A/N: Hey Everyone! Before we get to this chapter, I have a few things to share with you. First of all, the winner of the 'Next Fic Vote' was option number three (road trip, doctor, infidelity, snow, secret). Because I didn't want the length to sway you when you were choosing, I didn't tell you that this particular story is actually a ficlet and will be only five chapters long. Rest assured though, when MMtM ends, another story (option number two in all probability) will start. Secondly, this first chapter focuses SOLELY on Marissa; Ryan is not even introduced yet. We'll meet him soon though, and I think many (if not all of you) will be able to predict how. Just in case someone wanted to know, I'll provide you with the final vote tally: Possible Fic #1 - 12 votes, Possible Fic #2 - 14 votes, and Possible Fic #3 - 21 votes. Thank you to everyone who participated, and I hope you enjoy the tale you selected. :)


Out of Control

Chapter One

There was only one thing worse than spending your morning permanently suspended over the porcelain god – doing so while being observed, mocked, and snickered at by your three teenage daughters. She could hear their laughter, their derisive tones, and their disbelief at the fact that, as they put it, their mother was still getting smashed as thirty-seven. Too absorbed in their own lives, they had no idea that she, unlike the other society women in their close-minded, reputation obsessed bubble of a community, did not drown her pain and sorrow in never ending bottles of champagne. Although she had been trained to hide her unhappiness from both her husband and the world behind a mask of, her mother had taught her to use cool indifference and a fake smile instead of alcohol, and, as she observed her rapidly aging "friends," it was the one thing she could honestly thank Julie Cooper for. Unfortunately, there was nothing else.

"Mom," CJ, her oldest daughter yelled from the down the hall where she was reading about herself in the gossip pages, "do you want me to make you one of my special hangover remedies?"

Marissa ignored her, choosing to forget the fact that her eighteen year old daughter, a soon-to-be college freshman, was not legally old enough to have experienced a hangover and, hence, should not have a tried and true remedy for one. Even if she would chastise her for drinking, it would never do any good. The apple of her father's eye, not to mention his heir, she could do no wrong, and Chace, her husband, would automatically override any punishment she might deem necessary. In essence, she had no sway or power over her children.

Rinsing her mouth out, she stood in front of the bathroom mirror and really looked at herself. What she saw made her want to cry. Her deep indigo eyes were empty, the perfect reminder of the fact that her life served absolutely no purpose. Yes, she was a mother, and, yes, she was a wife, but her daughters barely tolerated her, her husband treated her with less deference than he did his secretary, she had no one to confide in, no one she could trust, no one who would be there for her no matter what, and she was essentially a kept woman. With no career, no inheritance of her own, and no marketable skills, she was stuck in a life where she couldn't even respect herself.

However, feeling sorry for herself wouldn't solve anything. Wetting a washcloth, she wiped at her clammy face, hoping to magically erase the worry induced black circles under her eyes and the lines of duress marring her otherwise still youthful looking features. Her children might think she was hung over, but Marissa suspected that what ailed her would not disappear in a few hours' time; she suspected that it would take approximately another seven months to be cured. All she had to do was make it upstairs to her bedroom where a home pregnancy test awaited her, but, to do so, she would have to get past her kids.

She had barely reached the kitchen and her unusual savior, the saltines, before the three girls started to bombard her with requests.

"I'm hungry. Make me canapés."

"I don't feel well, Quinn," Marissa spoke slowly while attempting to keep her tone free of animosity. She loved her children – she really did, but she was perfectly capable of recognizing their flaws and the fact that all three were spoiled brats. All her attempts to actually parent them while they were younger had been destroyed by her husband's lenient tendencies, indulgent habits, and inability to see his daughters for who they really were. "You know that the smell of food alone makes me feel queasy," she explained. "Have one of your sisters take you out to eat."

"Can't," Eli pronounced while talking and eating a protein bar at the same time. "I have a full day of training planned, and I have no time to spare playing taxi to the little brat. I don't see why you can't take her; it's not like you have anything better to do with your time."


"Don't look at me," her oldest daughter replied without even bothering to spare her a glance. "You were the one who couldn't keep your legs closed. If you didn't want the responsibility of taking care of your children, you shouldn't have had us. Anyway," she rolled her eyes, "you should just hire her a driver until she gets her license. I'll talk to Daddy about it."

Which meant that Quinn would have a driver before the end of the week, Marissa thought to herself. She had battled her husband twice already over her attempts to police her daughters' social lives, but, after failing both times, she was resigned to letting him give the girls whatever they wanted.

When CJ's friends had started driving before her, she had panicked over the idea of her daughter riding with new drivers. After all, she had been a teenager before and remembered their antics quite well. At fourteen though, CJ hadn't wanted to go out shopping with her older girlfriends or to the beach. No, her daughter, her dark, exotic looking daughter with her black hair, big, brown eyes, and permanently tan skin, had already seriously started dating, not one steady boy but, instead, several wild, wealthy playboys, college freshman and sons of the men Chace golfed with every Sunday at the club. Marissa had forbidden her from riding with them, at least that way she could make an effort to keep her daughter safe, but her husband had quickly overruled her decision, allowing CJ to wander the town and stay out as late as she wanted. By the time she had been old enough to get her license, it had been unnecessary, for there was always an older guy in his top of the line sports car paid for by his rich Daddy waiting for her in the driveway whenever she wanted to go anywhere.

A year later, she had fought to keep Eli safe. Luckily, boys were not a problem with her middle child, but that was simply because she was too obsessed with sports to worry about dating. She said they would only serve to distract her and, determined to make it as a professional athlete, that was something she refused to allow. However, she had insisted upon riding with friends who were driving without a license and doing so herself. Marissa had downright refused, pleading with her daughter and telling her that trouble with the law would only hurt her chances of getting to play sports at a prestigious college; Chace had dismissed her with a chuckle, telling her she worried too much. He would "handle" any cop who tried to get his daughter in trouble, and, as one of the wealthiest men in the state, a personal friend of the governor, and one of the most powerful men in Hollywood thanks to the talent agency he owned and operated, he and his kids could do exactly what they wanted to.

And now here she was again with her youngest child. Quinn wasn't determined to become a businesswoman more powerful than her father like CJ was, and she didn't enjoy manipulating men like her oldest sister either. Unlike Eli, she hated sports and spent most of her time shopping. Essentially, the baby of the family, she was exactly that – a pampered, little princess who had absolutely no direction in her life, no dreams, no ambitions, no goals, and no hobbies, and, now, thanks to her oldest daughter's brilliant idea, Marissa would lose any last vague semblance of power over her. To make matters worse, she felt too wretched to even consider fighting her three girls or her husband on the issue, so, resignedly, she took her crackers, grabbed a bottle of orange juice from the fridge, knowing how important proper nutrition was for a woman when she was pregnant, and started to make her way out of the kitchen, completely ignoring her bickering daughters.

"Mother, seriously," Quinn shouted after her, "my breakfast?!"

"The way I see it," Marissa answered, turning around and glaring at the fifteen year old diva, "you have three options. One, call your father and tell him to take you out to eat. Two, get off your high horse and call a cab, or, three and better yet, just eat some damn cereal. Frankly, at this point, I don't care."

"What's wrong with you," CJ queried, sounding suspicious. Pointing towards Marissa's saltines, she observed, "don't you think you're laying it on a little thick here? We get it, okay, you drank too much last night, and now you're paying for it this morning, but crackers, Mom, really? What, are you going to try and trick Daddy into thinking you're pregnant again so he'll pay more attention to you, because, if so, that's just pathetic."

"She has put on a few pounds," Eli snickered, puffing out her cheeks to make fun of Marissa. "Too bad all that's going to do is push Daddy even farther away from her. I mean, if she can't be his perfect trophy wife anymore, what purpose does she serve him at this point?"

"Ugh, just thinking about her pregnant made me lose my appetite. Not even canapés sound appealing now. Thanks a lot, you two."

The three girls continued to ridicule her, and Marissa could hear their laughter as she fled their scornful words and sneering glares. Through the breakfast room, family room, and foyer, up the long, winding stairs, and down the modified hallway which had been tastefully transformed into a small, private art gallery, she made her way to the bedroom she shared with her husband mainly in name only. He was too busy for her, too preoccupied with work, and too distracted, she assumed, by his many affairs and mistresses. In fact, if she was pregnant, it was practically a miracle. Two months prior, they had celebrated nineteen years of marriage and, after the party he had insisted she throw on their behalf, they had had sex, cold, unfeeling, unpleasant sex, for the first time in over a year, and it hadn't happened again since. He had been drunk, and she had been desperate enough to feel close to someone that neither had stopped after they shared their customary, perfunctory goodnight kiss. And now here she was…

Just as she closed the bedroom door behind her, the tears she had been holding back started to fall. Crawling back into bed, the curtains, still drawn to keep the bright, Southern California summer sun out of her eyes, helped her hide from reality, and, just as instinctively as she had reached for the saltines, she forgot about them sitting beside her on her nightstand. As for the pregnancy test she had planned to take, she would rather live in her fantasy world for a little while longer before she was forced back to reality. Nothing in her life ever went the way she planned or wanted it to, so why would this situation, this chance to have more be any different? If she didn't take the test, then it couldn't tell her she wasn't pregnant, and she could, at least for a little while longer, dream of a child who would actually return her love. That was all she wanted, and, hidden away from the rest of the world, her three teenage daughters, her husband, and reality, she could almost believe it to be true. Almost. And, with that hope, her world stopped spinning out of control…even if just for a second.

/ \ \ /

Thirty eight and pregnant! If someone would have told Marissa a year before that those were the two words she would use to describe herself on her next birthday, she would have smiled at them sweetly, immediately rejecting their prediction, and wondered about their mental state. But here she was celebrating her thirty-eighth year of life while, at the same time, preparing to welcome a new one into the world. It was the best present she could have ever wished for.

Standing in front of their bathroom mirror that morning, Marissa, glowing despite the harsh, unforgiving fluorescent lighting, stared at her changing body, observing the new nuances and subtle differences that had not just been there a week before. Completely topless, she simply wore a pair of light shorts, their waistband resting low on abdomen, below the slight bump that foretold of her impending motherhood. That wasn't the only thing screaming 'I'm pregnant' to anyone who would pay attention to her; she had all the signs and was enjoying even the more miserable ones. Unfortunately, it seemed as if no one really wanted to take notice.

Her entire countenance had changed. Her eyes practically sparkled with unvoiced excitement and private joy, her cheeks had a softer, more rounded appearance, and, because she was so happy, they seemed to always be luminescent and rosy with a warmth that came from inside of her, and, if she wasn't careful, she was going to give herself wrinkles from smiling so much. But she couldn't help it. This was the chance she needed, craved, wished for – the chance to make her life worthwhile, to share her love and time with someone who could return her feelings. Yes, she had given birth to three daughters already, but they felt like they were Chace's children and not theirs. They looked like their father, all with dark hair, dark eyes, and dark complexions, and behaved like him as well; they were the sons he never had, all three of them named after past male generations of the Carter family.

This baby was going to be different though, no matter what Marissa had to do. She would name them, she would raise them, and, although she knew it was wrong, she hoped that she would be the only one to love them. Perhaps, she would even be lucky enough to have a blonde haired, blue eyed baby that would look like her and not like Chace, that way no one would be able to deny her connection with her youngest child.

Pushing that thought aside for really it didn't matter, Marissa returned to inspecting her ever-evolving body. The thin, sharp lines of her form, the effect of the strict diet she was to follow and the exercise routine all women of her status engaged in, had been transformed into gentle, supple curves, making her feel delicate, feminine, and beautiful for the first time in years. Her breasts, still firm and youthful, had become fuller, further enhancing her womanly appearance, and her narrow hips were slowly starting to widen as her body prepared itself for birth. Running her hands down her suddenly voluptuous shape, Marissa couldn't help but giggle. Everything unpleasant, her morning sickness which seemed to continue throughout the afternoon and into the evening, her swollen feet, her mood swings, her strange cravings, it was all worth the slight discomfort she was experiencing, not only because she was ecstatic about having another chance at motherhood but also because she looked damn good if she did so say herself.

Her mirth stopped abruptly as soon as Chace entered the bathroom. He was on the phone, his earpiece firmly attached to him at all hours of the day and night just in case there was an emergency at work, and he was getting ready to leave for the office. She could tell by his anxious tone, his officious stance with the conversation, and his dismissive air that he was talking to his secretary, a woman Marissa was convinced was not paid nearly enough for putting up with her husband. During the five minutes they stood in the bathroom together, Chace bullying and yelling, demanding and instructing the entire time, she observed him, saw him shave his face with one hand while flipping through a quarterly profit report with the other.

Normally, she left him alone, but this morning she wanted him to notice her; she wanted him to notice the baby. It wasn't that she wanted to celebrate the good news with him or even share the experience of her pregnancy with her estranged husband, but she wanted him to realize that, unwittingly, he had given her the one thing she wanted most in the world – a chance to matter to someone. It would make him feel out of control, something he hated, and Marissa loved making him feel that way.

But, as his phone call ended, as he put his electric razor back in its proper drawer, and as he walked past her and back into his dressing room, she grasped the fact that he wasn't going to realize anything about her, because, to do so, he would have to notice her, and, to him, she was not only expendable but also invisible.

"Don't worry, baby," she reassured the child growing inside of her, rubbing her slightly swollen abdomen while speaking, "this is a good thing. Whatever he doesn't know, makes us stronger; it gives us an edge over him. No matter what, I'm going to make sure that you feel loved, secure, and happy, even if that means it'll just be you and me against the world…which is starting to look like a very good possibility." Shrugging her shoulders and picking up her discarded t-shirt, Marissa slipped the top back on and moved out of the bathroom, flipping the switch to immerse the marbled space into shadows. "Let's go have breakfast," she suggested to her unborn baby. "How do chocolate chip waffles with grape jelly on them sound?"

/ \ /

CJ was home for Thanksgiving break, and, despite knowing better, Marissa was excited to see her oldest daughter again. True, they had never been close, Chace's namesake always preferring to spend time with her father rather than her mother, but, perhaps it was the warmth and secret happiness her still secret pregnancy brought her, but Marissa felt that maybe now that her daughter didn't live at home, they'd be able to grow closer, that the eighteen year old would learn to love her Mom and not simply write her off or, worse, treat her cruelly.

All three girls were gathered in their home's third floor media room, quietly catching up with one another. She wanted to be there, she wanted to feel a sense of camaraderie with her daughters, she wanted to prove to herself that her unborn child was coming into a family that, although flawed, would love it just as much as she did. Taking the stairs slowly for she was starting to tire easily from the strains of her pregnancy, Marissa, clad in a baggy pair of sweats to disguise her rounded, six month, swollen belly, made her way from her bedroom to the in-home theater, eager to see her three daughters and hoping they, for once, could return the sentiment. However, before she could make her presence known, she heard their voices and stopped dead in her tracks.

"So, you met Daddy's newest girlfriend, didn't you," Quinn asked her oldest sister.

"Yeah," the college freshman snorted. Marissa could imagine her eyes rolling dramatically while she talked. "Nadia – she's from Russia, and, like his usual type, has blonde hair, blue eyes, and legs that go on for miles. I think the reason they get along so well is that she barely speaks English, and, even though Daddy can speak several foreign languages, he's not fluent in Russian. She has taught him a few important words though."

"You know she's one of his newest clients, don't you?" That was Eli, and her mother could tell that she was speaking to her little sister by the contemptuous tone of her voice. Both of her older daughters thought they were better than their younger siblings, if only because of their bank accounts, thanks to the yearly increase in their generous allowance from their father. "He signed her a few months back as a model, but, listen to this," the brunette athlete chuckled, "she wants to act, too."

"Don't they all," CJ added. "Anyway, Daddy brought Nadia with him last Tuesday when he came out for our ritual, weekly dinner. We actually made a whole day of it. While he took the opportunity to take care of some business, the girlfriend and I hit the stores to exercise our Black Am-Ex's."

"Daddy gave Nadia a credit card already," Quinn complained. "That's not fair! I didn't get mine until I was thirteen."

"How else do you think Daddy gets 21 year old fashion models to date him, especially when they clearly know that he's married with children and that they have no chance of landing him as a husband? The arrangements have to be mutually beneficial to the both of them, Tarquinn." That was Marissa's youngest daughter's full name, and everyone in the family knew she hated it, which was precisely the reason Eli – Elias – used it. If she could say nothing else about her husband's family, Marissa had to admit that they had passed down some rather original (okay, slightly weird) names to the younger generations.

"Fuck off," the fifteen, soon to be sixteen, year old told her sister. Taking the chill out of her voice, she inquired of CJ. "How was shopping with her?"

"Great," her oldest child answered. Marissa could hear the smile in her words. "So, I couldn't really understand what she was saying to me most of the time, but it was kind of like shopping with an older foreign exchange student. Besides," the raven haired young woman continued, "she has great taste and loved picking out clothes for me to try on while I was in the dressing room. I think she thought of me as a giant Barbie doll she could play with, but it worked to my advantage – as I always make sure things do."

"And what's Daddy going to do about the holidays," Eli wanted to know. "Is he going to spend it at home with us, or do you think he'll go away with Nadia?"

"Well," her eighteen year old daughter confessed cattily, "the one thing I know is that he's going to do whatever he can to not spend it with Mother. In fact, Daddy's going to try to work it so that the three of us can go with him and Nadia to Monte Carlo for Christmas."

The girls all cheerfully started to discuss the various things they wanted that year for presents, all the while planning their trip abroad and discussing more details about their father's mistress, but, at that point, Marissa couldn't listen anymore. Moving much more quickly than she had while climbing up the stairs, she descended to the second floor and ran swiftly to her room where she hid, once again, from both the pain her children inflicted upon her and the fear she felt for them. Gone were the beautiful babies who would cry out at night only to be soothed by her arms. The happy, smiling, sweet toddlers they once were had been replaced with the cold, unfeeling, cynical young women who not only took everything in their lives for granted but who saw nothing wrong with a man cheating on his wife. To them, if Daddy wanted something, Daddy should and would get it, and that's exactly how they approached their own lives, too.

It didn't hurt that her husband was cheating on her…again; what hurt was the fact that her daughters had no regard for how his infidelity would affect her. They approved of his relationship with Nadia, and they would condone any future indiscretion he would participate in. Because they were her children and because she could still remember the good traits they had once had but had long since forgotten, she would always love the three of them, but that did not mean she understood them anymore, that she could respect or even like them. To her, CJ, Eli, and Quinn were practically strangers. There and then, she vowed that the child she was carrying would be different. Somehow she would protect him or her from ever turning into the cruel women their sisters had become. How she would accomplish this though was still a mystery.

/ \ \ /

Seven months pregnant, some of the joy Marissa had been experiencing about her pregnancy had been replaced with apprehension and fear. Somehow, she was still managing to keep the baby a secret from everyone in her life. True, her children were almost as self-absorbed as their father, but even the townspeople she associated with while going about her errands were oblivious to the fact that, in just two shorts months, she would be welcoming into the world a brand new, bouncing baby boy or girl.

Although both she and the baby were perfectly healthy – she having gained just two pounds more than her target weight and the baby predicted to be born at approximately seven pounds, twenty inches, though that could change as her due date approached – Marissa was starting to panic. In her effort to keep the baby to herself, she had avoided purchasing any of the necessary supplies. Because both she and Chace had agreed to stop after three children, they had donated their baby furniture and clothes to a local charity, so she couldn't even reuse the functional things from her girls. So, with only nine weeks to go, she still needed to purchase a bassinet, a crib, clothes, diapers, and all the other necessary baby accoutrements, she still had to decorate a nursery, and she still had to decide on a name – a very feminine name if she had a girl and a chic, modern name if she had a boy.

To make matters worse, she had absolutely no energy to do anything. Suddenly, she realized why doctors frowned upon women in their late thirties and early forties having children; the female body just wasn't as equipped as it was when younger to handle the pressure and stress of being pregnant. She was exhausted after a few hours of minimal work, whether she was attempting to relax why taking a walk on the beach, browsing through the mall, or taking care of her household responsibilities. Marissa never missed her afternoon naps which, occasionally, stretched into a really early bedtime, and she often wished she could take both a morning and afternoon siesta. Her feet were constantly sore, the ache in her back was continuous, and the hormone induced tears were gone only to be replaced by an iron hot anger that she generally directed at the entire world and everyone on it except her unborn baby.

Currently, it was a week before Christmas. CJ had come home from Columbia the night before, laden down with pre-holiday presents for her sisters (and Nadia) – designer clothes that could only be purchased in New York City. Thanks to her father's name and sizeable, offshore bank accounts, she was a valued customer at Hermes and had returned with Kelly bags for both Eli and Quinn. (Of course, she already had two for herself.) There were shoes and scarves, dresses and jeans, jewelry and purses, shirts and even bathing suits from next season's spring line, but her oldest child had returned home without a single thing for her mother. Not that Marissa could have worn it at that point, but she would have appreciated the thought.

They were to leave for their trip to Monte Carlo with their father (and Nadia) in two days, but, before they went, CJ was attempting to catch up with the dozens of friends she had left behind that fall when leaving for college. She had ignored Marissa's wishes for a quiet afternoon and had invited over a score of people – fellow college students who attended different prestigious schools all so that their fathers could brag about their children's education and not because they had any particularly strong desire to learn, older friends who had either already finished with school or had dropped out, and even a new acquaintance she had met in first class on the plane while flying home.

Marissa sighed, closing her eyes and tenderly rubbing her pregnant abdomen as she tried to relax and block out the sounds of twenty-five people cavorting around her living room, yelling, dancing, singing, and, no doubt, destroying everything they came in contact with. Although such a thing wasn't out of the ordinary, she still wished the commotion away. However, she told herself, in two days time, she'd have the house to herself and would be able to sleep in late, take bubble baths in the middle of the day, and watch sappy chic flicks at night while eating ice cream right from the carton and lying in bed. Despite being untraditional, it would undoubtedly be the best Christmas she had spent in a long, long time – just her, the baby, and the silence.

Just as she was about to doze off, a loud, resounding crash carried through the house, upstairs, and past her closed bedroom door. Most things in the house meant little or even nothing to her. They were all chosen by an interior designer, over priced, and definitely the exact opposite of her taste. In fact, there was only one thing in the house that mattered to her. It was a simple, hand painted vase that her grandmother had given her as a child, telling her that it had belonged to her great grandmother and that it was to be passed down throughout the generations of their family. Marissa had planned to give it to one of her daughters…or perhaps a granddaughter someday, because her girls seemed disinterested in their heritage.

As she got out of bed and made her way downstairs, clad in baggy pajamas and an oversized robe to hide her burgeoning belly, she had a dark, nagging dread that the crash she had heard earlier had been her very treasured vase shattering. It was displayed proudly on the fireplace mantle of the family room, and, as she made her way there, she noticed that the entire house, as she had predicted, was destroyed. It would take their cleaning lady days to return it to its usual state of perfection even with Marissa's help. Without a doubt, there had been thousands of dollars worth of damage already wrecked upon the Newport Beach mansion, but she could care less what her daughters and their friends touched and ruined as long as her vase was safe, but, as she rounded the corner of the hallway and entered the hub of the house where the twenty-five teenagers and young adults were gathered, she realized her concern had been warranted.

The delicate colored glass with the petite flowers painted in a whimsical pattern was completely smashed, and, as the various people passed by it, they simply continued to walk on its tiny pieces, obliterating them to a fine dust and putting an end to any hope she may have had at gluing the vase back together. Marissa knew she shouldn't break down in front of her daughters or their friends, but she couldn't help herself, and, right there as she leaned up against the wide doorjamb, the tears started falling down her pale, tired face as quiet sobs wracked her rounded form. CJ stopped to stare at her, barely concealing her dislike for her and the rage she felt at being interrupted, Eli was too absorbed in a game of ping pong to notice her presence, and Quinn was making out with a guy who looked to be at least six years older than she was and completely oblivious to everything going on around her, but Marissa didn't care.

It felt as if more than just her great-grandmother's vase had been shattered. With it broke her strength to stay, her will to try with her family, and her patience with her entire life. The illusion she had been living under that somehow everything would work itself out once she had the baby was destroyed, and, suddenly, she knew what she had to do.

Without a word, she left the family room, went back upstairs, and quietly packed a couple of bags, leaving behind most of her things and the life she had been living for the past nineteen and half years. Her daughters never noticed, and, even if they would have, Marissa knew they wouldn't have cared enough to stop her.

By saying goodbye to her past, she was giving her unborn child the future it deserved.

/ \ \ /

For two weeks she had been "on the run" as she termed it, though she severely doubted the fact that anyone in her family was even remotely concerned about her, and, when she thought about, she really didn't want them to be. Instead, she wanted a clean break to all her ties in Newport, so, with that in mind, she cut up the credit cards that her husband paid for, simply took the same amount of money out of their joint account that she had come into their marriage with ($64, 832.91 – how she remembered that, Marissa had no idea), and traveled northeast where she had encountered snow.

She, and she hoped her baby someday would, too, loved snow, but her car didn't. Marissa tried to drive slowly, tried to pay attention, but it was late, she was tired, and she was slightly bored and singing along with The Pixies. Their music was fun, energetic, absolutely the exact opposite of anything Chace would have ever approved of her listening to, and, by the time it was too late to do anything, she realized the wrong thing to be listening to for it was distracting.

Her car started to skid out of control, and, when she went to right it, she overcorrected and sent the small sedan spinning in circles. By the time it was over, she had no idea how many times she had completed a 360 degree turn, what she had hit, or where she had landed. All she knew was that she was stuck in the middle of nowhere, her car was almost out of gas, and she was starting to get cold. Oh, and she was also 32 weeks pregnant. Too bad all she could do was wait…and hope, the Pixies no longer singing to amuse and divert her. Instead, she was surrounded with the silence of the night, the howling wind, and fear for her baby's wellbeing, for she needed help in a world where very few people liked to offer it.