"There you are," A familiar voice said. I heard him stride into the room to stand only a couple feet distance away from my back that was turned to him. I was sitting in a chair facing the window that out looked the city in my assigned bedroom. "You okay, Marie?"

Sighing, I turned around to see Mitch standing there looking concerned. It was a genuine look of concern. Not those fake looks people would give you because they don't know what else to say or do, you know?

"I'm fine," I lied. When I could see that he didn't believe me, I added, "I'm just a little tired. All this is just a lot to take in without feeling a little intimidated. But, I'll be fine."

I must have looked somewhat upset because he slightly tipped his head as if realizing that I wasn't as fine as I was letting on, and walked towards me. He surprised me and hugged me as if he were a protective older brother. Mitch had to be one of the kindest people I'd ever met and as I hugged him back, I couldn't help but compare him and that dreadful Robert Grey. I had no idea how Mitch ever tolerated him.

"I'm assuming you know this is your room for the next couple months. So, you know what? Feel free to relax for a while. Clear your mind, okay?"

With that, he gave me a final squeeze and left the room. It was so quiet. And for once, I didn't mind it at all. This time, after slipping off my shoes, I settled myself onto the large and comfortable looking bed as I looked outside my nearby window and saw the city I was supposed to call home for a long time. People were scurrying on the streets, tourists taking snapshots of the beautiful architecture of the buildings, most with Italy's famous gelato in their hands. And even though people would have killed to be in Rome, like I was, I sadly would have much rather been at home in sweats, cuddled on the couch watching Juno or something.

Note to self: get a copy of Juno (in English) to watch and remind self of being cozy at home.

Second note to self: kill Jenna and Sara for ever signing me onto this show and also jerk ex boyfriend Trevor for ever instigating me to agree to all of this.

While I was basically talking to myself in my thoughts, he came without a sound. Not just any man. It was Robert Grey. Basically my worst nightmare.

Seriously, I didn't even realize he was standing in the doorway just…staring.

The man clearly has some issues.

When I finally did notice him, I jumped up from the bed a little, the noise of the mattress springs being the only sound slicing the silence.

"What the hell?" I shrieked, attempting to regain my composure (unsuccessfully). "Ever heard of a little word called 'hello' or 'hi' instead of creepily just standing there?"

A smile slid across his face. It was the same smile he had when he realized we were stuck in the same place for a very long time, to my dismay. I hated that smile.

"I'd watch that mouth if I were you. I don't know how impressed the bachelors are going to be with a pretty lady who unattractively cusses," he said with that same and very annoying smile.

I raised my eyebrows at his statement.

"Did you just call me pretty?" I said without really thinking. Was this the first somewhat compliment that came out of Robert Grey's mouth?

"Eh, don't start swooning. It's only called protocol."

Only protocol. I couldn't stand men who felt inclined to say nice things to women only because they thought they'd look bad if they told the truth, and then have the audacity to admit it to the girl.

I rolled my eyes at him and attempted to chuck the nearest object at him. Too bad the object just so happened to be an oh so threatening pillow… that went too short and landed softly at his feet instead of in his face.

"I hate you," I said, trying to put my most intimidating facial expression into action. Of course, knowing me, it didn't seen to work.

"Can't say the feeling's mutual, honey. Because like it or not, we're stuck together for what can seem forever and being the host and bachelorette of this show, we have to like each other or at least be convincing at it or I assure you magazines and viewers will be talking."

With this, to my complete astonishment and disgust, he quickly removed his shoes and plopped himself down on my bed. He was lying there, right next to me, stretching out as if we shared the bed on a regular basis.

"What's wrong, Marie? Let's not hate each other. Don't you want to come join me? Lie down," he laughed, patting the spot next to him.

As he took hold of my arm, I lost it. I yanked away from his grasp and for the second time, I took hold of another pillow. This time, I successfully slammed it down on his smirking face.

"Get-" The pillow came down on his face again.

"Out." And again.

As I raised the pillow above my head again to hit my target, said target got up and grabbed hold of my arms, which made me drop the pillow in shock.

"Now, that's better," he said, indicating that I had been disarmed.

I could barely breathe. I hadn't expected him to grab me like that. I didn't even know what I'd expected. Even when I didn't have the pillow in my hands, his grasp didn't loosen. It was strong, but at the same time, not bruising.

"W-what do you think you're doing?" I spluttered nervously, my eyes wide.

He slightly smiled and gently cocked his head in the direction of the abandoned pillow. "I could ask you the exact same thing."

He then released my arms and once again, lied down on my bed as if nothing had happened. For some reason, my wrists were burning. But not because he had handled them brutally. Not at all. It must have been correlated with the utter anger and frustration I was feeling. It was the only reasonable explanation.

I could not deal with this man.

"I give up. I'm leaving. Please do me a favor and never show your face in my room, again," I sighed, after making my point and got off the bed, ready to leave with some dignity.

I was half way out the door when I was rudely interrupted… again.

"Hey Marie," he said in a softer voice than usual. I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but it might have been something along the lines of an apology. Because of this, I made the mistake of giving him my attention once again.

"What?"

"Not to go all déjà vu on you but aren't you forgetting something again?"

I was so confused. Déjà vu? What the freak was he talking about? Maybe he was psychotic, after all.

I followed his gaze down to my feet. My bare feet, to be exact.

Dammit.

My shoes were on the floor by the bed, forcing me to step back into the room and get them, ruining my dramatic exit once again. First, the plane. Now this.

My face continued to burn as I stomped towards the bed and slipped on my traitorous shoes. His eyes were sparkling with amusement and he even had the nerve to let out a quiet chuckle.

"Stop doing that!" I yelled in a high pitched voice that I didn't even recognize as mine. Yeah, I knew I sounded like a five year old, but I was seriously mortified and he seemed to be enjoying every moment of it. I hated him. Yes, hate can only be described as a strong word, but as I walked out of my own bedroom, embarrassed and strangely flustered, I knew I couldn't stand Robert Grey. There was no other way to explain it.


"Since you seem rested, I'll go over the show with you, okay?" Mitch said, motioning me to sit as he sat down in the chair opposite of me.

"Okay, the run down is, considering your interests and personality traits that you sent us, we narrowed the whole pool of men down to 25. The very first episode, when all the guys arrive, you get to meet them all as a whole, and then get five minutes individually with each of them," he said, as I slightly raised my eyebrows. Five minutes? Five minutes to get to know someone seemed like absolutely nothing. How was I supposed to choose from such brief introductions?

He noticed the look on my face. "Yeah, it seems really short but after this, you'll have more time with them in upcoming episodes. Don't worry about the timing, we'll be editing and cutting what we show on the actual TV show for limited time slot purposes. But yeah, then you'll eliminate the guys to twenty men that you really want to get to know better. This will be the biggest elimination. After that, it'll be on a one by one basis."

A five person elimination in the first episode. It seemed insane. How was I to make sure that The One wasn't one of those five men? How was I even to know that the one I was looking for was even among these 25 men? It was all a gamble but I didn't know whether I wanted to go all in or not. I just didn't know.

"Marie," Mitch said, giving me a reassuring smile. "You can do this. I know you can. I'll be here when you need me. And, Robbie will make sure to help you, too."

At the sound of that name, let out a groan of frustration.

Mitch looked curious at my vocal response to his coworker's name. "Aw, Robbie's not giving you a hard time, is he? Don't mind him. It probably means he likes you or at least tolerates you. He's never been the best with showing his feelings with anyone."

"I really doubt he secretly wants to be nice to me, Mitch. But thanks anyways. You've been so great to me. I don't know what I would have done if I were alone with people like Robert Grey and the horrible make up stylist people who pretty much want to rearrange my entire face."

Mitch laughed at my unique depiction of Sandra, Jimmy, and Tess. "It's nice having you around, too. Now, go rest some more because the bachelors are expected to arrive tomorrow at 5 p.m."

Ready or not, it was all really happening.

Oh, shit.

I know it's been a while!! But I finally updated, didn't I? )

Please R/R! And school's almost out and I'm graduating High school!! So, I'll definitely have more time to update on a more frequent basis, I promise!