Hey all, how you doing?? Hope you like this one and don't forget to check out my new website. I won't continue with it if no one responds xx

Marian winced when she heard the knock on her front door. Augh. Not him. Please –I'm begging you Lady Gaga – don't let it be him. She quickly wiped the tears off her cheeks with the back of her hand and glanced in the hall mirror. She was all red and puffy, her eyes still watering. Her hair was a mess, not surprising considering the amount of times she'd wrung her hands through it in frustration that morning. A few deep breaths and then the knocking came again, this time more urgently. Mentally preparing herself, she swung open the front door, a little too dramatically.

'Robin!' she smiled, desperately attempting to appear normal. 'Hey, what are you doing here?'

'Um...' there was a pause as, she was sure, he took in her hideous appearance. His green eyes raked over her face which was trying, and failing, to be constructed into the picture of happiness. She smiled even wider in compensation. 'How are you?'

'Yeah good, you?' she nodded enthusiastically. He opened his mouth to speak but the phone rang. Marian flinched and she couldn't stop the traitor tears forming in her eyes again. 'Jesus Christ' she muttered pathetically.

'Maiden, what's wrong? He asked, looking insanely worried by her reaction at the phone call.

She then went to speak but the bloody call sound shrilly interrupted. 'Hold on a sec'. She dashed from the foyer to the side table that held the phone. She bent down and yanked the little black wire out of the wall. Then she picked up the phone and the receiver, opened the adjacent cupboard and flung them both inside, slamming the door.

Robin watched all of this with growing concern. When she turned around, she had fresh tears flowing down her cheeks. He instantly stepped inside her house, wanting to get closer and comfort her. But she straightened up her shoulder in an adorable "I'm a tough lil cookie" way and let out a sharp breath. 'Let's get out of here' she said decisively, grabbing his hand and yanking him out the door.

Robin glanced back at the cupboard. 'But don't you wanna ans-'

'No'. She gave him another tug and then banged the front door shut behind them.

xx

'So' Marian said. They'd been driving around for about twenty minutes in Robin's Volvo and he still hadn't asked her a single question about her episode in her house.

'So' He answered, smiling over at her before returning his gaze to the upcoming roundabout.

'Aren't you going to ask about me.....moment back there?' Marian raised her eyebrows. She hadn't let any more stupid tears fall since she stepped over the threshold of her house and the swelling was slowly going down.

'Nope' Robin grinned at the road. He didn't need to be looking at her to know her reaction.

'Why not?' Marian frowned.

He chuckled. 'Kinda realised by now, when you have something to say, I'll know about it. And if you don't want to talk about it then professionally trained torturers wouldn't be able to get it out of you. Even if they ripped out your nails or shined that bright interrogation light in your face'.

'Aren't you curious?' Marian pressed.

'Yeah I'm curious' he shrugged.

'But you're not going to force me. Not going to force me to do anything I don't want to do' she mused, almost whispering.

Robin realised there was a deeper layer to this he didn't get. He paused before answering, 'No... No I wouldn't ever make you do something you weren't comfortable with'. He glanced over at her as she conspicuously wiped her hand over her eyes. 'Are you crying?'

'No' Marian smiled, wiping more tears. 'It's just nice. Nice to not have to put a face on for someone. And for that someone to actually realise I'm not going to ever react normally and be ok with that'. Robin watched the road as he thought about that. Her parents, maybe? They'd organised for him to come pick her up this morning and they'd hang on their day off. But then she was crying, and hiding phones and now she was speaking so cryptically. Would he ever figure this girl out? Maybe that was why he was actually so into her, because she always kept him guessing. And he was so very, very into her. She sighed, raking a hand through her curly hair. 'It was Eve. On the phone. She's been calling all morning. So has Alice. And Djac.'

'Oh?' he tried to keep his face neutral in encouragement.

She bit her lip. 'They're mad at me. Because ... I didn't tell them something. And then they found out. And they were pissed. And then I was pissed. And hurt. And yeah'

'That's um vague.' He said and Marian laughed a little.

'It's just...' she sighed heavily. 'If I tell you what it is, you're going to react. In a bad way. And I don't want to get mad or hurt by you too'

He looked over at her. 'Maiden, I won't react badly. I won't get mad.'

She seemed to examine him for a moment. Looking for something. 'Fine. I'll tell you. But only if you don't say or do anything. Ok?'

'Ok' He nodded, turning down a quiet street.

'It's my birthday' she blurted out quickly.

Robin stared at her in surprise. Her birthday?! Was that all? That's why she was upset. That's stupid. He grinned, 'Happy Birthday!'

'No, you said you wouldn't say anything' Marian looked really disappointed.

'But why...?' Robin looked at her again in amazement. She was seriously upset about this. 'Ok... pretend I didn't say a word.'

'I am' Marian looked out the front windshield again.

'So, why are you cut at Djac?' Robin asked quietly.

'...Because –somehow- she found out about my bloody birthday. And she promised me she wouldn't say anything or tell anyone' Marian glanced at him. Message received he thought. 'But she did. She told, like, Eve and Alice and put it on facebook and now they're wanting to throw a massive rave and come round and-'Marian cut off, looking more upset than before. She sighed shakily. 'I know I'm sounding like a brat. Ohh poor me, my friends want to give me presents and have a party. But it's like... they don't even know me. I don't want a party. I don't want any more attention. And Djac... she promised me she wouldn't tell anyone. Like she didn't understand why it was important for me to keep it a secret so she figured it wasn't worth protecting. She told everyone because that's what she would want. I just think when a friend asks something of you, you do it. No questions asked. You don't go putting it on bloody facebook'

Robin watched as she frustratingly wiped yet more tears away. He pulled over silently on the side of the street; there was no way he could attempt to fathom the creature next to him while driving safely. Yes, he thought it was incredibly weird for someone to not want to make a big deal of their birthday. But then, he'd always had big parties with heaps of people. That was him. He liked people and people liked him. But Maiden... she didn't like any attention. She liked quiet, simple things. And, he was learning, she also liked keeping things to herself.

He had already come to realise that her friends often did things like this; teasingly calling her a freak when she spurted out some big words or even just getting her chocolate milk when she always drank coffee flavoured. It wasn't that they were mean or unobservant. It was just that they weren't as kind and considerate as her. Marian would always remember when someone had a test and ask them how it went. Or would think to buy them a lollipop when she knew they'd just had maths and would probably want to commit suicide from lack of sugar and fun. Yeah, had he known he would've loved to buy her something and help throw her a party. But he knew she didn't say anything because she didn't like that kind of thing. And he would respect that.

'Maiden, come here' he said gently, unbuckling his belt and pulling her into his arms. He felt her cling tightly to the front of his t-shirt like a child as he stroked her hair. 'It's ok. You don't like to make a fuss. That's ok'

'Apparently not' her voice cracked with tears. 'Apparently it makes me even weirder. And it makes me ungrateful.'

'You're not ungrateful. Djac's the one who broke a promise'

'But I should be happy she wants to throw me a party'

'Says who?'

'Says Djac'

'Exactly'. She sighed, her grip on his shirt still tight. 'So you're a little different. She should be embracing it. And not telling your secrets on Facebook.'

'That's what I said' she sniffed. 'God. Bad things always happen on my birthday'

'Like what?' he asked gently.

'I don't know' She shrugged dismissively. 'But why can't I just not want presents and a party? Do I have to have a reason? If it's meant to by "my day" or whatever, can't I just choose not to tell anyone?'

He kissed the crown of her head. 'You didn't tell me'

'No I didn't mean-'

'It's ok' he smiled. 'You didn't have to tell me. Hanging out with me would be the biggest gift of your year anyway'

Marian pulled back, lightly hitting his shoulder and laughing. 'I'm such a lucky girl'

'Yeah you are. Girls would kill for a present like me' He grinned deviously.

'Whatever' she rolled her eyes, they were still a little watery.

'Let's just go do something and take your mind off it.'

She leaned back in her seat, biting her lip and deliberating. Despite her distress two minutes ago, she looked radiant. The crying had somehow brought out a sort of glow in her skin with a blush in her cheeks too. The tears had stuck to her lashes, making them dark and long. Her hair was curly and in disarray, and her shirt lightly crumpled. She looked sexy. Sitting in the front seat of his Volvo, quietly biting her big bottom lip. And they were in a deserted street, with no school and no gang to interrupt them. Just as he was about to suggest a particular activity as yet undone by them, she met his eyes with her own sparkling blue. 'What?' she asked self-consciously. She brought a hand up to her face as if to wipe something off it. She was blushing more now too, god help him. Suddenly all he could think about was how flushed her skin would look with his pressed up against it. How good it would be to bite her bottom lip himself.

'I've got an idea' she said. Was it her or his deviate mind that made her voice sound so sultry?

'Yeah?' he subconsciously licked his lips.

Marian smiled. 'How's about.. paintball?' A groan escaped him before he could stop it. 'What, don't you want to?'

'Oh I want to' Robin let that sink for a moment, wondering if Marian would pick up his meaning. Then he jerked his keys in the ignition, waking his engine. 'Let's go' before my instincts get the better of me and I jump this vulnerable sexy creature.

*claps hands* i reaaaally like this chapter. And I have to say, the idea's not completely original. I did get some like... outside influences from a guy. But I would never kiss and tell (I would only write about it as fiction mwahaha). But I quite like the end of this chapter. Let me know if you share my feelings or think I'm a freak and it actually sucks. Love, me.