Chapter One: welcome to the night that could change your life

Marissa twisted a strand of her dirty blonde hair around her finger and then let it loose, blowing it out of her face. She ran her fingers through her soft, freshly straightened locks and glanced at herself in the mirror. She stood up off the bed and leaned out of her bedroom door.

"Summer, are you ready yet?" She called, then turned around to find some shoes.

"Just a sec." Summer called from the bathroom down the hall. Marissa's bathroom was a complete wreck. They were getting ready to meet Ryan and Seth at the Bait Shop. "This is me and Cohen's first public appearance as a couple." Marissa rolled her eyes and slipped on a pair of flats.

"Your first appearance as a reunited couple." Marissa corrected Summer. Summer walked in grinning.

"I know, it's great." She stated. "Now you and Chino need to get back together and it'll really be great." Summer picked up her purse off Marissa's bed. Marissa sighed.

"Yeah, that's going to happen." She said sarcastically. "Plus, Lindsay?" Summer flicked her hand and started out the door.

"She's so not a problem. Ryan could do so much better. For instance, you." Marissa sighed again, following Summer out the door and down the stairs.

"Give it up Summer." Marissa said. "Me and Ryan are over. Go be happy with Seth." They walked out the front door and Marissa pulled out her keys to her white convertible. Summer shrugged.

"Well, if you're really over him, then okay. " Summer opened the door and slid into the passenger seat.

"Alright then." Marissa said, putting the keys in the ignition and starting the car.

"But you still like him." Summer said and Marissa didn't even bother to sigh again. She just turned up the music and pulled out of the driveway.

Alex walked next to Aaron, the Bait Shop's old manager, as he explained everything about the Bait Shop to her. She didn't need the briefing, but it made Aaron feel more comfortable that he was leaving the club in capable hands. Alex nodded to whatever he said, not really paying attention. She was trying to figure out whether or not she had paid the power bill to her new apartment. She couldn't remember to save her life. Finally, Aaron stopped walking and turned to face her, his face questioning. Alex got the feeling she had missed something.

"I said, do you think you can handle this?" He asked again, looking doubtful. Alex flashed him her most promising smile and reached out to shake his hand.

"I can do it." She said and he nodded.

"Well, there's a line outside and the club opens in-" He glanced down at his watch, "Ten minutes or so. Everything's set up so I'll leave you here." Aaron smiled at her and Alex returned it. He turned and walked toward the back door. Alex was just turning to go check on the bar when Jodie came running up.

"He's hot." Jodie said. "You doing him?" Alex gave her a look and Jodie laughed. "What? Just asking. Can I do him?" Alex grinned.

"You're such a whore." Alex said, walking toward the bar. She glanced over it and started toward the stage. Jodie shrugged.

"Well, can I?" She asked again and Alex laughed.

"I think you'd have to ask him." She said, walking backstage to the dressing room. It was buzzing back there. She poked her head into the dressing room. "You ready Alyssa?" she asked the young singer who was performing that night. "You're on in like half an hour." The girl nodded and Alex gave her a reassuring smile. She walked over to a table covered with food and Jodie grabbed a plate and started piling it with food.

"You know you forgot to pay the power bill." She said and Alex sighed. I knew it. She thought.

"I'll do it tomorrow." She said. She picked up a chip off the table and popped it into her mouth.

"Also, we have no food." Jodie reminded Alex. Alex gestured to the table.

"Help yourself." She said and started to the front of the club to open the doors.

Marissa stood near the front of the line to the Bait Shop with Ryan, Lindsay, Summer, and Seth. The club was going to open in a few minutes and they were having a kind of random discussion.

"There is no way you could drink five shots and walk from one side of the pier to the other in a straight line Seth. You pass out after one beer." Marissa said. Seth shook his head.

"I've been practicing." He said, his arm around Summer. "I bet I could even beat you." Marissa laughed out loud.

"Uh-huh." She said. "I bet thet you can't drink five shots of vodka and even walk in a straight line." Seth nodded.

"I take that bet. But if I can, you have to . . . " He trailed off and then caught sight of two girls making out behind the corner of a building. "Date a girl for three weeks." Marissa raised her eyebrows.

"Are you serious? Seth, I'm one hundred and three percent straight." Seth nodded his agreement, grinning, and Marissa finally nodded.

"Whatever, you're not going to be able to do it anyway." She said. Seth grinned even wider.

"Alright, everybody hear that?" He looked around to Ryan, Summer, and Lindsay and they all nodded. Marissa frowned. "It's a bet then."

"Wait, what if you can't do it?" She asked and Seth sighed.

"Dammit." He said under his breath.

"You have to date a guy for three weeks." Marissa said and Summer opened her mouth, then shook her head.

"Nope, not going to happen." Summer said. "He is my boyfriend." Marissa crinkled her nose.

"Fine then." She paused for a minute, then said the first thing that came to her mind. "You have to go to the roof of the school dressed as Batman and sing the Batman theme song." Everyone laughed, including Seth.

"Fine." He agreed. "But I can do it." Marissa nodded.

"Uh-huh." She said.

Alex dropped her clipboard on her desk in her office. Her clipboard, her desk, her office. It felt good to own something, or some things. She ran her and over her blonde pony tail and looked into the mirror next to the door. Okay She thought. Let's do this. She walked out of her office and to the front doors.

"Alright everybody." She turned and called toward everyone else in the room. "It's time." She grinned openly and turned back to the doors. First, she peeked through the eye hole. Right outside was a group of high school kids. One blonde guy, one dark-haired, both of which were very cute. A brunette girl, a red-head, and one girl, who was standing farthest from the door, who had light brown hair.

Alex had a perfect view of the third girl. She was grinning at something that one of the guys had said and then she tilted her head back and laughed. Alex was momentarily paused by her beauty. And that didn't happen. Alex turned back to the rest of the workers, but her mind was still with the brunette. She gave them a quick smile and then opened the doors.

Marissa turned to the doors when they opened, but then looked back to Summer, who was telling her about some fashion show coming up. As they walked toward the doors Marissa listened to details about clothes, makeup, and models, which was all interesting, sure, but Marissa had already heard it all from her mom. And more than once.

When they walked into the Bait Shop Marissa glanced at the girl propping the front door open. The girl glanced up and Marissa caught her eye. They looked at each other for a minute and then the girl flashed Marissa a smile that light up her whole face. Marissa couldn't help but return it. She and Summer walked on, but Marissa's mind drifted. If I had to date a girl, it'd be her. Marissa thought.

soo. . .what'd you think?