The Scream

Girl Defending Herself Against Love

Bay Kennish was in one of those moods.

Liam would've bitingly described it as her Bitch Mode. However, Bay had no desire to even think Liam's name, let alone envision his response to her current attitude. Storming into the house, Bay slammed the door behind her as hard as she could muster. Her mother, Kathryn Kennish, glanced up from her usual place in the kitchen. Sometimes Bay scathingly wondered whether Kathryn slept there.

"What's wrong, sweetie?" Kathryn pursed her lips in motherly concern.

"Nothing." Bay stomped past as theatrically as she could manage. Then she did an about face and stomped right back into the kitchen. On second thought, Bay felt in the mood to whine and complain to her utmost abilities. "I broke up with Liam."

"Oh…" Kathryn's expression slipped for a split second, but she swiftly wrestled her facial features into that of serious understanding.

"Again? What, are you trying to break a record?" Toby sauntered in, smirking lazily. Bay scowled at him. He stuck out his tongue in reply.

"Oh shut up. Liam's such an ass, Mom – he called me a rich spoiled pseudo hipster brat!" Bay seethed.

"Well you are." Toby laughed openly, a look of pure enjoyment and delight etched across his features. Who knew when such an opportune moment would next arrive? Knowing Bay, it wouldn't be long.

"That's enough, Toby." Kathryn calmly cut off Bay's crippling retort. "Honey, you know that's not true. Liam just didn't know what he had." The banal response, meant to soothe Bay, only served to aggravate her instead.

"I'm going out." Petulantly throwing her backpack on the nearby Williams-Sonoma couch, Bay grabbed Toby's car keys and stormed right out of the house.

"I'm pretty sure she was home for approximately five minutes. Bay's breaking records left and right today." Toby grinned. Kathryn turned away to hide a smile.

"Be quiet. It's not funny. Breaking up with that special someone isn't an easy task."

"Tell that to Bay. Hey, can I have money for a new amp?"

Wow… their utter lack of caring is truly astounding, Bay thought darkly as she grabbed some graffiti supplies from her art studio. Whatever, I'll prove that Liam doesn't know shit about me. Pseudo hipster my ass… Not that I care…

Getting into Toby's car, Bay made her way to Riverside. It was her favorite place to tag things, mainly because the police were so busy worrying about more serious crimes that they didn't have time to bother a few graffiti artists. Not only that, but Riverside was so different from the rich white neighborhood that Bay had grown up in. She couldn't help but feel a connection to the place – like this was where she truly belonged. Or maybe that was simply her rebellious side speaking.

Having already marked the house she wanted to graffiti, Bay made sure to park several blocks away. Just in case. Double checking that she locked the car doors, Bay set off at a brisk walk. She passed a teenage girl with vivid red hair and a handsome boy of a similar age standing by a motorcycle. Out of habit, Bay checked him out. As though sensing her, the boy turned and looked her dead in the eye. His pale blue eyes were piercing, seeming to stare straight through her. Bay shivered and broke contact, continuing down the street.

Once Bay arrived at the vacant, broken down house, she looked around to check and make sure no one was in the vicinity. Positive she was alone, Bay set to work. Bay loved art, and not just for the cliché reason of expressing herself, although that was also true. She found it therapeutic – a way to show that she was more than a stereotype. That Bay wasn't a rich spoiled hipster brat, but something much more. Something different that had always kept her somewhat apart from the rest of her friends and family, however subtly, whether it was her dark hair or abysmal athleticism or less than stellar grades. At least, that's what Bay thought. Finishing the hammer girl, Bay stepped back to admire her work.

There. Screw you, Liam. Pleased, Bay cleaned up her stuff and turned to go. Then she froze.

There, standing several feet away, watching her with an inscrutable expression, was the boy with the motorcycle (and possibly a red headed girlfriend).

"Uh… hey. Um, this isn't – I'm doing community service. Y'know, cleaning up the local neighborhood to correct wrongdoing and whatnot. The usual." Bay inwardly winced; that just sounded condescending. The boy raised an eyebrow, rightfully skeptical. Once again, Bay couldn't help but noticed how attractive he was. This only served to make her more flustered. And as was Bay's want, when flustered and caught off guard, she began to babble. "Okay, yeah, I'm lying. But whatever, I doubt you care. Right? I mean… uh, never mind."

The boy folded his arms, seeming to fight back a smile. Galvanized, Bay redoubled her efforts to explain her actions to this perfect stranger.

"Okay, you caught me. Yes, I was graffiting – is that a word? – this house. But no one even lives in it! Plus it was to get back at my boyfriend. Well, okay, ex-boyfriend. But that's beside the point. Actually, no it's not. My boyfriend – ex-boyfriend – is a complete and utter asshole. He thinks he knows everything about me when he doesn't. He doesn't know anything about me! Certainly not this! Okay, sure, I can be shallow and vindictive, common traits in a spoiled rich kid, but I'm so much more than the sum of my parts? Uh, if that makes sense…" Bay floundered briefly.

The boy gestured, as though for Bay to continue. Gratified, she immediately did so. It felt good to let all of her simmering frustrations boil loose to someone who she would probably never see again. It didn't matter if she made a fool of herself before this boy, because she didn't know him. And that, for whatever reason, made all the difference in the world. Not only that, but he looked Bay right in the eye and seemed to actually listen when she spoke. Bay couldn't remember the last time that had happened – maybe when Kathryn gave her the talk about birds and bees? – but it felt unbelievably good.

"See, my ex and I fought constantly. When we weren't fighting, we tended to be making out." Bay immediately regretted saying that but ploughed on ahead anyway. "So how is it that the jerk can just stereotype me like that? Also, he's one to talk, considering he's just as rich and spoiled! But you know, he isn't the only one who doesn't know anything… sometimes I feel like even my family doesn't know me. I mean, the real me. It's hard to explain, because you don't know my family, but they're just so… different. There are times when I just think how isolated and alien I am compared to them. And then I realize that maybe I don't know the real me. It's like there's something missing, like there's something about me that I don't even know… and it's so frustrating because then I wonder, if I never discover that missing part, then maybe I really am nothing more than a spoiled brat. Do you know what I mean?"

There was a long stretch of silence. The boy simply stared at her. Then he walked over to her painting, eyeing it critically. After a long moment, he looked up and smiled. It was a very sweet smile that Bay couldn't help but answer with one of her own. Then he gave her a thumbs up. Not what Bay was expecting, she could only stare at him for a moment. Then, unaccountably, she felt… better.

"This is going to sound really weird, considering I don't know you, but as we bypassed awkward about a confused monologue ago, I'm going to say it anyway. Thank you. No one's ever just listened to me talk before." Bay didn't think it possible, but the boy's smile seemed almost to grow even more brilliant in its radiance. She felt her heartbeat speed up just the tiniest bit.

Suddenly uncomfortable, Bay coughed. "Well, this has been a nice chat and all, but I better go before you decide to call the cops on me for being absolutely nuts. Uh… bye." She almost asked his name, but decided against it. That would just be too much for the already weird encounter. Besides, there was a romantic undertone to the idea of not knowing his name that Bay instinctively liked and wanted. It added to his mystique.

Turning, Bay hurried away, eager to get back to the car. The boy watched her go, expression slowly becoming crestfallen.

Then he raised his hand in a tiny wave of farewell.

To be continued...

Author's Note: Basically an AU where Bay and Emmett meet before anyone finds out about the switch (minus Regina for obvious reasons). I figured it'd be an interesting idea to play around with. Updates will probably be sporadic as this is just to satisfy the innate Bemmett in me and it's not really a serious piece, but I still hope you read, review, and enjoy. =)

Return of the Thief, out.