I originally posted this a very long time ago and then pulled it. I wasn't working on the story anymore and just was pretty much out of ideas for it. I worked on some other things but for a while now I just havenot had any creative spark to finish any of my stories on here or in my own personal vault. I recently discovered this and it has been my inspiration to start writing again.

Raynewas always one of my favorite male characters to write about. In part, this is because of his sister Kat. Writing her story was more out of necessity than anything else. I felt I needed to get it all written as fast as possible. Her character was always such a blend of strength and doubt intertwined. She was a firecracker. Being her older brother always made Rayne seem so much more safe. He seemed to take the easy road in life, not wanting the hassles his sister seemed to live for yet was always her rock when life threw something challenging her way. The similarities and differences of these two is what I hope I can properly convey with this story.

The main female in this story is Sophia. She's very, very different from Kat. She's a little more like one of the first female characters I wrote about, Rae Anne. She has a lot of innocence in her that she tries to hide. She is very unsure about herself and who she is. I hope this doesn't make her too annoying later on. I am reworking what I originally wrote slightly, for those of you who may remember this from before. I find in the later chapters, I'm beginning to want to slap some sense into her. But overall she is just a sweet woman who is learning for the first time who she is.

So, as you read this, please let me know how you feel about the characters. Is Sophia a little too self-conscious? Is she annoying you? Any thoughts and opinions are always welcome. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to stop by and leave a review for one of my stories. It means a lot to me and is the reason I'm back on here. Thanks for every single review. Enjoy.

Kristen

Chapter One

I stared at the looming building above me. With a deep breath, I finally walked up the steps. Here I was. I was going to tell Troy that yes, I would move in with him. I couldn't believe I was going to do it. I was not very good with relationships and Troy just seemed too good to be true. After having a long talk with my roommate, Nora, I decided this was the right decision. The two of us had been together for over a year now. It was time to move ahead.

I approached the door to his apartment, imagining how his bright green eyes would fill with happiness at my decision. After two weeks of discussion, I would cave in to his demands. I even took off from my demanding job at Blockbuster to tell him. My four years of college had really paid off, I thought, but I couldn't be bitter today. No, today was a special day. I would finally take an important step in a relationship.

The first time I met Troy Ryan we had both been at a show of a local band from our area, Unsatisfied. While I was a regular at these shows and friends with the members of the band, I had never seen Troy before though he was also friends of theirs. We talked all night long. We even went to the South Street Diner after the gig. When he walked me back to my apartment, a couple of blocks away, I couldn't help but smile as he asked to see me again. I immediately said yes, unable to believe that a man who wrote poetry, had good taste in music and was generally such a sweet guy was still single.

It still seemed unbelievable to me. I had probably landed one of the most remarkable men in the city. He lived down on Rittenhouse Square, a richer part of Philadelphia, not that he was rich himself. He only lived there since his sister owned the building. The distance wasn't a big problem since we were both right in the city, but I was looking forward to moving into his place. It was in the more historical area, and the apartment was absolutely amazing. Plus, the rent would actually be cheaper there than what Nora and I spent on our small two bedroom apartment as his sister cut him a deal on rent. Of course, I told Nora I would stay with her until she figured out what she wanted to do for a new roommate.

Moving in with him was going to change my plans a bit. Nora and I had been talking about moving to New York City in a couple of months, after the new year began and she finished her internship with a music producer here in Philadelphia. A job would be easier for her to get in New York City. For me, it didn't matter too much. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Currently I wanted to do something in the film industry, either direct movies or write the scripts. My mother was always pushing me towards photography since that was another one of my passions, but I just didn't think I could really do that for a living. It seemed cheap to make money off of something that made me feel at peace.

I knocked on Troy's apartment door, but the loud music blasting from his place easily drowned out the sound of my arrival. I tried the door, knowing it would be unlocked as usual. I opened it slowly, grinning as I entered his apartment. "Troy? Troy!" I took off my light gray jacket, hanging it up on the coat rack next to his door before I headed towards the music coming from his bedroom. "Troy?" I called out again as I neared the room. "I have something very special to talk to you about."

I slowly opened the door to his bedroom, the smile on my face freezing. "Fuck," I whispered in horror, tears filling my eyes. The woman on top of him moaned in pleasure as neither of them seemed to realize my arrival. I quickly turned around, slamming the door behind me as I raced out of the apartment. I didn't stop to think, breathe or do anything but run as fast as I could away from what I had just seen. When I finally stopped, my legs had carried me to familiar territory. I was down by my favorite record store, AKA Music, on Market and 2nd Street. I kept walking and continued sobbing, as I hurried towards my apartment. How could this happen? My boyfriend was cheating on me? How could I have just seen that?

The image of that strange woman on top of my boyfriend struck me once again, my world spinning out of control beneath me. I stopped at a familiar bar, not caring that it was only four in the afternoon. I sat down at the counter, ordering a Jack Daniels and Coke. I didn't just walk in on my boyfriend fucking some stranger on the bed that we had shared so many times before. How could he do this to me? He wrote me love poems!

I gulped down the drink in front of me, placing my head in my hands. I had to get back to my apartment. I didn't want to think about this anymore. I left the bar, my drink not doing much to ease my troubled soul. I made myself remain emotionless, trying not to think about what happened. Spotting an open cab, I quickly got inside, even though my apartment was about five blocks away. I had walked most of the distance already, but I was taking no chances that I might run into someone I knew. Somehow I was able to tell the driver where to take me, attempting to remain calm though my world had just turned upside down.

I ran up the flight of stairs to my apartment. The door was unlocked and I could only pray that Nora was the only one inside. I slammed the door short, racing to the bathroom. "Sophie? Are you okay? Sophie?"

I gripped the sink, attempting to keep control. I stared at the strange pale face in the mirror before me, who kept blurring as I struggled with my tears. I hated people seeing me upset. I didn't like emotions and this was one time where I couldn't keep everything in check. I continued to stare at my reflection, wondering when I started looking so old. I finally opened the door, taking in her wide brown eyes. "Something terrible has happened," I stated morbidly, my voice sounding strangely together.

"Is it about your job?" I continued to stare at her. "They called to tell me that you could pick up your last paycheck anytime this week."

"What?" I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. I finally found my voice again. "What? What do you mean?"

"Oh, did I get the message wrong?" she said worriedly, noticing my pale face.

I didn't reply as I went across the living room to the answering machine. My message box light was blinking. I pressed the button. "You have two messages," the machine loudly called out to me. "Hello Sophia, this is Bob Walker from Blockbuster. I'm sorry to have to do this over the phone, but I'm just afraid that we're going to have to let you go. Your repeated failure to show 

up for work cannot be excused any longer. If you have any questions, please call. We'll be in touch with how you can pick up your last check." I didn't move, but just stood next to the answering machine, keenly aware of Nora staring worriedly at me from her seat on the couch next to me.

I somehow knew who the last message would be from. "Hey honey, it's me. I just wanted to let you know that a friend of mine is up for the weekend so I'm going to have to bail on the show tonight. I'm going to be taking Ricky to see some old friends, but I'll talk to you later. Oh by the way, you left that gray jacket of yours here. I'll call you later honey."

I sat down on the couch, taking a deep breath. "That's it. This is officially the worst day of my life," I somehow managed to utter calmly.

"What's wrong?" asked Nora.

"I don't know if I can talk about it," I said, closing my eyes as I felt my emotions once again rising.

"Sophie, what's going on? I'm not letting you get out of this that easy."

"What isn't going wrong? I just lost my job. I know it wasn't much, but I needed that to pay my bills. Now I have no source of income to pay my debts."

"And?"

"Well, I don't know. I did just walk in on Troy fucking someone else, but other than that, everything is fine." I burst into tears as she wrapped an arm around my shoulders, comforting me.

"That sleaze! Are you sure? I mean, he just asked you to move in. I've never seen a man more committed to a relationship."

"I know!" I couldn't help but moan. "I definitely didn't imagine it. I can't get the picture of the two of them in bed together out of my mind. I can't believe this. I thought I was in love with him, Nora."

"Oh Sophie, he's just like most of the guys in the city. He doesn't deserve your time."

"But I wanted him to be better. He seemed so much better," I sobbed. "How could this happen?"

"If I ever see him, that will be it! That fucking asshole," she explained loudly.

"God, I don't ever want to talk to him again. How could my life go so horribly wrong?"

Nora didn't reply. The two of us sat there for a while as I tried to deal with the blow I had just been hit with. "I'm going to have to tell my parents. Oh man, they loved him," I said quietly, taking the tissue Nora offered me.

"They'll understand. You're more important to them than some fake poet. His writing wasn't that good anyway. I wanted to tell you a while ago that I just thought it was dreadful. It's so boring."

I tried to grin but it was useless. Her attempts at cheering me up were falling short, though I wished I could seem happier for her. "Right."

"Come on, let's have some chocolate ice cream and watch A Hard Days Night. The Beatles will cheer you up."

"That could be fun," I said, half-heartedly.

She left me alone, sighing heavily as she went to the kitchen, but she didn't return with ice cream like she promised. Instead she had her cell phone pressed to her ear. "You are? Okay, that sounds great. What time do you go on? Around ten-thirty? Great. See you then." She hung up the phone, grabbing my hands and attempting to pull me to my feet. "Come on. We're going out."

"Oh Nor, I don't want to do anything. I just want to sit and mope. My life is in shambles. I lost my boyfriend and my job in one day," I said, the emotions rising yet again, much to my disbelief. I needed time to myself to gain control of the situation. I couldn't let people see me upset.

"No, what you need is to get drunk and party with Unsatisfied."

"The New York show is tonight," I said with a sigh, remembering the plans we had made.

"Yes, it is. Come on, they are opening up for some band at the Bowery Ballroom. It's going to be a great time and it'll help you forget about everything. I'll buy all your drinks if you go," she pleaded.

I sighed, knowing how persistent she was. She wouldn't quit till I agreed. Though I wanted to do anything but be with people, fate wasn't on my side. "Fine. Just don't expect me to be a barrel of fun tonight."

"Great! We're meeting the guys at Carter's parent's house at eight, so we haveto hurry to get ready. They live up in Conshohocken."

I took a deep breath, nodding. "I have to call Troy first."

"You want me to be here?"

I shook my head. "No. I'm hoping that he'll have his phone off. Most likely his visiting friend Ricky is also the one he was, well, you know." I bit my lip, pausing as the pain seared through me once again. "I just want to get this over with and then pretend he never existed."

"Good."

"Go get ready. This will be good for me."

She looked at me worriedly, but soon I was left alone. I took the cordless phone, heading into my small bedroom. There was barely enough room for my bed and writing desk in the little area. I put off calling him right away, turning to the mirror before me. I clenched my jaw, impulsively deciding that I needed a change. I put on a pair of black stockings under a tight black skirt. Then I choose to wear a black off the shoulder shirt with ruffles on the sleeves and a splash of white going down the one side. Luckily it was still nice outside so I wouldn't need a jacket. I picked up the phone, making the call that I needed to make. Troy's machine picked up, much to my relief.

"Hello Troy. It's Sophia. I think we should end our relationship," I blurted out, clenching my jaw, refusing to be emotional. "I came over to your apartment today, so that should be all the reason as to why I think this. Don't call me or try to see me. I need time to be alone and think about everything. This is really hard for me. Don't make it be any harder. Goodbye," I said softly, hanging up the phone. At least if he got the message tonight, I wouldn't be home to see him even if he tried to see me. That was the one good thing about heading off to see Unsatisfied's show tonight in New York City.

I put on my black boots and then did my make-up, doing it slightly darker than normal for me, outlining my eyes so they stood out on my naturally pale face. I touched my long hair. Troy always loved it this way. I had kept growing it long for him. Suddenly it seemed to represent all the things that he wanted and I complied with. I was on my own now. I would do things my way.

I grabbed a pair of scissors impulsively, suddenly chopping off my long locks. It felt absolutely wonderful. It was as if with every cut, I broke the strings that connected me to him. In a few minutes, the floor of my room was covered with hair. I stared at the image in the mirror. The chin length hair looked nice on me. It was slightly uneven and shaggy, as I had never cut my own hair before. Sure, I did trims for Nora but that was it. The jagged edges matched my attitude for the moment. I felt on edge, as if I was ready to break out of some mold that I had been living in, a mold that I hadn't even known had been constricting me. With some styling gel, it looked almost professionally done. I felt wilder than I had in years.

I left the haven of my room, finding Nora already waiting for me. She was impeccably dressed, with her long dark curly hair enhancing the tan that she had. She looked the opposite of me for once as today she had decided to go for the trendier preppy look. She turned around, gasping as she noticed my hair.

"You cut your hair."

"I cut my hair."

"Wow."

"I'm nervous about this as it is. Does it look okay?"

"It looks great. You look great. Wow, I would never have guessed that-" she trailed off, embarrassed about what she had almost said.

"That I walked in on my boyfriend in bed with another girl. Yeah, I thought that myself when I looked at me," I replied, a hard edge in my voice. I had to have that edge if I was going to pretend to the world that this situation hadn't messed me up. Of course it had. How can something like this not affect your life?

"You look awesome," she replied. "New York City better watch out!"

I nodded curtly. She was right. New York City was mine tonight.