I could hear the sounds of the Pacific Ocean from where I was sitting. The night was chilly, as it was to get in Northern California, even though just earlier the temperature had been a balmy 75 degrees. I pulled my wrap tighter around my body and shivered. I had been telling myself to get up and go inside for the last fifteen minutes but it was such a beautiful night. There was a full moon and the sky was cloudless so when I looked up, I could see the stars.

I had chosen a secluded place, by a fountain that was surrounded by trees. It was part of the golf course and during the day, it must have a steady flow of pedestrians. Right now, it was all quiet, really quiet and not the kind of place a girl should be all alone. But I was never a girl who was afraid of the dark; just the demons that chose to hide among it. Out here, there was no fear of running into someone. Namely, Audrey.

I hated to admit it to myself but her appearance had shaken me. I had lost the calm I had gathered around myself in the past months. That wasn't a good thing. I felt like I was going to throw up, except I hadn't eaten anything since the chocolate fudge sundae I had with Dylan.

When one appeared in my line of vision, I thought I was hallucinating but then I saw the hand attached to the bowl and I looked up. Sam was standing off to the side of the bench I was sitting on, holding a bowl of chocolate fudge sundae in front of me.

"Oh my god, you're the best boyfriend ever!" I said, grabbing the bowl out of his hand. The fudge was on the bottom, the ice cream in the middle and on top was crushed peanuts and hazelnuts. It looked delicious. I took the spoon and scooped up a healthy helping of fudge, ice cream and nuts as Sam walked around me and sat down beside me.

"So, boyfriend?"

I looked at Sam with wide eyes, realizing what I had just said.


Sam frowned. "No?"



"Yes?" I said, biting my lip. I know what I wanted him to be. Of course I wanted him to be my boyfriend. Yet, I couldn't very well say that. What if he wasn't ready? What the hell was I thinking? I wasn't ready either but I have never wanted anything more than I wanted Sam to say that he was my boyfriend. That was a dangerous and treacherous path to be heading down if Sam wasn't walking right beside me.


I punched him on the shoulder, not hard enough to leave a bruise but enough to get my point across. I was being serious and he was making fun of me. He laughed lightly and grabbed my hand before I could pull it away. He tugged me closer to him so our sides were pressed together and the heat from his body warmed my cold one.

Okay, if that's how he wanted to play it.

I leaned closer, brushed my lips against his and whispered, "Yes."

Sam sucked in a breath and I sat back, satisfied with his reaction. I took another spoonful of the ice cream and put it in my mouth and licked my lips. Sam's eyes followed the movement of my tongue. Suddenly, he lunged at me, his mouth coming down on mine.

The way his tongue licked into my mouth could only be described as tasting. He was tasting me like I was something delicious and every lick of his tongue inside my mouth was a savoring of my taste. I almost dropped my bowl of ice cream in my effort to get closer to him. Luckily, he reached out just in time to grab it. I don't know what he did with it and I didn't care.

I wrapped my arms around his neck and his went around my waist. I shivered, though not from the cold this time. Sam pulled me onto his lap and though our bodies were molded together, it still wasn't close enough. I had the same feeling I had when we first kissed; like I wanted to crawl under his skin and be a part of him. The thought was like ice around my heart but one swipe of his tongue against mine and I forgot my own name.

I knew at some point we would have to stop to breathe but breathing felt like such a minor thing in that moment. I didn't want to stop. I never wanted to stop kissing Sam or his fingers from sliding down my back in a feather light touch, making my inside convulse. His other hand had slid under the skirt of my dress and he was rubbing circles with his thumb on the inside of my thigh.

I was barely aware what my own hands were doing. One second they were in Sam's hair, the next, I was trying to loosen his tie and unbutton his shirt; I had only managed to open a few buttons and slid my hand inside. I was too impatient to feel his skin against mine, I couldn't wait to unbutton the whole thing. My fingers ran along his collarbone to his shoulder, his skin as soft as silk, and Sam made a sound that could only be described as a groan. It was the best ever. The. Best. Ever.

I was so lost in the sound, wondering how I could get him to make it again that I didn't even notice what his hands were doing. He had unhooked the string of pearls that held my dress together in the back. His fingers ran around the edge, where my dress met my shouldersand there, I felt the slightest of hesitation in him, which made me crazier about him and I didn't think that was possible.

Sam pulled away, his lips trailing delicate kisses along my jaw and down my neck. His fingers pulled at my dress to reveal my shoulders, his soft hair tickling my chin. He ran his tongue along my collarbone, licking from neck to shoulder and I think my eyes rolled back into my head.

I wanted to stop before things went too far and at the same time, I never wanted this moment to end. I wanted the world to fall away and for Sam and me to stay frozen in this moment, where the rest of the world couldn't get to us. Sam's sharp teeth digging into the soft flesh of my neck had me gasping out loud. He licked and kissed the wound before sitting back, putting distance between us but still holding me close like I was something precious. I leaned forward and placed my head on his chest, seeking comfort in the rapid beat of his heart.

One of his hand was still under my skirt, resting on my thigh. His other hand soothed back my hair, traveled down my bare back and caressed down my front.

"I chose a good spot to hide," I said. Sam's laughter rumbled through his chest and I felt suddenly tired. Not bad tired. Good tired. Like I was safe and it was okay to sleep without fear of the monsters getting to me.

"There's definitely no risk of anyone finding us," Sam said quietly and thoughtfully, as if he had just realized this fact. As if we didn't really have to stop what we were doing because no one would find us. Except they would, because they had to be looking for us. I wondered how long before our phones rang and someone broke into our little bubble.

As that realization hit, another came. I was sitting on my Sam's lap, his hand up my skirt and one side of my dress hanging low enough to be considered dangerous. The cold wind hit me and I shivered, Sam shifted and I leaned back, ready to get off his lap and fix my dress. In the split second it took for me to adjust my dress over my shoulder, Sam had taken off his suit jacket and draped it over my shoulders. The gesture left me surprised, though I couldn't understand why. Shaking my head to clear it, I stood up and ran my hand over the skirt of my dress, slightly turning away from Sam.

I was thankful for the dark so he couldn't see the blush that stole over my face. The thought of what would have happened and how, ahem, close his hand had been was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I wasn't ready for that yet, not that it was even an option at the moment. But had it been, I wasn't ready. For once, I wanted to slow down and enjoy the moments like Kari always did.

"If that's going to happen every time we're alone, I think we need a chaperone," I said.

"I think Noel will be up for the job," Sam grumbled.

"Trouble in paradise?"

"Jenny isn't a fan of yours, but you already know that."

"Are girls really that possessive about their boyfriends? I mean, I've done nothing to indicate to her that I am even remotely interested in Noel."

I turned back to look at Sam and saw that he was glaring at the ground.

"It's not what you've done. I think she's more concerned about the fact that Noel is interested in you."

"What?" I laughed. "That's absurd."

Sam raised an eyebrow at my obvious fake laughter and I made a face like I had just tasted something terrible. Alright fine, so Noel was flirting with me, but that didn't mean anything. Amy and her friends on the team had told me that Noel flirted with a lot of girls. It was a personality flaw. While I did wish that he wouldn't include me in his flirtatious behavior, there was really nothing I could do.

"Fine, he might have flirted with me on a few occasions. But I have to live with you people so unless he comes right out and says he's developed some feelings for me and thinks we have a future together, I am not going to make a fool of myself by telling him off. All I will do is keep an amicable relationship with him," I said. I thought it was a very sensible idea and I nodded once in agreement with myself.

"What about the French lessons?" Sam demanded. I pushed my hair out of my eyes and picked up my abandoned wrap and pulled it around my shoulders after handing Sam's jacket back to him. It was chilly outside and I didn't have Sam's body heat keeping me warm, still when he was arguing like this, I didn't want any piece of him touching my body. How did we go from making out to arguing about his brother in 0.5 seconds?

"He asked me! What was I supposed to do? Say no in front of your parents without a valid reason?"


I threw my hands in the air in frustration. He was being utterly ridiculous. Wasn't he? I mean, I know I was new to this relationship thing but this was ridiculous. It had to be.

"I can't talk to you when you're being ridiculous," I said. I picked my clutch and turned on my heel to walk away from him. Unfortunately, walking on grass in four inch heels wasn't as easy as Kari made it look. I still managed to make my exit dramatic, though I wasn't quickly enough and Sam easily fell into step beside.

"I'm not being ridiculous, I'm just calling the situation as it is," he said.

"And what it apparently is, is that Noel is flirting with me therefore I am flirting with him. In this situation, A does not equal B."

I stopped walking and turned around, crossing my arms over my chest. It was interesting that we had ended up in essentially the same sort of conversation from earlier this night except this time Sam was worrying about Noel.

"Why are you doing this?" I asked, narrowing my eyes at him.

"Doing what?"

"You brought up Reece earlier and now Noel. You're starting arguments based on fabricated evidence," I accused.

Sam looked away in frustration. He knew I was right and he had to answer me. I was standing my ground.

"You started the argument earlier by bringing up Clara," Sam said finally.

I groaned. "Once again, a stellar comeback from Sam Burke. I brought up Clara because you actually dated her. Whereas I, on the other hand, have never dated Reece and am not planning on dating Noel. Why don't we stop arguing and you tell me exactly what's wrong?"

I shivered and pulled my wrap tighter around me. Sam was still holding his jacket and made a move to put it around my shoulders. I glared at him, causing him to stop in his movements. I didn't want him playing nice after he had destroyed my kiss-happy bubble.

Sam mumbled something under his breath and I leaned forward to hear him.

"What? You have to speak up."

He said it again a bit louder though all I made out was a jumble of words.

"Sam! Speak up, please."

When he just glared at me, I turned to leave. Everyone might be wondering where we went off to and I didn't want anyone finding us, especially Regina. Goodness, I can't even imagine the look on her face without cringing. What would she think?

Sam didn't give me a chance to walk away. He grabbed my arm and spun me around, exclaiming, "Jesus! I'm jealous, alright?"

He dropped my arm and ran his hands through his hair while I stood staring at him. A giggle escaped past my lips and I put both my hands on my mouth to cover it when Sam looked at me with disbelieving eyes.

"You're laughing at me? I can't believe you're laughing at me," he said. I couldn't believe I was laughing at him either because he was so sweet. Except I couldn't stop laughing. It was bubbling out of me and I couldn't control it.

"I'm so sorry, I am not laughing at you," I said. I took his arm and leaned up to place a kiss on his cheek.

"You're still laughing."

"Yes, yes, I am. But still not at you. Okay, a little bit at you because you think there's something be jealous of," I explained.

"Logically, I know that, like you know you don't have to be jealous of Clara. That doesn't stop you," Sam said. I chose not to mention, again, that he had actually dated Clara whereas I had never dated Reece or Noel. That would just started the argument all over again and we'd already exhausted that argument. There was one thing we needed to discuss…

"At least my jealousy doesn't make me act like a raging lunatic," I said.

"I am not a raging lunatic!"

I shrugged and turned to continue walking.

"I bet Noel doesn't yell at Jenny every time they make out," I called over my shoulder.

"That's assuming Noel and Jenny do anything other than make out."

I shuddered. "I so did not need that image in my head."

Sam chuckled and walked up beside me, leading me back to the club.


We left the club around one in the morning. I rode back with Sam and this time, we didn't make a stop anywhere. I was so exhausted I fell asleep in the car on our way home. I was woken up by Regina and ushered into the house. I had no memory of walking into the house, going up to my room, undressing and falling into bed.

When I woke up Sunday morning, the sun was high in the sky and the house was awfully quiet. I slid out of bed and as had become routine for me, opened my door a smidge and peeked out into the hallway. I had learned that just because the house was quiet, didn't mean the lunatics weren't around or hiding in their rooms just waiting to ambush me when I walked out. Everything seemed really quiet though.

I closed the door and walked to the window to peek through the blinds. The backyard was empty too. I wondered where everyone had disappeared to. Regardless, I saw an opportunity where I wouldn't have to deal with anyone before I had brushed my teeth and showered and I took it. I grabbed my toiletries bag and my clothes and ran out of my room.

The bathroom was still in the same condition it had been before. I wasn't really expecting Max to follow through on bet. Still, it would be nice to not have to shower in a bathroom that could be considered bio hazardous. I didn't want to remind Max about the bet because I was still afraid he was going to kill me in my sleep. I couldn't get a read on him. Maybe I could get Sam to talk to Max. As my boyfriend, it was his responsibility to make sure his brother didn't hate me and/or plan to kill me. Not that I needed the protection but still…

I smiled hugely when I thought about Sam and the word boyfriend in the same sentence. Who would have thought that I would have a boyfriend? And he would be so hot. I had to tell my mom; she would be thrilled.

I finished my shower and dressed in a pair of grey sweatpants and a black t-shirt which read "Guess What? No One Cares" and towel dried my hair before putting away my things and going downstairs. I found Jake in the living room, playing video games but no one else. I walked past him and to the kitchen. I got myself a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal, which I decided to eat outside. Not only to enjoy the sunshine, mostly because there was no room at the dining table. These boys never cleaned anything. I had no idea how Regina dealt with them.

A nice breeze lifted my hair around my shoulders and I sat back in my chair to enjoy the weather. I got bored of that quickly and once my breakfast was finished, I took my things inside and rinsed them out before putting them in the dishwasher. With nothing else to do, I could either clean the table or I could go see what everyone else was up to.

I refilled my coffee cup and walked out of the kitchen and into the living room where Jake was playing video games. I leaned against a wall and watched him play; the game seemed interesting enough. The main character was a woman and she was fighting creatures in a dungeon like place to reach some ultimate goal.

"What are you playing?" I asked.

"Tomb Raider," Jake said, without looking up from the TV.

I walked around the couch and sat down beside Jake, putting my coffee cup on the table. I watched him play for a while.

"So, what's it about?" I asked.

"The character's name is Elena. The objective of the game is to rescue Alchemy, who is the Dungeon Master, who has all these powers. Once she rescues him, she gets all the powers and he dies but before she can do that, she has to pass all these quests," Jakes explained.

"Interesting. Can I play?"

Jake paused the game and turned to look at me. So far, the only connection we had had was him breaking into my room, going to through my tampons and him talking along to Mark Twain while I was dropping him and Cody off to their sleepover. I got along with all of them, except for Max and Jake was like him in many respects. Much like Max, I didn't know whether Jake was being a normal ten year old boy or if he really had a problem with my being there.

Jake sighed and handed me his controller.

"Do not get her killed. I have to get a drink," he said. He jumped off the couch and ran to the kitchen.

"Wait, what? I have no idea what I'm doing," I called out to him. I got nothing back from him. I turned back to the TV and started the game. I had played some video games, having grown up with two boys, so I could maybe keep Elena alive until Jake came back.

I had fun while I figured out how to keep Elena alive and kill all those creature thingies. They were coming out of everywhere, the walls, the ceiling. My thumbs moved quicker than they ever had before.

Jake came back and sat down next to me just as I made Elena do this weird flip thing that ended up killing two Thingies.

"Whoa! How did you do that?" Jake asked.

"I just pressed these two buttons and it happened," I said. This was way cool. I was actually getting excited about this.

"You're pretty good at this," Jake said.

"Thank you," I said, just as a throwing star hit Elena and ended up killing her. "No! I don't know what happened."

"You're good, but not that good. I have the highest score for a reason," Jake said. He took the controller out of my hand and restarted the game.

"Watch and learn."

I did just that. I watched his thumbs move over the buttons and I was completely hooked. After watching Jake play for a while, I asked him to teach me. He was a surprisingly good teacher and he didn't make any jokes or pull my hair, which he had a tendency to do. He was patient when I made a mistake and made sure to explain the moves to me thoroughly before handing me the controller.

"You know, you're kind of cool and you can play video games. Girls hate video games," Jake said.

"First of all, thank you, I like to think I am cool too. Second, not all girls hate video games. They hate that boys pay more attention to inanimate characters than to them," I said.


Alright, then. He was probably too young to be worrying about girls and with his genetic jackpot, I doubted any girl would turn him down. What he needed was a good personality and sure, guys don't pay attention to that kind of things but girls do. Basically, if you want a girlfriend, you have to act like a decent human being who can be taken out into public and introduced to other people. I would be very interested in seeing what kind of person Jake turns out to be.

"Pay attention! If you you're going to kill her, you don't deserve her," Jake yelled, as Elena died on screen. Then again, he was so interested in Elena, I wondered if he would even have a real girlfriend.

"Sorry, sorry," I said quickly.

Under his guidance, I managed to pass three rounds. We high fived and I moved onto the next level but halfway through, Regina showed up and told us to stop.

"Jake," she said. "You have been sitting in front of the TV since this morning. That's enough. Go get your homework."

"But Mooooom, I'm helping Elizabeth play," Jake whined.

"Help her later," Regina said in a voice I knew not to argue with. Luckily so did Jake. He groaned and slid of the couch before turning to face me.

"I have to go now. Don't mess up," he said. I don't know why but I gave him a salute as if he was leading me into battle. In a way he was and while I was certain that Regina was right and Jake had to study, I was sad to see him go. So much that even I wanted to whine in front of Regina and beg her to let him stay for at least a few more rounds. Jake walked out and Regina went after him, probably to make sure he did get his homework.

I stopped the game and turned off the TV and game console. I stood up and stretched my arms over my head and leaned back, when I straightened, I got a head rush which caused me to stumble and grab my head.

"You gonna faint again?"

I looked up to see Max standing at the entrance to the room, wearing dirty shorts and t-shirt. He had mud streaked across his face and through his hair.

"No, just a head rush," I said.

"Good. Be a real bitch if you fell and no one was around to catch you," he said before walking off. Good to know I couldn't count on him to ever catch me if I fell. I had had enough of his behavior; there was no way I could handle that for a year. I followed after him, determined to find out what the hell was his problem.

I stalked into the kitchen where he was just pulling out a carton of juice. He unscrewed the lid and put it to his mouth, drinking straight out of the carton while I tried not to gag at this uncivilized display.

"What the hell's your problem?" I asked, crossing my arms over my chest.

"If you haven't figured that out, you're not as smart as everyone thinks you are," he said scornfully.

He wouldn't even look at me when he talked.

"You're probably right, I'm not that smart. All I have done since I came here a week ago is stay out of your way. If you think I am going to turn out to be some raging psychotic bitch or something, your behavior makes sense. But guess what, it's not going to happen. I really don't know what your problem is with me, especially given the fact that we have barely spoken two civilized words to each other.

"I wouldn't call your brothers and I best buds but they behave like normal people. I am going to stick around until the end of the school year, so if you don't want to talk to me, don't talk to me. Hell, don't even look at me. I really don't care. What I can't take is your passive aggressive remarks.

"I do ask that when we're around your family, we act like everything is fine because I don't know if you have noticed but they seem to be picking up on your behavior and I am really tired of answering the questions, "Has Max said anything to you?" or "What's wrong with Max?" Frankly, I doubt it's just one thing."

I heaved a huge breath at the end of my tirade, which had left me breathless and kind of surprised. Yeah, I was tough but confronting people and telling them what I thought wasn't my forte. Max stood speechless in front of me, a rather stunned look on his face. Not wanting to him an opportunity to remark and for the sake of a dramatic exit, I turned around and walked away, leaving him standing in the middle of the kitchen.

AN: I know you guys hate me for making you wait so long, I started the chapter when I finished the last one but it took me this long to finish. I could offer up excuses you are not likely to believe but I won't. All I can say, please enjoy and know that I try to be better at updating and I won't be making any promises.

P. S. There's a surprise coming…. XOXO