A/N: THIS STORY HAS BEEN REWRITTEN. If you haven't read the NEW first chapter, do so! Otherwise you won't understand this one. x.x

All characters © me, don't steal, etc. etc. etc.

Enjoy. =]


I didn't want to go into my house alone, but if I brought Sebastian inside with me I'd only hear about it later. I knew my mother didn't approve of him. She never really had. She thought a child should be brought up stiffly, with little attention from parents. I hadn't known any different, until we moved here. Sebastian's mom was a lot nicer than my own; she played with her children, ate meals with them, even treated them like equals. When I was younger, that had been something completely foreign to me. I hadn't eaten a meal with my mother until I was sixteen, when she deemed me "properly educated" enough to have a "civil and meaningful" conversation with her as we ate. Or something like that.

Dread eating away at the good mood Sebastian had put me in, I trudged up the steps and forced myself to keep moving. If I allowed myself to linger on the front porch, I'd never go inside. If I never went inside, Sebastian would be waiting at the end of the drive forever. And I hated to make him wait; he was always so nice to me. I pushed the handle down and the door swung inwards, the happy feeling I'd had was completely gone now, and I knew it wouldn't come back until I left my godforsaken house. Dreadful place, really. Everything was so perfect. Everything was where it was supposed to be. The structure didn't even look lived in.

I flicked my black hair out of my eyes, knowing my mother would only bitch at me if it was over them. "God gave you two eyes," she'd always say, "so use both of them." I unconsciously lifted my hand, biting my nail. It was a bad habit, I knew, but I didn't really care. It's not like I did it too often. I pushed the door closed behind me, kicking off my shoes and leaving them where they fell.

"Mom?" I called, heading off down the hallway. "MOM!" What was the point of making me come home to tell her we were back if she wasn't even going to answer me? Sighing, I continued down the hallway, my hand dropping away from my mouth as I stepped into the living room, the door on the far side of the wall opening to reveal my mother.

Her hair was fairer than mine, done perfectly and held in place with what I assumed was about four cans of hairspray. Or maybe she just used something really strong, like cement. Whatever she used, it always stayed the way she put it. She had on a nice sun dress. I couldn't recall ever seeing my mother in anything but a dress, least of all one that wasn't "nice." It was just how she was. She liked to consider herself a Southern belle, or something like that. She tried her hardest to make me a gentleman, too. If I dressed the way she wanted me to and acted the way she wanted me to, I'd get my head bashed in on a daily basis at school. Her ideas were ridiculous. I had never really had the heart to tell her we were in the middle of nowhere, Iowa, and nobody much cared about Southern belles and gentlemen. The words would have been lost on her, anyway.

"We're back," I told her, stating the obvious. At least I hadn't had to go running around the house to find her.

"Thank you for telling me," she said stiffly, hands folded together in front of her. "Am I to assume you're staying here?"

"No," I told her. "I'm going to Sebastian's house."

"You are not."

"Why?" I don't know why I bothered to argue, but I always did. "What's so wrong with him? He's a great guy. You don't even know his family, they're great people. If you'd get your nose out of the air and bother to meet them, you'd-"

"Enough. It's extremely rude to speak to your mother that way. How dare you be so disrespectful? I allowed you to go get a treat with that boy, but I will not have you spending time at his house. God only knows what diseases you'll pick up there."

"I'm going." I turned, shoving my hands harshly into my pockets. I wasn't in the mood to argue. I missed the happy feeling being around Sebastian had given me, hating the bitter hatred my mother was able to infuse in my veins. I all but stalked down the hall, my fists clenching in anger. Me storming out of the house angrily wasn't really unusual, so I wasn't too worried about what she would do to me. As soon as I left she'd probably find something else to do and forget that she was pissed at me until I got home later, when she would remember that I had left. Then she'd bitch for a while, and I'd just nod and agree and go up to my room and stay there until I had to come back down. No big deal.

I yanked my shoes on roughly, not bothering to put them on correctly and leaving the laces undone. The door was opened just as hard, though I didn't smash it into the wall like I really wanted to. That would only get me into more trouble. Heading out onto the porch, I clomped down the stairs heavily, frowning and letting my hands slip into my jeans pockets as I heard the door swing shut behind me.

As I trudged down the path toward Sebastian—who was waiting where I had left him, minus the smile—I stepped on my shoelace, my foot jerking to a stop mid-air as I pitched forward toward the ground.