She stepped off the plane to see her cousin jumping up and down waving at her. The only way she knew it was her cousin was the photograph they'd exchanged several months before. Shea grinned at the younger girl and headed down the walkway towards her. She and Lillian had started writing to each other several months back. Then they went from snail mail to email and phone calls. It had startled Shea; that first letter she'd received. She'd never been really close with her father's side of the family. She loved them all, of course, but they'd always been in California, and she'd either been in Texas, or then South Dakota. The last time she'd been in California she'd been 8 years old. Lil had been 3, and damn if she hadn't been the cutest thing. Shea was 27 now, and somehow the girl had talked her into coming to California for an extended break. More like a break from a possible breakdown, she thought wryly.

They certainly didn't look like cousins. Lillian was short where Shea was tall; Lil had long dark hair where Shea's was short and blonde. Lillian was a skinny little thing, and Shea could certainly stand to lose about ten to fifteen pounds. Too many therapeutic banana splits lately. Lil's dad was Shea's Uncle Mike, and her mom was Aunt Cat. Lil's mom was from Thailand, which explained Lil's exotic looks.

"Shea!" the younger girl cried happily, and threw her arms around the taller girl. "I'm so happy you're here! Welcome to Los Angeles!"

"Hey Lil." Shea hugged her back warmly. "Glad to be here." They headed towards the baggage claim, and Lil was talking a mile a minute explaining everything they were going to do while Shea was in town.

"Mom is going nuts because you won't stay with us." she said and took a breath.

"Lil, I'll be fine in a hotel. And if I decide to actually stay for the six months, well then I'll want to rent my own place anyway." she told the girl, her tone final. That was definitely something she'd inherited from her father's side. Her stubborness. Rick used to tell her that she was a mule. Nope, not thinking of Rick now are we Shea? She berated herself. Don't be foolish, of course you're going to think about him. Just try to keep it happy.

"Well, let's go check you into your hotel, then we'll go eat with my parents and brother." she told Shea as she led her and her luggage to her white Dodge Neon.

"How is Eric?"

"He thinks he's in love." Lillian said scornfully. "What does he know he's only 19."

Shea hid a grin. "And when do I get to meet this new boyfriend you've been talking about?"

"Probably tonight." the girl sighed. "He's so special Shea. Cute, and hot. And so cool. Jesse is just something else."

"Sounds like it."

They got Shea checked into her hotel and headed to Lillian's house for dinner. Lil was finishing up in college so she still lived there. Shea felt a bit nervous since she hadn't seen the family in forever, and she'd never met Eric, since her Aunt had just begun her pregnancy at that time. She shouldn't have worried though. Dinner was fun, and she enjoyed reconnecting with the family. They asked about her mom and she told them how wonderfully she was doing. They asked about her brother and sister in law. Thankfully, they didn't ask about her Dad. Probably since Uncle Mike talked to him occasionally. Probably more than Shea did.

Ever since her Dad had moved back to Texas, and begun his … different style of living they didn't talk as much. Then again, these days when they talked they got along better. He wasn't always trying to run her life. Shea didn't mention him much to people she worked with or knew either. How easy was it to say, yeah, my Dad, he's a cult leader? Sigh, oh the drama. Eh, at least Shea had a sense of humor, right?

After dinner, and hearing her youngest cousin go on and on about his true love, Brittany, the two girls headed back to Shea's hotel room to get ready. Not really knowing where they were going Shea chose slightly baggy faded jeans and a t-shirt. It was white with black trim on the cuffs and collar. Across the chest it read, 'I don't know what makes you so stupid, but it really works.' It was her favorite shirt, and her brother and sister in law had gotten it for her at Christmas. Lillian on the other hand had decked herself out. The only thing on the girl that wasn't tight and black was the silver necklace that hung between her small breasts. Shea had finished running her hands through her hair, giving it the normal tousled look. She'd made sure to emphasize her eyes, she liked them, but she only put gloss on her lips. Shea hated her lips, she thought they were too big.

Lil sighed looking from her breasts to Shea's. "Why couldn't I have some of yours?"

Shea laughed. "Big boobs aren't that great. My back hurts all the time, and normally instead of talking to me, guys talk to my boobs."

"I don't even need big boobs. Just half of one of yours would work."

"Oh, they aren't that big Lil. And yours aren't that small."

They headed out shortly after that. Their first stop was a club called 310 Lounge, but Shea didn't think much of it. It was ultra chic, but everyone seemed fake. They ended up at some place called Sins. Lil told Shea it was new and it was both a pool hall and a dance club. Shea just shrugged. They walked in and Shea knew she'd like it better than the last place. Not only were there at least a dozen pool tables, and a good size dance floor, but the people… the people here were real. They were an eclectic mix. There were some preppies, there were bikers, goth, and punks combined. She was pretty sure that there was a group in the very corner that were all stoned out of their minds.

"Oh, there's Jesse." Lil whispered excitedly. She pointed a raggedy bunch out to Shea. Lil's Jesse was in a white t-shirt and baggy ass jeans that hung low on his short wiry frame. He was cute enough she supposed. There were two large guys in the group. One was Mr. Universe with all of his frigging muscles and shaved head, and the other was not quite as muscular, with short dark hair that looked like it would curl if left to it's own devices. That guy looked like he hadn't shaved in a week. Those two guys were wearing tank tops and khakis, which were similar to Jesse's and were baggy. A tall blonde man was currently talking to Mr. Clean, er, the bald guy. That guy was wearing jeans and an old concert t shirt. Metallica, nice. He was very attractive, but he had a pretty boy face. He reminded her slightly of Rick. There were two women already with the group and they were whispering together. Both were beautiful, and both were exotic, maybe Hispanic, something like that. Wouldn't surprise her being this far south. Not that it mattered. They were dressed similar to Lil, only … not so much. There were some other people that joined them, and they all seemed to know each other.

"Why don't you join your friends, and I'll go get some drinks?" Shea told her cousin. Lil was practically jumping out of her pants in excitement.

"Oh, thanks Shea. Get me a Bud Light?" she said and headed quickly in that direction. Shea shook her head slightly and headed to the bar. She squeezed her way into a spot between another bald guy, this one Hispanic, and a guy in a basketball jersey. The Hispanic guy was cute with a goatee. The other guy was cute too, with a buzz cut and pretty green eyes.

"Well, hi there Mami." goatee said giving her a smile. She smiled back slightly, not wanting to seem too friendly. "Where did you come from?" he said checking her out.

Guess he likes women with hips she thought. "The airport?" At this Buzz started laughing.

"Maybe I should be going to the airport more often then if there's class acts like you there." goatee grinned.

The bartender looked at Shea, "What ya need?"

"I need a Bud Light, a Corona extra lime, and one, no make that two shots of Cuervo." She turned back to goatee. "Tell me, does that line actually work?" she grinned to lighten her words.

He shrugged, "Sometimes, if the girl ain't that smart." Then he grinned. "Name's Hector."

"Shea. Nice to meet you Hector." The bartender brought out the drinks, Shea threw down some money, making sure to leave a good tip, and downed one of the shots immediately.

"Nice." Buzz said when she didn't even gasp or cough.

She looked at him, "I have a feeling I'm going to need it. I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore Toto." She slammed the second shot, and picked up the two beers, noticing the two limes in her Corona. Very nice.

Hector laughed and threw his arm around her shoulders. "I love this woman Leon. She's spunky."

"Watch where that hand goes buddy, any lower and I bite." she said eying his hand a few inches from her chest. This made Leon laugh again.

"Mami, you hurt me, I'll behave. Just tell me where to escort your loveliness to."

"Does he think that line will work?" She asked Buzz, or Leon as Hector had referred to him.

"He just keeps hoping."

"You're killing me here Shea." Hector said frowning.

"I need to go to that table over there." she said pointing to where Lil was talking to the two girls.

"Team Toretto? You don't look like a racer chaser?"

Shea found both men looking at her curiously. "Team a what? Racer what? Dude, I have no fucking clue as to what language you're speaking, but that's my cousin, and she dragged me here. Her Bud Light."

They moved forward as a group again. "You're Lil's cousin?" Leon asked. "From South Dakota."

"That would be me. In theory perhaps. I mean, technically I live in South Dakota, but I'm from Texas."

They joined the group and Lil squealed. Again. Did I sound like that when I was 22? Shea asked herself. "Shea you found Leon, and Hector."

Hector spoke before Shea could. "We've got to keep this one around. She's got a tongue on her."

"Just not the type of tongue he's looking for." Shea added with a snicker.

"Ay, Mami, you're killing me." he whined slightly. Again Leon just laughed.

Lil looked puzzled but shook it off. She introduced the group to Shea quickly. Mr Clean turned out to be Dominic Toretto, or Dom, he was in charge of Team whatsoever. The two girls were his sister, the taller more willowy one, and his girlfriend, the shorter tougher looking one. That one didn't seem so friendly. In fact the more Shea looked at the scowling girl she thought she should come with a sign that said Beware of Rabid Girl. The other Mr. Muscles was Vince, who they kept referring to as Coyote, which made her snicker remembering some friends of hers that gave everyone animal names. Gibby would have loved these people. The blonde guy was Brian, he was with Mia, and then there were Jesse and Leon.

"So, Shea, how long are you here for?" Dom asked. She liked his voice it was deep and gravelly.

"Not real sure yet. At least a week or two." she answered honestly.

"I'm trying to talk her into staying the entire six months she has off." Lil told the group. Shea had to admit, Lil and Jesse looked great together. Both just as cute as a button.

"Six months off from work? That's where I need to work." Leon said.

"I can arrange that." Dom threatened.

"Leon, Jesse, Vince, Brian, and Letty work for Dom at his garage." Lil explained. "Mia runs their family store."

"Nice." Shea said. "We had a family store a few years back. It was a good time working together, of course thinking about it, it kind of sucked too."

"So why'd you get six months off from work?" Dom asked, still trying to get more information on this person if she was going to be spending any amount of time around them, and it seemed she would be since Jesse was all crazy over Lillian. "You're not an undercover cop are you?"

As soon as he said this both Shea and Brian choked on their drinks. "God Dom." Brian gasped.

Once she could speak clearly she snorted. "Um, no, not a cop. Although I do have a degree in Criminal Justice, thought about going into Law School." she mused and shrugged. "No, six months ago my fiancé was killed. He was a correctional officer at the Prison in town, and there was a riot. He and two other officers were killed due to a mistake made by a police officer bringing in an inmate. Anyway, I had some issues dealing, so they put me on disability. But I don't have a problem with cops. Known some good ones, known some bad ones. Most of them like me so I don't worry." there was a small smile on her face.

"They like you?" Mia asked.

"Rick used to tell me it's my super power. I've always been able to stay out of trouble. Hey I use the abilities I have."

The table was silent for a minute, then Dom's voice boomed out. "Let's do shots."

Four shots later Shea was getting a good buzz and was shooting pool with Leon and Vince. Vince didn't really speak much, except for an occasional growl at Leon. They were playing cut throat, and Shea was winning.

Leon took his shot and missed. "How did I miss that? And how are you beating me? You've had more to drink."

"Leon, Leon, Leon. I'm older than you are. Been drinking and playing pool for a long time." she told him as she surveyed the table. She was one through five, and still had three balls on the table. "Nine, corner pocket." she shot knocking the ball in, and Vince out of the game. He just scowled slightly and sat heavily on his stool.

Leon snickered and tried to hit her three in. 'Better than You' by Metallica started playing.

"Fuckin A yes!" Shea grinned. This was Shea's music. The music she'd rebelled to in her youth. Rock; hard rock; real rock. She loved rap, loved hip hop. Hell she loved almost everything, but Metallica was the shit! She quickly cleared Leon's last two balls, and then proceeded to put hers in just for the practice.

"Yo, girlie, you wanna groove." One of the guys hanging out with the stoners and the bikers had approached. His long black hair hung down his back. He was good looking, and his arms were sleeved out in tattoos. He was lean and wiry.

"Sure." she wiggled her eyebrows at Leon and Vince, and headed to the small dance floor. There weren't too many people dancing.

Lil looked worried. "I'm not so sure Shea should be dancing with that guy. He's scary."

"We'll keep an eye on her Lil." Jesse assured her.

Shea loved dancing. She might be a bigger girl, but she knew how to shake it. They danced for several songs and it seemed the hard rock kept playing. Finally, their luck played out and they headed off the floor as some teeny bopper shit played.

When she got back to the table she grabbed Vince's shot before he could drink it, and slammed it down. "Sorry." she told him unrepentantly, and motioned for the waitress to bring more. "Oh shit, Lil, what's going on tomorrow night?"

"The races."

"Ok, I'll be a teensy bit late to that then."

"No, Shea, you can't. They're the coolest!" Lil said bummed. "Where are you going?"

"Don't worry Lil, I'll be there, just a little late." Shea said. "I sort of got invited to a concert.'

The bikers were leaving and the one Shea had danced with stopped by the table, making all the guys posture a bit. "See you tomorrow night Sugar." he told her with a wink, and a slap on the butt.

The three girls looked at her in shock. "You're going out with that guy?" Mia whispered.

"Sure. He's taking me to see Velvet Revolver who're doing some special show. I fucking love Velvet Revolver." she shrugged. Her cell phone rang and she looked to see who it was. "Oh shit! Hey Pete. I'm so sorry, I forgot to call to tell you I got here. Yeah Lillian is good. So are Uncle Mike and Aunt Cat. Yep Eric too. Dude, I'm having a blast. Oh, and I'm going to a concert tomorrow night. His name's Spider."

Spider, Lil mouthed to Jesse.

"Pete, quit being the proverbial older brother. I'll be fine. Hug Rose for me. Yes Pete, I'll call you Sunday. Love you too." she looked at the group, who still looked shocked at 'Spider' stopping by their table. "My big brother. Thinks I'm still 16 at times."

"Ok now Mami, you have to tell me what that guy had over me?" Hector started.

She leaned close to Hector and put her hand on his cheek. "Tickets to Velvet Revolver." Everyone laughed at this. "Come on Hector, let's go shimmy to the music." Hip hop was playing again, so she dragged Hector out to the floor. Outcast's 'I Like the Way You Move'.