The sharp twang of her heels on the tile of the new tiles of the country mansion entrance seemed out of place set against the lolling hills and soft sunset of her father's farmland. The contrast never entered her mind—she was too busy galloping past the familiar plush of her old residence to reach her room. Upon reaching it, she smiled for the first time in what seemed like ages, and rushed in. She then turned the door's lock, rushed over to her expensive stereo, and turned the volume knob to ear-deafening decibels and dived to the floor to retrieve the worn box under her canopied bed. Lila nearly laughed aloud when she saw the crude rope made of hideous sweaters still tied together. Her fingers grazing the rope lovingly, Lila cast one last angry look at the door, and without another thought, went about the business of escaping the Peters.

After throwing her shoes at the offending door, she began tying the old rope to the end of her bed. Once the she had finished, she gathered her auburn hair into a loose bun, rolled the hem of her skirt into the underwear underneath and began to descend down the stream of sweaters. She was worried at first whether the weight of the books placed underneath the bed would hold until she reached the ground and whether the spies disguised as gardeners had seen her in this position and reported it to her legal guardians.

She shimmied quickly down the rope and dashed off to her favorite place in the entire world. She was going to see Jared again.


Running over lawn after lawn, she finally reached the familiar house, its walls painted warm hues, its smell of brownies and fresh cut grass wafting to her nose. She frowned as she remembered how long it had been since she had been here, how long it had been since she had seen her best friend. She gulped, took two more steps toward the door, knocked, and waited.

She didn't have to stand in the growing night for long. Two dogs started jumping and yelping like crazy from behind the red door.

Strange, she thought, I never knew Jared was a dog person.

Turns out, Jared is not a dog person. The guy who did answer the door was a god in mortal's clothing. His chiseled jaw, his smoldering caramel eyes, his dark, exotic skin, his rippling muscles contrasted greatly with her frazzled hair, her grass stained dress, and her scuffed up knees, and her wild eyed expression. It made meeting this nameless hunk all the more embarrassing. However, all he gave her was a puzzled expression and a polite question: "Hello…uh…who are you?"

Lila felt her face burn, but responded sharply, "Well, who are you?"

"Excuse me?" he asked, surprised by her accusatory tone. She too was surprised, but being irrationally angry at someone, even a god like this, was better than being uncontrollably depressed.

"There was a boy who used to live here. His name is Jared. Where is he? I knooow you're not him. Did he move? Without telling me? That bastard! I have to find him. Do you know where he lives?" she said hurriedly, demandingly.

"Uh…" he said again, looking warily at the crazy chick at his door. "He moved years ago. He's been living at Watson and Cane for years now."

Her heart stopped a little. "Watson and Cane? That house that looks as if someone started demolishing it, but got too lazy."

"Yeah. Wait, you live around here?" he asked stupidly.

Her eyes narrowed and replied dryly, "No, I just memorized the mapsco."

With that, she turned around sharply, and started running. She looked back over at the boy she had just terrorized and saw him shaking his perfect head. Her lips curved in a sharp crease, but her eyes were filled the unceasing echo of remorse and pain and uncertainty and fear.

Where's Jared?


She could feel the life of the grass beneath her feet. It was short and vibrant and steady so unlike her life. Her life felt long and dull and uncertain and she wanted Jared. She had never been able to trust anyone else. She had never been able to connect with anyone else as deeply. She felt more uncertain as the reassuring grass bleed into dirt and mud. She was leaving the suburbs and heading to the only seedy house in town.

She stopped in front of the house. It was still as dark and unsettling as she remembered it. She watched a shadow pass the curtained front window and listened to the cold whisper of the wind and wondered if she could enter, if things had changed that much between the two of them.

She took a breath.

She was the door, the ancient, creaking, rotting, dank door that she had never expected to knock on in the whole of her life. But here she was, knocking with an urgency she hadn't felt in months.

She heard rustling. Balling her hands into nervous fists, she tapped her foot nervously as the figure approached.

Blue eyes searched her face. At first, there was surprise tinged with confusion. Then, a flicker of recognition, disbelief, and one word "Lila?"

Her throat choked up, but a smile finally grace her face. She threw her arms around him and laughed and laughed and held on tighter.

She could feel him smile through the word as he repeated her name. "Lila, Lila, Lila."

She pulled back and smiled and watched him smile. "It's good to see you."

"And you. But, what are you doing here?"

She grabbed his hand, unabashed by time or distance that might have kept others apart. "Come on. I'll tell you at our spot."

Laughing and tugging, they ran like children to the meadow where their friendship began.