Not For Me

Chapter One – Conviction

The quiet figure of the heiress to Blake Corporations stood patiently and painstakingly still as her mother continued inserting pins into the bodice of the flowy beige dress she was currently exhibiting. Like all Saturday mornings, Aurellia Harmony Blake was playing the role of Barbie doll for her mother, Kendra Blake. Though her mother was enjoying the task of dressing her up immensely, Aurellia also known as "Aura" wasn't being Barbie because she liked fashion.

No, Aura would have much preferred to go join her father at the racetracks to see the new range of prototypes the company was researching and developing. However, since she was a sole supporter of her mother's budding fashion career, Aura thought it would be wise to play dress-up doll a few times.

"Aura you look lovely," Kendra marvelled with bright brown eyes as she stepped back to admire her creation on her eldest daughter.

She was a rather elegant woman in her mid-thirties with soft brown eyes, a heart shaped face and an aristocratic nose. There was an air of kindness that surrounded the woman even though she was usually dressed in conservative clothes.

"Are you sure you don't want to go to the dinner party this coming week? I'm sure the dress deserves to be seen at such an occasion."

Aura smiled ruefully. She loved her mother and was absolutely awed by her creations but at the mere thought of glam and graceful parties, she inwardly cringed. If there was one thing Aura was, it definitely wasn't 'elegant'.

Born with her father's burning passion for electronics, cars and speed, Aura was literally a boy stuck in a girl's body. The knowledge she possessed and her fanatical love for cars, Aura knew more than what the average guy knew about cars. She enjoyed talking business with her father and she absolutely adored collecting and playing with gadgets.

On top of her obsession with engines and speed, the brunette was overly fond of car magazines and had an infuriating habit of peering into different car engines at the mechanic. What was ever more fitting to her already curious character was her passion for her engineering course at Crestworth College. The only thing wrong with Aura was that she had been born a she and not a he. And being a girl in the Blake household had many downsides…

For one thing there were numerous 'high-status' dinners, parties and other company functions she was expected to attend. And with a father like Jonathan Blake who was the biggest shareholder and owner to Blake Corporations, there were certain things Aura was expected to do as his daughter.

She had to be impeccably friendly to people, had to have good manners as well as adapt an air of grace and perfection. It was tiring but essential for her to maintain a flawless reputation. It had been Aura's family wealth that made her happy and yet burdened her at the same time.

From a young age she had learnt that there were many people that couldn't be trusted. Throughout her high school years, she had been aware that she was different to the rest of her peers due to her wealth, and it was this affluence that made her a target for many boys and girls.

To this day, Aura was still wary when it came to making friends. Even though she had a lot of companions, in the recesses of her mind she found herself still questioning their motives.

All her life Aura had been paranoid. Her mother always warned her not to speak to strangers and her father – though he was encouraging – always scrutinized her friends with a sharp eye. Although Aura had befriended majority of those that came close, she only had a handful of friends whom her father approved of.

"Does the thought please you so?" Kendra queried, breaking through her daughter's dreamy gaze.

Only just realising she had drifted off into a daydream, Aura blinked at her mother in a dumbfounded manner.

"Oh no!" She burst and felt embarrassed for her mini-outbreak. "I mean," she corrected, "I am ecstatic at the mere thought but-"

She didn't even have to finish her sentence when her mother interrupted her. "But you'll be gawking and no doubt drooling over a few cars with your father," Mrs. Blake finished and sighed softly at her daughter's sheepish grin.

Shaking her head, Mrs. Blake commenced fixing the hem of the dress. "If it weren't for your long chocolate brown hair and your feminine figure – or the lashes," she added, "You could pass as a boy."

Laughing gently, Aura stared at her mother with smiling golden eyes. "Dad would have loved that," she grinned. "But being a girl has its perks." She stated, "All the more better to convince daddy to let me have certain things my way. Not to mention, I can talk to mechanics about engines only to be greeted with a lot of funny looking expressions."

Kendra shook her head at her daughter and exhaled a sigh. "If only you shared the same amount of enthusiasm for girly things too,"

Breathing in, Aura puckered her lips. "That's what you're here for mum. You help me make up for the not so feminine part to me." She explained, "Besides, Aria fills in the shoes of girly girl."

If there was anyone that was most feminine in the Blake household, it was Aria Faith Blake, the youngest daughter in the family. She was the complete opposite to Aura. Instead of sharing a passion for cars and gadgets, Aria had a passion for fashion. She had a knack for expensive things, but practically shopped anywhere and everywhere – to Aria, fashion was fashion.

Though Aura and Aria were sisters, they had absolutely nothing in common. Aria was a chatterbox; outgoing and sociable everywhere she went. Aura on the other hand was polite, intelligent and somewhat shy – only sociable when it came to close friends and relatives. Majority of the time she held an indifferent air about her when forced to mix and mingle with strangers.

And though she wasn't much of a talker, she was kind and wholehearted which had made her easily liked by everyone. But aside from both Aria and her differences, the two siblings had gotten along fine. Though their thoughts on certain topics varied substantially and their fashion sense was like fire and ice, through compromise they managed to reach equilibrium.

"That girl is growing up too fast," Kendra marvelled and finished the last touch up on Aura's gown. "Okay we're done with you," she huffed. "And no doubt you're eager to run off after this."

Grinning Aura headed to her room to change. She had definitely intended on going out, but she was looking forward to seeing her best friend more than anything.

James Arthur Belmont could only stare at his best friend's enthusiastic face with boredom. She was hunched over the latest car guide, flipping through the pages and practically eating up the entire book with those large, doe-eyed golden orbs of hers. Cars and other gadgets was what Aura appeared to love most in life.

In all the eight years since he'd known her, never once had she shown any interest in the gender of the opposite sex. If it weren't for the rare but subtle peeks at good-looking boys, James would have thought Aura was asexual.

"Earth to James who keeps ogling the male waitress," Aura voiced and laughed at the bewildered stare her friend threw her. "It was the first thing I could think of," she remarked.

"It would be normal for a college student like you to be ogling boys." James retorted.

Putting down her book, Aura's mouth formed an offended 'o'. Knowing where this conversation was going, she sighed and commenced the verbal attack.

"James you're a college student too and frankly I haven't met any guy I like more than the cars I drive." She responded. "Besides cars and gadgets are so much more interesting, you press a button or turn a key and they turn on or right off."

Pointing at her, James arched a perfectly shaped brow. "See?" He said. "That's why all the boys go running. With that kinda attitude you're never going to get anywhere."

Aura rolled her eyes; it was always James' role to bring up the unwanted and unflattering topic of her non-existent love life. Maybe it was because he was gay that made him feel much more compelled to point out that she was 19 and still single. Also being metrosexual and into fashion, James always had her attire under close scrutiny and couldn't help but keep pointing out she was boring and no guy would love her if she continued to read her car guides and not Shop til You Drop.

"Aura I'm seriously contemplating on the possibility of you being asexual or perhaps a lesbian that's afraid to come out in the open."

Silence ensued for a short while before the brunette broke out into spasms of laughter, no longer interested in the book she held in her hands.

"You've got to be kidding me James," she said with twinkling eyes. "Just because I'm not actively dating or" she accentuated able to read her best friend's mind. "Or sexually active," she said in a lower tone, "Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me. Nor does it mean I'm a lesbian, though I do believe the thought pleases you so because there'll be one less person to compete with," she smiled.

Crossing his arms, James could only purse his lips. "Just because I'm gay doesn't mean both you and I have the same taste in men," he commented. "Besides, I know what kinda man floats my boat, but you y-" He abruptly halted in midsentence with wide eyes. "Do you see that hunk?" He proclaimed and turned his piercing dark blue eyes back to her. "See? You should be dating somebody like that Aura." He accentuated with a starry eyed look.

He had the same expression on his face like the first time he admitted to one of his first boyfriends that he was gay.

Rolling her eyes, Aura could only chuckle at the goofy smile on James' face. He always had that kind of expression whenever he spotted a 'hottie'. With her curiosity piqued, she shifted a little in her seat to gaze over her left at the blonde in an inconspicuous manner. She had barely set eyes on the figure before immediately dismissing him without revealing any signs of attraction. It wasn't because the stranger wasn't good-looking – no – he was a living, breathing God.

He possessed the features and the body of a beach male model. Although the glance had been brief, Aura didn't fail to notice how attractive he really was. From his natural short blonde hair, to the perfect, even tan and the wonderfully chiselled lips... Every part of him screamed sex appeal.

"Come on Aura," James coaxed. "Even you my ice princess have to admit he is hot,"

Shaking her head as if to disagree, Aura saw the deadly gleam in James' eyes. "Alright," she agreed and held up her hands in defeat. "I'll admit he was decent looking."

Bewilderment was written all over James' face at her response. "Decent?" He wailed.

Beaming now Aura sighed. "Fine, he's a hunk," she emphasized, though James only appeared to be satisfied by her comment. "But from experience, boys with good looks generally don't have that same trait to their personality."

Cocking a brow James could only stare at her. "Experience?" He repeated in a bored tone, and then took the opportunity to bring a certain topic Aura never really liked talking about. "Honey you run from any male you see."

Able to spot the reaction on her face, James could practically predict what his friend was going to say next.

"No I don't,"

"Uh, yeah you do,"

"No-" She cut herself short and averted her attention back to her waiting pasta.

Whenever fights occurred between them, James would always claim victory.

"See? A part of you agrees that you're a male-runner." He paused and spotted the way she arched her brow at him, "You run from males therefore a male-runner," he expanded. "Besides, to prove you wrong I just wanted to say that even my dating history is longer than yours."

"That's cause you're a pimp..." Aura muttered under her breath.

"It's whore-bag to you," James corrected in a sing-song tone, able to hear her remark clearly. "And at least I date guys. You my love-child date cars."

"That's because they don't talk and when they do, they make sexy noises," Aura retorted. "And they don't have a horrible personality, just really crappy handling."

Intense heterochromial eyes could only take in the figure of the strawberry blonde girl busy hovering over her childhood friend. She refrained from rolling her eyes at the revolting scene before her, wanting nothing more than to throw her steak sandwich at Chris' head.

Ever since they found a nice place to move into together, along with Creston, Essa had noticed Chris started a bad habit of dating the most airheaded girls at college. She knew that it wasn't in her place to judge the 'girlfriends' Chris had, though it seemed he didn't really care who he dated anymore.

His choice of female companions these days ranged from ones that were superficial and complete gold-diggers to party-hard girls. It was obvious to Essa that the current strawberry blonde girl hanging off Chris' neck was only with him because of the good times he could offer her, and it irritated her. She was well aware of the fact that the female population was taking advantage of her childhood friend's generosity and it was frustrating to not have any power to do anything about it.

Able to see that Chris and his 'girlfriend' were ignoring her, Essa commenced picking the fries off her plate. She didn't know how much longer she could stand seeing her friend play tongue hockey, but she prayed that Creston would come and save her soon.

They were only at the beginning of their first year at college. Essa had gotten a place in Arts, Chris was doing Engineering and Creston, her boyfriend, was studying Business. Though Essa and Chris were attending the same campus, she had picked up a breadth subject of finance just to be closer to Creston whose campus was an hour's travel away from theirs. Making a start on her steak sandwich, she tried hard to ignore Chris' x-rated public display of affection.

Tynan Christopher Welling pulled away from his girlfriend's groping hands, breaking their passionate kiss apart. He saw the look of relief cross Essa's face and couldn't help but smirk when she threw that all-too-familiar glare at him. So he had been a little too enthusiastic with the kissing, but who could honestly say 'no' to a hot babe like Mali Rovers?

She was tall, hot, and absolutely stunning in a pair of heels – though it wasn't necessarily her looks and allure that had attracted Tynan in the first place.

No, Mali was the real deal. She had the looks and the body, but to Chris' pure delight, she was smart. It had been her odd jokes, her straight forwardness that had simply set him on fire.

Though no matter how many times Chris had tried to get Essa and Mali to hang out, it was obvious the two would never mix. They were like oil and water; Mali was extroverted whilst his best friend loved to keep to herself. Mali dressed revealingly, in a way that showed a person every single curve she possessed, whilst Essa dressed in more comfortable but trendy clothes, only dressing up for certain occasions.

"Babe why'd you stop?" Mali said in a husky tone. Her lips were red from all the kissing they shared a moment ago. From the look in her eyes it was evident that she wanted more.

Smirking, Chris could only wrap an arm around her waist. He liked the way she was so eager for him, but he knew that she needed to go. After all, this lunch he was having was specifically only between him, Ess and Spence. Staring into his girlfriend's pretty brown eyes, he flicked his gaze over to Essa.

Arching a brow, the girl immediately understood what her boyfriend was saying. She had to refrain from rolling her eyes impatiently as she sighed and started to get out of her chair. There was nothing more she wanted to do right now than to have a quick romp around with Chris, though she knew that the moment was over for now.

"I'll walk you out," Chris voiced and she grabbed his hand and led the way out of the cafe.

Passing a few booths and other tables, Mali was too preoccupied with wrapping Tynan's arms around her waist. She laughed throatily when he pressed his front profile into her, the two of them practically waddling down the aisle glued together. Neither of them noticed the many curious glances they received.

Aura released a small sigh when James finally stopped pestering her about her lack of a love life. They had been arguing about hot men only dating pretty, bitchy girls, and James had denied her arguments with fervour. Now that it was silent, she placed her napkin onto the table and shifted in her seat to stand and head for the restrooms.

Since James was quiet for the moment, she wanted to make sure they were entirely off the topic of her private life by running away before any more opinions could take flight.

Practically jumping out of her chair, she walked into what felt like a tonne of bricks. Recovering from her momentary instability, she jumped away from what she had bumped into; able to spot a startled looking pretty blonde who was half glaring at her. She noticed that a set of arms was wrapped around the girl's skinny waist. As her golden orbs travelled to the second figure, Aura breathed in and her mind clicked in recognition.

The second figure was the male that James had been gaping at a while ago. If possible, he was even better looking up close. The sun-bronze tan was even and natural; his eyes were big and beautiful. But those lips... His lips were even more defined and tempting up close.

Snapping out of her haze, Aura threw an 'I-told-you-so' look over her shoulder before shifting back to the two figures before her; a sense of accomplishment overtaking her body. She felt proud that she proved James wrong with her "jocks dating bimbo women" like the rugged blonde before her.

"I think you owe us an apology missy," demanded a masculine tone that snapped Aura right out of her little daze.

Only just registering the somewhat harsh command, Aura couldn't resist the urge to purse her lips. Turning her golden gaze to meet sky blue ones, she noticed that the gorgeous man was staring down at her condescendingly and it irritated her. Sure she had to admit, she was in the wrong but surely he didn't have to be such an asshole about it.

"Sorry," she managed to say.

"Bit delayed aren't you?" snapped the pretty girl alongside the blonde and it was enough to convince her that hot men dating pretty women had horrible, short-tempered personalities. And the guy before her was the living, breathing epitome of it.

Able to see the blonde male throw her a final glare whilst his girlfriend sneered at her before, Aura felt herself standing rigidly as the two walked away. Summing them up with a blank look, the brunette blinked a few times.

It was obvious that from this experience, some men were magnificent to look at but personality-wise they were putrid as hell along with their girlfriends. Aura was certain that if she had walked into any other guy, they wouldn't have been so patronizing about the situation.

Exhaling and feeling a little indignant about what had just transpired, Aura twirled around to look at James' seated form. He had a wide-eye look, too busy staring at the retrieving back of the handsome masculine figure to notice her staring at him.

"See?" Aura voiced, "What just happened there proved my statement earlier to be true. Hot guys are absolute pricks!"

James fell out of his stupor, a distant, dreamy look in his eyes. "Hot guys are absolutely yummy."

Rolling her eyes, the brunette could only stomp down the walkway for the toilets.

Christopher kissed Mali's pink lips softly before shutting the taxi door and watching as it zoomed off down the road. He was still annoyed at the little incident with the petite brown haired girl, though he did feel a little bad that Mali had released such a scathing remark. However the moment he had spotted the way the brunette stared at him was the instant the remorse faded away.

Recollecting the way she had apologised, Tynan's irritation was renewed. The golden eyed girl had said 'sorry' with no real emotion and she had had her chin held up in complete defiance as her eyes narrowed in on him in a challenging way. Coming from Ocean High where he was renowned for his courting and 'ladies man' title, Chris wasn't used to being looked at in such a way.

Even though he had moved on from Ocean High and onto Crestworth College, he hadn't really lost his charm on the ladies. His impact on women was still the same, they still stared at him with starry eyes and practically grovelled at his feet, so he never really had to do any courting for any girl. Since he was accompanied to never having to put much effort into women it had been a bit of a shock to be greeted with such a look from a complete stranger.

Making sure that Mali was well and truly on her way down the street in the taxi, he re-entered the cafe, his eyes fixed onto the booth where the brunette had been sitting only to find her seat empty. Trudging past the table, he ignored the feeling of frustration and made his way back to Essa. There was no doubt his childhood friend was going to give him sheer hell for the next hour or so.