Third from the left. I had just stated to enter this well-memorized tunnel that housed my home, when I heard Ian's voice ahead. I got a little nervous and slowed my walk slightly. After we had left the bathroom, I had had a talk with Melanie. She had stopped me forcefully, seeing Ian and me coming out of the cave together, hand in hand.



"What?" I quickly inquired, seeing her shocked look and wondering what had happened. "Is Jamie okay? Jared?"

"What are you talking about? Of course they're okay. Wait. They are okay, right?" Seeing my now immensely confused face, she stopped. "Okay, never mind. They are fine. But I need to talk to you. Now." She glanced at Ian. "Alone."

She still had not warmed much to Ian, but I appreciated her efforts. I knew how confusing it must be for her.

"Uh, sure."

I turned to him. "Go ahead. Start eating. I'll meet up with you in the dining hall." He looked resistant and glanced uneasily at Mel. It was not that he did not trust her or anything like that. He just hated leaving me alone with another person at all. "Go. I'm fine." I gave him my best reassuring smile.

After he was out of sight, Mel all but dragged me down the stone hallways, refusing to speak. Every time I opened my mouth she would shush me or say just a minute. I started to get worried at the angry look in her eyes. She was prone to violence. Not that I thought she would seriously ever hurt me, but still…

My fears heightened when we reached her room. She unceremoniously shoved Trudy and Heath out of our way and then yanked me into her and Jared's room. I looked around the familiar walls, a little nostalgic.

"What do you think you're doing?!"

Her voice snapped me out of my reverie.

"Um…about what?" I squeaked, a little breathlessly.

She took in my frightened look and softened a little.

"Oh, snap out of it. It's not like I'm going to hit you." Despite her harsh words, she seemed slightly calmed now.

"I just don't understand why you are so upset."

She took a deep breath. "Wanda, were you or were you not just taking a bath with Ian O'Shea, your boyfriend?"

"I was."

"Well, my goodness, Wanda! I know you said that your body was turning eighteen, but I simply don't believe it. You are far too young to do things like that! And that's just your body! In the mind you are not even two years old! Ew! I'm going to kill him!"

Okay, that was why she was so upset.

"No! No, it wasn't like that," I nearly shouted, afraid for my Ian. She looked ready to interrupt and her face was unbelieving. "Really," I stressed.

"Then what were you doing?" she shot back.

"Just washing up. I didn't want to make him wait for me to be done. Seriously."

"So you didn't even touch each other at all?" She raised one eyebrow.

"Well…" I cleared my throat nervously. "There might have been a little kissing." I averted my eyes from her face. "But he was the perfect gentleman. Please don't hurt him."

She seemed relieved at my apparent honesty. My lying skills had not much improved over the past months.

"I won't," she promised. "But really do try to be careful. And of does anything to you without your express permission and understanding of said action, I will make sure he never walks straight again."

I stared at her nervously, but then had to laugh. There was the Mel I knew and loved.


I walked carefully closer to or room, carrying the trays with care. They held Jamie's and my dinners. I had gone to the dining area to find that Ian had only just left, presumably to go looking for me. I assumed tat Jamie had not yet eaten yet, however, as he normally ate with Mel and me.

As I stepped even closer to our room, I made out the words of the conversation.

"I've hardly had any real time with her, you know?" Ian's voice came out of the shadowy paces ahead.

To my intense surprise, Jared's voice answered back softly. "Geez…I don't know what I would do without having Mel actually here, but never alone." There was a tense pause. "Okay. Jamie is just going to have to go somewhere else."

"No, no I don't want to have to do that to him-"

"He'll be fine. He's growing up. He'll understand."

Then half under his breath he muttered, "Man I cannot believe I am seriously helping you with this."

"But it's not like that. Really." His words echoed my own.

"Uh-huh," Jared murmured skeptically.

"I'm serious."

"Whatever. Now if you in some way hurt or upset her, I want you to know that I will happily murder you, not matter the consequences."

"Understood. And thanks, for listening and for Jamie."

I hard Jared start to leave and quickly hopped into Paige and Andy's currently vacant room, my heart beating a mile a minute.

A/N: I meant for this chapter to be a whole lot longer, but I am leaving for camp and won't be able to update for several weeks, so I figured this was better than nothing. Sorry for the shortness. I will try to do better next time.