A/N: I'm not sure how many of you have threatened mutiny... I don't blame you. It's a pet peeve of mine to read a story and then find out it's on hiatus. I did what I swore I'd never do. In light of that, I'd like to explain myself further before you all get too excited. FIRST, I was horribly pissed off at the comparison's to The Twilight Saga and that was a strong driving force as to why I paused the story. SECOND, as I stopped posting, I realized... (sadly) that I hated the direction I had taken the story. Sometimes the story tells it's self, other times I really have to help it along. Somewhere in there, I helped in a direction that I never intended. And then I just became so unmotivated that all of my stories suffered because I couldn't figure out what went wrong with the Sequel to EE. I was irritated, sad, and mostly confused. Now many of you feel that both texts are fine the way they are. And I'm beyond happy slash confused with that.

The product of my irritation and upset became what this story originally was to me. A way to escape my current life and give others if they so chose to escape as well. And guess what? I started writing again. At first, I refused to write about anything to do with Sarah and Sean or any of the beloved characters because I thought they were the problem. It was a little of them bust mostly myself. Then, one day I picked up my laptop opened up 'open office' and began to retell the story I've wanted to tell all along.

So here's the jest: This is the FIRST chapter of my rewrite. I'm posting (if I can) in both EE and PC so that everyone will get the chance to read it. If you all would like, I'll open a new story and start posting chapters. NO, I will NOT delete the two previous stories as I am still at least happy somewhat with the first one. I cannot say the same for the Sequel. However, it will remain on my page for those who wish it.

So, I'll need feedback obviously for what you all want. Your a major driving force when it comes to my stories.

I've missed you all, weather you believe that or not is up to you but it's painfully true.

With my love and major apologies,

Sarah AKA Ski-Crazy11

Her raspberry truffle long hair was curled and wild all around her on the bed. The pale purple sheets tangled around her slender pale legs. Her face was damp with tears and sweat, her arms above her head as though she was reaching for help. Her lids covered her eyes, her thick black lashes brushing her cheeks as her eyes moved. The nightmare was trapping the girl, if only she knew it was just beginning.


I could feel myself thrashing around in bed. The images flashing in my head. They wouldn't go away, I had no way of knowing if they were there to stay. They were not memories, the images didn't hold faces I had seen before.

"Sarah. Hey. Wake up!"

I could hear her voice clearly, yet I could not wake up because the fear the images would fade away was too great. Why I wanted them to stay was beyond my comprehension, I just knew they were an extension. An extension to what was yet to come.

"Calm down, it's just me! Sarah wake up!"

I jolted upright, my room mate's hands tightly gripping my shoulders. Her marble blue eyes were calm and sad. She stroked my damp cheek, pushing some hair behind my ear. Her dark brown hair was pulled up into a tight tail,dressed in mint green scrubs and sensible sneakers on her feet. I sighed and leaned back on my elbows giving my friend the best smile I could. Though friend is putting it mildly. Meet Kristin, twenty-one year old x-ray technician at St. Josephs Hospital. My mother used to babysit her and when Kristin was five, my mother gave birth to me. She's been like the older sister I never had all my life.

When I was four my father left my mother and I. It's not that tragic since I can't even remember him. Kristin does though and I think that would explain why she's extremely protective of me. I live with Kristin now because my mother remarried a man named Scott a year ago. Not such a bad guy except that he brought with him his three kids. His eldest son Andrew, used to be my best friend. I'm still a little fuzzy on what happened as to why he and I are now mortal enemies. The kid hates me. Obviously things would have been highly awkward so I managed to persuade my mother to let me move in with Kristin.

Of course there were some ground rules she set in stone. Number one, I had to keep my grades up. No excuses. Number two, I had to get a job to help with rent. The solution to that was easy. I'm a mechanic at the local auto shop, Oscars. Number three, I'm required to call home every few night's and spend "mother daughter day" with her every so often. None of that is a problem. There were small things here and there, but mostly my mom made it all pretty easy. She's paying the insurance on my old sixty-three Volkswagen Bug, while I have already paid it off. All in all life is pretty damn great.

I sighed, relaxing back into my pillow, "I'm all right. It was just a bad dream."

Kristin quirked one eyebrow at me and crossed her arms over her chest, "Sarah this has been going on for three weeks now. Nobody has nightmares for three weeks unless something is seriously wrong. Talk to me. I just want to help."

I swear no matter how many times I tell her I can't explain why I'm having these horrible dreams, she never let's it go. I clenched my jaw fighting the urge to roll my eyes. She knows how much I hate people fussing over me and being worried. "It's fine. I'm fine. Everything is fine. Promise."

A frustrated growl crept up her chest as she glared at me. "You always say that. I swear to God, Sarah if you don't stop this whole 'I am woman hear me roar' crap I will-"

"Stop," I whispered. I closed my eyes and sighed, "I think it's just stress." I smiled up at her, swinging my legs out of my small twin bed. The cold wood touched my warm feet making me wish to go back to sleep. "Go to work. I'll meet you for lunch, okay?"

Her eyes narrowed at me but she let it go. Her short frame walked away from me out into the hall way. I heard the door shut and lock as Kristin left the small two bedroom apartment. I looked out my window that was about three feet in front of me seeing the cold gray sky with slight hints of sun ray. Saturday December Tenth, two thousand and nine, one week before winter break. I knew it was around nine AM because Kristin has to be at work by ten. Taking a deep breath I stood up and took the one small step, across to my three drawer dresser. I pulled open the top one and yanked out a pair of clean dark jeans. My favorite pair, old and ratty yet snugly fits my legs.

I tossed the jeans on my bed, and laid down looking at my white ceiling. The outside was coloring the bleach ceiling a dull gray and my pale tan walls were taking on a brown look. There really isn't much in this small eleven by six bedroom. Just my bed, a small dresser and a floor fan. Oh and a window, though that doesn't exactly take up any room. I like this life I have though. To an extent I mean. It's not the Beverly Wilshire but it's home. It's a home I wouldn't give up.

I sat up and pulled off my sports bra and shorts, walking to our shared bathroom just outside my room. Kristin must have been in a hurry, all of her shit is still strung out across our sink. Her flat iron is still plugged in and on. Hello, fire hazard! I shook my head laughing and unplugged it. Our bathroom has two sinks on a off white counter with one cabinet below. The shower has no tub-Not exactly a loss for me, I hate baths- and we use this hideous evergreen green and mauve shower curtain. The walls aren't so bad, except that they've got these tasteless pink half inch flower tiles imbedded into them. Though I think the gray green mold gives the flowers a run for the money in the ugly department. No matter what Kristin and I use, we cannot get rid of that crap.

I pulled open the curtain and turned the water on. It was ice cold on hot. "Kristin," I growled as I stepped in and closed the curtain. One down side to living above a cafe is your hot water gets used up very quickly. I'm almost used to cold showers but I'd still prefer to get a warm one from time to time. I stood under the spray, thankful we at least have some pressure and washed my hair.

Later, I was dressed in my jeans, a black tank top, gray hooded jacket and my trusty converse. I grabbed my wallet, shoving it down into my back pocket while my cell and keys to my bug were in my hand. I tossed my hair up in a messy bun, not caring much how I looked today. After all, I was only going to the Hospital cafeteria to have lunch with Kristin. I absolutely loathe any form of hospital. They smell like somebody poured fifteen thousand buckets of disinfectant and Clorox on each floor, the orderlies and doctors either are completely rude or sickeningly nice. Minus Kristin I guess though. Either way this is the sacrifice I make so that she doesn't feel like she's neglecting me.

I pushed close our heavy old door, the smell of coffee and baked goods assaulting my senses. Kristin and I live above Sid's Cafe. Sid is my best friend Jason's mom, she's married to Oscar, the guy I work for at the shop. The Cafe is Wentzville's hot spot in the mornings and during lunch. Everything is home made, ranging from bagels to a turkey sandwich. She opens up at four AM and closes at four PM. Kristin and I sometimes hang out after hours because well... the furniture is nicer than ours. I turned, walking down the very dimly lit cramped hallway and slowly descended the narrow stair case. It was a major challenge to get anything up these damn stairs and into our small apartment. We used a crane and the windows for some of the things.

I pushed open the slim door directly at the bottom of the steps and locked it behind me. I maneuvered blindly through the pitch black small hallway, feeling with my hands and feet for the three steps I needed to use, so I could walk out into the Cafe. Finally the toe of my sneaker hit the steps and I walked up them, grasping onto the curled handle of the old french doors. Once I pushed open the left side, light flooded the area. Sid looked up over the glass shelf at me smiling. People were milling about, getting food and talking about business. The three old women that are here every Saturday and Sunday 'till noon were sitting at their usual table, gossiping. I gave a small smile and nod to be polite rounding the counter to share a few words with Sid. She handed a customer a plate with some sandwich on it and turned to look at me, her arms open for a hug. I obliged, smiling.

"Where ya going girl?" Sid asked, tucking stray hair behind my ear.

"Lunch with Kristin. Usual," I said slightly rolling my eyes. She reached into the pastry side of the glass shelf and packaged up two of something's I didn't see. Sid did this often.

"Hospital food is gross," She laughed patting me on the shoulder. I nodded my thanks and walked out from behind the counter.

I was headed towards the door when I caught sight of Andrew and his friends. I backed up ducking out the other side door, opting to take the long way to my bug. Just as I pushed the door open I heard the bell ring that somebody new had opened the front door, Andrew. I scurried out the door, walking quickly to my car. I sent Kristin a quick text once I got inside the bug, that I was on my way. With that said and done, I pulled away from the old sky blue building and hopped on the outer road to the highway.

One thing you'll notice very quickly is that the population is a rather large number but the whole town has this podunk feel. Old decrepit buildings that tend to either lean to one side or are already next to the other house. The highway is only accessible by about twenty minutes of back roads or the outer road. As I drove through the gray outside, dodging ice patches and avoiding broken tree's laying in the road, I thought about random things. My job, rent, school, my mother, Kristin, and life in general. I wished I could come up with some profound philosophical thing to say to myself but I came up empty.

Next to me in the seat, my cell started to ring, it was my mother. Grudgingly I reached over and pressed talk, "Hey mom."

"Are you driving?" Her voice was tight.

My mother hate's it when I talk on my cell and drive at the same time. It's only illegal to text and drive in Missouri, unless your over twenty-one. Still, she thinks it should be illegal to do both, period.

"No mom, I'm not driving. I'm watching COPS on TV. What are you up too?" Yeah, nice lie there... idiot.

"Sarah are you sure your not driving, it sounds like you are."

"I think I would know if I was driving or not, mom," I stressed, annoyed.

"Don't get snippy with me. I'm your mother." Yes I know, you continue to treat me like I'm still in diapers even though I don't live under your roof. "I was just calling to see how your doing." More like check up on me. Make sure I'm not stung out on drugs or some shit like that.

"I'm doing fine. Thanks for asking. Listen mom, I really do need to get up and get dressed. I have to go take Kristin lunch." Not a complete lie...

"Well okay sweetie. Give me a call once in a while. I miss you birdie." Oh good lord she used the freaking baby nick name! And I'll see her this weekend, what's going on?

"Alright, by mom!" I hung up quickly, tossing my cell back to the seat. Something's up with her. I don't know what, but something is. She knows she'll see me in a few short days, what's the problem?

I pulled up into the hospital parking garage, pulling up next to Kristin's faded lime green hatchback with various colors of rust acting as a pattern to the car. It cost her one week's pay, five hundred dollars. The car was a piece of crap, but I promised her I could make it run like Cadillac. I proved myself correct when I fixed it up for her at Oscars. It just still looks like crap.

I got out, grabbing Sid's bag of treats along with my cell, and slammed the metal door. I walked in through the ER entrance, the nurse smiling at me as I walked past. Stopping in front of the elevator, I waited. A few doctors with nurses following them around like lap dogs passed by me, looking at clip boards. Thank God I'd never been admitted to this hospital. Ever since I was old enough to watch TV shows that had hospitals on them, and learned to say 'no', I've refused to ever be admitted. I'd rather take my chances.

The shiny silver doors slid open with a dull ding, two doctors walking out. I noticed one of them, particularly attractive glance up at me from his blackberry. He gave a polite smile but otherwise ignored me. Maybe he was an intern or a new resident. He looked too young to be a full doctor. His short blond hair was styled slightly, though I think it was meant to have the look of no effort at all. The thing that captured me the most was his eyes. One was pale blue while the other was vibrant green. They were pretty. He was pretty. Can a man be pretty? I shook my head, as if that would clear it and stepped inside the elevator. I reached out pushing level three.

"Hold the door!" I jumped, shoving my hand on the door to hold it open. Looking up I saw that it was none other that the doctor who was just on the elevator. "Thanks," he murmured breathlessly.

I just nodded once, "What floor?" I was standing beside the buttons, it only made sense that I push the button.

He squinted at the buttons, pointing. "Looks like the same floor your visiting."

Awkward silence for some reason ensued, I felt like I should know him. Slowly I glanced at his name badge clipped to the pocket on his white lab coat, Dr. Brennan Linx... I knew that name. I know that name. Suddenly it hit me, I flashed to a few months back.

Kristin came home looking dazed and aggravated all at the same time. I had set my grilled cheese down looking at her to try and figure out what had crawled up her ass. She began muttering quietly to herself I couldn't quite catch any of what she was grumbling. Finally I cleared my throat. "Something you need to talk about?" I asked, quirking my eyebrow up at her.

She huffed tossing her giant purse across the room, it thumping on our ripped up tweed brown couch with two springs sticking up from a cushion. "It's just this doctor. Brennan Linx. He's been sending a lot of patients to my department and then he bitches and complains for ME to re-do every single freaking X-ray! Whether I took the X-ray or not. To top it all off he's absolutely completely gorgeous." She groaned the last sentence.

I snapped out of my revere when the elevator dinged. Dr. Rude stepped out, briskly walking past the nurses station down the hall, towards the radiology department. I smiled briefly at Becky the head nurse behind the counter and followed quietly and slowly behind Dr. Rude. I saw Kristin walking out of a room with a folder of X-rays, her head down as she rubbed at her eyes. She's tired. I kept walking and then was shocked.

"Kristin I'd like you to get Mr. Sutherland from his room and re-take these pictures. Whoever did them obviously did not instruct the patient correctly. The X-ray is fuzzy due to breathing."

I could clearly see Kristin growing annoyed and frustrated. Add on that she's tired and you've got a recipe for an explosion. She straightened up, clenching the packet of X-rays in her hand. Her jaw was tight and upon closer inspection she was bouncing ever so slightly. That was my cue. I ran up quickly and smiled brightly behind Dr. Rude. "Hey, ready for lunch?" I asked laying on the cheer a little to thickly.

Dr. Rude spun around, looking down at me frowning harshly. He looked back to Kristin, pointing to the X-rays. "It would be greatly appreciated if you would get those done before your break." His fake niceness even made me sour at him. With that he walked off as though the world revolved around him.

"Wow, what and ass hole," I muttered once he rounded the corner. Kristin slumped up against the wall looking even more tired than I'd seen her in years. "Hey," I rested my hand on her shoulder. "You okay?"

She looked up, her eyes wet. "No. No I am not okay, Sarah. I'm exhausted and that jerk won't leave me the hell alone. I've pulled three twelve hour shifts and one ER night shift in between. I just want more than two hours of sleep."

I lifted up the little white bag of food Sid gave me, smiling. "Would a treat from Sid make things a little better?"

She snorted a little and shrugged away from the wall. "Yeah. I'll meet you down in the Caf, I need to take care of the X-rays he wants. Twenty minutes?"

I acted like I was crunched for time and them smiled, "Yeah. I'll just head up now."

Kristin walked away from me, headed towards the nurses station I assume to get the guy who Dr. Rude said needed better X-rays. I huffed, walking towards the back stairwell to head up to the fourth floor. I pushed open the door when my cell rang. I stopped, glancing down seeing it was Jason. Standing still, I pressed talk. "Hey Jay. Whats up?"

"Do you think you can come in later today? I know it's your day off and all but I'm sick and Dad needs help."

I leaned against the open door, pursing my lips, "What time? I'm at the hospital with Kristin to have lunch at the moment."

Jason hummed for a second, "Four? That gives you a few hours. Please?" He begged.

I laughed, "Sheesh Jason, you don't need to whine. I'll get enough of that from Kristin later."

He laughed, coughing a bit after that. Guess he really is sick. "Why, what happened?"

I rolled slightly against the door, looking back to the floor of the hospital. "There's this Doctor, Dr. Linx that seems to have found a hobby in making her job harder. I don't really get it though. He looked really nice, but I guess he's just like every other surgeon on the planet, full of himself. Really rude too."

Jason just chuckled, "That sucks. Tell her hey for me, will ya?"

"Yeah I can do that, I'll talk to you later Jay. Bye!"

"See ya."

I hung up, turning back around to head up the stairs when I came face to face with Dr. Rude himself. My eyes grew wide, knowing I'd been caught. His eyebrows were arched, this cocky smirk on his face while his arms were crossed over his defined chest. I was at a loss for what to say. His tall frame suddenly made me feel even more small.

"Rude huh?" He looked up as if he was thinking about it. "For the record I'm not full of myself. I just know I'm that good. I'm not torturing your friend. I'm doing my job. If she has a problem with the way I work, then she can take it up with the board."

My mouth fell slack. You've got to be kidding me! I knew I should keep my mouth shut. I knew I should walk past him and pretend I never said anything. Did I do that? No. No, instead my protective shield I had for myself and others that I love popped up and I proceeded to hand Dr. Linx his ass. I slammed the stairwell door shut, crossing my arms glaring at him.

"First of all, that was a private conversation, one you had no right to eavesdrop on. Second of all, Kristin is an amazing tech. She does her job and she loves helping the people here. You have absolutely no right to think she doesn't like this job. As a doctor I'm sure you yourself can understand working twelve hour shifts two in a row and more, and know that it can be stressful. Add your disrespecting ass to the mix sending her more patients and your just making it harder for her. And your enjoying it! You act like she's the only technician here. New's flash dude, there's like ten others, probably more." I hadn't realized that I was backing him up, cornering him against the rail of the stairs. He opened his mouth to say something, but I held up my hand, "Save it. Your a hot shot doctor who is arrogant and impolite. I should have kept my mouth shut and been the bigger person here by not allowing you to provoke me. Messing with the people I love will seriously piss me off."

I sighed rubbing my hands roughly against my face, "Look, don't punish Kristin for my immature rant. She in no way asked me to go off on you or implied she herself wanted too. I'm sure your a very busy man and have much more important things to do than listen to a little sister bitch at you." I side stepped him and headed up the stairs. I was almost half way up when he spoke.

"Kristin is a good tech. One of the best, that's why I ask her to re-do everything. Because she's better than the others." He paused sighing and looked directly up at me. "I didn't know she had a sister, she's lucky she has one that will go to bat for her the way you did. That took guts to tell me off like that." He gave me a pointed glance, "Watch what you say though, that short fuse of yours could get you into trouble." With that he gave yet another cocky smile and turned to open the door.

I starred in disbelief at the closing door. What. just. Happened? Dr. Rude just became Dr. Complex.

Later, once I was sitting down at a table in the smelly cafeteria, spinning a coin on the surface, Kristin showed up looking confused. She pulled out the chair across from me and folded her hands on top of the table, "Did you do something to Dr. Linx?"

I swallowed dryly and furrowed my brow at her, "How do you mean?"

She folded her lip under her teeth and fell back into her chair, "I don't get it." She threw her hands up to her face baffled and began to rub her temples. "He walked up to me while I was pushing Mr. Sutherland back to his room and asked to speak with me. Once he got me alone in the break room he proceeds to apologize to me. Explaining that he see's that I'm the best and only trusts my judgment." She scoffed, shaking her head, while she clamped her hand down over her eyes. "Maybe I was hallucinating the whole thing because I'm just that tired."

I became very quiet, praying to whatever God there was that he take pity on me and allow Kristin to forget all about this. Still with her hand over her eyes she spoke again. "And the other weird thing, he told me I was lucky to have such good family. What the hell was that all about?"

Way to go dumb ass! You should have kept your mouth shut.

I chuckled and stood, "No idea. So what looks good today? Ya know I think I'm gonna have the salad and chicken patty." I spoke in rushed words and was halfway to the line when her voice, very lowly, and commanding sounded out.

"Stop." There wasn't a patron in the room that didn't know she was pissed. "Come. Now." I turned wincing and walked back to the table, my head down like a scolded puppy. "What did you do?" Should I start off by contacting a law firm to make my will now or do I just let Kristin off me and let my mother figure out what to do?

I closed my eyes, hoping not to make this a big deal, while I wrung my fingers together nervously. "I was headed here, by way to the stairs when Jason called me." I paused and she glared at me. "Somehow or another we got onto the topic of Dr. Linx and how he kind of walks all over you. I called him a few things. Oh, by the way Jason says hi."

She shook her head, "That can't be all. Start talking."

I groaned and flopped down into the chair, "I honestly had no idea he was standing near me. I mean, Christ it was a private phone call!" She gave me a pointed look so I kept going. "He semi confronted me about what I said. Hear me when I say this, he isn't going to fire you. He was," I paused trying to think of an appropriate word to describe the look on his face. "Impressed, with how I defended you. Basically told me I was stupid for not watching my mouth better but still." I cringed waiting for her head to start spitting lava like a volcano but it never came. Instead her lips twisted until her whole face followed suit and she glared at me, still not talking. I wasn't sure if she was waiting for me to tell more or was just simmering, thinking about what I said.

After what seemed like an impossibly long stretch of time-an amount I thought I could actually hear the clock ticking-she spoke. "I can't believe this." Her eyes closed and she relaxed her face, "Let's just eat our lunch and I'll think about not kicking your ass for this." With that she stood up walking up to the line. I remained seated, pondering what was next when I saw Dr. Complex come into the area. He gave me a slight polite wave and walked past me. Imagine how shocked my face became.

Okay, Dr. Weirdo is his name now.

He walked right up behind Kristin, not alerting her in any way that he was there. I sat there awkwardly bouncing in my seat trying to figure out what I should do. For all I know she's up there muttering about hating him and he can hear all of it. Or, she'll turn and see him and faint because she finds him so attractive. So what's a girl to do? My finger's drummed the table to their own accord as I watched the scene unfold like it was a suspense movie. Drum after drum, thump after thump, I watched. They moved fluidly in line, placing food of sorts and napkins on their trays. Silently, like there was never any conflict at all, Dr. Weirdo tapped Kristin on the shoulder. Apparently to lightly because she didn't turn around. She simply slid her money to the cashier and walked towards me. Her brow furrowed as she got closer to me.

"If you open your mouth any further a bug might-!" Before I could jump up and catch her, Kristin's shoe slipped on a small puddle of red juice on the tile floor. It was absolutely mind boggling, the situation unfolded rather quickly, yet slow enough that I knew what just happened was impossible. Dr. Weirdo was suddenly holding Kristin around the waist, her tray of food completely forgotten on the floor spilled. As everything fell into place Kristin looked around herself as if she had been waiting to hit the floor. When she realized Dr. Weirdo was holding her and their eyes locked, it was almost electric. The buzz was nearly annoying. I looked around myself looking for the source of the noise but I could only find it from the two in front of me.

"You took quite a spill there, are you okay?"

Her eyes flashed to me, around herself and back to his, fluttering a few times before she mumbled something that made Dr. Weirdo chuckle. I grunted annoyed that I couldn't hear what she said. Then it hit me that I didn't have to sit here. I should be over there making sure she is okay. I stood, looking at the tile as I walked to make sure I didn't fall down, because let's face it, I'd get hospitalized and probably take five others with me. When I reached Kristin, Dr. Weirdo had brought her to a stand but hadn't let go of her waist. In fact Kristin's hand was laying flat against his chest. What the-?

"Ahem," I cleared my throat, not at all sorry I interrupted their moment. "Kris you okay?" I asked, while leaning my head to see her face more. She didn't respond, it was like Dr. Weirdo had her in a trance. I snapped my fingers in front of her face twice when finally they both came out of it. "Hello, welcome back to planet earth. Where'd ya go?"

She giggled, an oddity for Kristin and stepped away from Dr. Weirdo. "Yeah, sorry. No, I'm fine. Fine. Yes, fine."

My face puckered, "Did you hit your head?"

Her answering sigh, as she reached up and gently stroked the side of Dr. Weirdo's face made my stomach lurch. "No. I'm absolutely fine."

"Uh. Mmkay," I mumbled. I turned around walking to pick up her spilled food, thankfully it was all wrapped up and didn't make a huge mess. What the hell is up with her?! She had to have hit her head. That or she's got the plague and she's delirious. I stood, looking over my shoulder at the two of them talking quietly. "I'm just gonna sit down over there," I pointed to our table but she didn't even notice. "Ya know, just over there," I tried again. I huffed, "I'm gonna run around the cafeteria naked and sing the Barney song." Still nothing. I was mortified when a doctor walked past me grinning for ear to ear. "What are you looking at?!" I all but bellowed at him. I left the tray on the table, glancing at my watch, I could show up early and help OZ. "Good bye Kristin!" I said loudly. I couldn't tell if I was miffed or not that she was ignoring me. I walked silently out to my car, feeling confused and worried at the same time, only I didn't know why. I turned the key hard, holding it down longer than should be necessary and finally heard the engine kick.

I drove down the side road, back into town passing my building and keeping my speed at thirty five miles per hour. The slow progression of this dinky town was seriously working my nerves. I just want something interesting to happen. I mean this is freaking Missouri and not even a tornado will hit us. They all literally split right when they get close, go around the town and join back together only to reek havoc on the nearby towns. Nothing. I repeat, nothing ever happens here.

When I pulled up into the back of Oscars Auto shop, I could already see Oscar arguing with a patron. I grumbled a few choice words as I got out of my bug, slamming the door and walking into the dim, warm garage. Freaking cold outside it is.

"Mr. Barnes, I'm trying to fix you car," Oscar's voice was low and annoyed. But he was doing everything possible to stay polite. "If you would just let me explain the total cost it will be to repair your car-"

"Your scamming me!" The man yelled. He stomped his foot like a child even though he was well into his late adult years. I ran my fingers over my face groaning. Ugh, why did I agree to come in today?

"Um, excuse me. Hi there," I reached out my hand to the angry man, giving my most warm polite smile. "I'm Sarah. I work here as well. Why don't you come with me and we'll both have a look at your car?"

He snubbed Oscar, shaking my hand and nodding as he followed me over to his Buick Lacrosse. It had been in an accident. I walked away for a moment to grab my clip board to start an estimate. He raised his eye brows at me, removing his sunglasses. His eyes were a pale brown, shallow and dull. His face leather like from too much sun. "So a young little lady like you works here in a shop?"

I rolled my eye's when he wasn't looking as I walked around the body. I pushed the up button, raising the car so I could get a better look at the underneath. "I'm not that young and I'm certainly no lady." I reached up, feeling a lose pipe and marked that down. I could see Oscar working on a blue sedan, thankful I took this man away from him. "Though most do seem to wonder what I'm doing here," I added more to myself.

"Not that young huh?" He growled.

I jerked my head over my shoulder narrowing my eyes at him, daring him to try something. Dude better not lay a finger on me. I'm not stupid enough to be the only chick working here and not know how to defend myself from creeps like him. I've never actually had to defend myself, most everybody that comes here is local and knows better. But this guy, I'd never seen him before.

"So what's the estimate?" He asked, crossing his arms.

Later that evening as I sat at our ripped up card table-that acted as our dinner table-I did my homework. It was around seven, Kristin should be home soon. As I tapped my pencil back and forth from the table to the air, I dreaded school on Monday. More though, I was dreading going to my mother's tomorrow afternoon. Something was wrong and that's why she called me earlier today. I couldn't for the life of me come up with an explanation. And that worried me. I huffed, falling back in the creaky fold up chair. Where was Kristin? I turned my head slightly to the right looking at our old white microwave, sitting on top of an empty cooler to see the time. 9:26.... Wow, I didn't realize it was already that late. My eyes shot over to the front door, glaring as if that would make Kristin walk thru. My lip took up residence between my teeth as I reached for my cell phone to call her. She get's off at five. Where the hell is she?

The phone rang three times, then four, five, then... "Hello?"

"Where are you?" I asked, trying to keep the worry out of my voice. I kept reminding myself that Kristin is a big girl and I'm not her mother.

I could hear her giggling softly, "I'm at dinner." Her answer was coy. Very odd for her.

"Dinner? It's pizza night." I couldn't keep the slight sadness out of my voice. She was clearly with somebody and having fun. It was odd. Like the positions were reversed somehow. Usually it's Kristin calling me, upset that I'm with Jason or at my mom's. Now, I'm sitting here all by myself with a large peperoni extra cheese pizza with stuffed crust in front of me. I lifted the cardboard up looking at the cheesy melty goodness, suddenly not hungry.

"Oh. I guess I forgot. Did you already order it? I can bring you home-"

"Yeah, I did. Around seven. It's cool. I'll see you when you get home." I flipped my cell closed, shoving my notebook with my essay on Of Mice and Men away. I leaned back in the chair, balancing oh so carefully on the rear legs, reaching to tug open our fridge. It's one of those really old ones, that rattles each time the cooler thing kicks on. The kind with the freezer above and fridge below. I reached in, pulling out a glass bottle of coke and shut the door. I made quick work of the cap, twisting it off. I instantly regretted twisting it without using a sleeve to cover my palm. The rough ridges of the red metal cap ripped into my skin leaving behind a nice bloody gash.

"Awesome. This would happen to me." I hopped up, taking the small step to our small sink and ran warm water over the angry lines. The water ran red and drops of crimson stained the metal tub. I groaned, reaching to the right to pull a paper towel off the wooden spindle and apply pressure to my palm. I held my right hand above my head like Kristin taught me a long time ago, praying the bleeding would stop. I breathed slowly, knowing having a fast pace heart would not help. I gazed out our fire escape, grabbing my pizza box and coke heading for it to sit outside. I knew it was freezing and I didn't care. The sky was clear and what else was there to do? Our TV only got local and even that was glitchy at best. I didn't really feel like watching a movie or listening to music. I needed to be alone with my thoughts. I sat the pizza box and my murderous coke on the ledge and lifted the window up. It hurt to use my palm but I got it open. Sticking my left leg out first, I sat down on the metal steps and pulled the pizza box to my lap, setting the coke next to me.

You would think the height would bother me, when in reality I kind of enjoyed the small thrill I got when I knew if I turned wrong or stepped too far I could fall. No, I do not have a death wish. I just have no excitement at all in my life. I chuckled darkly as I took a swig of the coke. There was really nobody outside, but every now and then somebody would walk below. They'd look up, stare for a few moments and then walk along. The wind blew hard then, a shiver creeping up my spine. I took another bite of my pizza and watched as some guy, tall, looking lost walk around. He stopped, and gripped his messy dark hair tightly. Then he froze and looked up, right at me. Suddenly the chills that went through my spine were not from the wind. His eyes caught the street lamp and glinted up at me like a cats eyes. My breath caught and I dropped the half slice of pizza. He didn't move, he didn't even blink. I furrowed my brow, my lips twisting up into a confused frown. I stood, tossing the pizza box back inside, and dropped my bottle through one of the stairs and listened as it broke against the pavement. His eyes stayed trained on me even when the glass shattered. I quickly slid back into the room, slamming the window shut and locking it.

I pulled the plastic blinds closed and picked up the rest of the pizza walking into the small kitchen, placing the leftovers in the fridge. What was with that guy? I wasn't afraid I was-unfortunately-intrigued. While I'm sure I looked like a lunatic sitting out on a fire escape in a tank top and shorts eating pizza when it's maybe thirty degrees outside, it was the way he looked at me. His eyes-though far away-were intense and warm. I rolled my eyes at myself, yeah because you can tell all of that from eighty feet up. And now I'm nuts and talking to myself. Awesome.

I walked towards my bedroom, flicking the light off in the small kitchen as I went. I crawled into my surprisingly comfortable bed, pulling the covers tight around my body. The moon shown brightly through my window as if to mock me that this would be yet another long night. My eyes slowly fluttered close, trying with everything I had to sleep. I was tired. I was upset. I was cold. I should have no problem with this activity. But I knew nightmares were awaiting me behind the closed doors of my eye lids. And even though I hardly ever knew what I was so afraid of in the dream, I knew I had complete reason to be scared.

I took a deep breath rolling to my side, stuffing the pillow up under my head and gave into the sleep and bad dreams waiting for me.

I woke the next morning to a funky smell. When I opened my eyes, the air was hazy and gray. I sat up in bed, instantly knowing what the cause of the haze and smell was. Kristin was cooking. I flew around the corner into the kitchen wide eyed and waving my hand in front of my face to see better. Kristin was over at the fire escape, tossing some black saucer out the window.

"What are you doing?" I hollered, looking at her confused.

Her face tinged a soft pink and she shrugged, holding a pan in her right hand. "I felt bad about last night. Thought I'd make you pancakes to make up for it. But," She gestured around herself at all the smoke. "Obviously that didn't really work out."

I covered my mouth, trying really hard not to laugh at her. Actually I thought it was sweet that she was trying to make it up to me for missing pizza night. But my shoulders betrayed me by shaking up and down. Finally I busted out laughing and watched as she grinned too.


"There was never anything to forgive." I walked back to my bedroom and opened my window hoping that would help air out the apartment. I heard Kristin walk into my room so I spoke with my back to her as I stretched in front of the window again. "So who were you out to dinner with?"

When she fell silent I spun around to look at her. Her avoidance of eye contact was my first clue that she didn't know how to tell me or she didn't want to. Neither of which would stop me from making her talk. I crossed my arms, about to open my mouth and say some witty remark to lighten her mood but she beat me to the punch. "I was with Brennan. Yes the Dr. Brennan Linx. I know, I know I hated him before but he's incredibly sweet. Nothing at all like you and I thought, or at least what I thought. It's like everything changed at lunch yesterday. I felt wavelets of electricity when he touched me. Every time he touches me come to think of it. I don't know, just when I'm in the same room as him I just know. I lost complete track of time and before I knew it it was almost three am. You should have seen his apartment! Holy shit, you wanna talk rolling in it, that man is swimming in it. It's near the hospital, more in the city and it's... I guess like a loft.

"It's really open and the back wall is all window looking out at the city. Everything is high tech. His dish washer is touch screen! Who has a touch screen dish washer!? His fridge is all glass and you can see the water flow as you get a drink. Sarah, it's so nice, I wish you could have seen it." Finally she stopped, breathing and then becoming doe eyed realizing how much she had just spilled. She frowned taking another deep breath, "It really made me see how crappy our life here is. I was so embarrassed for him to see how we live that I refused to let him bring me home and pick me up tonight for my shift. I made him drive me back to the hospital so I could get my car." She threw herself down on my bed, the frame screeching in protest. "Does that make me shallow?"

I ran my fingers through my hair thinking about how to phrase what I wanted to say to her. I sighed, "No. It does not make you shallow." I served my hands around my room, "Do you see what we live in?" I laughed. "But we do because it's what we can afford. If we could afford all that extravagant stuff, I'm sure you would have it where ever we lived. So no it does not make you shallow. Hell, if I met somebody who was rich as all get out I probably wouldn't want them to see where I live either. I mean, I kind of like our hole in the wall apartment but I would still feel a little inadequate."

She smiled in relief, sitting up on my bed. I started walking out to the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal. "I guess breakfast is beyond saving huh."

"That's an understatement," I grinned. I pulled out some frosted flakes and then went to the fridge, "Are we out of milk?" Kristin shrugged and I growled. "Orange juice it is..." She visibly cringed as I poured the juice on my cereal in place of milk. "You're the one who used all the milk on the pancake toast."

"Ya know I could just run down to the cafe and get some," She mumbled dryly. "Sid knows we eat her food late at night all the time. What's the difference in doing it in the daylight?"

I laughed, "The difference is people are down there and will see you in your huge t-shirt and underwear." She picked up an oven mitt, throwing it at my head smirking. "Oh I'm so hurt." She flipped me off, laughing all the way to her small bedroom towards the back wall. I stood, walking over to the fire escape to look outside. A few people were milling about from produce stands and flower carts. Mostly though, everybody was pulling their winter coats tight around their bodies to try and hold in what little body heat they had left. I spooned another bite of soggy orange cereal cringing as it slid down my throat.

"I'm having a late lunch with Brennan before our shifts today, do you wanna come with us?" Kristin appeared from her room in jeans and a white t-shirt, slipping on her left sneaker.

"I have dinner with mom and Scott tonight. I have to be there by four. Probably not the best idea to eat before I go."

"Oh. That's right, I forgot I guess." She took a deep breath, placing her hands on her hips. "Well I'm gonna run down the road to the gas station and get us some milk. Want anything?"

"No, I think I'm good. I'm just gonna work on my essay 'till it's time for me to leave for mom's."

She shrugged her shoulders, grabbing her keys and purse off the kitchen table, waved and walked out the door. I huffed, throwing myself dramatically on the flat uncushioned couch, a spring jabbing me mid back. Ally our adopted cat crawled out from underneath it and hopped up on my chest. I stroked her back a couple of times, her head nuzzling my chin with each pass. Her purr was calming me and my buzzing head, soon my eyes became heavy and I fell asleep.