Chapter One:
All in a Day


"Ma'am? Ma'am~" a soft voice murmurs, hand gently shaking me, "Lady Amethyst, it's time for you to get ready for school."

I groan and pull the fluffed comforter over my head. "Go away, Sarah. I don't wanna get up."

She chuckles. "Milady, you missed enough school last week."

"Stop calling me milady and ma'am," I mutter, "It's weird that you're older than me, but you still address me as if I'm the adult."

"I'm sorry," she says nicely, "But you still need to get up."

Grumbling, I sit up, yawning as I stretch out my arms.

"Another long night?" she guesses, dusting off the oak dresser across from me.

"Mhm," I hum, cracking my wrists. "Apparently, it's not enough that I spend my weekends hunting them down; now they follow me to my house with weird disguises."

"Disguises?" she repeats, raising a delicate eyebrow. "What kind of disguises?"

I sigh, heading over to my dresser where my school uniform lays on top. "Any kind. One morphed into a baby, but it could walk and talk."

She shakes her head lightly, saying nothing as she continues straightening up the room.

I slip on the black and white plaid skirt and white, short-sleeve button-up quickly before sitting on bed, watching as Sarah cleans while I tied my black necktie.

Despite living for over three thousand years, Sarah still looks the same as she did when I was a baby. Her oval-shaped face seems ageless, shallow wrinkles setting in around her eyes and mouth, giving her face dimension. Short, dark hair is cropped above her ears with the back spiked out and sharp bangs framed her face, emphasizing her pale green eyes.

Her body looks rather frail, as if even the slightest tremor could cause her to snap in half, especially with the tight, black skirt hugging her hips and the collared, white long-sleeve covering her torso. The only sign reminding me of her long past is a thin, snake-like scar wrapped around her ankle to the lower part of her calf.

"You're going to be late," she says, sending me a polite smile. "You still need to brush your hair and teeth."

Another sigh. "Yeah, okay."

I head into my bathroom and close the door behind me.

Sarah must have already been in here because my usually messy porcelain sink is shiny and organized, the light scent of oranges still prominent in the air.

I grab my metallic hairbrush and rake it through my long, black hair, staring at my reflection.

My hair falls to my lower back in layers, the bangs curving over one of my purple eyes a little. Light bruises are forming under my eyes from lack of sleep over the past few days, strongly emphasizing my pale skin and seeming to bring out the light brown, crescent scar near the end of my thin eyebrow.

Quickly, I grab my eyeliner from the mirror cabinet above the sink and apply some, hoping to hide the sleep bruises.

When I'm done, I set everything back in place (I at least try not to ruin the work Sarah does) and step out to see Sarah making my bed.

"I'm thinking about searching the city tonight to see if there's anything going on, so I might be late. Go ahead and lock up when you leave."

She turns to me, her expression serious. "Just be careful, Lady Amethyst. Something doesn't feel right."

I smile crookedly. "I will. And when I get back, you'll just call me Amethyst, right?"

"Sure." She nods, though both of us know that she'd feel weird using such a "disrespectful" way of addressing me.

After slipping on my black flats, I wave and head out my sliding double doors into my backyard.

The air is chilly and a thin later of dew is drenching everything, including the wooden swing-set that's placed in the corner of a metal fence that wraps around my entire backyard. I open the gate door and head into Zach's yard.

"Hey Zach! Are you still alive?" I shout, waiting for him.

A scrawny boy cracks open the door, using it like a shield as he looks at me.

I smile and wave.

He returns it and steps on the porch, letting the screen door slam shut.

He really is scrawny. Not to mention short, barely going up to my chest. His arms are like toothpicks — skinny and breakable — and his legs aren't much better. Today, he's wearing a sandy brown short-sleeve that looks more like a dress, covering the jeans barely clinging to his waist. The small amount of skin I can see is green tinted, a result from not feeding on human flesh for three years.

"I see you're keeping yourself in check," I comment, smiling wider.

He rubs the back of his head, red tinting his cheeks. "It got a little too close yesterday," he admits, "She smelled really good and wouldn't leave me alone…" He looks away and starts playing with his fingers, avoiding my eyes.

"Don't beat yourself up over it," I say soothingly. "The fact that you didn't makes me really proud of you. Maybe I'll even buy you a bag of those cracker-fish-things you like."

His eyes brighten. "Gold fish?"

I nod. "It might even be a big bag."

He disappears for a split second before he's suddenly hugging me with crushing strength. "I love you, Amethyst!"

I laugh, wrapping an arm around him to return the hug. "You better."

He squeezes tighter — something that's probably meant to resemble "I do!" — before letting go. "Now I'm excited!"

I chuckle, shaking my head. "I'll bring it by after I'm done with my rounds."

"Alright," he says happily, "I'll be waiting for you!"

I wave and continue through the grass.

Emry High is a private school meant strictly for students with at least a three-point-oh average. The yard itself is a little over two acres with gorgeous, dark green grass that's taken care of regularly. The school building is placed smack-dab in the middle, three stories high and an acre wide. It's painted white with navy blue outlining the bottom of the flat roof. Windows dot each floor and three balconies on the second floor face me — three more being on the back.

"Amethyst!" someone shouts behind me.

I turn around to see CJ running towards me, trying to keep her uniform shirt from falling down.

She stops next to me and, revealing more cleavage than what's regulated, bends over, gripping her knees as if she's just ran a mile.

"Hey, what's up?" I ask, trying to ignore the mischievous glint in her eyes.

Obviously, she's showing too much cleavage on purpose.

"I don't think you realize how tiring it is to run from that curb to here," she says dramatically, breathing unnecessarily heavy. "That's my workout for the next year."

I roll my eyes. "You're such a drama queen, you know that?"

She grins. "Yep," she pops, flattening down her uniform skirt before standing up straight. "How was your weekend?"

I shrug. "Same old, same old. Nothing interesting."

"Really?" she asks, studying my face. "You look tired, though."

"Yeah. For some reason, I haven't been able to sleep." Stupid demons.

"Worried about midterms?" she guesses and then sighs. "Me too, man. I don't think I'll be able to pass."

"You always say that," I point out, walking through the school's double doors, "and you always end up passing."

"Because we stay after school and study." She pouts. "And you're a genius," she adds and then sighs, "Dude, I am so jealous. Not only are you hot, but you're also smart. It's not fair that I'm only hot."

You might find it conceited, but CJ, towering only an inch shorter than my 5' 6", is actually really pretty. Her dark brown hair, which she prefers to keep short, is only down to her shoulders, but the ends are curved in, towards her face, and shape her high cheek bones and button nose. Thanks to her lip gloss, her sharp lips are shining a light, pinkish peach, matching the random pink tie she has going with her uniform and the light dust of eye shadow.

I laugh as her brown eyes fill with mock tears. "You're smart, too," I defend, but stop, "Wait a minute. I am not hot."

She rolls her eyes. "Honey, if you're not hot then I'm a fairy."

"You're definitely hot," a gruff voice says in my ear.

It's my turn to roll my eyes as I look at Alec. "Don't you ever get tired of following me around like some dog?"

"Woof." He grins arrogantly, revealing perfect white teeth as he nods down at his clothes.

I smile a little, shaking my head.

Alec, with his sandy blonde hair and dazzling blue eyes, is dressed in street clothes today, the white muscle shirt sticking to his defined torso like a second skin with a pair of baggy blue jeans.

"Nice," I say, turning back to my locker. "What are you going to do if the principal yells at you again? This will be your third detention in a week."

He shrugs, leaning against the locker next to mine. "Come up with an excuse."

"Yeah, you're pretty good at those, aren't you?" CJ mutters under her breath.

He looks at her, seemingly surprised by her remark, before gaining his composure. "Jealousy is unbecoming, Caylee Jane."

"And "unbecoming" is a big word for you, Alexandria," she shoots back.

He scoffs. "Taking a hit at my pride by calling me by a girl's name? Obviously, you're off your game today, cockroach."

Before she can retaliate, I step in between them. "Shut up. Both of you." I look at Alec. "And don't call CJ a cockroach or I'll shove you in a locker, understand?"

He grumbles something and CJ taps my shoulder. "Speaking of locker…" She nods down the hallway. "Looks like Eric's getting messed with again."

I follow her gaze and resist the urge to sigh.

Poor Eric is almost as scrawny as Zach. The only difference is Zach could be considered cute to a ten-year-old. Eric, on the other hand, was 5' 4" with thick, black rimmed glasses, beady grey eyes, and the worst case of acne you could ever imagine. His dark hair is smoothed back with pounds of grease, so much that I think it's sliding down his face (unless that's sweat) and he can't weigh more than a hundred pounds.

He's the complete opposite of the soccer-playing jerk holding him against the grey lockers. Pecs is the type of guy people call "all brawns and no brains" (hence his nickname: Pecs). He's well-toned with dark skin and fairly defined muscles that are emphasized by the tight-fitting, black long-sleeve. His black hair is spiked up in inch-sized spikes with some kind of Axe gel.

"Come on," I say, nudging CJ, who looks like she's peeling Pecs's skin away with her eyes.

Her expression doesn't soften as she heads down the hallway, her heels clacking loudly against the linoleum.

"Something wrong?" I ask, smiling up at Pecs.

"Nope," he says, grinning malevolently at Eric, "Just having a little chat, right?"

He gulps and keeps his mouth closed.

"Let 'em go," CJ demands.

I smile a little.

"And what are you going to do, sweetheart? Hit me with your purse?"

The jockeys laugh loudly, as if it's the funniest joke ever.

Suddenly, something shines in Pecs's eyes. A metallic red glazes over them for a mere second, turning his dark eyes a more auburn color.

Pecs is possessed.

I almost laugh.

The aura is so weak, I can barely even feel the presence of it. It's probably some Level Two demon; a simple misguided ghost that doesn't want to pass over yet, too scared of what its judgment might be, and only humans with minds as weak as Pecs can be controlled by one.

With an amused grin, I wrap my arms around him, careful to maneuver his body to where his back is facing the lockers, keeping his two nimrod friends from seeing what I'm doing.

My hands heat up and tingle, feeling as if thousands of small needles are stabbing at them. A faint, lilac glow starts to outline t and I gently press them against Pecs's back, palms flat. Almost immediately, Pecs goes more still than a statue, the spirit inside him squirming to get away from me. Quickly, I slip the blob-like creature out of him, narrowing my eyes at it.

The transparent splotch smiles sheepishly, quivering with fear.

I smile warmly, calming it, and clamp my fist down. With a soft pop, it's gone.

"Uh, Amethyst?" Eric squeaks.

I let go of Pecs and clear my throat, rubbing my head. "As I was saying, thanks for letting him go. See you around." Before he can say anything, I grab Eric's hand and walk down the hallway and make a left turn towards the computer room.

"Way to go, Ames. Talk about taking one for the team." CJ snickers at Alec, who looks like he's about to turn into a ghost himself as he leans his forehead against the wall depressingly.

"She… hugged him…" he mumbles disbelievingly.

CJ laughs. "And it seemed like she enjoyed it! Of course, hugging such a burly man like Pecs might actually be pleasing… Until you realize who you're hugging."

I roll my eyes. "Oh, shut up. He let Eric go, didn't he?"

Eric smiles sheepishly. "Thanks, Amethyst."

I return his smile. "Don't worry about it. Even if I do need an acid shower just to get off all of that stupid Axe cologne."

He chuckles.

The bell rings and I look at CJ, "We'll see you guys at lunch."

"Yeah." She looks at Alec, who's still leaning against the wall, and shakes her head, "Hopefully Mr. Heartbroken over there will be too depressed to do anything majorly stupid."

I laugh and walk into the classroom with Eric, both of us taking our seats at our assigned computers.

The computer lab is pretty normal considering the amount of money the school has. About twenty computers wrap around the room, with six in a circle in the middle. A desk on the left of the door is meant for Ms. Wright, but she rarely uses it, claiming that it gives us too much freedom because she can't see what we're doing.

Shame we're incredible when it comes to hiding things.

For instance, right at this exact moment, though Ms. Wright is entirely oblivious to it, Amber Miller is texting someone.

As usual, though, Ms. Wright is stuck on some kid in the far corner who won't focus on the project at hand.

I ignore it like always and stare absently at my computer screen.

The spirits in town seem to be restless. Usually, with demons like Zach, who have turned over a new leaf, the spirits simply ignore their presence, preferring to act as if they aren't there. However, within in the last couple of days, they've done nothing but swarm around me, panicking in my ear. Yesterday, one even tried to possess me. Some spirits may be cheeky and annoying, but they are most certainly not stupid. If someone is around that's stronger than them, they tend to fade away. When there are demons around, though, powerful demons, they panic and start finding vessels to hide in to cover themselves.

Had the spirit possessing Pecs sensed a demon?

I rub my temples, trying to keep from groaning.

Stupid demons are getting smart. I used to be able to tell where they were with a simple turn of my head, but now, they've learned how to hide their sickly auras and need for blood thirst pretty well. The only mistakes they've made are things that would seem obvious to other people. Like the little girl that other day that I was telling Sarah about. She didn't even look one, yet she could walk, talk, and even run. Soon, after a few more years of living with us, they'll probably even overcome those obstacles, making it even harder to tell good from bad.

"Amethyst," Eric whispers, "Psst. Amethyst."

I raise an eyebrow at him. Does he really think he's being quiet?

"Can you help me with this?" he whisper-yells, "Please?"

I chuckle and stand up, pulling a rolling chair from a vacant computer in the middle of the room and rolling it next to him. "You know, for a geek, you're really dumb."

He pouts, sticking out his bottom lip and crossing his arms childishly. "It's not my fault I have the looks of one and not the mind."

I laugh, shaking my head.

We spend the rest of first block trying to organize his PowerPoint. I notice that Eric's problem isn't finding the information (after all, the guy is like the human form of Wikipedia, only more reliable), it's his creativeness. Ms. Wright, thankfully, cares more about the creative aspect of everything. All of her projects are grades with creativity being worth over one third of the grade, which is good for someone like me, who prefers spending hours decorating a blank sheet with something more exciting, but it's terrible for someone like Eric, who would rather spend time researching for hours just because that's how much he loves knowledge.

Needless to say, when the bell finally rings, he's singing for joy.

"Thank the Lord Almighty!" he breathes with relief, a hand running through his greasy hair, "I don't know how I'm ever going to get that project done for her."

"There's no need to worry about it," I reassure him, "We still have tomorrow, Friday, and all of next week to do it; I'm sure you'll get it done by the end of the week."

"Yeah," he mutters, "If a fairy helps me."

I chuckle a little.

"A really kind fairy with black hair and amazing purple eyes," he continues hopefully.

I roll my eyes at his "subtle" hint. "I don't have time after school, Eric. You know that."

He sighs. "Yeah, but it was worth the try."

I smile. "I'll see you after second block. Usual place at the bar?"

He nods. "CJ and I will meet you and Alec at Bubba's."

"Ok. See you then."

He waves and takes off in the opposite direction, heading towards his AP Physics class.

I smile wider.

He can't pass computer class, but Advanced Physics is a piece of cake. Funny how things work.

I burry my hands in my skirt's pockets and head down the hallway, looking for the enormous door that leads to the school's gymnasium.

It's easy to spot, at least.

I push the giant doors open and step into the huge room.

I honestly think this room takes up most of the first floor. The polished, wooden floor stretches a little over thirty-three yards with an inside basketball court positioned in the middle that takes up about eighty-four feet worth of room. The walls are painted white with a blue dolphin on the northern and southern walls, a thick, dark blue line stretching along it. The high-rising ceiling looks like it goes higher than the second floor, but I blame that on the iron poles connecting the movable basketball rims.

Something moves in my peripheral vision and I step back, letting the yellow dodge ball hit a bleacher, ricocheting into poor Alec's stomach. He topples over, holding himself.

"Crap," I mutter, running over to him, "Are you okay?"

"Yes," he mumbles, "It's my fault anyway. I forgot how great your reflexes are."

I raise an eyebrow. "Wait, were you trying to hit me?"

He smiles. "Would've got you too if it weren't for your damn instincts."

"Jerk," I grumble, straightening up, "I shouldn't have worried about you. Next time, I'll throw it back."

"Don't be cruel," he whines, "It's your fault for hugging Pecs. You should've told me you liked assholes with muscles and no brains; I would've treated you like crap a long time ago."

I roll my eyes and sigh, outstretching my hand. "It's not like that; I just wanted him to stop picking on Eric. And it worked, so stop moping and get over it."

He studies my hand for a few seconds before he gives in and takes it, helping himself up. "Yeah, well, you could've fooled me."

"You say that like it's hard to do," I tease.

"Oh, shut up."

I laugh. "Do you have your gym uniform today?"

"Crap," he groans, "No, I totally forgot it."

"Then I guess we're skipping," I say, smiling, "Good, because I didn't feel like playing inline soccer today."

"Aww, but I was so looking forward to seeing you in that small, white outfit. You look good in tight clothes." He grins.

I shake my head, chuckling. "I'll meet you at the door, ok?"

He nods.

I head to Mrs. Barnett's office, next the girls' locker room, and knock lightly on the already-opened door.

She looks up from her plan for the next Cheerleading competition. "Hello, Ms. Priest. Can I help you?"

Mrs. Barnett always seems to have a scowl on her face. Her greying hair and sharp eyes often gave people the impression she's a heartless witch (which, sometimes, she can be, don't get me wrong), but, for the most part, she's actually really nice. Or, at the least, she tries to be.

I nod and step in, closing the door. "I think I started my period during first block and I was wondering if it would be okay if I borrowed Alec for his car."

She looks at me with sympathy. "Did you walk to school again today?"

Another nod. "I don't have enough money for a car, let alone gas."

"Alright," she agrees, "I don't see a problem with it. Just be sure to sign out and be back by third block, okay?"

I smile. "I will, don't worry."

She returns my smile before continuing with her plans and I step out, heaving an accomplished sigh.

That excuse works every time.

Alec is already waiting for me at the giant door, a broad smile on his face.

"What're you so giddy about?" I ask as we head out of the gym, "You do know that your grade is going to suffer if you keep forgetting your uniform, right?"

He shrugs, "I'm not worried about it. Coach seems to be pretty understanding lately."

"That's rare. I wonder why." Mrs. Barnett may have earned the title "Evil Bitch" unfairly, but Coach definitely deserves it. The man is a complete tyrant and totally unreasonable. Doesn't matter what someone's saying, if it isn't what he thinks and believes, it's wrong. End of story.

"I heard his ex-wife decided to give him another chance," Alec says, "or he found another woman. It just depends on which rumor you believe."

"I think he has a better chance of getting back with his ex than finding a new woman. He's, like, what? Forty?"

"Forty-five." Alec laughs. "And you have a point, but whatever it is, I'm grateful for it."

"Until they breakup again." I smirk.

"Don't bring my mood down," he grumbles, causing me to laugh.

We walk out of the school with little trouble. Thanks to Principal Edwards, the newest principal here, students are allowed to go off campus and get lunch, provided they sign out and return by third block. Usually, if the teacher okays it, students leave ten/fifteen minutes earlier and head out, but that's only certain teachers.

"Where should we go?" Alec asks, unlocking his car doors with a small button, "Applebee's?"

"I don't care. Anywhere is fine with me," I say, plopping down on the leather seats.

"Applebee's it is," he says, starting up the Prius.

"We're only getting milkshakes, though," I warn. "Remember, we're meeting CJ and Eric at Bubba's for lunch."

"Yeah, yeah. How can I forget? It's the same routine every day," he mutters unhappily, pulling out of the school's parking lot.

I smirk a little. "Is Alec annoyed with the same thing every day?" I tease.

He rolls his eyes. "I don't see what's so wrong about wanting some kind of change every now and then."

"There's nothing wrong with it," I say, "It's just weird. You've never said anything before and I don't see what's so bad about eating lunch with them."

"There's nothing good about eating with that cockroach," he gripes.

I smack his shoulder, hard, causing him to swerve to the side a little. "I told you not to call her that."

"Okay, okay. I'm sorry,"

I glare at him. "If you're so sorry, then stop calling her that."

"Unless she starts it."

I sigh. They're seriously hopeless. In the past couple of years, I never understood what made them dislike each other so much. A few years ago, CJ was the one who introduced him to me. He had moved here from Chicago and didn't know anyone. She and he were the ones who hit it off, though, not me and him. For a while there, they were hanging out more than she and I were. But now, it's like they hate each other and nothing can change that. I guess people change, but that much within such a short time? Whenever I ask them about, however, they both just say something like "wasn't who I thought he was" or "it doesn't matter".

Freaking teenagers.

Alec pulls into Applebee's parking lot and shuts off the car, looking at me. "Come on, Ames. Don't be mad. I said I was sorry~"

I raise an eyebrow, amused by his whining, and sigh. "I'm not mad," I assure him, "Just confused, but it's whatever. Let's get something sweet before I explode."

He chuckles and opens up his door. "Fair enough. Dessert is on me."

"Heck yeah it is." I grin. "You still owe me for the last two times."

He rolls his eyes. "I know. You never let me forget that either."

I laugh.

Applebee's isn't as busy as it usually is, mainly because most of the town is either at school or work. The few tables that do have people are retired elderly and visiting relatives.

Alec, luckily, has a close uncle that works as one of the bartenders, so we get a seat at the bar.

The broad man smiles as we sit down. "So you two are here again, I see," he says, "What can I do for you this time?"

"Just a couple of milkshakes," Alex says.

"What kind?" he asks, "Chocolate, Cherry, Vanilla, or Strawberry?"

"Vanilla for me and…" He looks at me and I smirk, challenging him. "Chocolate for her?" he guesses.

I laugh and nod.

"Coming right up."

"So what are you planning on doing after school today?" he asks as soon as Rick disappears in the back

"I'm going to the graveyard," I lie easily, "I think it's time I visited mom and dad."

That stops him short. He has problems remembering that my parents are gone, despite being at their funeral, and every time they're brought up, he immediately goes rigid.

He clears his throat awkwardly, obviously thinking he'd hurt me. "Oh," he says lamely, "I forgot today's the eleventh."

I smile, trying to ease his suffering. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure even Sarah's forgotten." Which is true, more or less. Although, I'm almost positive that she forgets on purpose.

"Yeah, but she's your caretaker. It's not like she's your best friend," he says, "I'm sorry, Amethyst."

"It's not like you are either," I counter. When he glares at me, I shrug. "It really isn't a big deal, Alec. I can't expect you to remember my parents' anniversary. That would be cruel. Especially if you can't even remember your own parents'." I tease.

"Oh hush."

I laugh and he eases up a little.

Rick comes back with our milkshakes, grinning like a child with a piece of candy. "A vanilla milkshake for my annoying nephew and a chocolate one for his pretty friend."

I smile. "Thanks."

"Yeah, thanks," Alec deadpans, eyeing him accusingly.

"Oh, take a chill pill," he defends, "She's too young for me anyway."

"Mhm," he grumbles.

Rick chuckles, ruffling Alec's dark blonde locks. "You two enjoy. Milkshakes are on the house today."

"Thanks, Rick," I say, smiling.

"Any time, sweetheart." He winks just to irritate Alec and then heads to another customer.

"That's right!" He looks over at me. "Are you planning on going with us on Friday?"

I blink, confused. "Going where?"

"After studying for the exams, we were planning on coming here Friday for Karaoke night," he explains.

"I don't know…" Friday is the only day that Zach can help me hunt for demons thanks to his job. With the growing population of them, I don't think I can afford to take a day off…

"Please, Ames? You never hang out with us," he begs.

"I know." I sigh, feeling guilty. "It's just that I'm busy after school. You guys know that."

"I don't understand what you do after school every day," he complains, looking at his milkshake with detection.

"Plenty of things," I say matter-of-factly, "Clean the house, help out the neighbors for extra money, usual things someone who's living alone has to do." I know it's a little cold to put it like that, and I know it'll only make him feel worse, but it's better than telling him the truth, and this way, he'll drop the subject.

"Yeah, I guess," he mumbles, still going strong, "But isn't that Sarah's for?"

"Alec, I can't. I'm sorry," I say sternly.

"Fine." He deflates. "Be that way. But one of these days, I'm going to make you hang out with us."

"I'd like to see that." I laugh.

"You just wait and see. I'll drag you by your hair if I have to."

I snicker, "If you even try to touch my hair, I'll bite off your fingers."

"I might like it," he warns.

I roll my eyes, but can't help the small chuckle that escapes.

We finish out milkshakes slowly, trying to take up as much time as we can. Our conversation jumps around a little. We're not really good with sticking to one subject… or even similar subjects. One minute, we're talking about the angry look on Mrs. Barnett's face and what her parents must have looked like in order for her to look the way she does and the next minute, we're talking about a man across from us eyeing the Twinkies displayed in a glass jar in front of him.

"Seriously!" Alec says quietly, "He looks like he blames all of his problems on the poor thing."

I laugh. "Maybe he's mad because he's on a diet and he wants to eat it."

Alec shakes his head. "No, that's definitely not it. Maybe he's angry because he looks similar to it?"

"So he looks like a fluffy, yellow dessert with white cream in the middle?"

"Yes," he says seriously, "Only inverted. Like, the outside of him is white, but the inside is yellow."

I laugh, shaking my head. "That's just so wrong."

"So is glaring at the best dessert in history!"

I make a face. "Yuck. Twinkies are disgusting."

"What?" He gapes. "They are not!"

"They are so."

"Freak."

"Me? The freak? How can you even say that?" I ask, feigning hurt. Quickly, I pick up my straw and fling a small amount of chocolate milkshake on him. "Take that, jerk."

He returns the appalled look, wiping the liquid dripping down his face. "You'll pay for that, Amethyst Devyn."

I laugh, standing up. "I'd like to see you get me back, Alec Sean."

He groans. "You know I hate my middle name."

I stick my tongue out.

"Oh, very mature," he mutters, "Here. How about you try some of mine?" Before I can react, he flicks his own straw at me, spattering vanilla all over my tongue.

"Disgusting!" I shriek, "This means war, Jones."

"Now, now kids. I thought we had already graduated kindergarten?" Rick says, chuckling a little, "Aren't you two too old for food fights?"

"She started it," Alec says, pointing at me.

"Now who's being immature?" I snicker.

"You two." Rick shakes his head and we laugh.

"Thanks for the free drinks, Uncle Rick," Alec says.

"Don't worry about it. Just remember to invite me to your guys' wedding." He smirks.

"Of course," I say sweetly, "I'll invite you to mine and he can invite you to his."

"Ouch, so cold," Rick says, "You two have fun. And stay out of trouble."

"Always!" we say at the same time, heading out the door.

"You know, it'd be nice if we could have fun like that more often," Alec says.

"Yeah," I agree absently, sliding into the passenger side of the car.

"Like Friday," he hints, glancing at me.

I sigh. "Sorry, Alec. Maybe next week."

"I'm not giving up just yet," he warns, "I will drag you by your hair."

I send him a smirk. "I can't wait to see you try."