Thirty One Days

Prologue: One Month

-x-

Fact: I hate public transportation.

What does that have to do with anything, right? Well, I am sitting on this disgusting, rank bus in the beginning of a summer that I should be enjoying at the beach all because my dad decided to shuffle me of to my mother's this summer. Apparently he's planning a second honeymoon with his wife of the week, so what better way to get his daughter out of the way then ship her to her mom's.

"Now, I know you and your mother don't exactly see eye to eye—

"Daddy, that's about the biggest understatement of the century"

My mother is well…she's not very let's just say motherly. I don't think she was ever ready to have me, honestly and being only a year older then me when she did, I can hardly blame her. And its not that she's horrible, she just seems to take this parenting thing a little too seriously. Like every time I had to go visit her, she restricted me in every aspect of my life.

I just don't wanna deal with that. Especially since I'm not twelve anymore. And also because I'm used to so much more freedom at home.

"But Daddy, couldn't I just stay with Sora?"

"Sweetheart, you know normally I'd say yes, but your mom really wants you to visit…"

Witch.

She ruined my summer.

I am just about to put in my head phones when I feel my phone vibrating in my lap, "Sora!" I squeal into the phone, I was already starting to feel separation anxiety from my redheaded best friend.

I hear her screech on the other side, "Where are you? Are you okay? Is the bus absolutely terrible?" She asks in one breath.

I let a chuckle escape my lips, she will always be my best friend, "I'm an hour away from my Mom's, I'm fine and yes the bus sucks ass" I tell her honestly.

I hear her sigh in sympathy, "I am so sorry" She emphasizes, "This summer's gonna be excruciating with out you" She complains.

"I know, I already miss you" I agree, "And at least you'll still be in Tree Hill, Sora, I'm going to spend my summer in freakin' Texas!" I rant.

Sora contemplates this, "Yeah…you have it worse" She laughs.

I can't help but laugh too, "Ugh, tell me you'll visit?" I am practically begging.

She laughs again, "Soon as I can babe" She answers.

I breath out a sigh of relief, "And you better keep that phone charged, coz I'll be calling you like a crazed maniac stalker bitch" I wish I was joking.

"Course, I'm gonna be calling you double" She sounds so carefree.

"And my obsessiveness doesn't bother you?" Now I'm joking.

Sora giggles, "Nah, only coz I know the number to the psycho center" She counters.

"Ha ha" I say sourly, "Okay so I'm gonna take a nap, maybe it'll make this stupid ride go faster" I sigh.

"Or maybe you'll wake up and it'll be a dream?" She asks hopefully.

If only that were an option, "Yeah, I wouldn't bet on it" I say cynically.

I can practically feel Sora frowning, "Okay, get some sleep" She says.

"And try to have some fun, will you?" She bargains.

I'm not sure if that's possible, "Only my hardest" I give her false assurance.

She can see through it, "Call me when you're at your mom's?" She asks, she's trying to make this better for me.

I run a hand through my mahogany hair, "Sure, sure" I say, though I don't know if I will. Sora should have fun too and she probably wouldn't if she was worrying about me the whole time.

She's content with my answer, "Alright, see you in a month" She says bleakly.

"Love ya chick" I respond.

She blows a kiss into the phone, "Love you too, bye Meems"

I hang up the phone and lean my head against the cool window. I don't bother looking outside, there's nothing that holds my interest out there. It's all the same, a swirl of green and brown with the occasional passing of cattle. Woo freaking hoo.

God…a plane would have been so much better then this. Curse my moment of angst filled teenage rebellion, when I told my father that if I were to go then he'd have to ship me off on a bus. I was so sure that this would get him to reconsider; I've never been on a bus before in my life. And from what I gathered from movies and shows, public transportation seemed covered with leeches and low lives. Didn't my dad know that?

"It won't be so bad…maybe you'll make some new friends princess…"

"The only people I like are here"

"It would do you some good to see somewhere outside of this town Mimi, you don't want to be stuck here all your life, do you?"

"Yes."

It's the honest truth. I can't imagine living anywhere but there, no other place holds any meaning to me. I've never met anyone outside of my small town and I'm perfectly content with that, the way I figure it is everyone worth knowing—I know them already. I don't really see it changing.

-x-

Texas is hot.

Disgusting, four hundred degrees, humid, sticky hot. And the suckiest part? My mom's house is two hours away from the nearest beach. What is the damn heat good for, if you can't even go to the beach?!

You know what I know exactly what Texas is. It's hell.

"Mimi!" My mom rushes over to throw her arms around me.

I pat her back awkwardly, "Okay, I'm sticky and I've just been on a bus—can we hug later?" I probably sound really mean, but honestly? I didn't wanna be here in the first place, so I really hope she doesn't think that this is going to be some dream vacation, bonding experience for the two of us. There aren't going to be any late night slumber parties, talking about boys or shopping sprees. It's going to be me doing my thing and her doing hers—whatever that is.

My mom stepped away from me, "Of course, sorry" She smiles, "I am just so excited!" She claps her hands together, her green eyes lighting up in sheer joy. Lovely.

I try to give her a smile but its just not happening today. "Let's just…" I trail off, nodding towards her white Sentra.

"Well duh" She smacks her forehead, "No use standing out in the hot Texas sun right?" She eagerly helps me put my bags in the car.

This is going to be the longest thirty one days of my entire life, "We need to get a few things clear though, Mom" I wait until she starts the car before giving her my list of demands.

She signals me to continue, "Sure"

I take a deep breath, considering the best way to put things "Look, I'm seventeen and I'm really hoping—I make sure to stress the word, "That you'll give me a little more freedom" I don't think it's too much to ask.

She nods, "Okay, that's reasonable" Woah. Now I know this is going to sound cliché but, who the hell is she and where the hell is my mother? Should I get back on the bus to Charleston to avoid the abduction?!

I stare at her skeptically, "Okay…well I don't really have a curfew at home, I have my own car, I can go out with my friends whenever I want and Dad doesn't monitor my every move" I wish I didn't have to be so blunt, but maybe it'll get her to consider my wishes.

She looks like she's thinking hard, "All right, look I'm not going to tell you that its going to be exactly like it is back home" She starts, "But I understand what you mean, I can be a little smothering at times" She glances at me apologetically.

"Its okay" I say immediately.

She nods once, "But we're going to have rules Mimi" She says sternly.

I push my bangs out of my face, "Like what?" I ask her, trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice.

She's obviously trying to find the right words as well, "Your curfew is twelve, one at the latest" Okay that I think I can live with, "You can use this car when you need to" That's restricting but also bearable, "You can go out as long as you tell me first" Still a little too authoritative but nothing abnormal, "And as for monitoring your every move, I'll try to keep that to a minimum" She winks. I'm starting to like my mom a little better.

A smile graces my face naturally now, "Thank you" I say sincerely. I don't know anyone here and I probably won't be going too much but it's still nice to know that I'm not going to be under super, anal-parent, house arrest the entire time I'm here.

She smiles too, "You're welcome"

-x-

My mom's house is a lot different from my Dad's. My Dad's house has six bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a theater room, a computer room, a study, a patio, a heated pool and a three car garage. My mom's house has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a backyard and a driveway.

Back home, I have my own Mercedes Benz equipped with a GPS and the best sound system ever made. Here, I'm going to be driving a freakin' Nissan Sentra that I would ultimately be sharing with my mom.

"This is your room" She opens the door slowly, probably for dramatic effect.

She lets me walk in, surprisingly she doesn't follow "Get settled in, tell me how you like it" She says softly, "I really am happy you came Mimi, I've missed you" It's enough to wipe away any ill will I would've had towards the room.

I gaze around the room that's the size of my walk in closet, "Oh, how the mighty have fallen" I can't help but mutter.

I see the twin bed against the wall, covered with a pink bed spread and a frilly green comforter. The run down looking A.C bulking out of the window. The chipping floral wallpaper. The small television on top of a shabby looking dresser and a small sliding closet. Small as it is, it has a strange comfortable feeling to it and honestly? It's not even that bad…

I didn't bother unpacking, I just laid my back breaking suitcases in an unoccupied corner of the room—making sure to put my overflowing cosmetics bag right on top.

I glanced at myself through the full length mirror located on the back of the door. My skin seemed paler then it had in TH, my hair felt oily, my eyes were duller, my white shorts had a mysterious black stain right above my crotch and my tank top's wrinkly beyond repair. How attractive?

I swing open the door, after I am thoroughly repulsed by what I look like and walk towards the kitchen, where I can hear my mom's humming. "Hey girlie, I thought we'd order Chinese?" She suggests brightly.

"That's fine" I plop myself down on the table and stare blankly at the menu.

She sits in front of me, phone in hand, "Its going to get better" She assures me, covering my hand with hers, "I bet by the end of this month, you won't want to leave" She grins.

I seriously doubt that. "I'll bet" I say dryly.

She stares at me a moment longer, before dialing the number.

While other things have changed around here, the walls are a different color, she's changed the carpets (finally), the kitchen table's more sturdy and above all her attitude. It's nice to see that her eating habits haven't. My mom has never been able to cook, she's always lived off take out and that's one thing I can fully appreciate. And now that she's giving me room to breathe, I don't mind being in the same room as her.

Maybe, if everyday is like this one, it won't be so bad.

"Twenty minutes" She informs me, "Chinese always takes the longest" She huffs, getting up to place the phone back on its hand set.

I shrug, "I'm not even that hungry" Lie. I'm absolutely famished.

She raises an eye brow, "Seriously?"

She may not know much but she does know that I'm like always hungry, "No, but I can wait" That part's kinda true, but not really. Coz I also hate waiting.

She seems satisfied, "So tell me, how are things?" She asks casually.

This is where it's going to get awkward. Me and my mother hardly ever talk about anything… I wouldn't know where to start "Things, things are good" I answer.

She nods slowly, "And the boy…Michael?" She asks, referring to my on again, off again boyfriend.

"Off again" I say carelessly. Michael and I have been dating for a while but he isn't the big love of my life. In fact I don't really know why I dated him for so long, I don't even like him that much. Probably because he's comfortable, familiar, like a security blanket. But just like a security blanket, I think I'm finally brave enough to leave him behind. I think that I've finally, well, outgrown him.

"How come?"

Good question. "Not really sure, but its been a long time coming" I ensure her. I'm not really too upset over this, honestly it's almost a relief. That sounds bad doesn't it?

She doesn't need to ask anymore, I think she understands "And Sora? You two still inseparable?" She's more perceptive then I give her credit for huh?

"Joint at the hip" I confirm.

She smiles, "That's nice, I always liked her" Funny. Since I think my mom's met Sora like twice. No, I'm exaggerating, but she hasn't met her that many times.

"Yeap…"

I see my mom run a hand through her soft brown hair, it's a shade lighter then mine "You'll make some friends here too" She says confidently.

She has more faith in my social skills then I do. Not that I can't be charming when I want to be, because I can. Sora says I've got one of those "light up a room" smiles and an "I'm the life of the party" attitude. So if I wanted to, I know I could make friends. I just don't want to. Not that I'm going to tell her that "I'm sure" I wonder if I sound sarcastic.

"No, really Mimi" Apparently I did, "In fact…next door—

I interrupt her, "Mom, please I do not need a play date" I say, a little irate.

She shakes her head, "Its not like that, she's a really nice girl" she defends. Girl huh? Great now I'll be babysitting the brat.

I shoot my mom a look of annoyance, "I'll make my own friends, thanks" I say curtly. And to think, things had been going so well before.

My mom doesn't press it, "Fine" She says, "I was only trying to help" Ah crap. Now I feel a little bad.

I look up at her, "I know mom and I appreciate it but I'm a big girl now" It's true, maybe she just needs to hear it one more time "Besides I came here to visit you" White lie. I was forced to come, but I could never deliberately break my own mother's heart.

She smiles again, "We're going to have fun, promise"

I'm not sure if I believe her just yet but I agree anyway. "I know" Is it still lying, when you do it to spare someone's feelings?

-x-

Fact: I seem to be a compulsive liar.

-x-

A/N: First of all, this is Populette and MimixIshida's (aka, Liya and Christina's) joint project! How happy are all of you? Coz we're pretty god damn excited.

Liya- So yeah, this is the story we've been working on for the past like nine years and god has it been tough. But its been too fun and I don't think I ever want it to end! I love my best pal and beta editor :]

Christina: Hey guys! As Liya said, this is our joint project that we are thoroughly obsessed with. I'm sure you guys noticed that a certain story hasn't been updated lately…well that's because of this right here! I've been completely and totally devoted to this story and so has my best friend. Though she managed to update her stories…only coz she's amazing!

We hope that you all enjoy this story because we're having way to much fun writing it.

So that's all, we've been working really hard on this and reviews are greatly appreciated especially since we want to make this the best story possible. So if you read this (which we're urging you very strongly to do) please just drop a comment. A small nudge in the right direction, (Coz Liya is directionally impaired and needs a GPS to find anything) to let us know that we're doing okay!

All right, well thanks for the support in advance!

-Chris and Liya

P.S- First Chapter will be up by Wednesday latest, BUT every update after that will be weekly (promise!)