****

"Mom, I'm going out." I yelled upstairs before throwing my leather jacket
over my shoulders, and grabbing my keys off the kitchen counter.

"Just make sure you're home before twelve." My mother yelled back from
upstairs in her room, where she was probably drowning her sorrows in
another one of my brother's depressing home made movies.

I locked the door behind me as I stepped outside and into the cool
weather, and then I shivered when a gust of wind blew my short brown hair into my eyes.

Without hesitating, my hand went straight towards the little zip up pocket
on my jacket, pulling out the pack of cigarettes that I knew was there.
Lighting one up, I inhaled the sweet nicotine that flew in my mouth, knowing that this was not going to be the last cigarette of the night.

As I began my trek towards my car, I couldn't help but smirk as I saw the
outline of my brother's old row boat still tied to the dock, where it had
been for the last 18 years. I remember him christening it mine on my
seventh birthday, and I also remember me telling him that the only way I'd ever be sailing away in that thing was if I needed to discard a body, needless tosay I haven't stepped one foot into the rowboat...yet.

Opening the car door to my one year old SUV, I took one last drag of my
cigarette before throwing it out into the grass, and hopping in. That was
one of the rules I had about my car, no one smoked, ate, drank, or had sex in
it, including me, and if they did, their rear-ends would be plastered all over
the front hood of my car...when I ran over them.

As I put the key into the ignition, my cellphone began to ring. Groaning,
I flipped the overhead light on, and after quickly searching for the ringing
distraction, I finally found it in my glove compartment. "Hello?"

"Goldie Locks, where are you? I've been waiting outside in the freezing
cold for an hour."

I rolled my eyes at the rather dumb-as-hell greeting I got from my best
friend Al, as I backed out of the driveway, and headed down the street to
his house. "I'm on my way, and you wouldn't be freezing cold if you went back
inside your house, monkey."

I could hear him grumbling to himself, about me of course, but then the
grumbles were replaced with the chattering of his teeth, which caused me
to become paternal. "Alex, go back inside. I'll be there in a few."

Without waiting for him to argue, I disconnected the phone call, and
tossed my cell phone towards the back seat of my car.

Needing some distraction from the coldness that I was experiencing, I
turned the radio on, and flipped through a few stations before I landed on a
decent soft rock station that was playing one of my favorite oldies jams.

Desperate for changing
Starving for truth
I'm closer to where I started
I'm chasing after you

I couldn't help but think about Alex as I sang softly along to the song,
it wasn't that I loved him, or even liked him more than a friend, for that
matter, but it was just that the song was based on our friendship and our
relationship with one another, and how we would always be there for each
other, until death do us part.

I'm living for the only thing I know
I'm running and I question where to go
And I don't know what I'm tapping into
Just hanging by a moment here with you

As I approached the B&B, and parked the car, I couldn't help but think about when Alex and I went off to college a few months ago. Him and I had both been scared, but we wouldn't admit it to anyone, not even to each other. It had taken a night of drinking TOO much, and ending up in bed together to help us see that there was nothing to be afraid of, and that we would be fine....as long as we had each other. I sighed as a random thought popped into my head. 'Those were the days.'

A knock on the window caused me to almost jump out of my seat, I say 'almost' because if I wasn't used to them already, then I would've, and because the only person I know who would be stupid enough to try and scare me, or try to put a hand on my car, was Alex.

I manually unlocked the door, letting him in, and then prepared to give him the riot act. "I hope you're happy. By you being outside in the snow, you will probably get struck by pneumonia, and have to stay inside the house for the rest of the winter break, causing ME to stay inside with you, and also causing me to get sick."

Alex mockingly put his hands to his chest, and outwardly gasped. "You were worried? I feel so..so loved."

I rolled my eyes playfully at him before leaning in, and starting the car back up. "Well, you should be, you're the only one I'll let get me sick."

He winked at me slyly as I backed up the car, and I could tell he was about to say something sexist, and like always, I wasn't let down. "Well, you could always give me something in return, something that involves your mouth on my-"

"Alexander!"

Alex stopped what he was saying, and I slammed on the brakes, as Alex's mother came running towards the car in her housecoat.

"Oh God."

I tried to suppress the laughter that wanted to escape my mouth as I watched Bessie Potter run towards my car, but as Alex winded down his window, and Bessie handed him a pot of something, that was probably for my mother, I couldn't help but giggle.

"I'm glad I caught you two, I promised Mrs. Leery that I'd give this to you when you came over, I just didn't know you wouldn't come inside."

I felt bad as Bessie used her 'disapproving' voice, but that didn't stop my laughter at Alex being embarrassed, from escaping my mouth.

"It's..It's okay."

Bessie raised an eyebrow at Alex, as his face became darker by the moment, then adverted her eyes towards me, once I had finally stopped laughing. "Well, I'll let you kids go. You will still be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner, tomorrow night, right?"

Alex and I nodded, dreadfully, knowing that our mother's idea of a Thanksgiving dinner was to over heat the turkey, and gush over our older
sibling's, well, older and younger sibling's accomplishments.

"Well, you two have fun." Bessie said, giving us, what I thought was, a motherly smile. "And behave."

"Goodnight, Mom." Alex said, in a slight harsh tone, before winding the window back up, leaning back into his seat, and closing his eyes, probably to block out the embarrassment.

I shortly waved to Bessie, before backing all the way out of the driveway, headed towards me and Al's favorite place.

"Warren Bar, here we come."


"Is it just me or does this place get duller every time we visit?"

I scanned the room with my eyes, taking in the soothing atmosphere, before I nodded to the few peers I knew, who sat at the bar. "It's just you, monkey."

Alex rolled his eyes at my small humor, then went off in search of the bartender.

I pulled out another cigarette from my jacket pocket, and took a seat at one of the nearest tables I saw.

"You know those things will kill you." A voice said from behind me, just as I inhaled a breath of nicotine, causing me to almost choke.

Turning around, to see who the culprit was, I locked eyes with an old friend of my brothers. "And you know sneaking up on me will kill you."

He grinned that sly grin of his that probably made girls quiver back in his day, and wrapped an arm around me, giving me a small hug. "It's nice to see you haven't changed, Lilly."

"Yeah, well, it's nice to see you have." I said, looking over his blue Jean attire. "Last time I saw you, you didn't go anywhere without your
uniform."

Pacey chuckled huskily, before taking a sip of his beer. "Well, what can I say, I love being a cop."

I smirked at his comment, but didn't bother saying anything, knowing full-well, that he'd have a smart ass comment waiting for me.

"I leave you for two seconds, and already you've found yourself a new man."

Looking up at who made that response, I rolled my eyes, but decided to play along. "You know it's not like that, baby. You're the only man for me."

Alex glared smugly at Pacey, before putting an arm around me forcefully, and pulling me towards him. "I better be...or else."

I raised an eyebrow at him in amusement. "Or else..what?"

He got this twinkle in his eye that told me he was about to do something stupid, but any questions I had were cut off as he laid a kiss on my lips.

When he let go, and grinned down at me slyly, all I could think was: 'That boy can kiss.'


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