Chapter 1

Today is the first day of a new beginning. I'm throwing away all my past struggles, cleaning up the metaphorical cobwebs and crazy gluing the pieces back together. Well, at least that's what my psychologist is telling me to do. Actually, if I had any say in what I would be doing right at this moment, it would be lying on the couch, eating a can of beetroot and watching movies on my ceiling.

"How have you been sleeping at night, Teresa?" Doctor Robin inquires, her head tilting to the side as she narrows her brown eyes at my unusual position on the chair. My jean clad legs are crossed Indian style and sitting on top of my hands, whilst my waist length, golden hair was lying limply off the back of the chair. Why is it that places that endorse good mental and physical health seem to have the most uncomfortable seating?

"On a bed," I state, wiggling my fingers underneath me to get some sort of feeling back into them. Sighing under her breath, Doctor Robin leans forward, resting her elbows on the table and steeples her manicured fingers. "I don't know where you sleep, but for us higher standard folk we prefer to sleep on beds." Doctor Robin merely raises an eyebrow at me from across her desk to which I raise my own back at her. She's played this verbal game one too many times with me; I allow no breaks when it comes to analysing the psych of Tessa Quentin. The golden haired, angel child isn't someone to be reckoned with and it seems my reputation exceeds me in this case. I'm really not that troublesome… most of the time.

"Let me rephrase that," she says and I tip my head in her direction in agreement, "How have you been coping with your Insomnia lately?" I frown to myself and swing around so I'm situated with my legs hanging over the edge of one arm of the chair and my head off the other. Still mildly un-comfortable, I stare at the cream coloured wall and recall how rarely I have slept for the last week. This was almost second nature by now.

"I've been falling into unconsciousness within' the hour," I answer, and she hums a sound of approval, "but, unless my bedside clock has taken up lying, which I don't believe, our relationship is based on trust, I've been waking up every half hour." The only response I got was a loud thud which echoed throughout the room.

I sigh and reluctantly lift my head to see my psychiatrist with her forehead laying on the surface of her desk. I look between the animals from the cracked paint on the wall and to the red-haired woman who looked to be heading in the direction to being clinically insane.

Finally, I get up from my cramped position and force my moderately tan hand between her now rosy forehead and the hard oak wood. Closing her eyes, she leaves her head in my hand as I tap my opposite silver coloured fingertips on top of the desk and say, "You should keep quiet; other patients will hear us, assume we're being naughty and begin to line up."

"I'm sorry, that was highly un-professional of me." She clears her throat and straightens back into the leather chair while her hands flutter across her hair, trying to re-pin the loose curls. I drag my hand across my jeans as she re-situates herself. Her breath had washed across my palm, creating a slight sheen of disgusting wetness that I had instantly wanted to wash off.

"It was provoked, I'm guessing the proper thing to do would be to apologise." I admit, smirking as I lean back against her desk. "But I've never described myself as proper." Doctor Robin inclines her head towards the door, obviously unable to handle the rest of the session. "Subtle." I push myself from the desk and move towards the doorway. Just as I leave the room though, she responds behind me,

"It comes with the job."

With a quirk of my lips I step out of the room that a claustrophobic would have nightmares about, and make my way to the vending machine across the hall. I look down the hall to see nobody had noticed me and quickly deposit my left over money into the machine and snatch the packet of original chips before jogging around the corner. As I quickly scout the area for any bystanders, I manage to shove the chip packet down the front of my top and re-adjust my bra to make my chest look natural. Knowing how to make a chip packet mould evenly with my boobs is a skill most of the male species would find attractive.

I walk down the hallway until I enter the air-conditioned main reception area and quickly make my way to the entrance, ignoring the looks from other patients and previous psychologists. Despite what others may think, if you compared my track record with this session, it went much better than usual.

Once I exit the building, I make my way towards the road and situate myself on the curb to wait for my ride. The douche was no doubt going to be late. I was so sure of this that you could imagine my surprise when only five minutes later an old, white jeep came cruising into the parking lot and towards the curb I was sitting on.

Realizing that the Jeep had every intention to continue coasting along the parking lot, I run towards the moving vehicle and grab the inside of the window with both hands, bending my knees to keep my feet up off the pavement, and let the Jeep carry me along with it.

"Just driving by?" I ask, struggling to keep a grip on the sill with my sweating hands. The driver in question just continues to drive, although the right side of his mouth had lifted at my question. "And will you put both hands on the wheel, you'll kill us both." I growl when he swerves a bit too close to a mailbox for my liking. Xanders lips rise into an amused smile as he slowly lifts his resting arm off the window and places it on the steering wheel with the other, the patronising bastard.

"I'd rather not take driving advice from the clinically insane; it would probably end with me wrapped around a light pole." He addresses me, smirking as I re-adjust my hold on the window sill; my fingers turning white from holding on.

"You're going to end up wrapped around a light pole? I'm sorry, I didn't realise that it was actually you hanging off the side of a car instead of me!" I grit out and he raises an eyebrow.

"Why don't you just walk? Is exercise even in your vocabulary?" He questions, receiving a scoff from me. "Look at you, you're so morbidly obese! I'll end up having to roll you around school."

My glare intensifies but he just laughs it off. I am not large at all, I am quite thin and what kind of evil genius wouldn't use that to their advantage. Sadly though, everyone I know gradually learnt not to give me an extra serving just because I'm on the lighter side.

"Don't feel obligated to help your future fat best friend." I groan, my trembling arms starting to burn and my fingers slipping. So this might not be excessive exercise by average human standards, but by my 'soon to be obese' Teresa standards, this was the equivalent of running a marathon.

"Xander, Xander! I'm slipping." I cry out before my arms give out and my body falls heavily onto the steaming tar. Thankfully, my ex-best friend was smart enough to trudge along at 10 miles an hour.

The Jeep jammed to a halt soon after my fall and Xander quickly appeared out from behind the Jeep to take in my appearance. Finally, something a true friend would do! As soon as he did though, he began to laugh. After a few minutes of him gasping and clutching his stomach, he makes his way over to where I'm lying sullenly on the ground. I was writhing before, trying to act like my injuries were critical but my cries of agony had ceased when he began laughing.

"Tess, get up." Xander chuckles, still out of breath and his cheeks rosy from laughing at my expense. I'm pretty sure he should be all torn up right now, our friendship is over and I quite possibly need to go to the hospital for internal bleeding. "Tessa, stop being a baby and get up, before I swing you over my shoulder and strap you to the roof." As if to make his point, he lowers his voice so it was much deeper and seemed to rumble from his chest.

"With the way your voice sounds right now, we could create one of those raunchy 1800 companies and become millionaires." I remark dryly, pulling my hands behind my head into a more relaxed position.

Shaking his head exasperatedly but still smiling, Xander offers a hand up but as I attempt to grab hold of it, he waves it mockingly in my face. I huff loudly as I scramble up to my feet and with as much dignity as I could, I straighten out my clothes and stomp past him towards the Jeep. Pulling the passenger side door open, I slide onto the sticky leather seat and slam the door with as much strength as I had. This, you know, amounts to the strength of a five-year old.

Xander walks around the car and without looking at me, moves into the driver's seat, starts the car up and pulls out onto the road. Even without looking at him I knew he was smirking. As he drives me back to my house in moderate silence, I begin to think about what I had eaten over the last few days and realise, he may be right. Maybe I am showing the early signs of a future obese person. I don't want to shop at muumuu stores, only fit into certain places and the worst part, only allowed on certain carnival rides.

"Okay, I'm not saying you're right or anything-"I turn from looking out the window to see that just like I thought, Xander was in fact smirking, "but you're in alright shape so what else can I do other than my daily jog to keep from becoming oversized?"

"You can start off by giving me that packet of chips stuck down your top." He says, shooting a noticeable look at my cleavage. I narrow my eyes back at him but acknowledge the statement with reluctant amusement and promptly stick my hand into my bra to retrieve the chips. This would've been awkward if Xander hadn't known what I was doing, thankfully, we knew each other better than that.

"Tess, not that I'm not enjoying the view or anything but why do you always have food stored down there?" He asks amused, his eyes flitting from the road to my breasts as he tries to concentrate on driving on the road and not on the sidewalk.

"I'm not allowed to use the vending machine anymore." I answer dryly as I remove and open the warm packet of original chips. "And what's the point in having them if they aren't useful, open."

He frowns as he opens his mouth and I promptly feed him a chip.

"How the fuck did you manage to get banned from using the vending machine?" Xander speaks around a mouthful of chips and nudges my elbow with his as he skilfully turns onto the street connecting to mine.

"Don't eat with your mouth open." I complain as I slap the offensive elbow away and lean back against the window to peacefully lick the left over salt off my knuckles. "Not now."

"Since you never do anything but piss the teacher off in maths, how about then?" He chuckles and I pull a sour face in reply. If you've attended school, you understand. "Talking about pissing people off, how was your session?"

"Psycho-analysing really does rile me up, doesn't it?" I smile, the first real one for the day, and turn my head to wink at Xander. "You know how it went."

"Is she hot?" Xander moves his head in closer to me and raises his eyebrows slightly. "Like, at all?"

"If Jessica Alba ever walks into the room, you'll be the first to know."

Xander pulls into the driveway of a double story, white weatherboard house, puts the car into park and turns to face me.

"I'll hold you to that." He states, a stern look on his face, and I shake my head in amusement as I step out onto the gravel driveway and make my way to the open front door.

"Mamma, I'm home." I shout and walk into the hallway, the sound of the Jeeps engine growing softer behind me as I think of where mamma could be. Claudia Quentin has a major problem with house pride. The pillows are constantly plumped, benches must be scrubbed clean and there is never, under any circumstances, dirty fingerprints. Abide by these rules and you're practically part of the family, but if you don't... let's just say mamma doesn't limit her screaming to just the vacuum cleaner.

"Teresa, is that you?"

Slipping off my leather sandals, I make my way across the wooden floorboards and into the kitchen where I find her back turned towards me as she chops like a mad woman. This is the reason why everyone thinks it's a miracle I'm still as thin as I am and it's also one of the 'many' reasons why papa married her. I still think it's the only reason, if you think my tempers bad, you should never meet my mamma.

"No, I'm a dirty, old man stuck in your daughter's body." I roll my eyes and lean against the bench next to her, close enough to steal food off the board, far enough to avoid a slap. "Of course it's me."

My mamma was always a small woman, at 1.52 metres. She has rather pretty dark hair, naturally brown skin and pixie like features which the guys have given the thumbs up. I think their exact words were, 'Holy shit, your mum's bangable.' or along those lines. I couldn't breathe properly for week after that.

Thankfully my siblings and I followed in our father's footsteps when it came to height so we all tower over mamma's little frame. People always tell me they never know which parent I look most like because even though my complexion is moderately tanned like mama's I have naturally gold almost bronze hair which comes from my father. My cheekbones are high and my nose is small with a nice slope and although my jaw is squared off, my chin is sharp. My favourite feature would be my eyes which are green and verge on gold depending on the day, exotic looks good on me.

"What are you making today, Gordon 'Ram-she'?"

"Get your hands off me. Can't you see I'm using a knife?" My mother exclaims her voice laden with an Italian accent. It becomes more prominent when she gets irritated.

She picks up the knife and waves it around in the air to prove her point. I just narrowly dodge the sharp weapon before it slices through my face. "Now, instead of standing there and being a smart ass, why don't you go take this down to your brothers before they start complaining about how I'm not feeding them enough. Malnourished, pah!" She mutters as shoves the bowl of popcorn into my hands and with a quick kiss on the cheek and an exasperated shake of her head she went back to her chopping.

"Si, Mamma." I reluctantly agree and accept the kiss from the irate woman before walking backwards towards the hallway. Do not turn your back on Claudia Quentin unless you're a glutton for punishment, which I think my father is. That hand knows no bounds and I've lost count how many times she's slapped anyone, much less Xander or one of my brothers. For a small woman, she has a lot of pent up aggression. I might have to recommend my psychologist to her.

I walk into the hallway in search for my two older brothers and make my way down the stairs which lead into the basement. The den, as we like to call it, consists of a pool table, video gaming systems and a mini-bar. As expected, I found the two playing video games. Why an eighteen and nineteen year old boy would still play little kids games? I will never know.

"It took you long enough." Leo grumbles his eyes glued to the screen which was graphically showing his character decapitating a zombie of sorts.

His full name is Leonaldo, but he'll punch you if he ever hears you call him that, so everyone refers to him as Leo. Once, when I was young and didn't have the intellect I have now, I asked him why he didn't like being called his full name. His answer was, 'only shit faces have names like that'. The same goes for Oliviero, except if he ever heard you call him that, you'd be six feet under with your dick cut off and an eel up your ass. His words not mine.

Can you see how traumatising my childhood really was? Yes, it has given me some advantages in life. I now know how to beat the guys at video games and I also have a vast knowledge of insults that would give your grandma a heart attack if she ever heard you say; real life saving stuff here.

Leo, whom I affectionately call the dumb brother, is currently sitting on the floor and situated as close to the TV as he can get without his vision blurring. I commend him because this is also my usual gaming position. Oli, the older of the two, is sitting on the floor as well but with his back leant against the couch and his legs kicked out in front of him.

I keep my eyes on the TV screen as I walk across the room, which coincidentally leads me past Leo, and use the opportunity to smack him upside the head before I sit down next to Oli.

"Psychiatric lessons aren't speedy, you dick. This shit takes time." I grumble, shoving a handful of popcorn into my mouth and wiping my hand on my loose shirt. "Guess what else happened today?" I ask, raising my eyebrows in anticipation. To my annoyance, Leo gave no reply. So I did what any other younger sibling would do, flick popcorn into his hair.

When Oli realised what I was doing, he blew himself up in the game with a lame 'oops' and snatched a handful of popcorn to do the same. It didn't take long for Leo to notice that something was wrong. Maybe it was when he shook his head and a large amount of popcorn fell onto the floor around him. Finally he pauses the game and turns around with an eyebrow raised, "Proceed."

"So, I was walking around the park this morning." I shoot him a sly smile and interestingly note his stiffened posture at my words. "And I see you. You've got this thing attached to your face; I think it's called a Tiffany?" I ask, inspecting my silver fingernails for imaginary dirt.

When I don't get a reply, I look back up only to see Leo had gone back to playing the stupid zombie game again. I turn to look at Oli and shoot him a 'what the fuck just happened look' but he just shrugs and gives me the 'how the fuck do you think I know' look, before going back to playing the game as well.

Sighing in defeat, I plonk the half-empty bowl on the ground beside Oli, who immediately begins to down the whole thing using only one hand. That takes skill. Feeling attention deprived, I decide to stalk towards the staircase in hopes of finding some attention from someone else, presumably mamma. But just before I reach the staircase, I hear a loud thwack and a reluctant Leo say, "Ok fine, I asked her out."

I slowly turn to face my brother with a grin and run and jump onto his lap to give him to star the interrogation. "When did you ask her out? How did you do it? Was it romantic? I'll slap you if it wasn't. Oh, my little boy is growing up - why are you looking at me like that?" I demand, moving back from the chokehold I had my brother in and glare at their identical looks of disbelief.

"It's just a girl." Oli was halfway through saying, before he was cut off by Leo shrieking, "Are you crying?"

His brow furrows in worry as his arms tighten around my waist and pulls me into his chest. I shake my head in denial, even though my eyes are a little watery, and quickly use my hands to wipe my eyes clear of moisture and shoot Oli a death glare. Even though Oli is the reliable one and gives the best advice, Leo is easier to talk and gives the best hugs, that's only when he dishes them out. Maybe it's because he's the youngest, even if it is only by thirty-two seconds.

"No, you smell bad. Did you use the deodorant Uncle Ferdinand bought you?" I grumble against his t-shirt, which his arms were plastering me to and if I'm to be honest, is kind of on the dirty side.

"I wouldn't touch anything the old fuck gives me." He replies a disgusted look on his face as he pats my back soothingly. This is actually quite nice. "... and you can talk. I've seen you wear the same top for three days in a row." I huff indignantly into his shoulder. Thanks for ruining the moment.

"It doesn't count if it's the holidays." I sniff indignantly, and poke him in the shoulder, prompting him to answer my questions, "Now tell me, did she put out." I ask and wiggle my eyebrows at him in hopes of disturbing him into confessing. He shakes his head before smirking at me and pushes me onto the floor.

"I asked her Thursday night-" he pauses so I nudge him with a little sigh, "I packed us some dinner from Papa's restaurant and I drove us up to the old drive in where we watched some Jenny Austen crap." I frown before I realise he means Jane Austen. "Romanticism isn't my thing so don't get all hormonal on me and since when am I a little boy?" He exclaims, lowering his voice and flinging his arms up to flex his muscles.

Who is this girl and why is she dating my retard of brother?

"Get your pectorals out of my face before you poke my eye out." I whine as I roll onto my back for dramatic effect and shield my face from his humongous chest. "I think my eyes are watering again." I admit and hear some shuffling before a bunch of tissues are shoved into my face.

"Quick, I don't want you to cry again." Leo shouts, panicking as he waves the tissues in my direction, "Two times a day is too much, even for me, sister!"

"I can't stop. Your pecs ruined my tear ducts and you're date was so romantic. I think I'm going to have to buy some chocolate ice-cream and cry into it." I grin and hold my ribs which are starting to hurt from laughing so much.

I think this is my workout for the day which also counts my little stunt with the car earlier as well, so if my calculations are correct, I probably don't have to work out for another month or so.

"I'll go get more popcorn; you guys are giving me a head ache anyway." Oli groans as he rises from the couch, the empty bowl in his hand and a pillow in the other. As he walks past he throws the pillow at Leo's face from across the room before exiting the basement. Not mama's pillow! Before I could get up and save our hides, Leo flops down onto the ground next to me and turns slightly to give me a wink as he shouts, "Get some potato chips as well!"

We hear footsteps travel back down the stairs before Oli's head appears from behind the doorway with his eyes narrowed at us, "Who do you think I am, Mamma? Get off your asses."

We just lie on the ground and stare up at him with our mouths hanging open and realising we're lost causes, he scoffs and heads back up the stairs. After Oli leaves Leo gets up with a grunt and grabs the controller nearest to him and chucks it at me. I catch it with my fast reflex skills and begin editing my character. You get used to things getting thrown around in our family.

About halfway through the game Leo suddenly looks my way with a confused expression and asks, "What we're you doing in the park?"

"Don't look at me, that's just where I walk," I answer, looking nonchalantly at the TV and not making eye contact with my brother, "It's not my fault I was simultaneously following you at the same time."

"I KNEW IT!"

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