A/N:

Well, here it is - my first multi-chapter story every posted here! Also, my first multi-chapter story that I'm SURE I'll finish, even if it kills me.

The title is sort of a working title... I love the title, but there's already a PUBLISHED book by the same name (which I learned after I started writing this, btw ), and plenty others on line, I'm sure. If you can think of a better title for this, let me know, and if you have any questions at all about this story, leave a review! Or leave one even if you don't have a question. Hint, hint.

All quotes/song lyrics I use are the propriety of their respective owners. This story is ALL mine, except for the title :P If you steal it, I'll hunt you down and murder you with a cheesegrater.

And without further ado, I hope you enjoy my story!


That summer I did nothing/Just sleeping, thinking and hanging around.

-- "Orpheus" - Ash

"Amber! Breakfast!" Bang, bang.

I groaned and buried my face in my pillow. Not today, please God, not today. Let her forget

Another loud BANG on my bedroom door was the only answer to my prayers. "Amber Jaclyn Harrison, get up! We need to leave soon, so get ready!" Mom's footsteps retreated down the stairs. I savored the warm comfort of my bed for another moment before forcing myself to get up, and then stumbled bleakly into my bathroom.

I rubbed my eyes and stared blankly at the mirror. I'm fairly average looking for an almost-sixteen-year-old – I have shoulder length brown hair with a couple blondish highlights and light blue eyes. Sort of pale skin. Small, freckle splattered nose. Full lips. I had braces until recently, as well as glasses. My mom finally let me get contacts (though they're almost as annoying as the glasses were). I brushed my teeth and hair then stumbled back in to my bedroom.

I paused for a minute are stared wistfully around my room, with its hideous blue walls and carpet ("It matches your eyes!" Mom says. Right.), lacy white curtains that I despised, various posters of heavy metal bands, my warm, comfy bed. You've been a good room, I thought with a sigh. I wasn't nearly appreciative enough of you. Farewell! Those blue walls seemed so comforting now.

Okay. I'm probably being slightly over-dramatic about all this, but I swear I'm justified. Today was the day that I would be going to stay with my aunt for the whole summer while my parents were both on long business trips. At first glance, this isn't a bad thing. Aunt Dianna lives in the country (sort of), and there's a little bit of woods behind the house that I can walk in, which is actually trespassing but no one really cares anyway. There's a lake only a mile or so away, and town is within bike-riding distance. Sounds great, right?

No. Peer deeper with me into the tangled web of terror and general lameness.

First of all, she's my mom's sister. Enough said. Aunt Dianna has never been married and has never had children, which is really a good thing. I wouldn't go so far as to call my aunt neglectful, but she's pushing it close. She acts like an old lady half the time, and a teenager the rest. Wears pink most of the time. Dyes her hair blonde - very blonde. She criticizes me every chance she gets, on the most stupid things, like my glasses, or my inability to cook without exploding something. Aside from that, her house is just plain boring.

I opened my closet and grabbed the closest outfit I could see, a pair of flared jeans and a black T-shirt that announced "I'm With Stupid". This is what my wardrobe mostly contains: jeans, T-shirts, hoodies, the occasional miniskirt. I dressed, and then put on the jewelry I always wear; five bangle bracelets on my right arm, a charm bracelet that my best friend Kayla Randall gave me on my left. All of us have one – Me, Kayla and our other best friend, Traci Matthews. Then I shoved all of the clothes I could fit in my duffel bag, along with my camera, notebooks, and MP3 player. Deciding that I was adequately packed, I carried my bag downstairs.

There was a plate of eggs and bacon waiting for me when I sat down at the kitchen table. I ignored the bacon – Mom can't seem to grasp the fact that I can't stand it – and ate the eggs.

"All packed?" Mom asked. I look almost exactly like her, except for my eyes – those I get from my dad.

I nodded. "Where's Daddy?" I asked, already knowing the answer but wanting to make sure.

"He had to leave early this morning," she answered, filling up a plate of food for herself. One good thing about going to my aunt's house: She loves to cook, unlike my parents. I would at least get good food. "Sorry, sweetheart – I know you wanted to see him before you left."

"Doesn't matter," I lied. Both of my parents work most of the time, especially my father, who is almost never home. It's a mixed blessing; on one hand we have quite a bit of money – we aren't rich, but we're well off – but the result is that I barely know my own parents. They both used to go on business trips for weeks at a time, so I was alone a lot. Mom finally had to quit her old job, or I would have had to live in a foster home because my parents were being 'neglectful.' Now she has a part time job, so she's home more, but I still don't get to see her often.

The ringing of the doorbell interrupted my thoughts. I got up and opened the door.

"Kevin!" I said happily. Kevin Fisher is my absolutely amazing boyfriend. He's half a foot taller than me, with short dirty-blond hair and brown eyes, one of the most popular guys in school, star of the football team… Well, you get the idea. I would never have thought that he'd want to go out with me. Normally I hang out with the least popular kids – though that's changed a little, seeing as I'm with Kevin so much and he usually sticks with the other jocks - and honestly can't stand sports. Well, opposites attract, I guess. Traci, unfortunately, can't stand him. It's the one thing we get in fights about.

"Hey, babe," he grinned, leaning down to kiss me. I closed my eyes. Absolute bliss.

"What're you doing here?" I wondered when he finally let me go. I hadn't been expecting to see him at all until I came back home, unless he somehow managed to visit me at Aunt Dianna's house.

"A guy can't come and see his girlfriend without a reason?" He smirked. "I just wanted to say goodbye."

"It's time to leave, Amber." Mom announced, coming up next to me. She glanced at Kevin suspiciously. She doesn't like him either – I can't imagine why. I haven't given him nearly enough credit here.

"Do I have to?"

"Yes."

I sighed and looked back up at Kevin. "Well, this is it. If I survive the summer, I'll see you in a few months." We hugged and kissed for another couple minutes, though I won't give you any more details on that. Mom sighed as we watched Kevin leave.

"I don't like you being with that boy," she complained while we got in our car, a dark green minivan. I ignored her, I've heard the lecture so many times that I know it by heart. I tossed my bag in the trunk and sat the farthest seat from the front – it's not that I don't want to sit by my mom, sitting in the back is just a habit that I've had for as long as I can remember. Resting my head against the wall of the car, I stared out the window and dreaded the rest of the summer. I was sure it would be boring as hell.

Wrong.


I woke up when the car finally stopped. I couldn't remember any of the two-hour drive, so I guess I had fallen asleep almost as soon as we left. I sat up, rubbed my eyes and looked out the window at Aunt Dianna's house. It has two stories, with white siding and a gray roof. There are a few rosebushes outside the door, which actually have a few flowers on them this year. The inside of the house is almost as boring. Just as I stepped out the door, Aunt Dianna came rushing outside.

She and my mom look nothing alike, despite being sisters. I think it's the platinum blonde hair that does it. And the thigh-length pink dress.

I might be being a little unfair. I love my aunt, I really do. I just can't stand her.

"Amber!" she exclaimed, running up to meet me. She scooped me up into a huge bear hug. I hugged her back.

"You've gotten so tall," she gushed, as relatives are prone to do. "And you look just gorgeous without those glasses."

Which basically meant, if you can understand my aunt's way of speaking the way I can, that I looked just hideous with glasses, but I let it pass this time. "Thanks, Aunt Dianna," I smiled. I glanced up when I saw a flash of movement from the house.

Looking out from the screen door was a boy. I couldn't see his face clearly through the screen, but I could tell he had wavy dark hair. And that he was angry. He glared at me before disappearing back into the house.

Aunt Dianna often had some boyfriend or another hanging around, but this boy was young, maybe my age. I turned to ask my aunt who he was, but she was already hugging and saying goodbye to my mom.

"I have to go, sweetie," Mom said, walking up and giving me a hug. She handed me my duffel bag. "You have my cell phone number, so feel free to call, all right?"

"I'll be fine, Mom. Love you." She gave me one last hug before going back to the van.

Aunt Dianna was already chattering my ear off. "Come inside, come inside! I have someone for you to meet."

Wonderful! She would tell me who the boy was, and I wouldn't even have to ask. I followed her inside.

The walls in the living room were a strange shade of green. It looked like any other living room. Couch, armchairs, coffee table, TV, a baby picture of me on an end table. There was a staircase that led up to the guest room and Aunt Dianna's room, and a door that led to the kitchen.

"Aidan!" Aunt Dianna called up the stairs. "Come meet our guest!"

There was a long moment of silence, then the boy I had seen through the door, whom I had to assume was Aidan, came slowly down the stairs. He stopped at the bottom and stared at me. As I had seen through the door, he had slightly wavy black hair and hung over his face. His skin was pale, even more so than mine. Peeking out from behind his too-long bangs were a pair of large bright green eyes. Like me, he dressed plainly in blue jeans and an oversized black T-shirt. I could tell that underneath the large shirt he was downright scrawny. I stared back at him curiously.

"Aidan, this is Amber, my niece," Aunt Dianna introduced me. Fine, I knew his name now, but who was this strange young man? What was he doing here? I would have known if Aunt Dianna had any children, and he looked the same age as me. So why was he here, and why did he stare at me with such hostility? He intrigued me, to say the least.

"Hi," I said, seeing as he wasn't about to talk. He just nodded and looked down at the floor.

"Aidan is using the guest room now, Amber, so you'll have to share a room with him," my aunt said apologetically.

"I can sleep on the couch if there isn't room," I said hurriedly, as Aidan didn't seem to want to share from the look he gave Aunt Dianna.

"Oh, don't be silly dear!" she waved her hand dismissively; apparently she hadn't seen - or had chosen not to see - Aidan's death glare. "I just got an extra bed put in there today, so you don't even need to sleep on the floor. Aidan, why don't you take Amber up to your room?"

He nodded silently and, without waiting for me climbed quickly back up the stairs. Dragging my duffel bag behind me, I followed him.

The guest room had always been boring, but now that there was someone living there full-time (so I assumed) it struck me even harder. The walls were the same off-white as most of the house, the floor plain brown wood. There was a twin-sized bed on each side of the room, each with the same white sheets, comforter and pillow. Against the wall farthest from the door was a bookcase, which had always been empty until now. It was almost completely filled with books. One new installment in the room I noticed was a computer. I silently thanked God (or whoever else was listening) for that, the only other computer in the house was in the living room, and it would have been uncomfortable to chat with Traci and Kayla with Aunt Dianna looking over my shoulder. I hoped Aidan would let me use it.

But there were no posters or pictures of any kind on the walls, no decorations, no implication that anyone had ever lived there. Was Aidan's stay only temporary? I couldn't imagine living in a place like this all of the time.

"This is your room now, huh?" I murmured. I hadn't meant anything by it, but he gave me the worst glare that I had seen in a short time I'd been here.

"Yes." He said icily. The first word I'd heard him speak. He had a pretty voice, I noted absently, or he would without that horrible scowl on his face.

I frowned. "Did I do something bad?" I asked, my voice rising despite my efforts not to let it. "'Cause you seem awfully pissed at me for absolutely no reason."

He didn't answer, but sat down on his bed and stared at the ceiling. I waited for another couple of minutes before giving up and going downstairs. Maybe my aunt could help me unravel the mystery of Aidan.


Aunt Dianna was opening a can of tuna when I entered the kitchen. After exasperatedly convincing her that yes, I was allergic to seafood, I asked her about Aidan. She is a huge gossip, and if you get her started on a topic, it's impossible to get her to shut up.

"Oh, Aidan," she sighed, rooting around in a cabinet for a jar of spaghetti sauce. "Where to begin?"

"The beginning?" I suggested, trying not to let the sarcasm show in my voice. I failed. Miserably.

"Well, I'm his foster parent for a while."

I frowned. Aunt Dianna simply didn't seem like the sort of person who would take on a foster kid, but after I thought about it for a little bit, it made a bit of sense. My aunt hated to commit to anything for too long. Once she got sick of Aidan she could just send him back to the orphanage or wherever he had come from, and she wouldn't ever have to deal with him again. It was horrible, but it was true.

"Poor boy," she continued. "He's gone through so many foster homes. I can't blame them for not wanting to keep him. Here, put the sauce on the stove, will you?"

"Uh… sure." I took the jar and did as she asked. "How come?"

"So it can cook, silly."

"No! I mean, why was he in so many foster homes?"

"I think he's bi-polar. Antisocial, violent outbursts, that sort of thing." She replied absently. "Let me cook that, dear. I know you aren't very good with this stove," she added, practically shoving me out of the way – or at least, that's how it seemed to me at the time. "He hasn't been angry with you at all, has he?"

"No." I lied. As rude as he had been to me, I didn't want to get him in trouble.

"That's a blessing. He doesn't like strangers very much."

"Mmhmm." I replied absently. So Aidan was antisocial and violent, and he apparently had not taken a liking to me. That was just as well, there was no point in getting attached to him. I could almost guarantee that he would be gone, by his own doing, before the summer ended.

At least I wouldn't be bored.