Rebecca likes Danny, Danny likes Riley, Riley and Ana like Ben. Easy enough, right? Wrong! Rebecca plays matchmaker with her new neighbors and gets in too deep.

I look in the mirror at the store and smile sadly. My first day in New York and I'm turning twenty-one at 5pm. My white skinny jeans look amazing with my combat boots and Big Ben shirt. I'm on a shopping spree, for makeup, mostly as I look around the small boutique. I put on black eyeshadow and black eyeliner and a shimmer lip gloss. I smile slightly at the cashier, buying the products. With one last look in the mirror and a slight downward tip on my fedora to cover my eyes, I leave. I walk the streets for a while, memorizing the layout. I turn a corner and almost run into a short, caramel-skinned boy with brown doe-like eyes. I smile, distressed, and apologize. Helping him pick up his things, he looks up at me and laughs slightly. "I'm guessing you're new around here?" I handed him the rest of his bags and stand, "What gave it away?" He smiled kindly, "You apologized. Most people won't even say sorry over their shoulder." My brows furrow, "That's rude." "Welcome to New York, uh, I didn't catch your name." I laugh, "That's because I didn't throw it out there."

We laugh, "Rebecca. My name's Rebecca Draven." He smiles, "Like, 'The Crow', Draven?" I laugh, "Yes. Which happens to be my favorite movie." "Mine too." He smiles. "Maybe we can watch it together, sometime, then." I say offhandedly. "Sounds great. Here's my number." I hand him my phone and he puts it in and I smile. "For the record, it's not a date." I laugh slightly. He puts the bag straps on his wrists and grins, "Great. Then that means you can meet my friends." I gasp over-dramatically, "So fast! But, we barely know each other!" We double-over laughing and I look at my watch, noon. "I gotta get going." I smile. "Me too." "See ya, then!" I say over my shoulder. "Will do!" I walk and open my email on my phone. One from work. One from Dad, perfect. Ugh. And one from... The Contest? I open it and laugh, Ana. Always the kidder. Anastasia, also called "The Countess" for reasons unknown.

To: you

From: The Contest

Subject: You wouldn't believe me if I told you...

So get to the bar next to Rida's Diner NOW! I know you're here now, so... GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE, NOW!

I shake my head, walking to the bar. Dear Ana, the lightning to make my thunder appealing. I walk in and see... No. Way. "Ohmygod, Riley!" She notices me and we run into each other for a hug. "Rebecca! Oh, I missed you!" she squeaks. I look over at the young guy behind the bar, eyeing us from a few centimeters away. "Margarita, Virgin, please." I say to him and he looks slightly confused but shrugs. After a few fancy, and in my opinion, unnecessary, tricks he hands me the drink. I drink it sparingly as Ana and Riley are talking about life. Ana and Riley are distant cousins. Riley once visited Ana when I was in high school with Ana. Ana was perfect, my best friend, but also my rival. Every guy I liked, she HAD to have him. I always lost. I've faced the music. I'm never going to be perfect with her standing beside me. But I can't blame her, she doesn't know.

The guy behind the bar looks at me and I raise my drink at him, mouthing Thanks. He smiles, nods, and continues back to his work. Riley leans close to me and whispers, "That's Ben." I smile, looking at her. It's that Ben. Ana looks up at him and smiles to herself. Oh no. The shark is in the water, now. I have to help Riles. Riley smiles, "I heard you have an apartment nearby." I nod and hand her the address. "I'm a few doors away!" "Great. I'll visit." I smile, perfect. This is my first mission. Help Riley win Ben over. I sip my drink pleasantly as Ana stands and mutters something along the lines of "Date. Hot. Sexy as hell." With Ana taking her leave, I say under my breath, "She's my friend but God she is a walking STD." Riley stays silent, so I answer for her, mimicking her voice to a T with her signature smile. "Isn't she, though?" This earns a laugh from her and she says, "Don't tell her." I make a perfect zipping sound with my mouth as I do the zip motion. She laughs, "You may be an actress but you have many talents." I smile, she was always so nice. "Thanks, Riles."

"Want to go to your place? I'll help you move in. I'll get my neighbors to help too." I nod, sounds okay, more people to meet. And, hopefully, befriend.
We walked a couple blocks to the apartment and I held my breath. I'm really here. It began to sink in when I got to my door. I opened it and it looked like an atomic bomb was set off in there recently. The walls were peeling. The floor concrete, not even linoleum. I called Riley's cell, "If you don't mind, can you keep my stuff for a while?" She made an affirmative noise and I looked around. "Looks like I've got my work cut out for me." I sigh. Thank God I only had three boxes. It only had a few pairs of clothes, small mementos, and a photograph. I'm not rich, but I don't own one shirt or something. I picked my favorite clothes that I'd die without and here I am.

I looked around, medium kitchen with an island separating it from the living area. A large living area, I take a door on the left and see a small study room and a large bedroom. I smile, sitting on the floor crosslegged in the middle of the living room. The possibilities are endless.

I texted Riley.

Riley, any leftover paint I can use? I'll need it. :/

I heard a bing,

No. :( but my neighbor might :D I'll ask now!

I frown messaging,


A few minutes later she dropped on about 15 cans of colors.

I thanked her and texted the guy from earlier, Tucker,

Hey, Rebecca, here. How about that 'not-date'? Can we have it tonight? I need a pick-me-up :3

He responded seconds later,

Sounds good. :)

I responded okay and we met at a hot dog stand a block from the bar I was at earlier. He got one and ate it as we walked, "These are best in the city. Scout's honor." I laughed, "You were a scout?" He nodded, throwing the remaining hot dog wrapper in the trash. "One of the dark days, but, yes." I laughed, this guy was a riot. When we walked up we got to my apartment building. "We're in the same building?" He shrugged, "Guess so." As we went in, we bustled into the empty elevator. We went up to my floor, our floor and I laughed, "My floor." "No kidding?" He laughed, walking to a door on the left. "My room." I pointed to the room two doors over and we laughed. This will be interesting.

He unlocked his door, me right next to him. When he pushed the door open, we walked in. Fairly clean and orderly, noises of occupancy in the bathroom behind me. Sounded like a guy and a baby. His roommate, by my guess. He puts in the movie and sits on the couch next to me. As soon as it hits the main menu, he calls out, "Movie!" The one in the bathroom, comes out with the cutest baby girl. She's a frowner, but I was too when I was her age. Who wants their cheeks pinched and smushed 24/7? I run over and ask to hold her, her dad smiles and hands her to me. "Sure." I hold her close and she plays with my long, black ringlets of hair. "I'm-" I interrupt him, "Ben Wheeler, and this is Emma." He looks like I just slapped him. I laugh, "Riley is my best friend. I've known her forever." "Did you meet at fat camp?" he smiles in a good-hearted way but wow, he has a stupid mouth on him.

"No, in fact I met her through her relative who is a friend of mine." Emma smiles up at me and snuggled into my chest, falling asleep. "Emma's asleep." He smiles at her, touching her hair lightly. Now I see why she likes him. "My mom should be over any minute to pick up Emma." I smile, "Okay. I'll hold her until then." I sit on the couch, leaning against one armrest. I could feel Ben watching me. A door opens and I see a tall man with a shorter (and older) blonde woman. Ben's mom. I'm still looking at Emma as I stand and give her to her grandmother. She smiles, "When did she go to sleep?" I blushed, looking down, Ben moved beside me and whispered, "As soon as she took her." Her eyes soften and she smiles, leaving.

The taller guy stays, smiling, "I'm Danny." I smile then I recognize him. "You're that big Hockey jock, right?" I smile and he laughs. "Last time I checked." I sit back in my spot in the middle of the couch from before and I have Ben on my left and Danny on my right. "I didn't even ask your name, what is it?" Ben asks, smiling at me. "Rebecca Draven." "Like Eric Draven?" "That's my dad, actually." They laugh for a second and turn on the movie. "Wasn't kidding." Another laugh.

I watch the movie with the three boys and as soon as it's over I stand and go in the kitchen. "How does dinner sound?" I ask, leaning against thecounter. "No, but you're a guest-" Doe-Eyes tried to interject. "Exactly why I should. Now. How does Lasagna sound?" Ben said perfect and Danny's stomach growled. Doe got a call on his cell and all I heard him say was, "Ok, babe. Right over. Got it." "Gotta go! Save some for me!" He ran out the door and the brothers sat at the table.

I got a lot of ingredients out and started working. Danny asked me, "What do you do?" I look over my shoulder and smile a little, "I'm an actress." "And a cook." Ben adds. "No." I shake my head, "If I included things I dabble in, like cooking, I'd bore you two." Danny smiles, "Try us." I take a deep breath as I turn to face them, leaning against the stove. I feel the flour that's spread across my face but disregard it as they try not to laugh. "I act, cook, sing, play music, and used to play football. And I volunteer at day cares when not working." I could sense this was a shock to them. But it's not even a big deal.

"Really? Impressive." Ben sayd with a grin. I laugh, putting the lasagna in the oven, "No... I've never done anything impressive in my life." I sit at the head of the table as they stare. Ben looked curious but Danny looked sad for me. As if he knew... Ben looked at me curiously, "Football? Like powder-puff football?" I laughed, "God no. I was on the boys team. Wide receiver." Danny smiled, Ben smirked slightly. "Have proof?" Ben asked. "Yeah." I pull out my wallet to the full length of its chain and open my Slipknot wallet. I point at a picture on the side, me with my teammates, out of uniform, hugging me to all their chests, my long hair to my waist in the front of it as I was giggling.

"I was one of the Venomous Vipers. Our uniforms were black and neon green." "What more pictures do you have?" Danny asked. "Nothing." I blushed, about to put it away but Danny said softly "Come on, we don't bite." I handed them the wallet and I braced myself for each one. The second one, a picture of me and my father from when I was two. The third one, a picture of me and my ex from high school, kissing. "Who's this?" Ben asked with a smile, it looked like a fake smile, though. "My boyfriend from high school. He was the quarterback." "Was?" Danny asked lightly. "He and I were taking a walk, on the way back from prom. A drunk motorcyclist headed for us-" I swallowed back the tears, hiding them behind a smile. "He pushed me into the grass, out of the way. He died when the ambulance arrived."

Ben looked sorry he asked but Danny looked upset. I got up and got out the lasagna. "Done." I set it on the table and put my wallet back in my pocket. "Bye, guys." Danny got up and grabbed my shoulder, "I'll put in Ben's number... and mine too." I handed him the phone and he put it in, handing it back to me. I smiled, "Thanks." "Any time."

I left and then Bambi almost ran into me. "Go. While there's still some left. And save some for Riley, if that's okay." He nodded and went inside, I walked into my bare apartment and saw a small couch. Locking the door, I read the note laying on the armrest.

From your neighbors and I, a rental couch, free of charge.

I smiled, only three apartments per floor. Obvious culprits. I laid down on the couch and went to sleep. I woke up at 5am the next morning. I smoothed out my clothes and went out on the back balcony. I noticed a wooden bench and sat on it, watching the sunrise. I frowned to myself and sung,

My eyes are open wide

And, by the way,

I made it through the day

I continue to sing and can't help but not believe in second chances. I finish and look blankly at the rising sun over the horizon. I hear footsteps on metal. Someone's on the balcony. They continue walking and I remember they are all connected in case of fire. Only a small gate separates them. I heard it stop beside me, "Can I sit with you?" I nodded and Danny sat next to me. "You have a beautiful voice." I feel my face flush and I squeak out, "You heard that?" He nodded, smiling. "What's the occasion?" He frowned, realizing I was asking why he was here. "I wanted to talk to you about yesterday." "It was alright-" He frowned, his brows lowering, "No. It was way out of line to ask personal questions." "It's all in the past, Danny. I can't bring him back, and I don't want to." I looked at him as he looked dumbfounded. "But you love him-" "No. I loved him. Past tense." I say breathing deeply. "Now, tell me why you're here, really."

I looked up at him, as I did, he shifted slightly in his seat, "I know we barely know each other but I want to confide in you." This was unexpected. "It's too complicated to talk to Riley." I nod, "Any time." "How about now?" He asks with a nervous smile. "Sure." I smile. "Have you ever felt like you'll never be good enough?" "More than once," I say darkly, thinking of Ana. "I feel like that towards this girl. I want to be with her so much but she loves a different guy." I knew where this was going, "You love Riley but she loves Ben." "Is it that obvious?" He puts his head in his hands and I rub his back soothingly. "Not really. I just pay close attention to my surroundings." He smiles up at me, "Will you help me, then?"

I feel my heart shrivel, "I can't. I've already promised myself to get them together." He frowns and leans his head against the wall beside him. "Then can you tell me how to get over her." I touch his shoulder, "Fall in love again." He looks at me curiously, "How?" "Look around for a serious relationship." He looks down sadly. "Danny..." I slide close to him and wrap my arms around his neck. "Things will be okay." I tighten the hug and he hugs me back, crying softly on my shoulder.

"I love her..."

"I know."

I run my fingers through his hair, almost crying with him.

"I know..."


This is officially my longest chapter ever. /death