"Selina, pick it up! Don't slack now! Let's move it!" a baritone voice said, his words likened more so to bark than encouragement.

A tall figure rounded the edge of the green with more fervor than before. Feeling stern turquoise eyes, she lifted her head and tightened her running style. It was a light tapping, her toes seeming to barely touch the ground as she glided down the raceway.

Passing the white number line in a huff, simultaneously with the stopping of her watch, Selina Konstantinidou bent over, her lean hands clutching her knees as a few wisps of ebony fell on her sweaty forehead.

"Stand up," the same voice said, "you'll breathe easier."

Selina blew out a hard breath as she slowly lifted her head. Her heart was beating at a steady, elevated pace, a low rumble in her chest. She blinked a few times, a vain attempt to whisk the sweat from her eyes. She swiftly passed the back of her hand over face, her fingers swiping above her defined cheekbones, hoping to remove the offensive moisture from the corner of her eyes. Refocusing, she glimpsed at her wrist, her eyes reading the blinking digital layout. A lopsided grin formed. "5:48.6." One second lower that practice before, she thought. Had a good pace going, not too out there. I think my 800'll drop this year.

Never turning his head from the other girl running in, the blond-haired man Selina was addressing offered little interest. "Don't get ahead of yourself. You've had better." Selina's mouth twitched at the comment while her coach entertained no additional comments, turning his attention and stopwatch to a redhead who just passed him. "Nice Janna, 6:24 Coach Irving." The older coach, Coach Daniel Irving, skimmed his notepad, making a comment on the paper.

Selina watched as her Coach Irving gave the girl a quick pat on the back of her sweat-drenched baby blue Nike shirt before he resumed watching the other runners with the head coach. The redhead glared at Selina, accompanied by a strained smirk on her now flushed, ivory face. Selina couldn't help the narrowing of her eyes or the tightening of her jaw. Compliments seemed a rarity from her coach, which she was fine with, but his actions were still unneeded salt on the wound of irritation, seeing a compliment issued to a team captain who touted more hot air than stamina.

It was not all bad.

Selina did not bother holding in the small snort that escaped as she watched one of the captain's legs betray her, causing her to trip every so slightly. Selina thanked the universe for that small bit of retribution. The redhead whipped her head toward Selina's direction and was rewarded with Selina's wry smile before Selina walked to the nearest goal post. Selina could feel the venomous chocolate eyes boring into her, grateful that the owner was too preoccupied with breathing and remaining upright to find the nearest portable object to throw at her back.

Only yards away, Janna Snyder's legs quivered beneath her body, each seeming to cry out in protest for being forced to keep the rest of her body erect. Janna steadied herself, breathing the cool air in deeply, the breath all too welcoming. Her chocolate eyes reopened, focusing on the taller girl who leisurely leaned against the white soccer goalposts 30 yards away. With a glimpse, Selina's seemingly calm demeanor after her run injected Janna with new strength.

That and her pride.

Janna Snyder would not dare give Selina Konstantinidou the satisfaction of seeing her appear exhausted, let alone watch her collapse to the ground. "She didn't even look phased," Janna muttered. Shaking her head, Janna reached up and passed her delicate hands over her head. She shut her eyes for a moment, determined to focus on her breathing. She did not look pretty when she gasped and puffed about.

And she was all about looking pretty.

Taking a few steadying breaths, Janna's hands found their way to her hips, her focus remaining on the cool in and out of her chest. She tried vainly to ignore the rising frustration. Her goal was to remain no more than one hundred yards behind Selina-

Instead, she concluded practice at two hundred behind.

Janna took another breath. Her skin felt slightly itchy and crawly, her brown eyes turning into slits reflexively. She prided herself in knowing she was the better person, not in specific areas such as speed or agility, but overall. She reasoned that Selina could have track; she could even have soccer, though it pained Janna to concede even that. Reciting her traits as she learned to do when she was younger, Janna quickly acknowledged her status. I am the head cheerleader at Paulson High. I am the power forward. I am the team captain. I am popular, revered, feared, in control and, she thought with finality on perhaps what she treasured most, I am beauty.

She opened her eyes with a satisfying sigh, her round eyes twitching at the thought of Selina. The gigantic abnormality has nothing on me.

Janna's newly arched eyebrows furrowed inward with the thought of her superiority. Every practice seemed to serve as a slap to her self-assurance. Selina consistently outran and outplayed Janna. Their constant tug of war was understood as Selina was primarily a defensive player and Janna an offensive player. Her only complement on the field was Selina Konstantindou.

She often suspected that Selina wasn't playing at full potential, a trait that often served as a source of irritation to her. She remembered how Selina played initially in high school. She hadn't played the same level since her sophomore year. She wondered if their first game of the year had been a fluke, but judging by the hazing that quickly followed-compliments of the upper classmen-she suspected the mysterious disappearance of those skills was too coincidental. While she did relish Selina being beaten, purposefully or otherwise, what grated her more was knowing deep down no matter what Janna did on the field-

She would never beat Selina.

Janna rolled her eyes as she sipped from her water bottle. It doesn't matter what that circus freak does. What could it matter, she thought. I am the team captain, not Selina! I'm not the seven-foot freak, Selina is, she repeated to herself. She can play all she wants, but I own this team.

That's right, she thought. Her petite mouth tightened into a scowl. This is what happens when you get a football coach turned wanna be soccer coach. I'm a soccer player; not a Boston marathoner or whatever! I don't need to be able to run six-minute miles. I score goals; that's it!

Janna shook her head at her thoughts, her red hair floundering in a loose ponytail as she tightened her grip around the plastic bottle. She could faintly hear someone approaching her, the familiar sound of heavy breathing and crushed turf between jogging feet.

She chose to ignore it.

A blonde-haired girl gasped repeatedly as she made her way toward Janna. Her legs burned, her mouth parched and her spit thick like cotton. She had an overwhelming desire to spit but opted not to do so for fear of its inability to leave her mouth.

Swallowing hard, she approached Janna, her back hunched over and hands-on her now flushed kneecaps. "Gimme some water."

Janna's button nose scrunched with disgust. You should have gone by your own bag, genius. She held the bottle tighter as though she feared it would magically make its way to the requester's lips without her knowledge. "Get your own."

The bubbly blonde dropped her head, her shoulders hunching further. She twisted her head in anger, hair strands sticking to her cheek. "Geez...it's not like...you're drinking it. You're...so...freakin' selfish."

Janna initially ignored the request but acquiesced. Scoffing at her teammate, she thrust her bottle toward the girl, her voice no louder than a mumble. "Here, heffer. You better not drink it all."

The blond girl accepted the water hastily. Standing upright, she tipped her head back, allowing the fluid to cascade from the bottle without the bottle touching her lips.

Janna rolled her eyes at her friend's bulging cheeks. "Swallow it already. You look like a freaking chipmunk."

The girl's eyes widened in embarrassment. She dropped her head as she gulped loudly, ignoring the tsk from Janna. The girl didn't know why but she felt the need to apologize for the seemingly uncivilized moment. "Sorry," the girl mumbled, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

Janna returned her attention to Selina. "God, would you just look at her?"

A brunette, now side by side with the blonde, who at the moment was too busy concentrating on breathing, turned her head lazily toward the red head's gaze. "Who? Selina?"

"God, she makes me sick," Janna mumbled, snatching the water bottle from the blond girl.

"Oh I know!" the blonde exclaimed. "Little Miss Perfect at running...Look at me, I'm a freaking racehorse." The blonde bit her lips for a moment only to resume with a scoff, "Guess the only way she'll get to show us up is by running. She oughta use her legs to run the mess out of here. High ho Silver and all that crap." Her eyes wavered for a moment before she plastered the all-knowing smile of that group.

"She just thinks she's doing something just because she gets under six minutes every mile after practice. Like that's some big deal. And then she throws it in everyone's face! Showboating prude..." Janna stomped her blue Nikes. "Ugh, she makes me so sick!"

"Do I... s-sense... jealousy?" the brunette asked between controlled breaths.

"Mia...jealous? Are you kidding me?" Janna asked, her right hand splaying across her chest dramatically. "Of what? She's a nobody! Of course she runs faster than everybody. She's-she's...practically got an Adam's apple. You do the math," she coaxed. "Where you think it came from? As weird as she is, she's probably poppin' roids like skittles. Doubt she's got anything else to do."

Mia straightened her back, taking a long deep breath. Her hand rested on her lips, her fingers hooking into her black running shorts. "You know she practices all the time."

Janna's bottle paused at her mouth. "Who freaking does that? Nobody's going to the Olympics. We aren't freakin' gladiators." Janna took a sip from her bottle before continuing. "I am not a football player, contrary to what Coach Harrington apparently thinks of us."

"I'm just saying, she practices a lot, and she runs a lot. She's on track. It shouldn't be a surprise that she's in such good shape," Mia added.

Janna widened her eyes in feigned shock. "Well look at you. Feeling a little sympathetic toward Stretch? Newsflash: pity is not something you should be accessorizing with. Save it for something that actually deserves it, like a puppy or something, not THAT freak of nature."

"Whatever Janna. I mean I just...I don't see the big deal. She's on track for a reason."

The blond girl snorted at the comment. "Because she's got no life and the closest thing to action she's probably had is riding the hurdles."

Janna lifted her hands, her palms facing outward. "Let's not kid ourselves ladies or waste our time on a stupid conversation like this. If Mia wants to go around defending the freak-"

"I'm not, I'm just-"

"Yeah, you are. I mean geez Mia. So she lives in a gym. So what? You say she's in 'good shape'? I'd rather keep my bomb shape than be shaped like a board and run like a dude. I mean look at her. She's got no reason to run that fast. One look and they'd go the other direction!" she said with a laugh. Her eyes made their way to her blond friend when she heard just a beat of silence too long, prompting a nervous and over the top laugh from her friend. "I know right? That's why nobody wants her. She spends so much time 'getting in shape' that no guy wants someone more manly than him!" Janna threw her head back with a loud laugh.

The blonde giggled at the comment. "That's right. I mean just look at her! She looks like a bull with that big nose of hers AND she's a giant freaking racehorse...I wouldn't be surprised if she had the junk of one as well!"

Mia mumbled under her breath a "Whatever" and chose to look at the field instead. A small sigh passed her lips. Instead of saying anything further, she chose to follow her common response of shrugging it away.

Selina stood against the newly painted soccer post with her arms folded across her chest. She heard faintly some snickering and could see the group of girls from the corner of her eye. She took a deep breath and chose to focus on the sky that was now painting an array of purple, tangerine, and magenta. Selina saw the moon, her namesake in Greek, peeking behind a small cloud. When she was little, she would say that it was playing hide and seek. Sometimes, she still thought it did. At times, she felt she had more ties to the sky than with those around her on the ground.

Once the remainder of the soccer team jogged in and their times recorded, Selina watched as Coach Harrington turned around to face his girls. He breathed a deep and slow breath, shaking his head at the sweat-drenched faces. "I was hoping to get some lower times than those, ladies. You can dribble a ball all you want but it won't mean anything if you can't get to it because you're out of breath. Stamina, not just skill, wins games. We've been conditioning for weeks, but you'd never know it based on these numbers." His baby blues scanned his audience of tired players. "For the newcomers, know that I don't like slackers. That's not my style and never will be. For the rest of you, you know better. I don't like people who do JUST enough. I give everything I can to you, and I want it returned tenfold. You guys gotta play with more heart and drive. Laps won't get it only, but hard work isn't a bad start." Shifting his feet, he crossed his sculpted arms across his chest with a huff. "It's Monday, we only have four more days until our first game, and you aren't where I want you to be. I want more out of you ladies and better start right now."

Selina's eyes circled the group, watching the reactions to his speech. While the words, in theory, she agreed with, if she was being honest with herself, she didn't find herself more inspired to work harder. It never seemed to do her any good with her coach before and did nothing to make her time on the team any easier. The lower classmen watched attentively. A brown-haired mousy sophomore looked to be on the brink of tears. From the upperclassmen, there was nothing but a silent "Whatever dude" on the air.

Selina returned her attention to her coach, a ghost of a smile threatening to cross his lips. Her coach's face scrunched, his head shaking slowly. She would bet money his thoughts were expletives lamenting his prime coaching years with spoiled teenage girls though this looked like a day using the term "brats". It was his fourth year with this team. Selina knew her coach was in his thirties, but she spotted some silver strands, no doubt compliments of teaching her compatriots and, most assuredly, a special strand for this team.

He cleared his throat, as though the action would wipe his less than stellar thoughts. "You guys, we've got a lot of talent and a strong program. We've got some great building blocks in place, but something is missing. We're missing...synchrony." Selina folded her arms and sighed softly at that comment. She conceded he wasn't wrong, but she saw no changes on the horizon, no matter how many laps the girls ran.

"We struggled with this last year, I thought we could shake it with the practices we've had this season, but we haven't. EVERYBODY has to step up, EVERYBODY has to hustle, EVERYBODY has to play as a unit." Sighing once more, he ran his hand through his hair again, an ever-growing habit, compliments of his team. "All right ladies...we'll leave it at that. Bring it in."

The twenty-six girls circled up, each placing a hand in the already rapidly forming pile. With a loud yell, they cheered, "L! A! D! Y! LADY PANTHERS!" The team broke up without much fanfare. A few of the girls bumped each other playfully, others mumbled comments among themselves. Selina removed her hand from the pile, paying little attention to her teammates.

It was a slow walk for Selina back to the parking lot. Her eyes scanned the field once more before making her trek toward the outer edges of the field. Her hand grabbed her bag strap, her sneakers kicking at an imaginary object in the grass. The ground felt especially soft beneath her feet, compliments of the manicured lawn that had recently been repaired during football.

Her eyes, catching movement in her peripheral, lifted slowly. She saw her two coaches, the younger speaking to the older with fervor. He had his telltale clipboard, pointing to notes on the pad. Her steps slowed when she saw their forms. She breathed deeply, her frustration flowering with every step. His words seemed to reverberate off of her ears. She had been a starter for him for the past three years. She made the district, state, and national teams-

But it was never enough for him.

Her eyes narrowed at the thought of his speech. While his words were for the team, in the back of her head, she knew some were specially reserved for her.

Perhaps he wasn't the one to fault, but surely she couldn't be mistaken that many times? She ran-

She smirked at herself as she thought of her performance. She jogged half of it, ran one-quarter of it, and sprinted the last part. With her long, slender legs, she couldn't help that her strides were longer and pace generally faster than the other girls. Selina felt self-conscious outrunning her team. Her coach spoke on teamwork but never seemed to promote it at practice. She often felt her coach should focus on pacing the team as a unit. Everybody pushes, everyone gets a little more out of it. Outrunning her teammates was not difficult for her, but some part of her felt like the workout should not be just about that. She shook her head at herself, a few sweat-soaked strands escaping from their fastener.

Selina walked past her coaches in silence, only acknowledging them with a small nod. She earned a small smile from Coach Irving, her older coach who always seemed to have a warm smile and twinkling eyes.

She earned a head nod from Coach Harrington. Nothing more.

Forever the drill sergeant, she thought cynically. Selina adjusted her bag once more only to have it swing wildly to the side. Her hazel eyes rose in puzzlement as two girls passed her.

Nothing was said; they just kept walking.

Are you kidding me, she thought after a beat. Her anger was stilled as a wistful feeling began to overtake her.

She looked past the girls who were in front of her, noticing they paused at the fence for a moment. While she could not hear what they were saying, she easily recognized the increase in pitch in their voices-

Must be a guy, she thought ruefully.

Once the group of girls had cleared, her eyes fell on a dark figure leaning casually against the chainlink fence that bordered the soccer/football field within its confines. Her saunter slowed down to a trickle of footsteps. She contemplated whether she should go forward or stay where she was. Well, you can't just stop in the middle of the field looking like an idiot, she thought. Keep walking, Einstein!

The figure, presumably male, had his arms folded across his broad chest. His stature was tall and lean, his shoulders square and oozing the essence of confidence. "What up, Lima bean?" he called out casually.

She shook her head quickly. Only one person called her that. "Chris?" She stepped closer, peering into darkening dusk. The pinewood eyes with shards of emerald sparkled with immediate delight. "Hey Chris." Her steps slowed as she reached the fence.

"Hey Lina," her friend drawled, matching her pace as she neared the exit.

Selina had taken only two steps before Chris bumped her playfully with his hip. Quite suddenly, Chris froze, holding his hand up to stop her from walking.

Selina's dark brows rose, edginess eeking from her voice. "What?" Her eyes fell to his hand that was gently squeezing her forearm.

Chris leaned to his side, taking a very loud whiff. Shaking his head with a bright smile, he said gingerly, "MMM...you smell good."

The pine eyes squinted into slits. Seriously dude? Sucking her teeth at him, Selina punched Chris in the shoulder. "Look you, I want you to run a mile, play soccer and run drills, then run another mile and tell me if you don't smell bad. I've smelled your B.O. so you really have no room to talk."

He sucked his teeth at her. "Ouch, Lina..." He added nonchalantly, "I never said you smelled bad. You are one of the only people I know that just doesn't smell bad...ever."

Her black eyebrows scrunched upward. "Oh, well...thanks...I guess."

Sighing loudly toward her, Chris gently nudged the top of her head with his fist. She attempted to pull away, but it was futile. Instead, she looked up, staring him in the eye while sticking out her tongue. This prompted a small chuckle from him, hands moving to her shoulders and pushing her along. Walking with her toward the parking lot entrance, his hands stuffed themselves into the protection of his khaki pockets.

"What's going on?"

Shrugging her shoulders, she looked up from the gravel ground for a moment. "Nothing much, practice is getting easier for the team I think." For a strange feeling, Selina suddenly felt self-conscious. "Harrington is the same, master drill sergeant. I think it'll be a good year, but I think he's looking for blood. It's the last year for his first full class, so he's probably looking to grandstand." Following her instincts, her head bobbed around carefully, eyeing the remaining girls who gave her funny looks.

Well, those looks are nothing new, she thought.

Returning her attention to their conversation, she asked quickly, "What are you doing back here?"

His eyebrows inched upward. "Why wouldn't I be back here? I get to see hot girls get hot and sweaty and then watch them run...DUH! I think that's a good enough reason for me. It was either here or the girls' basketball team. You guys got'em beat and quite the variety I might add," he said as he hit her in the head gently.

"Yeah, so that didn't sound creepy at all."

"I'm a guy."

"That's your excuse for everything. 'Oh I'm a dude, I get to be pervy.' Get over yourself, Secrest. You've got to start thinking with the head on your shoulders and not-"

The breath in Chris's throat hitched, a hand flying to his chest in feigned shock. "Naughty girl! What makes you think I'm not back here picking up tips on how to run or better yet, play soccer?"

"Because that's not what you said, creepster."

"If I should happen to also enjoy the view, that's a two for one. Nothing wrong with being opportunistic."

Unable to suppress the small smile that formed, her voice softened. "Let's be real, you don't do anything that doesn't have anything to do with water."

"This is so true." Reaching for her back, his large hand patted her gently. His bright smile turned into a softer one, his dimples more evident. "Well...I'll see you in a bit. I kinda snuck out the house to come see ya. Dave's home, so you know there's gonna be something going on. Mom made dinner if you wanna come by. I think it's roast."

Selina resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the mention of Chris' cousin. "Thanks for the invite. I'm not that hungry, and your mom's roast is typically accompanied with potatoes, and carrots, and onions, and all other types of heavy heavenliness. My stomach cannot handle that home goodness right now."

Chris bumped Selina's shoulder playfully. "She'll be offended."

"Not trying to have to waddle home like a duck or make this practice for naught."

"That would be the best compliment you could give her..." Chris looked up thoughtfully, his sapphire eyes on the sunset.

"Yeah, I bet." Selina turned to Chris. She couldn't help the small smile that crept onto her lips. Chris edged her out by just a few inches in height, but at times he seemed taller. She wasn't sure if it was his gait or just the air about him. Even though he was slightly taller than her, there was something almost childlike about his features. Her eyes softened when she saw something in his face. His cheeks, which still held just an edge of baby fat, had become more defined than she remembered. His jaw was set, though he was not upset. His ebony hair was tousled, evidence of his habit of perpetually rubbing his hand through his hair. She often joked with him that he was increasing his odds of going bald because he did it so often. It stopped the habit for about three days.

"Chris, is something up?"

The taller boy narrowed his eyes for a moment, recognizing that a question had been asked of him. His feet kicked at the ground. "Ah, nothing." He looked back to Selina, a hint of anxiety overtook him. His voice was quieter, more pensive when he spoke. "I gotta talk to you about some stuff, but it can wait 'til you get home."

She turned her eyes quickly to face his but was disheartened when they were hooded with his dark lashes. "Okay..." she said cautiously. "I can come by later. No dinner, though I'm sure I'd have my hands full telling your mother no about anything."

"Good..." he said with a distant tone.

The two continued to walk in silence, an unusual cloud of tension settling between them. Selina bit her lip. I wonder what this is all about, she thought. She kept her eyes on the quickly approaching vehicles in the parking lot. She felt as though she should have pushed the issue more with him, but thought better of it. She would be able to speak to him soon enough.

The two made it to her vehicle, a green Saturn, compliments of her father due to her vehicle being repaired. Selina dug out the car keys from her book bag, her fingers stumbling with the zipper for a moment. For whatever reason, Chris's presence at that time seemed exceedingly overbearing, overshadowing her form. She pulled the silver object out, turning to Chris with raised eyebrows. "Well, thanks for the escort." Her fingers rubbed against the keys, anxiousness bleeding from each swipe.

Chris didn't seem to notice, or he chose not to comment on it. "No problem, ma'am. See you in a few, playa."

Selina smiled at the farewell. "Later slick."

He waited for her to enter the vehicle, leaning against the door as she shut it. He gave a quick wave before turning to jog gingerly toward his candy apple red Mirage.

Selina watched as his bouncy form pull open the door to the vehicle, and smiled. She could never understand his demeanor. He seemed to constantly remain in a good mood, exuding charm and warmth. She painted herself lucky to have found a kindred spirit with Chris. While she was more skeptical, he was the optimist between the two. He was more outward with his affections, an action extremely contrary to Selina.

The ying to her yang.

There was an oddity to their relationship that neither one truly understood. It was a curious symbiotic relationship, one which garnered much more attention than either one of them would have liked. Chris was hailed as normal and extraordinary all at once.

Selina was not normal and most definitely not extraordinary, not in companionship or general interaction.

How Chris interacted with Selina wasn't so much unusual, rather, the existence of their friendship seemed to be more abnormal. Christopher Alanardo Secrest was known as the quintessential cool guy. It didn't matter with whom he spoke, he had no issue with anyone and he tried exceedingly hard to keep it that way.

And of course, it didn't hurt that his body had been likened to that of a Greek God according to more than half the female population at their school, though Selina was always there to point out the imperfections, all done in the name of saving him from an overly inflated ego.

With so much going for him, his continued interest in seemingly lowly, antisocial, unusual Selina was an unanswered question among the student body.

Even Selina caught herself pondering the subject from time to time; it normally followed a questioning gaze or whisper. She asked herself why for the past ten years. The other three years, she just never thought about it.

Selina sat in her car for a moment longer before starting the engine, her body resting in the seat. It was her senior year, her last season as a Lady Panther. While she attempted to convince herself of the insignificance of this year, even she couldn't deny the alluring lull and sometimes reminiscent thought that come some 280 days from now, she would be far away from this place.

Or maybe it was that she only DESIRED it to be reminiscent and was secretly itching to leave.

Regardless, she spent numerous hours of her life in this place; it was that field and track she often found solace. Perhaps she would miss it more than the people she shared it with.

With a final sigh, she turned the ignition. The vehicle hummed to life, a classical piece emanating from the speakers of the radio, compliments of NPR. Turning the volume down slightly, Selina placed the vehicle in reverse and proceeded home to suburbia central.

The drive was a quiet one and, subsequently, a numb one. Her mind reviewed her activities of the day, noting her most recent homework assignments and regrettably reflecting on soccer practice. Without her knowing, Selina found herself having arrived in her driveway with no real understanding of the lapse of time.

She reached her two-story home, her ears assaulted with the sounds of feet thumping around upstairs. Her hand gripped her bag straps. "Dad?" The noise paused for a moment before resuming. Her eyes scanned the top of the steps carefully. Reaching for the dark oak banister, she proceeded toward the first step. "Dad!"

Her placement on the stairs was short-lived. Selina stumbled off of the stairs as a taller, graying man jogged down the steps and into the den.

His arms were slightly frantic as he tugged on his jacket. He did not look at his daughter but kept his eyes on the shelves and coffee table in search of his wallet. "Sorry sweetie. Just got beeped. You came home just in time. I can call off the cab." Finally finding the folded black leather, he whipped his skittish form around quickly.

Selina reluctantly handed him the silver keys, wishing that he could stay a little bit longer or at least slowdown. "Okay but-"

Stuffing the keys in his pocket, Doctor James Konstantinidou wrapped his arms around her waist and give her a quick squeeze." I'll be home late," he said as he hastily planted a kiss on her cheek. "Don't wait up!"

She groaned to herself as she mentally slapped her hand on her forehead. If he could just stand still for five seconds! "Dad!"

Turning from the oak door, he asked quickly, "Yeah, Moon?"

The sound of her parents' nickname caused a momentary pause. Her mouth opened involuntarily, the sound never leaving her lips. That's all this ever was: she came home, he'd leave; it was the same vicious cycle. Just once, she wanted to spend just two minutes with her father without him having to rush somewhere.

But instead of voicing her feelings, she pushed them aside and shook her head. "It's nothing...I'll see you later I guess."

"Dinner's on the stove. Chicken soup, and I made you some sauce," he shouted before he shut the door abruptly.

Selina stood with her dusty, red-streaked Reeboks temporarily glued to the floor. Why am I not used to this already?

Taking her eyes off the door finally, she shuffled toward her kitchen. The hazel orbs eyed the stove warily as her ears still rang with the closing of the front door. It was at this point, while she stared at the pot of yellow liquid and a smaller pot filled with diced tomatoes in a rich vermillion sauce, that she was lonely.

Her father did try the best he could it seemed, whatever his best was at that time.

Things were difficult for him as he continuously threw himself into his work. And while he did small things, thoughtful things for Selina, she couldn't help the disappointment that arose from time to time.

Still, a small smile passed across her lips as she eyed the small mess he had made in his haste of cooking. Juicy cutting boards running with opened veins of tomato juice, while cans of seasoning adorned the cluttered kitchen counter. She quickly cleaned up the mess before fixing herself a bowl. It was no pot roast, but oddly enough was perfect as it was.

With nothing but silence blanketing the house's interior, Selina fixed herself some soup in a bowl she made in ceramics class. Adding heaping spoonfuls of the spaghetti sauce and grabbing her things from the front room, she then trekked up the creaky steps of her home as the last, spare rays of the sun making their final performance for the day.

It always made Selina sad to see the sun set. It was as though it was deserting her, even though she knew it would return within a couple of hours. It made her so sad that she, with the aid of Chris, made her own sunrise/sunset within the confines of her room. One wall was dedicated solely to the recreation of what she considered to be one of nature's most glorious artworks.

She stepped into her room with a placid smile on her lips, her eyes instantly tracing and outlining the hundreds of dried flower petals that were glued in sections onto medium-sized canvases, all connected in creating the sun in all its glory.

Placing her aqua book bag and purple track bag against her curvaceous tangerine dresser, lightly disturbing her typewriter as it sat on a dresser positioned catty-cornered against her "uppity" wall that was painted in electric green and tangerine, she carried her jade clay bowl, decorated with dancing azure lines, to her third wall. This was the wall she used most often, decorated with dark, swirling blue and coated with a small shine, compliments of silver specks within the paint. Bean bags and pillows laid against it.

She lifted her head to her wind chimes that hung in the middle of her room from her fan. With a small smile, she plopped onto a bean bag, supping from her bowl of soup as she turned her eyes to her sunset, a sunset just for her.

Her room consisted of two rooms. Twins lived in the house before them, and the original owner had their rooms adjoining.

Taking off the door that connected the two rooms, Selina added a curtain of beads. The "other room" was her true bedroom. Full of silky, pillows, a futon sat against one of the pale, pastel purple walls while her low-lying bed covered with sheets tie-dyed in green, gray, purple, magenta. Her dresser, tables, and vanity, curvy through their entirety, compliments of Chris and his shop classes, were broadened with the dulling lights of Chinese lanterns that were strung in the middle of her ceiling. Within that room's closet was no door, but more colorful beads. In the ceiling of the closet, lay the attic door, which proved to be her private library.

Both rooms were joined to a single bathroom with two doors, one of opposite sides of the room. Two sinks remained, remnants of the preexisting twins, a porcelain shower, and tub, white candles littered the corners of the room as painted snowflakes brought out the pale blueness of its walls.

Finishing her soup, she placed the bowl on the nearest dresser and showered quickly, remembering that Chris wanted to speak to her.

By about 7:30 pm, Selina waltzed from her front door, dressed in neon green soccer shorts as her torso was covered by a crimson tank top and neon green cloth jacket. She strolled down the street, her black flip flops, decorated with swirls of melon, slapped noisily against the pavement, her ebony hair secured into a ponytail.

Once she reached her destination, a two-story with large bay windows and luscious shrubbery, she instantly ran her long fingers across the doorbell, its all too familiar chime ringing throughout the house. She bit her lip as her hand began to fiddle with the silver soccer ball that tickled the base of her throat. She found herself smiling as she heard the muted thundering of footsteps behind the door and an "I got it, mom!". Selina was greeted by a hand running through his night-black hair.

Chris's face lit up the moment recognition crossed his features. "Lina!" He stretched his arms toward her, his deep blue eyes twinkling for a moment as he squeezed her. "Hey!"

Selina returned his smile. "Hey, Chris." He always greeted her like it was for the first time in a long time. It was admittedly over the top, but she liked it all the same.

Chris turned his head behind him, glimpsing for any intruders into their conversation, before deciding to shut the door. Grabbing her arm, he began to lead her toward the creamy, white, stringy hammock that hung lifelessly on two of the trees in the front yard. "So..." he prodded, "what's up?"

She shrugged her shoulders with indifference. "Nothing much. Not much has changed since you last saw me," she said with a quick laugh. She turned her head sideways to see him fiddling with the hem of his shirt. Selina narrowed her eyes. "What's up with you?"

"Hmm?" he questioned innocently. "Nothing...much," he added as he plopped onto the swinging seat.

She took a stance in front of him as he began to swing slowly. "Then what's the whole 'wanting to talk' bit for?"

"What?" he asked defensively, "I can't talk to you anymore or something?" He gave a small chuckle as he attempted to punch her lightly in the shoulder.

Catching his hand in mid-air, she admonished, "Not when you sound so," she dropped her tone with a false bass, "SERIOUS."

He smiled brightly toward her for a moment but faltered when he saw the austere look she gave him. Losing his facade, he shook his head slowly. "I don't know Lima bean..." he mumbled.

Selina took a seat next to him, leaning gently into his broad shoulder, gliding with the hammock in the small breeze. "Chris," she started, " you know you can always talk to me...c'mon." The sun had just set, the stars were beginning to come out. Selina turned her eyes to the sky when Chris remained silent. "The sky's beautiful tonight, huh?"

With his eyes in a downward cast, Chris finally spoke up, "I'm not so sure about that."

"The sky?"

Chris looked down puzzled. "What? Oh no, no...sky is gorgeous." His eyes traced her relaxed face and smiled.

Her body stiffened. "What do you mean?"

Propping her up to face him, he asked earnestly, "Selina, what happened to us?"

Selina's eyes betrayed her confusion. "I wasn't aware that something had happened."

He shook his head once more. "We used to talk all the time and then...all of the sudden, nothing now." Selina tore her eyes away from his face and looked down with a sigh. "So you know what I'm talking about then?" Chris asked after a moment.

"You are a little late to the party my friend." Poor Christopher; he is so naïve, she thought. With a bitter laugh, she asked quickly, "You're too innocent for your own good."

"What do you mean?"

"You really wanna know what happened?"

He whispered, "Yeah."

"It's a lot simpler than you realize, Christopher." Turning her body so she could lay in his lap, she said bluntly, "You were accepted, and I wasn't."

His azure eyes pierced her pine ones with fearful puzzlement. He knew, but he didn't want to know, so why not feign unknowingness? "I don't understand."

Selina shifted her legs. "Oh c'mon, yeah you do." When his facial expression ceased to change, she added with more cynicism than intended, "In other words, you were seen as normal and maybe even a little above that...I wasn't. It's not the easiest balance in the world to maintain, Chris. It's one I would gladly do over and over, but I guess it's catching up to us."

He shook his head with true confusion. "I invite you to do stuff with me and-"

"Yet you know how I get around strangers," she interrupted.

"Strangers? We've been going to school with the same people for -"

"For umpteen years and don't really know them. I can't speak for you, but for me? Yeah sir, they are strangers."

He chuckled at her as he gripped her cheeks with tenderness. "If you would just open that busybody mouth of yours for others to see you just once, then maybe-"

She placed her hands over his and removed them with a tinge of roughness. "Are you that blind, Chris? No. When I tried, what happened?"

"You really think you tried?"

Selina's eyes widened. "You really think I didn't?"

Chris balked for a moment. If Selina hadn't been irritated by his comment, she would have found his confounded look amusing. "I mean...that's not what I meant."

"I mean really, are you that oblivious to the looks thrown my way when you even wave at me? By YOUR friends no less? You seriously have them wrapped for them to stick with me around sir, I'll say that much."

"Selina, come...on! You know that end of the day, it's us." He extended his pointer finger between the two of them. "Me and you. Yeah, they're cool, but...I dunno. It's not the same. So people like me and whatever. Part of it's because I actually talk with them and to them. The looks they throw? You think I care about that? Puh!" He snorted for good measure. "C'mon, we have some of the most finicky people on the planet I think. Nobody keeps their mind made up about anything. People change their minds like they change their shoes."

"You tell me, Chris. If I were you, I would care about the looks. You're fooling yourself if you keep saying otherwise."

He ran a hand over his face quickly. "What does this have to do with us, with us talking? I know stuff's been bothering you, things bother everybody so I left it alone. I just didn't think it was me."

Selina's head lolled to the side tiredly. "Chris, c'mon-"

Clearing his throat, he interrupted, "Look, I didn't plan on this being a battle of the...cliques or whatever."

"What battle of cliques?" she exclaimed with honest humor. "I don't know if a clique can exist with a party of one. I suppose you have granted immunity or whatever. A lifetime pass I suppose, but dude, I'm in a world of my own," she said proudly. Offering him a smile to cover up the tenseness of the moment, she said gingerly, "You wanted to know what happened, I'm simply telling you." Just as he opened his mouth, she placed her hand over his mouth. "Trust me, I'm not trying to get into any groups at school. Way too late in the game for that, but being looked down on gets old quick and is a little aggravating."

He removed her hand slowly, pausing for a moment. "I've never looked down on you." His voice was quiet and earnest, the hurt palpable. She could hear his silent question of Have I.

She was afraid she'd lose her best friend to the falseness, the egos, and the superficial that constantly bombarded their world. Instead of dwelling on the possibility of him becoming a mind-controlled drone guided only by designer clothes and popularity, she said quietly, "No...no you haven't. And I appreciate it." After all, it was only a POSSIBILITY...and even then, a slight one.

"It's our senior year, Lina. No telling what will happen after graduation."

"It's not like we'll drop off the face of the earth or something." Selina swallowed hard, her eyes finding the sky again. How many countless nights had she spent on that very hammock with him, gazing in wonder, laughter, anger, and sadness. "No matter where we go, you will still be the crazy boy across the street," she said distantly.

Chris leaned into her, elbowing her in the ribs. "And you'll still be the girl with the best treehouse, but...I mean, I think about things, you know? I know you haven't committed anywhere. You can write your own ticket. But I know you're looking to leave."

Selina shrugged her shoulders with indifference. "A little bit, though...I guess being here has its perks."

Chris' eyes shifted her direction. The corner of his mouth twitched when he saw the mischievous smile form on her thick lips. Chris's hand which laid placidly on his chest inched toward her side. His warm fingertips eased down her arm, tracing out the contour of the small line that had formed on her forearm. The fingers tingled with the touch as they eased their way down, their final resting place being her cooler one. Selina couldn't help the small shudder that assaulted her body, the trace leaving an invisible mark on her skin. She shut her eyes tightly and focused on Chris's voice as he continued. "I guess what I'm trying to say is...I just want us to still be okay."

She offered him a sideways glance. "Chris, we will be. I'm sure." Returning her eyes to the sky, she tacked on with a tinge of humor, "I've invested too much into this venture. Lot of my prime years gone over you."

He rubbed her head ruefully, earning a small squeak from her. "Whatever, Lima Bean!" Selina's arms flew up to block his blows, but he grabbed her wrists quickly, stilling them in the air. His brief irritation dissipated as soon as he saw her half-smile. He paused for a moment, swallowing hard at the sight. "I'm gonna miss this," he mumbled. Selina's eyes seemed to twinkle at him, her anger disappearing just as easily. With a huff, he swung himself out of the hammock. His hands eased from her wrists to her hands, his fingers peeling hers back until they laid flat. A dimple appeared at the vision of her smirk. Gripping her soft hands, he pulled her gently. "Ugh! We gotta do more together, just us."

Smiling at his enthusiasm, Selina asked quickly, "Like what?" She stood to her feet, her hands still in his.

He shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, I dunno...we could play soccer together."

Selina scoffed playfully at his request. Shrugging her shoulders, she said nonchalantly, "I'd get tired of beating you."

Chris's eyebrow rose quickly, "Ego yeah?"

"Just a small one." She offered a small chuckle. Without warning, Chris rushed her, scooping her up and over his shoulder. He spun quickly and fell to his knees, the only sounds in the yard being their laughter. He attempted to tackle her onto the luscious green that carpeted the ground beneath their feet.

Wrestling her to the ground, while rubbing her head furiously with his hands, he shouted over her laughter, "We could play basketball."

"I kick balls with my feet for a reason!"

"Go to the mall, movies, park, anything! Just more...of anything, Lina." Pausing for a moment, he said solemnly, "I miss that."

He eyed her smaller body, relishing in the fact that his own blanketed hers, blocking everything else of the world away from her. It felt good...THIS felt good. It felt as though this fit together, that they fit together and everything else was just everything else. Pushing a couple more strands away from her eyes tenderly, he remarked quietly, "It just...it just doesn't have to be like this."

She eyed him carefully, feeling a small flush of heat creeping to her cheeks. This was her Christopher. He could make her smile, he could make her laugh; he could practically get her to do anything. It frightened her, exhilarated her, and confused her. Swallowing hard, she found herself breaking eye contact, the silence between the two of them becoming unbearable. She decided to liven things up.

Selina extended her legs outward and by bearing down with her muscles, she flipped Chris's taller body over her head. Satisfied with the growl that escaped his lips, she rolled over quickly and pounced on him. Laughing loudly, she scrubbed his head with her fingers as he reached blindly for her arms that he couldn't reach for some reason.

"Selina Yolanda Konstantinidou!"

Her dark head left her victim and quickly flew upward, a bashful smile toying on her lips. "Hi, Mama Secrest."

A short woman made here way to the two of them, her salt and pepper hair shining against the porch light that was just turned on. She donned an emerald blouse which complimented her slightly olive skin tone. The short, Italian woman shook her head, a smile gracing her relatively youthful features as she placed her hands on her hips. "What did Christopher do this time?"

"Hey!" Chris shouted from the ground. "Why is it my fault!"

"Because I know sweet little Selina would never do such brash things unless you provoked her."

"First of all, who are you to call anyone little? Really?" Chris scoffed loudly. "Secondly, you are forever taking her side. Even now!"

Selina turned her eyes back toward Chris. "Well DUH!" she said as she ruffled his hair once more.

"MA!" he screeched.

"Oh stop Selina! He sounds like a banshee!" Selina laughed out loud once more as she saw Chris's miserable face. Mrs. Secrest tugged Selina off of her feet and toward her house. "Come on in!" she beckoned, Selina chuckling lightly. Mrs. Secrest wrapped her short arms around Selina's lanky body. Patting her on the back lightly, she said happily, "Well, how are you dear?"

"I'm fine, just...ya know...living," she said with a small laugh as she began to readjust her massive hair. "Soccer is starting up again."

"OH! When is your first game?"

"It's...it's not a big deal Mama Secrest-"

The smaller woman waved her hand in the air incredulously. "Well of course it is. It's your last first game of high school. And besides, how could I not want to come out? I know the best player on the team! Now when is it?"

Selina shook her head at the comment, choosing to leave it alone. "This Friday at 5. Garrison High."

Mrs. Secrest wrapped her arm around Selina's waist, pulling her into the house. "Then I will be there with my foghorn and cowbells! Now, the more immediate pressing question: have you eaten? I made pot roast."

Selina stopped, wiping her feet on the doormat before continuing to walk with the woman. "I'm good."

"Selina Yolanda..." Mrs. Secrest warned.

Selina threw up her hands in defense, laughing as she backed away. "I promise I'm good."

"I thought you liked my roast."

"I love your roast, but I ate when I made it back from practice. We did a few more laps than before for conditioning so I'm not totally into something super heavy right now. I would not do the roast justice."

The older woman sighed heavily. "Oh alright." Hearing footfall in the house, the salt and pepper head whipped around, her back arching so to see around a corner. "Christopher, do NOT track dirt on my floor!" Turning her head toward the direction of the kitchen, she yelled quickly, "David... Selina's here!"

Chris swiped his feet on the rug as he made his way in. "I know, I know!" A male strutted from the kitchen, steady nodding his ebony head absentmindedly as he made his way for the stair banister. Chris, who had just finished readjusting his gray Nautica shirt, said quickly, "Hey Dave, you're not even gonna say hi?"

The dark head shot up quickly. "To who?"

Chris skittered across the floor toward his cousin. "Selina, man!" Chris said as he smacked him in the back. This earned a blank stare from David. "Down the street Selina..." he said, urging his memory.

The dark orbs fell on the lanky body of the girl that stood before him. "Christmas came early."

Selina's brows rose.

"Sorry but..." David gave her a once over eyeing the red top and bright green shorts. "You look like a..." he waved his hand in the air toward her direction, "like an overstretched Christmas elf." His dark eyes fell to her legs, in particular to the end of her shorts that seemed to end at a teasing point of her long shapely legs that were marred with few black scars that tainted their toffee complexion.

Selina looked down at her shirt and shorts before returning her narrowed almond-shaped eyes to David. Her stomach twitched with slight unease at his stare. She knew she wasn't the size 6 females he was used to seeing, the tall sporty tomboy and oddball that kept pestering him during the summer whenever he was there, Christopher's tag along and constant plus one, but she found his stance unnerving and overbearing.

Shaking off the discomfort as best as she could, she pivoted, offering instead a sickly sweet smile for the comment, adding quickly, "I'll be sure to share my oh so high opinion of you with Krampus."

His visual analysis of her paused, a smirk forming. "Well hey, happy to see you too." His smirk turned into a smile, one filled with all the artificial sweetness and indifference he could muster. He folded his long arms across this chest with a slight huff. "It's certainly been a while hasn't it?"

Not really, dude, Selina internally scoffed. Selina shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, despite her efforts at nonchalance. She didn't know what it was about David but based on what Chris had told her and from her limited observation, she could best sum him as a shallow egoist, short on cordiality unless he could get something out of it, completely self-serving-

And at the moment either judgmental or pervy.

She would settle for judgmental for Chris' sake. Selina crossed her arms over her chest. "Yeah."

"I know I haven't been here in a while -a good couple of months- but I feel like I miss you whenever I come."

No feels like; that is exactly what happens and it's never by accident. "Yeah, just one of those things, I guess."

"Feels like ages since the babysittin' days! You grew up didn't you?"

"Yeah, I guess so. Not too terribly surprising, right? One of those things you go through...the whole growing thing."

His plastic smile faltered. "Still my favorite snarky little brat." Selina smiled sweetly. He opened his mouth to say something else but seemed to change his mind. Instead, he nodded and rocked on his heels for a beat. He looked beyond Selina, noticing that his aunt was no longer paying attention to them. "Right..." He turned his body toward Chris, dismissing her entirely. "Well anyway, Chris wanna go to the movies? I heard there were some new releases. I've got the rental, so we should be alright."

"Sure." Stuffing his hands in his khaki cargos, Chris said quickly, "Lina, you wanna ride?"

She smiled lightly. Trying already, she thought. She would have said yes if she hadn't noticed David's dark eyes throwing his cousin an annoyed look.

It was a sight all too familiar to Selina; her response being even more so familiar. Biting her lip, she said quickly, "Oh um...nah, I need to be getting home anyway."

Chris instantly glimpsed at his waterproof watch. "It's only seven something."

"I've got some work to finish up," she recovered. "I just came over to check on ya." She coughed lightly. "Thanks anyway." And with that, she headed toward the door. "Bye Mrs. Secrest," she yelled.

"Bye dear!" Selina heard from the kitchen. "Are you sure you don't want any roast?"

"I'm good; I promise!" Selina redirected her attention to her friend. "Later Chris. Bye Dave." David nodded his head toward her in acknowledgment as he reached for his brown leather jacket that was slung carelessly on the maroon sofa.

David watched her cross street just as he opened the front door to head toward his midnight blue convertible. He noticed her pause for a moment, look to the sky, and then continue to walk. What was that about, he wondered. Knowing her, anything. He couldn't help but smile and shook his head at himself. Guess some things never change.

Hearing the front door close, he said quickly, "She seems just the same, little more on the weird side though. I thought puberty would have knocked that right out."

Chris tugged at his black jacket with a tinge of anger. "Lay off, man. Things have been kinda rough for her." For Chris, it felt as though no matter where he went, he couldn't escape the flack that was thrown at Selina's expense. He kept his feelings to himself, acknowledging the perplexity of having his cousin make the comments he just said when he didn't even remember her but had known her family for more than half of his life.

David chuckled for a moment at Chris's reaction. "Well look at Prince Gallant. Good for you, defending your friend and everything! You know I'm only mostly joking." He paused thoughtfully. "Okay, slightly joking. I didn't mean anything mean by it, I'm just sayin'..." He kept his eyes on her a moment longer, watching as the front door to her house closed. "She's kinda peculiar. I mean really, she was the only nine-year-old I remember who would put her Doritos in her chocolate pudding," he added with a light laugh.

"Have you tried it?"

"No, I'm not trying that crap!"

"Then you don't know what it tastes like. What's the problem? She's got-"

"Personality, yadda yadda!" He threw his arms up dramatically. Rolling his eyes, he added swiftly, "I know, man...I hear it from mom all the time...let's roll."

Chris followed behind his cousin in a huff. "I don't get you, man. You act all like, 'Oh I don't remember you at all' and then go an say stuff like this? What's your beef?"

A brow rose skeptically as a tan hand froze over a silver door handle. "Beef? I don't have beef with her!" He shrugged his shoulders. " I just...she's just...odd! I never spend time with her. And she looked different. Like I said, Christmas elf or a...pushpop, popsicle, something."

"You need to get your eyes checked. She hasn't changed much, Dave."

"Well, I do have a new prescription for my contacts, but I doubt that has anything to do with what I saw. Regardless dude, she's not that bad I guess, but I mean I am a little in the blind. She never talked to me much, I sure as hell didn't do the same. We have an understanding I think."

"Oh really?"

"Why you freakin' about it? I know you in your little Muppet head you want everybody in the world to sing kumbaya and crap, but that's not how things go. Besides, don't act like she's St. Selina around me either. I mean seriously...Krampus? Doesn't...doesn't he like... eat children or something?"

"You did call her an elf. Just...put that right out there."

"It's called playful banter. Of all things I do remember with her, tit for tat was a staple. My stuff was innocent. I called her an elf and she talks about telling the boogie man to come after me. I mean seriously, who does that?"

"Are you concerned about it?"

"Get real, man." He pulled his door open a bit wildly. "People aren't always gonna get along, no matter how much you wish it." He pointed across the street and then back to himself. "Case in point. She's your friend, not mine."

"I just don't get it, Dave. She's pretty much family. You're the pulling the superiority card, like you are or something."

Plopping in his black leather seat, David commented with ease, "In some ways I am."

A pair of eyes widened in disbelief. "Excuse me?"

"C'mon man. I don't mean it in a bad way."

Chris plopped into the car seat with a huff. "How can it not be taken to mean in a 'bad way'?"

"I mean I actually make sense. I stand out because that's who I am, not what I'm forcing myself to be. I'm actually with society, not secluding myself. I don't have to go against it to prove a point. I'm cool with who I am and apparently, she's not. There is no way she does everything she does just because she likes it. She's trying to prove a point."

Chris shook his head at his cousin. That's a little highhanded Dave...how dense is he! Chris reached for his seatbelt, a counterstatement tumbling from his lips with immediacy. "That doesn't mean you're superior. You would never know what's her thing because you never spend time with her. And when you do, you're a bit of a douche."

"Wash your mouth, Christopher!"

Chris rolled his eyes at the exclamation. "Mock me all you want, I think you just don't like that she's not impressed with you. That happens when you catch 15-year-olds howling country songs in the shower, substituting their crushes."

David's face reddened slightly at the memory. "Forget you, Chris." It wasn't many years ago, but it was an unfortunate and seemingly fresh memory to him. He would never forget Selina bumbling into the bathroom just as he was getting out. She and Chris had just finished playing outside while David was preparing for a date. Through a series of unfortunate events, the bathroom had not been locked. David never understood why Selina did not hear him in the bathroom - especially since to hear her tell the story, he was screaming out his song - but David soon found himself face to face with a 10-year girl, in the buff belting out Love Get Me Every time by Shania Twain. David didn't live his singing skills down for the entire summer as every chance they got, Chris and Selina would randomly say "Gol' darn gone and done it".

Chris chuckled at his cousin's discomfort. "I'll leave Shania out of it if you'd like."

"Shut up Chris."

Chris reached over his shoulder and tugged his seat belt. "My point is, she does do her own thing, it's just different and you aren't used to it. Is there really anything wrong with just doing your own thing?"

"Not at all."

"Then why is it wrong for her?"

"Chris, I doubt she even knows what she's doing half the time. And besides, it's wrong for her because she does it DIFFERENTLY," David said as he checked his mirror. Starting the car with a roar, he sped out of the driveway.