Sunnyside Up with Red Ketchup Ashley Andrews

~ Sunnyside Up With Red Ketchup ~ Ashley Andrews Prologue * Red * Yellow * Blue * Green * Brown * Silver * Orange * Peach * White * Crimson * Navy * Gray * Purple * Amber * Fuchsia * Cream * Burgundy * Lilac * Turquoise * Lime * Pink * Scarlet * Beige * Mauve * Rainbow * More All Rights Reserved (c) 2012 Ashley Andrews

Prologue: Extraordinary Life

Ordinary. She bet half of the Earth’s population considered that they were ordinary. Believing that they’re just another measly speck on a planet, getting by alright, having an alright time, having an alright life. Having an ordinary life. While half of those ordinary people wished they weren’t ordinary, but were something more. She was one of the five percent who were gifted with a different life. What’s more fun than being shot at? Living your life on the line for a cause? Experiencing fear, seeing things you wish you’d never seen, losing loved ones, meeting all kinds of new people. To those with ordinary lives it might sound like a lot of fun, like going on a roller coaster ride without the bars to hold on to. There are many who believe that they would want that kind of life. The excitement and nail biting fear. Isn’t that the glory of being human? They can experience all the adrenaline laden emotions pain, terror, exhilaration, glory, and heartbreak, and believe that they need those things to evolve, to really live. To not be ordinary.

Yeah, right. Did she want that kind of life? No. Had she worked to get that kind of life? No. Just by the fact of her birth, she was made instantly unique. She was born, so much more than ordinary. Want to know why? Her parents were special agents for a secret task force assembled solely for finding criminals within the underground world. These were criminals that remained unknown to even the highest of ranks of crime fighters throughout the world. These were the terrorists, the top echelon of evil doers. They had met, fell in love, had her, and continued to work undercover, fighting these horrific criminals. Now do you know any kids who were brought up in that kind of environment? She thought not. For the first years of her life, she traveled with them, how many undercover secret agents do you know that have a child? But that didn’t last long. Her parents had infiltrated the home base of one of the worst criminals on earth when she was eight years old. They had been searching for this man since before she was born, and when they had a chance to gain access to his secret hideout and find all the information that would put him away for life, they took it. Unfortunately before they had all the information that they needed, he discovered what they were up to. Her parents were murdered by their nemesis a year into their undercover mission. She didn’t remember much about that time in her life. At the age of nine she was literally moved underground, away from the bad guys, and anything that could be termed ordinary life. From that time on she was brought up by seven special agents— all men. It had been decided that having females on the force meant that the men and women who made up this elite terrorist crime-fighting agency could create problems, problems like her. So, it was just her and the boys. She was eighteen-years-old and she had lived underground in the secret headquarters for half her life. The boys didn’t really know what to do with her, so they had taught her what they knew. She had been schooled to perfection on hand-to-hand combat, and weapons. Well…sort of. No matter how hard they tried, she just couldn’t get over her phobias. She didn’t like guns, and she didn’t want to hurt anyone. She was very shy, kind of backwards. A lot of her training ended up being of the book sort. Good in theory, but not so good in practice. You can’t shoot a gun if you want to throw up every time you touch one. She would never be the agent her parents had been. She wasn’t cracked up to be an agent, but since she never planned on leaving her little underground home—well, it was kind of a mute point, wasn’t it?

Chapter 1: Red

A picture of a boy with windswept black hair and harsh, gray eyes appeared on the screen. Agent Dexter tapped at the screen with his index finger and placed his hands on the table, curling them around the metal edge. The five who were seated at that table, stared at him. “Zane Noble, the future president of Plasma, a major player in the electronic industry.― The man leaned backwards and tapped the screen again. “He’s Blaine’s target.― The table was silent, analyzing the information. They waited for Dexter to explain further, and when he just sat there, brooding silently, one of them encouraged him to share more. “Go on.― He smiled slightly. “We’ve received information that the young man will be leaving to attend Sunnyside Summer Camp, just as he has for every year of his life.― He hesitated for a couple of breaths before snarling, “In order to continue to develop his singing talent.― One of the men pulled a face. “The future leader of Plasma is pursuing a singing career?― Dexter’s lips turned up at the edges. “Supposedly so. Our men inside the company state that he is rebelling. The singing career is what he intends to do with his life, as opposed to taking over a multi—billion dollar company that makes products critical to not only our organization, but to keeping the entire world secure.― A quiet murmur went around the table that began to get louder, so Dexter held up a hand to halt their private discussions. “There’s no way to persuade him to skip camp this year. That has already fallen flat. It has also been decided by the higher ups that any move we make to dissuade Mr. Noble, could alert Blaine that he is being watched. Furthermore, it seems that Mr. Noble has already arranged his departure date.― The five agents sitting around the table were silent for a moment, wondering where exactly the conference was leading them. One head snapped up and Joseph stared at Dexter. “We’re going undercover?― Dexter slammed the table and grinned. “We’re going undercover.―

“Hey. discussion around the table focused on how that could be accomplished. that he only picks low hanging fruit. or until we can use it to our advantage by laying a false trail. The undeniable problem in front of this group was that none of them could even remotely pass for eighteen. With Zane in our hands. seven people. Yes. He finally threw his hands up in the air.― “Since we don’t have an operative for the inside. we won’t have to worry about Blaine. Knowledge was passed from one American President to the next. It’s been years since we had such a good shot at him. In fact. But I haven’t worked out who and how. Homeland Security knew nothing about their group. If Mr. “Are you two crazy? Having Zane so open and easily available has to be one of the reasons Blaine would go for him. You know that the crime lord is too savvy and interested in protecting himself. Dexter looked around at all the questioning glances and ran a hand through his disheveled. Running night ops and following Zane Noble every time he left campus. The conversation increased in tone and volume. Nobel doesn’t want to come willingly. “I don’t know what we are going to do. we need some one on the inside while we patrol and manage the perimeter. If the kid isn’t where he has been every year since practically his birth. Michael turned to glare at him. These men were not teenagers. Unless the President decided to assign this team someone younger. or gardener. funding came from rerouting the funds for all those obscure agencies that no one could keep track of. plus Red.― Joseph shrugged. or medic. Blaine is going to pull back and disappear again. It wouldn’t be easy. Their faces were etched with the tough. we’ll take away his choice. Well. And there hadn’t been a new teacher or counselor. To say they were a secret agency was like labeling coal. He’d surveyed the campus and personnel and found a family run business that had been passed down through generations. black. for years.With this announcement.― . maybe we should figure something else out. the only one who knew they existed was the President. It wasn’t a great solution. They were going to be restricted to running surveillance from outside the gates. This exact same question was raised several times in varying levels of frustration over the next few minutes. Blending in at a teenage summer camp would not be easy. Dexter allowed them to debate different scenarios. there would be no way they could get on campus. to try and come up with a solution to this problem. That’s the only part I haven’t figured out yet. Figure the odds if we apprehend and hold Zane until Blaine either turns his efforts somewhere else. he has a point. hard life that they’d led. curly brown hair. He’ll come to us!― Paul pointed out. Duh. Their Task Force was made up of seven people and only seven people.

Six voices rose in a pitched battle to declare which side of the coin they were on. Dexter lifted his hands up, attempting to calm everyone. Instead, it riled them up more and they got to their feet, jabbing accusing fingers and arguing. The agent slung himself into the leather chair behind him and rubbed at his face with both hands. His agents were uncharacteristically emotional about the subject of Blaine, No Last Name. There were reasons for that. The man had killed several of their best agents When he moved his hands away from his face, a familiar figure appeared outside the glass door, her hands filled with a tray holding cups of tea and coffee for the group. Dexter sighed. And here was the real reason they all hated Blaine. He’d made this child an orphan. ***** Red tapped lightly on the door. She didn’t know why she bothered because no one heard anyway, nor did they pay any attention to her. She was just part of them. She allowed the door to slide open automatically and entered the conference room, mugs of tea and coffee filling the air with a rich aroma. As she took a step forward, she stumbled over her own feet, just managing to regain her composure AND save the hot beverages from spilling. Nothing unusual, her “uncles― all told her she had two left feet, which meant she was woefully clumsy. It never bothered her. She just picked herself up and went on. Today this action interrupted the heated discussion. Suddenly all the attention in the room was on her. Dexter slowly rose to his feet, a bright, sudden flash of insight bringing a huge smile to his face. He glanced around the room and discovered that great minds really did think alike, as every other agent in the room had exactly the same expression. She narrowed her eyes at the seven, eerily similar looks. They wanted something. From her. “No,― she refused bluntly. In tandem they all took one step forward, causing her to take another step back. “Whatever you want, she can’t do it!― They tried to explain, all of them, together. She wasn’t really confused by the eruption of voices and comments. She was used to this, her seven uncles often tried to outshout, outmuscle, and out intimidate each other. She rolled her eyes. She got the drift of what they were trying to talk her into. It was ridiculous. She held up both hands and smiled at them humorlessly. “I can’t. I’m not cut out to be an agent.― She turned to leave the room, thinking that would be the end of it. But someone caught her wrist. She looked over her shoulder at Agent Dexter, whose expression resembled a dog begging for food. She lightly tugged her arm out of his hold and shook her head. “I can’t do this, Dexter. I haven’t been above ground since I

was nine, and that was an abject failure. I can’t leave Headquarters, let alone go to a Summer Camp. Out there, in the real world, undercover.― She shuddered and turned to leave. Dexter’s hand landed on her shoulder this time and she turned back around fully to face him. Although she was surrounded by agents that towered over her, her confidence didn’t waver. They were her family—she’d learned long ago not to be intimidated by them. “Red, we need to do this. By helping us out, you could save the life of a very important young man.― he used his other hand to point at the picture on the large screen behind him. She couldn’t see it from where she was standing, but he was obviously pointing to a picture of the person who was being targeted. She swallowed. He was young? And being targeted by Blaine? There wasn’t much she didn’t know about Headquarters, or the men who worked here, the seven men that she referred to (at least in her own mind) as her uncles. She had lived underground in this bunker, since she was nine years old. Half her life. Everything that occurred in this secure facility was classified, meaning she wasn’t supposed to know about as technically she was a civilian. She shrugged mentally. She’d never been a civilian. She had been born into this business, her parents had died for the cause, and she lived in an underground bunker…well, because quite honestly she didn’t have a choice. For so many reasons. So that meant that she accidentally heard classified information or one of the men would accidentally leave folders about their current cases lying around, in her quarters. Or she would just stumble upon someone’s password that had accidentally been left taped to her bathroom mirror, and look up anything she dang—well wanted to know. There were no secrets here. That was how she knew that the man who had killed her parents, Blaine, had appeared on the map again, and he wanted some young man. She sighed. It wasn’t that the Task Force thought she was the best person for the job. They’d have taken someone off the streets if they could get them. The agents were assigned to locate and neutralize the most lethal killers, terrorists, gangsters, drug dealers, and other international criminals. Leading that list, at least for this small group, was the person who murdered her parents. Especially since her parents had given up their lives to protect the Task Force. But seriously, she was not her parents. They had been two of the best secret agents every employed by the US. Their exploits were legendary. She, on the other hand, had two left feet. Oh, she had trained, and learned everything there was to know about self—defense, handling a gun, hostage situations, and piano. Yes, piano. But she didn’t train every day, not physically. Mostly that was due to everyone being so busy. No one had time these days to go over her hand—to—hand skills. The

only training she’d done lately came from a book. She was learning how to prepare mentally for the life of an agent. Her parents were fully—trained, incredibly adapt, international fighting machines, with decades of field experience before they’d been killed. She’d been reading books. They’d happily given up their lives to protect the Force. She was having trouble gathering up enough courage to leave Headquarters and go above ground. But the thought of having someone her age targeted by the brutal Blaine, and then left to suffer at his hands, just didn’t sit right. Her knowledge of Blaine was shrouded in traumatizing clouds of forgetfulness, and what she’d read in the files. She had a feeling some of that file had been edited just for her. There were obvious holes. But she knew enough to know that she wouldn’t want her worst enemy to fall into Blaine’s hands. He was an angry, inventive, and cruel bastard who tortured for fun. She sighed. A horrible feeling of overwhelming dread and inevitability rose in her stomach. Excitement was jumbled up in there somewhere too. Wasn’t it about time that she left Headquarters? How much longer could she stay locked up, underground with seven old men? She looked around at all of the agents. Some of them were frowning, and she knew they worried about her; other’s eyes were pleading and bright with hope. She clenched her fists in terror, took a deep breath and acquiesced, “All right.― They room erupted. There were agents cheering and high—fiving each other, giving each other exaggerated hugs. Dexter shook his fists victoriously and held back a shout of joy. He grasped one of her hands with both of his, swallowing her tiny hand completely. He’d known she could do this. “Thank you, Red. I know what this is costing you. Thank you so much,― he said. He released his hold on her so she could leave the room. She left quietly, biting her lip in worry. What had she done? ***** “You ready?― She nodded. The elevator taking them out of the ground and into the light above was actually a circular disk, big enough to hold a car. Red took a deep breath, shook out her nerves and closed her eyes lightly for a moment. She’d had a phobia of the outside world since the age of nine. The agents told her that every time they had attempted to take her up, she would kick and scream. Once, when she was about ten, they had sedated her and brought her out that way. The thought was that she might be more afraid of the elevator than actually being in the world. The last resort hadn’t worked. She had tried to kill herself. At ten years old. That had been the last time she’d been taken above ground.

you can open your eyes. Instead it was stiff and went just below her ears. There were so many people rushing around and ignoring her presence. leading her out of some building. glistening buildings that surrounded her. The lift went upwards at an intense speed. The cars zoomed by and bright natural light seemed to accent everything in stark detail. She slowly opened her eyes and peaked out at her surroundings. who pressed the button. So Dexter had taken her to a salon. Staring back at her in the mirror was a completely different person. and cut it off. but it no longer brushed her shoulders. Her hair was one thing she had always wanted to be rid of. She had bangs that swept to one side and hair that barely brushed the base of her . He didn’t comment on her wanting to keep her eyes shut. The sunlight warmed her pale skin. Her hair was solid black.She swallowed around the strange feeling in her throat and nodded at Dexter. Fresh oxygen hit her face. never cut hair to go to that organization. almost at the scalp. The hair was still feminine. This charity provided hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada if the kids lost their hair from any medical issue. You’re above ground. The sound of automatic doors opening alerted her that She was about to go outside. almost sending Red to the concrete pavement. She kept her eyes shut. She knew that she wanted her long. Instead she focused on the tall. Dexter had told her he would let her get a haircut before she embarked on the mission. but she shrugged off the sensation. Then the light hit her. She was scared. “Okay. She had way more hair than the ten inch minimum that the organization required. “There you go. One of the things that she’d read about a year or more ago. Although she wouldn’t be so daring as to cut it all off. Where she’d gotten her hair color had always been a mystery as her dad had been blonde and her mother had red hair.― She opened them. He grinned. they’d put her hair in a couple of braids.― ***** Two weeks later Red listened to the soft crunch of hair between the scissors as it slowly separated the strands from her head. She scrunched her eyes together as the lift finally reached the top and refused to open them. No one paid attention to her. Dexter took her hand. She was in the middle of a bustling city. The metal trap door at the top began to open automatically and a rush of cold air blew across her face. It was like plugging into the mainframe computer at Headquarters. she wanted it away from her shoulders and out of her face. was an organization called Locks of Love. Dexter clapped her hard on the back. the hardest part of this whole gig is over. She was speechless.

As they walked along the pathway after exiting the barbers. “Who knew that behind those long bangs of yours. who snipped the scissors at her in reply. She almost didn’t hear him because she was too busy observing her surroundings. “It’s a shame you wanted it all cut off. We probably should buy you some new clothes. She was surprised that she had taken the mission so far already. “I wouldn’t have a clue what to buy. Clothes aren’t important. unfortunately you don’t know either. I’ll send it in tomorrow. stepping forward to look closer. you may have to take care of your wardrobe the as things come up. You’ve got some money.neck. He coughed on the tea he’d been drinking from a paper cup.― She smiled and nodded in return. placing a hand over her face just to make sure that it was her reflection staring back. indicating that they should leave. “Wow. His silence indicated that his teasing was finished. you had a pair of beautiful blue eyes. But Locks of Love will be ecstatic with this. she noticed that she seemed to receive a lot more stares from girls and guys than she had on the way to salon. dear. she didn’t even remember that her eyes were blue. His reaction to the new style was amusing. but there wasn’t enough time to study it all. Dexter was standing by the window in the waiting room and when she entered. she was enjoying the change and excitement. “Guess now that little task is complete we should move on.― She shrugged. but frankly I have no idea what to buy a teenage girl. Your hair really was lovely. smiling regrettably. There was so much she wanted to see. but for the meantime. In the past two weeks she’d been given a crash course on what .― “You still want to go through with this?― Dexter asked. He wiped his sleeve along his mouth before giving her his opinion. And that meant that maybe this was the right time for her to emerge from her safety cocoon. Dexter’s eyes were planted on her the entire time too. blushing at the compliment.― she murmured.― he finally said. She snorted and pushed him on the shoulder. thanking her quietly. he turned. She let out a nervous laugh. It looked wiry and stylish. She rose to her feet and smiled at the lady hairdresser. It was definitely better than the long mane she had before. It’d been so long since she’d looked at her appearance in the mirror. The impact of her decision was sure to hit at any moment.― he said. She brushed a hand through it. “Shut up.

staring at her in sympathy. I’m sure. and starts to vibrate. Colorado…probably.― “We didn’t have time to go back over your training. put it in your ear. no surprise there. She attached it to her shirt alongside the football pin. She thought back to the images she’d been shown of Blaine’s murder victims. It was hard to tell why though. bullied. In this case. We can’t come up with . Her knowledge was limited to the fact that the team was from Denver. It could be pinned onto any piece of clothing she wanted to wear. Then he moved over and handed it to her. it’s just that they tend not to last long without being shunned. There is a wealthy section. or make sure that you’re fit enough to escape any pursuit. “You can hear us through this. “Your dorm assignment and the part of the camp you’ll be staying in. that sort of thing. It was in the shape of an NFL pin. “Yes. I’m certain that it won’t be necessary anyway. your primary responsibility is to keep surveillance on the target. The kids in the rich area seem to run the camp. suicide letters from drug addicts unable to pay his fees. he sighed in defeat and tried to explain. It had been two weeks since she had first exited Headquarters and already she was being shipped off to the camp. Dexter shrugged and opened his hands. “Royal Haven?― she said out loud. schedules.― Dexter ducked inside a tiny metal van. and forced to leave. she frowned at the name of the dorm building. “The camp is split into two sides. “Speak to us through this. it was attached to a white t-shirt with an open black shirt and a pair of black three—quarter length trousers. she adjusted her hair and rearranged her clothing.― Dexter handed her a small mic in the form of a boat pin.― He passed her a rubbery pin that was in the shape of a dog. You are in for a tough time kiddo. It was full of computer equipment and barely had enough room for her. When she continued to look at him questioningly. and a not so wealthy section. Great. She decided to clip that one on the inside of her pocket.― She looked in the packet and pulled out a sheet of paper. She shuddered. This one was of the Denver Broncos. He leaned back in his small computer chair and picked up a packet.Blaine was capable of. Reading it. Te rest of the packet has rules and regulations. It’s not that the people who occupy the other side can’t live in Royal Haven. is specified in your acceptance letter. She hoped no one asked her any questions about the team. She took the miniature camera that Dexter handed her. something that a fan would wear. goodbye letters from loved ones written on the Underground train by one of the hundreds of people that had died in one of a number of Blaine’s terrorist attacks. When it flashes red. Swallowing.

Girls on one side.― She stared at Dexter. She waved and jumped out of the van. she turned around and closed her eyes. boys on the other. She was just curious as to how he had managed to find out this information. Which she didn’t.enough money to make it seem as if you belong with these snobs. who clambered out without batting an eyelash. Dexter gave her a soft smile before giving her thumbs up. He nodded. One of them is Zane Noble. You have a list of those rules in the packet. “Do I leave now?― She raised a questioning eyebrow at Dexter. She nodded. So you know what you are supposed to do?― he repeated. waiting until she heard the van pull away before opening them again. seeing them in real . stretch limousine pull up and drop off one boy. “Good luck!― he called as she shut the door. confused. She stopped and looked back at him. “So—I’m in the rich side?― Dexter nodded slowly. She had read about these things. It didn’t matter. keep by his side at all times and when I see something suspicious. Best that you learn who he is from your own experience.― he moved forward and placed a shoulder on her arm. “Make friends with him. You know what you’ve got to do. “You’ll be sharing the dorm floor with three people. His sources were amazing. or seen them on the Internet. radio in!― She tapped the boat on her shirt. she understood that the kids in the dorm would hate her on sight. as though waiting for her complain. his slightly surprised expression went unnoticed. I won’t show you his picture. She nodded again. or something. She turned to open the door to the van. “But wait. you said that we’ll be on the same floor. maybe because she was too naive for her own good. with live—on floor monitor that is supposed to make sure the rules are adhered to. ***** After she closed the door to the van. or explode in anger. because then you won’t accidentally let it slip that you know who he is. holding the handle and nodding one more time at Dexter. that one surprised me too. Not because what he said was confusing. are they allowed to have coed floors?― “Yeah. She bit back her gasp when she noticed a long. The floors can be coed. right?― he asked. “Wait.

looking back down at her.― the boy shook her limp hand with his other arm and then looked up to the sky as they walked along a gravel pathway. Don’t gape too hard. judging by the blank expression and confusion in your eyes. you’ll swallow a fly. . pushing his arm off of her shoulder. kid.― he continued. looking around hurriedly for any chance of escape.― he reached over and took the sheet out of her hand before she could stop him. His eyes widened as he read the name of the dorm at the top of page. “Name’s Rupert. She shook her head.― An arm landed around her shoulder and she stared at it. before raising her eyes to the owner. There wasn’t any.― She frowned and shook her head. He swallowed and stared at her. All seven members of the Task Force were really part of her family and didn’t count. and glasses framing his thin face. brown hair tied into a ponytail. grinned at her and tugged her with the arm that was currently over her shoulder. “You’ll get killed.― The boy looked at her anxiously. You’re new here.life was mesmerizing. “Hey.― he said quietly behind her. “Oh. jumping to her side. “That’s because I’m a girl.― She allowed him to drag her through the archway. “I did wonder why you looked so cute. “Man. Usually rich girls like to keep their hair long. His eyes narrowed. “Come on. A boy with long. “You’ve got to be joking! Showing up there uninvited is like committing suicide. He looked around cautiously. and then leaned in towards her. How was she supposed to interact with the boy? She’d never socialized before. Footsteps hurried after her and the arm returned over her shoulder. I’ll show you to your dorm to make up for mistaking you for a pretty boy. but Rupert just followed. his eagerness from before completely evaporated. “This place isn’t for the faint—hearted.― She coughed awkwardly and moved away. I’ll show you around. you sure do look feminine.― She put her head down and kept walking. Were boys usually this touchy feely? She wondered. She started to walk off. I won’t. “You know how Sunnyside Summer Camp works… right?― She nodded and snatched the sheet back out of his hand. Sorry.― he moved forward and hissed. You’re definitely going to get lost in this place. Rupert pushed his face close to hers. She’d never talked to someone her own age. “No. so I mistook you for a guy. then sighed and threw his arm back over her shoulder.

She removed his hand from her shoulder.― She’d read in a book that one of the agents had brought down for her. huge gates that were opened revealed an imposing building. They may not be inner—city gangs. gesturing for her to continue walking. Gangs? If there were groups like he said there was. Suddenly. That’s exactly what this place is like. It seemed the forest they had been walking through was nothing more than a tunnel.― Rupert shook her with his arm. a mediator? Was it really this easy to make friends in the real world? Her new friend looked around cautiously before leaning in to whisper. It was like students walking to school. “Royal Haven has three floors. but not important enough to be on the second or third floors. A pair of black. Where the hell had that been hiding? Obviously somewhere among the trees.― What was this kid. There was an element of cuteness about him.― She stopped walking and stared at him. where was she supposed to fit in? Would Zane Noble be in one of those groups? Rupert tugged her arm. There are only three people who are allowed to live on the top floor and one of them really isn’t supposed to be you. They’d just exited through a green archway. but all that surrounded her were trees and other people walking in pairs or alone. As Rupert led her up the huge. The bottom floor is for those who are important enough to be in Haven. circular drive. “That’s just it.“Look. quite impressed that he had used such a simple metaphor. She looked at her surroundings. see?― She nodded. right? Not some messed up school where stereotypical gangs gather together. but they are still a force to be reckoned with.― she muttered. It was getting more and more complicated. in search of anyone who might have been Zane. . She barely had time to catch her breath. There was an element of… what had Dexter used to describe her? Cute. It’s like a ranking system and no one messes with it. Rupert tugged her into an opening at the right. Rupert laughed. she turned. that schools tended to have such groups. “This is a summer camp. there are the important kids and the not—so—important kids. His overall appearance seemed to shock her every time she looked at him. the gravel crunched beneath her feet. I’ll show you to your dorm and explain a bit on the way there. “Incredible.― She sighed and looked at the boy. “It’s like an orange that’s been split in half. Within those two different segments are lots of other different segments. “You’re on the top floor.

She had a phobia of the outside world. he didn’t comment. Did he look like an angel? A God? She knew one thing. She’d never met anyone except those in the Task Force. slightly slanted bright eyes still dazed her. noticing by his expression that something about the place severely displeased him. but he turned and left before she had a chance. The newbie’s here. He led her to the front of the huge. And Rupert.― he muttered to her. He was impossibly beautiful. She settled on looking away and staring at the door frame. That was where her gaze was firmly planted. She frowned at his back. “I—I’m your new dorm member. The boy’s windswept black hair and huge. She opened her mouth to thank him. Her eyes drifted slowly up to his and her blue clashed with his cold gray. She did specific research on the Internet. She raised a hand to open the door knob only to have it open before she could grasp it. “You’re just going to stand there?― She snapped out of her trance. but she didn’t even have online friends. The boy in front of her was just so damn tall. She couldn’t find the correct words to describe him. “Good luck.― Lips. Not by her own free will. Or she was so damn short. She stared at him. elegant door with a grim expression on his face. Chapter 2: Yellow During her life underground. or if he did. thrusting out her arms pathetically with the letter grasped tightly in her hands. “Hm. and then turned around to face the front door.― She pushed the letter . she hadn’t even watched DVD’s.Rupert didn’t hear her. who she’d only met a few seconds ago.

No other idiot would have the guts to knock on this door without having a decent reason. She took a slow. keeping her eyes on the ground and only raising them occasionally to look at the people she passed by. she stood at the bottom. so she had to bend to pick it up before scurrying inside. deep breath and relaxed.towards him. indicating that only six rooms were up here. She looked at the letter in her hand and took note of the room number. Why did the place have to be so damned big? She could feel the daggers being thrust into her back. “I’m not stupid. The journey through the second floor was the same. she noticed that the hallway was a lot smaller than the ones she had just come through. making her way up the stairs more confidently. She headed over to the door which held the number and sighed in relief. keeping her eyes on his beautiful face. but drew her gaze away the moment she entered the dorm. There were only three doors on either side of the hall. still feeling eyes planted firmly on her back. Then when he let out a sigh of impatience. She kept her eyes on him cautiously as she dragged her suitcase in. . He crossed his arms and looked down at it as though she had passed him something filthy. Dexter had said that only three of them were used. And when she had opened the door. a look of disgust across all of their faces. The boy who had answered the door stood in front of the loud collection of laughing people. huge doors were open and attractive. Had she done something wrong? Maybe they could feel her nervousness. It fell on the ground. his arms folded and an evil smirk across his beautiful face. She swallowed and walked through the space in between all of them. The entire room was covered in what seemed to be a white powder. She heard the boy’s footsteps following behind her and she raised her head to gape at the huge staircase that was stretched out in front of her.― He stepped back with his arms still crossed and pushed the door open. allowing her to step inside. She caught sight of the inside of a room and resisted the urge to stop as she passed it. the powder had reacted to the gust of wind and now. At least here she could relax. She lowered her arms. with girls on one side and boys on the other. When she finally reached the third floor. raising a hand to wipe the substance out of her eyes as she did so. All along the hallway. She opened the door and her suitcase clattered to the hard. and that the hall was divided. she was covered in the same substance. she hurriedly leaned backwards to reach for her suitcase. rich—looking boys and girls leaned against the walls with their arms crossed. sparkling tiles beneath her. Loud barks of laughter echoed from the staircase she had just ventured up and she turned. Her room was on the top floor and currently. Would the second floor be the same way? She slowly began to climb the stairs.

looking away. but his head stayed pointed in the other direction. “So?― she replied quietly. Then she ran a hand through her short. “Were you the person who covered my room in flour?― she asked him quietly. “I belong where I want to be. He snorted and crossed his arms. He held a sheet of paper in his hand. but stuck her chin out determinedly. she started to close her door. He spoke in a whisper. His eyes moved back down to her. the boy smiled and turned his head so his lips were near the door. His posture oozed superiority and a serious. Swallowing. “Red Hart?― She nodded and snatched the piece of paper out of his hand. but she’d said it quite confidently. “You won’t last a week. looking down at her powdered clothes in annoyance. burly men for the past fifteen years.― he said harshly. It was like the reaction of a mother finding paint all over her designer dress. The gasps from behind the boy were louder than the laughter had been and she poked her head around the side of the figure in front of her to stare at them. But I’m afraid the other campers do.“You don’t belong here. But there was no smirk. I could care less about who stays where. She pressed her ear to the door. The boy stood in all his glory.― he said matter-of-factly. He was obviously still there. The crowd had probably retreated down the stairs.― She didn’t have to see him to know his lips were smirking. In order to avoid any more dire incidents. A board outside her door creaked. He raised an eyebrow. As he began to retreat. “I didn’t have to. “Did you not want me to introduce myself?― his calm. she realized she’d probably made a mistake in talking back. She looked up at him with frightened eyes. The boy didn’t seem to notice her comment—he just pouted his lips and sniffed. She stopped. She’d learned how to deal with big. You see. On the other side.― Her voice came out a little shakier than planned. Cursing. she moved back from the door and kicked the wall beside it. Gasps echoed outside again and she heard hurried.― he said bluntly. She noticed everyone looking at her. not knowing that on the other side. cold expression had settled onto his face. “You look pale. his arms folded. the boy was going exactly the same. soothing voice rang through the door. she shouldn’t be scared of a boy the same age as her. She rested a hand on it. loud footsteps. cropped hair and pulled open the door. she rushed into her room and slammed the door shut in the boy’s face. turning around. a look of complete shock on all of their faces. then yanked open the . She frowned at him. taking a step towards her. shrimp.

Out of boredom. his arms still folded and back still to her. Instead. The occupants of the dorm she was staying in wouldn’t be classed as campers either. It was just weird because she had spent most of her life in a place that revolved around the latest high—tech computers and equipment. she’d learned how to hack into files and compare one contraption to another. She shook her head. so girls were opposite boys and vice versa. The first day of camp activities didn’t start for a couple days. ignoring the questions that popped into her head. Girls and boys could share dorms—obviously—but they each had their own side. Then he rotated his shoulders to the left slightly.― ***** Well.door again. Even though she had been underground most of her life. smiling happily. What she missed was the technology. One that she’d never shared with anyone. Instead. “Wait!― she called out. And she’d also found a large bag of some mysterious substance under her bed. “Isn’t it considered polite to share your own name once you know the other persons?― She wasn’t quite sure where she’d read that. The word camp didn’t really fit Sunnyside. There were also the strange rules. She was a total geek. which had left one of the most disgusting smells that she’d ever experienced. she focused on her room. Before long she would have to show off her talent. She reached behind her and grabbed a pillow. She awaited his response. she’d found him. The dorm was entirely symmetrical. but it had been completely worth it. not quite looking her in the eyes. she was a know—it—all when it came to computers. and nearly all of them were dazzling in some way. He turned sideways to face her fully. She swallowed. she thought the boy wouldn’t answer. She rocked back and forth on the gigantic Queen bed that her dorm room had and then flung herself back. as far as she knew. she knew that this was strange.― a corner of his lips turned up as his eyes rose and he studied her expression. The boy stopped and looked over his shoulder. They were all rich. “Zane. This place was more like some kind of twisted drama class. In fact. hugging it tightly to . Everything was two times the size of her furniture at Headquarters. a camp created for young adults to show off their talents. For a moment. as they usually allowed time for everyone to settle in and reconnect with friends. “Zane Noble. The room had taken overnight to clean. he studied the ground beneath her feet.

― she murmured. She ventured into the woods. Perfect. He looked like a teenage cupid. meeting blue eyes that were similar to her own.― the boy said to her. She bounded happily over to the door. His raised fist meant that he was obviously about to knock on her door.― he commented. A wooden sign (was everything wooden?) held white lettering which said Royal Nature. His mouth was thin and as he grinned at her. cheeky look. She looked back at the dorm and shuddered. Wasn’t that how camps were supposed to be? “Hey. What was his name? Richard? . but stuttered. she leapt out of bed. giving him a sly. “Wow. her first outing hadn’t gone too well. checking her appearance before she left. she noticed that the tunnel finally ended just a few feet in front of her. blue too. her smile slowly widening. not caring where it led her. His eyes were slightly slanted at the edges too. “You’re a cutie. dimples showed. Pausing to catch her breath. noticing the top of a wooden cabin. It was all nature and wildlife. She wanted to go and see the world that she hadn’t been in for over ten years. narrowing his eyes in speculation. She only stopped running when she exited the building. speechless. She took one step forward. bending down so he was equal in height with her. Frowning. she looked around when she was safely inside the tunnel of trees. kid!― A shout alerted her to a group of teens at the base of the slope. Royal Nature seemed a whole lot more alluring to her. She ruffled her cropped hair and opened the door. She wanted to see what was different. pushing past him so she could flee down the hallway. Then he reached out a hand and ruffled her hair. There were only three of them and she recognized one to be the boy who had shown her around yesterday.her chest. She took one step back. She increased her pace and approached a hill. Here was another beautiful creature. And bumped straight into a boy. So. and then nodded again. After a few minutes relaxing. The boy’s head tilted to one side and a strange expression crossed his face. After smiling and looking around at the trees that blew in the wind. It had definitely been a good idea to take the mission. She was dressed in baggy blue jeans and a plain black t-shirt. She nodded. He didn’t appear to be giving chase. ignoring all of the evil glances she’d received from people as she ran by. she assumed it was where the not—so—rich side of the camp stayed. Perhaps it would be best to kill some time before returning. Maybe it would be better to just stay inside after all. “E—excuse me. A huge wooden cabin. She opened her mouth to reply.

She didn’t know why. Taking a few steps toward him. one part of her worried that Rupert kept dragging her around. She and Rupert stared quizzically back. “I just realized I don’t know your name. “Kid. They were twins and they both seemed to be clad in black clothing and had long hair.― He winked at her. Tim and Kellie. “I’m Red. She opened her mouth to reply when Rupert stood in front of her to block her view of the two. Purple nodded and they both returned to staring at her. with forests to go hiking in and amazing views from the hills.Russell? “It’s Rupert! I showed you to Hell Haven. Rupert had grasped her wrist and started to talk animatedly to her about it being a great time for a picnic. He scratched the back of his head and laughed nervously. Maybe she’d been born with the phobia and because she was . The one thing she was very uneasy about was the lake. She tried to act enthusiastic and followed them. Strange.― He grinned at her and stepped aside so she got a good view of his friends. She looked at him and then peeked over his shoulder to look at the twins. moving forward and holding a hand out. Most of the camp was beautiful. “You’re very pale. sorry. She laughed nervously at the nickname he had given her dorm. “Hello. she gave him a quick smile and lifted a hand in greeting. She was water—phobic. He’d been coming to the camp since he was five—he was definitely a veteran. She guessed it was just one of those things. They mouthed. this is Tim and Kellie. insisting on giving her the full tour.― She snapped out of her daydreaming. this is…― Rupert trailed off. a girl with purple. Rupert had dragged her around the entire camp. “Just ignore them. Another part was glad that she’d made some friends… sort of. ***** She collapsed onto her bed in exhaustion.― they said together.― He waved a hand at her and then turned around to glare at his friends. She was suddenly pulled forward. Except one was a boy with blue hair and the other. Blue nudged Purple in the ribs and whispered something into her ear.― She nodded at the twins while they shook her hand.

Her eyes flew open when a tap at the door echoed through the room. He may have been accused of being hot—headed. Luckily. or even yell at him for just barging in. She had remained untouched so far. but not patience. hadn’t realized it. pranks and ways to get rid of the silly girl who had dared to move into the top floor of the dorm.never around water. so she hurried forward. he had manners. making sure to keep her eyes on the door the entire time. Top floor. And only special female friends could take the rooms opposite. Well there weren’t any special girl friends in those rooms right now. uninvited. The girl’s captivating blue eyes stared up at him. Was the girl stupid? Zane felt all the eyes on him as he stormed through the building. solely for that reason. Maybe she was royalty? She didn’t look it. but he had manners. Swimming. there were certain water activities that were done in groups at camp. Whoever was out there started to hammer on the door. when she returned to the dorm just as the sun was setting. Well. She’d only had some powder dumped in her room. She slowly got off of the bed. but that was the only way she could have believed that she would be accepted. she had half a mind to just desert the mission. Blue eyes clashed with gray. He would find out about the girl. looking like a cat caught in the headlights. Zane was almost ready to resort to all—out force when the door finally opened. She was exhausted. Well. It was obviously an exaggeration on Rupert’s and Dexter’s part about the whole bullying thing. jumping. mind you! It was well—known that only Zane and his friends could occupy that hallowed hall. They knocked again. That wasn’t so bad. Those activities were considered exercise and a way to broaden your talent choices. In fact. this time a little louder. She hurried up the stairs and collapsed on her bed. . she’d have preferred a ghost to whoever was standing on the other side of the door. He knocked lightly on the door at first. She sat up. Apparently. leaping. Like for the Olympics or something. it was half empty or the kids were busy. When there was no answer. she was dreading those activities. looking at it as though it were a ghost. It was packed full of plans. To be honest. But she wasn’t wanted. She didn’t want company right now. he hammered harder. He expected the kid to get frightened. ***** Zane Noble’s mind was running. Red had moved in. hurrying up the steps.

“I—I guess. not only because of his appearance. they were neighbors. He stood out considerably more than the others. it wasn’t really a lie. He moved his eyes down to look at her. “Well? What are they in?― She moved her left foot slightly and caught the edge of the door with it. When she relaxed the smile. bumping into the wall behind her. fell into nothing but a slight turn of the lips. She opened her mouth and it was a while before anything came out. Her eyes even crinkled up in the hope that it would add to the friendliness factor. “So they run airports?― She almost snorted at the response. keeping his head still. closing it slowly.― He leaned towards her with his arms folded. She’d just have to make it through the mob. she also kept it open because she didn’t want to be in the same room as Mr. She ignored the groans of protest from all the eavesdroppers outside. it disappeared. Including Cupid. “Before I decide to kick you out. Red.― Well. she stepped back. I haven’t seen them since I was ten. She kept her eyes fixed on his. Okay. She poked her head outside the door and noticed that nearly everyone from the dorm had gathered outside her room. She pressed herself flat.― Zane straightened and lifted his eyes to ceiling. smiling as brightly as she could manage. Zane turned away. the boy she had bumped into previously. Confusion flashed through Zane’s eyes for a second. “Yeah… you could say that. she remembered she was supposed to be making friends with this angry person. She left the door open in order to allow her a quick escape. the wide—eyed expression on the boy’s face surprised her. I wouldn’t know. telling him that her parents were dead could blow her cover.“Hello. “You could say they’re in the clouds.― she said bluntly. “Can I help you?― she chirruped happily. The bright smile that she had attempted to approach him with. Well. right? She smiled nervously and continued to watch him warily as his upper body still leaned in her direction. that was more or less the truth. as if he were pretending that she was no longer there. With a pout on her face. but because he was standing in the open doorway opposite from hers. She took a deep breath. What had she done? He coughed and as fast as the expression had come.― Zane Noble stormed into the room before she could stop him. Noble. Alone. Oh. I want to know who your family is. goody. “Would I know the company they run?― Crap. He thought about her glowing smile and the . Swallowing. Her conscience was still clear. She sighed.

He turned around for the smallest of seconds. can I help you?—whichcertainly messed him up inside. But then she’d said she hadn’t seen her parents since she was ten. glaring at her before he stormed out of the room. poor—to—rich—in—a—week kind of people and egotistical jerks who thought they deserved the top floor. He thought about what she’d said about her parent. Zane had turned his back to her again. What did that mean? So the girl was actually poor? Perhaps she had a rich relative? Whatever the case. He stopped at the doorway of his room and turned to glare at them all. he was stumped. . ***** Zane stormed out of the room. Did the kid have to be so happy? Just seeing all the positive emotion on her face was beginning to piss him off. perplexed. guessing that it was safe to relax a bit. Red kept her smile on her face and then slowly peeled herself away from the wall. He opened the door. the glowing smile was back on her face. went through. He gritted his teeth. She’d said they were in the airport business. Those kinds of people were the first to go.bright. That told him the girl was just another one of those kids with too much money and no idea what to spend it on. their hopeful faces looking up at him. she didn’t belong here. She just had to. just in case she happened to smile again and infuriate him further. The shrimp had to go. It was silent for a moment. and slammed it behind him. ignoring the confused glances he got from the crowd waiting at the bottom of the staircase. He could deal with big—headed millionaires. so she couldn’t see his expression. but when he turned to look at the girl’s expression. But a seemingly innocent girl with missing parents and some mysterious. Zane wasn’t one to sympathize with others. sad emotion behind shocking blue eyes? Well. He’d just… left? She just didn’t understand him. sitting on the first armchair he got to. slamming the door behind him. They retreated quickly. it didn’t make sense to him. She stared at the door. He made sure to keep his gaze away from the girl.

no attempts at kidnapping or murder. He threw it away and strolled to her side. she had no idea. When she walked through the halls. Red listened with half an ear as he started on about something else. I was just wondering if you could stick with me. “You all ready to go. chewing on a lollypop. It seemed she had been accepted into Hell Haven. The name Rupert had given her dorm stuck. This time giving her some kind of warning. I’m kind of nervous. Lots of partying. “You alright?― She moved her distracted eyes from the ground to him. some strict instructions. It had felt so real. nothing. Frightened of what. The purpose of the bonfire was to show camp spirit. It was kind of boring. really. She had slept so peacefully the night before and had a dream that had involved her parents wishing her luck. huh? You’ll like it. backhanding her arm lightly to get her attention. Rupert stopped talking and looked at her. But that reaction was a whole lot better than having them stare at her like she was a piece of dirt. a frown spreading over her face.― He winked. “This is my first time being in such a huge crowd. Or something like that. He talked for several minutes about how the first official evening of camp was always celebrated by having a party and setting fire to a Sunnyside Summer Camp mascot doll that was made out of hay. people turned their heads away from her. It was so refreshing—it was hard to believe she had been missing out on this for almost nine years. as though they were frightened. but she was too busy daydreaming to pay attention to what he was talking about. she slowed. about half—a—step anyway.― . She grinned. “Yeah.― She looked up. There was no pranks. As they slowly approached the location for the official camp bonfire. Red?― She looked to her right in surprise and saw Rupert sitting on the wall to the dorm.Chapter 3: Blue The rest of the week flew by. Well. She was one step closer to befriending Zane Noble. “First camp meeting. She opened the door to the outside and inhaled the fresh night air. and a question.

She half—expected the girls to ask for autographs. her eyes snapped open and she found herself hunched over. beginning to get dizzy from the laughter echoing in her ears. Way too much. She froze. close crowds. she always felt like they were dangerous. saying something about getting the twins.He looked at her in confusion. She felt sick. lots of screaming fans who were using their cameras with flashing lights. She felt like she’d been hit in the head with a rock and when the flashing stopped. What the hell just happened? Looking up slowly. they were declaring their love. filling it to the brim with punch from the bowl. But he stopped himself and smiled at her. She looked around hurriedly for something to drink. Dread filled her mind. When she moved her hand back down from her now—aching forehead. She’d left the pins back at the room after she had changed. knocking over a tower of cups as she pulled one from the top. She sensed Rupert let go of her arm. she felt very. but it didn’t take long for paranoia to set in. They were too close. For some reason. sending her cup onto the ground. she noticed that she was still dizzy. Why was that so bad? Suddenly. she noticed that Zane and Cupid had arrived at the party and by the looks of it. if not more. Rupert had said he’d be back within minutes. about to open his mouth to ask a question.― She smiled back at him. What were they. nodding their hellos and smiling as the feminine mob declared their love en masse. She downed it without breathing. Out of the assignment. She looked around at all the unknown faces. As the noise from the gathering crowd got louder. her hands cupping her ears. celebrities? Girls surrounded them and they both smiled gracefully. in a crowd. very lonely. She had to make contact with Dexter and tell him to get her out of the party. panic rising through her. She slapped a hand to her forehead with a lot more force than intended. they had fans. her shoulders began to tense. The noise bombarded her senses and she dropped the cup and covered her ears. Zane looked like a completely different person when he was dealing with these girls. . She was alone. Celebrations always had refreshment tables. Why hadn’t the drink helped? Suddenly the girls around her started screaming. Cupid treated them the same way. their shouting bounced around in her head. He was almost…prince—like. Seriously. “Thanks. She didn’t know how to react in big. “Sure. It was all too much for her to handle. She closed her eyes on flashing white dots that seemed to overtake her vision.― They started to walk again. right? She spotted a table in the distance and rushed over to it.

It sounded more like singing… pretty. She looked around at the people talking. singing quietly to herself. sparkling singing. noticing that it no longer sounded like chattering. “Yo? Are you drunk?― Drunk? What was that? Some sort of insult? “Heh?― she slurred. whoa.She snorted to herself. and then bent down to her level. She was in trouble. Great. She decided to join in. She noticed a large. spilling dribbles of it all down her tee—shirt. When she lifted her eyes up. Rupert. Move. He was looking at her worriedly. downing it to wet her throat so she was ready to sing. unexplainable reason. She found this hysterical too and started to clash her teeth together.― A pair of hands grasped her shoulders as she swayed and she dropped her cup of punch. black area that she was headed for as a nice. She didn’t hear the Head Camper start his speech. journeying further and further away from the people and music and heading straight into a peaceful silence. She was ill. weren’t you listening? The twins always spike the punch. But it was burning like she had swallowed fire. raising a hand to press it against her spinning head. quiet place to hang—was in fact the lake that haunted her. Always. She drank this one down. reached behind to get another cup. filling it with more punch. “Gosh. She probably had a throat infection. Rupert shook her hard and she heard her teeth chatter together. whoa. the trees and dark field spun around her and she waited for it to steady before looking at the boy in front of her. Someone shook her. Don’t. He looked at her worriedly. searching for the person holding her shoulders. “Whoa. The dizziness hadn’t disappeared and she still felt nauseous. “Stay here. she didn’t really care that it would be strange to start blurting out words that made no sense. black area in the distance and she headed toward it. She just walked. She didn’t notice two pairs of eyes watching her wander away. Whoa. Camp had barely started and she was already sick. She stumbled on her own feet before she set off for a place that wasn’t so full of people. This seemed quite hilarious to her and she burst into giggles. whoa. whoa. . For some strange. I warned you!― Rupert let go of her and ran a hand through his hair. She certainly didn’t realize that the large. She poured herself another drink.― And he was gone.

But. And don’t call me that in public. Cursing. Red. she appeared to be swaying. “Hey. who had been really interested in the punch bowl. He began to make his way through the crowd.― The blonde boy winked and leaned closer. In fact. windswept hair and made his way back to his blonde friend. he ran a hand through his already—disheveled. He shouldn’t have to sink so low. he remembered that the punch was always spiked. when he noticed that another figure had appeared in front of Red. “Zane. But the more he watched the girl. right?― Zane snapped his head round to glare at Casper. was . He wasn’t looking for anyone in particular. There were a lot more people at camp than there had been last year.― Casper quirked. the more he began to notice. It looked like it was a friend. for that matter. her name was? He had planned how everything was supposed to happen that evening. governing the division of the classes. He just wanted to see what the turnout was. The boy cowered and faked a hurt expression. Or moving. The Head Camper. “Only in private. “Yes. Did the kid know? He pushed two girls gently out of the way. you alright?― Zane glared at the blonde. munchkin. or talking. She didn’t seem to be smiling much. Public humiliation was the best way to get rid of someone. and what better way to do it then trick an innocent girl into thinking that it was cool to streak. Zane turned away. defiantly jutting his chin out at Zane. keep your scary face away from me. man dressed in what appeared to be an adult Scouting uniform—leapt onto the stage. as Red didn’t seem spooked and the figure looked worried. He frowned. Zane sighed and moved his head to scan the crowd. It was immature of him. CAMPERS!― He winced when their leader—an attractive. As Red began to laugh hysterically. Leo.Zane’s eyes were immediately drawn to the back of the irritating girls head. ignoring their squeals as his hands came into contact with their shoulders. there was something about the shrimp that rattled him more than any other person who had dared defy the unstated rules of Sunnyside Summer Camp. “WELCOOOOME. Casper. Had he just tried to plough through a crowd to see to a wimp who he had barely known for a week? A wimp that he was trying to get rid of? Letting out a quiet laugh of disbelief.

the leader had achieved his position at the camp by buying out his dad. another side of her was ignoring it and just going with the flow. it was decided. no one could figure out why Leo kept the summer camp. She’d been away from the world for so long. all alone. Part of the brain that still managed to function. She stopped walking. obviously not very clear—headed. Cursing. knew that. Red giggled to herself and grabbed hold of a tree when she stumbled in the forest. Just for a little while. along with Casper and another boy. Zane looked at Leo on the stage and then at Red. empty area was right in front of her. Someone in the back of her head was screaming at her that this was a bad idea. black. She liked it. that it was overwhelming. A few more steps and she’d be there. Did he? Before he had time to contemplate whether or not to go and save the girls life. Zane rolled his eyes. she was going hate herself for her stupidity. It would be like back then. but she needed a break. of course. As one of the ten richest twenty—something’s. Leo might own the camp. and Seth. But he didn’t want her to drown. All the girls swooned and cheered as he began to enthusiastically introduce the start of the new term. when she was little.only twenty—one. Did she want to go back? When she thought about the world and how busy it was. Frowning. someone shoved past him to hurry into the distance. in the silence. The true leaders of the camp were himself. the complete and utter silence. figure out the rules. Leo was his friend. she’d step into the darkness. Towards the lake. Red. He turned back and stared at the blonde figure chasing after Red. and schedule the activities. A little old for a camper. That she was heading straight into danger. As Leo began to encourage the campers to yell at the top of their lungs. But for some reason. Zane turned around quickly in surprise and noticed that Casper had left him alone. and just watch… . Then he saw her. Just a little time where it would be really quiet and she could be alone. In the morning. but the other three ran the camp. he started off at a gentle jog. It certainly didn’t help that the flow was getting disrupted with dizziness. Well then. He hated the girl. Zane scanned the crowd. how much life was in it— it seemed like it might be too much for her to take. who was staggering away. She was stumbling into the distance. the latecomer. Casper. The only thing she remembered was the darkness. The large.

The blonde boy—Cupid—was standing behind him. He looked like a rich God. “Don’t take another step. grinning like an idiot. with his long legs covered in expensive black denim and his tall. Zane continued to walk. she noticed Cupid wearing exactly the same. narrowing his eyes.― he took one step forward and Zane swirled round. Her eyes widened and suddenly became distracted as a thought hit her. ignoring her question. making her bump hard into what seemed to be a person. Zane? Zane Noble? Why had he come after her? And the blonde boy who was currently staring at her with a huge smile had joined him? “Who are you doing?― she slurred. Casper. you can’t be so rough with a lady? Here. “Hey Zane. something grasped her arm. taking her arm out of his grip and almost tumbling to the ground.― Zane said harshly without turning around. His eyes were focused on the tunnel of trees in front of him and the bustling party going on to the right. silk open shirt. Casper.― The raven—haired angel took hold of her upper arm and started to drag her away from the darkness. “Are you stupid?― She looked up drowsily and found herself almost nose—to—nose with Zane Noble.― . Noticing her staring. “There’s no point in introducing yourself to someone who’s probably never going to see you again. but—― “Shut it. wishing that she had tumbled into it before the boy could find her.Chapter 4: Green As she took a step forward. She yelped and took a step backwards. She looked back at it. thin chest covered in a white. not noticing her obvious mess up of the sentence. She must have looked very small next to him. I was going to introduce myself the other day. She turned around quickly—big mistake—and nearly fell backwards into the darkness. the boy obviously took this as an invitation to engage into conversation with her. Turning around. “Hi! The name’s Casper. The thing pulled her away from the black space. let me show you how it’s done.

Zane unfolded his arms and watched Casper retreating. He hated to admit to himself. We should return to the party. “Cut her a little slack. ouch. The girl had obviously fallen and was now holding her head. “Casper. The boy appeared to be slightly crestfallen at Zane’s comment. a thump. The black—haired girl stared back at him with wide. and this was how she repaid him? He closed his mouth and narrowed his eyes. “You’re mean. her eyes half—closed with weariness. and then turned to Red. “Go back to the dorm. stumbling backwards when she noticed that he really hadn’t been holding all that tightly and her excessive force hadn’t been necessary. Zane snapped his head sideways. Zane’s mouth fell open in shock and he let out a quiet scoff of disbelief. grasping both her shoulders in his hands. but had also raised a hand to rub at the area Casper pinched. But this kid…she didn’t care about being worthy of living on the third floor. grinning happily. running up the slope to the tunnel. Casper smiled after Zane. what do you think you’re doing? What she does is none of our business. Casper’s face dropped and he turned serious. folding his arms and watching her walk away. Their attention was suddenly drawn away from each other when they heard scuffling.She turned back to look at Casper’s reaction. walking towards the tunnel of trees on her own. too busy laughing to notice Zane glaring at him instead of Red. just look at her! She’s so innocent and adorable. but there was just something about the girl that made her adorable. “Yeah. All the other idiots who had the nerve to try and move into Royal Haven were always so full of themselves. She frowned and pulled her arm hard out of Zane’s grasp. Red frowned and pouted in annoyance and Casper let out a small laugh. He bent down so he was level with her. okay?― he said slowly. You’re MEAN!― he mimicked. and didn’t realize where she was. Zane folded his arms. He had saved her from drowning. biting the inside of his cheek in irritation.― She hiccupped and turned away. “See?― Zane’s eyes turned to slits and he kept his unwavering gaze on Red. “Leave her. ignoring Casper’s loud laughter from behind him.― Zane turned around and walked off in the opposite direction.― Casper sent a surprising grin at Zane. The girl was still pouting and frowning in annoyance. and . Casper. When he walked into the dark archway of trees. they assumed that they were worthy. he saw Casper helping Red up. blue eyes. I mean. Zane. and then a small. and then he slowly began to follow behind. She had gone straight to the top.― He lifted a hand and pinched the girl’s cheek.

She hoped she was going the right way—she felt as if she were turned around. It was a shame she didn’t have eyes in the back of her head.then nodded in reply. because then she would have known that their heads turned right after she walked past. What had happened the night before? Had she been poisoned? She stumbled out of the trees and fell onto the path. Everyone seemed to ignore her presence as she walked by. frowning when the bright light caused them to ache.― A gasp echoed around the room and her smile dropped. She shook herself. Zane Noble and Cupid Boy were standing in the center. before turning around and running to catch up with his retreating friend. Slowing down. occasional tug on her short hair. Sighing in relief. Was this another one of the boy’s pranks? To knock her unconscious and force her to sleep outside? She opened her eyes. . “What?― she said to Zane. so she hopped inside and hurried up the long. She lifted an arm to rub at her eyes and then slowly. their eyes focused on her and she sent them an uneasy smile. Looking around her. she saw a familiar bend and slowed to a walk as she approached the door. wincing when she touched a tender part on her forehead. she sat up. steep staircase. Her gaze went to the boy next to him and she smiled. ignoring the surprised expressions on people’s faces as she jogged back to the dorm. She ran her hand over her face. She looked around her feet and noticed a small puddle of sick right by where her head had been. she gathered that the bird thought her hair was something to eat. When she got to the top level. holding a hand to her dizzy head. more rudely than she had planned. she thought. leaning on her other arm. Act natural. Judging by the slight. poking her head around the side. Her eyes widened and she turned to look out of the gap in the trees. It was already propped open. she found the door to her room already open. She knew something was wrong the moment she woke up to the sound of a bird twittering right by her forehead. She could see people strolling along through the gaps in the trees and she hurriedly got to her feet. She swallowed. hiccupping. She noticed that the blonde boy seemed to have an upset expression. Casper lifted a hand and ruffled Red’s hair. As soon as she entered. she looked around the hallway cautiously for any kind of trap or ambush and then placed her hand on the doorframe to her room. “Hello. she realized that she was in the midst of the tunnel of trees. which was a relief.

“Aye. she doesn’t remember me. “I have no idea what happened. Casper didn’t seem to notice and saluted mockingly.― Cupid Boy let out a nervous laugh and sent a worried glance at Zane. He moved it so that he was leaning on just his forearm and then tipped his head close to hers. however. Munchkin? she mentally said to herself. She swallowed and kept her gaze steadily on his. He kept his hold on her and turned his head to the side. if Zane hadn’t been approaching her with a murderous look in his eyes.― he hissed. his arms folded across his chest and eyes narrowed in hatred. staring into her blue eyes. He started to walk towards her slowly. Zane didn’t look happy. sounding so crestfallen. who hadn’t removed his gaze from her since she had entered the room. Perhaps if she made conversation. “Casper.― She pulled at her t-shirt and showed them the dirt that was smeared across it. Zane. He grasped her shoulders. leave. closing the door behind him. “Zane. he’d stop? “I hear our first activity is to showcase everyone’s talent! I can’t wait. where did you stay last night? Did you get lucky with a guy?― He wiggled his eyebrows at her. She would have jumped for joy at finally finding out Cupid Boy’s name. What’s your—― One of Zane’s hands slammed hard onto the wall beside her head. captain!― And then he left. Then he pulled away and shuffled over to Zane.― Cupid perked up. munchkin. . She stepped back as far as she could until her back hit the wall. I woke up in the forest. “N—no. “You don’t remember me?― he asked her quietly. He jutted his neck out threateningly at Cupid Boy. “See?― She looked up at the blonde and smiled sadly. widening his eyes and sending her a cautious look. who still refused to take his eyes off of her. The boy grinned and turned his attention to her. She had to put a hand over her mouth to hide the smile that spread across her face at the name he had called Zane Noble.He hurried towards her and she resisted the urge to take a step back. “I told you not to call me that. She removed the hand from her mouth and began to cough and splutter in surprise. frowning mockingly. a look of hurt spreading across his face. “So. continued towards her. aye.― The boy tugged at Zane’s arm. She stared back in confusion and shook her head.

“You’re unbelievable. She’d never been taught to hold her tongue. cheerful mask. the slam had made her jump and all. but before leaving. He looked alive with emotion. You stink. she was innocent. unfazed by his actions. his face looked a whole lot more angelic close up.― Zane muttered to her. She continued to smile. Who cared if she upset him? Zane looked at her. she couldn’t change with him in her room. But…she couldn’t leave. Don’t get her wrong. She frowned after him and then lifted an arm. gray eyes back to her. . because I don’t see any other reason why you would be here?― That’s what she did. she wanted to be alone. bent down to get the suitcase and then threw it on the bed. Then his face straightened back into its usual. He always displayed prince—like manners. Every movement he made. and closed the door. meaning he was biting his cheek. “I can’t leave. mesmerized her. maybe you should leave. She shuffled through her clothes until she found a nice clean shirt. he scrunched up his nose. “Take a shower. his face devoid of any emotion. Shrugging. She stared back. she moved over to her bed. even with a look of annoyance across his face. his eyes wide and his lips pouted. She didn’t think that what she was saying was rude. by tomorrow. placid expression and he straightened up. Although she had to admit. watching him carefully. How was she supposed to do that when she was on the other side of the camp? Blaine’s men were sure to come looking for him some time soon. I don’t see why I have to. Royal Haven isn’t the place for people like you. but she didn’t know what putting his face close to hers would achieve. he only seemed to show it when he was alone with her. Zane stared at her. Well. so making conversation didn’t work.― She swallowed. “You will leave this dorm. sniffing. Yet.Okay. then frown. In the last week Red had noticed that when he was with other people.― he said. “Do you like my company. “You will leave. And if I’m annoying you. speechless. I can’t put up with your annoying voice and perky attitude. She shook her head and smiled up at him. Besides.― he shook his head. Her mission was to look after Zane and make sure that he was safe at all times. running a hand through his hair before bringing his cold. Speak her mind. He opened it. or that something’s were better left unsaid. She cleared her throat. he seemed to wear a polite.― she said it so innocently. He walked quickly towards the door. Then he moved backwards and let out a scoff. and was unfailingly nice to people.

WHAT HAVE YOU—― “Please.― And the line went dead. you HAVE to remember to put them on—― “I know. Chapter 5: Brown .― she interrupted. Hurriedly. “It’s fine. Is that good enough?― She got silence from the other end of the line. I wanted to ask why I couldn’t get video footage yesterday. She pulled the funny shaped dog pin out of her ear and rubbed her sore lobe. She screwed her eyes shut as yelling filled her ear. you know what? I’ll contact you later. “I’m not sure.― she begged. I forgot to put all the pins on yesterday. She put the boat pin on the shirt she was currently wearing. “RED? IS THAT YOU? JESUS. “Have you made any progress with Zane?― She sat back and looked up. resting her aching forehead against her bed.When she lifted it. putting a hand to her head. “Red. I know. looking worriedly down at the dog pin. don’t yell so loud. she put it in her ear. She grabbed her clean clothes and headed off to the bathroom to take a much—needed shower. “I’m sorry. I’VE BEEN TRYING TO CONTACT YOU SINCE LAST NIGHT. Everything is blank. At least you’ve answered. three pins fell out. The bump from the day before was still tender. He keeps popping up in my room without my permission and asking me to leave Royal Haven. “Red. She heard a sigh down the mic.― She heard a groan from the other end of the line. A severe headache pounded in her skull. Her eyes widened in realization and she clutched them in her hand. which was vibrating and flashing red. bunching her lips in thought. “H—Hello?― she stuttered.― She sighed and closed her eyes. It was a habit she’d never been able to break.

He would get them to talk about their family and find out if they are actually worth the trouble of keeping. dressed in a tux that was identical to the one Zane had on. impatiently. the close—up intimidation technique—he was at his scariest when up close. His eyes flickered over to the door every so often. If they had survived the flour step. IMMEDIATELY. quiet. away from Royal Haven. . Red had survived. right? Was she supposed to go to the show and wait until Rupert found her before finally managing to finish dressing? Sighing. that is. And getting up close had only made Zane realize just how flawless the girl looked up close. Frowning. black tux that he had put on for his performance and looked at himself in the full—length mirror. He readjusted the close—fitting. glaring at the person he was trying to get rid of. he’d allowed the others to try a major prank that usually was enough to send everyone that they didn’t want. undoing the top few buttons. it was bad news. First. putting the dog pin in her pocket. She was never going to survive the evening with it done all the way up to the top. Nothing—NOTHING—he did was getting rid of the girl. She wasn’t rich. so it was a little embarrassing that she couldn’t do up a tie. Everyone could at the age of eighteen. that much he could tell. Seth was the third person in their triangle of friends.Zane couldn’t take it anymore. he decided that the next day he would change it again. He had no idea why he wanted to get rid of one measly girl so much. her clothes were just cheap. whether intentional or not. a poke into the family life. But Red…she hadn’t even blinked. Next. the rough tendrils just brushing the base of his neck. Zane knew he was waiting for Seth. If he invaded your personal space. But Red? She’d just laughed it off and spent the rest of the day cleaning. Finally. His hair was the same as always—swept back and messy. He changed the style frequently. She wasn’t doing anything and yet Zane was suffering. She wasn’t affecting him. she clipped the football pin onto the shoulder of her sleeve and the boat pin alongside it. fitting his hair to his mood. men’s clothes. or maybe just go natural? Curly? Casper was sitting on his bed. and the interrogation had done nothing but backfire and end up making Zane think intensely about his own situation. As far as he could tell. Instead she’d mocked him for it. It should have served as a signal that she had been targeted and that should leave the dorm. Maybe this time he’d part it on the side. She tugged at the collar and sighed. Okay. Covering her room with flour hadn’t worked. He was reading a magazine and was for once. The guy was always late.

― Zane had practiced hiding his surprised expression and—although inside he was yelling in frustration at how the girl constantly surprised him—he kept his face totally blank.― he hissed. Red looked at Casper. Now she was facing Zane. the magazine on the ground. Seven—thirty—the show was due to start in just fifteen minutes and Seth should be there any minute. let her in. Casper noticed this too and tilted his head toward the door.When she looked back down at the two ends of her tie. He stood away from the full—length mirror and strolled over to the door. “Who was it?― Zane’s nose scrunched up as he readjusted the bow tie that was around his neck. “The kid. lying limply in her hands.― Casper grabbed Red’s shoulders and turned her around quickly. Zane’s arms fell to his side helplessly and he rolled his eyes.― Casper pointed. she knew that was unlikely. “Awww. And she was holding up two separate ends to a tie on either side of her neck. “How can you want to get rid of this. A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts and he looked at his watch. Zane’s confused frown was his reply. holding the two separate ends to her tie uselessly. “Casper. forgotten. I need a little assistance. opening it a crack. “If you don’t mind. The blonde—haired boy grinned at him. But Seth wouldn’t have knocked. “Help?― she asked innocently. Zane spared Red a glance. giving him two thumbs—up signs. and realize that she was meant to be at his side forever? Right. It was Red.― There was a moment of scrabbling and then Zane heard the door open again. He turned to glare at Casper. do up her tie. The girl looked back. frowning in confusion. “Who is it?― Casper whispered loudly to Zane. who welcomed the black—haired girl inside the room. It was the perfect opportunity to initiate another contact with Zane! Perhaps he would smile happily. She wiggled the ends. Zane? Just look at her. her eyes bright . He closed the door on Red’s face and walked back over to the mirror. Casper had sat up. the magazine still open in his hands. an idea came to mind.

cerulean eyes that were so unique. giving her the bed—head look. a person was still a person in her eyes. Zane watched his friend mess with the girls tie and frowned.― She bowed her head and turned to leave. Her cheekbones were thin and high.― he looked over his right shoulder.with innocence. I’ll leave. starting to loop it around. with the bangs lightly brushing against her thin eyebrows. was made by his family. In fact. “Aren’t girls supposed to wear dresses at things like this?― he commented. Money.― he forced Red to turn around and grabbed the two different ends of the tie. family… it didn’t matter to her. Coughing. Zane froze and focused on nothing but Red. Why force yourself to wear something you can’t be comfortable in?― was her reply. In all honesty. meaning to hurt and offend the girl. you’ve managed that task better than anyone else. Zane doesn’t mean it. I guess not being able to fasten a tie is my downfall. Her eyes were the weirdest feature. only because Dexter had insured she understood that every piece of technology Headquarters had. lips thin and rosy. “I get rid of anyone who irritates me. “Well. She knew who Zane was. Casper grabbed her hand. She would have to get Dexter to check him out. Everything else was shut off from around him and all reasonable thoughts were thrown to the back of his head. He looked between Red and Casper. don’t leave. For a moment. She was cute. his arms still messing with his tie. let me do that. I’m sorry. That much power and responsibility scared her. Zane shook his head lightly and went back to adjusting his bowtie. . She hadn’t been surprised to have the door slammed in her face when she had plucked up the courage to venture over here. “I don’t feel comfortable in dresses. “And by knocking on my door. Here. she just grinned and let out a quiet laugh. realizing his question had done nothing but make Red think he was curious. When you really looked at her. especially considering she had no idea who he was. and her nose was small and pert. Zane resisted the urge to curse.― Red didn’t retaliate. she was so natural compared to all the other girls he had known. Red’s black hair was messed up roughly. But it was a surprise to have Casper open it again and pull her straight back in. “Hey. He was going to be the president of that company as soon as he was old enough. thick. a serious expression on his face. It was disconcerting. long lashes that surrounded wide. She guessed that’s what happened when you were bought up by a bunch of men who were willing to throw their lives away just to capture one dangerous criminal. she was kind of a little scared of how friendly Casper was to her. But.

Red’s quiet. cheerful voice called out. Zane’s arms folded into themselves once again.― He ruffled her hair and then grinned.― Casper folded his arms and examined his tie—work.― He held back a smug smile of success when all movement from the corner of his eye stopped. white tie. turned back to the mirror and the corner of his lips upturned into a sardonic smile. the sleeves rolled up to her elbows and revealing her pale arms. Red flicked the ends of her bangs out of her eyes and smiled shyly. You know you’re the only one for me. taking a step forward. her eyes wide. She looked at him. She was wearing a black shirt with a thin. Zane started to feel sick. She just didn’t get this by—play. but she realized she was one step closer to Zane. It was quiet for a minute. “Thank you. a smile spreading over her face.― Casper’s mocking. She looked up.Then he snorted. Did that mean that Casper liked boys? Umm. taking a step back and examining Red. ready to say something. making out that he was only straightening it. but before he could . Honestly not sure what to say. Then his mood dropped heavily when they didn’t take the bait. He narrowed his eyes at the girl. “Do you get pleasure out of irritating me?― he asked Red. by making friends with HIS friend. “You clean up pretty well. Zane swiped his hands down his tuxedo jacket in frustration. She looked at him. Casper. it looks to me like you’ve got some sort of attraction to the kid. “I’m just trying to make some friends. you’ve got yourself a friend. “Well. nervous laughter followed. Casper’s response was unexpected.― she said with so much feeling. Red jumped when Casper placed a hand on her head. “Don’t be silly. she spoke the truth. Mentally cursing. Something he seemed to do anytime he was upset. Casper finished fastening the tie at the same time. for throwing the stupid camp class system out of the window and for making this place a whole lot more interesting. Casper smiled serenely. He stepped forward.― she replied quietly. was she? So again. her face entirely serious as she stared at Zane. He’d called Zane munchkin? She was too confused after having lived so long underground. Zane. “Hey. She wasn’t doing it on purpose.

It’s been so boring with just Zane—― Casper went quiet when Zane glared angrily at him. His skin wasn’t tanned. it was like they each had a different temperature. Just. She figured she was supposed to take it. He looked directly at her. Seth ignored Casper’s incoherent ramblings. His voice was so…velvety.― Seth seemed to ignore him. Now. I’m so glad you’re here. A warm. so she lifted her right hand to fit it into his. You know how she said that Zane and Casper were both like angels? Well. right? I thought it was a joke at first. Gosh. Casper leapt forward and stood between the two of them. “Red…― he whispered to himself. “Her names Red Hart— nice name. Wow! She thought. she was standing in Zane’s room with Casper. peaceful smile filled his face. Something inside her chest flipped and her mouth dropped open. left the bow tie undone and the top few buttons to his collar unfastened also. It was like a delicious. Looking up. staring at the person who had just entered. it was just creamy. totally warm. His appearance just oozed comfort and warmth. He was wearing the same outfit as Casper and Zane. she noticed that it belonged to Seth. “You weren’t supposed to get here for another forty—five minutes. She swallowed. . hearing only the important pieces of information. but it turns out that’s actually her name! Man. his warm eyes connecting with her blue ones. Seth. creamy hot chocolate that one of the agents had once bought her from a place called Starbucks. “Who’s this?― he asked. kind of the color of sand.the door to his room opened. Zane was cold. She had only just managed to catch him murmur her name under his breath and swallowed nervously. but he had taken off the suit jacket. He was smiling and wiggled the finger on his outstretched hand. He had glorious. rolled up the sleeves on the blindingly white shirt. They knew that she was undercover. Even the palms of his hands were warm. however it looked so much more natural. His eyes were a dark. She didn’t feel cold anymore. his wavy hair followed the same style as hers and Casper’s. Like a caramel bar. Wow! “Seth. chocolate—brown hair with light brown highlights. coco brown. Casper was lukewarm. his arms tightening over his chest. but this one… He was warm. His eyelashes were long and thick.― Zane frowned and looked at the clock. depending on how their angelic features and personality was. Whenever someone stared at her so intently…it was like they knew. She jumped when a hand appeared in front of her. His careful scrutiny left her feeling cold and slightly shivery.

“It turns out my private plane was fixed faster than estimated.“It’s a pleasure to meet you. It was like he hadn’t even acknowledged Seth’s words. She was getting there—slowly. Those she understood. unaware that every single pair of eyes was focused entirely on her. so why were they staring at her? Maybe they knew that there was something different about her. and Seth kept looking at her? They couldn’t know her secret. his face completely expressionless. Why was she speechless? Her hand fell limply to her side when he released it. At least he had acknowledged her existence. She didn’t hear the whisper that arose after they’d left. sent a small shot of victory through her body.― he shook her hand gently and kept his piercing gaze on her. shall we head to the show?― Zane was looking at her. Walking through the dorm. Her mouth had opened to reply. Astonished eyes followed our strange quartet and she continued walking amongst the tall. not sparing her another glance. unable to pull her eyes away from his face. That’s my reason for being early. She didn’t entirely get why. the expressions on the girl’s faces were ones of hatred. He turned to Zane. . Damn. It made her swallow a lump that had risen in her throat. Then he stuck his chin in the air and his eyes briefly landed on Seth. Red Hart—the innocent. There had been one moment where Zane had looked at her—ACTUALLY looked at her. Was that why it felt like Casper. Maybe it was because she was paranoid. but the words caught in her throat. Zane. Now. She stared back. it made her uncomfortable. who seemed too nice to be real. Red. in between Casper and Seth. It made her feel a little victorious. Was it because the boys looked so amazing in their tuxedos that even other boys thought they looked beautiful? Well. Maybe it was her imagination. she knew that he would be difficult to get along with. beautiful people. she noticed that everyone’s heads turned in shock and awe. so she had taken a big step. boyish—girl. giving him a curt nod. As she emerged from Zane’s bedroom and headed down the stairs. But they made her nervous. the rumors that were beginning to surface. She was almost his friend and that would make it easier for her to stay by his side and ensure his safety. Judging by his personality. Maybe it was because women’s hormones just seemed to ooze out of her body. making friends with Casper. before he left the room. with Zane only one footstep away from her.

The bustling crowd fell silent as Leo. she noticed the vast amount of people that had gathered at the base of the stage. Kind of like hers did. but Casper had literally dragged her with them.― He paused for dramatic effect. sticking out his chest proudly. Leo placed his hands on his hips. also. “Each camper will receive votes based on their performance. And she had never had the confidence to even share her talent with the agents at the Headquarters. His startling red hair was an amazingly unique feature. They were backstage and had an amazing view of the performance area. A…competition? There was no clapping. the camp manager. The campers at the bottom shall have to carry out a punishment. The performances tonight would range from dancing to playing five instruments at once. He had a sparkling smile. She had insisted on using the front. but she was too busy controlling her stomach to notice. stepped onto the stage. or for earning their right to be here! Congratulations. There must have been at least a few hundred. but he was almost as stunning as the trio sitting beside her. She barely held back a gasp. His bangs were all pushed to the right. It was her first time seeing him. that for this year. . the tendrils brushing against his eyebrows. It was spiked at the back and he had two long pieces of hair that had been straightened on either side of his head. “I would also like to announce.― A sadistic smirk spread across the mesmerizing face. She swallowed as a tension throbbed in the air. campers! I’d just like to congratulate the many new members that either had the guts to put themselves forward in the competition. almost choking her. the show will include a little excitement for our members.had been accepted. refusing to let go until they went in the back door. “Welcome.― A loud applause went around the hall. whether that acceptance had been intentional…or not. just like all the other kids had been doing. Chapter 6: Silver They entered through the back. Swallowing. Just silence. Going in front of all these kids would be difficult.

who were sitting there calmly and talking amongst themselves. showing his dimples and placing a soft hand on her head. Royal Haven performed. He didn’t seem to care about the mixed reaction and glares sent his way. “Good. He was holding a mic. which was why they went first. looking up to his face. She swallowed again and moved back from the curtain to sit down next to the three boys. Zane was the first to perform. dancing. She didn’t notice. The moment the first words left his mouth. When you really find The One. On with the show!― There was no clapping as he exited the stage. not an ounce of nervousness showing in his body language. so nodded her head instead. ‘They say you’ll know. The show consisted of minute long performances. Royal Haven’s combatants were few in number. but didn’t trust her voice. one right after the other. Royal Nature would perform. One off. one on. she noticed that Rupert was seated amongst them. That was certainly a surprise. She was envious. Only one of them seemed to notice her scared expression and he rose from his chair to tower over her. “Hey. He stepped out onto the stage. First. she would follow him.Competitive tension. You alright?― Casper bent down to her level and she lifted her gaze from the floor. And all of the performances were amazing. or instrument playing. He grinned. so she assumed that he would be singing. The show was split into two sections. she was captivated. the next day. It was quick and simple. Then. you look pretty pale. who were staring at her with deep intensity. But it’s hard to tell with the damage that’s been done. . Mostly it was singing. “Anyway. But I’d like to say that it’s your fault. She was going to say that she was always pale.― With surprise.― then he moved away to sit with the other two boys. “The three judges are camp veterans who won’t be participating in this competition. Leo’s grin widened and he clapped his hands together.

lower class girl could play at a level to entertain this crowd. He watched as Red patiently waited on the stage. Maybe failure would be enough to scare her away. If the judges disliked whatever talent Red possessed. or whether they belonged to another singer. and waggled his eyebrows. Leo reached out his arms. way too close. Zane couldn’t help but remain glued to the edge of stage as he stared at the girl. A grand piano? Did she think she was a virtuoso? This was going to be great. Off the stage. This would be so easy. the camp manager. when he was swiftly dragged backwards by the collar. backing up when she noticed it was Leo. come on! Look at her! Don’t you just want to squeeze her until her pale cheeks turn red?― “No. He tilted his head towards the stage. Like what you see. This would be a great chance—maybe the only chance to get rid of her for good. “You’re goggling. Zane. It was a piano. Well. Those two words sent a large amount of butterflies through her stomach and she tried to swallow down her nausea.― It was Zane.But I know better. and leave. a lot of commotion appeared on the other side of the stage and Zane craned his neck above the people that surrounded whatever it was that had been brought on.― he said coldly to her. It was obvious the kid was scared of whatever that would be. patiently. “Leave her alone. Bright lights blinded her and she waited. She’d be humiliated. ignoring Leo as if he weren’t there. She stepped out onto the stage. Leo. He sung with such emotion that she was surprised the crowd wasn’t crying. A hand slapped her on the back and she turned around. He swallowed his fears.’ She didn’t know if they were his words. “You’re up. trying to grab her shoulders. she would have to do the punishment. . He leaned forward. There was no way that some upstart. for her instrument to be pushed to the center. A grand piano. cutie?― She opened her mouth and began to stammer hopelessly.― was his blunt response. but it was the longest minute of her life. ‘Cause I’m a fool to think you’d wait around forever. if she squinted hard into the distance. You really don’t want to flirt with someone we’re trying to get rid of. raising a hand in greeting to everyone. listening to him. “Awww. she did notice a few of the girls sniffing. Then.

Sort of. Extreme dislike. lifting up the cover with shaking hands. that wasn’t right…. full of some unreadable expression. grinning. What was it? He walked slowly toward the back of the stage. Piano players are NEVER supposed to get nervous. His vision was focused on the small. Her fingers danced across the keys like a true professional. He turned away to go. She heaved a sigh of relief. She’d never let anyone else hear her.As Red seated herself nervously on the stool. a content. What had happened to the nervous wreck? Red was playing with her eyes closed. folding his arms back up over his chest and looking around nervously in case he had been caught. He turned around and headed back to where he had a good view of the girl onstage. his mouth hanging open. they were supposed to project a high confidence level. not really caring to see the humiliation on her face when she began to get booed and then was harshly laughed of the stage. But. the music was breathtaking. then to the stage. He hadn’t realized that he had slumped against the stage. His couldn’t believe his eyes. They were so much more sophisticated than she had ever been. as he began to walk towards the exit. That about summed it up. Everyone seemed to have liked her performance. The music just reached in and tugged at his heartstrings. . Before today. filled with an uneasy emotion. The reaction was definitely unexpected. Wait. judging by the applause she’d received at the end. for her own pleasure. They’d seemed to like it. easing up the competitive tension a little bit. He looked up when he figured it out. Red got up from the stool. past Casper and Seth. music began to play. She nervously scratched the back of her head. A small patter of applause echoed around the hall. Angelic. It was by no means the first time she’d played the piano. his hands frozen above the cooler of drinks. his eyes bright. She was breathtaking. Zane noticed just how stark her nervousness showed. Zane unfolded his arms and his eyes widened as he gazed at the pair. he folded his arms over his chest and leaned against the edge of the stage. Even Seth had stopped what he was doing to gaze onto the stage. She was a little out of practice and hadn’t been certain that the song she’d written would be accepted by some of these kids. Zane stared after the kid. Smirking. pondering deeply. He turned around and noticed Casper staring onto the stage in utter shock and awe. unbelievably happy smile on her face. It was over too soon and Zane snapped out of his daze. The whole of Sunnyside Summer Camp had heard it. She had a keyboard at Headquarters and she used to play it constantly. elfin girl sitting in front of the grand piano. She bowed hurriedly and then rushed off of the stage. beautiful music.

So . she felt something tug at her stomach. It was true. NOW. but her wrist was grasped by a cold hand. a pair of hands grasping her shoulders tightly. It was as though every movement he took was done slow and lazily.― Another compliment.― she said quietly. “I taught myself. just like Zane had done before. who was looking at her like a kid that had just seen Santa Claus. like he never liked to overexert himself too much. ready to thank him for being polite.― Seth looked surprised. you can play piano. Not now. “I can’t. “Leave her be. Seth was holding his collar. breathing in as much oxygen as she could.― Casper’s excited expression switched to one of seriousness and he opened his mouth to say something again.― She’d accidentally let her true emotions show. Why haven’t I seen you before? Did the angels send you down to me? Did—― She gasped when the tight arm—lock was released. harsh voice echoed in the darkness. She didn’t reply and listened to the quiet murmuring in the distance. “I—― She hesitated. She didn’t think she could go back to living underground. This was the first compliment she had ever received from someone outside the agents. “You’re an amazing piano player.― He released Leo and moved his head slowly to her. She was holding back a huge grin and settled on smiling. you just keep on surprising me. Leo. For a minute she let them play over her face. Inside. “I’ve got nowhere else to go. a pair of arms suddenly entwined themselves around her neck. What was she supposed to do? He sounded furious with her. It was strangely mesmerizing and she felt her breath catch. Before she could reply. Would she sound as if she were trying to impress them? She sighed. she was yanked firmly around by Casper. “My. Probably the nervousness from being on stage catching up with her. “I can’t believe it! On top of the fact you don’t have a care in the world. She couldn’t help but feel sort of emotional about it.When she walked into the darkness of backstage. “You need to leave. cutie. staring hard at her rabid fan—Leo. “You taught yourself? You must be very skilled.― Zane’s cold. She was dragged away from all of the excitement into a dark area and slammed against the wall. Where did you learn how to play so beautifully?― The words that passed through his lips made her heart pound. She didn’t really have anywhere else to go.

she’d be his enemy before the first week of camp ended. She was in such a low mood that she didn’t even act surprised when Leo told her that she’d won the round. She felt the hands drop from her shoulders and she swallowed. She felt as if nothing would cheer her up. considering she had just performed a piece of music she had been working on since she was little. smiling weakly up at Zane. She headed back to the side of the stage. Chapter 7: Orange She left shortly after that. watching as another boy from Royal Haven demonstrated his dancing skill on stage. Maybe she should leave. she failed to notice that a pair of warm.what would she do when this assignment was over? She cursed herself mentally and locked those thoughts away. “Dexter?― she asked. she just couldn’t get into it. Anything she did to try and make her friendship with Zane progress further was just making it worse. Blaine would probably kill Zane? Would she fail to protect him? While these questions ran through her head. Was she stupid? Even if it did make him happy. but her mind wasn’t. Was that it? Was she getting so worked up because he’d told her that she definitely had to leave? That he didn’t want her here. Her mood had been fine until Zane had spoken to her so harshly. At the rate things were going. She was feeling terribly low. she wouldn’t be there to take advantage of it. brown eyes were planted not on the dancer. then screwed her eyes shut and slapped her cheeks with both hands. She stopped walking. She placed it in her ear. even though in the dark he couldn’t see her. She said nothing and escaped the darkness before he could drag her back into it. Her eyes were on him. but right on her. A vibration just below her collar bone grabbed her attention and she reached down her shirt. plucking the dog pin free. She heard a sigh from the other . Then what was she supposed to do? If she failed the mission. not in the mood to watch the other performers. taking over all the other thoughts. It wasn’t because she wasn’t interested. She just left with a gray raincloud over her head.

She was on a red. “Oh. You can’t let his attitude get to you. She was so absorbed in the picture that she didn’t hear the door open beside her. As quick as she could.side of the earpiece. Seth. So he’d heard her play. Definitely the biggest room she’d ever seen.― And he hung up. It was almost the size of the HQ. “I know. she straightened up and looked innocently at the person whose room she had just invaded. blonde hair that reached her waist. Who did this room belong to? She found herself stepping through the door. She needed some space right now. he’d be in huge danger. and his face scrunched up as he grinned. It contained a boy and a very pretty woman with long. She realized he’d been monitoring her. Without you there. She walked slowly past it. Immediately. she knew that for sure. Usually. placing it back onto the small table in a hurry. “You played great. brown table. You can count on me. her mouth fell open. I wasn’t expecting anyone.― She rubbed her forehead with the back of hand and she forced a weak smile onto her face. Who was moving into the room? Looking around. she noticed that only five doors were shut. Now he was giving her a pep talk. There was a suit strewn across the bed and she heard the patter of water hitting very faintly in the background. but that probably didn’t apply at the Dorm.― “Great. She did at Headquarters’.― She jumped and fumbled with the picture. wondering if she should just walk in uninvited. she regretted ever entering the . only looking behind her once at the wide open door. It was completely empty. When she reached the brightly lit hallway. Which was lucky for her. heard the conversations. velvet stool and had the boy perched on her lap. he isn’t this aggressive . strolling up to the front door of the dorm and entering. They were both so full of life and happiness that she felt a smile spread across her own face in response. Agent. picking up a picture that she noticed was lying face down on the small. The first door on the left was open. Regardless of that. This room was even bigger than her room. She wandered slowly over to the bed.there must be something going on that we don’t know about. She yanked the earpiece from her ear and tucked it into her upper pocket. He was smiling happily. Zane Noble is a very difficult person to deal with. kid. Didn’t realize you could do that. his cheek pressed to hers. I need you to stay strong. If that was even possible. Things are going good. It wasn’t Casper or Zane’s room. But her curiosity got the better of her. his arms thrown around her neck. You are where you need to be. She strolled up the stairs at her own pace and headed to the third floor. It was him.

Supposedly. muttering a quick sorry before she slammed the door closed behind her. she told herself. closing her eyes and laying her palms flat against the wood surface. You’re an idiot. you could see the two enormous hills in the distance. towards the door. he wasn’t wearing a shirt. landing clumsily on the bag. Even after half emptying the bag. After she was satisfied. What good was that going to do her? All of the other people seemed to be tall. After she had taken the step. urging the blush to disappear. she took a step forward. Her face heated up and she coughed. That’s what the first physical activity was. She kicked the bag with her right foot and then slumped onto the bed. well—built and fit. this was a camp where you built up your talents and practiced with people who had similar skills. over and over. To make new friends and use teamwork. and weak. she went off balance and fell backwards straight onto the floor. blowing her bangs out of her eyes.room. After she had unwillingly emptied half of the contents of her bag. getting up to rub her sore back. tripping on the corner of the bed as she did so. puny. she swung the backpack around onto her back. She slapped her hands to her eyes and ran blindly towards the door. their expensive looking bags resting snugly on their backs. But. She sighed under her breath and rubbed at her aching shoulders. Not only was his hair disheveled and wet. she opened the door and started to head down the stairs. She swallowed and opened her eyes again after she had calmed. She’d seen the route they were supposed to take. Sighing. If you stood at a certain point at the camp. She was small. She slumped down onto it. ready to fall asleep as soon as she hit the soft cushions. you were also there to build up your character. The pathway that wrapped itself around the grassy mountain looked long. . Red. Everyone else was waiting in the huge courtyard. She groaned out loud and shook the straps off. Her face scrunched up as she worked to readjust the straps in order to make it more comfortable. shutting it loudly behind her. amazed at how heavy it seemed after she had tried to pack sparingly. it still felt like it weighed a ton. She fled to her own room and ripped open the door. The hike hadn’t even started yet and she was already exhausted. according to Leo. She swallowed and shoved another t-shirt inside her large backpack. tilting her head back. She leaned against it after she was safely inside her room. She yelped quietly and stumbled to her feet again. She raised her hand to cup her cheeks. It turned out her backpack really was too heavy. ***** A hike. choking on her own saliva. the head camper. steep and tiring. trusting her feet to move towards her bed.

Leo used his middle finger to salute in reply. interrupting . Beside him. But on him. you could see the air of smugness around them.― Zane growled at her. it worked.― he said in his velvety voice.― She grinned. he’d only been shirtless. black denim jeans and a long—sleeved turtleneck top.“Red!― She heard someone call. After all. struggling hard to get them off. She smiled brightly back. but a pair of arms appeared from behind her and threw themselves around her neck. He took no notice of the glares he received as he ran forward to talk to her. choking her. She smiled weakly at Rupert. “Well. we’re not worthy of hiking up the same mountain as you rich snobs. Royal Nature is going to be hiking up a different hill than you guys.― Rupert said formally from beside her. Bother. Even. smiling a greeting to her. a smile twitching around her lips and her eyes not leaving his. It made her shiver. If you looked carefully. “Don’t. Rupert’s face was a picture of utter shock and he took a step forward to help when the arms suddenly retreated. it’s a shame I won’t be hiking with you. “Hello.― she said. He raised a hand. “Red! I missed you!― Her hands flew to the arms at her throat. “Head Camper. She coughed and rubbed at her neck. He grinned when he approached her. nodding his head in greeting. She smiled at him. He was way overdressed for a summer hike in the woods. “Apparently. “Are you done playing?― A familiar voice from behind her called out. Z—― she started. Seth released the hold on the camper’s collar. he had pants on.― He smiled back and opened his mouth to say something again. She jumped and turned quickly. He was dressed in rich—looking. “I just wanted to say good luck. Leo. She looked around for the source of the voice and saw Rupert hurrying towards her from outside the black gates. it would have looked ridiculous.― A look of displeasure spread across his face and he looked around nervously before leaning toward her. staring into the Zane’s eyes. and then realized he was being serious and frowned. turning around to stare at her assaulter. If it had been anyone else. She looked around at the surrounding boys. right? “Hi. “Hello. pushing what had happened the day before to the back of her head.

― He murmured.― Rupert said. She felt a low vibration under her t-shirt and stopped walking. The sun was beaming down hard. sounding a little more crestfallen than he had previously. he ran a hand dramatically through his hair and stuck out his bottom lip. “I’m off now. blowing her bangs out from underneath her hat. maybe he felt out of place. “Let’s go. “Dexter?― she whispered. She looked around cautiously at the other campers. but it happened to be the only hat that she could borrow from one of the agents. “Campers! The time has come to do our ritual hike up the Twin Mountains! Let’s call on our team spirit and—― Leo stopped. These guys all had more money. and pulled out a small black fedora. “Will you be alright on this hike? I had no idea the camp did things like this.before she could finish her cheerful greeting. She turned and nodded at him. Zane had headed to the front with the others and she watched him walk further away. Sure. No one was listening to him. Red. She could catch up with him later. glad that he had at least acknowledged her presence. . I’ll see you later. looking like a child whose toy had just been taken away. It’s not that hard.― She swallowed. wiping away a small trickle of sweat that had already began to travel down the side of her face. dressed differently.― He left hurriedly and she stared after him for a few moments. She had coated herself in sun screen. honestly—― “Dexter. The dorm members began to trek through the Tunnel of Tree’s and a soft chatter broke the silence. She smiled vibrantly up at him anyway. Then he opened his arms wide and began to talk. She pulled out the earpiece and placed it in her ear. She swung her backpack off. She didn’t notice Rupert carefully analyzing the atmosphere between the two of them. She heard a sigh down the other end of the mic. She placed it on her head and sighed. starting to walk again. but it didn’t seem to be protecting her very well. It really was hot. Was something wrong with him? She turned back to the three boys who were having a conversation amongst themselves and it clicked. but none of them seemed to be paying any attention to her. “Bye. Before long she frowned as it began to feel as though her skin was slowly crisping. keeping a sharp eye on the surrounding campers. Sighing. They hadn’t even reached the hill yet and she was already hot. it wasn’t that great looking. Rupert was probably intimidated by this lot. it’s alright. Leo jumped up the few steps that led to the dorm and cleared his throat. I can do this. Oh well.

She stretched her arms up above her head. She walked beside him for the next few minutes. They were already three hours into the hike up the hill before she spotted Zane’s head at the front of the crowd. Blowing her bangs up to move the air across her forehead. The other end of the line beeped off. It had been a while since she’d practiced her combat training. his face expressionless and a strange tenseness to his tone. She looked around for the others. It was the first time he’d actually said something to her that wasn’t a harsh comment and he didn’t look happy about it. “Can’t you take a hint that I don’t want to be near you?― he snapped in order to bring her attention to his displeasure. “I won’t. But she wasn’t going to say that aloud. Looking up at it just made her head spin.― She didn’t know how she was supposed to hold them off. “He’s always like that. “It’s none of your business. looking up at him innocently. In fact. He stared at her for a few moments. She pushed her way to his side. Casper and Leo were talking animatedly to each other and Seth was walking silently by himself.― he folded his arms and increased his speed. acting like she wasn’t there. he didn’t look very happy at all. she hurried forward to keep up with him.― she replied back.― she replied. He looked so sad and lonely—she almost wished she had gone to him instead. He frowned at her when she approached him. then sniffed and continued walking. she watched him. Zane rolled his eyes and pushed her away from him. “But you’re not near me. It looked like he really needed someone to talk to.“Alright. we’re an arms width . so she took the earpiece out. placed it in her pocket instead of back under her shirt and began to search the crowd for Zane. looking over her shoulder to stare at Seth in case he happened to hear. For a moment. readjusting the hat and shaking off the dizziness she felt as they ventured further up the hill. “You didn’t say I couldn’t. “Did I say you could walk with me?― His harsh voice did nothing to faze her and she smiled up at him. unaware of the narrowed eyes that were fixed on the side of her head. She edged closer to him and ignored his disgusted expression at the invasion of his personal space. don’t feel sorry for him. Look.― She looked back at Zane who was staring straight ahead. “Why?― she asked curiously. Don’t over exert yourself—Blaine’s men could arrive any moment and we might need you to hold them off. wiping his hand on his t-shirt afterwards as though she had given him some sort of infection.

― She held up her arm to demonstrate. She resisted the urge to sigh in relief at his decrease in speed and swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. no longer able to keep her on her feet. Zane kept walking. it wasn’t everyday your eyes were unable to focus on one spot without everything else rotating around it. sending her crashing to the ground and into complete darkness. Something was wrong. her short hair flapping around her. She didn’t only look sick—she was beginning to feel it too. Surely that was a bad thing? “I—― she started to reply. Chapter 8: Peach . She stopped walking. They’d moved to the side so the other students could stroll past. He stopped and turned his head to look at her over his shoulder. and then realized she wasn’t beside him. she envied how he didn’t even look like he was sweating. “You look sick. It was like she was standing in a huge room and the voice was bouncing off of the walls until it finally reached her ears. Her head tipped forward on its own accord and her tiny legs were shaking underneath her. How did she know that? Well. narrowing his eyes in speculation. He said something. hot appearance. Something was definitely wrong.apart. He snorted at her actions and eyed her tired. slowing his footsteps. She swallowed the lump in her throat and wiped a sleeve along her forehead. she just couldn’t cool off. She vaguely felt herself being tugged off of the pathway and saw that Seth and Casper had gathered around them. but her words dried up completely. “Red?― A familiar voice echoed in her head. unfolding his arms to step towards her. but it went in one ear and out the other. Looking at Zane.― he said bluntly. She was struggling to just keep her eyes open. No matter how much she tried. It wasn’t long before they gave way. then took off the fedora and shook her head.

The hike was always Zane’s least favorite activity at Summer Camp. for that poorly made—up excuse. He’d been unable to respond to her comeback about having nowhere else to go. She was a person and every bit entitled to live on the top floor. however. he was unsure. even if that was the case. he found himself unable to bring up the topic of asking her to leave the dorm. Seth had shoved past him to hurry forward. But. Zane stepped backwards and ran a hand through his messy hair. the fact that the little kid still hadn’t left the camp irked him more than the hike. gripping her shoulders and shaking them slightly. run down camp while they headed to Canary Islands for a tan. he decided that if he didn’t help the girl. when said spunky kid had turned a lethal shade of white (in contrast to her usual pale skin) he couldn’t help but speak up. He was letting himself be beaten by a spunky kid who knew nothing about the world. just as he was. The head containing the messy black mop tipped forward. catching Red neatly in his outstretched arms before she could hit the ground. But. But. Casper was close behind him. He should have carried on walking. The whole point of this place was that it was somewhere to go to improve on your talents. as he walked along with Red. staring worriedly at Red who was paling by the second. he’d lose the respect from his friends. her arms falling limp to her side. because such an institute was in the middle of nowhere and the name held the word camp in the title. it was automatically assumed that you were supposed to participate in such ridiculous activities. But. His eyes. not taking any notice of her. Whether it was in concern or worry that the idiot would faint and embarrass him. calling her name as often as he could in order to make sure she kept consciousness. . They weren’t nine—year—old kids who had been ditched by their parents in some dirty. but he spoke up all the same. widened. What was he supposed to do? His left side was pushed slightly and he looked up alarmingly. “Red?― He asked. couldn’t the idiot just move to Royal Nature? Why Royal Haven? Why the top floor? It was these questions that kept going unanswered that riled him. It took a lot of willpower to hold back a completely alarmed expression. It felt like his heart had been grasped and squeezed when Red stopped to a halt. He’d smacked down that thought the moment it had risen. What did it matter to him if Red collapsed from some unknown illness or whatever? After noticing that Seth and Casper had stopped walking. he headed forward and pulled Red to the side of the road. hiding the slowly closing eyes. So. It was like his conscience had finally snapped out of it.

“It looks like its just slight heatstroke. “Wake up! Wake up!― Casper’s blonde hair shook as he patted Red’s head worryingly. you’re awake.not WANTING to know .exactly what he was feeling. who was carrying the little. he watched her face as he walked. Then he slung Red over his shoulder and started to walk back the way they had come.― The figure scrambled forward and helped her up. “I don’t care. Zane watched as Seth visibly relaxed and then looked down at the girl in his arms.― He said in a loud voice. That was it. Worry? No… He stared hard at Seth. Zane cleared his throat. looking ahead at the rest of the dorm. with the exception of two girls who were looking in their direction. He used the hand supporting Red’s neck to move damp tendrils off of the small girl’s forehead.― he repeated. He swallowed and looked up at Seth. looks like you’re alright.Seth easily pulled her up into a baby carry. Zane folded his arms and swallowed. “Yup. She looked up at Casper. Echoes of hands being pressed onto her shoulders kept reawakening inside her head. whose face showed intense concentration. Hatred? No. White walls and a white floor. that wasn’t it. A hand pressed to her forehead. ***** She remembered feeling ill. not knowing . but Seth remained where he was. vulnerable looking girl on his back. She saw a figure leaning over her bed. His stomach feeling more uncomfortable with each step. looking into the distance at the group of people. He had a strange feeling in his gut that he struggled to decipher. Swallowing a lump that had strangely formed. Casper frowned at his volume and looked at him confusedly. we need to take her back!― He pulled on Seth’s arm. They had stopped short up ahead for what seemed to be a drink break. Seth looked up from Red and his eyes clashed with Zane’s. Strange.― He grinned at her and . She was lying in a bed that wasn’t hers and a strange. Everyone was busy drinking. wincing at the brightness of the room she was lying in. “She’s got heatstroke. she didn’t know why. She opened her eyes slowly. “Ah. half—pulling her out of the quilt she was lying under. “Why won’t she wake up? Come on. but no matter how hard she searched. strong smell was wafting up her nose.― Seth stared at his stubborn friend and his lips twitched upwards for a second. Zane followed.

― She started to walk off and Casper hurried forward to walk by her side. but instead she just fainted. “Nice to know I’m useful for something. “He and Seth went back to the dorm. “It’s alright. very faintly in the back of her mind she remembered lying in a bed. and back to her again. gaining her attention. “W—well… I think he’s an inspiration?― She hoped he wouldn’t notice the fact the sentence clearly ended with a question mark. Then he looked around the room. thinking about the memory brought back a stab of pain in her chest. The blonde pouted at her. and then moved his face slightly closer.― she said dismissively. patting her on the back. I feel a lot better now. “Why do you want to be Zane’s friend so much?― Oh. she hadn’t remembered what it was called. Oh dear. She was supposed to be keeping an eye on Zane and becoming his best friend. She winced. She stared back blankly. He stared at her face. She sniffed in reply and hopped off of the bed. He’s been my idol since as long as I can remember. “You scared the hell out of me. I see what you mean.― he said. He smiled calmly at her. “Hey. “You’ve never seen an infirmary before?― She shook her head. but she shrugged him off. She shrugged and let out a nervous laugh. “Where am I?― she asked. Casper frowned and nodded in approval. in a room that was similar to this. “I guess I didn’t know myself.ruffled her hair. his lips pouting out like a child. Why didn’t you say you weren’t feeling well?― He scowled at her. For some reason. She looked at him questioningly. He placed a hand on her shoulder. making trouble? She pushed back the quilt and swung her legs out of bed. They were actually quite glad you managed to get them out of the hike.― he grinned at her. She let out a sigh of frustration.― She looked around the room she was in. She let out a nervous laugh and scratched her ear. Casper held her arm. but she was too preoccupied with her thoughts to notice.― . his expression frozen. “Yep. Where was Zane? She didn’t realize she’d said this question out loud until Casper answered it. There were lots of beds. Casper looked at her. his bright blue eyes matching hers. Although.

The blonde linked her arm with hers and led her away from the stairs. stylish brunette hair. “I’d give you my name. She smiled at them both in greeting.― She waved happily.Casper held open the door to the dorm. but as soon as they were half way up. her friend following close behind. Scrunching up her eyes to block it out and get rid of the stars. They continued to talk as they made the way up the stairs. You’re a legend around here.― She jabbed her thumb at the girl behind us. Tiffany began to lead her out of the dorms and towards the gardens. They were behind the dorms. and then hopped back down the stairs to stand in front of the two girls. I’ll see you around. someone called her name.― She laughed nervously. surprised. really?― She said in disbelief. “Miss Hart?― She turned slowly and Casper did too. “Well. beautiful blonde hair and the other who had short. one of which had long. you see. For a moment.― she complimented them. except with a displeased look. looking down at the two figures that were standing at the bottom of the stairs. before she felt the pain. but her shoulders were shoved backwards. She smiled at them. and then looked back up at Casper. Then a low buzzing echoed around her head. It was true.― She perked up. Tiffany pulled her arm out of hers and she observed her surroundings quickly. “My name’s Tiffany. They were both standing with their arms folded and a moody expression on their faces. you both look so beautiful close up. unable to stop herself. “Wow. which they had reached a lot quicker than expected. who was still staring at the girls. causing her to stumble to the ground. “A legend? Wow. everything was silent. The girl smiled brightly at her. “I’m going to speak to them. everyone knows your name. That’s Henrietta. It was the first time she’d seen him look so serious. They ran their eyes from her head to her feet before finally moving. She had no idea that so many people had warmed to her! She opened her mouth to speak again. She examined both girls. wondering how they knew her. but it looks like you already know it. She thanked him and entered. They were like the female versions of the boys. she .

Red was released and by the time she could breathe again. “We’re going to let you go. totally miserable. “The legend is that a worthless.― Red choked out. She wasn’t sure if they were really friends. She attempted to sit up and grab it. That’s your punishment for attempting to steal Seth Cooper. It hurt so much. “What—― She was interrupted when a sharp object was pressed into her ankle. the girl dragged the nail down her neck. she found herself laying in the dorm gardens.rolled back over so she was facing up. But she wasn’t used to feeling so much pain.― Henrietta said from behind her. but it pressed down harder. Damn. and she certainly couldn’t fight back. “We came all the way back from the hike to congratulate you on pretending to faint like that. pressing her heel down harder. She had an ugly purple bruise there and a cut . A thousand ways to get out of such an incident rushed into her head. She could barely move. It was a plan I should have used earlier. the sun behind her head causing her beautiful face to be shadowed. hopefully. blocks.― Suddenly.― Tiffany said cruelly. resisting the urge to reach down and rub her ankle. When she opened her eyes. She slowly limped back into the dorm. So. placing the nail she had raised along her jaw line. THAT is the legend. She grunted. What had she done? She was hated by everyone except Casper and Seth. manicured finger in front of her face. Lots of moves. Slowly and painfully. It made Red lash out. filthy tomboy made it onto the third floor and dared to socialize with Tiffany Burton’s man. Red winced.― She crunched down her heel. the future husband of the prettiest woman in the world. It irritated the bump that had risen at the back of her head from her tumble to the ground. She yelped again when she felt her hair being pulled back. The clueless girl actually thought that she could be friends with Seth Cooper. Her arms were folded and her spiked heel was pressed hard into Red’s foot. completely alone. she saw Tiffany leaning over her. She winced at every step up the stairs. Tiffany ground her heel in harder. she DID know some of the training. I want you to pack your bags and get out of Sunnyside. pressing harder. “Please… get off. Well. Henrietta was bent down over her and raised one. She raised her arm to grab Henrietta. Red let out a quiet moan and struggled to reach her foot. “After we’ve let you go. unknown. and violent ways to break out of such a position presented themselves.

Not like that was going to happen. She didn’t want this. Well. The last thing she needed was to be seen by someone. Let us in!― Panic filled her. she realized something. opening it slightly. . She fumbled in her upper shirt pocket for the dog pin she had placed into there after her conversation with Dexter and realized it was gone. She was just about to head to the bathroom when there was a knock at the door.― Casper finished. Seth and Casper stood there. The worst part about it was that she couldn’t leave.I fell. Swallowing. he wasn’t alone. “—hurt. She groaned. because she still had to complete her mission with Zane. It was Casper. It was nice to be worried about. grabbing a piece of paper from her drawer and scribbling ‘lost the earpiece’ onto it. staring warmly at her. Hurriedly. And judging by the ‘us’. she’d never had to lie once in her entire life. hoping that Dexter would see it at some point. When she straightened up. She rubbed the back of her sleeve along her jaw line. She hobbled back into her room quickly. But— Casper kicked the door open. Perking up. She was being hated for doing her job. She’d never liked heels. she was hated by everyone. “You’re—― Seth started.that wouldn’t stop bleeding. causing her to jump back. Zane stood behind them. She probably didn’t do it very well. This entire camping trip is a lie. she ran over to it and shoved it under her bed. moving forward quickly to move her face sideways. but she didn’t want to answer any questions. and have them run up and ask questions. She considered just ignoring it. She placed her football pin in front of it. his arms folded and his gaze directed at a picture in the hallway. examining the cut. She held in her sigh. she would have welcomed them inside happily. She looked at him in alarm and then noticed the piece of paper saying she’d lost the earpiece. Way to go Red. I just saw you limping down the hall. when a voice rang out from the other side. Red. she made her way over to the door. “I know you’re in there. No one cared what happened to her. Seth and Casper were staring at her.― she lied uneasily. If what Tiffany said was right. All she had was the boat mic—which didn’t work unless it was within a foot of the dog earpiece—and the camera. hoping the flow of blood from that cut had stopped and that it wasn’t noticeable. Usually. “It’s nothing .

― He said calmly. but it was useless. Seth had joined Casper’s side. or ‘I’m alright. he really knew a bit about girls like Tiffany. He bent down and pulled her trouser leg up.― Zane’s cold voice came from by the door. not noticing that her tone was strained and laced with slight irritation. She bent down to try and keep it on.She’d never felt annoyed before. resting his hands on the bed. For a guy.― There was silence in the room. It was nice to see that Seth and Casper were concerned about her. He unfolded his arms and leaned forward. She froze.― Zane had finally entered the room and had decided to contribute. She started to walk into the bathroom. you’re supposed to say ‘thank you for worrying about me’. collapsing and then being injured by two girls she didn’t even know. “Why did you come over here?― she asked. Suddenly. He looked down at her foot and lifted one of his hands to point at her ankle. “I told you already.She moved out of Casper’s grasp and wiped the small trickle of blood off her face that had seeped out of the cut. She swallowed a lump that had risen in her throat and brushed her bangs out of her eyes.’― . smooth voice asked her. Zane finally met her eyes with his. she was swept off her feet and set on the bed. “Ow. really. “At times like this. He was frowning like he was on a mission. “You’re limping.― she said quietly. She’d had an eventful day. Casper sucked in a breath when he saw the mark and touched it gently with his finger.― Wow. “Was done by a thorn branch when I fell. but she was tired.― She tapped the cut on her jaw line. Casper had a concerned expression on his face. She didn’t know that . “That is the perfect shape of an unexpected branch sticking out of a tree and this. She frowned and moved her leg away from Casper. “Who did this?― His calm. tugging her shoe off. I fell—― “You’re an awful liar. bending down to push his hand away. “Was done by a manicured nail. “That hole in your foot is the perfect shape of a stiletto heel and that. trying hard to hide her hobble. She stared defiantly at Zane and raised a hand to point at her ankle. but thank you so much.― he moved his hand to point at her face. “Casper was worried about you.

Was she poisonous? When she arrived at the class. So even the person she didn’t need as a friend was ignoring her. blah. one was a girl with bright red hair. She was just at Sunnyside to complete a mission. He didn’t greet her like he had in the past. Typical. just like they had before she collapsed. At some point. she looked at the other campers. passing out completely. blah… When she didn’t reply. Zane left too. The other was Tiffany. He just glanced at her quickly before continuing on. right?― She broke eye contact and raised a hand to rub the bump on the back of her head. She hobbled her way to class. Great. The words Zane threw at her were going in one ear and out the other. Tiffany was a pianist. She just felt like going to sleep. she laid back on her bed.He frowned. smiling at Rupert who she passed on the way there. looking more furious than he ever had. It was all. Only two people caught her attention. It wasn’t really a class. A mission that looked like it was failing. like he didn’t even know her. she remembered what Zane said. Chapter 9: White The second day of camp activities included a group gathering for pianists. or done. Sighing. When she woke the next morning. . Casper and Seth moved toward the door. blah. she hadn’t really paid attention to what she’d said. “Looks like Casper’s concern meant nothing to you. They all looked average. but just a place to talk about their passion for music and why they wanted to continue to pursue it. It was then she realized that she had been incredibly rude to everyone—since she’d been so exhausted. and piercings covering her face—simply because she was so different from everybody else. She didn’t want to pursue the dream as a pianist.

she’d never seen the sky gray. finally realizing. She sighed. Swallowing. ***** She went outside after the gathering and breathed in fresh air. so they should all have been in the dorms. Just before she went up the last flight of stairs to her floor. She looked over her shoulder to see what it was. But it wasn’t Zane the stalker girl was interested in…it was Seth. She headed back towards the dorm. It was starting to rain. Tiffany’s man.Just great. He noticed her walk up. She stopped when water splashed on her nose. She guessed she’d never thought about how the other girls would feel if she started to be friends with Zane Noble. she looked up at the lecturer and attempted to be happy about her warm greeting. When she made it to the third floor. She looked down at herself. they had returned back into their rooms. Slowly she set off up the stairs again. hurrying as fast as her sore ankle would let her. she saw Zane leaning against her door with his arms folded. Since she’d been above ground. She realized that she was sopping wet. It was going to be a long class. The door creaked open and she peeked down the hallway. She didn’t even get to identify who the culprits were—by the time she could open her eyes and the white haze cleared enough for her to see. and then scanned her from head—to—toe. This really was too much. Feeling a little better. The lights were off. trailing water through the hall. that it was hard not to react so unusually. she heard a thump behind her. It looked kind of unwelcoming and cold with gray rainclouds looming above it. And was pelted with bags of flour. Great. She stared at it. so the dull beam that came in through the windows gave it a creepy ambiance. Then it splashed onto the ground beside her. she held out her hands and let the rain cover her from head to toe. It was her first time experiencing rain in so long. she just happened to get stuck in a group with Tiffany and Henrietta. frowning up at the sky. She didn’t hear the doors open behind her. Maybe everyone was in their rooms. She slowly made her way up the stairs. moved his head to look in her direction. Where was everyone? Activities were over and it was raining outside. It was gray. She felt her daggers digging into her chest as she sat opposite the crazy teenager. . She knew that they weren’t happy she was still living across the hall from. It was clear he was much loved. They weren’t happy to see her. Besides feeling uneasy about approaching any of the guys. It was nice to not have the suffocating aura of Tiffany’s hatred around her. After she’d enjoyed the summer shower. she went through the black gates and headed back to the dorm.

She walked slowly towards him, not taking her eyes away from his face. “I can put up with this,― she said quietly and determinedly. He raised his eyes to look at her, his head bent. She took another step. “I’ll endure anything. I’m not leaving this floor.― She hobbled forward a few more steps and stood in front of him. He stared back, his lips pressed together, as though in thought. She coughed nervously and bowed her head low. Here goes nothing…“I’m sorry I was rude yesterday. I’m sorry I’m being so annoying. I’m sorry I’ve ruined your time at camp. I’m sorry I’m being so stubborn and won’t leave.― She swallowed and looked up at him. “But thank you.― Zane watched her apologize without changing the expression on his face. That didn’t mean his eyes weren’t showing anything though. He stood up straight, lifting his weight off of her door. “Why did you just thank me?― He said, the hidden curiosity slipping through the tone of his voice. She smiled at him brightly, brushing her flour clogged hair out of her eyes. “For allowing me to say sorry.― ***** When the door had closed to her room, Zane remained where he was, staring at the same spot without realizing that she’d left. What had she said? That he’d allowed her to say sorry? No. He hadn’t done that. She got it wrong. But why had he waited for her? He shook his head, looking around to see if anyone noticed his momentary lapse in personality. He had wanted her to beg and plead for his forgiveness. He had wanted to tell her that she may as well leave Sunnyside, especially Royal Haven, because it was obvious no one was going to leave her alone until she did. But seeing her, covered in flour, drenched from head to toe and still limping…it had been a pretty pitiful sight. At first he’d felt vindicated. Or at least that’s what he thought he felt. It was a little mixed up. Jumbled in his mind. He’d timed it perfectly. He’d seen the weather and knew that she was still at her class, and that she’d left without an umbrella. All he had had to do was take advantage of the group idolization, mention to a few people what he wanted done, and they’d sucked the suggestion in like a vacuum. Since she wasn’t responding to his efforts to get her to leave, he

figured that the only other way to get rid of the girl was to have her bullied. He wanted her to hurt. She’d made him lower his guard, show emotions he hadn’t expressed for such a long time and mocked him at every opportunity. So she had to pay for it. He stormed back into his room, slamming the door hard. Red was vulnerable. She would cave under the bullying, eventually leaving the school, or at least Royal Haven. He couldn’t take her fake innocence act, anymore. Rich kids were stubborn, snobby and full of themselves, so she should be too. Zane threw himself onto the bed, placing both hands underneath his head after raking a hand through his wild hair. She’d thanked him. That was what made it worse. THANKED him, as though thanking him for getting her bullied. And she’d said it like she’d known it was him. “I can put up with this. I’ll endure anything. I’m not leaving this floor.― Zane turned over and let out a frustrated sigh. Why? Why the third floor? Why Royal Haven? Why him? He liked his life the way it was, his feelings set and cold. He didn’t like Red stirring everything up. So it was simple, he had to get rid of her. ***** Why Zane Noble? Why a summer camp? Why her? She considered pulling out of the mission. She wasn’t getting anywhere. All she needed was to be close enough to one person, so that she could remain at his side, ready to prevent any attack by Blaine. And what would she do. Blaine was bound to turn up eventually and if he did, she didn’t have a cell phone, earpiece or a gun to defend herself with. According to Dexter, having a gun on her at all times would wreak havoc. One, if it was accidentally discovered, her cover would be blown. Two, she was so naive that the possibility of point one happening was pretty big. Three, she had no idea if she was actually good enough with a REAL gun. Sure, she’d used simulators and practiced with wooden pistols. But she’d never shot a REAL gun. She sighed and slumped on her bed. It was only 7pm and it already felt past midnight. She’d showered and changed, noticing with relief that the bump on her head had gone. The swelling on her ankle had even gone down a little and that was good, considering it had only been a day. She was bored. She’d been above ground for probably a week and a half and she was already bored. She guessed you needed friends if you really wanted to have a good time. Rising to her feet, she decided she would go and

visit Casper. He wasn’t her priority, but being friends with him had brought her considerably closer to Zane. There was a knock at the door. She froze for a second, a cold chill running down her spine. Would it be Zane? What was she supposed to say to him? She made her way to the door and opened it slightly. It was the girl with bright red hair and piercings. She smiled politely at her and held out something in her hand. “It’s a man called Agent Dexter. He keeps saying your name.― Looking down into the girl’s hand, she realized it was her pin. The dog pin. She swallowed. “I think you’d better come in…― This wasn’t good. This wasn’t good at all. The girl—who she had learned was called Vikki—was sitting on her bed, looking around the room. She acted just like she was a kid at Christmas, gazing at all the presents under the tree. Red supposed that would be her reaction too. She’d taken the dog pin and put it in her ear, picking up the boat pin too. The moment she settled it comfortably in her ear, she heard Dexter’s worn out voice, constantly calling her name. “H—Hello?― She said timidly and quietly. “RED. RED IS THAT YOU? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I’VE BEEN TRYING TO GET A HOLD OF YOU FOR HOURS AND THEN WHEN YOU PICK UP, YOU DON’T SPEAK? WHERE’S THE CAMERA? WHAT HAP—― “Dexter, I think my cover’s been blown.― She looked cautiously over to the girl, who was staring back at her. Vikki sat there, her legs crossed and her arms behind her, chewing gum. “Huh? What?― he said, sounding calmer than he had before. She cleared her throat. “I lost the pin and she found it. She could hear you calling my name. I can’t make up any excuse that’ll be good enough,― she said with an apologetic tone. There was a chance they’d get pulled off the mission. There was silence on the other end of the line as a reply. “Red, you’ll have to think of something,― he said,

as though there was the chance someone could be hiding. She slapped a hand to her mouth. Either way. Cupping her hands over her mouth. moving backwards and smiling at her.― She leaned forward and looked around the room cautiously. letting out a deep sigh. “I don’t have any friends. “Do I look like the type of person a rich kid would want to hang around with?― Red seriously examined Vikki and considered the questions. then Zane could be killed—― she cut herself off.― Vikki whispered into her ear. “I won’t tell a soul. She heard Dexter curse down the end of the line. I’m pretty sure your target is one of the guys that live on this floor. “I’m amazed you got this far with the amount of stuff you’ve spilled to me within a couple of minutes. her eyes flickering through several emotions.― she whispered. she widened her eyes. “You’re an undercover agent right?― She blew a bubble with her gum and grinned at her. I’ll come visit you tomorrow.urgency lacing his every word. Surprisingly. “Or an assassin. Red stared at the redhead. the girl giggled. “I don’t see anything wrong with you.― “H—How did you know that?― she said before she could stop herself.― Vikki stared at Red silently for a minute. If this gets out. The girl was still grinning at her. Vikki looked back. Red found herself leaning in. “None?― she asked. reaching out to grasp her hand with both of hers. . Red took the pin out of her ear and placed it on the desk. Vikki shook her head and gestured to herself. Red looked back at the grinning girl. She looked back over to the girl. she just wouldn’t stop. Had she said something wrong? Red wondered what it could be. “Red—― he stopped. you can’t tell anyone.― Vikki mimicked closing a zipper over her mouth. I haven’t told anyone. “Hey. sitting beside Vikki. Despite her panic. God. “Please.― Vikki placed a hand on Red’s shoulder. “I’ll let you in on a secret of mine.― The line went dead. “I’ll leave this one to you. don’t look so down.

Red started from the very beginning. right?― Vikki just sat there. God knows why. Red nodded quickly. “Let’s be friends. but at the same time. her brown eyes staring deep into Red’s blue ones. actually smiling at her sudden change in subject. she felt happy. You sure are missing out. and then her expression turned slightly emotional.― Red looked surprised at her sudden outburst. Then lowered it again. Then she grinned and nodded. these beds aren’t as bouncy as the ones in Royal Nature. Chapter 10: Crimson Casper raised his fist to knock on the door. grabbing hold of her elbow. we can keep each other’s secrets and help each other when we need to. frowning in thought. and someone she could turn to because of that fortunate accident hadn’t she? Leaning forward. “If we’re friends. he just felt like he needed a mood lift and the only person who could do that was Red. What was it about the spunky girl that was so captivating? The childlike smile? The way she was different from everyone else? The fact that she had an innocent air about her that rivaled his own? .― The redhead commented. special agent?― Her question made Red’s stomach sink.― Red found herself watching the girl. will you tell me why you’re here. He wanted to see her. “Friends?― Vikki replied in a quiet voice. If we’re friends. So one person had discovered her secret? But she’d gotten a friend out of the mix—up. Vikki stopped bouncing to look at her with a question in her eyes.Vikki shuffled around on Red’s bed and started to bounce on it while sitting down. “Wow. we’ll be friends. “You sure have pretty eyes. “Alright. She snapped out of her trance.

“No. He jutted his chin out.― “Casper—― Red moved towards him. He stubbornly stayed put. Couldn’t Zane see she was tired? The door opened a crack and a strange rush of adrenaline surged through Casper’s body when he saw Red’s innocent face peeking up at him. angel. but for once he wasn’t going to listen. She smirked up at him. She looked behind her. He’d just say hi. bewilderment spread across her entire face. She leaned backwards on her arms and looked over to a confused Red. “Last time I checked. Why did you just—― Casper pushed past Red and stalked over to the red—headed girl. You can’t be. “S—She’s a friend. He narrowed his eyes at . you didn’t want friends.― Vikki drawled.― She pushed her face close to Casper’s. “Red and I share something special. who was watching the scene with wide eyes. “Hello. and then leave her to do what she wanted. “Why is Icky Vikki in your room?― He said.― Vikki smirked and moved backwards. his face set in an expression similar to what a child would do when refusing an order from a parent. then back to Casper. He hadn’t been offended.― Casper looked at Red. He shifted his gaze back to the girl in front of him. Red! Whatcha doing? I thought you might want some company so came over—― he stopped talking when he noticed she wasn’t alone in the room. “What? Can’t I be?― He folded his arms. Zane had told him not to bother her after she had been ‘rude’ to them the day before. His stomach sunk. Vikki held up her hand and rose to her feet. his tone flat and emotionless. he hammered his fist on the door with his eyes closed. it wasn’t up to you who I was friends with.Sucking in a breath. He didn’t notice Red’s surprised expression at his sudden rudeness. “Last time I checked. “Hey. “Hold on Red.― “Why are you friends with Red?― He pointed at Red to emphasize what he was saying. I got this.

you’re waiting for me to leave? Sorry. He stumbled dramatically back towards his room. But he couldn’t. “past curfew. He had an idea. Damn. Let’s hope you don’t get caught. He’d hugged Red… ***** She didn’t know how long she stared at the door after Casper had left. The dorm leaders would come around and check to make sure that the girls and boys were in their own rooms. The check—up done hourly and unless you had a specific reason. Red’s not finished with me and you happen to be on the girl’s side of the dorm. “Alright.― he said. He leaned over and switched his lamp off. Vikki was the one who snapped her out of her stupor. his arms still folded. “If you hurt her—― “—what? You’ll hurt me? Like that’ll ever happen. . He placed a hand on the back of her head and stroked her hair down. He’d hugged Red. Vikki watched his every move as he did. he rested against the wall. “I’ll see you later. staring over his shoulder at Red’s door before opening his door and falling in. One side of his mouth rose up.― Vikki checked her watch. He stared at her.― Casper put his nose in the air and started to walk away. Then before his face turned red with embarrassment. Casper noticed this was right. “Oh.― Swallowing. mimicking his posture. When he shut her door behind him and emerged into the hallway. Damn it. he left. His heart felt like it was jumping out of his throat and his neck was hot. staggering towards his bed. She blinked before looking at the new friend standing in front of her. loud enough for Vikki to hear. you were chucked out. Damn curfew.― She folded her arms. an aura of hatred buzzing in the air between the two. then sent a quick glance towards Red. She was still confused. suddenly wanting to go to sleep. that would make sense to the adults. he must be getting ill. His breathing was fast and deep. Red. for being on the other side. He wandered over to Red and wrapped one arm around her neck and pulled her into a hug. It was a lot like being at a boarding school. I’ll leave first. I’m afraid I’m not going anywhere. He’d hugged her. he collapsed onto it.her. Casper turned to glare at her before he left.

Red was pulled sideways and yanked out of her happy mood. they added to her appearance. Her attackers had sat her on a chair. She couldn’t stop her attackers from tying her up and leading her away. despite the piercings on her nose. hard. I had no idea you were friends with Cupid. wincing when the impact caused a rush of pain to her sore ankle. But she had no idea where she was. knowing it would be strange if she did. she had finally made a friend who knew everything about her. but the next morning. Vikki was actually very pretty. She’d been the first real friend Red had ever had.― Vikki had her hands on her shoulders and she looked towards the door. she felt a lot better than she should have. Vikki grinned at her. but a hand covered her mouth. with her arms tied behind her. I’ll tell you. Red noticed that close up. Before she reached the building.― Vikki moved her gaze back to Red and dropped her arms. “Well. Vikki had stayed with her late into the night and part of the morning and they just talked. She resisted the urge to skip for real toward the doors. If anything. narrowing her eyes at it as though she thought it possible to glare at Casper through it. She bit the flesh.― ***** She don’t know why. Perhaps it was because the night before. giving her a grim smile. Red gulped. “Why did you and he argue? I’ve never seen him act like that to anyone. to the inside. “We’re old childhood friends. she couldn’t defend herself. she realized that she was in a small dark room. “I—I didn’t expect him to…― she trailed off and shook her head. She turned a corner.― She sat down on the bed and Red followed suit. she was feeling pretty calm. When the blindfold was suddenly removed. Eventually she could tell that they’d gone from the outside. Then lashed out and kicked the person behind her. seeing as though I know everything about you and your secret bodyguard mission. Despite the fact that she had been taken against her will. She walked to the piano meeting with a happy skip in her step. . glad that she at least had a reason to be going. She started to scream.“Jeez. Vikki had come up with an idea to get closer to Zane. eyebrow and ears. and tied with some kind of strong material. in the distance. seeing the building that the meeting was held in. A blindfold was put over her eyes and her hands were pulled behind her back. What was happening? Was she being kidnapped? With her injuries. her miserable expression gone.

This was his best idea yet. She knew what her captors wanted her to do. But they didn’t help her figure out where she was. there had to be something she could cover herself with? She couldn’t care less what it was. she felt very. The lights turned on. There were windows to the outside. Her attackers had made sure it was completely empty. there wasn’t anything in the closet that could help her. and then make her way back to the dorm. it looked like. No. She yelped and started to kick whoever was doing this to her. She was sitting on a chair in nothing but her underwear and a pair of shoes. she wasn’t really sure. Run naked outside. What was she supposed to do now? She sighed. She glanced around the room. her shirt was gone. She slowly edged her way to the door. She was half—naked in a dark room. The moment she was free. heading for the small hallway on the right. Well. This look liked an older. she glanced in one and found a bathroom. “Let’s see how you get out of this one. Surely. There were a couple of open doors. And it was empty. She felt the bindings on her arms being cut loose. Red cleared her throat. when she thought she was better than everyone else. “I don’t know. not spotting anything that could help. They wouldn’t… She heard a rip and before she knew it. She bent down and opened the sink cupboard. very cold and vulnerable. He’d only had to resort to such tactics once before. in order to get some stubborn girl to leave. she stood up and looked around the room. She sucked in a breath when she felt someone pull at her shirt. What do you want?― she replied. Her body wasn’t exactly something she worried about.“Alright. She was naked. “Are you confident of your body?― What a strange question. ***** Zane smiled smugly to himself. Red?― An unfamiliar female voice said from the darkness. She was in a closet. shall we?― the voice said. But she couldn’t stop them and the trousers were swept away from her body. And spotted just what she needed. opening it a crack. “Go away!― she shouted angrily. “I’m feeling alright. She carefully left the room. Suddenly. . She didn’t know where she was. She heard footsteps. There was nothing she could use to clothe herself in the room outside the closet. Now that she thought about it. There was a cupboard under the sink. Filled with embarrassment and self—loathing. they thought she would leave. Why?― She felt her pants being tugged away from her. In a closet. abandoned house.

Public humiliation. dressed in nothing but a cheap plastic bag. Who wouldn’t? There she was. just scurried past him like he didn’t even exist. She scurried up the stairs past a group of girls. Folding his arms. No rich kid could withstand being humiliated in front of everyone. Her cheeks warmed up. Well. and the embarrassed frown on her forehead. judging by the red cheeks on her unusually pale skin. it seemed to be getting worse. He should have felt satisfied. He grabbed her wrist. Then—just like before—she’d ignored the message and hadn’t left. But of course the infuriating girl had used her brains and grabbed something to cover herself with. She’d be arriving any minute. Was it her. And by the looks of it. and stepped onto her floor. the girl causing him all this trouble. It was a very clear warning. the bullying was going to continue. He looked at her. or did everyone seem to be skipping their meetings today? She pressed the black garbage bag closer to her chest and hurried past a group of boys. the teenage boy side of him felt disappointed. She felt like a complete idiot. she was embarrassed. . Deep down inside. So this time he’d taken it a step further. who wolf—whistled jokingly. Checking his watch. it wasn’t like she had a choice. She couldn’t leave. she’d obviously been humiliated. She rushed up the stairs and let out a sigh of relief as she left the third staircase. He’d expected her to be wearing nothing but her underwear. She started to dread what happened next. He hadn’t expected that. dressed in nothing but a garbage bag. But he didn’t. she hurried as fast as her hurt ankle would carry her. he hopped up suddenly and opened his door. he leaned back in his chair and smiled genuinely.He’d requested his minions cover Red in flour the other day to remind her of the day she’d arrived in camp. ***** Wow. who pointed and laughed loudly at what she was wearing. She sighed. So. after getting lost three times. Not even a little. As she finally made her way into Royal Haven. so that meant she had to take it. Only to bump straight into Zane. for the first time in what seemed ages. The worst thing was she didn’t say anything. happy that his goal was in sight.

***** “And here’s your cell phone. He noticed that her limp was worse.― He smiled back and laughed slightly. we know the campus. “You don’t need to know. She flipped it over. She nodded. It’s more foolproof. “Aren’t you curious as to why I didn’t ask why you were dressed like that?― he asked her.― She grinned at him. That’s all she said. He stood there. it’s my duty. Just simply said that he didn’t need to know. he did seem to be taking more notice of her than he had before. “I’m an agent.― she said simply before heading into her room. staring at her door for at least two minutes. He scanned her up and down. Dexter sighed. “Where did you .― she stated in a serious tone. like answering to a military commander. He sat next to her and she prepared herself for the interrogation. So you can leave the pins in your room. narrowing his eyes. It looked pretty simple to use. She hadn’t yelled. “What?― she said grumpily. looking at him with a disgruntled gaze. phone in hand and a whole lot of questions for her. or accused him of doing it. He folded his arms. obviously. compact phone. “Have you at least progressed?― She frowned in thought.― Dexter handed her a small. She nodded firmly as she said it. keeping his eyes firmly on hers. “I’m sorry I’ve had to put you through this. “Have you made friends with him yet?― She shook her head. She was dressed now. looking at her with sad eyes. He grasped her chin and moved her face sideways. Well. “How did you patch up the situation yesterday?― “I and the girl are now very close friends. She gently tugged her wrist free from his grip. so you didn’t ask. Dexter had arrived shortly after she got back to her room. Live footage isn’t required any longer. use this instead of the earpiece. know the players.She turned around. Then he stopped. This was getting ridiculous.

Now that you mention it. and then all my clothes were stripped off. I’m not sure who did it. “Some girls did it to me. She stared at him suspiciously. It was quite an enlightening.― Although she had a pretty good idea who had orchestrated the entire thing. she didn’t know what it felt like to be bullied. You’re right. we don’t want to draw attention t you. He scoffed in disbelief. “Just this morning I was kidnapped. Dexter looked horrified. I’m sorry. put in a closet. like she was stupid. Besides. Besides. “What?― “Some girls did—― “No. She studied his face. “It’ll just bring attention to me. She didn’t. half—lying. He sighed again and rose to his feet. I had to come back here in a garbage bag. There’s nothing I can do to help with this. Has anything else like this been happening?― She nodded. technically she was being stupid. Well. Why?― He asked.― He looked alarmed. what did she mean by that? She was talking about Seth. tied up.― Dexter looked at her in disbelief. or something. It didn’t seem like it. I heard what you said. unless they try something really bad.― she said.― She pointed to it in the corner of her room. He stared at her intently for a moment and then released his hold. . It’s not affecting me at all.get that?― Feeling confident that she could tell Dexter without the worry of the girls being in trouble. moving forward. “They said I was stealing some girl’s man. This is why I have to ask you not to use any of your self—defense skills against these girls. “Have you reported this?― She shook her head. He grasped her shoulders. she wasn’t sure she had any skills. “Unbelievable. “It’s fine.― He gave her a look which she was obviously supposed to understand. He looked upset. Having spent her entire life underground. “Red. she shrugged. yet painful experience. tipping her head to the side. running a hand through his short hair. taken to an abandoned house.

“And that would be?― Zane asked. she noticed another figure staring after him. He could tell when she was lying and he knew that she wasn’t. He leaned against Seth’s door in his usual. She turned her head slowly to stare at Zane. “Are you really that blind?― he replied harshly. Damn. “Who was he?― Her eyes widened.“I better leave before I’m spotted and raise any unwanted attention. he moved back. He sent her a weird look. She accepted his comfort. what’s better than the truth? Zane examined her face. He moved his head in the direction Dexter had just gone. The others were like crazy uncles. squeezing her shoulders tightly with his hands. She froze. Again. He opened it and made his way down the hall. going anywhere nice—― she stopped talking when Zane put a hand on her doorframe. Think Red. Something was different about him. “What are you doing?― She bunched her lips to the side in thought. insolent position. before releasing them and heading out the door. He pulled away. She narrowed her eyes. “I’m waiting for Seth. subconsciously leaning towards him so she could see him clearer. Dexter was her only fatherly figure.― He looked at her once then pulled her into a hug.― Zane stared at her. Sniffing. His bangs… . Then he snorted silently. Obviously. She narrowed her eyes. watching him come forward. “Hey Zane. what are you doing out here?― He stared at her blankly. leaning in toward her face. “A close friend. “You look… different somehow. He’s like a dad to me. As she turned to go back inside.― Ha. she noticed something extremely different. think. “Oh. thinking hard about what it was that seemed different. He lifted his hands up and brushed down his bangs. Of all the agents that lived with her underground. She watched him leave. She laughed nervously. She stayed where she was.― He shifted away from the door and stepped towards her and her door.

― Cool. “The package had left the building. It looked really stylish and suited him a lot more than his old haircut. On the other side his hair was tucked behind his ear. Seth walked out. She could at least text Dexter and let him know that.― For some reason. Zane watched the exchange in irritation. bounding closer to him. He stood there uncomfortably. nodding. “Well. Spy talk.― he ordered his friend. She smiled sweetly at him. She raised a hand and waved to Seth. “I don’t remember asking for your opinion. he glared at her when she said this. It was all brushed forward. hello. I gave you it already so I can’t take it back. hiding it completely. They were both interrupted when the door to Seth’s room opened. She reached down and picked up the cell phone that Dexter had left. Long time no see. it sure does look cool. He edged backward like she was about to bite him.― She walked around him. his smile widening. Red. Zane didn’t bother to turn around as he headed down the stairs.― he said bluntly. “It’s nice to see you again. . She beamed up at him. with one part of his bangs left to hang over one eye.― She replied smoothly. “Ah.― His voice always sent a shiver down her spine. very cold. Sighing. noticing the two in surprise. It felt so empty without anyone there and for some reason. examining it. His usually messy hair had been tamed. He nodded back.“Oh! You’ve got a new hairstyle!― she exclaimed. who waved back. “Wow. she looked around the room. knowing that Zane wasn’t in the room across the hall left her feeling very. but how was she supposed to do that if he went on outings and didn’t invite her? Closing the door behind her. She was supposed to be keeping an eye on Zane. she watched them leave before heading back into her own room. “Let’s go.

― Seth slid into one of the booths and placed his chin in his palm. pushing open the door to the cafe. which he was determined to rip away from her.― he said coldly. Red. his eyes still focused on the passing cars outside.― he said simply. Zane watched his friend. It was a classic 60’s diner that had never been remodeled.Chapter 11: Navy She must have purposely not noticed his hair to annoy him. They were both heading towards a local cafe just outside the camp which they went to occasionally. and not clever at all. Seth smiled. He liked the atmosphere of the place more than the food. moved into the room opposite Casper’s. “Does she bother you that much?― “She’s fake. Can’t you tell when you look into her eyes? It’s like she’s just woken up after eighteen years of being asleep. “I don’t think that innocence is false.― Zane replied. to eat their favorite meals. or upset.― Seth said to his friend. One who doesn’t try to out—bitch all the girls around her. these words got to Zane. “She’s like this untouched. Although you were usually not allowed to leave the campsite. unimportant. “You seem to have taken a liking to her. leaning back into the booths’ seat. just kept springing up and surprising him… “Are you okay? You look a little sick. Zane looked at him dismissively. you’ve been unusually quiet and distant. pure. staring ahead of him and pretending not to notice Zane look at him. His friend—who never attempted to make other friends—had said something so…un—Seth like. folding his arms. the two of them regularly snuck out to the cafe.― Seth watched him cautiously for a few more moments. That stupid innocent expression she always had on her face and that fake personality. “I’m fine. annoying. and innocent girl. resting his elbow on the table and looking out the window. you know? I do like her. For some reason. Everything about her bother’s me. “Ever since that girl. About a girl Zane was trying to get rid of.― Seth stared at his friend in concern. .

― She felt her shoulders drop. It was the voices and loud footsteps that woke her up. She gulped and her eyes widened. giving him a toothy smile. She was afraid if she waited inside. the tension falling out of them. There was silence. Oh dear. So long. Zane’s one gray eye stared at her. It was her duty as Zane’s bodyguard to make sure that he got home alright. “And it looks like you are. ***** She waited outside her door until Seth and Zane came home. She really couldn’t take that tonight. I need to talk to Red. I’ll be going now. would his friend be angry? Deep in his heart he had the feeling that his best friend of sixteen years might be really upset. She looked at him and nodded quickly.― Zane’s voice was quiet. She stepped outside and closed the door behind her. She looked up at Zane. “You’re back! That’s a relief. looking up at him questioningly. It did take them an awfully long time to get back. but she heard it. in fact. she felt herself wanting to look at him forever.He wondered if he told Seth that the person behind Red’s very unfriendly bullying was him. “Wait.― he told his friend. He almost looked concerned. ready to leave. “What is it?― she asked. one hand resting on the doorknob.― She smiled happily at them both. Usually. When she lifted her head off the arms she had resting on her bent knees. She clambered to her feet. “Seth. It had usually . every time she saw that new haircut of his. looking behind him once before entering. not taking his eyes off of her. And that was bad. Throwing a smile at him might prevent him from getting mad. being alone with Zane resulted in him getting angry. the she fell asleep huddled against the wall outside her door.― She turned around and opened her door. she’d curl up on her bed and just fall asleep. Seth reluctantly turned and strolled back to his room. She turned around slowly. she saw Seth and Zane looming over her. Damn. “I wanted to make sure you were back safe. “Were you waiting all this time for us to come back?― Seth spoke up suddenly. He’d used the tone a mother would use on her child.

His eyes glazed out for a moment. Then she cleared her throat. that’s all. as long as they were back before curfew. It didn’t really change anything. she rested her forehead against the cool wood. She’d get over it. He needed to get away. Because they weren’t real friends. She opened her mouth to reply. It seemed to work for the slightest of seconds. But hearing the confession come from his mouth had hurt. struggling hard to keep it on her face as she shut the door. Him? He was the one responsible for the flour and the clothes thieves? But he had told her when she first arrived at the dorm that she had nothing to do with him. She had a job to do. She was his bodyguard and he was just a mission. He hated the naive girl and wanted to get rid of her so badly. . So she shouldn’t have felt like she’d had a knife thrust through her heart. Her feelings were hurt. it never took much to move people along. His power. The truth had been staring her right in the face. Red had truly looked broken. Somewhere inside she had known it was him. I’m tired. He hadn’t slept all night. For one thing. forcing a smile on her face. He must have lied? Why would he hate her so much? This just didn’t make sense to her. you’ll leave and never come back. and that the others did what they felt like. Did he know that his admission had caused her so much pain? Was that part of his plan? To hurt her more than any physical pain or humiliation ever could? ***** Zane woke up the next morning. It had only been in her eyes for a moment. His dislike. On Free Days campers were free to roam outside the grounds. It was that small part of her that wasn’t naive. Now if you don’t mind.worked when she was a little kid and Dexter got angry with her. glad that it was a Free Day. yet he always felt a sinking feeling in his gut after striking her down. “So? I already told you I can deal with it. Hurt a lot more than she thought it would.― She grinned at him. When she closed herself in her room. I waited up half the evening for someone who clearly didn’t need to be worried about. then went back to the cold harshness they usually showed. “I’m the one behind the silly little pranks that keep being pulled on you. It was a picture that appeared in front of his eyes whenever he closed them and he hadn’t fallen asleep until the sun was rising outside. See you in the morning. but nothing came out. This shouldn’t hurt so much.― Her stomach dropped. but he’d seen it. Because I want you to be so hurt and humiliated. He never used to be this cruel.

He opened his door.Especially the girls. Zane Noble. They usually collapsed and ran away first thing after discovering that their rooms had been coated in flour because they weren’t wanted. Do you ever miss your parents?― There was silence for a moment. The whole experience has been strange. then his gray eyes widened and his hand froze. But he couldn’t resist. He. He brushed his new hairstyle with a comb. No one could withstand this much abuse without cracking. And the more he did to her. He could plainly hear the voices inside. He shouldn’t have listened. Slowly. and then leave her alone. Red was impossible. “About eight or nine years. “So how long were you down there for?― He heard a girl’s voice that didn’t belong to Red. He leaped out of bed. No one would bother to stay in a place where they so obviously weren’t wanted. Down where? Came up from where? “But being brought up by a bunch of guys must have been hard. It was below him. “They died when I was so little. So I don’t really remember much about them…― . He didn’t remember Red having a friend. He noticed the door was open a bit. I don’t really have pictures of them and the “Uncles― who raised me don’t really talk about them. He’d committed to eavesdropping. as though hiding him from the world. He wouldn’t tell them to do anything and it wouldn’t be his fault if they kept bullying the girl. began to feel guilty over such a pointless thing. The only way to get rid of the guilty feeling eating at his gut would be to see her smiling again. only to be flattened by such a small prank. he moved to the side so he was standing flat against the wall. a smirk on his face as he walked across the hall and down to Red’s room.― Nothing they said made any sense. It made him feel so much more mysterious. He would even go so far as to say she wasn’t human. and he wouldn’t have to watch her expression if the others kept on with the pranks. He sat up. That way he wouldn’t feel guilty. It covered half his face. I just came up for the first time a couple of weeks ago that. she did. They were so sure they’d be good enough to reach the top. He frowned. feeling better already. but very clearly heard voices from inside. He raised a fist to knock. the more he felt bad about it. It wouldn’t be his fault then. And yet. right? He could do that. He’d see her smile. He liked it. He rubbed his forehead.

So I grabbed hold of it and didn’t let go. Why did she have to be exactly the same as him? ***** She carefully removed the t-shirt from her suitcase. spreading his knees apart to rest his elbows on them. the guilt had piled onto him tenfold. The rest of his clothes were taken away. So. She still loved it. She straightened it out in her hand and passed it over to Vikki. He placed his head into his hands. I guess. You’d think that her being an orphan wouldn’t change anything. ‘You could say they’re in the clouds. but as a child.― She . he slowly bent down to sit on the edge of his bed. as though it were fragile and could break at the slightest touch. After he closed the door behind him. She was an orphan. then she obviously wasn’t very affected by their deaths. She was an orphan. “This was my dad’s. Red’s parents were dead. “It’s the only picture I have. If she didn’t remember her parents. Because Zane stopped listening. It changed a lot. ‘I haven’t seen them since I was ten. so. He was an idiot. She was an orphan.’ He was stupid. Not because Red stopped talking. stupid.’ God. She picked at the small pocket that was in the bottom left of the t-shirt and unfolded a creased picture. Why did she have to be an orphan? Why did she have nowhere else to go? Why? He rested his forehead against the wall he had just kicked. then brought it over to Vikki.’ He stood up quickly and shrieked in frustration. so. kicking the wall beside his bed—hard. It was a simple black t-shirt that sagged around the neck fashionably. this had been my favorite. ‘I’ve got nowhere else to go.The rest faded out.― She smiled sadly and looked down at the shirt. The word ‘LIVE’ was spread across it diagonally. I was about ten. so. Because now. He walked back to his room in a trance. in rainbow letters. But it did.

“I can’t believe this is all you have left.― Vikki looked down at it and smiled sadly. It was obviously risky for her to be an agent like them. Red held the picture of her parents in her hand and squeezed it. enough soppy stuff. “Alright. It was true—this was all she had left of a time she really didn’t remember. It had been taken a week before her parent’s deaths. feeling a whole lot better. All the other pictures had to be destroyed. Red laughed. smiling. she was relieved to think about something else. She leaned forward to look at the picture. unwilling to think about that time in her life. for the Force. She took off the t-shirt she’d been wearing and replaced it with her dad’s. He was sure to have forgotten all about her. Vikki sniffed. It was such a happy picture. She shrugged. .― Red looked up at her friend. she would be killed. telling her to pull through. I have a plan that will help you get to be friends with Zaney boy. Her dad was grinning at the camera. Everything else had to be taken away. She left the dorm. That she was a big girl now. I like to wear this when I’m feeling down. trying to hide the same sadness inside. too. but this was the first time she had actually worked close to the person who’d killed her parents and they had died eight years ago.shook her head. “Red—― “It’s alright. Her eyes were shining. sniffing. We’re going to take a trip into town.― She grinned at Vikki. She was laughing happily and her mom was softly kissing her cheek. It makes me feel like my dad has wrapped me in his arms. in order to hide the fact that her parents had ever given birth to a child.― she whispered. a hand on her head. On her sixteenth birthday Dexter had explained that if Blain ever found her. It was a close shot of all their faces. She could almost feel her dad comforting her. she could do it.― She put her hands on Red’s shoulders and led her out of the room. her bright red bangs flopping down in front of her face. Vikki smiled back sympathetically. She stood to her feet and wiped her nose. “You look so much like your dad.

― She grinned again and then ripped the plastic covering off of Red. close your eyes. putting a strange substance on it before covering in foil. She waited. Red smiled and screwed her eyes shut.― she muttered. “Wow. dragging her by the arm out of the shop.― . Red had been to one to get her recent haircut. The hairdresser took only a small handful of the hair on the left side of her face. Vikki grinned at her.― Vikki ordered. He’ll want you to be his friend in no time. It looked incredible. Thrusting all of the clothing into Red’s arms. slightly confused.― Vikki replied when she voiced her concerns. you know…to match the name. “Now you just need a little spontaneous color on that mop of yours. “Alright. putting her hands over Red’s eyes. next stop. She did.― Next. hearing only the slight rustle of the foil. She watched in fascination. Luckily. alright. Vikki led her to a hair salon. “You would think I would have had the beautician put in a bright red streak. She watched carefully as Vikki explained something to the hairdresser and then watched the hairdresser carefully as she made her way round to her side. She had no objection to that. But that was too obvious. you’re not supposed to see until the end. meeting her eyes in the mirror. so Vikki would take her hands off her face.― Vikki grinned. but she wondered if it would really help her get closer to Zane? Would a wardrobe change help that much? “Sure it will. feeling a slight tug at her hair and seeing nothing but darkness. Then she heard Vikki order her to open her eyes. so nothing was unusual to her. “Alright. Her mouth fell open and she raised her hand to grasp the now—bright blue streak in her dark. She looked down at it. “Hey.― She gawked.Chapter 12: Gray “This will DEFINITELY help you get Zane’s attention. It looked an awful lot like the type of clothes Vikki wore. black hair.

leaning towards them. if Vikki said it’d work. styled. It’ll take time. But her voice shook towards the end. Red.― She felt her pocket start to vibrate. that I’d want to leave and never come back. bought accessories. that’s all that matters. “He told me he wanted me to feel so hurt and humiliated. Any progress to report on your relationship with Zane?― At the mention of his name. How was she supposed to make friends with someone who hated her that much? She cleared her throat and forced a look of determination onto her face. it was a pretty safe bet he was the one on the other end. and at one point even taught about how to make friends with a boy. freeing her hands. She needed to tell the mission leader what was going on. she got a queasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.― . Her cell phone was ringing. it most probably would. Vikki grinned at her. Muttering under her breath. and with no emotion.― She tilted her head in the direction of Red’s pocket. Vikki leaned forward quickly and took them from her. The mission was. her arms aching with the weight as they crossed back onto the camp’s property. Come back when you’ve finished. “I’m sure he does. “I’ll go drop these off in your room. Dexter was quiet on the other end of the line.― It was a lot harder than she thought to repeat his words. She smiled and nodded. But. It had sounded suspicious to her. How often could you flutter your eyelashes and not look like an idiot? Then she had to smile in a certain way. picking the red phone out of her pocket and answering it.It was about five-thirty when Vikki finished dragging Red from place to place. she struggled to move all the bags to one arm to reach it. “Dexter?― Since he was the only one who knew her phone number. glad to see you’ve got it. She’d been so busy that she hadn’t had time to think about what he’d said yesterday. She carried all the bags. She thought she’d said it confidently. “What does daddy think? Does he approve?― Her friend looked down at the t-shirt Red was wearing. It was too confusing. he’s a very difficult person to get along with. She let out a quiet laugh and smiled at her crazy friend. Just seeing if you kept the phone on you. But her feelings weren’t important. plucked. given clothes. “Ah. “Red. As long as you keep an eye on him in the meantime. She’d been waxed.

“Shut it. she only heard shirt rip. Hart. what am I supposed to do? What if I can’t protect him?― she whispered to the shirt. She looked around. but they kept on leading her away. She kicked out and tried to stop walking. Her hands were held by someone and she was pulled from the bench. She lovingly straightened it out. despite the fact she couldn’t actually see anything with her eyes covered. just letting her mind wander. . She hung up too and stood still for a moment. Before she could let out a scream. Then she slowly walked over to a bench that sat on the outskirts of the camp’s forest. but the picture was all she had left of her parents. It seemed so loud in the silence of the forest. She didn’t feel the pain of four manicured nails swiping the skin on her back. and that was where she planned on keeping it. she figured she was deep in the forest. “Don’t you think this is going too far?― A quiet girl’s voice said. Two pairs of hands grabbed her shoulders. She sat on the bench for a few more minutes. If she yelled. and then realized he couldn’t see her. It made her happy to see that her dad had kept a picture of the family in his pocket and in a way. She slumped down on it. reaching into her pocket and pulling out the picture. The picture had been in the shirt then. coming back from their outings. They could hurt her all they wanted. She was so deep in thought she didn’t hear the footsteps coming up behind her. the collar ripped.She nodded. She couldn’t quite figure out who it was and struggled as the hands gripped her tightly. “Shut up. But she’d found the picture in the shirt when she’d walked into the room at Headquarters on the day the other agents had cleaned out her parents stuff. and dragged along the ground. Panic rose inside her. In the same moment. It wasn’t being— She was pulled back by the fragile t-shirt and pushed against a tree. to make sure it was never torn or damaged. “Dad.― a familiar female voice called out. No. A quiet ripping sound sent a wave of pure dread and horror over her. The picture was torn from her hands and she was shoved to the ground. tugging at the t-shirt she was wearing. she wanted to honor that memory. She deserves this. She should have put the photo in a frame by now.― He hung up. listening to the distant noises and watching as a few other people entered the gate. “Okay. a scrap of material was placed over her mouth and a blindfold was put over her eyes. would she be heard? It was so dark. Every time I see her with Seth.

especially on a Free Day. He swallowed down the nervousness he felt all of a sudden. Vikki leaned against his doorframe with her hands. “Where did you see her last?― He asked her.― Zane pushed her out of the way. wait up!― Vikki urged her legs to run to catch up with the boy in front of her. Was it Red? He approached the door quickly. “Red’s gone. It was a panicked. his cold gray . She’s been gone for two hours. It almost fell off the moment he saw Icky Vikki.― She was shoved against a tree. As the shirt was slowly torn and her hands were rendered useless behind her. I just want her to know how much it hurts me. It was dark. looking around and running a hand through his hair. ***** Zane didn’t usually have visitors. She wouldn’t leave without saying anything. finally broken. the streetlights bathing the trails and paths in dull light. She was missing? What if she had left? “Hey. She won’t answer her phone. but she couldn’t feel it. Zane exited the dorm. She wouldn—― “Stop. She— “You… don’t… have… to run… so fast. She’s been missing for two hours and I can’t find her anywhere. Red’s missing. She was out of breath and looking very worried.this is the pain I feel. Casper went to visit his relatives who were local and Seth just left without telling anyone where he was going. Casper’s old friend. It was being destroyed. urgent knock. She sobbed. alarm on his face. So he was very surprised when he heard a knock at his door. she felt herself breaking. He stared at her. so there were moving shadows he continued to mistake for her. She was being scratched all over. there’s no one else I could go to. “I’m sorry. She was being destroyed. opening it with his ‘I’m—superior’ expression on his face. He stepped forward and gripped her shoulders. He turned to her. Did he just hear what he thought he’d heard? “Repeat.― he ordered.― Vikki puffed as she stumbled out of the doors to the dorm. still trying to catch her breath. running out of his door.― Zane said suddenly. She wouldn’t have left without saying something. his bangs getting caught in the movement.

He stopped and heard the sniff again. she would stop and wipe her eyes with the back of her dirty arm. taking time to stop occasionally and look around. She was around somewhere. straightening. Had he heard right? A sniff and a muffled sob. Any sign of movement. They wouldn’t do something like that to please him… would they? He reached the bench and stopped jogging. not even noticing that he was breathing heavily. picking up what looked to be tiny pieces of paper. He saw it. It was right behind him. Fear. his eyes examining every little thing. He was too occupied to notice there was no hatred. She was so caught up. so upset. she— He froze. It was Red’s shoe. any rough ground that would show signs of— —a struggle. spidery tree. resting a hand on her shoulder. Her trembling hand dropped all of the pieces and her watery. struggling to breathe. shreds of a black shirt hanging on her. red. was Red. jogging towards the bench. He swung his head from side to side. he turned around. He looked deep into the forest and the shadows that made it look all the more ominous.― And he was gone again. worry. His heart leapt out of his chest and his throat clogged up with the wild emotions that ran through him all at once. swollen eyes snapped to his. It was too much at once. so hurt that she hadn’t even noticed him standing there. guilt. Every so often. Her legs were spread out behind her and she was frantically searching the forest floor. He felt dizzy. looking around him. . His movement slowly increased to a jog.eyes flitting with emotion. What if someone had decided to take the bullying up another step? He’d told them not to hurt her. A shoe. Then a run. She was on her stomach. He took a few steps forward and crouched. He bent down and slowly picked it up. and then started to walk quickly. She was bent over and holding her stomach. “I…we…by the bench… at the front gate. He couldn’t figure out what he was feeling. bloody scraps all over her back. Hiding in the dark shadow of a long. Slowly.

He saw a dash of blue. she was still apologizing. “I’m sorry. he ran a hand back through his hair and his eyes darted around before finally settling back on Red. he raised a hand to lift her face so she met his gaze. He hauled her up into a bridal carry. but no matter how much he tried. weak voice said into the silence. guilt and concern overpowered his senses. what brings you out here—― “Don’t?― he snapped at her. before returning to picking up the pieces of paper. as though trying to block out whatever she was thinking and the emotions behind those thoughts. She sent him an incredibly forced smile as she picked up another piece. “This was the only picture of my parents that I own. He didn’t know how long they looked at each other. Zane watched her in silence. She had stopped moving. . pity. He quickly searched the ground for other pieces. his old self always showed through. “What’s so important that you have to stay out here. flowing out of the box of emotions he had sworn to keep locked up and hidden.Sympathy. He wanted to. then leaned forward and placed his arm underneath Red’s bent legs and wrapped an arm around her back. He shoved all the pieces they’d gathered into his pocket. looking like that?― He couldn’t say what was running through his mind. Red didn’t refuse. She should have been surprised. He took the miniscule pieces of paper from her with his right. Even in her current state. this certainly did.― her quiet. If how she’d looked hadn’t done it. Red stopped moving for a second. but instead the hurt swamped her. He let out a humorless laugh. sweeping his hand away from her arm. He watched her pick up another piece of paper.― Zane looked down at the pieces in her hand. When her head dropped down. Cursing. Her expression was a look of complete pain and loss. her short. clearly trying to control her tears. “Hey Zane. hair cropping her face. But she broke the eye contact first. she turned back to pick up the bits of paper. “How can you still force a smile at a time like this? Look at yourself!― He swallowed and released his hold on her face. black. She sniffed again and wiped a hand across her eyes. and then grabbed the wrist of her hand that was holding onto the scraps with his left hand. She gripped the front of his t-shirt and scrunched her face up.

― She said his name. her eyes wide. finally happy that he had made the annoying. “You’ve only got a few scratches on your arms. We would have also done your back. He would have left her where she was. we were so worried. when we saw Zane carrying you here all torn up like that. thank God you’re okay. because she could smell him. but she would have noticed the mop of blonde hair anywhere. A warm liquid was being rubbed into them.― Casper rested his forehead on her shoulder and then lifted his head up to grin. feeling hands on her arm. easing the stinging throb. so she couldn’t see him clearly. helping her. staring at her uncomfortably. Strangely. pulling his hands away before resting one hand on her head. She blinked. He told himself he really would have left her there. Zane. “Guys! She’s awake!― She licked her lips and swallowed. “Red? Oh. if she hadn’t been just like him. “Casper. but you weren’t awake and it’d be really weird if we…― he trailed off. Chapter 13: Purple She wasn’t in her room.He would have complained about the trouble she was causing him. and then attempted to slowly sit up. She was confused. smiling girl totally miserable. She knew that. seeing him had made her feel better. She looked up to see who it was. The figure attending to her arm was blurry. A pair of hot hands wrapped themselves under her arms. Seth smiled warmly at her. “Red? Red!― Casper stopped what he was doing to her arm and sat up higher on his knees. “If you what?― . tearing her eyes away from him. not really intending to ask him anything specifically. She opened her eyes slowly. She smiled at him innocently. He didn’t have to say anything.

his hands shoved into the pocket of his casual suit. feeling hot. totally oblivious to the fact that he was making her heart beat uncomfortably.― Zane spat. do you want to talk about what happened?― Casper rested his arms on the sofa cushions. He released her and straightened up. He brushed his thumb along her face. It was his voice. Zane gazed down at her. “Huh? Something happened?― She looked at Seth.― A hand roughly squished her cheeks and pulled her head around. He was too focused on trying to look deep into her eyes. She swallowed when Seth moved his face close to her own. “It’s like she blocked it out. frowning in confusion. “The forest?― He raised an eyebrow in question. his knees pulled up with his elbows resting on them. She went to lean backwards against the sofa. It probably isn’t the best idea…having a room full of guys. “Ouch. maybe that’s a good thing. The shocking gray orbs never left her face. but stopping when a shadow loomed over her. Her eyes locked with Zane’s as he closely examined her face. He was staring directly at her. The blonde frowned at her. She shook her head. well. She tried to look over her shoulder. She peeked over the top of the sofa and saw him sitting on the floor.― Her chest constricted unwillingly. the . looking up at her expectantly. “You think she’s concussed?― A hot hand cupped her cheek gently and her head was moved to her right. folding his arms over his chest. his face blank. Casper shifted his gaze to Zane.― he spoke so quietly. studying her pupils. then let out a nervous laugh and glanced at Casper.“He’s trying to say that treating your back would mean we had to take off your torn t-shirt. opening his mouth to say something. strip you down. Her face dropped. She quickly sunk back behind the safety of the sofa. her blue eyes wide. hissing under her breath. then back to Casper. her cheeks feeling strangely hot. She stared at him like he was crazy. “Forest? What are you talking about?― She straightened up and scrambled out of the blanket that had been put over her. it was a wonder anyone in the room heard him. staring deep into her eyes. like she was a child. “You don’t remember anything at all?― He said slowly. Red. “Right. but then jumped forward again. She couldn’t move as his eyes shifted from side to side. Why did she feel obliged to thank him for something? “Hey.

sending another twinge of pain down her body. looking a lot madder than he had before. It took a lot of effort to stand straight on her legs. Casper’s expression meant he felt the same.tone of his voice completely different to the one he’d been using moments before. She knew something had happened. A strange tension filled the room as Zane and Seth stared at each other. So confused. She looked back. “It’s not like she’s disabled.― he snapped at his friend. She felt as if she were choking on the pressure. yet torn in the pit of her stomach. but when she thought back. The one time I actually hel—― He stopped himself. He looked slowly over his left shoulder. “I don’t believe it. She winced when a strange surge of pain ran up her back as she stood. She’d been in Zane’s room. and then shook his head. causing her to stumble over her own feet.― Seth demanded. What was going on? “Are you pretending to act ignorant so you don’t have to thank me?― He crossed his arms and looked at her angrily. knowing that her answer would probably upset him. and slamming it behind him. “I’m taking you back.― He swung around and stormed back into his room. “I don’t even care anymore. her arm was covered in scratches and she felt happy. She was confused. She nearly bumped into Zane’s back when he stopped suddenly. She felt her bicep being tugged and Seth’s hand fell from her face. be careful with her. He scoffed in disbelief.― Zane pulled hard on her arm. Zane was pulling her off of the sofa. She looked behind her at the closed door. Were Zane and Seth fighting? Zane half threw. wincing when he slammed the door. Why did she hurt so bad? “Zane. half pushed her toward her door. She frowned at him. . as though she could see Seth on the other side. opening the door to his room and pulling her into the hall. “Why would I need to thank you?― she asked hesitantly. and then she let out a big sigh. her back was stinging. both completely emotionless. Zane was the first to break eye contact.

you’ll have to share with someone you’re close to. She lifted her head up slowly to find the source. Casper grabbed his hand and shoved it back down to his side. Leo frowned. All of her personal belongings were floating on top of the water that had pooled in the room. He was creepy and everyone knew it. and torn apart. So she was limited to seeing if Vikki would . Her eyes were still wide with shock. She may have been naive. she probably tripped and hit her head on a rock. She took one step into her room and stopped. Not that she wanted the creepy guy anywhere near her. “I’ll look into this. ***** Leo sighed dramatically. you had to venture down a step into her room. That would explain the memory loss and scratches. but she knew it was no coincidence that her wardrobe had been opened and her clothes had been spread across the floor. all last minute reservations and all requesting a single room. Her room was completely flooded. Luckily. or else the water would have flooded the entire hallway when the door had been opened. baby. We had a group of boys come in last night. or someone hates you. Knowing her. That’s either coincidence. Damn. Seth pulled him back the other way.everything was blank. destroyed. She’d stepped into water. taking another step to his left as though his sigh would distract her from him slowly edging closer to her. In the meantime. Red swallowed hard. There was no chance that she could share with any of the boys on the top floor. One of these days she was going to remember why everyone kept pulling Leo away from her. Come to think of it. Leo let out another sigh.― “None at all?― Casper said in shock. There’s none left. “All three rooms are flooded. “Funny thing. Leo shook his head. that.― Leo stretched his left arm across to ruffle her hair. maybe that was the answer.― Share? “Aren’t there any rooms available at Royal Nature?― Seth asked him coolly. She opened her door.

taking another step towards Red. Isn’t it a coincidence that Vikki disappeared right after this happened?― Tiffany tapped her chin. “Isn’t that strange? Your friend disappearing suddenly? God. a fake.take her. “I don’t think she’ll be coming back. confidence in every step. I’m sure she knows how to tweak a few pipes…― Red’s fist tightened at Tiffany’s implication. She tutted when she saw the water. I’ll let you stay in my room.― “She’s gone. I’d be feeling pretty terrible if she ditched me like that. we’re friends.― Everyone froze and slowly turned their heads to the voice in surprise. especially when I needed her. She leaned forward and whispered loudly. will share a room.― her smile sent all the wrong signals. a satisfied smirk on her pretty face. She pressed a hand against her heart and sighed.― Everyone turned to look at the owner of the voice. then her eyes widened in mock surprise. Funny. which had come from at the top of the stairs. “Gone?― Red replied in a quiet voice.― Tiffany’s slim arms folded across her thin chest as she reached Red.― Tiffany tilted forward on her heels to peek farther into Red’s room. my. Suddenly. her stiletto heels clicking against the sparkling wooden flooring. Vikki wouldn’t do that and she’d just like to take a swing at the dumb blonde.― The bottom of Red’s stomach sunk. It was Tiffany. The blonde pushed herself off of the banister and headed towards her. “Red and I.― . forced grin spread across Tiffany’s face and she clapped her hands excitably. entwining her fingers with his. She stepped back to keep the bully at a distance. She made sure to stay above the water level. “Great! Looks like you have a roo—― “She can stay with me. Seth stepped to her side and took hold of her hand. as boyfriend and girlfriend. Her cold eyes met Red’s. She’d liked this room. Vikki was gone? Without saying goodbye? Tiffany smirked and straightened up. Leo clapped his hands together. “I can share with Vikki. “It seems Vikki had a family crisis to attend to. As the daughter of a plumber. “I heard her dad’s a rich plumber. “Oh. Tiffany would. “Hey. Where Vikki wouldn’t purposely damage all of the rooms to get Red off of the top level. She was leaning against the banister.

She sat uncomfortably on his bed. The blonde had been furious. I should be thanking you. As adults. the breath completely knocked out of her. She . According to the Sunnyside Rule Book.Chapter 14: Amber The look on Tiffany’s face had been terrifying. dropping her shopping bags to the floor. who was closing the door to his room behind him. Red Hart. “I’m sorry. He walked forward and pulled her into him. really. you were allowed to share a room with a lover. right? Seth looked at her hand and a small smile spread across his lips. hugging her. so he had given them to her. unimportant girl had become Seth Cooper’s girlfriend. One of the rules that Red had overlooked had to do with being over 18. A hand shake was how you thanked someone properly. They were moving by themselves. Her arms trembled as she slowly raised them.― She stood up to hold out her hand. She straightened up and sent him a smile. Her eyes were still wide with surprise. Leo had found them in Vikki’s room with Red’s name on the bags. She was definitely. “It’s fine. “This is the proper way to say thank you to a close friend. that made you an adult. For her. about to place them onto Seth’s back. definitely not Seth Cooper’s lover. including what she was wearing. The door to the room swung open and slammed against the wall. well. as though her body was reacting but her brain was still trying to figure things out. Before she knew it. the word had spread. the manly. at least. They were the only clothes she had.― She lifted her head to look at Seth.― he murmured. At least she had underwear and clothes that weren’t drenched and un-wearable. resting his warm hand on the back of her head to push her closer to him. She was sure no one else noticed the murder in the other girl’s eyes.

indicating that she should sit. like it had given up following the signals from his brain. When she noticed it was Zane. his hand was still resting on the door and it looked like he was struggling to breathe.― Seth looked at the floor and removed his hands from her shoulders. . He entwined her fingers with his.pulled away quickly. Seth lazily turned to look at his visitor. grasping her shoulders. Leo will move you into that girl’s room for sure. He turned around quickly and stalked out. “What—― “It’s best if we make sure everyone believes it. jumping at the loud sound.― She watched Zane’s Adam’s apple on his neck bob as he swallowed. “Since the day she played piano. she grinned and stepped forward to greet him. warm hands always bought her comfort. “Zane!― His glare stopped her. but Seth stepped sideways and wrapped an arm around her waist. but Seth squeezed her hand. She caved. His posture was stiff and tense. She stepped forward to explain. It looked like he was extremely uncomfortable. his legs moving like a puppet. She stayed standing. She opened her mouth to explain again. “Since when?― He asked. acting like it was a chore to know. He looked between the two of them with narrowed eyes. “You—― his words caught in his throat. trying to pry it away. He really did not look happy.― his words sounded forced. “You’re together. so I stepped in. we are. You looked horrified at the idea of sharing a room with her. I’m sure she has been very unkind to you. not in the least bit frazzled. His soft.― Seth sat on his bed and patted it.― Zane seemed to regain his composure suddenly. his brow was creased. His eyes were wide. angry eyes were settled intensely on her. Her blue eyes bored into his brown ones. If anyone discovered this arrangement is false. She squeaked and moved her hand down to grab his. “I’m not as dense as the others. “Yes.― He made it sound like an accusation. His hand slid off of the door. then broke away from Seth. crossing his arms across his chest. His cold. “Well…I came to say congratulations. He sighed and rose to his feet. She waited for him to leave. his feet constantly moving and his face unable to settle on a certain expression.

she’d blocked it out and forgotten it. . he could keep his eye on her. But discovering that had only made him more curious. in fact. This is the least I could do. or anything. an apologetic expression on his face. He knew that she was grateful.― he whispered. If I’d just moved to the other dorm. which was extremely unlike him. and he wanted to find out. She gulped. it was bad luck for her.― She nodded her head at him. and found nothing. ***** Seth waited for the girl to come out of the bathroom impatiently. As he had told her. She was still amazed that someone so nice could have chosen to help her when clearly she was the one causing the trouble in the first place. That was obvious. With her in his room. He’d been thinking of a way to get closer to her and then her room just so happened to be flooded. preventing her from saying more. Just silly rules that others have made. she could feel his breath brushing over her skin. So what was she doing at Sunnyside. “There is no right or wrong dorm. Things just got a whole lot more complicated. where I belonged—― His hand clamped over her mouth. wasn’t a snob and wasn’t rich. He knew she wasn’t a threat. Even though he’d tried to check her out on the Internet. But it was such a stupid stunt in order to do that. Adding a fake boyfriend was bound to add to that pile of crap. He looked back at her.000 a week for the top floor of a dorm where she was being bullied? It didn’t make sense. But Red was different—so different. that it made him suspicious. He’d completely acted on impulse. he wasn’t as dense as the others. She had just had an experience so bad. “This is my fault entirely. tapping his foot on the floor. Then it was gone and he moved his face so close to hers.― He smiled at her. Then her room was flooded. extremely bothered by his close proximity and at the same time— not. “It’s my fault you were suffering. Red Hart wasn’t famous. I—I’m sorry. Her personality was definitely not false. He’d been cautious at first and had examined her carefully from the time he’d met her in Zane’s room. While that was luck on his part. paying almost $8. Then she found out her friend had upped and left without a word to her. “No.She felt cold without his warm palms pressed into them. raising a hand to ruffle her hair. She would be grateful even if she was beaten to a pulp and then given a $20 as a reward for not yelling. She didn’t have a Facebook page.

there’s one person in the world who is actually happy to see you.― she said softly. Her pale cheeks flushed pink and she squeaked. resting a hand on it. You’re just… so nice to me. I don’t want to take your bed—― she stuttered. fine. . knees bent. To have no affection at all and then suddenly. It was probably a shock. “Now you’ve got no choice but to use it. The thrill he got out of this was similar to a kid getting a new pet. She was wearing one of his long t-shirts and a pair of her own shorts from her shopping bag. he realized that it was a bad time to use such a stupid example. He hadn’t expected her to feel so… thankful. Seth smiled at her modesty.― he said to Red. He rose from the bed and gestured to it. smiling warmly at her. but the look on her face made his heart stop. it was impossible to leave it alone. “You’ll be sleeping here. He watched her swallow and walk slowly towards the luxurious queen-sized bed. she was really emotional.Wincing. Really. elbows resting on them. It was rare to find innocent modesty nowadays. He let out a gentle laugh. He couldn’t see her face. still partially in shock at the comment he’d made. Really. “If you insist on me sleeping in it. The door to the bathroom opened and he looked up. And everyone knew that once you got a new pet. A look of mild horror crossed her face. She’d taken his shirt with a bright smile and a sincere. thank you.― He settled himself down onto the mattress that he’d put on the carpet. I’ll be fine on the floor.― he smiled at her. Had she never had affection before? He knew that feeling. She moved the hand away from her mouth. but judging by the tone in her voice. “Don’t worry. clapping a hand to her mouth. He raised his eyebrows at her and the unrecognizable urge to tease spread through his body.― He shouldn’t have said it. He linked his hands together. It fit her perfectly. I’ll sleep beside you. He tilted his head at her questionably. “Thank you. “N—No! I couldn’t. He sat.

He’d been suffering from chest pains since he’d gone out earlier and now they’d just increased tenfold. He tore his eyes away. He approached behind her and wrapped his arms around her neck and then pulled her back into him. ready to give it to her when she wakes up and what does she do? She moves into his best friend’s room. Clueless. slowly raising to its feet and plodding quietly over to Red. they had been unusually intimate in his room. when Seth had stared at her like that… he shook his head. Sighing. His body moved on its own. when necessary. She jumped. He’d never even seen it happen. slamming his fist into his chest to get rid of the constricting pain. that love was happening beneath their very eyes and they didn’t even notice? Although. forcing his arms to let her go. Red and Seth. all he wanted to do was pull her close and hold her forever? ***** He’d saved her.― he murmured. “Huh? Zane?― He winced and then looked over his shoulder. now that he thought about it. looking out into the night. then he goes to the trouble of sticking it together. He glugged down another half a pint of water and took another spoonful of heart burn medicine. he gulped down the last of his water. so went to the front of the dorm steps and sat there. She sat next to him. He laid back down onto the mattress. He’d been unable to sleep. He really did not like the fact that she was wearing one of Seth’s shirts. He was pushing it. making him edge away. Especially not since it reached her mid—thigh when she sat next to him. Ungrateful girl. innocent girl. wishing there were restraints there to keep him in place. idiotic. Bodily contact was something he avoided with all people. Were he and Casper so clueless. “Goodnight. He’d saved her from spending the night in some forest. Okay. who was sniffing loudly. As his girlfriend. So why was it when Red was around. He’d never look at it the same way again. A clock tower in the distance rung twelve times. which he’d seen his friend wear on numerous occasions. But he was unable to control himself. cursing under his breath. Pushing the fact they were in a fake relationship. he’d been looking .It was just like when Red had entered his life. picking up pieces of a photo. Seth and Red. watching as Red slowly ventured down the steps towards him.

You tried to get her bullied. “My back hurts. her hands fiddling with each other in her lap. trying to see her expression without making an exaggerated movement that would suggest he was curious about her mood. He really hadn’t thought that.― That was an unexpected reaction. He stood up as fast as he could. This left the three boys to deal with the untouchable woman in front of him. “Why aren’t you asleep with your boyfriend?― He couldn’t help but say it in such a sardonic tone. Help her out. He flicked his eyes to his left. He nodded. Seth and him had argued about who would see to the wounds on her back. Then he remembered he wasn’t alone. Red didn’t notice. Red was looking up at him blankly. He really hadn’t. as though that would knock the little angel inside his mind—out. smacking his head with his hand. “Does it matter that she can’t?― He replied coldly. Her back hurt. “I guess not. She’s Seth Cooper’s girlfriend . just this once.― she murmured. A voice inside his head? Help her. Oh. He remembered cursing the nurse violently for being unable to help them tonight. It’s probably your fault she’s injured.who would dare mess with her? He gritted his teeth in frustration. . Imagine how grateful she’d be. Zane stiffened. “You can’t sleep?― She said quietly. Undressing a girl while she was unconscious was definitely something a rich kid never did. And she was. She’d been sequestered with a girl who might be contagious with some virus. Red looked down at her feet. She was bullied. She may even choose you over Seth. Help her.at her legs. What was wrong with him? Clearly he was delirious. Now you feel guilty. He had wanted her to be bullied. but none of them had the guts to do it. The sleeves of the shirt were too long for her. She lifted her head and smiled at him weakly. Casper. Help her and you’ll feel better. As usual. Now she’s not going anywhere.

“Zane.― he barked. Suddenly. defeat in his voice. he leaned forward and tugged her arm. will you?― he said.He stared back. dragging her up the stairs noisily. her eyes wide. “Sit. he regretted his decision. a restrained smile finally spreading across her face. Then he applied the antiseptic cream. She was quiet until they reached the top floor. Zane Noble. letting out the breath he’d been holding. whose mysterious personality was his most attractive feature. “Don’t. Red turned around on the bed. swallowing again. where he opened the door to his room and jerked her inside. Her bare back. He’d helped her. revealing pale skin inch-by-inch. forcing her to sit on the edge. He moved towards her and placed two hands on her shoulders. which would move people to tears. And the strap of a black bra. Zane Noble. He was Zane Noble. he lifted a trembling hand to move her long t-shirt slowly up. He’d see her back. It really was hot in here. As quickly as he could he ignored the smoothness of her skin. and then to the place he pointed. “Zane—― “Shut up. like she was a dog. revealing the rim of her black shorts and the scratches on her back. He would not get so fussy over a tomboy’s bare skin. dragging her back towards the dorm. He’d fixed . He’d helped her…He’d helped her.― He pointed at the bed.― He moved over to the bed and sat behind her. He pulled it back down.― he ordered again. He lifted up the shirt. Letting out a groan of defeat. looking away with a strained expression on his face. you don’t have to—― “Just shut up. Why was that so nerve wracking? Swallowing an invisible lump in his throat. Red opened her mouth to say something. When he was done he hurriedly pulled her shirt back down. “Stay. and then cleansed the cuts with a watery liquid containing something that helped with pain. She looked at him. Heat rushed to his neck and his face and he tugged uncomfortably at the collar of his shirt. He went to the coffee table and picked up the first aid kit that Casper had used earlier. whose dream was to become a singer.

Every time she said it to herself.― he said bluntly. smooth skin. This was so much more. She swallowed past the lump in her throat. he didn’t look happy. He lifted a hand rigidly and pointed out to the hall. He nodded and tilted his head toward the door. the smile melted from her face and she found herself staring back. indicating that she should leave. She was ecstatic. But she found him staring down at her with such an intense expression. but this… this was different. she felt like jumping for joy. the words caught in her throat. silver eyes. Actually. Zane Noble had helped her. but suddenly. she stood against the door. She turned around on the bed. His gray eyes connected with hers and it was one of those rare moments where Zane actually looked at her. “You can leave. There was a fizzling tension between the two of them before she finally turned and walked out. His gleaming. her words dissolved in the strange connection that stunned her. Zane Noble liked her. He cared for her. She placed a hand to her forehead and dramatically stumbled back into Seth’s room. his voice deeper than usual. Well. She didn’t know what it was about the way he looked at her that made her go quiet. long eyelashes. opening it. When he closed the door behind her. Her heart had sped up when Seth had hugged her. She really must be getting sick.― she whispered. dragging her feet slowly across the floor. she lifted her head up to say thanks. “Thank you.up the cuts on her back. her hand pressed to her chest. It would have been nice to stay a little longer. But yet this was so much more. Zane didn’t look mad either. . Her breath had been blown away. The first part of her mission was almost complete. without her having to ask. the smile she had been trying to hold spreading across her face. and silky hair — they looked even more incredible during this strange little moment. It felt like a weight had been lifted off of her chest. She pouted and got up off of the bed. Before she left. he looked really uncomfortable. He stood up and stormed over to the door.

Then she frowned and looked up at Zane. “Why are they here?― He folded his arms and leaned forward. Unfortunately she had a whole lot more on her platter. a grin spreading across her face after she identified him. She was dealing with half of the female population of the camp. “They’re reporters. microphones. Where had she heard the term used before? Then it hit her. He flipped his head. She pointed at herself. She smiled at her cleverness. which were apparently a time when you were allowed to do what you liked. Yeah. that meant she planned on being a slug. She had no idea what was going on. starting to walk back to his room. pointing towards the door. Except that the other thing on the agenda was staying by Zane’s side. When she opened the door of the dorm that morning. He didn’t. and didn’t feel like doing much of anything. They were the people that reported the news. She continued to stare at Zane. .Chapter 15: Fuchsia It was awkwardness all around the next morning. she was greeted with flashing lights. sighing loudly.― She snorted. or asked famous people questions and then put them in newspapers. He looked down at her. releasing the hold on the back of her dad’s badly sewn up t-shirt. “Zane! What’s happening out there?― “You really must be stupid. wanting to go on a stroll to clear her head. “Reporters?― she repeated in a questioning tone. “To interview you. “Me?― Zane ignored her questioning tone and turned. of course. Someone yanked her back into the building. “You know what reporters are… right?― he said slowly.― Huh. The day before had been the first Free Day of a Free Weekend. Because she was famous. waiting for him to say it was a joke. She looked up to see who her savior was. Why did he always speak to her like a child? Of course she knew what they were! She searched her mind for the answer. sending it back over one eye. shouting and a whole lot of questions.― his bangs flopped forward over his face when he shook his head. Since she didn’t know what she liked. being bombarded constantly with their questions about her new relationship.

yeah…― “You have clothes. changing at an alarming rate. She hurried after him. tight vest top with a red corset type design on the front. Zane—― “You’re wearing the same clothes. I’m not going to talk or listen to you until you change. She rushed ahead of Zane. running into Seth’s room. There was mud and dirt smudges across it and her white shorts were dusted with brown specks. She slipped on a pair of plain. “Hey. But she wouldn’t know and Vikki had picked it out. On went a black. She made it to the third floor quickly. . She really hated having short legs. and then looking up at the stairs they still had to venture up. black Mary Jane shoes and sighed. starting to run up the stairs beside Zane as he took two steps at a time. What was wrong with wearing a t-shirt twice in two days? Hadn’t he ever done that before? She looked down at what she was wearing and tugged at it.“Thanks to you. but she just grabbed her shopping bag and ran into the bathroom. “Um. He glanced at her from head to toe. She stopped too.― She frowned at his back. I can’t leave the dorm today. She brushed her hair for the first time in what seemed forever and winced at the tangles.― He told her. It reached just past mid-thigh. Okay. She ignored his alarmed expression. “Uh. tearing up the second staircase as fast as she could. Then she tore back out of the bathroom and out of the door. Along with it. He opened his mouth to say something. did you hear what I said?― “No. Are you so attached to that t-shirt that you’d wear it for two days in a row?― She shook her head. a black. but that’s not the reason I’m wearing it for a second day…― She felt her cheeks warming up and she scratched the back of her head. She hurried after him. which seemed a little short. She looked down at herself and laughed nervously. so she did look pretty filthy. his nose wrinkling up in disgust.― he turned around fully to face her. and then stopped walking. looking down the stairs they had walked up.― she protested. “It’s just the only clothes I have…― Zane started to walk again. “This t-shirt is important to me. “Why do they want to interview me? I’m not famous. netted skirt that stuck out.

It was clear Icky Vikki had obviously picked them out for her because that was the only other person he’d seen wearing such outrageous styles. He never liked using words that were religious when he was expressing feelings. obviously to exit. But holy hell. it was a good thing. His arms slowly unfolded themselves and his eyes widened. finding a pile of black. because her bags held clothes like that. She stopped and grinned at him. By the time she reached the top of the staircase. His eyes slowly scanned her from head to toe. Who knew that Red had a figure like that or that it was possible for her to look remotely feminine or that she would look so… good. Maybe that way no one would look at her body. She saw his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed. I changed. and then showed shock. taking in Red’s happy expression. the superior expression he usually held on his face froze for a few moments. The book he was reading fell out of his hands as she sprinted past. He shut the door behind him. if he’d known that Red was wearing her clothes from the day before. She did not belong in gothic type clothing. Zane never cursed. taking her inside. The blue streak in her hair had been enough. but then step back and watch as he grabbed Red by the wrist and pulled her all the way towards his own door.leaving a very shocked Seth sitting in his chair. He was too important and well-brought up to speak such foul words. He stepped forward slowly. so had Zane. he would never have forced her to change. He could see that she felt uncomfortable in the skirt. He probably wasn’t helping. Damn. shuffled through the contents. “There. Fat chance! Zane was filled with the unfamiliar urge to cover her up so that no one else could look at her. what with not being able to tear his eyes away. He bought them over to Red . He was like a groom on his wedding night. That was something he didn’t want to think about. She should have worn the shorts. Will you speak to me now?― He stiffened. He shook out the image of Red in negligee.― he ordered her. “Don’t go anywhere. He stepped over to a set of drawers and opening one. Her pale skin definitely stood out more when she wore dark clothing. like God. long sports shorts that he had never worn. He didn’t notice Seth open his door. Her dainty hands were constantly pulling it down. She tugged down on the skirt. But in this case. when the bride entered in her negligee.

How have you been?― She smiled up at him. yet so annoyed? Did she have to be so naive? “I’ve given them to you already haven’t I?― he swallowed. like he always did. he let out the breath he’d been holding. looking ecstatically happy. she hadn’t even noticed there was someone in front of her. He was such a liar. Agents didn’t hug.― he didn’t have to point at the skirt. What was it with all the hugging? Not that she was complaining. When the door shut. Why was it that every little gesture Zane made. her eyes shining. What was it about her face and that happy expression that made him feel so pleased. his assertive tone not as assertive as he wanted it to be. She’d been so far away. and then back to Zane. Her eyes were wide with surprise and it was only when the person withdrew that she noticed it was Casper. he saw her face light up. “What’s wrong with the skirt?― she asked him. struggling to keep his eyes on the wall. Even Uncle Agents. then the shorts. Her blue eyes stared at the skirt. “You’ll really give me all of these?― She looked up suddenly. He just stared at her. Zane Noble had given her his shorts. “Red? Red!― Arms were thrown around her neck. “I don’t think it suits you. “Fine. “You can go now. She hugged the pile of shorts tightly to her chest. “Looks like they want to interview you. “I’ll give you these if you go back into your room and take that off. She was driving him insane. He inwardly sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. “Casper. innocently. His cheeky grin always made her feel spectacular. Have you seen the reporters outside? There’s so many! Leo said he’d come throw them off site in a bit. unable to tear his eyes away from hers. But he had to look at her when out of the corner of his eye.― Casper’s grin dropped to a smile. He couldn’t look at her. had her acting so ridiculously happy? She bumped into somebody and looked up quickly.― He chewed the side of his cheek.― He knew she was staring at him for a while before she turned around to leave. She’d never received so much comfort in her entire life.― . biting her bottom lip to hide a smile. just look at it like it was the Devil. He turned his back on her.and thrust them into her arms. wiping away sweat that wasn’t there. her eyes wide and a blinding smile on her face. The skirt more than suited her. He’d given her his shorts. He swiped his sleeve across his forehead. and stared at a blank spot on the wall. It should have been. She looked down at the shorts.

They were trouble. “I don’t want to be interviewed. His eyes were shining with emotion.― He nodded at the shorts. his expression suddenly turning sad. “You okay?― she asked.― He walked into his room. He patted her on the shoulder. “You didn’t look okay a second ago. his gaze focused on the floor. He smiled at her. straightening up. “Welcome back. She jumped. a light frown settling on her face. remembering them suddenly. She held his arm to stop him from walking towards the bathroom. thick lashes making them seem huge. He’d thought he’d grown out of it. They destroyed even the strongest of men. She tilted her head questioningly. the long. slightly surprised. turned. Seth was sitting on the edge of his bed. She placed the shorts on a nearby shelf. arrogance and hatred . When she took another step. “I’m fine. he’d already closed the door behind him. standing a few feet away. Everyone was acting so strangely. shutting the door slowly behind him. . He told himself he’d never get interested in a girl. “I’ll see you around. She stared after him. Stupid emotions like lust. “It comes with the territory. looking extremely troubled. From where she was standing. and took a step forward. His complexion was flawless and the highlights in his hair shone. and his face blank.She pulled a face and shook her head. He let out a light laugh and ruffled her hair.― The blonde boy ruffled her hair and sent her another mischievous grin. he looked up. the troubled expression disappearing and a calm one settling back onto his face. ***** Damn it. By the time she’d made her way over and grabbed a pair. as Seth’s girlfriend…― he trailed off. It reminded her of Zane’s sudden mood changes. She wandered over to him.― She folded her arms accusingly. “Why wouldn’t I be?― he replied. She entered Seth’s room and closed the door behind her. He hadn’t even noticed her enter. standing. He realized it was her and straightened up. his face looked beautiful in the sunlight that came in from the window. Seth rested his head against the mirror.he didn’t need them.― She didn’t smile back. ever. Get changed while I’m in the bathroom. Seth looked back at her.

It’s not that he was the kind of person to fall for someone who had a nice body. The one thing he thought would never happen to him. He scrunched his eyes shut and rested his forehead against the mirror again. But then she’d run out of the bathroom. He’d been able to suppress it. He wiped it with his hand and then stared at his reflection. She jumped when a loud vibrating snapped her out of her stupor and looked around hurriedly for her cell phone. When she looked at him. laughed at him. Seth. It was funny how fast journalists would flee after having their equipment threatened. his heart thumped against his ribcage. But they weren’t going anywhere. Chapter 16: Cream The reporters had been shooed away by a very aggressive Leo. and Zane. hair. She was the only one that knew they were missing. way past curfew. When he saw other girls.But he’d gone and done it. With his eyes closed. . She was worried sick and could do nothing but lay on Seth’s bed. her smile brightened the darkness. deep inside him. waiting for them to come back. She found it in the pocket of her dirty pair of white shorts. banging it gently as though trying to knock his feelings away. No one had bothered to check if they were in the dorm or not. he liked comparing them to her and how she was so much better. smiled at him. He ground his teeth together. the highlight of his day was seeing her eyes alight with happiness. wearing those clothes. eyes. When he woke in the morning. Seth Cooper had fallen for Red Hart. holding two very large water guns. It was 10:30 at night. and Casper still hadn’t returned. had. It was just that seeing Red dressed like that seemed to brighten her personality. He lifted his head and stared at mirror that had misted up while he had been showering. smile… everything.

“Dexter?― she said when she answered. “Red, where’s Zane?― he sounded worried. Very worried. “He went out. I didn’t know they were planning anything. I came back from the cafeteria and they’d already left.― “He’s coming. Blaine’s coming for him.― She dropped the phone. Blaine was coming for Zane. And she wasn’t there to protect him. ***** Zane, Casper and Seth left the park, tiredness etched over all their faces. “We used to do this all the time, but now it just feels like someone’s missing.― Casper frowned deeply at Zane. He ignored it. Casper shook his friend’s arm. “Zaaaane. Why couldn’t we bring Red on our late night walk? She would have loved it!― Zane continued to ignore him. Casper released Zane and turned to Seth, shaking his arm. “Seeeth. She’s your girlfriend. Why didn’t you bring her?― Seth looked back at Casper, his lips twitching into a small smile. “It’s not appropriate to bring a lady out this late at night.― Seth smiled warmly and looked down at the ground. “Especially not Red.― Casper released Seth, pouting like a child. “She’s hardly a lady, though.― Zane snorted at this. Casper had been so unobservant the time he’d bumped into Red in the hall, he hadn’t even noticed her clothing. If he had, he wouldn’t have easily said that she wasn’t a lady. Casper’s phone rang. He stopped walking and rummaged through his pockets for his phone, Zane and Seth watching him. After he had hung up on whomever it was who had been talking to him, he looked at Zane. Zane knew what was coming next. “Business matters. I need to meet someone at the gate.― “It’s alright, go.― Casper nodded, turning to hurry in the other direction.

“Fine. See you later guys.― He waved at them and headed back the way they had just come. Casper was the heir to a business, just as Zane was, but the blonde happily scampered off to do the president’s beck and call. He was only at Sunnyside to have a little fun. And to dance a little. Casper loved to dance. Zane refused to do that. Seth shared the same view as Zane, refusing to even pick up calls from his mother, father, and friends from back home. Zane was going to sing and play guitar as his career, using the large sum of money he had saved to pursue that dream. Zane pushed down the irritation that rose in him. He wasn’t ever going to take over the family business. He didn’t want to be the president of a company at such a young age, or at any age for that matter. He wanted to sing. Just like Seth did. They turned a corner, relieved that the small, secluded road they were heading down was only a short distance from the camp. Zane felt like he should talk to his friend, but there was nothing to say. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence between them, but it wasn’t really comfortable either. Both of them looked up when a black van turned onto the road at an immense speed. They didn’t really pay attention. It was common for people to speed on the dirt roads in this rather rural area. But then it stopped in front of them. They both stopped walking, sharing confused glances with each other. The door opened and five men stepped out, covered completely in black. They ran towards Zane and Seth at an incredible speed. Everything happened so fast. “What are you doi—― Zane started. He didn’t finish his sentence. A syringe had been plunged into the vein in his neck and sent him collapsing face first into the ground, unconscious. A look of fear spread across Seth’s face. “Zane!― he shouted, taking a step towards his friend. Two of the men grabbed Seth’s arm to hold him back. He lashed out. “ZANE—!― He yelled as loud as lungs would let him. Only to be silenced when he was punched hard in the gut, then the jaw. The men let him drop to his knees, but held onto his arms. His eyes were scrunched up tightly to try and block out the pain. When he heard a heavy boot thud to the ground out of the van, he opened them a crack. A hand curled around the door and a figure emerged from the opening.

“Looks like we’ve got him, boys.― Seth looked up slowly, blood dripping from his lip. This man looked different from the rest. From what Seth could see in the darkness, he had a bandana covering the lower half of his face. Long red hair fell to his shoulders; his dark eyes were in full view. He was dressed in combat trousers and a bullet-proof vest, the pants were tucked into a pair of steel toed boots. He looked ominous. And more than a little mean. Seth struggled to get out of the men’s grip, but they held onto him tightly. “Keep that one awake. I want him to know it was me that took his friend.― The guy bent down towards Zane raising a finger to touch the unconscious boys face. The finger never reached his friend. The man’s arm was kicked with so much force it knocked it away and sent him spinning to the ground. The masked man yelled in pain and snapped his head up to look at the figure that had appeared at Zane’s side. A young girl with solid black hair ran in front of Zane and stuck her arms out wide, making a barrier. She lifted her head up slowly. “Don’t touch him,― her voice was shaking. The really bad guy quickly stood, gesturing at his men. “Get this little bitch,― he cursed, stepping back to give them room. The three men that were free ran towards her. Seth stared in shock. The girl twisted, jumped, leaped, punched, kicked, slammed, pushed, and dodged. It was like a dance, but so much better. The men were getting pummeled. She was hit just once, across the face. One of the men had landed a lucky punch. Seth looked to his left and right. The two guys who were holding him had loosened their grip while they were paying attention to the fight. So he yanked his right arm out of its hold and punched the person on his left. He kicked the other guy in the stomach. He ran to help the girl. “Don’t!― she yelled, ducking under a punch that was thrown at her before sending the man to the ground. Her voice was so familiar. She jumped back into the light, her back to Seth. Her hand reached into her pocket and pulled something out.

He sucked in a breath, his eyes wide. It was a gun. Everyone froze, including the guy whose arm was hanging limply at his side. “Don’t move,― her voice was trembling fiercely, as was her hand. She was obviously scared, yet so in control. The guy—the one who seemed to be the leader—rose from the ground to his feet, an extremely displeased expression on his face. “How dare you point a gun at—?― “My backup will be here soon. Don’t even think about running, Blaine.― The girl’s threat didn’t sound as scary as it should have. The guy with the heavily bruised arm looked at the girl in surprise. “You know my name. My, my, this little girl appears to know more than is healthy.― He rose to his feet. The girl tightened the grip on her gun. “Don’t move!― she yelled and sniffed. Seth stared at her back. Was she crying? He didn’t think she should be crying while she was holding someone at gun point. The guy he now knew as Blaine, took a step towards her. The girl’s hand started to tremble even more. Blaine grunted. “You’re nothing but a kid. You couldn’t shoot a gun.― He let out a humorless laugh. “You have some skills, girly, but you don’t have confidence. You’re trembling like a lost puppy.― Seth turned to look at the girl. He noticed movement down by her foot and stared in horror at the man who was slowly getting to his feet; ready to knock the girl over. “MOVE!― Seth yelled, pulling her backwards. He sent a foot into the guy’s stomach and the black-clad assailant went crashing back to the ground. Blaine lunged forward to grab the girl, but Seth threw a hard punch at his face. Then he stepped forward and, bending down, he took one of Zane’s arms around his shoulder. The girl took the other, still holding the gun. Zane half slid onto the ground when the girl was kicked forward. She landed on her hands and knees. Blaine had recovered from Seth’s punch and obviously intent on hurting the girl. Seth started to move forward to help her up, but she turned quickly around on the ground and fired the gun.

running with Seth down the road toward camp. Seth was standing there. How had everything gone from normal to deadly in a few moments? Who were those guys? Who was the girl? As they staggered into the main road.She did it. lifting her face up so he could see it clearly. She was standing underneath a lamppost and the light was shining down on her. snapping her out of her trance. She stumbled to her feet and wrapped Zane’s arm around her shoulder again. his hands limp by his side. He didn’t realize that he’d abandoned his friend. She had a cut above her eyebrow. he almost forgot to breathe. Blaine’s yell echoed down the country lane. staring at her with wide eyes. She drooped under Zane’s. He stopped walking. wiping the back of his sleeve slowly along his bleeding lip. his eyes moved to the girl. her nose had a small trickle of blood coming from it and her lip was bleeding almost as much as his. He was grasping his arm. “RUN. She turned around. The girl—whose face was still hidden by darkness—hadn’t moved. thrusting it into his pocket. Seth was feeling so much at once. Seth leaned forward and grabbed it. He approached her quickly and placed one finger underneath her chin.― he yelled at her. Seth stepped forward. She was carrying Zane on her own. but beneath that it was obvious who it was. He sucked in a breath. blood seeping through the gaps in his fingers. The gun was sitting limply in her hand. dropping Zane’s arm from around his shoulder. It was Red. not noticing that Seth had let him go. Chapter 17: Burgundy .

his finger under her chin. starting to walk again. It seems that there were several “civilians― getting involved as well. ordering someone not to hurt them. She was unbelievably happy that he hadn’t been hurt. “Red. “You… you’re…― He lifted his finger away from her chin. She’d been so caught up in protecting Zane. Seth had left Zane’s side and sat slowly down on the sofa occupying his room. She’d just grabbed Zane after he’d told her to run. her eyes wide with horror. Thinking of Vikki. Block a punch. she looked over to Seth. She never thought she’d have the confidence to step in front of a person. dodge and push. her head felt like exploding. she felt her stomach turn. . She hadn’t been concerned that he would see her.― she whispered. Looking down at Zane’s sleeping face. and the closer she got to the dorm. And now that he had identified her? He stared down at her. “We need to get him back. and broke eye contact with Seth.― She gripped Zane’s hand. she hadn’t even thought about what action to take next. Nor had she thought about the fact that Seth was behind her and was watching every move she made. his eyes wide and gleaming with emotion. He’d have questions. She hoped by now that Blaine would have been arrested and Dexter was at Headquarters. She straightened up. There was no getting out of this sticky situation.She didn’t remember ever being so frightened in her entire life. both breathing heavily. They laid Zane down in his bed and slowly moved back. It was a while before she felt the weight lift as Zane’s other arm was wrapped around Seth’s neck. filing the reports. the one slung over her shoulder. she started to believe that this undercover mission was slowly becoming a mission for more than just her. and hobbled away. the more she dreaded the phone call from Dexter. And when she’d engaged in combat. She looked back. duck then kick. She’d just moved. She wouldn’t have been able to live with herself if he had been. the training she’d taken had come back so fast. if she hadn’t gotten to them in time… She was surprised at her own boldness. After she’d rested a hand on Zane’s forehead to check his temperature. They ran in silence through the camp gates. and his mouth slightly open in shock.

She had expected the question. “You’re trying to capture the man you shot. Zane’s handy first aid kit in her hand. . she felt like she was the only thing that he could see. When she’d finished taking care of him. Seth met her eyes when she put a hand under his face. She couldn’t help but lift sad eyes to study him. looking down at it and starting to fiddle with it.― She grimaced. She’d said too much. making her wince when the antiseptic liquid brushed over the wounds. “It’s alright.She trudged over and sat down in front of him. “Sorry. saying I might need it because Blaine had come for Zane—― She stopped talking. The smile was still on his face. shocking her with the rare amusement in his eyes. He brought it to me today. He moved the wipe to his lap. tilting his head to the left so he could see her eyebrow better. Then. He placed his gentle fingers underneath her chin and turned it as he started to wipe at her eyebrow and nose. wiping at his bleeding lip with a wipe. “Who are you?― he whispered. “They want Zane?― he whispered. I wouldn’t have believed it. “I’m undercover. An agent gave it to me before I chased after you. He sent her an apologetic smile.― She shook her head. a smile spread across his face. Slowly she wiped around his entire face. Then he let out a quiet laugh and lifted his head back up. Seth grabbed her wrist. “If you’d told me that this morning. his smile dazzling. He gazed at her so intently.― she whispered in return. Then he pulled her onto the sofa beside him and switched places with her. He moved away slowly. It was my first time holding a gun on someone. back onto his knees. “Is that why you’re friends with all of us? Is your name really—Red Hart?― His question made him sound pained. she stood up to go put the kit away. Seth stopped wiping her face and his surprised eyes moved to hers. Seth froze in his actions and looked at her. Seth tucked the strand of blue hair behind her ear.― He went back to wiping her face. She nodded and broke eye contact. surprisingly.

Red Hart is my name. Protesting.― She nodded. Well.― Dexter handed her a piece of paper. She leaned forward. breaking eye contact again.― Seth’s expression didn’t change. “I know. She could never stare at him for long before feeling slightly flustered. It was Dexter and one of the agents from Headquarters who was a fully-trained medic. “He was so close. Someone knocked at the door. yes. “No!― She looked over her shoulder to make sure she hadn’t disturbed Zane and lowered her voice.He looked miserable. But that didn’t explain why you were staying in this dorm when you weren’t famous. “Really.― She felt her cheeks grow hot and laughed nervously. It.― Her eyes were wide. Don’t think that I’ll be easy to catch. and when I’m finished with him. read: This will not be my last attempt. and yet you weren’t staying in Royal Nature. but I really do believe we’re real friends. One that you would use to try and win people over. I knew there was something different about you the first time I saw you in Zane’s room. “I guess that was you. I knew you were for real. Zane Noble will be mine. “By the second day.― Dexter looked at her sternly. I know you’re looking for me. He shook his head. I’ll get . The agent sighed and nodded.― He ruffled her hair and gave her a toothy smile.― His smile widened more at the look of surprise on her face. I had to make friends with Zane so I could stay close enough to protect him. I’m not faking. She quickly got to her feet to answer it.― He smirked. “No. giving her a distraught glance that sent her expectations plummeting. but I’m also looking for you. “He got away. you weren’t rich.― There was silence between them for a moment. I suspected you had a fake personality. sending him a forced smile. No idea that he would suspect her. “I guess now I know the reason you’re here. He even had the balls to leave a message before driving off. leaving only blood behind. “You were incredible. She had no idea that Seth had paid that much attention to her. Dexter entered the room. Seth put the wipes back into the first aid box. She shook her head. “You were so innocent and naive. but Seth’s lips twitched upwards into a smile.

as though trying to tell her something. No . He looked at Seth in a way that sent a shiver down the boy’s spine. “Yes. Seth said we could pretend to be lovers so I can stay with him instead of the girl that was bullying me.― Dexter’s eyes narrowed. “Is that allowed here?― She quickly nodded again. Seth looked at her in a strange way.your agent. She wandered over to her friend. so for the time being I’ll station a few men outside. but his eyes were on Seth. “He knows.― Strangely. Dexter ran a hand through his short hair. his eyes wide with fear.― She grabbed his arm and frowned. “You asked an innocent girl to pretend to be your lover so she could stay with you? Do you know this girl has lived underground her entire life? She’s clueless to this world and yet you still want to—― “Dexter. “Why did you come here?― she asked the agent. She was just thankful she didn’t get a great look at his face. looking over her shoulder to watch as the medic attended to Zane. examining him inch-by-inch. There was no way to keep it from him since Blaine attacked with him there. if you’re lovers. She turned to give the note back to Dexter. Dexter looked at her. He walked towards Seth slowly. a threat from the man who murdered her parents. He leaned forward. She swallowed. Seth nodded. injecting him with something. “He’s helped out a lot since I’ve been here. that darkened Dexter’s expression. Seth was still frozen to the spot. He even let me stay in his room when mine was flooded. “Hello. that was just what she needed to end the night.― She stood by Seth.― he said politely. It’s dangerous. Well. He looked at her apologetically and moved back. “I need you to stay here. staring at Dexter. thanks to the handkerchief mask and the darkness. If she had. his face would haunt her dreams. “You’re sharing a room with this boy?― She nodded. Dexter folded his arms. She had no idea what to say or not. sir.

and hearing the words didn’t make the hurt go away.― Halfway through the door. He muttered under his breath. her face tilted toward the floor. “You lived underground?― he asked quietly. It felt like he’d worked out without warming up first. smiling. then gone straight to bed when he was finished. . long time.― Sympathy crossed over his face. her eyes avoiding his. I’m confident he won’t recognize you. He sat up slowly in bed.― She forced a grin on her face. “It’s fine. Not once had he got up in the night with chest ache. resting a hand on her shoulder to turn her around. who was staring at her with surprise again.― He smiled sadly and closed the door. He opened the door and looked over his shoulder before he left. She’d been ten. They were killed. make sure he doesn’t see your face. She rested her arms on his bed and stared at his face. It’s my mission after all. “Oh. “I’m sorry. especially after losing your parents. by that man who attacked you tonight. I don’t want to lose you. aching all over. nodded at her. and horror. “Your parents are dead?― he asked her again. “Yes.point being careful now as Blaine obviously knows we are after him. or suffered from general insomnia. Seth nodded back. feeling like he had slept better than he had in a long. She nodded. Why couldn’t her life be ordinary? ***** Zane woke up.― That was all she’d heard after her parents were killed. “I’m going to stay here and look after him for a while. Dexter had said enough to really open the floodgate for questions. She shook her head. they patted her on the back.― She sighed and moved away so his hand fell off of her shoulder. She lifted her head to smile at him and nodded. and moved for the door. When they were satisfied. but the slight chance of him realizing you’re a Hart is still there. he stopped and poked his head back in. She was left with Seth.― As the medic returned to Dexter’s side. he checked Seth’s basic first aid to make sure that Red hadn’t suffered anything worthy of their attention. She walked over to Zane’s bedside and sat on a footstool beside it. She let out a sigh and rested her head on her crossed arms that were resting on Zane’s bed. “If you happen to come into contact with Blaine again. He took a step toward her.

Then he felt something by his left side. Then you’ll know for sure. He was somewhat famous for the number of escaped attempts. He grimaced. What had happened the night before? He slumped back against the headrest. And the little spot of blood on her nose. . as he mentally searched his memories. The black van had pulled up. Red was asleep. Why. Then they snapped open. he recoiled and almost fell off the bed in surprise. He was usually a bit spooked afterwards. In fact. and what was she doing in his room? He looked around. In fact. resting her head on the side of his bed. It was a shame he didn’t remembered how he’d managed to get out of this one. Her face was turned towards him. who still slept heavily. a lot of power. He had a lot of money. He moved her bangs away from her face.He winced at the bright light that poured in from the window and looked tiredly around his room. Wake her up. He found none. as though she had fallen asleep watching him. He kept his distance from Red while he tried hard to remember. Eyes not seeing his room. He knew this should have scared him. He couldn’t stop himself from moving forward to examine her closer. he noticed the cut on her eyebrow. Looking down. those people had jumped out… He touched a slightly tender part of his neck where the syringe had plunged in. He stared at the mop of black hair on top of Red’s head. And the bruise on her forehead. The bags under her eyes and stress on her forehead suggested she was troubled. but he always got over it. AND the small cut on her lip. They hurt a little from where they had come into contact with the ground. He tapped his lip with his index finger. He looked back down at Red. scanning her for any signs. He pressed a hand to his head. then leaned forward and shook her arm. But this wasn’t the first time someone had tried to kidnap him. there had been numerous kidnapping attempts. As he did. He’d almost been kidnapped. closing his eyes and thinking. She’d been injured. it looked like someone had beaten the holy hell out of her. wincing when he pulled his knees up. Should he wake her just to satisfy his own curiosity? He shrugged.

almost colliding with Zane’s head. There was silence.“Hey. And that wasn’t good. “Zane! I can’t believe you’re alright. Inches away from his. In fact. . She looked at him. and then started to laugh. In his mind. on his bed. he was absolutely shocked. His gray eyes met hers when her face came into view. push her away—but his gut urged him to pull her back. I guess I’m just relieved you’re still breathing.― he said loudly. I was so worrie—― She stopped. “HEY! Wake up!― She sat up quickly. and sat on the edge.― She struggled to hide the grin that was spreading across her face. It was just his body reacting to the fact there was a girl in his room. before she looked at Zane. She was smiling. Red didn’t notice and tightened the grip around his neck. She moved slowly back. It looked like she had just realized her mistake. “Sorry. She went rigid too. even with his consent. No one had ever dared to invade his personal space before without getting permission. His shorts. There was a short moment of confusion. sitting on his bed with Red just inches away from him. His eyes widened and he went rigid. her arms untangling themselves from behind his neck to rest on his shoulders. he noticed her stiffen out of the corner of his eye. Surely the mind beat the stomach? Right. And here he was. Her face lightened up and she threw herself onto the bed. Red slowly untangled herself. He cleared his throat and focused his eyes on the wall. His mind said. alone. Red grumbled and turned her head away. She looked down at the floor. “I would let this little incident slip if you told me how I came to be in this condition.― Although he wasn’t looking at Red. he didn’t remember his personal space ever being invaded. He still looked shocked. The ones he had given her. throwing her arms around Zane’s neck and resting her legs against his side. fiddling with a piece of thread hanging from her shorts. He shook her again. That was the only possible reason for this conflict that he could understand. Zane still stared at her in shock. moved away from him.

his hand freezing on Red’s cheek. the kind of feeling you get after two glasses of wine. his nose inches from hers. “How do you explain this?― He brushed the cut on her eyebrow. She’s on his mind? Right. Zane moved back. Such an innocent color. He lifted the heavy. He felt cold all over. He raised a hand and brushed her bangs to the side. “That’s it. What are you? A hormonal. pure girl? Angel. ignoring her wide. She winced. Her blue. you see…those people tried to kidnap you. Did he dare touch it? His body had already compelled him to move towards the tomboyish girl and touch the cuts. Zane stared into Red’s eyes. You and I both know she’s on his mind nearly all the time. They were as pure as spring water. . “And this. How can you not like such an innocent.― he whispered. “This?― He moved to the split on her lip. but the police showed up and arrested them all!― She let out a fake laugh and scratched the back of her head. He brushed his thumb along her bottom lip. plush quilt off of his legs and crawled to Red’s side. so he hasn’t got time to think about anything else. enticing eyes. He was intoxicated. he touched her bruise with his right hand. His body was out of control. fourteen-year-old boy? It was the devil’s time to turn up. He raised his eyes from her lips to her eyes. well. The angel popped up beside him. Wow. with eyes wide. He might as well have stunned her with a Taser. that’s because he’s got feelings for her. petrified expression. look at you. But being this close to the girl was making him dizzy. And he was insane.“Uh.― Zane examined her. She watched him cautiously. That’s only because she won’t leave him alone. She was totally immobile. The Devil. the color of the sky. where the split was. Holding them gently in place. What? Hormonal? Can’t you see that he likes the girl? We’re inside his head. Look. His hand cupped her cheek and he moved his head slowly towards hers. Her lips were so soft. His eyes moved to the cut on her eyebrow and the bruise on her forehead. which was completely unnecessary. No.

And that’s reason enough to have her on his mind? Right. “I’m not a normal girl. Definitely Devil. “Oh. Sometimes. she lifted her head to stare at him. Angel.’ before being shut away.― she croaked. I’m glad you’re okay. “You expect me to believe that you fell? How many times can a normal girl fall?― Red rose to her feet and swiped her hands down her wrinkled clothing. trying to snap herself out of the stupor.― He stared at her. Her eyes widened. Zane removed his hand. Zane leaned forward slightly and waved a hand in front of her face. We’ve missed our meetings. He’s Zane Noble . he was listening to himself. He could swear he heard the devil say ‘I told you so. Kiss her? He stared at Red. but that was obviously the side effect of having nearly been kidnapped. so unladylike. The angel inside him banged against his forehead.― She shook her head. he still realized that would have been mean. resisting the urge to retaliate with ‘yeah.’ But even if he didn’t seem like the friendliest person. seemingly still in a trance. He rolled his eyes. He crossed his arms.do you think he’d fall for someone like this. you’re listening to him? He’s bad. slowly moving back into a sitting position. He watched her swallow. and then snorted. “Well? Can you explain where you got the injuries?― His voice was slightly shaky. dummy! Look! Devil horns mean bad! Do it.― . He clambered out of bed to stand in front of Red. He’d just touched the cut on her lip and asked where it had come from. throwing Zane a grin. “Hello? I need an answer. someone so unimportant. “I fell. go and kiss her— Whoa. I noticed. “Well. Damn it. He pushed both Angel and Devil to the back of his head. though. his hands were unusually sweaty. He hadn’t been about to kiss her. Perhaps he was still suffering from shock. Red seemed to be suffering more than him. the angel inside could be so ridiculous. Really. who still hadn’t moved. Hey. and so impossible? Get real.― She looked down at the watch on her wrist. At the sound of his voice.See? Totally pure. Red looked around awkwardly.

The only one he could think of right now? Was piano more important to her than spending time with him? Chapter 18: Lilac She couldn’t miss the meeting. He muttered under his breath. Tiffany had said she wasn’t. “You look terrible! Did something happen?― He looked around the hallway. and then just runs off? He chewed on the inside of his cheek. leaving him alone with several unanswered questions. Sure. rubbing her forehead. she made some excuse and dashed out to a class she’d never get to in time. She’d been attached to his side since the beginning of camp. obviously in a rush to get to a class that would end in minutes. His eyes widened when he noticed that Zane’s door was open a crack. an irritant. There wasn’t anything there to find. She’d already run out the door. slowly undoing the band. She collided with a figure at the top of the stairs and fell back onto the floor. A sharp white crack ran through the center. She looked up. “It’s alright to miss one day—― his words didn’t reach Red. But when he wanted to speak to her. thoroughly unwanted. Casper sank to his knees. The strange girl stayed in his room all night without his permission. invading his personal space without asking. He stared after her and scoffed in disbelief.Zane looked down at the watch that was still on his wrist from yesterday. She needed to ask the leader whether Vikki was coming back. “No! Zane didn’t beat you up did he?― . “Red! Are you okay? You shouldn’t run so fast you could hurt…― he trailed off and lifted her bangs away from her forehead. as though he would spot the thing that had injured her. But she wanted to hear it from someone else besides the bimbo.

a slight sarcastic tone to his voice. his hand outstretched. When she noticed him get off his knees. She sprinted down the stairs as fast as she could. But she ran off before he could finish his sentence. He looked away. scanning her face for the truth. you must be really clumsy. you must be real clumsy. but she had run off. Casper stared after Red. Why had Red rushed off so fast? She looked guilty.― She pushed down the feeling of guilt for lying to Casper. He slumped against the banister. Red. She watched as they settled back into place. gathering up their bags and talking animatedly to each other.― he had grumbled to her. Had his journey up the stairs over-exerted him that much? He frowned and bunched up his lips. pressing a hand to his chest. ***** She’d gotten there too late. He had frowned. He had called for her to wait. and he felt out of breath.Horror spread across her face. . “Hey. His heart was thumping so hard. I fell. She didn’t notice them staring hard at her face as they went by. Then it hit him. Red was cheating on Seth…with Zane. There was only one explanation for this. opening his mouth to ask her why she had been in Zane’s room and not in the meeting that morning.― He blew out. ruffling the back of his head in frustration. “Geez. right in the face. “N—No! Zane wouldn’t do that! I just fell. bold expression on his face. His heart sped up even more. scrambling to her feet to block his way. noticing that colliding with Casper had taken two minutes. The only explanation that could explain why Red was in Zane’s room. blowing his bangs into the air. Casper crinkled his brow as he brought his blue orbs back to hers. Casper’s mouth fell open and he slapped two hands to it. Why would she be guilty? “Geez. a determined. Red. The leader had already gone home and there was only a few people left behind in the room. why aren’t you in the meeting? And how come you just came out of—― She ran off. searching for the Leader. She looked around frantically. He stared at her for a moment. Had she ignored him? Was she hiding something? He dropped his arm and his eyes narrowed after her in speculation. she grabbed his arm. and why she’d missed her meeting. his eyes wide with horror.

― Her eyes widened and she lifted her head quickly. Red had injured Tiffany. This had been the last opportunity she had had to ask Leader what happened to Vikki. so I can congratulate them. “My Seth won’t want a girl with a face that looks like that. . an overconfident smile on her face. She sprinted back to the dorm. Then she ran out of the room as fast as she could. Her breathing was erratic. Tiff! Are you alright?― Red stared at her hands in horror. pulling it hard over her shoulder and bringing Tiffany with it. “I think I’ll hunt down the people who did that to your face. who was kneeling by Tiffany’s side on the ground. She moved a finger up pressed the bump on Red’s forehead. Before Red realized what she was doing. feeling frail and shaky. Henrietta’s shaking hands pushed Tiffany’s blonde hair away from her face.― Red dropped her eyes to the ground and stepped around her. The contact made her wince. She didn’t want to talk to Tiffany. And running away had seemed her only option. the image of Tiffany on the ground with blood spurting out of her nose went with her. Tiffany met Red’s eyes again. focused on Henrietta. The blonde bully was yelping like a dog. her hands snapped up and latched on to the other girl’s hand. when she had almost allowed Zane to be captured. It was Sport’s activity week starting from Tuesday. Tiffany held her bleeding nose. You must have really pissed someone off. closely examining Red’s face. walking towards her with attitude in her heels. her eyes scrunched up in pain. “Tiff! Oh my God. The blonde landed on the ground and Red stomped her foot on her nose. The irritating girl smirked and crossed her arms. with Henrietta close behind her.She gave up and slumped against the wall as the last person left. Not after what had happened the day before. “What a shame. heading out the door. She hadn’t even meant to do it! Her body had reacted on its own accord. She blinked. Tiffany flicked her hair over her shoulder and rested a hand on Red’s arm. Tiffany’s hand reached out and landed on Red’s shoulder. She surged up the stairs as fast as her legs would carry her. It was Tiffany. like they weren’t her own.― She moved her head all around. She was already losing all self-confidence as an agent.

Everything stopped. Come back upstairs. She stepped back. She knew what was wrong with her. What if she’d broken Tiffany’s nose? What if she’d seriously injured the girl’s back when she threw her to the ground? Without a doubt. She was shaking all over. everything had surfaced at once. “Red. She talk to anyone. scrunching her eyes closed. All of that training. She vaguely recognized that she was being lifted from the ground by two people and moved into a room. she thought to run straight past him. not caring that she was still on the steps of the dorm. Well. all of the exercises and mock fights that she’d been participating in since she was little. she knew that it would be an easy mistake to make. all that research. Judging by how pale she was. her body was no longer on the same team as her mind. all her training had rushed to the front. feeling fine. It took a great deal of effort to stop her body from reacting. She flinched violently away from him. When she spotted Seth coming down the staircase. She felt an almost overwhelming need to throw the hand and owner off of her. Some part of her mind recognized that it wasn’t Seth’s. Flashes and images poured into her head. She sunk to the ground. It wouldn’t matter if they believed she was Seth Cooper’s girlfriend or not. She didn’t notice her heavy breathing. She rubbed her eyes and sat up . She’d just injured an innocent girl. Seth stared at her wide. like a broken film skipping parts and playing only little bits that made no sense. poking their heads around the corners of their doors and whispering to each other. the point was that Red hadn’t meant to do it. Then suddenly. gleaming eyes and her trembling arm. He was looking at her like she was a ghost. but still. Her eyes opened and She was breathing normally again. She knew what had happened. When she had saved Zane. She pressed her hands to her ears. creating a barrier that wouldn’t allow him to pass. “Don’t come any closer. she was going to be hated. All of the information she’d read in books. As she ran past him. This was the same thing that had happened at the party. it stopped.No. Maybe not so innocent.― He lifted an arm to rest it on her shoulder. Not her legs. or that she was on the verge of a panic attack.― She held out her hands in front of her. without meaning to. People began to come out of their rooms. He slowly released her arm and stepped forward. He wasn’t smiling. She’d been trained to be paranoid around people. and she’d lost control. sending him crashing to the ground. he wrapped a hand around her arm.

then let out a nervous laugh.― She raised her head to look at the two of them. She was in a room she hadn’t been in before . “What happened?― Seth asked.― She hoped lied well. “And she kind of threatened me again. She wasn’t the faintest bit uneasy. “You too? Your lip…― Casper looked back at her. Then Tiffany came up to me and…― She frowned.― They stared at her with eyes wide. leaning forward in protest. but she’d left already.― She frowned. and then nodded. She pushed on the bump on my forehead.quickly. very scared. “I… I’m not sure. He stood beside Seth looking very. “Think you can stand?― he asked her. slowly getting to her feet. rubbing the back of her neck. She nodded and swung her legs off of the sofa. “Did you two get into a fight?― She shook her head.― They sagged in relief. He stood up. . “Red?― She turned to look at the owner of the voice. “I’m going to try something. smiles spreading across their faces. “N—no! It’s just… coincidence. You mustn’t feel sorry if anything happens. She swallowed and looked at the two of them. his eyes filled with a strange emotion. She grimaced. Seth looked back at her.probably Casper’s. Seth took one step closer towards her. like she had been before. It was silent in the room for a moment and then Casper went rigid. dropping her head. She and Seth looked at him questioningly. “I…I flipped her over my shoulder and then stomped on her nose.― She looked at him strangely. “That was weird. She’d never really done much of that before. It was Casper. “Then I came back here. and all of a sudden it was like I was seeing things and feeling things I don’t remember. met Seth in the hall. sitting at the end of the sofa closest to Red. not liking what she had to say next. However their eyes were still filled with concern. I left earlier to see if Leader was still at the meeting. almost butting heads with someone leaning over her. put her hand on my shoulder. She scratched her cheek and looked around. There were light flashes and images appearing in front of my eyes. He was staring at Seth’s face. It was really strange. then back to Seth.

But right now it seemed that her body did. she turned to see who it was. his arms folded across his stomach. as did Seth. Casper stared at her with eyes wide. but after looking at her watch. Casper shuffled over to answer it. or lay a hand on her shoulder. “You don’t want your own boyfriend to touch you?― An uncomfortable silence filled the room as she looked down at the carpet. “Looks like you’ve got some type of phobia. his face scrunched up in pain. He sent her a reassuring smile. “Wow. He obviously wasn’t happy about not knowing what was going on. She released him and stepped back. Her mind wandered as he went to answer the door. “What is this? A private meeting?― .― Seth straightened and rotated the arm she’d forced behind his back. temporarily. When she heard the door open. Everything had happened so fast. It’s not that she didn’t want any body contact with anyone. and the neck collar sagged down like a scarf. Zane was standing there. He was wearing a black t-shirt that looked like it was made out of an expensive fabric. A knock at the door broke the uncomfortable tension. one eyebrow raised in speculation. which was lean and skinny. cupping her mouth in horror. He peeked around the edge of the door.He reached out and pressed a hand to her arm.― Casper frowned and looked from Seth to her. she found she was holding Seth’s arm tightly behind his back. and when it returned. It fit tight to Zane’s body. she realized it had only been about fifteen minutes since she had hurt the mean girl. He looked down at Casper with a straight face. your fight or flight response is geared to fight and you lash out when you are touched without warning. Tiffany had probably seen the nurse by now and had her injuries seen to. Her vision went blank. He shuffled uncomfortably on his feet. He worked on easing the muscles she’d just pulled. She didn’t mind having someone randomly hug her. avoiding Casper’s gaze. frowning.

“I don’t know how it happened.― Casper suddenly swung around and grabbed her shoulders with both of his hands. she would have noticed the suspicious look he was giving her and Zane. It must have taken years of training for you to react that quickly.― She sniffed and rubbed her forehead. she found she had latched on to Casper’s arms and was pulling them both backwards. The blonde followed Zane. “Red just collapsed in the hall. How was she supposed to stop it? Casper rolled over on the ground. The cheeky blonde boy was glaring at him. Every time this happened. a foot pressed hard into his back. a surprised smile spreading over his face.― Seth explained calmly to Zane. “Zane! Weren’t you going to go tell your uncle what happened?― she asked him. “I decided it would be best to keep this little incident to myself. though.She grinned at the new guest and ran towards the door. “It’s very impressive. “What training?― She looked down at Casper. “I’ll show you. It was like she simply shut her eyes for a nap and then woken up few minutes later. Seth looked at his friend blankly.― She frowned and pouted at him. “It’s not funny.― Seth smiled too and tilted his head to the side. “Wow. That gets funnier every time it happens. She released him quickly and stepped away. crossing his arms and watching his every move. Zane’s eyes were wide and he stared at her. pulling the door open fully. tilting her head to the side. No harm in preventing the press from getting the story. When she opened her eyes. If she had looked at Casper. She was getting a headache. who was sitting on the ground with his . but now she’s developed a fear of physical contact.― Casper walked over to her and stood in front of Zane. it made her feel so bad. “What?― Her grin slipped away and she smiled weakly at him. He bit the side of his cheek and stared at the doorframe. We don’t know what happened. his velvety voice seeming to calm down the room.― He strode into the room without invitation from Casper.

― She didn’t know why. he touched her forehead. “I didn’t do anything. So why. too. her lips pouted slightly in her sleep. He leaned forward suddenly and grabbed Zane’s folded arm. with a trembling hand. “What are you—― Casper placed his hand on her shoulder. She sucked in a breath and waited for her involuntary reaction. he lifted his arm and brushed back the tendrils of her hair. Zane glared at him.― Seth said it so smoothly and so quickly. She hit her chest with her hand to stop it from thumping so loud and looked at everyone in confusion. Slowly. but everyone else seemed to have clammed up. it shocked her. Lightly. She was probably having a bad dream. She looked so innocent. Nothing happened. “So. “She’s trained in martial arts and self-defense since she was little. hugging the corner of the quilt closer to her . He pushed back the blanket and sat up on his knees. Zane was looking at her questioningly. without making it sound like a lie. even when touched by her closest friends. when Zane had rested a hand on her. And waited.knees pulled up to his chin and his arms wrapped around his legs. Crap. The only reaction that had happened was her heartbeat had strangely increased. They knew something. hoping to ease away the stress that was etched into it. Her black hair framed her face. even when she slept. do you think that was because I knew Casper was pushing it?― No one answered. but in fact behind that smile was an evil motive. Casper scrambled to his feet and sent a cheeky grin to Zane. revealing her pale cheekbone and cut eyebrow. She had a phobia of unwanted physical contact. He’d actually told them the truth—in some sense—and had said it calmly. She didn’t black out and Zane wasn’t being pressed to the ground in a painful position. bringing his face close to her sleeping one. like they were having a silent conversation that she wasn’t part of. She would have messed it up. didn’t she react? ***** Seth rolled over on the mattress on the floor and stared up at the sleeping girl on the bed. It seemed like a cheeky grin to her. It slowly faded and she moved a little. and she had a light crease in her brow.

coming out relatively unscathed. He’d only felt such overwhelming emotions once before. He knew the reason she was so determined to make this mission a success. He knew the reason she brightened up when the other boy was around. Chapter 19: Turquoise The first day of Sports week…was a run. And with everything he had. It was a cross-country run around the entire camp. She’d fended off full-grown men with ease. he would try as hard as he could to make her his… for real. After learned so much about her. They stuck out like paintbrushes and for some reason this seemed to attract a lot more attention than if she’d left it down. So hard. But Seth wasn’t ready to accept that. The sun was behind the clouds and it was pleasant out. An undercover agent. But she’d done so well. to kill and harm. He ran a finger over her cut eyebrow. deceitful. She was an agent. Not too difficult. When his mother had died after his father deserted her. She was dressed in a tight tank top and large shorts. placing a small kiss on her cut eyebrow. cropped hair into two separate bunches on either side of her head.chin. He brushed back more of her hair and leaned forward slowly. It was actually a pretty good day for it. She tied her short. that such an naive. How was it. That’s what you’re supposed to tell yourself before you start. he felt like exploding. the entire truth. . She was feeling pumped and motivated. childlike girl could be an agent? Agents were supposed to tough. He struggled hard to hide his feelings. Because he knew the reason she wouldn’t hurt Zane. She’d hesitated to shoot the person she was supposed to kill.

She made her way down to the starting line with Seth. She’d done something with her hair…but what all the boy’s were stumbling over wasn’t her abbreviated pigtails. he thought He was used to Red looking a little tomboyish. innocence was definitely a negative trait. that. The people were watching her and Seth—pulling at each other’s sleeves and pointing at them as they walked by. just as the whistle blew. being careful not to make contact with her. he cleared his throat and shook his head. who was a lot quieter. And Red had well. mumbling to himself. “This is expected. She didn’t know. He kept running off course into the weeds and gravel. But today she’d worn the same type of boy short’s but paired them with a top that wasn’t boyish at all. boobs. and then whisper in her ear. she heard the whispers.She didn’t notice the interest following her every step. She was wearing a precariously low cut top that looked one size too small. but took no notice. well exposed? . My God. She didn’t notice him do a double take. How could she? Sometimes. Seth was at her other side. He glanced at one of the other girl’s jogging by. She felt Seth lean in. Quickly regaining control of himself. She noticed his eyes flicker in her direction occasionally. and more detached than usual. He stumbled and hurried to catch up to her side. things could be worse. he jogged past Casper to see if he could figure out what was that so distracting. she probably didn’t realize. He guessed. Well. But he didn’t like that there were so many boy’s looking at—Red Did he dare glance at her again? Did she look that good. After the fourth time.― She nodded and took one step away from him. Casper turned his head to grin at her and she smiled at him too before looking back to the front. He stumbled and nearly fell. She had learned to leave him alone when he didn’t feel like speaking. As they neared the starting line. but it was for his safety. at least she wasn’t just wearing a sports bra. Just go with it. ***** Zane jogged up next to Casper. noticing that the blonde boy appeared to be constantly distracted. it was that top. taking her place next to Casper. She hated that she had to keep some physical distance from her friend. She approached the starting line.

She grinned up at him.He fiddled with his earphones and used this as an excuse to glance over again. No. thrusting the sweatshirt out to her. “You’re not supposed to wear black strap tops to a cross country run?― She looked at a girl running by. snorting in derision. She looked at it like it was going to bite her and then lifted her cerulean eyes up to his. He shrugged off the light hoodie he was wearing. Not only had Zane given her his hoodie at the run. “… help you. He noticed that even Seth was having a hard time focusing on the jogging. but he’d actually knocked on Seth’s door—once . a bit surprised at his actions. and all the other guys. “Thanks. He tugged her arm and pulled her aside. Red looked up at him. ***** She was ecstatic. she jogged off. so he could job next to Red. Zane!― And with that. Clearly she was still spooked about the fact she didn’t retaliate when Zane touched her. her chest heaving up and down as she tried to catch her breath.― Her face lit up and reached for the sweatshirt. Completely. He watched after her with his arms folded. and yeah…pulling it around her shoulders. and he was probably just as innocent as Red. As the members of Royal Haven turned the first corner — splitting off into a different direction than Royal Nature—Zane managed to switch places with Casper.― he breathed in. He hadn’t worn it because it was cold. but rather because it matched the shirt. She looked down at chest. “Please? Why not take advantage of the fact that I’m actually trying to. . Zane tried very hard to keep his eyes on her face. I can’t think. like it was some confusing math’s puzzle. He cursed under his breath and slowed his jogging down back to an even pace so he was beside Casper again. allowing the other joggers to go past them at a faster pace. She looked down at the hand that held her arm. “What do I need this for?― she asked. but he was just as spooked.No one can think when you do that. “You’re not suitably dressed for a cross country run. She was clueless on her affect on him. with your hair up like that. mentally slapping his warm cheeks. he said to himself. taking it from him. totally ecstatic. You’re not supposed to wear a top that low. keeping his eyes on the joggers going past them. He glared at her and pushed the hoodie at her again. who was wearing a similar top. then back up to Zane. He didn’t show it.― he said. zipping it up the front.

He tilted his head back and scrunched his eyes shut. She glanced over at him. you have no idea…― She pulled her legs onto Seth’s bed and pressed the bottoms of her feet together. It had been so long since Zane had asked her to leave Royal Haven. slamming it hard behind him. Zane had approached her. putting her arms forward so she could grasp her ankles with her hands. “Zane?― She released her feet and started to crawl on the bed. What did she do this time? Zane slammed the door shut behind him. toward him. She stared after him. Shaking his head. he turned his back on her. Zane. What was wrong with him? . “You don’t. “Hey. He was standing in Seth’s room.Seth had left—and asked to see what she planned to wear for the day. trying to stop his heart from beating so fast. She thought it might have something to do with going to the cafeteria this morning in a pair of red. her brow creased in confusion. His eyes widened. The girl had been right. collapsing against it as soon as it was closed. She was beginning to think he had accepted her. He dropped the last pair of shorts back into the bag and folded his arms across his chest. only tied up behind her neck. He slammed his fist against his chest. still happily smiling at Zane. Coming to a complete standstill when he saw what she was doing. he turned sprinted out the door. REALLY short shorts. resting a hand over his warm face. And it wasn’t to bite her head off! He really was interested in what she was wearing. if her friend ever came back. he could fill sweat trickle down his forehead. the clothes had worked. in fact. So hard. She watched him with a grin on her face. Vikki had called it a halter. the walls shook. She wanted a closer look at him. She stopped rocking and tilted her head to look at him in confusion. Every time Red wore the clothes her friend had picked out for her. She also wore a strange top that didn’t have any sleeves. “Do you have any idea—― He sighed when he saw her smiling face. looking at her. Amazing. She really would have to thank Vikki. She started to rock backwards and forward. looking through the tops and shorts that she had left. Since the one’s Zane had given her were in the wash. are we friends yet?― He snorted and turned around. she was sooo flexible. He had turned a little white. Without warning. a look of disgust and horror across his face. frowning.

She didn’t have the slightest idea about what she looked like in those clothes. Of course they could swim. They didn’t move. It was what was wrong with Red. She shouldn’t be wearing those kinds of clothes. They were going swimming.No. But how was he supposed to do that if he was taking her shopping? He’d stay an arm’s length away at all times. Seth. “All campers who cannot swim can make their way over to the shallow area at the end of the lake!― The camp counselor was busy dividing everyone into groups. She sighed. He rubbed at his forehead and made his way slowly back to his room. He felt like poking her back with a stick and telling her to stay away. He didn’t want to be flipped over her shoulder in one of her spontaneous karate moves or something. They hadn’t lived underground since they were children. they probably owned their own swimming pools and could afford to pay for the best instructors. closer to him. Or for his sanity. Or because spending the day with her would make her extremely happy. not for any other reason. The thought of even being near it sent chills down her spine. Surely. God. She just couldn’t. It was trembling slightly. she had to try so hard to keep her feet firmly planted on the ground. Or his. She stood with Casper. feeling . It wasn’t because he wanted to keep her company. in fear. Zane’s heart had sped up because he was afraid of her. A tomboy. She couldn’t go near the water. He needed to do it for his friend. She was a tomboy. It wasn’t what was wrong with him. With all that money. and Zane. She had no self-awareness. she’d only made it worse by crawling forward. ***** Today was the second day of Sport’s activity. She started to slowly walk away. There was no girl alive who could be so… dense. When she heard what the activity was. He’d take her shopping. The top had gaped open and it wasn’t the shorts that bothered him that time. She really wasn’t good for his health. That was the best way to make sure his heart didn’t beat so hard. Right—Seth wouldn’t be happy with his girlfriend walking around in such provocative clothing. towards the shallow end. She raised a hand and looked at it. She’d been sitting in that position. Evidently these three could swim. She wanted to run away. the red shorts ridding up her pale thighs and her top dangerously low. He needed to keep his distance. the girl was too innocent for her own good.

“I’ll be fine. “So. Goose bumps rose on her arms. He had somehow managed to get out of swimming. looking around for Leo’s bright red hair. Zane had left. She wouldn’t put it past the other girl to push Red in the water. There was no one there. would she? “I bet you really can swim. She wondered if she could too. Everyone else began to jump in the water. She didn’t like the water. She wore the longest pair of shorts that she had. almost mesmerized by the sun’s glare on its surface.their eyes on her back. Since she’d never been in the water.― She told herself that. Are you making it up so you can be different from everyone else? So that you get all the attention?― Tiffany approached her. She stood at the edge of the lake. The girls were wearing bikinis and other cute swimsuits. Quickly moving back. it’s a . being careful not to get too close. Why didn’t she like the water? Casper and Seth watched her from a distance. “You see? You’d be the only one sitting there. The blonde raised a hand to point in the direction of the shallow end. which was why this area was used for diving and swimming laps. “Hey. Tiffany wouldn’t do that. She laughed nervously. Red looked at the girl. Red! I didn’t know you couldn’t swim!― Casper hurried to stand by her side. She had heard from Seth that she hadn’t broken the girl’s nose—luckily—but that area of her face was covered in a big purple bruise. It’s just a little water. Even with the bruise. The water here was deep. She turned around quickly. There was no gradual descent. not wanting to move. “I have to say. She smiled slyly at Red. She stared at the ground. but a steep drop-off. They were still on shore. it had never crossed her mind. But.― Tiffany took another step closer. she shuddered. Everyone at this camp can swim. She leaned out over the edge to look at the water. She hadn’t thought about needing a swimsuit. Casper went back to stand with Zane and Seth. There were many snickers and whispering jokes about her failing. and of Seth’s t-shirts. She frowned at glassy surface. that Red can’t swim…great. She straightened up. Seth’s little girlfriend can’t swim?― It was Tiffany. simply because she couldn’t swim. away from everyone else and just stared at the water. She was being silly. He looked at her sympathetically. Casper’s words had ensured that everyone knew she couldn’t swim. she still looked pretty. What had Tiffany said. She watched everyone as they started to swim lengths. This was the deepest part of the lake. she felt sick in the pit of her stomach.

and your little Haven friends join you on the beach. If he wasn’t afraid of water. She went under. She feared for her life. anything that involved swimming terrified him. not even trying to fight to the top. swimming lengths and racing with the others. Since then. unwillingly. she clutched at the warm body pulling her to the surface. She didn’t like what she was saying. he spotted the familiar black hair and . She turned to the light. She was being saved. He moved his gaze to the shallow end. The bright light behind the figure illuminated it. It wasn’t there. Yet it was as if these events had happened only yesterday. He noticed movement in the distance and looked up. ***** Zane watched everyone splash and enjoy the lake. Only two people knew the real reason behind his not wanting to swim and they were in the lake now. Freezing Red through to the bone. It used to be his passion. It was warm. What better way to get closer to them?― Tiffany took another step closer. She needed to run. Familiar images flashed before her eyes. Tiffany thought Red was faking. seeing a figure swimming towards her. He would be in there too. It swept away most of the fear. and some of the memories remained. The shock of the cool water startled her. but the chilly dread. She couldn’t breathe. a white light blinding her. Her chest constricted in a fear too strong to just be about water. She didn’t like the tone in her voice. Red wasn’t there. What did they want to do to her next? Who was ‘they?’ There was no one here. She let out a scream before her back hit the water with immense force. needed to scream. He got to his feet quickly. It was the biggest mistake of her life. to help teach poor. He used to be a top swimmer.great plan. She stretched out her arms. about your life flashing before your eyes when you died. looking around the lake for the familiar mop of black. She gasped and went under. You say you can’t swim. little you. But what burst in Red’s brain wasn’t anything she remembered. She took a step back. hoping to grab anything she could to prevent her falling. She wanted to scream. Until the day he had been thrown. wanting to just get away from the nasty girl. It was too late. He’d hit his head and nearly drowned. shadowed form. so it just seemed like a spidery. into the water. Squinting to look all the way at the back of lake. He sat down on the bank and scanned the tops of everyone’s heads. She’d heard that saying. She felt a body press against her. Red didn’t like the look in the other girl’s eyes. The edge of the small cliff was behind her.

But she couldn’t swim. coughing out water that had gotten into his lungs. He didn’t think about his own fear. coast. Red’s arms and legs were spread outwards and she was slowly sinking. It looked like she’d fainted. Her nose was bleeding. He rolled over onto his stomach when he got to the grass. He knew she couldn’t swim. The chances of it happening had seemed so small. With a loud scream and a splash. He watched in horror as Red took a step back. He didn’t notice everyone surrounding Red and him. The fresh air hit his face as he emerged from the water. he tore off his jacket and sprinted around to the side of the lake where Red had fallen in. She didn’t try to swim. He entwined an arm around her waist and shot upwards. She was standing in front of a blonde girl. looking peaceful and more pale than ever. Maybe more than just miss her. How had that happened? There didn’t seem to . kicking the water with his feet so he could make it to the surface. His cheeks puffed out as he swam as far down as he could. And he realized all of a sudden that he would miss her. Terror etched itself into his bones. Dread coursed through his veins. Diving perfectly into the water. She had to live. He was scared of water. Sound rushed in where all had been silent. perilously close to the edge of the lake. He lunged forward and grabbed her arm. but could swim. But she wasn’t in the water. She had admitted as much to Casper a bit ago. She just sunk. she wasn’t particularly fond of the water either. her eyes half-open. He released small bubble of air. so he was able to swim further and further down. she hit the water. Not really thinking about anything. Would she? He didn’t know what he’d do if she died. She wouldn’t die just from falling in the water. Judging by Red’s actions earlier. There was no flailing about. pulling her into his body. a blank stare on her face. he clamped down on the fear spreading through him. She was lying with her eyes shut. trying to get a better view of the person talking to her. like a rock thrown in a river. using one arm to tug Red out and the other to pull himself out. or remember that water had become the enemy. How would his life be if she hadn’t come to Sunnyside? What would he be doing now? The same thing he’d done every year. He crawled his way to her side.dainty figure. Not caring about anything but Red. He started to slowly walk around the outside of the lake. The deep end.

hard. she has blocked out painful memories for over a decade. “The mental trauma could have caused her physical injury. and having much of that come back when she fell in the water.be anything she could have hit her head on. He swallowed around a huge lump that appeared in his throat and sucked in a breath. From what she’s been able to tell us. She wasn’t breathing. Her hair had dried haphazardly around her head. Nothing they had tried would get her to relax. We think that the shock of falling in the caused her body to react violently. “I’m happy to tell you there’s nothing seriously wrong with her. . But blood. cupping her face in the palm of his hand.― The nurse gave them all a sympathetic smile. Chapter 20: Lime The nurse shook her head at Zane. It also appears that she has been suffering from Disassociated Amnesia. water spurting from her mouth. that was similar to her usual style. like there was something stuck in her throat. “Hey. Just be careful with her when she wakes up. The blood running down her nose continued and she bent down on all fours.― They all looked down at Red. He rolled her back over and flicked her bangs out of her eyes. but then. He sat her up and hit her back. no longer coughing up water. She had deep bags under her eyes. or to wake up. Nothing. She is sleeping now. She coughed and her eyes snapped open.― he moved his hands down to shake her shoulders. Casper and Seth. her skin had paled even more and she was frowning. “Poor Red. He turned her over and thumped her back.― Casper stroked the bangs back on Red’s forehead. She gurgled. may have caused the nose bleed.

Zane lifted his eyes from the girl on the bed to look out of a window at the dark sky outside. not willing to tell each other that the only things on their mind at that current moment. He moved his eyes back down to Red and lifted a hand to press it against her cheek.― he said through gritted teeth. Give the girl some peace. ushering them out the door with her wrinkled hands. The brown-haired boy turned his head slightly to look at his friend. his arms crossed. She had been overjoyed to see her friend.Seth sat on her other side. his hand grasping hers. They said she was responsible for my accident. grasping it tightly.― Seth couldn’t argue with that. Casper didn’t notice the tone in voice. Red had awoken to find Vikki by her bed. “Come on boys. “We’re not naive. She’s very complicated.― “Right. Seth did. it’s about time you left now.― Vikki folded her arms over her chest and snorted loudly. They were starting to regain their color. “She seems to be so simple. I LEAVE FOR ONE WEEK AND EVERYTHING TURNS UPSIDE DOWN. “It wasn’t really her fault though. I’M REALLY GOING TO KILL THAT—― “Tiffany’s gone.― She looked down at the infirmary bed. he couldn’t cover up his anger. Zane stood at the end of her bed. That’s not what everyone else is saying. so naive and just. she’s got more secrets than anyone I’ve ever met.― The nurse came in about an hour later. scratching away one of the stickers that were on the back of a medicine bottle. They left reluctantly and walked back to the dorm in silence. Vikki had explained that she had to go home immediately because of a family crisis and didn’t have time to tell anyone that she would be back . was Red. It was getting late. “Isn’t that the same for all of us?― Zane snapped his eyes away from Red to glare at Seth. a sad expression on her face. she didn’t push me. No matter how hard he tried. ***** “I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. well…simple. But she’s not really.

Oh dear. rubbery thing to her head. her brown eyes wide. “I missed so much. And to flip your own boyfriend. “With all this going on I forgot to ask.― she advised her. there was silence in the infirmary for a moment. Vikki just stared at Red. made any progress with Zane? Anything happen with him while I was gone?― Her insides did a somersault.― The nurse came over.within the week. easing her legs off of the bed. looking hopeful. Red laughed. She stood next to Vikki. Vikki tilted her head and dropped her arms. Her friend went to hug her. She took a deep breath. When Vikki got back. Once she was finished. “No way. “I bet Cupid really enjoyed being flipped like that. Tiffany had lied. as his girlfriend. Besides. that all three rooms on the top ground had been flooded. I get it. “Looks like you’re all clear to go. Just take it easy. and started to talk. checked the red line that had appeared on the white rectangle and then smiled warmly at her. She pressed a weird. Yeah. She let out a growl. pursing her lips angrily.― Vikki sighed and leaned back.― She grinned at her. and that she had beaten up five men in front of Seth. “Can’t your agent buddies go and assassinate her or something?― Vikki slumped down in the seat beside the bed. she had heard about the accident and rushed to find Red in the infirmary. It’s not—― “—her fault. Red? That’s pretty harsh. Her mouth had fallen open. breaking the silence that fell over the two of us again. “Not a good idea. but Red held her arms up.― Her eyes widened suddenly and she sat up straight. I’ve informed Leo you can’t participate in anymore of the Sports Activities. in order to defend Zane when he was nearly kidnapped? And that Zane didn’t know she was an agent. “Damn. How was she supposed to tell her friend that she had ended up sharing a room with Seth. she didn’t push me. “I don’t think that’s allowed.― she muttered to herself. Vikki looked at her like Christmas had come early.― . “Yep.― She nodded and pushed back the blanket. but Seth did. “Why?― Red explained about her weird protective instincts. I hate that witch. looking at Red hopefully.

thanks. She was getting nervous because of Zane. or him look at her in disbelief. Super Cooper and Cupid were walking straight towards the two girls.She pouted and frowned at Vikki. That’s pretty unfair to Super Cooper—― Red started laughing at Vikki’s nicknames for the guys. She didn’t notice Zane’s arms unfold.― She watched the two of them banter. you shouldn’t be standing so close to Red. She suddenly felt overwhelmed with emotion and had to swallow around a sudden lump that formed in her throat. He was leaning by a tree nearby. “What? You think coming to see her will make her feel better? I’d personally feel worse if the first person I saw when I woke up. She knew she should have found it distressing. “Icky Vikki. She was getting nervous. She rubbed at it and smiled at him. “I didn’t mean to. .― She found herself looking at Zane instead. “Red!― She stopped laughing when she realized Vain Zane. She felt her hands begin to tremble. but it was so clear that they weren’t really serious about the insults. was you. You might make her sick again. I want to go. Vikki crossed her arms boldly and stuck her head forward. They were so apt. They all approached each other. When he felt her staring at him. Casper slowed and the grin slowly fell off his face as he saw Vikki standing beside her. smiling.― Vikki tapped her chin and gazed at the sky as they left the infirmary. “I wonder why Vain Zane never gets flipped. His expression did a complete 360 turn and now he was frowning in disgust. he moved his gaze over to her. She opened her mouth to say something. “How are you feeling?― She flinched and looked to her left. “Vikki.― Casper quipped. scrunching his face up in determination.― she whispered to friend. his arms folded over his chest. And he’s not my real boyfriend. but closed it almost immediately and looked away. “A little better. Seth had leaned in close to whisper in her ear.

Red waved goodbye to everyone. She felt Vikki staring at the side of her head and heard her scoff loudly. Why would he save the life of a girl he wants to get rid of?― She tilted her head to the right. and said in a loud whisper. “Wow. Shaking her head. I didn’t mean as a friend.Vikki stopped the latest insult aimed toward Casper mid—sentence and looked at Red.― She exaggerated her wink. Vain Zane saved your life. She opened the door to Seth’s room and made her way inside. “Why would he jump into the water to save you. “Hey. Vikki following behind her. “You really are too dense. “What’s the deal?― She lifted her head to look at Vikki. “Hey. Vikki rested a hand on the back of her neck and turned the corner to head towards the dorm. “Judging by the gossip.― she said uneasily. Vikki’s look was a little all knowing. “Hey. “Well. vain. She examined her friends face. staring at her in horror. I only knew about his fear because Cupid told me when we were little. She didn’t want that strange nervousness to overwhelm her again. you really aren’t dating.― She smirked at Red. Red stared back. Vikki spotted the mattress poking out of a wardrobe.― They ventured up the stairs into the dorm. “I guess not anymore. he hasn’t said he doesn’t. obviously noticing that she was starting to feel uncomfortable. blankly. it was empty because everyone else had just made their way over to the gym. when he’s been afraid of it since he was a little boy?― Red stopped walking. “What else would he like me as?― For a moment. Zane was afraid of water? He’d saved her? And she had just ignored him in front of the infirmary. Vikki stared at her as though she waited for her to turn around and say that Red knew what she meant. and much better friends. waiting for Red to rustle through her bag of clothes. do you?― Red hurried to catch up with Vikki. . careful to avoid eye contact with Zane. “He’s… scared of water?― Vikki shrugged and started walking again. Vain Zane is… well. Luckily.― She threw herself onto his bed and looked around the room. where they were going to be doing weightlifting and gymnastics. Man. you don’t think he likes you. she’d really blown it this time.

“What about Super Cooper? How did he react?― She frowned. She’d chosen her outfit for the day. “Yeah! They worked great.did wearing those clothes work?― Red looked over her shoulder. “This is like a twisted love story…― She tilted her head at Red and grinned.― ***** Zane couldn’t concentrate on the weight lifting.― Vikki stared at Red.― Vikki frowned. I wore that tight.― She let out a laugh. Seth does. Zane always approached me. I didn’t understand it. She’d forgotten to tell Vikki all about that. little strappy top. he kind of went back and forth.― She looked at Vikki in confusion when an evil grin spread over her friends face. He gave them to me and said I’d be more comfortable wearing them. “Like you just did. “Zane doesn’t want you to wear clothes that make you look cute. smiling at them. He’d managed to . “‘Approached you?― Red nodded and pulled out a top. looked through my clothes and then said I was clueless. coming near and then quickly walking away. a small smile slowly spreading over her face. “My attention?― Vikki lay back on the bed. but won’t come near you when you do because he won’t be able to hold back his feelings. Just as she was about to head into the bathroom. “They’re Zane’s. putting her hands behind her head. her few piercings shining in the sun pouring in through the window. Vikki called to her to wait. “We didn’t buy those. Whenever I wore these. “Looks to me like someone’s trying to get your attention. Then another time he made me come back here. thinking. a grin spreading over her face. fiddling with it as she frowned. You know. She was staring at the shorts. He was like that in the cafeteria too.― Vikki popped back into a sitting position. now I think about it.― She had gone back to rustling through the bag and pulled out a pair of Zane’s shorts. thinking hard. “A twisted love story with one hell of a love triangle.― She shifted her weight back to her other leg. “One time he gave me his hoodie to wear. We were jogging. A happy grin spread over Red’s face.― She stretched out an arm and pointed at them. “When I wore the strap top. Of course. Her lips tilted upwards. instead of my short-shorts.

he almost couldn’t breathe.sneak out the back. He frowned and bit the inside of his cheek. She couldn’t breath. it seemed to rain an awful lot. She was small. She needed to do something. confused. The child within cried. She closed her eyes. so upset. Someone had promised her that she could see her mommy and daddy again. looking around and feeling lost. and then they’d laugh. She couldn’t hold them back anymore. Because if she didn’t. She was infuriating. trying to push it out of his mind. But the woman was fighting. She lay back on the bed. So afraid. She was impossible. That hadn’t happened. They’d lied. choke. They hurt her. She just had to wait here. Someone was dunking her head in a bucket of water. Mommy. For a camp called Sunnyside. or hit. That hadn’t happened before. The first person she saw was a woman. exhausted from the fight to keep them locked away. A feeling of loneliness and grief swept through her as she stood in a crowd. not even acknowledging his presence. She didn’t want to claim those memories as they scared her even more than falling in the water had. They scared her. and remembered. ***** She was small. He’d saved her life and how did she repay him? She ignored him completely. But no matter how hard he tried. The child whimpered in fear of what was coming. alone. She was small. hurt. He would teach her a lesson. The mommy woman was being beaten. even when he’d been cruel to her. She’d ignored him today. and right now he was just resting his back against the wall. Part of her knew those images were memories. Long buried memories. and another would take their place. One would fall when the mommy kicked. scared even then. In the water. tightening his arms so hard across his chest. It was drizzling slightly. Her adult mind knew she was being tortured. . with nothing else to do. ***** She’d said goodbye to Vikki and now Red was in Seth’s room. she always made her way back in. He gritted his teeth. hurt. This only dampened his mood. Mommy and daddy never came. She had to do something. Out of the water. He wasn’t going to stand for it anymore. He pushed himself off of the wall and stormed through the drizzle towards the dorm. Over and over again. Black shadows…so many of them. the images that had played out in her mind over the past week would pop right back into her head.

She could feel them. a shoulder got in the way. the tears stopped. She was sad. Crying so hard her eyes and her head hurt. Her eyes were wide with shock and she raised a hand to touch her face. A bad man. covered in dirt. She was small. It was so tempting to lie down again. Her head rested on it. guided by a warm hand which stayed there.She was small. She’d been crying. Slowly. She didn’t have to look at him. Then. like she just had been. He had a vague idea about why she was crying. The doctor said that she had some type of amnesia and the trauma of the near-drowning might bring those memories closer to the surface. She sat up and dabbed at her cheeks with her fingers. Warm tears streamed down her face. The two people meant so much to her. pointed a metal rod at their heads. and so very afraid. “Just let it out. their heads surrounded by big. Sobbing as she watched a man and the mommy woman. She raised her other hand to grasp his shirt tightly and curled her head into his neck. still darkness take away the pain. She didn’t need to recognize his voice. Like she wanted nothing more than to curl into a ball. . The two people were lying on the ground. It was the memories. crying. ***** How could he yell at her? How could he be aloof and cold in a situation like this? The thing that horrified him the most was that if he hadn’t gone to see her at that exact moment. the visions began to fade and she found herself curled into a ball on Seth’s bed. and cry until she had no tears left. They were kneeling on the ground in front of her. Mommy. Just two trickled down her puffy cheeks. Her head began to tilt sideways and she struggled to stay sitting up. the amazing feeling she got when he was around was enough for her to know who held her. and cuts. bruises. She sobbed. The sound of a huge explosion made her jolt and suddenly. Let the black. spreading pools of red. the increase in her heartbeat. brushing her hair out of her eyes. She was crying. she would have cried alone. thinking to wrap herself in her memories and misery. Saying her name over and over again. Just as she gave in. she cried. ***** She heard a voice calling her in the distance. A few more tears fell. She felt so… so… depressed. the one who laughed when her head was dunked in the water.― She knew who it was. Screamed. She didn’t have to smell him. She was angry. The comfort.

annoying. It had taken something as heart-wrenching as her loud sobs for him to finally realize. And while he pushed these thoughts to the back of his head during the day. After noticing that Zane had gotten out of the weight-lifting activity and then mysteriously disappeared. he felt himself seeking her company. at times like this. they were strong. clueless. without even realizing it. What ever those memories were. And Red was allowing it. He slapped a hand to his mouth to cover the gasp. Although Seth looked unconcerned by the scene in front of him. He had no idea why Red was crying. Unable to think of anything. letting her cry for as long as she needed. With every deep sob she took. but the important point was that Zane was giving her comfort. or when she was down. they had gone out to search for him. He’d accepted her. Hoping she would stay around. His reaction was similar to how a child might feel. they must have been horrifying. perky attitude. except that he was glad she wasn’t alone. if he were told Christmas had been cancelled. looking through the crack in the door. her eyes glazed. Red Hart was one of them. It was only when Seth went into his room to change his clothes. And while this one girl seemed to be the most undignified. and seeing things that weren’t there. his chest tightened and his frown deepened. Zane Noble was comforting a girl. he’d miss her smile. his stomach was churning. He felt his chest tighten and his heart ached. stupid girl he’d ever met. and then back to the two figures in the room. that he noticed. or when she was sick. He’d miss her annoying. opening the door slowly because Red might be resting. The last place they had thought to check was in Seth’s room. He immediately pulled back and stood in the hallway. She had looked straight through him. He continued to stroke down her hair.When he came in the room she hadn’t even seen him. . He found himself looking for her. More. Casper looked at him oddly and then leaned forward to peek through the gap. Chapter 21: Pink Seth and Casper slowly made their way up the stairs. He knew very well that she wouldn’t allow anyone else to do it. He looked at Seth. he liked her. At times like this.

My father was assassinated and my mother killed herself shortly afterwards. but would Red Hart’s affection be harder to capture than he thought? He turned back to watch the two in his room. I live with my uncle. The soap got in my eye.Seeing the scene in front of him.― “Zane. my efforts will have been wasted.― “But I started moving when the soap got in my eye—― “Be quiet. “Zane. though. You saved my life and now you’ve made me feel better.― “Still…― “I said stop crying! If you don’t.― “You’re nothing like me.― “My God…Zane…that’s awful—― “Hey! Don’t you dare start crying again.― “Ow. Red.― “What?― “Thank you. I wasn’t that close to them anyway.― “…Hey. Why do I need this?― “Because girls aren’t supposed to have red and puffy faces. you know you’re just like a magician. He’d started to realize he had real feelings for her.― “Stop being ridiculous and just sit still.― “I can’t help it. he felt as if his good deed in letting Red stay in his room—might not have been the best thing to do. Zane?― “What is it now?― “Are we friends?― . Now stop moving.― “… I don’t have parent’s either.― “Don’t thank me.― “Then stop moving and it won’t. I only helped you because…you’re like me. It’s making me gag just looking at the horrible sight. It’s alright.

nearly everything. acting as if he’d already know. It’d been a long time since they’d talked to each other. he listened to her every word. she went to bed and slept through to the next morning. When she woke. His lips always moved when she told him a particularly emotional part. it was as if they were in the same boat. She told him everything about the lake . She told him about Tiffany. She told him about her parents. Apart from that. Finding out that he also had no parents made her so close to him. She told him about the flashbacks. Well. He liked that even less. He hadn’t like that very much. Then she told him that she and Seth weren’t really girlfriend and boyfriend. Of course. His arms tightened when she told him how she was hurt. She told him he had a nickname. She obviously left out the bit about her being an agent. She just failed to mention which fight. she thought happily.His sigh was exaggerated. ***** She told him everything that night. she called Dexter. They were sitting outside on the steps. That made her ecstatic. we’re friends. “How many times do I have to tell you?― “It makes me happy when you say it. ***** As soon as she’d gone up to Seth’s room late that night. It seemed only fair. It was late at night. He was her friend. he had a bored expression on his face the whole way through. She also told him that Vikki had said if she wore the clothes they’d purchased on their shopping trip—that Zane would be a lot more interested in her. so the moonlight illuminated the emotions in his eyes. He smirked when she said that.― “Fine. She told him that she’d gotten the cuts and bruises on her face from a fight. She decided it might be a good idea to update the agent.― Mission accomplished. Yes. But that didn’t matter. because then it would defeat the whole purpose of her being around to protect him. and she’d be able to get closer to him. mumbled something about getting back at the girl.

She was happy to follow him from shop to shop. It was an experience she’d never thought she’d get and she was enjoying it so much. unless it had . She wasn’t complaining. She had frozen. She’d never seen his lips twitch upwards before. She shrugged it off. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. She had imposed enough. She figured it would be fitting. They picked out plain t-shirts. shorts. He’d managed to get out of the Sports Activity for that day. It was kind of a combination Zane and Red rabbit. She’d bought him a small pocket-sized stuffed toy. Dexter seemed more concerned about the lake accident. They made their way back to the camp. “That’s more like you. He finished the call on a very serious tone. She grinned. It was boating and he really didn’t want to go near the water. She hurried upstairs into Seth’s room to change. It was a gray rabbit that had a mop of black hair between its dangling ears. it reminded her of both of them. She didn’t care. and that she had completed step one of the mission. cropped pants. He thoroughly confused her. When she came out. He studied her from head to toe. than happy that she’d finished the mission. Zane stayed in the main part of the room while she hurried into the bathroom. He was smiling. It was getting dark as they left. He didn’t know that she got a present for him while he was busy. just by allowing him to take her shopping. She was going shopping with Zane later for some more clothing. moving quickly. Zane Noble was smiling. he turned around and a surprised little smile twitched around his lips.accident. He asked her about her flashbacks and then told her not to tell him about them. which wasn’t what she’d expected. He’d even spent money on her. She was sad when the day ended. Heat flooded her face. jeans.― His smile widened and he brought his gaze up to hers. strappy tops and even the occasional girly top. The nights were arriving earlier. She carried most of the bags. after Zane refused to be seen carrying things for a girl. He said he had nothing better to do and that he was sick of seeing her in such disgusting clothes. Her heart seemed to thump harder. Later that day she bounded along by his side. He could be a grump about the whole thing if he wanted to.

snorting. “Nothing. “you’re the nicest person I know.― She looked past him. “It doesn’t matter to me. throwing him an uneasy grin. Vikki’s sadistic smirk spread over her face as she watched his departing back. and then sent a questioning glance up at him. “Is Red not with you?― He narrowed his eyes. she has to stick by my side and never leave?― She stared at him like he was stupid. Accepting the mission to protect Zane Noble had been one of the best things that had ever happened to her. you think because we’re friends. don’t you wonder whose side she is by?― He looked down his nose at her.which was unusual for him .― He pushed past her to make his way down the hallway. folding his arms over his chest. “What?― he barked rudely.― She smirked up at him. He shook his head slowly. his ribs feeling like they were being squeezed. Don’t you think that nickname’s wearing off a little now? It’s been ten years. well. “No. She shook her head and cleared her throat. “Nice one. I had the best time. “It’s Icky Vikki. “Yes. no one else would be able to put up with your irritating personality. I’m just so glad you went shopping with me today. ***** Zane’s head was in the clouds . “What. He looked down. The smile faded away when he discovered her staring at him. “I bet she’s with Seth.― His comment didn’t hurt her. Vain Zane. if she isn’t by your side. They never did. He . “It’ll never wear off.― He folded his arms. The aloof expression was on his face again. She continued to smile at him.― she called out.― She raised one eyebrow and mimicked his posture.been for something sarcastic.and he winced when he bumped into a figure with bright red hair.― Her grin grew. “Well. He froze. and then raised his nose into the air.― He looked away.

I might not matter to Red.― “She’s pure.― “It’s not appropriate to bring a lady out this late at night.― he assured himself. I don’t know. He was supposed to tell him when he had feelings for a girl. it was clear that Seth had probably asked Red to stay in his room to keep her to be close to him all the time.― “We’ve been together since the day she played piano. “Seth wouldn’t go for a girl like Red. Tell me. Casper and Seth had been told to wait in his room for him until he . pretending to look unbothered by her comment. He looked around distractedly. Can’t you tell when you look into her eyes? It’s like she’s just woken up after eighteen years of being asleep. Now that he thought about it. before continuing down the hall. “Why would it matter if she’s with Seth?― Vikki took a step forward. He looked over his shoulder. Had he been planning to capture her heart when he’d let her stay in his room? He wouldn’t let him get away with it. ever noticed any unusual behavior from him when it comes to Red? Does he talk about her? Does he worry about her?― Zane swallowed down the emotion that was rising in his throat. “Oh.― “Zane. I’m not too sure about that. “I don’t think that innocence is fake. Vikki began to grin in victory.― Zane clenched his fists and his breathing came out in heavy. unaware that his steps had slowed. Then he realized he had lost his cool and refolded his arms. A corner of her lips upturned. “Oh. it was obvious that she hadn’t noticed. He was using a cheap method to get the girl that he liked and with Red being so naive. tapping her chin mockingly as she pretended to think.couldn’t breath.― Zane turned around so fast he felt a crick in his neck. Really bothered. Because he was. Seth was supposed to tell him things like that.Especially not Red. but for Seth? He just might get the girl he’s been going for. angry pants. As his best friend. What did Seth think he was doing? Why had he been trying to get Red for himself? Zane entered his own room and instantly his eyes snapped to Seth. be careful with her. hoping he could wish it away. Vikki hurried to his side and looked up at his unwavering expression.

like Zane’s accusation had ignited his emotions. Did you think for a minute. You tried to fend her off using cheap pranks and humiliation and then when you realized it was no use.― Seth answered just as simply as Zane had accused.― The brown haired boy opened his mouth to say something else. What . “While you were being a total jerk.― Zane snorted and looked away. so he could look meet Zane on an equal basis. hissing through his teeth and his chilly. Seth stood up. The yogurt that was half way to his mouth dropped off of the spoon and fell into the pot. “I was there for her when she needed someone to lean on. Zane even looked a little shocked.― Seth’s voice was getting louder and louder. you decided to become her friend. The blonde on the bed opened a yogurt pot. Seth didn’t look surprised at Zane’s statement. it was clear to even Casper that he wasn’t happy and that dinner had probably been cancelled. looking between Seth and Zane. then snapped his eyes straight back to the man in front of him. “Inviting her into your room under false pretenses was selfish and crude. just in case the two boys exploded in anger. you’d come out looking even the least bit innocent?― Zane was right in Seth’s face now.― Casper gasped and his spoon fell onto the bed on its way to the floor. There was a long period of silence before anything was said. “Yes. Seth’s eyes were alight now. Zane’s eyes widened and his jaw throbbed where he gritted his teeth. But after a flash of defiance. But the moment Zane entered that room with a furious expression on his face. Then Zane said simply. Casper gulped and scooted back on the bed. “Yes. and then hesitated. “That’s more than I can say for how you’ve acted towards her. Seth was expressionless as Zane stormed towards him.came back from his chat with Leo. No emotion passed over his face. so they could all go out for dinner. harsh tone. ruthless gray eyes flicking in rage. his eyes wide. that if it was discovered that Red wasn’t your real girlfriend. he spoke. “You love Red. There was a short moment where the two just stared at each other. He just stared back at his friend. Casper looked between his friends. Casper had never seen his friend look so filled with emotion before. “Would you say we’re friends. as though knowing it would be taking it a step too far. I was helping a friend. Seth?― Zane said in a cold.

It wasn’t like Blaine would be stupid enough to enter the camp just to capture Zane. When it had first been announced that she was Seth Cooper’s girlfriend. nothing had really changed between them. but she was hardly able to do that when all the rooms in Royal Haven were taken. Red Hart had received a lot more male attention than she had previously. Cooper and Mr. so her friend had an empty bed. she was sure she had to move out. Zane. He apologized. destroyed. She’d heard about the strange rule that all males were to keep away from her.three days later . She had greeted him with open arms and had even spared a day to go with the twins and him for a picnic. This had been known to irritate Mr. acting just the way they always had. . black-haired girl who spent lots of time with one or more of the Noble Cooper King trio. She had told Vikki that. Zane Noble was prepared to confirm that. Mr. she might move in with her at Royal Nature. She was supposed to keep close to Zane. She had figured out that she would still be able to keep an eye on Zane. However. She figured it had been another silly rumor made up about her. Since that announcement. She wasn’t complaining. Noble. Vikki’s roommate had already left camp. She raised a hand to knock at Zane’s door. but push Red away? ***** At the end of the Sports Activity week . King and therefore every male was advised to keep a safe distance away from the spunky. They spent time together. She found it weird that everywhere she went she had people greeting her. she hadn’t received this sort of reaction. even if she lived in the other dorm. It had been a week and a half since he had told her he was her friend. Rupert had started to speak to her again. that they began to treat her like a human being. It was only after they had found out that Vain Zane had accepted her. It was strange.it was known throughout the camp that Red Hart had been fully accepted and even Mr. she was glad that he had accepted her so there was no need for her to fret when he was harsh. Since then. there was one thing on her mind that bothered her. asking how she was and asking her questions. But deep down. She could move now. too. She didn’t want to be a burden to Seth anymore and in order for her friendship with Zane to progress. saying that he thought she’d wanted him to leave her alone after she had made friends with everyone else. her old room.have you done. She was having a hard tome telling everyone her plans.

which was unnerving.― Chapter 22: Scarlet The three boys were stunned. that she’d come in the door. It was as though what she was about to say was going to take a lot out of her. she breathed and let it out. She sent them both a weak smile and looked down at her feet. and saying cruel things to each other. Things that had been buried for a very long time were now being forced out into the open. They waited. Red’s slight cough brought their attention to her. That would mean she wouldn’t . she had a sad look etched on her face. When she looked up again. Red. It sent a chill down her spine.She entered Zane’s room after knocking politely. “I’m moving to Royal Nature with Vikki. Moving. hatred. That would mean that many activities would be separate. It was the perfect time to make her announcement. That would mean they wouldn’t be able to see her every day. Zane looked furious. but not abnormal. She grimaced when she noticed that everyone was gathered in the space. Finally. The strange thing was that Seth’s eyes were alive with emotion. Anger. But Casper was the only one looking at her. They were too busy being mad. Silence hung heavy in the room and they all wore varying expressions of disbelief. Zane and Seth were staring each other down. What was going on? Neither of the two boys noticed. frustration.

but she didn’t know he’d have a sudden outburst like that. He didn’t see this as a good thing. “Because it meant nothing to me. “You’re ridiculous. He was a person she was supposed to be protecting. She was sick of crying. unsure what to say. “I can’t believe I fell for it. It’d been a waste of his time. Too much was going on in his head at once . She sunk to the floor and grabbed her knees. He didn’t want the wrong action to ruin everything. It meant nothing to me. humorless laugh and glared at Red. and now you want to just throw all that away? Was that your motive all along? You’re not really as innocent as you make yourself out to be. sharp. It’d meant nothing. She was an undercover agent—she could beat up a group of seven men if she felt like it. They were friends. He let out a loud. She had thought Zane would be happy to get some space.― he stormed forward and swung open the door. nearly hitting her in the side of the head. he’d said.betrayal of his best friend and now a strange anger at Red’s need to leave. he slammed the door in her face. She hadn’t expected a reaction like that at all. Everything. She was relying on too many people to help her. Zane stepped back from Seth. “Great. right? Are you just one big walking lie?― He let out another loud laugh. . That’s just great. She was after an infamous villain from the underground. She could shoot a gun. Everything he did now would affect friendships. You’re moving to get away from us.― He stared at Red like she was something unpleasant he’d stepped in. or how to act. He couldn’t stop the words spewing out his mouth. what expression to wear. I’m glad it meant nothing to you. But she couldn’t do it. “Everything we’ve done has just been a huge big waste of time. “The whole reason you came here was so that you could make friends with the most important people on campus. criminal world. Does that boost your confidence?― Zane was filled with such an indescribable emotion. He was a friend she’d just allowed to run out of the door. He leaned right into Red’s face. her moving out of Seth’s room. not even noticing the entire room shocked into a horrifying silence. and collapsing. Her legs refused to carry her. Why did those words hurt her so much? He was a mission. dejected girl. his hand still on the door. leaving Seth and Casper behind with a frozen.― He ran a hand through his hair and then swallowed before looking at the naive girl again. fainting. She couldn’t believe it. She was supposed to chase him. legally. Not even Casper’s reassuring words were enough for her this time. when we accepted you.― And with that. Unfortunately he couldn’t control his fear and anger for long.be around anymore. and his own feelings. She didn’t even cry.

She didn’t react. pulled the door shut. “You were never a waste of time. He made it back to his room. who had wrapped his arms around her neck and pulled her close. ‘Hey. but she truly felt like they knew each other now. he ran as far as he could away from the dorm. But now it seemed like it was too late. so his mouth was by her ear. She felt Seth press his lips to the top of her head and his hand raise up to cradle her head to his shoulder. It hadn’t taken long before his anger had cooled. and slowly. she was nothing to him…hurt. not looking her way once. Zane Noble was prepared to apologize to a girl he had hurt. She felt hands lifting her up. Zane is out of the picture let’s finally confess our love for each other?’ It definitely seemed like that. Did he feel the same? Did he think she was wasting his time? She allowed Seth to pull her close.― * **** So that was it. It meant nothing to me. . Her body didn’t respond. headed back down the staircases he had just sprinted up at incredible speed. but under the circumstances. away from Red. as if he were in a trance. He’d left the room mere moments before and yet they were already at each other. To find out that all this time.So why had five little words destroyed her world? It meant nothing to me. She should have been happy that she no longer had a phobia of physical contact. He’d said such harsh words to her at the beginning. and he’d been horrified at the things he’d said. Casper left quietly. Even if Zane says you mean nothing to him…― He leaned forward. He ran all the way back to apologize. After he’d said those things to Red and stormed out. He was livid. To hold her. He was wrong. It was the last straw. He was willing to do it. It disgusted him. and apologizing was the last thing on his mind. her eyes still wide and expression frozen as it had been when Zane began to yell at her. She couldn’t even direct a fake smile at Seth. she found she couldn’t even force herself to act normal. “…You mean everything to me. Was it a case of. only to see that Red was finally allowing Seth to touch her. Zane stepped back.

“Why come close to me if I’m so thorny and dangerous?― She sniffed and wiped her sleeve along her nose. stinging and throbbing. you turn into a pretty rose.― he stepped forward. It was rare to actually see anger on her face. then set off in the direction of the tunnel of trees. Don’t get it wrong. “How can I stay away? When a thorn branch is stuck to your trousers. He pulled her around to face him. But for certain people. He glared with so much hatred he hoped it would outweigh the pain. His own eyes were watering. What is it supposed to do when all it gets in return is hatred?― her voice rose suddenly and she slammed her arms . She swept his hand off of her.― He tightened the grip on her shoulder “I bet Seth loves roses. The constant strain. “It was you who followed me.― She glared at him. the constant pain in it was frustrating. He heard footsteps and watched as a familiar figure made its way down the dorm stairs. He hurt so much. He slumped down on the steps outside of the dorm. Zane stared at her. the constant throbbing. It didn’t.― she muttered. a deep frown on her face and a wobbly bottom lip. leaving the black gates. “You know what you are? You’re a thorn branch. even if you shake it off. “A thorn branch is willing to try to be a rose for some people. He leapt to his feet and sprinted after the figure. This wasn’t a familiar feeling. Zane felt his fury and pain jumble up inside. but determined. He looked up to the moon that had risen in the sky. He hurt. Nothing he did would change the way he felt.― Red sniffed and let out a laugh. He just wanted to rip out his heart and give it to anyone who happened to pass by.― he hissed in a slightly wobbly voice. It had obviously taken a lot to walk past him and ignore him completely. hoping the cool night air would ease the strain he felt over his entire body. “Whoever approaches you gets hurt.He slammed his fist so hard against his chest. They were watering. muttering angrily under his breath. Her voice was unsteady. He rubbed his sleeve along his gray eyes. As she was about to turn the corner. creating a firestorm of emotions he couldn’t control. he was sure the action would leave a bruise. He would go and see the medic in the morning. “Leave me alone. turning her around with force. just like his chest. turning away again. and it gets stuck again. Red shrugged his hand off. all you have to do is walk in the same direction. Red looked up at him. his head in his hands. There was definitely something wrong with him. It hurt so much. There were glistening trails of tears down her cheeks that the moonlight illuminated.

lost and filled with pain. he was unable to handle his emotions and so just let them run free. it felt like he’d had another ton of bricks pushed onto his chest. “I don’t know what love feels like. “You are so mean! Do you know what it feels like to have the only person you think you might care about. That’s just another part of your innocent facade. He was the first person who allowed me to lean on him when I was being bullied.― Red sniffed. Since I met you. then gritted his teeth. I’ve fought to make sure you saw me! I had to live with the fact you wouldn’t let me in. and then she lowered her voice. “Seth loves you.― Zane felt the pain come back tenfold. But it was too late for her to stop. or want anything to do with me! To have the only thing that was important to me suddenly say that I meant nothing to them—you’ll never know what that fe—― .― Zane crossed his arms. “Just like you mean nothing to me. He was the first person to compliment me. He let out a snort of disbelief and ran a hand through his hair. That you didn’t want me here. mess around with it. his bangs flopping down in front of his face again. “I tried so hard to be your friend. “I didn’t ask for you to be here! I didn’t want my life to be shattered into a million pieces.down to her side. He lost his cool. You said that you never meant anything you ever said or did for me?― She cried hysterically now. but didn’t reply. he felt his control snap completely. She wiped away a tear with her knuckle. and then rip it all apart. “Right. You were the only one that mattered. letting out a cry.― She let out a quiet sob. She looked up.― His voice shook.― Zane let out a soft laugh and ran another hand through his hair. Although he had accused her of this in the first place. Now they had. Why don’t you take the mask off already? There’s no one in this world that can be as clueless as you and still be alive—― “WHY DON’T YOU TRUST ME?― Red yelled suddenly. Zane watched her with wide eyes. “What does it matter to you anyway? You’ve said what you wanted to say! I mean nothing to you. interrupting him. crying again. She let them fall. mess around with me and then fall in love with my best friend—?― “Seth is just a friend—― Red screamed. and then put back together wrong. “He was the first person to hold out a welcoming hand I arrived at the camp. So he meant nothing to her. say they’ve never trusted you? That they don’t believe what you tell them. “You drive me crazy! Why did you come into my life. he hadn’t expected it to hear the words come from her mouth. her eyes looking sad. She raised her hand and pressed it to her forehead. not bothering to wipe her tears away. What right do you have to come into my life. and not sneer or try and get rid of me.

Her face was still tilted toward him. confused. His hand was on the back of her head. Chapter 23: Beige Zane’s eyes widened and it was only after a few seconds that he realized what he was doing. and life-changing. She hadn’t noticed something. For a short second. He looked down at Red for a moment. He pulled back shocked his discovery. and he wanted to kiss her again. She couldn’t finish—because another mouth was pressed against hers. you look like you’ve seen a ghost. and he had just been compelled to draw her into his arms. and walked away from her. God…he was kissing Red. they stood. Then they melted into the kiss. holding her to him. She hadn’t stopped breathing. quickly became sweet. stepped back. He had no idea what compelled him to kiss her. His legs were like jelly and his face was completely frozen in a look of horror. not taking any notice of the odd looks he received from people that wandered by. . passionate. He could feel her damp cheeks against his cheekbone and a single tear fell from her eye. onto his cheek instead of her own.She couldn’t finish. and silence her misery with a kiss. He made his way slowly up the staircase of Royal Haven. Oh. She had been yelling at him. Zane. He let his arms fall away from her. Zane was kissing her. “Hey. rigid. She looked dazed.― He didn’t acknowledge the brown—haired boy who watched as Sunnyside’s idol slowly crept up the staircase and entered his own room. She hadn’t seen anyone. What started out as a little frantic and desperate. And the action had lifted the three tons of weight he’d had on his chest. She hadn’t suddenly realized that she was wrong.

What had he done? ***** It’d been a week since she’d moved out of Royal Haven. Were you supposed to have such an aftershock? All week she’d felt…dazed…wide eyed and well…shocked. she loved Zane. She wanted to try it again. and the other boy found he was satisfied that the girl was happy. But the kiss described in the book was nothing compared to the real thing. It was like one of those triangles. a strange zing of electricity ran from her head to her toes. She’d read about a kissing. but saw nothing of Casper and Zane. Why couldn’t she get it off her mind? Vikki didn’t know anything. Zane’s treatment of her had brought her to tears. she must have stood for more than a few minutes in the summer night. she hadn’t seen Zane. It had been her first kiss. that when it caught up with her two days later. the irritation dissipated. read romance novels. where another boy loved the girl. it drifted back to that kiss. He was always somewhere other than where she looked for him.slumping onto the edge of his bed. changing everything. stunned into silence and immobility. he looked as tired as she . That night. She tried to keep herself busy throughout the entire week. the girl got the boy she wanted. from a distance. At the end of her favorite story. but yet everything conspired to keep them apart. it landed on her like a brick wall. yet she just wanted to be friends. Since Zane Noble had kissed her. Wait. Seth loved her. Zane Noble had kissed her. When she thought about it. And no matter what she’d done in the last week. She wasn’t smiling now. She had been so angry with him that night and yet with that one simple action. Nobody knew. She’d seen Seth occasionally throughout the week. Her favorite had been a story about a young girl who had fallen head over heels in love with a boy. Kind of like now. She wanted Seth to be happy that the girl he loved was smiling. If it wasn’t. His hand rose to his lips. when Zane kissed her. trying hard to make sure that her mind was always somewhere else. She’d seen Zane once. and she was a little confused about what Zane felt. Her mind had taken so long to register everything. scratch that. She wanted that happy ending for herself. She was still in a trance.

Casper! Long time no see. It was Casper. Why had she gone to Seth for comfort? Why had she felt so upset with Zane’s comment? What was he in all of this? An acquaintance? A buddy? A pal? He reached out a hand and helped Red to her feet. She planned to visit Seth to see how he was. He pushed Red over to his bed. Red?― He knelt down on the ground and rested his hands on her knees as he brought his head level with hers. She felt compelled to look after him. so Casper got a view of her hair. The smile fell from her face and she dropped her head onto her chest. “Do you love Seth?― He asked her bluntly. She looked up to see who she’d run into. He had to do it now. Her eyes held so much life. but dragged her along the hallway and into his room. blue eyes that he had learned. She took a step back. . She grinned at him happily. But as she made her way up the final set of stairs. “I don’t know. “My friend. “Casper—― “What am I to you. I missed you—― She had no time to react when he didn’t let go of her wrist. My first friend. telling her to. weeks ago. She hurried to Royal Haven. I don’t know what love feels like. His cheery. He had gotten sick just after that evening.felt.― a look of misery etched on his face. with a cold. Why? He didn’t know. He was fed up of being confused about his feelings and just felt like saying what he thought they were…outright. missed the step and landed on her but. He wasn’t going to beat around the bush any longer. who was staring up at him with wide. lovable attitude had disappeared. It looked like he’d been working hard. But seeing her made his heart clench horribly. What did he expect her to say? That he was her crush? Of course not. she bumped into someone. and were so much more beautiful than his could ever be. “Sit.― She jumped when a hand lifted her chin up. to get it off his chest. She looked up at him in confusion.― His heart missed a few beats. “Hey. ***** Casper looked down at Red. That was Seth. Not since he’d seen her with Seth that day had he felt like he knew what he was doing. She stared back at him and then smiled. They surpassed his. didn’t really match his.

Until she knew what love was. You’re kidding. But I wanted to get out. He could lock them away for a while. he could be stealing the girl’s first kiss. He pulled back. smiling. “I think hiding was what I needed to do for a while.― She raised her head and looked at the sky. she let her mind wander. I just had to confirm something. When my parents died. Heck. taking in her shocked expression. She sucked on her straw and watched a boy pass by. He let out a gentle laugh feeling like the world had been lifted from his shoulders.― ***** She’d been kissed. As She leaned against the bar counter with Casper. it’s the first time I’ve been out in the sun for almost a decade. Casper knew it was a stupid thing to do. Twice. I was taken down to live there. “Sorry. He just seemed a lot more loose and friendly than he had before. I only came above ground for the first time about two months ago. until she understood. “I’ve lived underground in a secure facility my whole life. Maybe it was time she told Casper a little something about herself. The world was beautiful. she wished that she had come above ground earlier. She had wanted to be free and now.― She sighed. He stood and ruffled her hair.― She shook her head. But he had to get his feelings out of his system. His mouth was hanging open. For all he knew. “Only they never were. “Do you really not know what love feels like?― She shook her head and took the straw out of her mouth. She smiled to herself. “I had a phobia of the world and some pretty bad people where after me. laughing quietly to himself about her wide eyed look. This is the first time I’ve been around kids my own age. but .― She looked at him. it was like it never even happened.Lips came into contact with hers. “Now let’s go and get a smoothie. laughing nervously. had to know if he was just confused or really had those feelings for Red. She felt Casper staring at the side of her head and tore her gaze away from the boy to look at him. she hadn’t felt nervous around him. He smiled at her.― he slung an arm around her shoulder. In fact. “No way. But after Casper had kissed her. That was okay for a long time. just until the bad people where caught. twirling around the smoothie with the end of it. drinking her smoothie and watching the public bustle past her.

you’ve been missing out on a lot. She’d had a good day. She needed time away from Sunnyside. “Right. She needed this.I’ve come to realize how much I’ve missed out on. in the distance. She nudged him in the ribs. She was overjoyed. He grinned at her and looked sleepily up at the sky. Lots of sounds were jumbled together. It was her fault they had ended up fighting in the first place. “MOMMY!― She yelled. but she felt herself slowly relaxing. Red.― She smiled at Casper reassuringly. she looked up at Casper. Casper dragged her from arcade to arcade. I have a ton of questions.― She felt guilty. she heard something. He was right. But it’d triggered the flashbacks. now she began to feel uneasy. “Nope. reaching out a hand for the . She shook her head. It was just a little girl. “I told you. Then. They sat in silence for a moment. “Have Seth and Zane spoken to each other yet?― Casper grimaced and looked down at her. his cat-like eyes and dimples drooping. Right now I think I should show you a little more of what you’ve been missing out on. and she realized she hadn’t even scratched the surface. He was pouting like a sad puppy and suddenly flung his arms around her neck. before she had felt comfortable and at ease watching the scene in front of her. only so you can get closer. so she glanced at him. at what she’d missed. “Reeeeed.― Her eyes were still wide with amazement. from tourist spot to tourist spot. Cars were speeding by fast. She was so amazed at everything. You know what they say. But she had also forgotten to visit Seth. watching the bustling city life. However. confusing her. The sun began to slowly set. “Hey. They won’t even go near each other. cheer up. “Mommy!― A little girl screamed. Casper ruffled her hair. No wonder you’re so innocent. She slumped down on a bench beside Casper.― He released her. Red. you drift away. they would probably still be talking and living their normal lives.― Casper hadn’t said anything for a while. But you can answer them on the run. allowing her to breathe. Red. People were chattering loudly as they sped by her and Casper on the bench. Swallowing. If she hadn’t ever accepted the mission. He and gave her a determined expression. I can’t believe you’ve been locked away all this time.― For the rest of the day. who had almost collapsed with exhaustion. one who had lost her mom in the crowd. No.

pulling on her hair. But someone had contacted her. I’m going to kill her. “Do you know that your mommy came here to kill me? Yes. We’ll watch over you. and when she heard a horribly loud explosion. fearful eyes. The man who was being held looked at her with sad. “Honey. look away. Mommy and daddy will be fine. The Task Force had been assigned to look after her. do you. She screamed. noticing that she’d attracted a lot of attention. now. kid?― He laughed loudly and pulled a gun from his jeans. I underestimated her. didn’t they?― the evil. He was held by his neck. snap out of it!― Casper’s hands were pressed to her shoulders and her eyes snapped open. malevolent voice growled.― the ginger man sneered.woman who was forced to kneel in front of her. she looked back. come on. And both the man and her mother were lying on the ground. “Well. I wonder if they’ll enjoy watching their ten-year-old daughter be tortured. she’d watched a female agent fight to keep her alive. Don’t remember us. “They said they’d be watching. She’d blocked it. She’d watched her parents die. A rumble of thunder echoed overhead. But you have to look away. Don’t remember it. She’d cupped her ears with her hands and was staring hard at the concrete ground. . a crimson puddle surrounding their heads. “You want your mommy. She’d blocked it all. To bad I found out what she was up to. The agent had died getting Red away. by a man wearing a black hood. saying that they would take her to see her mom and dad—she met them in front of the mall. And the sounds sent her into another memory. “And him. You have to push this to the back of your head. We lov—― He never finished his sentence. And she’d been kidnapped.― He looked to his left.― After her parents were killed. clicking the back of it and pressing it hard to her mother’s head. and taken back to the darkness. So she’d run away from her protectors. at the man who was being forced to kneel beside her mother. She looked away. “Red! Red. An ugly looking man with red hair sneered at her and tugged the woman’s head back. by another. Her head was pushed down into a bucket of water. She heard a few women in the street scream. She looked up alarmingly. A gun was also pressed to this man’s head.

Then she slumped back down on the bench. Casper swallowed and stared at her. When she came back to reality this time. infiltrating his little group. squinting into the distance. before nodding.― She grabbed his hand. ***** “Boss. She’d watched her parents die at the age of nine. his messy blonde hair drooping in front of his face. He would never forget those two? They were the only agents who had ever found his base. “What’s wrong? Why did your eyes go funny? You were mumbling. his expression changing the moment she came back. It was like she hadn’t even reacted. While her world collapsed around her. He raised a hand and pointed at the bench he was focused on. . His eyes widened. and shook her head. If you don’t feel well. to think. just sat there. “No. He patted his accomplice on the shoulder. “Alright. Casper was shaking her shoulders. to peer out the window. You looked really scared. He had been paranoid all these years about the kid who had managed to escape and seemingly disappear off of the face of the earth.― He waved his hand at Blaine. the pain was excruciating. then blocked out their deaths and been kidnapped and tortured a few months later. Her head was dunked into the bucket again. Quietly. “This kid looks just like those people who infiltrated our base all those years ago. stopping him. “What is it?― The guy was staring out of the tinted window. He looked at her cautiously.― Blaine looked up from his chair in the black van and let out a sigh. “I just need some time alone. She looked at him. Suddenly all those forgotten memories were falling into place. How had she gotten away the second time? She wondered. like he could tell. right after she’d turned ten. He frowned at his accomplice. the kid was a spitting image of the two agents he had killed. come straight back. stood up. Come on let me take you to a hospital. I just…remembered something…― her voice trailed off.The darkness.― She shook her head again and tried to still her trembling hangs. you hear me?― She nodded and let him go. she’d just been staring straight into nothing. where her screams echoed around the walls. Sure enough. “Come check it out.― Blaine lifted his hands off of the computer keyboard and shifted over.

Instead she stared at the ground. Then she realized that somewhere. She should have been devastated. bright. as if in a trance. and well—hatred for the monster that had killed her parents—had been buried inside her. trying to decide just how to react what she’d remembered. Close to curfew. but the feelings and fears. but she didn’t care about the consequences. Blaine kept his eye on the girl.― The guy started the engine. Those. Her eyes were wide and frightened as she studied the concrete pavement. Blaine snapped his fingers and turned to the driver. deep. deep down. follow her. She’d poked and prodded her psyche…wondering why she wasn’t more emotional. She didn’t even look up when they stopped in front of her. It may have been locked away. her gait stilted and uneven. . her mind working to uncover more memories. She had carried this sadness with her for an entire life time. she noticed that even though she remembered everything.“Drive closer. He’d missed them. She’d just sat on that bench for hours after Casper left. it didn’t upset her nearly as much as it should have. Red got to her feet and started to walk away. After thinking about it for so hard and so long. Without paying any attention to the black van in front of her. more blocked bits and pieces of her past. she had known all along. “Tim. It seemed like years since he’d seen those eyes. She hadn’t noticed the time. frightened eyes. And then she’d sat there.― Chapter 24: Mauve It was late when she got back to camp.

She struggled to move. She was crouched on the forest floor. She was upset. taking away her ability to scream for help. and she was hit in the head. keeping her from making a sound. Blaine stormed up to her and backhanded her in the face. She felt the man standing behind her put material around her mouth. metal ring that cut her flesh. why she didn’t like the water. She couldn’t scream. She felt a small trickle of blood run down her cheek. like an angel. It was like this huge tension had been lifted from her body.This was why she had stayed underground for so long. With every step she took. She flinched. That sadness would overtake her. He wore a sharp. She opened the small gate at the side entrance to Sunnyside. Then slowly. and she would struggle to cover it with a smile. And they were watching her protect the life of a man who shined brightly. A man who mesmerized her with every move he took. he emerged into the lamp light. He had immobilized her. when she needed it gone. picking up small pieces of paper. about to enter. “It’s been a long time. her back and face cut and bruised. He tied up her hands too. In many ways she felt relieved. Her parents had said they would watch her. burly hand cupped her mouth. it was like walking on a cloud. No one would hear her screams. A big. She remembered this place in the woods. Blaine’s accomplice. Her eyes widened and she let out a muffled yell. She remembered this man. even if she got the chance. and he bent to tie her legs. But he was careless. He’d recognized her. why sometime she just couldn’t bear thinking about her parents. Blaine. They drug her into the trees surrounding the camp. All of a sudden her shirt collar was pulled back. .― A figure stood in the shadows of the trees that ran around Sunnyside. The man had fast rope skills. A man who eased her sadness with is very presence.

red. His expression of sympathy. through watery. The lined of sadness were etched on every inch of his face. and overwhelming concern overpowered his typical mask of tedium. “Hey Zane. returning to her task of trying to retrieve all the little bits of paper. He was obviously trying to hold back as much anger as he could. They stared at each other for a long moment of time. weak voice. “This is the only picture I have of my parents. sweeping her into his arms. pity. He’d saved her that night.― Zane had looked down at the pieces in her hand. ran a hand back through his hair and his eyes darted around before finally settling back on her. Then grabbed the wrist containing the scraps with his left hand and took them with his right. swollen eyes to find Zane. She felt her head get tugged back upwards to look at him. He’d shoved those tiny pieces of her life into his pocket. what brings you out her—― “Are you stupid?― he’d snapped at her. Felt a hand lightly resting on her shoulder. sweeping his hand away from her arm. He had looked so angry. guilt. He’d saved her from the darkness. He was so disappointed in her. It fascinated her.― She’d whispered in a quiet. “How can you still force a smile at times like this? Look at yourself!― He released his hold on her face. . Zane had watched her in silence for only a moment. but instead the hurt overwhelmed her. Of course. looking like that?― He said in such a furious tone. Then. She should have been surprised. She had stopped moving as he examined her face for a moment. She had dropped her head. And sadly went back to picking up the pieces of paper. She would deal with everything herself.She saw a figure standing there. She didn’t need Zane to see her like this. cursing. She didn’t want him to see her tears. he’d be angry that she was being so pathetic over one little picture. She sent him an incredibly forced smile as she picked up another piece. He let out a humorless laugh. She broke the eye contact first. She’d replied. She didn’t need help. “What’s so important that you have to stay out here. “I’m sorry. He was frowning. Her trembling hand dropped all of the pieces of her photograph and she looked up. Angry that she was so weak. then leaned forward and placed his arm underneath her bent legs and wrapped an arm around her back.

leading with his fist. He lunged forward. getting to his feet quickly and pounding towards her. showing her a deep purple bruise and a patch of his arm that had been bandaged.― he lunged forward to grab her. “You killed my parents in front of me. measly girl. She ducked. but he had the same . He fell backwards. Blaine let out a deep growl. wrapping it around Tim and then pulling him towards her.― she whispered.― he growled angrily. “This is part of pretty little Sunnyside. They both slammed onto the hard dirt.If she had to die tonight. Her nose started to stream blood. almost bear—like. wiping away one single tear that fell from her eye. you know. “I’ve changed my mind. his accomplice. slapping his hand away. Blaine may have been a notorious criminal. She pulled her hands free of Tim’s sloppy knots. Take her to the van. using her shoulder. Her parents were watching her. ***** She yelped as another powerful slap went across her face. ramming it into his stomach. “You gave me these wounds when you were saving that little friend of yours. Undercover are you? They sure are taking them young!― A sadistic smirk spread across his face and he nodded at Tim. his cold eyes stared at her in anger. She was breathing heavily. “Little bitch. she kicked him in the stomach. “They’re watching me. but she leaped back onto her feet and carried on fighting. and then shot to her feet. He yelped and pressed the back of his hand to his cheek. His red hair bobbed up and down.― Blaine let out an aggravated yell and pushed Tim off of him. Her brow creased in determination. I want more time to make her pay. raising his cold eyes to hers. Using his forward momentum. this wouldn’t be a bad place to go. She was scared. but the adrenaline blocked that out. She’d show them that she was a big girl now. kicked her legs free.― She waited until they dragged her out of the forest before she made her move. correct?― Blaine thrust up his sleeve. shoving her foot into Tim’s stomach. sending him towards Blaine. and then elbowed him in the face. She dodged the blow. She’d let them watch their daughter catch their killer. She didn’t hesitate. “I won’t be beaten by a small. She grabbed the heavy rope from the ground and swung it around. but immediately jumped into the air. She yelped and fell to the ground when she was punched hard across the face.

Or if she were really lucky…she could somehow fight until she knocked them both unconscious and then call Dexter. There was no muscle. She was frantic for a second. to maybe find a weapon of some sort. closer to camp. On the ground she might find . WE HAVE TO GET HER. She remembered it clearly. she could tell Dexter. not knowing what to do next. He had muscles that weren’t a laughing matter. She turned and started to sprint into the tunnel. ignoring the queasy feeling that action caused at the sound of his bloodcurdling yell and soft squelch of his eyeball. Tim was the one she had to watch out for. like it had only been yesterday that she’d been an unwelcome guest. She turned around slowly. Then she grabbed a stick from beside her and thrust it hard into his eye. further into the camp. wiry and tall. if she had a harder personality. Her training kicked in and Red rolled them over. this time grabbing a large rock in her hand and slamming it down hard on his head. and mean. or attract the attention of someone at camp. Now that she’d remembered where they had gone. What would she do. When she’d been kidnapped at ten. If she lived through the night. It was then she heard the soft click of a gun.build as Zane. She was turned around and then Tim raised his fist to punch her. For a moment she wondered what her parents would have done in a situation like this. sliding off the immobile man. She dodged a punch from Tim. Thin. She couldn’t run there. Tim was down. On the ground she would be harder to see in the surrounding dark. temporarily. her hands colliding with the soft dirt beneath her. Royal Haven was only a few feet away. She searched the ground around her again. She knew the location of his hideout. She knew why he had to get her. Her last option was to scoot further into the tunnel of trees. so the man was underneath her. She yelped as a heavy weight shoved her to the ground. She watched the two men silently. She could try to run away. a ruthless one? She was going to go for the last option. but he was fast. they hadn’t shielded her from seeing where they took her. He went limp beneath her. She didn’t stand up. but she wouldn’t lead this man to Zane. who had managed to unravel himself. She started to inch her way back into the tree cover. Unconscious.― Blaine yelled. considering her options. She had few choices. “GET HER.

― “Why do you want me then? I’m worth nothing. She tried to find the strength to do this. “It’s just so much fun to torture you!― He leaned forward to grab her and she looked at his outstretched hand as though it was a viper. Give up anything to get him back. “You know the location of my hideout. Standing—she was nothing more than a target.― Blaine looked sideways at the approaching figure. Blaine. She couldn’t be scared. evil laugh that send cold shivers down her spine. But he never reached her. She got quickly to her feet.― she stammered. In the darkness of this tunnel of trees. Inch by slow inch she moved her hand to her pocket and touched her cell. barely daring to breathe. Then she hit carefully laid the phone in the grass. She had put Tim’s body a little in front of her. She waited a few seconds. and then kill you in the exact same way I did your parents all those years ago. torture you. There was no mistaking the soft glint of metal in the moonlight and the malicious gaze that Blaine turned her way. It’s well known that his uncle would do anything for Zane. Red didn’t look. I’m just an ordinary girl.something else to use for a weapon. What will you gain for taking me?― He let out a quiet. She steadied her trembling hands. She pressed the repeat call dial button for the only person she’d ever called on her phone.― She crawled backwards as slowly as she could. Her strength was that her parents were watching. holding tight to the gun. Don’t you girlie? But. Before he could lift his gun and shoot. more than anything…― He grinned maliciously. all the way to her toes. Instead she used this distraction to roll over and grab the gun that had fallen out of Blaine’s hand. “I—I just want to ask one question. a whole lot of money. hopefully enough to block her hands from Blaine. He barked at her to stop moving. rolled her lips into her mouth so their shaking would stop and . Then pushing down the fear. with the speakerphone engaged. “W—why Zane? Why did you come all the way to Sunnyside to find Zane?― Blaine smirked. She was holding a gun again. She’d never liked guns. “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. the many swung his arm around and hit Blaine in the face with something he held in his hand. she looked at Blaine. I can use him to gain access to some of the company’s technology. I needed him for the money.―I’m going to take you. “He was a bargaining chip. judging the timing for the call.

“I underestimated you. Her heart thumped hard against her chest. She stretched out her arms and her vision blurred with unshed tears. Blaine. and one without. Red stepped out of his reach. Zane stormed forward and looked shocked. “Zane. gesturing for the others behind him to step forward. Blaine sat up and turned to look at his assailant. but she knew that she was no longer alone in the dark. He had told her before he had a lot of experience with people trying to kidnap him.settled a determined frown on her face. The one who had assaulted Blaine stepped forward into a slight beam of light. And it was pointing straight at Zane. he looked at her and then to Zane. an evil rumble of laughter coming out of his lips. and turned to look too. Not fear of Blaine. with eyes wide. She could kill him. lifting the gun that had slowly pointed to the ground. “You… you’re an agent. You… I’m… a mission?― He looked . It was Seth. stepping forward. She increased her grip. Agent Hart?― he hissed. As much as that tempted her. “Are you stupid.― She yelled. But would you let your mission die. there was a look of distress on his face. “What are you going to do now.― Zane didn’t even seem fazed by the gun pointed at him. facing a mad man. Quick movement out of the corner of her eye alerted her. The blonde boy stood straight. “DON’T. fear in his eyes. she knew she wouldn’t do it. Please don’t kill him. Not fear of her. She smiled. He cocked back the pistol with a click. The angel looked at her. Staring between her. in order to catch me?― Blaine tightened his finger on the trigger. and then the heavy weapon fell to the ground with a thud. you can’t be here. boy?― Blaine ran a hand down the cut on his face that he gotten from the shovel Casper hit him with. You finally trapped me.― she whispered unintentionally. Vikki…and Zane. She let the gun sag in her hands. Smirking. It was as though a bullet would cause him no harm. She couldn’t see faces. Like he had already been shot. and the gun in her hand. his smile widening. The unarmed man stood a little closer. keeping it sturdily pointed at Blaine. “Don’t kill him. She sucked in a breath. It was Casper. compared to the feelings he experienced at that moment. He looked like he’d shatter into a thousand little pieces. Blaine had reached into his pocket and pulled out another gun. There were three people armed with weapons.

“I can’t—― “DON’T MOVE. She took in a deep breath. she may be perceived as clueless. “You have to believe me. Bingo. You have to. stepping forward. It was a risky one. In one. “I may just have to kill him to see the look on your face. Dexter was taking too long to get here. The gun in his hand was slowly loosening. She collapsed on to the ground. Blaine sent her a warning look.― One of the others had obviously made the attempt. but clever. She didn’t like that he wasn’t scared by it.― He shook his head at her in denial. trying to stop her tears. Then he gripped it and swung it around to point at her. If Zane died. She peeked up at him through the gaps in her bangs. she picked up the gun that was lying underneath her. He needed to be scared. There was silence for a moment. “You were. There would be no other opportunity. She collapsed back down onto the ground. pulling the trigger as quickly as her . gripped it tightly and pointed it at him. but she was clever. She had inherited the minds of her parents. but he couldn’t step forward to force her up either.― She wouldn’t let that happen. Blaine frowned. hurting. A plan formed in her mind. “Get up. Blaine wasn’t happy about it. Then a smirk spread over his face. she wouldn’t be able to live with herself. “Has little Agent Red grown attached to her mission?― He grinned malevolently. And the police—had no doubt been called as well. She may be naive. She was aching. but she knew it was time for her to do it.at Blaine and the gun in his hand. He couldn’t take his gun away from Zane. but I protected you because you’re a friend.― Blaine watched the drama unfold in front of him. emotionally torn.― he barked. Scared like she was. swift movement. She pretended to struggle as she pushed her weight up with her arms. weren’t going make it either. fake sob. as she had expected. More tears blurred her vision and she went to take a step towards Zane. She wiped her sleeve along her bloody nose. You were. She let out a huge. who were the best agents in the world.

Chapter 25: Rainbow It was over. she was able to see the hurt. gesturing and excited. Her first mission had been a success. Ready to infiltrate. The dirt had been swept away from her black t-shirt and black shorts. It wasn’t the memory of her parent’s death. echoing across the lake. both of his kneecaps immobile. In hers. but it still hurt her so much. But he meant so much to her. it was one big failure.finger would move. She’d captured the man who’d killed her parents with her own hands and she knew that her parents were impressed and so very proud of her. And all because he believed that she’d been playing him. She had a blanket wrapped around her and was sitting in the back of one of the agents vans. She’d shot one of his legs. Currently there were agents on the way to his secret location. so she must mean nothing to him. She watched as Blaine was carried away in handcuffs. throughout Royal Haven and Royal Nature. The pain. Dexter had shot the other. gather all information that they could find. But it wasn’t Blaine’s actions that haunted her. Everyone had . Around the darkness. How could he not know that? She pushed the blanket off and walked through the crowds of people. She watched as people hurried around—talking on phones. Well. and eliminate anyone who happened to be in the way. Had the kiss meant nothing to him? Was that how it worked? Were they supposed to kiss you and that was it? He hadn’t said anything to her since then. waking everyone up—two gunshots were heard. It was the look on Zane’s face she would never forget. it had been in everyone else’s eyes. Technically they weren’t friends anymore. Illuminated by just a sliver of moonlight. working her way back through the gates of Sunnyside. One of the first things she’d done when Dexter arrived was inform the agent of the location of Blaine’s hideout. her cuts already tended to and the blood wiped away from her face.

clean floors. She didn’t feel her legs moving beneath her. He was too far away. a wide smile on her face. questions were shouted. How could they not? “You’re an agent. A star shining so brightly and so fiercely that she couldn’t touch him. almost as though in a trance. She had to say goodbye. Just like everyone else. She had really. looking around the dorm. As she entered camp. Well. she had people she needed to see before she left.parked outside of the camp. scrunching her eyes shut. as though hoping to shut out the emotions. She didn’t belong in a place for the rich and famous. When she left. They knew now. she felt herself freeze up. She slowly pushed open the large door. It would be the last time she did it. She bowed her head low. not really interested in what had happened. Zane Noble was out of her reach. she’d been the one peel that mask away. She’d made him show emotions he didn’t want to feel. the shiny. she was harassed by everyone. This place was beautiful. Half of Royal Haven had remained in their dorm. That was on her head. Constant pictures were taken. But most of all. She hurt so much. The road outside of Sunnyside had been blocked off and outside the ropes were reporters. However unwillingly. like a star. even when he thought it didn’t. She loved the magnificent cream walls. and cameras were rolling. really grown attached to it. her eyes filled with sadness. attracting a lot of attention from the campers who had hurried out of their dorms to see what was going on. she didn’t belong with any of the angels. Since she’d been at Sunnyside. filled with an indescribable happiness when she saw Zane’s face? Seeing his mask that showed emotion. she would even miss the scornful looks she had gotten on her first day. It was after midnight. She hurt. . As she approached the door to his room. How many times had she stood outside his door. Red! I never knew!― “Do you have a gun? Can I look at it?― “Red! So you were undercover? That’s so cool!― She ignored them and pushed her way through the crowd. She didn’t belong in a place filled with so much beauty and so much happiness. She stepped slowly through the halls. It was time to say it.

warm gaze. She tripped on the ground. “You’ve spent most of your time here apologizing. He glared angrily and he folded his arms over his white shirt. But this time. Just like they had the first time they met. She’d just gaze firmly into his eyes. See him looking as bright as he could be. All he needed now was wings. He didn’t watch her retreating back. had so much fun. ***** Zane didn’t watch her run. She left him with that message and started to run. She looked up and her eyes clashed with gray. “What are you doing here?― She opened her mouth. If she turned.In her minds eye she could see Casper’s grinning face. “I came to— “—apologize?― He snorted and stared at a spot above her head. hilarious comments forced her to grin. She found herself staring at a pair of black. but as a friend. She really didn’t want to leave them.― she whispered. She didn’t care. She’d made so many friends. whom she didn’t know all that well. She pushed herself up and continued to run. She had her head sunk low in shame. “I came here to say that. She remembered how Vikki’s loud. She had wanted to see him one last time. “You were never just a mission.― She turned her back on him and finally allowed her strong resolve to break. She knew who they belonged to. “I didn’t come here to apologize. He was wearing white trousers also. although Zane’s face was expressionless. but no words came out. She wouldn’t look at his expression. imagined Seth’s warm smile. I protected you as a friend. Reaching into her pocket. she feared that her brilliant star would have dimmed to no more than a weak candle. polished leather shoes. and warm comfort. finally.― She swallowed. A tear fell from her eye. her knees colliding with the carpet. His bright eyes had been the first to welcome her. not as an agent. was in her thoughts. The door opened and her eyes snapped open. You think it’s going to make a difference now?― He settled his gaze on her. Even Rupert. . not looking back at his face. “I protected you. She wasn’t able to look at him. and then released it. his eyes were wide with anger and betrayal. She’d never be able to give it to him.― She forced a look as unwavering as she could on her face and stared hard at Zane. she grasped an object to give her confidence.

The water had to stop. But that was his heart talking. He used his long fingers to open the small card that was attached to its ear. his hands trembling slightly. Zane. confused. His eyes drifted to the object resting on the ground. They wanted him to run after her. spreading the words beneath it. He read it twice. putting more pressure on his wrists to stop the water. not his mind. crouching down to pick it up. One day. Watching over you. You told me I was a thorn branch and that I only opened for certain people. he slowly dropped the card and raised both of his hands. or Red’s words would disappear. I’ll never fully reveal myself to you. I’ll have to tell you something that’ll hurt you. That pretty rose has only ever opened up for you. But it’s okay. He read it again. It didn’t stop. When he lifted his head. used him. He pressed them to his cheeks. They were wet. He looked back down at the card. He had . Friends forever? Red. He looked up at the ceiling.He kept his eyes on the ground. Just like his emotions were slowly seeping through. I’ll be stuck on your back forever. carefully brushing his thumb along the words that were slowly blurring. and no matter how much I’ll want to. It wasn’t leaking. That he was just a mission and nothing changed that. His feet itched. He read it once. tell her he didn’t care that he had been a mission. He blinked when another drop landed on it. the tears flooded his eyes. escaping slowly through the gaps his palms wouldn’t cover. They kept falling. It was a rabbit with a mop of black hair in between its floppy ears. Because a rose’s thorny branch will only tear the wings of an angel. his eyes wide. His mind told him she had lied to him. He took a few steps out of his room. And he followed his mind. so I’m giving you this in the hope that seeing it will wash away your anger. Zane looked down at it. He rested his elbows on his thighs. They wanted to run. his vision hazy. He pressed his wrists into his eyes. A drop of water fell on the card. Then.

Casper. She wanted nothing more than to get the approval of the man she was supposed to be protecting.― One more step. who was so proud and arrogant. “That girl. Vikki. had to watch as the woman they wanted chased after someone who did nothing but cause her harm.― Seth got right in Zane’s face.― Seth took a step forward with Casper and Vikki. He forced his mask back onto his face. His friends. He couldn’t. when she wanted to be comforted by him. He bent over and picked up the stuffed toy. He was truly stupid. She wanted to be protected by him. He was Zane Noble. He stood quickly. Zane folded his arms over his chest. He was stupid.― Zane looked over his shoulder at Seth’s voice. “She’s leaving.― Seth lifted his knee up sharply into Zane’s stomach and Casper stretched his arms backward and punched Zane hard in the face. He wouldn’t go after her.― Seth’s dark brown eyes flickered with intense feeling. her first mission. as he always did. He turned around fully after realizing that Seth wasn’t alone. She was leaving? “Red has lived her entire life underground. shoving it into his pocket. He wouldn’t cry. who was so naive and innocent. “But eventually. She had been planning to tell him. to protect a man who was going to be kidnapped by the person who killed her parents. “She fought her fear of the world to help this man. unique girl along the way. And that man. “She took this. He’d constantly pushed her away after seeing her with Seth. And in the process she defeated five grown men on her own in order to save his life. He’d reacted so violently after she had told him she was moving to Royal Nature. She had to get comfort from his friends. She was discovered by two of her friends because of her carelessness. . “But that man was too proud. swiping his sleeve across his face. sending him to the ground. He wouldn’t allow any of his emotions to show through and caused the girl unbearable pain.suppressed all emotion since his parents died.― They took another step. but the words stuck in his throat. Casper and Vikki flanking him from both sides. Red hadn’t lied to him. and Seth were staring at him. He’d said she meant nothing to him. He opened his mouth to say he didn’t care. didn’t know that he loved her. and swallowed. Now. the mission became unimportant. who had fallen in love with the pure. you know. didn’t know that she loved him. they’ve had enough.

When he finally stood straight.― Her eyes snapped open and she found herself staring into her lap. he slowly brushed off his clothes. she cried to them in her mind. I want to see everyone. She was in the same patch of forest where she had lost the only picture of her parents. Dad. I hurt so much. I want to be able to walk away with a smile on my face. Was it an angel? She got to her feet slowly. a trickle of blood coming from his nose. pressing herself against the tree. I want to be your strong little girl. Dad. what do I do? “Get up. waiting to be washed. too. She pulled her knees up to her chin and leaned back against a tree. But I’ve hurt him. But I can’t. I want to see the world with him by my side. his eyes shining with unshed tears. as far back from the figure as possible. Had she imagined the reply? Was she imagining things? “I said get up. The sun’s broken light poured in from the trees behind the figure standing in front of her. Just go. who was sitting up and staring at his friends. which she had found in the laundry room. What do I do? She sniffed and wiped her sleeve across her eyes. I want to stay. and then had been beaten by the man she feared most in this world. Mom. Zane. illuminating him. Dad. “Don’t be such an ass. The angel that I envy and admire so much has caused me so much pain. I want to stay at Sunnyside and experience the world with the friends I’ve made.― Zane slowly rose to his feet. I can’t stop crying. It’s my fault he’s in so much pain and I want to get rid of it. her eyes glazing over. horror and pain. this seemed to be the most peaceful place for her to be. Then he turned and ran. She tugged at her dad’s t-shirt. But for some reason. but I keep going back. Mom. She let a tear drop from her face and she wiped at it furiously. It took him a long time to get to his feet. The figure stepped forward. resting her forehead on her denim—clad knees. But I don’t belong.Casper bent down to Zane. wishing that her dad was in front of her. letting out a loud cry and covering her face with her arms. wiping his hand under his bleeding nose. His words broke. . I have to. into the light. wearing the t-shirt instead. ***** She slumped down onto the ground. Droplets continued to fall down her face. his eyes unable to stop staring anywhere but ahead. Casper looked the most serious he had in such a long time. his expression still frozen into a look of shock.― She raised her head slowly. his movements jagged.

“Don’t cry over me anymore. I didn’t know that he could see. smooth lips that were pleasuring hers. the feeling of wanting to shout for joy. He’d come for her. Was that love? Mom. happy memory was being created. Her blue eyes were bright. his soft lips capturing her own. pressing herself closer to Zane. The pain oozed out of her chest. but I didn’t know that he was hurting even more than I was. then shook his head.― he said in barely more than a whisper. his hands cupped both damp cheeks. the overwhelming happiness. “Don’t cry anymore. his eyes still shining. The explosion in her chest. call whenever you need help. She lifted her sleeve ashamedly to wipe her tears away.― . Remember. could feel and could admire more than the rose. I was stuck to the angel’s back for so long. Red. their lips scant inches from each other. She looked up at Zane with wide eyes. Vikki and Rupert.― He stepped forward.― He brought his lips back down to hers. She smiled brightly back at him. All this time I thought my thorns would tear the angel’s wings. I knew he was hurting. Not everyone is as nice as that lot. He looked down at her lips and she stared hard into his eyes. his thumbs brushing the sides of her face. “No. Zane slowly moved back. ***** 1 week later She grinned at Dexter after he pulled away from her tight hug. she thought.“Have you been crying like this whenever my back is turned?― he said angrily. his face awash in emotion. She could only focus on the silky. “You’re a lucky girl.― he nodded over at Casper. a new. her body was limp. were she had only bad memories. He pulled on her wrist and she stumbled forward. Thank you. In the darkness of the trees. He took in a deep. Seth. She was being protected by him. shaky breath like he was struggling to breathe. wear I couldn’t see you. Dad. He released it and as she fell into him. “I know. leaving her with only a quick heartbeat and a warm face. his voice laced with frustration. you know that. her eyes fluttered shut. I couldn’t see what was in front. Her heart exploded and slowly. but another hand stopped the action. for looking out for me for so long. Zane. You’ve been stuck on my back.

If he tries to do anything to you that you don’t agree to. Keep your phone on. I swear. Vikki. “Right. always looking at you when you don’t know. She collapsed onto her bed. she ran into her own. dimples appearing on his cheeks. no more .― Zane turned to look at Casper. She screamed in happiness and began jumping up and down on the bed as she had done within the first week at Sunnyside. She’d exhausted herself.― And he scurried off down the hallway. eagerly. A blonde head poked around the door. and then looked over her shoulder. Zane looked at Dexter with a strange look in his eye. Vikki now lived on the third floor and Rupert on the second. I’ll be going now. they needed more room. “Pssst. I know a few people—― “Agent. her arms spread out. you just call. “If you fall. His eyes were narrowed in suspicion. I’m not paying for your hospital bill. Noble. “You be careful with that Mr.― She ignored him and kept jumping. He seems iffy to me.― He nodded and hurriedly left. a grin on her face. Dexter nodded. unnoticed by her. Red. noticing the thunderous expression on Zane’s face. I believe it’s time for Red to be escorted to her room. It was probably the relief of having everything off of her chest. if you try anything with Red when she doesn’t expect it. well. After they all entered the dorm and made their way up to their rooms. his superior mask stuck firmly on his face. Together the group walked back to Royal Haven. Seth. admiring the construction workers hammering and nailing the extension that was being built on the dorm.― A hand flew between her and Dexter. She stared after him. Now that the division of classes rule no longer applied. I’ve already spent enough money for your membership here. “Yes. as though chopping them apart. Then she looked up at Zane and smiled. He narrowed his eyes and looked back at her. and Rupert.He nodded. alright. Not to mention his pink cheeks. “Zane. “My room? I get my old room back?― She bounced up and down. I’ll beat you until you’re…― Casper trailed off. Zane looked at her alarmingly. Zane made his way over. The blonde laughed nervously. looking flustered. her black hair bobbing up and down as the bed creaked. He looked back. He nodded and led her back over to Casper.

Please take five minutes to leave a review on Amazon. It felt amazing. so happy. no more fear. so. His arms bracketed her head on either side. and then was tortured by the criminal who killed them—had suddenly been thrust into a world of brightness and color. I hope you enjoyed this book and I would love to hear what you thought of it. Red Hart. And she had just been kissed by an angel.ashleyandrewsblog. free promotions. still slightly frazzled by the burning sensation from the kiss to her forehead. Zane leaned over her. giveaways and more! http://www. But she was happy. “You’re just like a child.com Other Books by Ashley Andrews . the girl who had been brought up underground. who had lost her parents at such an early age. and no more pain. Her eyes closed on their own accord and she didn’t hear the footsteps approaching the bed. a smirk on his face.mission to worry about. ASHLEY ANDREWS BLOG Join my mailing list for news. He snorted at her frozen expression.― She grinned up at him. But those eyes snapped open when her bangs were brushed back and a tender kiss was pressed to her forehead.

Healing the Heart Bleeding Love .The Heaven I found in Hell Breaking the Arm.