Big thanks to Kaila for betaing this for me. I hope you all enjoy!

Grant Rawlings stood next to Xavier Lindsey, leaning against his gleaming, black Lotus, watching as the rest of his friends arrived in their elite cars that cost more than their teachers' salaries. Nate Litchfield sat with his back against the brick wall on the stone bench outside the music room, his light brown hair falling over his forehead and covering his dark blue eyes. He half listened to his friends' asinine conversations and half read The Fountain Head. Alexander Pierson walked up with Evan Daniels as Grant noticed Caroline's 2007 Bentley Continental GTC pulling into the parking lot.

He made out her icy smirk as an unsuspecting freshman tried to cross the parking lot in front of her and almost lost their toes in the process. Kiki's small head bounced around in the seat next to her and Grant could see another figure in the back.

Who else would be arriving with Caroline? He thought to himself. Constance had come and gone, and was undoubtedly holed up in the library with some new book. How Alexander could put up with such a bookworm was beyond him. Noelle was perched next to Nate brushing through her messy blonde locks (although it was unnecessary), and Roslyn's Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren was pulling in behind Caroline.

It could be Caroline's brother, he thought; he would be a freshman this year. No, he thought, certain; Caroline wouldn't give her brother a ride and plus, he'd seen Tyler earlier.

"New meat?" Grant asked Xavier motioning to Caroline's car where Kiki was now getting out and offering a hand to whomever was in the back.

Xavier toyed with a nonexistent piece of fuzz on his black blazer; one of the perks to being a senior: you could wear the traditional "senior" colored green blazer or a black one.

"I do vaguely recall Caroline saying something about a new girl, but I can't seem to remember her name," Xavier responded in his usual bored tone.

Grant leaned back in an attempt to see around Kiki to catch a glimpse of the girl getting out. At first all he could see was a long, slender yet muscular leg covered in white knee highs, but as Kiki moved from blocking his view he took in all five foot seven inches of the girl whose heart he had broken at the beginning of summer.

"Emerson," the name escaped his lips almost as a sigh.

"Yes, that was it," Xavier acknowledged with a slight smirk that let Grant know that Xavier had known exactly who was in the car and had remembered the vehemently awful things Grant had said to her on the Fourth of July. Without another word, Grant quickly turned and strode angrily away from his friends towards the school's entrance.

"No need to make a scene," Xavier called out after him, still in a bored tone.

The quick blur caused Nate to look up and his eyes rested on the brunette beauty standing with Kiki. He smiled, slightly amused at how short Kiki looked standing next to the new girl and wondered what had offended Grant so much that he'd stalked away from a pretty new face.

Emerson climbed lithely out of the backseat of Caroline's car with Kiki's assistance and straightened her hunter green, seersucker uniform skirt once both of her Manolo clad feet were on the pavement. She smirked and straightened her tie as she watched Grant stalk off in a fury.

Bet he sure as hell didn't expect to see me here, she thought smugly.

Caroline was already pressed against a dark haired cocky looking boy that Emerson recognized as Xavier. Caroline wrapped Xavier's tie around her hand pulling him closer. He moved to kiss her but she leaned back, just slightly out of his reach.

"You didn't tell him did you?" she asked, shaking out her mahogany locks that were currently being maintained by a large headband.

"Of course not," he said still sounding arrogant but not as bored. "Do you think I want to get into trouble with you on the first day of school?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow.

"I think you always want to be in trouble with me," Caroline replied saucily, meeting his lips with her own.

Roslyn walked slowly around her car, lightly running her fingers over it as she stealthily made her way to Alexander. Her blonde hair was bouncing with finesse this morning around her emerald blazer as she cautiously eyed the surrounding area for Constance. Seeing no sign of her, she made her way over to Alexander. He looked up at her with mild interest, his green eyes sparkling in the morning sun. Roslyn ran her fingers over the lapel of his blazer and stopped directly over his well defined abs.

"I love this shade on you," she purred. "It makes your eyes shine." She grazed her lips along his jaw line and he smirked grabbing her hip.

"There are lots of things that make my eyes shine," he said, smirking at her again and then threw his arm over her shoulder as they made their way inside.

"I thought he was with Constance?" Emerson asked quietly, standing between Caroline and Kiki.

"We're all friends here," Noelle said, walking over and hoisting herself onto the hood of Grant's car. "Share and share alike," she said, smirking.

"Really?" Emerson asked eyeing Caroline suspiciously.

"Really," Caroline confirmed, not taking her eyes off of Xavier. "Except I don't share," she admitted pulling him along behind her still holding onto his tie.

"And I don't do high school boys," Kiki said, shrugging and following after them.

"And we don't tell Constance about Alexander's playboy ways," Noelle confided, slipping her arm into Emerson's and leading her into the school.

"She doesn't know?" Emerson asked, surprised. The girl she'd met at finishing camp over the summer didn't seem the type to be easily fooled, but she hadn't really spent that much time with her.

"Her nose is always in a book," Noelle said honestly. "You could probably grope him in front of her and she wouldn't even notice it as long as she was reading."

"A good thought to keep in mind, seeing as you're staying with him," Caroline smirked back at her as they walked up the steps.

"Why date her then if he's messing around with everyone else?" Emerson asked, slightly confused. As much time as she'd spent with these girls over the summer, she still did not understand the way they lived. "I get the whole playboy angle, but then why have a girlfriend?"

"Oh he doesn't 'flirt'," Noelle said using air quotes, "with everyone, just us." She winked as she deposited Emerson into her first period class and sauntered off down the hall.

Grant watched as the one girl who had ever really gotten to him was led inside his school by girls who knew every despicable thing he had ever done. When she'd told him that she was staying with family friends while her parents were traveling abroad this summer, he never expected it to be with one of his best friend's families and to have to go through his senior year with her. He could remember the look of hurt and confusion on her face while other's partied around them. Nothing he'd said was true, but it hadn't mattered, she'd believed it all and disappeared anyways. He took a long inhale off the joint between his fingers, getting lost in the smoke and memory of the first time he'd met her.

June 28th

Grant stomped down the wooden steps of the deck and onto the sand. He couldn't believe his family came out to North Hills Beach a week early.

No one ever gets here until the Fourth of July, he thought bitterly.

The sand beneath his feet felt warm in the late afternoon sun, but it did little to help his bad mood. He trudged along down the beach in a pair of black and white board shorts and a white t-shirt. He carried is flip flops with him just in case he decided to wander off the beach. The sound of the waves crashing onto the sand began to uncoil his muscular shoulders a bit. Grant was tall at 6'4" with dark brown hair and slate gray eyes. He had a killer smile and a lean muscular frame from playing basketball and running track.

Thinking of the lonely week ahead of him made him depressed again though. His buddies wouldn't be here until Sunday which meant he had six days of no entertainment. Sure, he could go into town and hook up with some of the townies if he wanted to, but that was more for sport with the guys than anything else.

He glanced up and a pair of long, lightly tanned legs caught his eye. He thought he knew all the families that rented the houses along the beach, but he was certain he didn't know this girl. He quietly made his way up the steps of her deck to get a better view. The girl had a toned frame and long legs. She wore a one piece bathing suit with green circles running all over it. Her hair was medium brown and slightly frizzy. She held a book in her hands and looked thoroughly engrossed in it.

"What'cha reading?" he asked, sitting down on the lounge chair next to her.

"Great Expectations," she said glancing over at him. "This is a private beach you know," she informed him with a small smile that said she really wasn't upset that he had interrupted her reading.

"I know," he said. "My family has a house a couple down," he motioned with his hand. "Grant Rawlings," he said, introducing himself and shaking her hand.

"Emerson Van Ness," she replied with an amazing smile. Her green eyes danced like when the moon hit the ocean in late August.

"So, you're new around here," Grant observed.

"Yes." Her tone was bored and she turned slightly back to her book.

"Where are you from?" he asked, trying to gain her attention back.

"Seattle." Her fingers danced across the page before turning it.

"What brings you to the beach?"

Emerson frowned slightly; she was never going to get any reading done as long as he kept talking.

"My family is going to be traveling abroad this year and they thought it would be nice if we spent one last summer together as next year I'll be heading off to college," she said, finally giving him something.

"You're not traveling with your family then?" he asked, actually interested which surprised him.

"No," she said and he thought he noticed a bit of sadness in her tone, "I'll be spending the year with some family friends. So," she said, setting her book down and finally turning towards him, "why are you here so early?"

"What do you mean?" he asked, confused.

"Well, the real estate agent told Mom that most of the families don't come out until the Fourth of July."

"Yeah." Grant leaned back in the chair his earlier depression remembered.

"What's your deal then?" she finally asked as he had given no more of a response.

"My family decided to come out early because my mother wanted to redecorate our house," he said, getting more annoyed as he thought about it. His mother really needed a hobby he thought; although, maybe this was her hobby. It sure beat the hell out of getting plastered by noon and screwing the gardener like some of his friends' moms did.

"You're not happy about it," she stated.

"No," he admitted, looking at her again. She had smooth shoulders and a nice chest; he wondered what she'd look like in a bikini.

"Why not?" she asked, oblivious to his ogling.

"None of my friends will be here until the end of the week." He began fiddling with a string on the hem of his shorts trying to find something to distract his eyes from her bare skin.

"You don't enjoy the quiet?"

"Sometimes," he said, noncommittally.

"I don't get you," Emerson said, suddenly slapping her arms down, "You come up on my deck and disturb my reading and then when I start participating in the conversation you answer as if I'm protruding on your time."

He couldn't resist laughing at her. She was absolutely right and he found her anger amusing. Her face grew hotter as he laughed. She slid her sung glasses on and thrust her back against the chair and turned her face to the sky.

"You're quite adorable when you're angry," he said, smiling at her. "And you're absolutely right," he admitted. She turned towards him again, surprised at his honesty.

"Emerson, dear," her mother said, sashaying out onto the deck. Grant looked up to the older woman: she wasn't bad looking; late forties maybe, nice tight legs and perfectly coiffed hair just like his mother's and all of her friends'. "Well, hello there," she said eyeing Grant appreciatively.

"Hello ma'm," he said, politely standing and shaking her hand. "I'm…" he began to introduce himself.

"Oh I know who you are," she said, seductively. "You're the Rawlings boy."

"Guilty," he said, throwing her his killer smile. Emerson rolled her eyes as she watched her mother flirt with the boy half her age.

"You taking care of my girl?" she asked with a suggestive eyebrow.

"I'm trying." Grant's eyes lit up as he threw a smile at Emerson.

"Did you need something mom?" Emerson asked in the sweetest voice she could muster. She had witnessed her mother hit on younger men way too many times to count and it always grated on her nerves. She could tell that this little conversation was headed down the same path.

"Oh, yes," she said as if she just remembered her daughter was there. "Marta said there's this fabulous little market in town on Monday nights and I was thinking you could go down there and get some fresh produce for the house."

"I don't know where it is," Emerson said, simply, "and I know you wouldn't want me getting lost in a town I don't know."

"I could show you the way," Grant offered before her mother could say anything.

"Perfect," her mom squealed, clapping her hands together and smiling a huge grin as she clicked back into the house.

Emerson shot Grant a look and he just offered her his hand up in reply. She placed her hand in his and swung her feet onto the deck. Before she'd had a chance to rise, Grant tugged on her arm and she flew up to meet him chest to chest. The heat in Emerson's face grew hotter and it had nothing to do with the sun beating down on her.

"Don't make that face," Grant said and was over come by the how much he wanted to kiss her, "it'll be fun."

Grant followed slowly behind Emerson as she walked by each stall, checking out the strawberries and other fresh produce the vendors were selling. He was mesmerized at the way her hips swung as she walked along. He pulled a rose out of one of the vendor's arrangements and leaned over Emerson's shoulder presenting it to her as she paid for some zucchini.

"What's this for?" she asked as she smelled it.

"To apologize." He took the bag from her and began walking beside her.

"For?" She looked up at him curiously while smelling the rose.

"You were right earlier: I was bothering you and then I was an ass to you," he said and was surprised that he felt no ulterior motive at his statement.

"I didn't say you were bothering me," she backpedaled slightly.

Ah, so she does like me, he thought to himself smugly. "Am I bothering you now?" he asked.

"No." She smiled before smelling the flower again.

"So, tell me about your friends," she said after they had walked a little more; "the ones you're waiting for so you have entertainment."

"I don't want to talk about them," he said, honestly. "Tell me about you."

"What do you want to know?" she asked, surprised at his sudden interest.

"How come I've never seen you here before?"

"Maybe you've just never noticed me," she said, coyly.

"No, I'd remember a face like yours."

Emerson smiled and shook her head lightly, chuckling quietly to herself. She turned and handed him back the flower.

"If you want to know about me, fine, but I could do without your over used pickup lines," she said and began walking away from him.

"It wasn't a pickup line," he said when he finally caught up to her. Emerson said nothing and continued walking.

"I know your type," she began, not looking at him. "You're good looking and you know it. You take whatever you decide you want rather than seeing if it's something you'll want in the future. People are a game to you and you use them as pawns to entertain yourself. Obviously your friends are the same way, and that's why you get along so well. You seem to have decided that I may be the only person around here to talk to for the week, so you thought you'd cozy up to me."

Grant didn't know what to think about everything she had just said. The part that irked him the most, more than her being dead on, was the fact that she had delivered her little speech in an even tone without a hint of anger.

"That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day," Grant quoted Great Expectations.

Emerson stopped and turned around and faced him. "You've read it," she said, an amused smile playing on her lips.

"Don't tell anyone," he said with a small smile.

"There may be hope for you after all Rawlings," she said with a smirk.

Present day

Quinlan Rochester walked into his first period French class and scoped the room out for the seat he knew he'd be in all year. Madame Renée insisted that where they sat on the first day was where they sat the whole year; she would not have something as simple as seating take time away from her lesson plans.

Quinlan noticed a girl he was not familiar with, she was sitting in the second row from the wall he was currently leaning on in the fourth seat back. She had glossy brown hair with light blond streaked through it. So light that it almost looked as if someone had spun gold into her hair.

Next to her or behind her? He wondered to himself silently.

As he stood trying to decide, the room began to fill and he chose the seat behind the girl. He slid into the desk as she shook out her hair letting it fall, silkily, over her shoulders and down her back. Quinlan inhaled a deep breath smelling one of the sweetest scents he had ever smelled.

Raspberries, he thought with a serene look on his face. He thought about the first week of school bet his friends and he usually wagered. She'd do for the first lay of the school year, he thought naughtily.

He leaned forward in his desk until his lips were right next to her ear. "You smell enchanting," he whispered, lightly.

The hairs on the back of her neck stood up as she felt the voice behind her and slowly turned around to find a set of piercing, ice blue eyes staring back at her under a tidy mess of blond locks. As soon as the girl turned and looked him straight in the face, both of their faces fell.

"And you look like someone who has an asshole for a friend," Emerson gritted through her teeth recognizing Grant's friend from the Fourth of July bash where Grant had utterly humiliated her in front of this boy and Xavier. She turned, sharply, back around to face the front of the room.

"Aw come on now darlin'," he said with a slight southern accent. "Don't hold the wrong doings of my friend against me."

Emerson turned to face him again. "You were there and didn't say anything to him," she said, trying to control the anger welling up inside of her.

"True," he admitted, "but I didn't know you from Eve and none of that shit was my business."

He fell back against his chair and she eyed him cautiously. Emerson stared at him trying to make up her mind. He was awfully cute, she could see thick muscles under his white shirt and emerald blazer and his blue eyes were certainly easy to look into.

"Hell," he began, waving his hand, "I don't even know your name."

"Emerson Van Ness," she said, relaxing a bit.

"It's nice to meet you Emerson," he said, taking her hand from the back of her chair and kissing it lightly. "I'm Quinlan, but everyone calls me 'Q'," he said, winking at her.

"Quinlan?" she asked, "That's a different name."

"It's Irish," he informed her, leaning forward again. "It means well shaped and athletic," he said with a smile that wouldn't quit.

"I can see that," Emerson said lifting an eyebrow and then turning back around.

Evan walked down the hall with a blond on each arm and a grin across his face displaying his dimples proudly. His blue eyes danced as the girls on either side of him begged him to spend lunch with them. He noticed his buddies standing at the entrance to the cafeteria and found his out.

"Please Ev," the one on the left begged, looking up at him and trying to push her breasts together at the same time. She didn't have a bad rack, but it was nothing special either. Evan knew this girl would be making a visit to Dr. Rochester before the year was out.

"Sorry ladies," he apologized, not sorry at all as he untangled his arms from their grasp. "I gotta spend some time with my boys." He nodded in the direction to where his friends were standing. "I'll see you after practice." He winked and slapped them both on the behind as they giggled and walked away.

"I sense a bet coming on," Xavier said, his bored tone ever-present, as Evan approached where he was standing listening to Alexander and Quinlan argue over what kind of underwear the new girl might be wearing.

"Sophomores?" Q asked, glancing at the two red skirts that were walking away from Evan. "Didn't you already make your way through that class?"

"Girl with the curls got new boobs," Evan smirked. "Remind me to thank your dad." Q's dad was a plastic surgeon and had worked on over half the women in town and half the girls in the school. "And the one with the cute ass will be seeing him before the year's out."

"So what's the bet?" Grant asked, stepping up to join them.

"I don't feel the need to bet over whether that chick gets a new chest," Evan responded, indignantly.

"We're not talking about the vapid airheads you spend your time with," Q rolled his eyes.

"See, there's this nice little piece of new ass over there," Alexander said, nodding to the table where their female friends were sitting. Emerson was leaned across the table with her back to the guys discussing something with Kiki. The heels of her shoes pointed out and the angle at which she was leaning made her legs seem longer than they were. "I say she's wearing a lacy black thong," Alexander said with a smug smile.

"I don't see how this is fair," Evan said to him, "you live with her."

"I don't watch her dress," he replied, shrugging.

"If you wanna go that route," Xavier said, speaking up and glancing at them slightly, "Grant's out too."

"Why's Grant out?" Alexander's head whipped back to look at Grant.

"He tapped it at the beginning of summer," Q said, smirking.

"You tapped that already?" Evan offered Grant a fist bump which he half heartedly returned.

"And then fucked her over royally," Xavier said, not looking up this time.

"Fine, fine." Evan rolled his eyes and shrugged giving up. "Everyone's in. Xavier holds the money."

"Lacy black thong, like I said." Alexander handed over a crisp hundred dollar bill.

"White cotton boy shorts," Q said, grinning.

"Black, spandex, and boring," Grant said, slightly annoyed with the bet but not wanting to ruin it.

"Nada." Evan smirked and bobbed his head slightly.

"White lace boy shorts," Nate said, walking up and handing Xavier is bill.

"Nathaniel," Xavier acknowledged his friend, "I am surprised at you."

"It's all in fun right?" he said, shrugging.

"Alexander, the bet was your idea, so the honor is yours," Xavier granted.

"Won't Connie get mad?" Grant asked in patronizing voice.

"Constance." Alexander turned back towards him, gritting his teeth. "And what she doesn't know won't hurt her."

"Story of your relationship," Nate said under his breath.

Alexander straightened his tie and blazer as he made his way across the cafeteria and leaned down next to Emerson.

"And you're sure it's not going to be an issue with the other girls?" Emerson asked Kiki.

"Please," Kiki scoffed, "like their opinion matters." Noelle glanced curiously at Alexander wondering why he was just leaning there.

"I just don't want to upset anyone," Emerson admitted, biting her lip slightly. Alexander slowly brought his hand back to the hem of Emerson's skirt.

"How sweet," Caroline said with faux sweetness, "you worry about other's feelings." Alexander gently lifted Emerson's skirt so that the guys could get a glimpse.

"You'll get over it soon," Noelle said and motioned for Emerson to turn around.

Alexander was still facing forward as if nothing was going on, but Emerson turned quickly enough to see his hand move and felt her skirt fall back over her behind.

Thinks he can show my underpants off to the entire world does he? She thought quickly. Alexander had a smirk on his face practically begging her to do something, so, she did. "What the fuck?" Emerson shoved her hand into his chest, making him fall onto the seat, his back smacking hard into the table behind him.

A small 'ooof' came out as his back made contact with the table. Emerson slid her knee between his legs and positioned her hands on either side of him before bringing her face inches from his. His green eyes, which only moments ago had looked mischievous, now had a bit of fear in them. "If you wanted to see my panties," she breathed, lightly into his face before moving her lips to his ear, "you should have just asked."

With that she rubbed her knee along his crotch before getting up and walking towards the lunch line where Noelle had already gone and was waiting for her. Kiki let out a soft giggle from behind Alexander as he continued to sit there and ponder what the hell had just happened.

"What the fuck was that?" Roslyn slid in next to him but her attention was focused on Caroline.

"Share and share alike," was all Caroline replied, but began laughing with Kiki.

Alexander continued to sit, willing his erection to go down before he made his way back over to the boys. Of course that was when Constance made her way in. She sat down next to him with a questioning stare.

"Love," he said in greeting, nodding his head slightly.

"What's with you?" she asked, concern all over her face. Caroline stifled another giggle and focused on the salad in front of her. "You sound out of breath."

"Sat down too fast," he explained, lamely. "I'll be right back." He got up and placed a chaste kiss on her forehead before quickly taking off across the room. Constance glanced over at Roslyn who just shrugged and so she turned back to the book in her left hand.

"Please tell me it was a thong," Alexander all but begged, running a hand through his messy brown hair.

"Nope," Nate said as he put the money from the bet into his wallet. "White. Lace. Boy shorts."

The guys finally made their way over to the table and took up seats where available.

"Please tell me you were not part of that." Caroline looked slightly disgusted as Xavier took the seat next to her.

"No, I was not," he said with a strained look. "However, I do take part in the ones that have nothing to do with my friends."

"I would expect nothing less," she smirked.

"Tell me you at least won," Roslyn said, smirking at Alexander over Constance's head. He shot her a dirty look glancing down at Constance.

Q glanced up as Emerson and Noelle made their way back to the table.

"Hey, Raspberries," he said with a cocky grin to Emerson.

"Excuse me?" she asked with an eyebrow raised.

"You can sit right here darlin'." Q motioned to the open seat next to him.

"Could," she said, nodding and then took the open seat between Nate and Evan. "Won't." She smirked in his direction and he became even more intrigued. "So," Emerson began turning towards Nate and taking a bite of her parfait. "You won the bet?" she asked, her green eyes twinkling brightly.

Nate turned four shades of red and lowered his gaze to his lap. "Yes," he mumbled.

"Don't be embarrassed," she said and lightly kissed his cheek. "Gotta haze the new girl, right?"

"This chick is awesome!" Evan bellowed pulling Emerson into his side under his huge arm. "What the fuck were you thinking when you let her go Rawlings?"

"Fuck this." Grant got up and strolled out of the cafeteria and pointing at some nameless sophomore who got up and followed him out.

"Did I say something?" Evan asked, looking slightly hurt and loosening his grip on Emerson.

"Don't worry," Constance said, not looking up from her book, "he's getting it blown out of his system."

Alexander's eyes grew wide and he tugged her book from her hands. She looked up, annoyed and surprised like she just realized that everyone else was there.

"Explain please?" Alexander looked pointedly at her.

"Just because my head is always in a book doesn't mean I'm oblivious." Constance snatched her book back from him.

"Good to know," Roslyn said under her breath to Noelle who giggled softly.

"I listen to your conversations," Constance admitted, focusing back on her book. "Just because I don't mention the fact that Grant sometimes needs a mid-day blow job to get rid of some stress and there are currently twelve sophomores in line for that job; or that Evan frequently has some freshman waiting for him after practice whether he does or does not partake in her; or the fact that the only reason Q passed history last year was because he boned the teacher's daughter and threatened to ruin her reputation if he didn't get an A. And then there's Noelle…" she trailed off, glancing up briefly.

"Okay, I think we get the point," Caroline said, pointedly. For the first time, that the majority of them could remember, they sat in silence for the rest of lunch.

"The fuck was that?" Noelle asked as she, Caroline, Roslyn, and Emerson were changing for gym.

"Bullshit, that's what it was." Roslyn pulled her white tennis skirt up over her perfect hips.

"Out of curiosity," Emerson started, sliding her arms through the emerald green racer back tank top, "what was she going to say about you Noelle?"

"Let's just say I don't like to study." Noelle tossed the rest of her stuff into her gym locker and waited with her hands on her hips.

"And all her teachers are male," Caroline explained the obvious, tying the laces on her shoes.

"Ah," Emerson said, closing her locker and walking out to the tennis courts with the others.

"Hey! Do you guys need a fourth?" A short girl with frizzy blond hair, bounced up to Roslyn and Caroline.

"Can you count, Janice?" Caroline asked annoyed.

"Jamie," the girl corrected Caroline, still looking excited.

"Like it matters," Roslyn said as they walked past the girl.

"Maybe next time," Noelle said sincerely as she and Emerson followed the others.

"I still don't see why she thought it was okay to air dirty laundry in public," Roslyn said as she served the ball. Emerson returned it easily and they volleyed back and forth.

"In the cafeteria of all places." Caroline smashed the ball in front of Noelle who swung and missed.

"You think she saw the thing with Alexander and was making a point to me?" Emerson returned a difficult serve from Roslyn.

"Don't be so concerned Em," Caroline instructed with assurance.

"Yeah," Noelle said, returning the ball with effort. "If anyone should be worried it should be Roslyn."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Roslyn asked, approaching the net.

"Please, dear." Caroline bounced the ball next to her as they all gathered around the net. "Like you're so secretive about your attraction to Alexander."

"Ladies!" The coach blew her whistle at them. "Do we have a problem?"

"No, Coach Armstrong," Noelle replied sweetly. "We're just having an important discussion on serving."

"Carry on," the coach said, turning her back to them. Caroline rolled her eyes before focusing back on her friends.

"I still don't like the way she aired it all," Roslyn said, obviously unsatisfied by the whole incident. Emerson smiled to herself; Roslyn was fishing for something to be done so she could get a clear path to Alexander.

Clever girl, Emerson thought. Better watch out for her.

"What are you suggesting Roslyn?" Caroline raised her eyebrows.

"Come on you guys," Noelle pleaded with her conniving friends. "She's one of us, at least as long as she's dating Alexander."

"Until then…" Caroline let her voice trail off as she bounced the ball on her racket and then smacked it at Noelle.

"Hey!" she laughed as the ball narrowly missed her. The ball rolled across two courts and into some bushes.

"Yoo hoo!" Emerson hollered, waving her hand at a freshman walking along the court. "Be a dear and grab that ball." The freshman tore into the bushes coming out with the ball a minute later and sprinted it over to Emerson. "Thanks." She smiled a wide fake grin. "You're a doll." Emerson patted the girl on the head and the girl smiled as if she had just met the queen.

"She's learning fast," Roslyn acknowledged to Caroline who smiled approvingly at her protégé.

AN: Well, I hope you all enjoyed the first chapter. As of right now, this story will not have a posting schedule, but I can tell you that chapter 2 is already off being edited and will post as soon as I receive it back. Also, if anyone is interested in making a banner, please let me know, I'd really appreciate it. Review for a preview!