Chapter One – Orange Sky

He looked out of his window. He knew he would be here any minute. His father had called ten minutes to warn him. He turned his head and looked in the direction of the kitchen. He could hear his mother opening the fridge. She took out a glass bottle of some kind. He heard the clink. He understood why his father had told him not to tell her but he felt uneasy about concealing the truth from her. He heard a noise in the distance. He turned his attention back to the window. The night was slowly drawing in. On the horizon the afternoon sun lazily fell out of view and the shadows it cast grew ever longer. Suddenly his father's car turned up the driveway bathing the window with its lights. Seth took a step back from the window.

Marissa shut the front door behind her as she made her way out of her house. He checked her watch. It would take her half an hour to get to Holly's place. She had better hurry. She fumbled in her purse for her cell. She looked down at its small display screen and selected the name 'Summer' from her contact list. She put the phone against her cheek and heard the familiar ringing.

"Hey, Sum." She said as the person at the other end answered.

"Marissa?" Summer questioned. "Where are you?"

"I just snuck out. I'll be there in half an hour." Marissa answered.

"Okay, Coop." Summer replied.

Marissa had by now made it to the end of the path and to the door of her car. She opened her door with her free hand and started to go inside when her attention was drawn to the side window. She saw the reflection of a young man stepping out of Sandy Cohen's car. Instinctively she turned round to get a better look. She saw a young man of similar age to herself dressed in a shabby white hoodie and dirty-looking jeans. He carried himself with a confident sort of swagger. He was definitely not Seth Cohen. Then suddenly he turned his head towards her and Marissa found herself sharing eye contact with this mysterious stranger. She couldn't turn away from him. She just stood and stared into his eyes. Then he was gone; concealed by a tree.

"Coop? Coop?"

Marissa brought her phone back up to her ear. "Yeah?"

"I said you better hurry up and get here." Summer said.

"Yeah, I'm coming." Marissa glanced back at the empty Cohen driveway before opening her car door slightly wider and getting inside.

Sandy stopped the car outside of the front door. He pulled up the hand brake and turned off the engine then took a deep breath. He could feel the nervous eyes of his passenger on him. He twisted his mouth upwards in as gentle a smile as he could muster.

"I'll be right back."

His passenger nodded his head and dropped his gaze. Sandy took another deep breath then pressed down on the handle of the car door.

Kirsten took another sip of the glass of wine and checked the clock. Sandy wasn't usually this late. She moved to the kitchen table and picked up the phone. She flicked it round and started to dial those well-known numbers. However, before she finished she felt the presence of someone at the kitchen entrance. She glanced up to see her husband. She smiled and put down the phone.

"I was just going to call you." She said.

Sandy smiled nervously. Kirsten noticed. "What's wrong?" She asked.

Sandy took a deep breath. "Honey." He started.

Kirsten knew that tone. He had done something that he knew she would hate. Oh God, he hadn't decided to grow another moustache, had he?

"I've got something to tell you." He continued.

"What?" She asked impatiently.

"You know I was telling you about that kid…"

"Ryan?" She remembered not knowing where he was leading her.

"Yeah. I managed to get him released in his mother's care. Well, something happened. His mother kicked him out."

"His mother kicked him out?" Kirsten asked in wonderment. How could a mother do that to her son?

"Yeah, and he kind of needs somewhere to stay." Sandy replied.

"You told him he could stay here?"

'It's just for one day." Sandy explained. "Well, the weekend. So, more like two days really."

"You told a felon he could stay in our home?"

"He's not as felon." He answered.

"Did you not meet him in jail?" She asked.

"Yeah, but…he's got nowhere else to go. And he's a good kid."

"Sandy?" Kirsten said softly. She stared deep into his eyes and paused for a moment. "He can stay in the pool house."

Sandy let a grin drift onto his features. He stood there looking lovingly at his wife.

"Are you going to keep him in the car all night?" She asked.