Ever had your life flashed before your eyes?

If haven't, lucky for you. Because trust me, it's not a pretty picture. As I stood there with my back up against the wall, all these scenes entered my brain: my first bike (pink, for Pete's sake), the time I entered high school and humiliated myself at the end of the day, my prized possession (Leo Cavanaugh's dirty shirt) and him.

No, not Leo. He was an object of my secret fantasies, as he found out on that fateful day in high school. No, it was different.

"Do I scare you?" he said in that monotone voice of his. He moved closer, so close I can see his electric blue eyes, riddled with anger like I always see them.

I pressed myself even harder on the wall, avoiding all means of contact with him. "Not even close."

I expected him to frown, growl even, since he had the temper. Instead, his lips formed a small smile. A rare one, I might add. This guy was as grumpier as you can get.

"Adrienne," he said calmly. "Did you steal my painting?"

He can't get an answer from me. Never.

A stony silence reigned. I looked around us, but my fear was confirmed: there was no one around, and I was alone with him.

My phone suddenly rang from my jeans pocket. I highly doubt I can answer it without risking a chance of him stealing it, so I just let it go.

One ring, two rings, three.

"It's Adrienne. Leave—hey, what the hell? Cut that out, Steve! Motherf—"

I knew as I heard Gin's voice that I was officially, and utterly, dead.

"ADRIENNE, WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? Listen, I hid the painting under your bed, alright? That little dipshit won't see it again, for sure! Haha, later, homie!"

I hate you, Ginger Parker. When I get killed, I swear you're the first one I'll visit.

Everything else was quiet again as Gin's voicemail stopped. He made a satisfied face, and crossed his arms.

"So," he said.

"You brought this on you, you know," I cut him out before he can finish... whatever he was going to say. "If you didn't ruin my sketch I never would've gotten revenge."

He didn't reply. He just stared. Stared and stared with his eyes, like I was some boring TV show he couldn't figure out.

In what seemed like ages, he sighed, and turned around.

I gaped. Is that it? I wasn't going to be slaughtered? Hanged from a tree, even?

He suddenly spoke. "Just... give it back to me." He walked away, leaving me to wonder if I'll find him in my house later that night with a chainsaw.

Gin laughed so hard on the phone she sounded like she just exchanged vocal chords with a hyena.

I waited for her to calm down. "It's not funny," I said blithely as I absently traced the pattern on my bedspread.

"Yeah, it is," she argued. "Don't you see? You made history today. Nobody gets away from Jeremy Markowitz without having a serious need for painkillers. Nobody," she emphasized with a sinister tone.

"Except me?"

"Hell yeah! You heard the rumours about him. You're lucky he didn't molest you or anything."

I made a face and sat upright on my bed. "You're a freak, Gin. Really."

After apologizing about the voicemail, Gin finally said goodbye testily, as her mom had shouted that she wasn't the only one in their house with phone rights.

I tossed the cordless on the edge of my bed and sighed. My best friend was right; I was lucky. At school, Jeremy was feared by everyone. All those rumours about him that I've heard came into my head, and I shuddered, and it wasn't because from the cold air that entered my room.

Sighing, I got up and paced around my room and picked up my volleyball. I never really played, in fact I suck, but I just bought it for company, like that movie with Tom Hanks. Surprisingly, it proved quite a weapon against my older brother Mickey whenever he annoyed me.

I tossed it in the air, and just proving how much I suck, I missed it. I watched as it bounced on the floor and under my bed. I bent down and lifted the bedcover to get it.

The volleyball was right next to my prized Leo shirt and an old baseball glove. Beside that, was a painting.

Well, I had guessed it was. I mean, Gin had shouted she hid it under my bed after she stole it from the art room this morning. I was just about to meet her then, since I acted as a lookout, but I was suddenly cornered by you-know-who.

I pulled it out, and it was covered in some kind of brown paper. Despite earlier, I laughed when I placed it on my bed. I mean, really. I've seen Jeremy's other artwork, and 

truth be told, the guy can't paint for crap. Why bother protect something that's going to be a laughingstock, anyway? Not that anyone would. They'll be too terrified.

Still, I figured I should see it. This is my revenge after all. I should relish the moment, right?

I tore the paper from the side and ran it all the way from the bottom, and looked at the painting. I gasped.


I ran. Through the streets, pass houses, dodging people. I hadn't bothered slowing down, even with the painting in one hand. Finally, I arrived in front of a Victorian style home with a quaint little garden that really didn't match with the person living inside it. I finally caught my breath and with my free hand, I knocked.

The door opened, and Jeremy Markowitz stared at me. Smirking, he motioned me inside, but I didn't move.

"Here it is." I held out the newly wrapped canvas.

He didn't move, either. "You stole it. It's yours."

I laid it on the porch and mumbled a goodbye as I walked away back to the sidewalk.


I turned around, and saw that Jeremy picked it up and tore the wrapping away, revealing the painting. It was a girl with long auburn hair, shaded in many places, as if there was a light in the painting that made it look that way. Her warm brown eyes shone with her secrets, and at her chin, there was a tiny scar where she had fallen off her pink bike and needed stitches.

It was me.

I gave him a tiny smile, and continued to walk away. My phone rang, and this time I was able to answer it.

"Hey, Jeremy."