A/N I have 17 chapters of this story written so far as I participated in NaNoWriMo - however I still need to go through and do some editing but hopefully updates should be coming at least once a week, maybe twice. I hope you enjoy this new story of mine.

If you can read/review that would be awesome :)

Chapter 1

Spencer Carlin groaned when she heard her alarm clock go off. She was having the best dream from which she did not want to wake up. And to top it all off, she couldn't find the snooze button, probably because her eyes remained closed. Instead of opening them, she whipped the alarm clock across the room and breathed a sigh of relief when it stopped buzzing.

To say she wasn't a morning person would be a very big understatement.

She rolled around on her bed to get comfortable again. Spencer was more than eager to get back to what she was doing to the naked girl in her dream. That was a much better idea than waking up to get ready for school. It was the first day. What could she possibly miss by not going?

But just as Spencer was about to fall asleep again, something hard and heavy hit her head.

"Get up, you slacker."

"Oh, go fuck yourself," Spencer barked at her best friend. Why did she keep getting interrupted at the worst possible moment? "I'm sleeping. Go away."

"Has anyone ever told you that you're adorable when you're grouchy?" Sean replied, sitting down on the bed and ignoring his friend's wishes. "Come on, Spencey, it's time to get up." He tussled the blonde's hair and laughed when she rolled him off the bed.

"You're an asshole," an annoyed Spencer mumbled as she sat up. Her hair was all over the place and her eyes were still shut.

"I'm an asshole who's also your ride to school," Sean countered once he was on his feet. "Now, get your lazy self up, go take a shower and, if I'm nice enough, I'll still be here when you're done."

Spencer flopped backwards like she hadn't heard a word Sean had said. "Stop thinking of me in the shower, you perv."

"How the hell do you walk around with an ego as big as yours?" Sean asked rhetorically. "Besides, it's the start of senior year, you should be happy as a clam."

"Happy as a clam?" Spencer repeated in amazement. "Remind me again why I'm friends with someone as lame as you?"

"Because," Sean started before he turned the tables around and pushed the blonde out of her own bed. "I'm the only person who can put up with your bullshit. Consider yourself lucky."

Spencer stood up in order to growl at Sean. She punched him hard in the arm before turning around and heading to the shower like he wanted her to. That wasn't the only thing she was going to do to get him back for not letting her stay in bed all day. But for now, it would have to do.

Once she got the water to the perfect temperature, Spencer stepped inside the shower. She let the almost scolding hot water wake her up in the way that her alarm clock and Sean hadn't been able to.

For all her angry words and general crankiness, she really was grateful that Sean had come by to take her to school. As much as she was looking forward to her last year at King High, it was with a heavy heart that she was getting ready to say goodbye.

There was a reason she and Sean got along like brother and sister. They had both been very close to her actual brother Clay before he had been shot at the end of their freshman year. Clay was adopted, but because they were the same age the two of them would go around calling themselves twins. It became a running family joke.

Spencer was absolutely devastated by what happened to Clay. She was inconsolable for the first month after he was gone. Sean was one who eventually got through to her. They were bonded together by their shared grief. When she couldn't sleep, she'd call Sean. The first time Spencer came home to find her dad passed out on the couch and her mom gone, she called Sean. When her parents divorce was finalized and she needed to get out of the house, she called Sean. On the first anniversary of Clay's death, when Spencer couldn't get out of bed, she called Sean. Spencer had no idea what she'd do without him.

It's not that she didn't get along with Glen, her other brother, but he dealt with things by ignoring them and pretending everything was OK. He was a star basketball player, with a very active social life and he didn't want to spend his time with his sister being miserable all the time. The more their parents fought, the more Glen stayed away. Spencer couldn't do that. She saw the toll everything was taking on her father and when their mother left, she felt like she had to take care of him.

It didn't help that while all of this was going on, Spencer was dealing with a secret that she hadn't told anyone in her family. Everyone seemed to be so caught up in their own stuff that no one saw what the blonde was going through. It was Sean who finally realized what was going on. He was the first person that Spencer officially came out to. He made some crude joke about it, because he knew that was exactly the type of reaction his friend needed. And when her mom told her that she would never accept her "life style choice", he was right there for her to cry to.

When Spencer started to get picked on for being gay, Glen wasn't the one who defended her. He cared too much about his reputation and his place in the social hierarchy at school. Sean was the one who made sure that it didn't get out of hand. Today, she didn't care about what people thought of her and could take care of herself. But there was a stretch of time there that without Sean around, Spencer didn't know if she would have survived.

It was a little scary to think of what would happen when they both graduated, but Spencer wasn't too worried. She knew that no matter what, she could always rely on Sean. That was not something she could say about anyone else in her life, especially her family.

Glen had left that summer to go to college so it was just Spencer and her dad at home. He could barely take care of himself, let alone her. Her mother made almost no effort when it came to the blonde. Not that Spencer wanted a relationship with a woman that had abandoned her own family. On the rare occasion when her mom did come by, she would hand Spencer brochures on how to find Jesus and save her soul. Spencer would make a joke about not knowing that Jesus was lost and the two women would end up in a screaming match that ended with Paula storming out.

Spencer stepped out the shower cleaner, but still in a bad mood. She hated the moments where she couldn't shut off her emotions and forget everything that had happened to her and to her family. She had grown up the model of stability and unconditional love. Now she lived in dysfunction and chaos.

"You better have your eyes closed," she announced before she opened her bedroom door. As much as she hated it, this was her life and she couldn't do anything to change things. "I'm not here for your sexual amusement."

"Gross," Sean replied ignoring his friend's request. "I have better things to do than look at your body."

Spencer laughed as she walked around to find something to wear. She wasn't actually self-conscious in front of Sean. "Oh, please, have ever actually seen a girl naked?"

"A gentleman doesn't kiss and tell," Sean said while trying to act offended. "Just because I can keep it my pants doesn't mean that I haven't had the opportunity to appreciate the female form."

"God, you are such a nerd. I can't believe I'm your friend," Spencer teased. She was going through her clothes but nothing seemed to be clean. She would have to do laundry later. "Don't be jealous because all the ladies love me and ignore you."

"I prefer to think of myself as the perfect wingman," Sean had his eyes on Spencer's TV while she got dressed. He really didn't have any desire to see the blonde naked. There had been a time when he had liked her more than a friend. It was easy to fall for Spencer. They spent all their time together and he shared things with her that he hadn't with anyone else. Even before Spencer came out he knew that she would never look at him in any way other than a friend. Sean had made his peace with that. Besides, now she was like a sister to him so it would be wrong to check her out. "You're welcome by the way."

"Like I need your help," Spencer remarked once she had finally found something half way decent to put on. "I'm ready, loser, let's go."

"Always the sweet talker," Sean teased after he turned the TV off.

"Did my dad let you in the house this morning?" Spencer asked casually as she got the last of her stuff together.

Sean knew exactly what she was asking and he couldn't lie to her. On the other hand he did want to soften the blow a little. He shook his head. "Didn't want to wake anyone up, so I just used my key."

Spencer tried to smile but there really was no point. She thought with time she'd get used to how things had ended up, but that wasn't the case at all. She appreciated that Sean was telling her truth even if it hurt. She sighed but didn't say anything. What was the point? They both knew what she was thinking anyway.

"If Clay was here, you know he'd be yelling at me for taking too long," Spencer said quietly right before they headed out of her room. "He was annoying like that."

Sean smiled. It wasn't too often now that Spencer brought Clay's name up. "He'd be telling me to leave without you even though he wouldn't mean it." He pulled the blonde into him and squeezed her shoulder. Then he kissed the top of her head. "I can yell at you if you want. You know, to make you feel better."

"I'm good thanks." She could feel herself getting a little choked up. While she appreciated Sean's attempt to keep her from feeling overwhelmed, a change in topic was needed. "Now let's get the hell out of here because the sooner we get to school, the sooner I can be done with this day."

"You're the boss," Sean replied once he let his friend go. "But if you think for a minute I'm going to let you pick the music in my car you're sadly mistaken." He took off down the stairs before Spencer could react.

"Hey!" she called out and then she started chasing Sean. "Who helped you put in that stereo? Ingrate!"

When Spencer reached the bottom of the stairs she had Sean in her sights. Unfortunately, something else caught her attention and that was enough for her mood to darken again.

Her dad was passed out on the couch with an empty whisky bottle on the table beside him. There was a photo album beside the bottle that Spencer knew was filled with family pictures. He would look at those pictures over and over again. Often talking about "the good old days." Spencer hated when he did that. It never did any good. Clay was dead and their family was not going to go back to what it used to be.

That wasn't possible.

Sean stayed back and let Spencer survey the situation. He'd made the mistake of trying to help before and that had not gone over well. He knew that the blonde acted like it didn't bother her, even to him, because she thought it was easier than facing how fucked up things were. It was the only way she could get through moments like this.

Spencer dropped her bag so she could clean up a little. She got rid of the empty bottle, straightened the albums up and then covered her dad with a nearby blanket it.

On the first day of school, it used to be a Carlin family tradition to take a picture with all the kids. Each one of them would groan and protest, but it was no use. Her dad would be the one shooting the picture and her mom would be the one making sure that everyone looked their best. As much as she used to claim to hate those pictures, Spencer would have given just about anything to be taking one of them right then.

Instead, she headed out the door without a look back at her sleeping father. Her jaw was clenched to prevent herself from starting to cry. That was the last thing she needed to do today. She threw her bag in Sean's car and kept her head down; her silence spoke volumes.

Why did her life have to suck so much?