Granger- friend of Katie Hume, the jokester

James- friend of Katie Hume, the parental one

Layla- friend of Kate Hume, the wild one

Riley- friend of Katie Hume, the protective one

Katie- Katie Hume, the leader, the secret debt collector/dealer

Brendan- twin of Katie Hume, the secret drug addict

Lucas- younger brother of Katie, the unnoticed artist

Helen- mother of Katie, Brendan, and Lucas Hume, the principal

Nick- father of Katie, Brendan, and Lucas Hume, the executive

Billy- boss of Katie Hume, the cold-blooded gang lord

Joe- friend of Katie, younger brother of Billy, the true friend

Chapter One:

Katie Hume. At her school, she was royalty. Long, wavy golden hair that ended at her lower back, intelligent green eyes that seemed to know everything, slim figure and a faint hint of carmel in her skin tone. Boys chased her and girls envied her. But none of them ever seemed to earn a moment of her precious attention.

She spent her time with her four friends, the ones she considered loyal. Granger, the wide receiver and jokester. James, the mature quarter back. Layla, the wild child cheerleader. Then finally, Riley, the protective ice hockey goalie.

The past eleven years she had known them, she had never opened up, not really. She never told them that her home life was miserable in her eyes. That her dad only ever noticed her twin brother, the 'hockey star'. Katie never told them that her and her brother Lucas were more like twins than her and her actual twin.

But, she never even consider telling any of them any of those things. To her, that was her own problem, one she didn't need anyone intruding one. As caring and kind as she pretended to be, Katie never really meant any of it. She always felt her world was too soft, too emotional.

And last year, she had found the real world, the unsheltered, unprivileged world right next to her own. The world of the Darley's. Katie could remember the start of her second life as if it had happened moments ago.

Katie yawned as she padded over to the door on socked feet. She had the house to herself tonight, the rest of her family at her twin brother's hockey game. Katie hated going to them, too many people from her school, so she lied and said she still had homework.

Someone pounded heavily on the door again, and the blonde girl yelled at them, "I'm comin'!" As much as she doubted it was an associate or friend of her families banging on the door, she couldn't risk being too much of the cold hearted bitch she knew she really was. But she did let the South Boston accent in, the one her mother hated her using because it sounded 'crass and uneducated', the one she had gotten from hanging out with Layla so much.

Opening the white front door confirmed it wasn't someone she or her family knew, at least not all of them. It was Billy Darley. THE Billy Darley. As fearless as Katie was, she felt her heart drop and her five foot four stature shrink and stumble back as he shoved his way in, his gang following behind him.

As oblivious as her parents were, Katie knew about the heartless gang lord. Layla was a scholarship student who lived in Stokely with her brother Tommy, who worked for Billy. Actually, Katie spotted Tommy amidst the group entering. And if Billy Darley himself was here, it couldn't be good.

The petite girl stood there, frozen in place. What had she done? She didn't think she had done anything, but hell if she knew apparently! The skin head drug dealer glared down at her and growled dangerously, "Where's Brendan?"

Instantly, her blood ran cold and her heart sped up. As scary as that voice was, it was sure sexy. Taking a breath, Katie regained her footing and replied as calmly as possible, "Not home. Whatdya want with my brother?"

Darley raised an eyebrow at the girl who was attempting to talk back to him and smirked. Katie didn't like that smirk, or what it could mean. Any bravery she had mustered up left as Billy took a huge step towards her, and she backed up, the process continuing until she hit the wall and was forced to stop, allowing Billy to tower over her, only a few inches away.

His arm shot out and gripped her throat and he lifted her to his eye level, almost a foot off the ground for her and barked, "Where the fuck is my money?!"

Katie struggled under the grip, trying to pry his hand off her throat. Tommy finally recognized her as his sister's friend and broke through the crowd, interrupting Billy, "She don't know, Billy."

The gang lord dropped her and Katie began gasping for air, coughing and trembling. Billy turned slowly and asked Tommy venomously, "Whatdya say?"

Tommy shrunk back slightly, but repeated, "She don't know, Billy. She only even knows ta be afraid of ya cause I told her. She's a friend'a Layla's."

Using the wall for support, Katie asked Tommy in a weak voice, "Why d'ya want Brendan?" Billy turned back and gave her some room, observing her momentarily. She was good looking, no doubt about that, could make some real money on the streets if he put her there. But that attitude could cause some problems.

Tommy helped her into the kitchen before she waved him off and offered them like they were her friends, "Well, take a seat or somethin'. Want somethin' ta eat or drink?"

They all looked at each other strangely before Tommy asked her smartly, "Ya got anymore of yer Home Ec project?"

Katie turned around and shot him a glare, pointing at him and stating, "It's an easy A, and you know it." Tommy snickered none the less. On more than one occasion, Layla and Katie had done their homework for the class at his place. Surprisingly, Katie was a great cook. Ever since, he always asked for her 'homework' if she was done with it.

Deciding it was in her best interest, she didn't grab anything but a water for herself and sat on the counter, asking finally the question they hadn't answered, "Whaddya want with my brother?"

Billy may have been a cold hearted bastard, but he had some respect for this girl, who had been polite despite the fact he almost killed her. So as much as he wanted to light up, he didn't, spotting an inhaler on the counter. Whether it was hers or someone else's, it didn't matter, it just meant his cigarette smoke would be very unwelcome.

Lounging in the chair he had taken, he told her, "Yer brother owes me some money." It was a vague and bullshit answer. But it was one he was using to gauge who this chick was. She knew he was to be feared, but had some bite to her. A rich girl from a nice part of Boston with a Southie mouth.

It took every ounce of her self control not to roll her eyes at the gang lord. She wanted to reply, 'No shit Sherlock.' but avoided doing so. Her tongue got the best of her, though, and she managed to get a smartass reply, "Got that from ya nearly choking me ta death." Billy sent a glare at her, but she just crossed her arms and muttered at him, "Ya set yerself up, not my fault."

Billy didn't stop glaring. He definitely couldn't get her on the streets to pay off her brother's debt. The girl was way too mouthy to work his streets. As pretty as that face and body were, that mouth would ruin any business. Standing up, he walked over to her and told her bluntly, "Yer brother owes me twenty-five grand."

Sliding off the counter, Katie stared up at the gang lord and admitted weakly, "T-there's no way my brother has that much money." Katie couldn't understand where the hell her brother would get it, or would have gotten it if he did have it. But what she really wanted to know? "Why does he owe ya money?"

The twenty five year old gang lord smirk down at her and said cynically, "Cause yer brother's been buying from Heco over there fer the past two years." He looked over and pointed at Heco, who gave a sarcastic wave. Katie looked over and felt her stomach churn. Brendan, a druggie? Two years… well that actually made more sense, why he had gone from a weakling to a force of nature on the ice. He'd been high.

Looking back up at him, she realized that it was pay-day, whether Brendan was there or not, whether he had the money or not. Gulping audibly, she asked quietly, "What're ya gonna do ta him?"

There came that smirk. That dangerous, evil smirk that could only mean bad news. His hand shot out again, but instead of cutting off her air way, his thumb and index finger gripped her chin. Katie whimpered as he turned her head side to side and thought aloud, "Pretty face like this could make me a lotta money on the streets."

That set Katie off. She yanked away from him and growled, "I ain't gonna work the streets like one of yer whores. It ain't even my problem!"

A deep, rumbling chuckle emanated from Billy and he corrected the tiny girl, "Actually, it is. Cause I'm gonna get my money, or I'm gonna have blood. Yer brother knew today was his last day ta pay up, and he still letcha stay here. I'm gonna assume yer payment, sweetheart."

No smartass reply this time, instead Katie went slack-jawed. Her brother, her TWIN brother had known that the single most dangerous man in Boston would be 'stopping by' for his money and he had let her stay home?! She was going to kill him, Katie was going to chop her brother into itty bitty pieces and feed him to the fish in the Marine Biology room.

The Darley gang watched as the girl in front of them turned from shocked to pissed, turning red almost. Her attempt to keep her cool was running an agitated and rough hand through her hair and letting out a sharp breath. Gripping the water bottle in her hands, Katie finally clarified, "So basically, I'm shoulderin' this debt too now? Cause my twin is a nimrod drug addict and let me stay here to deal with ya?"

Billy lent back on his heels and crossed his arms, nodding once to confirm her observation. This girl was intriguing, even if he wouldn't admit it. Rich girl, no denying it, the house was in one of the most prominent areas in Boston. She may have just been in sweats, but they were nice ones, as raggedy and used as they were, they were still expensive- and he only knew that from an old flame since she'd whined about 'em for weeks.

So why did this rich girl with a supposedly cushy life sound like she'd grown up in Stokley and know Tommy and Layla? Sure, he knew Layla went to some fancy school on scholarship, she was family. But this girl, she must have known Layla for a while and been coming around Tommy's place for a while to get that sound.

"Fine, I'll work for ya, but not as a hooker. Anything else, fine. But I'm not gonna be a whore for my brother."