Courtney's POV

I wanted desperately to convince myself this was all some sick, sugar-before-bed induced nightmare. I would wake up in the morning, Nathan and I wouldn't be fighting, my mother's car wouldn't be parked outside Duncan's house, and I wouldn't be soaking wet and frozen to the bone. It didn't matter how many times I pinched my arm, I didn't wake.

I slipped inside the house as quietly as I possibly could, pausing briefly to peek out the window to make sure the dreadful criminal of a boy was indeed vacating the premises. He was.

Sliding off my shoes, and rubbing my hands over my arms to provide heat, -as I had been doing all night to no success- I tip-toed into the living room and took a seat in front of the fireplace to begin thawing myself out.

"Do you have any idea how worried I was?" Mom's voice had me squealing in fright, and nearly jumping backward into the fireplace. I composed myself, and nibbled on my lip as she began pacing before me. Throwing her hands up into the air; she started. "I go downstairs to grab a cup of tea, and I find my car, and my daughter missing! No note, no explanation, nothing!" She glared at me, pointing her finger in accusation. "You nearly gave me a heart attack! Do you know how bad the blizzard is getting? You could of gotten stuck somewhere, and kidnapped! Maybe even raped, or murdered!" It was typical of her to automatically jump to the worst conclusion possible. I now saw where I got it from. Guilt struck me like a baseball bat, causing my eyes to turn blurry with oncoming tears. It had been such a long night, and now this was just the icing on the crap flavoured cake.

"Mom... I-" I didn't even get a chance to say another word before she enveloped me in a hug, stroking my hair as she sniffed, tearing up herself.

"Just promise me you won't do it again, sweetie. I couldn't stand it if I lost you." The feeling of a shame ridden conscience still pecked away at me. Wait until she realized her car wasn't here, and where I had really been. That was when the sobbing of relief would turn into tears of disappointment, and her wondering where she went wrong while raising me. I couldn't explain to her what happened, unless I wanted to be grounded for a century.

I only hoped Duncan might pull through by returning the car, before my mother noticed it was missing.

Duncan's POV

I let the phone ring a couple times, weighing my options. Finally, with a shrug, I flipped it open.

"Isn't it past your bed time?"

Gwen's POV

I wasn't going to phone him. I had no reason to; yet the urge was still there. The numbers on my digital clock ticked by, reaching two in the morning, while I began doing anything to keep my attention off the cellular device sitting on my end table. I flipped through my art magazines, watched a horror film, but even after everything I did, my shiny silver phone continued to catch my eye.

"This doesn't have to be a big deal. He said to call whenever. Whenever means whenever I feel like it." I muttered to myself, reaching with a shaky hand toward my maple wood end table. Clutching the cell in my hand, I blew out a breath. "If he's sleeping, I say I sat on my phone by accident and called him. If he's awake, I... ask him if he took anything from my house, when he was here, because I can't find my..." I paused again, mauling over the items in my room before my eyes landed on my assorted collection of DVD's. "My Halloween DVD."

I dialed his number with a surge of confidence, smirking to myself at my plan, knowing full well I'd feel stupid for it later. It rung a for a bit, and I felt my confidence begin to deflate as I assumed he was probably asleep. Finger close to pressing on the end call button, his familiar husky-toned voice finally entered my ears. "Isn't it past your bed time?"

I felt relieved. Like I'd been given an extra breath of air while under water.

"Funny." I deadpanned, though cracked a smile to myself. I laid back, snuggled into my sheets, shutting my eyes as I spoke. "So I was just wondering-"

"Do you wanna go out tomorrow?" My heart lurched in my chest, seeming to come to a sudden halt at his request. My lips felt stuck, frozen in the shape of an O.

"I sorta need your help..." He muttered awkwardly, and my heart slowly began it's regular rhythm again. Of course he wasn't asking me out. Stupid, stupid...

"Yeah, sure." I shrugged in an attempt to sound casual. "Where and when?"

He hummed lightly to himself in thought, and I had to keep myself from smiling. He always did that when thinking hard about something. "Wanna hang out at the mall?"

I almost laughed. The mall wasn't either of our scene, per se, but I did need to pick up a new sketch book, so I figured we could kill two birds with one stone. "That sounds good. After school, then?"

"It's a date."

No, it really isn't.

Duncan's POV

Finally arriving home, I collapsed onto the couch, chucking my phone carelessly on the floor and burying my face in one of the cushions. I knew I was playing with fire, here. I could tell by her sudden intake of breath as I'd asked her if she wanted to go out, that she immediately got the wrong idea. Still, it was Gwen.

Sure, we'd shared a thing in the past, but we'd both moved on. She couldn't still like me... She's got Trent now. And I've got...

"A difficult, bitch of a Princess..." I muttered into the pillow with a groan. I still had to bring back her mama's car, too. Looks like I wasn't getting any sleep tonight.

Heaving myself off the couch with a sigh, I ran a hand through my hair before reluctantly heading back out into the blizzard, empty gas can in hand, and set off to find the nearest gas station.

"You must be taking three years off your life with that thing," Gwen snidely remarked, poking my double cheese burger with her fork, before stabbing it back into her salad.

Snorting, I kicked her leg playfully under the table. "I'd rather die young and happy, then live off rabbit food my whole life." I eyed the leafy greens that sat before her, skeptically.

She laughed.

It felt like just yesterday I'd been here with Geoff, and now Christmas would be here in two short days. Thinking of Geoff, I pursed my lips, wondering how his present was coming along.

"So why the sudden urge to go out? And what happened to your forehead?" She asked, face contorted in confusion as she examined the bruise on my forehead.

"Can I not ask a friend out to the mall?" I replied cheekily, and she rolled her eyes.

"Alright, so, you're forehead. What happened?"

I sighed. "Well..."

Dragging my feet along, I finally reached Courtney's car, after my long trek down to the gas station, and began to fill it up. I grumbled to myself as the wind cut through my layers like they were nothing. "She better be freaking ecstatic I'm doing this." I growled to myself, drumming my fingers anxiously against the side of the car, before finally deciding it had enough gas in it to last to her house. Setting the half-empty can of gasoline in the car, I set back off down the snowy roads. I yawned, once, twice, then again. After trying for fifteen minutes, I eventually found myself in her driveway, and parked the car.

Hopping out, I stared at the keys in my hand. I couldn't very well leave them outside, and under the mat, they may never find them. I was so exhausted, I almost threw them on the ground and walked away. However, knowing that wouldn't score me any brownie points with her, I tip-toed around the back of her house, trying all the ground level windows, until I found one I could pick the lock on. It was a skill that came naturally to me, and didn't even take much thought. Climbing silently through the window, and shutting it just as softly, I peered around the inside of her house, squinting through the darkness. Making my way over to the front door, about to hang the car keys up on the little wooden peg with the rest of them, I wasn't prepared for the sudden impact that hit my forehead and had me sprawling to the ground in a mess of limbs. I heard something else heavy fall to the floor, too, but my mind was reeling too quickly for me to take notice of whatever it was.

Seeing stars, I heard a gasp, and suddenly felt two warm hands lightly touch my forehead. The familiar scent of vanilla and cinnamon washed over me, and I felt even more confused. Either it was Princess that was kneeling over me right now, or I had a concussion. Both seemed likely.

"Duncan! I'm sorry, I thought you were a burglar, I-" Lifting up my hand, I covered her mouth with it, wincing as I felt my forehead with the other hand. No bump, at least.

Grabbing my wrist with her own hand, she tugged it from her mouth and her expression turned a little more steely. From what I could tell in the darkness, half disoriented, anyway.

"What the hell are you doing here? Robbing us?" She hissed, and I grinned slyly.

"Naw, you know the only thing I wanna steal here, is your heart." I winked at her, and had to keep from laughing when she gave me her signature bitchy glare.

I got back up on my feet with a bit of effort. "Would you relax, babe? I was just returning your car keys. You should be damn grateful I did, too. I could of tossed them in a bush for all I care."

She then spotted the shiny lump in the darkness that landed on the floor when I was hit, and snatched the keys up. "Oh... Well, I appreciate that..." She mutter, reluctantly. "And I apologize for hitting you." She spun around and walked over to the key rack; hanging the set up.

I smirked and walked back into her field of vision. "Come on darling, I could sue you for assault. Say you're sorry like you mean it."

"I could sue you for breaking and entering!" She screeched, all the while still keeping her voice down; shooting paranoid looks up stairs I could faintly make-out in the blackness.

"Fine. Although, if I'm being charged anyway, how about we add sexual harassment to the list?" I whispered to her seductively, stepping closer to her until she backed up enough for her to be pressed up against the wall.

"Y-You pig!" Court snarled, hands held out in front of her, palms flat, as if it'd really keep me at a distance.

"You can't keep it up forever," I purred lowly, deciding the hit to the head, and lack of sleep, was making me act hornier then normal. At the moment, I'd have no problem tearing her clothes off her body and ravaging her, like I wanted so badly to do.

"Duncan." She said, point blank, in a I'm not fooling around tone of voice that reminded me way too much of my mother.

Sighing, I backed off, shoving one hand in my pocket and waiting for her to drop her pathetic attempt of a shield.

"What'd you smack me with, anyways?" I asked, absently rubbing my forehead with my free hand.

Courtney smiled, rather evilly. "A dictionary."

I always knew those things were evil.

Yawning suddenly, the lateness of the night suddenly seemed to really weigh on me, and I realized it was reaching close to four thirty in the morning. Stretching, I made my way back over to the front door, unlocking the deadbolt and turning the knob, ready to let myself out.

"Duncan, wait." Courtney stopped me, and before I knew it, I felt her clutch my bicep as she stood on her tiptoes and pecked my cheek lightly. It was over in half a second, but I couldn't find the will to do more then smile rather stupidly. The seductive, charming side I'd had showing only moments ago, now reduced to a pile of love-sick mush.

"Thank you." She said quietly, before pushing on my back with her small hands, urging me out the door.

"Sure, sure," I replied back, waiting until the door was shut and locked behind me, to reach up and touch my cheek.

Gwen burst into laughter, as I finished telling her the story. "She hit you with a dictionary?"

I frowned at her. I knew I should of made up some cool story, like I wrestled some old lady's purse away from a dude and got hit in the forehead. Then again, I'd probably be the thief who stole the purse in the first place.

"Oh, suck it, gothy. Now, I need your help with a little something... What do you know about shopping for bossy, uptight brunettes?"

AN: Finally, it's done! Sorry this chapter took so long to get out. I haven't been feeling in the writing mood, lately. Tell me what you thought, as always, with a review~