A/N: Hey, all, this is just a story I began writing one day. Hopefully I'll able to finish it.

Chapter One

As I pulled my sweater vest over my head, I heard footsteps out in the hall, past my bedroom. Tugging on the hem, I glanced out of my open door, noticing how especially loud the footsteps were. My little sister, Alina, was stomping (Alina is her American name – it means beautiful, or something like that).

    Sighing, I turned back to the mirror, flipping my hair out. When Alina got mad, she normally got what she wanted. She was most likely on her way to complain to Dad right now about something.

    I took one final look at myself in the full length mirror. I was wearing our school uniform: white collared blouse, gray blazer, gray skirt that reached the tip of my middle finger when my hands were placed at my thighs, and knee-high gray socks, and a tie. Yes, that's right, a tie. A gray and black striped one. Everyone has to wear them.

    The only thing I got a choice in was my shoes – just as long as they were closed-toe. I always wore my lace-up black chunky ones, because I think they look best.

    Sometimes I just wish that I didn't have to wear such an obnoxious uniform five days a week. But that's just the way things were, and I'd have to accept it, I guess. I went to a high school with many other rich kids in the state, my sister got all the attention from my Dad – our only living parent, might I add – and I wore the same thing more than seventy-five percent of the week.

    I'm tired of accepting things, but I have to. It's what I've been doing my entire life.

    Take, for instance, my hair. Being Korean, I have the same thin, sleek black hair of everyone who is Oriental. However, over in Korea people dye their hair blue, and green, and pink. And me? I'm in America and my dad won't allow it. He says it's not wholesome.

    I bet if Alina asked to dye her hair purple he'd say yes.

    The only way to make my hair interesting is the way I cut it. It's layered around my face, and it's about shoulder-length, almost like a Farrah Fawcett look. It's the way I've had it for a while, though, and I'm so bored of it. But what can I do?

    Sighing, I tore my gaze away from my reflection, the face I'd been staring at for fifteen years, and grabbed my laptop bag. Time for breakfast.

    I bounced down the stairs and clunked my way over the tile of the front foyer into the kitchen. Just as I'd suspected, Alina was mad about something. She was talking to Dad.

    However, it wasn't my ten-year-old sister's way to scream and shout and throw tantrums. She's very smart, I have to admit, in her ways to get Dad to do what she wants.

    "Daddy," she said in Korean (at home we always speak in Korean) with a pouty voice, her lower lip slightly forward. She stood beside him, and even though he was sitting down and reading the newspaper while he ate his cereal, she only just reached his eye level.

    "Yes, baby?" Dad replied, not taking his gaze from the paper.

    I studied Dad for a minute. He has Jet Li good looks (minus the part about Jet Li being Chinese), except slightly older. His hair is always slicked back, but there are streaks of silver in them, giving him a distinguished sort of look. He's a successful business man; one of the best lawyers in California, and he makes enough to pay for our house in Beverly Hills and to send his two daughters to the best schools in the state.

    He's the only parent I've got, ever since Mom died when I was five when she had difficulties bearing Alina, and I admire him and look up to him. I can't even blame him for absolutely adoring Alina, because it's just his nature to be a good man like that. The only thing I don't understand is why he doesn't realize how he plays favorites, always giving my sister huge hugs and kisses when she gets all of her spelling words right, and only giving me a smile when I make a hundred percent on my geometry tests.

    But I still love him, with all my heart, and I couldn't imagine having anyone else. In fact, I think I've gotten so used to the pain in my chest when he cuddles Alina, it would probably come as a shock if he paid as much attention to me.

    "Daddy, I don't have any purple socks clean," Alina announced, still in a pouting mode. She's obsessed with purple. I swear, she sometimes acts like she's five, not ten.

    "Just go ahead and wear some unclean ones, Seung Yun," Dad said absently, using her Korean name, his eyes scanning the paper as he read. "It won't hurt you."

    "But Sofia took all my dirty clothes to be cleaned yesterday, so I don't have any," Alina replied.

    Sofia is our maid, who does most of the cleaning.

    "Maybe she's cleaned some by now," he told her.

    "No, I already asked." Alina chewed on her lower lip, waiting for an answer.

    Dad was clearly absorbed in the paper now, and hadn't even heard what she'd said. It was unlike him to find other things more important than her. And she was beginning to realize it.

    "Daddy, you're not listening," she whined a bit dramatically.

    "I have some purple socks, Seung," I spoke up. She glanced at me, clearly not knowing I was in the kitchen. I dropped my bag on the table and sat down. "You can get a pair from my dresser, if you'd like."

    Alina also knew it wasn't like me to be nice to her. She narrowed her eyes and said sharply, "No. You're feet are too big."

    I rolled my eyes as our cook, Robert, set a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, and an English muffin with strawberry jelly in front of me. I thanked him as Alina went on to try and get Dad's attention.

    "Da-a-ddy!" she cried, a look of hurt crossing her features. "Please!"

    "Just give me a minute, baby," he insisted.

    I knew if I ever whined like her and tried to avert his concentration he'd yell at me. But Alina always got away with stuff like that, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

    Now, Alina would try her second tactic. If Dad wouldn't listen to her if she whined, he would have to listen to her if she cried. She began sniffling, her eyes watering, and she said quietly, "Daddy, I think you care more about your work than you do me!"

    That got his attention. He jerked his eyes from the paper and looked at her with concern.

    "Oh, no, baby," he said, slipping his arm around her waist to pull her closer in a sort of hug. She pouted and looked down. "I'm sorry; I was just reading about something important."

    Wrong thing to say, Dad, I thought.

    "More important than me?" Alina asked, screwing her face in a pained expression.

    "No, of course not," he said, giving her a small smile. "Nothing is more important than you."

    Not even his first born, I thought with some bitterness. Only the one who killed his wife is most important.

    I slowly began to regret my thoughts, even if I did regret it rather reluctantly. It wasn't really Alina's fault Mom died. She hadn't asked to be born.

    While Alina explained her sock problem to Dad one more time, I began to eat slowly. I tried to block out Dad's soothing voice as he spoke to her. He had never spoken to me in that sort of way. Not even when Mom was alive.

    I think the main reason Dad loves Alina so much more is because she reminds him of Mom. And I suppose she does; she looks identical to how Mom did when she was ten. Alina has the same chin-length hair (same type that I have, might I add; black and straight) and the same sort of pointy nose. They both have brown eyes, lighter than mine or Dad's – our eyes are black, they're so dark. She has also inherited Mom's short and stick-thin stature. That's why Mom had so much trouble having kids; she had absolutely no hips for it.

    On days when I miss Mom so much I ache, even though it's been ten years since she left me, I immediately pray to God that He'll strike Alina dead. Deep down I think I really do hate her; that she's taken both parents from me. I know I shouldn't have such feelings, but it's the honest truth. I feel all alone in this family, and it's because of her.

    Other times, I try to tell myself that it isn't Alina's fault. She never asked for Dad's attention. She never asked to be born by a woman who couldn't handle it. If it was anyone's fault, it was both Mom and Dad's for deciding to have another child after they knew having me was so hard.

    Still . . . why can't Dad ever look at me with love and compassion and pride? Am I the ugly duckling of the family? I don't think I'm so bad. I take after him, so I can't be that hideous. So why can't he love me, too?

    I suppose he does, in his own way. And I know he can show it, because he proves he's not afraid of letting his loved ones know how he feels because of all he does to Alina. Yet if all that's true, what's the problem with me?

    I ate a bite of my English muffin, telling myself it was useless to wonder about why Dad did what he did. I'd been asking myself and wondering about it for quite a while now, ever since I began to notice how much Dad loved Alina, which had to be about seven years now. There just wasn't any point in thinking so hard when I would never know the answer.

    "Jin Young, isn't it time for school?" Dad asked, his voice saying my name suddenly bringing me back from my thoughts.

    Alina was now seated in his lap comfortably, picking the raisins out of his Raisin Brand, looking happy again. I resisted the urge to glare at her. She annoyed me so much; she couldn't even begin to comprehend it.

    I quickly glanced at the clock. Seven. I had to be in homeroom in fifteen minutes. I ate my final bite of eggs and stood up, slinging my laptop bag over my shoulder.

    "Yes, Dad," I told him, walking over to him.

    I pecked his cheek for goodbye, and when I pulled away he was already back to reading his paper. Trying to cover up the sting his ignoring had caused, I patted Alina's head, and muttered goodbye to her. She didn't respond; she kept eating the rest of Dad's now-soggy cereal.

    I knew that if it was Alina who was heading to school (she didn't have to leave for another hour, being she was still in elementary school) he would've hugged and kissed her several times. He would've smiled and wished her luck and told her he loved her and to be a good girl.

    But he always seemed to ignore me.

    Come on, Kirsten, I told myself, using my American name in attempts to cheer myself up. You're used to this, remember? Don't get all teary-eyed over something that happens every day.

    I left through the kitchen door, inhaling deeply when I got outside. The October air was warm, damp – as it usually was practically every morning in Beverly Hills. I stepped out onto our circular driveway, seeing Eddie, my chauffeur, waiting beside the gold Rolls Royce he used to drive me to school in. He was smoking, as he normally was while he waited for me.

    "Eddie, that can kill you," I told him with a grin, trying to put my father and sister out of my mind.

    Seeing me, he smiled in return, dropped the cigarette on the ground, stepped on it to put it out, and picked it up. He would probably shove it in the ashtray in the car until he could find a trash can for it.

    "Peaches," he greeted me, widening his warm smile, using his nickname for me.

    Eddie is young, about twenty-five, and completely handsome. He has dark silky hair and beautiful green eyes, and he always wears a tuxedo when he's around me. Despite the fact he's to-die-for beautiful, I think of him as a brother, and he thinks of me as a little sister. He's almost my bodyguard, in a way. I refused to have one – well, actually, let me rephrase that. Dad insisted Alina have one, because he was always afraid there was someone who would kidnap her for ransom or whatever. He never really said anything to me about having one, but just in case he ever would, I told him I didn't want one. A driver was enough for me.

    "Looking nice today, gorgeous," Eddie added as he walked around the car to open the front door for me.

    Beaming at him, I got in. Calling me gorgeous and pretty was just like calling me Peaches; he used it just for smiles.

    "Not as gorgeous as you," I said in Korean as he got behind the wheel.

    He shot me an exasperated look, though his eyes were playful, and started the engine. "You know I don't speak Chinese, Peaches."

    "Korean," I said instantly.

    Though I knew he was just fooling around. He knew very well that I was Korean.

    "So where to today, Peaches?" he asked as we pulled out of the driveway. The gates closed behind us as he made a right turn. "Hollywood? Las Vegas? Or whaddya say we just screw this all and go to New York?"

    I smiled. "New York sounds great."

    He must've seen the sadness in my expression because his face softened. "Something wrong, Kirsten?" he asked seriously.

    I tried to brighten my grin. "No, Edward. I'm fine. Just a bit tired – I stayed up until midnight studying for geometry."

    He seemed to buy it, though why shouldn't he? He wasn't aware of how my dad totally ignored me. No one was.

    "I hated geometry," he replied, shuddering for effect. "I think I took it in eleventh grade, I was so bad at math."

    Something I already knew. Eddie hadn't ever been to college, and I don't think he ever plans to. He just barely graduated high school.

    Of course, he doesn't care, because the only reason he came to California was to become an actor. I'm completely confident he would get noticed, too. He's too good-looking not to be. It's just a matter of time before he gets the role of a lifetime, and leaves us to make millions. I once made him promise that when he hit it big time, he would buy the house next door to us.

    He had agreed that that's exactly what he'll do.

    "Other than a geometry test, what's going on today?" Eddie said, changing the subject.

    "Well, I'm supposed to have soccer practice," I said, and glanced up at the sky through the windshield. The sky was gray and dark. "But it looks like it might rain. At four, though, I have a student council meeting, so I'm not completely free."

    The rest of the ride we didn't talk; I turned on the radio and we listened to some hip-hop station that Eddie loved. I was more of Red Hot Chili Peppers sort of person myself. But I always let Eddie think I liked his sort of music, just because I felt that if he was working with us for money until he became an actor, he might as well enjoy it. I couldn't imagine working at a job I hated.

    As rich as I am, I thought, I probably won't ever have to work.

    No, I would work. I wouldn't turn into Alina and let everyone wait on me and think I'm God's greatest gift to this world.

    I already knew I wanted to do something with animals. A zoologist, maybe. Perhaps I would open up a zoo, somewhere out of California, because we already had the San Diego Zoo. Either way, I knew I would like to work with animals.

    Eddie pulled to a stop behind a line of other fancy cars in front of Timothy Rollins Private High School. I don't know who Timothy Rollins is; I only know that he built the place. It was once his home, and it's a nice building, made of gray stone, three stories tall, and has an indoor pool for our swimming team. In the back there are several acres for tennis courts, soccer and football and lacrosse fields, and a baseball diamond. In the front, which was the view I had of now, there's lush green grass and a fountain before the steps that led to the double doors. At the moment there were kids everywhere on the lawn, sitting on the edge of the fountain, and sprawled on the stairs.

    It's where some of the wealthiest kids went to school. It's full of snobs, bitches, jocks, idiots, beautiful sons and daughters of movie stars, and people like me. The normal, I-don't-really-want-to-be-rich-but-I-am-anyway sort of people.

    "I'll pick you up at five, all righty, Peaches?" Eddie said as I stared across the perfect lawn at the school.

    You would've thought I was afraid of it or something, the way I was looking at it.

    "All right, Eddie," I said, and flashed him a farewell smile.

    I got out of the car, hoisting my bag over my shoulder, and headed over the grass. We weren't supposed to walk on it, but everyone did anyway.

    I went to the spot my best friend, Georgina, and I normally met. She was there before me, as always, sitting on the bottom step, all the way over to the right. Already she was typing away on her laptop, probably finishing the chemistry essay that was due today. Georgina was always doing things last-minute.

    The first time I met her, at the beginning of ninth grade last year (alphabetically, we were seated next to each other in homeroom. Her last name is Holly, and mine is Heo), I almost gagged at her first name. Georgina? Now, I'll admit Jin Young is odd, but at least it's normal over in Korea. Georgina is just plain different where ever you live.

    Georgina hates her name; she would like to kill her parents for naming her such, but she never sees her parents, so she never has the opportunity. Mr. and Mrs. Holly own Holly Hotels, and are always away at the various locations, either vacationing or working. Georgina's an only child (lucky, I thought the moment she told me this last year), and in some ways can be spoiled and snotty, but I know she's a good person at heart and I love her. In a non-lesbianish way, of course.

    I plopped down beside her, leaning against her to glance at the screen. Just as I'd guessed, the words How Cyanide Kills the Body System were written in bold at the top, and there was a total of one paragraph in the document.

    "Damn Ms. Lorna," Georgina muttered. She knew it was me without even looking, and therefore knew she could complain about our chemistry teacher. Squinting at the screen, she went on. "Giving us only two weeks to do this goddamned paper. I should report her to the school board or something."

    I bit my lip to keep from smiling. Georgina huffed and continued to type away. One thing I admired about her was that she never asked for help. Even if she had no idea how to do something, she wouldn't ask if she could copy mine or what I'd put in my report. A person trying to use my ideas was my biggest pet peeve.

    Thunder rumbled, sounding low and far away. However, it distracted Georgina and we both looked up at the gray sky.

    "No practice today," I guessed.

    Georgina met my eyes and gave a smile. Her smiles weren't ever very friendly; they were actually rather smug and all-knowing. But her eyes were always gentle, showing her good nature.

    She wasn't what anyone would call pretty, but she wasn't ugly, either. She was average, with thick brown hair and gray eyes. Though her skin was nice, her nose was a bit too big, and she was almost six feet tall. One would think she never ate, she was so skinny, but in actuality she ate all the time.

    "Let's go inside," I said, hopping to my feet. "You can finish your paper in homeroom."

    "Right. Don't want it to fry in the rain or anything," Georgina mumbled, clicking it shut and stuffing it into her bag as she walked up the stairs.

    Sighing, I followed her into the building.

    Sometimes, my life was so boring and repetitive. I mean, while most people at least change what they wear each day, I have to wear the same thing.

    When will life get exciting for me? When will things change?


A/N: Please be patient, the next chapter it will start to get exciting. Please excuse little grammar mistakes!

Feedback is appreciated and enjoyed.