Disclaimer and Warnings: Any resemblance to real people or places is purely coincidental. This story contains homosexuality, drug use, violence, mild language, self-abuse, assault and an abundance of fluff.

"No, no, no! Oh for the love of..."

The engine sputtered once more and then petered off into silence. Pummelling the steering wheel, Eleanor Ashdown groaned her misery and then flopped back in the worn driver seat of her old Holden, absently hitting the side of her seat as she muttered a few more choice words. It had taken nearly three days to get to this damn city, and it looked like that was going to be the end of her car.

She stared up at the rear-view in irritation bordering on impassivity. The mirror, from this angle, was only displaying her eyebrows, so she reached up to adjust it for her slumped position. It came away in her hands and she gave a snort and tossed it into the back seat amongst the disappointingly small pile of boxes that contained the remnants of her last home. "Whatever…"

She grabbed the box that held her essentials and left the rest in her broken down car, kicking the door shut and going off to investigate the shady apartment block that she had only just covered the bond payment on. Honestly, looking at the place, she couldn't see where all the money went. The light that seemed to cling to the wall by the very wires that powered it was clicking on and off with an intermittent buzzing, and she could just see the passcode that opened the main door across the parking block. Speaking of which…

She set down the box and started to search her pockets for the slip of crumpled paper which held a brusque note from the landlord and the number combination. Her room's key slipped out of the note when she yanked it from its denim confines and she grumbled to herself as she crouched to collect it. The sound of high heeled boots echoed across the concrete and she closed her hand around the key and looked up, shaking some hair out of her eyes.

Shockingly red hair tumbled down around the lady's shoulders, curls that reached her tiny waist bouncing with each heel-accentuated step. Although Eleanor simply knew it couldn't be good to keep on looking, it was what she was wearing – or more, what she wasn't – that really grabbed her attention. The boots came almost up to her knees, and torn fishnet stockings took over up to the middle of her thighs, where they stopped in a garter belt. Red, ruffled underpants showed a little of her midsection and there was a black singlet carelessly yanked over what must have be a matching bra.

She really tried to look away, but she must have discovered, because in the next second the most unnervingly angry glare was thrown in her direction; the scantily clad girl's gorgeous face twisting in utter dislike. Eleanor quickly grabbed the box and stood up, feeling like a complete idiot as her cheeks reddened, and then for the second time that night her eyes snapped to the girl. This time however because said girl had just stormed through the door and up the stairs of the apartment block she was about to move into.

For a moment she just stood there, dumbstruck by the misfortune. Where she had just moved away from, the closest city was a two hour drive, and she was entirely unused to seeing people wearing less than at least pants and a shirt. She didn't mean to stare, it was just a shock to her that the girl, who must have been around her age, was actually walking around in the freezing cold city at this time of the morning in hardly anything but undergarments. Why she had been dressed like that, Eleanor didn't want to think on. It wasn't like she was chaking her out or anything, but seriously, could a little modesty hurt?

All that really made sense was the fact that she had just met a new neighbour and it was clear that they wouldn't be chatting on the way up the stairs. Not wanting to stand out in the icy air for much longer, she punched in the combination and clambered up the rickety stairs that led between levels. The lift had a 'out of order' sign plastered to it. It didn't look new.

Her door seemed to have been the victim of many breaks. It was overly battered, and for one gut-wrenching moment, she had been unable to open it. She had slammed her shoulder into it and practically fallen inside as the hinges screamed in protest. The promised bed turned out to be little more than a mattress, and the bathroom, she realised with disbelief, must actually be a shared bathroom. Namely because it wasn't in her room. She dropped the box in the corner after securing her blanket from the top of it and sat in the corner with the blanket loosely around her shoulders, dubiously eyeing the mattress. She would swear later that she saw something dart over it.

Waking up the next morning as the hastily unpacked alarm clock screeched, unforgiving display beaming a red 6:30 at her, she decided she had never had a worse night of sleep. She trekked down to the car to grab her mirror and lugged the full length piece of glass up the stairs, nearly dropping it when someone threw open their door as she walked past. It took two more trips for her to get the rest of her things up to her room.

One of the main reasons she had moved for the purpose of finding a new school; and when you're talking country, that really meant moving. But it had been that bad, and she didn't want to think about the nightmare she had escaped. If getting out of there meant creepy building in the middle of a city she didn't know and miles away from any family, well… That was more than a grain of salt, but it was better. She hoped so anyway.

Her first real look in the mirror actually provoked a smirk. Her restless sleep had resulted in hair that seemed to stick out at random. She brushed her fingers through it and reached for her makeup bag. She wasn't really obsessive about her makeup, but a little foundation and some eyeliner really lent itself well. She reluctantly grabbed her toothbrush and ducked down to the shared bathroom. It wasn't really as bad as it could have been. The mirror had a crack running along it and there was something wrong with the lights, but it was in a much better condition than the rest of the place.

She pulled her backpack over her shoulder and gave herself on last check in the mirror leaning against the wall. She had never had to wear a school uniform before; and the idea for wearing one for the next two years seemed a little weird. She frowned. It was the kind of skirt that girls would probably turn up to be miniskirts. It was about knee-length and had a matching tie, kind of a blue crosshatching pattern. The shirt that went with it was a plain white with buttons on the cuff. While she didn't dislike it, she still thought it look a little silly. Then again, uniforms were not her thing.

Shrugging to herself, she quickly descended the stairs and stepped out down the street for Ascalon College. The college catered for years seven to twelve, and at age seventeen Eleanor was enrolled in the year eleven class that was part way through first term. It couldn't possibly be that hard to navigate a school, right?

Without her car, she was lucky to have arrived on time. Even considering the early wake-up call. One frustrated office lady later and she was at her English Literature class, which had apparently just started. She stepped into the room, holding out the form for the young male teacher, Mr Greig, who wove her to a seat; barely pausing from his instruction. In fact, to the only free seat remaining that happened to be next to a pretty girl with flaming red hair.

It was enough to make her cringe. When she hesitated, the girl's gaze flicked up, chin rested on her folded arms in the picture of boredom. "If you'll take a seat next to Nina, please." The man asked and she quickly walked to the back of the room, blushing as she stumbled over a misplaced bag. One of the kids laughed quietly and muttered something to their friend and she felt her face pounding along with her pulse. Of all people to be stuck next to, why did it have to be her? At least now she had a name to put to the glare.

"Sir? Sorry… I don't have a copy of this play." Eleanor said apologetically as the rest of the room pulled out their copies of Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew.

"No matter," he said, shaking his hand in the air and staring at her through his overly round spectacles. "Nina, share with…" His eyes darted down to the piece of paper she had given him. "Share with Eleanor."

"Can't somebody else?" Nina asked sharply. If she hadn't been so put out, Eleanor was sure it would have sounded musical.

"I insist." He said, matching her tone and then carried on with the lesson. Heaving a sigh, Nina opened her small, tattered book of Shakespeare's works and thrust it to the middle of the desk. What followed was the longest lesson of Eleanor's life. Her mind was awhirl in confusion and embarrassment. Someone she had mentally tagged as a street worker was sitting next to her in a literature class.

And she was beautiful. Eleanor snuck a quick look at her between reading excerpts. She was very good with makeup. Instead of the heavy eyeliner of the night before, she now had delicate eye shadowing and blush, mascara that accented every lash, and a pale pink lip-gloss. Eleanor had never managed to use makeup that well before, it seemed it was beyond her. There was always the bunch of girls at any school, even her previous one that just looked stunning all the time without seeming to try. These same ones were usually obnoxious prats that thought they were above everyone else, but going but that standard, she guessed Nina fit in quite well. She was on the receiving end of another of those glares and so quickly returned to reading.

As soon as the bell rang the end of the lesson, Nina shoved the book violently back into her bag and all but stormed from the room, leaving Eleanor to awkwardly collect her things. Needless to say, it was going to be a very long day

Hi, Lena here. I know it's not brilliant but this is the first thing I've been brave enough to put up so let me know what you think! (Yay, nerves!) :) The next chapters will be a lot longer, I just didn't want to make this one too long and risk it being boring! Thanks to Misplaced Admiration for looking over it for me. Lots of plot insanity to come! 3