Hello there! I just needed to mention that the first few chapters might seem ridiculously random, but they'll fall into place later.

Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride.

Max's POV:

"Who's ready to raise the roof?" The DJ yells over the cacophony of noise in the club. Cheers resound from each corner of the room, and he enthusiastically joins in. The DJ puts yet another sucky song on, and everyone cheers and starts to grind on each other.

I roll my eyes. While everyone else continues to dirty dance, I watch them act like drunken idiots from my perch at the bar. I don't even know why I bother to come anymore. It was a mixture of wanting to make my friends happy and needing to get out of the house, but I hated the atmosphere in the club. The guys were so sexist, and the girls were all too obliging to 'get low' and wear ridiculously slutty clothing.

Don't get me wrong- I'm not a total tomboy. But you would never catch me wearing a skirt to school. I am perfectly content in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, although I would put on a blouse or something some days. The only reason I am dressed up like a total prostitute is because of my sister, Brooke. She's a year younger than me, but still manages to get into all the clubs, even at 16. She had forced me into a tight red slinky thing that had barely covered my butt.

Then again, I wasn't particularly resisting. It was my last week here before I left for boarding school, and I was pretty much doing everything my friends wanted me to, spending all my time with them. I had insisted that I go to boarding school for my junior year because I was sick and tired of my parents and school and life, in general.

Jeb was a famous scientist, and was insanely rich. We barely got to see him, and although I had no quarrel with him, I didn't love him like I would love a father. Anne was a different story. She was a total OCD neat freak, but a nice person at heart. She was probably the most girly person I knew, and with such contrasting personalities, we couldn't get along. She was all about male dominance and even went as far as to discourage me from joining karate, calling it a 'man's work.' If she had her way, I would sit at home and do needlework all day. I'll bet you can guess how well it went when she told me as much.

Jeb had saved the day then, and I went on to get a brown belt in karate. But Jeb was around less and less nowadays, and I was sick to the core of Anne. Not particularly thrilled with either of my parents, I begged them to let me join a boarding school. I had finally gotten my wish- I was moving to Winthrop Heights Academy on Friday.

"Come on, Max!" Drew calls from her place in the middle of the mosh pit. She looks absolutely gorgeous, of course, with her long, shiny, straight black hair and tan skin. She's dancing with some guy who looks at least seven or eight years older than her, and is way past a five o'clock shadow. I shake my head from my seat, refusing to get up and dance. It was bad enough I looked like a harlot; I didn't need to act like one too.

Drew shakes her head disappointedly before vanishing in the throng of people. Sighing, I turn to the bartender. His name is Joe, and he knows me pretty well, since every time I come here I just sit by the bar the whole time.

"Water, please." I say, trying not to gag at the smell of beer. I think alcohol is disgusting. I can tolerate a sip of wine, but even just a cup of beer will get me far past tipsy, not to mention majorly hung over in the morning. I had only tried it once, but I have pretty much sworn off of it, because I hated that feeling of not having complete control.

"Just a second, Max." He says, moving behind the wall to grab the water. He tosses me a sealed bottle, and I'm glad because everyone spikes everything at this place. Taking a drink, I tap my fingers to the beat of whatever ridiculous song is playing. The boy sitting beside me turns to face me, grinning.

"Do you play?" He asks. His blond hair is cropped close to his head, but the look suits him. He looks familiar, with his green eyes and crooked smile, but I'm positive that I don't know him.

"Play what?" I reply.

He nods towards my finger, which are still drumming out the tempo. "The drums, do you play?"

"Oh. No, I don't. I tried to learn the guitar for a few weeks, but I was just not dedicated enough."

"Bummer, we need a new drummer for our band. I'm Jake, by the way." He says, extending his arm.

"Max." I say, shaking his hand. His raises his eyebrows at my name, but thankfully doesn't comment on it. Everyone at school thinks it's hilarious that Drew and I both have boy's names, and are best friends. My name stands for Maxima (what were my parents thinking?) and her's for Andrea.

"So what do you do for fun, then, if you don't play any instruments?" Jakes asks. His friend behind him looks slightly miffed at being ditched for a girl. I hold back a smile as I respond.

"I run track, play soccer, and dance."

"So come you're not out there dancing right now?" He juts his chin out towards the center of the floor, where the alcohol has set in and everyone's making a fool of themselves.

"That is not dancing." I say, and even I can hear the disgust in my voice. "That's…"

"Getting it on, yeah." He finishes for me. "Why are you here? It's obvious you don't like it much."

I gesture helplessly to Drew and the rest of my friends 'getting in on,' as he so aptly put. "I wanted to get out of the house, and my friends dragged me here. What's with all the questions?"

"Just curious. You're beautiful, by the way."

I squirm under his earnest gaze. I hate it when people say things like that, because I never know how to respond. "Thanks." I say, still fidgeting. Jake seems to sense that he's made me uncomfortable, because he moves the conversation to less dangerous waters immediately.

"Do you want to get out of here? We could go get some ice cream or something. There's a place next door." He suggests, and I hesitate, torn between wanting to go and not trusting a stranger.

"Actually, I just want to go home. I don't feel that great." The minute I say it, my left eye twitches, like whenever I lie, but I do want to leave.

Jake nods understandingly. "I'll walk you home. You're going to get attacked walking around like that. I'll keep you safe." He looks at my revealing, tight dress and heels.

I nod, even though I hate the sexist notion that I can't keep myself safe. I hadn't been looking forward to walking in the cold, dark streets by myself. That was yet another good thing about boarding school- I would be leaving disgustingly cold New Jersey to go to good ol' sunny Florida.

We both get up to tell our friends where we're going.

"I'm going home, Drew!" I shout, trying to make myself heard over the blaring music.

"By yourself? It's not safe!" She yells back.

"Jake's walking me." I don't elaborate on who Jake is, because I pretty much make a new friend at the bar every time, someone with an aversion to sluttiness like me.

"Be careful! Text me when you get home!" Drew points to her phone like I'm dumb. I roll my eyes and nod; though I'm secretly glad she cares.

I meet up with Jake by the front door.

"Let's go." I say. The icy air hits me the second we step out, and I shiver, wishing I had brought a jacket.

"Here." Jake says, shrugging his own coat off and wrapping it around me. I smile at him gratefully, tugging it on. It's far too big for me, but still doesn't cover most of legs, and I'm still cold.

I hear a wolf-whistle to my right and I turn instantly.

"Hey baby, want to make a few hundred bucks?" The man winks and takes a long gulp out of his beer bottle. I force myself to keep walking. I might have been able to take him down, but my brown belt was no match for him and the six people around him.

When I turn back around, I don't see Jake. "Jake?" I call, turning around entirely once, twice, three times before realizing he wasn't here anymore.

"Right here, Max." He whispers out of no where, and I whirl around once more, trying to figure out where he is. And then my world goes black, but it's because somebody's wrapped something over my head. I try to scream, but I realize I'm about to pass out, and don't have enough energy. My last thought before I'm knocked out is that my legs are still cold- couldn't they have wrapped something around my legs instead?


A/N- So waddaya think? Review!