At the Beginning

Chapter 1: Olivia

(A/N: I know this may seem a bit slow and boring at first, but I promise it will pick up quickly. First chapters are always a challenge for me, because I want to get the reader interested without giving too much away...And then of course there's how to end it... Ah well, enjoy! Oh, and Freddie is going to be just a teeny bit OOC. Not anything huge, though. Review please!)

We were strangers

Starting out on a journey

GENERAL POV

"Sam," said a brown-haired girl, "you could try to be nice to your sister every once in a while. I mean, what did she do?"

"Carls," said her blonde friend, the girl called Sam, "how am I supposed to be nice to her. She's all girly and she gets along with my mom so well. It's irritating." Carly rolled her eyes. The girls continued to walk through the hallways of their school, and as they approached their lockers, they saw a girl standing there.

"Ever seen her before?" asked Sam, jerking her thumb towards the girl. Carly shook her head. Carly and Sam's lockers were right next to each other, and this girl was rummaging through the locker next to Sam's, which had been previously vacant.

"Hey," said Carly, walking up to the girl, "are you new?"

The girl smiled and nodded her head. "That obvious, huh?" She laughed and stuck out her hand. "I'm Olivia."

Carly shook her hand, laughing as well. "I'm Carly Shay. This is my friend Sam Puckett."

"'Sup?" said Sam, raising a hand in greeting.

"So where are you from?" asked Carly.

"Pittsburgh," Olivia replied. "I just moved in with my Aunt Jane about a week ago here in Seattle." Olivia turned back to her locker. "You know, it's weird. I feel like I recognize you guys from somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it."

"Well, we have this weekly web show," said Sam. "It's called iCarly."

"Oh, that must be it!" said Olivia. "I had a friend back in Pittsburgh who watched you guys every week. She showed it to me once. I have to admit, it's pretty funny."

"Thanks," said Carly. Just then, a boy with short dark hair and brown eyes walked up behind Carly, completely concentrated on the cell phone in front of him.

"Hey Sam, hey Carly," he said, looking up. He saw Olivia and froze. "Uh...hi."

"Oh, hey Freddie," said Carly. "This is Olivia. She just moved here from Pittsburgh to live with her Aunt Jane. Olivia, this is our friend Freddie Benson."

"Hey," said Olivia with a smile. Freddie returned it tentatively.

"You know, I didn't catch your last name," said Carly.

"Durosken," replied Olivia, still looking at Freddie. "Olivia Durosken."

Freddie put out his hand and Olivia shook it. "It's great to meet you, Olivia. How are you liking the school so far?"

"It's all right," said Olivia. "I just came from calculus and I'm kind of struggling with the homework, but everything else looks fairly manageable."

"Well, Freddie and I are in that class too, in a different period. We could have a study group at my place today. Sam's still in algebra, but she'll probably be there eating all of my food anyway."

"Not probably, Carls," said Sam, "definitely."

Olivia laughed. "Sounds cool. I could use the help. Where do you live?"

"Bushwell Plaza, apartment 8-C. Freddie's right across the hall in 8-D."

"Oh!" said Olivia. "My aunt and I live at Bushwell too. Apartment 7-A."

"Cool," said Carly. "Well why don't you meet us at my apartment around 3:45, since school lets out at three? We don't have to do iCarly tonight so we have as long as we want to study."

Olivia nodded. "I'll be there."

"Are we staying for dinner?" asked Sam.

Carly shrugged. "Sure. You wanna stay, Olivia? I live with my big brother Spencer because our dad's not around, and he makes the best spaghetti tacos."

"With the best meatballs," added Sam.

"Sounds good," said Olivia. "As long as I can have mine without meatballs. I'm a vegetarian."

Sam's mouth dropped open. "WHAT? Who would ever do such a thing to themselves? Meat is most definitely the best creation in this entire world!"

Olivia shrugged. "I'm an animal lover, but I don't judge people who eat meat. Live and let live, right?" Sam leaned against the lockers, continually opening and closing her mouth in shock, and staring wide-eyed at Olivia.

"Don't mind her," said Freddie, "she just needs some time to get over the shock that vegetarians exist in the world." Olivia laughed.

Just then the late bell rang, and the four had to hurry off to class. Sam went to remedial english, Carly to chemistry, and Freddie and Olivia to history. Olivia was put in the seat directly next to Freddie.

FREDDIE'S POV

Olivia was given the seat next to me. She sat down and flipped her hair out of her eyes. She was... rather exotic-looking. Her hair reached all the way down to her waist in wild curls, and it was as dark as the night. Her eyes were a bright emerald green, and she was rather petite. The only thing off about her was that her skin was paler than seemed healthy, and she had deep bruises under her eyes, as though she was exhausted.

Even so, I couldn't help but stare at her the entire class. I missed everything the teacher said, which isn't at all like me. Olivia dressed a bit like Sam, not too girly, and almost like a tomboy, but still feminine. I studied her the whole time, and she never noticed once.

I was glad that she was coming over to Carly's tonight. Maybe she would grow to be good friends with us, and she could even help with iCarly...

I smiled as I looked back at my desk. I was glad Olivia Durosken had moved to Seattle.

OLIVIA'S POV

I could see Freddie staring at me all throughout history, but I let him think that I didn't notice. I had to admit it, he was cute, but he probably wasn't even interested in me that way. I mean, I'm not beautiful or anything, especially with the rag on my head that tries to pass as a poor excuse for hair.

After the last bell rang, I returned to my locker and grabbed my stuff. Carly and Sam were waiting there.

"Hey, guys," I said.

"Hey, Olivia." I pulled open my locker and grabbed the books I needed for the night's homework. I shut it just as Freddie walked up behind us.

"You guys can call me Liv," I said. "Olivia's too...formal." They all laughed and nodded. Sam waved goodbye and hurried to her bus, while Carly, Freddie, and I proceeded to ours. I sat with Carly and Freddie sat across from us. I chatted happily with my new friends until we arrived at our stop. When we reached Bushwell, the three of us and a few other kids got off. We all avoided Lewbert as best as we could, and boarded the elevator. Floor by floor, more kids got off until only Carly, Freddie, and I remained.

"Well, this is my stop," I said as we reached the seventh floor. "See you guys in a half hour."

"See you, Liv!" said Carly happily. Freddie smiled and waved. I got off the elevator and went to my apartment, first door on the right.

"Hey, Aunt Jane!" I called when I opened the door. "I'm home!"

"Hey, kiddo!" Aunt Jane came out of the kitchen, looking as strange as ever. She was a tiny woman of twenty-five, barely five feet tall (it runs in our family—I'm only five foot three), and she had wavy, light brown hair that puffed out like an afro. Her eyes were dark blue, and her skin was much more healthy-looking than mine.

Aunt Jane was wearing rainbow socks up to her knees, a paisley apron, and a midnight blue dress with stars on it. Our apartment was covered with books of all kinds, not to mention paintings, her collection of coffee mugs, and more blankets than you can count (Aunt Jane gets cold very easily—I think I'll get her a snuggie for Christmas).

Jane is my mother's sister, and my mom is sixteen years older than her at forty-one. I recently turned sixteen.

I threw my bookbag on the tattered couch, which had about twenty blankets on it, and followed Aunt Jane back into the kitchen. I had always loved her quirkiness, and how messy she was. It was such a refreshing change from my parents' strict, stifling neatness.

"How was your first day, kid?" asked Aunt Jane, handing me a fresh-baked cookie and a glass of milk. I bit into the cookie and smiled. Aunt Jane can bake like nobody's business.

"It was pretty good," I said. "I met some kids today, and we're having a study group in a little bit. They even invited me to stay for dinner!"

"That's great, sweetie," said Jane with a smile. "Have fun."

"Yeah... You know, I think they could turn out to be really good friends. They just...welcomed me."

Aunt Jane nodded. "So, are you gonna tell them about—?"

I froze. That was a sensitive subject. I shook my head vigorously. "I can't. They can't know...ever."

"Now, Liv," said Aunt Jane with a frown. "You can't keep this hidden forever, relationship with your parents was based around lies, and you see where that got you."

My eyes hardened. "Any indication that I even have a relationship with my parents is a lie." Aunt Jane sighed and I finished my cookie in silence. The next time I glanced up at the clock, it was 3:40. I gave Aunt Jane a hug, trying to tell her I was sorry for the argument.

"Bye," I whispered. "I'll see you later."

Aunt Jane smiled and I knew I was forgiven. I grabbed my bookbag and headed to the elevator. When I reached the eighth floor, I quickly found apartment 8-C and knocked on the door. Carly opened it a few seconds later.

"Hey, Liv!" she said. "Just in time!" I smiled and stepped over the threshold. I like Carly's apartment. It was colourful and modern. There was a lot of art around that I could tell was home-made. Carly noticed my gaze and came to stand beside me.

"My brother Spencer is an aritst," she said. "He mostly does sculpting, but he does other stuff, too. It's pretty cool."

"Yeah," I said, fascinated.

"What does your aunt do?"

"She's a delivery nurse down at Seattle General (A/N: not sure if this is a real hospital, but oh well. Just roll with it). Jane Nicolia."

Carly smiled. "Well, let me introduce you to my brother while we wait for Sam and Freddie. Spencer! Can you come in here a second?"

A male voice answered. "What? Oh...yeah, sure, one second!" A moment later a man in his mid-twenties came out of the back hallway, wearing a purple shirt that said "Spencer", but with a backwards "R".

"Hey," he said, "you must be Olivia." I nodded and Spencer stuck out his hand, which I shook.

"Nice to meet you Spencer." I smiled politely, but shyly.

"You don't need to be so formal, Liv," said Carly with a laugh, "Spencer's a twelve-year-old in a twenty-six-year-old body. We're all really laid back here."

I smiled. "Glad to hear that. It's just force of habit, really. I grew up with really strict parents. They dominated pretty much every aspect of my life..." Carly was looking at me with a frown, and Spencer looked confused. I knew I was revealing too much, and I stopped at once.

"Sorry," I said. "The past is over. I'm with Aunt Jane now, and I'm happy."

Carly bit her lip and smiled, though it didn't reach her eyes.

"That's good," she said.

"Are you staying for dinner, Olivia?" asked Spencer in an attempt to break the awkward silence. I nodded.

"Yes. Thank you."

Fortunately, Freddie chose that moment to open the door and walk in.

"Hey guys," he said, and threw his calculus binder on the couch. "You ready to get studying?"

We nodded and sat down to our work. Sam walked in a few minutes later and grabbed some ham from the fridge, making as many obnixious comments about vegetarians as she could.

I smiled. I already felt like part of the group.

Maybe Aunt Jane was right, I thought. Maybe I should tell them... No. They'd hate me for sure. If they knew...especially Freddie. No, I have to keep it a secret. I don't want them to hate me like my parents...

GENERAL POV

After an hour and a half of studying, the kids decided to be done for the evening. They had finished the night's homework and even gotten ahead on the next section. Spencer told them that dinner would be ready in twenty minutes, so they sat on the couch trying to think of something to do.

"You wanna see the iCarly studio, Liv?" asked Sam.

Olivia shrugged. "Sure."

The four of them walked up to the attic, and when they reached the studio, Olivia found it pretty interesting.

"This is really cool, guys," she said with a smile. "You must really love what you do."

"We do," said Carly. "It's a lot of fun. You have any talents you'd like to show off? Maybe we can feature you on iCarly sometime." She turned to Sam and Freddie. "You guys okay with that?" They nodded their agreement.

"Well, I've been dancing most of my life. Since I was two, actually. I recently had to quit to get a job, though. But now that I'm in Seattle I'm back in classes for one day a week."

"What kind of dance?" asked Sam.

"A lot of different styles. I've done, tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, and pointe. My favorite is contemporary, though."

"That's really cool, Liv," said Freddie. "I think the iCarly viewers would like to see you dance. Do you think you're okay with that?"

"Sure," replied Olivia. "I'll do anything, really."

"Sweet," said Carly. "We should do that soon, then. I'm glad you moved here, Olivia. I think we're all gonna be great friends." She giggled. "You fit right in!"

Olivia smiled and gave Carly a hug. "Thanks, Carly. You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that." She hugged Sam too, and then Freddie. Olivia looked away smiling when his cheeks turned slightly pink.

Just as they finished showing Olivia around the studio, they heard Spencer yell up the stairs.

"Dinner!" he called. Carly yelled back and the four of them proceeded down to the kitchen.

They sat down to eat their spaghetti tacos, laughing and chatting happily. Olivia took her first bite and her eyes widened.

"Spencer!" she said. "These are great!"

Spencer grinned. "Hey, thanks Olivia. Glad you like them."

After dinner, Olivia bid goodbye to her newfound friends and grabbed her bookbag. When she closed the door behind her, she leaned against the wall and sighed contentedly.

She was happy, for the first time in a long time.

Everything's going great, she thought. As long as they don't find out, everything will be fine.

(A/N: Oooh, I bet you're just burning with questions about what this big secret is. All in good time, my friends. All in good time. Mwahahaha. XD. Anyway, PLEEEEEASE review with questions, comments, and, best of all, ideas about what Olivia's secret is! However, I must ask you not to review saying that Olivia is a Mary Sue. She honestly isn't. As will become clear very soon, she has a dark past, and has many flaws that have led to bad decisions. Which have in turn led to some bad consequences. Anyway, I love reviews! I'm a review-addict! Help feed my addiction! I'll give you virtual cookies! Hell, I'll give you REAL cookies! Just review! XD)

Loves,

ChasedByTheShadows