Disclaimer: I don't own any familiar brand/song/items you see here.

AN: This is an apology to my friends. There's nothing I can do to make it up to you guys and I shouldn't have said those things. Part of me is wishing you would ditch me already. Please do. I'm a rough person and I'll hurt you again. Go. Damn it, if you know what's good for you, go.

I snuck out early Monday morning, jammed the keys into the ignition, and was gone. I was free and I was done. There was no stopping me and I would never go back. I had already hurt them too many times. Not again. Not after this.

As soon as my clunker hit the interstate, I sped up as fast as it would go, flipped on the home-installed iPod dock, and scrolled through until I found the right song. Taking a deep breath, I sang along with Ronnie as loudly as possible. It was therapeutic, you know?

"I thumbed my way from LA back to Knoxville

I found out those bright lights ain't where I belong

From a phone booth in the rain I called to tell her

I've had a change of dreams, I'm comin' home

But tears filled my eyes when I found out she was gone

Smokey Mountain rain keeps on fallin'

I keep on callin' her name

Smokey Mountain rain I'll keep on searchin'

I can't go on hurtin' this way

She's somewhere in the Smokey Mountain rain

I waved a diesel down outside a cafe'

He said that he was goin' as far as Gatlinburg

I climbed up in the cab all wet and cold and lonely

I wiped my eyes and told him about her

I've got to find her!

Can you make these big wheels burn?

Smokey Mountain rain keeps on fallin'

I keep on callin' her name

Smokey Mountain rain I'll keep on searchin'

I can't go on hurtin' this way

She's somewhere in the Smokey Mountain rain

I can't blame her for lettin' go

A woman needs someone warm to hold

I feel the rain runnin' down my face

I'll find her no matter what it takes!

Smokey Mountain rain keeps on fallin'

I keep on callin' her name

Smokey Mountain rain I'll keep on searchin'

I can't go on hurtin' this way..

"She's somewhere in the Smokey Mountain rain.." I brushed a finger against the pause icon and let my song fall silent. It was over; no need to remind myself.

We weren't always this way. There were six of us: Ruth, Lara, Max, Newt, Chase, and me, Etna. Nice name, I know, but it was that or Gladys. No offense to anyone named Gladys, but yuck. Thankfully, my parents didn't give me an old lady name but named me after a Sicilian mountain instead.

Fresh out of college, we all lived in an old house Ruth had inherited from her grandmother that was a massive labyrinth of darkness, creaky-ness, and overall Oh-good-God-this-place-is-haunted-ness. There were creepy crawly things everywhere and you had to be armed with a hard-and-heavy thing in nearly every room. It creaked at night and every time it rained we ran around the house yelling, "Leak over here! Chase, gimme a bucket!" Initially, we all had our own rooms, but we finally gave up three days after moving in and slept in the biggest room, Ruth's. It was like sleeping in a litter of kittens. You had your family all around you and however lost you were, they were there with you. For the first time since junior high, I felt secure and protected, and we were all so blissfully at peace. But the honeymoon phase was over as soon as summer was. With that came work, bad communication, visits from Max's family, long days, and the general smaller stresses in life. All added up, it was Hell on Earth. It exploded all over the place like a fiery volcano, consuming everything in its path.

A while after our fights we forgave each other, tried to work it out, and we were fighting again the next day. I was the primary cause of it all. I was so protective of everyone that I just got them into a mess because I couldn't pick favorites and I defended each and every one of them regardless of their wrongs. I got so furious and said horrible things to them. I always wondered how much they really hated me for it.

Soon, Chase was angry at me again (bad communication) and Newt wasn't being the most pleasant person to be around at that moment. They were just at it, verbally destroying each other with every line. I walked up to them and got between them. They yelled some obscenities at me and tried to get me to move, but I stood there like a statue until they gave up and went to bed. That was when I packed a bag (spare underpants, jeans, Def t-shirt, money) and waited until the others were asleep for sure. Then I was gone, and that leads to where I am now. Heading from Sandpoint, Idaho to Seattle, Washington in an old rusty pickup that could fall apart at any given moment.

This was the life I've always wanted. To be on the road, in a new place every day, living off what money I had left and what odd jobs I could do or beg only if I was desperate, blasting Pyromania, and maybe finding a place to settle down if I met a great guy. I pulled into a rest/truck stop, seized the gear shift, and set to park. Was it really worth it?

What do you think? Please don't flame though, they only torch my marshmallows. R&R!