A/N: I'm sorry. Trust me, I know how long it's been. And all I can say is that I'm sorry.

Disclaimer: I do not own Sammy Keyes, but I am happy that the next book is coming out October 14!!

Chapter 3

The week or so before my mother arrived flew by. I swear that time warped itself and went by faster, because all of a sudden, she was here.

I purposely avoided being home when she got there. I had called Marissa but she was busy. Her mother was forcing them to engage in "family bonding activities". I laughed and Marissa groaned.

So I grabbed my skateboard and cruised around town for a little while. I didn't have any money, so I couldn't stop anywhere where spending would be involved. I was riding down the sidewalk on Cypress when I realized that the same gray car from a week ago was coming down the street, really slowly. And then I realized it was keeping pace with me.

I glanced up in the direction of Hudson's house. I was about halfway there. I couldn't tell yet if he was sitting on his porch or not.

I was just about to speed up when I hear a squeaky "Hey!" The voice grated on my ears.

I glanced in the direction of the car without really seeing anything. I turned back to face forwards when I heard it again, less squeaky. "Hey! Hey, kid!"

I hate it when people call me 'kid'. And since I was already a little, well, let's say disgruntled, due to my mother coming to town and everything, I totally flip out on this guy. I stop my skateboard, go right up to the window, and say, in this really bratty way, "Yeah, buddy?"

This accomplishes nothing, but the guy stops his car. He's a pretty weird looking dude, I've got to say. He looks pretty average, brown hair, normal face, and then you notice the piercings. Both of his eyebrows are pierced, his lip is pierced, and his nose is pierced, like a bull's. An entire ear is covered in earrings, just like Heather Acosta, but the other ear is bare.

And then I notice this guy's eyes. One is this really, really dark brown, and the other is the brightest blue I've ever seen. And yeah, I've heard about people with eyes like that, but I do a completely obvious double take because I've never seen somebody have them in real life.

He doesn't mention my scrutiny, just gives me a once-over and looks me straight in the eye.

"You know Hudson Graham?"

"Yeah, what's it to you?" Something about this guy seems off. I don't know what, just something. Okay, maybe his eyes are just freaking me out.

"Just wanted to check in on him. Knew him from way back."

Now, the way this guy is talking, he's Hudson's age and they've known each other for ages, and just lost touch. But the way this guy looks, he's not a day over twenty-five.

"From way back when?" I ask.

"Just from a long time ago, kid."

"The name is Sammy." I mentally slap myself for telling a stranger my name. Not that I haven't done it plenty enough times before, but this guy is giving me the creeps. It's like his one blue eye is staring into my soul and the other eye is reading my thoughts. Okay, maybe that's a little on the dramatic side, but you get my drift.

"Well, Sammy," he says with a smirk. "Tell Hudson that Ray says hi."

I nod and he drives away, blowing a cloud of exhaust right into my face. At this point I'm not disgruntled anymore. Mix full-on mad with a tablespoon of upset and you've got my mood.

So I'm pretty much stomping up the steps to Hudson's porch when I realize that talking to Hudson isn't really what I want to do right now. Because he would reason me out of my bad mood, soothe me and tell me that spending a few days with my mother really isn't going to be so terrible, how she's really trying. And I am just not in the mood for it.

So I stomp back down the steps without knocking and get back on my skateboard, counting the cracks in the sidewalk as I roll slowly over them. Before I know it I'm passing the mall, winding along the path, totally focused on my feet.

And I was just noticing a new rip in the rubber toe of my high-top when I feel my board collide with something and I go flying. My body hits something that makes an 'oomph' sound and we both to the ground. My elbow scrapes concrete and I grit my teeth, trying to get a look at whatever or whoever I ran into, because, boy, are they going to get chewed out!

A/N: I'm hoping to get the next chapter up in the next couple of weeks, but that was my intention with this chapter and it has been nearly two months. I apologize... it's hard to be consistent with updating. Inspiration comes and goes as it pleases and time flies quite steadily and before you know it a whole month has passed. So. I'm sorry.