Just a little short story for you. 4-5 chapters at the most. This first chapter is short, but I promise the rest will be much longer.

A special thanks to Dev. I know that you know that you're awesome, just reminding you. (smiley face)

Also, as always, thanks to Steph.

Hope you enjoy the story.

Chapter 1 (Flashbacks in italics)

She leaned up against the tree, one knee bent and pressed against it. Her eyes covered by dark shades. Her hair lying perfectly around her face and on her shoulders. A cigarette in between her fingers. I watched her from a distance. I watched as she lifted the cigarette to her lips. I watched her inhale like it was the last breath she would take. She was oblivious to her surroundings. I didn't like her. I didn't like that she was friends with my sister. I didn't like the way she walked around without a care in the world. I didn't like that she had spent a year in a juvenile detention center. I didn't like that she thought she could do whatever she wanted. I didn't like her. Most of all, I didn't like that I was so infatuated with her.

The picture in my head was so fresh, so clear, like it had happened yesterday. I smiled to myself. She was so mysterious to me. She was cool, calm and confident. She was beautiful and fascinating and everything I wanted to be. I smiled to myself at the image of her against that tree. The girl up against the tree without a care in the world was the girl she was before I actually knew her. Before she changed my life. Before I fell madly in love with her.

"Hey, Ash, you almost ready?"

"Yeah, just can't find my earrings." I actually hadn't even looked for them. I got distracted with thoughts of seeing her again.

"You're nervous, aren't you?" she asked as I opened my jewelery box and sifted through the tangled mess of chains and rings. She walked up next to me and placed her hands on mine. I wasn't even aware they were shaking.

"It's going to be fine."

"I haven't seen her in ten years, Kyla."

"And she hasn't seen you either. I'm sure she is way more nervous than you. This is her first gallery show since she moved back."

I turned towards my little sister who looked amazing and not so much like my little sister anymore. "What do I say?" I asked her.

"Just say, hi, how are you?" she replied like it wasn't that big a deal. But it was. It was ten years since I had last seen Spencer Carlin. It was ten years since I had fallen in love, and it was the only time I had ever fallen in love. And, although I had many relationships throughout the years, I had never forgotten about her. She made an impact on my life, an impact which was still clear to this day. I was nervous, but I was also excited and scared. I wasn't sure how I would handle seeing her again. I was scared that one glance into those magical blue eyes would send me back in time–a time when one touch, one word, one smile was all it took to make me hers. I was scared to lose myself to someone like that again. I was scared of getting my heart broken again.

I was sitting at the kitchen table peeling potatoes when they walked in. My little sister was with some skinny blonde wearing black.

"Hey, Ash. This is Spencer," she said excitedly.

She was different than I expected. All of the pictures I had seen were of a brunette with round cheeks. I don't know why I expected to see that same girl. Those pictures were taken before she 'lost it', as my sister called it. I supposed that spending a year locked up changed a girl.

"Hi," the blonde said, and I looked at her dumbfounded. "Can she not speak?" Spencer asked. That earned me a 'what the fuck?' look from my unamused sister.

"Yes, she can. She's just rude."

"I'm sorry. You just don't look anything like the girl in the pictures," I finally said, feeling a little embarrassed when I realized I was staring at her.

"Those pictures are old. We'll have to take some new ones ASAP," Kyla intervened. Thankfully.

The blonde looked at me with her eyes narrowed, like she was trying to figure out what I was thinking. She smirked, but it quickly turned into a smile and it was a good thing she couldn't tell what I was thinking. I was thinking she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in person. Warmth spread throughout my cheeks. I turned to hide my face.

"So, you moved here to have a relationship with your sister, and now you're dating my brother? At least you've got one of those two right." Spencer leaned up against the counter and took a bite from a baby carrot.

I was lost for words again. How was I supposed to respond to that? I didn't know, so I said nothing. I looked over at her and she raised her eyebrows at me. I wasn't about to give her the satisfaction of a response. She stood there, staring at me, and I probably would have found it a bit creepy if I didn't find it so sexy. This was definitely not a good thing.

"Oh, great, more help." Kyla's mom walked into the kitchen at the perfect time. Spencer was about to say something further. I wasn't sure I wanted to hear it. Actually, I did. I didn't know what it was about her voice, but I found that sexy as well. Yeah, definitely not good either.

"The potatoes are done. I've got some homework to work on." I handed the bowl to Linda, and walked out of the kitchen. I caught Spencer's eyes on me as I looked back. What the hell just happened?

I lunged myself onto my bed and lay there for a moment. I could not get her eyes out of my head. Spencer. The now-blonde best friend of my little sister. The now-blonde best friend of my sister and the estranged sister of my wonderful, charming boyfriend. Her eyes were inviting, alluring and all sorts of things that didn't make any sense.

She was right about one thing: I had done the right thing when I moved in with Kyla and Linda. Then again, I didn't really have a choice. When my father died, my mother took off. I hadn't spoken to her in over a year. I didn't want to–nor could I–live alone in that giant, empty, quiet mansion in L.A. Kyla talked to her mom and they both accepted me into their small but rather warm home. Brookridge was a beautiful small town twenty miles north of Atlanta. I loved living with the two of them. It was the first time I felt like I had a family since I was a small child. But part of me longed for the city life. Part of me longed for the life I had in L.A. I missed the excitement, the adventure and the craziness.

Dinner was awkward, and it was the probably the first time I had ever been happy to hear Kyla go on and on about cheerleading practice. As soon as I could, I walked outside into the fresh, fall air to call Glen.

I pulled my phone from my pocket and sat down on the back porch step.

"Can I ask you a question, Ashley?"

I held my hand to my chest, startled. "You scared me half to death," I said to Spencer.

"Sorry." She was lying on the hood of the non-running car which had been sitting in the driveway for years. She was looking up at the sky and didn't turn my way. "So, you seem like a decent human being. What are you doing with my brother?" She still didn't look my way as she took a drag from her cigarette.

"Smoking is bad for you, in case you haven't heard," I responded, changing the subject. I didn't really care that she was smoking: I just didn't know what to say. She had a knack for leaving me speechless. She was definitely one of those people who said what was on their mind. I liked that. I wished I could be one of those people.

"Most good things in life are."

"And you think smoking is one of the good things in life?"

"It helps me keep calm and relaxed."

"So does yoga."

"Is that what you do?" she asked, finally looking my way and sliding off of the hood. She stood there against the car, waiting for an answer. I didn't miss her eyes as they gave me a not-so-subtle once over.

"No, I run."

"Well, that sounds boring," she said as she lifted her foot and put her cigarette out against the heel of her shoe.

"Boring and healthy. Exercise is what calms me," I replied.

"I know of some other ways to exercise which aren't boring and are actually quite healthy," she said as she walked towards me.

"Then why don't you do those things instead?"

She was about a foot away from me and she smelled of perfume and cigarette smoke. The perfume hid the smoke just enough to not make her smell like an ashtray. I didn't know why, but she made me nervous. Especially being so close to me.

"It's kind of a two-person thing, or three, or four. It all depends."

"Anything has to be better than smoking," I replied and she smiled. And I had never seen a more beautiful smile.

I stood there, not moving an inch, barely breathing, when she leaned in and whispered in my ear, "Trust me. Sex with me is definitely better than smoking, and running."

I went from barely breathing to not breathing. I was surprised I didn't pass out. My mouth gaped open. She giggled at my expression, popped a piece of gum into her mouth, and winked before she walked up the steps and into the house.

She was definitely not what I expected.

Chapter 2 will hopefully be posted early next week.