Chapter 1: Last Resort

Guys are idiots.

And I don't say that because that's what my mom and dad always say, nor do I say it because it has become a belief of mine over the years. I merely say it due to the overwhelming evidence that revolves around such despicable creatures. I see it every day.

Everything they see they want to screw, and everything they screw they stop seeing, because they see something else and want to screw it.

Catching onto the pattern? It isn't really that hard of a concept to grasp. I actually figured it out in about a minute, right after that idiot tried to grab my butt. And this was after I told him I was most certainly not interested. Do they have brains? Perhaps… Ears? I don't think so. Or maybe they hear only what they want to hear, and warp everything else to, "Yes, I would love to have sex with you."

It's pathetic, really.

Okay, so maybe I'm overreacting just a bit? It happens every day, right? Guys just have these raging things called hormones and they tend to think with their… testosterone, rather than their actual minds, if they even have minds. I'm still debating over that concept. I think I might just take up a forceful argument against the idea. Any person with a mind would not have invaded my private space in such a disrespectful manner!

So at this point you're probably all, "What's with the girl with the stick up her ass?"

I'm not normally like this.

Actually, I'm never like this, at least on the outside. I'm typically a flirt or a jerk (depending on if I'm in a social situation and, of course, the people involved) but I stick to that and I don't take a step past the line. There's something deeply amusing about pulling a guy along and then just dropping him. Use 'em and lose 'em, right? Exactly.

Who am I then? I'm Ryen Anne Morrison. My parents had been absolutely positive that I was going to be a boy. Needless to say, when I popped out, all female, they'd needed to make a quick decision. They'd decided to take the boy's name they had chosen ("Ryan") and change a letter to accommodate their newborn daughter. I guess it's better than being called Missing in Action and nick-named Mia. God, I think that would actually be child abuse, like naming your child Apple. Who does that? Famous people, apparently.

I'm getting off track again. I'm kinda like that sometimes.

I'm pretty average. I'm a senior in high school, I'm of average height, around five foot six, I have hazel eyes, dark brown hair that waves some days and straightens on others, a decently thin, athletic frame, and an absolutely horrid taste in fashion.

Did I mention that I haven't dated yet?

I know, it's normal right? I mean, we're not supposed to fall in love in high school, and relationships are all about getting into the swing of it and then having some overly dramatic break up and starting it all over again the next time a hot guy comes around the corner. Except, it's not normal (even though my best friend constantly supports me) that I've never had a boyfriend or hooked up at a party.

Okay, I've never been to a party.

It actually isn't as bad as it sounds though. I mean, I don't really have any interest in guys around me. They're all so immature and perverted. It's all a stupid waste of time. I'm happy with my socialite friends, my way over-bearing parents, and my non-existent love life. I know I was talking about the whole "use 'em and lose 'em" mentality earlier. Okay, so maybe I was being a bit overconfident.

My parents support me fully. I'm pretty sure they couldn't be any more ecstatic that I'm not interested in guys and that guys aren't interested in me. Well, at least that's what they think. More than enough guys are interested in me, but that's just a status and arrogance thing on their part. I mean, I know I'm not some homely girl– I've got looks and I'm a virgin. That seems to intrigue them sometimes. Okay, all the time. And it doesn't help that I flirt shamelessly and then leave them dangling.

Remember that best friend I spoke about earlier? Yeah, she's pretty much my savior. I don't know what I'd do without her. Her name is Hailey Mills and she's probably one of the prettiest girls on campus, hands down. She's got this perfectly straight blonde hair, bright blue eyes, a gorgeous figure, is about an inch taller than me, and knows everything about everyone. She's your average Queen Bee with the buzz on life, pun intended. My severe lack in knowing how to dress myself is made up by her absolute perfection. Did I mention that she's kind of a big deal? Well, she is, which is great for my own climbing of the social ladder. Actually, it's not much of a climb. I pretty much get a VIP pass for being BFF with Hail.

Now, avoiding yet another digression, we're both seventeen and pretty much opposites from one another. I'm on the soccer team; she's on the advanced dance team. I'm social at school, tops; she's a pretty party girl. I can be a jerk; she's one of the nicest people you'll meet. I have no boys; I'm pretty sure she has three right now.

We've been best friends for who knows how long and it hasn't changed yet.

Did I mention that she also has a car? A gorgeous car. A sleek, red, convertible Porsche from Daddy, as a matter of fact. I still feel amazing as we drive into school every morning. She spoils me. But I spoil her, too. I keep her out of too much trouble while she tries to get me in a bit more. Gotta love it. I do, actually. Well, I loved the idea of it, but I never really, actually planned on going through with anything. But we need to start from the beginning.

We were into the second month of school already. October 19, to be exact. This meant that Homecoming was tonight and that no one really wanted to be at school today, because who really paid attention the day of the school's first dance, especially when it was a half-day? We were all far more interested in what we were going to be wearing, and what everyone else was going to be wearing, and who actually had a date to a Stag dance?

The theme was rather stupid and vague, but who really cared? As long as we got to wear things our school wouldn't normally permit, or things we wouldn't normally wear, we were happy. Our Homecoming was informal, and as seniors, our theme was "rock". The school was going on the overall topic of music. Hailey had just finished a bitching session about how we should have gotten "rap" or "pop", and how much more fun that would be, and shouldn't we get priority as seniors, and then some.

I was laughing at her currently irritated expression when some idiot came up behind me and grabbed me around the waist. Hailey's eyes turned into saucers and my own narrowed. I quickly shoved the hand away – only I was allowed to initiate the flirting – and turned to face my adversary.

I pasted a fake smile on my face. "Hey, babe."

I had no idea who this guy was. He actually looked like a junior, and from the moronic smile that grew on his lips after my opening comment, I figured I was probably correct in my assumption. He tried the shoulder move and I daintily side-stepped and giggled at Hailey, who still looked like someone had done something absolutely astounding.

Stupid Boy continued smiling at me in what he must have thought was a seductive and attractive grin. The first phrase that came to mind was: really bad attempt at sleazy. Of course, being the person that I am, I played along, giggling again and fluttering my eyelashes.

Damn, I'm good.

The guy sidled closer and I allowed him to wrap an arm around my waist this time, all the while uttering a soft, whispering sigh. It was good. I practiced. He totally fell for it, showing me, in further evidence, the stupidity of the male race.

"So, how 'bout you and I hang out later today?"

Oh. God. Was he really trying to be suave? It made me want to vomit. I stared at him, chuckling softly. I really wasn't in the mood to play around too much today, lucky for him.

"How old are you again?" I questioned, startling him.

He gave me a funny look, and then recovered, smiling again. Shoot me.

"Does it really matter, baby?"

Oh hell no. He did not just call me baby.

"Yeah, okay, buddy," I said, detangling myself from the younger guy. "Not interested. Go play schoolboy with some easy girl. Kindergarten is in that direction. Maybe they'll accept you. Maybe."

He paused again. I don't think he caught my irritation or my allusion to him being a pedophile. His next movement pretty much confirmed this thought.

"You ass!" I shrieked, jumping about a foot in the air as Sleazy grabbed my butt. "You did not just do that!"

"I think it was actually your ass…" Hailey snickered at my side. I glared at her. Of course she would find it funny, standing there looking like a model in all her designer clothes, bangs pinned back elegantly and lightly made up eyes glittering with a rather malicious hilarity.

"Funny," I snapped, glaring at the kid. "Go to hell."

He seemed shocked again, rubbing a hand through his hair. What, had he expected me to leap into his arms the minute he grabbed a part of me that really wasn't interested in being grabbed? Not so much. My anatomy liked being handled by me. Or no one. It depended on the part. That sounded wrong. I jumped back into reality as my mind began trailing down an awkward path.

"Well, you're a tease, aren't you?" he finally said, eyes narrowing.

At least he had the courtesy to refrain from vulgar terms. That would've set me off. Well, set me off more than I already was set off. I sneered at him.

"You actually believed me? God, you're pathetic."

Hailey snorted again. "Who wouldn't? That was a brilliant acting job, Ry."

I rolled my eyes. "Thanks."

"Stop breaking hearts, dear."

"Ah, but mommy…" I winked at her and then turned back to the guy, who was still standing there. "Leaving yet?"

Apparently not. He stood up a bit straighter and I figured that I'd hurt his pride just a bit. Poor baby. It'd heal. But, of course, he had to have his little comeback and make himself feel better. I could see it in his eyes as he thought something up, so naturally I waited for the horrible reply to come. I could just tell he wasn't one of those intuitive types that came up with witty retorts spontaneously.

Finally, he glared.

Wow, even I hadn't been expecting such a pathetic response from him. I decided to help him out a little bit, play around, just because I'm mean like that.

"Sorry, babe, but mom won't let me date til I'm 25…" I trailed off and leaned forward, whispering conspiratorially in his ear. He actually leaned in, poor dear. "She thinks all guys want is sex."

I straightened back up, raising my eyebrow suggestively, and then waggled both in a rather playful manner. I couldn't help myself. The guy straightened as well, as though trying to make up for his foolish moment of leaning in to me. God, I already had him wrapped around my finger. This was too easy. I chuckled as he opened his mouth. Finally! I had been waiting for his retort for hours now.

"Well, who wouldn't want to be with a girl like you?"

I raised my eyebrow again and pursed my lips. "Oh?" I couldn't help but find myself intrigued.

He smirked. I scowled. God, his idiocy was rubbing off on me.

"Yeah, that's all you're good for, right? I bet your sarcastic comments would run half the guys out though. Not me, actually. Wanna try it?"

Wow. So that was his response? He rebuilt his pride in a manner that pretty much screamed, "Shut me down again!" Well, I couldn't help but oblige.

"Oh baby. Let's go." I snorted derisively to add insult to my words.

Boy took it in stride: he raised his head and took a step forward, kissing me full on the lips. He pressed against me in a rather haphazard kind of way, sending me way off balance and tumbling back into Hailey.

"Whoa there, buddy!" I yelled amidst the catcalls that whistled around me from the interested bystanders. "Keep those to yourself, please."

Hailey shoved me off her, growling under her breath. "Um, future boyfriend of Marissa, Ry. No touching, just playing. Are you stupid?"

She'd just gotten me out of trouble from accidentally getting some other popular chick's boyfriend to follow me around. Not a good thing. The girl had thought I was planning on stealing him, and therefore, in all her childish and jealous fury, had decided to make me a rather pathetic part of the student body by verbally degrading me and calling me a slut in front of everyone. Hailey had worked on the damage control and had gotten me back in everyone's good graces within a week, telling all it was merely a misunderstanding. But I knew, as well as her, that if this one got out I'd be screwed all over again. Damage control wasn't as easy the second time around. Too bad I didn't really care.

Okay, well I cared a little, because I liked popularity. What girl didn't? It made life so much easier. I pulled myself out of my daydreams of popularity destruction so I could reply to Hailey.

"Right, er, sorry, Mom," I said sarcastically. I looked back at the boy. "Sorry, honey, outa luck. Too tired from last night's escapades."

Hailey threw me an exasperated look. "Stop it!"

I grinned in her direction. It wasn't like I had actually done anything, and it wasn't like I was actually trying to get this guy. He was a perverted, immature moron. Why would I want him?

Hailey glared at me as the boy stalked away.

"You know someone's going to tell someone and then this whole thing will be around school."

I shrugged. "Oops."

"Why can't you flirt with people who aren't desired by the girls that tend to be a bit higher up in the hierarchy than you?"

"Go Queen Bee," I said in a mock cheerleader voice. "You just tell them I'm not actually a slut, 'kay? It worked last time."

"You don't even care, do you?" Hailey sighed.

"No, not really. I mean, I'm not even really friends with them or anything, so why should I care what all the other girls think?"

"Do you want to be a nobody?"

I smirked. Hailey sighed.

"I'm asking the wrong person that question, aren't I?"

I smiled broadly. "Yep!"

Hailey smiled too, her white teeth glimmering. God, she had to be absolutely perfect, didn't she? She adjusted her bag over her shoulder as the bell rang and curved a finger at me.

"Come on, Slut. Time for class."

I hit her lightly on the shoulder before stepping in stride with her. "I'm not a slut!" I laughed boldly, grinning around.

Hailey giggled too. "Right, okay. Then why can't you stay away from the boys?"

"It's fun!"

"For someone who likes to have so much fun, you really don't do anything outside of school."

"More victims here," I replied, chuckling darkly as we entered the building.

Okay, so I know I've come across as a little… mean. I'm really not always such a jerk. I'm actually quite a nice person. Well, most of the time. I'm more of someone who finds her little pleasures in life at the expense of others in a nonviolent way. Besides, most guys need to get their arrogance problems sorted out. Ego is way too popular right now.

Anyhow, I don't think I've explained the whole anti-boy thing well enough. It's something one really needs to know when it comes down to the end of my story, which I really should get into.

I'm not some kind of anti-dating freak, nor am I some anti-hook-ups kind of freak. I've actually had my fair share of those. Okay I lied. That whole episode right then– that was my first kiss (totally not including the time I pretty much fell on Tommy's lips in the fourth grade). Pretty sad, right? My first kiss was by a boy a year younger that pretty much launched himself at me. Real romantic, right? That whole teeth cracking against teeth thing– so sexy. God, I really am a pathetic freak.

But, I digress. Again.

I don't know why I've such an aversion to anything past shameless flirting. Maybe it's because my parents are so adamant about not having anything to do with the opposite sex. And it's not like I really have any urge to rebel. "Boys are bad" has been ingrained in my head since I was a fetus, really, and I haven't seen anything to disprove such a point.

So I've done what every good girl does and listened to my parents– for almost eighteen years. And the flirting doesn't really count as breaking the rules, so to speak, because it never goes any farther than flirting and it never means anything. I could be doing worse. Going to parties, drinking, hooking up, having sex… Seriously, I'm a good kid.

Well, I was. I tried. I think it's time I really began.

Staying in line was hard, what with Hailey making this year very near impossible to stick to my typical good-girl actions already, especially nights like tonight. Homecoming. My hugest fear of the month. Hailey had forced me to buy a ticket and then decided what I'd be wearing. It wasn't like I really had any argument against Hailey picking out my outfits– she did this quite often, especially when we went shopping, and when she was feeling particularly inspired. The whole being forced to the dance thing, though, not so much.

But I had been given no choice.

Hailey had creatively lied to my parents, fooling them into believing that we were having a movie night and sleepover at her house, and had even assured them that we'd be watching an action film rather than a romantic comedy. Yes, my parents did have something against such a genre. And yes, I did find this stupid and irritating. What girl doesn't like a romantic comedy? It's pretty much a part of our genes. We can't not watch the hot guy and amazingly lucky chick get together and have their moment of absolute bliss on the screen.

I envy those girls greatly.

I think that's what my parents were so afraid of, but I had assured them that I knew such movies were mere frivolities and did nothing for the reality in which we lived, and that's verbatim. I think the eloquence won me that conversation. I was good at that… eloquently lying. How else do you think I watched so many of those movies and sighed with all my girlfriends at the conclusion of multitudes of brilliant romantic comedies? How else do you think I got away with reading so many wicked romance novels? It was an art that I perfected and yet used sparingly. I agreed with my parents on most points.

Again, I deviate from the point.

So Hailey and I were currently giggling excitedly in her room. Hailey had some tight, black leather pants and an even snugger white shirt on, with her blonde hair curled slightly. Even as a semi-rocker babe she looked like a model. She wore heavy mascara and darker lipstick. She finished the look with dark purple nails.

After she'd readied herself she turned to me. She'd had a festival of ecstatic fun, really. I suffered her amusing antics all in good stride. What else could I do for my friend? She would have tied me down had I put up any kind of fight.

My hair had been straightened and I was sporting a black jean mini with black fishnets. I was wearing a low cut navy top and a stud belt through the loops in the skirt. I'd painted my own nails black and applied an abundant amount of smoky black shadow and eyeliner. With the borrowed sassy hooker boots with buckles all the way up to the knees, even I could say that I looked very hardcore, and pretty hot.

And I'm not typically an immodest person.

Hailey, my dear of all dears, worked magnificent wonders.

"Oh ho!" she exclaimed, grinning largely, eyes sparkling with merriment. "You look devastatingly awesome."

I smiled wryly and posed. "Dahling, you are too kind."

Hailey rolled her eyes. "I only enhance the resident natural beauty. You should give yourself more credit."

I shrugged. "So you say. You still outshine me, even in thrift shop leather pants." I gave her an exasperated look and then laughed.

Hailey's eyes glittered in her glee as she laughed as well. "You ready to go?"

"Of course not. You know that I don't want to go."

"You mean you shouldn't go, because your parents wouldn't like it, and that's clouding your judgment. You know you really want to go. How many dances have you gone to?"

I was silent.

"Exactly. Let's go. Our ride will be here any minute!"


"Shut up. You're going."

"Fine." I shut up, pouting slightly. I figured that telling her I didn't know how to dance wouldn't change the circumstances. She'd just give me a look that told me how much of a pathetic loser I really was and then do her best to cheer me up by volunteering to teach me.

What a doll. Sarcastically speaking of course.

I followed Hailey down the stairs to the kitchen, where her mom greeted us. I smiled in the woman's direction, thankful that she didn't know about my parent's distaste towards dances and their current ignorance about our lack of a movie night. Hailey's mom was pretty cool, though. She probably wouldn't tell even if she did know. But that was merely an assumption, and assuming only made an ass out of oneself. Yeah, I did just quote that.

"You girls look so cute!" Mrs. Mills gasped.

Okay, maybe overly cool. When parents did the whole overtly excited voice thing it kind of made my ears bleed. Ugh. I smiled, trying to keep the grimace from the corners of my mouth and Hailey scoffed openly.

"Mom, seriously, stop it. We're not twelve."

Her mom backtracked slightly, and I almost felt sorry for her… almost. My ears were still spewing profanities from her earlier outburst.

"Alright, dear. Have fun. What time do you think you two will be home?"

We exchanged a glance. I'd heard tales of the after parties. I figured getting back before midnight wasn't an option. Hailey clarified it.

"It's a dance, Mom, I'm really not sure. We're going to a party after the dance at Lauren's house, which really isn't all that far from here. Besides, she's having a limo pick us all up and take us home, so it's all good."

Defined as: don't worry, Mom, we won't be driving drunk.


I tried yet again to cover my painful grimaces. Here I was worried about a dance, and then there was an after party after! That was ten times more out of my typical bubble. Really not good. I had the feeling I'd be dealing with suppressed anger the rest of the night. If Hailey came home without any friend-induced injuries, I'd consider myself a very, very controlled person. I wasn't counting on it though. She hadn't said anything about after parties and I'd just realized that now.

It seemed that Mrs. Mills didn't have the same feeling of trepidation that I did, though. She smiled agreeably. "As long as you're careful, girls."

"I always am, Mom," came Hailey's response.

Yeah. Right. Little tramp. I caught her eye and, naturally, she winked. God, I wish her mom had caught that. Then maybe we'd be locked up here and unable to go to the dance.

A knock sounded on the door and I jumped. Hailey laughed and hugged her mom. I waved goodbye politely and followed Hailey as she walked towards the door, always with a purpose. Damn her self confidence. I hated that I couldn't stand new settings. I could totally put on a brave front once in a while, act like a diva if I planned it and chose to do it, especially if I was playing up the role of a flirt. But new situations and undesired ones? They always made me feel awkward and I couldn't really help but despise them due to such a fact.

"Ry, you look like you're about to throw up."

I stopped and realized that Hailey had turned, hand on the doorknob, and was facing me.

I smiled dryly. "You know me, all ready and happy to be going to the dance."

Hailey frowned.

"Hails, I'm cool," I finally said, gulping once and settling my face into something I hoped looked passable for peaceful and content.

I must have failed miserably.

"If you really don't want to go…" Hailey trailed off, eyes flickering over me in worry.

God, I was such a wimp sometimes. It was a good thing most people didn't see this side of me. It disgusted even me! Me, of all people! I disgusted myself. How terrible, how horrible. I really needed to grow a backbone sometimes.

I smiled at my friend. She'd done so much to make me look great, to make this fun, to include me and make me one of the group, and here I was trying to throw it all away. What kind of friend was a being? Not a very good one, I'll tell you.

"Don't worry," I finally assured her as another knock sounded on the door, this one a bit more impatient. "I'll be fine."

The doorbell went off.

"I think we might have a semi-hostile driver."

Hailey smiled. "There you are, back to your old self. I promise, you'll have a ball."

I grinned back and looked over her shoulder apprehensively as she opened the door. A well-dressed man stood there, probably in his mid-thirties, with an almost disgruntled expression on his face. Of course, I wouldn't want to be driving around a whole bunch of girls going to a dance, either. I immediately pitied him.

Hailey lifted her head boldly and smiled brightly at the man. "Hey, are you our driver?"

It really looked like he wanted to say something sarcastic in return to her retarded question. Seriously, who else would he be? He was dressed in a suit with a nametag and there was a limo parked out on the street for Pete's sake! I had to give him credit, though. He seemed to hold back whatever he wanted to say (I would have let it fly), and smiled passively at Hailey in return.


The monosyllabic word pretty much expressed everything I'd already figured out: he was not happy with his job tonight. Oh well, his fault he started driving limos. It could have been worse. He could actually be going to Homecoming.

Oh. God.

Hailey bounced past him and I followed, giving him an apologetic smile. He closed her front door and I turned away from him, chuckling as I caught his scowl. He walked past me and opened the door for the two of us, which resulted in a cacophony of girly shrieks and squeals. I felt like shooting myself.

Hailey immediately began chatting everyone up, even before she hopped into the car. I stood outside, feeling foolish, and the driver tapped the limo impatiently while giving me a pointed look. I shrugged.

"What do you expect me to do?"

He merely looked at me, eyes darkening, a sigh flowing through his lips.

"Oh shut up," I said, "your life doesn't suck that much. Get over it– you could actually be going to this thing."

He looked faintly surprised and I was sure that I caught a shadow of a grin on his lips, but it disappeared so quickly I couldn't be positive. I looked back to Hailey, and tapped her back once. She looked up at me.


"Feel like getting in anytime soon? Aren't we supposed to be going somewhere? I mean, I'm all for it if you want to party on your lawn."

Hailey gave me a sardonic look and moved into the limo. I stood outside for a minute, breathing in and out as Hailey and the girls inside continued rambling on about whatever they liked to talk about. Normally I just zoned out and let it all run over my head, or I gave my input when I felt it was necessary, which was rare.

Tonight I just stood there, looking at the stars, thinking about how I was finally doing something of which my parents would highly disapprove. I was finally stepping out of my shell and into the real world, a place my parents were dead-set on keeping me from entering. I sighed once and I heard the driver chuckle from behind me. I turned, scowl on my lips.


"Get in, your life doesn't suck that much. You could have my job."

I froze for a minute and then winked at him. "Nice, repeating my ingenious words of wisdom. Good call."

He smiled broadly this time. "You were going to get in?"

I paused, wincing slightly. "I was hoping the car might spontaneously combust."

"Ry!" I heard Hailey yell. "Get in, you big pansy!"

I smiled sarcastically. "Guess I don't really have a choice." I looked at the driver again, before embarrassingly moving into last resort mode. God, I was pathetic. "Hey, I'll add to the tip if you drive really slow."

He laughed and motioned for me to get in the car.

I slid in gracefully, much to my surprise and pleasure, and yet couldn't help but scowl as I realized I was actually going to a dance. Hailey's words came back to me: "I promise, you'll have a ball."

Right. I could almost laugh at that idea. Me, Ry, having fun at a dance. Yeah, pretty laughable.

"Here we go, Cinderella," I said darkly under my breath, as I settled myself in the rowdy limo.

I was sure I heard the driver laughing as he closed the door after me.

Author's Note:

Hey guys! Sorry for the crazy delay. I keep getting all these emails about reviews and people adding my stories to their alerts, and it's just fabulous. So, I just wanted to let you know that my time on fictionpress is (possibly) limited. However, I am hard at work in my writing endeavors. I've spent the last half a year in London and I'm here til the end of July, and it's an absolutely wonderful and inspirational place.

I'm working on getting an internship as well as getting published right now, especially with Love For Enemies and Death Toll Rising. Both of these stories are now posted in full (along with Enigma, and soon Tribute and To Be Loved) on my website, the link of which you can find on my main page (freewebs . com / seizingtheday). I would love it if you all checked out the site, posted on the forums- it's a bit more interactive than FP and I'll reply more often. You can also leave reviews there and let me know what you think. I will, however, be reposting my current stories (with more more editing done, although they are from perfect) here to see what the current fan base is, if any.

Anyhow, only three stories are posted in full on my website now, but I will be constantly updating new stories as I write and edit them and summaries of my works-in-progress are up, as well as constant updates on my writing status. Right now I'm started a new work in progress that might make a debut here as well...

Thank you for all your support and I hope to hear from a bunch of you on my website forums!