Getting There




Author's Note: The quote at the end is a completely random thing. Read and review loves. :)

As I rounded a corner, I came face to face with a couple mauling the hell out of each other's faces. Sighing slightly, I sidestepped them and smacked square into a hard wall.

Oh, the pain! I howled in agony, rubbing my face, and then I realized that it wasn't a wall, it was instead someone tall and well-built with muscles.

Oh this is great. I meet the school god/hottie/bad boy by banging into him. Thanks fate! Meet Connor Reed. Refer to above rambling for full description of his lean muscles, deep brown eyes and so on.

Connor's head was tilted down, so we were level, eye to eye.

In retrospect he was really hot. I would've drooled right there, but the close proximity we were shocked me, and I leapt backwards, automatically giving a kungfu pose with my hands in front of me.

"Are you alright?" he asked, and I saw amusement in his brown eyes.

Immediately stepping out of my, er, defensive pose I rubbed the back of my head, coughing. "Yea… just peachy." And then I muttered about tough guys and rock-hard muscles.

He looked as if he was going to smile, but I kinda knew he wouldn't. He had that whole bad-boy thing going on with a pierced eyebrow, and looked like he rarely ever smiled. "Is there a problem?"

The couple, who had been furiously making out earlier had stopped halfway to watch the both of us.

"No," I said defiantly. "I'm going to- uh, go."

He nodded, the faint amusement still in his eyes. "Yeah."


I walked away quickly.



I was in Calculus when somebody tapped my shoulder. I turned around in irritation. Well, I'm really bad in Calculus, you know, and I sort of need to focus in class if I want to keep my grades above a C-.

"What," I hissed before turning, and froze when Connor Reed looked at me silently.

"I was told to pass this to you," he said in a bored sort of a voice, holding out a slip of paper.

I took it wordlessly and opened it as discreetly as possible (my Calculus teacher hates children and whatever they do in any form; I suspect she's secretly an incubus or something).

Pey-pey, baby, go out wt me tonight?

I closed the note and turned around to glare deeply at Fuller Smith. I'll bet my entire life savings he sent the note. He's been trying to get me in bed ever since I rejected his sorry ass last year. True enough, he sent me a huge wink.

If you call me pey-pey one more time I will murder you very slowly and very painfully using a rusty saw. And then I will bury you and plant a cactus on top of you.

I turned around and sort of sheepishly asked Connor to pass the note back; he didn't look very pleased at being used as a postman. Just as I turned back to the front, laughter rang from behind me.

Connor was laughing, an open, amused laugh that made me smile at once. The teacher very slowly turned around to look at Connor. The rest of the class (including me) copied her and looked at him.

He was laughing, yes, with his head thrown back, but I instantly realized he was laughing at the note he was holding in his hand. Sorry, my note he was holding in his hand. Hey, he was supposed to pass that to Fuller!

Hey, he wasn't supposed to read it!

But I felt a slow smile on my lips and struggled to hide it. At last, Connor slowed his laughter to a last chuckle and looked at me with bright eyes.

"Issss-" (I'm not kidding, Mrs. Soderling drags her 's's like a snake- haha, 's's, that was like 'asses' shortened) "-there anything funny, Missssster Reed?"

Connor lifted his eyes from me to look at her calmly. "No, there's not." Then commenced a battle of staring between him and Mrs. Soderling. In the end, of course, Connor won: Mrs. Soderling and the rest of the world knew that Connor didn't give a damn if he got punishment anyway, he's probably been in detention more than the entire amount of detention given out since the school was started.

But I felt his eyes on the back of my head for the rest of the lesson, but I didn't dare turn around. In fact, he even chuckled several times after that, repeating the words 'cactus' and 'rusty saw'. The nerve of him, not passing on the note! And reading it! Now Fuller will never know how I plan to kill him. Gah, people these days..



"Peyton," Alex sang loudly, plopping down into the chair in front of me.

Half the crowd in Starbucks turned to stare at us. I glared at Alex, my useless cousin and/or best friend since I can remember. I'm just kidding. I love the crazy dude.

"Now they know your name. It's good news," he shrugged.

"I'm pretty sure they don't care," I said, sipping on my drink.

"Point. Did you know penguins could jump up to six feet high?"

Alex likes saying random things. It's really a nice distraction at times.

"Oh. Cool. We could like teach it to play basketball or something."

Plus I've grown immune to them.

The glass door opened with a jingle and in walked Connor and the other ruling Greek God in my school, Daryl Sim.

I instantly made an attempt to hide my face. For the past few days its becoming sort of a routine for me to either bump into Connor and make a fool out of myself or say something (translation: reject) to anyone (translation: Fuller) and he'll laugh at me.

Pfft, I am the master of disguise! He'll never spot me in here.

"…What are you doing?" Alex gave me a weird look, frowning at the big plastic cup I was currently holding over my face.

"Uh," I said. "I'm, uh, inspecting the outstanding quality of this- uh, plastic cup. You see, it's just so fascinating how-" dammit, he spotted me. "-how-how er, full of quality this is, and-"

"-Peyton, baaaaby."

Fuller sat down beside me, promptly getting up when I growled (yes, growled, I took lessons from my dog Rocky aight?) at him, but still stood close to my chair.

"No," I said, when he opened his mouth. "No-no- rejected. Denied," I cut in, every time before he could say something. "I'm not going to go out with you, and if you call me baby or harass me again, I swear to God I'm going to make you feel sorry for your egoistic ass."

Cue chuckles from a certain person I knew- well, sort of know…

Fuller leaned forward, a slightly menacing smirk on his face. You know, if he wasn't such a jerk, a playboy, and a complete asshole at that, I might actually give him a chance. But noooo. Fuller fits the stereotype of a jock.

"You know someday you're gonna give in," he said harshly, forcefully cupping my chin. "Don't act hard to get- you want it as much as the next girl-" well partly true, the blonde next to my table has been eyeing Fuller closely "-just give up the act, I'll bring you to my room and you can show me what color underwear you're wearing."

All of this was said in a harsh, calm tone, and I was completely shocked by the end of it. The entire shop was silent and unmoving. No one ever talked to me like that. And as I sat there, taken aback, a thud made me jerk out of it.

"Don't talk to her like that you son of a *BEEP*," Alex said furiously, tossing a donut up and down in his hand. Squinting slightly, he took aim and threw it hard: it bounced off Fuller's eye, leaving a chocolate ring around it.

Fuller slowly looked at Alex, straightening up, and a few things happened at once.

Connor and Daryl walked towards my table. Alex flung my plastic cup of iced mocha latte at Fuller, hitting him squarely in the face, and my rage got to my brain as I stood up and slapped Fuller.

Connor and Daryl and Alex stopped in their tracks as I threw a punch to Fuller's face. As he spit out the latte, I slapped him again and kneed him in the balls.

Fuller gasped, doubling over, and slid to the floor, clutching his man-parts. I serenely took my bag, gave an apologetic smile to one of the workers, who had been watching the entire scene with an open mouth, grabbed a stunned Alex by the arm and we fled the scene, leaving Connor and Daryl behind.

Stopping at a bus stop, Alex grinned at me. "I am proud to call you my cousin."

"Thanks," I said, still stunned by the earlier scene.

As we waited for the bus together, Alex fiddled with my bag (he'd stuffed a few donuts into it before we fled).

"Did you know that toilets flush in the key of E-flat?"

"Huh. I really didn't expect that."



Fuller entered the cafeteria with a black eye, and was limping.

…Huh, am I that strong? Yeeah, I feel awesome looking at the black eye.

The rest of the cafeteria was buzzing, most of the chatter was about me and Fuller.

"There she is, the sadist."

"Can you believe she did that to him?"

"And all Smith did was tell her he was taken."

Oh, so that's the story he's going with. I interestedly eavesdropped on even more people.

"God, what a bitch."

"She was trying to steal Fuller from Brittany-"

Oh, well that explains the killer looks I've been getting from Brittany and her posse.


Oh how I wish Alex was here, we could both laugh at their comments and he'll give me some random fact. But no, Alex skipped school (he does that a lot) and I'm all alone at my table, and my apple's mocking me.

Oh god, now I wish Gen was here with me. Genelia Adams, my best best friend ever. She went on an around-the-world cruise last month and still hasn't come back. The world seems so different without her usual gothic, scary self. Le sigh. If she was here she'd scare everyone away. I miss her so much- Alex does, too. I mean, they are a couple. Somehow my wacko cousin found it in himself to ask her out after heavily crushing on her for months. They fight a lot, but when they do it you could tell that they still liked the hell out of each other. Somehow, like opposites attract, they do: Alex an annoying, bright ray of sunshine who loves making people laugh (he wanted to be a clown when he grew up, and then he turned 6) and Gen, in her dark clothing, scaring the crap out of people, just for fun.

The whispers, not so much of a whisper, continued.

Pursing my lips, I finished my lunch in silence, making conversation with myself in my head. It went a little like this:

Me: Hey. What's up?

Me: Hey. The ceiling.

End of Q&A session with myself. Do tune in for more crazy. Meanwhile, I better get out of here. Brittany's been staring at me while rubbing her hands together. And she just let out a cackle.



School's over, thank god!

I walked towards my red Wrangler Jeep, my ultimate love of life. I earned her. You will never know how many days of babysitting I had to go through before I could have 1 grand and my dad would put in the rest. (It's a rule of his. He thinks I need disciplining. Pfft…me.)

I put my bag on the hood, searching for my keys and then I died out of shock when a hand abruptly landed on the hood, right beside me.

(Haha, I actually didn't. Not funny? …tough crowd)

"!!!" I yelped, turning around. And then my anger dissipated when I found Connor glaring at me.

"Why didn't you say something?" he demanded.


"What?" I asked, completely dumbfounded.

Connor took a step closer to me. We were pressed against each other. I leaned backwards against the hood, and he followed suit, leaning over me.

…Alright, did anybody else hear my personal bubble pop?

"Why?" He glared at me harder.

"Why what," I snapped, annoyed.

He seemed to come to his senses. And yet he inched closer still towards me. "Today, in the cafeteria. When everyone was talking shit about you. Why didn't you defend yourself?"

I glared right back. Was that what this was all about?

"Because it wouldn't have made a difference." His intense gaze was belittling me, it was making me feel like the fact that I didn't stand up for myself made me a coward. "They would've kept on bitching about me and probably would do it worse if I had defended myself- stop looking at me like that, alright, would you get off me!" I ended hotly (OK, so part of it was because of my anger, another part of it was because his body was pressed tightly against mine), glowering.

To my ultimate indignation, he smirked.

"Why?" He asked, now using one of his hands to hold my back still: I was leaning farther away and he was following steadily. "Does it make you uncomfortable?"

"No, Connor, it doesn't make me uncomfortable," I said as sarcastically as possible. "This is just so comfy, I could stay under you like this forever."

Aaaaand I instantly turned red when I realized what I said. As I struggled to cover my mistake, he chuckled.

"Well, I wouldn't mind that."

This is getting out of hand.

"…I have to go home."

"OK." He tilted his head to the side.

"Get off me. Please," I added.

"OK." He removed himself.


I got inside, averting my eyes from him all the time. I was aware, as I left the school compound, that he still stood in the same place, watching after me.



Ah, History, such an interesting subject, full of fascinating facts that I can't wait to just soak up, because it's so fun memorizing things that happened years ago.

Note: read all of above in a sarcastic voice.

Nevertheless, I sat alone, my book open and paying attention to Mr. Hans like the good student I am. (cough puke die) Of course I was sitting alone. Even during Gen's absence, usually I'll have at least someone besides Alex to talk to, but no. Brittany and her posse made sure that everyone knows I'm a homewrecking slut.

Hence the gap surrounding my seat. Honestly, I should be flattered. All noise is silenced whenever I walk in, people flee when I make a move towards them, and there's an empty ring around my seat. I feel like someone from the Mafia's about to kill me anytime soon.

Which was why I was surprised when Brittany opened the door and walked in, uttering an excuse to Mr. Hans, and made a beeline straight for me.

Crap. Mr. Hans! Mr. Hans! Dammit, dude, don't let her get near me! (Don't get me wrong. I fight for my rights as much as the next person but damn Brittany's got long, sharp nails.) But as usual, Mr. Hans is absorbed in his own world. Want a description? Think Professor Binns from Harry Potter. Only Mr. Hans is ten times worse. He doesn't even care if we pass or fail.

"Listen slut," Brittany said, hands on her hips. I looked up at her, keeping a blank façade on. The class went silent, preparing to watch the scene that would unfold. Why stop there, fellow classmates? Somebody go pop fucking popcorn! "I know, and I understand that you're lusting after my boyfriend. And I am prepared to forgive you," she gave an angelic little sigh- DO NOT BE FOOLED- "but. You're going to promise me that you'll stay away from him. I mean, there's still hope for you. I'm sure there's someone that's willing to date you…" and she examined her –very long and very sharp- fingernails.

In any other day Gen would've scraped all of Brittany's platinum blonde hair off. I myself would be pulling Gen off of her, promising Brittany what she wants as long as my best friend doesn't end up in jail for murder. But today, Gen wasn't here, and Connor's belittling gaze from yesterday hung in front of my eyes, and my brain conjured up many things I wanted to tell her.

"Thank you," I said, matching her sweet tone sarcastically. "Because I crave for nothing more than your forgiveness. Bitch please," I scoffed. "I don't live to please you." The class gave a collective gasp; Mr. Hans scratched his head and continued his drone. "Just for your information, I don't want Fuller. Keep him for as long as you want- or until you find out what a manwhore he is."


"Slut-" she raised a hand –very long, very sharp fingernail-ed hand- and I honestly saw all of my life flash before my eyes, and Mr. Hans happened to look up at the time, and instantly Brittany brought her hand down, patting my head while giggling. "You're so funny, isn't she funny?" She even threw her head back a little in laughter.

Well, I gotta give her that, she should get nominated for an Oscar or something.

As soon as Mr. Hans' attention was diverted, she leaned down low and hissed. "You think you're untouchable, don't you?" No I don't, as a matter of fact I fear her fingernails very much "With Reed all over Fuller, protecting you, and your freak of a buddy coming back soon, you really think you're powerful, don't you? Well I'm gonna tell you what exactly I'm gonna do to you after school. I will gouge your-"

"Reed all over Fuller?" I interrupted her mid-flow. I am aware that she was telling me the layout of my demise in detail, but this is a bigger matter. "Connor-?"

"Don't act like you don't know," she said, distracted by my question. "Yes, Connor. Connor Reed, giving my boyfriend the black eye and all, I know you put him up to it. But let me tell you something, slut- I don't care what power you have over Reed, you're not going to-"

"So Connor bashed Fuller up?" I interrupted again.

"Yes," she hissed exasperatedly. She was getting to know that I'm not an easy person to liaise with. Ah, guess she'll have to put up with my slow pick up before she goes into detail of my death again. "We're not gonna leave you alone for it, so you better watch your back, cause-"

"Yeah yeah," I waved her off. And just as she snarled, raising her hand up again, the bell rang and I shot out of my seat: I just saw Connor walk past the class.



I couldn't find Connor after that. And I spent the rest of the day playing hide and seek with Brittany. I gave her the slip when school ended. Well actually, it was more like me gunning my engine and her posse fleeing the scene when my Wrangler gave an awesome monster-truck-ish roar, but she didn't seem deterred until I ran over a pot of flower. It was crushed, and the plant died.

(I don't think the principal will be happy with me.)

If Brittany bitch-ass wasn't stalking me and planning to murder me I would've hunted Connor down. Instead I had to content myself by yelling my heart out to Three Days Grace. It was a Friday, which meant I had to wait until Monday until I could confront Connor.

As I got down from my Wrangler, I didn't notice a black Mazda parked opposite my house. That was why I yelled in shock when a hand suddenly grabbed my shoulder.

"Connor!" I scolded, hand over heart, when I whipped around to find him lazily grinning at me. "What. Is the matter with you?"

He shrugged. I glared.

"I'm going in," I told him, and went in, closing the door.

…Wait, I was going to confront him!

I opened the door quickly and stepped outside, where I found him standing in the exact same spot he was standing before.

"I changed my mind about going in," I said. And then I crossed my arms. "Rapid fire session. Ready?"

He nodded. "Shoot."

"Did you bash up Fuller Smith?"


"Did you do it after Alex and I fled- er, I mean left Starbucks?"


"You gave him a black eye?"

"Yeah. And the sprained thigh."

I wrinkled my nose. "How can you sprain your thigh?"

"Shit happens," he explained very informatively.

I was silent for a moment. "Why did you bash him up?"

Connor simply looked at me wordlessly. I wagged a finger at him very menacingly (cough puke die). "You can't pass on a question."

"You never mentioned that at the beginning, so I can pass on a question."

Dammit. I glared. "Why are you here? Why did you ask me why I didn't defend myself? Why were you of all people so riled up when I was the one getting bitched at? Why did you bash Fuller up?" I was in a torrent, I couldn't stop. "Why did you care?"

Connor Reed silently watched me during the Peyton Inquisition. And then he took a step towards me, and his deep brown eyes smoldered.

"Done?" I meekly nodded. "I'm here because I wanted to see you. Because I couldn't catch you in school, because I missed looking at you. I asked you why you didn't defend yourself because I wanted to defend you. Because I wanted you to give me a reason for me to stop falling for you. Because I thought, if you said something like any typical girl would have said, like burst into tears or something, I would've found your one flaw. Then I could try to stop and get you out of my head. I got pissed off when people talked shit about you because it was you. Any other girl, Peyton, and I wouldn't bother- but it was you. I bashed Fuller up because he dared to talk to you like that. No one talks like that to you. And as for your last question," he held my eyes, now holding my elbows; we were closely pressed against each other. "I care because you make me laugh. I get this stupid ache right here" he poked his chest, over his heart "when I don't see you for a day. I care because I'm crazy about you."

Well…that was…

"Liar," I trembled, hardly daring to breathe. That was the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me, but I couldn't believe him. After all these years, now…?

He seemed to guess what I was thinking, because he sort of sighed resignedly, raising his eyes heavenward, before he pushed me against my own door and pressed his lips against mine. Going with my instinct, I kissed him back, running my hand through his hair. Wrapping his arms around my waist, he pulled me tighter against him and kissed me harder, more passionate, demanding, and then slower as we pulled apart, breathing heavily.

"I would've approached you sooner, you know," he muttered, panting. "Way sooner. Why d'you think I never dated anyone since middle school?"

"Not a legit reason," I said, resting my forehead against his, as he entwined our hands together.

"Fine." He moved his head to the side and kissed my cheek, before whispering. "Genelia Adams."

"What?" I pulled back to look incredulously at him.

Connor looked at me, nodding seriously. "She scares the shit out of me, Peyton. It was like- if I made a wrong move against you or something- it felt like she would've castrated me."

…Well, I really can't argue with that logic. Gen is a pretty scary person.

"I decided to just wing it once I heard she's away on vacation. Castration or not, you're worth every single thing."

And of course, that adorable, heartwarming statement made me tilt my head up and catch his lips in another electrifying kiss. And judging by the smirk on his face, I think he knew that statement would earn him that. But I heard a car pull up at my driveway, and pulling apart, I saw Genelia get down from the car. Smothering a grin, I looked at Connor.

"So how come you're not worried she'll castrate you now?"


"Peyton, I'm back!" Gen's voice sounded loud and clear as she hurtled up the driveway and stopped dead in her tracks upon spotting Connor and I close together. "Connor Reed?" And then, to my surprise (and slight fear) she turned to me incredulously, with an expression that demanded instant explanation. "Peyton Hope Curtis."

Connor and I exchanged a look.

"We can explain."

Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms – Kahlil Gibran