Chapter One:--

Reece looked up from the nasty, grease-covered counter that he was dreadfully wiping and looked through the fast food restaurant with wary eyes. He'd spent his entire Saturday working, trying to get the topic of the week out of his mind; his recent breakup. Nearly twelve hours of working drive-thru and cooking and he was ready to quit and shovel manure for a living, though it probably was better than dealing with what he already did.

"You want anything, Ophelia?"

He recognized that high-pitched voice. "Hey, Taylor," he greeted her from behind his coworker while he rinsed off the rag in the sink. She was a tall girl, much taller than he, with dark skin and features.

She smiled and waved. "You're still working here," she asked with a surprised tone. "I thought you quit."

He shook his head and approached the counter. "I got rehired. I had too much free time and not enough money," he admitted jokingly, draping the damp towel over his shoulder. "What are you up to?"

She nodded, showing that she understood what he was saying and then looked over her shoulder. She pointed to a tiny, redheaded girl sitting at the table with a few girls that he recognized from school. "It's Ophelia's birthday. We've all been hanging out at the lake today," she leaned forward to whisper the rest, "and her parents are having a surprise party for her when we get back." She winked and gestured to the group. "Want to tag along?"

He glanced to the clock. Eleven hours and thirty-three minutes on the clock. He could probably be spared the rest of the evening off. He nodded and looked for his manager. "Yeah, just let me clock out."

She nodded and took her tray of drinks; no food, just drinks. "Alright. We'll wait." She walked back to her table giggling and smiling like the rest of the girls in the group.

He looked at each of them for a moment. There was Kayla, the brunette who'd died purple streaks through her hair, Samantha, the best basketball player in the tri-state area with her waist length black hair French braided down her slim figure, Julia, the animal-loving freak that everyone loved with her round glasses and pale skin, and then the one they called Ophelia, with her auburn hair pulled back in a sloppy ponytail and her blue and white sundress giving her a thin look while she sat beside Julia. He'd seen her before, but never actually made any move to get to know her. His friends said she was a freak. She didn't look it.

"Clocking out," he called to his manager while he punched in his worker code. "See you all tomorrow," he hollered out of kindness and no actual excitement for the next day to come.

"Ready," Taylor asked with her milkshake straw between her teeth.

He nodded and pulled his Wendy's shirt over his head, revealing his wife beater he had underneath. "Yeah."

She smiled and offered him a sip of her milkshake.

He declined, having had more Wendy's food that he'd like in the past few days. "That's okay. I'll pass." He looked to the car that all the girls were piling into and gestured to his truck. "Any of them want to jump in my car," he offered. "Instead of sitting on top of each other." He stifled a laugh when Kayla was pushed to the floor of the car.

Taylor giggled, too, and waved Kayla and Ophelia over. "Hey, ride with Reece. We don't have enough room," she said while handing Kayla a piece of gum. "We'll meet up at Ophelia's house."

Reece nodded and started his way to his truck. "See you then." He strode to his truck and opened the door for Ophelia and Kayla. "Happy Birthday, by the way," he commented quickly to Ophelia. "Taylor told me. How old are you now?"

Ophelia blushed, though she tried to hide it, and thanked him. "I'm seventeen," she told him quietly, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear before she climbed into the middle of the truck, followed shortly by Kayla.

Reece smiled kindly and nodded. "Cool," he said simply and closed the door with a gentle push.

---------------

After a quick stop at Reece's house, he was comfortably changed into simple jeans and an old band tee. The girls where still in the car, laughing about something, he came to find, though they would not tell him what. Girls, he grumbled in his head. So complicated.

He pulled away from his house and paused for a few minutes at the stop sign at the end of the street to reach in the back for his backpack. "Sorry," he muttered, having grabbed Ophelia's knee in his search. He received no reply from the redhead in the back seat.

The car behind them honked and he snarled curses under his breath. His annoyed expression was replaced with a smile, though, when he saw Taylor waving from the bed of his friend's truck. He waved in return and motioned for them to pull up beside him.

Taylor leaned over the edge of the bed and tapped the hood of the truck. "Follow Aaron!" With that said, Aaron squalled away from the stop sign, slinging Taylor and they others backward laughing.

Reece wasn't about to lose this time. He and Aaron were quite the street racers. He followed Aaron through the streets up until a stoplight that had barely turned yellow. "Hold on tight," he chuckled and sped up toward the light.

"You've got to be kidding," Ophelia asked in an annoyed tone.

He ignored her and slipped right on through the traffic with ease.

"Are you insane," she shouted and smacked his arm.

He chuckled.

Red and blue lights appeared behind them and the siren shortly followed.

"Fuck," he grumbled and pulled the truck into the Speedway on the right.

The officer approached with a bored expression, pulling his notepad and pen out of the passenger seat of his car. "Step out of the car, please, all of you," he commanded without hardly glancing at them.

Ophelia glowered at Reece before complying. She and Kayla stepped over to the curb and leaned against the phone booth that looked as if it had gone through war.

Reece didn't really know what to say to them. Sorry? Would that work?

"License and registration?"

He reached in his back pocket and pulled out his wallet, finding the beaten and worn license in the back slot.

"Stay," the officer, grumbled and retreated to his car with Reece's license.

Reece sighed and sat on the hot asphalt with his head between his knees. "Sorry," he muttered, looking back up at the girls. "Aaron usually gets caught; not me," he added for weak humor.

"Whatever," Ophelia grumbled.

"It's okay," Kayla said, receiving a hateful look from Ophelia.

"Take me home," she demanded, climbing back into the passenger side of the truck.

Reece looked to Kayla with a furrowed brow. "Is she always…"

The cop approached again, handing Reece his license and a ticket, warned him not to do anything like that again, and then waved them away.

Kayla shook her head. "No," she admitted answering his previous question. "I don't know what her deal is today. Maybe she doesn't like you," she offered up apologetically.

Reece did well to hide his disappointment. It wasn't often that he was rejected, especially by someone he hardly knew. He nodded casually and shoved his wallet back into his pocket. "Let's go," he muttered.

Kayla was slouching in her seat with her arms crossed and her angry gaze on the road ahead. Her dress was colorful and bright, making him wonder why she wasn't as cheerful as how she dressed.

Reece started the car, revving the engine maybe just a little more than he needed to and jerked out of the parking lot, being careful, though, not to go too fast and get in trouble with the police officer pulling out behind him.


A/N: Sloppy? Yes. Promising? Possibly. Just gonna have to keep reading to find out. Haha. This story has a short plot figured out, but it's still in the works. Just experimenting with it really. Let me know what you think please! Reviews are always appreciated! Thanks for reading!

Britt. 4-7-10