Chapter Six: One Way or Another


"Rise and shine." Carla walked into Scott's room waking up Maiku who was the only person in the house that was still sleeping.

"What … who …" She mumbled, incoherently her eyes half-open.

"We're getting ready to go out, you know make an appearance at some country club event or something." Carla informed Maiku.

"Who's 'we'?"

"Well, even though you're just visiting, you're part of the family now so you're invited."

"I'm very, very, very not the country club type." Maiku reluctantly got out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

"So you're ditching it?"

"You can join me … I was thinking about doing something more fun with my hair." Sure." Carla smiled, happy to be included in something, finally.

During the time when they skipped the family outing, Maiku convinced Carla to turn her hair from a light brown to a dark blonde.

It was Scott's reaction that Maiku had been awaiting.


"Blonde." She approached him, giving him a warm hug. Every time she was this close to Scott, it made her think about her last conversation with Jackson. "Like it?" She looked up at Scott who wasted no time placing his lips onto hers.

"It's cute." He kissed her again, taking her hand and leading her outside. The two of them walked through Scott's endless backyard, not stopping until he scooped her up suddenly. "I missed you today."

"I know." Maiku's lips brushed his as Scott stroked her hair, engaging in acting on his most prominent desires right now, to have Maiku.

It was weird how that day reminded her of Horizon and it was even stranger that Maiku had let herself get so wrapped up with Scott that she didn't… she didn't even think about protecting herself. She didn't think about the consequences, but just how it felt to be one with him.

She bid the cab driver goodbye, thinking about how she, Maiku Meki, had fallen from grace. The Paparazzi had done their research and found out that she was going to Horizon, found out about January's condition, but she was only a sub-page to bigger stars like Jurnee Smollet and Megan Goode.

"I'm glad you've decided to join us and … of your own accord. That's admirable." A tall, friendly man approached her. That must've been Peter.

"Nice to meet you." Maiku answered back. "And thank you so much for allowing me to be here. I know twenty-one is a little old but--"

"We do have a young adult division, up to 23 years."

"So do I have to go to the separate camp or--"

"Seeing that you just turned nineteen yesterday … we'll put you with older kids. No sweat." Peter was joined by an auburn-brown-haired woman who, along with a couple of others, helped to gather her bags.

Maiku went through the inspection like everyone else, finding every crevice of her entire body being checked out for hidden drugs or whatever. She didn't care. The feeling that she was feeling now … it prevented her from having any shame.

Her main reason for coming here was her daughter. Scott had to know.

"Okay, I'm sorry we had to take away the shirt you were wearing … we don't condone sayings about suicides, even if it's taken in jest." The woman explained … Sophie … the blonde.

"So, we wear uniforms here. That's fine."

"Yes. No shorts. No sleeveless tops, no low tops. No crop tops. No---"

"I get it. Baby tees, pants and capris are allowed."

"Also…" Sophie continued. "No piercings of any kind real or fake. No tattoos, no jewelry, no spikey hair, no cigarettes no drugs…" She continued on with the list before handing Maiku a few band-aids. "For your tattoos … the one on your belly button, wrist, foot and the one behind your neck.

"Wow." Maiku breathed to herself. "Do I have to shave off my hair too?"

"It's optional." She shrugged. "You can get bonus points and maybe we'll let you out early." Sophie opened the door, waiting for Maiku to walk out first. "But that's not likely and Maiku … the bathroom's to the left." Maiku took the pile of clothing that Sophie handed to her and tried not to think about where it came from or whose body it had been on.

When she came out, she was in a bright red shirt and black cargo capris. At least she looked normal.

"Okay, I'm done. Now what?"

"I'd like you to meet your team leader … this is David. A former cliffhanger, but now Ridge Runner."

"A what?"

"Your group." He gave her a genuine smile as Maiku followed him, scanning the place. "Do you have someone in your group named Scott?"

"Oh, you mean Scott Barringer?"

"Yeah." She perked up suddenly.

"No." David smiled, delighting in seeing her disappointment. Scott, Scott, Scott. Forget Scott. He rolled his eyes, happy to be out of that group with him. "Hey, aren't you that Hollywood starlet? We've all been waiting for you."

When Maiku found herself facing her new group of Ridge Runners, of assorted skin complexions and textures, it felt oddly familiar to her. It was like being in front of the paparazzi, or doing some sort of pre-scheduled interview that was completely staged.

Only this time, she had to be real. It was necessary to get what she could get from this place, find Scott, tell him and then leave.

"We're waiting." An impatient Asian girl spoke up, with obvious scars from past assaults stretching the length of her face and arms.

"I'm sorry."

"No need to apologize. You're the starlet." David grinned again as Maiku took in a deep breath.

"Here, I'm not." She looked over to her team leader, Sophie. "Right now I'm just a normal person. And I feel … anxiety. I don't know how he's going to take the news…"

Scott Barringer was off breaking the rules again, lying with Shelby beside him and kissing her in a way that was forbidden at Horizon. That was why they had run off together. Daisy was keeping watch for them and hopefully their absences would go virtually unnoticed.

"I think you just might love me." Shelby noted, repeating something she routinely said to him. As she did so, she sat up, running her hands through what used to be his blond curls. They had been replaced by a short military cut, reminiscent of his few months in service. "Only you would be rejected by the military for your mental instability."

"I couldn't be away from you for that long." Scott replied, kissing the top of her closed eye lid.

"One day they're going to figure out what we're doing and kick us out for good. We don't belong here." She added, turning so that her back was to the sky and her face could fully study his.

"I pray that day never comes." Scott closed his eyes as Shelby rested her head on his shoulder. Love. Young love.

"So we'll stay here forever."

"Forever then."

When Scott left Shelby, regretfully, he felt elated. She was his own personal high and Scott had no need to turn back to cocaine, alcohol or even cigarettes.

It was a wonderful feeling and with his endorphins kicking and running on high, he rushed down the path hoping that Peter hadn't noticed his absence. Scott ran faster and faster until only a collision between his body and that of another, stopped him.

"Oh, I'm so sorry."

"That's okay." The girl pulled on her shirt, looking down and when she looked up those blue-gray eyes were waayyy too familiar.

"Maiku Meki … what are you doing here?"

"What kind of greeting is that?" She answered, running her hands through her recently chopped reddish-black hair and trying not to show her cards just yet. But Maiku had a big bomb to drop and it was headed straight for Scott Barringer.

(A/N: Trying to finish this one out too. Review. Luv. --NL)