy! Dinner!" calls my mum's voice from downstairs.

My green and blue eyes flick once more around my empty, white, box-filled room, before I turn on my heel and pad out into the hallway. Food's way more important than unpacking right now. Besides, I definitely have to paint the walls before I can even think of living in there. It looks like an asylum.

My dad's setting food on the kitchen table when I get downstairs, his glasses sliding to the end of his nose. He looks up when I enter, smiling.

"Hi, Maddy. Mind setting the table?"

I shrug, already moving towards the cupboards. "Sure."

I pull out three plates, freshly unpacked and cleaned. These are placed on the oak table, along with three equally clean glasses. Last is the cutlery. Rubbing my ankle with my foot, I pull open the drawer and pick up the forks and knives. They're the dullest metal my parents could find; hell, they don't even reflect the bright kitchen lights. I suppress a sigh, turning to return to the table. My mother's appeared, seating herself across from my father. I hand them their cutlery before dropping down in a free chair between them.

My parents are definitely what you'd call an odd couple. My dad's a quiet man with thick brown hair that has a habit of falling into his bright green eyes. He's tall and thin, almost willowy. I got my hair texture from him, as well as my left eye colour, and body shape. However, my hair colour, right eye colour, and height come from my mum. She has a mass of black curls and big sapphire eyes set in a heart-shaped face. She's around 5'5", short compared to my dad's 6'1". I'm stand between them at 5'6", and it doesn't look like I'm going to be growing anymore. Boo.

"Oh, Edward, this is wonderful," gushes my mum, happily digging into her lasagne. I watch in a kind of horrid fascination as she shoves huge amounts of the pasta into her mouth. She's got a good appetite, I'll give her that.

My dad smiles. "Thank you."

Another difference: my dad can cook. My mum…can't. At all. Last time she tried to boil water, the kitchen caught on fire. Don't ask me how. If I hadn't run in to put it out, I wouldn't believe it had happened. But there you go.

"Maddy, did you remember to take your medication?" my mum asks suddenly, looking at me with concerned eyes.

"Yes," I mutter, poking at my lasagne with my dull fork, suddenly not hungry.

"And is it working? Because I know your last prescription didn't work very well, so if this one ends up the same, I want you to tell me, okay?"

I sigh. "I will."

She smiles. "Good."

After that annoying interrogation (okay, so it wasn't actually an interrogation, but it felt like one!), the conversation moves onto idle gossip about the neighbourhood, and chatter about, well, everything. My mum loves to talk. While my dad listens quietly beside me, smiling and nodding, I let my eyes wander around the kitchen. Although somewhat bare, everything is clean and spotless in here. My parents decided that we should have the essential rooms taken care of (you know, the kitchen, bathroom, living room…all that good stuff). That way, at least part of this new house will feel like home. Of course, when we paint next weekend, everything will have to be taken out again. This is why I'm not unpacking until next week.

"Maddy, honey, aren't you hungry?"

I snap out of my reverie, turning my attention to my mum who's looking at me with worried eyes. She's been looking at me like that a lot lately. She must think I'm stressed from the move and all. I'm not.

"I'm fine, mum," I reply, scooping up a forkful of lasagne and stuff it in my mouth, forcing myself to swallow.

"Are you sure? Maybe your med1—"

My dad places a hand on her arm, silencing her. "Es, leave him be. He's fine."

My mum frowns, but allows the subject to drop. She is way too overprotective. But I guess she has reason…

The rest of supper passes without anymore awkward or nagging questions, thanks to my dad. My mum starts talking cheerfully again, and I'm left in peace. Afterwards, I help my dad wash the dishes while my mum wanders off to feed the fish (the only things in the house we trust her to feed without killing).

"So, how do you like the new house?" my dad asks me as I dry the dishes he's passing me.

"It's nice," I reply, shrugging. "Really big."

He laughs. "Yeah, that's true. I guess it is a bit different than our old house."

Well, there's an understatement. I mean, our old place wasn't like a dump or anything; it was just your average suburb house: two stories and a basement. Big enough for a family of three. This place on the other hand…it's huge. And in the middle of a rich neighbourhood. My parents, as you may have guessed, make a lot at their jobs. They run their own catering business; my dad's head chef, my mum takes care of the business end of things. What she lacks in culinary technique, she makes up for in scary good math skills. Seriously, the woman was the top of her class in every math and business course she took in university. Needless to say, my dad was impressed (aside from cooking measurements, and anything to do with the kitchen, he sucks at math). And so, they got married, blah blah blah…not relevant at the moment.

So, anyway, yeah, we're pretty well-off.

"Looking forward to your new school?" my dad persists, green eyes cheerful behind his frameless glasses.

Right, dishes, conversation…I've gotta stop zoning out.

I roll my own blue and green eyes, and drawl, "Absolutely thrilled."

"Aw, come on, it'll be fun! New friends, new teachers…" Catching the less than enthusiastic look on my face, he sighs, sobering. "Look, Maddy, I know it's been difficult for you, what with the new medication and having to move, but it's a fresh start. The people here don't know anything about you. It won't be like before."

God, it'd better not be like before. Before sucked. I chew my lip, looking down at the dripping plate in my hands. He's right, though; no one has to know about me. I guess it is a fresh start…

"Okay, all done!" my dad announces suddenly, mood and tone bright and sunny once again.

I put away the glass in my hand and drop the dishtowel on the counter.

"I'm gonna go for a walk. Get a look around the neighbourhood."

"Okay, be careful." My dad smiles and squeezes my shoulder before leaving the room in search of my mum.

I exit the kitchen and head down the hall to the foyer. It's still relatively warm out, so I don't bother with a jacket. I'm wearing a sweater, anyway. I stuff my feet into my old, worm Converse and leave the house, thumping down the porch steps and along the garden path to the sidewalk. I head left, meandering down the sidewalk, looking around at all the houses equally as monstrous as mine. Each has its own sprawling lawn, some speckled with trees, others with fountains and statues. Mine's one of the former.

Another street appears in front of me, and I turn down it. There's no one around, which seems weird. Then again, it is dinnertime, so…

I hear footsteps behind me, and I turn a bit, slightly surprised. Okay, never mind, someone is out. A guy around my age is walking towards me, hands in the pockets of his baggy jeans, and head bowed. His shaggy black hair (dyed) hides his face from me. He keeps walking until he's right in front of me, then stops suddenly, looking up sharply. He blinks wide blue eyes, seeming to come out of a daze.

"Oh…I didn't know anyone else was out," he remarks, almost to himself. His voice is a bit higher than most guys.

I don't really know what to say. I mean, he didn't ask anything…so I stand there, looking at him awkwardly. Finally, after a drawn out silence, he sticks out his hand.

"I'm Alex."

I gingerly shake the proffered hand, vaguely wondering why I didn't keep walking. "I'm Maddy."

"Maddy, eh? That's an interesting name. Short for something?"

"Yes." I don't elaborate.

He doesn't seem fazed by my short answers.

"So, do you live around here?"

"Yeah, I just moved in." I point in the direction of my house, even though it isn't visible from here. Eh, he gets the idea.

He smiles, tilting his head a bit. "What school are you going to?"

Should I be worried that a stranger is asking me all these questions?


"Matheson Jacobs Private School," I reply, stumbling a bit over the awkward name.

His face brightens. "Really? What grade?"

"Er, twelve…" Okay, if he is actually a psychotic serial killer/rapist, he definitely has enough info now to track me down. I've always had a bad habit of trusting people too easily… It's amazing I haven't been kidnapped yet…maybe I should work on the 'not spilling my secrets' thing…

For some reason a giant grin breaks across the guy's sharp-featured face.

"Maybe we'll have some classes together."

My eyebrows shoot up. "You go to Matheson?"

"Well, yeah," he replies like it's the most obvious thing in the world. "Everyone in this neighbourhood does. Unless they've been shipped off to boarding school, of course."

…then why did he ask what school I was going to?

"So I'm guessing Matheson is some kind of elite school, then," I venture, glancing at the houses around me, all obviously owned by wealthy people.

He snorts, walking past me. "That's an understatement." He takes a few steps and stops, looking back at me. "You coming?"

I stare at him, bemused. Coming where? "Uh, sure…?"

Yeah, I am serious kidnapping bait. It wouldn't even take any effort. Just ask me to follow you, and bam! I'm caught.

I trail after Alex down the sidewalk, watching his back move under his baggy black hoody. He doesn't look strong enough to overpower and kill me. And in my mind, that's a good enough reason to walk with an almost complete stranger to God knows where. We could be going to his secret love dungeon for all I know.

…I hope we're not going to his secret love dungeon.

Now kinda worried, I voice my concerns, watching Alex's expression as it goes from confused to greatly amused. He laughs loudly, cheeks flushing.

"I'm not even gonna ask where you got that from," he snickers, eyes sparkling.

I smile sheepishly, pushing the hair out of my face. "I'll take that as a no."

He laughs again, shaking his head. "You're one-of-a-kind, Maddy, I'll give you that."

If only he knew…

So, it turns out we're going to a nearby park, surrounded by trees with changing leaves. I didn't even know there was a park. But, hey, here it is. And there are swings! Grinning, I walk over to them and plop down on one, pushing my feet in the sand to swing gently side-to-side. Alex follows and claims the one next to me, twisting to look at me.

"So, as the official welcoming committee, allow me to welcome you to the neighbourhood!" he announces, a huge smile on his face. "From now on you will be subject to endless neighbourhood gossip, bickering, and spying. Any secrets you have will be found out at some point unless you are an absolute expert liar, and I advice against walking around naked unless you're inside with all the curtains closed, because at least one neighbour will be watching your house at all times."

I stare at him for a moment, trying to think of anything besides, what the fuck?


"No problem!"

Geez, he's chipper. And unless he has some kind of split personality disorder, I think it's safe to say he isn't planning to chop me up into little pieces and hide them around the park.

See? I am a good judge of character!

"So, what are you doing walking around, anyway?" he asks, peering at me curiously through strands of dark hair.

I shrug, looking up at the evening sky. "I was bored." I glance at him from the corner of my eye. "Why are you walking around?"

He rests his head on the chain of the swing. "I was walking home from a friend's house."


"You know, you have really cool eyes."

"Uh, thanks…"

Holy crap, is this guy random or what? And I thought my attention span was short.

Alex sits up, yawning, and running his hands back threw his hair. I see a line of earrings running down his ear, and when he turns his head to face me, I notice the other ear's the same.

"Well, it's getting late. I should get home."

"Yeah, same."

We both rise and slowly make our way back to the sidewalk. We stand on the cool cement for a few minutes in silence, before Alex finally breaks it.

"So, I'll see you later, then."

I nod. "Sure."

With one last smile, he waves and turns, heading down the street. I stuff my hands in my pockets and walk the other way, unable to suppress a smile. For all his oddness, Alex is very likeable.

By the time I get back home, it's getting darker outside, and the streetlights are slowly coming on. The front door's unlocked, so I don't bother knocking. After kicking off my shoes, I head down the hallway, looking for my parents. I hear noises from the living room, so I turn into there. My parents look up from where they're curled up on the couch.

"Welcome back," says my dad, smiling. "Did you have fun?"

"Sure." I drop down in an armchair, glancing up at the TV, which is the source of the noise. "I see you got the TV hooked up."

"Yup. Your mother's quite handy with this kind of thing."

She grins proudly, wrapping an arm around my dad. "Thank you, honey."

"No problem, darling."

I make a gagging face at their sugary pet names, earning myself a raspberry from my mum. Well, I never said my parents were mature.

"So, sweetie, did you see anything interesting on your excursion?" my mum asks me, blue eyes wide and curious.

I shrug. "I met someone."

"Oh?" She looks interested. "Who?"

"This guy named Alex. He lives around here."

My mum gives a sound of glee. "You're making friends already! That's wonderful."

I roll my eyes, slouching in my chair. "I'm not a kid, mum."

"I know. It's just nice to see you settling into our new home and meeting the neighbours. And just think how many more friends you'll meet at school!"

I sigh. My mum is caught up in this fantasy world of believing that I'm this popular kid who makes loads of friends, and is not, in fact, a basic social outcast. Well, whatever makes her happy.

The conversation drifts off after that, and we sit watching some random cooking show. But rather than pay attention, my mind keeps wandering back to that strange encounter with Alex…

At around midnight, I finally decide to head to bed. Okay, not actual bed, because that hasn't been put together yet, and won't be 'til I've finished painting my room. So for now, I'm crashing on the floor with my own roll-up futon. It's actually pretty comfortable. I've set up a lamp beside it so I can see, but that's about it.

After closing my bedroom door, I peel off my clothes, dropping them in the corner, and walk across the room to my temporary bed. Alex's warning about walking around naked pops into my head, and I look up at my curtainless window. Suddenly a bit paranoid, I quickly pull on my pyjamas, which I dug out of a box earlier. Feeling better now that I'm fully clothed, I slide under the covers of my futon and turn out the light. I must be more tired than I thought, because I'm out within minutes.