"Remember in elementary school you were told that in case of fire you have to line up quietly in a single file from smallest to tallest? What is the logic in that? What, do tall people burn slower?"

- Warren Hutcherson

The first thing you notice when you walk into a party like this is the noise. Outside… you think you'll be prepared for it. You get closer and maybe notice the people who have stumbled out into the night for peace or space or maybe to calm they're dizzy spells. Then there's some… that are doing far worse.

But it doesn't even begin to compare to the harsh blast once you hit the door. It opens, and there's screaming, cheering, and music so loud you worry you'll never be able to hear again after this.

Or… you would… if you were the kind of person who had enough sense to not want to go to one of these things.

River sighed and watched Kevin pocket his keys.

"Don't look so bummed." He lifted the collar of his jacket to get away from the chill. "I'll protect you."

"My ass you will." River grumbled. "I could get jumped by a guy on the hockey team tonight and you'll just laugh."

Kevin rolled his eyes and shoved him. "Depends on what kind of jumping he was doing."

"Funny." He deadpanned.

His friend opened the door but didn't wait for him to catch it. If he hadn't been exactly ready for the response he might have missed; but it wasn't surprising, so when Kevin dropped his hold on the door and left it to shut behind him River instinctively reached out to catch it.

And that was how easy it is to get lost in the crowd.

He could make out the back of Kevin's head pushing in between dancing bodies in the direction of the living room.

He groaned and followed. Just what he needed… a couple of unidentified gropes to start out his night.

"Hey man." Ty grinned from his seat on one of the arms chairs when he escaped into the clearing; his index finger twirled circles on the knee of the girl on his lap. "We were just talking about you."

"Fascinating." He exclaimed. "Hey Rachael."

Rachael smiled, but didn't say anything in return.

At least someone in this group didn't have to constantly fill the silence.

"Brad was replaying how you scored the winning goal."

"Was he?" River turned his gaze to the boy in question, but Brad was too busy trying to catch the attention of the girl walking by behind the couch to notice.

"Still as one track minded as ever." Kevin rolled his eyes. River could still make out the slight glimmer of amusement underneath the façade of annoyance.

"I guess." He agreed halfheartedly.

He hated parties of any kind. Whether it was the stuffy dinner parties his father threw to impress his clients, the elegant childish pageant like kind that went with school dances, or his least favorite… the ones that situated around hormonal teenage rebellion. They always seemed to end in boredom, or worse, regret.

"Matt!" Ty yelled into the distance and the final member of the group finally made his way into his circle of friends.

"Hey guys." He grinned. "Guess what?"

Kevin leaned back into cushions of the couch and draped one casual ankle over the knee of his other leg.

"Don't know," He sighed, "just tell us."

"No, man, come on guys." He mock glared and dropped down onto the chair right next to River. He could make out the up and down movement of Matt's jaw as he continued to talk.

"Just spill it." Brad demanded. He wasn't even turned towards the others and he knew what was happening.

"No dude, that's not how it works." Matt replied.

"It's a figure of speech, dude." Kevin emphasized the word dude like somehow might have emphasized the word stupid. "It doesn't actually mean anyone has to humor you."

"Fine." Matt blew out an exasperated breath.

"Well…" Ty tapped his girlfriend's leg gently in anticipation. "What do you want to tell us?"

"Uh…" He slumped a little. "It's not as exciting as I might have made it out to be."

Kevin shook his head; he probably expected that to come. For some reason Kevin always expected people to waste his time.

"Beer pongs started!" Matt cheered over the music.

He wasn't disappointed.

"Go for it." He enthused the blond.

"Yeah." Ty grinned. "But don't get shit faced… if I have to get blood on my Italian leather seats because one of you idiots needs stitches again..." He warned. "I'll leave your ass there."

"I second that." Kevin remarked.

River threw his eyes up to the ceiling and then back down again.

"Liars!" Matt called back as he pushed into the crowd towards the direction of the pong table. "You know you love me!"

He watched he go until he got swallowed up into the crowd, nothing left but the barely visible glow of his hair. Then, even that disappeared.

His eyes found another shade of blond, curling platinum bangs ending stunningly just past piercing blue eyes.

"So you were saying Brad?" Ty nudged him a little roughly.

"Hey!" He shouted back indignantly and then muttered bitch under his breath.

Ty laughed, his mouth moved, but he couldn't for the life of him pay attention to the sound of his voice.

The girl smiled to the friend at her shoulder, then the crook of her mouth lifted up just a bit, mischievous, and he knew he'd been caught.

He instantly regretted the stare he'd been directing towards her; turned back in his chair without looking up to see the glimmer in her black eye lined orbs.

Juliet Winters should come with a manual. Warning: missing key parts of one's conscious. If these parts are found... please keep a safe distance from female… ignore the smile; considered dangerous.

"Some things really never do change." Ty replied towards the comment Kevin had made earlier. His eyes were directed at Rivers rigid posture.

He clasped his hands tightly against his knees as he leaned forward; tried to remove the image of that blond hair against his chest, small fingers tracing circles onto his arm, blue eyes closed so languidly he'd almost believe she was at peace.

He bit down on his lip.

"I think I need a drink." He remarked, but he didn't get up from his seat.

Her phone was vibrating. It had been for the past thirty minutes. It would buzz and buzz and buzz only to stop for a good ninety seconds… then start up again.

The light dimmed, then went off completely as she stared up at the ceiling of her room.

There was total silence, she held her breath, and then the screen lit up once again.

The ceiling illuminated.

One big green rectangle was taunting her; it was telling her to answer.

"I really would." She mumbled to herself and the empty room. "But you wouldn't want to talk to her either."

As though it agreed the buzzing stopped for the millionth time.

When had their relationship come to this? She could remember being eight or nine and making her mother hug her every day before she left for work. And getting these excited butterflies when it was getting closer and closer for her to come home.

But something in them changed. Growing up or finding out or becoming someone other than an eight year old whose world revolved around two godlike people.

They'd even deserved it for a little while. But… it seemed like they'd lost just as much interest in her as she had in them. And then… well… he was gone anyway.

It had just been so long ago now… it hardly even mattered.

She flipped on the television sitting on her dresser and drowned out one light with another.

Fall out Boy's Pretty in Punk was screaming from the speakers. He closed his eyes and listened to the lyrics in the song.

Mostly, all he heard was the music, but occasionally he caught a couple vocals here and there.

Something about a stage?

"Berkeley!" Someone shouted. He opened an eye and caught sight of Ty grabbed hold of Rachael's hand and leaning down to pick their coats. "I'm going to take Ray back, okay?"

"Cool." He mumbled. That was really all he cared to manage.

"Watch yourself." Ty nodded behind him.

Out of reflex, he leaned his head back into the couch and stopped suddenly. He could feel the fabric of clothes again his hair. Turning his head, he caught the scent of cigarettes masked under expensive perfume. And the platinum blonde hair… he stopped breathing it in.


She smiled.

One hand found its way from his jaw, across his closed eyes, and curled into his messy bangs.

"River." She replied. "What has happened to you? You're so anti-social lately."

Honestly, he really didn't know either. He used to put so much more effort into this charismatic act of his. It all just felt suddenly so… pointless.

He pulled back, but not far, and turned away.

"Maybe I've grown up a little."

She laughed, leaned down, offered him the drink in her hand.

"The men in your family don't grow up."

"Don't start shit." He warned. But his head was tilted down and fingers were rubbing soothing circles against his forehead.

The initial defensiveness that always seemed to come over him around her could be clearly heard through his voice. It hadn't come out like he'd meant it too… and he could tell by the look on her perfect, satisfied lips she'd caught it too.

Reaction, hostile or not, showed weakness. Juliet had gotten to enough people to know that if there was hostility then there was something she could exploit.

"I just want to talk." She said casually. "When was the last time we 'talked' River?"

He watched her as she took in the bob of his adams apple.

The triumph in her smile only grew.

"Do I make you nervous?" She questioned lightly.

He swallowed. "I… just don't start Jules. I don't have time… for this. Whatever the hell it is."

She raised an eyebrow; it arched in just right way.

"Seriously," She sighed, "talk. You know, that thing people do when trying to have conversation?"

She twirled her way around the couch and dropped down gracefully next to him. "You will."

"Yeah… I know… I don't have time to talk to you." H pushed out of his seat but her hand shot out to grab his wrist.

"River." She soothed. "I just… miss you is all."

Bullshit, his brain screamed for him to say. But she pulled him back down into the seat. Breaking her grip would be rude, and even though part of him didn't care, another part was reminding him that his mother would be very disappointed.

"Five minutes." He muttered… and then grabbed the drink she'd offered, downed it whole.

"Patience." She scanned his face for a moment as though looking for something; probably his collar and leash.

"So…" She smiled once again. "How have you been?" Yep, that was it.

Where the fuck was Kevin when he needed him?

There were only so many reruns you could watch before your brain… stopped working.

Zoe thought it was ten.

She flipped the channel until she landed on Grey's Anatomy (Lifetime, of course) and then threw down the remote.

Well... at least this rerun was worth watching.

She couldn't remember the last time she had seen an episode; probably since the beginning of season one. She'd always viewed it as one of those shows that kind of stayed in the realm of reality… even if that reality only consisted of dating and talking to only people in a hospital.

Screwed up people with screwed up lives trying to get themselves out of the misery of the screwing up they'd somehow managed to fall in.

"So what, you're just going to repress everything in some deep dark twisted place until one day you snap and kill them?" Christina asked.

"Yep." Meredith replied.

"This is why we are friends."

Plus it was kind of amusing, in a sadistic sort of way.

She watched until the narrative at the end finished and then pushed down on the power button.

Her mother had finally stopped trying to get a hold of her.

For today anyway.

She pulled the pillow out from under her head and pushed it over her eyes.

Life was kind of amusing too, in a sadistic sort of way.

Damn damn damn damn damn was the only word going through his mind as he kicked a purse out of his way and found the shirt he'd been searching for for the past five minutes balled up under it.

Was he really this easy? He wondered sarcastically if it had been the fifth of seventh cup that had made this seem like a good idea. Well… actually… he couldn't recall thinking about anything but the way her fingers were dancing up and down his leg after the fourth.

My life seriously sucks. It sucks.

"Idiot." He muttered vehemently to himself.

Juliet Winters. If his father thought he was an embarrassment now just wait if he ever found out about these little mishaps. It's not like he meant for it to happen. It just… well… he didn't really know.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…

He pulled the shirt over his head and went in search of his pants next.

Juliet shifted in the bed. He instinctively froze.

The noise from the party had probably ceased hours ago, the room was still spinning, and he was trying to pathetically make it out of this room unscathed and still intact.

If this was anyone but him… it would be hilarious. But at the moment if felt like someone was seriously trying to screw with his sanity.

To top off his awesome slightly still inebriated night, one leg into the pants he'd finally found music started Screaming unsympathetically loud.

Puscifer suddenly blared from somewhere in the room. Shocked, he jumped, tripped over the leg of his pants and fell flat on his back; the wind whooshed out of his lungs.

He was starting to agree with the Zoe Reed; the God's are seriously dicks.

Juliet sat up in bed, then leaned over and switched on the light.

She stared down at him for a moment, completely still… the she tipped make her head and started to laugh; loud and mocking.

He continued to stare up at the ceiling above him, as Puscifer continued to ring from his pocket.

He really didn't even know why he tried anymore.

Okay, so this is the revised version. I think it personaly makes Juliet seem a little less succubus-like. Luring men into her bed chambers of death... no, really... Juliet is quite scary when it comes down to it. You just don't walk away from her.

I think this is the longest chapter I've written for this story so far. Maybe its because I've been hiding from it for so long but it doesn't seem as hard to write it anymore. Weird.

I said I had River's playlist up, and I noticed I have a picture under it. Just so you know, that wasn't River. Well not entirely. It's similar to what I want him to look like but the guy, who I can't remembers name right now, isn't a fit.

I have some songs lined up for Zoe, none I'm definite about. And I have the picture for Brad's back ground. Which I love. Literally. It might just earn him his own rightful plotline one of these days.

Pictures, songs, suggestions, anything? Where is everybody...