Okay, this is a new full-length story I'm starting. I was getting stir-crazy with nothing to write, and I thought this up. It's really different from A Smile Like Yours, and pretty much anything else I've ever done. This is just a short preview, just to see how you guys feel about it so far. I'll update soon!


The day Chip moved into the house she shared with her mother, Amber wasn't even aware of it. She'd been at school most of the day, and spent the rest of the afternoon at the show, and rehearsing. To tell the truth, she hadn't even realized that her mother had been dating anyone. Velma had never opened up to Amber about her personal life, except to say that she'd screwed her way through the Miss Baltimore Crabs pageant, though that wasn't a secret. Everyone in Baltimore, probably even Maryland, knew that.

And so when Amber returned home from rehearsal that one particular afternoon, she pushed the front door open and the toe of her shoe hit something that she knew had never been there before. It was a suitcase. She'd pushed her way inside, and glanced around. The room was scattered with things she'd never seen before; clothes, furniture. It smelled differently, as well. It no longer reeked of her mother's perfume, and instead reminded her of the fumes that garbage trucks put out as they passed on the street. It was heavy, and could only belong to a man. The smell made her wrinkle her nose, and as she shut the door behind her, she listened as she heard her mother chatting casually with someone in an adjacent room.

She proceeded carefully through the house, stepping carefully over the objects that were strewn across the room. She placed her books onto a side table by the couch, and pushed her way through the random objects until she stood in the doorway, where her mother was standing dangerously close to a man Amber had never seen before. She watched them for a moment, her eyes narrowing as her mother traced a finger teasingly over his lips, though she couldn't see his face. She knew her mother well enough to know her charms; know the way she went about seducing a man. Normally, however, that man wasn't standing amidst piles of clothes that belonged to him. One singular pile, perhaps, but never multiple.

She cleared her throat, and Velma and the man turned to look at her.

"Mother," she addressed Velma, and her eyes fell upon the man, "Who is this?"

Velma linked her arm with the man's, and marched him forward, bringing him closer to Amber.

"This is Chip," Velma smirked, "He's living here now."

The man beside her nodded, his dark hair greased back onto his head. It was so similar to the way Link styled his hair, but the curl was missing. When he extended his hand for her to shake it, she glared up at him, her eyes narrowed into blue slits.

"May I speak with you in private, Mother?" Without waiting for a response, she slipped her arm through Velma's and pulled her across the room, away from the strange man with the dark hair.

"What are you doing?" Amber hissed suddenly, turning so that Chip couldn't see her face. "Mother, this man is a stranger. You can't let him live here."

"Amber, stop it. He's not a stranger. I've been dating him for weeks." She waggled her fingers at him from over her daughter's shoulders. Amber felt her cheeks flush as she tried to keep her voice down, and shook her head.

"Weeks? And you think you're ready to live together?" When she saw Velma's eyes drifting back to the man, she touched her arm lightly. "Mother, I don't want him living here!"

"You don't even know him," Velma chided her, and, for the first time, let her eyes meet her daughters. "He's loaded, Amber. Filthy rich."

"So?" She felt herself getting defensive now, like a child, and swallowed hard. "If he's so filthy rich why isn't he living in a mansion of his own? Why does he have to live here?"

Velma rolled her icy eyes at her daughter, leaning her head in closer, the identical shades of blonde in their hair coming together.

"He's only living here while he's having a house built. He owns some oil company, or something." She was finished with the conversation and pushed Amber out of the way, making her way back to the stranger.

Amber turned, and looked at him. He looked like he owned an oil company. He probably had enough grease in his hair to fuel the oil company. She crossed her arms over her chest, pursing her lips together.

"Amber, don't be such a prude." Velma's fingers tickled the man's neck, and he smirked down at her. "Chip's going to be here for a while. You may as well get used to it."

She walked past both of them quickly, heading straight to her room. Her cheeks were burning with rage, her heart pounding. What right did she have to do this? Why did she feel she could make decisions that would impact both of their lives without even considering her?

She pushed the door shut behind her, leaning against it, letting the angry tears well up in her eyes. She pushed them away quickly with a new thought. Velma Von Tussle went through men like most people went through tissues. He'd be here a week, two weeks tops. Velma would grow tired of him quickly, and then they'd have their old life back.

If only Amber had known, at that moment, what was to come, she wouldn't even have tried to stop the tears from slipping down her cheeks.