Chapter 1

Ethan.

"What's the name?" I asked Mom. I was heading out the door.

"Riley!" she called back. Every year mom had an internship. I was always designated as the picker-upper guy. Every year, I had to hold up a sign with guy's name on it, hoping he sees me. I take his luggage, drive home, settle him in. That's my job.

Mom's a writer. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Biography. You name it, she writes it. For 8 months some lucky guy comes and researches with Mom. By the end of the eight months, the book is done and he's on his way. They always keep in touch though. Last year Andrew, the year before that Drake, this year Riley. Mom always picked boys because she didn't trust me around the girls.

"You would be half in love with her by the time you sat down. That's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty... you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are." she would say. "I don't want you half fallin' in love. I want you all the way in, or all the way out and 8 months ain't 'nough time for deciding something you got your whole life to decide." She protected me from the female population. I'm seventeen years old and only been kissed once. By Susan Chisel. I've never been on a date unless you count Frankie and me throwing popcorn at Kate and Diane one row behind them at the theatres. I didn't.

"You best be getting before I fire your behind!" We all knew she wouldn't.

"I'm gettin'!" I yelled as I slammed the screen door shut behind. Q-Tip followed behind me faithfully. Q-Tip is my favorite cat. When I was little I was obsessed with Q-Tips. We had an old cat named Mouw. She had kittens. 3 died and only Q-Tip lived. I was only 5 so I named her after my latest obsession. Mouw died last year. I climbed into my old clunker of a truck and drove down the quiet excuse we have for a highway. After an hour of driving, honking, swearing and giving inappropriate hand gestures that would surely result in some form of punishment had Mom been there, I made it to the airport. I pulled out my sign with Riley's name on it and walked to the entrance. Riley's plane landed 2 minutes ago. I waited by the escalator with all of the other escorts. A guy with dread locks and plugs came down first. He went to a sign that said Jim. Next another guy came down. He looked like he could've come out of a surfer movie. He flipped his sandy brown hair and went to a sign saying Joshua. A girl came down next. Her hair was pin straight in the front and the back was perfect little ringlets. She had black streaks in the straight part of her hair and the rest was blonde. She was sucking on a lollipop and carrying a lime green suitcase. She had on ripped fishnets and denim shorts that looked as if they should've been thrown out years ago. Her shirt was tight (not that I was complaining) and her combat boots had a wicked heel. Her makeup was light and she had string bracelets tied almost to her elbow. She looked innocent. Behind was the last guy who I suspected was mine. I raised my hand to wave when the girl stood in front of me. She smirked.

"Looking for someone?" she asked.

"Who're you" I asked.

"Well, my name's Riley. I was looking for my handsome escort Annie had mentioned over the phone, but you're holding my name tag, so Handsome must have been out sick." She said. Dumfounded I dropped the tag, stuck out my hand and mumbled.

"I thought you were a guy." Her cheeks turned slightly pink.

"Looks like you'll have to settle for me." She set her suitcase down next to me and sashayed away. This was going to be a long eight months.

"What the he-" I started but Mom cut me off.

"No swearing." She said short and sweet.

"You told me you only brought guys! Why didn't you warn me! I completely embarrassed myself out there." I stopped out of breath.

"I could've sworn I had told you Riley was a girl. Sweetheart. I'm bending the rules a little bit for her. She's special. Honor student. She is amazing at research. She's only 15 years old." Mom told me we were in the same grade. "I'm sorry Ethan. I had to bend the rules for her."

"Whatever." I said. I walked out of the kitchen to see Riley sitting on the couch, flipping through the channels.

"Whatever." She mimicked in a high-pitched that sounded nothing like me. I bounded up the stairs two at a time. I opened the door to my room in the attic. I heard padding behind me. I assumed it would be Q-Tip so I left the door open for her. Much to my surprise, Riley walked in.

"So, tomorrow, you're going to take me to all the fun places in this poor excuse of a town. Introduce me to all your friends. Teach me how to drive, take me out for ice cream, and maybe get a little drunk."

"No." I stated sternly. She pouted.

"Why not?"

"Because the arcade closed down, my friends are idiots and unaccepting, I can barely drive myself, ice cream shop froze over, and you're fifteen." I counted off the reasons on my fingers.

"Whether you are talking about education, career, or service, you are talking about life. And life must really have joy. It's supposed to be fun. Barbara Bush," Riley said.

"You must have discipline to have fun. Julia Child." I fired back.

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. Dale Carnegie." Damn. She was winning.

"You win. For now." I said. "Still, no getting drunk. I might do the rest." I said.

"Yay! Night." She said and left my room, thudding down the stairs. This girl was going to be the death of me.

A/N~ YAY! What did you think? I had this idea stuck in my head for days. Tell me what ya thought! Thnx!

~hourandahalf