This is my first story of this caliber. I've never experienced anything like this, but as a writer, I continue to grow, which means more challenges. Writing about something I never experienced seems to be the ultimate challenge for me at this point. I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

AU. Characters are not mine. Just the plot.


Ch. 1 – How It All Started

"Spencer, would you hurry up!" My brother said.

"Can you calm down?" I said, snapping right back.

We were in the middle of a public street, at night mind you, walking to "the biggest party of the week!" I say that with sarcasm because that was the only thing Glen has said all week. And by all week, I mean two days since he got the invite for us.

He was way ahead of me and tapping his foot like a petulant child who was not going to get the first candy giveaway from the Easter bunny. Although, in this case, the candy is alcohol and the Easter bunny was the party host.

But I digress. I do that a lot.

Anyway, my older brother was waiting for me because I couldn't walk in these damn heels, that he made me put on. At first, his excuse was that it was going to "enhance my legs and butt." At my really, you're an idiot look, he broke down and said the heels were for me to fit in.


But I put them on because my brother knows how to manipulate me. I couldn't exactly be bitter though. Glen didn't have to do this for me. He was a good brother, trying to get me to fit in and at least I know he wasn't going to abandon me for all this look-at-me lifestyle Los Angeles seems to give everyone as a welcome gift. I couldn't blame Glen for giving in the vanity thing; it gave him an excuse to embrace this move.

I'm not resentful towards this thing. I mean, I saw the change in Glen, but I thought it was better that he was living up the whole attention thing than me. As for me, I just simply didn't care, which is probably why I'm cursing these things that shouldn't be called shoes. I mean, really, shoes are something to be comfortable in. Five-fucking-inches are not comfortable!

Back in Ohio, Glen and I were popular in the small town sense. He was the All-American Athlete and I was the cheerleader who cheered her brother with the friendliest smile and girl-next-girl vibe. We were content with our lives until one night, our parents sat us down and told us that mom was offered a position in a hospital in Los Angeles and they wanted our opinion.

I saw the look in my parents' eyes. My mom showed excitement that she was going to get the opportunity to practice medicine in a bigger environment, giving her multiple chances of advancing her career. She was bored with small town. My father's eyes showed the same excitement but seemed to have some kind of resign to them. He was content here, but will move if mom wanted to.

Glen and I made contact. It didn't matter if we wanted comfort, mom wanted this. We didn't really have a choice, or I felt I at least didn't, so we gave huge smiles and told mom she should take the job.

Since then, Glen seemed obsessed with L.A. He spent 30 minutes extra in the mirror playing with his hair. He even started shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch. He used to say he hated that store 'cause of the strong cologne smell at the entrance. I guess he suddenly grew a tolerance.

As for me, well, I seemed stuck in the middle. I didn't hate the move, but I didn't like it either. Maybe because with the entire obsession Glen and I did with L.A. and movies growing up made me nervous as hell. I wasn't naïve enough to think this move was going to be the greatest opportunity for me. I'd make friends and have the perfect boyfriend, and popular friends, and maybe along the way lose myself and become this caddy, stuck-up bitch. Again, I watched a lot of movies about L.A.

I knew L.A. was going to be a whole new world. I just didn't know if I was going to continue the whole popularity thing and lose who I am, or if I was going to be loner/loser. It could go either way. And I think that's what I'm most afraid of.

So I let Glen have all the popularity for us as I settled for the quiet girl who smiled politely and watched everyone, analyzing every person that fit the cliché and tried to see who I wanted to be more like. Yeah, I still haven't got that answer.

Glen fit in very nicely. He fit the whole charming class-clown that had all the girls swoon over his curly blond hair, blue-green eyes that when they squint it makes girls sigh, and drop-dead-sexy smile that makes girls squeal when he gives them attention. Yeah, my older brother is a stud. And I roll my eyes at it every day.

But Glen was nice to me every day at school, which I can appreciate. He let everyone know that I was his baby sister (ugh), said hi in the hallways, and invited me everyday to sit at lunch with him at the popular table. I always politely declined, perfectly content with sitting across from him with a nice, Black girl named Chelsea who rather sketch you in a notepad than have conversations and her friend Sean, who fit the gangster stereotype nicely but had a highly intelligent brain.

I didn't want to intrude on Glen and his happiness with the popular crowd. I could easily become one of them. But I didn't want that title. I didn't want to be that blond-haired girl with piercing blue-green eyes and beautiful smile who had a bad habit twirling her hair when she talked to you. I didn't want to be a beach girl, I mean, I touched sand and smelled the Pacific Ocean for the first time in 16 years of living yesterday!

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I've been thinking very philosophical lately. It's weird.

I tried not to be irritated with my brother. He got me this invite when he didn't have to. I didn't want him to. In fact, he surprised me two days ago when I was at our kitchen's island doing my homework and he scared me out of my work. Literally.

I jumped when hands slapped down on my trig homework to see my brother grinning like an idiot. I told him as much and he tells me: "Who's your daddy?"

I cringed and gave him my famous really, you're an idiot look. He was gesturing wildly with his hands. He obviously ignored my look and proceeded to tell me exactly how he was my daddy.

He scored me an invite to "the biggest party of the week!"

I just stared and told him no. And that's when he had to be this big, sweet older brother.

"Spence," he said. "Look I know you're perfectly content spending the rest of your high school career sitting at that table with the cute black girl who draws all the time instead of talking and the black boy who likes to look at me like I insulted his hood, but you need to get out there. I'm not asking to join the popular crowd. I just think it'd be good for you to socialize a little bit. I don't want you to be a loner forever. Look, I'm doing this for you. Meet a few people. And I'll be there with you the whole time. I'll make sure no douche bag will give you roofies and no asshole will try to stick his tongue down your throat unless it's required by spin the bottle."

He was sweet in his explanation that I pretended not to hear the last part, for my sanity, at least. He gave me a goofy grin like he used to do when we were kids and I was upset. I couldn't deny my brother this and he really was just looking at my best interests. So I caved.

And I'm regretting it simply because of these stupid things that are supposed to protect my feet from getting dirty, not cause it pain. You know what? They will not be referred as shoes. How about death traps? And now that I think about it, when Glen shoved these things at me, I knew mom didn't have these types of death traps. How did Glen score these?

I digress.

"Spencer, I could be puking in Jessica Alba's former bushes right now!" Glen said, shouting at me while jumping in small bounces and clapping fast. Maybe I should walk slower and hope "hot chicks" will walk by and see how much of a fool my brother was.

I really wanted to tell him that he had a better chance of puking in a politician's mistress's former bushes - than Jessica Alba's - who had to move because said politician's wife finally grew a brain and looked through their financials and he had to move her out of there. Or does that only happen in Brazil?

But I didn't tell him this. Because you know that small, annoying voice in your head that's basically the invisible version of the angel appearing on one side of your shoulder that convinces you what you're about to say or do will only give you a slice of happiness for two-tenths of seconds before you regret said action? Yeah, it popped up. Your brother's being nice, Spencer. Don't ruin his fun.

So I grumbled under my breath and followed, trying to pick up my pace a tenth faster.

How these parties work. Well, it's very simple. The most popular guy at King High and the most popular girl are surprisingly not a couple but their significant parents (guy's mother, girl's father) are highly reputable real estate agents. Now, everyone knows that every real estate agency has the same universal key. So the brilliant idea is that popular guy and popular girl switch off every week finding a locale based off their filthy-rich parent's work list. Different rich houses in different rich neighborhoods with at least a football field between neighbors. It's fool-proof, really.

This is why I know this house we're going to isn't Jessica Alba's former home. Because we're nowhere near Beverly Hills.

I obsess, okay?


I finally entered the Bel-Air home and if it was beautiful from the outside, it wasn't in the inside. It was smoky and I could barely breathe, yet alone see. I felt like I was in Friday.

I really didn't want to be here the moment the door opened. The smoke was intoxicating (the bad way), I felt like I needed to go the local county clerk or something and declare myself legally deaf because the music was so loud, and seriously, the place smelled like puke.

It was dark with a red haze and my personal space was violated. I lost Glen the moment my foot lifted in the doorway and I was accosted by a jock, pulling me through the crowd. His greeting: "You're hot! Come with me!"

I'm gonna kill my brother.

I stumbled at least 30 times trying to tell this dude he made a mistake. He couldn't hear me, of course, and goddamn, was his grip tight. The only mumblings I heard over Lil John was a drinking game.

Oh, boy.

He dragged me to the middle of the room where a group of people were sitting on the floor. A bottle was in the middle of the circle. I dropped my stride and did the only thing I could to stop this gorilla from ripping my arm off. I pinched the only skin showing from his letterman jacket.

He recoiled and shrieked like a baby. I resisted the eye-rolling and yelled directly in his ear and he flinched slightly. Yeah, it doesn't feel good to have unwanted sounds blaring in your ear.

I told him I didn't want to play. He refused. He said it wasn't the typical spin the bottle and off my famous idiot look he explained.

It was truth or dare spin the bottle, but with another twist. Apparently the person to your left controls your fate with the person the bottle pointed to. The person to your left ask truth or dare to which you respond. Whichever you choose – a truth you will hypothetically do with the person the bottle landed on or a dare with the person the bottle landed on. There is no refusal. Before and after the truth or the dare, take a double-shot.

I know what you're thinking: a drunken guy was able to communicate this intelligently? Not exactly, but I got the gist from "You are whoever's to you left's bitch! Perform either a truth or dare from your master to the bottle! Drink fuckin' doubles before and after! No pussy!"


A drink magically appeared by my brother – the cheater – and the drunk-dude explained the same four sentences I got. Glen was enthused. I was definitely going to go bat-shit crazy in refusing to play – because there was no way I was going to chance anything with my brother in the same sex-filled-waiting-to-burst-circle of teenagers. Glen didn't see my panic and squeezed himself between two blond chicks and drunk-dude who doesn't know "my body – my choice!" continued to pull me to the circle. I was about to scream when it died in my throat.

She was here.

Holy shit, she was here!

"She" is the girl I'm obsessed with at lunch. I don't know her name; Chelsea mentioned it once when I had to courage to ask but it was so mumbled and blasé, I didn't have the courage to ask again. She was an enigma to me, which is probably why I can't get her out of my head.

My first thought was what the hell she was doing at this party, let alone apart of the genius drinking game. Every day at lunch she was alone. Well, not alone.

After my panic, I realized why this girl was here. Her table was adjacent to the popular table at lunch and people approached her. Girls and guys talked to her all the time, but it seemed her limit was only maybe 2-3 minute conversations. She sat on the table; her legs crossed and rested in a downward recline against the seat. She'd lean back, her arms behind her back on the table like she was trying to get a sun-tan. Her eyes were never shaded.

She'd talk to people, but I guess her demeanor said go away after three minutes. She'd narrow her eyes, her legs exposed that made any sex – male or female – check her out for at least two seconds. I stared for 45 minutes. Her neck tilted up before she brought it back down and scanned the lunch quad. She never saw me though. She never ate. Some days she'd arrive with a zip-lock bag full of strawberries. It seemed slow-motion every time she ate one.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a girl-crush. The girl was beautiful. She was definitely admirable from far away. But I never had the courage to approach her. So I settled to just stare at her at lunch. Creepy, I know. But something drew me. And if I was honest, it kept me sane from trying to find the right "clique."

Right here, right now, I was paralyzed by this girl. She was here, at this party, and she looked not beautiful, but fucking hot and 20 feet away! I couldn't really tell because it was so dark, but I could feel her milk-chocolate eyes on me. Or maybe the heat was getting to me because there were so many people here. I have no clue. I'm tongue-tied.

But I knew it was this girl. I couldn't see her face but the lights emphasized her white spaghetti-strap shirt that fit her tight muscles. Tan cleavage flashed when the blue light scanned over her body. A red light went the opposite way and revealed to me that she wore jeans; ripped skinny jeans to be exact. Her dark-brown curls were usually soft during lunch, but I guess for this party she decided to make the curls wilder.

And she was right there in my eyesight, in the middle of the drinking game. She was leaning against the wall with a bored expression until suddenly she leaned forward; her chest pressed against her bent knees. A white light flashed across her body again and I could see her head tilt to the side.

Her tongue slipped out and wiped her lips. Again, it seemed slow-motion to me. Her right hand lifted and another light flashed to let me see a strawberry transfer from her fingers to her mouth. I felt heat. I couldn't stop staring and I think my eyes adjusted to the darkness. We were staring at each other while she chewed. She broke contact when she indicated with her eyes that she wanted me to sit; she wanted me to play.

By the time I got over myself and squeezed between two guys who took a quick second to check me out before they were entranced by my mystery girl. I swallowed and licked my lips nervously and looked up at the girl. I sat across from her and she finished her strawberry. I looked a little to her right where her hand dropped. It was out of place, but a bowl of strawberries were there.

She leaned back against the wall and looked to her left. She looked bored. I followed her eyesight – it was drunk-dude. Apparently he called her attention and I looked down to the center. It was her turn.

She rolled her neck before she leaned forward again. Her hand seemed delicate when she spun the bottle. I watched as it twisted and twisted before losing momentum. It stopped. I thought I lost my breath. I stared at the bottle; the in distant cat-calls seemed muffled to me until my brother's voice cut my haze nice and clear.

"Yeah, Spencer!" Glen said, elongating the yeah.

Clearly my brother is drunk.

"Ooo, yeah," drunk-dude said. "Truth or dare?"

Oh, shit, drunk-dude was controlling her!

I tried to stay calm. The girl made contact with me and I felt really hot under my collar. Is that sweat I felt? I was too busy trying to calm down that I didn't hear her name. Damn it!

But I did hear dare and drunk-dude's next words: "I dare you to kiss her."

My eyes bulged. No. Glen had to put a stop to this. And, I mean, really, how cliché. A girl-on-girl kiss between the hot-sexy girl and the quiet girl who's secretly jumping for joy but can't say anything because she'd be seen as a freak. What the fuck!

But Glen didn't say anything. If at all, he encouraged this behavior along with the other boys. I'm going to pretend that my brother is not cajoling that his baby sister make-out with a hot girl. The boys around us did their high-fiving and excitement shouts as I stayed frozen in place.

The girl stayed where she at. She regarded me with a curious look as I tried to look cool. I mean, I've been obsessing about this girl to keep me sane and like always, I can't take my eyes off her. She's finally noticed me and I can't stop staring. And I'm trying to look like I'm not uncomfortable with this thing. Truth be told, I'm not, but I don't exactly want to showcase it front of the popular crowd that I don't even know.

I swallowed and cracked my neck. By the time I made eye-contact with her again she had a shot glass in her hand. She raised it and her eyebrows shot up. She wanted me to drink. I looked down and magically a shot glass was at my feet. It was filled to the brim with a light amber liquid. The plastic cup in my hand lowered to the ground. I picked up the shot glass and tentatively saluted her.

My head tilted back and I felt the burn. My eyes welled but I pretended it only bothered me a little. My left hand went to my chest and I patted it a couple times before I shook slightly. When I looked at her again, she flipped the glass to the floor and got on her knees.

She crawled to me, the bottle rolling away to the right. Someone stopped it but I was too busy being frozen. She stopped in front of me and lifted herself to her feet. She accessed how I sat. I sat Indian-style, those death-traps stuck safely beneath my legs. There's no elegant way in describing this. She straddled me.

I gasped low and looked up at the girl. She stared at me and my eyes dropped at a little movement. It was tongue darting out. Her right hand – it was soft and delicate by the way – lifted my chin so my face lined up with hers.

Her eyes were hooded and she leaned down. Her lips were juicy and it seemed to bring out the cave-woman in me. The strawberry taste was still on her lips. It seemed impossible since I swore I saw her lick her lips but I guess it was stitched forever. I wanted more, so my hands gripped her upper arms and pulled.

I wanted to kiss her with vigorous but I guess I was still intimidated. My bottom lip pulled her mouth but it wasn't aggressive. It was just soft. But she took the initiative. She pulled back the slightest, took a deep breath and went back to my mouth. The move made my mouth open and she slipped her tongue. Her strokes were strong and dominant, and altered between slow and fast. She straddled forward, pressing her jeans into mine. The pressure made me grind a little and I wasn't for sure if anyone noticed.

She was still kissing me. Her hands cradled my neck and her lips developed a pattern. Her full, pouty lips pulled my top lip in between hers and pressed together. The pressure was delicious. After she was done sucking on my top lip her tongue went back to exploring the inside of my mouth. She seemed bored with that, and her lips went to sucking my bottom lip to hers. Each alter, her teeth scraped against my lips. I tried to keep up, but I felt what I knew.

She was out of my league.

She continued to stroke my bottom lip until she pulled back, her teeth biting my lip. My lip stretched until she let go and her tongue swiped, almost like she was making sure the pain was smoothed.

I moaned when she fully pulled back.

"I'm Ashley," she said, her voice raspy.

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