Full Summary: Daphne Fellows falls in "like" fast...and falls out of it even faster. Driven to insanity by her annoying friends and her own divorced mother's constant boyfriends, Daphne dreads spending the whole summer dealing with these people. Then she meets Jack Reminson--someone who finally manages to capture her full attention. When the usual two week term is up, she finds herself unable to let go. Things get worse when Trouble struts back into Paradise.

-candy aisle boy-

She's a maneater
make you buy cars
make you cut cords
make you fall real hard in love

"Maneater" Nelly Furtado


"I am a happy person. I am a happy person."

Daphne had been repeating this mantra since the moment she entered the garage. "Happy people do not do stuff like this. Happy people would have dropped the subject." She placed her hands on her hips and glared at the reflection in front of her. "Then again, when happy people go to reach for a Poptart and find the last pair missing, they'd resort to this, too."

Bending down, she wriggled her fingers before positioning herself. "God, this is definitely not as easy as it looks," she soon whispered, barely a second into her task. "There were two pieces in that bag. Two. Asshole had to eat both of them." The edges of the object in her hand agonizingly dug into her forefinger. She softly blew on it in the hopes that carbon dioxide would somehow ease the pain.

But it was working. An evil smile lit up her face as she watched her hands move across the metal. "This is what you get, sucka. Steal my Poptarts again, jerk-off." Then, a sudden gasp caused her body to go rigid. Her head slowly rotated. Daphne could practically hear the creaking sounds emitting from her neck in the process.

"Ooh! Are you doing art stuff?"

She exhaled a sigh of relief and relaxed her posture once she saw that it was just that annoying kid who, for some unknown reason, believed that the two of them were best friends. "No, Anna. Go away."

The little girl in a pink frilly dress bounced towards her regardless. "Can I try?"


"Okay. I'll go get my watercolors!" Her neighbor bounced away again and disappeared behind the gray sedan in her driveway. Narrowing her eyes, Daphne got up and reached for the garage door button. One click and the outside world would be cut off.

As the door sluggishly made its way towards the ground, she took a step back and admired her handiwork. Not bad for a first-timer, she thought smugly to herself.

Once she was absolutely satisfied, she walked briskly towards the door and pushed it ajar. Her long brunette curls were dangling freely in mid-air as she poked her head out and quickly scanned the area. When she was sure the coast was clear, she stealthily sneaked through the kitchen, past the bathroom, and up the stairs to her bedroom. Her pink-themed bed didn't make a single sound when she launched her body on top of it. Outside her window, the birds on a nearby tree were chirping happily, thoroughly enjoying the summer days. She sighed and rolled onto her stomach. At least somebody was.

Summer vacation was the only chance Daphne had to escape this place. She wasn't some misanthropic social recluse. No, she liked people. Did she mention that she was a happy person? It was just that the kinds of people she knew just annoyed the hell out of her.

From September to June, she was forced to stay here to attend school. She was forced to smile at her friends and pretend she actually liked them for eight hours a day, five days a week. It became a torturous daily job. She even had to work overtime on the weekends when they insisted on her joining them on their trips to the mall or to whatever ridiculous place someone had mentioned at a party.

Oh, there was also her boyfriend. Just the mental image of his face made her entire upper body shudder. To this day, Daphne still can't remember exactly why she agreed to be his other half.

In her honest opinion, there desperately needed to be a large neon sign floating above his head, obnoxiously flashing "World's Sloppiest Kisser." If there were, then maybe Daphne wouldn't have gotten stuck with him in the first place. She always prayed that he had lunch before his lips made their way towards hers. That way, he won't be eating her face off as if he had been starving for the past twenty-four hours. The couple has only been together for a week now and already, she was getting sick of him. Usually, the boyfriends would last for at least two weeks.

She exhaled. He was going to have to get the boot soon. The only thing preventing her from doing it now was the conversations her so-called friends would try to initiate afterwards. They'd pelt her with questions regarding why she did it, what was wrong with him, how she'd manage to fall "out of love" so quickly…

God, they are so annoy—

"Daphne!" The sound of her irritated mother's voice was a gunshot in the tranquil atmosphere. Her head snapped up. Even the birds that were outside her open window scattered away in fright, leaving behind only feathers as evidence they were once there.

Damn, they found out already?



Fifteen minutes later, she assumed her prior position on the bed. Luckily, she had managed to talk herself out of punishment. Daphne had given some lame excuse about suffering from heartbreaking boyfriend troubles—the same ones each time—and needing an outlet for her frustration. Her mother ate it all up. She knew that her daughter went through boyfriends weekly and was convinced that Daphne was always in a gloomy mood because of this fact. She knew how it felt to try and find The Right One in a batch of rotten choices.

Since the divorce, Daphne's mother had been trying to up-stage her ex-husband in all areas, but mostly the romance category. If he had a new twenty-five year-old girlfriend, she would find herself a new twenty-two year-old boyfriend a day later. Her boyfriends were usually empty-minded college losers who were excited at the thought of dating what they deemed a "MILF." But that didn't stop them from hitting on her seventeen year-old daughter.

They even foolishly tried to force their authority on her.

"Oh, could you do my laundry?" they would taunt.

"Oh, sure," Daphne would reply with a sweet smile. With the laundry basket tucked safely beneath her arm, she would stroll downstairs, making sure to hum pleasantly as she did so. While her mother's boyfriend would be in the living room smirking over his game controller, she would be tossing them over her neighbors' fence so that their two Rottweilers could have a game of tug-of-war. Needless to say, he moved out a week later.

Today, she decided to key the new boyfriend's car. He was twenty-four and worked at some big-shot office. She didn't remember exactly what he did. Hell, she could barely remember his name. Matt? Mike? Mark? While her mom was introducing them to each other, Daphne was too preoccupied planning new ways to ruin his life. Too bad, she was thinking to herself as her house key defiled the driver's side, he's actually kind of cute.

She could be on vacation somewhere in the Bahamas right now if his job didn't require his attendance six days a week. She could be swimming in the clear, sparkling water instead of pretending to be interested in her friends' lives and getting her lips swallowed whole by her current boyfriend. Still, Daphne was grudgingly willing to accept her fate…until Mark/Matt/Mike ate her last Poptart. They were specifically left in her special place in the pantry with a clear HANDS OFF message.

His poor brand-new Toyota Camry had to pay the price. It wasn't even some half-a-million dollar sports car, so what's with all the commotion anyway?

Daphne pulled her blanket over her head. This summer, she will be forced to hide at home and avoid every other human being in the world.



There were rows upon rows of candy—sweet, sweet candy that would never bore her to death or eat her face. Sweet, sweet candy that always cheered her up and never talked back.

Which one, Daphne asked herself, greedily taking in the fantastic sight of them all lined up so perfectly. She rubbed her hands together in giddy anticipation.

When her bangs fell into her face, she mindlessly brushed them off to the side. Screw it, she finally decided and started plucking up all the crinkly bags one-by-one until her arms were full of various brands of sweets. Her hands eagerly snatched up whatever they touched. Large bags, small bags, single bars, bonus packs.

It was pure heaven.

"You need some help there?"

"No. No. No." All of her attention was devoted to her one true love. The one thing in the world that didn't piss her off.

"Wow, are you going to buy all that?"

"Yes. Yes. Yes." He was ruining her moment. Did he know that?

"Lemme help." His outstretched hand protruded into her line of vision. Normally, Daphne would have ignored it, but a large, black blob of ink had covered most of his palm. That made her stop.

"What the hell is that?" she blurted, pausing in her grab-fest to stare at his peculiar hand.

"Oh, that? It's just a part of a tattoo. Look," his other hand moved so that it was placed side-by-side with this one. That hand was also nearly covered with jet black ink. It was a black crow. On his hands. The head and most of the upper body and wings were on his left hand, while the rest were on his right. The crow was poised in a position ready to fly.

"That is the dumbest place to have a tattoo," she remarked once she tore her eyes away. Truth be told, she was actually quite intrigued by the tiny intricate details. However, since he interrupted her private moment with her beloved candy, she wasn't about to compliment him.

The right hand moved away. "I guess. I just had to cover something up."

Interesting, she noted. Her eyes flicked up towards his face. He was attractive. Too attractive for her to think of some smart remark, unfortunately. His high cheekbones immediately made her think of a woman for some reason. The strong jawline, on the other hand, was anything but feminine. And he was smiling at her. This guy is definitely not from around here, she thought to herself.

"I'm Jack." He extended his hand towards her, black palm and all.

"Um," Daphne looked down at her armful of merchandise.

Once he realized the silliness of his actions, he started to laugh. It must have been contagious because she joined in not too soon after. It was not your typical encounter. Just yesterday, she had lost her faith in humankind, and now she was laughing with a stranger in the candy aisle of Wal-Mart at ten at night.

Her cell phone rang then—its upbeat, jittery tune interrupting their wordless conversation. She glanced hopelessly down at her arms, and Jack chuckled again. "I'll get it for you."

She hesitated. This is ridiculous. He's just trying to help. "It's in my front pocket," Daphne said and tilted her right hip towards him. Usually, if a guy even brushed his shoulder against her, she would have had the mace whipped out and ready to go before he could splutter "Oops." The fact that she was giving permission to this random guy to reach down her pants was completely lost to her. It had to be something in the summer air.

Daphne watched his hands, accompanied by long, slender fingers and that darkened palm, move towards her and slide into her pocket to retrieve her ringing device.

It had to be the most sexual thing that had ever happened to her during her seventeen years on this planet. Her ex-boyfriends couldn't charm the pants off a chimpanzee—and here was this guy, all smiley and curious-like, making her feel all weird with just one hand.

His abnormally long fingers dipped inside and slowly pulled out the vibrating cell phone. Still buried beneath her purchases, she held open her own untainted palm. Jack smiled again, and brushed her long locks away from her face. He flipped the phone open and pressed it gently against her ear.

"Uh, hello?" she said awkwardly, avoiding eye contact with Jack.

"Daphne, babe. Are you almost done?"

She inwardly groaned. It was Greg, her boyfriend. She told him she could just catch a bus home, but he insisted on waiting for her in the parking lot. There are rapists, he had said. "And I'm on my period, she had replied. "I'll drop-kick him so hard, his great-grandfather will jolt awake in his coffin. "Almost. I have a lot of stuff I want."

"Okay, well, hurry up. It's ten, and I'm sleepy."

"I'll hurry," Daphne grudgingly replied, rolling her light brown eyes. Jack, watching her reaction, only grinned. She wondered if he could hear what Greg was saying.

"See you in a minute, babe."

"Yeah, bye." She nodded at Jack, who removed it from her ear and snapped it shut. He awkwardly waved it around lightly, unsure of how to give it back to her.

"Just put it back into my pocket." Her right hip faced him again. His head was down, so she missed the grin on his face as the phone slipped back inside. As he removed his hand, he accidentally brushed it against the inch of exposed skin on her hip. She almost jumped from the contact. What was wrong with her?

The duo made their way over to the check-out lines, chatting casually along the way. "So what were you trying to cover up on your hands?" questioned Daphne as the clerk began scanning her multiple items.

"Oh," he shrugged, "nothing, really. Just an old tattoo I didn't like anymore." He cupped his open palms together into a bowl-shape. "I think I like this one better."

Daphne agreed, causing Jack's eyebrows to shoot up. "I thought you didn't like it."

"I never said that," she huffed as she handed over a couple of crisp bills. It was true; she never mentioned anything about the tattoo itself, just the placement.

"I need a touch-up. I have to get it darkened again."

The automatic sliding doors parted as they exited the giant retail store. Daphne was reluctant to say goodbye. After all, he was the most interesting person she had met so far. Still, Greg was waiting and she wanted to avoid his whiny complaints about her prolonged absence. "Well, I guess I'll see you around," she said halfheartedly.

He nodded and flashed another quick smile at her.

She began walking away towards the cars in the parking lot, and he mumbled something faint as she started to fade into the darkness. "It's a shame, shame, shame."

Daphne stopped in her tracks and turned around. Jack fought back a grin. He turned to the side, pretending to stare at a streetlight in the distance. "A pretty girl like you wasting her time with a guy like him…"

And as she stared back at him, Daphne realized that he was her way out of this tedious prison-style summer.


a/n: i know it's not super interesting yet, but this chap is mainly just to introduce the characters. this is the "sort-of" sequel i was talking about, although it can be read alone. more people will show up later & the next chaps will definitely be longer. there will be more to come!

this reader traffic thingy is pretty sweet. it's so cool to look at all the different countries my readers are in. so a huge HI to all my peepz around the world!! (:

oh, and plz tell me how you feel so far! thank you!